Tuesday, March 30, 2010

LA Moms Blog-SAHM Call to Action

Today I discuss my recent fitness club fiasco on the LA Moms Blog.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

All in a Day's Work: Top 100 Baby Purees, an SV Moms Book Club post

Last week, my friend Heather came over with her almost three year old boy and eight month old baby girl. She came over earlier than she had originally planned because I had called her at 11 begging her to come by 11:50 so she could watch the kids while I went to pick up my three year old H from preschool. Another friend C had dropped off her two daughters with me earlier that morning so she could go to the dentist for an emergency root canal. Heather came, and, as I drove as quickly as I (legally) could to get H from school, the thought, "it takes a village..." crossed my mind. I picked up H and then it was back home where the mom/child ratio was now 2/6 (so yes, while I went to get H, Heather was watching 5 kids by herself).

I had no time or energy to be creative, with the kids demanding lunch, so I went to my go-to kid friendly meal of chicken nuggets (all white meat and whole grain breading, so hopefully not bad for them) and ABC tater tots (at least they're educational!). Five out of six were set. But in the rush to help me out, Heather had forgotten to bring her baby's jar of organic baby food. I tried to remember whether I had any of R's old baby food still in the pantry. We were thinking maybe one of us would have to rush out and get a jar or Baby V would have to get extra breast milk to get her through the day. Then it hit me--I had received Annabel Karmel's book, Top 100 Baby Purees, just a few days before as part of the Silicon Valley Moms Group book club. We could MAKE our own baby food!

I took the book off the shelf and turned to the first page. Carrots. Perfect! I had that in the fridge. Sad to say I had never steamed carrots for my own sons (I hadn't even owned a steamer basket back then), but it was either this or little Baby V would go hungry. When the carrots were done, I put them in the blender with a little rice and tofu (Baby V is Korean, after all). The first attempt came out lumpy and Heather suggested I follow the recipe's direction to add water to the puree. I think that's why my past attempts to make baby food for my sons failed miserably. I never added water! As Baby V ate the puree, I kept thinking how funny it was that I've been conditioned to think babies eat food out of a jar. I remembered taking six jars of baby food with me on a two-week trip to Korea when H was a year old. I think he ate half of one and we threw the rest out. I thought it was even funnier that I was so proud of myself for making the baby food. Really, it was the crowning achievement of the morning, two women taking care of six kids AND making baby food.

C came by shortly afterwards to pick up her daughters and then we were down to a more manageable number of kids, four. The afternoon was filled with screaming as we attempted to take our first dips in the pool this year (still too cold!) and mad frantic cleaning for the Bunco game that was to be held at my house that night. Some people think that stay-at-home moms have long stretches of time when they do nothing but eat bonbons. Anyone who has spent even one day taking care of a child and home knows that is impossible. There is always something going on, and many times something unexpected happens to add onto your already full day. This particular typically crazy day was made brighter by the sight of Baby V eating my first carrot puree. Thank you Annabel Karmel!

This post was written in honor of this month's Silicon Valley Mom's Group Book Club selections: Annabel Karmel's Top 100 Baby Purees and Top 100 Finger Foods. I was sent these books from the publisher for review purposes.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel DVD Giveaway-DEADLINE EXTENDED

WINNERS generated by RANDOM.ORG: 18, 9, 12, 20, and 13. You will be receiving emails from me and have 72 hours to respond with your mailing addresses. Thanks!


When H was just over 2 and R was a newborn, I took them to a mom's morning movie event. This was a miserable experience with H running out of the theatre at least six times. It was a lesson that H was not ready to watch a movie in the theatre. The second theatre attempt was last summer when the three of us went to a free screening as part of Regal's summer kids movie program. This ended in H running amok and then lying down in the front of the theatre for the entire second half of the movie. We were there with a group, which is the only reason I didn't go home. Once again, I learned H was not ready for a movie theatre experience. Fast forward to February 1, 2010. H was invited to a movie playdate with his friend G and G's mom. I was a bit apprehensive but I wanted to give H the chance to prove he could do it. We went to the theatre, bought one ticket to Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, and I handed H off to G's mom. I was on pins and needles during the entire playdate, waiting for the call from G's mom reporting H was nuts and needed to be picked up. The phone never rang! H successfully watched a movie at the theatre! Thank you G and G's mom! So I count The Squeakquel as H's first movie.

I was so excited when the generous people at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment contacted me with the opportunity to share H's first movie experience with five Random Mommy readers. Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel will come out on DVD and Blu-ray on March 30. I will do a full review when it comes out since I didn't get to see it with H, but here is a synopsis of the movie.

Product Description
Chipmunk singing sensations Alvin, Simon and Theodore are back for an encore in this hilarious “squeakquel” packed with more action and more nutty fun for the whole family! When a concert mishap lands Dave in the hospital, the Chipmunks take a break from superstardom and enroll in school to fit in with kids their age. But they soon face some stiff competition when they meet the Chipettes — a beautiful, talented trio of chipmunks discovered by Ian, the boys’ evil ex-manager!

From director Betty Thomas (Dr. Dolittle), the heartwarming film stars Golden GlobeTM nominee* Jason Lee (“My Name Is Earl”), Emmy AwardTM winner** David Cross (“Arrested Development”) and Zachary Levi (“Chuck”), and features vocal talent from franchise veterans Justin Long (He’s Just Not That Into You), Matthew Gray Gubler (500 Days of Summer) and actor-pop heartthrob Jesse McCartney (Alvin and the Chipmunks). Newcomers Christina Applegate (“Samantha Who”), Anna Faris (The House Bunny) and Amy Poehler (“Saturday Night Live”) lend their voices to the musically talented Chipettes as Brittany, Jeanette and Eleanor, respectively.

The Squeak-Along bonus content includes new sing-alongs such as Beyonce’s “Single Ladies,” teaches audiences how to dance like the Chipmunks with the “Shake Your Groove Thing” dance instructional video, games and more nutty fun for the whole family!

HOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:Contest period runs from Saturday, March 20, 2010 at 9:00 PM (Pacific) until Friday, March 26, 2010 at 11:59 PM (Pacific). Enter by leaving the title of your or your child's first movie in a theatre, and leave your e-mail address OR sign in to comments using your Blogger ID, make sure your Blogger profile is public and includes your e-mail address. If you don't leave a comment that includes a movie title and your e-mail address or public Blogger profile, your entry will be disqualified. One entry per person. I reserve the right to extend the contest period. At the end of the contest period, I will utilize Random.org to randomly choose the five winners. Winners will be contacted by e-mail. Winners have 72 hours to respond to my e-mail. If the winners do not respond within 72 hours, the tickets will go to the next place winner(s) as decided by Random.org. This contest is open for US Residents only. A huge thank you and much appreciation to 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment for their sponsorship and generosity.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Water Water Everywhere and...no, that's WAT-AAH!

My boys do not like to drink plain water, unless I deliberately make them very thirsty and give them no alternative. Cruel, I know, but sometimes that's what a mama's got to do. So when I heard about a new functional water that was designed by kids and moms to be appealing to kids, I knew I had to give it a try. New York-based (another reason for me to give this company some love) Let There Be Water, LLC, sent me some samples of WAT-AAH! in advance of their West Coast launch. I was happy to pass along the information to my friends and contacts at schools in the LA area because I feel that there is a real need for more water choices in schools. I learned from the company's press release that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, 15% of children and teens are overweight (almost 9 million), and another 19% are considered at risk for becoming overweight-triple the statistic rates documented in the 1980s. A study by Harvard School of Public Health and Children's Hospital of Boston on the impact of sugar-enhanced drinks revealed that a young person has 1.6x more likelihood to become obese for EACH additional can or glass of sugar-sweetened drinks consumed above the daily average. I can only imagine what it's done to the average number of cavities in children.

When I was in high school, after cross country practice I would get a sugary drink from the vending machine. I didn't make the connection at the time but that's probably why I crashed so severely by the time I got home. No one really told us to drink water; that sugary drinks would deplete our energy right when we needed it the most, when we got home and tried to do our homework. I definitely think if there had been a product like WAT-AAH! back then--that equated water to cool--there would have been more of a chance that I pick that over the kiwi strawberry can of sugar.

I tried the different kinds of WAT-AAH! and it has a very clean taste. I love the fact that three of the waters have added calcium and electrolytes and other minerals that our bodies need. I know I don't get enough calcium and drinking water with calcium is definitely more appealing to me than taking those big white calcium pills. Try it out for yourself. The West Coast launch is on April 1 and the product will be available at Whole Foods and other natural food stores. For more information, you can go to the WAT-AAH! website, follow on Twitter, become a Facebook Fan, and check out their latest website, Blame it on the SUG-AAH!

I did not receive compensation for this post. I received product samples that facilitated my review.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Real Furniture

Last week Stewart and I purchased our first piece of real furniture since we've been married. Other than our couch, it's the most expensive piece of furniture we own and it's not even that expensive (considering how much furniture can cost). When we moved into the house, it was always our intention to buy a dining room table. The one we had in New York we gave away to H's manny. We were going to take our time to find the perfect table because the previous owner of the house had left a very basic wooden table that fit the four of us. After H suffered a concussion and R got a bloody lip from falling from the Ikea chairs we had bought to go with the table, we knew time was up and we had to get a real table and chairs ASAP.
So we went to Linders and got the heaviest table we could find that had the parameters I wanted. I'm happy to say we did get the bench I wanted. I can't explain exactly why but I prefer benches and stools to chairs. I never use the back of a chair and I think sitting on a bench or stool forces you to have good posture. Not long ago I was given the chance to review counter stools from CSNStores, this one in particular. I would have loved to have it for our kitchen island, but had to turn it down because there was no way I could see H and R surviving that in the house. The bench is longer and heavier so I don't think they will be able to tip it over. Luckily, CSNStores graciously allowed me to pick another product from their myriad of web stores (basically they sell everything you could have in your house other than food and sundries) and you will see a review of that product in the near future.
As you can see from my photo, I haven't yet figured out how to take the plastic off the chairs. I tried on one and now there are bits of plastic sticking out all over the bottom of the seat. I'm hoping one of the ladies coming over tomorrow night for Bunco will know how to do it. I also have a vinyl tablecloth over the table because the first thing R did when it arrived was take a big crayon and make a mark on it. Good thing we got the five-year service plan. I NEVER buy service plans but they said if it got a scratch or the stitching fell apart on the seat or anything, they would come and repair or replace it. Usually the store profits hugely on this kind of plan because it goes unused, but believe me, with two toddler boys, I think I will be the winner. I plan to take off the vinyl tablecloth off tomorrow night. My friends can use the cloth one that's underneath.

I received no compensation for this post. I will receive an item to review for CSNStores in the future, which I will fully declare in order to be compliant with new FCC regulations.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

LA Moms Blog-Human Trafficking

Today I'm on the LA Moms Blog with a post on human trafficking.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dunkin Donuts-When Will You Come to SOCAL?

I actually looked up the franchise requirements. You need $200K in liquid assets and $1 million total net worth in order to apply. Who's in? And no, I don't get any compensation for putting Dunkin Donuts widgets on my blog, but I'm thinking maybe if they see enough of these in California, they might open one here. Here's to hoping!

Dunkin' Donuts. Dunkin' keeps me blogging. Try Dunkin' Donuts Coffee For Free. Get a Sample

No Spa for Us

Yesterday I drove to Wi Spa in Westlake because I had heard from a friend that it was the hot new Korean spa in LA. It opened in November last year so it's definitely a place my mom hasn't been to before, and what better way to treat her aching arms and shoulders (from holding R so he won't run away in parking lots). I called before we left to make sure children were allowed since some Korean spas have a no-kids policy. The woman on the phone said yes, so we made our way up there. Only to be told that H could not go in with us to the women's bath area because he is 3, and their cut-off age for babies to go in with their moms is 2. Excuse me, you couldn't volunteer this information when I called you on the phone earlier? Obviously there is a 50/50 chance that the person calling has a kid that is not the same gender, so that would have been something nice to point out! They offered to escort him to the jjimjilbang area, but he would still have to pay $15. What? He has to pay full price but he can't even take a bath? That makes absolutely NO SENSE to me. So we decided that was not an option. My mom went in by herself and the boys and I went in search of a park.

I pretty much drove around just hoping I would find a good place for them to play while we waited. Something told me to drive west and we found a great park on Beverly and Van Ness, the Robert Burns Park. It almost turned into a disaster after the first few minutes. H has a real problem with someone else singing Happy Birthday. For some reason, he thinks he owns that song, no matter how many times I tell him the rights belong to the Michael Jackson estate. There was a little boy singing the song next to him in the sand and this enraged H to the point where H threw a big handful of sand at the boy. The sand covered the boy's entire face, going into his mouth and eyes. Throwing sand into someone's eyes can be serious because sand can scratch the cornea. I immediately went over to H and apologized to the mom and victim. I put him in time out on a bench and very loudly berated him for throwing the sand, pointing out that the little boy was very sad and still crying. I was worried that he wouldn't stay in time out, but thankfully H sat through the entire allotted period. We then went back over to the boy and apologized again. Before the timeout the mom was so upset she didn't even look at us, but this time she acknowledged the apology. They left the park just after that and I was afraid we would not be far behind because I thought everyone would be looking at us, judging us as bad sand-throwing park infiltrators.

Then I saw another kid throw sand. And then another. And I let out my breath and felt better. I hope H has learned his lesson about not throwing sand, but I'm still glad that some other kid did the same thing so he didn't look so bad. Sometimes I feel like everyone else's kid is better behaved than mine, and, maybe it's schadenfreude, I feel better when there is some other little munchkin throwing the tantrum or acting like a wild animal. The rest of the time was relatively uneventful other than a little boy coming up to me and saying my sons were making fun of his friend Lily by calling her Wally. I said, "no, they are saying Wow-e" because they are having a good time. Good thing I could correct that misunderstanding. Thankfully, my mom called a few minutes after that to say she was ready to be picked up. I'm glad to know that there is a park relatively near K-town should I need a place to take the boys. But we'll be staying away for a good long while, thank you.

Friday, March 5, 2010

LA Moms Blog

I'm at the LA Moms Blog today recaping our Vegas family adventure.

The LA Moms Blog is part of the Silicon Valley Moms Group, featured today in the San Jose Mercury News. The SV Moms Group celebrates its fourth anniversary today!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

GIVEAWAY-Rosalind Wiseman’s Girl World event March 15

If you've read my post on the LA Moms Blog about R, you know that I thought he was a girl and called him Rachel until I found out in week 20 that he was definitely a boy. So whenever I hear about mother-daughter book clubs and father-daughter dances, there is a spot in my heart that aches for the little girl that will never be. That's why I love living vicariously through my friends and their daughters and my sons' girl friends. I love girls' birthdays because it gives me the chance to buy things I just wouldn't be able to buy for my sons. H's favorite color is purple, but I draw the line at buying him purple corduroy pants with little flowers on them.

So when I was given the opportunity to give away tickets to Rosalind Wiseman’s Girl World event for moms and tween girls in Lakewood, CA on Monday, March 15, I immediately thought, "Yes! Another way to share a mother-daughter experience." Rosalind Wiseman – the best-selling author of Queen Bees & Wannabes, the basis for the hit movie Mean Girls – will be in town hosting a workshop filled with mother-daughter bonding, but also an interactive discussion about confidence, friendships and how to navigate those sweat-inducing “moments”. She will also be signing copies of her books, which attendees will receive at the event. I have 2 sets of tickets to give away on behalf of one of the Girl World sponsors, Dove go fresh Deodorant and Body Mists.

Rosalind Wiseman’s Girl World Tour is presented by Dove go fresh
Date: Monday, March 15
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Location: St. Joseph’s High School, 5825 N. Woodruff Avenue, Lakewood, CA
Tickets: $40 per mother-daughter pair
Event Details: http://rosalindwiseman.com/events/girl-world-tour/

Contest period runs from Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 10:00 PM (Pacific) until Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 11:59 PM (Pacific). Enter by leaving a piece of advice you would give a tween girl on how to successfully navigate the path to adulthood, and leave your e-mail address OR sign in to comments using your Blogger ID, make sure your Blogger profile is public and includes your e-mail address. If you don't leave a comment that includes your advice and your e-mail address or public Blogger profile, your entry will be disqualified. One entry per person. I reserve the right to extend the contest period. At the end of the contest period, I will utilize Random.org to randomly choose the two winners. Winners will be contacted by e-mail. Winners have 72 hours to respond to my e-mail. If the winners do not respond within 72 hours, the tickets will go to the next place winner(s) as decided by Random.org. Good luck!