Archive for Seasonal Stuff

How To Pick The Perfect Swim Instructor

How To Pick The Perfect Swim Instructor

by Kaitlin Gardner

When we started a family, I wanted my kids to learn how to swim. It was a skill that they would use for a lifetime, and our family would be around the water many times. Just going to the local pool and signing them up for classes didn’t feel right for me. I did homework to find the best instructor I could for my kids.

Ask around. I asked a number of parents with older children about their swim instructors. I heard some good things, and some parents steered me away from programs where they didn’t feel satisfied with the results. I was glad I took that time, because it helped me narrow down the choices before I went any further. I’ve found some great resources with more detail about swim programs for kids:

Boy Swimming

Photo attribution: Yatmandu

Learn To Swim: The Importance of Swimming Lessons

What Every Parent Should Know About Choosing A Swimming Instructor

Swim Lesson Plans

A personal visit. Once I narrowed down my options and had a list of swim schools that sounded the strongest, I made visits. I talked to the manager of the school, to get an impression of how professional the person was, because I felt like his approach would filter down through the school. I wanted someone who took the job of teaching my kids to swim as seriously as I was approaching it. I was really impressed by the commitment of the school managers, and knew I was on the right track.

What’s the plan? I wanted to know how the teaching would be handled – would they just have the kids jump in the shallow end and start showing them the Australian crawl? I wanted classes that would work through a plan where the kids learned basics and moved forward building on that foundation. I found several schools that had similar lesson plans, and I felt really good about the thoroughness and approach of the lessons.

Check instructor credentials. I asked the school managers what certifications were required for a swim instructor. I had looked online and found the required levels of certification, and in every case, the swim schools followed those standards. I was feeling really good about the schools at this point. Some people might think I was going a little overboard, but with the lives of my kids at stake, I was willing to take extra steps.

Watch a class. I asked the managers of the schools if I could watch a class. I had read that if they don’t want you to do that, it’s a warning sign that the school is not a good one. In every case, the schools I was considering encouraged to watch their swim classes. I sat and talked with other Moms who were watching their kids in class. I got a couple of names of great instructors from them, so I made sure to sit in on those classes. I had narrowed my choices to a couple of instructors by this point.

How’s the attitude? I didn’t want my kids to be taught by somebody who was just going through the motions, so watching the class, I was checking for the attitude of the instructor. I was amazed at how calm, caring and thorough the instructors were. They made sure each child demonstrated proficiency with what was being taught before they moved on. I was astonished by how well mannered and orderly the kids were. When I made my final choice, I was confident I had found the perfect instructor for my kids. It made me smile to watch them learning how to swim, and how their confidence in the water grew with each lesson.

Kaitlin Gardner started An Apple Per Day to explore her passion for a green living lifestyle, and healthy family living. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they enjoy exploring the countryside to discover interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint watercolors.

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Merry Christmas!

Just wanted to pop on and wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas from all of us here at Faith and Family Reviews! We hope you remember the true meaning of Christmas.

FFR Reflection of trees on water in NS

This photo reminds me of a water color painting but it is one I took with my iPhone on a hike in Nova Scotia on December 1st – I think it is a beautiful view and it was more so in person. More about our trip in the new year!

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The Salvation Army – Red Kettle Reason

“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Influence Central for The Salvation Army. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.”

Red Kettle

 

‘Tis the season to be giving and what better way to give than to The Salvation Army. I’m sure you’ve seen people ringing their bells near that red kettle.

This is one of the oldest and biggest providers. Established in London in 1865, The Salvation Army has been serving people for about 150 years internationally and over 130 years in the United States.

Here are few great facts about The Salvation Army.

  •  “In 2013, The Salvation Army’s 3,600 officers, 59,000 employees, and 3.4 million volunteers served nearly 30 million American in need.  That’s almost one person, every second, every day.”
  • “The Army has nearly 7,600 centers of operation covering nearly every zip code in the country.”

How did The Army’s Red Kettle start? In December of 1891, The Salvation Army’s Captain McFee decided to provide Christmas dinner to the poor. He needed to raise money and put with the approval from the authorities, he place a large pot on the Oakland Ferry Landing in San Francisco. By Christmas of 1895 there were 30 Salvation Army locations.

You can help online or via text messaging! Anyone can become a virtual bell ringer and raise money for their local communities by creating an Online Red Kettle at onlineredkettle.org.” Or “Donors can text the word “KETTLE” to 80888 to make a $10 donation to support the campaign.” End of the year giving is extremely popular and is also tax deductible with the proper documentation, please make your donation by December 31, 2014.

I believe giving is very important throughout the year, however around the holiday’s it seems a bit more meaningful to my family.  I look at what I have and wish that for everyone, I have meals on the table and a loving, healthy family. With a 6 year old daughter it’s sometimes hard for her to understand the real meaning of Christmas. I really have instilled that Christmas is not all about gift, but, giving and thoughtfulness.

Please visit The Salvation Army at RedKettleReason.org.

#RedKettleReason #Sponsored #MC

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Sears #MoreMerry Sale

This is a sponsored post. I am a Sears blogger and all opinions are my own.

Sears #MoreMerry

Are you looking for some last minute Christmas gifts? Sears has some apparel deals going on that you might want to take advantage of:

30% EXTRA off when you spend $150 or more on regular- and sale-priced clothing, accessories, lingerie, sleepwear, shoes & home fashions

Dec_Week_3 Social_FB_Promo_30Off_504x504_v5

25% EXTRA off when you spend $100 – $149.99 on regular- and sale-priced clothing, accessories, lingerie, sleepwear, shoes & home fashions

20% EXTRA off when you spend up to $99.99 on regular- and sale-priced clothing, accessories, lingerie, sleepwear, shoes & home fashions

Simply use this online code: JINGLE

http://bit.ly/1GA5vKc {Coupon is Valid 12/16/14 9:00 AM -12/24/14 11:59 PM}

Happy shopping and Merry Christmas!

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Planning a Holiday Road Trip

With the arrival of Christmas, that means holiday travel. This post is a little late in the season, but are you planning a holiday road trip? Maybe these tips will help you as you prepare to travel with your family…

1. Make lists. Your to-do list before you leave, one for items to pack or bring, include food, clothing, toiletries and personal items, and finally, one for to-dos while on vacation – places to see, people to visit or call, etc.

Map to N.S.

2. Map out your journey. GPS and smartphones are wonderful and I love having them available to me. However, they are not always right. So pack a real life map and gather your children around to map out what roads you will take, which states you will drive through and what cities you will pass by. If you have time, plan some side trips too! If you homeschool, make it a school project for your children to learn something new about the state or city in which you will be visiting. Older children could handle doing this for each state and city you pass through.

3. Reserve your lodging ahead of time. Reserving your lodging ahead of time prevents you from the disappointment, not to mention the inconvenience of possibly not finding any a vacancies at hotels you just happen to stop at for the night. The holidays are busy so plan ahead.

4. Check the weather forecast for your destination, as well as any place in between. This will help you be prepared for winter road conditions, enable you to bring the proper attire and possibly prevent you from driving in any bad weather.

5. Share your plans with your family. This could be the family you are visiting, God forbid they leave for their own vacation, not knowing you are coming to visit! Or this could be family you are leaving behind, just so they know where you are going and how long you will be gone for, in case of emergency.

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Melissa & Doug Terrific 25 Giveaway

Melissa

 


Melissa & Doug Terrific 25 Giveaway

It’s Back!! How Exciting! I love Melissa & Doug Terrific 25 Gifts!

Have a car lover? Melissa & Doug has an adorable Mega Race Car Carrier!

Or your budding artist would love the Favorite Things Stamp Set or Princess Design Activity Kit!  

Click here and you can also enter on Melissa & Doug’s Facebook Page to win one of these Terrific 25 Giveaways!

Good Luck! Let us know if your a winner!

 

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Fall Fun – Wordless Wednesday

Our children have always loved playing in the leaves in the fall. When they were really little they had to go to grandma’s or the park to play in them. This year is no different even with a few of them in their teens! They have just as much fun as they did when they were younger. Our boys pretended the leaf pile was a ship today and used the rakes poking out of the leaves to be their cannons or guns. Pretty clever. Glad they still have an imagination!

P.S. They appear closer to the road than they actually are because there is a dipped stretch of grass between the lawn and the shoulder of the road. Our children are usually not allowed to play out in the front yard. However, we have more trees out front than out back so for fall fun and under supervision they can.

FFR Fall Fun in the Leaves 2014

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Ripple or Sorbet? Cool Recipes for Frozen Treats

Ripple or Sorbet? Cool Recipes for Frozen Treats

On a sweltering hot day, there’s nothing like digging through the freezer to find a chest of buried, icy treasure hidden in the freezer – especially if it’s homemade. It’s now possible to make your own ice cream in almost any flavour imaginable!

Case in point: Perry’s have brought out a chicken wing flavor, while rumor has it that it is possible to indulge in a pint of cheeseburger flavored ice cream in Venezuela. We’re not suggesting you try to top such taste insanity – instead, you can cool off with the following delicious treats, which the kids can help to make!

The Healthy One: Frozen Yogurt

For a lower calorie treat, try yogurt as a healthier base for your flavors rather than milk, cream and sugar. Bung some natural Greek yogurt, honey for sweetness, and a fruit or two of your choice into the ice cream maker for 30 minutes and await the perfect results. Peach, banana, kiwi and strawberry make for kid-friendly flavors that aren’t too tart.

The Chocolate One: Nutella

Fact: the number of Nutella jars sold in a year could cover the Great Wall of China eight times. Thankfully, for a swirl of chocolatey heaven in your vanilla, you’ll only need about half a cup for this recipe, which should be combined with whipping cream, milk and eggs once the ice cream maker gets going. Add crushed walnuts caramel sauce and banana for a banoffee spin.

15053133_l

The Takeaway Option: Popsicles

Your kids won’t want to miss a moment outside if it’s sunny, so opt for popsicles for a quick-fire cool down. Blend ripe watermelon with lemon juice and sugar and pour into popsicle molds for a healthy snack, or freeze chunks of banana and strawberry on skewers dipped in chocolate for irresistible fruit kebabs.

There are of course an endless number of different flavour combinations to create, so why not do some research, create a wishlist, and start making your own ice cream today! You’ll never turn back to store bought, once you’ve had the first bite….

This is a guest post.
Photo Copyright: foto66 / 123RF Stock Photo. Used with permission.

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Garden Harvest – Wordless Wednesday

Garden Harvest

The little ones raided the garden one day and found these organic veggies! Can you say yummy garden harvest?

FFR Children's hands full of veggies

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Beautiful Clematis – Wordless Wednesday

FFR Clematis June 2014

Beautiful Clematis

My photo does not do this Clematis justice but I still wanted to share it! This is a clematis at one of my paper customers. It makes me sad because when I transplanted mine last year from our townhouse to the house we are renting, it took a step backwards and is a puny little thing. :( Sniff. Sniff.

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