Keeping the Kids Active and Healthy During Summer in SoCal

Running in the Wetlandsnow that school is out and the boys are home for summer, i have to make sure to find ways to keep them active and eating nutritiously. it’s harder to do this during the summer months, because they have so much more down time than when school is in session. it’s important to me for my family to be active and healthy, so instead of hanging around the house, we leave and go exploring almost everyday. i have partnered with Real California Milk to share some of the things we do to stay active during summer in Southern California. Real California Milk represents the real foods made with milk from more than 1,400 California dairy families who are dedicated to bringing nutrient rich foods to our markets.

Keeping Active

there is no shortage of things to do in Southern California to keep active. the weather is almost always beautiful, and mother nature is very good to us here. there is always a new or special place to visit and explore. we love to go to the beach and explore the tide pools…..

Corona Del Mar Tide Pools

we may even find a castle.

Victoria Beach in Laguna

we also have great hiking trails in Orange County.

Orange County California HikingCarlsbad Wetlandsthere is always a museum or zoo to explore….La Brea Tar Pitsor a pool to swim in. my oldest is even on the swim team.Swimming with fun Pool FloatsJack's on Swim Team in Anaheim

plus, we just found out that we love paddle boarding,

Pirate Coast Paddle

and when we need a break from the sun the boys love to go to dance class….

Anaheim Hills Dance Class for Boys

or we can always do some indoor rock climbing or jump out hearts out at a trampoline place.

Orange County Kids Rock Climbing Lessons

there is no shortage of amazing things to do with the kids to keep our family active and on the move. but that is just one part of staying healthy. we also got the nutrition part.

Summer Eating

i have to keep the cupboards and refrigerator stocked with food during the summer or i will find myself taking the kids out to eat everyday. this is not a healthy habit or economical on my pocket book. i always have an abundance of fresh cut fruit that they can grab and eat, and stuff to make sandwiches on hand. we also have our own garden, a fun way to get kids involved in choosing their own healthy foods.
Popsicleblog Picking Vegetables in the Garden

also, it’s a great fact that dairy is a source of protein, calcium and vitamin D, so i am happy to feed my kids things like cheese sticks and milk boxes when they ask for a snack. ice cream is also a fun treat once in while.

Vann Eating Real California Cheese

Join Fuel Up to Play 60

another great way to get kids motivated to get active and eat nutritiously is to have them join Fuel Up to Play 60. Real California Milk has an amazing partnership with Fuel Up to Play 60, a campaign created by the NFL and National Dairy Council that promotes physical activity and good nutrition in schools. it encourages kids to fuel up with nutrient-rich foods – which include low-fat and fat-free dairy, lean meats, fruits, vegetables and whole grains – and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. kids can join and log their activities onto the Fuel Up to Play 60 dashboard and earn points for their school. there are different levels of points to earn with great prizes to earn for your school. if you are interested, visit www.fueluptoplay60.com to sign up your kids to start earning for their school. if their school isn’t signed up yet, it’s esy. all you need is a teacher from your school to help get the process started. 

Out To Play Clif Kids

i hope this post has inspired you and your kids to get out and get active this summer. i know i feel better when i stay active and eat nutritiously. a little vitamin D from the sun and a dairy snack keep me feeling energized while trying to keep up with the kids!

On the Red Carpet with Juicy Juice at the Finding Dory World Premiere

The Finding Dory World PremiereLast week I had one of the most exciting times on the BLUE carpet at the Disney • Pixar Finding Dory World Premiere in Hollywood! Juicy Juice invited me to attend the world premiere at the El Capitan theater and watch Finding Dory with Ellen herself and the rest of the cast and crew. It was an evening full of excitement and celebrities…a very special night that I will always remember.

Here i am right before i drove to the premiere with Dory! it was fun to get dressed up..in blue of course, ready for a night of fun.Driving to the Finding Dory PremiereI arrived at the red carpet…which was actually BLUE in honor of the ocean, just in time to see the celebrities arrive to the premiere and walk the blue carpet.

The Blue Carpet at the Finding Dory PremiereDisney's Finding Dory Premiere at the El CapitanHere is the beginning of the blue carpet where the celebrities walk down getting their photos from the paparazzi and doing interviews with new outlets. it was most exciting to see Ellen arrive with Portia, since I have never seen her in person…and because she is the star of Finding Dory. Ihe crowd of course went wild, screaming and calling out to her.
The Finding Dory Red CarpetEllen Degeneres and Portia De Rossi at the Finding Dory PremiereDisney Stars at Finding Dory PremiereEllen Degeneres on the Red Carpet at Finding Dory Premierebefore entering the El Capitan to watch Finding Dory, i took a few photos on the blue carpet. and right before we headed in, i was able to capture a photo of the entire cast of Finding Dory in front of the El Capitan. what a fun treat.then it was time to go inside and watch the movie. watching movies at the El Capitan is a unique experience. the theater is vintage and full of nostalgia. we weren’t allowed to take cameras inside, so i don’t have any photos to share from this part of the night.

Disney Finding Dory Red CarpetThe Finding Dory Cast Photo at PremiereDisney • Pixar Finding Dory was AWESOME!!!! one of my favorites animated movies for sure. just as good as Finding Nemo…or BETTER! i loved it and couldn’t wait to take my boys to see it in the theaters. good thing i didn’t have to wait very long, i took them on opening day. of course, they also loved it! on the way out of the theater, everyone was raving about the movie. i also bumped into Ellen!!!!!! i got to walk out of the theater with her. unfortunately…i was too shy to talk to her even though she was inches away. AND, i didn’t have my camera with me. but once i got my camera back, i was able to get one last photo of her.

Ellen at the Finding Dory Premiere

After the movie, the after party started! there was live music, food, activities and lots of people having a great time. It was pretty exciting to recognize the celebrities from our favorite movies and television shows walking around at the party.

Finding Dory Sand SculptureJuicy Juice Face Painting at Finding Dory PartyDecorations at Finding Dory PremiereFinding Dory CoralFinding Dory Party GamesLive Band at Finding Dory PremiereBeautiful Coral at Finding Dory PremiereAnd I couldn’t leave the party without enjoying a box of Juicy Juice. right now the Juicy Juice packaging is Finding Dory themed! something my kids would love. and since Juicy Juice is 100% real fruit juice, I love that they love it too.Finding Dory Juicy JuiceFinding Dory Juice Boxes by Juicy Juicei had such an incredible experience and the Disney • Pixar Finding Dory Premiere. it was a night to remember. thank you so much Juicy Juice for inviting me. and don’t forget to see Finding Dory in the theaters. the movie opens June 17th, just in time for summer. i know you are going to love it just as much as i did. make sure you stay and watch the movie all the way to the end of the credits! there’s a fun scene that is only shown after the credits have rolled and you won’t want to miss it. now go see it….and bring some Finding Dory themed Juicy Juice with you too. have fun!!!!
On the Blue Carpet at Finding Dory Premiere

{This is not a sponsored post. I was an invited guest of Juicy Juice. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. }

Exploring Balboa Beach with the Family and Crocs

Crocs Shoes for the Whole Family

last week, we had spent the entire weekend running around – there had been no real down time for our family. i looked around and the house was a mess, i really didn’t know what to make for dinner, and the kids were annoying each other.  i knew we needed to get out of the house and head to a happy place to get some fresh air, and clear our minds for the upcoming busy week. for many of us Southern Californians, that place is the beach. so that’s what we did. the boys threw on some clothes, grabbed some sand toys and towels…just the essentials, and their brand new shoes. i recently teamed up with my friends at Zappos x Crocs, so we had just received a delivery of new Crocs. now you may be thinking…what? CROCS?!!!! because, you’ve never seen any of my kids wearing Crocs before. but it’s true. Crocs have changed. there are now more styles to choose from….really cute ones. they are durable for my busy boys, with bright colors even my tween and teen love. and since they are easy to clean, they make a great choice for beach trips.

Balboa Beach State Beach

we piled in the car, picked up a couple of pizzas on our way down to the beach. Balboa Beach in Newport Beach was where we decided to go. i like Balboa Beach because it has a nice boardwalk, the pier, there is a nice playground on the sand, a grassy area where the boys can run, and if you need a little more entertainment, you can easily walk over to Balboa Fun Zone for some more fun or to ride the ferry.

i must say, we had a great evening together. i really love living in Orange County and having access to the beautiful beaches….and the best weather. check out some of our photos from our evening. don’t forget to check out our shoes…aren’t they so different from what you expect Crocs to look like!

Fun shoes for Tweensfor Vann, i got him the Crocs Kids Bump It Shoes. i really liked the two-toned look, and thought they would look great with a lot of his outfits. the slip on aspect is perfect for him, and makes getting ready easier for the entire family.

Best Croc Shoes for KidsWearing Crocs at Balboa Beachmy shoes are the Crocs Isabella Mini Wedge in Coral. i prefer a wedge shoe for my feet, and something that is very comfortable. these are great…nice and cushy, and they come in four colors.Jill Parkin at Balboa BeachBalboa PierFamily Fun at Balboa Beachmy older boys love bright colored shoes, so i got the Crocs Citilane Roka Slip Ons. what i love about Crocs is the material they are made of is completely washable…so with my boys stinky feet, they are easily washed and don’t absorb the odor. they are also great for running up and along the pier.Croc Shoes for TeenagersYes, Crocs can be Fashionable Running on Balboa Piermy hubby is really digging his Crocs. he got the Santa Cruz style, which are perfect for casual and dressy casual. i consider them true Southern California style!
Best Crocs for Menone of our favorite parts of Balboa Beach is the playground. there are swings, slides, a jungle gym and this giant spider web that the kids can climb. Climbing on the Spiderweb at Balboa State BeachOrange County Beaches with Playgroundsand bringing pizza to the beach was the best idea. it travels well, takes great whether its hot or cold, and it doesn’t require utensils. i couldn’t have asked for an easier dinner. i’m just grateful i didn’t have to cook.Eating Pizza at Balboa State Beachwe ended the evening dipping our toes in the sand and sitting together on the lifeguard stand watching the waves.

Balboa State Beach Lifeguard standBest Family Shoe Styles CrocsBest Beach ShoesBest Crocs for Women heading to the beach that evening ended up being the perfect cure to the weekend blues. there’s just something about the fresh smell of the ocean and crashing waves. plus, all of us are really loving our new Crocs shoes. there are a wide array of Crocs styles and colors available on Zappos.com, so go check out the new styles. Zappos’ promises fast, free shipping, 365 day return policy, and world class customer service.

our new Crocs are a big hit…i can see us wearing them for lots of more adventures in Orange County. i hope that we have inspired you to also #FindYourFun with the whole family.  sometimes you need to just get out and have some fun….forget about your messy house or the millions of things that need to get done. you’ll be glad you did!

Sandy Toes and Popsicle Blog Family Crocs

{This post is sponsored by Zappos and Crocs. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. }

My Small But Powerful Story

Jill PArkin Familyi’ve been writing here at Popsicle Blog for over nine years! its hard to imagine that a simple blog that i’d started writing to help my friends find fun things to do with their kids, has turned into a career for myself. it began small…but now it has become so much more than i could have imagined. i have partnered with Tide to share my #SmallButPowerful story. because even though while small, Tide Pods are incredibly effective.

Jill Parkin of Orange County

the original goal of Popsicle Blog was to empowered parents and get out in beautiful Orange County and enjoy life with their kids. there is so much to do in the OC, and i wanted help parents find exciting things to do. as the site evolved, i began to also include bits and pieces of my life, a recipes and crafts, and also travel. Popsicle Blog became a lifestyle blog.

Popsicle blog sunset

throughout the years of writing on the blog and on my social media channels, i have found myself having personal connections with my readers, and now consider a lot of them friends. it makes me happy that by sharing my personal life, it can other mom like me not feel like they’re the only ones with a messy house, or kids who won’t eat their veggies. i would’ve never thought that i would have moms writing to me for advice. it pretty cool that i am able to help them in anyway.

whether it be sharing a fun park to take the kids to

Bluebird Park in Laguna

or and easy family recipe….

how-to-cook-sour-cream-chicken-enchiladas

or sharing a picture of my messy kitchen…

Messy Kitchen

it makes me happy when i receive comments from readers such as….”I am so GLAD that I am NOT the ONLY one” or ” This makes me feel so much better!!”  or “I so appreciate this. Real life!”  or “This is precisely why you are one of few mom blogs I follow. Thanks for confirming that this is what a real family kitchen looks like. Haha”

just knowing that by posting a simple picture or story about my life on to one of my platforms can help another mom, makes all the hard work i spend on the site worth it, and in turn, also leaves me feeling amazing. the comments and messages from my readers may be small…but to me, the are so powerful – they mean the world to me.

google-calendar-tips

this year, Tide is an official sponsor of the NFL and has partnered with a number of athletes who are sharing their own #SmallButPowerful stories. i was especially excited to see that Danica Patrick is one of them. she is the most successful women in American Open-Wheeled racing and has been winning amazing titles in Nascar and Indy car racing. you can check out her see her #SmallButPowerful story below.

It’s hard to hear the critics when I’m going 200 mph. Daniel Bryan, they say no but we say YES! #SmallButPowerful Tide #ad

Posted by Danica Patrick on Sunday, February 7, 2016

you can follow along with the small but powerful moments of Danica Patrick here.

( This post is sponsored by Socialstars and Tide, however all opinions are my own. #SmallButPowerful)

Taking Control of Your Own Happiness with Uber

Woman Uber Driver Storybeing self-employed as a blogger and graphic designer, i often get comments from others telling me how lucky i am to be able to stay home and have the freedom to take care of my children and household whenever i need to. and although being a work-at-home mom is not easy, i wouldn’t have it any other way. i really do love having the freedom and flexibility of scheduling my own hours and my own jobs. i love being my own boss, and am so thankful that i have the skill set that i do, so that i can live the life that i currently live. it makes me smile just thinking about it. i have always though that we all have the power to control our own happiness, something i tell my children daily, and i feel like i have done this in my life. i am so passionate about this, that i have partnered with Uber to share the story of another woman who has also changed and took control of her own life and happiness.

google-calendar-tipsjust like i have taken control of my schedule as a work-home-mom, Jan has done the same for her life. this past weekend, i had the pleasure of chatting with Jan. she lives in my community and is one of the many Uber partners driving here in Orange County. i wanted to hear her story of why she decided to sign-up with Uber, and her experience of using the Uber platform. i didn’t expect to hear the story that she told…Interview with a Female Uber DriverJan’s story goes like this….

she decided to sign-up to become an Uber partner a few years ago when she began to have struggles at her job. with her position in sales, she had to change areas, which left her with less clientele, which in turn meant less income. it takes time to build up new contacts in new areas, and while she was working on this, money became tight. she was and is an empty-nester, her two children are grown and her husband is retired. she is the sole source of income for her and her husband and being a sales person in a new area took a toll on her financial as well as emotionally.

Safety for Women Uber DriversJan’s niece told her how she had been earning money partnering with Uber, and that maybe Jan should also take the opportunity to partner with them. at first she didn’t think this was the best idea for her. she was worried about being a female driver, that it would be dangerous, and that it wouldn’t be worth the time. however, when her nice explained how she could set her own hours, be her own boss and set her own rules of when and where she could drive, and that she would be able to make money at her own will, Jan decided she would go ahead and try it.

Jan promised herself, that she would create a set of rules to abide by while she was driving. she doesn’t drive at night, and set limits on where she will drive to. she has always loved driving and figured it wouldn’t hurt to try it out. she started driving with Uber as a trial, just to see what kind of earnings she would make, but what Jan didn’t expect, was how much she was going to LOVE driving on the Uber platform and how it would make the difference of happiness in her life.

Uber Baseball Capshe thought that she was becoming an Uber partner because she needed the money. and yes, it was great to be able to receive earnings weekly that could pay her grocery bills. but she quickly found out that the earnings were second to social interaction she received meeting new people every day. she found that driving put her in a good mood…after stressful days at her sales job, she turns on her Uber app and takes a few rides before heading home. this helps her to destress and arrive home each day in a happy mood. just those few hours of driving, lets her unwind and meet new people. for her, being a driver-partner has been one of the best choices she could have made, and it has been a great experience.

Calling an Uber DriverUber Sticker on a Carshe told me…

“what other job would you have the opportunity to meet new people everyday, and learn about their lives or make them happy with good conversation. you get to drive to new places that you never knew existed – beautiful, hidden gems in Orange County Los Angeles and San Diego. everyday is different, and you never know what kind of adventure you will be taking. one day you might be driving up to Los Angeles where life is bright and exciting, and the next day you might drive down to La Jolla where it is relaxed and beautiful. during your break, you can eat lunch on the sand and look at the ocean, take a stroll in the park, or check out one of the hot places to eat in a new city.”

talking with Jan, you feel like she’s an old soul. full of life experience, with good sound advice and easy to talk to. she told me how happy it has made her when Uber riders told her she is the best driver they’ve ever had. or when they have told her she just made their day by listening to their problems are simply just chatting with them.

Tips for Becoming an Uber DriverWalking in the Park with UberTake Control of your Life with Uberand although, now times have shifted, and Jan doesn’t necessarily need the money she receives driving with Uber, she continues to do so because it makes her happy. yes…the extra money is nice, but the joy of social interaction has made the difference in her life.

Taking Care of Your Financial Destinywhat makes me happiest about Jan’s story is that she was able to solve the problem of needing to make enough money to support her family on her own, as well as creating her own happiness and finding that the benefits of meeting new people while driving with Uber was just what she needed. i have always had the outlook on life that we can all do this for ourselves. i was inspired by Jan’s story, and i hope that you are too.

if you think that Uber might be right for you, then go sign-up on the Uber app. it’s easy and is available in more than 300 cities around the world. with the freedom to hit the road whenever and wherever you want, Uber puts you in the driver’s seat of your schedule. you can turn on the app whenever the kids are at school, or you have time before or after work, or on the weekends. whether you have the need for some extra money for family or a to pay off a loan, need the flexible hours of being your own boss, or and outlet to get out of the house and interact with adults, Uber may just be your answer to taking control of your life and your happiness. 

Jan the Uber Driver

{ This post was sponsored by Uber. }