Thursday, December 31, 2015

Making New Years Eve at Home Fun

If you're staying in tonight there's plenty of ways to make it an exciting time right from the comfort of your living room.

Try these for a fun time ringing in the new year:

1. Casino Night at home: my husband is so ready for this tonight. He purchased a couple of basics from Party City and we're set. Everyone is paying-in $50 dollars and games will include games chips, roulette, black jack and bingo. Our entire house decor includes aces and spades with black, red and white colors of course!


2.  Game Night and Tournament: bust our every board game there is and get to it. Set up stations. With enough folks there could be tournaments and playoffs. Think heads up in one corner versus monopoly in another. Through in pictionary and charades and really get people moving. 

3. Wine and cheese night: This is a great way to bring together family and friends.  Folks can share their favorite wine, deli meat, fruit and cheese combos. I personally love white wine combined with salami, goat cheese, and mango slices. Don't forget to get a ton of grapes to make midnight New Years wishes at the strike of midnight. Play some Sinatra and you're in for a smooth relaxing night at home.



What are your favorite go-to at-home celebration recommendations?

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Our Total Faves of 2015!

Our Favorite Things of 2015!


What a year it has been! We went through many trends in 2015 and some were good and some not so good. Here are some of our favorite things from 2015...

Food:

Irene: Udon Tempura Soup: I was sick recently so I had to try a comfort soup. I am now hooked on this choice.  I literally have this soup once weekly. It is hardy, flavorful, and fun to eat as I gulp, slurp and scoop it all in! Add sriracha and ginger for an extra kick.


Elissa: Korean BBQ and Spam Fries. This year I tried Korean BBQ for the first time and I am hooked. A great way to try a lot of different dishes in one meal. The kids thought cooking at the table was so fun. And the cheese fondue was a nice bonus! 

Drink:

Irene- Minced Cucumber with Vodka/Soda Water: This is the most refreshing cocktail out there! I love having this at home or at a bar. It's that good and easy to blend all together then enjoy! Try it.



Elissa: A Cinnamon Roll. Since the first time I tried Fireball Whiskey I was intrigued. It was cold and spicy and intense. I knew it was tasty but it needed something to cut the intensity. Then I found the perfect drink. A couple of shots of Fireball with some cream soda over ice. Delicious!  


Book:

Irene- Anything by Patrick Lencioni. I am currently reading The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team. His books a easy reads and as I am thumbing along all the "lightbulbs" in my brain go off. "Yes, yes, how did you know?" I think to myself. Clearly, Lencioni has a great pulse on business and his straightforward writing makes his concepts easy to digest.



Elissa: The Harry Potter series. Even though the books came out many years ago, and all the movies are on DVD I had never read or watched. I finally came out from under the rock I have been living in and decided that 2015 was going to be the year that I finally read the series. After book one I was hooked and could not read fast enough. It took me a few months but I go though all the books and fell in love with the characters. I even wrote about it here


Fashion Trend:

Irene- Scarves and High Boots: I am wearing them now. It's been cold in Cali., and I just couldn't wait to rock my scarves and boots! This combo is a comfy but fashionable option for a busy, working momma.


Elissa: Gel manicures. I never would spent the money on a manicure because without fail I would chip the polish within 24 hours of walking out of the nail salon. Seriously EVERY SINGLE TIME! I had a SpaFinder gift card and decided I wanted to see if the gel manicures were everything they said they were. I kept hearing how they would last for 2 weeks. After my first appointment I was hooked. The fact that my nail technician is awesome and funny helps too! (Shout out Tiffany!) 

Show to Binge Watch:

Irene-Transparent: in its second season this show is about family and all the struggles that come with change. You have to check it out. You'll cry and laugh. It's also based on a true story of a young woman whose father transitions to become female in her 60's.


Elissa- This was a tough category for me. Apparently I did a lot of binge watching this year! It was a tie for me between the hilarious Fox animated series Bob's Burgers and the new Netflix original show by Aziz Ansari called Master of None. Bob's Burgers is a hilarious show about Bob and Linda Belcher, their 3 kids Tina, Louise and Gene and their burger joint. Tina is such an amazing character and is my spirit animal. Master of None is a fun and real look at the life of a young, single and 1st generation millennial. The second episode called "Parents" is such a great look at being the child of an immigrant. 

Music:

Irene- The New Justin Bieber album. Hey it's good! Listen Here!



Elissa- Traveller by Chris Stapleton was by far my favorite album of the year. He is a perfect mix of country and bluegrass vibes. Great songs about love and travel and loss. I wasn't the only one who fell for this album, my husband did too.  Listen Here! 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Best Gift I Received This Christmas Was Free

The weekend after Christmas I decided to give myself a gift. The gift was simple. It was also what I needed the most after a whirlwind December. I took my phone and deleted all social media apps. I also deleted news apps which can be negative powerhouses.

With the exception of email, text, and blogging, my phone goes back to being just that... a phone. The idea to disconnect is brought on by a desire to faste and refocus. For a moment, I thought my fast would be about food restriction. Then I realized a bigger fast would come from eliminating over-stimulating time wasters.


Since deleting these apps., which I plan to power back up in four weeks or so, I've read so much more, spent more time writing, and enjoying time with my children. This social media/news break is meant to create space between me and the constant input of information. Plus, with my office and children's school both shut down for the holidays, I thought this was a great time to focus in on what matters most: me, my family, and being PRESENT! 

What are some of the best FREE gifts you've ever received?

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Kindness of Strangers

Over the weekend we took our 2 girls to Knotts Berry Farm. It had been years since we had taken them to an amusement park. A day at any park is expensive so as their Christmas gift we took them to Knotts. We searched for the best coupons and decided Sunday was the day! Even with the coupon we were looking at $200 for all of us to get into the park. It's not Disneyland prices, but it's still a good chunk of change.

As we stood in line to purchase tickets a husband, wife and son were standing in line behind us. The woman casually asked us if we were purchasing tickets. I was confused because we were in purchase line. I told her we were. She then asked how many of us were there. I told her that we were a family of 4. She then handed me passes for 4 free tickets.

Yes free.

My husband thanked her and I was like "WHA?". My husband when up to the ticket booth and handed them the passes. We got 4 tickets into the park and his wallet never left his back pocket. As we turned to walked into the park I turned around and thanked the lady one more time. And of course I hugged her.

It was a nice surprise for us. It let us have an even better day with the girls. Those things that we would normally say no to (like photo booth pics!) we were able to say yes to. All thanks to the kindness of a stranger. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas from HerMamas.Com


Hermamas.com wishes you a beautiful and safe Christmas and prosperous New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Feliz Noche Buena


In my family we get together with all the extended family for Christmas Eve. We have been doing this for as long as I can remember. We cram way too many people into one house. There are piles and piles of presents and lots of little people running around on a sugar high from overly frosted sugar cookies. And sometime about 9pm the man himself, Santa stops by with gifts for all the kiddos! This is a long standing tradition in our family. 


We hope you Noche Buena is filled with family, friends, laughter and tons of tamales! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Most Stressful Part of the Holidays

Christmas Eve is 2 days away and with all the excitement of food and family and giving gifts there is always one thing that makes my holiday stressful.

The Schedule. 

My husband and I both come from big close-knit families. And we both want to be with our families during the holidays. The problem is, our families do not live near each other. My family is in the Ventura County and Central Coast area and his family is in the Los Angeles area. So every year things get heated in our house. The end results is usually 6 hours in the car on Christmas Day. Yes my kids spend most of their Christmas day in the car, on the freeway. Usually complaining that they are hungry or bummed that they can't be playing with their new toys.

Every year it sucks but every year we do it. Neither of us gets a nice relaxing holiday with our family. We just haven't found any other way around it.  

Monday, December 21, 2015

Steve Harvey Had One Job: Miss Universe Blunder Equals Hilarious Memes

Last night's crowning of Miss Universe will now be remembered for one moment and one moment ONLY:

Steve Harvey's awkward blunder of naming the wrong winner. 

It is literally worthy of every cringe in a person's body. To watch the footage is one thing but imagine living it? WOW, talk about bone-headed mistake! I couldn't actually watch the footage more than once. The internet memes however are too funny to ignore...








Share the favorite one-liners you've heard today!

Friday, December 18, 2015

One More Week

We are 7 days away from Christmas Day! Ugh where did the time go??? So do you need some last minute gift ideas? Well we got you covered...


Mason Jar Cocktail: Remember all those mason jars you bought that you were going to craft with. Well here is a great use for them. Fill with a can of soda of even iced coffee and attach a small bottle of liquor and a straw. A simple and perfect gift!


The Gift of Television: Everyone loves a good show binge. Why not give them the gift of hundreds of episodes at the touch of a button? A gift card for any streaming services would be a great gift!


Texting Gloves: Since our phones are in our hands 24/7 gloves that we can text with are a must. Find a great pair at most clothing stores. 
2016 Planner: Even with our phones and iCalendars a good old fashioned paper planner is a great gift for anyone with a busy schedule!
How is your shopping list coming along? 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Vacation Safety Tips for Your Home


I am headed on vacation soon and shared a countdown on social media. A fellow blogger commented on keeping the details secret due to social media creepers. I hear that and I don't take her advice lightly. Oversharing vacation plans has definitely led to burglaries of opportunity. 

I get her point completely. So much so I've literally arranged house sitters (multiple), my neighbors are on high alert, and so much more. But, I'll keep those details private. 

Truth be told, one can't be too cautious. Scary, but true. To me, the dates I'll be away will eventually be clear since I'll post on social media while on vacation as so many of us do. 

What's most critical is the safety plan for our home and possessions while we're away. Here are a few tips to consider:

- Arrange house sitters  (not one, but a few). Increase the activity and human presence while you're away to thwart off intruders. This is one clear way to dissuade potential assailants.

- Upgrade security and home monitoring systems such a alarms and cameras (inform the proper alarm company servicemen for extra patrols).

- Store portable valuables (jewelry, cash, safe, etc.) somewhere other than in your home while away.

- Let all neighbors know to be on high-alert, check your mail, home exteriors and such.

- Ensure all insurance coverages are in order before you go. In our case, we're even ensuring our will is current. 

And finally, have fun! After all, material things can always be replaced and no one should ever steal your peace of mind! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Bomb Threats and Overreacting?

Yesterday was intense. Los Angeles Unified School District received a threat of violence against all schools in their district at about 5 am on Tuesday morning. The threat was considered by the LAUSD to be credible enough to shut down over 900 schools.

Many parents and students were scared and confused. I had to drop off my children to school with more anxiety than ever. I spent the morning wondering if terrorists could really attack so many places at once and would they really target innocent children. After the Paris attacks and the mass shooting in San Bernardino, LAUSD made the call to close all schools. This is a huge decision. That is a major job to notify all students and families, not to mention the amount of money that will be lost. State run schools get money for each student that attends class for each day.

I was glued to the news all morning and by mid-morning the story was not progressing. Police were clearing schools one by one. There were reports that the threat had come through an email with an IP address from Germany but experts were convinced it had come from somewhere closer.

When I check back on this story at 5pm the new was reporting that the threat was most likely a hoax. Even going as far as to say it could even be a disgruntled student. And then LAUSD started feeling the backlash. Some felt that LAUSD overreacted to the threat. On the same day New York schools received a similar email and dismissed it as a hoax right away and called out Los Angeles for overreacting. Parents were upset because they did not have any place for their kids to go such last minute.

My opinion? When it comes to the safety of our children it is always better to be safe than sorry. LAUSD and most school districts deal with threats all the time. On Tuesday LAUSD used their best judgment based on the details of the email as well as the terrorism this country has experienced in the last month and made a decision based on the safety of our children, even if this means inconveniencing some parents. What would those parents have said if LAUSD ignored the threat and god-forbid something happened.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Is a fitness band supposed to scare you?

I spent my first day monitoring steps and sleep using my new Jawbone Up3 fitness band. At first, I was pumped exploring the app and setting goals. Then I was ready for bed and eagerly directed the device to "start sleep."

By 3am I was up. I wonder if the band was capturing my awoken state. I tossed and turned until 5am and thought, "well this sucker won't measure anything I don't already know." It wasn't as though wearing it would cure my insomnia, but I was hopefully to learn about the quality of sleep I got while actually sleeping.

When the fitband alarm gently woke me up I couldn't wait for the following report...


Firstly, it's wrong! 

During a period of so called light sleeping 330-515am I was wide awake, so my accomplished goal of sleeping 8 hours is inaccurate. Then, I noticed how much of a light sleeper I really am. REM and deep sleep combined accounted for only 2 hours and 12 minutes of the night while I was awake for another two! 

With that, this report actually freaked me out!

Sleep is such a valuable asset in life and yet we often believe we're okay without it. Truthfully, we're not. According to research, not only is our long term health and immune system compromised without sleep, but we are often walking through our day relying on sweets or caffeine for energy boosts, irritable, moody, napping or secretly hoping for a nap, falling asleep in meetings, lectures or warm rooms, and simply dragging ourselves through the day. None of the above supports a healthy body or mindset. This experience is bad for even our self-esteem. 

If you're feeling any of the above, think about your sleep habits, and work to improve them. But whatever you do, don't let a fitness band freak you out like it did me. Measuring sleep routines is only half the battle. Now, on to making sure I get more out of sleepy nights ahead!

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Best Adele Parody So Far

So we are all in love with the Adele album. We've all found ourselves alone, maybe in the shower, maybe in the car, belting out the song Hello. And in our minds we sound fantastic. And like with every super popular song it was just a matter of time until the parodies started. 

Well Emily Mills came out was a great one that really hit home for this HerMama. With lyrics like....

“Hello from the mother side. I must have tried a thousand times to tell her this homework is really breaking my heart. But when I try, it really doesn’t seem to tear her apart anymore.”

And....

“Hello from the mother side. I think I might break down and cry because I love my children but I don’t want anymore. Can somebody pass me the pinot noir?”

Click on picture to watch the video! 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Our New Favorite Dinner: The Crescent Ring

I recently found a great recipe for a crescent roll ring. It took the the regular crescent dough and took it to the next level. When you get past scary pop of the tube (it gets me every time) the crescent roll has a ton of possibilities. 

The first recipe I tried was for a Chicken Pot Pie Ring. (You can find it HERE ) I was shocked at how easy and how good the meal came out. Then it got me thinking. What else can I stuff inside a crescent ring. And let me tell you, there is plenty.

Start with this....


Then fill the middle of the ring with lots of awesome goodness. Our best one yet was the meatball ring. We started with a layer of mozzarella/provolone cheese. (yes that's a thing!) Then I added to rings of defrosted meatballs. I spooned some marinara sauce over the meatballs and covered that with another layer of the cheese. After you have added all your inside goodness you pull the dough over and tuck in the edges in the center. Then cook for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. It was a major hit!

 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Being the only girl in a male dominated sports team!

My son plays basketball in a well organized league with about 15 teams. His coach is female. She's the only one.

He's also on an indoor soccer team made up of 14 players (two teams). There is only one female on the team. Again, she's the only one.

Now, I'm sure there are female teams for this one girl to join, but I appreciate that this child (and her parents) chose to have her play with all boys. Is it this type of girl that grows up to be the only coach in a male dominated league? And why is there even still such rampant gender division in sports?

I don't know the answer, but I do know that as I consider identifying an extracurricular sport for my five-year old daughter, everyone in our circle has suggested ballet. Yes, everyone has made the same recommendation and it couldn't be a more feminine choice. There she will not be the only girl, but one of many. 


This is all driven by society's still prevalent gender divide. For now, all I can do is encourage my daughter to be different and not live up to male versus female stereotypes. I do the same with my sons and together we live in a home that is relentless about making sure colors (pink or blue) or sports (soccer or ballet) don't define us. After all it is this reinforcement that will make all the difference when my daughter has to fight for equal wages and opportunity in a still gender-imbalanced career world. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Buen Dia, Ramon now on Netflix



I found myself in a the stage on life where you have just finished binge watching a series and you don't have a new series to start so you have to actually watch a movie. After searching for a few a long time I found the move "Buen Dia, Ramon". The description says..

A beloved box office hit in Mexico, BUEN DÍA, RAMÓN (GOOD DAY, RAMON) tells the heartwarming story of a young man from a small Mexican town who travels to Germany to find work to support his family and becomes stranded without shelter or money. He struggles to survive on the streets until he meets Ruth, a lonely senior citizen with whom he develops an astonishing and touching friendship that transcends borders and prejudices.

Imagine heading across the world, not knowing one person, not knowing the language and not having any place to stay. This movie was so good. It was released in 2013 and was a huge hit in Mexico. I don't know how I missed this one! It was exactly what I needed to see. It was all about the kindness of strangers. How even without language people can communicate. How music can bring people together and how karma can bring goodness to good people. I highly recommend this movie. I have seen it twice now. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Kids now named after Instagram filters!

I must say the girl names are pretty darn cute: Willow, Valencia and Juno. Can't say the same for the male names that shot up in popularity: Kelvin, Hudson, Ludwig, Amora, and the most popular, Lux. I guess when you stare at these names all day it just sinks in, and for many, it works.

I can't say I don't like some of these names but is society going too far? Clearly not too far since none of these IG names actually crack the top ten list for 2015 male and female names. This coming from a person who was super unoriginal. My daughter's name was #1 in 2015 and my son's #5! Maybe I needed to think outside the box a bit, or just grab my cell phone!

My oldest child has a pretty unique name as do I and I must say I love the ease of often being the only one in a room. I like the originality and I love being able to one day make a mark with a very unique name. 


Could it be one day these IG monikers could take over the pop. charts? I wouldn't be completely against the shift! Would you? 

Tell us, what are the nuttiest names you've ever heard?

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Zuckerberg and Paternity Leave



We have all heard of maternity leave but paternity leave is still a fairly recent term. The idea of the Dad taking time off work when a baby is born is still a little more uncommon.

As the world found out earlier this week, the Zuckerbergs welcomed their first child into the world. Yes there is a new heir to the Facebook fortune and she is adorable and named Max. As the world congratulates the new family, people are shocked to hear that Mark is going to take a 2-month paternity leave. As a resident of California, Zuckerberg is entitled to a paid leave. California is only 1 of 3 states that offer this for fathers. Even with this great perk many fathers do not take advantage of it. There is still a stigma for men to take time off of work to care of their new babies.

I hope that with Mark Zuckerberg publicly taking paternity leave it can help remove some of the stigma attached. Studies show that when working parents take time off to be with their kids it is better for the whole family. Also parents who take the leave tend to be more involved with their children in the long-term. This is a win-win.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Simple DIY Advent Calendars

Yes people it really is December 1st! And if the people in your house are anything like mine they are asking you over and over again...

"HOW MANY DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS??" 

Like all day, everyday! One easy way to avoid this issue is to set up an advent calendar. This is a great way for kids to visually see how many days there are until the big day. Here are some easy DIY advent calendars. 

Paper bags on a string with clothespins. To make this more festive you can add a small candy or toy inside each bag. 



This one is a little more labor intensive. With some cardboard, toilet paper rolls and butcher paper you can make this sweet little house. Add treats inside each tube and you will be sure to have happy kids all month long!


A simple clipboard and some printed out dates can me your countdown fun and festive.


Now this one is great for little ones, but does require some simple sewing. Cut out a green tree over out of felt and sew it onto a big piece of felt. Make some cute circular christmas bulbs and embroider a the dates. Add buttons to attach. So cute!


This one is super cute and super simple. 25 envelopes. 


I found a way to make this even more simple. Taking a business size envelope an cut it in half. Tape the open flaps down and you are left with a little pouch. Add a number to each and put inside jokes, interesting facts about christmas and even coupons for fun holiday activites to do together as a family. 


Happy December!