Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Bringing Laughter Back

My 4.5 year old is very intuitive. He always has been. He knew I was pregnant with a girl without me even ever telling him I was pregnant. He can always tell when I’m sad. In between his LOUD yelling and silly persona, he occasionally comes out with these insightful things. This is when I should stop and listen.

The comment that made me stop in my steps.

A couple weeks ago, my husband and I were joking around in the car and I started hysterically laughing, a “I’m carefree and having fun laugh”. And then from the back of the car, I hear:

“Do it again, I love it when mommy laughs”

This made me pause. When WAS the last time I had really cracked up like that? I’m not an unhappy person or anything like that but ever since I had my daughter, we’ve been busier and adjusting. I feel like I’m still in survival mode. A baby is an adjustment, that’s for sure. But I think I deserve and my kids deserve, a mom who will stop and laugh at life.

In those 2 weeks since he said that, I have been working on being more relaxed. Someone who laughs with her family more. I have improved but I’m still in the survival stage and that’s OK. It’s hard having a baby. It’s hard having 2 kids. It’s hard trying to balance it all. But laughter is the best medicine right?

He may love it when I laugh but to me, there is no better sound than he and his sisters laughter. It’ll be my goal to make sure they grow up in a house full of laughter and joy.

What has made you laugh lately? How do you find laughter while going through the chaos that is life?

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Cook with us – Peanut free/Gluten free Boysenberry Pie!

Boysenberry Pie, Oh My!

Back in March, we attending the Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival. During that trip, we stumbled on a place to make your own mini boysenberry pie. My peanut allergic son was sad that this was not safe for him so my sweet friend decided that she was going to find a way to make a safe pie for him. We were all thrilled and I was especially touched that my friend would go to such lengths to find a safe pie for him! My son used to be allergic to wheat and often prefers gluten free foods so we decided to find a gluten free pie crust and everything else just happened to be gluten free so that was a bonus too! 

However, please keep in mind that we were only confirming the absence of peanut in the foods/facilities so gluten may be present in facility the ingredient was made in. After searching for recipes, I found a simple one on the Oregon Specialty Fruit website. You can find it here. We used the ingredients from the following companies below:

-          Oregon Specialty Fruit for the boysenberries (Allergen confirmation here)
-          Wholly Wholesome Gluten Free Pie Crust (Confirmation via Facebook)
-          Argo cornstarch (Allergen confirmation here)
-          C&H Sugar (Confirmation via email)

I knew my son who is 4 would want to help so I wanted to find a simple recipe that he could help with. He was so excited to be able to pour sugar and boysenberries. And the fact that this recipe just had 4 ingredients, it made it so he could be part of every step of the process.

1.       We first mixed syrup from one can of berries with cornstarch and half the sugar. Then once it was thick, we added the rest of the sugar along with the berries.

2.       We then put the filling into one of the pie shells and then used the other pie shell for the top (after breaking off the side)

3.       We cooked for 30 minutes on 400 degrees and voila! A perfect boysenberry pie.

So easy and safe for my little guy! I’m hoping to make him some more fun and safe recipes based off our favorite restaurant and theme park recipes and of course, take you all along the ride! 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Celebrating 25 Years of Jurassic Park!

I can still picture in my head, being at a movie theater in Colorado and seeing an action filled movie that would not only entertain me at the time but become such a big part of my love for movies. No matter how many movies I have seen, for the last 25 years, my favorite movie has been and always will be: Jurassic Park. On June 11th, Jurassic Park celebrated its 25th anniversary.

Universal Studios had an event to celebrate the anniversary in May which we were unfortunately not able to attend, however, we were able to be there before the event and see some of the d├ęcor and food they had to celebrate.

Citywalk had one of the cars that were part of the tour of Jurassic Park. I couldn’t help but stop for a picture! VooDoo Donuts also offered a Jurassic Park donut at least every day of the event weekend.  We didn’t get a donut but I wish we had! For those going to the event, the Cinemas at Citywalk showed Jurassic Park on the big screen. Oh I would have been so happy to see it on the big screen! When I was pregnant with my first, Citywalk showed the movie and it was every bit of perfection on the big screen as I remembered it. I did, after all see it 9.5 times (the theater was having difficulty once!) in the theater when it first came out.

Ferocious Food and Stunning Souvenirs
I’m not sure what I love more: themed food or fun souvenirs. Universal had both. I got this delicious “dinosaur egg” dessert that consisted of chocolate mousse, green frosting and a cookies and cream “dinosaur egg” that was delightful! It was so good but sweet! There was some awesome merchandise with the 25th anniversary update to the logo on it. I ended up getting a keychain because I knew I would get a lot of use out of it. In addition, there were t-shirts and hats along with some awesome toys. My son was drooling over the dinosaur toys. We may have to find a way to go back before Christmas to get some for Christmas gifts!

Photo Ops and Fun
As I have small children, one of our must dos is always the Dinoplay area right next to the queue of Jurassic Park: The River Adventure. However, this day was special as my little girl was mobile enough to be able to play a bit on the playground! After playing, we got to see some of the photo ops new and old and took some pics!

I was glad to get to have experience some of the Jurassic Park fun as we missed the event. All this talk, makes me want to watch the movie. Off I go to watch until the baby wakes up.

Until next time, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Having a berry good time at Knott’s Boysenberry Festival!

     It’s one of the best times of the year, the Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival! Knott’s is located in Buena Park, CA and it a fun theme park destination! Along with the normal fun rides for little (and not so little) kids and the opportunities to meet characters from the Peanuts gang, the park has a yearly festival celebrating the “berry” in Knott’s Berry Farm: the BOYSENBERRY! The boysenberry is a cross between a blackberry, raspberry and loganberry and it has a sweet and unique taste! This is the berry that Knott’s was created on, so it deserves to be celebrated!

     This year, I had been waiting patiently for the menus to open up so I could see what was going to be offered this year. I was told that it would be worth the wait and it sure was! I could have easily picked out 10 items that I would have liked but tried to hold back just a little bit!

  We hit up the festival after lunch so my son could ride some of the Camp Snoopy rides. And we got to meet the Easter Beagle!

    We all had the top items we wanted to try and made a game plan of which ones to try first. There is also a tasting card where you get 8 tastings of up to 8 different preset items for $30. While it was a great deal, we decided for us, it was better to just buy the individual items which ranged from approximately $2-$9. I had gotten my favorite item, the boysenberry icee, with lunch so I was good to go to the food right away. I got the boysenberry quesadilla first, this was the one that I had wanted to try the most and I was so excited for that boysenberry tortilla. What no one told me was that the star of that dish was actually the boysenberry salsa! It was so good! Next, my friend and my husband got the boysenberry cider, it was pretty tasty! Better than the boysenberry beer in my opinion.

     On our way to get the cider, we passed a place where you can make your own mini boysenberry pie. We thought it was such a fun idea and my friend decided to make one. They have everything pre assembled and she just put it all together. It was quick and fun!

    It was almost time to feed my daughter so we got some more dishes for snacks. We got my son the boysenberry cotton candy because he is allergic to peanuts and none of the other festival food was safe for him.

The adults had the boysenberry chicken wings and boysenberry hummus, both were so good! Plus, look at all that hummus!! My friend had the coconut macaroon which was a steal at $1.99!

    As the day started winding down, I was still seeing dishes that I wanted to try which just means I’ll have to come back! I encourage you to visit the Boysenberry Festival which runs through April 8th. Tickets for adults are $79, however, if you buy your tickets online, they are even lower at $49. We had coupons through my work so as you can see, there are a lot of opportunities to save.

I hope you enjoyed a snapshot of my visit to the Boysenberry Festival! I know I haven’t updated lately but I’m planning on updating some more and sharing more regarding food allergies and fun things to do with young kids!

Until then, take care and remember to find the joy in life’s challenges!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Pete's Dragon - A tale of a beautiful friendship! (Spoiler alert!)

Over the past weekend, I was blessed to get an opportunity to see Pete's Dragon before it's nationwide release on Friday, August 12th.

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

This is a beautiful movie about an unlikely friendship between a boy (Pete) and a dragon (Elliot). Make sure to bring your tissue because I'm pretty sure my husband even cried during this tale.

Young (toddler) Pete reminded me of my son so the grim events that bring him to be alone in the forest made me cry! But the movie handled it with class and it is not too traumatic. He is soon found by Elliot and they have an immediate bond. The only other person who has seen Elliot is Robert Redford's character of Mr. Meacham who likes to embellish their interaction. Mr. Meacham's daughter, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), even though she loves the forest, does not believe in dragons or that her dad saw one. But that will change once the movie progresses. 

Pete (Oakes Fegley) is discovered while construction is being done on the forest by Grace's boyfriend's daughter (Oona Lawerence). He is scared of being away from Elliot and the forest and even runs away from the hospital to try to get back to him. Meanwhile, Gavin (Karl Urban), finds Elliot and captures him. Through the help of Mr Meacham and after a thrilling chase, Elliot escapes to the forest. I won't give away the ending but I will say that everyone finds their home. 

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

I know that my almost 3 year old, still can't handle very serious movie scenes and may be upset about Pete crying or Elliot being hurt so I would recommend this movie for children over 5. Elliot is not scary and he still looks cuddly much like his traditionally animated counterpart. But be advised, this is not a remake! Obviously, there are some similarities but overall, it is a different movie. The special effects are phenomenal and Elliot looks very lifelike. When we got home from the movie, my husband said to me, "I can't wait to get that on Blu Ray!" and once Oliver is old enough, we will show him the beauty of the movie as well. 

Pete's Dragon is in theaters now. If you haven't see the trailer yet, check it out below!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

RunDisney Goals

Almost 6 years ago, I ran my first half marathon, the Disneyland Half Marathon. From then on, I was hooked!  Since then I have completed 4 Half Marathons, 1 10 miler and a half of a half (as you can read about in my previous posts). I've been thinking about my future RunDisney goals and I thought it I would share it here so you all could keep me accountable.

Goal #1 - Run a race without being worried about being swept. If you don't know RunDisney races, there is a 16 minute mile requirement on their races. That clock starts when the very last person crosses the start line. I have been swept from one race and I will never get swept again. However, I do always feel like I'm right at that cusp of barely getting to a 16 minute mile. Improving speed is the way to do that.

Goal #2 - Run a 5k with my son. Now, he's only 2 so I have a long ways to go but he's been enjoying the kids races! They are perfect to burn off some extra energy. 

Goal #3 - Run the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon. Because Paris. No other explanation necessary haha.

Goal #4 - This is the most important goal! I would love to do the Walt Disney World Marathon in 2019! I am going to make this happen! Then I will complete the Star Wars Half Marathon again and get a second Coast to Coast medal which means I've ran a half marathon on both coasts. Well my Florida run got cut short (which you can read about in previous posts.

How am I going to make these goals? My immediate plan is to run a couple times a week and once on the weekend if I can! I am working on dropping some weight as well which will help with goal #1. I am signed up for the Star Wars 10k at Disneyland for this upcoming January and I'm hoping to be faster than I was!

Join me on this journey and eventually, I am going to hit my goals!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Why you should take your toddler to Universal Studios Hollywood!

While my husband and I are big fans of Universal Studios Hollywood, once we had our son 2.5 years ago, we knew we probably wouldn't be back for a while since we didn't think there was much for him there. We were wrong. 

In these few years since our last visit, the park has been built up and multiple new things have been added. Last year, I told my husband that I wanted to go. I found a good deal (3 days for less than the price of 1!) through our work discount website and we picked a day to go without the kiddo. We had a blast! 

However, since we both had the 3 visits, we decided that we would take our son. While there was really only one ride he could go on, he had a blast at the 2 playgrounds and the Animal Actors Stage show. 

On the upper lot there is Super Silly Fun Land with a fun playground and the Silly Swirly Fun Ride (which is similar to Dumbo). It also has a water play area that was a little too wet for my kiddo! You have the opportunity to meet the Minions and the girls from the Despicable Me movies. My son had discovered a water fountain play area near the entrance to the park that he's deemed ok to play in (he's not a big water fan).

On the lower lot, there is a Dino themed playground next to Jurassic Park the  Ride, complete with dinosaur bones! If your little one is daring, there are meet and greets with a raptor as well as Transformers (be advised that these are interactive meet and greets and the characters are big so they may be too intense for small children). 

Last but not least, we can't forget the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter! While he can't go on any rides, he can do "The Castle Tour" of Hogwarts. It's a special pass that takes us through the Front of the Line pass line and we can see all the cool effects then exit out where everyone else boards. It's awesome! Also, there are employees around in character showing you how the  interactive wands work. The conductor in front of the Hogwarts Express was awesome and spent 3-4 minutes with Oliver even though there was a line. Oliver enjoyed the singing frogs as well! 

We had a blast and would recommend a trip to anyone with littles!