Monday, October 23, 2017

Easy Halloween Cupcakes


I bought this as a kit from Aldi's, but as you can see they would be pretty easy to recreate without the kit. You just need some food coloring, print off some clipart and instead of "bones" sprinkles you could use crushed oreos around the clip art limbs sticking out to make it look like the had just freshly emerged from the ground.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Halloween Milk Jug Lights



This is a quick and easy way to decorate your lawn or porch or just outside your door. Grab an empty milk jug and using a permanent marker draw a Halloween design or scary face, tuck in some Micro Starry Lights (like these lights on Amazon) and you have a quick lighted Halloween display that you can have inside or outside.

Here are some other ideas to use those LED lights for:

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Where Did We Go Wednesday? Grand Canyon


The Grand Canyon is a place I have wanted to go visit and see for a long time. I am sure it is One place that is on many people's travel bucket list. Even though I have captured these awesome images on my camera and some on video as well it is hard to really grasp the hand massiveness of the Grand Canyon. Once you are there you are overwhelmed with how expansive it is. We had only done the southern rim and went to the stops on the southern rim. Someday we may get there and tour the northern rim and do some hiking in the canyon. When we were there in June it was quite hot and even though we had our hydration packs doing a lot of hiking was not on our agenda.




We took full advantage of The Trolley system that they have that runs through this National Park. I was very impressed with all of the signage and busing that were in place at this National Park. They were very sure to make sure that people were aware where the trolley stops were, bathrooms that were available, and water Outlets. It seemed there was enough places to fill up water as needed along the Route. Again we wore our hydration packs and throughout the strip we learned that my daughter drinks a lot of water and had to continually refill her hydration pack or she would drink out of hours because she consumed so much water. 

We arrived early enough that it didn't take too long to get into The National Park and find parking. I had read the tips about getting on the bus transfer outside of the park and we had attempted to do that but didn't make it quite in time and didn't want to wait for the next one to show up so we took our chances had to getting there and finding parking for ourselves. By 10 a.m. there We're many buses of tour groups that had been showing up. We had gotten there before them so we didn't have to wait as long and places because we started on our trolley stops before they got there.

We didn't just do the trolley stops we did do some hiking in between a few of the stops because we wanted to be able to see some of it from the trail perspective rather than just from the stops.

Getting in was really quick and easy because we had our national parks pass. We bought one when we went to Death Valley National Park. After our Fall Road Trip to the Badlands National Park we will probably be breaking even on the cost of the national parks pass. We were also able to use our national parks pass when we were touring the different rock formations in Sedona, as they accept that pass for payment.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Silhouette Heat Transfer Vinyl Created Gifts for Tweens


This is another fun use of my Silhouette machine to make some birthday party favors and and birthday gifts for my tween daughter.

She had a "Spa" birthday party and so I did Silhouette Heat Transfer Vinyl on headbands to give as one of the party favors at the birthday party. They were an awesome addition to have as they needed to pull their hair off their face when they had the clay masks on. I also made my niece one that she will be opening up as a birthday gift in another week.

I also put Swim down the side of a pair of pants I bought for her, so she can wear it with her growing collection of swim championship t-shirts I buy for her when she attends these earned meets with swim team.

And finally, I also made her some Lllama-Corn pillow cases. I knew she would think these were fun and quirky and would  love them.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Last Minute Halloween Food Ideas



Just a couple ideas if you are trying to round out your Halloween party menu. You don't have to always make it look like something, but instead rename it or play off the name.

Tombstone Pizza  - use the name brand and insert some Halloween toothpicks
Maggots & Cheese - you guessed it, it's Mac&Cheese
Severed Fingers - Just hot dogs with some cuts and slices in them and some ketchup (blood)

Some other Halloween found ideas include:


Next week, I will share some easy Halloween Cupcake ideas with you too.


Friday, October 13, 2017

FREE Home Depot Kids Workshop on 11/4/17 : Military Appreciation Humvee



Register now to help the child in your life build a Military Appreciation Humvee!!

The store may be set to one local to me, so you may need to search for one nearest you. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Road Trip T-Shirts


We are off on another road trip soon and will probably take along these shirts I made for our summer road trip through CA, NV & AZ on our fall road trip through MN, SD, and WY.

These were the shirts I made for our family by importing images and text that I learned working with text in an image can be very tiresome and difficult. The complexity of some of the images was difficult to format and edit, and after lots of putzing around I learned that it is worth it to spend $3 to buy some new font so you get the look you want and not have to spend hours editting the font.

You don't always have to buy images and fonts though, below is information my mom emailed me about free images and fonts to use with your Silhouette machine. I thought I would share the info so my readers can see it, and I can easily look it up when I need to and not have to search through old emails.



These both have preview boxes, so if you are looking for a particular look for a word, you can type that into the preview box and all the fonts will show what your message looks like. Be sure to do a search for the theme of your project.I have used these among others: http://www.fontspace.com/donna-j-morse/dj-kitchen, http://www.fontspace.com/nymphont/nymphette These are just your basic letters, unless you buy a commercial font. 

The following font place has a free font every week and it includes a "Premium Font License", so you get ( PUA Encoded meaning that it is fully accessible to everyone and all glyphs are available in Character Map on Windows and Fontbook on Mac.). These are swashes and flourishes you may want to add to some letters. 
If you have the current version of Silhouette software, Designer Edition, like I have, you can do this right in the program. This gives you the rundown on the new features. http://www.silhouetteschoolblog.com/2017/08/silhouette-studio-v41-released-update.html

This has a free design several times a week. I usually check it every day, and download the ones I think I will use at some point.

This used to be a free one every day, but went to a freebie of the week.

This one has a lot of free files and you can do a search to see if there is something that works for your project.

Don't forget the Silhouette store. They have a freebie every week and it goes directly into your Silhouette program. If you computer crashes, you are able to get back all of the files from the Silhouette store, usually automatically.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Where Did We Go Wednesday? Dinosaurs at SMM


Looking for a different slant on a spooky activity to do for the month of October and Halloween, then go check out all the bones of the dinosaurs at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Nothing says Halloween like skulls and bones.

Two days before school started the kids that I decided to go check out the Science Museum and get some learning started early. I know I have shared images of the Science Museum of Minnesota before but it always serves as a nice reminder of this valuable resource we have in our state. My son loves the dinosaurs. And this was his choice of where he wanted to go for sure when we visited this last time.

While we were there we watched an Omni Theater presentation of Journey to the South Pacific but it is leaving there soon and a new movie is coming.

The Pixar exhibit has just left and a new exhibit is coming as well. You can see from the picture I took both the movie and the new exhibit are coming October 13th.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Easy to Root Spider Plants


How about a Spider Plant for Halloween!

Want an easy to grow plant that gives you baby plants that can easily root and grow more.....then you definitely need to check out growing spider plants. They are great for helping cleanse the air in your home and are very tolerant of many growing conditions, as long you give them some sunlight and remember to water them at least occasionally.

This is a container filled with about 6 babies. I put them in water (about 1/4 way up the plants) and set it in the window and after 2 weeks you see they have rooted and are ready to be transplanted in to their own pots.




Monday, October 9, 2017

Fall and Christmas Reversible Blocks



A friend and I had a crafting afternoon and each made our own set of these reversible blocks. We wanted to be able to see the grain so we watered down some acrylic paint and basically made a stain.

We did this to each side in the colors we wanted for each block. When it was dry we used the vinyl letters and images I had created using the silhouette machine. My job was the make the vinyl pieces and she cut out the blacks from leftover 2x4 pieces.

I then covered the edges with duct tape while she chose to sand them down smooth and paint them.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

DIY Glow in the Dark Halloween Tote!! 15% OFF Code!!




Party Supplies - reasonable prices for birthday parties and sleepovers with Colortime Crafts and Markers coloring pillowcases, t-shirts, backpacks, permanent fabric markers, and more. New special glow-in-the-dark ink items available! Clean, easy, and affordable crafts activity that doubles as a unique keepsake! For savings, join our "Birthday Club" and receive 20% off and a free backpack, with your order at http://www.colortime.com/


Click On the Link Below for the Latest Online Special offers and promo codes to Colortime Crafts and Markers http://usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=75&bid=10978&dealid=3413 .@usfg






Grow Your Own Avocado Tree!!!! FREE S/H & 20% OFF Coupon Too!!!


AvoSeedo from Daniel Kalliontzis on Vimeo.


GROW YOUR OWN AVOCADO TREE AT HOME! Save 20% on any AvoSeedo avocado grower or other product and enjoy FREE shipping too. Visit the AvoSeedo Shop today and get growing today! Visit: http://www.shop.avoseedo.com/ Use Code: sp20 #avoseedo

AvoSeedo avocado tree germinator bowl that makes it easy for everyone to grow their own plant at home from a simple avocado pit. Easy to use for all ages of amateur avocado arborists.



Clever AvoSeedo bowl design keeps the avocado pit immersed in just the right amount of water to grow effectively. Made for durability from recyclable, non-toxic materials and is reusable for other vegetables like lettuce, celery, carrot tops! Germinate and grow an avocado tree in your own home, whatever the climate. Fun family (Millennial parents, their young kids, grandma/grandpa) project to make a tree sprout and watch it grow from the pit of a common avocado. Increase kids' understanding of ecology, interconnections in nature, responsibility and care for the environment in a participatory and concrete way.



GROW YOUR OWN AVOCADO TREE AT HOME! Save 20% on any AvoSeedo avocado grower or other product and enjoy FREE shipping too. Visit the AvoSeedo Shop today and get growing today! https://shop.avoseedo.com/ Use Code: sp20 #avoseedo




AvoSeedo from Daniel Kalliontzis on Vimeo.


Friday, October 6, 2017

Fall Colors in Minnesota


We have approached peak fall colors in parts of Minnesota, mainly northern MN at this point. Use this guide that I picked at on of the MN State Parks as a way to plan your weekends to see some fall colors. Sunday is supposed to be beautiful this weekend and would be a great opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy some fall colors.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Pottery Eyeglasses Cup


So, I made this quite a while ago as a Christmas gift for my mom. I haven't done much pottery in the last 2 years as we are still working on setting up a studio here. Hopefully this winter we get it figured out and I can get back to slabbing, which is what I did to make this eyeglass cup. She can put her glasses on the hook and have it filled with pens and scissors and keep by the computer so she can easily reach for her reading glasses and know where they are.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Where Did We Go Wednesday? Gilby's Apple Orchard

There is still time to do apple picking in Minnesota if you are looking to enjoy this fall activity with your family. We went picking in early fall which yields different varieties of apples that are available in later fall. We had gone to Gilby's apple orchard in Aitkin Minnesota while we were up North for Labor Day weekend.

At this apple orchard you can go on a hayride, Venture through a corn maze, feed the chickens, pick your own apples or buy them pre-picked, do a ninja course and get your picture taken at lots of different photo opportunities.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Free Car Seat Rental through Hertz

Here is another perk of your AAA membership. If you have the need to rent a car and do so through hurts, you can get a car seat included free in your rental. This can save you almost $14 a day. 

I don't know if they include more than one if you have more than one child in a car seat at a time but it is worth asking if this is a service you need. 

In the past we have always checks a car seat or a booster seat to bring along with us and now we are almost out of the booster seat Fay as in Minnesota you are required to have a child in a booster seat until 8 years old. There are a couple of exceptions to have them be out of the seat earlier that include meeting a height or weight requirement but my kids will be in it until at least 8 and typically until they are the height requirement.



Monday, October 2, 2017

Clean Eating Mini Meat Loaves (Paleo Too!!!)


This recipe only used 1 pound of ground meat and makes the perfect size to serve a family of four (like us!) and not have a ton of leftovers. Often, meatloaf recipes call for 2-3 pounds of meat and you end up with a lot of leftovers. I like that making mini meat loaves gives us smaller portion sizes that the kids prefer and cooks up a lot faster than a large loaf.

You could make this ground turkey if you like or get the leanest ground beef available from the meat counter at your supermarket or butcher. You can also choose to use just egg whites instead of a whole egg as well.

If you are looking for a different meatloaf recipe than this one, then try these other two I have created:



Clean Eating Mini Meat Loaves
1 pound of lean ground beef or ground turkey
2 eggs whites or 1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 onion, chopped
2 T Italian Seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
2-3 oz tomato sauce (rest of 8 oz can will be used in the topping)

Topping
5-6 oz tomato sauce
1 tsp Italian Seasoning

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • Mix together all loaf ingredients in a medium bowl
  • Mix together topping ingredients, you can do this right in the can
  • Split up the meat mixture among 10 greased muffin cups
  • Top with the tomato sauce mixture
  • Bake for 20 minutes
  • Allow to sit for 5 minutes before 


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Dining Room Table Turned in to a Vanity




Here is the before picture. As I was taking off the hinges for the leaves, it dawned on me that it would be nice to have a before picture. So, it is upside down but you can see how big the table originally was and you can see the orientation of the table legs. I didn't want it to be this really long vanity and as luck would have it I could remove the sliders and reattach the legs to the short sides. I removed the leaves that fold up, they are great pieces of solid oak, so you might see them re-purposed in to some other project down the road. My husband did have an idea to use one of them.

***finally finishing post 2 years later***

So finally I will be finishing this post that I started over two years ago. I was looking through any drafts I had a post and came across this one.

As you can see the vanity is well used and loved. I ended up sanding it and painting it and covering the top with a faux marble contact paper. It has stood up for two and a half years of use and continues to work well. My daughter doesn't use it so much as a vanity yet but uses it as a place to do artwork and displays a variety of her art and craft pieces above it.

I had also sanded and painted a chair to go with it and recovered it. I use the same fabric to recover this chair as the one I had done for her years ago which is still in great condition but doesn't have room in her room for it currently. Someday when she is older she will appreciate that she has furniture that is all painted the same color and his matching that way.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Where Did We Go Wednesday? Sedona Red Rocks Jeep Tour


I have to tell you that taking a Red Rocks Jeep tour in Sedona Arizona was one of the best way to see a bunch of the formations and learn about the area and the Red Rocks. It was our family of four and another pair of adults that were on our tour. We did our tour through a day in the west. Our tour was called the Lil Rattler and it is a more mild tour meaning that you aren't bouncing around as much as you are in some of the other tours. It was a two-hour tour and we taken out among the rocks and given information about the history of the area, the Rocks, the plants, and some of the people that live and have lived there. The two were partly goes into Coconino National Forest.

We wore our hydration packs and also had cool it bandanas. We happen to be on our vacation in Arizona in June this past year when the flights were getting cancelled out of Phoenix, ours was one that got cancelled on the first day but we managed to get out a day later. I found that by wearing a hydration backpack it was easy to take a drink while we were riding and not worry about holding onto a water bottle. The cool-its work amazing as long as they are wet. We stopped once on the tour and when we stopped we rehydrated hour bandanas because they had dried out.
We would probably not have seen all of these formations had we not done the Jeep tour. It doesn't bring you to all of the formations that you might find listed on TripAdvisor that you need to go see, it takes you out and about to lesser-known places. We did make it to most of the other formations that we're highly rated on TripAdvisor but not on this tour. Those are easy enough to drive to yourself and have parking lots whereas we were on trails that required you to have 4-wheel drive in order to navigate them when on this tour.

Prepare to get dusty from all of the dry dirt and if you have a phone or camera out while on the tour make sure you have something along to keep it covered when not taking pictures because the finder can get into small areas.

If we find ourselves in Sedona again I would not hesitate to do another Jeep tour but next time I would choose a different tour only because I want to see more areas I haven't seen before. And if you are looking to save some money on doing this tour or any other Red Rocks tour check out Groupon first. We saved about 35-40% off the regular price by buying a Groupon. You do have to pay the taxes once you get there which is in the fine print on Groupon so it is not quite the price you purchased on that website. There are other companies that also have Red Rocks tours in Sedona and they all seem to be highly rated. The pink Jeep tours that are there theme to cost a little more and I did not find any deals for that company. This company claims they are the oldest Red Rocks tour company in Sedona.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

FREE Admission to National Parks THIS SATURDAY

Photo of bison near the Norris Geyser Basin

In honor of National Public Lands Day, there is FREE VEHICLE ADMISSION to all National Parks. Enjoy! 


Monday, September 25, 2017

EASY Strawberry Cream Cheese Crescent Rolls


These were super simple to make and everyone loved them. It was only 4 ingredients and made for a delicious addition to breakfast.

Easy Strawberry Cream Cheese Crescent Rolls
1 can of Crescent Rolls (makes 8)
2 oz cream cheese, softened
1 packet of Stevia (or sugar, Splenda or whatever sweetener you use)
Fresh Strawberry Slices

Directions

  • Preheat oven as directed on crescent roll package
  • Blend together cream cheese and stevia
  • Slice Strawberries so that you have 2-3 slices were roll
  • Unroll all 8 crescent roll pieces
  • Divide cream cheese among the rolls making small spoonfuls in the center of the wide end
  • Top cream cheese with strawberry slices
  • Roll up
  • Bake as directed on crescent roll package

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Girls Weekend Beach Tank Tops


I created theses custom tank tops for for our upcoming Girls Weekend. In the past I have made us coordinating jewelry, but this year I went for clothes. It's our first year doing Florida together, even if it is only for a weekend. We have done trips in MO, AR & MN together in the past.

Like the teacher t-shirts I made, I used heat transfer vinyl to make these. I used 2 fonts I purchased from the Silhouette Design Store and then cut out parts of images from other clipart in my silhouette library to add in the sun, stars and waves.

I don't like to make us all matchy-matchy, just coordinating and somewhat matchy. So, I purchased the same tank in four fall colors.

Some of the things I made in the past include:

I think I got them all listed and not I have gone in to clothing. I should really look in my jewelry box and find all of them I made to bring along to wear on this trip too.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Where Did We Go Wednesday? Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth, MN


On a day trip to Duluth, MN we decided to check out the Lake Superior Zoo. With our Science Museum membership, we actually got in free to this zoo which I think it totally awesome. There was quite a few animals and they were more awake and active than we have seen them at many other zoos, perhaps it was because we were coming later in the afternoon. While we were there they had a zookeeper that was doing training with the lions and that was pretty interesting to watch and ask them questions about.

There is also a beautiful waterfall located within the zoo and there is one geocache there to be found (which we did!) It is definitely worth checking out if you are in the Duluth area.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Free AAA for Teen Drivers

I have started to make a habit of reading the AAA magazine that comes in the mail with our membership to find out about different perks that are available that can help save me money.

This one doesn't affect me now but it will in the future and that time will come way too quickly. I thought I might have some readers that didn't know about this who might be interested in this perk. Any teen drivers with a learning permit can be added on to their parents policy for free. It covers them if they are driving or if they are riding with someone else.
With one little conversation you can let your child know some of the perks that their AAA membership provides them, including lockout service and gas delivery or Towing, just to name a few.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Healthier Choices at Caribou Coffee


The local Caribou Coffee in the Hy-Vee supermarket has a Dietitian that shared this info. This is handy info to help you decided on a beverage with less sugar/fat/calories. Of course the best options are plain tea (iced or hot) and coffee.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

DIY Silhouette Teacher T-Shirts

This is another fun project to do with your silhouette machine, but using heat transfer vinyl instead.

I bought both of the images from the silhouette design store. I know that you can find your own images to use in the silhouette software but I have found that sometimes trying to use something that has mostly a font can be really putsy and takes more time than what it cost to buy the image.

When I bought these images last week there were almost a dozen other images you got free with purchase so I got one free image with each one. If you are looking at it today it might be worth your while to see if those are still there. And in case you didn't know the silhouette design store offers a new image that is free every week. If I remember I tried to log in and get that image in case I want to use it in the future. It's just get stored and my digital silhouette Library.

These were back-to-school gifts that the kids helped make. I admit I did All of the cutting and design work but the kids had to do the ironing. I thought these would be something fun and different that their teachers might not have.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Where Did We Go Wednesday? "Radiator Springs" Seligman, AZ


Such a quirky little town on Route 66. I found out about this town when I was looking up ideas of interesting places in Arizona. It was listed as a fun place to take kids. This town is touted as being the inspiration for radiator springs in the Cars series. We did stop and have dessert at a restaurant there.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Free Passport Photos!


I really wish I would have learned this before I renewed my passport earlier this year, but now I know for when the kids need theirs renewed, which will be the next ones due in our family.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Taking Geocaching to the Next Level

 I was hoping that we would have done some of this earlier this year during the summer when we were out and about but we didn't. I had bought the ammo can to start our own regular cash this summer but we still have it. Still thinking about where we can ask to place it.

Midday do quite a bit of Geocaching here and there this summer and I now am up to 60 found Cash's, which in the grand scheme of Geocaching isn't a whole lot but it's a start and we are ready to continue. I finally decided to break down and buy some travel tags. I bought mine on Amazon because they came shipped free with Prime. They do cost $20 for a pack of four and these are the cheapest ones. There are some special designed ones that cost even more.

I know there are even more trackables out there that I haven't learned much about. We received our first trackable geocoins this summer and I know there are other items as well.

The small containers are to start micro caches. I have registered all of my travel tags and found one fun keychain to put on one of them. It is a keychain I made from pressed wildflowers on a trail up north by our cabin. I think I will call this one flower power

We are excited to start having our own Cashes to track and watch people check into them and follow our trackables.

You can read more about our first Geocaching Adventures and see where we started. Also, as a related thing of a future next level -- some day it might be fun to go to GeoWoodstock. I only stumbled upon it because the geocoin we placed up in Duluth was retrieved by someone who included a link in their post about this event. Sounds fun!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Smithsonian FREE Museum Day is coming up soon!! 9/23/17



We have taken advantage of this opportunity a few times in the past and I have in the back of my head as a possibility for our Girls Weekend, in case of inclement weather and we can't be on the beach, plus who know what Irma is going to do the beaches in Florida (yes, that is where we are heading). There are a TON of museums participating in Florida (85 to be exact!), but if you one of my many readers from MN, there are 26 to choose from here. Or for my readers from WI, there are 14 to choose from.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

After School Snack Wine Glass - Teacher Gift


So, these are #3 & #4 that I made. I used my Silhouette machine to create the vinyl to put these letters on wine glasses. I had purchased 2 different fonts from the Silhouette Design Store to do the words and modeled it off of a similar craft I found on pinterest. I originally made 2 of them to give to each of my children's main grade teachers during teacher appreciation week in May, but then was commissioned by one of those teachers to make 2 more for a couple of teachers that were retiring. I thought they all turned out really cute.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

FREE ADMISSION to National Parks THIS FRIDAY

Four women jumping up on a sand dune

It is the birthday of the National Park Service, so get out an celebrate at your favorite National Park with FREE vehicle admission.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Where Did We Go Wednesday? Noah's Ark Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells


This is our 2nd year of going to Noah's Ark in Wisconsin Dells and meeting up with some family there. Noah's Ark is dubbed "America's Largest Waterpark" although, after looking at a post about best waterparks in the world I have to wonder if it is bigger than the ones in Florida. It may have been the largest at one point and is probably still the largest in the Midwest, but not sure if it is still the largest in America anymore. Regardless, it is so much fun and there is only one ride (the Scorpion) that my son can't go on because they have a minimum weight. This year he wanted to be "really brave" and go on everything and did go on a couple that he was too scared to go on this year. He was really proud of himself.

I don't have any pictures from inside the park because we choose not to carry anything around with us, which prevents anything from getting lost, forgotten or stolen. And this year we all had aqua socks so we didn't have to go to the shoe corrals after every ride. I highly recommend having water shoes to make things easier and more efficient. I heard someone ask about wearing their Keen sandals on the rides and they said it depended upon the ride and some they may be asked to take off.

Another thing I recommend is paying the extra $3 for premium parking (only if you can get there before they open so you can get a close spot). That $3 makes it easier to go out to eat snacks and meals at your vehicle which will save you a lot of money from having to buy it inside the park. Plus the entrance for the premium parking is right by the bathroom and is in a central location allowing you to choose which of the 4 major areas of the park you are going to as the other entrance (regular parking) bring your in to one of the major areas and you have to do more walking when you want to come/go to your vehicle.

It has been a fun trip to meet family there for a weekend vacation and gives my kids the opportunity to create some memories with family in the summer. To save some money, I had signed up for the newsletter from Noah's Ark and bought BOGO tickets (good any day of the season) in the spring. Read about last year's trip to Noah's Ark here.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp


"I loved it!!!! I definitely want to do this again next year."

That was the quote from my son when I picked him up after the last day of soccer camp. I had the unique opportunity of allowing him to go to camp for free in exchange for providing a review on my blog.

My son loves soccer. It was something he really wanted to play and he played summer and fall soccer last year in one town and then this past year he did spring soccer in a different town and then summer and will do fall soccer in the same town as last year. There is just something about soccer that he gravitates toward and when I told him I had the opportunity for him to take this camp that was half a day, 3 hours a day, he was very excited about it.

He had a week break from Summer soccer and then it was back on the field again for this British Soccer Camp in a completely different town then the two he has done soccer in before.



 It was a great camp for building both skills and character. The camp does lots and lots of drills of various kinds but they also play games against each other. This particular Camp had 15 participants ranging in age from 6 to 12 with most of them being six seven or eight years of age.

On the first day of camp when they start playing games against each other they are split into teams. My son was on Team Brazil. Because there wasn't an even number of participants there had to be one team with only three players and the rest had four, his was that team but they didn't let themselves be defeated by having a smaller number. Coach Oli told them about the World Cup and how they would be playing for their own World Cup but they didn't earn points just on winning games they also earned it by showing good character and good sportsmanship having good Hustle and participating in the extra activities he asked them to do at home.


The other activities they were asked to do was to learn more about there team countries period on one day they were asked to come up with three different
facts to share with the group. And another day they were asked to bring or make their team country flag. These were optional activities but help them score more points for their World Cup status. It also gave them the opportunity to learn more about other parts of the world that play soccer.


During this 3-hour can they had the opportunity to take multiple water breaks which was much needed on the first 3 days that was temperature in the 80s and relatively high humidity those days. Then about two hours into Camp they would take a 15 minute break to have a snack that they brought.

The first day of camp was a bit of chilly and drizzle weather but they still play and kids just dress appropriately for the weather. They only cancel or delay Camp is if there is lightning. The last day of camp could not have had more perfect weather with temps between 65 +72 during the duration of the camp.

On the last day of camp the kids received their Camp t-shirts that are included in the fee. They also received a poster that had comments from the coach on the back side with ideas of what they can work on and what they did well at an additional General comments from the coach. On the first day of camp they received they're British soccer camp soccer ball and brought that with them to Camp every day.

When you register online through Challenger sports at least 45 days in advance you have the opportunity to get a jersey for the cost of just shipping and handling which was $7.95. I did buy one for my son and he was the only child who had one but the coach had the same Jersey and so every night I had to wash that Jersey so that my son could wear to Camp so he would match his coach who he looked up to as a role model.

There was the opportunity to add on a half-day goalie Camp after the morning soccer camp which I opted not to do because I thought 3 hours might already be enough for my son but after this year we have now talked about that we might pay that additional small fee to have him do the goalie camp and learn how to be a better goalie. He has been a timid goalie in the past but he gained some confidence in being a goalie during this camp and I can only imagine if he has spent more time practicing goalie skills how much he would have improved.

The skills of the kids at the camp ranged greatly from kids who had never really done soccer before two kids who had a fair amount of experience in soccer.

Because the smaller number of kids on a team it meant they couldn't separate into offense and defense like he did during his soccer games in spring and summer. Each kid had to play both offense and defense and run the field the entire time unless they were the goalie. Since my son's team only had three people on it if he was on the field it meant he had to work very hard and had plenty of opportunity to make cool shots, which he did and he was very pleased to be experiencing what it was like to be successful on the offense.

This year he had tended to gravitate towards wanting to play defense most often and does a good job at at but he gravitates towards that because he feels successful there. This Camp really made him think about the positions differently and experience them differently. And because the teams were smaller and they had to play the entire field the fields were about half the size then they would have been when he plays soccer on the school teams.

I do plan to look for Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp to sign him up in the future. If you want to find out which communities are hosting them you can find it on the Challenger sports website.

Next year he may just try goalie Camp as well. I am not sure if the opportunity will be there for me to review this Camp again but I know there is a possibility that I can sign up to be a coach post and then the your child gets to attend the camp for an $80 discount (will cover about half the price of a half day camp.)