Stonyfield Southwestern Taco Dip featuring Late July Tortilla Chips

Southwestern Taco Dip

Post sponsored by Stonyfield Yogurt as a part of their Stonyfield YoGetters Blogger Program. We usually have a house full of friends for the 4th of July holiday, but this year is going to be very quiet.  The hubs is working this year over the 4th and my daughter decided to go spend the weekend with my parents. That leaves my son and I to find our own excitement.  I have absolutely no idea what we're going to do yet.  We may invite a few friends over for an impromptu pool party before we head out to watch fireworks.  There are so many fabulous places to watch the fireworks in Pinellas County, but we may stay close to home and head up to Tarpon Springs and watch the fireworks at Sunset Beach. You can find a list of all the local fireworks by county or city at Bay News 9, Fourth of July Fireworks schedule. Before our friends stop by, I made up a tasty treat to kick off the celebrations. I'm a sucker for a good taco dip and there are a million different ways to make it.  I often ... [ Read More ]

Take a Staycation in Downtown Tampa

Tampa Streetcar

If you live in the Tampa Bay area, have you ever truly explored the downtown area?  We live in Palm Harbor and only come downtown for sporting events and shows.  When Embassy Suites Downtown Tampa invited us to spend a few nights with them I was really excited to check out parts of town that we usually just drive past on the way to an event.  It was really nice not having to worry about transportation and travel expenses to go on vacastaycation.  We spent 3 days and 2 nights downtown and we could have easily spent an entire week to see everything. The Embassy Suites is located adjacent to Amalie Arena and the Tampa Convention Center, overlooking the Bay.  It would be a great place to stay the night if you didn't want to drive home after a concert or hockey game.  On our first night we were lucky enough to be downtown during the final game of the Stanley Cup Finals and walked across the street to the Bolts watch party inside Amalie Arena.  We would never have driven 45 minutes to ... [ Read More ]

Baked Spaghetti Bowls #ClassicoMakeItYourOwn

ClassicoMakeItYourOwn

This post contains affiliate links. Are you bored with your "go-to" spaghetti night?  Our family relies on spaghetti a few times a month and I'll be the first to admit that it's rather boring most nights.  Tonight I reDEFINED our dinner to make it fun with CLASSICO® spaghetti sauce and a few simple ingredients. You'll need spaghetti noodles, ground beef, onion,CLASSICO® spaghetti sauce, taco bowls, and shredded cheese. Brown your beef with some chopped onion while you are boiling your pasta noodles.  This only takes about 5-10 minutes depending on how many hands have decided to help me in the kitchen that night.  Tonight my six year old decided she wanted to help mommy cook.  I love how excited she gets when she's in the kitchen with me. Once your noodles and ground beef are ready, you'll want to place your taco bowls on a baking sheet.  Fill each bowl with drained noodles and top with ground beef,CLASSICO® spaghetti sauce, and shredded cheese. This is seriously one of ... [ Read More ]

6 Reasons Why Tweens With Braces are Just Like Toddlers!

Tweens With Braces are Like Toddlers

Tweens!  Now that my oldest is twelve we're entering stages of parenting that I've never experienced before.  Tweens are already a mess with all that puberty stuff and just as much fun as our own emotional pregnant and PMSing selves.  I have a feeling that parenting through this stuff is going to be a lot like parenting a toddler.  This week we added braces to our lives (his teeth, not mine) and it's been....hilarious!! Here's a video I took of him of the first day after getting braces....oh how quickly the joy and excitement wore off!   1. Do teething drops work for braces? I'm not one to medicate my child, but braces do hurt.  I remember them from when I was his age and they hurt for a while, and again every time you get them tightened. He only relied on the pain reliever for the first few days and I think he's finally getting use to the feeling of his braces. 2. Buy a splatter shield for all the spit!  There is so much spit coming from their mouth.  He hasn't ... [ Read More ]

8 Fun Things to Do at MommyCon Orlando

8 Fun Things to Do at MommyCon Orlando

MommyCon is coming to Orlando on Saturday, May 23rd and I've been looking forward to this day for the entire year.  You can view the entire agenda and schedule of events on the MommyCon Orlando website.  If you've never been to a MommyCon before, be sure you wear comfy shoes because there is a lot to do and even more to see. Use coupon code ECOCHIC15 and save $5 off your General Admission Ticket! (Affiliate link) 1. Attend a few seminars.  I'm planning on listening to the Cloth Diapering 101 seminar with Cotton Babies, Comedy Hour with the Honest Toddler's Bunmi Laditan, and Dear 25 Year Old Me with Jill Krause from Baby Rabies.  Be sure to check the schedule and mark the seminars you want to attend, the day moves very quickly and you might not get to see everything if you're not organized. 2. Shop the marketplace! There are lots and lots and lots of vendors at MommyCon.  If you're looking for cloth diapers you'll be happy to know that AppleCheeks, Thirsties, Smart Bottoms, ... [ Read More ]

The Truth About Spray Sunscreens

The Truth About Spray Sunscreens

This post is sponsored by Goddess Garden Organics Sunscreen. For years we've heard warnings that spray sunscreens should be avoided.  I have to say that as a busy mom in Florida, spray sunscreens can be very appealing.  Our kids move quick and don't sit still very long for us to apply lotion sunscreen.  I've religiously been using lotion sunscreens for the last few years and trying to explain to my friends why I don't want them used on my children. Did you know that most spray sunscreens are flammable?  Check the ingredients list and you'll most likely find alcohol as one of the ingredients in most spray sunscreens.  Alcohol is highly flammable and can turn your sunscreen bottle into a very dangerous and explosive bottle. Did you know that most spray sunscreens can be harmful if inhaled?  Any material when sprayed in or near your mouth and nose can be harmful.  When you are spraying traditional sunscreens, you're also spraying alcohol, fragrances, and lots of toxic ... [ Read More ]

Summer Sun Safety Tips with Goddess Garden Sunscreen

Summer Sun Safety Tips

This post is sponsored by Goddess Garden Organics Sunscreen. There's a lot more to sun safety than just applying a good, natural mineral sunscreen.  Our family spends a lot of time outside in the pool, at the beach, playing sports, and at school.  May is skin cancer awareness month and we can all take a little more time to protect our skin from the suns damaging rays. 1. Remember to apply a good facial sunscreen every day! Goddess Garden Facial Sunscreen can be applied under your makeup and is safe for kids.  You can get burnt even when you're driving around town with the sunroof open. 2. Wear your sunglasses! Especially if you have light colored eyes, you'll want to protect your eyes in the sun.  I can't go out without my sunglasses and it's just as important for us to teach our children the same safety tips. 3. Wear hats.  It doesn't matter what type of hat, you will add a little extra protection to your face and you'll be protecting your scalp.  It's really hard to ... [ Read More ]

5 Reasons to See Disney’s Frozen on Ice

FrozenOnIce

This Thursday my daughter and I are headed to Amalie Arena in Tampa to see Disney's Frozen on Ice.  We're excited that we can bring along a friend and her mom to see the show too; because I'm going to need another adult to survive the night.  If you're local, you can get tickets for the May 14-17th performances online - Frozen on Ice Tickets in Tampa. 5 Reasons to See Disney's Frozen on Ice in Tampa 1.  So your child can wear their Halloween costume one more time before they outgrow it.  Elsa was the #1 costume last year and I'm sure you spent good money on it.  Let them dress up for the show, just be sure to take the right Anna or Elsa home that night. I'm sure there we'll be a lot of costumes!! 2.  Because you love hearing thousands of little girls (and boys and moms) sign "Let It Go!" as loud as they can.  You know it's going to happen so start practicing now! 3.  Because you love Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt, the sponsors of Frozen On Ice!  What's your kids favorite ... [ Read More ]

Why Natural Sunscreens are Important

Goddess Garden Organics Sunscreen

This post is sponsored by Goddess Garden Organics Sunscreen. As a Florida family, sunscreen plays an important role in our lives.  We spend so much time outdoors (year-round) and if we leave the house without sunscreen, the entire family will end up with rosy cheeks, burnt noses, and a farmers tan.  As a child, I was blessed with the golden "Coppertone" style tan lines which were popular in my youth.  Since then, both of my parents have had sun spots and cancerous spots removed from their face, back, and shoulders.  I realized at that time that I should embrace my "peaches and cream" complexion and not worry about my tan.  I made it a priority in our lives to protect my children from future skin damage and slather them with sunscreen when we're outside. Unfortunately, we go through a LOT of sunscreen and there aren't many safe, natural options available at big box stores.  We've ended up relying on the cheap green "No-Ad" bottle of sunscreen that's available at WalMart.  Active ... [ Read More ]

Floridians add what to their coffee??

Seattles Best Orange Coffee

It doesn't matter how hot it gets in Florida, it's never too hot for coffee.  I didn't start drinking coffee until after my second child was born and now I don't usually miss a day.  There is something about the smell of that pot of coffee brewing in the morning to really kickstart my morning.  A few months ago I finally ditched my K-cups and fell in love with my french press.  If you aren't using a french press yet, you may enjoy this quick tutorial on how to get started (French Press 101).  All it takes is some boiling water and coffee.  Here in Florida though, we add a little bit of orange zest in the springtime to add a little sunshine to your coffee. Seattle's Best Orange Coffee Recipe 2 TBS Breakfast Blend Seattle's Best coffee 1/2 TBS Orange Zest 12oz filtered water Milk or half&half to taste Sugar or sweetener to taste If you're using a french press, add coffee grounds and orange zest directly to your press.  Add boiling water, cover, and sit for 4 ... [ Read More ]