Thursday, May 31, 2012

I'm moving! Facebook!

I haven't been very good about keeping up with the blog recently.  :(  I find that it just takes up too much of my time.  I have lots of things that I still want to share, but I want to do it in an easier format that can potentially reach more interested mamas & papas.  I've decided to move over to Facebook.  I've created a page there that I will post to.  It will be similar to the blog, but there will probably be more pictures (it takes FOREVER to upload pictures to Blogger).  I also feel like I'll be able to post more often.  So, we'll try it out and see how it goes - hopefully it will be a success!  I'm not going to delete this blog so it will still be here for reference.  :)

See you over on Facebook, friends!  (Just "Like" the page if you want to follow my posts.)

Olive Juice Mama on Facebook

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Classy Bath Time

I'm back after a long stretch of no posts!  I've been so busy lately.  I started teaching a small toddler "preschool" class from my house twice a week (posts to come soon!) and Olive's 2nd birthday is around the corner, so I've had a lot of things on my plate.  A few nights ago, we decided to relax a little from our busy schedule and have a "classy bath time".   First things first:
  1. I apologize for the grimy look of my tub grout.  It is a very, very old tub, but it's not as dirty as it looks!  :)
  2. I do not condone children drinking alcohol.  We were not pretending this was champagne or alcohol in any way.  We were just having a drink in a fancy glass.  
I set up an battery candle in the corner, for ambiance of course  We also don't normally do bubble bath, but fancy bath time isn't fancy bath time without bubbles!  It also isn't fancy bath time without watered down orange juice in a plastic champagne glass!

Grandma and Olive are doing "cheers".  Everyday after this bath, Olive has been "cheersing" everything in the house.  She and I both had a barrette in our hair today.  She bumped her head up against mine so our barrettes were touching and said, "Cheers!".  

Olive got such a kick out of this.  It was a great way to have some unconventional fun after a few busy, stressful days.  And surprisingly enough, none of the juice made it into the bath water (although the plastic champagne glass turned into a toy after the juice was gone!).  

What are some of the ways that you make bath time fun and/or special for your little ones?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Year of Dates: April

Each month, my husband and I are going on one date together, without our little one.   I mean, we love her, but we need some husband/wife time, you know?  :)  I planned all these dates in advance and gave it to him as a Christmas present.  For the month of April, I planned for us to go hiking at Will Rogers State Park in Pacific Palisades.   Will Rogers State Park is a beautiful placed tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles.  Since it's a state park, you have to pay to get in (I think it was $12), but it's worth it.  Besides the numerous and varied hiking trails, the historic site has a beautiful grass area to lounge and picnic on (which, of course, I forgot to take a picture!).  We packed a picnic, laced up our hiking shoes, and headed out in the morning for a fun day in nature!

Date Cost: $12 for parking + $15 for picnic food = $27
Time Spent: 3 hours
When to go: Daytime, weekdays are better because they'll be less crowded

The view from the top of the hike - looking down on Los Angeles.  It was a little hazy (smoggy?) today, but it was still a lovely view.

Looking back at our trail....If felt like 10 miles, but it was probably more like 3.  :)

See that little dirt trail?  Oh yeah, we were on that! 

I give this date two thumbs up!  I probably should have thought to put both my thumbs up for the picture.  Oh well!

Hubby had a nice time, too!

Sweaty but accomplished!

We both really enjoyed this date.  The hike was a nice way to enjoy nature, exercise and enjoy each other's company all at the same time.  After we made it back down, we relaxed on the grass as we shared a picnic lunch.

What are some of your favorite hiking areas where you live?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Learning with Google Images

While I took a shower the other day, I left my daughter out in the living room with my step dad.  When I got out, I found them sitting on the couch browsing Google Images on the computer.  Olive loves cats, so my step dad had gone onto Google and typed in "cats", then clicked on images.  I stood behind the couch and watched her have fun looking at all the pictures of cats when it occurred to me:  This could easily be turned into a learning experience.  

For example, here is a screen shot of images that come up when you search for "cats" in Google.  You could pull this up and talk to your toddler, asking them questions like:

Where are the cats sitting in cups?  How many cups are there?
Can you find a cat that's smiling?  Is he happy or sad?
Let's count the cats in this picture.  How many cats are there in that picture?
Ooh, I see a cat that's angry!  Can you find it? 
Source: Google Images Search "cats"

Here's another screen shot:
How many cats have their eyes closed?
What color is this cat's hat?
Can you find two cats that look the same?

Source: Google Images Search "cats"

You get the point.  There are lots of things to discuss and lots of questions to ask.  You can search for whatever your little one is interested in - dogs, trucks, vegetables, trains, ladybugs, etc..  The possibilities are endless!  I'm not saying stick your 2 year old in front of the computer daily and let them loose.  But I think a few minutes here and there, a few times a week would be a fun activity for a little learning toddler.  A word of advice, though...Make sure you do the search prior to showing your child.  Even though you think what you're typing in is completely innocent, you never know what disturbing photo could pop up.

Have fun Googling and ogling all the fun pictures you find!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Ladybugs on the Loose!

We have some vegetables growing in our backyard: green beans, cucumber, broccoli, tomatoes, basil, yellow squash, peppers, and more!  Sounds delicious, right?  Well, the bugs think so, too, and they are eating away at all my delicious vegetable plants!  So, a few days ago we took a trip to our local plant nursery and purchased a container of ladybugs.  For $7.99, you get 1,500+ ladybugs, ready to take on all the pests in your garden!  Well, I had the container sitting on the kitchen counter (we were waiting to release them later in the evening).  In comes my wild child, knocks the container off the counter, pulls off the lid and lets at least 150 ladybugs loose in the kitchen!  Luckily, they didn't try to fly away and we were able to collect most of them.  We have 4 cats, so let's just say that they took care of any ladybugs we missed.  I'm so sorry little ladybugs! :(

Anyways, we were able to release the majority of the little red beetles into our garden, which made for an awesome nature observation experience for Olive (as if 150 ladybugs crawling on the kitchen floor wasn't enough).  She helped me spread them about our garden, allowing them to all find their new homes.  Then we spent about 20 minutes just watching them.  Listening to Olive exclaim, "Ohhhh", "Ahhhh", "Oooooh, nice!", "Oh, bugbug!", was so precious and memorable.

Making friends...

Up close and personal.

"Ohhhhh!  Bugbug!  Nice!"

I love these next 4 pictures.  They show such a great progression of feelings.
"Hmmm, this is interesting, but I'm not too sure yet".

"Oh yes, I think I like this!"

"Okay now ladybug, you're getting a little too close.  You aren't going to go up my sleeve, are you?"

"OMG!  She's on my shoulder!  Be still, be still!"

We had such a pleasant time watching the little ladybugs crawl and fly around us.  Even if you don't have aphids or other unpleasant bugs in your garden, I highly recommend picking up a container of ladybugs.  Set them loose and watch your little one burst with excitement!  Just remember to release them outdoors, not in the kitchen.  :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Week of Toddler Meals (23 months old)

About 6 months ago, when my daughter was 17 months old, I created a post that showed what she ate for an entire week.   It was my hope that my post would help another mom/dad to get ideas for feeding their own little one, something that I struggled with for a long time.  Well, Olive is almost 2 years old now (just one more month!), so I thought it might be interesting to do it again.  She eats a lot of the same things she did at 17 months, but there are some differences.  Some things you might want to know:

  1. My husband and I have recently adopted a vegan diet.  That means no meat, no dairy products,  no eggs, and no animal products of any kind.  What does that mean for my daughter?  Pretty much the same.  We took her off whole dairy milk (we were going to stop at 2 years anyway) and switched over to almond milk.  She used to eat eggs a lot, so there is no more of that.  When we decided to go vegan, we still had meat and cheese in the house.  You will see some meat and cheese in some of the meals below - Olive got to help finish it all (my husband and I ate something different), but it's gone now and we won't be buying more.   
  2. Even though I am vegan, I am choosing to still buy yogurt for Olive.  I think yogurt has a ton of good things for her and I don't want to let my choices take away something from her that is so healthy.
  3. She drinks about 10 oz of almond milk in the morning and about 8 oz at night.  We plan on weaning it a little when she turns two, offering it more throughout the day in smaller amounts.  I also let her have water throughout the day when she wants it.
  4. Most days, Olive eats what we eat.  But she is a toddler!  I occasionally make her something different because she doesn't want what I serve her (or I can't because it's too spicy).
  5. This is actually a little more than a week.  There are 8 breakfasts, 9 lunches, and 8 dinners.  So....bonus! :)
  6. If you want to know the recipe to something below, just leave a comment and I'll let you know! :)
Okay then, without further adieu....


blueberry muffin, sliced grapes, cup of veggie/fruit smoothie (homemade)

vegan whole wheat pancakes with pure maple syrup, chunks of colby-jack cheese, applesauce

oatmeal with mixed berries, flax meal & almond milk

yogurt mixed with applesauce & flaxmeal, vegan whole wheat blueberry pancakes

English muffin with natural peanut butter & all-fruit spread, sliced grapes, chunks of colby-jack cheese

banana, potato-onion-bean scramble

yogurt with applesauce & flaxmeal, rye toast with vegan butter, sliced grapes

warm quinoa with chopped bananas and coconut milk


peanut butter & fruit spread sandwich, fresh tropical fruit mix, small cup of almond milk

whole wheat crackers, chunks of colby-jack cheese, hummus

vegan quinoa "burger" and hummus sandwich, clementine wedges

grilled cheese sandwich, black beans, cantaloupe

cous-cous, corn, tomato & white bean salad

watermelon, whole wheat cracker, bean-cucumber-corn salad 
hummus on lavash bread, banana & blueberries

watermelon, peanut butter & fruit spread on pita bread

bean & rice burrito (BRC burrito from El Pollo Loco, minus the cheese), frozen blueberries


crispy chicken bites (last of the meat!), roasted brussels sprouts & carrots, lemony yogurt dipping sauce

sweet potato chunks, broccoli, avo-dilla

veggie burger, sweet potato tater tots

roasted zucchini, frozen peas, slice of cheese pizza

vegan "chicken" patty, frozen banana chunks, fruit/veggie smoothie

roasted broccoli, carrots & cauliflower, homemade spaghetti & cheese

pinto bean soup, baked potato fries, brocolli & cauliflower

vegan quinoa sloppy joe, vegan potato salad (note:  This is my serving - I forgot to take a picture of hers before she started eating.)  

I hope some of these ideas inspire you to create some new meals in your own home.  Happy Eatings! :)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Year of Dates: January, February & March

A few months ago, I posted about a gift I gave to my husband for Christmas:  A Year of Dates.  As you might be able to tell, I haven't been that great about posting my monthly date ideas.  Well, no more of that!  I'm going to start posting every month from here on out!  Since I'm a little behind, I'm going to put 3 months into this one post.  (Also, I didn't take any pictures of my first two dates, so I didn't think they would make such a great post.)  So without further adieu...

JANUARY:  Dinner at a Restaurant

I don't have any pictures of this because we were basically the only ones in the restaurant and it felt weird to be taking pictures of us and our food.  Anyways... To save some money, we bought a gift certificate from, which allows you to buy a gift certificate for less than what it's worth.  For example, we spent $15 on a gift certificate that was worth $25 to spend at the restaurant.  It's a pretty cool idea.  Just make sure you read the fine print before you purchase.  Some restaurants only allow you to use the certificate on certain days or on certain items.


We went to an bowling alley that has daily specials.  On Sunday, they have $2 shoe rental plus $2 per game.  Pretty good deal!  Plus, they had cheap drinks and food which made it a really fun and frugal night.

MARCH: Taylor Guitar Factory Tour

Finally, pictures!  We live about 2 hours away from San Diego, where the Taylor Guitar Factory is located.  My husband is a wonderful guitar player and I thought it would be fun to tour a guitar making factory.  Taylor Guitar Factory offers daily FREE tours, which is awesome.  We made a day out of it, eating at a yummy vegetarian restaurant prior to the tour.  On the way home, we took the top off our our Jeep and enjoyed the awesome California weather!  It was a great, cheap, and relaxing day.  If you have any factories in your area, guitar or otherwise, I definitely recommend checking them out.  Who knows, they might even let you tour it for free!

Date Cost: Free (well, we did have to spend gas money to get there)
Time Spent: 1.5 hours
When to go: M-F

Lots of guitars you can take off the wall and play - this was just a small selection, there were a ton more!

Play Away!

Oh yeah, you get to wear a cool pass when you're on the tour.

Guitar necks waiting to find a body.

Wood that's waiting to be turned into a guitar.

Carved out front panels of guitar body.

This was a fun and interesting tour.  Definitely a unique date idea.  We were able to take home some free coasters that were made from the hole in the guitars and my husband got a new baseball cap.  At the very least, my husband and I were able to spend a purely adult day together.  And as much as we love our daughter, we were actually able to find lots of other things to talk about.  Crazy, huh?  :)

I'll be posting our April date soon!  (I've been sick, so we've had to postpone.  Hopefully we can go next weekend!)