Melissa Kaylene: June 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014

10 Ways to Keep the Kids Entertained When the Power Goes Out (with Duracell)

“This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.”

10 Ways to Keep the Kids Entertained When the Power Goes Out #PrepWithPower #shop #cbias

This last week we had a couple of blustery days around here. Nothing major besides rain and a slight warm breeze in the dark sky, but none-the-less whenever that weather happens around here this time of year one thing comes to my mind - thunderstorms. I actually enjoy thunderstorms (so long as nothing gets permanently damaged!) but I know that occasionally when we have a thunderstorm the power goes out, and I'm left trying to keep the kids occupied in the dark. So, I made a kit that include lots of things, including Duracell Batteries.

10 Ways to Keep the Kids Entertained When the Power Goes Out #PrepWithPower #shop #cbias

It's stored on a shelve in the garage so it's easy to get to, and it's filled with everything we need for a night at home without power. Sometimes storms can be a pretty scary thing for little ones, so keeping them feeling safe as well as distracted are my number one priority. In our kit I've got a number of things, but most importantly using Duracell to keep all of the lanterns, flashlights, and electronics going! They can be easily found at Walmart as they have an in aisle display as well as several others throughout the store on the end of aisles.

10 Ways to Keep the Kids Entertained When the Power Goes Out #PrepWithPower #shop #cbias

Some other things that I've packed in our power outage bag include: 
  • Candles and a lighter
  • Hand sanitizer
  • A couple treats and snacks
  • A special game
  • Deck of cards
  • Markers / Pencils
  • Notepads
  • Glow sticks
  • Back up cell phone boost charger
In addition to our kit I've made a list of ideas to help keep the kids for when we do happen to have a power outage:

1. Break out a board game: We love a classic card game and Yahtzee is always on our go-to list, but there's also some newer fun games like Bop-It, Catch Phrase, and Simon Says that creates a bunch of fun with the help of a couple Duracell Batteries

10 Ways to Keep the Kids Entertained When the Power Goes Out #PrepWithPower #shop #cbias

2. Read a special story together: Gather around in a circle with flashlights and read a funny story together. The kids will love it, and it will help distract them from the weather. 

3. Have a Glow Dance Party: Break out the glow sticks that you should have in your emergency pack, adorn the kids with them and them turn up the battery-operated radio and have a dance party! If you're really into it they can even have a dance contest.

10 Ways to Keep the Kids Entertained When the Power Goes Out #PrepWithPower #shop #cbias
4. Play Shadow Puppets: Now is the perfect time to let the kids play pretend with their own shadow puppets! Break out a couple of flashlights and shine them against the wall and let their imaginations run wild.

5. Set up Camp: Create a fort in the living room! Either pop up a tent or create your own by hanging up blankets and setting out sleeping bags. Have them grab all of their stuffed animals and have lots of fun. 

6. Have a Drawing Contest: With the lights out! Turn off all of the flashlights and then give an idea of something for everyone to draw, then try to draw it in the dark! It's pretty funny to see how everyone's turns out.

7. Make a Taste Testing Game: Ever been to a baby shower and they played that game where brave souls had to taste the baby food and guess what flavor it was? Well this is way better. Just scrounge up items from your cupboards and then challenge your kids to guess what they are. Have them each taste them and make guesses before shining the flashlight on what they've just ate. You can play nice here or tease the older ones a bit more depending on what's in your pantry. 

8. Roast Some Marshmallows: Over a candle. You haven't tried it before? Break out your unscented emergency candles and put a marshmallow on a fork or chopstick and then melt away! Who says you have to do it over a camp fire?

9. Take Silly Pictures: Break out the camera and have the kids dress up in funny outfits and take photos with the "spotlights" of the lantern and flashlights. Later print them out and give them a picture to keep of the memorable evening. 

10. Talk: Sounds silly, but how often now days to we get the opportunity to just talk? To not be distracted by a million different things and going in a hundred directions with multiple events? Sit down, snuggle up, and just ask your kids questions. Chances are it will open up the conversations for them to ask you questions that they've been wanting to know. 

It's also a great idea to have an emergency supply bag just in case the electricity doesn't come back on in a few hours or if there's a bigger natural disaster. I'm still working on these, but ideally it would be great to have a backpack for each member of the family with things like water, food, a blanket, batteries, flashlight, a lighter, extra clothes, rain gear, sunblock, first aid kit, a radio, and a multipurpose tool. Chances are you'll never need it, but it's just one of those things that it's always good to be prepared.

10 Ways to Keep the Kids Entertained When the Power Goes Out #PrepWithPower #shop #cbias

What kinds of things do you do with your kids when there's a power outage? I'd love to hear more ideas! Thanks #CollectiveBias for letting me share how we #PrepWithPower.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

12 Delicious Drinks You Should Be Sipping on This Summer

Check out 12 Delicious Drinks to Sip on This Summer
by Melissa Kaylene at

I love making cocktails. Years ago it started out with an obsession for Pina Coladas. Then I transitioned into Strawberry Daiquiris. Last summer I finally tried my hands at making a Mojito (which was delicious!!), and many times you'll find me shaking up a Lemon Drop or two. 

12 Delicious Summer Drinks #FoodieByGlam

Last Sunday I created a Marion berry Green Tea Arnold Palmer that I still have to write up and share with you, but today I thought I'd share some of the most delicious looking drinks recipes that I've collected at to create at least once this summer!

Fruit flavored cocktails are a must in the summer and I tend to lean towards berries and citrus flavors. Some of my favorite drink flavors include:

  • Raspberry
  • Strawberry
  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Blueberry
  • Mint
  • Coconut
  • Peach
  • Mango

12 Delicious Summer Drinks #FoodieByGlam
Everyone has different tastes, but I think that a light refreshing cocktail is a must for summertime, and I prefer to use vodka and rum for liquor bases, and a Prosecco or Riesling for a wine based drink. Those are just my personal favorites.

12 Delicious Summer Drinks #FoodieByGlam
What are some of your favorite summer time drinks? Do you get stuck in a rut (like me) and tend to stick with a staple drink for periods of time before becoming adventurous?

Compensation was provided by Foodie via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Foodie”

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Extraordinary Little Moments

This week it was Anika's turn to help the older kids feed the sheep at the barn, so Wayne has been taking her over at 6 pm each evening. Wednesday I had an event at Whole Foods so he had to take all three kiddos with him. Of course then on Thursday and Friday they wanted to go again, so Noah got to go the first day and then Emma went with them last night - leaving just Noah and I holding down the fort at home for an hour.

I decided to do something that I don't do very often - for that hour I followed his lead and played with him, in that magical way that only a 4 year old can create. We tickled and tackled on the couch - playing pretend with bouts of giggles in between - when suddenly he turned to the window.

Four large birds were gliding in the wind over the trees that lead down to the river, and he was in awe. Normally I would just glance at them or mention to Noah that I see them too, but not this time. This time I sat there in awe with him - and just watched them.

I forgot how extraordinary the littlest things can be. 

For 30 minutes we sat there spotting out all of the birds that flew by, watching them soar or dart or dash by. This extraordinary boy is so observant of the world around him. I suddenly found myself back as a child, when there were no schedules, no deadlines, and no responsibilities - when nature was a big part of my life and when summer seemed to last forever. 

I miss those days. 

The Stanford Children's Health Hospital and the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital have been the top-ranked children's hospitals in Northern California for over a decade, and like me, they believe that what makes kids extraordinary isn't just the epic stuff - it's the little things. It's those little moments that maybe only you as a parent can see and celebrate daily, and they've created a site to help you remember the little extraordinary things by creating a video for your kids - and it's really easy to do.

Here's the one I created for Noah last night. It brings a smile to my face every time I see it.

"Your kid is extraordinary. Show them how much you enjoy every moment together by creating a special video of your own."

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Friday, June 27, 2014

How I Built a Raised Garden With a Little Help From Tom's of Maine ;)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
How to Build a Raised Garden #FreshNaturally #Shop #Cbias

If you follow me on Instagram you would know that last week my friend came over and we were working on a ‘top secret’ project that I wasn't going to share until I was finished. Well, it’s done. With the help of cool drinks and anti-perspirant (!) I got all of the hard work done and I can officially check one thing off of my summer DIY bucket list!

How to Build a Raised Garden #FreshNaturally #Shop #Cbias

I created a raised garden in my side yard – and it wasn't quite as difficult as I thought it would be. First I hooked up our trailer and headed into town to get supplies. I decided that I wanted to make the garden 5’x12’ and 16” deep. We had to figure out how much soil I would need too, and luckily most of the time if you ask people they will help you figure all of that technical stuff out (since math and me aren't real good buddies). Anyways, turns out 2 yards of soil worked out perfectly. It didn't sound like much – until it filled the whole back of the trailer! The kids loved watching them dump it in.

How to Build a Raised Garden #FreshNaturally #Shop #Cbias

We then purchased 8 2x4x12’s and 8 2x4x8’s and the guys at the store were kind enough to cut the 8 footers down to 5 feet for us, which saved us a bunch of time. We already had the screws to assemble the frame, but I did buy some chicken wire to keep all of the random bunnies we seem to have away.

How to Build a Raised Garden #FreshNaturally #Shop #Cbias

By the time we fed all 5 of our kids and got home it was of course the hottest part of the day! We drank some cool drinks and I was so glad I had my Tom's of Maine Naturally Dry Deodorant on because or else I would have really smelled like a you-know-what. I love using Tom's products because they have no artificial ingredients, colors, or preservatives.

How to Build a Raised Garden #FreshNaturally #Shop #Cbias
How to Build a Raised Garden #FreshNaturally #Shop #Cbias
The first thing we did was make sure the area was level enough (Note: I’m not a professional or perfectionist here) and then we assembled each 5x12 square one at a time, and then positioned them where they would stay. We stacked them as we built them until all four were on top of each other. We then took the 3’ scraps we had left from the pieces that had been cut down and screwed each one of them in a corner to connect them all together, along with one on each side in the centers to secure it.

How to Build a Raised Garden #FreshNaturally #Shop #Cbias

When everything looked right we filled the bottom of the garden with newspaper a couple of inches deep. I read somewhere that it helps to keep the weeds away.Then, shoveling. We live on a hill, so my driveway is an in incline, but I was so proud of myself for backing the trailer up to within an inch of the garden on the first try. (Not shown in photo) I think I may have did a little fist pump in the air. J I spent hours shoveling all of that soil in, and worked until 10:45 that night with the street lights as my guide, you know, just to keep my neighbors wondering.

How to Build a Raised Garden #FreshNaturally #Shop #Cbias
How to Build a Raised Garden #FreshNaturally #Shop #Cbias
How to Build a Raised Garden #FreshNaturally #Shop #Cbias

After day one I came in, cleaned up and sat down exhausted. I don’t normally watch too much television, but I do surf the internet probably more than I should, and I remembered I had an Amazon gift card burning a hole in my online pocket, so I did a little late night shopping and stocked up on Tom’s Deodorant – since I have that long DIY list that’s going to be forcing me to work in the heat a lot.

How to Build a Raised Garden #FreshNaturally #Shop #Cbias

The next morning I finished shoveling dirt, then painted the walls white to match our house trim, and the kids helped me plant our plants. I then put the chicken wire around it and voila! We have a nice sized area to grow our own veggies! I’d like to trim the 2x4’s down to the level of the chicken wire soon, as well as fill in the side with gravel. I had also ended up moving two wine barrel halves (remember our wine barrel summer salad garden?) to below the raised bed, which required me shoveling all of the dirt out to move them and then filling them back in.

How to Build a Raised Garden #FreshNaturally #Shop #Cbias
How to Build a Raised Garden #FreshNaturally #Shop #Cbias
How to Build a Raised Garden #FreshNaturally #Shop #Cbias

I was definitely sore after day two, but it was totally worth it! It’s such a good feeling to tackle and finish a project.

Thanks #CollectiveBias and Tom's of Maine (#NaturallyFresh) for helping me make this garden possible! 


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Living Locally: Jim Henson's Dinosaur Train

This summer, Jim Henson's Dinosaur Train (based on the hit PBS Kids Television series) is coming for the first time to the Mount Hood Railroad in Hood River, Oregon! Your kids will get to meet Buddy, the loveable and curious T. Rex, and visit the Nature Tracker's Adventure Park. There, kids will participate in 4 challenges designed to earn them stamps on their Game Card to earn a Nature Trackers Membership Card. Challenges include digging for fossils, identifying dinosaur footprints, excavating and a dino-themed craft area. Children (and parents) will enjoy live entertainment, food and face painting to celebrate their accomplishment.

The half hour train ride itself is a fun-filled journey complete with Dinosaur Train music, sing-a-longs and a delicious snack. All children on board will receive a Buddy Bag, and an Adventure Game Card as a keepsake memory of this adventure-filled day out with the family.

To find out more visit the Mt. Hood Railroad website.

There’s also a fun contest going on! Dinosaur Train is having a A to Z Song Video Contest!

"Calling all fans of the hit PBS TV series, Jim Henson's Dinosaur Train. All the little Adventurers out there know the tongue-twisting "A to Z Dinosaur Song" - and they want to hear their renditions for a chance to receive a special Dinosaur Train prize package! Get ready to impress people with your amazing dinosaur knowledge!"

Simply fill out the submission form below and give us a link to your video from a webhosting site (such as You Tube or Vimeo) and you're entered! After submitting your video, you will be given the opportunity to share with your Facebook and Twitter following, earning you up to two more entries. Winners will be selected at random. All entries will receive a " half-priced half-pint" coach child ticket on the Western Train Robbery aboard the Mt. Hood Railroad.
For the Grand Prize, a winner will be randomly selected in a drawing and will receive:

  • A goody bag of Dinosaur Train merchandise (worth $100 dollars) 
  • lunch (up to $60) for a family of four in our cafe with a visit from with Buddy the T.rex with time to take photos alongside him. 
  • Also included is a family four pack of coach tickets to the Western Train Robbery aboard the Mt. Hood Railroad (valued at $110).

Submissions must be entered by July 8th at midnight PST

I was given 4 free passes to the Dinasaur Train from the Mt. Hood Railroad via the USFG, no other compensation was received.  All opinions are my own.

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #74

I have shocking news to share with everyone! We have NO plans this weekend! Well, Wayne may have to work on Sunday, but we have no games, no events, nothing other than having Anika take care of her lamb,and me working from home. It's seriously been months I think since this has happened! It won't last long though, because next week we are all heading to the coast to camp at one of my friend's houses for a couple of days for the 4th of July weekend which I can't believe is right around the corner! Do you have any 4th of July posts you'd like to share? I'm looking for some more inspiration for my Red, White and Blue Pinterest board!

This link up to to share anything and everything that inspires you. 

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #74

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Willamette Valley Wonder Woman" width="250" height="250" /></a>

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Summer DIY Bucket List

My summer DIY bucket list

Lately I've felt like I could totally transform into a hermit and I'd be completely cool hiding out in my own house. I'm sure that I'd get tired of it after a week or two, but the thought of it's been pretty appealing! I think it's just because I've felt like I've been on the go more this past year than ever before.

It's been officially summer for four days now and I know that last year I was very much into creating a summer bucket list of things that I wanted to do with the kids. While I still love the idea of doing that again, I think this summer I'd like to shift my focus from going and doing so many activities to more DIY activities around the house. After 7 summers here it's time to start sprucing up.

My husband works pretty long hours most of the time, and having had babies and toddlers since we've moved in here, there's a lot of things that haven't gotten finished (or started!) at our house. With Anika turning 11 this summer, Emma 6 1/2 and Noah being 4 years old now, I feel that I can actually accomplish some of these things with both of my hands while having the kids here. People take things for granted like mowing the lawn, or even weeding - because it's so hard to do when you have a baby teething or needing fed! I think the kids are finally at ages where I can work on something for more than 2 minutes at a time while they play together.

So, this summer bucket is still coming (if you need ideas for yours here's 31 summer activities), but here's a glimpse at my to-do list. I know that it won't get all done in the next 11 short weeks, but that's okay as long as I keep plugging away at it.

  • Buy and install a new screen door
  • Build a raised garden (hint - this one will be on the blog soon!)
  • Stain the fence and decks
  • Tile the bathrooms and repaint the walls
  • Clean the bedroom carpets
  • Repaint the house
  • Fix our garage door - so it will actually work!
  • Clean the garage and organize it
  • Finish building the play structure for the kids
  • SOMEDAY lay hardwood flooring down
  • Create a chalkboard wall that I can hang on our fence for the kids
  • Mulch the yard

Do you have a summer DIY list started? What's your number one project to get done before school starts back up?


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Guest Post: 8 Top Tips For Meaningful Bedroom Decor

Hey everyone! Today I have a fun guest post from Alice who writes the blog for her aunt's store, The YorkShire Linen Company. She's sharing tips to create more meaningful bedroom decor, and I love all of her ideas! Alice is also going to be creating her own personal blog soon, so we'll be able to check out even more of her writing! In the mean time you can connect with Alice on her Facebook Account. If you'd like to learn more about guest posting, click HERE.
Hi my name is Alice and I am glad to be guest posting here today! I am a blogger with the vision to do home decor for everyone. Say hello to me HERE 

8 Top Tips for Meaningful Bedroom Decor (Bedspreads & more)

Have you ever wondered why some interiors look fantastic; welcoming, cozy and attractive, while others that are superficially similar just do not work? The main difference, you may be surprised to learn, has nothing to do with the quality or expense of the decor, but rather the meaning, or import behind the design. This is why some homes look absolutely lovely and yet are lacking in that sense of intimacy that makes a room decor successful. Here is how to make sure your decor is both beautiful and meaningful, especially in the bedroom.

8 Top Tips for Meaningful Bedroom Decor
Be Passionate
If you are not interested in decor and do not really care about what your bedroom looks like, this will show in the finished room. Do not worry if you have never decorated a room before, but do make sure that you have strong feelings and ideas about what you want the decor to portray. Do you like cool elegance or warm vibrant colors? Are you a neat-freak, needing smooth uncluttered surfaces or do you prefer a more lived-in room? Plan out your bedroom on paper and in your head, drumming up enthusiasm for the task ahead before putting any of it into action.

8 Top Tips for Meaningful Bedroom Decor
Put In the Necessary Effort
Do not be tempted to race through the job as this can result in poorly applied wallpaper or streaked paint. Rather, think ahead to the finished decor and imagine it as you would like it to look then, rather than racing to get it all done too quickly. Take your time over the decor task, slowly purchasing all the products you will need before you start, and then working your way slowly and steadily through all the tasks on your to-do list.

8 Top Tips for Meaningful Bedroom Decor
Tweak Where Necessary
Once the job is done, look around with a critical eye and allow yourself some leeway to make changes to anything that does not look as you imagined it would. Flexibility is a key trait that we all need at some stage during our lives and learning to embrace it makes our lives very much easier. Having said that, do not continue to change and fiddle with the decor: try once or twice and then perhaps decide to accept that you may not ever achieve the exact effect that you are aiming for.

8 Top Tips for Meaningful Bedroom Decor
Fantastic Furniture
Although costly furniture is not necessary, buying the best quality bedroom set that you can afford is the best policy. Better quality furniture will look good and last for a longer time than poorer quality pieces. Do shop around though and make sure you pay the lowest price for the best quality pieces.

8 Top Tips for Meaningful Bedroom Decor
Beautiful Bedspreads
Choose your bedding with care and attention. Not only will you be forced into contact with the bedding every night but the bedding will go a long way to setting the whole tone of the bedroom. There is an immense array of bedding fabrics, styles and patterns on the market today and some research should help you to find the perfect bedspread to complete your chosen decor style. I have a strong thing for colorful bedspreads in Summers and Yorkshire Linen is a good option for getting them.

8 Top Tips for Meaningful Bedroom Decor
8 Top Tips for Meaningful Bedroom Decor
 Lovely Light
Good lighting is essential in any room. Poor lighting detracts from the decor as people are simply unable to see it clearly enough to appreciate it! Choose attractive light fittings and make sure that you put in relatively high wattage bulbs. Lamp & Light has fabulous glowing bedroom lights.

8 Top Tips for Meaningful Bedroom Decor
The Whole Picture
Look at the room as a whole to see what is lacking and to pick out any jarring notes in the decor. It can be all too easy to want certain things in the bedroom, for perhaps sentimental reasons, but if these items (it could be a picture, statue or even an old chair) upset the smooth flow of the decor you may be better of keeping it in another room.

8 Top Tips for Meaningful Bedroom Decor
Finish It Off
Make sure that you complete the entire bedroom. As mentioned above, you may need to work on your bedroom over time, but do give yourself a timetable for having the room completely finished. As a final touch, having checked the overall ambiance and feel of the room, make sure that there are no obtrusive spaces in the room, areas where there is something lacking. Fill these spaces with accessories, soft furnishings or even soft toys: whatever will please you!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Almond Butterscotch Iced Coffee + The Benefits of Almond Milk

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. This is a #CollectiveBias post for #SilkAlmondBlends.
 Recipe for Almond Butterscotch Iced Coffee #SilkAlmondBlends #cbias #shop

Yesterday for Wayne's belated Father's Day celebration we did a little BBQ for just our family and relaxed out on the back deck together. We had fillet mignon, grilled asparagus, Yukon gold mashed potatoes with gravy, a pear feta pecan salad, Marion berry green tea Arnold Palmer's - but before dinner started I made Wayne some iced coffee with one of his favorite beverages; Silk Almond Milk. He's always loved it and to be honest I had never drank it before I met him, but now I like to purchase it here and there. It's got a great flavor and the benefits of almond milk are amazing.I used the new Vanilla Almond milk with protein and fiber to make our iced coffees yesterday, and I got to tell you, I slurped my glass down super-fast!

 Recipe for Almond Butterscotch Iced Coffee #SilkAlmondBlends #cbias #shop

I even let the kids try some too since they thought they were missing out (minus the actual coffee of course) and they loved it. I guess it had been a while since we had them drink any almond milk because they had forgotten about it! That's probably because Wayne drinks it pretty fast when we have it in the fridge. ;) Some of the benefits of drinking almond milk include: 

• More calcium than dairy milk
• No cholesterol or saturated fat
• No artificial colors or flavors

 Recipe for Almond Butterscotch Iced Coffee #SilkAlmondBlends #cbias #shop

The best part about this iced coffee it is that it is so simple to make and is a delicious to sip on in the summer! You can find Silk Almond Milk in the refrigerator section at Safeway (which is one of my favorite places to shop!) 

 Recipe for Almond Butterscotch Iced Coffee #SilkAlmondBlends #cbias #shop
 Recipe for Almond Butterscotch Iced Coffee #SilkAlmondBlends #cbias #shop

Here's how simple it is to make:

What you need:

1/2 cup freshly brewed coffee

1/2 cup Silk Almond Milk with Protein and Fiber

Whipped cream

1 TBSP butterscotch syrup (+ extra for topping)


Brew your favorite coffee and let it cool to room temperature. Pour 1/2 cup of coffee into your favorite glass mug. Pour 1/2 cup of Silk Almond Milk with Protein and Fiber into the glass, and then add one tablespoon of your favorite brand of butterscotch syrup/topping. Top the glass off with ice and then add whipped cream and butterscotch drizzle if you'd like! 

It is so seriously so easy to make and the flavors of the vanilla almond combined with the coffee and butterscotch really was amazing! 

 Recipe for Almond Butterscotch Iced Coffee #SilkAlmondBlends #cbias #shop
 Recipe for Almond Butterscotch Iced Coffee #SilkAlmondBlends #cbias #shop

Do you have a special blend that you make when you drink iced coffee? What unique flavor combinations do you like?