The Importance of Being Reese: April 2016

The Best Margarita Ever

6 ingredient margaritas


Happy Friday!

We're a few days shy of Cinco De Mayo and I'm celebrating by sharing my absolute favorite Margarita recipe ever. It can be made for adults, or you can nix the alcohol and keep it kid-friendly, either way, it's hands down the best margarita ever. Don't believe me, give it a shot! You will not be disappointed.

Ingredients

2 oz. Sunny D or orange juice
2 oz. sour mix
1 oz. tequila
1 oz. orange liqueur
1 oz. lime juice
Ice cubes
Salt (sea salt or kosher salt works best for rimming glasses).


Instructions for Margarita 

In your blender, add your ingredients and blend well. Pour into a salt rimmed glass and enjoy with a smile!

Instructions for Salt Rim

Rimming your glass with salt is super easy--if you know how to do it correctly. To get the perfect salt rim, fill a shallow bowl with water, lime or lemon juice. (If you're feeling brave, combine all three for an extra sour burst of flavor). Next, fill a small dish with salt or sugar.  Dip the rim of your glass into the bowl, and then quickly dip it into the bowl of salt.

steps for salt rimming a glass


Many bartenders recommend twisting the glass to get more salt on the rim, some say not to. Whether you choose to twist your glass or not is entirely up to you. For your own piece of mind, try it both ways to see which style works best for you!

This Margarita recipe is perfect for a Cinco De Mayo party, celebration or just girls-night-in. It can be made without alcohol so that the kiddos can enjoy this refreshing drink as well.

If you loved this recipe, be sure to check out one of my most popular drink recipes-- Homemade Apple Moonshine. Tweet to share with friends, or repin for later!

simple cinco de mayo margarita




Until next time,


15 Messy Summer Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #allEssentials #CollectiveBias



As parents it's easy to forget how much fun getting messy once was. When we see our younguins playing in mud, our first instinct is typically to try to intervene. But we shouldn't. Sure you might catch a few side-eyes from the Sanctimommies at the playground, but studies have consistently shown that playing in dirt has many health and psychological benefits. In fact, a recent study revealed that certain types of  bacteria commonly found in soil activates the neurons in your brain that produce serotonin, the mood regulator of the body.

So, let your kids get messy! It's literally good for their health. It took me a while to build up the courage to just allow Little J to have good, dirty fun, but now that I've backed off a bit, I'm finding that I'm enjoying making messy memories with her. Besides, now that I've switched to using all® Fresh Clean Essentials, I can finally kick back and enjoy watching Little J make get messy without fretting about how hard I'm going to have to scrub to remove those mud/ and or paint stains. all® Fresh Clean Essentials provides a powerful clean without the typical harshness found in other detergents.

Since Little J has sensitive skin, finding sulfate free detergents has always been a bit of a struggle, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that all® Fresh Clean Essentials is sulfate free and still provides a powerful, deep down clean without removing the color from her clothing. In mommy terms, that means winning!

So if you're looking for some fun (and messy) ways to helps your little ones beat the indoor blues, check out my list below and make sure you've got your all® Fresh Clean Essentials at the ready to handle the mess!




Paint Rocks
This is one of Little J's favorite pastimes and involves very little supplies. Basically, all you'll need is a round rock or two, paint, paintbrushes, and a colorful imagination.
  1. Select your rock. 
  2. Lay out your paint
  3. Hand the paintbrush to your toddler
  4. Step back
  5. And let the fun commence.
  6. If you're feeling extra bold, put some paint in a bottle with 1/2 cup of water and let them spray paint their rocks.



  1. When your toddler is done, take the rocks and place in a warm and sunny location for at least 2 hours to allow rocks to dry. 
  2. Decloth toddler and toss contaminated clothing into washer along with detergent
  3. Read and follow instructions on your bottle of all® Fresh Clean Essentials
  4. Admire your toddlers handy artwork and bring rocks to your office to showcase how talented your little one is!


Melt Crayons in the Sun
Be sure to stop by and visit the lovely Crystal of Growing a Jeweled Rose for a full tutorial for this awesomely fun sunny day project!
Be sure to stop by and visit the lovely Tara of We Got Real for a full tutorial for this creative and messy outdoor project!
Be sure to stop by and visit the lovely Kim of Roadkill Rescue for a full tutorial for this wet and wild project!
Be sure to stop by and visit the lovely Jenn of Clean and Scentsible for the full tutorial for this awesome outdoor natural scavenger hunt tutorial and printable!
Be sure to stop by and visit WonderfulDIY.com for the full tutorial for this awesome outdoor natural scavenger hunt tutorial and printable!
Be sure to stop by and visit the lovely Crystal of Growing a Jeweled Rose for a full tutorial for this awesome nighttime project!
Be sure to stop by and visit the lovely Amy of Learning and Exploring Through Play for a full tutorial for this awesome nighttime project!

Be sure to stop by and visit Kids Activity Blog for the tutorial on how to make these messy and colorful paint bombs!
Check out B-Inspired Mama for the lowdown on this ooey gooey, delicious pie.

You'll want to check out this simple and amazing project-- Erupting Ice Chalk by Allison of Learn Play Imagine.
Stop by and visit Growing a Jeweled Rose AGAIN for this super easy outdoor craft for your toddlers and preschoolers! 
No blender, no problem! Go visit Lorie of Reading Confetti for a super cool tutorial on how to create a Blender Free Slushie
Talk about saving the best for last. Don't walk, run to Momfluential to check out this amazingly awesome tutorial for a Kiddie Car Wash!

These are just a few idea to get you started, but the possibilities are endless! If you're planning on getting messy with your kiddos this season, be sure to head to the Love Your Laundry Hub to check out all® Fresh Clean Essentials and see what everyone else is talking about!



Hello from the Huffington Post

Huffington post contributor


Happy April Loves, 

Just stopping by to share a spot of good nay AWESOME news! As of last week, I am officially a contributor to the Parenting section of the Huffington Post! You can keep up with my latest adventures on my contributor page. Please stop by and say hello from time to time. I promise you can expect to read the same quality content on my contributor blog as you find here. 

At the beginning of 2016 I made a deal with myself that I would either move it, or lose it. This year I intend to push myself beyond the bounds of my own expectations. I have so many amazing things lined up for this year both personally and professionally. But in the meantime, you can expect to see some more incredible things from my blog in the coming months including some awesome giveaways, product reviews, recipe tips and parenting advice. 

I'm looking forward to making 2016 the year of YES. Feel free to stop by Huffington Post and say hello, or find me on Twitter and Facebook where I will be sharing all of my Huff Post contributions

Until next time, 





5 Homemade Mosquito Repellents

Natural mosquito repellants


Mosquitoes suck, literally. And in case you’re a mosquito magneto, you probably are tired of having itchy, bumpy skin. You can be prone to bites due to a combination of light, heat, scent, and humidity. Different mosquito species — such as the ones which carry Malaria or Zika — prefer sweat and bacteria. Others get attracted to carbon dioxide and specific hand odors. Whichever species of mosquito you encounter, you can protect yourself without the use of a DEET-based mosquito repellent. Before you grab that DEET-based chemical repellent, consider using a natural option instead. This is because DEETs can cause health and environmental problems.

Heavy exposure to DEET is linked to headache, memory loss, muscle and joint pain, weakness, fatigue, tremors and shortness of breath in humans and is especially toxic to children. There’s no need to suffer long term and serious health consequences to keep pesky mosquitoes away. Choose a natural alternative that is proven to be as effective as DEET or in some instances, MORE effective than DEET. If you want to ward off the mosquitoes without relying on chemicals, the following are some more natural mosquito repellent options.

 Lemon Eucalyptus Oil 

Used since the 1940s, this is one of the more well known natural repellents. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has approved eucalyptus oil as an effective repellent for mosquitoes. It contains high levels of a compound known as citronellal, which gives it its lemony flavor and aroma that bugs find so unpleasant. A recent study revealed that a mixture of 32% lemon eucalyptus oil gave more than 95% protection against mosquitoes for up to 3 hours. You can create your own mixture using one-part lemon eucalyptus oil to 10-parts sunflower oil or witch hazel.

Lavender 

You probably know that lavender is a beautiful purple flowering plant with a calming, soothing scent. But, did you know that it’s a natural mosquito repellent as well? Crushed lavender flowers produce oil and fragrance that smells great. It is commonly used and effective to repel mosquitoes. Lavender also has antiseptic and analgesic qualities. This means that besides preventing mosquito bites, it soothes and calms the skin. You can grow it outside in your garden or flower bed, or indoors near a sunny window to keep the bugs away. Crush the flowers and apply the lavender oil to bite sensitive areas of the body, like your ankles and arms. On the other hand, drop some oil on a clean cloth and then rub it onto the skin.

Catnip 

Your feline friends will be glad to know that herb catnip is a great mosquito deterrent! Actually, in a 2010 study by Iowa State University, researchers discovered that the essential oil found in the catnip is up to 10-times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET. Another study found that the oil can repel mosquitoes effectively for 2 to 3 hours. Catnip a very easy plant to grow, and if you’ve cats in the house, they’ll surely be happy to have it around. It can be used similarly to lemon eucalyptus oil; crushed and rubbed onto the skin.

Black pepper (Piper nigrum)

New research a scientific study shows that an extract (the research used an alcohol extract but the essential oil from black pepper would probably work too) of black pepper is highly effective in repelling mosquitoes.

Soybean Oil 

Research cited in The New-England Journal of Medicine has found that repellents from soybean oil are just as effective as mosquito repellents as DEET-containing repellents. Based on research by the University of Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, soybean based products can offer longer lasting protection from mosquitoes compared to citronella-based products, which is a more common ingredient in repellents for mosquitoes. Soy oil is cheap and easy to find, making it an excellent alternative. Plus, it’s an excellent body moisturizer. Besides soybean oil, you can also add a bit of lemongrass oil to your homemade mixture. This combination has been proved to guard against multiple mosquito species.



It's quite easy to make your own natural repellent. These natural products effectively repel mosquitoes, but they will require more frequent reapplication (no less than every 2 hours) and higher concentrations compared to DEET. Owing to the differences between species of mosquitoes, products which contain multiple repellents tend to be more highly effective than those containing only a single ingredient. As you can see, natural mosquito repellents tend to be volatile plant oils.

Do you have a chemical free solution for keeping the mosquitoes away? Feel free to sound off in the comment section below.

Until next time,