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Monday, July 22, 2019

(Win it!) Tips for Evening Routines for Tweens and Teens


The new school year is just around the corner.  As parents, I feel like there is so much information out there about the importance of evening and bedtime routines for babies and toddlers, but routine is still important for almost everyone of any age. In today's post, I'll focus on tweens and teens. I will provide tips for evening routines since well rested and peaceful tweens/teens are just as important as well rested babies! After all, tantrums seem to come from both age groups - babies and tweens/teens. I joke. Sort of. 

Tips for Evening Routines for Tweens and Teens

1. Story time with Mom and Dad may be out, but relaxing with a good book is in. 
When my son outgrew story time with me, I was disappointed. However, reading a good book is still a good way to relax in the evenings.  We specify a bedtime, but if he is having trouble falling asleep, he is allowed to stay up and read until it's easier to fall asleep.

2. Toss the rubber duckies and baby toys out and invest in a nice bath caddy and bath bombs for relaxing baths.
I have many happy memories of helping my son with his baths as a baby.  Obviously, he doesn't need my help now that he is older and no longer wants him Elmo toys or rubber duckies.  He just wants quiet time to relax after a long day of school, sports, and homework. We got him a Clear Acrylic Bath Caddy from ToiletTree Products, Inc in order to make his bath time more relaxing.  If you think about all of the things that tweens and teens do throughout the school day and at sports practices, you'll quickly realize that they need quiet time to relax.  We swapped our son's baby toys for the Clear Acrylic Bath Caddy so that he could relax in the bath at night before bed.  



This bath caddy is top-of-the-line. It's 33"x9" and has nice handles. I spent hours trying to find the perfect bath caddy and was tired after I couldn't find a good solution at local stores. I then turned my search to the web and found the one featured here by ToiletTree Products, Inc.  As soon as I saw it, I knew that it was perfect because I love that it has a clean look with the clear surface and that the edges are white to match the bathroom.  Plus, I knew that this is a popular brand that is known for high quality products.  When it arrived, it looked even better in person!  My son loved it too. I'm really glad that we found this product because (a) it's perfect, (b) my son appreciates that I picked out a more "grown up" item for him as he has aged out of his bath toys, and (b) he enjoys his time to relax in a bath with his nice caddy. It's a great way to help him to slow down and relax after a busy day.

3. Keep an evening checklist.
For the sake of everyone's sanity, it's a great idea to keep an evening checklist of everything that needs to be done for the next morning. For instance, my son has a take-home folder that we have to check daily; my son packs his lunch the night before; and other tasks to make sure that the following morning will go smoothly.

4. Finish homework immediately after school so that no one has to stay up late.
Homework is more challenging and time consuming as children get older. We learned the hard way that we need to make sure that our son begins his homework when he gets home so that we don't have surprise assignments at 8pm that take 3 hours to complete!

5. Eliminate screen time at night.
Some studies have shown that staring at screens in the evening reduces the quality of sleep.  Specify a time for when screens are turned off for the evening. Personally, we cut off screen time at 6pm.

We hope that these tips are helpful!  Parenting certainly changes as children get older, especially in terms of bedtime routines.

Win it!
One lucky winner will receive a Clear Acrylic Bath Caddy from ToiletTree Products, Inc.  Enter using the Rafflecopter below. The winner must have a U.S. shipping address. No P.O. boxes please.  The winner will have 72 hours to respond with their shipping address. Otherwise, we will select a different winner. Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Hurry! Register Your Children for Sky Ranch Launch Camps Before the Spaces Fill!


Sky Ranch has been a big part of my son's childhood. This will be his 5th summer to attend a Sky Ranch Launch Camp and he is counting down the days!   He has attended many fun camps over the years, but this has been his favorite camp that he consistently attends every year.  Sky Ranch truly knows how to run camps that create wonderful childhood memories.

We are lucky that there are hundreds of summer camps in the Dallas / Fort Worth metro. It's actually a bit overwhelming to sift through the options to find the perfect camps for your little ones.  Personally, I look to other moms for recommendations on the best camps for my son.  In today's post, I will pay forward their helpfulness by telling you about our favorite camp - Sky Ranch Launch Camp.  



My son attended Sky Ranch camps for the past four years and this will be his fifth year. These Christian Camps have been an amazing part of his childhood.  He attended Sky Ranch Wave Camp at Hawaiian Falls in Roanoke in 2015.  He attended Sky Ranch Launch Camp in Keller in 2016.  He then attended Sky Ranch Launch Camp in Southlake in 2017 and 2018.  He has many happy memories of the friendships and activities from these camps. Let's start with an overview of Launch Camp.



Here is the overview from their website: "Sky Ranch is one of the leading North American Christian camps and our Launch Camps offer your child an extraordinary day camp experience – right in your neighborhood! It’s the perfect option for kids entering kindergarten through 5th grade who want to enjoy Sky Ranch Summer Camp, but are not quite ready to stay overnight."

Here is a quick video:



Schedule:
The camp lasts for one week, running from 9am until 4pm on Monday through Thursday and then 9am until 3pm on Friday.  There is a special closing ceremony on Friday at 3pm.

Locations:
Sky Ranch Launch Camps have multiple locations across the Dallas / Ft. Worth metroplex. Each location offers several different dates to choose from so that you can find the week and location that work best for your family.


Launch Camp's 2019 Dates and Locations:

Dates Location City Gender
May 27 - May 31
First Baptist Church
Tyler
Male
May 27 - May 31
First Baptist Church
Tyler
Female
May 27 - May 31
Grace Community - University Campus
Tyler
Male
May 27 - May 31
Grace Community - University Campus
Tyler
Female
June 03 - June 07
Lifeway Church
Celina
Male
June 03 - June 07
Lifeway Church
Celina
Female
June 03 - June 07
Southwest Christian School
Fort Worth
Male
June 03 - June 07
Southwest Christian School
Fort Worth
Female
June 03 - June 07
Liberty Christian School
Argyle
Male
June 03 - June 07
Liberty Christian School
Argyle
Female
June 10 - June 14
Trinity Christian Academy
Addison
Male
June 10 - June 14
Trinity Christian Academy
Addison
Female
June 10 - June 14
McKinney Christian Academy
McKinney
Male
June 10 - June 14
McKinney Christian Academy
McKinney
Female
June 10 - June 14
Arborlawn United Methodist Church
Fort Worth
Male
June 10 - June 14
Arborlawn United Methodist Church
Fort Worth
Female
June 17 - June 21
Lighthouse Christian Fellowship Church
Prosper
Male
June 17 - June 21
Lighthouse Christian Fellowship Church
Prosper
Female
June 17 - June 21
Trinity Christian Academy
Addison
Male
June 17 - June 21
Trinity Christian Academy
Addison
Female
June 17 - June 21
Legacy Christian Academy
Frisco
Male
June 17 - June 21
Legacy Christian Academy
Frisco
Female
June 24 - June 28
Lighthouse Christian Fellowship Church
Prosper
Male
June 24 - June 28
Lighthouse Christian Fellowship Church
Prosper
Female
June 24 - June 28
Legacy Christian Academy
Frisco
Male
June 24 - June 28
Legacy Christian Academy
Frisco
Female
June 24 - June 28
Liberty Christian School
Argyle
Male
June 24 - June 28
Liberty Christian School
Argyle
Female
July 08 - July 12
The Covenant School
Dallas
Male
July 08 - July 12
The Covenant School
Dallas
Female
July 08 - July 12
Grapevine Faith Christian School
Grapevine
Male
July 08 - July 12
Grapevine Faith Christian School
Grapevine
Female
July 08 - July 12
Legacy Christian Academy
Frisco
Male
July 08 - July 12
Legacy Christian Academy
Frisco
Female
July 15 - July 19
Good Shepherd Episcopal School
Dallas
Male
July 15 - July 19
Good Shepherd Episcopal School
Dallas
Female
July 15 - July 19
Prestonwood Christian Academy
Plano
Male
July 15 - July 19
Prestonwood Christian Academy
Plano
Female
July 15 - July 19
Game On Sports Complex
Fort Worth
Male
July 15 - July 19
Game On Sports Complex
Fort Worth
Female
July 22 - July 26
Good Shepherd Episcopal School
Dallas
Male
July 22 - July 26
Good Shepherd Episcopal School
Dallas
Female
July 22 - July 26
The Clariden School
Southlake
Male
July 22 - July 26
The Clariden School
Southlake
Female
July 22 - July 26
Prestonwood Christian Academy
Plano
Male
July 22 - July 26
Prestonwood Christian Academy
Plano
Female
July 29 - August 02
Argyle United Methodist Church
Argyle
Male
July 29 - August 02
Argyle United Methodist Church
Argyle
Female
July 29 - August 02
Prestonwood Baptist Church - North Campus
Prosper
Male
July 29 - August 02
Prestonwood Baptist Church - North Campus
Prosper
Female
July 29 - August 02
Preston Road Church of Christ
Dallas
Male
July 29 - August 02
Preston Road Church of Christ
Dallas
Female

As I mentioned earlier, my son loved all the Sky Ranch camps that he participated in.  The counselors were very enthusiastic and caring.  They seemed to genuinely enjoy the opportunity to work with the children and to provide spiritual guidance. My son looked up to his counselors as role models. They helped him to learn and made the experience fun!

The Sky Ranch counselors sent home a summary of the curriculum each day. My son and I enjoyed talking about it in our car ride home.  I was always impressed with how well he summarized lessons. They clearly did a good job of engaging him with the material because he was so excited to discuss the lessons with me.  My son's favorite day had the theme of Lights, Camera, Animals.  This was a fun theme since he loves animals. He was such a happy little chatterbox after the lessons!
The Bible verses that they covered include Genesis 1:1-31, Colossians 1:16-17, and 1 Timothy 4:4. The questions to ask included:
  • What are some things God created?
  • What is God's favorite creation?
  • How powerful is God?
  • How has God creatively made you?
In addition to the focus on bible stories, they also organized many activities and games for the children to bond. Similar to most elementary school aged children, my son is very energetic and appreciated the activities and games with the counselors and children in the group.   

My son is looking forward to attending Sky Ranch Launch Camp again this year.  We absolutely love their camps and look forward to more good childhood memories.

Check out all of the camps at Sky Ranch! While we personally rave about Launch Camp, they also offer many other camps that have great reputations.
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(Register Quickly!) TGA Premier Sports Now Offers Golf and Tennis Camps that Incorporate STEAM Academics!


Whether your child is a future Tech Mogul or Business Titan,  TGA Premier Sports camps will give them a head start in life. The particular TGA camps that I will tell you about today provide children with a foundation in both athletics and STEAM academics. As a Mom and an Engineer, my son attended one of their camps and had such a great time that I wanted to share the details with other parents.  My children have attended many camps, but the TGA Premier Sports camps are true game changers because they have a novel curriculum that incorporates science, technology, engineering, arts, and math while using golf and tennis as the conduit.

If you follow regularly, you know that I am a big advocate of STEM education, but also believe in the importance of physical fitness and a well rounded education.    In today's post, I'll share an overview of TGA Premier Sports, tell you about my family's personal experience at the golf camp in Euless, TX, and share a link to the TGA website where you are able to find camps near you as they offer camps throughout the country.

Let's start with a quick overview of TGA Premier Sports (TGA):
TGA Premier Sports (TGA) is a leading introductory and recreational youth sports programming company specializing in GolfTennis,CheerleadingFlag FootballFloor  HockeyLacrosseUltimate, and Volleyball. Through an innovative youth sports model, TGA empowers passionate entrepreneurs to impact the lives of youth and families by bringing youth sports enrichment programs into their communities.

TGA programs can be found in more than 75 markets across 28 states, as well as internationally in Canada and Spain. Its continued growth has impacted over 775,000 youth and made these sports available to 1.75 million families through its education-based programs and the TGA Sports Foundation, which provides access for all children and promotes the physical, educational, social, and character-building elements of these sports.
TGA Premier Sports is an iconic company because they are embarking on teaching one-million children introductory youth golf and tennis through after school enrichment programs and science camps while also incorporating STEAM academics into the lessons. There are many parents who have sent their children to TGA programs in order to give their children an advantage in life. Personally, I sent my son to their golf camp and it was truly amazing to see him grow with new skills and confidence throughout the experience.

Let me share some examples of their curriculum. During TGA camps students and coaches work concepts relating to STEAM in everyday lessons.
  • Golf – why does the ball go up in the air?  Look at the angle of the club face for each club and tell me which club goes higher.  Try using different clubs to perform different shots.  Lower loft for longer shots and higher loft for shots that need to get over an obstacle or land softly.
  • Tennis – why do we play on a shorter court?  Examine the red, orange, green, and yellow ball to show how the bounce and speed of the game increases with the court size.  Try playing with a yellow ball on a red court and see the difference.
  • Football – why is the ball shaped that way?  Throwing a football long distances requires a spiral to cut through the air.  The shape of a football allows for a more aerodynamic shape for a larger size ball, allowing it to travel farther.  Try to throw a ball with a different grip or arm motion and see how the distance and accuracy breaks down.
  • Cheerleading – why do we have to do a prep count for a jump?  The body has energy stored up inside and when you prepare for a jump, you’re gathering that energy and releasing it all into the jump.  Try jumping 6 times in a row against 1 controlled jump.
The image below provides a fantastic example of STEAM curriculum at a tennis camp.  The way that they taught the children about spins actually makes physics fun!   As a Mom and an Engineer, I find physics fascinating, but my children don't always share my enthusiasm. It's really about presentation and making material fun, so I appreciate that TGA camps are awesome about making science like this fun by relating the material to the children through sports!  It's such an interactive approach to practice a sport while also thinking about physics and how the world works.  My son has gone to both sports camps and a physics camp. He loved each of the individual camps, but the TGA Golf Camp with STEAM academics was his favorite. It's easy to see why - the way that TGA combines things is really a game changer. I think that this is the way of the future and will catch on quickly. For instance, several years ago, you didn't see many STEM toys in the toy aisles at stores.  They are everywhere now! STEM has taken over many of the toy aisles at stores. Someone just had to start the trend.  I think that TGA is doing this for camps and I bet that we'll see much more of this in the future because it makes a lot of sense to incorporate STEAM academics into fun real world applications like golf and tennis. I felt lucky to send my son to a camp with the TGA trendsetters who are pioneering this area. 



Now that I've provided a quick overview, let me share some personal insight.  My son attended the Golf Camp at the Bear Creek Golf Course in Euless, TX.  My little golfer (and future Tech Mogul) had the time of his life and raves about his experience. At the end of each day, he couldn't stop talking because he was excited to tell me about his day and everything that he learned.



The kids checked in at a special tent each morning.  The group of children at his camp were the sweetest kids and I could tell that they were bursting with excitement and energy.  The children seemed to bond and become the best of friends quickly thanks to the enthusiastic instructors who guided them throughout the experience with fun activities.



The children has the full golf experience.  If you haven't been to the Bear Creek Golf Course, it's beautiful. My son raves about how nice it was to spend the days there.



My son started as a novice, but quickly learned the golf terminology and how to play.  He woke up early every morning because he couldn't wait to attend camp to practice his skills.  I also noticed that the STEAM academics were introduced in a natural way so that the knowledge actually had real-time value. For instance, instead of putting the kids into a room with desks and chairs to hear a lecture, go through a workbook, or anything like that, the kids learned in real time as the knowledge was applicable. The knowledge that they gained was valuable because they instantly related it to the real world as they golfed.    The curriculum designers deserve accolades for this design!



As a Mom and an Engineer, I highly recommend TGA Premier Sports because their curriculum and instruction are top notch. I feel like they gave my son a strong foundation in golf while strengthening his STEAM skills with instruction that made him instantly see the value of what they were teaching him.  I felt like the camp designers were perfectionists who must have walked through the camp design from start to finish because every detail was fantastic from the moment that they checked in until the very end. My son came home every evening and enthusiastically told me about his day. This was rewarding to me as a parent because I knew that he was rapidly learning at a faster pace than usual and that the camp would always be a part of his happy childhood memories.


If you would like to learn more about TGA Premier Sports and their fun camps or after school enrichment programs, please visit them here. You'll find great program descriptions and be able to search for programs near you.

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Saturday, July 20, 2019

MOOYAH Has New Lifestyle Burgers on Their Menu! #Paleo #Keto #LowCal #Vegetarian #GlutenFree


If you follow regularly, you know that MOOYAH is one of our favorite restaurants. I've been posting about this trendy restaurant for several years because it's the ultimate family-friendly restaurant.  My children love the food, the Moodle Doodle Chalkboard, and coloring sheets. My husband and I love MOOYAH too. We typically order their fabulous salads, but recently switched to their new Lifestyle Burgers. We love that MOOYAH is on top of the latest trends in order to help us to maintain our diets. In today's post, I'll tell you about our personal experience with The Keto Burger and The Paleo Burger. I will also tell you about their long list of other Lifestyle Burgers, including The Low Cal, The Gluten-Free, and The Vegetarian.

Over the past several months, I've been working hard to lose my pregnancy weight.  The struggle was real as I had 16 pounds to lose. I set a goal to lose the weight with lifestyle changes.  I increased my exercise by taking evening walks with my husband and followed a Keto diet to kickstart my weight loss. My results were not dramatically quick, but they were consistent and spoke to how I really stuck to my lifestyle changes. I lost 16 pounds over four months. If you are doing the math in your head, this was an average of almost one pound per week. Some weeks were better than others, especially the earliest weeks. The slow, but steady approach worked well for me. As I changed my lifestyle, I quickly learned the best restaurants to support my goals while also making sure that the rest of my family was happy.  MOOYAH has been a lifesaver because they have an amazing Keto Burger.  This trendy burger contains all Natural Jennie-O® Turkey Iceburger, Cheddar Cheese, Avocado, Tomato, JalapeƱos, and Real Mayo. It is only 4 net carbs!  Similar to other MOOYAH menu items, the serving size is very generous. I split The Keto Burger with my youngest son who loves the ground turkey and cheddar cheese. 



My husband has been on a Paleo diet for quite a while.  He loves The Paleo Burger at MOOYAH.  This trendy burger contains 1/2 lb Certified Angus Beef® Iceburger, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Avocado, Tomato, Pickles, Onions, and Mustard. This burger truly makes it fun to be on a Paleo diet!  My husband and oldest son split this burger.



As a "boy mom", I am used to my children having large appetites. They play hard and are always good eaters at dinner time.  My husband and I always add fries to our meals because our boys eat them quickly.  We order regular fries for one of the meals and sweet potato fries with the second meal since everyone enjoys the variety.  We always add an iconic MOOYAH Milkshake! The varieties include Hershey's Chocolate, Vanilla, Cookie Dough, Mint Chocolate Chip, Oreo, Reese's PB Cups, and Strawberry. (We enjoyed the Oreo Milkshake this evening. It is our favorite!)



In addition to the Keto and Paleo Lifestyle Burgers, MOOYAH has many other lifestyles covered. It seems like their team of perfectionists sat down to think about the most popular lifestyle diets and how to create the perfect burger to help support each lifestyle. This includes The Paleo, The Keto, The Low Cal, The Gluten-Free, and The Vegetarian.  Their team pays close attention to detail. Each burger was perfected by their team of chefs who apparently know how to liven up any diet!  The options are shown in the image below. You'll find all of the details on their website here.



We hope that you enjoyed this glimpse into our family's favorite restaurant and the nice selection of Lifestyle Burgers.  

Learn More
We visited the MOOYAH location in Southlake, TX.  Use the MOOYAH restaurant locator to find other locations here.  Follow MOOYAH on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.




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Friday, July 19, 2019

Back to School: Super Heroic Shoes will Rock Your Little Super Hero's World!



In today's post, I want to tell you about the coolest shoes for little Super Heroes! They are from Super Heroic.  The design team who created these shoes seem to be perfectionists who thought of everything from the super hero sounds that play when you open the box to even the tiniest details on the shoes. Super Heroic offers the full Super Hero experience for your little Super Hero!

My children received the trendy TMBLR V2.0 NICKELODEON GLITCH shoes and the TMBLR V1.5 shoes in their favorite colors.  My children liked the shoes based on the online photos and description, but we didn't realize that receiving the shoes is an experience that starts from the moment that you open the box!   When they each opened their box of shoes, the box made super hero noises.  My little super heroes loved this special touch.   Another surprise was the comic book that came with the Nickelodeon Glitch shoes. They also received a very cool cape and a pull-string bag with the SUPER HEROIC logo.  I'm convinced that the designers must have children of their own and that they spent a lot of time thinking about the entire experience from start to finish in order to make shoes exciting to kids.  


Check out the TMBLR V2.0 NICKELODEON GLITCH shoes below.


The next photo shows the TMBLR V1.5 shoes.



The shoes also come in other trendy designs and colors.  I love that they are excellent quality and that my children are excited about their shoes. My kids formerly ranked buying shoes next to buying socks and underwear -- which involves lots of whining and complaining.  However, Super Heroic have completely changed the dialogue -- buying shoes is Super Awesome thanks to the trendy shoe designs and the nice packaging that includes sound effects and special extras!  

If you want to give your children the Super Heroic experience, visit them here!  When the shoes arrive, remember that your little Super Hero will want to be the one to open their special delivery that includes sound effects when they open the shoe box.
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