Summer Products Reviews

I was sent a Littles Tick and Bug repellent for free to review.

I tested this product alongside my usual bug repellent. My husband wore the usual and I tried out the Littles Tick and Bug repellent.

Most of the areas we frequent are sprayed for mosquitos, so no surprises there, neither one of us saw any mosquitos.

This time of year, there are a ton of so see ums. And that’s what I was mainly interested in keeping away. They get especially bad around the 2yr old. He still has that fine baby hair and they love it!

In what I would consider normal situations, the littles tick and bug repellent worked for no see ups. The one issue I had was I had to reapply it every 30 minutes. So, I feel like it’s affects didn’t last that long. Of course, in contrast, the bug repellent my husband was wearing didn’t stop the no see ums at all. Littles Tick and Bug Repellent still worked pretty well until later in the day when the no see ums come out in force.

At that point, I’m really not sure that there’s anything that’s going to stop those bugs. They just kind of swarm around and are generally irritating. Littles Tick and Bug Repellent definitely held them off a bit, but couldn’t prevent them entirely because there was just so many of them.

I’m just happy that it works better than my usual bug repellent and that it keeps the no see ums away for the majority of the day!

It does have a fairly strong smell, my son loves the smell and the girls don’t particularly like it – but I mean, if it doesn’t smell like watermelon the girls are suspicious about it. It’s not an unpleasant smell, but you definitely know that you have bug repellent on!

Check out for more information and products! They have a whole line of high quality skin friendly products for the entire family!

I received a container of Mother’s Healing Balm free for purposes of my review.

This is an anti-itch, moisturizing, first aid balm. So, needless to say, I was curious, and excited to try it! I mean, we’re entering into summer here and the amount of bug bites, scratches, and dry skin just increases with the warmer weather.

I don’t want to hold anyone back from being outside but it’s also important to take care of our skin. So, I gave it a try.

First thing I discovered, this is a first aid balm. Not lotion. My hands were dry from washing dishes so I tried this out as a hand cream. It’s too oily, and after 15 minutes I had to wash it off (even after trying really hard to rub it in). So, this isn’t a lotion. It’s more for scratches and bug bites, you know, smaller areas where it’s ok to put them balm on and let it set for a while.

Second thing, it really don’t have an odor. Yay! You can smell it a little bit when you open the jar – but it smells good. But on you, the amount is so small, you can’t smell it at all. I love it when things don’t have added scents!

And, Finally, I did eventually try it out on some scratches and it does help to moisturize and in general keep the scab from drying out just like my usual first aid ointment. So, I would say it’s a great product to have on hand for all the little scratches and bumps the kids get throughout the summer!

Want some for yourself? You can purchase it here on Amazon!

Dr. Plotka’s Toothbrushes – I was sent these toothbrushes to review and somehow they got lost in the mail. I’m hoping that whomever received them is getting good use out of them! These look like great toothbrushes!

  • Naturally Antimicrobial* Bristles – Embedded silver naturally eliminates 99.9% of bacteria that grows on the bristles between brushing sessions.
  • Flossing Bristles™ – Dual-layered bristle structure provides superior cleaning: the longer, thinner bristles – thin as a human hair – reach deep into grooves, under the gumline and between teeth to brush away food and plaque other brushes miss while the thicker bristles ensure complete cleaning of gum and teeth.
  • Soft Long-Lasting Polyester Bristles – Get up to one extra month of use thanks to polyester bristles which bend better than the nylon bristles found in most other brushes on the market! (The ADA recommends changing your toothbrush every 3 months. Doctor Plotka’s brush will last about 4!)
  • Dentist Developed – Dr. Ronald Plotka designed this innovative toothbrush as part of his thriving 40+ year Boston-based dental practice.

These look terrific for kids and adults! Check them out on their website here.

My Crazy, Busy, Too Short, Summer

So, I honestly had planned to write more over the summer. But, it was simply a crazy summer and there was no time. I’ll go into more details in later posts but here’s the highlights:

  1. Hubby was traveling, a lot. He has customers out of state and had to do quite a bit of traveling for work this year. I don’t mind the short trips, but there was this one trip where he was gone for a week, back for a day, and gone for another week. That was tough on the kids especially. We actually settle into a different routine before he gets back and then we have to create a new routine all over again.
  2. We sold our rental house. With 3, soon to be 4 kids and hubby traveling, it was simply too difficult for me to manage a rental on my own. Plus, it’s just not my thing. So we sold it – to a very picky buyer. It’s a sellers market around here and I literally spent two months of my summer tracking down contractors, plumbers, electricians, termite inspectors, etc. Not exactly how I planned to spend my summer. Also, fun story, we had our first buyer fall through and while I thought it was going to be a few days before the house went back on the market, it went back on right away, so I’m driving with the kids (hubby was out of town and my sister was working at the beach for the summer) to the beach and I’m getting all these e-mails from my realtor with all these offers (remember, it’s a seller’s market) for the house. I actually let one offer go without even looking at it because I was driving and had no way to actually read it and then talk to hubby (because he’s in a different time zone working) before the deadline for the offer expired. Frustrating!
  3. I had a baby, actually, I had a baby last week, so at the end of summer. Which means that I was pregnant all summer. Talk about hormones and just being pregnant being in the way a bit. Luckily after the first trimester my pregnancies are about as good as a pregnancy can be, but still, I wouldn’t have planned all this to go along with a pregnancy. I had visions of sitting in the pool all summer…
  4. We actually did join a community pool this summer. My 6yr old learned how to jump off the diving board, and my 9yr old is all about the handstands. The 4yr old just paddles around in his puddle jumper, and life is great.
  5. My mom was diagnosed with lung and thyroid cancer. Back to very busy summer with lots going on at once. I did manage to go up there and visit, around all the existing craziness. She has some great doctors who are optimistic about her recovery. Of course, she’s getting ready to start isotopes treatments right before the holidays this year, which is kind of sad. Once she starts those she won’t be able to be around kids for a while (because she’s radioactive enough to hurt the kids).
  6. Speaking of visits, I did take all 3 kids to the beach by myself. At 8, 6, and 4 they weren’t that hard to manage at the beach, but an 8hr car ride with me being the only driver is rather tiresome. Throw in some construction, mountains, and a few storms and let’s say I’m not really wanting to do that drive again any time soon. I also managed to get them all sunburnt the first day – whoops – and loose my son at a strip mall. And we ate lots of ice cream and I introduced the kids to putt putt golf for the first time. So much fun!

All in all. It was a summer way more packed with emotions, events, travel, and family things than I had planned. And there’s lots of things about this summer that I hope to never repeat. However, we did still have a great summer, and I learned lots of things about myself and my family.

Smart Stuff Sunscreen Review

I received a free product for purposes of my review. All opinions are my own.


We love our end of Summer family vacation at the beach and this sunscreen arrived just in time for me to test it out on our many days of sun and sand. A good sunscreen is an important beach essential. So, I was pretty excited to try out SMART STUFF sunscreen.

SMART STUFF™ products are all natural and effective for children and adults alike. They are also environmentally friendly.  A portion of the profits from SMART STUFF goes towards supporting Luv Michael, a non-profit dedicated to educating, training and employing individuals with Autism.

In fact, doctors Lisa A. Liberatore, MD and Dimitri N. Kessaris, MD have an autistic child who was the inspiration behind them creating the SMART STUFF brand.

As physicians, they understand a product’s effects on a molecular level. As parents, they simply won’t compromise when it comes to health and safety of their family and friends. SMART STUFF was born from necessity, and based on one simple concept: well-designed products should work great day in and day out without compromising your health. Sounds great to me!

I got to try out SMART STUFF 30 SPF Mineral Sunscreen.


This sunscreen is water resistant – for 40 minutes, but if you’re not in the water you can wait about 2 hours before you need to reapply (depending on your skin). Water resistant is an essential to any sunscreen on the beach, since we spend a large portion of our time surfing the waves.

I like that this SMART STUFF sunscreen has no synthetic chemical sun filters, it’s non-whitening, free of parabens, PABA, Petroleum, Phthalates, and Gluten. And it’s also eco-friendly and bio-degradable. And it’s made in the USA.

I think it smells like basically nothing, but both of my girls complained about the smell. I think they’re just used to the usual sunscreen smell and this one is different since it’s mineral based. Honestly, once I rub it in, I don’t notice it at all (unlike traditional sunscreen).

It takes a little extra time to rub in – if you don’t take the extra time you’ll look white for a little while, so just rub it in a bit longer. And, it’s impossible to rub in if you’re wet, or close enough to impossible that it’s just not worth it. You’ll want to towel dry before reapplying if you’ve been swimming. The first time I tried to reapply, I had some very white-faced children because it just didn’t rub in on their wet faces. I learned my lesson and dried them off the next time and it rubbed in just fine. It’s not sticky and doesn’t seem to make my skin as oily (especially my face) as my usual sunscreen.

For an SPF 30 it seems to last a long time and I’m very pleased with the sun protection it provided me and my children. We spent many hours in the sun, reapplying as needed, and it worked better than I expected. Actually, I think it worked just as well or better than my usual sunscreen.

If you have sensitive skin, or just don’t like the chemicals in traditional sunscreen, you should give SMART STUFF sunscreen a try.


“Sponsored Post”

5 Beach Essentials

I don’t know about you, but I love the beach! I remember beach vacations as a kid. And taking my kids to the beach now is just so much fun! I’m actually not sure who enjoys it more. Me, or the kids. We always come home with the kids begging to return.

For our beach trips, there are so many things I just can’t do without. So, here’s my top 5.

1. Body Board – We actually purchased a second one to take to the beach this year because we only had one last year, and one just isn’t enough.

This is fun for all ages and great for small to medium waves. The beach we go to has between 1 and 3 foot waves on most days. Not enough for surfing, but perfect for a body board.

I had to share WAY too much last year, so we bought a second. And I’m betting that next year we’ll decide that we need a third. This board is perfect for me and my husband to use.

And the kids will ride anything. On this board they can basically just sit on it while I tow them out and then ride in on their own. Pretty awesome for them. On a smaller board they get tossed around a little more – but that’s what life jackets are for!

2. Puddle Jumper – Speaking of life jackets. Puddle jumpers are my preferred flotation device for littles. They’re coast guard approved and in my opinion work even better than a life jacket. And they’re rated for up to 50 pounds. My kids all fit in these until they turned 6.

The arms and short front flotation give my kids way better balance in the water than a traditional life jacket. It’s easier for them to stay upright, and it keeps their head a little further up out of the water than a life jacket. Perfect for a sunny day playing in the ocean.

Plus it comes in all sorts of colors, so each child has his/her own and everyone knows who’s it is. No fighting over puddle jumpers!

3. Rash Guard – My husband has red hair and he burns just thinking about the beach. We can’t lather enough sunscreen on him to keep him from burning.

This rash guard is an awesome solution. It fits like a second skin and keeps him from burning. We’ve tried both short sleeved and long and he says the long is way more comfortable, and he doesn’t have to worry about burning his arms.

This lets water freely pass through, and clings tight to your body, so you can swim and enjoy the beach without being weighted down by your shirt. The perfect solution for if you burn easily or just don’t want to wear a ton of sunscreen.

4. Beach Umbrella – Another way to stay out of the sun is a beach umbrella. It’s also a great place to store chairs, buckets, shovels, drinks, phones, speakers, sunscreen, towels, flip-flops, cooler, and whatever else your kids just can’t live without!

Man, I’m tired just thinking about toting all that down to the beach! I like to set up a chair or two, hang up my speaker, and enjoy a cold drink in the shade while watching the kids build sand castles.

Just make sure you purchase a few extra tent stakes, we lost a few last year and didn’t realize they would be so easy to use! Luckily, they’re cheap, so I just grabbed some new ones, plus a few extras for this year.

This umbrella also folds down to basically smaller than my beach chair, so it’s super easy to carry and transport to the beach. Way easier than my cooler!

5. Wireless Speaker – And of course, no trip would be complete without music! This little speaker lasts forever (something like 10 hours). It’s very durable. Shock and water resistant. Has great sound. A little hook for hanging it in the tent. And even has an emergency flashlight for if you find yourself on a dark beach with just your speaker – if that happens, please share in the comments below, because it’s sure to be an interesting story.

Relaxing in the shade with my favorite tunes was definitely a fun way to spend a few minutes at the beach. You know, those 2.5 minutes of rest before I had to go rescue a toddler from the teensy tiny hold in the sand that his sister dug for him.

*This post does contain affiliate links*

5 Must Have Back Yard Summer Items

Summer is truly my favorite season. Spring is a close second though. I love being outside and my kids love being outside. We spend so much time in our yard, we practically live outside in the summer. So, what are my 5 must have back yard summer items?

1. Teeter Totter – I bought this Gym Dandy Teeter Totter for my kids a couple of years ago and it’s the best back yard toy purchase I’ve ever made! They will play and play and play on this thing.

What I really love about this teeter totter is that it’s practically tip-proof. I would have to deliberately tip it over, and that would still take a lot of effort. The kids have no hope of tipping it over, no matter how many they pile on at once.

It has really held up well and my kids and any friends we have over love playing on it! The only down side, you will want 2 people to assemble this, it’s pretty tricky to do by yourself (but not impossible).

2. Swimming Pool – So, I seriously love this inflatable pool. It’s inexpensive and provides hours and hours of play for the kids.

I end up purchasing two every summer, because my kids like to bounce on the sides (which isn’t recommended) and this eventually results in some holes that just won’t stay patched. But at under $30 for the pool, I can handle purchasing two and enjoying most of our summer water play in our own back yard.

If you do purchase this pool, I recommend this foot pump for pumping it up. Trust me, you’re not going to want to blow this pool up without a pump. (just speaking from experience here). The foot pump has lasted me for a couple of summers and is still going strong. I can inflate the whole pool in under 15 minutes with this thing – more like 30 minutes if the kids are “helping”. This pump is under $10 and totally worth every single penny.

3. Bubbles – Lots and lots of bubbles. And if your kids are like my kids. You’re going to want a few containers of these gazillion bubbles. Because not only do the kids blow bubbles, they also somehow dump them everywhere. I get it, the bubble solution is slippery, it happens.  This is definitely an “outside only” toy.

If you want to be really adventurous, get this Gazillion Bubbles Hurricane Machine and let the machine do all the work. Though, I personally prefer to let the kids do all the bubble blowing. It’s so much fun for them to run around the yard blowing and popping bubbles! And it burns off more energy this way. The whole goal of yard toys is for the kids to wear themselves out and go to bed early, right?

4. Slip N Slide – I just loved a Slip N Slide when I was a kid and it’s so much fun to watch the kids enjoy this toy as much as I did.

I will say, the double slide like this one is way more fun than the single width slide. I bought this slide for the summer and my kids have a blast racing down this slide. This slide comes with 2 inflatable Slide Boogies that really didn’t survive more than 30 minutes. They switched over to their kickboards and those worked out way better. Plus we now get to use our kickboards for more than just the swimming pool.

Product warning though, if you really care about your lawn, don’t leave the slide staked down in one spot for a week, it’ll kill the grass. This is definitely a play with and then put away type of yard toy. Because no one wants a bunch of mud holes in their yard by the end of summer.

5. Kite – Because summer isn’t summer without getting at least one kite stuck in a tree. Luckily, so far, I’ve managed to rescue all kites without actually climbing the tree. We’ll see how much longer that lasts!

I haven’t bought this kite yet, but it’s on my wishlist. This kite is so colorful! And it looks way easier to fly than the cheap ones from Wal-Mart. Which my kids like pretty well. They will take those kits and run and run and run, then sit down, catch their breath, and repeat. A kite is perfect for wearing out the kids.

What items would you add to this list?

This post does contain affiliate links. If you purchase one of these items, please use my link. I get a tiny commission for sharing 🙂

J is for June

I like June. It’s a good month. It’s one of those nice summer months where it’s warm enough to go swimming, but not sweltering hot like August. Where you eat ice cream outside for lunch, because you can. And your favorite pair of flip-flips is the only pair of shoes you need.

This time of year with warm weather one day and freezing cold the next, I start dreaming of June and all the fun things we will do when it’s warm. Swimming, hanging out at the park, meeting friends at the park for lunch, really, just being outside all the time.

I’m not the only one in my family who likes summer. My kids have this thing against shoes, coats, and cold weather. Snow days are so boring around here. “It’s cold outside” they protest after 5 minutes in the snow. And we spend the next 2 hours recovering with hot chocolate and blankets and refusals to ever go out again.

In contrast, on hot summer days, they stop in for a popsicle, some more water, or requests for large amounts of food for their lunch that must be eaten outside, then return to the yard until it’s dark or they’re just too tired to play anymore. I think my kids live on fresh fruit and popsicles all summer long.

photo_35251_20141229My daughters have been begging to wear flip-flops and sandals for weeks now. We’re getting ready to go out the door, it’s 35 degrees out. They have their coats, leggings, hats, etc. on and would like to know if they can please wear their flip-flops today. It’s not raining or snowing so it must be ok.

My 7yr old wants to know when she can plant her garden. Just as soon as it stops getting down to freezing at night, I tell her. Plant too early and that very last frost will kill everything and you’ll have to start over. She would still like to plant something.

Oh, and don’t forget ice cream. The kids have been begging for an ice cream party. I’ve already started planning it and Easter hasn’t even arrived yet!

I’m beginning to thing that right about now we need a vacation to southern Florida. A week of warm weather, flip-flops, and swimming.

Of course, spring is right around the corner, and summer is so soon. And summer is my favorite time of year. And I’m so hoping it’s a good one.

What do you love about summer?

Summer Recap

Coca-Cola Life is all about enjoying, well, life, and all the adventures that come with life. As summer has officially come to an end – according to the calendar it is now fall – it’s a great time to reminisce about all the fun I’ve had this summer.

And a few fun pictures from my summer wouldn’t hurt either. For starters, here’s the view from where I’ve been doing most of my blogging this summer. Because the kids want to be outside. This way they get to play and I get to work. It’s a win-win for everyone.



And, of course, my daughter tried to steal my coke, and hid when I took a picture.


We spent most of our summer in the back yard. Playing on the swingset, swimming in the kid’s pool, and playing on the teeter-totter.

IMG_20150827_123200614At the end of summer we took a trip to the beach with friends. Such a fun end to the summer!

We had a nice laid-back, easy-going summer this year. And that was so nice!

What was your favorite part of summer this year?

I received this product free for purposes of my review. All opinions are my own.

My crazy busy week

Sometimes, I think I have it all worked out. I like to plan, so the occasional feeling of having everything under control is really nice. And then, that’s just now how it works out. Oh well, at least I had a plan, that I added to, and rearranged into next week, so I can continue to add to it and rearrange. You get the idea. I’m thinking sometime next month I may actually have it all worked out again…just in time for school to start…Or not.

By the end of last week I was down to laundry, clean bathrooms, and some shopping for my oldest’s pagent this weekend – and then things happened. I had a new project come in for work (I freelance from home so if I have lots of projects, my house looks like I have lots of projects), actually 3 projects, but they’re related to each other so it’s technically 1 project with 3 items.

Anyways…then I was joining a friend at her yardsale this weekend and I had about 10 small boxes of stuff (mostly clothing and toys) to take over. Well…our tenants moved out of our rental and left a trailer full of furniture, so I spent two days cleaning out the house and carting everything over to the yardsale. (thankfully, KARM is picking up any yardsale leftovers so I don’t have to cart things away) And a few more days cleaning the house. Plus in the middle of all this, my car is locking into 4wheel drive when I’m only in 2, a SUV with a terrible turn radius isn’t fun to drive at all! Right now, It’s my second day without my car – I “should” have it back tonight. Not holding my breath though.

I so desperately need to go grocery shopping that I mentioned something about it last night and my husband just agreed with me – there was no “oh, it’s not that bad.” He just agreed that “yes, you need to go grocery shopping”. I have food (like beef in the freezer) but some of our favorites are missing – like eggs, rice, cheese, peanut butter – I’ve been so busy cleaning a house I haven’t had time for it. On the bright side, the rental is now clean, the lawn mowed, and I just need to run over and stick the “for rent” sign in the yard.

I’m without a car today, which is kind of a blessing in disguise, I’m forced to stay home and do things like write blog posts, finish my laundry (which I am somehow almost done with…), and a few other small things that I need to get done around the house.

Baby boy just woke up so I need to go feed him, and then work on laundry…what happened to my summer plans of hanging out at the pool and water park all summer?!

Busy Busy Summer

So, my plans for the summer? They revolved around hanging out at the water park with the kids, teaching the girls to swim, working out more at the gym, and having some free time to get some stuff done around the house or just hang out with the kids. Oh, and hopefully some playdates with friends.

At this point in my summer I feel like I’m trying to accomplish all of that plus a whole bunch of unplanned work. Don’t get me wrong, work means I’m getting paid, which means I’m saving more money for that new, larger house that I want (or I think I want, I’m not sure I want to CLEAN a larger house), but I’m trying to do all of that plus all the summer stuff I had planned.

And if my summer wasn’t busy enough already, my oldest is participating in a pagent in a few weeks and I still haven’t cut out the dress I’m going to make her for it. I did actually bring the pattern, fabric, and pins up to the counter today so I can cut them so I’m optimistic that it’ll get cut out sometime this week. And I’m taking an extra music class.

So, last week: Monday was a filling at the dentist (exciting, I know) and running errands that just couldn’t wait any longer, Tuesday was music lessons and a meal exchange with friends, Wednesday was a playdate with a friend and VBS, Thursday was the water park and I took a meal to a friend who just had a baby, Friday was the mall and VBS, Saturday was projects around the house and other projects, Sunday was church and more projects(I try really hard not to work on Sunday but there’s wasn’t an option this week), Monday playdate with a friend and delivering a baby meal, Tuesday errands and music lessons,…you get the idea

It’s to the point where if we aren’t going anywhere for the day my 1yr old expresses his boredom sometime around 10am., and the girls are out of things to do by noon. Talk about a crazy busy summer! It’s almost 9:00 and I’m just now thinking about putting the kids in bed. Maybe I’ll take a shower and then get some more work done before I go to bed…or maybe I’ll put the kids in bed then just watch something on Netflix because I’m tired.


So, it’s summertime, and I deliberately did not sign my kids up for any summertime activities. Well, I take that back, I deliberately TRIED not to sign my kids up for any summertime activities before summer began. We’re not doing any dance camps, no dance lessons, no parent’s day out programs, etc. So, I think I’m doing pretty good so far.

I did plan out our reading logs for the summer. (we’ve already turn our first one in). My 5yr old finally took off on some independent reading – think “learn to read” books stages 1 and 2 – at the end of the school year and I don’t want to re-teach that the beginning of next year, so she’s participating in every reading activity in sight. It’s a good thing, she’s motivated by prizes, so filling up her sheet and turning it in for something appeals to her. I picked up her library reading sheet yesterday (which was the first day I could get it) and about a dozen books for her to read as well. She was all set to fill up her entire reading log – she has to read 30 hours – in one day. I explained to her that we can’t turn our sheets in for a month, and that we have plenty of time to read the books we have and check out some more to read. So, she only read 2 books to me this morning, and I’m sure she’ll try to read as many as possible at bedtime (it’s her new “stay out of bed” trick). There’s a few more reading logs we can’t sign up for until June (pizza hut does one) so we’ll be busy all summer with our reading! And the best part, she’s actually asking to read!

I just discovered yesterday that the Disney Store has activities every day of the week starting in June. I guess we’ll be going to their summer kick-off the beginning of June and be visiting the store many times this summer. They have story time every Tuesday, and I’m not sure what else planned for the summer, I think a craft time one day, and I’m sure plenty of other activities to keep two little girls happy.

We have season tickets to our local water park – which opened this past weekend, horray! My kids love the park and we plan to have some really nice tans by the end of summer!

And to top it off, I’m doing something I always said I would never do, my 5 yr old is entering a beauty pagent this year. I was just notified yesterday that she’s a “state finalist” so I should soon be receiving my envelope with all my schedule info and such.

Yes, I’m doing a terrific job of doing nothing this summer!  Not really, but at least it’s all fun stuff! And my summer is just starting 🙂 Surely I can fit in a vacation or two, a couple of Birthday parties, and maybe a shopping trip!