Summer Fun: Kids Bowl Free is Back Early

Last summer we signed up with Kids Bowl Free to bowl two free games a day, all summer long. This year we got a message saying the program was starting up in March, so we’ve signed on again. Read on for the details!

kids bowl free

What is it?

The Kids Bowl Free program is two free games a day for kids and you can add on a family pass for around $20 for up to four people over the qualifying age. Check with your center for age requirements. (Ours is ages 2 – 15.) It’s just a one-time fee, and it can be anyone, not just family members. Adults don’t have to bowl with the kids, so you can just let them bowl for free. Shoe rental is not included, but the younger kids won’t need to rent shoes.

Each week they will send you coupons by e-mail for your free games. You can also download their app and get your coupons that way.

How do I sign up?

Head to KidsBowlFree.com and look for your closest participating bowling center. Each center will also say the ages, times they honor the free passes and when they start the program. Then sign up! You can keep it totally free and just pay per game for yourself, or add on a family pass.

Plus, when you register please enter my email address candykay921@yahoo.com in the “Referred By” field on the registration page and we’ll both be entered to win some great prizes including Gas Cards, Amazon.com Gift Cards, Weekend Hotel Trips, Restaurant Gift Cards and more!

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A few tips

* If you have younger kids, you can ask them to pop up the bumpers so they won’t get a gutter ball.

* You can also ask for a ramp to help them roll the ball. Some places will give you one for free, but our center charges $2.

* If you plan to go a lot, you can save money by buying yourself bowling shoes. I got found a cute pair of bowling shoes on amazon for $35, but they even have cheaper used ones on eBay. They last forever and eventually pay for themselves.

* Don’t let them discover the game room too early. Once they go in there…they may not come back out to finish bowling! So also bring a couple dollars for quarters/tokens.

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We had a lot of fun with this program last year and I’m looking forward to going again!

Regrowing New Lettuce From Old Lettuce

I love seeing what I can regrow, whether it’s from cuttings, stems or seeds. Recently I experimented with regrowing lettuce from a few different varieties I got in the Artisan Lettuce pack. You can try this with any kind of lettuce- it works great with romaine!

artisan-lettuce

I always replant my green onions, so when I heard you can do it with lettuce, I decided to give it a try. With green onions you can keep regrowing and cutting them over and over, but with lettuce it seems you just have one chance to regrow and even then it may not be enough to fill a salad bowl. So I don’t expect this to replace my usual mixed greens, but it was a fun little experiment and something neat to do with kids too.

First I used the tops of the lettuce for salads and saved the last bit with the stem. I stuck the stem part in a bit of water and then sat it on the windowsill for about a week before it sprouted roots.

You can see the lettuce already had started growing again out of the top by the time it sprouted very small roots at the bottom. The rest of the lettuce started turning brown and it didn’t seem to be growing very fast so I decided to plant it in the garden and see what happened. You can also just leave it in the water and it will keep growing.

After I planted them, they started growing pretty good and a week later they were more full and the two purple varieties started turning more purple. Then we had some cold weather and no rain and one of the purple ones withered away while one of the green ones grew big enough to eat! The other purple one was still doing good, but it’s such a deep purple that it is hard to see in the photo. If you plant them in dirt, keep them well watered!

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I was worried I might lose the nice big green one, so I decided it was time to eat my new lettuce, about three weeks after planting it and one month total including the time spent in the water cups. So even after one month, I still had to mix in a little bit of grocery store lettuce. But overall, it was a very tasty salad and neat gardening experiment!

Book Review: The Switcheroo Kangaroo

When I do a book review, I tend to include the full experience instead of just a synopsis and my opinion. So this is the story of how the Switcheroo Kangaroo, a book written by Deanna Purkiss and Illustrated by Christian Snyder, came to visit and teach my son about sharing his good fortune (and candy) with others.

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We received a package in the mail the other day, so of course my son couldn’t wait to open it, convinced it was filled with toys for him. He was right, but unfortunately it wasn’t the “shooting flying electric helicopter cars” he was expecting and instead was a book and stuffed animal. It went a little like this:

Inside the box was the book the Switcheroo Kangaroo and a really nice plush kangaroo toy. Once I explained it was a story about a very special kangaroo who found his purpose was to share candy with kids around the world, he warmed to the idea of letting me read him the story. I think the kangaroo helped.

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He really enjoyed seeing the pics of all the holidays as we followed the Kangaroo on his adventures. The story is written in rhyme and it seemed a little forced sometimes, but I’m willing to overlook a little clunkiness on the rhyme scheme for good story with a helpful theme that promotes healthy habits. The book encourages children to leave out their sweets and the kangaroo comes to take them away to children who don’t have any, and in their place leaves a toy.

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I’m sure every parent has gotten through a candy-loaded holiday and ended up hiding half their kid’s candy pile. I still have Halloween candy stashed in the laundry room. I’m hoping the more we read this book, the more the message will sink in. After the first reading, he kept wanting me to get chocolate to “feed” the kangaroo so he could still get that helicopter he wanted. I told him we’d have to wait until Easter and then he’d have something good to exchange!

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It seems like kids these days are overloaded with sugar every day, whether it’s a holiday or not. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t bringing all the sweets home yourself – they will get it at school, while out at stores, from friends…it’s just hard to avoid.

I think this book promotes a great idea to encourage kids to give up their sweets in a way that makes it fun and makes them feel good about it. I’m looking forward to a little kangaroo visiting us right after the Easter Bunny does his thing!

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Click Here to visit the official Switcheroo Kangaroo website

And find them on Instagram and Facebook at @SwitcherooKangeroo

I Got Trendy with Curtain Bangs

This week I updated my ‘do with a new set of curtain bangs. The funny thing is, anytime I’ve had bangs they’ve always been curtain bangs, I just didn’t know they had a fancy name! I have the kind of bangs that will do one thing only, and that’s split down the middle.

curtain bangs

Curtain bangs are usually a little longer and parted down the middle, framing your face on each side like a curtain. They have wispy ends rather than a blunt cut, giving them a laid-back relaxed look.

I was actually growing out my bangs a bit when a few rounds of bleached highlights led to some breakage in front and I started chopping bits off myself. So when necessity brought me to my hairstylist Georjie, the first thing she said is “Have you heard of curtain bangs?”

I said no, and told her to just go for it!

A few snips later and the damage was cut off and I was left with pretty face framing fringe that for once I wouldn’t have to fight with and try and tame into a side part or glue straight down. My hair just naturally want to part down the middle. And while the rest of my hair can be wavy and weird, my bangs have always been completely straight so this style totally works for me!

So now I’m feeling all trendy with the latest style in bangs. So if you are looking for a change that’s easy to wear- ask your stylist for curtain bangs on your next visit.

 

Choosing a Children’s Bedroom Theme

There are so many fun themes to choose from when decorating a child’s bedroom. When they are first born, the room reflects the parents’ personality and tastes, but as they get a little older the room starts to morph into a different style more in line with the child’s budding personality. Here’s a few ideas to help you decide how to decorate your little one’s bedroom.

choosing a childrens bedroom theme

Color Themes

Sometimes the theme is just adhering to a certain color palette, or color combo. Or even go monochrome with just black and white! This is a good way to go if you don’t want to push a certain style on your child before they’ve started liking things on their own. It’s easy to change it up later and add more personalized items.

Nature Themes

Nature themes can be a lot of fun whether it’s the ocean, forest or jungle. We went with an ocean theme for my son’s room, though now that he’s getting older there’s a few super heros creeping in. You can get really creative with the nature themes! Wall murals are a great way to bring this vision to life.

Character, Book or Movie Themes

If your child loves a particular character, you can design an entire room around it! Disney makes a lot of great bedroom stuff. You can also do comic books and superheroes. You can concentrate on one character or design around an entire movie or book.

Activity and Sports Themes

You can take any activity your child is interested in and work a theme around it. Of course most activities could also be given the “sports” label but it’s not limited to traditional sports like baseball and soccer. Sports can be anything from surfing to race car driving! And there’s also activities like ballet and theater.

The Finishing Touch

Once you have the room designed, painted and decorated, it’s time to do the finishing touch – their name! Either on the door or on the wall, every kid loves to have their name displayed. You can paint it on the wall, purchase a custom decal or have a print made. We were recently sent a lovely ocean themed print from PaperSteps to go with my son’s surfer/ocean bedroom. I’m looking forward to putting it in a pretty frame!

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Hope this gives you a few ideas to get creative with your child’s room! And for even more inspiration, check out my Pinterest idea board for more fun themes: Children’s Bedroom Ideas

Yard at the Start of Spring

I know it’s not exactly spring yet, but it’s 80 degrees here in Florida and raining every day so things are blooming all over and I need to start doing some planting! Of course the day after starting this, we got a freeze warning for mid-week. Florida just can’t make up its mind. I’m still going ahead with the landscaping though. It will be warm again a few days. Or a few hours. Florida is crazy like that!

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I always like to see how far the garden has come, so I took a bunch of photos today of the front yard. We are still working on the landscaping and I need to plant my spring vegetables, but I wanted to get pics of the starting point this year before I did all the planting. That way I can come back and see how big everything grew this summer!

The Garden

I always have green onions planted the entire year and usually peppers too. I just got some cilantro sprouted this week and am looking forward to getting my salsa garden going again!

The Fish Pond

This summer I’m hoping to replace the pond pump with something a little nicer and without the big ugly pipe that runs right in front of it now. I’ll also be adding more plants and a sitting area. The pond was here when we moved in and we found out it used to be a hot tub in the backyard! They didn’t use it so they removed it and turned it into a front yard water feature. You can still see the tub’s steps when the water is really clear.

Front Yard Landscape

We recently added the front patio and firepit. All built by my husband and a neighbor. We’ve collected big rocks on our travels to use as borders- some came from the mountains in North Carolina, some from our beach here and some from a trip to Sarasota. The driftwood is all from our beach or river here. All the plants and trees are newly planted and pretty small. I’m planning on adding a path with stepping stones and working on moving more plants around.

Side Landscape

There’s a walking path next to the house that will be my next big project. Right now it’s mostly weeds in that area. I was waiting until we finished getting the driveway resurfaced since it included the path area too. It’s ready now!

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Backyard

My backyard is hideous! That’s going to be a blog post on its own, lol. There’s a lot going on back there and it looks terrible. We aren’t ready to tackle that one yet.

I’ll be doing more posts about home and garden stuff as we work to fix up our house. We bought an older home at the beach and have been completely re-doing it inside and out, mostly all on our own! It’s a fun and often frustrating project, but also a labor of love. The best part is seeing how far you’ve come, so that’s why I decided to start documenting the journey. Even though we are two years into the project. Might as well start sometime!

 

Easy Pico de Gallo Recipe

Pico de Gallo was the first salsa-type thing I learned to make, back before I even did a lot of cooking. A friend gave me the recipe more than 15 years ago, and I’ve tweaked it just a little over the years but the main ingredients are still the same: tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lemon or lime juice and cilantro. It’s so easy and SO good!

making pico de gallo

Ingredients for Pico de Gallo:

6 Roma (or plum) tomatoes

1/2 Sweet Onion

1 or 2 Serrano chillies

1/2 Cup cilantro (more or less)

1 Tsp. Garlic salt

1 Tbsp. Lemon or Lime Juice

Small pinch of sugar

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Directions: Mix everything in a bowl

1) Chop the tomatoes into cubes. You can do it by hand or with a chopper. I use the Prepworks Dice and Slice Chopper by Progressive (*Amazon affiliate link) for both my tomatoes and onions. I’ve had this thing for 16 years! It makes it easy and fast to make nice little cubes for pico.

2) Chop the onions into smaller cubes. I use a smaller cutting grid for the onions. If doing it by hand, just finely chop. Add to bowl with tomatoes.

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3) Devein, remove seeds and finely chop the Serrano pepper. Taking out the vein and seeds takes out a lot of the heat but leaves all the flavor. You can chop the whole thing for a hotter salsa. I always chop these by hand because I like them very fine.

Here’s how to devein the pepper: (click for larger pics)

4) Roughly chop enough cilantro to fill 1/2 cup, then chop it a little more. You can use more or less according to taste. I like a lot of cilantro myself.

5) Add 1 Tsp. garlic salt (or regular salt)

6) Add 1 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice. I just use it from the bottle unless I have fresh citrus handy. Sometimes I use a little of both lemon and lime!

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7) A really small pinch of sugar. You can’t really taste it, but it seems to set off the flavors.

8) Mix well and let it chill in the refrigerator for about an hour so all the flavor meld. You can also eat it right away! But it gets even better after it sits for a bit.

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All done! Grab the chips!

There’s so much you can do with Pico de Gallo- It’s great with tortilla chips, or served on top of any Mexican dish, or even on your eggs in the morning! This is the basic recipe that will get you started, then you can customize it to your liking as you learn the flavors.

pico de gallo on nachos
Nachos Yum!