The #FunnestSport with USA Swimming

Experiencing the top swimming talent in the US at USA Swimming Nationals! #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis amazing opportunity for my son and I was made possible by MomTrends and USA Swimming.  On August 8th we were invited to the William Wollett, Jr. Aquatic Center to check out the USA Swimming National Championships.  The top .3% of all swimmers in the United States were here competing for a spot on the National team for the Pan Pacific games.  The level of talent in this one place, including a crazy amount of Olympians and those posed to be future Olympic stars, was insane.  We were fortunate to get an intimate look in what USA Swimming calls the #funnestsport. 

USA Swimming Nationals #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe day started with us getting a tour of the competition.  I mean, we were literally on the “deck” where only coaches and swimmers are allowed.  We were right in the action and I’m not going to lie, I felt like I was in the way a little bit.  I also thought I might end up in the pool.  But it was awesome to be able to share this with my son so he could feel the excitement first hand.  We got to see the determination on each of the swimmer’s faces and also the camaraderie between the other athletes.  As we learned throughout the day, although swimming is based on your individual times, it feels very much like a team sport.  And the abs!  There were abs every where! 

Checking out USA Swimming National Championships. #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOh did I mention we had a photographer following us around?  That wasn’t awkward at all.  Here’s me trying to look like a celebrity.  Or trying not to sweat to death.  Or looking at some abs.  You decide. 

Ready to sign autographs at the USA National Championships. #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOur tour included a look at the pavilion that is available for both swimmers and spectators.  The pavilion was a place to find food, a full swim shop for any swim equipment needs and also a places for the athletes to sign autographs.  Remember this event featured a bunch  of swimming super stars.  O took his turn at the table…

Learning about swimming as a sport and how fantastic USA Swimming is. #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOne of the coolest parts of the day was getting to chat with 12 time Olympic medalist, Dara Torres.  Not only is she freaking gorgeous, she’s crazy inspiring, amazing athlete and an all around nice person.  It was really special that she gave us some of her time to talk about her swimming experience.  She also told us a little bit more about SwimToday.org.  While my area is full of swim teams, other areas, especially in other parts of the country, they are not so easy to find.  SwimToday.org is the place to go to find one in your area.  Dara reinforced the idea of swimming being very similar to a team sport.  It’s also much easier on the body than sports like football.  And your kids don’t sit on a bench, they are always participating.  Dara has gotten involved in spreading the word about swimming as she feels that it is a a sport that often gets overlooked but teaches kids so many positive qualities.  We also got a chance to talk to Mary Gen Ledecky, mom to Katie Ledecky, swimming superstar.  At 17, Katie is an Olympic gold medalist and world record holder.  We got a chance to find out what it’s like to parent an Olympic athlete and again, she talked about how the swimmers really feel more like family than opponents. 

Swimming selfie! #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd then it was time for a selfie. 

Swimming with Olympic medalist Dara Torres. #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe the kids were treated to a little time in the pool with Dara.  An absolute once in a lifetime moment to get to swim with an Olympic swimmer.  

Swimming lessons with olympic swimmer Dara Torres. #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI can’t say enough about Dara.  She was truly amazing.  She was funny and so kind with the kids.  She gave them little drills to do and then had them race.  The coolest. 

Pool time with olympic swimmer Dara Torres. #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd right on the other side of the practice pool where the kids were playing, the National Championships went on.  The entire experience was amazing.  It is not an event I will soon forget.  And although I am not sure my son fully grasped just how cool this experience was, even he commented about it feeling pretty special. 

Swimming with Olympic swimmer Dara Torres. #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThank you Dara, USA Swimming and MomTrends for showing us a really cool look at swimming.  To find a swim team near you, be sure to check out SwimToday.org.

*This post was sponsored by MomTrends and USA Swimming.  All opinions are mine. But the facts are real. And swimming just might be the #funnestsport.

Photos 1, 2, 6, 9 and 10 are mine

Photos 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8 are courtesy of Mike Lewis (check out his portfolio!! AMAZING!) for USA Swimming

Yoobi for Back To School Supplies

Yoobi Fun Day at the Grove. When you purchase Yoobi at Target, Yoobi donates a school supply to a US classroom in need!  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comA few weeks ago my boys and I were invited to Yoobi Fun Day at The Grove in Los Angeles.  By now I am sure you have all seen this bright brand on the shelves at Target.  But what you may not know is that for every Yoobi school supply that you purchase, Yoobi supplies a US school in need with a supply too.  Although some schools have already started, plenty are still a few weeks off.  Consider purchasing Yoobi for your kid’s back to school supplies!

Consider Yoobi school supplies this year for back to school.  For every Yoobi item purchased at Target, Yoobi donates one to a US classroom in need.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWhile the products are well designed and inspire creativity, they also help with a current problem in the American school system.  99% of teachers purchase classroom supplies with their own money and spend on average about $500 a year.  Yoobi aims to help ease that burden and expect to help more than 30,000 classrooms by 2015.  Yoobi offers more than 80 different items and all are under $10.  They are sold exclusively at Target stores so it almost couldn’t be easier to help out our teachers. 

Yoobi Fun Day featured a giant blow up twister game! // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe Yoobi event was awesome and included arts and crafts and some super fun, interactive experiences.  Like this blow-up, huge twister board! We were excited to come out and support this amazing brand.  I hope you will consider them when purchasing your back to school supplies!

Yoobi Fun Day at The Grove brought out several celebs. Even some celebs came out to support this awesome brand.  (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for Yoobi)

Shop online for Yoobi or purchase at Target.

*This post was not sponsored.  Although they invited us to the event, I really feel like this is an easy way to do a little something for our struggling school systems.  The intention behind Yoobi is amazing and it makes me happy to support it and share it with you.

Orange County Summer Events for Kids

Roller Coaster at Sunset at the Orange County Fair //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSummer is slowly winding down.  The OC fair just ended so you may be looking for more Orange County summer events to do with your kids to keep them entertained before school starts.  By the way, that photo above was taken with my iPhone, no filter, at the fair the other night on a family roller coaster ride.  I’m kind of in love with it.  Especially because I know the squeals and joy that was in our roller coaster car, that resembled a mouse, that night.  It really made me want to make sure that I take the kids on fun outings and keep trying new things before we get back in to the grind of homework, sports and bed times.

Gardens and Villa at OC Parks Summer Concert Series //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI’m not sure if you have heard of the OC Parks Summer Concert Series cohosted by KROQ.  Every Thursday, the entire summer, there have been rad concerts at various parks around Orange County.  Last week we took the family to Miles Square Park, in Garden Grove, to see one of my fave bands, Gardens and Villa.  There was a food truck and Front Porch Pops and an awesome atmosphere for seeing live music.  We missed the opener (thanks rush hour traffic!) but got to see the band – whose frontman grew up locally, play for over an hour.  And the kids loved it.  My littlest danced his heart out.  My oldest just chilled.  There are still two more weeks of shows before the series winds down, both at Bluff Park in Dana Point.  Do not miss them! Moonsville Collective plays August 21 and Matt Costa (Do NOT miss him! And plan ahead, this one might have more of a crowd as he is a local favorite!) plays, August 28th.  All shows are from 6 – 8 pm.  Bring a picnic blanket and lawn chairs, bring your dinner or buy it there.  I wish we would have started this earlier in the summer!

Kid's events at Kaleidoscope Center in Mission Viejo //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd if you are looking for something to do during the day, Kaleidoscope Center in Mission Viejo has a ton of family friendly businesses open year round as well as fun special events for the summer.

Special kid events at Kaleidoscope Center in Mission Viejo // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis past Tuesday, my boys and I checked out the percussion event.  It was loud and super fun. The shows begin at 11:30 am and run for an hour.  They are all interactive and engaging and the kids had a great time!

Tuesday, August 19th, is a free Magic Wizard show! I am sure the kids are going to love it!  And Tuesday, August 26th, the series ends with the Kids Carnival from 11:30 – 2:30 pm. Proceeds will benefit Make-A-Wish (so bring a new toy or backpack and you’ll get game tickets!) and will feature bounce houses, games, face painting and more!  The organizers assured me this will appeal to kids of all ages so be sure to come and check it out.

I had no idea that the Kaleidoscope center had SO many great activities all in one place!  I hadn’t been there in years so after the percussion event, my kids and I spent the rest of the afternoon there having a little adventure.

Buffalo Wild Wings at Kaleidoscope Center Mission Viejo // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe started off our afternoon with lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings.  Full disclosure, they comped our meal.  That was super nice of them and we totally appreciated it!  I had never been to a Buffalo Wild Wings before and didn’t know what to expect.  While the restaurant is pretty much sports-themed, the staff was crazy friendly and fantastic.  (If you go to the Kaleidoscope location, ask for Taylor! She was our server and she was awesome!) Each booth has a little touch-screen gaming system that kept my boys entertained.  $1 got them 4 credits, or about 4 games).  And the screen kept them entertained well after the money ran out.  The food was delicious and it was easy to find something for my son with food allergies to eat. We tried the fried pickles, because duh, you have to.  And my wrap was super yummy.  We will definitely be back! Thank you so much for having us, Buffalo Wild Wings!

There are ton of super fun family-friendly options at the Kaleidoscope Center in Mission Viejo // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comNext we headed to Jump N’ Jammin which the kids were super excited for!  Everyone MUST wear socks, including adults, so don’t be a loser like me and have to buy some there.  For about $25 the kids and I got a few hours of fun.  Cubbies are kept behind the counter to hold your shoes and bags.  Nick, the assistant manager, told me all about how safe the facility is and I loved knowing that my kids could run wild and I didn’t have to stay on top of them the whole time.  That is really good for me.  I tend to hover… There is one inflatable and then a number of obstacle style areas for the kids to play in.  They also have a horizontal climbing wall that is really fun.  For the moms, they offer a wi-fi password, a little vending machine area with plenty of tables and also a selection of magazines to keep you entertained.  The music they played was pretty good and I never once got bored as the boys played and made new friends.  They also have a drop off program which I will totally be using in the future! There are some limitations so check with Jump N’ Jammin first.

A fun obstacle at Jump N' Jammin' Mission Viejo // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe came in like a wrecking ball… Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

Laser Quest at Kaleidoscope Center Mission Viejo // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOur last stop of the day was to Laser Quest.  Since we had never played before and I wasn’t sure how my youngest would handle being in the dark (and could he even carry the pack?!) so we opted to play one game. For two kids it was about $20 and one game was seriously plenty for my kids (ages 5 and 8).  The staff was really fun and friendly and even though we were the only people in the building, they really made us feel welcome and gave us all their energy. Because we were the only ones playing, they let me go in too which was awesome since I could be there in case my youngest freaked out but also, I’ve never played laser tag before so it was cool to see what it was all about.  The packs are pretty heavy and although my 5-year-old made it through the game, he struggled a bit and by the end was super tired.  The room is dark, although there is a lot of black lights so it is never pitch black, and it took him about two minutes to warm up to it then he was off on his own, running through the mazes trying to shoot his brother.  I think they had a lot of fun.  We will certainly be doing this again.

Aside from Jump N’ Jammin and Laser Quest, the center has a movie theater, Color Me Mine, Howie’s Game Shack and for tween girls, Bold Girlz.  One of my son’s told me that next time we would bring Dad with us so they could go play laser tag and I could go to Bold Girlz by myself. :)  So nice of him.  And there are several great restaurant options too.  Check out the Kaleidoscope center directory to see the center has to offer!

One thing I’m really excited about is the opening of a Union Market in the fall.  The Tustin location is about ready to open and I know that Mission Viejo residents will be glad that there will be some great dining options in their neck of the woods pretty soon!

My boys and I spent about 5 hours at the Kaleidoscope Center and had a blast.  I highly recommend it for family time!  We’ve already talked about going back to paint and play games at Howie’s Game Shack.  Maybe we’ll see you there.

Keeping it Real with Wet-Nap in Summer

*This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign withPollinate Media Group™ and Wet-Nap but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #showusyourmess  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Easy two ingredient banana "ice cream" for a healthy summer treat. #showusyourmess #ad #pmedia  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis post is about keeping it real.  For many of us who work from home, summer is hard.  While some people are sharing their summer adventures on social media and still churning out glorious posts, others of us are just trying to make sure the kids are getting baths every few days and trying to make sure the house doesn’t turn in to a complete pig sty.  Meeting deadlines and spending quality time with your kids does not go hand in hand.  I really try to make sure that I make breaks in my to-do list to do something with the kids and give them all my attention.  We recently started making this banana “ice cream” as a special treat.  It is something we can do together, eat together (without feeling guilty) and clean up together.

Wet-Naps are perfect for easy clean ups at home or on the go. #showusyourmess #ad #pmedia  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI hate sticky messes.  Nothing grosses me out more than sticky messes in the car or kitchen.  I’m so grateful for the Wet-Nap products. For real. When we graduated from baby wipes, we moved right on to these. I love that they have the canister that works super well for arts and crafts or working in the kitchen and the to-go packs for bringing along in the car, on road trips or even just on playdates. I picked these up from Walmart on one of my recent trips.  They offer a .55 cent off coupon on any Wet-Nap products (which can be found in either the napkin aisle or in the travel section) so you save even more than just their everyday low prices (while supplies last!). P.S. the citrus scent smells amazing! It smells more like pineapple than citrus but it is so great! The wipes are softer and stronger than before and moisturizes with aloe so your hands don’t get all dried out.

Wet-Naps are perfect for clean up on the go! #showusyourmess #ad #pmedia  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThey work perfectly for cleaning “orange finger.”  You know, from eating snacks that are completely unhealthy and full of processed cheese-like flavors.  Sure I may have made you believe that we are super healthy eaters based on the banana “ice cream” talk.  But we eat the banana “ice cream” because of the horrific snacks we consume on a far too regular basis…but the individual packets are perfect for tossing in my bag when we finally do make time to have some fun away from the house.

Wet-Naps for easy clean up when the kids are helping you in the kitchen. #showusyourmess #ad #pmedia  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comReal talk: I am super grossed out by bananas.  Not the flavor, just touching them.  I used to work at a restaurant where we had to make shakes.  It seemed like all of my regulars were part monkey because I was constantly making shakes with bananas.  I would peel the banana and wash my hands.  I would prepare the rest of the shake ingredients and then add the banana and then wash my hands.  Then I would clean up the shake area, touching the gross peel again and you guessed it, wash my hands. Ewww. So slimy. And while I am trying desperately not to pass along my banana phobia to my kids, I am super glad that I can hand them a Wet-Nap wipe so they can get that goop off of them before they spread it around or get it on me.

Slicing bananas for frozen banana "ice cream."  A super healthy cold treat. #showusyourmess #ad #pmedia  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe banana “ice cream” is SUPER easy but takes a little planning ahead.  Each serving uses 1/2 – one whole frozen banana.  They are easier to blend if they are cut before freezing.  So before a bunch of bananas starts to get too ripe, we cut them up for these frozen treats.  My youngest loves to cut things in the kitchen so I may or may not have him cut the bananas so that I don’t have to touch them.

A healthy treat for kids during summer, frozen "banana" ice cream.  #showusyourmess #ad #pmedia  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comEach banana is bagged in its own baggie so you can easily grab as many servings as you need when you are ready to blend up your cold, healthy treat.

Kids love to help in the kitchen. Wet-Naps keep me sane by getting the goo off their fingers before they get it all over everywhere else! #showusyourmess #ad #pmedia  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSee, super easy clean up.

What it really looks like when you are trying to shoot a post. #showusyourmess #ad #pmedia  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe reality, though, is this is what my kitchen looked like last week in preparation for the creative retreat I was planning.  And that face is him telling me he was done with his photo shoot.  He just wanted to cut his bananas in peace.  And shirts are not part of our wardrobe during summer.

Making banana "ice cream" with the kids for a healthy summer treat.  #showusyourmess #ad #pmedia  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comFast forward to when the bananas are fully frozen and ready to be made in to “ice cream.” And check out that bed head. That is how we really roll in summer.  Our blender is fantastic for this recipe, although you can’t even really call it a recipe since it is just two ingredients and you blend it.  I use our single serving size containers so each kid really has a hands on experience.  They add their own ice and one bag of bananas. That is all. (I didn’t invent this recipe and the one I saw also added canned coconut milk to make it a little creamier. I skip that part because I didn’t want to add the calories but it would probably be delicious.  And I would totally link to that recipe if I could even remember where I saw it – if you know, leave it in the comments!)

Blender banana "ice cream" recipe.  #showusyourmess #ad #pmedia  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThen we pop it on the blender and spin it up.  If the bananas and ice are still too frozen, I just add about a tablespoon of water to loosen it up.

Excited about ice cream cones. I'm just thinking of the mess when they start to melt... #showusyourmess #ad #pmedia  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd when they know you are taking photos of your supposed quality time with them, they start to make demands.  My oldest is always wanting to use my camera.  You know, my good camera that I don’t even want my husband to use.  But you finally say yes because you are feeling guilty for working quality time in to a blog post.  And the picture turns out all cute and you promise to post it.  So you do.

Kids love to help in the kitchen.  A perfect way to add in some quality time during the summer. #showusyourmess #ad #pmedia  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd then the little one says, “Mom! Take my picture like this!” so you do.  And he says it has to go in the post too.  So it does.

Add toppings to the banana "ice cream." #showusyourmess #pmedia #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comBecause the frozen banana part is super healthy, you let them add on a few not-so-healthy items.

Summer fun is playing cafe and selling your homemade banana "ice cream". #showusyourmess #ad #pmedia  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd in the end everything works out.  They add banana “ice cream” to the menu of the cafe they created this morning.  And you come and order it so you can really get some quality time with them while you eat it.

Wet-Naps are perfect for clean up when playing "cafe" at home.  #showusyourmess #ad #pmedia  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd your oldest son asks if he can pass out Wet-Naps with to-go orders so people don’t get messy. And you realize that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  And then you vow to take them bowling tomorrow.  No cameras allowed. (But definitely an entire box of Wet-Nap hand wipes because bowling is even more gross than bananas.)

Breakfast Date and Oatmeal Recipe from Corner Bakery

*My son and I were treated to breakfast at our local Corner Bakery.  And I enjoyed my oatmeal so much I’m sharing the recipe with you. All opinions are mine. The most delicious Chilled Berry Almond Swiss Oats (and recipe!) from Corner Bakery.  A delicious breakfast! #sponsored //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comIs it odd to say that I miss my youngest son? I’ve been with both my kids all summer, every day, except for a few quick trips. But I miss my baby. Although he was in preschool a few days a week, we still had a few days where we would run errands together, hang out together and do projects together. But since my other son is out of school too, they play more together and I do more chores around the house or errands by myself on the weekends. I miss my little buddy! So I decided to take him on a breakfast date with me to Corner Bakery. A month ago I got invited to a media event at our local restaurant. I couldn’t make that event so they sent me gift certificates so I could try out their featured menu items on my own. It was the perfect opportunity for me to reconnect with my little guy who starts kindergarten this fall!

And the Chilled Berry Almond Swiss Oatmeal blew my mind! That is not an exaggeration. I REALLY liked it! And I get to share the recipe with you. But first, more on my breakfast date…

Apple hand pie from @cornerbakery #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI got totally duped by this amazing looking bakery treat.  I thought it was a pop tart so I told my son he could have it. Then, when we were asking about the flavors, I was told it was an Apple Hand Pie… So my son got pie for breakfast…This breakfast date was all about making memories so I just rolled with it. And he was delighted to get a hot chocolate too. And I got to eat some too. The pie was delicious.

Bacon and apple hand pie from @cornerbakery for a mommy and son breakfast date. #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe worked the hand pie in to more of a full breakfast by adding on a side of bacon.  Breakfast of champions, right here.

Bacon and palm trees. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis one suddenly loves bacon.  Look how happy it makes him.

Breakfast Selfie! // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd when they ask to take selfies, you always say yes.  I just knew I would have to delete about 30 of the same exact photo.

A mommy and son breakfast date to @cornerbakery #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comIt was so fun to be able to have a leisurely breakfast and chat with my son.  We were not at all rushed and had a great time just hanging out.  I think it is so good to be able to spend one on one time with your kids when you can. It is sometimes really hard to fit in but it is so important.  I can’t wait to schedule something with my oldest!

Tic Tac Toe on kid's menu from  @CornerBakery for our breakfast date.  The perfect way to spend one on one time with a child.  #sponsored //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAfter breakfast we played a very artistic version of tic tac toe.  My son was more interested in us creating designs than actually playing.

Customizing coffee cup sleeves at @cornerbakery on our breakfast date.  #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd then he decided he wanted to customize our coffee cup sleeves. I love his use of color.

Chilled Berry Almond Swiss Oatmeal Recipe from @cornerbakery SO good! #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comBut back to this oatmeal. This chilled oatmeal is the perfect oatmeal for summer.  The Berry Almond Swiss Oats is a seasonal item on the Corner Bakery menu so hurry in to try it before its gone.  Or you can use this oatmeal recipe at home, all year round!

Corner Bakery's Chilled Berry Almond Swiss Oatmeal Recipe

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. Old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup Dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup Currants or raisins
  • 1 TBSP sugar (or to taste based on sweetness)
  • 2 cups Low Fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups Skim milk
  • Granny Smith apple, medium sized, chopped
  • Banana, medium sized, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh strawberries chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/8 cup sliced toasted almonds

Instructions

  1. Mix oats, cranberries, currants and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Add yogurt and skim milk, mix well and let sit 15 minutes.
  3. Dice the apple and banana, add to oats mixture and let sit another 15-30 minutes.
  4. Top with fresh strawberries, blueberries and toasted almonds.
  5. Serve chilled.
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/oatmeal-recipe-from-corner-bakery/

While in the restaurant be sure to try some of their new menu items, released at the beginning of July, the Buttermilk Pancakes with Berries and the Spicy Asian Pork Hot Toasted Sandwich!

Thanks for breakfast Corner Bakery! We really enjoyed it!