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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Travel Tuesday-Chicago Navy Pier

We traveled to Chicago to go see my son graduate but he ended up leaving us there.  So what do we do?  I decided to take the family back to another Chicago landmark, Navy Pier.  


My daughter was wishing to see snow.  When we left our hotel in Great Lakes, it was snowing.  She was so upset because we did not let her play in the snow.  I told her there would be snow in Chicago too.  It was in the forecast.  He headed towards the Willis Tower but due to the clouds, there was no visibility.  So we headed to Navy Pier earlier than scheduled.  The windy city sure did test us.  Luckily for us, Navy Pier has an indoor area that has food, shopping, and entertainment.

Here were some of our favorite indoor attractions:

Amazing Chicago - funhouse maze with tunnels, mirrors, and glow in the dark fun.


Crystal Gardens - botanical garden with cool, shooting water fountains.


Chicago Children's Museum - three-floors of fun that we just had to check out.  Do you know the story of the great Chicago fire?


We could not visit the pier without actually seeing the pier.  It was a cold 32 degrees outside.  





And my daughter actually got her wish to see it snow...  

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

#DEADPOOL2 Sip and Paint Workshop

Were you the kid in the corner with a comic book or several just minded your own?  I never really liked reading until I was introduced to comic books.  Something about those characters and story lines caught my interest.  When you become a fan, you kinda become a fan for life.  The kid can grow up, but there is always that inner child.


This post is in collaboration with my brand Partnership with Allied Integrated Marketing.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

I, along with several local influencers, were invited to The Rustic Brush-West U.  If you have never been, it is a social crafting experience.  A DIYers hangout spot, lol.  You pick your project and then you get hands on.  For this project, we use the Deadpool 2 movie that is coming out on May 18th as inspiration.  We have two different templates to choose from:


Well got started creating our art work.  Building our canvas.  Then we get to paint and we can use what ever colors we want to.  Each person had a really cool vision of what they each wanted to do.  That is what is so much fun from creating this type of art with your own hands.  I actually used the above flash dance pose as my inspiration to my piece.  

Check out the pieces everyone created:



Don't forget to check out Deadpool 2, it comes out on May 18.  Watch the trailer below:

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Travel Tuesday-Exploring Past Chicago Millennium Park

I have been to Chicago before.  My first time in this beautiful city, I looked up at all the skyscrapers and wished my family could one day see all of this.  Little did I know that one day, I would revisit with them. 


Of course, our first stop had to be to Millennium Park to check out the Cloud Gate sculpture.  But when you are traveling with a six year old, sculptures are not on their things to do.  This great idea soon turned into a bad idea.  Until we decided to explore Millennium Park a little.  There are many visitors mostly tourist in this park.  It can be overwhelming.  If you walk east towards the Grant Park lawn, over the BP pedestrian bridge, you will find the Maggie Daley Park.




We went to visit the bean and ended up finding the most whimsical park ever with slides, rock climbing, towers, and so much more.  I have learned that sometimes you just got to go with it.  This trip was not about sightseeing in Chicago but I am glad that we were able to actually venture out a little and discover this gem in downtown Chicago.  One pit stop turned into a day of fun. 


Monday, May 14, 2018

Navy Mom Diary-Boot Camp Graduation

Back in February I posted Confessions from Independentmami-Then and Now telling you about my son's decision to join the Navy. 
The goodbye was hard but the waiting was even harder.  The time did not fly by.  I had a routine for sending my son letters.  I only heard from him a whole three times;

-when he arrived for a short few seconds
-halfway point...The best call a mother can receive.  I got to hear my baby's voice again and that he was alright.
-when he passed battle stations...I actually missed this call while I was at a training for work.  I almost died when my husband informed me later.  I was so devastated that I did not get to congratulate him, hear his voice, and tell him - I love you!

Graduation could not come soon enough for me.  His graduation date was our countdown.   Family adventure we soon won't forget.  The emotions going through me while waiting to get to him and having him in my arms again.  And finally, the day was here....


No longer a seaman recruit but a U S Navy Sailor.


Of course you know you are a mom, when you notice how skinny he is, that he has no color, and how hoarse his voice is.  But you also notice his new posture, a different kinda confidence about him, and the beautiful ear to ear smile that I missed so much. 

Reality sets in when out of my son's mouth came out that he had received his orders and was leaving the next morning.  My heart sank again.  Another goodbye, sooner than I had wanted.  We made the best of it and the next day hung out with the boys at the airport.  It was a wonderful experience of how the USO receives the sailors.  Military music played as they entered the airport.  We stayed with our son until he had go through security to board his flight.  I enjoyed the precious moments I had with him.  I will take a few hours after missing him so much the past few months.


See soon my love.  Until next time.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Up Up and Away-Kid Travel Tips

Our first family trip this year happened to be my daughter's first flight ever.  What can I say, we are a family that enjoys road trips.  This time would be a different experience for our family.  Planning a trip with a small child is hard.  When you go on road trips, you can over pack as much as you want.  Not when you are flying.  This trip took a little planning ahead.  
But no matter how much planning, don't you always manage to leave something behind.  My daughter left her coat on the couch.  I wanted to have it out so that when we landed, it was ready to be put on.  That did not happen.

Here are some things that I did plan right for traveling with children:

1)  Tablet-We fully charged my daughter's table and did not forget her charger.
2)  Phone-We have an extra phone for my daughter to be able to use apps, watch video, etc while her tablet is charging as back up.
3)  Chargers/Power banks-We had enough power banks and chargers just in case.  Our plane actually had power outlets.
4)  Snacks-Not only because I know food is an arm and a leg a the airport but also because kids.  Moms know that snacks a must.  At the airport, we did have to pull food items out at the security check.  Once these went through, we place them back in my daughter's bag.
5)  Gum-You know you hate when your ears pop.
6)  Pillow/blanket-Airplanes can be very uncomfortable.  Familiars things can help your kids with comfort in an uncomfortable, tight situation.


7)  Head phones-Do not forget the head phones. Our plane had a free movies playing but none of us could hear the movie, except my daughter who enjoyed watching one of her favorites, Coco. 
8)  Coloring Book/colors-The dollar store has small activity books.  And for the crayons, I actually had gotten an extra box at a restaurant that I packed in her bag. 

Now, packing her luggage was even harder.  My daughter is always hot and remember the whole thing about her forgetting her coat.  Luckily this mami planned ahead, here is how:

1)  Undershirts-Since our trip was to Chicago, long sleeve was our choice.  I even brought some turtlenecks.
2)  Leggings/jogging pants-Jeans can be restricting, thick, and sometimes hot.  Elastic bands or non-restricting waist can be more comfortable.

It is always good to wear your most comfortable pair of shoes.  So remember that when you pack your kids luggage too.  This may not be the best time to break in new shoes.

All in all we had a great experience.  My daughter was like a seasoned pro.  She had many questions a long the way and I was happy to answer all of them.  I was an adult when I took my first flight anywhere.  I am glad that my kids get to travel from a small age.  My daughter is already asking when are we going back to Chicago.  And Paris is on her wish list, too.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Giveaway-Maya The Bee 2: The Honey Games

Did you kiddo watch Maya The Bee Movie?

Maya, the little bee with a big heart, is back for another adventure. Sequel to the wildly popular feature film Maya The Bee Movie, Maya The Bee 2: The Honey Games makes its buzzworthy debut on DVD and Blu-ray on May 1, 2018 from Shout! Factory Kids.
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Shout Factory.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Maya The Bee 2: The Honey Games is based on the well-known children’s novel and popular animated series in Europe, Australia and Asia and offers an immersive cinematic adventure into a spectacular macroscopic world.  A must-have for fans of all ages, the film is an instant classic that delivers wholesome family entertainment— emphasizing the importance of friendship, responsibility and courage.


Can Maya and Team Poppy win and secure her hive’s future?  Only if Maya is able to gain new friends and learn about teamwork, accountability, and overcoming preconceived notions!

If your kiddo loves adventure, they will want to add Maya The Bee 2: The Honey Games to their collection.

Thanks to Shout Factory, one lucky reader will win their own copy.  Enter below:


This giveaway is for US only.  One winner will be randomly selected.  The winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize.  Good luck.

Giveaway-Stride Rite #FitTopia Tour Spring 2018

The perfect fitting shoe can be hard to find.  I know when my daughter was little we wondered what shoes would be best for her.
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Stride Rite.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

There is no doubt about it that my daughter's first pair of shoes where Stride Rite.  Stride Rite has been a favorite for comfort, style, and design since she took her first steps.
It is important as our kids continue to grow that we fit their little feet with the healthiest fitting shoes.  Our kids have growth spurts which includes their feet.

Stride Rite made their first stop in their Fit-Topia Spring Tour at the McDonald's Children's Festival in Houston.   A family friendly event that includes a hands on lei making station,
an Instagram-able swing photo experience, light-up displays, and goody bags.  This tropical tour is bringing you the latest Stride Rite styles for you to check out and your little can get fitted by an on-site expert.

Fit-Topia is headed to nine more cities across the US...

April 25, San Jose, CA - Santana Row Pop Up
  • April 28-29, San Diego, CA - Kids Expo
  • May 5, Charlotte, NC - MommyCon
  • May 13, Boston, MA - Friends of the Public Garden Duckling Parade
  • May 17, Chicago, IL - Navy Pier Pop Up
  • ...and a surprise location to be announced!

      Don't forget to check the Phibian Lighted-the sandals are the first to market for kid’s water-resistant and machine washable shoe with light up technology that glows with every step. The new fashions feature a more athletic inspired silhouette.  Available in sizes 11-3 for $46

    Thanks to Stride Rite, one lucky reader will be able to win (1) Stride Rite pair of shoes.  Enter below:

This giveaway is US only.  The winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize.  Good luck.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Giveaway-Star Wars-The Last Jedi***CLOSED***

Did you know that STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI will be available in Blu-Ray and DVD on Tuesday, March 27?  Have you seen the movie?  If you have not, here is the trailer:



Synopsis:  In Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past.

Thanks to our partnership with Allied and Disney, two lucky readers will win their very own copy before you can buy it.

Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is US only.  The winners will have 24 hours to claim their prize.  Fulfillment will be done by the sponsors.  Good luck.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Houston Axe Throwing

When your kids get older, the kiddie adventures are no longer fun.  We have been there and done that.  Are you looking for a family fun activity or outing for your older kids?
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with USFG and Houston Axe Throwing.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.   

In our family, we are very competitive.  We love sports.  You know that saying a family that plays together, stays together.  I love playing fun activities that we can all enjoy.  But once the kids get  older, it gets hard to come up with things to do that they have already not done a million times.  Have you ever heard of axe throwing?  Obviously if you live in the city or the suburbs, you don't have to chop wood.  So why would you need to know how to axe throw?
This is why!  The thrill of a bulls eye.  I released my inner lumberjill.  It is an AXEperience you will never forget and get hooked to try again.
Houston Axe Throwing is Houston's first indoor urban axe throwing range and the first axe throwing club in Texas.  Our axe throwing session was run by a trained Axepert who showed us how to safely handle an axe and chuck it..  We received tips and tricks on how to hit the illustrious Bullseye!
You get to pick really cool names like Blades of Glory, Axe-actly, Woodie, and Absentree.  Learning the technique, mastering it and releasing our inner lumberjack/jill that was AXEsome.  We played several games Hang man, Tic Tac Toe, and we also competed in a Tournament against each other.
I did tell you this was a family friendly activity.  Children ages 12+ can participate with a parent/guardian if they are with a parent/guardian at all times, and it is a 1 adult to 1 child aged 12+ ratio.  NO CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 12 WILL BE ALLOWED ON SITE AT ALL.  Obviously you can see why this is not a place for younger kids.  Axe throwing is safe.  

You can bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and napkins.  You could even host a party.  There is plenty of room.  There are games in the lounge sitting area.  You can also play your own music.  

For more information, go to Houston Axe Throwing.  Thanks to USFG you can take $5 off admission to a 2.5 hour session using the offer code USFAMILY at checkout expires May 1, 2018.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Self Care Kit - Reviving Me

This year I am focusing on me.  Self love starts with self care.  I have not been taking care of myself like I needed to be.  Turning forty has me refocusing my energy on myself.


Sample products received for review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

One of my challenges is relaxing.  I mean who has time to relax when they are running a household and trying to conquer the world.  Moms do it all.

I continue to realize that doing it all is hard work.  I have to continue to remind myself to relax.  I am making myself turn in earlier.  I am creating a quite zone.  My mind goes a million miles per hour so it gets hard to unwind.  Laying in bed, turning everything off, and making it as dark as possible.  (Clean & Clear night relaxing jelly eye mask helps me relax after my busy days.)  I know I am better when I am well rested.  When I am not I am grumpy, moody, and do not want to be bothered.  No relaxing can take a toll on our bodies and I am not getting any younger.  I am trying to reduce the stress and tension.  Cue the zen music, namaste.

As I count down to my forty, I am reminded that a little smile goes a long way.  Reflecting on how blessed I am has me smiling a lot.  (I am feeling a little bolder with my Rimmel London Stay Matte Lip Colours in Heartbeat and Firestarter.)  Did you know you can burn ten to forty calories a day by laughing for at least 15 minutes?  You got jokes?

So what are you waiting for, smiles are free gifts you can hand out?  Crack more jokes, make light of things, and laugh more.

Another way I am brightening up my life this year is by getting out of my comfort zone.  Through blogging I have made several connections that have turned into friendships.  And it all starts with that scary handshake.  Sometimes it is hard to be the first person to say hello.  We are afraid of rejection.  Chances are the other person is feeling exactly the same way.  So why not just extend that hand?  (Got to have my hands insta-ready with Sally Henson Insta-Dri® Nail Color.)

Forty is a milestone number.  I remember coming into my thirties on high on life.  Everything was lining up perfect for me in my world.  I hit many bumps on my road to forty.  This me needs a little tune up of self care.  Like an oil change and tire rotation for a vehicle, routine maintenance is also needed by our bodies.

If you miss me lately, I will be in the shop.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Cirque Italia - Water Circus

What activities does your family enjoy doing together?  In these days of technology it is great when you can disconnect, enjoy each other, and just have fun.
I’ve partnered with Bloggin’ Mamas and Cirque Italia to share the Katy tour stop with my readers, and am being compensated for this partnership.  All opinions expressed are my own based on my personal experience.

Technology is great.  I know cannot live without my phone.  And now, our six year old daughter cannot either.  I remember when I was younger the television was my muse.  My brothers and I  fought for the remote controller and now we have a tv in every room.  Times have changed though.  Family time now involves making sure all devices are completely turned off.


Have you ever heard of a water circus?  Cirque Italia visited Katy, TX this past weekend.  Under the big top, there were lights, entertainers, and even dinosaurs.  Yes, you heard right.  


This is not your regular circus you have previously attended.  It is European styled entertainment.  From the music to the performances.  The aerial acts were so mesmerizing my daughter would not even blink.  The butterflies were favorite.  She even got a rainbow butterfly painted on her face.


Little did she know that the person painting her face would soon be performing some crazy acrobatic poses.  I mean can you do a handstand on stilts and strike a split pose, can you?


These performers are legit.  I am always amazed at how strong performers are.  I mean if hanging from a rope is not hard enough but to carry another person while hanging upside down. 


But the best part of all for me as a mom is seeing my kiddos amazing reactions.  This nontraditional aquatic spectacular was breathtaking.


For more information, visit www.cirqueitalia.com and make sure to follow the tour to see if they are coming to a city near you:

Twitter: @CirqueItalia
Instagram: @cirqueitaliashow 
Facebook: @cirque.italia

Friday, March 2, 2018

Hey Katy-Texas-It's Cirque Italia

Sponsored Post

I am excited to attend Cirque Italia at Katy Mills.  Cirque Italia now has two traveling shows and for the Silver Unit is coming to Katy, TX!  With it's state of the art technology, it's sure to be a show you won't want to miss!  Keep reading through and I will share how you can get your children's tickets FREE!

Event Info for Cirque Italia at Katy

When: March 1-4 Where: 5000 Katy Mills Cir, Katy, TX 77494-4402 At: Katy Mills Near: Burlington Coat Factory Under the grand, swirling White and Blue tent!
  • March 1- Thursday: 7:30pm
  • March 2- Friday: 7:30pm
  • March 3- Saturday: 1:30pm, 4:30pm, & 7:30pm
  • March 4- Sunday: 1:30pm, 4:30pm, & 7:30pm

Here's a bit more about the show:

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “Aquatic Spectacular”? Water, entertainment, excitement……? You can expect all these things and so much more from the brand new themed Cirque Italia production with its perfectly fitting new title. After six years of enhancements, a rigorous casting selection, and countless performances nationwide, this newest form of Cirque Italia’s innovative and unique “traveling circus” spectacular production is set to be its finest to date. Aquatic Spectacular came to life all thanks to its imaginative creator Manuel Rebecchi, along with invaluable direction and production management by Chanté DeMoustes. Cirque Italia’s brand-new theme show is an artistic blend of human abilities, technology and the element of water. This one-of-a-kind production combines water fountains, jet-skis, pirates, and more in a fun filled atmosphere all ages are sure to enjoy.

  Performers from all over the world have been brought together under the enchanted spiral of the white and blue big top.  The merging of their astonishing skills with the poetic element of water has led to the creation of a truly unforgettable experience.  Cirque Italia has managed to create a beautifully unique theatrical production by combining the gracefulness of the human body with the calming fluidity of water, along with bursts of power and excitement as well.  Aquatic Spectacular offers two hours of high-end entertainment.  Beautiful aerialists dazzle and shimmer on a chandelier high above the ground, but they aren’t the only ones that will draw your eyes toward the sky.  You can expect to see contortion in a bubble, a Venetian aerial duo, and even someone hula hooping while in the air.  Don’t worry about getting your eyes checked, you aren’t seeing double; there are TWO lasermen.  Duo jugglers, duo roller-skaters, the always breathtaking wheel of death………the list goes on and on.  It is even possible for a pre-historic dinosaur to make an appearance. Let your imagination wander, because anything is possible in this new whimsical production.
One might be concerned that such a spectacular entertainment opportunity is out of his/her price range, but Cirque Italia is committed to bringing a Las Vegas quality production to your hometown at an affordable price.  They also feature many special offers and promotions.  Cirque Italia continues to contribute to the modernization of the performing arts and the circus industry by abiding by a strict animal free policy.

Now Get Your Tickets

Tickets can be purchased now, starting at $10.00 through$40.00 depending on availability. You can purchase tickets through their website (cirqueitalia.com/tickets;;) or by phone: (941) 704-8572.  They also respond to text messages.  Of course, you can also purchase them at the box office.

Box office hours: The box office opens on-site on Tuesday, the week of the show.

Non-show days: 10am – 6pm On show days: 10am – 9pm FREE Child Admission

Cirque Italia offers one free child admission with every full priced paying adult ticket in levels 2 or 3, using the code in the image below.

This offer cannot be combined with any other offers, discounts or deals.

 
For more information visit www.cirqueitalia.com and make sure to check all of their social media accounts below.

Get Social with Cirque Italia

Twitter: @CirqueItalia
Instagram: @cirqueitaliashow 
Facebook: @cirque.italia

Disclosure: I’ve partnered with Bloggin’ Mamas & Cirque Italia to share this upcoming tour stop with my readers, and am being compensated for this partnership.   All opinions expressed are my own.