A new way to play and learn!

*The following post is sponsored by Osmo, all opinions are my own*

IMG_2975 If you’ve been following me for awhile then you know that I do not allow the kids to have screen time during the week.  Well that has recently changed, thanks to our friends over at Osmo  We were given the opportunity to try out our very own Osmo kit and couldn’t wait to dive into the new adventures.  We have been using it for about 3 weeks now and I love the activities.  It’s not your normal screen time and that makes me happy.  With Osmo the kids are able to utilize their imagination, spell, code, become better at math and so much more!

 

After opening the package, Elle and Maveric eagerly created their profiles. The kids have been so excited to play with their new Osmo set that they have literally facetimed family members just to show them how amazingly fun and innovative the activities really are!

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The kids instantly fell in love with Mo, and his way to truly gage and encourage them to be creative and enjoy the journey.   The Monster kit so far is Elle’s favorite because she an artist at heart, however, it helps Maveric to step outside of his comfort zone and try new things.  They really get a kick out of Mo and his antics.

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Each item that the kids draw, Mo will magically pull them into his world of adventures.  The kids love seeing their drawing come to life and the interactions are priceless.

 

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I am so excited to purchase some of the other activities like the coding!  I have been trying to get Elle involved in more STEAM activities, so this is going to get perfect.  Also I am extremely excited that the just announced the new Iphone kit!  Now I don’t have to worry about the kids fighting over who’s next and it’s perfect for traveling.   FullSizeRender (35).jpg

We are totally digging Osmo and it will be on our holiday wish list this year. Finally a toy that truly inspires, and engages.  In the meantime, continue checking our Instastory for live in the moment reactions to our Osmo, trust me Mom, Dads, Grandparents you will LOVE IT!!!!!!!!  Until next time….

XO,

Meka

Kool Kicks Made Easy!

*The following post was sponsored by Easy Kicks, all opinions are my own*

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I don’t know about you, but I HATE shopping (now).  When I was younger in my 20’s I loved it.  I loved going to the mall, planning out my wardrobe for the week and “shopping til I dropped”.  As a mom of 4, my time is extremely VALUABLE! Anything that can make my life easier I am here for it, and that’s why I absolutely wanted to partner with Easy Kicks!  Easy Kicks is the only sneaker club subscription box that allows parents to easily shop for their fast growing kids.  IMG_2818

Since easy kicks is backed by Nike, they are able to offer various styles at an amazing deal!  Seriously your choice of cool Nike and Converse delivered to your door each month for only $20?! IMG_2824

Sign up is so easy all you have to do is the following 4 steps:

  1. Sign up and pick your kicks
  2. Wear your kicks out and return them
  3. Order new kicks
  4. Repeat steps 2 & 3   

IMG_2825Check out more details on how this works here  

The kids were thrilled when their new kicks arrived!  Details are so important to me and Easy Kicks didn’t let us down when the shoes arrived they were individually labeled with each kids name!

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Because Easy Kicks makes it so EASY for you, they include a prepaid return bag, in our case Elle’s shoes were a little snug so we got to utilize this option and we look forward to the process!

 

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In addition to all the personalized items, Easy Kicks also sent cute stickers, because what kids doesn’t like stickers?

One thing I love about Easy Kicks, it that they either donate used shoes to kids in need or recycle them into playgrounds or sports fields with the help of Nike Grind.  I can’t think of a better deal, seriously! Cool shoes, free delivery, personalized experience, and donations to a great cause! Sounds like a total winner in our books and I know you will absolutely love this program for your child(ren)!

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This weekend the boys put there shoes to the test and we got several compliments!  We couldn’t wait to share the program with everyone that asked where we snagged our cool kicks!

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Keep an eye out on our social media, because you will see more ways we are enjoying the Easy Kicks program! IMG_3056

Until next time,

XO,

Meka

 

Raising Readers

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We’ve teamed up with IncrediBundles  to share our love for raising readers!  As a child I can honestly say, that I never had anyone sit down and encourage me to READ!  Reading has never been one of my favorite subjects, I was thankful enough that my high school had mandatory summer reading list, thank God for Cliff’s Notes (no judgment).  I’ve always known that I would make sure my kids loved reading and that I encouraged my little ones to become avid readers.  When we had our baby shower for Elle I remember asking for gently used books instead of cards so that I could start her library.  That was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and it’s created reading monsters in the Harrell house!

Speaking of baby showers or gifts for babies in general, Incredibundles offers some pretty cool gift bundles for any occasion.  We were able to choose a bundle that best fit our family and since we’ve been collecting books for over 8 years, I decided to create a bundle for the kids.

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They offer a variety of bundles, anything from toys, books, diapers, bath products, and organic items.  My goal was to get as many new books as possible and I was able to throw in a teether and stacking cups for Axel.  I love that you can truly create cool custom gifts at any budget.  Free shipping is given for all bundles that are $49 or more so for me, it only makes since to start my budget at $50.   Check out all of the awesome bundles here .

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One thing I love about my mother in law is that she is a retired educator as well as an advocate of early childhood literature!  So of course she was thrilled when our new books from IncrediBundles arrived.

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Here are some tips that we feel are very necessary to help jump start your child to becoming reading machines:

  1. Start as early as in the womb.  Sing, read, talk to your baby!! This also helps with early language development.
  2. Make it a family endeavor, take time out for family reading together. 
  3. Utilize your public library, there are so many amazing toddler and preschool programs.  This is such a special trip for our kids with their Nana.  They also meet so many new friends at our local library. 
  4. Keep books available at a kids level! We like to keep them in the car, in baskets throughout the house and on their bookshelves.
  5. Utilize the art of story telling.  Talk about your childhood adventures, our kids get a kick out of this!  They always want to hear more stories of their Nana, Papa and Dad’s childhood memories.
  6. Talk to your child at dinner, yes TALK!! No distractions, ask open-ended questions and truly engage with them.

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Thanks to Incredibundles for allowing us to share our reading rediness tips!  Share the gift of reading with someone you love. Check out this awesome giveaway and enter to win by clicking the link below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy reading and until next time…

XO

Meka

 

 

 

#KidGoals with Gymboree

Summer’s officially OVER, and I don’t know about you but I feel like it really flew by.  I mean we are already wrapping up Elle’s first week of school.  I can hardly believe that Elle is in the 3rd grade.  This year Maveric will be off to Pre-K and since Jagger is 2, we are letting him attend preschool twice a week.  Although it’s only half days, I am all in my feelings about Jagger venturing off to school.  Yesterday, Jagger’s teachers came by to do a home visit and we discussed our goals for the year.  It really resonated with me how important it is to have attainable goals, not only with my self but with the kids as well.  .

 

We have been given the opportunity to partner with Gymboree and share our #KidGoals for the school year and Gymboree really came through with some cool gear just in time for back to school! Here’s a snap shot of a few of the pieces, each of the kids have their own style and especially since I have 3 boys, it’s so important to get durable staple pieces that will last and be able to pass down to the next “little bro”

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My little fashionista Elle, is all about the emjoi’s, currently her goals for 3rd grade are to knock those EOG’s out of the park! It’s funny we just started school and she’s already thinking about end of grade testing! My personal goal for Elle is to come out of her shell and show her secret talents of singing and dancing in  PUBLIC!  She’s awesome and we just want to support her dreams in anyway possible.

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Maveric is off to Pre-K and we are so excited for him,  if you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting him, you know he’s a BALL of energy and one of his favorite places in to release energy is at the playground!  His goal for the school year is to play, eat lunch and go to music class!

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My personal goal for Maveric is to master his penmanship and continue to indulge in his love for music!  Music lessons are coming soon…. I love mixing classic looks with fun looks so pairing this cute monster button up with these awesome joggers just made sense!  He’s always running, jumping, and climbing so we need his clothes to be durable and functional.

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As I said earlier, Jagger is headed to preschool and we are thrilled!  Since he’s doing his  speech therapy he’s been having more phrases.  I am so proud of him so my personal goal for Jagger is to  meet new friends and use his words more.  We call him the professor because he’s so serious and extremely analytical.

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Boy moms know how much their boys loveeeeee trucks, so of course we went with the truck theme for Jagger.  My boys are absolutely obsessed with them, the joggers are so cute and I loved the yellow and blue details at the ankle.

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Last but obviously not least, was baby Axel.  He will still be home chilling with Mommy and Daddy so his goals are to stay cute and keep hitting milestones.  He’s rocking his awesome onsie because well he’s AWESOME! We are so excited about the school year and looking forward to all of the memories to be made.  And thanks to Gymboree our kids remain stylish!  What are your kid’s goals this year?  Cheers to a happy school year!!!

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Don’t forget to capture as many memories as possible! Stay tuned for a giveaway!!!

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Until next time….

XO,

Meka

Mommy Uniform

Mommy Uniform…. we all have them, weather it’s your favorite leggings paired with the perfect tee, your favorite workout gear that you wear when you’re not working out or it’s your favorite dress with your most comfy pair of flats.  Today I’m sharing my uniform for this weekend.

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A simple black dress paired with some cool kicks !  This bodycon is super comfy and what I love about it most, is that it’s easy access for nursing Axel! Snag one hereFullSizeRender (21)

I always love to wear a nice denim jacket or in this case a chambry because I am ALWAYS cold!  I found a similar version here  Some how I managed to pair an entire outfit from Forever 21… yes I still love finding pieces there regardless of my age.  Even the baseball cap and choker came from there.  Oh well I absolutely love cool caps, especially when you’re having a bad hair day!  In my case I just did a good conditioning last night and I didn’t want to put a lot of stress on my hair so I threw on a hat and pulled my hair through the strap.  Take your pick of cool satin baseball caps here 

FullSizeRender (25) Lastly a good mommy uniform has to have some cool kicks!  I was able to snag these for only $19.99 during a recent Reebok sale! Currently they are $39.97, still a good price in my eyes!  Check them out here

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My style is more about COMFORT! Weather I’m chasing after my boys, driving Elle to practice or hitting the road, this look will never let me down! Stay tuned for the next Mommy Uniform share.  What’s in your closet? Be sure to share you Uniform must haves below!  Until next time……

XO,

Meka

 

Cooking with Kids

*The following post is sponsored by KidStir, all opinions are my own*

This weekend the kids and I hung out at home for some much need “mommy rest”, however, we were able to have some fun thanks to Kidstir.  In case you’re not familiar with Kidstir, it’s a cool subscription box that sends kid friendly cooking utensils, as well as monthly recipes straight to your doorstep.  IMG_2681

Elle and Maveric were super excited, they scanned through the cookbook and agreed on making Watermelon Cucumber smoothies.

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I love that the recipes are so kid friendly and they really make it exciting for the kids.  Elle and Maveric really took pride in creating these smoothies without any help.  I was basically there to capture the memories and assist with the use of the Ninja.  First step was cutting 2 cups of water melon, Maveric of course was the first to volunteer to complete this task.

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Elle completed the second step of peeling and deseeding the cucumber.  This cute veggie peeler was a gift from kidstir and it’s so safe for them to use.  I couldn’t believe how easy it was for Elle to peel.

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After gathering all of the ingredients the kids were able to blend and taste!  The recipe took no more than 15 minutes and that’s with me taking pictures.

All in all the kids gave it 3 thumbs up!  I have to say I truly enjoyed watching them work together creating these smoothies.  I personally look forward to making the next item on our list.  Stay tuned for S’mores Shakes! IMG_2684

Be sure to snag a subscription box for your family, trust me you won’t be disappointed.  It’s totally worth the $15.95!  You can easily choose from 3 options: 1-5 kits: $15.95/kit,   6-9 kits: $14.50/kit or 10-12 kits: $12.95/kit.  Click the link below to get started.

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Until next time,

XO,

Meka

Beach’n Babies

*The following post is sponsored, all opinions are my own*

August is here and I can’t believe summer is almost over, this week this kids are taking a much needed beach trip with their Nana and Papa, so we decided to test out our brand new beachmate  at the local sand park.  First off I love that it’s engraved with our family name, this gives it a classic spin.  Having a custom piece really stands out while on vacation.

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As a mom of 4, it’s so important to have my hands free, so this durable strap really came in handy after everyone was finally out of the car and in route to the park.  I love that it’s comfortable enough for Elle to carry, while I’m busy rounding up the younger boys.

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Once we hit the park it was over, the fun began and the kids went to work.  I love the that all of the containers can double as organization or just plain toys!  The shovels are extremely durable and they are actually industrial strength so I know they will last forever, especially being a mom of 3 boys.

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The beachmate also comes with a cooler, this was so perfect because I was able to pack up some snacks for the kids and an extra bottle for Axel.  Did I mention the tote bag has several pockets?  Oh my gosh, this is so necessary for my car keys, cell phone, sun block, shades, literally anything you can think of!  And on top of that it’s bottomless so there’s no issues of having sand in your car or home after the trip.

Whenever we are out in the sun we ALWAYs pack our Nuby water bottles, because staying hydrated is a must.  The cooler kept the water cool and I never have any issues with the kids drinking their water with these awesome bottles!

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Now that the test run is over, I have the kids swimsuits, beach chairs and of course the beachmate packed up and ready to hit the road.  Be sure to head over and snag your very own Beachmate here trust me your family will love it and it’s so durable it’s totally worth every penny! No more cracked buckets being replaced every year.  These containers are so sturdy and legit!

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How are you guys celebrating the last days of summer?  I’m enjoying all the fun memories with the kids before they head back and we have to be on a schedule.

Until next time….

XO ,

Meka

All eyes on me…

*The following post is sponsored, all opinions are my own!* 

Recently we were given the opportunity to test out the new Lollipop smart baby camera. Now as we all know I am a mom of 4, and to be quite honest I have NEVER purchased a baby monitoring system, for some reason I have always felt like it was not on my priority list.  When I was pregnant with Elle I had the basic monitor that you could only hear the baby crying.  With the boys I never wanted to spend money on a camera because I knew that I would want a camera that was in color, with amazing video quality and awesome sound.  Most monitors of this nature were close to $200 and I just couldn’t bring myself to splurge on it.  Thankfully the Lollipop cam meets all of my needs plus bonus features for less than I ever imagined,  snag one here and this is why you will absolutely love it:

  1. Everything is  available via the app! Seriously I can view live footage, speak to anyone in the room where the monitor is located, play classical music to soothe my baby, review stats from the day all and so much more with this amazing app!image1 (6)
  2. The camera’s live feed is so amazingly clear! I seriously look at the feed when I’m at work and I’m amazed by the quality and the delay is only 3 seconds.   FullSizeRender (19)
  3. Automatic event recording.  So quick story… one night I heard Jagger crying , normally he wakes up wanting something to drink at 4 am which is cool with me because I am usually nursing Axel.  Well I got up and didn’t see him, when I walked to the hallway I saw him sitting on the steps, mind you it’s completely dark in our house.  Well later that day I was looking at the crying stats on my app and it had a log of Axel crying at 4am.  When I clicked on the video it showed Jagger crying in the living room on the floor holding his cup! This totally freaked me out, I could not believe he was downstairs crying all this time I thought he was just in the hallway, which doesn’t make it any better b/c he could have fallen down the steps but this video was an eyeopener for me! Check out the video on my instagram page
  4. The camera is so sleek and the set up is so easy!  I currently have the camera in our living room because that’s the main place the kids are playing when I am not home so I like to check in from time to time while I’m at work.  It keeps me at ease and helps with the baby blues.  IMG_2396

I have seriously fallen in love with this camera, not only does it make for a great babycam, but it’s an awesome nanny cam as well!  The flexibility of the camera makes it easy to move throughout your home.  I am totally satisfied with the new innovative product and I’m sure you will love it as well.  Until next time….

XO,

Meka

Home for the 4th!

Recently I took my very first road trip with the kids and it was one heck of an adventure!  Technically I drove back home to Baltimore on July 2nd but it was to celebrate with family at my aunts annual 4th of July block party.  What normally would take 6 hours ended up being an 8 hour drive.  When traveling with 3 kids, a baby and a GRANDMA you have to factor in BREAKS.  We took our very first break at the VA state line rest stop.  The kids were able to stretch their legs and play on the playground for a few.  We even had a nice family take our pic in from of the Welcome to Virginia sign.  Stopping again to eat at Apple Bees, lots of rain and traffic we finally made it to Baltimore for the cookout!

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Thankfully we had our own chairs in the car because they have been in the car since soccer season!  Sunday I wanted to make it all about the kids.  They did so well durning the car ride up even with the extra 2 and 1/2 hours added onto our trip.  So we started our day with some Ms. Shirley’s for brunch.  IMG_1968

I absolutely had to have the chicken and waffles! It’s something about the cheese on the waffles that gets me every time.

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After brunch the kiddos and I headed to Port Discovery I knew they were in for a treat, and I couldn’t wait to share some memories with them.

IMG_2018 In true Mommarazzi form, I made them take pics before entering lol

IMG_2019 Once they were inside it was a different story.  They had a BALL!!!!

We literally stayed there for 4 hours, and we still didn’t get to see everything.  After Port Discovery we finished visiting family so that we could hit the road in the AM.  I really wish that I had cameras installed in the van during this adventure.  I think that will be my new goal when traveling with the family.  I want to truly document all of the adventure with them because they are growing so fast.   I am so thankful that our van has the DVD package it helps keep the  kids entertained especially during long trips.  We made it back home Monday just in time for me to go to work… yes I went to work after driving from Baltimore to NC.  I’m starting to agree with everyone else, maybe I am superhuman.  Until next time……

XO,

Meka

1 bag 4 kids

So I’m sure many of you read my last post about our staycation and as we all know at the time I took 3 out of the 4 kiddos, however this amazing bag from Birdlings can actually hold clothes for all 4 kids and myself for an over night staycation!  “How Sway? you might ask, well let me tell you below…..28

I currently have the grey weekender and I LOVE it!!! Seriously it sucks to have to pack 5 separate bags for myself and the kids.  This bag makes quick trips with a big family a total breeze.  23The weekender has three interior compartments, six interior mesh pockets a key clip, seven exterior pockets as well as a removable shoulder strap.   gweekender7 I don’t know how I managed to go this long without this bag.  We are going to visit family in Baltimore this weekend and we are totally packing this 1 bag for our clothes and possibly a smaller bag for shoes… hmmmm  *runs to the Birdling webpage*

51 I love the classic color combo with the leather and metal details.  I know without a doubt this bag will be a family favorite, the only thing it’s missing are wheels!

Here are some other bags that I am totally loving :

I’m crushing on the mini day tripper  for Elle I think she would absolutely love it especially during road trips to keep all of her art supplies, American girl dolls and snacks organized .  And the  day tripper for me would be perfect when we are flying with the kids to hold snacks and activities on the plane as well as road tripping or daily park trips.  So if you’re looking for an amazing quality bag  you’ve found it and it’s Harrell Approved.  Get used to seeing this weekender  because it will be in heavy rotation throughout the year and years to come.

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Until next time…..

XO,

Meka

 

*The following post was sponsored by Birdling Bags, all opinions were my own*

Staycation with the Harrells

Last Monday the kids (minus Jagger) and I enjoyed a wonderful staycation at the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel here in downtown Winston.  Since opening, we have driven by the hotel on a daily basis during Elle’s commute to school.  Since one of my friends has an apartment in the building I was able to get a little inside look at this amazing establishment.  I’ve heard so many great things about the Kimpton properties like having a gold fish in your room, cool record players and so much more.  IMG_1666Upon arrival we were greeted with the craziest rain storm which lead to utilizing their amazing valet service.  Once we made it inside the kids enjoyed a refreshing cup of apple infused water.  IMG_1719

In true Harrell form the first thing the kids wanted to do when they got to the room was too “test” out the beds with the ultimate jump party.

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The beds passed the test and were baby Axel approved!  Since it was raining so much we opted to stay indoors and order pizza as well as enjoyed some awesome amenities the hotel had to offer like an adult size “playground” that was equipped with a 2 story tunnel slide.  IMG_1755

Finding the the slide was the highlight of our evening.  As you can see Maveric truly enjoyed this, it was a 4 year old’s dream.  IMG_1757In addition to the slide we were able to go bowling, some how Maveric ended up beating Elle.  IMG_1748 The adult playground was a total life saver with the storm we had going on outside, they were able to have the time of their lives on the inside.

 

Here are some of the amenities of the hotel :

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi for Kimpton Karma Rewards guests
  • Pet-friendly accommodations free of weight and size restrictions and no additional fees
  • Nightly hosted evening wine hour from 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
  • In-room dining from The Katharine Sunday-Thursday until 10 PM + Friday-Saturday until 11 PM
  • A yoga mat in every guest room and yoga mat roll-out service available upon request
  • In-room spa services for private, full-service day spa services
  • 24-hour state-of-the-art fitness center
  • Bowling alley, basketball, ping pong and more in the lower level recreation center
  • Complimentary morning coffee and tea
  • Essential travel items, available upon request

We will definitely be staying again, the only thing we did not have was the gold fish I requested.  Unfortunately they died before our arrival but we were told that they “should” have new ones by the time we stayed.  That request fell through but the staff and the hotel gets 4 stars in our books. Until next time….

XO,

Meka

Fiesta fiesta!

A few weeks ago I, as well as some local bloggers were invited to Tijuna Flats to try out their new street tacos so of course my plus one was none other than my baby girl Elle!  We were able to indulge in a 6, yes SIX course meal.  However, due to our dietary restrictions of no pork or beef, we opted for 3 out of the 5 tacos offered.  Here’s a look at the deliciousness we were given:

Crispy Baja Fish Crispy fish, chipotle crema, shaved cilantro cabbage & pineapple salsa.  This was actually Elle’s favorite!  She loved them so much we had then for her birthday meal of choice (Thursday June 22nd).

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Jerk Chicken Crispy jerk chicken, MoreFire! hot sauce, shaved cilantro cabbage, pineapple salsa & cotija cheese.  My favorite by far, because I LOVE spicy foods and these have major kick!

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Bangin’ Chicken® Tostadas Crispy corn tortillas with Smack My Ass Bangin’ Chicken® (our version of Buffalo), refried beans, cheddar-jack cheese, grilled onions & peppers, tomatoes & ranch dressing.  These were really good, and I am not a big bean fan but they were tasty! IMG_1563

The last 2  tacos that we didn’t try were:

Lime Steak Grilled garlic-lime steak, avocado crema, shaved cilantro cabbage, pico de gallo & cotija cheese.

Philly Cheesesteak Flautas Crispy wheat or flour tortillas stuffed with shaved sirloin steak, mozzarella cheese, grilled onions & peppers. Served with a large side of queso.

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Overall we LOVED the experience and to top it off we had my favorite the cookie dough flautas.  OOOOO M G!!!! If you love warm cookies you will love this, trust me!

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COOkie DOUGH FLaUtas “The Original” chocolate chip cookie dough loaded in a flour tortilla, lightly fried & topped with powdered sugar. Served with a side of chocolate syrup.  So there you have it, if you’re hungry then I suggest that you head over to Tijuana Flats and grab some of this goodness.  Oh and to top if off, they offer military discounts, so enjoy and until next time….

XO,

Meka