Sunday, December 1, 2013

Elf-Capades

December 1st is a big morning in our house.

Every year the kids have daily visits with our 'Elf on the Shelf'. They named him 'Elfie' a few years ago, and have now, after three years, realized that he arrives just after Thanksgiving to observe them throughout December. He reports back to Santa. Are you going to behave? Do you want Santa to bring you a gift? It's very effective. 

This morning when they came downstairs, they sadly remarked that they guessed Elfie decided not to come. I wish I had been fast enough to get downstairs ahead of them. When they finally found where he was hiding, they shrieked with giddiness and could not contain themselves. I would have recorded it but I was limping down the stairs as fast as my slug of a hip would let me. 

The little imp was found casually lounging on our Simpsons wall clock. 




I got there just in time for this. 

video


The last few years Elfie has been tame. But I have seen other Elves getting into mischief. Makes me wonder what he'll get up to this year. He better clean it up if he makes a mess. 

A great alternative a friend posted today are these Kindness Elves. What a great opportunity to guide kids in a positive direction for the meaning of the holidays, and beyond. 




Do you have a holiday house elf? What do they get into or do? What did you name it?



Saturday, November 30, 2013

Just Another Saturday Morning


And then I spilled the coffee and ruined the tranquility of laying in bed with triplets and 3 iPads. No apple products were harmed, however, a package of wipes was dessimated in cleaning up the ant infestation I found in the bathroom while looking for a towel to clean up the coffee. Now I can't stop itching.

This of course, led to an OCD inspired cleaning of the whole bathroom, including under the counters and getting rid of old lotions, shampoos, medicines, etc. That need to happen anyway, right?

And yes, I have a Star Wars pillow case.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Jars of Joy

I remember hearing about Jessie. It was all over Facebook and the news. Her passing was January 5th, just days before my son's fourth birthday.

The following year just before he turned five, we were back in the hospital for my son’s 13th brain
surgery. A hospital is the worst place to get rest, and in between doctor’s checks and wondering when we would be moved form ICU to Pediatrics, he received a JoyJar®. I kept looking at it and wondering why it seemed familiar to me. It seemed like a great idea: a cute jar filled with toys and items that might comfort a child in the hospital. 

It was January 5th.


Then I remembered, and I wept. I wept for my child who had had his skull and body sliced open yet again. I wept in gratitude for his survival and the amazing neurosurgery team that continues to save him. I wept for Jessie Joy Rees and her family’s loss. And I wept in gratitude for the vision Jessie had and her fortuitous middle name.

* * * *

NEGU.  Never Ever Give Up. This is what Jessie's legacy created. 

Recently I had the opportunity to participate with Moms L.A. to help fill and package JoyJars®. It was a chance I could not pass up. Max Page, a heart patient and child actor currently on CBS' The Young & The Restless, is best known as 'Little Darth Vader' on a Volkswagon commercial.


Max has a goal. No, a mission. Despite and because of his own condition, Max plans to fill 100, 000 JoyJars® and get them to hospitalized and homebound children.  His goal for this holiday season is 10,000, some of which we were able to fill that day.


That beautiful day offered me no traffic on the way to CBS, and I arrived right on time. Max, his mother Jennifer and some of the show’s cast and crew gathered around a table in the CBS executive boardroom to fill jars. The word heartwarming almost seems cliché to use, but it certainly fits watching Max’s colleagues assist. I was also joined by Moms L.A. co-founder, Sarah Auerswald.


I was humbled to meet Jessie's mother Stacy, and a couple of other moms who had had babies in the NICU. That is an experience I wish on no one. Having a child go through life threatening illness and/or surgeries is brutal. It was my true pleasure to help fill these jars and meet these ladies. 

Max's mom Jennifer speaks about her experiences with Max's heart condition.



You too can help Max reach his goal!


Jessie's hard fought battle against two brain tumors lasted 10 months, during which she created JoyJars® and NEGU. The mission of the Jessie Rees Foundation is to ensure every child fighting cancer has the resources and support to Never Ever Give Up!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

NICU Nurses

This is what it took to hold out children, daily, for over 3 months after they were born. NICU nurses are an elevated form of humans. They saved our family.


Moments after posting this video on Facebook, a friend commented to let me know her mother was a NICU nurse for 25 years. Currently verbally unresponsive, she squeezed her daughter's hand upon hearing what I wrote. This made me so happy and brought me to tears. 

These nurses are exalted in my opinion.  

Friday, August 30, 2013

Refuse Receipt


re·ceipt
riˈsēt/
noun
  1. 1.
    the action of receiving something or the fact of its being received.
    "I would be grateful if you would acknowledge receipt of this letter"
    synonyms:receiving, getting, obtaining, gaining; 
    "the receipt of a letter"


  2. 2.
    archaic
    a recipe.
verb
  1. 1.
    mark (a bill) as paid.
    "the receipted hotel bill"


I findi it ironic that the shortest definition of this word refers to this 41" monstrosity


I only bought two items, and the actual receipt is only five inches long. 
So much for CVS being a 'green' company. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Paper Doll Princess?

Once upon a time, paper dolls were something little girls played as a dress up activity. Technology has now replaced this, along with many other childhood activities, with digital ones.

Dress up. It's a rite of passage for children. It stimulates their imagination and allows their minds to create things adults no longer allow to enter in their thoughts. It's a requirement of childhood, and a way for the news ones here to develop ideas of what they see for their little lives. Disney has had a great handle on this for many years. I mean, when you go to Disneyland, does it EVER occur to you that you are in Anaheim? Why would it? You simply are NOT. You are in a transported place that magically makes the outside world disappear. The same is true for Vegas and ice skating competitions. You don't notice the time, the day or whether it's dark or light. You simply do what is there in front of you and become disoriented upon re-entry to the 'real' world at some point.

But enough philosophy.


My daughter and I recently had the opportunity to review the Disney Princess Royal Salon app that is a princess dress up game. Princesses Ariel, Belle, Cinderella and Rapunzel are the choices, and each setting offers apparel, accessories and magic sparkles with which to decorate your chosen princess. My daughter thoroughly enjoys her pinks and purples, and has an array of dolls and stuffed animals that include some princess related items. But her true love is horses. Rarely since she first sat on a horse has she turned her attention to anything else. But when I presented the app for her, the first thing that got her attention was that I was allowing her to use my coveted phone. My children never touch my phone. It is command central for me and nothing comes near it. Once she got past that, she was seriously interested in creation. Her favorite is Ariel, and Rapunzel is a close second. She enjoyed choosing which party to send the princesses to and what they should wear. Now, in all honesty, my daughter is pretty creative in her own clothing choices, so I didn't expect a Martha Stewart invitation choice or clean cut hairdos on the young ladies. She did not disappoint.

Rapunzel is seen here with a multitude of bows adorning her. My daughter was frustrated with Rapunzel's hair and not able to do what she thought the hair should do. So she covered it with bows.

                 

Belle got lucky with three tiaras and a pink hoody. 


Rapunzel also got an invitation to the masquerade ball, at which she sported a purse on her bicep.

We had a good time playing with the Royal Salon, and my daughter was especially happy to be allowed to play with my phone. But that's only because I realized too late that I should have downloaded it onto the iPad the kids are allowed to use. Royal Salon is a simple app and fun to use, and best of all, no paper cuts.

* * *
I received a copy of Royal Salon to facilitate this review.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Lite Night

I don't get out much. But when I do . . . it's with the Moms LA gals.

This group is always a good time regardless of where we go. Last night we visited La Sandia, Santa Monica. I was happy to get out of the house and make the drive outside of the 'bubble' with Kim and Amy. A nice drive down PCH with friends beats the freeway at rush hour any day. Plus, there were cocktails awaiting us at the other end.


We were treated to a tasting of their new Latin Lite menu. Nothing over 475 calories! And it was indeed, light. All of it was traditional Mexican cuisine. And while tasty, was pretty standard in it's flavor and constitution. The presentation was simple and elegant on white porcelain square plates. Their appetizer shrimp was the most flavorful (also the most caloric, sadly), and also showed up on their Fajita entree. We had an array of steak, chicken and fish, as well as a delectably grilled portobello mushroom and a very spicy Chile Relleno. Lettuce wraps replaced tortillas (to cut calories), but were very messy to navigate.

The Lite menu drinks had a newly developed 'natural' sweetener called nectreese. I'm always suspicious of any artifical sweetener, and while the claim is natural, I couldn't abide. I opted for a Mango Mojito with all the real stuff in it. That did the trick.

We enjoyed a comfortably satiating meal, lots of chat with friends and plenty of neck craning throughout our visit to see Ben Affleck across the room. I have to say, when I was a kid, this mall was an eye sore. It was built at a time when things weren't that far off the ground (yes, I'm old, sigh). And when it was built, the food court was just becoming the 'thing'. So when I realized that this mall has been revamped, and that the restaurant we were at was in a mall, and Ben Affleck was also eating in a 'mall restaurant', I had to laugh and wince simultaneously.  No celebrity would have been caught dead eating in a mall unless they were a teenager. I'd say that celebs have called their  bluff, as no average teen can likely afford an upscale restaurant. On the other hand, perhaps I've been living in the 'bubble' for too long. I was less starstruck by Ben than I was by the ambient space indicator lighting system installed in the parking garage to help drivers find open spaces.

(Photo credit: http://www.surfsantamonica.com)

We thought we were done. And then . . . they brought us cones of sugar encrusted churros. One for EACH of us. With dipping sauce. Two kinds. So much for the 'lite' dinner. They were so good. Amy pointed out that she and hot dough have a long and difficult relationship. I completely get it.


So by the way, Ben Affleck, albeit with a streak of gray hair in the still fully covered head, is incredibly good looking in person. Actors are not always what you expect when you come across them in daily life. Growing up in Santa Monica I have seen and known my fair share of entertainment industry folks. I am rarely star struck by any. In fact, I don't really want to meet them. That would destroy the characters and images they have created in my rich fantasy life. Amy actually got him to sit on her finger. We settled on buying him a drink. Better that he come to us than we gush over him like tourists. Didn't happen. Oh well. A missed opportunity for Ben.

The ambience at La Sandia is elegant. It's hard to believe the restaurant is in a mall. Mall food sure has come up in the world. Santa Monica Place has evolved though over the years, from a standard teen hang out mall to an upscale, very high end shopping and dining experience. I was amazed at the parking garage ceiling lighting, designating spaces that are open or not. I don't tend to think of the bubble as that far from society, but if it is, I like it. Does that make me old? Old school? Removed? I guess I don't care. Anyway, The decor was pleasant but unremarkable. The general manager was very knowledgeable and friendly, though he outed Ben being there to us. First rule - protect your clienetele!

Oh, one more thing - they offer a kids meal on a cute, coloring menu. The crayons have sides so they don't roll. Brilliant! Though I can't say I would bring triplets here. We can make a mess at home.

Plane Fun!


We haven't been on a family outing in awhile, so while searching the web I came across a free activity that turned out to be a lot of fun!

Lowe’s offers a 'Build & GrowFree Kids’ Clinic', and this month they are promoting Disney's movie 'Planes'.  I signed all three kids up and told them I had a surprise for them. We don't watch commercials, so they are mildly aware of the movie, and tried earnestly to convince me that the airplane's name was Rusty and not Dusty. Of course they know more than I do. 

We arrived to find a moderate sized line of families tucked all the way in a back corner of the store. Lowe’s provided small hammers and pliers along with the plane building kits, but it actually took some true grown up elbow grease to get them assembled. But it was fun and a quick and easy way to surprise the kids and keep them busy on a hot summer afternoon!



 

Later on we stopped by the Apple store, always a favorite destination for our geeked-out clan. They always know how to entertain everyone.



Suburban Sunday. Nothing complicated, but kept everyone busy and got us out of the house! 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Berry Berry Best Friend!

We are late (as usual these days) in posting about our super fun day at the Strawberry Shortcake concert and super delicious, pink-infused per concert VIP party and the concert after! 



When we arrived at the Nokia Theater's upstairs lounge, the room was up-lit in pink, and we were treated to mini strawberry shortcake desserts, naturally, and pink chocolate chip cookies and lemonade. We had some time to sit on the very cushy and intimate round sofas with our friends before being whisked into the theater. 




Being Strawberry Shortcake's first live show, we were excited to see what would happen! We enjoyed the Doodlebops' opening act and hanging with our friends! A big THANKS to Hollywood Hot Moms for the invitation!




"Follow Your Berry Own Beat” Kicked off January 13th 
and Features Special Guest Stars The Doodlebops 

New York – November 27, 2012 – Everyone's berry best friend Strawberry Shortcake makes  her  North  American  theatrical  debut  next  year  in  Koba  Entertainment’s  all-new  musical  production,  Strawberry Shortcake: Follow Your Berry Own Beat . The live show was written, choreographed and directed by Koba’s Artistic Director, and theater veteran, Patti Caplette. Randy Bachman (The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive) along with his daughter Lorelei Bachman co-wrote two brand new songs for Strawberry Shortcake: Follow Your Berry Own Beat that are guaranteed to have families dancing in the aisles. Strawberry Shortcake, a favorite of little girls and moms alike for over 30 years, will be played onstage by Toronto native Amelia Sirianni.

The production also brings to life her best friends Orange Blossom, Lemon Meringue, Blueberry Muffin, Raspberry Torte, Plum Pudding, and Cherry Jam and features original and fan favorite songs from the hit TV show, “Strawberry Shortcake’s Berry Bitty Adventures,” currently airing on The Hub network in the U.S. The musical adventure takes audiences to the whimsical land of Berry Bitty City where the whole town is buzzing with anticipation for the Glitzy Glaze Talent Show.

“Strawberry Shortcake has been a part of children’s lives for decades,” says Caplette. “This show is the first time families will be able to see the world’s most famous little girl live on stage.”

“We are excited to bring Strawberry Shortcake to life in an exciting new stage production that showcases her berry bubbly personality and musical talent while inspiring young girls to do big things,” said Lindsay Martinez, director of licensing and business development for American Greetings Properties, the intellectual property and outbound licensing division of American Greetings Corporation (NYSE: AM), the global rights holder for the Strawberry Shortcake brand.

Before the girls of Berry Bitty City hit the stage, theatergoers will warm up their singing voices and stretch their dancing muscles with the touring cast of the Doodlebops.  Responding to calls from their legions of clamoring fans, Rooney, Moe and Dee Dee Doodle take to the stage in a live concert performance that will get the whole audience movin’ and groovin’. 

North American Tour Dates
February 19 – Guelph, ON – River Run Centre (6:30pm)
February 20 – London, ON – Centennial Hall (6:30pm)
February 21 – Windsor, ON - Chrysler Theatre (6:30pm)
February 22 – Chatham, ON - Chatham Capitol Theatre (6:30pm)
February 23 – Hamilton, ON - Hamilton Place (1:00pm)
February 24 – Kingston, ON - Grand Theatre (1:00pm)
February 26 – Cornwall, ON - Aultsville Theatre (6:30pm)
February 27 – Ottawa, ON - Centrepointe Theatre (6:30pm)
February 28 – Peterborough, ON - Showplace Performance Theatre (6:30pm)
March 2 - Belleville, ON - Empire Theatre (1:00pm)
March 3 – Oshawa, ON - Regent Theatre (1:00pm)
March 9 – Wallingford, CT - Toyota Presents The Oakdale Theatre (1:00pm)
March 10 – Westbury, NY - Theater at Westbury (1:00pm)
March 17 - Grand Rapids, MI - Devos Performance Hall (1:00pm)

Twilight Sparkle's Coronation!

I must admit I have never really watched My Little Pony. My daughter isn't particularly into it either, BUT, she IS very much into horses. So when we had the opportunity to attend The Hub TV Network “My Little Pony Friendship is Magic” Coronation Concert for Twilight Sparkle, the newest My Little Pony, we decide to go. Joining us were two friends and their daughters, so it was a girls day. It was great fun! And thanks to OC Mom Blog for the tickets!

Everyone in the audience received a goody bag complete with princess supplies: a crown, wand, bubbles, sparkles confetti and a noisemaker. There were live performances by the by the USC a cappella group The SoCal VoCals, as well as celebrity guests and talent from the show, including:

·         Halle Berry with daughter Nahla Aubry and Olivier Martinez
·         Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan as our special event host
·         Special guest Olympic Gold Medalist Carmelita Jeter
·         Aubrey Anderson-Emmons (“Modern Family”)
·         Chloe Noelle (“True Blood”)
·         Jason Priestley (“Beverly Hills 90210”)
·         The voice of Twilight Sparkle herself Tara Strong
·         Head writer and creator of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Meghan McCarthy
·         And the musical genius behind the show Daniel Ingram
·         Margaret Loesch, President and CEO of The Hub TV Network


We discovered  the characters: Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Applejack and Rarity, and at intervals during the screening, we were instructed to blow bubbles, wave our wands and toss confetti. After the show we met Miss America, Mallory Hagan. She was very warm and hugged all the little girls and never lost her smile. I had expected to watch a cartoon and ended up having a really good time with my and my daughter's friends! Unfortunately our cable company does not offer HubTV, so we'll miss the official debut on TV. But our sneak peek and girls day was well worth it!