Monday, February 27, 2012

Do you listen to your body?

Recently I've been feeling run down and very extremely tired. While we were on break last week I was up until 1 or sometimes 2 a.m. - I slept until at least 10 most days and a few days it was almost 11 before I could peel myself out of bed.

My to-do lists seem to be never-ending. The things I want to do and events I want to attend seem to be put on the back burner to make room for more projects I keep saying yes to.
When am I going to learn to say no?

Sure, I keep saying that I am going cut back and make time for me - do what I really want to do - even if all that means is sitting on the couch to read some magazines, walking on the beach, or writing a blog post.

Yet somehow this is not what is happening. For every one project I said no to, I seem to have said yes to three others. There is definitely something wrong with this scenario ... and my body is trying to tell me something.

My body is saying "Hello, snap out of it. Listen to me. You're not a spring chicken anymore and you need to slow down." So why am I not listening to my body? Why can I not say no to people?

When your body is so tired that you can't wait to go bed, but when you finally lay down your brain goes into overload ... there is a problem.

When insomnia sets in and you lay in bed for 2 hours watching the clock ... there is a problem.

When you don't listen to your body ... there is a problem.

Starting today, starting right now, I am going to listen to my body. Some people may be upset or annoyed with me when I tell them that I can't finish something I said I would do and the house might not be spotless. The laundry and dishes may pile up, but that's OK because I am going to start saying yes to me and start listening to my body.

How often do you listen to your body when it's trying to tell you something?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My fascination with jellyfish continues ...

I'm not sure when it started, but I have become obsessed with jellyfish when we visit aquariums.

Aquarium of the Pacific - 2006

Monterey Bay Aquarium - 2011

Aquarium of the Pacific - 2012

I especially love watching the jellyfish dance. So much that I made a video from a recent trip to Aquarium of the Pacific.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Who do you think I am ... Your Mother?

This past week has been nothing short of a much needed break. For me and for Dylan. While some people had last Monday off for the Presidential holiday, our school district had the entire week off. Technically it's called Presidents Week, but everyone calls it Ski Week.

We didn't go skiing. Heck we didn't even leave Orange County really. Our days have consisted of staying up late, sleeping in, watching movies, building LEGO houses, a trip to the Aquarium of the Pacific, and me catching up on some to-do lists. Nothing overly exciting, but nonetheless, welcomed and needed.

Somewhere among all the relaxing, my son actually expected me to make him breakfast at 9 a.m. every day. Then a few hours later he was hungry again and wanted lunch - then dinner.

What? I'm on vacation.

And even when I'm not on vacation I only make him dinner because he eats lunch at school and my mom makes him breakfast since I have to be at work so early in the morning.

Three meals a day? Really? Do you know how many dishes that equates to? Enough to give me dishpan hands!

Rather than spend my time leisurely surfing the web, writing on my blogs, and pinning until my hearts content on Pinterest, I am expected to entertain this child of mine. Not for just a weekend, but for 9 whole days. Two weekends with a week in the middle.

Who does this child think I am ... his Mother or something?

Why yes, I am. So no matter how much I want to sleep in or tune out to the world around me, I will make 3 meals a day, wash dishes, do laundry, and entertain this child I love so much.

Why? Because I am his mother and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Have you ever had a really good grilled cheese sandwich? With just the perfect amount of cheese and the bread just right? Yeah, me too. Grilled cheese is a lunchtime favorite at my house and I believe I have perfected my recipe.

Oodles of cheddar cheese ...

freshly baked bread ...

I use a mixture of butter and mayonnaise on the outside of the bread and a very thin layer of mayonnaise on the inside before placing the cheese on the bread. I turn the sandwich twice. Once it starts to get golden brown I flip it - then about a minute later I flip it again. So each side gets two flips. I find this keeps the bread from burning. Nothing is worse than a burnt grilled cheese sandwich.

Some call it comfort food - I just call it amazingly good.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Irvine Park Railroad Celebrates 16 years of Family Fun!

Are you looking for something fun to do with the family this coming weekend? Why not head over to Irvine Regional Park and join the 16th anniversary celebration with Irvine Park Railroad. This coming weekend, February 25-26, Irvine Park Railroad will be rolling back their prices to those of 1996 when they first welcomed Orange County families. This includes $2 train rides, concessions, carnival games, and much more. Face painting and panning for gold will be $4. Plus, everyone gets free balloons! Who doesn't love a balloon?

My family loves going to Irvine Park Railroad for special events throughout the year like the Easter Eggstravaganza, Pumpkin Patch and Christmas Train, so we are really looking forward to helping them celebrate 16 years of family fun. I don't think you are ever too old or too young to enjoy a ride on the train or a balloon.

If you are new to the Irvine Park Railroad family, then this is something you won't want to miss - more than just a day at the park - it's a day of creating memories for the entire family.

Cotton candy, corn dogs, popcorn, ice cream, and of course the train rides. Sounds fun right?

Did you know that Irvine Regional Park has been around for over 100 years? Irvine Park Railroad will take you on a 12-minute narrated ride through the beautiful park where you will see lakes, peacocks, and trees that will make any photographer reach for their camera.

Also, once you are inside the park don't forget about the Wheel Fun Rentals - bike and paddle boat rentals or the OC Zoo (which is my son's favorite stop)

What I love most about visiting Irvine Regional Park and the Irvine Park Railroad is the family appeal.

There is truly something for everyone.

Irvine Park Railroad is located inside of Irvine Regional Park (at 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange 92869) and is open daily at 10 a.m. The parking fee to enter the park is $5 per vehicle.

Follow Irvine Park Railroad on Facebook and twitter for more details about upcoming events.

Photos courtesy of Irvine Park Railroad.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cub Scouts at the ENC

Dylan recently had his Cub Scout meeting at the Environmental Nature Center - which is one of our favorite places. Just when I thought I knew everything the ENC offered for children and families, I learn something new. The scouting programs they offer are incredible. 

Whether your son is a Tiger Cub, Wolf Cub, Bear Cub or Webelo, the ENC has a program designed for you that will satisfy various scouting requirements to get your child one step closer to earning his rank.

We participated in the Bear Cub program called "Wildlife Wander", which took our group on a 1 hour hike through the center with various stops along the way to learn about wildlife. While sitting around the fire pit, the boys learned about hummingbirds and how they live. Did you know that a hummingbird uses pieces of spider webs to build their nests? I didn't. 

Starting the hike and checking out the native plants
Stopping by the pond to learn about crawfish

The boys got to explore the center, play games, and learn about threatened, endangered, and extinct animals. The ENC Naturalist was so good with the boys and was able to explain things at a level that they would understand. Stopping at this picnic table was my favorite part - I totally forgot that we were in Newport Beach because it looks and feels like you are out in the wilderness.

Learning about conservation was the final part of the program and we stopped at another beautiful location to learn how the boys can do their part by conserving energy and water at home and school.

The programs are only $5 per scout and for an additional $1 the program can be extended for another 30 minutes to include another elective. Sounds great right? Well, it doesn't stop here.

While waiting for the parents to arrive, I picked up a brochure on the scouting programs and learned that the ENC also offers campfire programs, overnight programs, wilderness survival, and Eagle Scout programs - all catered for scouts. 

Do you have a daughter? No problem - the ENC offers a variety of programs for Girl Scouts too.

For more information on the ENC visit or call 949-645-8489   

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Is it a phone or another toy?

Don't get me wrong, I love my iPhone as much as everybody else does, but sometimes I wonder whose phone it is. It seems like I am constantly telling my son "It's a phone - Not a toy"

Yes, I play games on my phone, who doesn't? And if you say you don't then you are probably in denial. However, the majority of the time I am making an actual phone call or checking my emails from my phone. OK, I might be texting, tweeting, instagraming, or checking in ... but it's my phone. I paid for it. I'm the adult.

The other day I was looking for a picture that I took for a blog post and stumbled across something that caught my attention.

An alligator on ice skates pushing another alligator in a shopping cart? What is this?

Did I take a picture of something and not remember?

Oh wait, this looks like a game my son was playing the other day. So I ask him if he took a picture on the phone? Nope. I said, "really - because there is a picture of an alligator on ice skates" ... Oh, yeah that's from my game Where's My Water?

This is just a brief account of the conversation because in reality this went on for about 5 minutes before he admitted taking a picture. Although he didn't really take a picture - he just saved the reward he got in the game. I don't care that he plays games, nor do I care that he saved a picture of the game. What I do care about is that he realizes it's a phone!

You know that thing we use to call people? If he keeps playing games and draining the battery, then what happens when we actually need to use the phone to call someone?

Do your kids take over your iPhone? What age is the appropriate age to get a kid their own iPhone?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sometimes dreams do come true

Today I want to do something a little different. I want to thank all of my friends who have supported me and my new blog - Beautyisms.
I really do love writing about beauty and sharing tips, sales, new products and the ideology of living a life filled with beauty.

One person who stands out and deserves some individual recognition is Jill. Many of you know her from her blog sandy toes & popsicles - but did you know that she is also an amazing designer? I had a vision for Beautyisms and with just a few bits of information, Jill was able to make my idea a reality.

She created some wonderful logos and designs for me to use. In one of her emails she actually said "Are you that easy? There's nothing you want changed?" Well ... no ... because she nailed it on the first round of design choices. Jill took my whimsy, flirty style ... added a touch of my love for Hawaii and plumerias ... and there you have it.

Thanks again Jill for bringing my vision of what Beautyisms should be to life.

If you need invitations or logos or anything designed, I highly recommend contacting Jill Parkin. Check out her site - because first impressions say it all.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Reading the Classics - and Loving every minute

Gone are the days of reading Goodnight Moon and Dr. Seuss before bed. Part of me is thankful that Dylan can read to himself because it gives me time to do other important things like wash dishes and pack lunches. However, there is a big part of me that misses laying next to him and reading aloud - the Mommy part.

Dylan has quite a fascination or should I say complete love of reading encyclopedia type books. Anything that he can read and memorize some fact or figure is what he thrives on. Do I want to read about facts and statistics before bed? No.

I can't even begin to guess the number of animal books or reference books this child has in his room. Even as a toddler, he wanted reference books - not some story about a bear who lived in the woods with other animals.Trust me - I tried and finally gave in to his desires.

Now that he is in the 3rd grade and reading more, his teacher has actually banned him from reading 'animal-reference books' as part of his weekly reading. Oh, the horror for him was unimaginable! That was until I came across some books in the $1 bin at Target.

Classics. Books I knew he would enjoy because they were about animals - but not a reference book. These books would take him to far off lands and give him a new love of reading. I love that he wants to learn something when he reads, but I also want him to know the pure joy of reading a story that has a beginning, middle, and end. Maybe even a moral to it.

The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and  Moby Dick - these are now on the same shelf with his encyclopedias.

I never read these books growing up, so reading them together is even more enjoyable. I want to find out what happens when I turn the page as much as he does. Last night we finished our first classic novel together and Buck will forever hold a special place in our hearts - just as he did for John Thornton.

As for the next book on our reading list, well, that's up to Dylan. I have a feeling it will be White Fang. Whatever book he chooses, I am just happy that I get my 'mommy time' back at night and that he is finding a whole new love for reading.

Of course he still loves his animal encyclopedias. Somehow they still end up in his bed at night.

Do you read to your children at bedtime? 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The right and wrong way to cut an onion

I am 41 years old and I have just learned the right way to cut an onion. Yes, there is a right and wrong way to cut an onion. Not the way you are probably thinking though - this technique has nothing to do with the tears in your eyes, but everything to do with the size of your onion pieces.

Thanks to a video posted by Tiny Oranges, I now have beautifully cut onions.

If you are a culinary expert, then you may already know this technique - but for me - the average mom who loves to cook this was the highlight of my day.

Watch the video over at Tiny Oranges and see for yourself. You will never dread cutting an onion again. Bring on the recipes with chopped onions and minced onions.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Family Time

There is something to be said for spending time together as a family. Not just sitting in front of the television together, but real quality time together. This doesn't mean you have to spend lots of money - be creative and think about what your child enjoys doing.

You may be surprised at how the simplest things, like playing a game of checkers with your child, will mean more to them than spending the day at an amusement park. It's the time when you turn off the television. Unplug from the internet. Put down the phone. (yes, I did pause to take this picture and was quickly reminded of the rules - No phone Mom) The time when you give all of your attention to your child.

This is what they will remember. Believe it or not, children pay more attention to the times we say "Just a minute" or "I can look when I finish my work" than we think they do. And before long, they will stop asking you to look at the picture they just drew - or the LEGO creation they just made.

Before you know it, your child will be too busy with their friends to even want to play a board game with you or swing at the park. I often wonder how my son got so big so fast - and before I know it, he will be dating and going off to college.

This may sound far fetched since he is only 8 years old, but these past eight years flew by. So who's to say the next eight years won't fly by just as fast?

Quality time can't be bought.

Quality time is priceless.

How much quality time do you spend together as a family?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Lemon-pepper fettuccine

I love trying new recipes and I love cooking things from scratch rather than opening a jar. Thanks to my new cookbook, I have lots of easy recipes to try out. This week it was Dylan's turn to choose something new. Of course he chose his all-time favorite food - PASTA!

 Lemon-pepper fettuccine

12 ounces fettuccine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large shallot, minced
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 large egg yolk
1 to 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/3 cup grated pecorino cheese
freshly ground pepper

This is an easy recipe to make that serves 4 people and only takes 20 minutes from start to finish.

As with any pasta dish, some yummy crusty Italian bread is always a good addition.

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil and cook the fettuccine as directed on the package. Drain and save about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and a pinch of salt, cook about 3 minutes - stirring occasionally until lightly golden brown. Whisk the cream, egg, and lemon zest together in a bowl. Reduce heat to low and add the cream mixture and cheese to the skillet. Cook, whisking, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the pasta to the skillet and toss. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved cooking water to thin. Serve in pasta bowels and top with more cheese!
This turned out so good and the sauce is perfect - not to thick and just the right amount of flavor. It's not too rich either like some cream sauces can be.

Recipe from Food Network Magazine Great Easy Meals Cookbook

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - My week in food

My week in food via Instagram. Not sure what it is, but food just looks better with Instagram.

Shop Dylan's Candy Bar for Valentine's Day!