Shopping At Ontario Mills For Back To School And The Holidays!

We just finished up back to school shopping – which is usually a real pain. However this year it was much easier than the years past because we went shopping at Ontario Mills, and if you’re in Southern California, you should definitely check it out!

Ontario Mills is located in Ontario, CA at the 10 and 15 freeways. It’s California’s largest outlet and value retail shopping destination with more than 20 places to dine and over 200 stores boasting some of the biggest names in men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, jewelry, sporting goods, footwear and more. Whatever you’re looking for, you can find it at Ontario Mills.

Usually when we do back to school shopping, it’s a big production. I have to take the girls separately from Ethan because while the girls love shopping, driving to 10+ different stores is not Ethan’s idea of a good time. What’s great about shopping at Ontario Mills is that we can hit all of the kids’ favorite stores – like Nordstrom Rack, QuicSilver Outlet, Justice, H&M, Forever 21, Old Navy, Abercrombie & Fitch Outlet, and our newest favorite place to shop, the Skechers SuperStore (topped only for the girls by the Disney Outlet!) – all in one place.

There are stores for the parents too! I can’t go to Ontario Mills without hitting the Coach Factory Store and Restoration Hardware Outlet. You can check out a list of all of the shops at Ontario Mills here.

What I love about shopping at Ontario Mills is that we got all of our back to school shopping done in just one afternoon! From backpacks to shoes and clothes, and even school supplies, we found it all in one spot. It’s convenient, affordable, and fun. Not only did we get our shopping all done, we even had time to stop for lunch at Rainforest Cafe.

But there’s so much more than just shopping at Ontario Mills. Whether you want to stop for a quick bite in the food court or sit down for a meal at a great restaurant like Market Broiler, Dave & Buster’s, or Johnny Rockets, there are many food choices for even the pickiest eaters.

There’s lots of entertainment, too. Hit up a comedy show and dinner at the Improv or catch a movie at AMC 30 Theatres. You can even play like a kid again at GameWorks.

Because Ontario Mills is so big, you’ll want to check out the map to find your favorite stores. We spent the afternoon wandering and found many stores we didn’t even know were located at Ontario Mills. And check out the Deals at Ontario Mills on their website so you can hit the sales that you won’t want to miss!

Now that back to school shopping is done, holiday shopping is up next. I love the idea of being able to go shopping for everything on my holiday list and being able to do it all in one place. I can shop for the kids, family, and even for holiday decorations. Bonus points for being able to go during the school day when the crowds or smaller than on the weekends. Don’t forget to become a Mall Insider so you’ll be the first to know about retailer deals and mall events. Plus you’ll have a chance at a $1,000 shopping spree…perfect for holiday shopping!

I highly recommend visiting and shopping at Ontario Mills if you haven’t been there before. Lots of parking, lots and lots of shops and dining, great deals, and fun too!

Disclaimer: I was compensated for shopping at Ontario Mills however all opinions and thoughts are my own.

Everything Happens For A Reason

Back in January, I announced that my sister and sister-in-law were joining me to write Mommy of a Monster and Twins. We were gung-ho and so excited, and then I haven’t blogged since. I don’t know what happened! I just decided to stop blogging. I kept up Mommy of a Monster on social media, however the blog just went to the back burner.

I considered letting go of my domain and shutting it down completely. But for some reason, something told me not to do it. And here I am! Ready to start blogging again.

One thing I regret during the hiatus is that in March my blog turned 7 years old, and I didn’t celebrate. Other than that, not much has changed in the past six months. The kids are out of school now, I’ve been busy with work, and I’m still reading like a bookworm. I’ve also taken up a side business!
Rodan-and-FieldsI have been using Rodan + Fields skincare products for the last year, and I talk about how incredible they are to anybody who will listen. After some gentle prodding from family and friends, I decided to become an R+F consultant. I have lots of people who ask me about the products….how they work, IF they work, what I think about them….and I thought what better place to share the info than on my blog!

In the future, you’ll see great recipes mixed with book reviews by the kids, my sister-in-law’s take on having two little ones under the age of 2, cooking with kids tips, and occasional Rodan + Fields reviews and even giveaways!

I’m looking forward to sharing all of this with you and excited to get back to blogging!

Lucky 7 & Some Introductions

Lucky 7…Years That is…

On March 16, 2010, I wrote my first blog post titled My First Entry. I remember wondering how many people would read it. 1,361 posts later and I’m now looking forward to my 7 year blogiversary. I’ve been wanting to rebrand my blog and hope to (FINALLY) do it this year.

Growing Up

As the kids have grown, so has my blog. You won’t see me sharing as many personal stories about them anymore. That’s because they are aware of my blog and what I write about. They are old enough to say “Please don’t blog about this” and “Please don’t put that picture on Facebook.” I have to respect their privacy because anything I put out there about them will follow them forever.

But that doesn’t mean I’ll never write about them. They have become part of my blog. You may have noticed that we’ve done some video reviews together, and they’d like to get more involved.

Ethan wants to start recording videos about books he likes and why he likes them. He also has been thinking about writing about things that other kids his age might like. Maybe a blog in his future? I’m not sure, but until he gets older, he will have his own space here.

Lila and Mia love creating little videos, too. About Shopkins and American Girls and all kinds of things they like to play with. Lila would also like to start sharing recipes for kids. So you’ll be seeing more of them here, too.

Say Hello

I also am bringing on my first regular contributors! I’m keeping it in the family. I can’t wait for you to meet them!

11232997_10206886595913657_7539198009264464455_nSay hello to my sister Angie, with her daughter Sydney. Syd is the same exactly 1 month older than the girls. She’s a working mom of four: Lexi is 20, Nikki is 16, Sydney is 7, and Aaron is 4.

She loves to cook and have people over to her house. She’s a great hostess and an amazing cook. She’s also one of my best friends.

She has shared recipes here on my blog before and even has her own category called From My Sister Angie’s Kitchen.

She’ll be sharing even more recipes as well as kitchen tips, tricks, and timesavers. She may even review products for teens and younger kids, books, and anything else she wants to talk about.



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Also say hi to my soon-to-be-sister-in-law, Danielle. She’s a stay-at-home-mom of two under two (Presley and Sawyer are only 14 months apart!) When I started this blog, I had three under three so I know how hard her days are.

She just recently fell in love with cooking, and so she will share quick and easy recipes that get the stamp of approval from my brother and Little Presley (whom we call P.)

She also loves to write, and will be musing about being a new mom, as well as reviewing and sharing her must have mom and baby products.

She’s also a pinning fanatic like me and you can find and follow her on Pinterest.





I’m really excited about these new, exciting changes and taking Mommy of a Monster to a whole other level.

All that being said, I have a few questions for you! I’ve been toying with the idea of changing the name of my blog. Let me know what you think!

How To Choose A Dog For Your Family

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Royal Canin. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin, but all opinions are my own. Royal Canin is not responsible for the content of this article.
Tips on how to chose a dog for your family and information about the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin showing on January 23, 2017.

This is Bitty (as in Itty Bitty). We also call her Fred for some reason which none of us can seem to remember. Bitty has been part of our family since before we had the kids. Bitty is a purebred West Highland Terrier. She’s almost 12 years old, which means she’s an old lady. She’s still a happy, easy going dog and the kids love her.

Tips on how to chose a dog for your family and information about the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin showing on January 23, 2017.

We’ve recently been considering getting another dog because the kids have been asking (read: begging for one.)

When considering bringing home a new dog to make part of the family, it’s important to keep in mind that every dog breed was designed for a specific purpose to fill a specific need. Bitty’s breed used to hunt fox, badger, and otter and also killed vermin such as rats. We call Bitty our Great White Hunter, because she loves to hunt things down in our backyard. We’ve found rabbits, snakes, squirrels and even rats that she’s proudly brought to the backdoor as gifts. If we can understand the job for which breeds were originally created, it gives us a glimpse into why our dogs do the things they do. It definitely explains why our dog likes to hunt so much!

Tips on how to chose a dog for your family and information about the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin showing on January 23, 2017.

How To Chose A Dog For Your Family

What dog is right for your family? Well, according to the American Kennel Club, that depends on many factors.

Temperament: Are you an active family? You many want an active dog. Do you want a dog with a strong will or that you can easily train? A friendly dog or a dog that is loyal to your family and aloof toward strangers? Do you live in a big home or small apartment? Certain dogs can be left alone for long periods of time while others will become bored and destructive.

Puppy or Adult: Yes puppies are cute, but they also require A LOT of work and cannot be left alone for long periods of time. Adult dogs-whether purchased directly from a breeder or adopted may be ideal for families that don’t or cannot invest a lot of time and energy into raising a dog. Mature dogs also tend to be calmer, house-trained and know some basic obedience.

Size: If you get a puppy, most are cute and little. Many don’t stay that way for long! Big dogs eat more (and make bigger messes!) while smaller dogs may be more active and need to burn off energy. Make sure to do your research and find out how big the dog you’re family is considering will actually get.

Other Things To Consider: Other things to consider are whether you want a male or female dog, grooming needs, and health. Some breeds need a very specific diet, while others will eat just about anything. Because every dog is different, with individual traits and needs, Royal Canin™ developed breed-specific diets to provide your particular breed with the best overall nutrition possible.

You can find more information about what dog is right for your family and things to consider at

Another cool way to find out what type of dog might be right for your family is by watching a dog show. You can learn a lot about the different breeds and even about breeds you may have never seen! Dog shows are meant to determine which dogs are most suitable for the purpose for which they were bred, and should contribute to the gene pools of their breeds. How well a dog matches its breed standard will determine how well the dog places.

Jerry O’Connell at the AKC National Championship 2016 Dog Show in the Orange County Convention Center, on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, in Orlando Fla. (Jesus Aranguren/Startraksphoto)

photo credit: Michael Simon

It’s a fun show to watch…especially because you never know what a dog might do! Tune in to the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin on the Hallmark Channel on Monday, January 23, 2017 at 6-9 p.m. ET/PT. The show will be anchored by AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo and sportscaster Jason Knapp and will feature special appearances by celebrity Jerry O’Connell. While we get to watch on the 23rd, the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin was held in Orlando, Florida from Dec. 17-18, 2016.

Royal Canin_Puli

photo credit: Mark Jordan

More than 5,000 dogs will be competing in the three-hour special, and America’s most beloved dog breeds will be featured. That’s a lot of dogs to check out! You’ll also get to watch the winners from each of the competition categories, highlights from the Agility and Dock Diving competitions, and some of America’s brightest up and coming Junior Showmanship handlers, culminating in the crowning of Best in Show.

We’ll be watching, will you?


My Life In Pictures: January 1 – 15, 2017

Over the last year or so, twice a month I share my Instagram pictures since I can’t seem to find time to write! I call it My Life In Pictures. You can see all of my previous posts here.

Having the kids home for three weeks really threw off my blogging, so I am also sharing a few pics from the end of the year too.

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The girls had a blast decorating Christmas cookies with their friends! The cookies may not look very appetizing, and there was definitely WAY too much frosting, but they tasted delicious.

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I met the helpful Honda people on Christmas Eve! I had just finished grocery shopping, and they unloaded my cart for me! Such a nice surprise. They didn’t give me a car or anything, but they definitely made my day.

Ethan got a virtual reality screen for Christmas. It’s so much fun to play with! My entire family had fun trying it out on Christmas morning. I wish I would’ve videotaped my dad watching it!

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He also got money for Christmas and wanted to go directly to the bookstore! He settled on Fablehaven and Matilda, but Wonder also got many recommendations from friends, so we added it to our To Read list.

Screenshot 2017-01-19 11.25.25 I made the kids watch Sound of Music for the first time (against their wills), but they ended up really loving it!

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Feb 7, 2016. Jason had to cut my wedding ring off of my very swollen, sore, fat finger. Jan 7, 2017. I FINALLY got my ring fixed! It looks brand new!

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I treated myself and bought Oprah Winfrey’s cookbook! I started Weight Watchers last year, and lost almost 20 pounds. I love how easy it is and how I don’t feel like I’m “dieting”. This book is full of amazingly delicious and healthy recipes. She also includes Smart Points with each recipe, so it’s perfect to use with my Weight Watchers. If you are trying to eat healthy or lose weight, I highly recommend this cookbook! And I even have shared some of my favorite Weight Watchers snacks and meal recipes here and I’ve got a Healthy Eats board on Pinterest.

And if you are looking for even more Weight Watchers recipes, check out my Pinterest board for my favorites.

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Ethan started playing flag football and absolutely loves it! He got to pick his jersey number, and of course he picked his Dad’s old number. Jason is helping coach, and I’ve never seen him so happy about Ethan’s chosen sport!

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I found these cute #Besties shirts at WalMart and got them for Lila and Mia. They asked if I would get one more so they could give one to their cousin Sydney. “We are all besties, mom!”

What have you been up to so far this month?


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