Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Giving the Gift of Memories this Holiday #preservingmemories #cbias

This year I am giving my husband the gift of our wedding memory for Christmas. Earlier this month I took some of the old VHS movies to The UPS Store to have them transferred onto DVD's. I had brought in what I thought was Ella's adoption finalization, but when I got the DVD's back I learned it was Andrew's.

The most memorable VHS movie that we own is our wedding video. Our children have never gotten a chance to see us get married, because we no longer own a VHS machine. When I got my new iMemories DVD's in the mail, I took the children upstairs to watch the wedding on the new DVD's. Ella cried while Andrew smiled, watching the day we became a family.

I am wrapping the DVD's of the wedding and putting them under the tree this year for my husband's Christmas gift. He is going to be so surprised (unless he reads this blog post) about the unique gift I got him.

About a week after my new DVD's came in the mail, I got another surprise. iMemories had mailed my original VHS tapes too! I was not expecting that part of the iMemories Service, and I will cherish getting to have the memories saved on both types of media.

The entire process of iMemories with The UPS Store took only about 3 weeks total. The process was smooth and effortless, with exceptionally reasonable pricing. I also love supporting small businesses like The UPS Store, because they are all independently owned by members of the community.

I was compensated for this post as part of a social shopper insights study with Collective Bias. All my photos, thoughts and opinions are of my own.

Wordless Wednesday: Baby Love

Tyler holding a five week old baby bunny at Zoomar's Petting Zoo.

OC Family: Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child is a wonderful way to teach your children about giving this holiday season. You can enjoy learning more about this wonderful program at OC Family.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Disney: The Beauty and The Beast 3D Trailer

The newly released Beauty and the Beast 3D Trailer was just released. This beloved Disney classic will return to theaters for the first time in 3D, on January 13, 2012.

Learn more about the the film on The Beauty and The Beast Facebook page.

Monday, November 28, 2011

OC Moms: Growing up loving Zoomars

Andrew in 2003

Andrew in 2011
My children have grown-up loving the animals at Zoomars Petting Zoo. You can learn all about this fantastic place, at my recent article published with OC Moms.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Spreading Holiday Cheer with Peet's Holiday Blend #Peetscoffee #cbias

One of the biggest challenges I face during the holidays is finding the perfect gift for the people that I do not know well. Its easy to find the perfect gift for my girlfriends, family members or coworkers. When it comes to people like the mail carrier, the gardener, my car wash man and my children's pediatrician, it can be challenging to find the perfect gift.

Since I have such a passion for coffee, I decided to make coffee gift baskets as gifts. I wanted to do something that I knew most people would love, and be able to use during the holiday season. Peet's Coffee is my favorite coffee to drink and to serve at the holidays. I even made a coffee-bean turkey this year and stuffed it full of Peet's dark roast coffee, while serving the new Peet's holiday blend for my guests to indulge.

I went to the local Peet's coffee, and they had the best selection of items to create the perfect gift baskets. I got the new Peet's holiday blend coffee, tea, treats and coffee mugs. I was even able to enjoy a sampling of the delicious holiday blend.

Andrew is a tremendous tea lover, and he ordered a Peet's holiday blend tea while I was shopping. After he finished the tea he said, "It tastes just like Christmas."

I cannot wait to put the gift baskets together and surprise everyone with them. All I need to do now is think of a creative way to package them, making the gifts extra special.

I was compensated for this post as part of a social shopper insights study with Collective Bias. All my photos, thoughts and opinions are of my own.

OC Family: Coffee-Bean Turkey Recipe

This Thanksgiving I attempted to make a unique recipe: A Coffee-Bean Turkey! You can learn how to make it along with my recipe at OC Family.

CBS Los Angeles: Star Wars at Discovery Science Center

The new Star Wars exhibit at the Discovery Science Center is a fantastic exhibit to go see in Southern California. You can see all the details on our most recent article published with CBS Los Angeles.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Must See Thanksgiving Weekend Movie: The Muppets

The New Disney Muppets Movie is blasting into theaters this Thanksgiving weekend, bringing back America's most beloved actors. I took my daughter Ella to a screening of The Muppets on Monday, and we could not remember the last time we laughed so closely together.

I started singing along with my daughter Ella, laughing and applauding at the end of the movie.

While on vacation in Los Angeles, Walter, the world's biggest Muppet fan, his brother Gary and Gary’s girlfriend Mary from Smalltown, USA, uncover the dastardly scheme of oilman Tex Richman. His cruel intent was to raise the Muppet Theater, and drill for the oil recently discovered beneath the Muppets' former stomping grounds.

To produce a telethon and raise the $10 million needed to protect the theater, Walter, Mary and Gary help Kermit reunite the Muppets, who have all gone their separate ways. Fozzie now performs with a Reno casino tribute band called the Moopets, Miss Piggy is a plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, Animal is in a Santa Barbara clinic for anger management, and Gonzo is a dynamic plumbing magnate.

The telethon was the best part of the show, where they incorporated a lot of the famous acts from the old Muppet Shows. Watching the movie swept me away into another time and place. I felt like I was a seven year old kid again while sitting in the theater.

When we got home from the movie, the children and I had fun making fun "The Muppet Show" videos together. This was one of my favorite videos that we made together.

The Muppets are in theaters on November 23rd!

Monday, November 21, 2011

OC Family: Sapphire Laguna Thanksgiving

Located right on PCH in front of the famous Laguna Beach greeter statue, is one of my favorite restaurants, Sapphire Laguna. Sapphire Laguna has some wonderful options for Thanksgiving this year. You can read more details on my recent article published today at OC Family. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas

ABC Family is celebrating the holidays with the 25 days of Christmas this year. A new holiday movie will be shown daily in the month of December. I am especially looking forward to seeing the Disney movie Prep & Landing on December 21st, and The Polar Express on December 4th.

ABC Family has also created a new app for families to be able to enjoy the classic movies while on the go. This can be useful for keeping children entertained, in crowded shopping malls, during this holiday season. The ABC Family app can be downloaded directly from itunes. Enjoy watching ABC Family this holiday, December 1st-25th.

We were provided with a cute red fleece jacket from ABC Family. It did not influence our opinion, and all thoughts are of our own.

What are you Thankful For?

OC Moms: Free Range or Traditional Turkey?

Feeling confused about whether the free range organic turkeys are worth all that extra money? Read our recent article published with OC Moms, to learn how I discovered free range is better for my family.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

OC Family: Hungry for a cupcake?

Casey's Cupcakes was recently awarded the 2011 readers choice award with OC Weekly. They have a large variety of delicious cupcakes. You can read all the details on our recently article published with OC Family.

OC Menus: Wahoo's New Location Celebration

Wahoo's Fashion Island is opening a new location in Fashion Island. There will be a weekend full of entertainment and prizes starting tomorrow night. You can get all the details on our most recent article published yesterday with OC Menus.

Muppets Road Trip Game!

Are we there yet? How ‘bout now? Now? How about now?

Those questions can only mean one thing: road trip! And Kermit knows road trips! In the upcoming film Disney’s “The Muppets,” Kermit joins Walter, Gary, Mary and—eventually—the whole Muppet gang in the car for a trip of their own, as they endeavor to save Muppet Studios from evil oilman Tex Richman. So don’t despair. The Muppets can help keep kids busy and happy with…


See if you can spot:

• 5 Kermit green cars
• 1 Person who looks like a relative of Gonzo’s
• 3 People who look like they just stepped off the Electric Mayhem Band bus
• 4 of Miss Piggy’s biggest fans. How can you tell? Easy, they could be
          a) Singing to themselves
          b) Fixing their hair in the mirror
          c) Blowing kisses to you through the window
         d) Blowing kisses to themselves in the mirror
• 2 Bumper stickers that are so funny, Fozzie Bear would add them to his act
• 4 People wearing suits they stole from Statler and Waldorf
• 3 Cars that are so patriotic, Sam the Eagle just might be driving them

• Sing the chorus of “Mahna Mahna” or “Rainbow Connection” at a red light or while driving through a tunnel
• Find a license plate from Smalltown, USA (or at least one that is red, white and blue)
• Find the letters of Disney’s “The Muppets” in license plates

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

OC Moms: National Adoption Month

My family adopting our second daughter Ella in the Orange County Superior Court
Did you know that it is National Adoption Month? Being an adoptive Mother, makes this one of the most special months to celebrate. You can read about how I celebrated with my family at OC Moms today!

Monday, November 14, 2011

OC Moms: Is your child a future Food Network star?

Chef Zov Karamardian is looking for Southern California's next child top chef! You can read more details about this new video contest on our article published with OC Moms.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

OC Family: Newport Dunes Thanksgiving Video Contest

Tyler's 1st Thanksgiving
Newport Dunes is asking Southern California children to share what they are Thankful for! You can read the details of this fun video or essay contest on our recent article with OC Family.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

How much do you love a toothless grin?

What's more adorable than a toothless grin?
In this pocket you will find, a teeny, tiny tooth of mine. So while I sleep where dreams are made, let's see if you can make a trade.

OC Family: WowZville's Grand Opening Celebration!

Looking for some free indoor fun this weekend? WowZville is hosting a free grand re-opening this weekend. You can read all the details at our recent article published with OC Family Magazine!

Friday, November 11, 2011

CBS Los Angeles: Best Gluten Free Restaurants in Orange County

Photo Courtesy of Pelican Hill
Do you have a gluten free diet? Have you been having trouble finding the right place to eat out, without having to worry? We have a excellent list of the best gluten free restaurants in Orange County in this recent article with CBS.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Preserving my Memories with iMemories #Preservingmemories

Do you still have all your favorite memories on VHS? We do! After our VHS machine died, we had no possible way to watch our memories anymore. I cannot even remember the last time I got to watch my wedding video. This was my first time testing the iMemories service at The UPS Store, so I only sent in my two favorite videos at first. 

When I brought my tapes into our local The UPS Store, they helped walk we through the easy process of sending my tapes to iMemories. If felt so comfortable sending my tapes at our local The UPS Store location, because I know they will make it to iMemories safely.

The two special memories that I cannot wait to be able to see again...

Ella's adoption finalization ceremony in court....
and our wedding video!

In a couple of weeks I will be able to edit our videos online, then order DVD's thanks to iMemories and The UPS Store.

I was compensated for this post as part of a social shopper insights study with #collectivebias. All my photos, thoughts and desire to preserve my memories are my own.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What I am Thankful For Today....

How my time as a teacher is helping me to be successful in homeschooling my daughter this year.

What are you thankful for today?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Where Have All The Pens Gone?

When I think back to how I used to write ten years ago, it was always with a pen. Now I can barely find a pen that works in my house, let alone write with one. Everything has turned digital. We pay bills electronically, we send emails instead of cards and we even make our grocery lists online.

Most of my children's homework is digital now. They do an assignment online, and then email it to the teacher. They never even have to "lift a pen."

I used to love writing letters to my friends. Sending them special cards filled with sparkle confetti, that would fall all over the floor when they opened it. I stopped leaving love notes on my husband's pillow at night, and slowly started replacing them with text messages.

My colorful "glitterful" cards stopped coming, and emails started coming instead, becoming just another attachment they have to open.

I can't remember when I stopped!

It's time to bring back the pens. The colorful sparkly pens, smelly pens all the pens that inspired me to tell my friends how special they are to me. No more "thinking about you" emails or "love you" text messages, and time to show my friends and loved ones how much I care.

Do you still write with a pen? How do you show your friends how much you care?

Daily writing prompt for Blogher

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Learn, Create, Share LeapFrog Party #LeapFrogParty

When the news broke about the new LeapFrog LeapPad, I could not wait to get one for Tyler. Would I love to never allow my children use electronics? "Yes." Is that a reality? "Unfortunately, no."

With all three of my children on different school schedules this year, Tyler is stuck in the car for at least three hours a day. There is just no way to avoid it. You can only sing, "The Wheels on the Bus," play the license plate game and make funny faces with each other in the rear view mirror, before you start to get a little wacky.

Since getting the new LeapFrog LeapPad, Tyler is not only entertained in the car, but also learning! We have a rule in our house that it is only to be used in the car. I want him playing with toys and interacting with me directly when we are home.

We were so excited about the new product that we first introduced it at Tyler's birthday party last week. The response from the parents was overwhelming. Parents could not believe how many educational activities are packed into one small electronic device.

Then we followed up by having a neighborhood get together before trick-or-treating on Halloween. We did learning activities with worksheets, played games, read together with the Tag Reading System and just had fun!

Tyler loves the LeapFrog Tag Reading System. I first got this product for Ella a little over two years ago when she first started reading. It was an integral part in helping to teach her to be a successful reader. We have just started using it with Tyler and have been using the Learn to Read set with him before bed. It helps take the "boring" out of reading, and makes it fun!

Tyler is a third generation LeapFrog user in our family. It has been our favorite choice in electronic devices with our children. Andrew learned all his letter sounds by listening to the LeapFrog Letter Factory soundtrack!

You can see how much we believe in this product, by seeing all the products we have purchased over the past nine years. (not including the baby products we have passed on)

some of our LeapFrog Collection over the years

I received a couple of free LeapFrog products in order to host a Learn, Create and Share party. LeapFrog did not influence my opinions or my love for their product that I have had over the years.

The Best Fall Bean-Free Chili Recipe

I just love Chili, and Halloween is my favorite night to make it. There is a normally a cold breeze on Halloween, and it's nice to come home to a warm pot of chili. This Halloween it was 83 degrees most of the day, but I still could not resist making my favorite recipe along with some homemade corn bread.

Having Ella home with me doing a homeschool curriculum, she is also getting a chance to enjoy my love for cooking.

When Andrew was diagnosed with a severe allergy to beans (life threatening) I had to get really creative with my recipe. Over the years we have grown to enjoy eating chili without the beans! I am happy to share my favorite recipe with you! ~Enjoy


  • 2 pounds of ground sirloin
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 sweet onion (chopped)
  • 1 Tbl. chili powder
  • 1 tea. oregano
  • 1 tea. ground cumin
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbl. Worcester sauce
  • 1/8 cup of balsamic vinegar
  1. Cook garlic and onions in a sauce pan until they are translucent. 
  2. Add it worcester sauce and ground beef. Cook until meat is no longer pink
  3. Add all the ingredients into a crock pot and cook for 6 hours on low
  4. Add cheese and enjoy!

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