February 19, 2016

Recipe Round-Up

Menu-planning. Such a love hate relationship. I get on track and then it's so easy to fall off. 

This past week and a half I planned out our meals, made my grocery list and stuck to my plan. So far so good! I love trying new things and attempting a new recipe is always fun. I can follow a recipe like nobody's business!

For this weeks meal plan I consulted SkinnyTaste for of our dinner options. Gina has such amazingly easy and full of flavor recipes on her site. I love that the recipes include nutritional facts and WW Points as well. The SkinnyTaste Cookbook has been on my wish-list for some time now. I keep hoping the Hubs will gift it to me on one of these special occasions...I may just have to go ahead and purchase it on my own.

These recipes were a hit with everyone! M asked for seconds and I got the approval from the Hubs. Yay for me!!

My favorite was the Carne Guisada...so much flavor! We paired it with a simple mexican rice...I think next time I'll serve it over white rice. So yummy! M's favorite was the Korean Chicken. He loves edamame and "asian" inspired meals. The Hubs leaned towards the Carne Guisada as well. 

I hope you get to try some of these easy and delicious meals. They will now be on rotation at our dinner table. If you've tried some of these already, I'd love to hear what your thoughts were on them! 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a payment if you make a qualifying purchase using the link(s) provided.

February 16, 2016

Castelo Adventures: XOXO Weekend

I hope you all were able to spend this Valentine's Day weekend with your loved ones. Although we don't celebrate the lovely 'holiday' with gifts we made it a point to be together...with fun family activites! 

I took M on our mom and son date. The Hubs worked until 5pm so I had M all to myself :) We started off the morning by going to Cafe Java in Round Rock, TX. If you live anywhere near the Austin and surrounding area, this is a must for breakfast! M always gets the kiddie pancakes {pancake, eggs, bacon}. Their pancakes are amazing! Melt-in-your-mouth good!!

It just so happened that our local Lowe's had a special Valentine's workshop on Saturday. We headed over after our breakfast and got to building. 

Love our frame! 

M wanted to go to Barnes and Noble to play on the Lego and train tables. We picked up a couple of books while we were there, too. 

It was such a gorgeous day that the park was calling for us! Luckily, we have a park in our neighborhood so we stopped by for a bit before heading home.

Happy Valentine's Day from the Castelo's!

One year, while the Hubs and I were still dating, he surprised me with a hike on Valentine's Day.  He, very sneakingly, found out my shoe and clothing size...and surprised me with workout gear. With a blindfold on he took me to Mount Bonnell. It was amazing!  This year we thought it would be fun to do the same, hiking that is, with our little family :)
We spent our morning with a hike on the Barton Creek Greenbelt. It was a cool breezy morning and perfect for a hike. We took advantage to test out our new hiking boots, too! If you are in the market for hiking footwear I completely recommend the Vasque Boots. The Hubs and I each have a pair, while M wears the Hi-Tec Boot.

Of course, we were starving after our hike. We decided to get brunch at Banger's on Rainey St. Although we've been there plenty of times during nightlife, it was our first time going for brunch. It will definitely be a place we frequent during the day. They have a small dog run where you can leave your pup while you eat/drink, Lola loved interacting with all the other pups.

Our evening was uneventful. We were exhausted from our adventures earlier in the day. Naps and movies were on the schedule :) We ordered in and watched Goosebumps. 

This Valentine's was one of the best! Spending it with my little family was all I wanted. Do you celebrate this sweet day? Any special traditions? I think we're going to make our "morning hike" a Valentine's tradition :) xoxo

February 12, 2016

A Boy and his Pokemon Cards

I was super excited when I was asked to write a review on none other than Pokemon cards! I remember watching the cartoons and playing the game as a child...I now get to share that with M. Gotta catch'em all!!!

We've been bombarded with all things Pokemon for over a year now...M's 6th birthday featured Pikachu amongst other Pokemon characters. Needless to say, we have definitely started quite a collection of cards. 

These cards from Golden GroundHog are great! The pack we received was the 30 Pokemon Card Pack Lot. It guaranteed a Mew card and either an EX, Lv. X or a rare. The packaging could be better but I guess as long as they aren't damaged in shipping, all is well. {they come neatly packed in a clear plastic bag}

First thing M looked for was if we had recieved an EX...which we did! It was a Kangaskhan EX 180. M was ecstatic! He was also pretty excited about the Mew card. I like that there were no duplicate cards in the pack. We have so many duplicate cards already that we need to swap or donate some...do kids do that? Hmmm...I'll have to ask M. 

M's cards are stored in a binder I had lying around. Nothing crazy...just your regular 3-ring binder. Ours doesn't have a zipper BUT I completely recommend a zipper binder so cards to fall out if carried in the wrong direction...trust me...I know. 

To hold the cards we use baseball card inserts. They hold the cards perfectly and are inexpensive to purchase. 

Is your little one a Pokemon fan? M's favorite character is Pikachu...leave yours or your little one's in the comments! 

Disclaimer: I received this product at a highly discounted price or for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a qualifying purchase. 

February 11, 2016

15 Mom and Son Date Ideas

I have completely lost track of time and am just {this week} realizing that Valentine's Day is this weekend! Ahh!! Get ready for the crowds this weekend! 

We don't necessarily celebrate Valentine's Day. If we do anything it's usually a family affair. A fun day planned that we can all enjoy. And I love it!! 

The Hubs works this weekend which means that Saturday will be a fun filled day with just M and me. I love those moments...our mommy and son dates. They fill my heart with so much joy...I also can't believe how big my "little" boy has gotten {sigh}. 

I have a few things already planned for our mom and son date. Starting with a yummy breakfast at M's favorite breakfast restaurant. Can't wait...it so happens to be a favorite of mine as well :) 

I've made a list of some of our favorite things to do...all budget friendly! Even better, right?! Whether you're looking for a fun family day or ideas for your very own mommy son/daughter date.

1. hike | go explore the outdoors! Plan a nature scavenger hunt to make it even more exciting! [this is one I like to use] Find a nature trail in your area!

2. go to the park | the park is always a favorite! Try going to one you haven't yet been to. Take turns pushing each other on the swings...this always gets a laugh out of M.

3. breakfast | make breakfast together or go out to your favorite breakfast restaurant. Great way to start off your day!

4.  baking | we love to bake! Especially cookies and muffins. Gather your cookies cutters or muffins tins, put on those aprons and get to baking!! 

5. take a bike ride | put on those helmets and get on your bike! No need to drive anywhere either...bike around your neighborhood or if you're close enough, bike to the park!

6. coffee and Legos | Starbucks is great to sit, relax with a coffee drink for you, hot chocolate for the little one and Legos! Building something together is a great way to bond. 

7. fly a kite | go to your nearest park or your backyard, if you have space. Fun shaped kites are so much fun! This one is a favorite of ours. 

8. go miniature golfing | we love putt putt! M is actually pretty good...he loves being able to pick out his own colored gulf ball. 

9. have a picnic | make some pb & j's, head outdoors and have a picnic! Don't forget to pack your picnic blanket!!  

10. chalk art | pull the cars out of the drive-way and chalk it up! You can buy chalk for cheap at the dollar store too.

11. visit a museum | have a children's museum or history museum near you? Pay it a visit. Sometimes they have special "last hour" deals that you can take advantage of.

12. get ice cream | go get ice cream with your little one. They will enjoy having to pick out their flavor and adding sprinkles :)

13. go to a bookstore | pick out a few new reads at the bookstore. Barnes and Noble has many events throughout the month for you to attend. Check your nearest location for details.

14. participate in a building workshop | we {M and I} are crafters at heart. Did you know Lowe's and Home Depot offer free building workshops for kiddos? Check your local store for more info!

15. paint | again with our craftiness...paint on canvas! Perfect for decorating any room or gifting to grandparents!

We will be attending a building workshop, taking a trip to the park, having a picnic and going to a museum on our date. Hopefully, we are able to get some coffee and Lego building in between all that. What is your favorite mommy and son/daughter date activity?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a payment if you make a qualifying purchase using the link(s) provided.

February 7, 2016

THE selfie stick!

I hope you all are having a fabulous weekend! 

This weekend was a little "farewell" to our last free Saturday's. We'll be starting soccer season with M soon so soccer games will take up most, if not all, of our Saturday mornings and/or afternoons. Yes, I am that soccer mom. I love it though...wouldn't have it any other way! 

We decided to go on a little camping weekend with friends. Oh what fun we had! Many memories made and stories to tell. 

Castelo Family

I always try to take as many pictures as I can when we go on trips. Photos are such a great way to reminisce on memories and have a few laughs remembering great times we had. Of course, we don't always travel with others so there are many times we have to ask random people to take our picture. The Hubs hates when I ask others to do that. I get it, why bother others to take our picture. That's where a selfie stick comes into play! 

I've been on the hunt for THE selfie stick for our family trips...and I think I've found it! The Selfiesteem Selfie Stick with LED Light is great for photos! 

Size: it's super compact! It's 5.5 inches when it's folded...which makes it great for carrying in a backpack and small enough to fit in a purse when going out. It extends to 29.5 inches for the perfect selfie pictures! 
Storage: comes with a small black drawstring bag for easy storage. 
LED light: it comes with LED lights for dim/night photos! This is exactly what I was looking for in a selfie stick. The LED lights have 3 light settings and an autoflash option. 
Audio Jack: comes with an audio jack rather than bluetooth pairing. In my opinion this is better than bluetooth. No need to pair it to your phone and have to worry about connectivity. 

Directions: could be nicer. They come in a printed piece of paper. Easy to read though just not very 'professional' looking. 
Charging Cord: the cord it comes with doesn't work. At least mine didn't. It's also very small. It's charges with a micro usb cord so it's easy to purchase one that works. We have a bunch laying around from other devices and they charged it with no issue.

using the selfie stick

selfie with the LED setting on 2 brightness

All in all, I really like this selfie stick. I think it will definitely come in handy when we are traveling on our own or out with a group of friends. Great for day and night time selfies. Check it out for yourself and let me know if you end up purchasing-definitely a great buy! 

**Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.