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.)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Where Did We Go Wednesday? Caribbean Club Resort

This year on our summer trip to meet some family in Wisconsin Dells we stayed at the Caribbean Club resort in Wisconsin Dells. We were heading to the Dells to go to Noah's Ark Waterpark as our feature event.

This Resort seems to have individually owned condos that the resort will rent out and take care of for the owners or in our case we found one that was privately owned and managed through VRBO.com. what you see in the interior pictures for mine is what our property owner has done and updated. I had read some reviews on TripAdvisor that some of the condos there are more dated. I highly suggest checking out vacation rental by owner and see what they have on there. This one was unit number 108.
The resort itself features a sand beach on Lake Delton which my kids enjoyed because as much as they get to swim they don't always get to play in the sand as much since they swim in pools a lot. On the property there is an indoor pool and hot tub and sauna in doors. There is also a outdoor pool with a waterfall and slide and children's Splash area with swings.

The resort does have docks that are available first come first serve so if you are renting a Motorcraft or bringing your own you could have a place to put it.

Since these are condos they have full kitchens, which is why we rented a condo because we wanted to be able to make many of our meals there which is a lot easier with traveling with kids.

Last year we had rented a cabin at a different Resort but that wasn't available so this year I went in search of another place and found this. A huge draw to this place is that it isn't overrun with people like some of the other hotels and Resorts have that are.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Simple Deviled Eggs


Simple Deviled Eggs Recipe

1 dozen eggs, boiled and peeled
1/3 C mayo
salt, to taste
paprika
dried dill

Directions: 

  • Boil and peel eggs
  • Half eggs and separate white and yolks, put yolks in a bowl
  • Using a mixer, blend together yolks and mayo, add in whatever salt you need to your liking
  • Spoon yolk mixture in to white halves
  • Sprinkle with paprika and dill, is desired
  • Enjoy
The paprika and dill add a bit of flavor but is more of a eye appealing feature.

Friday, July 28, 2017

What are these weird creatures? Pine Sawfly Caterpillars




Well, I will tell you what they are -- they are caterpillars for a Pine Sawfly! My kids noticed them on this pine bush by our house and they are destructive buggers. They had already eaten away a few branches inside, so we had not noticed them before. After doing some research I found out they will eat away at pine and end up killing it if you don't kill them first and you need to kill them as caterpillars so they don't turn in to a Sawfly and lay eggs causing an bigger problem and more destruction.

Now the problem is that they are pretty resistant (from my research) and you need to be sure you pick an insecticide that kills WASPS! They belong to the same family as the wasp. So, forget about an insecticide that kills flies or caterpillars, it must say that it will kill wasps. As long as you know this and use that, you should be good. These were pretty killed as soon as I sprayed them. I don't typically spray for insects because they are part of the food hierarchy and beneficial to something, but this was going to kill my nice big pine bushes and I wasn't going to stand for that.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Where Did We Go Wednesday? Granddad's Bluff in Lacrosse, WI

I haven't yet told you about our hike to the top of the Bluffs at Devil's State Park but this isn't it. This is Grandad's Bluff in Lacrosse Wisconsin. I think the fact that this was A drive up Bluff with a short walk was very appealing to my family after spending a strenuous day had Devil's Lake State Park followed by a full day of water slides at Noah's Ark Waterpark.

This was only about 10 minutes out of our way off of the interstate to go check it out. I was very impressed with the facilities up there they had full bathrooms, not Vault toilets for porta potties. There is also this very nice Stone Pavilion that had fireplaces on each end of it. On this day it was warm so no one was using the fireplace but I thought this would be a wonderful place to go during the Fall colors in August and look at the colors Over Lacrosse as well as areas of both Minnesota and Iowa that you can see. Lots of beautiful wild flowers are planted here as well. It is worth a drive to come check it out.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Super Easy Chocolate Banana Muffins


These muffins are so super easy, that my 7 year old son made them for breakfast for us recently. They only need 2 ingredients!!! A box of chocolate cake mix and 4 medium bananas.

Super Easy Chocolate Banana Muffins
1 box chocolate cake mix
4 medium bananas, mashed

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degree
  • Mash bananas
  • Pour in cake mix (only the mix, not other ingredients listed on the back)
  • Mix together bananas and cake mix until blended
  • Scoop batter in to 18 muffin tins
  • Bake for 20 minutes
  • Enjoy!




These will be more dense than cupcakes, but still very tasty. Allow to cool before removing from the muffin tin. This is the perfect beginner recipe for a child because there is no measuring involved but they still get a chance to read a recipe and follow instructions and use kitchen tools. A perfect start to learning some life skills in the kitchen.