My Son's First Vlog- "My House" I'm So Proud *Sniff*

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Even though Phil thought giving Tyler a digital camera was a bad idea, I wanted to see things from his perspective. What moments would he think were worth capturing? I think it's a good reminder to us grown ups that's there's a whole other world below our eye level.

When he asked for my Flip to make a video about our house I didn't think much of it. I heard him chattering away but tuned him out. I was going to delete the video but decided to watch first and I'm so glad I did. The images aren't anything remarkable but his running commentary is too funny.

It's a pretty long video at eight minutes (and not for those who get motion sick easily) but there were parts that made me laugh out loud, particularly the end when he throws out some Spanish. I would apologize for the state of my house, but I won't.

Works for Me Wednesday: Keeping Track of What's in Your Garage Freezer

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Phil and I have said for years that when we finally bought a house we'd have a freezer in the garage. My mom has had the same freezer for almost 30 years. I've seen how it helps her save money by buying in bulk. We wanted to be able to do the same.

We've been looking for a skinny upright freezer for ages but never found one we liked. We didn't want to get a chest freezer because we knew something would get buried on the bottom and get totally petrified and we'd have to throw it away, defeating the purpose of cost savings.

When we got our tax refund I threw in the towel on an upright and we bought a small chest freezer from Wal Mart. It took me awhile but I thought of a way that I can keep track of what's inside without having to open it and root around.

I had some leftover 3M picture hooks from Christmas (the kind with the non-permanent backing) and I stuck one to the outside of the freezer. I got a piece of paper, a pen, Sharpie and a sheet protector.

Whenever I go shopping, as I unload the groceries I write down exactly what I'm putting into the freezer along with a date and the quantity. When I take something out, I cross it off the list. Now, if I want to thaw something, say chicken breast, I can look at the list hanging on the side of the freezer and see if I have any chicken breasts and how many.

When I went to my mom's for Easter we went to Costco and split several items. I'm going to ask if any of my neighbors want to split a Costco run, an order from Omaha Steaks (their burgers are SO good!) or maybe a session at Dream Dinners (used to go all the time).

It's been really helpful to have a complete list, and with it hanging on the outside, I save energy not having to open the freezer to search in vain for something I thought was there but isn't.

For other things that work, head over to We Are THAT Family.

Wordles Wednesday: Not A Bad Way to Spend an Evening

For more Wordless Wednesday visit 5 Minutes for Mom, Mom Dot, What's That Smell

What I Said vs. What I Wanted to Say

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Have you ever wanted to let loose on your kid? I mean really let loose? I almost went there today. Neither my son or I are morning people. If he wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, like he did today, it can make for some pretty explosive breakfasts.

Today, he started in with the half whine, half cry as soon as his feet hit the floor. And I was NOT in the mood. There were two conversations going on, what I said out loud and what I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying.

After he got dressed I made him sit on the floor and take some deep breaths and calm down.

What I said:

"Why don't you have a seat, take some deep breaths and calm yourself."

What I wanted to say:

"Holy hell, you haven't even been awake for 5 effing minutes, what could possibly be wrong!?"

He took a seat (More like flopped to the floor. How do kids manage to add defiance to the act of sitting?) and I told him we needed to run to the store this morning and he had two choices: either calm down enough to say what's going on and still have enough time to eat, or sit in the floor pouting and not be able to have time finish eating let alone have seconds.

"I don't wanna sit here, I'm hungry!"

What I said:

"Don't raise your voice at me. 'Mom, I'm grumpy this morning, but can we please go have breakfast?' would work a lot better than being nasty."

What I wanted to say:

"Change your effing tone of voice and lose the attitude or so help me I will find a way to bend you over my knee!"

Over breakfast, I explained why we needed to stop at the store (teacher appreciation flower), that he had a limited time to eat and when I said it was time to get ready to leave, he needed to do it quickly. Que whining.

This is where the internal and external conversations collided.
What I said:

"You know, I don't like to say this, but SHUT UP! Stop your whining and eat. When I say it's time to get up, you will do so with no whining, eye rolling, stomping, or backtalk. If you do, you're grounded for the rest of the week with no TV and no martial arts, and the next time I get invited To Disney(land) you can stay with Auntie J and Daddy and I will go and have a grown up day."

That got his attention.

Mornings are such a challenge. I feel like a broken record. I'm tired of bribing, threatening and yelling. Sometimes I have to stand over him and watch him brush his teeth. One of the ongoing conversations in our house is that he needs to behave better in the mornings: get up on time, eat, wash his face and brush his teeth and hair without the detours to the Legos.

I've told him the next time I get a call from school asking why he was late he's going to have to speak to his principal and explain his behavior himself. I don't like starting my day out like this. There are so many ways he's such a sweet, amazing kid.

I can't figure out why his behavior with me is so different than with Phil. I shouldn't have to give my kid an allowance to get him to be respectful and completing basic grooming habits, right? What am I doing wrong?!

National Women's Nite Out: San Diego

Friday, April 24, 2009

I love to entertain. There's something about creating an atmosphere where people feel comfortable, enjoy good food and good conversation, and can relax that really gets me. Playing hostess is fun, and being a good (nee exceptional) and attentive hostess is important to me. I thought that if I was ever give the opportunity to have my dream business, it would be in party planning. Well, after the stress of this week, now I'm not so sure.

When Maria asked me to be involved with National Mom's Night Out, I thought, "Why not? A few moms getting together over wine and cheese, I can do that no sweat." Someone, somewhere was laughing at my naivete and thought I needed to be taken down a peg or two (or three or four).

It's one thing to have people over for tri-tip, but a whole other kettle of fish to create a fun and meaningful event from the ground up, across time zones and with no real budget. I really thought it would easier: "Hi, I represent a bunch of women who don't get out that often and would love to drink and party at your restaurant on a Thursday."

Thankfully, I have Deb to cover my ass brainstorm and make endless phone calls with, and Charity to be the calm in the storm. It's been a lot of hard work but things are really coming together and I'm looking forward to putting on my party shoes and hosting a fab soiree.

I am Celebrating National Mom’s Nite Out: the Ultimate Celebration of Motherhood

Who: Women. (Kidding) The event is called a Celebration of Motherhood but we're firm believers in "it takes a village." If you've ever even looked at a child, you're welcome to come. (It's almost 2:00am, I'm getting a little slap happy)

What: National Mom's Night Out at Buster's Beach House & Longboard Bar at Seaport Village (Beach Loft room)

When: Thursday, May 7th from 6:00-9:00pm (but we can always go to another part of the restaurant afterwards)

Where: See What

More details: Buster's has offered us our own bartender. I'm still confirming the hotness level of said bartender and the assless chaps, stay tuned. No host bar, hosted light appetizers and parking validated up to three hours.

RSVP: On our Facebook page

I do hope you decide to come. Those of you who have been lurking here (you thought I didn't know, tsk tsk) please join us. I'd love to meet you face to face! And the hostess in me will make sure you have a good time.

The PS- We're looking for more items for our gift bags, the charity raffle and prize drawings. Please email me if you have an item you'd like to contribute. Thank you!

**More thank you's to Lizzie from Bailey Gardiner and Seaport Village for all the "extra's." Mwah! For those who do not want to head south, Stacey (San Diego Bargain Mama) is hosting an event in Encinitas. Read the details here.**

Ask Suze Orman *UPDATE*

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The call with Suze Orman this morning had some great information. I'm still trying to process it all. It was hard to Tweet and concentrate on her answers. For me, I was bummed that her advice is making me re-think my plans. We were discussing how to wisely invest in our businesses and where money should go. My question, after listening to her advice on 8-month savings plans, paying ourselves first and financing a business, was, "Don't we need to spend money to make money?"

She had a great answer though it wasn't what I wanted to hear. I feel like I'm making progress with the goals for this blog and I need to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak. The money I'm considering spending (that I consider a business investment) isn't financed, or on credit. I have the money, but now I'm wondering if it's wise to spend it, or to wait. I guess I need to think
about the ramifications of not spending the money and what it could mean if I don't. I'm just worried that my current momentum might come to an abrupt halt and I won't be able to get the ball rolling again. If I wait, what exactly am I waiting for?! Let the soul searching commence!

For you guys, Suze is sending out a code in our emails that we can post for you to access her website and print out $2500 worth of documents relating to wills and trusts! This is something that has been on my list of much needed things to do. It's so important to make sure we secure the best possible financial future for our kids. Phil has a will through the military but I don't.
Please check back tomorrow for the code. I'll put it on this post!

Did anyone follow the conversation on Twitter? What did you get out of it? You can go to Twitter Search and pull up the #suze hashtag to read all our observations.

Thank you Avon for putting this call together!

The code for the Will and Trust Kit is Moms Rule. Go to and click the Will and Trust Kit link in the blue vertical nav bar on the upper left. Click the orange git code button and enter Moms Rule. you will be given an activation code. I suggest printing the page, just in case. The code is good until midnight EST on Saturday, 4/25.

Earth Day Giveaway: One Year Supply of Dropps

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

**Comments Closed**
***Update- Because apparently I have no idea how to read a calendar, Dropps gave me the OK to extend the entry date of my contest. Thanks to the two readers who read all the rules and pointed out my mistakes with the dates.**

More and more people, companies and businesses are realizing
that going green is not just a trend. Coming up with ideas and products that will help us as consumers make good choices that benefit our families and the planet is no longer solely about good marketing, it's about a change in attitude and lifestyle. We have more opportunities and information available about ways to be healthier and smarter consumers than ever before, and to pass this information and attitude to our kids.

For Earth Day, I'm so happy to have one of my first sponsors back with a really great giveaway. Dropps are pre-measured liquid gel pods for laundry. They dissolve immediately, are biodegradable and are phosphate, chlorine and NPE free (that's bad stuff!).

Dropps are a better choice than plastic jugs because they take less material to produce which means less waste. I like the fact that they are six-times concentrated (instead of two-times like other detergents). Dropps has taken all the water out of the formula, saving millions of gallons per year, which is good for me because California is approaching a crisis situation with water rationing on the horizon. My favorite thing about Dropps is that they aren't tested on animals.

They come in three sizes: 2,20 and 26 load pouches. I asked if a larger size is available through Costco or Sam's. Dropps come in Fresh Scent or dye-free, non-scented and their brand new baby line. Dropps Baby are dye, scent and enzyme free. Dropps are sold online through their site, Amazon and; and in Target, Wal Mart, Lowes, some Costco's and Whole Foods.

Now for the prize: One winner will receive a one-year supply of Dropps! That's 240 washloads (twelve 20 load pouches)! AND, the winner will be able to choose which Dropps formula they'd like. You can have all one style or mix and match between the three.

To enter:

1. Go to the Dropps site to read more about their conservation efforts.
2. Come back here and leave a comment on this post and tell me your impressions of Dropps or what you're doing to be more green - required.
3. I MUST have a way to get in touch with you! NoReply@Blogger will not send you a response. I will have to delete comments with no contact info.
4. Comments will close on Thursday, April 30th at 11:59pm CA time.
5. I will use to draw the winner and post the results/notify winner via email and in a "Winners" post on Friday, May 1.
6. You don't need a blog to win, but I MUST have a way to contact you. US residents only (sorry!)

7. For two extra entries:
(not required) Tweet, and/or blog about this contest and leave each of your links in a separate comment (three entries total). You will need a free Twitter account. You do not have to follow me or subscribe to this blog as a method of entry (but you're more than welcome to!). Here's the URL to this post:

Thanks so much to Dropps for sponsoring this give away! Happy Earth Day!
(Earth photo from here)

Ask Suze Orman

I'm so stoked! I get to participate in a conference call tomorrow morning with Suze Orman! I can ask questions over the phone or send them out on Twitter. I have lots of questions about starting a business and the tax implications of working from home. If there's anything you'd like advice on, let me know and I'll submit them to the panel. There are several people participating so I'll do my best to get your questions in!

Wordless Wednesday: Farmer's Market

For more Wordless Wednesday visit 5 Minutes for Mom, Mom Dot, What's That Smell


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How do I stay sane on days like today?

How do I keep it all together?

How do I find the time to get it all done?

How do I forgive myself when I don't?

How do I make everyone happy and still be true to myself?

(photo from here)

Mother's Day Gift Idea: Snaptotes *Update*

Monday, April 20, 2009

I got the Snaptotes backpack Friday and it's so cute! I used the photo Aaryn took of Tyler* at Cheri's pool last summer. It's one of my favorite pictures of him and one I knew would look great on the bag.

I love it! I'm glad I chose the black and white picture over the color. It looks good with the black bag. I like the extra pockets and the pen holders. I'm always digging for my pens and often give up and use lipliner. The attachment to hold keys is a nice touch.

It holds more than I thought it would. I normally use huge bags because I carry the world in my purse. This one fits enough for a developing country. I have room for all the essentials and a little to spare.

Now that I have it, I can't give it up. I was going to give it to my mom, but it's just too cute. I can't give one to her with out giving one to the other three Grandma's as well. In the interest of family harmony and to prevent them from not speaking to me, I'm going to consider it a Mother's Day gift to myself!

*Use code DRAMA15 for 15% off your Snaptotes order. Last day to order in time for Mother's Day is April 30th *

Thank you to Snaptotes for letting me show off my baby this way!

*Yep, that's his real name. We're going to be in a magazine, there's no use trying to hide it anymore!

Mother's Day Gift Idea: Snaptotes

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My mom is really hard to shop for. Gift cards and things for the house are definite no-no's. Now that my brother is out of the house, her disposable income has gone up enough that when she wants something, she buys it. Like me, she has pretty expensive taste. Like me, she likes purses and shoes, however we have very different tastes. Night and day different. So, trying to come up with a gift she actually wants or needs can be a bit... difficult (but I don't mind! in case she's reading)

But, I know that she will never, ever turn down a chance to show off her Grandbaby.
I've given her plenty of framed pictures of Drama Kid, sometimes in duplicate so she can have one at home and one in her office. Now I have an opportunity to give her a gift of something she likes (purses) and combine it with something personal (photos) that I know will be a hit.

I've seen women with photo handbags and assumed they were from a specialty boutique store. When the people from
Snaptotes found me, I thought, "Duh! Of course something like that would be available online!" I ordered this bag last week.
I decided to go with the backpack even though I really like the bucket style too. The backpack can also be worn as a shoulder bag so versatility won by a hair. I like having my hands free, especially now that I take my camera with me everywhere.

It would be a stretch to say the ordering process took me 10 minutes. The photo I chose loaded quickly, I only needed to use the editing tools to shift the image a little and it was done. You can upload several images and switch them out which was helpful when I was trying to decide between a color photo and a black and white.

I would have liked to see an overhead shot of the interior of the bags and wish they offered a camera bag, similar to the messenger style but with pockets for lenses.

I got a shipping confirmation that the backpack is on it's way. I'll post again so you can see what it looks like. If you have hard to shop for people on your gift list, definitely take a look at the Snaptotes site. They gave me a special discount code for you, DRAMA10, for 10% off your purchase! The last day to order for Mother's Day is April 30th so you've got plenty of time to snap a few photos or search your archives for baby pictures.

Wordless Wednesday: Maddie on My Mind

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Maddie's service was beautiful and touching.

Overheard at Grammy's House

Monday, April 13, 2009

Drama Kid: "Grammy, can you catch one of the rabbits [in your yard] for me?"

Grammy: "No, I think they're too fast for me."

DK: " Well, you can sneak up on them."

Grammy: "I think they'll still smell me coming."

DK: "Why don't you just take a shower first?"

Walking for Maddie Spohr

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Yesterday was tough for me. Learning the news of Maddie's passing hit me hard. Knowing Heather and Maddie mostly through her blog, I didn't think that would be the case. But, as you know, the relationships we develop online often happen quickly and when we connect, the connection is deep. I will be attending Maddie's service next Tuesday in Los Angeles, and I've joined a team of other bloggers to walk in the March for Babies on April 25th. The love and support on the web has been amazing to witness.

If you'd like information on how to participate, please email me. There are fund raising efforts for the walk, for Maddie's service and Stefanie of Baby on Bored is organizing a grocery trip.

Update: Maddie's service is at 2:30 on Tuesday 4/14 at Old North Church at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills. Please wear purple in honor of Maddie. Cards can be sent to 11870 Santa Monica Blvd. #106-514, Los Angeles, CA 90025.

My Heart is Heavy

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Baby Madeline Spohr (Maddie) has died. I met Heather for the first time at an event a few months ago. We didn't have a lot of time to talk, but I remember Maddie smiling at me.

I read through Heather's blog to get to know her and understand Maddie's medical history and their connection to March of Dimes. No one should have to go through what Mike, Heather and Maddie have. Please make a donation today to March of Dimes in Maddie's honor.

That Kind of Day

Monday, April 6, 2009

Yesterday was a perfect Southern California day. It was the kind of day to stay in bed past 9:00, have coffee on the patio and flip through the Sunday paper.

It was the kind of day to ignore emails and Facebook, Google readers and Twitter.

It was the kind of day for flip flops and tank tops, lawn chairs, a good book and kids playing in the yard.

It was the kind of day for taking new bikes out for ride, enjoying the breeze and faces turned up to the sun.

It was the kind of day to fire up the grill for burgers and corn on the cob.
It was the kind of day that doesn't end when the sun goes down.

It was a meet-the-neighbors-at the-pool-after-dinner kind of day.

The best way to end a day like yesterday would be sipping an ice cold Mike's Hard Lemonade in the jacuzzi, watching the kids do Canonballs into the pool.

That's the kind of day yesterday was. It was the perfect day. It was my day. And it was just the kind of day I needed.

Chili's Guiltless Grill Giveaway Winner

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Congratulations to Nanja! Thanks so much to all who entered and sent out Tweets for me!

Review: Live SpeakR for iPhone and iPod Touch

Friday, April 3, 2009

I've never considered myself much of a gadget freak. Now that I've been blogging for awhile, I realize how many cool things I've missed out on. Being able to review a product is a fun privilege and perk of blogging, and when the product is from a local company that makes it even better. The more involved I get in social media within my community I realize we've got a lot of great companies in San Diego with some amazing innovation and creativity.

Erik and Rob have definitely demonstrated those traits with Live SpeakR. The portability alone makes it far superior to any of the other docking speaker systems I researched. The sound is great as long as you use a good quality MP3. I have two songs in my library that I didn't know I need to replace until I heard the fluctuations on the Live SpeakR. Watch the video for a demo of how to use the system and to hear the sound quality (and a minor guest appearance at the end by my husband).

Right now, the system only comes in black but I know a white version is in the works. I'd like to see brushed stainless and the option to customize them with a skin. I definitely can see using the speakers later this year during the breast cancer walk. A lot of walkers strap small speakers to their backpacks and fanny packs and play really upbeat music.

I would buy a pink skin if some of the proceeds went to breast cancer research (or red for HIV/AIDS research, purple for March of Dimes, etc. etc). Erik and Rob also told me they are maybe, possibly, hopefully going to develop a version for those of you with that other type of phone (rhymes with Blackberry).

I want to say a huge thanks to Erik and Rob for waiting so patiently for me to get this up. Also, if you follow
and Peter Shankman on Twitter (@skydiver), he is having a massive 12-hour 1 Year Anniversary Twitter giveaway today. One prize every eight minutes until 6:30 tonight and the Live SpeakR system is one of the prizes.*

(They gave it away at 12:30pm CA time. The timing of my review was a total happy coincidence!)

Happy Birthday Gramma!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The word grandmother often makes people think of home cooking and fresh baked pie. For me, when I think of my Gramma (or Nanna to Drama Kid) I think not of pie, but of pie dough.

When I was young, we could take the train from Chicago to St. Louis and we visited our family often. There weren't too many little kids in her neighborhood so Gramma came up with a way to keep me occupied. She would have a ball of pie dough wrapped in plastic waiting for me in the fridge. I'd play with that dough for hours then put it back in the fridge until later.

By the time our visit was over, that dough would be gray-black with dirt, specks and carpet fiber and I'm sure it looked horrible in her fridge next to the leftovers. But it made me happy. Which is all my Gramma has ever wanted to do.

Thanks, Gramma for the pie dough and putting up with my whining over the Hydrox versus Oreos and Vienna Beef over Ball Park Franks. Thanks for making all my friends jealous with my birthday/back to school wardrobe. Thank you for making my favorite breakfast every time I ask. Thank you for doing all the laundry when you visit and letting Drama Kid walk on your back.

Thanks for all the belly laughs we've had over the years and for being such a great Nanna. I love you Gram. Happy Birthday!
(dough photo from here)

Wordless Wednesday: Night Photography, Need More Practice

For more Wordless Wednesday visit 5 Minutes for Mom, Mom Dot, What's That Smell
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