Friday, April 30, 2010

Amazing Bubbles Bubble Generator

JD loves bubbles, every time he sees them he gets really excited and tries to grab them and like most 11 month olds he also tries to eat them (they usually pop before he does that). So, last weekend I bought him an"Amazing Bubbles Bubble Generator" at Target. The generator was $9.99 and came with a small jar of non-toxic bubbles and 6 Duracell batteries. It’s super easy to use, you just pour the bubble solution into the front of the battery operated machine and then it turns both on and off by means of a single colorful push-button on the top of the machine. I honestly wasn’t expecting much from this little plastic machine, but boy was I pleasantly surprised, it quickly filled up are apartment courtyard with thousands of bubbles. It was so amazing that we have actually decided to use it for JD’s 1st birthday party too!

Amazing Bubbles Bubble Generator
$9.99

Thursday, April 29, 2010

iPhone Apps for Kids: Talking Carl

JD loves playing with my iPhone, especially when he gets to scroll through his pictures (he laughs at himself and gives his pictures kisses); so I recently started downloading Apps that he can actually play with. One of his favorite Apps at the moment is Talking Carl. Carl repeats anything you say with a hilarious voice, he can also be poked and pinched and you can even tickle him to make him laugh out loud. JD loves to poke Carl and he laughs every time Carl says “ouch” and Carl of course laughs back, which keeps JD very entertained!


Talk to him and he'll repeat your words with a hysterical voice.
Tickle him and he will laugh out loud.
Poke his eyes and he will shout and yell.
Pinch him to hear him growling in harmony.
And if you forget him he will grumble.

Talking Carl is hours of laugh for children of any age. Parents, you'll love him too for the peacefulness it gives you while your kids are playing with him.But don’t try it! You’ll never give it back to them.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

JD's First Steps

JD has been teasing us for the last few days by taking little steps here and there; I've been carrying our camera around religiously in hopes that we would capture the big moment when he would take those first "real" steps. Well today was finally that day, after spending the whole day at Aba's and Abu's house (practicing in my opinion), JD was ready to show off his new talent, "walking"! So here he is, with Aba cheering him on, taking his first real steps for mommy and daddy. I'm such a proud mommy!

JD and Daddy: Natural History Museum of LA

Yesterday was the hubby’s day off (I unfortunately was working) and he decided to take JD on his first trip to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. The hubby loves exploring Los Angeles and now that JD is napping less and discovering more, I think they will be having many more LA adventures together. I have to admit I’m a little jealous of these "no mommy" adventures, but I couldn’t be happier because I’ve come to realize that my wonderful hubby is turning out to be a pretty wonderful daddy too!




Tuesday, April 27, 2010

6 Healthy Herbs

I received my Parenting (early years) Magazine for May 2010 and came across this really interesting article called Kitchen Remedies, explaining the health benefits of 6 herbs that are very common in any cooks kitchen and easy to find too! I thought it would be interesting to post one recipe a week for the next 6 weeks using one or more of the 6 herbs listed below, so stay tuned and wish me luck!

Not only pleasing to the palate and the sniffer, these herbs offer unique health benefits, too, says Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., fellowship director for the Arizona Center of Integrative Medicine, in Tucson. They've got minimal calories and zero salt, so go ahead and liberally add these fresh herbs to your favorite foods.
BASIL 
Toss two teaspoons onto pizza to get 5 percent of your daily requirement of magnesium, a mineral that works to maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heartbeats steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong.


DILL
Dress up tuna salad and you could be helping your body maintain healthy cholesterol levels at the same time. Named after a Norwegian word that means "to lull," dill can also have a soothing effect and may relieve indigestion.
ROSEMARY
Add it to marinades to help cut your cancer risk; its antioxidants may combat potential carcinogens created when meats are broiled or grilled at temps above 400 degrees F.
CILANTRO
Stir into salsa to top your tacos for a tasty way to reduce potential bacterial contamination in the meat. The Romans used the herb to preserve meat more than 2,000 years ago! Cilantro is also traditionally used to promote healthy digestion.

THYME
Sprinkle two teaspoons of dried thyme into a stew or salad dressing to get nearly 20 percent of your daily iron needs. It's often used in tea or found in cough syrups to ease dry, hacking coughs and to soothe a sore throat, as well.
PARSLEY
Mix two teaspoons of dried parsley into a salad for 150 percent of your daily vitamin K needs, which is important for healthy blood clotting and bone health. You'll also be getting a nice dose of vitamin C and vitamin A.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Custom 1st Birthday Raglan Shirt

I love raglan baseball shirts and for JD’s 1st birthday I actually ordered two; one for his birthday party, which I bought from Etsy (JonahBonah) and one for his actual birthday, which I designed myself (I’ve shown the steps below). We took JD’s 1st birthday portraits this past weekend and he actually wore both shirts, so stay tuned, I’ll be posting his pictures as soon as they come in!

Infant Raglan Shirt
$4.95
$15.00


Chunky Number Iron-On Applique
$2.75


 
Personalized Name Embroidery
at your local embroidery shop
$5.00-$8.00

JD's 1st Birthday Shirt

Sunday, April 25, 2010

JD at the Festival Of Books

Today we took JD to the Festival of Books at UCLA, he had such a great time and even got to meet The Very Hungry Caterpillar!

JD and The Very Hungry "Capitilar"
(yes I spelled it that way on purpose)

 Thai Shrimp Soba Noodles
at UCLA's  

 JD loves his noodles!

 JD exploring UCLA

JD fitting in with the college crowd

Target: B. Toys {Recalled}

*Since this post these keys have been recalled.

Yesterday I made my weekly trip to Target and came across this cool toy line called B. Toys, they have super amazing and functional toys in really fabulous colors and they come in ready to give boxes too! I purchased these cute B. FunKeys for JD, they have four fun car sounds, a push button flashlight and the keys are made of safe stainless steal, so they actually look and feel like real keys!

B. FunKeys
$7.99

A little about B.Toys:
We create toys that inspire individuality. Our process? Part joy. Part mischief. Part serendipity. We want to be a voice that says to children it's okay to just be you!

Just B. Just You. B. You

We try, with humor and serious commitment (yes, the two can go hand-in-hand), to B. GREEN every day. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. We eat, sleep and breathe this motto.

With packages made from recycled materials that are easily recycled again. And printed with soy inks and water varnishes. With toys that come in pretty reusable bags instead of packaging. Bags we hope moms will reuse over and over. With packages that reverse to become gift wrap. No need to buy wrapping paper!


And even when we’ve had to use plastic in our packaging, we’ve invested in #1 plastic – the most widely recycled plastic available. (Bet your town recycles it!) To us, eco-friendly is more than a stamp or a trend or a day. It’s a commitment. To the world and the children in it and every toy you buy form B. Toy's helps free children from poverty.


Friday, April 23, 2010

The Party Planning Mommy: Silly Circus Tin Pail

JD’s 1st birthday party is only a few weeks away and his room and closet are overflowing with party supplies (that he insists on playing with on a daily basis)! The packages keep arriving and I would really love to blog about everything, but I don’t have the time and I would like to keep a few things a secret until the day of his party; because surprises are always fun! About a month ago I ordered these adorable tin pails from Aarons TinToyArcade.com and I have become fascinated by all the cute tin and retro toys they carry and by their great low prices! Isn’t it adorable!

Silly Circus Tin Pail
7.5 inches tall ( 7.5 x 7.5 x 7 inches)
$6.98

It's a pretty tin pail with in red, yellow and blue colors. Happy hippos, lions and elephants parade on the outside while a happy clown juggles on the inside. This summer pail features a red wooden handle. Great for the beach or a picnic!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Grand Opening: Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Store in Lakewood California

I have exciting news for all you crafty people in the South Bay, who love to shop at Jo-Ann’s Fabric and Craft Store. Jo-Ann’s has just opened a new store in Lakewood California; right across from the Lakewood Center Mall! I have listed all their information below and you can click here for a 50% off coupon exclusively for Jo-Ann’s in Lakewood; this coupon is valid April 22-24 2010. Hope to see you there!


Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Store Grand Opening Event
5255 Lakewood Blvd.
Lakewood, CA 90712

Radio Disney and the Rockin' Road Crew will be at the Grand Opening of JoAnn Fabric & Craft Stores in Lakewood. Come hang out with the Rockin' Road Crew on Saturday, April 24th, from 1:00pm - 3:00pm for your chance to win awesome prizes, learn the latest dances, and listen to your favorite Radio Disney music!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Trader Joe’s: Taco Tuesday

Tuesdays are probably one of the busiest days of the week for me (at work), so I usually try to make something easy for dinner. Crunchy tacos are very easy and yummy to make and Trader Joe’s has made it even easier with all their yummy pre-made products. So here is my Trader Joe’s, taco shopping list that you can use any day of the week, especially on Taco Tuesdays and all for under twenty bucks too!

Shopping List
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 box TJ’s Organic Taco Shells
  • TJ’s Pico De Gallo Salsa
  • TJ’s Avocado and Tomatillo Salsa
  • TJ’s Shredded Green Cabbage
  • TJ’s Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese
  • Sour Cream

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mr. Roboto

On Sunday, after spending most of the day on the couch (the Dodgers and Lakers were playing) it was time to get out the house for some fresh air; I decided to take JD and his aunties to Penguins for our favorite frozen yogurt. We got JD dressed and hurried out the house, but not before I could get a few pictures of him in his new robot outfit!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sure and Secure Super Wide Custom Fit Gate

We started baby proofing our apartment a few months ago and still continue to do so as JD becomes more independent, but I never imagined it would be this hard. We started with the basics, the outlet covers, drawer latches, furniture safety straps, we even traded in our coffee table for a cushy and safe ottoman. Now, JD has become completely bored with the living room and has moved into crawling and cruising in the kitchen (which isn't always the safest place for a very curious baby); so we decided it was time to buy a baby gate, the only problem was our kitchen/dining room entrance is about 9 feet wide! After a few weeks of searching for the perfect gate, I came across the Sure and Secure Super Wide Custom Fit Gate by Summer Infant, which is fully adjustable to fit openings from 70" to 144". So, this weekend we finally bought it and the hubby installed it. Now we just have to wait and see if it will keep JD safely and securely out of the kitchen, except when he's mommy's little sous chef!

$80.00
(with 20% off coupon) 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Target: Fresh Grocery

If you didn't already love Target (like I do), then this new addition to Target stores will definitely give you a reason to make Target your one stop shopping destination.

Expect More Food for Less
To provide even more convenience and value, Target is responding to guests' wants and needs with a new store prototype that offers more fresh food in their general merchandise stores. This new layout offers basic essentials including fresh produce and fresh meat; comprehensive dry, dairy and frozen food assortments; and an expanded selection of convenience foods in snacks, beverages and candy.

I finally had a chance to visit one of our local Target stores that offers fresh produce and I have to admit, I was giddy when I saw all the great new products they offer; Baked goods, meats, vegetables, fruits and much more, at the same low prices they have throughout their store. Below are some pictures I took at Target in Carson, California (Carson Mall), doesn't it make you want to start your shopping list!





Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Party Planning Mommy: All things Etsy...

What is Etsy?
Etsy is a social commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items as well as art and craft supplies. These items cover a wide range, including art, photography, clothing, jewelry, edibles, bath & beauty products, quilts, nick-knacks and toys. Many individuals also sell craft supplies like beads, wire, jewelry making tools and much more. The vintage items on the site have only one rule to follow: they must be 20 years or older. These items range from old boots and ice skates, to dresses, hats and scarves. The site follows in the tradition of open craft fairs, giving sellers personal storefronts where they list their goods for a fee of $.20. It has been compared to "a crafty cross between Amazon and eBay" and to "your grandma's basement".

I joined Etsy in August of 2008 and I have been completely enthralled with the site ever since. They sell so many wonderful, unusual and unique things. Etsy is a great place to shop for and sell handmade goods, but it is also a great place to window shop from home (which I did a lot of when I was pregnant)! I’ve purchased a handful of things from Etsy, but recently while planning JD’s 1st birthday party, I have become an Etsyholic! Here are some of my favorite sellers and my recent purchases for JD’s party from Etsy.

Note: All pictures below are directly from Etsy.com

 Carnival Cake Topper

Custom cake toppers, all hand sculpted and hand painted just for you.

Under the Big Top Raglan Shirt

One of a kind designs, for one of a kind kiddos.

Fun Clown Straws

Dime-store delights, fanciful frills and whimsical notions.

Carnival Digital Party Pack

 
A place for all things cute.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Daring Cooks' Challenge April 2010: Brunswick Stew

The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.

For this Daring Cooks' challenge we were given a long recipe and a short recipe to follow, I chose the short recipe, with a few ingredients from the long recipe. I wanted a chunky stew; so I browned my meats prior to making the stew and I also changed a few ingredients to create a much spicier stew! I really enjoyed this challenge and it was simple but very interesting to make (once all the prep work was done). The stew was delicious and very spicy and my dinner guests were pretty pleased, especially since I happened to make it on Sunday afternoon, which was a blustery day here in Southern California.


 Adding my carrots and potatoes to the stew.

Almost done!

 Brunswick Stew

 Brunswick Stew Pot Pie


Chunky Brunswick Stew

Ingredients:
  • 2 ½ lb (total) chicken and pork, diced and cooked (browned)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 medium diced potatoes
  • 1 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely minced
  • 2 diced carrots
  • 2 large chile gueros (sliced and roasted)
  • 1 cup canned red kidney beans
  • 1 cup canned white kidney beans
  • 1 small can chipotle peppers, roughly chopped
  • 4-5 strips crumbled cooked bacon
  • ½ stick butter
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • Dash of red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Preparation:
In large stock pot or Dutch oven, mix all ingredients, except for the white and red kidney beans, heat until bubbly and hot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until all vegetables are tender, then add white and red kidney beans. Serve hot.

Makes 10 servings.

Monday, April 12, 2010

JD is a dancing machine...

JD's favorite song is "Imma Be" by the Black Eyed Peas! For a few months now every time he hears this song he starts waving his arms and bobbing his head, but today he took it to a whole new level, he added his very own dance moves; this was the fourth video I took of him today and the only one where you don't hear Mari and me laughing in the background. So without further ado, here is JD busting a move! 

I do apologize in advance for the explicit lyrics.

Pumpkin Patch: Robots

My sister-in-law Gaby absolutely loves robots and now she has JD to share that love of robots with! Last week we went shopping and as usual Gaby somehow always winds up buying JD something that she thinks is too cute to pass up and most of the time she's right; Gaby got this adorable robot outfit for JD at Pumpkin Patch, where their having a spring clean sale and selected items are up to 50% off. Thank you Auntie Gaby!

yarn dye stripe rugby top
$9.99
(on sale)
relax fit jeans
$12.99
(on sale)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Food Network Magazine: Triple-Cheese Spirals

I absolutely love mac and cheese and I know a few of you are cheese fanatics just like me. I came across this Triple-Cheese Spirals recipe in last months Food Network Magazine (which I finally had a chance to read) and since this Sunday is supposed to be chilly, I think I might make this recipe for lunch, especially since JD has become a big fan of cheesy pastas (and his doctor insisted he could pretty much eat anything he wanted at this point). So here’s the recipe for all you cheese lovers. Enjoy!

Triple-Cheese Spirals

Ingredients:
  • Kosher salt
  • 12 ounces gemelli, cavatappi or other spiral-shaped pasta
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup shredded yellow sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, chives and/or scallions
Directions:
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.
 
Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, mustard and cayenne and stir with a wooden spoon to make a paste. Cook, stirring, until the paste puffs slightly, about 1 minute. Whisk in both milks and 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer, whisking occasionally, until slightly thickened and creamy, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the cheddar and jack cheeses and all but 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan and whisk until melted; keep warm.
 
Combine the panko, herbs and/or scallions, 1 tablespoon butter and the remaining Parmesan in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until the butter melts, about 1 minute; toss.
Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup cooking water, and return to the pot. Toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, then stir in the cheese sauce, adding the reserved cooking water if needed. Season with salt and top with the breadcrumb mixture.


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