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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Big changes coming!


Hi!

I have some news to share with y'all. But first, let me say that I am so thankful for all of you who have become followers and friends of Just Kidding Around Atlanta.  When I started this blog, I was a SAHM of two and had a good idea of what I wanted to do here: reviews of local attractions, recipes and DIY.  But over the past 5 years, my life has changed - a lot!  Now we homeschool, and I've only got one kiddo at home.

We love to explore the Southeast. And not just Atlanta!  I still love to cook and DIY, but fun giveaways are a big part of my blog. Occasionally, I heard from readers who thought JKAA was regional only, and therefore not a site they would follow longterm or share with friends if they didn't live here. I want this blog to be open to everyone!  So.....

I'm changing things up!  In the next few weeks, this blog will have a new name, and a new look. There is plenty of new content coming, too -  I'm planning some more travel reviews, and I have more Disney posts coming, plus a cool museum review from this past weekend.  And of course, more giveaways!

I hope you will stick around and see what's coming. It will be different.  But in a good way! I don't know how easy things will shift over - for example, I am not sure if my newsletter subscriptions will automatically convert to the new name, or if I'll have to ask you to sign up again.  First I'll be changing the name here and on all my social media, and after that, I'll have a new look coming soon.

This is going to be a new experience for me, but I truly believe the new name and new look will represent me and my mission so much better than Just Kidding Around Atlanta does at this point.  So please be on the lookout for some big, fun changes!!  I can't wait to share it with you! And thanks for joining me on all of our adventures!!

xoxo,

Monday, February 22, 2016

IKEA's Annual Swedish Easter Buffet - tickets available now! #AllYouCanEatATL

IKEA Celebrates Spring with Annual Swedish Easter Buffet

Tickets to Easter Smörgåsbord Available for $16.99 Adults / $4.99 Kids 12 & Under; Discounted Prices for IKEA FAMILY* Members

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. (February 22, 2016) – IKEA welcomes everyone to celebrate the dawn of spring with Påskbord, a Swedish smörgåsbord buffet celebrating the Easter holiday. Join IKEA for an all-you-can-eat buffet at stores** across the country on Friday, March 18, 2016.  Guests can enjoy a traditional meal of classic Swedish food offerings, such as Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes, smoked salmon, Swedish ham, and much more at their nearest IKEA Restaurant**. Tickets to the buffet for IKEA FAMILY members cost $12.99 per person or $2.99 for kids 12 and under; for non-IKEA FAMILY members, the cost is $16.99 per person or $4.99 for kids 12 and under.

“Food is a staple for celebrating with family and friends,” said Patricia Meumann, IKEA Food Manager. “In Sweden, Påskbord is a food tradition that brings people together to celebrate spring and the Easter holiday. We look forward to sharing this tradition and our Swedish heritage with our customers.”

The IKEA Påskbord menu*** includes:

First Course
Assorted herring
Gravad lax with mustard sauce
Marinated salmon with mustard sauce
Smoked salmon with horseradish sauce
Poached salmon

Second Course
Assorted Swedish cheeses
Tossed salad
Cucumber salad
Crispbread, crisp rolls, soft bread and thin bread

Third Course
Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes
Jansson’s temptation
Swedish ham
Prinskorv

Desserts & Beverages
Assorted Swedish desserts and cookies
Fountain beverages and hot beverages

Seating is limited, so those who are interested are encouraged to purchase tickets early at their local IKEA store. To locate and contact the nearest IKEA store for more details – including local seating times – visit the “Store Locator” page on www.IKEA-USA.com.

For those who are not able to make it to the event, they can still bring Swedish Easter traditions home! Visit the Swedish Food Market in IKEA U.S. stores to purchase select items from the Påskbord menu, including KÖTTBULLAR Swedish meatballs, or to explore, find and try ingredients for other Swedish recipes, such as  salmon and avocado salad.



SALMON & AVOCADO SALAD

Ingredients & Supplies
500g LAX FILÉ salmon fillet
2 avocados
Approx. 5.25 oz. haricots verts
Mixed green salad
1 lime
Olive oil
Salt
Black pepper
Paprika
Chili powder

Directions
Bring 1 quart of lightly salted water to boil. Boil the haricots verts for 2 min., then keep under running water until cool.
Heat a frying pan or grill pan.
Season the defrosted salmon fillets with salt, black pepper, paprika and chili.
Grill each side of the salmon fillets for approx. 1 minute, high heat. Leave to cool.
Turn the beans with the green salad in a bowl and add olive oil, salt and black pepper. Squeeze half a lime in the bowl.
Distribute the contents of the bowl on 4 plates and add pieces of the equivalent of half an avocado to each plate.
Cut salmon fillets into smaller pieces and distribute on the salad on each plate and serve. Add an optional sauce, for example SÅS PEPPARROT horseradish sauce.

*IKEA FAMILY is a benefits program that offers membership perks including special product discounts, sneak previews, free coffee and tea in the IKEA Restaurant, and more.  Consumers can sign up for the free program online or in-store.
**Not available at the IKEA Carson store.
***Menu is subject to change due to product availability.

About IKEA
Since its 1943 founding in Sweden, IKEA has offered home furnishings of good design and function at low prices so the majority of people can afford them. here are currently more than 360 IKEA stores in 47 countries, including 40 in the U.S. IKEA incorporates sustainability into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information see IKEA-USA.com, @IKEAUSANews, @IKEAUSA or IKEAUSA on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.


Giveaway: The Legend of The Easter Robin ~ children's book



I have the sweetest Easter book to share with y'all today! It is perfect for reading with your little ones, and I think it will make a precious new Easter tradition.  Filled with lovely full color illustrations, I hope you will love it as much as I do.

About this book:

In the center of the nest lay one perfect egg, the color of a spring sky. The father robin sat on a branch nearby, guarding his family. Tressa spotted raccoon tracks below and a blue jay eyeing the nest. “Gran, how are we going to keep the egg safe?” “We’ll have to leave that one to the Creator,” Gran said. Robins have built a nest on the window ledge at Grandmother’s house! Tressa is thrilled―and concerned. What will happen to the sky-blue egg laid by the mother robin? As more eggs appear, Tressa witnesses the daily drama of the robins’ nest and learns how God cares for all creatures. Besides watching the birds, there are Easter eggs to color. And there is a very special story to hear―a tale of long ago about one small bird with a very big heart. How did the robin get its red breast? Tressa is about to find out as Gran tells her the story of the Easter robin. Brought to life with colorful, tender illustrations, The Legend of the Easter Robin will captivate and teach your child about compassion and faith.

Age Range: 4-8 years
Hardcover; 32 pages
Publish Date: January 26, 2016

Check out the official book trailer here!


I have a copy of this beautiful children's book to give away to one of you! There are several easy entries in my rafflecopter widget to make it easy and fast for you to enter.  Good luck!  (Make sure to complete the mandatory entry - otherwise none of your other entries will count, and I'll have to pick another winner!)  PS: The date in the image at the top of this post is incorrect, contest actually ends 3/3/16!


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Trim Healthy Mama products 24 hour SALE!

I really adore Trim Healthy Mama and the plan's recipes.  Many of them call for the THM Baking Blend.  I use it often, and I'm happy to share that Trim Healthy Mama is having a 24 hour Valentine's Day sale on it, and several other popular products.

Super Sweet, Gentle Sweet, Erythritol, and Xylitol are all $2 off.  Baking Blend is also $2 off.

Some of the THM Skincare is also on sale ~ Kit Clear is $2 off, and the 4 piece Absolute Gourmet Skin Food set is Introductory Priced at $39.00.

Sale prices will be reflected in the cart at checkout. Sale ends at 8 pm CST on Sunday, February 14.

If you need recipes to try the sweeteners or Baking Blend, you can buy the book here or on the THM site! 

My favorite sweetener is Xylitol - no weird aftertaste, and no bitterness. It is very close to sugar, and my family really likes the recipes I make using Xylitol!

Hope you are able to take advantage of these sale prices!


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Best Summer Day Camps in Atlanta 2016

It is never too early to begin planning for summer activities for your kids! 

Over the years, both of my kids have attended various summer day camps.  One or the other has done dance camp, comedy camp, golf camp, drama camp, church camp, volleyball camp, cheerleading camp, and a few others. They have each learned something special at every camp they attended, they made new friends and discovered new interests.  The memories made at camp will be with my kids forever. Summer camp is a great way to let your kids try something new, and meet new kids that they wouldn't necessarily meet at school or regular activities. It's such a great experience for them to have!

I hope that this list can give you some good ideas for day camps for your kids this summer.  Don't you feel lucky to live in metro Atlanta, where we have so many options for summer camp? I sure do. It doesn't matter if you live in Cobb, Gwinnett, Henry, or Forsyth.  There are camps all around the metro area!  And even better, there are camps for just about every interest you can think of. Seriously, the ones on this list are just the tip of the iceberg!

I know it seems rather early to be thinking about summer; after all, it's still winter - we just had snow flurries last week! Some camps are already open for registration though, and others will be starting registration in the weeks to come. There are half-day camps for littles, all day camps for elementary and older kids, plus sleepaway camps, here and outside the Atlanta area.  So many choices!

This is the perfect time to start looking at all of the camp options available, and then narrow down the choices with your kid(s).  Many camps will offer an early-registration incentive in the form of a dollar amount off, or a percentage off camp tuition. Some camps offer discounts for members (like the Y), or residents of a county or city.  These discounts are a great reason to choose your summer camp early and get registered!  Some camps also offer scholarships, tuition assitance or payment plans.  You need to apply early if you want to take advantage of these.  Another good reason to start your camp search now, right?

Please visit my Atlanta Summer Camp Guide for a longer list of summer camps in the metro Atlanta area. There are even a few listed there that are outside Georgia, and some overnight and sleepaway camps, too.  It's another great place to search for the perfect camp for your kids this summer!


The Actor's Scene has some fantastic camps for kids ages 4- 18! Little ones can attend Frozen or Star Wars camp, while older kids can make a movie, or the new Sketch Comedy camp.   (My daughter took acting classes here several years ago, and loved both the instructors and the experience she gained.)

Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education Summer Camp offers non-competitive day camps for ages 2 and up.  No auditions required.  Classes held at Buckhead Centre, Powers Ferry Centre, and Michael C. Carlos Dance Centre throughout the summer.

Atlanta Hawks Summer Basketball Camp is where participants receive professional instruction from qualified coaches in a fun environment.  Kids of all skill levels get the opportunity of a lifetime to learn from the pros!  Camps are offered at locations around town.

Builder Bunch LEGO Lover Camp is for the LEGO lover in your life! They offer LEGO day camps all over town, where kids learn to build bridges, trains, catapults, and more while competing with other campers to complete missions.

Camp Pine Acres Girl Scout Day Camp features weekly camps such as Frozen in Summer, Colonial Times, Aquatic Juniors, Road Trippin' USA and others.  This camp is located at Lake Allatoona.

Challenge Island is S.T.E.A.M based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) and offers camps and other opportunities for elementary-aged kids.  Keep checking their website for Atlanta summer camp information (none posted as of 2/8/16)

Chastain Horse Park Summer Camp teaches kids horsemanship skills - everything from grooming to riding.  Programs for kids from ages 4-14.

Circus Summer Day Camp is offered to kids ages 5 through teens, and is offered in Dunwoody, Decatur and at YMCA locations in Marietta and Norcross.  Kids get an introduction to circus skills, performing arts, visual arts and exercise.  All skill levels welcome!

Club SciKidz offers a variety of programs for kids ages 4-15.  Choose from fun camp programs like Culinary Arts, Extreme Science, Master Minecraft Coder, CSI, 3D Printing and many more! Several locations to choose from, too.

Elachee Nature Center Summer Camp is a 1440 acre woodland setting that allows kids to explore and play in the great outdoors! They offer camps for preschool through middle school, and a Counselor-in-training program, too.  (My son really likes visiting this Nature Center - so much to see and explore there!) 

Emagination Computer Camp at Georgia Tech is aimed at kids 8-17.  They can choose from programs like Coding, Video Game Design, Making Apps, RC cars and robots, Create in Minecraft and others!

Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center Day Camps are for kids ages 2 - 13.  Some of the fun day camps session they offer include Garden Earth Naturalist, American Girl: Exploring the Past with Dolls, Civil War Camp, Prehistoric Georgia, Camper vs. Wild, Cream of the Crop Farm Camp, Wildlife Forensics, and Celts & Vikings.  (We really enjoy the Gwinnett EHC - they have fantastic programs throughout the school year, too)

Imagine That! Summer Camp is offered at locations around the metro Atlanta area. S.T.E.A.M based programs include Coding, Robotics, Sewing, LEGO MINDSTORMS, Minecraft and Programming. This camp is for kids who are ages 5-14.

Junior Zookeeper Day Camp is where kids ages 8 and up learn to feed, train, groom, clean and care for the animals at the North Georgia Zoo.  Crafts, pony rides, feeding baby animals and more are some of the highlights of this fun zoo camp!

Junior TreeKeepers Day Camp offers kids adventures every day.  They will explore the outdoors, bike the Atlanta Beltline, and take field trips to local attractions.  Located in Inman Park, this camp is for kids who are rising 1st graders to rising 6th graders.

Kid Chess Day Camp is held at various Marietta locations and in Cumming.  Kids get lots of time playing chess including Bughouse Chess, Blintz Chess, and Blindfolded Chess.  They have the opportunity to play top instructors, too.  Kids can improve their skills drastically in just one week of Chess Camp.

Lake Lanier Islands Summer Sailing Camp  is a great place for kids 8-13 to learn about sailing, boat safety plus games, swimming and lots of fun in the water!

Margaret Mitchell House Summer Camp is perfect for the child who loves writing! Check out there Mystery in the City Day Camp, Poetry & Performance, Write On: The Essentials and several other day camp options.

Metro Atlanta YMCA Day Camps feature more camps than I can share here! On the various YMCA pages, I saw options for cowboy/cowgirl camp, games camp, olympics camp, sports camp, and many more day and half day camps for kids! The YMCA does a great job with day camps - I have fond memories of the one I attended as a child in Florida!

Midtown International Schools Summer Day Camps offers programs that change weekly.  They have day camps for kids who are rising kindergarteners through rising 8th graders.  Some of the weekly day camps for 2016 include Egyptology, Robotics, Volcanos, Film and Video Production and several others.

Play By Play Sports Broadcasting Camp If you have a budding sports journalist at your house, then this camp will be their dream come true!  This camp will be in Atlanta July 18-22, and will be held at Emory University.  For kids 10-18.

Play! Music and Art Camps give kids several camp options  - art, music, video game design, comics and manga and a few more.   Most camps are for elementary aged kids.

Robots-4-U - They offer half day and full day options at locations around Atlanta. Camps include Drones, Robotics, and Battle Bots.  (Click the banner on the bottom of the page linked here for a 60% off coupon!)

SeaVentures H20 Swim Camp offers weekly camps for kids 5 - 12.  Each week there is a new camp theme.  Day camp themes include Olympics, Pirates, Hawaiian, Ocean, and Water Safety.

School of Rock East Cobb has fun choices like build your own guitar, performance and song writing camps for kids ages 7-17.  They have a half-day camp for kids 4-7, too.

Train Summer Camp at the Southeastern Railway Museum   as of February 2016, camp information is not listed, but last year,  kids learned about the history of railroads,  did railroad-related crafts and activities and rode on a train! Keep checking their link for the 2016 summer camp registration form.

WinShape Camps offer an incredible Christian-based daycamp.  Kids have worship time, bible study, sports, singing, and more each day of this week long day camp. On the final day, parents get to attend and, after seeing what the kids learned all week, there is a family picnic with the campers.  David attended this camp several summers ago and it was an awesome experience for him!  In fact, the picture at the top of this post is of David on his final day of Camp WinShape in Dacula, Ga.

Below, you will find some fellow Georgia Bloggers' Camp Guides for the metro Atlanta area - be sure to check them out for even more information about camps in this area. (Don't forget to follow them on email and/or Facebook too!)

15 Day Camps to Grow Your Budding Artist from The Crunchy Mommy

Athens, GA Summer Camps from Mommy Octopus 

Atlanta Science Camps from Love, Peace & Tiny Feet

Best Summer Camps in Marietta from Mom's Magical Miles

Science Camp Atlanta Edition from Really Are You Serious 

Summer Camps for Kids with Special Needs from God4BandMe

Summer Camps for Teens from LalalandMommy

Summer Camps in Atlanta - What to Consider and How to Pay for it from Field Trips with Sue 



I'd appreciate it very much if you please share this post with your friends who may be looking for Atlanta Summer Camps in 2016.  It's easy, just use the Facebook and Twitter share buttons below! Or Pin it on Pinterest so you can easily find this guide!


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Giveaway: Super Bowl Party Food Ideas from Boulder Organic!


Planning a Super Bowl get-together? Check out these hearty recipes that start with Boulder Organic! soups....


Boulder Organic! soups are always organic, always gluten-free, and always non-gmo.  And they taste fantastic!  Did you know you can also use these soups to create amazing recipes to wow your Super Bowl party guests?

Green Chile Pulled Pork

Ingredients:
- 2 lbs. pork shoulder roast
- 1 tub Boulder Organic! Green Chile Corn Chowder

Place a 2 lb. pork shoulder roast in a slow cooker, add one tub of the Green Chile Corn Chowder on top (add a dash of salt if desired). Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Pull apart and enjoy!


Chicken Vegetable Chili Nachos

Ingredients:
- 1 tub Boulder Organic! Chicken Vegetable Chili
- 1 bag tortilla chips
- 1-2 cups finely shredded Mexican blend cheese
- 1 cup of your favorite salsa
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 jar pickled jalapenos, drained (if you like the spice!)
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup fresh cilantro

Preheat broiler, place top rack about 6 inches from top. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread tortilla chips over baking sheet. Heat Chicken Vegetable Chili in saucepan until slightly reduced and thickened. Pour chili over the top of tortilla chips. Add cheese to the top of chili (as much as you like!). Place baking sheet on top rack and broil 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Top nachos with salsa, sour cream, avocado, jalapenos, and cilantro as desired.


Don't these recipes sound so good?   In my area, only The Fresh Market stores carry Boulder Organic! soups. You can check here to see which stores carry them in your town.   These tasty soups are found in the refrigerated section of the store, and come in the following varieties:


·         Butternut Squash with Sage

·         Roasted Tomato Basil

·         Red Lentil Dahl

·         Garden Minestrone

·         Cuban Black Bean

·         Green Chile Corn Chowder

·         Potato Leek

·         Golden Quinoa and Kale

·         Chicken Quinoa & Kale

·         Chicken Vegetable Chili


My favorite varieties for a quick meal?  Definitely the Chicken Quinoa & Kale and the Butternut Squash with Sage.   Yum!

Boulder Organic! would like to give one of you free coupons for their soup to recreate these recipes.

Just leave a comment below this post telling me your favorite Super Bowl snacks. (be sure to include your email address in the comment so I can contact you if you are the winner)  I'll use random.org to draw a winner from your comments next week!

Sponsor will mail coupons directly to the winner.  Open to US residents only.  Contest ends 2/12/16.

Thanks for stopping by - and please share my post with your friends using the buttons below this post for Facebook, Twitter, etc!

Disclaimer: I received the recipes and information about these products, as well as coupons for free products in order to try them for this post.  All opinions given are my own, and no other compensation was received.  

If you still need some party food ideas, I have other tasty party recipes from earlier posts here  and here


Monday, February 1, 2016

Giveaway: Jesus Today: Devotions for Kids #JesusTodayKids #FlyBy

Hi friends! I have another sweet giveaway for you this week.  It's perfect for your 6-10 year olds, and will give you a great opportunity for family devotional time and discussion.



Jesus is the Friend who is always with you!  Jesus Today: Devotions for Kids will pour this powerful truth into your children's hearts as they learn that He knows everything about them and loves them more than they can imagine.

Each devotion is based on Scripture and is written as though Jesus is speaking directly to you, assuring that He is in control, that He is good, and that an amazing future awaits all who put their hope in Him.  Adapted from the ECPA 2013 Christian Book of the Year-winner Jesus Today, this devotional has the same themes as the adult version, as well as written-out scriptures.  It is a great choice for families to read and discuss during devotional time together.

This book of devotions is small enough to keep on a bedside table (or coffee table), and it's colorful and attention-grabbing. Your kids will enjoy reading this book, which reminds them that Jesus will never let them down, never leave them alone. He loves us more than we can ever comprehend and He is always with us!

Hardcover: 368 pages
Age Range: 6-10 years 

About Sarah Young: 

Sarah Young's devotional writings are personal reflections from her daily quiet time of Bible reading, praying and writing in prayer journals.  With sales of more than 14 million books worldwide, Jesus Calling has appeared on all major bestseller lists.  Sarah's writings include Jesus Calling, Jesus Today, Jesus Lives, Dear Jesus, Jesus Calling for Little Ones, Jesus Calling Bible Storybook, Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids, and Peace in His Presence -- each encouraging readers in their journey toward intimacy with Christ.  Sarah and her husband were missionaries in Japan and Australia for many years.  They currently live in the United States.

I'm happy to be able to share this devotional with you, and to give one away to one lucky reader! Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below and please make sure you do the mandatory entry first - if you don't, none of the other entries will count!