Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Yummy Harvest-Themed Afternoon Snack!

My October Degustabox came with a generous amount of goodies-- from all-natural fruit chews to pumpkin-flavored soda pop!
But the Wasa Sesame Seed & Sea Salt Thins were particularly yummy with a crisp texture and endless possibilities to be enjoyed!

So I came up with a quick "fall harvest" inspired afternoon snack that proved to be fresh and yummy for the whole family.
I'm calling these "Pumpkin Fruit Thins".  The thins are salty so the fruit and other ingredients help balance the flavors very nicely!

To make these you'll need the following ingredients (serves 8):

* WASA Thins
* 3 TBSP Cream Cheese
* 2 TBSP Pumpkin Puree
* Sugar and cinnamon mixed together
* Blueberries
* Apples
* Pumpkin sprinkles to keep things festive!

Heat the cream cheese for about 15 seconds in the microwave. Once it softens, mix in the pumpkin puree. Spread the pumpkin cream cheese on the thins.
Garnish with fruit, cinnamon, sugar and sprinkles. Serve immediately and ejoy!

The truth is, these were extremely easy to make...oh and I probably wouldn't have discovered them, had it not been for my Degustabox.

For the last few months, I've been happy to share other recipes I've created out of items found inside my Degustabox.  For example--

* September Shrimp
* August Donuts
* July Cantaloupe Drink

A Degustabox subscription only costs about $20/month.
And the goodies seem to be getting better by the month too!
Visit the website here for more information and if you join, I'd love to see your recipes too.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

California Science Center's The Science Behind Pixar Exhibition

A few weekends ago, I took Benny and Toby to a USC tailgate party. We were near the USC stadium, enjoying hot dogs and burgers overlooking the California Science Center.
On any other occasion, our tailgate location wouldn't have mattered much because the live music and games were keeping us entertained, except, the California Science Center was displaying a HUGE banner of Disney Pixar's Buzz Lightyear, which happens to be one of Benny's all-time favorite characters.
The sign read: "The Science Behind Pixar at the California Science Center. Let Your Imagination Fly."
Benny started asking if the beloved Toy Story Space Ranger was inside "that building".
Well as it turns out, Buzz Lightyear is currently inside the California Science Center.
We visited The Science Behind Pixar Exhibition last weekend with my sister Frances (who's in town from Hong Kong) and had a super fun time!

With more than 40 interactive exhibit elements, the exhibition's eight sections each focus on a step in the filmmaking process to give guests a unique view of the production pipeline and concepts used at Pixar every day.

In this area, guests rotate 2D shapes around an axis, which is a mathematical technique modelers use to create 3D objects.

Kids (and adults) can participate in fun, engaging hands-on activities, listen to firsthand accounts, from members of the studio's production teams, and even come face-to-face with re-creations of your favorite Pixar film characters, including Buzz Lightyear, Dory, Mike and Sulley, Edna Mode, and WALL-E!

In this Dory display, guests get to select and manipulate the lighting to give the ocean background different looks and effects. As you can see from Toby's face, the green was a bit alarming...LOL!

The exhibit really gives guests a unique perspective as to what it actually takes to bring an animated film to life. There is just so much work involved with creating even the most subtle face gesture on a character, let alone an entire action scene!
Rendering a single frame can take over 30 hours and the exhibit gives guests an opportunity to test their patience with this part of the process too!

If you're a Disney fan like us, you'll probably be excited that the exhibit brings a unique opportunity to shop for Disney Pixar gifts as you exit!

California Science Center
700 Exposition Park Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90037

Admission is $14.95 for adults / $9.95 for children age 4-12

The Science Behind Pixar Exhibition will run through April 9, 2017.
We'll probably visit again before it's gone.
Hope you make it out there too!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Disney on Ice Presents WORLDS OF ENCHANTMENT | Tickets on sale now!

For as much of a Disney fan that I am, Ive never been to a Disney on Ice production! 
But I don't plan on missing it this year, especially after reading this about "Worlds of Enchantment": 

"Thrill to high-speed stunts and high-octane fun, as Lightning McQueen, Mater and the crew of Disney Pixar’s Cars race across the ice. Dive into adventure with Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid, as she explores her undersea kingdom. The toys are back in town with heroic action when Buzz, Woody, Jessie and the Disney Pixar Toy Story gang escape Sunnyside Daycare in a daring adventure to get back to Andy’s room. Plus, enter the wintery world of Arendelle with sisters Anna and Elsa and pals Olaf and Kristoff from Disney’s Frozen as they learn that true love comes from within"

Fun, right?

Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment is performing from December 15 through January 8, 2017 in Los Angeles (STAPLES Center), Anaheim (Honda Center), Long Beach (Long Beach Arena) and Ontario (Citizens Business Bank Arena).


Thursday, December 15 – Sunday, December 18

o Thursday, December 15    7:30PM
o Friday, December 16         7:30PM
o Saturday, December 17     11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM

o Sunday, December 18       11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM


STAPLES Center – 1111 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015 
Ticket prices start at $25!
Discount Opening Night tickets available for as low as $15 each on select seating (not valid for premium VIP/Front Row seating) 

Tickets available for purchase online at AXS.com, charge by phone at 888-9AXS-TIX or in-person at the venue Box Office. *prices subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply 

I plan on being at Staples Center on opening night.
See you at the show?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Fall Inspo: Pumpkin Patches & Swedish Forests!

Fall activities have taken a new meaning for my husband and I.
Only five years ago, we were attending as many Oktoberfest events in Southern Cali as we could find and planning outrageous costumes to attend booze-filled Halloween parties. The following mornings came with headaches and promises to never drink again...ha!
Those days are long gone.
But I say that proudly because parenthood has given every season of the year a new meaning and Fall is no exception.
For the past few years, when October comes around, we've looked for unique pumpkin patches where Benny can play, pick out pumpkins and pose for the yearly must-do pumpkin patch photo.
This year my husband couldn't join us but we visited Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch in Culver City and got a preview of Baby Bjorn's autumn product line, the Woods Collection.
If you've read my blog, then you know I'm a fan of Baby Bjorn.
The Woods collection is inspired by colors representing the moss green calm, the deep red luster of lingonberries and pine trees of the Swedish Forests. More here
This pumpkin patch trip though--
It was one of the few places I've taken both boys without a helper but I'm getting better at managing my boys on my own (don't ask how).
Here are some of my favorite memories from our outing:

Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch has been around since 1987. A father-daughter duo designed this interactive kids experience, after working on projects such as the Back to the Future attraction at Universal Studios.

Baby Bjorn's Baby Carrier One features ergonomic leg position with wide seat area for the child. The Woods Collection brings the carrier in blackberry red and denim blue, among other bold colors.
Benny tries to peak at the other kids running around the pumpkin patch, a perfect opportunity to debut his "Fire(eye)ball" face painting,

Toby as Mike Wasowski while brother Benny jumped inside the bouncy house.

In this photo by Maile Mason Photography, Toby tests Baby Bjorn's Bouncer Balance.

A special thanks to Rachel Pitzel for organizing this fun event. It's so refreshing to meet other like-minded mommies, especially at a pumpkin patch!

En español

Las actividades de otoño han tomado un nuevo significado para mi marido y yo.
Hace sólo cinco años, buscábamos y asistíamos a los mejores eventos de Oktoberfest y dedicábamos un buen de tiempo planeando disfraces extravagantes para ir a las fiestas de Halloween donde el alcohol nunca faltaba. Al día siguiente, crudos y con dolor de cabeza jurábamos nunca volver a beber ... ja!
Esos días ya se quedaron atrás.
Pero lo digo con orgullo porque ser padres de familia significa que celebramos con otro propósito las estaciones del año y el otoño no es excepción.
En los últimos años, cuando llega octubre, buscamos un huerto de calabazas nuevo donde Benny pueda jugar, recoger calabazas y posar para la foto anual que hay que hacer.
Este año, mi marido no pudo acompañarnos, pero llevé a los niños al huerto de calabazas llamado Mr. Bones en Culver City y a la vez, pudimos darle un vistazo a la línea de productos de otoño de Baby Bjorn, titulada Woods Collection.
Si has leído mi blog, entonces ya sabes que me fascina la marca de productos infantiles, Baby Bjorn.
La colección de otoño se inspira en los colores que representan la verde calma de los musgos, el profundo brillo rojo de los arándanos y los pinos de los bosques suecos.
Por lo tanto, el viaje al huerto de calabazas, Mr. Bones, valió la pena.
Fue uno de los pocos lugares a donde he llevado a los niños sin alguien que me ayudara, pero tal parece que me estoy adaptando a manejar la tranquilidad de Toby con el alboroto de Benny (no me pregunten cómo).
Aquí les comparto algunos recuerdos favoritos de nuestra excursión.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Toby's 1st Membership-- The Little Foodie Club!

*Product Review*

I first discovered The Little Foodie Club on Instagram.
I was captivated by the company's description:
"A baby food delivery company committed to shaping the next generation of foodies." 
Then I read about their purees and their philosophy on palate training and I became very curious, especially as Toby was reaching 6 months and it was going to be time to introduce him to solids.  

Little Foodie Club was the creation of an international food writer mommy who decided to embrace the concept of palate-training babies when she had her daughter.
And if you think about it, palate-training a young child is not something pretentious or unheard of. 
How many of us who were raised in a Mexican household have been encouraged to give our kids a taste of salsa or chili peppers? lol.
Little Foodie Club offers all-natural, organic, wholesome and unique purees.
Their menu was too tempting to ignore, especially in this day and age when mommies like myself work full-time, multi-task and tend to gravitate toward the easier option like, a jar of plum and apple Gerber, because really, who has time to boil, peel, grate, and liquefy your baby's food when you have a million other things to attend to before going to bed!?

We received a 6-9 month taster kit from Little Foodie Club, which was conveniently delivered at home, frozen. I thawed each meal for at least 12 hours, as suggested, before feeding and did so on separate occasions to see if Toby would take the purees well.  
Here's how things went: 


Banana, Strawberry and Mint for Breakfast


We're familiar with the concept of "Strawberry Banana" everything, but how refreshing to add mint to this equation for a deliciously sweet and fresh breakfast meal!?
Toby didn't want to stop eating. He loved it. My older son Benny thought it was delicious too. Again, no preservatives, no bad stuff, just pure, organic, locally-sourced fruit & mint leaves.


Carrot and Potato with Turmeric for Lunch 


Toby immediately set his eyes on the bright color of this meal. This carrot puree is not like any old carrot puree. They slow cook sweet baby carrots and potatoes in chicken bone broth and add a hint of turmeric. This one offers a unique texture. It wasn't as smudgy as the Strawberry Banana Mint puree but soft enough to be handled well by a teething baby. Toby kept trying to reach for the food with his fingers! By the way, once you open the product you can freeze it again once to use at a later time, which makes sense since each puree comes inside a generous 8 oz. container.

It feels so good to feed your baby something you know is healthy, organic and different!


Cauliflower and Pear with Tarragon for Dinner

Tarragon is an herb in the sunflower family and it mixes very well with pears and cauliflower, as we recently learned during this dinnertime feeding adventure. Toby was all smiles with the cauliflower and pear with tarragon puree. He kept squeaking every time the spoon didn't return to his mouth soon enough! Then he grabbed a hold of the lid and tried eating as much as he could get. I should mention that yes, I tried each one of the products too and this particular concoction tasted good enough to spread over a saltine and enjoy as an appetizer...so good!

In summary--
Little Foodie Club is a unique home delivery service that your child deserves to try.
Is it affordable? Well, that's a matter of opinion. The smallest meal plan begins at $60/month, but when you're a working parent without extra time to make amazing meals from scratch for your most beloved treasure, the convenience of counting on a top-notch menu for the baby is truly priceless.
Plus, when it comes to your children, how could you not invest in great, quality ingredients meshed together for a healthy and tasty meal?
Sure, we're going to continue feeding our baby our traditional caldito de frijol (bean broth) and sopita de pollo (chicken stew) but Little Foodie Club offers a different set of flavors and textures that may just resound well with our child and serve as a gateway to culinary openness later in life.
We just signed him up for Little Foodie Club and I absolutely recommend you check out their website and give it a try too!

Website: Little Foodie Club

It's certainly worth it.

Thanks for reading!

I received a sample pack of Little Foodie Club purees for a review on this blog. My review is honest and all opinions are my own.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

DIY Jack Skellington Halloween Wreath

We are obsessing over Tim Burton's The Nightmare before Christmas this Halloween!
I thought about buying Jack Skellington decorations, mostly on Etsy and eBay but I couldn't come to terms with spending $50 - $75 on a Jack Skellington wreath so I went to Michaels Crafts store, spent about $12 on supplies and I made my own!
I showed the step-by-step tutorial on Snapchat, which resulted in several conversations with friends that wanted to know more about how to make this so I figured it wouldn't be a bad idea to create a blog post since my Snapchat tutorial is gone forever.

For this project you will need the following supplies:
* 1 Medium-sized twig wreath with branches sticking out (this is appropriate to make the project look whimsy and Tim Burton-esque)
* 1 Foam Ball
* Purple glittery decoration foam balls (you can use any other color but purple is my favorite)
* 2 sheets of felt fabric (1 white, 1 black)
* Glue gun
* Scissors
* Black paint
* Paint brushes
* White-Out correction ink


1. Paint the wreath with black paint and allow to dry thoroughly. I suppose you can use spray paint too but I didn't want to use an aerosol can with two small children nearby.

2. Cut the foam ball in half. Use a marker to draw Jack Skellington face.

3.  Cut the black and white felt fabric into thin strips of equal width. Roll together and glue the ends to make dizzy circles :)

4. With the leftover black felt, cut out a pointy bowtie for Jack and paint lines accross it using White Out

5. Use the glue gun to piece it all together. I was very liberal in the way I glued the purple foam balls and dizzy circles, meaning, there was no rhyme or reason to their placement on the wreath.

"This is halloween, this is halloween, pumpkins scream in the dead of night..."

Have a good holiday weekend, friends!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

West Covina Disney Store to Celebrate Grand Re-Opening!

The Disney Store at Plaza West Covina was remodeled and will celebrate a grand opening this Saturday, October 8, 2016.

Before moving to the San Fernando Valley, we lived in Baldwin Park and spent a lot of time with Benny in the surrounding cities. One place we frequented was the Plaza West Covina, a shopping mall with a well organized kids indoor playground and a Lucille's BBQ restaurant. The Disney Store inside this mall was where Benny first learned of Miles from Tomorrowland and where I stocked up on limited edition Mickey Mouse fragrance candles.

The grand opening celebration on Saturday will feature a festive song, composed specially for Disney Store and performed by the store Cast Members. Additionally, the first 500 guests to attend the opening celebration will receive a free gift and an opportunity to meet Donald Duck and Daisy Duck in the lower level Center Court from noon to 4 p.m.

GRAND OPENING – Saturday, October 8, 2016
  • 10 a.m. | Disney Store Grand Opening Ceremony where one lucky child will be invited to “Unlock Imagination.” The first 500 guests will receive a free gift.
  • Noon – 4 p.m. | Meet and Greet with Donald Duck and Daisy Duck in Center Court. Guests are encouraged to bring their cameras.*
*Characters alternate every 30 minutes. Character appearances are subject to change or cancellation without notice.

Here's what's debuting at the Plaza West Covina Disney Store: Unique elements such as a blue Pixie Dust Trail, Magical Trees, Disney Store Theater and Storytelling Neighborhoods featuring Disney, Marvel and Star Wars product statements. The store also includes design elements exclusive to West Covina. As guests enter the store and look above, they will see a customized skyline incorporating local landmarks – including Hurst Ranch and the West Covina Public Equestrian Center – in addition to classic Disney features and magical storytelling moments.

Disney Store at Plaza West Covina
1200 West Covina Avenue
West Covina, CA 91790

Have fun!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Big Draw LA-- A Monthlong Series of Art Events for All Ages!

The Big Draw LA is a public drawing celebration spanning Southern California and linked to similar events worldwide during the month of October.  Click here for a listing of Big Draw events near you!

I work in downtown Los Angeles, next to city hall. 
Many times during lunch break I walk three blocks up Temple street to Grand Park, a newly-designed, four-level park that was once a hub for drug addicts and homeless people. 
Today, it's a serene and carefully manicured public space with a modern playground and outdoor musical instruments. There are uphill walking paths and bright pink lawn chairs and there's a huge splash pad with a water fountain at the top level.
Every time I walk to Grand Park, I tell myself I need to take the kids there.

Well, I took them this past Sunday because I wanted them to "leave their mark at the park". 

It was an event that launched the first of The Big Draw LA series, hosted by Ryman Arts, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering the artistic talents of kids. 
The Big Draw LA is a series of drawing activities where the public – people of all ages and abilities – get to make art at a wide variety of venues — from museums and parks to unique locations in neighborhoods. These events are organized and led by community-based organizations across the region. If you missed this past Sunday's event at Grand Park, you still have time to make it to several other "Big Draw" events happening this Fall. 

Here's a glimpse of some of the stuff we did on Sunday:

1. Observed artists of all ages draw live costumed models. If it hadn't been for the fact that I had to watch both kids, I would have probably tested my drawing skills too!

2. Watched little cuties use charcoal pencils and pastels to draw LA City Hall, which served as a great backdrop to the event!

3. Enjoyed the colors and paint soaked rollers involved with creating unique prints!
4. Spent some time watching Benny use markers to draw a snake... this was incredibly cute!

5. Stood underneath a paper plane-decorated pavilion where kids had a chance to create and decorate paper planes!

6. Entertained by my son's attempt to make a "dragon plane" beneath the paper plane pavilion. The final products were displayed on a string (see below)

7. Added my own doodles to this unique display of black paint on white butcher paper

I can't imagine what the next event will offer!
For more information on The Big Draw LA, visit their website:  www.TheBigDrawLA.org

Ryman Arts brings together students from 150 neighborhoods in Southern California and provides them the opportunity to obtain professional studio art instruction, as well as college career guidance at no cost to the students or their families. Read all about it here.

Thanks for reading and see you at the next Big Draw event!