Wednesday, November 18, 2015

#BrickSwag LEGO Subscription Box - 20% Discount Offer

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

Do you have a LEGO love in your house? I do. My son can spend hours playing with his Lego bricks as a matter of fact he is actually on the Creative Crew at our local Legoland Discovery Center and hopes to one day be a LEGO Master Builder. So if you have a LEGO lover in your home here is the perfect item that will keep the inspiration flowing and help your LEGO lover achieve master-builder status!

This is a definite hot pick this holiday season, and we have it for you now at the best price. Last year, memberships sold out before December so now is the time to lock in for this holiday season.

Go over to, choose your plan and use code FAM20 for your extra 20% savings!

BrickSwag is box full of LEGO-themed merchandise that arrives monthly in the mail just for your builder. It even arrives with their name on the package.

Every month, your red brick-shaped box arrives packed with official LEGO bricks you keep - never clone brands, an exclusive LEGO-themed T-shirt in any size, Build Magazine packed with interviews and building ideas, custom trading cards, inspirational posters, and more.

BrickSwag has a mission that most moms can appreciate and that is....To Inspire, Educate, and Entertain with LEGO bricks.

Use this code for an additional 20% off your membership: FAM20 (valid until 11/30).


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

National Geographic Kids Resources To Encourage Shutterbugs #NGKInsider

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

This year my daughter asked to learn more about photography. I think she gets her love for taking photos from me. I often joke that my camera is practically an appendage. If you check out my Instagram feed you will see what I mean. My camera arsenal contains a Nikon D5100 dSLR and a Note 4 Camera Phone (which sadly I use more than my dSLR). From time to time I will let my little shutterbug use my Nikon DSLR camera, but it makes me nervous so this year for Christmas she is going to be getting her very own digital point and shoot camera....shhh don't tell her! However I am by no means a professional and still have a lot to learn about taking photos. And thanks to National Geographic Kids and their new book Guide To Photography and MyShot Program I now have some amazing resources to help my daughter (and myself) learn more about photography! After all learning along side my kids is my favorite thing about homeschooling.

Here are some further details about these two amazing resources from National Geographic.

Guide to Photography:
This 160 page soft page book was written by Nancy Honovich and contains photographs from Annie Griffiths a National Geographic Photographer. Annie is a long time National Geographic photographer and one of the first women photographers for the magazine. She has traveled to over 150 countries and photographed animals, landscapes and people from across the globe. Annie actually took time out of her busy schedule to talk with the National Geographic Insider team and share 5 Photography Tips for Kids. But before I get to those 5 tips let me finish telling you about the book which is where you can find ALL of her tips and tricks.

Guide to Photography is a great resource for kids who want to learn more about photography, it is also a great book for parents who want to learn more. The book contains tips and tricks for all camera types including smartphones, DSLR, point-and-shoot and even underwater cameras.


  • Equipment Basics
  • Hold It Right And Focus
  • Seeing Through the Lens
  • Your Best Shot
  • Make Your Subject Rule

The book features easy to understand step-by-step instructions, color diagrams and sample photos, information on editing and photo sharing, DIY photography activities, tips from experts, photography careers, ways to connect through the National Geographic Kids photo sharing community MyShot and assignments from Annie Griffith to test your knowledge.

The Guide to Photography book can be picked up at your local bookstore or on Amazon and costs $14.99.

Annie Griffiths always had a passion for telling stories, but when she first started there wasn't much in the way of  kid friendly cameras. It wasn't until she was introduced to the camera in college that she found her passion for telling stories through photographs.

5 Photography Tips for Kids From Annie Griffiths

  1. Camera Choice - Have an old cellphone laying around? They can make a great first camera for kids! Most camera photos take great photos and if it's an older phone you are no longer using you don't have to worry too much about an accident occurring.
  2. Organization - Teach your child how to save and organize their photos (oh boy this is a tip I should listen and adhere to). Always name your pictures in a logical way so they are easy to find. When saving those photos, go through and delete any unwanted shots to free up space and make searching faster.
  3. Tell A Story - Encourage kids to use photos to tell stores. Ask them to take pictures the next time they're bored, to tell the story of their experience. It can be more than their literal interpretation of a thing.
  4. NO Chimping - Make a “No Chimping Rule” during outings. Chimping is the act of looking at your photos immediately after you take them and “oohing and ahahing” at every photo you took, something media professionals used to do shortly after digital photography was developed. Encourage your kids to experience the moment and not peek at their photos until the end of the event, outing, etc.
  5. Photo Editing - Let your child get creative with their photos by using photo editing programs like PicMonkey, Photoshop, Picasa, etc. Let them know that a photo editing program is like a dark room and that changing an image can be fun and great, but as a photojournalist, to tell a story, you never want to alter reality.  Don't use Photoshop to alter the true story in any way!

Image Via White House Photo by David Lienemann

MyShot Program:
My Shot is an online community of photos taken by children (average age is 9; max age is 17) that gives them a safe and secure place to share their work. Each month images are selected from the community that showcase settings, moments and beauty. Those photos then have the privilege of being displayed in the living room of the Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden's home, on a digital picture frame.

The partnership between Dr. Jill Biden and National Geographic Kids was announced in July of 2015 in dedication to celebrating the talent, creativity, and education of children!

“Joe and I are proud to bring the creativity of so many young photographers from across the country into our home and to see the world through their lens,” Dr. Biden gushed. “I am so impressed by the incredible talent and professionalism of these kid photographers, and I look forward to sharing their work with our family, friends and all those who visit the Vice President’s Residence.”

A couple of weeks ago I had the privileged of being on a conference call with Dr. Jill Biden who is a dedicated mother, grandmother, educator and Second Lady of the United States of America. She is so dedicated that she was grading papers two days after her husband was sworn in. Not only did she discuss her collaboration with the MyShots program but she also shared the import role parents and educators play in inspiring children to learn more about the world around them. She is truly passionate about getting children involved and said "As a teacher, mom and grandmother, I share your passion for encouraging our children to learn all about the world. Education has been my life's work." 

As a homeschool mom I really appreciated Dr. Biden's belief that parents and educators need to work together to help, guide and inspire children. I chose to keep my children at home for many reasons and one of them is that I feel the connection between parents and teachers is gone. Dr. Biden stated, “I think it’s up to the teachers and the parents to create that interest. Jill suggested several ways of sparking a passion, suggesting educators and parents work together and have a dialogue with kids about culture and geography by reading or watching quality programs that explore the world." 

One of the other things we discussed with Jill was how education has changed. Jill feels technology has become the biggest factor. She reminisced with us about her time in school as a little girl and even recalls the time she sat in the one room schoolhouse her grandmother used to teach at. Isn't that awesome? She still has the brass bell her grandmother used in her classroom! 

Jill is also passionate about women's issues and military families and has even written a book called "Don't Foget, God Bless Our Troops." She also works with closely with the National Geographic Bee a National Geographic competition designed to inspire students to be curious about the world.

To read more about Dr. Jill Biden and her work with the National Geographic MyShot go here.

So do you have a child interested in photography? If so be sure to check out these great resources. You never know your child could become a National Geographic Photographer one day!

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Sign Of The Beaver (Newbery Honor Winner) - Learning About Native Americans

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

We had tons of fun with the Poppins Book Nook blog series last year and we will be continuing that fun all throughout 2015. This month's theme was, "Newbery Honor Books" Keep reading to learn more about the book we read and grab some great resources. To check out all of our past Poppins Book Nook posts click here.

This month we read "The Sign of the Beaver". This was our second time reading this book. We chose to read it again because it ties in nicely with the Native American fieldtrips we have over the next few months. The book teaches children about what life was like during the 1700's for pioneers and Native Americanrs. It examines the relationship between two boys from different cultures who come to appreciate each other. In this fantastic survival story children learn details about living in the wilderness and the relationships that formed between white settlers and Indians. With each turn of the page came more excitement and the children begged me yet again to keep reading. Who says books aren't just as good the second time around?

Here are a few of the things we learned about: Maine, natural remedies, relationships, survival, Beaver Clan, stereotypes, cause and effect, values, story elements and more.

Additional Resources:
-Sign of the Beaver movie
-Pan Flute Craft
-Make Your Own Native American Instruments
-Native American Lesson Resources

Native American Journal Page:
I created this journal page to compliment an event we had earlier this year with Chipa Wolf. This FREE Native American Journal Page can be utilized with any Native American event or studies.
Here is a list of the wonderful bloggers participating in the Poppins Book Nook be sure to visit them for more fun ideas:

Image attribute: Melonheadzdoodles CollectiveCreation

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Why You Should Invest In Memberships?

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

As you may know I admin a large homeschool group for the Southeast United States, called SE Homeschool Fieldtrips. There are over 2,000 families now in the group and well it keeps me VERY busy which is why you don't see me blogging as much as I used to :) You see we have embraced a different way of educating our children. Rather than sitting at the kitchen table reading about animals, nature, wars, knights, etc in a textbook we go out and experience them. Don't get me wrong books are awesome and we love and use them a lot too (especially in the car while we are driving to our destination for the day), but we also take full advantage of the world around us. I have found that the experiences are more memorable and unforgettable. And that is one of the many reasons I created the SE Homeschool Fieldtrips Group. It is a place for me to share with other families the amazing, educational opportunities we have available to us. It is a place for me to share tips and tricks for fieldtripping and traveling with children. And it is a place for me to share my passion for experiential learning.

"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page" - St. Augustine
“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine - See more at:

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine - See more at:
In Georgia and our neighboring states there are endless educational opportunities for families. I often hear families say that they don't take advantage of these opportunities because of the expense involved with visiting some of them. And that is why today I am going to share some information about memberships and the reasons you should invest in them, how to save money on them and even how to get one for FREE in 2015.

Just about every museum, zoo, aquarium, history center, nature center, state park, amusement park, etc offers a membership of some sort. Since we cannot obviously purchase a membership to all of them every year we rotate our memberships. We generally have 3-4 memberships at a time. Some of our local favorites have been the HIGH Museum of Art, Georgia State Parks Pass, Fernbank, Atlanta History Center, Legoland Discovery Center, Zoo Atlanta, Elachee Nature Center and Chattahoochee Nature Center.

Reasons to invest in them:

  1. Save Money - of course the number one reason is that they save you money. Most memberships pay for themselves after 2 visits
  2. Special Perks - who doesn't love some special perks? With a membership you can almost always guarantee that you will receive discounts in the cafe and gift store. But you can also sometimes get additional benefits like early registration to special events or discounts on special events.
  3. Friend Benefits - sometimes things are way more fun with friends! Most memberships provide you with several guest passes that you can share with friends or extended family members. Some even allow you to bring friends for FREE (like Legoland Discovery Center on Friend Fridays, Atlanta Zoo). And others provide your friends with a generous discount every time you bring them (like the HIGH Museum of Art).
  4. Reciprocity - if you travel often than this is a great reason to get a membership, because you can take advantage of reciprocity benefits (FREE or discounted admission) at participating attractions around the country, thanks to programs like the AZA, ASTC, NARM, ACM and others.
  5. Discounted or More Accessible Parking - there are quite a few museums where the only parking available is paid parking. But if you have a membership you can receive discounted, FREE or more accessible parking.
  6. Tax Deductible  - many memberships are tax deductible possibly saving you even more money come tax time. 
  7. Homeschool Days - many attractions offer homeschool day programs and if you are a member they are often discounted or even included in the cost of your membership.
  8. Support - by purchasing a membership your money is supporting a cause/effort ie: art restoration, animal conservation, etc.
  9. Make Great Gifts - if you need to purchase a gift for a family and have no idea what to get consider an attraction membership. It is a gift that keeps giving and a great way for families to create special memories together.
  10. Endless Learning Experiences and Memories - museums, zoos, state parks, etc are not only fun, but they are also great learning experiences for both kids and adults. And they are a great way to create special memories with your family. 
  11. Changing Exhibits - exhibits, animals, and experiences come and go so you are always in store for something new at an attraction. Some obviously change more than others but by having a membership you can experience those changes and maybe even have some input into them. 
  12. Freedom - have you ever been to a museum that is so large that you are overwhelmed and worried you won't be able to see it all? Or maybe you visited a museum with young children...and ended up having to leave earlier than you wanted?  Well having a membership gives you the freedom to enjoy the attraction without feeling rushed, stressed and overwhelmed.

But you don't need to take my word for it....check out what some of my fellow homeschool group members have to say about why they purchase memberships:

  • "I love the freedom it gives us to explore places more deeply and fully, without feeling the need to see it all in one day. With a membership, we can spend 3 hours observing lions and not feel like we are missing out on anything else. We'll hit the other stuff a different day." - Betsy S.
  • "With a family of 5 to buy one visit is just slightly less or sometimes more than buying an annual pass / membership. So we usually get the membership. It is also nice when a membership has extra perks like a discount at the cafe or gift shop. I like memberships that include grandparents or extra kids. RECIPROCAL memberships are the BEST I love when being a member to one place gets us in for free or a discounted rate at another place." - Elizabeth M.
  • "We have several memberships , of course it saves money but for the major we really want to support the organization. The Atlanta Zoo, The High Museum , The Fernbank Natural History Museum and the Atlanta Botanical Gardens ETC... all have wonderful community programs. They give back in so many ways. Those are the memberships I feel are worthwhile for our family." Barbara BS
  • "I also like memberships for the discounts it gives us on things like classes, gift shops, parking, etc. We really like being able to take out of town friends and family places. Either our membership gets them a discounted ticket, or we can take them in with our family pass." - Christina G.
  • "A membership / and the membership card in my wallet is a gentle reminder to get out and enjoy life" - Alana G.

How to save money on them:

  1. Educator Discount - if you are a homeschooler or teacher ask about receiving the educator discount. Many of the Georgia attractions offer about $10 off memberships if you show them proof that you homeschool or teach in the public school system. 
  2. Split The Cost - many family memberships get in up to 4 kids and 2 adults. So if your spouse doesn't go often with you split the cost of a membership with a friend instead. 
  3. Deal Websites  - take advantage of deal websites like Groupon, Sweet Jack, etc. Often attractions offer membership deals on these websites sometimes saving you up to 50% off.
  4. Swaptember Savings - take advantage of Swaptember Savings which happens every September in Georgia. During the entire month you can show your membership from a participating attraction and save up to $10 off a membership or discounted admission at another participating attraction.
  5. 4th Grader FREE National Park Pass - in 2015 every 4th grader can receive a FREE National Park pass thanks to the Every Kid In A Park initiative. The park pass will benefit the entire family of the 4th grader for 1 year.
And there you have it! So which memberships will you be investing in this year?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Lego Americana Roadshow Comes To Georgia

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

We are a big Lego loving family so of course we were really excited to find out that the Lego American Roadshow was coming to Alpharetta, Georgia. This FREE special exhibit will be on display at North Point Mall from September 17th - October 4th.

The LEGO® Americana Roadshow: Building Across America is a travelling display of large scale LEGO models replicating some of our nation’s most well known landmarks.

Models include: US Capitol Building, The White House, Supreme Court, Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Statue of Liberty, Independence Hall, Old North Church and Liberty Bell. 

Image courtesy of On Milwaukee.

In addition to these models there will be mini-figure scale “Brickscapes” as well as a fully staffed hands-on Play Area for guests.

This week we are planning to check out this exhibit along with several of our homeschool friends. And guess what? We can totally count our visit to this exhibit as schoolwork because I made a scavenger hunt to go along with it that incorporates math, writing, reading, history, geography, science and more! Before you visit make sure you download your copy of this FREE Lego Americana Scavenger Hunt

You can also download a lesson plan courtesy of Park Meadows Mall.
After we visit this week I will come back and upload some of our photos!

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