What We’ve Been Up To

Keeping Pretty Prudent BEDquarters Clean

Thank you Clorox® and Cotton for supporting my work-from-bed lifestyle by sponsoring this post and by making my bed so irresistible. Good morning from Pretty Prudent Headquarters, I mean BEDquarters where, I must confess, too much of the work-from-home business happens. I’m not proud and I also own a desk in a nice home office, but… Read more »

Home, Organization, Prudent Home

Watercolor Sno-cone Tutorial

In celebration of the first week of Summer vacation, here is a fun watercolor painting exercise for both kids and grown-ups, beginner or experienced artists. It’s easy and cute and a great way to practice color blending and wet-on-wet watercolor technique. Read on for the easy instructions… by Jacinda

By Craft, Crafting With Kids, Decor, DIY, paint, Prudent Home

Mid-Mod House Updates!

This post is sponsored by Progressive Home Insurance. Is it still new once you’ve lived in it for ten months? It still feels new. Remember when we first bought it? I’ve been slowly working on it. We started with the patio, and since then we’ve done Scarlet’s room, the floors, and the master bedroom which… Read more »

Decor, Prudent Home, Sponsored Post

All the Pretty Pillows

I am a bit of a pillow obsessive. They’re so fun! and easy to switch out with the seasons! We love to make them (a bajillion tutorials can be found here), and I also love to buy ’em. Here’s some favorites for summer. Mixed beaded pillow cover in blush, West Elm (currently obsessed with all… Read more »

Bed, Decor, May, Pillows, Prudent Home

What to do in Joshua Tree with Kids: A Joshua Tree Itinerary for Families

Noah Purifoy 1 Joshua Tree is a magical place. You hear that, and you believe it, but then you go there and you really feel it. It’s one part nature, one part outer space, and some third indefinable part that seems to come from the dry desert air or the general hippy vibe. It’s a place where kids can really feel that they’re standing on Earth, and that the Earth beneath their feet stretches out in every direction, encompassing a wondrous and mysterious planet.

So I took my kid out to Joshua Tree, where we met some friends and their kids who came from Los Angeles like us, and some other friends who came all the way from Chicago, and we made some new friends who traveled all the way across the pond from London. We had a truly fantastic time. Here’s what to do when you take your kids to Joshua Tree. Joshua Tree National Park 11

First things first, be prepared with WATER. So much water. So much more than you think you will need. Even getting in and out of the car will dry you out, the air is dry, the weather is hot, and you will always need more water than you think you will. The rule of the desert is TURN AROUND when your water is half gone. This is SO KEY. People die in the desert all the time. The number of people we saw on the trails without water was astounding. So take note and bring so much water.

Where to Stay:
You can air bnb a lot of really cool homes. You can camp in the park (make your reservation months and months in advance!). Spin and Margie’s Desert Hideaway is pretty cool. But for a group of kids, I recommend Hicksville Trailer Palace. I can’t give you the address (they keep it a secret until right before your trip), but it’s close enough to the park entrance to allow you easy enough access and far enough into the desert to feel perfect isolation.
Hicksville 2 It’s a collection of trailers surrounding a pool. Bring your own food to grill and firewood, and of course some wine and beer. There’s mini golf, ping pong, and some arcade games for the kids too. Hicksville 4 They’ve got a tee-pee you can light a fire in, and a library full of books for the kids. Also bb guns and archery, which was a blast. Hicksville 6 Hicksville 3
We stayed in the trailer called the Fifi, because we call Scarlet “Fifi.” Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. We just started calling her that and it stuck. This is our trailer…Hicksville 1 And this is my Fifi. Fifi 2

What to Do:
In Joshua Tree, you should stop by the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Museum, which is where I took the photo at the top of this post. You can just park and walk right in, there’s no tickets or anyone working there. Keep a close eye on the kids because all of the installations are rickety (they’ve been out in the elements for about 50 years) and potentially dangerous for climbing on, but just wild and fun to explore. Give yourself about 45 minutes to run around and check things out. Ask the kids what they think each installation is, imagine it all as spaceships or homes of old pirates. Again, bring water, there’s no water here.
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If you are there on the right days, and you make a reservation in advance, you should schedule a sound bath for you and the kids at the Integratron. Kids can only go with advance private reservations, but it will be worth it.

You can also head out to Pioneertown, which is pretty cool but not something you can spend a whole day doing. It was created as a tourist attraction in the 1940’s, that never really caught on, but was used as a set in many amazing westerns. It’s having a renaissance now, and is home to Pappy and Harriet’s, where you can see some amazing music shows. Kids may or may not be into that (mine wasn’t), but you adults will definitely enjoy it. Don’t make it the priority of your visit, that should definitely be Joshua Tree National Park.

In the Park:
When you are ready to head into the park (and you can’t skip the park – you CAN NOT), start at the Joshua Tree Visitor Center. You’ll need to buy yourself a pass to enter the park if you don’t already have a national park pass. Here you can also grab a map, and ask for the (free) Jr. Park Ranger booklet (which also comes with a pencil). The kids will learn a lot from this, LOVE filling it out, and if they complete the whole thing, they will get a badge at the end of your trip. You can also pick up sunscreen, extra water, etc. at the visitor center. Joshua Tree National Park 10

Now you can drive from the Joshua Tree Visitor Center to the other end of the park, the Oasis Visitor Center, in about 60 minutes. You’ll get to experience two deserts, the Mojave and the Colorado, and the unique features of each. But of course you will want to stop. The best spots for doing an easy hike with kids are Hidden Valley and Barker Dam. I like Hidden Valley for its space-like rock formations, but be warned that your kids will want to climb all over them. The whole loop is about a mile and mostly flat, except for the piles of rocks they will definitely want to scramble up. Joshua Tree National Park 5 Joshua Tree National Park 3 Joshua Tree National Park 9

The drive up to Keys View is worth it and really only about 20 minutes out of your way (round trip) if you are doing the loop. From here you can see the whole Coachella Valley, all the way to Palm Springs and the San Jacinto mountain range. What’s most interesting is that it is the only place where you can actually visually observe the San Andreas fault. It’s that ridge running right down the middle of the valley. Also note the snow on the mountain tops. Keys View Joshua Tree

Stop in a few turnouts to marvel at the Joshua trees. Kids will be as amazed by them as you are. Joshua Tree National Park 10

If you keep going, you can check out Jumbo Rocks or go all the way to the Cholla Cactus Garden (FYI it’s pronounced “choya”- I had to ask about that one). Our kids were wiped out from excessive rock climbing so we headed back to town for ice cream and a swim. Joshua Tree National Park 2

Then they put on a nighttime talent show for us on the little stage at Hicksville, before we made s’mores, soaked in the rooftop hottub and headed back to our trailers. That’s one happy kid. Noah Purifoy 4

Make your way to Joshua Tree with your family, and if you’ve already been, tell me what I’ve missed. We will be heading back in the fall, as soon as the weather cools down a bit. Happy travels, friends! Joshua Tree National Park 7

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Keeping Pretty Prudent BEDquarters Clean

Thank you Clorox® and Cotton for supporting my work-from-bed lifestyle by sponsoring this post and by making my bed so irresistible.IMG_2821

Good morning from Pretty Prudent Headquarters, I mean BEDquarters where, I must confess, too much of the work-from-home business happens. I’m not proud and I also own a desk in a nice home office, but it’s so very far away, and so much less covered in comfy plush white cotton bedding. With all of the action this bed gets, oh, um, that’s NOT what I meant. Eww. My bed looks a lot less like a lux hotel room service pic…

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And more like a diner kitchen…

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and a haven for dirty kid footsies…

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kitty butts…

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and frequent art sessions. Yes, I even paint in my bed!

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With my dreamy commute, there comes the challenge of keeping these cotton sheets clean and bright. After all, you can’t put a sparkling white photo filter on real life. That is where Clorox® Regular-Bleach comes in. It’s basically the Instagram filter for real life.        IMG_2834

Clorox® Regular-Bleach and Cotton make a good team. By choosing non-synthetic fibers like cotton, which tend to produce and trap fewer odors in the first place and release odors more easily during washing, I have less odor retention in my linens and a fabric that is soft, durable and easy to care for.  Check out this fun retro video that they made to illustrate the cotton vs polyester laundry challenge. Additionally, adding Clorox® Regular-Bleach2 not only removes tough stains and keep whites brighter longer, but sanitizes laundry to kill 99.9% of bacteria, which causes odor.

When it’s laundry time, use bleach on cotton or bleachable fabrics (avoid bleaching wool, silk, mohair, leather, spandex and non-fast colors), for whitening and/or stain removal in 3 easy step:

  1. Sort laundry by color
  2. Add detergent
  3. Fill bleach to maximum line or level in dispenser OR add measured amount of bleach to dispenser or wash water
    1. Measured amount:
      1. 1/2 cup/4 oz. for standard machine or high-efficiency machine wash
      2. 1 cup/8 oz. for extra-large washer or heavy stains or soiled load of laundry
  4. Add clothes and start wash.

For basically everything you need to know about stain-fighting and laundry magic, visit Clorox.com

There is nothing like a fresh-from-the-laundry set of white cotton sheets.IMG_2825It really helps with my work productivity.

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Thank you Clorox® and Cotton for supporting my work-from-bed lifestyle by sponsoring this post and by making my bed so irresistible.

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Mid-Mod House Updates!

This post is sponsored by Progressive Home Insurance.
my house Is it still new once you’ve lived in it for ten months? It still feels new. Remember when we first bought it? I’ve been slowly working on it. We started with the patio, and since then we’ve done Scarlet’s room, the floors, and the master bedroom which I will show you some peeks of.

Mid-Mod-Patio-Reveal9 Lots of stuff still need some love, like the bathrooms and the weird ceiling tiles, but I find I am sort of taking my mother’s approach to it. She would always say, the house will still be there next year. One step at a time. And so we are proceeding slowly and cautiously (because if I am becoming more like my mother in any way, it’s trying to be more responsible with my money, which was a defining quality of my mother). One aspect of that is focusing on the more important aspects of homeownership before going nuts with all the details like putting in hardwood floors or buying lots of pretty pillows (though I did also buy quite a few pretty pillows). First and foremost you want to protect your home, and any and all of the renovations and personal touches you put on it. My responsible slow and steady approach is a real “Parentamorphosis” moment. If you’re buying, or just bought a house, or just have questions about home insurance, I highly recommend heading over here. But more about the house that my mother helped me buy (may she rest in peace). Her influence is all over this home, I wish she was around to see it.

My mother and I were very different. She saved antiques, I tend to purge purge purge. But she left me some things that I have found special places for. In our little office I hung her portrait, which was the one thing I begged my brother and sister to let me take when she died. They agreed knowing how much I loved this painting. The office That wooden lion was a gift my mom picked up for Scarlet on safari in Kenya. My mom and I both loved to travel and display the trinkets we collected.

More evidence of that in the entryway, where I hung my favorite leather strap mirror and the springbok antlers I picked up on my safari in South Africa. Entryway My sister and her wife gave me that beautiful planter as a housewarming gift, so thoughtful.

I haven’t decided what I am going to do with the very-vintage guest bathroom yet, but I think I have to keep that wallpaper? The house I grew up in had lots of dramatic wallpaper as well. It’s just too fun and perfectly 60’s to take down. My mom always had a collection of perfume bottles and of course now I do too. Bathroom

Scarlet’s room was one of the most fun things we’ve done. I will do a whole post on this room at some point but I have to hold off because it’s going to be on TV! More on that later. We pulled up the shag carpet, painted it pink (but a good pink!), and gave her a built in desk. I never sound more like my mother than when I roll my eyes at her terrible organization skills and tell her to clean this thing. I like looking at her snow globe collection and seeing the ones my mom bought her. scarlet's room

In the master bedroom, I can see hints of my mom’s seventies style. The macramé, peacock chair, and gold accents all trace back to a stylish mom of the 70’s. I will do a whole big reveal when it’s done, the before and after on this one will surprise you. Scarlet's Room The thing that reminds me most of my mom in this post is the little dog on the bed. No one loved a yappy little dog more than my mom, I definitely got that from her.

Mixing up all this old and new stuff, vintage and modern, things my mom physically gave me, and values I’m realizing she imparted is quite the ride. I’m not sure my transition into becoming my mother is complete, or ever will be, but I am grateful for the parts of her that are in my home, and in my heart. I guess I am becoming more like her in places where it really matters, like being financially responsible, and always prepared for the worst, even while hoping for the best. Thanks Progressive for taking me down this path. I’ve enjoyed thinking about my mother’s influence on my home and my own little “Parentamorphosis.” For more Parentamorphasis moments, click here. For more home tips and tricks, click here. Looking to insure your hard work within your home? Click here.

This post is sponsored by Progressive.

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Roasted Asparagus Pasta Salad Recipe

Roasted Asparagus Pasta Salad
I was headed to a BBQ last weekend and about an hour before we were leaving I remembered that I had promised to bring a side dish. I opened my fridge to dig around and all I had was some asparagus and cherry tomatoes. I was like, what I can make with one pound of asparagus and a cup of tomatoes that’s big enough for a party? I found some cavatappi in the cabinet and went with pasta salad. This one was a big hit at the party, and one I will definitely make again and again. If I threw some chicken in it, it would be a full meal. Get me Roasted Asparagus Pasta Salad recipe… (more…)

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Happy 10 Years of Fun Elephant & Piggie… & Clare!

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Elephant & Piggie have been a huge part of my 3 kiddos lives ever since Jaime gave Clare My Friend Is Sad by Mo Willems for her 1st birthday. When Disney-Hyperion asked us to help them celebrate double-digits with a sponsored party for a few of our favorite characters, we said OF COURSE!

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I wasn’t sure if Clare would be into an Elephant & Piggie party, she is after all turning 10 herself in just a few weeks but she was totally on board with joining in on the fun with some of her first friends. Tweens will keep you guessing like that.

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IMG_2638Read on for how to make these adorable DIY Elephant & Piggie Lanterns and the details on the newest book in the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series: The Good For Nothing Button by Charise Mericle Harper. PLUS a top-ten list of our all-time favorite Elephant & Piggie books.IMG_2700 (more…)

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All the Pretty Pillows

I am a bit of a pillow obsessive. They’re so fun! and easy to switch out with the seasons! We love to make them (a bajillion tutorials can be found here), and I also love to buy ’em. Here’s some favorites for summer.
Summer Pillows Mixed beaded pillow cover in blush, West Elm (currently obsessed with all things blush)
Pineapple print cushion cover, H&M
Ceniza Lumbar Pillow, The Citizenry
Urbano Pillows in Sunset, The Citizenry (I have two of these on my bed, love)
xBase Pillow, cb2 (I’ve got this one on my couch, it’s so big and comfy).
Lappljung Ruta, Ikea (I have been buying these for my patio for years. They fade in the sun but last all summer, for $10 you can’t beat ’em).
San Miguel Tassel Pillow, Midland (I have this one in black on a peacock chair).

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Summer Fun, Snacks and DIY Fruit Art

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IMG_2553Only 10.5 days until Summer vacation! I am eagerly anticipating some lazy days with less alarm clocks, although having three kiddos under 10 at home all day does require preparation in both the activity and food department. Sam’s Club asked us to try out their FREE Club Pickup service, which is perfect for people like me who have lots of mouths to feed but prefer not to drag those mouths up and down the aisles of a store. Interested in getting a Sam’s Club membership? Right now you can get a $20 gift card plus and $20 Instant Savings Book (coupon book) package.

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How convenient to save all of my regular buys like fruits and veggies, individual serving cheese and hummus, and nuts, popcorn and sweets right in the app on my phone. With a few clicks, my entire order is placed and the next day I can just swing through and grab it all on my way to do something way more fun.

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Besides swimming, we are always on the lookout for indoor activities to beat the Texas heat. Our museums in Dallas and Fort Worth offer wonderful climate controlled family fun. This weekend we packed up a picnic of goodies from Sam’s Club and made our way to México 1900–1950. This exhibit is on its only US stop after a successful presentation at Grand Palais, Paris, featuring work by Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, and the Avant-Garde.

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