Monday, May 23, 2011

5 #GreatGetaways Every Kid Should Experience

It is almost Summer, schools are getting out for summer break, and it's time to have some fun! We love taking little trips in the summer -- and in the winter, spring, and fall :) There are so many things to see and do. I have compiled a list of 5 things/places every child should get to experience at least once. So, here it is:

5 Summer Getaways Every Kid Should Have -- at least once :)
* Disneyland *
We have never been able to go yet, but we are planning on going to Disneyland within the next couple of years! There is so much to do for even toddlers as young as two! Some examples of rides and areas a little kid-o would enjoy are It's a Small World (ride), Dumbo the Flying Elephant (ride), the Monorail (ride), Toontown (area), and Redwood Creek Challenge Trail (area.) For bigger kids and adults there is limitless fun to be had. I know that - with all girls - seeing the Disney Princesses is going to be high on the priority list when we get to Disneyland!
* Zoos  *
So far, we have only been to the Sacramento Zoo - a couple of times. The zoo is a great place to take kids - it is educational, exciting, and makes amazing memories! From a fairly young age my kids have been interested in different animals, they see them in stories, in cartoons, etc. Seeing them in a habitat like the ones they would be found in in nature is great for the kids to see. My daughters love the zoo, they could spend a whole day there...OK, my husband and I probably could too!
* Yellowstone National Park *
I have so many memories from my own childhood in Yellowstone National Park. There is so much to see, it is amazing! Old Faithful geyser is awesome - seriously, it inspires awe! As a child I remember standing there just watching it erupt, wanting to stay and watch it again. There are many other geysers in the park as well. The wildlife is beautiful - bison, elk, moose, bears, deer, big horn sheep, and more. I think it is good for children to experience things like this and see how amazing our natural world is!
* Museums *
It seems like almost every where there is a museum relatively close by. Museums offer a wealth of information on the past and on specific topics. There is fun, neat stuff to be seen. There are also children's museums which are tons of fun for the kids. They generally have things for the kids to do, play with, play on, make, etc.
* Ocean *
I think that everybody - child or adult - should go to the ocean, walk on the beach, see an endless expanse of ocean at least once. We love going to California and going to the ocean. One of our favorite things to do is go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. You get to see so much ocean life, there are interactive exhibits, a kids zone and everything! We went out on the ocean last time we went for a whale watching cruise - what an experience! Can't wait to go again when it's a little warmer!! There is so much to do when you are at the ocean, it almost makes you want to pack up and move -- but for now it's just a great summer getaway!

What are some of the summer getaways that you and your family enjoy?

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Alamo blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Will you please help me?!?! EASY request - I promise

My Oma entered to win a makeover for her sewing room from Bernina USA. The contest is being held on Facebook and the room with the most votes wins, I believe. f you could help me out by voting for Oma - just once or daily - I would be so appreciative!! To vote, all you have to do is "Like" the Bernina page and click vote - there are no forms to fill out or anything, just click to vote. Here is a link to my Oma's picture - thank you to whoever will take a quick second and vote for her to get a sewing room makeover!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mmm, Pasta! A recipe and my "Pasta Personality" #Carrabbas

In my house, we love pasta. Almost any kind of pasta is welcomed by my family. Lately, because it is has been so warm outside, we have enjoyed pasta salad. It is delicious, nutritious, and importantly it is so simple to make! This pasta salad is also a great dish to take to potlucks! I hope that if you try this pasta salad, your family enjoys it as much as mine does!!

Italian-Style Pasta Salad
Ronzoni Garden Delight Rotini - 12 ounce box
2 carrots - julienned
1-2 rib(s) of celery sliced - thin
1/2 can of baby corn - cut into pieces
1/2 cucumber - cut into slices, then cut in half
1/2 pound of cherry tomatoes - cut in half
Your choice of Italian Dressing - to taste
Cook the pasta to el dente, add vegetables and mix. Add dressing (as much or little as you like) and toss to coat. You could top with some fresh grated Parmesan cheese too!
My husband seems to think it would be even better with a little red/purple onion in it...that may be the case, but I can't stand raw onions so I will probably never make it that way!!

Carrabba's is an Italian restaurant that makes every pasta dish by hand! There are more than 230 Carrabba's restaurants nationwide, you can find the one nearest you here. Right now, on the Carrabba's Facebook page, you can take the Pasta Personality Quiz to see which of Carraba's Signature Pasta meals best fits your personality.
So I found the Pasta Personality Quiz that is on Carrabba's Facebook page a little silly and fun! My results...well, my pasta personality is Spaghetti! (I do like spaghetti by the way!)
You’re genuine and well loved, like Carrabba’s Spaghetti and Meatballs. Your warm and comforting personality makes you everybody’s best friend. So go for our equally popular hand-prepared meatballs over perfectly cooked imported spaghetti.

Here are some of the Carrabba's specials right now, they all sound divine! These specials are all good through July 2011!
Featured Signature Pasta Meal:

Pasto Rambo – Named for the chef who created it, it’s made with shrimp tossed with imported Italian linguine, spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes sautéed in our basil lemon butter sauce. Lobster is available instead of shrimp for an additional cost.

Other Limited Time Offers:
Parmesan-crusted Chicken – Topped with fresh arugula and grape tomatoes tossed in a hand-prepared lemon vinaigrette, served with choice of side. Substitution of wood-grilled chicken also available. Pairs well with Estancia Pinot Grigio.
Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin – Three pork tenderloin medallions wrapped with prosciutto, wood-grilled and topped with an apple and fig infused port wine sauce, served with the vegetable of the day. Pairs well with Coppola Pinot Noir.
Limoncello Bread Pudding – Back by popular demand! Brioche bread pudding made with fresh Madagascar vanilla beans and a rich custard, served hot out of the oven. Topped with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream and drizzled with Carrabba’s homemade Caravella Limoncello liqueur sauce.
Do you and your family have a favorite pasta dish? If so, feel free to share it here, or link to your own post with a recipe!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Carrabba’s blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here

Wordless Wednesday...looking back, a long time ago! {{with linky}}

This was in December 2006. My first baby, oh how long ago it seems. They do grow up fast, looking back at some pictures I am beginning to realize just how fast it goes. It's a nice reminder to enjoy it all, even the frustrating moments!!

Hope you all have a totally blessed Wednesday! Link up below if you have a Wordless Wednesday you'd like to share!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Websites to Sell Back Your College Textbooks

I have been looking at quite a few different websites that will buy textbooks, and there are a lot. After reading some policies and reviews, I have compiled a list of the three sites that I think offer the best price for textbooks and are reliable.

So far the #1 website is (of course) here is a link to the buyback program. the only possible downside to selling to Amazon is that you get paid in credit. I personally have no problem with that because I buy a lot of my textbooks from Amazon, and buy tons of other stuff on Amazon -- it's where I get the best deals on diapers for example Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers, Size 2, 144 Count (I use subscribe & save to save an additional 30% off with Amazon Mom!) I got distracted! lol.

The next best website that I have found for selling textbooks is Barnes & Nobel. This is actually the best site if you want CASH for your books. They offer some of the best prices for books that I  have found. Here is a link to their buyback program. You can choose to be paid with a check or via pay pal.

The #3 college textbook buying website that I found was The rates that they offered for the books I entered were very comparable to that of the previous two. If you bought your textbooks from them, you get an additional 10% back when you sell it back to them! That is pretty good incentive for shopping there!! Here is a link to their buyback page.

All of these sites offer free shipping of your books to them. Some use USPS and others UPS. I don't believe that any of these three use FedEx, but I could be mistaken. Also none of the shipping in insured, but if you wanted to insure it that is an option you have.

If you have a site that you sell your books back to that is comparable or even better than these I would love to hear about it.
This post is not sponsored by anyone, I just felt like sharing some great options for getting some money out of the expensive books you have to buy for school. The link to diapers on amazon is my affiliate link - just so you know! ;)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Natalie's first haircut!! #WordlessWednesday

Friday I took the two older girls for haircuts. This was Natalie's first haircut, and she picked her style!! It turned out cute and she loves it, but I didn't want it that short!!

Because Linky Tools is now a paid service, I do not currently have a linky. If you know of any free linky tools/services please let me know. Thanks in advance!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

I hope that all of you mommas, grandmas, and women who have influenced lives had a great Mother's Day!
My Mother's Day was amazing. My husband and children made me a card with colorful little hand prints. I am going to treasure it FOREVER!!
Isn't is great that the things that are made are so special? I think it is because my daughters absolutely love to do just about any type of craft!
Here are some pictures from my Mother's Day!!

If you have a post about your Mother's Day that you'd like to share, please leave a link in the comments!