Mishy with "Dorothy."

On Tuesday, Mishy and I were invited o see The Wizard Of Oz at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. This outing was arranged by Field Trips 4 Kids, an organization dedicated to providing quality, educational and entertaining shows for children of all ages. I personally was concerned that The Wizard Of Oz would be a bit scary for Mishy because I remember seeing the movie and the flying monkeys scared me. My husband assured me that if it says it’s for all ages, it’s for all ages and the monkeys don’t exist in the musical version. Just to be sure, I let Mishy know I will hide her face if any scary bits come up. She said that would be fine.

This was our first time at an outing by Field Trips 4 Kids and also the first time Mishy saw a musical. She loved it! She sat on my lap and watch and listened. In between scene changes, she hugged and kissed me for taking her to see the show and then once the scene change was over, she quickly sat back on my lap to continue to be entertained. This musical version was pared down and featured a cast of seven – with all cast members doubling roles, except Dorothy. It featured a multiracial cast who all acted and sang with gusto. The songs were different from the movie version, though they had the same spirit. Mishy wasn’t scared at all and neither were others in the audience. It was a truly fun and entertaining show for all ages.

Mishy giving "Lion" a high five.

After the show, Mishy eagerly rushed to meet all of the actors who were waiting outside to greet the audience. She  was fascinated by the Wicked Witch of the West and asked her why she was green – she was born that way. She also asked why she’s so wicked. The answer? “I’m not always wicked. I was just having a bad day.” I was glad to hear even though the characters may be labelled, “wicked” and “good,” in reality, no one is truly “wicked” or “good” and it opened up a discussion with my daughter as we drove home, with a stopover at Noah’s Ark at the Skirball Center – it’s on our way home.

Field Trips 4 Kids has several upcoming shows this year. They include the ballet, Sleeping Beauty, on May 20th, 2011 at 9:30AM and 12 NOON as well as The Super Scientific Funny Stuff Circus on July 13th at 10AM. Tickets are only $10 for groups of 15 or more and $14 for individual tickets. Both shows are recommended for all ages.

Mishy with "Scarecrow" and "Tin Man."

Parking is free and easy – it’s lot parking right by the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. On the other side of  Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza is a beautiful garden – Gardens of The World, which is free to enter. On the other side of the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza is a mall with plenty of restaurants and a small playground for the children. Visiting either after seeing a show makes for a full, fun, and educational day.

Details:

Field Trips 4 Kids

http://www.fieldtrips4kids.com/

Gardens Of The World

http://www.gardensoftheworld.info/

This sounds like a very fun event and thought it would be of interest to some families who like to dance. There’s one tomorrow at reDiscover in Mar Vista. Proceeds go towards charity. Here are the details for tomorrow’s event.
April 1st

reDiscover Center
12958 W Washington Blvd
LA, CA 90066

There’s another one in Hollywood and Glendale.
·         Saturday, April 2 – The Americana at Brand, 889 Americana Way, Glendale, 1-4 pm. FREE

·         Sunday, April 3 – Dim Mak Studios, (formerly Cinespace) Hollywood, 12-3 pm. Tickets: $20 / $60 family 4-pack.

Tickets at:
http://babylovesdisco.com/events/

The Baby Loves Disco Superhero Tour celebrates everybody’s inner superhero,and prove that moms, dads and kids of all sizes all have special powers worthy of superhero status. Families are invited to come in costume or just as they are, joining the Baby Loves Disco dancing nation.

The tour will feature special guest superhero DJs and MCs in addition to new big video screens, dance instruction, super contests and surprises at every turn. At its core, each event retains the patented mix of Baby Loves Disco magic that has helped connect a worldwide community of moms, dads and kids of all nations, of all colors and all walks of life all in the name of dance (and fun!).

As Baby Loves Disco co-founder Andy Blackman Hurwitz says, “Come and shake it…..or cape it. The Disco Superheroes
are coming to a town near you,keeping dance floors safe from coast to coast.”

Baby Loves Disco is an internationally acclaimed family dance party, founded six years ago by two parents in Philadelphia. Since then, Baby Loves Disco has gotten parents and kids grooving at all kinds of venues, including those in the 45-city Baby Loves Disco Lemonade Tour in 2010. In recognition of the global reach of Baby Loves Disco, Babble.com chose co-founder Heather Murphy Monteith as one of the top 50 “Mompreneurs” in the country. Co-founder Hurwitz was also recently featured as a notable dad in Parents’ magazine.

At the faery hunt.

Last Saturday, we were invited to go on a faery hunt at Griffith Park in Los Angeles. One of my daughter’s favorite pop up book is, How To Find Flower Fairies, research conducted by Cicely Mary Barker. Here is a photo essay of our time at the faery hunt. Below are details of the giveaway.

Auntie Angelica Root welcoming the faery hunters.

Gifts for the faeries.

Down the path to start the search.

We meet Boon, the faery of friendship, who accepts our gifts.

Boon tells us to get to Faeryland, we touch our nose and jump.

Mishy touches her nose to get to Faeryland.

We find the Faery Queen who tells us she is missing her light.

Searching for the Faery Queen's missing light.

Does Troll have the missing light?

Children in faery costume.

Does Half Man, Half Bird have the missing light?

The Faery Queen releases the spell on Half Man, Half Bird and they dance.

She receives her missing light and all is well.

Sparrow signing Mishy's Faery Certificate.

Natural Traveling Momma is excited to be giving away two tickets to see any upcoming show of The Faery Hunt, an interactive outdoor adventure which is the winner of Nickelodeon’s Parents’ Picks Award for Best LA Children’s Theater. To enter, comment below. For an additional entry, click on to a Faery Hunt’s link and then place another comment below. The contest ends April 25th at 5PM. Good Luck.

Faery Hunt is a not for profit organization which visits hospitals. They also offer different birthday party options.

Details:

A Faery Hunt

http://afaeryhunt.com/index.htm

How To Find Flower Fairies, research conducted by Cicely Mary Barker

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The Madrona Marsh Nature Center in Torance, CA is a nature preserve devoted to letting people experience nature in the last remaining vernal marsh in Los Angeles County. From it’s website, “A vernal marsh is a depression flooded by runoff water from surrounding upland slopes. Vernal means spring, thus by connotation the marsh is fed by winter and spring storms. After the rainy season passes, evaporation, percolation and transpiration reduce the water depth by about one fourth inch per day. By the end of August, the wetland is dry and remains dry until the next rainy season.”

The Madrona Marsh Nature Center offers family hikes, homeschooling tours, school tours, bird watching gatherings, senior strolls, habitat restoration opportunities as well as others in programs for the public. The programs at the marsh are by donation. Here is the link to their calendar:

http://www.friendsofmadronamarsh.com/calendar.htm

On Friday mornings, Cindy Reid hosts a program for 3-6 year olds called Friday Fun. We’ve had the pleasure in participating in two Friday Funs. Friday Fun consists of an overall theme regarding nature. After the children find their name tags, they sit on a carpeted area while Cindy reads them a book related to the theme of the day. When we went, the themes were the marsh and springtime flowers.  A fun learning activity such as demonstrating the food chain follows and then a puppet show, an art exploration and finally, a hike in the marsh. The teachers are incredibly dedicated to letting the children learn and experience in their own way and it reminds me of the science camps I loved attending when I was younger. Here is a photo essay of our days there.

Cindy Reid reading a story.

Carol demonstrating the food chain in nature.

Cindy Reid performing a puppet show about the food chain while Carol and the children watch.

Mishy creating nature inspired art.

Looking at the marsh on our hike.

The group of children, parents and teachers on the trail.

The clouds on the day of our hike.

By the marsh to look for insects.

Looking for insects in the water.

Mishy standing by the marsh.

Looking at gopher or mole holes.

Looking for the FBIs - fungus, bacteria, and insects.

Mishy points to a mole hole.

Details:

Madrona Marsh Nature Center

http://www.friendsofmadronamarsh.com

Bonus photos:

Mishy watching the turtle after it's eaten

Mishy touching the snake skin on display inside the nature center.

Cindy Reid showing Mishy the seeds in the spring flowers.

Lori, M, and Mishy looking at the young blossoms.

These photos were taken with my new camera – the Panasonic Lumix. I love this camera! I bought it when I thought my former camera was lost. While it turned out I didn’t need to buy another camera because my husband found the other camera, I am happy to have purchased this one. It has a Lecia lens. Most importantly, I bought it used on Amazon.com. Here’s the link for more details on amazon with reviews:

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Mishy and me trying to do Tai Chi during Huntington Library's Chinese Lunar New Year's Festival this year.

We’re members of Huntington Library in Pasadena. Prior to being members, I did my best for a year to access free tickets online. On the first of the month, I would stand with our two computers five minute before nine in the morning and wait to click at exactly 9AM to get our free tickets. When I first started this ritual, I got the tickets and my friend, Patti, with her daughter, Cady and Mishy and me would head to Huntington Library on the first Thursday of the month to enjoy all that Huntington Library as to offer – usually the children’s garden, and sometimes the Japanese Garden, the Chinese Garden, the Australian Garden, the Rose Garden and the museum inside Huntington Library. After a year, it became nearly impossible for me to get free tickets and that’s when I thought – it would be worth the investment to become a member.

I first heard about the Huntington Library when I was taking my driver’s license test in Los Angeles. The person who was testing me was incredibly relaxed and had all the confidence in the world that I was going to pass because I had a learner’s permit from Ontario, Canada. He mistakenly took the learner’s permit for an actual driver’s license. (He didn’t know I had failed my driver’s license test in Ontario a few months before and just before that test, my husband threw the car keys at me and screamed, “You’re going to fail! You’re going to fail!” After that failed test, I sat in the car and cried – well, bawled – actually howled and was on the verge of hyperventilating. When my husband didn’t come out of the building because miracles of miracles, he thought I had passed my test, I knew I had to go inside with my tear-stained face. While a sixteen year old boy was being congratulated by his family, everyone inside the testing location saw my distressed face, including my husband who remained silent as he quickly walked back to the car. I told him from then on, he’s not going to teach me how to drive.) During my test in Los Angeles, the person who was testing me sat back while I drove and told me all the places I needed to go to in the Los Angeles area. The Huntington Library was first on his list.

Here is a blog post I wrote about our time at the Huntington Library, with pictures.

http://wp.me/pN7Op-4C

Natural Traveling Momma is excited to be able to giveaway two tickets to the Huntington Library on any day. (It has a maximum value of $40.) Children under the age of 5 are admitted free. To enter, please comment below. To gain an additional entry, click on the link of the Huntington Library and comment again. The giveaway ends on April 15th at 5PM. Good luck.

Details:

Huntington Library

www.huntington.org – the link doesn’t seem to be working right now. I’ve tried to re-link, but it still comes up to an invalid page. If you just visit this website I guess by cut & paste, please comment again and get another entry.

Currently, they have an exhibition of sculptures and stories by John Frame – Three Fragments of A Lost Tale until June 20, 2011.

When Is A RSVP A RSVP?

March 24, 2011

I organize outings. Before my daughter was born, I didn’t organize outings for others. I was busy focused on my career or watching television. Just before my daughter came into this world, community became extremely important to me and we moved into a place where we no longer had free cable. Once my daughter was born, I wanted to be surrounded by as many parents as possible to share our experiences as new parents. I started a yahoo group – Natural Parenting LA – so we could have playdates and discussions on certain parental philosophies and as part of the yahoo group, I started organizing outings – nature walks by Children’s Nature Institute, animal rescue visits to The Gentle Barn, a whale watching excursion that my daughter slept in on the day so we missed, but later joined another group to see dolphins and whales. I enjoyed getting thank yous and meeting more moms whom I felt I didn’t need to explain why I’ve chosen to parent the way I parent – Attachment Parenting – and just commiserate about this new and slightly ill fitting identity we had taken on as parents.

This past week, I have been busy organizing three Matzah Factory tours – it’s almost Passover – a whale watching trip, two animal rescue visits, and three horseback riding classes. These outings have attracted over 350 people and I haven’t even begun to post about the field trips to the animal rescues. Clearly, my daughter and I will not be attending all of them. So why am I on this organizing frenzy? Because people have asked and I’m beginning to realize there is a huge need inside me to please. Yes, I am a people pleaser. Terrible. Terrible. I might as well be a dog panting by your leg even after you’ve kicked me. I feel that way sometimes – especially after I get emails which challenges my need to be so accommodating.

The first series of emails was from a homeschooling mother who first asked me what happens if the tour is cancelled – it won’t be – and if she doesn’t show up, who keeps her money – the factory – and then wanted to find out when it was the last day possible to send me a check just in case she wants to cancel her participation in the outing. I told her I didn’t know when the last day is because the tour was filling up fast. She wrote me back wanting to know the numbers of the tour and to see if she could send me a money order. As anyone who has read ads on Craigslist knows – do not accept a money order. Luckily, the tour did fill up before I had a chance to respond to her last request. I just wrote back to her letting her know it’s full, overly full. Maybe not the bravest thing to do but certainly honest and polite.

Another series of challenging emails was from a mother who said she hadn’t RSVPed before because in her eyes when she wrote me last with the number in her party, that wasn’t a RSVP. It’s only when she sends a check to me that it becomes a RSVP. I know when you make a reservation at a restaurant, you don’t send them a check to make a reservation. Yet, airlines consistently overbook flights knowing people tend to cancel or not show up. Do I need to start overly booking my field trips? Do I need to start thinking of written RSVPs as passe and only hard cash makes it a real RSVP? When do I start trusting someone’s words?

The thing that challenges me the most is – where’s the appreciation? Especially by other mothers who know we get very little appreciation in society. I get thank yous but then I also get more requests to make other people’s lives easier. Do I need to start thinking about me and only me – well, only me, my daughter, my husband and our cat? Or just start adding names of people I do not want on any of my outings on a list because they bug me? I’m half joking… What happened to the community I was looking for or is this it and I’ve come to realize I don’t want to be a part of it because I don’t have the time to answer everyone’s emails? I’m half joking again…

(These challenging emails are the exception.) Maybe I just need to start setting limits with some of the parents in a way that is firm but kind…

I’ve been told this many times recently. My daughter is three years old and people, mostly strangers, who meet my daughter, feel it’s time for me to get pregnant again and bring into the world another child…

I loved being pregnant even if I had a high risk pregnancy. I had gestational diabetes and my daughter tested positive for down syndrome and other genetic diseases after the Triple Marker Test. We still chose not to do an amniocentesis because by then I was already six months along and we felt no matter what, we would have our child. Maybe it was scary to our family that we never had an amniocentesis – both my husband and I felt that our daughter was fine and she was. She came out at 6 lbs, 6 ounces and was 19 inches long. While I had the natural birth I wanted – no medication and also no tearing – I only pushed 5 times for 20 minutes, I certainly wasn’t ready for motherhood.

I wasn’t ready to nurse. Because I had only gained 18 lbs during my pregnancy and was underweight after giving birth, my milk did not immediately come in. I was on a very limited diet during my pregnancy because of my gestational diabetes. A slice of lemon spiked up my sugars so high that only an hour walk would lower it. Eventually, I had to take pills to regulate my insulin levels. Most of the early pictures of our daughter is with her mouth open, trying to find food. She was hungry and would cry because I wasn’t giving her enough nourishment. I quickly went on an eating frenzy to get myself full of healthy fats. I averaged eating 6 full meals, a lot of snacks, and 5 lbs bag of pistachios a day to put fat on my petit frame. My husband was shocked when I ate food off his plate instead of vis versa.

I don’t know if I am ready to prick my fingers 8 times a day to test my sugars. I don’t know if I am ready to go on daily doctors appointments and twice weekly hospital visits, which I had to in the last month of my pregnancy. I don’t know if I am ready to cry at the possibility of my child not being well because of my physical limitations. I loved being pregnant. It just wasn’t easy.

I loved watching my belly grow and for the first time in a long time, not care that I didn’t have a flat stomach – oh the release of vanity! I loved learning about how my daughter was the size of a kidney bean, and then a peanut, and then a small orange.  I loved feeling her kick and all the gymnastics that went on towards the last leg of my pregnancy. I loved talking to her and telling her all of my secret wishes for us. I loved her inside me and nurturing her as best I could. Other than the gestational diabetes and positive genetic diseases, my pregnancy was easy – I did get nauseous, not greatly. I did continue to run until I was seven months along and then walk and hike until I gave birth. I did continue to travel and see the world.

I also don’t know if I can be the mom I want to be with two children. I have a hard enough time focusing on my daughter and husband at the same time. I tend to focus on our daughter and he feels left out. I feel I would be spread too thin if I had another love in my life. I know our cat feels neglected by me. Luckily, our cat has a strong friendship with Mishy.

I do think about my daughter when she’s older. Will she be lonely later in life? Who will she talk to and complain about her crazy parents with? Who will she mourn with when we are gone?

You should have another one! I don’t know if I should. I don’t know if we will. I do know I enjoy being with my daughter and I feel blessed to have her in my life. That’s enough for me right now. And my husband? He’s okay with how things are right now. And our daughter? While she loves having her friends over, she is also very content when they go home.

We love Larry and Luna’s Coconut Bliss. We first encountered it celebrating the Co-Opportunity’s birthday. Co-Opportunity is our local health food store. Mishy tried it and right then and there, we bought our first pint. Since that birthday celebration last fall, we have bought many pints of Larry and Luna’s Coconut Bliss. Mishy loves ice cream. She’s also lactose intolerant. Larry and Luna’s Coconut Bliss is completely organic, vegan, non soy, non dairy, and also sweetened by top quality agave – the kind of agave that doesn’t effect your blood sugar.

Larry and Luna’s Coconut Bliss comes in a variety of tantalizing flavors. Our favorites are Mint Galactica, Pineapple Coconut, Dark Chocolate, Vanilla Island, Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge, Naked Almond Fudge, and Naked Coconut. Those are all the flavors we have tried. I’m sure if we’ve tried their other flavors: Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cherry Amareto, and their Dark Chocolate Bars, we would love them as well. They’ve just announce four new flavors and we are very excited to taste them once it hits our local health food store. Their four new flavors are: Lunaberry Swirl, Chocolate Walnut Brownie, Ginger Cookie Caramel, and Mocha Maca Crunch.

We also make smoothies with Larry and Luna’s Coconut Bliss. Here is my favorite smoothie recipe:

Coconut water

Frozen strawberries or frozen raspberries

Frozen banana

Ground flaxmeal

Larry & Luna’s Coconut Bliss – any flavor will do

Blend whatever amounts of each ingredient in the blender and put it in a cup. Serve to the favorite people in your life.

*Natural Traveling Momma is very excited to give one reader in America two coupons to try out any flavor or two of Larry & Luna’s Coconut Bliss. You get two coupons for 2 pints of organic, non dairy, non soy, raw food, and absolutely delicious coconut bliss! Just comment below. For an additional entry, click on to Larry and Luna’s website which is below and make another comment.

AND one reader in CANADA wins two coupons to try out any flavor or two of Larry and Luna’s Coconut Bliss. Just comment below and say you’re a Canuck! For an additional entry, click on to Larry and Luna’s website below and make another comment. Don’t forget to mention you’re a Canuck!

Larry and Luna’s are available at most fine healthy food stores including Whole Foods. This giveaway ends March 31st at 5PM. Good luck!

Details:

Larry & Luna’s Coconut Bliss

http://www.coconutbliss.com/

It’s been raining in normally sunny California. What better place to go to when it’s raining? Anywhere indoors. This weekend we were invited to the Los Angeles Travel show held indoors at the Los Angeles Convention Center. I thought it would be fun to pick up some ideas for our next adventures. My husband looked over at the Iceland booth – one of the places on my list to visit – which made me very happy. Iceland was named Iceland so people would think it’s too cold to visit and pass it by. I am told it’s absolutely beautiful there and it has been one of my dream places to visit since I was a teenager. (I had a few friends in highschool who were originally from Iceland, including my first roommate.)

Malaysian dancers at the Malaysian booth

Mishy got into the spirit by watching the Malaysian dancers and then later joining them. She was given a gift of flowers.

Mishy posing with some Malaysian dancers

We later headed over to the Los Angeles Times Global Beat stage to watch a Japanese belly dancer who won over many male fans.

Japanese bellydancer

Mishy dancing along her way.

My husband headed over to the Travel Stage where online budget traveling was discussed. Moderated by Jane Engle, with speakers, George Hobica, Johnny Jet, and Kelly Meritt, this forum was a reminder to continue the same budget practices we have at home. Some suggestions were to make use of googling coupons, use restaurant.com as well as groupon.com – and there is nothing better than grabbing sandwiches at the deli and sitting in the park to have a picnic if you’re a family to cut back on the expense of consistently eating at restaurants. Also, if you want to cut back on the cost of beverages at restaurants, bring along powdered drink mixes and put it in your water. You could even bring along powder lemon – which I found to taste like the real deal.

The panelist asking a question about breakfast - do not eat it at your hotel if you want to watch your budget

There were many fun giveaways, different booths were sponsoring. At the Apple Farm booth, which is a luxury hotel in San Luis Obispo, attendees could pick a room key in hopes of winning a free three night stay. We didn’t win, but we did speak to the owners who pointed out the charms of their hotel. It isn’t a working farm. There are about a dozen apple trees on the property and guests are welcome to pick an apple and eat it during apple season. If you’re interested in heading to Mount Vernon, WA soon, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is from April 1st-30th, 2011.

Mishy loved kicking the inflatable globe ball, which was a very popular giveaway.

Beaded Mardi Gras necklaces - another popular giveaway.

Riding an authentic stage coach by Coyote Springs Stage Lines. The driver cranked it up and down so you can really feel what it was like 300 hundred years ago.

Mishy with the world in her hands.

The Travel and Adventure Show will be moving back to Long Beach on January 14th-15th, 2012 with new media partners, Los Angeles Magazine and NBC LA. For more information, please visit:

www.adventureexpo.com

For Los Angeles Magazine:

Twitter Handle: twitter.com/losangelesmag Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/losangelesmag

Details:

The Los Angeles Times Travel and Adventure Show.

www.latimes.com/travelshow

Groupon for daily deals on restaurants, spas, adventures

http://www.groupon.com/r/uu1243521

Restaurant.com – restaurant coupons

www.restaurant.com

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Mount Vernon, WA

www.TulipFestival.org

Apple Farm, San Luis Obispo

www.applefarm.com

Charlotte Diamond in concert

(Our camera was lost and now it’s been found so this is being posted a bit late.)

On a Monday, a couple of weeks ago, we returned from Northridge, where we  were invited to hear Charlotte Diamond perform to a completely sold out audience of children, teachers, mothers, and grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers. For those who are unfamiliar with Charlotte Diamond, she is a Canadian gem of singer who has devoted her professional life to children’s music. She has won numerous awards including several Junos, the Canadian equivalent to the Grammys.  Her craftmanship, sense of humor, comfort, and ease is evident seeing her perform live. While we watched, she sang, blew bubbles, played her guitar, invited children to walk around on stage and even had someone dress up as a pizza slice – not all at the same time, of course. She will be returning to the Southern California area in August and will be performing at the South Coast Botanical Gardens as part of their summer concert series on August 28th, 2011. I can’t wait!

A preschool joins Charlotte Diamond on stage

Catching bubbles

Audience clapping first of many times

Mishy dancing with a concert souvenir

Details:

Charlotte Diamond

http://www.charlottediamond.com/

If you would like to hear Charlotte Diamond sooner rather than later, her CD, 10 Carrot Diamond, features her greatest hits. Here is a link to Amazon.com for the CD:

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Mishy loves this CD, particularly, the songs, Four Hugs A Day, and I Want To Be A Dog. I really like listening to this CD too because it’s fun and loving towards children and animals.

Mishy holds her unicorn bubble wand and streamer

Bonus Photos:

Mishy told me to take this picture

Mishy wanted me to take this picture too

She continued to ask me to take pictures. Here's another one.

And another requested photo by Mishy

Last requested photo taken