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Dollywood Sevier County Days: $5 Admission If You Live or Work in Sevier County

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Here is a deal for all of you who live or work in Sevier County, TN- $5 One Day Admission to Dollywood  and Dollywood Splash Country How fun is that?!

It is happening June 4-10 at Dollywood and June 11-17 at Dollywood’s Splash Country.

Here are the details on how to get your tickets and who qualifies and who does not.

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If you decide to take advantage of this great deal be sure to read my Dollywood tips for your best day ever!

Help Zoo Knoxville Name Their New Red Wolf Pup!

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Zoo Knoxville is inviting the community to help choose a name for the first critically endangered red wolf pup born at the zoo in 23 years.

The feisty male, born at the zoo on April 30 to parents Sunny and Saaron, continues to thrive and will soon be venturing out of his den to begin exploring his habitat under the watchful eye of mom and dad. One of fewer than 300 red wolves in the world, his name will honor his birthright as part of the future of red wolf conservation in Zoo Knoxville has a special web site set up to accept suggested names, which can be submitted now through Monday, May 30.  We are still deciding on our name. 🙂

After all the names are reviewed, three options will be selected for the community to vote on beginning Tuesday, May 31 through Sunday, June 5. The winning name will be announced on Monday, June 6. Names can be submitted online here and through links on the Zoo Knoxville web site at or the zoo’s official Facebook page.

AND don’t forget kid’s get into Zoo Knoxville for just $5.29 on May 29, 2016!

Summer Chore Chart, Summer Schedule & How We Make It Work

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The summer chore chart. One little chore for each boy, each morning. It should take them 2-10 minutes. And yes, the brush your teeth, get dressed etc has to be on there or they will forget. :)

I shared my summer chore chart on Facebook last night and received A LOT of feedback.  Some encouraging, some wondering why I would make my kids work so hard in the summer, some asking how old they are, if I have a summer schedule….

So here is the truth.  I love, love, love when my household just clicks along and things are ordered and done on time.  I don’t really love, love, love schedules and planning.  This is a problem.  Keeping a big family running and relatively happy requires logistics matched only by Amazon or FedEx.     Enter chore chart and summer schedule. It is the only way.

It was not fancy.

If it were fancy and detailed it would never work around here.

For those of you who asked why chores in the summer. Because I think kids should do chores.  I just do. I want my kids to be appropriately self-sufficient, to understand there is a time to work and to learn to care for their things.  They are 10, 8, 6 and 4 so they have different, age appropriate chores.  For example, my 4 year old moves the mats in front of the sink and shower so my 8 year old can sweep. Also each chore takes only 1-10 minutes.

Another great question was how do I get my kids to do this without complaining.

They don’t always.

The first week is the hardest, then they just sort of settle into the routine.  Also, there is a little bit of bribery. If you look at the schedule below you will see “Free Time” from 7-8 in the morning. This free time includes being allowed to play X-Box, only if your chores are done for the day. They also know fun like the pool, splash pad for play dates do not happen if chores are not done.   **You have to be willing to stand firm on this, but in experience only once. They have to know mamas not playin’ when it comes to chores.  🙂  In our family peer pressure comes into play too.  They all work together to get their stuff done so we can go have fun.

(If you don’t think your kiddos should have to do chores in the summer that’s cool, we can still be friends. It’s your house, you are the boss.)

Our just enough structure summer schedule

Our just enough structure summer schedule

As for a schedule. Yep. We have one.  I have been working on it for a few days.  I could not decide what was going to be best and I made the nearly fatal mistake of looking on Pinterest.  Oh. My.   It had me doubting my laid back, written on notebook paper schedule in about 2 seconds.

But then I decided  it is my schedule, I can do what I want to.  Blocks of time work better for me. And this is more for when we are hanging around the house all day.

Here is the basic breakdown

You cannot get out of your bed until 7. (my boys are early risers)

7-8 Downstairs chores and free time

You can come up for breakfast

8-noon NON-electronic free time. Play outside, downstairs, do art, ride your bike, read, play with your baby sister etc.  (If you complain you are bored during this time you are referred to a chore for $ chart)

noon-ish Lunch

after lunch– Math flash cards or reading time then Free time again

4ish You are free to play electronics while I work on dinner

5:30ish Dinner

after dinner– 10 minute family pick up time

Free time until bed

If you have been considering a schedule or a chore chart I hope this post has helped you. It doesn’t have to be fancy and to the hour.  I would encourage you to try it. I truly believe my boys function a little better with a little bit of structure to their day.  I know it keeps me less stressed and more able to enjoy them while they are home.

If you are a mastermind at schedules and chore charts share your ideas!  I love learning ways to improve this operation.

 

Art for Kids Hub: Free, Fun Kids Art & Drawing Lessons

Obviously, shirts are optional in our house during the summer. :) this is how they sat for two hours drawing this morning

Obviously, shirts are optional in our house during the summer. 🙂 this is how they sat for two hours drawing this morning

So, I may be way behind the rest of you in finding out about Art for Kids Hub, but let me just say this- it entertained my four boys for about two hours this morning. TWO HOURS folks. It was fantastic.

It is fun site and YouTube channel that teaches kids how to draw all kinds of things. The boys, of course, spent some time on Minecraft characters today. They also checked out a few Inside Out characters, some Angry Birds and Abraham Lincoln. There are all sorts of characters, animals, vehicles etc to chose from.  There is little to no reading, so younger kids can easily participate. The videos are fun and the pace is slow enough that kids can draw along at home while watching.  There is a section for under 5 if you have preschool kiddos that love art.

They also have origami, sculpting and painting tutorials and seasonal projects.

If you are looking for a way to encourage your child’s art this summer, entertain kids on a rainy day or just clean the kitchen without them destroying another room 🙂  check out  Art for Kids Hub!

Here are just a few of their creations. My only problem is going to be displaying and storing all the art they create this summer!

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Thanks Casey for sharing!

Carmike Summer Kid Series 2016 Lineup Announced

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The Carmike Summer Kid Series 2016 has been announced. This summer every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday @ 10:00AM select Carmike theaters will host a Summer Kid Series. $4 includes admission, special drink, and special popcorn plus tax.

The series starts Monday May 30 through Thursday, August 3, 2016.

Here are the participating theaters in our area:
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And here is the line up:

ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS – ROAD CHIP

THE CROODS

EPIC

HOME

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

KUNG FU PANDA 2

MONSTERS VS ALIENS

RIO 2

THE PEANUTS MOVIE

THE PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR

You can go here to find a participating Carmike near you!

Don’t forget to check out free movies, free bowling, free fishing and free summer reading programs too!

Kids Get $5.29 Admission To Zoo Knoxville Sunday, May 29

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Just in time for the beginning of summer break and Memorial Day weekend, TNStars and Zoo Knoxville are offering kids, ages 4-12, $5.29 admission to the zoo on Sunday, May 29, 2016, to celebrate College Savings Day and raise awareness of the importance of saving early for education.

Representatives from the TNStars program will be at the zoo from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. to answer questions and provide more information.

 

2016 FREE Summer Reading Programs : Earn Great Rewards!

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Summer is here!  Time to get signed up for some of these awesome reading programs that will encourage you kiddos to keep reading and earn some fun prizes!

Tennessee Smokies Summer Reading Program

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If you live in East Tennessee this is a program that you will want to check out. The Tennessee Smokies Summer Reading Program is for Smokies fans 12-and-under.

There are five levels of participation that are to be completed by each child participating. To complete a level all your child has to do is read 10 books, 10 chapters, or have 10 books read to him/her (if your child is not reading yet). Once your child has completed his/her first level, bring the Level 1 reading program form to the ticket office at Smokies Park, and exchange it for prizes and free tickets to a Smokies game. We did this last summer and it was great! Here are the rest of the details:

LEVEL 1 – The Single: Two Smokies Tickets, Shoney’s Bookmark
LEVEL 2 – The Double: Two Smokies Tickets, a Shoney’s Pencil
LEVEL 3 – The Triple: Two Smokies Tickets, a Shoney’s & Homer’s Color Me Pennant
LEVEL 4 – The Home Run: Two Smokies Tickets, a Knoxville Zoo ticket & a Free Shoney’s Dessert
LEVEL 5 – The Grand Slam: Two Tickets to August 8th Reading Club Celebration Night at the Ballpark, 2 Meal Vouchers good for a Hot Dog, Bag of Chips & a Drink, a Smokies Card Set & a Shoney’s Healthy Kids Meal! Level 4 form should be turned in by August 1st to be eligible for the August 8th Celebration & Prize night.

 

Knox County Library Summer Reading Club

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Knox County Library’s Summer Library Club is a fun way to help children maintain and improve reading skills through the summer break. The program rewards kids of all ages for reading (or being read to) during the summer. Once kids reach their reading goal, they receive an awesome rewards package! Registration opens Saturday, May 21st.  You can register kids, teens and adults online or at the always super fun and FREE Children’s Festival of Reading  that is happening Saturday, May 21, 2016 at World’s Fair Park from 10 am – 3 pm.

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Prizes include a stretchy, flying superhero and a rewards book. The children’s rewards book is filled with vouchers for more than $200 worth of treats and adventures. Check out a complete listing of the rewards.

Keep track of your summer reading with the library’s printable Reader’s and Listener’s Logs.

Listening Log 2016 (for those not yet reading)
Reading Log 2016

There is no required book list for Summer Library Club, but if you’d like some suggestions to get started, download the Summer Reading Book List, with lots of super titles for kids ages 3-12.

Barnes & Noble Reading Triathlon

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Starting May 17th and through September 6th, Barnes & Noble will be hosting a Summer Reading Triathlon where the kiddos can earn a completely FREE book in 3 easy steps!

Step 1. Fill out the Summer Reading Triathlon Reading Journal (PDF). En Español (PDF).
Step 2. Bring the completed Reading Journal to your local B&N store. Find a Store.
Step 3. Choose a FREE BOOK from our selection on the Reading Journal list at the store… Enjoy reading!

Vote for your favorite hero and place: Download the Ballot (PDF).

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

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The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is a free online reading program for children that runs through September 9th, 2016. After registering, kiddos are to read as many minutes as they can, log their minutes and earn rewards.

SYNC

Sync

SYNC is a program that gives away two FREE audiobook downloads every week each Summer for readers ages 13+. (each week features a current Young Adult title paired with a Classic or Required Summer Reading title). Titles are delivered through the OverDrive app which can be downloaded for free. For more information, head here.

Book Adventure

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Kids from grades K-8 can head to BookAdventure.com where they can search for books, read them offline, come back to take a quiz and win prizes! Parents and teachers will even have the opportunity to track their child’s/students work (just click on the “Teacher’s Lounge” OR “Parents Place”). Go here to get started searching for a book and check out this video for more information.

Reading with Chuck E.

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You can download and print these Chuck E. Cheese bookmarks for all the books your kiddos are reading this summer!  They are good for 5 FREE tokens if you are dining at Chuck E. Cheese’s this summer. (one per child)  You can check you local store to see what other summer reading promo they are doing.