Monday, February 23, 2009

Random Part

Don't you hate it when you find a random part in your car and have no idea where it came from? And you just stick it in a cupholder or other nook and it just sits there. And every time you look at it, you get annoyed and wonder if it's important.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oscars - The Gold One & The Grouch

oscar_statue This past Friday, I was invited to bring my children to visit Sesame Street Presents: The Body, an interactive exhibit that teaches kids about their bodies.  It is running through April 26th at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood, CA.  Coincidentally, Hollywood & Highland is also the home of the Oscars which is just wrapping up at the Kodak Theater as I type this.  So it was with great trepidation that I headed with my one year old and two year old to the EXACT location of the Oscars, 48 hours before the show.  Street closures were already in effect.  But, that's my neighborhood so I know my way around.  I expertly guided my minivan through Hollywood avoiding BOTH Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave.  I whipped into the Orange Dr. entrance to be greeted by about 7 security personnel.  They searched my vehicle and ran those mirrors on sticks under the body.  Apparently my frazzled mom appearance and two babies strapped into carseats wasn't enough to give OscarGrouch me a free pass.  I got a nod from the security chief and proceeded into the underground parking.  Down, down, doooowwwwwn.  Two thirds of the parking was roped off for "OSCARS".  Finally, I got to the bottom level and said, screw it!  And whipped through the roped off area.  A nice guy helped me get a spot.  I cranked open the double stroller and locked and loaded Chip and Lulu.  I cruised into the elevator/escalator area and looked around for signage to indicate where I could find the Sesame Street exhibit.  Nothing.  I looked at the signs by the elevator.  Nothing.  I got into the elevator. Nothing.  I even asked security guards.  They had no idea.  I got off at the first level and there was no signage and no one to ask.  All this in the midst of the craziness of the Oscar preparations.  Security everywhere, workers with credentials around their necks, walkie-talkies going.  Everyone I asked had no idea what I was talking about.  Finally some random guy suggested I go up a level to the Plaza Level (level 2).  So I did.  When I got off  and headed towards the plaza.  Finally a sign, but the sign didn't say WHERE the exhibit was.  Ok, I kept pushing the stroller into the main plaza and blessedly found a security guard who knew.  He pointed me to a ramp that lead right to Sesame Street Presents: The Body!!!  May my exasperation be your salvation, the exhibit is directly across from California Pizza Kitchen on the second level.

We cruised right in and were just in time to see Elmo.  Elmo comes out once per hour for about 20 minutes and interacts with the kids.  Chip and Lulu smiled and gave Elmo high fives.  I met with the PR rep who was very nice and gave me a rundown of the event.  The exhibit was fun and had a lot going on, but Chip had no interest in getting out of the stroller.  Something was not right.  I put my hands on him and he was burning up, he said he didn't feel well.  Great.  I excused myself and went on a mission to find a drugstore.  I found the same angelic security guard who helped me find the exhibit.  He actually lead me on a shortcut to the best exit to approach the drugstore.  Chip and Lulu's hair blew in the breeze as we cowboyed it with the security guard through the Oscar melee, through the tourists gawking at the melee, over the electrical cords strung across the floor with temporary speed bumps over them, thunk, thunk went the stroller.  We whipped past reporters and all sorts of event staff.  The security guard secured a back elevator and bid me godspeed.  We went down to the Graumann's Chinese Theatre side of Hollywood & Highland.  I was really cooking with gas now.  The stroller was cruising over the handprints and footprints and signatures in the cement in front of the theater.  We whipped onto the sidewalk and bobbed and weaved around foreign tourists bent over looking at the stars on Hollywood Blvd.  A block later I secured a bottle of Children's Motrin, gave Chip a shooter of the stuff and headed back through exactly what I had gone through.  I felt lame that I had bailed out on the PR event.  We made it back in good time.

LRobstacle Chip came back to life and we were able to take in the event!  The Body allows kids to explore their insides, their outsides, how the body works and how to stay healthy, all within the familiar world of their favorite SesameLRgrocery Street Muppets.  Chip and Lulu loved the obstacle course area, all padded including a fun slide that Lulu couldn't get enough of.  Next they went to Mr. Hooper's Store and picked out healthy (play) food and rang them all up at the register.  Chip loved playing the cashier.  While we were in the store, Elmo came in!  Chip had a blast putting food in Elmo's shopping basket and helping him decide what to buy.  It was really neat for the kids to be able to interact with Elmo.  But, by far, the BEST part of the exhibit was Oscar the Grouch!  Over at the street area of the exhibit, sits Oscar's Trashcan.  If you rattle the can and pull on the lid, Oscar yells from inside!  Chip was desperate to see Oscar.  Well, there is no Oscar, just a motion activated voice coming from the can.  Chip kept yelling, "Where's Oscar?"  I was chasing Lulu, so I yelled back, "Oscar is in the can!"  Then I realized how that sounded....Oh...Well.  Chip could not be bribed to leave, he was obsessed with seeing Oscar.  I had to keep yelling, "Oscar is in the can!"  I wanted out.  It was time to leave, we had seen it all and I was wiped.  I said, we'll see Oscar on the way to the car!  I finally got Chip and Lulu into the stroller.  Bid thank you to our PR hosts and headed towards the home of the Oscars while leaving Oscar in his home.  As promised, I took a loop down to the grand entrance and showed Chip the big gold statues.  He could not have cared less.  He wanted the REAL one, in the can.

If you happen to be in the Hollywood area and your kids are Sesame Street fans, I highly recommend stopping into Sesame Street Presents: The Body.  It is open Fridays-Sundays 10:00am-5:00pm in addition to Spring Break Weekdays.  Visit their site for full info.  $10 per child and includes one adult.  Parking at Hollywood & Highland is $2 with validation from exhibit.  Group rates available.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ahhhh!!! Spa Party!

boca-logo I've been eating Boca Burgers for years. Although I'm not a vegetarian, I actually don't like cooking meat very much. Boca burgers are really easy to cook so I always have a pack in my freezer. So I was very excited when Boca Foods invited me to a very fun party for Mommy Bloggers at Voda Spa in West Hollywood. Getting some time away and for myself was such a blast. Boca Foods is all about promoting Balanced Living, especially for busy moms. They are currently running a contest called The BOCA Balanced Living Challenge where you can enter to win $5,000 to fulfill your healthyVodaSpa living goal! Boca and Voda treated us to some yummy non-alcoholic cocktails and a buffet of dishes all containing Boca products. My favorite was the Boca Sliders, yummy mini-burgers. Next we were treated to a variety of treatments at Voda. The owner, Leon made our visit extra special and made sure we had more yummy drinks served to us while we received our spa treatments. I received a mani/pedi from Jamie and a massage from Kim. The spa manager (also named Kim) gave us a tour of the facility. I can't believe how beautiful the spa is. A perfect oasis in the city. There is an outdoor patio, indoor pool, elegant locker room, treatment rooms, a restaurant, a bar and an amazing VIP room where I participated in a session lead by a Yogi who taught us how to incorporate relaxation into our day. I really loved the tips she provided as I almost never seem to take even a few minutes to just relax and rejuvenate myself. Almost everything she taught us is doable at your desk! I can't wait to get back to Voda to try more of their services and amenities. I'm also inspired by all the great recipes I learned that incorporate Boca products. All the recipes are available on the Boca Foods web site. The evening really left me invigorated and rededicated to finding the perfect balance for me.

Monday, February 16, 2009

2 moms 2 kids and 1 Thomas

I have a mom named Edith in my orbit who is about as tired and slammed as I am. We are both in the same moms group and have kids the same ages. Her son and my son are in the same preschool class. We connect at various points during the week at various activities. We usually have a baby strapped to our chests like artillery in an ergo baby carrier and we are chasing the older ones. So our conversations are in 10 second bits. I recently was offered the opportunity to go see Thomas & Friends Live! On Stage: A Circus Comes to Town at the Nokia Theater, it included tickets for 4. So I immediately thought of Edith and her 2 yr old Hank as I knew Hank was a big fan of Thomas The Tank Engine. We picked them up and with Chip and Hank strapped into the back with the DVD player going, Edith and I had time to chat for a whole half hour! Then we got to the Nokia and found our seats. The show was pretty good, but to be honest, for 2.5 yr olds, it was a bit too hard to follow. The kids loved seeing the trains but faded out with the heavy dialogue. If there had been a LOT more train action and a LOT less standing around and talking, the show would have been a hit with the 2 yr olds. I had a friend who was also at the show and she agreed that her 3 year old twins weren't very into it, but her 6 yr old really like it. Thomas and Friends is heading across the country, chugging into a town near you. Check it out, but I recommend you bring a kindergartner or a mature 4 yr old at the youngest.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Win a Milk Bank Vacuum Storage System

MilkBank I'm really excited about a new product from DexBaby, Milk Bank Vacuum Storage System for Breastmilk. If you pump and store breastmilk, then pay attention, because this is revolutionary! When you expose breastmilk to air, it affects the taste. The Milk Bank system includes a vacuum pump that is really easy to use. It vacuum seals your breast milk so you can store it and not worry about it becoming rancid. In fact, breastmilk stored with the Milk Bank system will stay fresher, longer than breastmilk stored using other systems. The storage bottles double as feeding bottles for extra convenience. The bottles are free of Phthalates, PVC and BPA which is of major importance to me. So easy to use, you just pump your milk and then transfer it into the fully compatible storage bottle or feeding bottle. The system also includes an insulated outer feeding bottle that allows the milk to stay warm longer. Studies have shown that babies receive more nutrients when they drink warm milk. Milk Bank also makes a vented feeding bottle. The best thing about it is that it doesn't leak! No matter what I've done, I can't get it to leak. I've been close to tears of frustration with other brand's bottles that leak. The bottles are triple-vented to help prevent colic, spit-up, burping and gas. The Milk Bank products are available exclusively at Babies R Us. For more info visit

I am giving away one Milk Bank Vacuum Storage System, retail value $25. To enter, please leave a comment below including 1) Whether you would keep the system or give it away (don't worry, there are no wrong answers!) and 2) Your e-mail address so I can contact you if you are the winner. The contest ends at noon PST, Monday, February 16, 2009. I will use to select the winner at random. Good luck!

Congratulations!!! has selected #1 Unrepentant Kulak as the winner. Thanks to everyone for entering!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Private Callers

What is the deal with people who block their phone numbers for Caller ID? Now there are some people whom I excuse, for example, law enforcement, my pediatrician's home phone and cell phone (because we know crazy parents would be calling ALL the time) and celebrities. I have friends who are famous and oddly they don't all block their numbers, but some do. I think that is reasonable considering how star-crazy people are. But, random people I know who have NO reason to block, I just don't get. If you have Caller ID, then you should not block your number. It's only fair. Especially those who block their number but say, "Hi Elizabeth!" when you call them. How nice! How convenient for THEM that they can see it's me.

Further, if for some reason you need to call someone and do need to block your number for whatever reason, then just do *67 before you dial the rest of the number. I welcome comments on this topic, otherwise, I remain convinced I'm absolutely right.