Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tasty Tuesday-Ambrosia Salad

Every holiday, families make yummy food to share.  People slave over the stoves and ovens for that meal.  One of my favorite traditions is making fruit salad.  This is what I contribute to our meal.  It is the one thing that I can do.  My mom is the one who gave me the recipe.  The funny thing is that every year, I always forget the ingredients and have to call my mom.  Yes, I am in the middle of the aisles, fighting people for the last of the ingredients, and I don't even know if I need what I have in my hand.  But I really do know, it is just part of my process.  So today I am sharing my recipe.

Here are the ingredients you will need:
-red apples
-fruit cocktail
-cool whip
-coconut flakes
-diced walnuts
-condensed milk <- -="" evaporated="" for="" i="" ingredients="" is="" milk.="" mistaken="" nbsp="" normally="" p="" the="" this="">
So the recipe depends on how many people you are serving.  I always make it for the entire family which is at least 12 families.

I use a big tub of the cool whip or you can do 2 small containers.  I normally buy 4 cans of the fruit but this time I went to Sam's and got the big can.  I did 10 small red apples.  I bought 2 cans of the condensed milk but actually only needed 1.  The coconut flakes and walnuts came in the large bags.  They did not have any smaller bags.  You can measure out to your desire of wing it like I always do.  This time I added about half a package of each.  You will need a large bowl, and a big spoon.
Wash and dice your apples.  Add to bowl.
Open can of fruit cocktail.  Drain as much of the juice.  Add to bowl.
Open can of condensed milk.  I added half the can to the bowl.
Then I added the coconut and walnuts to the bowl.  Next you will want to add the cool whip.  I let the cool whip sit out since it was frozen for about 5 minutes before I started prepping.  It will be perfect when you are ready to add to the bowl.  I stir in a spoonful first and start to mix all the ingredients.  Then I add in a spoonful at a time, so not to make a big mess when hand mixing.  Taste it and see if you want to add for condensed milk.  It will make it sweeter.  Sweeten to your liking.  I add the other half of the can when I am mixing the cool whip in. 

Freeze until you are ready to serve.  We normally take it out of the freezer and put it in the refrigerator.  This is a family favorite.  You can leave in the bowl and let everyone serve themselves their own portion in small cups or bowls. 

Some people add marshmallows or more cherries, but this is how my family likes it. 
For those that have nut allergy, I normally make a separate batch and keep it in the actual cool whip container.  This way we won't get them mixed up and no one will have an allergic reaction.

Have you ever made this salad or a version of this salad?  Any tips?

Friday, December 25, 2015

Flick Friday-Concussion

***Disclosure-My son and I attended an advance screening.  All opinions stated are my own based on my own personal experience.

Will Smith stars in Concussion, a thriller based on the incredible true David vs. Goliath story of American immigrant Dr. Bennet Omalu, the brilliant forensic neuropathologist who made the first discovery of CTE, a football-related brain trauma, in a pro player and fought for the truth to be known.  Omalu’s emotional quest puts him at dangerous odds with one of the most powerful – and beloved – institutions in the world.
Football is part of most of America.  Whether you watch or your kids play, you are a part of it.  When I was in school, I performed at football games.  That is when I started to love the sport.  It has been a part of my life.  When my son got of age to start playing football, I let him play flag football.  Even though they were not suppose hit, tackle, or get hurt, I was always scared for my son.  But every Sunday, we are glued to the TV to watch our favorite team.

My son and I headed to watch this movie.  I asked him if he knew what it was about.  He said he did.  He had wanted to see it.  I like watching true story with him.  I like for him to see other people's stories.  After the movie, we even googled Dr. Omalu. 

This was a great, inspiring movie.  It was really good.  We never know what goes on behind the scenes.  I got to give it to Will, he did Dr Omalu justice in his portrayal of his life.

In theaters today. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Flick Friday-Alvin and The Chipmunks The Road Chip

***Disclosure-My family and I were invited to an advanced screening for review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

The boys are back and of course, up to no good!  Alvin!!!!!!!!!
Through a series of misunderstandings, Alvin, Simon and Theodore come to believe that Dave is going to propose to his new girlfriend in New York City…and dump them.  They have three days to get to him and stop the proposal, saving themselves not only from losing Dave but possibly from gaining a terrible stepbrother. 

I am a firm believer of things happening for a reason.  My husband and I both liked the storyline.  We all enjoyed the movie.  We laughed so hard the entire time.  The music is always fun..  No spoilers here but our favorite scene is a performance scene.  Them chipmunks can entertain.  We recommend it for the entire family, all ages.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide 2015-GoPicnic Holiday Gift Box

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

 Are you still looking for a great gift idea for friends or family?   
How about a gourmet food basket?  How about a gift basket full of healthy goodies as a family gift?   

GoPicnic, is a ready-to-eat meal solution that is pre-packaged, requires no refrigeration or preparation. 

I first tried GoPicnic at a conference.  It was an easy, on the go meal that allowed us to grab and go.  
 Everything you need to fuel you.  Hardy and filling every time.  Plus the entire family will approve!
And now they are introducing The GoPicnic Holiday Gift Box. With over 60 meals, snacks, and sweet treats, The GoPicnic Holiday Gift Box is the ultimate holiday gift.

The GoPicnic Holiday Gift Box includes:

· 3 Turkey Slices & Cheddar Meals

· 3 Salami & Cheese Meals

· 3 Creamy Cinnamon Spread Breakfasts

· 3 Honey Turkey Stick Breakfasts

· 10 Cashew Medley Fruit and Nut Packs

· 10 Chocolate Pillows

· 10 Baja Blend Fruit and Nut Mix Packs

· 10 Zeppelin Lollipops

· 10 Jelly Jets Packs

Each item is individually wrapped, has a long shelf life, and is healthy.  They are available in Gluten-free, Non-GMO, Kosher, Vegan, and Vegetarian.

Holiday shoppers can purchase the gift box or buy individual GoPicnic items as stocking stuffers at Target or online at and

You can use the code, HOLIDAYBOX to get free shipping.

Monday, December 14, 2015

New Driver-Car Tips

***Disclosure-I was allowed to test drive the new 2016 Scion tC for a week.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

As a new driver, what did you learn about your car?  I remember not learning anything about my car but learning about the road.  I wanted to pass my driving test so bad, I studied my book front to back.  But I did not study or learn about my car like that.  Now as a mom of an almost driver, I wanted to go over some car tips that I learned later on in my life.

Do you know what side your gas tank is on?  Have you ever driven someone else's car and needed to pump gas? 
Look in the picture, do you see the little arrow on the gas pump?  Whatever side it points to is the side that your gas tank is on.  Easy, right?  Did you know that? 
Also, some cars have a lever near the driver's side door to pull for the gas tank door to open.

Do you know how to use cruise control?  I never did.  I travel a lot and refused to use it.  I was so scared to try it.  I was afraid it would be stuck and I could not get out of the speed I was on.  Some cars are different but the same concept.
The Scion tC has a button that needs to be pushed in to set cruise control on.  Check that the icon comes on when you hit the button.
 Next, learn how to use your cruise control.  How do you set it?  Is it by a pull down of the lever or a push up?  How do you release cruise control? 
 A new driver may not need to learn how to do this just yet but it may cause a panic attack is they accidentally hit the button on.  I freak out when any light comes on in my vehicle.  Go over the different lights that can come on in the car, so that the driver will know what is going on.  A distraction can cause an accident.  In some vehicles when a warning light comes on, the vehicle can start making a dinging sound alerting the driver, and this could distract the driver.  It is better to know what to expect.

The first car I drove around was my dad's hand-me down used car.  It had many miles on it and it was a vehicle taking to and from school.  I was not complaining.  But again, I never inspected the vehicle and one day when I got a flat I was stuck on the road.  This was way back when not everyone had a cell phone, omg, yes there was a time.  So I was stuck on the road alone.  Someone stopped to helped me and asked if I had a spare?  I didn't know.  Yes, naïve.  Did I have a jack?  IDK...So now any vehicle I get into, I always check to see if I have a spare and a jack, just in case.
Do you know where to look?  Do you know how to use a jack or change a tire?  My name says it all, but it was not always like this.  I learned to become independent.  So in case I am ever stranded with a flat, I know what to do, do you?  Don't be the damsel in distress.  Or at least know if you have the right tools for someone to help you change your flat.  Remember to always be safe.  We once got a flat in my mom's old station wagon.  It sounded like a helicopter was following us.  But it was not, it was a flat.  My mom ended up getting stuck at the entrance of the freeway.  Luckily some good Samaritans stopped to help get us off the freeway and to a safe place for the tire to be changed.  I have heard too many horror stories of people getting hit on the freeway after getting a flat. 

Be safe.
If your car will make it, get off the road.
If you are on the freeway, head for the shoulder.
If your tire will make it, try to get off the freeway and head to a safe place to change the flat.
If you have roadside assistance, call them.
I always call a family member and tell them where I am, and my plan of action.

Tips like this can help when driving a new car, driving someone else's car, or being a new driver.

Recently driving the new 2016 Scion tC, I was able to check all of it's features out.  For this car being a 2-door vehicle, it has a lot of space.  Check out the truck space:
It fit my family of 4 comfortably.  My husband was skeptical at first but I think he is now looking at the Scions totally different.  My son and I even cruised down to San Antonio.  We had a smooth drive to and from.  And that truck space even allowed me to do all of my holiday shopping.

Stylish and sporty.  One of our favorite features was the panoramic moon roof.  But the feature that everyone loved the most was the interior floor lights that you can control by the push of a button.  My daughter wanted it pink when she was in the car.  My son picked blue.  My husband wanted it green.  I just agreed with whoever was riding with me. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide 2015-Peep This Stocking Stuffer

***Disclosure-I received samples for review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience. 

Do you do stocking stuffers?  When do you put the gifts inside the stockings?  Does Santa "wink, wink" leave little gifts in there when he visits?

Growing up we did not have stockings.  This was not part of our traditions.  But now it is part of the traditions I am teaching my kids.  Stocking stuffers became bonus gifts.  Kids love to open presents.  Like they like playing with empty boxes or wrapping paper.  So, I started doing fun little gifts in my families stocking stuffers.  Normally it is a favorite snack or candy, nothing too big but lots of fun items.  Each year it gets a little harder to not get the same things from last year.

Here are some of my Stocking Stuffing Tips:

1)  You only have to buy stockings one time and you can continue to reuse the same ones.  So your original price is an investment.  You can also catch them on sale or purchase some for next year in the after Christmas Clearance sales.
2)  Decorating the stocking can be fairly simple.  Glitter pens can be found at the dollar store.  The main tip is practice on a piece of paper first.  And always let the glitter glue dry first before hanging.
3)  You do not have to spend a lot of money of stocking stuffers.  What is that saying... a way to a man's heart is through his stomach?  I believe this is true for my family.  I love getting their favorite food items, candy, or treats. 
There are several candy brands, like Peeps, that have treats perfect for stuffing in your stockings ranging for $3.50 and under.

PEEPS® holiday candies has a wide selection including:
-Large Banana Crème Flavored Minions
-Vanilla Crème Chicks Pops
-Marshmallow Minions
-Large Marshmallow Snowmen
-Candy Cane Flavored Marshmallow Chicks
-Gingerbread-Flavored Marshmallow Gingerbread Men
-Marshmallow Trees
-Marshmallow Snowmen
-Chocolate Mousse-Flavored Marshmallow Reindeers
-Holiday Pops
-Holiday Plush toys

Sign up for the Peeps email newsletter to receive 20% off your next online order.  You can also get the latest deals, new product announcements and more.

Alice Through the Looking Glass Teaser Trailer

***Disclosure-No compensation was received.  Informational post only.

So excited that we get to go on another adventure with Alice.  Check out the teaser trailer:

In Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” an all-new spectacular adventure featuring the unforgettable characters from Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories, Alice returns to the whimsical world of Underland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter.

 Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass” opens in U.S. theaters on May 27, 2016.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Travel Tuesday-Houston Zoo Lights 2015

***Disclosure-My family received complimentary entrances.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experiences.
Will you be visiting Houston this holiday season?  Are you looking for things to do with the family?  How about visiting the Houston Zoo and seeing the Zoo Lights?
The Houston Zoo looks different at night.  There are thousands of lights everywhere.  Colorful lights and festive holiday music fill the Houston Zoo.
The are large life sized sculptures through out the Zoo.  There are talking animals.  Even places for great photo ops with the family-
We each had a favorite spot.  My daughter loved the talking Zebra-Candy.  We all agreed catching a monkey play with a blankie was the funniest thing ever.  Santa's village with Thomas the Train is the coolest.
Did you know you can recycle your old and broken lights at the Houston Zoo going on now until Jan. 9? 

Looking for unique gift ideas?  How about adopting an animal, go to

Monday, December 7, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide 2015-Kidz Bop/Arm & Hammer Tooth Tunes

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

Are you looking for stocking stuffers?  I have a practical gift.  I like to give my kids little things they need or want. 

How about s tooth brush that plays your kids favorite song?  Tooth Tunes?
Dentists recommend brushing for two minutes.

A power brush like the ARM & HAMMER™ Spinbrush™ battery-powered toothbrushes can help your 2 minutes remove more plaque. It’s a great option for your kids.  My daughter loves her tooth tunes tooth brush.  She likes to here her song played.  It's her jam.

Songs available-
ARM & HAMMER™ Tooth Tunes™: One Direction–One Thing & What Makes You Beautiful
ARM & HAMMER™ Tooth Tunes™: Queen–We Will Rock You
ARM & HAMMER™ Tooth Tunes™: Kiss–Rock & Roll All Nite
ARM & HAMMER™ Tooth Tunes™: Kidz Bop–I Love It
ARM & HAMMER™ Tooth Tunes™: Kidz Bop–Wake Me Up
ARM & HAMMER™ Tooth Tunes™ Junior: Brush-A-Long Song
ARM & HAMMER™ Tooth Tunes™ Junior: The Alphabet Song
Remember it is recommended to get a new tooth brush every three months.  

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide 2015-Stocking Stuffers

***Disclosure-Sample products were received for review..  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experiences. 

Every Christmas I love to give stockings stuffed with goodies to my family.  Growing up we did not get gifts.  The years we did, we really appreciated them.  When I started working I bought everyone lots of gifts to make up for the ones we did not get before.  And that is how the stocking stuffers started as a tradition for us.  Stocking stuffers do not have to be expensive.  They can be small items.  Thoughtful gifts. 
Here are some of my suggestions:
For the Kids-
1)  Peeps has a full line of holiday Peeps that are sure the kiddos will love. 
2)  Kidz Bop has tooth tunes.  My daughter loves her tooth tunes toothbrush. 
3)  Redan Magazines are perfect for the kids to get them into reading. 

For Her-
4)  Luca & Danni has many things to choose from for the lady in your life.
5)  Trudeau has cookie cutters, Daisy wine charms, Flex pot clips, Zest Graters, etc...and so much more.

For Him-
6)  Is he techy?  Monster has plenty of gifts for the guys.

For the Family-
7)  My mother in law loves to get pictures of the kids.  Why not print your favorite picture, favorite memory, or memorable day, and stuff them into the stockings.  The dollar store has frames for a dollar to make it even more special.  The person receiving it can display it in their home.  Capturing a moment is the best gift to share.  Don't have a printer?

Give yourself a gift this year that everyone will enjoy! 

HP Envy All-In-One Printer has a free ink offer.  Got to HP Instant Ink for more information, and don't forget to sign up before Dec 31, 2015.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Norm of The North Coming January 2016

***Disclosure-No compensation was received.  Informational post only.

New movie coming in January. 

A polar bear of many words, Norm's greatest gripe is simple: there is no room for tourists in the Arctic.  But when a maniacal developer threatens to build luxury condos in his own backyard, Norm does what all normal polar bears would do...he heads to New York City to stop it.  With a cast of ragtag lemmings at his side, Norm takes on the big apple, big business and a big identity crisis to save the day.

Check our the trailer:

In Theaters January 15, 2016.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Tips to DIY Photo Shoot

Have you ever had a photo session?  I have been to the places at the mall which are not too expensive.  But now with all of the Pinterest ideas, who wants plain studio pictures when you can do full photography sessions.  I can't afford those.  So I am trying to learn how to do a session myself.  Here are some tips from what I have learned from my very first session with my daughter for her birthday pictures:

1)  Camera-I borrowed my friend's camera.  I cannot take professional photos with my cell phone.  Well at least those pictures will not have good pixels for when I want to print or enlarge those pictures.  My very own camera is on my Christmas list this year.

2)  Battery-Make sure your camera is charged.  When I called my friend to borrow her camera she mentioned needing to charge it.  This has happened before that when you need the camera it is not charged.  So plan ahead and charge your battery.

3)  Memory Card-Make sure your memory card is not full.  Download your pictures after each session.  Delete the ones you don't need before downloading.  Then you don't use up space on unwanted pics.  This will also prevent your session from being cut short.  No space, no pics.

4)  Theme-What are your pictures going to be for?  This will help with the next tip...  

5)  Location-Find a location that works for you.  A park, your house, your favorite spot.
A place that goes with the theme.  We have a favorite park that we have done pictures for many different reasons.  I love the landscape there and the pictures always come out great.

6)  Outfit-Coordinate your outfit with your theme.  Christmas pictures-maybe wear green, and red. Birthday or Anniversary-your favorite colors.  

7)  Props-Your theme may call for props.  Bring some mistletoe, a blanket, or accessories, etc..

8)  Assistant-You may need help taking pictures, carrying the props, or outfit changes.  It is also good to have someone assist when you are working with kids.  Help fix hair, fluff dresses, or make the person in the picture laugh.

9)  Fun-I always say, if something is a chore then don't do it.  Leave it to the professionals.  Taking a picture is capturing a moment in time.  Portraying a memory.  Giving someone your vision through an image.

10)  Display-Print your art.  The pictures you take are an artwork.  Your own.  Print out wallets for family.  Enlarge the print you took and display it.    
This is our masterpiece.  Our theme for this birthday is Ariel the Mermaid.  This was our favorite photo of our daughter.  So powerful.  We went ahead and printed it so we could display it for her birthday and also in our home.  We went online to AdoramaPix as a metal print.  It came out great.

Metal Prints
Your images are infused right into the surface of a solid sheet of metal, resulting in bright vivid colors, a rich iridescent sheen, incredible depth of detail, and outstanding durability.

You can pick the shape of you print to be a square, rectangle, heart, panoramic, round, oval or a designer shape.  We did rectangle because of the angle of the picture.  This print is actually  11 X 17.  Do not let the big candlestick holder fool you.  The candlestick holder is huge as well.  This is a prop for her party and it works perfect for her theme.

For more information, go to

Friday, November 27, 2015

Flick Friday-The Divergent Series: Allegiant

***Disclosure-No compensation was received.  Informational post only.

I said I would not get hooked but I did.  My husband got me hooked and now we can't wait for the third installment.

ALLEGIANT takes Tris [Shailene Woodley] and Four [Theo James] into a new world, far more dangerous than ever before. After the earth-shattering revelations of INSURGENT, Tris must escape with Four and go beyond the wall enclosing Chicago.  For the first time ever, they will leave the only city and family they have ever known.  Once outside, old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless with the revelation of shocking new truths.  Tris and Four must quickly decide who they can trust as a ruthless battle ignites beyond the walls of Chicago which threatens all of humanity.  In order to survive, Tris will be forced to make impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.

In Theaters March 18, 2016 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

2015 Festival of Lights-Moody Gardens

***Disclosure-I received complimentary passes.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience. 

The holidays are time for celebrating traditions with loved ones.  Some families travel from far but no matter the distance, they make it to their loved ones.  Where they are no traditions, make some.

A Christmas tradition that many families celebrate are driving in neighbors checking out the lights.  I remember my parents taking us for drives to see the pretty lights.    So this year we are hitting one of the largest light display, Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens in Galveston.
There are more than 1 million lights within 100 sound-enhanced animated light displays and nightly live entertainment. 
Festival Admission: $10.95 (includes ice skate admission)

Arctic Ice Slide Admission: $7 for one slide, $20 for 10 slides and $25 for all day

Hours: 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Tips to Festival of Lights-

1)  Wear a sweater.  It can be a bit chilly at night.
2)  Bring your own skates. 
For more information, go to