British Soccer Camps

Heather —  February 25, 2015 — Leave a comment

British Soccer Camp

As we recently moved into a new area, my world is a bit upside down right now. And, while I am figuring out what activities are available for my kids at the moment, the Summer Camp programs and registrations are all popping up already! I know many camps fill up quickly, so I am sifting through some things, trying to come up with some plans for Summer.

One thing that caught my attention was the British Soccer Camp. Em has played Soccer for a few years and always enjoys it, so I think we will try this out. There appear to be camps for all ages, nationwide, and the prices look very reasonable. I am really looking forward to reviewing this opportunity.

Check it out:

British Soccer

British Soccer Camp is the most popular camp in North America – 150,000 campers! With an innovative curriculum that develops skills, speed and confidence in players ages 3-18, British Soccer Camps provide boys and girls with the rare opportunity to receive high-level soccer coaching from a team of international expert’s right in the heart of their own community. In addition to teaching new skills and improving game performance, each British Soccer Camp provides lessons in character development, cultural education and is the most fun your child can have learning the sport they love!

Enroll your child in a British Soccer Camp today and receive a Free British Soccer Jersey – Sign up during Early Registration and we will immediately ship you a great looking British Soccer Jersey! PLUS – enter code FMG15 and we will include a bonus Challenger water bottle.
http://challenger.mycustomevent.com/content/search

 

*I will receive a promotional item in return for posting about British Soccer Camp.

Your Tea

Caitlin Webb —  February 1, 2015 — 1 Comment

I think by now we’ve all heard the varied opinions on detoxes. Some are for a strict juice detox or otherwise, and some say that our liver does a fine job of detoxing on its own – why starve ourselves?!

I am never one for starving myself so I am somewhere in the middle. I listen to my body as best I can and it is definitely not telling me to go hungry (big surprise) But if I can find a way to support my liver, sure!

FullSizeRender (7)I’m always keeping an eye out for small, sustainable things I can build into my daily routines, because if I make something a habit, I don’t have to use willpower to keep it up!! I came across Your Tea, and I was excited to test it out. Your Tea builds its blends according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) principles to bring together an effective fusion of herbs that can assist with:

bloating
indigestion
problematic skin
cellulite
increase energy
reduction of excess weight
increase energy

I regularly drink herbal tea (my usual is peppermint with raw honey and ACV added) so adding this to my routine was easy! The biggest benefit I noticed was that it helped me to pay attention to when and what I was eating, and it reduced my appetite – especially for sweets. After a few days I was actually craving the earthy tea instead of sweets. Most importantly, it does not have a laxative effect!

It gently cleanses and nourishes the digestive system, helping it to work efficiently and keeping you in tip-top shape. I believe that if your gut is unhappy – there is no doubt that symptoms will show throughout the rest of your body! I experienced this for years until I realized I was only treating symptoms not finding the root of the problem.

Initially, the Tiny Tea may stir up some…leftover stuff in your digestive system, so I experienced maybe two days of a weird feeling after the tea, but after that I craved it.

In addition to the Tiny Tea, they have tons of other varieties I am interested in that assist with fertility, hormone balance and more. Find them here.

Visit the site to find all the details and take advantage of a 5% coupon when you sign up for their newsletter!

Do you drink herbal tea for your health? What’s your favorite?

 

 

Thrive Market Giveaway!

Caitlin Webb —  January 24, 2015 — 8 Comments

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I’ve recently discovered Thrive Market, and am happy to see such a place popping up online! It has a product lineup best compared to Whole Foods, with prices and a membership setup similar to Costco (price 25-50% off retail). They also aim to make “healthy living easy and affordable for everyone”, and for every membership purchased, one is given to a low-income family.

And for the readers here – they are generously giving one year membership for free, a $59.95 value! Enter for the chance to have access all year to 25-50% off your favorite organic and natural market items.

I love shopping at my local health food store, but love online shopping even more…so I felt right at home here. I did a little research for you via an order thanks to the kind folks at Thrive and I am really excited to report how wonderful my experience was!FullSizeRender (2)

First of all, the website is gorgeous. I love clean, simple lines and this site balances a full inventory with a surprisingly clean, minimal interface. Easy to navigate and shop – which makes the process faster and much easier than in-store shopping.

The product lineup is pretty extensive. I found all of my favorite teas, baking ingredients/dry goods, snack bars and supplements. There are a few things I may still have to go to my local health food store, like refrigerated probiotics.

Oh – and an important feature – once you have an account, your shopping cart syncs across devices! I love this since I often pause and pick back up later on my iPad.


They have my favorite tea for almost 1/2 price! I actually have paid even more than the retail price they list for it – bad!

A few of my favorites…organic_Moroccan_Mint_tea_-_Thrive_Market

Moroccan Mint Tea
Cocoa Chewy Bars
Pomegranate Rose Hip Argan Oil
Raw Honey
Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar

 

 

 

PROS
great selection
easy checkout (really, really easy)
beautiful site
great mission
get your organic goods while catching up on Scandal
membership prices

CONS
still get your refrigerated items at the store
shipping is average – not fast, not slow
can’t wait for even more products available

So, you can save money while eating clean, healthy foods. And, especially if you live in an area where organic foods are hard to find, Thrive Market is an essential site to check out! I am happy to share the below giveaway. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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So, how are the resolutions going?

Whether you like to enter the new year with a list of resolutions for yourself or not – you can’t deny that a shiny new year is associated with a clean, fresh start!

I personally do not like resolutions. Only a mere 8% of people have success*, and the rest may feel badly about the “failure” and end up worse than before! A big new years resolution (they can be small but let’s face it, they are usually big ones) doesn’t exactly jive with the “baby steps” path to health that I subscribe to. For example, the top resolution is to lose weight. But that doesn’t associate well with the reason WHY you want to do that, or how. It’s a giant, looming, disconnected ambition without a plan. Instead, choose a baby step that focuses on happiness, or a small goal that is a part of reaching your weight goal. In time, the weight loss will feel like a coincidental by-product.

With that in mind, do take advantage of the clean slate and think about what baby steps you can take this month to start the year off right! Maybe this will be the year of lasting habits, not resolutions.

Keep an eye on your email – this month we have several giveaways coming up to help you on your way!

In the meantime, get into the mood for change…

Get excited with a new Sugar Paper calendar

This one is my favorite! I can’t resist gold dots…it’s a problem.

Let TED talks give you some ideas for more enjoyable resolutions

2014 still weighing on you? Learn how to get over anything

Add some happy habits to your life.

I love this post from Zen Habits – my thoughts exactly!

 

*Statistics Brain http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/

Disclosure: As an Affiliate Blogger for Busch Gardens Virginia through Mom Central I received an invitation to a Christmas Town Preview Event. Opinions are my own.

Christmas Town Busch Gardens

Well, I haven’t fully decided on our Thanksgiving menu for this year yet, but I am definitely in a much merrier mood after visiting Busch Gardens® Christmas Town™ for a Preview Event!

Nothing lifts my spirits more in Winter than gorgeous sparkling lights, hot cocoa, and beautiful Christmas music. We began our evening at the Christmas Town Lighting Ceremony with the O’Tannenbaum Tree in front of Das Festhaus. A collective roar of approval went through the crowd at the lighting of 8 million Christmas lights and I am so glad we were there.

Shortly after the tree lighting, it began to get dark and the park really took on a festive and magical appearance.

Christmas Town Lights

I honestly enjoyed the lighting throughout the park the most overall.

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My daughter was delighted with the refillable hot cocoa mugs, the rides and the fun of running around after dark in winter weather. While obviously not all the rides are open, many are and I loved seeing the England Skyride cars going across the sky rimmed with lights.

As I was cold (definitely dress warmly this year!), I ended up wandering through many of the shops. I got a beautiful mistletoe ornament in the England Christmas Towne Shoppe, and walked outside to find “snow” falling. Just beautiful. My kids were enjoying the firepit with peppermint hot chocolates.

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Personally, I thought the lights at the Polar Pathway in Italy were the most amazing.

Polar Pathway #ChristmasTown

I also loved the Peace on Earth theme reflected in so many lights in Italy.

Peace on Earth Lighting #ChristmasTown

 

We wandered around just enjoying all the lighting, heading towards Castle O’ Sullivan in Ireland for a Dinner at Santa’s Fireside Feast.While this was especially for my youngest, we all enjoyed the show and got to visit with Santa Claus, have cookies served by Mrs. Claus and watch the jolly elves. A fun experience overall.

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Meeting Mrs. Claus at Santa's Fireside Feast

After dinner, we discussed which show to see, with choices like the Scrooge No More, Miracles and Gloria. We peeked in at the Deck the Halls performance in Das Festhaus. At that point, my daughter learned there were live penguins over in the Ice Palace, so shows were put on hold and we continued our journey around the park.

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All too soon, it was closing time. As usual, we did not get to do everything available! I need to go back and see more of the live shows, which all sounded wonderful. As a southern girl, I just wish it would stay about 50 degrees for me, but nevertheless, I would go back. I think this is a fantastic holiday tradition for families and yet again, I found all the employees very kind, the park clean and the festivities and shows family friendly.

Take a look at the Christmas Town website to plan your trip, Christmas town runs through December 31, 2014. And yes, your kids will be tired out from having so much fun!

Sleepy after Christmas Town

As an aside, I’d also like to share that I got to try out Photokey. Photokey is a new program they are offering at the park. Using Photokey, you can visit places inside the park, take digital pictures that are then available online for you to access and print, even create gifts.

I had some trouble with my photokey, because of a problem with my password. I was really upset, but it was my error. Luckily, they figured out the issue and I was able to get some great shots. I love the idea of owning all my photos. We were able to get some beautiful photos of my daughter with Santa Claus and now I can turn these into ornaments for grandparents! I do recommend looking into the Photokey service.

Here are a few of my favorite spots with Photokey locations in the park:

  • Highland Stables (Scotland)
  • Christmas Carriage (Big Ben in England)
  • O Tannenbaum (Oktoberfest)
  • Polar Pictures (Polar Pathway in Italy)

Visit Christmas Town for Christmas Town details, and to watch for specials – I have seen a few already. I so want to go back with all my family! To see more pictures check out #ChristmasTown, or @BuschGardensVA on Twitter and Instagram. The official Facebook page is:www.facebook.com/buschgardens.

You can also download the Busch Gardens mobile app, it is available on the iTunes and Google Play store. Play a new scavenger hunt in the app, while you are enjoying Christmas Town:)

LEGO®kidsfest 2014

Oh WOW. We had a fantastic time at the LEGO® KidsFest at Virginia’s Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond, VA last Friday!

My expectations were pretty high after hearing about the event, but the reality was even better than I expected. First of all, there were SO many things to do. I felt a bit overwhelmed, but in a good way! Legos were everywhere:

They had so many event areas for the kids (and parents) to play in, we never even got to do everything while we were there for over four hours. My daughter particularly loved seeing all the full size lego figures. They had so many popular figures, from Star Wars to The Lego Movie to Marvel. I loved how several areas offered photo booths and handed us a hard copy of our photo! I assumed it would be an extra cost and what a nice surprise for a parent that it was free.

The Master Builder, Chris, was fascinating, talking about how he creates the figures. The kids were so attentive and excited with his talk, and I loved the way he treated the children. He really listened to them and answered their questions. In fact, the entire staff was extremely good with the kids. They were very friendly and helpful, and just treated the children with kindness and respect. I was surprised and I know the kids appreciated that. I saw one little boy, so excited to talk with Chris, the master builder. He showed Chris something of an idea of his and Chris was so positive. It was just really good.

My daughter was just jumping from one thing like the girls legos, to the brick piles, to the Star Wars area all night, and creativity was really encouraged. Kids were able to make things and put them in display cases and many areas offered relay races and building competitions, all in good fun.

Food was available and I do think the price was reasonable for what they offered. Only one show remains for 2014, In Indianapolis, but I really recommend watching for this coming near you in 2015! I would love to take a pile of kids, it is well worth a trip.

LEGO KidsFest tickets are $22 for adults and $20 for children and can be purchased online at http://www.legokidsfest.com.  

I encourage you to LIKE and Follow LEGOKidsFest on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram for all the latest ticketing updates as this event has been selling out in prior cities.

The LEGO KidsFest 2014 has one remaining tour stop Indianapolis, IN (Nov. 7 – 9).


 

LEGO KidsFest is a hands-on, educational, all-ages LEGO extravaganza features millions of LEGO bricks, not to mention lots of construction zones, dozens of life-sized LEGO models and displays, LEGO Friends, LEGO Chima, LEGO Star Wars, live LEGO Master Builders, and so much more covering three acres of space. 

Monarch Bible 400 Review

We have been homeschooling for over six years now, but I certainly have not been able to try out all the amazing resources available for homeschoolers. So, I was pleased when I recently got a chance to review one item from Alpha Omega Publications Homeschool Division. I looked around at what they had to offer and honestly, it was overwhelming. So, I decided to try to find something that I felt was lacking in my homeschool for Em for this year. I had planned to do most of her coursework with books this year, and I felt that she was not as “into” her current bible work as she had been in the past. So I decided to shake things up and try to make bible time more fun for her and chose the Monarch online product Monarch 4th Grade Bible.

Monarch Online Curriculum

 

So what is Monarch? Well, Monarch itself is a Christian online homeschool curriculum for grades 3-12. You’ll really need a high speed internet connection and Mac or PC. You can use this 24/7, and you can choose from doing all core subjects plus electives or just pick and choose some courses. So, I chose to try this 4th grade bible course, which retails for $99.95 and is a license for 18 months. One of the pluses about Monarch is that it includes automated lesson plans and grading.

To begin, I want to share how Monarch actually works, rather than the content of our particular course (I’ll do that next). Here is a bit of a journal of how our experience is going:

We actually began the course on August 6, 2014. I logged into the system using google chrome on PC, set up the “teacher” (me) and signed up for a training the following week. I skimmed the teacher guide, which is available as a PDF. They also offer a student guide in PDF format. So far, I did not really mess with any settings, except to begin. I did find a teacher section where you can email our student so I started off with a simple email.

monarch online homeschool software

I then created a student and added a password. On August 7th, Em began her first lesson. She loved having her own dashboard online and password. I told her to just click around and explore. She promptly skimmed around her dashboard and found the “Spelling Bee” section. She was excited and then went from Spelling Bee to Vocabulocity. She asked “Why didn’t you get me more classes?”

monarch online homeschool software

She then did two days lessons. She seems to be doing okay, and all the settings are pretty much the default setting for grading as she works. As I watch her, I see she is going too quickly, in my opinion and I mention to her to slow down and take it seriously.

She finishes. I go in and run a report of work completed. She gets an 80 and a 60. She is really upset. We talk about how this online work is work and not just a game. She begins going more slowly and paying attention. I think we both pay a bit more attention! I then go in a change settings a bit to allow for more chances to get a question right and go to easier grading scale. I’ll watch her a while and then toughen up again, I’m thinking. I do find it hard to get used to the teacher dashboard, but I need more practice. They give enough help, I think, but you need to sit down and learn the system to really make use of it.

The first two lessons themselves seemed very good. She is used to the NIV version on the Bible and this is set for King James, but I’m okay with that.

I write down a question to see why I can get so many backgrounds in the teacher account, but the student one doesn’t have as many. I want the “girls room” one for Bem’s account… and then I wait for my online training.

When I did the training, I worked with Martie Hawkins, and she was wonderful. We went through a Getting Started powerpoint, and I really recommend doing this, I learned more about the dashboard and curriculum features. I learned more about the dashboard widgets and found out that we could have lessons read to us and that we could choose our own Bible version, and that we could print from the readings. Some other “teacher” stuff I learned from the training included how to block a unit test until ready and how to send problems back to rework.

I learned more about how to set field trips, so work is reassigned and also how to reschedule after the fact, as in a sick day. One of my favorite features of Monarch is how you can log in wherever you are. As far as records, Monarch gives you access to print your students work for 7 years, for say, a portfolio or transcript. They do have a monthly plan/subscription service as well.

I really feel like the webinar training is worth doing. Also, you can see videos online on the AOP site about how Monarch actually works.

Here is my teacher dashboard main screen:

monarch online homeschool software

Okay, I guess I should share about the actual coursework now.  Bible 400 is a study on both the Old and New Testaments. The course discusses Peter and Paul (Saul) specifically. Through the discussions and readings, students learn about the existence of God, Bible study methods, Psalm 23, Old Testament geography, and Christian witnessing.

The actual lessons themselves seem very biblically sound so far, and the use of all kinds of media keeps Em engaged and interested. Whenever she is a bit tired of whatever she’s doing, she can click over a play a game or do some vocabulary that reinforces her lesson, but changes things up a bit. The content includes movie clips, games, audio clips and web links.

In the first lesson Em did, Bible 400, she began with an adorable little vocabulary section with cute singing bees. Seriously. She then did a “read this” section which had a story with scripture and then a verse to memorize. I noticed the lesson format varies, say a reading, a video here and there, then a game or two, then a quick quiz, often 10 to 20 questions as the daily work. Quizzes can be true/false, multiple choice or even putting Biblical events in chronological order. I love the approach of mixing it up and keeping it fresh. There is also a dashboard section where kids can do several games and/or flashcards at any time (unless you have it set otherwise). Every unit includes projects which you can pick and choose from, with assignments like writing a letter and all kinds of project ideas.

As far as look and sound in a typical lesson, the only improvements I would make would be to get the voices a little bit more engaging-the reader voices for passages are adults and not silly, which may be preferred by some because it is serious reading, yet my daughter loved the little bee voices and I’m wondering if they couldn’t use more fun voices for the more serious things as well…Yes, I told her I’d tell the creators. When I asked her for her input for the company she did request “they add more characters like the Spelling Bees, and add more games and maybe make it so you can win coins.” Okay, so maybe my daughter has too much internet time!

Overall, I have been impressed. And I say that with all honesty. I have tried to be very honest in my reviewing, as I know people will spend hard earned money on these items and I wanted to point out any negatives as well as the positives. For our homeschool, I like to use an eclectic approach with what types of curriculum I use, usually a mix of books and internet options, sprinkled with delight directed option and field trips. That works best for us so far. But, if you like a consistent online approach where you grade and lead, Monarch is available for all core subjects.

The content in Bible 400 seems good for a 4th grader. The interactive lessons are a good length without being overwhelming. You can set up how long you want the course to take, which gives you the ability to match your students’ needs. You can control everything about the course (besides the content) from the teacher dashboard. You can choose grading scales, and which lessons your student needs to complete. You can skip a test or add a project. Everything loads quickly, there are various media methods used to engage a student. The student dashboard is very intuitive and responsive.

Find Alpha Omega Publications on Facebook  Alpha Omega Publications Homeschool Division

On Google+ https://plus.google.com/+Aophomeschool

Disclaimer: I did receive Monarch Bible 400 Online to try out and review. I have given my opinion.

 

100 Days of Real Food Cookbook

By Caitlin Grace Webb, Lifestyle Contributor

I have been on a real food, whole food journey for a while now. One of my favorite resources is the 100 Days of Real Food blog by Lisa Leake. Lisa’s blog combines the necessary resources for a whole food lifestyle with the common sense and simplicity needed for real life. For me, it is a reliable, comfortable resource.  Since I’ve been following her blog from the beginning, I am so excited to be a cookbook ambassador and review the book I received!

She recently released her first cookbook, 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love, and it is a perfect reflection of the blog. Not just recipes, but dedicated to making the recipes and lifestyle easy and natural for you and your family. No kids yet here – but if you are a parent you will love the tips! I have been in awe of what she is doing for her children for years.

This is not just how to cook healthful recipes, but how to make it happen and why.

My favorites so far are the Shortcut Eggplant Parmesan and the Chocolate Truffles made with dates. If you are not yet using fresh Medjool dates as a dessert option, start now! I could not live without them.

100 days cookbook eggplant pic

Photo by Caitlin Webb

I love the chapters designed to make this easy – grocery lists that aren’t confining, favorite brands and dried spices and tips for substitution equivalents. And the chapters that provide the facts and awareness needed for a whole food lifestyle  – details about whole wheat and whole grains, processed ingredients versus homemade ingredients and why food dyes are horrible (a personal favorite), among other things!

Gluten-free, Vegetarian and dairy-free recipes are included, as well as freezer friendly options (is anyone NOT taking advantage of freezer cooking yet?!). And, all the photos are gorgeous!

With any cookbook or blog I use, my favorite tool is Pepperplate. It is a wonderful meal planning app that syncs wirelessly so I have my shopping lists and recipes available wherever I go! If you feel stuck when you go to the grocery store – give it a try!

pepperplate image

Email me for my favorite tips!

Try my favorite recipe and share your comments below!

Shortcut Eggplant Parmesan

Shortcut Eggplant Parmesan

Photo by Carrie Vitt

Shortcut Eggplant Parmesan

If you do not already follow Lisa’s blog, check it out here. Or, find her on Facebook! That is actually my favorite way to check in and see the latest. Don’t wait to transform your idea of real food, buy her cookbook today!

Enjoy life!


 

Caitlin profile picLiving by the beach in Charleston, SC, Caitlin is an artist by nature and is inspired by the beauty in everyday life. You can find her doing yoga, making jewelry, working, cooking and decorating her new home.