Monthly Archives: May 2015

Olaf Snack

Olaf Snowman Snack by Joy

Olaf Snack ibelievinjoy.comDo you want to build a snowman? How about a Caprese snowman snack?

I made this healthy, real food snack for my 3 daughters who are allergic to nuts. Here’s how to do it:

Caprese Salad Snowman Snack


1) 3 slices of organic tomato (small, medium, larger size)

2) 3 slices of mozzarella cheese cut out using cookie cutter, stencil cutter or this type of tool by an adult only (affiliate link)

3) 3 freshly picked organic basil leaves

4) 1 piece of cooked no-nitrate bacon

5) 2 black olives

6) Scrap of an orange bell pepper


1) Lay the 3 tomatoes on the plate first small, medium, then large.

2) Place the basil leaves over each tomato.

3) Adult cut the snowman shape or use shape stencil (or just do small, medium, large circles for ease) from the mozzarella cheese and place on top of basil.

4) Use scraps of cooked bacon for the arms, mouth, and scrap of hair.

5) Use scrap of mozzarella for the teeth and feet.

6) Use a drinking straw to push through the black olives, remove the small olive circles, and use the small circle shapes as buttons and eyes.

7) Use scrap of orange bell pepper for the nose.

My kids loved building this snowman with me! And most importantly, they loved eating this real food snack. I never told them it was a Caprese Salad, that was just between me and the snowman!

You also might like these:


Have you seen some of my other snacks featured in San Diego Family Magazine’s Snacking with Joy? Check them out here! ~ Joy


Cell Phone Rules – by Kids

Cell Phone Rules –  By Kids

The other day I woke up and decided I wanted to go to Legoland.

So, I checked my faithful source for Legoland and Disneyland crowd status called Crowdtracker. Turns out – I was right! It was a GHOST TOWN! It made my day! We went on ride after ride with NO lines and NO crowds. I had the best day.  Here’s a few pictures of the family:


photo 3 (34)The kids are very excited about the new LegoFriends exhibit which is set to open this summer.  Just before we were leaving Legoland for the day, we stopped into the Lego Race Room where you can build your own race car and then race it. There were quite a few families inside. While we there building, racing, and playing with our Lego cars, I looked around the room and 90% of the adults were on their phones while the kids played. I asked my kids if they had noticed  –

“Yup, and it made me sad. Parents should follow some cell phone rules.” 

I laughed. “Well, what would you say are the most important cell phone rules grown ups need to know about?” I wasn’t ready for the heart tug that my own kids were about to teach me…..

Here are some cell phone rules for parents – by kids 🙂

1. Don’t hold your phone more than my hand.

2. Don’t cry if you lose your phone because I’m still here.

3. Only use your phone “once in a while” not “all the time” because I miss you- all the time. 

4. I always want to talk with you, I’m just too little to text you.

5. Phones are allowed to get a time out while we get time together.

So, there you have it! Some cell phone rules for parents – by kids. What do you think??

~ Joy

Local Tip: Check out Crowdtracker before you book your Legoland dates.

Did all that playing make you hungry? Head here for some of the Best Fish Taco’s around San Diego!



What to do on Memorial Day?

What to do on Memorial Day?

by Joy

What to do on Memorial Day?

The last Monday in May brings about so many mixed emotions. The weather is warming up and we are spending more time outside. The kids realize school is almost over for the year and excitement is brewing. Graduation invitations come pouring in the mail and I look at photos of young adults about to embark on college who I still see as toddlers in my mind. I ask myself…. where has the time gone?

Yet, for others, time has stopped.

Memorial Day is a day to remember the lives of those lost in duty, those who gave up the ultimate sacrifice. That means so much to me and yet I cannot personally thank them for this – their time has stopped. I felt powerless to know how to participate in Memorial Day with any true and lasting meaning. I had to process the mixed emotions I was feeling as Memorial Day approached, and what I could do about it.

I spent time reflecting and listening to other family’s stories. Our family began serving at an organization that serves weekly meals to Military and their dependents. I supported several friends through relocation and I learned what life is like for families who have lost a loved one. After being intentional to hear their stories, here is what I decided I can do to engage in Memorial Day in a meaningful way: 

Ways we Can Engage in Memorial Day

1) We can call someone we know who has lost a loved one in the line of duty during the year. We can thank them for raising a person of such character, or for loving a person of such character, who would lay down their life for others.  

2) We can care for and support the family through practical needs during the year. We can send them a gift such as tickets to dinner, a gift card, or a donation to their child’s school tuition. 

3) We can donate to a specific fund that supports children and family of the deceased Military men or women. 

4) We can live more intentionally. This last one, while the most simplistic, I think might have the most powerful effect. Instead of allowing my life to continue on with my own personal agenda, I can intentionally- for a moment



Remember the sacrifice so many others have made for me.

Reflect on how I can live my life so that each second, minute, month, year that I am still blessed with- is lived out with more intention.

What if every year I earnestly pressed “pause” on the schedule of my life, to intentionally live with more integrity, to support the families around me who have lost loved ones, and to live in a way that daily remembered their sacrifice?

Many people, like myself, did not lose a direct family member in the line of duty. Yet, as a grateful citizen I wanted to engage fully in this day and try and honor the lives of the men and women I wish I could thank personally. Through volunteering with the community throughout the year, I have found that Memorial Day is something we can all participate in, and all engage in together- every second, minute, and every month of the year.

Now when this time of years comes along, and the weather gets warm, and the BBQ’s begin, and the graduation invitations begin to pour in, and I scratch my head and ask- Where did the time go? I can gather around those I love and approach Memorial Day with one emotion: gratitude.

THANK YOU for your Sacrifice

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend” John 15:13

~ Happy Memorial Day ~

Love, Joy

 Resources we can volunteer time or donate money to that support military families during Memorial Day and all year long:

Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors: Caring for Families of Fallen Heroes

Operation We Are Here: Military Assistance Year Round

The Dougy Center: National Support for Grieving Children and Families 

Local San Diego Organization: USO San Diego

Christian Inspired Gifts: Military Prayer Packages 

Delivering cards, balloons, warm cinnamon rolls and smiles at our local San Diego center for families- Thank you!

Delivering cards, balloons, warm cinnamon rolls and smiles at our local San Diego center for families- Thank you!


(Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any of these organizations, and am not being paid to post their information here)