Tuesday’s Tribulation: Mommy bids adieu to local Playland

I promised myself when I started this blog that I would never speak, or type, negatively about any local establishment. My purpose was to support local businesses and encourage others to do the same especially local businesses that pertain to motherhood, children, and the like since I myself am in the throes of motherhood. However what I never took into consideration was the fact that the time might come when a local establishment might have me questioning my loyalty.

It all started Sunday evening with a text. I had texted a friend inquiring about getting together later in the week. Our dilemma was we would have our kiddos. She would have her 5-year-old and 1-year-old and I would have my 18-month-old (my 4 & 6-year-old would be in school). So we tossed around a few ideas. We initially wanted to just sit down at a coffee shop and catch up on our lives but that was not going to happen with kiddos in tow. So we decided upon a local indoor playland where the kiddos can bounce in bounce houses and play on indoor playground equipment. It is an establishment our kiddos know well; we have met there for numerous play dates, birthday parties, and random drop-ins to reward good behavior.  The only issue I have is the price; it is definitely pricey, for all three of my kiddos to play for an hour cost me $21. So I do try to limit our visits due to the cost however, as I mentioned, I would only have my 18-month-old and she cost $5 for an hour or $8 for all day (which we would not be staying that long because I would have to pick up my preschooler by 11:30am).

Here is our Toddler at this establishment when she was younger.

The day of our visit…

So, I drop off my 6 year-old at school then continue on and drop off my preschooler at school, stop and get a coffee, and then arrive early at the Indoor Playland (this was a shocker, I am hardly ever early).  I am thinking sweet I have a few minutes to read my car book (I like to have a book that is solely a book to be read in the car while I wait for pickup in the afternoon, it is a nice incentive to get there early) however my toddler was not liking this idea. We managed to sit in the car for 10 minutes then she started screaming and so did my bladder, darn coffee.  So we headed into the establishment. I explained the situation to the woman behind the counter.  I was waiting for a friend to arrive in 20 minutes but my toddler was getting restless in the car and I really needed to use the restroom.  So, I gave her $6 (extra dollar to cover the extended time), signed in my daughter, she received the necessary stamp, I removed her shoes, put on her socks, and we then took a mad dash to the restroom.

The next hour played out a little something like this:  (it should be noted that they have a toddler area but the problem is the Toddlers do not stay contained in it) Toddler ran around the establishment. I ran around the establishment. Toddler looked at the bounce houses. I tried to get her to go in the bounce house.  Toddler looks at me like I am nuts. (I am thinking come on kid; I just spent $6 bounce already!! We can swing and run at the park for free). Our friends arrive at the establishment. We say hello. Toddler tries walking up the slides. I stopped her.  I try to squeeze out a sentence with my friend as she runs to the restroom.  Toddler runs around the establishment. I run around the establishment.  Friend waves as she runs after her child. Toddler is actually in the toddler area for 5 minutes (My friend and I start to have a real conversation but wait…) and then Toddler bolts. I ran after her. Toddler wants to swing. I pushed her in the swing.  Friend puts her baby in swing.  Finally we can talk, but not for long.  Toddler wants out of swing. This continues for about 20 more minutes and then I notice the time, it is 11AM, our time is up.  I grab the diaper bag, her coat, and shoes. Sit her down take off her socks, put on her skidders, and coat.  Then my darn bladder beckons again (3 kiddos destroyed my bladder and the caffeine doesn’t help either). My friend offers to watch her while I pee, again. So, by the time I am done going to the restroom, getting her ready and saying goodbye it is 10 minutes after 11 (mind you she did not play during that time).

Here is our 6 year old.

Phew, what a long long long 1-1/2 hours, no time during that stay would I classify as fun, I did not have fun. In fact I would probably call it the most exhausting 1-1/2 hours of the day and so much for spending time with my friend while the kiddos play (in case anyone is taking notes on how to improve this establishment here is an idea, get higher freaking gate in the toddler area, that would be so much more enjoyable for the parents. Also, have the shoes, coats, and an additional restroom separate from the play area this way the parents aren’t getting charged for putting on winter coats, hats, mitten, boots, shoes, and kiddos and parents peeing, that time adds up. Make it more enjoyable for the parents and the kiddos are likely to stay for longer period and come back more frequently. Give playgroups a discount. Have fun days/week, like pajama week or twin day and have the kiddos dress similar to get a discounted price, etc).

As I walk past the woman who greeted us at the beginning of our visit I smile as I am trying to contain my toddler on my hip and say thank you. In my mind I am thinking here is a woman who can probably relate (she seemed to be older and I assumed at one time probably had a toddler of her own). I honestly thought she was going to say something encouraging like “hang in there the toddler phase goes by fast and have a great day” or “ thanks for visiting us again, hope to see you soon”, or even just “goodbye”. After all, while visiting My Urban Toddler last week we were greeted with nothing but open arms.  They were so welcoming and wanted to know if there was anything they could do to make our visit more comfortable, and they thanked us for visiting them.  That is an establishment that is not in my community; it is 40+ minutes away, but surprisingly cost less, has food for kiddos, comfy spot for moms to sit and converse over a cup of coffee, and is all around accommodating to the parents.  Of course I would receive the same, if not better, hospitality from an establishment within my own community. But instead she said “Next time I am going to need the full payment”. WHAT!

Finally, one of our preschooler w/our 6 year-old

I paid $6 to run after my toddler (which is something I can do at home for free) stop her from walking up slides and pushed her in a swing (these are things I can do at the park for free) she has no interest in the gosh darn bounce house (I realize this is a moot point but I still needed to say it).  The hourly rate for an 18 month-old is $5 the all day rate is $8.  We visited for 1-1/2 hours and paid $6, an extra dollar to cover the “inconvenience period” which entailed me peeing twice and changing my toddler’s shoes, socks, and coat.  Are we really having this conversation about the $2?? What about the future visits I will make with all three kiddos that will cost me $21? Or the future kiddo birthday party where we will drop $200+?  Are we seriously having a conversation about $2?  What about the 100+ members from our local playgroup who I will be divulging this scenario to (in addition to any reader) All because of $2?  I walked out to the car.  I stood there for a moment trying to process everything.

I am not done….

I turned around, grabbed my wallet with my debit card went back inside and inquired if they accepted a debit card.  The same woman stated “yes” and she took my card and swiped it.  She began to say something while I signed the receipt but to be totally honest I don’t remember, I was to busy attaining my closure.

Now I am done.

We will cherish the memories.

It‘s Totsy Time! You’re invited to save 90% off retail

What is Totsy?

Totsy is where the savvy moms shop. This is where moms on the go can get the latest and greatest baby fashions, baby gear, children’s clothes, shoes, and so much more.
Here is what you need to know:

  • Membership is free click here
  • Exclusive sales for kids, moms and families
  • Savings of up to 90% off retail
  • Sales last up to 3 days
  • A tree is planted for your first purchase
  • Refer friends and earn Totsy credits

Just look at some of the items that have piqued my interest….

What are you waiting for? Start Totsying now, simply click here

My Urban Toddler…Mommy’s little Oasis

My hubby and I attended a Christmas party back in January and while there I had the opportunity to chat with a friend I hadn’t spoken with in forever, mostly because we became moms.  Isn’t it crazy how one minute you are just two couples hanging out drinking wine, having sushi, laughing about life, not a care in the world (for the most part) and the next we have 5 kiddos between the two of us.  So, while catching up on the daily happenings in each other’s lives the topic of where to go with toddlers, especially in the winter, came up. She had a gem of a recommendation, My Urban Toddler in Saline Michigan.  Apparently it has been operating for like 6 years. What!?! How could I have never heard of it? Word of mouth did not travel very fast which is unusual because when you get a group of mamas gabbing you can learn about things happening on the other side of the globe.

It’s a date, playdate…..

Image from website
Image from website
Image from website

So, the next day I got online checked out My Urban Toddler, it looked like the best time ever, and it is only 44 miles away, so I posted it to our playgroups meetup calendar.  I was eagerly awaiting our visit and a little worried that the weather wouldn’t cooperate. Thankfully for some reason Ohio isn’t getting a winter this year so ice, snow, sleet, and any other form of frozen precipitation will not be a problem.  My next concern was the drive, maybe it would be too long, maybe I would get lost (I think I am the last person on this planet without a phone that can get the intranet or a GPS).  But thankfully my trusty old Map Quest directions that I jotted down on a random piece of paper (which turned out to be one of our daughter’s gorgeous art work masterpiece, oops) five minutes before we left worked just fine and dandy.

The day of our visit…..

To my surprise we arrived early (a half-hour early), I didn’t get lost, and it was really easy to locate. So I got the kiddos out and we strolled in to checkout the place while we waited for the other moms to arrive.

As I opened the door to My Urban Toddler and we walked in I was greeted by a mother’s dream boutique come true, the latest and greatest mommy must haves for babies/children stylishly displayed.  The merchandise called to me, and I think my kiddos too.  I dare anyone to leave My Urban Toddler (or the website, http://www.myurbantoddler.com/p-16272-small-bee-wheely.aspx )without purchasing a cute hat, fun art and crafts to do with your  kiddos, or the latest learning toys (how can you say no to those, they foster cognitive learning and occupy your child for a given amount of time). I had to quickly walk past the merchandise since my hubby and I had already agreed upon a budget for this trip (next time I am factoring in gas twice…I have got to get my Toddler one of those cute riders, she loved the piggy and cow but there is also a bee).

My wish list….

I had a tough time getting my Toddler off the scooter that they had there, she loved it!!
This desk is perfect for a toddler and is so adorable; I like the pocket on the back of the chair.
This chair is too cute and it is also available in different patterns/designs. Wish they had one in my size too.
This will help us organize our gazillion hair bows and it matches the girls room, I want.
Budding Artist Diner, this is perfect for going out to eat, it is a portable imagination station. Hey, since the kiddos are occupied maybe we can actually have our entire meal at the restaurant instead or asking for boxes before the meal comes out, maybe!

Okay, enough shopping, back to our visit….

As I entered into the Play areas it reminded me of a cool place you would see in a movie or a sitcom (don’t be surprised if you see something like this on the show Up All Night), where the lead of the show takes their totally hip posh tot and you are like, “I want to go somewhere like that!!!”.   Well now you can (unless you live a far distance from here in which case, sorry, but you can still purchase the amazing products they carry in their store).  We paid (wich as so reasonable), hanged up our coats, took off our shoes and set sail for a fun-filled morning. 

The indoor play area is filled with an imagination driven floor plan.  The layout is an imaginary town with a crawlers station located in the center (which is perfect for safety, no one wants a toddler trampling over a crawlers or infant) and a fire station, library, school, theater, grocery, and house around the parameter.  There are also little mommy oasis, the café, as well as an additional couch/food area where mommies can sip on coffee, read, check mail, etc. or simply set claims, or dibs on a diaper bag location.  

It was love at first sight, she scooted those scooters all over the play area.
She liked the castle, even more than the doll house.
She is leaving the house on the scooter again, told ya, the scooter was a big hit!

My Urban Toddler kept the interest of all our playgroup kiddos aged 0-5, as the website states…

For the infants there is an Infant Park located in the center so that parents with infants can feel secure knowing that the littlest ones are safe within the park. It contains soft toys and mats cushion the park atmosphere while also allowing fine and gross motor skill development.

Here she is playing with toys in the “School” which also included a chalkboard wall.

Toddlers can head “downtown” where a beautiful aquarium marks your arrival into My Urban Toddler City. It is there that the kiddos can view the whole city and choose their first destination. Kiddos can start by scooting around town on a cute animal scooter and visit the Theater for dress-up, puppet shows, story-time, and so much more. For quiet time, it is off to the Library filled with age appropriate books, puzzles, and creative toys. Little ones with an adventurous streak will want to stop in at the “Firehouse” to dress up as a fireman and hop onto the wooden fire truck.

Here she is playing in the grocery store.

The unique environment is geared toward expecting parents or parents with small children ages 0-5. In consideration of those older siblings that would like to come, they say Welcome!

Playing in the House
She hit the dress-up area hard. Here she is wearing not one but two tutu and a Cat ears headband.

My preschooler had a wonderful time as well. He gravitated more towards the fire truck and library.

In addition to the fact that My Urban Toddler play area is a gated, inescapable, safe, and fun play area for toddlers, that also accommodates mommy’s need to interact socially with other moms, it also has clean changing area and nursing area as well as a clean environment to eat healthy (or unhealthy your call moms) food they have available for purchase.  After roaming the imaginary town for an hour any toddler would be parched and worked up a bit of an appetite. So we headed for the snack area and the kiddos each selected their own snacks. Our toddler decided on goldfishes and preschooler, cheez-its, shocker, right?? So we sat for albeit two minutes while they sipped their Apple & Eve juice boxes and ate their additives and preservatives (it was a special occasion).

Snack time

All the moms from our playgroup had nothing but positive reviews, we will be going back, hopefully in the near future and I will be extending my budget to allow for a couple of purchases from the shop.  So, the next time you are thinking, “I have got to get out of the house but where to go?” remember My Urban Toddler.  And if you don’t live nearby you can at least peruse My Urban Toddler’s website and purchase toys, clothes, etc. from their online shop http://www.myurbantoddler.com/.



Technical info:

To Schedule your next play date with your girlfriends, grab a cup of coffee and relax while your kids are safely playing near by! Available during normal business hours Monday and Tuesday. When you schedule a play date that consists of 4 or more adults receive $1.00 off admission for each child. Please call or stop in to add your play date to our calendar at least 24 hours in advance. Please provide a contact name or group name and remind all group members that they must mention the group name or contact name in order to receive the discounted admission.

Wednesday – Friday will be reserved for classes and private group events. Please call for availability and pricing.

Tribute to Fat Tuesday that includes a GIVEAWAY!!!

Happy Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday!!!

Today is the day to celebrate; it is the last hoorah before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.  Which means it is time to get those indulgences out-of-the-way before tomorrow. My indulges include, and in no particular order……


Fat Tuesday means Paczki, pronounced (poonch-key). Paczki are traditional polish pastries that are deep-fried, sugar-coated, glazed, or iced and filled to the point of bursting with fruit or cream filling. In terms of a historical perspective Paczki are a special indulgence and tradition on Fat Tuesday because the idea was to use up all the fat, sugar, eggs, and fruit before the fasting of Lent begins. 

Son eating Paczki, he actually likes the lemon ones, yuck!
Me shoving my face….Fat Tuesday only comes once a year, what’s one Paczki in the grand scheme of things?


Shopping….(I might not have to give this up thanks to Sneakpeeq)

Hello!! What women amongst us doesn’t enjoy perusing the mall or web for stylish (insert favorite fashion ensemble or accessory here) and/or delectable treats to eat? Well, I have a confession; I might have found a loophole for this one. I planned on giving up shopping due to the financial strain it can cause and throwing money out the window is not good. But, what if there was a way to nurture the fashionista or foodie inside of you without breaking a sweat or your pocketbook (Really!?! Who says pocketbook anymore? But you get the point). 

GIVEAWAY….So here is the deal

Sneakpeeq, the largest and fastest growing social shopping company on Facebook that has “all the things you love, but haven’t discovered yet” (such an honest tag line) is giving everyone 20% off their first purchase just for signing up. AND…that’s right sisters there is an AND….you will be entered in a giveaway for a chance to win a $25 gift card to purchase items for the fashionista, foodie, or interior decorator in you (and $25 is a substantial amount thanks to Sneakpeeq budget-friendly boutiques).

To receive your 20% off and enter the $25 gift card giveaway you must CLICK HERE and join sneakpeeq! Winner will be announced on my blog March 9th, 2012. Happy Shopping Ladies!!



Skinny Girl Margaritas…..

I’ll be honest; I do enjoy a glass of Skinny Girl Margarita at the end of the week, often Friday evening once the kiddos are in bed.  I can sit down and sip on this refreshing and less guilt margarita while daydreaming of a tropical beach somewhere, just me and my hubby, (and my flat pre-babies belly of course) just laying on a beach soaking up some sunshine (there is no need to worry about skin cancer or wrinkles in a daydream) it is beautiful!!  Goodbye to my daydream inducing sipping pleasures.

Girl Scout Cookies…

We just picked them up yesterday, time to hurry up and load up on my Samoas before tomorrow. Funny Story….Our preschooler came downstairs this morning and was greeted by this site.

His eyes opened wide and he exclaimed, “I love Fat Tuesday”.  I had to laugh, I could contain myself. I then of course explained to him that they are not all our cookies, they do belong to other people.


Hello Old friend. For Lent I will be giving up Starbucks.  To clarify this means I will not walk into a Starbucks OR drive through the Drive-thru (Wow! That was difficult to type; I can only image how difficult it will be to drive past).

I have decided to make time with my children an even stronger priority during Lent. This means reading more books (yes, even the same book 8 times), playing more games, and doing more crafts. 

In recognition of Mardi Gras I am including a fun craft you can do with your kiddos, simply click here.

How are you celebrating Fat Tuesday? What are your Fat Tuesday indulgences? 

Crazy Weekend Part I of II: Native Sons and Daughters go to Camp Miakonda & House Showing

This weekend has been crazy to say the least; it has been full of love, laughter, lack of sleep, and reflection.
It started off Friday Night with my hubby and daughter leaving for their first camping excursion with Native Sons and Daughters Program.

Our Daughter striking a pose before she leaves for camp, she was so excited!!

The NATIVE SONS AND DAUGHTERS PROGRAMS is a program that emphasizes the vital role that parents play in the growth and development of their children. The original program, which was the one I attended with my father and my husband attended with his father was sons/daughters learning directly from their father which was patterned from the tradition of some North American Indian cultural groups. (It has since expanded to also include moms and their child. I personally liked the original concept, it was nice for a child to have a special program that they did with their fathers but things change). The program seeks to strengthen the foundations for a positive lifelong relationship between parent and child that is mutually beneficial and satisfying. The program is designed for the elementary school aged child with the recommended age of five or above. Activities are kept brief, varied, and visually interesting to retain the short attention span of young children.

They stayed at Camp Miakonda at the DeVilbiss Scout Reservation, a 160 acres resident-type facility; it is the 6th oldest camp in the United States (just figured I add an interesting fact). So they left Friday evening and they were both so excited, it filled my heart with pure joy. I always knew my hubby would make an excellent father but seeing him in the moment, exuding enthusiasm to be going camping with our daughter brought a tear to my eye. It makes me happy and reassured to see the relationship they are building.

Necklace she made at camp. She chose the name Little Flower. Daddy is still on the fence regarding his native sons and daughters name.
Bracelet she made at camp.

I am glad there is a program like this and I hope more fathers take the initiative to participate in this program. When a relationship is not nurtured or when a father is not in a child’s life the outcome can be alarming, the statistics speak for themselves( I included a few below).
-Boys and girls without involved fathers are twice as likely to drop out of school, twice as likely to abuse
alcohol or drugs, twice as likely to end up in jail, and two to three times more likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems.

-Teen girls who don’t have a father in their life are two times more likely to initiate sexual activity early and are seven times more likely to get pregnant compared to girls with fathers present.

-Teen girls who have a higher quality relationship with their fathers are less likely to initiate sexual activity compared to those who report a lower quality relationship with their fathers.


I always put on my Sunday best when I clean the house (ha-ha). Don’t you? I mean the toilet really appreciates when you put forth an effort when it comes to your appearance, although, don’t expect the same in return. Why do ‘they’ always miss? It is a huge bowl for crying out loud!!! Aim and fire!

So, while our campers camped I scrubbed toilets, floors, walls (Why does everyone think they need to hold up the walls, they are fine, I appreciate the concern but get your greasy paws off my walls!!!), ceilings (Really!?! How do they get marinara sauce on the ceiling?), vacuumed, dusted, and took down the Christmas Lights (I know it is February…I had been meaning to get to it…and I did. It could have been worse, it could be July) for a showing.

More like what isn’t???

Oh, and I also played get the cat in the cat carrier, fun game, she runs around the house hiding and I try to find her (this is the worst game to play a ½ before a showing). During the showing I took the kiddos to my parents’ house. Then went back to my house for quiet time (much-needed) and then packed up to spend the night at my parents.

Crazy Weekend Part II of II : Who says you can’t go home again? That is where you find The Way

To be Continued.  I will leave you with a few more funny retro mama quotes.

I wish!

Spaghetti sauce on the floor, walls, and ceiling!!!!
My words exactly, I would rather be spending time with my children.

Valentine’s Day: 12 Date Nights in/near Toledo

Since there is so much commotion the morning of Valentine’s Day, with the kiddos treats, valentines for school, and this year we actually received a few inches of snow (like the third time this year, extremely unusual for Northwest Ohio, we usually get good amount of snow) so the kiddos needed to pack their shoes and wear their boots.  Since we were fortunate enough to receive some snow most school districts around here had a 2 hour delay.  That is all but the two where our kiddos attend school.  So this mama’s bus needed to leave on time.   As I dropped them off to school it was hilarious hearing the choir of frustrated mommies walking their kiddos into school. One mommy who was walking behind us, through the snow, in her tennis shoes, carrying a 24 pack of water expressed to her son that he needed to sign up for napkins next time. Another mom yelled to her son who was distracted by the snow to help his younger sister carry all her valentines stuff into school. That mom must have repeated “HELP HER” roughly 4 times before he finally did help her.  In a weird sort of way it kind of felt like we were all part of this exclusive club due to the crazy circumstances of the morning that bonded us.   

That evening we exchanged Valentine’s gifts.  We had dinner in the dinning room, we decorated the table, and the kiddos got all dressed up for the occasion (they dressed as a princess, a bride, and our little man was dressed as a mutation of Thor, Spider Man, and a Power Ranger).  We had Linguine (Whole Grain & Protein….shhh) with Alfredo sauce and a Salad.  After we finished eating we exchanged gifts.

Our daughter gave us this beautiful poem with her hand prints on it.  And yes, there was water works; those darn words were so beautiful and true.  I dare you to read it without getting misty eyed.

Our son gave us a nice collage of doily on heart with a cute poem.  Thought, not as moving as my daughter’s it was still sentimental.

For my husband’s gift I place a 12 pack of Yuengling (they started selling it in Ohio like a month ago, so it is still kind of a big deal), his favorite, in a tool box and added 12 pink hearts. Each bottle had a pink heart on it with a future date night that we would be sharing (just wanted to clarify). Since we always plan on date night but it seems like they never occur I figured what better way to actually get them on the calendar. So I am promised at least 12 dates over the course of a year, one a month.  I tried to come up with fun and exciting dates that we could enjoy together, they include:

Planet Rock (learn how to rock climb, HELLO, Awesome!!)

Clelands (Shooting Range. It is important to have knowledge of firearms and I know he will enjoy this one.)

Toledo Museum of Art’s, It’s Friday!! (There are various exhibits that come to the museum so I think I will decide which one sounds interesting and we can get a babysitter, a glass of wine, and walk the Art Museum Galleries and special exhibit, I can’t wait!!)

A walk through Wildwood …….(A walk in the park and maybe even a picnic in the park?)

In 2 Art…… (Paint pottery)

Volunteer at Cherry St. Mission….. (Pick up leftover food from local businesses or volunteer to serve food at the shelter)

Belamere Suites for a Romantic overnight……. (Their suites have a private garage, fire-place, whirlpool, walk-in shower for two, and fresh muffins and coffee delivered to your door in the morning.  Last time we stayed I was preggo.  We sat in the whirlpool eating candy watching the fire and television; it was a pregnant woman’s dream come true. I am thinking we might stay here in Dec. around his b-day)

Wine Tasting… (This is self-explanatory)

Couples Massage….(We get a massage at the same time. Nothing kinky, just back massages at the same time)

Horseback Riding…(I am still on the hunt for a location for this date. Apparently everyone thinks you want to learn about horses and clean them and stuff. No thank you, I just want to ride them.)

Super Suppers Cooking Class (This looks like fun, it is just one class and you learn some basic techniques.)

Funny Bone Comedy Club (I will let him decide what comedian he would like to see, this is guaranteed to be a fun night.)

My hubby got me a delicious box of chocolates from Christie’s Candies & Mints.  One word describes their chocolates, AMAZING! First thing I did when I opened my box of nuts covered in dark chocolate (Haha) was take in that amazing aroma.  There is nothing like the smell of fresh chocolate, the prepackaged chocolates just can’t compete.

I have done the responsible thing and only devoured them one handful a day.  They are just sooo good!!

For dessert I made cupcakes that surprisingly did not get eaten.  The entire family ate chocolates, poor cupcakes, but how can they compete with chocolates? Those chocolates are so good, they make you want to live a better lifestyle so you can be around longer to devour them, ha-ha.


So, what did you get your Valentine?


Valentine’s Day….Hello Kitty Cookie pops…Lego men, and more!

I realize I have been M.I.A. but we have been busy.  So busy that I am tired so I will keep the typing to a minimum and let the pictures speak for themselves.

I recovered from the whole cake pop incident and moved onto cookies.  Instead of Hello Kitty cake pops my daughter was quite pleased with the idea of a cookie on a stick (honestly, I think if you put anything on a stick a kid would eat it, I think I might try Brussels sprouts on a stick ). So we made Hello Kitty cookies on a stick and attached cute Hello Kitty valentines to each.

Our son is in preschool and he was excited about giving Lego Men chocolates to his friends. So Friday night we (mommy) and made Lego Men Chocolates from a Mold. I had a tough time keeping these little tasty men out of everyone’s mouths (again, not meant to be dirty, what is my deal!)

Then it was onto the next exciting task, the 100th day of school, 100 things (kindergarteners bring 100 things to school).  We talked for a little while about what she wanted to bring in and we decided we would see what options the craft store mihgt have. I have made the mistake of walking around in a craft store with my kindergartener, miss crafty kiddo herslef, a few times.  She and I are double trouble when we walk into Hobby Lobby. We often walk out 3 hours later, with three times the amount of items we initially planned on purchasing. My husband jokes (kinda, although I think he is partially serious) that all of our money goes to that darn store. So this time I was smart and discussed various ideas before I went, with my mom, while she attended a Toledo Walleye Hockey Game with the rest of our extended family.

I purchased my first hot glue gun, an exciting moment in a mom’s life (especially a mom that can’t sew, but I am hoping to learn). I also purchased a youth shirt and 100+ jewels to glue onto the shirt, it looked cool and our daughter was ecstatic and eager to wear it to school.

When I picked her up from school today she had a 100th day crown (again, something kids love so much) on her head and a huge smile on her face. She informed me that 7 of her jewels fell of but she still liked having the shirt (so much for the glue gun, looks like I will have to bite the bullet and learn how to sew. No more duct tape and glue guns).

The kiddos are so excited to pass out their valentine’s and have their parties; I can’t wait to hear all about their days when I pick them up tomorrow. God, I love being a mom and thank you for entrusting me with these 3 amazing blessings. Each day brings new adventures and much gratitude.

Happy Valentine’s Day,






Mommy vs. the Cake Pops!!

My love affair for Cake Pops started when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter.  It was a mid-morning and I needed a little pick-me-up, as most preggos do. So I drove through the local Starbucks drive-thru and to my delighted they had these things called Cake Pops.  Cake Pops? Do I dare? I do! So, I figured why not try them out; I am not one to pass up anything with cake in the name.

Starbucks Cake Pops

So I order up a Birthday Cake Pop and pulled around.  After receiving the Cake pop I pulled into a parking spot not far from the drive-thru to give this thing a thorough review. It looked gorgeous, a beautiful pink hue with small little white dots sprinkled on top.  I started to hear a voice coming from the backseat, I think my newly potty trained son had to go pee or something, but I was too distracted by this delectable delight before my eyes.  And then I took a bite. Hello! The moist texture of the cake, the crunch of the chocolate on the outside and sweet taste of this treat ranked right up there with what initially got me into this preggo mess. It was pure bliss. Once the bliss passed and the cake pop was gone I came to, back to reality, and realized my son was not saying he had to go potty but please mommy, please mommy, please mommy.  I felt horrible; I had eaten this cake pop right in front of him.  So, what is a mommy to do? That’s right, back through the drive-thru we went and this time I got two!

Since our first encounter I have tried to maintain a distant relationship with the cake pop out of respect for my thighs, but it isn’t easy.  They are at most children’s birthday parties and, after all, I don’t want to be rude.  I however have not personally attempted to make a Cake Pop, that is until last night.

My daughter has decided to hand out Hello Kitty Valentines and along with each, thanks to a search on the internet, we are including Hello Kitty Cake Pops.

This website has amazing Cake Pops. Source: http://www.bakerella.com/here-kitty-kitty/

I have friends that have made cake pops and they always look amazing and taste fantastic. Granted I am not in the same baking caliber as they are but I figured I would give it a gander. Why? Maybe it was my newfound confidence in cake decorating since receiving my certificate for completing the cake decorating class? Maybe it was because I did not want to disappoint my daughter? Maybe it was the 3 cups of coffee I had that afternoon?  What ever the reason, and I still can’t quite figure it out, I said yes to what would become a hot mess.

I started making the cake pops around 9pm, after the kiddos went to bed.  I had hoped to be done around 10pm so I could get a much-needed shower.  I was a little over-confident in the beginning.  I had no problem crumbling up the cake and mixing the frosting.  I had a tough time determining the actual size of the cake balls. I knew if they were to big they would not stay on the stick yet if they were to small they would just look weird. 

After I went through and resized the cake balls what seemed like seventeen times or so I finally arrived at what I felt was a structurally sounds size.  So I melted the chocolate, dipped the stick in the chocolate and then placed it in the balls.  And then watched them fall right off the balls.  I finally figured out that I would have to leave them ball side down with the stick standing straight up (this is not meant to be dirty, sorry). I placed them in the refrigerator for a few minutes then got them out to place the chocolate chips on the sides, which would help resemble Hello Kitty’s ears. That was a piece of cake (no pun intended). 

This is the image the website offered. Source:http://www.bakerella.com/here-kitty-kitty/

Then the most complicated step of the night, dipping the cake balls into the chocolate.  By now it was around 10:30pm.  So, I had to determine where the cake pops would stand to dry, the website recommended a Styrofoam block, I did not have a Styrofoam block. So I got the next best thing, I took apart our Thanksgiving Gratitude Turkey and used the Styrofoam ball from it, yes, I said ball, round sphere, not block, as recommend.

Cake Ball Down....Medic

On to the most tragic part of the evening, casualties, I had casualties left and right. The first one fell into the chocolate, the second stayed on the stick for a few minutes then fell, this continued for the next half a dozen or so. And yes, I ate the casualties, it was so hard just seeing them sit there, so sad.  

I can’t just leave him there!

Once I got the chocolate to the right consistency I managed to actually make 11 cake pops, ate roughly the same amount but 50/50 isn’t bad for the first time around, right? I finally gave up, I know when to admit defeat and that point is when I am in the kitchen at 11 o’clock at night sipping a glass or wine and crying over cake balls swimming in a pool of chocolate.

11 out of 45, my precious 11

The current state of my relationship with cake balls is a trial separation. I really can’t stand to look at them, it reminds me of that night.

Thankfully a few did turnout great….

A few of them turned out great; it’s like, Hello Kitty.
Then there are those where it’s like, HELLO kitty? Eck!
The lucky 11 went off to the Girl Scout meeting today.



Have you ever made cake pops? Or maybe you have had to admit defeat? Please share.

Momup! Monday: Making time for Mom, Michael’s Cake decorating classes, Book Club, and more.

Far too often it seems like moms get so caught up in their children’s lives that they forget to live their own. I am sure we have all been witness to the “crazy mom”, you know the one, shoot you might even be her.  The mom that is constantly running one child from one activity to the next, making certain each child is on time, with water/snack, bag, change of clothes, etc. but she can’t seem to remember the last time she ate or even had a BM.  Or maybe you are familiar with the moms who purchase the high-end clothes for their children yet run around town in glad rags with holes that showcase their granny panties, talk about embarrassing (sad thing is there are mirrors in their homes they just don’t have time to look in them).

Just the other day I had a personal encounter with an “I have invested all my life into my children” mom.  She stood there talking to other moms during pick up and she had a towel on her head and the sad thing is I am not sure if she realized there was a bath towel on her head.  I wanted to interrupt and share the news with her but she looked frazzled as it was and I didn’t want to be the bearer of bad news.

And I have saved the best for last, the “I live through my child” mom.  Thanks to Toddlers in Tiaras this example is effortless to explain.  Plain and simply stated, the “I live through my child” moms are the moms on that show. They are the moms who did not have the opportunity to be in pageants, or dance class, or (fill in the activity/class here) when they were children so they are forcing their children to do the activity hoping to live vicariously through their child’s actions.  This type of scenario only ends badly, often with an upset mommy (that is putting it mildly), unappreciative child, and years of therapy, but I didn’t have to tell you that.

Whether you suffer from overscheduled children, no time to look in the mirror or living vicariously through your children, I am here to tell you that help is available.

Take your life back, granted you still need to do everything for everyone but include yourself in the mix. Sign up for a cake decorating class, join a book club, take dance lessons, whatever your interest may be, you’re not dead, live your life!  Many moms say they will get back to their life once their children are grow. There are two problems with that statement, one, you never know how long we have on this planet so make the moments count, why put off tomorrow what you can do today? And two, we are modeling behaviors and lifestyles for our children, don’t we want them to live their lives to the fullest once they are adults? Be the mom you want your daughter’s to become one day, the inspiration for your sons to look for in future wives, Live YOUR Life!

How I am living MY life …..

Beyond my motherly, wifely, community, etc. duties I enjoy taking classes and reading. I like to always be learning and gaining knowledge, for wisdom is knowing that you don’t know it all.   I most recently attended the Wilton Course 1-Cake decorating basics class at Michael’s http://www.michaels.com/wilton_cake_decorating/wilton_cake_decorating,default,pg.html.

Here we are, the moms who took the class with me and me all ready to decorate! It was so much fun.

Like the website states, you don’t have to be a chef or even experienced in the kitchen to decorate a cake, cookie, cupcake or brownie. The Wilton Method of Cake Decorating taught me the techniques to decorate treats that are sure to put a smile on my kiddos faces.  I am now prepared for our next birthday party, Valentines party, Christmas celebration, etc. 

I learned how to make a cake into a blank canvas. Look closely, no cake crumbs.

I am so excited to put my new-found skills to work and see what amazing characters I can create on a cupcake, cake or cookies.  I was amazed at how easy it really is, once you are familiar with the various tips and techniques you can really create anything, your imagination is the limit. (But let’s just keep the fact that it is actually easy between the two of us, shhhh).

This was the first cake I decorated in class. If nothing else, at least it illustrates the progress made from the first cake decorated to the last.

I would highly recommend this course to any and every mom or person planning a party in the near future, like the instructor said, “Lets turn those $.50 cupcakes into $3 cupcakes”, she had a great sense of humor and patience, thank you Laetitia. I did become a little frustrated when it came time to decorate the cupcakes, but I have a tendency of making the simplest things very complicated.

My flowers, they are a work in progress. The key to perfecting the flower is determining where you are going wrong, which the instructor did and helped me correct.

I took the class with two other moms from our playgroup, they actually bought me my cake kit as a birthday present, thanks again ladies.  I highly recommend taking a class with a friend, it is a lot of fun (and you have a good chance of having someone else in the class that has supplies that you might have forgotten, like disposable bags, food coloring, and cupcakes, thanks Lilly, I owe you).

This was the final cake, I was so proud, as you can tell by the statement I chose to place on the cake.
Lilly, one of the moms I took the class with, this is her cake and it is gorgeous. The flowers were a pretty peach color, the leaves were perfect, and the lettering was amazing.
Evangeline was another mom in the class, she rocked the flowers, and her cake turned out beautiful she’s a natural!

Another added bonus to the class, you get time away from the kiddos for a couple of hours, it is important to have time away, it makes you a better mommy (seriously, there are articles and statistics to back up that statement, just Google it).  I had so much fun I want to sign up for another, and I think I might since they offer a discount for the next class!

Yep, I will be framing this.

I am also in a book club with other moms that meets every other week.  It is so enjoyable to sit down for a couple of hours every other week and catch up with the ladies (because let’s be honest book club is roughly 60% chit-chat about life and 40% about the book, no, maybe it’s more like 30% about the book and 70% the everyday mommyisms, the percentage isn’t important). 

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is the book we are currently reading. I am having a tough time putting this one down. I have so many questions and thoughts I can’t wait to share with the other ladies tonight! Here is what I am thinking; he is actually on a search for answers regarding GOD since he says he is an atheist. I think he is having a tough time with his father’s death and the whole idea that he just seizes to be (I wonder if I am right?).

Again, it is nice to have a couple hours in the evening away from the family to remember who you are and that you have your own thoughts, questions, and feelings to share, regarding the book of course, Duh!

So, join a book club, or a garden club, or whatever your interest might be or if you can’t find one start one, www.meetup.com offers a great way to meet up with other people who share your same interest and are local (this is not a dating site, they have playgroups, garden clubs, vegan clubs, book clubs, you name it and there is probably a meetup for it and if there isn’t, start one).

What are you doing to live your life and not your children’s? Or what would you be interested in doing? I know if can be tricky thinking about yourself for a change but please do so and share your thoughts.

Pink Lemonade Baby Shower

One of the moms in our playgroup announced that she was expecting her third child roughly six/seven months ago, and right away all of us moms were thinking baby shower!   Granted we knew we had to wait a few months but we had great time thinking about various ideas and sharing our own baby shower stories.  Though she struggled with the idea of finding out the sex of the baby she ultimately decided that the anticipation was just too much and she did, it’s a boy! This will be her third boy in 3 years so we needed to really contemplate what we were going to do for a baby shower. We wanted to do something different, she already had a big baby shower with her first baby and she has everything she needs for a baby, so what to do?  We knew she had never had a pink baby shower (but I am still holding out for baby number 4..shhhhh…she might not like hearing this right now).  So we decided that instead of a baby shower we would have more of a celebration of motherhood.

So over the course of six weeks seven moms communicated via text messages, facebook messages, and emails planning this celebration of motherhood. We wanted it to be a surprise for her so the topic was moot when we had gatherings/play dates.

Weeks later and the day had finally arrived with only one minor hiccup.  Instead of having the shower at my home she requested that we have it at hers since her hubby was out-of-town she needed to be with her boys (they would be sleeping). If there is nothing else that I have learned being the mother of three children it is flexibility that is the key.  So we went with the flow. I packed my laundry baskets with decorations and food and headed for her home while other moms were doing the same.

The theme was pink lemonade.

Motherhood is like a glass of pink lemonade on a hot summer’s day. It is beautiful, refreshing, and no two sips are exactly alike, some are bitter while others are sweet, and it is the most relaxing when shared with friends.

Everyone brought a dish to share. The idea was to bring dishes that were pink and yellow to go along with the color theme. Lilly made her amazing pink cupcakes and cake balls (along with beautiful glass serving dishes and cupcake holder, love it!) and she found wraps that looked pink, they were delicious. Tammy brought fresh veggies and veggie dip dyed pink (too cute).  Mary got really creative and had fresh fruit in a watermelon; I am not doing it justice, checkout the picture.  Alison made a warm savory artichoke dip.   Jill brought Skinny Girl Margareta, Hello! Now it’s a party (though we really didn’t drink too much because we all knew we would be getting up with little ones during the night or early in the morning). I brought lemon bars and Sugar cookie sandwiches.

In terms of entertainment Lilly but together a fun trivia/quiz page for all of us to fill out.  She did a wonderful job coming up with unique questions. My favorite was the questions that dealt with moms in media/entertainment industry that also have three boys just like the expecting mom. Additional questions included, how many words can you form from the word MOTHER (you’d be surprised, give it a try).

We also played a game; it was like table topics but for moms, Moms’ Topics.  Each mom who attended the shower submitted ten questions to be asked during the evening.  Lilly was kind enough to print them off and glue them to card stock, pink of course (thank you Lilly). The questions included:

Besides the lack of sleep what do you detest most about having a new-born?

What are your best kept secrets for surviving those first six weeks with a newborn?

What do you fear most about bringing home a newborn?

What modern convenience could you not live without and is essential to your daily routine as a mother?

Were you the first of your friends to have bay?

What do you love most about being a mom?

What’s the most embarrassing thing your child has said in front of your mom/mother-in-law?

And many more

Then it was onto the bead ceremony (yes you read correctly). I was not familiar with this at first but it ended up being a very beautiful and meaningful blessing way ceremony.  The blessing way ceremony consisted of each of the moms selecting a bead from Meant to Bead (local bead store) based upon the meaning/color behind the bead.  We all brought our bead to string on the bracelet in addition to a meaningful poem or message.  We went around in a circle, and each mom presented their bead and read their blessing or message and then stringed it on the bracelet.  We then asked our expecting mom to take it with her to the birth and we set up a phone tree to contact each other when labor begins and we will each recite our prayer/blessing for her and light candle for her while she labors.

Last but not least it was onto the gifts.  We decided to base our gift selections on items that got us through the first year of motherhood.   Things that got us through were, a few minutes to ourselves to read a book or magazine (or maybe just look at the pictures), a special fragrant body gel that would be used once a week when we were lucky to get a shower, music that helped to relieve stress, cozy sock slippers that comforted mama during those cold 3am feeding in the winter, etc. The gifts she received were, stain remover, awesome diaper cake, inspirational books/reflective reading, lotions,baby lotions, aroma therapy, gift card for a pedicure, etc.

It was such a wonderful and meaningful evening for all of us moms.  We enjoyed planning the shower together, meeting at Meant to Bead, and gathering in joy of our friend and her soon-to be new bundle of joy, Jude.

Congratulations Allie and Jordan