“Modern Family” Fall Event at The Grove + a Giveaway!

Disclosure: I was not paid to write this post. I was, however, offered to gift bags to give away to two readers and I always love the chance to give cool things away. Also? I love Modern Family and this sounds like a fun event and I was happy to spread the word.

Next Sunday (October 26th) a Modern Family Fall event will be taking over The Grove. The event is free! There will be lots of fun activities for families, including an interactive corn maze, a pumpkin patch (with hundreds of art pumpkins) snacks, face painting and more!

(Read more about it here.)

I plan on taking the family for a few hours, maybe I will see you there!

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Now, for the fun part! I will be giving away 2 studio gift bags. Gift bags are valued at $200 a piece, and are each filled with lots of fun treats like Seasons 3 & 4 DVDs, branded clothing (black tee, tank top, and sweatpants), and more, all wrapped up in a fun reusable tote!

In order to be entered, simply leave a comment on this post. Please include your name and email address (in the comment.) I will choose two winners at random on Monday, October 27th. I will contact the winners via email and prizes will be mailed within 5 business days.

My Best Girl

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I love her free, playful spirit. I love that she think she’s too “grown up” to kiss me goodbye in front of her friends at school, but not too grown to ask me to swing with her at the park. She is the perfect mix of little girl and young lady. I imagine us swinging together, laughing at life when she’s in college and I’m old enough for senior discounts at restaurants and that thought makes my heart soar with joy.

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Swings at sunset with my best girl

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Shooting and Swinging at Sunset

She turned ten in August.

I still find it hard to believe that my last baby is ten years old.

Time is a jerk, for reals.

Yesterday I asked her if she would go to the park with me so that I could take a few photos of her. I told her that by allowing me to photograph her, she’s helping me to learn how my new camera works and to become a better photographer. She’s not a big fan of having me take her photos because “I’ve been taking her pictures her WHOLE LIFE!” But she was so kind and said she would help me. But only if I let her play at the park after I was finished.

Always negotiating, that one.

Of course I agreed. Anything for my girl. (And anything to get to practice with my camera!)

Fall Photos

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Sunday Funday at Olvera Street in Los Angeles

This weekend we decided to take advantage of Metrolink’s Weekend Pass and take the train to LA Union Station for a day trip to Olvera Street. (Union Station is only an hour and fifteen minute ride from where we live.)

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It was a beautiful day that I enjoyed because a) the skies were perfectly clear b) it wasn’t 100+ degrees.

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Olvera Street is directly across the street from Union Station. It’s a cool, colorful little place that makes me feel proud to be half Mexican.

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Things to do while at Olvera Street include: Admire all of the colorful, adorable things that you don’t really need to buy but probably will buy anyway because those baby sandals are SO ADORABLE, drink (Mmmmm, Mega Margaritas) eat caramel stuffed churros, listen to live music, people watch and practice your People Maneuvering Skills (because small, tight spaces.) And of course, take a ton of pictures.

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Oh! Don’t forget to take a selfie.

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Pet Me?

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He waits for me to wake up each morning. He sits next to my bed, staring at me, sometimes with a stuffed animal in his mouth. Sometimes he’ll make this noise that sounds like a growl but is more of a pssst, I’m here, wake up and play with me! When I finally open my eyes, his little tail starts wagging, he starts panting and running around in circles. I’ll hit my bed and say “Here, boy!” He tries to jump up, but he usually doesn’t make it up until the third or fourth try. Once he makes it, he runs straight for my face to give me doggy kisses. Then he cuddles next to me and waits for me to pet him.

And he never wants me to stop petting him for the rest of the day.

Oh, sweet little Choco.

Introducing the Newest Member of My Family

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Meet my new camera, Canon 6D. Isn’t she beautiful?

I’m so excited to see what I can do with this camera.

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This camera is an upgrade from the 40d I’ve used for the past seven years. Full frame sensor, amazing low light performance.

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This photo was taken after the sun had set and there was very little light left in the sky.

I’ve only had a chance to use it a couple of times, but the plan is to spend a lot of time shooting, to get to know the camera, how it works and how to make it work best for ME.

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For those of you who are still checking here (you are the best, I appreciate you and thank you!) I plan on posting my photography regularly here. So, stay tuned for that. :)

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How to Make Adorable Bracelets Out of Safety Pins.

Last weekend I spent the entire Sunday making bracelets with my daughter. They turned out adorable. I posted a picture of the bracelets on Facebook and a few of my friends asked how we made them. I was all “I will post instructions on my blog tomorrow!” It is now a week later, but better late than never, yes?

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Supplies:

Safety pins
Elastic Cord
Glass Beads
Scissors
Jewelry Glue (optional)

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Step One: Bead the safety pins.

This takes a while, but it’s super easy. Simply open the pin, place beads onto the open prong. It’s important that you leave enough space to close the bracelet. After we beaded each pin, we added glue to the top of the safety pin to ensure that it doesn’t not pop open. This was very time consuming, so we gave this job to my husband to help cut down on the time. I’m not sure this is necessary, so you could skip this step if you don’t want to spend so much time with this step. (It took exactly 42 pins to make a bracelet big enough to fit my daughter’s wrists.)

Step two: String the safety pins together.

This is the fun part! (HA HA HA NO IT’S NOT) Cut two pieces of cord long enough to a) fit around the wrist b) have room to tie off string. (I taped the end of the string to a piece of cardboard so the pins didn’t slip off while I was working.) Start by putting the string through the top opening of the safety pin, then alternate and string through the bottom opening making sure the beads are facing the same way each time.

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Once you finish this, you will need to repeat this process to string the other side together. Be very careful to tie off the loose end so that the beads do not slip off while you’re working on the other end.

Step Three: Tying both ends together.

This is simple. You will tie the strings from the top row together, then tie the strings from the bottom row together. I double knotted each side and then added some glue to keep things in place. (I made the mistake of not taking a photo of this step. It’s pretty simple, but if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments.)

Done!

Simple and so cute, yes?

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Flu Season is Coming and I’m So Ready.


This is a sponsored post. I have been compensated for the time I spent writing it, but the thoughts and words are all mine

I was asked on behalf of MamasLatinas to participate in the Walmart Family Routine campaign. I was told I’d be given a gift card to purchase a variety of health and wellness products from Walmart. My first question was “will I have to write about products that help with gas?” When I was assured that wouldn’t be the case, I was totally in.

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I’ve been a mother for twenty one years. I have lived through many flu seasons. I know it’s important to do my part to keep my family healthy. What do we do to stay healthy? First and foremost, I make sure my family gets their flu shot every year. I make sure to keep healthy by eating healthy, nutrient foods, that we take our vitamins and get good sleep.

I also make sure that we keep germs and viruses.

That involves a lot of me telling my kids to “wash their hands! Wash them good!”

And that is where one of the products I was able to purchase comes in handy.

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes have been a part of my “keeping germs away” routine for a long time. I use them to wipe down door knobs, light switches, etc to keep things free of bacteria and viruses. I also love to carry the travel wipes with me every where I go. (Shopping carts get THE FULL ON WIPE DOWN EVERY TIME.)

I can’t lie, I was super excited to be able to buy these products for my family without breaking into our checking account (I’m still unemployed. DO YOU FEEL ME?)

Cold and flu season is the worst, is it not? What steps do you take to make sure your family stays healthy during that time?

Products I was asked to purchase and that are pictured in the cart: Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, Zyrtec Allergy Medicine, Tylenol Cold & Flu, Bayer One-A-Day Multivitamin (Men or Women), Six Star Protein Bar/Shakes, and Flintstones Kids Gummy Multivitamins.

#TBT What I Wrote to My Daughter When She Turned Four.

My baby girl will turn 10 on Sunday. I have feelings about this. I will write them soon, but I wanted to share what I wrote back in 2008 when she turned 4. Time is such a jerk.

This is what you looked like at 6:39 am the day you turned 4 years old.

When you were a baby, I labeled you a “Drama Queen.” I know that it’s not nice to label people, but Girlfriend? There was no denying your dramatic ways.

This past year, I learned that your Dramatic Nature isn’t always a negative thing. Your flare for being a little bit over the top is proving to be an amazing asset. You can charm people where ever you go with your random singing. You don’t care who’s listening or where you’re at, if you want to belt out “Umbrella”, you belt it out with facial expressions and hip movements to boot. You almost always make the people around you smile or laugh out loud. When people tell you how beautiful you sing, you always say “Thank you so much! Have a great day and come visit me at my house, ok?”

Of course, not everyone finds your singing to be as precious as we do. Some people give you dirty looks and you’ll ask me “why is that lady mad, mommy?” I want to say “because she’s heartless witch!” But I usually tell you something like “not everyone appreciates hearing other people sing, because they like peace and quiet.” You’ll find out in time that there are jerks in the world who don’t like for other people to be happy in their presence. And you’ll learn to ignore them and keep being who you are, because you are wonderful and joy and sunshine on a cloudy day.

Can I talk a little bit more about your singing? Your singing is one of my favorite things in life. It brings me joy, laughter and sometimes, you’ll bring my to tears with the sweetness of your voice and the expressions you make while belting out a tune. I don’t know many people in the world who can take the numbers and turn them into a theatrical production. In fact, I’m pretty sure you’re the only one.

When I think back on this past year, the two things (because singing and pink!) that come to mind are “Lipstick” and “Hair” because OH MY GOD THE LIPSTICK AND THE HAIR.

You’ve pretty much destroyed/took over every tube of lipstick that I own, but you especially loved my bright red Estee Lauder. You had to take it with you everywhere that we would go. You’d apply it repeatedly in the car on the way to wherever we were going. By the time that we would arrive at our destination, your lips (and most of your face) would be covered with bright, red gloss.

Oh, the shiny, red joy!

You eventually decided that lipstick just wasn’t enough and every single day, I’d find you in my bathroom, painting your face, Tammy Faye Baker style.
I don’t mind sharing my lipstick with you. Lipstick makes you happy and the one thing that I want for you in life is for you to be happy. But do you know what I do mind? The fact that you’ve become obsessed with a hairstyle called “The Princess Fiona.” Basically, TPF is when I pull your hair back into a pigtail and then leave a few long pieces in front for you to flip around all princess like. I have no idea why you named it that, but every single time that I do your hair you say “I want it like Princess Fiona” and I will get annoyed and say “how about I do it like Princess Leah!’ And you’ll start to whine and say “No! I want it like Princess Fiona!” and I’ll say “How about I put a beautiful braid!” And you’ll get REALLY ANGRY and say “MOMMY JUST PUT IT LIKE PRINCESS FIONA BECAUSE THAT IS HOW I LIKE IT.”

I get frustrated because you have the most beautiful hair in all of the land and I could do so many beautiful things with it, but you are unwilling to let me. Except for once in a while, when you’re in a really good mood you’ll let me do something beautiful with it.

Hard Choices

But, it never lasts for long. Before I know it, you’re ripping out the braid or buns and asking for me to put it like Princess Fiona.

I have proof of how much you love the Princess Fiona do. A few weeks ago, you were in your room quietly reading books. Or so I thought. “Mom, don’t worry. I cut my hair beeeeeautiful.” You shouted from your room.
My heart dropped. I ran to your room and found you standing in front of the mirror with the scissors in your hand, a mass of hair on your dresser and freshly cut, very short bangs. You were very proud of yourself until you realized that, um, you had very short bangs and you could no longer do your hair like Princess Fiona because OH MY GOD THE BANGS ON YOUR FOREHEAD.

This went on for a couple of hours. You’d stop crying, then you’d feel the bangs on your forehead, try to rip them off and when you were unsuccessful, the tears would began to fall again. It was probably the most traumatic experience of your 4 year old little life and I am sorry that I laughed, but I’m sure by the time you’re old enough to read this, you’ll laugh too.

I’m not quite sure how to end this post. There is so much I remember, so much I want to tell you, so many things that I want everyone who reads this to know about you, my sweet Lil G. Because…You? You are simply wonderful in every way.

Smart. Thoughtful. Stubborn. Affectionate. Polite. Considerate. Independent. Hilarious. Talented.

Some of your characteristics have the potential to get you into trouble in life. That is why I take my job as your mother very seriously. I want to steer you in the right direction, correcting you and setting you straight when it’s called for, but also never wanting to break your spirit. I know what it’s like to have your spirit broken. I know what it’s like to be told your dreams will never come true. I know what it’s like to be too ashamed to stand up for yourself. So, I will make sure you know the power of your voice, but also know that there is a time to be quiet, listen, learn and plan your next move. I am and will always do everything in my power to make sure you choose the right path for you.

Before I end, let me say one (or 10) more thing(s).

I am in awe of you and always will be because you are the daughter I never thought I’d have. Thank you for bring joy into my life. Thank you for “fixing my hair” when “it’s so ugly.” Thank you for “helping me clean” (even if it really means “making more of a mess.”) Thank you for telling Daddy he should make me eggs for breakfast when I’m working. Thank you for reading me stories. Thank you for not saying “Asshole” anymore because that could have got me into a LOT of trouble with Gramma and Grammpies. But mostly, thank you for bringing joy, love and perfectly timed farts into my life.

I love you.
I love you.
I love you.

Happy, Happy Birthday, Beautiful Girl of mine.