Don’t miss a post!

subscribe by email


You Just Gotta See This!


Orange County Swim Lessons for Kids

SwimLabs opened for business last week in Lake Forest offering Orange County swim lessons for kids, but I can almost guarantee you have never seen a swim school like this before!

They are offering a Grand Opening special for Tiny Oranges readers: get 20% off any package or set of lessons purchased now through 10/31/13.

It’s such an awesome deal, I am going to buy a set of lessons for both of my girls!

SwimLabs Lake Forest Facility

Last week I took my own tiny orange down to check it out and experience a swim lesson first hand. I was a little perplexed at first by the location in a nice business center off Bake Parkway, because I wouldn’t have visualized a swim school there. I was even more surprised to walk into their beautiful, spacious facility, which held a modern waiting area with three SwimLabs pools behind glass doors.

The waiting area is made with the comfort of parents in mind. It has a nice set of chairs, Wifi, three big screen TV’s for you to watch your kids, a coffee station, and even a play area for little siblings.

Going into the winter months (or as winter as we get in SoCal), SwimLabs is a great option for Orange County swim lessons for kids given its cozy indoor setting with 85-90 degree heated pools to avoid chattering lips on little ones.

There are also showers and changing rooms so you can bring a change of clothes and have your kiddos walk out with the shower out of the way.


SwimLabs Swim Lessons

When Morgan started her lesson I was in awe.

With multiple video cameras equipped in the pools, kids can do a practice stroke or kick, and then immediately watch themselves on time delay on the screen above.

With group lessons, this works beautifully, as kids can watch themselves on the bench while the next swimmer takes their turn.

The pool also has a “monkey bar” on top of the jet, so kids can hold on and practice what it feels like to have their body buoyed in the correct position, along with practicing their kicks and side breathing. It is so brilliant. Doesn’t that just make sense?

Our instructor, Lyndsey, was so loving and supportive. In just 30 short minutes, Morgan had improved her kicks tremendously. When we got in the car afterwards Morgan yelled, “I want to go back every day!!” 


SwimLabs Swim Lesson Offerings 

Private Lessons: You can book 30 minute private lessons for one, two, three or four kids you know. This is great if you have siblings or friends who want to take the lessons together because you can pick the times that work best for you.

Group Lessons: Group lessons 30 minute lessons with a 4:1 ratio and are offered at different times throughout the week.

ParentTot Lessons: Mommy and me swim lessons, or rather parent and me swim lessons, are offered for kids ages 1-3 where a parent participates in the water with their little one.

SwimJam: Four consecutive days of lessons to keep your little one in the water practicing their skills!

TeamPrep: These classes are for 7 -12 year olds who have experience on swim teams and want to improve their strokes for summer league swim team. This 4 day program includes video analysis.

And More! That is only a few of the offerings at SwimLabs Lake Forest and their Orange County swim lessons for kids, but they also have lessons for competitive adult swimmers. The high tech capabilities of visual feedback is extremely effective in helping improve stroke and form.

This would be a fabulous place to take any kids preparing for Junior Lifeguard tryouts in Orange County!

20% off Through October 

Mention Tiny Oranges when you book any package of lessons now through October 31st, 2013 and you will receive 20% off! 

For more information, visit:

Follow SwimLabs Lake Forest on Facebook & Twitter 

[Disclosure: SwimLabs Lake Forest is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor and I am thrilled to share their swim lessons with you!]

6 Reader Recommended Label Companies

Labels for Kids Stuff

This post on labels for kids stuff was inspired by some great feedback we received on Tiny Oranges’ Facebook page.  And by the way, if any of the labels in the graphic above caught your eye, you can find them here on one of our cute affiliate sites, Mabel’s Labels. Aren’t those butterfly shoe stickers so cute?

The inspiration for this post came from comment from a 1st grade teacher, explaining how important it was to label all of your kid’s belongings at school.

She explained so many parents take special care in handpicking their kiddos special new (and sometimes pricey!) lunch bags, sweatshirts, hair accessories, etc.  Because without your kid’s name on them, they can end up in the black abyss of lost and found, donated, or in someone else’s closet.

So we put it out there to our readers on Facebook to ask which labels for kids stuff they use and love, here are the companies they suggested:

(affiliate link ->) Mabel’s Labels  

Label Daddy 

Name Bubbles 

Kiddo Tags 

Oliver’s Labels

Stuck on You 

Please note, I have not personally used any of these products myself.  I’m in the same boat as you!  Looking for fun, practical and quality new products that will make life easier!  I’m excited to check out these companies, as recommended by our readers.

We hope your first month of school went well, and that your kiddos are adjusting.  I know my family is still getting used to earlier bedtimes and earlier mornings.  Cheers to a GREAT school year with your kids!

Feel free to share any other great labeling tips below! 

Get to Know Your Teacher Questionnaire

One of my friends asked her teacher friends what they appreciated most from parents when starting a new school year.

One of them said that a parent had her fill out a “Get to Know Your Teacher Questionnaire” of all her favorite things.

I thought this was BRILLIANT!

So I put together my own questionnaire this year to give to our teachers, and will distribute the answers to all the parents in our class.

I love that we will know what Starbucks drink to buy them as a special treat or their favorite mani / pedi spot.

I plan to have our preschool teachers fill it out too. I just love this idea!

You can download my questionnaire HERE.  Feel free to comment if you have more ideas on questions to add…

[Photo credit:  2010 Cherrysweetdeal, Flickr]


Varsity Tutors is Here to Help

Can you believe it’s almost September!?!  First day of school outfits, packed lunches, backpacks full of crisp new folders and freshly sharpened pencils, and a clean slate of academic opportunity!  Varsity Tutors is here to help ease your student back into the school year and to help them put their smartest foot forward.

Is your child in a large class size at school?  Would s/he benefit from some added personal one-on-one attention to help them through some of their more challenging subjects?

Serving all of the Los Angeles Metro area (which includes Orange County), Varsity Tutors works closely with students and their families to provide elite, one-on-one tutoring instruction that helps students reach their academic goals.  To start, they assess the specific student’s needs, select the best fitting tutor, and then monitor the student’s progress over time.

Varsity Tutors emphasize a positive learning atmosphere through engaging, personalized lessons, presented in the most easy to understand way to keep the students motivated on their road to success.

They are serious about the screening and qualification process when selecting their tutors, looking for:

Exceptional teaching skills demonstrated during thorough, in-person interview

Demonstration of expert-level knowledge of subjects during interview

Excellent communication skills

Ability to develop and teach individualized learning plans

High test scores (they verify them)

High grades (they verify them, too!)

Prior teaching and mentoring skills or credential

Background check

Friendly and personable demeanor

They have turned down potential tutors with perfect test scores because they weren’t effective enough at communicating difficult concepts in an easy to understand manner!

What I love is you can scroll through the available tutors on their site and see their picture, read a personal message from them and learn about their educational background to get a feel for your tutor before you meet them.

Then your Tutor will come to you in the comfort of your own home, or your can choose to meet at a library or anywhere else you find convenient.

Varsity Tutors is offering our Tiny Oranges Readers a discount!  Book before August 31st 2012 with promo code “Tiny Oranges” to receive $75 off a 24hr+ package.

If your child needs help with chemistry click here for a list of the Varsity Tutors specializing in the tricky subject.

Is your  child trying to get into a prestigious private K-8 school?  Varsity Tutors offers test prep for ISEE & SSAT test taking.

Or is your teen getting ready to take the ACT, SAT, PSAT or PLAN?  Varsity Tutors can help them achieve their highest score!

Or are you looking to go back to graduate school?  They also offer MCAT, GRE, LSAT, GMAT tutoring to get you ready…

Pricing ranges from $55-$65/hr for academic subjects and $65-$75 for test prep, with the hourly rate going down as you invest in more hours.

Click here for the Varsity Tutors’ Facebook Page.

And here to follow them on Twitter.

[Varsity Tutors is a Tiny Oranges Partner we are excited to share with you in time for Back to School!]

St. John’s Episcopal School

It is hard to believe it is already August and the new school year will be here before you know it.  For those of you in South Orange County who might be exploring great private school options, I wanted to let you know more about St. John’s Episcopal School in Rancho Santa Margarita.

Nurturing children ages 8 weeks (YES, 2 months!) through 8th grade, their program is teaching community dedicated to helping every child reach their full potential.

Here are some program highlights:

St. John’s cares for children as young as two months old for mothers who are heading back to work in their unique infant program. With a ratio of 3:1 and maximum class size of 6 babies, you can feel comfortable knowing that your baby is receiving love and attention while you are away from them during the day.

Many parents are choosing private education for their children for the added benefit of smaller class sizes. For example, a typical Kindergarten class at St. John’s would consist of 16 – 18 kids, with one teacher and  one instructional teacher’s aide.  The maximum class size for K – 2nd is 20 students, and all have an aide, for a 10:1 student to teacher ratio.

Because of smaller class sizes, teachers are able to provide every student more individual, tailored instruction to help them learn and grow in the ways that are the most effective and enjoyable for them.

Students are encouraged to investigate areas of interest, strengthen skills and participate in a dynamic learning environment.

Lower ratios mean that teachers really get to know each child as an individual and all the teachers communicate with each other from one grade to the next, to make for smooth grade transitions and consistent learning year after year.

Whether your baby is transitioning from the infant to Toddler 1 class, or from 5th grade into middle school, all the teachers work together to ensure the student’s best interest is always at heart.

St. John’s core curriculum is supplemented by a variety of enrichment classes taught by specialists in each area to appeal to all students, giving them a chance to explore their different interests and talents.

A sample of their enrichment classes include: library, media center, music, choir, physical education, Spanish, studio art, performing arts (6th – 8th), science, technology and religion.

St. John’s offers an extended care program so your child is able to stay at St. John’s from 7am to 6pm to accommodate your personal schedule. The after care program includes play-based activities, recreation, arts, crafts, quiet study-time area with computers, character education and an exceptional staff.

I happen to love this one because I think character development in children is just as important as academic development.

St. John’s is an inclusive Christian school focused on morals, values and spirituality and welcomes students of all faiths.

They have a school wide “virtue of the week” where a different character virtue, for example, “integrity” is introduced and talked about each week.

There are still spots open for your child for the start of the 2012-2013 school year and St. John’s invites you to come to learn more this Wednesday, August 15th, 2012 at 9am.  Details on the flyer above!

[Disclosure: St. John's is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor.]