Category: Travel

Link Round-up: Paper Bag Pirate Puppet, Stencils, Pie Parfait Shots, and More

Posted on Dec 2, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has a paper bag pirate puppet, stencils for cakes and beverages, pie parfait shots, and more.

Homemade Interest taught us how to make easy pie parfait shots.

A Beautiful Mess taught us how to stencil cute designs on cakes and beverages.

Mind Body Green offered some tips for going on a digital detox.


Crafts by Amanda showed us how to make a paper bag pirate puppet.

Homemaking Hacks shared time saving tips for appetizers.

A Mom’s Take shared the essentials for your next road trip.

The DIY Dreamer taught us how to make a beaded wrap bracelet with the kids.

Photo credit: Homemade Interest and Crafts by Amanda

Link Round-up: Christmas Decorations, Winter Driving Emergency Essentials, and More

Posted on Nov 27, 2014 by 2 Comments

Today’s link round-up has Christmas decorations, a faux gingerbread house, winter driving emergency essentials, and more.

Crafts by Amanda showed us a new kind of tree that looks gorgeous and takes up less space—the coastal branch tree.

Homemaking Hacks showed us how to make Santa belt clothespins for hanging pictures and art.

Our Simple Life offered tips for starting to live a simple life.

Create Craft Love showed us how to make a bottle cap Christmas wreath.


Our Secondhand House shared eight winter driving emergency essentials.

Crafts ‘n Coffee showed us how to create a faux gingerbread house you don’t have to throw away.

A Cup of Jo showed us how to get ready for a holiday party in five minutes.

Photo credit: Crafts by Amanda and Our Secondhand House

Avoid Being the Parent of the Crying Child on the Plane

Posted on Nov 24, 2014 by No Comments

Flying with kids can be a challenge. One time I had a friend whose son decided he had to go to the bathroom as the plane was taxing for takeoff. The four-year-old started to throw a tantrum and the mother threatened the flight crew with a nasty-smelling mess if they didn’t accommodate her son’s “need.”

I’ll never forget her telling me the story after the fact. She thought it was funny. I can tell you right now that the rest of the passengers didn’t think it was funny. It’s probably one of those nightmare screaming-child-on-the-plane stories still shared today.

Recently when the Khalfin family was traveling with their two-year-old, he started to have a meltdown when the Frontier attendant required his parents to secure him in his own seat, a requirement for kids two and older.

According to the father, when he buckled his son in, the boy started “screaming and yelling.” The father held the boy in place by force and the noise escalated. The attendant came over and warned that the boy was too loud and told him, “If you’re not going to keep him calm in the next three minutes, you guys are going to have to leave the plane.”

The parents were relieved when their son calmed down, but it didn’t last. When the plane hit turbulence later in the four-hour trip, it scared him and he started up again. Can you imagine the stress on that plane!

The parents had to be sweating bullets, and the stress among the passengers would be understandable, and of course that would affect the airline staff. Turns out that the tension between the family and the cabin crew intensified to the point that the police were called.

The flight staff told them the family had been abusive toward them. When the plane landed, the family, including the toddler were ushered off the plane and met by police “like criminals.”

Flying with kids can be tricky business. What’s a parent to do? Of course the answer to that question depends on your child. It helps to start working with your kids long before the flight so they know what to expect. Things like the fact that they will have to sit in their own seat might help.

If this is something your child doesn’t like, you can even practice sitting in the seat before it is ever brought on the plane. Books like Airplane Flight can also help prepare kids with things to expect when flying.

Lastly, I would recommend trying to schedule flights that might accommodate nap time. A sleeping child, after all, is a quiet child.

Photo credits: wikimedia

JetBlue Presents Program that Helps Autistic Kids Fly

Posted on Nov 19, 2014 by No Comments

Flying with kids can be a little stressful. Everyone is out of their routine, strange surroundings, and lots of strangers who expect everyone to behave.

When something like a delay adds to the mix and a fussy child starts to make a commotion, stress levels can really skyrocket. Poor parents find themselves caught between the stares of other passengers, and the child they are trying to quiet.

Just writing about it is stressful.

For parents of an autistic child it can be even more of a challenge, but JetBlue Airways is offering help to families of autistic children to help prepare them for the experience of flying.

They have partnered with Blue Horizons For Autism with a program that simulates air travel to help autistic kids experience it in a “realistic, relaxed environment” before they actually fly.

A recent event at John F. Kennedy International Airport drew more than 250 people. Two separate sessions allowed visitors to walk through the entire travel process, including check-in at the airport ticket counter, security screening, waiting at the gate for the plane, boarding, and taxiing on the tarmac.

Once they were on the plane, JetBlue crew members were on hand to guide families through pre-takeoff procedures and flight simulation, along with 15 behavior analysts from Nassau Suffolk Services for Autism who volunteered their time and support for participating families throughout the day.

Both sessions ended with a festive reception marking the accomplishment for participants.

This program actually helps meet needs of the autism community in even more ways, because along with helping autistic children adjust to flying, it also helps educate airline employees about autism and how to meet needs of these special children and their families.

JetBlue and Autism Speaks received such positive feedback that they hope to offer the program to as many cities as possible.

Photo credits: JetBlueCorpComm

Road Trip? Take These Snacks Instead of Your Usual Junk

Posted on Oct 17, 2014 by 1 Comment

Road trips are lots of fun for a lot of reasons. I don’t care how old you are, there is something about hitting the open road that makes the time feel like an adventure. A gas tank full of gas, a map on the seat next to you, and a road stretching endlessly in front of you creates the right dynamics for all kinds of possibilities.

I find that the greatest possibility is weight gain and water retention from lack of activity (jogging desperately to the restroom doesn’t count) and too much junk food. On the flip side, if I don’t take snacks I risk being “hangry” and no one wants that. You, too?

I thought so.

Healthy snacks just sound boring to me but they don’t have to be. Here are some snack foods to consider.

Local fruit. Here’s the thing. If you are driving along America’s highways and byways you are eventually going to pass a little fruit stand, and when you do you should hit the brakes. There is nothing in the known universe like fresh, tree (vine, plant) ripened fruit that has not ever seen the inside of a refrigerator or truck.

String cheese. It’s fun, it’s protein, and it goes great with that fresh fruit you just bought.

Veggies. Those individual packets of carrots and dip are great because there’s no mess and it’s one snack per container. Just eat it and throw the wrapper away.

Yogurt. It’s got protein and calcium plus it’s almost like eating pudding! You can slip yogurt into a small cooler and have it ready any time. Consider getting Go-Gurt and you won’t even have to worry about a spoon.

Crackers. Whole grain, low salt crackers are perfect when you just have to have crunchy carbs.

What are your road trip must-have snacks?

photo credit: Lars Plougmann via photopin cc

How to Travel Like a Boss with Your Boss

Posted on Aug 4, 2014 by No Comments

You find out on Friday that on Monday, the boss needs you to accompany her on a business trip to Boston. You’ve never been on a business trip with her. You are excited for the responsibility but nervous at the possibility that you could botch the whole thing up.

So, how can you make sure that this business trip goes off without a hitch and you don’t say or do the wrong thing in the process?

Save the drama for your mama

Avoid being a high maintenance traveler. Show up to the airport early and pack appropriately. Too much luggage for a two-day trip sends off warning signs that you might be disorganized and flighty.

Pack light and smart, making sure to remember all travel documents, identification, and work documents you might need. Keep important documents in your carry on.

Don’t do the diva complain serenade about your middle seat on the flight or your view of a brick wall;  it will not impress your boss. It will only help her to make a mental note that you are difficult.

Take cues from your boss

Sure, after flying cross-country you may want to just order up some room service and take a hot shower, but if your boss quietly suggests that you go to dinner with her at the hotel bar, it wasn’t really a suggestion, it was an order swaddled in courtesy.

Declining is like saying no thank you to a working lunch at the office. It might feel like an inconvenience, but use this opportunity for one on one time with your boss as a networking, relationship-building opportunity. This is your time to shine.

Pay attention to what’s going on. If your boss doesn’t order wine, neither should you. If you really need a drink, have a drink when you get back to your hotel room.

Share your ideas

This is your time to bring up some great ideas that you have been mulling around. You have your boss’s ear, take advantage of the opportunity. Don’t just blurt out a monologue, but when the moment is right in the conversation to insert your talking points, do it.

Go for it. You never know. Some of my best networking connections were born of opportunity meeting preparation.

Be pleasant

No one wants to travel with a person with a dry personality, nor do they want to travel with a party animal. Personally, the most enjoyable traveling companions are those who don’t talk too much yet when they do, they have something interesting to contribute to the conversation.

Try to avoid awkward pauses or situations. Your boss should never have to bail you out of jail for a drunk and disorderly citation, no matter how entertaining she or the client may have found your antics at the working dinner on the strip. Chances are, if you do something and you have to question whether or not you should be doing it, you shouldn’t be doing it.

What is your number one rule for successfully traveling with your boss?

photo credit: robkingcameraman via photopin cc

Researchers Have Found a Faster Method to Board Planes

Posted on Aug 1, 2014 by No Comments

How many times have you stood in line to hand your boarding pass to the flight attendant only to find a jam of people blocking the aisle inside the plane as they struggle to fit their carry on into an already full overhead bin?

Some airlines load back to the front, others give priority to window seat passengers, but it can still result in a wait as passengers clog the aisle looking for space in the overhead and causing a bottleneck.

Researchers at Clarkson University have developed a way to alleviate this problem. This faster method to board planes involves a common sense strategy designed by School of Business Professor R. John Milne and undergraduate student Alexander Kelly.

The basic plan resulting from this academic study is to assign airline passengers to a specific seat based on the number of bags they carry. The logic behind this method is that it evenly distributes luggage throughout the plane. Each row would ideally seat a passenger with two bags, another with one bag and a person with no bags.

“The new method would save at least several seconds in boarding time and prevent any one area of the plane from becoming overloaded with bags. Airlines could provide a smoother boarding experience for passengers by utilizing the research.” – Milne, the Neil ’64 and Karen Bonke Assistant Professor in Engineering Management

The method was tested by a computer science and mechanical engineering dual major from East Greenbush, N.Y., by running thousands of simulated airplane boardings.

While this can help ease the problems caused by carry ons on when boarding, some suggest it would be a lot of work for the person trying to figure out seat assignments. Or would the passenger have to decide how many carry on items she would have when booking the flight.

It also leads to questions regarding seat preferences. For instance, if you prefer an aisle seat but have two carry ons and the only aisle seats available already have someone seated in every row with two carry ons, does that make the seat unavailable?

Photo credits: Desiree N. Williams, jetalone

Off Season Vacations Are Budget Friendly and Possible

Posted on Jul 30, 2014 by No Comments

Years ago, in my first marriage, we would take our family camping vacations at the end of September or the first part of October. Since we homeschooled, the timing wasn’t an issue and we found that, not only were the campgrounds emptier, it was much less expensive.

A couple of years ago, my husband and I were struggling to continue to homeschool and we ended up taking a family cruise in September. Everyone had a blast and it was a great time of totally relaxing after a season of high stress for all of us.

I had hoped to repeat the event last year but two things seemed to stand in the way: money and the fact that we had put the kids in conventional school in January of 2013.

Well, all might not be lost and we might just get that vacation after all.

I found that schools are really rather understanding about taking your kids out for an unprecedented vacation. I had visions of being thrown in jail for contributing to truancy but apparently that is unfounded.

Go to the school and explain that you are taking a vacation and ask for any work that your child will miss. You are sure not going to take it with you but your child can work on it when you get home.

Ask if there is anything that the teacher might like to work in to her classes as an educational tool. While this may be enticing to your child’s teacher if you are going to explore the Mayan ruins it may not be so impressive if you are going to Disneyland.

Of course, the other benefits are the off season prices. I was looking at beach houses on the Texas coast the other night and a few that had gone for over $2,700.oo a week in the summer are hovering under $1,000.00 during off season and the weather is still quite nice.

Family vacations build memories and allow everyone to get away from the stresses of everyday life. Have you taken an off season vacation?

photo credit: felipe_gabaldon via photopin cc

Vacations Are Good for Health and Long Life

Posted on Jul 14, 2014 by 1 Comment

Many of us look forward to vacations, and when the economy is tough we can easily feel like vacation is a luxury we can cut from our budget to make ends meet.

However, a recent poll by the Society for Human Resource management shows strong support from personnel managers who believe those who take a vacation are better workers, especially if the time off is paid.

Just because you get paid time off, though, doesn’t always mean you can afford to go somewhere. It also doesn’t mean you should skip vacation all together.

Staying home for vacation offers opportunities to take day trips you never have time for in the busy day-to-day. In recent years, these stay at home vacations have grown popular enough to get their own tag – staycations – and they still provide benefits like stress relief and improved morale. Plus when you return to work refreshed, you enjoy greater job satisfaction.

But taking vacation does more for our health than reduce stress for a week or two. In one 1992 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers followed a group of 750 middle-age women for 20 years.

At the start of the study none of them had heart disease. Over time, it showed that the women who didn’t take vacation had a higher risk of heart attack and death. Other studies have reached similar conclusions.

I have friends in other countries including England and Australia and the people there are astounded that in the States we only get an average of two weeks. They get six weeks! The problem in the United States is that many of don’t even use the vacation we do get! In fact, almost 50% of people don’t use all their vacation time according to the Families and Work Institute.

To enjoy better health and longer life we should be taking advantage of our vacation time. Even if you can’t go somewhere, use the time to read or do those fun things you never have time to do.

“Fun” is a relative term, of course. It can be a physical, mental, or spiritual vacation. What’s important is that we actually take them!

photo credit: g-useppe via photopin cc