Saturday, November 26, 2011

Stationery card

Wishing You Merry Christmas Card
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Friday, June 17, 2011

LEGOLAND Water Park, a Must-Do Summer Outting

I grew up in a small suburb in New Jersey and spent most of my play time in the woods, riding my bike and playing in my parent’s yard. Now my kids are growing up in sunny San Diego where they get to go to the World Famous San Diego Zoo, Sea World, Balboa Park, Disneyland and LEGOLAND. Really? Seems a little unfair to me, don’t you think? But then again, I’m getting to relive my youth by accompanying my kids to these fun places. And a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to check out the new LEGOLAND Water Park.



Armed with some sunscreen, towels and my two little ones (ages 3 and 1.5 years old); we headed out to LEGOLAND to see what their new Water Park had in store for us. The weather was perfect – it is San Diego, right? And as soon as we arrived we headed over to the new Water Park. We quickly changed into our bathing suits at the park’s convenient Changing Room area and headed straight for the DUPLO® Splash Safari. Both my girls ran straight into the shallow waters, giggling and smiling ear to ear. Hummm, do you think they like this place? I’d have to say they gave LEGOLAND’s new Water Park a big high five.


After a few turns down the ramp slides, the girls toddled over to DUPLO® Splash Zoo where they had fun running through the fountains and jumping on the spray pads. After 30 minutes of that, they asked to go on another ride so we headed over to Build-A-Raft-River. Note to parents with young children, ask for the rafts that have plastic bottoms…it’s safer for kids ages 3 and under. Also, make sure to put a lifejacket on your little ones – especially if you’re there solo and accompanying two little children on the ride. Now back to the ride, Build-A-Raft River is simply, a lazy river but the rafts are outfitted with a Lego base and additional Lego blocks are floating along with you on the ride…so kids get to enjoy a wet ride while creating their own Lego masterpieces. Pretty cool, huh? After two consecutive turns around the River, I insisted we get off and explore more of the park.


Next stop was the Joker Soaker area featuring water cannons and a 350 gallon super soaker. I have to say, I think this area is better suited for older children and my two little ones (3 and under) only stuck around for a mere 30 minutes before we headed out to Splash Out and Twin Chasers. And unfortunately since I had two little ones and my hubs was at work, we had to pass on experiencing these two rides…but we have plans to head back to LEGOLAND Water Park again this summer – along with Daddy.


So if you’re in sunny San Diego or near Southern California, LEGOLAND’s new Water Park is worth the drive and investment. You’ll have a blast…and your kids will too!


Tickets for the Water Park are only $12 when added to the regular park admission and an additional $3 for kids one to two years old. For a complete list of pricing, log on to http://california.legoland.com/tickets/admission_tickets/. And don’t forget to plan enough time to explore LEGOLAND California and its Sea Life Aquarium™.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pack rat? Me? Many just a mini bit.

I never thought of myself as a pack-rat.  I mean I am nothing like those people who are featured on Hoarders.  However as I'm packing up my house in anticipation for my family's move to our first home, we live in a condo right now, I'm beginning to realize that I might have a slight obsession with products that are sold in mini sizes.

You see, after going through the two adjacent bathroom cabinets in our master bath, I have uncovered three full zip lock bags stuffed with assorted mini shampoos, conditioners, lotions and mouthwashes.  Add to that a collection of mini toothpastes, sewing kits, shower caps and prepackaged cotton balls and cotton swabs.  Hummm.

Now my hubs and I were avid travelers post kids but it seems that a large majority of my mini collection was purchased by myself from Target, CVS, Rite Aid or Wal-Mart.  I seem to have a small obsession with the aisle that features the cute mini versions of all its larger counterparts.  What to do?  What to do?  Well half of the battle is realizing that you have a problem, right?

To solve this problem and to eradicate my mini collection, I've decided that once we move into the new house I will not be purchasing any large bottles of shampoo, conditioner or body lotion.  In fact, I will not be purchasing any smaller versions of the before mentioned products.  Instead, I am going to start using what we have.  If my calculations are correct, it will take my hubs and I about two years to use all our assorted minis....ok, maybe longer.  But hey, we just bought a house and will be house-poor for a while so even better to use what we've got, right?  There is always an upside!

Good thing that there is such an eclectic and wide variety of mini brands to choose from.  I'm wondering, how many minis are in your cabinets?  Me?  Well I still have to go through the guest/my daughters' bathroom where I know there's about another full bag of minis awaiting me.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Playground Wars, Round I (Mom vs Mom)

So I was at the playground today with my two littles ones and four other mothers and their children.  While there, I was introduced to a new mom by one of my good mom-friends.  We exchanged casual hellos, you know the typical greeting. 

Fast forward an hour later and I'm realizing that this new mom's son is a little aggressive on the playground.  I have two daughters and my oldest is a little timid, at times. 

Ok, here's the situation.  I am pushing my 15 month old on the swings and watching my three year old on the playground structure.  I watch the new mom's son walk up to my daughter, push his finger on her head and push her.  My daughter stands up and looks at the little boy and over towards me regarding reassurance.  Please note, this was all unprovoked.  My daughter had literally walked over the bridge on the playstructure and this little boy took it upon himself to walk up to her and push her.  I saw the whole thing. 

I am also with my 15 month old who is on the baby swing.  So I call over to MY daughter, "It's ok honey.  Just walk away from him."  My daughter is staring at me still wondering what to do.  Again, I address MY daughter, "Just don't play with him and get away from him, honey." 

Enter the new mom, "What happened."  

Well she asked, right?

Me, "Your son pushed my daughter." 

New mom, "Well I believe in talking things out." 

Ok, deep breathes. 

Me,"  Well I don't know you. And I wasn't reprimanding your child.  I was talking to my child and telling her to remove herself from the situation."

Hello?  Where was this new mom when the altercation happened?  She wasn't even watching her son!  If she was, why didn't she walk over and tell her son not to push?  Suddenly she wants to talk things out? 

New mom walks over to her son and asks him if he pushed my daughter.  By this time her son is crying (because I think he knows he's going to get in trouble).  But maybe it's because he's still on the playstructure and new mom is telling him to get off.

Then I hear new mom say, "It's ok.  Did she push you first?" 

Really?  Come on...

Ooh and did I mention that the new mom's friend is pushing her baby on the swing next to me?  One word...awkward.

"No,"  I mumble under my breath, she did not push him.  My daughter looks blankly at new mom, probably wondering what is going on.

Now kudos to new mom for actually telling her son that it's not nice to push.  But then she grabs him and pulls him off the playstructure and mumbles (loud enough for me to hear 20 feet away)..."Unbelievable.  Completely unbelievable."

Obviously these moments of unbelief are addressed at me.  I'm not proud of it, but I take the bait and respond.

"I'm not sure what your problem is?  I don't know you.  I don't know your son.  I was not addressing your child.  I did not reprimand your child.  I was simply telling MY daughter to get away from him and remove herself from the situation." 

Granted I was yelling this across the playground at the woman as she was walking away.

To which her response was, "What a F*&@ing biatch."  Now let me clarify, she used the unedited versions of those two words.  Yes, I do sound like a tattletail, don't I?

Now this potty mouthed comment about me was said to her friend -- who had by this time vacated the baby swing and was quickly heading over to her stroller with her baby in hand. 

But none-the-less, new mom made this comment loud enough that my sole remaining mommy-friend who was sitting at a bench on the other side of the playstructure clearly heard her  -- and it was said directly in front of new mom's toddler -- you know, the one who pushed my daughter.  

Hummm, nice language.  Maybe now I know why your child is so ill behaved. 

Should I have handled it differently?  Maybe.  But then again I was also with my 15 month old and couldn't abandon her on the baby swings to go over and quietly talk to my daughter about moving away and not playing with the little boy.  Does it bother me that this new mom thinks I'm a f$#@ing biatch?  A little but honestly, after hearing her potty mouth I really do feel like my response to the situation was correct.

I don't feel it was my place to reprimand her son.  Or to even call attention to his misdeeds.  I only offered up the facts as to what happened when new mom asked. 

The only thing I did was to instruct my child to remove herself from the situation and to get away from the little boy and play elsewhere.  What would you have done in my situation?  I'm curious, what are your thoughts?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tick tock tick tock....seconds go by on the clock

I have to admit there are some days when I literally count down the minutes until bedtime arrives.  Some days when my overly tired three year old -- who decided to skip her nap for the day -- is really pushing my buttons, I even push up her bedtime by an hour...or more.  

Tonight is one of those nights.  It's around 7 p.m. and the hubs is still hard at work and I probably won't see him for another two hours, or more.  My daughter came home from preschool exhausted.  Whining, cranky and looking to start an argument with me as soon as I said no to anything she asked.  So I decided to give her an early dinner and put her in bed at 6:30 p.m.   Oh sweet silence...yeah right.  She maybe in her bedroom but she's reading through books, playing with her iXL or singing to her baby sister -- who I just put in her crib at 7 p.m. 

But hey, who am I to complain?  No one is out here asking me for something; pulling on my leg; demanding another drink, toy or television program.  Nope, it's just me, the TV and my laptop.  And another little thing...guilt. 

As the minutes tick by, I start to feel more and more guilt about putting them to bed so early.  But as I peek in on my two daughters I notice both of them are lying quietly in their beds and as I listen to their steady breathing -- I realize they have drifted off to sleep. 

I settle myself back on the couch, pick up the remote and I happily settle in to watch some chick flick TV and relax for the few sweet minutes of solitude -- until the hubs comes home.   Happy channel surfing, mamas.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wait listed...

So my phone ran tonight and I checked the Caller ID and saw the name of a preschool that I had placed my three year old on....oh, well over three years ago. 

I answer, "hello?" 

"Yes, this is XYZ Preschool (that's not their real name, duh) and we were calling you because we have an opening this fall in our M W F afternoon class (afternoon classes are usually considered the non-prime times) and wanted to offer it to your daughter."

My response? "Ooh, well thank you for calling but it's been three years since we placed our daughter on your list and fortunately for us, we have made other arrangements."

Seriously?  Come on!  Three years have passed and you think I have been waiting at home with baited breath for this long lost phone call to offer me a coveted spot in your prestigious preschool?  Well, no thank you.

I think this was one of the bigger shocks when I became a parent.  It first started when I was trying to find daycare for my newborn and was blatantly told that I should have had her on wait lists...oh, nine months ago (at the very least).  One place even had the nerve to tell me that I should have called then when I was trying to conceive.  Really?  And do what?  Place my "thought of a baby" on their wait list?  Crazy! 

Thankfully, the shock of the daycare situation placed me at an advantage regarding preschool.  Because it was during one of my site inspections at a daycare center that the director there alerted me that there was no chance in hell that my newborn would get a spot....and that if I wanted her to get into a good preschool I had better get on the ball regarding placing her on wait lists.  Wow! 

My head was spinning!  Literally.  I mean this was all before I had even decided to not return to work....and the fact that I couldn't find a decent daycare was a huge factor in helping me make the decision to take a sabbatical from my professional career and  make the investment in my child's upbringing.

So, it was with my usual panache and gusto, that I used to reserve for my clients, that I forged ahead and started my excel spreadsheet regarding the numerous preschools located within a drive distance of our condo.  Each received a rating based on my research and findings.

I made calls; scheduled site inspections; interviewed the directors; teachers and aides.  Had my daughter attend sample classes to see how she reacted to the curriculum.  Then, I placed my three year old on about five different wait lists.  And then did what all moms do best, waited. 

Thankfully, I was lucky and she got into one of the top two choices -- for her two year old program.  She loved that preschool...but then we decided to change it up for her third year and place her in a more academically focused school -- that actually is a private school that goes all the way up to 8th grade.  The best scenario?  My youngest, who is 15 months old is considered a legacy and will have priority at both schools when it comes time to enroll her. 

Parents, please?  This isn't even college.  This is preschool selection.  I can't even begin to imagine the preparations needed for college.  Thankfully, I have a few years to wait....or maybe not, according to those daycare Directors.  Maybe I'm already behind that eight ball too.  Yikes!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Who needs a therapist? It's amazing what a little retail therapy can do to soothe the soul!

So, it's one of those rainy days in sunny San Diego.  I'm holed up in the house with two little girls and bored out of my mind.  What do I do?  Well while my two daughters partake in a PBS-feast, I log on to the Internet and start checking out some "sales."  Dangerous?  Yup.  Especially when you can find some great deals, i.e., no added costs (taxes) and free shipping.  But what else?  How about finding even more discounts?

If you're like me, you love a deal.  And I always feel better about a purchase if I feel like I'm getting additional money off.  So whenever I'm shopping online I always make sure I do it via MyPoints (https://www.mypoints.com/emp/u/refSignup.do?refCode=Pv6Th0rWLb8IK---v&arr=s10&afsrc=1&src=EXTERNAL_PUBLICATION).  Never heard of it?  Simply put, you earn "points" for doing what you already do online: shopping, reading emails, playing games, searching the web, taking surveys, and more.  The more you do, the more "points" you'll earn.  And I have to tell you, I've redeemed my "points" and have received well over $200 in free gifts cards from this site.  It's easy and FREE!


Another great way to "earn" while shopping is by registering with Upromise by Sallie Mae (http://www.upromise.com/welcome/home).  Never heard of it?  Well, Upromise helps its members get money back for college from their everyday spending. It's free and easy and you can even have grandparents register their credit cards to gain additional saving for your child's college and/or private school funding.  So far I've saved $300+ for my three year old which can easily be rolled over into a 529 Savings Plan -- simply by shopping and using your existing credit cards and reward cards -- just don't forget to register them with the site!

Ever heard of Retail Me Not (http://www.retailmenot.com/).  Simply input the url for the site you're shopping and if there is a coupon or discount code, chances are you'll find it on this site.  I love this site.  Granted I typically only save 10 - 15 percent or even better get a free shipping code but it all adds up in the long run, right?

Lastly, Amazon Moms (http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=amb_link_353920162_1?ie=UTF8&docId=1000535321&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-3&pf_rd_r=1J9VMK84FAGNJJFAKGZF&pf_rd_t=9401&pf_rd_p=1278700242&pf_rd_i=amazon-mom-landing) is another great resource.  It's FREE to sign up and Amazon Mom members receive benefits such as 30 percent off diapers and wipes, FREE two-day shipping with Amazon Prime, as well as exclusive offers via e-mail.  What a deal...especially if you're an online power shopper like me....Amazon.com is a staple and one of my top favorites.

Well, hope these sites help you.  We could all use some extra $$ in our wallets these days and as a stay at home mom (SAHM) it's more of a necessity to save, save, save!  That being said, a little retail therapy can go a long way...especially on a rainy day!