Archives for July 2014

Our Palm Desert Vacation 2014

I’ve told you before that my entire family usually takes a summer vacation in King’s Canyon every year (since my mom was a kid!) and that we’ve been going the last 3 years with the kids. This year, we decided to switch it up and try out a Palm Desert vacation with our favorite friends and their daughters instead. We had a blast!

Now those of you familiar with Palm Springs/Palm Desert/So Cal might be asking why in the world we’d want do a Palm Desert vacation in the middle of July. In short, Jason and I both love Palm Springs (Palm Desert is the city right next door and many people think of them as one and the same) and so do the kids. So when our friends invited us, we immediately said yes. We stayed at Marriott’s Desert Springs Villas II, and hope to go back again soon.

We spent lots and lots of time in the pool, as the weather was over 100 degrees every day.

We played volleyball…

We got up early to make sure we got the best spot at the pool…

Mia learned to swim (finally!) without floaties, and even jumped off the side of the pool!…

Daddy spent a lot of time throwing the kids around…

And of course we wore lots of sunblock and hats…

We took the Palm Springs Tram to the top of the San Jacinto mountains, where it was just like being in the mountains…

There was dinner and dancing at our favorite restaurant in Palm Springs, Las Casuelas

There was boat rides,

and golfing,

and henna tattoos,

and hair chalk.

And there was rock climbing.

There was even time for drinks and dinner with friends.

And Jason created the PERFECT summer cocktail.

Did I mention it was super hot?

At 9 in the morning it was already well over 100 degrees. By 5 pm, it was 122. The record heat in Palm Springs is 123. Let’s just say that I hope to never, EVER be there when it’s this hot again. There’s a huge difference between 117 and 122. HUGE.

So thank you to our friends for inviting us and for all of the fun memories. Let’s do it again next year!


The PERFECT Summer Cocktail

This past week, we spent our family vacation with friends at a resort in Palm Desert…more on that coming later in the week. During our vacation, my husband concocted what we are now calling the PERFECT summer cocktail.

So let me start from the beginning…years ago friends of ours used to make a drink that we called The Sandbar because we always drank them at the sandbar in Lake Havasu. I’m sure that it’s got a fancy cocktail name, but that’s what we call it. It’s a mixture of vodka and Squirt. It’s yummy give it a shot! And I’m not much of a hard alcohol drinker so for me to say a cocktail is yummy, it can’t taste like alcohol.

Anyways we didn’t want to pay $8 a beer at the restaurant by the pool, so we decided to make our old favorite drink, The Sandbar. While digging around in the fridge for all the fixin’s, my husband saw the Simply Orange with Mango juice and decided to add some of that to his drink. It was so good! The sweetness of the juice with the citrus-y, grapefruit flavor of the Squirt made for a great combo! And that is how the PERFECT summer cocktail was created.

Looking for an refreshing summer cocktail? We have it right here...and it only takes three ingredients to make it: vodka, OJ, and a surprising twist!

How To Make The PERFECT Summer Cocktail

It’s simple to make. Get a large glass and fill it up with ice. Throw in a shot or two of your favorite vodka. Then fill the glass half up with Squirt, and the rest of the way up with Simply Orange with Mango.

Want to make a big batch of it? Just pour out about half of the Simply Orange from the jug. Put it in a cup for the kids or in a larger container for your second batch later. Then pour a can of Squirt and vodka to taste into the jug. Cheers!

You can play with the flavors until you get your own version of the PERFECT summer cocktail. I bet citrus flavored vodka would taste great too! Or maybe pink lemonade? The possibilities are endless!

If you are looking for other refreshing summer drinks to sip by the pool, try my Peach and Orange Sangria or my One-Glass White Sangria recipe. Want more yummy beverages for adults? Try my Cocktails & Beverages for Adults board on Pinterest.

Have a favorite refreshing cocktail to share? Leave a link so I can pin it!

Cool Stuff I Found This Week #6 (Thank You Social Media)

All right! It’s that time again…time to check out some of the cool stuff I found this week on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Actually, it’s stuff I found last week that I didn’t get around to posting. Hopefully you haven’t already seen it! We took the kids and got away this week, but I’ll be back next week with lots of vacation stories, I’m sure!

Is It Candy or Medicine?

My friend Sherri wrote this must read post at All Parenting about medicines that look like candy. This is why safe medicine storage is SO important. Please, please, PLEASE share this with other moms out there!


Word Crimes

My friend Stephanie at Froggy & the Mouse shared this on Facebook and I love it! It’s Weird Al’s newest song Word Crimes, which is a parody of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. If you’re a fan of words and writing and people who don’t use proper grammar make you crazy, you’ll love this.


Need a Laugh?

There’s really nothing cuter than babies doing cute and funny things. This video will definitely give you a laugh!

Post by Javin Rajh.

If You Work From Home, You Will TOTALLY Get This!

So many of us bloggers and writers work from home. I loved this list of 19 Things You Should Never Say to Someone Who Works From Home.


So You Want A Slice Of Cheesecake, Huh?

You might not actually want that cheesecake (or beer or french fries) after you see how many burpees you would have to do to burn off all of those calories.


Preventing Child Deaths in Hot Cars

On Huffington Post, they shared a great shoe trick that may be able to prevent babies and children from being left to suffer or die in hot cars.

Stop Texting and Driving!

Still texting and driving? I’ve written about texting and driving here before, and now I’m asking you to watch this one minute clip.

Support Mental Health with philosophy

I LOVE the new hope & grace initiative from philosophy (my favorite skincare brand.) philosophy is supporting mental health and wellbeing, one of the greatest challenges affecting women around the globe. Click for more details:

Love Orange is the New Black? 

If you are as crazy about the show as I am, this article written by Larry Smith is worth the read. It’s long, but worth it.

Want to see more cool stuff? Here’s a link to all my finds from when I first started Cool Stuff. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook for more.

Now it’s your turn! What cool stuff did you find on the internet this week?

International Self Care Day: Take Care Of Your Family and YOU!

Did you know that July 24 is International Self Care Day? What does self care mean to you? When I think self care, I think of anything and everything that we do to take care of ourselves: eating healthy, getting (or okay trying to get or at least thinking about getting!) exercise, and taking care of ourselves both mentally and physically.

Now if you’re looking for the real definition of self care here it is according to the World Health Organization: self care is what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness. It is a broad concept encompassing hygiene, nutrition, lifestyle, environmental factors, socioeconomic factors, and self-medication. 

Self medication. Like over the counter (OTC) medicines. I think OTC medicines are one of the most powerful and affordable self care tools available to us. If we use them properly as needed, we can avoid costly visits to see the doctor and getting prescriptions filled. To me they are the first step in self care when you feel a cold coming on or when you are feeling run down and tired.

July 24th is Self Care Day. Make sure you are taking care of your family and yourself (and save yourself costly doctor visits!) by following these tips.
Think about it…more than 40 million doctor appointments could be avoided each year in the U.S. with self-care, and that includes the use of OTC medicines. Nobody likes going to the doctor: 93% of consumers prefer to treat themselves with OTC medicines before seeking professional care.

As a mom, a huge part of self care is being supermom to the kids – you have to remember to take care of yourself AND the kids…easier said than done sometimes! I’ve got some tips that will help you become of the supermom of self care.

July 24th is Self Care Day. Make sure you are taking care of your family and yourself (and save yourself costly doctor visits!) by following these tips.
How do we make sure we are using OTC medicines properly and storing them properly? Try these tips:

  • Follow OTC medicine instructions directly as suggested. If the medicines aren’t helping or you are feeling worse, call your doctor for advice before making an appointment.
  • Does your family take a daily multivitamin or other supplements? It’s easy to forget to take them sometimes, so make sure that you keep them in a place (away from the kids) that you will see them everyday.

So what tips can you share that help you practice the self care of yourself and your family? Maybe it’s something as simple as sharing a quick, healthy meal or a fun family activity that you all do together for exercise…I’d love to hear them all!

Disclaimer: I’m being compensated as an OTCSafety Blogger, though all thoughts, opinions, and suggestions expressed here are my own. Keep up-to-date on OTCSafety information by visiting the OTCSafety website  and by following them on Pinterest.
photo credit for medication: nima; hopographer via photopin cc

Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

I absolutely, positively LOVE all things summer. The heat. The scents. Watching the kids play and remembering my summers as a kid. I’ve written recipes for hot summer days (like my Peach and Orange Sangria),  fiction about summer, and I’ve even shared tips to help make it easier to get sunscreen on kids that don’t want to stand still long enough for you to do it. And I also love eating ice cream (year round, not just in the summer…but it does taste better on a super hot day!) See? I love summer.

I’m very excited to share my favorite chocolate ice cream recipe with you today.

Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe


A simple chocolate ice cream recipe that can be made in any ice cream maker. It's smooth, creamy and ready in just 30 minutes! chocolate ice cream photo credit: wenday 😀 via photopin cc

This ice cream recipe is super simple to make, and I bet you have almost all of the ingredients on hand already. Just get your ice cream maker out and then get ready to swoon over the richest, creamiest chocolate ice cream you’ll ever try!

Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe
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Recipe Image


  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process preferred)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3-1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Kick This Recipe Up a Notch With Some Add Ins! Try these or any of your favorites:
  • 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips or mini M&M's
  • 1/4 cup of shredded coconut


  1. Place the cocoa and sugars in a medium bowl; stir until combined.
  2. Add the whole milk and use a whisk or hand mixer on low speed to combine until the cocoa and sugars are dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.
  4. Pour mixture into freezer bowl of ice cream machine and let mix until thickened, about 25 to 35 minutes.
  5. During the last 10 minutes of mixing, add in any additional ingredients.

And if you love summer as much as I do, make sure to visit my Summer board on Pinterest for lots of recipes, tips, and ideas to make summer even better.