Monday, July 30, 2012

I'm a Sony Mom! #SonyMoms

I have been capturing my children's memories with Sony cameras since they were first born. Sure I have had other brands of cameras over the years, but I always keep navigating back to Sony. Why? Because they are awesome cameras, and I love capturing the best pictures of my children.

I recently got an exciting opportunity to become a Sony Mom. Yeah! What that means is that I will be testing out different Sony products over the next couple of months, and sharing my opinions with you. From televisions to computers, I will be experimenting with all divisions of Sony Electronics. 

Sony Building San Diego
About a week ago, they brought me (along with nine other fabulous photog loving moms) to San Diego to visit the Sony Headquarters. I was more than excited to see where all the magic happens, and it is truly a pretty cool place. They have a roof-top basketball court, relaxing fountains and inspirational quotes on the walls. 

Sony Cyber-shot TX20 in orange

Our first mission is to review the Sony Cyber-shot TX20 camera. We first tested it out at the nearby San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park. We got hands-on tutorials from the specialist on how to capture the best images using the Sony Cyber-shot TX20. 

Taken by me with the Sony Cyber-shot TX20
Since I have brought the camera home, I have been experimenting with it everyday. The settings on the camera have helped me to experiment with photography without being a "professional." I can easily create artistic photos with photoshop, capture underwater memories and do what I love best - video!

I'll be honest that I usually purchase a camera, leave it on auto, and never experiment with the different capabilities. I usually never even read the manual. The opportunity that Sony has given me has opened my eyes up to a new world of photography and capturing my children in a way that I will remember them forever.

The San Diego Padres Game 

Capturing the perfect moment while whale watching. 
Stay tuned for lots more creative pictures, and fun videos. You can also follow all the moms on Twitter under the hashtag #SonyMoms where we will be sharing our favorite moments captured using Sony cameras. Thank you Sony for this once in a lifetime opportunity! 

Disclosure: I am part of the Sony VIP Mom Blogger Program by Sony Electronics where a group of mom bloggers have been given the opportunity to test and review Sony gear. All my thoughts, photos and opinions are of my own.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Honest Company Special for Moms

I love my children, and I care about the products I use on their bodies. Using products that do not contain harmful chemicals is made easy for Moms thanks to The Honest Company. They have eco-friendly diapers, baby care products and home cleaning supplies that are safe for children.

For just a couple of more days, parents can try the products sold by The Honest Company at a discount of their already reasonable prices. Plum District is offering a special of $20 for $40 to be used towards their safe and natural products. The Honest Company helps ease parents worries about using dangerous products in their homes.

Disclosure: We are a Plum District partner, and can receive products, discounts or compensation. Our love for The Honest Company and supporting their mission towards helping moms provide a healthy non-toxic environment for their children is our own opinion.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Mud Jump!

Giveaway: Tour de France Bicycle Safety Tips

The Tour de France just ended. Exercise enthusiasts had tuned in around the globe to celebrate this national race. In honor of this fantastic event we are happy to share some great tips for bicycle safety.

Choosing a Bicycle and Helmet For Your Child 

  •  Maturity Level: The most important component of buying a bicycle is the child’s age and the environment they are going to be biking. 
  •  Be Bold: Make sure that the bicycle is visible to drivers and other cyclists. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC): Each certified helmet will have a sticker that indicates that the helmet is a quality helmet. 
  •  Check Your Helmet: Because they lose their ability to absorb shock, routinely check your helmet each season. 
  •  Tight Fitting Helmet: Do not wear a hat underneath. 
  •  Love Your Helmet: Do not throw your helmet around. A damaged helmet may be unable to protect you in the event of an accident. 
  •  Spacing: There should be a space of 1-2 inches between your body and the top bar of a road bike, and 3 to 4 inches between your body and the top of a bike.

Road Safety 

  •  Pump check: Before going for a ride, check your tires! Pump the tires with your pedals to make sure that it will be a safe ride. 
  •  Get a headlight: For those that are bicycling at night do not forget to add a headlight. It not only is required by the law but will keep you safe. 
  •  Wave: Always wave at the driver! It is easier for drivers to see arms indicating your direction instead of seeing a bicycle coming. 
  •  Arm Signs: Learn the different arm signs that will let drivers know the direction you are turning. 
  • Road Rules: Stop at all stop signs and obey traffic lights. 
  •  Direction flow: Ride in the direction of traffic so people can predict the movement and direction of a bicyclist. In some states such as Flordia, bicyclists can get a citation for not riding in the same direction as traffic. 
  •  Keep Your Distance: Stay away from parked cars, for doors can open suddenly. Crossing An Interaction: When you arrive at an intersection, walk your bicycle across the crosswalk. 
  •  Leader Of The Pack: If riding with a group of people, always ride behind one another to share the road with motorists. 
  •  Avoid Noise: Avoid wearing listening to music while biking. Many bicycle accidents could have been prevented if riders were not distracted.

In celebration of the event we are offering one of our readers an official Tour de France gift package including a bike seat, racing gloves and a water bottle.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Beer Can Chicken Recipe

I can't believe it has taken me this long to make my first "beer can chicken" of the summer. I first started making this chicken right after we got married, and it is still a favorite I enjoy making during the summer. Don't' drink alcohol? No problem! The alcohol in the beer can is only used for steaming the chicken, so there is not any that actually touches the chicken.

Prepare to cook it long and slow on the grill - usually about two hours.


  • 2 Tbl. Garlic Powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbl. of Paprika
  • 1 Tbl. Cumin
  • 1 tea. salt
  • 1 tea. pepper
  • 2 Tbl. Olive Oil
  • 1 can of beer
  • 1 whole chicken

First mix all the spices together.

Open the beer can, and drain it until it is 1/2 full. 
Put the can into a chicken stand. These can be found at Walmart for about $2 - or online.

Clean the chicken, and then brush with olive oil.

Rub the spices all over the chicken.

Stick the can of beer up the chickens "butt".

Grill on low for about two hours.
Enjoy the juiciest chicken ever!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Introducing Aquagirl #sonymoms

Aquagirl made a splash into the pool this weekend showing off her super hero skills. She is queen of the sea and ruler of Atlantis. 

She can be found swimming underwater in the pools and seas of Orange County. Collecting sea shells and swimming rings.

All of these images were captured using the Sony Cyber-shot TX20 underwater camera. I am part of the Sony VIP Mom Blogger Program by Sony Electronics where a group of mom bloggers have been given the opportunity to test and review Sony gear.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Capturing Memories at the OC Fair with Sony #Sonymoms

OC Fair with the Panorama feature
I have lots of hard drives all over the house stored with hundreds of pictures I have taken over the years with my Sony cameras. When I got an invitation to be a Sony Mom, I was more than trilled. I spent the past couple of days on a retreat learning all about new Sony products, and how I can use them to capture my children's memories. I brought home a new Sony Cyber-shot TX20 to experiment with after leaving the retreat. The camera is smaller than my cellphone and takes incredible pictures. My first mission to experiment with the camera was at the OC Fair yesterday. While at the Fair, I also let my children document the Fair through their eyes. 

Taken with an iPhone
All of these pictures were taken with the Sony Cybershot camera settings, without any editing.

Taken using the partial color setting

Taken using the Pop Color setting

Taken with Intelligent Auto

The Sony Cyber-shot TX20 Camera is available in orange, green, black, blue and pink for approximately $330. It is lightweight, waterproof, rustproof and shockproof and creates high-resolution photos and full HD videos.

The camera also takes great full HD movies (1920x1080/60i) and two direction optical image stabilization with "Active Mode."

I'm part of the Sony VIP Mom Blogger Program by Sony Electronics where a group of mom bloggers have been given the opportunity to test and review Sony gear. All my thoughts and opinions are of my own.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Dinner in a Dash: Pasta Caprese

I can't escape my love for caprese during the summer. I love making this effortless caprese pasta for dinner after a warm day in the summer sun. It is quick, easy, and dinner will be on the table in just a few minutes.


  • 1 pound of cooked pasta
  • 1/4 cup of fresh chopped basil
  • 2 cups of sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup of mozzarella balls
  • 3 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves

Slice the tomatoes.

Cook the pasta.

Mix all the ingredients, and enjoy!

Giveaway: NCAA Football 13 #NCAAFootball13

Are you ready for some football? We are! It is no surprise that growing up in a house full of boys that my daughter would love football just as much as they do. When we went to get the newest NCAA Football 13 this weekend, Ella was more excited than the boys.

When Ella saw that we could make our own custom game cover on the NCAA Football 13 Facebook app, she was excited to make it using her favorite team: Georgia Tech.

The new NCAA Football 13 game has lots of great new features including:

Heisman Challenge—Win it for your school as you play as one of 10 former Heisman Trophy winners under center, in the backfield, or split wide, see if you can utilize his legendary skills for your favorite college team in a quest to match his award-winning historical performances and win the Heisman Trophy once again.   Choose from the following former Heisman greats:
·         Robert Griffin III                                                   
·         Doug Flutie
·         Herschel Walker
·         Marcus Allen
·         Charlie Ward
·         Barry Sanders
·         Desmond Howard
·         Eddie George
·         Carson Palmer
·         Andre Ware

An All-New Passing Game—A revolutionary passing system brings added authenticity to the Quarterback position from ball trajectory to play action pass to the option. Enhanced receiver control puts you in position to make a play on the ball and new read and react defensive coverage delivers greater realism on the gridiron.

Reaction Time—Great players see and feel the game differently. With Reaction Time, the game slows down during key moments, increasing your on-field awareness and opening up more opportunities as you sense things before they happen.

Dynamic Dynasty—Recruiting goes deeper than ever with the addition of dynamic recruiting pitches. For the first time ever, your recruiting grades can change each week based on your performance in Dynasty mode. In addition, Gameday Saturdays come to life with live studio updates and enhanced commentary by Rece Davis.

You're Covered Facebook app at to create a customized NCAA Football 13 game cover featuring any person they'd like, such as themselves, a friend or child. The app lets users upload a photo into the face of one of their favorite teams, and then save it and print it out at home. How neat is that? You'll have a blast giving one of your football-loving kids a copy of the new game with their face on the cover!

Our Georgia Tech girl made her NCAA Football 13 cover in support of her favorite college.

One lucky reader will win their choice of a $50 Walmart gift card or an upcoming EA game including Madden 13, FIFA 13 or Medal of Honor, or NHL 13.

To enter to win, please customize a cover at Make a customized cover using the Facebook app and submit a photo of any of the following: yourself or your child holding their personalized copy of the NCAA Football '13 or a photo of the printout of your customized NCAA Football '13 cover or a screenshot sharing your customized NCAA Football '13 cover on your Facebook wall.

Submit your link here to be entered to win:

NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND NECESSARY, A PURCHASE OR PAYMENT WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. NCAA Football 2013 You’re Covered Sweepstakes (the “Sweepstakes”) starts on July 10, 2012 at 12:00:00 A.M. EST and ends July 31, 2012 at 11:59:59 P.M. EST. Click on Official Rules for details on entry instructions, odds of winning, prize details, restrictions, etc. Open only to legal residents of the 50 U.S./D.C. and 18 years or older as of time of entry. Residents of P.R. are ineligible. Void in P.R. and where prohibited. Sponsor: Electronic Arts, Inc., 209 Redwood Shores Pkwy., Redwood City, CA 94065.

List of the full rules are available here.

To enter the Sweepstakes, during the Sweepstakes Period go to (“Sweepstakes Website”), click on the “Sweepstakes” link on the Sweepstakes Website and follow the instructions on screen. Entrants will be required to upload a creative photograph to the Sweepstakes Website of an original photograph taken by Entrant of either Entrant or their child. Entrant must complete one (1) of the following entries, Photographs for entry: 1) showing the Entrant or their child holding their personalized physical copy of NCAA Football ’13, printed from the Walmart photo center; 2) a photo of the printout of the cover Entrant would like to see on their copy of the NCAA Football ‘13 game, generated from the EA Sports You’re Covered application on the EA Facebook Page; or 3) a photo of Entrant sharing on their Facebook wall the cover Entrant would like to see on their copy of the NCAA Football ’13 game, generated from the EA Sports You’re Covered application on the EA Facebook page (each a “Submission”). You must first “Like” the EA Sports Facebook Page.”

See our entire shopping trip for the NCAA 13 Football game on Google Plus. Follow NCAA Football on Twitter and Facebook.

“I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Electronic Arts #CBias #SocialFabric” 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sparks of Love on the 4th

I still can't believe that it has already been a week since the 4th of July. This summer is flying by so fast, and my kids are growing up even faster. We had planned to spend the 4th of July with family until Grandma got an infection in her eye. We made a quick change of plans and celebrated right in our community of Aliso Viejo.

Steve took back his grill and I enjoyed time in the kitchen with Ella. We had a relaxing day cooking, laughing and playing games together.

It would not be the Barone house unless things got a little silly too!

We made a traditional 4th of July dinner with my best pasta salad recipe (recipe here), potato salad (recipe here) and good old burgers.

After dinner we went to the Aliso Viejo Community Association celebration. The park was packed with hardly any grass to sit, but we found a cozy little place to enjoy the evening. 

The kids made cards for the troops thanking them for their service to our Country.

And we got silly with some stilt walking jugglers.

My blogging buddy Caryn (rockinmama) joined us for the fireworks with her adorable kiddos.

The kids made balloon animals and got their faces painted.

Then the sun started to set, and all our children started getting tired (aka. cranky) so it was the iPhone to the rescue.

Once the show started, the kids cuddled on our laps, as we enjoyed the spectacular fireworks show. The 4th of July brought sparks into our hearts as the day strengthened our love for each other.

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