Tag: Orange County

A Day at Oak Canyon Nature Center- A hidden gem in Anaheim Hills

In a quest this summer to be more active with the family, we have decided that we are going to go on more hikes and do fun things that don’t involve a lot of cost.  It is really my goal this summer break to cut the children’s screen time down.  I always have to remind them that life and the world are happening around them and not on a little screen.

Today we ventured out to Oak Canyon Nature Center,  located at  6700 E Walnut Canyon Rd, Anaheim, CA 92807.  There is a nice shady parking lot, that is free, no permit needed.  We have been there a few times, but today we decided to hike a few trails we had not been on before. One of the nice things about OCNC is that a lot of the trails are short.  Since the center is nestled in a valley with lots of oak trees it is a very shaded area, so you can go on hot days and not really feel the heat.  Plus, there are tons of little streams and sitting areas that make for a really relaxing day.  Lots of benches are located along the trails, so bring a lunch and have a picnic. (There is an “official” picnic are next to the parking lot)

To enter the Nature center there is a small path you need to walk from the parking lot.  As you pass the small sign, it is almost like entering into another little world.  My little guy made a comment “look mommy, we are in a forest!” and it is true.  There are so many trees and foliage, it is hard to believe you are standing in the middle of Anaheim Hills.

As you go up the first little path, you are greeted by the Nature Center building.  It is a small rustic type of building that contains a wonderful little hands on children’s museum/ exploration room. Inside there is an information desk, in case you have any questions about the trails or upcoming events.  The room to the right of the desk has small lizards,turtles and rodents native to the area.  There a small library and large tree that the kids can sit down and read, plus hand puppets and other toys to play with.  They have a table with different animal hides that the kids are welcome to pick up and feel, along with real, stuffed animals on display to get a closer look at.

 

 

 

 

Across the path from the center is a great little play area, that has logs, dinosaur shells, snakes and turtle shells to climb in and on.  It is small by the kids have a great time wanting there pictures in the shell or being squeeze by the snake.

CAUTION: Go to the play area after you do your hiking.  It is so hard to pull the kids away from playing, and then they are in a bad mood while you are hiking…. I may be speaking from experience on this one!!

If you walk up the main trail a short ways, right past their amphitheater area.  You will see a sign that says OAK CANYON MINE.  Go into it! They have a mining set area set up with some really cool information about the mining that happened during the 1800’s in Silverado Canyon… who knew right???  Perfect for your 4th grader who studying the gold rush.  They have an old sluice,mock mine entrance, and camp set out.  Make sure to read all the signage!

Another really cool thing about Oak Canyon Nature Center is all the different types of Cactii they have on the trails.  It was fun for the kids and adults to check them all out.  Since we went in the Spring (end of May) the Cactii were blooming!!  The flowers on them were amazing.  Most of the Cactii we saw were located on the Heritage Trail.

We then ventured to the Stream Trail.  It is a lovely trail, very shady and great for kids.  Lots of bridges to go over, and it follows a stream, hence the name, so there is a lot to look at.  We saw the most beautiful Egret sitting on a tree branch over a babbling brook… like really… where else in Anaheim can you see that???  it was magical and I know the pictures from our cell phone will not do it justice.

We took few other short trails and then ended our day there. I have to mention, that while we were there a wedding was taking place in there amphitheater area.  I have seen two other weddings there as well in the past.  It might be something to keep in mind if you are thinking about going towards the evening on a weekend.  You are still able to move freely around the center, but we did try to keep the kids while the ceremony was started.  It was kinda neat for them to see the bridal party and bride walking down the path.  I’m sure that the pictures of their wedding will turn out amazing!!!  There were also other families there with photographers having photo shoots, but check with the center, since I believe you have to get a permit to professionally photo shoot there.

There is also a kids summer camp there from 9-12 during the summer.  My children have participated in it before, and it was a really cute, well run camp through the city of Anaheim Recreation.  The nice thing about it too, was I did not have to worry about them getting sunburned or overheated, since it is such a shady area. I would say, if you wanted to visit during the summer, to wait till after noon to go.

There are many different programs that they offer too, such a Family Nature Nights, Tiny Tots during the school year and Discover Nature Family Programs.  In the past they have offered Movie Nights during the summer, but after inquiring about it during our trip, I was told they WILL NOT be offering them this summer 2017.  Overall it is a wonderful place to take the family.  The kids can run around in nature and get really dirty.   A lot of the trails are short and well marked, so the kids can run along ahead and explore.  Like I said, if you go pack a lunch and spend the day.  it is a hidden treasure here in Orange County.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Cake Creations

 

It’s a bird,it’s a plane… nope, it’s a really cute Superman Cake.  The man of steel is watching over this birthday boy.  The Superman Logo was hand cut, using the transfer process from an image that was downloaded.  They do have cutters that will cut the logo for purchase.  Since I do not know what size I will actually need until the order is places, I just hand cut it.  If you are looking for the cutter, you can find them here...http://amzn.to/2rPcV9L  It also includes the Batman cutter in 2 sizes.  The cutters do make the process faster, and the smaller ones would be perfect for cupcake toppers.

 

 

 

I have used this large cupcake pan many times. Usually I make 1st Birthday smash cakes with this design.  When I make smash cakes, everything is buttercream, except for a few decorations.  Since this was for a 7 year old, I could cover the bottom of the cupcake with fondant.  I still use buttercream to make the swirls on the top of the cupcake, since it makes it more authentic looking.  There always has to be buttercream frosting on top of a cupcake right???   This cake pan takes 1- 1 1/2 boxes of cake mix. The pan is also non-stick, so you just need to spray some cooking spray all over the inside.  Be generous with it. The combination of colors for this cake are great.  I really love the purple and lime gream mixed in with the pink. This cake pan is becoming a little harder to find these days, but if you are looking for it on Amazon, here is the link http://amzn.to/2rB3lIF

I really like using the lettering molds that I used on this cake.  The font is nice and I like the fact it has an upper and lower case alphabet.  You push the fondant into each letter mold and then peel back the silicon form.  The letter come out quite easily, especially if the inside is lightly coated with shortening.  This is the lettering set I used http://amzn.to/2sOtU0i

 

4th of July is right around the corner, and this is the perfect cake for your BB-Q.  This cake is quite simple to make.  The blue swag is made by cutting a large rectangle and then folding it similar to when you make a fan,but loosely,then gather the ends together.  The star cutters I used were from 2 different sets.  The larger ones are from the Wilton star set.  The smaller ones are a set of plunger cutters from PME.  I LOVE plunger cutters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t you just love the gang from Sesame Street??  They are iconic and so lovable.  Such a cute and fun theme for a first birthday.  The cake is a two tier, with the characters being made from marshmallow fondant.  The stars at the top, that spell out Conner, need to be placed last, and you can not keep pulling them out, because the stars will start to spin, since the hole is now a little loser.  A letter might start facing in the wrong direction.  We don’t want it to spell CO NOR!!

 

 

 

 

The “Little Prince” is a very popular theme for 1st birthdays for little boys.  I have seen it done with all shades of blue.  The crown of this cake is made from fondant with Tylose powder, which is used to make fondant dry quicker.  The crown has to be made AT LEAST a day in advance, so it can dry into shape.  I form it around a tall storage canister. Once it is dried and able to stand on it’s own, it is then sprayed by airbrush with the gold coating.  The crown imprint needs to be done before drying.

 

 

 

 

My son love Star Wars- The Clone Wars, so when I was asked to make this cake, I knew he was going to love it.  I used a transfer image to create this design. That means that all the elements on the cake were hand cut, using exacto knife.  It is a tricky process, since you have to make sure all the edges look nice and it is in the correct place.

 

 

 

 

Moana was such a fun movie.  I was excited to get my first request for a cake with this theme.  I love all the colors that were in the movie.  Trying to capture them all in a cake is impossible, but we gave it a try.

 

 

 

 

 

I creating matching items for a birthday party.  This party is an “Under the Sea” theme.  Smaller 2 tiered cake 6″ and 9″ with matching cupcakes.  I love the colors.  Look for our “how to” on making the cupcake toppers.

 

 

 

 

Our Newest creation.  A very special graduate, got a very special graduation cake.  The colors, letters and year of graduation on the bottom, with her future university and mascot on the top. Reaching higher and welcoming her to her new life as college student.  We wish you all the best Miss. Emma G.

 

 

 

 

 

This is a simple way of doing a BB-8 cake.  It is an 8″ round cake. Using just the main elements of the character.  The antennae are bamboo skewers covered in fondant.

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