family · kids · mommyhood · oc living · socal living · stay at home mom life · toddlerhood · Uncategorized

Ruiz Famille Adventures at Adventure City & Knott’s

We were confined to stay close to home over Spring Break due to my high risk pregnancy, but I wanted to make sure the girls had a fun Spring Break. So we took the girls to two theme parks over the last weekend of Spring Break (the first weekend was filled with birthday and Easter celebrations).  Saturday we ventured out to Adventure City in Stanton and Sunday we ventured over to Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park.  After living in Orange County for over five years, we had yet to experience either, so we were pretty excited and had no idea what to expect.

Saturday: Adventure City

We chose to do Adventure City on Saturday because our 5 yr old had Jiu Jitsu in the morning and I had read that this theme park wasn’t very big, so we figured a few hours ought to be enough.

It was very busy when we arrived; hello! Spring Break!

However, the ticket line wasn’t too line and we even got a discount on my ticket for being pregnant (because I couldn’t really ride anything).  At $19.95 per person (ages 1-54), we felt the price was very affordable for the fun packed into this little theme park.  We also opted to purchase the fun card for the arcade.

The Rides

This IS a really small theme park.  However, there is so much packed into it! The girls were able to ride all but two rides together; even our 2.5 yr old got in on the action- (she’s tall for her age, but most are 42″ minimum to ride alone or must be accompanied by an adult). The only rides our youngest was too short for was Rewind Racers and the Drop Zone. However, while the Hubs took our 5 yr old on those, I took our 2.5 yr old for a few turns on the Carousel.  My favorite moment has to be when the girls experienced the Freeway Coaster; our 5 yr old was over the moon about being able to ride alone “like a big girl,” and made a friend in line to ride with.  Our 2.5 yr old was excited to experience her VERY FIRST roller coaster with Papi like her big sister.  Their faces filled my heart with delight.  I honestly didn’t even mind having to sit out because seeing their joy was all I needed.

Just look at these faces!

Another perk at this park that I really appreciated was that there is a plethora of seating scattered throughout the park for pregnant mommas, grandparents, or other non-riders so they can watch and enjoy their littles on the rides.  There’s also plenty of shade and restrooms are conveniently located as well.  If your child loves trains, I highly recommend the Adventure City Express Train that you can all enjoy as a family- it circles the entire park and goes through some fun areas like the birthday party rooms.


Additional Fun

In addition to the rides, there is also a little petting zoo, an arcade, a rock climbing wall, and a Thomas & Friends area. We didn’t make it over to the Thomas & Friends area or the rock climbing wall but my girls loved the petting zoo, especially our 2.5 yr old.


The arcade was also pretty great; even though we did have one incident of our tickets getting jammed after a game, the staff took care of it quickly and efficiently.  I found that the games were really kid friendly and it was pretty accessible for the girls to earn tickets- much more so than Chuck E. Cheese.  Our 2.5 yr old loved the fish bowl game and the feed the dog game, our 5 yr old loved them all!  I highly recommend getting the Fun Card if you plan on hitting up the arcade; it’s definitely worth it and more than enough to split among two kiddos!


If you haven’t been to this little gem of a theme park, I highly recommend you check it out! Parking is free (although when busy you do have to go to the lot that’s a short walk further away.) They offer re-entry, stroller rentals, locker rentals, wheel chair rentals, there are plenty of food, snacks, and treats to munch on, and you can purchase gift cards for loved ones! Their hours vary and can be found on their website where you can also purchase tickets in advance:

Adventure City

If they offered annual passes, we definitely would buy!


Sunday, Knott’s Berry Farm: 

We went to Knott’s the last day of the Boysenberry Festival and we opted not to try the Boysenberry goodies (though they smelled and looked delicious) because the lines were insanely long and the girls were already anxious to get on the rides.  By the time we arrived it was lunch time (we had church in the morning) so we fueled up at Johnny Rockets because milkshakes and fries are the lunch of champs, right?

Our 2.5 yr old crashed on my lap on a bench while Papi and big sis’ rode two of the rides on the Boardwalk area next to Johnny Rockets. It turned out to be the perfect arrangement as by the time they were done, our little woke up and was ready to head to Camp Snoopy.  I will say it was very crowded and I overheard a passholder say that it was due to the Boysenberry Festival.   Regardless, our girls were very patient in line and I made sure to walk over to buy drinks and snacks for them while they waited in line. It also worked out that I couldn’t ride with them because I became the designated “potty-taker” for our potty training little!

The first couple rides took a good while due to the length of the lines.  But they were well worth it as our girls LOVED them.

Again, look at those faces! I think even Papi was a kid again!

While I was accompanying our 5 yr old in line for the Linus Launcher, on which she could ride alone, I got a call from the Hubs that our 2.5 yr old had injured her finger and he was running her to First Aid.  He told me to let our 5yr old ride the Linus Launcher (she was up next) and then meet him at First Aid.  Our 5 yr old loved the ride and mommy did her best not to show my stress and worry.


So excited to launch!

Your daredevil little will love this ride because they’ll feel like they’re flying since they get to lay on their belly!

As soon as the munchkin got off the ride, we high-tailed it over to First Aid to meet up with Papi and little sis’.  It turns out our 2.5 yr old had put her finger in a hole in the wooden fence at the Ferris Wheel ride and it had gotten stuck.  My husband was unaware and went to pull her off the fence when the line moved forward and hear a “snap.” He was worried and convinced that her finger was broken.  Luckily, First Aid had an ER nurse available and upon examination deemed that as she could bend, wiggle, and move it; it wasn’t broken.  We applied ice for the swelling and we were good to go.  The EMT and nurse were so patient and kind with our little and told us what to look out for as we kept an eye on her finger.  Furthermore, the EMT asked us what rides we wanted to go on that we hadn’t yet had a chance to experience and called in express passes for us to each ride! So for our last hour in the park we got to speed through 5 rides plus a bonus one that had no wait time! It was very nice of them and thanks to them, the girls still had a great time!


I’m not sure that I would invest in annual passes at this stage in our little’s lives yet as they can pretty much only do Camp Snoopy.  It felt really pricey for what it was.  However, we do feel it was a great Spring Break surprise and the girls really enjoyed it!



What did you do over Spring Break with your kiddos? Share in the comments!

family · mommyhood · oc living · socal living · stay at home mom life · Uncategorized

Ruiz Girls Flower Fields Adventure

Since we had to cancel our spring break travel plans due to the complications in my pregnancy; I had been determined to find fun day activities to do with the girls over their spring break last week.  To my surprise, I discovered that I hadn’t missed the Flower Fields in bloom this year! Jack Pot.  I also made weekend plans for the four of us to go to Adventure City and Knott’s but more on that later.  Without hesitation, I packed us plenty of snacks and changes of clothes for the potty training little.

Having never been there before and only having seen photos, I had no idea what to expect.  For the record, there are bathrooms located conveniently throughout the fields and port-a-potties in the most remote parts of the fields, so I wound up not really needing to use our portable potty.  Also, they sell delicious fresh squeezed lemonade, ice cream, and other delicious treats and snacks as well.  We stuck to our packed snacks due to my GD management and because we had lunch plans, but next time you bet we’ll at least munch on some funnel cake!

We bought our tickets online so we were able to proceed straight through the entrance; gotta love mobile ticketing!

As soon as we arrived, we ran toward the fields (the girls ran, I waddled behind lol) to get some photos. The fields have convenient little bridges to cross over the water ditches and designated photo op areas.  It’s important to remember that you are not allowed to go into the flowers or cross over the green tape; the flowers are blocked off to protect them and the people who ignored this rule were caught- there are staff patrolling the area in golf carts ensuring the flowers are left alone.  So, don’t be that person 🙂


The flowers are quite an extensive walk, so I opted to get us the wagon tickets which are $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 3-10.  You can buy them at the entrance with a card, or at the wagon waiting area in cash.  They also have an ATM located at the entrance for your convenience.  I’m so glad that I opted for the wagon ride into the fields; the girls loved the ride and we were able to see and enjoy more after since we weren’t too tired from all the walking.

Even though we got an overcast day, the girls and I had a blast and we got some awesome photos.

Not to mention the girls got many a compliment on their Latinx tees from Chiquitin Clothing!

After we finished our wagon ride and taking photos in the fields, we began the girls’ scavenger hunt.  They each had been given a “stamp passport” and told to look for the orange flags throughout the fields; when they collected all 8 stamps they could turn in their passports to the Mining area for a dollar off the mining fee ($4) where they can pick a pail of sand and sift through it themselves to discover gemstones which they get to take home!  The girls are still very excited about their gemstones and jealously care for them a-la “My preciousssss.”



As we went along collecting stamps and exploring, we found a couple more beautiful photo op spots, a little aviary with some interesting birds which the girls stopped to look at, and eventually came across this awesome little play area, “Santa’s Playground.” It was the most darling little playground!


Just look at how darling and fun this little playground is!!! AND there are benches where parents can just sit, relax, take pics, observe, enjoy their lemonade, etc.


We also really enjoyed running, (again I waddled), through the Sweet Pea maze- and oh so fragrant!


Even though it was a cloudy day and we got surprised by some drizzle, the day trip down to the Carslbad Flower Fields was a fun and successful one.  At $16 per adult and $8 for kids 3-10 yrs old, the trip was not only worth it but truly memorable.  And who doesn’t love taking pics of flowers?!  The flower fields will continue to be open to the public for the season until May 13th, 2018.




kids · marriage · oc living · Uncategorized

Our Anniversay Date with Luzia

Celebrating 12 yrs together at Cirque’s “Luzia”

My husband and I have been together for 12yrs, married for 5 of those years, and since one of our first experiences together as a couple was Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo, we often return to a Cirque show to celebrate special occasions together.  This anniversary that show was Luzia.

As this anniversary approached, we didn’t really have a plan; as I have been struggling with HG we were unsure whether I’d be up for an evening out.  However, at the last minute we were able to reserve tickets to Luzia and decided to make an evening of it.  To say that I’m glad we went is an understatement.  The show is just beautiful!

Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia is a mesmerizing love letter to Mexico.   The show beautifully embodies varying elements from Mexican culture; our folklore, our music, our customs, and our country’s riches.

The opening act begins with a voice over telling the audience to fasten their seat belts and set our phones to airplane mode as if we were on a flight to Mexico.  A spotlight focuses on a figure at the top of the Grand Chapiteau and we see a clown parachuting in the air held by a harness and invisible wire.  He brilliantly performs the physicality of an actual sky diver or parachuter which combined with his hilarious facial expressions makes for a highly comedic opening.

Upon landing, the clown embarks on a dream journey through Mexico which takes you through a variety of tastes of its folklore some traditional, some modern but all a vivid, vibrant, celebratory depiction of Mexico.  In true Cirque fashion; 16 creators under the artistic guidance of Guy Laliberte and Jean-Francois Bouchard expertly weave the mastery of acrobatics and circus flair with technological elements such as the projection of images in the falling “rain” and robotic watering can creatures to heighten the magic of the show. Between the daring acrobatics, the gasp-inducing caliber of talent onstage, the breathtaking costumes and scenery, and the music; the show is definitely a memorable experience.  Speaking of the music; if you’re a regular Cirque patron, you’ve likely noticed that Cirque productions have a distinct musical signature to their compositions and Luzia does not disappoint in that department.  If anything, it surpasses the expectation laid by its predecessor productions.  Somehow, in Luzia Cirque composer Simon Carpentier manages to brilliantly pay homage to Mexican musical styles like Mariachi, Cumbia, and Pop Latino  while maintaining the signature artistic sound that is unique to Cirque.  In fact, we loved the music so much that we bought the album.  We’ve only done that one other time!

While we didn’t take the munchkins with us to this show, because, well, it’s our anniversary and we wanted alone adult time; this show is completely family friendly.  In fact, there were several kids of varying ages in the audience.  Had it not been our anniversary, we would’ve treated our girls to this enriching experience as well.  The colors, the music, the scenery, and the acts are definitely something that will be enjoyed by the whole family.  If you do decide to make it a kid-free date night, I highly recommend springing for the VIP lounge passes.  We were so glad we did; it includes an open bar 45 minutes before the show which includes popcorn, treats, and non-alcoholic beverages (which this preggo appreciated), as well as a selection of wine and beer.  The lounge is also open during intermission which was considerably more comfortable than standing around for 25 minutes.  Again, this preggo really appreciated that!

The hubby enjoying the VIP Lounge

The Grand Chapiteau is fairly small so most seats are good view; however, I would stay clear of outer edge seats on the side sections, those were blocked by the lighting and sound scaffolding.  Luzia is running until March 25th and I can’t recommend it enough!


Have you seen it? Or are you planning to see it? Drop me a line and let me know what you thought!



Ladies; Advocate for your health

Here I am just one day shy of the 25 week mark.  If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know that all last week I didn’t have the IV hydration because after 3 months of constant poking, my veins finally gave out.  I spent the last eleven days fighting with my insurance company; their delegated authorizing agent, and the provider to get my PICC line (which turns out to be a Midline) approved.

After eleven days of being bounced around from agent to agent, having each entity  blame the other, having the authorization denied twice, having my husband call and go full blown lawyer on them (because I just no longer had the emotional strength to do so), and having my doctor help advocate for me; it was finally approved and this morning I had the Midline installed.

My doctor’s office was as outraged for me as I was going through it- It’s almost as if though the insurance company didn’t grasp the gravity of what me going a week without hydration meant.  In fact, it got to be such a hassle that at one point I actually caught myself thinking, “Well, I’ve survived this long without it…maybe, I can survive without it. Maybe I should just call my doctor and have them cancel the order.”  

But then I spoke with the nurse practitioner at my doctor’s office (she’s the best!) and my husband and they BOTH shook me out of this ridiculous thought.  They basically reminded me that I have a RIGHT to feel better.  That this is what I have insurance for and that merely surviving shouldn’t have to be my best option. That I clearly feel and eat better while on the hydration and that I shouldn’t have to settle for barely surviving while feeling miserable.  I’m so glad I listened to them.

I’ve only had the one liter of hydration so far this morning- As I write this, I’m currently hooked up.  And I already feel better with every drop.

But what does it say about our healthcare system and they way it treats women particularly that we default to “toughing it out” or “sucking it up” because even when our symptoms are taking seriously by our doctors; the insurance companies are another story.

And so, I’ve decided it’s important that we share our stories and encourage one another to advocate for our health.  It’s exhausting, and I’ve been lucky enough to have an amazing team at my doctor’s office who advocates for me and a wonderful husband who steps in to fight on my behalf when I just can’t anymore.  But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t fight if he couldn’t have done it for me- I would’ve swallowed my emotions and done it.  I’m just glad I didn’t have to.

It’s ridiculous and even flabbergasting to me that I had to wait twelve days to have a procedure done that turns out could’ve been approved the same day the FIRST authorization order was submitted.  Twelve days. Twelve days of my insurance company and their delegated medical group hiding behind process while I merely survived; while I felt sick, while I ate less and less for fear of throwing up and sending myself into premature labor, while I smiled and said I was fine when really I could feel the nausea bubbling into potential vomit.  Twelve days.

I hope my post encourages other women to advocate for their health and to push back when doctors or insurance providers hide behind process while the patient’s health is on the line.  I’m grateful to my husband who got so angry he forced each agent to stay on the line with us as we were transferred.  I’m grateful to the team at my doctor’s office who were each heavily involved in hounding my insurance provider for the authorization. I’m grateful to our good friend, Sean, who works in healthcare and advised me through dealing with my insurance and medical group. I’m grateful to my home health nurse who advocated for a Midline for me in the first place. I’m grateful to the random mom at my daughter’s school who’s name I don’t even know who recognized what I was going through with HG, who’s an HG survivor herself, and who suggested to me that I push for in home health care so I wouldn’t have to drive myself thirty minutes each way daily for infusions.

Everyday I keep hoping and praying that I won’t need this much longer.  But everyday on HG has taught me a few things:

  1. How strong I really can be.
  2. How grateful and humbled I am by the outpouring of love, support, cooked meals, lift-my-spirits visits, care packages, come-clean-my-house visits, and more that I have received from our friends and family.
  3. How strong my husband and I’s marriage truly is (though don’t get me wrong; at times HG has put a strain on us.)


So, once again, if you, my dear reader,  are battling with HG; I’m with you sister.  I see you.  I love you. I’m sending you the biggest hug; you’re not alone.  And if you know someone with HG; love on them, send them an encouraging text, show up at their house and just be with them (don’t judge the likely mess), just give ’em some love.

This too shall pass.


Hyperemesis Gravidarum or “Why I’ve been absent”

Hyperemesis Gravidarum.

I’ve really struggled with writing this post.  Mainly because I don’t typically like to share certain aspects of my personal life.  I don’t like to worry my friends and loved ones, I don’t like people fussing over me, and as I’ve mentioned in previous writings: it’s really hard for me to ask for help much less accept it.  I also struggled with writing this post, though I’ve meant to for a couple months now, because I almost feel like I don’t deserve to.  In one of my explorations for answers on Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), I came across a blog from a fellow HG mom in which she wrote that she tries to remind herself that other women have it worse.  I do too; during the roughest days with HG I try to remind myself that it could be worse, that I could be hospitalized.  And so it makes me writing about HG very difficult, but I’ve decided to do so, not because I want anyone’s sympathy, but because I owe many of my friends and you, my readers an explanation of why I’ve been such a recluse and why I seem to have fallen off the face of the Earth.


If you haven’t heard of Hyperemesis Gravidarum, don’t fret; I hadn’t either.  Recently, thanks to Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, HG has become a little more known.  In short, HG is a condition of pregnancy in which you don’t just experience severe nausea and vomiting.  You vomit so much and are so nauseous that you become dehydrated and depending on the case you face other possible complications.  In my case, my brilliant doctor diagnosed me early enough and intervened before I needed hospitalization.  But said intervention also means I have to receive regular hydration via IV which means my arms look like I’m a heroin addict.  I manage the nausea enough to be able to keep some foods and liquids down, however, most days I’m not able to make it out of bed to do more than start a load of laundry.  Monday through Friday I save up all my energy so that I can pick up my daughter from school and help her with homework.  Other women have it worse, I repeat to myself as I start to get frustrated by my current limitations.  Some days, even with the medication and hydration, I still vomit.  Not passively; violently. Like, pull-my-IV-line-out-of-my-arm-in-the-process, violent.  On particularly bad days, I’ve had to keep my husband from work or call him out of work to take me to the hospital on doctor’s orders for close monitoring.  I’m only 21 weeks, (or already 21 weeks, depending on how you look at it), and the HG is not letting up. Other women have it worse.


The housekeeper comes once every two weeks for a stay of two to three days.  In between, my house looks like chaos, laundry is only ever half done (if that. Thank goodness my kids have so many clothes), and my hubby picks up dinner from a rotation of restaurants.  Those two to three days she’s here are a breath of fresh air (almost literally.)

2018-01-20 11.39.31
This is me, in my mess of a bedroom, supporting the Women’s March on January 20th while hooked up for hydration.  Ps. I don’t like sharing this; it’s not my most flattering look for my bedroom or me.


And so dear ones, now you know why I’ve been missing in action.  I do feel awful at the number of texts, voicemails, and invitations gone without reply.  I feel terrible that I can’t jump to volunteer for the class parties, or the lab days, or the field trips, or even attend the special performances.  I’ve dropped the ball on every holiday. Christmas is my JAM, but this past year; not so much.  I feel awful about the number of cancellations we’ve had to make and the things I’ve bailed on.  Only a handful of people have known about my HG, not because the rest of you don’t matter, but because I don’t like to worry anyone.  Also, because it’s exhausting to explain what it is to each person; it’s not your fault, it’s my natural inclination toward introversion and keeping certain things private.  Were it not for my overwhelming guilt for being such an absent friend, you probably wouldn’t be hearing about this until this baby is at least two years old.

However, take some solace in the knowledge that my absence is non-discriminatory.  I have been absent from a lot of things; Disneyland trips with my husband and girls, aquarium trips, birthday parties, Christmas Eve dinner, bath time, and so much more.  I even left my husband’s company dinner because after not more than an hour, I had to B-line it to the restroom.  I suppose there’s some comedy in picturing the looks of horror on the women’s faces in the two-stall lady’s room of the Balboa Bay Resort as I make sounds that rival the creature in ALIEN vs Predator.  Actually, I don’t suppose.  I know that if I hadn’t been feeling like my body was trying to expel every last cell from itself, I would’ve been able to appreciate the humor from an outside perspective.

2017-12-13 13.48.06
This is early in the infusion process when I had to drive daily to the infusion center, before it got to be too much and I was approved for in-home care.

Other women have it worse.

My husband has been amazing.  He’s taken on a lot.  Much of which he was not previously used to taking on and on top of a full time, demanding career.  He’s taken on dinner time, bath time, bedtimes, school pickups for one of our kids and sometimes for both when I’m in really bad shape.  He tries to help with laundry when he can, a little bit of dishes here and there, he’s left work or not gone in when I’ve needed to be taken in or can’t be home alone.  He takes the kids out of the house on the weekends so I can just rest and so they don’t have to see me ill.  All while trying to meet deadlines for filings, motions, briefs, depositions and being assigned to a new client.  On some mornings when I’m really ill, he’s taken on breakfast, getting them dressed, and school lunches.  Poor guy needs a vacation.  I don’t take what he’s done to make my focusing on my health easier lightly; I know what a sacrifice it is for him.  I know that for every time he takes off work or handles the night routine with the girls; he’s pulling an all-nighter to finish his work.  Other women have it worse.  I’m also very grateful for our families’ efforts to help as much as they can; my aunt and uncle were here for a couple of days to help and my mother-in-law has come up intermittently to help.  I’m grateful for the small things everyone has done to help us; from the dropped off dinners, to offering to watch the girls, to the emotional support and advice… It has not gone unnoticed.

Aside from HG, because I’m an over-achiever, I’m also at risk for premature labor.  Partly because of the HG and partly because of my history of premature labor.  So I have these fun weekly checkups and shots to look forward to.  Other women have it worse.

So friend who’s text I haven’t replied to, who’s voicemail I heard but didn’t call back; who’s invitation to lunch or coffee I seem to have disregarded…. This is the “why.” I still love you, I still care about what’s going on in your life (that’s why you see my ‘likes’ on Facebook sporadically), and I still miss you.  I’m just not myself right now.  But- Other women have it worse. 

So, for now, I just take it day by day and try to focus on the fact that this is not forever.  Eventually, I will be back to my normal- even if the likelihood of that is upon delivery.  Until then, thank the heavens for Netflix, my affinity for writing, and my Kindle.  Until then, I’m not ghosting you, I promise.


The Greatest list of Summer Must Reads


Summer is here and I’ve teamed up with some amazing mom bloggers in my Momstertribe to bring you a great compilation of summer blog posts ranging from recipes to summer activities.



Easy Peasy Pinwheels | A Boy and His Mom



With summer parties and BBQs in full swing, here’s an easy recipe that the other guests will not only enjoy but ask you to bring again.



Quick and Easy Freezer Pops | Happily Ever Hauser



Summer is here!! This means celebrations, birthday parties, BBQs and more! Here’s a quick and easy party favor idea to add to your next summer gathering!



Summer Italian Treat: Affogato | Viva la Dolce



The summer is here and that means sunshine and lots of gelato (ice cream)! Check out this delicious recipe for an Italian twist on the classic summer treat!

crab salad


Summer Crab Salad Recipe | Ordinary Stephanie



Summer is here and the temperatures are already rising!! If you are looking for a yummy and fresh salad recipe check out this one out! After all, who wants to turn on the oven or stove on these hot summer days? Enjoy!



Summer Activities


Disneyland Time-Saving Tips from a Local Mom | Mom and Carrot



Are you heading to the Disneyland resort this summer? Here are great tips from a local mom for seeing the resort when you are short on time, including how to beat food lines and how to go through security check-points quicker. This post will help you see more and do more on your next trip!

minimalist beach


Minimalistic Beach Days | Live Love Learn Gracefully



Whether you live at the beach or visit one throughout the summer, beach days are a blast on hot summer days! If you add kids to the mix, you’ll more than likely be taking everything but the kitchen sink with you! Here are some tips and my top 5 favorite things to take to the beach!


Disney Summer Play Days



Disney Summer Play Days | New Adventures in Mommyhood


The summer is a great time to take on new adventures and try some new activities; specially as the kiddos start to get restless.

Did you know that the Disney Store offers a free annual summer long weekly event?

Read all about it by clicking the link

5 things


5 Things to Research Before You Head Out This Summer | A Life with a Little



This summer means fun in the sun, barbecues and hot dogs, cool drinks, exploring with the kids, and enjoying some much needed relaxation. But before you get out in the sun, check out this list of 5 things you should research BEFORE you head out on your summer plans! Here are 5 things you might not think to research about the places you’ll go, so give it a look and see what you need to think about before the kids drag you out of the house!




Fun Activities At Home

surprise bags

#PayFunForward Summer Fun – Surprise Packs | Travels With Tots



Summer is finally here and it’s a great time to spread some cheer around your neighborhood! Here’s how we did it and how you can, too!


at home summer activities


Summer Activities for Kids at Home | Jesus and Wine



Summer is officially here, and we’re celebrating by listing 10 different summer activities you can do with your kids at home this summer! The best part? They’re inexpensive, involve little prep work, and they’re great for kids of any age! Keep your kids entertained and enjoying summer with these fun activities!


water tables


Top 5 Best Water & Sensory Tables of 2017 | Little Bit of Learning



It’s hard to stay cool during the summer and keep your kids actively engaged in play. That’s why I love these water tables! Your porch will be the hit this summer with these engaging water tables plus some ideas for great sensory add-ons!



’13 Reasons Why’

My thoughts after watching the show…

*Disclosure: I don’t normally write about this type of thing on my blog, but this does have to do with parenting and quite possibly one of the more scarier aspects of parenting.*


If you haven’t heard of the show 13 Reasons Why, I’ll fill you in:

On the surface, it is a show about a teenage girl who commits suicide seemingly out of the blue.  Before she kills herself, she records a series of tapes outlining the reasons why she chose to end her life.  The show has sparked controversy and a great deal of outcry by parents and some religious groups.

In my own circles I recently heard a woman (whom I don’t know personally), speak angrily about the show.  She claimed we were ‘losing our youth’ to its message and to ‘Hollywood’ overall.  Let me begin by saying that as someone who has worked in the industry on and off and who is still working on establishing a career in the industry; I’m the first to admit that there’s a lot of garbage out there that inexplicably gets produced.  Please don’t get me started on “Rubber,” I still want that hour and twenty-two minutes of my life back.  I’m also the first to admit that a great amount of media and what is produced in ‘Hollywood’ (aka Television & Film), does have damaging messages to our youth; messages about what it is to be “a man,” or about a woman’s role or about violence…  And yes, parents should guard what their children watch.  However, this show isn’t in this category.  Quite the opposite.

After I heard this particular woman speak so ardidly; I did some research.  Since then I’ve seen blogs, articles, and overall buzz about the show and it’s “controversy.”
Some people seemed to be demonizing the show and claiming that it “glorifies suicide.”
This prompted me to watch the show and decide for myself.
After watching, I conclude that anyone who thinks the show ‘glorifies’ suicide hasn’t watched it. Anyone who thinks we are losing our youth to its message doesn’t know the message and is judging the show solely based on its surface premise; a young girl kills herself and leaves behind a mystery in the form of thirteen tapes to be solved.
However, that is not the message.  The message is clear; suicide is not the answer, but it is happening, there is an epidemic and we need to be able to talk about it, specially with our vulnerable youth.
This show is necessary; it is the type of narrative that starts a conversation- conversations that need to happen. We need to be talking about some of the issues that could happen in young teen/adult lives; cyber-bulling and sexual assault specially. And we need to be having those conversations with our youth.
There is a point in the “Beyond the Reasons” segment of the show where one of the consultants, Alexis Jones, founder of I Am That Girl & PROTECTHER says, “I think first and foremost schools can be teaching more emotional education; I think that we’re lacking so severely in that arena.” As well as when the show discusses the idea that we need to have more skilled and equipped people on campus’ to handle what these kids are dealing with and to create a safe place for them to talk and be heard. One of the psychologists consulting on the show, Dr. Rebecca Hedrick,  mentions that it’s common for young adults to not recognize their own emotions or even be able to talk about them…. As well as this powerful notion that we need to educate counselors, educators, and parents on how to receive this type of information from a teen.
I think this show is necessary to begin that dialog for ourselves as parents; “How can I equip myself to talk to my teen? Or how can I create a safe place to help him/her navigate their emotions or to talk to someone who can?”
And also as educators; “How can I know what to look for when a kid needs help? Or how can I let my students know or the students of this school know where to seek help? To feel safe to unburden themselves?”
My takeaway from this show wasn’t that it glorified teen suicide.  My takeaway from this show is that we need to equip ourselves with how to communicate with our youth; specially in an era of technology.  How to understand and not trivialize cyber-bulling,  how to talk about sex and consent openly to keep our youth safe, and more importantly to create a safe space to talk.  That’s my biggest takeaway from the show; TALK.
Be vigilant with your kid, be involved, but also TALK with your kid.
I don’t think 13 Reasons Why is an evil influence on our youth.  If anything, sit down and watch it with your youth.   If anything, the show depicts the damage that a suicide can leave behind; the pain on your loved ones; it doesn’t glorify it.  It shows how hard it is, how ugly and painful and how damaging it is.  After you watch it, have those difficult conversations; talk openly.
As a writer, I admire this type of brave and honest narrative and I think that in this digital age where we have become so cynical and desensitized; I think shows like this  can steer conversations that we need to be having and can help us remember to reinforce or in some cases establish those lines of communication.