Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Coming Attraction: Club MomMe's Family Fall Fest

Parents looking to check out the latest in baby- and kid-friendly products should head out this Sunday, Nov. 3, to the Bel Air Bay Club for Club MomMe's inaugural Family Fall Fest.

The event, which will also include celeb mom and expert panels on parenting, looks like a great opportunity to bond with other parents, ask questions, get a close-up of cool products, and indulge in a gorgeous day near the ocean.

Celeb moms who will be checking in on the action include Tia and Tamera Mowry, Ali Landry and Rosie Pope.

Panels will include "Best of Baby/Toddler Products," "Wellness and Green Living," "Entrepreneurship for Moms," and even the dads will get a shout-out with the "Daddy Panel."

What's even better? Kids are welcome, too!

There will be an activity zone for families, a dance party area (can't wait to see Will tear up the dance floor!) and a pampering zone.

Tickets for the event, which includes admittance and well-stocked gift bags, range from $40-$175.

Sounds like fun!

Club MomMe's Family Fall Fest
Sunday, Nov. 3 (11:30 a.m.-4 p.m.)
Bel Air Bay Club
16801 E. Pacific Coast Highway
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
Tickets: $40-$175

Will's First Haircut

At The Yellow Balloon in Westwood
We reached a huge milestone this weekend when we took Baby Will to get his first haircut. There are lots of great kids' salons in L.A., but I decided on The Yellow Balloon in Westwood because there are lots of games for the kiddos AND they give you a "First Haircut" certificate with a little lock of hair.

It was so funny, because I had been asking people what you say when it comes to little boys' haircuts. Literally, what are the words? I'd heard "over the ears" and "high and tight," but I didn't know for sure. (I know that might sound weird, but girls' haircuts seem so much easier to explain. Bangs? No. Layers? Sure. Feathering? Absolutely not.)

Luckily, the stylist had done this before and just asked me if I wanted it over the ears or not. Once I said yes, she took it from there.

Will sat on my lap as she snipped away. He was a little wiggly, but it turned out so nicely.

He looks like such a little boy now, instead of a baby! (I have mixed feelings about that, but who wouldn't?)

And I have the certificate to remember it always.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Coming Attraction: Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk

Skechers Pier-to-Pier Friendship Walk in Manhattan Beach
There's an amazing event coming up on Sunday, Oct. 27 — the Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk, which benefits kids with special needs as well as education.

I had a chance to visit the Skechers HQ in Manhattan Beach a few weeks ago, and it was so inspiring to hear about how the shoe company is making a real difference in children's lives.

The Skechers Foundation was formed in 2010 by the company's Greenberg family to make kids with special needs feel more welcome in schools and in the community. They also launched The Friendship Circle, where high school, middle school and even elementary school students befriend kids in their school with special needs and do simple things like eat lunch with them in the cafeteria or just hang out with them after school.

It's pretty amazing.

A group of bloggers, myself included, met a local family with a 16-year-old son who has autism and is non-verbal. He was joined by a friend of his from The Friendship Circle who explained how much she loved meeting up with him just to hang out.

She also explained his process. Instead of talking, they would communicate by writing things down. She would write down a question ("What would you like to do today?"), and then she would give him some choices ("Play Tic-Tac-Toe"; "Play Cards"; "Listen to Music") and he would circle which one he wanted.

And it was all so kind.

The walk on Sunday promotes that kind of sweet interaction between kids with and without special needs. You can still sign up. Registration is $25 for ages 3+. If you can't make it on Sunday, you can also donate here.

Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk
Manhattan Beach Pier
Sunday, Oct. 27
Registration: $25 (ages 3+; registration includes a T-shirt, gift bag and medal)

Friday Finds: Chewbeads MLB Collection

OK, so the Los Angeles Dodgers didn't make it to the World Series this year. (So close!) We can still show support for our home team by cheering them in the off season.

Now, even Baby Will can get in on the fun with Chewbeads MLB Collection.

If you don't know about Chewbeads, they're a cool, colorful line of necklaces and bracelets that are 100% silicone and non-toxic for chompy babies like Will who want to gnaw on anything that—well, basically just anything.

Little ones can feel free to bite down on these baubles, and moms don't have to worry about breakage or toxic chemicals.

Chewbeads has just debuted its new MLB line, and we got to try out the Dodgers teether ($18.50). It's actually pretty great. Shaped like a baseball (natch!), the teether is easy for baby hands to grasp and soft enough for tiny teeth to chew.

The Dodgers may not have won the NLCS, but we scored big with Chewbeads. In fact, Will already has their Stack and Play toy and enjoys that, too!

(Hmmm, I might actually have to get a necklace for myself now.)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Soleil Moon Frye Wants to Get This Party Started!

Do I look a little too excited to meet Soleil Moon Frye, aka Punky Brewster?
The party definitely got started at The Grove on Sunday, as Soleil Moon Frye signed her new book, Let's Get This Party Started!, at Barnes & Noble and followed that with a fun craft event celebrating her moonfrye app on the nearby lawn outside Nordstrom.

The kiddos got in on the action, with CC decorating a mask, a treasure chest and getting a spray-on tattoo of a very colorful fairy.

Will was Mr. Independent, trying to ditch me at every turn.

What's happening? Doesn't he want to make sure I'm right there when he turns around? Apparently, the answer is a big "no."

CC and Will
He even made a beeline for the mini pumpkin box, snagging his own little Halloween accessory.

We had a great time, and I have to admit that it was pretty fun to meet a childhood fave (Punky Brewster) in person. Oh, L.A., that's so you!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Coming Attraction: Soleil Moon Frye at The Grove

Remember Punky Brewster—that adorable and fun '80s sitcom starring Soleil Moon Frye as the colorful and quirky little girl?

Well, I used to watch that show ALL the time as a kid, and so it's fun for me to see that Punky/Soleil is all grown up and a mom herself.

And this mom has been really busy lately. Not only is she pregnant with Baby No. 3 (a boy after two girls, Poet and Jagger), but she also is hosting Home Made Simple on OWN (which returns Oct. 19 at 9/8c) and celebrating her new book, Let's Get This Party Started!, and Moonfrye app at The Grove on Sunday.

In fact, everyone is invited to the party!

At 2 p.m. on Oct. 20, Soleil will be at the Grove's Barnes & Noble to sign her book. Following the signing, she'll join families in the park area for free crafting, food, and more fun (hello, spray tattoos!).

There will be 5 different crafts for the kids, including one for Halloween. Kids and parents will also be able to pose in front themed backdrops for fun pics. A live band will also perform!

Sounds like lots of fun, and hope to see L.A. Story readers there!

Soleil Moon Frye Book Signing and Craft Party
Sunday, Oct. 20 (2 p.m. book signing; 3:15 p.m. craft party)
The Grove (Barnes & Noble, Park)
189 The Grove Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Happy Birthday, Will! You're 1!

Happy birthday, my little boy!

We had a rockin' day, first at your sister's soccer game and then the party at home, where we celebrated with lots of mustaches. :) As you should! (Thanks to our cousin Sharon for those.)

Nattie was here for a visit, and all of us indulged in a gorgeous cake from Sweet Lady Jane.

Everything was adorable, just like you.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Owen Wilson Knows My Son's Name

CC, Will and I at the "Free Birds" premiere in Westwood
Let's face it. When you willingly take a 1-year-old child to a movie, you're always taking a risk. Will there be wiggles? Almost certainly. Shrieks? Chances are good. Inadvertent bonding with a movie star? Well, that doesn't happen every day.

Yesterday, we went to the premiere of new animated movie Free Birds in Westwood. The movie, from Relativity Media, stars (the voices of) Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson and Amy Poehler, and opens in theaters Nov. 1.

It's the story of two turkeys (Wilson and Harrelson) who go back in time (yes!) to help save all future turkeys from their unfortunate Thanksgiving fates.

"Free Birds" (Photo courtesy of Relativity Media)
The fam and I went to check it out, along with the film's stars -- and some of their children, including Wilson and his young son.

Well, a few minutes into the movie, Baby Will started getting antsy. That's when Ian took him into the lobby to walk around a bit.

He lasted a few more minutes when Ian brought him back. But eventually it was my turn.

I took him out into the lobby, and there were several parents whose children had given them the same message that Will had given Ian and me. (That is, "I want to run around, like, now!") And one of those parents was none other than Owen Wilson.

We passed by each other, and I said, "It looks like Baby Town out here."

He smiled while holding his son, who looked to be about 2, and said, "That's ... William, isn't it?"

Uh ... what?

Stunned, I answered, "Yes. How did you know?"

He smiled and started to say, "He was just here ..."

"Oh, right!" I interrupted. "He was out here with my husband earlier!"

Apparently, Ian, Owen and our two boys had bonded -- as parents with wiggly kids often do. Wilson's son even shared some popcorn with Will.

This time, at least, I'd say the risk paid off.

Woody Harrelson, Amy Poehler, Owen Wilson (Photo courtesy of Relativity Media)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch Partners with Pillsbury for Free Event

There will be more than the usual sweet treats at Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch tomorrow, Oct. 11.

Pillsbury -- yes, the yummy cookie (and more) company -- will be on hand at the popular Halloween hot spot in West Hollywood for a free, family-friendly event.

Kicking off at 1 p.m., kids -- and parents, too -- will be able to enjoy face-painting, cookie decorating and trick-or-treat bag decorating. Not only that, but Pillsbury will also make a $5,000 donation to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank!

And did I mention the free samples part? Yeah, count on that, too.

If you're free Friday afternoon, stop by. We love Mr. Bones and cookies!

Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch
702 N. Doheny Dr.
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

'Flight of the Butterflies' Arrives at the California Science Center in 3D IMAX

CC outside of "Flight of the Butterflies"
These days, it seems as if every film is being converted into 3D whether it needs to or not. However, Flight of the Butterflies, a live-action and CGI film that tracks the migration of monarch butterflies, is one 3D film that truly soars in the medium.

Now playing at the California Science Center's IMAX theater, Flight of the Butterflies is a beautiful, child-friendly film that spans three countries and three generations of butterflies. The story follows Toronto scientist Dr. Fred Urquhart and his wife, Norah, who spend 40 years trying to find out where the gorgeous butterflies go in the winter.

An early adopter of "crowdsourcing," Urquart figures out a way to attach tags to monarchs in Canada, and he asks people across the continent to contact him when they find the butterflies. He discovers that they are migrating south to Texas and beyond in the winter. But where do they actually end up? That's the mystery. (Just to note, actors portray the scientist and other characters.)

What they discover is truly remarkable -- I won't give everything away. The monarchs do find a very special place to spend the winter months, far away from where Urquhart and his helpers would have thought, in the mountains of Mexico. Not only that, but it takes three full life cycles for the butterflies to actually make it there.

It's pretty amazing.

Not only that, but the 3D was stunning. Children, including my own, were actually reaching out their hands in hopes of touching a flying monarch. The IMAX screen is so huge to make the audience feel as if they themselves are tiny creatures in an expansive Texas field. And the CGI is used creatively to recreate the inside of a chrysalis.

The film is a beautiful, engaging way to show the wonder of nature.

Flight of the Butterflies
Rated: G; 45 min.
California Science Center IMAX Theater
700 Exposition Park Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90037
Tickets: $8.25 (adult); $5 (child)

Monday, October 7, 2013

'Peg + Cat' Debuts on PBS Kids + App

The new -- and adorable -- math-based show Peg + Cat debuted on PBS Kids today (check local listings), and it looks to be a fun season of songs, fun math concepts and, yes, pie.

The energetic, pie-loving Peg and her laid-back sidekick Cat kicked off their adventures today, which include learning about numbers and shapes -- but in a way that's sure to keep preschoolers ages 3-5 interested.

They'll be telling you the difference between a pyramid and a cube in no time!

What I love about Peg + Cat -- besides the fun tunes and, of course, educational value -- is that it tackles the emotional side of learning as well.

When kids -- and adults, too -- confront a challenging concept, they can sometimes get frustrated and their pint-sized minds can go into "freeze" mode.

Well, that happens to Peg, too. Especially when she's hit a dead end. But it's her friend Cat, who shows her how to pause, take deep breaths, relax and approach the problem from a different point of view.

And that's when mathematical magic happens!

If your kids have already watched the show and want to supplement the show with more math fun, PBS Kids also offers an app.

From the release: "Designed for children ages 3 to 6, the PEG + CAT Big Gig App leverages the original music from PEG + CAT to help kids understand math concepts such as numbers, counting, patterns and more. The app includes two activities: Big Gig and Sound Check. The PEG + CAT Big Gig App is available from the App Store on iPad or at The app is also available for Android tablets on the Amazon Appstore."

Kids can make their own music and learn along the way.

CC has already seen one episode of the show, and she gives it two big thumbs up!

Friday, October 4, 2013

'My Little Pony: Party of One' iPad App Review

"My Little Pony: Party of One" app
Everyone who loves My Little Pony -- and that definitely includes CC -- knows that Pinkie Pie loves to throw parties. She's the most gregarious of the bunch. So it's a big surprise when all of her pony friends -- Apple Jack, Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy and others -- are too busy when she invites them to one of her bashes.

That's exactly what happens in the new iPad app My Little Pony: Party of One ($2.99). CC and I were able to check out this new interactive 17-page story app for review, and it definitely has a lot of features that are great for beginning readers.

The graphics are adorable and look just like an episode of Friendship Is Magic. The app even features the voice of the "real" Pinkie Pie from the show.

What's great for new readers is that the words show up, highlighted even, at the bottom of each page. If a child needs to hear the word again, all she has to do is tap it. Also, the characters can animate and speak -- and speak again -- every time you tap on them.

As a bonus, parents can even track their child's learning progress.

While CC loves MLP and Pinkie Pie, too, she might have been a little old for this particular app. The story really focuses on beginning readers, and she's a little beyond that. Also, she thought there would be more than one story on the app, so she found it a bit repetitive when she tapped on characters.

I wonder, though, if that's the nature of apps -- or how kids relate to them. Of course, they don't expect regular books to have multiple stories, but somehow apps seem to promise a rabbit hole's worth of entertainment.

But that's another, much bigger, story.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

'Room on the Broom' DVD Review + *Giveaway*

UPDATE: Congrats to Allison Van Dusen, who won the Room on the Broom prize pack! Love the spiderweb idea, and I'll have to read her other book! Thanks to everyone who participated and for all the great ideas!

Just in time for Halloween, the adorable Room on the Broom is here on DVD. Have you read the book? CC loves it, and I have to admit that it's pretty cute. Let's just say that we've read it a lot. A. Lot.

The DVD, from NCircle Entertainment (the ones who brought us The Gruffalo DVD), is based on the book (SRP: $6.99) by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

The story is about a witch (voiced by Gillian Anderson in the DVD) who goes for a ride on her broom with her cat and picks up some other lovable characters along the way. When the weight of so many friends becomes too much for the broom, they all fall and the witch suddenly comes face-to-face with a hungry dragon. What will the friends do to help her?

I love the poetic rhythm of the book, and that sensibility is kept in the animated DVD (SRP: $9.99). The story is still very sweet—CC loved it—and it's great to see that come to life onscreen. The story is filled out more with beautiful visuals of forests, mountains and, of course, those friendly animals.

And speaking of animals, a few have been made into adorable plush toys (SRP: $14.99). From the dragon to the cat to the witch herself, these colorful toys are perfect for kids to cuddle with. We received a copy of the book, DVD and dragon plush courtesy of NCircle Entertainment, and CC has taken it with her almost everywhere.

*** GIVEAWAY ***

I'm giving away a witch's cauldron's worth of prizes to 1 winner (worth $65), courtesy of NCircle Entertainment.

* Room on the Broom softcover book and DVD
* Room on the Broom plush toy
* The Wiggles 'Wiggly Halloween' DVD
* Pocoyo 'Boo' DVD

To enter, leave a comment below, telling me your favorite Halloween book/activity/game/craft.

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, Oct. 11!


Related Posts with Thumbnails