Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Last night, the kids finished dinner and dashed outside for some backyard play, my husband and I looking on from our kitchen table.  With the kids entertained we began to talk.  At first it was surface chit chat.  You know, chatter about the schedules and plans for the week, etc...But as our conversation went on, we hit more meaningful topics.

We shared some short term goals and our strategies to obtain them.  We discussed how we could lend support to one another (so important).  We connected.

The daily grind and my complaints just seemed to vanish.  I felt rejuvenated on many levels.  Our conversation left me feeling confident that we were in sync. Really, I felt empowered,  like there was no way we wouldn't be be triumphant in our next set of goals.  Yep, all this in just a few minutes from our kitchen table.

Isn't it amazing what lingering at the table can do?!

Why not try lingering at your kitchen table tonight.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Solicitation in Huntington Beach

I love the convenience of shopping in and around the area I live. But I have observed a growing trend that has led me to think twice about frequenting establishments in Huntington Beach as of late.  

Do you frequent stores like Target and Trader Joe's in Huntington Beach like I do?  Have you noticed the growing number of individuals seeking donations to some questionable charitable cause outside the doors of where you shop?  How do you feel about it?  Has the flyer taped to the edge of their t.v. tray look suspect to you? Do you hand over your hard earned money to the people sitting in a garden chair with a wooden box who solicit you to do so?  Does it make you uncomfortable to enter and exit establishments that have solicitors at their doors?

I feel very uncomfortable handing money out to anyone that I am not familiar with.  When I exit a store I just want to get to the parking lot safely and be on my way.  Digging in my purse or telling a solicitor, "Sorry, not today,"(why do I apologize?) makes me uneasy, especially when I have kids in tow. 

My husband recently spoke to a manager about solicitors outside their business.  He was taken back when he learned  the city of Huntington Beach allows solicitation outside the doors of some establishments  (here is the caveat)  provided they purchase a permit.  Yes, that is right, the city does not mind that you are approached by strangers seeking cash.  The city however, is happy to profit from them being in the city.

PLEASE, I am asking that you bid all solicitors well but  DO NOT hand over any money.

If you are as annoyed and irritated by the growing number of solicitors and the city of Huntington Beach's position, hit the link below.  Let the city council and mayor know that you do not approve of their policy granting permits for solicitation.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post.  I really appreciate it.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Children's Consignment

The scenario:  Three children ages 4, 2, and 1....and a lot of stuff.  We have been blessed with oodles of children related and baby care items.  As we have grown in age and as a family, I have run out of places and spaces for all our wares.

Through the years I have held garage sales and donated our outgrown and unwanted good condition items.  While it felt nice to regain space and order I have been left a little unsettled about letting items go that cost us pretty pennies.  Let's face it, garage sale shoppers are looking for a score.  Dirt cheap give aways made me feel resentful.  Passing items to friends and charities left me feeling a little better, as I knew the items would be appreciated and be used. Yet, I still wanted to recoup some of the investment.

A friend of a friend gave me an alternative, consignment.  She shared a link on Facebook.  I looked it over and was lukewarm to the idea. It took a few months of simmering on the idea before I agreed to give it a chance.

I decided to consign with Up Up and Away Kids Consignment.  They hold sales four times a year.  You prep your items and drop them off.  They charge a small fee and keep a percentage of the sales.  The rest of your proceeds are mailed directly to you. There is an option to pick up unsold items or elect to have them donated as well.

A past Up Up and Away Kids Consignment Sale
I spent a good week or so going through storage bins and closets.  All of this activity,  put me into a tail spin of emotions from feeling industrious to sentimental.  My old maternity wear has been easy to let go, while letting go of Isabella's cute ensembles have required wrestling matches in my head.  Isn't is crazy that passing on a bebepod would choke me up?  The flood of memories, moments I cherish, were  brought to the forefront of my mind.  Sifting through the bins had been like discovering bits of buried treasure, each item connected to an event etched in my heart. I selected a few things for keeping, some for charity, and a good sum to consign.
Let the item prep begin!

Item IDDescriptionCategorySizePriceFlagsTag Printed?
1CachCach Playwear & Hat
Orange/Pink Flower Detai
Clothing - Girls0-12 Months$2.50No Discount
No Donate
2Gymboree Pink JacketClothing - Girls12-18 Months$5.00No Discount
No Donate

Up Up and Away has an easy to navigate system to enter your inventory within their website.

Consignment items are entered into a computer system by category, description, and price.
Tags are generated  for each item.

Each clothing item is hung and pinned with a tag.

Items ready to consign.
Consigning does require a bit of effort, hanging, pinning, tagging and so forth.  It is also rule bound (limits on sizes and number of items).  However, I feel the time investment and effort is worth the reward of dropping the items off and not having to barter, advertise, and invite strangers over to rummage through our stuff.  

Tips for Consigning

1.  Store "pristine items" on hangers at the back of your closet or in clear storage bins by size and     
     gender. (HUGE time saver)

2.  Keep original packaging whenever possible.  An original package will give buyer confidence and
     a higher selling price.

3.  Inspect your items as a consumer.  Price according to what you would be willing to pay rather
     than what you hope someone else will pay for the item.

4.  Enter all of your merchandise before printing tags. Cut and tag items one sheet at a time to
     maintain organization.
5.  Encourage friends to consign with you.  You'll generate ideas on what to sell, discuss pricing,
     and enjoy the process so much more!

Use rubberbands to secure hangers with clothing grouped by size and gender.

Place miscellaneous items in a bin for easy toting.
While I was hesitant to consign my baby/children's clothing and gear, I have been pleased with the overall outcome.  In just a few days time I gained some space and organization while recovering some funds.  The sale continues through the weekend and I am optimistic that most items will sell.

Sold Items Report

Up Up and Away Kids Consignment LLC
Last Updated: 7/26/2012 12:04:44 AM

Item IDDescriptionSelling PriceDiscounted?
2Gymboree Pink Jacket$5.00No
4Baby Lulu 2PC Playwear
Pink & Gray
5Guess Pink & Blk dress
Ruffled Skirt
10Sweetheart Rose
Blk/Red/Wht Dress
11Gymboree Dress
12Gymboree Dress
Pink & Green Flowers
18Gymboree L/S Shirt
Wh/Brn/Red Plaid
19Bebe Pod Lime
Tray and Toy Included
20Twin Sheet Set
Laura Ashley Tea/Cupcake

The report above is a partial listing of what items I have sold thus far.

I highly encourage families to check into children's consignment opportunities.  Say goodbye to garage sales and join the rest of the savvy moms and dads who consign. 

Happy selling!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Slow for the cone!

Our neighborhood has had a street resurfacing project underway for the last couple days.  Of course, Michael and Isabella have loved checking out the progress and large trucks.  We are not the stay at home types and have outings and a schedule of sorts to keep.  Hence, we have had to sit and wait in the car to exit our track a few times, much to Michael's delight! 

BUT,  I ran into a predicament.  

When I returned from running errands this afternoon, I wasn't permitted to gain entrance into our track or down our street.  
What to do?  Park 6 blocks away and hoof it with the trio.  

I must say this group of public works workers have done a great job!
Here are a few pics of them and tax dollars at work.

Once settling in, we cooled down with popsicles! 
Oh and the car, it will stay 6 blocks away until after sunset!

Gotta love that messy face!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Atlantis Play Center Splash Pad

Splish Splash

In the spirit of having some summer fun while staying cool, we visited the Atlantis Splash Pad.

Atlantis Play Center is known for it's nautical theme play equipment.  When we learned of the center's addition of a Splash Pad, we added it to our "Summer To Do List."

We met our friends for fun in the sun, lunch and some "old fashioned" outdoor fun.

Our Water Lover

After some splish splash time, we had a quick bite to eat.. The trio nibbled on PB&J, juice boxes and a few goodies too! (Thanks Mrs. B) Then we were off to play on equipment and The Dragon Slide!
Lovin The Slide
Deige All Smiles
My Gal Pal Alli, Heading Down The Dragon Slide
How Cute Is She?  Such A Great Sport
Our Bella Resting In The Shade Nursing A Boo Boo
Joe Keeping An Eye On The Action
A Summer Afternoon With Friends!
If you are in the area and have young kids, add the splash pad and slides to your "Summer To Do List".  How can you beat an afternoon adventure like this for just two dollars? Yep, the entrance fee is a dollar for adults and children over three. Pack your lunch, some cold drinks and the kids.  Then, head out to Atlantis Play Center for an adventure of your own.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Easy Cream Cheese Cake Mix Cookie Recipe

Easy Cream Cheese Cake Mix Cookies

This is a really simple way to whip up some sweet treats.  Just 6 ingredients and you are ready to bake a cookie that tastes like a muffin top; no kidding, they really do.

I recently made these for Independence Day.  My mom who is an excellent baker thought they were a hit.  She was amazed at how simple the recipe was especially since they taste so good.

The cookies photographed here were for my husbands staff as a "Happy Monday Sweet Treat!"


1 Box Cake Mix YellowButter Flavor
8 oz Philly Cream Cheese, Room Temp 
1/4 c Butter Room Temp
1 Large Egg
1 Tbs Pure Vanilla
1 1/2 c Milk Chocolate Chips

Preheat Oven to 375.  Cream butter and cream cheese together.  Add egg and vanilla, blend well.  Gradually, stir in cake mix and chocolate chips.  Drop rounded spoonfuls  (I use a medium sized Pampered Chef cookie scooper) onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly brown.  If using dark cookie sheets, check after 10 minutes.

You may substitute the milk chocolate chips for semisweet chocolate chips or play around with your add ins by using dried fruit or nuts too!

Remember to add this cookie recipe into your sweet treats repertoire. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tea Party

I adore afternoon tea. 

  It was an absolute delight for me to put a few morsels of yummy together for us.  

Maybe you can join us next time!

Tea is Served
Butterfly Sandwiches
Cucumber Sandwiches
A centerpiece of flowers from the yard.

Raspberry Tea
Sandwiches,  Fruit, and Heart Brownie
Isabella and Daddy

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Crazy for Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

As a pinaholic (pinterest addict) I kept seeing a pic of cookies that promised to be delicious so I vowed to make them. The pin stated the recipe came from The New Your Times.  I followed the recipe to the letter and I gotta tell ya, they are delicious.

The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons course salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds of chocolate chips

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl set aside
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs. Stir in vanilla. Incorporate dry ingredients on low speed until just combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Refrigerate 24-36 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop rounded cookie dough onto cookie sheets. Bake approx. 12 minutes. Let stand, then move to cooling racks.

Isabella sifting
Michael's protecting the chips and sneaking a few too
Isabella getting a quick taste
Ready to bake
Crazy for Chocolate Chip Cookies