Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Winter Festivals Galore!

One of my favorite magazines for homeschooler inspiration, Family Fun Magazine, has created a pretty cool (NPI) list of family-suited Winter Festivals I'd like to share with you. You know, in case you'd like to bravely meet the source of the polar vortex head-on and embark on one of the best field trips ever! Just another excuse to get out and try something new...

·         Saranac Lake Winter Carnival
Saranac Lake, NY
Jan. 31–Feb. 9
Try snowshoe racing or cross-country skiing; enjoy concerts, dances, and parades; and watch the fireworks over the awesome Ice Palace at this 117-year-old festival.

·         Lake George Winter Carnival
Lake George, NY
February weekends
This lakeside celebration features beach bonfires, ice-diving demos, hot-air balloon rides, a giant snow slide, kite flying, and chili and chowder cook-offs.

·         Stowe Winter Carnival
Stowe, VT
Jan. 18–Feb. 2
Vermont’s best-known ski town goes all out with snow volleyball and golf, youth hockey and snowboard half-pipe competitions, ski racing, fireworks, and a kids’ carnival.

·         Montréal en Lumière
Montreal, Quebec
Feb. 20–March 2
This sprawling urban festival features light shows, guest gourmet chefs, life-size board games, a Ferris wheel, and a massive sled slide plus music, theater, dance, and circus performances.

·         Carnaval de Québec
Quebec City, Quebec
Jan. 31–Feb. 16
The world’s largest winter carnival boasts sleigh rides, snow slides, nighttime parades, an extreme canoe race, an ice palace, and more.

·         Winterlude
Ottawa, Ontario
Jan. 31–Feb. 17
Skate through downtown on a frozen canal, then check out the illuminated ice sculptures, annual bed race, the hockey classic, and the world’s largest snow playground.

·         Saint Paul Winter Carnival
Saint Paul, MN
Jan. 23–Feb. 2
Go geocaching and thrill to fireworks, parades, hot-air balloon races, sled dog competitions, and the bouncing team’s aerial acrobatics.

·         Fur Rendezvous
Anchorage, AK
Feb. 21–March 2
Celebrate Alaska’s heritage with the Rondy World Champion Sled Dog Race, the Running of the Reindeer, the blanket toss, outhouse races, and the native arts market.

·         Winterfest
Blowing Rock, NC
January 23-26
Family-friendly activities abound, including ski and snowboarding lessons, ice carving demos, hayrides, bonfires, kids’ games and crafts, and the Polar Plunge.

·         Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival
Steamboat Springs, CO
February 5-9
Watch ski jumping, cross-country obstacleracing, and the Dog Dash; compete in shovel and three-legged races; and cheer on the Lighted Man as he sets off fireworks down the slope.

·         Snowdown
Durango, CO
Jan. 29–Feb. 2
Activities all over town mark this annual winter blowout, including a parade, costume party, doggie Olympics, waiter/waitress race, and music.

·         Whitefish Winter Carnival
Whitefish, MT
February 7-9
A lake plunge, torchlit parade, horse-towed skiing (ski joring), battle of the bands, and pie social are all part of this kid-friendly fest.

A special Thank You to Allison Salzberg for sharing this awesome info and pics to go with it!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Baby It's Cold Outside! Polar Vortex and Other Things

The cold weather and a few cool videos I saw online have brought me out of hibernation long enough to share a quick post. I created a cold-weather worksheet for our science activity today, being the opportunist that I am! (You are free to copy and edit it to suit your needs, but please do not sell!) Experiment #4 was inspired by a good friend.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Saving Money: Group field Trip Tips and Other Discounts

I found out some cost-saving tidbits from chatting with a friend that I wanted to share with you. Coincidentally, it was on a field trip to Port Discovery I organized for our group (more about that in another post). We all saved each other so much money by going in together as a group and I was grateful to them for coming because it allowed us to visit the museum for half the price, and where we ordinarily wouldn't have due to cost. 

Organizing group trips is a great way to save. Some other ways to do it are: 

Homeschool Buyers Co-Op*- Aside from getting a steal on curricula, they also offer a free Educator's Card you can print yourself, that as you find places to use your Educator discount, will come in handy. They also have an at-cost option that they send to you for about $8.

Barnes & Noble Educator card (FAQs)- Homeschooler-friendly! 20% discount on purchases and it's FREE to join. Join in-store by bringing your LOI (Letter of Intent to Homeschool) and your Photo ID.

Amazon Prime, Student, Mom*- free shipping, streaming videos & 1 free Kindle ebook/month. Like Netflix on speed. (There's the regular Prime Account, Prime for students, and Prime for moms.

Baltimore Aquarium- classes are only $15/MD student and this includes the child's admission as well as 1 chaperone's admission/reservation. For additional chaperones, the admission cost is greatly reduced, or I'd recommend making a separate reservation for each child to allow additional chaperones in at no cost. Additionally, all MD schools visit the Aquarium FREE, although I don't think we fall under this category just yet.

Michael's- My local store has given me a hard time about using my educator discount here, but in all fairness, I didn't have my letter handy. All my friends have used their discounts at other locations with no problems, but we'll see what happens when I go back...And don't forget about their coupons online or the ones that print out with each purchase. I usually Google coupons right there in the store on my smartphone and take a screen shot of the barcode for quick access for them to scan it right from my phone at checkout.

Free Fall Baltimore & Smithsonian Museum Day- a great way to see museums and other attractions for FREE! Reservations are sometimes required so pay attention to that.

The National Gallery of Art and the Walters Art Museum have Art Kits available for loan or purchase.

Bolt Bus tickets are dirt cheap for what you get. For just a few bucks on travel, you can tour NYC for a day or see the Philadelphia Zoo & the Children's Museum. Routes vary depending on your start location so additional transportation (commuter train, subway or bus) may be necessary in order to reach your intended destination.

*While I am not yet a member, I've heard rave reviews about these things and plan to join up as soon as I am able. No one is paying me or giving me free stuff to say this, by the way, even though they should be!

Where are your favorite places and ways to save??