Month: May 2014

Friday Links

Great tip:
40 ways to entertain your kids while lying down – great if you’re sick or I may use some of these while bfing the new baby!

Great activity:
12 science experiments for preschoolers – it’s never too early to expose your little ones to science!

To make:
Mini hexagon purse tutorial – I just recently made one for Emma…will have to post about it soon

To buy:
Skip Hop Zoo Straw Bottle – We’ve been needing to buy Emma a new straw bottle because the one we have leaks! This one is so cute.

For a laugh (and so true too!)
Why being a toddler is the world’s toughest job

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Free Or Cheap Movies For Kids Around HB/Fountain Valley

Emma is at the age where she is starting to enjoy movies! Her favorite is of course Frozen. We haven’t shown her many other ones just because if we give her a choice, she always wants Frozen! I thought this summer would be a good time to take her to the movies for the first time either in a theater or an outdoor showing. Luckily I will be on maternity leave for the summer so hopefully I can take her out on one of the weekdays as a special treat (while leaving the baby with my MIL!). My husband and I LOVE the movies and can’t wait to share this with Emma! Luckily there are a plethora of free or cheap movie watching opportunities in the summer for kids. This is great if Emma suddenly gets too antsy to sit through the whole thing….I won’t feel guilty about leaving early!

Here are some that I am thinking of checking out:

Century 20 in Huntington Beach has kid movies for $1 on Tuesdays/Thursdays between 10-11:30am. Here is the movie schedule:
June 24/26 The Croods
July 1/3 Turbo
July 8/10 The Smurfs 2
July 15/17 Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs 2
July 22/24 Walking with Dinosaurs
July 29/31 The Lego Movie
August 5/7 Rio 2
August 12/14 Mr. PeaBody & Sherman
August 19/21 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
August 26/28 Zookeeper

Movies in the Park @ Fountain Valley Rec Center has free movies including free popcorn and snocones. There will also be food trucks (check the link for more details). Festivities start at 6 or 6:30pm and the movie starts at dusk. Here is the movie schedule:
August 5 Ice Age at Fountain Valley Sports Park
August 15 The Croods at Cordata Park
August 22 Land Before Time at McDowell Park
August 20 Brave at Ellis Park

A few other movie events that are a little further away:

Movie on the Lawn @ Orange County Great Park – starts at 7:30pm
May 31: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
June 14: Despicable Me 2
June 28: Peopleโ€™s Choice โ€“ Vote For Your Movie! (Babe, Surf’s Up!, or Big Miracle)
July 12: Lego Movie
June 6: Wizard of Oz
June 13: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
June 27: Back to the Future

D.A.R.E. Family Fair & Movie Night at Heritage Park in Irvine will have police and OC Fire Authority vehicles on display along with a snack bar, bounce houses and activities for kids. They will be showing FROZEN at dusk on Saturday June 14th. Event starts at 6pm.

Splash-In Movie & Recreation Swim @ William Woollett Aquatics Center in Irvine. This unique event allows kids to swim while watching the movie Planes! Takes place on August 23rd from 6:30pm-9:30pm and costs $2 for children and $4 for adults.

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Friday Links

Great tip:
20 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Postpartum – Wish I had read this before I had Emma that’s for sure!

Great activity:
10 Play Ideas To spark Your Kids Imagination

To make:
Build a play-doh tool kit – Emma has never really been into play-doh in the past but I am thinking of reintroducing it to her soon as I think she might like it more now! This is a great tool kit.

To buy:
IOU Letterpress – These cards are perfect for new mamas!

To think about:
5 ingredients to avoid in children’s skin care – it’s been so hard to buy non-smelly baby stuff!

For a laugh:
Drunkenly stumbling baby trashes bar

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The Sticker Chart

Have you heard of using a sticker chart to help improve your child’s behavior? I had read a lot about it but didn’t realize how well it worked until we tried it ourselves! I bought ours from Target in the $1 bin but you can also print out your own and buy separate stickers.


We use ours exclusively for brushing Emma’s teeth. We have a really hard time brushing her teeth because she always gags when we put the toothbrush in her mouth! We would all dread when it was time to brush her teeth! Now it’s not so much of a battle. I just tell her “Do you want a sticker today” and ask her “What color sticker are you going to choose today?”. She ALWAYS wants a sticker. And you can just tell how torturous it is for her to brush her teeth but now she will do it just so she can get her sticker! Most of the time she asks for 2 stickers so I make her brush her teeth twice since sometimes I don’t do that great of a job the first time since I try to go as fast as I can for her. That’s how much she loves these stickers though!

As you can see from her chart we aren’t using it as it was intended. Instead of doing it for each day, I allow her to pick whatever color she wants and she has to match it with the same color square. I figure at least this way she can practice her colors and matching skills!


I also like how small these stickers are and how it’s helping her develop her fine motor skills. I was actually surprised she was able to peel and stick the stickers on their herself!


So if you are looking for a great behavior modification trick…I highly recommend the sticker chart!

I was inspired to use a sticker chart after reading this post on Hellobee!

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Huntington Beach Library’s Storytime

We have been taking Emma to Huntington Beach’s Central Library story time on Saturday mornings when we have time. She loves it!!

(sorry for the blurry pic!)

She loves it so much that whenever I say I have to go to the store…she thinks I am saying story time and starts crying if she can’t come along. Now I have to avoid saying that and say I am going to go buy something instead ๐Ÿ˜›

Every week, they pick a different theme and read 3-4 books relating to that theme. The lady who does the reading is very animated and includes a lot of song and hand movements that the kids love. At the end, you get a stamp and sometimes a treat related to the theme! We’ve gotten cookies, bubbles, and stickers before. Afterwards a lot of the parents hang around in the children’s book area with their kids which is also full of toys for the kids to play with.

You can see the days and times the library has their story time here. There are different ones for different age groups. We go to the toddler one at 10am on Saturdays. The link also includes a calendar of their monthly events. Sometimes they have crafts and plays for the kids. I really love the Huntington Beach library – definitely one of the perks of being an HB resident.

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Friday Links

Great tip:
10 activities for 2 year olds to keep them busy and happy in the car – great if you are planning any roadtrips this summer

Great activity:
25 recipes for play – using ingredients found around the house

To make:
Homemade easy, low-cost light table – really thinking about making this for Emma. I think she would really enjoy it!

To buy:
Travel-inspired nursery – if I were were decorating a nursery for baby #2 I would love to buy

To think about:
I’m done making my kid’s childhood magical – Not sure if I completely agree with this but it is something to think about!

For a laugh:

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Emma’s 2nd Year Birthday Questions

You can see her “answers” from last year here. I had to answer most of these questions again since I’m not exactly sure she knows what the word “favorite” means yet. ๐Ÿ˜›


1. What is your favorite color? yellow (this is only a recent thing….normally I would say pink although she ALWAYS wants to wear green pants hehe)
2. What is your favorite toy? Probably her rice box or her Thumper stuffed animal
3. What is your favorite fruit? strawberries
4. What is your favorite tv show? Caillou
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Pizza
6. What is your favorite outfit? This changes daily. Sometimes she will want to wear one thing and refuse to wear it the next day but there is one consistent thing she likes and that is her green pants!


7. What is your favorite game? Pretending to cook and feed people
8. What is your favorite snack? Baked sweet potatoes or chips
9. What is your favorite animal? I think she is scared of all animals right now
10. What is your favorite song? Brave by Sara Bareilles
11. What is your favorite book? Let’s Go To The Farm (Lift The Flap) Book
12. Who is your best friend? still Mommy I think
13. What is your favorite cereal? We haven’t been feeding her much cereal but she likes Rice Crispies
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? people watch, blow bubbles, and eat
15. What is your favorite drink? cow’s milk (oh how much this has changed from last year!)
16. What is your favorite holiday? I don’t think she has a favorite holiday yet but she really enjoyed Easter last month!


17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Mommy/Thumper
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Paleo pancakes or oatmeal
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Pizza
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? a chef!

A video of Emma saying cheers with her cousin Xander. It probably only cracks me up to watch this.

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Hidden Veggie Pizza/Pasta Sauce

It seems like EVERY kid loves pizza and/or pasta. I know my little Emma does! She always wants to eat pizza! So I was very intrigued when I found this recipe called Veggie Heavy Pizza Sauce by Weelicious. I made it one day and it was pretty tasty. Tasty enough that Emma ate it! I made a big batch and stored some of it in the freezer for some quick and healthy meals for those times when I don’t know what to make for Emma.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper, diced
1 medium carrot
1 stalk celery
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes, drained

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the bell peppers, carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Saute until veggies are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
2. Add the tomatoes, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Remove from heat, puree with an immersion hand blender (or in a regular blender) until almost smooth.
4. Return sauce to the heat and simmer until thick, 10-20 minutes. The longer you simmer this sauce the thicker and more flavorful it will become. You can simmer up to 2 hours.

Here’s a few ways we used it:

We made some english muffin pepperoni pizzas. Emma has really started to enjoy cooking with me and she LOVED making her own pizza. It’s a really easy thing for even toddlers to do and Emma could not wait for her pizza to finish cooking! She was so excited about eating this. Unfortunately, since I tried to be healthier and used whole wheat english muffins these weren’t as tasty as a normal pizza (with no fault to the sauce). I think next time I’ll try using pizza dough or pita bread.


We also made a simple pasta with just the sauce. I discovered awhile back they made pasta out of veggies so this is like a super dose of veggies!


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The 2nd Time Around

My due date is getting closer and closer! I’m excited and definitely scared of the changes too. This post about letting go of your first baby really hits home. I know it will be great for Emma to have a sibling but a part of me is sad for her in that she won’t get our full and undivided attention anymore. I’m not really sure how she will adjust, especially since she is such a mama’s girl and I will undoubtedly be very busy with her brother since I will be bfing again. I hope we are able to balance having 2 and giving both kids the love and attention they deserve. I know the first few weeks will definitely be a time of adjustment for all of us.

A few other things I’m not looking forward to:
– Random wakeups at night and just the whole newborn “schedule”. Even though I am not sleeping well right now because of the uncomfortableness of the 3rd trimester, it’s a totally different story when you are in a deep sleep and get woken up by a loud cry!

– BFing. I love and hate breastfeeding. Not looking forward to pumping again that’s for sure! And I’ve always had milk supply issues so it’s always a lot of work for me in the beginning to get it going and to have enough.

– Doing the whole bedtime routine with a newborn. We’ve really gotten into a groove with Emma and it’s been pretty fast and easy to put her down and we get the whole evening to ourselves! I remember in the beginning it would take an hour+ sometimes to get her down. I hope this baby is not as fussy as she was! Maybe this time we will sleep train? hehe

– Using the crib. Husband won’t let me switch the crib to a floor bed and since we still cosleep with Emma in our queen sized bed…that means the baby is stuck in the crib or cosleeper which means when baby cries I have to get up to get the baby and feed him. The reason Emma sleeps with us is because I was too lazy to do that the first time around! And if this baby is like Emma, he won’t sleep more than 15 mins at a time in a crib. I am thinking of getting a topponcino. Has anyone had experience with one?

– A crying baby that won’t be soothed. Sometimes a baby will just cry and none of the normal tricks will work. I dread those.

– Postpartum recovery. OMG. I am really dreading this. I thought this was the worst part and I kept wondering why nobody told me how bad this part was. Labor is a piece of cake compared to this! I just hope recovery is easier and faster the 2nd time around.

What I am looking forward to:
– BFing. Again, I have a love/hate relationship with breastfeeding but I have to admit that since it’s my 2nd time around it should be a LOT easier! I had a lot of problems the first time around and it probably took me WEEKS before I was able to comfortably do it. It was actually pretty stressful and I almost gave up! Now I know what to expect and the “right” way to do it.

– Not being so clueless about everything. Man, we used google like crazy that first time around. We did everything “by the book”. We woke up the baby every 4 hours to feed because that’s what the DR and books told us. Now I’m totally of the opinion of don’t wake a sleeping baby!! We also delayed giving Emma a bottle and listened to our DR to “bird feed” her with a syringe for like a week so that she wouldn’t have nipple confusion. OMG. after a week of that we gave up and used the bottle and it was like 100x easier. I am never doing the syringe feeding again! Same thing with the pacifier. They told us wait 6 weeks to give her a pacifier….by that time she refused to take it and ended up using me as a pacifier! There’s just so many things I know better about now…you don’t always have to listen to the DR or the books or google. Sometimes you just have to listen to your gut!

– Being able to enjoy the newborn phase. I think last time I was too worried about everything and just trying to adjust to being a mom. I didn’t go anywhere and barely left the house if I wasn’t with my husband. This time I feel like I can enjoy my maternity leave better and really bond because I’m not going to worry about the stupid stuff.

I am really nervous about what this 2nd baby is going to be like. It can really make/break how fun/easy the newborn stage is if you have a mild mannered baby or a colicky baby. PLEASEPLEASE DO NOT HAVE COLIC BABY#2!!!! I do notice this baby moves like crazy in my stomach…much more so than Emma did so I’m kind of nervous that he’s going to be a typical boy and be rambunctious and a handful. We’ll see I guess!

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Friday Links

Great tip:
62 tricks to get a sleeping baby – I’m going to have to start going through this list soon!! :o/

Great activity:
How to teach the alphabet with Lego Duplo Blocks

To make:
10 easy diy nursery wall art ideas – We made some wall art for Emma for her nursery…if I have time I should def do something for baby #2!

To buy: – Again, if I was decorating another nursery, it would definitely include one of these pillows!

To think about:
glass half empty, glass half full – how was your day today?

For a laugh:
New parenting study released

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