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My Favorite Easter Dresses


easter dresses Clockwise from left to right: Gymboree, J.Crew, Carter’s, Cherokee, Janie and Jack

It’s the time of year to pick out Easter bonnets and baskets and of course the perfect Easter dress to go with it.  The hardest part will be deciding on just one dress.  The usual florals and pastels are in style for spring, as well as stripes and polka dots.  The little ones will look adorable taking pictures with the Easter Bunny and searching for Easter Eggs.  Be sure to take lots of pictures!

easter dresses Clockwise from left to right: babyGap, Crazy8, Carter’s, Mayoral, Zara

easter dresses Clockwise from left to right: Old Navy, babyGap, Carter’s, J.Crew, Janie and Jack

easter dresses Clockwise from left to right: J.Crew, J.Crew, J.Crew, babyGap, Rachel Riley

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The Importance of Estate Planning For You & Your Family


estate planning key to future

You may not have the net worth of Warren Buffett but if you have children, if you have not already you should definitely consider estate planning.  Kern Singh of the Singh Law Firm was kind enough to share some information with us at the March F.U.N. Mothers’ Club Meeting and here’s a brief summary of what we learned.

You may not have the net worth of Warren Buffett but if you have children, you should definitely consider estate planning.  Kern Singh of the Singh Law Firm was kind enough to share some information with us at the March F.U.N. Mothers’ Club Meeting and here’s a brief summary of what we learned.

Key Definitions

First, it may be helpful to define a few key terms:

Estate Plan – a set of documents designed to “manage your assets and make health care and personal care decisions if you ever become unable to do so yourself.”

Probate – “A court-supervised process for transferring a deceased person’s assets to the beneficiaries listed in his or her will.”

Fiduciary  – “From the Latin fiducia, meaning “trust,” a person who has the power and obligation to act for another (often called the beneficiary) under circumstances which require total trust, good faith and honesty.” Legal Dictionary

Trustee – A person who manages a trust and the assets within it for the benefit of the beneficiaries of the trust.

Guardian – A person who has been appointed to take care of a child, and in the case of the death of the child’s parents, will act as the child’s parents.

Goals and Elements of Estate Planning

The goal of estate planning is to avoid probate because probate is costly, takes a long time and is not private.  A deceased person’s assets will become a matter of public record and the court will determine how long the process will take and how much it will cost.

A good estate plan will include four important documents: (1) Living Trust; (2) Pour-Over Will; (3) Durable Power of Attorney; and (4) Advanced Health Care Directive (also called Health Care Power of Attorney).  What follows is a brief description of each document and how it works.

1. Living Trust

“A living trust is a legal document that contains instructions for what you want to happen to your assets when you die.”  While you are alive, you are the trustee of your living trust.  When you pass away, the person you named as a successive trustee will become the trustee.  A living trust allows you to bypass probate and by avoiding probate, the trustee can pay your debts and distribute your assets in a private and timely manner.

The assets within the trust will typically include real estate, life insurance and other accounts and property.  To place the assets within the trust you just need to change the property deeds and financial accounts to name the trust as the owner.  You will continue to file the same tax returns.

2. Pour-Over Will

When you having a living trust in place, your will is called  “pour-over will” and has two major functions: (1) it designates the trust as your desired way to distribute assets; and (2) if you have children under the age of 18, you can designate guardians for them.

3. Durable Power of Attorney

Before you may become incapacitated due to health or age, it is important to designate someone you trust to manage your financial affairs in the event you are not able to do so.

4. Health Care Power of Attorney

In the event you are terminally ill or in an accident, your Health Care Power of Attorney will designate someone to make medical decisions for you.  The document will also list your preferences for accepting or denying medical treatment such as whether you would want to be kept alive on a respirator.

Choosing an Attorney

Creating an estate plan is of the utmost importance if you have property or children under 18.  Though creating the four documents may seem overwhelming if you visit an attorney they will do all of the work for you.  It’s best to find an attorney specializing in estate planning and someone who you feel comfortable with to get the best results.

Estimated Cost of an Estate Plan

So how much will this cost you?  I know that’s the next question because that was mine!  I can only speak to what The Singh Law Firm charges but feel free to shop around.  The cost for a married couple is $1600 and the fee includes creating a living trust, pour-over will, durable power of attorney and health care power of attorney.  The fee covers all updates to the documents in the future.  If you own more than one piece of property, or a business, then the fee will go up accordingly.  F.U.N. Mothers’ Club members receive 10% off their fees so don’t forget to mention F.U.N.

You can learn more at SinghLawFirm.com.  If you are out of state or not in the Bay Area, you’ll need to use an attorney in the state that you are located as estate laws are different state-to-state.

Unless otherwise noted, all quoted material comes from The Singh Law Firm pamphlet.

*I am not a practicing lawyer and the article is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  Please see an attorney for legal advice.

You can learn more at SinghLawFirm.com. F.U.N. Mothers’ Club members receive 10% off their fees so don’t forget to mention F.U.N.

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Sneak Peek of Noé & Zoë Autumn-Winter 2013/2014


noe and zoe fall 2013

One of my favorite children’s clothing lines is Noé & Zoë. Hailing from Berlin, the design duo creates the cutest, whimsical pieces for boys and girls. Everything they make is cute enough to make adults happy and has a playful element to please the kiddos.  You can always count on Noé & Zoë to bring some color and exciting prints into your childrens’ closets.  Here’s a sneak peek of the Autumn-Winter 2013/2014 collection but you can get their adorable, bright, neon summer pieces online now at the Noé & Zoë online shop.

noe and zoe fall 2013

noe and zoe fall 2013

noe and zoe fall 2013

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Tips for Dealing With Your Toddler’s Stomach Flu


stomach flu

Sorry for the lack of posts but we’ve been holed up dealing with the stomach flu. The Tiny Dancer has had a rough few days. It’s really hard dealing with stomach flu as an adult but I can’t believe my poor baby has to deal with this. What makes it harder is that she can’t fully communicate what she feels so it’s a bit of a guessing game sometimes. Fortunately, she’s recovering but we’re taking it slow and steady as far as introducing food.

Here are some tips that I found helpful in dealing with my Tiny Dancer’s stomach flu and I hope they help you.

Clear An Area
The little one was very lethargic and the first day or two we weren’t sure if she’d be able to keep down what she was eating or drinking so I designated an area for her to recuperate. Since we don’t have a leather couch (mental note: if you have kids a leather couch is necessary) I covered the couch with towels and had a vessel near her at all times.

Stay Close
Since the Tiny Dancer is too young to say, “hey mom, I’m going to vomit” I had to keep a very close watch. I can read her well so I could see it coming but the keyword is “see.” You – or someone – has to keep an eye on them at all times at least for the first few days.

Stock Up
Sitting in a car can make your child even more nauseous – even if it’s just for a trip to the doctor so stock up on what you need. Kids need to follow a special diet when recovering from the stomach flu so try to get everything you need in one stop – and hopefully while someone else is home watching the little one.

Pedialyte Apple Flavor and Ice Pops
I have tried generics and many flavors and the only one my Tiny Dancer will drink is the apple flavored one as it’s very close to apple juice. Pedialyte also sells ice pops (they look like otter pops) and these are easier to give to cranky kids – who doesn’t like an ice pop? Just be sure to look for them on the shelf – not in the freezer section.

Clean Up Immediately
Not that you would let puke sit around, but the sooner you clean it up, the more likely you are to get rid of odors and stains. I’ve been doing a few loads of laundry a day:( Have the carpet cleaners, fabric cleaners, disinfectants and deodorizers handy.

And don’t forget – wash your hands! It’s bad enough for the little one to have the stomach flu – we don’t need mama getting it too because who’s going to take care of you?

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Sneaker Wedges for Kids: Too Much Too Soon?


hello kitty sneakers sneaker wedges for kids

While I was in Las Vegas at the shoe show, I came across a booth of Hello Kitty sneakers so naturally, I was drawn to the booth. There were hundreds of new Hello Kitty styles for kids – too many pink ones for my taste though, I would have preferred to see more styles in primary colors. But pinkness aside, what really piqued my curiosity were sneaker wedges for kids.

The sneaker wedge has taken over as the “fashion” sneaker for women. While I don’t understand the concept of a sneaker wedge for women (WHY take something comfortable and make it uncomfortable?), I absolutely abhor the idea for children.

More and more our kids are growing up much faster than generations prior and I’m starting to wonder why we’re so intent on taking away childhood. Kids should be running, jumping, chasing and exploring. How is a kid supposed to do that in sneaker wedges? Would you let your child wear heels? Why are sneaker wedges any different? And don’t get me started about sexualizing little girls at younger and younger ages. Slapping Hello Kitty on the sneaker doesn’t change what it is – a heeled shoe for kids.

I know where I stand on sneaker wedges for kids. What do you think about them? Am I over-exaggerating? Too sensitive? What’s your take?

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Grab a Hat and Read With the Cat Today!


read across america

Today is the National Education Associations Read Across America Day and since Dr. Seuss’s birthday is tomorrow, the annual initiative has a Dr. Seuss theme. There are events planned today and tomorrow across the United States where adults will read to children – the more red and white striped hats the better!

You may remember I recently wrote about the benefits of reading to children and if you’ve been lagging today is a great day to get started. Remember as Dr. Seuss said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” (I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!, Dr. Seuss)

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Mama’s Kitchen: Chocolate Pots de Créme with Banana Caramel & Kahlua Cream


pot de creme banana caramel kahlua whipped cream

I like to spend Valentine’s Day at home, rather than at a restaurant with lots of other couples, and to make it festive I plan a special menu for us. This year for dessert I knew I wanted to incorporate chocolate and bananas. I was thinking of making Chocolate Pots de Créme but wasn’t sure how to bring in bananas until I came across a recipe for Chocolate Pots de Créme with Banana Caramel. I knew it was risky to try something new on a special occasion but I broke my rule and gave it a try. Luckily, my husband and I loved it! And it wasn’t difficult to make it at all. All three elements below can be made separately and used in another dessert recipe. Feel free to mix and match and experiment.

Bittersweet Chocolate Pots de Crème
Adapted from Fine Cooking

1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup whole milk
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
2 Tbs. granulated sugar
Kosher salt

Heat the half-and-half and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until scalding hot. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl. Slowly whisk the hot milk mixture into the eggs.

Return the milk mixture to the pan, reduce the heat to low, and whisk until it thickens, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate chips, sugar, and a pinch of salt; whisk until melted. Strain through a medium-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Divide the mixture between two 6-oz. ramekins or serving glasses. Refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour.

*I took the lazy route and did not strain the chocolate mixture and it turned out fine.

Banana Caramel
Adapted from Cannelle et Vanille

1/4 pound sugar
3 tbsp corn syrup
2 oz butter
1/2 pound ripe bananas, pureed

Puree the bananas. Place the corn syrup in a small saucepan. When it starts to melt and bubble up, sprinkle a third of the sugar on top. As soon as that starts to melt and caramelize, add some more sugar. Let that caramelize and add the rest of the sugar. It’s ok to stir with a wooden spoon. If some crystalizes, it’s ok, let it melt. Add the softened butter, stir and then add the banana puree. At this point, turn the heat off but let any chunks of harden caramel melt on the stove.

Pour in a bowl and let it cool. Once cold, pipe on top of the chocolate layer.

Kahlua Whipped Cream

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp Kahlua

In a bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks begin forming. Add the Kahlua and continue whipping until it’s the right consistency.

Layer all the items in a glass or jar. I just used a spoon but to make a really neat presentation I think it may be better to pipe each item in. Dust the whipped cream with some cinnamon and you’re done!

Buon Appetito!

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My Favorite Tips For Beating Colds and Flus


chocolate pudding chocolate pot de creme

This year’s cold and flu season is particularly nasty so Kleenex asked me to share some favorite remedies, tips and tricks for beating colds and flus and reviving your spirit. When you have a cold or flu you have to just wait it out but there are ways to get relief when you are sick. Here are my five favorite tips and tricks to keeping my sanity while getting over a cold.

Chicken Soup
My number one remedy is chicken soup. This is no old wive’s tale people, there’s scientific evidence to back this one up. (CNN). The ingredients often found in chicken soup are found to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body and may even inhibit the production of mucus. Not to mention that the warm deliciousness that soothes your sore throat. If you don’t have homemade chicken soup a canned or dry variety will work but nothing tastes like mama’s chicken soup. In the winter when I know it’s inevitable that the family will get sick I make a big batch of my mama’s chicken soup and freeze it in individual portions so I have it at the ready when the colds strike.

Hydrate
One of the most important things to do when you have a cold or flu is to stay hydrated. Whether I’m drinking bottled water, orange juice or herbal tea, I’m drinking something throughout the day. Tea soothes my sore throat and good ol’ water keeps the mucus on the move out of the body.

Soft Tissues
Speaking of mucus, I have boxes of Kleenex tissues in every room. I use an empty box as an empty box to put all the used tissues in. Not any tissue will do, I always get the softest tissue I could find because if I don’t, after a few wipes the skin around my nose gets irritated. No need to make yourself with rough tissues!

Rest
Sometimes when I have a cold I look at it as a way to catch up on some movies or reading but the inevitable happens – I fall asleep. I guess that’s my body’s way of telling me that’s what it really needs. Resting is really the only way to get better. There have been times that I’ve worked through a cold and I think I made the cold last 2-3 times longer because I wasn’t giving my body the break it needed.

Chocolate Pudding
Okay, I will admit chocolate pudding is straight out of left field. I have no idea why, but chocolate pudding makes me feel better when I have a cold. Actually, it makes me feel better any time but there’s something about its soothing quality when I have a cold. About ten years ago I had a cold and I happened to have chocolate pudding in the refrigerator. The silkiness had a soothing effect on my sore throat and as a chocolate addict, chocolate always makes me feel better. Since then, I need to have chocolate pudding as the ultimate pick-me-up when I have a cold. It’s weird, but delicious – and definitely helps me feel better immediately.

Hoping you don’t have to use these tips, but hope they help in case you do!

kleenex logo

This cold and flu season, make the care complete with Kleenex® brand, and together we’ll turn a seemingly small gesture into something bigger, to make everyone feel better.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Kleenex via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Kleenex.

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Introducing Herschel Supply Co. Backpacks for Kids


Herschel Supply Co. Kids Backpacks

The Herschel Supply Co. has been making quality backpacks, bags and travel goods since 2009.  Now, the brand is introducing a line of backpacks just for kids.  The line features the simple design of the classic Herschel backpack and shrunk it down for the little ones.  The children’s collection of Herschel backpacks come in an array of patterns – sometimes with many different patterns on one bag.  Coming in two sizes, youth and kids, you can find a backpack for your older and little ones.  (I personally think the youth size is ok for mama’s too! )  You can find the backpacks online on the Herschel online store.

Herschel Supply Co. Kids Backpacks

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Melissa Shoes x Minnie Mouse and More


melissa shoes x minnie mouse kids shoes

Melissa Plastic Dreams always has the cutest styles for kids and when I visited the booth I saw a few styles I hadn’t seen before.  First (and my favorite) is the Minnie Mouse collaboration featuring peep toe flats with polka dot bows.  Another favorite was the watermelon hearts and a new style that looked like a sneaker.  Check out my favorites below…

melissa shoes for kids

melissa shoes for kids

melissa shoes for kids

melissa shoes for kids

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