Wednesday, November 28, 2018

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Fun Last Minute 'Game Show' Advent Calendar Idea for Big Kids { Free Printable }

Free Printable Game Show Advent Calendar Activity  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
 Our children are now 11, 11, and 14.  If you have older kids like us, that means you might be running out of ideas for ways to make the annual tradition of an advent calendar a fresh and fun experience.  We have done everything from puzzle pieces to Lego minifigure parts, from Christmas books to dollar scratch tickets.

Since all 3 of our children are gamers, I thought it would be fun this year to give them a way to earn in-game currency.  Usually, I am not a huge fan of spending real life money on virtual items, so I think this will be a real treat for them. Since we have three children, I'll give each child one guess at the answer to one 'game show' question each day.  Only one child needs to answer correctly for all three to win the prize, which I have decided to be one dollar per child to go towards in-game currency or a gaming membership.

DIY Game Show Advent Calendar Activity . . .
Free Printable Game Show Cards Non-Candy Advent Calendar Filler  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
Step 1.  Download the PDF below.  Then either print out four copies of the blank cards or digitally add text and save four versions with six different game cards on each version.  Do not include the answers to the game show questions on the card, but rather keep a list of them in a safe place.
TIP 1: I found age-appropriate Christmas-themed riddles online and used one riddle per card.  Other ideas would be trivia questions, math problems, brain twisters, tongue twisters they'd need to say 3 times quickly, etc . . .  If this activity is a hit this year, next year I might try Star Wars trivia questions.
Free Printable Fun DIY Game Show Cards Advent Calendar Activity  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Step 2. Carefully cut out your 24 cards.  Then roll them into tiny little scrolls and secure them with curling ribbon, gold cordinexpensive Christmas stickers, Christmas washi tape, or tiny elastics.
TIP #2:  If you don't have the dexterity (or the desire) to roll and secure 24 tiny scrolls, other options would be to merely fold the cards in half  or into thirds, or to put them in business card sized envelopes.
Step 3.  Put one scroll into each day of your advent calendar. I also always include one small piece of candy for each child, but that is certainly not required.
DIY Game Show Advent Calendar Activity  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

What ideas do you have for making an advent calendar more fun and interesting?
Tell us in a comment here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Most 3G2S posts contain commission-yielding affiliate links. When you make a purchase after clicking a link, our family earns a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting our blog.

2018 USA Taekwondo National Championships

Baystate Taekwondo Academy 2018 USA Taekwondo National Championships Competitors and Coaches | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
2018 Baystate Taekwondo USAT Nationals Competitors

 It's that time of year again.  With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we are all reminded to think long and hard about what we are thankful for this year.  Topped only by our family road trip to Walt Disney World, one of the things I am most grateful for is the opportunity to travel to Salt Lake City, Utah to cheer my 14 year old son on as he competed and placed 3rd in poomsae at the 2018 USA Taekwondo National Championships.  In addition to that amazing moment, our family spent almost an entire week with the other Baystate Taekwondo Competition Team families, who are like extended family to us.  So many wonderful memories were made, and for that I am also grateful.

During the week of July 2nd, seven Baystate Taekwondo Competition Team athletes and their families traveled across the country to Salt Lake City along with their coaches, Master John Alves and Mr. Christopher Alves, to compete in the 2018 USA Taekwondo National Championships. Ranging from ages 9 to 17, each of these young athletes train alongside their teammates at Baystate Taekwondo Academy in Massachusetts year-round to compete on a state and national level with only a 7-week hiatus during the summer.

From continuing on after sustaining injuries to exhibiting great sportsmanship no matter the outcome, these young athletes are an inspiration to us all. The results were as follows for each competitor in their age, rank, and weight divisions:
Baystate Taekwondo Academy 2018 USA Taekwondo National Championships Competitors | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
(From left to right) Sumeet Nijjar, Danveer Nijjar, Victoria Lewis, Abhaya Sundar, Keira Macauley, Elizabeth Levin, and Jake Coutu

Keira Macauley, age 9, placed 5th in poomsae and 3rd in sparring, taking home her first USAT bronze medal.
• Four-time Nationals medalist, Victoria Lewis, age 12, placed 3rd in poomsae and 2nd in sparring, earning her 3rd bronze and 1st USAT silver medal.
• Three-time Nationals medalist, Elizabeth Levin, now age 13, placed 5th in poomsae and 1st in sparring, earning her first USAT gold medal, and making her the 2018 National Champion in her sparring division.
• First time competitor, Abhaya Sundar, age 12, placed 5th in poomsae and 2nd in sparring, earning her 1st USAT silver medal.
• First time competitor, Danveer Nijjar, age 13, placed 9th in poomsae and 5th in sparring.
• Two-time Nationals medalist, Jake Coutu, age 14, placed 3rd in poomsae, taking home his 2nd USAT bronze medal.
Sumeet Nijjar, age 17, placed 1st in sparring, earning him his first USAT gold medal, and making him the 2018 National Champion in his sparring division.

Looking back on this year’s trip to Nationals, the owner of Baystate Taekwondo Academy, Master John Alves, says, “Work hard, train hard, stay focused, and last; commit to your art 100% to achieve your ultimate GOAL.”
Baystate Taekwondo Academy 2018 USA Taekwondo National Championships Competitors and Parents | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
Proud families of the Baystate Taekwondo 2018 USA Taekwondo National Championships competitors.

The achievements of these young athletes in Salt Lake City were made possible due to the endless support of the Baystate Taekwondo instructors, coaches, the Baystate Taekwondo community, led by Mary Alves, and the support of businesses, such as Google LLC, American Consumer Credit Counseling, The Fine Arts Theatre Place, Stop & Shop Supermarkets and their patrons, Orthopedics New England, and The PaisleyHanger Boutique.

What are you thankful for this year?
Tell us in a comment here.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Most 3G2S posts contain commission-yielding affiliate links. When you make a purchase after clicking a link, our family earns a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting our blog.

5 Tips for Visiting King Richard's Faire with Teens

The following post contains sponsored content.
5 Tips for Visiting King Richard's Faire with Teens | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
 Visiting King Richard's Faire in Carver, Massachusetts is a fall tradition for our family, like picking apples, except with far more fun, excitement, and laughter.  This year, our children are a bit older, with our oldest being just a few months shy of 15.  For the first time in 7 years, our children did not ask to go through M'Lady's Shady Maze.  It was the dawn of a new era.

For all you Renaissance faire goers who have older children, I've put together a few tips to help ensure a fun time is had by all.  Aside from common sense tips, like telling your teens to stay together, to keep their phones on and with them at all times, to not leave the faire, to stay away from axe and knife throwing, and to not take candy from strangers, these are some things we found to be helpful during our family's visit to King Richard's Faire this year . . .


5 Tips for Visiting King Richard's Faire with Teens:

1.  Renfaire t-shirts - If your children are getting older and are reluctant to dress-up in costumes, Renaissance faire-themed t-shirts are a great option. They are fun, festive, and comfortable to wear, especially if you plan to stay all day.  I purchased custom renfaire t-shirts from The Paisley Hanger Boutique because I couldn't find exactly what I wanted online.  It was super-easy to order once I decided what I wanted.   The three shirts below were created for me, my husband, and our daughter.  My husband received many thumbs ups throughout the day for his shirt.
Custom Renaissance Faire T-Shirts from The Paisley Hanger Boutique | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

I really love the way the 'warrior princess' t-shirt came out for my son's girlfriend.  The design was perfect for a teenage girl.

2.  Enjoy some shows together as a family - Before you let your teens go off on their own, try to catch a few shows together.  We made a list of what acts everyone wanted to see and tried to time it so we could see as many as possible.  Believe it or not, being organized enough to get to each stage early enough to get good seats is not an easy feat.  For example, we missed The Great Cats of the World Show this year because we had to squeeze in a bathroom break.  By the time we got there, the audience was packed and we couldn't get near it.  Luckily, we were able to get great seats for some very fun, laugh-out-loud shows.  Part of what makes these shows great is they always ask for volunteers from the audience.


Our Teens' 3 Favorite Shows at King Richard's Faire 2018 . . . 

#1: Kevin Armour was new to King Richard's Faire this year with his 'Up in Arms' act.  Our usually not-easily-impressed teenage son declared this act to be his new favorite.
Kevin Armour at King Richard's Faire 2018 | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Yes, he does put his whole body through a tennis racket. 😮
The 'Up in Arms' Show at King Richard's Faire 2018 | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Our daughter was selected to be one of the volunteers.  It was not her first time as an audience participant at King Richard's Faire.  She did great, and she got to keep a beautiful yellow rose as a souvenir.

Kevin Armour at the 'Up in Arms' Show at King Richard's Faire 2018 | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

#2: Although the Washing Well Wenches are a King Richard's Faire classic, it was our first time watching their show.  I have to say that I have never laughed so hard in my entire life, and tears ran down my face more than once during the show.  Although there was no profanity, the humor is very suggestive and over-the-top.  You will need to decide when your children are mature enough for the Washing Well Wenches.
Washing Well Wench Gerty at King Richard's Faire 2018 | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Gerty (pictured above) and Sprout (pictured below) were such animated, charismatic characters.  The entire family enjoyed the show immensely.
Washing Well Wench Sprout at King Richard's Faire 2018 | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Washing Well Wenches at King Richard's Faire 2018 | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

#3:  Jacques Ze Whipper has always been a favorite of the whole family.  We always watch his show at least once per visit to King Richard's Faire.  My husband secretly wishes to be chosen as a volunteer from the audience every year. Maybe next year . . .
Jacques Ze Whippeur at King Richard's Faire 2018 | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

3.  Set aside some free time - Be sure to set aside time when your teens can explore King Richard's Faire freely.  There is so much to discover between acts they've never seen and the many artisan shops.  This year, I feel like we did not leave enough time for exploration because we had to leave an hour before the faire closed for the day.  If possible, I recommend allowing two hours for your teens to walk around without being rushed.

4.  Make sure your teen has cash - Although most shops take credit or debit cards, some shops only take cash, and some only take cards with a minimum purchase.  In addition, all food vendors only take food tickets, which can only be purchased with cash.  All games and rides only accept cash, as well.

A new treat at King Richard's Faire this year are the 'unicorn donuts'.  They are delicious plain, but can be drizzled with maple glaze or the very special pink and blue unicorn glaze topped with edible glitter.
Unicorn Donuts with Edible Glitter at King Richard's Faire | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Some of the rides our teens chose this year, were the Pirate Ship Ride and the Pony Ride.
The Pirate Ship Ride at King Richard's Faire | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Pony Ride at King Richard's Faire | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

5.  Set a time and place to meet up - Set a time 10 or 15 minutes before you actually need to leave to all reconvene.  This builds in a buffer in case your teens lose track of time.  Also, set a meeting place that's easy to find, such as at the Remembrance Shoppe or at the SKY Chairs.  They can likely ask anyone at the faire how to get to either of these locations.

This year, King Richard's Faire is open every weekend between now and October 21st, 2018.  They are even open on Columbus Day!  Check out the schedule of themed weekends and special events to help you decide which weekend to attend.  You can purchase tickets online, which is what I recommend,  or at the gate.

See more photos from our 2018 visit here.

If you're a faire regular, let us know what tips you have to share for visiting King Richard's Faire