Reyes Adobe Days Are Coming

If you’ve ever been in or near Agoura Hills, you will have seen the words “Reyes Adobe.”  It’s an exit off the 101 Freeway, a north-south artery through town, a once-cursed bridge, a park, and a museum.  Reyes Adobe is a cornerstone of heritage in the city, and because it is such an entrenched part of an Agoura family’s everyday life, it is something that can easily be ignored.

Ever been a tourist in your own town?  I have been a tourist in the greater Los Angeles area since 1995, when I moved to Pasadena from a town near New Haven, CT.  When I first arrived, the spirit of exploration moved me to drive from one corner of the sprawling metropolis to the other, discovering places new to me at every turn.

That was a pretty long time ago.  Now as a mother of two small boys who is usually too tired and disdainful of LA traffic to go anywhere, I faithfully consult the Acorn’s activity calendar every week to imagine myself attending local events with my children.  Imagine is the key word here, because we are usually too busy with something else – or too lazy – to even attend the local functions.  But every so often we do venture out and the results are usually wonderful, like when we went to the Day of the Horse.

Next weekend, the Agoura Hills Recreation Department will hold its annual Reyes Adobe Days, which is the town’s biggest community fair and cultural festival of the year.  Traffic is closed all around Reyes Adobe Park, which is conveniently located just off Reyes Adobe Blvd.  The park will come alive with vendors and docents and rides and food and games and activities.  There is a “Night at the Adobe” planned with sophisticated food and entertainment planned for adults – a welcome respite from the usual bouncy-house and kettle corn family fun.  There will be a parade.

Oh how I love me a small town parade!

Alas, this is the second year in a row that I will not be around to experience Reyes Adobe Days.  September 30th is my 40th birthday, and we’ll be out of town celebrating.  I’m used to missing out on otherwise super cool things in order to properly celebrate my birthday – this year alone we are missing Reyes Adobe Days, YMCA flag football sign-ups, a VIP evening at Disneyland for Mickey’s Halloween Party, a VIP breakfast and day at Knott’s Scary Farm, and more.

I can’t remember where I was last year, but I remember dropping Agoura Hills Dad and the kids off at the top of Reyes Adobe to deposit them in the parade.  They did attend the festival, but they are all boys.  The best report that I got was “it was fun.”

Reyes Adobe Days is September 30 – October 2.  It’s a great way to learn more about the community around you and have a good time doing it.  You can actually visit the adobe museum any time of the year, and in my next post I will show you pictures from when I took the kids there this summer, on a day that was easily 100 degrees.

Fresh Giveaway From Albertsons and Frugal Festival Food

Hello party people!  On Saturday I went to Frugal Festival Food at Canoga Park High, where the theme of the day was saving money on your grocery bill.  Albertson’s was there, as well as Shortcuts.com, an electronic coupon service, and lots of vendors who were giving away food or selling merch.  I sampled hot dog and chili from The Stand, frozen yogurt from Yozen Frogurt, a slider and a brownie from Libertine, and some fresh nectarine based foods from Albertson’s lead dietician.

There was a coupon class where Tia from TiaSavingCents.com shared her tips for saving up to 70% on her grocery bill, and then I took part in a coupon challenge.  This was a very well thought out competition in which the participants had to race to find the most matching deals among the Albertson’s weekly flyer, the coupon booklet, and the Shortcuts.com coupons.  I was a runner up and I won a coupon organizer.  Anyone who knows me can tell you that I dig anything with the word “organizer” in the name!

Later, Albertson’s hosted a VIP tour and reception at the location at Fallbrook and Victory in Woodland Hills.  Here is what I want you to know about my impression of Albertson’s after this day:

I have always hated shopping at Albertson’s.  There, I said it.  Sorry, fantastic PR people who hosted us yesterday.  I seriously say to myself, every time I’ve gone to Albertson’s, that I am never going back.  I don’t like the selection, or the way their frozen foods are in waist-high bins, or the little round checkout counters.  I am weird that way.  Also, the Albertson’s at Reseda and Devonshire, late at night which is when I went there after working out at the gym nearby, is full of creepy weirdos.

So.  With that backdrop, I still gave them a chance to impress me from a blogger’s point of view.  I’m a big supporter of Bargain Babe, who threw Frugal Festival Food, and they are big supporters of her, so it follows.

And guess what – I was impressed!  They told us a bunch of stuff about rebranding their store brands to consolidate the label, their new nutrition labeling shortcut for center-store items (i.e. non perishables), and some other brand-related blah blah.  But I was enlightened when we got to the meat counter.

Manager Mark was really excited when we got there.  He said “Look at that butcher block, isn’t it beautiful?” and not knowing butcher speak, I was looking for natural wood counters.  But I guess he meant the very long meat window, which, if you love meat, you would think is pretty attractive. So here’s the thing.  THEY HAVE CHEAP MEAT.  There are big packages of pre-marinated chicken and pork that are buy one get one free.  There are single-serving packages of salmon and tilapia and pork.  There are pre-made burgers and chicken sandwiches.  And apparently there are real butchers behind the counter, the kind who will custom-chop your meat for you.

Old school.

Before we left we were given gift bags filled with Albertson’s new store label food – pasta, pasta sauces, freshly baked bread, cheese and wine.  And lucky for YOU I got a second one to give away to a reader!  (Minus the bread and cheese.)  This giveaway is for locals, yo.  See details below.

I had to run to the store quickly this morning to get snacks for Kid 1’s basketball game, so I decided to give Albertsons another chance.  It’s right near my house, after all, and I could walk there if I was really ambitious.  Since I’m not familiar with the layout, it did take me a bit longer to navigate, and they didn’t carry the snack I was looking for in bulk.  Otherwise, I found the store impeccably clean for a Sunday morning, and the staff was friendly and helpful.  I didn’t pay much attention to the prices because I was in a hurry, but it’s safe to say that this visit did not make me regret my choice.

On to the giveaway:

HOW TO ENTER:

Just leave a comment on this post by Tuesday, June 28 at 11:59 PM.  I will pick a winner at random and contact you on Wednesday, June 29.  You MUST be able to come and pick up the prize yourself.  This one is too heavy for me to ship economically.

THE PRIZE:

Albertson’s gift bag – a lovely reusable tote, containing:

-3 boxes of Essential Everyday Pasta

-2 jars of Essential Everyday Pasta Sauce

-1 bottle of Chill Out Cabernet Sauvignon

-information about Albertsons’ pharmacy diabetes programs and promotions

1 Coupon Wallet coupon organizer with pre-printed shopping list pad

-2 servings of Starbucks Via instant coffee, French Roast

-1 Bargain Babe bumper sticker

-1 reusable cloth produce bag from FlyerSide.com

One comment per person.  Extra entries for:  tweeting or Facebooking this post, subscribing to this blog if you don’t already, or following on the networked blogs widget to the right.  Please arrange to pick up the prize within a reasonable time or I’ll pick a different winner, or just drink the wine myself.

Frugal Event in Canoga Park 6/25

Frugal FestivalMy friend Julia Scott is also known as the Bargain Babe.  Once upon a time she lived in Los Angeles and wrote a column for the Daily News, but since then she had moved back east.  However, that doesn’t mean she forgot how expensive it is to live here!  For the third year in a row Bargain Babe has organized a Frugal Festival, this time centered on Food.  It is taking place on Saturday, 6/25, at Canoga Park High School.  Tickets are $5-10 – what a bargain.  Not only do you get a day long festival of classes and competitions and events that help you save money at the grocery store, but you also get to see what the inside of Canoga Park High School looks like!

Here is the schedule of events happening at Frugal Festival Food! on June 25 in Canoga Park. Scroll down for a list of on-going activities.  I will be there and I will participate in the Coupon Challenge – please come by to cheer me on!

11 a.m. – Festival opens! Door prizes are first come first serve!!! Food swap starts at 11 a.m. as well.

11:30 a.m. – Early Bird Raffle prize – a $100 Target gift card from Shortcuts.com! Admission includes one free raffle ticket so everyone is eligible to win.

11:40 a.m. – Food Preservation session with Registered Dietician Heidi Diller of Albertsons.

12 p.m. – Coupon Class with Tia of Tia Saving Cents.

12:30 p.m. – Coupon Challenge sponsored by Albertsons and Shortcuts! Who will find the best deals the fastest? Prize is a $300 gourmet gift basket!

12:45 p.m. – Albertsons fresh fruit samples – peaches, nectarines, and plums!

1:15 p.m. – Raffle starts. Prizes include a $300 Albertsons gift card.

2 p.m. – Festival ends. Go home and enjoy your prizes and SWAG bags!

On-going activities:

-Solar oven demo by Homestead Hardware

-Coupon Wallet sales by The Coupon Wallet

-Food demo by 99 Cents Only Chef

-Free food samples from The Stand, Libertine, and Yozen Frogurt

-Coupon and recipe exchange

-Frugal food quiz at BargainBabe.com table

-Face painting for kids (and adventurous adults) by Face Makers

-Chalk coloring area for kids

-DJ Cassette spinning tunes

Get your tickets now!