Tobins' Tastes

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Toddler Beach & Pool Bag Must Haves

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BlueLizardSummer #CollectiveBias

Being a Florida baby, Easton has been going to the beach and pool since he was about six months old. For years Justin and I got used to being able to throw a few towels and chairs in the car and head down to the beach for a full day of relaxing. Now that we are parents our beach prep has changed quite a bit. To say we need more than a few towels and a cooler would be an understatement. 

The first few times we brought Easton to the beach we brought WAY too much stuff- 3 outfits, 5 diapers, multiple bottles and snacks. Then we went through a phase where we brought not enough with us and would end up having to leave way earlier than planned due to a hungry baby or a lack of extra diapers. 

I would like to think that over the last year we've gotten pretty good a packing a baby/toddler for the beach or pool and we have a pretty good checklist of our must haves to make getting ready for a day of fun in the sun easier for everyone. 

Our Toddler Beach & Pool Bag Must Haves

  • Blue Lizard® Australian Sunscreen - Baby: Sunscreen is our #1 must have for a day in the sun with Easton. I love Blue Lizard® products because they have a unique zinc oxide formulation and provide broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection. The Baby formula is SPF 30+ and paraben-free and fragrance-free
  • Long sleeved rash guard top: Even though we always apply sunscreen the long sleeves are great for longer days in the sun.
  • Dry change of shirt: Sometimes the rash guard can make Easton cold so I always pack a dry shirt in case he wants to take a nap or relax under the umbrella
  • Sippy cup with water: We learned the hard way that trying to keep your toddler hydrated with only bottles of water ends up with a lot more water spilled than consumed. Bringing his own zippy cup means he stays hydrated a lot easier. 
  • Beach & pool toys: We have set of beach/sand toys that always stay together for beach trips and a few smaller toys that we bring with us for the pool. This way he is entertained no matter where we are. 
  • Snacks: Even though Justin and I bring our own snacks, I always pack Easton's in his own separate snack cup. This way his sandy hands stay out of my pretzel bag. 
  • Pre-cut fruit: I love packing a little container of pre-cut fruit. I always make sure to prep it before hand so it is as easy as possible for Easton to snack on without bringing along utensils. 
  • Extra swim diaper: We learned the hard way that one swim diaper isn't always enough for a trip to beach or pool (believe me you don't want the details). Having an extra with us means our time in the water doesn't have to be cut short when unexpected accidents happen. 
  • Hooded towel- I always bring Easton his own sized, hooded towel. It cuts down on the bulk of bringing an extra regular sized towel and the hooded one stays on him better when we are drying off and getting ready to pack up. 

Getting ready for summer with your toddlers? Be sure to stop by your local Walmart and stock up on  Blue Lizard®.  I purchased mine at Walmart and was able to find it in the dedicated sunscreen display. Also be sure to check out Blue Lizard® Sunscreen's Patented Smart Bottle™ technology. The bottle changes color when exposed to l UV sunlight and can be used as a great teaching tool for kids on when to re-apply sunscreen. As will all things be sure to consult with your pediatrician before using sunscreen on a child younger than 6 months old. 

Even better? Right now you can earn $4 cash back when you join iBotta and purchase Blue Lizard® Australian Sunscreen - Baby, 5 oz. bottle only. iBotta is one of my favorite cash back apps so I was thrilled to see Blue Lizard® products included in their most recent cash back offers. 

Do you frequent the beach and pool with your babies and/or toddlers? What are you beach/pool bag must haves for summer? I would love to get some new ideas from your suggestions!


    Monday, February 20, 2017

    Cinnamon Brown Sugar Apple Eggo Wafflers

    This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EggoMyWay #CollectiveBias

    I can safely say that breakfast is Easton's favorite meal of the day. Fruit, yogurt, cereal, biscuits, toast, pancakes, waffles- he loves it all. Recently he has been on a bit of a pancake kick eating as many as five mini pancakes in a sitting. Usually I just throw a few frozen Eggo Buttermilk Mini Pancakes in the microwave and serve them to him plain but on weekends we have the time to get a little more creative with our pancakes and waffles. 

    While in Target last week I grabbed some Eggo Buttermilk Mini Pancakes for Easton's breakfasts and  grabbed a box of Eggo Wafflers Brown Sugar Cinnamon Roll for snacks too. I was happy to notice that Eggo has a new formulation that is free from artificials. All Eggo products are now made with colors and flavors from natural sources which means that my childhood favorite is now an even better option for Easton. (Be sure to look for products with the green banner!) 

    For a fun weekend breakfast I decided to dress up Easton's usually mini pancakes with a few things I already had on hand. You'll need:
    • Eggo Buttermilk Mini Pancakes
    • Blueberries
    • Strawberries 
    • Vanilla Yogurt
    • Juice

    1.) Microwave the Eggo Buttermilk Mini Pancakes according to the directions on the package and stack them on a plate. 
    2.) Thin out the yogurt with a little fruit juice to make a sauce.
    3.) Drizzle yogurt sauce on the pancakes and top with diced strawberries and blueberries.
    4.) Serve to your child (or yourself) and watch them clap with excitement. 

    Easton was so excited for his special breakfast that he just kept saying "wow" over and over again. He usually reserves that exclamation for Christmas decorations and theme park shows so he was clearly pretty pumped. 

    Inspired by my breakfast success, I decided to try and make myself an afternoon snack later that day. The Eggo Wafflers Brown Sugar Cinnamon Roll smelled delicious on their own but I'm not known for subtlety in the kitchen so I made a little topping for them. This topping looks like it would be complicated but it is actually really easy and only takes a few minutes. I used:
    • Diced up apple slices (these came from a bag of pre-sliced apples in the fridge) 
    • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • cinnamon 

    1.) In a small saucepan melt the butter and stir in the brown sugar. 
    2.) Add in the apples and coat with the the sauce. 
    3.) Sprinkle in a little bit of cinnamon to your preference. 
    4.) Let the mixture simmer on low until the apples are soft.
    5.) Top toasted Eggo Wafflers with the apple mixture. Optional: add sprinkles for fun

    This was so good I actually thought I was at a carnival. The crispy Eggo Wafflers were perfect under the cinnamon apples and while they wouldn't have needed syrup the brown sugar sauce made the dish. Easton noticed what I was eating and so I was a good mom and shared with him but honestly I would consider this a snack adults will love as much as kids. 

    This week Eggo products are on sale at Target so be sure to stock up. This offer runs through the last week in February with Eggo products for $1.99 each so check your local circular ad for details. 


    Tuesday, February 7, 2017

    What Easton Wore: June & January At The Beach

    Some photos from an evening at the beach in one of our favorite new June & January outfits. 

    Sometimes I miss having seasons. Other times I realize how lucky we are that we can head down to the beach any day of the year, even in early February. 

    Easton currently thinks he is 5 years old instead of 16 months old and is obsessed with climbing the stairs at the beach boardwalk even though he hasn't quite mastered the skill completely. If we even dare to go to one of the many parks near a beach access he will break off into a sprint and head for the boardwalk and proceed to have an epic meltdown if we don't let him go down to the sand. 

    These pictures are even more special because they are at a beach that Justin and I have been going to ever since the summer of 2004 when we first started dating. It was the first beach we took Easton too after he was born too. I'm pretty sure he and Justin swing by there once a week to "check the waves" while at I'm work. 

    If you follow me on social media or know us in real life, it's no secret that June & January is one of my current favorites when it comes to Easton's wardrobe. I am loving this combo of teal striped tank and poppy lounge shorts on him and can't wait to dress him in one million different versions of this outfit all summer. 

    And, yes, I know he needs another hair cut but I just can't bring myself to cut those sweet little baby curls again yet. 

    Easton's version of fierce.

    Bubbles are life. 

    Sassy "cheese" face.

    Skinny baby arms in tank tops kill me. 

    Those cheeks though.

    New to June & January? Make your first purchase through this link and get 15% off your first purchase!

    Thursday, February 2, 2017

    Easy Entertaining With Rubbermaid® BRILLIANCE™

    This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #OrganizeWithBrilliance #CollectiveBias

    When it comes to entertaining my newest motto is "work smarter, not harder". I use to spend hours in the kitchen before a party to the point where guest would be showing up and I would still be in the kitchen in sweatpants prepping appetizers. Once Easton was born I realized that if I wanted to have people over the majority of the party prep would have to take place the night before the event after he had already gone to bed. I started making my dips and spreads ahead of time and storing them in the fridge. Veggies got washed and chopped more than 5 minutes before the party start time and desserts needed to be something that could easily be stored in the fridge.

    This new strategy really helped cut down on pre-party stress but it wasn't without its flaws. Our fridge would end up stuffed full of various sizes of food storage containers that no matter how hard I tried would never seem to stay stacked on top of one another. Also, many of our containers were opaque and hard to see through and I could never figure out if I was about to warm up swiss cheese bread dip or cookie dough. Thankfully I discovered Rubbermaid® BRILLIANCE™ and was able to solve my entertaining preparation dilemmas.
    Rubbermaid® BRILLIANCE™ is crystal clear with 360 degree clarity meaning that no matter what angle to put it in the fridge at you can always tell exactly what's inside. It is also designed to stack perfectly with all the various sizes easily fitting on top of each other. It's stain and odor resistant and the best part? It's 100% leak proof, guaranteed. Which means you can store any kind of soup or liquid in it without worrying about ending up with a mess in your fridge.

    My personal favorite feature of the Rubbermaid® BRILLIANCE™ line is that the containers are nice enough to double as serving wear. For a recent get together I made a few of my favorite party foods ahead of time. I was able to store everything in the fridge and then simply take the containers out, place them on serving pieces and I was ready for guests. My current party favorites are:
    • Easy On The Go Veggie Tray
      • Prep and chop veggies ahead of time and store in Rubbermaid® BRILLIANCE™. 
      • On a large serving tray place your four containers and add a small bowl for dip in the middle.
      • Once the party is about to start, remove the lids, add your ranch dressing and set tray our for guests to enjoy. 
    • Fig & Goat Cheese Spread
      • Blend together 8oz of goat cheese and 4 tablespoons of fig preserves
      • Store in  Rubbermaid® BRILLIANCE™. 
      • When the party starts, set the container in the middle of a serving tray, add crackers and enjoy!

    While I served these for friends at my house, they are both so portable if you are heading over to someone's house for the Big Game this weekend. You can easily put all your items in a large bag and show up ready to wow your friends with your on the go appetizer skills. 

    And since it wouldn't be a party without dessert, I pre-made my favorite Grown Up Chocolate Chip cookie dough and stored it in the large Rubbermaid® BRILLIANCE™ container overnight. It was ready to scoop out and bake right before the party. This was perfect because it meant I was able to clean up the baking mess and corresponding dishes the night before so my kitchen stayed clean day of. Bonus- the house smelled amazing when guests arrived. 

    Rubbermaid® BRILLIANCE™ is available nationwide at Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Amazon and other fine retailers. We loved it so much that we got a second 10 pc BRILLIANCE™ set for Justin to take to the fire station. We also gifted one to my sister who is about to have her second baby. She was thrilled to be able to use it for fridge organization as she gets ready for baby.

    What are you favorite easy party foods? Any of them on your menu for the Big Game this weekend?

    Thursday, December 15, 2016

    Cinnamon Muffins With Quaker® Simply Granola Streusel

    This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SimplySatisfying #CollectiveBias

    People may find this hard to believe but until I was 31 years old, I did not wake up in my own home on Christmas morning. I spent 30 Christmas mornings waking up at my grandparents' house in West Palm Beach. It was an amazing tradition and loved waking up with my cousins and grandparents all together to open presents.

    Since Santa brought our gifts to West Palm, our immediate family had a tradition where Santa would stop by our house in Vero on the night of the 23rd and fill our stockings. Even as adults in our own homes my parents would have us all come over (and beg us to spend the night) and open stockings together before we left for my grandparents.

    After opening our stockings we would all sit down together for a breakfast of chocolate chip muffins and chocolate santas. A delicious breakfast but one that may or may not have been lacking in nutritional value. We would always tell ourselves that we would be sitting down to a huge lunch at my grandparents house so we didn't need much. However, as the day went on we would be running late, hit traffic, or arrive to my grandparents to find that there was some kind of crisis with the traditional Christmas play the younger cousins would put on and somehow it would be 2:00 and we wouldn't have eaten lunch.

    This year I am going to be prepared for a long day with a breakfast that is a little more filling. These Cinnamon Muffins with a Quaker® Simply Granola Streusel are the perfect hearty breakfast treat for the holidays. The addition of Quaker® Simply Granola into my favorite cinnamon muffin recipe means that these will last you through morning. The crunchy granola, dried apples, cranberries and almonds are a perfect way to spice up any holiday recipe.

    These are best served warm with some butter or jam on the side but they can be reheated too if you want to make them the night before. I used Quaker® Simply Granola Oats, Apples, Cranberries & Almonds but any of the other varieties would work great as well. Be sure to check out other flavors like Quaker® Simply Granola Oats, Honey & Almonds and Quaker® Simply Granola Oats, Honey Raisin & Almonds next time you are at Walmart.

    Cinnamon Muffins With Quaker® Simply Granola Streusel
    For the muffin mix:
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup milk
    • 2 eggs
    • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 1/2 cup Quaker® Simply Granola Oats, Apples, Cranberries & Almonds 
    For the streusel 

    • 3 tablespoons butter melted
    • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 cup Quaker® Simply Granola Oats, Apples, Cranberries & Almonds 
    1.) Whisk milk, egg and melted butter until well combined. Set aside.

    2.) Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl. 

    3.) Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Don't over stir. 

    4.) Line or spray a muffin tin. Using a cookie scoop or a tablespoon spoon one scoop of batter into each muffin cup. Sprinkle in some Quaker® Simply Granola and then top with a second scoop of batter. For a richer muffin, you could layer in the streusel mixture instead of the granola. 
    5.) To make the streusel, simply combine all the ingredients together until the melted butter has moisten everything completely. The mixture should be crumbly. Top each muffin with a generous scoop of the streusel. 

    6.) Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes of until the tops of the muffins feel firm to the touch. 

    Wednesday, December 14, 2016

    Play & Grow With LEGO DUPLO Toys

    I have vivid childhood memories of my brother playing with LEGO DUPLO toys. He had hundreds of them- a barn with farm animals, race cars, police and fire trucks and of course every color of DUPLO brick ever made. Even though we were technically "too old" for DUPLO products, my sister and I would always secretly try to play with them despite my brother's protests. I have been waiting for Easton to be old enough for them and we were so excited to get his first sets.

    Our nephew Jack is a few months older than Easton so we decided to share our new DUPLO toys with him and let Justin help them build them together. They were so excited to open the boxes and it was too cute to watch them helping build the sets. I love that they sets had a learning component to each of them with the numbers on the caterpillar and the way the plants in the garden could be made to grow. We took the opportunity to explain to them about planting things and gardens and practiced our counting too.

    Whether just learning to stack, building small structures or role playing with minifigures, LEGO® DUPLO® offers open-ended play for every stage of your young one’s development. Jack is only 10 months older than Easton but it was so neat to see how different they both were in their approach to the DUPLO bricks. Easton just loved to try and get the bricks to stack together while Jack was taking his time watering the plants and making the figurines walk around. He also was explaining things to Easton which may or may not have made me tear up. 

    LEGO® DUPLO® preschool building toys are specially designed for the small hands and big imaginations of children aged 1½ - 5 years. DUPLO bricks are twice the size of standard LEGO bricks, making them a safe way to kick off a child's building career. Justin and I felt good knowing that they were safe for the boys to play with and even occasionally "taste" as they both have been known to do. 

    After we built our sets we went outside in my mom's backyard and showed them the plants and flowers just like they had built in the garden set. I know they are young but it's never too early to start helping them make connections. Play is essential for early learning since it's the way young children learn about their world and as parents we can be their first partners in play. What is your number one tip for making the most of playtime?

    I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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