The Week Ahead for South Florida: Kids Bowl Free

Toddlers having ice cream on the beach --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

My Summer Picks:

My favorite summer picks list is getting longer every week!  These are just some of the ways we spend out precious summer time!

Kids Bowl Free

Kids Bowl Free Logo

Take the kids Bowling for free! If you sign up for free, your kids get to bowl (2 games a day) for free all summer long!

 

$1 Movies at Regal Cinema’s Summer Movie Express

Free Movies at Regal Cinema

Imagine you get up on a Tuesday or Wednesday morning and just don’t know what to do! Here is your answer! Click here for more information and movie times!

Adventure PassThe South Florida Adventure Pass is one of the best deals around!

The Adventure Pass offers unlimited admission for the whole summer to Flamingo Gardens plus 6 other top attractions in South Florida! Visit Everglades Alligator Farm, Flamingo Gardens, Jungle Island, Patricia & Phillip Frost Museum of Science, Perez Art Museum Miami, Sawgrass Recreation Park, and Young at Art Museum as often as you like from May 15 through September 30, 2016.

South Florida Adventure Pass is just $50 for Adults (ages 13+) and $40 for Children (ages 3-12). Flamingo Gardens Members can purchase the pass for only $30.00 per adult and $20.00 per child! Passes may be purchased at the Flamingo Gardens Ticket Booth or at any of the 7 participating attractions. Save time and download this form to fill out in advance.

More details can be found at:http://www.southfloridaadventurepass.com/

It’s all about the water!

Splash Pad A1A & Atlantic in Pompano Beach
Splash Pad A1a & Atlantic in Pompano Beach

 

 

Summer in Florida means water play! Click Here for a list of our favorite Water Parks and Splash Pads!

Learn something new, like piano.

There is an App for that!
pianomarvelI am a geek, I know! I have been obsessed with all things educational & technological! So what about Piano Lessons? Yup, There’s an app for that too! Piano Marvel is a completely online piano course that uses a midi interface with your piano to give you instant feedback on what you know! I have been using it to brush up on my extremely old skills and to supplement my child’s lessons! I am LOVING IT! I also negotiated a Coupon Code for you try it for free! If you buy a subscription you will get a discount too! You won’t believe what you get for about a quarter of the price of piano lessons!

The calendar is filling up quickly! Please make sure that we don’t miss your next event and submit your event today!

Click Here for the full list of upcoming events!

40% Percent off for new Sponsor Partnerships in May! Don’t miss out! Click here to see our Media Kit for More information.

Got a Summer Camp?

Let us know and we will place your Summer or Spring Break Camp information on our Find a Camp page!

How you can help keep this site running.

If you have found this site helpful and want to keep me writing please use the Donate Button on the right side of this page. This helps us pay for our domain, ip address and hosting, maybe even a cup of coffee as I sit at Panera searching for more free events. Some sites require membership fees in order to pay for their site. We really want this information to be free and available to all. Thanks for your support!

If you would like to learn more about our partnership opportunities Contact Us today!
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Piano Lessons: There’s an app for that too!

Most Lessons on Piano Marvel have a video to introduce new skills.

I am a geek, I know! I have been obsessed with all things educational & technological!
So what about Piano Lessons?  Yup, There’s an app for that too!

Most Lessons on Piano Marvel have a video to introduce new skills.
Most Lessons on Piano Marvel have a video to introduce new skills.

I have been using Piano Marvel for the last couple of months to brush up on my piano skills.  Lets face it, I was never that good.  I took classes with a kindly lady.  She made me do scales over and over and over and over and…… well, you get the idea.  I wonder sometimes if she is still around, I am pretty sure she was in her 70’s back when I took lessons in the late 70’s.  Yes, it’s been that long!

I came across Piano Marvel while searching some way to support lessons for my 8 year old, as well as spruce up my own skills. With music being left out more and more at school I wanted to encourage her to continue with lessons even when we can’t work them into our budget or schedule.  As it turns out, I am obsessed by it! It is more than an app, it is a fully interactive software that makes piano learning fast and fun.

Piano Marvel allows students to learn progressively through different levels.
Piano Marvel allows students to learn progressively through different levels.

Each level has a PDF Method Book with an over view of everything you will learn.  There are also videos on the lessons explaining the new concepts introduced in the lesson.  This system is so comprehensive.  It is being used not only by parents, but by piano teachers as another way to get their students engaged.
Each of the lessons have a backing track that plays with you so it doesn’t get so monotonous.

I love the instant feedback that the computer gives you too.  The design shows you where you went wrong in the piece and you can work to bring up your score.

Piano Marvel shows you what notes you played wrong, early or late.
Piano Marvel shows you what notes you played wrong, early or late.

You can also work on songs in the library, so you have a repertoire that you can play.  There is so much sheet music included in this program that I can’t image how much it would cost if you were to go out and buy it in books.  The Library works much like the lessons, the songs are broken up into smaller sections that start out slow, so the student can perfect each section before combining them at speed.

Piano Marvel lets you track your students, children or your own practice time and award levels.
Piano Marvel lets you track your students, children or your own practice time and award levels.

I love that the program allows you pull reports of how well your student is doing and how much they are practicing. These reports make it easy to reward your kids (or yourself) for doing such great work!

You can explore more about Piano Marvel, see some videos or take a tour by clicking here PIANO MARVEL  You can also get a free trial account by clicking here:  Free Account

Get a Discount

When you are ready to can sign up for the full benefits of being a Piano Marvel Student or perhaps you are already a Piano Teacher who would like to find out how to introduce this method into your own studio   you will get $3 off a month by using the Promo Code PianoCyndi at check out!

What you will need

You need a Midi Compatible keyboard and high speed internet.  We bought the Casio Privia px160 full size keyboard and I am so amazed by it!  It feels like a real piano and sounds amazing.  It has sorts of other sounds that my daughter likes to use while practicing just to keep things entertaining I guess, but for me the concert piano sound is perfect!  It was the perfect choice for us with small condo living (volume control).

However you can find great keyboards for less just make sure that it has a midi in it.  You can also start out with a mini keyboard, however keep in mind it won’t be long before you need the full size 88 key piano.

 

Click Here for the full list of upcoming events on our Kids Calendar!

The calendar is filling up quickly!  Please make sure that we don’t miss your next event and submit your event today!

40% Percent off for new Sponsor Partnerships in March!  Don’t miss out, see our Media Kit for More information.

Got a Spring Break Camp?

Let us know and we will place your Summer or Spring Break Camp information on our Find a Camp page!

How you can help keep this site running.

If you have found this site helpful and want to keep me writing please use the Donate Button on the right side of this page. This helps us pay for our domain, ip address and hosting, maybe even a cup of coffee as I sit at Panera searching for more free events. Some sites require membership fees in order to pay for their site. We really want this information to be free and available to all. Thanks for your support!

If you would like to learn more about our partnership opportunities Contact Us today!
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Helpful Holiday Hack to end the chorus of -How many days are left?”

White Board Kids Count Down

Holiday Helpful Hack

White Board Kids Count Down
How much longer do I have to wait?

We had a few mishaps in the past with our advent calendars, you know the usual problems, bought it and can’t find it, ants ate it, Elf on the Shelf ate it or  I just plain forgot it, etc. All of these problems meant that it was time to Hack a solution!  Time is a tough concept for kids, and visual representation is a big help for them, it also keeps you from losing your mind answering the constant question of how many days are left until the big day.

Draw a picture of the upcoming event that your child is looking forward to, count how many days are left until said event and write the numbers in. You can use the dates or just do a countdown depending on the age of your munchkin.  The kiddo can color in each day, and just like the question “how many days left till……..” has ended.

We have used this trick for summer vacation countdowns, Grandparent visits, end of school, birthday’s etc.  When she was little I used to draw it for her, but now that she is bigger she draws it herself, and Boom!  This little trick turns into a learning experience as she helps me look at the calendar and figure out how many days she needs to place on the board.

 

The calendar is filling up quickly!  Please make sure that we don’t miss your next event and submit your event today!

Diary of a Rogue House CatDiary of a Rogue House Cat

Have you ever had a pet that just seemed to cause havoc at every turn? Has your cat ever knocked over glasses, hidden your keys or generally created chaos for no apparent reason? Have you ever wondered what on earth your pet could be thinking? Baby Girl the Rogue House Cat explains all her crazy and funny actions in her new diary. Her journey to become a good house cat will help explain why cats do some of the things they do. I hope you enjoy her antics as much as I do.

Thank You for you support!

 Available on Amazon in Print and on Kindle

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

How you can help keep this site running.

If you have found this site helpful and want to keep me writing please use the Donate Button on the right side of this page. This helps us pay for our domain, ip address and hosting, maybe even a cup of coffee as I sit at Panera searching for more free events. Some sites require membership fees in order to pay for their site. We really want this information to be free and available to all. Thanks for your support!

If you would like to learn more about our partnership opportunities Contact Us today!
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Click Here for the full list of upcoming events!

 

The one book young readers must have.

Kindle -The One Book to Replace Them All

Kindle -The One Book to Replace Them AllWhy is the Kindle the one book every child should have?

Our kids are inundated with electronics, ipads, xbox, computers, toy dogs they have to train, heck even Barbie is becoming digital. So I get the reluctance to buy one more electronic item for my kid! This one is very different though. I bought my kindle before my daughter was born, so I am guessing at least 8-9 years ago. It was one of the first ones out there, it does nothing but let me read books. Mine doesn’t have a built in light (the newer ones do) so I can snuggle down in bed with a book light clip and read to my heart’s content. It is so light weight that I could take it to the beach, read for hours in the bright sunlight and never worry about it running out of batteries. (This was before I had a child and could do such frivolous things as read on the beach.)

When I first brought it home I was so excited. First I walked around the house with it, had a Geek moment and pretended it was a Star Trek Data Pad for awhile. Next I bought a cheap leather case for it so it felt like a book in my hands. Now don’t give me that line “I need the feel of a real book in my hands” because it simply an excuse. I get it to some extent, I have kept a few special books in print, but this Kindle -The One Book to Replace Them Allreally does feel like a real book to me – minus the germs that come with a library book. My cover is so worn and is as comfortable as an old shoe. It’s the cover that holds all of my favorite books. Every single book I love in one light weight book cover! I have read 100’s of books on it and it’s been one of my favorite things. I think I would give up my ipad before I would give up my Kindle! I have now handed it onto my daughter (unwillingly at first), and it’s the best thing I have ever done. Here is why:

1. Free Books:

You can borrow library books over the internet for free! Having a young reader starting on chapter books is a tough time. TheyFree Books for Kindle at your local Library have no idea what type of books they like. Before I thought of handing over my Kindle we bought books that she decided were not for her and we raced back and forth to the library with books. Nothing like spending money on things you don’t need.

The Kindle makes it easy to hop on your computer, go to your local library page, find the link to eLibrary and from there you search for ebooks (you will need to have your library card number). My kid can now try all types of stories -so can you- and if she decides she doesn’t like it……No Problem….Return them without leaving the house! If she loves them, we can buy them on amazon way cheaper than in a book store.

If you are a member of Amazon Prime you can borrow books from the Amazon Loan Library for free too!

2. No more Lost Library Books:

Kindle -The One Book to Replace Them All

Never worry again about or losing library books, leaving them in the car or under the couch and forgetting to return them. Well, your Kindle can be left in all those places too, but the library will never know because the book loans go back automatically.

Kindle -The One Book to Replace Them All3. Less Dusting:

Found a book your kid loves? You can buy it and it is forever yours, tucked neatly inside this one book. No dusty book shelf required. How many times have I had to rearrange the book shelf because the book she wanted was there, but she has to pull all the books out to find it? Easy, it’s all in the Kindle. It really is the One Book to Rule Them All….uh…eh hem, I mean replace them all.

3. Promotes Independent Reading: Kindle Dictionary

The Kindle comes with a Built in Dictionary with Phonetic Spelling. I remember hating to have to sit with the dictionary, stop reading my story in order to look up words. Frankly, I just didn’t do it. The dictionary comes with a touch of the screen and doesn’t interrupt reading time at all. My daughter has recently gotten into the Percy Jackson series. There are all kinds of names and words in it that she doesn’t know how to say or spell. She can tap and hold on the unknown word and the dictionary comes up with the definition and the phonetic spelling. I love the way it promotes independence for our young reader!

I forgot to mention that you can adjust the size of the words for easy reading. I like it slightly larger so I can read without my glasses on. My daughter likes it larger as well so that it’s not so easy to lose her place while reading, which is sometimes a problem for kids who are just getting the hang of reading chapter books.

On a side note: If your child is interested in Greek myths, I recommend the Percy Jackson series by Rick Rhiordan, I wish I had written these myself!

 

4. Easy Travel:

Have you ever had this conversation? Me: “Let see, we are going out of town for a week,what books do you think she will want to read? Husband: “No idea, but we can’t take too many the suitcases are already full.” This is no longer a problem, all our books are in the Kindle and if we get desperate we can always download a new one from the library or Amazon whenever / wherever we want.

No Distractions Just Reading5. No Distractions:

This is my favorite point. My daughter cannot play mine craft, watch youtube, surf on the internet, chat, facebook or anything else on this device. Did I mention no Mine Craft? If this device were handed to me as a kid I would have thought that it was simply a magic book giving me amazing library access wherever I was! (Yes the geek stuff started early for me.)

I was glad to see this statement right on the Kindle homepage. It sums up my feelings about it and there is no truer advertising statement.

“No distractions

By design, Kindle is purpose-built for reading and creates a sanctuary so you can lose yourself in a book. Unlike tablets and phones, Kindle doesn’t distract you with social media, emails, and text messages.”

I am off to replace the Kindle I gave to my daughter with the All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers.

 

The calendar is filling up quickly! Please make sure that we don’t miss your next event and submit your event today!

Click Here for the full list of upcoming events! or scroll down for this weeks events!

Diary of a Rogue House CatDiary of a Rogue House Cat

Have you ever had a pet that just seemed to cause havoc at every turn? Has your cat ever knocked over glasses, hidden your keys or generally created chaos for no apparent reason? Have you ever wondered what on earth your pet could be thinking? Baby Girl the Rogue House Cat explains all her crazy and funny actions in her new diary. Her journey to become a good house cat will help explain why cats do some of the things they do. I hope you enjoy her antics as much as I do.

Thank You for you support!

Available on Amazon in Print and on Kindle

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

How you can help keep this site running.

If you have found this site helpful and want to keep me writing please use the Donate Button on the right side of this page. This helps us pay for our domain, ip address and hosting, maybe even a cup of coffee as I sit at Panera searching for more free events. Some sites require membership fees in order to pay for their site. We really want this information to be free and available to all. Thanks for your support!

If you would like to learn more about our partnership opportunities Contact Us today!
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Click Here for the full list of upcoming events!

The Week Ahead for South Florida with My Favorite Holiday Sites

Cyndi’s Favorite Kids Holiday Websites

Norad Tracks SantaIf you read this blog regularly you know that I am always on the search for the most educational types of recreation for the kids.  I have once again posted and updated some of my favorite Holiday Websites.  All of them have at least a nominal amount of educational value. Well may not the Elf Yourself site, but it’s the Holidays and you gotta have some fun too.

decorationBear with me for a moment, I had a deep thought I wanted to share.  They are rare for me so here it is.

I thought I would share some of our Holiday decorations with you.  My daughter put together this little assortment. I love how she added some of her stuffed Christmas toys to our regular decorations.   I was so touched that she included my book on the Holiday Shelf.  I think the best thing I could have ever done was publish this little book, because she sees it as a major accomplishment. I want to encourage you in this Holiday Season to live out your dreams in a visible way to your children.  Not just your success, but the failures too.  For me tell her that she can be anything doesn’t mean as much as allowing her to see me try, fail and sometimes succeed.  Including her in the struggle to get published demonstrated that sometimes things don’t always work the first time you try, but together we really can do anything as long as we don’t allow ourselves to become discouraged.   I wanted to say “Hey girl, you can do anything, so I have to show you it’s possible”.  Okay, onto more fun things!

 

Flamingo Gardens of Light Holiday Event

Don’t forget to head out to Flamingo Gardens, Garden of Lights!  Even if they weren’t a wonderful sponsor for our site I would advise you go this event.  In fact it is one of the reasons that I decided to invite them join our Sponsor Family!

The calendar is filling up quickly!  Please make sure that we don’t miss your next event and submit your event today!

Click Here for the full list of upcoming events!  or scroll down for this weeks events!

Diary of a Rogue House CatDiary of a Rogue House Cat

Have you ever had a pet that just seemed to cause havoc at every turn? Has your cat ever knocked over glasses, hidden your keys or generally created chaos for no apparent reason? Have you ever wondered what on earth your pet could be thinking? Baby Girl the Rogue House Cat explains all her crazy and funny actions in her new diary. Her journey to become a good house cat will help explain why cats do some of the things they do. I hope you enjoy her antics as much as I do.

Thank You for you support!

 Available on Amazon in Print and on Kindle

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

How you can help keep this site running.

If you have found this site helpful and want to keep me writing please use the Donate Button on the right side of this page. This helps us pay for our domain, ip address and hosting, maybe even a cup of coffee as I sit at Panera searching for more free events. Some sites require membership fees in order to pay for their site. We really want this information to be free and available to all. Thanks for your support!

If you would like to learn more about our partnership opportunities Contact Us today!
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Click Here for the full list of upcoming events!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diary of Rogue House Cat

Diary of a Rogue House Cat

I wanted to share some fun news! I finally published a book! It’s little and a bit silly, but I think it’s cute. (My 7 year old likes it for what that is worth.) This project is certainly a learning experience! It is available on Kindle US and Kindle Europe now and I am working on the print version at the moment. The print version should be available for purchase within the next 3 weeks.

Diary of a Rogue House Cat

Have you ever had a pet that just seemed to cause havoc at every turn? Have you ever wondered what on earth your pet could be thinking? Baby Girl the Rogue House Cat explains all her crazy and funny actions in her new diary to help explain why cats do some of the things they do. I hope you enjoy her antics as much as I do.

Free Preview

Get a preview of Diary of a Rogue House Cat by Cynthia Yates Buckley. The book will be available to purchase in about 3 weeks. https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1179567

Amazon Kindle US

If you like the preview and just can’t wait to read it, the book is available on Amazon Kindle right now.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0161QL9AQ?keywords=diary%20of%20a%20rogue%20house%20cat&qid=1445352453&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

Amazon Kindle in the UK

Diary of a Rogue House Cat is now available on Amazon Kindle in the UK! So all our British friends can feel free to share the link around. I would very much appreciate it! It is only £1.99!
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0161QL9AQ?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

How you can help keep this site running.

If you have found this site helpful and want to keep me writing please use the Donate Button on the right side of this page. This helps us pay for our domain, ip address and hosting, maybe even a cup of coffee as I sit at Panera searching for more free events. Some sites require membership fees in order to pay for their site. We really want this information to be free and available to all. Thanks for your support!

If you would like to learn more about our partnership opportunities Contact Us today!
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Click Here for the full list of upcoming events!

Teach Me Apps by 24x7digital #AvoidTheSummerSlide

Teach Me 1st Grade

Teach Me 1st Grade This is another app that in my opinion is 100% educational!  It is part of our summer screen time strategy.  My daughter has to earn screen time by spending time on one of 4 educational apps of my choice or by reading her chapter book.  “No Mine Craft for you until you have edjamekated yerself kid!”  Yes, I am just that mean!

So the Teach Me Apps are great! They offer Teach Me Toddler, and Teach Me’s for K-3rd.  They also have a new one called Teach Me Math Facts.  This summer we are finishing up Teach Me 1st Grade and starting on (hopefully) 2nd Grade.

Teach Me 1st Grade Fish Store Reward Area
The fish swim away when you touch the tank

This app is bright and has loads of little animated graphics that help to keep the kids engaged.  There are several play areas, where the kids can “spend” the coins they have earned answering questions.  Coins can be spent on things for a fish tank in the Fish Store, or in the Art Shop.  Coins are fairly easy to earn and the rewards are not too spread out so they work as great motivators.

Teach Me 1st Grade Math Problem. Teach Me 1st Grade Math Problem.

   I like that the kids have to write in their answers, for added printing practice.  They don’t just get to click on the correct answer, they have to write the numbers or spell the word on the lined writing space.  I have seen an improvement in my daughters printing due mainly to this.  She has been very lazy about taking her time and writing neatly, and this app demands just that. It is not a bad idea to pick up on of those stylus pen thingies (that is the technical term) for older kids.  A finger will work either way.

I also like that it switches back and forth between math problems and sight words and spelling.  I think it helps keep it interesting.

Teach Me 1st Grade Mastery Levels.
My daughter and I both benefit from being able to see her progress in math, spelling and sight words.

The curriculum looks like it covers the basics and appears to meet the major benchmarks for learning in each grade.  My daughter likes it and really doesn’t mind doing it, even though she knows this is, for us, the summer version of homework.  She says that she wishes her homework during the school year were like this!

This app appears to be best for reviewing materials.  It does give hints, but they don’t really tell you how to get the answer, it just gives you the answer.  This really isn’t a problem though, but as we all know, practice makes perfect.

I Will Never Cut Off the Crust

crusts cut off of bread

crusts cut off of breadI am sure I am not the only one to announce to the world “I WILL NEVER CUT OFF THE CRUST” when my  child was born.  I can’t be the only one.  I managed very well with this decree for a very long time!  I figured if she didn’t know that not eating the crust was an option, she would eat it right?  Well, she did!  I was right!  Oh so right, and let me tell you it felt good to be right.  I am very lucky that my kid is a voracious eater.  I rarely made her something different from what we were eating for dinner, and if it was different then she wanted to try it!  Even demanding to try our Louisiana Hot Wings at age three.  She took a bite, calmly waited a moment, then grabbed her milk and chugged.  Her exact words were “that is kinda hot” said with mild surprise.  No tears, no fussing, no complaints.  I was totally impressed! I will admit, I was a bit smug about it.  I was doing it right and seeing as I rarely feel like that, I may have enjoyed it a bit too much.   If anyone within ear shot of my child  announced that they did not like a certain food, I smacked them in the back of the head.  Yes literally!  I forbid the words “I don’t like (insert food choice here)” in our home.  You know what? It worked, I couldn’t believe my good fortune, in the words of Charlie Sheen “I was winning” while my friends fretted, and begged their children to eat something that wasn’t in the shape of a nugget.   My plan was working.  Well, for awhile anyway.

I should have known it couldn’t last.  The whole crust cutting decree was derailed by my well meaning, sweet and loving partner in life.  One of the first times he was left responsible for making her lunch, he cut off the crusts of her bread and made a big too-do about how special it was, how it meant that he loved her and  blah blah blah blah blah blah.  Yes, just like that, my anti crust cutting days were over.  Suddenly, she wouldn’t eat the crust.  She would eat the center of her sandwich leaving 80% of the sandwich attached to the crust.  The more I insisted she eat it, the more she refused while looking at me like she thought I didn’t love her anymore because I refused to cut off her crusts.  So guess what?  I caved.  Sometimes I make a feeble stand and refuse to cut them off, but I always regret it when the sandwich is left on the table with a small hole eaten out of the middle.

What is more, the “I don’t like (insert food choice here)” ban has gone the wayside too.  I knew that she has never really cared for eggs.  No matter how I made them, she would take a few bites announce that they were good, but that she was full.  I never made a big deal  but did continue to serve them occasionally and in very small portions.  She clearly didn’t care for them, but would always have a few bites and I was perfectly happy with this being the extent of her food refusal.  I know now that I was lucky and I should have known that it could not continue, that I was living a fantasy, a dream that could not be imagined by other parents.  Don’t be jealous, because this too has ended.   My carefully crafted bubble has been popped at school where she watches other students refusing this or that.  Lately, she has been toying with the idea of disliking foods by suddenly refusing to eat meals that she has previously eaten with unabashed abandonment not to mention plenty of nom nom sounds to boot.

So now, here I stand making lunch and dutifully, if resentfully, cutting off the tiniest sliver of crust, painfully attempting to create as little waste as I can manage. While my daughter suddenly does not like what yesterday was her favorite meal.  I tried keeping the crusts and then drying them to make bread crumbs, but let’s face it.  My name is not Martha. I smile to myself as I imagine the reaction I would get if I served a giant pile of these saved up slivers of bread for dinner to the two people that I love most in this world.  It seemed that I was doing it right for awhile. I was so proud of myself for the way I handled the topic of food with my child, but now I am paying for my hubris as I announce to the world “I WILL ALWAYS CUT OFF THE CRUSTS!”

 

 

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5 Tips for Camping with Kids

 

Photo Credit: Lion Country Safari KOA

Tip #1:  Do a practice run.  The idea of sleeping in a tent can be so
exciting for kids that the over stimulation may keep everyone from having a good
night.  Families can build up a familiarity with camping by putting the tent up in their own back yard.  Start out slow allowing the kids to play in the tent during the day.   The next day
have dinner out in the backyard to prepare the kids for what it will be like to
have a campground dinner.  Last but not least, spend the night in the tent.  Do
this as many times as needed until everyone is comfortable with and can go to
sleep easily.

Tip #2:  Keep it close to home.  It is easy to forget that there are great campsites within an hour’s drive from Fort Lauderdale.  A first camping trip doesn’t have to be far away.
CB
Smith Park, Markham Park, John Prince Park, and Miami Everglades Campgrounds all offer local opportunities for family camping. Camprate.com can help find a campground and give reviews of the grounds as well.
Tip #3:  Keep it short.  Don’t think a first camping trip should be a week long adventure.Smores Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney World
Start out small and work up to longer trips.  Pick a campground with lots to do and just stay one night.  When the entire family learns how to work together and sleep well then make plans for that nice long camping vacation.  State parks also offer facilities like water and restrooms.  There is no reason to go completely rustic on the first trip out.
Tip #4: Be prepared with ActivitiesCB Smith Park in Pembroke Pines has lots to offer to entertain and wear out the kids. There is biking, hiking, boating, and in the summer there is even a water park.  Check out the local area surrounding your campground as well. Flamingo Gardens is a short 15 minute drive from CB Smith Park.  These built in activities can help reduce planning time.
Our Camp Site Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at Disney WorldAnother option is the Kampgrounds of America (KOA). We use the Kabins when we take road trips, check our KOA adventures in Asheville, NC and Savannah, GA.  A local South Florida option is Lion Country Safari in West Palm Beach.  This campsite and zoo is an easy 40 minute drive from Fort Lauderdale and provides facilities that will keep the family happily entertained at all times. Lion Country Safari often offers specials for two free passes to the park with a night of camping, and it even has a pool.  Jennifer Berthume, PR/Marketing Director of Lion Country Safari says The thing I think is the
coolest about our campground is that you can sleep right next door to hundreds of animals from over 6 continents. You can hear lions and siamangs while camping!”
No one will be bored at campgrounds like these, and parents won’t
have to exhaust themselves planning activities in advance.
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground has  just about everything you could ever need while camping.  There is little need to even go into the parks at this campground there are so many built in activities!
Take along a few activities like crafts.  Kids love animals so camping is a great chance to introduce nature activities like birding.  Here is how you can get started with 5 Tips for Birding with Kids.
Tip #5: Check the weather. Florida weather can be extreme, so make sure that it is not going to be too hot, too cold or too wet.  There is nothing worse than a wet night in a tent. Especially if you are new to camping. Florida’s winter and fall generally have the mildest weather and are a great time of the year to camp.  With a little background practice families can be prepared for exciting camping adventures that will provide children with memories for a lifetime.
Check out our review of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground.  It is the ultimate family camping experience!

 

Gus on the Go: A Language Learning Adventure App Giveaway & Review

Gus on the Go

The Giveaway will run 2/19/15 – 3/5/15.

Click Here for a Rafflecopter giveaway of Gus on the Go

Gus on the Go  a Language Learning Adventure Review & Giveaway

 

Gus on the Go

This App is brilliant!  There are no other explanations!  Gus on the Go is without a doubt the best learning app I have come across.  Go get it now, I love it!  I bought it on a recommendation from a friend and I am so happy that I did!

This is the first App that I have reviewed, not because I haven’t found fun apps, but because I had not yet found one that, that in my opinion, had learning the learning outcomes that I want to see.  Gus on the Go changed that for me.  The learning outcomes are clear and strong, and the entertainment level knocks it out of the park and keeps kids coming back.

Gus on the GoGus on the Go has 26 languages and the kids learn 89 words in each one version.  I kid you not, my daughter (7 years) blew through this thing in a few sittings. Not because it was too easy, but because it was so much fun! (What’s more, I didn’t mind!)

The balance between learning, practice and fun is exactly right with this app.  Each section introduces you to new words with cartoon graphics.  In order to go onto the next level, you have to earn trophy’s by playing fun mini games.  The games are activities like recognizing a Gus on the Goword in French (I bought the French one) then popping the corresponding balloons with the correct animal in them, or participating in a horse race by knowing the correct vocabulary words.

The graphics are colorful, clean, and engaging and the games are simply fun, so fun that my daughter didn’t want to put it down.  Heck, I wanted to play it too!  I was surprised at how quickly she learned the vocabulary words and she is actually retaining them.

Gus on the GoThe only problem with it is that we want more!  More levels, vocabulary and sentence structures please!  I sent an email over to the nice folks at Gus on the Go and told them how much I love their app, but could they please hurry up with some more levels?  The lovely Alice wrote back explaining that the Gus on the Go Team is actually only 2 people (yes, the two of them created this amazing learning tool). She and her counterpart Yono are working hard on the sequel that will teach short sentences using stories.  With any luck it will be available early this summer.  All I can say is that my family can’t wait!

It gets even better!  Alice is giving us 5 iOS promo codes to give away to randomly chosen winners!

The Giveaway will run 2/19/15 – 3/5/15.

a Rafflecopter giveaway of Gus on the Go

Gus on the Go is available on Itunes and Android Play Store.