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Saturday, May 23, 2015

National Doughnut Day!

June 5th is National Doughnut Day. Krispy Kreme will be celebrating by giving away 1 free doughnut of any variety to each customer! Yummy! Which doughnut flavor is your favorite? 

"We are celebrating one of the sweetest holidays of the year with a free treat for our fans!

On Friday, June 5, 2015, in honor of National Doughnut Day, guests will be treated to one FREE doughnut of any variety at participating Krispy Kreme® US and Canadian store locations. 

National Doughnut Day commemorates The Salvation Army volunteers who provided doughnuts to soldiers in WWI. 

Offer valid for one FREE doughnut of any variety, including the signature Original Glazed® doughnut, at participating Krispy Kreme US and Canadian store locations on Friday, June 5, 2015 only. No purchase necessary. While supplies last. Offer not valid at convenience or grocery stores. Excludes Connecticut and Puerto Rico locations. VisitKrispyKreme.com to locate a store near you."

Find your local Krispy Kreme here

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Happy Birthday Candle review and giveaway!

Birthdays are supposed to be magical. Growing up, my mother tried to make every birthday I had, a special event that I would remember. These days, there are so many ways to build up those happy memories. I've been to parties with bounce houses, photo booths, dance party themes... There are so many ideas and things out there to make someone's birthday truly special. But the best part of any birthday party? The time for cake! Who cares what Johnny got, Mom! I'm ready for cake. And that wonderfully fun moment of having everyone sing to only you! 
Well, suppose you could make that song even more special? I came across something the other while surfing an app I have. It showed the Happy Birthday Candle. A very unique candle that plays the Happy Birthday song while spinning. Its rather awesome. You light the top candle, it spins and plays, and then the flower bursts open revealing more candles lit up by the main one. 
They come in three colors; Blue 
and Yellow 
I took a blue one on my trip to my parents house this past week. My younger brother had his birthday while we were visiting. I thought it would be cool to try out while there. I have to admit, even after the singing ended and he blew out the candles we were still laughing and enjoying the candle. When you light the candle, it shoots up like a sparkler, dazzling and beautiful. The music plays and you can join in with song. As it spins, the flower opens up and reveals all the other candles, neatly lit. I absolutely loved it! 
Check out their website and like their Facebook page! That way you can enter the giveaway to win your own pack of Happy Birthday Candles. Since the owner asked there be only one way to enter (liking his Facebook page), I made it count as a 5 point entry to boost your chances. Feel free to share the contest with your friends and check out my Facebook page as well. I'm always eager to hear what you think or what you want to see on here, so comment or message me! https://www.facebook.com/ReviewsByATexasNerd
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The end is near

My vacation is coming to a close. I've gotten time with friends and family. My great grandmother being one of the most important ones.
We made memories.
We made Takayoki (sp?) that was certainly interesting.... My 2 1/2 year old sister showed us how to start my dads motorcycle. 
Celebrated my brothers 14 year old birthday. 
Hung out with one of the greatest nerds this world will ever know.
 Enjoyed places both new and old.
Sadly, tomorrow afternoon we will again board the mini van and make the long drive back home. Part of me wishes the trip never ends. The other part of me will happily embrace that regular routine I had. And my bed... And I'll be taking along lotion until my sunburn turns tan! But what are vacations for anyhow? If not to have fun and make memories of all kinds. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Traveling with children

All children are special. They say the darnedest things. Or see things in a way you don't. My kids do it all the time. I either scratch my head and wonder how that came to light with them or laugh until I could wet myself. On our trip, my oldest definitely had me laughing. 
I hear the seatbelt click as its being taken off. 
Me: Put that seatbelt back on!
Stephen: But mom, I need to fart. 
Me: .... So?! Put it back on. Then fart. 
Stephen: I can't fart if I'm sitting down. 
Me: *facepalm* What...? You have to wear a seatbelt so long as we are driving, son. So find another way to fart or wait until we stop again. 

We drive on and I fall asleep in the front. When we stop for gas, I change into shorts and brush my teeth. My oldest starts waking up and hands me a bottle with yellow liquid inside.
I've made enough long distance trips to know what's in the bottle. 
Stephen: *smiles* Guess what's in the bottle, mom! 
Me: I don't have to guess. I already know. Why did you pee in the bottle instead of asking us to stop? 
Stephen: Because you were taking too long to stop and I couldn't hold it. So I just had to pee in the bottle. 
I'm just going to be proud of him for not wetting himself. 

Later we get out of the car to grab a bite to eat. Immediately after jumping out the side, my middle child whips it out and starts peeing in the lot. I turn around and ask why?! "I had to pee. Oh and I peed while I was sleeping so my clothes are wet." 
In my head I'm thinking, there's a place with lovely restrooms just a few steps away. Nope, just couldn't wait. Had to show off those family jewels to the traffic-filled road and restaurant full of people. Way to go, son. 

Day 1 of my vacation

Already halfway through my first day on the road. We left about 3:30 this morning with 3 sleeping kids and a van filled with bags. iPad, tablet, DS... Yes! All set for the moment they wake up bored. I slept while Bryan drove the first part of the trip. Woke up around the time we hit Louisiana and found the Cajun music station. Cajun may be a dying language, but the music plays on so beautifully. I tried to find the Coushatta Reservation to show my children part of my heritage. Thanks to Google Maps, we ended up on a dead end road with "No Trespassing" signs everywhere. I tried. Instead we pressed on to see my great grandmother. 
This amazing woman has been a key role model throughout my life. Now she is 81 years old. She can barely walk, her mind comes and goes, and she's steadily losing weight. At about 90 pounds currently, I'm pretty sure I could lift her with ease. 
Seeing her as she is, I'm filled with two emotions. On the one hand, I'm so proud of her. She has lived through so much. If she could recall them, she has stories that make adventure books seem lame. But on the other hand, she is alone. She's outlived husbands, her mother, her son. Her sister has just about lost her mind entirely. Her memory comes and goes. My Nana's health has been on the downslope for many years. Falling, arthritis, osteoporosis, and Parkinson's disease. All of her remaining family lives in Florida or Texas. And some don't mind stealing from her if the chance arises. She actually longs for her day to "go". And it pains me to see her this way. But I know there's nothing I could do. I just tell her that God isn't ready to take her away. She brings a little more beauty into this world with everyday she is here. Sadly I couldn't stay as long as I wished. My children got rowdy and begged to leave (to my horror). 
Now we are on the 12 hour leg of our trip on to Florida. I get a little peace as the munchkins pass out. 
Onward we go! 

Marvels Avengers: Age of Ultron movie review

So I finally got around to seeing the new Avengers movie. I was not disappointed in the least. And the fact I watched it at IMAX in 3D just made it all the more amazing. 
The Avengers have finally become a real team. They fight together to keep the world safe.
Stark, of course, funds everything. Bruce Banner has developed a method to be calmed after transforming into the Hulk, called the lullaby. Natasha has developed feelings for one of her team mates, but being the guy he is he just doesn't get her flirtations. Hawkeye has an incredible secret that he entrusts his team with knowing when they begin to fall apart after the Crimson Witch messes with their heads. 
So many mini plots. So much humor and added character dynamics. I loved every minute of it! The cinematography was fantastic. Old characters returned while new characters were introduced. 
The love story between the Hulk and his lady may seem odd, but they somehow complete each other. Both are deadly in their own ways but together they both find calm. 
Thor and Stark have a testosterone-filled moment of comparing who's girl is better. Always nice when your man wants the world to know that he has found the amazing woman, right? 
Then there's the villains. You start with a group of Hydra followers who have found twins with amazing abilities. The girl's powers are mentally centered. She can manipulate other people's minds by showing them possible future visions. Telekinesis also flows through her fingers. Elizabeth Olsen plays this part. I admit she's not a favorite actress, but she did pretty well. Her characters brother has super speed. These two escape when the Avengers come in to capture and dismantle the Hydra hideout. They capture Loki's scepter which sparks something in Stark. He becomes obsessed with using the technology to complete a project called Ultron. It's geared towards creating protective weaponry to fight alien invasions. He gets Banner involved and before you know it, things go horribly wrong. Ultron becomes self aware and decides he knows best how to change the world for the better. After recruiting the twins, they set out on their rampage towards total world destruction.
The twins, however, turn on him and join the Avengers. As does the creation that Ultron planned on transferring his consciousness to.
The team has made it to ultimate awesomeness now. 
Truly give this one my thumbs up. There is crude humor, plenty of violence towards robots, and there may have been some language. I suggest ages 8 and up or those mature enough to handle it. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Traveling tips

The next couple months are going to include some interesting trips.
This month, I will be taking my family to Florida to visit my parents and siblings. Packing is always a trial during our trips. If you don't pack enough, you have to buy replacements. If you pack too much, you waste space in your limited-space vehicle. It can be very tricky to find a balance between the two extremes. I'll be packing for 3 kids and myself (the husband will pack for himself). We should be gone a whole week. I came across a great article from my email feed that the Krazy Coupon Lady had. It was all about packing light. Granted, she was talking about flying, but the rules can apply to road trips or even packing for over night trips. 
Ditching toiletries is hard for me to do, but I know its the smart thing to do. If you are staying at a hotel, chances are they will have travel sized shampoo and conditioner. They usually also have soaps available. So grab the deodorant and tweezers, ladies but don't worry about the hair or body care products. I don't typically use liquid cleansers to remove my makeup. I use the diaper wipes as she mentioned. Target and possibly Walmart too has these great travel sized packs that are smaller and fit well in an overnight bag. Plus they are cheap (about a $1) to pick up. Use body lotion as your hand cream so you don't have to carry two kinds. 
Then comes outfits. I typically use 2-3 bottoms depending on how long the trip is with 5 tops. Switch the bottoms out every other day unless they get seriously dirty. The kids I have no choice but to pack a couple extra outfits each unless I'm going to be at my parents. Thankfully, I will be and will have access to the washing machine should I need it. With kids though, you have to be prepared for those "accidents". With my clothing, I do as she suggested - make sure the colors are easy to swap out and mix up with each other. Most of clothes are tees and jeans. Dresses are something I love wearing and they make an outfit in just one piece. So packing them takes less space. 
I'm testing out the packing techniques she mentioned.
But I'm adding my own twist by rolling the top with the bottoms for the kids clothes to keep outfits together. 
Rolling clothes instead of stacking them in folded.
I know this works well for filling in corners, but I'm hoping it will do nicely to fit everything in with more room. 

On top of this, I found a few deals on treats that I will be bringing along. Between Target sales and Cartwheel offers, I got chips and chocolate. How can I go wrong?! 
These Skinny Cow candies are $3.64. Cartwheel had 50% off the cookies and creme version only.
I added a coupon for $1/1 and paid .82 (- an extra 15% discount). 
Chips are easy for the kids to enjoy on the go. So I picked up the Buy 1 Cheez-it Crunch'd and get a free Pringles (up to $1). I added two discounts from Cartwheel for both products 
So here's how it looked: 
Cheez-it Crunch'd      $2.25 (-10% offer)
Pringles                      $1.36 (-10% offer)
Take $1 off for the coupon. In the end you basically pay $1.30 each. 

These were on sale $4 a bag or 2/$8. I had a $1/1 coupon. Plus there was a 5% off in Cartwheel.
I paid about $2.80. Love Lindor Truffles! And I've been wanting to try the Dark Orange flavor. 
So lets get ready for fun travels this summer. And lets do so with smart packing that leaves extra space or more money in your pockets. 

Happy Mother's Day to all you amazing women!

It’s that time of year again. The time when we celebrate the wonderful Mothers, Grandmothers, and otherwise influential women in our lives. This upcoming Sunday is the one day a year when everyone feels compelled to salute their Mom. In my opinion, it should be the day we bust out birthday cake in pajamas and then all other days we say, "I love you, Mommy." But that's just me. You better have a gift and/or card already on the way. 

Being a Mother, not just a mom, is the hardest job any woman can possibly work. We don’t get recognition but once a year (if that). You don’t get paid for all the long hours, lack of sleep, hazardous spills, and crazy hair days. To all you women who have scared the UPS delivery guy by answering the door in your pajamas and hair that looks like you stuck your finger in a socket… I salute you! Been there, done that, and laughed at the look on their faces. Even when I was embarrassed to realize I had no bra on, I still laughed.

Your job as a Mother starts from conception. You will probably puke your guts up, outgrow everything you own (permanently), and in some cases gain scars that will never go away. But you will gain an experience that makes everything worth it in the end. The first time you hold that precious life in your arms, the life you made, you will be changed.
Then you get home and are tested to the utmost limits of your sanity. Indeed, you might even have breakdowns – mentally and physically. Hundreds of diaper changing, feedings every two hours, sleepless nights, cold meals (if you can stay awake to eat at all), and laundry every day. As they grow, your job doesn’t really get easier. Sure, you get a little more sleep finally. You can wash less clothes after age two. But now you have to put on the running shoes because they will NOT stand still no matter what you say or do. They test their own limits. What can they get away with? How far can they push you, before you throw your hands in the air and say, “I’m done!” They are like little sponges. So inquisitive. Curiosity is how they learn and grow. And then questions start. “Where do babies come from?” “Why is you pee-pee different than mine?” “Why is daddy so hairy?” Or even better, be walking through Walmart and pass the camouflage bras with your little boy. Chances are good that he will yell, “Look mom! Camouflage boobies!” They are so good at coming up with stuff like this. My mother as a child had it all figured out. She said, “Little girls play with each other. Little boys play with themselves.”
Even through the harder years, it’s worth it. If you do a good job as a parent, as a mother in particular, you will see the fruits of your efforts. And they last a lifetime. The love that never ends, that surpasses death, engulfs you. That child will always be your baby no matter what they do or how they grow. They will always run to you when they need nurturing and comfort. As they grow older, they will finally seek and possibly follow your advice. Some later than others… The closer a bond you have with them growing up, the closer they will be to you as they age.
The women who have my utmost respect and love are few, but completely my heroes.
My Mother. She has and always be the one I seek until death do us part. We might not see eye-to-eye on everything, but there is a respect that I will have forever. She’s given up everything for me. Her dream of being a nurse, her perfect model body, and on some days I think even her sanity. When I feel like I’m failing, she’s there giving me advice and telling me she’s proud of me still.
My Nana. This woman has endured more than your average single mom. She has worked harder than a man, been in beauty pageants, raised a son alone, took care of a mother that was bitter to the core, traveled the world, and is now struggling with a body that no longer works like her mind. I can only hope I’m half the lady she is.
Nana S. W. (You know who are) I’m not related to this one by blood, but by a bond stronger than blood. She started out as a pen-pal and now has become better than a grandmother to me. She will tell it to me straight, even if I won’t listen or don’t want to hear it. She’s had her hard life. As a woman on the police force, who was in an accident that cost her a leg and started her on the path on single motherhood, she has experienced more than I could possibly handle. But her wisdom has been there when I needed it.
Ava M. She was named my godmother, but has been more like family from the day I was born. I would do anything for her. Her life has so many amazing stories that built her. She may as well be another adopted grandmother in my life.
Sue L. has been my mentor and a great example of what a strong woman is since I was a volunteer in her US Naval Sea Cadet Corps. She has patience, strength, dedication and a whole lotta compassion for children.
I know I have a long road ahead of me. Especially as a single mother of three. I won’t give up. I won’t forget what I’ve learned. And I’ll be the best Mother I can! Definitely raising my kids to be future nerds with pride.
Kudos to those who are making the most of their time and raising an awesome future generation, with or without help!


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Happy cinco de mayo!

Now bring on the donuts! Today only, Krispy Kremes in Texas are giving you a great deal. 6 donuts, ANY, for only $5. 

Star Wars day!

May the Fourth was a fantastic Star Wars day this year. After work, we went to the mall. The Lego store had sales on Star Wars sets along with promotions. They gave the kids stickers (Rebels!) and every Star Wars purchase was rewarded with a poster. So I got a new keychain to replace my faded Captain Jack Sparrow. 
And in turn, got this awesome poster! 
I look forward to the next Star Wars promotion and new poster they wil give out. Going to get them frames and let this be my decor. 
The Disney store was showing Star Wars clips while the kids got bookmarks and storm trooper masks. Sales were everywhere on Star Wars merchandise. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

From $8.25 to $2.87!

I've been looking in cartwheel and my coupons. Plus I noticed some sales. So I did a little shopping with a goal of spending less than $10. And boy did I score wonderfully! 
My husband keeps going through his Sharpie pens. I had $1/1 writing utensil of select brands. This 3 pack was $1.97. So I only paid .97. 
Then we move on to the edible savings. Lindt Hello candy bars are currently 2/$4
plus I had 2 $1/1 coupons making each one a dollar. 
I love these chocolates! 
Lastly are the Little Debbie snack cakes. They are $1.79 each but several of them have 20% off in Cartwheel.
Plus I still had one 85¢/1 coupon that I printed a while back. Add in an extra 15% off with employee and Redcard discounts to bring it down to only 64¢ a box!!! 
At the register, my total was $8.25. After Cartwheel, coupons and discounts... I paid a mere $2.87! Great savings over all. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

I'm blaming the hormones

All you ladies out there will be sure to understand when I say that it truly sucks when a certain change takes over once a month and you go from sweet to hold-this-halo-until-the-horns-go-away. For me, I just have no patience for stupidity. Normally I just look at you with the "Bless your heart, you can't help it" pity look and go about my day. I mean really, some people are so stupid, you just know there is no hope for them but you can't hold it against them. When the crimson tide starts flowing though... The world just isn't ready to meet me on my level. Hormones take a drastic change. I feel ugly, tired, gross, tired, moody, tired, irritated, drained, and even depressed at times. Oh and did I mention tired?! It's like the energy is suddenly drained from me. I have no drive and that starter of mine has locked up. This only adds to my inability to tolerate the weak and pathetic minds or mouths that try to waste what sanity I do have. Part of me wants to tell them to take a ride on the short bus. The rational part of me, fights to continue my "Of course I care" look while I'm screaming inside "Shut up! I don't care." 
Having kids has helped. I can drive without going over curbs. My headaches are limited to the first couple days usually. I'm not going into anemia or shock after day three. And the pain only lasts the first day or two. Definitely better than pre-kids. I can focus! Which helps me when I'm in need of my nice attitude. 
So what else when I'm bleeding a river? I suddenly crave chocolate. I'm a chocolate lover by nature anyhow, but this is a strong impulse to hunt chocolate down and devour until the end finally comes around. Death by chocolate is mildly describing my desire for it. And what do I find when I go looking around Cartwheels new offers? 
20% off Godiva! Seriously?! Add my 15% from employee discount and Redcard and suddenly I want to spend my hard earned money on expensive candy. Whereas I can normally be satisfied with a Hershey bar. Then you have the Little Debbie offers. I still have a manufacturers  coupon that I printed way back when. 
There are multiple kinds you can get. 
I don't eat breakfast much anymore. Sleeping an extra 15 minutes tends to win over food. So I instead opt for drinking a shake. I find that the Special K ones are my favorites. Especially when I use my rewards to points to get $1/1 coupons. And then add a new offer of 25% off! Score!!
And yes, I'll be getting the chocolate ones... 

So here's to my fellow sufferers. Let's divulge in a chocolate splurge. After all, it's what we are accused of anyhow. 
Show everyone how to "have a happy period"! 

Oh and one other offer I found, 
50% off the Just Dance 2015. Sadly, I'm pretty sure I already have this one... 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Pentel Pen review via Shoplet.com

Shoplet.com has once again hooked me up with office supplies to try and write about. This time it was Pentel Pens. 
The Vicuna Retractable Ballpoint Pens ink ball point pens make a vibrant addition to my pen collection. If you are like me, organization is everything. These pens help for color coordination. Made from 66% recycled plastic, means you're reusing rather than wasting. They are super smooth. As advertised, the design is sleek and elegant. There's a grip for your fingers. The tip is designed for writing finer lines.

I also received the Twist-Erase III Mechanical Pencil. It's an automatic pencil with a jumbo eraser that you can twist up to use. It's supposed to be break resistant which is often a problem with automatic pencils. I love the comfortable latex-free grip it has though. It has a fine tip that leaves bold, easy-to-read impressions.

Lastly, there is the EnerGel Retractable Gel pen. I have a love for pens.
Always writing. Lists, creative pieces, and all things random! A metal pen is definitely one that makes for durability and come on.... You know it feels cool too. I love the design. And light blue color.

My favorite pen is the EnerGel. It's the smoothest and feels comfortable in my grip. My husband says the vicuña pens weren't as smooth as the gel pens we've gotten before. Pentel started a program called Recycology to help the environment by creating less waste while increasing recycling activity. They work hard to reduce the use of natural resources and follow safe environmental manufacturing. 
You can check out these and other office supplies at Shoplet.com. They also have promotional products, office stationary and medical supplies.