Summer Pool Floats

It’s sweltering out there, and with temperatures only rising, you might be seeking out the local pool or lake to cool off. What’s more fun the an interesting float? These are the ones you might see us toting about.

SwimWays Huggables Sloth Oversized Float – Inflatable Lounge with Cupholder

Long name, cute float.  This is a rather unique float, not just for the animal options, but also for the armrests that “hug” you as well as acting as a drink holder. (I mostly left the sunblock in there, though, honestly, works just as well.) Our Sloth moved leisurely along the water, but you can also try out the Teddy Bear or the Panda Bear, all are equally adorable, and definitely attention grabbers and make for super sweet photos and Instagram shots. So many people at the lake came up and asked about it, and lots of kids wanted a go- it was an instant “friend maker” for my son, that’s for certain.

Also fun is that you can actually lean back, and sit upright. That’s pretty unusual in a pool float, most you can only lay on. Sized for adults, not just for kids, this is good for just about anyone. Actual dimensions for those of you who need to worry about sizes for your pool rules: 50 in x 36 in x 40 in. This is intended for ages 5 and up. There are three options, Sloth, Teddy Bear, and Panda. I was unable to find a weight limit, but we personally had no issues, with the heaviest member to try the Sloth being 181 lbs.  You can get these for $15 and up on Amazon.

PoolCandy Jumbo Blue Glitter Narwhal Inflatable Pool Float

 Looking for something a little more magical? How about a glittering Narwhal? As we mentioned back in Febuary’s Toy Fair columns, the narwhal is a trendy fella this year, and  here it is making an appearance in the pool float variety. He’s very cute (or she if you prefer) and easily spotted, with it’s sparkly horn and bright, eye catching holographic glitter. This tube type float lets you ride with your lets on top or underneath, while you paddle or drift along your preferred watering hole. 

The Jumbo Inflatable Narwhal Pool Float from PoolCandy is a 48″ transparent ring or tube that is  filled with rainbow glitter that will dazzle in the sunlight. Again, it’s a real attention grabber, and will be a great photo or post on Instagram. The kids love it, and the adults did as well. You might want to grab more then one to avoid those wonderful “disagreements” that pop up when it comes time to sharing. (Cough cough, parenting is fun.)

For those of you who need to know sizes, it is vinyl and approximately 65″ x 49″ x 37″ and includes a patch kit, just in case. It holds up to 250 pounds.  Available for $30 at https://www.poolcandy.net

Indoraptor Inflatable Pool Float

What, those are too cute for you? Ok, that’s cool, we get it. Cute isn’t for everyone. Check out the ferocious looking Indoraptor float from Coconut Float. This dino isn’t messing around, and the snarl on it’s face quickly lets you know that.  As with all Coconut Float brand inflatables, it is *made from the highest quality vinyl to avoid punctures (as per the manufacturer).  This float is an officially licensed “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” item, and features realistic graphics and details- the kids will love it. It measures 39″ x 60″, and is fun for kids to sit on top of and ride like a pony. I was not able to find a weight limit for this, but it seems to be a better fit for kids and smaller adults because larger adults seem to get “tippy” with it (meaning it seems to go side to side a little more then you might like). You can find this toy for $35 from https://www.watsons.com and other retailers online, prices vary.

Summer Fun In New York With the Family

There is a lot to do in New York with the kids this summer, no matter what your interests are. From waterparks to Broadway shows, indoor or outdoor activities, you and your crew will find much to do in the Empire State.

When it’s hot, but you still want want to be outdoors, why not consider a water park? Splish Splash Waterpark is a great place to spend the day as a family in the heat of the summer. Waterparks should be high on the summer “to do” list, and this is one of the best spots in the area.  There are lots of options for kids of all ages, with smaller splash or wade pools for smaller kids (scaled down pools and slides, little swings, spray parks, etc) in several varieties so that everyone can have fun and enjoy themselves. The bigger the kid, the more places they can play- but of they are too big, they can’t play in the small kid areas, so that the little ones don’t have to worry about being trampled.  Some favorites were Mutiny Bay, which puts your family in brightly colored boats, letting riders use water-spray “cannons” to blast other boats while those outside the ride can blast those inside the boats- and get sprayed themselves. Abyss Tube Slides were a favorite with all the kids, twisting and and turning your way down the enclosed slides. So was Bootleggers run, which holds up to four at a time in a tandem raft.  “Climb aboard a four-man raft that actually goes uphill with new generation hydromagnetic technology. It flies like a roller coaster without rails. So much fun, it just may be illegal!”says the park.  It really did seem as much like a roller coaster as it did like a tube ride, it was very cool. There are also favorites like wave pools and “lazy rivers”, and so much more.  Head over to SplishSplash.com and get your tickets soon, summer will be over before you know it.

luna park

 

Coney Island, a “must” for locals and tourists alike, is a great place to beat the summer heat, or at least lean into it somewhat gracefully. A go to spot for generations, each season changing slightly, adding more rides, keeping new and fresh while still appealing to the nostalgia of days past. Just steps from the boardwalk, there is a beach with a clean shore and big open ocean.  For the animal lovers, there is the New York Aquarium just a little ways down, which also has a wonderful seal show that should not be missed.  For the adventurous types, there are big thrill rides at Luna Park which include 7 roller coasters like the classic wooden Coney Island Cyclone.  For the littler park goers, there are tons of attractions and rides at Luna Park like the Happy Swing and Magic Bikes. This year, Luna Park has also opened new rides Cozmo Jet and Coney Clipper, so even if you have been before, there is a great excuse to go again.

coney island

The Cozmo Jet is a family friendly ride which uses virtual-reality, video, and an interactive gaming console. It looks like your child’s game system, but with a VR mask that you wear as you are on the ride. It was an odd sensation, moving with the “virtual” reality while trying to blast and keep count. You and your family (one or two per “Jet”) blast aliens, with the high score winning.
The Coney Clipper is a more classic “pirate ship” themed ride that rocks back and forth, lifting you off your feet a bit as you reach the top of the swing. Don’t worry, you are all buckled in.
Visit https://lunaparknyc.com or the park itself to get tickets.

Saw Avenue Q, a witty, silly, yet poignant musical on Broadway , tickets via TripAdvisor

For a variety of fun, you can go to TripAdvisor for booking ease. It is the world’s largest provider of tours, activities and attractions, with more than *56,000 bookable experiences in 2,500 destinations worldwide (according to the company). TripAdvisor Attractions has options for every kind of traveler,from walking tours, skip-the-line access, hotels, and more. You can find the best prices and values from more then 200 sites, which are updated in real time so you never miss a good bargain. Gift certificates only work for certain attractions, so be aware of that- most options will only work when you book directly from the site and using a credit card. However, if you are looking for a good deal, this is a site you should visit. Choose a restaurant, get a massage, go to a museum, and much more. Visit https://www.tripadvisor.com for more info and to choose your experience. 

Anastasia on Broadway, photo by Matthew Murphey

Looking for the iconic NYC “Broadway” experience, but don’t want to break the bank? Visit

 Broadway Inbound and The Broadway Collection to choose a show you and your family want to see, at a price you can afford to pay. These aren’t second rate shows, you can see performances of Wicked, The Book Of Mormon, Anastasia, more. No matter if you are taking a couples night out, taking the kids to see a show, or arranging a large group (the WHOLE family? A club, team, or committee that wants to go together, etc) you will be able to get discounted tickets to shows that you actually want to see. To us, bringing the kids to see live theater is very important, it gives them experiences that can’t be replicated elsewhere, as well as an appreciation for art and music. So what are you waiting for? It’s Broadway, baby- grab the family and head out.

Summer Activities Made Easy

 

Summer is here and the kids are playing, swimming, hitting the ball field and completely enjoying the glory that is summer. This year, as they head out to play I am thinking of ways to keep them safe from the dangers of bug bites and fueled for the day.

summer

I was so glad to find that I could protect everyone, from the biggest to the smallest without introducing any harsh chemicals to the mix. Parakito is an essential oil blend that you can wear without irritating your skin or the earth, while keeping the pesky bugs at bay.

I was a little skeptical about how effective Parakito might be, as it seems like with or without a bug spray, I usually get bit, and two of my kids are equally appealing to bugs, but I had such great results with the fast, effective and long lasting gel roll on formula. Retailing at under $20, this is a must have for summer adventures with the kids.

Getting your kids to eat your vegetables has never been easier or sneakier than it is with these tasty organic shakes from Sneakz. The days of begging, pleading and fighting about vegetables are a thing of the past for my family.

I am all about picking my battles, and on those days when we are busy, or maybe I am a little too weary, I can pull out a yummy shake pouch and take the experience from ick to incredible, without the kids even knowing I pulled a fast one on them.

Sneakz are packed with protein and half a serving of vegetables to help fill kids with something wholesome to fuel their adventures, antics and imaginations. Sneakz are completely natural and organic, as well as gluten and GMO free, busy parents like me can feel comfortable giving their children a refreshing Chocolate, Strawberry or Vanilla shake. These are great for on the go or an afterschool snack.

If Sneakz doesn’t work let them grow their own flowers and vegetables. Green Toys & Sesame Street Abby’s Garden Planting Activity Set allows them to grow a herb, flower, and vegetable. With Abby’s Garden Planting Activity Set, kids can watch nature at work while growing their very own garden. The instructions are easy to follow and fun for the kids. Plus who knows if they grow their own garden they may be more willing to eat their veggies.

Look for them at Walmart, Albertsons or Publix, or order from amazon for a tasty treat that is good for the kids and is perfect for on the go nutrition.

Getting Ready For Summer with Babyganics

Did you know that May is skin-cancer awareness month? I think it’s perfect timing since summer is here and everyone is spending every moment outside.  Skin cancer is something that I honestly never really thought about until the past  few years. I have naturally tanned skin and dark hair so when it comes to sun burns I never really worried much. My husband; however, is pale skinned with red hair. It’s the complete opposite for him. Even if he is outside for an hour he has to have sunblock on or he will come in looking like a tomato. Having four kids, half of whom have inherited my dark hair, but a lighter skin complication like my husband, has made me more aware of skin cancer and of making sure their skin is protected from all outside elements. Babyganics has every product that I need to make sure they are protected from the summer elements, and can continue to have fun! This post is a sponsored post, but all opinions, stories, and my experience are all personal and true (like always)!

About babyganics:

Sunscreen Essentials

  • ​All mineral sunscreens (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) & a combo of mineral & chemical sunscreens (zinc oxide, octisalate and titanium dioxide)
  • SPF formulas provide broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and range from 30SPF – 50+SPF
  • Glides on smooth- effortless application
  • Non-allergenic and tear free
  • Also contain Neo-Nourish and all are fragrance free

​Swim Diapers

  • ​The only swim diapers with sun sensing scenery
  • Provides UPF+ protection for covered areas
  • Won’t swell in water
  • Water resistant soft cover
  • Pull-on design and comfy fit
  • Tear-away sides for easy removal

​Natural Insect Repellent Spray & Wipes

  • ​Formulated with: essential oils—Citronella, Peppermint, Rosemary, Lemongrass & Geranium
  • Formulated without: parabens, sulfates, phthalates, artificial fragrances or dyes
  • Plant and essential oils help keep mosquitoes away
  • A DEET Free Choice
  • Non-greasy formula

My Thoughts:

A family pass to the city pool is only $50, and for a family of six this is a great deal. I plan to spend a lot of time at the pool with the kids this summer. It’s fun, away from technology, great family time, and budget friendly. Their diapers have to be my favorite swim diapers. They went on easy, didn’t swell up, kept him and the pool protected while we were swimming.

Having a good sunscreen that isn’t harsh on their skin is important to me, so when I was given a chance to try babyganics I was excited. These products are awesome. They do not have that greasy feel that some do and they go on smooth. The sunscreen left my little ones’ skin feeling soft with a pleasant scent.  The sunscreen is bottled in many ways that make it easy for me to get it on the kids. I loved the stick for my littlest, the spray for my youngest daughter, and the lotion for my older two. The various forms of these great products allowed for the quickest and easiest way to apply based on the needs of my children. I reapplied after two hours of being at the pool and all four of my kids walked away with zero sunburn.

Lastly but not least, their insect repellent is a must have! We like  to swim until we physically can no longer swim and bugs can be an issue sometimes. Most repellents have a smell that can be harsh alone.  This is not the case; however, with babyganics.  Oh, and I must mention again the pleasant scent!

 

Overall, I love that Babyganics products are organic and safe for my little ones. Most of my kids have sensitive skin and some products tend to break them out. Babyganics did not break them out,  protected their skin, kept them safe, and all products were easy to use.  This mommy has found a winning line of products to protect my little ones and I highly recommend all mommies to use Babyganics too!

 

 

Rose Art Outdoor Fun Chalk Paint

Spring is finally here. I have waited so long for my favorite season to arrive. I love the fresh, crisp smell in the air and the temperature is just right. With the Earth bursting with new life, beautiful flowers, and the melodious sound of birds chirping, it’s the perfect time to get the kids outside to play. When we are outside my son is usually off riding his bike; however, the girls like to create. Their favorite thing to play with is RoseArt Washable Sidewalk Chalk Paint Sets. This post is a sponsored post, but all opinions, stories, and my experience are all personal and true (like always).

Product Description

As far as fun is concerned, the sky’s the limit. Kids will love stepping outside and unleashing their creative talents with this fantastic assortment of jumbo chalk, chalk powder, brushes, rollers, mixing trays and stencils. With this outdoor set you’ll be ready to get out and get creative. Perfect for on-the-go fun.

Key Features:

  • Chalk paint powder and jumbo chalk sticks in an assortment of colors
  • Roller brushes, trays and brushes
  • Storage bucket
  • Easy to use, and chalk easily washes away with water
  • Fun outdoors for ages 3+

My Thoughts:

Every adult at some point wishes they were a little kid again. Although you can’t be a little kid again physically, you can act like one for at least a little bit. Buying this outdoor fun chalk paint set is a perfect starting point for acting like a kid. This set is tremendous! As I was getting things ready for the girls I couldn’t help but give it a try myself. I had lost track of time and we ended up being outside for three hours. The only reason we went in was because the girls were getting hungry.

The paint is super easy to mix and set up. It comes with different stencils and tools that helps them create an awesome art piece. The best part and honestly probably all moms favorite part, is it’s easy to clean up. The paint simply washes away with water. So in the end you have happy kids who are outside playing and you don’t have to stress about the mess. I think that’s a win for everyone.

 

Summer Safety Must-Haves for Children!

Getting ready for summer travel? You’ll want to know about these items to help keep the kids healthy and ouch-free.

BugBand Be Prepared Kit
www.bugband.net

BugBand Insect Repellent Wristbands and BugBand Towelettes have been combined in a unique insect repellent kit, perfect for your child heading off to summer camp or enjoying outdoor activities! Licensed by the Boy Scouts of America through their prestigious “Be Prepared” Brand, BugBand has combined the long-lasting power of their Insect Repelling Wristbands with the potent heavy-duty protection of BugBand Towelettes in one kit. Perfect for weekend outings or summer camp, this DEET-Free Insect Repellent Kit has it all. http://www.bugband.net/guide_scouting.html

CUROXEN
www.curoxen.com

Cuts, scrapes and boo boos… with little ones, these are inevitable! Be prepared at all times by tucking CUROXEN into your first aid kit at home, or into your purse, diaper bag, or backpack while on-the-go! CUROXEN is a safe, organic, & natural wound cleaning product for your child’s cuts and scrapes that effectively kills bacteria. Providing a safer alternative to petrochemical and drug-based wound care that actually works, CUROXEN is made with just three ingredients you’ll recognize from nature, which include Olive Oil, Calendula, and Lavender Essential Oil. CUROXEN does NOT contain synthetic drugs, including antibiotics, petroleum-derived products, artificial chemicals, or silver.

For those who are careful about what we put into and onto our — and our children’s — bodies, CUROXEN’s ultrapure, ultrasafe formulation is a relief. All-natural and safe for adults, children and even pets, CUROXEN kills more than five times the amount of bacteria as its competitors. To learn more about CUROXEN, please visit www.curoxen.com.

 

BuddyPhones PLAY Headphones
www.buddyphones.com

With summer on the horizon, playing is top of mind! The NEW BuddyPhones PLAY Headphones were created to encourage safe play so that little ones can play, explore and learn without parents having to worry about their hearing safety. BuddyPhones PLAY headphones have four distinct safe listening modes for different listening needs to minimize the risk of noise-induced hearing loss, including Toddler Mode, Kids Mode, Travel Mode, and StudyMode. Like all BuddyPhones, PLAY are extremely durable, made from strong, sturdy materials and designed to last. The foldable headband is made of specially calibrated polypropylene so it can be bent and pulled without snapping. They can be fully adjusted to different sizes and are tailored to fit kids comfortably with pillow-soft hypoallergenic ear cushions for maximum coziness.

Adding to the fun is an option for kids to share a single device by connecting up to four headphones with the BuddyCable sharing system. This sharing capability minimizes the need for multiple devices and encourages kids to play together. Each BuddyPhones PLAY also comes with an extensive set of illustrated colorful stickers that give kids the opportunity to decorate the headphones themselves, encouraging creativity. The optional travel kit includes a protective hard case with a water-resistant zipper and an airplane plug that makes the BuddyPhones easy to transport. Learn more at www.onanoff.com and www.buddyphones.com.

SunSafe RX to Protect Your Skin

At our house, we are always looking at new ways to protect ourselves from the sun’s harmful effects.  Some of us, mostly the men of the house, burn with just the mention of Summer, let alone the actual sun.  But we are trekkers and must be in the sun, so what to do? Well, lots of sunblock, for one.  We also found a product called Sunsafe Rx.  Sunsafe Rx is a natural supplement which helps protect against both UVA and UVB rays from the sun.  All you do is take them daily as directed and the benefits last all day long.  Not only does this help with sun protection, but also has anti-aging benefits.

There are powerful antioxidants in Sunsafe Rx which are good for both your skin and your eyes.  All the ingredients in Sunsafe Rx are natuaral and proven to help skin health.  Sunsafe Rx is also made in the USA, and is manufactured and tested in an FDA-regulated GMP-certified facility.  Sunsafe Rx prevents skin aging by preserving collagen and elastin and inhibiting the formation of fine lines, wrinkles, and sun spots.  For your eyes, lutein and zeaxanthin protect from the oxidative stress of UV rays and may help fight the causes of age-related macular degeneration.  This is probably the only sun protection you actually want ending up in your eyes. Sunblock, not so much.  Sunsafe is great not only for those sunny Summer days but for year round, whether in the sun or not.  Some extra health boosts for your skin and eyes are never a bad thing. SunSafe Rx is available now on their website sunsaferx.com and retails for $29 for 30 caplets and up to $89 for 120 caplets.

Celebrate National Watermelon Day with Applebee’s #Woodfired #WatermelonSmile

Disclosure- I received an Applebee’s gift card in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own and honest. For more info, see “I Disclose”.

August 3rd is national watermelon day, and to celebrate Applebee’s has introduced some new Summertime favorite menu items called Wood Fired Grill Salads.  This menu includes some delightful combinations of fresh vegetables and succulent shrimp, chicken, and of course watermelon.
Southwestern Steak Salad: Hand-Cut Wood Fired USDA Choice Top Sirloin Steak paired with chimichurri, pico de gallo, corn and black bean salsa, cheddar, crispy tortilla strips and a creamy house-made cilantro ranch dressing.

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They have a few new salads to try as well-

-Grilled Watermelon and Spicy Shrimp Salad: Mixed greens, cucumbers, feta, almonds and house-made creamy mint-Greek yogurt dressing. Also available with Spicy Blackened Chicken.

-Spicy Blackened Grilled Chicken, Avocado and Grapefruit Salad: Mixed greens, pickled in-house red onions, cilantro leaves and house-made champagne vinaigrette.

-Crispy Chicken ‘N Spicy Cornbread Salad: Mixed greens, made-in-house jalapeno cornbread croutons, grape tomatoes, shredded cheddar, applewood-smoked bacon and buttermilk dressing.

applesbees salad

We recently went to check out these new menu items and tried the Crispy Chicken ‘N Spicy Cornbread Salad.  Upon first glance, the spice component might make some turn away from this delicious salad, but the spice is more of a flavor then a burning mouth sensation.  The jalapeno cornbread croutons a perfect complement to the smoked bacon flavor and buttermilk dressing.  For those of you not big on salads, Applebee’s has a menu full of delicious items including burgers, sandwiches, pasta dishes, steaks, chicken and fish dishes.

There is also the new wood fired grill menu including your 6, 8 or 12 oz sirloin steak, pork chops, salmon, chicken breast or baby back ribs then you get to pick two sides and your meal is created just for you.  The little guy is a cheese head and loves the mac and cheese and mozzarella sticks kids meal while my husband usually gets something different each time we go, this time he chose the crispy brewhouse chicken with a stout based gravy, cheddar cheese, garlic mashed potatoes and crispy onions on top.

applebees

In addition to all these fun new summer dishes, Applebee’s is also celebrating national watermelon day with a contest!  To celebrate this new salad and fun occasion, from July 20 to August 3 Applebee’s is inviting guests to submit their favorite salad recipes via photo or text on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags #WoodFired and #Sweepstakes for a chance to win a $100 Applebee’s gift card.  See details and official rules at www.beesmeetup.com.