Family Day Trip to Water Country in Portsmouth, NH #summerbreak #WCFamilyFun #NH

Disclosure: I was provided complimentary tickets and parking to visit Water Country in Portsmouth, NH with my family.

Day out with Kids at Water Country #WCFamilyFun with Promo Code

Last Monday I packed up the Town & Country to head off for a two hour drive to Portsmouth, NH where the family would enjoy a day out at Water Country. I had a total of four children and two adults in the vehicle and we were ready to head off. The biggest thing that saved our long trip? The Nabi Tablet and Squiggle Pads. The two tweens had their cell phones to entertain them as well.

Upon arrival, we checked in and grabbed our complimentary tickets for admission as well as our cabana. We were all really shocked and excited when we saw that our cabana was a luxury one, versus the lower end cabana options. While all of the cabana’s looked great and gave some privacy, the one we had looked over the wave pool and lent us just enough privacy that we didn’t end up using a locker for our stuff.

Water Country Cabana Rates:

  • Diamond Hill Builders Party Deck — Fits up to 20 adults and is furnished with 3 large tables with 4 chairs each under a shade canopy and 6 lounge chairs. Price ranges $249-$299.
  • Pool Side King Cabanas & Captain’s King Cabana — 8 people with a table, 4 chairs and 4 lounge chairs. Price ranges $150/140.
  • Poolside Jolly Roger — 6 people with a small table, 4 chairs and 2 lounge chairs. Price ranges $129/$119.
  • There are many other cabana options available that will lend you a shady place to rest and group back up with those who come with. Visit WaterCountry.com and click on Cabana’s, under Plan a Visit option.

Tips on choosing the best cabana for your visit; be sure that the location of your cabana suits your visit needs. For example, had I been strictly visiting with just my two younger boys, I would have been best suited to have a cabana located near the Pirates Lagoon as that was my sons’ favorite spot at Water Country.

 Day out with Kids at Water Country #WCFamilyFun with Promo Code

Once we were all settled into our cabana, we wanted to take a walk around the whole Water Country site; this was our way to figure out what there were for rides and where various places were located so that when we split up to be boys with boys and girls with girls, we all knew where each other were located. There were so many rides to choose from, I was very impressed with my daughter for trying this Double Dive Boggan water slide. Basically it’s really high up, you have to carry your mat up to the top, lay down face first and lunge down this water slide. My sons absolutely loved it, even if I had a bit of a heart attack watching my sons be that high up! My daughter, who has a really big fear of heights loved this ride, but only for one time. It was simply a little too much for her preference, the sons’ and their Dad went down it a bunch!

Once we started going on various rides, we got to know how nice most of the lifeguards are here. You see, when you visit a place like Water Country, there tends to be a lot of young adults being the lifeguards and these days you never know what personality they will have. Thankfully we were blessed to have some pretty kind and compassionate lifeguards to tend to us, if we had any needs. My middle child is high functioning autistic, so that brought on some challenges, but the life guard at the shack to the Wave Pool showed his true colors in customer service. I was overall very pleased with all but one lifeguard who was a bit overwhelmed it seemed, in how the coverage was for those watching people on rides and how kind each of them were.

Day out with Kids at Water Country #WCFamilyFun with Promo Code

I must admit, once we all found Thunder Falls, that is where the family spent all of their time. We must have spent an hour at this one ride. I loved that I could stand at the bottom and take pictures. The four children went on by themselves; ages 12, 11, 7 and 5. I allowed them to go up the stairs alone and onto the raft; which is a huge deal because I rarely let my sons out of my sight. I felt very safe here at Water Country, at all times!

One piece of advice for planning your visit to Water Country is to think about what works best for your family, when I was choosing a date to go, I chose a Monday because I was hoping the place wouldn’t be as packed. My  middle child doesn’t do well waiting in long lines but honestly, even towards end of day about 5pm when the place started to get packed, the lines were moving really quickly. The staff on hand at all rides were really good at keeping the lines down so that everyone could enjoy riding over and over again!

Day out with Kids at Water Country #WCFamilyFun with Promo Code

We ended our day with a few pictures to capture those who were here this day; on the left is my ex husband and our two son’s, on the right is my daughter and youngest with my daughter’s best friend and in the middle is my son, Aj eating up some fried dough for the first time! On our way out, I treated the children to two fried doughs. They split the dough in half so boys shared with boys and girls shared with girls. The fried dough was about $6 and it was HUGE, certainly enough to share among at least 2 people!

Our overall experience was fantastic! The kids are asking when can we go again this Summer, and I certainly think I will be adding Water Country to our day visits next Summer because it really was a great experience from start to finish, even for my autistic son, which makes me smile big!

If you are planning a trip to Water Country in Portsmouth, NH anytime soon, I have a promo code for you:

Use code Blog30 to save $3.00 off the $38.99 admission price this Summer 2014 season at Water Country.  Click here to visit Water Country’s website to purchase your tickets today!

 

 Have you been to Water Country before, or a water park in your area? What was your favorite part of the water park?

 

 

Summer Break Sleep Overs

I have always wanted to be that home for kids, a place to be a “home away from home” so to speak for any and every child. One thing that is actually important to me is to be a part of the foster and adoption system some day and help kids who are a ward of the state or need a place to stay during the time their parents work to get in a better place, so it’s no wonder that my children love having their friends over here at my house. I make the home cozy for kids but we do have rules, boundaries and expectations; it’s not just a “kids run all” place either.

With that being said, my daughter wanted to have her bestie over for the first weekend after school ended and so I allowed that to happen with permission from her bestie’s parents. What better way to ring in the first weekend of Summer break than do have a fabulous sleep over weekend event?

Sleepver over fun for summer break in NH

We went for a swim and had a family fun BBQ at my Dad‘s with a day trip there. Livy, my sister, the three boys, my boyfriend, Dad and step Mom all had a blast. We played pretend volley ball with a blow up ball and pretend net. We ate good food. we laughed and just had such a fun day.  Sadly, one thing about having a home where you encourage people to be who they are and kids to be kids, is that occasionally the youngest will take full advantage of being a kid and do something like this …

Crazy Five year Old

Needless to say he lost all privileges to markers in the van for a long, long, long time after he arrived home looking like this. That is a mix of mud, chocolate ice cream and highlighter. On. His. Face.

Fire Pit Sleep Over NH

Later on that night we decided to start up the fire pit and had a lovely marshmallow roasting event where some had marshmallows and some had smores. Aj had hotdogs, because he doesn’t much care for roasted marshmallows nor smores.

Roasted Marshmallows

It was such a blast being able to have this celebration of a summer sleep over to start summer with a bang! I am glad to be able to enjoy this type of fun with little to no money spent, after all I am a simple person who doesn’t believe in spending a ton of money for fun!

 

 

Rough Play for Kids Teaches Respect, Ethics and Boundaries

My two sons love to rough play and when they first started out with rough play, let me tell you what, I cringed! I really had to get used to the idea that rough play was fun for these too rough n tumble boys, and figure out ways to supervise that allowed them the fun with rough play. Through watching my two sons play rough, I have seen what it is that rough play actually teaches these boys and I am now an avid promoter of rough playing.

What Life Lessons Kids Learn from Rough Play

Many parents who come around, that are not parent to boys cringe at the idea that I allow my boys to play so rough. I have to explain this same scenario out to everyone who hasn’t had this experience; with rough and tumble kids. I want to be clear, girls can be just as rough and tumble as boys, they can learn the same skills that boys learn from this rough and tumble play so please be aware that this post may be focused on my sons, this pertains to girls as well.

What Kids learn from Rough Play With Supervision

Many nights a week my sons wish to wrestle before we start our end of night bedtime routine. If both boys are game, I allow them to wrestle which really involves some major rough housing. Take note: this is not hyper rough play, it’s calculated rough play where they each work to win the other. The goal, I believe, is usually for one of them to be pinned down over and over again. Poor Aj who lacks some fine motor skills, ends up on the ground more often than not. One rule to rough play for me, as the parent supervising, is I want to see that each have a smile on their face – meaning they look as if they are enjoying it. Rough play is for enjoyable fun, not for one to have a blast beating the other one up.

My little man started off these rough play adventures with a very arrogant side, he is my most self absorbed child which I feel is somewhat normal for his age group. I have had to work really hard to teach my little man to respect the boundaries of Aj and to really learn the cues Aj puts out there when he is genuinely hurt or simply not having fun anymore. Little man has come so far in learning his brothers cues and 99% of the time he does respect those boundaries. Each listen to ensure that they are not physically harming the other but boy do they take a beating.

Each love to grab and throw the other around, karate chop each other and simply run in a circle giggling a lot. They get rather rough to a point where I have to shut my mouth, the Mom in me will probably never be used to this rough play stuff, but it’s so important because it teaches some important life lessons and helps the boys learn how to handle testosterone boosts they will experience most of their lives.

Kids Learn life lessons with Rough Play

What Kids Learn From Rough Play

Sportsmanship - If supervised properly your children will learn sportsmanship through rough play. Each allowing the other to take turns, each respecting the other winning and being happy the other one. Each attempting to compete in a healthy way with each other.

Boundaries of Other People – If supervised properly your children will learn the boundaries of the sibling they are rough housing with. For example, the boys know when to be rougher with each other and when to be a bit more careful as they have learned to read each other as well as their sister when rough playing.

How to Handle Frustration – If supervised properly your children will learn how to healthily take out frustrations and testosterone boosts, your sons will have boosts of testosterone and frustration being of the male species, rough play has actually been researched and proven to help teen boys handle testosterone fluctuations better as well as learn to handle conflict properly.

Friendship, Bonds and Sibling Love – If supervised properly your children will learn to have a sibling bond of love and friendship with their rough playing partner, each having learned the three skills and lessons above, will eventually have a larger level of trust for each other, as well as the outside world.

Do you have rough and tumble kids? Do you feel they are learning some important lessons through this play? What lessons do you think they learn?

My Theory Regarding Chores for Kids

When my kids were super young we had a chore chart up on the fridge, I created it and it worked awesome. At some point it was magnetic and at other points it was simply a tally mark system. Each child had set chores, for the boys brushing teeth was even one of those chores to encourage good teeth brushing habits. The tally mark would represent a penny or nickle, whatever it was back then. Each child could lose a tally mark though, if they misbehaved or didn’t follow rules at some point. It was a wonderful system that worked well when the kids were not in school. Now that my three children are in school and with the sharing of parenting between two households, it’s not so easy to utilize the same methods. Here is why my kids really only have tasks during the Summer break season.

I believe that the school year is a time to focus all your efforts on school work, each of my children get A and B grades, this past year my oldest actually got straight A’s all year. They are good students. They also have to live between my home and their Dad’s home, each having different visitation schedules. To me, having to keep up with chores while going between households and keeping up good grades isn’t worth adding a daily chore list to. While I still will ask my children to help around the house, as I believe a strong family bond is created when we all work together to ensure our household is up kept, they don’t have a real chore list during the school season. This has worked for us very well.

Chores for Kids Living in Co Parenting World

My kids are never over scheduled nor over worked during the school year because I allow them the time to focus on school versus a huge list of chores. I believe this is a worthy thing, their school is their job. Being part of the family is their job too, when you have a huge list of school work plus chores plus fun time, it creates this hectic environment and can put kids backwards; they will fall behind in some part of that huge list of to-do’s. I wish to encourage my kids to excel and find a balance, reality is a chore list during the school year will not help them balance because it’s near impossible for them to get all of that done while getting school work done. It doesn’t work.

When summer break hits, the kids are asked to do more around the home. My oldest is asked to handle the dog in the morning while I do my morning shift on Moms.com. The younger two are expected to pick up after their own self; such as dishes in sink after eating, trash thrown away and toys picked up if moving onto another toy. I am not consistent with this at all times, because I am still working on this balance of having all three gone all school year in school, but overall if I ask they do whatever it is that is asked upon them. Summer break to me, is a time to spend with family outings, bonding time and also keeping up with household chores and yard work. We all do our part to keep the family running smoothly and efficiently.

With my oldest, she has an iPhone and part of her Summer list this year is to do tasks for me so that my blog stuff doesn’t fall too much behind between my juggling my job at Moms.com and my freelance work. I don’t get any flack, after all my daughter is already a tween blogger with her own two blogs so helping me pays for her $40 a month cell bill while she also learns the “trade of blogging”. It’s a win/win for us both and she feels accomplished knowing she is working for me at some level. I am working on creating her Summer task list now, it will be no more than half hour a day when she is here to complete and I think that’s fair.

I believe that chores, in a blended household, where the children tend to go off to their Dad’s frequently must be balanced well. I want the children to enjoy being here with Mom and enjoy being away with Dad while also maintaining a good family bond and good character. At the age my children are at, the chores during school year are more a means to just upkeep around here, but during the Summer months, they are certainly expected to help more. I think with blended households and co-parenting most families do it all different while other families still try to maintain this normal level of a regular family where the children have a boat load of chores at both households, I don’t see that as fair. I want my children to grow up enjoying their childhood while still teaching them life lessons; they know when Summer time comes they will be expected to help more around the home, but their reward is a lot of fun family time.

Having a balance is important in every area of my life and my kids have become the same way; I believe that is why we are well rounded, well adjusted and adaptable, outgoing people.

Best Way To Survive Outings with Kids this Summer

It’s summer break and you want to be able to enjoy your children, I see so many parents counting down to the time school starts. Then when school starts, they count down to summer because the school schedule is a pain sometimes. It seems many parents are always counting down to the next whatever – be it summer or school. Stop. Enjoy the time you have with your kids, whether they are being totally awesome and getting along or having a case of sibling rivalry ALL DAY LONG, enjoy those moments. Time flies too quickly to not cherish every moment, yes even those patience testing times.

Here is how I survive summer (and other times of the year) with my three, very different children:

how to survive Summer outings with children

Always be proactive – you know how your kids work and what makes them tick. Planning ahead for things that will entertain them, allows the long drive to be more tolerable. For me, the middle child enjoys electronics as a means to keep himself occupied during a long trip, so I charge up the Nabi Tablet and encourage it being shut off when he’s not using it (as I don’t have a car charger for it at this time). For the other two, they bring along some small toys, coloring book and crayons or paper to play tic tac toe. Plan to have everything packed up and ready the night before to ensure you don’t forget anything!

Set Expectations – Let your kids know what you expect of them. If they are not acting properly in the car, I don’t care where you are, pull over and stop that vehicle. Do not yell and scream and get all stressed out because your children are not behaving, sure I get it, stopping and pulling over will make the trip take longer, but it’s worth it to teach the children that you will stop if they don’t behave properly in the car. Also let them know what you expect of them at the outing, such as not running off, staying a certain distance when walking with you, etc. One thing I do with my youngest, who is a bowl full of energy, is that he can run ahead a bit til I say STOP. He must stop when I say stop and not go again til I yell GO. This keeps him from having to restrain his energy, but also keeps him at a safe distance. If he doesn’t listen, I make him hold my hand, this involves him screaming, yelling and being pretty mad, but he learns that is the consequence and I don’t care if people “stare” at us, I am being the Mom.

Have Fun and Be Happy – Seriously, it’s as simple as that. Sure it can be stressful and overwhelming to be at a packed beach or facility, with kids, but get over it! If you set the expectations ahead of time, follow through with a matter-of-fact consequence things get easier. Do not allow yourself to think “well this kid knows better” or get all grumpy because your child isn’t listening. Kids will be kids. They will test limits; they will see what they can pull off, especially being out in public. Let your child know they have a consequence but have fun, don’t get all tense over having to “deal with your child”, it is going to happen, children will make the same mistake over and over sometimes too, it’s all about teaching them how to not keep making the same mistake. Get down at their level, have fun, be silly and let loose. Just because you are laughing, having fun and letting loose doesn’t mean your child won’t respect you as a parent, they actually will learn to listen to you more because they will trust you are able to get down on their level and enjoy this Summer outing.

I am sure I could go on and on with more tips, but these three have been the best for myself, what are your extra tips you may have that work for your family? Do share in a comment below…

 

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