Posts Tagged "MamaDish blog"

BEWARE! A Not-So-Kid-Friendly Halloween Store!

Posted by on Oct 8, 2011 | 3 comments

I love the Fall… I love Halloween… I love the excitement and anticipation my kids experience when they are deciding what costume they are going to wear on October 31st. Shopping for costumes is something I’ve always enjoyed. This is one thing I typically don’t like to buy on the Internet because I never know the quality of the costume and I find that so many times they don’t fit according to what size your child usually wears.

My youngest… easy. She is still in “Disney Princess mode”, so we shopped at the Disney Store for her costume. My oldest, however, wants to search and try on. She wants to be a gypsy this year. Easy enough, I thought, that’s a pretty standard Halloween frock. Let’s just check out the nearest Halloween store. There is a Spirit Halloween just a few blocks away…

With my three and nine year old children in tow, my husband and I went to check out gypsy costumes at the Spirit Halloween store. We’ve been to these stores in the past and we knew they had the whole grave yard set up, but we were not prepared for the how gruesome the store has become.

The children’s costumes were at the other end of the store from the entrance, and in the middle of the store where we had to pass through, were numerous disturbing displays. I imagine that most children would scream and run out of this store. Unfortunately, my kids have a morbid curiosity and gave all the displays a good look, claiming not to be frightened. In hindsight, we should have turned around and left, but Mikayla was on a mission to try on her costume and we let her.

Right next to the kids costumes is a carousel of dead babies. Some are swinging in circles above the others, some are displayed on the base of the carousel and others are grouped together as if playing at a play date. Some have gashes where they were probably sliced with a knife and met their death… others are enjoying snacks, such as severed hands and brains (of course, why wouldn’t they be?!)

On our way to the dressing room we saw a portrayal of a dead man who had the lower half of his body removed and a rat was feasting on his intestines while he screamed. I felt sick looking at all of this. I felt even worse knowing my kids were with me.

We left the store without a costume and I personally left with a bad taste in my mouth… and I wasn’t even the one eating human body parts! I’m a little confused as to why a store that targets children would display such gruesome scenarios that would be deemed PG-13 or worse if seen in a movie. I left feeling guilty that I had not known what my children would be viewing. Shouldn’t there be some sort of warning sign on the front door for parents bringing their kids in to look for costumes? Lessoned learned Spirit Halloween; shop on-line for your children’s Halloween costumes… done.

Funny thing happened when I went back to take these pictures for my post.  As I walked into the store, I heard a father talking to his two pre-teen daughters. He said he thought the displays were getting worse every year, and mentioned how all the dead babies were over doing it.  Looks like I may not be the only one!

Are we just getting old and losing our sense of Halloween spirit? What do you think?

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Let the Memories Begin! Disneyland 2011

Posted by on Oct 5, 2011 | 0 comments

My husband and I were totally brave taking our 3 month old, 2 year old and 5 year old to Disneyland last weekend… Brave or crazy, take your pick.  Never mind the fact that I had my period for the duration of the trip, my toddler had a meltdown midflight and cracked my jaw with the intensity of a UFC fighter, or our hotel room had no air conditioning on the last night; we had a wonderful time!  And to think I only cried once!

Even though we lived in Los Angeles, this was our first time to Disneyland.  We (minus the kids) have been to Disney World a few times, but the original Disneyland was virgin territory to us.  If you have the guts to take that 4+ hour plane ride (if you live in the Midwest that is), I highly recommend saving the money and time and hit up Disneyland as your first Disney experience with younger kids.  It’s faster, easier and frankly, just as much fun as Disney World… if not more fun because you are not dealing with SO MUCH to do and see in such a short and overwhelming amount of time.  We also decided to do California Disney first in case the kids don’t remember all there is to offer from this amazing amusement park… less money spent is less guilt for us parents. ;)

If you are planning a trip to Disneyland anytime soon, here are a few tips from some native SoCal residents that I will share with you:

1)  Parking can seem a bit overwhelming once you arrive at the park. Although the Disney folks have crowds and mass chaos pretty much down to a science, a friend of ours told us to park at the Downtown Disneyland parking lot, which will save you the hassle of lugging your small children, strollers, diaper bags, and all other essentials for tots on the tram (the main parking lot leads you to a tram that you must then take to the park entrance). The less you have to deal with the better, and personally we found it easier to not have to break down the strollers, bags, etc and just walk. Parking on the Downtown Disneyland lot allows you to walk right to the park entrance (for both Disneyland and California Adventure). You get the first few hours free parking, then all you have to do is eat at one of the great restaurants on the strip, get a coffee, or buy a souvenir and get your ticket validated for an additional few hours of free parking. Very minimal parking fee and totally well worth it.

2)  If you are like us and have smaller children, you may not know or remember which rides might be appropriate for your kids. Did you know that you can check out the rides before even stepping foot into a line? Go to and type in the name of the ride you are questioning and it gives you the POV of the passenger. Then you can decide if Ursula or the Evil Emperor Zurg will scare the pants off of your four year old or not!

3)  If you can’t get to the park at the crack of dawn to hit your favorite rides and beat the long lines, you can always check in on wait times with the Disneyland Magic Guide iPhone App. For only $2.99, the app gives you an up-to-date real-time status of wait times for lines for your favorite rides. We didn’t even go near New Orleans Square because the Haunted Mansion was 75+ minutes the entire time we were there. There are other free apps for iPhone and Android, but I can’t comment on their usefulness as we didn’t try them out.

All in all, Disney still gives me that feeling of being a little kid again! The rides, the characters, all things that go with Disney are indeed special and we are so grateful that we were able to share this experience with our kids. Now, I gotta get back to work so I can make money and start saving for our next trip in 4 years…

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“Monkey with a Tool Belt”

Posted by on Sep 29, 2011 | 0 comments

No, this is not a post about the Hubs trying to do a home repair.  It’s a book review, silly.

Brady is a nut about reading, and I love it.  I was the same way when I was his age; always had a book in my hand.  My mom even has a photo of me around age 5 reading to several (likely unwilling) neighborhood kids, teacher-style.  Just picture me on a small white rocking chair, with a handful of children at my feet, turning and displaying the pages slow-motion style.  I’m sure I missed my true calling as a librarian.

Thankfully we live in walking distance to the library, because I go insane reading the same book over and over and over again (have I ever mentioned that I know Big Red Barn by heart?!)  A few months ago, we started moving past the typical toddler board books and onto what I like to call the “not to be read alone within 10 feet of a marker, crayon or pen” books.  You know, the kind with real pages.  Most of these books are above Brady’s level of reading apprehension, but I let him pick whichever ones he wants and then we weed them out at home. Very few of them hold my attention more than “A Potty For Me” (joke!), but during our last trip to library Brady picked up a gem.  I honestly enjoy reading the book to him and find myself appreciating the little nuances in the story that I’m sure were included for the parents’ benefit.

Has anyone else come across “Monkey with a Tool Belt and the Noisy Problem”, by Chris Monroe?!  It’s brilliant.  We absolutely love this book!  The creative writing style, along with the detailed (and outrageous!) illustrations make it so unpredictable and fun.  First of all, it’s a book about a monkey (in case you didn’t get that from the title).  And the monkey’s name is Chico Bon Bon, something Brady cannot say without giggling out loud.  He is a handy little guy that lives in a pimped out treehouse.  He has a bunch of “unique” tools; such as a frizzler, a frazzler, a pug wrench and a bug wrench.  But, I think the thing I like most about this cheeky monkey is we share the same organization and cleaning values, demonstrated when he decides not to use his XL Grease Gun because it could stain his laundry.

“What does that even mean?!”, you ask?  Well run out to your local library and check it out for yourself.  Or buy it on Amazon.  You will not be disappointed.  I think it would be great for kids 2-6 (in my humble “my true calling was a librarian” opinion).  And while writing this post, I discovered that there are actually two other Monkey with a Tool Belt books… the “original” and “Monkey with a Tool Belt and the Seaside Shenanigans“. I can’t wait to pick ‘em up!

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First Post; Big News!

Posted by on Sep 20, 2011 | 3 comments

I suppose it seems truly fitting that my first post on MamaDish is the one with the news that I’m gonna be a “real” Mama.  Yes, you read that correctly.  We are expecting our very first child sometime in mid-March!

And while pregnancy seems to be the stuff of myths – all rosy, glowing mamas and their amazing bonds with their unborn babies… for me, it’s been 3 rough months and I am STILL waiting for the glorious part of pregnancy to happen.

Isn’t morning sickness supposed to just be confined to you know, mornings?

For me, a simple opening of the fridge door (any time of day) required battle-like preparations, never mind the dread of the evening meal.  Normally, preparing a meal is an event I love, but honestly these last 3 months I could not care less what we ate… and worse, I seem to have gone completely off-piste when it comes to healthy eating (bring on the white carbs!)  I chalked it up to a miracle if anything was even appetizing to me, so let’s just say we’ve had some strange dinner combinations.

And while I’m not some kind of crazy party animal, I do miss having a good beer with my curry, or a nice glass of wine with a roast dinner.  But by far the toughest has been getting the hang of the new country’s healthcare system…  ”I’m from a country where they TELL me what to do!” has been my sad, bleating cry when faced with a much more patient-led approach to pre-natal care.

So I’m gingerly stepping into this void.  I’m sure there will be oh-so-many good things that come from this new adventure in our lives… but for now, I am waiting!!!!  :)

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Nemo Gets A Time Out: The Deleted Scene

Posted by on Sep 8, 2011 | 1 comment

Nemo Gets A Time Out: The Deleted Scene

Call it the Terrible Twos, or the Even More Terrible Threes (we’re not sure if he’s a late bloomer or an early adopter), but our 2 1/2 year old has been a total terror lately.  There’s a worn out spot on the “naughty stair” in the perfect shape of his bum-bum to prove it…

He’s always been headstrong, but this “everything must be done exactly the way I want it or all hell will break lose, and I know I said I wanted oatmeal but by oatmeal I meant pancakes, and not in the same chair I’ve eaten breakfast at for the last 8 months, but THIS chair, why can’t you read my mind?!?” attitude is getting on this Mama’s laaaaaaaassst nerve.  I had no idea that cutting a grilled cheese in squares instead of triangles could send someone so over the edge, and never, ever in a million years would I have thought my son would have so many opinions… especially about what I should wear and how I should style my hair (“no ponytails, Mom!”)  Anyway, that’s a whole other post…

Being the one who is with Brady (alone) the majority of the time, I get the brunt of his anger, and have been crowned “Bad Mommy” on more than one occasion.  But Daddy, oh Daddy, he can do no wrong.

Imagine my surprise when over the weekend, Brady looked Matt square in the eye and said, “I hate you”. It was definitely a needle scratching the record moment– all at once, as if the world stopped spinning, the Hubs and I looked at each other dumbfounded, with our mouths wide open.  The words didn’t even need to be said out loud; holy sh*t!, where in the world did he get that from?!  Once the initial shock wore off, I wiped my eyes to see if somehow my little boy had transformed into a surly teenage girl while I was having my morning coffee.  He in fact had not, and that awful statement actually came out of his sweet little face.

Now, this might seem like a silly thing to get so worked up over (especially if you are a more seasoned parent), but this was the first time we were faced with a situation like this and we were speechless.  For at least 4 seconds.  Trying not to make a big deal about it, we told him that was not a nice thing to say and that we never wanted to hear it again, but we wracked our brains for hours about where he could have picked that up.  We’re guilty of saying some inappropriate things at home, but we’ve never said that.  Must be from another kid at school.

Then yesterday, when Brady was watching Finding Nemo instead of taking a nap (see paragraph #1, above), I heard it crystal clear from the next room– when Nemo’s dad embarrasses him in front of his class, just before he swims out into the ocean and gets captured, he utters those 3 little words in the same exact tone of voice (and context!) that Brady used just a few days prior… “I hate you”.  Well there you go.  Everything “they” said is true; TV is baaaaaad.  You can’t even trust cute little clown fish anymore!  Believe me when I say that was only the 4th time Brady has ever seen that movie, but apparently it only took 3 times for that line to leave its mark.

I flew out of my chair and paused the movie.  I calmly explained to Brady that Nemo shouldn’t have said that, and that at the end of the movie when Nemo is reunited with his Dad, he is promptly put into time out.  They just don’t show that scene.  And if he ever says it again, he’ll have to sit in time out “just like Nemo”.  He bought it hook, line and sinker (pun intended).  I think.

Are there any other Disney characters out there that need a time out for bad behavior?!  Have you ever made an example out of an animated character to get a point across to your kids?!  So far we’ve only watched Finding Nemo, Toy Story and Cars and this was the first time I had to use a cartoon as a scapegoat. I have a feeling it won’t be my last!

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