Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lowe's FREE Classes get an A+



I posted about Lowe's before but I had to re-post.  Consider this your "up-to-the-minute" report on today's Lowe's Build and Grow class.  My fabulous husband took the boys to the event this morning at Lowe's so I could catch up on my rest.  You know that we celebrated our anniversary last night!  I ended up not getting a swift kick in the butt as my gift even though I was pretty sure that was what was in store for me.  Instead I got a romantic dinner out and flowers.  Again, he is so fabulous for putting up with me for 11 years!

So back to the Lowe's event.  I just received pictures of the boys via phone from my hubby.  He said the event was well run and the kids had so much fun.  I have to say that I wasn't sure how good this event would be as we have never participated in any of the Lowe's kids program, only Home Depot.  Today's event started at 10 am and lasted about 45 minutes. The boys built school lockers and were even given locks with keys (their favorite part) for the lockers.  The lockers were wood kits that they "built" and then they could decorate them.  They used hammers and nails to assemble the lockers, no glue here!  Overall, the boys gave the event a "thumbs up"!

There are two future events scheduled at Lowe's.  The first class is on September 10th, at 10 am.  Kids will be building wooden police cars.  The second scheduled class is scheduled for September 24th, at 10 AM.  Your kids will be building wooden fire trucks.  If your kids are anything like mine, you need to sign up for both of these!  Classes do fill up, so register today

Click here to sign up!

Here are details of Lowe's Build & Grow classes:

Lowe's programs are reccommend for kids first grade through fifth grade. Lowe's projects are always made of wood. You MUST register online in order to sign up for the class. Don't wait as the classes do fill up! Also, the first 50 kids to register and be present at the store at 10am will receive a kit, aprons and goggles, in addition to all the materials to make their project.  AND it's FREE!

Remember that your child must be at least 5 years of age and accompanied by an adult who can assist with them with their project.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Homework Basket

This is not a normal post for me but in honor of "Back to School", I figured you wouldn't mind plus I was told I "HAD to post this". Soooo, here you go, Aggie!


The other day a friend was over and upon seeing my "homework basket" said she needed to do something like that for her daughter, who just started first grade. Then, in passing, I mentioned something about the homework basket to another friend and she said "you HAVE to blog about that". Who would be interested in reading about a homework basket? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the homework basket is worthy of sharing. I don't know about you but I have one son who protests EVERY day about doing his homework. This basket makes homework a much calmer time in our house. We might always stress about the fact that we HAVE to do homework but we never have the stress of having to search for a sharpened pencil, a certain color crayon, scissors or a highlighter. It's all in one place and it's accessible to my kids. And my favorite thing.....it's easy to clean up!




My homework basket sits on a shelf in my living room near the kitchen table where my kids do their homework.  I couldn't tell you where I got this basket. Ok, I might have an issue with baskets. I just counted 12 large baskets in my home. Most of them have a purpose or are decoration, so I tell myself. I have baskets to have an attractive place to store doggie toys to magazines in the bathroom. Anyway, I like baskets. This homework basket is nice because it's has a handle for the kids to haul it around and it's sturdy enough that it won't break when my boys pretend that the stapler is a basketball. Inside, I purchased zip bags to hold colored pencils, already sharpened pencils and pencil sharpeners, markers, scissors and hole punchers, post it notes and index cards, liquid glue and glue sticks, free homework passes, crayons and some fun stickers, etc. It's all in there and the zip bags are easy to open and close and clear so you can see what is in it before grabbing one.



The homework basket came about because I needed somewhere to put all these school supplies. I couldn't just leave them out on the counter and if they ended up in my junk drawer in the kitchen...forget about it. So, if an effort to organize all these supplies in one place, the homework basket was born. The best thing about trying to make our things more organized, I realized how much my older son appreciated just reaching for the basket when it was homework time. It started out small with just some pencils but as the homework projects grew and required more supplies, so did the basket. It was an odd plastic basket at first but then I wanted something more attractive so I decided to put one of my many baskets to work. And what about BUYING all these supplies? Did you see the Sunday ads? You can get all these supplies for pennies and make up your own basket for little $$$. Also, I am pretty sure you already have all these supplies lying around or in your own junk drawer.



I am not the most organized person. I know this about myself and am working on it.  I am trying to help my children be organized. No stressful scavenger hunts when it's homework time. Just reach over to the basket and it's there.

Look how happy he is.  Now, go DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

Ingredients:

One large sturdy basket.
Four to five clear bags.  (I actually got bags from Staples labeled "Check Envelope" and they were 10 cents each!!!  Can't find them then use Ziploc bags)
Pencils
Big fat erasers
Pencil Sharpener
Scissors
Glue Stick
Liquid Glue
Crayons
Colored pencils
Hole Puncher
Ruler
Post It Notes
Markers
Highlighters
Red Pen
Stickers


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's Teacher Appreciation Again...this should be a daily event!

This post is all about the teachers. It's back-to-school and instead of only talking about the kids (seriously, how cute are these three?), I want to show some love to all teachers and especially the teachers who dedicate themselves to educating my two adorable sons. Thank you for all that you do.


I have compiled a listing of places that offer deals for all those hard working teachers, compliments of the Department of Education. Enjoy!

Attractions and Events

DOE Teams Up With NFL Teams for 2011
Attention all football fans! The Florida NFL teams have partnered again with the Florida Department of Education to offer discounted tickets to teachers this coming fall! Now, all three teams – the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins – will offer these specially-priced tickets to key games. Discounted ticket forms are now available for all three teams!

Click on tabs found to the left of this post for TEACHER ticket offers.

Gatorland
Teachers will have free admission for the months of September and October if they bring their Teacher ID card, as well as a valid ID.

Clearwater Aquarium
Offer free admissions to teachers.

Florida Aquarium
See the Aquarium at your own pace to prepare for your field trip. Simply show proof of ID (current pay stub with teacher payroll code) at a ticket window for free admission. Family and friends are welcome but will be required to purchase their admission(s). Offer good during regular business hours. Teachers are counted in the chaperone total on field trip days. Museum also offers special "Teacher Workshops." For more information please visit: ! (Tampa) Florida Aquarium

Kennedy Space Center
Free 12 Month Educator Passes to Kennedy Space Center! Discover firsthand how a field trip can enrich every student’s education with the “Educator Study Pass.” Full-time Florida and Georgia educators receive a free Annual Pass to explore the Kennedy Space Center themselves. Educators can enjoy all the benefits of admission, visit the NASA Educator Resource Center to learn about educational programs and receive new classroom materials. Teachers can also tour NASA’s launch headquarters, meet a real astronaut and watch exhilarating IMAX movies. To be eligible for an Educator's Study Pass, educators must possess a valid Florida or Georgia teacher certificate and be currently employed at an accredited school as a full-time K-12 classroom educator. To receive an Educator Study Pass, educators must present these items to the ticket agents located at the ticket plaza. Professional educators can visit the NASA Educator Resource Center (ERC) to receive information, copy NASA videotapes, reproduce software, slides and videotapes, and review lesson plans and other teaching materials. For details on available materials or to make an appointment, call the ERC at (321) 867-4090.

Mote Aquarium
Teachers, come explore the secrets of the sea for free. Mote Aquarium offers one free ticket for each teacher presenting a pay stub at our admissions desk. This offer covers one teacher only and does not extend to accompanying guests. Mote Aquarium is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 365 days a year and features more than 100 marine species, including manatees, sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, and fish of all shapes and sizes. Learn more at Mote.  Also check out Mote's education programs for school groups at Mote Education Programs

Orlando Broadway Across America
Inquire about discount tickets for teachers, available at: Broadway Across America Password: schoolbroadway. Upcoming shows include Legally Blonde, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Jersey Boys and STOMP. (Orlando)

Orlando Museum of Art
Inquire about annual educator pass discounted membership. Details: (407) 896-4231. (Orlando)

Orlando Science Center
Orlando Science Center is pleased to offer teachers free admission with the presentation of a valid Florida teacher ID. In addition, receive 10% off when you become an exclusive member to our center! Membership includes special discounts off our summer and school break camps and free admission to more than 250 Association of Science and Technology museums throughout the nation. For more information please visit our website: Orlando Science Center or call (407) 514-2000.

The Pier Aquarium
Offer free admissions to teachers.

Ringling Museum of Art
Teachers receive reduced admission prices when touring the beautiful Ringling Museum in Sarasota. Visit Ringling for complete details.

Legoland

If you are an active, certified teacher in the state of Florida, Legoland is giving you a FREE standard annual pass. You will need your most recent paystub, Florida photo ID and teaching certificate to receive your pass but who cares! The FREE annual pass, which is normally $129 will be free for Florida teachers.

SeaWorld
For the thirteenth year, SeaWorld Orlando thanks teachers by offering a Teacher Study Pass to all active and certified K-12 grade school instructors. The Study Pass allows unlimited admission to SeaWorld Orlando now through 12/31/2011, with no blackout dates. Getting the “Study Pass” is easy. Teachers simply bring their Florida teaching certificate, recent paystub and photo ID to any ticket window at SeaWorld Orlando’s front gate. There they can purchase discounted admission for family and friends. More details can be found at SeaWorld

South Florida Museum
See the Museum, Planetarium and Aquarium at your own pace to prepare for your field trip. Simply show proof of ID at the admissions desk for free admission. Family and friends are welcome but will be required to purchase their admission(s). Offer good during regular business hours-visit South FL Museum (Bradenton)

Wet ‘N Wild Teacher and Staff Appreciation
In thanks to you, for everything you do, Wet ’n Wild would like you to enjoy SPLASHtacular savings! Check out the details by clicking on the tab to the left called Wet 'N Wild Teacher Deal for presentation at the gate.

General

Sonny’s
Join Sonny’s RU Smokin’? Club online and receive a $5 coupon off your next meal of $25 or more. Visit Sonny's for complete details.

Barnes & Noble Educator Discount program
The Educator Discount card is free to all who qualify. You can enroll in our Educator Discount program in any Barnes & Noble retail store, as well as Bookstop, Bookstar, Doubleday, and Charlesbank. The In-store and online discount is 20% off the list price on selected items. The items must be suitable for student or classroom use. Please note that when you apply, you will be asked to provide a valid school/institutional photo ID to confirm employment.

Dell EPP

Florida Teachers now receive Members Only pricing on all personal PCs from Dell, and Exclusive Members Only elite offers (up to 30% OFF list prices for select configurations of Dell consumer PCs). Order now by calling 1-800-695-8133, or by purchasing online at Dell . To receive your exclusive discount over the phone Florida Teachers must mention Member ID# KS51647439.  If you find a better deal on a new Dell home system anywhere on the http://www.dell.com home website, call an EPP specialist to beat the current Dell Home PC price and receive your Best Price Guarantee!”

Discounts for Teachers
My Education Discount is an online directory of retailers offering education and teacher discounts. Simply click the retailers below to see what discount is currently available. Visit My Education Discount for complete details. Remember to check My Education Discount before you buy anything online. Enjoy!

Educational Savings and More from Teacher’s Pet
Teacher’s Pet and More, Inc., a provider of quality educational materials, is proud to offer all Florida teachers a 10% discount on any purchase order placed in any of our store locations or save 15% on any purchase order placed online. Pickup your orders locally for free, or have them shipped to your location for a small handling fee. All customers are eligible to participate in our frequent shopper program which allows you to save up to 10% on your purchases! Visit Teacher's Petfor more information and to take advantage of these exciting offers. Please use coupon code “FLDOE10” during checkout.

AMSOIL Synthetics
Receive discounts of 20-25% off of AMSOIL Synthetics retail prices. To receive a wholesale price list of AMSOIL products, please send an email to wholesale@2Lu.be wholesale@2Lu.be . To order, call 407-951-4781 AMSOIL Synthetics has been producing super-premium synthetic oil since 1972 and was the first company to offer extended drain intervals up to 25,000 miles. Today AMSOIL produces lubrication products for cars, trucks, diesels, motorcycles, ATVs, marine, 2-cycle, racing and more. AMSOIL operates a regional warehouse in Orlando. Members may pick up their order at the Orlando warehouse after receiving order confirmation or have their order shipped via UPS at very reasonable rates negotiated by AMSOIL. To order, call 407-951-4781

ArtSkills
ArtSkills was founded in 1987 in Easton, PA. It is a family owned company with a commitment to bringing quality and innovative poster making and art materials to our customers. To create an account and see if you qualify for $25 worth of supplies for teachers visit ArtSkills.

Jo-Anns Fabrics and Crafts
Teachers—show your teacher ID and receive an annual discount card that includes a one-time 20% off purchase coupon and 15% off everything throughout the year.

The Limited

The Limited offers a 15% discount for educators and students at any Limited with a valid education ID. The education discount cannot be combined with any other coupons, but is good on sale and in-store promotions.

LOFT

At Ann Taylor Loft, we love teachers. We’re dedicated to making it easy for you to look fabulous and for supporting the endeavors to which all teachers commit themselves in every classroom, at every school, everyday. For complete details visitAnn Taylor Loft Teacher Deal.

T-Mobile
Mobile now offers a 15% monthly discount on qualified monthly charges to all Florida Public Employees including teachers. Employees with existing T-Mobile service can get to the discount program by calling (877) 453-8824 and asking for the 15% State of Florida employee discount using Node 4025529. The Florida Public Employee program rolls up to the State of Florida 15% discount. You must agree to extend your contract for two years in order to receive the discount.

One Cup Connection
Shop for Keurig brewers & one cup coffee accessories, the largest selection of K-Cups at the best prices you've ever seen! Enter coupon code FLDOE at checkout to receive 10% off. Discount cannot be combined with other offers. Expires 12/31/2012

Overstock
Overstock.com has extended a 10% discount to Florida Teachers—check out Overstock.com for some great deals! A new office desk, end table, or vanity? We have yard d├ęcor, futon mattresses, fashion jewelry, baby furniture, and SO much more! Use the discount code 121728 to receive your 10% discount and 202234 for free shipping on electronics! …and remember shipping is just $2.95 for EVERYTHING else!

Sihle Insurance Group, Inc.
Teachers and staff save up to 20% on your auto and home insurance! Since 1974, Sihle represents many of Florida's top rated insurance companies chosen for their strength and cost. We offer a selection of coverage, limits and deductible options that allow FL teachers to customize protection packages to fit their unique needs. We represent Travelers, AAA, The Hartford, Nationwide, GMAC, Progressive, Metlife, Chubb, and many more! Call 407-474-4880 or click on our link Sihle

Since1910.com
Receive 10% off fine jewelry at Since1910.com. (Excludes designer jewelry). To receive this offer, use the coupon code "Floridateach10" and check out using a .edu e-mail address. Learn more about Since1910.com at Since 1910.

Four Seasons Sunrooms
Four Seasons Sunrooms by Distinct Design, Inc. 10% on all Four Seasons Sunrooms projects (May include sunrooms, conservatories, lanai enclosures, solariums, room additions and window replacements) For Discount Details, see: Four Seasons Sunrooms Teacher Discount

Lodging

Gaylord Palms Resort
Gaylord Palms Resort is dedicated to honoring Florida teachers, faculty and school administrators for their hard work and devotion to impacting students' lives. We're excited to continue our Florida Teacher Appreciation rate of $99 now through December 31, 2011. We invite you to share this exclusive offer with your peers. Orlando is the perfect destination for educators, with various teacher specials being offered by area theme parks and attractions. More information on Gaylord Palms Resort. To book your stay, visit: Gaylord Palms Use code TEACH11 when booking!

Amelia Island Thanks Florida Teachers
In appreciation of the state’s hard-working educators, Florida’s Amelia Island is offering special rates and discounts to all Florida teachers. In partnership with the Amelia Island Convention and Visitors Bureau, four of the island destination’s award-winning accommodators are offering deals that put teachers at the head of the class. Amelia Island

Holiday Inn Express-Siesta Key/Sarasota
Summer special for Florida Educators at this hotel located 1 mile from Siesta Beach, the #1 Beach in the US! Rates start at $69 per night plus tax and include hot breakfast, microwave and fridge in every room, heated pool and hot tub. For more information, please click on the link or contact our front desk toll free - 800-930-4439 - mention the Florida Teacher's Special Rate. See you soon! Holiday Inn Siesta Key Deal

Comfort Inn Oceanside – Deerfield Beach
Teachers and Family Special Family rates from $65.00 plus tax. Call (866) 866-2326 or (954) 428-0650 for complete details. Be sure to ask for “Teachers Special Rate.”

Comfort Suites Sawgrass
Our all suite hotel is ideally located near restaurants, shopping, and major exits. With free deluxe breakfast, free high speed internet, spacious suites, heated pool and hot tub, you are assured an enjoyable and relaxing stay. Present your teacher ID when making your reservation. Call and ask for the special rate for Teachers (954) 343-1322 OR gm.fl656@choicehotels.com . Comfort Suites Sawgrass

Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld
Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld would like to salute teachers by extending our “Heroes Salute” promotion to them as well as the armed forces and first responders. After all Teachers are Heroes Too!
The rate is 50% off our best available rate (subject to availability) through summer.

D.P.Hotels
Do you need to get away? Our hotels provide great comfort, affordable rates and great locations. Visit our web site at DP Hotels, select your property, and ask for the Teacher rate when making your reservation.

Galleria Palms Hotel
Galleria Palms Hotel would like to thank teachers for all you do. To show our appreciation, we invite you to take advantage of our Teacher Appreciate Rate and save 20% on your next stay, plus complimentary daily breakfast. Enjoy all the thrills and excitement that Orlando and Kissimmee has to offer. Refer to the code TEACH. To learn more, visit Galleria Palms

Holiday Inn Express - BradentonBradenton’s Holiday Inn Express, located at I-75 and SR 64, is offering teachers a special rate of $75 per night from May 1-September 30; the offer includes a complimentary breakfast buffet. Guests need to call the property directly at (941) 757-5556. For complete details visit Holiday Inn Express Bradenton

Holiday Inn Express Juno Beach/Jupiter
A boutique resort, steps from the beach. Each room has its own private balcony with a view of the ocean or our heated pool & tropical courtyard. To book a reservation please call and ask for the “West Palm Beach.com” rate of 5/1/11-12/31/11 $79.00. Toll free: (800) 272-6380 Hotel: (561) 622-4366 or visit us atHoliday Inn Express Juno Beach13950 US Hwy 1, Juno Beach, Florida 33408

Omphoy Ocean Resort
Preferred Hotels and Resorts,Palm Beach, Florida, United States
Teachers & Educators can enjoy a discount of 30% Off Room Rates through September, American Breakfast for Two Daily, and 20% Off Resort Dining.

ResortQuest
ResortQuest is proud to now offer a 15% discount for teachers and educational staff. Stay two or more nights at select ResortQuest properties from Gulf Shores, Alabama to Panama City Beach, Florida, and receive a 15% discount. Call 588-208-2029 and ask for promotion $EDCU

The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach
Special Florida Teachers rate of $199.00 per night plus 11% tax. Our special 2011 Promotional Rate to all Florida Teachers gives you and your family the opportunity to experience a family friendly ocean front beach resort and Eau Spa by Cornelia. This promotion includes a Resort View Room (1 king or 2 double beds) and valet parking for one car. The special rate is available during May 4, 2011 – September 30, 2011 (this promotion is based upon availability at time of booking and cannot be combined with any other offers). To make reservations please call The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach room reservations at (561) 533-6000 (refer to rate code: TEAP). You must show a valid Florida Teachers or Florida District ID upon check in.

Sheraton Sand Key Resort
We would like to welcome all State of Florida Teachers to our island, where our backyard is the Gulf of Mexico. Sink your toes into 10 acres of powder-white sand at our exclusive beach resort located on Clearwater Beach. The Sheraton Sand Key is offering teachers extra special rates from June 1, 2011 until the end of the year - $129.00 Single/Double plus 12% tax per room per night. Children 18 years and under stay in the same room at no extra charge and No Resort or Parking fees are added on. Rates are subject to availability. Please Call Reservations at 800-456-SAND and ask for the "Florida Teacher's" special rate. More hotel information on our website at Sheraton Sand Key

Sheraton Suites Plantation
We are introducing our Summer Teacher Package. In appreciation of your service we are offering a special Service Salute Getaway with a special 50% discount*, just for you! *Valid Education Employment ID required at check-in. Based on availability, valid through December 31, 2011. Find and book Sheraton Suites Plantation.

Steinhatchee Landing Resort
Steinhatchee Landing Resort is offering a 50% discount for teachers who want to get away during their Spring Break this year. Stay four or more nights in any of the resort’s 50, one- to four-bedroom cottage accommodations and receive 50 percent off your entire stay. The discount can save guests anywhere from $280 to $764 for a four-night stay (depending on booking dates and cottage type). For complete details visit Steinhatchee Landing. To book this special, call toll-free (800) 584-1709 or (352) 498-3513. You must mention “We Love Teachers” when booking. *Subject to availability. Some restrictions may apply. Savings will reflect on final bill at checkout.

Hope all you teachers enjoyed this list of "perks". If you know of anymore, feel free to contact me so I can update this posting. Again, we appreciate all that teachers do for our most valuable treasure....our kids. Thank you!

Monday, August 22, 2011

FREE Teachers in Legoland and other Field Trip Excitement

Whoot! whoot! Legoland is opening in Winter Haven, FL on October15th!


Now, my kids are beyond excited! BEYOND! I just got a little more excited this morning after I read something in the paper about FREE TICKETS FOR TEACHERS. Yup, Florida teachers are eligible for a free standard annual pass. I know one Mommy, Heather, who is going to be extra stoked as her young man, Oliver the Lego Master, is one of the most avid Lego lovers I know.

So, here it is....

If you are an active, certified teacher in the state of Florida, Legoland is giving you a FREE standard annual pass. You will need your most recent paystub, Florida photo ID and teaching certificate to receive your pass but who cares! The FREE annual pass, which is normally $129 will be free for Florida teachers. I told you we needed to appreciate our teachers!!!!! Thank you teachers AND Legoland!

I checked out the Legoland site and found out even MORE interesting and fun and practically FREE items. Legoland is offering a significant discount for school field trips. For trips taking place from November 2011 through April 2012, the price is just $5 a ticket. There is a minimum of 15 paying students and additional adults and siblings may be added. Now, I have to work on convincing Heathrow Elementary to approve Legoland as a good fieldtrip option. Check out their very cool field trip programs, Legoland Educational Programs.  Learning and fun is one powerful combination!

I don't want to forget our homeschoolers. Homeschoolers, of 15 or more, can purchase self guided field trip tickets for $25 each. One complementary ticket is given for every 15 paid tickets. Check out the Legoland website for more details.

Regular day ticket prices are $65 for adults, $55 for kids & seniors. We have been doing our research before opening day, AAA has the best rates for the tickets if you are looking to purchase before you go.

Hope you get out to Legoland this year and have some fun!

Letterboxing? WTH?

What is it?

Letterboxing is a mix of treasure hunting, art, navigation, and exploring interesting, scenic, and sometimes remote places. I guess it all started from an ancient custom of placing a rock on a mountain once you climbed to the summit. We just call it an adventure and it ends up being a fun dedicated time to be with family. Oh, the adventure usually involves the outdoors and it's free. Those are all the requirements that I need!

Here is the basic idea. Someone, called a hider, hides a waterproof box somewhere, containing at least a logbook and a carved rubber stamp, and perhaps other goodies. The hider then usually writes directions to the box (called clues), which can be straightforward, cryptic, or any degree in between. Often the clues involve map coordinates or compass bearings from landmarks, but they don't have to. Believe me when I say, if I read that there are compass directions you can be sure that I am staying FAR away from that particular adventure! Anyway, once the clues are written, someone in possession of the clues, called a hunter, attempts to find the box. In addition to the clue and any maps or tools needed to solve it, the hunters should carry at least a pencil, personal rubber stamp, inkpad, and personal logbook. When the hunter successfully deciphers the clue and finds the box, stamp the logbook in the box with personal stamp, and stamp personal logbook with the box's stamp. The hider's logbook keeps a record of all its visitors, and the hunters keep a record of all the boxes they have found, in their personal logbooks. I am thinking that these hiders, are not people with kids. After we read the clues and find the box, I always marvel at the people who have the time and patience to do all this. Well, whomever you are, thank you!!!

The boys and I have letterboxed all over our town and usually pick easy ones. We did pick a "harder" one once that required walking a little far and then turning around different degrees to walk in yet another direction. Needless to say, we spent an hour walking and never found the box. My husband and I were completely annoyed until we realized how much fun my boys had running around the park, measuring how many paces (steps), how far to turn this way or that, etc. So, it really is about the journey and not the destination. Interesting! It's amazing but when we talk about letterboxing, my boys talk about that particular adventure the most even though it didn't result in finding anything.

So, at the very minimum you will need the clues. You should also have a personal stamp, inkpad, personal logbook, and a pencil (for writing in the box's logbook, if you want). We have a simple logbook ( .50 cents at Michaels) and a simple stamp (a bear claw, which used to be our school mascot). We keep the log book and stamp in a Ziploc bag in our car plus some printed out local letterbox clues just in case. I have been known to surprise them in the past by pulling out a letterbox clue on the way home from school.

Here is the website that I use when we letterbox: Atlas Quest
I like this site because you can search by location, which is what we usually do. And they specify if the letterbox adventures is a mental puzzler (which means no thank you to me and the boys), if you have to hike to it or if you can drive by, pet friendly, compass needed (oh, hell no), etc. I choose the letterbox and then print it out, another easy function on this website. There are many other websites out there but this one was the best for our needs.

I highly recommend trying out letterboxing. My kids and I truly enjoyed every aspect of it, from picking out their stamp, to choosing with adventure to take, running all over like crazy people in search of the letterbox, to signing their names and stamps in the logbook. So much fun with just a little effort and will cost you nothing (like!) but a little together time with your kids.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Best Family Outing Ever!

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine tried to discourage me from going on one of the BEST outdoor family outings. She said "Don't go to the corn maze. It's hot and dirty." Hot? It's Florida so that is a given. Dirty? That's a bad thing? If you know me, you know my favorite quote and that is..... "If you are dirty, you must have had a good time!" So, thank goodness I didn't listen and the boys and I went out to Long & Scott farm Corn Maze, near Zellwood, for a day of hot fun and DIRT! My boys love, love, love, this place!

What is this corn maze? It's a maze in a corn field. Seriously, it's a corn field that has a path carved out to make a maze and it's located at Long & Scott Farms, a beautiful farm 30 miles northwest of Orlando, a short drive from anywhere in Central Florida. (It took me 30 minutes to get there from Lake Mary. ) The corn maze part of the farm has been expanded this year to four additional weekends so you have even MORE time to get lost in 7 acres of maze. Other activities, down on the farm, are a 60-foot tube slide (pure awesomeness), a living tree maze, catch-and-release fishing, playground, wet maze, sand pit and children’s activities, including the new “jumping pillow,” a sort of bounce house without walls. We haven't experienced the "Corny Jumping Pillow" but all I can say is "yeeehaw"!

Each year, Long & Scott's Corn Maze has a theme and this year it's "renewable energy". Love it! The "big" maze is a live field with a bridge, multiple choices on every pathway and a "Maze Master". The maze provides a safe environment to enjoy an exciting new and outside adventure! You answer questions by finding clues in the corn. You can use Maize-o-Vision, a decoding system, to see the map hidden on your game sheet. There is something new to find and a decision to make around every corner. The maze makes learning fun! Learning and fun? Can I get another "yeeeehaw"?!!!

We went to the corn maze last year , closer to Halloween to get us in "the mood". It was still pretty hot in October. We live in Florida and it's hot, get used to it. The corn maze is open until December 11th so you can wait to a later date if you are worried about being hot. When you arrive at the Long & Scott Farms, you will definitely feel like you are on a farm. There is vast open spaces, crops, old barn and a country store. My boys were so excited that they were trying to jump out of the car before we even stopped. Remember I said that my kids would much prefer running in a field over anything else? So, we get there and buy our *tickets, go through a short "orientation" about how to make it through the maze and then we are off. We chose the smaller maze because we were with a large group of small children and we wanted to play on everything and be able to make it though the maze without running out of time. We will probably attempt to go through the larger maze this year as my kids are getting older. This doesn't mean that small kids, even stroller kids, can't enjoy the Corn Maze. Kids under 3 are free so it bring them with a stroller and plan on going through the maze, make sure they are strollers with the "big" wheels!

The other things we "wanted to play on" included everything from a 60 foot slide, fishing pond, hay ride, sand pit, wet maze (a maze that is equipped with sprinklers, whoot! whoot!), climbing tower and did I mention the 60 foot slide? The kids love the slide. In order to get to the maze at the entrance, you either walk through a tunnel (yay) or slide down the big slide (triple yay!). I bet you can guess what we did. And the slide isn't just for kids so get on it, Mom!!!!! Don't forget to pack a big lunch and plenty of water in your cooler as they have penty of covered picnic tables for you to use. There are no water fountains but they do have food vendors off to the side, make note that they are CASH ONLY for you Moms like me who never seem to carry cash. The Farm does take Master Card, Visa & Discover in the Market and for Maze tickets, though. There IS an ATM on site!

The maze will be open 10 am to 5 pm on Saturdays and 1 pm to 5 pm on Sundays. The last ticket for the maze is sold at 3 pm. Don't be lame and show up at 2:30! The corn maze will be open to groups of 20 or more on a pre-arranged basis on Tuesdays through Fridays. They are closed on Thanksgiving but open the day before and after Thanksgiving for the general public. What a great idea to run off all that food the day after Thanksgiving at the corn maze instead of being stuck in stores shopping!

*Admission is $11 for ages 17 and older, $9 for ages 3-16. Ages 16 and under must be accompanied by a paying adult. You can buy combo tickets, which include discounts on hay rides and the "Corny Jumping Pillow" by buying them at the time you get your maze tickets. Also, you can purchase just hayride tickets for $4. Orlando Playground blog followers will be offered a discount shortly so check back and there will be contests and promotions on Long & Scott's website, which I will keep you posted on!


Check out the Long & Scott Corn Maze website if you need more information:
http://www.longandscottfarms.com/maze_adventures.html

Long and Scott Farms plans to open Scott’s Country Market on Sept. 16, the day before the maze begins operation and offers freshly harvested produce from the farm and local growers, potted plants and sod. They also carry their own line of ams, jellies, relishes and syrups and customized gift boxes and baskets.

So, put on your grungy play clothes, some closed toe shoes and plan your family outing by heading over to Long & Scott Farm's Corn Maze. I promise you, if you don't mind a little dirt and sweat, that it's worth the trip! Best family outing ever.......



Teacher Appreciation Wine Tasting this Saturday!



It's not all about the kids! Take a minute and look at who is spending a large chunk of time with your kids and teaching them so very much. After you figure out that I am talking about your child's teacher, APPRECIATE! Thank you, teachers!

That being said, your teacher needs a moment to relax and be appreciated. Teachers, stop reading this blog post and correcting my grammer and head over to Cork & Olive to their Teacher Appreciation Wine Tasting. The tasting is THIS
Saturday, August 20th, from 5 pm until 10 pm at the Lake Mary Cork & Olive, located at 4247 W Lake Mary Blvd, Lake Mary, FL 32746. I just love Cork & Olive! If you have never been, it's so wonderful. Relaxation, conversation and wine at one convenient place!

The wine tasting is a free party for Teachers, Friends and Family. Again, it's free! There will be finger foods and wines from California, South Africa, Italy, Germany.

Mrs. Carbone, I expect you to be there and bring Mrs. Pelter and Mrs. Leslie as I am pretty sure they need a glass of wine after spending the week with my two boys!

Cheers!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Best Place to Have Your Kids Party!



I am not sure what your take is on birthday parties but mine is big. The bigger the party, the better the party! I don’t mean big in regards to expensive and fancy. I think parties should be big in regards to people. I grew up as one of eleven children and even “just family” parties were big. ALL of my family lives out of state which means no big family parties for us. So, my family parties now include our other “family”, all our friends, the entire class, the neighbors, that great kid they played t-ball with 2 years ago, etc. People matter to me. So, I am not happy when I am restricted by how many people I can invite to a party. If you have been to one of my parties or one of my boys’ parties, you know what I am talking about. We want everyone to feel loved, so we invite everyone. My kind of party place is one that can hold as many people as I like.

The other side of the party coin is having the opportunity to be outside and enjoying nature. When my boys were about two years old, I used to say that they were happiest just running in a field as opposed to playing at their favorite indoor bounce/gym/slider/jumper place. It’s still true. Ask either of my sons where their favorite place is and they will tell you it’s the creek near their Grandma’s house. Not Universal, not Disney, not the movies…

What is the name of this magical, fabulous, birthday place where you can invite everyone you know and your kids can hang out with nature and run free without hearing, “slow down” and “don’t touch” and only cost you $75? The best birthday place ever is Oakhaven Farms in Sorrento, FL. What? Am I talking about the strawberry picking place that is out in the middle of nowhere? Maybe you have never been there. Maybe you have. Seriously, it is the perfect birthday place.

First, where is Oakhaven Farms? It’s in Sorrento, Fl, about 15 minutes from the Weikiva Reserve area (Route 46 in Sanford). They have directions on their website so don’t worry. It's really not that far. Second, if you want to have your party there it will cost you $75 for the rental. The rental cost gets you a reserved shady spot with lots of picnic tables and a fire pit off to the side (far enough away so you don’t have to worry about kids running and falling in!) for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. Your party spot is right smack in the middle of the strawberry fields and under some old Oak trees. The best part about this spot is you can fit as many people there as you want. There are 5 picnic tables there and if you are worried that there isn't enough seating, don't! Most people won't sit still when they come to Oakhaven Farms. My kids didn’t sit the entire time...well maybe just for cake.

Now, when you are ready to reserve Oakhaven Farms for your party, call Harry, the owner, at (352) 735-1996. He handles the rental and is as friendly and laid back as one can get. He will coordinate your rental. Your $50 gets your reserved spot for the day and he doesn’t care what time you get there and when you leave as long as it’s before they close for the day. Make sure you don’t have time constraints when you come here so you have plenty of time to relax and enjoy all that is there. You will want to bring your own food and drinks as the offerings at Oakhaven Farms is limited to hot dogs and milkshakes. A few of us roasted some hot dogs and marshmallows. Oakhaven Farms does not have marshmallows so bring your own and sticks, too! Harry will politely ask you to buy his hot dogs if decide to roast some. Sounds reasonable to me. In addition to the best party spot ever, you also get a tractor hayride, or two, for your entire group, through their Christmas tree farm. There is also a super fun zip line for the kids. If you have little ones and are worried about the zipline, there are two sizes of zipline for big and small kids. There is a playground and a good old fashioned tire swing. There is a great little store where you can buy jams and jellies and homemade strawberry milkshakes.

I don’t do goody bags anymore for my kids. No Mom wants all that “stuff” in their house and I don’t want to buy all that “stuff” either. Plus, have you tried making 30 goody bags? Ugh. So, our goody bags were empty quart containers. For $2.50 each, the kids went out with their containers and picked their own strawberries and took them home with them. Now, that is a “goody” that I can get behind. If you want to go all out, there is plenty of room to add a bounce house or two or a petting zoo but it’s not necessary. Oakhaven Farms has their own little zoo with their funny lab and Border Collie. Really, having a party here is all about being outside and having space to explore and have fun. So glad that I didn't go overboard with extras.

There is just one drawback about having your party at Oackhaven Farms, you can only have a party here during strawberry season. Strawberry season is from January through May. We got lucky the year of my son’s 5th birthday because even though his birthday is in December, the season started early that year so there was just enough strawberries to have a party in late December.

Their website is www.berriesandtrees.com. It’s not real elaborate but has just enough posted so you know what they offer plus their basic contact information. I recommend heading out to Oakhaven Farms for a day of strawberry picking before booking your party. It’s a great place to visit even if you aren’t having a party. We have spent many days, during strawberry season, picking strawberries and then just hanging out enjoying the space.

I still think about my son’s 5th birthday party. He mentions it every once in a while, too. I asked him yesterday which place was the best for his past birthday parties and he didn't hesitate....the strawberry place!!!! It is truly the best place to have a birthday party for your little kid and even your big kid, too!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Kids Eat FREE!


If you love eating out with your kids, raise your hand.

Strange, I don't see many hands up. Going out to eat with kiddos is not easy. I know it's better now than when my kids were 2 and under but I am still a firm believer that I should get paid to go out to eat with my kids and I get a mandatory free glass of wine to go with it.

So, that being said. I haven't found a restaurant that will pay us to bring our kids to eat but I have found plenty that offer free meals for the kids. Check out my listing of free or "almost free" kids meals in the Orlando area. Keep in mind that each establishment is different in what they offer for free. Some only offer one kids meal per adult, drinks may or may not be included as well as dessert. So, before you head out for your adventure dinner with the kids, call ahead to get the specifics as each deal is slightly different and can change at any time.

Deals by Restaurant
Gators Dockside
Kids eat free Tuesdays from 5:30PM until 8:30PM with the purchase of an adult meal. Clown & face painting!

Crispers
Kids eat free Tuesdays and Saturdays ALL DAY with the purchase of one or more adult entress.

Kobe
Kids eat free on Tuesdays with the purchase of an adult meal.


The Melting Pot
Kids eat free on Sundays with the purchase of an adult meal.

Beef O'Brady
Kids eat free on Tuesdays from 4 PM until 10 PM with the purchase of an adult meal.

Denny's
Kids eat free Tuesday and Saturdays from 4 PM until 10 PM with a purchase of an adult meal.

Papa Joe's (Lake Mary Blvd. location)
Two kids eat for .99 cents each off of kids menu on Mondays and Tuesdays with the purchase of an adult meal.


Jersey Mike's
Kids Eat Free all day on Wednesdays and Sundays with the purchase of one adult meal.

Red Brick Pizza
Kids eat FREE every Tuesday! Get a FREE kids cheese pizza with the purchase of an adult meal.

Texas Roadhouse
Kids meals are $1.99 (almost free!) on Tuesdays. Kids games in the coral from 5 PM until 8 PM.

Steak and Shake
Kids eat free on Saturdays and Sundays ALL day with the purchase of an adult meal.

Bob's Big Boy
Kids eat free all day on Tuesdays with adult meal.

Dicky's BBQ
Kids eat free ALL day on Sundays with the purchase of an adult meal.

Carmela's of Brooklyn Restaurant Pizzeria (Longwood)
Kids eat free Monday and Tuesdays with the purchase of an adult meal. My hubby's FAVORITE!

Swamp House River Front Grill (Debary)
Kids eat free Tuesday Nights with the purchase of an adult meal.

Liam's Fitzpatrick (Lake Mary)
Kids eat free on Wednesdays from 4:00 until 10:00 PM and $2.00 sundaes!

Hurricane Grill and Wings (Longwood)
Kids eat free all day Mondays with the purchase of an adult meal.


Amigos Restaurant (Altamonte Springs)
Kids eat free all day on Tuesdays with the purchase of an adult meal.

5 & Diner (Orlando) Kids eat free Wednesdays and Sundays with the purchase of an adult meal.

Maria Bonita (Orlando)

Kids eat free Tuesdays 4 PM until close with the purchase of an adult meal.


Crave (Mall of Millennia)
Kids eat free on Sundays with the purchase of an adult meal.

Christopher's Italian Restaurant (Longwood)

Kids eat free on Mondays with the purchase of an adult meal.

Metro Burger

Kids eat for just .99 cents on Tuesdays and Sundays with paying adult.


Brusters
All kids under 40 inches tall receive a free baby cone. Doggies and kitties also receive free Doggy Sundaes.



Deals by Day of the week
Monday:
Christopher's Italian Restaurant
Papa Joe's
Hurricane Grill and Wings
Carmela's of Brooklyn Restaurant Pizzeria


Tuesday:

Crispers
Maria Bonita
Amigos Restaurant
Carmela's of Brooklyn Restaurant Pizzeria
Swamp House River Front Grill
Bob's Big Boy
Red Brick Pizza
Papa Joe's
Texas Roadhouse
Denny's
Beef O'Brady
Kobe
Metro Burger
Gator's Dockside


Wednesday:
5 & Diner
Liam Fitzpatrick's
Jersey Mike's


Saturday:
Crispers
Steak and Shake
Denny's

Sunday:

Crave
5 & Diner
Dicky's BBQ
Steak and Shake
Jersey Mike's
Melting Pot


Hope your free meals make your dinner out with your kids a little more enjoyable. Even though you are saving money, I still recommend the mandatory glass of wine!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

FREE Building Classes

I can't say that I love going to Home Depot and Lowe's. I usually go there for my basic home needs and for my garden. BUT I do love their FREE kids building programs! These are programs for children 5 and older and are held at least once a month at your local stores. This program is nationwide and not limited to Florida stores. Lucky for my kids, there is a Home Depot and Lowe's within 10 miles of my house.

What are the kids building programs? They are different sessions where you and your kids can complete a simple building project together. The store supplies the kits free to the kids. We have made everything from bird houses to game boxes. They love the accomplishment of making something but the biggest reward is the time spent with their favorite adults. These programs are free but do require you register ahead of time.

Here are the details:

Home Depot

Home Depot's projects include everything from toolboxes, fire trucks and mail organizers, as well as more educational projects, such as a window birdhouse, bughouse or Declaration of Independence frame kit. In addition to the free project kit, each child receives a kid-sized orange apron, similar to The Home Depot associates' aprons, and an achievement pin. This Saturday, August 6th, the kids will be making pencil boxes. Please be aware that this is for kids ages five through 12 years.

If you want to sign up for this program for this Saturday, August 6th, it's from 9:00 AM -12:00 PM and the minimum age is 5. Please call your local store to sign up today!! What a great way to get back into school mode WHILE having fun and it won't cost you a dime!

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ContentView?pn=Kids_Workshops&langId=-1&storeId=10051&ca

Lowe's
Lowe's program is similar to Home Depot but they reccommend that the kids be in first grade through fifth grade. Also, Lowe's projects are always made of wood. There are two school themed projects for the month of August. The first session of August is being held, August 13th, 2011, at 10:00 AM, where kids can make a school house photo holder. August 27th at 10:00 AM, the kids get to build a school locker. Unfortunately, the August 13 class is full at my local Lowe's. There was availability at neighboring Lowe's. You MUST register online in order to sign up for the class. Don't wait as the classes do fill up! Also, the first 50 kids to register and be present at the store at 10am will receive a kit, aprons and goggles, in addition to all the materials to make their project.

http://lowesbuildandgrow.com/Home.aspx

Remember that your child must be at least 5 years of age and accompanied by an adult who can assist with them with their project. You can't just be there on your phone while your child builds. Get in there and help and have fun with the kids!!!!

Rivership Romance and Kids?

This just in....coupon spotted in the "Look Local" book gives you $7 off each adult ticket.
<---Looky Looky to the left to save $$$. You don't have to have coupon in hand, just have to mention it when making your reservation!!!

I have to admit it. I have never been interested in going on the Rivership Romance in Sanford. It just doesn't sound fun to me or romantic, as the name would suggest. For those of you who LOVE the Rivership Romance, my apologies. It's just that having dinner on a boat as I cruise around Sanford just doesn't do it for me. But just heard about a fun kid event as a very reasonable price and you know me and my boys! So, Rivership Romance is adding kid fun (Gatorland will be there!) and games to that boat ride and I am reconsidering.

Rivership Romance will be having a Family Fun Day Cruise on September 25, 2011 and the boys and I will be there.

Here are the details from Rivership Romance:

Come unwind and enjoy some great family fun. Bring the family out for some affordable family fun and enjoy a taste of some "Real Florida" cruising!

Family Fun Day Cruise...

Sunday, September 25th, 2011....Boarding 3:30; Cruising 4-6pm

friendly entertainment....Kids activities...Face painting...Animals from GATORLAND...Affordable family friendly menu to purchase from...Great river views!
All this for only $15 adults; $10 children +tax & port fee.

Call the Rivershop Romance office at 1-800-423-7401 to make reservations.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Take me out to the ballgame WITH the kids!

Are you dying to go to a MLB game but don't want to pay the $$$$? I stumbled upon something a couple years ago that is offered by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. It's a Family Fun Day. It's for all the Sunday home games. The total price for the ticket is $26.50 and that is all the fees included with the ticket. That price includes a voucher for a hot dog, snack, and Pepsi product. We even got to go down to the field and run the bases at the end of the game! Such a fun day! We have gone in the past to see the Yankees play the Rays but unfortunately this year the Yankees aren't playing on any of those Sundays! The stinky Red Soxs are playing one of these games for those of you who are brave enough to cheer for them!

Anyway, it's a great deal and they have fun free things all over the stadium for the kids if the baseball game, hot dog and soda aren't enough! My boys, big and small, loved it! Games start at 1:40 PM.

To buy tickets, go to http://mlb.mlb.com/tb/ticketing/family_fun_days.jsp and click on the green button next to the game you wish to attend and fill in the number of tickets needed in the "Family Fun Day" box.

As part of the St. Petersburg Times Family Fun Days, the Rays feature special promotional giveaways which are given to the first 10,000 kids 14 and under in attendance. Postgame, kids can run the bases or take part in a wiffle ball home run derby in left field. The giveaway on the next family fun day is a Back to School Kit. How convenient!

http://mlb.mlb.com/tb/ticketing/family_fun_days.jsp

School Supplies for pennies....

I just went shopping for my kids school supplies and scooped up some deals! Since I already have made a list for my deals, I figured I would share. See below....


Also, are you sitting here thinking "I have no idea what school supplies we need?" Well, if you go to your local Office Max, they have a convenient display with all local school supply lists. I loved this as my husband was complaining that our new school had a longer supply list. One look at the other school list and he was proved wrong. Our new school has a shorter list! Ha Ha!


So, here are some of the best deals by store for this week ending August 6th:

Walgreens:
Composition notebooks 59 cents
Colored pencils 39 cents
2 pocket folders with prongs 11 cents
Notebook filler paper 59 cents
6 pack of Papermate highlighters 39 cents
24 pack of crayons 59 cents
1 subject notebooks 39 cents
2 pack of pink erasers 29 cents with coupon in store circular
Fiskar Scissors 79 cents with coupon in store circular
3 pack of glue sticks or one bottle of liquid glue 59 cents with coupon in store circular
4 pack of dry erase markers 99 cents with coupon in store circular


Office Max:
Composition notebooks 50 cents
Post It Notes, buy two, get one, plus coupon in store for free totebag with purchase of two)
Rulers 1 cent
Crayons 1 cent
Pencils 10 cents
3 pack of glue sticks 50 cents
Dry erase markers, Buy two, get two


Staples
2 pocket folders 1 cent
2 pack Sharpie markers 25 cents
2 pack pink erasers 10 cents
Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011
Lights! Color! Action! Make Believe Theater at the East Branch Library
Lights! Color! Action! Storyteller and puppeteer Katie Adams performs Mariposa Martinez and More Tales from Latin America . Stories with a dash of Spanish words, and a splash of colorful shadow puppets. Two special school age shows at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the East Branch Library (Oviedo). Free, for kids grades K-5. Call your local library for more
http://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/misc/ann_attach/22_Mariposa_Martinez_Poster_-_East.pdf

Wednesday, Aug 3, 2011
All A-Board: Board Games & Fun at East Branch Library
3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. Cool off inside and play crazy board games with other school age kids (K-5th grade). Join the fun at East Branch Library (Oviedo) Confetti Club. Free. Call your local library for more information.

Wednesday, Aug 3, 2011
Lights! Color! Action! Make Believe Theater at the Central Branch Library
Lights! Color! Action! Storyteller and puppeteer Katie Adams performs Mariposa Martinez and More Tales from Latin America . Stories with a dash of Spanish words, and a splash of colorful shadow puppets. Two special school age shows at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the Central Branch Library (Casselberry). Free, for kids grades K-5. Call your local library for more information.
http://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/misc/ann_attach/22_Mariposa_Martinez_Poster_-_East.pdf
Wednesday, Aug 3, 2011
Lights! Color! Action! Make Believe Theater at the Northwest Branch Library
Lights! Color! Action! Storyteller and puppeteer Katie Adams performs Mariposa Martinez and More Tales from Latin America . Stories with a dash of Spanish words, and a splash of colorful shadow puppets. A special school age evening show at 7:00 p.m.at the Northwest Branch Library (Lake Mary). Free, for kids grades K-5. Call your local library for more information.
http://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/misc/ann_attach/22_Mariposa_Martinez_Poster_-_East.pdf
Through August 10th:
One World, Many Stories - Children's Summer Reading at the Library
Calling all kids who love adventure and going new places! Get your reading log, and read your way around the world and through the summer by signing up for One World, Many Stories Summer Reading. Win a prize for reading 20 days! Registration begins June 1st at your local branch library. Please check in for this program at your local Seminole County Library.

Ongoing events:
Looking for a free and safe activity for your kids this summer? Freebowling.com thought you might be. They have set up a free bowling program, with the intended effort of keeping kids entertained this summer in a safe, secure and fun way. They are also doing this to say thank you to the individuals, churches, schools and other organizations that utilize their bowling centers in the spring, fall, and winter seasons (freebowling.com).
To make this happen, participating bowling centers are pairing up with schools, and allowing kids (there is an age limit set by each individual center) to play two free bowling games, everyday this summer (it is not clear if shoes are included – check with the participating bowling alley you sign up with).
There are guidelines and restrictions to this offer, but if you live in an area where bowling centers are participating, sign up! There are no fees, signing up is easy, and there is even the opportunity to purchase a bowling pass for the entire summer for 4 family members at the cost of $19.95 per family (freebowling.com).
Guidelines and important information:
• You must have a participating bowling alley near you.
• Each bowling alley sets its own age restrictions.
• Each bowling alley sets its own date parameters for when this summer program begins and ends.
• Each bowling alley can set dates and hours where the promotion is not good.
• Parents must sign their children up - kids are not allowed to sign themselves up.
• A portion of every family 4 pack (19.95 per family) will be donated to build youth activities in the fall.
To sign up:
• Find a participating bowling alley near you by going to www.kidsbowlfree.com
• Click on the Bowling Center’sLink
• Fill in the required information
• If you would like to purchase the family pack good for 4 people (2 games each a day per person @ 19.95 per family), you can also do this here.
• You will be sent emails each week with your free bowling coupons for that week (they will be dated). Or you can log into your account, and print your coupons at anytime.

What's going on this week....

Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011
Lights! Color! Action! Make Believe Theater at the East Branch Library
Lights! Color! Action! Storyteller and puppeteer Katie Adams performs Mariposa Martinez and More Tales from Latin America . Stories with a dash of Spanish words, and a splash of colorful shadow puppets. Two special school age shows at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the East Branch Library (Oviedo). Free, for kids grades K-5. Call your local library for more information.

http://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/misc/ann_attach/22_Mariposa_Martinez_Poster_-_East.pdf

Wednesday, Aug 3, 2011
All A-Board: Board Games & Fun at East Branch Library
3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. Cool off inside and play crazy board games with other school age kids (K-5th grade). Join the fun at East Branch Library (Oviedo) Confetti Club. Free. Call your local library for more information.

Wednesday, Aug 3, 2011
Lights! Color! Action! Make Believe Theater at the Central Branch Library
Lights! Color! Action! Storyteller and puppeteer Katie Adams performs Mariposa Martinez and More Tales from Latin America . Stories with a dash of Spanish words, and a splash of colorful shadow puppets. Two special school age shows at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the Central Branch Library (Casselberry). Free, for kids grades K-5. Call your local library for more information.

http://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/misc/ann_attach/22_Mariposa_Martinez_Poster_-_East.pdf

Wednesday, Aug 3, 2011
Lights! Color! Action! Make Believe Theater at the Northwest Branch Library
Lights! Color! Action! Storyteller and puppeteer Katie Adams performs Mariposa Martinez and More Tales from Latin America . Stories with a dash of Spanish words, and a splash of colorful shadow puppets. A special school age evening show at 7:00 p.m.at the Northwest Branch Library (Lake Mary). Free, for kids grades K-5. Call your local library for more information.

http://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/misc/ann_attach/22_Mariposa_Martinez_Poster_-_East.pdf

Through August 10th:
One World, Many Stories - Children's Summer Reading at the Library
Calling all kids who love adventure and going new places! Get your reading log, and read your way around the world and through the summer by signing up for One World, Many Stories Summer Reading. Win a prize for reading 20 days! Registration begins June 1st at your local branch library. Please check in for this program at your local Seminole County Library.

Ongoing events:
Looking for a free and safe activity for your kids this summer? Freebowling.com thought you might be. They have set up a free bowling program, with the intended effort of keeping kids entertained this summer in a safe, secure and fun way. They are also doing this to say thank you to the individuals, churches, schools and other organizations that utilize their bowling centers in the spring, fall, and winter seasons (freebowling.com).
To make this happen, participating bowling centers are pairing up with schools, and allowing kids (there is an age limit set by each individual center) to play two free bowling games, everyday this summer (it is not clear if shoes are included – check with the participating bowling alley you sign up with).
There are guidelines and restrictions to this offer, but if you live in an area where bowling centers are participating, sign up! There are no fees, signing up is easy, and there is even the opportunity to purchase a bowling pass for the entire summer for 4 family members at the cost of $19.95 per family (freebowling.com).

Guidelines and important information:
• You must have a participating bowling alley near you.
• Each bowling alley sets its own age restrictions.
• Each bowling alley sets its own date parameters for when this summer program begins and ends.
• Each bowling alley can set dates and hours where the promotion is not good.
• Parents must sign their children up - kids are not allowed to sign themselves up.
• A portion of every family 4 pack (19.95 per family) will be donated to build youth activities in the fall.
To sign up:
• Find a participating bowling alley near you by going to www.kidsbowlfree.com
• Click on the Bowling Center’sLink
• Fill in the required information
• If you would like to purchase the family pack good for 4 people (2 games each a day per person @ 19.95 per family), you can also do this here.
• You will be sent emails each week with your free bowling coupons for that week (they will be dated). Or you can log into your account, and print your coupons at anytime.

First Day on the Playground

Well, I have to start somewhere and here I am. It's like the first day of school. I am not sure what to expect but like years past, I am optimistic for a good school year. In this case, I am hoping for a good blog.

First, I hope this blog log will be a source of information for events and deals for the Orlando metro area to include Seminole (shout out), Orange and Volusia counties. It started because so many of my friends told me I am already doing this but just not in this format. So, I hope to continue to inform my old friends and new friends on all the good things going around and also how to do them without incurring too much cost. If you know me, you know I love a deal!!!!

For those of you who don't know me, I am a Mom to two wild and wonderful boys who don't like sitting still. I'm resourceful and always looking for things to do. I have been married for ten years to the most wonderful man and the biggest Yankee fan I know, who doesn't like sitting still either!

So, here goes nothing. I hope you find my blog interesting and helps you have more fun things to do in your life while saving some $$ at the same time.

Betsy