How we are spending spring break

Spring break is approaching, and many families have travel plans looming. Whether you're headed for the beach, a national park, a theme park, the city, or the countryside, you're probably really excited for what's in store.

Aliens have taken over my teen... but she's fighting back

A friend once told me that parenting during the teenage years goes so much easier if parents remember that an alien has taken over their teen.  Eventually the real person will emerge, but when faced with eye-rolling, inattention, attitude, rebellion, or worse, just take a deep breath and keep telling yourself, It's Not My Daughter, It's An Alien

Five Educational Experiences at the Disneyland Resort

The Pea and I just got back from a trip to the Disneyland Resort!  Her middle school band participated in Disney's Performing Arts Program, and I went along as a chaperone.  She and her bandmates had the experience of a lifetime. They went backstage to record soundtracks to some of Disney's most beloved movies, and they went onstage to perform at Disney's California Adventure.  In between, they went around the parks with their friends. It was the best of education and entertainment combined!

Going to the Disneyland with the Middle School Band

This is a picture from The Pea's first 6th grade concert.  She's been playing the flute since 5th grade, and she liked it so much she decided to stick with band throughout middle school.  Band is a big commitment; it takes up 2 precious electives every year, and it requires time for practice as well as concerts.  Band isn't the most glamorous choice of middle school electives either; the stereotype of the band nerd is alive and well even today.

I'm really proud of The Pea's commitment to band. She's getting all the benefits of a musical education, and she has made a really great group of friends, who are secure enough and self-confident enough to ignore the stereotypes and proudly call  themselves band nerds.

Ways to save time at the Disneyland Resort

Many Disneyland and Disney World posts are about ways to save money.  That's not surprising -- Disney vacations don't come cheap, and it makes sense to save wherever you can.  That being said, however,  I think the most scarce (and hence, valuable) commodities you have while on vacation is time.  Vacations never last long enough, and vacations at the Disneyland Resort seem to fly by in the blink of an eye.  If you're like me, and want to make the most out of every second you spend at the Disneyland Resort, here are some tips on how to save time while you're there:

So You Athletes Think You Can Dance? Yes, We Can!

Haka face paint

When friends and family think of my sons, the first words that come to mind are probably: IdenticalTwins. Soccer. Tough. Solid. Maybe Cello and Videogames and Drawing and Athletic. Maybe Dark Haired. I would add Handsome and Brilliant and Imaginative and Loving and a million other complimentary adjectives that make it obvious I'm their parent.

The Pea goes to Japantown

Japantown, SF
I'm proud to introduce my new guest blogger: The Pea!  She went to Japantown with her friend last week, and I bribed asked her to do a write up of her day trip because it has been years since I've been there. After reading her post, I can't wait to go back for sushi and stickers...

Hi! It’s the pea, bonggamom’s daughter, and today I’m going to be doing a guest review/travel document on Japantown, San Francisco. I went with my friend to Japan Center Mall in Japantown, and we had a really great time!

Show your DisneySide with a Mickey Paintball Party

Mickey Paintball party

The boys have wanted to try paintball for some time now.  They've always loved Nerf and laser tag, so I guess paintball is just the next step.  But I've always been hesitant because I've heard lots of stories about paintball being painful.  I've seen photos of bruises from paintball pellets and I've read stories of little boys sitting out birthday parties because they got hurt.

Fortunately, our local paintball place has a gentler option: Splatmaster, which features guns that release the paintball pellets at half the speed of regular paintball guns.  Since 3Po wanted to celebrate his 11th birthday with a paintball party, I figured Splatmaster would give everyone a good first experience while minimizing the bruises.  And since I had recently been selected to host a DisneySide party, I figured I'd combine the two and throw a Mickey Paintball party!  I was a bit nervous that the boys would think Mickey was a bit babyish, but 3Po was delighted with the idea. How could I have doubted?  The party was a big hit.  You're never too old for Mickey Mouse!

How to Decorate Mickey Paintball Rice Krispy Treats with Royal Icing Transfers

Mickey Mouse rice krispy treats

Any time there's a party in our household, there's a good chance that it's going to include rice krispy treats.  They're easy to make, they don't cost much, and we could eat them all day.  I knew I wanted to serve rice krispy treats at 3Po's paintball party/DisneySide party, but I didn't want to make another set of Mickey head rice krispy treats like I did at last year's DisneySide party. Fellow DisneySide blogger Dawn recently posted about how she uses waxed paper, buttercream, and an image printout to create amazing buttercream designs, and I decided to use that technique to create some royal icing designs to decorate my rice krispy squares. Here's how I did it:

How to throw a fuss-free Indoor Soccer Party -- Jammy's 11th birthday celebration

When I asked Jammy what kind of party he wanted to throw for his 11th birthday, his answer was immediate: a soccer party at Sports House, and indoor soccer venue.

"Okay," I asked.  "Let me get this straight.  You play soccer with your friends Every. Single. Day.  And for your birthday, you want to play..... More Soccer".