Summer Fun, Snacks and DIY Fruit Art


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.


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.


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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Instant Pot Korean Ribs: Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs

Instant Pot Korean Ribs: Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs will become your favorite Instant Pot dinner.Instant Pot Korean Ribs: Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs

These Instant Pot Korean Ribs: Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs might be the most delicious meal that I have ever prepared for my family. I couldn’t help but share my most recent electric pressure cooker (aka Instant Pot) discovery with all of you.

When we lived in California, Baby Back Ribs were one of my go-to meals to cook. When I moved to Texas I found that delicious BBQ anything was as convenient and affordable as fast food. I vowed to never again spend my day making ribs.

Now I’ve discovered the electric pressure cooker and given the promise of fall-off-the-bone ribs in under an hour, I couldn’t help but try it at home. As an added bonus, this recipefeatures a savory and slightly sweet finger-licking Asian BBQ sauce. It really is perfection. My kids will always choose meals with asian flavors so a recipe like this will always be a crowd pleaser at our house. My son has requested the leftovers for every meal since Monday!

Instant Pot Korean Ribs: Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs (more…)


Prime Mother’s Day Gifts

mothers day gift ideas

Did this post title give you a sinking feeling as you remembered that Mother’s Day is three days away? This post is for you. Here is a selection of gifts from to that can all be delivered by Saturday. I personally own all of these fabulous items and I think a beautiful mama in your life (or , eh-hem, YOU!!) will love them. I couldn’t help but share a few of my favorite things that I’ve discovered in 2017.

Cool Mist Humidifier Ultrasonic Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser – I was determined to boycott the essential oil trend. So many people selling them where I live! But then I went to Jaime’s house and she was filling her beautiful new house with the most amazing scents. I had to give in. Doesn’t this diffuser make such a pretty gift for mama, along with a few of her favorite oils? $32

adidas Performance Women’s Barricade Club Training Shoe – These are my new favorite tennis shoes. Yes, personally I wear them for actual tennis but they are also just adorable and comfy for everyday wear. $58

Prima Marketing Watercolor Confections: Tropicals – Does mom love painting? These irresistible travel watercolor pallets are the perfect little treat for any artist. I love all of the collections. $14

The Muse: A Novel – This was one of my favorite books from my book club this year and it just came out in paperback. If mom loves reading, loves art, loves historical fiction, she will love this book. It’s fantastic. $10

IPad Pro Case – Of course an IPad pro is a wonderful Mother’s Day gift but if she already has the hardware, you have to hook her up with this casual case that I love for travel and to protect my precious IPad at home. $20

PopSockets – I’m ashamed to admit my love of PopSockets. I resisted buying one of these gadgets that you attach to the back of your phone to use as an easel or handle but my daughter talked me into it and I’m obsessed. $10

LEGO Architecture Set – There may be anarchy at home when the children see that mom got her own LEGO set but the LEGO Architecture Sets are sophisticated enough for even grown-ups to enjoy. I think it would be a really smooth to use one of these gorgeous LEGO sets as a symbolic gift to represent a surprise upcoming trip but they are a spectacular surprise all on their own. $40

Indian Block Print Skirt – Yes, I’ve started buying my clothes on Amazon and I’m not ashamed. These gorgeous Indian block print wrap skirts have become my standard summer uniform. They are breezy, stylish and one size fits most. $14-24



Summer Style for Sensitive Kids (and Mamas too)

Sponsored by Zappos.

We’ve talked before about our kids who hate scratchy tags, stiff clothes, and basically every shoe on earth. I have one of those – Scarlet has some sensory problems with clothing, and shopping for her has always been a hassle. I know from the feedback we’ve had on this site and our facebook page that I am definitely not the only parent who deals with these issues. So I was super excited when Zappos contacted us to tell us about the launch of Zappos Adaptive: Functional and Fashionable Products to Make Life Easier. This is a whole section of their site dedicated to clothing for adults and kids with special needs – whether you are in a wheelchair or suffer from foot problems or have a family member who wants to feel more independent by being able to dress themselves more easily, there is a ton of stuff brought together in one place at Zappos Adaptive. We have always loved shopping at Zappos, but we love it even more now that they offer these adaptive options.

Check out these adorable summer style pics from Zappos for sensitive kiddos. The t-shirt may look like simple clothing, but it’s a revelation for sensory kids because is has flatlock seams (no irritation from regular stiching) and tear away tags that are water soluble (no cutting off tags and getting scratched by the remnants). The pants are easy-on, easy-off pull on pants that give that feeling of being “hugged” that sensory kids like. The shoes are pull on – the laces are elastic so they’re also great for kids who can’t tie their shoes for whatever reason. Because Scarlet is always wearing the simplest, softest clothing, I try to have more fun with accessories. What do you think of these looks? Zappos Adaptive Kid Style Pics -Girls
Clockwise from top left: 4Ward Clothing Short Sleeve Scoop Jersey Top, Appaman Kids Audrey Fedora, Pendleton Stainless Steel Water Bottle, Herschel Supply Co. Sutton Youth, New Balance Kids Electric Rainbow, The North Face Kids Pulse Capris, Babiators Original Beach Baby Blue Classic Sunglasses

Here’s one for boys, which Jacinda consulted on and said Gordon would totally dig. The shirt and shorts are both amazing for kids with sensory processing issues as they are 4 way reversible – forward, backward, inside out or some combination of all of it. They have flatlock seams, a rib knit elastic waist band, and tear-away water soluble tags. The look of the clothing is simple, and the feel is soft. The kids can still get their summer style on with some fun accessories like slip on shoes and cute backpacks…Zappos Adaptive Kid Style Pics Boys Clockwise from top left: 4Ward Clothing Long Sleeve Raglan Shirt, Appaman Kids Houston Fedora, Pendleton Stainless Steel Water Bottle, Herschel Supply Co. Pop Quiz, Vans Classic Slip-On™ Core Classics, 4Ward Clothing Four-Way Reversible Shorts, Ray-Ban Junior.

And if you’re a mama with a need for adaptive clothing, Zappos Adaptive has some super cute options! I don’t necessarily need adaptive clothing myself, but I still need this shirt (because it’s soft and it’s LONG…shirts are never long enough for me). Independence Day Clothing is a brand made for people who need clothes that are easier to get on and off while also being comfy to wear. I am loving that shirt, but also this bra. I would rock these two all day long (so soft) with any of my favorite leggings, here’s how I am styling them. Gotta have my chucks, in a fun metallic (also part of the adaptive collection at Zappos), and a cute straw hat (get the sun off my face) and all the jewelry and bags. Zappos Adaptive Womens
Clockwise from top right: Lack of Color The Spencer Fedora, Independence Day Clothing Co Reversible Boat Neck Tunic, TOMS Fin Peach Crystal Sunglasses, Converse Chuck Taylor® All Star® Shoreline Metallic, rag & bone Kimono Floral Bandana, House of Harlow 1960 Sacred Leaf Wrap Ring, Hat Attack Sunshine Clutch, House of Harlow 1960 Sunburst Pendant with Black Leather, Independence Day Clothing Co Reversible Essential Bralette.

Jacinda and I firmly believe that whatever your needs are, you and your family should be able to feel cute and comfortable in what you wear. We are thrilled to know that Zappos agrees, and has created a shop for people who need just a little bit more functionality and comfort from their clothing. If you’ve ever wanted or needed clothing or shoes that foster independence and put ease and comfort first, check out Zappos Adaptive.

Sponsored by Zappos.


Instant Pot Pasta Bolognese: How To Cook Pasta in an Instant Pot

Instant Pot Pasta Bolognese: How To Cook Pasta in an Instant Pot is one of the first dishes to try.

IMG_5329Jaime has been helping me learn to love my electric pressure cooker. She has the Instant Pot and I have the Bella which, coincidentally, is on sale for $39.99 today if you have Amazon Prime. As Jaime is my BFF and knows the one true way to my heart is to feed me pasta, she helped me perfect this Instant Pot Pasta Bolognese. It’s amazing, so delicious, so easy to make and so easy to clean up. Learn How to Cook Pasta in an Instant Pot, you wont go back. The kids are already begging for me to make this one again.


Our Slimy Spring Break

This post is sponsored by Clorox and Cotton.

Scarlet is a sassy girl. I have respect for her sass most of the time, as she deploys it strategically. I think it will serve her well when she gets older, but for now I suffer (lol). One key tactic she uses to both frustrate and amuse me is to quote myself back to me. For example, she likes to whip out some words I once wrote in a book for her, I said something about how important it is to get messy. I still believe those words, but geez, can this girl make a mess.

You all may also recall that Scarlet has some major issues with clothing, all related to some sensory issues (she says “I’m sensitive! That’s just how I am.” Can’t argue with that.) This means that when she finds a dress, or socks, or shoes that she likes I buy it in every color and three sizes so I know she will have something to wear. Anything that touches her body is always cotton, because she wants everything soft and familiar. Then she ends up falling in love with one particular item and wearing the same thing over and over and over again. So her love of making messes and her need to wear the same thing every day means I am constantly in a pickle when it comes to laundry. I do a lot of it, I do it often, and I know all the tricks about making something last and keeping it clean.

So when Clorox asked me whether I use Clorox Regular-Bleach on my whites and if I would care to share about my experience, I chuckled to myself and readily agreed. So on that note, here are some filthy things we did on our spring break, all in the same white cotton t-shirt. Scarlet has this shirt in 4 different colors, but of course the white one is the only one that “feels right” about 4 days a week.

First we decided to plant our veggie garden. I have this spot behind the house where we used to keep the chickens that we decided would be perfect for our little backyard farm. We tilled it, laid down some fresh soil and compost, and got to planting. We planted three varieties of tomato, three squash, lots of sweet and spicy peppers, and a whole bunch of herbs. I asked her to wear anything but that white cotton shirt, but alas it was the only thing she wanted to have on. At least she wore gloves. The garden looks great.

Scarlet Gardening Shirt The white shirt not so much. Somehow she managed to get grass stains on it as well – I think she was rolling around on the lawn with the dog while her shirt was wet. Kids are gross, but they have so much fun. Into the wash it went (for standard machines or high-efficiency machine wash, add 1/2 cup of Clorox Regular-Bleach with your favorite detergent and then wash) and it came out looking like new.

Noah Purifoy 4 Next, we went camping in Joshua tree. The white cotton shirt is hidden under the jacket. Joshua tree was amazing (read about it here), and thankfully she packed a few other shirts because the white cotton one got trashed on day one. It was also a little stinky after a day tramping around the hot desert underneath that weird (but awesome) shiny plastic jacket she is also obsessed with. Not to worry, I bleached that baby as soon as we got home (removed the dirt and sanitized the stank) and she was ready for spring break adventure #3…

Scarlets Super Slime-2

…which was starting Scarlet’s Super Slime Corporation (So puffy! So fluffy!). All children between 8-12 are obsessed with slime now, no? It has been my experience. Scarlet wanted to make slime to sell to her classmates. I didn’t think this would go well, but I was glad to have her excited to be working away on something non-screen-related, so I invested $30 in materials and had her do a P&L (profit and loss statement), and said after she paid back my investment she could keep the profits. So she went to town. It was pretty adorable watching her first entrepreneurial endeavor. It was also a hot mess. Scarlet Slime Shirt

Her slime ingredients were white glue, shaving cream, contact lens solution, glitter, and food coloring. Turns out food coloring is not a great thing to play with while wearing a white cotton shirt. Back to the washing machine with  Clorox Regular-Bleach, and to my surprise the shirt was in the clear after one wash. It also removed all the stickiness of the glue/slime. And FYI, turns out you generally cannot sell slime out of your backpack to your schoolmates. She got busted after her first sale, and I lost my investment. Still worth it.

And then the white cotton shirt went to the dog park, because cotton is comfy and dog parks are places where a kid needs to be comfy. The shirt played with many dogs, including of course our beloved Princess Cheese. It looked clean enough but it smelled… like a dog park. BLECH. I washed it with regular detergent but it still was stinky. That dog park poop-and-dust smell can really latch on to things, but luckily her favorite shirt is cotton, which means you can wash that smell away with the help of bleach. Scientists say it’s bacteria that causes smells in clothing (I don’t want to think about dog park bacteria), which bleach kills 99.9% of. Another load with a 1/2 cup of Clorox Regular-Bleach and and the beloved white cotton shirt smelled neutral again. Clorox Shirt

And after all that, the girl put it on that same white cotton shirt and wore it to Easter brunch, smelling fresh, feeling cozy, and looking crisp and bright! I begged her to wear a fancy dress… a fancy skirt was as far as she would go. Luckily, I think it turned out pretty dang cute. I did also make her put on shoes before we left 🙂 Scarlet Easter

This post is sponsored by Clorox and Cotton.


Tips On How to Grow Succulents

Patio SucculentsOur friend Emily from Sproutabl is here with some super helpful tips on how to grow succulents. You know my patio is overvlowing with sculptural succulents. These tips are very helpful, check them out, then make our succulent wreath or succulent trees, or even a succulent crown. Take it away Emily…

One of the trickiest parts about growing succulents is getting the watering right. Succulents are extremely hardy plants, which can give folks a false sense of security if they’re not careful.
Succulents store water in their leaves, but they also go through a cycle of holding water and draining, so they certainly need to be watered regularly. Most of the time, the soil will be your best indicator. If the soil is completely dry, it’s time to water. If it’s damp, you can hold off. Here’s a trick: stick a chopstick into the soil, and if it comes back wet, there’s still some moisture in the soil, and you probably don’t need to water yet.
If you want to know if you’re doing it right or wrong, keep an eye on your succulent’s leaves, which are the best way to tell if your plant is over- or under-watered. Underwatered succulents will have leaves that look a bit like a raisin: dry and shriveled. Succulents that have too much water will look soggy, saturated, and plump.
This is just one aspect of succulent care. If you’re getting ready to plant your own succulents, here’s a great visual guide about succulent care:


Instant Pot Penne Vodka Recipe: How to Make Instant Pot Pasta

Instant Pot Penne Vodka Recipe: How to Make Instant Pot Pasta is an important first lesson.Instant Pot Penne Vodka Recipe Sometimes you just need a big, delicious bowl of creamy, rich pasta and Instant Pot Penne Vodka Recipe is ready to give you your fix. Make it in the pressure cooker and you only have one pot to clean! I actually like this recipe better in the Instant Pot than on the stove top – it’s easier, faster, and infuses the pasta with the flavor of the sauce while still keeping it a perfect al dente texture. Throw in some leftover chicken and at least you’ll have had some protein. You will not believe how easy this Instant Pot Penne Vodka Recipe whips up and how luscious is tastes until you try it (bonus: no vodka actually required if you aren’t into that). Get my Instant Pot Penne Vodka Recipe after the jump… (more…)