Sanibel Island, FL vintage postcard

Heavenly Fall Vacation to Sanibel Island 🌴 Florida

Mom Sweeny in FloridaEach year, thanks to Mom Sweeny, our family has the opportunity to visit what’s described as “heaven on Earth”, Sanibel Island on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Sanibel is a magical place in nature with beaches, birds and sunsets. Imagine walking on a shell covered shore with warm air and birds flying above. This past week Mom Sweeny visited our beloved Sanibel Island, FL for a Fall vacation in October! Below are highlights from this trip to Heaven down South, USA.

Naples Botanical Garden


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15 Best Spooky Gifts for 2019 Halloween


For so many, Fall is a favorite time of year. With images of snuggling up to a cozy fire with a hot pumpkin spice apple cider after a day at the corn maze, raking Fall leaves, or spooky trail hike. Autumn is cozy and wonderful! Gifts may not be the first thing that come to mind however, there’s lots to get excited about and the gifts below do not even include candy! This roundup of the 15 best spooky themed Halloween gifts are for home decoration or to surprise your Halloween-loving buddy.

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Solo Stove LightSolo Stove Light

Warm up on the front porch or on a backpacking trip with the “ultralight” Solo Stove Lite is the perfect Fall gift for the lover of the great outdoors in your life. Solo Stove offers free shipping plus free returns (store returns only after 30 days) excluding Hawaii and Alaska in the United States. The Solo Stove Lite, like its name, is actually light and perfect for two people to cozy up while on a hike or picnic in the chilly Autumn air.

SoloStove.com


Lizzo Inspired Halloween Sweater

Get cozy with this handmade “100 percent That Witch” sweater from Etsy.com seller ImPressedClothing. Available in four stylish colors and five adult sizes from small to XXL. This item is made of a “50/50 cotton poly blend, is super soft and cozy” and ships in 3-5 days from California, USA.

Halloween sweater from Etsy.com

Etsy.com


Moosh-Moosh Spooky Halloween Plush Collection

Available in 9 different spooky characters, Moosh-Moosh plushies are super cuddly friends that are not only cute but at $14.99 each are a bargain! Shop the Moosh-Moosh website for these Spooky plushies or check out the other cuddly friends like Ash The Dragon Sequin Faced or Drac The Dragon from the Series 1 collection of Moosh-Moosh Plushies.


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Lake house vacation fun we always wanted and Pool Float #giveaway

#sponsored

This summer, our big family vacation is at Lake Mitchel near Cadillac, Michigan at a beautiful lake house called “Lake Mitchel Retreat” which we rented via Airbnb.

I was provided a product sample by Salas Brands Coconut Floats in exchanger for this review and the opinions expressed here are original, unique and my ideas solely. I specifically recommend products which I personally use and which I think will be an awesomesauce fit for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC 16 CFR, Part 225: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Our road trip to the lake house was three hours from Wisconsin to Grandma’s house in Chicagoland where we stayed overnight then another five hours from Illinois, through Indiana into Michigan.

We arrived, unpacked and made our way to the water where we discovered the lake house property includes a pier, 3 stand-up paddle boards, a peddle boat, a fire pit, many lawn chairs and other fun activities for our family to use.


ENTER OUR COCONUT POOL FLOAT GIVEAWAYEnter the coconut pool floats giveaway through 9/9/19

We’re hosting a pool float #giveaway for your choice of one Coconut Pool Float – Entries made at http://gvwy.io/f6wtucz through 9/9/19 – One winner can choose a pool float from https://www.coconutpoolfloats.com/collections/all


 

We rented the Lake Mitchel Retreat lake house for a week and there’s also a boat house on the property which is available to rent which sleeps up to 4 guests.

The lake house rental we’re enjoying sleeps 10 with 7 beds in 4 bedrooms and the back living room has a huge smart TV with Nintendo Wii, Roku player and giant windows facing Lake Mitchell. We also found 2 fireplaces, a big glass grill, full basement with laundry room, big stocked kitchen, tons of games and so much more fun outside!

The best inflatable pool float toy – the Giant Rainbow Unicorn by Coconut Floats

On our Michigan, USA family lake vacation, we brought a big pool float toy to enjoy in the water while on vacation, a Giant Rainbow Unicorn Pool Float by Coconut Floats.

This durable inflatable pool float is big enough for 2 kids or an adult to lounge comfortably and includes a handle on the neck and is super comfy and fun!

#coconutpoolfloatKeller with our Giant Rainbow Unicorn Pool floatOur #coconutpoolfloat

All the kids wanted a turn and Keller was even able to stand up on the giant pool float.

Giant Rainbow Unicorn Pool Float by Coconut Floats

We had fun with this HUGE pool float! Durable, Fun and Chill! Jump in with unique and Giant Rainbow Pool Float!

~Durable: Get rough and jump on this big pool inflatable and it won’t break!

~Fun: A great time wherever you go! Just give it a blow.

~Chill: Kick back and relax on this large floaty, it’s chill time!

Buy your own Giant Rainbow Unicorn 🦄 Coconut Pool Float

“This magical Giant Rainbow Unicorn Float will turn heads at the pool and make everyday feel like a dream! All our floats are made of heavy-duty, durable 0.25mm vinyl, this float is built to last and resist punctures.”

#coconutpoolfloats

Check out more Coconut Pool Floats in action

5 Essential Back To School Safety Tips For Milwaukee Families

We’re proud to bring you a back-to-school safety article which, this time is a guest post by Donna Fitzgerald who is a mother of two and enjoys journaling in her free time. She also enjoys traveling and sharing her experiences with readers. You can visit her blog at goodhomehealth.net

With the end of summer coming to a close, you’re likely packing away summer gear and hitting the back to school sales. Every new school year is a bittersweet experience whether your kids are starting kindergarten or entering the halls of a middle school.

Here are some safety tips to consider while you and your kids are preparing for a brand new school year.

Kids with School bus

School Bus Safety For You and Your Kids

Even if you drive your kids to school, there’s a good chance that your child will ride a school bus at least a few times during the school year for trips or extra curricular activities. While you can expect that your child’s educators may teach some bus safety tips and appropriate behavior, it’s a good idea to remind your child how to enter and exit a bus safely, stay a safe distance away, and to always cross the street when it’s safe.

As a parent and driver, it’s essential that you get back into the “back to school” mindset and drive with care around school buses. In the state of Wisconsin, the failure to stop when a school bus has flashing red lights can range from $30 to $300 fine.

Adopt a Healthy Routine

There’s nothing quite like sitting back, enjoying the summer sun, eating ice cream, and giving your kids as much screen as they want some days. With school just around the corner, it’s a good idea to get back into a healthy routine. This means implementing a regular bedtime that will ensure a solid eight hours and cap how much screen time your kids get at the end of the day.

Everyone deserves to unwind after a long day, but blue screens interrupt healthy sleep patterns and it can make your morning routine a struggle. Getting a good night’s sleep is also essential for all drivers in your household from you to your new teen driver. You have to keep your brain sharp and alert while behind the wheel!

Get Involved When You Can

Once a school year begins, everyone gets busy. One of the best ways to spend time with your kids and help make sure that they are staying safe is to get involved. Whether you coach an extracurricular activity like Knowledge Bowl or head to soccer matches after school, your kids appreciate your presence (when you can make it), even if they never admit to it.

Talk About Safety

Kids are prone to personal injuries from scraps and bruises to more serious injuries like fractures or concussions. You can’t always prevent your kids from getting hurt, but you can arm them when information and ways to stay safer.

Whether you’re child is hanging out with friends on the playground or having their first sleepover at someone else’s home, talk to your child about safety precautions like wearing protective gear during sports or what to do if they encounter firearms or other potentially dangerous products or tools.

Have Open and Honest Discussions With Your Children

Raising children is exciting and challenging, but most parents will agree it’s one of the most rewarding experiences. Whether your child is in grade school or starting high school, try to have open, honest, and age-appropriate discussions with them.

Whether you’re handing over the keys to your teen driver for the first time or you’re helping your middle schooler talk through some issues with peer pressure, your advice goes a long way and is important when keeping your child safe.

You can’t be with them every minute of the day, but you can offer words of wisdom and tips to help them make better decisions that can also keep them safer.

Spring Green General Store, Spring Green Wisconsin

5 day trips to visit in Southwest Wisconsin

Wondering where to go this weekend near Madison, Wisconsin?

Shop & Eat at the Spring Green General Store 🥪 Spring Green, WI

Whether you trek to Spring Green, WI via WI-23 northbound from southern Wisconsin or westbound from Madison, Wisconsin, the drive to Spring Green is amazing and could be considered part of the adventure. The Spring Green General Store features a cafe offering local fair and a retail store highlighting artists’ goods, environmentally-friendly groceries and household items. Look for fair trade and local items at this small community-focussed business which is a great place to meet friends for a drink, bite to eat or live music. In addition to regular music gigs at the cafe, mark your calendar for the Spring Green General Store’s annual music events including BobFest and BeatleFest. Visit them on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest or read more about the Spring Green General Store on TravelWisconsin.com.

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Most popular instagram photos from 2017

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Governor Dodge State Park 🌲 Dodgeville, WI

This popular park just west of Madison, WI boasts over 40 miles of hiking trails, fishing and beaches each with boat rentals and pavilion rentals in two lakes, two campgrounds plus groups campsites and backpack sites, two caves, an amazing waterfall along fields of lupine, gorgeous views, wildlife and so much more.


Historic Small Town Tour 🏘 Mineral Point, WI

High Street is the given name for the primary thoroughfare or Main Street in British towns and in Mineral Point, WI, you’ll find High Street to be there too. This beautiful city offers a variety of small family business including a brewpub, wood-fired pizzeria, a southwest cuisine craft bar, a historic opera house, historic homes and hotels, an artist retreat center, amazing local food, a beautiful garden center and so many more shopping and reasons to stay the night.


Canoe the Wisconsin River 🛶 Arena to Spring Green, WI

There’s a day trip opportunity to float down a lazy river with family or friends: canoe the Wisconsin River. Experienced swimmers only! The Wisconsin River can be very dangerous. However with safety and experience, the Wisconsin River provides remarkable recreation opportunities for families or an individual. Start in Arena, WI with a canoe or large inflatable to paddle for 3 hours or float for five hours all the way to Spring Green, WI. Drop off and pickup shuttle arrangements can be purchased ahead of time through canoe outfitters like Black Hawk River Runs or so many others along that stretch of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway. Another idea is launch from Spring Green, WI and end in Muscoda, WI which is an overnight adventure involving sleeping on the sand bars so make sure to tie the boat to a tree, periodically checking that your selected overnight sandbar hasn’t washed out and situating the tent away from the morning sun but preferably in the direction of wind, to blow away bugs before the sun sets.

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🥰

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New Glarus Brewing Co. 🍺 New Glarus, WI

If you shy from alcohol consumption, feel free to skip this SW day trip recommendation. Overlooking the little Swiss town of New Glarus, WI, New Glarus Brewing Co’s tourist friendly hilltop location features self-guided brewery tours, a huge beer depot store, a gift shop and so much more to enjoy. This location seems to be under a state of constant expansion of its brewing and visitor facilities. Beer fans, this craft beer business is incredible.

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Happy weekend, friends!

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Thanks for reading!

Feature photo by the Spring Green General Store, Spring Green, WI.

Dirt-cheap cabin glamping in beautiful SW Wisconsin

Are you wanting an inexpensive rustic weekend cabin with a covered front porch?

Tucked away in the woods of Southwestern Wisconsin is a nook of four cabins, at Black Hawk Lake Recreation Area. Highland and Cobb, WI are the towns closest to the Black Hawk Lake and the park office has ice, bait, firewood (including kindling) and more. Look for the store at the turn for the park road which has a great selection of camping, fishing, hunting and adult party supplies!

The great find at Black Hawk Lake Rec Area are the four rustic cabins. The favorite (photos below) is Cabin #4 however Cabin #3 has an amazing view. The privacy and forest cover cannot be beat at Cabin #4 but the kicker is these cabins are all inexpensive at $70 (plus fees) per night. Check the Black Hawk Lake website for seasonal cabin pricing discounts and for more photos.

We setup a small table on the covered porch at the cabin which is perfect for hiding from the rain and sun.

The view from the porch overlooks the hill down to the campfire, woods past the campsite and beautiful water past the trees.

The beach at Black Hawk Lake State Rec Area is small but nice! There’s 3 charcoal bbq grills, a number of picnic tables, the concession stand has pool float rentals and it’s a beautiful view. Check out the park map for some great weekend glamping inspiration.

There’s plenty of spots to go fishing and the park office store sells bait and fishing licenses too. The photo above shows one of the many private boat moring locations and on the far left is one of the park’s fishing piers.

Black Hawk Lake Recreation Area is located 10 minutes from Highland, WI and 25 minutes from Dodgeville, WI. In addition to the four cabins which sleep six guests, there’s also a 12 person cabin. All cabins feature heat, air conditioning a covered porch, bbq grill and more. The cabins do not have bathrooms, look for pit toilets for common use and the park features three shower houses with nice, hot water, a group campground ($45 per night) and two single family campgrounds.

The park also features power boat, canoe, kayak and pontoon rentals. For an affordable rustic weekend getaway, visit the cabins at Back Hawk Lake Recreation Area for a dirt-cheap option on your next glamping adventure.

5 awesome Father’s Day Gifts 🎁 he wants

Unique gifts which are meaningful and well received require knowing a person well so buying gifts which people actually want is not easy. This Father’s Day, make gift giving easy with one or more of these awesome gift ideas which a dad really wants to open.

This post contains affiliate links which I use to keep the office lights on (and coffee.) Read the Disclosure, Terms and Privacy fineprint here, learn about the giveaway rules and note, no product samples were provided for this review and the opinions expressed here are original, unique and my ideas solely.

A Handcrafted Wooden Baseball Game

Across the Board wooden Baseball Game

Across the Board is a St. Louis, USA based board game company that produces all kinds of unique wooden games using premium materials. This Baseball Game has slightly different rules than at the ball park using dice, metal pegs and a dry erase scoreboard. Play Ball!


This 4 Person Portable Hot Tub

This portable hot tub has bubble jets, ships via Amazon Prime so it ships in 2 days and has an awesome filter.Portable 4 person hot tub 🛀

This simple maintenance portable hot tub has bubble jets, ships via Amazon Prime, so it ships in 2 days, is large enough to comfortably fit 4 hot tubbers at 77 inches across plus it’s got an awesome filter and many more features.


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Black Hawk Lake Recreation Area Cabins

Must have packing list for cabin camping

Are you looking for a list of essential items to pack for your next camping weekend at the cabin?

Each time I go camping or on vacation, I always forget at least one thing. So I’ve learned to enjoy the ride and not sweat the details too much when it comes to packing for a road trip.

I’ve been fortunate to enjoy many getaways across the USA and Canada and with these experiences, I’ve accumulated a fine-tuned camping trip packing list.

My next weekend getaway includes a cabin reservation at Black Hawk Lake Recreation Area near Cobb and Highland, WI for myself and a friend and so below, I’m happy to share my cabin camping packing list.

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