Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's New Years Eve

Wishing you a wonderful New Year filled with good health, lots of love, much happiness and good cheer. Make the best out of 2009.



Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Brody's 2009 Resolutions

It is really adorable not only trying to explain to a 3.5 year old what a resolution is, let alone hearing what he comes up with. My hope is that as we do these every year, it will help build a positive identity in himself and help him create goals and dreams. I plan on printing them out and saving them all!

Brody's 2009 Resolutions
1. Build a rocket ship out of blocks.
2. Not be naughty.
3. Fly like a bird in an airplane or helicopter.
4. Play a real guitar or drums.
5. Pick up people's candy for them when they drop it.
6. Help the baby practice going down the stairs (I had to stress many times that an adult had to be around for this one).

Okay so if you have been reading every day you now know our resolutions, time to get yours done!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mark's 2009 Resolutions

Here are Mark's resolutions for 2009. What a trooper for letting me post them! I'm hoping that by posting all of our resolutions it will help you start to build your own.

Mark's 2009 Resolutions
1. Increase income
2. Maintain an extracurricular activity all year.
3. Take more interest in my health and be willing to make an extra effort.
4. Cook more.
5. Bring the two families together more.
6. More date nights.
7. Spend more time with the family outdoors trying new things.
8. Make a better effort to help others with handyman chores.
9. Try the Catholic Church in our area.
10. Spend more time with our dogs.

Tomorrow...Brody's resolutions!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

My 2009 Resolutions

One of my favorite things to do is make my New Year's Resolutions at the end of every year. Not only does it give you some time to reflect on where you are in your life, but it helps you remind yourself where you want to go. I honestly believe that everyone should make their resolutions yearly. This year I started a new tradition where my whole family (not just me) makes their own resolutions and we help each other and/or share with each other. I will be sharing my resolutions today, Mark's tomorrow, and Brody's (so cute) on Tuesday. 

I believe resolutions need to be done correctly. Personally I think they need to be SHARED so that we are held accountable, they need to be REALISTIC,  and the need to be SPECIFIC. I made 15 this year, make how many you think you need. I know I can handle 15 because I will follow them all (I always do). Some areas I think that your resolutions need to be based on are SELF, FAMILY, SPIRITUALITY, APPEARANCE, and OTHERS. I hope that by reading mine you can start to build your own list.

Amanda's 2009 Resolutions
1. Continue to find healthy options for my family in food and recreation (organics, vegetarian meals, new foods).
2. Make my own health a priority and find time for diet and exercise. Maintain the same weight for a whole year.
3. Move away from the things I flock to when things get hard (coca-cola, sweets & shopping).
4. Get at least one full night's sleep a week (a full 8 hours).
5. Take my business up one level through marketing, website changes and cost solutions.
6. Make decisions based on what is best for my family, not others.
7. Date night at least once a month!
8. Create at least one fundraiser in 2009.
9. Find small pockets of "me" time to decompress and be creative.
10. Make fashion a priority, well at least anytime not Mon-Fri from 8am to 5pm, meaning dress up on the weekends and any outing.
11. Change someone's life in 2009, make a lasting difference.
12. Remind my friends' how amazing they are and compliment a stranger at least once a week.
13. Help my husband reach a dream of his. 
14. Actually begin to write down the words in my book, get it on paper.
15. Pray more.

Those are mine so start thinking of yours and if you want you can post them in the comment section or email them to me and I can post them on my blog. Or at least print them out and tape them on your computer so you are reminded of them every day.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Heading towards the New Year

One thing I'm not very big on, as we head towards the New Year, is the recap. Every darn magazine or TV show likes to recap 2008. We all know what happened, we were paying attention the whole year. We want to look forward as we get closer, not look back.  So there will be no recapping on this blog, only introspective as we move towards a new year.

One thing I think that is important to do is take a minute and look at ourselves. Especially in hard times it's important to be positive about everything that we do have and all of our strengths. So today (or whichever day you read this) I would love it if you would post a comment about one of your strengths, something that you like about yourself. I know a lot of you read my blog (because you tell me) but you never comment. Please sign in, or comment as anonymous. It's good for all of us to remind ourselves how great we are. I'll go first.

My favorite attribute about myself is that I am fearless. Not the jumping off the cliff kind of fearless, but the not afraid to take a risk and put myself out there fearless (getting my MBA, starting a non profit walk, starting a blog, doing a job I was under qualified for, starting my own business, etc). I know people are afraid of failure so they hold back, but I have found that I have never failed myself and I have always taken the harder road where I do things that might be difficult. Trust me the rewards are amazing and I will never have regrets in old age.

Now your turn.

(Check back for the next few days as I post about an end of the year favorite- the New Years Resolution.)

Friday, December 26, 2008

My fav Christmas pictures and my fav presents

I hope you had a great are some of my fav photos from our celebration!

Family photo on Xmas Eve

Brody seeing Santa's presents Christmas morning

Piper and her $14.95 wooden doll house

Brody trying to lovingly put his arm around his sister Christmas morning.

Below are the fav gifts we received this year, you never really know until you open them and try them out!

Dancing Brobee from Yo Gabba Gabba! We expected this to be our least favorite.

Abby doll from Pottery Barn Kids, it's as big as Piper though

Williams Sonoma's Peppermint Bark, Mark's favorite

Play Town wooden doll house, got it at Toys R Us on clearance for $14.95. I love it!

Gingher sewing scissors from my mom, the Cadillac of scissors

Joseph Abboud men's socks from Mark's mom found at Nordstroms Rack

Horton Hears a Who! DVD- we had such a good time watching on Christmas and it kept Brody's attention the whole time. A tough feat!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Tea House on Los Rios

The girls in my family just had our 1st Annual Christmas Tea at The Tea House on Los Rios in San Juan Capistrano. I have been to this tea house on a few other occasions, including my baby shower, and loved it. It was nice to get together and we took Josephine (3 years old). The food and of course the tea were great (their tomato basil soup is to die for). It's just a great way to spend time with the women in your family and especially right before Christmas. If you haven't been there, get the girls together and make a date. And thanks to my mom for a wonderful afternoon!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas traditions

One of the best parts of being a new family is that you get to start making your own traditions. On Brody's first Christmas I bought a cute gift box at Target that said it was from Santa. Well every year I put something in it for him as if Santa put it in the box that night. Well I loved doing this so much, I bought Piper a box this year and put a to and a from on it as well. I couldn't find a box as great as Brody's but it's still cute. I'm looking forward to the kids being excited about what Santa put in their box every year, especially since all of Santa's other gifts aren't wrapped.

Another Christmas tradition is that I keep all the photo cards that we receive from friends and family and I put them in an ongoing scrapbook. It's cute because ever year we take out the scrapbook and look through all the cards to see how much all of our friends' kids have grown. I also put our yearly card in there as well as a picture with Santa. It's so easy, I make all the cards fit so there isn't any extra decorating and I just store it away after Christmas with all the decorations.

Friday, December 19, 2008


I have been feeling a little down in the dumps every now and then lately. But late at night, when I'm at my computer and the whole house is sleeping, I stay up just a little bit later so that I can read some blogs. I have bookmarked a lot of blogs, but here are two that kinda of make me feel a little better. We can call them favs and here they are:

1. c jane enjoy it- I started reading her blog when her sister Stephanie was in a plane crash. But I still read it when I can. I like to check into the world of Stephanie and Christian to see how they are doing. It humbles me and makes me appreciative. And knowing that they are healing makes me feel better. It really does. I also like to see what Jane is up to as she has all the kids with her and has a great sense of humor. This is the first blog I always check.

2. Snippet & Ink- I'm happily married but I love going to this blog with wedding pictures and inspiration. Some of my enjoyment is as an event planner, I get great ideas. But mostly, wedding pictures make me happy. Seeing how people put such beautiful touches into their own day makes me smile.

Just a little enjoyment.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Something you should know about me....

I love People magazine (guilty pleasure and definite fav) and even more I love getting it every week so I can do the Puzzler (crossword puzzle). I have a routine, I read the whole magazine and then go back and do the puzzler and the Second Look. Sometimes I'll pretend I have to go do something important so I can read it and finish the puzzle while hiding somewhere in my house. Or if it's really late at night, I'll stay up later just to do it. I love it that much. I just thought that it was important that you knew this about me. If I could, I would gift all of you the Puzzler book. I've never seen it but I bet we would all stay inside and devour it for hours. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Americana at Brand

This picture does not do it justice, but we just visited the Americana at Brand for dinner and some shopping. Located in Glendale, this new outdoor shopping mall is really pretty and has great shops. It is more luxury shopping with stores like Juicy Couture and Kitson, but you can also find Urban Outfitters, Anthropology and so many more stores. It's by the same developer as the Grove and right now at Christmas it is gorgeous! It also has a trolly (Brody's favorite part), a huge fountain with a water show (smaller version of the Bellagio) and a nice paseo. You should definitely check it out, great place for date night (what's that right)?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Formula Dispenser

I'm pretty inexperienced in the baby formula department since I am a breast feeding mommy, well until now. Due to my own medical issues I had to switch Piper to formula and I was sad about it, well until I got this new Munchkin Powdered Formula Dispenser. I don't know why I love it so much, but I do. I get to pre-fill it and take it with me and voila! I'm sure all of you bottle feeding moms think I'm crazy, probably everyone uses this, but it's like the most fantastic thing ever. So that's my new fav right now! And yes, it's BPA free. And while I'm at it, we bought their bowls to defrost Piper's baby food and not only are the microwaveable but BPA free as well.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Anthropologie Ornaments

Anthropologie has the best ornaments, I love them on my tree. This year I picked up a cupcake ornament and a little owl, but they had a lot to choose from and if I could I would have bought them all! (And, speaking of Anthropologie, some of their aprons are on sale for $19.95 right now!)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Spirit

I was online reading the news a few days ago and one article posed the question, "should people put up less lights due to our country's financial situation." I was disappointed when I read it. I understand people needing to put up less lights because they can't afford the electric bill, but if you can afford it put up as many lights as you can! People need the Christmas spirit and that's exactly what twinkle lights do, they make you feel better. They make you feel warm about the season. My family's Christmas is so much smaller this year, but I feel like my Christmas spirit is higher. Maybe because I'm not distracted by the malls and buying a million gifts. Maybe because I am enjoying the smaller things like Santa Claus, decorating, Christmas trees and the chilly weather. Maybe because I am excited about things like making fudge for friends and family and homemade gifts for grandparents from the kids. We can have money taken away from us, but our spirit lies within us and right now no one can take that away from me. All I want to do is sing Christmas carols at the top of my lungs in the car with the family (and boy we do that)!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Baby Legs

Tonight Piper wore a pair of her Baby Legs that I purchased when she was a pea size in my belly. They are so darn cute! Little leg warmers on my little pint size girl were too cute for words. They were perfect because we were gone the whole day and by night time it was really cold and she had a dress on. So I grabbed them out of the baby bag and put them on. Toasty warm and adorable! I'm still dying inside on how much I love them and killing myself for not taking a picture. I think she's going to wear them every day! I got mine at Hush Baby in Ladera, but I know you can find them at so many places.

You could win....

a personal portrait drawing of yourself or someone you love. You have until Dec 17th to enter. What an awesome present!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Guest Post- Jennifer from Tiny Oranges (heart this blog)

One of my favorite gifts I received when my daughter was born was a personalized growth chart from It is so cute in a pink and green pattern, and her name and birth day date are embroidered on the top. There are three fabric frames that are included, so you can include a picture of your child at that height. We have it hung on the back of her door in her bedroom, and it makes me nostalgic every time I look at it and see the different marks at different heights. Just makes you realize how fast they grow and it is fun to track their growth. When I was growing up, we marked our heights on the side of a door frame in pencil, this way is definitely cuter and you don't have to write on your walls!!! :-) Makes for a great gift as well. 


Just a note

I have Christmas cards coming out of my ears, I am swamped (and so grateful). Just a note to say hi and say I am sorry I am behind on my daily posts. I try hard to have a new fav every day for you to enjoy. But, if you saw the state of my desk and my house you would clearly see that I am overwhelmed. Thinking of you and getting ready to post a guest blog for you to enjoy today!



Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Good Recipe

Thought I would share a recipe fav, it's SO easy. But you must like garlic, zucchini and tomatoes! It's from Ellie Kriegger and it's delicious. Only 410 calories and 13 grams of fat per serving, which isn't amazing, but pretty good for dinner! I leave out the fennel. Enjoy.

Tuscan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables
2007, Ellie Krieger, All rights reserved

4 servings

6 Roma tomatoes (about 1 pound)
3 medium zucchini (about 1/2 pound each)
1 bulb fennel
3 tablespoons oil, divided
3/4 teaspoons salt, divided
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 chicken breast halves skinless, bone-in (about 2 1/2 pounds)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cut the tomatoes lengthwise into quarters and remove the seeds. Trim the zucchini and cut it in half crosswise and then cut each piece in half lengthwise once if the piece is thin and twice if it is thicker, so that the
pieces are relatively uniform.

Remove the outermost layer of the fennel bulb and discard. Cut the bulb in half so that each half retains part
of the stem end. Cut each half into 8 thin wedges so each wedge is held together by a little piece of stem.

Put the vegetables into a large baking pan. Toss them with 2 tablespoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Arrange
the chicken pieces in the pan with the vegetables.

In a small bowl combine 1 tablespoon of oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice. Rub
the mixture into the chicken in the pan. Season with a few turns of pepper.

Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, then give the vegetables a stir and add the rosemary. Cook for about 20 to
30 minutes more until the chicken is done and the vegetable are tender and beginning to brown.

Go here to print out the recipe and to see the nutritional facts!

Monday, December 8, 2008

An oldie but a goodie

There are so many games out for kids now, and it's so easy to be drawn towards the more high tech or the brand new ones. But recently we broke out our game of Candy Land, which was just sitting on the shelf in plastic, and Brody loved it (and so did we). It's easy for a 3 year old to play, it's short and it's fun. We have been playing a game or two every night. One reason why it's a hit (especially for Grandpa) is because the set up is so easy, not like the Bee Game where you have to stick a million branches through holes. The less set up, the more time to play! It reminds me that less is more and that just because the game has been around forever doesn't make it is less fun. Plus, I think it's like $5 at Target! Can't beat that!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Beach Pit BBQ

I took the advice from Jennifer at Tiny Oranges and visited this restaurant this week! I went with 2 girlfriends and we packed up all the kiddos and drove to Costa Mesa to try it. We had the best time. The BBQ was good and all the kids played nicely in the little outside play area. It isn't a sticky/gross McDonalds play area, it's a white picket fence with grass and a playhouse area. It was perfect. We had the best time and stayed for like 2 hours. It's small and quaint and did I mention the BBQ was great? You can check out their website here for more info, and I believe they have a few other locations.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Please stop

Dear all media outlets,

Today I would like to talk about a non-favorite. Please (I am begging you) stop writing, photographing, reporting on Spencer and Heidi. Seriously, it's too much. I have never seen people try so hard to be famous by staging their lives to make money. This has nothing to do with The Hills (if you love that show I know lots of other people who do too). This has to do with people who "get married" and we aren't even sure if it's true, because we do know that they want their own reality show (the fact that I even know that makes me sick). If you keep reporting about them, I think they might just get pregnant to get more publicity! When I think of celebrity or star, I want to think of someone who at least has a talent (although I do wish that celebrities were like they were in the old days). I just don't get it. Why do you give them magazine covers? Why do you follow them to fake Valentine's picnics? Why? Even when there is a picture of them volunteering at a soup kitchen, I can picture all the makeup and hair, and then them leaving after the pictures are done. I can't take it anymore. There are so many people who do good in this world, or who are so talented, please report on them. I remember when Spencer was on David Letterman, Dave said something to the fact about, "I'm not even sure how you got on the show." So I am really begging you to please stop. No more Spencer and Heidi (or articles about Heidi's mom hating Spencer-ugh). It's time to let it go. If you don't report on them, they will go away. Let it happen. And then, if they want to be in the spotlight, they can earn it a different way. 

Thank you,


Friday, December 5, 2008

Live-in babysitter

I did something new this week. When Mark got home from work I said, "guess what, you are going to babysit." But you know what? I didn't go anywhere. I forced the kiddos on Mark, said "don't bother me," and I did 4 loads of laundry, caught up on all my bills and to-do's and organized my office (as in small tech center). I made all my lists, I crossed stuff off and I cut my coupons. I did everything that had piled up and I did it on a Monday night. It felt so good. I now give you permission to have your husband babysit when you are stressed and feel like you can't catch a breath (I definitely caught mine).



Thursday, December 4, 2008

Guest Blogger- Lara Miller

One of my favorite things we have for our kids is the Radio Flyer Excursion Wagon. It is so fun to take my boys around the block in it and even to the grocery store for some light shopping. They seem to love this way of transportation because I never hear a peep out of them when we're rolling in it. The seats are facing each other so it is so nice for them to talk and share their experiences along the way. There is a big storage compartment on the side of the wagon to carry their snacks and blankets as well my camera and cell phone! It also has 4 built in cup holders in the wagon for their drinks. It's great because it has seatbelts for each rider so my little one can't try and wiggle out. It's really such a fabulous wagon and I get compliments on it all the time. If you don't already have a fun means of transportation to take your kids on a leisurly walk around the block, I think this wagon is definitely worth a look!

All the best!

Lara Miller

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Santa Bag

We purchased this Santa bag from Pottery Barn Kids two years ago and I love it! It's very sturdy and stretchy. We bought the large one for $29 online and had it personalized for an extra $6.50. I love packing presents in it and visiting our families on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! 

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Ouchy Fairy

Somehow we have a new visitor to our house, the Ouchy Fairy. I'm not 100% sure how we got her to start visiting us, but alas, she is now a part of our life. Brody's finger nail came off and somehow it was promised to him that the Nail Fairy would visit (this was Dad's doing). I felt like the Nail Fairy is very limiting since, how often do you lose a nail? So the Ouchy Fairy was born. She visits whenever one of the kids gets a big ouchy (such as nail falling off). Last night she left a lollipop and $1 under Brody's pillow. It's silly the things that we create for our children, but I know that we will have fun with the Ouchy Fairy for the next few years and someday, when the kids get too big, I will miss her.

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's December

It's December 1st today, which means we get 25 days of holiday spirit! I trimmed the tree last Friday (picture above) and I swear I could look at it all day through Christmas. I thought that since we are cutting back on gift purchasing this year (and I mean way back), I wouldn't be as excited about the holidays. But I think I am more excited! Let's face it, no matter how much money you have, you can enjoy the holidays for free. Just go look at Christmas lights, or walk the mall to see all the decorations, or go to a tree lot to smell the Christmas trees. It's everywhere and I love it.
I hope you are able to get into the holiday mood, no matter what holiday that may be!