Margarita Mama

Destruction day

Posted by on Jul 28, 2014 in Featured, home, home repair, Margarita Mama, Uncategorized | 0 comments

After two weeks of rearranging our belongings and evacuating everything from the first floor into the garage, playroom and master bedroom, we’re ready for flooring-destruction day.

It’s not exactly Young House Love worthy up in here right now. Unfortunately, we didn’t get everything painted ahead of time due to a hectic weekend. However, it’s about half done and we’re ready to rock-n-roll on the rest.

Using a lot of painter's plastic ...

Using a lot of painter’s plastic …

Kitchen is ready, with fridge in the hallway. (That's where that goes, right?)

Kitchen is ready, with fridge in the hallway. (That’s where that goes, right?)

Toilet is out — outside. Because we live in Arkansas. Of course.

Toilet is out — outside. Because we live in Arkansas. Of course.

Covered and ready to go, with half the couch in the garage

Covered and ready to go, with half the couch in the garage

Dining room, ready

Dining room, ready

I’m more than ready for the chipped tile to come up, along with the dog and kid attacked carpet. So, common’ flooring guys! We’re waiting.

Can’t take it anymore

Posted by on Jul 23, 2014 in daddy, Featured, home, home repair, Margarita Mama, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Something has been bothering me for quite awhile now. And the time for action has come.

We’ve been covering up a problem. In the meantime, it’s only gotten worse.

Our kitchen floor

Our kitchen floor

Nearly exactly two years ago, I wrote this post about our floor. Since then, the cracks have only spread. But flooring doesn’t come cheap. And we’re the kind who like to simmer on an important decision for a long time, then finally get fed up one day and spring into action.

But I’m also the kind of wife who likes to pile on.

I mean, if we’re going to do the floor, shouldn’t we get on that painting project we’ve been meaning to do for the past 5 years now?

So, instead of just clearing out the whole first floor of our house for the installation crew, now we’re painting, too. (And when I say we, I mean Daddy. Because we’re still in that divide-and-conquer stage of the game in which one of us has to supervise/distract the children if we’re actually going to get anything done.)

Don't ask how that trim was done — a "don't try this at home" sort of moment

Don’t ask how that trim was done — a “don’t try this at home” sort of moment

The children are not pleased. Their toys are crammed upstairs in every nook and cranny. It’s boring.

But when it’s done, it will be beautiful!

Tips for roadtrip sanity

Posted by on Jul 11, 2014 in Activities, Featured, Margarita Mama, Uncategorized, vacation | 0 comments

As we’re coming off a set of 10+ hour family roadtrips and another round just a month away, I’ve got travel on the brain.

Kayla, Ava and Kendall, ready for summer fun

Kayla, Ava and Kendall, ready for summer fun

Normally, I make tons of lists, overorganize, overprepare and drive myself batty until the moment we hit the interstate. For whatever reason, time just got away from me and I didn’t have any moments left to get all that done — and we still made it to our destination and back in one piece! Better than usual, even.

I think we’ve benefitted from getting this long car ride business down to a science. The keys are movies, music, toys and snacks. (Duh, right? But everyone’s got their own twists on this.)

Here’s our strategies:


MOVIES: Our oldest has a portable DVD player with headphones kinda like this one from Best Buy that she can operate herself from the back seat of the minivan. Money well spent, my friends. It has held up well through several years of abuse, and it plugs right into the car’s power jacks.

3021086_saFor the toddler twins, who clearly aren’t old enough yet to maneuver a movie screen on their own, we strap on seatback screens pretty similar to these at Best Buy. Again, this kind of setup is a bit of an investment. But over time, it’s one that pays off in sanity points. They can hook together to play the same movie, but most of the time, our girls go their separate ways and watch something different. This gives us an easy switcheroo when they’re done and extends the happiness.

We always keep a flip-book-style carrying case of movies handy since it’s way easier than hauling around a bag of movie cases, and it mostly lives in the car, so we never forget it. All we have to do is slide in the current hot tickets — Frozen and How to Train Your Dragon, naturally — and we’re on the move.

For a cheap mood booster once everyone’s hit their limit in the car, stop at a McDonald’s for lunch and hit up the Redbox. Nearly all of them have one, and you can return the movie at your destination or another McDonald’s along the road. This makes the kids rather happy, and it’s pretty cheap, too!

MUSIC: Everyone knows music sets the mood. After a long round of movie watching, switch them off for awhile and take a break for some music.

We still have Baby Einstein in the rotation for sleepytime, although it’s rare that we actually have kids sleeping in the car these days.

For the most part, I prefer a round of peppy car dancing to help nudge out everyone’s grumpies. It also helps everyone move a little bit, lessening complaints about being trapped in car seats.

Our rotation right now is generally “Happy,” “What Does the Fox Say” and the entire Frozen soundtrack. And Kids Bop 20-whatever. I’m amazed at how those CDs get even the 3-year-olds into a groove.

TOYS: Previously, I packed vast bags of small items to constantly interchange among the children in an attempt to keep everyone entertained. Over time, I’ve realized that all that does is lead to things getting thrown down on the floor, which adds to my own nuttiness because then the van’s a mess and no one can move around on it.

Instead, this time we stopped at Walgreens at let each child pick out one thing from the toy aisle. (They often have buy one, get one free deals there, too.) Kayla and Kendall each picked out a sticker/activity book, and Ava chose Gak, which somehow managed to stay contained. Somehow, this one small switch seemed to make a big difference — when you give children choices, it makes them feel special.

SNACKS: Again, this is an area where our kids’ ability to make choices has let to a happier trip. We start out from home with everyone getting a sippy cup or juice pouch and a breakfast item. At any post-lunch stopovers, I have stopped packing a big bag of things that end up getting crushed, instead letting the girls each pick an item for themselves at whatever gas station we land at.

For the most part, our kids don’t eat a lot of junk food at home, so it’s still a genuine treat to them when we’re on vacation. They also usually enjoy sharing their treats with each other, so everyone gets a little bit of each thing. Last  time, this was chips, gummy bears and Twizzlers. (Note: This was kind of a treat for mom to snag a bite, too!)

If anyone out there wants to share their travel sanity tips, I’d love to hear them!

Swimsuit sagas

Posted by on Jun 24, 2014 in Arkie Mama, body image, friends, Health, lady stuff, Lucky Mama, Margarita Mama, Motherhood | 6 comments

Surely by now you’ve seen Put on that Swimsuit, the ode to enjoying summertime happiness with your kids written by Jessica Turner on the Mom Creative blog, which hit the Huffington Post and went viral.


Swimsuits can be tough for mamas. Do I ever know this — remember, I’m the lady saddled with a saggy kangaroo pouch for a stomach and dozens of pregnancy pounds I can’t seem to shed.

I want you to know, though, that even I strap on the swimsuit and go for it. I’m not particularly proud of how I look — the definition of beached whale, in fact — but I can’t let that stop me and my kiddos from having summer fun. I’m not at the pool for a fashion show. I’m there to spend quality time with my girls and/or get some exercise.

Arkie Mama recently decided to go bikini and is loving it. Of course, she’s celebrating the fact that she’s still alive after a gut-wrenching, life-changing scare in the desert. And I also think about Lucky Mama and Aunt Jenn, whose battles with MS may someday present physical limitations.


Shouldn’t we all be appreciating life? None of us know how long we’ve got. What disease or disaster may steal moments away from us later. So let go. Live a little. Who cares what anyone else may think — you’re living for yourself, not them. No regrets.

Dinner in a dash

Posted by on Jun 18, 2014 in eating/food, Food, Health, Margarita Mama, pasta, Recipes, side dishes, Uncategorized | Comments Off

Have you been to Sam’s Club lately? I’m not there as frequently in winter, but picnic and party season has arrived, so that’s my kind of jam.

I headed in recently to pick up a ton of supplies for work, along with a few things for us and was pleasantly surprised to see family sized grab-and-go meals that were both fairly healthy and delicious.

This caprese chicken pasta salad was a hit at a reunion-style potluck we attend in each June in a tiny township near Camden. It’s also something that could be easily duplicated at home for guests — chicken and pasta in a creamy pesto sauce, topped with mozzarella balls, fresh tomatoes and basil. (Just let ‘em think it was all you.)

caprese pasta salad

caprese pasta salad

Now, for dinner. This chicken parmesan wasn’t at all on my Type A, OCD meal-planning schedule for the night. But it was getting late, Daddy was out at a work event, and Ava — who NEVER eats outside her comfort zone — took one look and said this looked yum. Sold. We paired in with a bag of Sam’s frozen, microwavable broccoli, which is a staple in our house since its florets are so much better than most of the bits and pieces you get from most brands. All three kids made a happy plate, and so did mom. There was also plenty leftover for dad to have a late dinner plus a lunch the next day, which is a big win in my book.

chicken parmesean

chicken parm

Now, I’ll admit I didn’t bring this green bean side dish home, but I really wanted to. If Daddy had been home for dinner, it may have been another story, but I knew those onion slices would have wigged out my crew. Those monsterously huge chunks of butter also gave me pause — I’m sure I’d have removed at least half of that. It seems like a good dish to add to the mental recipe file, however.

green bean almandine

green bean almandine

If anyone else out there knows of great places to jet in and pick up family dinner while running errands, I’d love to hear them. I know Whole Foods sometimes has family sized pastas, and they’re pretty good, too.

June is all about Dads

Posted by on Jun 2, 2014 in Activities, daddy, Giveaways, Health, holidays, Margarita Mama, The Promenade at Chenal | Comments Off

It’s almost Father’s Day, so it’s time to get shopping to show the guys in our lives how much we appreciate them. All that breakfast making, lawn mowing and car washing that he does should pay off with a nice reward.

The Promenade at Chenal has helped us generate a few ideas with a handy Father’s Day Gift Guide that provides plenty of cool gifts like this one:

You know he wants one of these! Apple iPad, iPad Mini & the newest iPad Air From $299-$499 Covers From $39+

Apple iPad, iPad Mini & the newest iPad Air
From $299-$499
Covers From $39+ at the Apple store

And this one:

Rugged Wireless Boom Box, $129 at Gearhead Outfitters

Rugged Wireless Boom Box, $129 at Gearhead Outfitters

There’s also an added perk if you go the gift card route from June 2-13. You get a voucher for a free iced coffee or tea at the brand new Cafe Brunelle with every Promenade gift card purchase, so you can try it out while you’re there, or pass the treat onto dad.

But wait, there’s more.

Right before Father’s Day, the Promenade and St. Vincent West will be hosting a Men’s Health Month event Friday, June 13 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Dads, grandpas, uncles, brothers and sons can take a little lunch break in the spirit of health while showing off their putting skills in exchange for a set of Wilson Staff 50 Elite golf balls, courtesy of Everett Buick GMC. And there’s more! The guys can also enter to win other prizes from Nike, lululemon athletica, Gearhead Outfitters, Big Orange Burgers, the Tavern Sports Grill & Bar and Chenal 9 Theatres.

Check out more details here.

promenade ad



This is a compensated post. However, all opinions expressed are my own, of course.

Mommy hormones

Posted by on May 30, 2014 in A Song for Saturday, Ava, lady stuff, Margarita Mama, Music/concerts | 3 comments

Something about giving birth changes your physical and emotional chemistry in unexplained ways. For me, it’s led to a free-flowing waterworks of tears at every single daycare and school event, ever. Or when I’m exhausted — or we’re all exhausted. Happy or sad, frustrated or angry. Tears!

Today, I bizarrely started bawling while driving Ava to school listening to John Legend’s All of Me. Because I realized that beyond its intention as a beautiful love song, it also perfectly describes the deep connection between mama and kiddo.

I mean, look at this:

What would I do without your smart mouth?
Drawing me in, and you kicking me out

My head’s under water
But I’m breathing fine
You’re crazy and I’m out of my mind

Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you

How many times do I have to tell you
Even when you’re crying you’re beautiful too
The world is beating you down, I’m around through every mood

Even when our kids drive us completely batshit crazy out of our minds, we still love them with every fiber. And even when they hate our guts for rightfully punishing them or barging into their rooms without knocking, they love us too. It’s how it was meant to be.

Whacky Wordless Wednesday

Posted by on May 28, 2014 in fashion, kid stuff, Margarita Mama, twins, Wordless Wednesday | 1 comment

It’s Wednesday. Let loose a little bit!

Anyone else feel like getting a little crazy?

Anyone else feel like getting a little crazy?

Go vote today

Posted by on May 20, 2014 in Margarita Mama | Comments Off

It’s primary Election Day in Arkansas, a perfect time to start teaching our kids to be good citizens.

Daddy has long taken the girls with him to vote, which I think is good for them to see. Things stick surprisingly well even in small children, and it gives them an opportunity to start to understand our form of government and political processes.

The way I explained it to Ava, who is 6, was simply that we get to choose who will make big government decisions for us and that many people decide to vote for people who believe the same things that they do. She seemed to get it.

To put a cherry on it, I’ve also got jury duty this summer — including today. So we’ve had several discussions about how the police arrest people, and judges and juries then decide if the person who got arrested actually committed a crime. No one likes jury duty, I’m sure, but it’s an important part of the process in ensuring our rights as citizens are upheld. We can all appreciate that.

Happy voting, friends. Enjoy our democracy today!

Out with the ladies

Posted by on May 16, 2014 in Activities, drinking, eating/food, lady stuff, Margarita Mama, The Promenade at Chenal | Comments Off

Had a GREAT time last night at The Promenade at Chenal‘s Ladies Night Out! Every mama needs a break now and then for a little kid-free relaxation with good friends.

Selfie fun!

Selfie fun!

The rain put a little damper on the fashion show, unfortunately. But it cleared up just in time for us to enjoy the very best part of the rain-free portion of the festivities, free cocktails and desserts. The mini strawberry shortcakes were totally my jam.

Dessert bites from YaYa's Euro Bistro. Fabulous!

Dessert bites from YaYa’s Euro Bistro. Fabulous.

Cocktail hour!

Cocktail hour!

Champagne spritzers, thanks to The Pointe Brodie Creek luxury apartments

Champagne spritzers, thanks to The Pointe Brodie Creek luxury apartments

Then we had a delish dinner at A.W. Lin’s, where the server told us that they’re going to start doing Ladies Night specials every Thursday. Whoo hoo! Who doesn’t get excited about half-off appetizers and drink specials? The sangria was quite good, I must say.

A sampler of appetizers

A sampler of appetizers

My chicken teri don dinner was practically a work of art.

My chicken teri don dinner was practically a work of art.

When mama's happy, everyone's happy

When mama’s happy, everyone’s happy

Next up at The Promenade will be a men’s heath weekend in June. Stay tuned for more details, and have a great weekend!

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Note: This is a sponsored post. However, all opinions are my own, of course.