Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Irvine Park Railroad Easter Eggstravaganza is Eggsellent!

Here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail train track, hippity-hoppity Easter's on it's way!

Well, that isn't exactly how the song goes. However, if you head over to Irvine Park Railroad that is the song you will be singing.  It's springtime and the park is filled with flowers, bunnies, chicks, and your favorite bunny of all is visiting to wish you a Happy Easter.

In true Irvine Park Railroad fashion, there is something for everyone ... games, bounce house, cookies, hay rides, train rides, and an Easter egg hunt .. Oh my!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Dylan's transformation

Last weekend on a visit to Irvine Park Railroad, Dylan wanted to get his face painted. What did he choose? Well, a white lion of course. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Why didn't someone tell me that parenting involved a four-letter word?

Ah, the joys of becoming a parent - I can still remember the day I heard my son's heartbeat for the first time. I was a mom. Wow, a little person was growing inside of me. The showers followed with cute clothes and toys - diapers and blankets. I remember thinking 'what fun this is going to be' ...

Then I got the book. You know, the book that we all read when we are pregnant and assume the worst when we read about a symptom that remotely resembles how we feel. The What to Expect When Your Expecting book. Come on, you know it was on the table next to your bed.

Now I remember talking to friends about how I would never sleep again. How I would never go to the bathroom alone again. How I would grow to loathe laundry.

But nobody ever told me about this ...

Math? I have to teach somebody math?

Are you kidding me?

In four short months Dylan has gone from simple adding and subtracting (with borrowing, of course) to multiplication, to division, and now fractions. Talk about a flashback to math anxiety. Not only do I have to be calm and try to explain this, but I have to explain it in a way that my son doesn't burst into tears out of frustration.

And I fear this is only the beginning. Algebra and geometry are soon to follow. Not to mention science and the dreaded periodic table, biology and our friend the amoeba, and the building of a California mission. Oh my, I'm having anxiety just thinking about it.

I can handle the attitude of an 8-year old going on 14, the arguments about taking a shower (because we know boys don't like showers) - I can even handle the selective hearing that all boys must be born with. But school - again? I mean really, I did this when I was a kid and then went back to school a few years ago to earn my bachelor degree. Why in the world would I want to do another round of school?

More importantly, why don't people tell you this stuff before you have kids?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spring Fever

It's that time of year. The days are longer and the sun seems to be shinning just a little bit brighter. Gone are the jackets, sweaters, and boots. Now the stores are filled with sundresses, bathing suits, and sandals.

The leprechauns have come and gone - soon Peter Cottontail will be hopping down the bunny trail.

Flowers are blooming and the butterflies are bountiful. Yes, Spring has sprung and I couldn't be happier.

The only problem I seem to be having is the bout of spring fever that hit me last week. No, I'm not a student and I don't party over Spring Break. I'm 41 years old and have a kid, so why in the world do I have spring fever so badly?

Maybe the theory of spring fever being an illness of teenagers and college students is wrong. Maybe, just maybe adults - moms - can get it too.

I'm guessing working for the school district doesn't help my chances of contracting the spring fever bug. So I did the only thing that seemed to make sense. I booked a staycation for a few days over Spring Break. Nothing fancy. No airplanes. No luxury hotels. Just lots of fun times and smiles planned with Dylan.

Do you have spring fever yet?

What are you doing for Spring Break?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Kind words go a long way

A smile can be contagious and can lift your spirits.
A hug can make you feel better from head to toe.

Both can do wonders, but both are temporary. Words linger ... words make you think ... words can do more than you realize.

The other day, completely out of the blue, I got a message on Facebook from an old friend. The kindest words I have heard read in a long time.

"You're a rad mom!"

My reply, "Thanks, what did I do?"

"Just doing your thing, being a proud momma! Love it! It's the most endearing and attractive quality in a woman. And I love that you are setting a great example and installing faith in your child's life. You're doing all right and you should be reminded of that."

The lesson here - kind words are always appreciated. We may be thinking them, but how often do we actually say them?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Meringue Bake Shop's PushCakes Winner is ...

Congratulations Kathleen! 

It was your lucky day and one dozen delicious PushCakes will soon be arriving at your doorstep.

Please contact Kristin by email to place your order and arrange for delivery of your PushCakes.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My obsession with organization meets LEGO

Yes, LEGO is my son's thing - but organization is mine. Aside from stepping on little pieces of plastic and coming to an abrupt halt midstream when I'm vacuuming, I have no problem with LEGO.
Well, wait ... maybe one little problem ... organization.

The majority of his LEGO pieces are nicely organized in plastic bins by color, but these tiny ones always seem to end up in a mish-mash of tiny containers and baggies. There has to be a better way to store the smaller LEGO pieces that will be easy enough for my son to keep up and satisfy my desire for organization.

These are not the average LEGO pieces - these are the teenie-tiny ones. The ones that are so hard to find when needed for the finishing touch on your LEGO masterpiece.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Why I'm loving the #marchphotoaday challenge

After seeing all the pictures my friends were posting on Instagram last month I decided to take the #marchphotoaday challenge created by @FatMumSlim this month. The challenge makes me think about the photos I am taking and it's fun to get creative with them too. I love seeing others Instagrams, who are taking the challenge and seeing how they interpret the prompt of the day.

I have made it halfway through the month and thought I would share some of my favorites -

Day 2: Fruit
Day 3: Your neighborhood

Day 8: Window
Day 9: Red

Day 10: Loud

Day 14: Clouds

Are you taking the #marchphotoaday challenge? If not, you should give it a try - I would love to see your photos!

By the way, Chantelle's blog is pretty awesome too.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My open letter for all the single moms out there

Dear Doubter,

You know who are. You are the one who told me when I was 6 weeks pregnant that I should consider giving my child up for adoption. That there were plenty of wealthy families in Orange County that would love to have a new baby. People that could provide a much better life for my child than I could.

Why? Because I was a single 32-year old woman and couldn't possibly offer this child what he needed.

Why? Because I didn't own a home or have a six-figure income. Because we all know that money is what buys love and happiness right?

You doubted me. You doubted my abilities.

Money does not buy love or happiness. Sure, it helps when you're not struggling paycheck to paycheck, but a child does not know the difference between a brand new toy and used toy. It's a toy. A child does not care if their clothes are brand new, designer labeled or if they come from a consignment store. The important thing is that a parent provides clothing for a child.

Yes, I struggled and sometimes still struggle - but I have friends and family that have always been there to help with babysitting and moral support when I need it.  My son never suffered or wanted for anything when he was a baby, a toddler, and now an 8-year old boy. He is loved more than you will ever know.

Why? Because I don't think you know what love is or what it means to be a mother. You may take your family on vacations across the world and my vacations may only be to San Diego for the weekend, but I bet we have more fun than you do. Why? Because we appreciate the vacation and don't take anything for granted. We don't live in a big house on the hill or drive a fancy car, but we have a roof over our head and a car that doesn't guzzle gas.

I have wanted to write this letter to you for some time now. My son, you know the one you wanted to me to give away, just had a report card that blew me away. More than the one last year.
He is reading at a 4th grade reading level (reminder, he's in 3rd grade) - he is excelling in math and science - he is a Cub Scout - he will be getting his 3rd grade Bible in a few days - he's an artist - he loves animals - he is everything that he should be and more.

Why? Because I loved him and gave him things that money couldn't buy.

So the next time that you see a single woman, an unwed woman, who is pregnant think twice before you open your mouth. Single moms work harder than you do. Single moms don't have everything handed to them. Single moms know how to love. Single moms are strong.

We will fight harder for our children and protect them from people like you more than anyone I know. Never doubt the love of a single mom.

Wordless Wednesday - LEGO Star Wars and the Dark Side

Once again, Dylan has gone to the Dark Side with Darth Vader at LEGOLAND California.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Some days it's all about having fun!

After a long work week, I was ready to do anything but go home and make dinner. The weather has been beautiful and thanks to my friend Wendy (over at Wendy Will Blog) I was craving a frozen banana from Sugar and Spice on Balboa Island.

So last Friday I was on a mission. Pick up kid. Drive to Balboa Island. Have some fun!

Who says you can't have a frozen banana before dinner? It's fruit right?

OK, so our next stop may have spoiled dinner a little, but you can't go to the island without a stop at Balboa Candy. Seriously - you just cant!

Could this evening get any better? Was it possible to have more fun?

Oh yeah, it was possible. What kid doesn't love a new pair of Vans slip-on shoes?

What do you do for spur of the moment fun?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Little Ordinary Things

I don't know about you, but last week was a massive whirlwind for me. It's not that I had anything more to do than normal, but I just kept running out of time. Three days last week I had to spend my lunch break driving across town to deliver lunch to my son at his school because I ran out of time to make his lunch at home.

Laundry, um well, it got done the week before and we are still pulling socks out of the clean laundry basket because matching socks and folding pj's just didn't seem to be a priority.
Dishes? Yep, they piled up too.

Tonight I feel like I got caught up - well, at least a little bit. That was until I happened to look up at the top of my bookcase and saw this sad, sad plant.

Now to some of you, this just looks like any ordinary house plant. To me, this is the one plant that I haven't killed! I have kept this little guy alive for over 7 years and that includes 3 moves.

That's huge for me!

Seeing him so sad and wilting made me realize that I really have not been looking at the important things in my life. The things that I take for granted.

The little things that make me smile each day.

Like this plant ...

and my son's face when I tell him he did a good job...

or that I am proud of him.

These little things, that seem so ordinary to us, suddenly become extraordinary when we start to neglect them. They become lifeless and it's all we can do but take notice of how important they really are.

So those socks in the laundry basket that need to be folded and the dishes in the sink can wait. Nothing will happen to them. They won't wilt. They won't look sad.

However, my little plant and my son will.

Moral of the story - No matter how busy you get, no matter how big of a whirlwind your life becomes, never forget about the little ordinary things that mean so much to you.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Meringue Bake Shop's PushCakes are truly an original!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream PushCakes!

If you live in Orange County, California then you probably know all about the delicious PushCakes from Meringue Bake Shop. If not, don't worry, I'm going to tell you all about them.
Kristin Ausk is my friend, but more importantly, she is the owner of Meringue Bake Shop and the creator of the original pushcake.

As a baker and lover of cupcakes myself, I am envious of Kristin for following her passion and making a business from her love of baking cupcakes. I was thrilled when she agreed to be interviewed for this post - and even more thrilled to have met up with her last week to get some more yummy sweet treats!

Here is what Kristin has to say about Meringue Bake Shop and PushCakes ...

When did you first start baking?
I was 7 or 8 years old and living in San Diego, CA. The San Diego Union Tribune had a weekly contest for kids to enter recipes and I was always trying something new. I felt at peace in the kitchen.

When did you decide to make a business out of your love for baking?
In 2005 I was looking for a job and started baking more because baking helped reduce my stress. When I started working, I would bring what I made to work and test out recipes on my coworkers. They didn't complain. In fact, they started asking me to make cupcakes for their children's birthday parties. After a few years of filling orders for friends and coworkers, I got a business license in 2008. That is how Meringue Bake Shop got started.

Your cupcakes are amazing! Have you ever considered doing Cupcake Wars?
Actually, they contacted me during the first season. Back then there was no prize money and I didn't want to spend money or my time just for the title of winning something.  Cupcake Wars did contact me again, after they added the $10,000 prize, but I'm really not a fan of that show. It's just not my thing. I'm more of a grassroots baker - you know, like the desserts you would get in a diner. Why would I want to bake under that kind of pressure?

As the original creator of PushCakes, how do you feel about the copycats?
At first I was really upset with the businesses who were selling what I had created - they basically saw a blog post about me and stole my idea. When I first came up with the idea, the company where I bought my containers from had no idea what I was talking about. The containers were not easily found - they come from Italy!
Now, almost every food packaging company carries some sort of PushCake container.

Once I started seeing others that were using a different name I was flattered. Some would even post about their attempts on blogs and link back to me. That was cool. The worst part is when people use the word PushCakes and say they had no idea I had trademarked the name. Hello, did you even try to Google it?

What are your best selling flavors?
Birthday Cake (vanilla cake, chocolate buttercream with sprinkles), Queen of Hearts (red velvet cake, cream cheese frosting), and Orange Crush (orange crush cake, creamsicle buttercream )

Where can people buy your PushCakes?
At this time, we don't have a shop - we work out of an industrial kitchen in Fullerton. We are at the Orange Home Grown Farmers Market every other Saturday from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. and we take custom orders for everything from media events to birthday parties to weddings.

Do you have plans to open a store?
Yes and no. We have thought about it, but it's a huge financial obligation. I work full-time and at this point we just don't have the funds - we would need an investor. I do have some great ideas for a store though ... (Kristin did share her ideas with me, but I'm not going to write about them - because they are just that good and I don't want anyone else copying her ideas)

What is your favorite part about selling PushCakes?
That's easy - when kids come up to the table at the farmers market and smile. I love watching kids eat PushCakes.

Ironically, when we went to visit Kristin last week my son did just that.

PushCakes sell for $3.25 each or $39 a dozen. Kristin will even customize the sticker on the PushCakes to match your event. I could go on forever about the fabulous cakes and frosting flavors (which you can find here) but let's get on to the good stuff.
Kristin has offered to do a giveaway of PushCakes to one of my readers. Yes, you read that right. You could have 12 fabulous PushCakes all to yourself - or you could share them with some friends.

To enter the PushCakes giveaway just leave a comment below telling me what your favorite PushCakes flavor is. It's that simple.

For additional entries: (please leave a comment for each additional entry)

  1. "Like" Life with Dylan on Facebook
  2. "Like" PushCakes on Facebook
  3. Follow PushCakes on twitter
  4. Tweet about this giveaway using @bchbby and @PushCakes

PushCakes Giveaway fine print:
Giveaway will end on March 18, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. Winner will be selected via and has 3 days to respond to my email before another winner is selected. The winner will receive one dozen PushCakes in any original flavor. Winner may select one or two original flavors. Meringue Bake Shop requires 2 weeks notice for the order and will only ship to a US address. Winner has until August 31, 2012 to place the order. 

For more information on Meringue Bake Shop visit

Friday, March 2, 2012

Life with Dylan has a new look!

You may have noticed that the blog looks a little different - well, that's because I gave it a minor makeover. I have a new outlook on life and I wanted that to reflect on the blog. So I added some instagrams, more vibrant colors and created a new header. Doing it all one smile at a time.

Wondering when I had the time to do all this? Well, that's where my new outlook on life comes in.
I have embraced the concept of saying no to other people and yes to myself. I now have time to do the things I want to do.

Working on the new blog design and changing the Facebook pages for Life with Dylan and Beautyisms over to the new timeline format is something I have been wanting to do. I might make some more adjustments this weekend to the timeline cover photos, but for now I'm good.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Star Wars Fan Days at Discovery Science Center are out of this Galaxy!

If your child loves Star Wars as much as mine does, then you need to visit Discovery Science Center for one of their Star Wars Fan Days before it's too late. These special fan appreciation days are in a galaxy all of their own.  Although the Star Wars exhibit will be on display until April 15, 2012 there are only two more scheduled Star Wars Fan Days - March 3rd and March 24th

Dylan and I have been to Discovery Science Center 4 times since the Star Wars exhibit opened - yes, that is basically once a month - but the exhibit is just so amazing that we keep going back for more! I have taken over 200 pictures from all our visits and selected about 30 of my favorites to share with you. This is just a  glimpse at what you will experience when visiting Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination and the Star Wars Fan Days.


Let the kiddos wear their favorite Star Wars costume and they can get FREE general admission (ages 3-14) on Fan Days! Heck, you may not get in free, but wear your Star Wars costume too -
it's a family affair. The Star Wars exhibit is perfect for even the youngest Jedis in your family.

All Fan Day activities are included in general admission. Entrance into the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit is an additional $10 ticket, which can be purchased for a scheduled time.  By allowing only a certain number of people inside the exhibit at one time assures that you can see everything and have an opportunity to experience all of the hands on centers.

Visit for more information on hours, tickets, and future exhibits.