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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Meeting The Octonauts At SEA LIFE Grapevine #TX

Guest Blogger, Erica R. takes it away again with a visit to the SEA LIFE Grapevine for some holiday fun! 
 

Do your kids love the Octonauts? Mine do! 

They were very excited to meet Captain Barnacles and Kwazii at SEA LIFE Grapevine, and try out  some new Octonauts toys while watching the Christmas episodes of the cartoon.

octonauts event #DFW


SEA LIFE Grapevine is a favorite of ours. 

It’s just the right size for their attention span. 

They love Stingray Bay, the sea turtles, the 360◦ tunnel and the seahorses. My youngest even hugs the seahorse window each time we’re there.

aquarium girls, underwater life, octonauts
 
SeaLife has a lot of fun things happening for the holidays this year!

 The Octonauts events will be at the aquarium until December 21st

Octonauts holiday activities include:

• Meet Captain Barnacles and Kwazii in the Cinema. Plus, get an Octonauts sticker! (Weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
 
• Take a special undersea mission with an Octonauts fact-finding trail, available at admissions. (Daily)
 
• Listen to a festive tale as SEA LIFE team members read one of the Octonauts holiday-themed books (Daily at 11am) 

• Watch a special Octonauts holiday-themed episode in the Cinema. (Daily)
 
• Octonauts-themed ornament coloring activity. (Daily)

Octonauts #DFW
The Octonauts were a little larger than they appear on TV!


If the Octonauts aren't enough, how about a #ScubaDivingSanta?

The jolly old beareded, red-suited diver, along with his elfs are taking the plunge in a magical dive show with the fish, sharks and sea turtles in SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium’s 160,000-gallon ocean tank. 

Pose for pictures and find out whether Scuba Diving Santa thinks you’ve been naughty or nice.  Scheduled dives occur at 11:30 a.m. on December 13, 14, 20 and 21. 

Snap a selfie of yourself & your family with a scuba diving Santa! #SantaSelfie

These events are free and included in the price of admission to SEA LIFE Grapevine.


Sounds like lots of fun at SEA LIFE! http://www.visitsealife.com/grapevine/

#ScubaDivingSanta Octonauts
Octonauts cutouts are throughout the Aquarium too, so your little ones can get a pic with their favorite characters.

























Thursday, December 4, 2014

This Mom Doesn't Style Her Hair #RSVPInStyler

I received samples of InStyler tools from Vocalpoint to facilitate this post. I could receive compensation if purchases are made through the links in this post.

I can't keep hiding behind my "I just had a baby" excuse.

It's been 8 months now since the arrival of my third and final little girl, and it's time to start fixing my hair once in awhile.

Now, I'm not going to pressure myself to fix it daily, or heck, even weekly. But, the holidays are here and we have lots of family gatherings, which mean family photos.

I don't want to embarrass my kiddos when they look at holiday photos later in life, and see their mom peering at them through messy bangs and frizzy locks of hair.  

McKinney Mommas Hair Baby
Thanksgiving hair - after some help from InStyler
 
I was given the opportunity to check out a few hair styling tools by InStyler, and thought this was the perfect timing - right before Thanksgiving family photos to get my messy hair in gear.


InStyler Tools
  • TULIP Auto Curler - makes perfect curls in 3 seconds!
  • MAX 2-Way Rotating Iron - rotating iron for straightening & eliminating frizz
  • Ionic Styler Pro - ceramic hot brush and flat iron, great for short styles

The MAX 2-Way Rotating Iron was by far my favorite styling tool. Honestly, it works like a breeze and made me think:

Dang! I wouldn't have waited so long to style my hair if I knew it was this easy! 

mom hair, easy hairstyle

Even though it's blurry, I just HAD to share this photo. My 2 year old must have thought it was a momentous occasion, when she walked into the bathroom and saw me actually styling my hair.

She took this photo of me without me even knowing. I had no idea until I uploaded the photos. 

Hee, hee, my little "paparazzi-in-training", what a cutie she is! 

Okay, now for the embarrassing Before / After photos........


Before After Hair Photos


AS you can see, in the BEFORE photos my hair has some random, funky wave to it that is unruly and just plain messy.

I found, the MAX 2-Way Rotating Iron has this awesome rotating barrel, so you aren't frying your hair between two flat stationary plates, like most straightening irons. 

I love the built in brush, that has ionic bristles, to comb and eliminate frizz, while the rotating barrel polishes the hair cuticle. Also, you can change the direction of the roll to either flip ends under or out by a simple double click of the tool!

I'm throwing away all my cheap, silly hair tools after using this one. Seriously. 

Max 2-way Rotating Rion, hair styling tools
Me and the InStyler MAX 2-Way Rotating Iron

I'm really not a foofy, nails and hair sort of gal, but this styling tool made doing my hair super easy and I felt like a totally new person when I saw how my hair could look in just 10-15 minutes!  


InStyler has mommas like you and me in mind, and is offering an awesome discount on their styling tools right now until 1/31/15. 


You can get 30% off up to 2 InStyler tools with my discount code when you  by visiting RSVPInStyler.com, and entering [SAVE30] Expires 1/31/15.

I totally recommend this product, and can't wait for you to tell me how YOU like it!   

You'll be happy you did!



Friday, November 28, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide #Giveaway 2014

Whoo Hoo! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, but wait...the holiday season isn't over yet! Here's a fun Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway to get you in the mood.



Welcome to the 2014 Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway! This event is hosted by Dixieland Reviews and Co-Hosted by Mom 'N Daughter Savings, Ottawa Mommy Club, Finger Click Saver, Susie Q-Pons and Giveaways & Michigan Saving and More and is sponsored by the various companies.

There will be a total of 19 Winners! To see a list of winners at the end of this contest, just click here.

This event is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada who are 18+. Void where prohibited by law. Winners will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to respond. If no response is received, winner forfeits the prize and a new winner will be chosen. We are not responsible for late or misdirected email or email ending up in your spam folder. Please add Marie@dixielandsdeals.com to your safe list so the email will reach you if you win. This event will begin at 11:59 pm eastern standard time on November 28th, 2014 and end at 11:59 pm eastern standard time on December 8th, 2014. All entries from all tools will be combined and then ran through Random.org to ensure a fair draw. Chances of winning varies depending on number of entries received. Approximate retail value of all prizes is $4440. Participating Bloggers are not responsible for shipment of prizes.

Prizes: 


(1) Mantry Gift Package -arv $75- from Mantry.- 1 Winner- And don't miss their incredible Black Friday Deal!! But the deal is only good on November 28th!


(1) HP Stream 7 Tablet arv: $99.99 Blogger Sponsored Prize -1 Winner!

 

(1) Click 'n Dig F6 Smart RF Item Finder-arv: $67.95 from Click 'n Dig- 1 Winner!



(1) Coach Embossed Horse & Carriage Handbag -arv-$475- from Just Ideas with Venus Kem -1 Winner


(1) Keurig 2.0 Coffee Maker K550 Bundle arv $249.99- from Keurig - 1 Winner - Save 20% + Free Shipping on Black Friday Only! Use Code: BLACKFRIDAY
 

(1) Black & Decker 4 Speed Digital Blender arv: $49.99- from Black & Decker  1- Winner


(1) Black & Decker Extra wide Convection Toaster Oven arv $59.99 from Black & Decker  1 Winner


(1) $350 Visa Gift Card arv $350 from Our World Travel - 1 Winner

(1) XBox One arv $349 from Our World Travel -1 Winner


(1) Absolutely GORGEOUS Butterfly necklace- arv $15 from Joyful Gifts by Julie - 1 Winner


(1) Samsung Galaxy S 5 arv: $649 - from Samsung - 1 Winner


(1) $500 Visa Gift Card arv $500 - from Our World Travel -1 Winner


(5) $100 Visa Gift Cards -arv $100 each-from Just Ideas with Venus Kem 5 Winners


Grand Prize!!! (1)- ONE lucky winner will win a $1000 shopping spree with a $1000 Visa Gift Card courtesy of Our World Travel, where you can earn cash back every time you book travel!- 1 Winner Entry is simple, just follow the instructions on the Giveaway Tool below.  Entries from this Giveaway Tool and the Follow Pages will be combined and ran through Random.org to ensure a fair draw. All winning entries will be verified. When you Visit a Facebook Page, please take a moment to "Like" the page.

Good Luck!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Black Friday Favorites Round Up!


You know you want 'em.

I've got 'em. 

Here's a roundup of some of the best Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals I found from some of my favorite stores.

....oh, and if you find something you like, please be sure to shop at the store through the links in this post, that way you're helping McKinney Mommas' keep on tickin' (aka. I get a little chunk of change to take my kids out for hot chocolate or another fun winter treat!)


My Favorite Black Friday Deals






2. Gymboree



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Turkey Anxiety? Ultimate Guide To Turkey From Whole Foods

If you haven't already picked out your turkey, it's time to start thinking about which "Tom" is gonna grace your table, this #Thanksgiving holiday. 

As the weather starts getting cooler, I start to get "TURKEY ANXIETY."  

What's that you say? Well, since I only cook one turkey a year, I always forget what works, how big of one I need, what temp and cooking method, etc. 

#WholeFoods, turkey, thanksgiving, how-to pick a turkey
Here's one of the birds my hubby and I worked on a few years ago! Delish!

Luckily, Theo Weening, the Global Meat Buyer at Whole Foods, has some awesome tips to lessen my "TURKEY ANXIETY" this year.  

Here's a handy dandy guide to help you along as well:


Whole Foods Ultimate Guide To Turkey

#1. Picking your poultry:
  • Weigh your options: Go for turkeys that allow at least one to one-and-a-half pounds per person. Add an extra half-pound per person if you want leftovers. (Your guests won’t eat a full pound of meat. That number takes bones and skin into account, too).
  • Get fresh: At Whole Foods Market, our fresh turkeys are raised to reach the perfect size just before the holiday season, then processed and stored just above the freezing point so you get juiciest, most flavorful meat possible. 
  • Start early: Reserve your turkey ahead of time to make sure you get your pick of the flock! You can even order your turkey online at shop.wholefoodsmarket.com.
  • Consult your butcher: From organic to heritage turkeys, there are a lot of options to consider. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, Whole Foods Market’s classically trained butchers can help you pick the perfect gobbler for your gathering. Just ask!

#2. Prepping:
  • Factor in defrosting time! For best results, your turkey should be as close to room temperature as possible before roasting. Frozen turkeys take about 24 hours per five pounds of meat to thaw in the refrigerator, so plan accordingly (or save on time with a fresh turkey).
  • Brine like a boss: Brining — soaking the turkey in a saltwater solution for four to 24 hours before roasting — makes for a tender, juicy bird. Our 365 Everyday Value® brine kit and adaptable basic brine recipe are two great picks for first-timers. If you want to earn the wows without the work, order an oven-ready, hand-brined turkey for pick-up at shop.wholefoodsmarket.com.

#3. Roasting: 
  • Don’t wing it: Cooking guidelines are printed on the packaging for a reason. Each turkey type cooks a bit differently, so follow instructions carefully.
  • Check for doneness: Use a meat thermometer to test the thickest part of the thigh not touching bone. When it registers 165°F, the turkey’s ready. If you stuff your turkey, plan for an extra 5 to 7 minutes cooking time per pound.
  • Let someone else do the work for you: Not up for the whole roasting thing? Order a fully cooked turkey for pickup at shop.wholefoodsmarket.com. Reheating instructions are included.

#4. Post-roast tips:
  • Give it a rest! Once it’s done, let your turkey sit for 30 minutes before carving so the juices can redistribute. This locks in moisture and makes for smooth slicing.
  • Sharpen your knife skills ahead of time so you can carve with confidence. When the big moment comes you’ll want to create a plate, not a crime scene. This great step-by-step carving guide will help walk you through the process.

Of course if you choose to buy your turkey at Whole Foods, you'll know your meat will come to you the way nature intended it to... with no antibiotics, no added hormones* no animal byproduct in feed, and on farms that have achieved certification to the Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step™ Animal Welfare Rating System.

I hope you enjoyed those turkey tips and that you can kiss your TURKEY ANXIETY goodbye this year!
 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Epic Mess? Be Gone! With #EurekaPower Suction Seal

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser, Walmart and #EurekaPower Suction Seal 2.0. All opinions however are 100% my own. 

Epic Mess?

I've got that.

Scratch that. I've got LOTS of that.

#shop, #cbias, Eureka Vacuum, McKinney Mommas


I'm picky when it comes to my vacuums. They have-to-work. Wait, is that picky, or totally normal to want a vacuum to clean?

I should probably just invent one that I can carry in my pocket, or dangle around my neck as an accessory since I'm vacuuming more times during the day than I get to go pee.

I don't have a pet (besides a fish), so it's not pet hair, or a husband that wears muddy boots (he's an academic). I do however, have these incredible specimens living with me:


  • Big Sister H. (3 yrs old) aka. painter extraordinaire & play-dough enthusiast
  • Baby O. (2 yrs old) aka. crayon wrapper shredder, cornstarch interior designer
  • The Bookend (7 mo. old) aka. baby wipe ripper-upper, cheerio disbursement machine

I love these kids like crazy, but not being able to count even on two hands, (yes all my fingers are intact) how many messes I have to clean up each day can be, shall we say..............tiring?


#shop, #cbias, vacuum
When we got married, back in 2003 my hubby and I decided to make a "big purchase" and get a big name brand vacuum, prior to this we always had some cheap sweep/broom/vacuum sort of thing.

Within a few months, this, shall we call it "tYSON" vacuum started making crazy loud, scary sounds and totally lost it's suction power.

We still have it. We still use it. We couldn't bear to give it up after spending real, grown-up money on the stupid thing. But, it takes me 6-7 passes back and forth to suck up any kind of dirt or paper bits. L-A-M-E. 

I was in the market for a vacuum that would save me time, one that would make me not work harder than it was working for me. So, I was excited at the chance to test the Eureka Suction Seal 2.0, available at Walmart during the month of November for a rollback price of $129 (normal retail: $148.88).

#shop, #cbias

It wasn't too hard to find the Vacuum Section of my local Walmart. 

I lie. 

Well, I had three kids with me, and I didn't want to wander forever, so I did ask an employee.  

She pointed me to the Home Living Section, and under the Storage & Laundry Sign was where I found the vacuum motherload at Walmart.

Walmart, #cbias, #shop,


 Take a look at that hot, shimmering pink vacuum! 

That's my new Eureka, baby!

Not to be gender role stereotypical, but I think someone has finally figured out who does most of the vacuuming in the house.....well our house anyway. 

Honestly, pink is personally my least favorite color. I'm just not a girly, girl, but this hot pink color is really cool - and this machine has some massive power to it.

It's not a joke that I seriously appreciate cleaning tools that work. Just look at what my 2 year old did in a matter of minutes while I was fixing lunch....

#shop

Baby O. (now 2 years old) somehow got into my desk drawer and found a tape, yes audio tape from some recording device I used to use for taping lectures in college and managed to simultaneously, pull the tape to shreds, while scattering a box of business cards I kept from blog contacts all over my bedroom floor.

Thanks, Baby O. 

Oh, wait. You're not done yet? You found the baby wipes and have decided to squeeze the "juice" out of them and shred them to bits on our carpet? 

Still not finished with the chaos? How about tearing some of my mail into tiny pieces? 

Solution? Get the vacuum out, mama! Which I did.

....and it works like an epic mess genius! 


Then, I found THIS video showing an "actress mom" encountering an "epic mess" which is pretty funny, but I'm not joking when I say that this kind of stuff happens to me x5 daily, seriously! 

One of my favorite favorite part of this vacuum was that I didn't have to bend over, winding the cord around and round when I was finished.  There is a simple button to press that ZIIIIP, winds the cord up for you!


Also, I found that it transitioned easily from my carpet to the linoleum in the kitchen. It was able to have great suction with both surfaces, due to it's suction seal design which raises and lowers based on the structure of the floor. 

Until these kids (below) find some way to break it, it's gonna be my new BFF!


#shop, Eureka, #EurekaPower




Well, the Eureka Suction Seal 2.0 may not be able to sort out the marker, peanut butter and paint-in-the-hair messes of my kiddos above, but it can at least give me a clean floor to sit them on for their TIME OUT's (hee, hee). 



Please share with me.....how many times a day do YOU have to pull out your vacuum to clean?


Monday, November 10, 2014

Is Your Laundry Room Relaxing? Purex Crystals Aromatherapy! #Giveaway


I studied aromatherapy in high school and even wrote a few papers on the health benefits of the practice, as well as it's alternative healing properties.

I found many of the essential oils really calmed my mind and body, and heck even if it didn't heal my every woe, there wasn't anything bad about smelling something really good!



Laundry is one of the least relaxing things I can think of.

I'm always in a rush to get this load in the washer, that load out of the dryer, this load bleached, and it begins again the same each morning.

I received a sample of Purex® Crystals Aromatherapy and 

WHOOSH, I was whisked away to a calm place in my mind. 

Seriously, the scent is called "Well Being" and after I poured a little cap full into my load of laundry, I felt the scent wash over me and fill me with a peaceful feeling...........

until my daughter called "Mom, I pooped. Wipe me", from the bathroom down the hall.

Well, one moment of calm is better than none, right?  


Just pour a little or a lot of this in-wash scent booster to your laundry and you will easily eliminate laundry odors from your clothes with the citrus & floral scents blended with essential oils.


Purex® Crystals Aromatherapy comes in three varieties:
  • Energy (I want to try this one ext)
  • Well Being (the one I tried, and loved)
  • Serenity

I could use a little of all THREE of those things in my life  - could you?


The cool people Purex are offering one of my lucky readers the chance to try some yourself!


 ~ GIVEAWAY ~
Win (3) coupons for a FREE  bottle of Purex® Crystals Aromatherapy 
Ends 11/22/14

a Rafflecopter giveaway