Thrilled to share the fun we had at Universal Studios Orlando Florida for the Family Forward event!
Last week we took off for the long Labor Day weekend with 2 of our 3 boys (Pax stayed home with grandma) to Orlando! The boys got to sit in the pilot chairs. We were off to a great start!
The boys were over the moon to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios. I could not get over how realistic everything looked! Literally was like walking through the movie. Love this dragon sitting on top of Gringotts Bank
We got to try Butterbeer and Butterbeer ice cream for the first time. Let’s just say we had our fair share during our time in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, lol!
Another highlight of our trip was getting to prepare a delicious pasta salad with our family and Barilla as part of their Share The Table program! It has been a pleasure partnering with Barilla this year to spread the word that meaningful mealtimes help families feel closer, be healthier and even appreciate each other more.
There was a “Share The Table” photo booth….we took full advantage of being goofy together
Later that night we saw The Blue Man Show Group! Oh my gosh, we loved it. The boys were cracking up the entire show….so was my husband and I. Great for the whole family.
Saturday morning we were greeted by all of the Universal characters and got to walk the red carpet to meet them all. I am obsessed with photos, so this was a dream for me. Hello, it’s Optimus Prime!!
Couldn’t pass up a selfie with a minion, the gang from Simpson’s and of course Sponge Bob. Fun times.
Honeydukes Candy Shop in Hogsmeade was literally a dream. The colors, the candy….everything! Loved shopping through this place.
We heard so much about the giant Simpsons donut that we had to try it for ourselves. It did NOT disappoint!
Cookie Dough Fudge in the middle of Hogsmeade. Love!!
We had a very special night at Give Kids The World. This magical ice cream parlor serves ice cream to it’s guests morning noon and night. What a dream
This was truly a dream weekend with our big boys. We sure missed Pax, but he had fun with grandma while we were gone We hope to make it back to Orlando in the near future. So many fun memories with the family.
This information taken from Share the Table: Benefits of Family Dinner for Parents and Children, a study by Dr. William Doherty.
I am thrilled to share our tips for creating meaningful moments on family vacation today! There’s nothing I love more than heading out of town with my crew of boys on a new adventure. We are counting down the days to our next family vacation to Loews Portofino Bay Hotel in a couple weeks with Mom It Forward. Stay tuned for our newest adventures!
Family vacations should be fun so enjoy the little mements. It can be stressful getting everyone ready for the trip, so once you are packed take a deep breath and enjoy the adventure. Your positivity and attitude will rub off on the entire family.
Take pictures! I always regret not having more pictures from our trips, so I warn the family in advance to just let mom take pictures. It is important and the quicker you smile, the quicker it’s over, lol!
Take advantage of your hotel’s free activities. We LOVE hanging at the pool, game room and exploring the hotel grounds!
Try something new as a family, whether it be a new activity or new restaurant. These are the things that create lasting memories.
Most importantly don’t expect a perfect family vacation. I’m not sure there’s such a thing. The kids will probably fight and even drive you nuts at times. It’s ok! Make the best of your time together, limit technology, and don’t sweat the small stuff. I remind myself how lucky we are to be able to travel together as a family and laugh…a lot!
Happy Friday to you!! Today, I am talking a little about my daily Make Up routine, since some of you have requested this post
Let’s talk about pre-make up first. I wish I could say that I use a really fancy face cleanser to wash my face but unfortunately I don’t. I wash my face in the shower….eeek I know, I am working on finding a great system. I’ve been curious about the Chanel cleansing products. It’s on my list to check out.
Right after I get out of the shower and I’ve dried my face, I use one drop of pure Argan Oil underneath my eyes. I am not kidding this stuff works wonders. It has been the best results I’ve ever actually witnessed work for reducing wrinkles under the eyes. It’s not very expensive either. I go up to the health store by my house and they carry it. Any pure argan oil will do the trick. Doesn’t have to be this exact brand. After I use the argan oil under my eyes, I use the Oil of Olay Regenerist cream as my main moisturizer. I’ve used this for YEARS. I’ve tried other expensive moisturizers and I always come back to this one. It’s the best drug store moisturizer around. Note: Some friends I know can get away with using argan oil all over their face as their moisturizer. I tried it and it just didn’t work for me. Too oily for my whole face. I prefer it just under my eyes and my decollate
Up next, I apply Mac Studio Fix Concealer to various areas on my face. Under my eyes, around my nose and mouth…and any other unfavorable spots I just use my fingers for this, but you can definitely use the beauty blender. Next, I apply my Chanel Perfection Lumiere foundation with my beauty blender. You have got to pick up a beauty blender. Best $20 I’ve ever spent. Seriously applies my foundation so smooth. Love it. I mix up my foundation a couple times a year, but I am really loving this one. It’s light but still has nice coverage.
To apply my foundation I use the Beauty Blender. It is like no other. Smooths your foundation perfectly. A must!
I don’t use this highlighter everyday mostly because it’s kind of expensive and I save it for “going out” days or nights, but it worth mentioning. I find this at Sephora and I get #1, “Mister Meringue” the lightest one they have to use as a highlighter and concealer. It really is beautiful. Check it out, kind of fun to have as an option in your make up kit
Up next I use Mac’s Pink Swoon blush on the apples of my cheeks. Sounds kind of weird, but I found this website that talks about exactly where you should put your blush. Scroll down a few pics and you’ll see they have it circled I use a brush similar to this for my blush. Then it’s contouring time with my bronzer. I LOVE Too Faced Milk Chocolate Bronzer. I’ve used it for a couple of years now. The best part is that it smells like chocolate! I won’t use anything else and I’ll be devastated if they stop selling it, lol! I am not a brush snob. I use some simple Sephora brand and Mac brushes for my brush and bronzer.
Moving on to the eyes. I use Mac black pencil liner in Feline. It’s a pencil, but goes on smooth. It’s not waterproof, but I don’t really like wearing waterproof. It stays on just fine throughout the day……unless you live in crazy humidity, then go with something more waterproof I love this liner and have used it for quite a few years.
If there’s one product I really cannot live without it is without a doubt this Mac Eyebrow Pencil in Lingering. It works for light or dark brows and fills your brows in just enough without looking clown-like. A must find.
I’ve used this Archie’s Girls eyeshadow palette from Mac for a couple years now. I love it. I mostly use the 3rd from the left called caramel sundae. You can’t purchase it from Mac anymore but I found it on Amazon. It really is an awesome little palette.
I also LOVE my Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara. It works the best for my lashes and it’s under $20 at the department store make-up counters. Before I apply my mascara, I always curl my lashes. Is that a thing from the past? I thought everyone still curled their lashes, but maybe I’m wrong, lol!
I don’t do much lip these days, but I do put a few dabs of Clinique’s Pudgy Peony. It’s a great moisturizing lip balm with great color.
Super lame selfie trying to show my fresh make up. I typically don’t spend more than 10 minutes putting my face on. No mama’s got time for that
That’s it for me! I’d love to hear your favorite beauty/make-up products! I’m always up for trying new things
Happy Friday, see you Monday with a new recipe!!
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Happy Friday! A little chit chat for you today.
Our summer break is officially over. I can’t even believe how fast it all went by. We are on day 3 of school and the boys are having a great new school year. Pax is sure missing his brothers being home. Are most of you still enjoying summer? I feel like AZ starts so early!
This pictures was taken last weekend before church. I sure love seeing my boys dressed up….for a few hours
For those of you who are in the market for affordable workout clothes, I can’t say enough about Fabletics. I remember seeing something about them on Facebook then my sister ordered a few outfits and not even kidding the leggings fit just as cute as my Lululemon ones with more than half of their price tag. You can get an entire outfit for around $50 when you sign up as a VIP. Don’t let the monthly shipments scare you, if you don’t want a new outfit for the month, you just go to your account and click SKIP this month. Super easy. How cute are these leggings. I also have the flowy purple shirt….seriously in love with it. So comfy and cute.
My new manicure for the week. I was playing around with some Sally Hansen gel strips I found at the grocery store….then was talked into becoming a Jamberry Consultant, lol! Stay tuned for some new fun nails. Anyone else use the Jamberry nail wraps?
Went into Anthropologie last weekend with my mom and found this adorable mini cake stand along with 2 of my favorite scents. I’ve used this vanilla for years picked up the peach scent so I can smell like peaches and cream
Made dozens and dozens of cookies for a couple of celebrations. These are my latest Mini Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies. Be sure to get the recipe, they are amazing!!
Anyone watching Bachelor Paradise? I decided I was passing on that one. I’m all in for the traditional Bachelor and Bachelorette, but the Bachelor Pad type shows they add in don’t do much for me. The only summer show I’ve really been watching is So You Think You Can Dance….and that will be over soon.
I am thrilled for the Fall TV to start up again!! I’ve missed my Scandal nights far too much What other shows are you excited for? I might need a few more to add.
Have a great weekend! See you Monday with a new recipe!
Happy Friday to you! A little chit chat today
Can’t believe this is our last official weekend of summer break around here. My boys start school next week, eeeek!
It’s seriously been so crazy hot in AZ…..we get ice cream when we’ve had it with the heat, lol!
Found a new Chef Knife that I am LOVING by New West Knife Works! This Flamenco Knife is my new BFF. That hot pink handle!! I’m in love with it, perfect for all of my chopping and dicing Disclosure: I was given this knife to review however thoughts and opinions are my own.
Last week, my oldest son had his first flight by himself to California. Our good friends flew him out to surprise his best friend for his birthday. I knew everything would be just fine, but I was still so nervous. Guess that comes along with being a mother. We just want our kids to be safe, but to have fun too.
We went to the airport early, had breakfast together and watched the planes come in. When it was time for Mason to board, the flight attendant walked him down the tarmac with some cute elderly folks. I watched as he left by himself and got teary, lol! I quickly pulled myself together because I knew he was about to have the time of his life.
He was gone for just 2 1/2 days then returned home to us. Brady and I picked him up from the airport (photo on the right) and Mason came home with a giant doughnut hat that he won from the OC Fair with his buddy. He had so much fun. So glad he had that experience.
Last weekend, we went to Zinburger for dinner with some family and had THESE. No words can describe those naughty little French Fries. After dinner, we stopped into Frost Gelato and I chose these cute little chocolate covered gelato bites. One was coconut gelato and the other chocolate. They were HEAVENLY! Love having some good gelato shops around us in AZ!
Nordstrom is having their Anniversary Sale and I couldn’t resist these fun hot pink and gray leopard tennies! They are so comfortable!
Anyone else Zumba? I’ve been doing Zumba just about everyday with my sister the last couple months. I was soooo skeptical my first couple of classes because I looked so ridiculous. After a few classes I got the hang of it and now I don’t even care if people are watching and laughing, it’s such a fun workout. If you are a fitbit user, you get over 6000 steps per hour class. Pretty sweet! Talk about working up a sweat. I am drenched after that hour. I can’t say I’ll do Zumba forever, but it’s sure a fun way to exercise right now
I’ve also been LOVING Fabletics, an athletic clothing brand that Kate Hudson recently started. It is quite a bit more affordable than Lululemon and has that same great fit. Check it out. If you become a VIP member, you get an entire outfit (3 pieces) for about $50. It works similar to StitchFix but you can opt out any month you want. Kind of fun, I’m really enjoying their pieces.
Um….my sister-in-law co-owns the Sweet Tooth Fairy in Gilbert, AZ and brought a giant box of cookies to our Sunday dinner last week. Hello chocolate dipped Cookies and Cream Cookie. This one was mine
Be sure to follow us on Instagram for sneak peeks on upcoming recipes and more fun! Have a great weekend!
See you Monday with a new recipe!
So excited to share our stay at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale AZ!
I can’t say enough about our staycation last weekend at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale AZ at Troon North. The kids start school in a few weeks so it was the perfect timing to squeeze in one last little getaway as a family.
This Four Seasons is tucked away right next to a gorgeous desert mountain. Our entire stay, we saw rabbits, geckos vibrant birds and all kinds of other fun wild life.
We spent most of our time hanging by the pool and enjoying the great food at the resort. It was exactly what I needed!
When we arrived, we dropped our bags off at our Casita and scurried over to Proof Restaurant. We had BBQ, hot buttery pretzel buns and so much more. I am going to miss having this restaurant a few steps away
I mean, come on! This was where we spent most of the hours of the day. Heaven.
The bright orange striped lounge stairs made me so happy!
It was so much fun to watch my boys have the time of their lives at the pool.
Seriously some of the best Carne Asada Nachos I’ve ever had were poolside last weekend. We ordered them both days, lol!
I had to try the French Fries They did NOT disappoint.
How fun is this drink?! Tropical fabulousness. Virgin Mai Tai – strong drink is not for us Shared it with the boys.
Sunday before we headed home, we spend the entire afternoon in our own personal cabana with misters, ceiling fans, a TV and even a stocked refrigerator. This was a highlight for the boys….and me
I found this adorable heart ring at the gift shop. Love it!
I have to talk about the breakfast at Proof Restaurant. We went both Saturday and Sunday morning. One of the most delicious breakfast bars that I’ve had. So many fun things to choose from.
My colorful plate! Those chocolate croissants were a dream!
Pax loved running down the sidewalks
Cullen here – the mountain you see in the background is Pinnacle Peak Park. I can’t believe I’m a native of AZ and haven’t been on this hike before. It’s easier than Camelback Mountain but it seems like it’s longer in distance. And the beauty….this is the prettiest desert landscape of the Phoenix metro area. On this hike you can see Camelback and Four Peaks. It’s stunning and I’ll be sure to return. Four Seasons was smart enough to connect a trail to Pinnacle Peak Park. The total trip is about 4.25 miles to the end of the trail and back. It’s a great hike to walk or jog depending on your skill level.
Proof restaurant makes their own desserts in house. Homemade ice cream, pies, and these fabulous cookies. We enjoyed a number of treats during our stay!
Saturday night, we enjoyed a dive in movie with the boys. Cars 2 poolside was so much fun.
So grateful for this little family of boys of mine. Grateful for this fun weekend we got to spend together. Lots of memories made that we won’t forget
Disclosure: Four Seasons Scottsdale hosted our stay and some meals, however thoughts and opinions are our own. On occasion, we will post about great places to stay. Sometimes we pay our own way, and sometimes we contact the hotel for accommodations.
I was so excited to explore Arizona over Memorial Day weekend with my family! We took off nice and early and headed to Sedona to the Enchantment Resort. It had been years since I’d been. Just to be clear this is not a sponsored post, just a family weekend getaway I wanted to share with you!
Not even kidding this was the view from our room. I ordered cookies and milk of course and had to snap a picture to remember this gorgeous view.
The boys enjoyed peeking out over the patio wall.
Saturday we walked around downtown Sedona and had to have some ice cream. It was hot as you can see by my poor melting ice cream. Black Cow Ice Cream Shop was great.
Probably my favorite afternoon was just playing at the pool with the family. Gorgeous red rock views and fun times in the pool. My oldest enjoyed the bar where he could order smoothies and charge them to the room
This was an amazing breakfast…Strawberry and caramelized banana waffles. Chi-Ah-Chi is located right at the resort with this view while you dine.
Cullen snapped this photo of the boys and I before dinner one night. Rare to have a picture where everyone is looking and smiling!!
Dinner at Ti Gavo was such a treat. Fresh guacamole and short rib tacos! Cullen got some smoky chicken enchiladas that were some of the best enchiladas I’ve ever had.
One more shot of breakfast right before we left. My gorgeous fruit plate. We took a lovely hike just outside of the resort too. There were deer just hanging out in the grassy areas. A real treat all weekend. I am tempted to go back for my Anniversary later this year. So fun!
Have a great weekend! See you Monday with a new recipe!
You might remember a couple months ago when I wrote about making time for family meal time. I have been trying to make it a goal to sit down together more often during the busy week with my family.
I’d say overall we’ve been doing pretty good. Not perfect by any means, but doing it more often.
One of the things Dr. William Doherty who has studied the importance of family mealtime recommended was to have the kids help clean up after the meal.
Before partnering with Barilla and Share The Table, I have to say that I wasn’t much of a stickler when it came to having the kids help clean up dinner. I think I was so used to my mom doing all of the work when I was a kid that I started doing the same thing to my kids! They left the table to sit on the couch while my husband and I cleaned up. It hit me when Dr. Doherty said there were benefits in having the kids help clean up dinner. First of all it teaches them to be responsible and second of all they get a sense of “togetherness” helping be apart of clean up.
I remember the first time I said “Ok boys, help put all of these dishes away and clear the table.” There were moans and grumbles under their breath but they did it! That day started a trend of the boys helping put their dishes away and clear the table for every meal.
I’m not sure I’ll see the “benefits” of this one right away, but I will say that I sure love it!
I’ve really enjoyed seeing the reaction of my boys faces when I put a little more time and effort in setting the table for dinner. Let me be clear, most nights it’s nothing fancy, however some nights I’ll get out my nicer dishes and make the table look extra special. Their faces light up and they say “Wow Mom this looks great!” I have to hope they’ll remember little things like this.
We were on a good roll for a while then school let out for summer! Talk about putting a wrench in the works. Summer camps start, swimming all day in the afternoon and little desire to be in the kitchen happens quick. I figured if dinner is trickier to get us all together then why not try for breakfast. Before swim practice, we try to sit down, chit chat and enjoy our meal as the sun peaks through the windows before the busy day ahead.
Looks like for the rest of summer break we’ll be sitting down more often for breakfast, but once school starts back up in August it’ll be back to our fun family dinner meal time traditions.
I’d love to hear what works for you in the summer for your family to spend meal time together! I need some more ideas for my crew
Have a great day!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Barilla, however, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive sentiments towards Barilla or their products.