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!
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!
Had so much fun in Austin, Texas last week with Old El Paso. I am part of their blogger program this year along with 10 more of my blogging friends. Looking forward to creating fresh new Mexican recipes with them!
Tuesday evening, we had a delicious dinner at La Condessa with some unforgettable food! From the corn on the cob and bacon brussels sprouts to the carnitas and hot brownie skillet with banana ice cream….I will not soon forget them
Photo via Sommer
We stayed at the most charming little hotel, Hotel San Jose. The rooms were so unique and cozy and had the best fluffiest pillows. Concrete floors, cowhide rugs and was even stocked with unique organic soaps and shampoo…. loved my room. Hope to come back to visit again.
The next morning it was time for our Austin taco tour. We hopped on a bus and met our taco guide, Mando Royo, cookbook author of Breakfast Tacos in Austin. Armando was the coolest guide ever. His love and passion for tacos was contagious and he knew of all the best places to get them in Austin!
Our first stop was Veracruz All Natural Tacos, all prepared in a food truck. The ladies who graciously served us were so wonderful and brought out 3 of the most delicious tacos I’ve ever had.
They served us a migas taco which I had never heard of before this trip. It was an egg taco with corn tortilla chips throughout. Hard to explain but it was to die for. They also served us a fish taco that blew my mind and an amazing chicken taco. Talk about heaven! Their corn tortillas were homemade and some of the best I’ve had. What a treat.
Our second stop was Joe’s Bakery and Mexican Food. We walked in and saw a giant case of Mexican Cookies and pastries in a long case in the front of the restaurant. We walked back to our table and they had a 3 more tacos each for us to sample! We sampled their tacos and tried their colorful cookies. They told us a little secret about how they get their bacon extra crispy…..they dredge each piece in flour then cook it on a griddle. Not even kidding it was soooo crispy and fabulous. Gotta try that tip! Fun restaurant, great food and has been serving guests for many years.
Our third stop was Tacodeli. It was tucked inside a great neighborhood and I loved watching all of the people flock in for lunch. It’s dog friendly too. Lots of sweet pups joined their owners for lunch at Tacodeli. They served us so many tacos. All I know is that everything I tried was delicious. I would go back next time I visit Austin for sure.
Their queso was to die for! Salivating just thinking about it, lol!
Our last taco stop was Al Pastor Mexican Restaurant. They had the best Al Pastor taco I’ve ever had. So full of flavor. And that completed our taco tour for the day. We were so full!!
Later that afternoon we met up for a trip to the Austin Farmer’s Market. We teamed up with a partner to create recipes using Old El Paso products and fresh ingredients from the farmer’s market.
Maria and I had a great time developing our two recipes. We were chopping, dicing, sautéing, baking, and prepping our little hearts out, lol! Stay tuned for the recipes coming soon.
How fun is this cupcake with my face on it?! Such a fun little surprise for us. These cupcakes were delicious from Polkadot Bakery. The Chocolate Peanut Butter…..nom nom nom
Such a great time in Austin with these women. It was a pleasure meeting some new friends and reconnecting with old ones. Looking forward to creating recipes with them this year!!
Be sure to check Instagram for more pictures under the hashtag #freshestbloggers
This is a sponsored post for Old El Paso but thoughts and opinions are my own.
Happy Friday to you! A little re-cap today of my time in Miami Florida last weekend for BlogHer Food Conference
It’s always a treat going to the annual BlogHerFood Conference. It’s in a different city every year and this year…..Miami Florida! I went with CliqueMe and hosted a couple parties with Amanda. Here’s my morning view. Heavenly!!
I arrived Thursday night and we had our first party at 8:30pm. It was pouring in Miami, but that didn’t stop us, lol! We had our friends shuttled over to our penthouse for a sushi and ice cream party. Good times and good ice cream
Friday morning we decided to go to brunch at Morgan’s Restaurant. Probably one of my favorites during my stay in Miami. The french toast was unbelievable! Photo left: Me, Lauren, Barbara, Summer, Amanda and Sandy.
Friday night was the night of party hopping! Amanda and I started with a Pillsbury meet up then went to visit McCormick and ended up with Stitch Fix. Great night and gorgeous South Beach Sunset
Saturday was our 2nd party “Lunch and Pampering” by CliqueMe and Tastespotting. Amanda and I had so much fun hosting! We served Cuban sandwiches, salad, cupcakes and 2 ladies giving massages to the guests. It was a beautiful sunny day.
Party girls posing with our cupcakes
Up next was Janette and Co Macaron and French Pastries. Their macarons were so vibrant and beyond delicious. We enjoyed every little bite sampled!
Saturday night, closing party time! Here are my roomies and I all dressed up for one more night in Miami.
Left: Barbara, Amanda, me and Lauren.
Lauren and I with the lovely Jaden of Steamy Kitchen at the closing party
After the closing party we ordered some hot fresh out of the oven chocolate chip cookies from Morgans! We had some of our girlfriends over and ate cookies. Perfect Saturday night, haha!!
We had a lovely brunch Sunday morning at Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink. These Homemade Peaches and Cream Pop Tarts were fabulous!
One quick stop to South Beach. Talk about gorgeous turquoise waters! Had so much fun with all of my friends. Until next time!! Left: Amanda, me, Barbara, Deborah, Amanda, me, Lauren
Have a great holiday weekend friends! See you Tuesday with a new recipe!
Seaside Florida Girls Weekend Trip. Make sure you scroll to the bottom to enter to win your own Seaside beach trip!
I had the opportunity of visiting the most charming little beach town a couple weekends ago, Seaside, FL with my girlfriends you see pictured above. Beautiful beaches, incredible restaurants, sight seeing and shopping. Loved every minute!
Absolutely loved walking around Seaside, bike riding, making pottery with friends and playing at the beach.
Talk about relaxation!
We met the most adorable couple Mr. Bill and Heavenly who took us to a number of their delicious Seaside restaurants. Here we are at “Pickles” enjoying a fabulous breakfast.
This French Toast was to die for. Heavenly said she soaks the bread in ice cream! No wonder it was so amazing!
Pottery day! We had a great time creating our own little piece of pottery to take home from Fired-Up Pottery.
We had the best lunch at Crush. Look at these appetizers!!
How adorable are these bikes?! We rode through their beautiful neighborhoods. Love!!
The Farmer’s Market at Seaside…..heaven
Loved my office view from our beach house.
The gorgeous dinner view from the Shrimp Shack.
The best shaved ice from Frost Bites! We had to get a picture from inside their cute airstream!
- Maria from Two Peas and Their Pod
- Ali from Gimme Some Oven
- Shelly from Cookies and Cups
- Heidi from Foodie Crush
- Amanda from Kevin and Amanda
- Gina from SkinnyTaste
Today we are partnering with Seaside and Cottage Rental Agency to send YOU and your friends on your own 3 day, 2 night getaway to Seaside!!
One lucky winner will receive a 3-day, 2-night stay in a 3-bedroom Cottage (sleeps up to 5) from Cottage Rental Agency in Seaside, Florida.
How to Enter
Use the PromoSimple Widget below to enter.
Contest ends June 1, 2014 at 11:59 pm CST. Winner will be contacted via email.
*Lodging certificate valid 8/17/14 – 12/20/14. Subject to availability; not available during major holiday or major event weekends; additional restrictions may apply.
What a fun few days at The Pioneer Woman’s Ranch with the Land O Lakes® Kitchen Conversation bloggers!
Photo via Julie
If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that I was at The Pioneer Woman’s Ranch last week! Still can’t believe I was there, lol!
Kitchen Conversations brings together a really great group of food bloggers including myself, my pal Ree from The Pioneer Woman, Maria from Two Peas and Their Pod, Bridget from Bake at 350, Sommer from A Spicy Perspective, Brenda from A Farmgirls Dabbles, Julie from The Little Kitchen, Joanne from Fifteen Spatulas, and Jessica from The Novice Chef.
We arrived to the ranch last Monday evening and had a jam packed fun schedule ahead
I woke up Tuesday morning to this gorgeous view. The cows were mooing, birds were chirping and the sun rising. I could have stayed out here all day!
Ree is the sweetest around. She showed us around her gorgeous ranch and spent the day chit chatting, laughing and eating with us. Love love love spending time with her! How fabulous is this pantry by the way?! Love the ladder.
Had to snap some pictures of her beautiful kitchen that’s on her Food Network Show. That orange KitchenAid Stand Mixer is just sooo fabulous!
We had a big breakfast that featured many of our recipes. It’s safe to say that we did not go hungry, lol!
Photo via Brenda
We took a fun tour around Ree’s ranch. LOVE this picture of her sitting with the cows. We also got to tour Ree’s building they are renovating. See Ree’s post HERE.
Photos via Ree
Up next was our Butter Showdown! We had to pick two mystery ingredients and create a recipe using Land O Lakes® Butter. We had a great time.
Charlie came for a visit Wednesday morning. That sweet face just melted my heart. What a sweetie he is!
Photo via Ree
Had so much fun being roomies with Maria. So excited that they are having another little boy. Congrats Maria!
We had a lovely dinner featuring more of our recipes. Ree made us her Cashew Crackle to snack on, talk about to die for. It will be available later this year
I’ll never forget the gorgeous early morning sunrises on the ranch and my time spent there. I feel so lucky to be a part of such an amazing group of women!
Have a great weekend!!