Vacationing With Kids! Top 10 Things To Do In Las Vegas With Kids!

Well I was wondering....Can you take kids to Vegas?

The answer is YES YOU CAN! There is a dark side to Vegas but there are so many things to do and see with the kids the good outweighs the bad. We had a GREAT time in Las Vegas. The kids LOVED it and were BLOWN away. My kids are 7 and 9:)

Here's my TOP 10 Things To Do With Kids In Las Vegas!

1) SEE MYSTERE-

The first Cirque Du Soleil show and definitely the best. The kids were blown away. We sat up close but any seat in the Treasure Island theater is worth it because the show is ALL AROUND you. It's gorgeous, breath taking, sweet, heart warming and FUN. Worth every penny but look for my next post on discounts in Vegas and how to get a great price on tickets!!



2) PET A DOLPHIN-

And get a picture of it to boot! The Mirage Hotel has Siegfried and Roy's Secret Garden. It's a little oasis where you can see Dolphins, White Tigers, Jaguars, Leopards and Lions UP CLOSE. Well manicured and cared for this is a GREAT experience for kids. It's small enough that you aren't exhausted walking around. Get there when it opens at 10am so you can see the first Dolphin training with less of a crowd. This is FREE. They do many Dolphin trainings throughout the day. The Mirage offers many different levels of Dolphin experiences. You can be Dolphin trainer for the day, have a Dolphin meet and greet, have a Dolphin paint you a picture and more. The regular admission price is $17 for kids and $22 for adults and believe me you see a lot just doing that! But if you want to pet and take a picture with the Dolphins don't pay FULL PRICE! Stay tuned for how to save!



I don't love animals in cages BUT the lions and tigers are very well cared for and the property is beautifully maintained. They swap animals out to give them breaks as well. The animals were playing, sleeping, wrestling....it was good to see.

3) GO INSIDE THE EIFFEL TOWER-

Seeing the Paris Hotel Eiffel Tower up close is mind blowing. It's HUGE. You can go up to the top but we decided to have a drink at the restaurant which has a GREAT VIEW and is mid way. Make sure you FIRST take a picture at the base of the Eiffel Tower on the street outside the hotel near the restaurant Mon Ami Gabi.  Get down low and shoot up! Amazing shots!!




Then go inside and take the elevator (not the first one you see, ask for restaurant) to the restaurant. You can sit in the lounge area and watch the sunset or get an afternoon break. Gorgeous and great for pics. Dress the kids up and make it fun. We did this before dinner and went to dinner at Mon Ami Gabi (a much less expensive option) after wards (my review is coming!). You can also eat there but it's $$$$$.




4) TAKE A GONDOLA RIDE-

The Venetian is an enormous place so finding the gondolas is a little bit of a feat! You can do an indoor or outdoor ride weather permitting. We did an indoor ride. Get there early and make a reservation so you don't have to wait long. This was a nice, mellow, fun experience for the kids and US. Ask them to sing. They are well trained and make it fun! Ask questions about Venice too.




5) SEE A VOLCANO ERUPT-

We thought the nightly volcano eruption at The Mirage would be hokey but it was spectacular!!! The music, the drama! We stood inside the circle drive next to the hotel and could feel the heat from the flames! It's very well done. They can't do it if it's too windy and they usually do it once at 8pm and once at 9pm so call the hotel and ask on the evening you want to go! FREE!!!!




6) EAT BREAKFAST AT THE MOST GORGEOUS BUFFET EVER! (and see the gardens too!)



I am NOT a buffet fan but this buffet at the Wynn Hotel Las Vegas is MIND BLOWING.

The flowers are beyond belief!!! And the food is to die for! The breakfast is $22 a person but kids are half price! Omlettes made to order, pancakes made to order, bagels and lox, sushi, dumplings, pasta, it had everything you can imagine! Not just breakfast! Great value with all the other more pricey restaurants. The dessert bar was amazing and is open at breakfast too!!!


7) GET YOUR PERSONALIZED M and M's! 



I will admit the M and M World Store (4 stories!!!) is a little chaotic but take the escalators up to the 4th floor and work your way down!! They have a 3D movie that plays every 20 minutes, lots of places for photo opps....



And I think best of all and most fun, make your own personal M and Ms!!




So cool!!!

8) SEE THE BELLAGIO GARDENS AND FOUNTAINS AT NIGHT!

The Bellagio has a garden in the lobby that changes seasonally and is great to take the kids to. We happened to witness the Japanese Spring Celebration and Tea Garden. It was beautiful!




And the gorgeous Bellagio Fountains.




The Bellagio Hotel is gorgeous. Watching the fountains at night is even more spectacular. They go off every 15 minutes at night and you can stand anywhere along the wall to see.  Did I mention it's FREE?

Don't forget to visit the chocolate fountain too! (just past the garden exhibit)



9) RIDE THE MONORAIL- 


 The monorail goes up and down one side of the strip and is nice and fast compared to walking or a cab! The kids really loved it.

10) SEE THE SHARK REEF AT MANDALAY BAY-



In addition to seeing sharks and turtles in the main shipwreck exhibit, you’ll also find crocodiles, Komodo dragons, jellyfish and octopus. Seeing the piranha being fed is a highlight. There’s a chance to get interactive with rays, sharks and fish in the touch pool. Adults pay $18, kids 5-12 $12 and under fours are free!

Stay tuned for how to SAVE BIG IN LAS VEGAS!!!
 

Is Your Clutter Making You POOR? Clear Your CLUTTER!



You may have felt clutter was bad for you but.....CLUTTER in Feng Shui terms is:
STUCK ENERGY.

The essence of cluttered spaces  – as well as the dominant energy of people who live in cluttered spaces – is based on FEAR mixed with PESSIMISM. 

Whoa.

Clearing clutter is NOT EASY. 

I have CLUTTER....
      Okay A LOT of CLUTTER....
               Okay....maybe I'm a low level hoarder.....
                     I mean I don't have trash everywhere but I do have things from 3 years ago that are still in a pile TO DO.

And you know what staring at that 3 year old pile of TO DO feels like? That TO DO feels like DOODOO and I'm not kidding!!! So I threw it out. All of it. Wasn't even sure what it was. FELT DAMN GOOD. BUT IT'S HARD.

Did you know that the part of the brain which experiences the same pain as break up or losing a loved one is the same part that feels the pain of letting clutter go???!!!!

I, like other Moms, am hanging on by my fingernails trying to remember school parties, homework, house projects, bills due, clothes to the cleaners, gifts to buy, packages to ship...there is a lot to get CLUTTERED about!

To really RID YOURSELF OF CLUTTER you need to:

BE BRAVE. COMMIT. AND...

Bring good energy to the process. Light, music, joy to the process. Otherwise you'll quit. Give up. And STOP.

You may know that clutter EXHAUSTS you. Makes you feel HOPELESS. OUT OF CONTROL. But what if I told you it makes you POOR!!!?? 

YEP.

Once you de-clutter, you’re not spending money on things you don’t need.  The clutter has been removed and with it all that old, stagnant energy.  You’ve opened the door for money to flow into your life!

How do you keep a clutter free home? Have any tips to share?









David Bowie- Put On Your Red Shoes



David Bowies death was sad. A legend like that, you would like to live forever. David Bowie touched so many of our lives. Including my little seventh grade one.

In seventh grade I moved to a new school. I had graduated from 6th grade and my little elementary school and moved on to the big leagues. A school three times the size, this junior high was intimidating to say the least. My friends I had clung to were now in other classes, other buildings, other lunch areas and I never saw them. I had to forge a new life for myself.

I remember meeting new kids who were so free with their identities and expression. I, on the other hand, had fallen into a group in elementary school and dressed like them, talked like them, and was entirely not myself. In addition this was reinforced by the fact that any time I stepped out of bounds fashion wise or in any way, I would by shamed into going right back. There was a uniform required to be in this group. There were no deviations accepted and I was to consider myself lucky to be in the group at all. I put on my pearls, head band, and corduroys and kept my mouth shut.

In junior high, and no longer with my copycat posse, I was exposed and alone. In short I was terrified. My uniform was no longer my armor. In fact it made me stick out. I didn't know what to do.
I spent the first part of the year just trying to keep my head above water. Then I started meeting some girls I felt like I could really bond with. Girls that would end up my life long friends. They loved my humor and my way of looking at things. Still, I was dressing like my old gang. Too afraid to be singled out. I watched as my new friends took chances with fashion and I remained scared. Soon I was getting attention from new boys (because of my new group). Again, I was not comfortable. I remember looking in the mirror and saying: "who are you!?"

Not long after that David Bowie released: Let's Dance. My thirteen year old mind was swimming. I loved the video and watched it incessantly.





 I loved his sex appeal. His strength. I loved his individuality. I listened to the lyrics.


(Let's Dance) Put on your red shoes and dance the blues
(Let's Dance) To the song they're playing on the radio
(Let's Sway) While color lights up your face
(Let's Sway) Sway through the crowd to an empty space
[Chorus]
If you say run, I'll run with you
If you say hide, we'll hide
Because my love for you
Would break my heart in two
If you should fall, into my arms
And tremble like a flower

(Let's Dance) For fear your grace should fall
(Let's Dance) For fear tonight is all
(Let's Sway) You could look into my eyes
(Let's Sway) Under the moonlight, this serious moonlight


It was brave. It was powerful. I was inspired.

I went out shopping that week with my Mom and picked out clothes I liked. No one else. My Mom was encouraging. Most importantly, I got a pair of red shoes. Red "Mia" flats with pointy toes. Edgy. Brave. Cool.



I showed up to school Monday morning like I owned the place. People noticed. I got a lot of positive comments. Some negatives ones too. I didn't care. I was myself. I looked the way I felt. I looked like me. I put on my RED SHOES.

I think about what those little red flat shoes gave me the courage to do. Like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz they always kept me brave and safe.

I need to remember this NOW as life challenges me in different ways....

I think I need a new pair of red shoes.


Non Candy Valentines For Kids!

I don't know what comes over me on Valentines Day but I become real CRAFTY.

Those who know me know I am actually NOT crafty, but I am always looking for easy Valentines favors for the kids to make with me. I am a HUGE fan of the heart shaped crayons.





We've done them a few times!! They are easy TRUST ME! See how to make them HERE.

But these HEART SHAPED BIRD FEEDERS by Wine And Glue are the cutest things! I have to try them!



I know I know....


It could be a HUGE Craft Fail. By the way don't you love a good craft fail??!!! LOL




LOL




So anyhoo there they are. Pray to the crafting Gods that this goes well. I'll report back!

An Easy Dinner Party Menu For A Night With Good Friends!

The older I get the more I realize that time is my greatest extravagance. 

It's the most valuable commodity I have. I no longer want to spend time with people that don't care about me, lift me up, make me laugh or make me think. I no longer want to do things that don't make my heart sing.

That's why I was excited to get my first real group of great Mom friends and husbands together for a dinner party at my house. We haven't done this in a while so it was a nice reunion! Here are my girls:)

 

I love everything about a dinner party. From picking the menu, to setting the table (like how it turned out?) to the great conversation at the table.





One thing I don't like is working so much on the food that I don't get to spend time with my friends! Don't get mt wrong, I have girlfriends that jump in and help, but I would rather lounge and chat as much as I can.

I wanted to share my menu with you because it was not only delicious, it was the perfect easy menu. Most of these recipes you can prep way ahead of time so you can truly enjoy your evening!

The appetizers:

Artichoke Bruschetta from The Cookie Rookie- (OH MY LORD THESE WERE INSANE)




Parmesan Tortellini Bites by Damn Delicious- (COULD THIS BE MORE BRILLIANT??)


Main Course:

Pinwheel Steaks by Rachel Ray! (sooooo good and fun to make!!!)

Here they are when we made and tied them:





And then once we sliced them for grilling!



Lemon Parmesan Baked Broccoli by Get Off Your Tush And Cook- (SO YUMMY!!!!!)


Smashed Yukon Gold Potatoes by Pioneer Woman (kids loved these too!)




Dessert:

Blackberry Cheesecake Bars by Hugs and Cookies- (aka you've died and gone to heaven bars)


It was a great evening and made even better by some amazing food! What's your go to dinner party recipe?

2016 Resolutions- Goals Part 2- Determine Your Priorities and Focus Areas



Now that you've asked the most important questions of yourself from my previous post, the next step in the goal setting process is determining your PRIORITIES.

This may seem obvious but believe me it's VERY important. Most people spend 85% of their lives not doing anything that is a priority in their life. By setting priorities you will learn what is NOT a priority and you can feel free to say NO!

How about that!?

I have learned most of this amazing goal setting from the goal setting queen MONEY SAVING MOM- Crystal. I just LOVE her!

So here we go. Next on the goal setting list: Create a list of 5 or 6 priorities. 

Priorities are personal and are very specific to this season in your life. I will share a few of mine to get you started:

1. Having a more connected relationship with my husband- After being married for 13 years this year, I want to ensure that my husband and I make our relationship a priority. The kids, finances, work all seem to take precedence over our relationship. I want to put him first and take time to be together.

2. The Warrior Moms- I want to get my new venture off the ground in a big way in 2016.

3. A fairly clean and organized home- I have been living a pretty cluttered life in my house and just barely keeping up with the mess. I want more peace in my home and that means less clutter!

4. Deeper relationship with my children- as my kids get older and grow and change I want to enjoy, teach, and connect more deeply with them.

These are a few of my priorities. After determining these the next step is to create focus areas within these priorities. 4-5 things for each priority item. Again here are mine to help you get started:

1. Connected relationship with my husband-
-Spend more one on one time 
- find more things we have in common
- adventures together
- date nights
- find mentor couples to model after

2. The Warrior Moms-
-Create more connection on the website
-Find sponsors
-budget for first event
-Begin compiling stories for book
-get people to subscribe to my website

3. Clean and Organized Home
- develop a cleaning schedule
-punch list for house
-de-clutter and organize

4. Deeper relationship with the kids- 
-find ways to connect individually with each child
-one on one time
-fun nights together/ adventures


Now it's your turn! You can share your goals with me by email or comment and I will support you.

2016 - The Year To Transform Your Life! Questions to ask from Mallika Chopra- STEP 1

Hi friends!

I don't know about you but I am ready to kiss 2015 GOODBYE. I am ready to leave a lot behind. I am ready to embrace and get a hold of some significant parts of my life.



 I am ready for TRANSFORMATION.

Can I get an AMEN??

The first step is getting focused on what is really important. A LOT of important time is wasted on things that are not important. An easy trap to fall into!

Mallika Chopra (daughter of Deepak Chopra) suggests in "Living With Intent" that we ask these questions:

1) Who am I?

2) What do I want?

3) How can I serve?

and I added another:

4) What makes me happy?

You can meditate on this and then write it down. The funny thing is, when I started this I only had a few things for each category. Now I have 10!

Here are a few of mine:

1) Who Am I? 

Mother of two amazing kids.
A wife who is committed.
A seeker who wants to learn.

2) What do I want?

Health and wellness for myself and my family
A purpose driven life
Financial freedom

3) How can I serve?

As a mother/ teacher to my children
On the board of Junior League
With The Warrior Moms- helping women rise to their greatest potential

4) What makes me happy?

Deep conversations with good friends
Reading
Hot yoga!

Try this exercise and join me on my journey! Let's make 2016 everything we hope for!

The Marriage Quilt

A few nights ago my high school friends and I got together. This was no small feat. With kids, holidays, different zip codes and coasts, it was a miracle we pulled it off. What I love about this crew is that everyone is cool being exactly as they are. No pretense. No B.S. We've all been through various good and bad things. Divorce, husband issues, child issues, parent issues. We've all walked through the fire.

When the conversation turned to marriage I heard a lot being said about how hard it really is. What it takes to have a marriage that lasts.

My analogy that I came up with was: Marriage is like a quilt.



When you first get married the quilt is perfect, snugly, and everything you want. You don't know how you ever lived without it before! The perfect comfort and happiness.

But over time job stress, financial strain, emotional strain, kids, can put holes in your quilt. It can wear it really thin and leave it threadbare. Mending it takes major work. You need time alone to reconnect, you need to let built up resentments go, and that's HARD. Sometimes the mending is as easy as watching your kid score a goal at soccer together, or sing in the school play.
You just smile at each other and feel mended.

Sometimes, however, you feel tired of mending. You think of how your quilt used to be and compare to how worn it looks now. You even think about getting a NEW QUILT. We could all just walk away from our relationships. Say we would be better off, happier, without it. 

In reality, in a lot of cases, there's a comfort to that old quilt that a new quilt can never bring. There's a history, a shared dream. New quilts look better but there's no guarantee it will really keep you warm.

So when you're holding on by a very thin thread....remember that's all it takes sometimes. You can always mend and patch those holes.

And for those of you who feel you NEVER had a quilt, WANT to have a quilt but can't find one, or have a quilt so DAMAGED it wouldn't be good for YOU if you fixed it....I am thinking of you and know what while all the crazy emotions of this past year are swirling around, and you are having a hard holiday, the new year beings RENEWAL. And NEW QUILTS. So take heart and keep the faith.

Oh, and everyone keep your sewing kits handy. Mending will happen!


Are You About To Erupt? Magma Mamas

This time of year brings an incredible amount of stress. It's almost VOLCANIC.



But it's more than the time of year. Something is happening my Mom friends, something where we are all about to ERUPT.  

WE ARE MOMMY VOLCANOES. MAGMA MAMAS. 



We are under pressure. And eventually, it will come to the surface.
 
Although the Earth is solid rock, it’s under high pressures and temperatures, and this causes rock to melt and squeeze out of cracks in the rock. When it’s underneath the surface, the molten rock is called magma. When it reaches the surface, it erupts as lava, ash and volcanic rocks. The magma collects into vast chambers beneath the Earth’s crust. Since this magma is less dense than the surrounding rock, it “floats” up to the surface, seeking out cracks and weaknesses in the rock. When it finally reaches the surface, we see this as an eruption.

I see women who are under such immense pressure from themselves, husbands, parents, children. They are keeping it together but I see. I see it floating to the surface. Cracking. Breaking. About to ERUPT. We are on a path that is so strenuous, over scheduled, stretched thin we can hardly take it. I keep hearing Moms say: I'm EXHAUSTED. I'm so TIRED. I'm at the end of my ROPE. You keep going even though you are about to blow. Too tired to change.
 
You see the nature of a volcanic eruption depends on thickness of the magma. When the lava flows easily, it can travel far. When the lava is very thick, it creates a more familiar cone volcano shape. And when the lava is extremely thick, it can build up in the volcano and EXPLODE.



How thick is that lava that's building beneath the surface for you? 

Believe it or not YOUR LIFE BELONGS TO YOU. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO QUESTION, SEEK, SLEEP, SAY NO and TAKE THINGS OFF THE SCHEDULE. 

You are allowed to take a yoga class instead of taking your kid to a birthday party. You are allowed to sign up for juice boxes for the class party and not to bake homemade cupcakes. You can send New Years cards instead of Christmas cards or an email instead. You can pull back on Christmas gifts and not put yourself in major debt. You can relax, take a bath, take a yoga class, and have lunch with a girlfriend.

IT'S YOUR LIFE. Stop being too busy to enjoy it.

Listen up Magma Mamas. Before you BLOW.

Want To Have A Stress Free Holiday? Take The Christmas Pledge!

Have you heard of the Christmas Pledge?

So many things are going on over the holidays it's hard to really enjoy it and really feel what it's all about. The idea of the Christmas Pledge is so brilliant I can't take it. The idea is by The Art Of Doing Stuff but I read it on: 3 Peanuts.

You do the WORK of Christmas in November so you can ENJOY CHRISTMAS! WHAT A CONCEPT!!!



I am doing my best to get EVERYTHING done in November, attacking a little day by day. The wrapping will be my toughest challenge to make myself get done but I need to do it so the gifts look amazing. Sometimes at the end of my marathon, end of December wrapping sessions things look nutty! LOL

How about you? Want to take the Christmas Pledge? How do you handle all of the holiday craziness?