Friday, April 29, 2016

Curl up with a Click, 10th edition

I have so many great articles to share with you! We don't always have time to dig into that novel like we want to, but it's nice to steal 5 minutes in the day to read something inspiring, encouraging, or practical. Hope you enjoy!

Why I always ask for photos of just the two of us - What a sweet reminder not to give our marriage the backseat.

To my son: makeup isn't what makes me pretty - I think this is a great response to give to any kid, not just your son!

12 Innocuous household items my son has turned into weapons - I literally laughed out loud at number 7 and 9!!

This stage of life is hard - You're not alone! We all feel the same way.

How to stop your toddler from running away - Some really good tips here!

Rice Krispies: My Spiritual Awakening - I also go around muttering that I'm "too smart" for this, so this resonated with me.

For the days you can't parent - Defcon levels totally on point, here!

How do you keep up your relationship after kids? - Great points here, love that she mentions love languages (speaking of which, are you coming to our next MOPS meeting? Love languages is what it's all about!)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Mother's Day Gifts with an Impact

Remember when you first started feeling contractions? Or when your water broke? If you were like me, you grabbed your carefully packed hospital bag, took a selfie with your husband ("last picture of our family of two!"), and excitedly called family members as you drove to the hospital. You labored on a bed in a private room, surrounded by nurses and doctors. The most stressful part was getting the epidural on time.

Consider this: you're feeling contractions, your water broke. You walk waddle 20 miles - miles! - to the nearest hospital. But this hospital doesn't have any basic necessities... no electricity, no running water, not even any healthcare professionals.

Now imagine that you somehow survive these conditions to bring forth a brand new baby into this world. You bring home your bundle of joy and do your best to provide safety, a home, clothes, and food. But you are not in control of your country's failing economy, of natural disasters, of when you'll be pregnant next. You can't bear to watch your children starve, and so you do the most logical thing to ensure their survival: you drop them off at the local orphanage.

This is the reality of motherhood for too many women around the world. The majority of orphans in Haiti, for example, still have living parents. And 300,000 mothers die each year during pregnancy and childbirth - a tragedy made worse by the fact that it's entirely preventable!

There's a really great way to be part of the solution, here: support businesses that employ these mothers around the world. I have a few favorites that I'll share with you. And Mother's Day is the perfect excuse to shop for this cause!!

Shop the Orange Rose Collection from Every Mother Counts:

Shop the jewelry from 31 Bits:

"We work with our beneficiaries in Uganda to create fashionable, quality products. They earn an income enabling them to provide for their families. We care for them holistically through counseling, health education, finance training, and business mentorships. After five years in our program, our beneficiaries are ready to graduate. A graduated beneficiary has her own business and is educated, healthy, and confident. She is empowered."

Shop MarketHaiti (in partnership with the Apparent Project, who I've worked with before!):

I have a necklace similar to this that goes with everything!
And it's only $18!!

Shop jewelry and fashion accessories from the Noonday Collection:

"We collaborate with 29 Artisan Businesses in 12 countries to design a collection of handcrafted jewelry and accessories. We develop these Artisan Businesses through fair trade, connecting them to a global market and empowering them to grow sustainably."
If you know of any other businesses that help and empower our sisters around the world, I'd LOVE to hear about them!

Sunday, April 17, 2016


Silhouette artist Judith Housel will be at our next MOPS meeting, offering portraits of your kiddos (even babies) for $15 each and $6 for each additional copies. These make GREAT gifts - and Mother's Day is right around the corner!

Here are some samples of her work:

Hard to believe all she has to do is look at your child and she can cut this out free hand! If you'd like to commission one, please bring cash or a check.

However, you are under no obligation to purchase one! We are all going to be hanging out, chatting, and drinking coffee in the meantime. Feel free to bring your own project to work on or a book to read! And don't forget to RSVP here!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Free Stuff in San Diego

There's lots to do in this town, and that's why I love having little kids here! Today I'm sharing a list of free (or nearly free) things to do in San Diego. Maybe you're new here, or maybe you're just looking to kill some time without breaking the bank. Either way, here are some of my recommendations: 

The Point Loma library

In my opinion, we have the best branch of the San Diego library for little kids. The whole downstairs area is for them: lots of toys for toddlers to play with, puppets, kid-sized chair, a ship-structure they can play inside, two touch screen computers, arts and craft supplies, and tubs of legos (and a dinosaur world!) you can play with. Every Thursday at 10:30 they have story time and craft time. It's an excellent way to occupy the kiddos before nap time!

The New Children's Museum

Speaking of the library, did you know you can borrow FREE museum passes to the New Children's Museum downtown? You'll need to go to the library's website, search for the museum passes, and then "place hold". If you don't mind waiting a few months, you'll get tickets for 2 adults and up to 4 kids that are good for 10 days. I take my boys 2 or 3 times a year, and I only have to pay two bucks for street parking. And the kids love this museum!!

The Beach

There are a lot of awesome beaches around here! But my favorite is Fanuel Street park in Pacific Beach (4000 Fanuel St). It's a bay so there are no waves to knock your toddler down. There's a playground structure right on the sand. There's a grassy area for running around. There's a decently sized parking lot. Oh! And there are bathrooms and showers right on site. Also, the view is really pretty!

Free Museums

Certain museums are FREE at Balboa Park every Tuesday for residents. Check out the full list here. For young kids, I highly recommend Reuben H. Fleet Science center (free the first Tuesday of every month). Their "Kid City" room upstairs is pretty magical if you're under five! Tip: get there early for parking as it can get quite crowded on the free days! I've also heard that the Model Railroad Museum is fun for kids too, but I haven't checked that one out yet.

Free Movies

Liberty Station hosts free family movie nights every so often. The next one will be this Saturday (4/16) from 6:30 to 9 PM. Bring a picnic blanket or chairs, and a picnic dinner (although they'll also have snacks available for purchase). More info here. I can't wait for the boys to be older so we can do stuff like this - as it is, they have an early bedtime! But I thought I'd include it in this list anyway!

Take a Hike

If your kids love conquering a "mountain" (hill) or exploring nature or getting dirty, there are lots of great hikes around here! Lots of them are easy enough that my two year old can hold his own. There's a great roundup of kid-friendly hikes here. Our family favorites are Mission Trails Regional Park and Torrey Pines State Reserve.

Birch Aquarium

If you're a Bank of America or Merril Lynch customer, you can get free admission to the Birch Aquarium on the first full weekend of every month (just show your credit or debit card and your ID). The Birch Aquarium is definitely worth a visit. It's on the smaller side but there's plenty to see and a toddler area and hands-on area outside.

Free Craft

Thanks-A-Bunch Bouquet

Every Saturday from 11 AM to 3 PM, our local Lakeshore Learning store (7510 Hazard Center Drive) hosts a free craft for kids ages 3 and up. No reservations needed! Craft examples here.

Free Cookie

Okay, this one is not an activity but it might save you from a toddler meltdown at the grocery store. If you go to the bakery department at Ralphs, they'll give your kids a cookie if you ask for one. Yep, every time! I'm not above bribing my two boys for good grocery store behavior, so this is great for me :)

Any free activities that I've missed? Let me know your recommendations!!

Monday, April 4, 2016

For Breakfast

Do you cook breakfast for your kids? I've always admired other moms who make things like real pancakes and waffles for breakfast on a regular basis. Growing up, we had a hot breakfast once a year: on Christmas morning! Otherwise, we were pretty happy with cereal.

Now that I'm a mom, I confess to not having much energy to cook in the mornings (in my defense, they come so, soooo early!). My kids eat cereal and bagels. The most I can muster up is a quick smoothie, made easier by bags of frozen fruit from Costco.

But I was recently inspired to shake things up a bit, and I made a variation of a berry-chickpea smoothie bowl that I came across. Don't be scared away by the chickpeas! You can't taste them one bit and they add some belly-filling protein.

It ended up being too yummy to share with my kids...

Berry Chickpea Smoothie Bowls

1 cup of berries, fresh or frozen
Half a banana
1/3 cup chickpeas, cooked or low-sodium canned
1/2 cup milk, any kind
1 Tbsp agave or honey

Garnishes of your choice (like chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, coconut, granola and sliced banana)

Add all ingredients except garnishes to a blender, or use an immersion blender, and combine until smooth.

Top with garnishes and serve right away in a bowl.

It was seriously delicious, and I got to feel self-righteous for the rest of the day because my breakfast was so healthy ;).