I’ve Changed My Attitude About Summer School Work Packets, Here’s Why..

I have so many mixed mommy emotions about my kids in school. My kids attend public school in a small town. The school has consistently had high ratings in the state. Most of the teachers are either teachers I had myself or were people I grew up with that became teachers. I feel like the odd ball out though when I say I don’t look forward to back to school. See, I LOVE having my kids home for the summer. Having them home for the summer means I feel like I have more leisurely time with them. There’s no mad rushes to get off the bus, do homework, eat supper, and run out the door for a practice or school event.

I always cringe at the end of the school year posts of parents dreading summer vacation. Teachers with post saying “tag your it”. I felt like there was something wrong with me counting the days down until I can spend all day with my kids. Yes my kids can drive me crazy, yes my kids can be loud, make messes, and get into mischief. But I realize one day all of it will be gone and I’ll miss it. Now as we prepare for another school year, I’m sad that my kids will have to go back to school. Sure they don’t seem to mind. Yes it’s necessary. Yes I’ve considered homeschooling but it just doesn’t seem right for us.

More than once my kids have brought home a thick envelope filled with school worksheets, journals, and lessons the teacher felt they should do over the summer. More often than not, I tossed it to the side only to be forgotten about. My kids got bogged down with homework during the school year I’m not going to do that to them over the summer!

But, this year my daughter brought home the ole summer packet and again I considered tossing it to the side and forgetting about it. But initially, it became used strictly for unplug time. Worried about brain drain I’d have them read or do the school work packets. I found my daughter actually enjoyed doing hers.

Then as I observed her and oversaw the activity, I realized what concepts she had already become rusty with. One that we struggled with today was counting by 2’s (she just finished Kindergarten). Then I realized the value of these packets. She had a journal to keep for the summer and she couldn’t wait to write about her trip the the movies, her time at soccer camp, and the fireworks on the 4th of July.

I realized my youngest son hadn’t brought a summer packet home so I searched for a summer reading program for him that would give incentive for him to read. He’s already read 6 books this summer. Another 2 books and he gets a free book with this program. It gave him a goal, a purpose. My son honestly enjoys reading anyway but there seems to be a new motivation with the program.

We also add in our own hands on and education activities like our trip to the National Aviary, learning about local history, crafts, and more. If I’m to be honest, I think the summer school work packet has given me a new found interest in finding activities that correlate with what she need to review. I realize it gives my daughter a good start to the school year. While I still dread sending my babies away for 8 hours a day, at least I’ll know I did the best I could to make it a smooth transition.


Windber Recreation Park – Summer Staycation Series in Western PA

So far we’ve previewed the Pittsburgh Children’s Film Festival, took a visit to the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, attended Challenger Sport Soccer Camp, and we’ve been enjoying the local recreation park.

Windber Recreation park known as Windber rec or simply “the rec” has a lot to offer for a leisurely low cost day. With tons to do on any day of the week and even more to do with special events like Wings and Waves, Windber Wine in the Park, and much more.

The park offers picnic tables and charcoal grills that can be used for a spur-of-the-moment picnic. There are also plenty of pavilions that can be rented for parties, reunions, and other events. From small pavilions to the enclosed dance hall with kitchen. Pavilion rental information is here.

As far as things to keep you entertained there is a nature trail, skate park, playground, volleyball nets, basketball court, tennis courts, and a fenced dog park. Many local enjoy walking or jogging the park for exercise. There are restroom facilities throughout the park. One of the big draws in the summer is the public pool that features a twisty slide and two shot gun slides. There are also changing facilities, showers, restrooms, and a concession stand available in the swimming area. Note: you can not bring coolers larger than 14″ inches into the pool area. We like to pack a small cooler bag with a drink and light snack when we swim. They do have lifeguards on duty.

Special events like the Wings and Waves in a popular event that brings in local eateries to offer a selection of wings to try and you vote on your favorites. Each Thursday 3 new eateries offer 3 different flavors of wings each. Buy a ticket to try a dozen wings of any flavor you’d like then enjoy an evening swim.

For local residents, getting a pool pass is well worth it especially when the days get hot. If you purchase one the end of April or early May you can get it at a discount. To visit for the pool for a day it’s $6 for adults and $5 for children. We invested in a pool pass this year and it has paid off for us. We are visiting 2 to 3 days a week at least as weather permits.

You could easily make a day out of the Windber Recreation park. Walk the nature trail, let the kids play at the playground, have lunch at one of the picnic tables, then go swimming. Or maybe play some basketball or tennis.

The Windber Recreation Park is the guaranteed low budget fun in the Johnstown, PA area.


Challenger International Soccer Camp 2019

For the 2nd year in a row my kids participated in the Challenger International Soccer Camp. My son is 10 and my daughter is 6. They both ended up being in the same 1/2 day camp.

Our group was very small. Only about 5 kids. I thought this was amazing though because the kids got so much attention. I was a little worried about my daughter only being 6 in with kids several years older than her and being the only girl. The other boys were very kind to her and the coach was very encouraging.

We had a couple days of rain so the camp was done in the school’s gym.

My kids really enjoy the Challenger International Soccer Camps. They learn new skills, they make it fun, and they get to meet other kids from around the area. They are sincerely interested in learning. As a mother it’s great to see how well the coach worked with the kids. I liked that they were given homework each night of camp to learn more about international soccer and other counties.

At the end of camp the coach hand wrote feed back for each kid both positive and brought each kids up to talk about their critique. I really feel like the kids get a lot out of the camp.

If you register for a camp at least 30 days in advance you get more for you money by getting a soccer ball, camp T-shirt, 2 jerseys, and access to the app that allows you to practice skills.

Register now for Challenger’s International Soccer camp and get a free international ball, t-shirt, poster, skills evaluation and new downloadable coaching app & 20 skills videos! Register 30 days before camp and qualify for a free International Game Jersey! https://www.challengersports.com/international_soccer

We received 1 tuition free in order to complete this post. Any opinions expressed are my own.


Simply Earth Essential Oil Recipe Box – June Box Sneak Peak

If you prefer to wait until you get your Simply Earth Essential Oil subscription box for June to see what you get then don’t read any further. For the first time, Simply Earth is letting the ambassadors give a little sneak peak into the box before most people get them.

If you’re not familiar with Simply Earth essential oil recipe box I’ll tell you. Each month is a new theme. Each box contains 3-4 full size essential oils, recipe cards, ingredients to make the recipes, labels, and containers. This is one of the best and most affordable ways to build your essential oil collection and learn how to use your essential oils. Simply Earth essential oils are 100% pure. They do not use MLM networks to sell products.

Alright, onto the preview, this month’s box has a few things to help you with your summer plans

Your box will contain everything pictures. As you get more subscription boxes you’ll amass quite the collection of essential oils and recipes. Here’s a closer look at the recipes you can make this month.

Right now, if you subscribe to the Simply Earth essential oil box and use code: ANGELABEECHANFREE you’ll also get a FREE $40 gift card you can use on just about anything on the site. Use it for more ingredients, use it for more essential oils, use it for a diffuser, whatever you want.

This post contains affiliate links. I will get a small commission from sales made through my links.


2019 Pittsburgh Children’s International Film Festival

Discover the odd, colorful, and delightful world of children’s cinema this summer at the 2019 Pittsburgh Children’s International Film Festival. Join us July 26 – August 1 for week-long line up of children’s films that range from blockbuster hits to fun and quirky international flicks.

The festival will feature several Pittsburgh premiers, as well as the best short films from the 2019 New York International Children’s Film Festival. Complimentary special events, guest appearances, and hands-on activities are planned throughout the week.

The festival will be hosted at Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville, which will play movies at a lower volume to protect young ears and provide kid friendly snacks at select screenings. In the spirit of the festival, children are welcome to move around the theater, chat, and just be kids.


SAVE THE DATE July 26-August 1 – International Children’s Festival – Save the Date!! Discover the odd, colorful, and delightful world of children’s cinema this summer at the 2019 Pittsburgh Children’s International Film Festival.
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