Monday, June 8, 2015

8 summer fun ideas for special needs families, plus a $75 gift card giveway


Summer is prime time for family fun, but it doesn't always pan out the way you think it will (as families of kids with special needs well know). The people at P&G and Babies "R" Us asked me to share tips I've learned over the years. Read on, and enter to win a $75 Toys "R" Us gift card (also good at Babies "R" Us) to jumpstart your summer fun.

1. Keep a bag of toys and books in the car
Include a few gift-wrapped ones, too. We have a cloth tote with a few surprises for the kids to play with, so they are not glued to the DVD on road trips—or they could use a little distraction when we hit a restaurant. Max's sensory issues used to get the best of him and he'd sometimes hesitate to go in, but if I pulled out a wrapped surprise toy I had a better chance of enticing him in. Some of the stuff in our bag: books about fire trucks, a mini Etch A Sketch, a Bruin Revvin Rescue Friction Fire Truck (see a theme here?!), a Color Wonder Planes Fire & Rescue Book with magic markers, a drawing pad plus sheets of assorted stickers.

2. Store wipes in the glove compartment
We have long kept a stash of Pampers Sensitive Wipes in the glove compartment. They're handy for ice-cream pit stops, the roadside BBQ stand your husband insists on visiting despite the fact that he ate lunch a half-hour ago, wiping sand off the kids' feet post-beach and all other situations involving a mess and/or husbands who can't resist BBQ. Also good: a portable stain pre-treat stick, like Dreft's. We still hit Babies 'R Us for this stuff because we get good coupons.

3. Make an activity backup plan
As much as you think the zoo or adventure park might be a fun outing, your child might not agree (see: meltdown central). Before you go, Google around and see if there are alternate activities in the area, or just a nice park where you could chill out for a bit...and maybe give the zoo or adventure park another go.

4. Bring beach gear your kid can handle
It isn't easy for Max to grasp the skinny handles of those little beach shovels; he does better with ones that have thick, long handles. I've made buckets more graspable by wrapping a washcloth around the handle.

5. Sneak a little therapy into your road trip
One good game I learned from a speech therapist: I Say, You Say. Make simple sounds like maaa, paaa, taaa, baaaa and daaaa and have your kid imitate them. You can start with one sound like "ma ma ma" and move on to other combos like "ma da" or "pa ba." You can also do some fine- and gross-motor-skill movements to accompany the sounds like clapping your hands or touching different body parts.

6. Have an emergency tote in the trunk 
Before Max was potty trained, we had a bag in the trunk filled with diapers, wipes and Bibsters (disposable paper bibs), along with a couple of changes of clothing.

7. Ask about a quiet space
If we're going to a theme park, I'll call ahead of time and ask about quiet areas. If we're visiting another family for a barbecue, I'll email the host and ask where a good quiet spot is to take Max in case he needs to regroup. It's good to know so you're not simultaneously dealing with a wailing kid on sensory overload and figuring out a place to whisk him away from the crowds, fast.

8. Two words: water gun
This trick was a winner on a long trip we took last summer. Turn off the air conditioning. Open the car's windows. Grab a loaded water gun you have cleverly brought with you (here's a six-pack of 'em). Turn around and start blasting the kids, who will inevitably crack up. Guaranteed, they will ask you to squirt some in their mouths, one cool way to help keep them hydrated. Replenish the gun with your water bottle. Enjoy your status as Coolest Mom Ever—at least for the next couple of hours.

Enter to win a $75 Toys "R" Us gift card  

I have one $75 Toys "R" Us gift card up for grabs. To enter, you must both:
• Fill in your information on the form below
• Leave a comment on this post sharing summer plans you're excited about.

Extra entries are available. 

This giveaway will be open until Tuesday, June 16, 2015 at 12:00 a.m. The winner will be announced here. Open to legal residents of the U.S. See "Terms and Conditions" for the full rules.

More chances to win a gift card!

Happening on June 9th at 1pm ET: a Babies "R" Us Twitter party. Hashtag: #BabysBigSummer. Join in to win one of nine $150 Babies "R" Us gift cards, or a $250 Babies "R" Us gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway This post is sponsored by P&G, from whom I received compensation and products, but all opinions and joyful experiences are my own. 

Offers at Babies "R" Us throughout June include $9.99 Pampers Splashers, $5 off Luvs Value Box of Diapers, $19.99 Pampers Value Boxes of Wipes and a free Dreft Stain Remover 22 oz. with purchase of Dreft laundry detergent 100 oz.

147 comments:

  1. Hi, we have a busy summer planned , with many sleep away camps, Boy Scout camp, double h ranch, a medically fragile camp for both of my boys, and for the first time we are hosting a fresh air fund child. This gift card would help get summer supplies for when this child comes to our home
    April corvin

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  2. we're excited about our first trip to Disney this summer!

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  3. Many lazy beach days! Just pack some toys and snacks!

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  4. I would get diapers for my new little grandson.

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  5. I'm going to various dives and seeing the aliens.

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  6. I would buy a new stroller. I have my eye on the Baby Trend Snap N Go FX Universal Infant Car Seat Carrier Stroller.

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  7. I am excited to take my kids to the beach this summer. One item I would get is the 20 Piece Beach Sand Set.

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  8. I would buy a double stroller. Baby number 2 is on way!

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  9. Not sure if my first comment went thru- trying again. We love summer camp!

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  10. I would get a new Baby High Chair because mine is so old and I need an updated model!

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  11. If I was the winner I would buy my brother a stroller for his new baby.

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  12. I have four kids and our youngest has Spastic Quad Cerebral Palsy. He is 3. I would buy diapers, wipes, swim diapers, sunscreen etc if I won. Summer essentials. Love your blog. Read daily but usually too busy to comment.

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  13. I would use this to buy my grandson a bed rail. I have my eye on the BabyHome Side Bed Rail in Lime for him.

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  14. I would buy diapers. Thank you!

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  15. I would buy Christmas gifts for our 4 kids.

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  16. I would get my sister's some baby gifts- they recently both just had babies.

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  17. I would get sand toys, a beach chair, and swim diapers for my little one. jj250@aol.com

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  18. I plan to take my youngest so and my granddaughter to a lakeside beach this summer and would love some great water toys and new beach towels.

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  19. I would like to pick up clothes for my nephew.

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  20. I would get Pampers wipes because we use those for everything.

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  21. I would pick up some cute clothes.

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  22. If I won I'd put it towards a crib mattress!

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  23. nicole tillman / akkinarosehisonmate@gmail.com i would take my twin gyrls shopping and let them pick what ever they want too =)

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  24. Spliit it between my son and my daughter. They are one and four. thank you :)

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  25. I'd do some shopping for my daughter's birthday! She'd love a new bike :)

    demureprincess7(at)gmail(dot)com

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  26. I would buy the Play Hut- Play Tent - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shell Raiser Vehicle

    rounder9834 @yahoo.com

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  27. We are excited about summer travel this summer, we will be heading to Dallas Texas! Also enjoying the beaches, lakes, and water parks are on the list of things to do.

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  28. I would buy a gift for a coworker expecting her first!

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  29. I would buy diapers and wipes for my grandson

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  30. I will buy some cute clothes for all of my new great nieces and nephews.

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  31. My first comment didn't show up. :-(

    We'd use it for some fun sensory toys and maybe a table or desk.

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  32. Heather Hayes PanjonJune 8, 2015 at 10:40 PM

    I Would Buy Diapers And Clothes For My Nephew!

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  33. I would buy new summer clothes for my sons.

    Jennifer Marie

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  34. I would definitely be picking up wipes (can never have enough) along with squirt guns. Genius. (lynn w on rafflecopter... the darn thing is linked to my facebook. Middle name probs). :)

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  35. I'm excited to take some online courses and just chill and heal after a crazy year.

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  36. We could pick up some overnight pullups for camping trips and beach toys. I love your idea of having a secret stash of wrapped things...there are some times with my son that fun things are just NOT happening, due to the smallest issue. The surprise may help!
    mrsbrockavich48 (at)gmail (dot)com

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  37. I'm really excited about going to a lot of movies at the theater!

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  38. Thanks for the great tips! We'd use the gift card to purchase some accessories for my grandson's bike - he can't walk yet but he is learning to ride a bike! (go figure) & he is so excited about it! So are we!

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  39. I would buy some new things for baby #2 due in July! I need a baby book, some feeding supplies, and a sound machine!

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  40. We always go to the beach for a week. This year I'm excited about some water toys I've bought and my son being tall enough to hopefully be able to touch the bottom of the pool so he can walk around. He loves the waves on the beach and sitting on the beach and splashing in the water. We'll also probably hit the water park that we did last year and he loved that too, this year packing extra sunscreen since we all got burned at the park last year. We've also bought rash guards for myself and my husband to hopefully minimize the burn.

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  41. star wars toys!

    leia617 (at) hotmail (dot) com

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  42. I am excited about our road trip this summer.

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  43. We are excited to just spend time outdoors with our container garden, swimming, and enjoying the beautiful weather! Was a cold winter!

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  44. If I won, I would love to get a big wheel for him to ride this summer!

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  45. I would get clothes for my stepdaughter or Disney princesses!

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  46. We have a fun summer trip planned to a cabin up north. My kiddo will get to swim and fish for walleye! Thanks for the contest - I'd love to get my son a tricycle so he can practice pedaling - he will get the hang of it eventually - maybe before his third birthday?!

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  47. I would use it towards a convertible car seat.

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  48. I would buy a pool float, snorkel and mask and a baby gym.

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  49. I would buy sunblock, and wipes and pool toys for my girls, they are much needed!

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  50. I would buy gifts for my friend that's a new mom

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  51. I would buy some summer games at babies r us,)

    Jmatek AT wi DOT rr DOT com

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  52. The only plan I'm really looking forward to is introducing our seven year old autistic son to his baby brother. I'm due mid July, and I'm hoping all goes well with sibling bonding!

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  53. We would love a childs picnic table!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  54. I would get a bathing suit with shoes, washing powder and snacks

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  55. I am excited about checking out some of the lakes in the area where we just moved. There are also tons of great hiking spots and camping spots!! I would put this gift card towards a good car seat.I want to make sure I get a safe but comfortable model.

    Carly D.

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  56. Little one is due soon, so anything I need. Prob diapers!

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  57. I would stock up on wipes.
    heather hgtempaddy@hotmail.com

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  58. I would get lots and lots of bibs, we just started solid foods

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  59. I would buy Jurassic Park toys for the kids

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  60. Most likely cute baby clothes or may stock up on diapers

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  61. We have a camping trip planed and cant wait & I would buy the boy's outdoor games to play on our trip

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  62. I would buy clothing and diapers.

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  63. Don't actually have any exciting summer plans, but a water gun fight sounds super fun, haven't played with those in over a decade, lol.

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  64. I would love to use it toward the purchase of a crib - shaunie

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  65. I have a special needs son as well. He is in a wheelchair, but that doesn't stop us from going places. Our favorite summer trip is St. Augustine beach. I could buy wipes as we always need those, sunscreen, beach toys, etc. Thank you.

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  66. We are looking forward on going to AZ for a week to visit family :)

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  67. I am in the process of adopting my 4 year old nephew who has autism and Spd and I am new to caring for a child with Special needs. Thank you so much for these wonderful tips to have. I hope i can do my best with him. He he such a bright little boy and i see so much potential in him! I hope i can contunie to be there for him! I would take him and my little girl shopping , let them each pick out some fun summer toys to play out doors and we beed some feeding utensils that will help him to be able to feedhimself without help :)

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  68. I would buy some great new summer clothes.

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  69. I'd pick up bathing suits, a kiddie pool, outdoor toys and wipes
    Leidy R

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  70. I would pick up a high chair or a walker!

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  71. We are adopting from foster care, and put down 0-5. we haven't been matched yet so what we will buy will depend on the age of our kid!!

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  72. I would love to get my niece some clothes!

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  73. We have season's passes to Six Flags so we will be spending a lot of time there and the beach.

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  74. We are hoping to visit the beach, I would buy lots of sand toys!

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  75. I would buy my son a bday present.

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  76. I would use it to buy a gift for my son's upcoming birthday in July.

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  77. I would buy toys for summer.

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  78. i would buy some toys for my baby grandson

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  79. we dont havr plans for this summer,,we are going to see what each day brings

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  80. We are taking a family vacation at the coast and it would be so great to surprise my three boys with new sand toys and books.

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  81. I'd love to let the kiddo choose, the joy in his eyes when he makes his own you choices is priceless to me!

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  82. I'd love to let the kiddo choose, the joy in his eyes when he makes his own you choices is priceless to me!

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  83. I would buy a diaper bag and bottles for my daughter who is due in July.

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  84. I'd get some more baby proofing supplies

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  85. I would buy wipes and sand toys since we are planning a trip to the Oregon coast!

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  86. i would buy my kids a new lego set or other building blocks

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  87. With a baby on the way in October I would pick up some things like diapers and toys.

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  88. I would buy my baby summer clothes or maybe a high chair.

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  89. I would purchase items for kids in homeless shelters

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  90. I would buy diapers, wipes, baby wash, baby lotion, & other baby goodies for my friend who just had twin girls :)

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  91. I would buy presents for my son since its almost his 2nd birthday!
    email if i win miranda55g @ yahoo DOT com

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  92. I WOULD PICK UP SOME SUMMER OUTFITS FOR MY BABY GIRL :)

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  93. I'd buy some toys for my little boys <3 and we plan on heading home to AZ to visit family

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  94. We are heading to a cabin on the lake, Kids are gonna get to fish for there first times. Very excited!

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  95. I would use it to buy wipes and diapers!

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  96. id like to buy some outfits for my nephews baby

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  97. If I were to win this gift card, I'd get some things for my grandson. Probably some clothes and a fun toy. Thank-you!!

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  98. I'd stock upon diapers as I am expecting my first little one.

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  99. formula!! and wipes and diapers too! things that I always need!

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  100. I do have a new baby on the way but I think I would buy some homeschool art supply for my son Jack.

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  101. I think we might take a trip to the beach. I would load up on toys so the kids don't get bored.

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  102. This summer, we're excited to be attending a dinner theater, which will be my daughter's first time doing one.
    I'd love to win this ... we're expecting our second kiddo in November and I'd love to stock up on diapers or any other essentials we may not get off our registry!

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  103. I would pick up some batteries for the boys toys as well as some diapers for my youngest son. Thanks for the chance!

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  104. I am not sure exactly what I would do with the cards, but with three children, it will come in handy for books or toys. The email I check most often is fossil316@aol.com

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  105. I would buy some feeding items, wipes and a summer outfit.

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  106. I would get diapers and wipes for my newest nephew! tmichellecooper55@gmail.com

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  107. i'd get new clothes or toys! :)

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  108. I'm pregnant with my first baby and due this summer so I would use this for baby items that my little one needs!

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  109. We are excited about of vacation to California to enjoy some time at the beach!

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  110. I would buy lots of cute clothes

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  111. We go to the beach every other weekend. This list is very helpful. I go so often that you would think I would have it down pat what to take. Every weekend I forget something and the kids are upset it is not with us.

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  112. I would use this towards lot of books!

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  113. I love all of these ideas. We are doing a road trip to Savannah and I would use the gift card to do some of these ideas!

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  114. I can't wait for our 7day trip to Disney World!!! Its going to be a blast!

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  115. I would get diapers and wipes

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  116. I would get some diapers and wipes and a few things for my daughters birthday~

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  117. I'm having another baby 17 years after my last one, so I need EVERYTHING! Or at least cloth diapers.

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  118. If I won, I would buy my kids some beach toys!

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  119. for sure summer necessities as well as a beach mat type thingy

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  120. I would pick up lots of diapers for my sister in law who is expecting there first child. I would love to help them out!!!

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  121. i am expecting and would pick up a car seat for my baby.

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  122. Diapers and wipes!

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  123. My nephews bday is next month so I would buy him a big wheel or something fun like that :)
    crazyweirdo33@yahoo.com

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  124. I would buy a stroller for a friend who is pregnant.

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  125. I would put the money toward a new rocking chair. :)

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  126. I would let my kids pick something out! That makes them happy!

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  127. My niece's baby girl would get diapers and a fun infant toy if I won! furrymaiden@gmail.com

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  128. I would pick something out for my kiddo.

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  129. Beach and camping

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  130. I would buy some things for my Kids.

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  131. swimming at the beach daily Thanks for the chance! mvantil@cfl.rr.com

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  132. I would but my granddaughter new sandals & beach toys Thanks

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Thanks for sharing!



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