Tuesday, November 27, 2012

UrbanSitter Connects Babysitters, Friends *Sponsored*

Looking for a new and better way to book babysitters? Try UrbanSitter! Founded by four busy parents, UrbanSitter is an online resource to find sitters recommended by people you know—so you feel secure in hiring someone you trust.

Everyone knows it's tough to find a babysitter. In fact, to tell you the truth, Ian and I don't really have one for CC, let alone Baby Will.

You might remember that we had our awesome nanny/sitter for CC when she was smaller -- Stephani, whom we trusted with all of our lives. But since then, we've relied mostly on visits from my mom. Which is kind of sad, because she doesn't come that often.

Part of it is that I want someone I can trust. Another part is that I'm kind of picky. One of CC's camp counselors gave me her card this summer, and on it she said she helped kids with tutoring. Only she spelled it "tudoring." Yikes. Maybe that's just the editor in me, but it was a total turnoff.

That's why I was excited to check out UrbanSitter, courtesy of a "speed-dating" event hosted by the online company and MomsLA. Not only did I get to check out an innovative way to find potential sitters, but I also got to meet a few candidates, too.

What's awesome is that the site syncs with your social networks, so you can see which of your Facebook friends have hired a particular sitter. Great for getting trusted info, because friends can also review the sitters they've chosen.

You can also search for sitters based on date and time, whether they have had a background check, hourly rates and experience. You can also pay by credit card right on the site. (That's a real convenience for a lot of families. No more digging in your purse at the end of the evening -- or quickly stopping by the ATM.)

Not only that but you can also get email reminders and check out your sitter's bookings.

And, did I mention the service is free?! Can't wait to book my first night!

Check out UrbanSitter's sweepstakes, where you could win 1 year of free babysitting!

(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for MomsLA and UrbanSitter. However, all opinions expressed are my own.)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you and your family have a Happy Thanksgiving!

CC burst into our bedroom this morning and asked us what we were thankful for. The picture above (CC is doing the chicken dance for Baby Will) is a good start.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Coming Attraction: Books and Cookies Hosts Family Foodie Event

It's all about kids and cooking tomorrow, Nov. 17, at Books and Cookies in Santa Monica.

Catherine McCord -- of Weelicious recipe blog fame -- will be on hand to talk about her new book, One Family, One Meal, and sign copies. The cookbook features more than 140 kid-friendly yet nutritious recipes.

 Not only that, but visitors will also be able to check out The FunPod, a crafty piece of furniture that allows children ages 12 months to 6 years to sit safely next to the kitchen counter top, so they can watch mom or dad make breakfast, lunch or dinner.

You can find the FunPod on the Luca & Company website, which spotlights functional and design-friendly children's items.

Sounds like fun for all those junior chefs out there!

Where:  Books and Cookies
2230 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405

When:  Saturday, November 17 (11 a.m.-1 p.m.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

1 Month Old!

Baby Will at 1 month.
Can't believe Baby Will turned 1 month on Monday!

Honestly, it's been such a blur. Most of that time has been spent awake -- seriously -- even during the dark-of-night hours. I forgot how nursing = no sleep.

We're having fun getting to know our little guy, with CC calling him "my baby" and putting on toothbrush shows for him when he cries.

Can't wait to see what Month 2 brings -- hopefully, more zzz's.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Free Screening: 'Dino Time'

Just in case you missed catching a movie with the kiddos over the long weekend, here's your chance to snag a sneak peek of Dino Time, from Clarius Entertainment, for free!

While the animated kids' film doesn't hit theaters until Dec. 7, you can take the kiddos to an advanced screening tomorrow night in Burbank. (See info below.)

Featuring voice talent from Jane Lynch (she's everywhere these days!), Melanie Griffith, Rob Schneider and Stephen and William Baldwin, Dino Time is about three kids -- Ernie, Julia and Max -- who accidentally turn on a time machine in Max's dad's workshop and head back in time 65 million years. The kids are adopted by a friendly dinosaur family, which tries to protect them from the grumpier dinos, while the kids' parents try to find a way back for them.

Here's where and how you and the kids can see the film: Go to www.gofobo.com/rsvp to download free tickets with the code LAMOMS41RL

Tuesday, November 13
AMC Burbank 16
125 East Palm Avenue
Burbank, CA 91502

Let me know what you think!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Coming Attraction: 'Littlest Pet Shop' Premieres on The Hub + 'My Little Pony'

'Littlest Pet Shop' on The Hub
The Hub has an exciting Saturday planned -- for those kids, including my own little girl, who are crazy about a certain group of ponies, as well as a new herd of colorful, talking creatures.

In addition to airing the season premiere of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic (Saturday at 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT), The Hub will premiere a new series, Littlest Pet Shop (Saturday at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT).

CC and I caught a sneak peek of Littlest Pet Shop, and it looks like a clever and colorful Saturday morning addition. The show centers on Blythe Baxter, a little girl who has moved to the Manhattan-esque big city with her pilot dad (sans mom, but that goes unexplained). Blythe is precocious and very sure of herself -- a positive trait I love for my daughter to see.

In fact, when she bumps into a couple of "mean girls," she stands up for herself from the get-go. Talk about a great example for little girls.

Blythe and her father move into an apartment above the Littlest Pet Shop, which is in danger of closing. In the opening two episodes, this fashion-forward little girl discovers that she can talk to the little critters -- which include a monkey, dog, gecko, hedgehog (not a porcupine!) and a skunk -- and that they need her help.

But can Blythe help save the pet shop?

The show is gorgeously animated, with candy-colored animals, cityscapes and fashion. It definitely pops off the screen. What's also interesting is the pairing of Littlest Pet Shop alongside My Little Pony. Both shows seem to have the same smart-girl sensibilities. That is, they're headlined by clever girls who aren't afraid to show off their smarts -- or their (often dry) senses of humor. They're also confident enough to put friends in their place, should they go off track.

CC enjoyed the episodes -- and especially loved when Littlest Pet Shop dog Zoe burst out into song. Look forward to checking out more!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mattel's Toy Story Color Splash Boat & Buddies *Giveaway*

CC, before she rips open the Mattel Toy Story boxes.
UPDATE: Congrats to Barbara, who won the Mattel Toy Story Color Splash goodies!

Bath time -- or pool time, for that matter, here in sunny SoCal -- is way more fun when you have toys to create splashy stories with. In fact, CC loves to put on a show anytime she needs to put soap to water.

That's why it was extra fun for her to receive Mattel's Toy Story Color Splash Boat (SRP: $19.99) and two Toy Story Color Splash Buddies Two-Packs (SRP: $8.99 each), as part of Mattel's Disney Insider Program, to help create imaginative aquatic adventures come bath time. She was able to try out these fun, color-changing toys and introduce a mini Buzz Lightyear, Partysaurus Rex and a particularly grumpy-looking octopus to her brand of bath-time fun.

Kids can definitely get creative with these toys, as CC did, inventing rescue stories and dividing the figures up into separate teams.

While the figures change color depending on the temperature of the water, the boat itself features flashing LED lights (what kind of party doesn't have flashing lights?), a rescue dinghy that doubles as a water scoop, a trap door and a squirting rubber ducky -- not to mention a squiddy dreadlocked Partysaurus Rex himself. (Check out a sneak peek of the upcoming toon, coming this fall.)

*** GIVEAWAY ***

I'm giving away 1 Mattel Toy Story Color Splash Boat and 2 Color Splash Buddies packs, courtesy of Mattel.

To enter, please leave a comment describing your child's favorite bath-time adventure.

For more chances to win, follow me on Twitter and retweet this giveaway. I'm at @la_story. Or you can "Like" the L.A. Story Facebook page and share the giveaway.

Just be sure to leave extra comments telling me you did so.

Good luck, and I will announce the winner on Friday, Nov. 9!

Late to the (Halloween) Party

CC dressed as an ice princess for Halloween.
I know I'm a few days late on this one, but I wanted to capture it nonetheless. CC was so excited to be an ice princess for Halloween, and I want to capture her in this adorable costume.

As you might have noticed, it's been a bit difficult to keep up daily -- or even more than once-a-week -- posting while I'm out on maternity leave. Newborn life is so all-consuming that it's difficult to focus on much else.

Stay tuned for more posts, though. They might be sporadic, but the posts will keep coming!

Happy (belated) Halloween!


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