What a Play Date with a blogger is REALLY like, Plus A Play Date Kit Giveaway!

pretty prudent patio
I know y’all have seen my patio, when I decorated it a few summers back. Didn’t it look nice? Many people wondered, what is a backyard like that really like when you’ve got kids?

Well, for the answer to that, let’s turn around 180 degrees, and take a look in the other direction.
summer play date

Gah! It’s like lord of the flies in my driveway! But I love it. Every summer we order a pool from amazon (this year my husband went with the “ocean reef” theme for extra classiness) and park it in the driveway. Then I stock up on games…


and food…
summer play date

and let all of my favorite parent-friends know that the Curtis house is open for business all summer long. Then every saturday a bunch of kids come over and have a blast while we grown ups eat, chat, and drink age-appropriate drinks.
juicy juice summer play date

This year, we have a few new additions to my favorite room in the house (the patio), including a new grill (yeek! i love it!)…
summer play date 2

…and my seat. Yes MY SEAT. Don’t even try to sit here.
summer play date 3

Part of my strategy for play dates is to always keep a few fun activities or crafts on reserve. Don’t put everything out at the beginning of the play date, or they get bored. Wait until someone starts whining or someone else skins their knee, and distract distract distract with a new dose of fun you’ve been keeping as a surprise. Something that can help you out with that? The Juicy Juice Summer Play Date pack we are giving away. Enter at the end of this post, and remember that when you serve up some of this summer’s Monster’s University Juicy Juice every box lets you enter for the chance to win prizes such as movie tickets, a Monsters University DVD, or even a trip to tour Pixar Animation Studio in Emeryville, CA & a $5,000 scholarship (see details below).

Tracking Pixel
Umm, my kid is adorable and I’m totally not biased. I LOVE HER SO VERY MUCH.

Get my ingredients for an easy, relaxing, and totally fun play date to celebrate the last days of summer after the jump…

Scarlet’s favorite food is “cold shrimp,” which also seems to be flies’ favorite food, so food covers are a necessity. And beer of course. And someone always manages to get a boo-boo so the heart ice pack is on full alert.

While y’all know I love cooking, I am not above some pre-marinated, ready-to-grill meats from Trader Joe’s. Neither is the grill master, my husband. *dedicated readers will note the return of “the hat,” sigh.

I mean, that was fast and delicious and all I had to do was hand it to someone else then put it in my mouth 15 minutes later. Lazy Jaime FTW!

One activity I always save for the weekends is picking the produce, because the kids LOVE to do this.
summer play date tomatoes

My friend Macki (and food blogger, and mother of three) made the most amazing balsamic tomato salad. She made enough to feed 200 people, yet we ate it all in under an hour. And yes, even design bloggers use mis-matched paper plates and tablecloths and plastic bowls sometimes. This isn’t a wedding reception, right?

Is there anything better then a fresh tomato in the summer?

Well, maybe one thing…

Fresh watermelon!!

So the kids went wild in the pool (seriously, it’s like $80, comes with a filter and everything, and they love it SO MUCH), and it’s only 3 feet deep so it’s not quite as scary for parents as a real pool. Though for swimmers still learning, a floaty vest is always wise.
summer play date 1
Maybe all the parents ended up in the pool fully dressed at the end of the night, but you don’t have any pictures so you can’t prove anything.

Kids. Love. The. Plastic. Pool.

Air scoop ball was one of my hidden-until-such-a-time-as-necessary games (and it comes in the play date kit we are giving away!). This entertained Lincoln and Scarlet for almost 45 minutes!

When they tired of that, I brought out the big guns. I’d been saving this all summer for just the right moment to BLOW THOSE CHILDRENS’ MINDS! SAND ART!

You can buy sand art kits on amazon. I had mine pre-prepared with squeeze bottles and extra sand and the kids went wild for it. Just FYI, Scarlet and Sylvie are 5 and 8, I don’t recommend sand art much younger then that. I think around age 5 is when it starts to make sense, because they have the dexterity and patience to do it. But I highly recommend getting one of these kits and holding on to it until the exact moment when everyone is asking to watch TV at 2 pm or fighting over who gets the pink plate because it’s like MAGIC. We got a whole hour, maybe 1.5, of peace out of this activity!

Ok, so, I hope y’all like this sneak peak at what a blogger play date is really like. It may not be perfectly arranged and photographed, but I think all three kids, four adults, and one baby had a perfect afternoon. If you want a little leg up on pulling together a super fun end-of-summer play date, enter to win the Juicy Juice summer play date party kit below! It includes:
1 air-scoop game set
1 green toys jump rope
1 pack Crayola sidewalk crayons
1 colorful 36-piece bowl, plate, and tumbler set
12 pack of bubbles
1 Egg and Spoon Race set
and JUICY JUICE! We had so much fun with every part of this kit. Go enter below right now!

And don’t forget, for a limited time, Juicy Juice products will feature characters from the sequel to the acclaimed Monsters, Inc., Monsters University. The Monster-sized Instant Win and Sweepstakes Giveaway gives you the opportunity to win some fantastic prizes for your kids. Each specially marked package of Juicy Juice has a unique Game Code which can be redeemed on their website. Each Game Code is valid for one Instant Win prize and one Sweepstakes entry. No purchase necessary! See Official Rules for how to enter for free and for full details: http://www.juicyjuice.com/Monsters/Rules.aspx Every time you buy Juicy Juice, you’ll win prizes for your kids! Prizes include:
•Character call – One of your kids’ favorite Monsters Inc. characters will call your home with a personalized message!
•Digital books
•Movie tickets
•Monsters University Blu-ray DVD (release date: October 2013)
•Downloadable coloring sheet
•Downloadable game book including mazes, coloring, matching, crossword puzzles
•Mobile games
•Exclusive content such as behind-the-scenes, bloopers, etc.
•Downloadable soundtrack song
•Monsters University screensaver
•Collector cards
•Desktop pages

The grand prize sweepstakes winner will receive a behind-the-scenes tour of Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, CA complete with a private screening of the film as well as a $5,000 scholarship! Also, ten first prize winners will receive a $5,000 scholarship!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is sponsored by Juicy Juice. Thanks for the fun inspiration!




Thank you for offering us a chance to win! As an organizer of a local mommy’s group this is greatly appreciated.


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