What We Love Right Now July 27, 2011: Beating the Heat

July 27, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk

School might be kicking into high gear sooner than later, but it is still hotter than ever in most parts of the country. We’ve got a feeling this hot weather is going to be sticking around for a while. So instead on sitting at home with the AC on full blast (that is a great option some days, by the way), we’ve got a few suggestions to get out and make the most of the heat while trying to keep as cool as possible.

kidsinsprinker

1. Hit the Road

Get out of your house! You can head to a neighboring town-maybe there’s a festival going on-or you can load up and try a little road trip. We just blogged our heart’s out on road trips (it’s what we loved last week).

2. Keep Meals Light

Hum, the last thing you want to do when you’re hot is eat a ton of food and the last thing you want to do when your house feels like it’s 100 degrees is cook! Keep dinners light and fresh with salads and other easy to prepare meals.

3.  Make a Splash

Take a dip in your neighborhood pool. If you don’t have a pool nearby, try these backyard toys for some summer fun.

littletikes

The Little Tikes Ultimate Sprinkler Ball is sure to keep your kids active and cool. Just inflate and hook to your hose-it’s that easy!

supersoaker

Water gun fight! Stay cool and have fun with these awesome super soakers.

4. You Scream, I Scream

Nothing beats a great ice cream cone or frozen yogurt on a hot summer afternoon. Load up the kids and meet some friends at your local ice cream shop for a cone or cup of your favorite flavors.

5. Make Frozen Pops

Popsicles are perfect for hot summer days. You can make your own using a simple and inexpensive popsicle mold and it’s cheaper and healthier than store-bought versions. You can make yummy popsicles out of grape, apple, orange, or any other favorite juice–Mix it up!

6. Have a Picnic with Cold Foods

Visit a park or have fun in your backyard with a basket, blanket and some of your favorite cold foods like watermelon, cantelope, grapes, or yogurt. Enjoy the sunshine while you indulge in these yummy foods. Don’t forget the ice cold lemonade!

Black Bean & Zucchini Quesadillas

July 25, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk, Meals In Minutes

It’s no secret that kids love quesadillas. They are a small, bite-sized, and a fun little shape. They are also fun to make if you want to get their help in the kitchen! This recipe is perfect for a hot summer night when you’re tired of meat-filled meals and need something a little lighter on the menu.

Black Bean & Zucchini Quesadillas

quesadilla

What You Need:

2 pounds zucchini, grated
30 oz canned black beans, drained
12 oz Monterey Jack, grated
2 green onions, chopped
1 jalapeño, minced (optional)
8 eight-inch flour tortillas
olive oil

Fix It Fast:

1. Combine zucchini, beans, green onions, and jalapenos in a bowl. Toss well and set aside.

2. Brush one side of each tortilla with oil. Place four tortillas oil side down and spread each with one fourth of the zucchini-bean mixture. Top each one with an oil-side-up tortilla.

3. Place one quesadilla in a frying pan and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes on each side, until golden.

(you can also add other veggies like corn or tomatoes to the quesadillas if you choose!)

Serve with chips and salsa, corn, spanish rice, and cornbread muffins.

What We Love Right Now July 20, 2011:Road Trips

trip

Back-to-school time might be lurking around the corner for many of us, but there is still time to squeeze a little bit of fun out of the last few weeks of summer vacation. What better way to get away with your kids for a few days than a good, old fashioned road trip. Load up your car, fill up the tank, and head out for a great adventure!

1. Edisto Beach, SC

edistobeach

If you’re close to the east coast, this is a beach worth visiting. Serene and secluded, this is one beach town that is still just that. Full of nostalgia and quaint beach cottages, great eateries, a golf course, and of course a lovely beach. There’s a great serpentarium for your reptile lovers, spend a day at sea with chartered boat tours, or grab a bite to eat at the infamously popular Sea Cow restaurant. For more information, visit Edistobeach.com.

2. Kansas City, MO

kansas city

Near the Mid West? Hit up Kansas City. There’s a great zoo…The Kansas City Zoo. See some Polar Bears or go on an African Safari! Too hot for the zoo? Beat the heat at Oceans of Fun, a great water park with slides, rides, and fantastic lazy river. This place is great for all ages. After your adventures you’ll have to eat. Try lunch or dinner at the Crayola Cafe, where you kids can color to their heart’s content on their placemats while they eat! (open Monday to Wednesday 11am to 6pm, Thursday and Friday 11am to 9pm, Saturday 11am to 6pm, Sunday 11am to 5p).

3. Chicago, IL

museum

Ah, we love the windy city! It’s a big city with a great feel. There’s plenty to do with your kids. Try Navy Pier and take ride on the Ferris Wheel. Then stroll around Millenium Park. You can always spend some time at The Field Museum. Take the kids to eat at the Rainforest Cafe (Wednesday Night is family night)

4. Nashville, TN

nashville

If you leave in the southeast, but don’t feel like taking another beach vacation, head to the music city! Get tickets to the Grand Ole Opry where there’s always a good show playing. Visit the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens where a great Family Night is hosted. Bring your picnic blanket and enjoy puppet shows, musical acts, and more! Forget dinner at a restaurant, try it aboard a dinner boat cruise on the Cumberland River!

5. San Diego, CA

legoland

If you’re remotely near the west coast, then a trip to San Diego is a must. There is so much to do: Legoland, Sea World, The San Diego Zoo, and La Jolla Beach. If you make it to just one or two of those places your trip will be a memorable one for sure! There are also lots of great family-friendly dining spots, like Wahoos and the Corvette Diner.

Have you been on a great family road trip? Tell us about it in a comment below!

Beach Safety 101

July 18, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk

dayatthebeachIf you’re heading to the beachy sand and sun for some fun, one thing’s for sure: you’ll be enjoying some swim time in the ocean. While you and your children might be great pool swimmers, being at the beach brings on a few new and different aspects to swimming you may not expect or think of before hitting the shore. Before you take a dip, it’s important to familiarize yourself with what “a day at the beach” really entails!

Know the Tides One biggie would be the tides. Know when high tide and low tide roll in and out. If you’re not sure many beach shops offer tide charts, often for free. Local weather stations may also display the daily time of the tides as well.

During high tide many parts of the beach may be covered, so the sandy part will be under water. You may be ankle deep one moment and up to your waist in water the next!

During low tide, the water rolls out, leaving lots of sandy beach to walk and play on. This is a great time to build sand castles or go for a walk on the beach. It’s also a good time to float on a tube and try to take advantage of the shallow waters. Just be sure you always float where you can swim; not in waters that are too deep.

Know Your Boundaries It’s probably a good idea not to swim past the breakers. Many beaches do not have lifeguards on duty. You can always swim at your own risk, but why chance an accident? Swimming four to five feet out into the ocean is still deep, but also not too deep that the strongest swimmer could not help themselves from danger if necessary.

Take a Vest A life vest, that is. If you are taking young children to the beach, remember, it is much different than a pool. A life jacket or some kind of flotation device/piece wouldn’t be a bad thing to have on hand. Even if you are right beside your child, one big wave could knock them down and at least with a life jacket or floaties they might be able to help themselves up from underneath the water on their own.

Beware of Jellies Some Jellyfish are harmless, others not so much. If you are stung there are several remedies you can try to “kill” the sting. Simple household items like baking soda, vinegar, or sugar will help reduce the sting. And, remember: Even though a jellyfish is dead, it can still sting you! Crazy, we know. So if you see one washed up on the beach it’s best to avoid it.

Avoid the Burn Use sunscreen! You are at the beach to enjoy your time there. If you get a wicked sunburn the first day you’ll be miserable the rest of your stay.

Easy, No Bake Chocolately Ice Cream Pie

July 17, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk, Meals In Minutes

It’s plain to see why we love this pie: No bake and super delicious!

Easy, No Bake Chocolately Ice Cream Pie

icecreampie

What You’ll Need:

1 pint chocolate ice cream, softened
1 pint double chocolate fudge ice cream, softened (if you can not find this variety, any ice cream with fudge will do!)
1 (12 ounce) jar hot fudge topping
1 (9 inch) prepared chocolate cookie crumb crust
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 tablespoon chocolate sprinkles

Fix it Fast:

1. Spread the chocolate ice cream into pie crust in an even layer. Freeze for 15 to 20 minutes, or until set. Remove pie from freezer and spread on a layer of hot fudge. You may make this layer as thick as you wish. It is usually difficult to spread, but be sure you DO NOT heat the fudge as it will melt the ice cream layer underneath. Immediately freeze again for 15 minutes, or until set.

2. Remove pie from freezer and spread the double fudge ice cream on top of the fudge layer (if ice cream is too soft, put back in freezer for a few minutes — but DON’T LET PIE THAW or the layers will run together!). After adding the second ice cream layer, freeze again until set.

3. Spread on a layer of whipped topping, and garnish top with chocolate sprinkles. Return pie to freezer until ready to serve!

Makes approximately 10 servings.

What We Love Right Now July 13, 2011: Girls Night Out!

July 13, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk

If you work or stay home there is one thing every mom or woman in general needs from time to time: Girls Night Out! That’s right it’s the one night a month (maybe you get to indulge in this more than once a month if you’re lucky!) when you can rid yourself of your hubby and kids and let loose with your best friends for the evening. So here are our simple rules for keeping your night fun and relaxing.

girlsnight

1. Don’t Stress

Who will be there? If you planned the event, your close friends. Maybe they’ll bring a good friend of theirs that you haven’t met before and you’ll meet someone new. There’s no need to worry. The mom who didn’t like the cookies you made for the soccer team bake sale won’t be there.

2. Keep it Simple

Host the party at your home. Play bunco and drink some wine. If you want to take the party out try a fun restaurant, maybe a sushi place or tapas type restaurant where plates can be shared. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel with themes and decorations. As moms we do enough of that with children’s parties and work.

girlsnight2

3. Make Some Music

If you keep the party at home, you’ll want some fun tunes playing while you’re chatting and mingling. Think of what puts you in a good mood and make a mix before hand or perhaps your iPod has some good playlists that you could use.

4. Simple Snack and Sips

We can’t say enough that food and drinks should be as easy as possible. If you’re at your home you don’t want to be stuck catering to your girlfriends all night, after all this is your girl party too! Try make ahead finger foods from your grocery store, like veggie trays and finger sandwiches or these quick appetizer ideas. Don’t play bartender all night. Buy boxed wine that everyone can easily (and without mess!) pour themselves or make a couple of pitchers of Margaritas before your guests arrive.

5. Chat, Don’t Rant

It’s easy to let loose on what has been eating you alive, from bad husband habits to your latest toddler woes or how your highschooler is doing in advanced english. Just remember, your kids and husband aren’t there so don’t let them take over the conversation. No one wants to damper the evening with kid talk! So stay focused on your friends. Talk about the latest fashion, what’s new on TV (or what you’ve had time to watch on DVR), or new recipes you’ve tried lately. You’re surrounded by close friends so good talk should come easily.

How do you and your friends have a great Girls Night Out? Leave us a comment!

What We Love Right Now July 6, 2011: Blueberries!

July 6, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk

There is no better time to go blueberry picking or buy some blueberries from your grocery store or local farmers’ market than summer. These little berries are loaded with antioxidants, which make them super healthy for you, plus kids love them! The great advantage of this fruit is that you can buy lots now while they are in season and inexpensive and if you don’t eat them and use them all up, you can freeze them for later use.

blueberries

Best Uses For Blueberries

1. Mix into regular oatmeal. Add some applesauce and a dash of cinnamon and brown sugar. This makes such a healthy breakfast. I’ve found my kids loved this as babies, especially at around that early toddler age of 12-15 months. Once they acquired a taste for it, they continued to eat oatmeal for breakfast past toddlerhood.

2. Add them into your muffin mix.

3. Mix with your other favorite fruits and yogurt to blend into a smoothie. Remember, smoothies are a great, fun way to get your kids to intake their daily fruit serving.

4. Toss with your favorite salad, topped with a sweet dressing like a raspberry or poppyseed.

5. Add to your pancake or waffle batter. YUM!

6. Add to your favorite bread or pound cake recipe or try this easy cake recipe:

Easy Bake Blueberry Cake

What You’ll Need:

1 yellow cake mix
1 package cream cheese, 8 ounces, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 cup blueberries
2 teaspoons vanilla

Fix it Fast:
1. Combine cake mix, cream cheese, oil, and eggs; mix well.

2. Add blueberries and vanilla; stir until well combined.

3. Pour into a greased and floured tube pan.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until done.

Remember, if you are visiting a local pick your own fruit patch, be careful when you’re selecting your berries. Pick blueberries that have a deep, uniform color with a wheatish bloom. If you are at a market and the berries are in a packet and the berries are not moving freely, this may indicate that the berries are likely to be soft, moldy or damaged.

Not sure if you have a pick your own patch in your area? Click HERE to find out.