Taco Cabana’s Holiday Favorites Are Our New FAVORITES!

If you live in/around San Antonio and you watch any tv (live, not recorded, LOL) you have probably seen the new Taco Cabana commercial featuring their new Holiday Favorites menu. Well my family and I were invited by Taco Cabana to try these new dishes this week. I am all about giving my honest opinion of all things and when I love something I want to shout it from the roof tops! In this case I want to shout at all of you to go try them…. right now!

Just in time for the holiday season their new Holiday Favorites menu includes a Ranchero & Verde Beef Enchilada Plate, Pico & Avo-Verde Tacos, a Horchata Margarita and Dulce de Leche Cheesecake. Both my oldest son and I ordered the enchilada plate… it includes two beef enchiladas topped with tomatillo verde sauce, ranchero sauce, and a little sour cream. This plate also includes rice, beans, guacamole and two tortillas, freshly made! We both LOVED this plate. (Like every morsel was eaten off my plate, good.) My husband and younger son chose to order three new Pico & Avo-Verde Tacos. These tacos are delicious!! They are filled with fajita seasoned chicken breasts, topped with pico de gallo, sour cream, and avo-verde salsa (YUM sauce!!).

I tried the Horchata Margarita which is a creamy and smooth blend of Horchata, Lunazul Tequila, and Triple Sec rimmed with festive cinnamon sugar. While I liked this margarita I don’t know that I would order it again. It was a little too sweet for my taste but the flavor was good and it had the perfect mix of alcohol.  We couldn’t leave without trying the new Dulce de Leche Cheesecake…. which left our mouths watering for more. My kids were begging me to buy them each one.

While we were eating and trying each of these new dishes my family asked me if I was going to tell everyone through my blog how delicious it all was. They were also bummed to find out that that guests can only enjoy these holiday favorites for a limited time from November 20 through January 1, 2018. I’d suggest you don’t wait to get your grub on at Taco Cabana, get yourself some of these Holiday Favorites!

Also I wanted to mention that in addition to these holiday offerings, Taco Cabana has a gift card perk available now through December 31. For every $25 purchase of gift cards made, guests receive a free $5 guest appreciation card (valid from January 1 through March 31, 2018).

My family received a $25 gift card to purchase the new Holiday Favorites items to try them out. All opinions expressed here are 100% genuine and our own!

Legoland Discovery Center – Dallas Fort Worth

Have you heard of the Legoland Discovery Centers? Many friends I have spoken to recently didn’t know they even existed.. Say What?! We have friends in the Dallas Forth Worth area that visit Legoland Discovery Center Dallas / Forth Worth often. My kids love to see what new adventures they are up to social media while at Legoland Discovery Center. When we surprised the kids with a trip to Dallas I knew we had to take them to Legoland Discovery Center for the first time!

We love Legos in our house. We love to build with them as a family. Last year they set up a huge Lego exhibit in the local mall so we went down to spend hours looking at the beautiful creations and reading all the facts about how many hours, Legos, etc it took to make each one. If you are like us and like Legos then Legoland Discovery Center is right up your alley!

You start off your time at the discovery center with a little factory tour. Once the doors open after the tour you are fully immersed in all things Lego! Our first stop was taking a ride on Kingdom Quest where you are on a boat shooting your laser gun to earn points! This was fun for the whole family! Once off the ride my kids fully enjoyed earning their ninja belts at the Lego Ningajo City Adventure!
  
Our day at Legoland Discovery Center included everything from 4D movies, driving large Lego police cars, to making small cars to race down the track, and so much more! Every where we turned there was something else to do or another ride to ride. Many of the Lego exhibits are interactive. My whole family got in on the fun of pressing the buttons to have our StarWars characters battle it out.

We ended our day there by cooling off in the Pirate Beach splash area. They had these awesome foam Legos near the ship that you could use to build forts, towers, or just about anything you wanted. We made some awesome memories on our trip to Legoland Discovery Center. We can’t wait to go back again and the best part is I recently read that San Antonio is getting there very own Legoland Discovery Center in the Rivercenter Mall down town, set to open in 2018! How fun is that?! While we wait for it to be built we will continue to visit the Legoland Discovery Center Dallas / Fort Worth. I recommend planning your trip today, if you haven’t been yet!!

*All views shared here are completely and 100% my own. We were given free admission for 3 people to try Legoland Discovery Center Dallas / Fort Worth out and share out experiences here and on my social media. We paid for the additional 3 family members out of pocket. Everything stated here is our own experience and opinions!

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament in Dallas

While on a spur of the moment vacation in Dallas we decided to go to dinner and a tournament at Medieval Times Dallas. Our friends over at Real and Quirky had enjoyed all the times they had been there and recommended we check it out while we were in Dallas. On our way to the castle we tried to explain what to expect to our kids but they were a little apprehensive. The moment we drove up and they saw the castle they knew they were in for a treat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we walked into the castle we were set into a medieval time. The costumes were magnificent. The king was knighting some special patrons in the foyer after we got checked in. There were two bars for adult drinks and some gift shop areas to buy swords, crowns, armor, hats, and so much more. We were in the yellow and red knight section which meant we got to cheer him on as we ate dinner.  Having never experienced anything like this before our entire family was on the edge of their seats the entire night. Watching the beautiful horses enter the coliseum is just breathtaking. Each knight took their turn in each tournament until the final tournament at the end of the night. It was so fun to cheer on our knight as the night went on!

 

 

We came for the tournament but the dinner did not disappoint. We were served course after course of delicious food! We were so full by the time dessert came but we knew we couldn’t pass it up. It was our servers second night working there, he did a fabulous job of making sure we were all taken care of and the food and drinks never stopped coming until the very end.

 

 

 

 

 

I could go on and on about every wonderful detail of our night there. My children will cherish this memory forever. I am so glad we got to experience this with them. We’ve already decided we will most defiantly be going back to Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament every chance we get! If you’ve never gone before you need to take the time to experience it for yourself. If you have gone already, go again! I highly recommend this for every family, every age from toddler up to 100+! Don’t take my word for it, go see for yourself! They have a number of show times available daily, as well as royalty upgrades to choose from and promotions year round. Visit Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament Dallas for more information and book your reservation today!

                               

*All views shared here are completely and 100% my own. We were given free admission for 2 people to visit Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament out and share out experiences here and on my social media. We paid for the additional 4 family members out of pocket. Everything stated here is our own experience and opinions! 

Lost Child Prevention & Plan

Lost Child Prevention PlanAs I prepared for our trip to Disney World I was telling some friends about the measures I put in place in the instance one of my children should get separated from us. One friend said “Have you lost one of your children somewhere before?”… No, no I haven’t but I like to prepare for anything. They were impressed with the plan I have in place with my kids.

If you’re like me you start to panic a little the moment you look around and can’t count enough little heads to add up to number of children you brought. It only takes a second for a child to get lost, but it feels like an eternity before you locate them, whether for a minute or an hour. Keeping my kids by my side is ideal, however at a busy zoo or amusement park that doesn’t always happen. My kids know exactly what to do if they can’t find us.

Here is our family plan of action:

  • Take a picture of them in the morning with your cell phone. This gives you a quick reference for an accurate description of their clothing. It also gives park workers an updated photo to share and use to locate your child.
  • Try to dress your children and/or entire family in a similar color. I like to put them in bright colors and have them all matching so I can easily spot them. 
  • Give your children a plan of action as soon as you enter the park. Every single time we enter an amusement park, museum, zoo, etc we point out several workers. We then remind them that if they get separated from us to find a worker right away. If they can’t find a worker they should find a mom with kids to ask for help finding a worker. (Some parents have a meeting spot or show their children the ‘lost parents’ area but we choose not to because our kids are young enough I don’t want them wondering the park trying to find this spot.)
Park Safety Tips

Here I dressed three of us in bright green and the other two in bright blue.

What my kids know!

  • Never ever leave the park without us, not even with a worker. This is important because I had a friend’s child go to their car to wait for them when she got separated from her parents. They looked for her for 3 hours before parking security spotted her and notified the park workers!
  • Know their parents phone number and names! My older children have our phone numbers memorized and all of our children know our names. If they are too young to memorize this then have temporary tattoos with your number made to wear! (Search Etsy to find lots of options.)
  • Don’t try searching for us alone. Kids will often try to find their parents on their own which will just make things worse. Our children know they should not try to find us or wonder around the park. Staying in one area will help us find them quicker.
    Emergency Contact tattoos

    My children each wore one of these every day at Disney World. It has my cell phone number that I carry in the parks with us.

    I know how stressful it can be at a busy place with little ones so hopefully you can use some of these tips on your next adventure!

Have a great summer!!
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6 Tips for making the most out of a Disney World Trip!

Disney World TipsThere are so many useful tips and tricks I read before we took our first Disney World vacation. I could go on and on about each one and how helpful they were to us but instead I thought I would just share my top 5 tips to making the most out of a Disney World trip!

6 Tips to Making the Most out of a Disney World Trip:

  1. Rider Swap Tip/Info: If your using rider swap you only need a FastPass+ for the first parent (and older children) to ride the ride the first time. Both parents and all children walk up to the first Cast Member at the ride entrance, tell them you need a parent swap they’ll give the second parent (waiting with younger children) a FP card while the first parent scans their magic band or park pass with their FP. Then when the first parent gets off the ride the second parent (and up to two kids) go in the FP line with just the parent swap FP, not scanning anything. The second FP C.M. will take the card from you inside the ride. So no you don’t need a FP for both parents if your using rider swap because one parent will not scan their magic band/park pass. My recommendation at Epcot is get you a FP for Soarin’ and hubby a FP for Test Track. Then you can both ride both rides with either the regular FP or the rider swap FP. So I suggest splitting up the adult FP for rides the kids aren’t tall enough for so you can ride more of the “tier 1” rides at Epcot and HS. Does that make sense?!
  2. Character Meals are a must if your kids will want autographs and pictures. With so many characters you could plan a week long trip to WDW just to meet characters! My children had little patience to stand in line to meet a character and would much rather spend their time waiting for a ride. Most character dining meals are buffet or family style giving you plenty of time to eat between meeting characters and dancing around with them.

    Lunch at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom with Mickey, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy!

    Lunch at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom with Mickey, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy!

  3. Crowd Calendars: Many Disney themed blogs have a crowd calendar. These calendars predict the times of the year the park will be the busiest and least busy based upon previous years attendance and special events Disney has planned for that time. They also have crowd calendars for specific days at each park. So if you know you are going the first week of June you can look at a crowd calendar to decide which park will be the least busy for each day of the week. Then make your dining reservations and fastpasses based upon which park is the least busy. (Just google “Disney World crowd calendars” to find them.)
  4. Rope Drop & Naps! Okay this is two tips but I feel it falls into the same category. By attending rope drop or park opening each day you will find the park to be pretty empty for the first hour or two (depending on the time of year you go). Along with rope drop/park opening you should either head to A) the most popular big rides first OR B) the back of the park. Most people start at the front of the park so make your way to the back quickly and you’ll find no ride wait times! Then plan for Naps!! If you leave the park around 2pm for naps, returning around 5pm, you’ll find many people to be leaving the park for their dinner reservations or to get out of the heat/off their feet. Your family will be well rested and ready to enjoy the night time celebrations! 

    Rope drop at the Magic Kingdom with a welcome show!

    Rope drop at the Magic Kingdom with a welcome show!Naps in our Cars suite at Art of Animation!Naps in our Cars suite at Art of Animation!

  5. Have a plan but be ready to go with the flow! We had dining reservations, fastpasses, and a plan A & B for each day of our trip. For the most part things went as planned. However there were things completely out of our control that happened…for instance; we had two rides we had fastpasses to break down on the same day during our ride times, a car accident at our resort meant longer bus ride times putting us in a rush to get to dining reservations, and my kids spent almost every minute of every day wanting to go back to the resort to swim all day. We quickly learned to move our plans aside and go with the flow when things like this happened. Leaving one park after only half the day to let the kids spend the whole evening and night swimming. 

    Night swim at the Nemo Pool!

    Night swim at the Nemo Pool!

  6. Lastly bring Blister Block, Mole Skin and Pair of Scissors! Blister block and moleskin are your best friend at Disney World!! Buy them and use them daily! Coat everyone’s feet in blister block before socks every morning and again after naps/before going back to the park. Mole skin can be cut (that’s why you need scissors) to cover areas of your feet that are sensitive or prone to getting blisters. I put a strip on the pad of my feet near my toes.

Like I said there are many more helpful tips I got and read but these were the most useful to getting the most out of our stay at Disney World. We had an amazing week at Disney and can’t wait to go back. For more info on my trip read The 10 Things I learned on my Disney World Trip! Also we drove 16+ hours to and from Disney World so read some of the ways I make traveling easier for my family with my top traveling tips here, packing efficiently here, saving money on food here, and money saving ideas here!

10 Things I Wish I Would Have Known before having any children because it could have saved me money!

Carseats, strollers, highchairs, oh my!!My ‘baby’ just turned two years old in September. He has been full on potty training for a month now. It got me thinking…we have had 8+ years of babies/kids in diapers!! We spent roughly $8000 on diapers for 4 kids in 8 years.

I got to adding up other costs we have spent on our children so far.. OH MY GOSH IT IS TOO MUCH TO FATHOM. I wish I had known about something’s when I was pregnant the first time or even the second around. For instance we have been through 9 strollers…the first was a stroller/carrying carseat combo we purchased, only lasted two years. Then we bought a basic Sit n’ Stand, used it tons and ended up having to buy another bigger/fancier one. We went through three umbrella strollers (and I hate the one we have now). Tried a jogging stroller, hated it and ended up buying a jogger/bike trailer combo I love. Not to mention borrowing two strollers from family because I was fed up with ones I had purchased.

I thought I’d share the 10 Things I Wish I Had Known The First Time I Was Pregnant...in hopes it will save someone some money as they begin having kids!!!!

1. Diapers- Invest in good cloth diapers…it’ll save SO MUCH MONEY in the long run!

2. Stroller- Buy a good sturdy stroller that can take a lot of use/wear and tear. Same goes for a nice umbrella stroller, double stroller/sit n stand, and jogger/bike trailer. If you think your going to have more than one child invest in a double jogger and stroller from the get go.

3. Crib- We thought each baby needed their own crib that grew with them to a toddler bed then full bed. Just buy one well built crib that you can use for each baby! The “grow with me” cribs aren’t made as well as just a crib and you end up not using it as they grow (or you need bunkbeds, like us).

4. Pack n’ Play/Play Pin- Invest in a pack n play that is durable, has a bassinet/changing table addition to it, and is neutral colored so you can use for all of your babies.

5. Play mats- Skip the fancy mats and just use blankets. Giving them toys to play with. The floor mats restrict how far they can roll, aren’t easy to clean, and take up space.

6. Carrier/Wraps- Skip the front carriers and buy a wrap instead. It takes a bit more practice with the wraps but can be worn from day one until they are preschoolers (or too big for you to wear them)! So many ways to tie it and wear baby while doing stuff having hands free without the stress on your back/shoulders!

7. Car Seats- Buy a rear facing to forward facing combo seat with great ratings and fits your car best for each new baby. The seat can usually last far at least 3 years for that child! Then buy a forward facing/tall back booster combo seat once your child is older than three. That only leaves buying a regular booster once they hit those requirements. Meaning 3 car seats per child over their first 8-10 years!! Each seat grows with your child so you’re only buying them a new one every 3-4 years (depending on your seats height/weight restrictions and growth of your child).

8. Bassinet- Get one very good quality bassinet that can also be put next to your bed as a co-sleeper and can be used for years to come for each new baby you welcome.

9. Toddler Bed- Skip buying this and go straight to a twin bed (or a twin mattress on the floor for a few weeks first). Quality twin mattress is important too!

10. Bouncy seat, Bumbo, Swing & High Chair- When purchasing these buy good quality neutral color fabrics. One thing to consider is how easy the fabric is to clean. No need to repurchase if you have a nice one to reuse with each baby!

**These are all just my opinions after having four children and wasting a lot of money on the things we bought over the years. I am no ‘expert’ just a mom sharing my thoughts!**

The bottom line for me was saving money up front ended up costing me because we had to shell out more money to replace items with each child.

Do you have a tip to add about saving costs for new/expecting parents??
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Happiness Is…. Finally back at this!

After slacking off all summer of linking up with Lisa, at Crazy Adventures in Parenting, I am back! The week has been full of getting back into the routine of school but we are off to a great start. Here are our #HappinessIs moments this week…

Happiness Is… Going back to school! We love our 1st grader’s new charter school and my 3rd grader loves homeschooling this year! The younger two start school next week!

back to school time

Happiness Is… Finding not one but two purses I like at Khol’s on sale and using my Khol’s cash!! $26 for both of these is a steal of a deal (which was my birthday money from early this month)!

new purses

Happiness Is.. Jif Chocolate Silk Peanut Butter with Pretzels for an afternoon snack!

jif and pretzels

Happiness Is… Finding a dress you wore as a baby, putting it on yourself, and showing mom how much you’ve grown in 3 years!

baby dress

What are you #HappinessIs moments? Did your kids go back to school…was that HappinessIs moment for you or sad day?

Hope you all have a great week full of lots of Happy Moments!!

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Family Day at Enchanted Springs Ranch

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My family and I received six tickets to Enchanted Springs Ranch in exchange for this blog post. All the views and opinions here are completely my own! Information about Enchanted Springs Ranch is from their brochure and website.

My husband has a new work schedule giving him a four day weekend twice a month, yay! We decided to take advantage of one of his weekends off by packing it full of fun stuff around San Antonio. Saturday we drove up to Boerne, Texas to visit Enchanted Springs Ranch. To be honest I thought it would keep my kids attention for an hour or so then they’d be ready to leave. However I was happily surprised to see they LOVED it there. They didn’t want to miss a single thing and even asked to do some things twice. We had already made plans for dinner or we would have stayed until they closed.

First we watched a gun shoot out on Main Street. Shoot out on main street…

Followed by a 15 minute tractor ride around the 47 acre working ranch. Along they ride we saw deer, antelope, horses, long horn cows, zebras, turkeys, fish, turtles and much more!1-tractor ride

As soon as we returned from the tractor ride we hurried over to buy the kids tickets to ride on Lady the horse. (Tickets are $2 each but completely worth the experience for the children to ride on a horse walking around the western town!)1-horse riding

Afterwards we were able to wander around the western streets to see all the little “shops” (they were facades but gave a good idea of what each would be used for if they were still running). We ended up in  Fort Baete Kids Korral where we played and took funny pictures until the next show started.Wandering the streets1-IMG_5320

Last we went in the Saloon for the Pistol Packin’ Paula show! Which included Paula not only slinging and spinning pistols but also her skills at using a bull whip as well. We all were impressed with her fun show! Pistol Packin’ Paula Show

We truly enjoyed our time at Enchanted Springs Ranch!! The staff was all very friendly and helpful to all of the guests. It was a hot day but there was plenty of shade all around the ranch. Before we left they told us about their Chuck Wagon Dinner Shows held during the summer on Wednesday nights and their Cowboy Christmas that will be open the Saturday and Sunday before Christmas. We honestly can’t wait to go to the Cowboy Christmas PLUS the hubby and I hope to catch a Chuck Wagon Dinner before the end of summer! (The hubby and I actually held our reception at a chuck wagon dinner in Colorado so this is a great way to celebrate those memories!)1-IMG_5069

The next time your looking for something fun to do with the family I suggest going to Enchanted Springs Ranch. You can find their hours and open days on their website www.EnchantedSpringsRanch.com . Also check out their Facebook and Twitter pages! Don’t forget that they have buy one get one child free right now you can find that coupon here.
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And the adventure begins…

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We decided to split our 14-20 hour drives in half by staying the night half way. So from Texas to Georgia we are stopping in Louisiana. On our drive from Georgia to Ohio we are staying in North Carolina. Then on our way from Ohio to home we are staying in Tennessee. Having 5 kids under 8 in the van with us we knew that we couldn’t push them much past 10 hours before we’d start to get major meltdowns.

One of the fun ways we kept the kids from asking “Are we there yet?” every five minutes was with a banner I idea I got from The Dating Divas. I used the free printable to add major cities and state lines along our route for each of the four trips we are making. When we went through an area that I had written on the printable cards we had a little mini celebration and talked about what are we are going to drive through next.

For my banners I just took ribbon I had on hand, cut the papers out, wrote out 10 spots from start to finish along each major road trip, then stapled the papers to the ribbon (they have a spot to hole punch them but I was worried little ones would mess with them so instead I stapled). Then in the van I tied one end to the front ceiling handle and one to the rear handle so it is visible to everyone in the car. I also printed a full map of our entire 3300+ mile road trip so the kids can see how far we are going/have been already! I made all of my banners ahead of time and stuck them in a ziplock to tie up when we needed them (since we will be staying 5 days in Georgia and 5 days in Ohio and not doing our trips consecutively).

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Don’t forget to check out my other Road Trip Tips!!
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Road Trips: Packing Efficient for Big Family (Final Part in my Road Trip Series)

road tripI have changed the way I pack significantly over the years. I like to be able to pull each person’s clothes out for the day in a jiffy so each child can get dressed and ready for the day. I also have found that I like the kids bathroom essentials with my bathroom essentials so I can easily get to them all at one time for morning or night routines.1-IMG_4620

For this trip we will be making overnight stops on our drives so I have one medium duffel bag that is an overnight bag while the other bags are for our longer stays in Georgia and Ohio. The other medium duffel is for my younger two kids and the suit case is for hubby and I (in this case it is just mine so I added the kids sweaters and all of the bathroom essentials to my bag).

For each child I set out 7 outfits, 7 socks, 7 underwear, 4 pajamas, and 2 swim suits. Each outfit along with a pair of socks and undies goes into a ziplock bag. This saves me time when we get to our destinations and it saves room. I put all pajamas in one ziplock and both swim suits in a ziplock for each child. My four children share two different bags but it includes everything they need for an entire week, including diapers, wipes, and night time pull-ups.1-clothes-002

On the bottom of my older boys duffel bag I pack all our beach essentials; towels, swim shoes, sunscreen, hats, swim diapers, and a flattened bag. Then in the top portion is my boys clothes.1-IMG_4613

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The only other bags we have are these…

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Just the kids Busy Binders, gaming device bag, a couple bins with new road trip games/toys, and then our food for the road (which will be in a small cooler but is not pictured here).

Now we are off on our Road Trip Adventure! First stop is Baton Rouge, LA followed by Georgia to see family! Follow me on Facebook and Instagram to keep track of our road trip journey!

I will try to post as often as possible over the next two weeks about our trip plus I have some GREAT scheduled posts coming up too!

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