Children's Books, Education, Summer, Travel

Must Read Books When Traveling With Kids

I have partnered with Lonely Planet for this feature

Must Read Books When Traveling With Kids

Traveling with kids is a daunting task for some, but it has never been for me. I have my own self-interest in history and geography so going somewhere new is fun for me because I can educate the boys in a fun and engaging way. Our 2 older bonus boys have not traveled as much as our youngest son. Circumstances and also money was different when they were younger. Now that we travel more often and to further locations my son is so enriched and can speak about other cities and recognize sites when we see movies or advertisements from major cities.

I always make sure he knows where we are going. For nights leading up to our travel I talk about distance and things to see and do even for local getaways or camping. Picture books and fact books are the best way to get him excited and Lonely Planet has so many travel and guide books for kids and adults!

City trail books are fun. We just got back from New York City and we saw so many landmarks. This is his second trip to New York from Seattle so he really has a little piece of his heat left in New York. These books were so much fun as we planned our trip and he remembered the guidebook at certain spots.

If your child just wants a general education about the world and major cities, these Big Books are fantastic. They are fun to pull out at bedtime and skim a page or two as they learn about their world outside of their own town and local landscapes.

Having guide books like these has begun to develop a love of museums from my son. He is 10 and just this week, out of the blue, said he really loved the museums we saw best and really wants to go to more museums.

Besides travel you can also find a few other guide books that include all things about Earth and even the humans and DNA makeup of us and the regions. Look for guidebooks for your upcoming travel or for some engaging education around history and geography at Lonely Planet!

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Buy It! Books also available on Amazon!

Food, Healthy Living, Natural Foods, Summer

Helping Kids and Parents Get More Veggies Into Their Diet with Garden Lites

I have partnered with Garden Lites (unsponsored) for this feature

With vegetables as the primary ingredient in all of their items, Garden Lites is helping kids and parents get more veggies into their diet in delicious ways. These frozen snacks are made with only clean/simple ingredients, Gluten Free, non-GMO certified, nut free and kosher.

 

 

My favorite are the Chocolate Muffins. When I am trying to eat clean and have a sweet tooth, I grab one from the freezer and pop it in the microwave for a few seconds and the chocolate chips melt just a tad for a delicious, gooey treat. You don’t have to microwave them, they thaw fast such as throwing one from the freezer into a lunchbox or picnic basket. They will be ready to eat real soon and most assuredly by lunch.

The Chocolate Muffin’s first two ingredients are zucchini and carrots and are 33% veggies. They also come in Blueberry Oat, Banana Chocolate Chip and Carrot Berry.

Garden Lites® Superfood Veggie Cakes, launched only 2 years ago, are already a best-selling item. They are are packed with nutrient-rich superfood veggies like kale and cauliflower.

I just wanted to put these little snacks on your radar this summer! You can find them in retailers in the frozen section. For more information on Garden Lites products, visit www.GardenLites.com and be sure to follow on Facebook and Twitter!

Fashion, Healthy Living, Kids, Natural Products, Reviews, Summer

Cabana Life Sun Protective Family Swimwear Inspired by Melanoma Survivors

I have partnered with Cabana Life for feature. Opinions are my own

Cabana Life Sun Protective Family Swimwear Inspired by Melanoma Survivors

Don’t you just love the chance to wear new swimwear? There are so many styles and brands to choose from that when you find the right piece it is like a huge accomplishment. I have a few tankinis and shorts, but what I realized I lack is something for when evening hits on chilly nights. I may still want to get in the water, but out of the water I get cold and don’t want to have to change or get my regular clothes wet. My Palace Blue Zipper Rashguard from Cabana Life is my new favorite sun protective clothing and swimwear piece.

Cabana Life has swim shorts, bikinis, suits, tanks, tees, coverups and more that all work to protect your skin from harmful UV rays and with pieces like the long-sleeve rashguard I have it is great for those days when the warm day sun brings a chilly sunset. Above is an example of a cover up from the Girls line.

Cabana Life has the boys and men covered too! Their skin-safe fabrics give you the highest rated UV protection that will not wash out in the water or with sweat like sunscreens do. I hate the chore of greasing up my son so if I can cover him with safe clothing wherever I can it eliminates skin areas that I have to apply sunscreen to.

From the water to the meal table their fabric is comfortable to wear all day. It dries fast and looks great with bold colors and/or fun patterns. This brand was started by a skin cancer survivor so they are serious about the protection this fabric gives you and your entire family.

Here is the fun part! They have Mom and Me as well as Daddy and Me matching styles. I love finding these matching sets (and it makes spotting my big and little men in a crowd much easier).

Connect with Cabana Life on their website and follow on Facebook and Instagram

Buy It! The featured rashguard

Kids, Money Saver, Promotions, Reviews, Reviews by Anthony, Summer, Tips and Tricks, Travel

How To Experience Great Wolf Lodge in Under 24 Hours

I was provided Paw Passes in exchange for this feature. I attended GWL on my own and opinions are my own

On the last day of school we hoped into the car and joined friends for a night at the Grand Mound, Wa. Great Wolf Lodge to celebrate the start of summer. It was the best way to celebrate with these new fifth grade boys. We have been before and this time was a bit different and actually the most fun we have had. The difference is that we had Paw Passes and we crushed our stay in less than 24 hours!

When you reserve your stay (or at check in) you have 3 play options to choose from which is a fantastic way to save in more ways than one! I’ll explain…..

For the littles, the Pup Pass is a great start and for the older boys the Paw or Wolf passes are best. Have you ever been to Great Wold Lodge and seen families with these large paws around their necks? These families know how to save and I wish I had discovered or really jumped on board sooner. We checked in and the passes were waiting for us and so was our room at 1:30 – bonus! We were able to go grab all our bags and go upstairs right away to change and head to the water area. After some swim time we changed and grabbed the passes to begin some indoor fun!

Here is the back of the Paw Pass $79.99 (saves over $32 in activities). First we sent the boys to do a quest. They have done this before and even have wands so they chose toppers and played MagiQuest. Because we bought the pass I didn’t have to bring any cash downstairs-it is all pre-paid and off they were running the halls. Us adults went upstairs to get dinner ready.

After dinner they wanted to have some arcade time and they got a game card with 20 points loaded because of the Paw Pass (that’s about $5 free pre-loaded). We added some more cash and off they went. They actually played day 1 and day 2 and were able to save the tickets on their cards from day 1 and combine when we left for their prizes.

After dinner and arcade they wanted to check more off of their Paw Pass list so off to the candy shop where they got to fill an entire cup with any of the bulk candy on the wall. Then next door was Oliver’s Mining Experience where they got to mine for gems. At this point I still have not spent any money besides the extra I put on his arcade card.

One more item to check off for the night…. Creation Station characters! There were many to choose form and Anthony chose Oliver. The game was down you play with after creating your stuffie so they offered us a free backpack and GWL character tee. 

Up to the room to munch on their candy and rest and then at 8pm was a BINGO game downstairs. We played a few games and all 3 boys managed to come away with wins. They pick lots of winners each round so winning is common and they got husky pups.

That was day one! They crashed right away and woke up wanting more water fun. The best time to hit the water park is right when it opens in the morning. A quick run to Starbucks downstairs (Amen to a Starbucks inside), made them waffles and to the waterslides where it is quiet in the morning with no waterslide lines. They had many rounds of slides with little lines. Once it came close to checkout we went upstairs to change but we still have a Paw Pass item and arcade points to spend.

At Great Wolf Lodge you check out at 11 but do not have to leave. Come back in and have some more fun! We completed our last Paw Pass experience in the gift shop where the boys chose a bracelet and got to engrave a name on it. Anthony wanted one for his puppy’s kennel so he chose pink and put Maya’s name on it. He traded in his arcade tickets for a Spiderman character and them homebound! The boys (and us gals) were beat!

The only item on the Paw Pass we did not do was the glitter tattoo ($8 value) because none of the boys were into it but the little girls in the Creation Station the boys offered it too were so excited. The crew allowed the boys to donate their tattoo item to these little girls we saw inside so it got used.

How the Paw Pass really saves!

When you arrive your room and any passes have been paid for if you chose them at purchase time. What I found is that I would spend so much more at GWL without passes and there are 2 reasons for this. The cost of the Pup, Paw and Wolf Passes save you an average of $30 because you bundled and pre-paid for activities in a package. When we don’t have a pass, we also don’t have a plan. There is so much to do and it all costs money.

With the pass the boys are so focused on getting all they can off their passes they aren’t constantly asking for money here and there. No, they didn’t golf or play both Quest games and they would want to do it all normally but these passes were a way to confine them and they never asked to do above and beyond. They had enough going on to keep them occupied. The passes save right away and give your kids a range to stay within.

So, what did we pay for inside the park? We brought our own food so no meal money was spent. We did pass by a bar where the boys were so excited to see Italian Sodas only I read it better to see they were Red Bull Italian Sodas so the guy at the bar told them he could make them sprite Italian Sodas and charged us $3.10 each. Deal! I gave my son $20 to add to his arcade card. I got coffee at Starbucks that my friend actually bought me, but still an expense for us. That’s it! $80 passes plus an extra $25. Know what I have dropped without a plan or pass inside before? At least twice as much! I am very proud how little after checkin we got away with and it makes it much more enticing to get back again soon. Oh and our stay was a Groupon deal so we still saved a ton on the room.

Our suggestion for Great Wolf Lodge

As we stood in line at the top of the waterslides we can see the Rope’s Course outside. It is a bit pricey but fun. Then my friend asks why GWL doesn’t offer a Teen Pass? There are many teens roaming and that would be fantastic. We figured maybe they can have some rope time. They can trade things like mining, bracelets and stuffed animal creation for more arcade points, slices of pizza, Ice Cream scoop, T-Shirt or water bottle from gift shop. They can maybe redeem for a room dedicated for teens (that would be fun to offer) for a movie or perhaps GWL swim area stays open a half hour longer and uses that as teen time for a small fee or free with a Teen Pass. We thought about our boys getting older and still having a blast but they won’t be into stuffed animals anymore so there is plenty that could be available for a pass for them. Maybe?

Visit Great Wolf Lodge and choose the Pass package that fits each of your family members!

 

 

Food, Giveaways, Reviews, Summer

Grab the Summer Fruit for These Good Cook Gadgets – Giveaway

I have partnered with Good Cook for this feature

Grab the Summer Fruit for These Good Cook Gadgets - Giveaway

Welcome to the Good Cook Review and Giveaway

Is there much else better than a bowl of cold fresh fruit on a hot summer day? It tends to be my go-to offer when invited to a summer BBQ. I get an odd satisfaction from scooping and slicing different fruits then watching all the colors come together in a bowl. Whatever is left after my son and I pick through as I slice it all is what we take with us.

What is even more fun is that each season there seems to be even more gadgets out that make coking, baking and slicing fruit much easier and safer than large knives and cutting boards. Good Cook has so many handy gadgets for the kitchen and these are some I will give much use to over summer.

Good Cook Pineapple Slicer: In some easy twists this cores, peels and slices pineapple into perfect rings. Then simply toss the rind. I love to store the juice that remains behind i the cavity for cocktails or punches.

Good Cook Melon Baller: Made with Industrial grade stainless steel and plastic, this heavy-duty baller has two scoop sizes on its dual head design. Great to quickly ball out honeydew and cantaloupe for salads and cocktails.

Good Cook Jumbo Fruit Slicer: What a time saver! This slicer instantly cuts large fruits like watermelon, pineapple and other melons. Simply cut off the top, place slicer, give it a quick saw motion and slice down! Easy and safe!

Good Cook Locking Lids Vented Storage Containers: These containers are vented for ultimate freshness sealed in as you store all this fruit!

The Giveaway!

1 lucky reader will win this assortment of Good Cook gadgets! Enter below. Open to US and 18+. Good luck!

Education, Gift Guides, Kids, Summer, Toy Reviews

Five STEM-Based Stomp Rocket Launch Toys for Toddlers to Adults

I have partnered with Stomp Rocket for this feature. Product was sent and opinions are my own

Five STEM-Based Stomp Rocket Launch Toys for Toddlers to Adults

For 25 years Stomp Rocket® has been making STEM-based play fun! Not only does it get the kids outdoors the adults have fun playing along too. With camping and BBQ season fast approaching this makes a great summer toy! It is 100% kid-powered fun.

We took some rockets camping this weekend and the boys had a blast. It brought out a lot of other campers too which made it a lot of fun!

–Stomp Rocket® Jr. Glow – Ages 3+

These are all foam and safe for ages 3 and older. They soar up to 100 feet and at night they glow in the dark for added fun! STEM learning: Physics and Motion

Buy It: Glow Stomp Rocket Jr.

–Stomp Rocket® Stunt Planes (NEW) – Ages 5+

There are 3 different styled planes great for the budding aeronautical engineers. They loop, glide and flip!

Buy It: Stomp Rocket ® Stunt Planes, 3 Planes

–Stomp Rocket® Ultra LED – Ages 5+

These LED-equipped rockets are bright! They can launch up to 150 feet and add fun for those summer nights!

Buy It: Ultra LED Stomp Rocket Kit

–Stomp Rocket® Dueling – Ages 5+

Need to avoid sibling rivalry? They each can have a rocket because this set launches 2 rockets at the same time.

Buy It: Stomp Rocket Dueling Set

–Stomp Rocket® Super High Performance – Ages 9+

Ok BIG KIDS (ages 9-99), this rocket is for you! Guess how high this one soars? How about 400 feet!! Have fun and remember to keep your eye on where this one is landing!

Buy It: Super High Performance Stomp Rocket

Connect with Stomp Rocket on their website. Also find them on Facebook and Twitter.