Summer Sweets, Suites, Fares and Fairs
Ahhhh… the sun is shining, kids are off school, grocery stores have the ingredients for s’mores at the entrance, and firework stands are sprinkled throughout the streets of SoCal. July is here, my friends, and that means that we have entered the most popular month for doing everything awesome — traveling being at the top of most lists.
This month is notoriously the most popular for families to travel, and I am happy to say I am a part of that majority. I will be visiting the Waikoloa Beach Resort on the south side of the Big Island. No, not the part that is currently erupting in lava and vaporizing with dangerous particles…the quiet resort area with tons of things to do for all ages within its vicinity (there is actually a snippet about this spot to check out in the Hawaii section of this issue!). The thing about traveling is, even if you have to work — me being one of those people — there is that internal luxury of a new scenery and breath of fresh air that we all need every so often to rejuvenate. My family loves the island for exploring new places like coffee and macadamia nut farms, indulging at burger or fish hole-in-the-walls, taking “Duck Tours” with guides cracking corny jokes with island facts, and snorkeling alongside sea turtles at various beaches. But honestly, just having that serenity of being together with a beautiful backdrop is what we all truly crave and look forward to. The daily madness of school schedules, carpools, homework projects, sports practice, work deadlines, traffic-filled commutes, etc. etc. etc. dissipates, and the only thing you really have to worry about is where you should eat next. Have your kids try the oddest menu item the local joint has to offer — and crack up together if it’s icky. It’s moments like those, not the expensive excursions, which will always be remembered.
The best part is, families do not have to escape to an island or foreign land to achieve this release either. “Staycations” do just the trick without having to even step foot on a plane or boat. Orange County and its surrounding areas are loaded with places to go and things to do for the whole family, and you can still experience those exclusive feelings of freedom from the usual grind and scenery. Any time is a good time to take these short or long trips together, but July is particularly perfect with everyone out of school. That’s why we have declared this July issue the Travel Issue and loaded it up with a variety of travel spots and ideas, including excerpts of Parenting OC’s favorite travel pieces from past issues. We’ve also included information on a Hawaiian culture hot spot and Hula competition.
July also means the OC Fair is back, so we just had to feature some of the crazy foods you must try for the sake of saying you did (I’m on a countdown until I can get my hands on a Spaghetti Donut). In addition to an extensive guide of local preschools, we have included tips on choosing the right preschool and advice on preparing your toddler for this exciting new chapter in both of your lives. Another underlining theme I added to this issue is specifically for the autism community; please enjoy the article on improving the outcomes for adolescents with autism as they transition to adulthood, as well as the feature on Knott’s Berry Farm’s current summer show “Ghost Town Alive,” which has benefited children with ASD. Other fun stories include our monthly Pause Button column, which explores a land of local real life fairy gardens (they exist!) and an OC Woman feature on local cooking classes for fun dates or girls’ night out — yes, most include wine to sip while baking your own crème brûlée or other fancy treats.
Although this is a themed parenting magazine, my goal as editor is to include something for everyone of all ages, abilities, and communities in every issue, so I hope you always find something worth your reading. As always, if you have any comments, suggestions, stories to tell, photos to share, and so on, please email me any time.