Mother of Boys

It’s Baa-ack!

Oh what to say about school… It’s so nice to have the boys back into a routine however this year has been a bit of a difficult transition.

back to school

Davis and Dylan are at the hybrid school this year which means that they have 5th – 8th grades under one roof.  The good news is that they are together and they really like their teachers.

The bad news is that this is the schools 2nd year to be open. {pulling hair out}  I knew it wasn’t going to be a good fit for us as I’ve heard plenty of horror stories. So I put in a request for them both to be transferred and it was DENIED.  I swear I have had more problems with this school district. {grrrr}

At this point, I won’t vent to you about all the craziness nor will I share how I’ve been verbally attacked by administration during carpool {twice}.  I’ll just say that it’s been a difficult transition.

I have taken drastic measures for my personal happiness and you will no longer find me in the carpool lane.  That is something that I can change and have control over.  After trying to arrange several different carpools and buses – with no success.  I have hired a car service!  Yep, this girl is that desperate and it turns out my neighbor runs an after-school transportation service and is now picking the boys up in the bus lane.  {whew}

Disaster averted!  With my current track record – there’s no telling what would have happened on week three!  {snicker}

Drake’s teacher is completely lovely and very well suited for her class of 8 boys.  For this year we opted to enroll Drake into the Kindergarten program at his pre-school.  His teachers last year gave us the heads up that he was not ready to go to full-time Kindergarten and Jason and I both agree. Drake is a very young soul.

The program is fully accredited and we have the option of enrolling him in 1st grade next year if he’s ready.  However, at this point our plan is to put him in Kindergarten in public school.  We really think that two years of kindergarten is just what our little man needs.

It was really difficult for me to watch all of his friends move forward into Kindergarten knowing that he’ll always be a year behind them.  AND selfishly I was really looking forward to having all of my kids in school full time.  {big sigh}

Even though he has a difficult time going into the classroom each morning he is so happy when I come to pick him up.  His teacher completely gets him and already loves those boys.  She’s the perfect mix of love and logic.  We feel very blessed.

Family Cruise Director

At The Fishin’ Hole

One of the main things the boys like to do when we visit Gramma and Grandpa is fishing!

The boys love baiting the hooks, casting it out, and the anticipation of a bite.

This is pure bonding time and I let Jason and Gramma do their thing with the boys.  While I try to learn more about my camera and try different settings and angles.

Their river is full of fish so they usually catch a few and love the thrill of a new fish.

Oh how we LOVE to catch fish.  The entire family gets so excited and then I’m on duty do take lots and lots of pictures of the catch.  {snicker}

My favorite part is watching the sunset and the relaxing ambiance as everything seems to be settling down for the night.

Well… everything but my boys of course.

Business Owner

Bosch Kitchen Re-Engineered event

There are a few perks to my day job and one of them is that on occasion I get invited to blogger outreach events from brands.  I had the coolest opportunity to fly out to Scottsdale, Arizona to attend Bosch Kitchen Re-Engineered event.

This isn’t the Arizona I lived in as a kid. Holy Smokes!  The hotel was an oasis in the dessert and I felt like I was at a tropical destination the entire weekend.

To be honest, I didn’t know much about Bosch before I attended the event.  The first time I heard the brand name was at my friend Diana’s house.  So you can imagine how blown away I was at the technology and attention to detail in each of their products.

Convection Cooking

With convection cooking ~ you can cook salmon, asparagus, and cookies in 12 minutes at the same time!

Those of you who know me well, know that I hate to cook.  However, when I do rest assured that it’s the most efficient way possible.  So my absolute favorite appliace is their convection oven.  Wondering what Convection cooking is?  Well, I hooked you up with a video and more info over on Tip Junkie. {of course}


Manfred, one of their engineers, showed us the ins and outs of their kitchen appliances.  We totally bonded over how fresh their refrigerator keeps their produce and herbs. {snicker}  We tried 7 day old fruit from a Bosch fridge and saw 7 day old fruit from their competitors fridge.  Let’s just say… there wasn’t any comparison.  The Bosch refrigerator clearly kept all the produce edible and the other did not.

I absolutely LOVE this refrigerator.  It’s a bute!  Bosch has taken great care in designing specific heating and cooling elements so that the front door doesn’t accumulate condensation, so that your produce lasts for 7 days {or more}, and that it’s uber quiet and energy efficient.

Induction Stovetop

I was amazed at their stove top induction ranges and how nothing else gets hot on the stove but the actual circle plate.  Not only for efficiency but also for safety.  What is an induction stovetop?
An induction cooker is faster and more energy-efficient than a traditional electric hob. It allows instant control of cooking energy similar to gas burners. Because induction heats the cooking vessel itself, the possibility of burn injury is significantly less than with other methods…  via Wikipedia

Bosch uses magnets baby!  So you can even put down a paper towel in between the pan and the induction stove top and the paper towel won’t burn.  {dude}  Here’s the video of it because you truly have to see to believe.  Well, at least I did.  HA!

They also have  nifty gadgets like a pop out ventilation to clean the air and protect your kitchen. I swear they’ve thought of everything.

Thanks Bosch!  I feel like I’m armed with knowledge that’s so important as a busy mom always on the go.  When you know better – you do better!  Of course now I have Bosch Envy… {sigh}

Wondering What Else We Learned?

Here are other great recaps of the event that will give you better insight to the amazing hands on experiments that we did as well as yummy recipes with this fabulous Germain engineering.

I still have the Bosch Engineer e-mail address {evil laugh} so if you have any additional questions feel free leave them in the comments or on the Tip Junkie Facebook page. I’ll be happy to get your questions answered for ya!

Girly Girl

Where Everyone’s An Artist

Have you guys heard of Let’s Art Party? Holy smokes it is so much fun.  Tiffany invited several of us out to join in the fun and honestly I had a blast.

You can bring in food and drinks so it’s more like a party than a class.  The instructor stands at the top and gives you step-by-step instructions on how to paint the canvas.

It’s so easy a kid could do it!  I’ll admit it’s a little intimidating at first but the instructor really encourages each person to put their own personality into the painting and really make it your own.

I went for a more muted look, while several of the women tried to copy the instructions exactly, while others took it to a new level and went wild.  {snicker} 

When I showed the horse I painted to my boys there were SO impressed and really made me feel like I did a good job.  It surprised me how much they liked it.  They even asked where I was going to hang it up.  {Ahhh it’s that cute!} 

I had such a fun night painting, eating, and chatting it up with the girls.  Afterwards we came over to my house for some Let’s Dance 2 on the Wii.  Good times.

Family Cruise Director

A Twinge of Nostalgia ~ Universal Orlando Resort

Can you tell that I still really miss summer?  I know that I shouldn’t be so obvious about it but I really do.  We created several wonderful memories as a family but hands down the best ones were at Universal Orlando Resort.
If you’re planning a trip, I blogged about all my travel tips over on Tip Junkie:

I created a vacation count down calendar with my new Silhouette machine so that we could all anticipate the trip together.   In each roller coaster is a piece of paper with information on a ride or attraction that we’ll get to experience.  I wanted the boys to really get a feel for how amazing this trip would be, know what to expect, as well as bond our family in the anticipation and conversation.  It worked!

It was Drake’s first time to ride in an airplane. {technically 2nd but he was an infant}  He absolutely LOVED it.  Actually the first thing he asked when we told him about the trip, was if he would be riding in an airplane.  The boy was seriously stoked!

{Um… to clarify, that Diet Coke is mine – not his. HA!}

If you stay on-site at the Universal Orlando Resort then you have access to all 3 Hotels’ pools.  I swear this was Drakes favorite part.  He absolutely loved the pools and the Hard Rock Hotel pool was his favorite.  It was really convenient to be able to hit the pool whenever you needed to relax or cool down.

I was really worried about Davis this trip.  Turning 12 has brought about so many more emotions, harder transitions, and insomnia.  However, all that worrying on my part was in vain.  The staff was incredible, we prepared Davis properly, and he had the most amazing time!  I was really proud of him as he was able to ‘enjoy the ride’ the entire week and stay on his best behavior.  I know that he had to really work at it and I was so grateful for all of his extra efforts.  It made the week as a family one of the most pleasant and exciting trips to date.

I can’t say enough about the parks! They were clean, technologically advanced, and a flippin’ good time!  We can’t wait to go back.

Deanna was our tour guide at the park and made us feel so special.  She seriously has such a cool job and has met so many celebrities.  I tried to get her to dish, but she’s way too professional for that.  HA!

Jeanette and I became fast friends and this trip introduced me to so many new bloggers who I absolutely ADORE!  It’s been so fun to see them at EVO and then again at BlogHer.  I’ve been spoiled seeing them so much this summer.

I just got my SLR camera and needless to say I have a lot to learn. But it was so much fun trying out new settings, learning about lighting, and using all of the photo op’s in the park to practice some new skills.

Did I mention the kids loved it?

It was so cool when I got an email from  MSNBC that the Today Show featured our family’s photo from Harry Potter World.  I took a screen shot of it to prove to the boys that they were featured.  But um, they were very unimpressed since I didn’t come with cash or a prize.  {whatever}

My new peeps!  Yes the trip was amazing but so were all of the bloggers.  My goodness these are ‘my people’.  There was zero drama and zero ego’s with this group.  They made it so easy to get to know them and their kiddos.  I have no doubt that these people will be in my life for years to come.  Yes, they are THAT cool.  Jason and I felt so blessed to be amongst such talented and warm people.

At the Universal Orland Resort they have child care!  So we dropped all of our kiddos off at camp {which gave me hives I was so worried about their behaviors and staying up so late in a strange place} and we went to dinner and the Blue Man Group as couples.

Once again my worry was needless, because when we picked up the boys from camp they didn’t want to leave!  They completely bonded with all of the other children and the staff was so accommodating and playful that they didn’t miss us one bit. 

I must be living under a rock because I had no idea how flippin’ cool the Blue Man Group is.  My favorite part was when the paper towels came down and everyone was grabbing them to take them to the front.  Dude… that was cool!  I loved it.

HA!!!  Since I currently have a bit of a Diet Coke addiction I had to take this picture of Drake in the Coke misting machine at Universal Studios.  {bwaahaa!}

Thanks for indulging me in my nostalgia as the summer comes to a close and I come to terms with the realities of a rigorous fall schedule.  {big sigh}

I would also be remiss if I didn’t thank everyone at Universal Orlando Resort for making the week so extraordinary, so well planned, with a variety of activities and experiences that we’ll never forget!  Have I mentioned how much I miss summer…

Mother of Boys

Sprinklers, Sun, and Shaving Cream

Talk about some serious shaving cream, sun, and sprinkler fun!  To celebrate Dylan going into Middle school we threw all the 5th graders an outdoor bash.  Just like we did for our oldest kiddos.

Dylan immediately got into it and joined in the fun as soon as we arrived.
This year we didn’t do as many organized games because it just wasn’t needed.  Each kiddo was armed with a can of shaving cream and the festivities began!

Ahhh… to be a kid again.

Thank goodness Megan had the slip and slide ~ it ended up being the shower to wash off all the shaving cream. {snicker}

I just adore this little man.  Out of all my boys, he is the most like me.  He handles life the same way that I do and has many of my personality traits.  It just makes it easier to understand him and be in his life.  He’s truly a joy and blessing in our family.
Business Owner · Family Cruise Director

Sea World San Antonio of Texas: 7 Insider Secrets To Plan Your Trip

Visiting Sea World San Antonio of Texas this summer?  Then  you’re going to need these insider secrets To Plan Your Trip!  Sure you can just show up to Sea World San Antonio in Texas and wait in an hour line for a hamburger… or you can be armed with an easy game plan and really enjoy your trip to Sea World.  {wink}

Tip #1 ~ Plan Your Day Before You Arrive at the Park
Did you know that SeaWorld San Antonio has an iPhone and Droid app?  Yep, first things first and download the app to your phone.  You’ll love it!  It has the show schedule {which changes frequently}, a map to the park, and you can even take pictures of your day ad upload them.  It’s seriously cool.  You’ll be able to find a restroom and pick a place to eat right at your finger tips.
Create a Food, Show, and Ride plan.  
So use the rest of these insider tips to really plan out what you are going to be doing every hour of the day to maximize your experience, money, and family fun!  Please don’t just show up unprepared – you’ll get frustrated and stuck in line after line.
Also, buy your tickets, quick queue passes, dine-in passess, and dining experiences all online so you don’t have to wait at the park.  Believe me when I tell you the lines can run up to an hour long.  So this is key.
When To Visit the Park
It’s good to know that April, May, August and September are not as busy so it’s a great time to come and visit the park.  On the flip side, the busiest time of the year is Spring Break and the 4th of July.
Tip #2 ~ When to Arrive?
The parking lot opens at 8am, cashier opens at 9am, the front gate opens at 9:30 in the morning.  The front of the park opens at 9:30 and others at 10am.  While the entire park opens up at 11am.
My advice is to find out what time you can feed the dolphins and get there at 9:15 to do that first!  Otherwise you can wait up to 3 hours trying to feed those friendly creatures since they’re only fed a few times throughout the day.  It’s a Sea World tradition and an amazing photo-op for your kiddos.
Tip #3 ~ When to Ride the Roller Coasters

If you have older kids and want to ride the Steel Eel and the Great White go back to the park first thing in the morning {11am}.  My boys were able to ride each ride twice with zero wait! 

In the summer hit the water rides in the Lost Lagoon before the dry rides between 1-2pm to avoid the lines and long wait times.  If you have a two-day pass for Sea World Texas, go early into the Lost Lagoon and stay the day.  There is so much to do and your family will absolutely love it.

RIO at Sea World San Antonio

Tip #4 ~ Best Time To Eat

Hands down the best time to eat is near a stadium during a show, especially at Rio during the Shamu show at noon.  You’ll see that the majority of the people are either inside the stadium or in a different side of the park – leaving Rio empty without a line and perfect for a quiet family lunch.

Tip #5 ~ Where To Sit at the Shows

If the park is really crowded, then you are going to want to get to the shows 45-60 minutes before it starts!  Um, yes.  I know that sounds a little excessive but if you have come with another family then this is really easy.  You tag team it!  Have one adult sit and wait at the show with the small kiddos while the other is having fun with the older ones.  My husband and I take turns waiting and it actually ends up being a really nice break.  Buy some popcorn, cotton candy, or lunch and enjoy the peace and quiet.

I was wondering where are the best places to sit and watch the shows at the park so I asked Brian, their PR director and this is the inside scoop!

  • Azule – Sit left center.  Away from the funny guy that splashes people during the warm up show.   If the seats are wet around you – you will get wet!  So pick a dry spot.
  • Sea Lions – At the front left you will get wet – so sit in the front on the right side to stay dry and get a great view.
  • Shamu – You’ll want to site right behind the side out {the white landing place where the whale shows off}  Or when facing the stadium from outside – sit on the left bleachers, middle.  You’ll get a great view and stay dry.

Tip #6 ~ Re-create Family Traditions

Don’t forget your family traditions while at the park.  For instance, I always take a family picture of us eating cotton candy when we visit.  Also, if you match your families clothing it not only makes darling pictures but it also helps with safety as you’ll be able to find your family at a quick glance.  Another thing I love to do is take a picture of my kids at the same place every visit.  This way as they get older I have fun collage of growing up pictures.

In order to get a picture of the big Sea World sign at the front of the entrance {like the 1st picture in this article}, you’re going to want to take a U-turn at the entrance at around 9:00am.  This way no one else will be in your picture, there won’t be a wait, and you won’t back up traffic. {wink}

Tip #7 ~ Don’t Forget to Bring:
  • Make sure your camera is fully charged.  You’re going to love all of the photo ops!
  • Sunscreen – Especially if it’s a little overcast you’re going to want protection from the sun.
  • 8 Quarters for the Lockers – There are lockers in several different places to keep your personal items secure.  You’ll need more if you’re at the Lost Lagoon to hold your camera and wallet while you’re on the wet rides.
  • A small bag or light backpack that you can wear on your back to carry small items.  I would not bring a purse ~ you’ll be walking all day long and the extra weight will just get cumbersome. 
  • Portable iGo Charger for your iPhone.  You’ll be taking pictures, using the Sea World app, and texting each other to stay in touch.  You’ll need a lot of extra juice to get through the day without a hitch.
  • Stroller for young kiddos.  Just make sure that it has a basket to hold a diaper bag, water bottles, and individually packaged snacks.  {that’s the only type of food allowed to be brought into the park}

That’s it.  Even though we live 5 hours away, my family and I have been to Sea World San Antonio of Texas over 6 times and I we still can’t get enough of it.  It’s a wonderful family vacation and there’s so much to do for families with kids of all ages! 

Enjoy your trip, you’re going to love it!