Thursday, November 29, 2012

Movie review: "Rise of the Guardians"

I have to admit that when the previews for this movie first came out, I wasn't entirely convinced that it would be a good fit for us, but I gave in to the pressure Olivia put on me and we went to see it...
Let's see... I think the characters in this movie are genius.. the "guardians" (Santa, Easter Bunny, Sandman, Tooth Fairy and Jack Frost) work so well together and they each have a peculiar treat and fun personality... from the accent, to the skills they's all great and original.. I loved them..
...then there's the "Boogey Man"..such a mean man who made my girls freak out.. especially Gaby...
The story revolves around the mean "Boogey Man" and his macabre plan to implant fear in all children and steal the holidays so they don't believe in magic anymore... then the guardians come in and save the innocence of children by fighting the "Boogey Man" and helping them believe again!...
In the end, they succeed and all the children are happy...(that's the short version, of course!)
I think the story is awesome and the way in which the guardians accomplish their goal is so creative.. I also think the scary parts are handled well and the ending is so emotional and cheerful..
I probably wouldn't recommend this one to kids younger than 4 or 5...but it was a great movie!
I give this one 5 out of 5 starts... a must see for sure!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving weekend

This Thanksgiving weekend was so much fun since we spent it a Disney World, our favorite place in this whole world!!
On Thanksgiving day we met up with some friends at Magic Kingdom and spent the day hanging out with Mickey and pals... We got to visit the new "Fantasy Land"..even though not all of it is open yet, we did get to experience a couple of new rides and also part of the new scenery...
Here's Olivia in front of Gaston's Tavern, one of the newest spots at Disney...

This is the entrance to the newest Ariel ride "Under the Sea" was cute and the girls loved it...

..and of course, there were Christmas shows and decorations everywhere.. nothing tops Disney at Christmas time.. we really had a blast!

On Friday, we went to Hollywood Studios and saw a bunch of characters or "puppets" as Gaby likes to call them.. the girls really enjoy taking picture with the characters and getting their little books autographed.. so we just oblige... ;)

..among the many characters we saw, we found Ralph and Vanellopee from the movie "Wreck-it-Ralph"...the girls were thrilled to see some new "puppets" walking around... night we enjoyed the "Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights", one of the holiday favorites which takes place at Hollywood Studios every year.. it's really neat to see all the dancing lights and listen to some of the greatest Christmas tunes.. what an amazing experience...

...and of course we saw "Goofy Santa" are the girls and their friend Alessandra posing with this funny "puppet"..

... we went on our favorite ride "Toy Story Midway Mania" and I have to say that I was impressed with Gaby's improved accuracy and speed..She has been on this ride several times before and always ended up with a score of "ZERO".. This time, however, she reached almost 12,000 points on her own.. it was quite amazing!!

Yesterday we went to Epcot with my parents, sister and niece who joined us for the remainder of the weekend.. the weather was amazing and we all had a blast together.. It had been 14 years since my parents visited Epcot so it was quite the experience for them...

...and to finish off our weekend, we visited Downtown Disney before heading home.. 
Once again, the weather was to die for so we had a blast walking around and enjoying the beautiful scenery... it was such a fun day and great trip...I hope we can do it again very soon! are the girls playing at the Lego store.. one of their favorite places...

...and this is the closest we got to eating turkey on Thanksgiving day... LOL

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday...we certainly did!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pre-K Thanksgiving Feast

Today was the Pre-K Thanksgiving Feast at school, featuring the most adorable 3 and 4 year olds dressed as Indians.. it was so cute.. they sang songs and recited poems and all was right in the world...
Gaby had a blast with her classmates; she looked so cute in her little outfit...
There was food, desserts and drinks.. and all parents really enjoyed the company of their little ones...
What a great way to spend the morning! ;)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

7th wedding anniversary

November 18th, 2005...the happiest day of our lives! 
Today we celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary and I'm happy to say that our marriage is just as happy (or even happier) than it was when it first started 7 years ago...
I love my husband and he loves me.. we have a beautiful family and our life is just great!.. I couldn't ask for a better man to be my partner in lover and the father of my children.. Thank you God, for putting him in my way...
These 7 years have been nothing but fun and amazing.. and I can only hope the next 100 are just as awesome!
Happy Anniversary, my love.. I love you forever and ever...
Thank for these 7 happy years!

Purple Stride: Pancreatic Cancer 5K

I love charity work and volunteer events... and I love it even more when such work is done for a special person and has a special meaning...
Today I participated in the Purple Stride: Pancreatic Cancer Walk, which took place in Sunrise, FL.. I was part of a team called "Marchel's Marchers", walking in honor of my BFF's aunt (Hanna), who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer less than a year ago..
Here are some of the team members with aunt Hanna..'s aunt Hanna crossing the finish line with her husband John...

I went with my best friend and a few other people who work with Hanna.. it was a very fun event and a very special moment... I exercised and had a great time.. it doesn't get better than that, right??

It's never too early for Christmas!!

Christmas is right around the corner and that makes me very happy.. I love the holiday season so much and I can't help but get in the Christmas spirit as soon as I see the first decoration or sign that such a fun time is approaching...
This weekend we paid a visit to Santa and the Christmas village at Bass Pro Shop... they always go all out with their decorations and the pictures with Santa are free... it doesn't get better than that!
The girls had a serious conversation with Santa and they were very specific about their wishes for the holidays.. thankfully, they are very realistic and not very demanding so the list wasn't too long! (lucky you, Santa).. it was very adorable to see them interact with him..absolutely awesome!
Here are some pictures...

Let the Christmas fun begin!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Alexandra's Birthday Party

This weekend we attended Alexandra's 4th birthday party...she is one of Gaby's new friends from school so it was pretty neat to go to the party and meet so many new people from the school and Gaby's classroom..
Alexandra is one of the girls that has really taken to Gaby and they seem to be on the road to a cute friendship.. they are adorable together...
The party was Lalaloopsy themed and everything was so much fun and so perfect.. Alexandra's mom really took her time to make this a successful party filled with special details and beautiful stuff... There were also tons of desserts, great food, games and even a petting zoo.. we had a wonderful time!
Here are some pictures from the party... I couldn't get a good picture of Alexandra because she really wasn't in the mood for pictures.. but I'm sure she had a great time too!

Happy Birthday, Alexandra! What a great party you had!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Kindergarten Thanksgiving Feast

This past Thursday there was a special Kindergarten Thanksgiving Feast celebrated at Olivia's school. 
The feast featured all the cute kindergarteners dressed as pilgrims and indians, doing arts and crafts with all parents and family members. 
I, unfortunately, could not attend due to a work meeting but my mother in law went on my behalf and took these awesome pictures so I could be part of it at least through that...
She said the kids did a great job reciting a special Thanksgiving poem and everyone had a great time eating yummy fall foods and mingling with other families...
Too bad I couldn't make it this time.. but I'm glad the event was fun and playful!

Here's Olivia with her grandma..

Next week, it will be Gaby's turn to celebrate with her classmates.. I hope I can make it to that one! ;)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Olivia's first report card

On Friday we got Olivia's first report card ever! OMG! When did my girl grow so much? She's such a joy a such a smart little person!
She got the highest grade possible in all areas...
The report card has 3 possible grades:
C: I Can
W: I'm working on it
N: Need more time
Olivia got C in all categories and I couldn't be happier or prouder! 
She was so happy to share the good news with us even though I don't think she gets the whole concept of what a report card means.. I like that there aren't numbers on this since the kids at this age can't really assign points to their accomplishments and it doesn't put that much pressure on them!
Congrats, Olivia! We are so proud of you!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Happy 60th birthday, mom!

Today my mom turns 60 years old and it was a wonderful day...
We had a semi improvised get together at her house and surprised her with a few decorations and a yummy birthday cake.. she was so happy and really enjoyed herself...
We all posed for some pictures and had a wonderful time together...

Happy Birthday, mom! I hope you had an amazing day!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Obama is re-elected!

America has decided that Obama will be president for another 4 years!
I can't say I'm surprised but I can't say that I'm happy either...
I did not support Obama and do no agree with many of his policies.. but it is what it is and we live in a democracy so we accept what the vote says...
I'm happy that the election is over and that we finally have a winner (even if it's not the one I wanted).. Life goes on and it's not the end of the world...
As an American, I pray that God gives Mr. President the wisdom to lead this country in the right direction... that our economy improves and we start to see a more solid nation...
Aside from the presidential choice, I must say that I'm completely heartbroken about the results regarding Florida Amendments (particularly amendments 6 and 8) is very disappointing to realize that Floridians are "ok" with public funds being used for abortions but they oppose the same public funds being used to support religious organizations and charities that do so much good to the community...but again.. it is what it is... and not all things can be perfect.. My faith will remain unwavering and I will continue to fight for religious freedom and the sanctity of life...
..and this is probably the last I will write about this election...
There are better and happier times coming... let's get ready for the holidays!!
Congrats Mr. Obama! Do our country good!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

It's no secret that in our household EVERYONE is passionate about politics.. and by that I mean EVERYONE.. 
Surprisingly enough, at their young age the girls have taken this election season very seriously.. I guess hearing so much about it has made them very interested..and I think school also helps...
In an earlier post, I blogged about our voting experience and how we voted early and the girls came along...
My kids always make me laugh and today they didn't disappoint..
Today after I picked up the girls from school, we had the following conversation:

Me: Olivia did they talk about the election at school?
Olivia: yes, mommy! They mentioned Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
Me: interesting.. Did you pick a candidate?
Olivia: no! We weren't allowed to say but a kid did tell me that Romney plans to knock down Cartoon Network...
(then Gaby quickly interjects and says)
Gaby: no's Elmo...not Cartoon Network..that kid is wrong!!

This is proof that kids are listening at ALL times..and needless to say I was cracking up!
...then Olivia asked if that was true and I just gave her my version! ;)

I think it's totally cool and funny that the girls are so invested in the election process and their funny comments have made this day so much easier on us... I love how the innocence of children can turn it all around, and a nasty Election Day isn't the exception! ;)

Monday, November 5, 2012

"30 Blankets in 30 Days"

This time I am lending my blog to a wonderful cause, which was started by my dear friend Maggie in celebration of her amazing daughter Rachel...
"Rachel and Friends" was started as a way to give back to the hospital and NICU where Rachel spent the first months of her life and to the team that was a critical part in saving her life...
Maggie and I met back in 2008 on a mommy forum and even though I've never had the privilege of meeting her and her family in person, they hold a special place in my heart...especially little Rachel, who is now 3 years old!
Maggie is pioneering an initiative that aims to collect "30 Blankets in 30 days" (baby blankets); it runs through the month of November and all blankets will be donated to NICU in Women's Hospital in Greensboro, NC, where Rachel was born and cared for.
Your donated blanket can be mailed directly to Maggie at:
Maggie Fluck
111 Lea Circle
Madison, AL 35758

I am asking all of my followers, readers and visitors to consider participating in this wonderful event.. It would mean the world to me...and especially to my friend Maggie... What better time to give than Thanksgiving time?
Please, please, please.. give a blanket to a needy baby!

Guest blogger post: "Healthy Eating for Expectant Moms"

I was recently approached by fellow blogger Katie Moore, who wanted to submit an article to be posted on my blog...
Even though I had considered guests posts in the past, I had never gotten around to actually doing it so this was a great opportunity to start...
Katie is an active blogger who discusses the topics of, motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! To connect with Katie contact her via her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter, @moorekm26.

Thank you, Katie for showing an interest in my blog and for lending your article to be published on "Stories of a Happy Mom"...

Healthy Eating for Expectant Moms

Before my pregnancy, I never gave too much thought to health and wellness. I was young and in good health, so I figured I was one of those lucky people who could eat whatever they wanted without gaining weight or developing any health problems. However, when I found out I was pregnant, I knew I had to stop taking such risks with my health, both for my sake and my baby's. I started becoming increasingly aware of what I was putting into my body and I knew I had to make a change.

My pre-pregnancy diet was decent but also consisted of fast food, caffeinated, sugary beverages, processed snacks, and frozen meals. Upon closer inspection of these foods, I realized they were not only full of fat, calories, sodium and potentially harmful chemicals, but they were also completely devoid of any real nutrition. Although I didn't know a lot about prenatal nutrition, I did know that I could not, in good conscience, continue to eat these foods during pregnancy. My baby was completely dependent on me and I knew I had to make smarter, healthier choices. 

Making Diet Changes
With my doctor's help, I
formulated a meal plan. The processed, fatty and sugary foods had to go. In their place, I stocked my kitchen with fresh, all-natural foods. I traded starchy carbohydrates for whole grains, which boosted my energy and body function without causing spikes in blood sugar. Since my mother had been diagnosed with gestational diabetes during both of her pregnancies, I knew whole grains and a low-sugar diet were especially important.

Instead of relying on fast food lunches and dinners, I began preparing my meals at home. I traded burgers and fries for green salads topped with grilled chicken or fish, and vending machine snacks for trail mix or fresh fruit. The change I felt was almost immediate. Instead of that mid-afternoon sluggishness I'd always experienced, I started feeling energetic and alert all day long. My performance at work improved, as did my overall attitude and mood.

Before I got pregnant, I was always a big meat-eater. However, once I researched healthy protein options, I decided to cut back on the meat and stock up on beans, nuts, legumes and seeds. These sources of protein have all the benefits of meat, but without the calories, sodium and cholesterol. 

Don’t Forget Your Liquids
Since caffeine isn't recommended during pregnancy, I gave up coffee, tea and soda in favor of water, juice and decaffeinated green tea. To my surprise, my energy levels didn't suffer at all. With all the vitamin-rich foods I'd been eating, I felt better than I ever had. The extra water also helped ensure healthy amniotic fluid levels, as well as increased blood flow to my baby.  
With the help of your doctor and strong willpower, any expecting mother can make big, positive changes in her life that will benefit baby and herself. Speak to your doctor about exercise recommendations as well as become educated on signs of labor, delivery options, and post-delivery choices like cord blood banking. Starting your baby’s life off in the healthiest way possible will make you and baby happy and healthy.