Posts in the ‘Mommy Moments’ Category

Happy Family Stories from the Bright Side

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Lucky Me – The Not So Picky Eater

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I love to eat. I don’t really love to cook, in fact I actually dislike cooking all together, but I do love food, especially really good food, and have always been an adventurous eater. I vividly remember eating frog legs in Singapore when I was a small child. My brother and I even picked out our frogs from the tank!  I always kept my fingers crossed that my son would love all sorts of food as much as I do. (And before I tell you my whole story I want to thank Happy Family for sponsoring this post. I love working with great companies like Happy Family.) So here goes…

Before my son was born, I feared that I would give birth to a child who came out the womb on the white diet. Don’t get me wrong –  I do have a fondness for butter, noodles, cheese pizza and hot dog buns, but I dreamed of so much more delectable goodness for my little boy and I didn’t want to have to hide the yummy flavors deep inside of some sort of mystery meat ball.  Somehow, I got lucky….

Early on we were off to a great start when I made fresh vegetable puree from organic vegetables and my son gobbled up every last bite. Well actually it was his nanny (thank you Tacy!)who made the purees every day while I was at work because I didn’t have the time or patience to cut, steam and mush up vegetables.  And I am not sure if all of the vegetables were actually organic, but they were vegetables and they were a colorful range of yellow, green, purple and orange and my son was eating them all. I was afraid of that dreary looking rice cereal for fear it would lead him down the white path so I steered clear as much as possible. Instead he enjoyed every color of the rainbow. I was thrilled to come across Happy Family so I could actually feed my son so much wonderful food without having to work too hard. I was off to a great start and thought I deserved some sort of prize for this one. My little dream was coming true.

A few years later we were still going strong and I was riding high with mommy pride. Most parents were more concerned with sleeping, walking and learning the alphabet but for whatever reason my focus was still on food. There was nothing I feared more than having a picky eater at home. I knew he would eventually learn his letters and would be running in no time, but I just wanted him to love all sorts of flavors and colors and textures.

Our next test was caviar – yes caviar. We are not talking Beluga and hundreds of dollars – believe it or not you can actually buy caviar at Ikea (and I do!).  My son had grown out of his egg allergy (thank goodness!) and I figured that it was time to introduce him to scrambled eggs. I decided to pop open a jar of caviar and pile a little dollop right on top (those scrambled eggs were a little too white for my liking – we needed a spot of color).  His eyes opened wide when I brought his plate over to the table. He had a hard time understanding the fish egg idea but just like George, he was incredibly curious. He poked them around a bit with his fingers to see what these little things were all about. Then before I knew it, he scooped them all up in one big bite. He started laughing uncontrollably at the sensation of these little beads popping in his mouth. He loved it. In fact he skipped the eggs and polished off the whole jar of delectable caviar on his own. Every last little bit….

From Indian curries and Mexican enchiladas to Swedish herring and of course the sushi bar, my son has developed an appetite for foods from all over the world. When my husband wanted to take him out for Ethiopian food – I was certain that we would finally meet our match. I was craving Ethiopian too so I thought we should just give it a try. I was silly of me to think he wouldn’t love having an excuse to eat with his hands. He was enchanted by the idea of tearing of a piece of injera (all by himself) and scooping up delicious bites of stew and vegetables. He was totally in control and loved the experience of eating and much as the flavors. It has now become a family tradition and we go out for Ethiopian food regularly. In fact it is usually my 6 year old son who requests it.

We are still working on his reading, it has been almost impossible to get him to sleep in his own bed, he stays up way too late, and getting ready in the morning is a chore for everyone in our house, but my son is a great eater. I know I have given him a lifetime of enjoyment knowing that he loves food from all over the world. We can’t win every battle and we will never be perfect parents but we can find the little things in life to make us happy and feel accomplished as parents. I know I am incredibly lucky. But when I look back I think it all started in the beginning with the rainbow of fruits of vegetables.It was a perfect step in the right direction. A dash of cumin, a few sprinkles of coriander and a sprig of cilantro – may my little Carl grow up to enjoy sharing great meals with his family and friends forever.

If you want to pick up some Happy Family goodness for your little one here is a quick link to find a store by you and you can also grab a coupon here to save $.50 off Happy Family organic snacks and meals.

And a few more things – I do want to let you know about Happy Families “Stories from the Bright Side” is a campaign that shines a humorous light on food and feeding challenges that parents have through sharing funny stories. Head on over to the Happy Family Facebook page and upload your own funny feeding story. Happy Family will pick a funny feeding story to award $20K towards their child’s college education (the rules and regulations are on the Facebook page). How cool is that! And another reason to love Happy Family… Happy Family believes that every baby deserves to be a happy baby. With every product sold, the company supports Project Peanut Butter, a nonprofit that feeds starving children in Malawi, Mali and Sierra Leone.

This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Happy Family blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

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Deux Lux

Monday, November 19th, 2012

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I am always on the lookout for pouches that I can use to carry around all sorts of little things. Every once in a while I find one that should be used as a clutch and not be hidden in my big ‘ol bag. This Deux Lux Callie Pouch is just one of those practical little pouches. I just love it. It is available in three cool color combinations – each one more vibrant than the next. These perfect pops of color will brighten up your winter blacks and greys any day.

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This Lucky Wristlet is also a fabulous choice. It is ideal for those holiday parties when you are carrying a champagne glass in one hand, an hors d’oeuvres plate in the other, while at the same time you are trying to show the hostess an adorable picture of your kids on your iPhone and holding onto your party clutch…. Acckck! I know you’ve been there…. This pretty wristlet is available in six colors and can keep your hands free all night long.

And they are all on sale right now and priced perfectly for those last minute holiday gifts. Cheers!

Modern Mommy of the Week – Jessie Salas

Friday, September 21st, 2012

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Modern Mommy of the Week:

When I arrived at my son’s new school a few weeks ago, I met one mom in particular who was full of energy and had this incredible joy about her. She seemed so genuine, so happy (even at 7:45 in the morning with kids hanging on every limb!) and so fun – immediately I wanted to be her friend. That woman is Jessie Salas from San Jose, California. Jessie is mom to 3 very cute kids – Addison (Addie) who is 5, Hudson who will be turning 3 in October and Sydney who is just 3 months old. Jessie left her hectic high-tech career to start her own photography business. Like so many of us, she wanted to make money and have a career, but also wanted to have flexible hours so she could spend more time with her growing family. Over the last 5 years she has grown her business tremendously. Silicon Valley moms go straight to Jessie Salas because they know she will capture unique images of their children that they will treasure forever.

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At Sweet Peas & Stilettos we LOVE shoes. Do you have a favorite pair of shoes?

My favorite pair of shoes – DKNY strappy sandal pump. I purchased them twelve years ago (I know, right?!?) at Macy’s in San Francisco. They have aged so gracefully (although they have had some cosmetic surgery doe over the years…and might even be in need of some now). I was with my mom when I made my purchase and these shoes have been on many dates (including one of the very first I had with my now-husband Kris), assisted me through numerous job interviews and spent time being paired with skirts and jeans alike…they were single girl shoes, shoes I wore when I was newly married and now serve as the occasional mama’s night out selection. To me they have a personality of their own and I simply love them. They are shoes I will NEVER part with…no matter how ratty they might become.

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We want the scoop – please tell us all about your fabulous company!

Photography has been one of my passions since childhood…in fact I tell clients all the time that I can still remember my grandpa showing me how to use his gigantic Polaroid camera. I just loved the instant gratification of snapping a shot and watching as it processed before my eyes.

During college I spent time focusing and learning about photography but it wasn’t until my daughter was born that I decided to pursue my hobby as a fully fledged career. For ten years or so I had been a software sales rep working for organizations including Sun Microsystems, Network Appliance and Webex. I always thought I’d return to the world of technology however after falling in love with Addie within milliseconds after she arrived, the thought of ever leaving her seemed completely foreign to me…with the desire to still contribute to our household while remaining home to watch my daughter grow, Jessie Salas Photography was established.

It began as one, maybe two sessions per month with families of three or four…within a short period of time it had grown to a few sessions over the course of a weekend…before I knew it my referral base was expanding and inbound interest for my ‘little photography business that could’ was up to about ten calls or emails per week…covering the span of moms-to-be, their newborns, young children and families of all sizes.

I have found that my photography business allows me to integrate my love of art with my love for meeting new people, hearing their stories, watching their families interact and most of all encapsulating THEIR moments in time (and these moments are so fleeting). I am inspired by the thought that the instances I capture will be memories relived for many years to come. And that the time I spend with each family is fun (not just for me but for them as well!).


Modern Mommy of the Week – Renee from Stork Vision

Friday, September 14th, 2012

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Modern Mommy of the Week:

Renee Caldwell from Keller, Texas is this week’s featured Sweet Peas & Stilettos Modern Mommy of the Week. Renee is not only the founder of Stork Vision® Prenatal Imaging Centers, she is also the mom of four children – two daughters ages 9 & 13 and two sons ages 18 & 11. Based on her own experience as an expectant mother, Renee understood the emotions and excitement when a woman sees her baby for the first time. She wanted to create a safe and comfortable environment where families can truly enjoy this incredibly special moment.

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At Sweet Peas & Stilettos we LOVE shoes. Do you have a favorite pair of shoes?

My favorite shoes right now are a pair of rope wedge sandals with a braided leather top by Indigo. They are the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned.  They have a flexible rubber sole but are still totally fashionable! I bought them in an adorable boutique called “Clicks” in Chicago- thinking I was hot stuff only to find out that Indio is the sister brand to Clarks (hello- my Grandmother’s brand!!!)  I now own them in two colors and will be taking them with me to Europe next week. They are the perfect travel shoe!

We want the scoop – please tell us all about your fabulous company!

My company, Stork Vision 3D/4D Ultrasound introduces expectant parents to their developing babies with safe, high quality, 3D & 4D ultrasounds performed in a home theater atmosphere.   My own pregnancy experiences inspired me to establish our first Stork Vision Ultrasound center in 2004 and I am thrilled to have opened our 23rd store this summer.  The key to our success is our belief in quality, safety and unsurpassed customer service.   From the moment you walk through our doors, you will be taken care of by our endearing, knowledgeable staff.

For more information visit: www.storkvision.com.


Tiny Prints Sale

Sleep Tips

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Every Mom (and Mom-to-be) Deserves a Good Night Sleep

When I was pregnant with my son my number one complaint throughout my entire pregnancy was not being able to sleep comfortably. I was miserable. And as every mom knows, the problem with lack of sleep only gets worse when your baby is born. Every mom and mom-to-be deserves to get a restful sleep at least a few nights a week. Don’t you agree? Here are a few tips to help you get your zzzzzz.

Sleep Tip #1 – Starting with the basics – invest in a great mattress.  Getting a good night sleep on a regular basis is so important that your bed is your most important piece of furniture you will ever buy. Make sure you find a high quality mattress that you and your partner both love and find comfortable. I also recommend that you get the largest mattress that will fit in your bedroom. A little extra room is especially nice to have when you are expecting, and when your little ones sneak in to your bed in the middle of the night.

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Sleep Tip #2 – If you like your current bed but want some extra comfort, opt for memory foam mattress cover. They are awesome. The foam contours to your body shape to ease your weary muscles and actually helps promotes good blood circulation. At Memory Foam Express Toppers you can even find these mattress toppers with special CoolMax covers that will help keep you cool, dry and comfortable all night long.

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Sleep Tip #3 – Treat yourself to extra soft and luxurious bedding. Nobody wants to sleep on scratchy sheets. You can find some fabulous sheets at Serena & Lily, like the pretty ones pictured above, or at Bloomingdales. I also love these super soft microplush blankets from Target. I have them on every bed in the house. They are lightweight and so incredibly soft.

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Sleep Tip #4 – You need super comfortable pajamas too!  Whether it is that favorite decades old concert t-shirt that has been perfectly broken in, or a pair of pretty silk pajamas – be sure to find sleepwear that you will feel comfortable in. When I was pregnant I stocked up on sleepwear from Target. They have adorable pajamas made especially for pregnant women and nursing moms.

Sleep Tip #5 – Give yourself some time to wind down and relax before you go to bed. Everybody has their ideal 30 minutes before they fall asleep. Maybe it is watching a little TV, reading a book, flipping through a magazine, or having a cup of tea, Whether it is a soak in the tub or a hot shower, make sure you have a relaxing routine to help you calm your brain so you can sleep soundly.

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Now I just wish that I could help keep your sweet baby from crying all night long so you really could get the sleep you deserve!  Luckily there are infant sleep consultants and lots of great sleep books to help you with that one…

 

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

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Mother’s Day is just a few days away…. You better put those cards in the mail today if you haven’t already. Still shopping for a gift or two? Not to worry, you still have time. Check out the Sweet Peas & Stilettos Mother’s Day Gift Guide for lots of great ideas. If you don’t find exactly what you are looking for, I hope that these ideas will inspire you to find the perfect gift. Also, as much as I love the convenience of shopping online and having brown boxes magically appear at my doorstep, if you are running late on selecting gifts (and your mom, grandmother or mother-in-law is nearby) this is a perfect time to support your local boutiques. Many boutique owners are moms too! Get inspired, shop local and have a fabulous mother’s day weekend.

Premium Papers, Luxury Brands, and Exquisite Styles at FineStationery.com

Raskullz Bike Helmets

Monday, April 30th, 2012

carl-on-vintage-schwinn-bike     Raskullz-kids-bike-helmet

It was a huge huge weekend for my family. My son rode a 2 wheel bike for the very first time! It was especially cool because he did it on my brother’s 35+ year old red Schwinn. He is over the moon with excitement. We’ve had this rusty old bike in the garage forever and this weekend it became the coolest bicycle on the planet.

I think his new Raskullz helmet gave him the confidence to just get the bike out of the garage and try to ride it all on his own. My son had grown out his very cool Nutcase watermelon helmet (which we loved) and I had taken him down to REI to pick out a new bike helmet. As soon as he spotted this funky red and white mohawk we were done. He could not wait to put it on. And luckily, he doesn’t want to take it off either.  As a funny side note, this morning when I opened my phone I noticed about 3 dozen photos he had taken of his new helmet, including the one above.

Get ready for those summer bike rides and scooter races and check out these fabulously silly but safe Raskullz helmets your kids will love. You can also purchase your Raskullz Helmets at Amazon. (Star sighting…I’ve seen photos of Gwen Stefanie’s cute boys wearing these bike helmets too.)

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Friday, April 27th, 2012

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It is that time of year again – Mother’s Day. I think moms everywhere deserve a special month, not just a single day, but I guess we will take what we can get. I have compiled the Sweet Peas & Stilettos 2012 Mother’s Day Gift Guide – a list of fun and fabulous Mother’s Day gifts in a wide range of prices. A little something for everyone… I hope you find the perfect gift for your mom, your grandmother and your mother-in-law. At the very least,I hope these ideas help inspire you to find just the perfect gift for everyone special in your family. Happy Shopping!

Burke Williams Spa

Monday, March 19th, 2012

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I recently endured the stress of applying to a number of private schools. (Technically it was my 5 year old son who was applying – but I did all of the work.) For those of you who have lived the process – you can sympathize with me how it brings back flashbacks to high school and those darn college essays. I was a bit of a wreck I must admit… A lot of the stress was self inflicted I know. But of course all of us moms talk and ask each other way too many questions so we spin and spin and stress and stress. I reminded myself that it was a huge financial decision (along with obviously being a personal one impacting my one and only child) so I felt that my stress was legitimate. By the end of the process my body was tied up in knots, my back ached and my shoulders and neck were so so so tight. I tried to remind myself that “it’s only kindergarten” but that did not work at all.  Luckily, I easily convinced myself that the only way to make myself feel better was to enjoy a day at the spa. Luckily, Burke Williams was just a phone call away.

I had visited Burke Williams twice before, once a long long time ago in Santa Monica and just a few years ago in Santana Row (San Jose). I was thrilled to have an excuse to go back to Santana Row. Burke Williams is a great spa for people who have a little extra time to enjoy the steam rooms, soaking tubs and sauna. All of these extras are including in the price of your treatment. I am a sucker for steam rooms. I just love them! So needless to say I sat in there for as long as I could endure as my private school stress just melted right out of my pores.

Then it was time for my massage and this time I opted for hot stones. I have to give a huge shout out and thank you to Trisha who did an amazing job working out my knots and getting me to such a relaxed state that I almost fell asleep on the table (literally!). It was a perfect combination of a really relaxing massage with just the right mix of warm rocks woven in throughout. In my very relaxed state I walked down Santana Row and enjoyed a late lunch at the Left Bank, an authentic Parisian-style brasserie. I must admit it was an all around perfect day of peace, quite and relaxation. I think you deserve one too!

 

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And in case you were wondering…my son got his acceptance letters last week – yeah! I think I need to celebrate with another trip to Burke Williams. This time I’ll try a facial and pedicure.

I also want to thank Burke Williams and Trisha for their generosity in treating me to this fabulous trip to the spa. I needed it!

Slow Cooked Asian Pork Ribs

Monday, February 27th, 2012

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Slow Cooked Asian Pork Ribs 

by Gabrielle Moes, Owner and Executive Chef of Seasons Catering

As a working mom, I am all too familiar with the dreaded evening witching hour; and if your house is anything like mine, it usually begins with, “Mom! What’s for dinner?” with a quickly ensuing wail of, “But I’m hungry now!!!!” In this predicament, my career as a chef definitely has its advantages, especially when I have spent my workday creating new recipes and I have a fridge full of leftovers. But, more often than not I am asking myself the same question you are…it’s 5 o’clock, the kids are melting down, and what am I going to cook for dinner?!?

If, like me, you are dedicated to providing your family with healthy and delicious home cooked meals, then the best trick of the trade I can give is to plan your meals ahead. When I find myself with the time, I will prepare a few components of several meals for the upcoming week. I also am not too proud to use culinary short cuts when I can; one of which is (gasp now) the slow cooker. If you have never invested in one for fear of the canned cream of broccoli creations of your childhood, I dare you to rethink! Many of my weeknight recipes include the use of the slow cooker because (here is trick of the trade #2) “low and slow” develops great flavor and is a lot safer than keeping your oven or stove unattended all day!

So, please enjoy some of my favorite recipes that your whole family will surely love and at the same time, hopefully say goodbye to the “oh no, what’s for dinner?!?” nightmares.

Asian-Braised-Ribs-potatoes

Asian Pork Ribs

2-3 lbs pork ribs (bone in or out)
¾ cups sherry
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup Hoisin Sauce
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 3” cinnamon sticks
1 Tablespoon thinly sliced ginger

Place all ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 4-6. Meat will fall off of the bone if you are using bone in and will shred if using boneless. Serve over rice with your favorite stir-fried vegetables, or with potatoes and roasted vegetables.

Gabrielle Moes is the owner and executive chef of Seasons Catering and mother to three children. She spent 7 years as the executive chef of the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club before starting Seasons Catering.

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Seasons Catering is a full service catering company dedicated to creating memorable events through its impeccable service, exquisite food, and creative presentations. They are proud to create menus to suit every catering need and budget, and are determined to maintain high standards of service and presentation whatever the event may be.

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