Monday, April 30, 2007

For all those wonderful Mothers you know, including yourself ....

Is anyone else still looking for new and exciting Mother's Day gift ideas?!?! I found some fun, stylish and different ideas at the site below (click on icon). Anyone have anything to share?!

As Seen at Cool Mom Picks

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Would you like to entertain but with out the hassle of cleaning before and after guests?

I don't think there is anything more intimate then dining with friends at a home versus a hotel, conference room or restaurant. It is one of the reasons I did not want to have our wedding celebration in a hotel ballroom. We decided on the private Pacific Club in Newport Beach, CA (not a home but a private dinner club and the closest we could get to accommodating 135 guests with a dining room ambiance). It was perfect. My entire Wedding Day was perfect. Oops got side tracked! I actually wanted to share a new concept my great friend KC shared with me (she recently attended a "surprise" wedding at the Palm Springs, CA location). The concept is being able to stay and entertain at luxurious private homes with all the services of a luxury 5-star hotel.

At Time and Place Homes
you can rent private luxurious homes with full service amenities. They are located all over the world from Kauai, Hawaii to Paris, France. Check out the locations here. I think this is a fairly new concept but it seems that other companies are doing the same thing.

Now for those of you that like to take entertaining and dining to new heights (yes, pun intended) you need to check out Dinner in the Sky. I got butterflies just looking at it.

Okay, none of these options are in our budget so if you are asked to a dinner party from us soon don't expect to be dining pool side or in the sky. Our townhome may not be as luxurious, big or exciting but I promise you won't complain if we serve my DH's wonderful BBQ pork, mmmmmmmmmmm!!!

Bubbley springtime fun!

I found the perfect solution to my inability to blow bubbles ... DS's GM (Godmother) gave him the Billions Bubble maker with Turbo Bubble Technology for Easter. It works great. He had a blast running after all the bubbles. The only drawback is that you need a lot of Bubble Solution. I used an entire small sized bottle in an hour of play time. It was well worth it. DS loved it and I didn't have to struggle to blow multiple bubbles.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Worn. Torn. Tattered. No more.

I knew for quite some time that I needed new sweat pants/exercise wear/leisure suits but being the cheap SAHM that I am I kept putting it off. Really, I had my eye on a new pair of Coach flats and I really didn't want to give those up for "play" clothes. That is until my DH recently demanded that I stop wearing tattered sweat suits, even to the park. Okay, I understand Starbucks, maybe even the Bank, but the Park?! Ouch! But I knew it must be bad when my DH told me this. The same guy who will not part from t-shirts from his High School days and still fights me on wearing shorts to church. Okay, it is definitely time for updating.

On one of our morning walks sweet and stylish Mommy KR told me she was lucky enough to receive a gift card from her Mother-in-law for her Birthday to Lucy and raved about their exercise suits. She was wearing the pants that morning and I thought they were exactly what I was looking for.

I went to the closest Lucy in Newport Beach, CA. I agreed with her assessment and walked away with pants, jackets, t-shirts and tank tops. If you have a Toddler you understand why exercise wear must not only be functionable but also fashionable. If you don't, let me explain, as a SAHM of a Toddler you some times have to go from exercising directly to the grocery store, Story time, Play dates, the Library, etc. before getting your first shower of the day. The first day I wore my new Lucy suit I actually found myself hoping that I would run into that stylish always-put-together old co-worker I hadn't seen in quite some time (& was actually starting to miss) while at Starbucks. This was quite the opposite of my usually hoping and praying that no one and I mean NO one sees me at Starbucks.

The low rise style fits just right ... hugging you in all the right places and loose and comfy in others. The best part for a shorty like me is that they come in multiple lengths - short, regular and tall. It was wonderful to walk away with a pair of pants that I could actually wear that same day!

On our same discussion on exercise wear KR also told me about Lululemon Athlectica. A little more expensive then Lucy (and Lucy is by no means inexpensive) but I think it might be worth it. I ventured into the Lululemon Athletica at Fashion Island, CA and really felt like a fish out of water. At first glance I thought Lululemon Athlectica was only for the true exercise, eat no-carbs, only organic foods, and sport gurus. It was definitely not for the SAHM's that push a stroller around the neigborhood and call that exercise. I was able to get over that thought when looking around I saw other shoppers that looked just like me plus salespeople that were surprisingly helpful and non-intimidating. Just as I am starting to feel comfortable I found out disappionting news - they only come in two lengths - regular and tall. Luckily one of the very helpful sales girls quickly added that all Lululemon Athletica wear can be altered and hemmed for FREE and available for pick up one week later. That was all she had to say before I began running around the store pulling pants, cropped pants, tank tops, and t-shirts to try on!!! Lululemon Athletica not only has more styles then Lucy but they also have more colors too. I found several pairs that I really liked. This visit I decided only on the Clam Digger's in black since the pants can run you any where from $54 to $98 and I had spent most of my "exercise clothes" budget at Lucy the day before. You are definitely getting your money's worth in quality, as well as, style. All their exercise clothes are flat seams for amazing comfort which also allows them to be worn reversible. I especially thought this was a great option for the pants that were all black on one side and had color waist bands on the other. The disappointing part at Lululemon Athletica was the matching jackets. I did not like any of the styles and was disappointed that they only have 3 styles to pair with over 15 styles of pants. That was okay with me since the jackets I picked up at Lucy look just fine with the my new Lululemon Athletica pants too! Plus, who really wears a jacket in Southern California?!

Oh and by the way, my sweet DH bought me those wonderful Coach flats for Easter. They are still sitting unopened and unworn in my closest. That is where they will probably sit until I realize I can take them back and get a great pair of Lululemon Athletica pants (& maybe even a t-shirt too). I guess he was right, I really did have more of a need for exercise clothes then Coach flats.

To find a Lucy store click here.
To find a Lululemon Athletica store click here.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

French Fries, French Toast and ... French Beer?!

I know what your thinking, most people think of Red Wine and Champagne when they think of French libations. What most people don't know is that they also make delicious beer. I am not typically a beer drinker. I prefer a glass of Red wine with dinner but there are occasions when a nice cold beer sounds better. My favorite is Fischer beer, made in France. I knew this beer was going to be something special when my German DH introduced me to this French beer (for those of you that know my DH, I am sure you are as surprised as I was!). I think he was determined to find an alcoholic beverage that I liked that wouldn't turn my teeth purple.

They make an Amber and a Blonde. Both come in a traditional flip-top bottle that makes drinking this beer even more fun! (I prefer the Amber but both have much more flavor then most U.S. beers)

This beer is not always easy to find but I have been able to enjoy it at Sun Dried Tomato Cafe in Laguna Beach, CA and purchase it at The Wine Pavillion in Lake Forest, CA.

So, what is your favorite beer?!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Will gladly give up two manicures and pedicures for ...

... a monthly in-home massage.

WOW, I can't say enough about my wonderful in-home massage last week. It was pure indulgence and such a splurge but worth every penny. I have always been a big fan of massages. Before DS I was able to indulge often but now that I am always running around with a Toddler attached to my leg it has become more difficult to find the time (& money) to drive to a spa, have an hour massage and drive home while having someone watch DS. Crazy thing is that I need them more then ever. My back is always hurting from running after and carrying a 24 pound boy.

I found the answer ... an in-home massage. She brings the table, the music and candles to you!!! Not only was it convenient but it was the best massage I have ever had. It did wonders for my mind and physical well being. If you are local (in Orange County, CA) you should check out her MySpace page at BacknBusiness. If you click on Spa @ Home under her Blog you will see a list of her services and prices. She also does Spa @ work and Spa parties ... how wonderful would that be?! She used to work at Spa Gregories in Fashion Island and The Body Centre, two places I have been to several times.

For those of you that do not live in Orange County but want to pamper yourself at home you can try Mommy friend MS told me about this site. Her and her hubby have used them several times and have been very pleased. They are available in many areas through out the U.S. Click here to see if they are available in your area.

With Mother's Day just around the corner I can't think of a better gift to give to an over-tired, over-stressed Mommy!!!

By the way, I couldn't talk DH into a monthly massage but I was able to get him to agree to one every 6 weeks after he saw how happy I was. I slept better that night and felt so refreshed the next day.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

As good as free ...

Don't you just love having a close girlfriend that knows you really well? My great friend KC knows me so well that her hubby used to ask if we shared a brain! LOL! It is wonderful having a great friend that knows you so well and last week KC gave me yet another reason to be thankful. Her message sounded something like this ....

"I thought of you and I know you will want to mark your calendar ... for $.31 cent scoop days at Baskin-Robbins." Yippee ... another Ice Cream deal ... calendar is marked!

(Ok, maybe not the best example of how well she knows me since my love for Ice Cream is no secret but I am still thankful for the tip!)

Don't forget about FREE Ice Cream scoop day this Tuesday, April 17th at Ben & Jerry's stores and next month don't forget to mark your calendar for .... .31 cent scoop days at Baskin-Robbins on May 2nd, 2007. It is from 5:00pm to 10:00pm and is in honor of the National Fallen Firefighter Association. Great cause and great taste!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I was Tagged

By the gal who finds all the wonderful and adorable things at Views from a Treehouse. It was a fun way to kick-off the weekend and a way to get to know everyone better. So, I thought I would start off the new week and L (lilypie) and DC (kmonkey) consider yourselves tagged now!

Three things that scare me:
1. Heights
2. DS getting abducted, hurt, sick .....
3. Semi-Trucks on the freeway going 70 mph

Three people that make me laugh:
1. My family - especially DH, DS and my Dad
2. The Onion (can that be considered a person, please, really, someone has to write that stuff?!)
3. My great friend ST, she makes me laugh every time I see her (or read her emails). She is hilarious even when she is not trying. :)

Three things I hate:
1. Bad manners
2. Tomatoes
3. People who "pretend" to be someone their not

Three things on my desk:
1. Bottled water
2. Picture of DH from 1980
3. Binder of my favorite recipes (only half way to being completed)

Three things I’m doing right now:
1. Eating chocolate
2. Uploading photos to
3. Typing :)

Three things I’d like to do before I die:
1. Take my kids to Germany
2. Go to Rome with DH
3. Finish watching Lawrence of Arabia (my DH favorite movie)

Three things I can do:
1. The Running Man
2. The Bucking Bronco
3. The Roger Rabbit
(what can I say, I love to dance and I am a child of the 80's)

Three things I think you should listen to:
1. Classical music
2. Your childs cues for attention
3. Your parents

Three favorite foods:
1. Mexican
2. Ice Cream
3. PB & J sandwich

Three shows I watched as a kid:
1. Saved by the Bell
2. The Facts of Life
3. Silver Spoons (who didn't have a crush on Ricky?)

Three things I regret:
1. Not getting an advanced degree immediately after my B.A.
2. Not giving my DH a kiss as soon as he walks in the door every day
3. Not keeping up with DS's baby book (I don't have dates for many milestones)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Time to go some where now that Spring Break is over!

Besides the usual Playdates, Park days, long walks and meeting friends for lunch we were able to squeeze in two fun activities despite the crowds. We are looking forward to going back to each of these venues soon since it was too crowded for us to fully enjoy. After this week I have learned to stay away from these type of venues on school holidays until my curious son learns to watch where he is going instead of only having his eye on his destination (or his cracker!).

First one is the Orange County Zoo located in Irvine Regional Park. I was shocked to find bears, deers, blad eagles and more at a Park that is FREE for kids under 3 and only $2 for those over 3 years old (including adults). Irvine Regional Park is surrounded by beautiful large Oak and Sycamore trees, has picnic tables every where and many parks for the kids to play at. 7 days a week they also run a train through the Park and on the weekends they have Pony rides. DS's Nina (Godmother) and cousin took him there. He actually really enjoyed the animals but I think his favorite part was running after his cousin MA and trying to copy her jumping and stomping. He was in hysterics.

The second activity was Bubblefest at the Discovery Center. It was so busy that we were unable to attend the original showing at 11am and instead attended the 1pm showing which is right at nap time. He seemed to enjoy it but only lasted 15 mintues into the 45 minute show before he was rubbing his eyes and yawning. The older kids looked very interested in watching all the different bubble tricks by famous bubble artisit and Guiness Book record holder, Fan Yang. Of course I was in awe too as DH likes to remind me often that I don't even know how to blow simple bubbles correctly. In fact, little girls at the Park will ask if they can help me when I am trying to unsuccessfully blow them for DS at the Park. Okay, back on subject, before the 1pm showing of Bubblefest we did get to fully enjoy the Discovery Center. Once again his favorite exhibits were Elmo's Body Exhibit (still in Orange County until April 29th, check out other dates and locations here) and DinoQuest located outside. Older kids that are able to stand still for 2 minutes (unlike my DS) can have their picture taken inside a large bubble located inside the Discovery Center (Mommy friends K & H had one taken of their son's). It looks very cool.

Monday, April 09, 2007

What could be better then a scoop of Ice Cream?

Getting it for FREE!!!

I absolutely adore Ice Cream. It is by far my favorite dessert. I got this Great Tip from a Mommy friend and I just had to share ....

GET A FREE ICE CREAM CONE from the guy's that made "Chunky Monkey"& "Phish Food" sinfully good. The one and only "Jerry Garcia" fan's Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream.

Get your FREE cone at participating Ben & Jerry's stores on Tuesday, April 17, 2007 from noon to 8pm. Click here to find participating locations and more information.

By the way, are you a Chunk Spelunker? My DH definitely is. I now get my own pint after suffering through too many "chunk-free" bites of Ice Cream. No more sharing with my Chunk Spelunker Hubby. Click here if you are not sure what a Chunk Spelunker is.

Instead of your legs ...

As I was getting dressed this morning I had to use my nylon stockings once again and wondered for the first time today ... does everyone know about this trick? Just in case you don't I decided to post about it today.

If you are like me no matter how hard you try to avoid it you still get ugly white deodorant streaks on your shirts/dresses when getting dressed. A sorority sister KP (back in college days known as KS) told me aboutt this garment-saving trick: get an old nylon stocking (okay, you might not wear nylon stockings any more but you must have an old pair stuffed some where in your underwear drawer?!), cut it into a medium size strip, I tie mine also into a knot and use that to scrub away deodorant from your clothes. It works like a charm. I have never found anything that works better! I even travel with my tattered nylon stocking strips.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Delicious & Under $20

Recently my great friend KG hosted our monthly Wine Club at her beautiful new home. Besides a fabulous meal of stuffed pork chops and a scrumptious dessert of chocolate fondue we tasted FIVE FABULOUS and SCRUMPTIOUS wines that were all under $20!!! They were so fabulous that I had to share them with all of you and I must admit this is hard for me since I really want to keep these FAB FIVE FINDS all to myself so I can serve them to those with expensive taste without them knowing the cost! (hee hee)

(There were actually two that were my favorites but since the 2nd one wasn't technically under $20 I will share the first one).

Clearwater Creek Cabernet Savignon 2004. It is exactly what a Cabernet is supposed to be. Recommended to me by Bacchus Secret Cellar in Irvine, CA. I was anxious to try it when she told me the vintner is best friend's with the owner of the ever so popular Silver Oak Winery. Even if you don't normally drink Cabernets you most likely still know about Silver Oak Cabernets. She said that Clearwater is the only vintner to get Silver Oak Alexander Valley grapes and I was sold. Once I tried it I was convinced that it was the best Cabernet I have ever had for $19.99. I would serve this Cab to even the most discerning Cab drinker.

You MUST try this wine.

The other 3 wines we tasted that night under $20 were fantastic too:

Cardwell Hill Cellars Pinot Noir 2005 ... you can never go wrong with a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and for only $18.99 a bottle you might want to buy an entire case (purchased by SS at The Wine Pavillion in Lake Forest, CA)

Marques Phillips Sarah's Blend 2005 (purchased by ST at The Wine Cellar in Corona del Mar, CA for $13.99 .... this is a steal for such a great tasting wine.)

Water Wheel Shiraz 2004 (purchased by KG at BevMo for $15.99)