Sunday, March 30, 2014

baby bloggy boot camp

this post is written by me on behalf of liz lange and ergobaby.  product was provided.

at our first blogging conference

the first conference genelle and i ever attended was put on by the fabulous sits girls. our minds were blown. we had come into the blogging world by chance and had no idea that there was even a business to blogging. we left with a arsenal of knowledge that has helped to grow and shape where we are today. about a month ago i had the opportunity to attend another one of their conferences that took place right in my own hometown of sunny san diego (even though for the poor out-of-towners it rained the entire weekend). i was uber lucky to attend the special pre-conference event, baby boot camp and be surrounded by the cutest newborns on the planet while getting to preview incredible product from ergobaby and learn more about blogging.

baby bloggy boot camp is a mini conference within a conference where, while surrounded by awesome mamas and babies, i became re-invigorated with the idea of blogging. having the opportunity to learn from industry experts and leaders, like tiffany and fran from the sits girls and the fabulous ladies from rookie moms, was powerful and i left armed with a huge to-do list of ways to improve what we are already doing. 

in addition to knowledge, i had the opportunity to preview some incredible products from ergobaby. when i had my first child, ergo had not yet come on the market. by the time i had my second, i ditched my first carrier and bought an ergo carrier. it was *amazing*. my back and shoulders didn't hurt using the ergo and it adapted so easily to different carrying positions that were good for both me and my child. the only downside was that i couldn't use it to have my child face forward. enter the new ergo 360. releasing soon, the new ergo 360 allows you to wear your baby in four different positions while continuing to be comfortable and ergonomic. our testers loved it so much that we will be including it in our popular getting ready for baby series (when it's available), along with their fab swaddler and wrap carrier. we will be giving you a more detailed review of these products in the future in our "getting ready for baby" series, but they have received rave reviews from our mommy testers already! (we love it when a brand we adore can hit it out of the park with products really mamas need). 

aside from receiving fabulous product to test and gaining valuable knowledge for my business, the most important thing i walked away from the weekend with was a deep understanding of how important it is to surround yourself with people that make you a better person. find people that lift you up when you are down and challenge you to be a better you. find people to surround yourself with that listen to you and care what you have to say. find people that make you laugh until you snort, people that can be there to cheer you on. in blogging, we call those people a tribe. in life, they are the definition of friendship. find your people, and treasure them. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

diy: playtime door signs

i have five kids and i live in a neighborhood absolutely full of school aged children. that means a lot of knocks on the front door asking if someone inside is free to play. don't get me wrong, i love that my children have playmates and that there is no shortage of activity at our house. it truly brings me joy. still, there were just some moments when playtime is not going to happen. there is often homework to be done, chores that need attention and extra curricular activities that mean that any given day may not work for playtime. i found myself making trips to the door more often than i wanted to so i decided to craft up some simple door signs to help all the kids know when we have a green light for playtime and when we may need to try another day. these really are extremely easy to make and they have made all the difference for a peaceful afternoon any day of the week.

here is a step by step for my signs so you can make your own.

start with unfinished boards. i found these at hobby lobby for a couple of dollars each.

step one: paint each board a different color. i used red, yellow and green on purpose. if kids aren't reading yet they generally know that red means stop, yellow means wait (or caution) and green means go. i figured i'd help the non-readers learn the signs as well.

step two: i wanted to add some extra color and fun to my boards so i tore up some fun paper and adhered it to the boards using mod podge. 

step three: once the mod podge has had time to dry, i used a stencil and a huge black sharpie to write on the words. 

step four: lastly, i drilled two holes, one on each side of the board, large enough for me to push some ribbon through. after tying knots on each side of the board, they were ready to hang.

we store our signs inside our coat closet door, ready for use each day. they fit right over our outside door wreath hook everyday we use them. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

celebration: home depot birthday party

my oldest just turned 6 last week. for his birthday party, he decided he wanted it at our local home depot store. slight problem: home depot doesn't do birthday parties. 

i wanted to make this birthday a happy one for my first born, so i set out to make it happen. after lots of begging and pleading and general niceness, i was able to make it happen! (rock star mom moment).

have you ever been to one of the kids workshops that home depot has? (if not, check out your local store---they are so much fun!) our home depot hosts one every saturday and the boys and i have so much fun building an awesome project together (last week was a bug catcher). as a single mama on a budget, the bonus is that they are also *free*. the amazing woman that runs the kids workshops at our local store went above and beyond to make my son's dreams of having a "kids workshop" home depot birthday party a reality.

we took over the training room, every child built and painted a tool box with their parent (all of the instructions, materials and paint was supplied). after the building was complete, the candles were blown out on the tray of homemade cupcakes, bellies were filled with birthday, sugary goodness, and each child went home with their finished project as well as some quality time with one of their parents.

the cherry on top of the proverbial sundae was that the party was *free*. home depot didn't charge us a dime. 

the only things i spent money on were:
plates, napkins, cupcake supplies, plastic construction hats and little favor bags that were filled with a few goodies.

it was a birthday party that he will never forget....and a happy mommy moment too. happy birthday, little man. your mama sure loves you.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

st. patrick's day fruit rainbow

when i was growing up, my mom did an amazing job of celebrating each and every holiday. from valentine's day to the fourth of july and everything in between, we celebrated. st. patrick's day's celebration involved shamrock cookies and corned beef and cabbage and lots of green. i am not as good at celebrating as my mom was but i still love to make each holiday special.

a fabulous mother of five served this sweet rainbow treat at a pre-st. patrick's day party and i absolutely loved it. it is so simple and, aside from finding enough rolos to equal a pot of gold, it is very easy to make and put together. if you have a get together this weekend, this may just be the perfect treat to serve to your guests...or just to save for your family's own st. patrick's day fun.

st. patrick's day fruit rainbow

strawberries, washed and halved

mandarine oranges, peeled and separated into slices

pineapple, cut into cubes

green grapes, pulled from the stem


purple grapes, pulled from the stem

one bag of mini-marshmallows

one large bag of rolos

arrange the fruit by color on a large platter in the shape of a rainbow. use the marshmallows for a cloud and the rolos for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. serve and enjoy the smiles!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

san diego: new home development, Black Canyon Estates

I was born and raised in San Diego and love it here. San Diego is a beautiful place to live for *so* many reasons, but having your own space and land here is harder and harder to come by. KirE Builders have developed a beautiful new, affordable community east of San Diego, in Ramona where owners can enjoy sprawling land with enough space for your own organic garden, or chicken coop. Black Canyon Estates, located off Black Canyon Road, consists of 35 new semi-custom estate homes on 2+ acre minimum lots. With expansive floor plans and unbeatable views, this community sets itself apart from much of what is available in San Diego. 

On March 15th and 16th , from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily, the builders are hosting a “Model Grand Opening Event” that is open to the public and open to all agents for viewing. On Saturday only, a free catered lunch will be served to all in attendance while supplies last. In addition to walking through the beautiful new model homes and enjoying a delicious lunch, there will be face painting and other family-friendly activities. Don't forget to enter their opportunity drawing to win a new iPad or maybe even a gas gift cards, simply by touring the models.

Black Canyon Estates consists of 35 semi-custom estate homes on 2+ acre minimum lots, 6 floor plans to choose from ranging from 2,200 to 2,710 sq. ft. The Open House is open to public, no realtor needed to attend. No appointment or RSVP necessary.

If you are unable to attend the grand opening, but are still interested, you can schedule a private appointment by calling 877-612-7465 ext 101

With six different floor plan options, each home posses a unique look and feel. With the added land space, homeowners are able to customize their property with an orchard, garden, pool, detached workshop or office, guest villa or a recreational vehicle garage. Also, in order to combat increasing utility rates, all of the Black Canyon Estate homes come “standard” with a feature solar system.

I will personally be previewing the estates next weekend and can't wait to see, in person, all that the community has to offer. Be sure to look forward to my article after I tour where I will share all of my experiences with you.

These new homes begin in the $500’s. Anyone that goes under contract in the month of March this year (2014), is eligible to receive $5,000 in design studio credit towards interior upgrades in their new home! additional information may be found at or by calling (877) 612-7465 Ext. 101

Thursday, March 6, 2014

instant responses for mothers of many

when i got married, my brother gave my husband a cassette tape with taped responses to questions i might ask my husband during our marriage. (yes, i just said cassette tape. for those of you younger than 30, google it.) during the speech my brother gave at our wedding, he explained how the cassette was to be used. as my husband and i were lying on the beach and a beautiful woman walked past, all my husband would have to do is push play and it would say, "no hunny, she is not prettier than you."

this tape was filled will several fantastic tidbits. "you're butt does not look big in those pants." "whatever you want to do, dear." you get the picture.

i've decided i need a similar recorded device to respond to all the comments i get from people when they find out i have five kids. once strangers wipe the look of horror or shock off of their faces and finish counting and recounting my children, the comments and questions are usually one of ten. my responses are usually some variation of the ones here, usually with some version of a smile on my face once i wipe the shock or horror from my own face at people's lack of filters. here is what my recording would say if i had one. it might just work for mothers of big families everywhere.

  • "no, i don't want to have my own reality t.v. show." seriously, people?
  • "yes, they are all mine." do we normally take other people's children to the grocery store?
  • "no, i do not homeschool" i'm not sure where big families became synonymous with homeschooling but, nope....happily send those babies on the bus each morning and pick them up each afternoon.
  • "yes, i am busy." duh.
  • "yes, i do believe in birth control. it is totally appropriate to ask that question too, especially in front of my children. i'm so glad you asked."
  • "yes, i have a t.v. in my bedroom." when you have five kids your sex life is open for discussion in the line at target....just in case you were wondering.
  • "yes, i know how it happens." ...and open for discussion at the movies, the dentist, the drug store...
  • "yes, they were all planned." this is just the discussion you want to have in front of your five children. kids: "mommy, what did that man mean, 'were we all planned?'" me: "who wants candy?"
  • "i don't know how i do it either. i'm pretty sure i've blocked whole chunks for time from my memory." people do amazing things every day. surely parenting five kids can't top the list.
  • "i would have to say, better me than anyone who doesn't want kids. it's actually a pretty great life and i'm amazingly happy. don't knock it 'til you've tried it." what other answer is there?

cheers to all you moms of big families everywhere...for pasting a smile on your face and answering all the inappropriate questions and comments and then some.