Sprinkles La Jolla : San Diego Staycation

Monday, September 26, 2011

Since my I Am A Yes Mom project was in full swing this past summer, when I got an email from a local PR firm about an event at the famous cupcakery, Sprinkles, of course I told Tyler we could go.

The event was for Orlando Hudson to raise awareness of his Autism foundation, C.A.T.C.H. We go to Padre games occasionally. Tyler's favorite player is not on the team anymore so I thought it would be fun for him to meet another player, especially a black man using his position with a sports team for good.

As cool as it was to go to Sprinkles for the first time and meet Orlando, I was way more excited that we got to say hello to Candace! Cupcake Wars is one of my guilty pleasures.

San Diego Padre Orlando Hudson
Sprinkles owner and creator Candace Nelson
We had a fun afternoon. Things like this are definitely a perk of blogging. Who have you had an opportunity to meet because of social media and blogging?

More photos from the Sprinkles event on Flickr

Getting Kids to Read Across Genres | Even More on Raising A Reader

Thursday, September 22, 2011

This is 2 of 2 in a series of posts sponsored by Buddig's Sandwich and a Story Sweepstakes.

My son has become an almost mini version of me when it comes to reading. He goes through books like fire, which I love. But he also stays up well past lights out and reads on the toilet (which I don't love). I can't really get mad at him for staying up until midnight since I have been known to pull some almost all nighters myself*. I will get mad about taking books into the bathroom though, because, eeewww.

Where we differ is his narrow focus on the types of books he reads. His feet are firmly planted in the Fantasy aisle of the library. That's not a bad thing, but I've been trying to tell him about all the books he's missing out on. Luckily, I think I found something that can help me inspire him to branch out.

I subscribe to the LA Times. Occasionally they have really nice special inserts within the Arts section. Last week they were highlighting children's literacy and recommended A Family of Readers: The Book Lovers Guide to Children's and Young Adult Literature. I promptly checked it out of the library. So far, it's been a great resource.

I skipped almost half the book since the beginning is about reading to babies and toddlers. The later chapters deal with independent readers. The chapters are broken down into various genres, details what the particular genre has to offer kids (exposure to Greek mythology for example), books within that genre, books for boys and books for girls. I found this passage interesting:
But the real argument for reading fantasy is that, at its best, fantasy stretches the imagination, intellect and emotions in ways that enhance, rather than discourage, children's engagement with real life...

But it can also make abstract ideas concrete, inviting young readers to consider complex philosophical, theological and political questions in uniquely accessible ways.
Huh. Who knew Tyler was getting all of that from something like the Pendragon** series? I'm so glad I found this book, if not just for the index of recommendations. I also love the fact that so many books we read as kids are included. I've been telling Tyler that some of my favorites like A Wrinkle in Time, Old Yeller, Call of the Wild and the like are considered classics (and are still in print) for a reason. Now I have this book as backup.

What about you? Have you been able to get your kids to read across genres? Have yours read, and liked, any of the books from our youth?

*Most recently I've stayed up until the wee hours for Backyard Saints and A Discovery of Witches.
**Tyler is obsessed with this series!


This post is sponsored by Buddig and their Be A Reader sweepstakes. Buddig is nourishing children’s minds as a proud supporter of Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and the national Be A Reader campaign. During the yearlong Be A Reader campaign, parents and their children are encouraged to create their own reading and literacy experiences wherever they may be. As a proud supporter of RIF, Buddig will provide a minimum of $100,000 through May 30, 2012 to help children across the nation discover the joy of reading. 

How to Enter: To enter the sweepstakes look for specially marked packages of Buddig lunchmeats and go to Buddig.com/SandwichAndAStory. Enter your code and complete the entry form to enter the sweepstakes. 

Eligibility: The Buddig Make A Sandwich And A Story sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the 50 United States and District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older at the time of entry. Timing: Sweepstakes begins on Aug. 15, 2011 at 12:00:01 a.m. Central Time (CT) and ends on Oct. 30, 2011 at 11:59:59 p.m. (CT). 

*Five Grand Prize winners will receive a Scholastic book library plus a Buddig backpack filled with school supplies (ARV $200). 
*400 First Prize winners will receive a Buddig backpack (ARV $13.00). 
*118 winners each week beginning on Aug. 22 will receive a free Scholastic book (ARV $10.00).  Limit: 5 entries per person/email address per day

Sidewalk Chalk: Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What She Wants, Backseat Saints, Discovery of Witches: Book Reviews

Monday, September 19, 2011

'Book Addiction' photo (c) 2010, Emily Carlin - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/ When my blog suffers, it's either because A) I'm so busy I'm overwhelmed, B) I'm on a break or C) I've been lucky enough to find some really good books. Last week's hiatus was due to B and C. I've read one good and two great books recently.

The Good: What She Wants by Cathy Kelly

I've read several of Kelly's books. I've enjoyed them all and this one was no exception. All her stories are about Ireland, family and relationships. This one came at a weird time because one of the characters is 'the other woman' and some people in my life are going through this. It was hard not to read the book from a place of anger and think of Izzie as 'that stupid, cheating beyotch.' Overall, I liked the book. Kelly's stories are always easy reads.

The Great: Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson and A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

I have said before that Joshilyn Jackson is at the top of my Authors I Will Always Read list. I need to read her books with a highlighter because some of her sentences blow me away. Knowing that I was going to tell you about the book, you'd think I'd do exactly that. But I didn't so you'll have to take my word for it. I love the plot of this book and all the characters.

The main character, Rose, made an appearance in an earlier work, so of course I want to go back and read Gods in Alabama again with a fresh perspective on the character. I need to see a therapist to figure out why I have such a fascination with books set in the south. Maybe I need to go to the south. It must be some kind of sign. If you haven't read anything by Jackson, these two titles are a good place to start. I stayed up until the wee hours finishing Backyard Saints.

Entertainment Weekly is one of my favorite magazines. I was at the library and A Discovery of Witches was in the 'new' section. I remembered reading a great review in EW so I picked it up. LOVE. It has witches, vampires and demons but it's nothing like the Sookie Stackhouse books. For starters, this book is 500+ pages. It reads more like historical fiction or historical romance. I like the explanations of how demons, vampires and witches came to be in this book better than the Stackhouse books. It's not entirely fair to compare them, but I can't think of any other books recent books with witches and vampires. To say the ending is a cliffhanger is a bit of an understatement. I'm really happy it's part of a trilogy. I think I spent most of a Saturday reading this.

I'm always looking for suggestions, especially now that I'm enjoying digital books. What book kept you up all night recently?

Future Politician?!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

This is one of my cliche Mommy Blogger posts where I brag about my kid. Tyler decided to run for Student Council again this year. I didn't think he would after how disappointed he was to lose by one vote last year. We helped him put together his bullet points and then he wrote the speech. He practiced for us and it was so cute! He gave me permission to post it here. 

My name it Tyler. I've been a student here since kindergarten. I think I should be on Student Council for know that I can give the school good ideas such as:
Menu suggestions for the cafeteria like the Mexican Lasagne my mom makes, the Tony Hawk skate boarding program for PE and once a month Movie Night Mondays!! (double exclamations are his)

Our school is great but I know it can be better. I should be on Student Council because I play hockey so I am responsible and a team player. Thank you for your time and listening and please vote for Tyler. 

Adorable! He lost by two votes this time but he's OK about it and I'm just happy he had the confidence to try again. He's really coming into his own and it's wonderful to see. 

Retail Birthday Discounts Save You Big! | Fashionably Frugal Friday

Friday, September 2, 2011

I couldn't decide if today's post fell under Frugal or Fashion so I decided it's both. I wanted to remind you all to take advantage of your favorite retail stores' Birthday Club promotions. Programs like that are one of the main reasons I have a 'junk' email address. I love a free dessert just as much as the next person, but I'd much rather have a gift card or discount to one of my favorite stores. Case in point: Loehmann's Insider Club. 

I went shopping before BlogHer looking for tops and pants (OK, shoes too). The only downside to weight loss is not having 'professional' clothes that fit. My old work wardrobe is too big (I know, tiny violins) but I don't need office friendly wear often enough to justify replacing it. So, I figured a trip to Loehmann's was in order. They have fantastic sales, and occasionally mark things down even more with special color tag clearance sales. 

The day I went in, the Shopping Gods must have known I needed help. The store was having a Yellow Tag clearance where every yellow price sticker was an additional 40% or 50% off. Yes, Loehmann's is a store where you need to be prepared to roll up your sleeves and dig. But for savings like that, I say it's totally worth the time and effort. 

It wasn't until I'd picked out my items and was ready to check out that I remembered my birthday discount. Loehmann's gives their Insider Club members15% off in addition to regular sale prices. Because of my extra savings, I went back to the shoe department and grabbed a pair I'd put back thinking I only had room in my budget for one. Please say hello to the newest additions in my collection.

Both are by Steve Madden, who I love. Between the store sale and my birthday discount, I paid $48.06. That's total, not each. I also bought three tops, one if which was not part of the color tag clearance. Still, my total for all five items was $99.68! Considering the blue shoes alone are sale priced at $90 right now on Steve Madden's site, I think I did pretty well. 

Taking advantage of special offers like birthday and 'insider' discounts is a great way to save big, especially on designer items. Loehmann's is one of my go to places to look for the overpriced jeans I love so much.

Aveda, DSW, Sephora and World Market have good birthday reward programs. What's your favorite store reward? Do you know of any other retail stores who offer great birthday discounts?
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