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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!

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!

For starters…

Involve the kids in planning your family vacation.  Show them pictures of where you are going, let them pick some of the activities and start a countdown calendar to get everyone excited!

Family Vacation

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.

Family Vacation

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!

Family Vacation

Take advantage of your hotel’s free activities.  We LOVE hanging at the pool, game room and exploring the hotel grounds!

Family Vacation

Try something new as a family, whether it be a new activity or new restaurant.  These are the things that create lasting memories.

Family Vacation

Family Vacation

Family Vacation

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!

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So excited to share our stay at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale AZ!

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!

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale AZ

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 :)

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale AZ

 I mean, come on!  This was where we spent most of the hours of the day.  Heaven.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale AZ

 The bright orange striped lounge stairs made me so happy!

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale AZ

It was  so much fun to watch my boys have the time of their lives at the pool.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale AZ

Seriously some of the best Carne Asada Nachos I’ve ever had were poolside last weekend.  We ordered them both days, lol!

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale AZ

 I had to try the French Fries :)  They did NOT disappoint.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale AZ

How fun is this drink?!  Tropical fabulousness.   Virgin Mai Tai – strong drink is not for us :)  Shared it with the boys.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale AZ

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 :)

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale AZ

 I found this adorable heart ring at the gift shop.  Love it!

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale AZ

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.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale AZ

 My colorful plate!  Those chocolate croissants were a dream!

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale AZ

 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.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale AZ

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!

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale AZ

 Saturday night, we enjoyed a dive in movie with the boys.  Cars 2 poolside was so much fun.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale AZ


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.  

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Enchantment Resort Sedona

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!

Enchantment Resort Sedona

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.

Enchantment Resort Sedona

The boys enjoyed peeking out over the patio wall.

Enchantment Resort Sedona

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.

Enchantment Resort Sedona

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 :)

Enchantment Resort Sedona

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.

Enchantment Resort Sedona

Cullen snapped this photo of the boys and I before dinner one night.  Rare to have a picture where everyone is looking and smiling!!

Enchantment Resort Sedona

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.

Enchantment Resort Sedona

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!


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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!

Austin Texas Taco Tour

Bloggers: Maria, Ali, Summer, Deborah, Melissa, Christy, Me, Vianney and Yvette

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 :)

Austin Texas Taco Tour

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.

Austin Texas Taco Tour

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!

Austin Texas Taco Tour

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.

Austin Texas Taco Tour

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.

Austin Texas Taco Tour

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.

Austin Texas Taco Tour

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.

Austin Texas Taco Tour

Their queso was to die for!  Salivating just thinking about it, lol!

Austin Texas Taco Tour

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.

Austin Texas Taco Tour

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.

Austin Texas Taco Tour

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.

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Happy Friday to you! A little re-cap today of my time in Miami Florida last weekend for BlogHer Food Conference :)

Miami, Florida

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!!

Miami, Florida

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 :)

Miami, Florida

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.

Miami, Florida

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 :)

Miami, Florida

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.

Miami, Florida

 Party girls posing with our cupcakes :)

Miami, Florida

After our party it was time to do a little bakery hopping around Miami!  We stopped at Sweetness Bakery Shop for some sweet treats.  Lauren caught this photo of us doing what we do best :)

Miami, Florida

Up next was Janette and Co Macaron and French Pastries.  Their macarons were so vibrant and beyond delicious.  We enjoyed every little bite sampled!

Miami, Florida

 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 :)

Miami, Florida

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!

Miami Florida

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!

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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!

Seaside Pics

Here are some pictures of the gorgeous beach house we stayed in.  Here’s our See Ya Cottage from Cottage Rental Agency, 3 stories, fabulous kitchen and adorable beachy bedrooms.  So much fun!

Seaside Pic 2

Absolutely loved walking around Seaside, bike riding, making pottery with friends and playing at the beach.

Seaside Florida Trip

Talk about relaxation!

Seaside Florida Trip

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.

Seaside Florida Trip

This French Toast was to die for.  Heavenly said she soaks the bread in ice cream!  No wonder it was so amazing!

Seaside Florida Trip

Pottery day!  We had a great time creating our own little piece of pottery to take home from Fired-Up Pottery.

Seaside Florida Trip

 We had the best lunch at Crush.  Look at these appetizers!!

Seaside Florida Trip

 How adorable are these bikes?!  We rode through their beautiful neighborhoods.  Love!!

Seaside Florida Trip

The Farmer’s Market at Seaside…..heaven :)

Seaside Florida Trip

Loved my office view from our beach house.

Seaside Florida Trip

 The gorgeous dinner view from the Shrimp Shack.

Seaside Florida Trip

The best shaved ice from Frost Bites!  We had to get a picture from inside their cute airstream!

Seaside Florida Trip

Another fun stop was “Heavenly” Gelato.  My gelato cone was fabulous!!  So fun to have Molly come visit on our last day!



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!!

The Giveaway

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.

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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 :)

The Pioneer Woman Ranch Sunrise

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!

Picky Palate and The Pioneer WomanRee 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.

he Pioneer Woman Kitchen

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!

Butter Tasting

Photo via Brenda

After breakfast we had a butter tasting session.  Loved spending time with these girls!  Left: Brenda, Maria, Jessica and Me.

The Pioneer Woman Ranch

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.

Butter Showdown

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.

The Pioneer Woman's Charlie The Basset Hound

Charlie came for a visit Wednesday morning.  That sweet face just melted my heart.  What a sweetie he is!

Picky Palate and Two Peas and Their Pod

Photo via Ree

Had so much fun being roomies with Maria.  So excited that they are having another little boy.  Congrats Maria!

Dinner and treat

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 :)

The Pioneer Woman Ranch Sunrise

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!!

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Happy Friday! It’s been a crazy past couple weeks, lots to chit chat about :)


Last Friday I was on my way to NY to meet Amanda for a fun girls weekend.  We’ve had this planned for a while and I can not tell you how excited I was to go back to the city!  I had my magazines, Tieks and I was ready to go!  Oh and can I just say that I walked ALL day in my Tieks and they didn’t bother my feet even once.  They are the perfect traveling shoes.  So excited to collect more colors :)


We met at the hotel Friday evening and headed out to dinner to “Parm.”  Not even kidding the best Chicken Parm I’ve ever had.  The baked ziti was to die for too.  Keep in mind that it is a very small restaurant, so call for reservations to prevent long waits.

71376a34a67311e39f0c127ea8075ce8_8After shopping it was time for some late night Max Brenner.  This 80’s Milkshake and S’mores Waffles are such a treat.  Theres’ nothing quite like it.


We had some amazing breakfast during our trip.  The picture on the left is from Laconda Verde and we had a Zucchini Fritatta and Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.  Those pancakes were some of the best pancakes I’ve ever had.  So excited to try and re-create them at home :)

The picture on the right was from the cutest little bakery/cafe called Sugar and Plumm.  We ordered those crunch french toast sticks topped with fruit and lots of butter.  Such a treat.


We made our way to Chelsea Market after breakfast.  Seriously one of my favorite places to shop and eat ever.   Such a charming place.

Jen and Amanda

Had so much much fun walking around the city!  Time Square and the cute Oreo Wall in Chelsea Market.


Later Saturday night we walked around Union Square.  So gorgeous at night!

Celebrity Sightings

These are my favorite pictures….while we were walking through Eataly in Union Square Saturday night, for a split second, I made eye contact with Scott Foley….of Scandal….of Felicity walking through the busy walkways!!  I stopped dead in my tracks and after I froze up I managed to tell Amanda who it was, lol!  We turned around and followed him (In the green puff jacket, this is exactly what he was wearing).  He and his friend walked very quickly into one of Mario Bataly’s restaurants so this is the best I got.  We were dying.

So, the picture on the right is a bit out of sequence, but after I left NYC, I had to fly into Atlanta and I saw Ian Somerholder of Vampire Diaries!  Not even kidding.  I was talking to my mom at the time and could hardly even talk, lol!  Can you tell I don’t do well around celebrities?!  I wanted so badly to ask for a picture with him, but just couldn’t do it.  Such a chicken!


We also tried some fun treats while we were there.  Had an assortment of macarons from Dana’s Bakery like the left peanut butter and jelly then some amazing gelato from Amorino shaped like a flower!  Love!!


Sunday morning, there was no question that we were going to Levain Bakery.  I mean look at that cookie!  Hot out of the oven, chocolate peanut butter heaven!


After breakfast at Sugar and Plumm and getting our nails done we made our way over to this fun Bowery Mural.  Its a huge wall painted with these amazing colors.  It also just happened to match my Tieks, lol!


Later Sunday afternoon we made our way over to Rockefeller center to watch the ice skaters and grab a bite to eat at Bouchon.  How perfect is this?!



Can’t say enough about Ippuddo.  We had the best steamed pork buns and Ramen I’ve ever had.  You have to start lining up 1/2 hour before they start dinner at 5pm or you’ll be waiting a very long time.  We got there about 4:45 and got right in.  A must visit!!



You know we had to go to Serendipity 3 for Frozen Hot Chocolates!  This time I tried the peanut butter frozen hot chocolate and it’s even better than the original if you are a peanut butter fan.  Delicious.  Keep in mind that even at 11pm there will be a wait.  We got there at 10pm and had to wait 45 minutes to be seated.  Good thing Dylan’s Candy Bar Shop is just down the street to browse through while you wait!



Amanda and I stayed at the lovely Omni Berkshire Place Hotel and had the best experience.  They made sure we had everything we needed and then some.  Highly recommend them!!

So much fun packed into 2 days in the city.  There’s just nothing like a little trip to NYC!  Can’t wait to go back again :)

Have a great weekend!!

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Jenny Flake

Welcome to Picky Palate, my online kitchen! You'll usually find me with a cookie in one hand and a salad in the other. It's all about the balance :) The recipes you'll see are my creations. The Picky Palate Cookbook is now available. Enjoy!





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