My family's all-time favorite movie is now on Netflix Streaming

In my home, we are faithful Netflix watchers.

Yes, we have cable and a DVR but sometimes my husband goes Old Testament on us all and he cuts the wires. No, literally -- he cuts the cables for the cable. It's usually because my kids aren't doing their schoolwork or because my daughter has morphed into the fat family cat, lounging on the sofa watching her favorite Disney shows every chance she gets.

He gets a wild hair and he just




So, we survive on Netflix.

Recently, my family rejoiced because one of our all-time favorite movies popped up on streaming this October. Oh em gee it's just the best movie ever. It has it all -- humor, music, dancing, gut-wrenching conflict, two villains, action, a glorious love story and...claymation chickens.

Yes, I said chickens. Chicken Run!

Chicken Run has been a family fave since it was in theaters back in 2000.  Wow. I only had three children back then! That is so crazy.

We've seen it so many times that we can spout off quotes from the movie at any given moment.

My whole life flashed before my eyes. It was really boring.

Eggs from Heaven!
No -- from her bum!

I don't want to be a pie -- I don't like gravy.

Mr. Tweety, the chickens are not organized.

I can do this all day, guys.

Needless to say, our excitement was kind of ridiculous. We all sat down to watch it. Yep -- still hilarious. It's been on constant repeat ever since we discovered it was on Netflix streaming.

Can't wait to see what other titles are going to pop up.

What is one of your family's all-time favorite movies?

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post as part of the Netflix Stream Team. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.


On sale: Dia de los Muertos Craft Mystery Boxes

Guys, I have so much Dia de los Muertos stuff that my office is packed to the gills.

I'd love to share some of my craft stash with you! And I'm totally going to, in the form of these fun Dia de los Muertos Craft Mystery Boxes.

What are mystery boxes, you ask?

A USPS medium flat rate shipping box that I fill with all of my crafty goodness -- custom candles, skull garlands, scarves, iron-on appliques, Loteria-themed items and a bunch of my craft tools/supplies! You may even see some of the diy projects I've featured on this blog. Whatever I can stuff in that box, I will.

No two mystery boxes will be alike and you can't guarantee exactly what will be in the mystery box you purchase -- that's the fun part about it.

It's a mystery, ya'll.

Head over to my Pearmama Etsy store and order your mystery box before they are gone!


My grandmother's hands

My Nana as a young girl, a young woman and as a young wife.
My little brown Nana from East L.A turned 86 years young last July.

As I think back on this lovely woman, scenes from my childhood flow through my mind.

Riding shotgun in her blue Pinto as she drove to the bank in Lincoln Heights. I would stare at the Chicano Time Trip mural by Los Dos Streetscapers (Paul Botello and Wayne Healy) on the walls of the East West Bank the entire time.

Image source: Flickr / Marisa Osollo Montellano 

All of those summers and weekends and holidays in East L.A definitely shaped who I am as an artist, that I know for sure.

My Nana is woven into those early memories. My father's mother has been nothing but loving and sweet to me. I am her first grandchild. When my parents divorced back in 1981, my Nana's home in El Sereno became a safe haven for my little brother, sister and I. No matter where my father moved to and who he lived with, she always opened up her home to us and made us feel welcome.

She cooked delicious food for us (her menudo is the best). She made us comfy beds to lay in at night. She let us play in the yard while she tended to her roses in the backyard. She took us with her around town while she ran errands.  She always spoiled us at Christmas. She let me sit at her feet while she watched The Young and the Restless, All my Children and General Hospital and chain-smoked unfiltered Pall Malls. She loved my mother, even though my father was no longer married to her. That meant so much to me.

When I turned 20 and I wanted to transfer to college in L.A., she opened up her home to me once again. She loved me and accepted me as I was...rebellious, sarcastic, "free-thinking", combat boot wearing, pot smoking, painter, artist Chicana clad in black from head to toe. Some nights I would tumble in the door after a long night at a concert or a nightclub to find her peacefully crocheting a blanket or playing solitare. She never asked me what I was up to, or scolded me, or judged me -- she was always her sweet and loving self and she was happy I was home safe.

The years have passed and we've both grown older. When I became a mama, she used to call me all the time and ask me how my babies were doing. Now her memory isn't as strong. Sometimes she remembers who I am, but most of the time she doesn't. It's bittersweet but I know she has a lifetime of love and memories of me locked inside her heart and that is enough.

She recently took a nasty fall in her bathroom and broke her femur. She is such a dainty little thing, so fragile and light.

Nana is so fancy with her pink mani.


Favorite things: Halloween Time at Disneyland

There are no two carved pumpkins alike in the park.

October kicks off the Halloween and Dia de los Muertos season and one of my favorite places to visit here in good old Southern California is Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort. Since my family is lucky enough to be annual pass holders, we find ourselves at the park several times a month. If we can escape for a few hours, we let our teenagers loose and munch on a jalapeño cheese Mickey pretzel while my younger kids wait line for their favorite rides. It's a fun escape during the week.

My favorite time of year at Disneyland is happening right now -- Halloween Time! I don't know what it is...maybe it's the shift of weather, the promise of the holidays on their way, all of the fun Halloween decorations all over the park...either way, it's a spooky fun time.

Our favorite things at Disneyland during Halloween Time

All the fireworks
Disney knows how to put together a fireworks show like no other and the Hollywood Screams Fireworks Spectacular is no exception. I love to see all of the happy little faces oohing and ahhing on their parent's shoulders, all lit up by the fireworks in the sky.


Video: Make your own Sugar Skull Backpack

Now that October is upon us, I'd like to share other cool / fun / creative / Dia de los Muertos content with you from my peoples on the interwebz because I have the most talented friends and family! How can I not share?

Let's kick it off with my baby brother Boifromipanema's latest video for I Love to Create:

I totally want to make one of those backpacks now, don't you? Tulip Fabric Markers -- I'm a fan.

Thanks, brother!

Get social with Boifromipanema on YouTube | Twitter | Instagram | Vine


DIY | Crafty Chica Day of the Dead Papers 3 Ways

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! September 15 - October 15 is the time of year when we pay tribute to generations of Hispanics/Latinos that enriched our communities and country. Hispanic Heritage Month also brings with it one of my favorite things: the Crafty Chica line of craft products that you can find at a Michael's Art & Crafts end cap near you.

It's no secret that Kathy Cano-Murillo, the Crafty Chica is my crafty BFF. We forged a friendship back in 2011, when I stepped out of my box and went to one of her Crafty Chica tour stops at my local Michael's. I don't know why I was so nervous -- her and her husband Patrick were lovely people, so down to Earth and nice. We've been friends ever since.

She's been such an inspiration to me and I look forward to her product line every September!

I was super excited to come home from a recent beach trip with my family to find a red box filled with Crafty Chica goodies. My favorite thing? The Dia de los Muertos paper packs. Each pack has 20 different designs, all sized to 5.5 x 8.5 inches, ranging from oilcloth patterns to sugar skulls.


Growth: Life, love, familia & blogging

When I began blogging back in the stone ages (2006),  I was the mama to six little ones age 1, 2, 4, 6, 7 and 9. It was something I did in between dirty diapers, goldfish cracker snack breaks and teaching phonics.

I never got to take a shower longer than two and a half minutes.
I lived off of scrambled eggs and Grape Nuts cereal.
I never had my nipples bit so many times in my entire life before I breastfed all six of my kids.

Blogging was definitely a creative outlet for me. I had to put my paintbrushes and canvas on sabbatical while I was raising my babies and writing became a lifeline for me.

All of my laughter, tears, struggles and triumphs of being a mother -- I shared it on my blog.

That one time my daughter put her hand in her dirty diaper and smeared caca all over her playpen.
That one time I tried on a Spanx for the very first time.
The day my oldest child turned ten years old.
How my kids go insane every time they saw a piñata.
When I shared some of the first works of art I created since becoming a mother.
That one time I thought I was going to go crazy if I had to potty train another child I gave birth to.
When I had to have the sex talk with my 9, 10 and 12 year old.
That one time I found ants in our big tub of Ovaltine and I still let the kids drink it because the big tub of Ovaltine was really expensive.

Ahem. I mean...

The over-sharing just goes on. Storytelling became my passion. How many mothers with six kids do you know? I wanted to give insight to the life of a large family -- the good, the bad and the ugly.


The Purple Purse: Help for domestic violence survivors

Disclosure: This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Allstate Foundation® and Latina Bloggers Connect. All opinions expressed are my own.

Domestic violence. Financial abuse.

It's that big, ugly elephant in the room.

We all know someone who has been affected by domestic violence and their stories are sad, scary and sometimes tragic. They are very real. With former NFL running back Ray Rice and Janay Palmer in the news, it's about time this conversation has started. We've all seen the TMZ footage. It's absolutely shocking, watching a person strike another, especially when he drags her limp body out of the elevator. The fact that moves her like a sack of potatoes just makes it seem even more brutal.

Frankly, I think it's despicable when a man hits a woman. Also, when a woman hits a man. No one should feel like it's okay to hit the person they love because they are angry.

Growing up, I witnessed lots of domestic violence within my extended family and alcohol abuse played a big role. Within my own home, this wasn't my experience. My parents divorced when I was seven years old, but my father never put his hands on my mother. Ever. I like to think of it as some type of frequency -- the cycle of abuse is on a frequency that I just did not live on. Some people exist on that frequency and abusing others becomes this vicious cycle.


Neutrogena Selfie Teen Party: Taking care of their skin

Neutrogena Rapid Clear line.

Ever since my sons have started to navigate their teen years, I've been concerned about their skin.  I remember what puberty was like and how I felt like a leper every time my skin broke out. Thank the heavens my breakouts were mild and I survived my teen years not too worse for the wear. Still, I worry about my boys and I cringe every time I see them touch their faces with sweaty, dirty hands. Inside I'm like, noooooooo.

Now, I'm that mom, the skin care nazi.

Me: You guys should use this cleanser twice a day.
Them: Do we have to?
Me: Yes! It's important to keep your skin clean and it'll help prevent breakouts. Do you want zits, son? Here, try this astringent.
Them: Astringent?
Me: You should also exfoliate.
Them: *blank stare*

And so it goes.  I seem to chase them around with cotton pads and astringent. They don't know how good they have it -- a mama who wants to help them have healthy, clean skin. I don't remember my own mother teaching me about how to take care of my skin so over the years it's been a lot of trial and error. It doesn't have to be this way for them.

Recently, we were invited to a Neutrogena Selfie Teen Party by my amiga Rachel from The Art Muse. It was a fun evening of civilized company -- as civilized as a rowdy group of teenagers can be -- with other teens, along with some yummy snacks and some cool Neutrogena products.


Family time: Movie & pizza night

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post as part of the Netflix Stream Team. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

Friday nights were always my favorite night as a kid.

Friday nights meant my mom was home and could relax with us. It also meant we would watch my brother play high school football. It meant school dances. It meant pizza (holler if you love pizza leftovers for Saturday morning breakfast!). It also meant movie night.

Now that I'm a mama with six kids, our Friday nights are completely different. You would not believe how hard it is to wrangle eight people in one place. My teenagers have an active social life. We have soccer practice on Friday nights (seriously, who schedules soccer practice on a Friday night -- at 7 pm, no less). Also, when you have work-from-home parents, TGIF doesn't really hold the same meaning.

Still, I want to create that family relaxation time that my kids can count on. A night we where we just pile on to the sofa, eat some veggie pizza (I'm too much of an old woman to eat pepperoni anymore) and watch a movie on Netflix. What are we watching on Netflix these days? 

I'm loving the single girl mishaps of Being Mary Jane.
My son Diego is all about Doctor Who. He even went out and bought a red fez and a sonic screwdriver -- total geek status!
My son Solomon loves everything skater-related so he is all about Dogtown and Z-Boys, Bones Brigade, Lords of Dogtown and Waiting for Lightning.
My girls love Mako Mermaids.
My husband loves to watch Marley while he's working in his studio.

More ideas from Netflix:

Does your family do a pizza and movie night?

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How to: Refresh a Patio Table

It usually happens this way.

I'm sitting down relaxing outside while my girls play, observing my surroundings and minding my own business when inspiration will strike.

Ooh, that would look cool if I painted it turquoise.
I bet if we built a wall we could hang all of our wrought iron crosses.
Let's hang a million lights in our patio.

Then I jump up and start a project. But then this happens...I look up -- nowhere near being done -- and its almost midnight and my back hurts and my kids ate popcorn for dinner.

But this project isn't like that.


One year later: Reminiscing on my ALEx13 adventure

At this time last year I was still on my #ALEx13 high, so excited and uplifted by my experience at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area with my fellow Latina Blogstars and American Latino Heritage Fund. There was something about spending time on beautiful Lake Powell with its crisp blue waters and red-ringed mountains that really made me stop and reflect upon my life.

The view we woke up to every morning.
Perhaps it was the time away from the constant din of work and family that gave me some clarity. Maybe it was the red rocks in the distance that I woke up to every morning -- they made my problems feel small. Maybe it was cool, peaceful lake that refreshed my stressed out soul. Either way, I left energized, enlightened and to be honest, very eager to explore more of what our National Parks have to offer.

With every step I took I thought about my family -- my sons, my daughters, my husband -- and how much they would love to be hiking the red rocks and jumping into Lake Powell alongside their mama. Most of all I thought of how much they needed to experience this and if I could just introduce a love of nature and our national parks to them early in life, they would be hooked forever.

On the border of Arizona and Utah is the beautiful Lake Powell.

Going on the #ALEx13 trip made me realize there was another world out there, one that I had not taken the time to respect and recognize. It suddenly made me passionate about our national parks. It made me want to share my experience with my family. So far I've been able to visit the World War II Valor in the Pacific Monument in Hawaii, and it was very moving. Can't wait to visit more in the future!

Here are a few scenes from our #ALEx13 trip that I've never shared before:

Riding on Lake Powell.
Crafty Chica hiking to Rainbow Bridge National Monument with a little support from Park Ranger Cindy Stafford.

Antelope Canyon was stunning and surreal.
On the Glen Canyon Dam tour, looking out at the Carl Hayden Visitor Center.
People congregating at the base of majestic Rainbow Bridge National Monument.


Date Night | Tokyo Fried Chicken Co.

I'm one of those people who agonize over what to eat whenever I'm in L.A.

Call me a fatty if you want but there are just so many options my head spins and I get overwhelmed because I want all the foods. 

Like, in my belly. Right now.

Mongolian BBQ.
In N Out (because we got it like that).

Picking and choosing is the worst because I swear, L.A has the best food

My favorite thing is finding those little unobtrusive, hole-in-the-wall joints where the food is to die for and a total surprise. 

That's what eating at Tokyo Fried Chicken Co. was like. 


4 Cool Back-to-School Ideas | Blog Amigas

It is no surprise that I gained three life-long friends when I went on the American Latino Expedition as the #LatinaBlogstars last year. There is nothing like really getting to know someone while spending a week on a trip doing things you never thought you would ever do -- hiking up to a national monument in the hundred degree blazing sun, wearing slightly awkward camping gear and jumping off a boat into a crystal blue lake, not knowing how deep it is. Along with Monique Frausto, Nicole Presley and Kathy Cano-Murillo, we laughed, we cried and we built a life-long friendship based on our experience together.

To me, that is the best part of it all.

Ever since we returned from the majestic beauty of Glen Canyon, we've been continually drawn to one another in our creative businesses, family, blogging and life. I love that I have friends who are on their grind -- creating, writing, making delicious food and living life to the fullest. They make me want to do better. I suddenly don't feel so isolated in this blogging world because I know there are real, genuine people behind the computer and the dot coms. And I can bounce any ideas off of these three lovely ladies and I know they'll give it to me straight.

After a day of filming at YouTube Space LA.


Back-to-school style: Braid Updo + DIY Oilcloth Barrettes

Disclosure: This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with JOHNSON’S® NO MORE TANGLES® and Latina Bloggers Connect. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

When I was a little girl, I used to have major battles with my mom about my hair. Every morning I would hop on a stool and hold on for dear life as she tried to comb out my knots -- I always had a ton -- and after parting my hair down the middle, she created two of the tightest ponytails you ever saw on a little girl. Sometimes she made two French braids. Other times, I had Princess Leia buns. You get the idea -- my hair was always on lock down. I was not allowed to let my hair be "free" until I was in middle school.

To this day, my mom still orders me to "put your hair up or something!"

But since I am a grown woman now, I reserve the right to say, "No, I don't want to wear my hair up, thank you very much." As you probably guessed, hair rituals have always been a big deal for me.

Now that I'm a mom to two young girls, karma is a funny thing. I find myself constantly asking them: are you going to do something with your hair, Miss Thang?

My youngest daughter Xiomara was blessed with a head full of thick, straight hair. She's been great at learning how to comb and style her own hair (she's 8), but I noticed she wasn't washing her hair properly and her hair looked a little dull and dry. After some gentle coaching, she does a great job washing and conditioning her hair. I've also taught her apply a creamy leave-in conditioner from the new JOHNSON’S No More Tangles® line. The extra moisturizing helps release all of the snarls and tangles and leaves it silky and smelling divine.

We liked the JOHNSON’S No More Tangles® Shampoo & Conditioner for thick/curly hair.
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