Lunchables: Field Trips For All with Kevin Jonas

So these past three days we have been talking about Lunchables Field Trips For All Contest where Lunchables will be giving 50 classrooms the ultimate field trip! I hope by now you have gone over to to nominate a deserving classroom. I wanted to take one last day to promote the program and show you some video that was taken from the event. My two kids got a chance to ask Kevin Jonas two below to find out what they asked! (make sure you turn up your volume...the sound is pretty low)

Below you can also see some footage of the event as well as the lucky classroom that got to participate. Stay tuned Monday we're going to have a fun giveaway launching - where I am taking one of you on a field trip!! This should be a ton of fun and I am looking forward to hosting a lucky reader!! Watch Monday for more details!!

Wordless Wednesday



Field Trips

For All

Nominate a classroom
for the ultimate field trip
50 field trips will
be given away - head to to vote now!

**Kevin Jonas from the world famous Jonas Brothers kicked of Lunchables "Field Trips For All" Program at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles today.

Lunchables:Field Trips for All

My youngest son goes to school in one of the lowest poverty areas of Los Angeles. Our little town has only two elementary schools and because of budget issues they had to shut down one, cramming all the children from both schools into one. One of the first things that seems to also but cut out is funding for field trips. My youngest daughter did not get to go on one field trip this year. Just last week I got to accompany my son on his one and only field trip of the year. I find it so true that learning comes so much easier when you engage in an hands-on experience. I for one am not one to sit and listen to someone talk - being able to experience first hand is so much more fascinating and quicker to absorb.

"Field Trips For All" is the first effort from the Lunchables teams new initiative called Project Potential. Aimed at empowering kids with opportunities to help them reach their full potential, Project Potential will award enriching experiences kids might otherwise not have.

The Lunchables Field Trips For All program will provide educational and inspiring field trips to 50 deserving classrooms in an effort to help kids unlock their imaginations and realize their full potential. Deserving classrooms will be selected from nominations submitted online at through June 1st.

Today pop star Kevin Jonas is helping to kick off the Lunchables "Field Trips For All" program here in Los Angeles at the National History Museum of Los Angeles County. Kevin Jonas will accompany a group of 2ND grade students from Manhattan Place Elementary School. We are lucky enough to have an opportunity to tag along will bring back some footage to share with you all! In the mean time I hope you will take just five minutes to head on over to and nominate a classroom. Even if you don't have any children or your children are older, call up a local school and get the information will be giving the children an opportunity to enhance their learning!!

Fan Stamp

I don't know what it is about fake tattoos, but the kids seem to just go crazy over them! My kids go nuts over them and as soon as they see one, that's how quick they are in the bathroom trying to put them on!! Putting them on can sometimes be a mess, water gets all over the place or they may smudge and peel off easily. Fan Stamp takes it one step ahead - no water needed!! Fan Stamp applies without water - just peel, rub and stick! The stamp is made from high end make up that won't drip like regular face paint. My favorite part about this product (besides the use of no water) is that you can use the same stamp over and over. My daughter loved this ladybug tattoo, she wanted it on each cheek. This was so easy to put on!! You simply peel off the cover, apply the stamp to the area where you are applying it and press down for a few seconds. It did not take long to apply at all. As I am getting older I notice that my hands don't stay still very easily, so I was afraid I was going to smudge it. This did not seem to smudge at all and I just pressed down for five seconds and it was perfect!! I love how it looked, I wish I would have taken a picture for you all, but this really looked like a professional face painting job. So different than the fake tattoos that go on with water. Those seem to peel easily and start to crack. With Fan Stamp I did not see any cracks starting to form and there is nothing for it to start peeling. Fan Stamp is completely hygienic and can be easily removed with any oil based make up remover that is safe for the face and eye area.

Pros -
  • Easy to apply - just peel, press & rub - no water needed
  • Professional looking - no cracks or peeling
  • One stamp can be reapplied more than one time
  • Convenient for costumes or dressing up
Cons -
  • This can get expensive if buying for a party or group
Example of pricing - you can get an animal package for $8.25 which includes one eye design, one face design, and removal wipe instructions (when you buy 6-23)

I don't know if I would spend this much money if I was buying for a party....but on a personal level I love love love this for use on my own children!! This is also great to carry in your purse when you plan on going out to a carnival or somewhere they will have face painting. We usually pass on it because they just charge so much! Now when my children ask if they can have their face painted I can pull out Fan Stamp and save about half the price and most the time it will probably look a lot better than having someone at the festival do it anyway. Even for Halloween - it sure beats any design I can create!!

Visit Fan Stamp to see the many designs they have and for more information!! They even have Disney and Team Colors too!!

Fun With Math!!

My youngest son is in the first grade and just turned seven. He is a very smart little boy....when he chooses to be. As a mother of four one thing I have learned is that children learn best when having fun! I can even say that may hold true for myself also to some point. Sitting at a desk, listening to someone talk just somehow does not absorb as much as actually interacting with what you are learning. Zillio is a fun way to keep kids interested in math and a fun way for you to "refresh" your memory so that you can help with that homework. When my son started the first grade I could not believe the math he was learning! I thought to myself "how am I ever going to keep up with him" It's been years since I have been in school and they are learning so much at an earlier age now. With Zillio my kids and I can keep up together, it's a way not only for me to bond with them, but gives me a chance to keep up at their level.

When we first got out the mountain I think we were a bit intimidated, but tried anyway to play it straight from the box. After not being able to figure it out I grabbed the laptop and watched the intro videos that they have on their website which is extremely helpful!! Also in the box comes a thick binder full of games and the instructions how to play. There are so many different ways you can play no matter what your math level may be. My youngest daughter who is in Kindergarten loves to play with this!! I have to say - she is a bit behind at this point compared to where my son was at her age. She is doing well is school - but I think because she is the baby of the family, we just can't see her growing up!! She does so much learning on her own -she loves to play school. We started off simple for her, placing all the tokens in the middle of the mountain and mixing them up. We would each take a turn and place them on their mountain hill, matching them with their color. Then, once all tokens were accounted for we raced to see who could put the numbers in order first - she loved doing this over and over trying to beat her own time. The numbers just don't go up to ten either. In fact I just got my daughters progress report today and two numbers she needs work on is 12 & 22 - so this is a perfect, fun way for her to learn!

When it comes to my son - it's more so about me trying to keep up with him as I stated above. I cannot believe the math first graders are doing these days. I can just imagine by the time my son is in fifth grade I will be no longer able to help him because I do not know the work. Feeling helpless in not being able to help my son succeed is not a feeling I want to experience! I love that this isn't just for kids. That while bonding with my son I can also learn with him and be able to be there for him when he sits down to do his homework. When I was in school I use to be a whiz at algebra - but how many years ago was that? With the Mini Mountain, the second group of lessons focus on multiplicative reasoning, including multiplication, divisions, fractions, ratios and linear equations. LOVE IT!! The visual structure of the Mountain helps children learn how multiplication, division, number lines, and fractions are all interrelated. My son and I have been using the mini mountain for about the last week and it's helped us tremendously! My son is not a patient person who gets frustrated easily. Now, when he gets stuck we pull out the mini mountain and figure the problem out together. Now I'm starting to think he sometimes gets stuck on purpose just to get this out!! But, I don't mind - I love watching my children learn and especially when they are wanting to learn on their own free time!

“Numerous studies report that over 60% of our youngsters are not proficient in math,” reveals Emerson. “This will limit their career choices, earning potential, and self esteem. It even has a huge impact on whether or not they stay in school.” She adds, “a similarly large number of adults tell us they do not feel comfortable with their own math skills so investing in Zillio can really make a difference -- now and into their child’s future.”

Mini Mountain
This Mountain measures 18” in diameter and 8” high and is easily portable. The maximum height reached (peak elevation) is 36. It is excellent for introducing and exploring even the most advanced concepts but it is more limited in developing fluency. The number of players varies by activity, from one to four. Hands-on activities and length of play are suited to beginning levels and skills as well as more advanced ones. Ages 4 to 94. Retails for $99.95

2D Playground
This colorful 2D version of our Mega Zillio can be used as a game board, a poster, and a worksheet. Perfect for 2- 4 students to practice math facts and or play games to develop problem solving and reasoning skills. It measures 24" by 24" and is laminated. It has a picture of the Mountain with multiples on one side and without on the other. It comes with instructions, 3 dice, and 1 set of 12 foam cards with tokens. Retails for $31.95

Visit Zillio at for more information

Want to win your choice of the Mini Mountain or 2D Playground? Head on over to our giveaway page for more info!!

**Disclosure: Our family was given the Mini Mountain & 2D Playground for review purposes for this feature. The Mini Mountain will be donated to my son's first grade classroom. A big thank you to Zillio for allowing me to find a way to "keep up" with my son!!!!

Green Crafts courtesy of Disney Family Fun Magazine

Green Crafts

Jug heads: To liven up the laundry room, mount a menagerie of plastic-jug trophy heads. Our hunting grounds yielded the makings of a pig, a warthog, and an antelope, but your recycling bin may suggest a different animal collective.

Treasure-keeper frog: What tadpole wouldn’t love to fill this case with marbles, coins, or trinkets? We’ve come up with a trick for attaching the zipper in a snap.
Soda-bottle tractor: Thanks to its jumbo rear wheels made from cardboard disks and old CDs, this green machine is surprisingly speedy. A seat cut from the corner of a soap box makes the perfect perch for toy tractor operators.

Tropical bottle fish: These bottlenose beauties make great decors indoors or out. If you plan to hang yours poolside, brush on a coat of Outdoor Mod Podge first.

Cardboard petal picture frame: This fanciful frame gets its flair from snips of painted cardboard tubes. To achieve our free-form look, we cut two petal sizes.

Easy-weave newsprint basket: You won’t be-weave how fast this basket comes together when you work around a form. We used a roll of paper towels for ours. Clear tape keeps the strips secure.

Gardening’s not just for grown-ups! Gardening Craft Projects to Inspire a Young Gardener
The Stepping Stone Path:
This stepping-stone path offers a concrete method of preserving your most precious garden harvest: happy memories.
Create a Gourd Birdhouse: Gourds prove that nature has a sense of humor: their wild markings, eye-popping colors, and space-alien shapes transform the late-summer garden into a natural amusement park. If you've considered growing gourds but wondered what in the world to do with them, this project will answer your question--and please the birds in the process.
Make Your Version of the Very Hungry Caterpillar: This soddy creature makes a fun first-time gardening project while bringing a little bit of spring into your home.

Create a Garden Guardian: With her bean-vine skirt and hair that really grows, our garden guardian is proof that this summer's hot color is definitely green. Plant your seeds at the end of May (or whenever the time is right where you live), and you'll see a full skirt of foliage by mid-July. As if good looks weren't enough, Mrs. Green Beans offers the bonus of a three-month harvest.
Open a "Ladybug Inn": One way for your kids to get acquainted with the industrious ladybug is to gather a few from your garden and put them up indoors for a couple of days in a see-through ladybug inn.
Gardening Projects for Apartment Dwellers:

Create a Door Step Garden: Turn an old boot into a stylish planter.
Create a Windowsill Garden: Nothing cures a family-wide case of cabin fever--and makes a home more fun to live in--like a little gardening in the great indoors.

Create Plant Pals for the Indoor Gardener: Your indoor gardener may not get your "bad hair day" jokes, but the fun of this grassy-haired friend won't be lost on him. Like a Chia Pet, the project requires just a sprinkling of seeds, a bit of sun, and a few drops of patience.

Additional Tips:

10 Ways to Make Gardening More Fun: By maximizing the magic and minimizing the chores, our readers bring out the green thumb in their kids.

Tips for Creating Your First Garden (with your kids!): Giving your child his or her own miniature flower garden provides the right balance of big dreams and little tasks. A small garden of annual flowers is easy to take care of, and she will learn many skills as she nurtures seedlings and cuts bouquets for the kitchen table

**This post has been written and provided by Disney Family Fun Magazine. No compensation was received for this post.

Fresh Beat Band

This past week my two little ones and I were invited to the Paramount Studios to get a behind the scene look at the Fresh Beat Band's new home in Los Angeles. The kids waited all week for this one - they were super excited!! From a mother's perspective I love shows like this one - there is no language we have to worry about, no rude remarks and no violence. Just plain fun!! When we arrived at Paramount Studios they had lunch waiting for us. Our hosts gave the kids coloring pages and crayons to pass the time. Lunch was so yummy and I loved that they thought of the little ones and served chicken nuggets (one of the only few things my daughter will eat). Being one of the first ones there we got to go back first to watch them tape a clip of an upcoming show. I was a bit worried about how the kids would do - but I think they ended up being so intimidated that they were as quiet as can be! During their lunch break they were nice enough to come outside to talk with us all.

Below from left to right - Twist (Jon Beavers), Kiki (Yvette Gonzalez), Shout (Thomas Hobson) and Marina (Shayna Rose)

We were also lucky enough to get a tour of the set - it's so amazing how they fit so much into one building!! As we walked into Stage 13, we proceeded down Main Street - they kids could not believe they were actually there! It's so colorful, full of life and like walking into the Wizard of Oz a bit.

Scott Kraft (pictured below) and Nadine Van der Velde are the creators of the Fresh Beat Band (and husband and wife might I add) Scott was so insightful and seemed to have just as much energy as the characters have!! We loved touring with Scott as he gave us the inside of how the taping is done as well as showing us around the many different scenes they had set up for the show. He was also great with the kids - he had The Fresh Beat Band give a shout out to our kids in between their takes.

Courtesy of Nickelodeon below is some info on the show -

"The Fresh Beat Band is a live-action preschool musical sitcom set to original pop songs with preschool-friendly lyrics. Marina, Kiki, Twist, and Shout are the Fresh Beats--four best friends in a band who go to music school together and love to sing and dance.

For the Fresh Beats, just about any situation can lead to a full-blown song-and-dance performance. From the moment they wake up, everything that the Fresh Beats do is infused with musical fun. All songs embody an upbeat, contemporary format with preschool-friendly lyrics that the whole family will enjoy.

In Every Episode:

  • There are four upbeat, kid-friendly songs in every Fresh Beat Band episode.

  • Children will sing and dance along as they help the Fresh Beats solve a preschool-relatable problem.

  • The Fresh Beat Band kicks off each episode with an energetic performance of one of their signature songs.

  • When a preschool-appropriate problem arises, The Fresh Beat Band sings a song about how to confront it.

  • When the problem is solved, The Fresh Beat Band performs their big number--with the solution incorporated into the lyrics.

  • Each episode concludes with a version of The Fresh Beat Band's show-stopping "Great Day!" song.

  • What to check out the Fresh Beat Band live? They will be performing at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books this weekend, April 24Th & 25Th at the UCLA campus. The event is free to the public - check the website for more information and show times.

    Kids can also visit Nick Jr. for games, videos, crafts and even recipes from The Fresh Beat Band!

    ***Check your local listings for showtimes

    **Disclosure: Our family was invited out to the Paramount Studios for a tour, lunch and a meet and greet with the band. No monetary compensation was received.

    Wordless Wednesday

    Los Angeles Bloggers Brunch 2010

    Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach
    Beautiful outdoor setting!

    Insightful Sponsors

    Bandai (I think this was the kids favorite!)

    We got to put the newest Dyson Products to the test!

    Pottery Barn Kids

    Temptress Cosmetics gave us beautiful make overs & helpful tips

    Toyota was there showing off the Newest Sienna

    Cold Stone Creamery was there to introduce their Oreo Filling Cookie Ice Cream..Yummy!

    Backyard Safari Outfitters - perfect for spring time & gets kids outside & exploring!

    Big shout out to Pajama Jeans too!! Looking forward to wearing my Pajama Jeans to bed and to play in!!

    Thank you to Child Play Communications for putting together a great LA Bloggers Brunch!!

    Disney's Food & Wine Festival

    We love good food and wanted to get this up for you all so you have plenty of time go get on over to California Adventure's Food & Wine Festival. For 46 days, Disney's California Adventure Park and select locations at the Disneyland Resort will host "The Art of Flavor," one of the most anticipated events of spring. Enjoy cooking demonstrations, seminars and recipes that reflect California's regional and culinary diversity.

    Signature Events**
    Reserve your spot at these extraordinary celebrations

    Daily Schedule - Get up-to-date times and locations for all of the exciting activities and events at Disney's California Food & Wine Festival. Celebrity Chefs appearing include Jeffery Saad, Cat Cora, Sunny Anderson, Art Smith and more! (We missed seeing one of our favorites Guy Fieri, so make sure you check out the schedule so you don't miss your favorite!)

    Places to Discover
    In addition to scheduled events, there's plenty to do and see throughout the festival including special dining opportunities, art exhibits and wine tasting.

    "The Art of Flavor"
    Fifth Annual Disney's California Food & Wine Festival
    April 16 – May 31, 2010

    * Admission to Disney's California Adventure Park is required for events held within the Park and is not included in the event price.

    ** Additional fee and advance reservations are required for Signature Events

    Better Oats

    If you're like me, I am not a big fan of breakfast. Sure, I'll eat a bowl of yogurt, mix up a smoothie or occasionally have a bowl of oatmeal with my husband - who is big on breakfast. I eat oatmeal for breakfast because I have heard it's good for you, and breakfast is suppose to be the most important meal of the day, right? After I get my bowl of oatmeal together with all the added milk, butter and sugar I add, I it Still good for me? lol! Well, now there's a new oatmeal on the market "Better Oats". We were asked to put Better Oats to the test against one of the leading brands on the market today. Knowing how much my husband loves oatmeal and hearing that Better Oats carries 34 different varieties - this was one test we were happy to take! We received the box below - and I was anxious to try it the next morning.

    I always am the first one up, so thought I would cook up some oatmeal before my husband would wake up and put Better Oats to the real test. I wanted in on this too, so - on the bottom of the two bowls we were sent I tapped a piece of paper with the name of each brand of oatmeal it had in it. I followed the directions on each of the packets sent. Better Oats comes in individual packages which also substitutes as a measuring cup. You tear off the top of the packet across the dotted line and pour the oats into the bowl. With that same individual packet you fill it up with cold water up to the fill line - then pour into the bowl and microwave. Simple as 1, 2, 3!! I love this method and the individual packets - that makes it extremely easy for on the go, camping, etc... The end result =
    Can you tell the difference? The bowl on the left hand side is Better Oats. Just from observing it, it looks more chunky, flavorful and has bigger oats. I have to admit I know how hard it can be to switch brands / tastes after you've been having the same thing for months, maybe even years. The one pictured above is the apples and cinnamon - which I have to admit is not a favorite flavor of mine - but if I did like it, this is something that I would not need to add any extras too. There were a lot of good size apple chunks and the flavor my husband seemed to like. They have so many varieties and flavors I was so anxious to try another so I cooked up the Lavish Dark Chocolate. This one must be one of those tastes that you have to acquire - it just did not set with me & I am a chocolate lover! I took one bite and just could not eat no more. I will give it another try before I throw the box away though since it is made with real chocolate morsels and a good source of fiber. The next morning I also tried the original flavor, adding my milk, butter & sugar. The oatmeal was yummy!! Other flavors include maple & brown sugar, peaches and cream, cinnamon roll, berry blast and so many more - remember there are 34 flavors!!!
    • All varieties are made with 100% whole grain oats and are naturally trans-fat and cholesterol free
    • All varieties contain ground Flax seeds, which are a natural source of Omega-3 and a good source of fiber
    • All varieties are packaged in an innovative built in measuring cup pouch (Love it!!)
    Take the Better Oats taste test yourself! Visit to sign up for the challenge and to learn more about Better Oats.

    Hadsten House Inn and Spa

    The Hadsten House Inn and Spa is just beautiful!! From the outside you would not even know, it really looks like any other hotel. Solvang was our last stop on our road trip - and what a way to end it! In a quaint little danish town, with pastries, great dinner, miniature horses, and the most comfortable bed to rest in! We arrived in Solvang later than planned, that was partly my fault for rushing through the planning. I had wanted to stop about every two hours and spend each night in a new place - but for some reason - we had a four hour drive to Solvang from Monterey and the coast line was just so beautiful we could not help but take our time. Right after leaving Monterey was the 17 mile drive - there was a $10 entrance fee and we sat there for a moment debating weather to do it or not - we really did not have the time, but Pebble Beach was in there as well as so many other wonderful spots that they have lined out for you. Let me tell you - I am so so happy that we paid the ten dollars, this was the most beautiful, scenic drive - and the sights & history you get to see more than made up for the $10! Then of course for the kids we had to stop along the beaches to see the sea lions - it's mating season, so they are all ashore - which was fun to watch! We finally arrive in Solvang fifteen minutes til six - right on time, but not time to rest! We checked in, made a restroom run and walked to the restaurant. When I walked in I felt like I was in a really fancy place. The lights we're dim (which is why there's no pics), it was small and very intimate, and in the corner were couches & a fireplace - fancy yet comfortable. We were the only ones there with kids - which made me feel a bit uncomfortable, especially since they placed us right in the middle of the room! HA! Most the others were older, retired folks enjoying a weekend getaway - luckily we sat next to a nice older couple who missed their grandkids so loved our kids! Whew! Dinner was superb! Although I don't think I ever waited so long for food - they were soooo slow!! My husband and I both had the bacon wrapped Fillet Mignon - yummy!! For desert we had the flourless chocolate cake - wow, not what I expected at all!! I guess I was expecting a dry, crumbly piece of cake. This tasted more like a rich moose more than anything - just melted in your mouth. By the time we got out of there it was probably closing in on eight - we we're all stuffed and the town was shut down for the night - so went back to our room to get some much needed sleep!
    Just from looking at it you can get an idea that the bed was going to be awesome!! This is just what we needed after a week of traveling! The kids slept on the pull out sofa, and come morning I just did not want to get out of bed, and by the end of the day was wishing I would have taken advantage of some extra sleep!! The room was perfect for the four of us, had a gas fireplace, comfortable robes, and cartoons to keep the kids entertained.
    We got up early knowing that we had to make the long trip home in the morning and had a couple other stops we wanted to make. The hotel serves a complete all you can eat breakfast in the morning - and I am not just talking toast & cereal. There was muffins, eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, coffee, oj, and so much more - again we got stuffed! After breakfast we gathered our stuff together, checked out and walked the town. I had been to Solvang once when I was about 18 and remember their danish pastries - could not leave town without a box!! I wish I would have taken a pic for you all of my pastries - yum yum and so pretty too!

    After touring the town by foot - the kids were exhausted from walking!! So we hopped in the car and headed to the Miniature Horse Ranch just five minutes north of town. Quicksilver Ranch is a large-scale miniature horse ranch with daily tours. We walked around looking at the horses - which my daughter loved because they were just "her" size. We were lucky to see the one mama below with her baby - so cute!!
    As we headed back to the freeway, just on the other side of Solvang - not even five minutes out was The Ostrich Farm. This one kind of scared me. I have watched TV shows about these animals before and heard that they are not that friendly and can be very mean & dangerous. I was not sure what to expect and if I even wanted my kids to feed them. We walked in and saw that we had to pay to feed them. It was $1.00 for every pound - that way they could keep track of how much the animals ate. So - I bought one pan for each child, we read the rules and off we went! It was actually fun and the kids loved it so much they wanted to do it again! We were told to hold onto the bowls very tightly and make sure you keep your fingers off the bowl. These guys will even try to steal the bowl away from you!

    A big thank you to Solvang for hosting us!! We wish we would have had more time to really enjoy it and not be so rushed!! A weekend is definitely the way to go!!

    For current rates & more info visit

    Want to learn more about Solvang?
    Contact the Solvang Visitor Bureau at

    **Disclosure: Solvang provided us with one nights stay at the Hadsten House Inn. No monetary compensation was received.

    Wordless Wednesday

    We drove the famous "17 mile drive" on our way back down the coast - what a beautiful drive & worth the $10 they charge you! This picture is The Lone Cypress - it has prevailed on this rocky perch for over 250 years!! This has become the symbol of The Pebble Beach Company.

    Fisher Price Moments

    **Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win a giftcard in exchange for this post. No monetary exchange took place and all opinions are my own.

    As a Mother - there is one thing we all have in common, that we love to share those special moments that our family gives us. With so many social networking sites out there it can be hard to keep track of what you've posted and who you've posted it to. We can easily upload our pictures and video to friends and family on the net, but how about an easy to read digital time line? Fisher Price is a brand most of us grew up with, a brand we trust and a brand we feel comfortable enough with to hand over to our children. Fisher Price is now taking to to the next step, offering a digital time line complete with photos, videos, captions and stories. Even better is that you can create this live on your Facebook page.

    " This extremely easy to use application ( allows you to create a personalized timeline by adding a date, location, caption, and even anecdotes to our images. You can upload new photos and videos or even use existing Facebook albums. The result is a scrollable, digital timeline that you can add to as your child grows. Since there are so many people who touch your child's life, you can even allow select friends and family to add to your masterpiece. And because privacy is always a concern among parents, you're able to control exactly who you're sharing your moments with." Now I did try this out on my Facebook page and I have a love / hate relationship with this app. Well...I wouldn't go as far as saying hate, but there are some aspects of it that I just did not like.

    What I loved -
    • Being able to add all my children & spouse complete with picture and birthdates
    • Adding a story, description and date to all entries
    • Something that would be appealing to friends and family
    • Once set up it's quick and easy to use
    • Allowed me to choose who I wanted to share it with
    What I disliked -
    • Took quite a long time to set up - especially if your children are a bit older
    • Having to go through all my pics to set up the time line
    • I would love to see more options for older children/ adults
    If you're a new mom looking for a fun way to share those special memories, then this is the way to go, if you have older children like mine are - I think I would stay with the albums.

    Don't just take my word for it - try it yourself

    Blogger Events

    I have been thinking lately about all these blogger events that most of us get invited too. While they are fun and socializing - don't you all feel guilty for leaving your family behind, just a little maybe? I mean once in awhile is great, not all events are for products that are geared toward our children and we do all need to get out now and then....but I am not the only one behind my blog. These last few months there have been quite a few blogging events that I have just had to turn down because they did not include my family.

    My blog mostly runs reviews - and most of those products are products geared toward children. So who do you think plays with the product, wears the product or watches the product? My children and / or my husband & I are the ones who actually "review" the product. I can only review most products based on my thoughts as a parent, but the product has to also appeal to my child and be able to entertain them or do what ever it is that the product is intended to do. The review cannot be a full review without an opinion of the age bracket the item is intended for.
    This is not a post intended to put down the PR companies and to say I am not grateful for being invited to so many wonderful events. All I am saying is that I am not Hula Hooping Mom - my kids, my husband AND myself create this very blog and the reviews you see and read here. This blog would not be the blog it is without them. I think PR companies as well as the companies that hold the events need to keep that in mind. My husband & children often wonder why they can't come along to some of these events - and I have to stop and think to myself the same. If you want to present a product - they are the ones you should be thinking about. They are the real reviewers - I just write the content! Above are the faces behind Hula Hooping Mom and how they feel being "left out"

    Alone I am not Hula Hooping Mom - my children, my husband AND myself are

    "Hula Hooping Mom"

    **I did want to point out that our family has been to some great events sponsored by some great companies - Thank you for including my family!!

    Pediatric Surgery

    We took our youngest son (who is seven) to his first ENT appointment yesterday. He's had fluid in his ears for quite some time now and his Doctor just did not want to wait anymore on sending him to a specialist. According to the specialist he has to have a tube inserted in his ear, his tonsils out and his adenoid. He said that the surgery last about an hour and it would be out patient. Also...that the tonsillectomy is very painful afterwards and that he would have to be house bound for three weeks following.

    As a mother it makes me baby boy having to go through this. Although it may not be serious and a small surgery that many children go through, he is still being put to sleep, having an experience in the hospital, being stuck in the house for three long weeks and the pain. He is a mama's boy, my pride and joy, my love, one of my best friends, and my can I help a seven year old understand the process of surgery?? Take a tour of the hospital, talk him through it, tell him he gets to have all the ice cream he wants for two weeks following and tons of extra hugs and attention?? Even after all that, do you really think at that age they understand what is being done and why? No, I don't believe they I will be here to love him, hold his hand and look into his eyes and tell him it's going to be OK, mama's here! Love you baby boy!!

    Monterey Bay Lodge

    On our way back down the California coast - we made a stop in Monterey. I really wish we would have had more time to actually explore it. We made the mistake of buying aquarium tickets from the hotel (which is a great deal, because you get two days for the price of one) but...we really just did not have time to see anything. The aquarium takes up so much time and we were running a bit behind already - that I did not even get a chance to walk across the street to the beach!! Yes...the Monterey Bay Lodge is right across the street from the beach!! The picture above really makes the hotel look larger than it is. It's not a high rise by any means, but then again, on a family vacation this is something that might be more fitting. We got to actually park right in front of our room which you can't say for many hotels - and parking was free :) The woman at the desk was very helpful giving us suggestions of what to see and where to eat. The hotel also has a restaurant on site - which we did not eat at, so am not sure what the food was like nor the prices.

    There are two family suites available. This is really a great idea for families traveling with children but also want their private time. I was not really sure what to expect. In the picture below is the children's room, which is off to the side - with a closing door!! What's even cooler? They have a video game system inside the kids room!! You have to go to the front office to check out the games - which I would suggest doing upon check in so that the kids can keep busy while you're trying to unload the car. The only disappointing factor in this is that the kids room did not have cable, so to watch the Disney channel or Nick - cartoons period - they would have to come out to the other room. All in all it was a pretty nice stay - like I said we did not have time at all to really enjoy anything and I would for sure plan a trip back!!

    Pros -

    • Right across from the beach
    • Dennis The Menace Park across the street

    Aquarium deals

    • Kids sleeping area with a closing door - in the family suites
    • Affordable
    • Clean & Comfy
    • Free parking, right in front of your room

    Cons -

    • No cable in the kids room

    Would we recommend this hotel to family & friends - YES

    For more information or reservations visit

    **Disclosure: The Monterey Bay Lodge provided us with one nights stay accommodation. No compensation was received and the opinions are purely my own.

    Wordless Wednesday

    San Francisco - near Fishermans Wharf - an old building full of old "arcade" games.

    ***Please leave the link below to your wordless Wednesday**

    Despicable Me

    Universal Pictures is gearing up for their big summer release "Despicable Me" starring the voice talent of Steve Carell, Miranda Cosgrove, Jason Segel and Russel Brand. The release date for the movie is July 9Th. After seeing the trailer I remember seeing tad bits of it before a movie we had seen in the theater - it got the kids laughing and wondering what it was going to be about. My husband and I even stated that it looked "interesting". This movie is also in 3D which it seems like 3D movies have become the craze and will more than likely become the norm. We have yet to actually go out as a family to watch a 3D movie at the theaters. Besides being so darn busy - I can't afford an arm and a leg to see a movie. But then seems to be the "experience" we all crave every now and then - it's just not the same as watching a movie at home.

    Despicable Me

    "In a happy suburban neighborhood surrounded by white picket fences with flowering rose bushes, sits a black house with a dead lawn. Unbeknownst to the neighbors, hidden deep beneath this home is a vast secret hideout. Surrounded by an army of tireless, little yellow minions, we discover Gru (Steve Carell), planning the biggest heist in the history of the world. He is going to steal the moon (Yes, the moon!) in Universals new 3-D CGI feature, Despicable Me.

    Gru delights in all things wicked. Armed with his arsenal of shrink rays, freeze rays and battle-ready vehicles for land and air, he vanquishes all who stand in his way. Until the day he encounters the immense will of three little orphaned girls who look at him and see something that no one else has ever seen: a potential Dad.

    One of the worlds greatest super-villains has just met his greatest challenge: three little girls named Margo, Edith and Agnes." from Universal Pictures

    Happy Easter
    Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!
    We will be back Tuesday!
    I hope you also, will take this weekend to turn off ALL the electronics, spend time with family and celebrate the reason for the holiday!