A summer faves roundup- and a giveaway!

Disclosure: These companies and products are better than the last hour of the last day of school. Although I’ve been compensated, all thoughts, opinions, and dreams of endless summer are entirely my own. 


Okay- the days are blissfully warm, bedtimes are nonexistent, and the kids are finally out of school. Happy summer! Ready to hear about my new favorite goodies? (I knew you would be.)



I’ve gotten into the really, really good habit lately of printing, framing, and displaying my favorite family photos. (Why did I think it would be so hard to do?) And I’m always looking for wonderful companies to utilize- and promote!- in my photo-happy endeavors.

Guys, one of the best of the artistic bests has got to be Plywerk; eco-friendly wood prints made in an eco-friendly facility. I love these people. Their facility runs on 100% solar power. Every last scrap of their wood is recycled or upcycled. And all usable wood? It’s donated to Habitat for Humanity.

Oh, and about the product? They’re awesome. Mine were the 3/4in Russian Birch Matte and the 3/4in Bamboo- the image is crisp, the grains are beautiful, and the overall effect of each is exceptionally cool. Want to see more options for these gorgeous wood photo prints? (I hear tell that the Black Walnut is something mighty, mighty cool, too!)

Maybe it’ll- I don’t know- inspire you to actually do something marvelous with those family photos, while the family still lives under one roof? (I’ve seen the light, you guys.)


Color Kitchen


I love cooking. I love creating, playing, and [what can loosely be called] baking. That said, I’ve got a pretty severe gluten sensitivity, hate all sorts of added dyes, and have been on a major “throw out everything junky” bender this year. SO. I was pretty thrilled to try out Color Kitchen’s line of decorative food coloring, which- get this- are free from artificial dyes, gluten, gmos, and anything else you don’t really want in your cupcakes. (Cupcakes are enough, people.)

More to love? The accompanying boxes are 100% recyclable, the dyes are vegan and, in fact, they’re veggie-based. But, you ask, do they work?

Yep! I decided to try a spin on those neon-colored ice pops my kids crave all summer long; we made ’em boldly blue, vibrant purple, and the most magenta pink you ever did eat. (Guys! Spirulina and beet extracts! Brilliant!) All it took were a few shakes of the pale, pastel powders, a tiny bit of water and- shh– apple juice. The finished product looked more pop art than popsicle, and I had three sticky, happy campers with smiles as bright as summer sunshine. (Pro tip: this marvy company makes sprinkles, too!)


Toca Lab: Plants


I am so, totally, completely in love with interactive, open-ended play, and my very favorite kiddo apps utilize those concepts; hilarious content, adorable characters, and sneakily educational content are pretty spiffy as well. So Toca Boca gets shiny gold stars in my book. (FYI, their sister studio is Sago Mini, my other tech crush.) They create thoughtful, joyful apps that both parents and kids alike adore- and have equal fun messing around with.

Their latest adventure is Toca Lab: Plants, which is a botanical laboratory with seemingly endless creative possibilities. Kids get to use lab equipment in five different stations to play with 35 plant characters- and see what the heck happens. (As always, there are no in-app purchases or targeted ads. Isn’t that ridiculously refreshing?)

Geared for ages 5+, Susannah was absolutely enamored of the “baby plants” and how she could buddy them up in larger pots. (Future design guru, right there.) And Nora? Can “scientific squeals” be a thing? If so, that’s what she had. (Future ecstatic botanist, right there.)




It’s no secret that I’m not the most- ahem- sportingest parent around. (And so it’s also no secret that my kids need all the help they can get.) And oohwhee, do we love this new SCRAAAM Coaster GT balance bike for little mister J. It’s the perfect- and much needed- step between trikes and bikes, and helps with coordination, confidence and, well, balance. It has two interchangeable seats (the beginner one has a handle!) and can be adjusted from 11.5in up to 20in. Bonus: The sturdy aluminum frame is so lightweight that Jasper can lift the thing above his own head.

Not that I want him to go around doing that, but still.

It comes in two shiny colors– blue and pink- and boasts zero maintenance tires. The decal sets are pretty cool too, says the kid who chose the cosmo stars to pimp his ride.

How much do we love the SCRAAAM Coaster GT? Enough to give one to you, pal.

Enter the Rafflecopter below and good luck!

(p.s. Even if you don’t win, here’s how much the team at SCRAAAM digs you, too: use code SUMMER50 for 50% off the Coaster GT balance bikes, for use only between July 16th-31st!)


Happy riding, growing, creating, and showcasing, friends!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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