}

Popsicle Blog Road Trip | Coral Pink Sand Dunes

coral_pink_sand_dunes_kanab_utahduring our stay in Kanab, Utah, we really wanted to explore the area and find unique places to experience. one of the locals told us to check out the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, which is one of Utah’s State Parks. the Coral Pink Sand Dunes are located off a remote road between the east entrance of Zion National Park and a few miles west of Kanab.

we weren’t sure what to expect, and as we drove, we couldn’t see the sand dunes. we kept looking and looking, but they are nestled into the landscape. even when we arrived at the entrance, you couldn’t see how beautiful they were. it wasn’t until we walked down into them and started exploring that we realized how magnificent they were.

this is the area closest to the entrance. but this is just a small over look. once we started walking down into them, past the fences, towards the east where the dune buggies ride and then up one of the peaks….

coral_pink_sand_dunes

that is where we had such a breathtaking view.

coral_pink_sand_dunes_utah_state_parkit was so peaceful and quiet. no sounds of the city, not even sounds of nature. just the quiet lull of the wind. as we walked along the main peak, we could look out and see the beauty of the Kanab mountains all around us…it was surreal.coral_pink_sand_dunes_utah

we played, jumped and ran around in the sand. it was a different experience than any of us have ever had. almost magical.

utah_state_parkcoral_pink_sand_dunes_southern_utahcoral_pink_sand_dunes_southern_utah_landmark it had to be one of the more special moments that we had as a family. just us. together. enjoying natures beauty and wonder.coral_pink_sand_dunes_kanab_utah_landmark

of course by the end of our visit, our shoes were filled to the brim with coral pink sand. a small price to pay to experience the beauty of the Coral Pink Sand Dunes.

coral_pink_sand_dunes_kanab_utah_state_park

tips for visiting the Coral Pink Sand Dunes in Kanab, Utah
• bring a water bottle
• bring snacks and drinks as there are located in a remote area.
• wear sun screen/sun hat
• if you bring a camera, make sure it is protected in a case or bag. flying sand will damage the lens.
• there is a small entrance fee (approx. $8)

 

and to read more about our Popsicle Adventures during our summer 2014 road trip through Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Yellowstone:

Where We Traveled
How We Traveled
Tahiti Village - Las Vegas
Denny’s and Fremont Street - Las Vegas
Cedar City KOA
Fort Zion – Utah
Zion National Park – Utah
Kanab – Utah
Historic Parry Lodge – Kanab, Utah

 

 

Popsicle Blog Road Trip | The Historic Parry Lodge

famous-parry-lodge-utah-kanab-hotelcontinuing with our road trip, after our time in Zion National Park, we headed east to the little town of Kanab. i wrote a little bit about Kanab here…which i am still dreaming about its beautiful scenery and unique mountainous landscape. i now want to share about the motel we stayed in during our time there.

we stayed at the historic Parry Lodge Motel. back in the days when the old westerns and the movie industry did a lot of filming in Kanab, it was known as the “Home of the Stars” in Utah’s little Hollywood. Parry Lodge is where the movie stars stayed when they filmed the movies.

parry-lodge-budget-hotelinside the Parry Lodge lobby, you can take a look at all the historic movie memorabilia, most of which is from the 20′s – 70′s. it was really cool to see the old vintage photos, and newspaper articles.
ronald-regan-parry-lodge-movies
to see a fun list of all the stars who stayed at the Parry Lodge, and a list of the movies made in Kanab, click here.parry-lodge-movie-star-historythe Parry Lodge has a coffee shop where you can get a bite to eat or a cup of coffee…..

parry-lodge-kanab-utah-coffee-shopand also a restaurant, where you can get the buffet breakfast before enjoying the sites around Kanab.

Breakfast: from April 1st to October 31st, a full breakfast Buffet is available 7 days a week 6:30 am to 9:30 am, $6.99 for guests; from November 1st to March 31st, a free continental breakfast is available in our coffee shop. here is a menu available from 6:30am to noon. Lunch: offered Monday through Friday 11:00 am to 2:00 p.m.

parry-lodge-motel-kanab-utah-dining

the layout of the motel is open, so you can park right outside your room.

parry-lodge-motel-rooms-kanab-utahwhat is really cool about this motel, is that the names of the movie stars that have stayed in each room are displayed above each of the doors. you could get to stay in the very same room as Ronald Reagan, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne or Clint Eastwood. how cool is that!parry-lodge-kanab-ronald-reganduring our stay, we stayed in the same room Gregory Peck stayed in. he starred in movies such as “To Kill a Mocking Bird,” “Moby Dick,” and “Cape Fear.”parry-lodge-gregory-peckthe rooms themselves are quaint and vintage. you feel like you are going back in time. our room was had two queen sized beds and a twin.parry-lodge-motel-reviewparry-lodge-bathroomparry-lodge-kanab-roomthere was also a kitchenette located in one of the rooms which made it easy to prepare our picnic lunch and late evening snacks.parry-lodge-kanab-utah-kitchen

other amenities of the Parry Lodge include landery facilities, a pool to swim in….

parry-lodge-kanab-pool and best of all….The Old Barn Play House.  an old barn where each evening, you can sit back and relax while watching one of the old western movies that were filmed in Kanab. the boys were very excited to see the scenic landscape surrounding our motel, in the very movie they were watching. parry-lodge-motel-kanab-utah-old-barnparry-lodge-kanab-old-time-barn-movieparry-lodge-kanab-utah-old-time-barn
the Parry Lodge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is now owned by Kanab native Steve Heaton. it is centrally located to many Utah attractions such as the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, Glen Canyon (Lake Powell) National Recreations Area, Grand Staircase – Escalante and Pipe Springs National Monuments. these incredible natural wonders are all just a 90 minute drive or less from Kanab. they form a grand circle with Parry Lodge as its hub, which make the Parry Lodge a great place to stay when you want to visit these places.

we personally really enjoyed our stay at the historic Parry Lodge. being able to share in some old time history was pretty cool….and something we will always remember.parry-lodge-motel-rocking-chairs

 { Disclosure: We received our stay at the Parry Lodge complimentary. As always, all thoughts and opinions are a bazillion times my own. }

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrate Talk Like A Pirate Day in Orange County

oc talk like a pirate daytomorrow is “Talk Like A Pirate Day,”  which is actually an international holiday….can you believe it?!  it’s just a fun holiday to get your pirate talk on, and maybe even dress up. you can even make this a fun day for the kiddies because there are a bunch of different pirate themed activities happening in Orange County that you can attend to celebrate “Talk Like A Pirate Day!”

Free Donuts at Krispy Kreme for Talk Like A Pirate Day
dress up like a pirate and head over to Krispy Kremeif you dress up like a pirate, you get free Krispy Kreme donuts! and not just one donut….a box of a dozen glazed donuts. YUM. and if you are too shy to dress up like a pirate, you can talk in pirate dialog and get one free donut to enjoy. click here for some easy costume printable ideas from Krispy Kreme. we do it every year as a tradition, our costumes usually consist of fabric sashes, bandanas on our heads, striped shirt, rolled up pants with socks pulled up, and pirate eye patches. it is easier than you think to get dressed up like a pirate. 

Free Krispy Kreme Talk Like A Pirate Day Free Krispy Kreme Talk Like A Pirate Day Donut

Pirate Party at Pretend City
It’s a Pirate Party! visit Pretend City for a swashbuckling adventure to celebrate “Talk Like a Pirate Day!” special pirate themed story times will take place every hour and facilitated activities throughout the day, this will be a journey you won’t want to miss.
Lil Me Morning: Pirate Island Game: This “Hear! Think! Do!” activity will have children utilizing their listening skills, making connections, and moving.
Engaging Afternoon: Pirate Rules – From pirate pets to pirate activities, your child will use their imagination and creativity to work together with others to write the rules on how to be a pirate.
Smart Art: Pirate Play – decorate a miniature pirate ship and creating their own pirate argh-ttire.

Pirate-Party-Pretend City

Play at the Pirate Park (Box Canyon Park)
one of our favorite parks is Box Canyon Park in Yorba Linda. it has an awesome playground include one that looks like a giant pirate ship. pack up a picnic and enjoy the last days of summer at this fun park. there are great sidewalks for bike riding and also a shade area with picnic tables if you need some time out from this hot weather.

pirate park orange county

Pirates Dinner Adventure
have dinner at Pirates Dinner Adventure! you will set aboard an authentically replicated 18th-century Spanish galleon anchored in a 300,000-gallon indoor lagoon with night sky lighting. surrounding the lagoon is a six-sided showroom of six additional ships where the audience is seated to begin the show.

voyagers on each of the six ships have their own pirate mascot whom they will cheer on as the adventure unfolds with a cast a dozen actors, singers and stunt performers engaging in a bounty of action-packed exploits, accompanied by cannon blasts, pyrotechnics and plenty of laughs. in addition, more than 150 guests will have the chance to play an actual role in each dinner show as the evil Captain Sebastian the Black leads his crews of renegades on a swashbuckling adventure before your very eyes!

pirate-show-orange-county-dinner-theater

Get Transformed into a Pirate at Disneyland Park Pirate League
at the Disneyland Pirate League, they will transform recruits of nearly any age into scurvy seadogs with a Pirates League Package. from September 12 through October 31, 2014, come face-to-face with veteran Pirate Masters as they apply pirate beards, scars, eye patches and other access-arrr-ries to give you the ultimate marauder’s makeover! this year’s Pirates League is located in the Festival Arena in Frontierland at Disneyland Park. available packages range from $29.95 to $34.95, plus tax.

and while you are at Disneyland, don’t forget to travel by raft to the Pirates Lair, and ride Pirates of the Caribbean!

disneyland pirates leagueWatch a Pirate Movie
so maybe you’re not into free donuts or dressing up, then how about a nice relaxing movie with the kids. the Rockin’ Boys club has a great round up of the best pirate movies for kids around. you can check it out here.

16-best-pirate-movies-for-kids

Taking My Boys to Their First Chinese Restaurant | Spicy City Review

spicy-city-chinese-anaheim-hillsa few weeks ago we were invited to a Spicy City in Anaheim Hills. i thought it was a Chinese take-out place, so i figured my boys would love to try it out with me. however, when we arrived, i found that it was actually a nice Chinese Restaurant. it had more formal seating and traditional Chinese decor. i don’t think i have been to a Chinese restaurant like this since i was 10 years old, so i wasn’t sure what to expect….but i was excited for the new experience and to try the food!

spicy-city-chinese-anaheim

Spicy City has a wide variety of traditional Chinese options, from family dinners, lunch specials, appetizers, fish, poultry, chicken, beef, soup and fried rice and noodles.
spicy-city-chinese-anaheim-hills-restaurant-review

our meal was served family style, and all the dishes were placed in the middle of the table for all of use to enjoy. i like this set up…eating as family style at restaurants that is.

we started out with the Orange Chicken. this happens to be my oldest son’s favorite dish. he really loved it.

spicy-city-chinese-anaheim-restaurant-reviewhe also like the Shredded Pork with Peking Sauce, which you put on these puffy bread buns. i’ve never had anything like it.spicy-city-chinese-food-anaheim-restaurant-reviewspicy-city-chinese-anaheim-restaurant

my youngest boys loved the fried rice of course. whats not to love about fried rice!

spicy-city-chinese-anaheim-fried-rice

my best surprise dish of the day was the Walnut Shrimp. i actually don’t love shrimp and very rarely eat them. so when i had to try the Walnut Shrimp, i figured i would politely try it, and pass it along. however, i LOVED this dish. i have never had shrimp cooked this way. they were light and fluffy, and the sauce and walnuts were great. i think that i ate the most of this dish, and actually crave it now and then. i would go back just to have them again.spicy-city-chinese-anaheim-restaurant-walnut-shrimp

some of the other dishes we tried were the Broccoli Beef…YUM….

spicy-city-chinese-anaheim-broccoli-beefthis Fish Platter…which i wasn’t sure about since i am not a fan of fish, but actually liked…spicy-city-chinese-anaheim-fish-soup

Steamed Vegetables

spicy-city-chinese-anaheim-vegetarian

and Crispy Chicken Cubes.

apparently, Spicy City is a great place for spicy food. some of the the dishes we tried were spicy, but none were to spicy for my taste.

spicy-city-chinese-anaheim-kung-pow-chicken

what a feast we had. so fun to try some of the favorite dishes of Spicy City.

spicy-city-chinese-anaheim-food

all in all, i was happy that my boys got to experience a traditional Chinese restaurant. it was very different to them, but it was good for them to get to try and experience new and different foods than they normally eat. they even found some dishes that they now love.

spicy-city-chinese-anaheim-family-style

Spicy City is located in Anaheim Hills at the 91 freeway and Imperial Hwy. you can order family style, single entrée or have your order as take-out. since i haven’t had a lot of experience with Chinese food, so i don’t have much to compare it too. but i enjoyed everything i tried and would go back again when i am craving Chinese.

have a lucky day!

lucky-kitty-chinese

{ Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. We were invited guests of Spicy City for review purposes. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. }

 

Apples On A Stick Snack

This is a sponsored post.Easy Apple Snack Ideasdid you know that the Fresh & Easy has orchard fresh apples from Washington?  like picked from the tree and delivered to Fresh & Easy stores within 2 days?!  i had no idea that their apples were this fresh…it’s definitely not the standard of most grocery stores. we thought that was pretty cool, so we headed over to our local Fresh & Easy store to get some to try out.

right now, in stores,  you can get freshly picked Honey Crisp, Fuji and Gala apples which are our family’s favorite types of apples to put in lunches and to snack on. they looked perfectly ripe….and tasty!

Fresh & Easy Washington Apples Honey Crisp the boys decided that the Honey Crisp apples were the ones we should get. Honey Crisp just sounds yummy doesn’t it!Fresh & Easy Washington Apples after we picked out all our apples and checked out, we headed home with our apples. it pretty cool to think that just a few days ago, these apples were on a tree in a Washington orchard. Fresh & Easy Apple Couponhere is an idea for a fun afternoon or after school snack:

put lollipop sticks into each apple slice. then put some of your favorite apple toppings such as caramel sauce, nut butter, almonds, and sprinkles into individual ramekins, so that the kids can dip the “apple pops” into their favorite toppings.  because obviously…everything tastes better with a stick.Easy Caramel Apple Snack Ideathe kids thought this was the best thing ever…you would have thought they’d never had apples before. they gobbled them all up. and it’s such an easy snack that anyone can make quickly at home. you can use any toppings you would like.
Fresh and Easy Applesbut, it wasn’t just the topping that made these apples taste so good, these apples tasted WONDERFUL. fresh, crisp and sweet…just like they had just been picked off the tree. because they were!!!!!
Fresh and Easy Best Apples

we loved the apples from Fresh & Easy! what a great find.

Honey Crisp Apple Snack Ideakeep up with the latest news and deals from Fresh & Easy by following their Facebook page.

{ This is a sponsored post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are a bazillion times my own. }

 

Pretzel and Caramel Ice Cream Dessert Bars

This is a sponsored post on behalf of The Motherhood for Dreyer’s.Pretzel and Caramel Ice Cream Dessert Bars Recipewhen Dreyer’s asked me to create a family-friendly ice cream recipe, i was more than delighted to do so. i love desserts, especially ones that i can create with my boys. they really enjoy spending time in the kitchen with me, and it is fun to teach them how to create different recipes. with school back in session, it was great to take a break from school work and have some together time in the kitchen.

i love ice cream with chocolate and caramel, and my boys are always eating pretzels, so together we decided to make Pretzel & Carmel Ice Cream Dessert Bars. WOW…it turned out AWESOME, probably one of my favorite creations to date. the boys and the hubby loved them. some of the tricks that made these ice cream bars extra good, was the homemade caramel sauce…which is super easy to make, and the homemade cookie crust. of course you could always use store bought if you don’t have the time, but this put these ice cream bars over the top. we would love to share the recipe with you…

to make these yummy Pretzel & Carmel Ice Cream Dessert Bars, you will need: your favorite Dreyer’s Ice Cream, pretzels, chocolate sandwich cookies, chocolate chips, butter and two cans of condensed milk (or store bought caramel sauce).  these ice cream bars are take some time due to freeze time between layers, so it is best to start the day before you want to eat them.

Ice Cream Pretzel Caramel Bars Recipe

the day before…or even a few days ahead, start preparing the Prezel & Carmel Ice Cream Dessert Bars by crushing a package of chocolate sandwich cookies in a ziploc baggie with a rolling pin. also, line a 9 x 13″ pan with foil. at this time, you will want to make the caramel sauce as it needs to be completely cooled before use on the dessert.

the make the caramel sauce, fill a large stock pot with water. remove the labels from the condensed milk cans, and place them (unopened) into the water. bring it to a boil, and continue boiling for 2-1/2 hours. make sure as the water evaporates you add more water to keep the cans fully immersed. let the cans completely cool before opening.

Foil Lined Pan

to prepare the cookie crust, preheat the oven to 350º. add 4 tablespoons of melted butter to the bag of cookie crumbs and knead until fully combined. press crumb into the bottom of the pan. bake for 15 minutes or until it feels a bit dry. Oreo Cookie Crust Recipeonce the crust is completely cooled, you can spread the ice cream on top of it. make sure the ice cream is softened enough to spread. then using a spatula, spread it evenly over the cookie crust.

Dreyers Ice Cream Pretzel Caramel Bars Recipe Dreyers Ice Cream Bars recipeafter you have finished this step, place it back in the freezer to harden. you can even leave it in the freezer for a few days before you serve it. Ice Cream Pretzel Caramel Layer Barsafter the ice cream layer is frozen solid, you can now pour the caramel sauce over the top, and spread out evenly.Homemade Caramel Sauce Ice Cream Bar Recipenext, place the pretzels across the top of the caramel in a nice layer.

pretzel-caramel-dessertwhen you are done, it will look like this.chocolte-pretzel-caramel-dessertwhen you are done, store in the freezer until you are ready to serve. when it is time to serve, heat up the chocolate chips in the microwave until smooth, pour chocolate into a plastic baggie, snip the end off and drizzle across the pretzels. pretzel-ice-cream-barschocolate-pretzel-ice-cream-dessertto serve, make sure the entire dessert is frozen solid. remove entire dessert from the pan and peel back the foil. using a large sharp knife, cut the ice cream into bars. serve immediately. trust me….your guests are going to love this. enjoy!

Ice Cream Pretzel Layer Bars

doesn’t this look so good! i love how they turned out…and have to say that these Pretzel & Caramel Ice Cream Dessert Bars are currently my new fave. the saltiness of the pretzels with the sweet….and the crunchy pretzels and cookie crust really compliments the gooey caramel and cold ice cream. the boys loved helping me make AND eating eat them. YUM.

you can find more great recipes like this one over on the Dreyer’s website. recipes that the whole family to create together! and for even more creative, family fun inspiration, you can visit Dreyer’s NEW Pinterest page. ice-cream-dessert-bars  ingredients
1 pint Dreyer’s Ice Cream (any flavor that taste good with chocolate and caramel)
2 cups of pretzels
1 cup of chocolate chips
1 package chocolate sandwich cookies (or any crunchy cookies)
2 cans condensed milk (or store bought caramel sauce)
foil
9 x 13″ pan

directions
make ahead…

crust: to prepare the cookie crust, preheat the oven to 350º. add 4 tablespoons of melted butter to the bag of cookie crumbs and knead until fully combined. press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan. bake for 15 minutes or until it feels dry.

caramel: fill a large stock pot with water. remove the labels from the condensed milk cans, and then place them (unopened) into the water. bring it to a boil, and continue boiling for 2-1/2 hours. make sure as the water evaporates, that you add more water to keep the cans fully immersed. let cool completely.

next…

on the completely cooled crust, spread ice cream over the top. make sure the ice cream is just soft enough to spread. you can microwave for 30 seconds if needed. once the ice cream is evenly covering the ice cream, place in the the freezer until completely frozen and you are ready to spread the caramel. spread caramel over the ice cream layer and spread evenly over entire dessert. next, place the pretzels across the top of the caramel in a nice layer. when it is time to serve, heat up the chocolate chips in the microwave until smooth, pour chocolate into a plastic baggie, snip the end off and drizzle across the pretzels.

to serve: make sure the entire dessert is frozen solid. remove entire dessert from the pan and peel back the foil on the sides. using a large sharp knife, cut the ice cream into bars. serve immediately. enjoy!

makes 15 – 18 servings prezel-ice-cream-bar-recipe

60 Family and Kid Halloween Events in Orange County | 2014

best-family-halloween-events-orange-county-2014and just like that, the Halloween season has arrived in Orange County!  fun Halloween events events are popping up all around Southern California, so i have compiled a list of over 60 Orange County Halloween events…most of which are kid-friendly, and/or family-friendly. and all of which are scheduled around the OC and SoCal this Halloween season.

it’s time to get your calendar out and pick out the ones that look like the most fun for you and the kiddies. it’s always fun to make the Halloween season one your family will always remember! (be sure to check back here, as more events will be added to the list as they are announced.)

Camp Spooky at Knott’s Berry Farm
Weekends in October   |   Camp Snoopy at Knott’s
this daytime, non-scare event is a celebration of cheer rather than fear! you can enjoy shows, activities and of course, trick or treating. kids can take part in the “Monster Dance Party and Costume Parade,” sing and dance along with the Peanuts gang at the “Peanuts Halloween Spooktacular,” and walk through the “Haunted Harvest” cornfield maze.

Mickey’s Halloween Party
September 26 & 30th, October 3, 6, 8, 10, 14, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27, 29 & 31st   |   Disneyland Resort
party with Mickey Mouse, go trick or treating & watch the spectacular Halloween Screams Firework Show. guest of the party get to enter Disneyland 3 hours before the party to enjoy the park!

Halloween Time at Disneyland
September 12th through October 31st   |   Disneyland Resort
Disneyland is dressed up for Halloween! Check out the decorations and enjoy special Halloween activities throughout the park.

Irvine Park Pumpkin Patch
September 20th – October 31st   |   Irvine Regional Park, Orange
the best pumpkin patch around. be prepared to spend the day roaming through pumpkins, decorating cookies and running through and hay maze! you can enjoy pony rides, haunted house, face painting, bouncy houses, games, food and best of all….the train ride!

Boo at the Zoo
October 18, 19, 25, 26 & 30th   |   Santa Ana Zoo
a family-friendly costumed extravaganza, trick-or-treating in a “Merry not Scary” Zoo atmosphere, educational animal presentations, storytelling, entertainment with a grand finale costume parade! for the older kids, there is a “Teen Scream,” a haunted house filled with thrills and chills.

Pretend City’s Bug Bog
October 8th-31st  | Pretend City Children’s Museum
Dr. Strangebug will lead you through a bug scavenger hunt where kiddies can collect different types of play bug to receive a treat at the end of the hunt. there are also real bugs on display and kids can enjoy the bug adventure as many times as they would like during their time at Pretend City. Must purchase museum admission plus $3 for bug bog pass. (fun!)

Pretend City’s Halloween Bug Bash
October 31st  • 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  | Pretend City Children’s Museum
Enjoy a full day of Halloween activities at the museum including Halloween crafts, Spooky Snacks, Bug Cafe, dancing, dental screenings and more! Plus, we are your costume for some trick-o-treating.

Tanaka Farms U-Pick Pumpkin Patch Tours
September 27th – October 31st   |   Tanaka Farms, Irvine
take a wagon ride around the farm, wander through the corn maze, pick your own vegetables, visit our petting zoo, take pictures by “Tanaka’s Pile of Pumpkins” & finally pick your own pumpkin right off the vine. on the weekends there is a Fall Harvest Festival with food, games, atv rides and more!

Historic Yorba Cemetery Tour
October 4th • 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.    |   Woodgate Park, Yorba Linda
enjoy a guided tour through Orange County’s oldest private cemetery. FREE

Knott’s Scary Farm
September 25, 26, 27th, October 2-5, 9-12, 16-19, 22-26, 29, 30, 31st & November 1st   |   Knott’s Berry Farm
be prepare to get SCARED!!!! this event is definitely not for the kiddies. send your teenagers or make a date night at this frightfully scary night of terror. you can go through the monster mazes, watch the traditional Hanging Show, and be sure to try out the new interactive Trapped Maze. a pre-show buffet is offered at an additional price.

Aliso Viejo Fall Harvest Festival
October 19th • 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. |  Grand Park, Aliso Viejo
Costume parade, family games, pony rides, art and crafts, balloons, music & games. Bring (3) canned food items to be entered in an opportunity drawing for a prize. FREE

Soka University’s Annual Halloween Fair & Haunted House
October TBA • 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.  |  Soka University Recreation Center, Aliso Viejo
university student clubs will once again combining their ghastly talents to host this fun family event. it will offer games, activities and food booths. you can also enter the haunted house at an additional cost! FREE

Teen Ghost Hunters Night
October 4th  |  7:00 – 9:00 p.m.  |  Crown Valley Community Park,  Laguna Niguel 
Teens will break into groups and attempt to record “para-normal” activity while exploring areas of the park. Everyone will meet back in the viewing room and share their findings while enjoying pizza! $5

[Read more...]

Pumpkin Cheesecake Popsicle Recipe

This week I made my Sweet’N Low Pumpkin Cheesecake Popsicles as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars #SweetNLowStars

Pumpkin Cheesecake Popsicle recipe

it’s that time of year when pumpkin everything pops-up all over the place. pumpkin lattes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin desserts, and pumpkin drinks. once the pumpkin starts to appear, you know that Fall is in the air. however, here in Southern California, it’s hot….really HOT. today it was 95º where i live. you aren’t going to see me walking around with a hot pumpkin drink. i prefer cold treats right now…of course popsicles are always my fave. these Pumpkin Cheesecake Popsicles are just something i whipped up to satisfy my pumpkin craving. i am pretty happy with how they turned out. they were also super easy to make since i had all the ingredients already.

to make Pumpkin Cheesecake Popsicles, all you need is pumpkin, milk, cream cheese, pumpkin pie spice, Sweet’N Low and some popsicle molds.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Popsicle recipeusing the Sweet ‘N Low cuts down on the extra calories of added sugar….plus, i can’t tell the difference. you can add more or less according to your taste. once the popsicles are frozen, the sweetness becomes less intense. so i tend to make the mixtures on the sweeter side.

you will make one mixture of pumpkin flavor, and the other mixture cream cheese flavor. in between the layers, you will put a thin layer of graham cracker crumbs. they are what makes these popsicles extra flavorful and yummy. once you have made your two mixtures, layer them along with the graham cracker crumbs in your popsicle molds or dixie cups. then, stick them in the freezer until frozen.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Popsicle recipewhat you end up getting, is a low calorie, pumpkin treat on a stick that is nice and refreshing. they really taste like pumpkin cheesecake.

these popsicles are on the icey side, which i like. i have been enjoying them every afternoon this week! they are slow melt and take a long time to eat, so its the perfect snack to curb your hunger till dinnertime…or they make a nice late night snack. if you prefer a more creamy treat, use vanilla pudding or whipped cream instead of the milk. and if you are in a hurry, forget about layering the cream cheese and pumpkin, just whip them both together and layer with the graham crackers. i am sure they will taste just as good. now go make some!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Popsicle recipe

best-pumpkin-cheesecake-popsicles

ingredients
3 cups whole milk
1-1/2 pumpkin pureé
1 cup cream cheese
1 cup crushed graham crackers
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
4 packets Sweet N’ Low

popsicle molds or dixie cups ( 3oz size) & popsicle sticks

directions
cream cheese layer: in a bowl, mix 1 cup milk, 1 cup cream cheese and 1 packet Sweet N’ Low with a mixer until foamy.

pumpkin layer: in another bowl, mix pumpkin, 2 cups milk, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and 3 packets Sweet N’ Low until fully combined.

in a popsicle mold or dixie cup, layer, first pumpkin mixture, then graham crackers, then cream cheese mixture, graham crackers again, and finally pumpkin again. insert popsicle stick, cover and freeze. once frozen, enjoy!

makes 6-8 popsicles

tip: you may need to freeze the first layer of pumpkin with the popsicle stick before adding the additional layers and freezing. if using dixie cups, a piece of tin foil laid across the top before inserting the popsicle stick will help the stick to stay upright.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Popsicle recipeto find more yummy Sweet’N Low drink recipes, visit the Sweet’N Low Beverage Page or Facebook page.

{ disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I am an Ambassador for Sweet’N Low. All thoughts and opinions are my own. }

 

Easy Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe

Easy Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe #dinnerthese Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers are an easy and filling dinner that even picky eaters will like. my boys like to only eat the filling out of the bell peppers, but my husband and i like to eat the entire thing. it’s a great dinner to make if you have leftover rice, ground turkey or beef, and it can easily be modified to fit your families tastes. when making them, feel free to adjust the recipe…i hate to even call it a recipe, because you are basically just combining meat, veggies and seasoning to make a filling that you add to the bell peppers. so if you would like to add additional seasonings or veggies…i highly encourage it!

How to Make Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipers

to make Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers, first prep the bell peppers by cutting off the tops and cleaning out the seeds.

next, cook the ground turkey in a large sauce pan over medium heat. once fully cooked, remove from heat and set aside.

chop the bell pepper tops.  in the hot saucepan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. once heated add chopped bell pepper tops and onion. cook until soft and then add the minced garlic. sauté for a minute or so. then add the ground turkey, diced tomatoes, corn, salt and pepper. continue to cook until heated through. finally, add the rice. stir until completely combined.

Easy Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers Filling Recipeplace the bell pepper bowls upright into a baking dish.

Easy Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipefill each bell pepper to the top with the turkey filling.Easy Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipetop off each bell pepper with shredded cheese.Easy Cheesy Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipecover with foil and place into a preheated 350º oven for 30 minutes. remove foil for last 10 minutes. let cool for 5 minutes before eating. enjoy!

Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe

turkey-bell-pepper-recipe

ingredients
1/2 pound ground turkey (or beef)
2 cups cooked rice
1 can diced tomatoes (drained)
1 can corn (drained)
4-6 bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper
1 cup jack cheese shredded

directions
first, prep the bell peppers by cutting off the tops and cleaning out the seeds. next, cook the ground turkey in a large sauce pan over medium heat. once fully cooked, remove from heat and set aside in another bowl. chop the bell pepper tops. in the same hot saucepan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. once heated, add chopped bell pepper tops and onion to the pan. cook the onion and bell peppers until soft and then add the minced garlic. sauté for a minute. then add the ground turkey, diced tomatoes, corn, salt and pepper. continue to cook until heated through. finally, add the rice. stir until completely combined.

place the bell pepper bowls upright into a baking dish. fill each bell pepper to the top with the turkey filling. top off each bell pepper with shredded cheese.

cover bell peppers with foil and place into a preheated 350º oven for 30 minutes. remove foil for last 10 minutes. let cool for 5 minutes before eating. enjoy!

 

The New Eric Carle Collection at Gymboree

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Gymboree.eric-carle-fox-pajamasmy boys and i love the Eric Carle books…especially the artwork which is unique and colorful. i have been reading his stories to my children since they were babies. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” and “The Grumpy Lady Bug” are all favorites of ours and are frequent choices for bedtime stories. that’s why i was so excited to hear about the new Eric Carle Clothing collection at Gymboree. this new collection of sleepwear and play shirts at Gymboree features the colorful World of Eric Carle® artwork on them.

the Eric Carle Collection comes in sizes 6-12 months to 5T, so i took my littlest Vann on a special trip to Gymboree to pick out a new pair of jammies. there were lots of different ones to choose from, most were unisex, a few girl styles and there were even adult sizes of certain styles as well. so even moms and dad can get in on the Eric Carle fun.

eric-carle-kids-clothes-pajamas

Vann decided that he wanted the fox jammies, which where really cute on him. he was excited to wear them at bedtime and insisted that we read the Eric Carle stories too.eric-carle-clothing-fashionnot only does the Eric Carle Clothing collection at Gymboree have sleepwear, but they also have some great tees and shirts. i let Vann pick out his favorite, and he chose the Eric Carle Tiger Tee. i love it on him…even though i think i would have chosen the Bear Tee. he loves kitties and tigers, so i knew it would be his first choice. just look at his smile!

eric-carle-kids-clothes actually, i really love all the shirts, there are great Eric Carle shirts available for girls and boys. which one is you favorite?

eric-carle-kids-clothes-t-shirts

Gymboree has been a favorite kids clothing store of mine since i found out i was pregnant with my first son. i go there for the quality and cute clothes they offer. in fact, a lot of the clothes i bought for my first son, were worn by all three of my boys…and are still in great shape. i know these pieces i purchase from the Eric Carle Collection will last through all the active play of my boys.eric-carle-clothingif you love The World of Eric Carle® as much as i do, be sure to head over to Gymboree and check out the collection. also, there is a fun #whatdoyousee photo contest going on right now where you can take photos of your kiddies and submit them for cool prizes, as well as daily giveaways and a new Eric Carle app with stories and games!eric-carle-kids-fox-pajamas
{ disclosure: This is a sponsored post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are a bazillion times my own. }