Swimming Pool Essentials for a Splashing Good Time

Nothing cools us off better in the summer heat than a dip in the pool. Waterparks open doors early and don’t close until the sun goes down. Road trips end at sandy beaches lining oceans and lakes. Backyards simmer and neighborhoods are packed with kids trying to cool off in pools or sprinklers, armed with buckets of water balloons. Get ready for the heated days ahead with our swimming pool essentials for a splashing good time.

Entertaining Water Toys 

bunch-o-balloons-water-balloonsTMNT-shell-water-blasterbanzai-set-of-2-flashing-led-beach-ballsPrepare for an epic water balloon fight in minutes with Bunch O Balloons Water Balloons. The 2-pack gives you 210 total balloons that fill up in seconds. Simply attach the clever design to your hose and fill everything at once. When you’re done, give the hose a gentle shake and the balloons tie themselves so you’re ready to go. Keep the water battle going with the TMNT™ Shell Water Blaster. Just fill the pack with water, place it on your back, pump and blast away. The straps on the back are adjustable, and the awesome shell design will make them feel like one of their favorite characters. Play long into the summer nights with the Banzai Set of 2 Flashing LED Beach Balls. The bright, blinking LED light inside the ball flashes red, blue and green when it is hit or bounced, and turns off automatically. It’s perfect for pool games, beach games or backyard games.

Lounging Around the Pool

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Relax by the pool or beach in comfort with the Ostrich Folding Chaise. It has a face cavity with a horseshoe cushion, arm slots and an adjustable leg rest. Comfortably tan your back while being able to read a book or use your smartphone. It has a head pillow to help you relax on your back, and adjust to 4 different positions. Folds for compact storage and comes with a carrying strap. If floating on the water is more your style, try the Banzai Contour Cradle. The hammock-style has a porous bottom to keep you cool and allows your body to dip in the water. The perfect pool accessory for hot summer days, it also has relaxing head and leg rests. If you’re looking for a way to float on your favorite lake or river, end your search with the 53″ Rapid Rider Pool Float. Its mesh bottom keeps you cool while the built-in inflatable backrest provides support. The float also has two handles for safety, an all-around grab rope and two cup holders for enjoying a favorite beverage.

Tips to Keep Kids Clean at Public Swimming Pools

With so many people splashing around in public swimming pools, you’re bound to run into some swimmers who aren’t very hygienic. Sure, there are chemicals like the widely-known chlorine fighting off the bacteria the average swimmer sheds, but how effective are local swimming spots at sterilizing unsanitary bacteria?

As a swimmer or parent of a swimmer, what techniques can you practice to reduce the risk of contracting an illness at the pool? Discover some interesting facts and learn how to stay clean at public swimming pools.

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Public Pool Problems
Yes, chlorine is at work in almost every public swimming pool, fighting off as much bacteria as possible, but it can’t always defeat every wave of germs. To make matters worse, unhealthy practices like urination–that happens more frequently than we’d like to think–counteract chemicals like chlorine, making it more difficult for the chemical to fight off human bacteria at an effective rate. According to research done by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), over ten percent of public swimming pools failed routine inspections and were shut down for violating at least one code that represented a “serious threat to public health.” The large study was conducted on nearly 50,000 public swimming pools across five different states in 2013, but provided a big enough sample to conclude that most pool maintenance around the country isn’t going to be sophisticated.

The Trouble with Chlorine
A major part of pool maintenance involves monitoring the proper chlorine levels. Chlorine is highly effective when added into the swimming pool system properly, but poor calculations or inconsistent monitoring could make it harder for chlorine to get the job done as efficiently as it needs to. While it might just take minutes to kill bacteria like E.coli, more resistant parasites like Cryptosporidium stick around for days. There’s always going to be germs and harmful bacteria in public pools, and chlorine can only be effective if used properly. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to protect your kids even if the pool maintenance isn’t up to par.

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Keeping Kids Safe
Pool hygiene isn’t just about how you behave in the pool. It’s also about actions you can take before or after your swimming session. One of the best things you can do for your kids at the pool is make sure they wash up before getting into the water. This is especially important for young children or toddlers. The CDC study mentioned before concluded that there was a higher rate of health and safety violations in kiddie pools. It’s no surprise that more accidents happen here, so parents taking their kids into these pools should try to take more bathroom breaks during the day, check kids for accidents, never swallow water and shower afterward. Parents can also be sure to dry their kids off properly and provide goggles to protect their eyes from germs.

Game-Watching Gear for Supportive Parents

Summer is the busiest season of the year for parents of little athletes. Baseball, soccer and football are just a few of the major sports that require a big time commitment for families. Managing schedules and driving kids to their games is difficult enough. When you finally get to the field, it’s important to be comfortable. Gather up some of our game-watching gear to relax on the sideline or the bleachers and protect yourself from the sun.

Best Seat in the House

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If you’re sitting in the bleachers, support your back the entire game with the 5-Position Reclining Seat. It has a sturdy steel frame that’s cushioned with high-density foam. Portable and lightweight, it has five adjustable positions for reclining. It folds flat for storage and has a shoulder strap for carrying. If you’re taking a seat on the sidelines, you can’t go wrong with the Zero Gravity Chair. Designed to cradle your body for a weightless feeling, it has a full range of motion that easily adjusts from an upright chair to a full reclining lounge. It boasts a heavy-duty steel pipe frame, has a removable headrest and folds flat when not in use. Another option for the sidelines is the easy-folding NFL Kickoff Chair. Lightweight and great for the constantly-traveling parent, it has a cup holder on the armrest and folds up into a carrying bag.

Surviving in the Sun

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Shield yourself from the sun and watch in comfort with Women’s Embellished Sunglasses with Case. The glamorous sunglasses feature a sturdy frame with rhinestones that’ll keep you stylish the entire day. They come with a hard, zippered case and includes a cleaning cloth. Keep refrigeration at your fingertips on the sidelines or in the bleachers with the Collapsible Rolling Cooler. Fully lined and insulated to keep food and beverages nice and cold, it has a full zip cover for easy access to all your goodies. The sliding handle and wheels allow you to easily transport it from the parking lot. You may be cool watching the game, but your car has been sitting in the sun just as long. The NFL Universal Auto Sunshade protects your interior, blocking 99% of all UVA and UVB rays to maintain a cooler temperature in your car all day. The accordion design folds for storage. Fits most cars, SUVs and trucks.

Road Trip Checklist for a Smooth Ride

Summer is the perfect time to jump in the car, get on the open road and set out for a brand new destination. A road trip allows you to see some of the sights, listen to music and enjoy time with your family, friends and anyone else you might meet along the way. Although it’s pretty tempting to pile into the car and speed to the nearest exit, a little planning can prevent big headaches down the road. Check out our road trip checklist to help plan your trip, pack your bags, stay organized on the road and boost your energy on longer drives.

Plan your road trip. Pack with a purpose.

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Hit the open road with Drives of a Lifetime Book. For over a century, National Geographic has been the best resource for savvy travelers. Inside you’ll find incredible routes through amazing landscapes, whatever your taste and budget. The roomy Monogram Burlap Tote is the perfect blend of coy and confident. Marked with your initials, its unique, boxy shape is fashionable and functional. Feel comfy in the car and beautiful on the beach wearing a Women’s and Women’s Plus Crochet and Ruffle Cover-Up. The casual summer cover-up is accented with crochet detailing on the bodice. Its fashionable, ruffled hem extends up the center of the cotton cover-up. The stylish front design is 16″ shorter.

Organize the backseat. Entertain the kids.

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Keep everything your child needs close at hand during a road trip with this Whimsical Headrest Organizer Bag. Featuring a colorful animal image, it hangs from the headrest into the back seat and holds drinks, snacks, books or toys. On-the-Go Car Seat Tray makes long trips a lot more fun for small children and easier on you. The large tray has a wall bordering three edges to prevent dropped toys, bottles and snacks. It attaches to car seats using an adjustable strap. The Magnetic Play Scene Book gets kids involved in the story with movable pieces. It’s easy to read and has magnets for many of the characters and objects that appear in the story. It has 20 magnets that will help bring the story to life.

Recharge your smartphone. Refuel for energy.

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Charge your electronics on your road trip with this Triple USB Car Charger. Just plug it into your vehicle’s 12V outlet and charge 3 devices at the same time. Two of the ports charge all types of cell phones. The third port can also charge a tablet. A 3-ft. cord makes it easy to charge from the backseat. Refrigerate in your car with the Collapsible Rolling Cooler. The cooler is fully lined and insulated to keep food and drinks cold. It has a full zip cover for easy access. Has a sliding handle and wheels for rolling between destinations. Keep hydrated while you’re out and about with a Licensed Water Bottle. It features your favorite animated characters. Has a screw-on lid with a sip tip that folds in the top to stop spills. 20 oz.

4 American Road Trip Routes for Summer Vacation

One of the best features of the long road trip is getting to see the sights. Planes fly over everything and leave you squinting through clouds at patchy colors and little dots, but getting behind the wheel turns that tiny port window into panoramic viewing paradise, allowing you to see the wonderful sights and intricate landscapes in the most beautiful areas of the country. Take a detour and explore 4 awesome American road trip routes.

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Great River Road, Minnesota to Louisiana
The Mississippi River is like America’s spine, winding from Lake Itasca in Minnesota until it empties into the Gulf of Mexico at the tip of Louisiana. The Great River Road isn’t just one single road. It’s a big collection of roads, clearly marked, that allows you to travel along the Mississippi for nearly 3,000 miles and through ten different states. Get to know the heart of America just by driving south along America’s most famous river.

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Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana
June and July are the perfect months of the year to explore every single part of this beautiful road in one of America’s stunning National Parks. At 50 miles, it won’t take you more than an afternoon to see everything the road has to offer, but it promises some of the best views you’ll ever see in that short period of time. With picnic areas, campgrounds and outdoor activities, it’s a nice place to stop if you’re trekking to the northwest.

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Seven Mile Bridge, Florida Keys
It wasn’t CGI. This scenic bridge has been featured in many movies and continues to draw tourists who just want to take a drive over the ocean. One of the longest bridges in the entire world, it stretches across seven miles of the Florida Keys, offering endlessly blue-hued views of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Most tourists view the road as a dangerous thrill-ride, but it’s actually very safe. Time your drive to catch a sunset.

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Pacific Coast Highway, Washington State to California
No summer road trip is complete without a drive along the coast. The Pacific Coast does not disappoint. It’s interstate route allows you to ride from the top of the country all the way down to the bottom, from the Pacific Northwest all the way to sunny Los Angeles. Most drivers claim California Highway 1 is the can’t-miss road on the map, taking you through giant redwood tree forests, San Francisco and plenty of beautiful beaches.

Before you think about setting off on your road trip adventure, make sure you’ve got all the gear you need to enjoy a flawless vacation. Shop car accessories, backseat games and so much more for your fun family trip.

Fourth of July Fashion Statements

If you haven’t already, it’s time to get started on your Fourth of July plans. Not only do you have to figure out what you’re going to do, you have to figure out what you’re going to wear. LTD has a selection of apparel in red, white and blue, as well as some truly festive fashion statements. Whether you’re going to a barbecue or watching fireworks with friends and family, turn some heads with these Fourth of July fashion statements.

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RED WHITE & BLUE
Enjoy your summer in style with this Women’s Plus Embroidered Sleeveless Dress. The lightweight dress keeps you cool on hot, humid days. Bleached designs and embroidery embellish the V-neck and high/low hemline. Its flowing fit skims the body for a flattering look. Lengths, 46″, 47″ and 49″. Rayon. Imported.

women's-crochet-convertible-cover-ups

RED WHITE & BLUE
Wear this Women’s Crochet Convertible Cover-Up as a dress at the beach watching fireworks or as a skirt at a barbecue. This flowing piece has a smocked bodice with an elastic band at the top and a lined crochet skirt. Wear bodice around your waist for a bohemian look. Lengths, 28″, 29″, 30″ and 31″. Cotton. Imported

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RED WHITE & BLUE
Add a bold pop of blue to your Fourth of July outfit with this Nautical Endless Loop Scarf. The infinity loop design is easy to drape for perfect style every time, and the nautical anchor accents add a summery touch that’s perfect for pairing with a variety of outfits after the Fourth is over. 33-1/2” x 36”. Polyester. Imported.

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Stars & Stripes
The Oversized Patriotic Fashion Scarf adds a fun touch to your Fourth of July outfit. It features a stylish pattern you can coordinate with numerous outfits. It’s larger than typical scarves, so you can wear it in a variety of ways. Makes a versatile accessory to add to your collection. 40″W x 80″L. Polyester. Imported.

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Our Country Crossbody
The front of this Fringe Crossbody Bag is decorated with eye-catching overlapping layers of fringe with an American design. It has a full zipper closure and an adjustable strap. The interior is fully lined with an open and zipper pocket. 9″W x 1″D x 10-1/4″H, with an adjustable 12-1/2″ to 24-1/2″ strap drop. PVC. Imported.

Tips on Grilling Salmon and Swordfish

Fish is packed with lean protein, nutrients and all those coveted, brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, but a recent study by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) discovered that up to 90 percent of Americans aren’t eating nearly enough seafood to meet the recommended two servings per week. It’s not that we don’t enjoy the taste of fish or shrimp, and dishes like crab cakes are almost always included in favorite food debates. Cooking fish only seems difficult. Get fired up about grilling salmon, swordfish and snapper with these tips.

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Things to Look For in the Store
For ultimate freshness, it’s important to cook fish the same day you bring it home from the store. Don’t mess around with anything but the prepared cuts of salmon steaks or swordfish fillets if you’re new to buying, and if possible, aim to get some cuts with skin on. You might be expecting fish to have a strong fishy smell, but a quality cut will not emit a strong scent or foul odor. It will also pass the eye test in terms of cleanliness. Try to make sure each piece you buy is firm, not flimsy, and be on the lookout for unusual discoloration or spots.

Problematic Pin Bones
It’s easier to ask the fishmonger or supermarket to remove things like pin bones from your fillets, but you can also do it at home. You’ll be able to see and feel the bones in the fillet, but getting them out with your hands can be tricky. Needle nose pliers and larger tweezers work great for removing pin bones. Always clean tools before putting them to use in the kitchen. Simply feel around the fish to locate the bones, knead into the flesh to reveal a pin bone head, grab it gently with the pliers to avoid snapping it into pieces and pull carefully.

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Seasoning, Salty or Spicy
While some prefer the fresh taste of fish without seasoning, many of us would agree that a little seasoning is better than none. You don’t want spices overpowering the flavor of fish, so when applying, be sure to keep it light and even. A combination of salt and pepper mixed with lemon juice or melted butter are a few common favorites among expert grillers, and many have been known to enjoy fish with the flavor of dill, garlic, chives or even pineapple juice. Remember that the flavor of fish is delicate, so take it easy when you’re prepping.

On the Grill
Grill masters know the importance of preheating the grill. For fish, if you’re placing it directly on the grates, make sure you clean thoroughly and oil generously while preheating. Oil once more before throwing your fish on. If you’ve left the skin on your fillets, you can put them on the grill skin-first for a crispy flavor. Many make the mistake when placing fish directly on grill grates to try and flip before the fish is ready. This often leads to mangling the fish with your spatula. When the fillet is more than halfway done, the fish will almost detach from the grates naturally. You only need to flip once. It’s a short cooking time. Total: 5-10 minutes.

Father’s Day Gifts for Football Fans

If your Dad is a football fanatic, finding the perfect gift for Father’s Day is a simple formula. Just combine his favorite team with one of his favorite activities and you’re bound to discover a wide selection of gifts he will enjoy. Kick off your search with our Father’s Day gifts for football fans, and get yourself ready to go for two.

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The Guy On the Go
In the summer sun, Dad’s going to need a way to keep cool. There’s no better way to beat the heat than with an on-the-go container for his thirst-quenching beverage. The 22-Oz. NFL Insulated Tumbler with Lid helps him stay hydrated while showing some team spirit. His team’s iconic logo is displayed on the front. The clear tumbler is double-walled to maintain the temperature of hot or cold drinks for longer periods of time. It has a spill-resistant, snap-seal lid and a unique design that’s great for taking in the car. Plastic. Dishwasher safe.

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If He Can Stand the Heat
The NFL Apron and Chef Hat Set is a thoughtful gift for the football fan who loves to cook. Great for tailgate parties, backyard barbecues or just a laid-back day hanging out by the grill. The apron protects clothes from spills and stains and features his favorite team’s logo on the front. The long tie straps make it easy to adjust. One size fits most. The matching chef’s hat completes the look. It features the team name on the headband. Has a fabric-magic closure. One size fits most. Polyester and cotton. Machine care. Imported.

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Facts to Feed His Curiosity
Each team in the NFL has a rich history with tons of interesting information any fanatic will enjoy. Packed with fun NFL facts and figures, 100 Things Football Fans Should Know is bound to impress even the most die-hard football fan. It distills their team’s history into an essential list of required knowledge. Lively and entertaining, the book covers the most important players, career achievements, signature plays and more. Softcover. Bears, 238 pages. Broncos, 321 pages. Colts, 330 pages. 49ers, 276 pages. Giants, 384 pages.

NFL-Grill-Covers

Guarding the Grill
Every Dad who prides himself on being a grill master knows how important it is to keep their grill in pristine condition between sessions, especially if it’s going to be exposed to the elements. This NFL Grill Cover puts a protective barrier between his grill and the rain or damaging UV rays. The durable vinyl construction offers superior protection against all kinds of wear and tear. It withstands temperatures between -20°F and 140°F. Straps and tie downs help keep the cover secure. Includes a snap-close bag for storage when not in use.

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All-Weather Warmth
For some Dads it’s not all about the NFL. If he watches just as much college football or prefers the college game to the professional level, the Jumbo 60” x 80” Collegiate Fleece Throw is exactly what he needs for Father’s Day. He can cheer on his favorite team while staying warm at home, or bring it to the stadium for those really frigid bowl games. Whether he’s an alumni, a lifetime fan or both, he’ll appreciate this big, full-color throw that features the school’s name, mascot and football helmet. Polyester. Machine care. Imported.

Kids’ Crafts: Homemade Father’s Day Gift Ideas

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For fathers, a homemade gift from their kid can mean a lot more than any item bought from the store. And for kids, there’s nothing more exciting than seeing Dad light up when he opens a gift made just for him. Kids get a kick out of seeing Dad using the gift they worked hard to make, especially if it is weeks, months or years in the future. Help your kid make a craft Dad can use right away with these homemade Father’s Day gift ideas.

Mr. Morning
The coffee mug is an obvious classic, and for good reason. Coffee-drinking Dads can always use a nice mug to enjoy their morning wake-up medicine. They can take it to the office to show it off on their desk or keep it at home. Get inspirational coffee mugs with a message that’s perfect for Dad, a novelty mug for his sense of humor or a personalized mug that allows you to add artwork and messages to a sturdy design.

A Thousand Words
On Father’s Day you’ll definitely be making some new memories with Dad, which makes it a perfect time to give him a gift that represents a memory you cherish. Not only will your kids get to pick out a favorite picture of themselves with Dad, they can even design the frame or add personal touches to a plain frame. Dad will love featuring his new photo on his desk. You can even sneak a note behind the photo for him to find later.

Gadget Guard
Tech savvy Dads are bound to enjoy any accessory they can use with their favorite gadgets. Upgrade his laptop or tablet sleeve with a personalized creation from the kids. Get the sleeve ready and let them get creative. It will keep his important gear safe and clean, and will be put to use every day all over the house.

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Page Turner
Bookworms like to stay organized. Dad is no different. If he enjoys relaxing with a good book, a bookmark could be the perfect gift. Because it’s easy to make with simple supplies, it’s a great craft idea for younger kids. Knowing Dad likes books enough to need a bookmark also sends a positive message about reading.

Gear for Game Day
The game just isn’t the same without his favorite beverage. Keep it nice and cool with a custom koozie. It’s easy to add a personal touch to a plain koozie. Create a loving message using his favorite team’s colors or make an entirely original design. He’ll be able to put it to use every time he cheers on his favorite team.

Car Guy Key Chain
Make sure he can see and enjoy their heartwarming gift every single day by designing an accessory for his key chain. Weave beads onto his key ring or laminate a family photo and attach it to his key chain before he gets in the car. It’s a fun way to show a car enthusiast some love while getting into the spirit of the holiday.

LTD Essentials: Summer Snack Showcase

The summer season has always been home to some of the best snack foods. Whether we’re trying to beat the heat at the pool, watching a ball game or attending a Memorial Day barbecue, great food seems pretty easy to find. But just like any other season, a few of the best treats are only made available for a short span of months. Check out our summer snack showcase to make sure you get your fill before the season ends.

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Unmatched Movie Snack
There will be plenty of blockbuster movies this summer, but if you want to kick back with a film in your own home, check out this Microwave Popcorn Maker. Pop and serve the scrumptious snack in the silicone box and enjoy healthier popcorn without excessive oil. Pour ¼ cup of kernels into the popper, secure the lid and microwave for 3-4 minutes. Great for flavored popcorn as well. Makes approx. 4-6 cups. Dishwasher safe.

Retro-Hot-Dog-Steamer

Stadium Experience at Home
As long as you’re recreating the cinema experience at home, why not do the same with your favorite ball park snack? The Retro Hot Dog Steamer cooks perfect hot dogs in just 5-7 minutes. Equipped with a hot dog drawer and built-in bun steaming tray, all you need to do is add water to the base and watch it steam up to 8 hot dogs and 4 buns all at once. Instructions and recipe booklet included. On/off switch. ETL-listed.

Expandable-Hot-Cold-Food-Carriers

Packing for Parties
Summertime is party season. Barbecues, picnics and more get us gathering outside with our best kitchen creations. Keep your dishes ready to serve with the Expandable Hot/Cold Food Carrier. The base level has an insulated lining that holds in heat and can also shield cold dishes from the sun. Unzip the top to expand the carrier and create a second compartment for a room temperature dish. Has built-in handles for carrying.

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Special Treats for a Special Day
Summer might be filled with holiday gatherings and neighborhood block parties, but just like any other season there are birthdays to celebrate. Add a personal touch to a loved one’s special day with Birthday Baking Fun. The 12-Pc. Silicone Baking Cup Set eliminates the need for paper liners. The brightly-colored cups come in a variety of different sizes to fit your needs. Dishwasher, freezer, microwave and oven safe.

Dump-and-Bake-Desserts-Cookbook

Cherry on Top
Sometimes all the summer events can be a little exhausting, especially if you’re planning to cook for every event on your social calendar. The recipes in this Dump & Bake Desserts Cookbook only require one pan! There’s no need to use extra bowls or an electric mixer. All you have to do is dump in all the ingredients, stir and bake. Make delicious tarts, pies, cookies, bars and cakes for your summer events. Softcover, 64 pages.