Monday, 27 May 2013

We have a fantastic guest writer today, Kendra Thornton!
When Kendra asked me if she could share this article with my readers, I was so excited!  What a perfect way to prepare for summer vacation.  These these trip tips are invaluable.

Thanks Kendra for sharing your expertise!
Take Care, D

On the Road this Summer: Trip Planning Tips for Parents

You're on way to the happiest place on Earth but everyone's tired and hungry. What went wrong? Planning trips can be the best part of a whole vacation if you're not ready for these issues. It's easy to see how activities and locations can fall into place. However, if you're not budgeting for meals and sleep, your time may be wasted when you actually get to go meet Mickey. There are a few things that you can do to stay prepared and keep your kids active throughout your vacation.

1. Complimentary is Best
Many Orlando hotels offer a ton of different places to stay. If you're not careful, you may fall for a low rate on a low budget hotel. While it's a good idea to look for bargains, you also want to think about the comfort level and what the hotels are offering patrons. If the hotel doesn't offer a free breakfast, try a place that does.

  • - Look for family friendly hotels like Walt Disney Resort, which offer discounted meals for kids.
  • - Find hotels with activities for kids, playgrounds and kiddie pools.
  • - Scout out the location of a hotel beforehand to see where the good restaurants are and how close you'll be to the attractions.
  • - Check out reviews of the room service and breakfast options beforehand. Complimentary breakfast may just mean a cup of old cereal and a toothbrush.

2. Rest Yourself Well
Before any trip, kids should have adequate rest. If they can nap on the way or on the plane, allow them this time to rejuvenate before they get into all of the excitement.
  • - Kids need at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep each day on vacation.
  • - Bring along items that help them go to sleep such as blankets, stuffed animals, pillows or bedtime books.
  • If traveling to a different time zone, prepare in advance by changing up the sleeping schedule to reflect the new time zone before you head out. This will help kids tremendously.

3. Fun Car Rides
Many family vacations start with lots of excitement that gets lost somewhere in between rest stop marker 100 and marker 1,000. If you can, make frequent stops to see things on the way, like state parks, attractions or just stop to hang out at a rest stop and grab a bite to eat.
  • - Break up car rides every two hours. Stop at a park or playground to give kids a chance to expel some energy and horse around.
  • - Pack healthy snacks and things to do in the car so kids are occupied. If you have to make a spot for a quick bite to eat you should still make good choices at fast food establishments!
  • - Don't just go through the drive thru at fast food places along the way. Let kids play in the playground and enjoy themselves a bit before getting back on the road.

With the warm weather approaching and a beach just a plane ride or drive away, I hope these travel tips will be useful for your family’s next vacation!

This article was written by Kendra Thornton
Travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of 3. I am a long time travel expert who has been packing my bags and traveling the world since I was 3 months old! I've found my utmost desire in life is right here in my own home. I have mixed my excitement for travel by bringing the taste of authentic cuisine to my own home with some of my unique recipes and sharing some of my personal traveling tips. Enjoy!

Places you can find Kendra:

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

My kids in TV land
Yesterday was our screen-free day.  As part of R’s homework, he has a little something to do each weekday that lets us in on what his class is working on in school.  This month in health they are learning about physical activity.  As an example of this, yesterday was scheduled to be a screen-free day so R could not watch TV, play video games, or interact in any way with digital devices.  In order to show our support, Hubby and I decided we would have a screen-free day right along with him.

Sam kids, same year - No TV
I did not realize how reliant I am on devices.  When I’m working, I use a computer.  I schedule all my activities and events on my smart phone.  I listen to satellite radio when I work out and I even listen to audiobooks while I clean.  It was a very difficult day and although I managed to be device-free while R was home, I failed during the day.  Yesterday was cleaning day so I spent my time cleaning the house and doing laundry but I did take a break to look and respond to emails and I did listen to my audiobook while I cleaned.

Although I failed during the day, R and I did have some great one-on-one time.  We read books together, we played cards, and we played Lego.  I foresee more screen-free evenings in our future.  It was good to connect with each other and imagine together.

Have you had a screen-free day?  How did you do?  What would you change?

Take Care, D

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Why is giving people the right to love whomever they love such a huge issue?  I really don’t understand this.  It baffles me how government, organizations, and society tries to control how people feel yet still insist that we live in a free country.  It is discrimination, which is illegal.  Let's call a spade a spade.

What set me off today was while I was skimming the news, I discovered that the Boys Scouts of America are just now deciding to allow the individual Areas and Groups to determine if they would like to include non-heterosexual people to be part of Scouting.  Before this, youth would be excluded if they were not heterosexual.


These are kids!!!!

With everything that children need to deal with in society including, but not limited to, peer pressure, bullying, media impressions, and more…why in the world do we need to give them more fuel for hate?  Hasn’t any of the incidents we’ve seen in the past few years with violence erupting in our schools and people getting killed shown us that there is more than enough hate in this world?  Let the children love.  It doesn’t matter if they love girls or boys or both.

Perhaps the Boys Scouts of America need to take a look at their neighbors to the North.  Not only does Scouts Canada allow people to love whomever they want, it is part of the Bylaws, Policies, and Procedures (section 1003) that no one is to be excluded due to their sexual orientation.  It even goes so far as to advise adult volunteers how to handle situations where a youth may “come out” to them.  How to reassure youth that it’s ok to have those feelings and still be a scout.

I am so proud to be a part of Scouts Canada.

Take Care, D

Friday, 18 January 2013

Since winter break, R has been asking me to walk him to the door at school rather than just dropping him off at the playground.  Often, he is in tears when it is time to say good-bye.  He tells me that he’s crying because he’ll miss me.  At soccer, he often feigns illness so he doesn’t have to go or when we get there, he again is tearful and tells his coach that he doesn’t feel well and we end up going home early.  R LOVES soccer and begged to be in it – so why does he not want to go?  Again, when asked, he says he misses us.  I don’t understand this because we are right there, watching from the grandstands.

He was fine before break but this is not unusual.  The same thing happens year after year when we have a break.  I thought this year would be different.  He seemed happy before break and was even seeking out his independence in telling me he was responsible enough to walk home by himself and that he could go to the park by himself.  I had not walked him to his door at school since the first day.

Hubby thinks we need to back off on the cuddling and treat him like a big kid, and that sounds right – I mean, kids live up to your expectations, right?  But something in me says that he needs more love and assurance right now and gestures showing our love might be what he needs.  Truly, I’m at a loss.  Internet research, here I come.

I'd love to hear from another parent, has anyone else experienced this with their elementary school-aged child?  How did you handle it?  What would you do differently, if anything?

Take Care, D

Monday, 14 January 2013

Photo Source:
Over the holidays we watched one of our favorite movies “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”.  I’ve always enjoyed the movie for various reasons including the lesson that Christmas isn’t about material gifts.  This year, for some reason, I couldn’t get over that. 

Every year we question ourselves:  Are the presents big enough?  Is there enough food?  Is there enough this, or enough that, big enough, unique enough, tame enough, entertaining enough… are we enough?

This year, as Christmas approached, I really thought about Cindy Lou Who.  She was the little girl who had trouble finding her Christmas Spirit, just like I did.  The thought running through my head this year was, what am I teaching my children?  Is this the legacy of Christmas that I want to pass on to my children?  The answer is not just no, but HELL NO!

We did cut back a little this year but not nearly enough.  This was cemented in me by the extremely thoughtful gifts my mother gave to me and my children.  This year my parents are struggling financially so they didn’t have the extra funds to buy extravagant gifts but my mother loves to craft.  I found this year’s gifts to be perfect for us.  She not only took the time to make them herself but she also thought long and hard about what to make us.  The gifts weren’t useless junk but things we wanted, needed, or enjoyed.  The best part – the kids LOVED them.

Next year I hope to cut back even more and find a charity that my children can not only give to, but be a part of.  Hubby took all of winter break off so we could do family activities and it was then that we really got into the spirit of Christmas.  So the lesson I learned is that Christmas is better when we focus on our family and not whether we’re enough.  Thanks Cindy Lou.

How do you get into the Christmas Spirit?

Take Care, D

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