Posts by suzanne:

The At-Home Barista

 

I would like to share today my obsession with my electric milk frother for tired moms everywhere fueled on coffee. Links to product on affiliate links to help support our blog coffee addiction.

electric milk frother

 I’m no barista…

…but I sure have found a way to save some money and make my own Cafe Au’Laits.

Sure, when I was working a full-time outside sales job, Starbucks and Peets weren’t just an option, but a necessity. Fast forward a few years and now I find the concept of “stopping for coffee” laughable with a 2 and 5 year old.

Even the drive through lines in OC (WTH?!) can be 30 minutes long.

So I found this handy kitchen tool – the Epare Electric Milk Frother for roughly $12 bucks – that ALMOST emulates my fave drink…Cafe A’Lait (or a Misto at ‘Bucks). Basically, frothy milk with coffee.

Here’s how it works:

1.  Brew coffee (or my fave…a Keurig pod)

2. Pour some COLD milk In a cup and hold frother in the milk until you get desired frothiness (is that even a word?!).

3.  Heat frothy milk in microwave 30 seconds and add in any sweetener if desired

4. Pour milk into coffee and spoon froth on top

5. Sip and enjoy the $4 you just saved

Oogaa! Safe and fun mealtime for kids

Disclosure: Complimentary products provided to facilitate this review. OogaaGiveaway3

When I find an awesome new product, I feel it is my mommy-duty to share, which is why I am thrilled to share Oogaa with you today, and ****GIVEAWAY ALERT****** ->We have some of their products to giveaway so make sure to enter below!

Oogaa coupon code!

We are also so excited to provide you with a Oogaa coupon code “OOGAATINY” to get 25% off their products through January 1, 2015.  Thank YOU, Oogaa!!

I heard about this line of microwave safe dishes for kids through a friend that received a plate and a bowl in her Citrus Lane box.

What mom or dad wouldn’t want a safe alternative to plastic or melamine??

I received and tested out Oogaa’s silicone bowls, divided plates and the super fun train and plane spoons and loved them from the minute I opened the box. Vibrant colors and adorable prints of the 4 Oogaa animals that were sure to entertain my toddler.

The high quality silicone is a safe, durable and environmentally responsible material that’s odorless, tasteless, microwave safe, dishwasher safe, sterilizer safe, heat resistant, fling proof and all-round excellent.

Now that’s a product I can feel good about exposing my children to!

Microwave safe dishes for kids

The selling point for me on this one was MICROWAVE safe.  Meaning: reheat and serve on the SAME plate.  It’s a foreign concept for us.

There are also a lot of advantages to serving your kids’ meals on divided plates.  It helps you teach kids about healthy portions and a balanced meal.  And, if yours is like mine, food isn’t cross-contaminated (the horror).  Plus, its size fits perfectly even on a small high chair tray.  Win-win.

A lot of melamine and other plates are simply too large and do not fit.  So yay for Oogaa for thinking about this in their design!

oogaa high chair

They are also skid-proof on our counter, which is a HUGE plus if I don’t have time to throw a placemat down (but their placemats are super cute too).

My 2 year old was a little old for the spoons, but they would have been so fun when he was starting to learn to use a spoon. The price-point on these is fantastic too!  The range in price for the products is $8.99 for the bowls and $16.99 for the mealtime set.

It would be a great gift for a new mom, holiday gift or for a little one’s first birthday.  I’m a sucker for a practical gift – especially for the mamma with more than one kid.

Gavin

HOORAY – it’s a tiny giveaway!

And…you too could be the winner of this Oogaa Prize Pack to include the following products: 2 Mealtime sets, 2 Plates, 2 Bowls and 2 Placemats!
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Guest Blog: &*it Happens.

 

I asked my brave sister to share her unfortunate experience with potty accidents in older children to help any moms who might be experiencing the same challenges.  Because I KNOW she is not the only one who has had to deal with this parenting issue.

Thank you, Suzanne, for sharing.

Potty Accidents in Older Children

Here is her story…

So, we all know potty training can be one of the WORST parts of parenting. Like, ever. The messes, the anxiety of accidents in the car or in public, the “I don’t have to go!” we hear from our kids thousands of times when you KNOW they have to go.  Even less fun is when your formerly potty-trained child regresses, but potty training regression in older kids can make life a living nightmare.

I know because it happened to us.

However, there is hope! With the help of our pediatrician, we nipped the problem in the butt (hee hee) so I felt compelled to share our experience with you.  I also feel that this regimen will help us immensely when I am ready to tackle getting our younger one to go on the potty!

Our initial try at potty training was pretty much a success.  My son was 2 years, 9 months when we spent a weekend in the backyard au natural. I was on bedrest with my second son and it was Mother’s Day weekend.  Good times.

He finally decided he wanted to wear his big boy Yo Gabba Gabba! underwear and we went for it.  I was pretty impressed how quickly it did happen with going #1 and #2 still took a few more weeks (I may have been blocking it out…it may have been a few months!).  So I thought we were finished potty training.

He went off to preschool a few months later and only had one tiny accident there in 2 years.

Flash forward to summer…

Pool Time = Poo Time (YIKES!) 

At 4 years old and totally potty trained for over a year, that summer during every trip to a public pool (or my parent’s jacuzzi…sorry mom and dad…) resulted in massive #2 accidents.  It was HORRIFYING.

I felt so out of control of the situation.  And since he was a BIG 4 year old, they don’t make disposable swim diapers that size. Luckily we found these swim diapers for big kids online and began to call them his swim underwear.

I could’t make sense of the situation because it seemed he was regularly going #2.  I thought he was maybe swallowing too much chlorinated water???  Whatever the case, we took a break from the pool.

[You’re welcome.]

So along comes the following summer and now he’s FIVE.

We had been having a lot of struggles in the #2 department over the previous months.  He began to hold it in because of a few instances where he was a tad constipated.  There is actually a term for holding poop in ~ encopresis.  Yep, always something new for us to learn in parenting, isn’t there?

The fear of going became a constant struggle between us.

#MomFail

Then, matters were made worse when I unknowingly gave him an accidental “juice cleanse”  with my excitement over my new  NutriBullet “smoothies” (affiliate link).

Let’s just say that more than one kale smoothie a day CAN be a little too much of a good thing.

So then he became fearful after having diarrhea and would hold it in also.  I was at the end of my rope with what to do.

Kindergarten Is Coming (Time to PANIC)

He was starting kindergarten in 4 weeks. The thought of him having consistent accidents there was giving me the worst anxiety.

The pool time accidents were still happening. He was (in our opinion!) old enough to know when he had to go and run to the stairs in time.  But it seemed as if he had no bodily control of it once he was in the water. It was one of the hardest parenting issues we have had to deal with.

What was I going to do about this problem? I called my amazing pediatrician for help, and she SAVED us.

If you are struggling with potty training accidents in older children, I hope this might help give you some ideas too. I know firsthand just how awful big kid accidents and potty training regression in older kids can be. I only wish we would have done this sooner.

Our Doctor’s Advice 

Our pediatrician helped my son understand the pee and poo are trash in our bodies and we have to take it out.  Every day.

And that when when mommy or daddy say go and you don’t feel like you have any in you…GO and try.

It was so nice to get some back-up on this!

She then explained to me that a pool (or bath) can be like a mini-enema and if he was holding ANY #2 in at that time, it would automatically need to come out once he was in the water.

We needed to get him on a regular bowel movement schedule, so his bowels were being emptied daily to help stop any urge to hold it in.

Operation Bowel Regimen was on.

Yes, a regimen was to be put in place to try to regulate his bowels. We were skeptical, but it WORKED. Moms, it worked. Here’s how we did it.

OPERATION BOWEL REGIMEN 

The goal is to get your child on a bowel regimen to go poop on a schedule, same time daily, with stools that are soft enough to not cause discomfort.

You can use a stool softener like flax seed oil in a smoothie, prune juice, apple juice, dried fruit or we found that fiber gummies worked the best for him [Please ASK YOUR DOCTOR before putting your child on any sort of stool softener FIRST.]

Time to Poop!

After a meal is usually the most successful time to go so choose a time that works for your family.  We chose after breakfast so that he could go before school.

Sit them on the potty with an activity…books, crayons, a small game, etc. whatever they can do to sit an relax.  I wouldn’t suggest an iPhone unless you have an Otterbox on it.  We lost one in this process in the potty.

Then wait.  Until they go.

Then PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE.  Make it a positive experience for them!!!!

It took us a few days of getting the formula right, but now he runs into the bathroom by himself after breakfast and just does his business.  All is right with the world.

I really hope this piece of advice can help someone out there struggling with this!  Do you have any potty training regression in older kids tips to share? Things that worked for you? Please share! 

© Ekostsov | Dreamstime.comToilet Paper On Holder Photo

Tamarind of London…best date night ever!

Disclosure: Complimentary media dinner provided. Tamarind of London Review

I was THRILLED to be able to be chosen for a Tamarind of London review assignment for Tiny Oranges.  Not only do I love food, but I love, love, LOVE INDIAN food!  In fact, 11 years ago, my husband and I went on our first date to Indian food and it holds a special place in our hearts.  Then a few years later, we traveled to London (before kids, of course!) and had about the best Indian food ever.

We have tried a few Indian restaurants in Orange County, and while the food was great, the ambiance was less than mediocre.  If we are going to pay a babysitter and get ourselves out to dinner…it better be great food AND great ambiance.  Situated in the lovely Crystal Cove Shopping Center, Tamarind of London was the perfect marriage of those two ingredients.

Tamarind of London Fountain Beautiful water features usher you into the contemporary dining room, which although large, was still very inviting.

We were seated on the side of the restaurant with a large wrap-around bar and fantastic patio with a beautiful fire pit.  Uber dark and uber romantic.  Perfection for a date with the hubs that has been a long time coming!

I ordered the Narangi Crush (Premium Vodka, Chase Elderflower, freshly muddled blood oranges in simple syrup, splash of Grapefruit) and the hubs got Pimm’s PM (Muddled Molrello Cherries, Lemon, Pimm’s No.1, Premium Gin, housemade sour mix and topped with soda).  Both were DELICIOUS.  I only wish I could have had one more…but it was a Monday night!

tamarinddrinks

Before I get into my Tamarind of London review, let me give you a little background on the restaurant.

Tamarind of London is the sister to Tamarind restaurant in Great Britain, which has received the Michelin star for each of the past 13 years. The restaurant is guided by a philosophy that seeks to blend cultural authenticity with mainstream accessibility.

Tamarind of London pays homage to India’s flavorful traditional favorites while artfully integrating California’s robust selection of seasonal, fresh and sustainable ingredients in every dish.

We had the pleasure of meeting Chef Imran Ali and he showed us the 3 specialized tandoori ovens that each cook at different temperatures.  He has been at the restaurant for about one year, and is an absolute treasure.  He really takes pride in the food served here in that it is authentic.  No fusion here!  It’s also important to note that the 5 staff in his kitchen are from all parts of the continent, which is how he likes to showcase the different flavors and techniques used in different regions.

Chef

As for the dishes we sampled, everything was absolutely delicious.  Indian food is traditionally served family-style.  So come hungry.  Very hungry.

For the appetizers, we tasted spiced masala-potato croquette, the spinach and potato dumpling, the tandoori swordfish and the caramelized tandoori tikki chicken morsels.  Each were served with amazing sauces that really brought out the rich and unique flavor of each one.

The chicken morsels may have been my favorite.  Wait, I can’t pick a favorite!  All were amazing.  And the Goat Cheese stuffed Naan??  What?? Imagine a pillowy, flavorful pita-like bread stuffed with goat cheese.  Unreal.

tamarind of london apps

The dishes were served with traditional Indian basmati rice and a lentil dish that went nicely with everything.  All entrees are reasonably priced at $26-$29 each and we had seriously enough food for 4 meals.  Do you even know how good Indian leftovers are?!  Let’s just say it’s as good as Thai or Asian food, for sure.

We had the Coconut Prawn Curry in a rich creamy curry sauce with notes of ginger and coconut.  It was warm and spicy and simply delicious.  The Chicken Tikka Masala, even though I’ve had this dish many times, was extraordinary.  The chicken was tender and the sauce was spicy, but not overwhelming.  Just perfect.

The Lamb Roganjosh ((even though I am not usually a lamb fan!) was amazing too.  The lamb was so tender and mild and was in a traditional sauce that is dark and rich with browned onions, tomatoes and Kashmiri red chilies.  It truly was the perfect blend of spices.

But…the best dish of ALL…was the Tandoori Sea Bass.  I must say, I have never had Chilean Sea Bass prepared this way, and it was to die for.  It was marinated in saffron, ginger and green chilies and served with an apricot curry sauce and an Indian risotto.  The tandoori oven makes the outside of the fish crisp and the inside is SO moist and flavorful.  It was for sure my favorite and I will get it when we go back!

tamarind food

Our attentive server Frankie suggested a nice syrah to pair with the food and it was the perfect pairing.  It was strong enough to stand up to the bold and spicy flavors and was even great with the sea bass.

Dessert??  Yes, please!  I had to unsnap my skinny jeans, but I did it.  We were served a sampler of Cardamom Ice Cream, Tandoori Pineapple and a traditional Rice Kheer.  They were rich, but surprisingly light after the ridiculous amounts of food we had already consumed.  The sweet flavors cut the spiciness of the curry sauces and left us feeling VERY satisfied.

So, this was a date night we will not forget!  We will for SURE be back to this little gem of a restaurant.  We did see they have a happy hour with great food and beverage specials and also a kids menu ($5 entrees!).  We love our boys to try all types of cuisines and this is for sure next on our list to take them.

Thank YOU to Frankie, Chef Imran Ali and the wonderful staff at Tamarind of London.  We are SURE to be back.

Yo Ho Ho [Giveaway!]

pirate adventure dinner buena park

Recently we were approached by the folks at Pirate’s Dinner Adventure  with an opportunity to review their Pirate’s Dinner Adventure Christmas Show, “Pirates Take Christmas.” You can enter to win 4 tickets too! Enter below! I reached out to my sister to see if she would like to take her pirate-loving son for some holiday fun and here is what she wrote about her experience…

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure in Buena Park (across from Knott’s Berry Farm) is a dinner show experience like no other.

We took my pirate-obsessed son for his 3rd birthday and he was in awe the whole time.  So, when we got the opportunity to go again a year later, I jumped at the chance. Especially since we would get the chance to see the “Pirates Take Christmas” holiday extravaganza featuring Santa, Mrs. Claus and an elf, who are taken captive by the pirates. Well shiver me timbers!

The performance is so entertaining with impressive acting, singing and amazing acrobatics.  To get everyone in the Christmas spirit, the show includes some Christmas songs and the theater is decked out in holiday trimmings.

You might think a pirate show would be geared towards little boys, but I am telling you, even if you have girls, there are several ariel artists that are stunning to watch. The show definitely has universal appeal.

The Experience

Showtimes vary, but you can arrive up to 1 1/2 hours early to have a drink, enjoy complimentary passed appetizers or do some browsing in the gift shop.

The earlier you get there, the better your seating assignment will be. But I have to say there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. The show takes place on the authentic replica of an 18th-century Spanish galleon measuring 46 feet long, 18 feet wide with 40-foot masts anchored in a 250,000-gallon indoor lagoon with night sky lighting.

Surrounding the lagoon is a six-sided showroom of six additional “ships” where the audience is seated. Each of the six ships has its own pirate mascot to cheer on.

Before the show begins, the pirates make a surprising grand entrance into the bar waiting area to escort their “team” into their ship by color section. I didn’t know to warn my son about this part, and he was a bit jumpy seeing these big, gruff pirates so up close and personal.  So, if you have a timid little one, make sure to warn them the pirates will be coming in to start the FUN.

The show involves the audience, so audience participation and cheering your team pirate on in a MUST!  I would say ages 3 and up would appreciate the action the most.

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure Special Offer

The Pirate’s Dinner Adventure Christmas show runs every day now through December 25th. Tickets include complimentary appetizers before the show and a special 4-course Holiday Feast.

Now through 12/30/13 if you call and book your tickets over the phone and mention “Jolly Web” you will receive a huge savings on tickets ~ adults $32pp and kids $28pp. Children 2 and under on laps are free. Call 714.690.1497 to reserve your dates.

Hooray! It’s a Tiny Giveaway! 

 

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Disclosure: Media tickets provided.

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