Kids At Play

Today is the first day of school.  This means that summer is over (unofficially, at least).  My kids once again need to worry about getting ready in the morning, homework, and other "fun" school-related chores.  Before the sun set on summer fun for the last time, though, we had one more fun moment.  We went to Aunt S’s house by the lake.  There, they enjoyed many fun activities with their cousins and other members of B’s family.

Mountain Climbing

Ok, this is just a steep hill and not a mountain.  Still, the boys had a blast climbing the mountain and running down it.  I, meanwhile, liked climbing it for the view it afforded me.


Boat Trip

What good is a house on the lake without a boat?  Though NHL opted out in favor of the pool (more on that later), JSL and I went out with Nana, Papa, Cousin A and Uncle M.  The trip began in an eventful manner with the engine dying.  We were just far enough from the dock to see it slowly drift away with no way to get back.  We did have a good view, though.

Luckily, Cousin A found a loose fuel injector line, fixed it, and we were good to go.  JSL loved driving the boat and watching Cousin A water skiing.

The boat ride ended with a bang.  Or rather a splash.  JSL was standing at the front with Papa when a big wave hit the boat soaking both of them.  (Sadly, my camera was pointed elsewhere at that moment, so I didn’t capture it.)  JSL was first upset by the sudden face full of water but he quickly decided that it was funny instead.


Pool Time Fun

As mentioned before, NHL opted to go in the pool.  As I understand it, he and Cousin S did some diving into the water.  The next day, JSL, NHL, B, and I went to the pool together.  B didn’t have her swimsuit, so the boys and I went into the water together.  JSL was apprehensive, especially once he felt the cold water, but he soon got in the pool spirit and was laughing along with NHL and me.


Sand and Surf

Our last visit was to the beach right near the pool.  There, NHL and JSL broke out some sand toys and had fun digging in the sand.  We also walked all the way out to the buoys that mark the end of the "safe to walk/swim" area.  Having grown up on Long Island, the beach brings back some great memories for me.  I still find it very relaxing to just sit chest-deep in the water and let the waves rock me back and forth.  I showed this to NHL and he agreed that it felt nice and calming.

Of course, calm isn’t as much fun and getting down and dirty in the sand.


Yes, school might be starting now.  Their freedom to do whatever they want will be curtailed as things they WANT to do take a backseat to things they HAVE to do.  Still, it’s nice that they had one last summer weekend milked for every ounce of fun it contained.

Review: Zing Z-X Crossbow and Pop Rocketz

Last year, I reviewed two products from ZING Toys.  When I heard that they had some new items, I was excited to get the chance to review these as well.

Zing Z-X CrossbowThe first to get played with was the Z-X Crossbow.  In many ways, this was similar to the Z-Curve Bow I reviewed last year.  Both use stretching bands that arrows hook into to launch far away.


Zing Z-X Crossbow Locked and LoadedThe primary difference, however, is that this is a crossbow.  When the arrow is loaded, it locks into place.  The arrow will then remain in place until a trigger is pulled.  Afterwards, the arrow will go flying off into the distance.

My boys loved playing with the crossbow.  Sometimes they would take turns with one firing the arrows and the other running off to retrieve them.  Other times, they would each fire an arrow and see who could get theirs the furthest.

NHL Fires the Zing Z-X Crossbow

Pop Rocketz

Next up were the Pop Rocketz.  This was very different from our previous Zing products.  Instead of a slingshot or arrow, this was a air powered rocket launcher.  You simply slide the rocket onto the launcher.  Then, you squeeze the bulb and the rocket shoots high into the air.

This was a favorite of my boys, especially JSL.  Many of these toys require strength and coordination that a 5 year old doesn’t have.  Yes, the Z-X Crossbow is labeled as being for ages 8 and up, but if NHL is using it, JSL will want to too.  And if JSL tries using the crossbow, he will doubtlessly get frustrated.

The Pop Rocketz, however, were designed for ages 5 and up.  They are extremely simple.  JSL just needed to squeeze the bulb very quickly and he could shoot the rockets pretty high.

JSL launches Pop Rocketz

Both of these products have earned their place as fun outdoor toys we will doubtlessly use over and over again.

Disclaimer: I received the Z-X Crossbow and the Pop Rocketz from ZING Toys to review.  However, the opinions expressed above are my own.

Park Hawk and The Missing DSLR

2012-04-15_14-49-16_116On Sunday, NHL had a birthday party to go to.  While he was having fun there with B, I decided that JSL and I should have a father-son day out.  After all, he had just endured 8 days of Passover food and none of the food he usually likes.

After a quick lunch at Five Guys (grilled veggie sandwich for me and grilled cheese for JSL), we headed to a big park.  There, JSL ran through the hedge maze, played tag with me in the big fields, led the way through a hike on the wooded path, and finally played on the playground.

As the time to leave approached, I let JSL know we’d only stay five minutes longer.  While we were waiting for a swing to free up, suddenly, the playground was invaded.  A hawk flew right behind the swinging kids and swooped towards a black bird on the ground nearby.  The bird got away so the hawk then, without skipping a beat, flew back up to the branches of a nearby tree.

Usually, I’d have went over to take photos with my DSLR.  However, in an effort to travel light, I decided to leave my DSLR at home.  I had my new camera phone, but JSL really wanted to swing.  So I resorted to that old parental standby: bribery.  I told JSL that if he came with me to get some hawk photos, I’d not only restart our "countdown until we leave the park" timer, but I’d also add five extra minutes.  JSL reluctantly left the swing area and came with me where I (and someone else with the same idea as me) took a few hawk photos.

Unfortunately, they didn’t come out great.  Camera phones can take decent photos in some situations, but this wasn’t one of them.  My DSLR would have taken a much better photo.  Still, at least I got some record of the hawk that almost turned the playground into a feeding ground.  I also learned an important lesson: The more times I can take my DSLR out with me, the better!

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