How to Create an Awesome Backyard Fun Zone This Summer

You can create an amazing Backyard Fun Zone that your kids and all the neighborhood kids will love and never want to leave this summer. Here's how.

You can create an amazing Backyard Fun Zone that your kids and all the neighborhood kids will love and never want to leave this summer. You will become the super summer mom and create amazing memories inexpensively right in your own backyard!

1. Add a fire pit

Buy or build a fire pit if you don’t already have one. This addition is going to be loved by adults and kids alike. Picture it going in the evening, kids running around the yard with glow sticks, adults laughing and talking, and s’mores ready to be toasted – you want one now, right? To me, a fire is the ultimate centerpiece for backyard entertaining whether you have a crowd or just the family.

2. Create an obstacle course

Use what you have on hand or pick up a few dollar store items to create a simple or complex backyard obstacle course. Use boards as a balance beam, tires, jump ropes, hula hoops, tables, chairs, and anything else you can find to encourage jumping, running, climbing, crawling, and other maneuvers. And remember to change it up often.

3. Fill it up with fun toys

When summer hits, I head to the Dollar Tree or somewhere similar to stock up on cheap fun! Grab items like bubbles, water guns, hula hoops, water balloons, gliders, kites, sidewalk chalk (not just for concrete – it works great on wood fences too!), pool noodles, balls, etc. We toss ours in a big bucket with holes in the bottom to drain summer rain, or you can store the bucket in a shed.

4. Just add water

Hot summer days call for water fun! Include a little pool (or a big one)l, a store bought or homemade sprinkler, water balloons, water guns, slip ‘n slide, buckets of water and sponges, heck even the backyard hose makes it more fun!

5. Make a fairy garden

By fairy garden I don’t mean a little pot tucked away in a corner somewhere that never gets touched. Fill a good sized container with foam, add soil to the top, and let it become an ever changing, fun spot for the kids. You can make many homemade items for it or pick up small fairies and accessories at craft stores.

6. Create an outdoor reading nook

You can toss a quilt on the hammock and add a throw pillow or two, make a pallet in their playhouse, or add a teepee with giant pillows, then keep a basket of books ready to take outdoors when they need a rest. This way they still get the benefits of fresh air and sunshine even when resting and hiding from the heat of the day. Mom can enjoy an outdoor reading nook as well!

Get out there yourself! A sure fire way to get the kids laughing, playing, and having a ball in your backyard fun zone is to get out there yourself and play right along with them. Kick a soccer ball, throw a water balloon or two, turn over rocks to look for bugs, fly a kite, etc. They will never forget those memories.

More Summer Ideas

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Samsung Addwash

“This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of hhgregg. All opinions are 100% mine.”

When we purchased our home in Maryland it came with a washer and dryer. The excitement of finally owning a front loading washer quickly waned after using it for a few weeks.

The clothes didn’t seem to get as clean as they did in my top load washer and I was surprised to find out that in order to add something to the already in progress load the washer would have to completely empty itself of water and then restart.

I sold that pair and went back to my trusty top load washing machine a few years ago. This spring I was contacted by hhgregg to see if I was interested in reviewing the new Samsung Addwash Front-Load Steam Washer and Steam Electric Dryer. Given my history with front loading machines I was initially hesitant, but after I read a little more about the Samsung Addwash I decided to give it a try.

Upon arrival the hhgregg delivery team worked quickly to install my new Samsung washer and dryer. They managed to get them into a tight space without damaging my freshly painted house. Before they left, the had the washer and dryer hooked up and working which was great. My husband would rather install six ceiling fans over one washing machine, so we really appreciated their white glove delivery service.

samsung addwash review

The Pros

I’ve been using the Samsung Addwash for a few weeks and am impressed with how well the clothes get cleaned. With three teenage boys (who play sports, skateboard, ride bikes, and generally ruin all their clothes with dirt and stink) I knew I could put this machine to the test.

With my previous machine, I often had to run two rinse cycles or run everything on heavy duty to make sure the clothes looked and smelled clean and fresh after washing. So far I’ve tried several cycles and have seen great results.

It has a quick wash feature. I’m sure this has never happened to you, but my kids will often tell me they need a jersey or pair of shorts on the day of the game. The requested jersey is usually sitting at the bottom of the hamper covered in grass stains and smelling horrible. The quick wash feature on the Samsung Addwash takes about 30 minutes and still gets the clothes clean.

samsung addwash

The Samsung Addwash is 5.0 cu. ft., which makes it one of the largest front load washers on the market. I’d rather do one or two huge loads during the day than multiple small loads. Large loads save me time and money, both of which I would like more of on a regular basis. 🙂

The delicate cycle gets delicates clean without ruining them. I don’t want to spend a ton of money on dry cleaning and I’ve found that many of my hand wash/ dry clean clothes can be successfully washed on the delicate cycle. I usually do one load of delicates a week and then hang them on a rack in the living room to dry. I figure this cycle has saved me hundreds of dollars a year on dry cleaning (between me and my husband) so I love that this Samsung washer has a delicate cycle that is truly easy on your hand wash clothes.

The dryer can keep up with the washer. Having lived in numerous houses (thanks to the Navy) I’ve had the opportunity to try many different brands of washer and dryers. One of my biggest bet peeves is that many dryers aren’t able to keep up with large capacity washers. I find myself running the dryer two times to get a single wash load dry.

The Samsung steam electric dryer does a great job of getting clothes dry and is energy star rated so you spend less on each load.

The steam feature on the Samsung dryer allows you to steam the wrinkles out of clothes, which means less ironing. Let me repeat…. less ironing.

samsung dryer

All these features make this Samsung washer and dryer great appliances, however my absolute favorite feature is the AddWash™ door. If you are like me, laundry goes something like this.

Me: “Everyone bring me your uniforms.”

Kids: Arrive in the laundry room with most of their uniforms.

Me: Starts load of laundry.

Teenage boy: 10 minutes later… “Wait mom, I need this shirt washed for tonight!”

With my other front load washer I would have to stop the load, wait for all the water to drain out (a huge waste), then add the shirt and the load would restart from the beginning. With Samsung AddWash™ technology, simply pause the load, open the AddWash™ door, close the door and restart the wash.

The AddWash™ technology is a game changer for me and I find myself using it with almost every load of laundry.

The Cons

The washer and dryer are both very deep. The dryer is 32 inches deep with an additional 5 inches required for the vent tube. In my long and narrow laundry room this makes for a bit of a tight squeeze. Make sure you measure your laundry space before purchasing any washer or dryer set to make sure it fits.

The pedestal is optional. My last front load machine was stackable, so it wasn’t an issue, but I think the pedestal is really a must have for this set. The pedestal is an additional cost, which is why I’ve listed it as a drawback. I think the set is much better if you don’t have to crouch down to get the laundry in and out.

Overall, I’ve been very pleased with the Samsung AddWash Front-Load Steam Washer and Steam Electric Dryer from hhgregg. This set is energy efficient, has all the cycles I need for my family, and does a great job getting our clothes clean. If you are looking to purchase a new washer and dryer that uses less energy and water while still doing a great job on your clothes visit hhgregg to learn more.

samsung addwash laundry pair

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Fruits and Vegetables – to Refrigerate or Not?

The next time you are putting your produce away, consider these tips for which fruits and vegetables to refrigerate and which not to refrigerate.

Nothing is more frustrating than buying fresh fruits and vegetables only to have them go bad after a few days. It is a waste of food and feels like a terrible waste of money. In most cases, improperly storing the produce is the issue, but the good news is this is a preventable problem.

Storing your produce properly is the best way to make it last and prevent premature rotting, so you get your money’s worth out of the product and nothing gets wasted. If you are unsure of which produce items you should refrigerate and which you shouldn’t, wonder no more.

Take a look below at some helpful information on which produce items should find a home in your refrigerator and which ones are nice and cozy on your counter tops. Knowing this information could save you tons of produce and money.

1. Tomatoes

The verdict: Do not refrigerate

Refrigeration can make tomatoes soft and affect their flavor. Instead, store tomatoes on an open counter where they are allowed to breathe. Do not keep them in a bag, which can cause them to ripen quickly and turn to mush.

2. Onions

The verdict: Do not refrigerate

Onions don’t do well when refrigerated as they can soften quickly. They love fresh air, so keep them in the mesh bag they came in and store them in a dry place such as the pantry.

3. Potatoes

The verdict: Do not refrigerate

Potatoes don’t like to be refrigerated because the cool temps can make them soft and affect the taste. It is also not wise to store them with other produce items on the counter or in a pantry as they give off gases that can make produce around them go bad quickly. Instead, store them in paper bags in a cabinet by themselves.

4. Grapes

The verdict: Do refrigerate

Grapes thrive on cool temperatures and must be kept in the refrigerator at all times. Leaving them out of the refrigerator will make them become soft and in a few hours they will start to wrinkle. Instead, place the bag in the refrigerator away from other produce items that could speed up their ripening.

5. Cucumbers

The verdict: Do not refrigerate

Cucumbers are quite sensitive. Cool temps can make cucumbers get soft and slimy quickly. Instead, keep them at room temp and away from other produce items because they are sensitive to the gases other fruits and vegetables give off.

6. Avocado

The verdict: Do refrigerate

This one may surprise people since most people keep avocado out on their counter tops until they need them. While this can speed up ripening, you want to refrigerate the avocado as soon as it has reached the perfect ripeness. This will help slow down the ripening so it stays fresh and ready for use for a good 3 – 4 days.

7. Leafy Greens

The verdict: Do refrigerate

You want to keep leafy greens cold, as this keeps them fresh and crispy! Storing them in a paper bag can help absorb moisture and keep the greens nice and fresh.

8. Green Peppers

The verdict: Do refrigerate

Peppers are quite durable and do well when kept refrigerated. In fact, a green pepper that is kept free from moisture can last a good 10 days in the refrigerator. This is true for most other varieties of peppers as well.

9. Bananas

The verdict: Do not refrigerate

Don’t even think about putting those bananas in the fridge. Instead, keep them on a counter top away from other produce items that can speed up the ripening process and make them go bad…fast!

10. Carrots and Celery

The verdict: Do refrigerate

Both of these items do well when stored in the refrigerator and the cool temps can help extend their life by days. Cut and wash both celery and carrots, and store them in a container or covered bowl until needed.

The next time you are putting your produce away, consider these tips for which fruits and vegetables to refrigerate and which not to refrigerate. It can help you make the most of your produce!

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Boho Fabric Wall Art

With just a few supplies you can easily make this DIY Boho Fabric Wall Art. And when you want a new look, changing the wall art is as easy as substituting the fabric with a new piece.

With just a few supplies you can easily make this DIY Boho Fabric Wall Art. And when you want a new look, changing the wall art is as easy as substituting the fabric with a new piece. Choose fabric in colors and patterns that match your decor.

With just a few supplies you can easily make this DIY Boho Fabric Wall Art. And when you want a new look, changing the wall art is as easy as substituting the fabric with a new piece.

Supplies Needed

  • Assorted wood embroidery hoops (uniform in size or varied)
  • Assorted fabric scraps in your choice of colors and patterns
  • Gold spray paint (or color of choice)
  • Scissors
  • Thumb tacks


1. Begin by setting the embroidery hoops on a flat surface. Apply two coats of spray paint. We chose a bright gold, but you can use any color you wish. You do not have to separate the hoops, just keep them together and be sure to spray all sides.


2. While the hoops are drying, decide which fabric swatches you want to use. Choose 3 – 5 different colors and patterns that complement each other.

3. Once the hoops are dry, insert the fabric between them. Pull tightly at the sides to remove any wrinkles and lines in the fabric. Tightening the hoop as much as you can will also help tighten the fabric and remove any wrinkles or creases.

4. Take your scissors and trim away excess fabric. You want the edges to be nice and clean.


5. Since these are so lightweight, you can use thumb tacks to hang them. Just press the tacks into the wall and display your boho fabric wall art.


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