Monday, July 16, 2018

Keep Your Air Clean With Clear Air Club's Subscription Service

As a stay-at-home-mom, I find myself cleaning my house on a regular basis.  With a small child and a dog, my floors and carpets always need to be vacuumed and washed.  I also try to keep everything dust free too, which isn't always an easy task.  With as much as I do for my home, one thing that I can't physically clean is the air.  It's important that your home's air always be safe, clear, and clean with unwanted articles filtered out.

Clear Air Club is an air filter subscription box company, created to help people remember to to change their furnace and air conditioning filters on time.  The process is simple.  You select the numbers of HVAC units you have, and the filter quality you prefer along with the filter size.  Then, you choose the filter delivery schedule based upon what works for you.  The time frame is a delivery every 1, 2, or 3 months.  You and your family will be able to have clean and clear air all the time!

There are different quality air filters to fit everyone's needs.  

Merv 8 is ideal for low traffic, low allergen homes.  It provides adequate filtration at a budget-friendly price point.  

Merv 11- is ideal for medium to high traffic homes.  You'll notice the superior filtration to greatly reduce allergens in the air caused by pets and dust.  This choice is ideal for mild allergy sufferers.  

Merv 13- is Clear Air Club's most advanced filter.  It's perfect for homes with a lot of foot traffic, more than one pet, and people who suffer from bad allergies.  It would also be good choice for homes with smokers as well as pets. 

Merv (or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) is the standard by which air filters are rated, the higher the Merv reading the finer the filtration. All of the home air filters provided by Clear Air Club for their customers are of the highest quality. 

Realistically, you're supposed to change your air filter every 30-90 days, but most people don't do that.  I know my husband forgets and so do I.  We're constantly busy and on-the-go with work, a child, and everything else we have going on day-to-day.  It is important to be better at remembering to change the air filter, and that's why having a scheduled delivery of an air filter is a perfect solution!

It's very important to change your air filter regularly to protect indoor air quality, prevent equipment breakdown, and save on energy costs.  The convenience of having your air filter show up is more cheaper and more convenient than going to Home Depot or Lowe's.

When you join the Clear Air Club and have a scheduled delivery arrive at your door, you know it's time to change the old filter to a new one.  No more hoping you remember to do so, or writing yourself a note that you'll forget.  Let Clear Air Club do the remembering for you.

It's very simple to change your delivery schedule or cancel your plan.  There are no contracts, so if you move or go out of town you can easily cancel or reschedule to fit your needs.  A subscription makes the perfect (and very useful!) housewarming present for a new home owner.

It's time to enjoy your free time and your family more without worrying if you changed that pesky air filter.  Sit back and relax while you allow Clear Air Club to make sure your air is top notch quality.

*DISCLOSURE* This is a sponsored post on behalf of Clear Air Club.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 

*Clear Air Club is currently running a promotion right now where you're able to get your first air filter for free! Please use promo code "ILOVECLEARAIR" at checkout.*

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Bring The Whole Family to South Florida's Science Center and Aquarium

In my opinion, you're never too old to learn something new.  Now that I have a child, I make it a priority to teach her about life and everything involved in it.  In the course of our teachings, I frequently will learn or read something I didn't previously know.  It's essential to challenge your brain and keep it fresh and active.

South Florida's Science Center and Aquarium is a wonderful place to bring the whole family for a day of fun in West Palm Beach.  There's truly something to see for every age range! Take an entertaining and educational journey through the latest discoveries in science and technology.  The center features more than 100 interactive exhibits, an immersive fresh and saltwater aquarium, full-dome, digital planetarium, new Florida conservation-themed mini golf course, and much more.  It's surely a mind-opening experience for all! There's a calendar of monthly events for visitors as well as the option to have a child's birthday party there.

Jay, Scarlett, and I visit my parents in South Florida for a month twice a year.  We're always on the lookout for new places to see and things to do.  When I came across the science center, I knew it would be an ideal place to go for a day trip.  An added bonus is that it's indoors which gives us a break from the intense summer sun!

From the moment you walk into the science center, you're met with a dark, cool, and relaxing room filled with fish.  The fish swimming around are brightly colored, very unique and unlike any I've previously seen.  My mom enjoyed the fish that had a leopard print look to it.  There are plenty of placards displaying facts about the fish, which is perfect for young and inquiring minds.  Since we went as soon as they were open, it was not that crowded and we had the science center to ourselves for about 30 minutes.

The next room we visited contained a special limited time lego display.  As soon as Scarlett walked into the room, she said wow! It was truly a lego paradise for children.  Everything in the room was made out of lego, or lego themed.  You could sit in a car made out of lego's, build a tower with gigantic lego's, and even see boats and airplanes made out of lego's.  It was truly a sight to see! We spent a lot of time in this room before moving on.

The final room was the largest and my personal favorite.  This room contained a variety of hands-on science exhibits for children, and even I loved it.  Children could go into a special capsule that demonstrates hurricane force winds that are 78 miles an hour.  You could literally be blown away! I went in with Scarlett and I can't imagine being outdoors with wind at that level!

I would say that most of the exhibits were geared towards young children, which is perfect since I was with my 3.5 year old.  Everything was in certain sections of the room, so one section was space, one section was weather, etc., one even dealt with matter and viewing things through microscopes.  You could check out a spaceman in a space suit and see moon rocks and then turn the corner and solve some science puzzles.  There was certainly something to interest every child.  Scarlett enjoyed the pinscreen where you could put your hand or body in to make shapes, and seeing butterfly wings under a microscope.  It was wonderful to see all of the children learning while having fun and asking questions.

When your child wants a break from the exhibits, they can have some outdoor fun on the covered playground.  Scarlett enjoyed getting some energy out while climbing and going down the slides.  There's an on-site cafe that offers food and drink options during certain hours of the day when you want to stop and recharge.  There was also a room for younger children to play in, but it was closed off on our visit.

On your way out, be sure to visit the gift shop where you can purchase freeze-dried ice cream, science themed books, and of course various beautiful rocks.  Your little one will certainly find something that they'll like.

If you're looking for a morning or afternoon of good family fun, it's time to take the family to South Florida's Science Center and Aquarium.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to South Florida Science Center and Aquarium for providing admission to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own.  

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Flamingo Gardens Offers Fun For the Whole Family!

The summer is a magical time of year.  It's a chance to build memories and explore places you haven't been before.  Some enjoy countless beach or pool days during the warmer months of the year, while others enjoy diving into educational experiences.  However you choose to spend your summer, make sure you pack a ton in!

Flamingo Gardens is a botanical garden and Everglades wildlife sanctuary with rare plants and native animals located in Davie, FL.  The Wray Museum is also on-site which which built in 1933 by Floyd L and Jane Wray as a weekend residence and is the oldest residence in Broward County.  It has been restored to provide visitors to Flamingo Gardens a glimpse of life in South Florida in the 1930s. Visitors will also enjoy the butterfly and hummingbird gardens, childrens garden, various flower gardens, as well as the tropical forest and wetlands area.  There's something beautiful to see wherever you look.  Make sure you bring your camera.

My husband Jay and I went with Scarlett for an exciting Saturday outing.  None of us had been previously, but we've heard great things and knew we wanted to see it for ourselves.

From the minute you walk into Flamingo Gardens, you're met with beautiful lush greens, flowers, and wildlife.  The grounds are immaculately maintained and wonderful.  If you're worried about being in the intense Florida summer sun, do not worry since there is plenty of shade. I've honestly not been in a place as magical as Flamingo Gardens!

We took a 25 minute tram ride that gave you a narrated tour of the entire establishment. The grounds are massive and filled with so many various parts of nature.  I thought the tour guide was extremely knowledgable and provided in-depth information about the animals, plants, trees, and more.  I learned a lot and it's a great opportunity to be up close with wildlife with your family!

On the grounds itself, there's plenty of peacocks walking around as well as various birds. When they display all of their feathers, it's a gorgeous sight! The colors are stunning and you can't help but want to take the peacock's picture.   Scarlett loved seeing all of the animals and was so excited and wanted to say hi to every peacock and flamingo she saw.  This is definitely a fantastic place to take children.

There are signs directing you to everything you'd like to see and I felt that Flamingo Gardens was easily navigated with minimal help.  I can see why people get married there because it's truly a unique spot.  Honestly, there's something to see everywhere you look. Whether a peacock is walking behind you, or butterflies are flying near you, make sure you stop to take everything in!

We enjoyed an animal encounter show in the amphitheater where an owl was the star of the show.  The guide explained facts about the owl such as how their wings are designed to muffle out sound when they fly so they can catch their prey, and how they are nocturnal.

Beyond the flamingos there are sea otters, a turtle, and even a black bear to see! I enjoyed seeing how excited all of the children were.  Animals truly bring joy to people of all ages, it's a magical thing to experience.

If you want to take a break from all of the walking, feel free to take a rest in the snack bar and have an ice cream, a drink, or you can even choose from some of the lunch options they offer.  Scarlett enjoyed a bowl of chili while I had a turkey sandwich and Jay a salad.

When you've had enough of the grounds, make a final stop to the Wray house where you can experience what a home in South Florida looked like in the 1930's.  When I walked into the house, it was like stepping back in time.  I enjoyed the old furniture and especially loved the kitchen!

On your way out, make sure to take advantage of the gift shop.  There's something in there for everyone from home decor and children's items to candy and collectibles.  Plenty of items are flamingo or animal themed.  Scarlett got a mango ice cream bar that she refused to share!

My family very much enjoyed our visit to Flamingo Gardens and would highly recommend it to anyone who has never visited before.  If you're looking for an exciting place to take the whole family to spend the day, Flamingo Gardens is waiting for your visit.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Flamingo Gardens for providing complimentary tickets in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Family Fun Recommendations in South Florida

I've been visiting my parents in South Florida since they moved there in 2010.  In those 8 years, I've become familiar with what's available in their town as well as surrounding ones. If you're planning a trip to South Florida this summer or in the coming months, here's a guide to some of my favorite places to visit.  Whether you have kids or not, there's something for everyone on the list!

Gulf Stream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida is an entertainment destination featuring thoroughbred racing, two casinos, shopping and dining.  You'll enjoy the beautiful outdoor/indoor aspect of the park  with shops and restaurants to appeal to anyone's tastes and preferences.  I am partial to the casino and always enjoy trying my luck at the slot machines and dining at Brio for a delicious Italian dinner.   (901 S Federal Hwy, Hallandale Beach, FL)

Sugar Sand Park in Boca Raton, Florida is a gem we discovered about two years ago and truly love.  This 132 acre park features a Community Center which houses the children's science Explorium, the Willow Theatre, and the Field House which features an indoor gym. Scarlett goes absolutely nuts for the unique science playground that is paradise for children! The science playground is a tri-level hands-on experience that features many interactive components demonstrating a variety of scientific principles for all ages.

You'll find wheelchair accessible swings, slides, sensory walls, and an expanded climbing structure that allows for access to people of all ages and abilities.  Any child would enjoy the updated splash pad that show cases a variety of sea creatures, and younger children will appreciate the new train station-themed toddler play area.  When Scarlett is done playing at the playground, we always make our way to the science center to learn from the hands on exhibits.  Sugar Sand Park is an absolute must-see if you have children! (300 S Military Trail Boca Raton, FL)

You can't go to Florida without visiting the beach! The beach and boardwalk in Hollywood, Florida is one of my favorites.  There are both walking and bike lanes in the boardwalk depending on which you prefer.  As you make your way down the boardwalk you'll be met with the beautiful sights and sounds of the ocean which is always appreciated.  Restaurants, hotels, and beach shops are at your disposal for whatever you may need.  

I recommend having breakfast on the beach and then spending a few hours basking in the sun.  You can rent lounge chairs/cabanas to make your visit extra comfortable.  Don't forget plenty of water and sunscreen and a visit to an ice cream shop too! There's also a splash pad fountain for the little ones to enjoy. (Hollywood Beach and Boardwalk, Hollywood FL)

If you're looking to cool off in the hot summer sun with your children, Paradise Cove Water Park at CB Smith Park in Pembroke Pines, FL would be a great choice.  This dramatically expanded and revamped 4.69-acre facility opened in April 2004.  Among its features: Parrot's Point, a 12-inch deep pool with two small water slides and other interactive play elements is perfect for children ages 5 and under.  Shark's Lagoon is an 18-inch deep pool with three waterslides along with other interactive play elements.  Crazy Creek is a 410-foot-long lazy river tube ride with interactive play elements among the route.  Paradise Pipeline opened in 2014 and consists of four colorful watersides the equivalent of five stories tall. 

Take a break from the water and have lunch at Paradise Grill or have a snack at the Sand Dollar concession.  With more than a dozen Funbrellas and picnic tables, you'll enjoy the time out of the water.  My husband and I took Scarlett today and spent about four hours there.  We absolutely loved it and will surely be back. The admission and food prices are very reasonable and you can spend the entire day here for one low cost! (900 N Flamingo Rd, Pembroke Pines FL)

If you're looking to beat the heat and find something fun that's indoors, I recommend the Frost Museum in Miami, FL.  This beautiful new science museum is only a year old and offers five floors of hands on exhibits featuring weather and technology, wildlife centers, and even a planetarium!  Bring the whole family to this science museum for an educational and fun experience.  You can learn how aspects of the human body work while seeing a show about stars and planets at the planetarium afterwards. 

My family went for my Mom's recent 60th birthday and are so glad we did! Scarlett was thrilled to see all of the fish and wildlife in the three-level aquarium section as well as all of the hands on exhibits in the Me Lab which teaches you about body and mind.  There's something to see everywhere you turn so make sure you devote several hours to checking everything out. Take a break and have lunch in the restaurant and then cap off the experience with a stop at the River of Grass which is a sensory filled journey celebrating the Everglades.  There's an outdoor hands-on area and a hi-tech, indoor virtual Everglades where charming animal characters frolic and interact.  I can guarantee you'll leave the Frost Museum with smiles and fond memories! (1101 Biscayne Blvd, Miami FL) 

I hope you have a fantastic and fun filled time in South Florida! If you have a favorite place to visit in South Florida, let me know in the comments. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Accepting a Child is Growing Up

Just a few months ago, we got Scarlett a Frozen bike with training wheels.  It's her first real bike and I definitely consider it a childhood milestone.  She was thrilled to receive it and we immediately went outside and I began trying to teach her how to ride it.  Scarlett doesn't need as much help with it anymore and is doing better every day.  As I was outside with her earlier when she was on her bike, it dawned on me how independent she is these days. Time is flying by and it's honestly scary.

At the end of the year Scarlett will be turning four.  FOUR! FOUR! I can't believe it.  For whatever reason, this number makes me sad.  The baby years are fleeting and the true "big girl" years are here.  As each month passes, she needs me less and less.  She'll always need me in different ways, but she does a lot for herself now.  While I love how independent she is and how she has her own voice and opinions, it's sometimes hard to accept.  I don't think I am having another child, so I won't get to experience all those firsts that I did with her with another child.

Scarlett goes to summer camp by herself, she rides rides by herself, she's fearless at the playground, and the list could go on and on.  Sometimes I find myself trying to help her out of habit by putting her shoes on.  She tells me "no mom, I can do it myself." You're snapped back to reality and then suddenly remember that you're living with Miss Independent.

I am happy that she is thriving and growing and where she should be developmentally.  It would be nice if time would slow down just a little though!

Four Ways To Unleash Children's Creativity

Children love their electronic devices.  Television, video games, cellphones and laptops keep them occupied for hours, in some cases acting as live-in babysitters while parents finish chores or just relax.

But while all those devices have their advantages, they also can stifle creativity as children become absorbed in what’s happening inside those screens instead of exploring the real world and letting their imaginations soar. 

There are ways to turn that around, though, and get the creative juices flowing in those young minds, says Colleen Miller, a veteran teacher with 15 years of fulltime and substitute experience in both elementary and middle schools.

“You can always just tell a child to put down the electronic device, but a much better strategy is to give them something else to do,” says Miller, who also is the mother of two teenage sons. “If you can provide an alternative the child can get excited about, then you’ll have a better chance of avoiding those battles over electronics.”

One option for young children is toys that require a little artistic inspiration, she says, such as Legos, the popular plastic building bricks, or Magic Sketch, which allows children to doodle or draw on a liquid-crystal-display screen, then clear their work with a push of a button to start over.

This is especially important with children just returning to school after the summer break because many of them may not have kept their brains as sharp as they should have during that time off, Miller says. Being creative helps children develop mentally, emotionally and socially, aiding them in becoming better students.   
Miller says there are a number of ways parents can help inspire children to embrace their creative side, including:
  • Spend time in nature. Head to a park and spend a little time on a hiking trail, checking out the plants and the animals, then suggest the children write about the experience or draw something they saw along the way. They could even take along a drawing pad, a Magic Sketch or something similar and draw while they are there.
  • Use holidays as inspiration. Children love holidays, so suggest they draw a picture related to whatever holiday is coming up or create a homemade decoration. Either option can stimulate their creativity.
  • Be supportive, not critical. This is not the time to play art critic or literary reviewer, Miller says. Let this just be fun and give them freedom with their imagination. If they want to color grass orange or put polka dots on a dolphin, let them. Remind them that’s it’s OK to make a mistake. Plus, with a Lego creation, a Magic Sketch drawing or a construction-paper decoration, they can always just start over. 
  • Let them choose their passion. Sometimes parents are too insistent that their children learn piano, take ballet lessons or become involved in an activity that the parent is sure will be fun, Miller says. “Giving children the opportunity to try many things is great,” she says, “but make sure you let them have the final say on what it is they are passionate about.”  

Children don’t need to give up their electronic devices completely.  It’s important to put some limits so they also have time to devote to reading, climbing a tree in the backyard or drawing a picture. They need the opportunity to unleash their creative potential.