Patriotic 4th of July Dessert

Patriotic 4th of July Dessert

This 4th of July Dessert was a staple in our house growing up. It’s quick and easy and somewhat on the healthy side – unlike our family favorite Pistachio Delight. The Jello, fruit, and Angel Food Cake makes this a light, refreshing summer dessert. Patriotic, festive, and perfect for any holiday BBQ.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! I never link to anything that I haven’t actually used. 

4th of July Dessert

What I love about this dessert is that it uses fruit that is in season. Strawberries and blueberries layered into the cake and jello are so good.

4th of july dessert berries

Slice the Angel Food Cake in half and use a knife or fork to poke holes into both parts. Layer fruit on top of the bottom piece. Prepare the jello according to the package directions and slowly pour half onto the cake. Don’t rush this part, give it time to soak in.

4th of July dessert pouring jello

Place the top back in and slowly pour the rest of the jello on the top of the cake. Secure the lid back on and put it in the fridge to set.

4th of july dessert jello

Once the jello is set,layer the cake/jello/fruit into a trifle bowl with the whipped cream and top with fresh berries. Or you can just scoop it out onto plates and top with whipped cream and fresh berries. Either way, it’s going to taste fantastic.

I use homemade whipped cream. It’s super easy to make and tastes way better than any store-bought version. I follow Alton’s lead on this one, see his recipe here.

4th of july dessert outside top logo

This tablescape was so easy to pull together. White dinner plates with patriotic bandana’s, glass cups, and coozies from Target’s Dollar Spot.

4th of july dessert place setting logo

This 4th of July dessert is Big Nugget approved.

4th of july dessert big nugget

4th of July Dessert

Easy and Patriotic 4th of July Dessert.

Course Dessert
Keyword 4th of July, angel food cake, fruit, jello, No bake


  • 1 Angel Food Cake
  • 1 package Strawberry Jello
  • 1 container Strawberries
  • 1 container blueberries
  • 2 cups whipped cream


  1. Remove cake from container and cut in half horizontally. Replace bottom half in the container and poke holes with a fork or knife (or cut cake into pieces).

  2. Prepare Jello according to package instructions. While Jello is liquid, layer berries on top of the cake and slowly pour over half the Jello. 

  3. Replace the top of the cake and poke some holes into it. Slowly pour the remaining Jello on top of the cake. Replace the lid and put in the fridge to set. 

  4. Layer cake/jello/berries in a trifle bowl with whipped cream. Top with berries. Keep cold until ready to serve.

4th of July Dessert easy no bake pinterest

Checking In – Whole30 challenge

Checking In – Whole30 challenge

At the beginning of the year, one of the goals that I set for myself was to break my sugar addiction. To be honest, I haven’t done a very good job of it. In fact, I think it’s probably the worst that it’s ever been. So while sitting at our favorite pizza place waiting for our food, my husband and I decided that we needed to make some changes in what we eat.

I don’t want to go on a “diet”. I am happy in my body, I work out four times (or more) a week and have a healthy body mass percentage. I’m not looking for some quick fix or something that isn’t sustainable. I believe in a healthy lifestyle with balance and moderation.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! I never link to anything that I haven’t actually used. 

Why Whole30

What I have noticed is that I’ve started to have more frequent bouts of anxiety and I have a very shortened attention span. My energy levels and my mood can fluctuate drastically in a 24 hour period. I know that nutrition can make a huge difference so I’m embarking on this experiment to see if I can change those things for the better by changing what I eat.

I’ve heard a lot of great things about the Whole30 program and after reading the book, I identified with a lot of the points that it made about the direct relationship food has with your overall well being, not just your pants size. A 30 day reset was exactly what I was looking for.

Thankfully, my husband is onboard as well and this can be a family affair. I’m nervous about navigating the temptations – there is no way I can take away Big Nugget’s favorite PB&J’s. I’m excited about how I’ll feel once the 30 days is up. Not just my moods and energy levels but also the sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a challenge.

I bought two books to help me prepare for this challenge and I’ve liked them both. The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom outlines the who/what/why/when/how of the program and it has some good recipes in it. The Whole30 cookbook has a very brief synopsis of the program but has a ton of great recipes, I’ve marked at least 30 of them.

I’m a planner and have already figured out the first week of food for us all – and we aren’t even starting until next week. I’ll share our meal plan and shopping list once I have it all completed and let you know a full review of week 1.

Be sure to follow my new Whole30 Pinterest board here.

Beyond Whole30

I’m still tracking on my other goals that I set at the beginning of the year. I’ve been vigilant about my one line a day journal. I finished reading Daring Greatly and have started on Little Fires Everywhere. Professionally, I feel like I’m taking some big steps to grow my business. I’m really excited about putting all the things I learned at the Mom 2.0 summit into action. I also signed a consulting client so I’ve been helping them strategize their social media strategy to grow their audience.

Did you set goals for this year? How are you tracking towards them?

WHOLE30 Challenge.png


9 Summer Survival Strategies

9 Summer Survival Strategies

While waiting for the preschool doors to open at pickup the other day, one of the Mom’s said: “I can’t believe summer is only 9 weeks long.”



Ya’ll, I’m starting to panic.

That seems like an eternity to me. To quell my anxiety, I started to make a list and break it down into manageable segments.

I can do this.

Nine weeks, nine ideas. Here is my summer survival game plan.

Summer Survival Strategy #1

Crafts – It’s hard to find crafts that are age appropriate for both a 15 month old and a 4 year old but my friend Heather at Glitter on a Dime has some amazing ideas. How cute are these DIY bird feeders?

Summer Survival Bird Feeder Craft

Summer Survival Strategy #2

Library – Our city library has various story times for both kids. We also love going to play with the toys and explore the new books.

Summer Survival Strategy #3

Kid Gym – One of my Momma friends turned me onto the magic that is the kid gym. We have a Kidsville near our house. Safe space for both kids to run and play and free wifi so I can get some work done…while keeping Little Nugget from hurting herself on the slide.

Summer Survival Strategy #4

Beach and Park – This is a no brainer. Living so close to the beach, this is a place where my kids can run, play, explore and be creative. The waves and salt air do wonders for my psyche. It’s all about smart packing, good sunscreen and embracing the sand. We’ll also be doing a fair share of breakfasts at the playground.

Summer Survival Strategy #5

Amusement Parks – We have season passes to Legoland California and the San Diego Zoo. I have a feeling I’m going to wear these passes out. We take full advantage of these parks during the summer while going during “off” hours to avoid crowds and lines. Or pack your patience and pick and choose what you’ll see that day. I always set the expectations before we even enter the park about how long our stay will be and we prioritize what we want to see that day. These don’t have to be expensive outings either…packing a lunch and staying away from the gift stores can save you hundreds of dollars.

Legoland has a great waterpark that is perfect for hot summer days. The San Diego Zoo Safari park is perfect during the summer in the morning before it gets too hot. There is a few great splash pads and shaded playgrounds for the kids to blow off some steam.

Summer Survival Strategy #6

Open Skate – Big Nugget started to play ice hockey and our local rink has open skate hours where she can go and practice her skills while Little Nugget and I run around and enjoy the cool air. We don’t have A/C at our house so this will a perfect activity for the hot late summer days when the house gets uncomfortable.

Summer Survival Strategy #7

Camps – Day camps can be a fantastic resource and are offered through a variety of places. YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, your church or school are some great places to look. I have Big Nugget signed up for two camps this summer. A Trolls themed dance camp at our studio where they do crafts and learn a routine for a show at the end of the week. Another is a kindness camp through Fox and Trove. This focuses on social emotional learning, I am really excited for this one.

Summer Survival Strategy #8

Travel -One way to pass time during the summer is to escape! This one is a bit extreme but again, it doesn’t have to be expensive. I cashed in our Delta miles and we are heading to Michigan to visit family for a week. Even a staycation in your hometown can be fun and economical!

Summer Survival Strategy #9

Movies – One of our local movie theaters has a theater specifically for kids. They let the kids play for 20 minutes before the movie and have an intermission for playtime and potty breaks. Genius. I think that Little Nugget will be old enough to go this summer. Let me rephrase that, I’m praying that she is old enough to go this summer.


Vegetable Garden Plan with Free Printable

Vegetable Garden Plan with Free Printable

Planning and planting our vegetable garden is one of my favorite springtime activities. The benefit of living in Southern California is that I can garden all year long but there is something fun about warm weather vegetable gardens. Planning, planting, watching the progress, and eventually enjoying the output. It’s so satisfying.

Our property has a lot of mature plants that we inherited from the previous owners. We have a fig tree, grape vine, pineapple guava, tangelo, lime, avocado, apricot and passion fruit vine. Since we’ve moved in, I’ve planted blueberries, blackberries, rosemary, thyme and sage. Some are doing better than others but that might be a whole different post.

We’ve also installed two raised beds and have a handful of containers.

Phew, it makes me tired just typing that out but this yard was one of the reasons we fell in love with this house.

I’ll take you through what we are planting this year – we are coastal, zone 10. Hopefully it inspires you to make your own easy vegetable garden.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! I never link to anything that I haven’t actually used. 

The Vegetable Garden

It all starts with good soil. We love to compost and this tumbling compost bin makes it super easy. We will mix this in with a few bags of organic soil from the garden store. I also put down a handful of organic fertilizer in the hole before I place the plant.

vegetable garden compost

These raised beds are the perfect size for small and medium size vegetable gardens. Cute helpers not included.

vegetable garden raised beds

I lay out the plants in the vegetable garden before I put them in the dirt. Using the containers they come in helps make sure I have the right size hole and spacing between the plants.

vegetable garden bell peppers

Putting the vegetable garden in is fun for the whole family. Big Nugget loves to pick out a strawberry plant each year. She is very helpful planting it and watering it. She also calls first dibs on any strawberries it produces.

We are starting some plants from seeds. I’ve never tried this before but hoping we can get some sunflowers and vegetables that weren’t in stock yet at our local garden center. It’s a great activity for the kids too, even the 15 month old could contribute. Really, she just took out the tags so we’ll be guessing what is what when they come in.

vegetable garden seeds

Vegetable Garden Trellis

Using a trellis can expand the growing capacity of a small vegetable garden, these are climbing french green beans and will fill out this 6 foot trellis fairly quickly.

vegetable garden peppers

The employees at our local Armstrong Garden Center are a wealth of information. I told one of the guys that I had a hard time growing any type of squash and I thought it was because I was too coastal. He suggested a trellis and training them to grow up it so that they didn’t get moldy from my wet ground. Excited to try this method out. I put the green onions in the middle because they will survive in partial shade.

vegetable garden trellis

I have a love hate relationship with tomato plants. They start off so promising. I’ve had the best luck with cherry tomatoes in containers and with a cage. I also try not to get the plant itself wet when I water and regular spray’s of Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew.

vegetable garden tomato

Free Vegetable Garden Printable

Looking to plan your own vegetable garden? Here is a free printable of our layout to help you plan our your warm weather garden.

Vegetable Garden Plan Printable

vegetable garden guide


How to Build a Laundry Shelf

How to Build a Laundry Shelf

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Our laundry room makeover is complete and the project that I’m most proud of has to be the DIY laundry shelf over the washer and dryer.

When I was pulling together the design board for this room, I knew that I wanted something over the washer and dryer. We had already used that space as a landing area, the laundry shelf would make it feel more intentional. It would also help muffle the sound of the washer and dryer a bit.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! I never link to anything that I haven’t actually used. 

DIY Laundry Shelf

The plan was fairly simple. Line the surrounding walls with 1×2 boards and lay common boards on top to make the shelf. Here are my tips for creating a DIY laundry shelf.

1. Invest in sawhorses. If you don’t already have them, get some. They will make staining and cutting infinitely easier.

laundry shelf stain one coat

2. Measure obsessively. I was so worried that I was going to mess this part up that I probably would have finished the project a lot faster if I only measured twice. Labeling the back of each wood piece helped me keep track of what went where. Leave room for any hoses or cords that are above the shelf.

laundry shelf cut mounts

3. Cut everything first. We had the large boards cut at Home Depot. The wall supports and the hose cutout I did with a jigsaw. Be picky when you are buying your wood. Make sure your 1×2’s are straight and that your common boards are not warped and have some character to them.

laundry shelf home depot

4. Sand down the edges – it will give everything a more finished look.

laundry shelf sanded

5. Stain last. Follow the directions on the stain container and stain the edges and under parts if there is any chance it can be seen. I used the Minwax Polyshade in Espresso.

laundry shelf stain options

laundry shelf steel wool

6. Use a good level and stud finder. All of the support boards were mounted at 30 inches high using either stud screws or drywall anchors/screws.

laundry shelf mountslaundry shelf mounts installed

7. Connect the boards underneath to prevent sagging. Attaching a small piece of 1×2 across the boards will help support them. Pre-drill the hole through the support and be careful not to go too far into the common board.

Laundry room shelf for over the washer and dryer that makes a huge impact. An easy DIY project that creates storage and folding space. This stained wood shelf is perfect for small spaces. See our full laundry room makeover for more ideas.

See more pictures of the finished room here.

DIY Laundry Shelf

How Saying Yes Brought Unexpected Joy

How Saying Yes Brought Unexpected Joy

Maybe it was the guilt from being gone 3 days last week at a conference. Maybe it was Little Nugget taking a long nap that cancelled our afternoon park plans the day before. Maybe it was cause it was Tuesday, the only day of the week that we don’t have anything going on. Whatever the reason, I found myself saying yes when my 4 year old asked if we could have breakfast at the playground on Tuesday.

She was so excited.

When I left the gym that Tuesday morning, it was cold and foggy. Driving home, I was already thinking of ways I could get out of it. Legoland? San Diego Zoo? Fake an injury?

But it was the first thing she talked about when she woke up and I couldn’t bring myself to disappoint her. Once Dad was off to work, we grabbed some Starbucks breakfast and headed to the park.

It was cold. It was wet. It was empty.

saying yes to breakfast at the park big nugget.jpg

It was fantastic.

The girls had so much fun. Ear to ear smiles the entire time. And with no other kids there, I could really hear their squeals of joy.

breakfast at the park swings

It made me realize that I say no to things too often. For really no good reason other than I don’t want to be bothered. Saying yes doesn’t have to be all the time. It doesn’t have to be daily. But saying yes can bring unexpected joy.

Was it hard to get to the playground at 8am vs. 3pm? Not really. In fact, it was way better with no crowds and a lot less stress.

breakfast at the park little slide

Lesson learned for this Mom, that we open ourselves up to joy when we say yes. I made my kids happy which in turn makes me happy. We had fun. We got some exercise. We set a good tone for the day. All because I said yes.

You won’t find me saying yes to everything, everyday but it will serve as a reminder of what an impact it can have. That sometimes I need to stop and think before my knee jerk reaction of saying no because I could be missing out on some incredible memory making.

breakfast at the park