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    Tag: summer

    Beat the Summer Heat | Homemade Popsicles and 8 Other Ideas for Keeping Cool This Summer

    The most obvious way to beat the summer heat is visiting the beach, playing in a sprinkler or taking a dip in the pool. These ideas are fun and entertaining, but the monotony of repeating the same activity over and over and definitely create an “I’m bored” type of situation.

    One of our favorite ways to keep cool in the summer is to always have homemade popsicles on hand.  These can be low sugar treats to help kids keep cool, and Mom can even add extra nutrients like kale to homemade popsicles, which has no flavor, but will help to create a healthy addition to your child’s summer time treat!  Check out this Freezer Pop Maker by Progressive™ (makes 10 pops) on sale at Organize.com right now for $20.99. Even better, take advantage of their summer sale and get 15% off of all orders over $40.00 or more when you use coupon code: SUMMER15. Best of all, shop with confidence knowing that you will get FREE 2-Day Shipping with ShopRunner!

    Here are some more fun ideas to help mix things  up a little when it comes to chillin’ out this summer:

    Make a bicycle car wash.  Using ¾ inch PVC pipe poke/drill holes and place a hose inside and run your child’s bicycle under. If you are lucky, they might even get your car!

    Create a relay race with sponges. Have your children race from one bucket to the next. Each player needs to absorb water from one bucket, and then run over and fill the other bucket with their filled sponge only. The first person to fill it to the line or top of the bucket wins.

    Build a homemade water table. Fill a long plastic container with water. Add in fun items like beach toys, selecting some that will sink, and some that will float. Kids love to play in the water, and this is also great for science discovery!

    Make homemade bubbles. Mix 2/3 cup dishwashing soap (Joy or Dawn both work great), one gallon water and two to three tablespoons of glycerin (available in pharmacies or chemical supply houses). This is an easy, inexpensive and quick way to create some outdoor fun!

    Make sidewalk paint. Mix ¼ cup corn starch, ¼ cup water, and food coloring. Have fun using a hose, buckets or even a watering can to wipe off the images. Great way to cool down!

    Create a water balloon toss. To make it more fun, make the balloons soapy making it even harder to catch! After each successful toss, step back and see how far you can throw the balloon without it falling to the ground.

    Create a slip and slide. Using a large tarp or plastic sheet and baby oil or dishwashing soap, slide a long your front yard on floats. Be careful as the tarp can be slippery and be sure to remove from your yard pine cones, sticks, and other sharp objects.

    Create an obstacle course or water olympics.  Set up stations around your backyard including all or several of the games above.  Invite neighbors and friends for a fun day of friendly competition and cooling off! Serve homemade popsicles as prizes!


    Guest Post | Summer Smoothies Recipe

    We are pleased to welcome our Guest Blogger, Merissa, who blogs about healthy, frugal, and simple living over at Little House Living.

    We love smoothies here and the recipe below has become one of our all time favorite combos. There are only a few ingredients but it’s so good and a great way to fit in some extra fruit and healthy bacteria! Start with just a few pieces of fruit and then add more depending on your personal taste. Most of the time we stick with around 4 or 5 oranges for 2 smoothies and about 1 cup of strawberries.

    Strawberry Orange Smoothies

    What you need:


    Strawberries (frozen or fresh)

    Yogurt or Milk

    Honey or Sugar

    Juice those oranges!  This is quite simple to do in a $5 hand citrus juicer if you don’t have a big one. I use about 4 oranges for 2 smoothies, depending on how juicy they are. Add in frozen or fresh strawberries. If using fresh strawberries, make sure to add some ice. I add about 1 cup frozen strawberries for 2 smoothies. Add in yogurt or milk. Add more or less liquid depending on how thick you like your smoothies. Then add in a little honey, raw agave, stevia, or turbinado sugar. I add a little more if we are using greek yogurt and a little less when we are using European yogurt or raw milk. How much you add depends on your tastes. Let your blender do it’s job, and enjoy! I like to make extras and stick the whole cup in the freezer. Then when I want a smoothie I just grab one out of the freezer, let it thaw a bit, and eat! Be aware that frozen smoothies that are not in an airtight container may lose nutritional value the longer they are in there.

    Looking to make this smoothie a bit healthier? Add some spinach and chia or flax seeds for added nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are crucial for your body on a warm summer day.

    Photo credit: Little House Living






    Sensational Summer Savings on Sunscreen

    Summer is in full swing, and for most families that means trips to the beach, pool parties, barbeques and a plethora of other outdoor activities. With all of this extra time being spent outdoors and in the sun, it’s important to take note of the new sunscreen regulations that require protection against UVA rays associated with skin cancer.

    With this impending change to the way that sunscreens are labeled and with so many options on store shelves already, selecting the right sun protection can be a confusing endeavor. So, what does this mean for you and what exactly should you be looking for the next time you go to buy sunscreen? It’s important to look for a sun protection factor, or SPF of 15 or above that also says “broad spectrum,” which is the new buzzword meaning a product blocks both types of damaging rays.

    Sunscreen labels will no longer be able to state that they are waterproof or sweat proof because these claims have proven to be false. They will however, be able to claim that their product is “water-resistant” and must indicate the amount of time before they should be reapplied, either 40 or 80 minutes. These new rules are intended to remind us of the importance of re-applying sunscreen on a regular basis and giving us all of the information we need choose the right one.

    Below is a list of our picks for the Top 5 Sunscreens as well as a list of kid & baby safe sunscreens for this summer. To find these products as well as everything else you will need this summer, regardless of whether you’re hitting the beach or the tennis court, planning an open-road adventure or a backyard barbeque, visit our Summer page!

    Top 5 Sunscreens:

    1. No-Ad with Aloe & Vitamin E SPF 45
    2. Coppertone oil-free foaming spray, SPF 75+
    3. All Terrain Aqua Sport lotion, SPF 30
    4. Banana Boat clear ultra-mist sports performance active dry protect spray, SPF 30,
    5. Coppertone sport high performance ultra sweat-proof spray, SPF 30

    Top 5 Kid & Baby Safe Sunscreens

    1. California Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30+, No Fragrance
    2. Mustela High Protection Sun Lotion, Bebe/Infant SPF 50, SPF 50
    3. Blue Lizard Baby, Australian Suncream, SPF 30+
    4. BabyGanics Cover Up Baby Sunscreen for Face & Body SPF 50+, Fragrance Free
    5. Banana Boat Kids Tear Free Sunblock Lotion, SPF 50

    These are FSA/HAS compliant (as natural as possible with little chemicals to irritate baby/kid skin)

    Make sure to check out Drugstore.com for all of your sunscreen needs!  They are currently offering up to 20% off select summer skincare items and don’t forget to check out the ShopRunner members only deals for additional coupon codes to save you more at Drugstore.com and other ShopRunner partner stores!  Best of all, shop with confidence knowing that you will get FREE 2-Day Shipping with ShopRunner!


    Summer Entertaining | Host a Themed Party + 15% off and FREE 2-Day Shipping!

    Summer time BBQs, dinners, and gatherings can be fun and memorable especially when you add a bit of creativity to your party by selecting a theme.

    To get everyone’s creative juices flowing, guide your guests into participation by choosing a theme and ask that each person bring a food item that fits the theme. For example, if you were to choose a camping theme, ask one individual to bring Hot Dogs, another BBQ Beans, another person s’mores, and so on. With Evites or even Facebook Groups, it can be easy and clear to see what others are bringing (to prevent overlap).

    Decorating can be fun and simple, and it can also help to set the mood of the entire party! Use your guests as decorations by suggesting that they wear a certain color or even play the part of role of characters that fit your party theme.  A Caribbean night could have everyone dressed up in bright summer time clothing, for example.

    Also, try to overlap decorations and food. Select colorful food dishes and serving trays that blend well with whatever your party atmosphere might be.  Make a fun American Flag Cake using Blueberries, Strawberries and Whipped Crème. Create edible centerpieces. Ideas include a Pot of Dirt using Chocolate pudding, crushed Oreos and Gummy Worms or a Bowl of Fish using Blue JELL-O and Gummy Fish. If making a fun refreshing drink like Lemonade or a Sangria, use your extra fruit to make frozen fruit popsicles or perhaps a decorative floral arrangement outlining your glass flower vase with sliced lemons.

    Be sure to check out Celebrate Express for summer time theme ideas, decorations, and more. They have a wonderful Fourth of July section that would make for  a fun Red, White, and Blue July Theme. They are currently offering 15% off when you use coupon code: EVERYTHING15 at checkout (offer ends 7/1/12), and don’t forget that you will get FREE 2-Day Shipping with ShopRunner, which is just perfect for any last minute items that you might need to put the finishing touches on your themed party!

    Fire Up the Grill with Great Homemade BBQ Recipes + Get $25 off $200 at CHEFS

    Cola BBQ Sauce Recipe from FoodNetwork.comFire up the grill, it’s time to invite the neighbors over and welcome the season with an outdoor soiree!  Summertime means relaxed and carefree get-togethers coupled with sunny days and balmy nights, the perfect combination for laid-back meals outdoors.

    Whether you’re grilling on the deck, prepping for a pool party, or gathering friends for an outdoor dinner party, figuring out what recipes to mix and match to create the perfect menu can be a challenge. However, one staple for every All-American cookout that no serious griller should go without is a flavor- infusing, homemade BBQ sauce that can turn any chicken, pork or beef dish into a mouthwatering meal.

    Using a BBQ sauce when grilling infuses flavor into the meat, ensuring a delicious meal that will leave everyone wanting more. From cola to coffee and molasses to mustard, these recipes contain ingredients that you might already have stocked in your pantry or cabinets.

    For great grilling tools and accessories make sure you check out CHEFS  where you can save $25 OFF a $200 purchase at and get your order shipped fast with FREE 2-Day Shipping from ShopRunner.

    Here is one of several homemade BBQ recipes that can be found at Food Network and is a sure fire way to get people asking for the recipe.

    Cola Barbecue Sauce Recipe

    From: FoodNetwork.com
    view & print recipe


    • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a generous pinch for the garlic
    • 3 cups cola
    • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
    • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 slightly heaping tablespoon chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning
    • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, plus additional for seasoning
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice


    Smash the garlic cloves, sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt, and, with the flat side of a large knife, mash and smear mixture to a coarse paste.

    Stir garlic paste, the 1/4 teaspoon salt, cola, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire, chili powder, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, and allspice together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thickened, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, stir in the lime juice, and season with black pepper and hot sauce, to taste.



    Photo Credit: FoodNetwork


    Preparing for Summer Camp | Save Up to 40% Off Outdoor Gear at EMS

    With the dawn of June comes summer and outdoor activities including camping … specifically summer camps for kids!

    Sending a child away to camp can be nerve wracking (and scary!),  after all your kids depend on you for so much.

    When packing for camp, it is important to pack enough, yet to keep it minimal. Be sure to incorporate the items below into your child’s outdoor adventure:

    __ Sleeping Bag or Bedding
    __ Pillow
    __ Pajamas
    __ Jacket or Sweatshirt for Chilly Nights
    __ Rain Coat or Poncho
    __ Hiking Boots or Closed Toe Shoes with Good Soles
    __ Shower Shoes/Flip Flops
    __ Socks
    __ Wash Cloth
    __ Towels
    __ Toothbrush
    __ Toothpaste
    __ Shampoo – Travel sizes are always best
    __ Bar of Soap – This can be left behind
    __ Deodorant
    __ Laundry or Plastic Bag
    __ Hairbrush
    __ Hair Ties for Long Hair
    __ Small Back Pack for Hikes
    __ Undergarments
    __ Swim suit
    __ Fast Drying Clothing
    __ Flashlight and Extra Batteries
    __ Water Bottle
    __ Sunscreen
    __ Bug Repellent
    __ Hat
    __ Sunglasses
    __ Stationary/Journal
    __ Pen/Pencil
    __ Postage Stamps
    __ Camera (Disposable is Best)
    __ Deck of Cards

    And if you can, tuck in something sentimental, just to let your little camper know that you are thinking of them while they are gone. (keep in mind that things DO get lost at camp, so make sure it is replaceable if need be) – stuffed animal, picture from home, etc.

    It’s important to leave many items at home; candy, electronics, snacks (unless allowed by the camp), valuable items, and any other prohibited materials that typically would not be allowed in a school or classroom setting. If your child has allergies or perhaps needs a particular medication, be sure to label it appropriately and check with your summer camp how that medicine should be administered. It is always wise to copy your child’s medical insurance card. Your camp should ask for important phone numbers including your own, your child’s doctor, and who else to call in case of emergency.

    You might consider giving your child a trial run at camping by having a family campout in the back yard beforehand. This will give them an idea of what to expect, and only add to the memories that you create together while preparing for this new adventure in independence that your child is embarking on!

    For outdoor equipment and camping gear, make sure to check out Eastern Mountain Sports for all kinds of outdoor wear and gear that will enhance your summer camping adventures. As an added bonus, they are currently featuring a North Face closeout sale where you can get items up to 30% off!! Also make sure to check out their sale on camping equipment with items discounted 20-40% off!

    Best of all, you’ll get FREE 2-Day Shipping at ShopRunner partner stores so that you will have your camping essentials on hand when you need them!

    The biggest and most important thing to pack is a positive attitude….this will be learning and exciting experience your child will never forget!  Happy camping!


    Summer Styles No Matter Where You’re Headed

    Bright Hues, Solid Colors, and Bohemian Looks, and Bold Glasses are in this summer season! Here are four things to keep in mind when planning your summer fashion statements:

    When shopping for a swim suit, pay attention to your body shape. A simple Google search can tell you what is best for a pear, boy, or even rounded shape. Ruffles and designs are cute, but keep things to a minimum in order to distract from your most unflattering areas. Color block is in, so wearing solid colors allows for you to accessorize with your jewelry, shoes, or even a swimsuit cover-up.

    A cover-up can be as simple as a dress (that can also transition into casual dinner wear), a shirt, or even a skirt. Go for something that allows you to feel good about yourself, but isn’t too fancy. Your outer layer is often exposed to sand, water, and even sweat from a hot day.

    Bling SandalFinding the perfect shoe is a must. Staying with bright colors or metallic colors dresses up any outfit. If you are on the shorter side, a nice wedge brings lift and lengthens your legs. When staying by the pool, consider selecting a sandal or flipflop that is made out of waterproof material. A fresh pedicure is always stylish. Pair that with a sandal that has a little bling, and you will really sparkle by the pool!

    The right shoe, earrings, and bracelet can add a final touch to an outfit. Be sure to accessorize, accessorize, accessorize to bring forth your personality. Grab a fedora or sunhat for the ultimate statement. Add a nice pair of shades, a fun tote, and a bright nail color and you are all set to hit the pool and beach. For putting the finishing touches on all of your summer fashion statements, check out Lord & Taylor’s Summer Boutique. They have adorable brand name items to brighten up any outfit, and best of all, you’ll get FREE 2-Day Shipping with ShopRunner!

    Even better, right now you can take advantage of Lord & Taylor’s Friends and Family event which will save you an extra 25% off of almost everything (10% off cosmetics and fragrances) just use coupon code: FRIENDS at checkout. This sale runs through Tuesday, June 12th, 2012.


    Kick Off Summer with ShopRunner

    Summertime is for spending time with family and making life long memories! Whether you’re into backyard barbecues, back country camping, or taking your annual family vacation … ShopRunner has you covered!

    To get the very most out of your summer experience, make sure to visit our ShopRunner Summer Essentials page. We have chosen a great selection of summer essentials that will inspire you to get the very most out of your summer time adventures:

      • Entertaining: You will find party ideas, decorations, bar accessories and more to host a great summer party.
      • Summer Camp: Send the kids to camp knowing they have all of the essentials from sandals to sunscreen, and everything in between!
      • Travel Plans: Travel in style (and with confidence) with our helpful travel tips and tricks!
      • Summer Apparel: Stylish summer wear from head to toe!
      • Outdoor Activities: For fun in the sun, we’ve got your outdoor needs covered!
      • By the Pool: If your summer includes a lot of poolside activity, you will want to make sure to check out our poolside essentials.

    Best of all, you’ll get FREE 2-Day Shipping at ShopRunner partner stores so that you will have your summer essentials on hand when you need them!



    Glow Out and Have Fun This Summer

    With the arrival of summer comes beach parties, trips to the lake and all kinds of “fun in the sun” activities.  With the risk of sun damage looming, sunscreen is now a must. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t show up glowing like you just left the islands!  There are so many self tanning options on the market right now, including everything from creams to spray-on tans that you can apply right in the comfort of your own home!

    *Hot Tip: To give extended life to your golden glow, make sure to exfoliate first!

    Try this Lancaster Self Tan now available for $27.00 at Beauty.com and you will also get FREE 2-Day Shipping with ShopRunner!


    Keep Kids Reading During Summer Months!

    Here’s a fun idea for keeping kids excited about reading during the summer months. Use play money to reward kids for good behavior and once they save up enough “money” allow them to go online and purchase a book. Toys R Us has a great selection of books and most ship with FREE 2-Day Shipping from ShopRunner. This time frame is great for kids and you will only have to hear “when will it get here!?” for 2 days … plus it teaches them a great lesson about earning and spending. And of course the best reward of all is getting to read with your child!