Archive for the San Diego Category

Insta April

Hello lovelies. I haven’t run away, life has just been crazy, and stressful, and mostly crazy. Just to fill you in …… in addition to all the regular every day, we are wedding planning (think DIY wedding), and buying a home. If all goes well we will be into our new house by June, but I’m not counting any chickens. Oh yeah it has a chicken coop too! Hah.


Anyhow, I told you before that I started doing daily yoga to relieve migraines at the start of February. Well, it turns out that I love it, I mean, I like it a lot. It’s sort of like the grown up, socially acceptable form of gymnastics, but it’s not, all at the same time. Weird I know. I was previously very close minded about yoga, and thought it was lame. Yup. I thought it was just stretching, and blah blah …. sitting still is not my thing. Naturally I thought that yoga was not my thing. Turns out I was wrong. My previous opinions of yoga were also wrong.


I liked it so much that I found an awesome studio locally and have been taking classes when I can. With my new found interest in yoga I sought out inspiration via Instagram. There are so many “insta-yogi’s,” as I like to call them, it has been easy to find inspiration. Instagram is an interesting place to connect with like minded people. The yoga family on there is mostly supportive, and you can find lots of fun “challenges.”


In April I decided to participate in one of these challenges. I figured what better way to learn more about yoga, and see more of what it has to offer then by doing? This is also why I did not post any insta-Friday’s during the month. When I know I “have” to take a specific photo each day I found myself taking fewer spontaneous ones.


Here are all the photo’s from the challenge.

The Gemini Mama yogaIMG_20140401_222123IMG_20140404_094056IMG_20140402_225305


There were ton’s of new-to-me poses, and some familiar things.



Some things that felt great, and others that seem as though they will never feel comfortable.


There were awkward poses that probably shouldn’t be done in public, and poses kiddos wanted to try.
There were fails (read face-plants) , and successes.


There were moments of struggle, and moments of cheesy achievement.


Yes there are only 20 photos there. The other 10 days I posted videos. While I love you all I will not be posting them here, if you would like to view them feel free to check out my instagram GT4936.


All in all it wasn’t so bad. I am not sure if I am stronger physically from it, but I honestly believe I am stronger mentally from it. I told myself that I was going to do another challenge for May, but honestly I think life is enough of a challenge right now.


I feel that I should also mention that I have not had any migraines since starting yoga. I can not say with 100% certainty that it is the main factor causing that, but I can say that I believe it is. Before I started doing yoga I had a minimum of one migraine a month. The migraine I had in January lasted three days. That is the longest I have ever had a migraine. If you are curious with how or what I started with follow to Mind Body Green. I spent about 15-20 minutes each day at first, now I do what feels good.


Have you ever done yoga? What is your favorite pose, and why?

Grocery Outlet hits El Cajon

The Gemini Mama Grocery Outlet El Cajon


Did you know that Saturday The Grocery Outlet had their grand opening in El Cajon CA? Well the kids, daddy, and I packed up to go check it out. I had never been to, or even heard about Grocery Outlet so when I was invited to shop their store I was very intrigued. Their grand opening event turned out to be an exciting time.


Grocery Outlet now in El Cajon!


Before we made it into the store the kids were having a great time. They got to do crafts! An exciting note for all the parents close to the El Cajon CA store, they will have a kids craft table every month on the last Saturday. That is definitely one way to get the kids excited to go grocery shopping with you.



The kids also met Lois Prices, and had their faces painted.



So what did I think?


I was very impressed at how clean and neat the store was. I was easily able to find things that I was looking for. I was surprised to find that there was a refrigerator and freezer section, as well as produce, meat, and cheese. When I think bargain that is not what fills my mind. The prices were easy to locate, and clear. No questions or confusion.


I was also floored at how many organic items I found there! I can not say that they hunt down deals on organic products, but it sure seems like it. They also have them labeled differently so they are easy to spot.

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I really want you to take a good look at the items in this picture. Maybe take a minute to spot an item that you get every week. Then think about what you pay for it.


Got it? Good let’s move on.



Their prices are amazing!


That is really the bottom line isn’t it? How much will you pay, or save at check out?


The Justin’s peanut butter for only $2.99 is a steal, and Aveeno baby sunblock at $8.99 for a two pack is crazy!


I was genuinely surprised by the prices I found while shopping there. I got much more than I expected, and I even splurged on some things that we would not normally buy, simply because at those prices I could.


What should you know?


  • All Grocery Outlet’s are owner operated, and they buy with cash. That mean’s you get the best possible prices, no built in fees from using credit lines.
  • Products on the shelves are from buy outs. That means that you might not find the same item there, tomorrow so get it today! It also means that same items could be sold at a different prices at a later time, from a different buy.
  • Buy outs are for various reasons. Some of those could be; overproduction, package or label change, too short an expiration for grocery stores (1 year or less).
  • Their price labels list the prices “Elsewhere,” ….. think Target or other national retailers, for comparison.


How can you make Grocery Outlet work for you?


Take you list and start there! They have a great selection of various items, but often change. If you start your shopping here you can take advantage of the great deals as they fit your shopping list.

Don’t marry yourself to a brand. It will be easy for you to shop from your list if you are general in what you are shopping for. Think “crackers” not “Wheat Thins.” Not to say that you will never find the brand you love, you will just be more successful if you are flexible.


Now don’t be sad if you missed out on the grand opening celebration. All month long you can enter to win some grand prizes. My favorite, a year of groceries. Then on Saturday May 24th they will have the grand prize giveaway! Compete with coffee, and treats, wheel of bargains, and magic cart. At noon they will announce the grand prize winners.


Still curious? Feel free to view Grocery Outlet El Cajon’s website here or keep up to date with events and info on their Facebook page. 



Take a peek at what I got.


Annie’s bunny crackers variety pack

Cascade Farms peanut butter bars

Seattles Best K-cups House blend

Tom’s of Maine mouthwash

EO Shower Gel

Tom’s of Maine deodorant

Tarkettle Road Zinfandel

2 bags of Vegan Carob Chips

Oneida Jumbo muffin pan

Lil Critters Gummy Vitamins


Now let’s have a little fun.

Take a guess at how much I spent at check out! Let’s see who can come the closest!


Disclosure I received a gift card to facilitate my review, no other compensation was received. As usual, all opinions expressed are my own.

Wedding Planning is in Full

Did you think that I forgot about the whole us getting married business? Well I didn’t. I did however, put it on hold indefinitely. S over here is ready. Really he just wants to wear his ring. So he would like to just go down to the court house and “git’r done.”


Well, somewhere in the last two days I decided to start planning.

The Gemini Mama wedding photo site


That rock under the tree is very large. I would love for S and I to have a picture taken together there. Also a family shot there too. Either on our wedding day, or just for a photo session.


Yesterday we went to 3 possible wedding sites. The location the above photo was taken in, is our back up plan. The side of the park that faces the mountain is beautiful, but the rest of the park is pretty flat. That means that on a busy Saturday it will feel like all the park goers are part of our event. It is a large park, but there was also no ideal location for the size of our event.


I’m not sure if you can tell, but I am saving the best pictures for last. Also just a note, these photo’s were just taken with my camera phone. I didn’t realize that in going to check out sites I would want to take any photo’s. Turns out I wasn’t prepared. So you know I kept the photo’s raw, and did zero photo editing. These are some beautiful places.


This photo is from our second choice location. This would be the walk that my bridesmaid and I would walk down to a gazebo for the ceremony.


I loved the little rock bench. It could be a great place for guests to take pictures!



When you do a 180 from the previous photo, this is the view you are greeted with.


Now the next photo, is what actually got us all out of the car to look around.



My initial thought was “I wanna get married on that bridge, with our guests standing down here on either side of the creek.” I thought it was so picturesque S, myself, and the wedding officiant. Event with our modest guest list there wouldn’t realistically be room for everyone down below the bridge. Which cut this idea out, but how pretty. If for some reason this ends up to be our wedding location I will for sure have a whole photo session on this bridge. Even if it’s just my phone and I.


With all the wedding talk the last two days K1 decided to inform me the number of guests I may invite. She told me, that I am allowed to invite 31 people because I am 31. At first she said 21, and I was gonna let it go, but I felt we weren’t going to get up to enough guests for our party, so I reminded her of my age. K1 also said we could invite 3 people for her, because she is three, and two for K2. After asking me for Scarlet our dogs age, she said we could invite 7 people for her. She’s so sweet, isn’t she? Too bad Scarlet will not likely be attending. Then K1 remembered daddy and said we could invite 30 people for him. Good thing, cause we would have had to cut some people off our guest list.


K1 is most excited because she know’s it’s a “party.” This girl. I love her, and her sweet little heart.


Well for two days planning, pretty sure we have our site selected, and it is available for the date we are considering. We are going back tomorrow to verify the location will work for us. We have selected a caterer, and they are also available on our tentative date. Once we have validation on our date we will book the caterer. I am fairly set on a dress, but will go try on a few next Thursday, if things (read “life”) all go well. Our rings were purchased several months ago, so we are off to a great start!


Next thing to tackle will be invitations

Scarlet Loves Petbox

The Gemini Mama Petbox


“Hummmmm …. what to choose first?”


Poor Scarlet has had a rough year. It started with her attack, and her health has continued to be a bit of a roller coaster ride. Her most recent struggle has been with her skin. It has taken two long months but, we have determined that she has developed allergies. Don’t ask me what to, because we are still working on that.


With all that she has had going on she is definitely due for some spoiling. That is why when PetBox offered to send her a box for review we barked at the opportunity.

The Gemini Mama PetBox img

While Scarlet was off to the vet to have her teeth cleaned we came home to this lovely blue box sitting on our door step. PS There are no shipping charges for your PetBox! I thought that would be perfect for Scarlet to come home to, except I didn’t take anesthesia into consideration.


With this being her first PetBox she didn’t notice it was in the house. Score, for keeping surprises a surprise!


Mug shot.


Not really, she was too excited to sit still.



I love the “surprise me” or “choose items” options. This box was a “surprise me” and it was great. The “choose items” option is perfect for us now that I know Scarlet has allergies. I can choose to avoid ingredients that effect her.


What was inside?


High quality products that I feel great giving to my pet. Our surprise box has a few grooming items, a few treats, and even a cute pink and white bow tie. Yes pink, because she is a lady, and PetBox knows because they asked.


I met a few of the PetBox ladies at the San Diego get fit party S and I went to last month. My initial thought was that they were out of place with their display table there. After looking over their site, and viewing some of  the treat options they offer, PetBox totally belonged there. There are plenty of healthy treats to choose from for your pets. They are focused on making our pets more healthy, and happy which is great.

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In the end the Aussie ear was Scarlet’s first choice. Mommy’s first choice, the FURminator.


Our next PetBox will be filled with toys and grooming supplies! You get to select about 6 items to arrive in your box each month, and those are things that we need.


What I love about PetBox

  • More than just treats
  • Healthy pet options
  • Shipping is included (seriously last minute price increases kill me)
  • They feed a rescue animal with each box shipped (I love all the animals, not just mine)
  • You can choose your items, so there is never a box full of junk you don’t want, won’t use, and isn’t right for your pet
  • High quality products


Are ready to give PetBox a try?! Use this code:


and save 10%!!


Check back Tuesday 2/25 for a giveaway!


What would you get in your first PetBox?

*Disclosure, I received a PetBox in hope that I would complete a review. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are my own and might be different than yours.

The Mountain has a Summit

The Gemini Mama Hawk


I know that a lot of you out there are covered in snow. If I were in a place covered in snow I would grab my boots and snowboard and find a hill. I would also pack up my kids and go sledding, at least once. Obviously I am not there, and here we don’t see snow. Actually while we are on the subject, we are suffering from a sever drought because our mountains haven’t seen enough snow, so send some west.


When you live in an area that has beautiful temperature, you should take advantage of it. Yesterday we did. The whole family. As in every one including Scarlet, our dog. This was a big deal for her, because she doesn’t get to do much now that running is too much for her.



If you have been a long time reader here you may remember my post last September about our hike. I just want to say it is amazing what 25-30 degrees difference will do for you. We have only been on a few hikes since then, and they were focused on K1 being able to “hike” the whole time. Meaning that they were not challenging for the adults. When I suggested re-doing this hike S actually asked me if I could even do it. He reminded me that I had to stop a few times last time and we didn’t make it to the top. Duh, it was 100 degrees. Silly daddy.


Up we climbed as a unit. K1 walked about 1/4-1/3 of the way up herself. She is getting stronger and stronger every day.


The wind was nice, and kept us cool.


We got to see a few things on our way. Lizards, caterpillars, which were a nice surprise, para gliders, one hang glider, and two hawks! I am glad that we did not see the mountain lion that was spotted recently, and I am still fortunate enough to have never seen a wild rattle snake.


I wish my phone accurately captured how close to us the hawks were, but this was the best I could do. I have never seen a hawk in the wild so close. I could actually see the color of their feathers.


They were a pair hunting together. When they were done scouring this peak they flew off together to the next. It was beautiful.


Off in the distance of this photo you can see one of the para gliders.


I enjoy hiking, but view it mostly as exercise. Yesterday was a great reminder of all the beauty there is too see on my way to the top. Take that however you want, literal, or figurative. I also find that having kids with me on the hike I want to find beautiful things to show them, so that they will remain interested. I feel that they truly balance the experience for me.


What fun have you had in the great outdoors lately? 

Annual Giving Program

We are members of our local YMCA.


This membership has only been made possible for us thanks to their open doors scholarship program which I blogged about before.


Today I was approached by one of their great employees, who informed me that our local East County YMCA is currently looking for individuals to make an impact, and a difference by giving. Patricia Madison works with my kids when S or I go to the gym. She is with them frequently while they are in child watch. They like her, and have lot’s of fun together. So when she told me about her goal I wanted to do what I can to help.


Patricia has set a goal to raise $575 to support low income families in their use of the YMCA. Today she has already raised $176 and is 30% of the way there. This is where you come in. I am asking you to help. I am asking you to donate $1. That is all, no need to go crazy just $1. There aren’t any fee’s through their site, so your $1 will go directly toward helping family’s like ours afford services at the YMCA.


I can attest that their scholarship program has made a difference for our family. Through their classes, here and here, and their free events here and here. Realistically these are just the few times that I decided to write about the benefits we have received. That is not including all those days that I went to the gym just to get a break from my kids.


I have already made my donation today, and I am asking you to also. When you head over to her donation page here if you feel like listing The Gemini Mama as your “company” so that she will know how you found out about it, you can, but don’t feel that you must. It is not about recognition, it’s about helping.


PS every $1 counts. I know, first hand.


This is in no way sponsored post. No one asked me to write about this, I chose to do this on my own because I also want to help.

The Nutcracker 2013



Every family has their own set of holiday traditions, and I plan to fill you in on some of ours a little later this week. One thing that we started last year was going to the Nutcracker Ballet.


K1, a friend and myself, have gone together the last two years. And plan to continue this ladies tradition for years to come.


Last year K1 was 2.5 and I felt that she was old enough to sit through the performance. I knew she would love it, because she has always been drawn to dancing. Sitting still and staying is another story. I planned ahead and snuck in snacks. While she had her own seat we passed her back and forth between us. She made it through the whole ballet. During the intermission I did everything I could to get her to run, run, run in those short 15 minutes. Just to burn as much energy as possible. I also found myself walking the aisles until the minute the dancing started, just so she had to sit for the shortest amount of time possible.


I knew all of those things would not be necessary this year. It’s crazy how much our kids change in just one year. I love how accommodating The San Diego Civic Youth Ballet seems to be. Last year another mom suggested this particular ballet because they didn’t mind her kids dancing in the aisles. When we arrived last year, that is basically what the attendants told me without my asking. They just saw my tiny one and knew. I appreciated the reassurance, especially when you see everyone dressed all fancy.


I don’t exactly know why I thought this year would be completely easy breezy, but I was wrong. It was still a challenge, just a different challenge.


Naturally all photography is with my camera phone, because photography during the ballet is not allowed.


This year my 3.5 year old did well, but ……. isn’t there always a but with kids? She convinced herself that the Nutcracker himself was scary before the lights even went down to start the show. She wanted to leave when all we were doing was sitting in our seats. I toughed through her shrieks because I knew she was going to love it, just like last year. It’s a good thing mommy’s know better than their little counterparts, because as soon as little girls in pretty dresses started prancing across the stage she was sucked in.


No that was not the end of our struggle. I didn’t expect that she would want a constant commentary, or that she would have one to share.


“Mommy, what’s that girls name? There are 5 mice up there! Mommy there are 10 little girls, I want to count them, what’s that guys name?” And so on, throughout the entire ballet.


Then the sugar. Oops! I told her she could have a snack at the break, and mostly let her pick whatever she wanted. Fruit snacks, and grape juice, oh my. She didn’t drink all the juice, but did eat all the sugar fruit snacks. That made her just a little bit more crazy in the second half. I should also add that we went to a 7 PM showing and the time of day could also have effected her some. The good news is that the second half moves the fastest and is the loudest.


Either way it was till a good time. My friend and I talk about the day we might get to go to the grown up ballet, but after yesterday I realize that is still quite a few years away.


I also decided yesterday that I need a nutcracker box. Like just a box decorated to somehow resemble the Nutcracker ballet. I want to save the tickets and programs from each year. Yes at some point it might just become trash, but it would be sweet to save them for K1. I also want to put her nutcracker ornaments in there. I figure there are enough characters in the Nutcracker that a new ornament each year could be possible for a very very long time. Then one day it will be one cute box that she will take with her …… not anytime soon of course, filled with memories.


The civic youth ballet is a non profit, so aside from ticket sales, snack and gift purchases they rely on donations to support their program. I knew that this year and that is why I planned to buy snacks there, when I could have brought them with me. That is also the reason I decided to let K1 pick out an ornament there. We won’t get on there every year, but for now, to support their program we will.


Naturally she HAD to have the pink ballerina. She had a choice between two poses and settled on the one in the picture. All in all we had a great time and I love this tradition.


Anyone know any great guy things to do for the holidays? (Boys need traditions too)

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