Monday, December 26, 2011

A Lesson Learned

There's a lesson that I'm still trying to learn when it comes to little kids: they do not need a lot of expensive toys for Christmas. How many of us have emptied out Toys R Us thinking that the kids will love all that stuff? Then when all of the presents are opened, they just want to play in the empty boxes, not with the toys! This morning, Gavin raided my drawers and played with some shampoo bottles that I got from a hotel. After all the toys he received yesterday, he wanted to play with those? I'm confused.

Christmas in the Bunbury home was nothing short of fantastic. My favorite part was watching the kids' excitement as the day progressed. It's true: Christmas is way more fun with kids! I hope you had an exceptional holiday.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

12 Days of Christmas for a Mom

The countdown to Christmas is on and it's got me singing:

On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
12 deadlines for free shipping
11 things to re-gift
10 overbaked cookies
9 unmailed Christmas cards
8 yards of scotch tape
7 secret santas
6 dessert potlucks
5 ugly Christmas sweaters
4 tangled light strings
3 loooooooooooooong wish lists
2 kids with the sniffles
And a pedicure for me!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Yummy Holiday Goodness

This year, I've decided to bake Christmas gifts for friends and family. Giving baked goods is very personal, cost effective, and provides so many options. This Martha Stewart recipe is the newest addition to my recipe collection. If you love lemon, you will enjoy this recipe. However, if you're not so keen on lemons, you can modify the cookies to be lime or orange flavored.

Lemon Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Lemon Glaze
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat until combined. With mixer on low, beat in flour mixture.
  2. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons 1 inch apart on two baking sheets. Bake until edges are golden 15 to 20 minutes rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool 2 minutes on sheets then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Spread cookies with lemon glaze and let set, about an hour. 

Lemon Glaze
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest, and 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice until smooth.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Inexpensive Stocking Stuffers

Christmas is here and it's time to go shopping. If you're looking for inexpensive stocking stuffers, I've got a couple ideas...

  • If you have an iPhone or iPad, tell your child that they can pick an app that they want. Cost $2-$3. 
  • I'm not a connoisseur, but the best play dough comes from Dollar Tree.Cost $1 (of course) 
  • The front section at Target has a bunch of cute stuff for a dollar. They carry hats, gloves, pencil sets, slinkys, etc. 
  • Stock up on their favorite snacks. I got a small box of Pepperidge farm goldfish and an 8-pack of Reese's cups for $1 each. 
  • An 8-pack of crayons is less than a dollar and oh so fun. I would take them out of the box and bound them with ribbon or raffia to make them look more special. It's all about the packaging.
  • If you're giving crayons, then you have to give a notepad to draw in. Those two items go together like peanut butter and jelly.
  • A box of snaps is great for boys. They're the little things that you throw on the ground and they make a popping sound. Each box contains 50 snaps and loads of fun. Cost $1

Friday, November 4, 2011

Black and White TV? As If!!!

The other day, Bryce asked me if TV was in black and white when I was a kid. I laughed to myself and thought, "Geez, how old do you think I am?" After much reflection, I guess in his eyes, I am pretty old school. Below are a couple things that were at the height of technology when I was a kid:

Sony Discman- This changed everything about music for me. I was able to actually walk around AND listen to music at the same time. However, don't go running with that thing, because it was so sensitive to skipping.  I can't believe this, but these things are still available to sale for up to $150! 

Rabbit Ears- Were you like my family where if you the reception wasn't good, you would add tin foil to the ends of the antennas? Low tech at its best! I remember being the one in the family who had to get up and move the rabbit ears around when the reception went haywire. I would get it perfect, then when I let go of the ears, it would get funky again! Seriously?

Rotary phone- Okay, I'll admit it. Rotary phones were way old, even in the 80's. However, we used those for the longest time. I remember my friends coming over and asking how to use the phone when they had to call their parents. It took us forever to finally upgrade to a phone with an answering machine. I wish I still had a rotary phone; they're so cool.

Speak and Spell- This thing taught me how to spell and add. This was definitely the precursor to the laptop. Not to mention, it would talk to you! I can still hear the robot voice saying, "Solve it!"

Motorola bag phone- Remember the phone in a bag? Man, I thought we were so cool with that thing. The phone itself was weight of a brick and the battery packs were like 2 bricks. This phone was for emergencies only! As for talk time, I'm sure it was about $10 per minute.

What was the big thing when you were a kid?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

It's A Man's World

Being the mother of two boys, I am obviously outnumbered in my house. Here's the score: boys- 3, girls- 1. Don't get me wrong there are major perks that come with having boys such as no drama and no trace of princess junk in the house. If you're a mom of a male dominated house, maybe we should start some sort of support group. When we get together, we could braid each other's hair and use Easy Bake ovens. (Yeah, I now that I said that aloud, I don't like that idea either) Below are a couple signs that you may be in the same boat as me:

1. Your boys constantly ask you to smell their finger.
2. When you search for your keys in your bottomless purse, you end up with a fist full of Hotwheels.
3. The furniture in your living room is arranged in such a way to allow for wrestling.
4. You know which superheroes are DC and which ones are Marvel.
5. At least once a week, you step on a lego. (seriously, those things hurt!)
6. Everything is a competition, and I mean everything.
7. Your DVR if full with "Man Vs. Wild", "Ultimate Fighter", and "Spongebob Squarepants"
8. You hear the sweet serenade of belching at the dinner table.
9. When cleaning the bathroom, you have more of a mess around the toilet rather than inside the toilet.
10. Fart talk, fart talk, fart talk.

Maybe a support group is a good idea after all :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Trick or Pumpkin Seed Treat!

I can't believe that Halloween is around the corner. Seriously, where has this year gone? We're planning to do some trick-or-treating then go to our church's Family Fun FairAs far as costumes are concerned, I'm debating on what I should dress as: a mom or a mom. Read my last Halloween blog entry, "Truly Scary Halloween Costumes" for my point of view on the lack of costume options for women.

More than costumes and candy, for me, Halloween is all about roasting pumpkin seeds. It's that special once a year treat that can't be beat. Below is my favorite recipe for pumpkin seed perfection:
  • 1 1/2c raw whole pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Seasoned salt
  • Pepper

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees 
  • Toss seeds in a bowl with olive oil and seasonings. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown; stir occasionally.

Happy Halloween! Btw, here's a sneak peak at the boys' costumes. I call them Captain Asia America.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Bucket of Chicken and Laughs

Below is a recent exchange I had with my 3 year old son, Gavin:

Me: Gav, we're gonna have dinner at KFC and feast like kings!

Gavin: You're not a king!

Me: You're right. We will feast like kings and a queen?

Gavin: I don't want to be king!

Me: Well, who do want to be?

Gavin: (pause to think) A mayor!

Well, I guess it's settled. Vote Bunbury for Mayor 2041!!!

Your Majesty, will that be extra crispy, crispy, or grilled?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bryce's Birthday Bash

Bryce's birthday party was an absolute success. He wanted something colorful and vibrant for his 10th birthday with light blue and apple green as the main colors. The result was a bold and happy look with a lot of pop. This party required a lot of diy projects in order to look personal and stay on budget. The baloons, streamers, plates, napkins, and table cloths were from Party City. I purchased the materials for the tissue pom poms and party favors from Target. The cupcake liners, cake pop supplies, and scrapbook paper came from Michaels.

The balloons and the rainbow polka dot tissue paper were my favorite elements of the party. The balloons were a major component to the design. I wanted as many baloons as possible over the tables for maximum impact. They definitely got the job done. I loved how the polka dot tissue paper broke up the sea of blue and green. It served as a great accent, adding more color.

Everyone loved the party. Each detail down to the cake pops was noticed and greatly appreciated. After all of the hard work, I was very pleased. Bryce and his friends had a great time and I enjoyed showering my son with a fun party. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Birthday Party Sweat Shop

Today is Bryce's 10th birthday. I am amazed at how fast time has flown. I'm the mother of a TWEEN!

As a result, it's been a birthday mad house around here. I have been making all of the decorations. Pom poms, pinwheels, banners- you name it, I'm creating it. Darn you, Pinterest, for all of your inspiration pictures and tutorials. It's creating a lot more work than just going to Party City and buying a Spiderman birthday in a box. (Would anyone like to play pin the tail on the Spiderman?)

And the baking. I don't think my oven will be turned off today. I'm trying my hand at cake pops...wish me luck. Plus, I have to make a snack for Bryce's class, too? Really? Once again, I blame Pinterest for all their cutesy, over the top ideas. I can't handle it.

Random question: why are birthday parties so stressful for moms? They're supposed to be fun, right? There's just so much to do in so little time. We work so hard to buy supplies, make stuff, set it up, and clean the house. Oh gosh, then the party.

All kidding aside, I am happy to create parties. All the effort pays off in the end. I'm super pleased with the results, so far, and I will post pictures soon. To give you an idea of what my week has looked like, I attached a picture of my work station a.k.a. birthday party sweat shop. Time to go, the timer for the cake is going off.

Have a great weekend and HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRYCE!!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

What To Give To A Teacher

Bryce started at a new school this year and I wanted to start off the year right. What better way to initiate a relationship with a teacher than with a gift? Now, it was time to decide on what to give. Hmmm, what is cute, low cost, and not the traditional red apple? Luckily, I found a tub of caramel corn at Safeway on special for $1 and used the paper bag and ribbon that was extra from the boys' birthday parties. I love the results and so did the teachers. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

More Free DVD Rental Codes

Whenever I come across codes for free DVD rentals, I always like to pass them on. These codes are eligible at any Blockbuster Express through September 12th. Each is good for one free night movie rental (excluding hot lists movies).

 Enjoy catching up on all those movies that you didn't want to see in the theatre!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Mini Makeover

We have lived in our house for 9 months and Gavin's room was still unfinished. Every night as I put him to bed, I would look around trying to figure out ways to make his room look more complete. Fortunately, I received a voucher from Benjamin Moore for two free pints of paint as a "welcome to the neighborhood" gift. I also received some planes from Ryan's grandparents that to needed to be hung up. After a $12 trip to Home Depot for paint supplies, I was ready to makeover Gavin's room on the cheap.

Here's a before picture. The room looks decent, but it is missing artwork and the bedspread does not stand out from the wall.

 Taping off the wall and rolling out the paint went really quickly.

 The big reveal was a bust. Most of my time was spent cleaning up the paint that bled through the tape. I'm still kicking myself for not springing for the more expensive painter's tape.

I'm loving the results. The bed now pops off the red wall and the additional wall art fill up the space perfectly. For a grand total of $12, this mini revamp was well worth it!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Son is Three!

Today marks the three year anniversary of Gavin's life. I cannot believe how fast time has flown. He should still be in diapers and I should still be frazzled as I attempt to interpret his different cries.

We celebrated his birthday on Saturaday by taking him to the Sonoma Train Town Railroad in Sonoma, California. For you Sacaramentans, it's like Funderland except larger and train themed. They feature a 20 minute train ride where you a dropped off at a tiny town complete with a church, jail, and petting zoo. Their rides selection catered to both the big and little kids. Check it out:

It's so fun that you're kids leave screaming because they don't want to leave. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mommy Likes...Buchon Bakery

Nestled in the Napa valley, Yountville, California is home to Buchon Bakery. Owned by renowned chef, Thomas Keller, Buchon offers the greatest little treats. When you arrive, don't be intimidated by the serpentine line out the door. This is the norm on the weekends, as Buchon is that popular. When you finally step foot inside, you are greeted with a warm smile and wonderful baked delights. 

It was my turn to order and I didn't want to miss a thing or mess up my order because it took so long to get inside. I felt like Jerry Seinfeld with the Soup Nazi, except these guys were friendly. Looking quickly, yet meticulously at all they offered, I opted for a couple of macarons and a vanilla latte. 

I was not disappointed. The macarons were sweet, pillowy perfection and the latte was unforgettable. If you live in Nor Cal, you must try it. I'll save a place for you in line.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mommy Likes...Packing Lunches

School is right around the corner and with it comes the responsibility of packing lunches again. Is it just me or does it seem like kids never like the lunch that their parents pack them? As a kid, I don't remember getting terribly excited about my school lunches. I see the same look of delight when I tell Bryce that I made him yet another peanut butter and honey sandwich. Maybe my son will never be thrilled with everything I make, however, I know he will definitely be excited about how it's packaged. Below are my picks for elements of a great lunch: offers these great bento boxes. They come in different color combinations and what kid doesn't love opening little containers to see the surprise that awaits them? 

I chose this bag because of the Hello Kitty lover within me. I found this bag on and I love the cutesy, Japanese look. What a pleasant looking sandwich! How often is that statement made?

It does not matter how old your kid is, they always like notes from you. Instead of scribbling a note on a napkin, give them a mini lunch note. Each card has a colorful animal on the front and space on the back for a hand-written note. Check it out at