Category: Travel

5 Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe on Vacation

Posted on Apr 20, 2015 by No Comments

We are often reminded of the small things we can do to keep our homes safe while we are off on vacation. Taking steps like stopping mail and newspaper delivery and using timers to turn lights on and off make it less obvious that no one is home.

But along with taking such precautions to keep your home safe while on vacation, it’s important to take steps to guard an even more important part of our lives – our children.

Just like taking steps to keep our homes safe, it is best to plan ahead when it comes to children’s vacation safety. The process requires practice and training before you leave.

Most of these 5 ways to keep your kids safe while on vacation are practical reminders to keep your children in sight at all times.

Buddy System: Before you leave on vacation take the time to initiate the practice of the buddy system with your kids. Train them to stay with you or an older sibling at all times, or at least in your line of sight.

Practice the buddy system while shopping at your local department store before you leave. This helps make your expectations clear before you actually head out on that trip. And with older children, set a designated time and place to meet.

Always Accompany In Public: When it’s time to go to the bathroom or the arcade or any other public facility, always accompany and supervise your children.

Designate a Meeting Place: Always designate a meeting place just in case you and your children do get separated. Remind your children to stay in the area where they become separated.

Look for Help: Teach your kids to look for those who can help, such as a uniformed security officer, police, or an employee of the establishment.

Dress in Bright Colors: Pack bright colored clothing for your kids so they can be easily spotted in a crowd, just in case you do get separated.

And it doesn’t hurt for you to wear something bright, too. Even a brightly colored hat can help your kids find you if they get separated from you in a crowd.

These steps will make it clear when/if someone is missing, and offers both children and parents clarity of where to meet or who to turn to for help if that happens.

If everyone works together to practice these steps, the whole family can relax and enjoy their vacation safely.

Photo credits: Consumerist Dot Com

Link Round-up: A Guide to Brooklyn, St. Patrick’s Day Recipes, a Gardening Craft, and More

Posted on Mar 17, 2015 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has a guide to Brooklyn, home remedies for stomachaches, a craft project, and more.

Chocolate Covered Katie shared 13 St. Patrick’s Day recipes with under 200 calories.

A Beautiful Mess shared a guide to Brooklyn.

Create Craft Love showed us how to transfer print to wood.

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Confessions of an Overworked Mom showed us how to make a cute framed Irish proverb.

Mommypotamus shared home remedies for stomachaches.

Pink Heels Pink Truck showed us a cute spring garden craft.

Makeup and Beauty Blog took a look at the Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Shimmering Nudes collection.

Photo credit: Chocolate Covered Katie and Confessions of an Overworked Mom

Prince William Bored on Tropical Family Vacation? Really?

Posted on Jan 29, 2015 by No Comments

Kate Middleton and hubby Prince William are currently in Mustique to celebrate Kate’s mother’s 60th birthday. This is the same place the royal couple visited with its white sands and sunshine for what was dubbed a “babymoon,” back when Prince George was just six months old, for some grownup time.

This time around, George is with them, along with Kate’s mum, Carole; her father, Michael Middleton; and her younger siblings, sister Pippa and brother James.

While it sounds like a lovely getaway, Celebrity Dirty Laundry reports that Prince William is bored and wishes he would have stayed back in London.

In fact, originally he wasn’t going on the extended family vacation, but something changed. According to the CDL, it was pressure from Kate, Queen Elizabeth, and the media that forced him to change his mind.

I think it was more the draw of warm sunshine and an escape from London’s winter. The couple is staying on the private island, along with their son, in a $25,000-a-week Balinese-style hilltop villa that features a 64-foot pool and a service staff of six people.

All I can say is that I wouldn’t mind being bored in that way. People to wait on you, a tropical setting on a private island, and all that. Another reason I don’t really believe the whole boredom report is that the same article is also trying to insinuate that Prince William would rather be home to party with his brother Prince Harry and to cheat on his pregnant wife with some of his ex-girlfriends.

Mustique has been a popular destination for the royals, and this is probably one of their last chances to travel before the new baby comes.

We have to remember, the Royals are real people. Having another baby will change their lives, though not in the same way that it would change mine, but I bet Prince William decided to go along because once the new baby comes, life will be turned on its ear for a while.

That’s what happens to all of us, royal or not when a new baby arrives.

Photo credits: Mustique Island

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.

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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.

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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