You all know the heartwarming story of LA’s brave mom Jackie MacDougall from The Silver Whining blog. (And if you don’t, you really should visit her blog, which was one of our top LA Mommy Blog picks.) Here, Jackie tells her family favorites and shares Los Angeles’ hottest family spots with Red Tricycle moms.

What is your favorite family ritual?
Pizza/family movie night! Every week, we pick a film the kids haven’t seen, often a classic (ET, Willie Wonka, Benji, etc.). After a hectic week, it’s our time to completely shut out the rest of the world — no laptops, phones or video games allowed! And when the movie’s over… my husband and I often end up sharing our own childhood stories with the kids.

Where do you like to catch a bite with the little one in tow?
Given our kids are 6, 5 and 4, we don’t often head out for meals. But when we do, we’re always on the hunt for a menu that helps kids branch out in a fun, healthful way.

Describe a perfect Sunday with your family.
Sunday is the only day we don’t have to be on a schedule or out the door early. We take the morning to sip coffee, let the kids just “be,” and decide what we’re going to do with the day. Sometimes, that includes an “adventure” somewhere in the LA area… but sometimes, it just means enjoying each other and making a pact to embrace the day.

What is your favorite pearl of wisdom for a frazzled new mom to find her happiness?
Stop trying to achieve perfection. Who are you killing yourself to impress? Babies need simple things — food, shelter, love. Forget what everyone else is doing and treat yourself the way you would treat your best friend. You have enough going on — adding your own expectations and pressure on top of that isn’t helping anyone.

What are your family’s favorite venues for catching live musical performances?
Outside venues are the best. We love grabbing a blanket, picnic and listening to music under the stars. It allows the kids to get the bugs out and reminds us that it’s important to re-connect with our pre-kid grownup.

What’s your favorite local vacation or day trips?
We love going to Ventura over the summer. I swear renting one of those little boats for an hour and getting away from it all is a perfect, inexpensive way to get in touch with peace and recharge your batteries — sometimes it just takes that 60 minutes! And when the crowds start to die down in the late afternoon, that’s when we’ll hit the beach. Playing and watching the sunset is a perfect way to end the day.