Category Archives: Family

CPR: A Vital Skill For All Parents

As a parent, you will always be concerned about your children’s wellbeing and safety. Kids will be kids, and you will spend a good amount of time applying bandages to a variety of injuries like skinned knees and minor scrapes. However,  what if something more serious than a skinned knee happens? Will you be prepared to react properly in an emergency situation?

Ambulance

In the time that it can takes for your to call 911 and wait for help to arrive, a life-threatening situation can become deadly. Parents should know what to do when accidents and injuries happen. You may not be able to prevent accidents when they happen, but you should be as prepared as possible to deal with them when they do.

CPR

With so many risks, it’s a good idea for at least one parent in the home to be trained in CPR and First Aid. Gain confidence in your ability to calmly handle an emergency situation and provide care if necessary. Take a look at just some of the things that can go wrong in the blink of an eye and consider that with proper training you could save a child’s life.

Heart Failure

There have been more and more deaths in young people due to heart issues. Many active sports players have been known to suddenly collapse on their playing fields due to their hearts stopping. Many schools have now added a portable defibrillator to deal with these kinds of incidents. If you don’t have one in your home, knowing CPR can help you to keep the heart pumping until emergency help can arrive.

Drowning

For any parent that has a pool on their property, there is always the fear of a child getting into trouble in the water and drowning. Over 350 children under the age of 5 accidentally drown each year in the U.S. Teaching your children safe habits and strong swimming skills is vital to keeping your children safe.

Fever/Convulsions

When the numbers rise up on the thermometer when you have a sick child it can be very concerning for every parent. Not only are you dealing with the many symptoms of infection, your child can be at risk of Febrile Convulsions. These kinds of seizures are not generally damaging themselves, but can cause injury from falling or hitting objects around them. With proper First Aid training you can learn what to do to help your child safely through a seizure.

Heat Stroke

Kids don’t feel the heat of the cold the same way that adults do. You probably remember playing outdoors for hours and not even considering the weather for a moment. You kids will be no different. It is up to each parent to closely monitor their child for signs of heat stroke when you are spending time in the sun.

Emergency

Choking

In any situation where your child has stopped breathing, being able to administer proper CPR and first aid procedures can be vital in saving their life. With training you will learn to deal with blockage choking as well as resuscitation techniques.

 

First Aid

This is a collaborative post. The words and views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mommy Ramblings.

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Must See Attractions For Families Visiting Hershey & Harrisburg

We took a short vacation to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania at the end of August. There is so much to do in Harrisburg, it was the perfect place for us to visit, especially since it is only about 4 hours away from our home in New York State. We have been visiting the Harrisburg/Hershey area with our kids for years. Our oldest kids loved going to Hershey Park and other nearby attractions like Lake Tobias Wildlife Park every summer.

We had not visited the area for a few years, and it was high time for a vacation to the sweetest place on Earth and beyond. Working together with the Visit Hershey & Harrisburg Tourism Bureau, they helped us select the attractions that best suited our family’s tastes, and then created a jam-packed itinerary for us. They also helped us find accommodations in the Harrisburg area that had ample parking and easy access to all the attractions.

We stayed at the Hotel Indigo in Harrisburg. Honestly, we were on the go from early morning until late at night and spent very little time in the hotel. We did appreciate that there was a large parking lot, so we did not have to deal with parking garages or pay for parking as we have done in the past with hotels located in downtown Harrisburg. The Hotel Indigo is new,  there were a few issues that I chalked up to growing pains. All in all, it was a good experience for what we needed, I will write more about the hotel in a future post.

National Civil War Museum

Our first stop was the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg. The museum is located up a long driveway that leads to a large parking area. The grounds are clean and picturesque. Inside there is a large gift shop where we picked up our tour tickets for a self guided tour.

National Civil War Museum

The museum has 2 levels and we were directed to start upstairs armed with our map. The museum does not allow video or flash photography. This museum is filled with so many exhibits, many hands-on and others that are made up of life size models that add an incredible level of realism.

One of our kids’ favorite exhibits was the medical scene where the army medics were in the middle of  performing a leg amputation on a wounded soldier.

The slavery exhibits were very moving, and there were videos, sounds effects and life size displays throughout.

National Civil War Museum

You could easily spend several hours to see everything.At the very least, you should block out about 2 hours. Check out my video slide show  of our visit below.

Whitaker Center’s Harsco Science Center

Our second stop was the Whitaker Center’s Harsco Science Center in downtown Harrisburg. The Science Center allows kids to explore and get up close and personal with all kinds of exhibits as well as letting them perform all kinds of experiments.  The hurricane simulator was a huge hit with my boys and my husband too! There was so much to do and see. You can easily spend a day there and not run out of things to do.

Unfortunately, we only had a couple of hours to devote to the center, but we made the most of it and packed a tremendous amount of hands-on fun and learning into those hours. The Whitaker Center is located in downtown Harrisburg and we did find metered parking outside. More to come in a later post. Check out more in our video below.

Hershey’s Chocolate World

After the Whitaker Center we set off to Hershey’s Chocolate World which was about 15 minutes away. Once there, we scheduled our Hershey Trolley Works Tour . There are a couple of different trolley tours you can choose from, but we picked the longer ride with more history of Milton Hershey and more candy!

The trolley is delightful and very vintage with wooden bench seats. It is actually a trolley bus, so it rides directly on the road and not a track. We had a very animated conductor and tour guide which made our experience very informative and fun. We had a great group of fellow passengers who made the tour even more fun.  We learned so much about the Milton Hershey family, the Hershey School and of course the Hershey’s Chocolate Factory and Hershey Park.

When our tour was over,  we went back inside Hershey’s Chocolate World  to embark on the Hershey’s Chocolate Tour, which I have loved since the first time I went on it, way back in 1988! It is a fun tour and our family rode together in a moving car that took us along a track, as we learned about how Hershey’s chocolate is made.  Before the ride we posed for 2 photos, and at the end we presented with a souvenir photo book that we purchased. The tour itself is free, at the end we were each given a snack size Hershey Bar. Guests can take the tour as many times as they like.

Hershey's Chocolate World

The Chocolate Tasting Experience

After that, we were off to the Chocolate Tasting Experience. There is a fee required to attend the tasting and they are held several times throughout the day and evening. We were ushered into what reminded me of a college lecture hall, only not as large.

There were rows of narrow tables with chairs, a center aisle and a stage area at the front with a video screen. The tables were set so all of the participants had a bottle of water, a small brown paper gift bag, an informative placemat, a small cup of real chocolate nibs and a Hershey’s Kiss.  There were table top tablet kiosks that we used to select the flavors we tasted as we sampled the chocolate.

The host explained a bit about different kinds of chocolate and the unsweetened chocolate nibs that were in front of us. He invited us to try the nibs and then the Hershey’s Kiss. After that, it was time to get serious. He explained the water was to rinse our pallet between chocolates. He then showed us a video that explained how to correctly taste chocolate with all of our senses.

After the video, we were instructed to empty our bag which contained 4 different chocolates. We were guided through tasting each chocolate one at a time. Upon tasting each chocolate we paid careful attention to the different flavors, and then entered them on the kiosk. Once everyone in the room had entered their flavors, they were shown on the video screen. At the end, we were given certificates declaring us official Hershey’s Chocolate Tasters along with a full size Hershey bar.

Create Your Own Candy Bar

Now that we had tasted the chocolate, it was time to make the chocolate.  We headed off to the Create Your Own Candy Bar Activity. This is another paid attraction that I highly recommend. Create Your Own Candy Bar takes place at certain times throughout the day and evening.  As we stood on the line we were given aprons and hair caps. Even infants have to wear the hair caps because of the strict regulations.On the plus side, they make for great photo ops.

Once our aprons and hair caps were in place, we were led into an area with several kiosks where we scanned our tickets and entered our name and email address. Then it was on to the next area of kiosks where we selected the kind of chocolate bar we wanted to make. The fist step was to choose milk chocolate or white chocolate for the actual bar. We then chose up to three toppings like pretzels, crisp rice, Heath toffee pieces, chocolate chips and more. All bars are encased in delicious Hershey’s milk chocolate. We were able to add colored sprinkles to the top for a festive touch if we wanted.

When we were finished customizing our chocolate bars, it was time to head off to the assembly line, where we were able to watch every step of the manufacturing process.  This part was really fun, especially for our kids, who were able to see their name and their chocolate bar as it moved along.  When finished, our bars were boxed and then placed in a Hershey’s embossed tin box. At a final kiosk we were able to design the special cardboard sleeve that goes over the tin box.

We ended up doing this attraction again a couple of days later, because we wanted to make custom chocolate bars for our older kids who were not able to join us. Everyone was so happy with their chocolate bars, and I have to say, the bars were absolutely decadent and delicious. The chocolate covering made them absolutely delectable!

create your own candy bar

We browsed the gift store where the kids each choose a Hershey truck and car set, and then we headed off to get a very late dinner. We were all very tired, as it had been a very full day including our drive to Harrisburg.

Hersheypark

The next day, we set off for Hersheypark. The Park has been greatly expanded since my last time here with my older kids. They have added an entire Boardwalk area with tons of water rides, splash areas and more. The addition of this area makes it very hard to do the entire park in 1 or 2 days. You can easily spend an entire day in the Boardwalk area alone.

It was very hot when we were there, and we were so lucky that they weather was nice and sunny because the summer was the rainiest one I remember. In fact, just a few weeks earlier, the area experienced such severe flooding, Hersheypark had to close for at least a day.

Since it was so hot, my kids wanted to spend almost the entire day at the Boardwalk until it closed at 6 pm. After changing, we headed off to check out the rest of the park which closes much later.

The lines for food were the only thing that was unnerving, especially since we had bought the all day dining deal. My husband literally spent 45 minutes online to get food every time. It was not only us, there were dozens of other guests who were very disappointed with the wait times coupled with many restaurants that were listed on the plan being closed.

I have to say, guest services was very receptive and really wanted to make things right. They talked with us at the end of the night and refunded our money because of the fiasco. I do recommend the Souvenir cups apologized to us and refunded our passes because of the issues. This is the only thing I would not recommend even though you might have better luck during the week or at less busy times.

I highly recommend the souvenir cup deal that you buy for one price and are able to have refilled for free with soft drinks or ICEE for 36 hours after purchase and 99 cents after that. Our cups worked for both days for free refills including ICEEs. Free ice water is available throughout the park.

The next day was devoted to Hershey Park as well. It was another hot, sunny day, and our kids wanted to go right to the Boardwalk area. We spent the next several hours there swimming in the wave pool called The Coast, floating on the lazy river called the Intercoastal Waterway, riding the exciting tube slides and water rollercoaster and playing in the immense splash area that is filled with slides, fun structures and of course, two huge buckets that dump water on everyone down below. The Boardwalk has attractions for kids and adults of all ages.

Hershey Park

Hersheypark

When you enter Hersheypark there is an area where you can measure your children, to see where they fall in height. Everyone’s height correlates to a candy. Every ride has a sign in front that shows which “candies”the ride is suitable for. This makes it easy to see if your child is big enough or too big to ride. There are many rides that  adults and kids can go on together, this makes it easy to accompany smaller children.

You can check out a slide show from our Hersheypark trip below. We also have and will be adding more videos and slide shows to our YouTube Channel, so be sure to check it all out to see more.

ZooAmerica

When we were done at The Boardwalk, we headed off to walk thru ZooAmerica,  the zoo at Hersheypark that you can access from the park, and is included with your Hersheypark admission. We walked around looking at the animals. They have nice walkways and exhibits. The animals are divided into groups based on where they live and the kind of animal they are. After ZooAmerica, we ate at a venue in the park that was cafeteria style and had a variety of foods. We were able to get everything from Pizza to Burrito Bowl to Cheesesteaks. It was nice, because everyone got what they wanted, and they also filled our souvenir cups for free.

On one of our previous trips to Hersheypark with my older kids, we incredibly won not one, but two of those enormous black bears at a game where you try to ring the neck of a glass bottle with a plastic ring. We were able to get a bucket of rings for $5. When my four-year old was upset because he was too small to ride the Great Bear roller coaster, I suggested we try our hand at the game while waiting for his dad and siblings to get off the ride.  I was shocked when my four-year old tossed a ring from the bucket right onto the neck of a bottle winning a huge bear.

Later that day, my 9-year-old wanted to try, so I bought one more bucket. That time, it was me that got the ring on the neck of the bottle winning another huge bear. We were certainly glad we had a 7 passenger van, because we had 2 extra passengers on the way home.

My younger boys love those bears and that story, so when we came upon the same game in the same spot, they had to try their hand at it. A bucket of rings was still only $5 and my husband, myself and our two boys started tossing the rings. Within the first few, our  11-year-old got a ring on a bottle (it happened to be one of the special color bottles).

The special bottle meant he won one of the rare jumbo unicorns. However, they were very pink and he really wanted a bear, so they let him get the bear. He was so proud of himself, and his little brother was too!  It must be a family tradition for us, because again we had an extra passenger riding home in the back seat of our minivan.

Hersheypark

Indian Echo Caverns

We stayed at the park until it closed at 11 pm and then returned to the hotel. The next morning, we set out to visit Indian Echo Caverns in Hummelstown, which is a few minutes outside of Hershey. First stop was the gift shop to sign up for our tour, and our kids was enthralled with all the crystals. They also each had to have a miners hard hat with a light that they wore on our cavern tour. Needless to say, we dropped about $100 in the gift shop.

It was not long before we were called for our tour. Our tour guide was enthusiastic and informative.  He took us through the caverns, and entertained us with stories and history. The caverns are amazing! Lots of great photo ops and stellar views. Be aware there are many stairs to climb to go down to the cavern entrance, there are steps to climb in the caverns and upon exiting you need to climb up the stairs again. You cannot bring strollers in the caverns either.

When we emerged from the caverns, we visited the animals on the grounds. They have goats and a turkey, some alpacas and birds of prey. There is a large playground area and picnic tables, if you want to bring a lunch. We had to move right on because we were off to Lake Tobias Wildlife Park. Check out the video below to see more.

Lake Tobias Wildlife Park

We grabbed some lunch on the road, and drove about 30 minutes to Halifax, Pennsylvania where Lake Tobias is located. We discovered Lake Tobias years ago when our oldest three children were young and it made quite and impression on us. I was absolutely astounded at how much the park has grown.

They have so many animals now!  Beyond that, they have the most natural and beautiful habitats for the Lions, Tigers, Bears and more. Everything is so clean including the reptiles and exotics building, where we saw marmosets, a sloth, all kinds of snakes, alligators, lizards, birds and more. Once more, I was impressed with just how pristine this area was and best of all, there were no funky smells.

Lake Tobias has a petting zoo as well as lots of other animals you can pet like zebras and donkeys throughout the park. A few weeks after our visit they added 2 young giraffes to their menagerie.

The safari ride is much like we remembered, they used sawed off school buses as their safari trucks and drive you out onto their  many acres where you get up close and personal with bison, emu, Asian water buffalo, antelope and more who roam freely. You can purchase some snacks like carrots and pellets to feed the animals on the safari. The animals come right up to the safari bus and it is quite amazing! Our kids were so excited and had a blast!

There is a picnic area as well if you want to bring a lunch. Of course, our visit was not complete without a visit to the gift shop where our boys found a couple of plush bear friends to join our huge bear in the back seat. They also selected some more crystals and a few other items. We did get a free Lake Tobias tote bag for spending over $50, so yeah!

Here is a video of our time at Lake Tobias:

We loaded into our van and headed back to Hershey’s Chocolate World, to the Create Your Own Candy Bar attraction, so we could make custom bars for our older kids. We ended up doing the Chocolate Tasting Experience again as well, but this time at the end, we received a snack size bar instead of the full size we got the first time.  I am not sure what is the standard size candy given out now. If you have been to the Chocolate Tasting Experience, let me know what you got at the end.

Everyone was starving when we finished, so we headed off to eat at Houlihans in downtown Hershey. We had a wonderful dinner with a friendly server, great food and comfortable atmosphere. Another day in the books,  and we were ready to load up and make the trek home. I will post more about each specific part of our trip, but wanted to document our entire trip in this comprehensive post.

If you have any questions, please ask in the comments. You can also check out our reviews on TripAdvisor. Have you been to the Hershey Harrisburg area? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

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Practical Ways To Help Your Adult Children

Raising children is very expensive, and just because they reach the age of 18, doesn’t mean  your responsibility ends. On the contrary, most parents continue to financially support their adult children in some way. Some parents want to ease their children’s financial burdens or to fund a business venture. Even retired parents find ways to assist their adult kids. If you are thinking about how you can best help your kids even if you are retired, we share a few common ways you can help below.

Set up College Funds

First, you could help to pay for college tuition. Going to college is expensive and it isn’t getting any cheaper. On top of that, professional jobs require a college degree, with even more requiring advanced degrees. If you want to help ease the financial burden of student loans, you can help out with their college tuition. This way, they won’t be graduating with a degree and a mountain of debt to repay.

There are several ways you can do this. You can open a separate savings account, then withdraw the money when your children or grandchildren are ready for it. You could also place the money in a trust, which would allow your child to access it when they turn 18. Finally, you could simply have the tuition payments directed to you and pay for the semesters as they come up. Whichever method you choose will depend on your own financial situation and how old your child is.

Help Then Become Homeowners

The other large payment many people have to deal with is their mortgage. Mortgage payments are large and last a very long time. If you want to help your children with a larger down payment for their new home, it will decrease the amount of the mortgage they need. If you son or daughter already has a home, helping them to pay off their mortgage sooner is very beneficial. While every dollar helps, you need to remember to keep your own future in mind. Talk to your kids about how much help they may need, then see if you can make it work.

Funding a New Business

If your child wants to start their own business, they may need additional funds to get it going. Starting a new business is expensive, if they don’t have enough money, they may not be able to do all the things they need to which could spell failure. If you believe in your child and their business plan, you should consider assisting them financially to get started.

Before you do, make sure the business plan is a solid one. While you want to help your kids, you don’t want to throw your money away on a bad idea. If you can, have an outside financial advisor review their business plan and give your their opinion if it is a wise investment. If not, consider other ways that you can help your child, or recommend ways they can improve their business model, so that you can help with funding.

Babysitting

Lastly, if you have grandchildren, you can always help with child care. Sending a child to daycare is expensive, and if your kids can skip it even once or twice a week by sending their kids to you, that will really add up in the long run. Not only do you get to help ease the financial burden of child care, but you get to spend time with your grandchildren as well.

Before you embark on this, make sure your home is safe and baby proofed. Have some fun things for the kids to do, as well as a safe play area with their favorite toys. You don’t have to turn your home into a daycare, but some preparation is a good idea.

How to Find Additional Funds

Now, maybe you want to help your children, but you aren’t sure you can afford it. If so, there are some ways that you can earn some additional funds during retirement. For starters, you could get a part-time job. Another option is downsizing your home which would lower your housing costs, especially your taxes. You could also talk to reverse mortgage lenders. You can use this reverse mortgage lender locater to get  started. There are many options, you just need to consider what’s right for you.

Helping Them Succeed

Being able to help your adult kids out is a great feeling. Even though they’ve left the nest (or are about to), it still feels good when you can help make their lives a little easier. Hopefully, the tips above provided you with some good ideas about how best to help your kids out even during your retirement.

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Helpful Tips For Working Mothers on Balancing Work and Family Life

In today’s day and age, a two income family is not just a choice, but a necessity in many cases. With so many women in the corporate workforce full-time, we must address the issue of trying to balance work and family life. Some days we can find ourselves questioning if we truly can achieve a healthy balance. If you are stressed out and looking for help, the tips below may help restore some sanity to your hectic life.

Don’t Be Afraid to Delegate

Managing your home includes many different tasks. Keeping your home clean and organized should not fall solely on your shoulders. Every member of the household should be sharing in that responsibility. If you have divided up the household chores, but still feel like you are having to hound others to stay on task, it can really make things stressful.

You might want to make use of professional home cleaning services or hiring a housekeeper on a weekly basis. Another helpful option is to consider renting a storage vault if you need a place to store your off-season decorations and other things you don’t currently need at home. The less stuff you have around, the easier it will be to organize what’s left. You will be amazed at how much more efficiently things will run with all that extra space. 

Delegating responsibilities to others will give you more time to do the things that matter, like spending quality time with your family and friends.

Make Preparations

If you don’t want to be rushing to work in the morning, get in the habit of making sure everyone lays out their clothing the night before. Prepare lunches at night too, and plan your meals for the week so, you can shop more effectively. Electric pressure cookers let you cook delicious meals that used to take hours in about 30 minutes. Create a family message center so that everyone is aware of upcoming events, school meetings and activities. 

Create A Family Message Center

Create a family message center with a calendar, cork board and white erase board or chalkboard. This will help keep important dates of events, appointments, school meetings and activities where everyone can see them. Enter dates in your smart phone or planner. Knowing what is coming up will help you from being caught off guard and missing important events or appointments. Don’t forget to schedule in some family fun time!

Celebrate Your Child

Sometimes it simply isn’t possible for us to be physically present at our child’s special event. While it is upsetting to have to miss your child’s concert or soccer game, sometimes there is no other choice. If you do have to miss an important event, show your child you love them and wish you could be there with a special note or little gift. While it is not a substitute for you being there, it will let them know how much you love them and how you wish you were there. You might be surprised at how much emotional support your child can gain from a small note. 

Make Use of Technology

If you have to be away on business or are working late, you can record a video of yourself singing or reading a favorite bedtime story for your kids to watch. A phone call to catch up or even a Facetime video can really help you stay connected. Make use of the technology at your fingertips. Something as simple as hearing your voice can be so comforting to your child. 

This is a collaborative guest post, the views expressed do not necessarily represent those of Mommy Ramblings.

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4 Inexpensive Ways To Make Your Home More Secure

Home security is an important consideration for anyone, regardless of age, income or where they live. When you welcome a new addition to your family, those natural, protective instincts kick in, making it more important than ever. Of course, growing your family is also one of the most expensive periods of your life, not to mention one of the most chaotic. So, from a pragmatic perspective, it might not be the most sensible time to call in contractors to tear your home apart installing a state of the art home security system. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to improve home security significantly that are cheap, quick and simple.

Send out the right signs

Home Invaders and burglars are opportunists who look for easy targets. Make it clear that you don’t fall into that category, and they will go somewhere else. If you place signs on your gates telling the uninvited to stay out, it makes it clear that your household is aware of the possibility of intruders. Simply putting a sign up sounds almost too easy, but it is a proven and effective way to stop people trespassing on your property – all for the price of a sandwich and a cup of coffee!

Let there be light

Intruders tend to operate either while everyone is off to work or under the cover of darkness. If you are a new mom, chances are you are around most of the day, so it is the nighttime hours that are the highest risk. A security light is a must-have these days. The technology has become so inexpensive and energy-efficient that there is no reason not to. As well as illuminating anyone who approaches the property and shouldn’t be there, lighting also provides additional comfort and security for you, your family and any genuine visitors who approach the front door after dark.

Gravel and shingle

If you are planning on resurfacing the drive any time soon, give serious thought to gravel or shingle as opposed to concrete or paving. As well as being a cost-effective option, it makes a distinctive, loud noise when anyone walks or drives on it. If your parents had this kind of driveway when you were younger and you ever tried to sneak in quietly after a late night, you will remember exactly what it is like!

Trespassers hate trellis

Trellis, the thin wooden framework that you can put above your fence or wall, looks
innocuous enough, and certainly wouldn’t seem like anything to bother a burglar. However, as well
as providing the perfect environment for vines and creepers to grow on, it has another
interesting feature. Trellis is so fragile that if anyone tries to climb over it, it will immediately start
snapping and quickly collapse – and it will do so very noisily.

Trying to climb over trellis is an even noisier challenge than navigating a gravel driveway.
For a few dollars, it is the perfect way to make your garden look better and at the same time,
add a simple but effective intruder alert system!

This is a collaborative guest post. The ideals and views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mommy Ramblings.

 

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Why Pattaya is the Ultimate Destination For International Travel With Kids

Traveling alone or with another adult is very different to traveling with kids. It is simple just to pack for yourself and hit the road. Beyond that, traveling by yourself is much less expensive than traveling with a family. Since Traveling solo is less expensive it will allow you to travel to more pricey destinations, such as exotic islands.

Traveling to new places is so rich in experiences that no one should have to be deprived of it. However, when kids come along, the thought of traveling is something many parents dread, thanks to the stress, expense and time management issues.

Many parents have to forget about traveling once they have kids, especially embarking on international trips. If they really need a break, they might take turns going on a solo adventure. While this may give mom or dad some relaxing time to unwind, it does not provide for the family to take a trip and build those precious memories.  Kids benefit from traveling as much as adults, it not only rejuvenates them mentally, but also offers them a great learning experience.

If you are a parent, who is reluctant to travel with toddlers or young kids, start by choosing kid-friendly destinations that are not overly expensive. Next, make sure your kids sleep well and eat on time,  so you are not dealing with cranky kids on your trip. Packing a small backpack for each child with snacks and small toys or games is a great idea. If you are not used to traveling internationally with toddlers and are on a tight budget, you should consider Pattaya, Thailand for your next family vacation. Find out below why Pattaya is an excellent choice for families looking to take an international vacation.

Easy to Access

It is no secret that Thailand is one of the cheapest holiday destinations for a country that offers pristine, exotic beaches along with an abundance of nature and entertainment options. However, most families with kids get turned off because the more famous islands require additional flights or overnight road travel.

Fortunately, Pattaya is a mere 3-hour drive from the capital, and families will easily be able to find buses and cabs from the airport. It is recommended that instead of using public transportation, you rent a car from the airport and drive on your own. This way you will be able to travel at your own pace, and your kids can easily rest in the back seat.

Budget Friendly

While it is already well-known that Thailand is one of the most pocket-friendly destinations, not everyone knows Pattaya is the cheapest destination within the country. Pattaya’s location near the capital eliminates the need for additional flights which saves you money right off the bat.

Accommodations are extremely economical. You can find a room at a 5-star beach resort such as the Hilton for about $250, and even less during certain times of the year.  There are also much cheaper three-star, four-star and Airbnb options available to suit every budget and family’s needs.

Attractions for Everyone

Pattaya has a lot to offer for everyone in the family, and your kids are not going to get bored. Let your kids  play in the sand and surf at the lively Pattaya beach while you chill out on one of the lounge chairs or enjoy the water sports.

If you want to experience a more scenic and exotic beach, take a trip to the famous Coral Islands. You can apply online for many more kid-friendly Pattaya tours such as the Cartoon Network water park, Safari World to experience the wild up, close and personal and a beautiful elephant sanctuary.

This is a collaborative guest post. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mommy Ramblings.

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Safety First: Find Out Who Has Your Number

In today’s world, you need to be extra careful with your phone. When you start receiving many calls from unknown phone numbers, it is natural to be concerned. This is even more of an issue when your children have their own phones. You want to make sure your kids are safe and not approached by strangers, even on the phone.

You may notice many different numbers calling or just one or two. If you have a pre owned phone, you might get calls from people who think you are someone else. This can make it difficult to know when to answer.

When you are teaching your kids to be safe on their phone, here are a few helpful tips for dealing with unknown phone numbers.

Don’t Answer

When an odd number shows up on the caller ID, it is often best to simply let the phone ring or decline the call.  Have your child show you the phone number on the caller ID so you can initiate a reverse phone lookup. When a child answers the phone, they may give out information they shouldn’t. Not answering means they won’t get confused by a strange caller and give out personal information.

Keep It Private

Kids often put down phone numbers on school forms and social media. You should talk to your child about not giving out their phone number, except to close friends and family. If your kids are asked to fill out any papers at their school or for sports, tell them to put down a parent’s number instead.

If you have teenagers that like to be on social media, make sure they do not put any of their contact information on their accounts. They should also keep all of their settings on private. Otherwise, strangers may be able to get their phone number off of their social media pages and call your child.

Keep the Phone Close

Kids often set things down and forget where they put them. Talk to your child about keeping their phone nearby, in their bag, or in their pocket. If the phone is out where it can be seen, someone may pick it up or see their personal information. Your child is likely to have pictures on their phone that could end up in the wrong hands. Be sure to use the reverse phone lookup anytime you want to know who is calling your child’s phone.

There are times when you just do not feel right about a phone number that shows up on your caller ID. You can easily find out who the caller is by checking with a reverse phone number service. Strange numbers can be especially concerning when the call is going to your child’s phone. Talk to your children about what to do if a strange number shows up. Make sure they save the number so you can find out what is going on. Safety is key when it comes to unknown numbers.

This is a collaborative guest post. The ideas and views do not necessarily represent those of Mommy Ramblings.

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4 Helpful House Cleaning Tips for Working Mothers

Having a clean home when you work can be a real struggle. Seventy percent of mothers with children under 18 participate in the labor force, with over 75 percent employed full-time. Whether you work full-time or part-time,  juggling your job, kids, cooking and cleaning is not easy. When you are off from work, it can still be difficult to find the time to clean your home thoroughly.

You can find some relief when you change the way you work to keep your home spotless. Here are a few tips that will help you make the most of the time you have to clean and organize your home.

1. Set A Timer

Cleaning shouldn’t consume your whole day. You can make your home look clean in just 20 minutes. You would be surprised at what you can accomplish in just 20 minutes if you don’t get distracted by phone calls, emails, visitors ,etc.

Start with the easiest task and set a timer. Using a timer will help you understand exactly how much time you have left and helps keep you from getting sidetracked.

2. Do Dishes After Every Meal

Cleaning the dishes after meals helps you stay on top of your kitchen. Don’t let dishes pile up, because it will become overwhelming, and cause you to procrastinate. Get into a routine which includes doing dishes after each meal. Stop throwing the dirty utensils in your sink and leaving them for later.

If you are having trouble getting your dishes under control, try the “One Cup Method.” Assign one plate, glass, other utensils to everyone and avoid using other utensils. Doing so will significantly cut down on the amount of dirty dishes, and make clean-up after each meal quick and easy.

Use a similar approach for taking out the trash. Every evening before going to bed, place your full trash bag by the front door. In the morning, grab it and place in your outdoor trash can or receptacle. If you do this, you won’t come home to foul odors or overflowing trash bins after working a long day.

3. Assign Tasks

You shouldn’t have to pick up after everyone. You are not the only person living in your home, and it doesn’t state anywhere, that you are the only person responsible for cleaning it. Make others contribute, especially when you can’t handle the load alone. Follow this plan:

Assign Laundry to Teens

Laundry can clutter your whole house, especially if everyone keeps throwing their dirty laundry wherever they want. Your teens are only a few years away from college where they will have to look after themselves. Prepare them for this change by making them do the laundry for the whole family.

Make Everyone Pick Up After Themselves

It may be harder to get very young children to clean up after themselves, but it is easier to implement with older children. Lead by example, you are teaching your children about personal responsibility when you make them clean up after themselves. You won’t need to remind them of their chores, if they take pride in keeping their house clean. Teaching your children the value of being responsible. will serve them well in life.

4. Find Pockets of Time Every Day

If you can’t afford a top-end NYC Maid Service, you need to find pockets of time in-between different tasks. Use your time wisely and knock off cleaning tasks. For example:

  • Unload the dishwasher while you wait for your kids to get ready for school
  • Do some laundry during a commercial break
  • Pre-treat the laundry items for your next load when waiting for the washing machine to finish
  • Clean the bathroom while taking a shower

Implementing these helpful tips can make keeping up with your home while working easier. Juggling a career, family and managing a home is stressful, that stress can make day-to-day life hard and chaotic. If you stick with the new routines, it won’t be long before you see big changes.

This is a collaborative guest post, the views and ideas expressed do not necessarily represent those of Mommy Ramblings.

 

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10 Time-Management Tips for Busy Parents

Let’s face it, most parents feel like their days are a game of beat the clock, and more often than not they end up losing. Trying to keep everything together and get that huge to-do list done can lead to frustration, losing your temper and feeling overwhelmed.

Life is unpredictable, especially with kids. Even when you plan, emergencies happen. You may not be able to avoid chaos altogether, but here are 10 Time Management Tips that can benefit busy parents. Following these tips can help bring order and peace back to your life and help you make the most of the time you have.

Prioritize 

I cannot stress the importance of this, knowing what is a priority and what is not, is key to getting the things that matter done. Every day write your to-do list and prioritize your tasks into what you need to take care of immediately, what you need to do during the week and then your more on-going or long-term tasks

Delegate

This is so hard for some of us, but as a rule, if you can delegate a task that is not something you absolutely have to do yourself to a person that you feel will do it 80% as good as you would, delegate it. It doesn’t mean you are not a good mom if you don’t go up to the school to copy and distribute 1,000 fundraiser flyers. Let someone else do that, and it will free you up to do the things that only YOU can do.

Batch Tasks

Look over your to-do list and see what tasks you have that you can batch. This means if you have to go to the bank, post office, kid’s school and the dentist, try to do it all in the same trip. This saves time and gas money!

Get organized

If you are always running late because you can’t find something you need; it is time to get that under control. Get a filing cabinet for all your important papers, birth certificates, passports, insurance documents and more. Have your kids place all homework, library books, permission slips and other things in their backpacks each night. This will save frantic library book searches in the morning.

Have everyone lay out their clothing the night before. I really like these weekly clothing organizers for kids. Having your kid’s clothes picked out and organized for the week ahead, will make mornings less stressful.

Family Message Center

Install a family message center in a central location in your home. Make sure that everyone uses it to communicate what is coming up, post shopping lists,  permission slips and school papers that need to be signed, important reminders and more.

Use the Internet

I cannot stress enough what a time saver doing things online has made in my life I shop, pay bills, do research and more online. If you do have to go out to a store, check out their current sale flyer online and make a list of what you need to buy. Taking the time to do this, will get you in and out of the store faster without forgetting things. While online, you should check to see if there are any special coupons or promo codes that can be used in store.

Purge

Do a clothing and toy purge and make it fun. Promise the kids a treat like going out for ice cream, when you go to donate the purged items. This way you won’t drive around for months with those bags in your trunk. Trimming the excess from your lives will make you feel a lot lighter and make cleaning less of a chore.

Meal Planning

Plan your meals for the week. This will simplify your shopping and you won’t be running out all the time to get something for dinner. Use a slow cooker or pressure cooker, to help you get dinner on the table easier and faster than ever. Make extra when you cook to freeze and save, or check out some freezer meals you can make ahead for the whole week.

Assign your kids Chores

Giving kids jobs to do helps them learn responsibility and improves their self-esteem. Even little ones can help with certain tasks. You can use chore charts to make it easy for kids to see what their responsibilities are.

Learn to say No

This is so important, because our inability to say NO effectively, is the reason we end up with too much on our plate. It is okay to say NO, and to say it often. You can say, I would love to help set up the school book fair, but I just cannot take on any more projects right now. Once you say it a few times, it will get easier.

Following these 10 tips can help you bring some order to your life and save you time and stress. What are your favorite ways to manage your family and your time effectively?

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How Pre-Planning Your Child’s Summer Benefits Both of You

When your kids get old enough to start making decisions, it’s difficult to know when to step back and when to take over. No one wants to be the helicopter mom, but you want to make sure your kids are getting the best opportunities. Summer vacation is one area where you want to get more involved.

Here are a few ways pre-planning your child’s summer benefits you.

1. You can make decisions together

When you have to make arrangements at the last-minute, oftentimes, you’re calling the shots without any input from the kiddos. But if you give yourself a little time, you can talk things over. Sure, some things won’t be negotiable, but you can let your kids choose whatever activities they can.

As soon as the options are available, collect all the possibilities and discuss them with your kids. Make sure you keep any scheduling conflicts in mind. It may help to grab a pencil and mark up a calendar. If you have more than one child, this may be a process that takes some time.

2. Your kids will have more opportunities

All the popular summer activities sell out fast. So, if your kids are going to be going to camp or taking some extracurriculars, you’ll want to book them in advance. It could be the difference between adventure camp and knitting 101, so this is very important.

Stress the importance of choosing wisely because most activities cannot be changed after you make a deposit.

3. You can arrange more free time in the summer

Just like the activities, good childcare can sell out fast too. If you’re planning to put your kids into a program or book the most reputable nanny, you’ll want to pre-plan. And as a bonus, you may be able to book more date nights if you make arrangements with a babysitter early in the season. You can even schedule a night every week or every other week to get away with your significant other.

4, You can finalize your vacation

If you book your vacation before you plan your kids’ activities, you may regret it. For example, what happens if there’s a big soccer tournament the week of your vacation? If you had booked the extracurriculars first, you could have worked your vacation around the big events.

Plan your kids’ camps, sports practices and music lessons before you decide when to take your family vacation. This will also save you from spending money on weeks of programs you won’t be using.

5. You can plan for anything

When you know what your summer is going to look like, you can plan. For example, if you’re taking a road trip, you can pre-plan vehicle service. Things like this can easily get away from you, so try booking any important appointments as soon as you plan your summer activities. This may include doctors’ visits, dentist appointments or even haircuts.

Planning doesn’t solve every problem, but it can certainly help you get the most out of your summer. What are your best summer planning tips?

 

This is a sponsored guest post. The views and ideals expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mommy Ramblings.

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