Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Day Without Video Games

After much complaining that there was nothing to do if he could not play video games, Dylan immersed himself in Lego's for over 2 hours! Creativity, imagination, and oh, if you could have only heard the detailed story that went along with these pictures. I love it when Dylan plays with something other than video games. However, he realized that he only has one blue base and now we need to go buy another one to make the Battle scene complete. I sense a trip to the Lego store coming soon.

The Battle of Good ...

versus Evil on land ...

and of course the Battle from the Sea.

The Star Wars Battle

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Family Business

Aside from Cub Scouts and all of Dylan's other activities, we have a family business to run! Shel Cosmetics will be celebrating our 3 year anniversary in April and this mom-owned business could not be happier. Using my education and over a decade of experience as a licensed Esthetician and Makeup Artist, I branded my own line of cosmetics in April 2008. Whether or not Shel Cosmetics would take off was yet to be determined, but together Dylan and I made a go of it.

Believe it or not, Dylan has a role in this family business. He helps choose colors, take inventory, and best of all he likes to help package and ship out the orders. Dylan is the best advertising ever, telling his friends that their mom should buy our makeup because it's the best, Naturally. Still working on the company slogan "Bring Out The Most Beautiful You, Naturally" but he gets the point across.

As for me, I stay busy with the Blog, Facebook page, Twitter, monthly newsletters, and special sales. That is just the marketing side. I also handpick each and every color for the core line and twice a year (Spring and Fall) introduce Limited Edition products.
To find out more about our family business visit the website.

Fill In The Blank Friday

Thanks again to my friend Roxanne at On The Rox for introducing me to Lauren at the little things we do Join me and 144 others who Fill In The Blank every Friday.

Join The Fun Here
  1. I am currently obsessed with ... the Food Network and the Cooking Channel. Dylan and I just can't get enough of these shows. From the basic comfort food recipes to amazing Italian dishes to scrumptious desserts. We are hooked!
  2. Today I am at peace  because ... I have just spent a weeks worth of quality time with Dylan. Two and a half days at Disneyland, caught up on school, house is clean, laundry done, and still three days of vacation left.
  3. The age I am is  40  and the age I feel is ... most of the time 35. But don't get me wrong, there are many days I feel 40 and think 'Man I am getting old', but somehow I keep pushing through.
  4. My favorite place is ... the beach. No question about it, the beach makes me happy. Newport Beach, Hawaii, Mexico, the rocky cliffs of Northern California ... just give me the salty air and the sound of the waves crashing. 
  5. Something I have been procrastinating is ... doing my taxes. Not that my taxes are difficult, just a simple Schedule C and some education credits. It's just the daunting task of getting all the paperwork out and actually doing them. I know I will be getting a refund, but the money can't be spent now, so there is no hurry I guess.
  6. The last thing I purchased was ... a. coffee on Main Street USA at Disneyland.
  7. The thing I love most about my home is ... it is all about me and Dylan. My home is inviting, lived-in, decorated like a beach house, has toys and books on the floor, and is never perfect. I also love the sound of Dylan's voice when he is playing in his room.
Share your random thoughts in the comments below or over at

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Reader

If you follow this blog, you probably already know how much Dylan loves to read. So you can only imagine how much he loves visiting the library. We are very lucky to have a wonderful library only 5 minutes from the house and we visit the Newport Beach Public Library at least twice a month. He gets so excited when we walk in that he runs for the children's section. I have to keep reminding him that along with no loud voices, there is no running in the library. He knows right where the animal section is and has recently learned how to use the computers to find books he wants to read.

The public library is such a wonderful place to take your children. Rain or shine, the library is a place where children can learn and get lost in a world of reading. Libraries can also help teach children responsibility when they check out books to take home.

Checking out his books

Only a few books this week ... Notice a theme?

How often do you take your children to the public library?

Monday, February 21, 2011

I Pledge Allegiance ...

Lowering the flag
To complete Achievement #2, Your Flag, Dylan needed to lower and raise the U.S. flag from a flag pole and learn how to fold the U.S. Flag. Lucky for us, my parents have a full size flag pole in front of their house and Grandpa was more than happy to teach Dylan what he needed to know.

I just happen to have my camera with me yesterday when the impromptu flag ceremony took place. I only wish Dylan had been in his uniform, or at least something nicer looking than sweats! Watching my Dad teach Dylan how to fold a flag was great. I was so proud of him.

Since this week is President's Week, Dylan is off school and we have decided to spend time working on Cub Scout Achievements. Art projects, cooking projects, nature hikes, all sorts of fun activities together.

Learning to fold the flag

Almost done

See Mom, told you I could do it.

Raising the flag

Long may she wave

The Blue and Gold That Wasn't

It has taken me a while to post this because I did not want to post from anger. February 16th was the Blue and Gold Banquet for Dylan's Cub Scout Pack 312. This is an annual banquet to celebrate the birthday of Scouting where boys are recognized for all of their achievements thus far and usually get presented with some sort of insignia to represent what level of Cub Scouts they are working toward. Dylan was very excited about this night and he had worked hard to earn a special patch, the Leave No Trace Awareness Award. He has also earned about 6 Belt Loops through the Academics and Sports Program and has completed 8 of the 12 achievements needed to earn his Wolf Cub badge.

There have been issues with some of the adults and boys in this pack over the past year, but we tried our best to stick it out. Needless to say, at this particular event, the Den Leader went to far and we left. Of course I took Dylan's patches and awards before leaving. We were there about 15 minutes, just long enough to snap a few pictures.

Dylan and Grandpa

Dylan and the posters he made

We have been invited by some neighbors to join their pack, Pack 744 and will be attending their Blue and Gold Banquet on March 1st where Dylan can be officially recognized for his achievements. It amazes me how some adults can be so rude and have no regard for what Scouting is meant to be. Dylan and I will be much happier once we join the new pack.

Oh, and since we didn't stay, we missed the dinner. So Grandma and Grandpa took us out to dinner. Dylan ordered off the adult menu because he said he's not a kid anymore. Here is a great picture of his reaction when the food arrived. And yes, he ate almost all of it!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Another Learning Experience

So after Friday's Fill-In-The-Blank, I was craving sauteed shrimp and pasta. Since shrimp is one of Dylan's favorite foods I thought I would surprise him. The perfect ending to a perfect day. Within 15 minutes we went from freshly bought shrimp to a delightful dinner.

About and hour after dinner I notice Dylan's cheeks are bright red. Hmmm, now what did he eat. It couldn't possibly be the shrimp, because he has been eating shrimp since he was 3 years old and loves it. I have flashbacks to when he was a toddler and this would happen when he ate eggs. Quick, find the Benadryl and everything will be fine. No Benadryl to be found. Not a big deal, it will go away like it always does. 

Wrong! About 30 minutes later he is itching his legs and arms. When a lift his sweatpants I find hives and his ankles are swelling. The rash is moving up his arms and his hands are swelling now too. Not good. OK, it's about 10:30 pm now and I need to figure out where the closest 24 hour CVS is. Oh, and did I mention it's pouring down rain? After calling for reinforcement, aka my Mom, I am reminded how fast allergic reactions can spread. So we decide to head over to Hoag Hospital. Thinking I'm making a big deal out of nothing, but better to be safe than sorry.

It's now 1:00 am and we are waiting for the doctor in the Emergency Room. Oh, how I wish I could have crashed out like Dylan. The doctor confirms this is anaphylaxis, in English, an allergic reaction. After a shot of epinephrine, a dose of Prelone, and a dose of Benadryl we are told to wait 20 minutes while they monitor Dylan's heart rate. Talk about a mother's state of fear when you watch your child's heart rate go from 84 to 145. Apparently, this is what the epinephrine does. All is now well and we were sent home at 2:30 am with a prescription for Prelone. Dylan barely remembers a thing because he slept through the entire ordeal.

Just another day in my Life with Dylan.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cool Cuts for a Cool Kid

Dylan has disliked haircuts since his very first one and we have tried everything from Mom cutting his hair to Supercuts to overpriced salons. Since he likes to wear his hair a little on the long side, his hair doesn't need to be cut as often and this helps. But his hair is so thick that it can start to look a little 'bushy' and 'shaggy' ... he has the perfect 'girl hair' we all dream of. Well, today I just couldn't take it anymore and told him we were getting his hair cut. I thought we would give another kids salon a try; one that we have not been to before, but that I have heard good things about. So we headed over to Cool Cuts 4 Kids on 17th Street in Costa Mesa.

Front View Before
Back View Before

Wow, this place is COOL! Video games at each station for the kids to play while they get haircuts. And the lady was so good about not getting in his way when she was cutting his hair. I am impressed. Dylan sat there for a full 20 minute haircut without flinching, whining, crying, complaining ... nothing but silence. This place has it all figured out and with very reasonable prices. ($19)

Haircut is done, but Dylan is still playing his video game!

Dylan is happy and Mom is happy. I definitely recommend Cool Cuts 4 Kids. 
Where do you take your kids for haircuts?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fill In The Blank Friday

Here we go again. Thanks to Lauren at the little things we do this Friday is filled with random thoughts.

Join the Fun here!
  1. I am ... a hard-working, loving full-time Mom who wishes the world for my son. A lover of the beach and all things ocean. A full-time student. A makeup artist. A business owner. A loyal friend. 
  2. The bravest thing I've ever done was ... walk away from a situation that I knew was wrong and raise Dylan on my own from day 1 rather than take the easy way out.
  3. I feel prettiest when ... I am wearing my 'cute' jeans and heels or when Dylan tells me I am beautiful with no makeup and messy hair.
  4. Something that keeps me awake at night is ... all the things I need to do. School papers to write, blogs to post, marketing ideas for Shel Cosmetics, bills to pay, and wondering if my son knows how much I love him.
  5. My favorite meal in the entire world is ... something I have spent time making in the kitchen. Not sure I could pick just one, but Shrimp sauteed  with garlic and butter over angel hair pasta is definitely at the top of the list. 
  6. The way to my heart is ... through my son.
  7. I would like to ... make all my son's dreams come true, leave the world a better place then I entered it, travel more, and have a gourmet kitchen!
Share your random thoughts in the comments below or over at

Thursday, February 17, 2011

MomAgenda Rocks!

Life with Dylan can be quite chaotic at times and on top of all his activities, I have my schooling and a business to run. I tried using my phone to organize everything, but I'm old fashioned and love my paper. Give me some post-it notes, colored pens, page tabs, and anything else to keep all the balls in the air at one time and I am a happy mom. I have been using my MomAgenda for almost 5 years now and would never switch to anything else. Day Runners and Day Planners are so ordinary. I want something designed for a mom who lives a crazy life.

My personal MomAgenda

If you have not heard of MomAgenda or tried their products, I encourage you to check them out. Recently, MomAgenda launched a factory outlet and the prices are unbelievable!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Little Bookworm

What could be better than reliving your childhood memories through your child? Not much that I can think of. Visiting Disneyland and seeing the park through a child's eyes is one thing, but being able to share stories with your child is another. Dylan has decided to take part in the Book Club offered through his school library and the first book is one that I remember vividly.

Who doesn't love Judy Blume? I think I am more excited to read this classic tale of the mishaps between Fudge, Peter, and of course Dribble the Turtle. Wait, when did my son start reading chapter books? Dylan is growing up so fast and I am so proud of his academic accomplishments. Gotta love my little bookworm!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mom's Serenity

Everyone has their own way of relaxing and finding serenity. Some people enjoy long walks in nature, others a quiet room with a good book, and some find serenity in the kitchen.

Today this is where I felt at peace. Armed with my Kitchen Aid mixer, flour, sugar, eggs, frosting bags, decorator tips, and all cupcake paraphernalia at my fingertips. For me, there is just something about using my creativity and baking skills to make something so delicate and so sweet. Some may find making cupcakes from scratch and decorating cupcakes too stressful and would rather just buy a box mix and spread the frosting with a knife. That's ok ... just not for me.

Those who know me, know that I love any excuse to bake and tomorrow being Valentine's Day made the decision that much easier. After a long week and a crazy Saturday, Dylan and I needed to relax and find peace today. (No, Dylan did not help bake today ... he chose to find his serenity playing Mario Sports Mix on the Wii)

Nothing too fancy today, meaning I did not get out the fondant and make cute little hearts. Instead I opted for pre-made conversation hearts that I had. Although I won't eat more than 1 or 2 cupcakes, the serenity I found while baking was wonderful. I'm sure my friends and coworkers will enjoy a sweet vanilla cupcake with pink buttercream or a rich red velvet cupcake with cram cheese frosting. 

What is your favorite cupcake flavor?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fill In The Blank Friday

So my good friend over at On the Rox turned me on to Fill In The Blank Friday's (courtesy of the little things we do) So here goes ...

    Join the Fun Here
  1. The TV show/website that I watch/read that I would be embarrassed to tell anyone about is ... well, it's not really embarrassing, but I tend to get addicted to shows like The Kardashians and I can be found watching TMZ late at night when there is nothing else to watch.
  2. An item of clothing that is worn and torn but that I love far to much to throw away is ... no longer in my closet because I finally said good-bye. I had an XL sweatshirt from Disneyland that I bought when I was pregnant in 2003 and it was my go to comfy attire almost every night. Even though it was three sizes too big, I had an attachment to it. Not torn, but definitely worn.
  3. My grocery store impulse buy is ... fresh baked bread and a chunk of brie.
  4. Something I do at work to pass time that I wouldn't want my co-workers to know about is ... I can't share that somebody from work might read this. haha
  5. One thing in my life that I could give up, but never will is ... my cable TV. There are just too many good shows on cable networks. What would I ever do without The Food Network? And how would Dylan survive without Animal Planet, the Discovery Channel, and Nick@Nite?
  6. A little indulgence that I have is ... waiting for Dylan to go to sleep and eating an entire bowl of popcorn all by myself while watching a movie on Lifetime or the Hallmark Channel with no interruptions.
  7. The junk drawer/area in my house is ... not as bad as it use to be! There is a spot on the kitchen counter where mail, papers from school, receipts, and who knows what else gets piled up. I try to clean it once a week, but sometimes it goes for two weeks. Generally, this is where I can find the item I can't find when I am looking everywhere else for it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


"Mom, I need to talk to you" ... just like that. So grown up. Of course I am thinking he has done something wrong and is finally ready to fess up. Wow, was I in for a shocker! Just minutes before Dylan said these seven little words I had asked him to clean up the Wii, his Nerf guns and get his book to read before bed. Oh, and I told him I was going to finish filling out his Otter Log. (Otter Logs are filled out weekly to track how many minutes he reads)

So we sit on the couch and sensing that he was nervous, I told him he could tell me anything he wanted. He takes a deep breath and 'lays into me' ... "Mom, you don't have to be so mean to me when you tell me to clean up. You make me feel like a slob and it hurts my feelings. All you have to say is clean up the Wii. You don't need to say Clean up the Wii, and the remotes, and the games. Just say the Wii. And I know the bullets go with the Nerf gun. Oh, and you don't need to tell me you are filling out my Otter Log either. Just do it and put it in my homework folder."

Once I was able to get a word in I let him know that I understood and that I was sorry I made him feel like a "slob", but that sometimes he doesn't pick up and needs to be told each little thing. He informed me that his teacher called him a slob one time because his desk was messy and that it hurt his feelings. I said, "Maybe you need to work on that and make sure your desk stays clean" ... He agreed.

Communication at it's finest.

Now let's read ...

Monday, February 7, 2011

How Much Is Too Much?

After school sports and clubs, Cub Scouts, homework, reading, chores ... when do you say enough is enough? Do mom's really have time for all this, or is it just because I am a single mom who works full time that I find this all a little crazy? Sure, we want our kids to be well rounded and participate in a variety of activities to find out what they really like, but when do they actually have time to be a kid? Dylan has tennis on Wednesday after school, Science Club on Thursday after school, Cub Scout activities and badges to earn, and about 40 minutes of homework plus a minimum 30 minutes of reading each night. I feel bad making him do chores and clean up his toys all the time because then he would have no time to play outside, watch TV, or play his video games. Now I know that TV and video games are not a priority, but the poor kid has been in school all day and then comes home to do more work. Kids need an outlet just like adults do.

Almost every time he asks the kids next door to play they say they can't play. Their mom has them in so many different activities (Art class, Music lessons, Singing lessons, Soccer, Running Club, and who knows what else) that these kids have no time to just PLAY. Is playing a thing of the past? Am I a bad mom because I don't sign Dylan up for everything under the sun?

I let him choose what he wants to do and he likes the activities he does. Cub Scouts is something that he enjoys with me and his Grandpa and the after school activities are teaching him new things and sportsmanship. We spend time on weekends doing art projects at home, puzzles, and he enjoys cooking and baking with me. So why sign him up for another class to learn art when I can do it with him and spend quality time together?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Dylan's First Surgery

As a parent, the last thing you want to think about is your child being sedated and having to undergo surgery. This is something that I had to think about for the last three months when a regular dental check-up in October determined that Dylan had Enamel Hypoplasia. (Click the link for full details/pics) This big scary word basically means that there is a defect in tooth enamel that results in less quantity of enamel than normal. The cause is unknown, but Pediatric Dentists believe the main cause is high fevers and/or high amounts of antibiotics during the first two years of life when the first year molars are being developed. So once again, the motherly gut instinct that his molars didn't look right when they came in was correct.

After several visits to a variety of Pediatric Dentists, I finally found one that I was happy with and that was "in network" for my insurance. Unfortunately, the extent of the hypoplasia was so deep that Dylan would have to be fully sedated for the treatment. They needed to dig out as much decay as possible on all four of his molars, trying to avoid baby root canals, and cap them all with silver crowns. And no, dental insurance does not cover sedation which is the most expensive part of the surgery. Was I ready for this? Not only financially, but emotionally? Yes, I understand this is a normal procedure; everyone gets crowns, but this is my baby and he is going to be fully sedated. Anything can happen while under anesthesia.

Well, the procedure was scheduled for January 26th. I was told to hold my baby and give him a hug while he was given a shot that would knock him out. He cried, I rocked him, told him that I loved him, and within a minute his held fell back and he was out. After a 2 1/2 hour surgery, Dylan woke up and the dentist said everything went great. I was a nervous wreck the whole time and so thankful for good friends and family who were there with me. The anesthesiologist, dentist and her entire staff were wonderful! Dylan received a tote bag size goodie bag before the surgery and they were all so understanding of how I was feeling. Aside from the gum infection that set in the next day, which a week of antibiotics took care of, Dylan did great and is proud to show off his new silver teeth!

The goodie bag ...          Waking up ...              2 of the 4 silver crowns

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

He Doesn't Need "Mommy" Anymore

I am not quite sure when this first started happening, but now it is a daily occurance. My little boy is growing up and demanding his privacy. No more leaving the bathroom door open. Not only does he close the door, but he informs me beforehand that he will be locking the door. He doesn't get dressed in his room anymore, now he goes into the bathroom, closes the door and gets dressed in private. Not sure why he can't just close his bedroom door and get dressed in there.

The latest development in our household is the use of bright orange traffic cones. I guess the signs on his bedroom door were not clear enough. Now my son has lined up cones at the base of his door and hung a dreamcatcher on his doorknob (this will make noise if I try to open door) to make sure I stay out. Last night I was instructed to read the signs outloud to him and promise to always knock before I come in. At first I was like, wait ... what do you mean I have to knock? Then I remembered being a child and loving it when my door was closed. Not that we are doing anything important, but the idea of having the door closed and being in your own little world is kind of cool. However, I do not remember doing this until I was 9 or 10 years old; Dylan is only 7!

I want him to have his own identity and I know he is growing up, but it is hard letting go of my little baby. Oh, and one more thing I was told ... "I think I am just going to call you MOM from now on"