This is not a huge mall but it happens to have stores that I really like. There's NuboNau (organic skin care), Lululemon, Paper Source and more. To eat, kids will love The Counter which is a gourmet build your own burger kind of joint. My only complaint is that it's a little spread out so you might be inclined to drive from one end to another, which is silly. Kids will also love Gepettos toy store. I've been known to duck in there on emergency for bubbles or something small to extend my shopping trip, if my daughter is getting fussy.
The forum is a great shopping center in southern Carlsbad. I like to head out especially around the holiday season. They have live music and carolers and free sleigh rides! I use to bring my little brother here and I am looking forward to bringing my daughter here next year. The last time I was here we happened to be with my parents, my mother, my daughter, and I were in Borders and my Dad, brother and husband were in the Apple store. They called to say Richard Dreyfus was heading our way! I went to step out of the door to check and when I opened the door to leave Richard Dreyfus stepped in. It turns out it was his birthday and the lady he was with was getting him a new computer. I love star encounters and I seemed to get the most of them in Carlsbad and Disneyland, LOL!
So, the forum has a ton of great shops and places to eat! This is a hot spot on the weekends so plan accordingly and get a reservation if you plan to eat here.