Kids are ready for Back to School in Style with Cartoon Cuts (and mommy is too!)

Disclosure: I was invited to a Tweet Up event at Cartoon Cuts. My family and I received free haircuts during the event. The opinions expressed are my own.

It’s been a very long time since we went to Cartoon Cuts. That used to be our regular place for children’s haircuts when the boys were younger, they both had their first haircuts there.

But with the demands of our crazy lives and limited time, we began visiting the barber shop just down the street instead. Last week, we were invited to Cartoon Cuts for a local blogger Tweet Up, and I was so happy to visit again. I had forgotten how much I love this place!

Cartoons Cuts offers kids (and moms too, but more on that later) great haircuts in a kid-friendly environment. Each hairdresser’s station has a TV with a direct feed from their multi-player DVD player, so kids can watch their favorite animated movie or TV show while they wait for their hair to be cut. Children can also spend time in the play area, playing as they wait for their siblings to be finished.

The stylists at Cartoon Cuts cut your child’s hair with patience and care, and they engage with them too! It was a great treat to have Lili, the stylist who cut Matty’s hair, attend to us. She gave Brandon his very first haircut over a decade ago! She remembered us, and asked him and Matty what grades they would be starting and complimented them on how handsome they are and how much they’ve grown, all while giving them a great new cut.

Cartoon Cuts has convenient locations in Florida, Maryland and Virginia, and has great programs to save you a bit of money, too:

  • 6 For 5: Pay for 5 haircuts in advance and receive one for free!
  • Locks of Love: Donate 10″ or more of your hair, and you will receive a free haircut, any Tuesday through Thursday.
  • Cheaper by the Dozen: A loyalty program that rewards customers by giving them their 12th haircut free!
  • I didn’t plan on getting a haircut too, but I was due for a trim. My fellow blogging moms were doing it, so why not join them? Stylist Juanita did a great job giving me that cut that I wanted.

    Head over to Cartoon Cuts and get your kids ready for Back to School in style!

    Posted in Around Town | Leave a comment

    Get Back To School Physicals & More at Your Neighborhood Walgreens! #WalgreensLatino #CollectiveBias #Shop

    This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and it’s advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

    Where has the summer gone? The kids are headed back to school in just a few days and it’s time to get everything ready for a new school year: school supplies, uniforms, physicals. What, you forgot about that last one? No problem, Walgreens can help with all your back to school essentials! #WalgreensLatino

    Walgreens Healthcare Clinics offer school and sports physicals for patients 21 and older for just $49*, possibly even $39 with a $10 off coupon available in-store and online. They do take appointments but walk-ins are always welcome. Simply make an appointment or check in at the computers in the Healthcare Clinic and make sure you have any paperwork required by your child’s school. Your child will be seen by one of their knowledgeable and friendly Licensed Healthcare Professionals, who can provide any immunizations your child may need for the upcoming school year, and answer any concerns you may have.

    Once you’re done at the Healthcare Clinic, wrap up shopping for back to school essentials while you’re still in the store: Walgreens makes back to school easy!

    They have everything your child will need for their return to school, from notebooks, backpacks and lunchboxes to tissue, sanitizer and cleansing wipes for the teacher’s wish list. There’s no need to head to the big department store, Walgreens has it all in one place. We wrapped up our back to school shopping during our most recent visit to Walgreens. (I’m so glad to be done with that!)

    We are now all set for a new, exciting school year, thanks to my neighborhood Walgreens and #CollectiveBias!

    Legal Disclaimer: “*Promotion ends 9/7/14. Sports and school physicals not typically covered by insurance. Certain exceptions, including age restrictions, may apply. Patient care services at Healthcare Clinic at select Walgreens provided by Take Care Health Services, an independently owned professional corporation whose licensed healthcare professionals are not employed by or agents of Walgreen Co. or its subsidiaries, including Take Care Health Systems, LLC. Walgreen Co. and its subsidiary, Take Care Health System, LLC, provide management services to in-store clinics and provider practices.” Visit walgreens.com/gobackhealthy for details.

    Posted in Around Town, Deals and Discounts, Health & Wellness, Parenting | 2 Comments

    How the boys survived No Screen Week

    Throughout the summer, the boys have a pretty flexible schedule. I let them play whatever they want, and they can stay up past their normal bedtime since there’s no rush to get to school the next day. This is a big difference from their routine during the school year, when they have to be in bed by 9pm and are only allowed electronics on weekends. Halfway through the summer, though, I realized that their entertainment of choice revolved around being in front of a screen. Whether it was playing XBox, playing with their Nintendo DS, watching YouTube, or watching movies, they preferred screen time to anything else. One particular Monday I got fed up. They were home with their dad on his day off, and when I got home at 6:30pm from work, I found them in the living room exactly as I left them: in pajamas playing XBox. While they certainly didn’t play video games the entire 8 hours I was gone, I’m sure the bulk of their time was spent on the couch, and I had to do something to change that.

    That’s when I got the idea to implement No Screen Week. I told them that they could not touch their XBox, Wii, DS, or YouTube for a week. If they stayed home with daddy on his day off and he wanted to watch a movie with them, that was fine, but they had to stay away from the screen otherwise. During the first couple of days, they thought it was torture. They complained and whined that they were bored and had nothing to do. But one day I came home to this:

    Another day, Brandon wanted to build his KNex Roller Coaster, a Christmas gift he begged and pleaded for two years ago, built once, and put away in the closet to gather dust. They spent the day putting it together. (in pajamas, and their beds a disaster, but I know how to pick my battles).

    Another day, I walked in the door after work and found Matty drawing on the coffee table (again with the pajamas!).

    It took them a little time, but they found ways to entertain themselves that didn’t involved electronics, and they were having fun!

    No Screen Week extended into two weeks because they ended up misbehaving during the weekend and I told them I was extending it. That was a mistake on my part, No Screen Week should not be a punishment, but a break to do other things that encourage them to use their imagination.

    I don’t know if I imagined it, but it sure seemed like during No Screen Week they fought less and played together instead of against each other. I told them that I know they love to play their video games, but we will definitely have No Screen Week once in a while to encourage them not only to use their imagination, but to play nicely together.

    Has screen time gotten out of hand in your household? What kind of screen time limits do you set?

    Posted in Family & Friends, Life Happens, Parenting | Leave a comment

    8-Week IMACS Mathematics Enrichment Giveaway

     

    IMACS GIVEAWAY LOGO

    As the mom of a child entering middle school, I realize my son will need a strong foundation no matter what career path he chooses. Many careers require a mastery of mathematics and the ability to apply logic, critical thinking and creative reasoning. Unfortunately, most schools don’t teach students HOW to think logically or creatively. Instead the focus is on teaching to standardized tests that only require memorization of formulas and facts.

    Luckily at the Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science (IMACS), they offer an alternative where your child can develop strong logic and reasoning skills used to solve complex problems.
    IMACS logo

    IMACS IS NOT TUTORING! There is no rote learning, no dry concepts, and no drill-and-kill! The focus is on creating understanding of the essential tools used to solve interesting problems. For over 20 years IMACS has been giving children a competitive edge by teaching them HOW to think critically, how to solve problems, and how to use logic and reasoning.
    You can learn more about IMACS’s Programs on Cori’s Cozy Corner.

    Want to have your child take a FREE placement class to see just what all the fun is about?
    Sign up now for a FREE PLACEMENT CLASS.

    *****Exclusive 20% Discount****

    Please make sure to tell them that you heard about IMACS from Cori’s Cozy Corner’s Giveaway.

    This will give you an exclusive 20% discount on first quarter classes if you are a new student to IMACS.

    IMACS and Cori’s Cozy Corner are joining together with several other bloggers to bring readers this awesome giveaway of an 8 week class session to one of our lucky winners.
    Read below to see how to enter.

    Good luck!

    • IMACS is giving away one enrollment in the first quarter of its Mathematics Enrichment program described at http://www.imacs.org/class-curriculum/math-enrichment/. Depending on location, this 8-week quarter generally starts during the second week of September 2014. Exact schedules can be found at http://www.imacs.org/class-schedules/after-school/. Any student, currently enrolled at IMACS or not, may qualify for this giveaway.
    • The winner may choose to attend classes at any of IMACS’ five South Florida teaching centers (Aventura, Boca, Ft. Lauderdale, Plantation, and Weston).
    • The winner will need to attend a placement class so that IMACS can place them in the correct level of instruction.
    • In addition, a new family who enrolls a new student in the first quarter of Mathematics Enrichment this Fall and indicates that they learned about IMACS from the sponsored post will receive 20% off their tution for this first quarter. This discount may not be combined with any other discounts including, but not limited to, the standard sibling discount.
    • To qualify, entrants must complete BOTH of the mandatory entries on the Giveaway Tools Widget below:
    Posted in Deals and Discounts, Giveaways | Leave a comment

    Planes: Fire & Rescue in theaters now!

    Disclosure: Disney Pictures provided me with admission to a pre-screening for Planes: Fire & Rescue, as well as the opportunity to attend the round table press day with Erik Estrada.

    I recently had the chance to participate in a round table interview with Erik Estrada, voice of Nick “Loopin’ ‘” Lopez in Planes: Fire & Rescue. As a child born in the 70′s, I remember seeing Erik Estrada on episodes of CHiPs, and in the years that followed in novelas and as a guest star in several other series. I felt so cool meeting this 70′s Icon! He was super buena gente. He walked into the conference room laughing with a soda in his hand, sat beside me (the only empty chair at the table), and opened up about life, his journey from Harlem to Hollywood, voicing Nick “Loopin’ ” Lopez for Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue, and how he taught himself Spanish for a role. Here are my favorite nuggets from our interview.

    Erik Estrada on the importance of learning Spanish:
    I wrote a book ten years ago called My Road from Harlem to Hollywood. I dedicated the book “To all children: get in touch with your background, it’s the key to your future”. If you know where you came from and where your parents came from, that gives you strength.

    Erik Estrada on the character of Nick “Loopin’” Lopez and CHoPs in the film:
    It was Disney’s idea. I saw the screening of it, and I was blown away. It was a flashback, and it hit me the impact that show had. When I was doing it [CHiPs], I was just happy to have a job and get my mother out of Harlem. They created that segment for the movie, threw it in, and called to see if I was interested. So I did it, it was cool. It was a lot of fun.

     

    Erik Estrada on how he ended up an actor:
    My mother divorced my father when I was 4, and she dated a cop later on, that’s where my love for cops came in. I was going to be a cop, that’s what I wanted, but there was a pretty girl at the age of 17. She never came out school at 3 o’clock, she always came out later, at 3:45. I followed her and she was going to Drama Club so I said, “I grew up in Harlem, I can act!” So I auditioned, got in, got bit by the acting bug, left the idea of becoming a NYC policeman, which freaked my mother out. I made a deal with her that I could chase this until I’m 30. I got my first movie at the age of 19, “The Cross and the Switchblade”, the first Christian based faith movie made in America. I got the New Centurions, then Hawaii 5-0, and after Hawaii 5-0 I told my mother I was going to stay in California. For about six more years, I guested on everything, did some more movies, Then CHiPs came along, I always wanted to be a cop. This was a cop on TV!

    Eric Estrada elaborated that no matter what career path he ended up in, his goal was to get his mother out of Harlem. He wanted her to live como una reina, and she is, right here in Miami!

    About the movie:
    Disney”s Planes: Fire & Rescue continues where last year’s Planes ended. Dusty Crophopper is now a world-renowned racer, and is preparing to star in the annual Corn Festival, but a glitch in his gearbox causes him to crash into the Propwash Junction airport The local firetruck, Mayday, is too old to deal with an emergency, and unless there’s another member of the safety squad, the airport will be shut down. Dusty volunteers to train and is sent to train with the Piston Peak Air Attack Team, which includes a former TV-star turned firefighter Blade Ranger and an eclectic cast of characters. Together, they battle a huge wildfire, and Dusty learns what it means to be a real hero.

     

    The four of us went to watch the pre-screening, and we all had a great time watching this latest Disney animated film. Brandon liked it and says it was better than the first one. Matty liked it too, thought it was funny, loved that it was about  firefighters, and wants everyone to know that his favorite character was Blade Ranger.
    Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue is in theaters now, go check it out!

    Social Media:
    Twitter: @DisneyPictures
    Facebook: DisneyPlanes
    Website: Disney.com/Planes

    Posted in Disney, Movies | 5 Comments

    Easy Mango Smoothie Recipe

    If you live in South Florida, you know that May through September is Mango Season! Mangoes are everywhere, and you can enjoy them in a variety of ways: mango marmalade, mango chutney, mango bread, mango smoothie, and the list goes on and on. We don’t have a mango tree, but between family, friends, and a few other resources, we’re fully stocked during the season. We usually just cut off the skin and eat them as is, but hubby requested mango smoothies this week so I obliged. Here’s a quick and easy recipe to enjoy this great summer treat.


    2 small mangoes, cut into chunks
    2 cups of vanilla yogurt
    sugar to taste (I used about a tablespoon, hubby likes it sweet.)
    dash of salt

    Put all the above items in the blender.
    Blend on Low for a few minutes, when all items are mixed.
    Add a few pieces of ice to water it down a little (if needed).

    See? I told you it was easy!

    Posted in Feed Me | Leave a comment

    We went on a Florida Keys Staycation and loved it!

    Do you know what it’s like to live in paradise? I do, though we don’t take advantage of it as much as we should. But that changed this past holiday weekend. We headed south, just a little over an hour away (I spend more time in the car trying to get downtown!), for an impromptu weekend getaway to the Florida Keys. My dad, stepmom, her mom and brother, and my stepsis and her boys were staying in Islamorada for the long weekend, and we decided to join them on Saturday, once hubby got home from work. We were only gone for about 30 hours, but it was enough to relax and recharge.

    If you’ve ever been to the Florida Keys, you know that you can’t help but slow down once you’re there. I know I unwinded once we arrived just by smelling the ocean air and feeling the breeze on my face. We had an early dinner at Wahoo’s with my sister and nephews, and her boyfriend and his kids, and then headed to Lorelei’s to watch the sunset. It was spectacular!

    On Sunday, we all went to breakfast at Mangrove Mike’s which is adjacent to the hotel we stayed in. All of us left with happy bellies, ready for whatever adventures lay ahead. After a dip in the pool and some lounging, I thought we were calling it a day and heading back home, but hubby wanted to tag along with the rest of the group on their snorkeling adventures. He hadn’t been snorkeling in years, and I’d never done it (or the boys, for that matter) so we decided to join them. I’m so glad we did! Eric was so happy, and Brandon loved it! (Matty decided he’d rather watch us from the boat, so we took turns). It took me a little bit to get the hang of breathing just through my mouth using the tube, but once I did, it was great! The boat we toured with had noodles for us to float on, and that made it so much easier to just relax and check out the amazing scenes below us in the ocean.

    Before we knew it, our tour was over and the boat re-docked. We had to start heading home, but the traffic had other plans for us. We could see the Overseas Highway from the boat dock, and traffic heading back north was not moving, so we decided we might as well have an early dinner at The Hungry Tarpon and wait out the traffic having fun instead of sitting in the car for possibly hours. That worked out perfectly because by the time we were done, the traffic was flowing and we got home in no time.

    I am so happy we decided to join our family for this impromptu staycation. We needed the time “away”, and plan on doing it again soon. After all, paradise is just a few miles down the road!

    Posted in Around Town, Family & Friends, Holidays, Life Happens, Travel | 4 Comments

    Longhorn Steakhouse has a new Happy Hour Menu #LHPrimeTime

    Disclosure: I was invited by Miami Mommy Savings and Longhorn Steakhouse to experience the PrimeTime Menu. I was provided a gift card as compensation. All opinions indicated are my own.

    Did you know that Longhorn Steakhouse now offers a Happy Hour menu, with affordable appetizers and drink specials? It’s called the Longhorn PrimeTime Menu, and I had the chance to explore the options with a few blogfriends from Miami Mommy Savings, Cool Moms Cool Tips and Mommy Mafia Miami last week at the Kendall location. Hubby and I have been there before with the boys so the restaurant is not new to me, but I was excited to try out the Happy Hour menu with my girlfriends. After a long week, a little girl time was just what I needed last Friday!

    Longhorn Steakhouse introduced the Prime Time Menu to their restaurants about three weeks ago. It is available Monday through Friday from 4pm until 7pm. This special menu includes a variety of drinks and bites for $3, $4 and $5.

    Here’s the full menu:

    Food

  • Wild West Shrimp Tacos ($5): Plump, breaded shrimp tossed with peppers and diced pimentos, brushed with garlic butter, and served with avocado-lime drizzle.
  • Shrimp & Avocado Stack ($5): Garlic shrimp layered with guacamole, cucumber and tomato with wonton chips, and served with red chili ranch.
  • Spicy Chicken Bites ($4): Hand-breaded chicken bites tossed in a sweet-n-spicy chili-ginger sauce.
  • Crispy Jalapeno Shooters ($4): Three-cheese stuffed jalapenos served with red chili-ginger sauce.
  • Housemade Kettle Chips ($3): Housemade kettle chips with smoky barbeque and horseradish aioli.
  • Sweet Corn Fritters ($3): Crispy bites of sweet corn served with red chili ranch.

    Drinks

  • Prime Time Margarita ($5): 1800 Silver 100% Blue Agave Tequila, organic agave nectar and all natural lemon & lime juice.
  • Classic Steakhouse Martini ($5): Finlandia Vodka or Bombay Gin, olive juice, and hand-stuffed bleu cheese olives.
  • Sunset Cosmo ($5): Finlandia Vodka, orange juice, all-natural lemon & lime juice and a splash of pomegranate.
  • Cucumber Mint Mojito ($5): Cruzan Silver Rum and white cranberry juice hand-muddled with fresh cucumber, mint and a splash of club soda.

    We tried the Shrimp and Avocado Stack, the Crispy Jalapeno Shooters and the Spicy Chicken Bites. They were all so good!

    The hit of the table was the Spicy Chicken Bites, we ordered three of those!

    The Prime Time Margarita not only looked good, but tasted good too!

    Longhorn Steakhouse makes it easy to enjoy a good time with good friends on a budget. Check out their Prime Time menu, and for more news, updates, and specials, follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

    Posted in Deals and Discounts, Feed Me | 3 Comments

    The Journey to Middle School Has Begun

    It’s been almost two weeks since Brandon finished 5th grade. Almost two weeks since I’ve been brainstorming in my head how to write this post. The last month or so was a whirlwind of events: 5th Grade trip to Busch Gardens (which I chaperoned), 5th Grade luncheon, Middle School Orientation, Promotion Ceremony. Each event making clear the inevitable, my first born is growing up. I know that I have an 11 year old who will be entering middle school in two months, but I honestly can’t believe it. It feels like just yesterday I dropped him off for his first day of preschool.

    I don’t think I’m ready for what lies ahead. My boy will be more on his own. He’ll be on the bus to and from school, in the crazy Miami traffic, instead of just down the street from my job. He’ll be even more accountable for keeping up with a schedule and assignments for seven classes and seven different teachers. What worries me most are the social challenges he may face. His two best friends will be attending his same program, but he will inevitably be faced with the trials and tribulations of attending a new school, curiosity about girls, bullies, and the information kids are susceptible to these days (gosh, I sound old!) via the internet. Kids are growing up way faster than when I was his age. I know I can’t stop him from growing up, and I can’t stop him from being exposed to things I’d rather he not be. All I can do is encourage that he communicate with us, and let him know that we’ll always be on his side, and we’ll always be there for him, no matter what.

    Posted in Family & Friends, Life Happens, The Boys | 5 Comments

    Prevent Color Bleeding with Purex® No Sort™ #laundrysimplified #cbias

    Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

    Just a few short weeks ago, right around the time we moved into this house, I was sorting laundry, piles and piles (more like miles and miles) of it. Matty walked into my bathroom and said, “Mommy, I’ll help. This can be one of my chores!” Hallelujah, an assistant! I was so grateful for this little laundry helper that I grabbed him, gave him a big hug and lots of mushy kisses. After our little love fest, we continued sorting. And sorting. And sorting (WHY did we have so much dirty laundry? I washed almost everything right before our move!). We finally got to the bottom of the basket and had about seven loads. But the work was far from over. Those seven loads have to be washed, dried and folded. Ayayay!

    Every laundry day (or days) after that, my little assistant and I go through the same routine…until this week! I received an email from the folks at #CollectiveBias telling me that the “Rules Have Changed” thanks to Purex®. They wanted to know if I wanted to try the new Purex® No Sort™ for Colors detergent. Of course I did! I love spending time with my little guy, but I’d rather be having fun than doing chores, and it sounded like Purex® No Sort™ would cut my laundry time in half. We could stop sorting and start playing!

    Now we had to go purchase the detergent. We hopped in the car and headed for Walmart. There it was, right there with all the other Purex® products. That was easy! We were now ready to go home and do some laundry.

    I’m happy to report that after using Purex® No Sort™ for Colors, we’ve reduced our typical seven or eight piles of laundry to four. Success! Because of its Anti Color Transfer Technology, the reds, blues, purples, beiges, blacks and whites stayed exactly as they should. We’re saving time, and money: we’re washing less loads, so that’s less times we run the washer and dryer. Purex® No Sort™ for Colors make #laundrysimplified!

    Here is some information from Purex® about this latest product:

    Laundry users believe sorting is an essential part of their laundry routine so our challenge is to convince them that has changed. In order to reassure our consumers we have focused on educating them on our breakthrough Anti-Color-Transfer Technology which traps loose dyes in the wash and does not let them settle onto other fabrics. As a result they are able to simplify their laundry routine by doing less sorting and less loads.

    There’s one small disclaimer to using this new detergent. The label on the back of the bottle says: Purex® No Sort™ detergent is packed with innovation, but it can’t perform miracles, so please follow these words of advice: wash strongly colored fabrics or new pieces of clothing, especially jeans, separately at least 5 times before doing a mixed color load with Purex® No Sort™ detergent.

    Learn more about Purex® No Sort™ by going to the Purex® site or on social media:
    Pinterest
    YouTube
    Twitter
    Facebook
    Hashtag: #laundrysimplified

    Posted in Deals and Discounts, Social Media | 3 Comments