Margarita Mama

Disney on Ice giveaway

Posted by on May 1, 2015 in Activities, Featured, Margarita Mama | 9 comments

Disney on Ice’s Worlds of Fantasy show is rolling into town next week — and we want to give you a chance to experience the fun and excitement.

Thanks to our friends at the Angela Rogers Group, we have a family four pack of tickets to give away. 

Disney on Ice fairies

Photo courtesy of Disney on Ice

This year’s Disney on Ice presentation features four stories featuring Lightning McQueen and Mater from CarsThe Little Mermaid and her undersea world, Tinker Bell and her lovely, magical Pixie Hollow friends and the lively gang from Toy Story.

Photo courtesy of Disney on Ice

Photo courtesy of Disney on Ice

I’ve been to a couple of these shows now, and they’ve never disappointed. I love watching the kids ooh and ahh. And pretty often, they’ll pop up and dance along to the songs. It’s adorable. You can’t beat that for family fun!

Photo courtesy of Disney on Ice

Photo courtesy of Disney on Ice

To enter our giveaway, leave a comment about your favorite Disney character. I’ll pick a winner Monday, so we’ll have a chance to get you the ticket vouchers before the shows start Wednesday night at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock. Good luck!

Car show dreaming

Posted by on Apr 27, 2015 in Activities, daddy, Featured, Margarita Mama, shopping, The Promenade at Chenal | 3 comments

My husband is one of those responsible, fatherly guys who, week after week, quietly pines away for what many might call a midlife crisis car — instead of running out to seize one on the spot in a frenzy of impulse like many others.

Our garage is filled with bikes, trikes and bouncy balls, lawn implements and spare chairs. There’s no room for our kid-hauling workhorse vehicles, let along something extra.

He casts about on Craigslist nightly, surveying the newly renovated manprizes and the rusty junk projects waiting for the spare time and cash that might be available in the days when daycare costs are long gone.


In the meantime, a man can look. Right? Yesterday, we did a little car show dreaming.

60s yellow Mustang

A bumblebee yellow Mustang

We spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon at the Cruzin at Chenal Car Show at the Promenade at Chenal, and our herd of little ladies enjoyed it just as much as dad did. So many showpiece cars appeared that the area planned for the event couldn’t contain them all, and a second staging area was set up. Which means there was a lot to look at. And a lot of drooling.

70s Chevelle

Daddy’s favorite car

Daddy’s a muscle car kind of guy. His soul generally craves a 1967 Mustang fastback. But I was surprised to find that this 1970s Chevelle stole his heart.

Among the crowd of pretties, Kayla said she wanted to be a “race car girl” someday. She’s always enamored with whose car is going “fast.” (Hint: generally not mom’s swaggerwagon.) But Kendall apparently carries the same taste in speed that her mom does — shiny and new.

Kendall likes the newer speed demons, especially when they match her outfit

Kendall likes the newer speed demons, especially when they match her outfit

Now, a Corvette

Now, a Corvette

In order to be judged at the show, the hoods had to be open, so there was lots to look at. I’d have never imagined engines so clean and so colorful. And when it was time to show off that power, let’s just say there was a lot of loud going on.



vroom vroom!

vroom vroom!

I have to admit, I could barely stop looking at this tangerine Lamborghini. I’m sure it cost about as much as our house, so … yeah. Whoa.

Wow. Just wow. A lambo.

Wow. Just wow. A lambo.

I suppose I could settle for a much more reasonable set of wheels. In black, of course. The first car I ever bought brand new — a Honda Civic — was black. In the heat of summer in Arkansas, it was pretty much like driving an oven around. But when it was clean, it was beautiful.

Mine, please. A Shelby Cobra

Mine, please. A Shelby Cobra

Apparently, Ava’s a classic car kinda girl. Her very favorite was this 1950s Chevy. The aqua paint job blew her away.

1950s Chevy

Ava favors 50s flair

While we were there, we sampled a little of the food from the new Bonefish Grill, which had set up a station near the entrance to the show. And it was SO GOOD. I’m definitely going to head back soon to get a little more of their signature piri piri sauce, which was outstanding on the fish. And we finished off our day with a stop at the new Menchie’s frozen yogurt.  A perfect treat.

Got car love, too? Tell all!


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

The Promenade at Chenal

Double trouble is real

Posted by on Apr 13, 2015 in drama, Featured, kid stuff, Margarita Mama, twins | 3 comments

Forget the Terrible Twos. Four is where the mischief gets serious.

Especially with a built-in partner in crime.

Naughty little twins

For example, one minute you’re cruising the grocery store with twin 4-year-old girls belting out “Let it Go,” at the tops of their lungs, ignoring motherly shushing and grabbing the attention of multiple shoppers who can’t resist stopping you to comment on how adorable they are.

The next minute, there’s ear-piercing shrieking from a bite to the arm that’s drawn blood when one of those tiny princesses has dared to invade the other one’s space by squishing over too far. Which, of course, gathers an equal amount of attention from shoppers who must then repeatedly stop you to point out that your children are sobbing and pouting.

And let’s just say that particular day wraps up with a double trouble mission involving the silent theft of an enormous amount of Capri Sun newly purchased during this week’s Grocery Store Run of Terror and gathering them outdoors while the parents are sufficiently busy cooking dinner.

What would two 4-year-olds do with an entire box of juice pouches? I bet your first guess is not going to be to squeeze them out onto each other’s bodies in preschool Fight Club fashion while trying to fill up an empty sandbox in an attempt to swim, less than an hour after a trip to an actual swimming pool that clearly did not exhaust said twins.

The only thing that saves you after a day like this?

Two pairs of big, sad eyes staring at mommy, rolling down crocodile tears.

And the One Who is Nearly Always Good, pulling out her classic line of last resort, knowing it will tug at you:

“Mommy, are Kayla and me still your babies?”

Spring fashions on sale

Posted by on Mar 28, 2015 in fashion, kid stuff, Margarita Mama, shopping, The Promenade at Chenal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Spring fashions on sale

It’s finally Spring! During the rainy days the past few weekends, we’ve been going through the kids’ closets and playing quite a few fashion-show rounds of “Fit or Doesn’t Fit” to keep things fun.

After we filled up about two sacks of outgrown clothes to take to our nearest Goodwill, it became clear that we needed to fill a few gaps in the girls’ wardrobes. So we headed to The Promenade at Chenal, where there are some killer sales happening right now on Easter clothes and other spring fashions.


Ava’s favorite store, Justice, has everything 50% off right now. Hard to beat! They had an amazing selection of staples — like leggings and tank tops — in all kinds of colors and different styles. The store also has a sizeable swimsuit selection and accessories to match that the girls went gaga over, of course.


The Children’s Place also has multiple sales on really cute kids clothes for Spring — jeans, T-shirts, sunglasses and everything else you might need.  Kayla and Kendall each picked out a new dress with leggings, but it was really hard for them to choose since they wanted everything in the store.


Crazy 8, which has dressier outfits perfect for Easter, has an amazing deal right now. Both in store and online, it’s buy one get one for 88 cents. Seriously. When you have multiple kids to dress, sales like this can make a huge difference.

Happy Easter, everyone — and happy shopping, too! We’re ready for the sunshine.


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

The Promenade at Chenal

Mom ramblings

Posted by on Mar 26, 2015 in Featured, Margarita Mama, rant, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Mom ramblings

Tired. Kids crabby from getting out of bed all night.

Arguing over today’s outfits. Again.

Need Diet Coke.

Food. Something warm. Also making lunchbox. Same request every day, blech.

Kids and dad rush out the door.

Someone’s got to do the dishes. Oh crap, that’s me.

Newspaper. Facebook. Maybe Twitter.

Work. Need more Diet Coke.




Lots of complaining. Fits. Still at work.

Need snack. And more Diet Coke.

Remember something random. Need to tell husband. Will email, but he’s busy and won’t reply.


Busy part of work day.

Thirty second call from husband. Kids are picked up. Why tonight’s dinner plan won’t work this time. Try to remember emailed question. Fail to remember.

Even more working.

Finally done.

Sing to radio in car on way home. Unless interrupted by phone.

Shovel in dinner.

Dishes everywhere. Socks everywhere. Lunchbox on floor.

Teeth. Jams. Bed, please. Everyone. Please.

Twins escape from bed.

And again — water. And again — one’s singing. And again — bathroom.

Finally, sleep.

Dog barking.

Lay awake.


Meatballs for dinner

Posted by on Mar 11, 2015 in crockpot, daddy, eating/food, Featured, Food, main dish, Margarita Mama, Recipes, side dishes | 3 comments

It looks like we’ve got at least few more rainy days ahead of us until springtime finally breaks through for good. That means there’s a little more time for cold-weather comfort food, right?


We don’t tend to stock up on a huge amount of pre-prepared boxed or frozen foods in our house, primarily because we try to keep our meals both a little healthier and a little cheaper. However, Daddy sampled Kroger’s frozen meatballs during a grocery store run with the kids recently, and they all found them pretty tasty. So I indulged the crowd and picked up a bag a few weeks later to make sweet and savory BBQ meatballs and mashed potatoes, with green beans on the side.

I don’t make mashed potatoes very often, but when I do, I make sure there’s flavor in them. I nearly always go for Yukon gold potatoes. And there’s got to be milk and butter, salt and pepper, and Martha Stewart’s secret ingredient: nutmeg. Once you give it a try, it’s hard to go back.

Meanwhile, I’m a little bit in love with fresh green beans. They’re a bit more work than their canned or frozen cousins, but if you get them just right, it’s worth the effort.

fresh green beans

Trim the ends off, then saute in a big pan with a touch of olive oil and grill seasoning. After they start to get just a touch of blister on them, pour in a bit of chicken broth — but not so much that they’re swimming in it — and stick a lid on it. They’ll soften right up while you go onto other things.

For the main attraction, I decided to go with sweet and savory meatballs that I hoped would keep the kids on board. (Although I baked a few plain ones as a backup, it turns out that effort was unneeded.)

BBQ meatballs

I poured a considerable amount of Sweet Baby Ray’s honey BBQ sauce into my trusty Le Cruset pot along with the meatballs and cranked the heat up. Yet something didn’t seem right — the sauce wasn’t really sticking to the meatballs in the way I’d hoped.

Searching for a fix, I reached into my brain and remembered that it’s kind of an old crockpot party thing to add grape jelly to meatballs. I had never tried it before and thought it sounded kind of weird, frankly. But it was just the trick I was looking for. Suddenly, it all melted together into a beautiful, shiny glaze that tasted amazing.

BBQ meatball dinner

Every single person in the house was happy with meatballs for dinner. And it came together pretty quickly, too. Hard to beat that combination.


Margarita Mama

Banana carmel bites

Posted by on Feb 24, 2015 in breakfast/brunch, eating/food, Food, Margarita Mama, Recipes | 4 comments

Snowed in? Tired of leftovers? Kids driving each other crazy?

That all sounds about right this week.

With another wintry blast headed our way, there’s only one thing to do — bake something easy and delicious.

I actually made these banana carmel bites as part of our Valentine’s Day breakfast, along with a little sausage and fruit. But these would be super as dessert on a cold night, too.

banana carmel bites

I’m still in a puff pastry period right now, clearly. It’s super easy to whip something up with it that everyone in the house falls in love with. And it seems So Fancy, a la Iggy.

I didn’t think this one out much in advance. I just looked around to see what we had that would go together, and this is what I ended up with.

banana carmel bite ingredients


  • puff pastry
  • 2 bananas, cut in slices
  • Philly brown sugar and cinnamon cream cheese
  • jar of caramel
  • chopped pecans

Thaw the puff pastry on the counter while you’re getting the rest of your bidness together. When it’s just slightly chilled, right before it’s about to turn sticky, it’s go time.

Spread the cream cheese first, then layer banana slices on top. Then drizzle the carmel and top with chopped pecans. When it looks like this, it’s time to roll.

This is how we roll

After I rolled it up, I cut slices and placed them on a greased baking sheet, then brushed the tops with a little egg wash. Bake according to the puff pastry’s package directions, which may vary with the brand. These took less than 15 minutes.

Plate and top with an extra banana slice or two, a bit more carmel and a little more pecans. Sooooooo good. And perfect for sharing the love — we could all use a little more of that.


Margarita Mama

Greek pork skewers

Posted by on Feb 13, 2015 in eating/food, main dish, Margarita Mama, pork, Recipes, side dishes, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Greek pork skewers

A hearty yet simple meal that’s sure to please a crowd is Greek pork paired with mediterranean-flavored rice and a crisp salad.

Four ingredients, and the main meal is done.

Four ingredients and the main meal is done.

Cube up a pork loin, liberally sprinkle on greek seasoning, a good steak seasoning blend and lemon olive oil. You can also do this a day ahead of time — the longer it marinates, the more delicious it will turn out.

When you’re ready, skewer ’em up and them get sizzling on a stovetop grill pan.

Meanwhile, make a pot of rice. When it’s finished, add in some olives and grape tomatoes sliced in half. A touch of seasoning there helps, too.

Greek pork with mediterranean rice

Greek pork with mediterranean rice

Done — and delicious. Even the little girls in our house dug into this one, and that doesn’t happen every day.

What’s on your dinner plate tonight? I’d love to hear!


Margarita Mama

An introduction to roller skating

Posted by on Feb 10, 2015 in Activities, Ava, kid stuff, Margarita Mama, sports, Uncategorized | 2 comments

This past weekend, Ava got to roller skate for the very first time.

She didn’t exactly fly on those wheels, but she sure had a lot of fun. She immediately wanted to get a pair of skates to call her own. And to go back to the roller skating rink as soon as possible.

roller skating

Ava, gaining confidence on wheels

Fortunately, the skating rink had a passel of contraptions built out of PVC pipe and rollerblade wheels to help little ones stay upright a bit more than they otherwise would. I’m pretty sure that considerably pumped up the fun level for the group of newby skaters at the birthday party we attended.

Most of them stuck with the guides, but Ava eventually gave it a whirl without them toward the end of the party. She was so proud of herself, and I have to note that I was, too.

roller skating contraption

Ava gets an assist on her first skate

Guess what? I even got out there!

Most of the time, I have to admit I’m a big stick in the mud. I get carsick and all other kinds of motion sickness — even just looking at action on big movie screens. So a lot of things that are full of family fun, like roller coasters and zipping across the lake on a boat are pretty miserable for me. I tend to stay in the habit of sitting on the sidelines and watching everyone else have a good time.

But back when I was just a little bit older than Ava, skating was the thing to do! It’s one of those skills your body just remembers. And I’m pretty proud that I didn’t beef it and break anything like I had expected.

It was a good reminder to myself to push out of that comfort zone a little bit, just like I encourage Ava to do. I’m pretty sure we’ll be giving roller skating a shot again sometime soon.

Do something fun this week! You won’t regret it.

Margarita Mama