Thursday, October 27, 2016

BIG {and small} Adventures in the 2016 Mazda CX-5 #DriveMazda

When the 2016 Mazda CX-5 showed up at my door to test drive for a week, I was
instantly in love with this hybrid SUV with Skyactiv Technology. From the Soul Red
Metallic paint job to the 19-inch alloy wheels. So, even though I didn't have any BIG 
adventures planned for the day since the kids were at school, I immediately had to
take it on a small adventure so I could get behind the wheel and see what this pretty little
vehicle was capable of. So, I popped Gracie in the CX-5 and we headed to the store.


I love the advance keyless entry system that unlocks when the key is in proximity and
you put your hand on the handle. It makes it SO much easier to open the door when
you're juggling a toddler, the groceries and a giant diaper bag. I don't have to fish the key
out of the bottom of my bag, I just get close, put my hand in the handle, pull and BAM!
it's open! It's really so great! It also has great rear trunk space! Just look at all that room.
I put the stroller in there with several other things and there was still space to spare.

On the weekend we headed down to Carlsbad for Brick-or-Treat at LEGOLAND. It
was such a smooth drive and I loved using the cruise control. It also has Smart Brake
Support that alerts you when braking is immediately necessary and if you don't take
action, the CX-5 automatically applies the brakes. So cool! It also has  
Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring that helps detect objects in your blind spot and
alerts you with a chime and a light in your side mirror if there is someone in your blind
spot and you are trying to enter the lane. As with most all of the sensors on the car, you
can set the sensitivity and the volume of the notification. It had great acceleration and
 I never felt lag when I tried to hit the gas and felt it was always very smooth.

When the Drive Shop employee dropped off the CX-5 he joked that he was going to
show me the rain-sensing windshield wipers, but that since we live in Southern 
California I wouldn't need them. Well, I'm so glad he showed them to me, because 
it rained! And it was so cool to have them work and turn on during the rain. I went to 
my favorite fabric store in the rain and it handled great on the wet roads and having 
all the safety features made me feel safe!

Grace and I took a drive up to Yucaipa to go to Snowline Orchard for a fall apple
picking adventure. The big kids were in school, so it was fun to do something together.
I loved having the Sirius Satellite Radio to keep us entertained on the drive up the
mountain. The engine handled the drive up into the mountains perfectly. I don't have any
complaints about the power of the engine to pull the hills.

The interior is very aesthetically pleasing and also has a lot of great features. I loved all
the controls that were at my fingertips on the steering wheel - phone, audio, and cruise
control. The instrument panel was large and easy to read. The only thing I wish that it
had was a digital display for your speed. I found the numbers just a little hard to read
and with 20 in between the displayed numbers I was always worried about my speed.

The 7-inch full color touch screen let you control your apps, entertainment, navigation,
communication and settings. It was easy to toggle between the different choices and
easy to use. We didn't have to use the navigation much, but I didn't find it as user
friendly as other systems. I was thinking if I was my mom or dad trying to figure it out
and I know they would have had a steep learning curve when using it. It also bothered
me that you couldn't alter it or do many of the options when the car was in motion.
I know this is a safety feature, but it does make it frustrating when you need to make
changes to the route or want to enter something and you can't because the car isn't
in park. Other systems I've used didn't have that criteria and I found those easier to
use and more helpful when you're on an actual trip.

The interior was roomy and had plenty of room for four. I know that it has seat belts for
five, but our family of five couldn't comfortably fit in it. Since we have to have a booster
and toddler car seat, it made the middle back seat a very slim space. If you didn't have
to use car seats or maybe only needed one, then you could fit three small people in the
back comfortably. I loved the leg room and 8-way power driver's seat with power
adjustable lumbar support. The front seats also had heated controls. We didn't need to
use that option while we had the car, but it's always nice to have a warm seat on a
chilly day.

The back seat also had great leg room and the kids love the power moon-roof. We get
a lot of use out of that here in Orange County. It's especially fun to use at night when you
can see the stars. The were cup holders in the back doors and also in the center seat
when you folded it down. I felt like it was missing a rear climate control. I know that the
back seat isn't far from the front seat, but I always like to have a vent to blow on me
when I'm sitting in the back.

There is ample trunk space and it has a retractable shade to keep the sun off of your
cargo. The one feature I thought the CX-5 was missing was a power cargo gate lift. 
When you have kids and they need to get into the back and to get something out, but
they are too short, so you have to get out of the car in your jammies to help them close it
when you're dropping off for school drop-off, that's not really cool. So, I'd like to see
Mazda add a power cargo gate to match all the other great auto and power features
that the CX-5 already has.

We had a great time in Mazda CX-5 and I would definitely love to drive one again. It
has a ton of great safety features and a lot of added bonus features that just make it a
really great car. Check out my YouTube video below for some of my other favorite
options that the CX-5 has to offer!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Cookies

pumpkin spice oatmeal cookies

In honor of National Pumpkin Day and because we love pumpkin at our house (well,
some of us do anyway), I'm sharing a fun recipe for delicious Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal
Cookies. I combined my favorite oatmeal cookie recipe with these delicious pumpkin
spice chips I picked up at the market the other day. I knew I could put them to good use
and when I made Oatmeal Scotchies the other day, it hit me that these pumpkin chips
would work perfectly to make a fun pumpkin treat.

If you love all things pumpkin or have some in your house, then it's time to whip up a
batch of these and make those tummies happy! They are quick and easy to bake up,
the leave your house smelling delicious, and they are super yummy. They have the right
bit of spice and pumpkin. So, even if you're not a pumpkin lover, you just might like them.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon (and maybe a dash more)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups quick oats or old fashioned oats
10 oz bag pumpkin spice chips


{1} Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

{2} Cream together in your mixer the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. It takes 
about 2-3 minutes to get the right fluffiness.

{3} Beat the in the eggs and vanilla until well combined.

{4} In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and oats. I have
used both quick and old fashioned oats and I like them the same. The old fashioned
oats are larger and so they make the cookies slightly chewier, but still delicious.

{5} Spray or line your cookie sheets with parchment paper. Then, using a large cookie
scoop drop 12 scoops of dough 2" apart.

{6} Bake for about 12 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for
at least 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Do you love pumpkin? 
What's your favorite fall recipe to whip 
up with this delicious ingredient?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Family Fun at Rockin' Jump Orange County

Disclosure: We received admission to Rockin' Jump for review purposes. All opinions are our own.

The kids love trampoline parks. They are a great place to have fun, work out energy,
and do cool tricks. Rockin' Jump Orange County is the ultimate trampoline park that
combines trampolines trampolines, foam pits, and a rock climbing feature all into one
big place to have fun as a family. They do require all jumpers to purchase and wear 
a pair of reusable Rockin' Socks. No other outside socks are allowed.

But it's so much more than just a trampoline park - it's a birthday party destination!
There are private party rooms, a lounge where parents and pooped out jumpers can
catch their breath, and event a cafe to fuel your body so you're ready for more jumping.

Grace loved the foam cube pits. She could practice her balance on the beam and have
fun jousts with her big brother. We were there on an afternoon when there weren't many
people. The X-Beam has rules about jousting with those of your own size and legal
hits and such, but since the kids had the beam to themselves, they just had a good
time playing around with one another.

There were lots and lots trampolines for a lot of jumping space. Each of my kids jumped
to their heart's content and always had their own space for bouncing all over the place.
They never complained that there wasn't anything to do. We've had that happen to us
at other jump parks, so that was refreshing.

This part of Rockin' Jump was Grace's favorite. It had three trampolines that launched
you into onto an air-filled stunt bag. It was a really cool attraction and loved doing her
cool tricks into the bag and then starting all over again.

The Vertigo Climbing Tower was a favorite with Isabella. She climbed it a handful of 
times while we were there. When you get to the top, you can ring the buzzer to let
everyone know that you made it. I think there were 6 different spots for climbers, so
you could race your friends to the top and the wait was never too long.

There were also Slam Dunk Zones and Dodge Ball Arenas. JT had fun showing off his
basketball dunking skills in the Slam Dunk Zone. We didn't really play dodge ball, but
there were other guests in there having a great time.

The VIP birthday area had Isabella begging to have her birthday party at Rockin' Jump.
It's on the same floor as the attractions and even has a cool balloon drop above your
head. It definitely looks like a fun place to have your birthday party.

We also happened to be there on a Neon Jumpnight and it was so cool! The lights go
out, the strobe lights and black lights come on and the music is pumping. You definitely
want to white or glow-in-the-dark clothes to make it even more fun. Isabella loved
climbing the Vertigo Climbing Tower while all the cool light effects were going.

Neon Jumpnight is super cool and I guarantee that everyone will love it! My kids said
it was their favorite part of our jump time. Grace was in her element with the music
and she was dancing all over the place. I couldn't keep her in one place. She went from
one attraction to the other and had a fabulous time.

We had a blast at Rockin' Jump Orange County and the kids can't wait to get back.
I will definitely be looking into having Isabella's birthday there.

1411 S. Village Way
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Telephone: 714-249-7676


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