Posts by christy:

Moms In Training Program for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Moms in Training_1

I want to introduce you to an amazing group of women who are making a difference in our community – the newly launched Moms In Training program with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – a charity that has become very close to my heart.

What is The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society?

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society exists to find cures and ensure access to treatments for all blood cancer patients…and is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.

Personally, I have been part of the Team in Training family and an advocate of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society now for three running “seasons.”  Their dedication to finding a cure for all blood cancers and providing support to patients and families is invaluable.

What is Moms In Training?

This program was specifically created by LLS to recruit moms who are passionate about fighting blood cancers and saving lives. Moms In Training will get you ready to run or walk a 5K or 10k, and give you the opportunity to help raise money to fight cancer.  After starting Moms In Training in different areas around the country, LLS decided to launch this program in Orange County.

Moms In Training will provide the coaching, training tools, mentoring and support to prepare you for your event…and in return, each participating mama is asked to fundraise for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  You will be asked to commit to raising at least $500 by December 1st.  And don’t worry, Team in Training provides plenty of support, ideas, and motivation in your fundraising efforts (yes, I speak from experience)!

Upon registering, you will have up until October 25th to discontinue at no further fundraising obligation. Fun fact – the average mom has raised $1,500!

An Honored Hero

Every season, each Team in Training group chooses an honored hero…or sometimes, several honored heroes…to run in support of.  This season, the Orange County Moms In Training group will be running in honor of a local mama of two youngsters who was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) in early 2013.  After fighting for her life and going into remission, she has recently relapsed.

As a fellow mom, I can only imagine the heartbreaking news and horror of getting a cancer diagnosis.  This is a way we can honor her bravery…and so many others who are battling this devastating disease.

Great Reasons to get Involved

– You’ll get in awesome shape and meet other moms (and kiddos) in your area!

– Run for a cause – you get to exercise with new friends in honor of an amazing cause – working to cure blood cancers.  In its inaugural year, more than 200 “MIT” team members raised over $375,000, and last year they raised over a million dollars!

– They know moms are very busy, so MIT offers an 8-week workout program on Saturday mornings @ 8am in Woodbridge Park in Irvine.  Get up bright and early for your workout!

– The training is from October 11th through December 6th – perfect timing to start walking and/or running – it’s finally cooling off!

– Finally, you get to celebrate the end of your Moms In Training program with a 5k or 10k run or walk at the Renegade Santa Run in Irvine on December 13th.  Mark your calendars!

Want to Sign Up?

To sign up, or to ask for more information, please contact Elise at 714.418.5618


You can also visit: 

A Tiny Oranges Discount

Moms In Training of Orange County has generously offered a registration discount to Tiny Oranges’ readers!  When you register, enter the coupon code – TINYORANGES – and it will reduce your registration fee to only $25 (that’s $75 off!)!

I hope you take advantage of this amazing experience – I can say that it has been life-changing for me!

GO TEAM!!!! 

Adorable DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids


Halloween is coming!!  It may still be scorching hot in the afternoons, but soon (fingers crossed, SOON), it will start to cool off and be time for pumpkin patches, changing leaves, cool, misty mornings, pumpkin spice lattes…and picking out Halloween costumes!

Lately I’ve been on the Pinterest lookout for simple and adorable DIY Halloween costumes for kids you can easily make yourself and have picked out some of my favorites to share.

DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids 

a Halloween Costume Round-Up

DIY Halloween Costumes for Girls

1. Bag of Jelly Bellies

Love this idea! My little girl loves balloons, so this would be cool (and pretty easy!) to make. Featured here on Modern Kiddo along with a ton of other cute ideas.

2. Cotton Candy

Oh my gosh, sooooo sweet for little itty bitties!  Look at this cotton candy costume.

3. Flower Pot

I cannot handle this cuteness.  You have to see for yourself.  Click here for DIY instructions to make your cutie into a little flower pot.

4. A Snail

I don’t think I have seen a snail costume before!! Love!!

5. Raining Cats and Dogs

Absolutely precious raining dogs and cats costume via Real Simple.  And super easy – especially if you are putting a last minute costume together.   Basically grab some rain gear and adhere your dogs and cats!

raining-cats-and-dogs Costume

DIY Halloween Costumes for Boys

1. Jedi

Have any Star Wars fans in your house?  Check out this how to make a Jedi robe tutorial.

2. Clark Kent (Superman)

Here’s a slightly different (and super simple to make) take on Superman – neat idea for boys of all ages!

3. MINECRAFT Costume

This blog describes how you can make this super cool MINECRAFT costume for less than $10.  Score!

4. DIY Ninja Turtle

Heroes in a half shell – turtle POWER!  YES!  My son is obsessed with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and this DIY Ninja Turtle costume idea is doable to make from home.


This LEGO costume is pretty cool, and clever. Easy to make at home!


Unique Costume Ideas for Boys or Girls

1. A Crayon

A $5 costume? Yes please. Here’s how to make your kid a crayon costume this Halloween for only $5!

2. A Stick Figure

This could work for either a little girl or a little boy.  How cute…and easy to make…is this?!  I found this funny and unique idea on All for the Boys.

3. Scuba Diver

Simple to put together…and fun because we live near the ocean. Make your own scuba diver costume!

4. Despicable Me Minons

Always a hit, always. Click here for the DIY tutorial.

5. The Artist

Does your kiddo love art??  I mean, how cute is this artist costume?


DIY Halloween Costumes for Babies

1. A Baby Moose

I am crazy for this Baby Moose costume. And you just need a brown warm up suit, white or beige gloves, and stuffing.  Done and done.

2. Baby Aerobics Instructor

Onesie, leggings, legwarmers, and a toy boom box.  Cutie patootie.  Dying over this one.

3. A Garden Gnome

Adorable, adorable, adorable.  Here’s the tutorial for a garden gnome costume.

4. Charlie Brown

Seriously, this Charlie Brown costume is precious.  It might also have to do with the grin that baby is sporting too…

5. Mummy

Cutie, cute mummy costume for an itty bitty!  A white onesie, some gauze and googly eyes…

Mummy Costume

 Thank you to ALL of the blogs and bloggers who shared these fantastic costume ideas online!

What are your favorite DIY Halloween costumes for kids?  There are soooooo many to choose from.  Comment below!

The Uh Oh Toy Ransom Box Experiment

toy ransom box

I saw the cutest idea on Pinterest and Facebook floating around – an uh oh toy ransom box – and vowed to try it one day with my kids.

Well, as I was stomping around last week (very irritated), picking up stray toys, socks and soccer balls everywhere, I decided it was time.  I made my own “Uh Oh Toy Ransom Box.”

First of all, THANK you to the “Just Another Day in Paradise” blog for this fabulous idea. I found you on Pinterest, and I am so excited to try this idea for my family.

Here’s the basic concept:  you create a box or a bin where forgotten or “misplaced” toys go when your kids leave them strewn about the house.  In order for your kids to retrieve them, they have to complete a chore from the envelope and earn them back.

I am “pro” chores and “pro” earning the privilege for something, so this idea was right up my alley.

And yes, I have been slightly (ahem…maybe a little more than slightly) frustrated that I find the kids’ stuff EVERYWHERE.

If you’re playing with it, absolutely no problem.  If you race through a room like a tornado, dump toys everywhere, leave the room, and forget about it for hours…not okay in my book.

So, I decided to conduct this little experiment. I made the box, explained it to my kids, and thought I’d journal about our experience.  I’d like to share with you how this ransom box worked for my kiddos…

Choosing the Toy Ransom Box Chores 

I read through the “Just Another Day in Paradise” blog again, which gives some great chore ideas…but a handful of them didn’t really apply to us.  I brainstormed what would work for each of my kids, and here’s what I came up with (per the blog’s suggestion, a combination of chores and physical activities that were age-appropriate).

My 4-year-old’s chores:

Collect dirty clothes for the laundry
Wipe the baseboards of one room
Dust a shelf
Wipe off a cabinet (of my choosing)
Pick up the dog toys around the house
Soccer drills for two minutes
Play “Simon Says” with Mommy (which will include exercise!)
Clean under your bed
Do 30 Jumping Jacks

My 6-year-old’s chores:

Organize your homework station and art supplies
Clean out your doll bin
Do 30 Jumping Jacks
Hop on each foot 10 times
Soccer drills for two minutes
Organize the kid DVDs
Wipe down the kid’s bathroom sink
Dust shelves in the playroom
Write a thank you or friendship note to someone
Clean under your bed

Day 1:

ransom The kids were super excited to see a large plastic bin, with envelopes taped to the side.  With their names on it.  My little thought it was some sort of bizarre present.  My big read the instructions, and was tickled that mommy was introducing a new “game.”  Okay kids, let’s go with that.  It’s a “game.”

My big was happy!  Just look at that smile!

I decided to give my kids one verbal warning to pick up a random toy.  Just one.  No yelling. No nagging.  No getting frustrated and picking it up myself. One warning.  Then off to the bucket it would go.  I figured this was a fair way to start the experiment…since it was a brand new way to go about things.

First afternoon when they got home from school, they eyed the bucket and nagged each other to pick up toys.   Hmmmm.  This was an unexpected twist.  Pro:  toys were being picked up frequently – and not by me.  Con:  more bickering about who was going to pick up what.

My little said (let me see if I get this right) “Mommy, please don’t put any of my toys in the Uh Oh box.  That would make me so, so sad.  I want all of my toys.”

Interesting observation: neither kid has bothered to peek in their envelopes to see what the chores actually are.

Day 2:

Kids woke up, and were still discussing the Uh Oh Toy Ransom Box mongst themselves.  (This box is  making quite the impression.  Interesting).

My lawyer (i.e. my 6-year-old) asked me the following: “Mom, what if one of us accidentally left out Benny Bear and he couldn’t fit in the Uh Oh box?”

Me: Honey, Benny Bear is a 40-pound stuffed bear that is almost as tall as daddy.  I doubt he is accidentally going to be left anywhere. (Ha!  Stumped her on that one.) sadransombox

Later that day, my little had his first “Uh Oh.”  He left a train out in the hallway, and after one warning, I made good on my promise.  I put the train in the Uh Oh box.  Talk about devastated.  He cried and whined and begged for the train back.  I stayed strong and had him pick a chore from the chore envelope…which was to clean under his bed.

He did it…and whined the whole time…but he did it.  Hmmm, maybe I should make a “no whining rule” with the chores??

Here is my sad little.  Uh oh. –>

Day 3:

Now that the kids understand the concept, I stopped giving them that first warning.  Especially my big.  She’s such a rule follower, she has been super careful about picking up everything.  And bossing around my little about him picking things up.  Why didn’t I implement this concept earlier???

Day 4:

My big finally left something out!  There was her Twilight Sparkle pony, left on the stairs.  Off it went to the Uh Oh box!  And she dutifully (and dare I say, excitedly??) picked a chore…and wiped down the kid’s bathroom sink.  The difference between my big and little?  No whining from my big.  She got her pony back, and was happy as could be.  Let’s see how long this lasts…


This was a great little experiment with a great little idea for keeping toys and random kid items picked up.  My kids are having fun with the concept…although like with anything…I’m sure at some point it will lose its luster.  But at the moment, this mama is enjoying a less cluttered house!

Thank you again to the “Just Another Day in Paradise” blog for this great idea!

If you decide to try this idea, let me know how it goes. And, if you have a great way to have your kiddos pick up after themselves, let us know…we’re in this together!

Kid Allowances: What do YOU think?

Kid Allowances: What to Consider

Let’s talk about kid allowances today.  Are they a “do?”  A “don’t?”  A maybe?  If so, how does your family go about it?

This subject recently came up in our home, as our little girl is now in 1st grade. As she continues to grow, we continue to give her more responsibility which she is handling with grace and a newfound maturity (most of the time).  With increasing her responsibility, we started talking about whether to give her an allowance at the ripe age of six.


To be honest, I was uncomfortable with the idea (at first).  She hasn’t asked for a weekly allowance.  So why introduce it?  And the thought of giving her money to manage each week gave me the tiniest bit of a headache (okay, kind of a big headache).  Like, I could see us battling in the Target Dollar Spot every shopping trip.

Then, there’s the question of whether we should tie it to chores…have her earn it.  Or if we should just give it to her.

Pay her for chores?  For responsibilities she is supposed to be doing anyways to contribute to our home and being part of our family…?  It didn’t sit right with me (to begin with).

I had pretty much talked myself out of it.  At least for now.

And, of course, my husband brought up some pretty valid points as to why an allowance may be a great learning process for her (as I’m sure you knew he would!).

Benefits of an Allowance for Kids 

– We can teach our kids about how money really works in the “real world,” in a controlled and nurturing environment.

– Our kids will continue to hear about money – it’s everywhere.  Shouldn’t we teach them what our financial values are, and install them in our children at a young age?

– She understands numbers.  She understands basic math concepts.  She understands that we need money to buy things.  She understands that mommy and daddy help people at work…and that by helping people, we earn money so that we can buy things.  So let’s have her earn money by helping people.  (Hmmm, well played, honey. Well played).

– We should teach both of our kids the importance of saving and giving to charity at a young age.

If you decide to give an allowance, take into consideration…

– How much do you give your child?  Determine how you will calculate this on a consistent basis.

– Decide if you will tie their allowance to chores and/or behavior. If so, think about your parameters so that both you and your child understand the rules.

– Talk to your child about money!  Start a dialogue.  Ask them what they know about money.  How it’s earned.  What it’s used for.  Why it’s important.  How you feel about it.  How they feel about it. And so on and so on.  Best way to get a baseline for what they know!

What we’ve decided to do…

– We are going to give our daughter an allowance.  That she will have to earn (this part is still a work in progress).  Based on a lot of different research and reading (and somewhat loosely adapting a concept from Dave Ramsey’s financial methods), we have decided to give her three clear jars (so she can see the money…but you could use buckets, jars, baskets, envelopes…pick your preference).  One for savings, one for charity, and one for spending.

– Since she’s six, we will give her $1 per her chronological year…so she’ll get $6 per week.

– Each week, she will be asked to divide up her allowance equally.

– At the end of each month, so can choose how to give her money to charity.

Fingers crossed, this little experiment will be successful!  And, if it’s not…guess what?  We’ll come up with a Plan B!

Great Kid Allowance Resources:

Teach Kids About Money with Allowances
CNN Money

Should You Give Your Child an Allowance?
U.S.News Money

Understanding Kids’ Allowances

The Smart Way to Pay Kids an Allowance
U.S.News Money

Top 3 Kids and Money Q&A
Dave Ramsey

Here is a website that gives free printable behavior charts for allowances, should you decide to tie your child’s allowance to behavior or chores.

Pinterest even weighs in – check out the many, many pins posted about kid allowances!

There are hundreds of articles on this subject.  Hundreds!  I think at the end of the day, it comes down to you and your co-parent being on the same page.  Talk about the pros and cons, what you are both comfortable with, and set boundaries.

I want to hear from you!  What do you do in your home?  Do your kids receive an allowance?  If so, how did you determine how much?  Is it tied to chores?

Please share tips and experiences below!

Check Out the Knowzz App + Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Knowzz App


There is nothing better than a personal recommendation or reference, right? Let me introduce you to a fabulous new free app called, Knowzz, which is designed to make your life so much easier!  The Knowzz app finds local services recommended by people you already know and trust:  your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues.

In the world of parenting, I think we tend to rely even more on recommendations from trusted sources.  Because we want the best for our kids.  Personally, I tend to ask for references in my mommy circle of friends and post questions on social media.

The Knowzz app now creates the opportunity for you to be part of peer-to-peer network that gives you access to trusted and recommended local service providers that you need immediately.

As a mama, think about all of the local services you or your family may use on a weekly/monthly/annual basis.

Here are just a handful – pediatricians, dentists, nutritionists, allergists, babysitters, yoga instructors, plumbers, pool services, pest control, hair salon, nail salon, attorneys, an accountant…and the list goes on and on.

No more scrolling down random online reviews (by people you don’t even know!), or having to poll your entire Facebook community to ask for a pediatric dentist recommendation in your own neighborhood.  Sounds good, right?!  Read more to see how to get started.

How does the Knowzz App work?

Knowzz is available for iOS and Android, and offers users (like you!) instant access to service providers that your friends use and recommend.

After you download the app, you will be asked to sync your contacts.  Don’t worry – Knowzz will not share your contacts.  They treat all contact information as strictly proprietary.  The app simply needs access to your contacts so that you can share recommendations within your peer group.

After your contacts are synced with the app, any business or services that you already have saved in your contacts will pop up – you can choose to give them a “thumbs up” and recommend them – or leave them unchecked if you would not like to recommend them.

Next, the app will surf your area for potential businesses, and you can start looking for what you need.  You can also start inviting your friends to join this free service too.

Think about it this way – the more friends that are on the app, the more trusted recommendations you will get…and be able to give in return!

What can I expect?

Knowzz is all about sharing positive recommendations.  This is not a platform for negative reviews…this is a community of local friends, neighbors and colleagues that will give you the “stamp of approval” on a local service you may need.

This is an online forum of people you trust…and a way to accrue a fantastic library of local recommended services.

I encourage you to download and check it out! I think this is such a cool idea, and can’t wait to put it into action for myself.  Just the other day I was polling my Facebook network for a recommended martial arts studio for my four-year-old…and this is exactly the type of thing that Knowzz app would be perfect for!

A Tiny Oranges Giveaway

Get excited, mamas!!!  Knowzz is hosting a Tiny Oranges’ giveaway of two $100 Amazon gift cards for new users “In the Knowzz” who download the app and get started by making 3 recommendations. Use the Rafflecopter form below for the download link and more entry options!

Winners will be chosen at random, good luck!

Check out Knowzz and like us on Facebook or follow on Twitter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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