Family Travel with Colleen Kelly – Los Angeles

Yvonne and boys for Family Travel with Colleen Kelly

Back in May, my boys and I taped part of an episode of the PBS Show “Family Travel with Colleen Kelly. ” We took a tour of the La Brea Tar Pits, learned a lot about prehistoric Los Angeles, and chatted with Colleen.

Our episode also included the Sprinkles cupcake ATM, The Farmer’s Market, The Getty Museum, and Olvera Street. The episode aired on December 30, 2013 on PBS station across the country. Here’s the video.


Dia de los Muertos Elementary School Craft

Dia de los Muertos project for the classroom (photo by Yvonne Condes)

It’s been a long week her at Casa de Condes. I was so inspired by doing Crafty Chica’s project at the Abuelita and Nescafe’s Dia de los Muertos event that I decided to make my own sugar skulls. (Not familiar with Dia de los Muertos? Read more here) My son’s second grade class was having a Halloween party so I volunteered to make  skulls for the class and have the kids decorate them. Then I volunteered for my other son’s 4th grade class. That’s 58 skulls plus some for us to decorate plus some extra in case I dropped them (that only happened once)!

This was a bigger undertaking than I had anticipated. I ordered the skull mold from weeks ahead and bought all of the ingredients including the book . Then of course I left making them, for the first time ever mind you, until the last minute.

I started with the recipe from Mexican Sugar Skulls, which was  10 pounds of sugar, a half cup of Meringue, and 7 tablespoons of water.


Then I mixed it by hand until it felt like sand.

sugar for skulls

I packed them one by one (my boys helped, too, and did a great job!) into the mold and placed them on individual pieces of cardboard.


They needed 7 to 8 hours to dry, but I gave up our dining room table for a day and left them for 24 hours. I thought it would be fun for the boys to make their own altars, but I didn’t get around to ordering them or carving them from a block of wood so I asked my handy husband to make them out of cardboard. They came out perfect.

altars before being painted

My boys had a fun time paining their altars.

Boys' Altars

Altars for Dia de los Muertos include offerings, like Pan de Muertos, and also marigolds, which are the symbol of death. I looked everywhere (I was looking for paper flowers actually) and was thrilled when I eventually found these at Trader Joe’s of all places.

Marigolds for Muertos

After getting everything ready for the altars for the class projects, I thought I was on to the easiest part, the icing. Not so! I made the icing out of powdered sugar, meringue powder, and water. The icing had to be beaten in a mixer for 9 minutes and then separated into 6 cups. I then and added different gel colorings to each cup. I mixed them by hand and put them in individual disposable decorating bags. It wasn’t enough for both classes so I did it again and made six more.

Mixing Royal Icing

Once the icing was ready, the boys and I decorated our sugar skulls. Here’s mine.

Muertos Skull (photo by Yvonne Condes)

Halloween finally arrived and my 2nd grader and I set up the altar with our offerings and a story book about Dia de los Muertos.

Muertos Altar

It was a big hit with the kids who seemed to really enjoy decorating their skulls. It was a lot of work, but worth it. It was fun spending the time with my boys getting everything ready plus they learned a lot about our culture. Next time, though, I think I’ll stick to making a dozen skulls, tops.

Interviews of Amy Poehler, Owen Wilson, and Woody Harrelson on

Yvonne Condes, Owen Wilson, Jimmy Hayward, Woody Harrelson

The animated movie Free Birds comes out on Friday and because of that I was able to do a roundtable interview with Amy Poehler and another with Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson for My post, Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson Reveal What Kind of Dads They Are, was on the site Monday and the interview with Amy Poehler came out last week. I’ll include a link to my review on MomsLA when it’s posted. They were all hilarious and had interesting thoughts about parenting.

Before the interview with Owen and Woody, we were able to get a picture with them and the director Jimmy Hayward. I was next to Owen Wilson and I asked if I could squeeze in. He said sure and put his hand on my waste. In this picture I’m bent all the way over to the left to make that side of my waste wasn’t spilling over my jeans. So glamorous.

Yvonne Condes, Owen Wilson, Jimmy Hayward, Woody HarrelsonThe next day I took my husband and boys with me to the premiere of Free Birds in Westwood. Here are a few pics from the afternoon.

Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson at Free Birds premiere

Turkey Cookie at Free Birds Premiere
Cupcakes are Freebirds Premiere

Go Dodgers! Wordless Wednesday

boys running bases (photo by Yvonne Condes)

Okay, the Dodgers aren’t really the subject of our Wordless Wednesday this week. It was actually “hot boy” but since the Dodgers are in the playoffs, I thought this title would be more timely. Plus, this picture was taken on a very hot day two years ago during a blogger day with the Dodgers. Those are my boys running the bases after the game.

Under the Mexican Sky at LACMA

Under The Mexican Sky

Under the Mexican Sky: Gabriel Figueroa – Art and Film opened at LACMA last month and the show is amazing. I was lucky enough to attend the preview of the show with my friend who is a Chicano Studies professor. Many of the books and images on display are ones that she teaches in her courses.


Figueroa was a sought-after Mexican cinematographer who was nominated for an academy award for his work on Night of the Iguana starring Richard Burton. He was referred to as the “Fourth Muralist” for his visual work alongside Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orosco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros.


The exhibition includes film clips, photographs, movie posters, and documents.

Movie Posters



The exhibit is wonderful and a must for anyone interested in film and Mexican and Mexican-American history. It runs through the end February 2, 2014

Alyssa Milano's "Sex Tape," The Cost of Childcare, and Telling Kids to Suck It Up


I wanted to share a couple of posts that I’ve had on different sites recently.


Running 1,000 Miles

View From My Room
The view from a recent run
The view from a recent run

In 2006 I started training for the LA Marathon for the first time. It was huge for me. My second son was a year old and I wanted to get back in shape. Running took over my life. I joined the LA Roadrunners and trained for 7 months. My husband was so impressed with my dedication that he got me an engraved iPod with Nike+, the running program that tracks miles.

I’ve used Nike+ ever since. Now it’s on my iphone and I have a Nike+ GPS watch. I recently realized that I was close to 1,000 miles on Nike+. 1,000 miles. That is a lot of running. But it was running over 7 years and it didn’t count the two marathons I’ve done (Nike+ can suck down the battery on the iPod and iPhone so I didn’t use it those two times). Still, I was pretty blown away by the idea of 1,000 miles and decided that I had to get to 1,000 before the end of August. That meant I had to run 25 miles in less than 2 weeks. No problem!

I started out determined and strong. My first run was 6.4 miles with a friend. Followed by a 4 mile run and then a 3 miles. I had 12 miles to go. I could see the finish line. My boys asked me if I was going to get a prize at the end or if something would happen. Nope. Just me and knowing that I had done it.

Then we went to the beach. I was walking on the sand and stepped on something and it stung me. It could have been a baby sea urchin, but I’m not sure. It looked like a spider with a thousand spiky legs. Whatever it was, it stung like crazy. My foot was fine by the end of the day and I didn’t think anything of it when I went running the next day. But the end of that night my foot was giant and the stung area was red. It was all I could do not to run on it. It didn’t hurt. But then I remembered that we were going to Disneyland for my son’s birthday and I should let my foot get down to normal size before running. It was what a responsible adult would do and against my natural instincts, but I stayed off of my foot so we could have a nice day in Disneyland.

August 31st came and went and although I ran 6 more miles that day (in 85ish degree heat), I didn’t reach my goal. The fake goal that I’ve actually already reached. I know it’s silly, but what would we do without goals?

MomsLA on KCAL9

Yvonne Condes Sarah Auerswald

Sarah and I were on KCAL 9 yesterday doing a cooking demo for Crazy Cuizine. We shared how to make a family dinner for 4 in 18-minutes or less. We cooked orange chicken and broccoli with red, yellow, and orange peppers live in the CBS Studio. We had a great time and were amazing by how quickly the segment went by.

You can watch it here.

NPR and CBSLos Angeles

This week has been very exciting. I was interviewed for a piece on NPR called In Many Families, Exercise is by Appointment Only. NPR Reporter Patti Neighmond and photographer David Gilkey spent the day with me, my boys and a couple of their friends as we drove from basketball practice to baseball practice. The piece was very well done. I felt it was an accurate depiction of our lives because I spent most of the time in the car telling the boys to stop it.

Also exciting, CBS Los Angeles interviewed my partner, Sarah Auerswald, and I for a piece about Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to ban telecommuting for employees at the company. We both thought that was a bad idea. Here’s the interview.


Photo Friday; Tar & Roses in Santa Monica

Whole Fried Snapper for 2 at Tar & Roses

I haven’t posted anything here in quite a while because most of my content is going to But I’m going to change that. I’m starting with Photo Friday.

Whole Fried Snapper for 2 at Tar & Roses


This picture was taken at Tar & Roses in Santa Monica last weekend. My husband and I had a date night and I have been dying to try this restaurant. Our meal was fantastic and it was so worth waiting months for a date night to have it. The fish above was a Whole Fried Snapper for 2 with cold soba noodles and chili dipping sauce. We also had baby broccoli with parmesan pudding and king trumpet mushrooms with a soft egg and chili de arbol. Amazing.