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Monday, November 13, 2017

Leave No Trace Camping

Camping should be on everyone's bucket list.  Growing up our parents never took us.  So we made sure that our kids did not miss out on this outdoor adventure.
Thanks to Latino Outdoors, Texas Outdoor Family, and Texas Parks and Wildlife for extending an invitation for our family to join them for a weekend of camping at Garner State Park through the Texas Outdoor Family Program.  We had never been camping alone.  Our yearly camping trip is always with family and friends who are experienced outdoors men/women.  This trip we would not be alone either.  We were in good hands with Park Rangers and Volunteers. 
Our session of Camping 101 started right after check in.  TOF provides everything you need for camping including tents, cots, and even a stove.  Though we had been camping before, we were taking notes from the very prepared Rangers who taught us how to pitch our tents, build a fire, and how not to leave a trace while camping.

Leave No Trace-"take only pictures, leave only footprints"

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare 

2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

3. Dispose of Waste Properly

4. Leave What You Find
 
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts 

6. Respect Wildlife

7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Our daughter had an amazing time earning her Junior Ranger badge.  Mami and Papi learned a lot about camping and we are so excited for our next trip.  Here are more fun pics from our adventure:




For more information, go to tpwd.texas.gov.  

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Tacos, Tackles, and Tequila

Can it be Taco Tuesday everyday?  I mean, who doesn't love tacos?
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Taco Cabana.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.  

With a family of four, a full time job, and a long commute sometimes mom has to get a little help.  The one request that they all have is TACOS.

Taco Cabana is introducing the new Flamed-Grilled Chicken tacos.  Three different ones to choose from:

-Grilled Peppers & Onions with Salsa Roja (sautéed red and green peppers, blend of grilled onions, diced tomatoes, Salsa Roja and a squeeze of fresh lime juice)
-Roasted Poblanos, Ranchero & Cheese (roasted Poblano chiles, melted Cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheeses and slow-simmered Ranchero Sauce)
-Bacon & Jalapeño with Salsa Ranch (melted Cheddar and Jack cheeses, roasted jalapeño chiles, Salsa Ranch and thick-cut, double-smoked Bacon)

Mix and match any three for $5.99 but hurry they are available for a Limited Time Only.

Tackling the kids for dinner does not have to be hard with the new Taco Cabana Kids’ Meal which includes breaded 100% white meat, antibiotic-never chicken bites, choice of rice & beans or chips & queso, choice of Mott’s® Apple Juice or kids’ drink, 2 flour tortillas and a chocolate chip cookie for $4.99.  
Unwind with the new house-made Premium Margaritas that are made with 100% Blue Agave Lunazul Tequila.  The Premium Margaritas are a permanent item on Taco Cabana’s menu.  

Don't forget Happy Hour is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day.   

Friday, November 10, 2017

Flick Friday-Daddy's Home 2

From experience I can tell you that being a blended family is hard.  It takes a lot of work from all sides.  Sometimes our kids do not understand the choices parents have to make to not stay together. 
I was invited to an advanced screening.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

It was a hard decision for me to make years ago.  I do not regret it at all.  Since I have remarried, my son has gained a bonus family.  That's what we call it.  Every family has different dynamics but one thing we all have in common, is that we do it all for our kids.  We all love them!

But it is not all easy, peasy at times. 

Synopsis:  In the sequel to the 2015 global smash, father and stepfather, Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) and Brad (Will Ferrell) have joined forces to provide their kids with the perfect Christmas. Their newfound partnership is put to the test when Dusty’s old-school, macho Dad (Mel Gibson) and Brad’s ultra-affectionate and emotional Dad (John Lithgow) arrive just in time to throw the holiday into complete chaos.

DADDY’S HOME 2 opens in theaters today.  

You don't want to miss all this family's shenanigans.  It is a very funny comedy the entire family will enjoy. 

Flick Friday-Bad Moms Christmas #BADMOMSXMAS

Moms sometimes get a bad wrap.  We can never do enough.  We juggle things around, make miracles happen, and we even create magic at times.
I was invited to an advanced screening.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

I have heard several moms admit to feeling overwhelmed.   With the holidays around the corner, how much more over whelmed will you feel?  Let's take back the holidays...be a Bad Mom!


Synopsis-A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS follows our three under-appreciated and over-burdened women as they rebel against the challenges and expectations of the Super Bowl for moms: Christmas.  And if creating a more perfect holiday for their families wasn’t hard enough, they have to do all of that while hosting and entertaining their own mothers.  By the end of the journey, our moms will redefine how to make the holidays special for all and discover a closer relationship with their mothers.

Bad Moms Christmas is out now in theaters.  The housework, errands, and holidays can wait.  Take a break from it all.  Don't get so wrapped up.  Grab some bad moms and go unwind!  You and your bad moms will love this comedy as much as me and my bad moms.

Monday, November 6, 2017

AtHome for Christmas

One of my favorite times of the year has to definitely be Christmas.  It is the time of year that for some reason the air, the sounds, and even our homes are different.
This is a compensated post in collaboration with AtHome Stores and MomSelect.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

The air is already different and not because the seasons are changing but because of all the things happening.  Everyone needs a little family, lots of laughter, and an open door.  This is why I am prepping my house early so I can start hosting our friends and family.  I want to spread cheer, so everyone will leave grinning from ear to ear.  As I start thinking where to start, the first room that comes to mind is the restroom.  Sometimes, this is the room that is last to get some love.
But this is the room that everyone visits just as much as the kitchen.  I figure if I start with one room at a time, I won't be so overwhelmed either.  Plus it is the smallest room too.

First, take everything you do not need in the room.  Start with a clean slate.  This is also the perfect time to check to see if you need to get rid of some things.  Cleansing is good for the soul.
Second, think our your color scheme.  My favorite color is blue but by my restroom is green.  When I think about Christmas, I see lots of red, white, and green.
Third, think about your favorite things and use them as your inspiration.  I love stars, earthy one with nature decor, and purposeful things.
Lastly, you may not be crazy about Christmas colors.  Some people hate all things red.  But just a little pop of color can make a big difference.
Combine all these things to help you transition your space from everyday to holiday!

You can find the Christmas Hoedown collection and many more at your nearest AtHome store.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Fitness Friday-How Strong is Your Trot #HOUTurkeyTrot

Can you believe that this year is almost over?  Where did it go?  Who is ready for some turkey? 
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with BakerRipley.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

When you hear the word turkey, what do you think about?  I think about Thanksgiving, traditions, and the trot.  These three go hand in hand with one another in our family.  The Houston TXU Energy BarkeyRipley Turkey Trot has become a family tradition.
Did you know that the trot was my very first race?  It was.  I did not prepare at all for it but I was up for the challenge.  Here are some tips for you:

1)  Trot-Start getting some mileage in everyday.  This will help you get across the finish line.  Whether you run, jog, or trot, it is the best feeling when you cross the finish line.

2)  Tennis shoes-Break your shoes in.  Do not buy new shoes to wear the day of the race.  Make sure you have comfortable shoes.  Good shoes will make a big difference.

3)  Tradition-Make this a part of your tradition.  The trot is a family friendly event.  Grab the entire family and help celebrate the 25 years of Trot. 
4)  Time-Make sure you register before the price increased on November 18th. 

5)  Turkey-BarkerRipley serves more than half a million people across the Houston area.  Serving the community with community centers, charter schools, Headstart programs, senior services and career centers.  This is a way for you to give back.  Then you can go home and have some turkey! 
Currently the prices are as follows:
10K Untimed - $30
10K Timed - $35
10K Wheelchair - $35
Phillips 66 5K Untimed - $30
Phillips 66 5K Timed - $35
Phillips 66 5K Wheelchair - $35
Kids Run - $15

Register now to take advantage of these prices!  Save $5 off your registration by using this code:  17INDEPENDENT

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Shopkins: World Vacation Premiere Party

When it comes to being friendly my daughter takes the cake?  She loves to include and invite everyone to every event, party, or occasion she can think of. 
This post is a sponsored post in collaboration with Moose Toys and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

I think it is in our blood to love to host parties.  We love movies too.  So when we were offered the chance to host a Shopkins: World Vacation premiere party, no arms had to be twisted.  Planning the party is the fun part.

Here are our tips to hosting your party:

Invitations-You do not have to buy invitations.  Get creative.  Get your kiddos involved.  My daughter's favorite Shopkins is Lippy Lips.  I decided to get blank cards for her to decorate.  You can cut white paper in half to make your own cards.  Then have your kiddo draw or cut designs on them.
Food-Finger foods are always recommended when kids are involved.  I like self-serve, buffet, ready to go food.  This way you don't have to be standing around serving people the entire party.  Also, you can't forget to have sweet treats.
Entertainment-I scream, you scream, we all scream from Shopkins!  You can go towww.WorldVacationPremiere.com to download your own Shopkins at home premiere package for all your guests to enjoy.  Join the largest simultaneous screening of the movie on October 19th at 4pm PT / 7pm ET.
For the grand finale, pop in Shopkins: World Vacation.  It is now available on DVD. 
Synopsis:  Grab your boarding pass and come on a worldwide ride with our favorite Shoppies and Shopkins.  Vacation with the gang as they meet crazy bandits and go on even crazier adventures!  When Kooky Cookie gets caught up in a diamond heist and goes missing, the Shoppies must go on a wild chase around the world to find her and help bring back the ‘Shop Diamond’ to its royal owner.  Watch as they attempt amazing challenges and face Kooky fans to try and clear her name.  Fasten your seat belt for a world vacation you’ll never forget!

And don't forget the swag. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Little Free Library Scavenger Hunt

Do you know what a little library is?  It is a free book exchange.  Imagine books available all the time, all over the world.
Our local news station covered a story on little libraries.  A couple of months ago we happened to be invited to a birthday party at a park and we happen to come across a little library.  We found a book that was age appropriate for our daughter.  She loves this book.  Lil Bit is now in Kinder and our goal is for her to be reading by the end of this school year.  After Open House and meeting her teacher, we are so excited to support our daughter in achieving her educational goals this year.  So after learning about littlefreelibrary.org website, we decided to use the map locator to search our area for a nearby little library.

The first location, which was at a park, we came to had no children's book.  So that's when our impromptu scavenger hunt began.  We then headed to the next location that was not too far.  The little library was at someone's house.
It was kinda weird walking up to someone's driveway to look in but my daughter had no shame in her game.  She was ready to find a book.  She found Pete the Cat.  It is a My First I Can Read Book series.  My First is ideal for sharing with emergent readers which is perfect for my daughter.  We were given a list of 100 high frequency words she needs to know by January.  So were successful for my daughter but not for my son.  At this point, he was excited to find a book for himself.  So we were off to find the next little library.  I am so amazed at how many little libraries are available.
Guess, who found another book she just had to have?  This little library was running low on books.  Someone left a dictionary but nothing appeal my college student.  I am a proud parent when both of my kids want to find books to read.  Patting my back, pat-pat.
 Jackpot.  This little library was overflowing.  It was kid friendly with so many choices for all ages.  On our way home we noticed one more library at a local hospital.  What a great idea to have a little library in a hospital waiting area.  It was closed as it was Sunday.  But check it out, a phone booth.
It was such a fun experience.  Both of my kids found books that they wanted to read.  We will be grabbing books from our home library to sprinkle around into these little libraries.  Can't wait to see what we find next time.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Giveaway-Advance Screening My Little Pony

Who wants to go with me to a Free Advance Screening of My Little Pony?
SYNOPSIS
A dark force threatens Ponyville, and the Mane 6 – Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, and Rarity – embark on an unforgettable journey beyond Equestria where they meet new friends and exciting challenges on a quest to use the magic of friendship to save their home.

I have 30 passes for first come, first served to My Little Pony for Sept 30 at 11 am.

To print your passes and get more details, go to:
Screening passes: http://www.lionsgatescreenings.com/KJzKc28781


Friday, September 22, 2017

Flick Friday-The Lego Ninjago Movie

School has been in session for a month now for most of you, except here in South Texas.  Some have not even started.  It is hard to go back to the routine of things when you take a really long break.
My family was invited to an advanced screening.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

I remember starting being worried about starting school.  Whether you believe it or not, I used to be really shy.  I think I still am.  Imagine yourself in a crowd of new people that you do not know, sometimes it can be overwhelming.  To kids it is overwhelming.  What are you doing to help your kids get over their anxieties?

Help them find the Ninja within them?  Talk.  Start the conversations.  Ask questions.  Throw a ball or two.  And when you are done, take a break from it all.


Synopsis-In this big-screen NINJAGO adventure, the battle for NINJAGO City calls to action young Master Builder Lloyd, aka the Green Ninja, along with his friends, who are all secret ninja warriors. Led by Master Wu, as wise-cracking as he is wise, they must defeat evil warlord Garmadon, The Worst Guy Ever, who also happens to be Lloyd’s dad. Pitting mech against mech and father against son, the epic showdown will test this fierce but undisciplined team of modern-day ninjas, who must learn to check their egos and pull together to unleash their inner power.


Out in theaters now.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Leap Movie Review

Have you always known what you were meant to do?  Or felt like you have a calling for something specific?
Thanks to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston for hosting our family for an advance screening.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Sometimes you do not have to know exactly where life is going to take you.  You have to take chances.  An adventure is just that, an adventure.
I started out my blog almost ten years ago.  I was a single mom that took a leap into the future not knowing where it would lead me.  It may look like my fairy tale story was planned but it was not at all.  I jumped and fell hard, many times.  I kissed a lot of frogs before I found my prince.  And who knew I would be blessed with a little beauty too.  It all came after taking one leap after another.

I am teaching my kids not be scared to try.  Life does not come with a safety net.  You must learn to trust that you will land on your feet.  And even if you fall, guess what?  You get back up.

When we were invited to check out Leap, I was happy to find out that Félicie is a big dreamer who will not take no for an answer.  

Synopsis:
11-year-old orphan, Félicie (Elle Fanning) has one dream – to go to Paris and become a dancer.  Her best friend Victor (Nat Wolff), an imaginative but exhausting boy with a passion for creating, has a dream of his own - to become a famous inventor.  In a leap of faith, Victor and Félicie leave their orphanage in pursuit of their passions. But – there’s a catch, Félicie must pretend to be the child of a wealthy family in order to gain admittance to the prestigious and competitive Opera Ballet School in Paris.  And with no professional dance training, she quickly learns that talent alone is not enough to overcome the ruthless, conniving attitudes of her fellow classmates, led by the devious Camille Le Haut (Maddie Ziegler) and her wicked mother Régine (Kate McKinnon).  Determined to succeed, Félicie finds her mentor in the tough and mysterious school custodian, Odette (Carly Rae Jepsen) who, along with Victor’s encouraging friendship, help her reach for the stars.

We all loved Leap.  It was a great story that is family friendly.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Urban Harvest Farmers Market Houston

Have you ever been to a farmer's market?  I have always wanted to go, experience it, and see what it is all about.  Growing up in the city or suburbs, you do not have a farm in your backyard.

Have you ever heard of The Urban Harvest Farmers Markets?  It is a place where the garden comes to the city.  Growers offer locally produced vegetables, fruits, farm products, dairy products, prepared foods, cut flowers and plants. 

With the recent weather in Houston, local farmers have suffered.  Crops were completely wiped.  My blogger friend Pilar from En Mi Cocina Hoy volunteers at Urban Harvest and she put the call out.  We need to support our local farmers and help our community get back on track.  As our family continues to find healthier things to put on our table, a visit to the Urban Harvest Farmers Market was perfect for our us.  

We sprinkled the love on several booths:

Bee Wilde - Bee & Honey Farm - Montgomery, Texas
She had me at allergy relief (1 tablespoon/per day).  Whenever I have a sour throat, my mom always gave us a teaspoon of honey with a little lemon.  A home remedy that has been passed down.  I have no complaints from our daughter, who asks for honey every night.  People have used honey forever.  I have recently started substituting honey for processed sugar and artificial sweeteners.  I add it to my oatmeal, tea, and biscuits.  
Pure - Raw - Unfiltered - Wilde  - Check out www.beewilde.com for honey recipes.

Lightsey Farms - Mexia, Texas
Since 1918, locally grown fruits and vegetables that are picked at the peak of ripeness with locations in Austin, Houston, Temple, and Waco.  Coming soon to Dallas.

What’s in Season-
Peaches, Persimmons, Pears

For their locations, go to www.lightseyfarms.com.

Space City Farms - Houston, Texas
A nutrient-dense produce without harmful chemicals like pesticides and herbicides.   A unique way of growing produce using 90% less water and 90% less land than conventional growing, while providing delicious natural foods.

What your own seedlings?  Go to www.spacecityfarms.com.

Garden Dreams Houston - Houston, Texas
Have you seen the movie Paddington Bear?  He eats marmalade all day long.  Have you ever tried marmalade?  I have not.  Well, you can sample anything you want here.  What is available?  It is locally grown, chemical free, handmade jams, jellies, marmalades, salsas, and pickles.  We love pickles.  

Wanna try this award winning jam?  Go to www.gardendreamshouston.com.

Hatterman Eggs - Weimar, Texas
These are farm-fresh, cage free, ungraded-yard eggs with omega 3 from flax.  My husband is one of those that is iffy about things that he is not familiar with.  I made breakfast on Sunday.  Blueberry pancakes, bacon, and scrambled eggs, yum.  My entire family ate it all up.  Everyone gave these eggs two-thumbs up.  Now to try the green eggs.

Yes, green?  

These are just a few of the spots we stop and purchased from.  We will continue to support because who doesn't want chemical-free, pesticide-free, local, organic; fruits, vegetables, and so much more.


Urban Harvest Farmers Market is open on Saturdays-

Eastside Farmers Market
8am - 12pm, 
Year round, rain or shine

3000 Richmond
Houston, Texas 77098

See you there!