HTH Makes Summertime Fun

It’s no secret we LOVE our pool. I’ve always said I would never buy a house with a pool, especially in Maryland, but now I don’t know if I would ever buy a house without one.

We are in the pool every day. Most days it is the first thing we do after breakfast. There are many days where the kids spend the entire day in their bathing suits and they are swimming from morning until bedtime.

When HTH® Pool Care was interested in partnering with me, it was an easy fit because we’ve been using their products for the past two summers!

While we love to spend time in the pool, we don’t like to spend a ton of time cleaning the pool! We prefer for our time to be spent hosting parties so people can cool off in this crazy summer weather.

Or sometimes just cool off. No party or bathing suit needed.

With HTH® Pool Care products we can focus on the kids, not taking care of the pool. We use the HTH® test kit to check the pH levels and make sure we don’t need to add anything to the pool.

Since we have a saltwater pool, we are very careful about what products we use because replacing the chlorine generator is not cheap. All HTH® products are compatible with saltwater pools so we use them to keep our pool beautiful and blue.

Our pool isn’t normally “that” blue, that’s a fun HTH® Party Potion. My kids absolutely loved it and the girls asked if it came in pink, of course!

It is this blue though.

Since summer only lasts about four months in Maryland, we try to spend as much time having fun and enjoying our backyard before it turns into a snowy playground again.

If you have a pool and are not using HTH® Pool Care products it’s time to start. Our time this summer has been spent enjoying our pool (as those of you who follow me on Instagram have noticed) not taking care of it thanks to HTH®.

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For more information about HTH® Pool Care products visit them on the web.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of HTH Pool Care via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

5 Tips to Keep the TV Off this Summer

This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links.

This spring I’ve been traveling the East coast speaking at homeschool conventions. One question I’m asked every time I speak is how do I limit screen time and encourage my kids to spend more time playing and using their imagination.

The crazy thing is, this summer I haven’t had to turn off the television, because it hasn’t been on.

My kids have spent the summer playing games, making up stories, playing with their toys, building forts outside, riding bikes, creating art masterpieces, and of course, swimming.

barbie bike 5 Tips to Keep the TV Off this Summer

My girls especially have taken to drawing and creating cute outfits using products like the Barbie Purr-fect Pet Sketch Portfolio. With this sketchbook, girls can design the ultimate clothing and accessory collection for all of Barbie’s pets! If you haven’t seen these awesome portfolios you must check them out.  (See the $5 off coupon below to help you save!)

barbie purrfect pet sketch portfolio 5 Tips to Keep the TV Off this Summer

My girls absolutely love creating fashion designs and giving them their own designer touch with color and stickers. Even if your child isn’t an artist there are templates for them to trace which helps with those fine motor skills and gives a struggling artist the confidence to create.

My girls have become so excited about creating outfits that they’ve even started sewing (or stapling) fabric together to make real outfits for their toys. They’ve also used paper, duct tape, or whatever else they can find around the house.

I love seeing their imagination sparked especially when it replaces screen time. My girls are creating instead of consuming and that makes me very happy. One of my girls has become so excited about creating outfits she’s already talking about going into fashion design when she grows up and is waiting patiently for me to teach her how to sew.

This is all because I bought her a simple sketch book with templates for Christmas last year!

So how do you encourage your kids to give screen time a break?

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Provide them with alternatives to the television.

Over the winter my kids were always asking to watch television. I finally told them that if they wanted to watch television they could donate their toys since they didn’t seem to need them anymore.

It only took one box of toys to help them remember they had a basement full of awesome dolls, Lego’s, and art supplies they could be playing with when it was too cold to play outside.

I also realized that I needed to make their toys more accessible, so we labeled the toy bins with toy categories so even Cora could find the toys she wanted.

Play with them.

I’ll admit it, I don’t like to sit on the floor and play with dolls. But, I know if I tell my girls I’m going to play with them, they’ll give up television in a second.

I also realized that I loved creating fashions with my girls and helping them color in their creations. You’re never too old to play with toys, and the toys available today are pretty cool!

Don’t turn it on.

In my house if the television is off, it tends to stay off. Once we turn it one, someone can find something to watch or play, all day long. If the TV doesn’t get turned on during the day, the kids tend to forget about it.

This means no watching cartoons during breakfast or just one show in the morning. Sometimes this makes mornings a little crazier, but I keep baskets of books for them to read so they always have something available.

Have a plan.

I use to set out activities for my kids each day. If they didn’t have to pick what to do, or they only had to pick from one or two things, they had a much easier time making a decision.

Most kids have tons of toys, so picking out a few for each day is a great way to encourage them to actually play with them.

Make television an incentive or special treat.

My kids love family movie night and look forward to being able to eat (aka spill) popcorn all over the sofa. We’ve starting making movie night a big deal in our house, so the kids actually look forward to screen time together as a family, instead of throughout the week by themselves.

Since my boys love a certain computer game, we allow them to play during the week after they’ve completed chores or other activities and set limits as to how much time they can play.

Giveaway! {CLOSED!}

I have a great giveaway to get your kids excited about play! Once school starts again you can use this prize to encourage some imaginative play after school instead of veg time in front of the TV.

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Included in the prize pack are:

● Barbie Cheer Dress with Pompoms
● Barbie Pet Sketch Portfolio
● Ever After High Watercolor Set
● Monster High Charms
● Monster High Lip Gloss

To enter the giveaway share a way you encourage your kids to create instead of consume. Giveaway ends Monday, July 28, 2014 at 8 pm EST.

Even if you don’t win the giveaway you can win at Toys“R”Us! Now you can get a free Lunch-kit up to a $9.99 value when you buy ANY backpack priced $12.99 or more. Many backpacks (including Barbie, Monster High, and Ever After High) at Toys“R”Us have reflective straps, which are perfect for those dark early mornings in winter.

You can also save $5, with this exclusive coupon, on ANY Barbie, Monster High or Ever After High purchase totaling $20 or more at Toys“R”Us. Offer valid July 21- August 2nd.

Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own. Quantities limited. No rain check. Selection varies by store.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Teaching Children to Want to Obey eBook Deal

How wonderful is it when your kids don’t just obey you but WANT to obey God! That is what this great eBook is all about.

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Discounted Biblical Study on Obedience

The Teaching Children to Want to Obey eBook is a biblical study on obedience. I love how this book was clearly written by a mom who loves her kids. She wants her kids to love God and not just to be “good” kids. What I also love is the message of this book is built on scripture.

If you want to help guide your kids in wanting to obey God then this book is well worth the expense. The eBook is normally priced at $4.99 but for a limited time you can get it for only $3.99. Just use the coupon code: Happy$1 when you checkout. This offer is valid through 6/10.

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity. You won’t regret it!

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Musselman’s Spring Challenge ~ Finished!

I’ve partnered with Musselman’s to share their Spring into Action Challenge. All opinions are my own.

How is your challenge going? It’s time for our final check in.

As I mentioned last time my challenge wasn’t going as well as I had hoped. Winter seemed to drag on, forever!

I’m happy to report that I’ve made up for a miserable March with an awesome start to May! Thank you hubby for opening up our pool and essentially helping summer come a bit early to our house.

I never thought I would want a pool living in Maryland, but I have to say we love every minute of warm (and even not so warm) weather with our pool.

Last year we didn’t open the pool until June, but seeing how much we used it last year we opened it the first weekend in May! Even though the pool was a chilly (or as I like to say downright freezing!) 62 degrees my kids wasted no time jumping in!

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Even my son, who will spend the first part of May in a cast, is swimming with his hand held high above the water!

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Having a pool makes it so easy to get outside with the kids. While I haven’t made the polar plunge yet, I love sitting out by the pool watching them play and snuggling with wet little munchkins wrapped up in towels.

Now I realize not everyone has a pool to encourage them to get outdoors, but before we had a pool (and that was basically the past 19 years of my life) we enjoyed playing in the sprinkler, water balloon fights, water gun battles, and the slip ‘n’ slide. Let’s not forget bike rides, sidewalk chalk, and the occasional game of HORSE.

We love to finish off our warm days outside with a marshmallow roast in the fire pit. Days that are long and sunny with cool evenings are truly my favorite.

My kids have even started to eat all their meals outside. Not only does this make clean up a breeze, they are getting some nice fresh air and sunshine while they eat! Last year they opened a Snack Shack that operated throughout most of the summer. One person was the cook and another was the server and they took orders from swimming kids and created meals for everyone each day. I’m sure the Snack Shack will be opening again soon.

One easy outside treat is the  Musselman’s BIG CUP, it is a 6 oz. single-serve cup that contains 50% more delicious Musselman’s Apple Sauce in every serving. These are great for snacks, lunches outside, and even breakfast on the go. In my house you never have to ask to get a healthy snack and my little kids enjoy getting their very own snacks by themselves.

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I’m teaming up with Musselman’s and challenging myself and my readers to do 50% more to live a healthier, happier life.

If the weather isn’t cooperating in your neck of the woods yet, you can grab a coupon for free bowling from Musselman’s. You can  find out more details on their website.

Summer’s almost here so there is no excuse for not spending some quality time with the kids outside! How did you do on your 50% challenge?

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.