Friday, April 18, 2008

It's coming, It's coming, It's coming!!

It's almost time to hit the beach. In the town we live we have several amazing public beaches.
Going to the beach alone with three busy kids requires a system and the appropriate equipment. So, here are some of the things that made beach going easier last summer - and some things I have found that I want to try for this year.

The first thing on my beach list is my $10 Summer Pass. I can use this to access all of the beaches (it covers parking too) and most are within 5 miles of where we live.

I could not go to the beach with the kids sans hubby without this beach cart. I was lucky and bought mine for $25 at the Christmas Tree Shops last year. It is a LIFESAVER. I can put our towels, my chair, the blanket, the beach toys, my wallet, a small cooler and more and then still have a hand free to hold one of the kids. I don't know if we could camp out at the beach without it. I might add it's also pretty handy for carting kids sporting equipment around on game day, especially if you are the coach and have to take the kids, a cooler, a bunch of balls, pop up goals, etc...

I also tricked out my beach cart with these stroller accesories from the girls stroller. A handy place to keep my drink and the hooks can hold an extra lightweight bag.

Another great use of this beach cart is if someone is injured, sore, whiny unable to walk without a body part falling off - you can substitute a small child for a bag on the bottom.

This is my choice of a sand toy bag. Sand is not nearly as much of an issue as it used to be. I just shake it our really well and a lot less sand comes home with us.

Although we don't use one, we have considered some sort of a sun shelter. I'm not a huge fan since I don't think we'd use it enough, we're kind of active beach people, not a lot of sitting around. When we are done being in the sun, we go home, but if we were heading to the beach for long periods of time, then I'd definitely consider this.
Ah, the kids. I'm not normally a water shoe person, but we like to walk the beach and explore, and sometimes that means we end up wandering tidal pools with rocks. So, we do beach shoes. I like these and these and of course these.

I'm a bit of an SPF addict. It's ridiculous how much sunblock we go through. I have found it easier since we moved to sunsuits. Anna and Emma models styles like this that provide non-stop SPF 50.
These hats are amazing to keep the sun off the face and neck.
Julia sports a style more like this with this. She likes it because it really does protect her from the dreaded boogie board rash. Speaking of boogie boards. Julia loves this one and is going to try a skimboard this year. Wish us luck. She's watched other people doing this at the beach, and has been dying to try it. It is pretty cool.

I use a pretty basic hardside little cooler to keep our water (lots of water!) and snacks in, but how cute are these? This one is pretty handy and cute too.
A good beach blanket with a waterproof bottom. Hang out a little closer to waters edge without getting all wet.
Did I mention sunblock? I'm an addict. I need to step away from the sunblock. I love this stuff, it has always kept my kids from getting even a little red. I think I might be talked into giving a spray version a try. Everyone recommends the Blue Lizard, it's Australian sunblock, so I think this is going to be the first sunblock out of the gate for us this year. I also always buy a sunblock stick too, it's so much easier to put on little faces and ears. For me on my body, I usually just use whatever I'm using for the kids, but on my face I have to be super careful. I have super sensitive skin on my face and most sunblock actually burns my face. I use Neutrogena Healthy Defense SPF 45 on my face and hands, of course I'm still a Bare Minerals addict and that also has a natural SPF in the foundation and I use those for everyday running around town. But for the beach, I'm at a loss, some friends recommended Kiss My Face & Neck and I'm going to give it a try.
Another sunblock place are my lips, on the beach it's Burts Bees Lifeguard all the way. I know it can leave a little white trace, but it's worth it. I keep all of this sunblock (so really just a BIG bottle of sunblock, my face stuff, lip stuff and sunblock stick) in a small cosmetics bag so it's in one place and I don't have to deal with leaky bottles if that happens.

Now, I keep the beach cart, boogie/skim boards, bag of sand toys, life jackets in the van all the time. I bring the cooler and the other beach bag with wet suits, wet towels, sunblock, etc back inside so I can get everything washed before the next time.

I'm sad to announce that my faithful beach bag of six years died last summer. The handle broke beyond repair and the liner was shredding on everything making a huge mess. So, I'm on the prowl for another bag. I like a big bag since I might have to carry up to 5 beach towels in it plus cover ups for the girls to change into. I like it to be super waterproof, so I don't have a wet van, and ideally, I love a little pocket or two on the inside to keep hairbands and other small things safe so I'm not digging in the bag. This LL Bean tote in XL with a ZIpper is close, but I'll keep looking before I buy it.
I also always bring a grocery bag or two for beach finds that I don't want making a mess all over, but I'm careful to not let them fly away! If you have any favorite beach items, tips or must haves, please share!

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