The Spinfords : Different is Beautiful

In a world so focused on our differences, this book makes perfect sense. Between school stress, peer pressure, family dynamics and a list of other “worries” today’s kids deal with more anxiety than ever before.

We live in a world,  in which the access to social media has given us all the power to judge, to criticize, to give our opinion, and to hide behind screens and faces. We jump into conclusions and judgments so fast and precariously, many times in front of our kids without even noticing. They notice, though.


“The challenge, especially during the formative years of childhood, is teaching kids that what makes them different is exactly what they should celebrate, not hide”

Ann Marie, the author of the beautifully written children’s book The Spinfords, tells a story that in a simple yet magical way explains to both kids and parents how differences make us unique. It doesn’t matter if you are tall or short, white or black, girl or boy. It doesn’t really matter if you do things in a different way. What it matters are your pure and true intentions. What matters is who you are in essence, inside and out. We are all beings who want to be loved and accepted and appreciated. Let love conquer all.


This book speaks volumes to me. Not only am I the sister of a child with disabilities, but I am also very passionate about equality. My brother has encountered a significant amount of judgemental people in this world, but he has also encountered people willing and able to treat him like any other human being regardless of his disabilities. Growing up, my mom had to take him out of “regular” school once because she was told that they didn’t have time for “kids like him” – My brother is 27 years old now. He is bilingual, he is a functional member of society. Yes, he is has some challenges being deaf and with Aspergers but that doesn’t make him less of a person.

My son is also different. I mean how many vegetarian, compassionate 10-year-old do you encounter every day? Probably not that many. I don’t think this quality is unique to him, but it does make him different when at parties he doesn’t want that hotdog or that pepperoni on his pizza.


The Spinfords teaches:

  • Different is beautiful
  • People can surprise you
  • Moms and dads aren’t perfect
  • Anything is possible
  • Never be afraid to be 100% yourself

“Each spiderweb is uniquely woven, each individual does things in their own time and way” Ann Marie Martin

The book is also beautifully illustrated by Steve Hannigan . Hannigan a freelance graphic designer has volunteered for The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ+ youth suicide prevention organization, and seen from a very close distance how difficult it can be for our youth to deal and accept being different.

BE different. BE you. BE unique.




IKEA Houston, a Sustainable Haven

A few weeks back I was invited to IKEA Houston Restaurant grand reopening. IKEA is a brand I have worked before and a brand I have always loved. From my early years as a student back in England, IKEA has always been my to-go place for funky, affordable and colorful furniture and home decor. In the last years, however, I have learned to discover more and more about their indistinctly Swedish food.

So as soon as the opportunity to attend the event knocked my door I jumped into action! I had been looking forward to trying their new Veggie Balls. Everyone loves IKEA’s Sweedish meatballs but, we don’t eat beef so, we were excited to try their equally as good and highly anticipated veggie friendly addition.

The new restaurant at IKEA Houston is located in the same location as the previous one. It features more open spaces and a clean, crisp modern look. It offers a unique space that caters for a variety of target audiences. It is kid and husband friendly (for those of you, who like me need some space while shopping and like sending the kid and husband away to play with their phones so that you can shop in peace, lol).

The restaurant features free WI-FI, a charging station with comfortable couches and wireless charging units for your phones, yes wireless! All you need to do is place your phone on the table over specialized units that charge your phone (this technology is also available for sale at IKEA stores).


It also features a cafe area complete with high tables and stools, perfect for a quick coffee break, or to regroup your thoughts. The restaurant is kid friendly, perfect for shopping mommas, it offers an entire area dedicated to the little ones, featuring entertainment units, colorful spaces and enough room to accommodate for little inquisitive minds and strollers.


Did you know IKEA offers FREE organic baby food? Yes, if you and your baby happen to be at the store and you need some baby food, you can ask at the restaurant!

All materials used come from sustainable and recycled resources. The fabrics used are also for sale at the store, like the HEMTREVNAD, pictured, multicolored, selling price $5.99/yards.

The star of the night for me were the veggie balls, or better known as GRÖNSAKSBULLAR. These little balls are packed with Made from vegetables such as chickpeas, carrots, maize and kale, absolutely no meat, which helps you reduce your carbon footprint!


We also got to taste some delicious Swedish dishes such as the Princess Cakes, SILL INLAGD (Marinated herring w onions+carrots) and their sustainable smoked salmon LAX KALLRÖKT. I was surprised to like the herring that much!. It has a strong flavor but it melts in your mouth with vinegary kick in the end! It is a power rush for your pallet! the herring was served on KNÄCKEBRÖD FLERKORN – which is a crispy thing multigrain cracker, a perfect pairing, and a perfect summer party appetizer too!

Overall, I was very impressed with the quality of the food and the green vibe the new restaurant has. Without a doubt a nice little sustainable haven in the middle of Houston. A place where I can take my son and enjoy a nice family time shopping and dining.

Remember you can purchase all IKEA food at the IKEA market located downstairs on the first floor near the cash registers. Bring a little nordic magic into your home and amaze your friends and family.

IKEA Chicken Balls paired with salad, fries and mustard.


Safe Little Monsters :: Halloween Safety ::

Halloween!!! time for scary masks, little superheroes, vampires, green witches and well candy! Please, parents, grandparents and carers  let’s be extra careful this Halloween season with our little ones (and no so little) safety is important!

That is why I have decided to share some safety tips kindly provided by the Houston Police Department in my community. Thank you HPD!


Halloween Safety Tips

• Parents should accompany their children while the children are Trick or Treating. At least be close enough to see your child at all times.
• Take a cell phone if possible.
• Children should travel in a group. Although older children may travel in pairs, they should still be in contact with their parents or a guardian.
• If the neighborhood is participating in a Trick or Treat Trail program, stick to the trail.
• Pre-plan the route children will be taking and consider the approximate time they will be gone.
• Work out a plan in case your child gets separated from the group. Supply each child with a telephone contact number and an alternate place to meet; If necessary attach the telephone number to the child’s costume.
Costume Design 
• Each child should be equipped with a flashlight. This flashlight, whether carried on a string or in a pocket, should be considered a part of the costume making it important to the child
• Incorporate reflective tape into the costume for maximum visibility in the dark. • Avoid costumes made with large amounts of plastic. Be extremely cautious of materials which could come in contact with flame (candles, etc.)

Trick or Treat 
• Children should not go to homes which are off the established path or the path agreed upon with parents. 
Don’t go to homes which are either poorly lit or not lit at all. 
• Be wary of older individuals who are not known to the group, but begins walking with and associating with them.
• Accept no rides from strangers.
• Children should not ride by themselves, in a car, with anyone except a parent, brother or sister.
• If you observe something unusual happen; children should notify their parents. A parent may need to notify the police.

• Parents, do not allow your children to eat their treats until they return home and you are able to inspect it.
Inspect all wrappers for tears, holes and/or unusual characteristics.
• Pay particular attention to soft candies and soft chocolate bars.
• If a wrapper is torn or exhibits a hole in it, open it and inspect the candy further. If you feel uncomfortable about the candy or suspect it in any way, throw the candy away. Give the child candy from your own stock. Inspect fruits also for cuts, punctures, or marks which may look unsanitary or the results of tampering.
Safety first! I am sure that all of my readers already know these tips but just in case, let’s be extra careful especially with the little ones. Halloween can be a confusing concept for kids as we constantly tell them not to accept candy from strangers, yet during Halloween…. yeah, we contradict ourselves, lol parenting.
Trick or Treat?
Trick or Treat?

Everything is Awesome! Legoland Florida

Last week we went to Florida! yes, my son and I packed our travel legos and went to the “mother house”… Legoland Florida!


The park is far away in what seems the middle of nowhere in comparison to the Disney Empire and the Universal Parks complex. Legoland is located half way between Tampa and Orlando. The road is ok though but it takes a while to get there so make sure you pack in car entertainment for your little ones.

Parking is same price as Disney, at $17 a day. We did the two park combo (water park and general park) in two days, and I kind of wish we had done it in one day. It is possible to do it as the waterpark isn’t really that big (but fun) and in order to get to the water park you have to walk ALL the way through the general park, there is no other way around it.

The park is an awesome experience for Lego fans. You have an entire area dedicated to small cities made of Legos, it is amazing although clearly getting deteriorated by weather, some of the stuff has lost is color and looks a little meh but it is understandable. It still constitute and amazing work of art and dedication.

The rides are fun, kid friendly. A few rollercoasters, a cool laser tag and a sort of splash adventure in which you will get soaked (YOU WILL no matter what so if you don’t want to get soaked do not go to the Lego Chima ride). At the Pirate Cove there is a live action show that involves water stunts and water splashes which seems to be a favorite with kids. I mean who doesn’t like captain Brick Beard?


There is an indoor station (PERFECT, HEAVEN for hot summer days) in which you can try all Lego video games in different platforms (PS4, Wii, Xbox) and a place in which you can built your own little race car and test “drive” it against other people. We also saw some characters there (picture time!) get those cameras ready and snap snap snap!

There are plenty of eating options and I was very pleasantly surprised with the availability of vegetarian dishes. At the Market Place main restaurant they offer an asian veggie bowl/ with rice that was quite delicious! The burger place also offers spicy bean burgers. Salads are also an option available. I was a little sad however that there was no funnel cake anywhere! I mean really? for me Florida parks and funnel cake go hand on hand.


I also loved how all the benches in the park claim to be made of recycled materials! So this park hit all the environmentally friendly and vegan friendly marks with me. So everything is awesome! (pun intended)


The park has many stores thought the entire place with different options of Legos and Lego related merchandise. The main shop at the entrance called “The Big Shop” is without a doubt the one with more variety. You can also find a minifig store in which you can make your own mini figures, and a brick shop in which you can buy bricks by the pound. I was sad we were unable to use or gain any Lego VIP points though, you would think that of all places this will be the place to earn points. So boo for that! The Lego store has cool stuff from Lego toy sets to clothing and Lego inspired kitchen supplies

IMG_5181The Water Park


The water park area is a different park, so you need to purchase a separate ticket for this site if you wish to visit it. It isn’t really that big but is very fun! specially on a super hot day!. The lazy river with oversized Lego bricks floating are the best part (if you ask me, my son might differ) There is also an area for the little ones, and a much adventurous area with slides and buckets for the bigger ones.

There is a beach with a lego island in the middle, and two big slide/rides for which kids need to be at least 48″. Food options are a little limited but still available with just one restaurant in the area. Lockers can be rented for an affordable price too.

Legoland was all we expected! if you have kids ages 2-15 you and them will enjoy this park. It is a little overpriced at $89 for general entry BUT a year pass is only $10 more bucks and… there are other options like a multipass including entry to other locations in Orlando.

Until next adventure… 🙂

Summer Series: Let’s Play Outside!

I simply love outdoors, even in super hot texas. Summer is a brilliant time to get the kids (and adults) in your life to interact with nature, and away of screen time. It is not an easy task, trust me. Ive had to detach my son from his PS4, iPad and iPhone but the results are amazing.

Go outside and..

1. You don’t have to go to a park far away. Your front or backyard will do sometimes. Get some sidewalk chalk and some bubbles at your dollar store and break out the fun outside. We had lots of fun painting in the shade, drinking lemonade and blowing bubbles.


2. If you have more time… go visit a local park. In Texas i have discovered so many amazing parks. We went to Jessie Jones Park over the weekend and it was so fun. Hiking, discovering nature and picking up leaves and stones. We also had the chance to see a bunch of beautiful turtles in their natural pond. Experiences like this you and your kids will cherish for a long time.

TIP: Make sure you take some OFF and spray yourselves before you venture into the park. At this time of year there are lots of bugs (specially mosquitoes) around so make sure you spray yourselves first. Also make sure you take some water with you.

3. Nature Scavenger Hunt – make time outdoors even more educational by doing a scavenger hunt. Hunt for different types of vegetation, spot the bird, find the stick, and many more. The possibilities are endless. Lake Houston Nature Wilderness Park organizes some of these events now and then, but if not, simply make your own.

4. Backyard Water War: if you have more than one child, you can get a few water guns at the dollar store and have your own little splash war time. It gets the kids running and keeps them active while staying fresh. This is fun for kids and adults alike.

Researches suggest that spending time outdoors helps you reduce stress, depression and anxiety. According to a study by the University of Minnesota “Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.” So go outside and start enjoying the benefits of nature.


Pizza Waffles: Easy Dinner Idea!

Hello internet people! So I’ve been looking for more, better, homemade healthy dinner ideas lately and I came across this brilliant idea. What can be better than Pizza or waffles? well Pizza Waffles! these little babies are so easy, and so tasty – and most importantly kid approved.

All you need:

Waffle Maker

Pilsbury Biscuits (flaky ones)

Marinara sauce (one tea spoon per biscuit)

Grated Cheese ( I used a pizza blend with mozzarella, parmesan and cheddar)

Fresh Basil cut into little pieces

…and you can add mini pepperoni if you like, we left ours meat free.

How to:

This is so easy and can be done in minutes. You can even get your little chefs to help you out. Open the biscuits in half and fill with 1 tea spoon of marinara sauce, cheese, and fresh basil, then cover up with the other half and put it in the middle of the (hot) waffle maker for about 4mins. You will hear it sizzle a lot because of all the scrumptious cheese melting.

IMG_2341Pop it out of the waffle maker and done! we served outs with a micro green and cherry tomatoes salad. Dinner is never been this easy!

Pizza Waffle night any one?


Easter Eggs Fun!

Wether you celebrate Easter or Ostara, if you are like me and LOVE all things Spring then Easter Egg decorating is a must! I am an easter baby, and every few years my birthday coincides with Easter, perhaps that is why Spring is one of my favourite seasons (who am I kidding I like them all for different reasons, I fall in love with nature on each and everyone of “her” magical stages)

A little history about this date: “Ostara is essentially the pagan incarnation of the traditional Christian Easter. The Christian tradition itself draws the name from the pagan god “Oestre” or “Eastre.” This word has Germanic roots and refers to the eastern direction from which the sun rises. Oestre is the Teutonic goddess of spring and dawn who is very closely associated with the Vernal Equinox.According to myth, pagan children would present eggs as a gift to the goddess in return for the coming of the spring. Oestre traditionally carried an egg to symbolize birth and new life.  Christian traditions incorporating eggs have not strayed very far from this practice.”

Anyway this year I got a little more crafty and decided to make some delicate Easter Egg decorations for my love nest.  I found these very cool blank decoration eggs at Michael’s for $3.99 a pack of 12. I used the traditional method of food coloring and I added a little touch of spring with this very cool papillons.

My little dude helped me which meant a lovely arty/crafty activity out in the sun and little fingers stained with colors and confetti, it was fun!

finished product ❤

Next we tried another method using Papier-mâché or paper mache, also found at Michael’s for $3.99 a pack of 6. We then used left over confetti to cover the eggs up making very colorful eggs, and placing them on a little nest ($2.99 at Michael’s)

We covered each egg with glue, and then dipped it into the confetti bag (very fun and messy) until they were all covered. Pat with your hands to make sure all the confetti sticks to the egg and then simply let dry.

Finished results!


Last but not least, we simply added some papillon to naked paper mache eggs.

IMG_2232And there you have it! Easter Eggs to decorate the house NON EDIBLE.


OnixJ… and little dude

Courage and Kindness

So this week we have been on Spring Break (my son and I). We have been spending lots of time together which I love. We took a road trip to central Texas and we have had many adventures. Today however we took it slow and decided to go to the cinema. At first, we went with the idea of watching Sponge Bob’s new movie but when we got there the waiting time for the next screening was just too much to bear so we had to sit and decide what else to watch.

IMG_2013And then he said “Mami lets just watch Cinderella, I’m sure you will like it” – the kindness in this boy never ceases to amaze me. And so after some consideration, I thought sure why not? Who says boys shouldn’t watch a princess movie (yes, half the world, many important male figures in my life will probably say so too, but so what)

In we went, we sat among many little girls and we watched the newest version of Cinderella. He wasn’t familiar with the story, neither did he know the characters as I did. He struggled with all the deaths in the film. He little eyes watered and he held my hand tightly when Cinderella’s mom died and he was almost angry about her bad faith when her dad also died. He did not believe me at first when I said the step mom was evil (I’m glad he didn’t because that means he hasn’t created any stereotypes around the idea) nor did he understand why the step sisters were so vile.

My boy is kind just like Cinderella, and that doesn’t make him less of a boy. He is into all boyish stuff, obsessed with WWI and WWII. He likes legos and cars, and he is a die-hard Star Wars fan. Yet my boy is so kind he won’t “Kill animals” just to eat them. His compassion is infinite, making him vegetarian by choice. He is kind,  opens the door for me, he is kind and worries when he sees me upset for something he knows he didn’t do. My boy is kind and I love him.

After watching the movie my sense of fairness in this world has replenish, and my son’s idea of kindness and courage was pumped up. (also his idea of true love, which we might have to revisit in the future lol)

IMG_1413We believe (him and I) in fairness, and kindness, and in the good in people. We believe in kind words, in affection, and in the power of loving words. We don’t believe in lies, nor in being mean when we are upset… words can hurt more than anything else. And yes we do fight with each other but we never stop caring, as he said the other day “I love you so much that even when we fight I love you” … that my friend is true love.

I can only hope life doesn’t change him, and even if it does I have this version of him now which will be forever my own.


The Chores Jar

So my son is nearly 9 years old and although he helps around the house now and then I think its time to put some more action into this. He has reward charts that grant him video game time and that works really well, but with the new puppy (we adopted a lovely 9 week old Lab/Hound mix from the shelter last week)  its a perfect opportunity to inject some more responsibility into his life. But as a mother of a boy I know that whenever possible things have to be “fun”.

So I decided to make a Chores Jar instead of a chart since we already have a reward chart in place. The jar makes it a little more fun and random as he has to pick a chore daily, but without looking.

I wanted to make something colorful so I made the “chores” by printing them in different colors and fonts. Play with it and have fun, you can even use a theme as superhero or cars or whatever and put little pictures into the cards too. I was going for a “vintage” look so I kept it simple.


What do you need:

1 mason jar or any other glass/clear plastic jar

1 set of printed chores


1 label (I made mine using, printed and glued)

A pair of scissors

I printed my own customized label and placed on the jar with some glue. You can also print straight into label paper and its probably easier that way.

You can download mine if you like and use with your own jar.

I printed at 75% of the size to make it fit into the Mason Jar.
I printed at 75% of the size to make it fit into the Mason Jar.

The rest is pretty self explanatory.