Thursday, September 27, 2012

Yankee Candle Fall Festival Giveaway!

Welcome to the Yankee Candle Fall Festival Giveaway! Real Mom Reviews has teamed with an awesome group of bloggers to bring one super lucky reader three large Yankee Candle Jars in fall scents.

The traditional design of Yankee Candle signature jar candles reflect a warm, relaxed sense of style that's always at home. Convenient and easy to use, the large Housewarmer Jar Candles provides 110 to 150 hours of true fragrance enjoyment! The seasonal candles one reader will win help celebrate the best of fall with fragrances inspired by the beauty of nature and the bounty of harvest.

Apple Cider is a welcoming aroma of hot cider spiced with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg! Spiced Pumpkin will quickly fill your home with the smell of fresh pumpkins baked in simmering spices of clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and sweetened with brown sugar. Autumn Leaves provides a vibrant scent medley of birch and maple leaves with pomegranate, juniper berry, and orange blossom that will leave your whole house smelling like fall!

One lucky reader will win them all! Giveaway is open to US and Canada. Entering is simple, simply read over the giveaway rules and then enter using the Rafflecopter form below!

For Love of a Basset

Since bringing home our Mollie over 5 years ago, she has kept it interesting… to say the least. The reason we got a Basset Hound in the first place, was that my husband grew up with one named “Gus”. He was a rascal, and got himself into quite a bit of trouble. His wild streak, and strong will left my husband with fond memories of his childhood pet. The adorable photos of my husband when he was young, holding an adorable, squishy basset hound puppy… that is what did me in. We acquired Mollie from a local pet store, boo, hiss. I know, I know. I won’t ever do that again! Now that we have that out of the way…

[caption id="attachment_886" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Seems harmless enough...[/caption]

The first revelation was that her front legs were not the same size, according to x-rays taken by our vet. She had to have surgery, which the pet store actually reimbursed us for! Poor Mollie. She was only 8 months old when she had her first surgery. It didn’t slow her down! After the first couple days, she wasn’t so ‘drugged up’ and she started running around on her cast… and her three ‘good legs.’ We snuggled, we played, we nursed her back to health.

I could go on for days, but I blogged about the most recent episode here. This weekend, I discussed what our ‘plans’ were before going downstairs. Once I walked downstairs, I saw her licking and licking and licking. So, I looked and she had licked herself raw – likely overnight. TO THE VET! She not only had ‘unidentified insect bites’, but we ended up getting a biopsy of two different TYPES of lumps on her body. What this means is that she has many more bumps, but only two TYPES of bumps. One type turned out to be a keratin cyst- which is equivalent to an ingrown hair, and totally harmless. The other was a tumor. The vet sent the biopsy to the lab, and luckily it’s just a fatty tumor.

[caption id="attachment_882" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Oh, Mollie...[/caption]

Incidentally, the entire experience was hilarious because the vet tech was in love with her and carried her to and from the exam room. He carried her out to the car, because, “She just LOVES being held!” I had to discuss tumors in the waiting room, while ignoring little J’s pleas to help him stuff a giant stuffed parrot into its cage and the enormous poodle sniffing me. Anyways, Mollie is just fine. For now. Everything they tell you with a Basset Hound seems to be OK ‘for a basset.’ Her teeth look fine ‘for a basset.’ Keratin cysts are normal ‘for a basset.’ It seems we are the best customers at the Ladera Ranch Animal Hospital ‘for love of a basset.’

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My New Stroller - Chicco Liteway

I'm not new at this 'mom' thing anymore. I have TWO kids, and I've had numerous strollers- don't get my husband started on the topic. I have the BOB Revolution, it's endured both boys and I wouldn't trade it for the world. BUT I also have a need for a lighter, more portable stroller to keep in my car. I previously had the Combi lightweight stroller- but it didn't wear well. It was difficult to steer amongst other issues, and after 4 years it was driving me crazy.

So, I took advantage of the Babies R Us "Great Trade In" where you get 25% off a new stroller or carseat if you traded in your old one. I happily handed in my Combi, and purchased a Chicco Liteway.

[caption id="attachment_875" align="aligncenter" width="410"] Image Courtesy of Target: [/caption]

And well, I am in love. This stroller is sturdy, easy on the eyes, and moves so much easier than my previous one. I had to share. One of my complaints about the prior stroller was that I had no where to hang my purse- and the handles on this stroller serve that purpose. It also folds up easily, and steers effortlessly. It reclines, and can even support a newborn. I am impressed. The only small downside is the basket, which isn't very large. But since I can hang things on the handles, that makes up for it- in my humble opinion. Bonus: it's WAY cheaper than a Maclaren!

What about you- do you have a stroller (or other baby gear item) that you LOVE?!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Let SOLO Host Your Next Get Together!

Every Labor Day, my parents host quite an event. It usually turns out to be a two-day picnic, complete with both sides of my family! My boys enjoy the weekend of chaos, and splashing in the pool with their relatives. While the ‘main events’ include a wiffle ball tournament in the backyard and very competitive family trivia - the big ‘to do’ is the meal! My mother makes her famous Italian meatballs, that we literally fight over. And the table setting is something to behold.


The buffet is set with Solo cups, plates and cutlery. These items are carefully selected to hold the appropriate amount of food, and withstand the tests of mussels, meatballs and delicious crusty bread. We didn’t want plates that let the food drip off the side, or soak through to the beautiful tablecloth! This year we used ‘Solo Squared’ products. They also make a smaller solo cup, with a lid and straw for the little ones- which was fantastic for Baby Mayhem. These come in patriotic red and blue, of course.


I had heard rumors about the lines on a Solo cup- so I got the official take from Solo, and I wanted to share it with you.


And here’s the GREAT news… I’m hosting my first GIVEAWAY! You must be a follower of Ladera Mom to qualify. This is a point system- the more you do , the more likely you are to win!

Click here to enter: a Rafflecopter giveaway

To enter you MUST do the following:
- Like Solo Cup on Facebook
- Be a follower of Ladera Mom

For additional entries you can:
-Follow Ladera Mom on Facebook
- Follow @Ladera_Mom on Twitter
- Tweet "I want to win @Ladera_Mom's prize pack from @RedSoloCup!"

Giveaway ends Tuesday, September 25th at 5 pm PST. Good luck!

Enjoy this Earth Day video from Solo:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Labor Day Weekend 2012

This year, my family spent nearly a week in beautiful Wall, New Jersey. I will do a separate post on the two-day, multi-family picnic and trivia extravaganza. But before any of that happened, we got to spend a few days relaxing with my family.

One of the reasons that Little J loves going to Grandma's house is THE POOL! Mayhem joined in the fun this year, since he's an expert from swim class. His favorite activity was jumping off the side of the pool, into the arms of whomever was closest! He doesn't even worry about what could happen, he leaves that to his mother.

[caption id="attachment_837" align="aligncenter" width="480"] Uncle John with Mayhem, and Little J behind them[/caption]

We spent an evening at the Jersey shore boardwalk. Our family's favorite spot is the Jenkinson's Arcade in Point Pleasant, NJ. The pizza is enormous, the ice cream is real, the salt water taffy is a classic - and I love it all!

[caption id="attachment_840" align="aligncenter" width="480"] Auntie Kim![/caption]

Last year, we took up all the seats at the games so that Little J would win a prize. This year, it was Mayhem's turn. Little J got to use all the tickets we won to claim prizes at the arcade, so don't feel too bad for him.

[caption id="attachment_838" align="aligncenter" width="480"] BIG Winner. He sleeps with the Angry Bird now![/caption]

The trip was a great end to our summer. Each year, I realize how much has changed since the last time we were there. And each year, I realize how little has changed since the last time we were there. Can't wait for next year!