Monday, December 10, 2018

Weekend Getaway with Courtyard by Marriott

December is my daughter's birthday month.  Every year, we love surprising her and making her feel special.  As she is getting older it is getting harder and harder to compete with electronics and technology.  One of our favorite things to do is family getaways.  This helps us get away from our normal day to day and refresh from the routines and schedules.  Who doesn't need an escape?

Thanks to the Courtyard by Marriott for hosting our family over the weekend.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

To escape means to break free!  Isn't that what the weekend is all about?  Breaking free from the norm.  Sometimes you just need to get away.  Away from all of it.  The chores, cleaning, and chaos.  I know I love to leave it all behind, even if just for the weekend.  This time of year can be pretty hectic but isn't that the excuse we give ourselves all year long.  We make excuses to enjoy our lives the way they are meant to be.  All work and no play is not good for our minds, bodies, or souls.  Everyone needs refreshers.  You know what they say, "A family that unwinds together, stays together!"

Getaways are always fun.  Finding a place with all the comforts of home, that's roomie, and has all the amenities may be a little more of a challenge.  Challenge because with a family, you have to make everyone happy.  There are five things that are important to me when planning a great weekend getaway for my family.

1)  Comforts of Home-Traveling with kids can be hard.  I never want to be in a place where they are not comfortable or where we feel they can't touch anything.  Their stay should be as enjoyable as ours.  My daughter found her little spot and felt right at home, nice and comfy.

2)  Space-Kids are always dealing with finding their own space.  At home, everyone has their own space.  It should not be different when you go away.  With kids, times can get very trying.  Space is important.   

3)  Food-I know I get cranky when I am hungry.  Imagine a kid.  Getaways are about turning off the alarms and sleeping in.  Well, try to tell that to your hungry kid in the morning.  The best thing other than having two televisions in one room is being able to have breakfast available.  No matter how you like your breakfast.  No long lines, they make it how you like it, and you can even be a little carefree and do breakfast in bed!  Be that cool parent. 

4)  Pool-My daughter's requirements to any place we stay includes a pool.  Our smart girl is too smart for us because she specifically asks for an indoor pool.  Even when the weather does not cooperate, whether it is rain or the cold, the pool is a place where the entire family can have fun.  Always call ahead, check to make sure it is open and available.

 5)  Shuttles-After a long or even a short road trip who wants to continue to be the driver.  Leave the driving for someone else.  A complimentary shuttle can be great when packing the kids to your fun getaway.  No need to call an Uber or Lyft for a ride.   And the littles will be happy to see where the adventure continues!

Our stay at the Courtyard Marriott SeaWorld/Westover Hills was so comfortable that we did not want to leave.  After a scary drive in really bad weather from Houston to San Antonio, we were glad to be in a place where we felt at home.  We did not even want to leave our room.  Glad we were able to grab some food from Bistro with no need to leave the hotel.  We even enjoyed some warm Starbucks while watching movies.  It was the perfect getaway we needed!   

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Holiday Parties Made Simple with Punchbowl

This time of year can be chaotic.  December came so fast for me this year.  I usually am on top of my game.  Party planning is my jam.  I start planning my daughter's birthday party a year in advance.  And this year, I have yet to send out a single invitation.  Am I too late?

Disclosure-This is a compensated post.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Nothing gives me more anxiety than running out of time.  I rather not throw a party, then not plan it correctly.  A party starts with an invitation.  You really cannot have a party without guests?  So before I start hyperventilating because this party is not planned, I need to get some invitations in the mail.  I do not have time for that though.  What I do have time for is, creating something on my phone and hitting the send button!

Where do I start?  logging on or downloading Punchbowl ® app

With so little time on my hands, the app works for me.  I can work on the invitation and it is at the reach of my hands.  I can search by theme, category, girl birthday, etc... 

There are so many of my daughter's favorite characters.  It was hard to choose one theme.  It is easy to play around with invitations and saving drafts to come back to.  

With a birthday so close to Christmas, we have decided on a Christmas theme this year versus her usual.  We are really into the holiday spirit.  We have a few favorites chosen but I think we may have a winner!  What do you think?

Now, that was easy!  Punchbowl ® is the gold standard in online invitations.  These invitations combine the look and feel of paper with the convenience of digital that can be delivered by text message, email or social media.  It is a simple, easy way to plan any unforgettable celebration.  Customizing the invite in minutes, delivers instantly, and trackable RSVPs, what else can a party planner ask for?  

Now let the party planning begin!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Stocking Stuffer Giveaway-Teen Titans Go! To The Movies

December is pretty special for us.  It is not only our favorite time of the year, Christmas, but also because our daughter was born on December 22nd.  Our daughter has been a gift to our family.  We are so blessed to be her parents.  She brings us so much joy and can make us smile when we really need it.  We want to share some of Lil Bit's favorites which will make perfect stocking stuffers.

Sponsored giveaway-Sample product was received.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

My daughter loves Teen Titans Go!  You can catch her watching every episode.  She waited for this movie to hit the theaters and enjoyed it!  

SYNOPSIS - It seems like all the superheroes are getting their own movies – everyone but the Teen Titans, that is!  Determined to be a star, Robin vows to change this.  If only they could get Hollywood director Jade Wilson (Kristen Bell) to notice them!  With a few madcap ideas and musical numbers (of course), the Teen Titans head to Tinsel Town.  But when Supervillain Slade (Will Arnett) messes
with their plans, the Teen Titans will have to become true superheroes to save the world!


“Teen Titans GO! to the Movies” Blu-ray Combo Pack contains the following special
 Lil Yachty Music Video: “Teen Titans GO! Rap”
 Sing-a-long with Silkie “DC Super Hero Girls: The Late Batsby” Mini-Movie
 Red Carpet Mayhem
 Teen Titans GO! To the Movies: WB Lot Shenanigans
 “Everything is Fake”: Exclusive song not in the movie
 “Teen Titans GO!: Translated”
 Storyboard Animatics:
o Storyboard Animatics: Time Cycles
o The Final Battle

I know I got you at the sing-alongs!  

Now to the giveaway.  Enter below:

1)  Leave a comment on your favorite character and why? (1 entry)
2)  Share this giveaway on any social channel. (1 entry/per share-come back and leave a link to your share in a comment)
3)  Leave a comment on any non-giveaway post. (1 entry/per comment)

Giveaway ends on 12/7/2018.  Open to US only.  The winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize.  Sponsor will handle fulfillment of prize.  Good luck! 

Monday, November 26, 2018

Climbing My Mountain

What does Miley's song say?  It's a climb!  I was fortunate enough to be able to take a trip to see my son who is stationed in California this past October.  What I did not know was that I was going to have a lot of time to myself.  I was able to take a breather from everyday life.  And since I was in beautiful sunny California, why not explore?   

This year has brought a lot with it.  My year of Finding Forty has been by far the most emotional year.  It is not until I stopped to reflect, that I was able to face it head on.  My adventure started with me needed to fill my morning with something to do.  I love to be outdoors and seeing all of God's beauty.  I also love to challenge myself, something I have not been doing lately.  This time I did not have a schedule or routine to keep.  I was able to do things on the fly.  This mami does not do things on the fly.  I am a planner, scheduler, and organizer.  In my life everything has to have a purpose and fall into place.  This is how I can have control.  But there are things I cannot control and that is so scary.  Those have been the most scariest things I have to admit to.  Me not in control. 

Climbing Cowles Mountain was something to do that morning.  What I did not know was that it was what my soul needed.  I did not just sweat my way to the top, there were a few tears shed.  Not just because I did not realize what I got myself into, I sometimes under estimate things.  This 1,593 foot climb to the highest peak of San Diego will go down on my list.  Like when you are struggling and someone asks, "You ok?"   

Thumbs up, yeah!  Me?  Just fine.  I came prepared with water, cap, sunglasses, a jacket, etc.  But just like in life, it does not matter how prepared you think you are.  I was not ready.  I doubted myself and my ability plenty of times.  I had to keep telling myself that I was not a quitter.  I think the scary part was that I was alone.  But I really was not.  There were plenty of people on the trail with me, doing the climb.  And yet, I felt alone.  I was texting my husband and keeping him posted on my status.  And yet, I was alone. 

Have you ever felt alone?  I have.  On this climb and in life.  I started out strong with a good pace.  I knew I had my asthma pumps with me, just in case.  I also told myself to take breaks as needed and rest in shady areas when I would find them.  I did.  I even let people pass me up.  I did not want to hold anyone back.  I never do.  I like to help others overcome, move forward, and accomplish their goals.  I give advice and yet I forget to take my own.  Every step I took, I let more and more go.  The weight on my shoulders was getting lighter and lighter.  As I reach every mile marker, it seemed as it was a reflecting of each stage of my life. 

I have lived a great life.  I have accomplished many things I set out to do.  I have overcome.  My bullheadedness to not fail has been my motivator to keep rising.  The point is not to stop.  My fears were taken by the wind.  My eyes refocused.  And me, well I am still climbing. 

When I thought I had no more fuel, I saw the top.  I reached the top of Cowles Mountain.  It was beautiful.  I sight to see, to enjoy, and to just - sit and be still.  I did it.  It wanted to shout once I got to the top.  I actually almost fell to my knees with thankfulness.  Once I took it all in and recovered, I had something come over me.  I jogged my way down.  I was super careful around the corners, got stuck behind a slow person, and then when I had the opportunity, I bolted for the bottom. 

In life, there will always be more mountains to climb.  You are not alone.  It is your climb.  However you choose to climb it.  You choose the mountain.  Whatever mile marker you are on, face it head on!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Stocking Stuffer-Hello Kitty: Let's Learn Together

Where are my Hello Kitty fans?  I can remember being a fan from early on in my childhood.  My daughter was introduced to Hello Kitty and immediately became a fan.  She even wants this to be her theme for her birthday this year.

Disclosure-Sample product was received for review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Hello Kitty is a fictional cartoon character that every little girl recognizes by her cute bow.  She has been around since before I was born.  And she continues to bring smiles to little girls all over then world not just in Japan.

Sentai KIDS label introduces Hello Kitty to a new generation of fans with two DVD collections-Hello Kitty: Let's Learn Together.  Each DVD collection features over an hour of educational, engaging entertainment content geared toward preschool learners.  The series explores numbers, shapes, animals and other age-appropriate concepts like good manners and making friends, all with the engaging antics of Hello Kitty and her friends: Mimi, Amy, Eric, and Harry.

Collection 1-Hello Kitty and her twin sister Mimmy love to explore and learn new things, and learning becomes even more fun when you have someone to share it with. So you can imagine how excited Kitty is when she learns that her family has new neighbors, the Berry family, who also have a set of twins, Amy and Eric! And they're the same age as Kitty and Mimmy! Plus, Amy and Eric also have another brother named Harry, who is really smart! That's three new friends to go out and have adventures with! Whether they're learning to tell time, fold origami or just help around the house, there's always something new to discover.

Collection 2-Hello Kitty loves learning new things, and now that Kitty and her twin sister Mimmy have three new friends, it seems like there's never enough time for all the adventures they could have. But that doesn't mean that they're not going to try! From experimenting with shapes and learning to take care of flowers, to studying dance and the rules for visiting other people's houses, it's all very educational and exciting. If you want to have lots of fun and discover new and amazing things, come join Kitty, Mimmy and the three Berry children, Amy, Eric, and Harry, and share the friendship and wonder as they explore the world around them.

For more information, visit