August 31, 2015

Boozy Parfaits

This post is sponsored by Mike's Hard Lemonade. Opinions are 100% my own. 

We are trying to enjoy every last drop of summer here, and living in South Florida makes that a bit easier to do. Labor Day weekend is almost here and it is a big deal in my family. We always make sure to take off work that Monday and make plans with everyone. Sometimes we go away for the weekend, other times we all stay nearby... but whatever we end up doing it is always a BIG crowd!

I have been trying to come up with a fun dish to bring to our BBQ this Labor Day and I found the PERFECT treat! Boozy parfaits! I made these this weekend and let me tell you they turned out AWESOME! I actually gave a sneak peek of these on Periscope this weekend, since I was so proud of how good they were. (for those of you who watched THANK YOU and don't forget our #SeptemberScopers challenge kicks off tomorrow.. hope you join in!)

My secret ingredient to creating the most delicious boozy parfait is Mike's Hard Lemonade. They have a ton of amazing flavors out now so you can customize this dessert to your liking! For this recipe I used the Hard Blackberry Lemonade, which is a limited edition flavor for fall. (so if you see it in your stores GRAB IT!)
                                     
If you have ever soaked fruit in straight alcohol before, you know they taste pretty strong. (even if you add sugar to the mixture) I wanted a dessert that had the bite from alcohol and was a fun treat for adults, but I also needed it to taste really good! Mike's Hard Lemonade is perfect since you can definitely taste the alcohol, but the fruit also takes on the delicious flavoring of the drink. The carbonation also helps the fruit to break down a bit, which makes it super delish.

For this recipe you will need: (for a 6 person serving)
6-pack of Mike's Hard Blackberry Lemonade
4 peaches
2 containers strawberries
3 containers blackberries
1 small bunch of green grapes
1 container of Cool Whip (or any whipped topping of choice, pudding would also work well)
                       

Directions:
1. Chop up all the fruit into small piece. I did the peaches in small squares, cut the strawberries and grapes in fourths and the blackberries in half.
2. Put the fruit in a large container that has a top and cover the fruit with Mike's. (The fruit should be swimming in it!!)
3. Wait. Overnight is best, but after 4 or 5 hours the fruit takes on a good flavor.
4. Create your parfait alternating the fruit mixture and the cool whip in a small plastic cup or in individual parfait or trifle dishes. (I got the mini trifle dishes I used here at Ikea, they were only $1.50 each!)
5. Spoon some of the drink mixture on top.
My husband and I ate these 'photo' props in about 5 minutes flat
This boozy fruit mixture would also be great on top of ice cream! Also, if you have any leftovers... you can enjoy a blackberry sangria-esque cocktail! You can use any combination of fruit you would like, but I do recommend using fresh, not frozen, fruit. It takes on the flavor better.

Do you have a favorite "grown-up only" dessert? I love finding fun new recipes to try... and I know this one is going to be a huge hit with my family!


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August 27, 2015

#SeptemberScopers Challenge

Perfect your Periscope skills!

This week I posted about my current Periscope obsession and I had a huge reaction from you guys! So many people commented saying that they really want to try Periscope or use it more, but they feel intimidated and nervous. My friend Julie (who blogs at Girl on the Move) and I were talking about this and we decided the best way to get over our own fears and help other new scopers to conquer theirs was to start a scope a day challenge! I am SO SO EXCITED about this and I would love for you to join in!!

Here's how it will work. The goal is to do at least one scope a day for the month of September. I have provided a list of prompts to help you out, but you can scope about whatever you want if you don't like the prompt for that day.

Use the hashtag #SeptemberScopers in the title of every scope! (and be sure you share your scopes on Twitter) THIS IS SO IMPORTANT! This way, all the bloggers that are taking part in the challenge will be able to search for other scopers. We are all here to support each other and grow our Periscope followers. 

So if you see the #SeptemberScopers hashtag: 
  • Follow the person
  • If you catch the periscope while it is live then share it with your followers and on twitter, interact and give TONS of hearts by tapping on the screen!
  • If you catch the replay then give lots of hearts and tweet out the replay to help them find more followers. 
Hopefully, after this month we will all have new, quality followers and get some practice on Periscope. This live, video streaming app is still in the early stages, and big changes and updates are in the works to make it even MORE popular. (being able to share directly to Facebook, the ability to rewind & fast forward, and the ability to search hashtags) Right now, you can't search a hashtag directly on Periscope, so you have to be sure to share to twitter so we can find each other. 

This is a great opportunity if you have been thinking about trying to Periscope more since we are all going to try to watch, share and support each other. 

I have teamed up with some amazing women for this challenge: 
Julie at Girl on the Move Periscope: @jmdenouden
Lisa at Goofball Mommy Periscope:@goofballmommy 
Laci at Sequins in the South Periscope: @SequinsintheSouth
Phyllis at Verified Mom Periscope: @verifiedmom 
Jeannine at At Home with the O'Neils Periscope:@jeannine_oneil 
Bev at Linkouture Periscope: @linkouture
Denise at STL Motherhood Periscope: @STLMotherhood
Jill at Ripped Jeans & Bifocals Periscope: @JillinIL
Amee at Inspired Housewife Periscope: @InspiredHseWife
and don't forget about ME!
Periscope: @WorkingMomMagic

This is all for fun! If you miss a few days, no biggie! Don't like the prompt for the day? Instead scope about something you want to talk about, just include the #SeptemberScopers hashtag in the title of your scope. This isn't sponsored, we are not getting paid or sent free stuff to do this. It is just an idea we all thought would be fun to try. I am looking forward to watching all of your scopes and I hope to see you in the #SeptemberScopers challenge!



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August 26, 2015

Back to School, Back to Sleep with Sealy

I have been compensated by Sealy to share my Back to School, Back to Sleep tips. Opinions are 100% my own.
Secrets to making back to school stress-free
We are only a few days into the back to school routine, but I am SO EXCITED by how smoothly everything is going! I know it is still the 1st week, but I wanted to share some of the tricks and tips that made this year's transition a success! I learned from the mistakes I made last year. I didn't start a routine early enough and we kicked off the school year with 2 miserable weeks.

I talked about this last week, but during the summer, we throw our bedtime routine out the window! I think it is totally worth it, but you do need a solid plan to get your kids ready for class.

Here's 4 ways I got my kids "Back to School, Back to Sleep" ready:

1. Start Early: We started pushing back bedtime about a week and a half before school started. I did it in 15 minute increments. My son complained at first that he wasn't tired, but I still made him go to bed. (I did let him read books) Consistency is key here.
The earlier bedtime was no problem for my husband, who ALWAYS falls asleep after book time! It took my son a bit longer to get into his new sleep routine.
2. Turn the TV Off: We went back to the regular school year routine of turning the TV off before dinner and leaving it off. That way, there are no arguments... no "Just 10 minutes more! Please???" The kids know they can grab a book or play quietly until bed, but TV is out of the question.

3. Ease Into Mornings: For my son, I'm the one that gets him out of bed in the morning. He had an alarm in the past, but he would ignore it. Now I gently wake him up, tell him it is time to start the day, remind him of all the wonderful things he has to look forward to. My mom used to wake me up this way, and I still remember it. I slowly start opening his blinds and give him a few minutes. He rarely gives me any issues and both of us start our day in a pleasant mood.

4. Have a Healthy Breakfast Ready: We all know the importance of breakfast! I like to give my kids a few healthy options, so they feel like they are making the choice. Also, be sure to find out what time your child eats lunch. My son eats fairly early, so if he doesn't eat much... I am not too concerned. However, if his lunchtime was later, I would be sure to give him plenty of time to eat. No one likes a 'hangry' 1st grader! 

A MASSIVE bowl of cereal makes my boy happy! (but not as happy as wearing his karate outfit 24-7)
If your child is having issues falling or staying asleep, you may want to take another look at their mattress. As an adult, we all want a comfortable bed... but many parents are quick to add-on the cheap mattress offered with a kids new bedroom set! According to the National Sleep Foundation, kids between the ages of 5-10 need about 10 to 11 hours of sleep a night, so a good mattress is a MUST!
Another happy morning with my well-rested bunch!
Sealy partnered with the UNC School of Medicine, surveying over 1,000 parents about sleep habits leading into the back-to-school season. More than two thirds of parents say getting back on a sleep schedule is the hardest part of getting into the back to school routine. Sealy created this awesome infographic to break down what else they found!

I hope everyone is having a great start to the school year! Parents... I would love to hear your tips and tricks that helped to make sure your kids were ready to head back to class!

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August 23, 2015

Periscope Love

                    

I just wanted to do a quick post about my current obsession, Periscope. (partly, because I want your opinion) Periscope is a live video streaming app (like Meerkat) and it is not really new, but it is new to me. I have been hearing about it for awhile in the newsroom, since the anchors and reporters use it to scope from breaking news scenes or stories that would be interesting to see live. (and to build up excitement to watch the actual newscast)

I finally caved and downloaded the app a few months ago, but only because I wanted to set up an account since I like claiming my blog name for new social media things. (I talked about why I do this in my advice for new bloggers post) I did my first scope at Hudson's birthday party since we were using those water balloons that filled up all at once and I thought people would find it interesting to see if they worked. (they did.. they were a huge hit actually!) I've done a few more videos since then, I like doing my Rocksbox delivery unboxing and I have also done a video of a kids clothing haul from Carter's.
                             

There is a huge amount of variety of what people post on there. Discussions, driving scopes, just sitting around... you never know what you are going to find! This weekend, my husband and I were hanging out on the couch watching a movie and I decided to see what was on Periscope. Some guy (named Dave) was scoping the Foo Fighters concert from St. Paul. I love the Foo Fighters, and they are great in concert, so this was awesome to watch! He had really good seats and hundreds of people were watching and chatting... even talking about which song they were going to perform next based on the set list. So fun!
Oh HI, Dave!
The other day John Mayer was on there talking about his different guitars and where he got them... etc. Everyone was asking him to play something, so he did. He just propped his phone up, and started playing. He was wearing gym shorts, a baseball cap and sneakers. It was cool to see how someone so famous was just spending time at home. (at least I thought so!) Next week on the blog, I am going to do an whole post on famous people who use Periscope... I have a big list already, but I want to make sure I don't miss anyone!
                            

Right now, I have just been making the kind of videos I like to watch. Unboxings, fun events, stuff like that. I have SOOO many scopers that I love to watch, but I wanted to share a few of my favorites who scope regularly:

Angela Cruz Ledford: She is a Periscope fanatic and does really fun scopes around South Florida and with her adorable dog, Mogwai!
                                      
Michelle Marie Diaz: She is a health and fitness expert and also a mom of two. She hosts discussions, makes recipes, and even scopes her workouts sometimes! Michelle always has such high energy and I love watching her.
                                     
Weather Anchor Mama: Stacey-Ann scopes really interesting and insightful discussions about parenting and more. She is honest and real and I love hanging out in her scopes. 
                                    

Also, Kristen from Mommy in Sports has awesome blog posts on how to use and benefit from Periscope.

So I hope to see you on Periscope soon, and if you have any ideas of what you would like to see me do a scope on... please let me know in the comments! What would you like to see more of? Behind-the-scenes at my job? Blogger Q &A? I have also been thinking about doing a scope to tie into my monthly Family Favorites post. What do you guys think?


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August 20, 2015

Books my Kids are Loving in August

We have been slacking a bit in the reading department this summer, but my kids have been getting back into books since we have been turning OFF the T.V. earlier. (amazing how that works...) I haven't been to the library lately, so old books are getting some new love.

Hudson:
Little Dog Lost
This book was a gift from his teacher last year and he loves it. He always talks about how it is a "real, true story," which I doubted... but as I was researching this post I found out it IS based on a true story! This is such a sweet book about a little dog who floated away on an piece of ice and was later picked up by a ship.

How cute is he?
Pokemon Kalos Region Handbook
This made our list back in May, but it has recently found its way back into the top reading spot. Hudson reads this before bed, brings it to camp and reads it on the couch. His Pokemon obsession went away for a little bit, but it is back now. Big time. He reads this book so much, that he has memorized the page numbers of his favorite characters.
Pokemon Madness!
Mila:
Belly Button Book
I am sure this book has made this list before, but Mila is obsessed with it right now. Hudson loved this book when he was little and he still enjoys it. If you don't have this book, buy it. It is such a fun, good read!! It's a book about hippos & belly buttons (AKA: Bee-bo's) and it is AMAZING!
We hippos LOVE our belly B's!
BEE-BO!

Dora's Book of Manners 
We have a few of these Dora books that a friend gave to me and Mila has been really enjoying them all. This one has been on heavy rotation. It helps that Hudson likes this book too, so he will read it to her when she asks. This book takes them on a little mission and they are reminded of their manners throughout the trip.

There you go! The books my kids are currently loving. I hope to hit up the library soon with the kids to get some new stories for them to enjoy. If you have any good kids books.. leave them in the comments so I can check them out!

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August 18, 2015

Why This Working Mom Will Miss Summer

 Working Mom Magic
It is almost back to school time for us and I am SO sad. Most people are surprised when I say that. The usual response is, "But you work, right? So what is the difference?" I totally get what they mean, because technically... they are 100% correct. I still have to drop my kids off each morning and I still don't get home until about 6:30pm. So why would I care if its summer or not?

Here's why this working mom will REALLY miss summer:

We get to wake up later: School starts EARLY. We have to get out the door by 7:30am once the official school year is underway. But during the summer my son goes to camp, and he doesn't have to get there until 9AM! Woohooooo! This makes all of our mornings better. I can let my kids sleep in as long as they want, since they never wake up later than 8:15. (and even that late is rare) There is no rush to eat breakfast, pack up backpacks or look for a clean uniform. The entire morning is more laid back. We chat... eat breakfast slowly... have a tea party... play Lego's, whatever we want! I will miss these mornings so much!
Lots of morning snuggles!
Don't we all look so happy & well rested? 
Staying up late: I know lots of moms who keep their kids on the same sleep schedule throughout the summer, and I totally get it. It is probably the 'right' thing to do. However, we let our kids stay up late all summer long.  My kids usually go to bed at 8pm during the regular school year. Since I get home at 6:30, we eat dinner at 7, after dinner is baths & showers and then we have to put the kids right to bed. This summer my daughter has been up until about 9pm and my son has been averaging 10pm. My husband and I LOVE it! We have been having so much fun with this extra time... playing tons of board games, making late night ice cream runs, playing video games together, reading books, wrestling, watching movies... I can go on and on. I know my kids need sleep, so this would never work during the school year, but with our later wake-up calls... our late nights are totally do-able and WORTH IT!
Late night Mario Kart!

Fewer fights: My son gets a lot of homework. Like a crazy amount, in my opinion. By the time I get to review it (if my husband didn't have time) it is 7:30 at night, and who wants to re-do any homework at that time? No one! So we usually have our fair share of fights over homework or missed assignments. This summer it has been so nice not to deal with those battles.
Relaxing after work... No homework for anyone!
Ice Cream... why not? It's SUMMER!
We enjoyed LOTS of fun cousin time!
Less to do: The school year is busy. There are class parties, plays, book fairs and lots and lots of birthday party invitations. While I really don't mind most of these things... I'm not going to lie, it is nice to have a few months off.
We hit up all the indoor play places when we needed to beat the heat
We love the beach!
Bye, summer! We will miss you!
So there you go... 4 reasons why this working mom is bummed that summer is over. How do you feel about the start of the school year? Do you like getting back into a regular routine?


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