Summer Finds That Will Make Summer Awesome!

Summer Finds

summer is just around the corner! there is nothing i love more than spending summer here in Orange County there is so much to do – the beach, the pool, the parks, nature centers and hiking trails. if you like the sunshine, the OC is definitely where you want to be. at the same time, i also love having great products to enhance the fun my kids and i have during summer time. i’ve had my eye on a bunch of fun products this year. some for fun, some for style, some tomato life easier. here are some of the summer finds i think would make the summer even more awesome!  some i already have, some i want, and some are just plain cool. check them out!!!!!

1. Zinka  | Zinka introduced the first ever colored zinc oxide sunblock! i remember wearing it when i was a kid. i thought i was so cool. but parents beware…..Zinka is messy and colorful, so it is best to use at the beach where it can’t get on stuff.  Zinka offers a wide range of broad spectrum UVA and UVB blocking products that are safe for all ages.

2. Fun Pool Floats  |  Cool down with a popsicle or pretzel-shaped pool float. or choose one of the other fun treat pool floats that Crafted from heavy-duty vinyl and easy to inflate.

3. Zoku Mini Pop Molds  |  you can’t enjoy summer without popsicles in my opinion! you can create up to nine different mini pops at a time with the Zoku Mini Pop Molds instantly – it only take a few minutes from pouring the juice until they are frozen, ready to eat. forget fighting with the tray to get your pop, when your pops are frozen, simply pull out your mini pop and enjoy! they are the perfect size for children, and super cute.

4. Surfer Dudes  |  we just got some of these and they are so much fun. my boys spent hours tossing these little surfer dudes into the waves at the beach. they come right back to you when the waves come. AWESOME! this award winning surf toy comes with gnarly graphics and an unsinkable board. 6 Surfer dudes and Surfer gals to choose from!  no batteries needed. 

5. Sombrilla Beach Canopy  |  i’ve been in love with these darling beach canopies for the past few years, and i am finally going to get one. elegant & sophisticated, the Sombrilla is made from 100% cotton, so breathe & relax while enjoying superior sun protection. you can now indulge in those long summer days at the beach blissfully unaware of the heat as you enjoy yourself under a cool canopy of natural shade. lots af great colors and patterns to choose from.

6. Traveling Mess Laundry Hamper  |  how great would this mess laundry hamper be to carry sand toys

7. Surf Brush  |  grab this insanely popular Surf Brush to have on-hand after sandy days at the beach. this All Purpose Beach Sand Brush quickly brushes away unwanted sand on toys, beach gear and kids!!!! it’s super soft bristles won’t hurt went you use it.

8. Campfire Fishing Rod  |  cook over the fire in a cool unique way! by using these cool fishing pool campfire roasting sticks.  a great way to roast your campfire foods like peppers, hot dogs, shrimp, and much more. they feature a stainless steel line and roasting hooks, a fixed steel line, and a heat resistant wooden handle. kids will love using these easy to use campfire cooking tools! simply, place your hot dogs and marshmallows on the roasting hooks, gently shake the pole over the fire like you would jig an actual fishing pole, and watch as your snacks cook to perfection.

9.  Round Towel  |  i’m in love with round beach towels, they are all the rage right now. there are lots to choose from out there, but i thought this one what one of the prettiest! the party is wherever you toss this circular cotton beach towel featuring a bold monochrome print and finished with soft fringe.

10. Quut Scoppi Beach Toy  |  dig into fun! this great Scoppi sand shovel has an exciting and iconic design. kids can use both their hands and their feet to move sand around with ease. it comes with a detachable sand sifter that will double the fun as they build forts, moats and castles in the sand.

11.  Kalorik Stainless Steel S’mores Maker  |  now the fun of roasting marshmallows over an open campfire can be brought to the comfort of kitchens everywhere with the Kalorik S’mores Maker! use it with the kids in the backyard under the stars, at parties, gatherings and other occassions to create fun and tasty desserts and snacks. a tray with four storage compartments stores graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate squares and other treats. Includes four stainless steel forks for roasting marshmallows over the stainless steel heating element.

12.  Torpedo Dive Toys  |  these are some of my kids favorite pool toys. they glide super fast through the water for long distances, and kids can dive to the bottom of the pool to retrieve them. each Package includes 4 brightly colored numbered Dive Rockets. Fun way to improve swimming skills. 

13. Portable Briefcase BBQ Grill  |  you can travel light with the only charcoal grill that becomes a briefcase! this versatile Briefcase Barbecue Grill lets you cook wherever you go. just unfold the case and follow the simple instructions and you’ll be cooking in no time! ideal for beach, campground or picnic. features a convenient mess-free ash bin and locks for safe and easy transport.

14.  Big Dig Ride-On Sand Digger  |  my son has this and it’s a hit! overtime we take it to the beach, a crowd of kids hover over us trying to see the fun. you can sift sand and shovel dirt!  two-handed controls help kids learn manual dexterity and improve hand-eye coordination.  handle moves and the seat pivots on this kid-sized working crane.

15.  Giant Sized Jumbling Tower | this jenga inspired game is super-sized and perfect to play on the lawn.

16. Log Joust Pool Toy Set  |  just add kids, water, and let the fun begin. the kit includes 2 inflatable logs, 2 inflatable log boppers. ready for some pool fun? someone is gettin’ dunked!!!

17.  Can You Dig It Sand Castle Kit with Tools  |  hopefully you will be spending lots of time at the beach this summer. this is the perfect sand sculpting kit for people who’ve never sculpted sand before. everything you need to help you create anything out of sand is included! each kit contains a set of the original, award-winning “Can You Dig It” Sand Tools, a “Can You Dig It” Sand Tools Bucket & Form Set, and a “Can You Dig It” Sand Sculptor’s Brush. kids will love learning to build more intricate sand sculptures.

18. Hydro Launch by Discovery Toys  |  my boys had this when they were young and it was the best toy. they played with it for hours! the Amazing Hovering Water Splasher! control water pressure to raise and balance the rocket on a stream of water. just attach the easy-to-use thrust controller to a garden hose. it’s also a great learning toy – helping learn experimentation and trial & error as you vary the speed and height of the rocket, and to learn about center of gravity and balance. keeps kids engaged and playing outside. 

19. Jumbo Connect Four Game  |  games are better in jumbo size! kids will love the life-size version of the classic ring-dropping game. great for two players or with teams for championship matches. perfect lawn game for a summer day or bbq party.

20. Beach Thingy  |  the beach thingy is an instant beach chair. just stab it into the sand and you can lean your back against it while you are sitting in the sand.

21. Slimline Giant Ring Toss Game  |  have a blast in the pool with this giant ring toss game. includes target buoy and 5 giant tossing rings – great fun for floating in the pool too.


and those are my awesome summer finds!
what do you think? what do think looks fun? what products do you love for summer time?

Kiddie Fun: Painted Sandcastles

well, it’s been the first official week of summer for us. we spent the week pretty much preparing ourselves to start summer. i finished all my outstanding jobs for Jill Parkin Designs, we made final decisions for repairing our flooded home (we are still living in an apartment nearby) and started swimming lessons for my middle kiddie. i feel soooo much better and am very excited to finally be able to have an enjoyable summer. (i have made the decision to finally limit the invitation business….a hard one, but much needed). now the fun will begin.

anyways….we decided to celebrate by going to the beach to enjoy some fun in the sun june gloom. the water was cold, but the kiddies loved it? and we built sandcastles with our sandcastle kit and we even painted them….

painted them!!!!

yes. we used spray bottles filled with spray chalk solution and colored our sandcastles mounds of sand. the kiddies loved it. even baby.

how to paint your sandcastle

• cornstarch
• food coloring
• spray bottles (got at walmart for $.97)
• water

in a spray bottle mix a 3-4 tablespoons of cornstarch per 1 cup of water and food coloring. the more cornstarch you use, the more the color will show up on the sand.  but you don’t want to use so much that it clogs your spray bottle. add enough food color so that the color shows up. and that’s it.

p.s. you can use this as sidewalk chalk spray paint as well!
(i have found that the small spraybottles only hold enough solution to last a short time and I had to fill them up a bunch of times. next time i will skip the cute bottles and get the industrial ones.)

happy painting!
jill, jack, kyle & baby

S’mores Ice Cream Cones

S'mores Ice Cream Cones

s’mores on a cone!!!!

yep….soooo yummy and just a little bit different than the average s’more. to make a s’more ice cream cone, all you have to do is roast a couple of marshmallows and stuff them into a sugar cone. next, top with chocolate sauce,  caramel sauce, different toppings and sprinkles. they are a bit messy….but aren’t all s’mores?!!!

s’more Ice Cream cones are my kiddies favorite way to eat roasted marshmallows. (mine too…it surprisingly soooo good)

you can also enjoy these yummy s’more ideas:
Oven S’mores
Oatmeal Cookie S’mores
Candy Bar S’mores

Smores Part 2: Oatmeal Cookie Smores

next up on our week of s’mores with a twist are oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with roasted marshmallow creme! our version of an oatmeal creme pie. definitely a winner. double yummy!

Homemade fishing game.

when i came across this cute fishing game on Blissfully Domestic made by Kara-Noel, i thought it would be perfect to post in honor of the Annual Huck Finn Fishing Derby that will be this weekend. isn’t it cute!

click here for a full tutorial on how to make it.