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.

 

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Looks like I know where I will be this Friday. Dolphin Tale 2 is coming out and there is a homeschool day…Friday September 12th! Honestly, I really enjoyed the first Dolphin Tale movie and my daughter thought it was the most fascinating story ever. The first movie led us to do a delight directed unit study on Dolphins and she is still begging me to take her to Clearwater Aquarium, which I really want to do someday.

While sequels usually don’t live up the original movie in my opinion, I am really hopeful this will be a good movie. In looking at the preview, I’d say it will be an upbeat, exciting movie, especially for kids but a pleasant view for adults as well. Take a look:

As I mentioned, when the first Dolphin Tale movie came out, my daughter was very interested in Winter and all Dolphins. We watched many videos and looked at everything the aquarium had uploaded, including watching Winter via a webcam. It was a neat learning opportunity.

This time around, there are even more learning resources. Take a look at Dolphin Tale 2 on the Homeschool Movie Club Site They have a page specifically designated for curriculum with videos and lesson plans. The videos are created by the Aquarium Director, who is also a homeschool Dad. He is very clear and understandable and I learned a bunch just previewing these videos! There are also printable, color PDF files with lessons, hands-on activities and worksheets.

Whether you are a homeschooling or public schooling parent, I really recommend checking these out. Even a busy child would love to watch the videos. You can access everything for free.

If you want to get super into it—or your child does—there is also a curriculum offered on the page by Classical Conversations. This PDF is over 60 pages long, and is a very in-depth study related to Winter, marine animals and the ocean. I have saved the file myself and plan to use much of it as it looks fantastic and well researched.

In honor of Dolphin Tale 2 and Homeschool Day WIN a fun pack for kids that includes a t-shirt and 1 pair of sunglasses!

dolphin tale tshirtdolphin tale glasses

To enter, just leave me a comment!

Group Resource Website: http://www.homeschoolmovieclub.com/homeschool_day

Official Movie Website: http://www.dolphintale2.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dolphintalemovie

Twitter: @dolphintale

#DolphinTale2 #HomeschoolDay2014 & #WinterHasHope

dt2_500x500_Homeschool_JB


 

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

 

 

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. 

Move In Day!

Move In Day!

“Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Kaplan Test Prep. I received compensation to write this post, and any opinions expressed are my own, and reflect my actual experience.” 

When I was asked if I had any advice about getting kids ready for college, I had to laugh. Do I? Do I EVER!

I mean, come on, I have five children, four currently in college. I could cry you a river.

One, because I miss them, and two, because the college process is a pain, and the first year is the hardest.

I don’t want to scare younger parents. But then again, it’s probably for the best. Go ahead, be afraid. Trust me, your kids won’t. They are worried about the game Friday night, not the Fafsa deadline for 2016.

My main advice is to get involved. I have both public schooled children and homeschooled children. I was actually more involved with my homeschool son’s progress for getting into college because I was worried that as a homeschooler, he would not get access to help that was available through the school system. I bugged him and we did sign up for test prep and did online planning. He ended up having a relatively easy process getting into school as a freshman.

Ironically, I assumed that my public schooled children would get tons of help through the guidance office. Frankly, they did not. They received some paperwork and notice about meetings that were, I thought, pretty useless. I was shocked. I’m not even sure why the school had an office door marked guidance office, that’s how little help they gave.

That all being said, kids do get into college. We are living proof the process did not kill us.

Also, for the record, I do expect a level of responsibility from my kids that not every parent does. I asked them to keep track of deadlines for taking the ACT, the SAT and for getting Fafsa forms filled out and for making sure they made the college deadlines for applications.

If I was able to go back in time and handle things a bit differently, here are a few things I would do:

  • I would start to prepare earlier. As early as Freshman year.
  • Find the websites that can help you and your child. Sites like the KapMap can track progress and warn you about upcoming deadlines.
  •  I would sign myself up (not just the kids) to look at more of the planning tools and deadlines, so I knew exactly what to ask the kids about. Sometimes I was more okay with just looking at the big picture, when we needed to get into the minutia.
  • I would schedule times to talk with the kids about what was going on specifically about college. Talk about what each child was doing to handle the college process. Sometimes, one child would be waiting for us to, say, write a check for a test.
  • I would be meaner about them getting things done.

But even with some things that we could not have done differently in the mix, I know that following a process, akin to what KapMap seems to be, would be helpful.

In looking at the KapMap, I like how specific it is. The KapMap gives you suggestions and clickable links for getting ready for college beginning with your freshman year.

You will find details on things like:

PSAT, Financial Aid Deadlines, ACT and SAT’s, Key College Admissions Factors, Campus Visiting Checklists, Taking AP Exams and more.

I spoke with my son and showed him the KapMap. He thought it was very concise and did a video on his thoughts:

Life is getting more difficult, I believe, and following directions DOES matter. While you can “over” worry, in general, I would say that our most difficult times were because a child missed a deadline and it did cause a problem.

I am including a link to the KapMap for other parents and students to check out.

And, I’m happy to share a special code with my readers!


SAVE $100 when you enroll in Kaplan’s SAT and ACT course through 8/28.* Promocode: SHESPEAKS100.

Check out all that Kaplan has to offer on their site and through social media:

Good Luck!!

Good Luck!!

@SheSpeaksUp

 

The Hundred-Foot Journey

Andrew Quinn —  August 8, 2014
100 Foot Journey

#100FootJourney

A Review by Andrew Quinn


“Save dinner for after the movie though. You’re going to be hungry”

I don’t know if I’ll go back for seconds but I highly enjoyed this film. What a nice surprise it was too. The relaxed but thoughtful nature of director Lasse Hallström’s (whom you’ll remember from Chocolat and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape) film making is in full swing. The stylish Steven Knight (Eastern Promises and Amazing Grace) is a welcome addition as adapter of the source material. Together Knight and Hallström set up quite the show with enough surprises and laughter to keep even the most cold hearted of people entertained. Having Helen Mirren signed on never hurt anyone’s prospects either.

The cast is wonderful and expertly cast. The Indian family led by Papa played by Om Puri is relatable and well fleshed out. They are the human element that by chance or divine providence meet Madame Mallory’s (Helen Mirren) cold and calculated world. The dynamic between these characters is phenomenally set up. It’s what cements the story and really keeps you watching. Hassan Haji, the aspiring chef played by Manish Dayal, keeps the focus of the film relatable and good natured. The characters gentle spirit and clever nature quickly gain the viewer’s interest and Dayal’s performance was solid.

The real treasure here has to be Mirren. She adds a surprising amount of depth to what could have been a one shtick character. She and the rest of the cast bring a healthy amount of laughs and depth to the picture. I can’t think of one performance that was stale or one character that doesn’t round out and grow through the course of the film. So go see the film for Helen Mirren but stay for the rest because you won’t be disappointed. Save dinner for after the movie though. You’re going to be hungry.

Facebook: http://facebook.com/100footjourneymovie

Twitter: https://twitter.com/the100ftJourney

Instagram: http://instagram.com/thehundredfootjourney

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/100FtJourney

THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY is rated PG and arrives in theaters everywhere on August 8th.



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Andrew Quinn is a film production student based out of Brooklyn NY.

He knows everything about film because he’s “seen over 240 of them.” 

guardiansofthegalaxy53486f619ae3f (2)

Review by Andrew Quinn


I’m hooked on the Guardians, I’m high on Marvel and I’m pretty sure my wife now has a huge crush on “Star Lord.”

*Lets go ahead and get this out of the way: the movie is visually stunning and it has a rocking sound track (the opening credits will be all you need to get hooked.) Surprisingly it’s one of the first films I’ve seen since Avatar where I felt the 3D visuals were justified and not annoying or cumbersome. Ok onto the good stuff.*

 

The Marvel world just got a lot bigger. The big draw for Guardians of the Galaxy is surely Chris Pratt playing Peter Quill aka “Star Lord.” Rightfully so, Pratt brings just the right amount of tongue in cheek humor and is a welcome addition to the Marvel Universe. What people will leave the theater remembering though is a bit bigger than Pratt. The rag tag team assembled throughout the movie is one of the most fun I’ve seen in recent history. I’m reminded of Joss Whedon’s ability to direct the groups from Firefly and The Avengers. Every character from Rocket the raccoon to a seemingly all powerful tree root named Groot are excellently cast and not one distracts from the other.

They’re all solid characters that support one another. Their bantering as they grow as a team is irresistible and surprisingly funny. The film doesn’t just have humor going for it though. There’s a deep understanding of the characters conditions and where they’re coming from. Peter Quill’s origin story is one of my favorites. It’s heartfelt and you become just as attached to his Walkman tape player as he is. The rest of the cast does a great job filling out with interesting motives and ideals. The Rocket and Groot relationship was especially great to watch unfold.

The depth and amount of new Marvel characters that join the Marvel Universe this time around is impressive for the first film in its series. The film does an excellent job of tying itself into the rest of the world (please Marvel take note we really want to see Peter Quill run into Tony Stark at some point.) Thankfully we can already look forward to the announced sequel and after the first film I’ve got all the trust that writer/director James Gunn and the cast will be entertaining us again. I can’t think of a better film to round out the summer blockbusters for this year and I’ll be going back to see it again (I missed a few minor lines of dialogue in my theater from all the laughter and cheering.)

MARVEL STUDIOS

Genre: Action-Adventure Rating: PG-13

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY opens in theaters everywhere on August 1st.


549024_464207776937765_1369434679_n

Andrew Quinn is a film production student based out of Brooklyn NY.

He knows everything about film because he’s “seen over 240 of them.” 

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