Archives for May 2014

Because Ethan Asked Me To Write This

Ethan will be finishing up first grade tomorrow. Wow. First grade is done! I can’t believe how fast these years are flying by. Didn’t he just have his first day of preschool, and then his last day of preschool? Shouldn’t he still be in kindergarten? Didn’t I just blink as he grew from a baby into an almost-seven-year-old? Those years went quickly, but this year – first grade – was the fastest one yet. And I think it’s because Ethan absolutely positively LOVES his teacher, Mrs. O.

ethan-and-mrso

Ethan has been crying before bed each night for the last week or so. He doesn’t want first grade to end because he will miss his teacher too much. He wants Mrs. O to teach him next year and all the years after that. Or if that’s not possible, he’s willing to stay in first grade forever so that he can stay with her.

Now Ethan liked his preschool teacher and he adored his kindergarten teacher. But his feelings for Mrs. O top those feelings. He talks about her all the time. He wonders what she is doing. He wants me to ask her if we can do a play date this summer with her and her boys. He wants me to friend her on Facebook. And Mrs. O is a very cool lady! I’d love to do a play date…honestly, I’d love to be friends with her myself!

Mrs. O is special. She’s made the kids in her class a part of her life. They know all about her sons (she has four boys!) and what goes on in her life away from school. She has become a part of Ethan’s life too; she knows what he likes and dislikes, he tells her about his family, and she even knows the twins’ names and nicknames.

award

But aside from all of that, she has made learning fun for him. She has made learning something he not only wants to do, but do well so that he makes her proud. She’s gotten him reading at the appropriate level – something I was worried about during kindergarten and at the beginning of the year. She’s made him a little spelling whiz. And he got the Principal’s Award for Outstanding Math. I will say that he hates doing homework (I always tell him he needs to talk to Mrs. O about that – that I make sure he does it but she is the one who sends it home,) and he says he wishes he could do it with Mrs. O because then it would be fun.

She’s made Ethan excited about going to school each day and has made him want to go to school. Sure there are days he complains about it, but he’ll also say “If I don’t go I won’t get to see Mrs. O.”

And in their class, they can earn gold tags which give them special treats or privileges…Ethan’s favorite is having lunch with Mrs. O.

This picture of Ethan and Mrs. O sits right in the middle of his dresser  where he can "see it from anywhere in my room."

This picture of Ethan and Mrs. O sits right in the middle of his dresser where he can “see it from anywhere in my room.”

So when Ethan was crying last night and asked me if I would write about her so that everybody would know how much he liked her and how much he’ll miss her, I knew I had to write this for him. And for Mrs. O too. I hope she’ll read this and know how special she is to my little boy and how much she’s touched his life. Thank you, Mrs. O. I wish there was something I could do to repay your goodness and kindness. You have enriched Ethan’s life so much, and that is something I will be forever grateful for.

Best Sunscreen Tips: How To Get It On The Kids Without (Many) Complaints

Here in Southern California, it’s summer almost all year long. This means we go through a lot of sunscreen. So I’m always looking for the best sunscreens to use on the kids as well as the best sunscreen tips and tricks to make it easier to apply.

And I’m really not kidding about summer year round! Here are the kids playing in their bathing suits after swimming in the pool on New Year’s Day.

sunscreen-january

With warm, sunny weather about 8 or 9 months out of the year, you would think that since the kids have to wear sunscreen so regularly that they’d be used to having it put on them. Not the case. Every single time I put it on them they still moan and groan and complain. But I’ve become quite a pro at getting sunscreen on them effectively in minimal time and with minimal complaints.

I’m also excited to announce that I’m a new Over The Counter Safety (OTCSafety) blogging ambassador. Over the next several months I’ll be sharing information about OTCSafety with you. This month, I’m sharing my top 5 best sunscreen tips with you. You can thank me later.

If you're looking for tips for how to make it easier to get sunscreen on kids, I'm sharing 5 of the best sunscreen tips for how to get it on without (too many) complaints. #OTCsafety

Best Sunscreen Tips

Use The Right Kind of Sunscreen. Use broad spectrum sunscreens with SPF values of 15 or higher regularly and as directed. I find that the kids complain the least if I use the spray-on sunscreen on their bodies and a sunscreen stick on their faces.

Don’t Wait to Apply. You get to the pool or beach or amusement park and the kids are excited to go play! Trying to get them to all wait and hold still while you apply sunscreen is going to be painful for all of you. I’ve been told that you should apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before exposure, so why not lotion up or spray down the kids before you leave the house.

Also? The sunscreen will thoroughly dry before they begin their adventure, so there’s less chance of sand, dirt, etc. getting smushed into the sunscreen.

Teach Them The Importance of Sunscreen. My kids have been told since they were little that it’s very important to wear sunscreen, and why. Explain to them what happens if they don’t wear it. Explain to them the importance of keeping their skin safe. The kids have been told so many times that they need to have it on that they’ll actually come to me now and say ” My neck/arm/legs are hot. I think I need more sunscreen on.”

Remember to Reapply. Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours, more often if you’re sweating or jumping in and out of the water. If the kids understand what a sunburn is or have experienced one before, they’ll be more apt to stand still for a few minutes while you reapply.

Be Sun Smart. Limit time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are most intense. This is easier said than done, I know. So I make sure that the bathing suits I buy them have built-in SPF coverage to reduce the sun getting through. And if it’s super hot or the kids are uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to put a swim shirt and hat on them to keep them uber -protected.

If you're looking for tips for how to make it easier to get sunscreen on kids, I'm sharing 5 of the best sunscreen tips for how to get it on without (too many) complaints. #OTCsafety

Looking for more of the best sunscreen tips? Check out these sunscreen savvy tips and these tips from the FDA. Both are worth the read.

Do you fight with your kids about applying sunscreen? What tips and tricks can you share that work for your family?

Disclaimer: I’m being compensated as an OTCSafety Blogger, though all thoughts, opinions, and suggestions expressed here are my own. Keep up-to-date on OTCSafety information by visiting the OTCSafety website  and by following them on Pinterest.

Why 4 Year Olds ROCK

Okay I’ll admit, as a mom I wasn’t as crazy about the baby years and toddler years as some moms are. Maybe because I had a toddler and two babies at the same time. Or maybe it’s just because having two kids the same age makes everything harder. Whatever the reason, those first few years just weren’t for me…they were HARD. This whole 4 year old time has been my favorite so far.

I remember when Ethan became a four year old, and then again when the twins turned four. Everything just got, well, a little easier. And more fun. And less stressful.

When my kids turned four, they became more independent…more curious…more inquisitive…more opiniated. I got a real sense of their personalities and senses of humor.

Mia sitting on her blankie and coloring, while wearing a mini skirt and her bling flip flops. She's 4 going on 16.

Mia sitting on her blankie and coloring, while wearing a mini skirt and her bling flip flops. She’s 4 going on 16.

To sum it up, they became more like little people than big babies. They start saying and doing things that surprise you and make you laugh. Sometimes you’re mortified by what they say or do, but it’s still memorable. For me, 4 year olds just rock.

Here's why one mom of twin 4 year old girls is loving this age and some of the reasons why. 4 year olds rock!

And I’m excited about doing so many things now that they are little girls and not “babies” anymore. We can go places without (too many) fears of tantrums and flip outs. We don’t have to lug around huge diaper bags and coolers anymore – if they need to go potty we go. If they’re hungry we find something to feed them. Going out and about – whether for a few hours or a few days – isn’t hard anymore!

For example: we’ve taken the kids on vacations before. They’ve been camping in the Sequoias and boating on the river. We have done mini-vacation weekend trips and have even considered our first “big” family trip. Fun? Yes. Work. TOTALLY. But this summer we’ll be spending a trip in Palm Desert, and I’m really looking forward to it.

Why would I be looking forward to staying at a hotel for 7 days in 100+ degree heat? Because the kids love being in the pool. They’d love nothing more than spending entire days around the pool, playing and eating snacks (we are staying at a resort and there are a million other things to do, too.)

Getting ready to swim at Knotts' #SoakCityOC this past weekend.

Getting ready to swim at Knotts’ #SoakCityOC this past weekend.

And when they’re done, they’ll ask to go back to the room to watch TV. Or if they get tired, they’ll ask for a rest. They can tell me if they want to read or play a game or play on the iPad. They can tell me when they are hungry or tired. I don’t have to try to guess or figure it out. It’s kinda cool.

And they are actively helping around the house with things that interest them. They all love to help Daddy and he’s very patient and good about letting them help.

Lila helping Daddy.

Lila helping Daddy.

Mia loves to help make meals and clean up the kitchen afterwards. Lila loves helping in the garden. Both girls love to clean. I score!

After planting these little flowers a month ago, Lila's been patiently waiting for them to bloom. Her response after I showed her today that they had?"Mommy! We made flowers!"

After planting these little flowers a month ago, Lila’s been patiently waiting for them to bloom. Her response after I showed her today that they had?”Mommy! We made flowers!”

They are starting to venture out to do things without me…

girls

I love when they say sweet things…like this one from Ethan (okay, he’s not four, but they all say sweet stuff like this!):

While getting ready for Muffins With Mom at Ethan's school, he asked if I was going to wear perfume. "I can if you want me to, but why buddy?" He answered: "Because you always wear perfume when you go on a date with Daddy and this is kind of like we are going on a date." Of course I wore perfume.

While getting ready for Muffins With Mom at Ethan’s school, he asked if I was going to wear perfume. “I can if you want me to, but why buddy?” He answered: “Because you always wear perfume when you go on a date with Daddy and this is kind of like we are going on a date.” Of course I wore perfume.

Sometimes they say or do not so sweet things too…

mia

They also say some really funny things. Like this one over the weekend from Mia that I tweeted about:

Or this one from Ethan:

Ethan made signs for the bedroom doors. Ethan wants to keep his sisters (the ladies) out of his room, and apparently wants to keep himself out of their room.

Ethan made signs for the bedroom doors. Ethan wants to keep his sisters (the ladies) out of his room, and apparently wants to keep himself out of their room.

I’m really loving all of their ages right now, and can’t believe that the girls are going to be five in just a few months. Those baby years I’m not missing. But I am already missing Year #4.

kids

Egg Cup Recipe: Veggie Delight Cups

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a recipe! I love this easy egg cup recipe I want to share with you today because they are quick and easy to make, and they freeze really well so you can have them for a breakfast on the go.

An quick and easy to make egg cup recipe featuring eggs and veggies. Follow the recipe or change it up adding in any veggies and greens of your choice!

This egg cup recipe is also a great go-to recipe for when you are watching your weight. It’s packed full of just veggies and eggs, nothing else. It’s like an omelet that you don’t have to worry about flipping.

And bonus, the kids love this recipe too! They don’t realize all of the different veggies in it and eat it up without complaint (not an easy feat here in our house!)

Egg Cup Recipe: Veggie Delight Cups

Veggie Delight Egg Cups
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Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup diced bell peppers (color of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup diced zucchini
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 cup liquid egg substitute or egg whites â?? OR â?? 4 large eggs
  • Large handfuls of fresh spinach (or any greens of your choice), chopped
  • Dash of hot pepper sauce (my favorite is Tabasco)
  • Salt and pepper or other seasonings to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350F
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized pan. Add the bell peppers, zucchini, onions, mushrooms, and garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Spray the muffin tin cups with the cooking spray (do this or else the quiches will stick to the baking cups and it will be a mess, trust me).
  4. Mix the eggs, hot sauce, and seasonings in a mixing bowl. Add in the veggies in small batches so as not to "scramble" the eggs. Mix all well.
  5. Fill the muffin tin cups with the mixture.
  6. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes. They are done when a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Makes 12 large mini-quiches or 18 regular mini-quiches
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http://mommyofamonster.com/egg-cup-recipe/

I always make two batches of this egg cup recipe and then freeze one. When you are ready to eat them, just heat them up in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and they’re perfect.

This egg cup recipe can also be changed up to meet your family’s likes. You can mix it up however you choose — throw in any veggies and greens of your choice. Add a little cheese if you want. What would you add to this recipe?

I also have a mini quiche recipe full of bacon and cheese! Still pretty diet friendly and another versatile recipe.

mini_breakfast_quiches

And here’s another egg cup recipe for Baked Prosciutto and Egg Cups!

Looking for more healthy meal ideas? Check out my board Healthy Eats on Pinterest.

Yourkidvid – The Perfect Mother’s Day Gift *and win an iPad Mini!*

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Yourkidvid.

YourkidVid takes all the videos taking up space on your phone and computer and creates a film with music and graphics. Share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and by email!

Me and the kids getting ready to go have some fun!

Trying to find a Mother’s Day gift can be quite a challenge. You want to find her something she’ll love, remember, and that holds some kind of special meaning. It’s hard sometimes to find a gift that will fit those requirements. But I’ve found it…it’s called Yourkidvid.

YourkidVid takes all the videos taking up space on your phone and computer and creates a film with music and graphics. Share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and by email!

What exactly is Yourkidvid and why would it make the perfect Mother’s Day gift? Yourkidvid is made up of a team of L.A. based award-winning Producers, Directors, and Editors who take your home videos and make them, well, amazing. They take the videos (2 minutes or less in length) from your phone and computer and create a custom film which will become a video scrapbook that your family will have forever. 

Yourkidvid can take all those videos you have on Instagram and stored in your phone and scattered everywhere and put them all together. It’s the thing every mom wishes she had the time and know-how to do!

How do they do it? Like this:

YourkidVid takes all the videos taking up space on your phone and computer and creates a film with music and graphics. Share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and by email!

Yourkidvid takes all of those videos taking up space on your phone and computer and creates something you’ll never forget. The final film has not only video, but also music and graphics.  Once you get it, you can even share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and by email!

Here’s a sample of what you can expect.

(link to video)

Now this is perfect for me and for my mom because to say we are both technologically challenged would be an understatement. For me (or her) to have to try to sit down, figure out how to get all the videos in one place and then to edit them…it ain’t gonna happen. Top that with adding graphics and music and you must be joking.

YourkidVid takes all the videos taking up space on your phone and computer and creates a film with music and graphics. Share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and by email!

Me and my mom. Cheers!

Yourkidvid has the know-how to take your videos and add graphics, color correction, sound mixing, and even hand-picked music. And since the videos and professional video editing start at just $29, it’s an affordable AND unforgettable gift!

So take all those videos and have them made into a hip, fun, and shareable gift for mom! I’m excited to share a discount code to Yourkidvid with you. Use the coupon code: 1in85million for 20% off of your entire order! This coupon even applies to gift cards so stock up! It expires on May 12, 2014, so hurry!

I know you think this all sounds fantastic, right? But I’m not done yet (I sound like an infomercial!) Yourkidvid has a Mother’s Day Sweepstakes going on that gives you a chance to win a Mother’s Day gift that you can give or keep for yourself!

Yourkidvid Mother’s Day Sweepstakes: Win an iPad mini for Mother’s Day!

There are 85 million moms in the U.S., but my mom is number 1! But I bet you think your mom is right? Well Yourkidvid is holding a contest to find America’s #1 mom.

To enter, like Yourkidvid on Facebook AND publish a description of why your mom is #1 on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram using the hashtag, #1in85million.

Your entry can be as simple as sharing a moment, a story, a quick note or even a video about a lifetime of motherly love. Just include the hashtag #1in85million and like Yourkidvid on Facebook by May 11, 2014.  A winner will be selected by the video editing geniuses at Yourkidvid, to receive an iPad mini plus a Gift Card for a free Yourkidvid Premium Video!  The winner can give the prizes to their #1 mom or keep them . . .they won’t tell!  Go to Yourkidvid.com (1in85million) for details and rules.

So what do YOU want for Mother’s Day? I’m thinking a day of pampering sounds good!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Yourkidvid.

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