Category Archives: Central Florida Entertainment

Discover Safari Wilderness – 1 of the Top 10 Safaris in the US!

Time to add another exciting adventure in Central Florida to our list! Check out this amazing opportunity to take your family or friends to visit Safari Wilderness today! Read about all the fun ways to view, photograph, learn more about, and interact with the animals at Safari Wilderness in Lakeland, FL!

Our family is going to be visiting TODAY for a sneaky surprise for my daughter’s 11th birthday! You won’t want to miss the delightful pics and stories of our adventure coming up tomorrow!

DISCOVER ONE OF FODOR’S “TOP 10 SAFARIS IN THE U.S.” IN THE HEART OF CENTRAL FLORIDA
Feel worlds away at Safari Wilderness, no passport or long-haul flights required

LAKELAND, FL (November 6, 2017) – Rivaling the African savanna, the dramatic, 260-acre landscape of Safari Wilderness sets the scene for an unforgettable, family adventure. Located halfway between Tampa and Orlando in scenic Lakeland, Polk County, Florida, this family-owned, working game ranch offers an up-close encounter with herds of roaming exotic animals—without the crowds and lines found at theme parks and zoos.

During the signature vehicle safari, an experienced guide leads a small group of adventurers in a custom safari vehicle through the open vista of grazing animals surrounded by cypress domes and bay trees. Under the truck’s shaded canopy, guests are safe, cool and comfortable year-round, and everyone has the perfect view. Safari highlights include close-up encounters with Eland, Red Lechwe, Sitatunga, Waterbuck, Grant’s Zebra, Greater Kudu, Watusi Cattle, Barasingha, Axis Deer, Fallow Deer, Water Buffalo, Scimitar-Horned Oryx and Nilgai. Guests may also take part in hands-on interactions with many species that feed from the vehicle. Pricing is $90 per guest. All ages are welcome.

Other tour options include a 90-minute camelback expedition in which guests can join the ranch’s roaming animals by becoming a part of the herd. Two experienced tour guides and handlers lead camels through the pristine wilderness. This is the only full-on camel-backed game-viewing safari outside of Africa. Pricing is $180 per guest. Children ages three to five must ride with an adult. Children under age three are not permitted.

Another option, game viewing by kayak, offers a unique perspective that is active, adventurous and educational. During this tour, guides lead small groups to easily navigate freshwater areas and encounter wetland species such as common and Defassa Waterbuck and Red Lechwe. Kayakers will also spot a variety of common local Waterfowl and upland birds such as Killdeer, Egrets, Herons, Ibis, Spoonbills, Cormorants, Wood Duck, Anhinga, Bald Eagle, Kestrel, Red-shouldered Hawk, Meadowlark, Black and Turkey Vulture. Pricing is $180 per person. Children ages five to eight must ride with an adult. Children under age five are not permitted.

Any of the above safari experiences can be extended with the following add-on activities:

  • Lemur feeding – Enter the Ring-tailed Lemur habitat with a guide and hand feed grapes to a troop of playful and polite Prosimians. This “guest favorite” is in high demand and limited to a few participants per day.
  • Budgie feeding – Enter an outdoor aviary with a guide and feed up to 200 beautiful Budgie Parakeets. These colorful, sweet and playful creatures will land to eat seed straight out of a willing hand.
  • Guinea pig feeding – Guinea pigs live in colonies, which are fascinating to experience. The whole colony greets guests with excited whistling in anticipation of being fed.

Available by reservation only, tours are strictly limited in size to ensure a high-quality experience for every guest. Each guided safari lasts approximately one and a half to two hours. For online reservations visit http://safariwilderness.com or call (813) 382-2120.

In addition to tours, Safari Wilderness offers facility rentals—including the option of a full buyout—to host weddings, field trips, birthday parties, company holiday parties and corporate groups. For rental information visit http://safariwilderness.com/rentals/.

Follow Safari Wilderness on Facebook and Instagram at @SafariWilderness and on Twitter at @SafariWild.


Let me know if you get to go visit Safari Wilderness! I can’t wait to hear how you liked it! It’s now on our top ten list of family friendly experiences in Central Florida! Lots of beautiful pics coming soon from our visit!

Rebecca at Love2EncourageYou

5 Stars for Disney’s Moana Movie

In Theaters November 23, 2016!
Five stars for Disney’s Moana movie! We had the rare privilege yesterday to see an early screener of Disney’s newest film: Moana!
What an amazing movie! When you consider all the wonderful ways they incorporated Polynesian culture into this film, you can’t help but fall in love with the final outcome. Filled with musical numbers such as “We Know the Way” and vibrant characters with personalities you’ll fall in love with, Disney’s Moana is one of those movies you’ll want to go see again and again!
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*ABOUT MOANA:
Three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world voyaged across the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped – and no one knows why.

From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli‘i Cravalho) meets the once-mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), who guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder. Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.

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As I found myself surrounded by both men and women from the press in the theater and some (like me) with their children beside them, I enjoyed hearing their responses during the film to help assess how well the movie will do at the box office with certain audience types. No matter whether you are young or old, male or female, the Moana movie appears to capture the hearts of everyone who gets the chance to see it. I heard belly laughs from the crowd throughout many scenes of the film with the frequent plugs of comic relief (from the chicken or Maui) and other points using purposeful humor.
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This is one of the best movies I’ve seen that accomplishes the goal of reaching all audiences. It spans an audience width that reaches and appeals to boys and girls equally, as well as entertaining adults with all its humor and enticing folklore.

Here are some entertaining FUN FACTS from the film:
DUMB IDEA
In earlier versions of the film, Heihei used to be smart and sassy, but filmmakers felt that character was not unique. Several campaigned to remove the rooster from the film altogether, but a small group of story team members spent a couple days brainstorming ways to keep the character. Their solution? Lower his IQ. Their pitch earned so many laughs that Heihei was ultimately a keeper.
Filmmakers had to create a feather pipeline to deal with the feathers for not only Heihei, but for Maui hawk—the shape-shifted character Maui transforms into with the help of his magical fishhook. Feathers prove challenging in CG animation because of the need to rest on top of each other.
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RESEARCH: GET IT RIGHT
Deeply inspired by their time in the Pacific Islands, filmmakers
continued to work with several of the people they met within their trips. This group of advisors came to be known as the Oceanic Story Trust (OST). The Trust includes anthropologists, educators, linguists, master tattooists, choreographers, haka practitioners, master navigators and cultural advisors who collaborated with Disney’s
creative team.

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There is a great sentimental value and honor to traditions in the film where the ancestors are remembered and the story is shared by the grandmother to Moana. The relationship and bond between Moana and her grandmother is very special and it is evident throughout the film how well they are connected. The establishment of sharing and passing down the deep rooted wisdom and talents of the ancestors to her granddaughter is a refreshing scene in the film that will warm the hearts of many and sets a nice example for others to follow in telling the tales and preserving the memories of the elders in each family’s history.

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Disney’s Moana is sure to be a smash hit at the box office appealing to all different types of audiences and expressing an example of how research and respect for culture can be a beautiful masterpiece and memory-making experience for all the world to enjoy. Well done Disney! I thoroughly enjoyed it and now I can’t wait to go visit Hawaii or the Pacific Islands some day!

I originally felt the scenes in some of the Moana trailer clips were making the film look very intense and somewhat scary in parts. However, after seeing the film we realized there are only a few intense moments and that our children found themselves riveted by the film instead of being truly scared by it. Younger children will be a little nervous during scenes with the three villains of the lava monster, giant crab, and possibly the coconut pirates. Otherwise, they will be singing and laughing along with the entire show!

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We had a fantastic time getting to see the Disney Moana movie. I hope you and your family will enjoy this great film over the Thanksgiving holidays and have a memory-making experience too. In the meantime, enjoy learning more about the movie watching these film clips and have a blast with the free printables below! Blessings! – Rebecca at Love2EncourageYou

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Here are some FREE Printables for you to enjoy compliments of Disney’s Moana film!

Moana Maze: moana_pdf_57f6d9bcd9323

Moana Bookmarks: moana_pdf_57f6d988974a8 (different types)

Moana Matching Game: moana_pdf_57f6d9d398192

Moana Movie Coloring Pages:

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#Moana

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/disneymoana

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DisneyMoana

Disclosure: Love2EncourageYou received four free tickets to attend an early screening of the film in exchange for my honest review. I only share items that are of value or interest to my family and my readers.

Meet Legendary NASA Astronaut Story Musgrave at MOSI

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Calling all parents, educators, and homeschoolers! This is it, my friends! Your chance to take the kids on the ultimate field trip for Earth Science  or Space Technology, and Meet NASA’s only five-shuttle astronaut at MOSI during World Space Week!

Legendary NASA Astronaut Story Musgrave will share tales from his space missions before special screenings of the IMAX® film Hubble on Oct. 8.

Tampa, Florida – Get up close with Story Musgrave, who repaired the Hubble Space Telescope and became the only astronaut to fly on all five space shuttles, during An Afternoon with an Astronaut at the Museum of Science & Industry on October 8, 2016.

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Musgrave will answer questions and share tales from his 53 days in space – including 27 hours working outside the space shuttle on spacewalks – before special showings of the award-winning film Hubble on the five-story screen of MOSI’s Florida Hospital IMAX® DOME Theatre.

During An Afternoon with An Astronaut on Oct. 8, guests will have two opportunities to hear Musgrave, at 12 pm or 3 pm. Musgrave will give a talk about saving the Hubble Space Telescope and take questions from the audience, followed by a showing of the IMAX® film Hubble. Tickets for this two-hour event are $15, or $10 for MOSI members.

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Something else to consider during your exciting field trip adventure: You can choose an Add-On Astronaut Experience option if you wish. Come enjoy an intimate meet-and-greet while munching on light snacks and drinks. You’ll have the opportunity to talk one-on-one and bring home a special keepsake photo with Story Musgrave to give you and your kids the ultimate astronaut experience! Don’t miss adding this meet-and-greet experience onto your Afternoon with an Astronaut ticket for just $15.

If you are going to be vacationing in the Central Florida area the week of Oct 8, this is a great way to highlight your special trip to Florida and make some incredible memories!

“There’s always something new and exciting happening at MOSI, and we’ll be celebrating World Space Week with one of the most celebrated astronauts in American history,” said MOSI President & CEO Molly Demeulenaere. “When Story Musgrave tells a tale, it’s so captivating because he has seen and done more than most of us can imagine. And he loves answering people’s questions about living and working in space.”

Seating for An Afternoon with an Astronaut is limited; tickets are available now at mosi.org. World Space Week is a global celebration of space exploration, commemorated each year from October 4 – 10.

About Story Musgrave

Story Musgrave is the only astronaut to have flown on all five space shuttles and, with six different college degrees, he is the most formally educated astronaut in American history.

Known especially for his work repairing and saving the Hubble Space Telescope, Musgrave has logged more than 53 days in space and has spent a total of more than 27 hours outside the space shuttle on spacewalks.

Beyond his out-of-this-world work as an astronaut, Musgrave has served as a U.S. Marine; worked as a professional mathematician; and become an accomplished pilot, flight instructor, and expert parachutist who used freefalls to study the workings of the human body.

As a medical doctor and surgeon, Musgrave has written or co-authored 25 scientific papers on aerospace medicine, surgery techniques, and other topics.

Many of the vital tools used by astronauts in orbit over the past 35 years were developed with guidance from Musgrave, including spacesuits, airlocks, and other key equipment. Musgrave performed the first spacewalk in the history of the space shuttle program to test the devices he had helped design.

Musgrave’s spaceflight career includes two flights on space shuttle Challenger and one each on Discovery, Atlantis, Endeavour – where Musgrave’s spacewalks added corrective lenses to the flawed Hubble Space Telescope – and Columbia.

Musgrave came from an abusive family that was devastated by alcoholism, and Musgrave left high school without his diploma. But during his time in the Marine Corps, Musgrave earned his GED, and he went on after his military career to earn two bachelor’s degrees, three master’s degrees, and become a medical doctor.

Speaking about his work to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, one of the greatest tools in the history of science, Musgrave said, “When you’re looking that far out, you’re giving people their place in the universe, it touches people. Science is often visual, so it doesn’t need translation. It’s like poetry, it touches you.”

 

Read Story’s official NASA bio: http://go.nasa.gov/2bE7YOB

 

Reserve your ticket for An Afternoon with an Astronaut: http://bit.ly/2bCTmuc

I Am Not Ashamed by PureFlix In Theaters October 21

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Time heals many things, but one of the most excruciating situations to heal from is having to pick up the pieces of your broken heart and find healing after the loss of a child. Some of you may remember the tragic events that took place many years ago involving Columbine High School. It is with passion and purpose that I try to bring you the very best in Christian entertainment, resources and tools to help you and your family walk in boldness and light in today’s world. One of these great ministry tools and entertainment is the new movie from PureFlix releasing in theaters this fall on October 21 titled: I Am Not Ashamed. Don’t miss the giveaway below for a goodie bag from the screener!

This film has an incredible message to share with the millions of unchurched teens that exist in America and around the world today. It also shares a message of hope, forgiveness, compassion, and purpose for all those who would join the new movement and rise to the call to say, “I Am Hope”. Let’s all be the HOPE that today’s world needs to experience by living with Jesus Christ shining from within our hearts and being His hands and feet to the masses.

“I Am Not Ashamed” shares the inspiring true story of Rachel Joy Scott.  Rachel Joy Scott is portrayed by actress Masey McLain in the film. Rachel’s story unfolds through a series of life experiences revealing the struggles of an every day teen life in and out of school. Laced through these choices, struggles, and various experiences we soon see the beauty of her heart for Jesus come shining through as she realizes what she truly wants and needs. Somewhere towards the second half of the film is where it really starts to show us great examples of Rachel’s genuine love and concern for others as she eventually dared to “walk the talk” of a Christian life in front of her entire study body at Columbine High School before the tragedy occurs.

The various elements in this film to be leery of for younger audiences are those wrapped around the potential situations a teen could be confronted with such as smoking, drinking alcohol, the general party atmosphere, and other adult situations. “I Am Not Ashamed” is rated PG-13 and parents of children under 13 need to consider treating it as such due to both these elements as well as those involved with the short but necessary scenes showing the tragedy that occurs at Columbine High School.

This film is an excellent resource for teens to watch to help empower them to live REAL for Jesus and not to bend under the pressures of teen lifestyles and worldliness. Rachel’s choices in the film show how important being real and living for Jesus truly is and how much of an impact students can have on each other in school and with anyone they meet.

Because of how quickly today’s society is forcing our young adults into these difficult types of situations and environments, I would even consider recommending parents to potentially show this film to preteens. I would only do so with the approval of a parent who has already watched “I Am Not Ashamed” and is prepared to talk about the situations involved following the movie. You can learn more about this film and potentially find additional resources to help you with this at the “I Am Not Ashamed” website.

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“I Am Not Ashamed” is a movie that will reach hearts and lives all over the world, and it is definitely something I believe is worth seeing and showing to teen student audiences and above.  I urge the churches, schools, and other organizations to strongly consider having the entire study body or youth groups watch this film together and have a discussion session following with administrators, teachers, youth leaders, and/or counselors on hand.

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My 18 yr old son accompanied me to this early movie screener for “I Am Not Ashamed” and he thoroughly enjoyed the film and felt it will have a huge impact on teens.

In closing, I wish to applaud the courage of the family of Rachel Joy Scott , her friends, and the other families who’s children and teacher were tragically killed during the massacre at Columbine High School. This film is going to be a light to the world, and will hopefully honor the memories and sweet lives of those students and the teacher who lost their lives on April 20, 1999.  May God continue to use you with your own powerful testimony, and the testimony shared through this film to reach more teens for Christ. May God bless you richly.

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Please share this post or the link to the #imnotashamed film with others and help spread the word about this great Christian ministry tool for teens in the coming weeks before the release of the film. As a pastor, or business owner, you can reach out on Facebook to PureFlix Alliance for more info on how to become an alliance member and support this film. You can inquire with the lady in the picture above who represents the Tampa area for PureFlix. She’s a huge help with any questions you have.

Adianis Morales – Robles
Alliance Consultant
Pure Flix | Faith + Family Alliance

Mobile 407-417-3744 Email:adianis.morales@pureflix.com

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Want to get involved in the “I Am Hope” movement to change the world for Christ? There are many exciting plans and activities leading up to this film where you can get actively involved and rally your church or organization to do the same. Get more info here. 

GIVEAWAY TIME

(Part of the Love2EncourageYou 5 Year Blogiversary Giveaway Event)

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PRIZE: One winner will receive an #imnotashamed movie screener goodie bag including several of the items you see here. (magnets, pen, sticker and “I Am Hope” bracelet)

Open to USA residents in the lower 48. Must be 18 yrs or older to enter. Void where prohibited.

DATE: ends on August 31st at midnight EST

Please enter this giveaway using the entry form below.

 

Disclosure: Special thanks to PureFlix for the opportunity to view this film at an early screener event yesterday. No compensation was received in exchange for sharing this post. These thoughts and expressions are my own opinions after watching the film and I feel very strongly about sharing this information with the world. May you be blesssed by what you read and the chance to watch the film in October. *This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, or any other social media channel.

**Like this giveaway? August is the month we celebrate the 5th year of Love2EncourageYou blog being in service to the public. I hope you will help join me in thanking God for this ministry and opportunity to bless others with articles and resources to encourage them and their walk with Christ and enriching their families. It has been a huge pleasure to serve you these last five years and I look forward to many more exciting things ahead. More giveaways to come throughout the month of August!

Pokemon Go App: What are Poke Stops and Where to Find Them

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Pokemon Go App: What are Poke Stops and Where to Find Them

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a terrific time the last day or so taking my children out on walks, bike rides or even driving adventures in the car all for the sake of playing the FREE Pokemon Go App with them. It’s been crazy fun! This new app is very addicting and yet can also be frustrating at times when their servers go down temporarily working out the bugs and improving their server strength (I think they underestimated the popularity of this new app!). Overall though, the new Pokemon Go App is the bomb! My kids ages range from 5 yrs, 9 yrs, and 18 yrs (boys and a girl), and we have all loved the interaction together as a family as we help each other discover new Pokemon for our Pokedex, grab rare items, and learn to navigate the map in our local neighborhoods. Have you ever imagined your kids waking up early (on purpose!) and begging you to take them on walks or bike rides outside early in the morning? I needed someone to pinch me! I was in disbelief, but that is exactly how children all over America and around the world are acting after the release of this new app yesterday.

I, for one, am counting my blessings as I have been dying to find a way to get the kids interested in more fresh air, sunshine and exercise – I just never imagined that would be combined with use of an electronic device in the process. If you are ready to make your kid’s day and wish to surprise them with the best Poke Stops around – check out these tips and enjoy the spoils during your Pokemon Go adventuring!

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Where To Find Poke Stops?

When it comes to making the most of your Pokemon Go excursions, planning ahead is key. You can determine which areas of your neighborhood have non profit or monument type locations that will register as Poke Stops or Pokemon Gyms within the game’s map through Google Maps GPS. If you want to drive rather than walk (which in some areas of Florida in the 110 degree heat index I would recommend), you can simply assign a driver, map your course to head towards a mall, theme park, college campus, public library or post office, or a block with several churches or thrift stores on it. These are a few of the potential landmarks that the Pokemon Go App may view as suitable for a Poke Stop or Gym. College campuses and theme parks alone will have anywhere from three to as many as ten Poke Stops and one or two Gyms on the premises!

 

What is a Poke Stop and What Can You Get There?

What can you find at each of these Poke Stops you ask? Each Poke Stop is in a sense a treasure chest just waiting to be discovered! They give you free items (sometimes rare ones) – anything from potions and revives to pokeballs and Pokemon eggs for hatching baby Pokemon! Use your map feature to locate the 3D icons on the map and click on them as they get closer. You’ll see the image of the company on the center of the circular shape (looks blue or lavendar) and usually the name of the location so you can recognize it and get to it more quickly. Poke Stops tend to be places to find from 3 to ten items – all pokeballs sometimes, and other times a little bit of everything spits out! You just spin the circle image when you arrive at the Poke Stop destination and as it spins these objects/items will come spitting out in little bubbles that begin floating away. Quickly pop each bubble to claim your treasures! Check your items section of your app to see what you ended up with. If you received a Pokemon egg, go to your Pokemon section of the app Pokedex and scroll to the bottom and then swipe to the right – there you’ll see any eggs you acquired since technically they are baby Pokemon waiting to hatch.

Hatching Eggs With Baby Pokemon

Your inventory already includes one incubator, so if you are lucky enough to find an egg at one of your Poke Stops while adventuring, you will want to place it in your incubator right away. This allows it to be utilizing all your traveling (walking, biking, driving – anywhere you move on the GPS) for the purpose of helping to hatch your egg faster. Some Pokemon eggs take 2 miles, some take 5 miles to hatch. You can actually be trying to hatch more than one Pokemon at a time by using multiple incubators at once. You get one infinity use incubator with the start of the app. You can earn other temporary use incubators with certain level ups throughout the game.

If you enjoyed this article, try Pokemon Go: Evolving and Powering Up Your Pokemon

*Check out this local sponsor for any Florida Home Buying or Selling Needs: www.EliteRealtyAgency.com/agent/sara-martin

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Great Wet Summer Fun Ways To Make Kids Smile

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Great Wet Summer Fun Ways To Make Kids Smile

Have you ever started the summer with the high hopes that the kids will be happy to be out of school with a long break and will occupy themselves? Not going to happen. “School’s Out” simply means more work for mom or guardian in most cases. I am here to share with you the fun and fabulous ways to occupy your kids or grandkids with wet and water-filled excitement!

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Squirt Gun Battles

There’s nothing quite like the imagination of a child. Seeing my son and daughter cleverly imagining they are on an island with pirates surrounding them as they use their squirt guns to battle the invading pirates is quite an entertaining sight. I’m sure your children will be happy to endure some sunshine and fresh air for a chance to battle it out against siblings, friends, cousins, or mom, dad, and uncles for a wet version of the game “capture the flag”!

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Water Balloon Toss

Get ready to get drenched on this exciting summer must do! Kids and adults of all ages never seem to turn down a chance for the great age-old game of water balloon toss! Find some type of bucket to hold the water bombs (what my kids like to call them) and fill it with as many as you can.

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Keep this outside of course, and invite neighbors kids to come over for an afternoon of snacks and good, clean, wet and wild fun! A referee is usually needed to keep the kids lined up in teams of two with one on each side to toss the water balloons back and forth to. Whichever team lasts the longest with tossing their balloon and not busting it gets a point. Keep score for each team and once the bucket is empty, let the kids know which team won. Give them all an ice cream or popsicle party afterwards to enjoy while drying off.

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Swimming

It’s time to consider taking the plunge in your private swimming pool, purchasing a little kiddie pool, or buying passes to the local community pool. Having the freedom to go take the kids swimming whenever you want to is such a blessing. Beware though – your family pooch may just jump in with you to cool off too!

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My little ones love going to swim at both the local Legoland waterpark as well as in their own personal kiddie pool out back. It helps to pick up some pool toys for use in the kiddie pool like a water table too for added activities and enjoyment. Kids will love to use their imaginations scooping and pouring water into cups or little plastic teapots.

So whether you are in the mood for public diving performances, backyard splashes, or a game of hide and sneak with the squirt guns, you can be sure to please your kids and grandkids this summer by using the simple wet and water-filled suggestions found here. Enjoy your summer and may it be a cool one!

5 Ways to Keep Your Teen Active During Summer Break

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5 Ways to Keep Your Teen Active During Summer Break

We all know that teens today can often be seen glued to their electronic devices whether it’s texting each other, using social media, or playing games.  During the school year, many teens are involved in different extra-curricular activities such as dance, sports, music lessons, and so on.  What about the summer vacation months when all of that comes to a pause?  How do we keep our teenagers from zoning out on the electronics now that they aren’t spending most of their day in school and their afternoons in their activity of choice?  Yes, there are all of the expensive ways to keep them active such as attending sporting events, theme parks and more, but here are some wallet-friendly ideas to get your teenager up and moving about and still having quality family time on a budget!

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Bowling and Skating

Probably two of my teenage daughter’s favorite active things to do are bowling and skating.  Most towns have a bowling alley and a skating rink, but if not, there is sure to be one in one of the surrounding cities close to you.  Both activities engage most of the main muscles groups therefore giving your child exercise without them even knowing it!  These are also both great activities to do as a family.  You may not be as nimble on the skate floor as you were back in the day, but it will get you moving as well as give your kid some entertainment watching you try to keep up!  Bowling and skating can generally both be done for under $10 per person in most areas, and the majority of skating rinks and bowling alleys offer specials depending on the time of year and day of the week.

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Swimming

Another great way to get your teen off of the couch and moving is swimming.  If you don’t personally have a pool or know someone who does, a lot of towns have community pools that charge under $5 to swim.  Again, this is another appropriate activity that will engage all of your child’s muscle groups and chances are, they aren’t going to complain about splashing around in the cool water on a hot summer day – just be sure to load up on the sunscreen!  Bring along some water guns or diving rings and have a friendly family competition – chances are you will also meet other families and possibly new friends for both you and the kids!

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Nature Walks and Camping

Some even cheaper fun things to do with the older kids this summer would be taking nature walks and camping.  Nature walks may not seem like something a teenager would enjoy but, most teens do enjoy a bit of friendly competition.  Before starting out, set a goal of who can spot the largest variety of wildlife, fauna, or whatever strikes a chord with your teen and let them choose the prize for the winner.  If they get to choose the prize, they will be more likely to be willing and even excited to participate!  Camping is usually one of those love it or hate it things and when you are camping in an area with no cell signal or Wi-Fi connectivity, teens aren’t likely to love it.  Encourage them to still bring their phones or cameras so they can take pictures which they can later use to show off the family trip or maybe even enter into a photo contest. Bring along board games and cards so you can play games when it is too dark to go exploring and don’t forget to bring the s’mores!

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It Doesn’t Have To Cost A  Lot

It doesn’t have to cost a lot to get your family moving and active.  Simply look around, think creatively, and if all else fails, contact your local city hall and find out what activities are going on in the area in the upcoming weeks.  No matter what you choose to do, engaging your teenager in a fun family activity that doesn’t involve being “plugged in” will be beneficial to everyone physically, emotionally, and mentally and will create memories your teens will one day share with their children.

What suggestions do you have for budget-friendly activities for teens this summer? Leave a comment and share with us.

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Love2EncourageYou Contributor: Liz H.

Guest Blogger/Skilled Virtual Assistant: Introducing Liz H! She’s a  Christian mom of 2 (infant and teen), skilled in copy writing, typing, organization, book keeping, and research. Virtual Assistant for hire at reasonable rates. Themed blog posts for sale at $15/post including 1-2 pics. You can contact Liz H. at lizk29@outlook.com!

Family Vacation Planning Made Simple

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Are you celebrating a special occasion this summer? Have you been tasked with arranging a break away with your extended family? If so, you’re probably feeling both excited and stressed. It can be tough to please everyone and logistics for group travel can be a nightmare. If you’re looking for a hassle-free guide to organizing a trip, look no further. These simple steps will hopefully make the planning process a piece of cake.

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Choosing a date and location

Perhaps the first things you need to do are choose the date and location. Send a message around everyone who is invited and see when people are available. You can use apps and software programs to show dates that suit everyone. Once you’ve got a date in mind, you should also have numbers. You can then start talking about possible destinations. Encourage everyone to share ideas and see which options appeal to most people. If there isn’t a clear winner, hold a vote and go with the majority.

Transport and getting around

Getting a large group of people from A to B can be tricky. But not if you plan ahead. If you’re traveling to a resort, campsite or holiday park, you can book a transfer for everyone. If you’re going to a city for the weekend, you could charter a bus. Check out Shofur.com for ideas and prices. If you can book group travel beforehand, you can usually save money. It’s also much easier to organize private travel than to hire a series of taxis or get everyone on the same local bus or train.

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Accommodation

Wherever you’re going, there’s likely to be options when it comes to accommodation. Have a look online and weigh up the pros and cons of different types of lodgings. If you’re staying in the city, you may find that apartments work out cheaper than hotels. If you’re going for an outdoor adventure, you could consider camping or renting out some log cabins. You may be able to take advantage of group saver rates, so enquire before you book. Booking online can often save money.

Costs

Cost is a priority for most people when it comes to planning a vacation. Try and make sure that you give people a clear idea of cost as soon as possible. If you can, pay a deposit and then the rest closer to your departure date. This will enable your party to spread the cost of the trip. It’s usually easier to ask everyone to transfer money to your account and make a single payment. This way, you don’t have to collect cash from everyone and then pay into your account before making the payment.

Family vacations are all about making memories and enjoying quality time together. The last thing you want is to be stressing out about finding hotels or getting everyone to the destination at the same time. Plan ahead, do some research and take advantage of group perks. Weigh up your accommodation options and look for deals online. Consider your travel options and think about booking a group transfer or hiring a bus. Get the main things sorted as a priority. Then you can relax and look forward to a memorable break.

Disclosure: I’m excited to share that Love2EncourageYou is bringing you this content as a collaborative effort with other parties to contribute high quality content and fun topics to bring you a smile! Lots of great topics and themes coming in the days ahead on a variety of helpful subjects. Please note: I only share articles that I feel are of value or interest to my readers.

4 Parks of Fun: Disney Kids Preschool Playdate Party

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Disclosure: A huge thank you to Walt Disney World Resort and MomSelect for the free products received through our celebration kit in order to host the Disney Kids Preschool Playdate Party. The opinions expressed here are my own.

It was a tremendous pleasure to receive the opportunity to be a blessing to several homeschool families by getting to host a very special Disney Kids Preschool Playdate Party this week! In a whirlwind of fun, giggles, and high-pitched screams of delight, the kids who attended our party were all ears and eager to participate in the many exciting activities that Disney stirred up for our enjoyment.

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In order to fully appreciate the magic of Disney, you have to get a glimpse of what the imagination and thrills are all about from each of the four Disney theme parks. We tried to incorporate the generous gifts in our celebration kit Disney provided in order bring a spark of that excitement into our home for our 4 Parks of Fun: Disney Kids Preschool Playdate Party! First on the agenda, we explored a sneak peek into the jungle adventures of Animal Kingdom by watching a few clips from The Lion Guard show from Disney Junior.  While sporting binoculars and cameras, we proceeded to journey on the wild safari as the kids hunted for official Animal Kingdom toy safari animal figures and played with our jungle playsets. The boys were ready for the next park introducing Captain Jake!

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Testing their KION growls along the way, we moved on to play a new game visiting our Hollywood Studios room and passed out party hats for team Captain Jake or team Sophia the First. The kids played in a Sophia the First tent and enjoyed roll playing a charades game of Disney Park characters. Learning to take turns and having fun playing together is part of what being a preschooler is all about and the kids had a blast trying to guess who each other’s character was.

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Off to our Epcot park indoor visit, we played a game with the mommies while their children chose a specific hat of their choice from our nations/characters hat table. The child would place the hat on the mommies head and then tell their mom who they had to pretend to be or where they were pretending to be from. The moms were all wonderfully good sports about this whole thing that I sprung on them, and the kids giggled as their mommies all played along.

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Next, we passed out some great rewards for participation in today’s events such as Lion Guard posters and tattoos, Park Preschool maps, and Disney Junior drawstring bags compliments of Disney and MomSelect to help keep things extra special for our guests as they experience a taste of the magic of Disney.

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My daughter volunteered to read the special storybook called My Very, Very, Smelly Breath which was provided by Bansfield Pet Hospital. This awesome scratch and sniff book was both cute and interactive with the kids jumping up to take their turns sniffing all the interesting and sometimes foul smells from the book.

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At our Magic Kingdom stop, the kids were delighted to play a few cute games involving loads of figures to dance with at Cinderella’s castle, a game of ring toss over the tower of Rapunzel’s castle, and a bean bag toss onto a giant Mickey Mouse head. As a special surprise guest, my teen son shared his skills teaching the kids how to play Disney Infinity 3.0 on the WiiU and drew a ton of oohs and aahs. They loved having fun naming the different Disney Parks characters from Disney Infinity and discussed who had the best skills or talents to take on the villians.

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Of course nothing beats the tasty visit to the snacks table decorated in a fun-loving Mickey Mouse Club House theme! The table was filled with Nestle Nesquik chocolate milk, Glad snack baggies in a Frozen theme offering Nemo’s gold fish crackers, Minnie’s Chex mix, Zootopia fruit snacks and other goodies.  We finally topped things off with Frozen themed frozen Go Gurt for dessert in cotton candy and strawberry banana flavors!

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Our party concluded with colorful Frozen themed balloons waiting to be played with and tossed in the air as they said their goodbyes to their friends and ended their magical day at the Four Parks of Fun: Disney Kids Preschool Playdate Party. We printed some very cool HP photo strips compliments of @MyPrintly using the HP Photo Booth App to send off with our friends to end their special time.

Disclosure: I received free products in order to host the Disney Kids Preschool Playdate Party. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Save 60% Off ROBOTS-4-U Summer Camps

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Disclosure: Love2EncourageYou will receive a gift card in exchange for sharing this post. However I only share items I feel are a good fit for my audience and offer value or interesting topics they would enjoy.