With all of the news about local NJ beaches filled with shark sightings, killer jellyfish, riptides and bacteria, it’s time to look for a family friendly alternative. I have just the right place for your next family getaway – a lake!
I put a list together for you of the top 10 lakes to visit to cool off and relax in the sand this scorching hot Summer!
Lake passes are half off until end of season! free admission for children under 2 yrs old. Picnic tables and grill available for rent at $8/day. Open 11am-6am weekdays.
2. Atsion Lake – Route 206 Shamong (Burlington County) 609-268-0444
Historic Batsto Village is also located within Wharton State Forest, a former bog iron and glassmaking industrial center from 1766 to 1867 that currently reflects the agricultural and commercial enterprises that existed here during the late 19th century. Fees are: Weekdays $5, Weekends $10.
As a child I would enjoy splashing in Lake Hopatcong an remember having so much fun doing water sports. I tried water skiing and would frequently take rides across the lake in my uncles boat. There are tons of things to do at Lake Hopatcong as it’s NJ’s largest lake! You can enjoy water sport rentals, or swim off of the docks.
Parents and older children will be swept away by Tomahawk Lake’s wide variety of incredible water slides and rides to choose from such as their 400 foot body slides and speed slide, swan boats, duck boats, paddle boats and bumper boats, the one-person water coaster, Trolley slide and their awesome Rocky Mountain slide that spans over 500 feet!
Swimming is permitted in Hooks Creek Lake from Memorial day weekend through Labor Day weekend while lifeguards are on duty. Visitors will find a beach complex containing changing area, restrooms, a first-aid station and a concession offering refreshments, novelties and beach supplies. Inner tubes, rafts and other flotation devices are not permitted in the swimming area. Only Coast Guard approved life jackets are permitted. Pets are prohibited on the beach. $5 Weekdays, $10 Weekends.
If I told you that you could complete a laundry list of Spring Cleaning tasks using just one product, you probably wouldn’t believe me. I am a bit skeptical myself, but I am going to put it to the test for you! I am talking about baking soda. There have been some strong claims that it does an unlimited amount of tasks effectively. Lets break some of them down and try it.
It is said that dumping just 1 cup of baking soda into your load of laundry will make your detergent work extra hard for you. This seems like it would work by using the odor eliminating factor or the baking soda, along with the abrasive paste it creates when wet. I would think the abrasiveness would fade away being that it is mixed with a much larger ratio of water. What else can it do? Let’s put them to the test,
Clean Wax and Dirt off of your Veggies and Fruit –
Use a little baking soda and water as a safe abrasive to remove excess dirt and wax from fresh fruit and veggies.
TEST: I tried to use the most waxy fruits and veggies could think of, an apple and a cucumber. Normally I’d use some dish soap and a scrubbing sponge and get to work in making sure there’s no more dirt, wax or soap left on them, but this is a safer alternative that’s even quicker.
VERDICT: It’s TRUE! You don’t even need to use a scrubber and can literally just use your hands to swoosh it around and rinse.
Drain Cleaner, Clear that Grime –
This is a simple drain cleaning technique that takes a bit of upkeep. But does it pay off? To use baking soda as a drain cleaner, run the hot water a bit, and then sprinkle a little baking soda down the drain regularly to keep them fresh and clear of blockages.
TEST: I really cannot claim this to be true OR false just yet. I’ll have to try it a few times, or maybe when my kitchen sink gets that smell after dirty dishes. I tested it in my bathroom sink, but it didn’t make a difference since it didn’t smell or get clogged to begin with.
VERDICT: I’d say this would be a good ritual and may be true to keep a smelly drain from recurring or clogging. but I won’t know for sure until I keep up with it.
Make your Vinyl Shower Curtain as Good as New –
This claims you can simply add some baking soda to a damp sponge and wipe down your vinyl shower curtain and hand to dry, This seems too simple. Especially is there is mold or mildew build up on it.
TEST: I followed the directions by using a damp sponge and sprinkling the baking soda on the spots of the vinyl shower curtain. I scrubbed just a small area of the shower curtain, and then rinsed it off. You can definitely see the difference!
VERDICT: This absolutely does work and it is TRUE it will remove the mold and mildew from the vinyl shower curtain. Personally, It is more effort then it is worth for me and I rather just spend the $5 to get a brand new one then scrubbing down the entire thing.
So Clean You’ll be Floored –
Just mop your tile floor with a 1/2 cup of baking soda in a bucket of warm water. To remove any scuff marks, just add some baking soda to a damp sponge and buff out the streaks. Make sure to rinse the sponge after each use.
TEST:I added hot water to a bucket and dumped in a 1/2 cup of baking soda as called for. My mop was a little old and musty after dipped into the hot water, and even though the baking soda masked most of the smell, I wanted it to actually smell clean after I spent time mopping, so I added a couple drops of tea tree oil to the bucket.
VERDICT: It is TRUE! It worked to clean my floor, but the one thing I didn’t like was that it left a haze over it, and did not have that nice glow I like. It was shiny while wet of course, but after it dried I had to go over it with mop & glow. The good news is, I used the swiffer mop to put the mop & glow on, and when looking at the pad after, there was minimal dirt on it, so the floor was really clean after one application of the water/baking soda and safe for my son and dog.
Carpet-Deodorizing Magic –
You can freshen carpets by sprinkling baking soda on them before vacuuming; Let the baking soda sit for a few minutes, then vacuum it up and breath in the freshness.
TEST: We all have some sort of element in our homes that make our carpet not as fresh as we’d like. Mine is my dog. Although I love him, even he’d admit, he smells like a dog. I used it on the area that he lays the most, and literally just sprinkled a little bit around the area before vacuuming.
VERDICT: It’s TRUE and it’s fast. It definitely made that section of the rug smell more fresh then others. This is something I’ll probably get into the habit of doing. I used to use the carpet fresh deodorizers before having children and a dog, but now I don’t feel they’re safe for my kids or dog who frequently crawl around on the floor and drop food and eat it. This is much safer.
Snuggle up to Fresh Linens –
Give your linens the natural, fresh linen scent by 1/2 cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle to help remove any odors.
TEST: I don’t have a washer and dryer in my home, so this one is more difficult to do for me quickly without going to the laundromat. I figured, to really put it to the test, why not try a nasty, dirty, soaked sponge that smelled of mildew? So that’s what I did.
VERDICT: It is TRUE! Layering on the baking soda onto the smelly sponge immediately took away the foul moldy smell. I was so amazed and in disbelief I actually put it closer to my nose to see. And it smelled fresh. I would imagine this would also be the case with linen as it claims, and also if poured into a smelly shoe.
My personal favorite –
I also tried it on my refrigerator because the back of the Arm & Hammer bottle stated you can use it to clean appliances. Mine is a black gloss, not stainless steel so you may have another outcome. My 2 year old gets finger prints and food all over the bottom half of the refrigerator where he can reach as you can see in photo #1. I put a little baking soda on a damp sponge and cleaned that side of the fridge. I was horrified after I thought it was “clean” and it dried and had a white haze all over (picture #2) and I quickly grabbed a paper towel and started to “buff” it off. To my surprise, that’s exactly what it did! It buffed the black gloss back to a nice shine and was completely clean! This was by far my favorite use and I feel it had the biggest effect. It did take a little elbow grease to buff it out, but it’s worth it to not have any water marks after cleaning it.
Do you have any other tried and true baking soda cleaning tips? Please let us all know by leaving a comment below!
If you want to try it for yourself, click here for some free Arm & Hammer coupons;
Tis’ the season for a new you. High hopes of kicking the habit for good for the new year.
I have tried quitting smoking before, but I didn’t know I wasn’t doing it right at the time. I tried quitting and succeeded once for 2 whole years…
Don’t you think I should have said I quit for 2 whole years instead of tried quitting? Well I’ll tell you why I strategically chose my wording on that, because it’s a big deal.
I’ve had numerous small attempts at kicking the habit. Going hours at a time cringing, forcing myself to stay out of the pack I had, only to fail a few hours later and give in. The first time I really tried to quit smoking, I found out I was pregnant with my first son. I knew I didn’t want to smoke while pregnant, even though my mother did with me, and her mother did with her, and so on. I knew they didn’t know better back then and that we know better now. I couldn’t find any reason that I should continue to smoke while pregnant, and I used it as an excuse to finally quit. I tried Nicorette gum, and it worked a little bit, but I felt that I was still missing the physical act of smoking, so I put them away in the closet and gave up for now.
A few days go by, and one of the days, I woke up, saying this is the day. I remember it was some of the hardest days of my life. Wanting to pick up a cigarette and light it… but I did it. I put my mind to it, and I quit. Cold turkey. Or so I thought. I saved my last few cigarettes I had left in my pack, and kept them in my car. I remember that helped a lot. I found comfort knowing they were there if and when I needed them.
It was 2 years, almost to the day that I had stayed smoke free. I know I always wanted to smoke, and still continued to get the feeling of wanting to smoke but sticking to my secession. I wasn’t pregnant anymore, in fact, my son was 1 year old. I didn’t need to watch what I put in my body anymore, and work was getting really stressful. I had to fly alone for the first time for my job, and I gave in. I bought a pack of cigarettes, and once again, just like that, I was a full-fledged smoker.
That feeling once again of instant light-headedness with each pull of the cigarette felt so good and wrong at the same time. I knew I’d love smoking again once I did it, and I knew I’d almost instantaneously regret my decision as well. Why did I go back? What did I hope to gain? I mean, It’s been 2 years and I know I didn’t need it, but now I’d be a slave to the nicotine once again.
Fast forward 5 years later, and I’m still going strong as a smoker. Braving the Winters with standing outside just to get my fix of nicotine. I never smoked inside of my home I should mention, never near the kids. Every morning waking up coughing, saying that I can’t wait to finally quit smoking, and that today might be the day. In fact, I have vague memories of attempting to quit smoking even in my dreams but always failing and giving in.
It was November 2013, once again, I was determined to quit for good. I tried the brand new (at the time) vapor cigarette cartridges and for days, put myself through semi-withdrawal only to find out that they’re not much better for you. I was still a slave to the nicotine, and all I was doing was extending my habit.
I remembered that the Nicorette gum I had tried helped a little bit, and thought that maybe that was just the jump start I needed to really quit this time. I looked through my closet and found the almost full box.This time, I realized that there was a little paper in the box that should’ve been filled out. It said “My reasons for quitting are:” and had blank spaces after it. I looked at the side of the box and realized that the Nicorette gum had expired in 2011. I immediately figured it out. I had to put my mind to it and be stronger then the habit. I could only do it alone, and if I wanted to succeed in quitting, I couldn’t have a crutch like a vapor cigarette or gum.
I ripped the paper off of the box of Nicorette gum, and threw out the box. I filled the paper in and here is the exact paper and taped it to my cigarette pack. If I wanted to get a cigarette out, I’d have to rip the paper with my reasons for quitting on it. It was a subliminal message to myself that I’d be destroying that (literally) if I failed;
It states my reasons for quitting.
#1. My Health, #2, My kids =)
Simple as that. My Health, so that I can be strong and healthy for my kids.
As you can see, I still have this pack of cigarettes. I took this picture yesterday specifically with this post in mind. There are a few in there. The same few that were in there when I quit a year ago and I am damn proud. This time I know it is for good.
I specifically chose to quit before the new year, because it wasn’t just a resolution that I was going to be OK with if I failed. I wasn’t trying to quit this time. I was quitting. And I did.
Here are the steps that are a MUST to make you succeed in quitting in order;
Hint, its mind over matter – that is what these steps are about
Quit for yourself. No one else. #1 needs to be for yourself which is why I chose #1. My health. It had to be for me so there was no excuse to ruin it. Subconsciously it was for my children, my family, but I wrote it as for me.
TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW. Social media is a great outreach for quitting. Not only are you getting support from others cheering you on, you’re also feeling that you let everyone down if you fail, not just yourself.
Write it down. You don’t need a fancy pre-made template from Nicorette to write down your reason(s) for quitting. Just rip a small piece of paper and write it. Tape it to your pack so that you’d have to rip it open to get a cigarette.
Be sure to keep some cigarettes. You CANNOT, I repeat CANNOT quit “after this pack” because mentally, you get nervous that there aren’t any there just in case, and you’ll buy another pack. I kept mine in my center console of my car, and even now they’re still there. I learned from the last time I tried to quit that it’s very important that they’re near to you always for mental reasons.
Start fresh in the morning. You already have those sleeping hours under your belt. Lets say 8 hours for sake of this article. You already have 8 hours smoke free, so hour 1 awake will be 9 hours – you’re well on your way to 24 hours smoke free.
IMPORTANT NOTE; If you mess up, even 1 puff, don’t lie to yourself. Continue smoking for the rest of that day and start over the next day when you can start with your sleeping hours under your belt. Nicotine physically stays in your blood stream for 3 days. You revert back to hour 1 even with that one puff of nicotine entering your body.
Remember you WILL be uncomfortable. Don’t try to avoid triggers even with the first hour of quitting. Continue to drink coffee, alcohol, or whatever it is that you’d normally want to smoke with and don’t avoid smokers. This will help avoid future triggers when you’re placed in these situations.
As you get the urge to smoke, use mouthwash. It’ll help keep your mouth occupied, and the mint flavor will make you feel at ease. Keep in mind the physical withdrawal urge to smoke will alleviate within 15 minutes and come back every hour.
You cannot tell yourself you are “trying to quit”. There is no trying. There is only quitting or not. It is mind over matter. Your body is telling your brain to smoke. It is telling your brain it needs nicotine. Just like water, or food. It actually feels it depends on nicotine. Rest assured your body does not need nicotine. You will be just fine without it. After the 3 full days pass, it is just a mental withdrawal.
Remember, you will still always crave the comfort of smoking. You were a smoker. You know you enjoyed it, it was comforting, it was a digestive assistant, and it was something to occupy your down time or social experiences. Remember WHY you quit. Remember what you went through to quit.
It’s been 1 year for me that I QUIT. I am a non-smoker. I still think about smoking more often then not. I no longer have that horrible physical withdrawal, and it is a mental game, I know from experience I am no safe from it. If I were to even take 1 puff, it would catapult me back to the vicious cycle of being a smoker and wanting to quit. I know the statistics and refuse to be one of them. I know this time I quit for me and my children. Not an excuse, but I quit for my LIFE.
I hope that you can take at least some of my tips and some of my store to quit. I am here if you need help, or support. Please leave a message below if you have any questions or just need to talk about your experience.
Good luck! You CAN and WILL do it.
Please let me know if this helped you kick the habit and tell cigarettes to BUTT OUT of your life!!!!