Discount ticket for Wildlife World Zoo

We have fall break coming up the second week of October and I am already panicking a bit. I feel like we just got into the feel of the school year, and now we have a week off! That's why I had to share this coupon for the Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium for all of my Arizona readers.


First opened in 1984, the Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium features 66 developed acres with hundreds of animal exhibits, 5 ride attractions, 3 retail shops and several dining options. As home to Arizona's largest collection of wild animals, Wildlife World displays over 600 different species with more than 6,000 individual specimens. Popular attractions include: a lory parrot feeding three times a day, a giraffe feeding station, a baby animal nursery, the African Safari Train Ride, Wildlife Encounters educational shows, a stingray touch tank, the Verizon Skyride, a kangaroo walkabout, tide pool touch tanks, a log flume ride, and children's carousel, play area, and petting zoo.

Notable species include: white tigers, sharks, otters, penguins, flamingos, giraffe, zebras, oryx, lions, ostrich, kangaroos, rhino, jaguar, some 20 varieties of primates, eels, stingrays, tropical fish, rare albino alligators and many more!


New in 2011 - Dragon World. See giant reptiles like the state of Arizona's first saltwater crocodile -- the largest species of croc in the world. Plus, there will be monitors, iguanas, a 20-foot long & 200 lbs. python, Aldabra tortoises and more. New in Feb. 2012 our 4th Aquarium Gallery featuring otters & river monster fish from South America.

Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium is located at the intersection of State Route 303 and Northern Avenue in Litchfield Park at 16501 W. Northern Ave. The zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the aquarium is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Daytime admission to both the zoo and aquarium is $29.00 for adults and $14.25 for children 3 to 12 (plus state sales tax), children under three are free. Special reduced admission (after 5 p.m.) to the Aquarium only is $16.99 for adults and $8.99 for children 3 to 12 (plus state sales tax). Save $3 Off of admission to the Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium Coupon http://www.phoenixkids.com/coupon.php?bid=154204&id=93
Ashley

Pick Your Own Fixin's Pizza Party + Two recipes

This time of year is birthday season for our immediate and extended family. This last weekend was my husband's birthday! Lucky for him, I had the opportunity to try out the new Thin Crust Flatbreads from Flatout Flatbread. I decided to put together a pick your own fixings party for his birthday. I'm also sharing my pesto recipe and some of the delicious pizza combos we came up with.



Hulk Face SVG File

Thanks for all the great feedback on my Avengers themed party. As promised, today I am sharing the SVG file that I used to create my hulk 'punch'.


You can download the SVG file here: Avengers Hulk Face SVG
I am also going to include just the graphic in case you want to make a template or cut them out and use them another way. You can right click on the image and select 'save as' to save it for your own use.

Disclaimer: This was created by Cute as a Fox Creations(http://cuteasafox.com) for home use and not for profit of any kind. Do not redistribute this image or use it to sell anything.

Thanks for stopping by!


Ashley

Marvel Avenger's themed Party

The Marvel Avenger's movie is being released on Sept 25. My family really loves all heroes especially the Avengers. I put together a really fun Avenger's themed party to celebrate. My kids loved that we were having a 'just because' party. We went over to my in-laws house to throw the party so we could have some cousin time too!

First up, I thought it would be fun to play a little target practice game. I created a Captain America Shield out of poster board and the kids each took turns trying to hit the center with the Captain American Brigade Blaster.
I found the Captain American Brigade Blaster at Walmart. I was able to purchase it at Walmart.com and then pick it up the same day in the store!  You can also see the fun Avenger's masks I found in the party section at Walmart. You can see everything I purchased for the party over on my Google + album, #MarvelAvengersWMT.

Next, the kids got to do some coloring. I found tons of great Avenger's themed printables at Family.com.

The last activity we did before we got to the fun food, was reading a Avengers graphic novel. The Avengers Blu-Ray/DVD/Graphic Novel Combo Pack is available exclusively from Walmart for $24.95. My son started reading to the other kids and they were enjoying it. It had some words quite a bit above his reading level, but I loved that he was stretching himself. They also loved looking at the pictures too of course!

Then it was lunch time! I put quite a bit of my time and effort into coming up with some fun food. The main course was all taken care of thanks to Walmart's Marketside pizzas. The boxes are even Avenger's themed.

See the Avenger's A on the box? Well if you scan it with the Superhero AR app your pizza box will turn into a 3D city scape. In fact all throughout select Walmart stores you can find signs that are trigger points for the app.

I bought some green Hawaiian Punch and applied vinyl so we could have green Hulk punch. It was a really big hit the kids.You can find the Hulk Face SVG here for download.


I also created some Thor's Hammer Appetizers and dessert. These were simple to do. It's just cheese cubes in pretzels. I also did some German Chocolate Cake marshmallows with pretzels for a sweeter version.

The last themed dessert I did was a Captain American trifle. I did layers of Angel food cake, COOL WHIP colored with food coloring, and berries. On the top I created a tribute to the Captain America shield. It was really tasty and a simple fun dessert.

Here is what the whole table looked like all set up.

 I ended the party by handing out some cute little favor cups. Each one had a Marvel Squinkie, some mini M&Ms, and a fruit by the foot. Plus the kids took the balloons off the chairs and had a blast hitting them around and playing.
Walmart had a huge selection of favor cups in the party section. Boy, girl, superheroes, and everything in between. 

The party was a big hit and everyone had a great time. Even my extremely 'girly' four year old is excited about the Avenger's. She says they are her favorite team because she likes their dance fights. Ha, ha, ha! You can learn more about the Avengers by visiting Marvel on Twitter and Facebook.

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Marvel. #MarvelAvengersWMT #CBias #SocialFabric

Ashley

Fun fall activities in Arizona

If you weren't aware, I live in Arizona. Fall is my FAVORITE season because it means the horrible hot summer is over. Here are a few fun family events you can participate in this fall.

Tomachoff Farms


Make this fall season unforgettable, come on over to Tolmachoff Farms and experience the ultimate holiday outing where there is something for the whole family: 6 acre family corn maze with a scarecrow theme (search for pieces of your map as you walk through), mini corn maze (perfect for little ones), petting zoo, train ride, hay pyramid, farm theme activities (corn grinder-grind corn to feed chickens), play area (corn box, adult/child pedal cart track) and much more.
Get a $1 off coupon HERE

Vertuccio Farms -  

It's fall again at Vertuccio Farms and we will be hosting our 10th annual Harvest Festival and Corn Maze. Come and navigate through our 10 acre maze cut into the design of the Statue of Liberty. Along with the pumpkin patch, farm animals, hay maze,barrel train and bounce house, we have added the valley's one and only Pizza Farm. Come out and see how pizza is grown. Vertuccio Farm is located at 4011 S. Power Rd. in Mesa, Arizona. Please visit our web site for dates and times.
Get a $1 off coupon HERE

I'm throwing a littel Avengers party this weekend to celebrate the DVD release so I will be back with some fun party ideas soon!
Ashley

Salsa Roja - Qdoba Copycat recipe

Have you ever eaten at a Qdoba restaurant? They are a customize your burrito place a lot like Chipotle. I am really in love with their Salsa Roja, so when I saw a recipe for it on Facebook, I had to give it a try. I have never made fresh salsa before, and it was so good! You can adjust the heat level by adding or subtracting jalapenos.



Qdoba's Salsa Roja 

(yields 3 cups)

Ingredients:

7 roma tomatoes
1 small white onion
3-4 jalapenos (I used 3 and it was very spicy)
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp oregano
2 tsp salt - or according to taste. I used less than 2 tsp for sure
1 tsp lime juice
2 Tbsp cilantro

Directions:

  1. Grill tomatoes, onion, and jalapenos on the grill until soft and cooked through.
  2. Allow vegetables to cool slightly.
  3. Remove seeds and stems from jalapenos. 
  4. Place 4 tomatoes, garlic, cumin, and oregano in the food processor and pulse until smooth.
  5. Add the onion and jalapenos in the food processor and pulse until desired consistency is reached.
  6. Add the remaining 3 tomatoes and pulse a few times to break them up. 
  7. Pour your salsa mixture into a sauce pan. Simmer on low for 3 minutes.
  8. Add the lime juice and salt according to taste.
  9. Refrigerate until cold. The salsa tastes better after it has had time for the flavors to meld together.



Enjoy your tasty salsa!! I like to think I like spicy food and 3 jalapenos was definitely enough for me. Spicy, but not so hot you couldn't taste the flavors. What about you? Who makes your favorite salsa?



Ashley

Spicy Tuna Salad with Greek yogurt taste test comparison

Have you ever wondered if there was a difference between the store brand products and the name brands? Well today I am sharing with you my little experiment with First Street brand tuna from Smart & Final and Bumble Bee brand tuna.

First I will share the recipe I created for the experiment and then I'll tell you all about how the comparison went. I did my best to measure everything carefully and try to make both versions of tuna salad the same. I couldn't help but try making it with greek yogurt instead of mayo. I really liked it and I didn't really miss the mayo at all!


Spicy Tuna Salad with Greek Yogurt

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounce can Solid White Tuna 
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt 
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped onion 
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped pickled jalapenos (They are in a can or jar in the Mexican food aisle. You don't want to use raw jalapeno for this recipe) 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Directions:

  1.  Chop the onion and jalapenos into small chunks,
  2. Mix all the ingredients together well.
  3. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. The flavors need time to meld. 
  4. Serve on a sandwich, crackers, or over lettuce.
 Okay, now let's compare the different brands of tuna. I took a few pictures at the store. You can see my whole shopping experience over at my Google+ album. I bought the 12 ounce can of tuna in both the First Street and Bumble Bee brands. The cans seemed pretty identical except for the price. First street was $3.39 compared to $4.79 for Bumble Bee.

 Bumble Bee brand tuna is a full $1.40 more expensive for the same size can.

When I got home and made my Tuna Salad. I gave the plain tuna a taste test. I could not tell any difference in texture, taste, or appearance between the two brands.



I took both batches of the tuna to a fun craft night/ going away party for my dear friend Vanessa. I labeled each of the containers of Tuna with a 1 or 2. The #1 had First Street Tuna in it of course. I gave instructions to everyone to try both tuna salads and give me their thoughts.
Here are the results:
  • Most people had to take several bites trying to discern a difference. They really were nearly indistinguishable. 
  • Two people thought that the First Street brand had a stronger fish flavor. For one person that was a positive aspect, while the other taster preferred less fish flavor. 
  • Most of the comments surrounding the tuna salad had more to do with the ingredients that I added such as the jalapenos. One turned out a little spicer than the other for some reason. I took that to mean that the tuna themselves were on equal footing.
  • I personally would be willing to purchase and use the First Street brand tuna again. If I had been given a blind taste test, I'm not sure I would have been able to tell a difference. 
Smart & Final is working hard to get the word out about how great their First Street brand is. That means, you get a great opportunity to win some cash in the #SFTasteTest Pinterest Party. The idea is to check out the First Street brand products on Pinterest and then pin recipes that you could use the products in. The party runs from Sept 5 - Sept 19, 2012 so get pinning!

    Don't forget to check out Smart & Final on Twitter and Facebook too!
    This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias
    Ashley

    Quick and Easy Cobb Salad

    Today I have got a lot of great information to share. I am sharing a great weeknight recipe I created and showing you the fun family game night we had with Hasbro games. I'm also talking about #DipDipHooray products from Heinz Ketchup, Tyson Chicken Nuggets, and Ore-Ida french fries and how you can win big at DipToPlay.com.



    First I'll set the scene for you. It was a busy week night and we had promised the kids a family game night. I needed a quick and simple meal that everyone in the family could enjoy. It was time to get creative. Some of the family can be picky about what they eat. The perfect solution for them was Tyson Chicken Nuggets, Ore-Ida French Fries, and Heinz Ketchup. My son seriously went nuts over the chicken nuggets. He has asked for them every meal since. When I went to Walmart to do my shopping for dinner, I was even able to find a coupon for $2 off when you purchase all three of the Dip Dip Hooray products. It was right on the package of Tyson chicken nuggets. You can see more pictures from my shopping trip in my Google+ album.

     I wanted something a little more grown-up for my dinner, but I wasn't about to prepare two completely separate meals. That is how my quick and easy Cobb salad was created. All of my cooking and prep was done by the time the chicken nuggets came out of the oven. Traditionally Cobb salad has chopped salad greens, chicken, ham, tomato, hard boiled egg, avocado, bacon, Roquefort cheese, and red wine vinaigrette.  I made a few changes based on ingredient availability and personal preference. Feel free to add or subtract as you see fit.

    Cobb Salad

    For the Dressing:

    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
    • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 small clove garlic, minced
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    For the salad

    • 1/4 pound sliced smoked ham
    • 2 hard-boiled eggs
    • 6 cups romaine lettuce coarsely chopped
    • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
    • 1 cup heated diced Tyson Chicken Nuggets
    • 1/3 cup crumbled bacon
    • 1/2 cup crumbled Roquefort or Blue cheese(I used shredded Pepper Jack for a little spicy kick)

    Directions:


    1.  Whisk together all the salad dressing ingredients and set aside. 
    2. In a large bowl toss the romaine lettuce with 2/3 of the dressing. Prep and chop all of your other ingredients.
       
    3. Put the dressed romaine in a serving bowl and add the rest of your salad toppings. 
    4. Serve with the remaining salad dressing to drizzle over top if desired. 



    Note: I took the very easy route and I bought crumbled bacon and pre-boiled and peeled eggs from the store.
    The kids dinner looked pretty good to me too! They loved getting a fun treat for dinner.

    After our delicious dinner it was time for some family fun time with Hasbro games. Hasbro makes tons of great games, but our favorites for the whole family are Elefun and Hungry Hungry Hippos.

    Our choice for the night was Hungry Hungry Hippos. We really had a great time as a family and practiced important life skills like being a gracious winner and a good loser too. 

    Do you want to win a $1,000 Hasbro Family Game night for your family? Go to DipToPlay.com and enter UPC codes from participating Heinz, Ore-Ida, and Tyson for your chance to win some awesome prizes. You can enter the sweepstakes once a day, so you can lots of opportunities to get entries. They also have a fun game of the week you can play right on the website. This week I unlocked an Operation Silly Sounds game. Once you unlock the games by entering the UPC codes, you will get instant access to the future games too.
    This is the screen where you enter the UPC codes.
    Our family had a delicious and easy dinner and a great time as a family. What are you waiting for?

    I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias Tyson and Heinz #CBias #SocialFabric

    To visit Tyson, Heinz, or Ore-Ida on twitter or facebook, please click on the hyperlinks in the post.

    Ashley

    Weight Loss Update Month 5

    In April of 2012, I began the journey to become healthier and lose weight. If you want to read how it all started, HERE is the first update.
     
    It's a new month, which means it is time for a weight loss update.
    I have some great news and some less than good news. Let's start with the happy and exciting news.

    On September 1, 2012 I was down a total of 101.1 lbs. Woohoo!! That's 100 lbs in 5 months.
     I am feeling pretty great, and I love the new habits and healthier lifestyle I have adopted. I even got an extra happy surprise when I discovered my wedding ring fits again. I haven't worn it since I was pregnant with my soon to be 5 year old. That means I've been without my wedding ring for much more of the marriage, than I have been able to wear it.

    Okay, on to the less happy news. I mentioned in my last post that my hair was falling out at an alarming rate. Well unfortunately, it is still happening. I've been to see the doctor several times. The working hypothesis is that I'm working my body too hard and putting myself under stress, which is making my hair fall out. I also had some abnormal blood test results, which I am in the process of trying to figure out what exactly is going on there. In short, losing 100 lbs in 5 months is amazing for your self esteem, but really hard on your body.
    I am going to have to slow down on the weight loss and hope that my body gets happier.

    The new phase of this journey will be finding a happy medium between losing weight and keeping my body in balance.  I can say with confidence that this is why they say to consult a physician before beginning a diet/exercise regimen.

    I'm not 100% sure if these updates will continue or not, but I am definitely continuing on my journey, it will just be at a much more gradual pace.

    Thanks for all the love and support I get from you guys. It really brightens my day!

    Ashley