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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A menu as big as my head!

Fast food has come a long way in recent years. For my generation, fast food during our childhood years (when fast food is always at it’s best) consisted of burgers, burgers, and burgers. Pizza took more than 30 minutes for delivery, you didn’t have too many options, and life was drab.


Today, fast food has evolved in rapid fashion. You can choose what you eat, where you eat, and how you eat, and the list of options seems endless. Things are specialized s restaurants find their niche, drive it to your television and magazines with advertising, and hope you walk in the door with cash in hand.

With those changes comes good and bad. Finding a wealth of poor choices, especially for those of us with families on the go, is all too easy. Maybe it was my lack of knowledge or my desire to stick with the lessons I learned as a youth, but I failed to realize just how many choices there were… but Qdoba has changed my view.


A few short weeks ago, Scott from Qdoba dropped me a line and suggested we give it whirl. He sent some menus and vouchers for meals with a simple suggestion: “Check us out, I think you’ll be glad you did.”

To be honest, my view of Qdoba up to that point was fairly limited. I had been there once shortly after they opened their first store in our area and walked away with a simple impression. As had become the rave in fast food, Qdoba offered burritos that weighed as much as a roll-off dumpster, stuffed with various ingredients that were certainly filling but left little to be desired in terms of variety. If you liked enormous burritos, you couldn’t go wrong. If not, you went elsewhere.



Much to my surprise, unlike other restaurants that shoot for the same vein, Qdoba has moved on and discovered the rewards of choice.

My husband and I opened the menu Scott had provided, and while the burritos were there in all of their glory (they are damn good burritos), there was so much more. Soups, salads, quesadillas, nachos, tacos, and various other offerings led us to believe we should put the dated opinions of this restaurant behind and give it a go. We cleaned the slate, talked the kids into leaving the Xbox for a while, and took a drive.

After a short drive to the closest spot, we were standing in front of the site and made one immediate observation. “This place is pretty big.” Similar eateries tend to keep the dining space available onsite to a minimum, maybe a few indoor stools along a dining bar with a handful of tables. Qdoba offers a full-size dining room complete with the dining bar but also accentuated with booths, dining tables, and plenty of space for many to enjoy their meals without feeling rushed to do so. “I’ll guess we’ll eat here, huh?” my husband asked (he’s a total homebody… getting him to leave the house is like getting Bush to leave Iraq… it doesn’t happen). Mark one win for Qdoba.



We entered to review the menu, and to our shock and amazement, there stood before us a specialized menu… for children. A kid’s menu… I won’t repeat what my lovely-but-salty tongued husband stated, but needless to say we were both pleasantly surprised. In recent years, there has been a dramatic rise in what I like to call the “upscale” fast food restaurant. These places offer food aimed at pleasing adults and the appetites adults will bring and seek to calm. The vast majority of these eateries rarely, if ever, offer any options that would work for children. Qdoba has an entire menu dedicated to the mouths of our children, a definitive bonus for a family on the go. Don’t believe me? Try this… go to a similar place and try to talk yourself AND your kids into eating a burrito that weighs more than their overloaded book bags from school. Experience that and then tell me you wouldn’t rather have the options of tacos or quesadillas.



My husband is on a restrictive diet and tends to stress trips to almost any restaurant. He’s not allowed to eat anything spicy, fried, or based in tomatoes. Despite the concerns, he was easy to please, ordering a Vegetarian Burrito. I decided to go out of my own comfort zone and selected the Mexican Gumbo. My oldest picked up an order of nachos while our youngest picked cheese quesadillas.

Clean and comfy atmosphere, food made quickly to our liking right in front of us, something for us all to enjoy… it was a wonderful experience. Qdoba has raised the bar on “fast” food, though it may not be fair to label them as such. Your grub gets done as quickly, if not more so, than most fast food joints, but there is no comparison in terms of flavor, service, and quality. My hubby was beyond happy, being able to eat out without worrying about his dietary and health issues. Our kids didn’t have to be conned into meals they didn’t want and we didn’t have to stress the waste of food and money on two meals for our children. I had options so many restaurants in this position fail to offer.


I struggle to list a negative from the entire experience. That is rare for a wife, mother of two, and lover of good food. If you have kids or not, this is an excellent option for a great meal at a reasonable cost, and the options beyond that are nothing short of refreshing.

Qdoba - www.qdoba.com

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Sweet Pea Creations

Susan Stemple of www.sweet-pea-creations.com makes handmade birth, adoption holiday announcements in addition to invitations and note cards. When I received my package in the mail to review, it was a delight to open up and see the variety she offers. Not your run of the mill note cards and add a ribbon to them, oh no! Sweet Pea Creations offers an array of paper selections, paper styles, fonts, and options for the cards you are ordering. They have a personal touch you aren’t going to get by just going to a store – they are all handmade by her!

giftcerts


How many companies are on the web offering the same? Thousands I’m sure but Susan contacted me and responded within minutes and asked me what I would want if I could have anything for Mom in the Know. She seems to be able to cater quite well to what the customer needs. All of the paper stock she sent me is quality and feels fantastic to the touch, the pictures transfer are more then professional, her products are above par, plus it saves you a trip to a chain store that would cost 12 times more.

holiday


At Sweet Pea Creations you will have that one on one customer service you need with something as important as your announcements and invitations, her prices are great and I wouldn’t complain. Shipping is within post office regulations, and quick.

baptism


Now a little about Susan from Susan-

Thank you for visiting Sweet-Pea-Creations! Offering custom handmade birth and adoption announcements, baby shower invitations, baptism and christening invitations, and note cards for your special event.

A little about me...my name is Susan, and I am a work-at-home mom to my 5 year old daughter, 3 year old son, my husband, 2 cats and a dog! I am an avid scrapbooker and card maker. I designed an announcement similar to the ones offered here to announce the birth of my daughter in 2002. My family and friends raved about the announcements! I knew I could offer these to other families at a price they could afford. So I started selling on eBay. My announcements have been such a huge success, I decided I needed to expand my business. And so Sweet-Pea-Creations.com was formed and I opened my online store in July 2005. My goal is to design a card just for you. No two cards are ever alike. I will work closely with you to make sure everything is just as you want it. I am also happy to make any suggestions if you aren't quite sure what you want. I am happy to personalize these specially for you! I only use high quality materials on the cards I offer, and everything used is acid free, so you can even display the card safely in your scrapbook. I have been offering my creations for 4 + years and I am proud to say I have many satisfied buyers, so you can buy with confidence.

Please check out my Customer Comments page to see what Sweet-Pea-Creations customers have to say! Thank you again for stopping by.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to Email Sweet-Pea-Creations . I am always happy to help!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rockin Baby Sling

www.rockinkidshop.com or www.rockinbabysling.com


Lisa and Natasha were the first who truly reached out to me, and did they need to? NO! Just the day before they were flooded with calls as Gwen Stefani had been featured in a magazine and all over the internet wearing one of their slings. Within two days I had a funky, pre-washed cotton, reversible sling in hand and was ready to go. It comes in a great little package, not wasting a lot of space with clear and concise directions (pictures to show you even!) The positions are age specified for mom and baby, as neck and head usage dictate. Guess what? If you lose your pamphlet, you can look on the website and they have all the information there as well as contact information if you have questions. There is a cleverly disguised pocket for you to store your ID, money, and credit card, or whatever you want while you walk through the mall or wherever.

Now you are probably asking, is it bulky, easy to use, will I be able to use it alone? Are there hard plastic clips like the other slings? What makes this one so special, Mom in the Know?

Well, aside from the fact they have several different designs even ones that dad will be comfortable with, it is easier to use alone then most. You may want someone around the first time but I’d say that with any sling, the large rings make it easy enough to do alone though. The design is made so you can do it by yourself and so you can adjust it as well.

Rockin Baby slings are durable and comfortable for you and baby. Not hard, stiff, uncomfortable scratchy or boxy. Your baby just snuggles right into the fabric like he or she would a blanket in your arms.

Once on and secure, your arms are free. You can go about your shopping, moving around the house and daily business. Do your bills, watch television, read that book you’ve been wanting to read, walk the dog! Of course. exercise caution as you would do with your child.

Do you want to know something even better? They have a lot more then slings in stock! Pouches, for a closer fit, a great line of clothing for boys and girls to 10 years old, blankets and bedding, shopping cart covers, diaper bags, bathrobes, plates for your little cowpoke, art, accessories, books, and toys.

Are you sold yet? If not, then read a little more about Lisa and Natasha.

From Lisa herself-

Natasha and I started making Rockin’ Baby Slings in 2002. They both had babies back then and were using slings, but there were not very many companies then offering stylish options. They tended to be very pastel blue or very earthy. We both were into fashion and wanted something that worked better with the clothes they wore. We decided on a weekend at the beach together to make a few slings out of vintage fabrics for ourselves. As soon as we stared wearing them women would walk up to us on the street to ask us where to get one. We decided to maybe start a company and did a first run of about 20 slings in a great mix of vintage and new fabrics with trim on them. At first we were literally selling them out of our cars as moms and dads would ask where they could buy a sling. That was when we decided to start a company for real, realizing that there were actually other people like us out there who wanted more fashionable slings. We launched our website late in 2002, and started to sell them wholesale as well. We are both believers in baby wearing. The bottom line is it makes for a happier baby and a happier more connected parent. A baby in a sling can be close to mom or dad, right where they can hear a heartbeat, sleep there, check out the world, nurse and the parent is able to use their hands and remain functional.

Although the slings and pouches are packaged with instuctions, we have also always offered sling support via phone, email and in-person if they live in the greater Los Angeles area, so that people can feel confident using their sling or pouch.

We still choose all of the fabrics and trims ourselves, sometimes even printing our own fabrics, and always search for patterns and colors we think are amazingly cool. We have learned over the years how to manufacture an incredibly well-made and safe product. We pre-wash all of our fabrics in a warm salt water wash to set the colors, prevent shrinking and soften new fabric We also make sure all of the edges are overlocked so that there will be no fraying or tearing. We have also had our slings and pouches pull tested for strength and they did not rip until 1100 lbs. Nearly all of our slings are reversible, and all of them have pockets in the tail. All of our pouches are completely reversible, adjustable to 4 sizes via hidden zippers and have a padded edge on one side of the pouch. Nowadays, there are hundreds of companies out there, but we continue to strive to make the best product that we can. We continue to make our products here in Los Angeles, paying people a good wage.

We opened our store in Eagle Rock a little over two years ago now, which has been an entirely new adventure with its own learning curve and set of challenges, but thoroughly enjoyable all the same. We sell our products as well as clothing and accessories from hundreds of other companies for babies to 10 year old kids. We carry lots of great stuff from local moms, from small mom and pop companies like our own and from super cool and trendy companies we all read about in the press. Our address is:

Rockin’ Kid Shop
5048 Eagle Rock Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90041
www.rockinkidshop.com or www.rockinbabysling.com
888*645*baby

Lisa has one son, Seamus who is now 5, and Natasha has two kids, her daughter, Tova, who is 3 and her son, Finn, who is 6.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Do you want to participate?

Hi!
I'm Mom in the Know. I run a blog and I'm always on the lookout for samples to be submitted that I can review for you to garner publicity via my site! What's better than that? Not much! My site is geared towards people that like to shop at their fingertips and want honest answers and reviews from a person like them. Someone who doesn't have a
paid advertiser 3 pages later in their magazine. If I find an issue, I'll alert you before I post it. I also prefer grass roots causes, if you don't have the funds for advertising this is the best way to do it. Trading links and helping each other out. Just email me via this site and I will contact you. I can't wait to see what we can do!

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Waiting and testing

Here at Mom In The Know we have several products due to arrive soon plus a few in the process. Don't think we have forgotten about you or the reason we are doing this. We aren't at a stand still - we really are just putting it all together and researching other products for you! We always welcome suggestions.

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Monday, July 9, 2007

Blogging and Links

I love waking up or just checking my email and seeing my ideas coming to light. My emails are being returned, people are curious about my idea here. What have I started? A blog for parents to read where they can see how the products work out first? Not have to trust the company or a magazine where they have paid advertisers? But real parents that are just using these products with their children who are putting them through the ringer. What a novel idea!

We are in the midst of testing out this right now http://www.rockinbabysling.com/ so far so good. Thanks again to Natasha and Lisa! If you are on the hunt for a baby sling and want a hip twist this is the way to go. Total review soon to follow.

If you want to maximum exposure for your product for minimum costs, here is a great place to start. A family friendly blog that is striving for parental perfection. Just contact me through comments and I will get in touch with you asap.

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Friday, July 6, 2007

New developments

Here at Mom in the Know we have products coming in ready to review. One repeated request that I' ve had? That's the best diaper bag/purse/bag in general for a Mom on the go? So fellow parents and readers I'm looking for the answer to that question for us. That is my agenda today to find some to advertise here and for me to test out. If you know of a purse/bag designer of if you yourself are one let us know and we will contact you.
Thank you all who have supported thus far, keep reading and keep linking!

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Thursday, July 5, 2007

Link me?

Are you all linking me yes? I'll have a nifty little box for you upon request. I'm emailing and already getting a lot of replies so thank you to those partaking in the blitz. I'm quite excited. I love the brainstorming part just as much as blogging this for you. If you are reading this and have your own business leave a link and we can partner up possibly. The more exposure we all get the better, right? I'm dropping cards everywhere as well as making postcards and notepads so Denver will know all about you.
I'm on the hunt for family friendly restaurant's right now, especially just where we can drop in, grab and go. There aren't many we can stay in that make families feel welcome. If you own one or know of one you know the drill, link me!

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Is Mom learning more?

As I scour the internet looking for sites that partner with, I find so many neat little things. Uniqueness rules in corners that I had no idea existed. I ponder what the next link will bring me. I don't limit myself to children's goods, as a mom I want goods, too! We need to stay hip and with the times! I can't wail until I start getting more links left for me. I hope to develop a long lasting partnership with several of you. I'm looking for links now more then anything. So leave them, I'll examine the site and go from there. Link me, too please!

Hope to see some of your products soon!

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wake up with ellen

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Mom in the Know
Location: Golden, CO, USA
Who am I?

Well, aside from a mom and a wife, I'm a person who wants the best for all of us. I have two daughters, two dogs, and a husband – all of whom I wanted to be at home for – so I put my talents to use, looking out for my family. Shopping (well, kinda you send me the products!). Surfing the Internet. Meeting new people. Recommending products to friends, after I fall in love with them. And figuring out how to make products better.

Enjoy.

If you want to submit a product for review, just contact me.
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