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Halloween Ghost Train in Burbank

by leeroseemery on October 22, 2017

Fall Meet Half

This scary Halloween Train tip just in from LACityMom writer: Beth Szymkowski:

My kids are in the in-between stage of celebrating Halloween. They want to carve pumpkins but are not enthused about a cute outing to the pumpkin patch. They want to be scared, but are too young, in my opinion, for the absolute terror of Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights.

So I was looking for a mildly scary experience to put us in the spirit of the season and found one in the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum’s Ghost Train in Burbank.

Riders straddle the one-eighth scale train for a twenty-two minute ride. It travels through numerous tableaux that would have sent my sons, aged ten and thirteen, screaming when they were toddlers but are more disturbing than terrifying to them now. There’s a section with evil baby dolls, a clown tunnel, something resembling a torture chamber with people being loudly electrocuted, and a creepy coal mine. The folks at the volunteer organization have done a great job of showing something interesting and unsettling to look at almost every inch of the way. That said, nothing jumps out. No real people are hidden amongst the props.

And it’s on a train, which automatically makes it fun in my book. They offered advance tickets for the first time this year, but have not ironed out the entrance process. Expect a long wait even if you have a ticket. The night we went, several children were running around an adjacent field playing with light sabers and having a great time doing it. I went another Mom, and three ten year olds and a thirteen year old. The ten year olds agreed the ride was well worth it, and thought it appropriate for kids aged six to nine.

For more information CLICK HERE. 


Skinny & Co. Coconut Oil Products

by leeroseemery on October 14, 2017

skinny-coconut-oil-pulling-8-5_grande If you frequent health food stores you may have seen a lot of coconut products lately: cooking oils, body butter, lip balm and more. It seems like there are a million and one uses for coconut oil. It’s touted as kind of the miracle nut/fruit/palm. But not all the products you see on the market are created equal. I was so happy when the folks at Skinny & Co. approached me about testing their new line of coconut oil based products.

Skinny Coconut Oil is a small batch, extra virgin, cold pressed coconut oil, made with nothing but 100% pure, raw, pesticide free, wild coconuts from the pristine jungles of Vietnam.” The company is a small family business dedicated to sustainability.

My favorite coconut oil from Skinny’s line has peppermint oil in it. It can be used for oil pulling (slosh it around in your mouth and then spit it out – sounds odd, yes, but it works great.) Doing so promotes gum and teeth health. Coconut oil is also soothing to dry skin. Skinny & Co’s body butter too, is super moisturizing and has a mild scent, which I like. I rub it on my sons feet, which get very dry, and I have seen that it really makes a difference.

Coconut oil can moisturize hair, face and skin. You can also use it for cooking or add it to a smoothie. I love that all the Skinny & Co. products are completely edible. Putting products on our skin that are filled with chemicals is a terrible idea, especially when the skin is our body’s biggest organ. Skinny & Co’s products have absolutely no additives, and are a raw, which means the oil has not been heated to high temperatures. It’s the only raw coconut oil on the market, making it the purest as the nutrients have not been compromised  by overheating.


Skinny & Co. also sells a sugar scrub with a hint of vanilla in it that smells so delicious that it’s hard to decide weather to use it in the shower or take a bite of it. (Which of course is also okay.) It has a lovely texture and washes off easily. After using the scrub, my skin feels soft and supple.

I feel really strongly about giving my family the best and healthiest products I can find. I am happy to know about Skinny & Co, as I know that from now on, it will be our first choice in coconut oil products.

To learn more about where to buy Skinny & Co. coconut products near you click HERE, or you can order products directly on line from their website.



The Sequoias – great family getaway

by leeroseemery on July 8, 2016

TreeHere’s a great post from LACityMom’s intrepid Beth Szymkowski, who just returned from a trip to the Sequoias.

“I am not a camper. The thought of hauling my kids along with supplies to feed and house them does not sound like a vacation to me, so I was a bit hesitant when good friends invited me and my two sons to join them for a trip to the Sequoias.

But I was a quick convert when I realized they were suggesting a trip that wasn’t exactly camping. It involved a bare-bones cabin with comfortable beds and electricty, and heated community bathrooms nearby. We stayed two nights in the Grant Grove Cabins in Kings Canyon National Park, about a four-hour drive north of Los Angeles. The park abuts Sequoia National Park and we drove through the latter on our way home, stopping to see Crystal Cave and the General Sherman Tree, a 2000-plus—year-old behemoth that defies description because any word I know to describe insanely huge just isn’t insanely huge enough. Both parks have their share of majestic trees with plenty of hiking trails of various difficulty levels to see them. The cave involved a fairly strenuous hike to get to the entrance and back. I was grateful my kids were long past toddler age.

The entire trip was idyllic. Traveling with another family with kids the same ages as mine meant my two boys, aged nine and 11, had like minded companions. They would pair up with their friends each morning and roam either the meadow below the cabins or the rocky hill above them. The other parents and I let our kids use pocket knives and marveled at how much time they could spend sharpening sticks. It was better than any video game, although they didn’t have much choice. The area is an absolute cellular dead zone. I didn’t get a phone signal in either park, and when I needed to check my email for work I had to walk up to the hotel nearby for its marginal wifi.

Each rustic cabin has a wood stove on its patio and my friends brought a portable gas grill. (Open fires aren’t allowed). We shared meal duties and took turns running to the market nearby to supplement the groceries we’d brought in.

We were lucky with weather and had moderate temps during the days and brisk 40 degree nights, which made the trips to the bathroom as close as I get to roughing it.”


Summer Sounds at the Hollywood Bowl for kids

May 26, 2016 Play

If you’re looking for something fun but also cultural to do with your little ones in LA this summer,  The Hollywood Bowl has weekday music performances as well as Art Workshops for kids from  July 11th – August 5th.  This is such a great program and a wonderful way to introduce your children to the […]

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Screenagers Documentary Review

March 26, 2016 Uncategorized

I just had the opportunity to screen the very topical documentary made by Delaney Ruston, called Screenagers. This provocative film explores the impact that screen time and media addiction has on kids today. This is one of the most relevant parenting issues of the day, and managing kids’ media habits is a huge challenge facing […]

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Holiday Cheer

December 22, 2015 Uncategorized

One of my favorite things about the holidays is decorating gingerbread houses with the kids. I’d like to tell you that I make mine from scratch. But I don’t. I buy a kit. I’d like to tell you that ours looks like this one on the left, but it doesn’t. We bought our kit at […]

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The Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns at Descanso Gardens

October 11, 2015 Play

This just in from LACityMom’s intrepid Beth Szymkowski: “Autumn in SoCal has always been a bit of mind trick. We know we should be wearing sweaters and sipping hot cocoa as we prep for Halloween, but the reality is October brings some of the hottest days of the year. So I was excited to see […]

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Family friendly fun at the Masters Horse show

September 29, 2015 Play

If you have any horse lovers in the family, there’s a wonderful event coming up October 1-4 at the LA Convention Center. The Longines Masters of Los Angeles will showcase the thrill of Olympic-level show jumping, meet and greets with the world’s top-ranked riders, and of course a chance to see all the beautiful horses! […]

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Spain with kids – Barcelona and Madrid

May 16, 2015 Play

With the dollar catching up to the Euro for the first time in many years, it’s a great time to think about a European family vacation! Here’s a link to a piece I wrote about our recent trip to Spain for family travel site, CiaoBambino. We have found that our family’s European holidays have created so many […]

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Whale of a Weekend at Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

February 6, 2015 Play

I love any excuse to go the Santa Monica Pier and Aquarium. They are hosting a fantastic whale themed event Valentine’s Day weekend which will be great for families. Here’s the info below. Sounds like a whale of a time for sure! “Santa Monica, CA (Jan. 27, 2015) – Sightings of whales along the Southern […]

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