Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Traditions

Tis the season to be jolly. As we transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas it is time to think about all of the family traditions that we do each year. Since the arrival of our new baby 4 months ago, we have been trying to involve our 6 year old more to engage him with the baby. Here are a couple traditions that we will continue and have our oldest son share with his baby brother.

  • Each family member picks out an ornament each year. When the kids grow up, we'll give them their ornaments for their own trees.
  • Christmas Tree Train - For the past couple years, we have ridden the Christmas Tree Train in Fillmore, CA and cut down our own Christmas Tree. Last year, we rode a camel while we were there!
  • Gingerbread house, Reindeer food, letter to Santa, etc - Can't forget these timeless basics.
  • Photo with Santa - We have started an album that has our Christmas card and photos with Santa each year.
There are many other things that we do, but to get in the spirit of the season I wanted to share a few. Happy Holidays!!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Summer kid movies

Well, the news should actually be that we have a newborn in the house that is only 2 weeks old. Yes, that is true, but it has allowed my older son and me the chance to see some of the latest movies for kids that are out there.

The first one we saw this summer was Turbo. Good story about a snail that wants to go fast and ends up at the Indy 500. Dreamworks did a good job with this one and we all enjoyed it.

We saw Disney's Planes over the weekend and it was eerily similar to Turbo. Underdog makes good and beats the villan who cheats. Solid movie though.

Monsters University was the only other movie we saw this summer and it too was an enjoyable flic. Although I can't tell if our son liked the movies or eating popcorn with butter more.

We're looking forward to the next movie that comes out.  And, oh ya, I can't wait for our new baby boy to sleep through the night and I can't wait to take him to his first movie.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Brother P-Touch Update!

We have a 6 year old son who has been raised on technology. He knows how to use my iPhone, iPad, my wife’s blackberry, tivo, etc. You name it, he knows how to work it – and actively seeks it out. When you combine his love of technology with his desire to help out around the house, well the PTouch label maker is the perfect device. Not only is it entertaining enough for our son to use, but it’s also incredible practical and helpful.
The other day, we began our garage clean out. Instead of moving boxes and stopping to complete a label, I told my son the labels to make as I was moving everything around. This not only saved time, but was a nice bonding moment for me and my son. Not only did it give us and activity to do together, but he saw that I was using the labels he made himself.

As I continue to execute my new year’s resolution to get organized this year, one room at a time, I imagine my son will help every step of the way!

I have the benefit of being a P-Touch ambassador. I will be using the P-Touch Label Maker all year long as I organize my house and life! Stay tuned!

"I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Brother P-Touch and received a product sample to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation."

Monday, February 18, 2013

P Touch Label Maker Makes Life Easy and Organized

There is nothing as exciting as Christmas Day.  Happy kids, time with family and lots of food.   However at some point the clean up happens and it was at that point I realized how disorganized I was - piles of unopened mail sitting in the kitchen, old kids clothes to be saved for younger siblings in piles in the closet, and boxes of holiday decorations in unlabeled boxes.  Yes, my New Year's resolution is to get organized.  Enter the Brother P-Touch Label Maker.  Yes, they actually heard my plea and made me an ambassador, but more importantly, they are here to help get me organized!
I started with the Christmas Decorations.  We immediately labeled each of our holiday decorations boxes with the exact content contained within each - ornaments here, wreaths there, etc.  It was easy to decipher our Christmas boxes from other holiday items. 
But why stop there?  The next project involved my kids.  In addition to boxing and labeling their hand-me-down clothes, I noticed the pen markings on their school supplies were wearing off. I set the label with my son's name and within seconds, printed out 5 labels - one for his folder, one small enough to fit a glue stick, one for an eraser, one for his markers and one for his crayons.  Now there wont be even the slightest chance that his supplies will get mixed up with someone else's.
If you are trying to get organized for whatever reason, the Brother P-Touch Label Maker is for you.  Tune in over the next month or so as I put the product to work to help reach organize my family! If you,too, want to get organized or find fun projects for your family, log on to their Facebook page for ideas.

"I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Brother P-Touch and received a product sample to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation."

Friday, May 11, 2012

National Train Day!

We have waited 364 days for National Train Day! We've gone the last couple years and can't wait to go again tomorrow. Here' some more info.

Los Angeles: Union Station

Union Station 800 North Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Get Directions
Trip Planner
Program Guide [2.5 MB PDF]

When: 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Saturday, May 12

General Admission: Free

Now in its 5th year, National Train Day is back to celebrate train travel and the ways trains touch the lives of people with events across America. This year, festivities will highlight the unique perspective passengers enjoy as they take in the vastness and beauty of the American landscape, from cities big and small, to country vistas and everything in between, when traveling by rail.

As part of National Train Day, each major market event features live entertainment, interactive and educational exhibits, kids’ activities, model train displays and tours of Amtrak equipment, freight and commuter trains, and notable private railroad cars. Special thanks to LA County Metro Transit Authority.


National Train Day Exhibits and Activities

Train Equipment Displays

Walk through privately owned, luxury railcars and explore freight and commuter trains, as well as current Amtrak equipment.

Private Cars (subject to change) Commuter Rail Freight Rail

NRHS Central Coast Charter

Gordon Zimmerman

Royal Gorge

Overland Trail

Silver Splendor

Plaza Santa Fe

Silver Rapids

Silver Lariat

Silver Solarium


Union Pacific: Genset Locomotive

Pacific Harbor line: PHL 80-Series 6-Axle NRE Genset Locomotive Model 3GS21C

Santa Fe 3751: Steam Engine

Train Equipment Guide [2.4 MB PDF]

There will be no ticketing system this year, so be sure to arrive early! Space is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. Exhibits open at 11:00 a.m. on May 12.

Are you an Amtrak Guest Rewards MasterCard cardholder? If so, follow the Fast-Track signs to skip the line and avoid the wait.

American Sign Language Interpreted Tours for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at 12pm and 2pm.

AmtraKids Depot

Bring the kids and let them build, explore and compete for surprise giveaways happening all day long at the AmtraKids Depot.

Model Train Displays

Take a closer look at the miniature masterpieces and marvel at the wonder of the model train displays that will be featured on-site at National Train Day.

Orange County “N” Gineers will be displaying their model trains in Los Angeles.

K-9 Unit Demonstrations

Interact with Amtrak Police K-9 Units, one of the largest K-9 programs in the United States.

Amtrak Culinary Experience

Enjoy live cooking demonstrations by Amtrak Culinary Advisory Team chef, Bob Rosar, and taste free samples of regional culinary specialties.

Learn more about Bob Rosar and the rest of Amtrak’s Culinary Advisory team

See More Store

Take home posters, t-shirts, and other memorabilia that will remind you to see more, do more and live more from the passenger seat of a train.


Exclusive Exhibit

“See More on a Train” with Dora the Explorer

Popular Nickelodeon character, Dora the Explorer, will wow the crowd at Union Station in Los Angeles during the 5th Annual National Train Day Celebration. Dora will greet fans, take photographs and explore various train travel adventures with attendees.


Live Entertainment

The Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus Clowns will be on-site to celebrate National Train Day in Los Angeles. The Greatest Show on Earth travels by rail to 90 different cities across the US, and will be back in LA this summer from July 11 – August 5 at an arena near you. Join in the fun on National Train Day as Clowns perform and teach basic clowning skills such as juggling, balancing skills, improvisation, and movement.

The All-American Boys Chorus has completed four decades of remarkable growth and significant achievements. The AABC’s program is acclaimed for its musical excellence, and for instilling and fostering leadership skills and characteristics in its current membership of 110 boys and 1,000+ alumni. Artistic collaborations with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the William Hall Master Chorale have given the Chorus a notable stature. Community outreach performances in schools have reached more than 80,000 children.

Aaron Nigel Smith brings a fun, inspired, and lively show guaranteed to get kids and adults alike off their feet. His songs have been described as “Some of the best targeted music for kids today”. His entertaining shows have been featured around the country as a part of the NBC/Universal, Sony, Warner Brothers, Paramount, and Fox studios Family Concerts. He has also picked up the NAPPA and IParenting awards for his “Let’s Pretend” release.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Razorbombing is the new Planking

I never got into the planking phase, but it looks like it has been quickly replaced with Razorbombing. Check out this article from The Sun. I don't think I'll go out and do it, but it is cool to look at the pic's.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Brother P-Touch Might Make Organization a Snap

I recently received a Brother P-Touch kit as part of the P-Touch Ambassador program. I have to admit, I was hoping to receive an actual P-Touch as part of the kit, as memories of my first label maker came rushing back to me - you remember the one your mom had??...the one with the handle and wheel that you turned to punch out letters onto that thin sticker-like strip? Well, I've been told that an actual P-Touch is on it's way and you can rest assured that I will label everything in my house and hopefully live to tell about it (that is, if my wife doesn't kill me for labeling everything). An additional post will be coming soon where I highlight all the places I've stuck the labels and tested their durability, and hopefully better news about how they've helped organize my family photos, bills, work folders, and more.

In the meantime, what did come in the mail was a kit for me to use in the P-Touch Tough Test-It Challenge. Inside the kit were several pre-made labels, a plexi-glass block, nail polish remover, travel size bleach with palm brush, and sponge. My challenge, was to affix one of the pre-made labels to the plexi-glass block and to use the included tools to test the label's strength and durability. To tell you the truth, I was skeptical. I thought the label would easily come off and that I'd have to decline to write the blog post. However, that was not the case. My son and I scrubbed as hard as could, my wife used the nail polish remover on the label and then on her own nails, but nothing happened. These are professional labels that are not coming off anything. In fact, I'll need to ask the P-Touch folks what the secret is, in case I actually do need to remove one in the future.

What I can tell you after taking the challenge is that although we’re all familiar with label makers and their ability to help keep us organized, not all labels are created equal. Brother™ P-touch® labelers create durable, laminated labels that appear to be able to stand up to some of the toughest of conditions including rough handling, sunlight, water, and spills.

As I mentioned, I should be getting an actual P-Touch soon and boy do I have plans for it, including my tool kit and garage shelves. We'll see if it can survive inches of dust! And I have some packages to ship to my sister in Washington D.C. We'll see if the labels can survive UPS! In the meantime, if you are interested in a Brother P-Touch, you can order off the company site or head to your local office retailer including Best Buy, OfficeMax,, CDW, and more.

I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Brother P-Touch and received a product and gift card to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.