Top Ten Must Haves for Your Summer Swim Bag!

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We braved the very very cold pool at our HOA today, which prompted me to go through our Swim Bag and make a list of new Pool Toys that we “need” (according to the kiddos).

I usually replace the pool toys once every 2-3 years. We swim 5+ days a week in the late spring and summer, that means our pool toys and swim equipment gets a lot of wear. I tend to buy a lot of the items on the list below at Dollar Tree or 99 Cents only. The quality is usually the same as what you find at Target at the Dollar Spot area, or at Wal-Mart in the seasonal area. The main reason we’re doing an overhaul or our pool toys this summer is it has been 3 years since I’ve bought new ones. Some of our current pool toys will be kept as they are in good shape, but some of the older toys (mainly the squirt guns) are starting to fall apart or have developed extra holes.

Here are the Top Ten things you need in your Swim Bag:

First off, you need a good bag! I like the All Purpose Utility bags, like these. They’ve got pockets on the outside. Roll up your towels and stuff them into the pockets, or use for SPF, bottles of water, or snacks- You can’t forget the snacks!

    1. Goggles. We go through a lot of goggles, mostly because my kids are clumsy, or they share them with friends and they disappear. I usually pick some up at 99 Cents Only to keep just in case, but we have several pairs of these Aegend goggles and they are excellent.
    2. Floaty toys- Like Inflatable Rings, or animal shapes. We’ve got a giant shark that lives in the garage in the off-season (November-May).  I like picking up a handful of inflatable rings at Dollar Tree and stashing them in the closet. If I need extras when friends swim with us, we won’t be short. I like these rings. I ordered 8 online for store pick up. Kick boards and arm floaties also fall under this category. I usually keep a few of each in the arsenal, just in case.

3. Fun Toys. Henry enjoys playing frisbee in the pool, so we’ve got a couple. Margaret likes trying to swim after an inflatable ball, so we’ve got a few of those. They both love the diving sharks. They are big, and they glide like a torpedo under water. The weighted diving toys like dive rings and the little ribbons with the weight attached are nice too.

4. Squirting Toys. Squirt Guns are a favorite. Not Super Soakers, but regular, old fashioned small squirt guns. Another favorite are the water squirters that look like long, giant pencils.  I usually get them at 99 Cents Only. Our rule is: No squirting people in the face!

5. SPF- Ok, this should really be #1. A good SPF. Water proof, sweat proof. You want a broad-spectrum SPF that protects against UVA (the rays that age skin) and UVB (The rays that burn skin). I like mineral sunscreen. And remember to reapply as needed!

6. Good Towels. I’m not talking about Egyptian Cotton, plush, fluffy towels that cost a fortune, but good, durable towels. I like to get white ones, since the chlorine from the pool can bleach the colors out. We tend to get the larger towels, or bath sheets. We have these from JCP. They were around $7 each.

7. Extra sunglasses. I don’t know what it is about my kids, but they lose sunglasses ALL THE TIME. I pick up a fistful at the beginning of the summer at 99 Cents Only or Dollar Tree, and dole them out. I keep 2 pairs in the swim bag.

8. First Aid Kit. Seriously. Kids get hurt all the time. It doesn’t need to be a fancy one. You can get small first aid kits with everything you need for less than $8.

9. Reusable water bottles. It’s hot and you are in the sun playing. Hydration is important. We have an Extreme Canteen, and it’s really awesome. I fill it with ice and water, and it stays cold all day with minimal ice melting.

10. A waterproof sealable pouch or bag to keep your keys, phone, and other important stuff in (Like snacks). We usually use a large ziploc bag (or two and double bag).

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Henry age 3, swimming with Mommy.  I’m pretty sure the pool was freezing then too. 

Now a few bonus items that Henry told me to mention (we may have a guest writer on our hands soon) include a swim mask (like this one), a shark fin and tail (like the one he got for X-mas), and diving fins. Those are all items that he uses regularly in our swim time.

Talk Back- I’d love to hear what’s in your Swim/Pool Bag!

I’ve included many links for reference. Please refer to my disclosure policy regarding possible bounties or compensations I might receive.

 

5 Easy Steps to Going Green!

5 Easy Steps to Going Green!

A few weeks ago I went to the Moms Meet Wow Summit and learned a lot of ways that any family can start their journey to going green. And it is a journey. It’s not something that you wake up one morning and think, “Today we go green!”. Or at least it shouldn’t be. Think about how much stuff you’d throw away: Cleaning supplies, food, household goods. That woud make a lot of trash all at once, and that’s definitely not the direction you’d want to go in.

Here are 5 steps to start your going green journey (all of these we’ve implemented at our house):

Reduce: In order to reduce our carbon footprint, we re-use as much as we can.  For me the first step was to reduce the number of cleaners we had in the house, since a lot of them aren’t too environmentally friendly.

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Re-using packages helps the environment!

I made up some of the Dr. Bronner’s All Purpose cleaner (¼ c. soap in a quart of water in a spray bottle. Add ¼ tsp. tea tree essential oil if desired.) using a sample of the Baby Unscented Pure-Castile Liquid Soap, and I put it into a bottle that used to hold another cleaner. I washed the bottle thoroughly before mixing up the new cleaner. It REALLY gets the kitchen clean and because it’s an all purpose cleaner, I use it in the bathroom too! I really like that Dr. Bronner’s products are biodegradable, organic and are safe enough that you can brush your teeth with (but, yes, it does taste like soap!!).

 

 

 

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Sturdy Thirty-One bag and the Banana Box!

Re-Use: I re-use as much as I can around the house. We’ve got re-usable lunch bags for Little Man (and that classy banana box too- keeps the bananas from getting beat up in transit), and one for the car (it’s replaced our car snack box). I cut up old beat up bath towels and use them to clean up around the house. I re-use containers as well. I cleaned out an empty formula canister and put Nesquik powder in it instead. I even re-used the formula scoop (since it’s smaller than the usual portion size, we use less each time!).

Recycle: We have a recycling bin with a lid on the patio and we put our recycling in it. Once it’s full we take it to our local Re-Planet Recycling center. We earn a little money and help the planet- nothing better! It’s a great teaching tool for Lil’ Man!

Walk: We are fortunate to live within walking distance of a grocery store (which is closing soon, but will re-open as a Smart and Final soon), as well as a park, and a few other places that we like to go. When it’s possible (aka not 100 degrees), I put Birdy in the Stroller, and we walk as a family to pick up whatever we need or to go have an adventure. There is a second bonus: When we are shopping, I am limited to what we can carry in the undercarriage/storage area of the stroller. It really helps me stick to my shopping list! Not only are we getting exercise, but we’re leaving our car at home and that cuts down on the pollutants that are in car exhaust.

Replace non-green stuff with a green counterpart as we can: When we finish up with a non-green product, I replace it with a green version. Like the cleaner above, once I used up the last of the Windex, I replaced it with the Bronner’s recipe for cleaner. We ran out of paper towels a few weeks back, and in it’s place, I’ve been using  lint free cloths instead. I just wash them with the other towels when I do the laundry each week. I picked up AmazonBasics Microfiber Cleaning Cloth – 24 Pack for only $14.99. A few towels added to a load of laundry doesn’t cost anything extra either.