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Friday, April 29, 2016

Family night at Gatti's

As a part of the U.S. Family Guide bloggers, I was invited to write a review for our local Gatti's. Located at 2921 Pat Booker Road in Universal City, Gatti's offers a fun, family experience for all ages. 
We went around noon this time and it wasn't so busy. But there were parties going on as it was towards the weekend.  
You can reserve rooms for parties and fun occasions. They also have multiple dining rooms. One of the dining rooms has a large TV where movies play to provide entertainment for the kids while you dine. We chose the Quiet Dining room.
Food choices are abundant.
They have various types of pasta and sauces to choose from, a salad bar, myriads of pizza flavors that are ever changing throughout the day, and a dessert set up.
Some of my personal favorites were the Italian type pasta and jalapeƱo pepperoni pizza. My oldest son devoured a plate of spaghetti right off the start.
Normally I can't get him to be as enthusiastic when I make it at home... My younger son loved the macaroni and cheese. Apparently I don't make that right either since he had far more gusto for Gatti's than he has for mine. They have baked potatoes and even potato salad that was pretty good. 
From the drink choices, I really loved that there were 4 types of tea to choose from. I chose green tea, though you have regular sweet and unsweet as well as Nestea Raspberry to choose from. 
As with any buffet-providing restaurant, clean plates are never ending. You finish one, dump in a receptacle for such and grab a fresh one. 
There is a huge game room to play in.
Games are typically .25 or 50¢ each though some cost more, such as the bumper cars or (my favorite) Fruit Ninja
which are $1 or more.
You can either purchase a game card, or use cash to pay for the games.
There's a little something for everyone. One of our favorites was the Goal Rush.
You get a set amount of balls and you have to toss/roll them upward and into various point value "goals". We ended up playing it over a few times. 
There are plenty of ticket-rewarding games. Tickets can be used to redeem prizes.
The ticket machines were having issues counting and adding credit to the cards. So the lines were a bit long. But that's to be expected with such a high volume of people using them daily. 
It was a great experience for my family. And if you sign up for the Gatti's newsletter, you can receive emails letting you know what the latest deals are. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Summer time fun at Schlitterbahn!

If there is one water park I love bringing the family to, it would have to be Schlitterbahn! The rides, the water, free parking, bring your picnic! Need I say more? I think I do actually. They also have great promotions. Which means a lot for families these days. Vacations can be pretty pricey. But staying at a Schlitterbahn resort doesn't have to be. Thanks to my connections with the US Family guide as a mommy blogger, I'm getting to share these deals with you and will hopefully be allowed to share a review post if we get selected to make a trip there. 

Check out the promotions they have running here:
South Padre Island
New Braunsfels
I'd have to say that New Braunfels is my favorite! Not just because of how close it is to home, but because we each find things we enjoy there. Plus some rides connect to the river, they recycle the water and cut back on waste. 
Below is fun information that was provided on the various parks.  
Key News for Schlitterbahn:
Every park has a fact sheet on our newsroom, but here are some fast facts.
Schlitterbahn New Braunfels is our flagship park and is America's #1 waterpark for 18 years and has won awards for the best waterpark, best waterpark ride (The Master Blaster) and best new ride (Dragon's Revenge.)
Schlitterbahn has been the birthplace of nearly every waterpark ride innovation including the world's first uphill water coaster and the inland surfing ride, the Boogie Bahn.

Every park has a claim to fame:
- New Braunfels - World's longest tube ride; America's Favorite Waterpark.
- South Padre Island - World's first Transportainment system where interconnected rivers are queue lines for rider, this way you never have to leave your tube!
- Galveston - Building the world's tallest water coaster.
- Kansas City - World's tallest water slide.
- Corpus Christi - Longest river system in Texas.

Green Facts on our South Padre Beach Resort:
Ropes: Over three miles of 3-inch mooring ropes from dozens of former ships have been painstakingly wrapped around giant concrete structural poles on our Sea 4ever 10,000 square foot patio.

Green House: The retractable roof over our indoor waterpark was built from a large greenhouse - an old Schultz nursery.
Lobby Check in Counter: Built from salvaged walnut trees which were pulled from a road project in Kansas.

Parapet Walls: The hatch covers came off a famous US Troop carrier the John E. Pope and are used on parapet walls and also to make tables. Over 500 are on site.

Chandeliers: The beautiful chandeliers hanging in the Sea 4ever event patio were salvaged from an aging Vegas hotel. Our team glued shells to them and hung in the ceiling.

Waterslides: Yes, even some of the water slides were recycled. The water slides in our indoor park came from a park in Cleveland Ohio, were salvaged, refurbished, and re-installed.
Handrails: An old Dutchman Downs Stadium was the source for all the handrails.

Loblolly Pines: In 2011, a major wildfire raged through Bastrop County, Texas in September. Three separate fires started during Labor Day weekend and by the time it was controlled, it destroyed 1,691 homes and burned over 34,000 acres of land including the vast majority of Bastrop State Park's 5,900 acres of Loblolly Pines. The Lost Pines Forest, thought to have originated in or before the Pleistocene era, was also heavily impacted.
For safety, the burned pines had to be removed. These scorched trees were destined for the grinder who would have turned them into mulch. Jeff Henry, with Schlitterbahn, offered to take the fallen trees, then had them milled, beginning the process of transforming the pines from scorched wood to the most dramatic feature throughout the Schlitterbahn Beach Resort at South Padre.

FYI: You'll also find the pines all over Schlitterbahn New Braunfels - look for the pine paneling in the Riverbend cabins and the lovely furniture pieces here and there. We'll try to point them out during your tour.

Where you will find the Bastrop Pines in the South Padre Beach Resort:
- Rooms: In most rooms the cabinets, coffee tables, nightstands, and headboards are made from the Bastrop Loblolly Pines.
- Dining areas: Large tables are made from the Loblolly Pines.
- Lobby: The large tree stump tables by the doors leading to the heated pool are from the fire, as is the siding along many of the interior walls.
- External: The siding on the outside walls of the resort are made from Loblolly Pines.

Something I thought was amazing - It's The Year of Anniversaries!
World's Most Award Winning Uphill Water Coaster, The Master Blaster, turns 20: The Schlitterbahn New Braunfels park is home to a guest favorite, the world famous Master Blaster. Built in 1996, this 2.5 minute ride is over 65 feet tall and sends guests on an exhilarating ride down two, 3 story drops. It is easily the most iconic uphill water coaster in the world. Have you ridden the Master Blaster yet?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

AdoramaPix review and discount information

Photo gifts are the best, in my opinion. They can be made for anyone, for any occasion. They can be created to fit your needs and can come in the shape of just about any object imaginable. AdoramaPix has become a favorite for ordering photo gifts. I recently ordered a 9.5 x 11" Hexagon-shaped metalprint from them as a review opportunity since I’m a member of the US Family Guide mommy bloggers group. These are a starting price of $42.

I love metal prints. They are sturdy, last forever, don’t fade like a picture, you don’t have to worry about them getting moisture damage in a frame… Just overall, a great gift idea.
And with AdoramaPix, it came with a mini level as well as wooden hanging framing to better hang it. 
They have some cool ideas when it comes to using these for decorating. I got an awesome space photo for mine.
In the future I’d like to expand the scene with more. Shipping was quick too. They sent it on the 17th and it arrived on the 21st.

Below is information from them as well as the discount information!

AdoramaPix helps people turn their digital photographs from abstract computer files into beautiful keepsakes designed to last a lifetime. Their contemporary metal prints capture memories in rich color and vibrant detail. Because your images are infused right into the metal, and not painted on the surface, their metal prints are extremely durable. Not only will your metal image be water and weather proof, but scratch resistant as well. You can even clean it with glass cleaner. Your memories deserve to live in true, archival luxury with AdoramaPix metal prints.
You can find all the fun gift ideas HERE:

My readers get to save! 25% off Hexagon #Metal Prints! Use promo code: PXHEXMTL25 expires 06/ 15 /2016

Great deals in time for Mother's Day!

I recently ordered a blanket for my future mother in law. They celebrated the graduation of her youngest son from the Marine boot camp out in California. As part of that and as her early Mother’s Day gift, I ordered a wonderful (and super soft!) Sherpa blanket from Collage.com. I think the most unique and best gifts, especially for mothers, are the ones that include photos. Moms have a tendency to treasure those things that we make rather than just buy. And photos are something we can love forever. They are memories that are frozen but speak a thousand words.

So you can bet I was thrilled when the folks at Collage.com asked if I wanted to write a review and share information about their promotions just in time for Mother’s Day. Don’t have to mom to buy for? Think about the Graduates of this year or the Father’s Day gifts for next month.
Collage.com is so easy to use. You drop in your picture, pick your product, add a text if you want and voila! You have a wonderful gift ready to order. They also make filling out your information easy. And shipping was super-fast! I had ordered it on a Saturday night and the following Friday it arrived so that we could take it to her. It was also sent in a zip able bag that kept it safe from the rain and would provide her a way to store it in between uses.
The look on her face was priceless. The fact her Marine wanted to steal it was even better. You know you have given the greatest gift when everyone wants it.
The printed side is smooth and the other side is the Sherpa material. It is so comfortable. Perfect for curling up on the couch on a cool night while reminiscing.
So take a few minutes and check out their product selection.  They have Current Deals here. If you need ideas for Mother's Day gifts, they have quite the guide here. If its graduation gift ideas you need, check here. Remember to check the deadlines as they have them listed for your convenience. Mine came quickly, but the postal service will be quite busy with all those last minute shipping needs going out.

Label Daddy promotion!

Summer camps are here. Followed quickly by those back to school days when your kids need everything labeled so they won't be lost. Label Daddy is in full swing providing labels to families like yours with washable and highly durable labels. I LOVE their labels. Each of my kids has them on their backpacks, pencil boxes, and lunch boxes. It makes everything so much easier to keep organized. You know what belongs to your child and so does everyone else. The following information was provided to me from Label Daddy and includes the promotional discount thanks to being a part of the US Family Guide mommy bloggers.

Get ready for camp and save 25% on Label Daddy peel and stick custom name labels! Label Daddy is the number one solution for labeling your belongings! No ironing or sewing . . . just peel and stick. Their exclusive laminated coating gives labels an extra layer of protection and is a must for camp! Remember to label all clothing, sports equipment, electronics, and other personal belongings your kids bring to school, camp, sports leagues, day care, vacation, and other places. Label Daddy labels keep them from getting lost or mixed up with others. These convenient labels are great for adults too! -- Put them on your sunglass/eyeglass case, phone, camera, sports equipment, tablet, e-reader, hats, clothing, and more.

These labels are super durable peel-and-stick washable labels -- they're washer/dryer safe, microwave safe, dishwasher safe and UV resistant! Label Daddy labels are also fun and attractive. You design your own labels! Pick from tons of colors, sizes and logos, including Disney and Marvel characters, MLB, NBA, and NHL team logos, other sport and fun logos, and more. These labels are made in the USA and shipped directly to you worldwide.

Save 25% on your entire Label Daddy order - this is the best discount available anywhere. Use code FUNFAM25 at checkout. http://www.funfam25.labeldaddy.com/

Monday, April 25, 2016

Acme Westcott scissor review via Shoplet.com

Time for another Shoplet.com review! I love their great selection for office supplies. They are the number one e-tailer for all your office needs. This time, I’m showcasing a pair Acme Westcott Carbo TitaniumStraight Scissors.
I’ve had scissors of all sorts around the hours before. But I have never owned anything as serious as these bad boys. I can cut through cardboard and plastic! These things are super comfortable in my grip. The blades are titanium-bonded which makes them stronger than steel and they should stay sharper longer. I also appreciate the pointed tip which helps keep your cuts precise.
When thinking about uses for these scissors, my first instinct would be for crafting. I mean… they can cut through wire and cardboard… thin plastic… It almost seems a shame to use them on just regular paper. But I know if I did, it would be just as smooth a cut. They are actually listed as a crafting and rec room product though.

The only con I really have for these would be the price. $24.81 a piece seems steep. Granted, I don’t buy high end scissors so I could be off and these could be a steal!

What would you use these for? I'm thinking these might even work in a bug out bag...

Shoplet has other things for your home or office needs. Such as cleaning supplies, other Westcott products, medical supplies and office furniture. So be sure and check them out.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Kangeaux information and discount

US Family Guide has partnered up with Kangeaux to share discounts and information about an awesome product that I think could be useful to parents everywhere. Kangeaux Outdoors.

Here is the information provided by Kangeaux.

New carrying concept, the Walkabout by Kangeaux Outdoors, is designed to be an industrial-strength and multifunctional carrying tool for the outdoor adventurer and sports enthusiast alike. With the development of the Walkabout, Kangeaux Outdoors has designed a carrier like none other. It is predicted to become a standard for those "In The Field" -- but just as easily, it's ergonomic fit is ideal for the everyday carry. The Walkabout's adaptable nature creates easy solutions for both athletic essentials like sports bottles and baseball caps, as well as everyday items like keys, phones, sunglasses, etc. There is truly no other carrier like the Walkabout. Save 20% on your entire purchase! Sign up and stay up to date with our Kangeaux Newsletter and receive a coupon code for 20% off your entire purchase! http://www.kangeaux.com
So what do you think? Can you see yourself using something like this? I can think of a few uses. I'm thinking to add it to my bug out bag. Check them out and don't forget to use the discount if you order!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Being Happy with your Choices

I’ve been reflecting on the choices I make daily, weekly, monthly and in general. How can I do better? How can I be more efficient? How can I improve my situations in life? And something was put into perspective by a conversation I had with a fellow employee of the company I work for.

Every week, the employees of 22 centers connected by the same franchise gather up for a Lync meeting. Some just listen and watch, some are able to be on the webcam, and all are expected to share in the triumphs and news of everyone else. At the location I’m employed in, we like to shake up these meetings. The Vice President of Sales is my manager. He’s also quite the prankster. My supervisor is also a prankster. Between the two of them, we bring laughter and silliness to these once-a-week meetings. This past Thursday was no different. We all put on red clown noses and when the camera panned to us for our reports, there was stunned silence followed by laughter.
After the meeting, I was on Lync with another employee who had missed this week’s huddle. She told me how thankful she was for our shenanigans. Why? Simply because it brightened her long day and brought the end of the week closer to a close with a smile. Not everyone will see it that way. But so many will still laugh or even smile at our antics. And that is all that matters. Laughter is the best medicine. And in the sales business… you need that release from time to time.
While talking with her, I made the comment that you are only truly successful when you are happy. Give that a thought. Money and power won’t truly bring lasting happiness. But being happy with the choices you make, will. If you are happy with your job, enjoy what you do, like the people you work with – you will work harder and be more productive. Being more productive can lead to higher success rates. And for some people, that means that the paycheck will be better as well. I know that I feel more willing to put in additional effort because of how much I enjoy my job.

There are other choices that I have to weigh my happiness with these days. I’m moving this weekend. While I’m wary, I’m trying to imagine all the ways it will be better. Certain health issues are making an appearance. Health is one of those things I like to avoid thinking about. Mine isn’t the greatest, no matter how hard I try. But I try to find happiness in the fact that it can always be worse.
So what about you? Can you look at your life today and see joy-inducing pieces spread over every aspect? Are you happy with the choices you have and are making? If not… maybe it is time to look for a change.