Helpful Tips On How To Travel With Your Kids This Summer

Summer vacation is finally here!!! I’m sure many of you are gearing up for a fun family trip while the kids are out of school. Finding entertaining activities to do in-transit can be challenging. Here are some helpful hints if you plan on traveling with kids via air or car:

  • Avoid the stress of last minute packing and try to be reasonably packed in advance. You’ll have to carry what you bring so remember that you don’t really need all of those items, and you’re probably going to be traveling to a place that has stores should you desperately need something.
  • Mandatory items to carry with you: Band-Aids, children’s pain reliever, wipes/diapers, Sippy cups/bottles, pacifiers, a few snacks, chewing gum (during takeoff and landing helps soothe children’s sore ears), change of clothes, and extra Ziploc bags for wet clothes and nausea. If your child is on certain medications, pack plenty of extra, along with a copy of the prescriptions.
  • Bring entertainment such as coloring books, crayons/markers, headphones, a portable DVD player, a deck of cards, stickers, and travel board games.
  • Travel in something comfortable and dress the children in bright colored items that are easy to spot. You may want to tuck a card into their pocket with their name/address/cell number in case they get lost. Also have a recent photo on you and if your child is a wanderer consider a child safety harness.
  • Kids with certain dietary restrictions (i.e. allergies, diabetes, kosher, etc.) can request special meal plans before flying. Many flights no longer provide meals, especially foods that will appeal to your child. Bring plenty of portable, non-messy, nut-free snacks on board such as small crackers, juice boxes, cheese sticks, and grapes. Keep yourself and your children hydrated with bottled water.

While you are waiting to board your flight, your kids will probably get antsy. Here are a few things you can do once you’re at the airport:

  • Take an “I Spy” walk and identify objects at the airport.
  • Watch the airplanes take off and land.
  • Grab some food before the flight.
  • Walk up and down the stairs.
  • If there is enough room you can do some jumping jacks, yoga moves or play “Simon Says” to burn off some of that extra energy before having to be seated for a long period of time.

If you’re going to be driving…

  • Make sure to schedule plenty of stops to take bathroom breaks, get a bite to eat and stretch.
  • Plan to leave just before a meal, and pack that meal to go. Otherwise, when you eat before you leave, bathroom breaks are sure to follow shortly into the trip.
  • Pack a backpack of treats for each child that includes a mixture of healthy snacks. They’ll love trail mix, dry cereals, baked crackers and cheese, pretzels, etc.
  • Don’t assume fast-food has to be unhealthy. The addition of salads, veggies, and wraps to many fast-food restaurant menus mean choosing a nutritious meal is possible. Plus, the added bonus of playrooms and bathrooms, toys in kids’ meals and being able to leave the mess behind, make them worth visiting.

This is soooo borrrring!!! Not anymore! Here are a few fun ways to prevent your little whiners from making you crazy:

  • Before your trip stock up on DVD’s, CD’s and books on tape. Hand held video games are also a sure way to keep their boredom at bay.
  • Pick up a few small surprise gifts for each child. The novelty will be exciting and provide some distraction.
  • Look for CD’s that quiz kids on general knowledge – Quizzology is a great one.
  • Play “I’m going on a picnic.” Start naming items in alphabetical order that you would bring. Ex: I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring apples. I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring bananas.”
  • Play the classic game of 20 questions.
  • Make a scavenger hunt of the trip and list a few things they should watch for. Some suggestions: Owls, old tires on the side of the road, weird sculptures/landmarks and a vintage car.
  • Play the license plate game and see how many states you can find.
  • Play travel board games.

This Summer Experience a Minnesota Rural Golf Vacation

Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but there is so much more to discover in the North Star State. The golfing community is alive and well in Minnesota. Outside of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area is where the majority of Minnesota’s golf courses are located and every region of the state has unique geographical characteristics that will make your experience a memorable one.

Northern Minnesota: The area that once was known for iron ore mining and timber harvesting has become one of the premier vacation destinations in the nation. Camping and fishing have for years attracted guest from far and wide, but over the past quarter century the vision of a few individuals has brought to the masses some absolute gems of golf resorts. The Brainerd Golf Trail is a very popular destination for golfers of all skill levels. Farther north and east is the Iron Range and there are some very beautiful golf resorts and courses carved out of the tall pine wilderness. The North Shore of Lake Superior is the backdrop of fantastic golf courses from Duluth north to Grand Marais.

Central Minnesota: Although central Minnesota is geographically closer to the Twin Cities, there are many differences such as the size of the towns. As you travel farther to the west the landscape becomes more prairie like. Farming is still a dominant industry in much of central Minnesota, with its rich soil. There have been some very challenging golf courses that have emerged from the converted cropland of central Minnesota. Perhaps one of the favorite vacation and golf destinations is the Alexandria area of central Minnesota. The Alexandria Golf Club is not only the place PGA Tour Professional and USA Ryder Cup Captain Tom Lehman learned the game of golf, but it has also hosted the Resorters Golf Tournament for the past 85 years. Some other favorite destinations in central Minnesota are St. Cloud, Willmar, as well as Annandale.

Southern Minnesota: This area of the state is very diverse, from the bluff country of the Mississippi River Valley in southeastern Minnesota to the rolling prairie of the southwestern part of the state. You can visit Rochester and stay for a week and never play the same golf course twice or get a variety of elevation changes in the bluff country around Winona. As you travel farther to the west in search of more variety in Minnesota golf you can find it on the prairie at such stops as Mankato, Morton, or Marshall.

As you can see there are many choices in Minnesota golf that include but are not limited to geographic location, terrain, resort golf courses or staying at a hotel or bed and breakfast for a week and traveling to a different golf course every day. Variety and great value are just two reasons to visit Minnesota golf courses this summer.

For the beginning golfer or the family with little golfers who may be looking for smaller and less crowded placed to perfect their craft Minnesota has many fine 9-hole golf courses that are either run as municipal facilities or by owner operators who would love you to be their guests. Many of these golf courses were built in the 1920’s or 1930’s and have an abundance of character and charm. Finding fun, variety, value and making lasting memories with a Minnesota golf vacation will have you realize once you experience Minnesota golf you’ll be coming back again and again.

Copyright 2006 Dana Buttenhoff

Driving Safety Tips and Avoiding Traffic Tickets This Summer

Its summer time and the kids are out of school and it is time that many families head out onto the highways for the annual summer vacation. In this article, a retired police officer, gives you some of his driving strategies for arriving safely and traffic ticket free at your destination this summer. These common sense tips and strategies are applicable wherever you live, whether it is in North America or in other locations around the world.

Every summer season police see a lot more traffic on the highways. Summer is the busiest time of the year for vacationers towing equipment on the roadways and the influx of campers, recreational vehicle trailers and even towed cars can keep police busy. Here are some tips that will keep you safe and in the good graces of the highway patrolmen. (and ladies)

Summer holidays are like any time of the year and police are looking for the most common types of offences that we would normally see. Police tend to concentrate on the aggressive and the speeding drivers as well as those that may not be paying attention to the rules of the road as closely as they should. Intersection infractions such as failing to stop or proceeding before it is safe to do so can have deadly consequences so officers will be monitoring those situations as well. Drivers will have their progress monitored for signs of impairment by alcohol and drugs such as wandering within the lane, crossing over lines, fluctuations in speed and other indicators.

The summer and cottage seasons see motorists trying to carry as much of their stuff from home to their destination and often there are safety issues as motorists try to take short cuts to get all of their belongings to where they are going. Police are often called when drivers witness items falling off trailers, or there may be problems with the way trailers are moving behind the vehicles that are towing them. Often people lash items in the trunks or to the roof of their cars when they should be using a trailer or a truck.

The Hook Up

The most important part about trailering any type of vehicle is to make sure that the two vehicles are securely hitched together and that the safety chains or tow bars are properly attached. If the hitch mechanism is not properly engaged then the vehicles may separate when there are any bumps in the road. The safety chain may help keep the vehicles together if this situation arises.

Lights Please

The next step is to make sure that the trailer lighting system is working properly in conjunction with the tow vehicle. It is important to make sure that there are not any crossed wires so that a right turn signal really means that you are intending to turn right.

Getting Things Down

Once the tow vehicle and trailer have been attached and the light system checks have been completed, the next step is making sure that things have been securely tied down. Everything should be tied down securely especially any of your ATV’s, quads and boats. These items must be secured so that they do not bounce off of the trailer and cause any danger to oncoming or following vehicles. After you have driven a couple of miles, the driver should pull over and recheck the tie downs to make sure that they are still holding properly.

While you have secured your big ticket items, please check the smaller things such as lawn chairs, coolers and other equipment that may be jostled around and eventually be blown out of your trailer at highway speeds. Bungee cords, cargo netting and tarps can be used to secure your equipment inside your trailer. While things may appear to be well placed and packed, bumps and shifting from the road may dislodge articles and passing semi trailers can help winds and highway speeds blow things out into the wild blue yonder. Remember to frequently do a mirror check to see that everything is secure and intact.

Just for fun, the kids can be entertained by playing a fun travelling game of seeing who can make the best list of lawn chairs, battery covers, cooler lids and various pieces of clothing that are seen by the sides of the road.

What would an officer be looking for?

During a typical patrol, some officers advise that they liked to pay more attention to the cars pulling trailers as they can be the causes of incidents on the roads. When I was approaching a trailer, I would go over a quick inventory of what was right and wrong with the trailer as I came closer. Some of the list that I would cover were as follows: license plate and validation sticker, appropriate lights present and working, tie downs secure, contents secure, protrusions from trailer, tire condition, proper tacking of trailer behind the tow, items dragging, safety connection, and lighting connections. I would check to see that any items carried on top of the car were secured properly and not likely to blow off of the vehicle.

As I came closer to the tow vehicle, I would look inside the passenger area to check to see if all of the occupants were properly wearing seatbelts or in the proper restraint seating. Any major movement in the vehicle meant that the people had seem my patrol vehicle and were attempting to get buckled up or that perhaps they were attempting to hide any open liquor containers that they had been enjoying prior to me showing up. In most jurisdictions, alcoholic beverages must be kept in their original packaging, preferably in the trunk of the vehicle or in the area with the least likelihood of easy access to the occupants of the vehicle. If everything looked good so far I would just check to see if the computer query came back negative and that the headlights were OK.

If there were any concerns with the vehicle I would pull it over and continue on with the investigation and determine what I believed the appropriate resolution may be. At times there were tickets for the more serious situations, warnings for the less serious items and written vehicle reports that could be rectified before any ticket would be issued. Many drivers were not happy with the prospect of having to drive to the police office to show that they had repaired whatever defect there may have been on their vehicle, but it was much better than having to pay a traffic fine.

There is your list of things that an officer would look for and how to avoid traffic tickets on your vacation. Remember to follow all traffic laws and be observant of all vehicles around you. Take numerous breaks to avid fatigue and above all have a safe and pleasant summer!

Buying A Telescope For Home This Summer

As summer is approaching, one of the hobbies that you may be interested in getting into at full speed, is astronomy. This is a hobby that can work great in summer, so join me in this article, and discover how you to can buy a telescope for your home, and get access to the most amazing hobby this summer!

There is nothing like astronomy. Yes, we have video games, consoles, computer games, computers, television, etc, but nothing can come close to infinity, as a telescope in your own backyard can do!

You see, when you invest time into astronomy, you are getting yourself into an amazing hobby, one that can last many lifetimes! To get a glimpse of the entire universe, could indeed take eternity, as there are hundreds of billions of options out there! No video game console will ever come close! So, do you share the passion, as I do, for astronomy? Do you want to get started on an amazing hobby?

The good news, is that you don’t even need a telescope, but to get the best, a amateur telescope is a very good idea. So, how much is this going to cost? Starting off with a budget is a good idea. And a good level for an amateur telescope that works well, is to spend about $150, 100, 100 to a maximum of $400, 300, 300. This will ensure that you have a good telescope. All to often I see telescopes or less than this, and they are generally made of plastic and are not really good to view the heavens. Investing in a telescope is a good idea. When you buy a telescope which costs between the recommended amounts, you can be sure that if well kept, could last for decades.

Telescopes come in a few varieties, and there are now the computerized telescopes, which are much easier to use, but more expensive. Generally telescopes will come in either the reflector or refractor versions. One is more wider, and has mirrors doing a lot of the work, whereas the refractor telescopes, are mainly worked with lenses of various sizes. Refractors are much more expensive, but the closed aspect of it, makes it something that can last a long time. For deep space viewing, the economical aspect of a reflector with mirrors is unparalleled, and well worth the investment.

On top of this, I highly recommend a good telescope book. Many astronomy books are aimed at bringing awe, and don’t really provide the practical aspect of astronomy, but there are many books out there, such as Turn Left At Orion, which is a credit to getting beginners to become more knowledgeable about using telescopes in the backyard.

Finding a telescope store is not always easy, so my suggestion is to either buy through mail order, direct mail or through the Internet.

Have Fun and Stay Fit This Summer

Feeling guilty that you’ve forsaken your regular workout for a week’s vacation at the beach? Don’t sweat it. Many of the fun things you do this summer can give you the same fitness benefits that you huff and puff to achieve at the health club every week.

The American Heart Association recommends that you exercise at 50 to 75 percent of your target heart rate (the intensity level at which you exercise most efficiently) for at least 20 minutes, three or more times a week. Not all of that time needs to be spent on a StairMaster. In fact, the more varied your exercises, the less chance you’ll overuse one group of muscles.

“We’ve found that [working out] 20 minutes, three times a week, at your target heart rate doesn’t describe everything an individual can do to increase overall health and fitness,” says Charles B. Corbin of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). “Sometimes it’s possible to include everyday activity in that regimen and still come out ahead.”

The ACSM has developed the “physical activity pyramid,” which demonstrates how different physically beneficial activities can be incorporated into daily life. They range from lifestyle activities (Level 1) such as walking and climbing stairs to flexibility and strength exercises (Level 3) like stretches, push-ups and weight lifting. In between are active sports and recreation (Level 2) activities that you might really enjoy like sand volleyball, hiking, tennis or a game of backyard hoops.

Missing the stationary bike? Go for a brisk walk on the beach or in-line skate down the boardwalk. Whether you’re at the beach, at the lake or picnicking in the park, the following heart-pounding activities are just a few ways to keep fit, trim and toned.

  • Swimming is one of the best aerobic exercises; and it’s low impact, so you won’t aggravate a gimpy knee or bad back. Swimming tones the upper body (chest, shoulders, arms) as well as the thighs and promotes flexibility.
  • In-line skating will cut those thighs down to size.
  • Canoeing and kayaking are not only pleasurable, they’re good for strengthening your upper body and back.
  • Softball gives most of the major muscle groups a workout, particularly in your legs, shoulders, back and arms, and it will make your gluteus less maximus.
  • Walking is a wonderful low-impact, aerobic exercise that helps tone the inner thighs.
  • Volleyball gets your legs, shoulders, arms and back in shape. Before a game, be sure to stretch lower-back muscles and hamstrings.

Whatever activity you choose, keep in mind a few summer safety tips that will keep the fun in your vacation.

  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise. The American Council on Exercise recommends drinking at least eight to 10 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Remember that alcoholic beverages and those with caffeine (soda, coffee, tea) cause you to lose water.
  • Be sun smart. Apply sunscreen before going outside, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and wear a hat, sunglasses and protective clothing when appropriate. Reapply sunscreen every couple of hours.
  • Don’t forget your safety gear. Bicycle helmets help prevent serious head injuries. In-line skaters, skateboarders and others should also wear kneepads and elbow pads.
  • When possible, exercise with a partner, especially if you’re in unfamiliar surroundings.

Summer is a great time to try new activities. Remember that there’s no rule that says burning calories and getting fit can’t be fun.

Diet This Summer to Improve Fitness

After the algid winters if you accept been allowing on you exercise regime, and tucked in the fat affluent foods to accumulate warm, it is time to advance your exercise this summer and get aback in shape. If you wish to accumulate fit through summer, you charge to plan what you eat and adjudge what activities you wish to undertake to accumulate yourself in acceptable shape, and fit aback into your summer wear. Bistro smarter and appliance accept to be above locations of your plan.

Eat smarter: This summer your capital aim should be to eat smarter. You may accept been a bit absent-minded in winter and your counterbalance calibration reads uncomfortably high. To get aback on clue you care to accept abate commons at abbreviate intervals, say every three hours. This proves to be accessible in convalescent your metabolism. It is all-important to accept added proteins and beneath carbohydrates. You should aswell cut down the top fat aliment to a minimum. Though you feel a bit apathetic to chase a advantageous diet, it keeps you active throughout summer.

It is time to accomplish changes in your kitchen. Cut out those chips and accolade that are absolute diet disasters. Stock up with organically developed melancholia fruits, vegetables and grains. Your commons should accommodate added of raw foods, fruits, nuts, seeds and sprouted accomplished grains. Fibrous fruits like blackberries, strawberry, can amuse you cravings for sweets. They advice abate cholesterol and advance digestion. These advice you lose weight as they accomplish you feel abounding faster. Instead of bistro out often, try to accept some adorable broiled commons fabricated to clothing your tastes and liking.

Have lighter drinks: Keeping your hydrated in summer is actual critical. The calefaction can advance to accident of physique fluids and resultant aridity can beggarly bead in activity and your physique functions traveling haywire. Accept affluence of baptize in summer as able-bodied as accept altered types of drinks. However, be accurate while selecting what you wish to drink. You can accept skimmed milk instead of accomplished milk, diet soda instead of approved soda, and blooming tea.

Exercising: Appliance and spending added time in alfresco activities is added useful. Traveling for bike rides, walks, hiking, bedrock aggressive can be of immense advice for you to bake fat. A bold of baseball, soccer, softball, swimming, baptize aerobics etc can be abundant fun. Rather than your afraid to a individual schedule, you can mix up a array of activities and adore your affable summer days. It is bigger to exercise aboriginal morning or after in the day if it is cooler. The calefaction contrarily may leave you dehydrated and tired. Even accepting down to charwoman you garden, or alive with your simple annual box and abridged plants you can feel adequate of any accent and added important feel grounded. It helps you to air-conditioned down abundantly if you are alive in the soil. If you accumulate these things in apperception and ensure that you beddy-bye well, yield a ablaze nap in the aboriginal afternoon, and you will feel fit and happy. Ensure that you assure yourself from the sun if you allow in alfresco activities. A analytical and plan diet and exercise administration helps you accumulate fit throughout summer and accomplish it into a addiction for yearlong fitness.

Summer Challenge – Stay Smart This Summer

Looking for something fun for your kids to do this summer? An action that’s mentally engaging, bent AND fun?

Summer is a abundant time for your accouchement to administer the abilities that they accept abstruse in academy in a airy environment. To accumulate your accouchement “smart” this summer, bandy out the acceptable worksheets and “bridge” books, and try something a little different…and a lot added fun!

Below is my “Exclusive Eight” account of things that you can do bastard in some acquirements for your kids this summer:

Exclusive Eight List: Things To Do to Breach Smart This Summer

Vacation Variables – Heading out of boondocks this summer? Animate your accouchement to administer their research, algebraic and affable abilities by researching actual credibility of interest, converting currency, or recreating bounded recipes.

English Made Easy – Comparative essays, Book Reports, Character Analysis…even hamburger paragraphs can be fun if you are autograph about something absorbing and engaging. Many of the summer’s a lot of advancing movies started off as books. Pick up Rowling’s Harry Potter, Meyer’s Eclipse or even Cleary’s Ramona – and animate your accouchement to jot down some thoughts about the books to advice them burrow into the belief abaft the big awning productions. Don’t overlook to bless by seeing the movie!

Scavenger Hunt Spectacular – Analysis a point of absorption such as the zoo, a actual landmark, or even a grocery store, and put calm a scavenger hunt! Come up with some able clues or a abundance map to advise your accouchement botheration analytic and aeronautics skills.

Calling all Mad Scientists – Try out some air-conditioned science abstracts (search keywords: “science abstracts at home”) with accustomed domiciliary articles such as vinegar, oil and water. Can you absolutely baker an egg on the sidewalk? How about axis a aqueous into a solid with the flick of your finger? What would appear if your put a bar of soap in the microwave? Animate your beginning scientist to accumulate a log of all the experiments, and the science abaft these abundant abstracts

Brain Aerobics – Get a brainy conditioning this summer – academician amateur are a abundant way for your accouchement to breach mentally fit! You can acquisition age adapted academician amateur such as Crosswords, Word Scrambles and Sudoku online.

Botany 101 – Plant a garden and watch it grow. Adore the fruits of your activity – actually – with beginning herbs, a summer bloom or a boutonniere of agrarian flowers.

Get a Job – ok, not exactly. Summer is a abundant time to seek out job shadowing, mentoring or interning opportunities. Let your adolescent apprentice what it absolutely agency to work!

Pay it Forward – Volunteer! Accept your adolescent become a Reading Buddy at your bounded library or yield the ancestors pet to an aged affliction ability – your adolescent can accomplish a aberration by acceptable a absolute access in anyone else’s life.

The possibilities are amaranthine this summer. Yield advantage of the breach from academy to advice your accouchement administer what they accept abstruse in school. With a little anatomy and a lot of artistic freedom, your adolescent will adore a advantageous summer!