Win an AVENT Breast Pump in the Ready to Pop Giveaway Hop!

POPbuttonWelcome to the Ready to POP! [a Labor Day inspired Giveaway Hop] hosted by the Blogging Mamas Network!

This year we’re celebrating Labor Day in a totally fun way – by offering fabulous giveaways for Mamas and Babies who have done some of the hardest labor out there! Each blogger in this Hop has a fabulous Mama or Baby prize for you to enter to win – so be sure to hop around to them all after you’ve entered to win the fabulous Grand Prize, featuring Buttons Diapers and Beautiful Earth!Ready to POP GPFor this event, I’m giving one lucky reader the Philips AVENT BPA Free Comfort Manual Breast Pump valued at $45!  Perfect for occasional pumping, this breast pump allows you to sit comfortably while pumping breast milk for your baby – no need to lean forward!  The Philips AVENT BPA Free Comfort Manual Breast Pump comes with a soft, textured cushion to stimulate milk flow, an ergonomically designed handle for comfortable one handed operation, and a Natural bottle and newborn nipple, which allow you to pump directly into the bottle for your baby.  It’s the easiest, most comfortable pump you could ask for!  New Avent Manual BreastPump 5Enter using the rafflecopter form and it could be yours!  Good luck everyone!

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And now that you’ve entered my giveaway, be sure to hop down the list of participating blogs…

So Easy Being Green, Viva Veltoro, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Ready to POP! participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

Win an AllerMates Lunch Bag & Snack Bag in the Back 2 School Giveaway Hop!

Back-2-School-HopWelcome to the Back 2 School Giveaway Hop hosted by Review Wire Media!  Summer has come to an end, which can only mean one thing – it’s back to school time!  Scrambling to find school supplies?  We can help!  Because as a part of this hop, bloggers have come together to feature some great prizes to get you and your kids ready for back to school.  And because this event runs from August 15th through August 29th, you’ll have plenty of time to hop down the linky and enter to win! Each blogger is giving away prizes valued $25 or more, so you don’t want to miss out! Good luck and have a great school year!allermates For my giveaway, one lucky winner will receive an Allermates Lunch Bag and Snack Bag!  You may remember me mentioning this fabulous company in my BlogHer Day One recap.  These lunch bags are a must for kids who have food allergies, but they’re stylish enough that even a child without allergies will want to carry them!  Trust me, my kids actually fight over who gets to carry this lunch bag to school.  blue-i-have-allergies-large-snack-bag-7 Enter using the rafflecopter form below and they could be yours!  Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway

After you’ve entered my giveaway, make sure to stop over at The Review Wire to enter to win a Back to School Prize Pack valued at $98, that includes Star Wars Workbooks from Workman Publishing, Clothing from French Toast, a Backpack from TerraCycle and Character Tapes from Duck Tape Brands. This Grand Prize at The Review Wire is one you won’t want to miss! And don’t forget to hop down the list of participating blogs!
Disclaimer: This giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on August 29, 2014. The Back To School Event Bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. Companies and bloggers, if you would like to participate in group giveaway events like this one, sign up to be emailed about future events hosted by Review Wire Media.

A Day of Family Fun at Dolphin Mall {& a $250 Dolphin Mall Gift Card Giveaway!}

Disclosure: A very special thank you to Dolphin Mall for inviting my family to experience all that Dolphin Mall has to offer.  The mall was gracious enough to provide me with a gift card to facilitate my review, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.Family Fun at Dolphin MallI love to shop.  I mean, really love to shop.  As a kid, I remember saving my money for weeks just so we could go to the mall.  We didn’t go to the mall a lot, but when we did, I would spend all day searching out sales and deciding how to spend my hard earned money.  And at the end of the day, I would gleefully tow home my newest treasures, only to start planning our next trip to the mall.   Now, as the busy mom to 3 kids of my own, I don’t have a ton of time to shop, but I still love going to the mall.  So when Dolphin Mall invited me for a tour, it was a no-brainer.  I was going.

The funny thing about Dolphin Mall is that I drive past it everyday on my way to work.  I’ve heard people talk about it.  I’ve seen people post pictures on Facebook and Instagram.  But I’d never been.  I was really excited to go myself and see what all the buzz was about.

Since we were running a bit late that morning, we started the day with some valet parking and a quick run to Starbucks – the convenience and caffeine were very much appreciated since I was just back from San Jose, CA the day before and still on Pacific time.  I had only been at the mall for about a minute before I ran into this sign.  Finally, a mall that loves me back!Dolphin Mall Loves Mommies SignAfter a few quick pictures it was off to Bloomingdale’s for a bit of shopping.

Although I’ve seen Dolphin Mall from the highway, I had no idea just how big it is.  There are so many factory and outlet stores to choose from – Banana Republic, Coach, Gap, Armani Exchange, DSW, Polo/Ralph Lauren, and so, so many more.  The mall is big enough to have everything you need, but not so big that it’s overwhelming.  You can easily get through it in a couple hours and there are tons of maps, so I never once got lost.  After hitting Bloomingdale’s we stopped at Nine West, Old Navy, and Wacoal, before eventually ending up at Gymboree and the brand new Heartstrings boutique.  Greenleigh’s choice, naturally.  I promised myself before I left the house that the girls already had enough clothing, but caved at the last minute.

And then it was off to the swanky Cinebistro for lunch and a movie.Dolphin Mall Cinebistro Entrance

Dolphin Mall Cinebistro LoungeDespite being 21 and up in the evenings, Cinebistro has started family movies during the day (be sure to check availability before hand as days and times may change).  The beauty of Cinebistro is that you can not only select your movie, but you can also select your seats and have a fabulous meal, which ends the rush of trying to eat before going to the movie early so you can get seats.  The theaters at Cinebistro are smaller than normal theaters and come with nice wide seats.  Upon arrival, your server will greet you, take your order, and then deliver your food before your movie starts.  I can assure you, this is the best way to watch Planes: Fire & Rescue, or any movie for that matter.Dolphin Mall Cinebistro Movie

After the movie was over, it was off to Dave & Busters for drinks and more family fun.Dolphin Mall Dave and BustersMy daughter had the best time playing all the games and winning tickets.  She even learned to love skee-ball thanks to this kid-friendly game that had a slightly shorter ramp.Dolphin Mall Dave and Busters SkeeballAnd then our day at Dolphin Mall was over.  We needed to get back to pick Hazeline up at school (despite being invited, she opted out at the last moment).  As we left, I felt like there were so many places I still wanted to go – the Cool de Sac children’s entertainment center, Strike Miami for a little bowling, the Cheesecake Factory, PINK, Smoothie King…I could go on and on.

Having spent the day at Dolphin Mall, I can say that it is more than just a mall – It’s a destination.  Sure there are stores boasting great bargains, but there’s also movie theaters, places for kids and adults to play, restaurants for every palate, and so much more.  I can’t wait to go back!

Now for the best part – If you want to check out Dolphin Mall for yourself, I’m giving away a $250 Dolphin Mall Gift Card!  And best of all, this gift card is good at Dolphin Mall or any of the Taubman Properties!  Just use the entry form below and it could be yours.  Good luck everyone!

Are You Noseblind? You Might Be Surprised… {& A Giveaway!}

Disclosure: This review and giveaway was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Febreze. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.  NoseblindFebreze and PopcornWhen Febreze asked me to take the Noseblind Test, I was certain I’d ace it.  I mean, we occasionally battle odors in our house (fridge, I’m looking at you), but, surely, I know when there are odors in my house.  And then I tackle them so they don’t linger.  Odors – food, body, pet, garbage, whatever – aren’t welcome in my home.  Me?  Noseblind?  Not a chance.

But according to Febreze, although it may have a funny name, “Noseblindness” is a real thing.  It’s a nasal condition where you become accustomed to the odors around you over time.  Odors associated with the body, your pet, or that thing you left in the fridge just a little too long, can stay airborne or deposit on a soft surface in your home and linger there.  These soft surfaces are called odor-magnets, trapping the bad odor and holding on to it long after the original culprit is eliminated.  Over time, we get accustomed to the smells around us, especially in our homes, and may not realize that that these smells are actually…well…bad.  Instead, we get used to them, only to invite friends over to a house that may not smell very good.  Oops.  Think about it: Would your friends or family tell you if your house smelled bad?

My Febreze Noseblind Test was simple – ask a friend or two over for a movie night, pop some popcorn, watch a movie, and fill out some quick surveys regarding the smell of my home.  Simple, right?  Plus, it sounded fun.

So that’s exactly what I did.  I invited my friend Rachel over and we sat down to watch a movie that wasn’t Frozen.  It was a girls night in.  We took a survey right when she arrived detailing the smell of my house – I had just cooked dinner so there was a bit of that smell remaining in the air – and then we took a survey after I popped the popcorn for our movie.  Understandably, it smelled like popcorn at that point.

After the movie, we took a final survey, where I indicated that the house still smelled like popcorn, but the intensity was far lower than it had been.  In fact, while I’d rated the smell to be “very strong” after popping the popcorn, I rated the smell at “weak” after the movie was over.  And then a funny thing happened, I took Maddie out for a walk.  When I returned, I realized that my house smelled like popcorn.  I mean, really smelled like popcorn.  Rachel agreed.  Turns out, I had just gotten used to it.

I guess I’m Noseblind after all.  Who knew?Febreze

Luckily, there’s a cure – Febreze.  You see, Febreze contains a molecule known as Cyclodextrin which is instrumental in trapping and eliminating odors.  Unlike regular air fresheners, Febreze’s patented technology not only eliminates the odor, but it leaves behind a pleasant scent.  And since people often like to deodorize in different ways, Febreze offers tons of different ways to keep your home smelling great, whether it be Air Effects, Candles, Fabric Refreshers, Car Vent Clips, or WaxMelts.  I’ll admit, I’m a bit partial to the Febreze Air Effects in Meados & Rain.  Febreze Noseblind Air EffectsBut I think that the Febreze NOTICEables in Hawaiian Aloha are my personal favorite.  And you better believe I plugged one in when we were done taking our surveys!Febreze NOTICEables

Want to find out if you’re Noseblind?  The answer might just surprise you!  To learn more about Noseblindness and the cures check out the Noseblind website, and remember to like Febreze on Facebook and follow Febreze on Twitter!

And because I can’t possibly let you continue living in a house riddled with smells you may not even realize, I’m giving away one Noseblind Kit.  It includes 1 Febreze Air Effects, 1 Febreze Fabric Refresher, 1 Febreze Noticeables with refill, 1 Febreze Candle, and a $60 AMEX Gift Card!  That’s right, a $60 AMEX Gift Card so you can invite some friends over to your fabulous smelling house!  Enter using the rafflecopter form below and it could be yours!  Good luck everyone!
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DK Makes Reading Fun for Babies & Toddlers

Disclosure: Thank you to DK for sending my family books to review and enjoy.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

When Greenleigh was born, she had a fully decorated nursery.  Ah, the life of a first child…  She had a crib, changing table, glider, and all the essentials for a brand new baby.  And in that that room, across from the crib and next to the changing table, was a bookcase.  I absolutely insisted that we get one.  It wasn’t anything fancy or expensive – actually, if I remember correctly it was a display model from an office supply store since the baby furniture place wanted upwards of $1,000 for one that matched our crib pattern – but it was there.   And before Greenleigh was even born, my husband and I began filling it with books.  We wanted her to love reading and knew we had to start early.  When Greenleigh reached 6 months, I began reading to her every night, and as soon as Hazeline was around the same age she joined our nightly story time.  Reading has been our nightly ritual ever since.

But admittedly, we’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately due to it being summer.  Often we are just too tired to read at the end of a long day in the sun or, when we do read, I feel like we’re reading the same old books.  So needless to say, this tote bag full of books from DK was a very welcome surprise.DK Books

Even if you’ve never noticed the DK logo in the upper left hand corner of many children’s books, you’ve definitely heard of many of their best-selling and award-winning children’s book titles.  The Touch and Feel series and My First Series have been favorites for my kids.  Lucky for us DK kind enough to offer us a sampling of just a few of the titles that they offer to add to our growing collection, including Baby Touch and Feel: Farm, My First Trucks and Diggers, and Pop-Up Peekaboo Bedtime.  And much to my surprise, they even made a Sophie la girafe book!  Do you know how famous that little giraffe is in my house?  Rockstar status, I tell you.DK Hazeline

Designed for kids 0 to 3 years old, DK books contain bright pictures, easy to decipher text, and touch and feel sections to keep even the littlest kids interested.   These books aren’t just intended to be read, they’re intended to engage your child and get them learning (even if they don’t know it!).  And for slightly older kids, there are touch and feel picture cards so they can start learning to say the names of animals, household objects, and more.  Ranging in price from $5.99 to $9.99, these books absolutely delighted my kids, with the Pop-Up Peekaboo Bedtime book being their absolute favorite. DK Farm Book

And while they’re really intended for younger children, my 5 year old enjoyed them too.  In fact, I think the size of the text made it easier for her to sound out words than in some of the other books that we read.

DK ReadingAnd me?  Well, I’m just happy to have some new books for bedtime stories!  Thanks DK!

To learn more about DK and it’s wide range of children’s book titles, be sure to check out their website and follow them on Twitter.

Samsung Home Appliance: Master Your Home

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Samsung Home Appliance as a member of MomSelect.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may have seen me raving about this kitchen last week while I was at BlogHer14.SamsungChefCollectionKitchenIsn’t it pretty?  Stainless steel everything with the best technology.  What’s not to love?  But what caught my attention the most was the dishwasher.SamsungDishwasher

You see, when we finally found our house, I loved every single thing about it…except the dishwasher.  It had clearly seen better days.  I said that I was going to replace it, but since we were only renting, I decided against it.  Now in the house for 2 years, with a contract for 2 more, I regret that decision and often find myself lingering a little too long in the dishwasher sections of appliance stores dreaming about a new one.  Which is exactly why I found myself in the Samsung Home Appliance booth at BlogHer14.  I couldn’t resist that beautiful dishwasher.Waterwall Technology

Complete with the WaterWall Washing System, the Chef Collection Dishwasher is designed to use maximum cleaning pressure that’s 35% stronger  than normal rotary systems (or in other words, what I have now) to clean every item in the dishwasher, no matter how hard to reach.  The thing that really caught my attention though was how big the inside was.  The Samsung Chef Collection Dishwasher with WaterWall System can clean up to 15 place settings at a time.  The third rack, featuring Flextray, allows you to lay spatulas, silverware, and odd shaped items for the best possible clean.  After they’re cleaned, you can then remove the Flextray for easier sorting.  It’s also pretty energy efficient considering it uses only 258 kwh, which excieeds the 2014 ENERGY STAR criteria.  And unlike my current dishwasher that sounds like a combination of a lawnmower and a helicopter battling one another, the Samsung Chef Collection Dishwasher with WaterWall is the quietest in its class due to special insulation that reduces noise.

It’s pretty much my dream dishwasher.Chef Collection Dishwasher

But of course Samsung makes more than just dishwashers.  And the had a full showcase of their Chef Collection refrigerators, ranges, microwaves available for us to see at BlogHer.  Each being more mom-friendly than the next.  For example the gorgeous stainless steel Samsung Convertible French Door Refrigerator has a convertible zone allowing you to decide how much fresh food versus frozen food storage that you need.  When the convertible zone is used as a refrigerator, the Convertible French Door Refrigerator has the most fresh food storage in its class at 25.6 cu. ft.  In total this refrigerator can hold a total of 32 bags of groceries and the ice maker can produce up to 10 lbs. of ice daily!  Oh and did I mention that there’s a digital display in the door?  ‘Cause there is!Samsung RefrigeratorHow cool is that?

And their slightly smaller Samsung Side-By-Side Refrigerator boasts a center drawer where you can store meats, yogurts, or anything that you need to keep cool but have easy access too.Samsung Refrigerator Drawer

This drawer is the perfect size and height for little ones that enjoy selecting their own snacks.  I think it would be great for my girls cheese sticks, juice boxes, and bottled waters.

And of course there were top loading and front loading washers and dryers to drool over as well.SamsungWasherDryer

But I never expected there to be a Baby Washing Machine:BabyWashingMachineThe 1 cu. ft. Baby Care Washer features 9 cycles to wash and sanitizes all of baby’s delicate laundry.  It even has a Super Sanitize cycle that heats up to 190 degrees Fahrenheit to remove even the most stubborn stains and bacteria.  While a smaller machine, it can save time and energy by washing smaller loads of baby laundry, instead of using your larger washer.  It’s perfect for apartments or nurseries.  And so it will never wake baby, you can select a quieter tone buzzer to indicate that a load of laundry is done.

With all of these fabulous appliances designed to save moms time and money, it’s no wonder why Samsung is America’s fastest growing appliance brand and global appliance innovator!  I’m so glad that I got a chance to preview them at BlogHer in San Jose!

Swimways Spring Float: Relax in the Pool

I am a Swimways Ambassador.  I received the SwimWays Spring Float photographed below to facilitate my review.
SwimWays Spring Float
For months, I’ve been providing you with swim updates from our house…but those updates have all been about my kids.  In fact, when you read them, you might have even questioned if I use my pool at all.  But I can assure you that I do.  I most definitely do.  I mean, with consistent 90+ degree weather, how could I not?  While my kids are excited about splashing and diving in the pool, I turn to my pool for relaxation.  Which is why I was extremely excited that the Swimways Swim Coach for the Swimways Swim Team Ambassador program decided to send out the Swimways Spring Float for this month’s review.


The Swimways Spring Float has a patented inner spring that provides added comfort and stability in the water.  The soft, smooth mesh provides a comfortable bed, while the inflated fabric surface provides a plush surface to rest your arms and head.  A few quick twists and the Spring Float is folded into a compact disk (which fits perfectly in it’s mesh carrier) and ready to hit the road with you.  And it inflates or deflates in a flash – no pump required.  It’s the ultimate relaxation experience that you can take anywhere!SwimWaysSpringFloatinWater

I actually bought one of these last year (in a slightly different style) and I’ve been in love with it ever since.  There’s plenty of room to stretch out and I’ve never had a problem with it tipping over…unless it was my husband tipping me over.  While was in love with my old SwimWays Spring Float, I think this is my new favorite.  I just love the pattern!  SwimwaysSpringFloatFloating

Simply put, my SwimWays Spring Float is my favorite place to rest and relax in the pool – as long as my kids don’t steal it from me!

The Swimways Spring Float retails for $22.99-$24.99 and can be purchased on the Swimways website (currently on sale using the code FLOATSW), your local pool store, and anywhere Swimways products sold.  But wouldn’t it be great if you could win one?  Great, because I’m giving one lucky reader a Swimways Spring Float!  Enter using the rafflecopter form below and it could be yours!
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Combat After School Hunger with Fun Snacks from Bagel Bites & Delimex

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AfterSchoolSnacks #CollectiveBias


As a kid, I remember coming home from school hungry.  Really hungry.  It wasn’t quite dinner time, but lunch was far enough away that my stomach forgot that it even happened.  My mom urged us not to snack and save our appetites for dinner, but there were days when even she was hungry.  Sometimes we’d stop on the way home for some quick snacks, other times we’d try to put a light snack together when we got home.  It’s funny how all these years later, I still remember that after school hunger so clearly.

With Greenleigh setting off for kindergarten in a little over 3 weeks (eek!) I’ve been trying to prepare for that very important first day.  I’ve planned out her first day lunch, I’m working on getting her physical scheduled, and I’ve got an appointment to register her next week.  But as I was shopping at Walmart last week, I realized that I hadn’t planned for after the first day of school.  How am I going to combat the after school hunger?  Because I’m pretty sure that she’s going to come home from school starving, just like I did.BagelBitesDelimexinStore

And then, as I strolled down the quick snack and party & gatherings aisle, I saw them – Bagel Bites!  As a kid, I loved Bagel Bites.  And I can honestly say that I still know every single word from the song they had when I was a kid, “Pizza in the mornin’, Pizza in the evenin’, Pizza at suppertime…”  I remember standing in the store begging my mom to buy them, negotiating other items in the shopping cart just so I could have some of those mini bagel snacks.

For nostalgia sake, I picked up some Bagel Bites, along with some taquitos from Delimex to replenish our supply.  Taquitos are such an easy snack food to prepare that I regularly keep them on hand.  Whenever my husband has a card game or gathering at the house, the taquitos are easy to get on the table quickly.  And it helps that they’re extremely affordable!FunAfternoonSnacks

Since I haven’t had Bagel Bites in quite a while, I wondered if were the same delicious snack that I remembered from my childhood.  It may have been a few years (and no, I’m not admitting to any more than a few years), but I very clearly remember that thick, rich sauce, covered with creamy cheese on a crispy bagel.  They were easy to make, filling, and delicious.  I may have bought them to celebrate Greenleigh’s first day in kindergarten, but there was no way that I wasn’t going to try them.  So I may have sampled a few…SchoolSnacksBagelBitesIn just under 15 minutes in the oven it was confirmed – they’re as tasty as I remember.  In fact, they’re better!  The homemade sauce, real cheese, and toppings (all with no trans fat!) make for the perfect snack.

And they go perfectly with the Delimex crispy, meat filled taquitos that we regularly buy.  DelimexTaquitos

By the way, if you want to both of these snacks in the oven at the exact same time, try adjusting the oven temperature to 425, and cooking for 18 minutes.Taquito

Looking for a way to celebrate the first day of school?  Make sure to pick up some Bagel Bites and Delimex snacks.  They’re fun snacks to celebrate the first day of school and combat hunger all the other days!  Your kids will thank you!

The Ultimate Mom’s Night Out from Mom, Baby & Beyond {Giveaway!}

Attention South Florida moms and moms-to-be!  Do I have your attention yet?  Good, because a fabulous event is headed our way.  On Tuesday, September 23rd The Ultimate Mom’s Night Out is coming to the Heron Bay Marriott in Coral Springs!UMNO

Sponsored by Belly Love Spa and Whole Foods Market Coral Springs, this event is a can’t miss, full of prizes, speakers, vendors, and so much more.  Oh, and did I mention samples and swag bags?  Oh, yes, they’ll be there too!  Right along with Sara Haley, a pre/post natal fitness expert and one of the 50 hottest trainers of 2014 featured in Shape Magazine, who is sure to have a few tips on working out during pregnancy and how to get that pesky baby weight off after your baby is born. 

To learn more about The Ultimate Mom’s Night Out be sure to like them on Facebook and plan to be at The Ultimate Mom’s Night Out by registering here.

You can also enter below to win a pair of general admission tickets to The Ultimate Mom’s Night Out, by entering below:

    • 1 winner will receive a $25 gift card for Whole Foods Market Coral Springs
    • 1 winner will receive a manicure and pedicure at Belly Love Spa
    • 1 winner will receive a Sweat Unlimited DVD from Sara Haley Fitness

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A Mid-Summer Swim Update

Disclosure:  I’m a SwimWays Swim Team Ambassador.  The items photographed below were given to me in order to facilitate my review.  All thoughts, opinions, and photographs are my own.

As I lamented to my mother about Greenleigh’s refusal to swim earlier this year, she assured me that it would happen.  She said that I was the exact same way, and that I eventually just decided that I wanted to swim.  She told me that it took time and patience and a certain amount of “letting it go” before it happened, but I did in fact swim on my own.  She told me that Greenleigh would be the same way.  And deep down, I knew it was true.  She would swim.  I just wasn’t completely convinced that it would happen anytime soon.  After all, she’s been adamant about not swimming since…well…last summer.

But today?  This girl can swim!SwimWaysSwimming

She’s practically half fish.

The secret?  Well, honestly, I don’t know that there is one.  I know that our SwimWays Power Swmr helped a ton.  It seemed to build her confidence in a way that my encouragement didn’t.  And although I removed the first of the inserts without her knowing, she actually became a part of the process after removing the first two, and seemed to delight in the challenge of removing inserts.  She actually asked me to remove them on one occasion.  It was fun to see her enjoy swimming, even if it was assisted.

And then a funny thing happened.  My mom came to visit and went swimming with the girls.  But before they got into the pool, she took 6 pennies out of her purse and said that they were going to play a game.  She threw the pennies into the pool and encourage Greenleigh to dive for them.  Always up for a game – and never wanting to lose – Greenleigh proceeded to dive for the pennies on the floor of the pool, but even at it’s lowest setting, her Power Swimr wouldn’t let her reach the bottom of our shallow end.

Greenleigh begged me to take the Power Swimr off and I agreed, so as long as my mom was right there with her.  My mom then helped her dive for the pennies and encouraged her to swim to the side of the pool when she had one.  In approximately one afternoon, she learned to dive to the bottom of the pool, find the penny, and swim to the side.  It was progress and it was amazing.

But the pennies were far from a long term solution.  They’re not safe for the pool or my pool cleaner, and although I loved my mom’s intentions, I secretly cringed every time they were thrown into the pool.  Just one left behind could lead to big, expensive problems.  Which is why I was particularly excited to see that SwimWays sent me pool toys in my latest SwimWays Ambassador shipment.  These SwimWays Squidivers are so much safer for my pool than pennies.  Cuter too!SwimWaysSqui

If you haven’t seen them before, Squidivers are soft, flexible diving toys, that stand upright when thrown in the pool, so they’re easy to grab.  Each pack of Squidivers come with 3 toys, each brightly colored with numbers (10, 20, 30) on the side, which makes them perfect for pool games (the SwimWays website lists 8 games that you can play them!).  They even have adorable little eyes and smiley faces.  They’re designed to develop underwater swim skills, which is exactly what they’ve done for Greenleigh.SwimWaysDivers

While the idea of swimming unassisted used to terrify her, she now dives for her Squidivers and smiles when they’re retrieved.  I almost can’t believe the change, but I’m so grateful for it.

For Hazeline, who’s showing great progress in her PowerSwmr although not yet swimming on her own, the nice people at SwimWays sent Gobble Gobble Guppies.  A pool toy specifically geared towards preschoolers 2 years and up, Gobble Gobble Guppies brings learning into the pool.  Using the trigger, preschoolers open the whale’s mouth to gobble up the multicolored guppies, each of which has a number on its side.  Preschoolers can gobble guppies in numerical or color order, making that afternoon in the pool pretty educational.SwimWaysGuppies

This toy was a hit from the second I took it out of the box.  Hazeline loves gobbling up the guppies in order based on color.  I just have to remind her not to cheat and push the guppies into the shark’s mouth using her other hand.  SwimWaysGobbleGobbleGuppiesSwimWaysSharkAnd while it’s really made for preschoolers, I can assure you that this almost-kindergartner loves to gobble too.  This toy has been “borrowed” more than once.

So as it turns out, the answer to our swim problems was simple – play.  Unlike last year, my kids are enjoying their hours in the pool this summer and showing a ton of progress.  I’m a very happy mom.  Thank you SwimWays!SwimWaysToys

But we aren’t done having fun just yet – be sure to stay tuned for my next SwimWays update.   There’s a lot of summer swimming left!