Simple City Life

Friday, June 3, 2016

Milwaukee Summer Camps and Programs That Will Save Your Budget And Sanity.

I love summer. I love the carefree schedules and the late nights around the camp fires. I love picnic lunches and beach days. For the most part the kids love them too, for about 4 weeks. Summer break is long for kids. Kids crave routine and being without one can make the days extra long.

When I start to do my summer planning, I am constantly blown away by the expense. We have always been a one income family and we run a tight budget, very tight. We pay cash for everything. It limits our ability to participate all the things out there. We plan ahead and stick to our budget. Sadly, so many opportunities are out of our reach do to our income level. We make too much to qualify for assistance, but enough to pay the bills. When summer camp fliers start rolling into our mailbox, I know that $325.00 for one week of camp is not our reality, especially when you multiply that times 3. When I sat down and calculated what is would cost for my kids to attend one or two camps this summer, my total would have been $1900.00. I knew right then that I needed to start digging and see what I could find for them to help fight summer boredom. I found several great options and wanted to share them with you. These are great programs for you kids right here in the City of Milwaukee. 

So without further ado, my summer list of camps that are Free or Budget Friendly. 

Wild Arts: Summer Creative Arts Camp
Cost: Free
Dates: June 20th-July21st
Times: M-Th 9am-12pm
Location: Lincoln Center Middle School of the Arts
Who: Those entering 5th-8th grades. 

My daughter attended this last summer and had the time of her life. She went in knowing no one and walked out with a ton of new friends. Not only did she walk away with new friendships, it gave her a boost of confidence in her dance and theater abilities. The instructors are awesome and extremely involved. They take three field trips over the course of the camp and end with a final performance for parents and friends. Click HERE for more information and registration forms
Milwaukee Tennis and Education Foundation
Cost: 10$ per week, 4 week minimum, 7 weeks max. 
Dates: June 20-August 5th
Times: M-F 9am-4pm Rufus King and Merrill Park
 9am-12pm Brown Deer location
Locations:  Rufus King, Merrill Park and Brown Deer
Who: open to Milwaukee residents ages 9-18

We have not participated in this camp yet, but Owen will be attending for 4-5 weeks. He is very excited to learn about tennis. I spoke with the MTEF about this camp earlier this week and was pleased with several details she filled me in on. The campers are broken down by their abilities and will be paired with a coach for the week. They will have blocks of time for tennis, life skills, literacy and health/fitness. The kids will be provided with healthy snacks and a free lunch. Visit HERE to register or find out more information. 

CORE/El Centro Kids Camp
Cost: $50 for the week, lunch and snacks included
Dates: June 27th-July1st and July 11th-15th
Times:M-F 9am-3pm (optional til 5pm for additional $10)
Locations: CORE/El Centro, Walkers Point
Who: Ages 6-9 and 10-12, separate weeks respectively 

We are very excited to be back at this camp again! This will be Owen's fourth year and Raichlen's first. Over the course of the week the kids will learn about healthy living, urban gardening, bee keeping, our water supply and cultural diversity. The camp is bilingual and 100% inclusive. I am blown away by what the kids learn each summer. Seeing kids reach across social and cultural barriers is so amazing. I am so thankful to the staff and can't wait for another great camp! Contact Mandy for registration and questions.

Milwaukee Public Schools Summer Academy
Cost: Free
Dates: June 27th-July 29th
Times: vary, check brochure
Locations: multiple
Who: all Milwaukee residents in k3-12th grades

Yes, it is summer school. However there are several different programs for your childs needs. Not only are these camps free, they are a great way to keep you child's brain active and avoid the summer brain drain! We have my youngest signed up for the STEM camp and are very excited to see all that he learns. 

Community Learning Centers Summer EXCEL Camps
Cost: Free
Dates: June 20th- July 21st
Times: M-Th 12:30pm-4:30pm
Locations: Multiple
Who: all Milwaukee residents 5th-11th grade

These camps are one or two weeks in length and are run through the Milwaukee Recreation Department. Camp Themes include: H2O Music, Digital Photography, Fashion Design, Healthy Cooking and so much more! Check out the online schedule HERE

Milwaukee Swims
Cost: 5.00per person/10.00 max
Dates:June 25th-August 20th
Times: multiple
Locations: multiple
Who: 6 and older as well as non swimming adults

I absolutely signed my boys up for this. Raichlen is not confident in the water and although Owen can swim, he is not skilled on water safety. I am very excited about this program through the YMCA and Milwaukee County Park. Email

 Milwaukee Parks and Recreation

Don't forget to utilize your Summer Rec Guide and find something for your kids to try. The programs are very reasonable in pricing and can expose your children to many wonderful things. 

I hope this helps finds some great programs and camps to keep your kids active and having fun this summer! Aside from these programs you will find of working hard on our Super Reader forms through the Milwaukee Public Library. The kids love this free summer program. The prizes and rewards are great fun for all ages. 

Am I missing anything? Let me know. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The SuperBand by BiKASE ~ Perfect for a Stroller! #review

I feel as though I have been in a vortex of toddlers, dirty dishes, piles of laundry and cold weather. The weather has warmed up finally but the rest of life is still the same, but for some reason the sunshine and warm temps make everything so much better. Going for walks and being at the park these days are life for my soul. I am on the 6 week countdown to our little boy being born and I'm taking in as much as I can with our family of 4 until we become 5. Walks around the park and small weekend hikes have definitely taken precedent in our schedule.

One of my favorite new gadgets that have become part of our walks and hikes this spring is the super versatile SuperBand from BiKASE. BiKASE is a family owned, local Wisconsin bicycle accessory company that provides cyclists with well-designed products that address the needs of all types of riders. This Milwaukee company designed a cool sleek way to hold different type of  items on your bike.  But WAIT..this thing is not only compatible with all different sizes and shapes of bicycles it's great for STROLLERS, Golf Carts or anything with a shape of 3" or smaller.  The SuperBand is designed to hold items like a smart phone, light jacket, sunglasses, energy bar, water bottle and can even hold a small sippy cups or bottles.

The design is a two part construction of a rigid frame and elastic bands made of engineered rubber.  Easy attachment by way of 2 different sized straps. The little contraption is small and super light and not intrusive at all to the pushing of a stroller.

I am looking forward to using it lots this summer when I start walking lots more to get back in shape after baby boy is born. No more stuffing my smart phone in my sports bra with the headphones sticking out. HAHA. You can either still plug in the headphones or just play the music on your smart phone through the speaker. And everything is at your finger tips. Amazing!! 

Okay so now that I have raved about this cool product I know you are wondering how to get one for yourself or for the hubby for Father's Day! BiKASE is actually in mid swing of a KickStarter campaign to launch the SuperBand! Check out the video below to see how it works!

 You can join the party over at KickStarter and back the project while getting some great perks. For instance- A $20 pledge will get you one SuperBand, $25 will get you one SuperBand and one Handle Bar Clamp that you can use on the hand rest of the stroller, or for $40 you get 2 SuperBands and a small BiKASE Momentum Seat Bicycle Bag!  There are lots of other backing options with really great perks. Be sure to share this project with your bicycling, running, fitness, golfing, hiking friends. It's a really useful gadget for an active lifestyle!!


Monday, April 25, 2016

Excited to be back at the GF&AF Expo in Schaumburg! #gfafexpo

Gluten Free Expos

It's Owen and I's favorite time of the year! I really can't believe that it has been a whole year since our annual getaway. Where to? We are off to the Gluten Free and Allergen Free Expo in Schaumburg. Each year we head out for the weekend and spend special time together. Owen looks forward to this all year. We have a absolute blast together and Owen spends the day getting to eat all the samples he wants! It is such a joy as a mother to be able to spend this time with just Owen. He is such a special kid, watching him handle his Celiac is truly amazing. It has been exactly five years since he was diagnosed. I am so thankful we have been able to watch his little body heal and so very thankful to the amazing brands that have made being a kid with celiac much better. 
We look forward to visiting with Enjoy Life, Go Picnic, Udi's, Doreens, San-J and so many more! It is a absolutely fantastic event put on by some of the more genuine and caring people out there. If you know someone with food allergies or celiac, you must grab them and head to the expo together. Watching the sheer joy on this kids face it worth everything to me.  

I am so excited to see many friends and faces this year, meet new brands and most of all spending an amazing weekend with my middle man!

If you are interested in attending the Schaumburg Expo here is the details you will need:

May 14th and 15th

Schaumburg Convention Center
1551 Thoreau Drive North
Schaumburg, IL

I hope to see you there!