Personalized Board Books – New Title from I See Me!

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* Disclosure – we were lucky enough to receive a sample book from I See Me! to facilitate this review *

We have been VERY big fans of the personalized children’s books from I See Me!  for a loooooong time.  In fact, Jennifer highlighted their products in a post back in 2008 when Tiny Oranges was just getting started… see the post here!

They are always my go-to gift for a cute, personalized gift for a baby shower, new baby or a little one’s birthday.  I am a big believer in practical gifts (and who doesn’t love a personalized gift?!) and when you combine that with reading??  WIN.  There are tons of titles to choose from and each page has the child’s name not only in the text, but in some of the pictures as well.

I See Me recently debuted a new title to add to their collection – It’s my NIGHT NIGHT Time! personalized board book. My little guy just LOVES his new book… “It’s GAVIN’s NIGHT NIGHT Time!” We are GIVING AWAY one below! make sure to enter!

iseemecollage

I love that not only it helps him start to wind down, but that it teaches all the steps we do to get into bed.  Brush teeth, go potty (I wish….), lay our heads down, etc.  It’s a really cute story with adorable illustrations.

Plus, the quality of the pages is fantastic.  I especially love how these board books are (almost) indestructible. They are such beautiful keepsakes and the thick pages will really last a long time.  You can see the whole tour of the book here.  This book has quickly become a necessary book in the night-time rotation.

Here we are reading it before a nap…

i see me3

Be sure to take a look at their site – there’s so much more than just books.  They have lunchboxes, puzzles, coloring books, placemats, stickers and growth charts.  Something for everyone. And SHHHHHHHHHH there’s an I See Me! secret sale going on now though the 4th…

SecretSale-300x250

…AND…we are going to be giving away one (1) copy of the personalized board book as well.  Just enter the Rafflecopter here! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Grilled Pork Chops with Mango Guacamole

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This grilled pork chop recipe post is Sponsored by our friends at the National Pork Board to inspire ideas for yummy pork recipes.

Grilled Pork Chop Recipe

Susanne had my family over for dinner recently and she made the most delectable grilled pork chop recipe I am ecstatic to share with you today.

The National Pork Board realized that we’re in need of flavor-packed inspiration!  They’re setting out to prove that getting bold flavor is as simple as choosing pork.  No matter what the grilling occasion is marked on your calendar, any cookout can use its amazing flavor.

A grilled pork chop is not only a leaner, healthier protein option, but also quite delicious.  Especially when you prepare using one of Susanne’s original recipes. You just gotta try this recipe. Perfect for summer nights.

This meal inspired us to host a neighborhood party in a few weeks and “crash” the party and the ‘cue with the unexpected – grilled pork chops. Isn’t it fun to serve something a little different?  So my friends, allow me to introduce you to the party crashers…

grilledporkchops

So stay tuned for an upcoming post featuring another one of Susanne’s original grilled pork chop recipes and a step-by-step run down on how we hosted a family get together and crashed the grill with pork chops.

Not only that, we will be running a giveaway including a Krogers/Ralphs gift card and grilling set so you can plan your own summer pork chop crash too!

Grilled Pork Chops with Mango Guacamole
Over Buttery Sautéed Bacon Corn

By Susanne Henderson 

This super simple marinade was my husband’s Grandpa Leo’s favorite way to make his pork chops, and we agree!  It imparts a delicious flavor to your pork chop every time.  Do not skip the corn, it complements your chop and is slightly addictive.  The Mango Guacamole adds a fresh summery flare making this recipe perfect for any summer grill out!

I shopped for my ingredients at my local Ralphs – my go-to grocery store for everything I need for a dinner party. I am a huge fan of their affordable Simple Truth organic and natural products and the Simple Truth Natural Pork Loin Chop Boneless they carry are the best!

Grilled Pork Chops 

Soy Sauce Marinade:

9 boneless pork chops (1″ thick)
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons garlic powder

marinatedporkchops

Place pork chops in baking dish, cover with soy sauce and sprinkle thoroughly with garlic powder.  Let marinade for at least 30 mins at room temperature (turning once half way through) or up to 2 hours in the fridge.

Grill 3-4 mins per side over medium heat or until they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees with a 3-minute rest time.

Mango Guacamole 

2 Mangos, diced
1/2 red Bell Pepper, seeded + diced
3 Green Onion, diced
2 large Avocados, diced
1/2 tsp minced fresh Ginger
1/2 tsp minced fresh Garlic
1 Lime, juiced
1/2 bunch Cilantro
1/4 tsp sesame oil
Salt + Pepper

mangoguacamole

Stir together all of the above ingredients and season with salt + pepper to taste.

Buttery Bacon Sautéed Corn

8 ears of Corn, cut fresh off the cob
6 pieces of thick Bacon, diced
4 cloves Garlic minced
1 tbsp Butter
1/4 cup fresh Basil, chopped
Salt + Pepper

sauteedcorn

Sauté the bacon in a large sauté pan over medium heat until golden brown, and remove the bacon from the pan and place on a plate lined with paper towel.

Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan, then add 1 tablespoon butter and add garlic sautéing until fragrant.

Add the corn to the pan and stir frequently until just cooked through with a little bite to the texture. (This will require multiple tasting bites which you will enjoy).

Season liberally with salt + pepper to taste and finish with the fresh basil.

grilledporkchopwithmangoguacamole

You would not BELIEVE the flavors of the pork chop when combined with the sweetness of the mango and the buttery goodness of the corn. Mouth-watering.

Once again, your own Grill Crashers party kit giveaway is coming up soon! Subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss the post! Happy grilling!

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Heartlake City Opens at LEGOLAND!

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Disclosure: My family was invited to attend LEGOLAND California to preview the new Heartlake City LEGOLAND opening. 
Heartlake City Legoland

Heartlake City opened last week at LEGOLAND California and LEGO Friends fans will be delighted with this sweet new addition to the theme park!

My girls and I had the opportunity to preview the new Heartlake City, located on the west side of the Park in between Fairy Tale Brook and DUPLO Village.

When we entered the Heartlake City gate we were greeted by Olivia, Emma, Stephanie, Andrea and Mia singing LIVE on the Friends Forever Stage, which rotates to provide different backdrops for the 5 – 6 different live shows per day.

friendsforever

And, to my girls’ delight, Emma and Stephanie were available to sign autographs and take photos after the show.

Tip: The line starts behind the carousel – high tail it over to get in line when the show ends!

If you have another adult with you, have someone take the kids on the carousel while one person holds the spot in line.

After the show was over, the LEGO friends TV show plays on the big screen over the stage where little ones can take a break and watch to rest tired legs.

legofriends

Heartlake City includes these attractions: 

Heartlake Stables

A large building “trough” for children to play and build with LEGOS and then they can make their horses “gallop” by placing them on an interactive pulsating table.

Mia’s Riding Camp  

LEGOLAND’s first carousel which has 60 life-size horses and can accommodate 1000 people per hour. The horses are so cute I wanted a ride on one!

heartlakestables

Heartlake Fountain

Splash pad in the shape of a heart in the “heart” of Heartlake City.

Heartake City Boutique

Darling boutique where you can purchase LEGO Friends gifts and toys.

Wok ‘N’ Bowl Ramen 

Yummy restaurant serving ramen noodles and story fried fresh meats and veggies along with an assortment of kids meals.

City Park Creperie 

Stand by Heartlake Fountain serving four different flavors of delicious crepes.

Outside of the City Park Creperie we had the opportunity to pose LEGO Master Builder, Robbie, and one of his creations – Olivia.

He told us a model like Olivia is made out of about 30,000 LEGO bricks and takes the  builders about a month to build.

master builder robbie
Heartlake City is included in LEGOLAND California park admission.
For more information visit www.california.legoland.com/LEGOFriends.

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Are you one of the 69% of parents at risk?

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[Sponsor]

Free Kids Protection Workshop 5/30/15
hosted by Darlynn Morgan of Morgan Law Group

If you are one of the 69% of OC parents, your kids are at serious risk, and they don’t have to be.

When my oldest son was born, it was almost 2 years before my husband and I spent a night away from him. Even then, we wrote out pages of instructions on how to care for him. We listed his favorite foods, his nighttime routine, which books he liked (and which voices we used) – all for one night.

If you are one of the 69% of parents who hasn’t named guardians for your minor children, you risk leaving your children forever without the ultimate set of “babysitter” instructions.

See if this sounds familiar – You are a parent of minor children and you have thought about naming guardians and “getting a will” as one of the to-do items on a long list “hafta get it done.” And yet, it keeps slipping your mind. Maybe a celebrity death re-awakens the thoughts, but it’s hard to know where to start.

I CAN HELP.

My practice is dedicated to helping families with minor children plan for the future. Like you, my chief concern is my family and my responsibility to see that they are cared for in the event something happens to my husband or me.
Here is your chance to enjoy this same peace of mind. I am giving an educational workshop where you can discover how to easily name guardians for your kids the right way, avoid the 6 common mistakes most parents make that leave their kids at risk and make sure your kids will always be raised the way you want.

Free Kids Protection Workshop

This event will be held at Playland Café on Saturday, May 30th, 2015 at 10:00 am.  

880 Roosevelt, Irvine, CA 92620

REGISTER NOW

During this informative workshop, you’ll discover, among other things:

1. How to choose the right guardians for your kids and avoid making any of the 6 common mistakes

2. How to keep your family out of probate (which is long, expensive, public and does not pass your assets in a responsible way!)

3. How to prevent a court from having to supervise your children’s inheritance and then handing them money at 18!

4. How to leave your loved ones a gift far greater than all the money in the world if the unthinkable happens

As an added bonus, we have arraigned for free childcare so you can learn while your kids play and have fun.  No babysitters necessary!

However, seating is limited, so you must reserve your space in advance. Do the right thing for your kids and go now to www.KidsProtectionWorkshop.com to learn how to make sure your family is protected…no matter what happens. 

See you there,

Darlynn

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Adorable Teacher Gift Ideas

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End of Year Teacher Gift Ideas

Okay mamas, we’re in the home stretch.  You know what I’m talking about.  The beloved tradition of counting down the number of schools days left until…SUMMER!  We.are.so.close.  And it’s not too early to start thinking about teacher gift ideas for the end of the year.  Because if you think we’re tired…they have to be exhausted!!!  Let’s show them our love and appreciation.

Recently our “Thanks for Helping Me Grow“ end of the year succulent gift was featured in a round up of DIY Thank You Gifts for Teachers, so check out those cute ideas, and here are some more adorable end of year teacher gift ideas to celebrate your child’s teachers this year.

End of Year Teacher Gift Ideas Round-Up

Picture Flower Bouquet
Idea and image found on www.mandydouglass.blogspot.com

Picture Flower Bouquet

How darling is this?!  If you plan far enough in advance, you can ask each parent to bring in a small headshot picture of their child…or “sneak in” one day during class time and take individual pictures, then have them printed. What a fun and creative way to say thank you to your favorite teacher!


“Thank You Teacher” Free Printable
Idea and image found on www.thesuburbanmom.com 

Thank You Teacher Free Printable

I just love this idea because it’s such a cute keepsake.  You can have each child in class fill out this adorable free printable and have them either attach a picture…or draw one themselves.  Then have the printables bound or put in cute folder booklet.

Hands Down Teacher Appreciation Gift
Idea and image found on www.eighteen25.blogspot.com

Hands Down Best Teacher

Sweet-smelling soap, a cute little gift tag, and your child’s cut out handprint with their name.  Super simple, super cute, super sweet.

Summertime Basket
Idea and image found on www.beneathmyheart.net

Easy Teacher Gift Idea - Summertime

I love theme baskets, and I thought this one was really cute for summer. Doesn’t it make you want to have a nice cold glass of lemonade?  Take a peek at all of the items, add your own, and personalize it to what you know your teacher will love and/or use.

Cute Cups and & Printable Tags
Idea and image found on www.crazylittleprojects.com

Teacher appreciation ideas - Cups

What I love about these super cute cups and tags?  They are summery, totally usable…and you can put just about any gift card, candy, bath salts, confetti, etc. that you want to jazz it up.  Voila!

Thank You for Helping Me Grow
Idea and image found on www.snippetsofcreations.blogspot.com

Thank You for Helping Me Grow

I know how much my teacher loves gardening, so this would be such a sweet gift for her. What a fun spin on giving a pretty bouquet of flowers.

Manicure Jar Teacher Appreciation Gift
Idea and image found on www.hip2save.com

manicure-jar-teacher-appreciation-gift-idea-printable-hip2save

Who doesn’t love a mani?!  Such a cute mason jar idea, especially with the free printable tag to go with it.  A manicure in a jar!

Teacher Summer Relaxation Kit
Idea and image found on www.thedecorfix.com

beach-bag-items

How charming is this?  You can “build” your teacher a beach or pool bag with all of her summer “relaxation essentials.”  Lots of room to customize, depending on what your teacher likes.

Coffee Lovers Basket
Idea and image found on www.happyhomefairy.com

Teacher Gifts - Coffee Gift

Ah, the best “go-to” gift in my opinion.  A Starbucks cards.  You can never go wrong with a Starbucks card!  And I love that the card “holder” is actually a Starbucks cup.  A clever and cute way to snazz up the gift presentation.

Free (Funny!) Teacher Appreciation Cards
Idea and image found on www.blog.chickabug.com

Free Funny Teacher Appreciation Cards

And finally…if Pinterest and crafty projects aren’t your deal, take a look at these hilarious teacher appreciation cards on Chickabug!  Print ‘em out, slap on a gift card, and you’re good to go.  Done and done!

Do you have any fun or cute end of year gifts ideas to celebrate teachers?  If so, please share below!  And hang in there mamas (and teachers!), it’s almost SUMMER!!!

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