Mabel’s Label’s

Recently I was given the opportunity to receive and review a selection of Mabel’s Labels for the grand kids.

For Caitlyn we received the Ultimate Back to School Combo which includes

  • 40 Skinny-Minis™
  • 50 Tag Mates™
  • 16 Shoe Labels
  • 2 Teeny Tags™

We put the Teeny Tags on her backpack and her lunch box.  The Skinny Minis on her flashcard sets and the Tag Mates on her pencil box contents.  We went a bit rogue and used the show labels on her pencil case and homework folder.  her shoes never come off her feet at school so it isn’t like they will be lost.  Everything else tho?  Each of those pieces have been lost at least once in the past 2 years.  Now we are covered!

For the Twins we received the Preschool Shoe Labels.  They are really cool, each “label” is half of a whole, a left half and a right half, so when you put the shoes together you can tell which goes on which foot.  They were being obstinate the other day and wouldn’t let me put them on their shoes, so we put them on their lunchboxes instead.

All of Mabels are laundry and dishwasher safe.  You can put them on and through anything!

I don’t want to say “I can’t wait for Caity to lose something”, just so we can have it returned because someone saw the label.  But I kinda like the feeling that if she does, it has a better chance of getting returned.

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Flappers 2 Milk Minimum

First off, any comedy club that will serve me milk is tops on my list for sure!

Recently, my friend Amy Anderson was performing at Flappers, a local comedy club here in Burbank.  A few of our colleagues from MomsLA got together and went to watch her perform.  never disappointed with Amy’s performance I was also impressed with the comedy club itself.

I noticed one of their flyers talked about a kids show called “2 Milk Minimum” (a play on the two item minimum at most clubs) and took the initiative to ask the manager if we could host some mommy bloggers for a show (shocker I know!).

I was so glad when Desiree Eaglin and Jeanne Fratello showed up with their families.  I met my new best friend  and Jeanne’s son laughed so hard he fell off his seat and almost knocked over my table!

The amazing Michael Rayner balancing a wheel barrow on his chin!

Michael Rayner hosted the afternoon and Joseph Tran was the “headliner”.  While some of his material was over the kids heads it was nice for the adults to have something to laugh at other than the kids.

Each week there’s something new and playful to see.  The performers have been featured on networks such as Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, and Cartoon Network, and have included, Corey Edwards (Hoodwinked!), and Dee Bradley Baker (SpongeBob Squarepants).  Resident host Michael Rayner has performed his juggling show all over the world, at every public library in the county of Los Angeles, and on television including The Late Show with David Letterman, Attack of the Show, and Sesame Street.

Flappers Comedy Club is celebrating its 2nd annual Birthday on September 7th, 8th and 9th  2012 and they want to invite the general public to their birthday party.    To celebrate they  are offering Free Admission to all their Friday , Saturday and Sunday shows in  Burbank to all local residents and the surrounding communities.   There will be shows on Friday and Saturday at 7:30, 8:00pm, 9:30, 10pm, and 11:30pm, and Sunday at 7pm and 9pm in both the Main room and in the Yoo Hoo room.  They do ask in that all our guests respect the two item minimum in the showroom.  Which honestly is easy to do, they have a full kitchen with really great food (I recommend the french dip).

This offer is also extended to the aforementioned show TWO MILK MINIMUM which is held on Saturdays at 4:30pm.  Doors open at 4:00pm.

The all star Headliner Lineup that weekend will include Darren Carter the Party Starter, James P. Connolly, Throwing Toasters, Michael Rayner as well as Several Celebrity Drop ins. There will also be live music on the patio to kick off each night. Guests will be invited to  enjoy celebratory champagne toasts, birthday cake, and lots of laughs.

Flappers Burbank is located at 102 East Magnolia.  Doors open at 4:00pm to offer our full menu for grown-ups and a Super Cool Kids Menu which includes chicken nuggets or mini burgers and fries, and mac & cheese, and much more for only $5. The show is the perfect place to celebrate your kids birthday party, you can even bring your own cake and there’s no cake corkage.  Show tickets are only $10, and kids under two get in free.  The location has free parking at Sears or Ashley Furniture across the street. Tickets, reservations, and more information can be secured online at www.FlappersComedy.com or on 818.845.9721

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Won’t Back Down

I got the chance this week to see a preview of my new favorite film of the year.

Won’t Back Down stars Maggie Gyllenhall, Holly Hunter and Viola Davis.

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis play two determined mothers, one a teacher, who will stop at nothing to transform their children’s failing inner city school. Facing a powerful and entrenched bureaucracy, they risk everything to make a difference in the education and future of their children.

While not based on a “true story”, the film is inspired by the work of dedicated parents, teachers and advocates across the country.

Holly Hunter plays the teacher turned Union Leader fighting for “the contract”, knowing in her heart that the “contract” is hurting not helping the children.

This film touched me in so many ways.  As a parent, a school employee and as a union laborer.  I could see how important each piece was to each character, but also realized that everyone needed to put their wants and needs aside and realize what was best for the kids.

Perhaps one day this fairy tale story will come true in real life.  In this tumultuous election year, perhaps those thumping for either side can lay down their rhetoric, put aside their differences and focus on what is not best for their “party” but for their country as a WHOLE.

This is a must see film for everyone of all ages.

 

5 Diet Cokes!

By the way, I was invited to the preview as a member of the Circle of Moms Top 25 Southern California Mom Bloggers, and I did receive compensation for this post.  However, if you know me at all, you know that this in no way swayed or hindered my expression of my opinion.

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Vote for Me and I Will Kiss Your Baby

I have never entered any kind of blogging popularity contest before, but something compelled me this time.

If you can spare a moment to vote for me I would greatly appreciate it.

Ps. YOU CAN VOTE ONCE EVERY 24 HOURS!

Elmo’s Musical Monsterpiece

We are not a “gamer” family.  I enjoy video games (or I did until the jerks broke in to our house and stole my Wii), and Caity got a hand-me-down DS for her last birthday.  The twins are iPod Touch and iPad proficient with most apps aimed at their age range. But we are not into the whole “gaming” thing.  But when I was contacted and asked to review the latest Nintendo game both Cait and I jumped at the chance.

Designed around Sesame Workshop’s early childhood development curriculum, Sesame Street: Elmo’s Musical Monsterpiece encourages music creation, physical aspects of movement and dance, emotional expression through music and dance, exploration of instruments, and introduces academic aspects of music such as mathematics in music (patterns, counting), musical elements, and notation.

An action-filled console and handheld video game, Sesame Street: Elmo’s Musical Monsterpiece lets preschoolers play instruments, explore music and dance with Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Count von Count and the honkers as they travel through a music-themed land of wonder.  Through their fun adventures, the game is designed to teach young players how music and dance occur in everyday life. The game also includes music performed by GRAMMY® award-winning band Ozomatli and includes original songs by the popular Los Angeles-based band.

Sesame Street: Elmo’s Musical Monsterpiece for Wii or Nintendo DS is rated ‘EC’ for Early Childhood which means it is ok for kids 3 and up.  Although we will never know how the twins like it because if one of them lays a finger on Cait’s DS all hell will break loose!

 

 

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Escape

Whenever I drive this car that is exactly what I feel like I can do – Escape.  I could go on and tell you about the comfortable ride, the roomy interior the impressive gas mileage blah blah blah.

What I want to show you is the cool new hatchback that has a sensor under the tailgate.  As long as you have the key fob in range all you have to do is swing a foot under the tailgate and the hatchback will open and/or close!  So when your arms ar full of groceries and kids and what not you won’t have any issues!

 

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People Like Us

I posted in a face book group that I was going to a screening of People Like Us and was told by friends:

Amy Anderson Go see it! It’s really good. Better than the trailer and commercial lead you to believe.

I was excited since I trust Amy’s opinion highly.  Actually, I had wanted to see it beforehand based upon the trailer and commercials.  Once again I had a bit of skepticism because of all the “names” in the film, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, all of whom I enjoy, but with too much star power sometimes comes conflict in acting capabilities.  This was not the case.

From the Press Release:

From DreamWorks Pictures comes “People Like Us,” a drama/comedy about family, inspired by true events, starring Chris Pine (“Star Trek”) as Sam, a twenty-something, fast-talking salesman, whose latest deal collapses on the day he learns that his father has suddenly died. Against his wishes, Sam is called home, where he must put his father’s estate in order and reconnect with his estranged family. In the course of fulfilling his father’s last wishes, Sam uncovers a startling secret that turns his entire world upside down: He has a 30-year-old sister Frankie whom he never knew about (Elizabeth Banks). As their relationship develops, Sam is forced to rethink everything he thought he knew about his family—and re-examine his own life choices in the process.

The interaction between Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks is great, you can see/feel the chemistry between the two (I know that sounds corny but I happen to enjoy corn {preferably on the cob}).

Yolanda Machado Saw it in April. I cried like a baby.

I should have listened to Yolanda better because I was not prepared for the amount of tears that flowed.  The collar of my blouse was drenched by the end of the movie.  Drenched.

There is a mother son relationship that rings much too close to home for me, granted it is a subplot but it stood out in front and slapped me in the face.  The son has moved away and not been back home in years, he goes so far as to hide his ID so he can’t get on the plane to go to his dad’s funeral.  There are so many parallel angles to this storyline that I was just a blubbering mess.

I love when movies are set in the LA area and use well known places below is a map of recognizable settings that actually drew some cheers from the audience when they appeared on screen.

This is a definite recommend for all but heed the advice of my friends, bring kleenex!

4Diet Cokes

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You Must be Brave

If you are going to see this movie.

I have been anxious to see Brave since seeing the first preview almost a year ago.  So has Caitlyn.  When I received the invite to a screening it was for a day when Caity was going camping with her dad so I had to go without her.  I grabbed my trusty friend Sheila and we headed out.

We were both very excited, a female-centric movie is rare, especially where the female is supposedly strong and intelligent.  There has been some kerfuffles on the internet regarding Disney’s portrayal of boys in the ads being sexist.  Why do we have to dumb one side down to make the other look more intelligent?  Can’t we all just get along? (RIP Rodney)

After almost 45 minute delay because of technical difficulties on the part of AMC, we were finally ready to watch.

More than once both Sheila and I jumped in our seats and exclaimed when the BIG BLACK BEAR came into the shot.  I don’t know how Caitlyn would have reacted, she is a braver girl than I but I am kind of glad she wasn’t there.  Perhaps we will wait for the DVD to come out before seeing it again.

Other than the violence I enjoyed the rest of the film.  There was a good portrayal of the mother daughter interaction and the triplet boys were adorable.

If your child is less of a fraidy cat than me, you should be ok.  Know your child.

PS. Get there early for the amazing Pixar short La Luna and stay till the end of the credits for a cute little epilogue.

Three Diet Cokes

  • Brave Dancing (adrienneshouse.com)
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Wife 22

Have you ever wondered if everyone goes through the same marital problems as you?  Let me ease your mind, they do.

Everyone at some point in their marriage feels like a “roommate”, everyone feels at some point that they made the wrong choice, that they should have chosen “the one that got away”, and everyone (yes, everyone) flirts with someone other than their spouse. Don’t shake your head like you never have, because you know you have you just have to be brave enough to admit it.

None of these feelings mean your marriage is doomed, nor do they meaning you are “doing it right”.  All they mean is that you are married.  How you handle all of these instances and how you come through them in the end, that will be the definition of your marriage.

This is the message given to the reader in the new Melanie Gideon novel Wife 22.  Alice Buckle feels her life and marriage slipping away from her, so when an opportunity arises to participate in an anonymous survey from an accredited University, she readily agrees.

It’s when that survey goes to another level and Alice has some real life decisions to make that the book gets very interesting.  From the back of the book:

Maybe it was the five pounds I’d gained that I couldn’t seem to lose. Maybe it was because I was about to turn the same age my mother was when I lost her. Maybe it was because after almost twenty years of marriage my husband and I seemed to be running out of things to say to each other.

But when the anonymous online study called “Marriage in the 21st Century” showed up in my inbox, I had no idea how profoundly it would change my life. It wasn’t long before I was assigned both a pseudonym (Wife 22) and a caseworker (Researcher 101).

And, just like that, I found myself answering questions.

7. Sometimes I tell him he’s snoring when he’s not snoring so he’ll sleep in the guest room and I can have the bed all to myself.
61. Chet Baker on the tape player. He was cutting peppers for the salad. I looked at those hands and thought, I am going to have this man’s children.
67. To not want what you don’t have. What you can’t have. What you shouldn’t have.
32. That if we weren’t careful, it was possible to forget one another.

Before the study, my life was an endless blur of school lunches and doctor’s appointments, family dinners, budgets, and trying to discern the fastest-moving line at the grocery store. I was Alice Buckle: spouse of William and mother to Zoe and Peter, drama teacher and Facebook chatter, down loader of memories and Googler of solutions.

But these days, I’m also Wife 22. And somehow, my anonymous correspondence with Researcher 101 has taken an unexpectedly personal turn. Soon, I’ll have to make a decision—one that will affect my family, my marriage, my whole life. But at the moment, I’m too busy answering questions.

As it turns out, confession can be a very powerful aphrodisiac.

I found it interesting but a bit lagging.  I was interested in the characters including the peripheral ones, my only concern was with the layout.  A lot of the book is done in “dialogue” format, i.e. Face Book status updates, survey answers (FYI the questions are listed in the back of the book, wish I had known that when I was reading it) and text messages (using horrible text slang).  But the story is very good and I look forward to future novels by Ms. Gideon.  perhaps something following one of the peripheral characters or one of the Mumble Bumbles so we can also keep tabs on the Buckles along the way.

 

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In the Immortal Words of Bette Davis – “What A Dump!”

Casino logo

Casino logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A little back story: I come to Vegas 2-3 times a year, more if my employer books jobs, less if I haven’t worked much.  I am by no means a “whale” but I am a steady gambler and I am loyal to the places I gamble.  I receive free room invitations consistently throughout the year.  I can easily pick up the phone and find a hotel to stay at Sunday through Friday and not pay a penny.  Weekends are a different story.  In order to get free weekend rooms you have to be a “big spender”.  As long as I play penny slots and keep my gambling budget to $20 a day, that will never happen.  Or so I thought.

Recently, within the last 6 months or so, I have been receiving offers from the Primm Valley Resort Casinos to come and stay on the weekends at no charge.  Usually I will receive a postcard at the beginning of the month offering me a free room and two free concert tickets with a list of the headliners for that month.  None of the concerts have been enticing enough and my budget this year has been precarious so I haven’t taken them up on their offers.  Last month I got a different postcard offering 2 free weekend nights, either Friday and Saturday or Saturday and Sunday and it happened to coincide with a side job I am doing for someone, so I jumped on it.

Primm Valley resorts consists of Primm Valley Hotel and Casino, Buffalo Bills and Whiskey Pete’s.  I stayed at Whiskey Pete’s a long time ago with mom and the kids and it was very unappealing, I have yet to go back (most of the free concert offers include the room at Whiskey Pete’s, that is another drawback).  I tried to book the free nights at Primm Valley but they were full so I settled for Buffalo Bills.  I had stayed here many years ago for one night and found it to be adequate, I wasn’t expecting much so when I didn’t receive much I was ok with it.

This time my expectations were higher.  Over the last 15 or so years, Stateline (Primm) has gone through a few makeovers.  More recently Buffalo Bills began advertising their renovated rooms and improvements.  What a joke.

First the good news, the beds are extremely comfortable, the pillows feel like feather but I haven’t had any reaction so I don’t believe they are real, and that to me is a good point.  The new “modern” furniture is nice, the desk chair comfortable, the new counter tops and tiles in the bathroom are pristine and impressive,.

That’s it for the good news.  Let’s start with the half mile walk from the front desk down a hallway of rooms to the elevators and then back the same way once you get to your floor to get to your room.  Then we can venture into the room and question where the bathtub is.  There is only a shower and thankfully there is a seat in there because otherwise the water would never touch anything over my shoulders.  I am 5’10” and I can see over the top of the shower door while on my flat feet!  The shower head is aimed directly at my chest so I even have to squat to wash my under arms.

The first thing I look for in a hotel room is the “book”.  Not the bible but the book about the hotel.  Usually it is a 3 ringed binder with tabs for all the different amenities that are offered.  Nowhere to be found.  No info on the pool hours, or what restaurants are in this hotel or their sister properties right next door.  Nothing with the info for the television or even a safety plan of how to get the hell out in case of a fire (although there is a map on the back of the door as neccessitated by law).  When I inquired about such a book at the front desk, I was simply told no “that no longer exists”.  I must have had a really dumb look on my face because another clerk replied (note the QUOTATION MARKS!) “It’s not like you are staying on the strip”.  WTF!? As my head spun from the realization that no one gave a damn I replied “or anywhere else in the whole world!”

It’s true, this hotel is in a world all it’s own and it is not a pleasant one.

Let’s venture down to the pool.  Oh wait we can’t.  It closed at SIX PM!  Yes, 6:00 PM the pool and jacuzzi are closed.  I know right?!  Who does that in the hottest place on Earth?!

I have 3 priorities for staying in a hotel room alone:

  • No Pants
  • Good A/C
  • Jacuzzi Time

I got back from work at 6:30 and longed for a nice long soak but was met with this sign instead.

Is this not the most ridiculous thing you have ever seen?  You can’t throw your kids in the pool and you can’t give them a bath.  Hope your kids are terrified of the shower like the grand twins are!

When I was able to go down and soak in the jacuzzi for a half hour it was filled with leaves and sticks and unruly children.  Why don’t the life guards keep the kids out?  there is a sign that says no one under 12 in the spa without an adult, why isn’t that rule being enforced?  I got out because I like my hot tub bubbly not splashy and walked over to the towel kiosk and grabbed two towels (I am a big girl the towels are small).  Unfortunately one of them was even smaller than I originally thought because half of it was missing!

When I took that towel inside and showed it to a front desk clerk she just stared at it and said “I don’t know what to say”.  Me neither honey, me neither.

The one saving grace was Ron the Maintenance guy.  Oh, did I forget to mention that at 11pm on the first evening my AC went out?  Yeah, remember my 3 priorities?  Anyway Ron came up immediately noted what the problem was, fixed a big bandaid on it to make it work during my stay and said he hoped it would be fixed right before I left.  Unfortunately no one else has come up to fix it completely but it is still working with the bandaid.

I realize times are tough, and everyone has to tighten their belts but coming to a hotel should be a luxury not a chore.  In the case of this trip I think even tho I got the room for free, I paid too much.

 

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