More than amazing baby pictures at ABBA Color Photography

When I go to ABBA Color Photography, I get to capture a moment in time… with absolutely no stress.

I just hand over my baby, give as much or as little guidance as I want, and the photos get done (and done well).  Maricela comforts fussy babies, poses them, gets them to smile and is quick with the camera and captures great photos.  And when my baby gets hungry or needs a new diaper, she just takes a break and lets me take my time.

And a year after our first session, I found out just what ABBA Color Photography can do with big kids.  She invited my older kids out and just look!

For babies, she has lots of outfits and costumes.  For girls, she has several options as well.  My daughter thought she was a princess in this gown found in the studio.

Maricela had my 8 year old twirl and pose and took the most magical pictures.  And just look at how she got the 10 year old boy to give us a natural smile…

The rest of my photos are on the way… and I’ll post them when they are ready.  You can be sure that my 6 year old boy has a mischievous photo in the editing room now.

If you are looking for amazing baby or kid photos, I recommend ABBA Color Photography.  Do it now so you are ready for holiday cards!

Time for a Skin Check at Mosaic Dermatology Houston

I did not use enough sunscreen as a teenager. Instead I used baby oil and lemon juice while I lounged poolside.

This led to three progressively bigger surgeries on my back and a nagging concern about skin cancer. From the research I’ve done since, I know that skin cancers removed early are usually curable, but they can be hard to spot on the back and they rarely hurt.

So while a self examination is great, I need to schedule my annual skin check with the dermatologist… especially after spending the last 3 months under the bright Houston sun.

At our sponsor, Mosaic Dermatology Houston, the physicians are trained at UT-Houston and MD Anderson Cancer Center. They have extensive Dermatology experience that includes preforming detailed skin checks where they examine moles, wrinkles, and all aging skin.

AND you can see a male or female doctor and get next day appointments.  Plus HERE are hundreds of 5 Star Reviews from verified patients!

If you also want to be proactive with your skin care, contact Mosaic Dermatology Houston online or by calling 281-941-5556.

Also, as not to repeat my mistakes from the 90’s, you can order antioxidant sunscreen right from the online store!  Get the sunscreen with an extra splash of anti-oxidant Vitamin C, HERE!

Visionworks is teaming up with Little League: Get Your Kids Eyes Examined!

My daughter told me she needed glasses for two full years before I got her to the optometrist.

She had passed all the tests at school and at the pediatrician’s office, so I figured she just wanted glasses like her good friend. She is a very fashionable little girl, so I figured she was trying to get another accessory for her Caboodle.

It was not until last Spring when I went for my own eye exam that I brought along Brooke. Here the doctor examined her eyes and kindly told me she had been squinting so much, for so long, that he had trouble even figuring out her correct prescription. What he did know was that she needed glasses and that she had probably been struggling to see at school and on the ball field.

At our sponsor, Visionworks, the office has a sign that says one in four children has an undiagnosed vision problem. Apparently this was true for my family… and the simple eye chart had not been enough to catch it.

It took me another six months to realize that I should also make an appointment with the optometrist for my boys. Which was silly, because even if they were not complaining, I knew from my childhood that it is hard to know you do not see as clearly as everyone else… until it is corrected.

Here, one boy passed easily and one boy is being monitored. And both boys were encouraged to wear sunglasses in the bright Texas sun.

In 2017, Visionworks is teaming up with Little League® to become the official eyewear and eye care retailer of Little League Baseball and Softball. Together, the organizations are raising awareness about the importance of annual eye exams and protective eyewear for school-aged children, especially those children who play sports.

Additionally with the Little League World Series going on August 17-27, Visionworks wants to remind baseball families all across the country to get their little athlete’s eyes checked.

So, as you visit the doctor and dentist and get ready for the new school year, be sure to also make an appointment for your kids to have their eyes examined.  I can tell you that the simple eye charts may not be enough to diagnose a problem!

Pei Wei… 5 Lunches for $5 Everyday!

Address: 5110 Buffalo Speedway #100, Houston, TX 77005

Here’s why I like Pei Wei:  It’s quick, there are healthy options, the vegetables are crunchy like fresh vegetables should be… and now there are 5 $5 meals!

They invited us out to try the $5 meals… and found these are available every day from 11:00am-1:00pm.  You can pick between:

  • Sweet & Sour – pineapple, red bell peppers, snap peas and fresh ginger, wok-tossed in Pei Wei’s classic sweet and sour sauce
  • Korean Spicy – red bell peppers, bean sprouts and scallions, wok-fired in a sweet and spicy Korean bulgogi sauce
  • Thai Dynamite – Thai basil, scallions, red bell peppers and julienne carrots, wok-fired in a Sriracha chile soy sauce and topped with a fresh lime wedge
  • Dan Dan Noodles – white meat chicken, garlic and scallions, wok-seared in a chile soy sauce, served over steamed noodles and finished with steamed bean sprouts and fresh julienne cucumbers
  • Mango California Roll (8 pc) – seafood salad, mango, cucumbers and scallions, all hand-rolled in premium sushi rice and topped with toasted sesame seeds

Get all the details HERE!





Pei Wei Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Be the Talk of the Neighborhood with BoMoSo Party Castle!

Ohhhhhhh, we were the talk of the neighborhood! BoMoSo gave us this AIR CONDITIONED castle for the weekend.

It was dropped off in the morning and the kids could not believe this castle with bunks and television was for them.  They ran in and out and around and then disappeared for hours.  See the videos of the inside HERE!

The castle was so cool that my boys were fine with the castle theme, but it looks like football and other themes are in the works.

If you are planning a party or special event, learn all about these trailers on BoMoSo.

Fun! Clean! Air Conditioned! Bowl and Barrel in CityCentre!

Address: 797 Sorella Ct Ste 118, Houston, TX 77024

Now this was fun! And clean! And air conditioned!

Bowl and Barrel in CityCentre invited us out… and this is not the kind of bowling alley I grew up with! It’s sleek and clean, serves great food and automates the everything for those of us that can’t quite remember how to play.

We went last week and just filled out a paper with our names, shoes sizes and whether or not we wanted bumpers… and then we just headed to our lane. The shoes and food came to us… and the computer was set up with our bowling order and automatically raised and lowered the bumpers.

And the best part is, through August, kids can rent shoes, bowl and get lunch and a drink for $10! This is good, Monday through Wednesday, 11:00am-4:00pm.  Get the details HERE!

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Take your grown up friends (and all the kids) to play at Palava

Address: 3240 Spring Cypress Road, TX 77388

This is the truth… I do not love play places.  I do not like to chase 4 kids through sticky gyms and having to pay outrageous admission fees to do it.

So, when Palava invited me out, I was not very quick to go.

Two things had to happen before I finally ventured out this park.  First, I read that it actually had good food.  You can get a coffee or ice cream or a real meal… and not concession stand food.

Second, my friend recommended it.

So off we finally went to Palava with our friends. And now I have two things to say about it…

First, while I don’t love play places, I do love family restaurants. If there is a place that will entertain the kids and serve good food, I’m a big fan.

At Palava, they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and it’s good. We had a gourmet pizza with thin crust and lots of toppings.

Dinner was good and enjoyable and I look forward to going here again for coffee with friends… or for any meal.

Second, for as uncertain as I was about a play place, I had brought Houston’s biggest play place critic with me to Palava. But guess what? My husband actually said he like our evening out.

He liked the food and he loved playing laser tag with the kids. All the equipment was new and clean… and there was not so much stuff that you had trouble watching the kids.

So, long story short, my friend, my husband and I all agree that Palava is a fun place to be.

If you go, you’ll find a play structure for big kids and for little kids, a restaurant/dining room, arcade games, laser tag course and glow in the dark mini golf. There are different deals with character visits or all you can play laser tag… so check the calendar. (When we went, we played laser tag all night long!)

You can go in for free if you will just eat and play the arcade games or with the toys in the dining area.  You need a wrist band to go on the play structure or to play laser tag and mini golf.

Also, something cool is that Palava is owned and operated by a mom and her goal was to create a space where parents can relax and know their kids are safe and having fun.

So ask your grown up friend to coffee or lunch… and enjoy it while the kids play.





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We had the VERY BEST TIME at Splashway Waterpark & Campgrounds

Address: 5211 Main Street, Sheridan, Texas 77475

This trip was AMAZING.

My kids got to go camping, I got to have all the amenities of home AND we got to visit a big waterpark!

Splashway Waterpark & Campground invited us out for a night and we had the very best time.

This water park in Sheridan, just outside Houston, has a whole lot to do and a campground. My kids love water slides and camping and I love cool water activities and the idea of camping.

I like the bonfires and outdoor activities, I just prefer to stay somewhere with running water, air conditioning and a bed.

Well at Splashway we had an air conditioned cabin with a full kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, loft and screened in porch! The kids could play at the playground right outside our door, roast marshmallows over the fire and run wild… and then come inside for showers, bathrooms and air conditioning.

We arrived on a weekday afternoon, set up the 5 beds and prepared veggies for our foil dinners. Then, after the temperature dropped, families came out to their decks for dinner and to the common areas for games, bikes, playing on the playground, giant chess games and the outdoor movie.

We made our fire, cooked our foil dinners, hot dogs and s’mores and ran wild through the campground.  Later, the kids all climbed up to the loft (with 4 mattresses) and dreamed about the next day at the waterpark.

The next morning we arrived at opening, found our table and the kids were off!  The big kids went on the huge slides and the baby and I waved at them from the little kid areas.

The waterpark is not as huge at Wet’n’Wild or Schlitterbahn, but it is plenty big with lots to do… making it much easier to handle.

AND the thing that most impressed me was how friendly and polite the customers were.  Any time a kid bumped in to my baby, the parents jumped in and apologized and made things right.  I think it was helped that the staff was very helpful, the music was all family friendly and there were frequent announcements connecting up lost parents and also reminding people to check in with their groups.  This was the best experience we’ve had at a waterpark all summer.

The kids had so much fun that I had to peel them away after 7 hours of swimming… with the promise of going back again next year!

If you plan to go to Splashway Waterpark & Campground, here is what we learned:

  • If you join the free Ray Club, you can save 10% on tickets.
  • All the slides, except 1, are for kids 42″ and above.  (The other is for 48″ and above.)
  • Parking is FREE!
  • Life Jackets and Tubes are free to use.
  • You can bring in COOLERS!  Food is also for sale, but bringing in our own lunch saved us at least $10 each.  (Bring one on wheels to get it across the park.)
  • There are free grills to cook your own lunch. (First come first served.)
  • Arrive at opening… and do your favorite rides first.  The new Ray’s Riptide had the biggest line… so do it early if you can.
  • We went on a weekday with a buy one get one free promotion going on.  There were crowds… but still not as big as the other Houston waterparks.  I bet on a usual weekday you can go down slides as fast as you can climb the stairs.
  • There a picnic tables all over the park and people just claim tables with their coolers… and come back when they are hungry.
  • Consider wearing water shoes.  The sidewalks are hot!
  • Lifeguards are everywhere.  But, of course, you have to watch your kids!
  • Have a meet up spot planned in advance… just in case you get separated!
  • This is a lot of walking and climbing!  The stairs and ramps to the top of the slides can take you several stories in the air.
  • Life vests are available for free, all over the park.  You can also bring in your own devices.  My youngest wore his Puddle Jumper, even though he can swim.  (It made his mom feel better.)
  • Strollers are allowed in the park.

If you want to rent the cabins, more tips are below:

  • The cabins come with 3 queen beds and 2 full beds.  The mattresses and pillows are covered in a slick cleanable cover and you need to bring linens.
  • Splashway also has spaces for tents and RVs.  They have cabins that sleep 12 and smaller cottages.
  • In addition to sheets, blankets/sleeping bags and towels, you need to bring soap and shampoo.
  • The kitchen is fully stocked with pots and plates and silverware… but you need to wash and return everything you use!
  • Mosquitoes were not really an issue like they are in Houston.  Ants were a bigger issue for us.
  • The campgrounds have lots of things to do and boats to rent.  If you have room in your car, bring bikes and balls so you have even more to do!
  • This campground is nothing like Lake Houston Wilderness Park.  If you want wilderness, this is not it.  If you want fun, we found it here!
  • We just stayed one night and checked out before going to the waterpark.  This worked well… but it would have been awesome to stay 2 nights.  We could have woken up in the cabin, gone to the waterpark and then enjoyed a second evening in the cabin.
  • Do not expect to get lots of groceries in Sheridan.  There is a convenience store, but the closes real grocery store is probably 20 minutes away.
  • If you need a list of things to bring, here’s what we packed.  (But remember, I’m not a real camping pro!)
    • Maybe the most essential:
      • Bug Spray
      • Sun Screen
      • Water
    • For the cabin:
      • Fitted Sheets, Blankets and Sleeping Bags.
      • Shampoo and Soap
    • For the Fire:
      • Firewood (also available at the entrance of the park)
      • Charcoal
      • Lighter/Matches
      • Lighter Fluid
      • Leather Gloves
      • Stick for roasting marshmallows
    •  Groceries:
      • Bread
      • Cheese and Turkey
      • Peanut Butter
      • Marshmallows
      • Graham Crackers
      • Chocolate
      • Water
      • Snacks (Granola Bars, Trail Mix)
      • Watermelon
      • Supplies for Foil Dinners
        • Foil
        • Tongs (for taking them off the fire)
        • Vegetables
        • Hot Dogs
        • Butter
        • Salt
        • Cooking Supplies:
          • Knife
          • Veggie Peeler
          • Cutting Board
          • Paper Towels
          • Paper Plates
          • Sporks
          • Cups/Water Bottles
          • Plastic Bags (for storing food)
          • Cooler
        • More supplies:
          • Flash Lights
          • Duct Tape
          • Pocket Knife
          • Hand Sanitizer
          • Trash Bags
          • Deck of Cards
          • Phone/Charger
        • For the waterpark:
          • Flip Flops
          • Swim Suits
          • Towels
          • Cooler with water, sandwiches and watermelon

Take a look at more pictures below… and decide if Splashway Waterpark & Campground is right for you!












So… Why Should I Join VillaSport Athletic Club & Spa Cypress?

Post Sponsored by Villa Sport

Address: 12951 Barker Cypress Road, Cypress, TX 77429

Cypress has a brand new family friendly sports club, VillaSport Athletic Club & Spa Cypress!

But let me be candid… when VillaSport invited me out, I wondered why I would join this club when I have a local rec enter.  So, as I toured the facility, I asked the staff just this question.

To answer, they showed me the 2 indoor and 2 outdoor pools, the giant slides, water monkey bars and water features. And then they showed me the kids club with spots for tiny kids and big kids and even a dedicated ball court for the kids. And then they showed me the fitness centers, exercise rooms, nail salon and spa.

But what I liked the very best was when they showed me the big family locker room.

Kids under 13 and their parents can go in together, change in the dedicated rooms (each with a baby changing table), sit in the family lounge, nurse in the mom room… and I don’t have to worry about sending my boys though a women’s locker room… or worse, a men’s locker room with absolutely no supervision.

The tour guide also told me that if you are looking for clean, family friendly facilities with a staff that is dedicated to making your experience great, VillaSport Cypress is the place to be. And in my own opinion, this club is much more family focused than some others around Houston.

Take a look at the pictures, and if you are looking for a place for fitness, family and community, check out the new VillaSport Athletic Club & Spa Cypress!








Have Fun & Save Money at Schlitterbahn Galveston!

This is why I like Schlitterbahn Galveston:

  • You can bring in coolers and parking is free.  Admission is expensive enough… no need to buy lunch or pay for parking.
  • The staff is very friendly.  As we walked through, several employees stopped to say hello and give us tips on where to set up for the day.
  • There are pools for little kids and slides for big kids in every section of the park.  There is plenty to do for everyone!
  • Many of the big slides have spiral ramps rather than steps.  This is good for my 5 year old because he hates the gaps between stair treads.

Schlitterbahn invited us out last week and we headed down to Galveston.  My kids have asked to visit this big waterpark each time we see the slides at the entrance of Moody Gardens, but this was our first time going!

We arrived to Schlitterbahn at opening and figured out how it all worked.  We parked for free, rolled in our cooler and asked the staff what to do next.  Apparently you can just grab one of the many many picnic tables and leave your cooler for the day.  (But put valuables in the lockers!)

Since we were all exploring together and there would be no poolside lounging, we grabbed a table by the lockers in the middle of the park.  As we ran through the park we’d stop for water, snacks and sunscreen.  (Also, I’m happy to report that my concerns about leaving coolers out were unfounded.  No one messed with our stuff.)

We did see other big groups that would take turns relaxing at tables by pools while some ran off to slides.  So… the best table just depends on what kind of waterpark trip you have planned!

We ran around the park and found plenty of slides for my 42″ and 48″ kids to do together. For the slides for just the big kids, my little boy and I were able to splash at a little pool while they came down.

Wait times were relatively short on a weekday (except Massiv!) and the kids were usually just waiting for about 5 minutes.

One thing to know is that there are 3 rivers and they all connect up. On the map they look like they are separate, but I once sent my big boy around… and then he did not return to the same spot. Fortunately we had a meeting spot agreed upon (the picnic table) and found each other without major panic.

Also, another thing to know is that the Torrent River is a very cool river with big waves. BUT be ready! I did not know it was more than a lazy river… and when the big waves come I was terrified I would drop the baby. I am a very strong swimmer, but I did not know this was coming. You really need life vests (for non-swimmers) and to be on your tube and ready for big waves because there is nothing to grab or a way to get out until you reach the beach.

Other than this 3 seconds of uncertainty, we had a great day Schlitterbahn.  We did everything and left happy and tired after 8 hours of fun.  The kids declared that this was their favorite waterpark around Houston (but keep in mind that it was also the most recent visit!).

If you want to go this summer, more tips are below:

  • Arrive at opening… and do your favorite rides first.  Massiv has a massive line… so if you want to do the tallest slide, try it early (or late) in the day.
  • Parking is FREE!
  • You can bring in COOLERS!  Food is also for sale, but bringing in our own lunch saved us at least $10 each.
  • Bring a cooler on wheels or a little cart.  The park is big and you could pick a picnic table far away!
  • There a picnic tables all over the park and people just claim tables with their coolers… and come back when they are hungry.  I wasn’t sure how well this would go… but we had no problems!
  • We grabbed a table by the lockers so we had a central spot.  If you have a favorite pool or slide, you can grab a table next to it so you can let the kids play while you hang out.
  • Lockers are available for $10-$20.  I’m not sure how to get around renting the locker if everyone plans to swim and you have keys and a phone.  The good thing is that you can open and close all day for one price.
  • Consider wearing water shoes.  The sidewalks are rough and hot!
  • Lifeguards are everywhere.  But, of course, you have to watch your kids!
  • The 3 rivers connect!  On the map it looks like there are 3 rivers… but they actually connect.  So if you were to send your oldest around the river and expect him to come back to the same spot… well, you might be surprised.
  • Have a meet up spot planned in advance… just in case you get separated!
  • This is a lot of walking and climbing!  The stairs and ramps to the top of the slides can take you several stories in the air.
  • With all the water, I locked away my phone and was offline all day…. but I saw lots of people with affiliate waterproof phone cases.
  • Tubes are available for all the slides that require tubes and for the lazy river.  I really liked that there were double tubes with one side that was meant for little kids under 50lbs.  It had a closed bottom so they did not fall though the hole.
  • Life vests are available for free, all over the park.  You can also bring in your own devices.  My youngest wore his Puddle Jumper, even though he can swim.  (It made his mom feel better.)
  • Strollers are allowed in the park.

Check out more pictures below and decide if Schlitterbahn is right for you!








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