I recently invested in a new hammock for myself!  I was also selected to be a Brand Ambassador for Madera.  I really love what this brand stands for.  For every hammock purchased they plant two trees in several countries in Africa.

WHERE ARE TREES PLANTED? Our Partner; Trees for the future not only plants trees, they teach local farmers about nitrogen fixation and sustainable farming. Trees are planted in many locations in Sub-Saharan Africa, including  Uganda, Ethopia, Southern Africa, etc.

I bought the Ocean model because what could be better than sitting in a hammock on the beach!

Ocean Madera Hammock

Ocean Madera Hammock – Hammocks Need Trees

Here is a little video I shot of me doing an “unboxing” of my hammock as well as a time-lapse video of me setting up the hammock all by myself!  I was very excited that it was so easy, even a girl could do it!

Check out Madera Outdoor! 

Have you tried a Madera Hammock before?  If so, which one is your favorite?

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, visit my resources page.


As a mom of four, I can tell you that sand at the beach is a never ending problem.  I’ve tried all sorts of tips and tricks from around the web.

Like that one time, I left a gallon of water in my car so we could wash off our feet before we got back in the car…except, in the Florida heat, that gallon of water was pretty much-boiling water.

Or the other times, I’ve tried baby powder and used the whole bottle to try to wipe down all 12 legs.  In that moment I was not a super mom!  Just ask my kids.

But on the beach is another story…the fitted sheets, the individual towels, the “stay away from me you sandy kid”, or the “this is mommy’s blanket, don’t step one foot on it”.  Which magically turns into, “but I want you to hold me”.  Which magically turns into a futile battle with sand at the beach.

I grew up in Florida, lived there for 30+ years, went to the beach all the time.  I can only imagine the money I would have if I had invented this amazing “Sand Proof Beach Mat”.

Have you tried one before?  Do you love it?


sand free beach mat




Customers can now Save 20% Off 5 Brands of Fishing Lures and Earn a Free Key Ring on orders $49+! Plus Free Shipping on orders $99+ at!

You can also qualify for an additional 3% back if you shop through Ebates.

Fishing Jigs on sale

Save 20% Off Blue Fox Spoons, Luhr-Jensen Hard Baits, Terminator Jigs, VMC Rigs & Rig Kits, and Williamson Accessories at! Free Shipping on orders $99+. Offer ends 7/30!


Every hiker knows the benefits of trekking poles.  My husband uses his whenever he is hiking the AT.  Last summer, I broke my ankle and even after it healed I needed the extra support the trekking poles offered for a few of our hikes.  There are too many great hikes nearby to wait!

Hiker Hunger is a small family company.  Their trekking poles are 7.6 ounces each, have cork grips, and EVA foam extensions, accessories and a carrying bag to store it all! They are priced at $69.99, plus if you sign up for their newsletter you get a 10% off coupon. And orders over $100 get Free Shipping!

What are your favorite trekking poles?


This post contains affiliate links. For more information, visit my disclosure page.

Amazon Prime Day is here.  You’ll find a list of great deals available, but remember, supplies are limited.  If all the quantities are claimed, add yourself to the waitlist.  You might just get lucky!

Booms Fishing Pliers –  $11.00+  Stainless Steel Multi Tool

Hammock for Camping – $39.95+

CamelBak Podium Chill Insulated Water Bottle – $9.70+

Thunderfit Silicone Rings for Men – $5.00+ My husband and my Brother in Law wear these all the time, especially when they are working out.

Ultra Lightweight Backpacking Chair – $27.19 – My husband takes this chair in his backpack, it’s super lightweight and folds up small so it doesn’t take up much room in his backpack. PS. Don’t tell him, but I use it when I garden…

Etekcity 4 Pack Portable Outdoor LED Camping Lantern – $19.99
Comes with 12 AA Batteries. Collapsible. Available in Black.

Camping Pillow / Inflatable Air Pillow – $18.95  Normally – $35.00
20in x 12in, 10.5oz, Self Inflating, Compressible– Best for Outdoor Trips, Backpacking, Hiking, Beach, Travel, Motorcycle, Car.

OutdoorMaster OTG Ski Goggles – $12.79+ Over Glasses Ski / Snowboard Goggles for Men, Women & Youth – 100% UV Protection

ZSHOW Women’s Lightweight Packable Down Jacket Outwear Puffer Down Coats – $31.00+


I don’t know how long paddle boarding has been cool, but for years I’d drive by the lake and see people standing on surf boards and paddling along.  A few years ago, our family took the plunge and bought 3 paddle boards.  We are a family of 6.  So each parent had a small child on our boards and our older two girls shared a board.  We bought our boards at a local racing/surf shop (shout out to Hard Racing Performance and Hard Core Sports in North Carolina).  We choose the Bic Sports Paddle Boards. Bic Sports offers different lengths and weights.

Top 9 tips for the beginning paddle boarder (with kids)!  

Tips for the beginner paddle boarder

Tips for the beginner paddle boarder


#1. My top tip is to get a board you can carry. We ended up paying a little extra for my paddle board so that I could carry it. We don’t live on the lake so we have to carry our boards from wherever we decide to go and being able to help carry one of the three boards is a big deal.

#2.  We put on and remove our fins each time we use our boards, so we keep the special key on our set of keys for our family car so we don’t lose our car keys or our fin key.

#3 Invest in the roof rack covers and ways to store your paddle boards. We did this because we have to stack our three boards on our roof rack and didn’t want them to get scratched up and we use these and these to store our boards.  We have been very happy with each of these items.  It helps to be able to store these vertically in our garage to save space.

#4 Buy a waterproof container for our cell phones and keys, one that will float. We did this after our first outing when we were out in the middle of the lake and wanted to take pictures, we also didn’t want to leave our cell phones and keys just sitting with our stuff on shore.

#5 Get life vests that won’t irritate your kids’ arms.  When we first started paddle boarding, we bought the cheaper life vests, you know the bright orange ones on every boat, everywhere.  Be sure to check your states boating laws.  In our state (North Carolina), children 13 and younger have to wear a life vest at all times.  We still make our older children wear them just as an extra precaution.  For my husband and I, we aren’t required to wear a life vest but you must have one on your vessel (aka paddle board).  So we bought really nice life vests for the kids and the cheap orange ones for the adults.  We just sit them on the front of our boards.

#6 Bring snacks.  Not on your paddle board but on your outing.  If there is anything I have learned in my 14 years of parenting is, if you are going to be gone for a few hours you need to bring snacks for the kids.

#7 If you are able to, bring chairs and/or hammocks to take a break in!  We bought two hammocks from Sam’s Club a few years back and pretty much take these everywhere we go. We also hang them up in the back yard to read or just enjoy a cool breeze.  Arctic Monsoon has some great nylon hammocks just like the ones we have. You can also read my post about my favorite hammock here.

#8 Wear sunscreen!  See my post about my favorite sunscreen.

#9 Be prepared to make memories.  I often tell people that kids don’t need fancy vacation location.  In fact, if I were to ask my kids about their favorite vacation there #1 memory would be a time we were camping and such and such happened.  Kids don’t care, they just want to be together.  One of our camping trips we picked a campground on a lake and loaded up our pop-up camper and our paddle boards.  We had a site right on a cove. The kids were pretending all kinds of fun things, all day long.

Get out there and make some memories!

What are your favorite tips or hacks for when you go paddle boarding?



Pinterest - 3 great sunscreen brands


It is officially summer!  Yay!

I’m sure you’ve read a bazillion articles about sunscreen and how they are terrible for you and your precious babies.  Let me be honest…spraying sunscreen on my 7-year-old son is way easier than lathering him up every day before he hits the pool, but…that stuff is terrible.  Don’t believe me? Check out the Environmental Working Group’s website.  I love this site because it rates a ton of brands of products on a scale of 1 – 10, one being the best for you and 10 being the absolute worst, cancer-causing, you’re going to die soon, run away very quickly.

While I love this website, as a mom it is pretty much impossible to protect our babies (no matter how big or small) from all the chemicals and carcinogens in products currently being produced.  So, I recommend you make the best choice you are able and rest in the fact that you are doing a great job protecting your babies.  I mean, it’s not like you let them swim at the pool without you.

1. Badger Balm – Their sunscreens rate a 1 on the EWG’s website. But I love it because my kids love it.  While other sunscreens sting their faces once they hit the water or rub their eyes, these do not.  Prices range from $10-$15 for a 2.9 fl.oz tube.

2. Raw Elements – Their sunscreens also rate a 1 on the EWG’s website.  They’ll run you about $18 for a 3.0 fl/oz tube.

3. Coola – They have spray sunscreens, which I have not tried and they don’t look like they have been rated by EWG yet.  But I have tried their SPF 50 Mango Sport Sunscreen if you love the smells of vacation and the beach you’ll love this product!  EWG has rated 3 of their products between a 1-2.

These sunscreen products below are all on the “Best of” on the EWG website!

HAMPTON SUN Hampton Sun Broad Spectrum SPF 45 for Baby • Hampton Sun • $28

TruKid Sunny Days Daily Sunscreen Lotion – SPF30 – 3.5oz • TruKid • $17.49

Kids Natural Continuous Spray Sunscreen by Goddess Garden (6oz Spray) • $21.99

thinksport Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen Lotion- SPF 50+ – 6oz • $23.99

COOLA Suncare COOLA(R) Suncare ‘Citrus Mimosa’ Sport Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 • Coola • $36

All Good Sport Sunscreen Lotion Water Resistant – SPF 30 – 3oz • $14.99

Kidsport SPF30 by All Terrain (3oz Sun Block) • All Terrain • $12.99

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, Face, SPF 30+ • $18.99

Badger SPF 30 Baby Sunscreen Cream • Badger • $15.99

California Baby Everyday Year-Round Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Plus Sunscreen • California Baby • $19.57

Kiss My Face Baby’s Mineral Pampering Lotion SPF 50 • Kiss My Face • $13.99

Hampton Sun SPF 35 Continuous Mist Sunscreen • Hampton Sun • $32

Hampton Sun SPF 55 Continuous Mist Sunscreen • Hampton Sun • $32

Hampton Sun SPF 45 Sunscreen Lotion for Baby • Hampton Sun • $28

Goddess Garden Sunny Kid’s Natural Sunscreen Spray SPF 30 • $14.99

TruKid Sunny Days Sport Sunscreen Lotion – SPF30 – 3.5oz • TruKid • $18.99

TruKid Eczema Sunscreen Lotion – SPF30 – 3.4oz • TruKid • $19.99

Kids Sport Natural Spray Sunscreen by Goddess Garden (6oz Spray) • $21.99

Thinksport Safe Sunscreen Lotion- SPF 50+ – 6oz • $23.99

Thinksport Safe EveryDay Face Sunscreen Lotion – SPF 30+ – 2oz • $12.99

Thinkbaby Thinksport Kids 3 fl. oz. Safe Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+ • Thinkbaby • $9.99

Thinksport thinksport Sunscreen SPF 50+ • $16.18

Coola Mineral Sunscreen, Cucumber Matte Finish • Coola • $36

COOLA Suncare COOLA(R) Suncare Sport Sunscreen Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 30 • Coola • $20–36

COOLA Suncare COOLA(R) Suncare Body Classic Sunscreen SPF 30 • Coola • $32

COOLA Eco-Lux Body SPF 30 Pina Colada Sunscreen Spray • Coola • $36

COOLA Eco-Lux Body SPF 50 Unscented Sunscreen Spray • Coola • $36

All Good Sport Sunscreen Butter Stick Water Resistant – SPF 50+ – 2oz • $13.99

All Good Unscented Sunstick – SPF 30 – 0.6oz • $7.99

All Good Sport Sunscreen Spray Water Resistant – SPF30 – 6oz • $16.99

All Good Zinc Sunscreen Butter – SPF 50+ – 1oz • $9.99

Terra Sport SPF30 Spray by All Terrain (3oz Sun Block) • All Terrain • $15.99

Kid Sport SPF30 Spray by All Terrain (3oz Sun Block) • All Terrain • $15.99

Blue Lizard Baby, Australian Sunscreen, SPF 30+ • $18.99

Blue Lizard Australian SPF 30+ Active Sunscreen • Sold Out

Badger Sport Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Face Stick – SPF 35 – .65oz • Badger • $8.99

SPF 25 Face Sunscreen- Damascus Rose by Badger (1.6oz Sunscreen) • Badger • $19.99

Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream, SPF 30 – 2.9oz • Badger • $12.99

Badger® 2.9 fl. oz. Balm SPF 30 Kids Sunscreen Cream in Tangerine Vanilla • Badger • $14.99

Badger 2.9 fl. oz. Balm SPF 30 Kids Sunscreen Cream in Tangerine Vanilla • Badger • $14.99

California Baby Super Sensitive Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Plus Sunscreen Stick – Fragrance Free • California Baby • $14.13

California Baby Super Sensitive Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Plus Sunscreen – Fragrance Free • California Baby • $18.42

California Baby Super Sensitive Broad Spectrum SPF 30Plus Sunscreen – Fragrance Free • California Baby • $39.99

Kiss My Face Continuous Spray Sunscreen Cool Sport SPF 50 Coconut • Kiss My Face • $14.59

Kiss My Face Continuous Spray Sunscreen Bare Naked Body Mist SPF 30 • Kiss My Face • $13.79

Kiss My Face Sensitive Side 3in1 Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30 • Kiss My Face • $11.19


A Falcon Guide - Hiking Waterfalls in North Carolina

A Falcon Guide – Hiking Waterfalls in North Carolina

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, visit my resources page.

Our family loves to hike!  When we lived in Central Florida it was hot (the hot only a Floridian understands) and our children were tiny so we didn’t do much hiking.  But once we moved to Arizona, we were hiking all the time.  The real fun came when we moved to North Carolina.  Did ya’ll know there are waterfalls all over?

Well, I didn’t until I came across this lovely book – “Hiking Waterfalls in North Carolina: A Guide To The State’s Best Waterfall Hikes“.  I have found the directions and tips to be accurate.  For instance, shortly before we moved to North Carolina, I had surgery, so as much as I wanted to hike with my family I just couldn’t put in all the energy some of the hikes took, but this book made it so easy telling us which was the shorter route and which was the long way.  Or which one is a casual stroll until you get to the 300+ blasted steps you have to take to get to the top of the waterfall.  That was one that I said, “I’ll have to see that another time” because my body just wasn’t ready for it!

Well, my favorite hiking books have recommendations for hikes all over the country!
So grab the book to your state and start crossing off all the hikes you can accomplish.

Oh, and one more thing, is there anything more wonderful than a child playing in shallow waters of a cool waterfall stream, climbing on the rocks and catching little critters?

Comment below with your favorite travel guides!