Scarlet and I spent most of summer on the road, so we didn’t do too much shopping, but we did find that we had a few little scores that we fell in love with. Here’s our totally random list of favorite stuff of summer 2017… I have found the best sunscreen of all. I keep… Read more »
What We’ve Been Up To
This post is in partnership with Amazon Kids. When Amazon Kids asked us to come up with a fun project to share for the debut of their new Original series, Lost in Oz, now available on Prime Video, my mind went straight to our recently discovered passion for letterboxing. Are you letterboxing? You need to… Read more »
Scarlet and I have been having an amazing summer. She’s nine (!) so we’re halfway done with summer breaks. Gah! I try to make every minute count… until I’m exhausted, and then I sleep. Then I wake up and remember: Only 8 more summers to go! This line of thinking keeps me inspired to spend… Read more »
AHHHH! Tomato season is here!!!! So much fresh garden bounty! Gather it up and make this fresh tomato soup recipe… It’s a beautiful thing, right? Holding those bright red babies in your hands? I’m just chomping at the bit for tomato recipes as all of my varieties start giving up their sweet fruit. Of course… Read more »
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… Read more »
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 »
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
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 »
Scarlet and I spent most of summer on the road, so we didn’t do too much shopping, but we did find that we had a few little scores that we fell in love with. Here’s our totally random list of favorite stuff of summer 2017…
I have found the best sunscreen of all. I keep one by my sink and put it on after moisturizer/before makeup every morning, and I carry another one in my purse for re-application in the afternoon. It goes on sort of like a primer – not slimy or sticky (so Scarlet loves it) and it dries immediately. At it’s also a lot less expensive than other high-end facial sunblocks (though it’s still not “cheap”). It’s the best. Glossier Invisible Shield SPF 35 (I also love Glossier boy brow and milky jelly cleanser, but the rest of it – and I’ve tried it all – are not my faves).
I’m obsessed with these shoes. They’re flat, slip-on, and washable. They don’t have arch support (so don’t wear them to a 12-hour day clomping around the county fair), but they are like a slightly more dressed-up option when what you really want to wear are flip flops. They are called “the point”, $145 from Rothy’s.
This little change-able sign we got in the mail is the funnest. Scarlet likes to leave me notes on it. Currently ours says “Stay Strong”, which she wrote right before leaving for sleep-away camp because she had some butterflies about it. $39.99 from My Cinema Lightbox or on Amazon here: The Original My Cinema Lightbox.
OMG. Gus’s Fried Chicken!! One just opened near my house. It’s mouthwateringly amazing. I threw a big birthday party for my husband and his twin brother (no kids! night swimming!) and ordered catering – it would be an understatement to declare it a smash hit. The chicken is memphis-style, with a spicy kick. It’s served on a slice of bread to soak up the oil, and the fried pickles and okra (unusual in LA) were redonk. Hopefully there is one near you. Find out here: Gus’s Fried Chicken Locations.
There is this small area of my backyard with concrete pavers. Everything I plant there dies. Literally everything. I’ve been documenting it for a year. I think I found a solution, but I am going to give it a few months before I do a full post on the whole project, just to be sure. But I am feeling really good about this sedum sod that I planted about a month ago. It’s amazing! I’ve been traveling since I planted it, only home for a day here and there, and it seems to be thriving even in the 90-100+ valley summer temps. It comes in palettes that you lay down sort of like regular grass sod, but they are basically a bunch of tiny succulents woven together on a backing of coconut husks. It is easy to plant, but requires much less water than grass or creeping thyme or most other ground covers. I found mine at my local Lowe’s. If you have a patch of grass or area of your garden that needs a plant that can survive a hot summer or you live in a drought area, check it out. Though if you can buy it at Home Depot, I would do that, since they have that 100% money back guarantee if it does die. I wish I had thought of that before I planted! Hopefully I won’t need it and won’t have any regrets.
The Goldfinch!! I know I am seriously late to the game with this one, but I finally finished this book while laying on the beach of Cayman Brac yesterday! It was life-alteringly beautiful. I am so glad I finally find the time to power through it. Nothing like sleep-away camp to let mama finish a worthy book. And post about some stuff she bought that she likes, ha.
This post is in partnership with Amazon Kids.
When Amazon Kids asked us to come up with a fun project to share for the debut of their new Original series, Lost in Oz, now available on Prime Video, my mind went straight to our recently discovered passion for letterboxing. Are you letterboxing? You need to be letterboxing! It’s so much fun and it’s the perfect hobby for kids who are adventurous problem solvers just like Dorothy.
When Dorothy finds her mother’s magic travel journal, she is transported to Oz. In order to return home, she must find every element on Oz’s Periodic Table of Magic. Check it out…
Dorothy’s story reminds me of the adventures we have had letterboxing this summer. Letterboxing has been around for almost 20 years but somehow I’ve managed to miss out on all the fun until now. If you loved the rock painting/hiding/finding craze that took over this year, then this takes that to the next level.
Basically you use clues to search for hidden weatherproof boxes containing special rubber stamps. Once you find one, you add a stamp to your own letterbox journal to grow your collection. It’s the perfect way to get active and “search for magic” in your own world.
Here’s How to Go Letterboxing (more…)
Scarlet and I have been having an amazing summer. She’s nine (!) so we’re halfway done with summer breaks. Gah! I try to make every minute count… until I’m exhausted, and then I sleep. Then I wake up and remember: Only 8 more summers to go! This line of thinking keeps me inspired to spend as much time together as possible with the little love of my life, Scarlet. So a few weeks ago we flew down to Puerto Vallarta (only 2.5 hours from LA), rented a car, and hit the road to drive up the coast of Nayarit. You may be thinking “Driving through Mexico?!? Isn’t that dangerous??” You may be right, but it’s not as scary as you think. We had a 98% awesome experience driving through Nayarit, with one pretty serious bump in the road. I’ll tell you about it when we get to that point. So here’s what we did on our adventure: I would do it all over again, and Scarlet agrees.
If you’re looking for a unique perspective on how to travel to and experience Riviera Nayarit – getting outside of the resorts and getting a taste of actual Mexico – you’ve come to the right place. I’m not gonna sugar coat it for you – there are plusses and minuses to doing it this way, but I have to say I would rather do it this way or not do it at all, despite everything that happened.
Get the full scoop on driving through Nayarit after the jump… (more…)
AHHHH! Tomato season is here!!!! So much fresh garden bounty! Gather it up and make this fresh tomato soup recipe… It’s a beautiful thing, right? Holding those bright red babies in your hands? I’m just chomping at the bit for tomato recipes as all of my varieties start giving up their sweet fruit. Of course you can save your tomatoes for later in the year by canning them – just head over to our ever-popular post on How to Can Tomatoes (Without a Canner).
If you aren’t feeling up to all the work (it’s easy, but time consuming), go ahead and make this fresh tomato soup recipe. Most recipes call for canned tomatoes, and that’s great, but why not make some cozy delicious tomato soup with fresh tomatoes? It’s easy and extra tasty, I promise, but the technique is a little different. I made this recipe for soup from fresh tomatoes for my in-laws, nieces, and nephews with some grilled cheese paninis last weekend and they all told me I should start selling the soup. I feel like selling soup is hard, but making soup is easy. So here’s my recipe for Tomato Soup from Fresh Tomatoes. Mess around with it as you will, to suit your tastes, but this is a good basic starting point and just the way my family likes it.
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 let’s go over what to do in Joshua Tree with kids.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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… And this is my Fifi.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Stop in a few turnouts to marvel at the Joshua trees. Kids will be as amazed by them as you are.
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.
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.
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!
Now that you’ve learned what to do in Joshua Tree with kids, why not check out what to do in Norway with kids, or what to do in Albuquerque with kids, or what to do in Jordan with kids, or any of the other awesome destinations we’ve covered!
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 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…
And more like a diner kitchen…
and a haven for dirty kid footsies…
and frequent art sessions. Yes, I even paint in my bed!
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.
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.
- Sort laundry by color
- Add detergent
- Fill bleach to maximum line or level in dispenser OR add measured amount of bleach to dispenser or wash water
- Measured amount:
- 1/2 cup/4 oz. for standard machine or high-efficiency machine wash
- 1 cup/8 oz. for extra-large washer or heavy stains or soiled load of laundry
- Measured amount:
- 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.It really helps with my work productivity.
Thank you Clorox® and Cotton for supporting my work-from-bed lifestyle by sponsoring this post and by making my bed so irresistible.
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… (more…)
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 I will show you some peeks of.
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. 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. 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.
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.
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. 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.