Saturday, December 29, 2012

December in a nutshell (or more accurately, like a handful of photos and words)

Hello everybody (handful of family and friends that read this, plus dozens of spambots)

 This blog is still alive - I've just been neglectful in posting over the holidays and in flux while deciding if/when to move the blog to Wordpress as well as getting the new blog design installed. I'm planning to blog up a storm in January though - here's to hoping life doesn't get in the way.

We had a great Christmas and are looking forward to the new year.  So here is the month of December condensed into a single post.

Here's Arabella with one of her most prized presents - her rocking horsie from Grandma Susan. As of publication date, this horse is named Blueberry, but it has already changed about 3 times (first name was Fontanya) and may already have changed by the time you're reading this. Arabella's feeding him (her?) the everlasting plastic carrot that came with him, and also enjoys combing his mane.

Here's Arabella's haul from Mom and Dad, and Santa. Daddy kept adding things to the cart so blame him for the overkill. Guess Who has been quite popular, although Arabella needs a little help still to keep it straight in her head. Then we went to my Grandma's house and doubled the pile - Arabella will have plenty to keep her busy until next birthday in October.

Arabella being snowed upon on Dovewood Court - the over the top Christmas light cul-de-sac in Orangevale.

With Santa at the Folsom Zoo - pretty self-explanatory.

On the 21st, we went to a super fun end-of-the-world party with this awesome Mayan gingerbread house. On top is the Rice Krispy snowman to be sacrificed. Although very anticlimatic that the world did not end on the 21st as planned, at least the gingerbread was very, very good.
Arabella also got to play Ms. Pacman at this party and seems to be a natural with the joystick.  Her preferred invective upon losing at the game was "Poopyhead"                                                                  

Baking Christmas cookies with cousin Jessie and Aunt Donna. 

Arabella blending in with a gingerbread family (also on Dovewood Court)

Reading a story with Grandpa Bob while Great-Grandma Barbara looks on.

Taking a photo of Daddy with THE Christmas Tree on her own camera.

Gingerbread house made by Grandma Susan and Arabella - Mom gets credit for buying the kit and guilting Grandma Susan into making it though.

How was your December / Christmas / Festivus / Hannukah / etc.? We'd love to know!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Help me choose - design choice for Arabella's room!






Sorry for taking the pics at an angle - I used Arabella's bed for the flat space. Any opinions/advice would be mucho appreciated. Thank you!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New Polyvore - What I would wear to AltSummit

I was inspired by a post on AltSummit's blog today about the perfect dress for a blogger meet-up or meeting sponsors.

AltSummit is "the premier business conference for pioneering bloggers and rookie bloggers alike." There's one in January in Salt Lake City and one in August in NYC (those lucky bloggers got a surprise visit from Martha Stewart!) But that doesn't begin to describe how cool it is so here's some pictures:

By Sara Urquhart. Photography of Alt NYC, Rooftop party.

 Tickets are sold out already for the next AltSummit in January 2013, but someday I am going to AltSummit. 

For now, I'm going to make a "What I would wear to AltSummit" Polyvore dream board at least once a week. Here's the first one. 

What I would wear to AltSummit - Oct. 2nd 2012

Lace formal dress / Ribbed tight / Platform high heels / Satchel bag / Jewelry

Ok, I'm ready for you to go all Joan Rivers on me -  especially you Anonymous Mary!  I think it's a cute colorful mixed match to get noticed but it's definitely not neutral. Let me know what you think in the comments (as always). 

REVISION: I just found the most adorable dress ever on Nordstrom for Arabella, plus I noticed that there were some kids in the Alt Summit photos. So forget that purse - Arabella in this adorable yellow dress is my new accessory.  The blog is about her after all. (I was able to update my Polyvore on the Polyvore site with this dress in place of the purse but not on the blog - don't know why)

The cutest Arabella dress I ever saw - from Nordstrom.

What's on my mind today - Random musings

Dinosaur Train - does anyone else (or anyone else's kids) watch this PBS kids show?

This is probably the most controversial opinion I've ever blogged, but I'm saying it:

I can't stand Dinosaur Train


The thought behind this show's creation must have been: "What are two things that kids like? Dinosaurs and trains! They never coexisted in history, but so what?" and they just randomly threw them together.  Almost as ridiculous as a group of adorable little ponies frolicking in a wedding castle - because little girls like ponies, weddings AND castles. 

Yes, I know that almost all kids' shows are misleading (animals don't actually talk, etc.) but this one just seems particularly egregious.  I think what irritates me most is that it mixes in a real paleontologist giving dinosaur facts with the ridiculous mixing of the dinosaurs from different time periods (that in reality would be eating each other or at least acting aggressively), plus the dinosaurs building and running a train.  

The thing that drove me over the edge to post about this (aside from needing to write a new blog post and being out of ideas) was that today the dinosaurs were examining a chart of the alphabet - that was just a bridge too far for this mom.  

p.s. My daughter (and husband) love this show - I do think that Buddy (the main character - you know, the baby T Rex that was adopted by a Pteranodon family) is adorable, and the theme song is catchy in a earworm, can't stop thinking about it sort of way.  But I reserve the right to whine to my husband about all the ridiculousness everytime we watch it.  

Does Dinosaur Train drive you crazy too, or do you love it, or have you never heard of it? Or is there another show that your kids love that drives you up a wall? 

Let me know in the comments!  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Arabella's First Camping Trip!

Last weekend was Arabella's first camping trip!  We attended ArtBeast's Festival of Little Houses in Coloma - this was their 2nd year throwing this awesome event to raise money for Tubman House. Direct from their website:

Waking the Village is a nonprofit organization directing Tubman House, a free, 18 month transitional living program for Sacramento's homeless, parenting youth. At Tubman House, youth experience dynamic coursework, community support, counseling and healthy living so that they leave prepared to be leaders in their own lives and the lives of their communities.

I can't adequately describe the awesomeness of the experience in words, so I'm mostly going to illustrate with photos.  I definitely recommend anyone with children (even if you don't have children - just know there will be lots of them running around) to sign up for this event next year as soon as registration opens. They sold out this year and are considering how to expand the event next year without ruining it - my hope is that they add additional weekends.

The Itinerary

Arabella stomping in the American River (which was freezing cold! but felt good with the hot weather for a few minutes before my legs went numb)

Pinata making was a craft station hosted by Sol Collective. Arabella was inspired by her kids' apron with a bumblebee on it to make a bumblebee design - concept and execution is entirely by Arabella except Mom cut the strips and fringe and monitored glue usage. 

Beautiful bird pinata on display at the pinata-making station. If you're interested in learning to make a beautiful pinata like this, I was advised that Sol Collective is teaching the pinata and papier-mache techniques  to anyone that wants to learn at their studio this week as they are prepping for huge Day of the Dead / Dio De las Muertas celebrations throughout October in Old Sac (schedule of events is here)
 Snow Cones were available the whole weekend for $1 - made with homemade Strawberry or Watermelon Syrup. I took a slurp - it tasted great. In spite of the snowcone, Arabella still had a diva moment at dinner on Saturday when she was informed that there were no Shirley Temples to be had on the campground (Shirley Temple is Arabella's signature drink) It was worse than Ramona with no Pinot Grigio (and if you don't get that reference you should be proud of yourself for not succumbing to trash TV / if you do get that reference - message me! I love to have someone to converse my guilty pleasures with)
Moon lanterns and artwork drying along the river.

We purchased this gnome family on Saturday - $2 each was a steal!. The purple one is the baby, red one is the mommy and gray one is the daddy, of course.

More wading in the river - this time with 
water shoes on. Water is so clear and lovely up there.

Entrance to the Fairy Woods

Our fairy  gnome house. Arabella wanted it round so it resembles a nest. The mother and father gnome are watching their pinecone TV and the baby gnome is in it's nutshell cradle. Arabella is quality testing the gnome's food (wild berries)

A neighboring fairy house.

First nature sighting - little frog on the bathroom mirror.

Second animal sightings- goose and ducks right outside our campsite.

First morning at camp - Arabella and Shay checking out the river while still in pajamas. Keith snapped this photo while Shay's mom and I were yoga-ing in our pajamas (no photos of that will be posted!)

These cardboard things were a big hit with all the kids - some were made into teepees by stringing them on a hoop on the top, and the kids had fun running through them. 

This one reminds me of a dinosaur skeleton. The kids also took a bunch and made lincoln log style cabins, and dismantled some into flat pieces to slide down this hill.

Our little gnome family - we made these on Sunday at camp but was out of power so I took this pic at home on our coffee table. Arabella made the one in the middle - she picked the hair, robe and thread colors and cut the hair - she wanted it short! Arabella named her Rockidah. The one on the right is mine and Keith made the one on the left. We didn't name ours but we are open to suggestions. After I took this pic I left them posed like this for about an hour on the table but they really started to creep me out (looked like they were coming for me) and I moved them to Arabella's room.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Preschool Report


September 5, 2012 - Taken on front porch just before first day of Preschool!!!

The first day of preschool kicked my ass - and I'm loving it. I came home from Arabella's first day of school today, drank 3 huge glasses of ice water, and we both crashed for a 3 hour nap.  

Keith and I were just there to hang out today since it was Arabella's first day but were asked to help out at the woodworking table. I'm very happy to report that no one lost limb, life or digit on my watch. 

On her first day, in the 2.5 hours allotted Arabella managed to:
make two paintings / tell a story to her teacher that was read by her other teacher at gathering time / dance to stories at gathering time / dress up as a princess and a witch / go barefoot the whole time except for the 20 minutes or so she had another girl's flip flops on / ride the teeter totter / climb repeatedly through the rope loft / ride a tricycle / shovel dirt / go on the outdoor swings plus ride the indoor standing swing with 3 other girls while singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Arabella"/ pour her own water for snack time / play with dolls in the play loft / use a saw and vise / attempt to ride the zip line / see a lizard egg that her Teacher found in the sand / view a dragonfly, bee and log under a magnifying glass.

I'm sure there's more but Arabella isn't awake right now to remind me what I forgot.

Tomorrow Arabella plans to:

-Bring her backpack! Arabella was appalled that we forgot to bring her Dora backpack when she saw the other backpacks lined up at the entry.

-Spot a fish in the pond - she looked and looked but could not see the fish on the first day. It has come up repeatedly in conversation this evening that she could not see the fish! 

-Help mom at art table (I am officially on duty tomorrow as a working parent - I told Arabella that she should still play whatever she wants just like today, but she insists she will be helping me at art table tomorrow)

I'm so glad we are at a parent participation preschool -this is so much more fun than just dropping her off and it's so awesome to meet other parents with a similar perspective!  

(Sorry I don't have any photos during preschool - Arabella's preschool has a rule that parents don't take photos there as it can be intrusive and distracting to the kids - which I totally get and support but it's kind of a bummer when it comes to blogging photos!) 

Not a preschool photo - just one from the archives of Arabella playing at a park to dress up this post!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Arabella tap dancing!

Had to share Arabella's exuberance in this video - she seems so EMPOWERED by the noise she is making with her feet.  I already shared this on Facebook but wanted to give it a permanent home here. So if you have seen the tap shoes at Payless Shoe Source and were on the fence about getting them for your child (boy OR girl!) I would recommend yes! Just $27.00 for priceless happiness.

Take that Shirley Temple! What Arabella lacks in training she makes up in sheer enthusiasm!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Arabella's Kitty, Frog and Ice Cream Story

The frog goes into the air balloon and goes into the car and I hold him in my hands. Him be nice. Him be friends with me. Him be big kid frog. He won't be so big, him be's a kid. The frog wants. Kitten, wants to pet him. The kitty cat. Him said "hello kitty". Kitty said "hello frog". 

Them wanted ice cream. Two ice creams. Says one at a time. Yeah. Them get some pink ice cream. Both want a pink ice cream. Them said mother, mother, us got ice cream. Them -the frog be a girl and kitty be a girl too. They like ice cream. Them love love ice cream. Like this (Arabella made licking motions with her tongue). Like a kitty. I got vanilla ice cream. It's white and I liked it. It shaped like a bowl. It's just a square. Eats and eats and eats and eats and eats. 
Kitten wants a bowl of bones.  And Arabella eats apples and froggy eats green fish.  Meow, meow, says kitty and frog says ribbit and I said "them be number five." Their moms five years old too. Them five old years. Them big kids like me. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How to post a video so that people on Ipads and Iphones can see it too! (Or, YouTube is a video laundering service)

Almost a week later, thanks to Arianna Birondo I have figured out why the video review I posted of Arabella didn't show up on my Ipad or on other people's Iphones!  I shot the video on my Ipad but uploaded it using Blogger's "Insert a Video" feature and added my file from Dropbox. This was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG - so Ipad and Ipod don't support Flash/Java and won't play the video if you add the video directly from your computer. BUT if you first upload your movie to YouTube (you can do it on a private channel too if you don't want people searching for and viewing it via YouTube FYI) and then upload the file from "My YouTube Videos" option in the "Insert a Video" button on Blogger, YouTube "launders" your movie file washing the coffee out (Java) into a clean one that can be viewed on Ianything.  At least that's how I understand it.

So if you're reading this and thinking "Duh - everyone knew that" - well, good for you, and please leave your name and email in comments so I can add you to my list of People Who Know Things About Tech Stuff. I'm posting this in the hopes that some other poor person searching Google to find out why their video on Blogger doesn't show up on Ipad or Iphone can get an answer, since when I searched Google I got nothing actually referring to this issue and no help from the Blogger help section either.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Arabella's video review of Suessical!

Here's Arabella's take on the performance:

So, the verdict is in - Arabella liked it. And so did her parents! We'll definitely be going again. Here's a link to another grownup's take on it with a much more comprehensive review:

I agree with everything said in the review link above, plus want to mention mom's pick for standout performance was Carli Meyer as Gertrude McFuzz, the bird with a little tail and a big crush on Horton the Elephant; Keith's standout pick is Randle Rankin as Horton.  Those are just highlights - the whole cast from little toddler through adult is entertaining and engaging throughout.

If you wonder why I am promoting this so heavily, it's because:
1. I love having great live local entertainment in Central Roseville
2. I want this group to be around when Arabella is old enough to perform in a few years (if she so chooses)
3. The talent pool in this town is AMAZING

All the details for performance times and location are here at

Jennifer and Jason Bortz run Stand Out Talent at the Tower Theater and are doing an amazing job - 
Go see Suessical, and tell them Arabella sent you!

Did you see Suessical? Please leave us a comment and tell us what you thought. If you haven't seen it and don't plan to see it, then please comment below about why you want to be a Grinch (who was also in this show but we weren't able to find for a photo after).  

Friday, August 24, 2012

What are YOU doing this weekend in Roseville?

Arabella the theater-goer in the lobby
of the Tower Theater. 

What are your plans for this weekend?  We are super excited about ours!

First up, we are going to opening night of Suessical the Musical at the Tower Theatre on Friday night. At only $5.00/kids, $10.00/seniors, and $12/adult, tickets are a bargain for a super fun night out! Come support our AMAZING local theater, and have fun as a family - everyone loves Dr. Suess! (I think, but if you don't please leave a comment and tell me why).  We're going on opening night because Arabella is already a theater hound and we'll most likely be hitting this show more than once.  

The Tower Theater - photo taken by Arabella's mom

The Tower Theatre (View)
417 Vernon Street
Roseville, CA 95678
United States

The show runs from this weekend through September 9th with showtimes on Fridays at 7 pm, Saturday at 7 pm, and Sunday at 2pm.

You can also buy tickets online and see showtimes and days here:

Pre-show we will be having our usual Friday evening meal of Bella Familia Pizza obtained at Roseville Brewing Company - did you know that Roseville has it's own Brewing Company?  It's located at 501 Derek Place (off of Washington Boulevard between the intersections of Washington & Pleasant Grove and Washington & Junction).  Every Friday night there from 5-8 is beer tasting, pizza for sale from Bella Familia, and live music.  It's very family friendly with lots of kids.  Scott makes the best woodfired pizza, and usually while wearing a kilt!  I'm getting The Pig, The Fig and The Goat.

The Pig, The Fig and The Goat - figs, goat cheese,
 mozzarella, and ham.   Yum!

After the show we'll probably take a short walk down the block and spring for dessert or coffee at The Place or Java Jungle.

Then on Saturday we are super looking forward to Movie in the Park at Woodbridge Park with Despicable Me - we've seen it before and it's a favorite of ours. Steve Carrell's Eastern European accent as Gru the supervillain who turns into the Superdad of three adorable orphans (sorry that was probably a little bit of a spoiler, but the poster spoiled it before I did)

Movies in the Park in Roseville are sponsored by RCONA (Roseville Coalition of Neighborhood Associations)

Here's the info direct from the RCONA site:
Join us Saturday August 25th for our sixth 2012 Movie In The Parkfree_small

Woodbridge Park -- Despicable Me (95 minutes)
Enjoy an evening in the park with your friends and neighbors. Movies to begin at sundown on a 30 ft. screen (weather permitting). Come for dinner at 7:30 pm with lawn chairs, blankets and pocket change for hot dogs, teriyaki, popcorn, snow cones and beverages. Ladihawk Castle, and Tie Dyed booths will be joining us before the show.  You may bring your own shirt to dye for $3.

Closed captioning (subtitles) are available on request for the hearing impaired. Most movies do have subtitles - but some may not.

Woodbridge Park
415 Sierra Blvd.

Come out and see it - this is the last Movie in the Park of 2012!  

What are YOU doing this weekend?  Please let us know in the comments - no plans are too glamorous or too boring to share!!

p.s. Another great resource for ideas for local families is Placer Playtime Publications  (also on Facebook at and Twitter as @CommunityMama).  Check there for more great suggestions!