Natural Bug Repellents that Work + Bug Band Prize Pack Giveaway

As you know, we at Game On Mom think that natural is best, whether it’s the food we eat or products we use on our bodies.  We hope you’ve found our recent posts on safe sunscreens and lip balms with SPF helpful, and we’re continuing the natural summer theme with some recommendations for insect repellents.

DEET-Free Insect Repellents That Actually Work

Have you ever read the label on a can of insect repellent?  When a product starts off with a warning about it being hazardous to humans, I’m inclined to leave it on the shelf.  You can argue all day long that chemicals like DEET are safe to use, but you will never convince me that chemicals in general are a good thing.  When those chemicals can also be used to melt plastic and rubber, then I’m going to have an especially difficult time applying them to my skin.

Honestly, I’d rather not be spraying my kids or myself with anything at all.  Were it simply a matter of being bumpy and itchy, we could deal with that and go spray free.  Sadly, I’ve seen too many people get Lyme Disease in my time, and with the possibility of contracting that and so many other infections and diseases from pests like mosquitoes and ticks, it’s just too risky to go out unprotected.  Rather than avoid outdoor summertime fun, we have a few natural alternatives that we’ve come to rely on.

All Terrain Herbal Armor Insect Repellent

All Terrain

This is a brand I only discovered this year, and I’m so happy I did.  I’ve been loving their sunscreens, and their insect repellents work just as well.  All Terrain has repellent sticks that you can use in your yard, as well as Herbal Armor and Kids Herbal Armor sprays for your skin.  Their new continuous sprays have become a summer staple around here, as they’re environmentally-friendly and deliver complete coverage at any direction or angle.  They’re DEET-free, of course, but they’re also GMO-free, and that’s not a feature I’ve seen in many bug sprays.  I haven’t really been able to detect a difference between the regular and kids versions, so I’ve been using them interchangeably and with great results.  They both have a strong herbal/floral scent that lasts longer than the scents of other brands I’ve tried, but I’ve also found that I don’t need to reapply this one as often, which makes it more than worth it for me.  Its 3 oz. size makes it ideal for travel too.

 

BugBand

Bug Bands

The BugBand brand offers a wide variety of bug repellent options, such as sprays, towelettes, diffusers, and, of course, bug bands.  Naturally derived Geraniol accounts for 20% of the active ingredients in their products, and it’s proven to be quite effective against pests like mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, flies, fire ants, and more.  Everything is DEET-free and safe for the whole family.  Their CFC-free spray lotion comes in three sizes, including a 3 oz. bottle that is air travel safe. The reusable towelettes are available in mulitiple sizes and are perfect for using on your face and neck.  I also like them for applying to the ankle area when I’m wearing pants and don’t want to spray my legs.  My kids love the adjustable BugBand Wristbands because they can use them while they’re swimming, and one version even glows in the dark.  (That makes chasing fireflies at night even more fun for them!)  I like that the bands last for up to 120 hours and come with a reusable storage pod.

 

Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales Bug Bandit

We’ve been using their Bug Bandit Bug Spray for at least a few summers now, and its efficacy seems to have actually improved over the years.  It has an herbal scent that’s strong but fades after a couple of minutes.  Ingredients include citronella oil, soybean oil, rosemary leaf oil, and lemon eucalyptus oil.  You will not find DEET, pesticides, parabens, pthalates, or alcohol, and it’s gluten, dairy, and nut free.  When I accidentally spray too much, it can feel a little sticky, but this only happens when I’m in a rush, and it absorbs pretty quickly anyway.

I think the key to using natural insect repellents is to remember to reapply.  Just like sunscreen, reapply frequently for the best protection.  That might make them a little less convenient than sprays with DEET, but in my opinion, it’s well worth the effort.

Giveaway

Our friends at Bug Band are generously offering Game On Mom readers a chance to win an amazing prize pack valued at $65.  The lucky winner will receive a family pack of wristbands, a diffuser, a box of diffuser refills, a 6 oz. spray, and towelettes!  Giveaway is open to US residents who are 18 and older.  Ends 7/16/17 at 11:59 PM ET.  Good luck!

 

Bug Band Prize Pack Giveaway [Read more…]


Hot Logic: A Portable Oven that Cooks Meals from Scratch, Reheats Leftovers, & Keeps Food Hot for Hours

One thing I really hate is cold food.

Let me rephrase that. One thing I really hate is eating food that’s supposed to be hot, but has gone cold. How many times have you gone to a potluck and had to eat room temperature mac and cheese? It’s no good.  Unfortunately it can be hard to avoid, and with all the summer parties, picnics, and potlucks on our calendar, the thought of not being able to properly heat the food is a real bummer.

But guess what? Today is our lucky day, because I have found the perfect solution: Hot Logic.

Hot Logic

Hot Logic makes a selection of food heating and cooking products, including a mini and a 9×13 casserole size. You’ll notice that I said food heating and cooking, which means that these are way more than the insulated carrying cases or warmers you might have used in the past. These actually provide the option to cook a meal from scratch!

Hot Logic Mini

Just plug in your Hot Logic, and you’re ready to go!

It’s a little hard to describe how these products work: they’re technically slow-cooking ovens, but they sort of work like a cross between an oven and a microwave, but with far more flexibility than either of them. If it can be cooked (or reheated) in an oven or microwave, it can also be cooked or reheated in the Hot Logic portable oven, with an extreme advantage: the Hot Logic makes it virtually impossible to overcook your food. You can use it to keep a green bean casserole warm for a potluck, or you can use it took cook frozen chicken breasts from scratch, and you’ll get delicious results either way. You’re not going to be plagued with things like crusty, burned edges or icy cold centers – instead you’re going to get a perfectly cooked meal that can sit in the Hot Logic for 2 hours or 12 hours, it doesn’t matter. It’s a huge time saver, because you can prep some food the night before, pop it into the Hot Logic on your way to work, and have a hearty dinner ready to eat when you get home in the evening. And of course, when you’re ready to head off to your next picnic, you can plug in the Hot Logic when you arrive and have a perfectly heated dish.

Hot Logic 9x13

Enjoy a hot meal anywhere you have an outlet.

As you might guess, the Hot Logic Mini is a slimmed down version of their larger oven, and this one is perfect for the office. My husband has set this up at work and is enjoying perfectly cooked lunches every day, whether it’s leftovers from the night before or something prepped to cook from scratch. He loves it because he doesn’t have to deal with his office’s terrible microwave, and we’re also saving money. When your homemade lunch is actually enjoyable, you’re far less likely to run out for takeaway!

Hot Logic Mini

Easy and healthy lunch prepared in the Hot Logic Mini

If you’re someone who usually brings a frozen meal for lunch, you can heat that in your Hot Logic Mini too.  Your meal will be cooked to a perfect 165 degrees, but you won’t have to wait in line for a shared microwave anymore!

I’m loving both of our Hot Logic ovens, and we haven’t even been using them for long. They’re perfect for day-to-day cooking and for special occasions, and I know that we’ll use them year round. I already have tailgating and camping plans for them!

Hot Logic offers even more great ideas for using their ovens, so make sure to visit HotLogicMini.com to check out their products and learn all the ways a Hot Logic can make your life easier. You can also keep up with Hot Logic on Facebook and Twitter.


Flavor Your Life + Olive Oil, Apple, & Oat Granola Recipe

I received this product for free from Moms Meet to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

If you came to my house on any given day, one thing you would be guaranteed to find in my kitchen pantry is EVOO.

What’s EVOO? It’s extra virgin olive oil, and if you really want the good stuff, you’ll want European EVOO. Some people call EVOO “liquid gold,” and I have to agree. I use it constantly as both an ingredient in cooked dishes, in salad dressings, and as a condiment for things like dipping breads. It’s incredibly versatile. Because it has a high smoke point of 400° F, you can use it for anything from lightly sautéing to deep frying.

Olive Oil

I could talk to you all day about why I love EVOO, but I still wouldn’t be as informative as Flavor Your Life, an extra virgin olive oil campaign supported by the European Union and the Italian government. Their goal is to educate the world about authentic EVOO from Europe, where EVOO has long been considered the gold standard for cooking. Buying the right EVOO can be tricky, and Flavor Your Life wants to help make the decision easier.

So, let’s talk a bit about extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil comes from the fruit (or “drupe”) of the European olive. EVOO is made by pressing without any heat or chemicals, and it’s the freshest and purest form of olive oil available. EVOO is almost free of acidity (it’s less than 0.8%), which ensures quality. The best olive oils are low in peroxide values, which is required for the “extra virgin” rating. And that rating isn’t just an arbitrary label on the bottle; each oil must be judged by expert tasters who decide if it meets the high standards of the extra virgin designation.

Flavor Your Life

Now that we’ve nailed down what makes EVOO special, let’s look at why the best is European. Olive trees have been cultivated by European farmers for thousands of years, so they have evolved to be perfectly suited for their varying environments. There are different olive tree regions and times of harvest, so European olive oil has many different flavor profiles. Early season oils tend to be greener and more bitter, while late season oils are mild and buttery. Italian oil is often dark and herbal, Greek oil has a strong aroma, and French oil is pale and mild. All of these different flavor profiles can mean different outcomes for recipes, so I love keeping a variety of oils on hand. When I first started buying EVOO, I wasn’t familiar with the different options, so I just grabbed what looked good on the shelf. Now that I know more, I’m able to choose the right oil for a recipe and innovate as I go.

There are countless brands of EVOO available to buy, but one of my favorites is Zucchi, which has been run by seven generations of the Zucchi family. They source only from the top growers, and they offer a feature I love: traceability. This means you can use the QR codes found on every bottle of Zucchi oil to trace the origins of the raw materials used to make the final product. I’m a huge fan of transparency in the production of the foods my family eats, so this feature automatically pushes Zucchi to the top of my list.

Olive Oil, Apple, Oat Granola

Since I love cooking with EVOO so much, I want to share a delicious recipe for Olive Oil, Apple, and Oat Granola.  We love this for breakfast because it’s packed full of healthy ingredients like sunflower seeds and walnuts, and the kids will devour it without any arguments, but it’s great as a snack any time of day.   Since it’s so easy to make, I can prepare this with my daughter, and we enjoy both cooking and eating it together.

Olive Oil, Apple, and Oat Granola Recipe

 

5.0 from 3 reviews
Olive Oil, Apple, & Oat Granola
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • Parchment paper
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed
  • 1 small apple, cored and shredded
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300º F.
  2. Line a 10 x 15 baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush with extra virgin olive oil.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the oats, walnuts, sunflower seeds, shredded coconut, brown sugar, flaxseed, shredded apple, and salt. Mix well
  4. In a small saucepan, gently heat the extra virgin olive oil, honey, and vanilla, stirring continuously until blended and warmed through.
  5. Gently pour the extra virgin olive oil mixture over the oat mixture. Stir well.
  6. Evenly spread the mixture out onto the baking sheet.
  7. Bake in the 300º F oven for 35 minutes until browned and slightly crispy.
  8. Take out of the oven and leave to cool on the baking sheet for 30 minutes.
  9. Break into small clusters
  10. Store in an airtight container. Can keep for up to 2 weeks.

I’ve given you some general information about European extra virgin olive oil, but Flavor Your Life offers a wealth of knowledge. Visit Flavor-Your-Life.com to learn more before your next trip to the olive oil shelves.


13 Things to Do in NYC this Summer

Summer is here, and if you’re planning a getaway to New York City or if you’re just a native wondering what to do to beat the heat, there are many wonderful options for you.  Whether exploring solo, on a first date, or looking for family fun, Vanessa Seis, Fall Fair Director of Affordable Art Fair NYC, has compiled a list of events, fun locations, art exhibitions, and cultural activities that will help you make the most of summer in the NYC area.

Affordable Art Fair NYC

Affordable Art Fair NYC’s Spring Fair courtesy of Phillip Reed

CURRENT ART EXHIBITIONS / EVENTS:
1.  We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 at Brooklyn Museum
ON VIEW: APRIL 21–SEPTEMBER 17, 2017
This amazing exhibition features the works of over 40 black women artists who were creating work during the emergence of second-wave feminism, 1965-85. One of my favorite pieces is “Revolutionary (Angela Davis)” by Wadsworth A. Jarrell. It’s incredibly powerful and inspiring!
https://www.brooklynmuseum.org

2.  The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s and PROCESS LAB: CITIZEN DESIGN at Cooper Hewitt Design Museum
On VIEW: April 07, 2017 – August 20, 2017
The Jazz Age is a flashback to the 1920’s, featuring over 400 examples of interior design, industrial design, decorative art, jewelry, fashion, and architecture, as well as related music and film. PROCESS LAB: CITIZEN DESIGN on the other hand is an exhibition that invites you to think about what you and your community care about, what the issues are, and what design tactics you would propose to make a positive change. It’s fascinating to realize how much you’re impacted by the design of your surroundings and it’s exciting to think about the changes that can be  made to improve your community.
https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/exhibitions/975141995/

3.  Arts in Bushwick Community Day 2017 Hosted by Arts in Bushwick at House of Yes
DATE: June 17, 2017
A super fun day for the entire family, Arts in Bushwick Community Day features art, live music, performances, kid’s activities, and so much more. Make sure to pick up information about Bushwick Open Studios in September, one of my favorite open studios events in NYC.
https://artsinbushwick.org/events/arts-in-bushwick-community-day-2017/

4.  JUST UNDER 100: NEW PRINTS 2017/SUMMER Selected by Katherine Bradford
ON VIEW: June 17 – September 16, 2017
Look out for work by my friend and artist Cary Hulbert. Cary works primarily in print and installation, and I’m super excited we got her on board for the upcoming fall edition of the  Affordable Art Fair NYC, where Cary will be producing a Limited Edition Print that will be for sale at the fair.
http://www.ipcny.org/exhibitions/just-under-100/

5.  Circle Shade – 2πR4 by Eva Jensen Design at Socrates Sculpture Park
ON VIEW: JUNE 21, 2017 – OCTOBER 28, 2017
In the summer, there is nothing better than blue skies and large-scale installations!
http://socratessculpturepark.org/exhibition/follyfunction-circle-shade/

6.  Katja Novitskova, EARTH POTENTIAL presented by Public Art Fund
ON VIEW: from June 22 – November 9, 2017 June 22 in City Hall Park Seven large aluminum sculptures will be scattered throughout City Hall Park, inviting passersby to reflect on the ways in which we see—and comprehend—the potential of the Earth. I can’t wait to experience how the sculptures will interact with their surrounding and how people will respond to it!
https://www.publicartfund.org/view/exhibitions/6188_katja_novitskova_earth_potential

UPCOMING ART EXHIBITIONS / EVENTS:

7.  MoMA PS1 Warm Up 2017 Outdoor Music Series
[Read more…]


The Ultimate Online Kids Party Guide Is Here

Do you have a party coming up for a child between 1 and 18 years old?

Yes? Perfect! We have great news.

KidsParties.Party

There is a new and exciting website out there that has been designed to help Moms and Dads like you with this daunting task. KidsParties.Party aims to please with their user-friendly pages and infinite lists of highly recommended entertainers, party places, rentals, and more for every state across the nation!

The KidsParties.Party goal is to be the number one party source for parents. Unlike other party directories, they aim to create a space that anyone can feel comfortable using and will help in planning a successful and memorable birthday party.

Their site also includes some unique features intended to benefit you!

You can email entertainers directly through the KidsParties.Party site. If you have hired an entertainer listed or are thinking about one, you can see reviews from other customers as well as leave your own. There is also a new system that allows entertainers to be star rated!

With over 120 party categories, you will find everything you need for your next birthday, graduation, or other children’s event. Everything is organized by state, but you can even narrow your results further by county.

Clowns, princess characters, laser tag venues, petting zoos, and party favors are only a few examples of what you can find here. And the fun does not stop there!

Their blog continues to be updated with the most useful information for parents struggling around their child’s birthday. KidsParties.Party’s writers have even taken the time to write hundreds of completely unique birthday wishes.

Find the perfect wish for your son or daughter and write it up in a blank card! Save yourself the hassle of trying to find the most special card for your child. These exclusive birthday messages are organized into age categories and cover every passion your little one might have!

Kids Parties

KidsParties.Party goes above and beyond making your life easier!

Their site also has a completely free and user-friendly software that allows you to make your own birthday party invitations. Customize these creative templates with your own text, fonts, and images, or start from scratch on a blank card. Invites print best on high-quality 5×7 photograph paper – but you will be most impressed with how much money you have saved yourself by printing these at home!

The mission at KidsParties.Party is to take business directories to an entirely new level. They allow parents to become a part of this process; users like you get to review and rate every entertainer, allowing others to see your party experiences and giving you the opportunity to read up on theirs.

This site will become your new go-to for every party in your future. You will never again waste hours Google searching for nearby magicians or banquet halls. Trust the kid party professionals, and your next party is sure to be a hit!

Get started now: https://www.kidsparties.party/

Thank you to Danielle Ternyila for contributing this article.  Danielle is a published novelist and graduate of the Rowan University Writing Arts Program. She now writes for FunNewJersey.com and KidsParties.Party. She loves to travel everywhere and anywhere in the world, usually with her dog by her side.