Stuff Your Face: Poppy + Rose

If I had two daughters I’d totally want to name one Poppy since I already have a Rose.  Floral themed offspring names, SO cute!  This may be one of the reasons we ventured to downtown to check out Poppy + Rose (not really).  The other, more important reason was the fried chicken (really).

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Poppy + Rose is aptly named since it is located in the middle of Los Angeles’ flower district, right next to the Flower Mart.  On Saturdays there’s a small farmer’s market out front which makes parking a little difficult.  The meters in the neighborhood are a whopping $4 per hour and 2 hour max.  The restaurant website says they validate structure parking, but I was not into trying to find where that particular lot was. We ended up parking on a nearby rooftop lot for $5 (beware: many lots advertise a $5 rate but add conditions like ‘not on Saturdays or for special events’).

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flowers everywhere

What we ordered:

Two Egg Breakfast Plate $9.50

Buttermilk Fried Chicken + Waffle $13

Plain Bagel + Cream Cheese $4

Two Coffees $5

Fresh Squeezed OJ $3.50

For about $40 we had a great meal.  Well, two of us did.  One of us just snacked on puffs and tried escaping her high chair the whole time.

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Couldn’t resist a close up of the super crispy batter.  How can you go wrong with fried chicken first thing in the morning? Added bonus: they make their own hot sauce that is delicious on these fried birds.

While the food wasn’t out of this world, and the location is a bit tricky for us Valley kids to get to, it was a nice place to spend a Saturday morning with our little family.  This place is no fuss, you order when you walk in and there’s plenty of seating + high chairs.  The service is great (we got a few refills on coffee without even having to ask), and the crowd is not pretentious hipster so you can definitely take your loud little ones without feeling like you’re intruding.

Because lord knows, the only moment of peace we got during breakfast was this photograph of flowers being still:

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Poppy + Rose
765 Wall St
Los Angeles, CA90014

(213) 995-7799

 

 

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Coffee Klatch: Paramount Coffee Project

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We LOVE coffee.  The obsession started before our year in Seattle, but intensified while we were there for sure.  Now, whenever we hear of a good coffee spot in town we have to try it.  We actually revolve our weekend mornings around making it to one of these spots since most of them are a good car ride from home base.

To be honest, most of these are hipster coffee spots in Mid City or the Eastside, and they make it incredibly hard for you to bring your baby/toddler.  They don’t offer high chairs or changing tables, and they more often than not have super cramped and minimalist spaces that make it really uncomfortable for any squirmy kid you happen to bring.  But, seriously hipsters, that is NOT going to stop us.  No, not us, the coffee obsessed and sleep deprived parents of a toddler.  We shall bring our own booster chair and we shall change diapers in the trunk of our car–priorities, right?

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One of these Saturday mornings brought us to Paramount Coffee Project.  This place was everything a hipster coffee spot required: cool servers, cramped indoor space, cute outdoor patio, mason jar serving ware, retro furniture, and slow service.  We started by ordering our caffeine.  For me a filtered coffee and for him a flat white with an extra shot. *Notice the mason jar to hold my extra coffee.

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Luckily for us it wasn’t just bench seating and there was a chair for us to attach a booster.  Now, among the 20 something singles sipping their coffee and working on their laptops there would be a 1 year old flinging porridge onto the floor.

For breakfast we ordered 1. Banana Porridge 2. Frijoles y Queso and 3. Bubble and Squeak Hash with an egg.  All three were delicious.  Most hipster coffee spots do coffee well and food okay.  I’ll say that this coffee spot had good coffee and a killer breakfast! Obviously we ordered the porridge for R, but she wanted to eat our egg whites instead, so we feasted on her left overs.  Of all three dishes I’d say that the porridge was the star.  Shocking, I know, but the winter spices added to it were perfect.

So let’s say you have a baby and you just don’t feel like being that annoying family that doesn’t realize their time for places like this has passed.  Fear not, you can still enjoy PCP coffee and treats at the to go window.

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This place was definitely worth the trip over the hill.  Now it’s your turn.  Go get some coffee!

Paramount Coffee Project

456 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036

 

Playtime: Zimmer Children’s Museum

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Zimmer Children’s Museum
6505 Wilshire Blvd., #100
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Some people are amazing aunts and uncles.  Even before they have their own children, they offer babysitting services, take your kids on fun outings, and give you a break (my sister and her husband are great examples).  We are not those people.  We were married 5 years before R came along, and in that time I can count on one hand how many times we babysat/took our nieces and nephew out for a day to give our siblings a break.  I know, we were big fat turds.  Big fat selfish turds to be exact.

Now that we’re parents we totally get how terrible we were.  Just one afternoon that R can spend with her Auntie and we can just be us is priceless. We decided it was time to change our ways and took one of our nieces out for a fun afternoon with R at the Zimmer.  (BTW-It is MUCH easier to manage a child when you are childless, so if you are not yet parents do that whole babysitting thing NOW!)

This place was perfect for both the 1 year old and 4 year old.  It is like a huge play space that is really centered around imaginative play.  Some of their favorite parts of the museum were the real life jet that they could pretend to fly, the water table games, the pretend grocery store, pretend home complete with fake fireplace, and the ball pit.  There was one room for itty babies to crawl around on gym mats and a snack room with tons of high chairs and a couple of vending machines.  We spent about 2 hours there and we had to convince the 4 year old to leave. It was definitely a fun time had by all, even the very exhausted adults.

A few tips for your trip to the Zimmer:

  • Take your wallet and phone with you and ditch the diaper bag in the snack room cubbies.  You’ll be chasing your child around and those bags are just too annoying to lug around.
  • The museum isn’t marked with a big sign you can see from the street, but is located in a Jewish foundation building on the north side of Wilshire Blvd.
  • There’s a free parking lot if you are visiting the museum.

Hope your trip to the Zimmer is as much fun as ours was!

 

 

 

Getting Fit the Lazy Way

 

IMG_4794Sweatpants are for lounging around the house and sneakers are for making you look sporty, not running outdoors.  Am I right? Is there such a thing as getting fit AND being lazy?  The hubs and I are attempting to prove that there is.  We’ve both put on, and kept on, a significant amount of weight since R came along (about 10-15 lbs each).

It’s been a long journey of just getting to this point for myself.  After gaining 45 lbs with the pregnancy, the first 30 lbs required a lot of exercise and careful eating (can anyone say Whole 30?).  I was super motivated to do it, but then I got to these last 15 lbs.  My motivation dwindled because I didn’t feel as huge, I just felt a little bigger.  I could hide my pooch with loose clothing, and I bought bigger jeans with REAL buttons.  This was just the new me–until I started seeing the number on the scale start to rise again.

We were so used to being exhausted from new parenthood, that as soon as baby went to bed at 7pm, we would get into our jammies, whip out the snacks and start bingeing on our favorite shows until 11pm.  That’s 4 hours of being couch potatoes. Nightly! After 6 months of this we started to feel kind of gross.

Here’s where the problem lies, we are both so lazy that neither of us wants to go to the gym or go on a real diet.  We made a plan that works for us, and we are committing to it for 30 days.  I’ll let you know next month if our Lazy Plan works.  I’ve detailed the rules below in case you’re interested in joining this little experiment.

Get Fit the Lazy Way

  • cut the lattes (drink plain coffee instead)
  • cut the snacks at night (no replacement for this one)
  • half your dinner and lunch portions (at this point it means eating a normal sized meal since we were overeating)
  • do this 30 day workout challenge by Melissa Bender (it’s free and doesn’t require any equipment)
  • weigh yourself once a week to motivate yourself

We are one week in and I’ve already lost 4 lbs.  I am pretty sure my weight fluctuates by 4 lbs on the daily, but I’m gonna take it! 3 more weeks to go!

Parenting Fail: Gel Window Clings

The teacher in me wants to decorate/celebrate every holiday with baby.  So when I found adorable Valentine’s day window gel clings (much like these) in the dollar section of Target, I had to get them.  I got two packs in fact.  Sure I saw the ages 3+ sign on the bottom of the package, but this mom was going to be watching her baby play with them with eagle eyes so I could disregard that label.  “Won’t it be so cute to see R playing with these gel clings? It’ll be a great way for her to practice her fine motor skills.  And, I can put them up high enough so she’ll have to stand up to get them!” (We all know how much she loves hanging around on her bum.)

And it was cute.  For a while…

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Especially that morning she woke up wearing heart pajamas.  For a split second, I thought, “Damn, what an awesome idea this was! She’s standing, she’s excited…She’s EATING THEM!?!” Well, not really, because I was watching her with an eagle eye–remember?

This is when she discovered the game, Let’s Pretend to Eat These So Mom Freaks Out. Here’s how you play: Baby gets up to grab a gel cling and then has to put it just far enough and slowly enough into her mouth that mom has a chance to grab them.  Then mom puts the gel clings higher so baby can’t reach them.  Finally, baby whines until mom moves them down again and the whole process repeats.  This game can bring joy to baby for hours if you have the stamina to play. Mom does not have the stamina to play.

“Where does the parenting fail come in?” you may be wondering at this point.  Well, it comes in a few days later when she wakes up and takes a gigantic poop after a night of really terrible sleep (like waking up every few hours crying kind of sleep).  I open her diaper to find something I think to be undigested bok choy.  I get a little freaked out and call Pop over.  Did she eat a succulent? Is this some kind of mutant poop? After a little more investigating, and rinsing, we find that her poop says “Hug me” and “Too Cute.” It is, in fact, not one, but TWO whole gel clings…

This is about the moment I feel like a failure.  When could this have happened? I try racking my brain to remember.  And then I do.  I’m washing dishes, “watching” her play with gel clings out of the corner of my eagle eye when I see her grab one and try to play our game.  I run over to take it from her but realize there’s actually nothing in her mouth.  “Hmmm…must have put it back on the window,” I think.  Wrong! So, so very wrong.

After a call to poison control and an email to Target, I find that I am lucky she didn’t choke on the clings (I mean she swallowed two at a time!) and that I’ll never know if the clings changing color from red/pink to green in her tummy was toxic or not (I’m guessing so).  Target never got back to me about that question, and poison control was mostly concerned with the asphyxiation potential and her behavior which was totally normal.

So I’m here to tell you, please mind the age labels.  Unless of course, you’re an actual eagle with eagle eyes.

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Get Crafty: DIY sensory table

Having a baby/toddler can get pricey.  All the things you think they need (but honestly don’t) cost money.  Like toys and activity centers that are going to stimulate your child’s brain development.  Parents these days, myself included, are seriously obsessed with brain development.  So when all the moms on the block start talking about sensory tables and tactile stimulation you start to freak out.  When your Pinterest gets flooded with links for DIY sensory tables, you begin to wonder if you can pull that off.  “$30 for a 30 minute table made of pvc pipes!?! I can do that!” But then your mind starts spiraling out of control, “isn’t pvc toxic? can I just BUY a sensory table for that price? couldn’t I just put that plastic bucket on a kid sized table?” That’s when laziness and frugality win out.

Instead of making this:

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from ateachingmommy.com

I ended up doing this:

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Storage bin on kiddie table you already have

I think it pretty much serves the same purpose. She absolutely loved it! What’s not to love? Water was EVERYWHERE.  And this DIY is waaaaay easier.  Just follow these 4 simple steps below:

  1. Get some kind of shallow plastic storage bin (about $7 at target)
  2. Fill it with water or sand or whatever tactile stimulating, mess making substance you prefer
  3. Place it on a stand of some kind (best if it has a ledge), like the IKEA kid table pictured above
  4. Throw random scooping objects and floating things inside and watch your kid have a field day

If I do this with water again, I’d place a vinyl table cloth below the table and  wrap the legs in plastic bags since they got pretty wet.  But, if you do something like Cheerios sand, no bags required.  I just saved you so much time, money, and stress about whether you’re developing your baby’s brain.  You’re welcome.

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Playtime: The Treehouse, Tarzana

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The Treehouse
18600 Ventura Boulevard
Tarzana, CA 91356
Isn’t there some study that proves dogs have similar intelligence as children until the age of 2? I thought I heard that once.  In any case, I’m finding my experience to prove that one true.  Even though I’ve never actually owned a dog for more than 24 hours (but that’s a story for another day). Check out my non-scientific list of ways dogs and toddlers are similar below:
1. Dogs love to play, as do toddlers
2. Dogs respond well to praise, as do toddlers
3. Both love games, mealtime with R proves this one to be true
4. You can teach both “tricks” (where’s your nose?)
5. They both love cuddles
6. I think they have a very similar receptive vocabulary for a while
7. They need exercise
That’s where this whole Treehouse comes into play.  We went there one afternoon as a way to “exercise” R.  We try to leave the house at least once a day because when we hang out at home all day she basically lounges on her butt until bedtime since we have such a small condo (serious lack of motivation from this one).
The Treehouse had only been open for 2 months, making it sparkly and new compared to other playspaces we’ve visited (major plus for a semi-germaphobe like myself). Here are some pros from our visit:
  • relatively large space
  • cute toddler sized eating and lounging area
  • lots of window seating for parents
  • really cool obstacle course for kids
  • well sized section for babies under 2
  • lots of snacks and drinks for sale in case you forgot your snack bag

The only thing I think it could use was an extra bathroom, since there was only one.

R had a blast doing the parts of the jungle themed obstacle course that she could manage. She loves climbing, so it was perfect for that.  If you have a child under the age of 5, this place is great to kill a few hours.  I’d just say to avoid any rainy days or school holidays, because indoor playspaces are kind of chaotic on those days.  But on any other weekday I’d say pick up an iced latte, head over, shell out $10 and watch your little puppy, er…kid have some fun.