smith.inquiries@gmail.com  
              

Posts in “Family”

A Cup of Good Health

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

cup of good health total tea (1)

This post is sponsored by Total Tea. All my opinions are my own.

Drinking tea is one of my favorite ways to start the day. It gives the same energy as coffee but with less amount of caffeine. I’m so happy to come across Total Tea. I’m already a tea drinker and seeing their wide variety of flavors, I simply couldn’t wait to try. Total Tea is a family owned business based on Texas that believes a healthy life is a happy life! Their teas are organic, delicious, safe, and with no artificial flavors.

cup of good health total tea (6)

As mother of three boys, I need all the energy boost I can get. Total Tea helps me especially when I don’t have enough sleep or when the boys wake up earlier than usual. I don’t really drink coffee but I drink tea. I prepare a cup for myself when the kids are napping, when I work on my blog, or even when Brent and I watch on Netflix. Some of my favorites are Pure Boost – it’s a natural energy aid with natural flavors; Organic Black Tea – I like to add milk, sugar/honey for a more mellow taste; Organic Chamomile Tea – which makes me feel calm & relaxed. Chamomile is also known to promote a good night’s sleep making this a favorite! There are many known benefits of drinking tea. It helps fight radicals, a natural booster, reduces risk of a heart attack, and is actually hydrating to the body even with its caffeine content.

cup of good health total tea (5)

cup of good health total tea (7)

cup of good health total tea (3)

Total Tea promotes a healthy lifestyle with every bag of tea. They’re already in the business for a decade and their natural teas are sold over 1,100 doctors and chiropractic offices around the USA. Their best-selling Detox Tea is available and number one in Amazon. It reduces bloating, weight loss, and constipation. They also have other tea flavors from Peppermint, Organic White Tea, and Organic Green Tea to name a few.

cup of good health total tea (4)

Drinking tea has many health benefits. No matter what the season, it’s a tasty beverage since it can be served either hot or iced. It’s delicious and safe to drink every day. Browse your favorite flavor and Total Tea’s line of all-natural energy teas here.

What’s your favorite cup of tea?

SHARE Share

Summer Reading with Kids

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

summer readings family backyard activity 4

Our backyard is one of my favorite spots at home. The kids not only enjoy playing but they also like it when we lay down our mat (we love our banig that’s made from the Philippines!) to hang out and read. We do this early in the morning to avoid the intense heat since we live in Texas. Brent and I teach our kids the importance of reading and books. It helps from brain development, creativity, to broadening their vocabulary. Books and activities refrain them from being too dependent on gadgets. Whenever my kids read, it also serves as my “break time” from all the noise in our household. It gives me time to recollect and recharge even for just a few minutes.

Our books are mostly given by families and friends while some we bought from Amazon. I also love buying books from consignment stores. I score some pretty good finds because most of the time they still look brand new. My kids and I love going to the library to look for new reads. This is also a good way of checking whether a book is worth buying or borrowing. I made a list of what books my youngest son likes when he was little in my previous post. You can find that here.

summer readings family backyard activity 3

I like to expose my kids in Tagalog books, too. This way they can recognize and learn Tagalog words easily.

summer readings family backyard activity

summer readings family backyard activity 2

Reading and sharing stories at an early age can help your child become familiar with sounds, words, and language.

Here’s a list of books that what we currently enjoy now:

English Books

Amazing Animals (a nature adventure. One of our favorite books about animals. Thanks to my sister-in-law, Suki!)

The Curious Little Kitten

Little Bear’s Friend

My First Prayers and Psalms

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

Summer (my husband’s favorite summer childhood book)

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt (My boys love everything in this book. Make sure when you read you read the part “What’s that!??”, make it sounds exciting 😉 )

Put Me In The Zoo

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Tagalog Books

Bahay Kubo

Halu-Halo Espesyal

Ang Arko ni Noah

Alphabeto sa Bayong

Hating Kapatid

Tagu-taguan (a counting book in Filipino)

Ako si Kaliwa, Ako si Kanan

Araw sa Palengke

I think it’s important to introduce books to kids at an early age. There are countless educational apps out there but nothing beats learning from books. It sparks curiosity and imagination that surely will benefit them as they grow up. Are there any books you and your kids like to read?

SHARE Share

Summertime at Schlitterbahn Waterpark Galveston

Friday, August 17, 2018

This post is sponsored by Schlitterbahn Waterpark  Galveston.

summertime at schlitterbahn waterpark galveston (7)

summertime at schlitterbahn waterpark galveston (3)

summertime at schlitterbahn waterpark galveston (10)

summertime at schlitterbahn waterpark galveston (2)

We had so much fun at Schlitterbahn Waterpark Galveston, which was our first waterpark experience as a family! Schlitterbahn is a perfect place for families since it has many different rides for kids of all ages, lots of areas for kids to play and swim, friendly and attentive lifeguards, and allows families to bring their own food and drinks. There are three parts of Schlitterbahn waterpark: Surfenburg, Blastenhoff and Wasserfest (check out the map here). We explored each of the parts and had so much fun in each area!.

We went to Surfenburg first, where we went straight to the kids play area called “Tiki Tikes”. The kids loved Tiki Tikes because it has two kid-sized water slides that the kids slid down over and over again. It also has a shaded lounge area nearby where we could relax and watch the kids. Then we went on our first ride as a family, which was the “Wolfpack”. This was the most exciting ride we went on as a family. Up to 4 people can ride on one raft, which was perfect for my husband, two boys, and me. The Wolfpack starts high up in the air, and you can see whole waterpark as you get in the rafts. We twisted and turned down this fast-flowing, curving slide on a giant pink tube! It was pretty awesome!! I screamed a lot! I really recommend this ride for families with kids I think this was my favorite ride!

summertime at schlitterbahn waterpark galveston (9)

summertime at schlitterbahn waterpark galveston (13)

7

summertime at schlitterbahn waterpark galveston (11)

Here’s the view from the top taken by Brent.

summertime at schlitterbahn waterpark galveston (4)

Brent tried the Cliffhanger for couple of times. He said it was really fun! But that is something I couldn’t do!

There are many other good rides that we enjoyed such as the Dragon Blaster, Thunder Tub, and Loopy Luge. If you are looking for something relaxing that turns exciting, try the Kristal River. This is a lazy river that connects to the Whitewater River and Torrent River, and lets you enjoy floating throughout the entire waterpark. One of the most fun parts of the river is when it meets Torrent River. Here there is a giant wave that pushes you through a narrow part of the river over and over. We went back on the river several times since we enjoyed these giant waves so much. It was so much fun!

An indoor waterpark is available in the Waserfest area. This is a nice, shaded play area for the kids. They enjoyed climbing onto the ship and sliding down the slides. It was good thing my mom came along to watch the kids so Brent and I had a chance to try some of the adult rides. We went on the Faust and Furious, which was definitely the scariest ride I went on! Brent went on the Rohr! and loved the steep drop-off of that slide. Later we brought the kids on the Guada Loopy, which was an exhilarating ride on a two-person raft from 40 feet up in the air down a twisty, dimly lit tunnel.

summertime at schlitterbahn waterpark galveston (14)

summertime at schlitterbahn waterpark galveston (1)

 

While the rides were a blast, there were a lot of other things we liked about Schlitterbahn. The parking is free and close-by. There are many places to buy food,but Schlitterbahn also lets you bring your own food, and even to bring your own ice chest (as long as there is no glass containers or alcohol). There are many tables and benches around the park, and even lounge chairs along the water so you can relax and see your kids at the same time while they’re playing. Private cottages and luxury loungers are available as well.The lifeguards and other staff were very friendly, and I always felt like my kids were safe because there were so many attentive lifeguards.

One tip is to consider going on the weekdays. We went on a Tuesday and it was not too crowded, especially in the morning. We didn’t even have to wait in line the first hour! Also, you might want to check the weather before going, because if it begins to thunder and lightning, the rides will be stopped and everyone will have to get out of the water.

summertime at schlitterbahn waterpark galveston (8)

I think this was the coolest summer experience we had this year! Schlitterbahn is such a fun place for families with amazing rides, kid-friendly play areas, and a friendly staff. If you live in Houston or happened to visit, you can purchase ticket online or buy season pass to continue the fun throughout the summer.

What rides do you enjoy at Schlitterbahn waterpark?

SHARE Share

Summer Backyard Grilling

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

This post is sponsored by Adidas. All my opinions are my own.

summer backyard grilling (12)

summer backyard grilling (3)

summer backyard grilling (6)

There’s something about spending time outdoors that no mall or gadget can offer. I have three boys and I like exposing them to different kinds of activities such as painting, reading, and sports. From time to time I introduce new things that spark their interest. One of the fun and family outdoor activities that we have recently been doing is playing Frisbee. While this makes my children happy and healthy, it also makes them hungry! I decided that a great after-Frisbee dinner would be simple and easy-to-make Shrimp Skewers for us to enjoy.

I grew up in the Philippines where we love to grill seafood such as milkfish, tilapia, squid, and shrimp. One of my favorite dishes is sinigang shrimp. But since it’s summer here, I went for grilled shrimp instead. Shrimp is a good source of protein, and with a little marinade before grilling they taste amazing.. They’re perfect for delicious, healthy eating!

summer backyard grilling (1)

This Shrimp Skewer is easy to prep and make.

All you need is the following:

2 tablespoons of minced garlic

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon of Sriracha hot sauce

1 cup oil

1 teaspoon of parsely

½ teaspoon salt

Dash of pepper

Jumbo shrimp (1 lb, no shell)

summer backyard grilling (10)

Instructions:

  1.     Preheat grill on medium high. Soak barbecue sticks in water to prevent them from burning easily while grilling.
  2.     Combine all of the first seven ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir well. This is your marinade.
  3.     Set aside half of the mixed marinade.
  4.     Mix the shrimp in the medium bowl with half the marinade. Leave the shrimp in the marinade for up to 2 hours to add more taste.
  5.     Place shrimp on soaked wooden skewers and place skewers on the grill over medium high heat. Cover the grill for 2-3 minutes on each side or until the shrimp turn pink or opaque.
  6.     Brush marinade on the shrimp occasionally while grilling to keep them from drying and to add flavor.
  7.     Remove shrimp from the grill and brush marinade on the  cooked shrimp again.

8.     Serve with sliced lemon on the side, or make a simple green salad of your choice.

 

summer backyard grilling (2)

These are so easy to make and prep time is a breeze. It’s a simple recipe you and your family can enjoy on any occasion.

Also, big thanks to Adidas for my activewear! I love that my top is comfortable, light-weight and well-fitting at the same time. The shorts are a breeze to wear, too. They’re made from sweat-wicking fabric that helps keep me dry and sweat-free even when I’m busy. Finally,I love wearing hats   when I go out, especially in the hot Texas summer! This strap-back hat is so comfortable to wear and fits perfectly. My son is also wearing one, which you can find here.

summer backyard grilling (7)

summer backyard grilling (8) summer backyard grilling (4)

Are there any activities you’re looking forward to this summer?

If you happen to make these Shrimp Skewers, of if you discover any ways to improve this recipe,, please let me know. Happy grilling!

 

SHARE Share

Fun strolling with Diono Quantum Classic

Friday, July 13, 2018

diono stroller quantum hello island mama blog 3 diono stroller quantum hello island mama blog 4

Even if my days are packed, I always find time to go for a walk or do some window-shopping every now and then. It’s a good way to unwind and at the same time, walking is also a good exercise. However, we mothers know how difficult it can be to go out with kids. There are so many things that needs to be prepped including extra clothes (just in case of spills!) and diaper bag. That’s why having a stroller is essential for me whenever we go out. The features I’m looking for a stroller is one that is easy to maneuver and gives comfort to my son. An extra space underneath the seat is also a bonus. All of these I found in Diono Quantum Stroller.

diono stroller quantum hello island mama blog 8

Finding the right stroller that fits your lifestyle can be quite challenging. All factors must be considered from “Is it easy to carry?” to “Will this fit in our car?”. I’m so happy that Diono Quantum Stroller is very easy to use. One of my personal favorites is the adjustable hand bar, which can be changed up to six positions. This is such a blessing because Brent and I are both tall. It’s easier to maneuver when the hand bar is just the right height.  The stroller is light and smooth to push whether on cement, rough roads, or grass.

diono stroller quantum hello island mama blog 2

diono stroller quantum hello island mama blog 11

diono stroller quantum hello island mama blog 10

diono stroller quantum hello island mama blog 6

Diono Quantum Stroller‘s design is unique, functional and clever. It looks classy and beautiful with a leather hand bar for parents and baby area. It’s quick and easy to assemble and the extra space is such a pleasant surprise. I place my kids’ sippy cups and extra bags here so I my hands are free to play with my kids. There’s a cover you can adjust too for a breathable air flow.

If your baby is ready for toddler seat, just secure the four clips underneath the seat and move the seat to the upright position. The seat is also adjustable to three reclined positions and helps a lot when my son likes to nap.  The seat can be positioned to parent-facing so I can see my son and also sometimes my son feels secure and less fidgety when he sees me. I can also switch it the other way so my son can see the view. Changing is simple and can be done by attaching the seat to the chassis.  It also has a zip up cover that is totally perfect for winter since it will cover your child’s legs and feet. A helpful feature for parents who live in places prone to cold weather.

diono stroller quantum hello island mama blog 5

Finding the right stroller that works can be frustrating but once you’ve found the one that actually fits your lifestyle, it is so worth it. It makes going out with our kids in tow such a breeze and worry-free.

What are you favorite features of Diono Quantum Stroller?

Use ref9129712 for coupon code at Diono’s website.

* Thank you Diono for partnering with Hello Island Mama!

SHARE Share

The Art of Fireworks: Happy 4th of July!

Friday, July 6, 2018

 

4th of july 2018 friendswood centennial park fireworks (7)

4th of july 2018 friendswood centennial park fireworks (6) 4th of july 2018 friendswood centennial park fireworks (11)

4th of july 2018 friendswood centennial park fireworks (3)

I’m sharing some of images in celebration of Independence Day celebrations at Friendswood Centennial Park. We’re glad the rain stop before the celebration started – but the grass was still wet all over  (wish we had brought a tarp to sit on instead of our “banig” 😉 ) A lot of people came to celebrate and see the fireworks. It was our third son’s first time to celebrate 4th of July and to see fireworks.

4th of july 2018 friendswood centennial park fireworks (10)

4th of july 2018 friendswood centennial park fireworks (12)

4th of july 2018 friendswood centennial park fireworks (1) 4th of july 2018 friendswood centennial park fireworks (2) 4th of july 2018 friendswood centennial park fireworks (9)

Surprisingly, he didn’t even cry when the fireworks started. The kids stayed up late and were excited to ride the shuttle bus, which was a school bus, to and from the park.

I love watching fireworks! I think the coolest thing about fireworks when it comes to photography is that you can play around with the images in editing software to create some pieces of art. I used my old  Nikon DSLR, Sigma 35mm lens and Photoshop.

4th of july 2018 friendswood centennial park fireworks (13)

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July!

Thank you America!

SHARE Share

Lego Birthday Theme (My son is 3!)

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

lego birthday theme hello island mama 6A lego birthday theme hello island mama 1 lego birthday theme hello island mama 2

Today I’d like to share my second son’s birthday theme for his third birthday celebration, which is – wait for it – Lego! He and his friends had fun playing with water guns, slides, and making candy necklaces in our backyard. For his past two birthday celebrations, we had a Sailboat and Fish theme respectively. 

My kids are big fans of Duplo ever since Brent and my mother-in-law surprised them with their own set. To be honest, I was never really a fan of Lego or Duplo. It’s incredibly messy and painful especially when accidentally stepped on. But eventually, I learned to love it. It can keep my kids occupied and entertained for hours while honing their creativity and imagination. They love to give me pink Legos or something that they created with pink Legos and I make sure to keep them with me all the time. They really are the sweetest kids!

lego birthday theme hello island mama 3

Here’s the board I made for my son’s birthday. lego birthday theme hello island mama 4

I have Pinterest to thank for helping me out with this idea and that I was able to pull through. I’m not really good with baking, so I’m extra grateful for ready-made fondants you can buy at the store. I used them to design the cake and cupcakes for my son’s birthday. It wasn’t as hard as I thought. The fondants were quite easy to use, too. I never realized how relaxing and calming it was to design until I tried it.

Instead of buying Lego decorations, I used Duplo blocks to decorate the table, Brent helped design the cupcake tower.

Since our kids are half-American and half-Filipino, I decided to make Philippine and U.S Flags as fondant toppers for the cupcakes. I also made a Texas flag because we currently reside here.

lego birthday theme hello island mama 5

Here are the Lego Duplos set that my kids love to play and some of the sets I used to help decorate the Lego-themed birthday  cake:

My First Cars and Trucks

Town Around the World (they love this set, gifted from Grandma!)

My First Playhouse (I think these are their first Lego Duplo Set)

Push Train (This is the set I used to design around the cake)

World Animal Jungle Set (where I got the alligator Lego)

lego birthday theme hello island mama 7 lego birthday theme hello island mama 8 lego birthday theme hello island mama

I love that the colors worked well together. They really look like Lego!

lego birthday theme hello island mama 9

Happy Birthday my sweet little boy!

I thoroughly enjoyed the process and preparations for my son’s birthday. When it comes to DIY, the result is always something to look forward to. It can be a hit or miss situation and it takes a lot of work – but seeing my son and his friends happy makes all the work worth it. Every time.

Do you or your kids love Legos?

Don’t forget to pin your favorite image on Pinterest <3

SHARE Share

Summer and new beginnings

Monday, June 25, 2018

 

DSC_2952aweb smith update 4

smith update 3

smith update 2

I feel like every year there’s a huge change in our family – from being pregnant to moving to a new home. But no, this time, we are not expecting another child. But also yes, because we’ve recently moved to a new home with our very own backyard! Since the birth of our eldest, we lived in an apartment with tenants down our floor. We always had to be careful and considerate with the noises coming from our home – and with kids, this is an extreme challenge. 4678608252085748593

smith update

(Hammock from Eno)

Having a spacious backyard is the greatest thing because when you have active boys, it’s a good way for them to play and use their energy! My kids love playing with water especially when it’s raining. This reminds me of my childhood in The Philippines where we play in the rain and make paper boats that we would later use in small puddles of water.

Brent and I loved the idea of renting a house that we can relax in immediately after dinner. We sometimes walk or let the kids play with their scooters. Our hammock is the perfect place to relax and just be together with the shaded tree in our front yard. We decided to move to a new home since this is closer to our church and our kids’ other activities.

I can’t wait to make more memories here and the kids are also excited to make new friends including cats and squirrels! How about you?

What are you and your family are looking forward to this summer?

SHARE Share

Hello Island Mama is a makeup, DIY, photography, motherhood and lifestyle blog by Em Smith. She is the mother of three boys and a wife, who loves to inspire and encourage others through her works and stories. Based in Houston, Texas. Originally from the Philippines.

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

follow me!

          

Everywhere

Categories