Kid Co Peapod Plus P4010 - Camping, Travel, & Home Use [review]

Early on in our parenting adventure, we purchased a "screen pop up pup tent." It was about $25 from an online seller and was gently used. It looked like an army surplus tent for a tiny tiny General's poodle. We thought it would be perfect for our then only eight month old son. We were wrong.

Though the entire tent was mesh and he had a view he loathed being put into it. It was mostly for bug protection. We live in the land of plenty when it comes to insects and the child was blessed with mom's sensitivity to light and insects.


The entire thing was a parenting fail. Now, about two years later, we decided the KidCo Pea Pod Plus P4010 looked really awesome. Nothing is easier to set up. And this time? He loves it. We send it in the RV or hotel for fun when he goes with Granny & Papa. We bring it to hotels too. We set it up in the house sometimes just for a break from inclement weather. It's a ready-made fort for him. It's a great place to put him when we're camping for a nap or just to have a 'play tent' out of the bugs (mostly) and out of the sun and most importantly, out of the way (mostly from dangers like the campfire or cooking area or waters edge.)



Pros:


Really easy set-up and take down
Totally packable -- taking up about the amount of room a bag of chips does!
Sturdy construction yet comfortable enough for sleep
Keeps insects at bay!
Shady spot for outdoor sunny nap needs
Zippered pockets and zippered mesh front for easy access and viewing



Cons:


The cost is from $99 - $109, which is totally worth it for us for how much our son LOVES it and how convenient it is but for some families that might be prohibitive. 

Fair warning; don't allow liquids and snacks in the tent. Mesh is hard to clean and the last thing you want in your safe haven is ants or wasps!

In the End?


We went on a crazy month-long road trip and we took this gem along--it was the best small cubic volume that was occupied in the whole van (next to the coffee supplies!) There are various online resources where you can buy the newer KidCo Peapod Plus P4010 just like the one we tried out! Make sure to find Kid Co on Facebook and Twitter too!

*Disclosure* We received a complimentary KidCo Peapod Plus for this article. We were compensated in no other way. All opinions are our own.*

Flipping for Fall! The event starts soon!

Well, it's that time. I have no idea how summer flew away so fast, but it's almost gone. And with that comes the exciting news -- we've closed on a house! What next? Well, the prior owners were NOT contractors, to say the least. 

So, we're FLIPPING FOR FALL this year as we renovate, redecorate, and create from a house, our new home!



For the next eight weeks, we'll be sharing DIYs, tips, tricks, reviews of great home improvement brands and items, and so much random fall flippin' fun!

We hope you'll join us and keep us in your thoughts -- they sometimes say a marriage can withstand anything BUT home improvements! Let's hope they're wrong! 

We're actually really excited to 'feather the nest' if you will...with winter around the corner we are hoping to be all settled by November. 


Identiflyer Lyric - making birding for kids fun!

The Identiflyer is something I've encountered in my quest to find kids birding equipment. This is perhaps my best lead thus far on boning up on my own birding skills but also a great way to teach kids to bird by ear and sight. Here is what I'm talking about for those of you that haven't heard about it yet:

It's basically a handheld device that emits the songs of common birds for beginning birders or those that just need to keep their ear and eye keen to the distinguishing notes and marking of backyard birds. There are cards that correspond with buttons on the edges of the machine and tell you what the name, physical appearance and song of a particular bird is. The Lyric is special and handy because it uses mnemonics as well as song -- this technique is used by birders and even birding professionals in ornithology labs and classes to memorize "sayings" with words to help to remember the bird song. For instance: "Poor Tom Peabody...Peabody...Peabody!" is a mnemonic device used to remember the song of the White-throated Sparrow.


What I love about this little device is that it is multi-functional -- compared to a field guide which takes up slightly more room and weighs a bit more as well and does not play sounds. It fits in your pocket and can be a quick reference as to what you might have just seen or heard. We still bring our field guide for slightly larger pictures and longer descriptions, but the combination is unmatched! In my experience birding with kids is hard enough so when you DO hear something or see something, it's nice to identify it quickly so that you can give kids confidence and a tangible result of their hard work sitting still and being quiet!

The product can have several other cards to make your birding experiences more diverse and expand along with your knowledge! Don't forget to bring your binoculars as you would on any other birding expedition! 

You can purchase your own Lyric for about $39.95 from the website -- make sure you select the right cards if you're going with the newer Lyric since it uses newer technology and is not compatible with older classic cards. Don't forget to Like For The Birds / BirdSong Identiflyer on Facebook for all the latest in birding gear, technology and fun!


Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary Identiflyer Lyric to try out with my pre-K aged son for the purposes of this review. The product was rated as if we had purchased it. I was not compensated in any other way. 

Picnics with #Stonyfield #Yogetters: Healthy, Easy, and Fun

If you have a toddler or preschool-aged child, you're likely to go through the 'picnic' stage. My son is three and a half years old and he LOVES having a picnic. This can be as simple as eating an apple outside. Really. He just loves food + outdoors.

This SUPER old-school book is the one he adores! Your library should have a version!



So, in an attempt to be a 'better mom' and more creative (Pinterest be damned, I don't have time for you!) I grabbed out Teddy Bear Picnic book. I stocked up on Stonyfield Kids Strawberry pouches. I made us PBJ sandos and grabbed the water bottles. We even had some special (albeit expensive) Ranier cherries -- they only have about a two week window in our stores here in the northland, so my son was excited to see 'yellow cherries.'



We didn't do anything real intricate (obviously) but it delighted my son to no end. He requests picnics almost daily now, but we try to have at least one each week.

What to pack for YOUR picnic:

1) a towel or blanket - not always NEEDED but it really sets the stage!
2) Stonyfield Yogurt! We prefer pouches because they're mess-free. But you could also make sandwich spreads and sides or a fun dessert.
3) Something fun like a book, song or game to solidify the picnic as a memory!

Disclosure: This post was part of a collaboration in my Stonyfield Yogetters membership. The complimentary product did not sway my opinion or my honest words of wisdom...haha! Thanks!

First Things First - Bringing Back the Date Night

First Things First (FTF) is a really great non-profit that I've recently come across and am really interested in. You see, it's crazy to me that it's already August. Yes, we took a MONTH for a family vacation to Alaska, but spending July in AK was surreal. It sort of felt like we should be able to come home in August and get a do-over for July here in the Midwest with the bugs and humidity and festivals and fairs. That was not the case. So summer is almost over. Now more than ever is a time of year when I want to maximize my time with my family and make it meaningful.



For us, family time (with our kiddo) is easy. It's built in every day. The hard part?

Making time for our marriage.

It's something we've struggled with since the onset of parenthood which actually came a few months before our wedding -- but still -- we're not great at date night and that's going to change before our family expands!

One thing that I remember (vaguely) was how much FUN our dating life was. True, we were younger. We were able to imbibe more. We didn't have a dependent or a mortgage or (for me) even a steady career. Fun and fancy free. FTF has reminded me I need to DATE my spouse. This was a MINI e-course that First Things First has (there are many) and it was only about a minute and a half. Easy-peasy!



If all it takes to help me remember to put the romance back into marriage is short videos -- even one a day -- I'm game! Every little bit helps and these videos can be viewed during a break or lunch! So enough with my excuses. I watched the video and thought back to a concert in 2010 that was great -- Jack Johnson. Summer on a blanket enjoying brews on the lawn and listening to great tunes together. So, I went online, and found a Mason Jennings concert nearby! (He actually opened for that show in 2010, so it seemed fitting!) Date night, here we come!

Is date night still 'a thing' in YOUR marriage? Tell me what you do to keep the romance alive and date your spouse in a comment on THIS POST for your chance to win a "Moon Pie Prize Pack!" 

Disclosure: This post is part of a partnership and though this was an honest article, I did receive compensation in some form for working on this compilation. 
 

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