Friday, April 26, 2013

Kid-Friendly Ratatouille Recipe

Bonjour! Earlier this week, I exposed my kids to a touch of European food by making homemade ratatouille. Now I did not have a mouse under my hat helping me to cook it, but it did end up being pretty delicious and packed with tons of vegetables. I hope that you enjoy it!


  • 4 Tbl. of olive oil
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tea. of fresh parsley

Heat olive oil on the stovetop. Cook garlic for 1-2 minutes before adding eggplant and parsley. Cook until the eggplant is softened.

In a casserole dish, spread eggplant mixture into dish. The add a dash of parmesan.

Then layer on top of the eggplant the following vegetables while adding parmesan in-between each layer. zucchini, onion, bell pepper and then the tomato.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chocolate Banana Jam Recipe

When I was a kid, my Grandma would always make me "monkey jam" aka. banana jam. I have so many memories of her spreading it over a piece of warm toast for a snack while I was staying at her house. Since I was in the kitchen working on some recipes for the next OC Family Magazine issue, I decided to make some of her "monkey jam." I added some chocolate to put my own twist on our family recipe.


  • 2 Large bars of chocolate (100grams each)
  • 12 mini bananas (they are sweeter) or 4-5 regular bananas (they must be ripe)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 1/2 cups of raw sugar

Mix all the ingredients into a blender. Blend until thick and creamy. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week. Serve on warm toast or over pancakes.

Monsters University Final Theatrical Trailer #MonstersUEvent

I can't believe that it has already been over two weeks since attending Monsters University in San Francisco. It was an amazing experience getting to step into the world of Monsters University at the Pixar Animation Studios.

While at the Pixar Animation Studios we had an opportunity to be one of the first to see the first 40 minutes of the almost complete film of Monsters University. Today we are excited to be able to share with you a sneak peek at the final theatrical trailer for Monsters University that is being released to the public today!

You are invited to attend the first day of the school year at Monsters University at a theater Nationwide on June 21, 2013. 

Disclosure: We attended a press event at Pixar Studios for the release of Monsters University. All of our photos, thoughts and opinions are of our own. We did not receive compensation for this post and the sneak peek to the trailer was provided to us on behalf of Disney.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fun and Fresh Parenting Tips

Happy mother and daughter laughing together outdoors

Parenting is fun, but there are also many challenges that come along with it. Getting your kids to eat their vegetables and keeping active toddlers entertained are just a few challenges of parenting. Tia Mowery is a new mother to a one-year-old toddler. She was featured on the Circle of Moms video series in partnership with Kia offering Parenting Tips along with Author and Psychotherapist, Stacy Kaiser.

Dealing with a picky eater is something that many moms have dealt with during their years as a new parent. Many parents have used bribing techniques to get their children to eat their vegetables just to avoid conflict at the dinner table. While watching the Circle of Moms video series, I was able to get some new and insightful tips for helping to make dinnertime less of a struggle.

During the video series made in partnership with Kia, I was able to learn more about all new 2014 Kia Sorento, and how I can make traveling with kids more enjoyable. All new 2014 Kia Sorento has many features that parents will love including the one touch start, so new parents do not have to worry about digging for keys in the diaper bag.

Finally, the latest video from the Circle of Moms by POPSUGAR shared tips for taking better photos of your kids. I love taking pictures of my kids, (sometimes too many pictures) and the tips helped me to be able to capture better memories of our time together.

Enjoy watching the latest video from Circle of Moms by POPSUGAR in partnership with Kia in the link below. It will be a fun and informative time to reflect on your time as a mother.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Kia through their partnership with Circle of Moms. While I was compensated to review the Kia Motors video and write a review, all opinions are my own

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wings of Life Gardening Tips

My son and I loved the Disneynature movie, "Wings of Life." With Earth Day closely approaching, this movie will bring children closer to nature and grow a new love and appreciate for our Earth. In anticipation of the movie release on April 16th, we have this beautiful slideshow to share.

Disclosure: Slideshow and photos provided on behalf of Disney. We attended a media preview for the movie.

Five Ways to Prepare for an Allergic Reaction

My son during an allergic reaction

When having a child who suffers from an allergic reaction, preparedness key. Sometimes parents are unaware that their child suffers from an allergic reaction until the child has the first reaction. When my child was just two years old, he suffered from his first life-threatening allergic reaction while on vacation. I was unprepared for my child's allergic reaction, and that almost cost him his life. With food allergies on the rise and children getting diagnosed every day, I encourage parents to be prepared in case of a reaction. These are five basic tips for helping to be prepared in the event that your child has an allergic reaction.

If your doctor approves your child being able to take Benadryl, keep a small amount of liquid Benadryl in your diaper bag, purse or backpack. Benadryl can quickly calm down facial swelling, hives or airway constriction until getting a child to see a doctor. (Liquid Benadryl absorbs faster than the pills or chewable tablets)

Have your medical information including your child's doctor information, insurance information, child's weight and height wherever your child goes. When my son had his first allergic reaction, the first thing the EMT asked was his height and weight so that they knew how much medication they can immediately give him in the ambulance.

If your child has suffered from a previous reaction, and your doctor has prescribed an epi-pen have it with your child at all times. My son currently wears his epi-pen along with his medical information in a small fanny pack. That way, if I am not with him, then he will always have his life saving medication with him at all times.

Have a small journal and a pen available. What I learned was that it was beneficial to document everything that happened before leaving in the ambulance. Have someone help write down all the foods on the table during the time of the reaction, the times of the reactions and document everything. This is going to be valuable information needed within the upcoming weeks to help your child's doctor.

Stay as calm as possible - which is not easy. Children usually do not understand what is happening, and it can be frightening. If the parent or caregiver stays calm, it will help the child cope better with the situation..

Awareness and preparedness are key with allergic reactions. Take time to research the warning signs of an allergic reaction, and be prepared at all times. Being prepared will help to lessen the stress for everyone.

Wordless Wednesday: Friends Make the World Go Round

Disclosure: this photo was taken on a Disney press trip. All of our thoughts are of our own.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Monsters University Orientation Day #MonstersUEvent

Tee (That's It Mommy) Vanessa (The Queen of Swag)
Today I officially landed in San Francisco for orientation at Monsters University. From the moment that I stepped off the bus at Pixar Studios, I was immersed into the movie.  Just knowing that I was in the building, where so many of the movies that have brought joy and happiness to my children were created had me smiling from ear to ear.

Everything from the movie was right here at the Pixar Studios. I felt just like I was Mike Wizouwski walking into Monster's University for the first day of scare school.

We first started with orientation. We took photos for our school ID, and then we got a chance to see the first 40 minutes of the film. The film was amazing, and I cannot wait to see how the finished film turns out.

Then we played around the quad for awhile right under the giant Pixar lamp. I was just waiting for it to start jumping like it does on the films.

I have a feeling that there is going to be sign-ups tomorrow for classes when we return for our second day of school.

We might even get to play some scare games! Keep up with the excitement tomorrow on twitter under the hashtag #MonstersUEvent. Along with 25 other bloggers, we will be sharing our experiences from the trip live on Twitter.

Disclosure: We were provided with a media trip on behalf of Disney. All our photos, thoughts and opinions are of our own. We were not compensated for this post.

Learning the Importance of Life with Wings of Life

There is one thing that I have made a conscious effort of doing with my children, and that is teaching them the importance of caring for our earth. After my older son had developed food allergies, we began working to grow as much of our fruits and vegetables as possible. Over the years, my children have gained a love for caring our our garden and the earth. There is one thing that I have not yet taught my children about yet, and that is about the pollinators that give our plants the ability to grow the food that we eat.

Last week, I brought my youngest son Tyler with me to Los Angeles for a screening of the new Disneynature film, "Wings of Life." The movie told a touching story of how our life does not just depends on the flowers, but also on the pollinators.

Before watching the movie, we would always swat at a bumblebee when working in the garden unaware that they were the creatures that were making our garden grow. Not only does our garden need bumblebees to produce the fruits and vegetables, but the bee population has been diminishing.

My son and I learned about the process that bees and other pollinators go through to produce life on our earth. We gained a new love and appreciation for pollinators and will never find ourselves swatting at a bee or other insect again.

Following the movie, we enjoyed an education question and answer period with the director of the film, Louie Schwartzberg. The next morning, my son and I went into the garden, and started planting more flowers. The flowers will help the pollinators flourish and grow around us, helping to bring more life to our planet.

Wings of Life will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on April 16th.

Disclosure: We attended a media screening of Wings of Life. All of our photos, thoughts and opinions are of our own.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

College Here I Come #MonstersUEvent

Tomorrow morning I board a plane for Monsters University along with 25 of my favorite blogger friends. I am excited and nervous all at the same time. Thinking about going back-to-school brings so many fun memories back to my mind, and I cannot wait to start making new memories.

As I sat here tonight packing my bags, making sure I have enough memory cards, camera batteries and camera lenses I started thinking about my babies. I am always a mother first. I love my job more than any other job I have had in my lifetime, but my job as a mother always comes first - no matter what. I started thinking about how my Tyler was hugging me extra tight tonight at dinner, and how Andrew was a little extra emotional before bedtime.

I wanted to make sure that they were going to know, that although mommy was away that she still loves them just as much as she does when she is home. That although I am not there the minute the school bell rings, that my heart is right there with them. It is always hard to say good-bye to your children. At the same time, being away will give me a chance to reflect on my time at as a mother, and come home a better mother than ever before.

So before, I went to bed, I am leaving individual notes for all my children to read when I am gone. Each one tailored special to how I feel about them. Since I am such a stickler for healthy eating in my home, I am leaving them each with their dream - a box of junk cereal to enjoy every morning while I am gone - and some hidden candy treats under their beds. I know that they will enjoy creating unique memories with their daddy that they would not have been able to create, with our normal family routine.

I will miss them dearly while I am in College..but at the same time, I will have a blast...just like them!

Disclosure: I am going on a media trip provided on behalf of Disney. All my thoughts and opinions are of my own.

Race Car Party Themed Recipes

This past weekend, we hosted a fun Ridemakerz Build Your Ride race car party. When planning the party, I wanted to make all race car themed snacks for the kids to enjoy eating. Mommy Parties provided us with these adorable race car themed treats to make and serve at our Ridemakerz party.

Metal to the Pedal Pin "Wheelz" Sandwiches


  • 4 tortilla wraps
  • Sliced turkey
  • Cream cheese
  • Lettuce
  1. Spread cream cheese on the different tortillas
  2. Layer with turkey and lettuce
  3. Roll sandwiches and hold together with a toothpick.

Off Road Dirt Cups

  • Chocolate pudding
  • 4 Oreo cookies (Smashed)
  • Banana slices
  1. Put the pudding into clear plastic cups
  2. Top with crushed oreos and banana slices
  3. Enjoy!

Xtreme Punch

  • 1 (12 oz.) can of frozen cranberry concentrate
  • 3 1/2 cups of fresh orange juice
  • 2 cups of lemon lime soda
  1. Mix all the ingredients into a pitcher.
  2. Serve during the party

We hope that these fun race car themed recipes help to plan a fun party for your children.

Disclosure: We were provided with this recipes from Mommy Parties to host a Ridemakerz Party. All photos are property of FeltStories and cannot be used without permission. All our thoughts are of our own.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wordless Wednesday #MonstersUEvent

We have officially been accepted to attend the School of Scaring at Monsters University!

Disclosure: We are attending a Monsters University press event. All of our photos, thoughts and opinions are of our own.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Disneynature BEARS Sneak Peek

Sneak Peek - Disneynature BEARS on Disney Video

 Disclosure: Sneak Peek video provided on behalf of Disney.

Twas' The Night Before Easter

Twas the night before Easter and all through the house...

All the children were sleeping while dreaming of chocolate bunnies and jelly beans...

While all the children were nestled in their beds....

Mom and Dad were slaving over filling hundreds of Easter eggs...

And what would be to their surprise....

Was that thousands of tiny little ants were marching by.

The next morning, the kids sprang from their beds...

With a twinkle in their eyes,  ready for the big egg hunt....

When what to their wondering eyes would appear....

But that all the little ants had already celebrated Easter with cheer...

The kids dashed away with tears in their eyes...

With hopes that next year the egg hunt would be inside.

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