Saturday, April 19, 2014

Traveling Back In Time - A Visit To Historical Marietta, GA

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

Marietta, GA was established in 1834 and is located along the Chattahoochee river and historic Kennesaw Mountain foothills. This amazing city provides visitors and residents with a great selection of attractions, festivals & annual events, outdoor concerts, recreational activities, shopping and more! You will be swept away with the traditional Southern charm, hospitality, and history of this quaint, modern city.

A moms review:
Marietta was heavily damaged during Sherman's march through Georgia in 1864, but it still remains the proud home to numerous historic properties, five historic districts, and two Nationally Registered Historic landmarks. So as you can imagine there are lots of fabulous learning opportunities in this city for families. From December-April three of the historic museums located in Marietta come together to offer homeschoolers a special tour called "Home Front to Battle Front."

The three museums you can visit during the homeschool day are:
-The Root House and Garden Museum
-Gone With The Wind Museum
-Marietta Museum of History

At each museum you will learn about Marietta and it's role during the Civil War. The Heritage Passport is $12 per person and can be purchased at the Marietta Visitor's Bureau.

Here are more details on what we experienced at each of the museums:

Gone With The Wind Museum:
We started our tour at the Gone With The Wind Museum. Honestly I wasn't sure the kids would get much out of this museum since they had never read the book or seen the movie, but to my surprise they enjoyed our visit and learned quite a bit too (and not just about the book). The museum is located in the circa 1880 Old Thomas Warehouse building and houses an extensive collection of Gone with the Wind memorabilia.

"Step back in time to rustle of petticoats, cotton fields and plantations and the smell of gunpowder!" 

We had a fabulous guided tour of the museum which took us about an hour to get through. Through our knowledgeable tour guide and the amazing artifacts on display we learned about Margaret Mitchell and the impact she had on Atlanta, the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Academy Award winning movie Gone With The Wind, life during the Civil War and African American history. Some of the museum highlights are original Bengaline honeymoon gown worn by Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara in the movie, several of Margaret Michell's personal volumes of the novel, an educational display dedicated to the African American cast members, foreign editions of the novel, rare press and publicity books, costume pieces, actor contracts, scripts, promotional pieces including foreign film posters, premiere programs, conceptual artworks, advertisements and collectibles. Of course Gwyn was in awe of the gorgeous dresses throughout the museum...what little girl wouldn't? And Rowyn was totally digging the Lego plantation house!

If you are in search of Gone With The Wind souvenirs be sure to check out the gift shop. Special events are offered monthly, check their event calendar for details. Group rates are available.

Marietta Museum of History
Our next stop was the Marietta Museum of History. This museum has been open since 1996 and the galleries and exhibits are located on the 2nd floor of the historic cotton warehouse that was built in 1845. There are 4 galleries which include general history, home life, military and a changing special exhibit. There were several hands on learning experiences including cranking old fashioned music players (with staff member assistance), holding a Civil War rifle, playing with a switchboard, pretend playing in a Civil War hospital tent and more. We also learned about the historic building and it's progression through the 1800's. In 1855 it became the Fletcher House Hotel and during the Civil War it was used as a hospital and morgue....there are even some stories that it is haunted.  In one of the rooms there is a recreation of the 1860's hotel room where Andrews' Raiders stayed while plotting the theft of The General! There is so much to learn at this museum and all of the artifacts are amazing. They even have a fabulous educational guide available.

In 2010 the museum also opened an Aviation Wing (located at different location) which tells the exciting and important story of Aviation to Marietta and Cobb County. 

Special events and Museum Mice Tours (children ages 3-5) are offered monthly, check their event calendar for details. Group rates are available! There is also a great gift shop with period costumes and toys! 

The Root House and Garden Museum
Our final stop for the day was the Root House which was built in 1845. This home is located two blocks from its original location and is one of the oldest surviving frame houses in Marietta. Inside the museum you will get a glimpse of what the home life of a a middle class merchant and his family was like. Hannah and William Root were one of Marietta's earliest merchants and first druggist, and the first merchant to receive a shipment of goods on the Western and Atlantic Railroad.

Once we got inside we were greeted by a docent dressed in a period costume. She first led us to the parlour room which had some fantastic furniture and a working pipe organ. Next we went to the dining room to see first hand what it would have been like to have a family dinner in the 1800's. Afterwards we headed upstairs to check out the one and only bedroom. We learned about what their mattress's and pillows were made of, how they had to pull the ropes to tighten their mattress frame and where they went to the bathroom. We even got to see their nightgowns. Curious where the phrase, "good night sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bit" comes from? We learned that too! When we came back downstairs we headed to the back of the house where there was information about the home and the family as well as artifacts that were found inside the home and buried on the original grounds. We also got check out how an 1800's house frame was constructed. And the children made, "secrets."

Next we headed out to kitchen to see a working 1850's cookstove. On kitchen porch there were some 1800's toys and kitchen tools that the children were able to play with. There were marbles, checkers, a whisk, etc. Inside the kitchen we got to experience the sights, sounds and smells of an 1800's kitchen, it was like traveling back in time. The most interesting fact that I learned was why they kept a canary in the kitchen.

Outside Gwyn swept the yard and both kids got to try out the well. On our way out we took a stroll through the garden which contains a traditional Southern flower, herb and vegetable garden as well as mock beehives.

Special events are offered several times a year, check their event calendar for details. There is a small onsite gift shop with historic books and gifts.

I highly recommend all three of these museums even if you cannot attend a homeschool day program. Each of these museums provides amazing history lessons for the entire family. The docents and staff members were readily available for guided tours or to answer any questions we had.

Video of our fun day:

Extra details:
-The museums are stroller friendly and handicap accessible.
-Food and drinks may NOT be taken into the museums.
-Allow yourself about 3-4 hours to see all of the museums.
-There are a couple of free parking lots, but if it's a busy day you may have to pay for parking.

All 3 museums are easily accessible from this address.
1 Depot Street
Marietta, GA 30060

When to visit:
Homeschool day is from 10 am - 3 pm on select days from December - April.

Adults, children, seniors - $12.00 per person

*Individual prices for museums vary outside of homeschool day programming visit their websites for additional details.

Links to follow:
-Gone With The Wind Museum Facebook
Gone With The Wind Museum Twitter
-Marietta Museum of History Facebook
-Marietta Museum of History Twitter
-Root House and Garden Museum Facebook
-Root House and Garden Museum Twitter

*Prices indicated in post are subject to change.

Norcross Malibu Grand Prix - Hours Of Family Fun

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

Malibu Grand Prix Norcross has something for everyone! It's the perfect place for friends and families to get together and cut loose with fun, games, and food. Are you looking for a fun place to host your next birthday party, corporate party team building event, or family gathering? Then consider Malibu Grand Prix. Attractions include Go Karts, Arcade, Miniature Golf, Batting Cages, Bumper Boats and the newest attraction Buccaneer Cove. You can also find Malibu Grand Prix in California and Texas.

A moms review:
Our family spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Malibu Grand Prix in Norcross. We laughed, played and had some friendly competitions. I didn't know this place existed and am very happy that our family had the chance to explore all that it offers. We  received complementary champ passes in exchange for our honest review.

When we arrived we met with the friendly store manager who provided us with our Champ Pass with Buccaneer Cove wristbands. These wristbands granted us ALL day unlimited access to Buccaneer Cove (the newest attraction which opened April 4th), Miniature Golf, Bumper Boats and Go Karts.

Our first stop was the Miniature Golf area. There were 2 fun courses to choose from and each one had 18 holes. We opted for the"To LA via the Far East" course! They had adult and child sized putters and a variety of ball colors to choose from. My husband and I hadn't been mini-golfing in a very long time and it was only the second time the kids had been out. We were all a little rusty but after about the 5th hole we started getting better. We all had a blast! The kids loved the course structures and had so much fun following the roadway from hole to hole. There are lush greens, wild water features, windmills and more! Daddy came in 1st place!

After working up a sweat on the mini-golf green it was time to cool off on the Bumper Boats. Warning you will get soaked on this attraction! Daddy sat this one out so he could take some photos so it was me and the kids. They totally ganged up on me! The boats are easy to control so even young kids (as long as they meet the height requirement) can enjoy this ride. There were two steering sticks with buttons at the top, which would move the boat forward or launch the water cannon when pushed. They were very safe and life vests were available if you required one. And the pool where bumper boat adventure takes place is only 3 ft deep. The ride lasted about 5 minute but felt like a lifetime, especially when you are being attacked from all sides.

Next up was the newest attraction Buccaneer Cove! This was the kids favorite part of the entire day! They are already begging to visit the mini water park again! Buccaneer Cove is a blast for kids and adults! But if you prefer to sit back and watch your kids have all of the fun there are lounge chairs and covered areas. This super-sized water play area is five levels high with 5 slides, spray cannons, wet tunnels, spray loops and a huge splash bucket. The tallest and longest slide in Buccaneer Cove is 380 feet from start to finish, and was definitely the kids favorite!

Friday, April 18, 2014

OvenArt Bakeware Silicone Muffin Pan Review + Paleo Egg Muffin Recipe

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.
Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Made in the OvenArt Bakeware Silicone Muffin Pan!

A moms review:
I received a 12 Cup OvenArt Bakeware Silicone Muffin Pan to review. I did not inherit the baking gene from my mother. No matter how hard I try when it comes to using the oven for baking or even cooking for that matter, I tend to have problems with my culinary creations drying out, burning, sticking etc. That was until about a month ago when I realized that my poor kitchen tools were probably to blame. Who would have thought that silicone could make such a cooking that is!

This silicone muffin pan makes baking stress-free and scrub-free too (which makes my little dishwashers happy). It has solved all my baking problems and frustrations. Unlike metal pans, silicone does not rust, warp or wear down with use. And there are no harmful nonstick coatings to worry about either. This silicone muffin pan is oven, freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe!

The OvenArt Bakeware silicone muffin pan is made with 100% pure, high quality European silicone. And is BPA-free and filler free. Everything I baked in the pan easily slide right out. No sticking, burning or need for paper muffin cups. Cleanup is so amazing just rinse with soapy water or toss it into the dishwasher. The pan measures 12.8 x 9.7 x 1.2 inches and each cup holds 2.5 ounces and measures 2 3/4 inches across.

With this pan in your kitchen arsenal you will be able to create so many amazing treats and meals including muffins, cupcakes, crab cakes, taco cups, mini lasagnas, meatloaf name it!

This baking pan and silicone mat combo are the perfect gift for every baker and cook!

Paleo Egg Muffin Recipe:
The first thing I made in my new silicone muffin pan were these tasty egg muffins. My kids devoured them. Seriously my daughter had 5 of them!!! What we didn't consume for breakfast that day we placed in the refrigerator for the next morning. We popped them in the microwave for a minute or so the second day and they were just as good. They are also the perfect on the go breakfast!

-Olive oil
-6-8 pre-cooked sausage links
-8-9 eggs
-1/2 an onion, chopped
-3-5 mini peppers, chopped
-1/4 tsp of onion powder
-1/4 tsp of salt (or adobo)
-1/4 tsp of pepper
-A handful of baby spinach leaves
-1 cup of shredded cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease the silicone muffin cups with a little bit of olive oil. You really don't need a lot I just applied a little bit to a napkin and rubbed it into each of the cups. Also place the muffin pan on a cookie sheet for easy oven transfer.
3. Cut up the sausage links and place a 3-4 pieces into each muffin cup.
4. In a large bowl add together the eggs, chopped onion and peppers. Whisk well. Next add all of the spices into the bowl and whisk again.
5. Pour equal amounts of the egg mixture into each of the cups.
6. Add a couple spinach leaves and a little bit of cheese onto the top of each filled muffin cup.
7. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until eggs are completely done.
8. Remove from the oven and let them cool a few minutes. Then pop them out and enjoy!

Where to buy:
You can purchase the 12 Cup OvenArt Bakeware Silicone Muffin Pan on Amazon for $17.95! This high quality muffin pan is protected by the OvenArt "Better Muffin" Guarantee for lifetime assurance against defects and performance issues.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Peep S'mores - The Perfect Easter Treat

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

Easter is only a few days away and Peeps are lining grocery store isles patiently waiting to be taken home and placed into children's Easter baskets. But if you are looking for a fun way to make your Peeps extra special try this Peep S'more recipe! The kids will go crazy over them...okay and maybe moms too.

-Graham Crackers (broken in half)
-Chocolate Eggs or Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs

1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350°F.
2. Place a chocolate egg onto a graham cracker half.
3. Top the egg with a Peep.
4. Place your Peep S'mores onto a baking sheet and pop them in the oven for 2-3 minutes. Keep a close eye on them so the Peeps don't burn. *You can also use a microwave.
5. Once the chocolate and Peeps are melted, take them out of the oven and squish them with another graham cracker half.

*Note: In the photos I had put the graham cracker on before placing in the oven, but it works better if you do it after the chocolate and Peeps are melted.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Curiosity Quest DVD Review

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

Curiosity Quest is an upbeat, family, educational program which explores topics that viewers are curious about.  On each curiosity quest, host Joel Greene takes the audience on location for an unscripted, hands-on, educational experience. Curiosity Quest episodes are available on DVD as well as over 100 PBS stations throughout the country. These documentaries have no grade levels are great for families, homeschoolers, libraries, schools, etc.

A moms review: 
I have two documentary loving children! Seriously, my 6 and 8 year old watch at least 2 documentaries a day. So when the Curiosity Quest DVDs arrived they were pretty excited and couldn't wait to pop them into the DVD player. As a matter of fact we watched all six episodes in one day! We received the DVD Combo Pack - Produce and DVD Combo Pack - Swimmers of the Sea. Each of these combo packs has 3 episodes and each episode is 30 minutes long. These DVDs geared towards children ages 7-14, though younger and older children will definitely enjoy them too (I know I did and I am way older than 14).

Currently Curiosity Quest has 6 seasons and Curiosity Quest Goes Green has 4 seasons. These educational, factual documentaries cover topics such as animals, careers, the environment, recycling, vehicles, sports, food and more. Curiosity Quest DVDs can be purchased individually or through a monthly membership. For homeschoolers there are also annual and monthly homeschool membership options which include corresponding curriculum (follow up questions, projects and activities).

What are you curious about?

What to expect in each episode:
In each episode the engaging, funny host, Joel sets out on a quest to answer a question that has been sent in by a child. The documentaries are done in a hosted, participatory format. Your family will follow Joel on location where he investigates, experiences and learns first hand about the topic. There are no graphics or animations just real live footage.

First Joel introduces the viewer letters or videos that inspired the curiosity quest episode. Next he provides brief information on the location (city, state, etc) he is traveling too. Several times throughout the show Joel cuts to children, parents and experts to present fun facts or answer questions. Some of these questions include, "what do penguins eat" or "why don't penguins fly." After the children and parents provide their answers to the questions Joel asks the experts to answer. My children had a blast answering along and couldn't wait to see if they were correct, it was totally like a show of Jeopardy! There are lots of great vocab words introduced throughout the episodes as well, like preening, molting, husbandry, etc. Finally Joel encourages viewers to send in their letters or videos!

More episode details:
Here are more details about the two DVD Combo Packs we received.

DVD Combo Pack - Produce - (Mushrooms, Cranberries, Orange Packing)

In this episode Joel answers the question about how mushrooms are grown. Not the mushrooms in the woods, but the ones we buy at the grocery store and eat. Joel visits the largest commercial mushroom grower in Watsonville, CA to get the answer. Viewers will learn about what mushrooms are and the process that is used to make commercial mushrooms. Joel takes viewers step by step through the growing, picking and packaging process.

Do you love cranberries? I do. In this episode you will travel with Joel to Wisconsin to learn about harvesting cranberries! Joel battles flooded cranberry fields and cold weather to help viewers learn more about cranberries, cranberry bogs and more!

Joel takes viewers to Dinuba, CA to a commercial orange grove to learn how oranges are harvested. Viewers will learn about the various types of oranges and how they are grown, harvested, sorted and packaged.

DVD Combo Pack - Swimmers of the Sea - (Sea Turtle Rescue, Penguins, Salmon)

Sea Turtle Rescue

Are you curious about how fast a sea turtle can swim? Did you know that many species of sea turtles are in danger of becoming extinct? Join Joel at the Sea Turtle hospital in Marathon, FL where you will find the answers to these questions and many more. Learn about the important work being done by the dedicated sea turtle hospital staff who rescue, rehabilitate and release sea turtles everyday.

In this episode Joel visits Sheep Creek in Juneau, AL to learn about how salmon are maintained and protected. While at the salmon hatchery viewers will learn about the process of rehabilitating salmon, why salmon swim up stream, the 5 different types of salmon (sockeye, king, pink, silver, chum) and more.

In this episode viewers visit The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA to learn about penguins. Topics such as what they eat and how and where they live are discussed in this up close and personal episode. You will also learn that penguins have 100 feathers per square inch!

Documentary printable:
To compliment these fantastic DVDs I created this documentary journal page. This journal page is great for any documentary including Curiosity Quest. Get yours here for FREE.

Gwyn (8 yrs old) and Rowyn's (6 yrs old) review:
Gwyn, "I liked all the episodes, I cannot pick just one. I learned a lot about penguins. The guy that does the show is really funny!"

Rowyn, "The DVDs are good. My favorite one was episode was the mushroom one."

Links to follow:
-Curiosity Quest Website
-Curiosity Quest Facebook
-Curiosity Quest Twitter
-Curiosity Quest YouTube

Where to buy:
You can purchase Curiosity Quest DVDs directly from the website for $19.95- $24.95. The DVD Combo Pack - Produce and DVD Combo Pack - Swimmers of the Sea are $24.95 each. Monthly and yearly memberships are also available.

Click here for more Curiosity Quest reviews from the The Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Click to read Crew Reviews

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