Sunday, February 28, 2010

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You're Invited!! - Dr. Seuss' Birthday Party

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” - Dr. Suess

On Tuesday, March 9th, The Upland Library will be celebrating the birthday of the one and only Dr. Suess. Of course I am assuming everyone knows of the legendary Dr. Suess, we all grew up reading his books. Or at least having them read to us. I have read some of his books to my son, continuing the tradition. Thanks to Dr. Suess we all know that; Sam I am does not like green eggs and ham. We know that the Grinch's heart grew 3 sizes that day. We know that the sun did not shine, it was too wet to play. I can go on and on, but I won't.

The birthday party will be held at the Upland Library, Carnegie Cultural Center on Tuesday, March 9Th. It's in the evening, 6:30 - 7:30 pm, so it's a perfect after school/work adventure. They will have Dr. Suess stories, and cake!! Plus every kid in attendance will receive a FREE book. This should be so much fun. I can't wait.

Hope to see you all there!!

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

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A Walk in the Park

The weather outside today was just perfect. If it was like this more often I would be the happiest woman ever. I love being outside, especially in the Spring. I wanted to get a nice, brisk walk in today, but I also wanted to let Logan run around and play a bit too. I know he gets bored sitting in the stroller while I walk, I can understand that, he's almost two and he wants to let his legs run wild. Well today, I knew the perfect place that would make us both happy. Central Park, in Rancho Cucamonga has it all, and the scenery is just beautiful!

When we first pulled up, we hit the playground first. That way when it was time for our walk, he could relax in the stroller. The playground there is great for kids. It's a pretty descent size, and has both sand and AstroTurf. It is also surrounded by grassy fields, perfect spot for a picnic. So we get there and I let him run around for a bit, I chase him then he chases me. We go up the jungle gym and we race to the slide...he always wins. The entire time he is laughing, and I am thinking "forget walking, I'm getting enough exercise". So we go and we go until I can't go anymore and I need a break. I convinced him to take a break and let me push him on the swing. He bought it, and he enjoyed the swing for awhile. Until he saw other kids on the slide, then he was done with the swing. After playing a little while longer I could tell he was getting hungry so we set off for our walk.

Central Park is the perfect place for anyone who likes to walk, run or ride bikes. Not only is the scenery nice, but they have a couple different trails you can take. If you walk the main trail, north of the park, their is a cement trail, and a dirt trail that go side by side. With my big stroller, I usually take the dirt one so the bike riders can stay on the cement. The trail extends between Haven and Milliken and then some. It's actually a lot further, but we only go between those two streets. I get tired! There are ALWAYS plenty of people on the trail, so I know I am never alone and that makes me feel more secure.

The second trail, my favorite, is near the park and the senior center. It goes through the grass and the gardens. I love it because it's so soothing and relaxing, but at the same time I'm exercising. On a day like today, where the breeze was just perfect you can smell all of the flowers and plants in bloom. While I did a few laps on the trail, Logan enjoyed the pb&j sandwich I had made for him, and we were both happy. I really wish I had my iPod with me today, it would have been a nice "cherry on top", also it doubles as a pedometer and that would have come in handy today. Unfortunately, my iPod is not working so I sent it to Apple to be replaced. Hopefully I'll get my new one soon.

Anyways, I hear it's supposed to rain tomorrow...I hate the rain. I know we're in a drought, and we NEED it, but I can't help the way I feel. If it rains tomorrow(like it's supposed to), then we'll be heading to Chuck-E-Cheese. So I'll be back to let you know how that goes. Hopefully I'll be able to resist the junk food.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

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Child Haircuts: Do it yourself or Go Somewhere?

As an ex-hair stylist turned stay at home mom you would think that haircuts in our house would be cheap, and house. However, that is not the case for our family. I once thought I could cut my son's hair, but what a mistake that turned out to be. He was just a little over a year at the time, and his head turned and he would run away and it was a horrible experience for both of us. After this haircut gone wrong I wised up and took him to someone who specializes in children's haircuts. I went on my computer, entered "child haircuts" in my Google box and I haven't looked back.

I found a place in Rancho Cucamonga called Cool Cuts 4 Kids. They have been amazing! From the moment we walked in, I knew that this was going to be good for both of us. They have a play area where your kids can play while they wait. The stylist are extremely nice, and are very good with children. The patience these woman must have. When it's your turn, your child can sit at a booth of their choice. They have something for everyone. Some booths have video games set up, some have TVs, and some have cars that your child can sit in. My son personally likes the car, which also has a TV in front of it so he can watch a movie.

In the past my son has always been very good while getting his haircut here. But today he was not having it. I guess I should take some blame for that, seeing as he was almost asleep and ready for his nap when I took him in. Our poor stylist Ashley was good about it though, I envied her patience. When he first started throwing his tantrum (screaming bloody murder), Ashley asked if it was ok to give him a lolly pop. Of course my thoughts on this was "anything to shut him up!!!". He was a little better once he had his lolly pop and was watching Wow Wow Wubbzy on the TV. But he was still shaking his head and trying to get away. But with me holding him down and Ashley working her magic hard and fast we were able to accomplish our mission. His haircut was complete.

Of course he was all smiles when we let him down. While I payed he played in the play area. I apologized for my son's tantrum but she explained that it's very common and it doesn't even faze her, she likes what she does. I guess it takes a special kind of person to deal with that all day long. In the end it cost $20 with tip. Not bad, she definitely earned the money. Sure, being an ex stylist I have the "know how" to do it myself and save the $20, but then I'd have to turn around and spend that $20 on liquor just to calm myself down. I think I'll stick Cool Cuts 4 Kids for now. Let them deal with it!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

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Diaper Shopping - Should it Really Take This Long?

Diapers, diapers, diapers. Why are they so complicated? There are like 50 brands, ranging from all prices, designs, stretch here, leak guards...blah blah blah. Why can't they just say, "Hey, ours works better", and be done with it?! Every time I go to the store to buy diapers, it takes me twenty minutes because I have to look at my favorite brands, then look at the pricing and sales that are going on, then decide which one has more and is it worth it? Is it cheaper if I buy the big box with 46 or if I buy 2 of the smaller ones with 25? Sometimes it's cheaper to buy 2 of the smaller ones. When Logan was in regular diapers it was especially tough because just about any brand would work, so I was comparing prices on the entire aisle. Now he is wearing Pull Ups, and it's been a different experience. We've only found one brand that works great...and no, it's not the cheap one.

When we first made the switch from diapers to pull ups I used my general pricing scale as my purchasing judgement. I bought the Target brand, Up & Up. When Logan wore the Up & Up brand diapers they worked perfectly fine, and they were usually cheaper then the rest. However, their pull ups are a different story, although still cheaper then the leading brands, they don't work quite as well. Logan would wake up every morning soaked. I mean SOAKED!! At first I thought it was him, so I cut off his beverages earlier then usual. But then I noticed we were going through more diapers during the day too. One lil wee wee would make his pants huge. So I started blaming the pull ups. No more Up & Ups for us, time to try something new.

My mom had seen a great deal on Pamper's Easy Ups at Target, where you buy 3 packages, you receive a $5.00 Target gift card. So she bought one for me, one for my sis, and a spare for her house. They were free, so that is always the best! At first they were fine, but he still leaked through pretty easily. I also did not like that you practically had to rip the pull up in half to get it off. The little stickers on the side did not work. Although Pamper's brand did work better for us then the Up & Ups, it still was not working for me. I was beginning to think that all pull-ups were like this and maybe I should switch back to the basic diapers. But I had one more brand that I needed to try before giving up.

Although Huggies is usually one of the more expensive brands, for Pull-Ups, they are the only ones worth buying. Once we've started using Huggies we've had no accidents. His pants don't swell at all, and they have an emblem on the front of the pull-up that fades when the pull-up is wet. The Velcro sides makes it incredibly easy to remove as well.

The fact that I will only purchase Huggies brand Pull-Ups from now on makes my life at Target a little easier now. However, I do still sit and debate with myself which size package is the better buy. At least I'm only comparing prices with one brand now instead of the entire aisle.

Huggies should change their slogan to: Hey, ours work better!

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Friday, February 19, 2010

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A Day in Camp Snoopy

As you all know, So Cal experienced beautiful spring weather this week. Today starts the downward spiral of cold, wet weather. But I enjoyed the sun while it lasted, and took advantage of it while I could. I love spending the day in the sun, with my son.

On Wednesday we had the ultimate outdoor adventure, we went to Knott's Berry Farm! It was myself, Logan, my mother, my sister, and my sister's two kids, Emily and Ben. We all piled into my mom's Excursion and off we went. Of course, knowing my family we had to stop by Starbucks on the way, otherwise it's just not a good start. My sister had packed plenty of snacks for the day, Uncrustables, Gold Fishes, Capri Suns, you name it, Every kid's dream!

When we arrived at Knott's we were able to bypass the ticket line and head straight for the gate. We are all season passes holders, and we have all gotten our money's worth and then some. Because we live so close, and we go so often it makes sense for us to have the season passes. However, they do have great deals going on right now for non-passport holders. Upon walking in to the park, they stop you to check your bag. Typically you're "not allowed" to bring in food from home, but I always just explain that I brought some snacks for the kids and they always let us bring them in.

The first place we always head to is Camp Snoopy. Camp Snoopy is all about kids. They have hours worth of kid-tastic fun. Each ride in Camp Snoopy is rated on a "thrill scale" from 1 to 3. If your child isn't quite ready for the 3 ride, I recommend sticking to the 1's and 2's. Logan's favorite ride at Knott's is the trucks. He loves to steer the heck out of the steering wheel and honk the horn. He is too little to go on any of the rides by himself still, so yours truly has to ride with him. Keep in mind that these rides were not made for adults, so be prepared for a tight squeeze.

After a couple hours in Camp Snoopy we headed toward the Log Ride. Every time that we had gone to Knott's prior to Wednesday, I would chicken out on the Log Ride. Don't get me wrong, I personally love that ride. I was always just too scared to take my son on. I never thought he'd understand it, I thought he would constantly be trying to stand up or stick his hands in the water, and I was afraid he'd go flying out on the big drop. But this time, I felt at ease, so we went for it. My sister has been taking her son on this ride since he was born, so that helped put me at ease a bit. At first Logan seemed to love it, when we were in the light I could see an ear to ear grin on his face. Then after the first, smaller drop, he grabbed on tight to my arm and didn't let go. The smile went away and was replaced by a look of terror, but he never cried or even whined. Then we hit the last, big drop...well, the photo says it all. But I would definitely take him again next time.

Lunch time came and we headed back to Camp Snoopy to dine at Lucy's Lunchbox. Usually when I go to Knott's I'll pack a lunch for us. But Wednesday, my mom insisted on buying us all lunch. Once I saw the prices I remembered why I always bring a lunch. I recommend you do the same! Lunch was good though, and we sat at a table that over looked Grizzly Creak Falls, and Logan enjoyed eating while watching the water.

It was a beautiful day to spend at Knott's, I can't wait for Spring to really kick in so we can go again and again. If this is something that you think you and your family would really enjoy, you should check out their website for current deals. Kids and adults of all ages really enjoy this place. If you go on a weekday, it's really not crowded at all. We didn't wait in any lines really.

Oh, a little last note before I end this. If you do end up going, there is a Drive Thru Starbucks just down the street from Knott's. A nice way to end the day don't you think?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

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The Victoia Gardens - Fun For Everyone

I love living in Southern California. Mainly because I love that we are experiencing Spring weather in the middle of February. Yesterday was such a beautiful day, I just wanted to spend the entire day outside. I texted my friend, Jennifer, yesterday morning to see if she and her daughter, Julia, would like to accompany myself and my son to the Victoria Gardens to go for a walk.

We arrived at the Victoria Gardens, an outside shopping mall in our area, as the stores were opening. Even though it was only 10:00am, it was already extremely warm outside. Gotta love the I.E.. First thing was first though, we had to stop by their playground so the kids could play a little before we started our walk. Their playground is very cute, it consists of a little doll house, a jungle gym, and a couple of other little misc. things. The only problem with their playground is, on a hot day, the slide is entirely too warm to slide down. Julia was lucky though, she wore jeans so she could slide down. Unfortunately Logan was wearing shorts and refused to go down that thing. There is also a little water fountain by the playground that spills water over the sides. Kids are allowed to lean up against it, and splash the water. This is something Logan usually does, but yesterday he didn't seem interested.

After we left the playground we decided to walk off some calories. But of course, being 2 ex-Starbucks Batista's, we had to stop in and get our fix first. Lucky for us, and all parents, the Starbucks at Victoria Gardens is located right next to the park. I wonder if that was planned?? Once we got our drinks, and the kids snacks, we were on our way. We walked around the mall a few times. It was so nice just soaking up the sun. We had plenty of girl talk, but then we could tell the kids were getting bored being pushed around in strollers. We decided to stop in the quad area to let the kids play in the big fountain.

Every time that I go to Victoria Gardens, it is essential that I bring a change of clothes for my son. Unless it's freezing outside, he never leaves this place dry. The Victoria Gardens has a huge fountain in their quad that spits water up from the ground. In the middle of summer there are usually swarms of kids hovering in the water. Luckily, yesterday was a school day so there were only a few toddlers out there. Logan and Julia had a blast out there playing in the water, while Jen and I stayed off to the side and watched and took pictures. The kids splashed in the water, stomped in the water, chased each other; it was a good time. We let them play in the water for a long while, but eventually it was time to go, although the kids could have stayed all day.

At the Victoria Gardens, they also have a train, The Choo Choo Monga Express, that you and your kids can ride around the quad. It only cost $3.00, and although we've never gone on, it always looks fun. Logan loves to wave at the kids as they pass by.

If you live in the I.E., and you want a cheap, fun play date with your kids, I recommend bringing them to The Victoria Gardens' mall. There is something for everyone. Just pack a lunch and head over, just make sure to bring your young ones a change of clothes, or a bathing suit, You'll likely need it.

Photo Credit: My Camera

Monday, February 15, 2010

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Valentine's Family Day

Valentine's has never been a very big deal to me. It's a sweet thought, though I am lucky enough to have a husband who treats me wonderfully all year round. I don't need one particular day for him to show me because she shows me 365 days each year. So yesterday, being Valentines, we played it very low key and just spent the day with family.

I woke up craving something good to eat(that did not consist of me cleaning, cooking, then cleaning again). So we went out to our favorite place to eat breakfast, Molly's Souper. I have not eaten there since I was pregnant, almost two years ago, so it tasted EXTRA good yesterday morning.

After we had some time to work off our breakfast, we went to Fullerton to hang with my aunt. The weather in Fullerton was sooo nice yesterday. I could have soaked that up forever. We all went out to lunch, which is always a good time when you have a tired toddler with you. Although, I can't complain, he's usually pretty well behaved at restaurants. We had Chili's for lunch, and trust me when I say that their child portion's are HUGE! Thank God my kid loves his food. But that was only the beginning.

After we lunch we went to Aunt Debbie's, where he got to watch T.V., but also got to munch of gold fishes. Later, Aunt Debbie took us to get frozen yogurt. Logan had never had frozen yogurt before so this was a special treat for him. Aunt Debbie fixed him a bowl of the good stuff. I don't know if any of you have ever been to Yogurtland before but wow, the options. I've never seen anything like that before. They had every kind of yogurt you could think of, plus every topping you could think of, and then some. Logan had peanut butter yogurt, chocolate yogurt, with strawberries, kiwis, and chocolate chips on top. He was such a happy camper. I was surprised at how much of that he actually ate. I would have had some, but I was sippin on something else I had been craving all day.

After we left Aunt Debbie's house we went home and it was boring from then on out. So that was our Valentine's day. Nothing over the top, but definitely fun. It turned out to be a very nice family day.

Now just two weeks until our anniversary. I think I'd like to be without child for that occasion.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

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A Love for Peanut Butter

I love peanut butter. I mean I really love peanut butter. I love it by itself, I love it in pastries, and I love it for dipping. I think I've only met one person, in my entire life, who does not like peanut butter. Lately, I've been asking my friends, which snack foods their kids like. Most snacks had something to do with peanut butter. So it got me thinking, and I found some cute, creative ways to turn peanut butter into a kid snack.

There are the basic ones, such as peanut butter and celery and peanut butter and apples. Those are both great ways to get your kids to eat a healthy snack, they are both easy to do, and are both affordable.

While reading my latest magazine from Taste of Home, I saw some cute ways in which to use peanut butter. Peanut Butter Balls was the first to catch my eye. So I made some for my son to test it out. This was extremely easy to make, and it did taste good. It was sord of hard for me to stop at just one, but my son had a couple. This is really easy to make, you simply mix some peanut butter with some crushed cornflakes, once mixed, form them into little balls and roll them around in crushed graham crackers. YUMM-0!

Also in the magazine was Waffle PB&J. This is something that I have made for my son in the past and it's awesome. I've even had this for breakfast a couple of times. You simply toast your Eggo's(for a healthier choice, use multi grain Eggo's), then put peanut butter on one side and jelly on the other. I like to cut it into halves or quarters for my son.

Now, I know that Nutella isn't considered peanut butter, but I thought I'd throw this one in there as well. It's called a Nutella and banana graham cracker sandwich. I believe the name speaks for itself, but I'll explain it anyways. You get two graham crackers, spread some Nutella on a single side of one cracker, place banana slices on the Nutella cracker, then top with second graham cracker. I have not yet tried this one, although I've bought all the stuff. See I am currently dieting(again), and can't try too many of these. But I am looking forward to trying it out.

The last item is something that's been around for generations. It is a family favorite of ours, and another great way to get your kids to eat bananas. Peanut butter & banana sandwiches. Mmmm-mmm! Try mixing your peanut butter with a touch of honey though. It's really good. For those of you who have never tried this, you would put peanut butter(mixed with honey)on two slices of bread, and in between the two of them you'd add banana slices. Simple enough!

I know there are so many more great ways to use peanut butter for snacking out there. But these were some of my faves. They are all affordable, easy to do and easy to take with you on lets say, a picnic or a long car ride.

Be cautious though, you don't want to over do it on the peanut butter. Although peanut butter does offer great nutrition for you young ones, it's also high in calories.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

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Pumped Up - For PUMP IT UP

Awhile back, while researching things to do with kids in the Inland Empire, I came across a website for Pump It Up. At the time, I thought my son was a little too young for their activities, so I ignored it and forgot all about it. Recently, while trying to find some indoor activities for us to do, I came across it again. This time I thought, why not? My mom, my sister and her two kids decided to join us today which was fun.

For those of you have have never been to Pump it Up, you must go. For Children and Adults! For all 5 of us to get in, it only cost us $6.00. Adults do not pay when accompanied by a child. And toddlers are free as well, as long as they are accompanied by a paying sibling. For instance, we paid $6.00 for my niece, Emily, to enter, and since we were with a paying child we got in free, and Ben, my nephew got in free because Emily is his sister, and they were nice enough to consider Logan(my son) her sibling as well. When you enter into the two joining rooms, it takes a moment to take it all in. They have huge bouncy houses, small bouncy houses, a bouncy slide and bouncy obstacle courses. They also had non bouncy related toys like a little plastic slide, balls, and a few arcade games.

When we entered our first bouncy house Logan was not too sure what to think. I started bouncing around with him and he was not having it. My sister and my nephew(who is 5 months younger Logan) joined and he was not having it either. So we exited that one and we found the gigantic bouncy slide. At first glance I'm thinking...I can do that. WOW! What a work out. First of all, climbing up the tiny, steep tunnel to get the the top was a challenge all by itself. They give you tiny little feet things(obviously designed for kids)to climb up, and a tiny rope to hold on to. But try doing that while holding a 31 pound boy who is so anxious he's crawling out of your arms. But when you finally make it to the top, it's totally worth it. The first time we went down he wanted to sit on my lap, and although I could not see his face on the way down, his laughter said it all. After the first taste of the slide, he wanted to do it again and again and get the picture. Then my niece wanted me to take her and with each time we were on our way up it seemed like the top just got further and further away. I think I will leave them a comment that they should install an elevator for out of shape parents.

After the slide Logan was a little more adventurous and really liked the bouncy houses. We bounced for what seemed like forever. But we had such a good time doing it. I knew that this was perfect for wearing him out. When our 1 1/2 hour session was up, I fed him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich I had packed for our trip. If I had known parents got as good a work out as the kids at this place, I would have packed my self a lunch as well. I was starving near the end.

Pump it Up also hosts parties for birthdays, sporting events and any other kid party you might throw. I highly recommend checking them out. If it's something you've ever considered in the past but just didn't do it, I say DO IT! It's totally fun and extremely affordable. Especially if it's raining out and you don't want to be stuck in the house. This is a great escape. Hope you enjoy!

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

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Indoor Picnicing at the Mall

Welcome to another gloomy day in the Inland Empire. I heard on the news that we were supposed to have "terrible thunder storms" all day, so I planned a fun, indoor picnic at The Montclair Plaza. When I got up this morning, I was shocked that it was not raining(though this would not be the first time the weather man was wrong), so I did my normal mom stuff, made lunches, packed the diaper bag and got us both dressed and ready to go. Still, NO RAIN!! Whatever, I already had it planned, so I stuck to it.

We got to the Montclair Plaza, where I walked a lap before heading to their play area. This way I could stretch my legs some too. We finally arrived at the play area and Logan was so excited to get out of his stroller and play. There were a few other kids there, about his age so it was nice. He always enjoys playing at this playground. It's perfect for toddlers, and young kids. I've been taking my son there since he was crawling, and it's interesting to see how far he's come. Now he can climb up the slides, and crawl all over everything, when just 6 months ago he had a hard time with a lot of it. Logan will usually play with other kids; or follow them, ultimately annoying them, while I mingle with other moms, grandmas, or dads. It's especially nice because it's located right next to the Barnes & Noble, so every once in awhile, I'll stop in and get myself some Starbucks. But on the flip side, it's also next to a Cinnabon, so if you're dieting(like I usually am), then this definitely becomes a challenge for your willpower.

Today, he played in their forever. I have so much fun watching him be a little boy. Running, climbing, jumping, and sliding. His pants were a little big for him, so I often saw his butt crack, so I'd have to make my way over to him, pulling up those pants.

Once he was done at the playground, I brought out the goodies I had packed for us. We ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He had water to drink, while I drank my sugar free Amp. After our lunch, we strolled into Barnes & Noble to look at their children's section. I attempted to read to him, but he apparently still had some energy to burn off. I wish he loved books as much as I do. They have a wonderful children's corner, that I hope someday he learns to like.

The mall is a great place to take your young ins, it's great for all ages. Today's journey was especially great because it didn't cost me anything. Admission to mall: Free, Admission to playground: Free, Sack Lunch: Free, Reading a Book in Barnes & Noble: Free. Everyone wins!

I have a question though for you mom's. I love packing a lunch when we go places because it saves money, it's usually healthier, and it's quick. What are some HEALTHY snacks that your kids enjoy? Please share, I could use some ideas.

Thanks for listening!

Photo Credit: My Camera

Sunday, February 7, 2010

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Movie Night!

Now a days there are so many options when it comes to renting movies. You can do it the old fashion way, having a membership to a store and renting them same day. Or you can have them mailed right to your house for a monthly fee. It's whatever is most convenient for you. Me personally, I'm the go and rent the movie when I want it kinda gal. When I decide I want to rent a movie, I want it now, not in 2 days.

For our family, the best place to rent movies is RedBox. Which you can find in most grocery stores. There is no membership fee and it's simple to use, much like a soda machine but instead of a refreshing beverage, you get a dvd. You simply go to the RedBox nearest you, choose the Rent a dvd option, select dvd of your choice, then check out with a swipe of your credit card. It only costs $1.00 per day per dvd. You may also use RedBox online to reserve dvd using your credit card, then go and pick it up. The only problem with the RedBox is, it does not have as many rental options as say, Blockbuster or Netflix. But it is definitely the best option if you're wanting to watch something somewhat new.

When there is a movie that I really want to watch, but RedBox does not have it, or is out of stock, I'll tend to go to Blockbuster. Blockbuster will carry dozens of copies of the more popular movies, so it's almost always a guarantee that they'll have what I want. They are more pricey then the RedBox, $5.00 for new releases, but no late fees. They also have a 99cent family movie rentals right now too, which is great if you are looking for a movie for your young one. I belong to the Blockbuster's rewards program, which is $5.00 per year, but you also get one free movie rental for every 5 paid rentals. Not bad! Blockbuster also has an online store, much like Netflix. I've never used it, but if it's something that sounds good to you, you can check it out here.

Netflix is great for the person who loves to watch movies regularly, but doesn't have time to go to the store. Netlix has a huge variety of dvd's. No matter what you're in the mood for, chances are they'll have it. They have a number of plans to chose from, and they charge your credit card automatically every month. We used to use NetFlix and we loved it. However, we stopped watching so much T.V., so then it seemed we were paying our monthly fee for no reason. If you are a family that loves to rent movies consistently, then this is likely a great option for you. It works very easily, you simply choose your plan, then choose all the dvd's you'd like to see and in which order you'd like to receive them. They'll mail them out(this generally takes a day or two) in the order you choose(this can always be changed or updated by you), and as you return them, they'll send the next one out. The dvd's are always sent with a prepaid envelope to send them back in. All you have to do is place the dvd in it's envelope, seal it and put it in your mailbox. Done!

It's amazing how easy things are made for us these days. I remember being a kid, and there were no online vhs rentals, or vhs kiosks in our grocery stores. Most people used the independent movie rental stores, or Blockbuster or Hollywood video. There used to be massive late fee charges, and now, none. Tell me, what option does your family prefer to rent their movies?

Friday, February 5, 2010

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Rain Rain Go Away...or Not!

Living in Southern California my entire life, there is one season that we rarely see, Winter! Sure it rains here and there, but not a lot, and we never get snow(unless of course you live in the mountain areas). I'm really not a homebody, so I am grateful for our warm/dry weather. Today I was thrown a curve ball,I had some outdoors activities planned, but guess rained. Go figure. I had already had my heart on getting out of the house, and like I said, I'm not a home body, so I packed up the diaper bag and we left. Now, the only question left; where to go?

How many of you are familiar with John's Incredible Pizza? Let me just tell you, the place is amazing! You pay to get in, but what you're paying for is an all you can eat buffet and hours of fun and good times. On weekday's for lunch, it cost 6.99 plus unlimited soda for an extra 1.25. Not bad at all for the amount of food you get. And it works out great for me, since kids under 2 eat for free! And anyone who's been there will tell you that they have AMAZING food. They offer any and every kind of pizza you can think of. Ranging from normal, cheese or pepperoni, to spicy peanut butter or Alfredo(my fave), you will not leave hungry, I promise you. They also have a full salad bar, full pasta bar(my son's fave), full dessert bar and finally a coffee bar. My schedule when we go here is simply this, enter, eat lots of pizza, play, go back for mini donuts and a french vanilla latte. That right there is worth the money you pay to get in.

When you are finished picking out your food from the buffet, they offer a number of themed dinning rooms you can choose to sit in. We usually eat in the "animated room", which is decorated with cartoons, and has a Scooby Doo cartoon playing on the big screen TV as well as other smaller TVs set up across the room. There are probably around 5 or 6 different themed dinning rooms to chose from.

John's play area is especially fun. They have something for everyone. They have indoor miniature golf, indoor bowling, indoor bumper cars, and some other twisty ride for big kids an adults. They also have kiddie rides, arcade games, and games in which you can win tickets to cash in for a toy. Oh, and did I mention they have a small build a bear type shop in there as well. Unlike Chuck-E-Cheese, you purchase a prepaid "funcard" with credits on it, instead of using tokens. My son is a bit too young for all of the above just yet, but that's ok because they also have a kiddie area. It's fenced off from the rest of the arcade which is nice because I don't have to worry about him running off. The kiddie area consists of a small slide for beginners, and a bigger slide/jungle gym for the advanced, a huge Caterpillar statue that you can climb on or under, and benches for the adults. Logan(my son), can play in there all day. It's a pretty big area, so we'll chase each other, and run around forever.

If you end up visiting there, and you like it. I recommend purchasing a VIP Card. There is a 1 time membership fee of $5.00, and it truly is worth it. You will get coupons mailed or emailed to you. Every time you spend money with your VIP card, you earn pizza bucks. You can use your pizza bucks on anything you want at John's, anytime you'd like. You also get a free buffet, any day during the month of your birthday, Which more then pays for the 1 time membership fee.

Now, if this sounds like fun to you, check and see if there is a John's Incredible Pizza near you. I can really only speak from personal experience, and my experiences have always been great. If you've never been, I say GO! Especially on rainy days like today. It gets you out of the house, it gets the kids out, it feeds everyone and it's affordable. What's there to lose? If you HAVE been to John's, please share your thoughts with us.

Photo Credit: Google Images

Thursday, February 4, 2010

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Never Too Young to Enjoy the Library!

I have to ask, When was the last time you have visited your local library? I can honestly tell you it had been quite awhile for me. How many of you with kids know that the library is a wonderful place to take your kids? After our visit to the library yesterday, I will inform you all that it is a great place for kids of all ages.

Yesterday, while trying to figure out what my son, Logan, and I could do that was "out of the box", I decided we would try the Upland Library. We got there and I was taken back by how geared for children they actually are. Their child section is huge! They have not only books, but all kids of activities for children.

For starters they have a wonderful arts/crafts theme going on right now called Valentines for Vets, where your child can decorate a valentine that will be sent to our vets at Loma Linda Veteran's hospital. I enjoyed this activity immensely, my son however was only interested in the glue stick. I guess one and a half year old's don't care much for arts and crafts just yet. But I bet someone a little bit older would love that. If you are interested, the Upland Library will be hosting this until Feb 10Th.

Logan's favorite thing though was this activity center block thing. I really have no idea what you would call it. It was like this huge wood cube that had activities attached on top, and on the sides. Kind of like a huge version of those toys you see in the pediatrician's office. Little color coded maze type stuff. Anyways, this kept him entertained forever. He was also interested in the puzzles they had, although not very good at them I must admit. But I know with practice he'll be great. They also had huge stuffed animals and puppets to play with. He seemed to really like the giant Mickey Mouse that was at least twice his size. They had a white board on one of the walls that had alphabet magnets on them...being a typical boy he liked to push all the magnets off and them throw them. Again, a little too young to understand that activity. I tried to get him involved in some books, but of course he was so curious of his surroundings that he was only interested for about a second before he would take off to explore other stuff.

The best part though, was the library, just like the park, is another way to socialize your child. There was a little boy at the library yesterday, a little bit older then Logan and it was nice to see them interact. They seemed to both love that cube toy. I think that one is definitely geared toward toddlers for sure. I imagine that in the later afternoon their would be more kids, but we had a blast as it was.

When we left the library, we sat out on the grass and had a little picnic, eating a lunch I had packed from home. It gave us a chance to hang out outside and enjoy our lovely Southern California sun. He ate, then ran around a little bit, getting some more of his little toddler energy out.

If you have not yet taken your child to visit your local library I recommend you do so. The great thing about the library is that it is fun for all ages, even adults. You can check out your local library's activities calender to see if there is something that you or your kids might enjoy. Highly recommended. It really is never too early to start getting them excited about the library!

Photo Credit: Upland library home page

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

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So lately I've been thinking; there's got to be more to do then just go to the playground everyday. Of course there are other things to do but everything is so expensive, and we have a single budget income to work with. Don't get me wrong, I am in no way complaining and I am very thankful for the opportunity to be able to stay at home with my son. My problem is that I can't seem to think outside of the box. I have tried looking up stuff on the internet but we usually end up at the park anyways.

Last night I got to thinking more seriously about things that we can do or adventures we can go on. And it occurred to me, BLOG! I can hold my self accountable for trying new things and thinking outside of the box more if I blog about it. I'm sure I'll end up at the park still, but not as often. I would like to try new things, and see how it goes. Let everyone else know how it was, Did my son like it, Did I like it, Was it affordable, Age appropriate etc etc.

I hope that someday this blog will be full of ALL kinds of information for parents. A reference of things to do with kids. If anyone has any ideas they would like to share please do so. I took my son, Logan, to the playground today and he is napping peacefully now. But tomorrow I hope to embark on a real "play date" with him, and I'll let you know how it goes.