Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Minecraft Super League: Summer Splash

This is a sponsored post via US Family Guide.

Minecraft SuperLeague is coming back to a movie theater near you for a week of summer gaming fun!

Treat Your Kids to MINECRAFT Summer Splash in a Movie Theater! This time around Minecraft Super League will include an exclusive underwater-themed MINECRAFT game on the big screen!

July 18 - 22, 
9am - 12 noon. 
Get tickets at https://superleague.com/buy-tickets 
Save $10, use Promo Code: USFAMILY10

Minecraft in a movie theater

Want to read our review from the most recent round of Minecraft SuperLeague gaming? Click here.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Frazzled Mom? Organization That Works

This sponsored post contains affiliate links.

Are you frazzled by your family's hectic schedule and chaotic household? I AM!

Get rid of clutter

US Family Guide has offered me a copy of Debbie Lillard's "A Mom's Guide to Home Organization," and I'm excited to see if this simple process will really work. This book walks you through tips for organizing your time, your stuff and your space. The second half of the book addresses how to teach your children the life skill of being organized. Can you imagine how much easier life would be if the kids knew how to keep the house clean as well? This book is written by a busy mom for busy moms.

Check back soon to see how it helps get my home's clutter under control!

Want to try it yourself? Click the image above or the link below to purchase it on Amazon.

Minecraft Super League Recap...AWESOME!

This activity was sponsored via US Family Guide.

Play Minecraft in a theater

A few months back I shared with you a discount code for the Minecraft Super League coming to movie theaters all across the country. Today I'm back to share a first-hand review. Skipping all the way to the big picture, yes, we will definitely participate the next time it comes around!

Due to an unexpected scheduling conflict, I enlisted the help of my friend Wendi, and her son, Geoffrey, to attend the 4 week event. It might not surprise you that they volunteered un-hesitatingly...Here is their report:

The first week was primarily for working out technical issues. There were about 25 kids in our theatre, arranged in stadium-style seating, as well as 3 super helpful, positive, encouraging staff members. The participants played a series of building phase rounds and then combat phases while the staff quickly diagnosed and tweeked any problems. The final combat round was intense!
When signing up for Minecraft Super League you have the option of forming a team with other friends or joining an already existing team. We had received our information quite close to the event and so Geoffrey arrived unassociated with a team. Wendi reported it was not a problem:
Arriving the first day we picked up our badge and t-shirt and then had the opportunity to mingle and form a team. The teams were pretty fluid so kids could try out different groups until they found one they really liked. It was fun hearing all the fun gamer tags (translation: profile/character names). Two of our favorites were CheesecakeLlama and TheUnderMiner (that one's pretty clever, get it...?) 
Play Minecraft in a theater

 When I inquired about the logistics of getting set-up the first day, Wendi had this to say:

It lasted for about an hour & a half, but went by so fast! There were some power cords available but they strongly recommended we charge our laptops ahead of time. Also, Logitech (a corporate sponsor) provided a few mouses to borrow just in case kids forgot them at home (oops, that was us!) Next time we will come earlier to make sure we have plenty of time to get to know the other kids better.
So that was Week 1. At the end of the month, 4 sessions later, I caught back up with Wendi and Geoffrey to see what they thought after it was all over. They said:
The three staff members were very nice and responsive to questions or concerns throughout each session. I was especially grateful that they had some extra equipment because we forgot our mouse twice!
I noticed a few parents like me chose to stay through the whole time, and we were absolutely welcome to do so, but a bunch of the kids had parents who did the drop off/pick up thing, or just sent their kids as part of a school group. I especially enjoyed hearing my son interacting with his fellow team members, whether it was building their superhero homebase, fighting zombies, healing each other, or creating their group image for a guess-the-word game.
The pacing of activities during each session (such as combat, free build time, announcements, defend your wither, platform/winner's cheer, etc.) perfectly helped keep their interest the entire time. It was crazy to see how fast time flew by, even for me!
Each session lasted about the time of a standard movie, but it involved sooooo much more than just sitting and being entertained. The kids experienced teamwork, communication, problem solving, creativity, seeing locations/events from different perspectives (both their own laptops and the big cinema screen), performing under stress, long term project work (working on the builds all four weeks), and feeling a part of a group all across the nation (when the screen showed team names and scores from tons of different cities).
The whole experience sounded amazing! The only constructive criticism Wendi had to share with the company was a desire to have the event sponsored closer to where she lived. In Utah there were 2 options, but both fairly close to each other in Salt Lake City. It'd be great to have them spread out in outlying population centers. Your location may indeed have that, but ours unfortunately did not. 
Her only advice for other parents?
Form a team in advance and sign everyone up together so they can more easily communicate during the week or relay information if someone is going to miss a week.
That primarily was my fault this time because we signed up quite late, but I can say that the process to form a team and join together seemed very straightforward when I was logged into the system.

Doesn't Minecraft Super League sound awesome? I'd love to be able to play my favorite video game on an enormous movie screen. Click the banner below to find an event near you and find a $10 discount coupon.

Want more information on what 
Minecraft Super League is and how it works?

Friday, June 24, 2016

How Did We Survive Before Free 2-day Shipping?

This post contains affiliate links.

About once a week, I spend a few hours scanning through Amazon looking for products that intrigue me and I think might intrigue you as well. Today, I'm fixated on how we really kind find ANYTHING we need and have it shipped to us in just two days with Amazon Prime Free Shipping.

What in particular has caught my attention today? This Kidcraft Backyard Sandbox...

We have an in-ground sandbox at our house and my boys spend hours there contentedly playing together. What I love about this particular version is
  1. It would conveniently fit in a smaller backyard, yet be big enough for more than one kid to play
  2. It comes with a mesh cover to protect the sand from critters while the kids aren't playing
Click the image for more information.
Interested in getting free 2-day shipping? Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial.
Don't forget the sand toys...click here.

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Share it with your friends on Facebook using the buttons below!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Inflatable Swimming Pools for the Backyard

Summer is here and I have it in my mind that this is the year we get the kids an inflatable swimming pool for the backyard. Yes, the cousins have a real in-ground pool less than a mile away, but I want the kids to be able to put on their swimwear in the morning and run around splashing whenever they want.  Amazon has so many options, I don't know which one I will choose!

{The links in this post are my affiliate links to Amazon products}



Which inflatable pool would you get?

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Container Gardening E-Guide

Interested in gardening, but don't have a lot of space? This 17-page eguide offered by Craftsy is packed full of information spacing, how to pair proper plants together, gardening basics, and more. 

Start the summer off with the right tools and you'll reap the rewards come fall!

This post contains affiliate links. 
Any purchase that results from clicking these links will result
 in a small commission being paid to the writer.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Super League Gaming Discount

This post is sponsored by Us Family Guide.
My family will receive tickets in exchange for sharing.

Do your kids love playing Minecraft with their friends? How much more cool would it be if they could play on a full-size move theater screen! Now your family can play Minecraft in select movie theatres with Super League Gaming. 

Super League brings together gamers of all ages for a fun, social, face-to-face gameplay experience on the big screen with superhero themed maps and mods in a custom Minecraft adventure called, Rise of Heroes.


Bring your laptop with Minecraft 1.9.2 installed and play first-person on your computer. Then, wirelessly connect to Super League's server which puts you and everyone else in the movie theater's gameplay up on the big screen. Parents and siblings can attend for free to watch and cheer their gamer on.

Your gamers will play, collaborate and socialize on teams with 4-7 members their own age as they build, battle and use their creativity and imagination. Super League even provides all the tech help and support making this a great family-friendly event.

It's all about teamwork and collaboration. Each player gets a free gaming t-shirt encouraging team building and camaraderie. There's even an opportunity for the winning team to evenly split a college scholarship. 

Leagues start April 30. 
Visit Superleague.com for a schedule of times and locations.

Use promo code "USFAMILY10" today for an exclusive $10 discount!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Preparing For Summer Mosquitoes (And A Fun Giveaway)

This post is sponsored by Orkin and solely for the purpose of sharing information.

Are you prepared for the summer? It seems like it is coming so fast this year! Playing out in the backyard yesterday with my kids I was looking around at all the places I know bugs and mosquitoes will love to hover when the warmer weather gets here. I had already started thinking about what I could do to the yard ready for them to carelessly play, and then this information from Orkin landed itself in my email...

I can remember a time as a child when Orkin would come to the house trying to get rid of a cockroach problem we had, but as an adult I'd never thought of how they might be able to help me and my own little family. But they have actually put together some great resources on dealing with mosquitoes and other summer time pests that taught me a thing or two. I especially liked the information in this short video...

Are you prepared for mosquito season this year?
At Orkin, they use the latest technology and unparalleled training to develop an effective treatment that's right for your needs. To learn more about our pest control based in science or to schedule an inspection, visit orkin.com or call 1-800-800-ORKIN.
Orkin on Facebook: facebook.com/OrkinPestControl 

Ask The Orkin Man® on Twitter: twitter.com/TheOrkinMan 

Orkin YouTube channel: youtube.com/user/OrkinVideo

Once you're confident your yard is ready for the kids to play, they are going to need something fun to do! Orkin has given us a great prize package to give away to one lucky reader...

To enter, use the giveaway widget below...

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