Disclosure: As an Affiliate Blogger for Busch Gardens Virginia through Mom Central I received complimentary tickets for my family but was not otherwise compensated. Opinions are my own.

Roman Rapids Ride

Roman Rapids Ride

As I write this post, I think I want to begin at the end. Because one of the last things the kids did together was so fun for me to watch and it just summed up the reason I wanted to go to Busch Gardens in the first place ~

I wanted to get as many of my kids as possible together and do something memorable and super fun. To get outside together without having to make a ton of plans, just to BE. As all my kids grow up, go to college, and begin their own families, time together becomes more and more precious and it is harder to get everyone together than in past years, for sure…

I have to say, my most favorite moment of the day was watching (almost) all my kids, including my daughters’ boyfriend and my daughter in law, go down the river on the Roman Rapids Ride. I stood there and wondered how time had gone by so quickly. I loved seeing how much fun they were having together…I heard them taking care of each other, and a little bit of teasing, but not much. It’s every moms dream to see your kids having this much fun together, don’t you think? Take a look for yourself:

While my kids may remember Griffon, Verbolten or Alpengeist more, I know I’ll never forget watching them from the bank as they laughed their way down the river. Seriously, right then, I was so glad Busch Gardens existed, that it was nice and that the kids all made it that day.

So now you know how I felt about the day and the park already! But anyway, the day began way earlier as we live a few hours away from Busch Gardens Williamsburg. We took two cars and met up at the park. My daughter made one stop on the way:

On the way to Busch Gardens Williamsburg

On the way to Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Once we all arrived, beginning with the tram ride to the entrance, I found the park facilities to be wonderfully clean, with the grounds so well kept and the staff very friendly. Honestly, the park has the feeling of being well run, overall.

The kids at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

The kids at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

We stayed together mostly as a big group, although we had the roller coaster riders…and the non roller coaster riders! But that worked out because we needed someone to hold bags! Note: the lockers are good, but most people still want to keep phones, wallet, a few little items with them. I would consider wearing a non-lame fanny pack next time. I did get some of the Cashless wristbands, one less thing to carry and my youngest thought it was fantastic.

So, after looking at our park maps and checking the show times, (you can also use the Busch Gardens Discovery Guide App), we had a rough plan and started riding! My son Nick wore a Go Pro camera and filmed a bunch of the coasters, which was neat to see. Park regulations permit go pros with the chest straps.

Loch Ness roller coaster in Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Loch Ness roller coaster in Busch Gardens Williamsburg

As my kids are older, we skipped most of the little kid areas, like the KIDsiderate Attractions, which moms of younger kids should check out. (We did last year) We hit all the coasters! Here is a Nick Go Pro Video of Verbolten, I was laughing so hard listening to this one:

And here’s Griffon:

See more of Nick’s park videos on my youtube channel!

After a bunch of intense rides, we took a little detour to chill out, get some water and decide on lunch. We saw the Clydesdales, the grey wolves, the hawks…as a homeschool mom, I am very interested in all their nature and conservation programs (but I’ll save that for another post!).

Petting Clydesdale at Highland Stables

Petting Clydesdale at Highland Stables

After some more wandering, we ended up eating while watching the Entwined: Tales of Good and Grimm show. This was a great decision, because the show was a trip, everyone ate a solid meal and got to relax. Nick got a chicken and barbeque plate that was very good. Note: I see you can pre-purchase meal deals  with a discount. I think I would do this next time. We hung out in Germany for awhile and checked out some shops and enjoyed the carousel and bumper cars.

Visiting the fountain at Busch Gardens Germany

Visiting the fountain at Busch Gardens Germany

Big brother and little sister Carousel Ride at Busch Gardens #99daysofsummerfun

Big brother and little sister Carousel Ride at Busch Gardens #99daysofsummerfun

My daughter and her boyfriend wandered off to ride some more rides and then they had a portrait done! The portrait is adorable and I know she loves it, great job Gwen!

Busch Gardens Portrait Artist

Portrait done by Portrait artist, Gwen

Then, there was more riding and laughing… and mom NOT doing anything but having fun also!

I have to say, it was an intense day! so much fun and just one day:) We had to leave a lot undone, but we all got to do most of the things we had wanted to.

The day was nearly over by now, but we were able to see the London Rocks Show, which was a very entertaining musical show with great technology as well, loads of classic British rock woven into a story and a few 3D surprises…shhh!

London Rocks

London Rocks Show at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

All in all, it was a fantastic day. You can tell by all the smiles:

my kids at Busch Gardens

My Eldest and his gorgeous wife enjoying family time at the park

All this fun and time together and no one had to make anything or do anything… I think I will start a tradition where our whole family has to meet and do this at least once a year. This year, Busch Gardens is having #99daysofsummerfun, and I like that idea:)

So whether you are a family full of littles needing to burn off energy or have a house full of teenagers, Busch Gardens is a great way to get outside easily and have some fun together. They have special shows and events throughout the summer, and a few other special events throughout the year. You can purchase an annual pass or Fun card. There are other online deals for shorter time periods, as well as plenty of information about the park on their website.

Check out Busch Gardens Williamsburg:

Busch Gardens

facebook.com/BuschGardens

twitter.com/buschgardensva

Instagram.com/buschgardensva

 

Christmas Cranberry Chutney

December 4, 2013

Christmas Cranberry Chutney

This is a simple recipe, yet the resulting chutney is so full of flavor and colorful!

Enjoy!

Nan’s Christmas Cranberry Chutney

2 cups fresh cranberries

2 cups sugar

3 Tbls. water

1 apple, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped (I slice very fine in cuisinart)

1 Tbls. orange rind

1 cup orange juice

1 cup raisins (use golden)

1.2 teas. ground ginger

1/4 teas. ground cloves

cook cranberries, sugar and water for 5 minutes over medium heat. Then add all ingredients and continue cooking at a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring often. Let cool. As this cools, it will thicken. You will get about 3 cups of chutney.

Cranberry Chutney

This goes very well with ham. Place into jelly jars and share with friends and family!

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC, or the manufacturer of the product.

 weight management aid #shop

Recently, through a review with Moms Meet, I began taking Calorease. This is a stimulant free, weight management aid. I thought it sounded worth trying out, because it was stimulant free, and naturally sourced and didn’t contain anything that seemed like it could hurt my body.

Calorease is not a special diet, but exactly what is says, a weight aid. You eat normally (hopefully well) and exercise as usual for best results. But prior to each time you eat, you take two of the capsules. The active ingredient FBCx binds and eliminates up to 9 times its weight in dietary fat, reducing up to 500 calories a day from the fat in foods.

When I began using the Calorease in September, I was bad about remembering to take it before each meal. I was often going to “save” it for meals that I felt contained a bunch of fat. After about a week, I was better about remembering to just go ahead and take it.

After a bit, I noticed that they improved my regularity, and overall I lost about 5 pounds without changing my habits in any other way. One additional side effect was that I became more thoughtful again about my habits and felt more powerful about making more healthy eating changes.

They have blister pouches providing 1 serving (2 tablets) so it’s easy to take with you. A 90-tablet pack of Calorease retails for $29.99. It is available at GNC and also online.

Want a 50% discount?  Pay only $14.99 for a 90-tablet pack. Visit calorease.com/buy and enter code 4MOMS.

See calorease.com to see a video of how it works, and the research behind it. #momsmeet

You can stay updated on the latest offers and promos on Facebook.com/calorease, and find them online here:

I loved this and had to share!

From Antarctica to Florida, 93 Wildlife Projects Receive More Than $1.2 Million from the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund

– Fund Surpasses $10 Million in Giving in 10 Years –

Orlando, Fla. (October 10, 2013) – Wild animals in need around the world – from Antarctic penguins to sea turtles hatchlings on Florida’s beaches – will benefit from more than $1.2 million in grants awarded this year by the non-profit SeaWorld® & Busch Gardens® Conservation Fund. Ninety-three wildlife research, habitat protection, animal rescue and conservation education projects will receive the grants.

These grants will support researchers studying migration movements of Antarctic penguin species, provide safer passage for turtle hatchlings making their way from the nest to the water, and help monitor the long-term health of dolphins in one of Florida’s vital eco-systems.

Since its inception 10 years ago, the Fund has given more than $10 million in grants to protect wildlife and wild places.

Additionally, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens provide direct support to the Fund by placing zoological staff into the field to work alongside researchers on projects supported by the Fund.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ provides all administrative and development costs as well as staffing and infrastructure. Because of this, 100 percent of donations go to on-the-ground wildlife conservation efforts.

Just a few of the wildlife projects and organizations the funds will help include:

Tracking Penguin Migrations – Where do penguins go for the winter? Researchers with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are using geolocation (GLS) tagging and stable isotope studies to identify the winter diets and migration movements of Adelie and chinstrap penguins in the Antarctic Peninsula. The data will be of critical importance in defining future management priorities for these species.

Sea Turtle Lighting Project – Lights on turtle nesting beaches can disorient turtle hatchlings and lead them away from the ocean. To help make a safer passage, Sea to Shore Alliance has created a method of measuring, mapping, and recording beach lighting levels. This data enables wildlife managers to quickly and easily compare, observe and locate areas with excessive beach lighting. By identifying these illumination “hotspots” managers can better protect sea turtle hatchlings.

Long-term Monitoring of Dolphins – The Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute is conducting a long-term study to monitor the abundance, population and habitat structure of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins that inhabit Florida’s Indian River Lagoon. The data being collected will help to make animal management decisions and better evaluate risks facing this species.

“No animal is immune to the threats that face wildlife today,” said Brad Andrews, President and Executive Director of theSeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund and Chief Zoological Officer for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. “The on-the-ground work from researchers, animal rehabilitators and educators is vital to help our planet’s animal inhabitants not only survive, but thrive.”

For more information on the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund visit

www.swbg-conservationfund.org or visit the Fund on Facebook.

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client. All opinions are my own. #cbias #SocialFabric

CrossKeys Winery, #shop

We found a great way to save money on our phone bill with the Walmart Family Mobile cell phone plan powered by T-Mobile.

What did we do with the savings? We shored up our marriage!

We did. We used the savings to treat ourselves to a CrossKeys Winery tour.

Chris and I at Winery Tasting #shop

We did a tasting, followed by a tour of the Vineyards

Lunch at winery #shop

The cheese platter was a nice perk from the Groupon I got:)

 

Lunch at winery #shop

It was a gorgeous, late Summer day full of sun. We had a blast

After a fantastic afternoon, we even went and saw the “World’s End” at the movies. We had so much fun! If you saw that movie, I have to ask, “How adorable is Andy, people”??

While it was no surprise I love a good Pinot Noir, I found out my husband likes the CrossKeys Cabernet Franc. For a couple with six children, to have a quiet day after seeing one son off to college, one son off to the Marines and one son moving to NYC…well… a quiet day, with wine and a movie, is like a dream.

Winery side view #shop

I was thrilled to offer this trip to my husband as his early birthday gift. I showed him how we saved money while sending Nick off to college, when we chose this cheap wireless plan.

Nick gets unlimited data. This is awesome. Just this month, we saved $60 and did not have to share our 2GB of data we get on our other plan. My husband is looking at switching our whole family over to this plan as soon as we can because we would save almost 50% on our cell phone bill.

Nick is also able to handle his billing and service at the online account management and information site at https://www.myfamilymobile.com/. This works really well. I like it also because I can log on and see his usage and help with his bill. (You can pay in other ways too, but I like the online billing view, it makes it easy for me to keep up with what my family needs.)

I also like it that as a parent, you have some control over the phone because they have a “Limits and Controls” page. I do not set this for Nick, as he is old enough that I would not do this. BUT, I would LOVE to use this system for my two younger daughters! I have tried some net download type protections on their phones under our current service and it never works right. For this Walmart family plan, the limits and controls are simple and do work (Nick tested it for me). You can block adult content, block certain callers, and even set restrictions on when phones can be used. This is an amazing option.

Seriously, don’t pay too much for your service! Take a look at the Walmart Family Mobile plan.

Read what others think at #FamilyMobileSaves and  #cbias We got the $25 one time starter kit and chose the $39.88 /month unlimited plan with talk, text and web. You can take a look at our shopping trip in my Google+ album.and my first post about this service: http://faithfamilyandfun.com/want-the-best-wireless-save-money-with-walmart-family-mobile/

Save some money and have some fun with your savings! #FamilyMobileSaves #shop #cbias