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Tag Archives: Orange County

We Could All Use More Free Passes

I have wanted to write about this topic for some time, but for some reason, I haven’t yet. It feels like the right time now. With all the negativity in the world, I think we could all use a little more compassion, more understanding, and more forgiveness in our lives. On many days, we all could just use a “free pass”.

The “free pass” is something I created a few years ago, and now I find that I use it all the time.

Here is how it usually works: I run across someone during my day and maybe they are agitated, angry, or even sometimes, downright rude. Now, I’ve never met this person before or don’t know them well. Instead of getting annoyed or making all kinds of horrible assumptions about them, I just issue them a “free pass” and go along with my day.

The thing is, that person may be dealing with something difficult – a fight with a spouse, illness, or problems with their kids. It has nothing to do with me so I can’t take it personally. And their actions may be totally out of character for them, so I can’t make some sweeping judgment about them.

For me, it’s an offshoot of the quote by T.H. Thompson and John Watson, “Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.” I’m sure most of you have heard this quote before, but it’s a powerful one. I try to think of it often and keep it close to me so I don’t forget its message.

Even if someone is a friend, you may not be aware of or understand that battle. You can issue a free pass to friends and family too – like to a friend who is normally reliable but suddenly flakes out on an obligation, or a family member who is short with you because you caught them in a bad moment.

Of course there are people who eventually run out of free passes. It’s not an endless pass to be a jerk. But those people are really few and far between.

So, the next time someone cuts you off trying to get on the freeway, just give them a free pass and move on. It’s a small gesture but the world would be a better place if we all walked around with a bunch of these in our pocket:

free-pass

The 12 Afterburn Nutrition Program: Final Results

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Last week I completed my nine week Afterburn Nutritional Coaching at The 12 in Irvine. In spite of the fact that I spent the final weekend of my challenge on a girls weekend in Chicago – vacation binging – I am happy with the results.

After the weekend of indulging, I was a little nervous about my final weigh in. Luckily, I had done enough well over the nine-week period that I could overcome some deep dish pizzas, Chicago dogs, and cold beer. By the way, totally worth it.

At the conclusion of nine weeks of Afterburn Nutritional Counseling, I am happy to report that I have lost 10.8 pounds of fat. I am even more excited that I gained 1.1 pounds of muscle. Muscle gain is not easy for me to do at this advanced age. 😉

Reluctantly, I share a before and after photo. It’s okay, my kids don’t read this blog. Here is my mama-belly, before and after –

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My weight is fairly evenly distributed, so it’s not a dramatic change in the photo. I did reduce my body fat percentage by 28%, from 24.7% to 17.7%, which is a pretty significant improvement. An improvement that allows me to fit into all my clothes again – no Spanx required.

Far more important than the reflection in the mirror or the number on the scale though, is how I feel – healthy, strong and happy. I celebrated a birthday during the nine-week program, and took time to reflect and appreciate this step I have taken to improve my long-term health and wellness.

There may not be anything I can do about the growing number of candles on my cake, the gray hairs on my head, or the wrinkles on my face, but what I can control is what I feed my body and how much I move. My goal for this life is to be healthy and strong enough to participate in the activities I enjoy – hiking, running, and generally just keeping up with my teenagers. I hope to enjoy these activities for many years to come. I want more moments like this – my sixteen mile hike to the top of Santiago Peak.

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Thanks to the Afterburn Nutrition program, I achieved this goal, and am looking forward to tackling more in the future.

The Afterburn Nutrition program gets results. I’m not speaking just for me. I have seen it time and time again – for every client who truly commits to the program. These are some of the reasons why I believe it works so well:

Personalized nutritional counseling and education – The 12’s team of Certified Nutritionists customize the program for each and every client. Their extensive experience helping a broad range of men and women, means that they have the training and in-depth knowledge to help each individual client achieve his or her goals. They understand the connection between macronutrients and the human body, but that everyone is ultimately an experiment of one. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. It was very much customized to my body type, activity level and fitness goals. The 12’s Coaches also juggle work, family, and fitness themselves, and understand how to help clients achieve balance. Plus, they are a pretty photogenic group.

Afterburn Nutrition Coaches

Daily food logging and accountability – The process of logging everything you eat and having that log reviewed by your coach provides immediate and sustained accountability. I can’t tell you how many times I thought “I really don’t want to log this food and I really, really don’t want my coach to see that I ate that.” Just that thought alone prevented me from eating (and drinking) things that would not have helped me achieve my goals.

Eating frequently and focusing on macronutrients – I detailed my diet extensively in this post, so I won’t get into many specifics, but eating frequently (5-6 meals per day), with  balanced macronutrients revs up your metabolism and staves off hunger. I never felt hungry on this plan. What was really exciting for me, is that I could actually feel my body becoming more efficient. I imagined it becoming a fat-burning machine, and in reality, it was.

Limiting alcohol – Right after “what are you eating?”, the biggest question people asked me during the nine weeks is “how are you doing without wine?” In truth, I didn’t have zero alcohol for the entire nine weeks of the program. I was very good for about six weeks, then reintroduced wine to my diet during the last few weeks. For me, this was more realistic. I know that I will not forgo wine forever, so learning how to balance it during the last few weeks was important for my long-term success.

A couple of notes on alcohol. First, if you want to achieve your best results, eliminating alcohol is key – not forever, but for some extended period of time. If you just do this one thing (and keep everything else constant), you will make improvements in your health. Second, when I eliminated alcohol entirely from my diet, my sleep improved dramatically. As a person who suffers from insomnia somewhat regularly, a good solid night of sleep is one of the most coveted things in my life. When I eliminated sugar, processed foods and alcohol from my diet, my sleep improved significantly. I have been sleeping well for nine weeks, and I can’t even tell you what a difference that makes in my life. It’s a nutritional challenge miracle!

Exercising regularly – While participating in the program, I exercised 4-5 days per week. I detailed more about my exercise regimen in this post. While regular exercise maximized my results, it was not significantly more what I was doing before I started the nine-week plan. Exercise keeps you healthy and strong (both physically and mentally) but if you are looking for fat loss, it really, really, really boils down to nutrition. I can not emphasize this point enough.

A coach in your corner – Having my coach, Cyrus Mokhtari, in my corner was invaluable. I learned so much about nutrition in our weekly meetings – about optimizing pre and post workout meals, balancing macros, best sources of proteins, fats and carbohydrates – the list goes on and on. What I loved most about working with Cyrus is that he is understanding and supportive. He cheered me on when I had success, and didn’t criticize or make me feel bad when I made mistakes. He is on his own journey to achieving his best version himself, so he understands the struggle. He can relate to his clients, and his clients to him. This made me feel like I was part of a team – working together to achieve maximum results.

With good nutrition, regular exercise, and great coaching, I am feeling better than ever heading into summer. Now, my goal is to not get too far off course by all the summer barbecues, vacations and parties – to find the balance between enjoyment of food and discipline in my nutrition. I know it will be an ongoing journey, but now that I’ve completed the Afterburn Nutrition program, I feel armed with the knowledge I need to make the right choices and maintain my results.

If you are interested in discussing how an individual nutrition program can help you achieve balance – physically, mentally and emotionally, I encourage you to contact Cyrus Mokhtari at The 12 for a free Afterburn Nutrition consultation. You have nothing to lose, and a better version of yourself to gain. Summer is a great time to start your own journey. And Cyrus is the guy to help you get there.

Thank you Cyrus, trainers Angela and Sofee, and all the good folks at The 12 for providing me with this opportunity, believing in me, and cheering me on along the way. I couldn’t have achieved the results without you.

Disclaimer: Although I am receiving some complimentary services from The 12, I am not being compensated in any way for participating in this process and documenting my results. All information shared in this blog (as always) is my unbiased, unsponsored opinion.

 

The 12 Afterburn Nutrition Program: Exercise Maximizes Results

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I am currently in week eight of my nine week nutritional counseling program – the Afterburn Nutrition Program at The12 gym in Irvine. Almost to the end! It’s not really an end so much, as it is the beginning of new and healthier diet and exercise habits.

I detailed the eating component of the nutrition program in my last post. Although the nutritional plan is the primary focus of the program, an additional (and important) piece is regular exercise.

Throughout the program, my goal is to work out four times per week. For my regular source of exercise, I attend the Afterburn Training classes at The12 in Irvine.

The 12’s Afterburn Training classes focus on body part specific, multi-directional movements – utilizing free weights, resistance bands, cardio equipment, and body weight – with high intensity intervals. The circuit style classes are formatted to burn maximum calorie levels within each 60 minute group class.

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People often ask me why I travel to Irvine, when there are plenty of gyms closer to my house. Yes, I do admit that fighting morning freeway traffic is not so fun (more enjoyable when carpooling with friends), but the classes at The 12 are not like any I have found in my local area. They are motivating, effective, and most important, fun.

Classes each day of the week focus on various parts of the body. With no two classes ever the same, I never get bored. The workouts are also designed for maximum benefit while always emphasizing good form. Unlike other workout programs I have tried in the past, I never find that I am doing anything that hurts or doesn’t feel right, risking injury to my body.

In addition to the workouts at The 12, I have been trail running and hiking one to two times per week, gradually increasing my mileage week over week of the program, with a very specific goal in mind.

A couple of months ago (before I started the nutrition program), I was scheduled to  complete a hike with my son – to the top of Saddleback Mountain. It is a 16-mile hike, with a fairly vigorous eight-mile uphill trek. During that uphill climb, you gain 4,469 feet in elevation, ending at Santiago Peak – the highest point in Orange County.

At the last minute, I backed out of the hike, and my son went without me. I just did not feel confident at that time that I could make it to the top, and certainly not at a pace to keep up with my son. I was disappointed in myself for not having the courage or ability to complete the hike, and missing out on this bonding experience.

When I began the Afterburn Nutritional program, I needed to set a goal for myself – one that had nothing to do with the numbers on the scale, but everything to do with my physical and mental health and well-being. I knew immediately what this goal should be – to get to the top of that mountain, and do it in impressive time, without strain or injury.

I picked the date months ago and have been focused on that date on the calendar throughout the program.

I am happy to report, I made it to the top last Saturday. The completion of a bucket list item for sure. When I got to the top, I literally felt on top of the world…

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Now, with just a week and a half to go of my Afterburn Nutrition program, I am feeling better than ever – happy, healthy and strong. Looking forward to sharing my final results soon.

I was so hesitant to begin this program eight shorts week ago, but now, I can’t believe how far I’ve come. It’s truly one of the best things I have done for myself. I’ve learned so much about nutrition and wellness. Most important, I have developed new and better habits I can maintain for life.

If you are interested in discussing how an individual nutrition program can help you achieve balance physically, mentally and emotionally (bringing out the best version of you), I encourage you to contact the folks at The Afterburn Nutrition program for a free consultation. It’s a journey worth starting. You never know where it might take you.

Disclaimer: Although I am receiving some complimentary services from The 12, I am not being compensated in any way for participating in this process and documenting my results. All information shared in this blog (as always) is my unbiased, unsponsored opinion.

The 12 Afterburn Nutrition Program: Meal Planning and Progress

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I’m in week four of my nine-week Afterburn Nutrition Program at The 12. I’m down six pounds, feeling strong and sleeping like a baby. Excited about my results to date. But I’m not done yet. I still have work to do.

The question that people are asking me lately is “what are you eating?” I’ll try to provide some clarification in this post.

Keep in mind, the Afterburn Nutrition program is highly customized for each client. My meal plan is based upon my Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR); activity level; body type; and food likes, dislikes, allergies, special dietary requirements etc. The nice thing about working one-on-one with a nutritional coach, is that the plan is customized for me – to deliver MY best possible results.

With that said, there are basic guidelines that apply to anyone participating in the program. First and foremost, the goal of the nutrition plan is to eat the right amount at the right times to keep your blood sugar level as consistent as possible – avoiding large spikes or drops. You want your blood sugar to look like the dotted waves within the two lines on the following chart:

Blood Sugar Chart

To do this, you need to keep your body fed consistently throughout the day. For me, this means eating six, yes SIX, meals a day. Not large meals obviously, but meals that provide a good mix of protein, carbohydrates and fat – to regulate blood sugar and give my body the fuel it needs throughout the day. A meal with too many carbs spikes blood sugar, causing us to store fat. A meal without any carbs drives it down, burning muscle and causing energy crashes. Protein helps us build and maintain lean muscle. Some healthy fat in every meal is like a referee in your stomach saying “Slow down everyone. Let’s hang out for a little bit and chill. We don’t all need to hit the blood stream at once.”

My Afterburn Nutrition coach, Cyrus Mokhtari, helped me to understand this whole process. Together, we developed my daily meal plan – exactly what I need to eat each day. There is no special food to buy. All meals use real food I already have in my kitchen. I can vary the meals from day to day, but the basic meal plan provides me the framework to make the right choices. It’s easy and simple and takes the guess-work out of meal planning.

I log all my meals in the My Fitness Pal app. Cyrus reviews them throughout the week and provides me with feedback. I also weigh in weekly at The 12. The scale there measures my weight, body fat percentage, percentage of lean muscle, water weight, BMR, and more. After weighing in, I meet with Cyrus to discuss results and make adjustments for the following week. We also have a weekly nutritional topic to help me learn about all aspects of nutrition so I can achieve optimum health through diet and exercise, in the long-term.

OCGreenMamaweighin

This week, after losing five pounds of pure fat, I also lost a pound of muscle (nooooo….). The answer to this problem – more calories and more food! For my BMR and activity level, I wasn’t eating enough calories to avoid losing muscle, so we increased my total calories and developed a new meal plan to keep me burning fat and gaining muscle in the weeks to come.

I can honestly say, that although I still have cravings from time to time (hello wine, cheese and bread – I see you there. We will reunite at a later date), I have never felt hungry or deprived on this program. To the contrary, I feel like I’m always eating – like ALWAYS EATING.

For those interested, here is a quick rundown of my daily meals:  My pre-workout meal is generally coffee (yay for coffee) with a little half and half and Stevia, and steel cut oats with some protein powder mixed in. (Choose protein flavor of your choice – no butter or sugar necessary.) My post workout meal is a banana, blended with protein powder and ice.

Lunch is usually a “rice bowl” – using cauliflower rice instead of white rice – with some protein (chicken, ground turkey) and veggies. (Side note, the Riced Cauliflower at Trader Joe’s is a God send. If you can find it in the freezer section of your local Trader Joe’s, pick some up immediately. It will change your life, seriously.) Yesterday’s “rice” bowl:

OCGreenMamaLunchBowl

Then, I have a “snack meal” of some almonds and cottage cheese, or hard boiled eggs and veggies, or apple with almond butter, or if I’m on the road, a Yeah One or other type of protein bar.

Next is dinner, with grilled fish or chicken, veggies, with a roasted sweet potato or cauliflower rice. Finally, a late evening snack, that is high in protein and low in carbs, like some chicken with avocado slices or cottage cheese and tomatoes.

If you want more detail about what I’m eating each day, you can follow me on My Fitness Pal – @ocgreenmama.

Five weeks to go. I’ll update here in a couple weeks with more results and details about the exercise component of the program. Until then, please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

For more information about Afterburn Nutrition, contact Cyrus Mokhtari at The 12.

Disclaimer: Although I am receiving some complimentary services from The 12, I am not being compensated in any way for participating in this process and documenting my results. All information shared in this blog (as always) is my unbiased, unsponsored opinion.

The 12 Afterburn Nutrition Program: Let’s Do This

A couple of years ago, I participated in a 12-week challenge at The 12, an Orange County gym with locations in Irvine and Costa Mesa. As those of you who followed my journey know, I had a great experience and some incredible results.

Sadly, good changes don’t always stick, especially without continued effort. I did sustain my post-challenge results for a little over a year, but then, things started to slide. Although I am working out consistently, the weight is creeping back slowly and steadily. When the stress gets high, I too often turn to my comfort foods – generally bread, cheese and wine.

I realize more than ever that diet makes ALL the difference. And mine needs an adjustment. I want to change, but don’t want to it alone. The advice, guidance, moral support and accountability during the 12-week challenge is a big part of the reason I was successful.

I was lamenting my slide in results when Cyrus Mokhtari, a certified Afterburn Nutrition Coach at The 12, approached me after class and asked if I would be interested in participating in The 12’s new nutritional counseling – called Afterburn Nutrition. After a few days of can-I-do-this-again thoughts running through my head, and emails back and forth with Cyrus – basically me asking “Do I really, really have to give up wine for eight weeks?” Short answer to that – yes, I do. (Pray for me friends). In the end, I decided to go for it.

I’m excited about starting this program because I know how good my results were last time. I know there is a better version of myself in there, and she just needs a little coaching to get out.

The better version of me looked like this after photo from my 12-week-challenge a couple of years ago.

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For me, nutrition and health isn’t about looks though. My before may be another person’s after. And my after, someone else’s before. All of our bodies are different. I just want to be the best version of me again because it FEELS good. The post-challenge version of me felt better than I ever have in my adult life – healthy, strong, and confident. I also slept like a baby and was full of energy to take on each day. That is the person I want back, regardless of what the scale says. (Though I will admit that ditching Spanx this summer would be a nice side benefit.)

So this time is going to be different…really. First, because now I have a clear vision of what type of results are attainable for me. I’m also wiser about what it takes to maintain those results. Second, the Afterburn Nutritional coaching is highly customized for each client’s body type, fitness level, and lifestyle, so my specific nutritional needs will be taken into account when creating my plan. The Afterburn Nutrition Coaching program can help me create a program I can stick to…for the long term.

I began my nine-week program this week. Like the 12-week challenge, the Afterburn Nutritional program starts with a ten-day cleanse. I wrote extensively about that cleanse here on my blog last time, so I’ll spare the long explanation here. Suffice it to say, forgoing caffeine, alcohol, processed sugar, salt, eggs, soy, beef, pork, foods with wheat or wheat flour or corn or cornflower, and any and all processed foods is no small challenge. I’m on day three now and definitely looking forward to day ten – bring back the coffee, that beautiful warm tasty beverage …

I’ll update again soon with my post-cleanse thoughts and results and the next steps in the Afterburn Nutritional program. I hope you will follow along with me on this new journey, learn about the Afterburn Nutrition program, and be inspired to make your own nutritional changes for better health.

Disclaimer: Although I am receiving some complimentary services from The 12, I am not being compensated in any way for participating in this process and documenting my results. All information shared in this blog (as always) is my unbiased, unsponsored opinion.

January Green Tip: How to Dispose of Hazardous Waste

For each month of 2016, I plan to highlight a simple, easy tip to help you to contribute to a better, cleaner, greener environment. All of the tips will be either little or no cost, easy to do, and help you generally be a better local and global citizen.

For my first post, I will cover how to dispose of hazardous waste. During this post-Christmas, pre-Spring-cleaning time of year, it’s the perfect time to cover this topic.

Hazardous waste includes items like household cleaners, paint, automotive products, pesticides, fluorescent light bulbs, batteries of any kind, and e-waste (computers, cell phones, or almost any other electronic device). These items should NEVER be placed in your curbside bin, flushed down the drain, or dumped in the storm drain. They are toxic to plants, animals and humans and must be disposed of properly.

Some items (rechargeable batteries, CFL’s) can easily be disposed of at your local home improvement store. For example, the Lowe’s in Rancho Santa Margarita has waste bins for these items conveniently located by the customer service area. I know, the photo is not great, but here is what the bin at that store looks like:

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Cell phones can generally be returned to your carrier or donated to charities, like Cell Phones for Soldiers.

Many local schools and organizations collect e-waste such as computers, monitors and digital cameras as a fundraising opportunity. Our local high school has a collection event next month.

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But other items like paint, motor oil, and pesticides may be a bit trickier. That’s where the hazardous waste services come into play. These free services are located in most counties. There are four here in Orange County – Irvine, Anaheim, Huntington Beach and San Juan Capistrano.

Maybe you think it takes too much time, or it’s a hassle, or “it won’t make a difference if I just throw these few batteries in the regular trash can.”

So to demonstrate just how quick and easy it is, here is a video I did a few years ago for my OC Family blog where I take you along on a trip to Orange County’s household hazardous waste collection center in Irvine.

The trip didn’t turn out exactly as I planned (or maybe didn’t plan) – take a look:

Needless to say, I do recommend you leave your iPhone safely stowed away, but I can’t stress enough how fast and simple it is to dispose of this stuff properly. Also, it’s completely FREE.

A complete list of items accepted at these locations can be found and downloaded here.

Instead of throwing out those old cleaning products, paints, batteries, fertilizer, pesticides, or e-waste, place them in a box in your garage, and make a quick trip once or twice a year to your local hazardous waste disposal facility.

Each location in Orange County is open from 9:00am to 3:00pm Tuesday through Saturday – swing by on your lunch break, or when you are out running errands on Saturday. It only takes a minute to make a difference.

Summer Activities for Kids: Cheap, Easy and OC Local

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Summer is finally here. Tomorrow is the last day of school! We are so excited!

Although we all can’t wait for summer now, I know that inevitably, about four days in I’ll hear those famous words, “Mom, I’m bored.”

When my kids were younger, and boredom led to creative play, artwork and playing outside, I didn’t mind so much. A little boredom was good for them. Now that they are older, and boredom leads to video games and YouTube, I like to keep them busy.

Here are some of my favorite summer activities for kids. Criteria for this list – they must be free or inexpensive (no Disneyland trips or tips on this post), they must be eco-friendly (i.e. no burning of fossil fuels or excessive use of plastic), they should be suitable to a wide variety of ages (I don’t specialize in babies or toddler activities anymore), and they must be local to Orange County.

This is also not an exhaustive 101-things-to-do-and-that-is-every-single-thing-I-can-think-of-and-you-are-exhausted-just-reading-it list. These are things we have actually done ourselves and found enjoyable for adults and kids alike:

Exploring OC Parks:

Hiking – The OC Parks have great hiking trails. Some of my favorite are back in the Whiting Ranch area. Of the 27 trails in Whiting, one in particular that is a great hike for kids is the Red Rock Trail. It’s not a really long or steep hike, you can do the round trip (from the park entrance in Foothill Ranch to the end and back) in under two hours – or less depending upon the age of your kids. The best part is at the end, you are rewarded with the Red Rock view. It feels like you have entered the desert of Arizona. So cool!

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OC Parks Summer Programs – OC Parks also have lots of great summer programs, including educational programs for kids, summer trail hikes, and free concerts during their summer concert series. For a complete list of events, check out the calendar of OC Parks Events.

Discovery Science Center – It’s Orange County’s leading destination for hands-on, interactive science fun. I especially like the Eco-Challenge interactive exhibit, where kids can learn how to become an eco-friendly shopper in the Discovery Market, discover the importance of identifying and properly disposing of household hazardous waste in the Eco Garage, and learn how to be wise about sorting trash and recyclables in the Race to Recycle. It’s specifically designed to meet the science content standards for 3rd to 6th grades, so perfect for that age group.

Discovery Science Center

Volunteering and Donating – Volunteering is a great way to get your kids to think outside of their own little bubble (always a challenge), and to give back to your local community. In addition to volunteering, we will be cleaning out closets to donate to Goodwill, gathering old blankets and towels to donate to our local animal shelter, and gathering food and clothing donations for the Orange County Rescue Mission. To match your interests and location to the right volunteer opportunities, visit volunteermatch.org.

Classes at Local Community Colleges – Your local community colleges offer lots of great classes over the summer – classes specific to hobbies, interests, and sports. From swimming, to cooking, to chess, to art and theater, there are classes for virtually every interest.

There are also some academic class offerings, including the College for Kids series at Saddleback College, where students between 7 to 17 years old have an opportunity to experience college life and develop their own individualized class schedules from a wide range of offerings, including: acting, archeology, art, chess, computers, film and animation, history, languages, manners, math, modeling, music, reading, science, sports, study skills, theater, writing, and more. New to the program this summer is an offering of a College For Kids Junior program for 3 to 5-year-olds.

All classes are offered in two-week blocks, Monday through Thursday, June 22nd through August 6th. Click here for more information and to register.

The Sawdust Festival –  The Sawdust Art Festival is a tradition for us each summer. This year, the festival runs from Friday, June 26th to Sunday, August 30th. It’s not only a great activity to do with the kids, it supports local artists in Orange County. The Sawdust Art Festival is a non-profit group educating the public and promoting the art created in Laguna Beach.

It’s open from 10-10 daily. Admission is $8.50 for adults, $4.00 for kids 6-12 and free for kids under 5. There are also discount tickets available – for more information, click here.

There is plenty to entertain the kids, including a kids art center, reserved just for young artists to make their own creations – at no charge. There are also free live art demonstrations and art workshops (additional fee for workshops). My kids enjoy the “throw-down experience” where they get to create their own pottery on the potter’s wheel – with some guidance from experts to help them. You can get their creation fired and painted for an additional $8.00.

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OC Beaches – A good day at the beach is hard to beat – it’s one of the reasons many of us live here. There are no shortage of great beaches in Orange County. Some of our favorites are Crescent, Thousand Steps, and Victoria in Laguna and Huntington Main Beach for riding our cruiser bikes. Even the dogs enjoy a good ride along the beach, with a quick stop at Dog Beach, of course.

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For a good list of beaches in Orange County, check out visittheoc.com.

When you go, don’t forget your safer, all-natural sunscreen. You can find a complete list of better sunscreens over at the Environmental Working Group. Which works out well when you have young kids and you are supervising the sunscreen application. When you have teenagers however, they will pretty much refuse to wear anything other than spray-on, brand-name, chemically-laden sunscreens. If you don’t have those at home, they will just borrow their friends at the beach. Eventually, after a few summers of this, you decide you’re not going to die on that hill – that summer is short and they will probably survive the application and inhalation of chemical sunscreen fumes – just as you will survive parenting during the teen years. Just keeping it real here folks. But if you have young kids, by all means take a look at that list and find some safer sunscreens for you and your family.

Taking Public Transportation – Public transportation is alive and well in Orange County. You don’t have to drive everywhere this summer! Taking public transportation is easier than you think. Two of our favorite summer destinations in Orange County are Angels Stadium and the OC Fair. The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) makes it easy (and saves you money) when traveling to both.

Here is a previous post I wrote here at OC Family about traveling to the Orange County Fair on OCTA. You can also travel to Angels Stadium on the Angels Express – and even get 50% of game tickets when you do. For more details about the Angels Express, click here.

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Here’s hoping you get out and enjoy some of the many fun, cheap, and sustainable summer activities in Orange County. Happy almost summer!