Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Post-Summer: Reflecting on Product Favorites

I hope that you all had a wonderful summer, and for some of us still enjoying what time is left before the school year begins for our kids.

Following this summer, I realized that there are some products that I could not do without, and others that are a mainstay for year-round use.

Here are my top favorites. What are some of yours?

BEACH CART
If you are not an active beach goer, like I am, it's hard to decide whether it's worth the money to purchase a beach cart for your belongings. It also does consume a significant portion of trunk space too. However, if you are fortunate to find it on sale, like I did at a local Christmas Tree Shop for $30 less than the typical price, then it is indeed a bargain worth investing in, especially because a trip to the beach with the kids is not light. I say this because everything, and I mean everything that we took to the beach, fit in this nifty cart. I was skeptical. I was convinced it would fall down just from holding the chairs or fall apart because it was possibly poorly made.

This product was fabulous.

On days when I went to the beach with Sarah alone it was great to not have to carry on my arms all the stuff as I couldn't expect Sarah to hold too much. With my husband's sciatica in full swing it was also tough for him to help carry stuff and this cart became a savior (I know, a bit exaggerative). This cart was my friend. And, when it rained one day at the beach it was so easy to pack everything up and throw it in the cart and go, so quickly.

PORTABLE POTTY SEAT
I love, love, love the Potette potty seat. I actually wrote a full blog post on this amazing product here in March 2011, and still am singing its praises. This is an especially amazing tool to have when you go to the beach or pool, and for long car trips. It's also good if you go to the playground or a local fair where it may be tough to find a bathroom in a pinch.

I don't encourage my daughter to use the ocean or pool as a bathroom. Therefore, this incredibly easy to use and transport seat is a must for parents who don't want to feel stressed trying to find a bathroom for their little one, or drag the kids by the arm willing them to walk faster to get to a restroom. This product brings piece of mind for parent and child. If your child needs some privacy you can cover them with a towel, use a beach tent, or sandwich the parents in front and behind the child for coverage.

ACTIVITY AND COLORING BOOKS
Bringing along in your bag an activity book and writing implement and/or coloring books are especially great when out in restaurants with the kids, and when young kids get bored and need something to do.

Everywhere we went on vacation we brought markers and a coloring book for Sarah. In restaurants, on the beach, in our hotel room, and in the car, she had something she enjoyed doing that didn't always involve watching television or playing games on the iPad to keep her interest and attention. Sometimes, many times, Daniel and I would join in and color a picture and do an activity with Sarah to keep her entertained, and calm, during outings.

MABELS LABELS
When kids go to camp, preschool or daycare, they often need to have their belongings labeled with their names on it. When Sarah first went to daycare I started using labels that could be sewn onto clothing and other fabric items. When I got lazy I started to use black permanent marker. For shoes, the latter approach is not such a great idea, as the markers run onto socks and feet, and then you have to reapply many times.

A couple of years later my sister told me about Mabel's Labels, and I was skeptical. A few months later after that I saw them on just about everything my niece owned that went to school, including cups, and utensils.

This item is indeed a splurge. After much back and forth thinking, I decided to plunk down the money to get the labels, and to use them judiciously.

Now, I am a believer.

If you can believe it, after weeks of wearing her water shoes in the sprinklers, at the beach in the ocean and on the sand, and at the pool, the Mabel's shoe labels are still inside Sarah's shoes and have not budged. Another reason this is a splurge is that toddlers and preschoolers are growing quickly and many times they grow out of their belongings before they have gotten frequent use. I don't think the labels are reusable as they are stuck on pretty well with their adhesive. However, if there are items that are special to you, and can easily go lost, like blankets, stuffed animals, and more, you may want to consider this brand of labels.

Affordable Fuller Coverage Swimsuits for Girls
If your child is sensitive to the sun or easily burns these are swimsuits to consider. They include a short sleeve shirt and shorts or fuller bottoms, as seen above. And, they work especially well with potty training kids since they are much easier to remove than one piece suits. Of all the brands that I have tried, the ones sold at Target fit the best, and have longer use, sometimes two seasons worth.

With this type of swimsuit you still must apply sunblock. What is comforting about these suits is that the areas of our kids bodies that sometimes don't get enough sunblock and exposed to the sun, are covered with these shirts and shorts sets. And, you don't have to spend a lot to get a good deal.

LYSOL Power & Free
Many times when families go on vacation cleaning experts recommend that we bring along some of our cleaning tools to give us peace of mind that our hotel rooms or rented houses are clean, and to our standards. Why not have the same comfort of clean when we travel, as we do at home?

This summer, as part of my job, I was fortunate to help promote a new product for my client Reckitt Benckiser, the makers of LYSOL (R) household products, called LYSOL Power & Free. With so many products in my house that I bounce back and forth using, I decided to give the multi-purpose spray, one of four products in the line, a try. The three other products are for the bathroom and include wipes, spray, and toilet bowl cleaner.

And, I have to tell you, I am hooked. Not only does this product include as the active ingredient, hydrogen peroxide, which has often been used as an antiseptic on the skin for scrapes, it also delivers a more powerful clean than bleach without the harsh chemical smell or residue often left behind by bleach.

Even more, the kids, and pets, can be in the house, even in the same room, when cleaning with this product.

What really did it for me was when it became my go to product for getting out wet paint from my light colored carpet, permanent marker from the same carpet, and red juice stains from my porous counter tops. Give it a try and tell me what you think?

Disclosure: Please know that I was not paid any compensation to share with you my experience and perspective on these products. However, I did receive a complementary LYSOL Power & Free to test and share my experience with you.

What have been some of your summer favorites?


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