Despicable Me: Summer Movie Preview

tumblr_l2rtdeolPb1qc2qtto1_1280.jpegHere at Role Mommy, we are knee deep in summer movie reviews and lucky for you, we have the inside scoop on some great film options for you and your kids! Starting today, we’re going to roll out our top movie picks of the season and we’re kicking it off with “Despicable Me” – a new animated feature film that stars Steve Carrell, Jason Segal, Miranda Cosgrove and Julie Andrews.
My son, his good friend and his mom joined me on a trip to Manhattan’s AMC theaters on 42nd street, and after we took our seats and put on our 3D glasses, we were instantly hooked. Steve Carrell, who is best known for his hapless good guy roles, slips into the shoes of an evil man named Gru, who, after being upstaged by a villain who has stolen one of the Egyptian pyramids, is hell bent on stealing the moon. What we discover is that Gru has always wanted to fly to the moon, but his mean mom (played by Julie Andrews, who tackles her first role as an evil mom), always made him feel like a colossal failure. As a result, Gru has yet to fulfill his lifelong dream. When he attempts to secure a loan from the Bank of Evil to fund his diabolical plan, Gru is stopped in his tracks by Vector, a goofy looking villain dressed in a track suit. When the bank president (who happens to be Vector’s dad) informs Gru he won’t supply him with any additional funds unless he returns with a shrink ray gun, he hops aboard his plane and jets off to China to track down the weapon.
tumblr_l2rqcrayar1qc2qtto1_1280.jpegAfter Gru and a few of his minions (a group of small yellow weeble wobble looking creatures who work for him) steal the shrink gun from the Chinese and then Vector steals it back from Gru (are you keeping up?), Gru tries unsuccessfully to break into Vector’s fortress, which is protected by surveillance cameras and booby traps. As he wracks his brain trying to figure out how he’s going to get that gun back, Gru discovers three cookie-selling orphans who could be the answers to his plans.
tumblr_l2rqb4vuKz1qc2qtto1_1280.jpegWhen he decides to adopt the girls so that he can use them to break into Vector’s home, little does he know that the orphans will inevitably melt his icy heart and turn Gru into the ultimate softey. We’ve got a hilarious sneak peak trailer below that your kids will flip for and coming soon, we have exclusive interviews with the entire cast! Kristin, our Role Mommy west coast correspondent got the chance to participate in the Despicable Me movie junket and she’ll be sharing details from her interviews with Steve Carrell, Miranda Cosgrove, Jason Segal and Julie Andrews! So make sure you mark July 9 and Despicable Me on your family movie viewing calendar and get ready to be entertained by a bumbling villain, three adorable orphans, a gaggle of goofy minions, a nerd in an orange track suit and a grandma with a biting edge – if that’s not fun for the whole family, then I don’t know what is!

Vacation 411: Answers on Mexico Travel & Safety

DSC_0006-1.jpgAs an avid traveler and lover of amazing places and deals we can share with your our readers, we are thrilled to be working with Villa Group Resorts as we help spread the word about their gorgeous resort properties in Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta and coming soon…Cancun and Loreto Mexico!
Offering families, couples and singles incredible and affordable getaway options throughout the year, this season, Villa Group has introduced ultra-inclusive vacations that include dining and beverages, a kids club, babysitting options, spa packages, golf getaways, dolphin excursions, water sports and much more!

Having stayed at Villa la Estancia in Nuevo Vallarta, I immediately felt like I was being welcomed into the lap of luxury – receiving a hand massage the moment we walked into the lobby. We stayed in a two bedroom suite complete with marble floors, private bathrooms, cozy living room, dining room, massive kitchen and sweeping balcony with a wet bar…can anyone say…margaritas? While I’m culinary challenged (no need to cook since there are fabulous restaurants on the premises including the award-winning La Casona), it’s great knowing that while we’re on vacation, we can store refrigerated snacks, drinks, and breakfast items if we want to sleep in and the kids are in the mood for cereal and cartoons. And the granite countertops, state of the art appliances and sweeping views of the ocean and pool and bathrooms to die for, are not so shabby either!

As you contemplate where you’d like to go for your next vacation, the Villa Group Affiliate Travel Network, comprised of nearly two dozen dynamic parenting and lifestyle bloggers, will offer a series of helpful articles that will give you the inside track on all things Mexico. For our first post, we’re tackling important questions that most travelers ask when they travel to Mexico. Hopefully, this will help guide you as you plan your next vacation!

Q. Is it safe to drink the water in Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas?
A. In Puerto Vallarta, you should be aware that incredible efforts have been made to provide safe water to residents and tourists. Over the last two decades, the Mexican government spent millions of dollars developing a safe water purification system in the area. As a result, this state of the art system has greatly reduced water-induced illnesses for travelers visiting Puerto Vallarta.

According to, for visitors to Cabo San Lucas, the resort location has never had the significant water quality problems that mainland Mexico as traditionally experienced:

“Sitting at the bottom of the Baja Peninsula, the fresh water in Los Cabos is some of the best in Baja. The local waters start thousands of feet above Los Cabos in the very tall mountains north of Cabo, drain down into local aquifers, and then are treated locally and then often treated again at the hotel or restaurant level. Tourism is just too important to let bad water become a factor.”

Q. Is it safe to travel to Cabo and Puerto Vallarta? Where are the dangerous parts of Mexico anyway?
A. According to AOL, which recently devoted extensive coverage to Mexico and issues relating to safety and even gives an overview of the places you should avoid, you’ll take comfort knowing that both Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas were ranked as being incredibly safe for travelers. As a precaution, always avoid streets that are not well lit (as you would in any country), but for the most part, your experience should be safe, relaxing and enjoyable!

Q. Are there any safety tips you can offer to a traveler who has never been to Mexico?
A. When you arrive at the airport, make sure you have made provisions for yourself and your traveling companions to take you to your accommodations. There will be many individuals offering you a ride or claiming to be your driver – while they are friendly and it is safe to ride with them, you will be better served if you book a car in advance.

If you decide to leave your resort and travel to a location in the evening, make sure when you are walking at night that you are aware of your surroundings and that you traverse well lit streets. Or, arrange for a car to pick you up after your evening is over. Better to have someone waiting for you to take you back to your hotel then go off exploring in the middle of the night!

Take precautions while swimming, snorkeling or surfing! The surf can be rough – especially in Cabo San Lucas and if you are not a strong swimmer, you may want to take precautions. Or, book an excursion that will take you on a guided water tour with experienced lifeguards on board.

Q. What about taking a road trip – is it better to book a tour or can I go on my own and explore?
A. While you can certainly rent a vehicle and explore Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas on your own, your experienced will definitely be enhanced if you register for a tour that is led by someone who truly knows the lay of the land and the water! While it’s always nice to discover new things, you can accomplish that by being a part of a guided tour and traveling with a group of vacationers like you. Of course, if you’ve been to either resort town many times, then you may feel more comfortable venturing out and returning to a favorite destination – suddenly you’ll be the expert offering tips to new travelers. But if it’s your first time, we suggest consulting with your hotel concierge who can offer some great tour options for you and your family.

Q. Are there parts of Mexico we should avoid due to the BP Oil Spill?
A. Here’s a quick geography lesson: The BP oil spill is nowhere near Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta. While the spill has contaminated many US cities located near the Gulf of Mexico, Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta are located on the west coast surrounding the Sea of Cortez. While travelers may believe that Mexico might have been affected by the recent environmental disaster, the hardest hit regions have been in the United States.

125x125.jpgIf you’re interested in finding out how you can book an unforgettable vacation in Mexico, visit Villa Group Resorts and check out this special deals page exclusive to our readers – where they’ve got some incredible vacation options this summer or check out the Villa Group home page for tons of great vacation options for you, your partner, girlfriends and family! The offers run through December 2010 so you can book now and still save on your vacation!

Why I Love My Daughter

IMG_0574.JPGI’ve always been amazed by my daughter. Partially because she and I are like night and day. I’ve always struggled with my weight and she has a body I dreamt about having when I was in the 5th grade. She knows how to crochet and bake, her artwork has been displayed in our local library, and she loves team sports like basketball and softball. Again, nothing like me – tennis and singing were my passions when I was her age and she has no interest whatsoever in doing either in public any time soon.
What I love most about my daughter is that she looks out for everyone around her – including her little brother. A few years ago, when my kids were attending the same day camp, my daughter was there to watch out for my son when some other kids started teasing him. You see, as the kids celebrated “Crazy Hat Day” at camp, my kids decided to wear the Goofy hats we bought them at Disneyworld. They’re both pretty silly and were perfect for the special day, except when my then six year-old-son arrived with his hat, his fellow kindergarten and first grade campers were not that nice to him. In fact, they didn’t call his hat silly, they called it “stupid.”
My son told me the story after I had returned home from work and I explained that kids could sometimes be mean and he shouldn’t pay them any mind. Of course, I started thinking about other things they could tease him about – and all I kept thinking was how much I hate it when kids get mean – especially since when I was my daughter’s age, I was the butt of countless fat jokes.
When my daughter came home from an evening play date, I tucked her into bed and she retold the hat story and how the kids were mean to Dylan. I then asked if she heard them say anything to him. Although she replied that she didn’t, she said her brother came over to tell her what happened and she walked over to the kids and warned them that if they teased her brother again they’d be in trouble – and trust me – you don’t want my daughter watching your every move! She then instructed her brother that if he needed her she’d be nearby and said that while her group was playing in the deep end of the pool, she stayed with him until his group moved on to another activity.
And that’s why I love my daughter. Don’t get me wrong, I love her more than anything even before I decided to share this story, but to see how compassionate and protective she is of her little brother even when I’m not around, made my eyes well up with tears. People tell me all the time that she is an old soul who looks out for others and frankly, I wholeheartedly agree. I have always sensed a glimpse of my grandma in her – from her masterful crochet work to always being on hand to help those in need, to her love of cooking and incredible sense of humor. At 11 years old, she is well on her way to becoming an incredible young lady and all I can say is I am so proud to be her mom.

Tribute to Michael Jackson

In honor of my son, who has become a die-hard Michael Jackson fan, is this tribute from ABC news to the King of Pop. Performers whose lives he impacted share their reflections on the loss of this one of a kind music icon.

If you’re still feeling sentimental, take a trip down Michael Jackson memory lane with our fave five songs of all time. And one more thing – check out this amazing acapella group who performs Michael Jackson’s classic songs in this incredible arrangement! Over 8 million views on YouTube and counting!!!

Teaching Kids How To Surf

iStock_000012760770Small.jpgSummer time in Hawaii and many other coastal areas usually means a lot of swimming and water sports. One of my favorites is surfing. If your child want to learn, here are some tips to stay active, healthy, and safe in the surf!
Make sure your child is a strong swimmer before taking them out. It’s always a good idea to buy a surf lesson or surf experience for the first time. Waikiki beach is a great place to learn here in Hawaii. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen or better yet a rash guard to protect against UV exposure and your abdomen from constant rubbing on the
board. You should always surf with a buddy and never go out alone.
Here are some pointers for your little surfer to know:
Picking the right board:
For beginners, bigger boards usually mean an easier time catching a wave. I recommend renting a board before you purchase one.
Find the right location:
If you don’t know the area ask around to find a spot with a gentle consistent wave.
Learning to paddle
Position your body in the middle of the board and start to paddle your arms.
When larger waves are coming at you when you are paddling out, do a duck dive where you duck your head and push the nose (front) of the board down.
Catching the wave
Turn your board around and paddle hard when you see a wave coming. When you feel yourself taking off then you can attempt to stand up, which takes some balance and a few tries, but you will get it!
Surf’s up!!
Professional Mom Blogger
patrice[1].jpgPatrice is the creator of “Mom’s Best Bets,” a site to inspire a healthier way of living. Patrice lives in beautiful Hawaii, has a Master’s degree in educational psychology, and is a full time mommy. She is also a wife, model, fashion wearing, organic eating, healthy living mom who strives to discover the BEST in products, food, vitamins, and fashion!

Fave 5 Baseball Movies for Moms

For moms and kids who love everything and anything about baseball, then hop on over to Lifetime Moms where I give you the inside track on the five greatest baseball movies for moms. Don’t be surprised if you even shed some tears when you’re kicking back with your kids to watch!

*New! De-Clutter Your Life with “The GO Mom”

Get Organized 3Blocks Logo with Slogan-Huge.pngWelcome to The “GO” Mom blog at Role Mommy. I am so excited to start chatting with you about my experience and the wisdom I’ve gained being a “GO” (Get Organized!) mom. A “GO” mom is a mom who is organized in everything she does, from how she plans birthday parties to how she prepares her kids’ lunches.
Too often we struggle just keeping up with all the privileges of being a mom: the late night sleepovers in your child’s room, the perks of doing laundry 24/7, and the varied parenting strategies that are needed for each child. However, I assure you that being a “GO” Mom will help you to complete tasks faster, easier and cheaper, both at home and away.
Did you know that the average person spends 55 minutes a day, roughly 12 weeks a year, looking for things they know they own but can’t find? That’s a lot of wasted time, money and energy.
I’ll use personal stories of how I keep order in my home in the mist of chaos. Along with those stories, I’ll share tried and true tips, ideas and systems that you can implement in your own home. These tips will be about anything and everything that goes on in your home. I’ll cover relationship issues, kids’ chores, allowance systems, time management strategies, buying groceries, and eliminating paper clutter. I use a common sense approach to help moms learn to get organized and manage their home.
Whether you’re a mom who works outside the home or inside the home, moms tend to have the bulk of the responsibility of running and managing our homes. Finding ways to make your life easier is my job. Changing some of your old habits and tendencies, that’s your job.
Twice a month, I’ll tell the story, find the tools you need and show you the systems. You are on a journey to become a better you, a real “GO” Mom.
IMG_3957_retouched.jpgLorraine Brock is a professional organizer, family coach, speaker, and founder and owner of “Get Organized!” “Get Organized!” is a professional organizing company in the Dallas, Texas area. “Get Organized!” specializes in organizing and de-cluttering homes as well as implementing systems in the home for better family management.
A popular media guest, Lorraine has appeared on Dallas’ two top morning television shows: Good Morning Texas and Good Day Fox, and has been featured on various radio outlets. She has been hallmarked in many local, regional, and national print and online magazines, such as the Dallas Morning News, The North Texas Kids Magazine,, and Daily Candy Kids. To get more helpful advice from Lorraine, visit her blog Get Organized!

The Happiness Project: The Role Mommy 411

the-happiness-project.jpegA few weeks ago, I was in a major funk and rather than spend $250 on a therapist, I turned instead to my Kindle (which is currently on sale for $189, I might add). And thankfully, in about 1 minute, I found the prescription I needed to make me smile again.
The bestseller I decided to crack open was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Rubin, a former lawyer turned journalist turned author, sets off on a 12 month journey where she tackles one happiness project after another. From de-cluttering her home, to refraining from gossiping, to finding time to put exercise back into her life, to writing a novel in one month (now that I’ve got to try), to doing the things she loved when she was 10 years old, Gretchen Rubin’s book managed to help me get through my recent rough patch while inspiring me to try things I haven’t done in a really long time.
Now that I finished the book, I decided to embark on a few happiness projects of my own. And while I do believe that de-clutter should be on my list too, for some reason, going through my mail, my closets and the basement doesn’t make me happy, it just gets me overwhelmed.
I will however, enroll in a creative writing class. I’ve always loved storytelling and would like to try to write a novel. Most likely a young adult novel since my vocabulary is about as strong as a fifth grader’s but either way, I’m definitely going to look into a class that will encourage me to take my love of writing to the next level.
I’ve also applied for a musical workshop at the BMI Music Publishing House. I have no idea if I’ll be accepted (sent them several of my favorite song parodies), but my feeling is – nothing ventured, nothing gained! Will keep you posted if that one actually happens.
I am determined to lose weight. Okay that’s more like a New Year’s resolution but I’m currently reading Change Your Brain, Change Your Body and am hoping that if my brain makes better choices, my body will be much better for it!
I want to go on amazing vacations with my family. Or maybe just one really fun vacation where we make tons of memories, take lots of pictures and relax!!!
I want to sleep more. Selfishly because they say that the more you sleep, the better it is for your metabolism.
And I want to get back to doing what I loved before I had kids. (I already do the things I loved when I was 10 – singing when no one is around). I actually did take up one sport that I used to love sans kids…rollerblading. In the early nineties, I used to rollerblade in Central Park every evening after work and on weekends and come to think of it, I looked pretty damn good back then. So this past Sunday, I strapped on my blades and panted all the way down Pinebrook Blvd., passing cars and exhaust fumes in my wake.
While I survived my first outing, this morning’s adventure was not as successful. While blading along the road listening to “Escape” (I was tired of my lady, we’ve been together too long), I must have slipped on a twig and the next thing I knew, I went crashing into the ground – along with my iPhone – which incidentally, now has a cracked screen (guess it’s time for an iPhone 4G then). Anyhoo – I decided to cross the street and blade back home and a friend saw me puffing along the side of the road and asked me if I wanted a ride. I declined and huffed it all the way back to my house (which sits on an incredibly steep hill I might add). Something tells me that even though rollerblading made me happy when I was 22 it might not make me so happy right about now – especially since I need to cough over some cash to fix my phone. Maybe I just need to invest in a new pair of blades or should pick a better route the next time I hit the open road.
Either way, I’m working out my happiness projects one assignment at a time. How about you? Have any happiness projects you’d like to tackle? Get inspired now by visiting The Happiness Project.

*New! The Role Mommy Writer’s Network

If you are a member of The List, then over the past two years, you’ve been receiving all kinds of great opportunities – from media inquiries, to event invites, to product reviews and much more. We are committed to building upon the incredible network of bloggers, freelance writers, authors, experts and entrepreneurs who are all members of our community and as a result, we are thrilled to launch the Role Mommy Writers Network, a syndication platform that will offer you the opportunity to feature paid advertorial content on your blog.
Please be advised, we will not be compensating bloggers to post reviews and will continue to offer you the opportunity to have access to products and services before they hit the mainstream market so that you can share this exclusive information with your readers.
Advertorial posts will be advice driven and at times, will feature videos, photos and/or podcasts that have been written exclusively by bloggers. These articles can be utilized in its entirety on your blog or adapted as you see fit. All members of the network must fully disclose that the posts are sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer’s Network.
In addition, this incredible group will have the opportunity to attend writer workshops, events, retreats, interview best selling authors and entrepreneurs and network with like minded women and men who love to write. If you have’t already been in touch with us and if you’d like to apply to become a member of The Role Mommy Writer’s Network, please fill out the application below and we will notify you if you have been accepted into this exciting new program.

Take Back the Kitchen with Huevos Rancheros!

huevos rancherosI’m hot and I do not want to use my oven for dinner in my un-airconditioned kitchen. As Monday night is breakfast for dinner night, I make the kids some simple scrambled eggs but glamorize mine a bit by making a healthier Huevos Rancheros with black beans for more protein and some assorted leftover vegetables to keep the fridge inventory moving. It is very tasty and I am certain you will agree. You’re welcome :-):
Huevos Rancheros:
2 corn tortillas
2 eggs, scrambled or over easy or hard
2 TBS salsa
2 TBS sour cream, separated (can be low fat or even no-fat Greek Yogurt)
1/3 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 TBS chopped cilantro, separated
grated cheese-Monterey Jack , sharp cheddar or my favorite, Manchego
2 pinches salt or more to taste
ground pepper to taste
random , leftover cooked vegetables, like broccoli
In a medium sized bowl, mash up the beans with one TBS sour cream, one pinch of salt and one TBS cilantro. Set aside.
In a hot skillet over medium heat, toast up the corn tortillas until slightly browned on both sides and set aside.
In a small frying pan or same pan as the tortilla pan, cook your eggs to your liking.
Now it is assemblage time:
lay one tortilla down on a plate. Spread 1/2 black bean mixture on it. Add 1/2 eggs on top. Then add the 2nd tortilla on top of that . Spread second 1/2 beans and eggs on top. Add the chopped vegetables if using. Spoon on the salsa, the grated cheese over that and top with sour cream. Garnish with the remaining one TBS cilantro. Delicious!!!
For more great recipes from Alma Schneider, visit her at Take Back The Kitchen.