My Life In Pictures: July 1 – 15, 2016

Over the past six months or so, twice a month I share my Instagram pictures since I can’t seem to find time to write! I call it My Life In Pictures. You can see all of my previous posts here.

And this summer has been no exception – the kids seem to consider me an event planner and expect to have something going on every.single.day. No time to blog when the kids are so busy! They are going  back to school in three weeks, but until then, here’s what we’ve been up to…

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I started walking about 3-1/2 miles every day, and Lila and Ethan love to go with me! Mia….not so much. But I love the time I share with my little walking buddies. Their favorite part? They love checking how far we’ve gone and how many steps we’ve taken on my Fitbit!

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We celebrated the 4th of July, my niece’s birthday, and my Mom’s birthday with a big bbq, Kona Ice (the adults enjoyed the snow cones, too!), and watching fireworks with friends and family. All those kids in that picture? Not.even.all.the.kids.

This is Otis. Otis has been part of our family since he was a baby. He’s 39 years old now. He’s very cool! He calls all of us kids’ names, rings like the phone, calls our childhood cat (Callie Calico) and lots more. When we were kids, we used to come downstairs in our bathing suits to go out to the pool and he would cat call and whistle at us. And he still remembers it all!

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Ethan read The BFG, and immediately declared that Roald Dahl was his favorite author. Since then, he’s read 5 more of his books! We waited for months for The BFG movie to come out, and when it finally did, we had a mother/son movie date. Side note: the movie was fantastic, as was the book!

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The girls LOVE helping me in the kitchen! Not only are they learning to cook and bake, they are also learning to do kitchen chores like rinsing plates and loading and unloading the dishwasher. I tell them it’s all part of cooking, and they are more than willing to help! Here they are making a birthday cake for Gramma…the #1 searched recipe on my blog and one of Recipe Lion’s Top 100 Recipes of 2015, my Holy Cow Cake.

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Do you have a go-to cookbook? Sandra Lee’s Money Saving Meals is mine. I am very influenced by the semi-homemade approach, and love all of her recipes. Now that the girls are helping in the kitchen, they flip through the gorgeous pictures and choose a recipe to try!

Mia and Lila LOVE PlayDoh, so when we got a big package full it, the girls were SO excited!

This is my niece Presley. We all adore her! She’s 10 months old and doing all the cute things, like blowing kisses. Swoon!

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Our plumeria are blooming like crazy, and I can’t take enough pictures of them! We have these yellow ones, pink ones, and some rare red ones. And you should smell them….wow!

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Because we are crazy, some friends and I took all these kids to see The Secret Lives of Pets. It was a fun movie!

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Weight Watchers Friendly Caprese Bites

Do you have a favorite appetizer recipe that you absolutely love? I have several, but my favorite one in the summer is for these Caprese Bites. It’s like eating a Caprese salad on a stick!

Love a cool and delicious Caprese salad? Then you'll love these Caprese Bites! They're quick and easy to make and can be served as a snack or an appetizer. They're Weight Watchers friendly too; you can have 11 bites for just 3 points!

They are so delicious! It’s such a light and healthy appetizer idea and there’s only 5 ingredients. It’s a perfect appetizer or snack on a hot day. They are super quick and easy to make and inexpensive, too. In fact, these Caprese bites are so easy to make that Lila makes them for me!

Love a cool and delicious Caprese salad? Then you'll love these Caprese Bites! They're quick and easy to make and can be served as a snack or an appetizer. They're Weight Watchers friendly too; you can have 11 bites for just 3 points!

Weight Watchers Friendly Caprese Bites

Not only are they healthy and delicious, they are also Weight Watchers friendly! I started Weight Watchers a couple of weeks ago, so I’ve been playing with several of my favorite recipes to make them Weight Watchers friendly so that I can continue to enjoy them.

Here’s the good news: You can have ELEVEN Caprese Bites and it’s only 3 Weight Watchers points! If you leave off the balsamic vinegar, it’s only 2 points!

Weight Watchers Friendly Caprese Bites
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Ingredients

  • 3.75 inch toothpicks
  • 1 package of cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and dried
  • 8 ounces of fresh Mozzarella pearls
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Cracked pepper
  • 2 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar

Instructions

  1. Skewer 1 tomato, 1 basil leave (fold in half if the leaves are large), and 1 Mozzarella pearl.
  2. Place finished toothpicks on a plate or on a serving dish. Sprinkle with freshly cracked pepper, to taste.
  3. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the top of the toothpicks.
http://mommyofamonster.com/weight-watchers-friendly-caprese-bites/

NOTE: I use extra long toothpicks (3.75 inches) so that you have room to hold on to it easily. You can use longer sticks or skewers, but I like just using toothpicks because you can pop the whole bite into your mouth without having to touch the food or stab the back of your throat with the stick!

Love a cool and delicious Caprese salad? Then you'll love these Caprese Bites! They're quick and easy to make and can be served as a snack or an appetizer. They're Weight Watchers friendly too; you can have 11 bites for just 3 points!

Looking for more appetizer ideas? You’ll find them here and on one of my favorite Pinterest boards!

And if you’re looking for healthy food and meal ideas, you can get them here and on Pinterest!

My Life In Pictures: June 16 – 30, 2016

Over the past six months or so, twice a month I share my Instagram pictures since I can’t seem to find time to write! I call it My Life In Pictures. You can see all of my previous posts here.

Screenshot 2016-07-05 13.07.43The girls had a friend spend the night and they had snow cones for breakfast. Since it’s summer, that’s a totally appropriate meal!

 

Screenshot 2016-07-05 13.13.47I LOVE my NuWave Oven, and I use it all summer long so I don’t have to turn on the oven and heat up the house. I found a recipe on Pinterest for Crispy Cheddar Chicken that is amazing and I highly recommend both the recipe and the NuWave Oven!

 

Screenshot 2016-07-05 13.17.32Sweet Lila lost her first upper tooth!

 

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I started Weight Watchers! I’m loving the program and don’t feel like I’m on a diet at all! I love being able to eat whatever I want without feeling guilty about it. And I started working out again too, so I’m feeling better overall. This recipe for Tropical Fruity Yogurt is an oldie but goodie, and so easy that the kids can make it.

 

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Wow. These two are 6 going on 16. I can’t believe how big they are getting!

 

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Summer Cocktail Ideas

“Milkshakes, margaritas, smoothies and more…share your favorite summertime drink recipe.” That’s one of Mama Kat’s Writing Prompts this week, and I happen to have some summer cocktail ideas that I think you’ll love!

Looking for some fun summer cocktail ideas? From vodka to wine to sangria popsicles, I'm sharing some of my favorite recipes! I've even got some delicious water recipes that your favorite liquour can be easily added to.

Summer Cocktail Ideas

I’ve got the recipe for my favorite summer drink, a refreshing vodka cocktail perfect on a warm summer evening or to sip at a party. I’ve also got recipes for a Perfect Summer Cocktail that is smooth and refreshing, but with a flavorful kick, a Peach and Orange Sangria, and even a One-Glass White Sangria!

Looking for some fun summer cocktail ideas? From vodka to wine to sangria popsicles, I'm sharing some of my favorite recipes! I've even got some delicious water recipes that your favorite liquour can be easily added to.

I know not everybody is crazy about cocktails. I also have some of my favorite water recipes here. You’ll never want to drink soda again.

Looking for some fun summer cocktail ideas? From vodka to wine to sangria popsicles, I'm sharing some of my favorite recipes! I've even got some delicious water recipes that your favorite liquour can be easily added to.

And if you’re looking for an icy treat to cool down with on a warm day, my friend Betsy shares a recipe for Sangria Popsicles!

I’ve also got lots of other cocktail recipes here for any time of the year. Want even more? Visit my Happy Hour board on Pinterest!

What is your favorite summer cocktail? I’d love to try out some new ones!

Are you listening? A short piece of fiction inspired by the word "listen".

 

I wrote this for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop for Prompt #2: Milkshakes, margaritas, smoothies and more…share your favorite summertime drink recipe.

Sunscreen Tips To Avoid Sunburns & More Summer Skin Care Tips

A couple of years back, I wrote a post about the best sunscreen tips and how to get it on the kids without too many complaints. I thought since 4th of July is right around the corner, it was a good time to revisit them. So I’m going to share some sunscreen tips to avoid sunburns and other tips for keeping your skin healthy this summer.

Lots of sunscreen tips to avoid sunburns, how to get sunscreen on kids without (too many) complaints, and how to keep your skin healthy all summer long!

While my first post was aimed towards sunscreen tips for kids, they really apply to adults, too! These sunscreen tips to avoid sunburns work, whether you’re a kid or an adult.

Sunscreen Tips To Avoid Sunburns

Lots of sunscreen tips to avoid sunburns, how to get sunscreen on kids without (too many) complaints, and how to keep your skin healthy all summer long!

NO Sunscreen Is 100% Waterproof or Sweatproof

This is a great tip because lots of people make the mistake of only applying sunscreen before the kids get in the water or are running around. Once is not enough. “Water-resistant” and “sweatproof” sunscreen will last longer than regular sunscreen, which tends to come off faster when it gets wet.

Did you know that water-resistant sunscreens have a time limit? Sunscreens that claim to be “water-resistant” must state on the label whether they remain effective for 40 or 80 minutes. After that, it’s like you don’t have anymore on. That means you need to reapply, reapply, reapply! Anytime the kids take a break I try to reapply more sunblock.

Tip: I know that the spray sunblock has gotten a bad rap, but…

I slather on the sunscreen lotion before the kids hit the sun, pool, or beach. Then as the day goes on, I spray them. It’s much quicker and receives less complaints than rubbing in lotion. It works for us!

Another tip for applying sunscreen: Get a sunscreen stick for the kids’ face. It’s less likely to get in their eyes.

Make Sure You’re Applying Enough Sunscreen

The Skin Cancer Foundation (skincancer.org) recommends that adults use at least an ounce (that’s a shot glass) of sunscreen, but don’t set an amount for growing children. The important thing is to cover all exposed areas.

You’ll want to pay special attention to those easy-to-miss spots like earlobes and any body part that will stay submerged, like feet (Fun Fact: UVA rays can penetrate water.) I found this fun way to help you remember these areas: Teach your child to spell BEENS to help you remember to cover forgotten spots: Back of knees, Ears, Eye area, Neck, and Scalp.

Lots of sunscreen tips to avoid sunburns, how to get sunscreen on kids without (too many) complaints, and how to keep your skin healthy all summer long!

Sunscreen Alone Doesn’t Guarantee Safety From the Sun

Whether the kids are out playing or running through the sprinklers (remember they should get 60 minutes a day!,) or hitting the pool or beach, sunscreen is definitely a great way to block them from the sun, but that’s not all you need. Hats, sunglasses, bathing suits with built-in SPF coverage, and swim shirts are also a must. Take an umbrella to the beach or pool Avoid midday sun. All these things will help prevent skin damage and sunburns.

Keep Everybody Hydrated

Make everybody take a hydration break. Water, water, water! Watermelon, grapes, berries, carrots and celery are all great ways to keep everybody hydrated. So pack a fruit salad or some veggies with ranch dressing. Ice in the ice chest to keep everything cold is also a great way to get the kids some hydration…kids love chewing on ice.

Since my kids complain about drinking water, I found some fun ways to wake up water!

water After Sun Care

So we know how to keep everybody sunburn free, but what about your skin after being in large amounts of sun, water, and chlorine? It’s needs some love too! After showers, using Hawaiian Tropic Lime Coolada Lotion with Shea Butter & Aloe Vera is my favorite lotion to slather on the kids and I! It smells so good and it’s like a party for your skin. It leaves it feeling cool, soft, and tingly.

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Not into fancy lotion? No worries. Just don’t forget to moisturize!

And for all you busy moms out there, I’ve got some tips on how to keep your skin healthy all summer long.

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What sunscreen tips to avoid sunburns or other summer skincare tips do you have to share?

Lots of sunscreen tips to avoid sunburns, how to get sunscreen on kids without (too many) complaints, and how to keep your skin healthy all summer long!

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Mommy of a Monster and Twins is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com and/or other affiliate sites.

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