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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Super League Gaming Discount

Our family is one of gamers. From the parents all the way to my 3 year old baby girl, we each have games we love to play. One that most of us love is Minecraft. Its relaxing, creative, and fun. You get to design buildings or towns, you mine for materials that craft items you need, and you have to fight off the monsters at night. My oldest son especially loves playing this one with us. Through my association with the US Family guide, I'm so proud to share a great discount with you all for the Super League Gaming. Imagine, getting to play Minecraft with other gamers in a movie theater on the big screen!!! And remember: The family that plays together, wins together! Or at least has a blast. 
There is one big thing I'd like to point out; you have to have a laptop and a Mojang account. Please refer to the FAQ's page

The first and biggest recreational league where gamers of all ages compete, socialize and play video games on the big screen in movie theatres worldwide.Treat Your Kids to MINECRAFT Summer Splash in a Movie Theater! Exclusive underwater-themed MINECRAFT game play on the big screen! July 18 - 22, 9am - 12 noon. Get tickets at https://superleague.com/buy-tickets Save $10, use Promo Code: USFAMILY10

Monday, June 27, 2016

Kangeaux Walkabout review via US Family Guide

As a member of the US Family Guide, I get to try out products and tell you what they can possibly offer you. I especially love things that benefit mothers and adventurers. Which if you think about it, Moms are adventurers – aren’t we? Forever on the go, we need assistance for whatever comes our way. That’s what the Kangeaux Walkabout is for.
Go hands-free while enjoying the outdoors, traveling, during sports or fitness, or if you are like me and just have a busy lifestyle.

I had barely opened it up and I noticed several things that I like about this.

1.       It is made here in the USA. I know that things are crazy here in the US and I have been considering moving to another country lately… BUT I’m a firm believer in supporting companies here in the states and promoting growth of those businesses to provide more jobs.

2.       The materials used in the manufacturing of the Walkabout are sturdy and I feel confident that things won’t slip or break while I’m using them. This is very important to me. I can’t lose my keys or phone. Or my knife if that is in the group of items I’m strapping in. Those are what I consider most important. Even more so than my wallet at times…

3.       I love the storage case they come in. When things aren’t in use, I want to be able to put them in a case and keep them in top shape. Everyone knows, or should know, that if you want something to last for a long time – you have to care for it. Plus, I can keep all the parts of it together.

4.       The grip is comfortable and strong. I put my phone and keys on to test its hold and even while jerking it around, it didn’t loosen its hold on my stuff.
The size is adjustable to hold a variety things. It has a carabiner clip or you can wrap the cord around something like a stroller handle.
I love the versatility. Having options keeps me on track no matter what I’m carrying or doing.

I plan on using this for other outings to come. We are planning to go to 6 Flags next month with my boys (who won tickets for the reading challenge at school!), 4th of July at the park, San Japan comic convention... I can hang my phone and keys or water bottle and stay hands free to enjoy the fun! I also think it would be helpful when I'm riding the motorcycle.  In addition to this camo colored one, I received the blue one. The blue is definitely my favorite! Can't wait to get out more often and put this wonderful device to use. What do you think about it?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

And the preparations continue...

You know how you have one good day when you live with chronic pain, so you try to do everything you can't normally do? Of course you pay for it later... BUT you get that list dwindled ever so slightly! 

Yesterday was one such day. I was feeling able to ignore the lower pain levels. So we went to pick up my motorcycle that has sat dormant at my fiances for a couple months and bring it back to my place.

Its a good 40 minute drive and the rain decided to give my bike a bath... while I was driving it back. But its now where it should be. 

Then we were able to run errands that I can't find the energy to do during the week while I work. Upon returning home with groceries, I got the bright idea to start cooking and freezing meals again. Until yesterday, I had a grand total of 3 frozen dinners. Being nearly halfway through the pregnancy, I think I should really pick up my game on this...

I made 3 more dinner to freeze and one for me to eat while I cooked. I have decided that Louisiana Purchase boxed dinners suck.
Flavorless but leaving an after taste I can't quite place. *shivers* Anyhow... The dinners I made were all ones that I have been wanting to try but keep putting off. And had my kids begging to dig in to at least one of them. Which is one I'll be making again for dinner tonight. I started a beef stew in the crock pot while I cooked a pepperoni pasta dish (my kids want this one) and a beef and bean soup.

I'll include those last two recipes for you guys. I paid for my efforts in pain last night. But I'm a strong believer that it will pay off later when the baby is born or on those nights that I'm just too tired to cook after work. Tonight, I'll be starting all over again. I think I'll make some brownies while I'm at it too... 

So here are a couple recipes you might want to try. The soup one is a favorite of mine while my kids can't wait to dig into the One Pot Pepperoni Pizza Pasta. 

Italian Sausage and Bean Soup


2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
1 pound Italian sausage
1 1/2 cups each chopped onion and diced carrots
1 cup chopped celery (include leaves if you want)
1 tablespoon minced garlic in oil
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
5-6 cups chicken broth
1 can Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans, drained
1 cup elbow macaroni

Place 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat; add sausage and cook, breaking up into small pieces with edge of cooking spoon. Remove to a plate and set aside. 

Add remaining oil to same pot; saute onions, carrots, celery, garlic and Italian seasoning. Cook 7-9 minutes or until tender; then return sausage to pot. 

Stir in broth, tomatoes, and beans. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 15-20 minutes, uncovered. Right before serving, bring soup to a full boil and add macaroni; simmer over medium, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until al dente. Season to taste with salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes, if desired. 


You can use ground beef instead of the Italian sausage. 

One Pot Pepperoni Pizza Pasta


1 lb ground beef
1 small onion
40 slices of pepperoni (or just wing it like I did)
24 oz jar of spaghetti sauce
3 cups penne pasta
2 cups of water
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella 

Brown ground beef and onion in a large skillet and drain excess fat.

Add some of the slices of pepperoni and spaghetti sauce.

Add pasta and water, stir and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed and pasta is tender.

Remove lid and sprinkle top with cheese and remaining pepperoni.

Broil until the cheese is lightly browned. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Family summer fun at Schlitterbahn!

As a part of the US Family Guide mommy bloggers, I was given the chance to take my family to Schlitterbahn New Braunfels for a day. Schlitterbahn has been a family favorite since the very first time we went a few years back. There are so many perks to the park that other parks do not have. Free parking, allowing you to bring your own food (no alchohol or glass containers), and something to do for all ages! The rides use water filtered from the Comal River. This saves water, and cuts back on the chlorinated water use that most parks have these days. I don't know about you, but chlorine dries my skin out and speeds up the burn process for my skin when I'm in water and sun all day. So I really appreciate the river water usage more. They also boast the worlds only uphill water ride! The Master Blaster is amazing. Water pushes you along rather than using an electrical system. 
To prepare for the trip, I purchased and packed a few things to help us get through the day. Sunscreen is the most important item to bring when you know you will be out all day in sun and water. My children are mostly fair skinned and burn easily. We stopped back at the locker we rented frequently to reapply it. The lockers are $8/day plus a $2 deposit you get back when you turn in your key. Like other parks, they give you the option to take cash or to accept a gift. The day we went, they were offering Schlitterbahn reusable bags. 
Another important item to have is a way to keep your phone and money dry. Normally I wouldn't need to carry my phone with me but would instead leave it in the locker or my vehicle. This time, however, I brought it so I could take pictures of our fun for the review. Last time I went, I bought a waterproof disposable camera. I picked this watertight box up from Target. 
For paying only $6, it's amazing! Everything stayed dried and it fit perfectly into the pocket of my fiancĂ©s swim shorts. It's not water proof or promised to work under submersion. But it worked when we rode the wave pool circuit repeatedly. It can be difficult to pop open, but it's worth every penny! 
We brought our picnic lunches. It was easy to pack the kids lunchables and we older ones got the Rev packs.
I took everything out of the boxes and put them into a hand carry lunch box with ice packs and cold water bottles. It stayed cold all morning until we were ready to break for lunch. 
After lunch, we decided to chill in the pools. Mostly the wave pool. My kids loved the wave pool. They used the kid friendly tubes and we formed a human chain to stay together as each wave pushed us around the great circle.
We also went to a couple of the kid-friendly areas where the water is super shallow and the kids could climb on things to play.
The Congo River Expedition was one that I and my fiancĂ© absolutely loved being on!
We have decided that Schlitterbahn is going to be an every summer event for our family from now on. I highly suggest you pay them a visit. They have locations in New Braunfels, Galveston, South Padre Island, Corpus Christi, and Kansas City. Check out their ticket page for dates that are cheaper.

The joys of pregnancy

There's nothing quite like being pregnant. Every single one is different. Every woman goes through it differently. For me... its miserable for the most part. This one will definitely be my last baby. Gonna have a little chat with my midwife about getting clipped once this bundle makes its appearance. And a warning, I don't know what it is yet, but I'm calling it a "she" as that is what I'm feeling and hoping for. I have 2 boys and a girl. I prefer even numbers. Just can't deal with those odd ones. So if I refer to the baby as "she" or "her", you know why.

Anyhow. My back has been a huge problem. I'm seeing a chiropractor in the hopes of limiting my pain and surviving the remainder of months I have left. I believe I'm right around 16 weeks now. Getting close to that halfway point. Cleaning and cooking are limited and done in bursts that leave me on ice packs or heating pads. But I'm getting through it. Mostly during my weekends. One trash bag of clutter at a time. I'm also arranging my closet and bedroom for the baby addition. I need a place for a crib and for her things. I also have boxes of diapers and wipes to store for her already thanks to generous future in laws 8-) These things take priority.

But there are other things that I have to consider. What comes with a newborn? Exhaustion. Not wanting to cook dinner every night. Especially after working all day. So I came up with a plan. And last night I started the first bout of prepping.
I cooked tacos for dinner, but I also made a casserole to freeze for later. It might not stay in the freezer until the baby gets here, but it will help on nights I'm too tired or didn't remember to pull out meat for the following days dinner.
Tonight when I get home, I plan to cook two of my chicken casseroles. One to eat, one to freeze. And this is how I'm getting ready for those long nights and tired days when I just can't stand up to the challenge of cooking. I've been scouring Pinterest for recipes of meals that can be frozen. So many easy ones that I have decided are going to keep me on track. One meal at a time...
While I was at it, I even made some quick grab lunches to bring to work. Like these stuffed cheesy bell peppers.
My goal is to keep doing this as often as possible so I'm ready for the little bundle and can spend more time with her. Do you think its weird to have freezable dishes and baking pans on the baby registry?