Archives For raising children

British Soccer Camps

Heather —  February 25, 2015

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.

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. 

LEGO® KidsFest Virginia Giveaway!

Heather —  September 2, 2014

LEGO® KidsFest

Oh, my college boys are never going to forgive me… when they were little, there was no LEGO® KidsFest!! Now, not only does the cool event exist, but LEGO® KidsFest returns to Virginia’s Greater Richmond Convention Center on Richmond, VA from Oct. 3 – 5 and their little sister and I are going.

Lucky kids and the young at heart will be able to enjoy all sorts of creative activities. Think “Master Builder”! Oh, yes, everything will be awesome! Builders of all ages and skill level are welcome. While activities vary, overall there will be lots of hands-on building on the three-ACRE show floor. I’m actually excited to see this, it sounds so fun.

Some events we can expect include:

• LEGO Model Gallery: dozens of life-sized models made entirely from LEGO bricksLEGO Model Gallery
• LEGO Master Builders: live demonstrations and activities from professional LEGO builders
• Creation Nation: build your own creation to add to a custom map of the U.S.
• Race Ramps: build your own custom car, and race it down the ramp against friends and family
• Construction Zones: creative free build, play and display areas
• LEGO DUPLO®: younger visitors can explore imagination through building
• LEGO Retail and KidsFest Marketplace: purchase LEGO and official KidsFest tour merchandise
• Brick Pile: a gigantic pile full of LEGO bricks for creative play and enjoyment
• Monochromatic Builds: bricks of a single color to foster group creativity
• Brickscapes: fantastic displays that combine lots of LEGO and DUPLO sets

New activities for this year’s visit in Richmond include LEGO Star Wars™, LEGO Mindstorms, LEGO Friends Photo Booth, LEGO Disney Princess, LEGO Super Heroes and more. Once again, show-goers can enjoy the LEGO Model Museum, the LEGO Master Builder Academy, Race Ramps, Creation Nation, Construction Zone, LEGO DUPLO®, LEGO Retail store and LEGO KidsFest Marketplace, the Big Brick Pile, LEGO Ninjago and more.

Five sessions – all identical – are available for the Oct. 3 – 5 tour stop. LEGO KidsFest tickets are $22 for adults and $20 for children and can be purchased online at http://www.legokidsfest.com.  

And I get to Giveaway some tickets to a lucky reader!!

Click here to enter to Win (2) Tickets!!

One of MY followers will win (2) tickets to for the opening night session on Friday, October 3,  2014   (4-8:30 pm). 

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. Must be 18 to enter, 1 entry per day allowed, random drawing by USFG on Monday Sept 15 and announced via my social media!

Good Luck, Hope to see you there!

The LEGO KidsFest 2014 remaining tour stops: Richmond, VA (Oct. 3 – 5) and Indianapolis, IN (Nov. 7 – 9). Remember, this event has sold out in in the past, so buy tickets in advance online!


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. 

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

 

Family time fun at Busch Gardens

We had so much fun that day at Busch Gardens being outside and playing, from my 8 year old to my 18 year old.

How is your Summer going? Ours has been a mix of great fun and some quiet indoor days. I am not a super outdoorsy person and I definitely feel guilty when I am not out and about with the kids, doing outdoor activities.

Yet, most of my kids are pretty content to watch movies and play online, so while that mitigates my guilt, I still feel it IS better for kids to be outside, being kids, whether that is just going to the pool or running around the neighborhood.

Just recently, we all got off our electronics though! I had a “Mommy and Me Meetup” at Williamsburg, Busch Gardens. This ended up being a fantastic opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy time with my children.

Note: “I attended an event on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Busch Gardens. I received free admission to the park as a thank you for participating.”*

Once we got there, we had an awesome breakfast buffet and meeting. I loved how the Busch Gardens team prepared for our kids. They know little kids need to have stuff to do, and the tables even had paper and chalk for drawing and little buckets with toys.

Busch Gardens Breakfast

Busch Gardens Breakfast

While the kids were eating and playing, Stacy from Mom Central Consulting and the Busch Gardens Team gave a fascinating presentation about how our children are described as the generation of digital natives. We heard about a study of 900 Moms, which showed that most mothers struggle to find a healthy balance of indoor and outdoor play.

I totally agree. I know I ran around outside crossing our little creek and climbing around in the woods as a kid. I wish my kids had more natural outdoor fun, but where we live now it just is not as easy. I have to worry about safety and neighbors, and the kids want to play video games.

 “According to a just-released survey of nearly 900 moms conducted by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Busch Gardens®, kids spend only two hours during the week participating in natural, unstructured activities such as playing tag, riding bikes, and exploring nature, and these activity levels increase only slightly on the weekends to a little more than two hours.”

It is almost as though, as parents, we really need to work to help our kids play outside and have that old fashioned fun. And some days I do try hard to set up more outdoor play. But, it really is work for me though I know it is worth the time to get.

With the meetup focus, we heard about how Busch Gardens is trying to help fill that need for outdoor natural fun for whole families. It makes sense. They have over 100 acres of lush land at this location. They have been voted the world’s most beautiful theme park for the past 23 years! I took a few photos from the The  Aeronaut Skyride because the trees and foliage are just gorgeous.

The Aeronaut Skyride

Anyway, Busch Gardens wants to share that “Fun Grows Here”

outdoor fun clip

they have a kind of triple play of gorgeous nature, animals and rides. So, any family can find their niche while enjoying being outdoors together.

The Aeronaut Skyride

I think that is fabulous and I love that Moms and Dads can have the fun also. My kids love it when we play with them and this trip made it so easy to just go play outdoors!

It was, overall, such a relaxing, enjoyable experience. At the beginning of the day (and at the very end) we had some rain showers. I freaked out and figured we’d have to go home, but there was no lightening and the kids could have cared less.

girl at Busch Gardens with Umbrella

A teeny bit after I calmed down, the sun popped out and the weather was fantastic most of the day…and no one got sunburned.

We got our maps and those of us with smart phones had the Busch Gardens App, which is great because it shows where you are, directions to rides and such and even updates the showtimes around the park. It proved to be a useful App.

The older kids got to run around on the roller coasters and thrill rides, while we did some of the younger kids things, marked as KIDsiderate with our youngest:

Kids roller coaster at Busch Gardens

and then we all met up, throughout the day, to do some rides together, watch some shows, have some treats and check out the animals.

The pompei ride at Busch Gardens

The kids on the Pompeii ride

Dad even found a new ride he liked:

Europe in the air ride

 

As we walked through the park I did test some of the employees {grin} I knew I would be writing a review and I wanted to be able to share the truth of our experience. I had been told that the Park employees with animals were friendly and if I asked, would tell us all about the animal. So, we talked to several park employees who were with animals. We first hung out with the sheep in Scotland and learned tons about the baby sheep and border collies and Clydesdales. My daughter was so into that!

girl and Clydesdales at Busch Gardens

I was impressed with the employees knowledge and willingness to chat with us. We also went to the pet shenanigans show, and I liked how after the show, people were encouraged to come up and talk to the people and visit with the animals.

Pet Shenanigans show at Busch Gardens

Again, my eight year old enjoyed that very much. We also spoke with a woman with the most adorable little owl and she gave us so many facts, Emma could write a report.

Busch Gardens Owl

The roller coasters were my teenagers favorites and they rode those over and over, as the wait times were not bad at all. My children declared Griffon® the “best ride ever”.

Griffon Roller Coaster at Busch Gardens

One thing they noticed was that many of the coasters and thrill rides like the Battering Ram and Da Vinci’s Cradle had accelerometers on the rides, and they were curious to do some of the educational activities when they came back again.

I loved it that I did not push them to do the educational stuff, yet they became curious and want to follow up for themselves. Now, THAT’S natural learning.

I hear that Busch Gardens is homeschool friendly, with many new homeschool opportunities coming up.

For example, they have a Launch Into Physics: The Mars Mission program where kids can learn about momentum, acceleration and g-forces.

I see that this Summer there will be NASA Exploration Days (Aug. 2 – 3) and they have ongoing Conservation programs. You can check out their website to read about how to do Behind the Scenes Tours with groups of 15 or more. As a homeschool Mom, I will be keeping a watch for these things!

Anyway, we meandered through the park and ate crazy good ice cream cone sundaes in France and fat pretzels in Germany (the pretzels in Germany are the best get yours there). I felt like a kid myself.

ice cream at Busch Gardens

As a parent, it is so much fun to watch your kids enjoy themselves! I got a kick out of doing some old school rides like the bumper cars…

IMG_2233

and the carousel…

Busch Gardens carousel

Haha! We made Big brother go with us

and we planned our day to culminate at the Celtic Fyre® a show with singers, musicians and Irish dancers, which was so enjoyable and a great end to the day.

I didn’t have time to do everything. I missed taking the Rhine River Cruise, which sounds beautiful. Next time around, I want to try the Escape from Pompeii® and Roman Rapids®. There is so much to do!!

I know that this trip is something all of my kids that went with us will remember forever. It was just that fun and doing it all together made for a great memory.

You can find more information on the Park on the Busch Gardens website. You can also follow Busch Gardens Facebook. An upcoming event that looks great is the return of IllumiNights: A Busch Gardens® Encore.

So, that was our experience. Here’s to enjoying outdoor fun as a family! #NaturalFun and #MC.

Successful Breastfeeding Essentials
Welcome to the Successful Breastfeeding Essentials Giveaway! Breastfeeding can be both challenging and rewarding, so it’s important to have great support to get off to the best start. One lucky reader will win all of the items that were reviewed in the Essentials series, a $140 value! For full reviews of each item, click on the links below! Here’s what’s up for grabs:

Sport Wirefree Nursing Bra
A $40 e-gift certificate to Leading Lady
Breastfeeding My Feeding Friend
A My Feeding Friend nursing pillow

Calma breastfeeding bottle
A Calma breastfeeding support bottle from Medela

Udder Covers Breastfeeding
An Udder Covers gift set including nursing cover, cloth breast pads, and a Milk Bands nursing bracelet

To enter to win, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US residents. Ends at 12:01AM on September 11. Thanks for stopping by!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Teenagers at restaurant

As Summer slowly ends and we gear up into Fall, I try to organize all my homeschooling stuff.

This year, I especially want to highlight a wonderful homeschool resource:

Homeschool Mosaics

Yes, I have a special interest in this site as I am a columnist for this site!

My column is Treasuring Your Teens, and I write about this because my house is full of teenagers!

But, The WHOLE site is an amazing resource.

And, while I expected a lot from the site as I know many of the writers, I still honestly find myself impressed by how much content and wisdom is available on this site.

You will find columns covering homeschool methods, homeschooling encouragement, homeschool how-to’s, just to mention a few.

Follow Homeschool Mosaics for discussions on parenting, talking about child development, teaching gifted, special needs, recipes, bible study for little children, genealogy, discussions about transcripts, heading to college and Treasuring Your Teens.

Head over and take a look! Here are some of my old columns. I have a column the 21st of each month.

treasuringteens

Treasuring Your Teens:

http://homeschoolmosaics.com/category/our-columns/treasuring-your-teens/

http://homeschoolmosaics.com/getting-a-drivers-license/

http://homeschoolmosaics.com/planning-for-high-school/

http://homeschoolmosaics.com/the-rough-roads/

http://homeschoolmosaics.com/establishing-foundations-with-your-teen/

http://homeschoolmosaics.com/an-introduction-to-treasuring-your-teens/

No teens at your house? No worries. There are articles to support every stage of homeschooling!

 

Follow Homeschool Mosaics on Facebook

Follow Homeschool Mosaics on Twitter

Have you heard of the new app Family Bible Adventures?

A few months ago, I reviewed some wonderful videos for kids from Rising Star Studios, called Meteor and friends. I really loved these!

Now, the same studio, in partnership with Faith Inkubators, has released a new App that is an interactive Bible experience for children.

The App has several parts, using videos with animated illustrations, games, quizzes and songs to teach children about the Good News of Jesus Christ. Em and I checked it out and from what I see, the original app contains a lot of content, with 5 major Bible stories and accompanying games and quizzes and music for each story. The app is set up so you can add to your collection within this same app, and eventually, I suppose, have most of the major Bible stories.

This first App tells five Gospel stories, beginning with Christ’s birth.

So what did we think?

Well, I think Emma said it best:

“The pictures and voices are a bit weird, but it tells the stories. The games and quizzes and coloring pages are so fun. And, the music is the best,” says Emma.

I agree. The narrating character is a Rev. Fink and I don’t love his voice, but Emma didn’t seem to care as much as I did. The story animation illustrations seemed kind of…what’s the word?? Maybe cheeky. Silly to me. BUT, the storylines were very biblical and I began to get used to this style. I think this was a personal feeling on my part. I am going to ask our children’s pastor what she thinks, she is a bit “cooler” than I am and knows what the kids like!

With that said, I DO like this app. I like how the stories are reinforced by the games and quizzes. I think Kids will really retain the information. I LOVE, Love the music. There is a “jukebox” and this application works really well. The songs are all straight scripture and are gentle and sweet. Emma played with listening to the music quite a bit. I would pay more just for this music. My daughter has been coloring on the coloring pages like crazy. Just a lot of thinks to do in one little app. I am impressed. RECOMMENDED!

The app is designed with the FAITH 5 concept in mind. This stands for Faith Acts In The Home and is a 5 step nightly process for having caring conversations every night in the home – teaching prayer and openness in the home.

What’s inside Family Bible Adventures HD:

  • 5 beautiful motion storybook videos – God’s Big Plan, Mary’s Song, The Birth of Jesus, Baptism & Wilderness, and Fishing For People.
  • 5 great original songs taken from scripture.
  • A fun quiz with each story to reinforce the message.
  • A music Jukebox to play all your favorite songs in whatever order you like.
  • An awesome match game with Easy, Medium and Hard difficulty settings (with art and sounds from the stories)
  • A custom coloring book featuring artwork AND a built in music player to listen to your favorite FBA songs while you draw.
  • Parent’s Corner shares with you the FAITH 5 concept– five easy steps to help keep your family together in a world that could tear it apart. – Share, Read, Talk, Pray and Bless.

You can find out more at www.familybibleapp.com. Do go “like” them on facebook!

FAMILY BIBLE ADVENTURES HD trailer from Rising Star Studios on Vimeo.

*I received the Family Bible Adventure app in order to do this review. I have given my honest opinion.

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