Summer Camp at Catalina Island

Summer camp can be a luxury for some families, a necessity for others, and a legend for the rest of us. When we first moved to Agoura Hills and took a look at some of the offerings around us, I was jealous. Archery, daily swimming, movies, crafts, games, and delicious homemade meals? Sign ME up, never mind the kids!

Now I am a work-at-home parent, and the kids’ schedule takes priority over everything else. Translate that into: I’m not working much, so there’s no need to send my kids to summer camp, aside from the sanity break I will need after a week of two little boys arguing with each other about everything from who gets the blue cup to who gets to press the cross walk button on the street corner.

Last year a friend of mine sent her kids – all three of them – to sleepover camp for seven weeks. 

I know!  When she told me this, my head swam with all of the wonderful things I could do in seven weeks at home with no kids around. I could take a bath! I could reorganize everything! I could go see movies, or paint the bedroom, or sleep in more than one morning in a row!

I dream of this happening someday when my kids are old enough to stay away from home for longer than a sleepover. Catalina Island Camps is close enough to us that it’s easy to bring the kids and pick them up at the end of their term, but far enough away – a ferry ride, even – that it feels exotic and oh-so-grownup. A chance to be independent while also bonding with their cabin mates from all over the country and counselors would be an enriching experience for my boys. Plus, they would have the chance to snorkel, ride a zip line, learn how to sail or rock climb, and participate in a community that has nothing to do with their parents.

Since CIC is priced accordingly, affording the best facilities and staff – and safety – for now it’s just a dream. Meanwhile, my kids will attend the half day camp at the Reyes Adobe Mission which is run by the Agoura Hills Park and Recreation department. The boys know and love the counselors there, and the cost is reasonable. We all get a break from each other, and the kids get physical activity and they learn something, too.

What are your summer camp plans for your children?

This post is an entry into a raffle for a 2-week camper stay at CIC. If I win, I will give the session to a lucky reader in a future giveaway.

Scenes From the Weekend: Venice

The stars aligned in such a way that I found myself in Venice two nights in a row. This, from a woman who hates to venture east of Calabasas. I do it for the love, people.

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First – on Friday night I joined a friend and took PCH down to Witz End on Lincoln Blvd. to see my friend and former coworker play a one-hour, one-man acoustic set. Charlie Vaughn, everybody!

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On Saturday night three of my friends and colleagues and I drove down to Hotel Palomar in Westwood for a three-hour blogging event sponsored by Invisalign. We didn’t venture up to see the rooms but I took a moment to appreciate the hotel’s streetside and lobby hallway. I love hotels. I should amend that to say I love nice hotels.

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After our event at Hotel Palomar, we snaked through the streets of West LA and down Lincoln to Hotel Erwin at Windward Circle in Venice to meet our pal and colleague who was in town for CicLAvia. She was showing off the app she represents, called Field Trip. We took the elevator to the roof and enjoyed some tasty drinks at the hotel’s bar called “High.” The view of the city was great, and though the flaming heat lamps were fired up, it was pretty chilly up there.

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Perfect spot for summertime drinks at sunset, though. Parking in the adjacent lot was only $10. Sigh. Only $10. Did I really just type that?

In other news, we had baseball this weekend:

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And we made a quick stop into the Goodwill store in Thousand Oaks, where we emerged with a completely unplanned purchase of a snazzy “new” blazer for my little fashion enthusiast:

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And here is a photo of the intrepid ladies outside Vons on Agoura Road in Westlake Village who were protesting the use of GMO’s in Kellogg’s products. I had read about their protest in The Acorn, and thought I’d drop by to check out the throngs of angry protesters. There were only two here when I drove by, and they just seemed tired.

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 What did YOU do this weekend?

Valencia, The Other West Hills

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I’m not so much of a bubble snob as to turn my nose up at the other pockets of good living in and around Los Angeles.  There are other ideal places to live and raise a family in comfort around here. People do it everywhere, of course, and what’s comfortable for one family might not be so for another. But the universal goal is to find a place that has affordable homes, good schools, and access to shops and recreation areas. (And I would add plenty of parking, please.)

Whenever I go out of my house, drive around Agoura Hills in my car, take a hike in one of our surrounding hills, or simply look out of my office window at Ladyface Mountain, I marvel at the beauty of this area, and I mentally pinch myself (because actually pinching myself would hurt) because it seems like a dream that we landed here.

Valencia’s planned communities seem custom-made to welcome people and make them feel at home in a similar way.

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Valencia, otherwise known as “Awesometown,” is north of the San Fernando Valley on the 5 freeway. You might have heard of Magic Mountain? Yeah, it’s up that way. The town prides itself for having the nice neighborhoods, the dubious access to Los Angeles area jobs (you know, despite the traffic) and a growing center of industry right in town, and top-rated public schools. We have family friends who live there. I have seen the beautifully maintained planned walkways and community pools and lovely homes that foster neighborhood activity and outdoor living – if our friends’ kids are any proof, the children in Valencia play a lot of sports. There are more than 30 miles of walkways in Valencia.

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Three new neighborhoods in the West Hills section of Valencia are being unveiled by builder D.R. Horton next Saturday, April 20, at the Al Fresco Street Festival, which will feature live music, prizes, and model home tours. Some of my pals from the blogging world will be there giving presentations on style, decor, and entertaining!

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Highgate in West Hills will feature spacious single–family homes priced from the high $500s with three to five bedrooms, three and one-half to four and one-half bathrooms and approximately 2,638 to 2,994 square feet of living space – these homes are perfect for a growing family.

Priced from the mid $600s, single-family homes at Belmont in West Hills feature approximately 2,892 to 3,705 square feet of living space with three to six bedrooms and two and one-half to five and one-half bathrooms. In addition, new homes at Belmont in West Hills offer D.R. Horton’s HomeShare home, which includes a separate living suite, including a bedroom, full bath, kitchenette and living room with a private entry – perfect for extended family or visiting guests.

Monument in West Hills offers single-family homes ranging from approximately 3,519 to 3,949 square feet of living space from the low $700s. With four to six bedrooms, three and one-half to five and one-half bathrooms and D.R. Horton’s HomeShare home with separate living suite and private entry – these homes are functional for the entire family.

All of these neighborhoods come complete with a new paseo – the carefully crafted network of trails, walkways, and bridges that Valencia is known for.  For more information about the Al Fresco Street Festival or to poke around and dream about living in such a gorgeous new home, visit Valencia’s blog.

This is a sponsored post. And how awesome that I get to use “Awesometown” in a sentence!