Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Free Bowling? Summer? Air Conditioning? I am in!

So I had to share with you this amazing deal that AMF is doing this summer.  I can guarantee that we will definitely be taking advantage of this the whole summer long.  Our family loves to bowl!  Even the little one.  We use the ramps for her and she gets to push the ball and it goes all of the way down...most of the time.  Take a look at this great deal! 

Fun. Active. Social. Local. 

AMF's Summer Unplugged
is this summer's best bowling deal!

Zip, Zero, Zilch for Kids 16 and Under

  • At select AMF centers, two free games of bowling per day for kids 16 and under. (Shoe rental not included, but they’re worth paying for.)
  • Time: open until 8:00PM, 7 days a week.
  • Dates: Monday, May 30 (Memorial Day) through Monday, September 5 (Labor Day).
  • Parents go to to select a participating center (over 200 locations) and complete a simple registration form.
  • Free game coupons emailed every Sunday starting May 29 for the following week – it’s that simple!

  • Share the fun and save!
  • For families of registered kids, a one-time payment of $27.95 buys 2 games per day for 4 people all summer long – it’s the AMF Summer 17 Plus Pass. (Same dates and times as above.)
  • Less than $7 per person for 2 games everyday all summer.
  • Available online at
  • Kids combo meals all summer for $2.99.
  • Pin decorating contest:
    • Most votes on Facebook in each of 4 age divisions wins a $2500 scholarship prize
    • AMF donates 25 cents per vote up to $10,000 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure®
  • Schedule of learn-to-bowl and fun competitive sessions.

I am totally going to share this with my play group!  I think the kids will love it! 

I participated in this campaign as a member of One2One Network and am eligible for a prize drawing.  All opinions stated in the post are my own.

I am dying to get Verizon FiOS in my home

So I have been patiently waiting for it to be announced that Verizon FiOS is available in my neighborhood because I think their service is fantastic.  There are so many reasons to have this service that I can barely count so I will just share a few with you.  I just verified on their website this week that we are still unavailable, but lots of communites each day are being able to get this option for their every day programing.

The first thing that I find really neat is that they have something called "flex view."  This is really neat because it allows you to watch any of your on demand programing from your television, your computer or even your cell phone.  I day dream about this feature everytime I have my two year old in a waiting room.   If I could just have her favorite episode of Dora or Chuggington, well then we would both have a pleasant waiting time.  Instead I am constantly chasing her around the office, trying to get her to sit quietly and failing miserably.

The also neat thing is Verizon FiOS uses fiber optic technology that lets you watch HDTV with less interruptions, pixelation, or weather interference.  I have noticed here in Houston, that with both my cable and my satellite services go out with a good gust of wind it seems.  FiOS is more weather resistant and more durable than the copper phone lines or coaxial cable.  Sometimes my daughter and I have an agreement that we can watch one more "Gabba Gabba" and then it is nap time.  Can you imagine if the cable goes out?   No naptime for mommie?  Yikes!

Being a blogger and well self proclaimed social media guru, I love the fact that they have "TV widgets".  I know sounds like those story problems on standardize testing....I mean really what is a widget anyways.  These widgets allow you to update your facebook page or even send a tweet straight from your television.  Every week the biggest loser fans tweet all about the recent episode.  Now you could do that right from your couch and your remote!  How fun would that be?

Now I know that we had chatted about all of the neat things that FiOS does, but I figured that I should add just a quick note about speed.  Verizon FiOS is super fast.  FiOS Internet gives you the fastest upload speeds and amazingly clear streaming video.  FiOS doesn’t let up during “peak” hours like when the kids come home from school when some cable services slow down due to increased usage.  I get so frustrated when my internet slows down just because the children have all jumped on when they got off.

If you are in the market for a new programing / internet service, take a look at Verizon FiOS.  I would have it if I could, but hopefully it will come to my neighborhood soon.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Verizon FiOS blogging program for a gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Five summer getaways that every kid should experience

With Memorial day weekend coming up, Alamo Insiders came up with a great topic for my next blog post.  I was super excited when Alamo Insiders proposed a great question.  They wanted to know about five different summer getaways that every kid should experience.  I couldn't wait to weigh in on this topic given that one of the my answers, I am actually sharing with my family this weekend.

So given that getaways can be expensive I wanted to share some budget friendly options as well as the pricier choices too.  First is a super budget friendly option and that is exactly what we are doing this weekend.  We are taking our first camping trip complete with tents, smores and sleeping bags.  I think this is defiantly a great option because it forces everyone to spend some time out in nature.  There are no televisions, video games or electricity for that matter.  The children will find joy in fishing and reading and spending time as a family.  We are staying at a national campground and the best part about that was the price.  For sixty dollars you can spend three nights on a holiday weekend.  I really can't wait to introduce kids to simpler forms of entertainment and show them that there is a life outside of television and video games.

The next one that I think is a great option is a trip to San Antonio.  San Antonio has great food, great entertainment and the Alamo.  You can not only show the kids the amazing theme parks like Sea World and Six Flags, but you can teach them about US history over at the Alamo. 

I also love bringing the kids on Galveston Island, TX.  Even though this city was hit by a hurricane a few years ago, there is so much fun stuff to do there.  The city has almost rebuilt itself and is in a constant flux of renovation but is the home of beautiful beaches, cruise ports and Moody Gardens.  Moody Gardens is a learning mecca of fun.  There is an aquarium, rainforest, 4D movies, a beach and pool area.  There are loads of things that you can do there and all are reasonably priced.

The next place I love is Edisto Island, SC.  This is a beautiful little island that has some beautiful quiet resorts and miles and miles of beaches.  The best part about his island is that there are very few people that live there.  There is never a problem staking out a great place to just enjoy the beach.  There is also golf courses, driving ranges and cute little restaurants. 

Lastly of course is Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, FL.  Since I used to work for the mouse, I really can't wait to bring my daughter there and share with her all of the amazing things that Walt Disney World has to offer.  We are planning our trip next year and staying at the Campgrounds in one of their amazing cabins.  The kids are looking forward to not only going to the parks, but the different activities that you can do right on the resort. 

I could write all day about WDW, but I will save that for a later post.  What are some of your favorite places that you like to take your kids?  Share with me! I am always looking for new ideas.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Alamo blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Italian anyone? What's your Pasta Personality?
So did you hear that Carabbas has a fun new quiz to determine your "Pasta Personality'?  Well I am a sucker for all of those fun quizzes in the magazines so I figured that I would share my pasta personality with you.  Here is the deal.  They have five questions about you and you choose the answer that suit you the best.  I had to laugh when they chose mine.  I was spaghetti and meatballs and I found that funny because we love that meal in my household.  Here is what a "spaghetti and meatballs" personality means:

You’re genuine and well loved, like Carrabba’s Spaghetti and Meatballs. Your warm and comforting personality makes you everybody’s best friend. So go for our equally popular hand-prepared meatballs over perfectly cooked imported spaghetti.

I was laughing because well I do try to be a genuine person and try to have a warm personality so I thought, well I guess they had gotten me right.  If you want to check out your own "Pasta Personality" well then go ahead and click here and then come back and let me know what your personality was!

Since we are talking pasta, I figured I would share a common recipe in my house.  This dish is special to me because it is something easy I can make and EVERYONE in the family will eat it and go for seconds.  No complaints and requests for more?  Heaven!  This is a recipe for Baked Penne with Italian Sausage.

  • 1 (12 ounce) package dry penne pasta
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with garlic
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. Heat oil in a large, deep skillet. Place sausage and onion in the skillet and cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain excess fat. Pour in wine, and cook for 1 minute, stirring, to deglaze the pan. Stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Toss with cooked pasta, and place in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle top with mozzarella.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
Totally easy and everyone loves it.  Give it a shot.  Also if you want to skip making the sauce, using a store bought spaghetti sauce works fine.

If you don't feel like cooking then check out some of Carabbas limited time special offers.  They all sound delish!  These are available now through July and are only a couple.  You will have to go in and see what else they have.  I am getting hungry just thinking about Carabbas food!

Parmesan-crusted Chicken – Topped with fresh arugula and grape tomatoes tossed in a hand-prepared lemon vinaigrette, served with choice of side. Substitution of wood-grilled chicken also available. Pairs well with Estancia Pinot Grigio.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin – Three pork tenderloin medallions wrapped with prosciutto, wood-grilled and topped with an apple and fig infused port wine sauce, served with the vegetable of the day. Pairs well with Coppola Pinot Noir.

And for desert...

Limoncello Bread Pudding – Back by popular demand! Brioche bread pudding made with fresh Madagascar vanilla beans and a rich custard, served hot out of the oven. Topped with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream and drizzled with Carrabba’s homemade Caravella Limoncello liqueur sauce.

They also have a new Peach Sangria that just sound so yummy!  So if you haven't been to Carrabbas in a while, I would totally recommend checking them out before July and you miss out on some really amazing dishes.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Carrabba’s blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

San Antonio - My favorite drivable vacation destination!

We all have our favorite destinations for vacations.  I have two absolute favorites and one is Italy and the other is Vegas.  I mean really who doesn't love Vegas right?  We can't always fly across the world or even across the country so when I was asked where my favorite road trip destination was, I have to say that it is San Antonio.   Since we have three children, putting them on a flight for every vacations would really be very expensive.  Instead we try to find places that we enjoy that we can drive to.  San Antonio has everything that I love about a vacation destination.  They have amusement parks, great food and drinks and shopping of course.  San Antonio also has alot of history which I find really important.  I like that the kids can learn something while we are having fun.  San Antonio also looks nothing like Houston which makes me feel like we are way further away than we really are.

According to family travel expert Emily Kaufman, “The Travel Mom,” families are starting to think past the backyard “staycation” and are rediscovering the freedom of the open road. Kaufman shares the following tips for a fun and safe family road trip:

  • Create a boredom bag. Convert a hanging travel cosmetic case into a case full of fun and hang it from the seat back in front of the kids’ seats. Consider creating fun works of art with Twizzlers
    Pull ‘n’ Peel
    Candy before snacking on them!
  • Take your trip “online.” From GPS systems to phone applications, trips are no longer a navigation nightmare.
  • Think through the snacks you pack. Avoid packing snacks that are easy to spill like juice boxes or snacks that melt. Try plastic bottles with sports tops and bring along Twizzlers Candy or Twizzlers Nibs Candy – they are easy to share and don’t melt, making them the perfect car ride treat.
Emily definitely has it right.   Twizzlers don't melt and are not messy in the least which makes them awesome treats to bring with you car ride.  Check out this awesome work of art that is made from Twizzlers.

Well I am not that talented by my children might be.  We are going camping in a couple of weeks and I am totally going to try out some of Emily's ideas.  Hopefully it will make for a happier road trip.  If you would like to check out a bit more about twizzlers, go to their website ( by clicking here.

I am posting about my favorite destination to enter a contest for a Twizzlers Landmark Summer promotion prize pack as a member of the Mom Bloggers Club.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Camping anyone?

Ok so I haven't been blogging as much as I have wanted to because I have been doing a writing job.  It is great, but focusing on that has caused me to lapse in my blogging time.  I am really excited that I just booked a weekend at a campground about an hour away.  There are still things that are yet to be determined about this trip.  One how I am going to get all five of us plus camping gear into one idea.  Also have you seen how much "stuff" you can buy to make camping more comfortable?  What do you need?  What don't your need?  I am like a kid in a candy store.  I mean i have never gotten excited about salt and pepper shaker but not they have a compact cute one for camping, I am all about it.  LOL Also the thought of three days without my bath tub is a bit concerning.  I think Samantha will have her first shower while camping.  Also we will need to pack a whole lot of food....I think I need to start listing...what do you think?  Any avid campers out there?  Best camping tips?