5 easy summer drinks (with non-alcoholic variations)

With summer in full swing, it’s hard not to think of fun cocktails, drinks around a bonfire, barbecues with friends, and lazy summer afternoons. But let’s face it: these kinds of days can be expensive and time-consuming to prep for. So I’ve decided to lend you a hand and make your lazy summer days even lazier, more fun than ever, and cheaper too!

Here’s a list of five super simple and quick drink recipes that all contain six or fewer ingredients and take under 20 minutes to prep for. Oh, did I mention you can grab everything you need for them at your local Wal-Mart?

But before I tell you what these amazing summer drinks are, I must disclose… I lied a little. There’s really 10 drink recipes since I’ve adapted every alcoholic recipe to be kid-friendly, too. So pick your favorites and head over to your closest store to stock up, your summer will thank you.

Strawberry Whiskey

Adapted from Life As A Strawberry

Strawberry Whiskey Lemonade - 5 Easy Summer Drinks (with Non-Alcoholic Variations)
image credit: Life As A Strawberry

Is there anything more summery than some fresh strawberries? The strawberry flavor is subtle and perfect for those who like their drinks on the not-too-sweet side.

Makes: approximately 2 cups

Total time: 20 minutes

Strawberry syrup

  • 1 cup of sliced strawberries
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ¼ cup of water


  • ⅓ cup of strawberry syrup
  • 1 ⅓ cup of lemonade

Adult version

(Instead of the above)

  • ⅓ cup of strawberry syrup
  • ⅔ cup of whiskey
  • ⅔ cup of lemon juice

How to make it

For syrup: Combine strawberries, sugar, and water in a saucepan over low heat and bring to a light simmer. Stir the syrup mixture occasionally until strawberries have softened and all of the sugar is dissolved (approximately 15 minutes). Once the sugar is dissolved, strain syrup into a container and save the strawberries for garnish (optional).

For drinks: Combine all ingredients for your chosen drink variation in a pitcher and serve immediately over ice. Use leftover strawberries as garnish (optional).

Not in the mood for strawberries? No problem, you can substitute the strawberries for blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries. If you’re looking for an even fresher twist on this summery drink, add a little bit of muddled mint or basil.

Easy Bourbon Slush

Adapted from Amanda’s Cookin’

Want an easy set it and forget it drink for party prepping or lazy summer days? This drink could not be more perfect for you! It takes only 15 minutes to make a batch large enough for a cookout. But a word of warning: you might want to make an extra just for yourself. I won’t tell.

Makes: approximately 6 ½ cups

Total time: 15 minutes (prep) 8 hours (freezing time)


  • ½ cup of tea
  • 2 cups of orange juice
  • 3 cups lemonade
  • ½ cup of sugar

Adult version

(Add to the above)

  • 1 cup of bourbon

How to make it

This drink could not be easier to make! Simply brew some tea and dissolve the sugar in while it’s hot, combine all the ingredients for your chosen drink variation, throw the mix in a Ziploc bag or freezer-safe container, and store in your freezer until you’re ready for a refreshing and delicious slushie.

Watermelon Slush

Adapted from Damn Delicious

Watermelon Slush - 5 Easy Summer Drinks (with Non-Alcoholic Variations)
image credit: Damn Delicious

This super simple drink recipe is refreshing and involves less than 5 minutes prep time so you can get on with your lazy summer afternoons faster than ever before.

Makes: approximately 4 – 5 cups

Total time: 5 minutes


  • 5 cups of seedless watermelon
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • Ice
  • Juice of one lime (optional)

Adult version

(Add to the above)

  • 1 cup of vodka

How to make it

Combine all ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth, and enjoy immediately.

Bonus: want a frozen watermelon slush? Pour the mix into a Ziploc bag or freezer-safe container and pop it in the freezer for a bit.

Gingery Peach Cooler

Adapted from Real Simple

The crisp, dry flavor of ginger ale is complimented by the sweet, tangy flavor of fresh peaches, giving this drink a refreshing and sweet twist. Plus it’s super quick, easy to make, and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your next gathering!

Makes: approximately 4 – 5 cups

Time: 15 minutes


  • 3 cups ginger ale
  • ½ cup peach nectar
  • 2 thinly sliced peaches
  • 1 tablespoon of grated ginger

Adult version

(Add to the above)

  • One cup of whiskey

How to make it

No blending required, just combine all ingredients in a pitcher, serve over ice, and you’re ready to go enjoy your summer.

Like Moscow Mules? Swap of the whiskey for some vodka to give this drink an extra kick.

Vanilla Cherry Bourbon

Adapted from Sweetpeas and Saffron

Vanilla Cherry Bourbon - 5 Easy Summer Drinks (with Non-Alcoholic Variations)
image credit: Sweetpeas and Saffron

If you’re not a huge fan of bourbon on the rocks, this drink may make bourbon more approachable for you. The sweet, fruity flavor of the cherries combined with the mellow flavor of vanilla tames the taste of the bourbon for a smoother and sweeter drink that’s perfect for lounging in the yard on a hot day.

Makes: one drink

Time: 5 minutes


  • ½ cup of pitted cherries
  • ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 3 teaspoons of fine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup of club soda

Adult version

(Add to the above)

  • One shot of bourbon

How to make it

In a glass, combine all ingredients of your chosen drink variation, and muddle cherries until the cherry juices are released. If you don’t have a muddler you can grab a wooden spoon, and that should do the trick just fine. Add ice and serve immediately.


Wait! One more thing!

Before you hit your local Wal-Mart to grab supplies, don’t forget to share this article with your friends so they can vote on which drinks to serve at your next gathering and download Shopkick so you can earn free gift cards while you shop.

The Starbucks Secret Menu – the drinks you won’t find on the chalkboard

There are over 87,000 possible drink combinations at Starbucks. Although not all of these combinations would be palatable, some off-the-menu concoctions are quite tasty! Be warned though — knowing how to order from the Starbucks secret menu may make you change your go-to iced Caramel Macchiato or Frappuccino order! It never hurts to change things up, right?

What’s on the Secret Menu Anyway?

Purple Drink - Starbucks Secret Menu
image credit: starbuckssecretmenu.net

You may be wondering how you managed to go this long without knowing there was a secret Starbucks menu. Alas, being in-the-know has its perks. Some of the stars of the secret menu include; Banana Split Frappuccino, Pink Drink, Purple Drink, Cotton Candy Frappuccino, Grasshopper Frappuccino, Raspberry Caramel Macchiato, Red Velvet Frappuccino, and so much more! These delicious drink combinations love to fly under the radar. They are not on the standard Starbucks menu, but you can place a custom “secret menu” order if you know how to order the right way.

How to Order from The Starbucks Secret Menu

Maybe you are itching to try the Starbucks Pink Drink. Think sweet strawberry acai flavors with delicious side notes of passion fruit combined with acai, coconut milk and strawberries. But, before you start your order with a quick wink, know that not all baristas at Starbucks will know what you want when you say, “give me an Iced Venti Pink Drink”. To ensure you get the right beverage, start your transaction off by mentioning that you want a “custom order” then order your drink starting with the base recipe. In the case of the Pink Drink you would order as follows:

Starbuck’s Pink Drink Order:

  • Select your Size
  • Order a Strawberry Acai Refreshers®
  • Replace the water with Coconut Milk
How to Order the Pink Drink from Starbucks Secret Menu
image credit: vix.com

Seem too complicated to remember all the Starbucks secret menu drinks? There are several apps that can help you with how to order all the secret menu drinks.

Now that you’re in on the secret, share it like a #MomBoss!


Going to Disney: 5 money-saving hacks for planning a cheap Disneyland trip

Disney may be the happiest place on Earth for you and your loved ones, but your bank account might not feel the same way. According to Hipmunk, in 2016 the cost of a Disneyland trip would cost a family of four an average of $1,624 in airfare, $2,128 to stay four nights in a Disneyland Resort Hotel, and $1,010 for park admission tickets for four days. Don’t forget to add in the costs of souvenirs, dining, and other must-have experiences!

The good news is that with a little faith, trust, and creative planning, you can take advantage of several money-saving tips when it comes to planning a Disneyland trip. Here are a few we recommend:

Take advantage of points programs

Booking flights and hotel rooms are often one of the most expensive parts of a Disneyland trip, but with all the mileage and points programs out there, you can significantly cut back on these costs.

Signing up for a travel credit card like Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard or Capital One Venture One will allow you to rack up travel points with every dollar you spend on the card. Richmond Savers even figured out a formula for using these types of credit cards to take your family to Disneyland for nearly free.

Use your kicks

Shopkick user Courtney Cole discovered a really smart way to use her kicks to earn some extra spending money for her family’s upcoming Disneyland trip. “My daughter is three-and-a-half and we promised her a Disneyland trip as an incentive for potty training. Because I’m in Target all the time, I started using the Shopkick app a lot more and used my kicks to buy Target gift cards, which I then used that to buy Disney gift cards. I would go to Target, check in, scan everything I could and get those kicks.”

During her family’s Disneyland trip, Courtney used her gift cards to buy things that might normally be over budget. “I knew I was going to spend money on meals, toys, and a princess makeover,” Courtney explains, “But because I used my kicks to buy the gift cards, I didn’t have to feel bad about it.”

Due to the success of this trip and her ability to accumulate so many kicks with only a few months prep, Courtney and her family have another Disneyland trip in the works. “I plan on making more of an effort and saving up my kicks to do the trip next year. That’ll give us a whole year worth of kicks to use in the parks.”

BYOFD (Bring your own food and drink)

Mickey Lunch for Disney Trip - Going to Disney: 5 Money-Saving Hacks for Planning a Cheap Disneyland Trip
image credit: bentolunch.net

Food and drinks in the park can cost a pretty penny, but sometimes you just need to splurge on a Dole Pineapple Whip or indulge in Chef Mickey’s Character Dining experience. The key is finding a balance. Before you leave, plan out which meals, snacks, or drinks you most want to splurge on in the park. Bring everything else with you.

According to the Disneyland website, guests can bring coolers that are 18”x25”x37” and store them in the rentable lockers by the Disneyland Park main entrance. You can also bring in hydration backpacks, which are great for storing water and any souvenirs your little ones might pick up throughout the day.  Just remember you can’t bring any alcohol with you into the park.

Snag discounted admissions tickets

Are you a member of AAA? Do you plan on taking a youth group of 10 or more kids to the park? Are you or your spouse in the military? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be able to take advantage of special Disneyland park admissions prices.

If not, don’t worry. There are other ways to snag discounted admission tickets, but it can be tricky and risky to do so online so proceed with caution. The key is finding a reputable discount ticket source. MouseSavers (a website dedicated to helping you save money when it comes to all things Disney) recommends using aRes Travel for discounted tickets.

Go during the off season

Disney Savings tip: go during the off season. Going to Disney: 5 Money-Saving Hacks for Planning a Cheap Disneyland Trip

Last year, Disney rolled out demand pricing for park admission. On certain high-demand days, the ticket prices increase, while days with less traffic are less expensive. These off-peak times are usually after the holidays—January and February are ideal—and from the end of August until mid-to-late October.

When it comes to the resorts, Disney offers three “seasons”. Around January, February, and the first three weeks of October, November, and December is the Value Season. If you manage to time it right, Value Season is the least expensive and least crowded time to book at the resorts.

Do you have a money-saving tip when it comes to trips to Disneyland? Share with us @Shopkick on Twitter #ShopkickBlog

Barbecue basics: setting up for BBQ grilling success

It’s summertime, and you know what that means – it’s time to break out the barbecue! Whether you are a seasoned expert when it comes to seasoning, or a novice grill-master in the making, we’ve got some tricks and tips to help you cook up the perfect smoky meal for your friends and family.

Grilling Preparation:

How to BBQ

Plan Barbecue Cleanup Now

To make cleaning a breeze, line the inside bottom of the cooker with a few sheets of aluminum foil. This means a quicker cleanup of used coals and ash when you are finished barbecuing.

Don’t Confuse your Tools

Beyond your grill, there are two must-have tools: two types of BBQ tongs – one with insulated handles and one set with grips. Use the insulated set to handle and turn coals, and the one with grips to turn and handle food. Make sure these two tools are easy for you to visibly identify (that way the food grease won’t cause the coals to flare up, and your meal won’t get ashy).

Gas vs. Charcoal

Although there are a number of ways to cook ‘cue, (charcoal, wood chips, split logs…) a purely gas grill is not the best way to go. That’s because the smoke produced by burning wood is an ingredient in itself. Without smoke, you’re heating your meat but missing out on flavor. If you use gas, think about adding smoking chips the next time you hit the grill.

Safety First

To handle any flare-ups, keep a spray bottle full of water nearby.

Ready to Grill:

BBQ hacks

Grease Up The Grill

Before you add anything to the BBQ, make sure to grease the grill. Not only will it help the food cook, it will prevent residue from adhering to the grill and stop your food from getting stuck. This means you’ll hold on to the charred flavor that makes barbecue so tasty. To grease the grill, you can use garlic-marinated oil to add a touch of flavor to the food.

Cook Slow and Low

The perfect barbecue meal takes time and patience when in doubt aim for a lower temperature and a longer grill time. Once you’ve decided on a set temperature and time try not to check on the meat more than every half an hour.

Have a Secret Ingredient

As your meat cooks, spray it with a squirt bottle full of apple juice. This adds an extra kick to the flavor and keeps the meat moist.

Don’t Play with Your Food

Piercing your meat with a fork will cause the juices to escape, making the meat less flavorful and drier. Instead, use tongs or a spatula to flip or move your food.

Serving your Barbecue

Barbecue kebabs for summer picinic

Serving Grilled Meat

When you remove your meat from the grill, allow it to sit for a couple of minutes. That way the juices will seal and the meat will be prevented from drying out. In fact, you should refrain from cutting until you are ready to serve and eat immediately.

Get Creative with Sauces

You can flavor it with booze, by adding bourbon, beer, wine or rum to your standard sauce, branch out with new sauces you haven’t tried like jerk sauce, teriyaki or hot sauce, or add in lemon juice, red peppers or chopped onions for an extra kick.

To master the art of barbecue, you need an adventurous spirit and a good deal of trial and error. Use these tips and hacks to experiment, and you’ll be an expert in no time.



How to get your kids interested in money management

For years, I tried to get my children interested in money management and saving their money for things they wanted. Mommy can’t always foot the bill for extravagant desires like those fidget spinners and the entire Major League Soccerball collection. Not too long ago I saw an article on social media about a young man who had invested in his favorite sneaker company with the help of his mother. The experience spurred his interest in further investment and he owned several stocks by the time the article was written.

Leverage what Your Kids are Interested in

Tip #1: Leverage their interest in music - How to get your Kids Interested in Money Management

That article got my wheels turning. My 15-year-old son loves video games, soccer, and his phone and my 13-year-old daughter loves books, electronics, music, and plays soccer as well. With a small allowance budget for each of them to utilize, I tasked them with researching the cost of shares in companies that relate to their hobbies. My son looked into Sony, T-Mobile, and Apple while my daughter opted for Amazon, Samsung, and Barnes and Noble. Based on their research, they determined how much a share was and how many shares they needed to buy in order to reach their goals. The best part of all of it was that investing in stocks gave them the chance for their money to actually grow — if they could exercise patience and did their research well.

Using Shares to Pay For Their Wish List Items

I was totally shocked with how committed they were to this project — I believe it was the fact that they’d be making money off things they interact with daily. My son loves the fact that he can sell shares at any time if he wants to buy the newest video game or some costly new shoes. He wears a size 12 by the way. Size 12’s are NOT cheap!  And on my daughter’s wish list when she’s ready to cash in a few shares? A rabbit and a guitar. What a combination!

Starting Early in Money Management

Tip #2 Investing in stocks with allowance money - How to get your Kids Interested in Money Management

The sooner you educate your children on the benefits of investing and saving, the better. Start them young and they’ll develop good habits that will shape their spending and saving as adults — I sure wish I had received more education on investing and saving when I was my kids’ age!

How to Set Up a Stock Exchange Account for Your Kids

To get started you should do some more research on investing to determine which account option is right for you and your children. Talk to your bank or a local credit union, investigate online trading websites and stock brokers — some of them may have low fee plans for minors. If you have a 401K or IRA plan, see if they have a way to involve your kids. Find out whether the shares will be in your name (and will need to be transferred when your kids turn 18), and how the fees and taxes will work. With a proper plan and education, your kids will be on their way to buying you your dream car in no time!