The Mommyhood Life – Travel, Crafts, Food, and Florida Family Fun

Month: June 2015

Getting Ready for Our Next Road Trip! #BBBestSummerEver

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Banana Boat® . The opinions and text are all mine.
Summer is finally here!  We plan to take a road trip down to Florida again this year after having an amazing time last year.  We leave Boston before the sun comes up and head south, trying to make it to South Carolina by sun set.  My brother is still in Charleston, along with a piece of my heart.  I fell in love with Charleston during our first trip down there a few years ago, and that love has grown deeper each time we have returned.  I love the southern living, the front porches, the people, and the beauty.

After spending some time soaking up life in Charleston, we get back on the road and head south to Clearwater, Florida.  However there is no driving through Georgia without getting Georgia peaches!  I’ll never forget the first time we drove through and I grabbed some a stand for a snack, the kids and I were hooked on the most tasty peaches we’ve ever had and ate about 5 pounds that day.  The peach stop is now a set stop on all our east coast road trips.
After stocking up on peaches, we continue down to Clearwater.  Clearwater Beach is my most favorite beach.  The water is crystal clear, warm, and calm plus the sand is soft and fluffy.  Beyond the beach there is so many fun activities to do in the Tampa Bay area, from Zoo’s to Boat rides.
After Clearwater, we head over to Orlando for some amusement park fun before starting our return trip home.
I love taking this road trip during the summer because the kids are out of school and we have more time to spend relaxing and enjoying each stop, without worrying about getting back home before school reopens.  However the Florida summer is hot, actually more like sweltering.
It is hotter than hot, humid, and sticky but so beautiful at the same time.  We spend lots of time outside, at the beach, poolside, and doing day trips.  This means we need sunblock every single day, all day.  During last years trip we went through a bottle of sunblock a day keeping all five of us protected, and I anticipate the same for this year.  So before we hit the road I will be making a special trip to Walmart for sunblock and all my summer fun must haves.
 
My go to sunblock is Banana Boat®,  its a trusted brand in my family.  I like the protection they offer, the scent is great, and they have a full selection of all the sunblock types I look for.

For the road trip, I have a bag that stays in the front center of our van with all my essentials in easy reach, including my sunblock stock.  I have a bottle of Banana Boat® Kids Continuous Spray Sunscreen, a bottle of Banana Boat® Kids Sunscreen Lotion for the kids faces, and a bottle of 
Banana Boat®  Sport Performance® CoolZone™ Continuous Spray Sunscreen
for my husband and I. 
 

The Sport Performance®

CoolZone™ spray is my biggest obsession, especially in Florida!  It sprays on cold and instantly refreshed me when I’m hot and sweaty, it’s awesome and like dropping ice on yourself without getting wet.  This turned my mood around on many hot days walking around an amusement park!

We are sweating and swimming a lot in Florida, so I make sure to apply at least 2 tablespoons of Banana Boat® to each of us every 2 hours during the day.  The kids get sick of getting out of the water or breaking from the sand castle building, so we like to try to make up songs to sing with a little dance so that putting on sunblock is fun.

What are you looking forward to most this summer?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Banana Boat® . The opinions and text are all mine.

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How to Pack the Perfect Beach or Pool Bag with a Free Printable Checklist! #CokeHappyHour

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CokeHappyHour #CollectiveBias
The most relaxing way for my family to spend a summer day is by the pool or at the beach.  My kids love the water and could swim for hours without complaining once, and building sandcastles at the beach and burying each other in the sand makes some of the best family memories.

However to really be able to relax on this fun outing with 3 children, I need to do a lot of prep work.  That’s why I have created the perfect beach/pool bag for my family. 
At the beginning of the summer season I gather everything I may need at the beach or pool and pack up my beach bag fully,  along with stocking the back of my van with the kid’s favorite pool toys, life jackets, cooler, and our sand toy tote.
 
Once I have my bag fully packed and the van well stocked, I am prepared for countless pool and beach days.  I only need to swap out wet towels,  empty trash, and refill the cooler and I’m ready for our next outing.
This is what I pack in my Beach Bag:
The kids favorite beach towels
 
Sun block, I like having both spray and cream versions.  The sprays are convenient and quick, but I like using creams for the kids faces and shoulders for extra protection.
 
Both Lilly and Myself get really dry lips when there is an ocean breeze, so I always pack lip balm.
Plastic bags are great for wet towels and clothes.  Plus if your a walk from a trash barrel, having plastic bags can be very convenient.
 
Baby wipes, my kids are all potty trained however I still use baby wipes everyday.  They are perfect for wiping down faces, hands, toys, and pretty much everything else.
 
A beach blanket, I have chairs in the van however a blanket is a lot easier to carry when I’m taking the kids by myself.  Plus sometimes the kids just want to laydown and stretch out after spending hours building the biggest sand castle possible.
Hair Ties, Leave in Conditioner, and a Wet Brush.  Lilly’s curls can become a matted mess really quickly if I don’t maintain a high ponytail while she’s in the chlorine or salt water.
 
Lotion is also great to have on hand.  The salt water and ocean breeze or a heavily chlorinated pool can both leave your skin feeling tight and dry.
 
I also have a small pouch of first aid necessities.  Band-Aids, Neosporin, Benadryl, and Tylenol are great to have on hand just in case.
 
After my bags packed, I set up the van for all the summer fun!
The things I keep in my van are;
Beach and Camp Chairs, between the beach, pool, and cookouts, I am always pulling chairs out of the van.
 
The kids lifejackets, I love always having these with me and even though Anthony is a great swimmer and the twins are learning, there are still times when I prefer them to have their jackets on.  Especially at crowded lakes and rivers.
 
Swim toys,  I keep the kids noodles, kick boards, and goggles in the back of the van.  This has saved me countless times from the kids wanting to go in those fun beachside stores that have all the cool pool floats sitting outside.
 
Sand Toy Tote, I love our sand toy tote it is plastic with checkered holes through it which makes it incredibly easy to rinse off all our sand toys at once.  My kids are often entertained for an entire day building castles, so I never want to be stuck at a beach without our pails and shovels.
 
Cooler, one of the best parts of spending the day at the beach or pool is that it is budget friendly for a family of five.  However if I buy lunch and drinks at a snack stand, the day can go from costing a few dollars for parking to over $50.  So we pack our cooler before we go or on the way at a local Walgreens.
One drink that I always have in my cooler are a few bottles of cold refreshing Coke.  There is something about the bubbly taste and smelling the ocean that brings me right back to my childhood.  As my childhood memories flood back, I enjoy making these great memories with my children even more.
What better way to share a Coke, than enjoying a beautiful day by the water!
 
It is easy to forget some important essentials when trying to get out the door early enough to find a perfect spot on the sand with a bunch of excited kids in tow.  This Beach (or Pool) Checklist is the perfect solution, run through it before you leave the house to save yourself a headache in the midst of some water fun. 
 Plus make sure you stock up on your favorite Coca-Cola beverages at Walgreens with these amazing deals, before you get to the beach!
Every Wednesday through Friday from 4:00 to 7:00pm, Buy 1 Coca-Cola 20 oz. bottle and Get 1 Free 20 oz. bottle to share! You can load the coupon instantly on the Walgreens app or click here for more information.
 
May through July you get 3,000 Balance Rewards points when you buy participating Coca-Cola products when you purchase $10 of participating Coca-Cola products.

Who will you share a Coke from Walgreens with this summer?

 

The Father He Didn’t Have to Be, The Anchor in My Life! #NauticaforDad

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  #NauticaforDad #CollectiveBias
As Father’s Day approaches I want to share the story about my Dad.  I don’t talk about it often because it’s not really necessary to talk about it but for Father’s Day I thought it would be nice to share.  My Dad is the Father he never needed to be!

 

I met my Dad before my first birthday,  when my mom started dating him and later married.  I always new my birth father and even lived with him for a period of time while I was a teenager, however my Dad has always been my Dad.
 
This man walked into my life and took on all the responsibility that another man couldn’t handle.  He was the one who made the rules, went to father/daughter dances, fixed my car, and walked me down the isle.  He taught me how to ride a bike, how to be responsible, and the unfaltering love of father.  He also showed me that love and loyalty are what makes a family, not blood and as a result I have countless friends who have become family over the years and I am one of the most loyal people you’ll ever meet.

He has been an anchor in my life for day one, there is no conditions upon the love he has shown me.  I am his daughter, unconditionally.

Now 31 years later, he is an anchor in my kids life.  He is the papa who plays baseball, builds bounce houses, and plays with Lego’s.  He is a man my boys can look up to and a man my daughter can rely on.  They love him with all their hearts and he loves them right back!

So what am I buying the anchor in my life for Father’s Day?  The Nautica Voyage Gift Set!  It’s a great gift set that has a cool, aquatic and masculine scent.  The set includes a shower gel, aftershave balm, and 2 bottles of cologne.  I love the smell of Nautica Voyage and I also love the price of this deluxe gift set, It is a $128 value available at Macy’s for only $65!

The set also comes in a great gift box, making wrapping very easy.

I can’t wait to relax by the pool on Father’s Day, BBQ, and celebrate with the two best Dad’s I know.  My Dad and my Husband!

Enter Nautica’s amazing giveaway! 
1 Grand Prize Winner will win a $4,000 Cruise Vacation Package
5 Second Place Winners will win a Nautica Men’s Fragrance Gift Package
Winner must be 18+
I’ve shared some memories about my father. Who is the anchor in your life?



5 Ways to Save Money this Summer and How We’re Celebrating Father’s Day with the Lowest Priced Unlimited Plans!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #Save4Summer #CollectiveBias
Father’s Day is this weekend, Summer vacation starts next week, and there are countless things the kids want to do this summer.  Like most families, summer is an expensive time for our household.  The kids are home and eating our cabinets bare, plus day trips and vacations can add up quickly.
 
I like to start preparing for summer break a few months ahead of time by trying to lower our bills with great deals like Walmart’s low priced unlimited talk, text and data cell plans, and eating outside while creating a restaurant feel. 

 
Here are my 5 Summer Money Saving Tips:
1.  Buy in bulk before the kids get out of school.  I hate grocery shopping with the kids!  I always end up spending double what I intended on spending and leave the grocery store with a carriage full of junk food when I have the kids with me.  So I like to do a huge grocery shopping right before school breaks.
The kids are out of school for 2 months, so I like to get a large supply of juice boxes, freeze pops, fruit snacks, and other foods that wont go bad in a two month time frame.  This way I only need to do small and quick grocery shopping trips each week, that I can do easily without the kids.  I keep the stock pile of food in the basement and bring up a weeks supply at a time, so that the kids don’t eat it all in the first week.
 
2.  Make a list of fun and free things to do over the summer.  Day trips can add up quickly, so I like to make a list of places we can visit for little to know cash.  In my area there are several local playgrounds, water spray parks, pools, and beaches that we can spend the day at without spending a dime.  There are also some great monuments, beaches that have weekly fireworks, and some museums that have free admittance on certain days, and all I would need to pay for is parking to take the kids.  These are great boredom busters that can keep the cash in my wallet.
 
3.  We also pack our lunches and snacks whenever possible.  A day at the beach can go from free to $50 quick if I have to buy 5 lunches and bottled water all day.  So I like to pack the cooler each day with the snacks I had stocked up on ahead of time.  I  also have the back of the mini-van well stocked and it stays like that all summer.  I keep an extra bathing suit, towel, and life jacket for each of the kids in the van.  We also have some pool toys and sand toys in there, this way we don’t need to buy anything at those fun beach side stores if we decide to take a sporadic swim. 
 
4.  Slim down the bills.  We spend less on electricity by spending time outside and keeping the air conditioner off.  Cooking outside is a big one, this way the house doesn’t get extra hot from the oven going.
You can have the cable turned off during the summer months while most shows are off for the season and most nights are spent outside anyways.  Then once the fall comes back, negotiate with the cable company to only restart up without a contract.  We do this each year and it easily saves us $150+ a year.
  We also saved on our cell phone bill by switching to Walmart’s Family Mobile.  The phones are priced great, Alcatel Pop Astro is only $64.88 and is a great smartphone. 
Plus a plan with unlimited talk, text and data which includes  1G of 4G LTE data is just $29.88 a month for the first phone line with no contract, credit check or overage charges.  That’s more than a 50% savings on what we were playing for our phone plans before switching!  That’s a great chunk of change back in my wallet for some summer fun!
 
Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to http://cbi.as/8e03 or your local Walmart for current pricing.
5.  Stay home while enjoying holidays.  Father’s Day is this weekend and instead of spending a ton of money on going out to eat, we will be cooking out by my parents pool and relaxing.  We can eat great, within our grocery budget and it’s a lot less stressful than taking 3 kids to a restaurant. 
 
So what are the kids getting Dad for Father’s day?  One of his presents is of course the Alcatel Pop Astro Cell Phone.  The phone is sleek and has all the bells and whistles he likes in a phone including a great camera, touch screen, and best of all it’s budget friendly! (Luckily he rarely reads this so he wont know)


3D Robotics for Father’s Day #SoloatBestBuy

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.
Anthony loves drones, he asked for one at Christmas and then again, for a better quality one for his birthday.  The best part of his new hobby is that both his Dad and my father also enjoy flying them, which has been a great bonding experience for them all.

 
Are you still struggling for a Father’s Day gift idea?  Why not head to Best Buy, the destination for drones, and explore all their great options including the new Solo™ by 3DR.
 
This is an amazing drone!  It is powered by two integrated Linux computers so you can capture the perfect picture every time.
 
Solo can also plan its own flight so you can focus on camera fun or taking a perfect video.
 
Anthony would be over the moon if his Dad or Papa got this drone for Father’s Day!
 
The Solo retails for $999.
 
Get a FREE Solo Smart Battery (Reg. Price: $149.99) when you purchase the 3DR Solo Drone (Sku: 5354101). Valid 6/7-7/11 at Best Buy.
Disclaimer: Offer valid with purchase of the 3DR Solo Drone SKU: 5351035
 


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