Challenge Accepted: 2018 British Soccer Camp

This post is brought to you through our partnership with US Family Guide who made it possible for Evan to attend British Soccer Camp in exchange for our review and honest opinions. All opinions are 100% our own. 

Summer is almost in the books, can you believe it? Evan spent a week at British Soccer Camp honing in on his soccer skills as he prepares for the YMCA’s Fall Soccer program. While we’re still not clear which position he loves to play (because he seems to like them all), we are clear that he really loves soccer thanks to this program.

2018 British Soccer Camp in Pittsburgh

This year was a ‘lil special for the Bigs in a few ways. First, Evan was old enough to be at camp for the full day program, meaning Pappy took him at 9 and picked him back up at 4. He was also responsible for putting on his own sunscreen and eating his lunch – both of which he took seriously!

Next, you’ll notice I said the Bigs! Arianna went with Evan on day one for the “Bring a Buddy” day. While she still loves her softball, she’s fallen back in love with soccer thanks to camp and will also be playing this fall!

While Mama & Daddy didn’t do the pick-up or drop-off, Pappy gave us the details. This year, the camp was at Denny Field in Shaler and it was five days of playing outside. There was a picnic shelter and the Soccer Club opened the concession stand, too. The coaches (from around the globe) were friendly and young, definitely committed to teaching the kids soccer skills!

I stopped in to see the last day’s World Cup game, but I missed it. They played a few World Cup games each day and on the last day represented their countries. Evan loved this. And just like we shared in our intro post about the camp, he got his jersey, t-shirt, and ball in addition to the skills and character building. We’re so proud of him (and Arianna)!

British Soccer Camp

About British Soccer Camp

British Soccer Camps are the most popular soccer camp in the US. With an innovative curriculum that develops skills, speed and confidence in players ages 3-18, The British Soccer Camp provide boys and girls with the rare opportunity to receive high-level soccer coaching from a team of international expert’s right in the heart of their own community.

In addition to teaching new skills and improving game performance, each British Soccer Camp provides lessons in character development, cultural education and is the most fun your child can have learning the sport they love!

-Source: US Family Guide

If you’d like to learn more about British Soccer Camp and save on registration in your local area, use code BSC18 on the Challenger Sports website.

Pittsburgh Summer Camps: British Soccer with Challenger Sports

*articles may contain affiliate links* This post about British Soccer with Challenger Sports is one such post.

Do you remember how much fun Evan had at summer camp last year? He participated in British Soccer with Challenger Sports for a week-long soccer camp and the time has come to start thinking about registration again!

Pittsburgh Summer Camps: British Soccer with Challenger Sports

We’re lucky here in Pittsburgh to have several options for the soccer camp in the area this summer. There are locations around the city that are sure to be convenient for all of us ‘Burghers. If your soccer player isn’t ready to take on a full day program, there are also half-day options available.

Our friends over at US Family Guide filled me in on why this camp is the place to be this summer:

British Soccer Camps are the most popular soccer camp in the US. With an innovative curriculum that develops skills, speed and confidence in players ages 3-18, The British Soccer Camp provide boys and girls with the rare opportunity to receive high-level soccer coaching from a team of international expert’s right in the heart of their own community. In addition to teaching new skills and improving game performance, each British Soccer Camp provides lessons in character development, cultural education and is the most fun your child can have learning the sport they love!

Evan highly recommends this camp. If you would like to enroll your child in a British Soccer Camp near you (not limited to Pittsburgh!), use code BSC18 when you register for camp and get a free soccer ball, jersey, t-shirt, and new skills app (over $100 in gifts)! The jersey will be mailed to you immediately (free shipping with this code!) and you can start practicing at home with the new skills app.

Follow along on Twitter with @ChallengerCamps and be sure to follow @usfg for family-friendly fun near you.

British Soccer with Challenger Sports

TurnGram: A Great Way to Remember

This post is a partnership between our blog and US Family Guide. They provided me with information on TurnGram as well as a free trial of the service in exchange for my opinions here in this post.

Raise your hand if you are one of the few people who still print photos. Ok, now are those photos from your phone? And how often do you find yourself doing it? Let me clue you in – I might have been a scrapbooker in the past, but the days of me printing off photos have long passed. That doesn’t mean that I’m not wishing I still did, though!

TurnGram

TurnGram to the Rescue!

Enter TurnGram. It is a hassle-free service to have your photos delivered directly to the door of your friends and loved ones. I simply signed up for their service (linked to my Instagram account) then monthly they mail me select printed photos based on instructions I provided. Mine were to be of photos of my kids! How do you think they did?

How to Set up TurnGram

For a few bucks a month, TurnGram will select photos from your Instagram feed based on instructions you provide and deliver them directly to the door of your friends and loved ones. You simply go to their site and link your Instagram account, tell them who you’d like photos sent to, and voila!

Here are some examples US Family Guide suggested as I set up my TurnGram account (if you don’t enter something like this, your Instagram bio will auto-upload to your TurnGram, so make sure that’s nice and detailed!):

“I would like to get photos of my family, my latest vacations, adventures, and trips. I’m planning to display them around the home (fridge, home office, living room). Please focus on sending me photos of family (Include their names/IG handles if you have them) so that the pictures in our home don’t get too out of date (kids grow up so fast!).”

“I would like to send my mother (Maria Eastman) photos of my family on a monthly basis. She loves to display photos around her home and show her guests recent pictures of the grandkids. So please make sure to include the kids in your photo selections as much as possible.”

“My wife and I have a newborn baby girl. I’d like to receive a monthly TurnGram to my office so that the photos in the frames on my desk stay up to date. Please send me mostly photos of my wife and daughter.”

“I just got a new puppy! He’s only 6 weeks old and I know he’s going to grow up super fast. I want to TurnGram my parents monthly pictures of their furry new grandchild! If you include some photos of me, I think they’ll enjoy those as well :)”

Putting pictures of the kids in the office or in the hands of the grands – that right there is a great busy mom hack, isn’t it?

I was pleased with my service and am looking forward to seeing what the next few months of my service bring. I’ll also be thinking a bit more as I take and post photos – you never know what ones might show up in the mail!

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This deal ends on January 1, 2018!!! 30 Days Free of the Most Unique Holiday Gift – Get your first month FREE when you sign up for TurnGram today! No coupon code required. 100% money back guarantee if you are dissatisfied with our service in any way. Don’t miss out! Sign up today at turngram.com!

Darien Lake: Our Visit

*articles may contain affiliate links* I worked with Darien Lake through a blogger partnership with US Family Guide. They sent us tickets for a visit in exchange for this post.

Summer is all about family fun and memories, right? Well, our fall has started and I’m really confused by the weather – it’s still been a bit steamy in Pittsburgh! We took advantage of this nice weather one weekend in September and took the kids and my bestie for a getaway to New York. One part of our visit was to Darien Lake amusement park, a highly suggested quick road trip from the Pittsburgh area!

(Note – if you’d like to visit Darien Lake, you’ll need to wait until 2018. Their Harvest Festival ran September 16 – October 1, extending the summer fun just a ‘lil bit!)

With plenty to do for kids and adults, I really felt this was the best park for our kids’ age range (2 to almost 9). Just like any good park, you enter through a midway of games, shops, and food, but once you get past that the entire park is walkable and not too spread out. The smaller kiddo area (Beaver Brothers Bay) is sort of in the middle of all the excitement, so if parents need to split up the older kids, it is nice and easy.

There really wasn’t anything ride-wise that we didn’t get to do in about 5 hours on a relatively quiet Sunday “fall” afternoon at the amusement park. Like I noted, we visited during the Harvest Festival; however, we never did get a chance to head over to the area with the food trucks and beer. (The kids were having too good of a time!)

Greg and Tom got to experience The Viper which celebrated its 35th “birthday” this summer. Greg says, “It was fun, it was pretty intense and I didn’t stop yelling until we came to a stop!” With several loops and a tunnel, it definitely belongs in Darien Lake’s “Thrill Ride” category!

Darien Lake The Viper

Missy and I kept things pretty low key, enjoying watching the kids but also laughing lots on Grizzly Run, a wet ride on “rapids”. (I’d really been wanting to ride a rapid ride with Greg, this was our first chance to do this because our local park closes our rapids down for the fall!)

We ended the day with a classic fish pond game, too! Our trip to Darien Lake was definitely full of fun and memories that will last a lifetime.

If you’d like to visit Darien Lake, check out their website for details on the 2018 season!

Review of The Freeloader Child Carrier

This post is a review of the Freeloader Child Carrier. I received product in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

A few weeks back, I hinted that I’d be getting a child carrier that would be useful not just for the twins but for The Bigs, too. Do you remember me telling you about the Freeloader? Well, it arrived and we’ve been using it to test our backs out for when the twins are big enough to use it by taking Evan up to the Rails to Trails right off our backyard.

freeloader child carrierNote – The Freeloader Child Carrier should only be used with children ages 2 and a half and up (the twins are just a few weeks shy of that) and when they weigh between 25 and 80 pounds. They should also be between 33-50 inches tall. (That means Ava is going to be carriable again soon! Isla has some height to gain, but the way she’s been eating lately, that’s going to be soon, too!)

Like anything new, The Freeloader takes some getting used to. “You’re not going to run with him on here, that’s for sure,” said Greg when he tried it out with Evan.

It’s true. I got pretty sweaty while wearing it and even though I know I’m strong, it still was a core workout. We’re not going to be signing up for any 10-mile hikes while wearing it anytime soon.

While I was carrying Evan on the trail, I wondered what people thought. The three girls were walking around and I was carrying Evan, the sportiest of them all. But then I didn’t care. It’s pretty cool to have a carrier that supports a bigger child – and my mind went to friends who have kids with special needs, how it would allow them to go on adventures, too! Great news, Freeloader has a community for parents of kids with special needs! They’re steps ahead of me.

Preparing for our adventure

The girls can’t wait to be worn again, and we’ll work up to bigger adventures than just our trail. The Freeloader Child Carrier is slim enough we could take it to amusement parks or festivals (it only weighs 5.8 pounds).

Wearing in Prep for our Walk

What We Liked: The Freeloader Child Carrier

  • It is lightweight but sturdy.
  • The straps around the hips and around the shoulders distribute the weight evenly.
  • I ordered a medium Freeloader, and it is just the right size for me and for Greg, even with our height difference.
  • The foot straps for the kiddo!
  • As our kids grow, they’ll still be able to use it, up to 80 pounds. Arianna’s even taken a ride!

What We Didn’t Like: The Freeloader Child Carrier

  • The padding, while super comfy for both parent and kiddo, got me sweaty. Either that or it was our September Summer, but I still think it would be warm on a normal day, too.
  • While I agree the carrier is well worth it, the price is a bit out of our range as twin parents. If we wanted two, we’d be shelling out almost $600 (they are $299 a piece). Also, if you and your partner are different heights, you want to consider this in your purchase.

All-in-all, The Freeloader will be a go-to for our times exploring the world around us. Greg’s excited to have it as an option for next summer’s Wildlife Wednesday adventures. I’m excited to have Ava close by without her pinching and tugging at me to “Up! Up!” without support. Definitely a series of wins.

If you’d like to get a Freeloader Child Carrier of your own, you can save 10% when you use the code freeloaderfun when you use this coupon. See more at myfreeloader.com and find Freeloader on Facebook. Freeloader is also available on Amazon.

 

British Soccer Camp: Success!

*articles may contain affiliate links* This post about British Soccer Camp is one such post.

Do you remember what Evan really wanted to do this summer? He was super excited about spending a week at British Soccer Camp at Pittsburgh Indoor Sports Arena – and he did it! 

Last week, he (and Arianna) stayed with Pappy and Grammie so he was nice and close to the camp. (We live about 35 minutes away and six year olds go to half day camp from 9 to noon – huge kudos and thanks to my parents for helping make this easy on my commute!) While he didn’t tell us much about camp specifics, his excitement to get up each morning without Pappy having to encourage him speaks volumes. (This is a boy who sleeps like a rock and does not like to wake up.)

soccer camp

The week started by me and my dad dropping Evan off – we wanted to meet the coaches and get all the logistics covered. (Which can I just say that British Soccer Camp makes this so easy – they sent some reminder emails before the week started and included a release form that allowed my dad, mom, and uncle to get Evan throughout the week. We printed that off and had no issues all week – super easy.)

Evan was the third kid to check in, but would have been first if he didn’t have a I HAVE TO PUT MY BRITISH SOCCER JERSEY ON NOW moment in the van once he saw the coaches walking into PISA wearing their jerseys. He was younger than the other two kids and said to me, “good thing I’m small, I’m going to outrun them cause I am so fast from not running in a while”. Hmmph! This was seconds before he pushed me out of the bench area and said to go to work ’cause he was good and settled. Well then, looks like we have a Beckham on our hands?!?!

My dad handled camp the rest of the week and he was impressed with the ease, the facility (and staff), and coaches. Evan was exhausted after each day but definitely loved it.

On the last day of camp, we took the whole family plus Pappy and Grammie to watch the campers play a game and get their awards. Coaches James and Diego also gave the kids an evaluation – lines right up with what we’ve been trying to work with Evan on.

After a week of camp, Evan definitely shows that he loves playing defense over anything (sorry, Coach X, but we think he will try to do some more goalie work soon, too!) and is still all about fairness on the field. He’s looking forward to his fall season at our local Y, but keeps asking if he can do camp again next year!

British Soccer Camp

While summer might be coming to an end, there are still some several options for the soccer camp around the country. And keep watching – they’ll be back in Pittsburgh next summer!

British Soccer Camp

Before we signed up, our friends over at US Family Guide filled me in on why this camp is so special:

British Soccer Camps are the most popular soccer camp in the US. With an innovative curriculum that develops skills, speed and confidence in players ages 3-18, The British Soccer Camp provide boys and girls with the rare opportunity to receive high-level soccer coaching from a team of international expert’s right in the heart of their own community. In addition to teaching new skills and improving game performance, each British Soccer Camp provides lessons in character development, cultural education and is the most fun your child can have learning the sport they love!

Want to keep in the know? Follow along on Twitter with @ChallengerCamps and be sure to follow @usfg for family-friendly fun near you.

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What camps did your kiddo participate in this summer? 

 

The Freeloader Child Carrier

*articles may contain affiliate links* This post about the Freeloader Child Carrier contains information provided by US Family Guide. I’ll be reviewing this carrier soon and will share my personal opinions with you then!

Where are my baby-wearing moms and dads? My hand is raised high, but my babies aren’t so much babies any more, so wearing them hasn’t happened as much as I’d like. Now that the twins are two, they’re bigger and less interested in being worn. But to be honest, sometimes it would make life so much easier to be able to wear them.

That’s why I am excited to be sharing information on The Freeloader child carrier with you – and soon you’ll get to see us using this carrier in action! Can’t wait to see how the girls do with it!

Freeloader

According to my friends over at US Family Guide:

The Freeloader is the First Child Carrier Built Specifically for Toddlers! It is a new, better child carrier. Compact, lightweight and portable, the Freeloader child carrier uses advanced materials and design to create a better experience for parents who love spending time with their kids.

Whether you are traveling by air, going to the zoo, or hiking with your little ones, the Freeloader is ready to help carry the load. When not in use, the Freeloader’s integrated aluminum seat folds up neatly to the size of a daypack. The Freeloader is a perfect fit for parents that want a lighter, more versatile carrier. The Freeloader features an easy-to-use, 5-point safety harness. The safety harness is specially designed to fasten securely and safely out-of-reach of your child.

The Freeloader provides wide, ergonomic shoulder and waist straps to evenly distribute your child’s weight to your hips and core. The contoured shoulder straps are adjustable and provide extra padding for comfort and support. Padding in the back panel and seat offers extended comfort for your child.

The Freeloader is small enough to carry-on and stows away neatly, making it perfect for air travel, road trips and more!

I can just imagine how this will revolutionize Greg’s Wildlife Wednesday hikes, can’t you? And for me, I’m excited to give it a try the next time we go to the zoo – Ava had me carry her far more than I expected (and she hates the stroller).

If you’re intrigued and can’t wait to see my review here on the blog, head over to the Freeloader Child Carrier website or find them on Facebook.

Bonus: My readers get to take 10% off your Freeloader Child Carrier when you enter the code “freeloaderfun” at checkout. Enjoy!

Tell Me: Did you baby wear your kiddos? When did you stop? Where was the coolest place you carried?

Road Trip Idea: Darien Lake Theme Park

*articles may contain affiliate links* This summer, are you and your family going on any road trips? We’re planning one to Darien Lake Theme Park in New York. This theme and water park is just a short four hour drive from Pittsburgh with plenty of fun for the whole family to have.

Darien Lake Theme Park

US Family Guide provided us with some information on what makes Darien Lake Theme Park a great place to visit:

Darien Lake’s wide variety of entertainment has made it “destination fun” since 1964. Located 45 minutes from Niagara Falls between Buffalo and Rochester, N.Y., today the park boasts more than 50 rides, including six world-class roller coasters; dozens of family-friendly rides; the region’s largest water park complete with wave pool; a 20,000-seat performing arts center, operated by Live Nation; and world-class in-park entertainment.

There are rides for the thrill seekers and rides for the kids. If you’re a coaster fanatic, the Viper is celebrating it’s 35th year – making it older than me!

Darien Lake Viper

Have you been to Darien Lake Theme Park before? (I have, with youth group many years ago!) We might even do some camping along with our visit (tickets are included if you camp!), or even glamping! Visit their website (darienlake.com) to schedule your visit today. (Tickets are free for 2 and under and start at 29.99 for 3 and up.)

Need some Road Trip Packing Tips? Check these out!

Brick Fest Live Pittsburgh

*articles may contain affiliate links* Are Yinz excited for Brick Fest Live Pittsburgh? If you love building with toy bricks (Lego if we’re being specific), then you’ve got just one more day to catch this fun event that came to our city this weekend. The ‘lil Burghers got a chance to check it out today (thanks to US Family Guide) and are here to tell you it is awesome!

Brick Fest Live Pittsburgh

Brick Fest Live Pittsburgh

This event is in Pittsburgh at the Monroeville Convention Center on Saturday, July 15 and Sunday, July 16, 2017 from 10 AM to 6 PM each day. Tickets are required for anyone 3 and up (my readers save $3 off tickets with promo code USFGTHREE on EventBrite).

From US Family GuideEnjoy an amazing LEGO world where you can marvel at giant creations and even build some of your own. The Brick Fest Live LEGO Fan Experience provides a venue for LEGO lovers of all sizes to celebrate, build new creations, and see some truly mind-blowing LEGO sculptures to help set the imagination free.

If you are on the fence about going, but have builders in your life, make the time to go! Check out our Facebook Live video tour (note that I didn’t video the back room, but there are photos below to share some of that too).

brick fest live

Attractions Include:

The Brick Show Experience: Meet popular YouTube LEGO show hosts from The Brick Show and be featured on in an upcoming video.

Brick Fest Derby: Build and race your custom built LEGO derby car down one of our 35-foot long timed tracks!

Collaborative Building Activities: Contribute to large-scale mystery floor mosaic.

Inspiration Stations: Add to existing LEGO cities and make them your own by building custom creations.

Video Game Arena: Have a favorite LEGO video game? Come challenge your family or make new friends in the Brick Fest Gaming Arena playing your favorite LEGO title head to head.

Mini Golf: A miniature golf course built to inspire! Take your game to the next level on the Brick-Links.

Brick Fest Theater Trivia & Entertainment: Participate in LEGO trivia all while taking a break from what will be an overwhelming amount of awesome!

Mosaics: Using a colorful variety of LEGO bricks, build a piece of art to proudly display for other attendees.

Shopping: Find new, vintage, rare, and custom LEGO sets and merchandise from one of the many merchants in attendance.

Our Experience at Brick Fest Live Pittsburgh

We took advantage of the Saturday afternoon session and because the twins are 2 (2 and under are free), all six of us went. While most of the activities are geared toward the bigger kids, Ava and Isla seemed to enjoy all of the stations we visited. Take a look at how the day went for us:

Remember, if you don’t have tickets for Sunday, you can still get them here for $3 off with code USFGTHREE. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel to see the video recap of the day (and this event)!

Tell us: What’s the coolest thing you ever built with LEGO?

Evan’s Summer Wish List: British Soccer Camp

*articles may contain affiliate links* This post about British Soccer Camp is one such post.

What does Evan want to be when he grows up? A soccer player.

That’s why I’m not at all surprised when he was full of delight when I asked him if he’d be interested in spending a week of his summer focused on soccer skills. I didn’t even have to bribe him with “you’ll get to ride to work with Mommy and maybe we’ll stop for coffee one or two days”, because he’s just that into soccer. Score.

We’re lucky here in Pittsburgh to have several options for the soccer camp in the area this summer, with locations around the city that are sure to be convenient for all of us ‘Burghers. If your soccer player isn’t ready to take on a full day program, there are also half-day options available.

British Soccer Camp

Our friends over at US Family Guide filled me in on why this camp is the place to be this summer:

British Soccer Camps are the most popular soccer camp in the US. With an innovative curriculum that develops skills, speed and confidence in players ages 3-18, The British Soccer Camp provide boys and girls with the rare opportunity to receive high-level soccer coaching from a team of international expert’s right in the heart of their own community. In addition to teaching new skills and improving game performance, each British Soccer Camp provides lessons in character development, cultural education and is the most fun your child can have learning the sport they love!

Sounds like it will be a great experience for our future soccer star, right? If you would like enroll your child in a British Soccer Camp near you (not limited to Pittsburgh!), use code CAMP17 when you register for camp and get a free soccer ball, jersey, t-shirt, and poster (over $100 in gifts)! Follow along on Twitter with @ChallengerCamps and be sure to follow @usfg for family-friendly fun near you.

British Soccer Camp Kids