Category Archives: Summer

Enroll Your Child in a Fun, Project-Based Summer Camp For Less!


Are you thinking about summer? I know I am, I cannot wait for winter to be over! What do your kids do on summer vacation? If you are like me and like to keep your kids involved in fun, active and educational activities, you will be excited to learn about Digital Media Academy’s summer camp.

Digital Media Academy’s fun, project-based approach to summer camp sparks curiosity, builds confidence and fosters team work as students seek creative solutions to real-world problems through technology.

At the end of each course, students go home with a completed project in addition to their new skills and experience in technology and personal development. DMA’s immersive courses bring like-minded students together to inspire one another, and explore their passion through creating.


You can save $75 with the exclusive code for Mommy Ramblings’ readers below. Hurry because the STEM Summer Camps are filling up fast!

Don’t miss your chance to find your child’s passion for coding, 3D modeling, robotics, filmmaking, game design, and more at DMA! Find a camp today and save BIG with code SPRINGUSFG17. Offer expires March 31, 2017. Click HERE to take advantage of this limited time offer.

Learn the Skills of Tomorrow, Today!

Get ready to learn from the best instructors. Digital Media Academy’s project-based camps put students in control as they complete hands-on projects designed to ensure growth and understanding. Students use the best hardware and software on the market today!

Students Love Summer at DMA

At Digital Media Academy, student satisfaction is their number one priority. They make it their mission to provide a memorable and rewarding summer camp experience for all students.

Thanks to their amazing instructors, technology partners, and dedicated staff, 92% of their students give them a 4.5/5 or above in overall student satisfaction.


Safety Matters

At DMA, your child’s safety is the top priority, which is why all staff pass complete Federal background checks in addition to First-Aid and CPR training so you feel confident in your child’s experience.

Everyone Deserves Summer Camp

Digital Media Academy is dedicated to making world-class digital media education accessible to everyone. Their needs-based financial assistance program makes camp possible for those who may not otherwise be able to attend. Apply today! Click HERE to learn more.



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Filed under kids, Summer, Summer Camp, USFG

Discover The Experience of Skytop Lodge

Skytop Lodge

My family and I recently returned from Skytop Lodge and I cannot say enough about the awesome days we spent there. Skytop Lodge is a stunning piece of history that sits upon 5,500 majestic acres atop the picturesque Pocono mountains.

Although this resort is only a 1.5-hour drive from our home in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York, I never heard of it before this summer. Even though I have traveled to the Poconos more times than I can count, this was an entirely different experience. From the moment we arrived, until the moment we left, we could not look at the old world charm of the stone lodge without being in awe.

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Vacationing at Skytop means taking a step back in time. While they have all the modern conveniences we have come to rely on, it is the 4 pm afternoon tea time you look forward too.

Tea time is served in the main lobby or Pine Room and features an assortment of large, fresh-baked cookies, ice-cold lemonade and an assortment of teas. Once you have made your selections you can choose to enjoy your treats in the main lobby or as we did sitting in rocking chairs on the porch overlooking the grounds.

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My boys loved the little chipmunk that decided to join us for tea and cookies. He was very polite and ate a small piece of whatever cookie you gave him.

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Downstairs the arcade really takes you back to a time when families were unplugged and played games of ping-pong or went to the malt shop AKA the Tea Room where you will find an old-fashioned luncheonette counter reminiscent of an old-time soda fountain. Order up an egg cream or one of the “World’s Greatest Milk Shakes.”

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The halls are peppered with photos and artwork of the Lodge and the many events that have taken place there since 1928. The dog shows, sled races, golf tournaments, tennis matches and so much more. All around you will find pieces from the rich history of this historic resort.

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Climb the stairs of the Lodge all the way to the Skytop Observation Post  which was used for spotting and reporting enemy aircraft during WWII.  It was manned around the clock by volunteer staff, guests, cottagers and townspeople. for the duration of the war. The observation tower has views of Skytop’s 5,500 acres as well as the Delaware Water Gap and beyond. It is a great place to take photos and just imagine what it must have been like to be a lookout during the war.

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Skytop lookout view

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Spending time out in nature is something I think a person should do every day, whether it is a morning walk, having coffee admiring the birds in the feeders or a challenging hike, it is good for your mind, body and soul! Skytop has trails throughout the estate property that let you embark and gaze upon the peace and beauty of nature at its finest.

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All kinds of trails are available, guided tours, self-guided tours, trails suitable for strollers and trails that are much more challenging. They take you to crystal clear waterfalls, pristine lakes, mountain vistas, ancient forests and more.

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The forests are alive with all kinds of wildlife, downstairs there is chart where people list what they saw that day. While we were there, someone spotted a black bear on hole 11 on the golf course, a family of otter swimming under one of the falls and so much more. Beyond that there are blueberries and huckleberries galore.

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Downstairs in the lodge there are wildlife exhibits of live snakes and turtles, booklets about wildlife and guides you can take if you are brave enough to venture off on one of the trails yourself.

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reptiles

One of the highlights of our time at Skytop was the time we spent with their naturalist Rick Koval. Rick took us on a tour of the butterfly house and a guided tour of falls. The butterfly house is new and you can take a tour where you will learn all kinds of interesting facts about butterflies and get to feed them. It is utterly informative and absolutely amazing. There are many great photo opportunities too! Check out the caterpillar that looks like he is smiling in the collage below.

Skytop Butterfly Collage Jpeg

The hike with Rick was a real treat. After your first hike with him, you will be scanning the activities’ sheet to see when the next walk or hike with him is.  Rick kept parents and kids engaged with his wealth of knowledge about the trees, flowers and wildlife found in the northeast Pennsylvania region and hands-on learning and tasting along the way. Who knew sassafras smelled and tasted like Fruit Loops?

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He showed us some of the most poisonous mushrooms, we did not taste test those but took his word for it. We all got hands on with nature and wildlife like the adorable newts we met along the way. The highlight was the beautiful waterfall we all stopped to admire and as we reach the end of our hike we immediately wanted to know when and where the next one was.

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waterfalls

After a nice hike it was time to hit the pool. Choose the outdoor or indoor pool or do both since they are connected. Relax and unwind on a chaise while your kids and maybe your husband if he is like mine, cannonball to their hearts desire. Then swim laps in the lap lane of the indoor pool. There is a kiddie pool and large hot tub for adults to soothe sore muscles in.

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outdoor pool

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There are plenty of choices for dining. In the morning there is complimentary coffee and tea in the lobby along with fresh fruit and some fresh-baked goodies. If you are looking for a full breakfast, you can eat at the Windsor Dining Room.

The Windsor Dining Room serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their cuisine is innovative and supports local farmers and ranchers. Everything is served in a classic setting. Be aware that no jeans, t-shirts, hats or shorts are permitted. On Saturday evenings, jackets are required for men. Ladies and children are also required to wear proper attire.

We really enjoyed the Tap Room, it is more casual and nice for families. They serve a full menu of traditional pub fare including lunch, sandwiches and dinner. I had a BBQ brisket sandwich that was so good my husband could not wait until I said I was too full to finish it! There serve large portions and the food is amazing.

The Inn-Between Deli is conveniently located in the Inn at Skytop between golf holes 9 and 10. The deli serves a light sandwich and salad menu. We found the Inn-Between Deli to be very convenient when we were at the lake and beach with our kids.

Also located at the Inn is the Lakeview Dining Room. Enjoy your meal in a relaxed setting overlooking one of Skytop’s lakes and award-winning golf course. The menu is extensive and offers something for everyone. Jackets are not required but jeans, t-shirts, hats or pool attire is not permitted. The front desk staff can assist with any questions about dining options and make reservations for you.

At night enjoy a marshmallow roast around the campfire or have fun playing Bingo with the other guests, movies are also shown in the afternoon and evenings. There is even a Camp in the Clouds for kids and so many other activities.

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Even though in our first few days we had quite a bit of rain it was not constant and in the times of clearing we still were able to do so much. The last couple of days the weather was beautiful and while we did not believe the place could be more beautiful it was. Every time we went about we discovered something new and yet there was still so much we have not experienced.

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walking in the rain

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Besides The Lodge there are other choices for accommodations on the property like the Inn at Skytop, The Cottages and the Stream Side Cottages. We chose the Lodge because we wanted the full, rich experience that only staying in the Lodge can provide.

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The Lodge guest rooms were newly renovated in 2015 and the inspiration for their design was Skytop’s history, traditions and the natural beauty of the Pocono Mountains. Incorporating that rich history with today’s modern conveniences led to the three signature designs of the Lodge guest rooms: Water, Garden and Mountain. There are also individually designed suites inspired by Skytop historical figures.

Our Garden theme room was gorgeous with a view overlooking the gardens, outdoor pool and the butterfly house.

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Three dormer windows let in the natural light and let us peer down on everything below. In the closet were 2 large umbrellas, 2 handcrafted walking sticks and 2 luxurious robes. Waiting for us when we arrived was a plate of fruit and cheese along with flatbread crackers and a note from the staff.  The housekeeping service was excellent and made sure we did not want for anything.

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The valets were so accommodating and friendly it really was like coming home every time we came back from an activity, hike or trip into town. Shay at the front desk is a real treasure and always had a smile on his face, upon check in he remembered speaking to me the night before and went above and beyond to make sure everything was perfect for our stay. Christy, director of group sales worked her magic to make sure we had everything we needed. The smiles were genuine as was the desire to really help guests have the best possible experience.

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Down by the Inn, a short walk from the Lodge is a lake with a beach area. There is a large inflatable island of fun out in the lake that my kids just loved. There is a sandy beach area that is filled with lounge chairs, tables, beach umbrellas and more.

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Nothing is overlooked at Skytop, the pool area has stacks and stacks of soft, fluffy, cabana striped beach towels. Down by the lake there are sand toys galore kids can use as well as more stacks of soft, fluffy towels. There are ample lounges, chairs and tables at both pools and on the beach. In the pool area they have fun noodles, diving rings, balls and other pool toys.

The grounds are impeccable and off the porch you will find a nice large playground for kids, a lawn chess set, a kid size golf course and so much more. All kinds of lawn games are available like crochet, volleyball, badminton, lawn bowling and more. If you are the competitive type, there are tournaments you can take part in.

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If you are a golfer, you will love the award-winning golf course with spectacular views and the ability to see a variety of wildlife as you are teeing off.

Among the beautiful perennial flowers the gorgeous butterflies and birds. A white gazebo adorned with flower boxes filled with vibrant, red and white geraniums awaits. Take a seat in one of the comfortable rocking chairs and spend some time listening to the calls of area birds like the Northern Cardinal.

gazebo

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The SkyLites Activity Newsletter informs you about all the different activities happening each week. There are daily activities, 7 days a week and an activities desk to register for the things you want to do.

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For the adventurous, the Adventure Center has a 3-hour treetop adventure course with challenging obstacles including elevated bridgeways connecting tree platforms, logs hanging from ropes to walk across, ladders, a cargo net and 7 different zip lines. This is not for the little ones, you must be a height of at least 5’11” with your hands above your head and must have a waist size of less than 41″ to participate. Other activities include paintball, rock wall climbing, archery and more.

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Skytop Stables in on the property and you can take a western style wilderness ride to the top of the west rim tail for a picture perfect view of the property. The horses are well-natured and there are professional guides to make sure everyone has a great experience.  Pony rides are available and you can also go on a hay ride.

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If you are in need of pampering, look no further than the Skyview Spa. The Spa offers a wide selection of stimulating, healing, and innovative spa services that will leave you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to take on the world.

Bring your dancing shoes because every Saturday night following a tradition from the early 1940’s, children and adults of all ages celebrate the tradition of the Grand March accompanied by the Doug Smith Orchestra. An elimination dance is held right before the Grand March.

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Shuttles are available to take guests to different activities and hiking trails from the North Porch.  A beautiful gift shop will let you take home memories in the form of a beautiful pottery mug, silver-plated Christmas Ornament of the Lodge, Skytop logo clothing and more.

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Skytop truly is a hidden jewel atop the Pocono Mountains just beckoning to be discovered. Spending time at Skytop is not a vacation it is more than that, it is an extraordinary experience that I feel blessed to have discovered. I know why people return every year to Skytop, it is the perfect blend of past and present where you will create memories to last a lifetime. I know we will be back, next time with the whole family!

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If you would like to make reservations at Skytop you can right on their website You can also stay in the loop with them on Facebook and Instagram. If you have any questions please ask in the comments and let me know if you have experienced Skytop, I would love to hear all about it.


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Filed under Attractions, Family, Family Fun, Nature, Reviews, Summer, Travel

We Found Paradise On A Pad! #ParadisePad

I am convinced my kids are part fish, they must have gills somewhere, I just haven’t found them. Living on a lake, as soon as the weather gets warm enough to swim, they want to swim all the time. That is not a bad thing and I have to admit I love it too! We had such a mild winter in New York State this year, this past Memorial Day weekend is the only one I can remember (and I spent every summer on this lake since I was 2 weeks old before moving here full-time) where the water was so warm the kids basically swam all day. Now when I say warm, to many of you that are not used to swimming in natural spring fed lakes, you might think I was nuts, but to those of us lake people it was unseasonably warm. I can remember many Memorial Day Weekends where you could not last 5 minutes in the lake without shivering.

My kids were really excited because we were going to try out our new ParadisePad for the first time. A ParadisePad is a foam pad that floats on top of the water and actually lets you feel like you are walking on water. Awesomely fun, my kids played from early afternoon until just about dark when we had to coax them out of the lake. They slept well but were right back at it the next day. I can tell you this pad is going to have quite the workout this summer.

 

The ParadisePad can take it though, constructed of premium materials this pad has the best rip stop membrane in the industry! The tear resistant membrane is put between the foam layers to prevent tears from happening. ParadisePad uses a denser foam too and that keeps the mat flatter on the water and helps disperse weight to give it a higher buoyancy rating. Their pads are built to last with UV protection with no adhesives. The ParadisePad is built to hold withstand 900-3000 pounds depending on the size. Designed to be  flexible and portable the ParadisePad comes with two Velcro straps so you can roll it up and take it with you wherever you go. The ParadisePad is made right here in the USA and  comes in 9 color and 3 style options. The pads are available in 2 ply and 3 ply thickness.

We  chose the blue and orange, 2 ply, 18 foot Paradise Pad. Our pad was well packaged for delivery and arrived in a large box. 

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Inside the box the rolled pad was inside a very thick, clear plastic bag and then inside that it was shrink wrapped and had the straps fastened securely. It comes with a 10 foot bungee cord with a clip on each end that hooks to a ring on the mat. 

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There is a sturdy ring on each side of the mat and you attach the bungee to the ring on the side you will be putting down on the water. 

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As soon as we had the bungee secure, the kids were off and playing.

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You may find some cheap foam pad options but do you really want a pad that may only last a few weeks to months. If you are looking for a high quality foam pad that is made to last and provide your family with years of fun, then check out ParadisePad. The family owned and operated company is great to deal with and will help you choose the right product for your needs.

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ParadisePad takes great pride in being a company that manufactures and processes all of their products in the United States.  ParadisePad supports Folds of Honor, a nonprofit organization that provides educational support to spouses and children of America’s fallen and wounded soldiers. As a way of showing support to our Nation’s veterans and families, ParadisePad is hoping to raise a sizable donation for Folds of Honor, you can learn more about great organization as well as contribute by clicking HERE.

You can stay in the loop with ParadisePad on Facebook and Twitter!

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Check out our YouTube video review HERE! If you have a ParadisePad, we would love to know what you think of it. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments and I will be happy to answer them to the best of my ability.

 

Thank you to ParadisePad for sending us the awesome ParadisePad they did to facilitate our review. As always my words and views are 100% my own.


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Filed under Family Fun, Outdoor Fun, Review, Sports, Summer, Toys

Give Your Child The Creative Summer Experience of A Lifetime For Less! #CreateTheNext

Summer will be here soon and so will the end of the school year for kids. Have you made plans for your kids free time? If you haven’t and you have creative kids ages 6-17 that are interested in computer programming, developing exciting apps, 3D modeling, robotics, graphic design, filmmaking and much more, keep reading!

Digital Media Academy tech summer camps can give your kids the summer experience of a lifetime! Hurry though because they are filling up faster than ever! Catch the savings and SAVE $100 with code CR8TECH16 when you register your child by April 30, 2016.

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You can choose from one week DMA Camps, or step it up with two week DMA Academies , all taught by industry experts and tech professionals. Campers get hands-on experience creating projects using the latest hardware and software from Apple, Canon, Adobe, and more.

Digital Media Academy also offers STEM camps just for girls, called Made by Girls! Learn from a female role model and tech professional in an environment of creative girls just like them! Hurry, save $50 with code CR8TECH16 when you register by April 30!

Find your summer camp at DigitalMediaAcademy.org! If you have questions, call them at 1(866)656-3342 or email info@digitalmediaacademy.org. Let me know if you child has already attended one of these programs or you are planning to register them for the first time. Here’s to a creative and fun Summer!

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Filed under Camps, Coupon, Creative Activities, Life Stages, recreation, Sale, Summer, USFG