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Editor’s Note: As of February 19, 2015, Tee Party closed its store. They hope to reopen at a new location. If they do, we will definitely let you know!

If your kiddo enjoys playing in the kitchen and saying “cheers,” Tee Party is the place to be! This newly opened tea room for kids serves up delicious tea and treats, while offering entertainment and t-shirt making. Whether you want to sip on tea for two or invite your whole party for an afternoon of fun and giggles, we’ve got your inside look at this new hot spot.

Tree of Light at Tee Party

The Food + Beverages
If you stop in for tea for two, you will have the choice between six different tea options. Pick your size of afternoon tea, which includes finger sandwiches and an assortment of fresh baked treats. Don’t worry if your kiddo doesn’t care of tea. Tee Time offers flavored milks (the cotton candy flavor is a popular one). Tea for two starts at $24.95. Be sure to save room for drinking chocolate after your tea is complete; it’s not to be missed!

For you evening ladies, Tee Party has special events on Thursday and Friday evenings to unwind with Lambic Ciders cocktails made with exotic fruit syrups.

Insider’s Tip: The finger sandwiches are classic tea varieties, such as hummus, chutney and cheddar, and cucumber and cream cheese. You won’t be seeing PB&J on the menu. So if you have a picky eater, you may want to eat lunch at home and head in for dessert.

The Food and Desserts

The Decor
You will be blown away by the decor alone. This place has it all: a sparkling tree in the center of the room, walls lined with images of flowers, a garden enclosed space and a bright pink room for private parties. It feels like a secret garden when you step into the building in the middle of a business park. The rooms are like magical gardens straight from Disneyland or out of a fairy tale. Be sure to check out the Versailles Room toward the back of the store. This gorgeous room is available for private parties too.

Tea and Play
Tee Shirts and Gifts
Not only does tea time provide afternoon tea and events, they also create one of a kind gifts. From t-shirts to jewelry boxes, you can customize any of their souvenirs with your photo or design. If that isn’t enough, your little ones can grab a glittery tattoo and apply it right in the store. Custom t-shirts are $14.95 and are ready to take home the same day you create it!

Insider’s Tip: If creating a t-shirt is something you’re set on doing, call ahead of time to confirm the t-shirt designer will be there so your little one doesn’t miss out.

Tee Party
6615 Flanders Dr. (corner Mira Mesa Blvd.)
San Diego, Ca 92121
888-920-7920
Online: teepartypalace.com

Hours:
Thurs. and Fri.: 10:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Sat., Sun., Tues, Wed.: 10:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Closed Monday

Have you been to Tee Party? What did you think of the experience?

Story and photos by Brianne Grajkowski

Take the Tots on a Fire Station Tour

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If your kiddo goes into a trance any time a red fire truck and its loud sirens pass by your house, then a trip to the local fire station is in your future. With a giant truck to check out, rooms to explore and fun hats, little firefighters will jump for joy. Many of the local San Diego fire stations are more than happy to show you their digs and give you a room-to-room tour of their station. We’ve got the inside scoop on everything you need to know to book your own fire station tour. But be ready to step out of the way if they get a call!

kids tour

Setting Up the Station Tour
It’s actually pretty easy to set up a visit to your local station. All you have to do is fill out this form and submit it to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department three weeks prior to your proposed visit date. Each station is open from 9 – 11 a.m. and 2 – 5 p.m. for tours and visits. Tours are typically limited to 25 guests or less. The fire stations run and operate as they typically do, so there is a chance that the crew will be out on a call when you arrive. Have no fear though; you can always reschedule or hang out till they get back.

fire station
What to Check Out
A visit to the fire station can really be just as fun for adults as it is for the kiddos. Getting an up-close and personal view of how fire fighters live while they wait on a call is sure to intrigue. Sleeping with constant alarms could even be compared to living like a parent with a newborn. You’ll learn about their call systems, the paperwork that needs to get filed and their meal arrangements. A fire house is run almost like any other house as far as day-to-day activities go. There is a full size kitchen with an extra large grill, bedrooms with closet space and workout equipment in the garage.

truck

Most kiddos will agree the highlight of the visit is checking out the fire truck. The fire fighters lead the tour and show you the main parts of the truck. They may even let the little ones sit inside. The super cool part is seeing a fire fighter in his full gear. This part alone is awesome for a kiddo to see and understand that firefighters are there to help (and they aren’t scary). Some of the stations even have fun take-aways for the little ones. Coloring books, fire hats and fire fighter sticker badges are a fun way to remember a trip to the fire station.

firefighter

A Step Beyond the Tour: Supporting Local Fire Fighters
Most people aren’t aware that fire stations don’t receive a lot of funding. They purchase all of their own food for the station and do not have any luxuries. There isn’t really any decor or comfort items around unless people donate these items to the station. The San Diego Fire Rescue Foundation does an awesome job at supporting our fire fighters that need the extra equipment and necessities.

We often hear about people dropping off cookies and baked goods to their local stations to support, but they would love fresh fruits and veggies too! There is nothing better than a poster from the friends around town to show support to those who help us everyday.

coloring book
Have you visited a local fire station with your kids? Tell us about it in the comments section.

Story and photos by Brianne Grajkowski

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Imagine a big countryside ranch right in our own backyard. Nestled behind the Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, this hidden gem will get the kiddos jumping for joy. There are goats, chickens, veggies and large open spaces for playtime. Pack a picnic, take a hike, or just hang out at the Los Peñasquitos Ranch House.

running

The old ranch house built in 1823 by the recipients of the first Mexican land grant in San Diego County and is the second oldest standing residence. In 1862 the house was enlarged and is now a National Historic Archaeological District. The house is surrounded by canyons filled with trails. Free tours are available on the weekends or by appointment. The tours illustrate the life of its Spanish, Mexican, and early American inhabitants. The younger ones may not appreciate its history, but they’ll sure enjoy the sound of the wooden boards beneath their running feet.

field
Even when there are no tours available there’s plenty to do in this wide open space available anytime of year. They can create a “castle” out of a tree, chase each other through the “woods” and play hide and seek all within mama’s view. If you feel like adventuring beyond the Ranch House, put one some walking shoes and journey down one of the many hiking trails. Kids will love the waterfall that’s about three miles into one of the trails.

tree
The center of the old ranch house hosts the perfect size water fountain for toddlers to check out. Bring your extra pennies and have the kids make a few wishes and toss them in the water. Keep your eye on the adventurous ones though, they may try to step in!

water
Your kiddos will really get a kick out of the two super tall goats and the active chickens. The goats are pretty humorous and very willing to step by the little ones. If you get worn out from all the fun just throw out a blanket and have a picnic.

Be sure to wear closed-toed shoes and put on some sunscreen. Although there is shade under the trees, the grounds can get a bit warm when the sun in shining. You may also want to pack some water and snacks since there aren’t any food shops on the Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.

goats

Los Peñasquitos Ranch House
12020 Black Mountain Rd.
San Diego, Ca 92129
(858) 484-7504

Website: co.san-diego.ca.us/parks/openspace/penasquitos.html

What hidden spots of history have you found in San Diego? Tell us in the comments.

– Brianne Grajkowski

Images by BriGeeski

A Kiddo-Approved Afternoon in Oceanside

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If you’re looking for a fun way to spend a summer afternoon in the quintessential San Diego style, a day in Oceanside with the kiddos will do the trick! Oceanside is located just 20 minutes north of Encinitas. We’ve got your day all planned out with lunch at the super kid-friendly hot spot, Hello Betty Fish House, watching the kids swing above the sand while you lounge on the beach, and checking out the film set from Top Gun. Here’s what’s in store for you in Oceanside.

swings on the beach
Where to Dine: Hello Betty Fish House
If you haven’t heard, Betty is surfer for Hot Chic. So, find your inner Betty, grab your kiddos and head to Oceanside for some ultimate afternoon relaxation. Hello Betty Fish House has a packed menu full of all sorts of ocean fare. From little neck clams to oyster tortas and linguine with mussels, you’re sure to find something fishy on the menu. Our top picks for mom and dad include the ahi tuna poke, Baja stone crab and cheese dip, and mahi mahi tacos and. Kiddos will love the tasty fish and chips.

kids meal from Hello Betty Fish House
The best part about Hello Betty Fish House is that it’s awesome for kids. They have a fun kids menu with options like chicken tenders, fried shrimp and quesadillas with side options of fruit, fries, slaw or rice. There’s also a mini arcade with games for the older kids.

Little ones will love the old style beach car. But beware — the sign on the car says, “Unattended kids will be given espresso and a kitten.” Basically they allow the kiddos to sit in the car, check it out and take photos; but no jumping or taking it out for a test drive on the beach.

Cruisin
Where to PlayOceanside Pier & Beach
If you head straight to the water from Hello Betty’s you’ll be right next to the pier and a top-notch playground. The kiddos will love to swing and play right on the sand. There are two large areas of playground and plenty of room for fun.

Oceanside PlaygroundPhoto Credit: Angela Quisumbing, SD Mom’s Night Out

Oceanside pier is one of the longest wooden piers on the west coast at 1,942 feet. The pier attracts people of all kinds and is a great spot to watch the surfers. Be sure to check out one of their free concerts on the pier this summer or take a tour!  After you finish up lunch, walk by the famous Top Gun house. The house is over 120 years old and became a popular landmark after the 1986 Tom Cruise classic. The house is part of the City of Oceanside’s historical society.

top gun house in Oceanside

Hello Betty Fish House
211 Mission Ave.
Oceanside, Ca 92054
Online: HelloBettyOceanside.com

Sunday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Have you visited any fun spots in Oceanside lately? Let us know your favorite places in the comments!

– Brianne Grajkowski

Photo credit: BriGeeski

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Explore new destinations with your brood this winter without paying for a plane ticket. Hop in the car and give your kids a thrill as you visit fresh places that are within driving distance of your home. Here are three of our favorite getaways that are just a quick road trip away.

road trips
Palm Springs
Just 120 miles northeast of San Diego awaits a warm destination stocked with swimming pools and palm trees. Don’t worry swimming isn’t the only fun thing to do. Palm Springs has an IMAX movie theater, a water park and even an aerial tramway to view all the sights from above.

There is shopping, golfing and tons of eateries to indulge in. The best kid-friendly (and fun) spots are Pinocchio in the Desert, Maracas Mexican Cantina & Grill (the Flauton is a must try) and Kaiser Grill. Be sure to walk down Palm Springs Village Fest, a popular street fair with arts, crafts and food every Thursday night.

Staying near downtown Palm Springs is your best bet with the kiddos. You can easily walk from store to store and right back to your hotel room within minutes.

palm springs hotel

The kiddos will love the giant statue of Marilyn. The mountain views and nonstop sunshine make Palm Springs a go to spot for a nearby road trip.

palm springs

Big Bear
145 miles northeast of San Diego is our closest mountain resort with awesome sunny temps in the summer and snow in the winter. The altitude peaks up to 9,000 feet. The mountains are great for skiers and snowboarders but even better for toddler tubing.

Stop in the Log Cabin Restaurant with your kiddos and pups for some traditional German or American food. Check out B’s Backyard Barbecue for another fun spot to take the whole family — Fido is even welcome to take a dip in the lake while you sip on your favorite beverage.

big bear menu
Aside from the typical recreational activities like hiking, fishing and biking, the mountain town hosts The Big Bear Alpine Zoo, the Discovery Center and the historic Big Bear Lake Village shopping center. Make sure you have plenty of time when you go out to eat though, you are now on “mountain time”. But don’t worry, once you adjust to the more laid back atmosphere you will have more time to enjoy the views.

tubing with the kids
Take a sweet stop at North Pole Fudge for ice cream, toffee covered candy apples and all sorts of chocolates. The Copper Q is your best bet for a fresh cup of coffee and even cooking classes if your feeling it. The kiddos will love walking through the village and most weekends they even have carriage rides.

santee lakes
Santee Lakes
Just a short 20 minute drive east you will run into a 190 acre park with 7 lakes made of recycled water. Santee Lakes is a great spot to pitch a tent, park your trailer or rent a lakeside cabin. This is ideal for a first camping trip with the fam. It is so close to home and filled with a ton of fun things to do.

Aside from fishing, camping and making s’mores the campground even hosts 7 playgrounds including a splash pad for the little ones. Santee lakes puts on fun events like movies by the lake and rents out tandem bikes, canoes and paddle boats. If you are in the need for some exercise the park’s open space has over 5 miles of trails, bike paths and a swimming pool. They even have a clubhouse you can rent out for all your camping friends to get together.

Do you have an easy road trip idea? Tell us all about it in the comments section.

— Brianne Grajkowski

Just Opened: Yummy Cupcakes

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yummy-cupcakes-girl

It’s a simple fact: our kids love treats. If they had their way they would snack on sugary goodness all day long. So if you’ve got kids who have a hankering for something sweet, head over to the newest spot in San Diego for sugary delights: Yummy Cupcakes. The LA-based bakeshop opens its doors in Encinitas on July 2 with gourmet cupcake push pops, pies, truffles and more. Say what? Yes, cupcake push pops. Your kids are going to love these things and the best part? Easy clean-up.

What makes this cupcake shop different? 
Yummy Cupcakes busts out 26 flavors a day. The cupcakery features 17 standard flavors and 9 daily rotating choices with a total of a whopping 400 different flavors. With sugar-free, vegan and gluten-less options, Yummy Cupcakes is sure to satisfy everyone in your fam. But beyond the typical cupcake and the assortment of flavors, the shop provides awesome and non-traditional ways to enjoy a cupcake. Check out this sweet cupcake in a jar:

yummy-cupcakes-in-a-jar
The flavors
One of the standard flavors called “Old School” looks like a Hostess and tastes like a gourmet chocolate cupcake. It’s filled with fresh whipped cream, topped with chocolate ganache and garnished with vanilla bean buttercream. Other fab flavors include peanut butter cup, fudge yummy, happy day, traditional southern red velvet, brown sugar cinnamon and the list goes on and on.

yummy-cupcakes-flavors
chocolate-yummy-cupcakes
Birthday Parties and Special Events
Yummy Cupcakes is much more than a brick and mortar shop. In fact, 80% of their business is made up of catering, weddings, special events, corporate meetings, baking classes and birthday parties. The cool thing is that they host in store (or in home) birthday parties. They  provide naked cupcakes, frosting and toppings, while you provide the hungry kiddos. Yummy Cupcakes also offers little aprons or chef hats as part of the party package and the shop will soon host “Cupcakes and Cocktail” parties for adults who want to try a good cupcake pairing sans the kiddos.

yummy-cupcakes-ducks
The Breakdown
Cupcakes are sold in sizes: Classic, Mini and Jumbo. Classics go for $3.25-$3.50/cupcake or $37 for a dozen. Minis are $1.75 and Jumbos range from 5.25-$5.75. Yummy Cupcakes opens up shop July 2 and will host a family friendly, surf-themed Grand Opening on Sept 14, 2013.

yummy-cupcakes-balloons

Location and Hours
1514 Encinitas Boulevard
Encinitas, Ca 92024

Monday – Friday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday’s are reserved for private in store events.

We won’t lie – this was an awesome story to cover! Tell us about your visit to Yummy Cupcakes in the comment section. 

— Brianne Grajkowski

Photos by BriGeeski and Yummy Cupcakes

Just Opened: Sublime Tavern

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sublime tavern

Located east of the Del Mar Fairgrounds, Sublime Tavern is definitely doing something right by serving up tasty meals and drinks (and did we mention that it’s a great spot to watch the hot air balloons take off in the evenings?). While there isn’t an official kids menu, the entire menu boasts kid-friendly choices like mac n’ cheese (there are eight different types to choose from) and truffle fries. With a bevy of available high chairs and a wide patio for when the youngsters get rowdy, Sublime Tavern is the spot if you’re craving a night for modern fun, in a family-friendly relaxed environment.

What makes this place stand out?
The restaurant features 55 craft brews on tap and 27 premium wines – all available by the glass (hello, mom juice!). There aren’t too many restaurants where we can find that many glasses of wine to choose from. The menu focuses on gourmet comfort food, providing dishes like sinful mac n cheese, specialty pizzas, small plates and more. Sublime Tavern takes a step out of the norm with the menu item names– you’ll definitely want to check out the Get Figgy with It Pizza or the Slap Yo Momma Burger. 

The Small Plates

The appetizers are labeled Small Plates but are served on a regular dinner plate. With dishes like duck wings, focaccia sticks, and a ploughman’s platter – you’re sure to find something tasty. The asparagus is crisp and has the yummy flavors of prosciutto covering every inch. Sometimes concealing the flavor is a great way to sneak in something healthy for the kiddos.

sublime tavern asparagus

The Ahi is served on a tostada-like shell with drizzlings of a creamy and spicy mayo. Fab. What a fun treat for the kids. Tell them it’s like a pizza and watch their little grins pop up.

sublime tavern ahi
Comfort Classics & Mac ‘n Cheese
The comfort classic menu is filled with options from crispy chicken breast to steak frites and Fettucini Wild Boar Bolognese, which are all awesome options for families to share and a great opportunity to get your kids to try different flavors.

But, what really sets this new restaurant apart is their mac ‘n cheese offerings. Sublime Taverns features eight different dishes to be exact. Take the Ecstasy mac ‘n cheese (pictured below. This plate of cheesy goodness your kids will totally love is covered in a gorgonzola béchamel, applewood smoked bacon, mushrooms and red peppers. Your kids won’t even notice those little peppers and mushrooms mixed in with the mac ‘n cheese but you’ll be smiling.

sublime tavern mac n cheese
Desserts
Sublime Tavern offers a variety of modern and elevated dessert options – fun for you and simple enough flavors for the kiddos. The sea salt caramel cake is separated with layers of salty caramel and topped with a dollop of whipped cream. The sauces on the side of the plate are a good mixture of sweet chocolate and salt.

sublime tavern chocolate cake

The owner, James Limjoco and Executive Chef, Josh Richardi skillfully crafted all the recipes on the menu. Limjoco has two young daughters who love eating at Sublime Tavern, which means you know the menu choices are all kid-approved. We love that the decor is totally different with reclaimed wood pieces stuck in the wall as a backdrop and the tables are made from super durable wood for those occasional outbursts and milk spills.

sublime tavern room

Sublime Tavern
3790 Via De La Valle #301
Del Mar, Ca 92014
Online: sublimetavern.com

Monday – Wednesday 4:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Thursday 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Friday  – Saturday 11:00 am – 1:00 am
Sunday 4:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Have you been? Share your experience in the comments!

Copy and photos by: Brianne Grajkowski