A Chicken, a Squash, and the Coolest Thermometer Ever

As of today, Dani and I now in possession of a few new and very important skills. Namely…

  1. We know how to roast a whole chicken and not turn it into jerky. Whaaat? Yeah.
  2. We know how to turn a plain old butternut squash into a super decadent soup with apples and honey and cinnamon– and a dash of Tabasco!
  3. We know how to take a sick baby’s temperature without having to wrangle her to be still. Not even for a second. For reals, now.

Where did we learn these magnificent and unrelated morsels of wisdom, you ask? (Ask!)

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Well, the cooking parts we learned from this amazing chef. His name is Chef Russell Johnigan, and we were invited to a cooking class/product demo with him at the Seasons 52 restaurant in Century City. (You need to try this place. You can order anything on the menu and it will be UNDER 475 calories, no matter what you choose. So yummy!)

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First Chef Johnigan showed us amazing feats of simple kitchen badassery, and then we got to eat the fruits of our labors. And while we were hanging around stuffing our faces with the most beautiful squash soup and roast chicken you ever did see, the people from Braun thermometers showed us their new sanity-saver. This thing:

Braun no touch thermometer

It’s the new Braun No Touch + Forehead thermometer. Here’s the kicker– It takes your kid’s temperature without even TOUCHING your kid. That might not seem so mind-blowing to some of you now, but if you’ve ever held down a screaming, feverish toddler who is probably in pain, and tried to get a reading off of a finicky ear or forehead swipe thermometer, you know. This is good news. Imagine it. You could check your sick baby’s temperature without waking her at all.

The other major plus is that it’s sooooo easy for mamas to read, especially when you’re up late, stressed out, and dog-tired. On this thermometer, the entire screen changes color– from green (no fever) to orange (mild fever) to red (high fever). You don’t even have to turn on the lights if your little one is sleeping. Check it out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVILKdqXDGo

You can see how it works in person at one of the Braun Mobile Thermometer Tour stops.  For every temperature they take, they’re donating $1 to LA Children’s Hospital. We’re totally getting one for our little people.

Hit us up for roast chicken or butternut soup recipes if you’re interested! We will totally pass our newfound skills along to you.

Braun No Touch + Forehead Tour Dates

**The tour schedule is subject to change, please follow @BraunTherms for any updates.

 

Tuesday 11/11 LA Kickoff! – Location TBD
Wednesday 11/12 Seasons 52

10240 Santa Monica Blvd., LA

Thursday 11/13 Pan Pacific Recreation Center

7600 Beverly BLVD., LA

Friday 11/14 MacArthur Park Recreation Center

2230 W 6th St., LA

Saturday 11/15 Pershing Square

532 S. Olive St., LA

Sunday 11/16 Westwood Recreation Center

1350 S. Sepulveda BLVD., LA

Wednesday 11/19 Rancho Cienega Recreation

5001 Rodeo Rd., LA

Thursday 11/20 Venice Beach
Friday 11/21 Echo Park Recreation Center

1632 Bellevue Ave LA

Saturday 11/22 Westchester Recreation Center

7000 W. Manchester Ave., LA

 

xoxo,

Ana & Dani

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Road-Tested, Sofia-Approved

Snack and Play Travel Tray, by Star Kids

Okay, mamas. This is the Snack and Play Travel Tray:

Travel Tray  

Have you seen this thing before? I hadn’t. Not until I got one for our trip to Santa Barbara. Now I see it pretty much every day, because this thing is awesome.  Here’s how it works. You strap your kid into her car seat (or stroller, or even her wheelchair!) And then you strap the Snack and Play around both her and the seat. Stuff some crayons, a coloring book, a sippy cup, and maybe a snack bar into those pockets on the sides. And then…. NOTHING.

You drive to Santa Barbara. You enjoy your walk. Whatever. Your little traveler is busy, busy, busy back there with a soft/firm, flexible/flat surface to work on, and plenty of secure pockets where she can reach all her favorite things all by herself. When you’re ready to get out for a little potty break, just unbuckle one side, and strap her right back in when you’re ready to go again.

See, the best features of this tray are what you don’t have to do:

  1. You don’t have to hunt blindly with your free hand for the fallen sippy cup.
  2. You don’t have to dole out french fry after french fry to avoid a spill.
  3. You don’t have to constantly pick up the toy she dropped.
  4. You don’t have to hear the iPad, phone, or gaming device hit the floor when she falls asleep! (WINNER!)

Sofia loved it. And I was kind of stoked about the fact that my car was not covered in fruit snacks and half-melted crayons when we arrived. It was the perfect place for her to rest the iPad or draw, and yet the stiff foam was soft enough to not bother her legs at all.

This is the genius behind the Snack and Play Travel Tray– they made it out of this perfect foam that crumples on impact if you’re ever in an accident, but still holds up to serve as a little table. So I was able to drive all the way to our destination with no worries about spills, pass-the-snack, or a collision.

I’m a fan, people. Try it out! You can see one at our next Mommytrain event, or go ahead and pick one up here: http://www.starkidsproducts.com/snack-play-travel-tray/

oxxoxo,

Dani

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Adorable Vintage Duds Without the Hunt

We don’t know why it’s so unbearably adorable to see your little girl (or guy) all decked out in vintage styles. Maybe it’s the old-school attention to detail, or the 1950s innocence of bright yellow gingham and strawberry prints and aprons and ruffles and eyelet and pompoms and lace and ruching… (Hold on, we’re having a moment…) Whatever that magic is, we found it in spades at Runaway Pony. Look at these. LOOK.

Runaway Pony

So, needless to say, we’ve been spending some money. No regrets.

We wanted to learn more about where this new (old) cuteness overload came from, so we had a little chat with the founder, Dian McManus, and got the details. Here’s how it went down…

Us: We’re still blissing on the word ‘sunsuit’. Did you make that up?

Dian: I love that name, too! But I didn’t come up with it. I first heard it from my sweet mother-in-law Sally. She actually gave me the sunsuit she wore when she was a baby. My first baby, Keira, had just been born when she gave it to me. I was so touched by both the sunsuit and the name, and I just fell in love. It’s the perfect word for something that a baby would wear to play endlessly in the sun.

That sunsuit became one of my early inspirations for Runaway Pony. I even named one of my staple styles Sunkissed Sally, in honor of my mother-in-law and that suit.

Us: How did you get started with a clothing company?

Dian:  I started wanting my own vintage-inspired clothing line after Keira was born. Her grandma gave me several authentic vintage pieces from her own childhood, and I was so inspired by the beautiful little details and the innocence of those pieces that I wanted to make more. Then my second daughter was born, and the desire to have my own line grew, because I had these two adorable little girls to dress up.

So I sketch, design and hand-select those fabrics and trims you see on Runaway Pony. I get the best materials I can find from all over the US, and we make everything right here in L.A. I love that. It feels really good to be part of the local economy, helping other moms pursue their own American dream by making clothes our company. I am also working on designing our own print. You may see posh little ponies and gorgeous geometric scallops on some of our sunsuits, rompers, dresses and overalls in the Spring/Summer 2015 collection.  I’m always so fascinated by the mind-blowing passion and technical skills that our production team performs in their everyday job. They construct these comfortable, lasting, perfectly detailed garments for our boys and girls to play in, and that makes me feel like we’re doing something good.

Us: Not that we’re rushing you, but when is the fall line coming out? (Please hurry.)

Dian: Yes! The fall line will be out in late September. We’re going to have lots of corduroy and wool and cottons.

Runaway Pony Sunsuits

Photos by Nicole Benitez

So, we’ve got a bit of a wait. We shall endure. In the meantime, check out the summer styles in the Lookbook, and try to hold on a little longer. For there shall be corderoy. And wool. And sumptuous pint-sized nostalgia all around. Patience is hard.

xoxo,

Ana & Dani

Runaway Pony

**Sponsor**

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Handybook Makes Our Jobs a Little Easier

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We don’t share all our secrets with you guys, but we try to share the best ones. And really, this one’s not much of a secret anymore. But just in case you hadn’t heard, there’s this new thing called Handybook. And it is changing our lives.

We run a business from home (a fun, rewarding business that led us to all of you), while we also drive our daughters back and forth to preschool, nurse babies, run errands, and try to work in some couple time with our guys here and there.

That doesn’t leave a lot of extra time for painting baseboards… Or fixing a drippy faucet… Or hanging the new shelves we got like six months ago… So when things like this need to get done, we try to hire out.

Seriously, moms need more help than just about anybody out there. But moms also have a bigger hiring conundrum than other people, because while we really do need the help, we also really need to know that the stranger who shows up at the door is trustworthy, and not a crazy ax murderer or kidnapper. After all, we’ve got tiny people to protect here.

And it would be nice if it didn’t take a lot of time and effort to find that trustworthy helper, because we’re kind of insanely busy. That’s why we’re sort of in love with Handybook. They vet all their handymen, cleaning staff, plumbing and electrical service techs, long before any of them come to your house. Plus, they show up on time, charge you a fair, simple price, and leave your place looking awesome. We totally recommend them.

If you’re thinking about giving in and getting some help around the house (which you should), make sure to use the discount on our MomDeals page. It’s a whole hour free on your first house cleaning, or $35 off one of the other services Handybook offers. Feel free to ask us about our experiences with them! We’re not shy about the stuff we love.

Handybook Mom Dealsxoxox,

Ana & Dani

**this is a mommytrain.com approved sponsor**

 

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Princesses, TV stars, and Alkaline88!

You guys completely rocked our latest Frozen Sing Along at The Play Destination! We were blown away by your divas and their musical prowess. And all of our little princesses fell in love with the real life Queen Elsa from Smile and a Song Princess Parties!

Last week we got to interview mommy, actress, entrepreneur and author, Brande Roderick. Brande is ridiculously gorgeous, and has starred in Baywatch, Celebrity Apprentice, and Celebrity Apprentice All Stars. These days, she’s a successful entrepreneur who works with the likes of Adam Levine (swoon!), and she’s also a mom who inspires us with her ability to keep the wheels spinning, while nurturing the people she loves.

Brande was kind enough to send us an entire case of Alkaline88 water to share with our Mommytrain riders, and you guys loved it! So we asked Brande about how she got into the Alkaline 88 business, and how she keeps things balanced as a working mom– something a lot of us struggle with, as well.

Brande RoderickMT:       How did you first learn about alkaline water?

Brande: Actually, my manager called me and told me I had to try Alkaline88. He knew I stuck to an alkaline diet and thought I would love the alkaline water, which I absolutely did! I had been eating alkaline foods for over 10 years and was extremely excited to now know that I can actually drink alkaline water.

 MT:       You already have your hand in a lot of successful business ventures, plus acting, and Celebrity Apprentice, and being a mom! So what made you want to add Alkaline88 as a business enterprise?

Brande: It very much excited me to be able to represent something that I strongly believe in! I believe that our lives are better when our bodies are in balance, and the quickest and easiest way to do that is through Alkaline88 water.

 MT:       What are some of the benefits of alkaline water that most people don’t know about?

Brande: There are actually a ton of benefits. If you just do a simple Google search on the benefits of being alkaline, you’ll see a ton. In fact, Dr. Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize in 1931 for proving that cancer cannot live in an alkaline environment. For me, it has helped my skin tremendously. I did an interview with Brandi Glanville from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and she swears that it cleaned up her acne.  It also helps my energy, my heartburn, and my joint pain. My very good friend, Marc, said that if he stops drinking alkaline water for even a week, his joint pain is back. These are just some of the many benefits of drinking Alkaline88.

 MT:       Has alkaline water made a difference in your life as a mom? What would you say to other moms who are considering it?

Brande: Your kids will love it! Every night before bed, my boys ask for water. The other night, Mommy was too lazy to go downstairs to get water, so I used tap water out of my son’s bathroom. I gave it to him and he said, “Ewww, gross, Mommy! I want alkaline water.” I was surprised that my little four-year-old noticed the difference in taste and demanded alkaline water. They say kids always tell the truth. Put your kids to the test and see what they say.

 MT:       What’s the hardest part of being a mom and an entrepreneur? What’s the best part?

Brande: It’s the same answer for both: being able to work from home.  The hardest part is that they are constantly coming into my office at all times during the day while I’m trying to get things done, which makes it difficult at times, and makes my job take longer than it should.  Of course, the best part is that I work from home and get to see my children, kiss them goodnight, eat lunch with them, etc.

 MT:       How do you keep your schedule balanced between work life, home life, and leisure time? Where do you go for help when you need it?

Brande: Keeping everything balanced is a constant challenge. I like the motto “work hard, play hard.” I will travel for three days working like a dog so that I can come home and just play the role of mommy for a couple of days. I also think it’s important to take time for yourself, whether it’s getting your hair done, nails done, spray tanning, etc. I feel it’s important to do those girly things, because when you look good, you feel good.

 MT:       Any tips for moms who are looking to create their own business opportunities from home?

Brande: I say go for it. As a mom, being your own boss is key to creating your own schedule. The best advice that I can give is to choose something that you’re passionate about.  I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but it truly makes a difference when you believe in something as opposed to just doing a job. For instance, for me, being able to go out into the world and talk about Alkaline88 is a dream come true because I wholeheartedly believe it will help change people’s lives.

We’re definitely fans, Brande! Thanks for taking the time to share your know-how with us!

If you missed out on our latest sing-along, have no fear! We’ll be rocking it every month from now on. If you’d like to give Alkaline88 a try, and find out about the health benefits of eating an alkaline diet, check out the website: http://www.thealkalinewaterco.com/

xox,

Ana & Dani

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Colic Is in the News, and the News Is Good!

Do you know a mom with a colicky baby? Drop what you’re doing, go to her house, and give her a hug. And maybe a latte. Extra points if you offer her a few hours of peace and quiet.If you happen to be that mom who is dealing with hours and hours of inconsolable wailing and self-doubt and sleeplessness, give yourself a break, and repeat after me: “This is not my fault. It’s not my baby’s fault either. And it is NOT going to last forever.”Colic isn’t pretty, folks. It has the power to turn the sweetest, young mommy into a weepy, fire-breathing troll within a matter of days. Thankfully, it only lasts an average of three months, although it can drag on much longer. But the worst part is that doctors still come up short on answers as to why it happens in the first place.  But, people, have you seen the news? Some of these researchers think they might be onto something. Check out this study in Medical News Today. They tested five groups of newborns with pro-biotics, to balance out the bacteria levels in their tummies. Three out of the five groups reported relief from colic.  RELIEF. That’s a sweet, sweet word when your baby is in distress (and so are you).  It worked for me, too, when Sofia was a baby. In fact, it was the only thing that really helped control her colic. I started giving her Bio-K probiotics when she was tiny, and noticed a difference very soon afterward. It makes sense, when you think about it. Colic has been linked to abnormal gut bacteria, so good bacteria ought to help. And since it’s good for her either way, it was totally worth a shot.

What have you tried, to help your baby get through colic?

xox,

Daniela

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When Victoria’s Secret Disowns You

There’s this sad sort of let-down (pun alert!) when you find out that your favorite lingerie company doesn’t give a crap that you’re nursing now. You’d think corporations that make their bucks off of pleasing the female half of the species would take notice of the months and years women spend breastfeeding their offspring, but unfortunately, most of them would rather pretend that breastfeeding is a niche hobby that only bra-less hippies engage in with any regularity.

Well, sucks to be you, VS and your flat-bellied angels! We’ve got options. Medela sent us a few of their new Bravado Designs nursing bras and tanks to try out, and we passed them along to some of you. The results are in, and good news abounds. Here’s the breakdown:

Fabric: Super soft and stretchy. Seamless. Holds its shape after a wash.

Release Clasp: One-handed opening action. It can be tricky to learn at first, but with a little practice, you can flick that thing open at the first little snuffle from your nursling.

Underwires: We tried the wire-free versions, and found them very comfortable. Many lactation experts recommend wire-free bras to prevent blockages and mastitis, but if you can’t survive without the extra support, Bravado Designs has underwire versions ready for you.

Sizing: Our testers said they ran a little bigger than expected, so you might want to order a size down if you’re in between. But since your boobs are probably changing like crazy right now, you should really just try a few if at all possible.

Style: All kinds! Check out the Bravado website, and you’re bound to find something you like. There are sports bras, sleep bras, and structured designs in lots of pretty patterns, colors, and cuts.

Essential Embrace Style: This is Medela’s new maternity-nursing-everything bra. It’s stretchy and snug and accommodating all at once, to fit your changing curves at every stage of the journey. Plus, the back panels slim you down. It’s strong enough to handle sizes up to L/M! Great news for those of us who get a little more voluptuous than usual while nursing.

Tanks: Super soft, sporty, great colors and fit, plus a built-in nursing bra! These are the perfect option for keeping your tummy covered in public, if you’re worried about that. Just wear a light t-shirt over it, and you can feel confident nursing anywhere. The tee lifts up, the tank stays down, the flap opens up for easy access. Voila! No capes, darling.

Pricing: Better than VS, especially considering the quality materials and easy nursing.

Unbiased Male Opinion: One of our Essential Embrace testers reported that her husband is a fan. He says her cleavage never looked more awesome. Of course, that could be partly due to the incessant hormone surges, but Medela helped.

The Mommytrain verdict is in, and these Medela Bravado Designs are officially on our favorite things list. As for you, VS… It kind of sucks that while our boobs look more awesome than ever you forget all about us, but that’s okay. Mamas know how to move on to better things.

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xox,

Ana & Dani

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Design for Busy People

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I say “busy” people, but what I really mean is “people who pretend to be too busy to decorate but really just missed out on the gene that enables you to create gorgeous wall art displays without major help.” Not that I am one of those people. Even so, if you haven’t seen the super-chic wall art at minted.com, go. Go right now. You’re welcome.

Yes, they have gorgeous cards and baby announcements and all that, but seriously. Look at the wall art. They mine this stuff out of creative minds all over the country, and they let their community vote on which ones to sell, and then they give the artists a decent cut of the sales. It’s like modern day Da Vinci commissions, but for your living room!

PLUS, for those of us who maybe don’t know how to do anything other than hang family portraits in a straight line over the mantel… (ahem)… they have this section at the bottom of the page for the artwork you like, where they show you exactly what other pieces to hang it with, and how to style the room or the wall around it to look just so. It’s addictive. A little bit. But that’s okay, because check out their prices. I don’t know if you shop quality prints much, but these are Target prices people. Target prices with far less probability that you’re buying the exact same print as five other homeowners on your block. DEAL.

xox,

Ana & Dani

 

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My Daughter Is a Pediped Model. Almost.

Sophie HeadshotI happen to have a Sophie. She is four, and she is beautiful. And now, she’s a runner-up in the Pediped casting contest! To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to get that far, except that she’s Sophie, and she’s beautiful. Did I say that already? Anyway, it got me wondering: Why aren’t more moms letting their babies answer casting calls?

Of course, not everybody wants their child in front of a camera, but I wonder how many people stay out of the game simply because they don’t know the rules. The thing is, it’s not that hard to get in. Most of it is signing up for a few mail lists, showing up when asked, and meeting a few of the right people. Toddlers and babies get gigs, both big and small, all the time– for commercials, package copy, magazine ads, and walk-on TV roles. And in Sophie’s case, Pediped shoe modeling. Almost. At least we have amazing shoes to show for it.

If you’ve thought about getting your baby a role of her own, we’ve got plenty of moms coming to the October Fun Fest event  to tell you how. You can do it. Maybe someday Sophie and your lovelies will share a set.

Sophie Pediped Grand Prize Runner Up

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Neat Mamas Can Be Artsy Too.

messmatz

So one time, there was this neat freak mom. (Not me!) And she had this really precocious daughter who liked to do ‘art’ with squishy paints and beads and glitter glue and so on… You get the picture. Messy stuff. And this neat freak mom (Not me, I swear!) felt really guilty, because, well, she had this table. This gorgeous table. This table she loved. And also brand new flooring. And granite countertops. (Those are expensive!)  And so, her daughter would come up to her and say, “Let’s paint, Mommy!” Or something equally horrifying, and the neat freak mom would think of her table and flooring, and say, “Sure, honey. Maybe tomorrow. Want to watch TV?” Or something even more lame, like, “How about chalk on the driveway instead?”  Deep down, she realized she was slowly killing her child’s inner artist, and she felt very, very guilty. But she could barely contain the mess from washable markers. Imagine the scars a single glitter glue session could leave! So she continued on her pathetic, neat freak way, until her friend gave her a gift. It was called MessMatz.  It unrolled onto her table. It was the perfect size for a large drawing, or a set of beads, or a painting! It was non-stick! And rubbery! And it had (gasp!) a rim, to hold all the paint and mess safely inside!  So the neat freak mom (who is not me) brought her daughter to the table with the new, blue mat on top. She said, “Behold, daughter, you may now partake of these squishy paints and glue to your heart’s content. And lo, my table shall not be scathed.”  And her daughter painted happily. And the mat rinsed clean. And all was well.

The End

P.S. Guess what this neat freak mom will be using when it’s time to carve a pumpkin? Yup. MessMatz from Little Bean Creations. I like my sanity… I mean, neat freak mom likes her sanity.

What type of mom are you when it comes to your little artist: free range or cattle stall?

xox,

Ana & Daniela

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