25 ideas to add to your family's summer bucket list

We're always trying to think of fun new family outings, and the beginning of each new season seems like the perfect time to sit down and brainstorm some fresh ideas. Hence, we love the idea of a family summer bucket list! But if you're like us and tend to draw a blank on creative ideas, check out our list below for some fun to-do items to add to your list. Then let the fun begin!

1. Join your local library's summer reading program
2. Go strawberry picking and deliver homemade jam to neighbors
3. Ride bikes to the local sno cone stand
4. Have a picnic in a field
5. Make homemade giant bubbles
6. Have a water balloon fight
7. Sleep under the stars

8. Visit the farmers market and make dinner from your purchases
9. Make homemade popsicles
10. Build a bird feeder and identify the birds that stop by to visit
11. Host a slip-n-slide party for friends
12. Watch movies in the park
13. Make your own sidewalk chalk paint
14. Have a charcoal BBQ at the park with friends
15. Go geocaching

16. Host a lemonade stand
17. Go on a spontaneous 1-day road trip
18. Have a movie night and popcorn bar
19. Plant flowers in the yard
20. Grow a garden
21. Create and bury a family time capsule
22. Build a playhouse out of cardboard
23. Have an ice cream making contest
24. Play baseball as a family in the backyard
25. Host a car wash and donate the money to charity

What's the worst motherhood advice you've ever heard?

People love giving advice. And anyone who has been expecting or taken a peek at the Baby Center message boards knows people really love giving advice about parenthood.
Though we love parents coming together to help each other out, we've come across a lot of bad parenting advice in our day. In fact, we've heard so much, we thought it would be entertaining to do a round up of the worst parenting advice from around the internet.

  • “I was told that if you hold a newborn or infant too much, you’ll spoil them.”-Beaniesmommy
  • “When your baby is teething, rub some hard liquor on their gums. That should do the trick. They might even sleep better.” -makchic
  • “If your baby bites you when you’re breast-feeding and you want him/her to stop, all you have to do is bite back.” -makchic
  • “Don’t vaccinate your child. It can lead to autism.” -makchic
  • “Don’t let your baby stand up too soon. She’ll be bow-legged for life.” -makchic
  • The comment - Wait until they're teenagers! I can't stand that! Give teens a chance! Goodness, if we expect the worst from them why would they ever try and do better! -@gparrish
  • The worst advice I read all over the internet nowadays (and heard all around me) is that I shouldn't let my newborn baby cry. -@gparrish
  • Create a schedule. Ughhh NO! One thing I've learned is that expectations and over planning just cause disappointment and frustration. Having well behaved kids that go with our flow is what works for us. -@gparrish
  • "Hit your kid to teach him/her that hitting is bad." - Alexandra
  • Rub whiskey on your baby's - How Stuff Works

What's in my diaper bag

We love a good "what's in my bag" post as much as the next gal — it seems crazy how fascinating it can be, but it's kind of like a peek into someone's everyday life and tells so much about a person, so in that way it makes sense that it's so interesting.

Here is the haul of our social media manager Brooke — a 29-year-old mother of a girl named Liv (age 2) and a boy named Beau (2 months).

Hey PS friends! Brooke here with a peek inside my diaper bag — or I guess I should say backpack. I love this backpack I found at Barnes & Noble, of all places. It has tons of pockets, is very durable and super roomy. Plus, it leaves my arms free for baby wrangling all day and doesn't hurt my shoulder when I have a ton of stuff in it.

Here's what's in my bag!

Clockwise from the top:
  • this wallet from Target is a favorite that I just keep replacing every few years because it gets the job done so perfectly!
  • Amazon brand wipes are my new favorite! Cheap, good texture and good amount of wetness.
  • Munchkin miracle cups really are a miracle! Great for toddlers who want a "big kid" cup but still tend to spill
  • Costco apple sauce packets are a perfect snack for my two-year-old when we are out and about. I also snack on them when I'm getting hangry!
  • I absolutely love my watermelon iPhone 6+ phone case from RedBubble. Here is a similar one.
  • Can't go anywhere without to-go hand sanitizer for after diaper changes
  • These ginger mints from Trader Joes are a new favorite!
  • This Hare Magic Moroccan lipstick is seriously all I ever wear. It's natural-looking but adds color, stays on forever and keeps your lips moist. The set has tons of shades from plum to neon pink.
  • Kid's Clif Z-bars are another favorite of both me and my daughter. Filling and healthy snack with not too much sugar like other bars.
  • I have serious issues with leaky Camelbak water bottles, but I bought this Avex bottle three months ago and have had zero leaks so far!
  • Lastly, I must have diapers in my diaper bag, of course! I like Luvs for their low cost and leak-proof night guard.

Mighty Hero Camron

Our Mighty Hero for May is this stud Camron.

On February 5, 2016, Camron Jas Talbot, 9 years old was diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphoma, a rare and aggressive form of Cancer. The week prior to Camron's diagnosis he portrayed symptoms that anyone would just view as normal, maybe viral up until the night he was diagnosed. 5 days before he vomited one time, and 2 days before he had a high fever. He seemed weak and pale but nothing more than something that would seem common. Typical tough Camron behavior, the night we were in at Primary's he went to school that day and had basketball practice. About 10 pm that night, February 4th he was in a lot of stomach pain and as tough as we know Camron to be, we knew something was seriously wrong. His septic condition was rapidly getting worse and we arrived in the Emergency Department around 11 pm. In the Emergency Department they did lots of lab work, ultrasounds, and eventually a CT scan. They all thought at first that it was a perforated appendicitis but his symptoms didn’t quite add up to the typical perfed appy. Once the CT scan was performed (and a wait that seemed like forever) about 6 physicians walked into our room and that is when they broke the news to us. “Your son has a perforated bowel from a tumor”. AKA your son has cancer, he is septic, and we need to rush him into the Operating Room.

Camron was rushed into surgery at 4:30am and we made the necessary phone calls. First one to our other boys as we were worried we may never see Camron again. After 3 looooooong hours of surgery the Surgeon came out and told us that he was in recovery, and what they found. We were just so happy that he had made it through his first obstacle. They removed the grape fruit sized tumor that had perforated his bowel, removed 7inches from his small intestine, and removed a lot of the infection inside his abdomen. They were not however able to remove the small pieces of tumor that remained on the back of his bladder, it would have done more damage to remove that then the chemo would be doing when we were able to start that. The surgeon said that the tumor may have only been there about 3 weeks that is how we knew how aggressive this Cancer is.

Once Camron was stable our next challenge was to stop the tumors from growing but we couldn’t start chemo until his infection was completely clear. Once we had our diagnosis, he had the gastric tube removed, and he was feeling better we were sent home. We were told to come back in 5 days and see what his labs showed and if he showed signs of being free from infection and then we could start chemo right away. The night before Camron was having some back pain so we asked if we could get another CT to see if it showed anything more, again because this type of Cancer is so aggressive. While he was getting his CT done the Oncologist called me because they were watching for him to come back in, and said she was worried about his labs.  After more labs drawn, CT done, and blood transfusion given they decided to admit us. They found three more masses in his abdomen and the rest of the tumor that they were not able to remove from behind his bladder had grown up and was pressing on his kidneys and his ureters. That next day was another obstacle. He was to have 4 different procedures done. Lumbar Puncture with his first Intrathecal chemo (into the spine), a bone marrow biopsy, a PICC placed, and Stents needed to be placed in his ureters. Good news, they were able to do all the procedures to start us down the path of Camron’s chemo treatment.
As we started our path to chemo they already had our road map and what we needed to do exactly along the way, hoping Camron’s body would cooperate, by handling the chemo well, responding to all the other medications and side effects that come with the chemo, and the times that we would be home trying to keep him from getting sick.

On March 11th, we received word while we were in the hospital that the masses were gone, he was tumor free, and was in 100% remission.
Since February 5th we have been inpatient 49 nights, been admitted and discharged 7 times each, and made many trips to the Emergency Department for neutropenic fevers.
Camron will go in on the 25th for more scans. We are praying that he will still be tumor free and he will remain in remission. He will then begin his 5th (and hopefully final) round of chemo.

Our journey has only just begun we realize that, they tell us that the worst is behind us. There will be many days, many scans, many labs drawn but we will continue to ensure that our Camron will stay with us. We thank all those that have given us their thoughts, their prayers, their undeniable love. We have felt your presence all along and have never doubted your faith along with ours.
Through this journey we have endured many new adventures, grown together as a family, realized all the good out there in the world, and have become so grateful for every moment that we have together. This has made us tough, this has made us stronger, and this has humbled us all for the rest of our lives.

Camron you are brave, strong and a inspiration to us all. You are MIGHTY and our HERO!
You can donate to Camron here www.psiadoreyou.com Every penny of your donation will go to Camron and his family to help with all the costs that this ugly cancer brings. We are sending all our love and prayers to this amazing family. 

15 winning toys for toddlers

There's nothing worse than collecting piles and piles of expensive toys that your kid never has any interest in playing with. Sometimes the beautiful, handmade toys we love just aren't a hit with our children. And other times we spend big bucks on the flashiest, most obnoxious toys and they go untouched for months!

Hence, we decided to come up with a sure-fire list of toys for kids...starting with the most hard to please of the bunch: toddlers! Read on for a round-up of toys both boys and girls will love.

1. Doctor's kit Toddlers are really starting to get their imagination going, and this doctor kit facilitates that. Plus, it's a great break for you as you lay on the couch to get your checkup. :-)
2. Tegu magnetic blocks set These blocks are one of those toys that are both beautiful for adults to appreciate and entertaining for kids. They are well worth the cost and so genius - no block tumbling disasters on the road, airplane, church bench, etc!

3. Little Tikes slide For when kids need to get some energy out, we love this slide perfect for the littlest kids in the family. Keep it in the house in the winter months and your kids will love you for it!
4. I Spy books Story time can get boring real quick when the kids want to read the same book over and over, but luckily the "I Spy" books break up the monotony. Perfect for object recognition, vocabulary building, etc.

5.  Magna-tiles Like Tegu blocks, these magnetic pieces are perfect for travel and really bring out the imagination of your child. You can't go wrong with Magna-tiles!

6. Shopping cart After blowing through a few cheap plastic shopping carts/strollers, we say this more aesthetically pleasing cart by Melissa and Doug is a worthy investment. Your kids will love that it looks like the real deal, too!
7. Bath dropz We're always looking for ways to kick things up a notch at bath time, and these color drops fit the bill. Kids love watching the water turn colors and picking out the drops for the nightly bath.
8. Play kitchen Every kid loves to pretend cook, and this one is pretty enough to keep in your own kitchen so the kiddos can cook alongside you.
9. Little People farm We love all the Little People series, and this farm set is especially cute for animal-obsessed toddlers. Practice animal sounds and watch them play for a good 30 mins — a.k.a. eternity in toddler time.
10. Play-Doh kit Oh, Play-Doh. We love the time you buy us when we need to get things done, but hate the messes you make. Hence, we love the Play-Doh fun factory kit for keeping the messes isolated to Play-Doh friendly tools (no more smashing the dough into the Barbie house!). Bring it to the table for special occasions and your toddler will be in heaven.
11. Basketball hoop The perfect size for tiny tots, this basketball hoop will help kids hone their fine motor skills and get a head start on their NBA dreams.
12. Plasma car We often sell these cars as a deal on PS, and they are always a smash hit! These cars aren't just for toddlers — they'll seriously entertain your kids for a good ten years or more!

7 Mother's Day gifts to warm any mom's heart

As much as we love homemade gifts from our sweet kids and extremely practical household items from well-intentioned husbands, we must say that Mother's Day gifts could really often be a whole lot better.

Hence, we've rounded up our favorite gifts currently featured on PS, perfect for gifting to your own mother, friend, mother-in-law, or really any lady in your life! Husbands, we hope you're taking note too!

1. Skinny band name rings. Add the names of all your kids in these amazing stackable rings, or customize any other way you like. You can add up to 8 characters, set of initials, or a single date. $15 per ring.

2. Double circle love necklace. Comes in your choice of two colors and two sizes, perfect to customize for any style. $11.99

3. Mother's Day tumbler. These 16 oz. BPA-free double wall-insulated acrylic tumblers are personalized with the name of your mother or grandmother...because we all know you can never have 
too many ways to feed your Diet Coke addiction! $11

4. "Thanks for helping me grow" stamped vintage spoon. This gift is truly unique and is the perfect accompaniment to a bouquet of flowers - plus, it will last much longer than any rose or tulip! $8.99

5. Mother's Day coffee mugs. Personalize with up to eight names of children or grandchildren. Perfect for the mom who always has her morning cup of jo.

6. Lucky mom keychain. This Hand stamped key chain includes silver round and up to 4 pennies. You can choose the year of penny and name you want stamped. We have penny dates from 1940-2016. $9.99

7. Mama Bear tee. Because who doesn't want to show their mama bear pride? This tee is printed on a super soft American Apparel tee. $20

The most efficient baby gear list you'll ever read

We have seen a LOT of baby gear guides out there for new mothers, ranging from completely excessive to bare-bones minimalism. Of course, every guide is subject to personal opinion, but with our motherhood experience we think we've honed in on a pretty amazing list.

It's budget-friendly but long-lasting. It's simple, but doesn't skimp on anything you need to have the happiest baby on the block. (And happiest momma, of course!) Read on for our ultimate baby gear guide.

1. Ergo 360 carrier with infant insert. As a tired momma with things to get done, you will be praising the heavens for this beautiful invention, and if you're anything like us, you'll be wearing it all day/every day. We love the Ergo 360 with the infant insert because it can be worn from baby's birth through toddler years and baby can face inward or outward. No need to buy multiple, difficult wraps!

2. Graco 2-in-1 Glider and Bassinet. Another gadget that gives you more bang for your buck, the glider and bassinet is perfect for putting by your bedside to put baby down at night, as well as moving it into the living area for baby to swing in during the day. It's definitely the most compact and quiet swing we've ever tried, and it plugs into the wall (no need to worry about expensive batteries!)

3. Medela Pump In Style Breast pump. Ah, the notorious breast pump. It can be a nightmare or a beautiful blessing, depending on which one you go for. And we think it's a unanimous statement that Medela is the best brand out there by a long shot!

4. Britax B Agile Travel System. Buying extra parts to make sure your car seat goes along with your stroller can be a hassle, but the Britax travel system makes it hassle-free. We love the stroller and car seat for both being super lightweight and easy to pop in and out of the car. The stroller opens with one hand at the push of a button!

5. Dr. Brown's Wide Neck Bottles. Colicky, gassy babies are every moms worst fear, but Dr. Brown's bottles help prevent any problems with that. Their bottles minimize bubbles in milk and slow the flow so that baby's stomach is more settled after eating. And the wide neck is perfect for formula-fed babies: no messy formula spills!

6. Pacifiers: Here's one area where we recommend NOT listening to any recommendations. Stocking up on pacifiers before the baby comes is probably a mistake. We say you start with one pacifier, see how your baby likes it, and continue buying different brands until you find the right fit. Most babies are very particular about the one they'll go for, so no need to waste money buying loads of them that your baby won't even use!

7. Swaddle blankets. This is another area where we think waiting it out to see what is best for your baby is the best advice we could give! Both moms and babes have opinions about what swaddle style is best, so pick one or two to try before you go wild! We recommend Little Unicorn or Aden + Anais for muslin swaddle fans, SwaddleMe brand for Velcro styles or Carter's brand for classic blankets.

8. Gerber onesies. It's hard to believe, but newborns really do grow SO fast, we say hold off on the cute clothes until your baby is at least three months. No matter what time of year it is, most newborns spend all day wrapped in a blanket anyway, so white onesies will get the job done perfectly. And there's just something about those fresh onesies that is so sweet!

9. Diapers and wipes: Last but not least, we give our take on the never-ending diaper debate! Pampers, Huggies, Luvs, cloth diapering...really, it's another area that is more of a personal preference. Try out every brand and go with the one that leads to the least amount of blow-outs. It'll be worth the money, even if you go with a more expensive brand!

And there you have it! We declare all other baby gear items to be non-essential...or something you can wait on after your baby has grown a bit.