Get Groovy With Hippie Juice: Cocktail Recipes for Spring

Cocktail Recipes

One of the Mama Kat prompts this week involves cocktail recipes:

Refreshments anyone? Prepare a drink for us and share the recipe!

Since I aim to please (and because I had all the ingredients since I made this recipe for a party in April), I bring you: Hippie Juice!

I discovered Hippie Juice on Pinterest and read about different variations on this blog. It’s perfect for a spring get-together or a beach outing. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A clean “Simply” brand juice container
  • Country Time Pink Lemonade powder mix
  • 1 cup Smirnoff Watermelon Vodka
  • 1/3 cup Triple Sec
  • 1/3 cup Malibu Coconut Rum
  • 4 strawberries

Measure out enough lemonade powder mix for two quarts (the lid of the container has a line for two quarts). Add the vodka, the triple sec, and the coconut rum. Mix it all together and put it in the Simply container. Add cold water to the neck of the Simply container.

Rinse the strawberries and cut straight across with a knife to remove the stem. Then place the strawberries upside down on the cutting board and slice evenly into 4 pieces using two motions forming a cross.

Drop the strawberries into the drink mixture, add water to the top, cap and shake gently to mix. Refrigerate.


Cocktail Recipes

 Cocktail Recipes

Happy 1st Birthday, Shot@Life!

In my Wordless Wednesday post yesterday, I asked who this woman is:


and I promised “the icing on the cake” today of revealing her identity as well as the 1st birthday that is being celebrated.

This woman is Polly Palumbo. I am excited to have had an opportunity to learn about her past year as a Champion for Shot@Life, a United Nations Foundation movement to protect children worldwide by providing life-saving vaccines where they are most needed. Shot@Life is celebrating its first birthday this week, along with World Immunization Week.

Here’s our conversation:

PK: There are so many different campaigns about causes that help children. What was it about Shot@Life that captured your attention?

PP: As a mom it’s hard to learn kids are still dying from illnesses we can largely prevent. I also know parenting is challenging. Every day there are decisions, choices to make from the simple to difficult. Although the latest study or expert might claim to know what’s best for your child, it’s not always clear. Sometimes there are no clear answers.  As a former researcher and psychologist who now writes about parenting and children’s health I often hear people say there’s nothing we know for sure about kids or they don’t know who or what to believe. I get it. One expert says make sure your kid drinks 3 glasses of a milk a day, the other one says kids drink too much milk. It’s true we hear more advice than ever, more conflicting advice than ever and I agree, it can be confusing. It’s easy to believe the experts don’t know anything.

But there’s one thing we know for sure – giving children in the developing world access to vaccines is the best way, in fact the most cost-effective way to ensure their future health. Plain and simple. Children are still dying from vaccine-preventable diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea and more parents should hear this. Most of us here in the United States have the luxury of not having to worry about our kids dying from measles or pneumonia but that is not the case in some parts of the world. Yes parenting is a challenge anywhere but there are risks and then there are risks. It’s easy to lose perspective. It’s easy to forget that we do know how to prevent disease and literally save a child’s life. I find that refreshing both as a mother sometimes worrying about things I needn’t worry about and as a professional debunking research and telling parents what we don’t know for sure or what they can ignore.

PK: One thing I have always struggled with as a parent is how to help my children understand that issues in places that are far away affect children who are the same age and gender as they are – that these kids aren’t just a picture in a magazine or an abstract problem (sort of the “eat your dinner, kids in China are starving thing). What is a way that I as a parent can help my children (13 and 16) have a basic understanding of the issues Shot@Life addresses?

PP: Kids get Shot@Life and want to help. I don’t think it’s hard for them to understand, even young children. After I spent a couple days at the Shot@Life Summit in D.C. last year I came home and told my children about it and explained what was so important to take me away from them.  They had a lot of questions. Kids want to know, they want to put it all into context. We talked about how kids were still dying from diseases we could prevent, ones we could prevent for very little money. My kindergartener at the time looked up and asked “how much money?”  When I said a few dollars he asked why if he had that much money in his piggy bank, the kids were still dying. He just couldn’t understand why the grown ups were not saving more kids. I told him I didn’t understand. That’s when I knew I would do more to help. It’s my kids, really, they make me want to help and they were eager to get involved.

Older children obviously have different questions and concerns. My oldest, a sixth-grader, had questions about the diseases themselves. She wanted to know about measles and polio in particular, where people were still contracting these diseases and also the history of these diseases here in the United States. We looked at several sites online together.

PK: Once my kids understand these issues, how can they get involved?

PP: My kids threw a simple fundraiser at their school (where they have a dress code). They sponsored a dress-down day where kids donate a dollar. They gave a brief presentation about Shot@Life. My daughters had fun making Shot@Life bracelets and cupcakes. We’re planning on making some t-shirts too. My oldest and I do Charity Miles for Shot@Life.

Kids can also write letters to their Senators and members of Congress on behalf of Shot@Life. An advocate in California, Tracy Clark, her teenaged daughter basically got her involved through Model UN at school. Other kids have participated in Valentine-making parties, birthday parties, free-throw fundraisers, walkathons, and helping out at booths at street fairs. The events have been so creative. My kids are already planning lemonade stands for the summer. They’ll help me throw some parties and a tag sale.

PK: How do you keep Shot@Life “front and center” among the various causes you espouse?

PP: Good question. We all have so many opportunities to help so I find it helpful to be clear why I advocate. There are causes or organizations that help a lot of people but in a small way. Then there are causes that can significantly improve the lives of a smaller group of children, maybe even kids who live around the corner. Then there’s Shot@Life that significantly changes, even saves the lives of a lot of children. So it gets my attention over and over! From writing about it on my blog, participating in Twitter parties, speaking about the cause at others organizations, making green friendship bracelets with my kid to finding myself in the same room (a large one!) at a “high-level” polio summit with world leaders at the United Nations, Shot@Life provides plenty of opportunities to get involved.

How do I keep it front and center? It’s not difficult with the momentum surrounding Shot@Life. From Blogust, the Champion Summit and the Global Mom Relay to this Birthday Bash, there’s always something brewing at Shot@Life. As one of the first advocates I now mentor other champions of the campaign. I find these women and men volunteering their time, efforts and dedication to helping kids so inspiring. It’s a pleasure to get to meet with people from other organizations and speak about Shot@Life.  Each time I go out on behalf of Shot@Life I am reminded each time that people identify with the cause, with the need to improve the health of children everywhere, be it in their families, neighbors or across the world. People want to help, they understand the pain of having a sick child. Their kids have had pneumonia or diarrhea. They didn’t have to worry if their children would survive these illnesses. Some remember measles and polio first-hand. And it’s easy to get involved. Sign up for emails, follow Shot@Life on Twitter, fill out an advocacy card, write a Senator, like us on Facebook, buy a t-shirt, go to a fundraiser, become a champion. Or download Charity Miles, a great way to get involved on a regular basis. I’ve enjoyed watching how Shot@Life figures into other advocates’ lives from photographers championing through their artwork, writers in their articles, health professionals in their offices or practices and teachers in their classrooms. We lend our unique gifts and insights to helping kids.

PK: As a Champion, what has been a highlight of the past year in terms of making a difference through Shot@Life?

PP: One of my most memorable experiences and probably most rewarding came in a room of women mostly in their seventies and eighties. I’d been invited to speak but after a few minutes of technical difficulties I couldn’t show a slideshow so decided to ask about their experiences with polio and other illnesses. I asked if anyone in the room or a close family member had had polio. Some hands went up. Then I asked if they’d had friends with polio.  More hands. Then I asked about measles, pneumonia and you can guess that most hands were in the air. They remembered these diseases all too well. They were eager to tell their stories. Also they just wanted to say thank you to me even though I’d basically just showed up, talked some then listened. They wanted to help too. So although I haven’t traveled to Nigeria or India on behalf of Shot@Life or met any families directly helped by the campaign, I think these women reminded me how terribly devastating these illnesses can be and not just for the victim but their family and friends even decades, a near lifetime later. They still remembered the pain.

lit one candle

Don’t you agree this interview is the “icing on the cake” that I promised last night?

 Thank you, Polly!

Shot@Life-Logo_tagline lockup_vertical

(I am linking this post up to Mama Kat. One of the prompts this week was “describe a time when you wish you had spoken up.” I think issues like immunization beg for us to speak up, and I thank Polly for helping me broaden the ways in which I can do so as well as my children.)

Mama’s Losin’ It

Burrowing Boroughs (A Mama Kat Writing Prompt)

This week one of the Mama Kat prompts was: “Write a poem about your favorite place to be.”

I have been missing New York City so much lately. With that in mind:


I sit amidst my family, which I left you to create

Their arguments pervade my concentration, they need me to launder clothes and mend frayed emotions

They leave me wondering who I am and why I presumed so much about how my path would go once your skyline was out of my rearview mirror

In my mind, I go to the subway with a book (as my peripheral vision drinks in  the diversity of people surrounding me uttering a world’s worth of languages)

I walk across Central Park from the West Side to the East Side to worship in a place that has housed centuries of worshipers and nourishes my late 20th century soul

I walk ten blocks then ten more, remembering to look up, something the tourists don’t always know to do

I fall asleep with the sounds of traffic, sirens, urban calamities and celebrations and routines that merge into a calmness of tranquil dormant energy

I get pushed past on the sidewalk; griped at by people who assume they are far more important than me, stopped dead in my tracks by the first tulip bloom of spring

Now, I grieve who I was there, anonymous and uniquely me all at the same time

The boroughs burrow into my heart and mind deeper and deeper with every passing year I am back in the Sunshine State


Mama’s Losin’ It

Streams Into Rivers (A Mama Kat Writing Prompt)

One of the Mama Kat prompts this week is “List 6 of your favorite quotes.” I am a huge quote freak but today I am sharing one, not six. I ran across this quote on social media recently, and it doesn’t need five other quotes competing for space when it says so much in sixteen words. The quote is:

Find a tiny stream in which your strengths can flow, and carve it

into the Mississippi.

~ Marcus Buckingham

framed leighton pic

Photo Credit: Leighton Photography & Imaging

My gratitude to Rich Leighton of Leighton Photography & Imaging for the use of this image.  I was given express permission to use the image; please do not reproduce it without permission.

Mama’s Losin’ It

The Five W’s of My March 2013 (A Mama Kat Writing Prompt)

For this week’s Mama Kat Prompt, let’s go with “March Favorites.” Since I can’t think of any other creative way to structure it, let’s go with the tried and true Who, What, When, Where, and Why.


My favorite people in March were Pink, who consoled a distraught toddler mid-concert (start watching around 0:40) and President Obama, who consoled a distraught toddler mid Easter egg roll. Having had many parent-of-a-distraught-toddler moments (ten years ago….), moments like this get a “mom’s gold star.”


What about March distinguished itself?

Okay, I know this is so very “first world problem” ish but I was so happy to have a new dress to wear to church on Easter. With Wayne’s protracted job hunt and the related family budget strains, the ability to buy new stuff has been slim. I got this dress for about $18, and spent another $18 to get it altered (almost everything I buy has to be altered) but I love the color and it just felt incredible to be wearing something brand new to my big work meeting on March 21 and to Easter Service on March 31. It’s the little things.

new dress

On Alterations Day


The “when” of March has to have been early morning, pre-sunrise, and sunrise for sure. I so enjoyed doing boot camp at our Capitol twice in March, and so many early morning runs. It’s the most energizing time of my day. My fellow Capitol boot campers and I were even featured in the Tampa Bay Times (read about it here).

(That's me in the long-sleeved gray shirt.)

(That’s me in the long-sleeved gray shirt.)


The “where” was on bridges — specifically the two bridges I crossed when running in the Gate River Run 15K race in Jacksonville, Florida, on March 9, 2013. I blogged about it here.



The “why’s” of my March would be considered by some to be diametrically opposed to one another, and I am grateful that *most* of my social media friends (and IRL friends) and I respected each others’ viewpoints even when we disagreed. But March was signified to me by my decision to make this my profile picture for two days in March, representing my support of Same Sex Marriage:


March was, finally, topped off by my celebration of the Holy Day of Easter, and my depth of gratitude for a loving God and the freedom to worship as I wish:


Mama’s Losin’ It

When Oh When Will We Say “Spring Has Sprung?” (A Mama Kat Prompt)

Today, I have chosen to do Mama Kat prompt number three: Show us what Spring looks like in your neck of the woods!

If the week of spring we have had so far had a theme, it would be, “Don’t put your heavy jacket away yet. Wait! Get out your umbrella! Oh heck you’ll be hot in all those clothes today. Where are your gloves again?” In other words, we’ve been all over the place here in Tallahassee, FL. A few samples:

It was technically not spring yet when I took this picture (it was 3/19) but the azaleas did not get that memo:

photo (43)

Next up, a gorgeous cloud/sun arrangement:

photo (44)

A chilly morning run on 3/21/13 after spring was “official” (this fleece headband gets a LOT of wear considering it’s “spring” in Florida):

photo (45)

Finally a day for short sleeves and shorts! And spring showers (3/23/13):

photo (46)

But yesterday found me digging out the fleece headband and the gloves again for mid-30s temps:

glove mk

And this morning we bundled up for boot camp at our Capitol Building (this is our fearless leader Shannon and me giving the Barre Bar a moment in the spotlight a/k/a “barrespotting”):

boot camp mk

And to close things out, this morning’s sunrise encouraged me to hang in there; it may be frigid still but Mother Nature knows we need an optimistic sign of hope:


Leave me a comment. I’ll take my gloves off, defrost my fingers, and reply!

Mama’s Losin’ It

How Will You Measure Your Life? (A Mama Kat Prompt)

This week, one of the Mama Kat writing prompts was: Write a post that begins and ends with the same line.

I have been transfixed all week with a piece by Clayton Christensen entitled “How will you measure your life?” (Christensen has also co-authored a book by the same name.)

My take:

How will you measure your life?

Will you be like a baker, poring over your recipe in advance, putting the butter out to soften, lining up each and every supply?

Will you carefully mete out each ingredient, forcefully packing the brown sugar and meticulously sifting and leveling out the flour?

Will you stress about whether your ingredients are over-moistened, under-beaten, or not folded in evenly?

Will you heat the oven to the exact temperature required, not a degree over or under?

Will you fret about when your product is perfectly done? Will you insert a toothpick and closely scrutinize it for any crumbs still clinging to assess doneness?

Source: MorgueFile

Source: MorgueFile

Or will you be like a “freehand” cook, casually perusing the fridge, pantry, and counter for ingredients that have a chance of complementing one another?

Will you say, “heck there’s nothing green and fuzzy on the cheese,” “I’ve never tried that combination before but it could turn out great,” or “ what’s to lose?”

Will you add a pinch of this, a dollop of that, and then mingle ingredients that have never been combined in a recipe, just because it might turn out delicious?

Will you turn the flame on to a height that “looks okay,” knowing that you can adjust it throughout the cooking process?

Will you have a sense of the “right shade of brown,” the tastiest “al dente,” the juiciest moment to enjoy the chicken, no matter what the timer says?

Source: MorgueFile

Source: MorgueFile

Yes, all the lines above are about cooking but we can look at the “baker” and the “freehand cook” as metaphors for life beyond the kitchen.

I am more like the baker. I like to know what to expect in advance, to follow the rules, to strive for “foolsafe.” I am married to a “by taste cook” who doesn’t worry too much about the difference between 345 and 350 degrees, who uses the dry measure cups for the liquid stuff, who says, “yeah, that’s probably okay” when no book or online recipe can back him up.

As a “baker” in life, I know it would “spice me up” to experiment more often, to risk failure by trying things that haven’t been tried before, to fill my pan with new ingredients and whip them up over a new fire.

For the “freehand cook,” I urge you to consider thinking about how sometimes directions are not prisons; procedures don’t have to be straitjackets, planning ahead doesn’t always mean sacrificing adventure.

Will you be a baker?

Will you cook “freehand”?

No matter what your life’s ingredients………….

How will you measure your life?

Mama’s Losin’ It

“Define Office” (A Mama Kat Writing Prompt)

Oh wow I can’t believe I’m going here. One of the Mama Kat prompts this week was:

Draw a picture that you feel accurately depicts one of your last tweets.

Here’s the problem with choosing to do this prompt: a) I can’t draw. b) My guest artist wasn’t able to do it c) See “a.”

But of course I’m not letting that stop me! Here’s the picture:

in out with pics

The text of the tweets leading to this were:

Tweet One: Oh stripper heels, you have no place at the office

Tweet Two:  Define “office…”

Tweet Three (mine): If they install a pole, RUN

Tweet Four:  Apparently I’ve been going about the “office thing” all wrong

Tweet Five (mine again!): My shoes aren’t the only thing that are wrong

Mama’s Losin’ It

If The $500 Fairy Visited (A Mama Kat Prompt)

This week, I chose a Mama Kat prompt that allowed me to dream, for at least a few minutes. The prompt is:

If I gave you $500 today, but you could use it for only one purchase, what would you buy and why?



There are three things I would choose from if $500 were placed into my hands right now:

Option One:  Pay down debt. The $500 would only put a small dent in what we owe but every single dollar toward being able to breathe again (emotionally) is a dollar well spent.

Option Two:  Send my mother in law on her dream trip to Rome. I know $500 wouldn’t cover the whole thing at all but it would be $500 closer than I am now.  At 78, her stamina to negotiate an overseas trip like that probably isn’t infinite. I hate to give up on this dream. I wish I could have found a way to save up for it, to win it (I’ve entered plenty of contests), to repay someone who has meant so much to me.

Option Three:  Travel to Guatemala to visit our sponsored child, Silvia. At 18, her time in the sponsorship program is limited (it ends when she stops formal schooling). The guidelines regarding sponsor/sponsoree contact after sponsorsSilvia (the mom), Tenley, Me, Silvia July 2011hip ends are strict, and it is unlikely she and I will see one another again. I want to look her in the eyes, give her a hug, wish her a lifetime of happiness, and thank her for what she has meant to Tenley and to me. $500 would cover the cost of a Mission Awareness Trip with the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging. There would still be the issue of airfare, and getting Tenley there, but $500 would be a start.

Thanks, Kat, for the opportunity to dream out loud (or on screen…..or whatever this is!).

Mama’s Losin’ It

Dear Cornered (A Mama Kat Prompt)

The Mama Kat post I am writing today incorporates prompt #2, “write your own ‘Dear Abby’ letter and #1, “incorporate the phrase ‘stop looking at me like that’ into your post.”

Dear Abby,

It may be unusual for some boxes, a bulletin board, and a whiteboard to write you (we got help from a human), but it has come to this.

Our owner packed us up and moved us five months ago in September because her reporting relationship in the org chart had changed and she had to move. The stuff in us boxes got put away but us boards have been unhung for the entire five months. Things did not get any better when our owner’s office was painted and carpeted over Christmas. She packed everything BACK up into the boxes, labeled us with her number, labeled the boards with her number and worked from home while the office got redone.

It is February. Here we sit.

photo (30)

We boxes really don’t care. We like our sunny corner. We know the stuff in us is relatively unimportant to our owner, and she’ll get to us eventually. Besides, once we get unpacked she’ll get out those scissors and slice that tape holding us together (ouch), fold us up and unceremoniously deposit us in the mailroom to await someone else who needs us. Us boards do want to get hung, but we know that she’ll get to us. After all, we have pictures of her kids on us and we know that she needs our presence to get through every day.

The thing is that the most senior person at her office walks in and stands there staring at us. We know he wants us gone. We know that our owner cringes inside every time he looks at us in that way and says something that doesn’t sound all that sincere to her, like “yeah I guess you have been busy.”

What should we do?



Dear Cornered,

You are kind of boxed in there aren’t you? (Sorry, I can’t help myself with the wordplay!!).

Whiteboard, this is your time to come out from behind that bulletin board and “speak up.”

I suggest you get a human (your owner, maybe) to help you with the following message:


and add this:


And that, Dear Cornered, will really be “thinking out of the box.”



Mama’s Losin’ It