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.

Summer Design Tips: How to Inspire Tech-Free Creativity

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We’re on the brink of summer break. Very soon kids will be spending mornings in the family room instead of study hall, claiming territory at the kitchen table instead of the cafeteria. Being at home means being tempted by technology. A few lazy days can morph into a month, two months…before they know it, all the projects they were hoping to get done before the next school year must be crammed into a tight schedule. It can be pretty difficult to separate kids from the technology they use every day, but there are times when they would benefit from putting down their phones or stepping away from the TV to get serious about their creative ideas and summer projects. Learn how to inspire tech-free creativity with these easy design tips.

Natural light is a natural ally.
Even with advances in screen technology, natural light is still one of the biggest enemies when it comes to a user-friendly experience. Everything from smartphones to laptops can be negatively affected by too much sunlight, so giving light the freedom to filter into the living or family room is a simple way to mark any major area as a tech-free zone. In addition to deterring the use of screens, natural light is fantastic for a variety of creative activities. Let your kids set up an easel by the window, fill a room with activity books and games, or clear out sun-drenched areas for physical activities like yoga or for bigger craft projects.

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Bookcases, bookshelves and…well, books.
There’s no better way to define a space than by packing it with the contents you’d like the space to be used for. Despite the steady interest in e-readers, print books remain more than relevant. Young generations still prefer the feeling of flipping through physical pages. Students in high school or college continue to buy print books with good reason. Designating a room for quiet activities like reading is as easy as providing comfy seating and stocking shelves with the titles that will get your kids excited about spending quality time inside.

All eyes on…wait, where’s the TV?
Ever since the TV burst onto the household scene, the layout for family space has shifted to accommodate the magical box. With furniture gravitating toward the big screen, it’s almost impossible to use the TV room for anything but prime time programming and binge-watching. But people looking to make a change rightly wonder how to arrange their room if they take out the TV. Previously used focal points include the fireplace, piano and wall art. Another option is to arrange seating around a coffee table to help cultivate conversation.

No matter what kind of space you want to encourage for your kids’ summer break, The Lakeside Collection is ready to decorate. Accent natural light in your living room with our selection of window treatments, stock up that bookshelf with titles for all ages, and get a few statement pieces to change your room’s focal point.

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week for Labor Day

We have less than a month until Labor Day. While we’re trying to cram last-minute summer activities to enjoy the weather and time off, we also need to start planning our last weekend of summer. Whether you’re taking off for that last gasp of summer or you’re sticking around for a cookout, we have loads of items to make your Labor Day memorable. Here is this week’s Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week for Labor Day.owl-luggage-set

Travel in Style Your young one will travel in style with the 2-Pc. Kids’ Fashion Luggage Set. They will have everything they need for a family vacation or trip to grandma’s house. The travel tote features a front pocket and an open interior for storing books, toys, a tablet and more. A 4″-16″ adjustable body strap and 2 handles makes carrying easy. The rolling suitcase features a roomy interior with elastic straps to hold everything together and a front pocket that holds miscellaneous items. A 13″ telescopic handle and 2 wheels allow for easy pulling. Both luggage pieces have secure zipper closures. trunk-organizer

Practical Travel Aids Banish messy trunks with a Collapsible Trunk Organizer with Removable Cooler. Use all 3 compartments to store maps, emergency supplies, shopping bags and more. Or, use one of the compartments to hold the removable cooler. Fully insulated, the cooler has room for snacks and drinks, a full-zip closure and a handle. The organizer has pockets on both ends. Both the organizer and cooler fold for compact storage. fishing-rod-case

Fishing on the Fly This Fishing Rod Case is a must-have organizer for anyone who loves to fish. The case holds 5 rods on the outside, plus more rods and equipment on the inside. The exterior features pockets on the bottom and padded straps with fabric-magic at the top to secure and protect the 5 rods. The rod case also features a quick fastener strap that secures gear during transport. A zipper on the side provides easy access to the large inner storage compartment. Also has a huge exterior pocket with fastener for banksticks and essentials, plus a padded adjustable shoulder strap and carrying handle. table-top-caddy
Convenient Condiments The Black Scroll Tabletop Caddy lets you organize and display mealtime extras in a convenient and portable powder-coated wire basket. The slotted handle of the Condiment Caddy holds menu cards for your events. The divided Cutlery Caddy has 4 compartments for easy utensil organization. towel-for-two

Towel for Two After taking a swim, wrap yourself up in a Colorful Dog or Cat Beach Towel. The 28″ x 58″ Towel is great for a quick dry off. The 54″ x 68″ Towel for Two is big enough to share. Fiber-reactive towels will not fade or bleed in the sun or wash.

4th if July: Fireworks Safety Tips

fireworksThe 4th of July is here! Across the country, friends and family are gathering to celebrate our independence with food, fun and fireworks. That’s exactly what our Founding Fathers wanted us to do on the day the Declaration of Independence was signed. But with all the fun and fireworks comes a bit of danger. Here are 5 fireworks safety tips to keep in mind while you’re celebrating our nation’s birthday.

Be Aware of the Law The laws around fireworks are different in each state. There are reasons for that — some have to do with safety, others have to do with land preservation but both are there for protection. Before you flick your lighter or strike a match, make sure you’re complying with local laws. It keeps the community peaceful and you won’t have to worry about police crashing your party.

fireworksDress Appropriately If you’re working with fire, you have to work defensively. Make sure you’re not wearing loose clothing that can catch fire if the wind changes direction. Keep your skin and feet covered to avoid any close encounters with a flame or hot coal. The damage from burns largely depends on how much exposure you had to a flame or coal and having a layer between you and the flame may reduce your exposure time.  What you choose to wear could be the difference between a superficial burn and a blistering burn.

Water Within Reach Make sure you have a fire extinguisher (and know how to use it) available before you start setting off fireworks. Keep a bucket of water nearby with a supply close enough that you can refill easily and quickly.

Use Common Sense You have to keep your eye on live fireworks at all times. This means give each explosive your undivided attention by lighting fireworks one at a time. Because you are the keeper of the fireworks, use protective eye wear to shield your eyes from rogue sparks. While your eyes are on the fireworks, make sure children don’t get their hands on any flammable items. Fireworks are dangerous by themselves, in the wrong hands they can be deadly.

fireworksBe an Observer The best way to prevent injury is to stay away from the fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks caused more than 17,000 fires in 2011 that resulted in $32 million in damages. In 2013, fireworks caused more than 11,000 injuries — some from what we think of as “safe” fireworks like sparklers. There are hundreds of thousands of fireworks shows that are put on by professionals across the country. It’s much less dangerous for you to let the professionals do what they do best and enjoy the sparkling sky from a distance.

LTD Commodities wants you to have a fun and safe 4th of July! Put safety first for your celebrations and everyone will have a memorable holiday.

Baseball’s Most Memorable Moments (For Fans and Non-Fans)

There are few things, if any, more American than baseball. The official game itself dates back to 1845 — and since then, it’s created memories and traditions share by millions across generations from coast to coast. But there are moments from the game that just about everyone remembers. Here are some of baseball’s most memorable moments even non-baseball fans remember and cherish.

July 10, 2001 Cal Ripken, baseball’s Iron Man breaks Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games played. It was during the 2001 All-Star game — his final appearance for the annual series. It wasn’t the only record he broke at that game — at the time, he also became the oldest player to hit a home run (he was a little more than a month away from turning 41). He was also named MVP of the All-Star Game for the second time.

October 24, 2002 If you don’t remember J.T. Snow rescuing a bat boy during the 2002 World Series, you will now. Snow was playing for the San Francisco Giants against the Anaheim Angels. As Snow was on his way home to score off a triple, he scooped up 3-year-old Darren Baker (son of Giants’ manager, Dusty Baker) off home plate — where he was nearly clobbered in a baseball collision. It’s a spectacular act of quick thinking, fast acting and tear jerking.

October 14, 2003 For Chicago Cubs fans, this is a painful memory, but a memory that will last a lifetime. In Game 6 of the National League Championship Series between the Cubs and the Florida Marlins, the Cubs and fans were confident about heading to the World Series for the first time since 1945. After more than a half-century of heartbreak, the Cubs were up 3-0 in the eighth inning. That’s when the Marlins hit a foul ball. As many baseball fans do, Cubs fan Steve Bartman reached out to catch it though it was in reach of the left fielder, Moises Alou. Bartman deflected the ball out of the grasp of Alou and, subsequently, the Marlins scored eight runs in that game and won the series. Cubs fans were unforgiving of Bartman who has stayed out of the public eye since 2003 despite numerous requests for interviews.

October 27, 2004 It was a long wait for the Red Sox, but in 2004, not only did they make it to the World Series, but they also won it, crushing the Curse of the Bambino. It was the first World Series win for the Red Sox since 1918. As luck would have it, the Jimmy Fallon/Drew Barrymore  movie, Fever Pitch — about a Red Sox obsessed fan — was filmed during the series. The unexpected win forced a re-write for the film so it could be included.

July 1, 1992 Of course we can’t leave out our favorite fictional moment in baseball. If you’ve never heard Tom Hanks (as Jimmy Dugan) shout “There’s no crying in baseball!” it might be time to watch A League of Their Own. It’s the one baseball quote men and women, baseball fans and non-baseball fans alike remember and chuckle to on any given day.

At LTD, we celebrate all of our country’s greatest treasures! But you don’t have to be a baseball fan to appreciate the American thrill of baseball — there is so much history and cultural relationships with the game it’s easy to see why it’s our national pastime and a reason to look forward to summer games.

Fascinating Facts About the 4th of July

old-gloryThe 4th of July comes and goes every year with as much pomp and circumstance as any American can muster. We’ve been celebrating our independence for more than 200 years and the holiday is more than just cookouts and fireworks. Here are 7 fascinating facts about the 4th of July.

Old Glory According to the Census Bureau, in 2013, we exported $781,000 worth of American flags — most of that money came from the Dominican Republic.

Property in Exchange for Happiness According to Jim Cullen in his book The American Dream: A short History of an Idea that Shaped a Nation, Thomas Jefferson borrowed some, if not all, of the ideas he wrote in the Constitution. Most notably, the phrase “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” was altered from John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government which called for “life, liberty and the pursuit of property.”

Expansion The United States has grown considerably in the last 239 years. In July of 1776, the United States was home to about 2.5 million people. Today, the US and World Population Clock estimates that more than 321 million people live in the United States.

liberty-bellTap into America According to USHistory.org. the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia was rung on July 8, 1776 for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Less than 100 years later, it chimed for the last time to commemorate George Washington’s birthday — the cracks were getting too big for it to be a functional bell. Now, every July 4, it’s gently tapped 13 times (for the 13 original colonies) to set off bell ringing across the country to honor our independence.

Life and Death Calvin Coolidge is the only President of the United States to share his birthday with the country. However, three Presidents — John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe — died on July 4. The first two were Founding Fathers and signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Unofficial Holiday For nearly 100 years, Independence Day was an unofficial holiday. In 1870, Congress made it a holiday for federal employees — but they were not paid to observe our nation’s birth. Almost 70 years later, it became a paid federal holiday.

4th-hot-dogFestive Food July is National Hot Dog Month for a very good reason. According to  the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, July 4 revelers will consume about 150 million hot dogs — last year, 61 of those frankfurters went to Joey Chestnut, the winner of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, NY.

The 4th of July is one of our favorite holidays here at LTD Commodities, but we celebrate every holiday and every season with tips, ideas and products to make them memorable.

Tips for Making the Perfect Burger

hamburgerThis weekend just about everyone across the United States will be pulling out their grills and setting up picnic tables for the Great American Cookout. No Memorial Day cookout is complete without a few burgers on the grill — and we know how to make your burgers stand out for the crowd. Here are 5 tips for making the perfect burger.

Save the Salt When you’re seasoning your meat, leave off the salt. Salt draws water out of meat and when it hits the grill it shrinks up, dries out and crumbles. However, salt is important for flavor — salt your meat when you put it on the grill to add flavor without drying it out.

Add Some Fat Everyone likes a moist, juicy burger and we don’t like to think about it, but it’s the fat that makes it so tasty. But as long as you’re eating burgers, you’re probably not thinking about fat content! To make your burgers as juicy as possible, mix in some olive oil (2TB/pound) or bacon fat. You will not regret this and your guests will be awestruck.

hamburgerWarm Buns When you’re plating your burgers, don’t forget to give those buns a little love — throw them on the grill to warm them up a little bit before you add your patty. It doesn’t seem like much, but a warm bun is the difference between a good burger and a fantastic burger.

Better with Butter Never underestimate the flavor power of butter. Add a pat to your bun just before you place the patty on it. You know how everyone loves bread and butter? Just imagine what everyone will love once they’ve had bread, butter and burger! Once you start, you will never go back to a butterless burger again.

Warm Bath If you’re cooking for a crowd, don’t be shy about cooking your burgers ahead of time — not hours ahead of time, but enough time that you’ll be able to socialize and eat when your guests arrive. To keep your burgers hot, moist and delicious, keep a shallow pan of water on the grill — season it a little bit with beef base and stick your burgers in there when they’re done cooking. When guests are ready to eat, throw a patty on the grill for just a second and serve. The only issue with this is the burgers will all be cooked thoroughly (but not in a well-done, overcooked way), so guests who want a medium-rare burger might be out of luck, but the warm bath will make the burgers tasty enough that no guest will be disappointed.hamburger


Remember that you can’t please everyone all the time, so you may not be able to follow through on every request that comes your way at the grill. But burgers are the crown jewels of every Memorial Day barbecue — you can do them your way and still make it a memorable holiday for everyone!

Last-Minute Memorial Day Camping Ideas

campingYou have a three-day weekend coming up and the weather is just warm enough to sleep outside under the stars! It’s time to go camping and we have 4 last-minute Memorial Day camping ideas.

Backyard Camping If you have kids to entertain this weekend, you may want to take baby steps to get into the camping mood. Start small with a backyard camping trip. Have the kids pack a sleeping bag and backpack with the things they need to survive a night in the backyard and make believe you’re really in the woods. Heat up the grill and make all the things you might eat on a camping trip in the wild — hot dogs, hamburgers, hobo dinners, s’mores — to get them ready for a night of ghost stories.LTD-sleeping-bags

RV Camping If you want to get away from home but need all of the comforts while you’re becoming one with nature, check out RV rentals around town. Once you have one locked down for the weekend, all you have to do is throw your clothes and gear in the camper and off you go on a mildly wild ride for Memorial Day. It’s a great way for families with small children on an outdoor adventure because you have all your amenities with you — beds, kitchen, bathroom. You’ll have all the fun of being in the countryside without all of the inconveniences.

ltd-camping-grillCar Camping For families with kids that are a little bit older, pack up the car and drive off into nature and rough it for a few days. It doesn’t take too much planning if you have the right gear. Sleeping bags, a campfire grill and clothes that can handle a little wear and tear. Use the daylight hours to go hiking or fishing and use the evening for bonding with the family over a campfire dinner.

Overnight Alternatives If you don’t want to commit to an overnight stay in the great outdoors, there are plenty of ways to enjoy nature for your long weekend. Consider packing water and lunches for a day hike. Everyone will get a little bit of exercise while spending time with the family and you’ll still get a breath of fresh air. If hiking is too rigorous an activity, try spending the day on a dock fishing if you’re properly licensed. camping

There are so many ways to spend your holiday weekend — there’s no reason you have to be inside. Any of these ideas will give you the weekend break you need after a long winter at home. Anyway you decide to do it, you’ll have the option of staying close to home in case the weather doesn’t cooperate or you want to join friends and family for a good, old fashioned Memorial Day barbecue.

Items We Adore: Product Picks for Wedding Season

ltd-weddingWedding season is starting to pick up — whether you’re going to a wedding or you’re in the wedding, you have a lot of planning and shopping to do! But we have a few ideas to get you started. here are this week’s Items We Adore: Product Picks for Wedding Season.

wedding-certificate-holderDocument Defense Wedding Certificate Holder These Wedding Keepsakes make memorable gifts for a newly engaged couple. Each piece has a distinct pewter-like finish with elegant script, making it easy to buy all 3 for a matching gift basket. The Album says “Wedding Day” on the bottom and has 2 wedding bands on the top. Holds 72 of your 4″ x 6″ photos inside, and also showcases your favorite 3-1/2″ x 5″ photo on the cover. The Certificate Holder ensures the marriage certificate is always safe and secure. Metal. Use the metal-stemmed Set of 2 Champagne Flutes to toast on your wedding day and anniversary. Each has “Bride” or “Groom” on the glass.wedding-mugs

Ceremonial Sipping This Mr. and Mrs. Mug Set makes a cute wedding gift. Onthe front, the mugs read “Mr.” and “Mrs.”, and the back has an inspirational message. Contrasting scrolls complete the design.

led-balloonsBridal Balloons Add a fantastic glow to your next party with the Set of 12 LED Balloons. This fun set is perfect for any birthday, holiday, office event and more. Glowing LED lights illuminate five different colored balloons for up to 24 hours. Easily fill with helium or air.

wedding-totesCrew Courtesies Wedding Tote and Flip-Flop Set is the perfect gift for members of the wedding party. Use the handy black-and-white tote to carry essential items for the big day. It has ample room for hair styling tools, accessories and more. Includes a magnetic closure. Change into the coordinating pair of flip-flops after a night of dancing.

Sentimental Style  Wooden Personalized Sentiment Wall Plaqueswedding-name add a warm touch to your home. Add a name in bold lettering to the Home sign, then add your marriage date to the bottom line. Main lettering, 12 characters maximum. Bottom line, 4 digits maximum. Add your family’s name on the top line of the Welcome sign and the date of your marriage on the bottom line. Top line has a maximum of 15 characters and the bottom line has a maximum of 4 digits. Proud to be American sign has room for a name up to 15 characters seen over “Family.”