Will You Still Bug Meeee, Tomorrow…

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I don’t like bugs. I won’t kill them because I’m nuts, but I don’t like them. I equally don’t like bug spray. Not the chemicals, not the feel, not the spray, not the smell, not how I – despite my best efforts – get it in my mouth EVERY time, nothing about it. In fact, generally speaking, I prefer the bug bites over the bug spray (which I usually get anyway even if I use the stinky sprays rendering my use of it moot). So when I was approached at the Momtrends Travel Event by Guardian about their plant-based, non-toxic pump-spray alternative to DEET bug repellant I was intrigued.

Lucky for me I scored a bunch of samples. I threw one in my car and kept one in my downstairs bathroom right next to our patio door. As the bugs started to come out, I started to use it. I must say, I loved it. It didn’t feel gross (the technical term for how most bug sprays feel), it didn’t smell like bug spray (aka human repellent), and thanks to the pump spray vs. the aerosol can, it didn’t get in my mouth (win for The Mint Chip Mama!). Best of all – I DIDN’T GET BUG BITES!

We live next to a water basin so bugs are a-plenty over here at Camp Wallenstein. I was super happy to play with my kids in my backyard and retire for the night without scratching. Even more impressive, when we went to visit our CSA farm and saw swarms and swarms of erudite, organic artisanal vegetable loving bugs, we did a quick spray and voila! No bites. Win one for the humans!

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Currently, 80% of insect repellents on the market are (the synthetic chemical) DEET–based. Yuck. Many parents, including myself, try to avoid DEET as it is not a nice product. Last year, as a more natural alternative, TyraTech (who also makes a great natural lice/lice prevention product) began offering Guardian – a safe, effective, non-toxic insect repellent that is 100% DEET-free. Guardian is the first major innovation in over 60 years in the fight against mosquitos and ticks. This means it will excite two generations of bug haters in your family.

So with the summer in full swing, I want to tell you, dear readers, about Guardian as you get yourselves ready to travel about, especially to areas where insects are active. Guardian’s patented technology, using the plant-based essential oil Geraniol (an active ingredient derived from plants like geraniums and roses), is scientifically proven to perform as well or better than DEET-based products. If you dislike the strong odor or feel of DEET, or find DEET products ineffective or irritating, Guardian is a great alternative for you!

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Guardian currently offers two types of insect repellent, the 4-hour Backyard – comparable to 15% DEET products – and designed for activities such as backyard BBQs, trips to the playground, and time spent enjoying outdoor sporting events and the 8-hour Wilderness – which outperforms 15% DEET products – designed for extended time outdoors in heavily infested areas. Camping, fishing, kayaking, backpacking, whatever adventure awaits, Guardian Wilderness delivers repellency without compromise and won’t harm your plastics and gear.

DEET-free Guardian insect repellents are currently available on Amazon.com.

Here’s to a bug-bite free fabulous Summer!

*GIVEAWAY*

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One lucky reader will win a DEET-Free Guardian Insect Repellent Pack that includes:

A full size (4oz) & travel size (1oz) Guardian Backyard

          A full size (4oz) & travel size (1oz)           Guardian Wilderness

To win – please post in the comment section below:

What’s the most creative way you’ve tried to keep mosquitoes out of your yard?

Winner chosen Saturday, July 18th, 2015.

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So excited for Blogger Bash!

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The Mint Chip Mama’s Sesame Place Tips!

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If you live on the East Coast, I’m guessing at some point in your life you have been – or are planning to go – to Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA.

Sesame Place was my absolute favorite amusement park as a kid so I could not wait to take my own children. It’s a great park because you have the characters for the little kids and the rides for the big kids. It’s just a happy place to visit and even with going back year after year it just gets better.

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Right on the tails of our third trip (last Friday – my strategy is always go on a weekday!) I offer up my tried & true tips.

Planning in advance

If you can’t tell by now, I’m a planner. I highly suggest booking your tickets, meal reservation, and anything else you want (locker, parking, etc) at least 24 hours in advance. The meals lock out that day so be sure to book it in advance. The park is a bit bigger than Adventureland and very manageable in one day.

Weather

Weather is always the wild card. Remember to check the weather in Langhorne, not where you live (duh) because it could be completely different.

Speaking of weather, in the three times we visited we had pouring rain, a hot summer day, and a 70% chance of rain which turned out perfect (woot!). Have no fear, if it does start raining, you can score a Sunny Day ticket to go back!

July 24 2012 064Our most recent visit was my favorite because the weather was perfect and I could go on the rides (last time I was preggers)! Interestingly enough I learned if you have a little cookie in your monster you can purchase a Single Day Admission Ticket at 50% off the front gate price (the day of your visit at Guest Relations) since your ride options are limited. In other words you can be the designated stuff holder without paying full price!

Arrival

You’ve driven four PAW Patrol’s (the way my family measures time) and you arrive.

I suggest getting there at 9:45am (they open at 10am). Pay your $17 parking fee, drive as far to the right as you can, and park. You will be very close to the park entrance. This is helpful so you can go back and forth to your car if needed (we kept all water ride supplies in there). As you wait for the park to open you can take your obligatory family photo under the “Sesame Place” arch d’triumph.

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Also take a moment to enjoy the Hollywood Boulevard-ish Sesame Street character handprints and Edward Scissorhands-Esque foliage characters out front!

As you approach the entrance, there are ticket kiosks to the left but if you printed out your tickets at home (highly recommended) you can proceed to the entry and get scanned through. If you encounter any issues the guest service booth is located right there and the line goes fast.

Ride Strategy

At first glance you will see the biggest attraction, the Vapor Trail roller coaster. Head to that first as it’s popularity comes with a line to match. We did dry rides first, lunch, changed into our suits (secretly digesting along the way. Ah ah ah), water rides, and a final dry ride “spin cycle“.

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Character Encounters

There are several ways to meet the Sesame Street characters – around the park (usually with a line), during a character meal, a VIP Meet & Greet, or the parade.

Shouting out a HUGE endorsement to the character meal – Lunch with Elmo & Friends – the highlight of our trip three times in a row. BOOK IT IN ADVANCE. You may be able to get 10% off as a AAA member. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. Worth a try. Kids under 2 eat free but include them in your reservation. They offer breakfast and dinner as well.

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I love Lunch with Elmo & Friends – it’s a great way to break up your day, refuel, and get some great photos.The characters walk around, sit at your table and pose with you. They also put on a show culminating in a big old dance party. Don’t forget to take home the straw cup they serve your kids. It’s the perfect (free) souvenir!

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Water Rides

I haven’t been on legit water rides since college. Know what? I loved them as much as I remembered. The highlight was – while mid-tunnel and sparked by the pin holes in the Sesame Streak – a flash back memory of that very ride as a kid. Suddenly I wasn’t a wife and mother but a teen tour kid enjoying my favorite ride. I had totally forgotten about it. When my daughter asked if we could go on again I said “YES” with the gusto of younger me instead of 37 year old me dodging my husband and 20m old son who desperately wanted to go home.

Most water rides offer single or double tubes. At 43″ my daughter was able to ride alone. Not gonna lie, on our second turn when she asked to go solo I shed a small tear. Sunrise sunset.

As a big amphibious shoe fan I recommend wearing a pair of water shoes, Tevas, or Keens all day. I also like long sleeve rash guards especially the ones from Lands’ End or Old Navy. Also worth mentioning – there are complimentary life vests for babies & kids so no need to bring your own.

One of the coolest rides (and scariest for me because of the size & difficulty keeping an eye on my kid) was The Count’s Splash Castle. It was “awesome” and I’m sure my daughter could have spent another two hours there. I owed her a second dessert for pointing out the giant bucket was about to pour on my head as we exited.

Shows

If your visit coincides with very hot weather or a child too small or afraid of rides, be sure to check out the shows – some offering air conditioning along with entertainment!

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Parade

The daily Neighborhood Birthday Party Parade is best seen at the intersection of the black & blue streets near the dry ride entrance. On a busy day it might be worth sending someone to stake out a good spot. Not totally necessary but a nice break from your family the rides. (I won’t tell your husband). People start lining up thirty minutes prior. Be sure to check your map or app for the day’s schedule.

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We were lucky enough to attend a VIP Character Meet & Greet (30 minutes before the parade) this time. Afterwards, upon my husband’s suggestion, we sat down on a bench in the shade at the beginning of the route (in front of the lockers). It wasn’t the best viewing point but it was good enough and got us back on the water rides before the lines formed again.

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The parade was cute and a good “grand finale”/exit strategy. If you live in the NYC area this strategy could get you home by dinner.

Bye Bye

You made it! If you’re expecting a sleep & transfer situation, I suggest a thorough delousing (think sun + sweat + ice cream in hair) before getting in the car. Bring a wash cloth and pajamas. I also brought a spray bottle filled with Mustela. Spray, wash, pajama, go. They’ll be out before you leave the parking lot.

Bring lounge pants.

Your welcome.