Wednesday, December 31, 2014

GIVEAWAY: All Hail King Julien…this New Year's Eve!

My New Year's Eve celebrations, before kids, used to consist of a late dinner, followed by dessert, followed by a night of dancing and drinking with my cousins at the "it" nigh club of that year, in Mexico City.  We'd get to the club late and leave early…..at 7am.  And while those says are looooong gone now that I have kids, I must admit, I'm a little glad about that.  There's NO WAY that I could EVER stay up until 7am without falling over in severe exhaustion.  My NYE's now consist of an early dinner, board games and putting the kids to bed, watching my husband asleep on the couch by 8:30pm, and me celebrating NYE alone, while watching the east coast feed at 9pm.



Tonight, I will be changing things up a bit.  After dinner with family,  I'm planning on letting the boys stay up a little past their 8pm bed time, and we'll be hosting our own countdown, just the four of us, with one special guest: King Julien.  The new Netflix animation picture, All Hail King Julien,  will have a special feature today.  King Julien, of Madagascar fame, will host his own three-minute countdown, available for streaming so that kids, too, can enjoy the NYE countdown without having to stay up late to watch the ball drop. Basically, I will be tricking my kids into thinking they're staying up really late and doing what the adults do, but I will control the time the countdown happens.  BRILLIANT idea, if you ask me!  Because there's music and fun included in the countdown, we'll have a mini dance party, cheer with chocolate milk in fancy glasses and eat Oreo's before bed!  I can't wait!! The boys will love it, and I will love the early (but late, for them) bed time on this special occasion.



In fact, I am so excited about this, that I am giving away a 1-year Netlix Streaming subscription!!!  AWESOME, right?!  All you have to do is enter below!!!  What better way to start 2015, than with FREE Netflix Streaming for a whole year?!   {Giveaway ends on 1/3/15 and I will announce the winner on 1/4/15}  Happy New Year, friends!!!!  I hope 2015 is full of happiness and love for you and your families.

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Sleepover at Lorimar Winery in Temecula

*Although I received a weekend of fun, all opinions are my own and I plan on going back to Lorimar Winery to relive every second, every taste and every drink.*



Last month I was fortunate enough to join a few of my bloggy friends for a fun weekend full of wine tasting and fun.  Sharon, from Cupcakes & Cutlery invited a few of her favorite bloggers to join her on a fun, weekend sleepover at the Lorimar Winery.  I honestly cannot tell you how much fun I had……well, I mean, I can because I'm about to tell you just what a great time it was.  But, seriously, the weekend in Temecula was amazing.  I got to spend it with a group of awesome women who all share a love of blogging, fashion and family.  {Bloggers in attendance were: Sharon from Cupcakes & Cutlery, Lauren from A Fabulous Fete, Natalie of Mint Love Social Club, Heather form River and Bridge, Bri from Mamages, Sarah & Nicole from Simply Happenstance}





It started out on a Friday morning, where we arrived at the Lorimar Coach House.  This home is so beautiful and just perfect for fun with friends (or vacation with family).  From the moment I drove onto the gravel driveway lined with trees  and flanked by a rustic fence you see only in the movies, I knew this place was going to be a blast!  The Lorimar Coach House is located directly behind the Lorimar Winery and is perfectly situated for a wine tasting weekend. With its beautiful four bedrooms and three bathrooms, the Coach House is able to sleep eight people comfortably.  The interior is gorgeous and has modern decor, furniture and appliances and is just beautiful!  The front door opens to it's own pond and a gorgeous view of the Lorimar vineyards!  I'm trying to convince my girlfriends that we need to celebrate something here, just so I can go back and enjoy the sunrise over Lorimar, again!







When we arrived on Friday, Sharon and Lauren greeted us with gift bags full of fun things from Tiny Prints, the Flair Exchange and Melissa Creates.  They also had included cute, hand made friendship bracelets for each of us to wear.  As soon as all the girls arrived and were settled in, we headed off to Lorimar to begin our day of tasting and fun.  The staff picked us up and drove us through the vineyard, to Lorimar Winery, in golf carts.  That was fun in itself and we loved being able to be up close with the grapes we were about to taste.  Patrick, the General Manager, greeted us at the winery and we LOVED him!  The guy is on point with his wine knowledge, but he gives it to you in easy-to-understand terms and with humor.  He made our wine tasting experience SO much fun!  He took us through the vineyards, all along the way, giving us tastes of the various wines he was telling us about.




After our tour at Lorimar, we were picked up by Limelite Limousine.  The limo was perfect for our group of eight.  The lights and music inside were great for our afternoon drive.  Who doesn't love a little Taylor Swift to "shake things off"?! Brendan, our driver, had us all set up with water, inside, which we all appreciated, sine we needed to hydrate for a day full of wine tasting.  No one likes a headache after a day of fun.  He also managed to keep us on schedule throughout the day, as he would manage the time for us and let us know when it was time to move on to the next activity on our itinerary.



Our first stop of the day was to Leoness Cellars for a delicious lunch, complete with wine tasting directly at the table.  Aside from the wine, my most favorite part of our lunch were the fries!!!  Prosciutto Fries, Truffle Fries, Traditional English Salt & Vinegar Fries, Melted Gorgonzola Fries….basically, we ate ALL.  OF.  THE.  FRIES!!!  They're amazing!!!  And paired with wine, it was heavenly.





After our lunch,  Brendan came to meet us at our table and he walked us through the vineyards and back to the limo.  Naturally, when you put eight bloggers in a vineyard, there's bound to be eight different photo sessions going on, all at the same time!  HA!





Our next stop was the Wiens Family Cellars and while our time here was short, we were able to enjoy the wines they had to offer.  My favorites were the Dulce Maria and the Rosé Grenache.  I highly recommend those if you're partial to white wines.

Once we finished up our array of tastings at Wiens, we headed back to the Coach House to prep for the dinner that Lorimar was catering for us in their private tasting room.  We also needed to recharge and hydrate.  {Hydration is KEY on a weekend like this, friends.}





While Lorimar Winery does not have a restaurant on site, they still managed to provide us the most spectacular dinner.  Our friends at Lorimar had Vineyard Gourmet Catering come in and treat us to the most fantastic dinner I've had in a really long time!  Every single course of our meal {of which there were several} had a specific wine pairing with the Lorimar Wines.  The chef would come out and tell us about the ingredients in each course and why and how they pair with the specific wines served.  It was so delicious and so educational.  It was interesting to really think about all the ingredients that were put into the meal and the various flavors of the wines we were tasting.  The last time I thought that way was during my honeymoon, in Italy, back in 2006.


The dinner was a great opportunity for all us girls to chat some more and get to know each other IRL (in real life).  Although by this time we had enjoyed plenty of wine, we all were already having a BLAST!  The dinner just allowed us to truly enjoy each other over an amazing meal.

Once our dinner was over we headed back to the Coach House to get the Sleepover part of our trip underway.  Of course, there were giggles and laughs, selfies and fun.  It was so nice to get to know an entirely different group of girls in a setting that didn't involve being behind a computer screen and a keyboard.  I am so appreciative of the time we had over this wonderful weekend.





The next morning, we got ready to leave the Coach House {cue my broken heart} and head to Old Town Temecula for breakfast at E.A.T Marketplace and a walking tour, courtesy of VisitTemeculaValley.com  E.A.T was beyond anything like where I've ever eaten.  I cannot say enough of this amazing restaurant!  It was simply delicious.  If you've never been to E.A.T, now is the time, friends!  I'll be going there over this winter break, just to have breakfast! My sole purpose to drive to Temecula will be ONLY to have breakfast here! They have a focus on obtaining the foods and ingredients they serve from local ranches and organic farms.  They make a true and conscious effort to serve only the best ingredients in every dish, and as a food lover, I really appreciated their effort.  The Chef (and owner) Leah Delyte Di Bernardo, would come and formally "introduce" each dish.  There was a story to every dish; a why and how.  She ran down every ingredient and told us where it came from.  She even introduced us to farmer Paul form Primal Pastures, who raises the chickens that E.A.T uses in their dishes.  It was amazing to witness their passion for locally grown, wholesome food and Chef Leah's desire to give every individual walking through E.A.T's doors the most fantastic and wholesome gastronomical experience.  I sincerely loved everything, so let me just tell you what I think you should order, when you go:  the coffee.  Just drink the coffee.  It comes from Washington state, it's harvested on Mondays and delivered to E.A.T on Wednesdays.  I don't know if it gets any fresher than that!  Also, do yourself a favor and order The Funky Monkey smoothie, the Jungle Love smoothie, Chicken and Waffles, Almond Cakes and Eggs Benedict.  Order all of it.  All. Of. It.  {I'm hungry just thinking about it!}






After our breakfast, Marlene from VisitTemeculaValley.com, took us on a walking tour of Old Town Temecula.    We got to experience many local Temecula businesses, including the Old Town Spice Merchant, Old Town Sweet Shop, Temecula Lavender Company, and the Temecula Olive Oil Company, where we were treated to an olive oil tasting session that reminded me of my honeymoon.  I loved the olive oil so much, I took a bottle of the Roasted Garlic Olive Oil to enjoy as a dip for veggies.  YUM!!!




We packed so many activities into just two shorts days, but we savored every moment and truly enjoyed every mouth watering taste of the weekend.  It was phenomenal!  Huge thank you to Sharon for including me, and to all the people at Lorimar Winery who helped orchestrate this fun-filled weekend.  I'll certainly be going back to Lorimar with my girlfriends.  I've already told them all about what a great time we had on our #LorimarSleepover, they've begged me to take them there the next time I go.  As a good friend, I will be forced to oblige.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Top 20 Movies To Stream on Netflix This Holiday Season

If you're like me, the holiday season begins the day after Thanksgiving.  We decorate all morning on Friday and go Christmas tree shopping on Saturday afternoon.  We make hot chocolate while we decorate and we listen to holiday songs.  If I had it my way, we'd decorate right after Halloween, but my husband thinks I'm crazy and gets irrationally angry when our local radio station (KOST 103.5) starts playing holiday music early.  According to him, "it's unAmerican!"

Now that it's officially the holiday season, we also start our holiday-movie-watching marathons.  We dust off our favorite holiday flicks and make a List in Netflix, of our favorite holiday movies to stream.  Just yesterday we popped a little popcorn and lit a fire while we snuggled on the couch and streamed Christmas movies.

I thought it necessary, to compile a list (in no particular order) of movies that you can stream on Netflix with your family, this holiday season and then another list to stream with your honey.  :)  Which movie is YOUR absolute favorite?  Tonight, my husband and I will be streaming Love Actually, my absolute favorite Christmas movie!



Top 10 Holiday Movies to Stream on Netflix: Family Edition

1.  Hook
2.  Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas
3.  The Nightmare Before Christmas
4.  Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas
5.  A Muppet Christmas Carol
6.  Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed In
7.  Dreamworks Holiday Classics
8.  KungFu Panda: Holiday
9.  Veggie Tales:  The Star of Christmas
10.  White Christmas


Top 10 Holiday Movies to Stream on Netflix: Adult Edition

1.  Love Actually
2.  You've Got Mail
3.  Scrooged
4.  Sleepless in Seattle
5.  Bad Santa
6.  Surviving Christmas
7.  Happy Christmas
8.  12 Dates of Christmas
9.  Christmas with the Kranks
10.  Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Happy streaming!!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Mini Milestone: I'm getting organized and taking names!

Something awesome happened last month!!  I started to get organized.  Now, I don't mean completely organized, because well, there's just no way that would be possible in the span of just one month.  However, I was inspired by my fellow Netflix StreamTeamer (yup! I just made that a word) Kelly Ladd Sanchez of KLS Crafts to finally get organized when it comes to my kids' class work, art work, etc.  Kelly made a milestone memory box (which is quite a brilliant idea, by the way!) to store her son's personal mementos, photos, medals, rocks and anything else he feels is memorable and special.  I thought, after seeing this, that I might finally create the files for each of my boys where I could store SOME of their school work, art work and awards for each school year.

You know how kids come home with a million pieces of paper to show you and then it's always more stuff than you have space for in their baby books? Well, this is a serious problem in my house and something I had been striving to conquer for some time now. Over a year ago, I had seen a pin on Pinterest of a file storage organizer case for each child, that is sorted by school year, from grades Pre-School to 12th grade.  You keep only the most essential items in order to avoid overstuffing the organizer with unnecessary paperwork.  I got the free printable label templates from Kierste over at Simply Kierste.  She has templates in color schemes for both boys and girls, and printing them is SUPER easy!  Then I bought two file organizers at WalMart for under $10, the hanging file folders (24 ct) were $8 and the manila folders were $8 for 50 folders.  This is quite a steal

With Kelly's inspiration of organizing her son's milestones, I managed to simultaneously organize an organizer for my sons' special things, while at the same time completing a personal milestone and FINALLY getting organized.  As a mom, I feel that I am the personal memory keeper of the household.  Unless I make an effort in retaining all these memories in a clear and organized manner, my kids will not have all of these things to remind them of their childhood and to show their kids.  Now, if only I could tackle the photo organization issue on my computer I'd complete a MAJOR milestone.  That task is next!  For now, I'll continue working on filling these beauties!






*I was provided compensation as a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam, however, all opinions are my own.*

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Camp Spooky at Knott's Berry Farm

*The activities and fun described in this post were made possible by Giga Savvy, however, all opinions are my own*



This past weekend, Camp Spooky was invaded by a couple of Shock Troopers and a pirate!  My cousin's family was in town from Cabo San Lucas.  After having experienced Hurricane Odile, just a couple weeks ago, and seeing serious damage done to their hometown, as well as damage to their home, a little fun was needed for everyone.  When he first got here, all my nephew talked about was the hurricane.  "The hurricane was so scary!", "I don't want to go home, Hurricane Odile is there!"

                      


I couldn't think of a better distraction for my family, than some fun at Knott's Berry Farm's Camp Spooky! My boys knew they wanted a Star Wars costume, since my husband is molding hem into little sci-fi geeks. Not surprisingly, they chose to be Shock Troopers.  The minute we told my nephew that he needed a costume, he blurted, "Quiero ser pirata!"  (translation: I want to be a pirate!)  Anything you want, buddy.  Anything you want.  :)

To avoid the heat wave (yes, it's October and we're in a heat wave) we got to Knott's early and enjoyed breakfast with the Peanuts gang!



The two Shock Troopers and the pirate, had a blast raging their way through Camp Spooky.  They got to go through a maze and trick or treat at the end of it, they touched nasty bugs at Medusa's Bug Boutique (I stood very far away, during this activity), they experienced "Snoopy's Costume Party and Parade", and we rode the log ride and Calico Mine Ride as a family.  We had such a great day!  And the best part is, not a single child under 6 mentioned Hurricane Odile, that day!  It was amazing!!







After all that fun we had, it was exciting to hear that buying the 2015 season pass at Knott's Berry Farm, right now, includes discounts to Knott's Scary Farm and one visit during the 2014 season.  My cousin's wife even said she'd consider living here if it meant no hurricanes and being able to have a season pass to all of this fun!  Sounds to me like she's staying!  (well, maybe not, but they totally should stay!)   If you're looking to have fun with your family, and save money doing it, a 2015 Knott's season pass is a great option!  Especially right now!  You and your little monsters can experience Camp Spooky NOW, then enjoy all of 2015!


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