DETER Insect Repellent – A Natural Botanical Formula

Since moving to Denver, I have discovered a love for the outdoors. I love my evening walks around the park while the kids play on the playground. I enjoy perusing my hiking books to find a new hike to take on the weekend. I love sitting out on my deck with a drink while I wait for the sunset.

What I don’t love though are all of the bugs that seem to constantly find me and attack like they are eating their last meal.  I am not a fan of bug spray.  I don’t like the chemicals and I don’t like the sticky feeling that you get. Even the odor free bug sprays have a smell that you just can’t get away from.

Over the past month or so, I have had the chance to try out Deter Insect Repellent and the whole family loves how well it works. Recently, we hiked our first 14er (tips on that to come in a future post) and the one thing I was so surprised about was the number of no-see-ums on the trail.

Part of the 14er trail

Part of the 14er trail

We were at 12,000 feet elevation and I was getting eaten alive. I was so glad that I had thrown a couple of the Deter towelettes into our Camelbaks.

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As soon as I wiped my arms with the towelette, I felt immediate relief. I will be honest and confess that I didn’t love the smell at first. It has spearmint oil in the formula and I believe this is the smell that I have had to get used to.  It has grown on me though the more that I use it. The towelettes are perfect for the traveler, hiker, or person on the go. They are small and easy to tuck in a backpack, purse or pocket. The spray bottles come in several different sizes that are also easy to tuck in your hiking backpack.

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My daughter has extremely sensitive skin and we have trouble finding products that don’t tear up her skin. This works just fine and doesn’t irritate. Deter Insect Repellent is a natural botanical formula and is environmentally friendly. They also have a sunscreen that I hope to try.

Do you want to give the formula a try? The best thing is that you can try the small bottle for less than $5.

*Thank you to Deter Outdoor Skin Protection for sharing some product samples with us. All opinions are mine and mine alone.

 

An Ode to the Stonz Bootz Linerz

*As part of my brand ambassadorship with Stonz, we received a pair of Stonz Booties to review.  All opinions are ours and ours alone.  For the record, I will buy Stonz Wear gear from here on out as long as they fit my children.

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The Stonz Bootz Linerz are meant to help keep feet warm and dry when worn with the Stonz Bootz or Booties. We loved the Stonz Rain Bootz when they arrived but it hasn’t rained once the entire time we have had them in our house. We did try them out in the snow after it had mostly melted but was that slushy, muddy gross snow. They worked out well and kept both of my kids happy in the cold. There wasn’t really enough snow for our snow boots but there was just enough slush that their regular shoes weren’t going to cut it.

The Rain Bootz come in three bright colors, blue, pink, and yellow, as well as a grey color. These bright boots will bring a smile to any child’s face on a rainy day. Rain Bootz might not be getting used on a daily basis, but the Linerz are. Little did I know, my little fashionista would discover that the Linerz fit into the boots that she wears to school just about every day. She prefers them to socks right now and I think that is a testament to how warm they keep her feet.

I have loved my brand ambassadorship with Stonz because it gave us the opportunity to try out some of their great products.  See our reviews of the Stonz Booties, Stonz Winter Bootz, and Stonz Mittz.

Samsung Chromebook is Great for Travel

When Staples offered me an opportunity to review a Samsung Chromebook, I jumped at the chance.  We have been searching for something that would work for us during our travels.  As a travel blogger, I am often posting from the road.  I am also in school full-time for the next year to finish up a second master’s degree.

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I need the speed and power of a good laptop but I need the portability of a tablet.  So far, neither has worked.  Dragging the laptop around with me on a trip has not been working.  I have to bring a separate bag for it and if I am traveling by air, it has to be in a bag that I can bring with me in the cabin.  It is heavy and lugging it around is a pain.  We purchased an iPad recently and I thought that it would be the answer to all of my problems.

It might be if my children didn’t love it so much.  That isn’t the only problem though.  I find the iPad difficult to type on.  I have searched high and low for a keyboard cover but I just haven’t found one that I like.  We also don’t have a cover for it yet.  I have been using a laptop sleeve to store it but I am constantly worried that I am going to scratch it.  In addition to that, the iPad always wants me to download an app for every little thing.  Logging in to my class?  There is an app for that.  Want to watch a movie downloaded from Amazon?  There is an app for that.  I am used to my PC and Android products.

The Samsung Chromebook compared to my laptop.

The Samsung Chromebook compared to my laptop.

Enter the Samsung Chromebook.

The Samsung Chromebook is the perfect powerhouse for me.

  • It is lightweight and easy to tuck in a bag that I am already bringing.
  • It easily hooks up to any wifi connection.
  • I can log into my school program without having to download an app.
  • Using the Google Drive to save things and Google Docs to create documents both allow me to work on the road and then access what I need from my home computer.
  • There is a USB and an HDMI spot so I can connect just about any device to it to both download or charge.
  • The battery life is long enough that I can work on it in transit.

I have discovered a few downsides to the Samsung Chromebook but the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

  • My program of studies includes online synchronous classes were I have to log in.  To interact with my professor and other classmates, I use a headset that plugs in to both a microphone and earphone jack.  This is not a deal breaker for me.  It just means that I have to go purchase a new headset with a USB jack.
  • The touchpad takes a little while to get used to.  I still have trouble getting the Chromebook to do exactly what I want it to if it isn’t a quick scroll or select.

*Staples.com provided me with this product for review. The thoughts and opinions expressed are strictly my own. Shop their entire line of Chromebooks and laptops online.

Mary Poppins: The Musical

There are moments in a parent’s life that he or she looks forward to sharing with the children.  For me, watching Mary Poppins together while curled up on the couch with a blanket and some popcorn was one of them.  My daughter fell in love with Mary Poppins when we watched it together.  She has memorized every song and we watch the movie often.  I have wanted to see the Broadway production of Mary Poppins since Ashley Brown, a former student at the school in which I used to teach English, was in the starring role.  Unfortunately, the show never came close enough to my city.

Since moving to Denver, I have been blown away by the theater offerings.  When I saw that Mary Poppins was coming to the Buell Theater, I immediately bought tickets for my daughter and I.  Our two tickets were $68 with fees and taxes.  I purchased seats in the lowest price point and we were in the very last row of the Orchestra section.  Thank you to the Buell Theater for upgrading our seats.

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Mary Poppins, the musical, was a lovely adaptation.  I was worried that my six year old would not be as interested in the musical adaptation as she was in the movie.  Boy, was I wrong.  We both sat mesmerized through the entire two and a half hours.  When Mary Poppins flew in for the first time, Little S giggled with glee and checked to see if I was having as much fun as she was.

You will recognize many of your favorite Mary Poppins songs.  At the same time, you will hear a few new tunes that weren’t in the movie.  Those songs are just as catchy as the ones that we know and love.

When A Spoonful of Sugar started playing, Little S sang along softly.  As I leaned over to tell her to sing in her head, I realized that everybody around us was mouthing the words, too.  There is just something about Mary Poppins.

The costumes were amazing and the set designs were beautiful.  My daughter and I both believe, hands down, that the best scene of the night was Step In Time with Mary Poppins, Bert, Jane, Michael and the Sweeps.  As they tap danced around the stage, we felt like we were out on the rooftops with them.  Another favorite scene was Jolly Holiday.  Though we loved all the characters, we felt like Bert stole the show.

The Buell Theater was a great venue.  I loved the little touches to welcome children to enjoy the arts.  They offered booster seats for children and, while they aren’t the comfiest, they worked well for my daughter.  Because we were there on a kid’s night, there were all sorts of activities and meet and greets.  Two days before our show, we received a reminder email with links to a great Study Guide.  The Study Guide is also available on the website.

We chose to arrive early to avoid the rush hour traffic in Downtown Denver so parking was not an issue.  We parked in the Arts Complex Garage located directly across from the Buell.  Special event pricing was ten dollars but it was worth not having to walk out in the snow at 10pm after the show.  Because we arrived early, we didn’t have a problem finding a parking space.  After parking, we walked two blocks to Sam’s Diner for a quick dinner before the show.  The Buell is surrounded by great restaurants so you can plan a whole evening out or grab dessert and a drink after your show.

If you are in the Denver area, buy tickets to see Mary Poppins at the Buell Theater while it is here.  Performance times are as follows:  May 1 to May 5, 2013; Wed-Sat 7:30pm, Saturday 2pm; May 2 at 2pm; May 5 at 1pm and 6:30.  

If you aren’t in Denver, find out when the show will be near you.  It is worth the money.  The people sitting behind us were watching the show for the seventh time.  It really is that good.

 

Why EVERY Mom Should Own a Totseat Portable High Chair

What is a Totseat, you ask?  Only one of the most clever inventions in recent baby travel gear.  It is basically a piece of fabric that you attach to an adult chair that keeps your infant or toddler strapped in.  It is fully adjustable to fit ALL types of dining style chairs – tall back, short back, skinny, wide, with and without back spindles (please notice the different chairs in my pictures).  It EASILY squeezes into a sack about twice the size of my wallet.  It keeps my child CONTAINED.  It is essential for every mom on the go!

totseat4When I found, ordered, and used this contraption my very first thought was, “If it hasn’t already happened, some mom out there is going to be very rich one day from creating this thing.”

I could just see it – a mom stuck somewhere without a highchair, and with the need to keep her baby in one spot.  She probably grabbed a towel and tied her kid to a chair or something and thought of this BRILLIANT idea.  Sure enough, I read Totseat’s history and I was almost totally correct – except instead of a towel, she was using her long sleeved sweaters.  She made her first prototype out of her wedding dress.  I love it.

Compliments abound when my daughter uses her Totseat.  Every time I place her in it, strangers want to know what the heck that thing is, where I got it, and how much it cost.  The seat is a UK product and they do delivery to most all destinations but shipping and handling will run you 10.95 in pounds if you are not located in the UK.  With the conversion rate, it makes more sense for US residents to purchase the Totseat through Amazon like I did.   It was $39.19 with free shipping since I am an Amazon Prime member.

Some of you may be thinking to yourself, “Well, that’s what I have a stroller for.”  I very rarely use a stroller for my 10 month old.  My daughter much prefers to be worn everywhere we go and I find strollers to be cumbersome and annoying to maneuver.  Also, strollers aren’t exactly ideal in the situations I have used our Totseat.

You know the problem: you go out to eat and the only highchairs are the big wooden ones that your child can slip right through.  Or all of the highchairs are taken.  Or there is no high chair at all!  Totseat!  Seen below hanging out at a friend’s birthday at a restaurant (left) and meeting a friend for lunch (right).

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You head out to enjoy a delicious dinner at a friend’s house and she doesn’t have any highchairs (or they are already occupied by her own children).  Totseat!

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You just need to be able to keep your infant or toddler in one place!  For instance, when you are at the gym, fresh out of baby swim lessons.  Changing in the locker room, where there is obviously no where to put baby, is much easier when you are not trying to keep her out of lockers, or balance her on a bench.  Totseat!

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I have not encountered a time where I wanted to use the Totseat and was not able to.  Not to mention, it is now my go-to gift for baby showers!  This will become one of those items that you say, “I have no idea how I survived without it!”

 

Marissa

Call Me Cuffs: A Review

Have you ever turned around to say something to your child only to realize that your child is no longer standing next to you?  In those seconds or minutes when you are searching all over, a number of things go through your mind.  What was my child wearing?  Will they remember my cell phone number?  Will they remember what our plan is if we ever get separated from each other?

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Call Me Cuffs offered me a 12 pack of temporary wrist bands to review.  I said yes for a couple of reasons.  The wrist bands are temporary so if they get lost, you aren’t out a lot of money.  The wrist bands only have the phone number of choices on them.  There is no other identifying information and you can use the same order of wrist bands for all of your kids.

We used the Call Me Cuffs several weekends in a row while we were on the ski slopes.  As my children’s lessons progressed, they got more and more daring.  They were riding ski lifts with each other and without us.  They were swooshing down the mountain before I could even get myself off of the lift.

I have also replaced the hand written note with my phone number on it in each of their school backpacks and also the camping backpacks.  I just attached the Call Me Cuff to the tag and I can be assured that my kids will know how to get a hold of me if they need to.

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Call Me Cuffs are waterproof and durable.  My kids wore theirs the whole weekend that we were skiing and they were in great shape at the end of our visit.  The bracelets can be customized with your phone number and also allergy and medical information.  12 bracelets cost $14.95 and shipping is only an additional $1.25.

*Thank you to Call Me Cuffs for sending me the product to review.