Garanimals Blog

Archive for the ‘vacation’ Category

August 15th, 2014 at 11:25 am

Planning A Staycation

staycation

A great way to save on vacations all year long is going on a “staycation.” A staycation is when you stay in your own town or somewhere closeby to have your family vacation. This cuts costs by eliminating the need for expensive airline tickets and hotel stays. Plus, you get to sleep in your own, comfortable bed! Staycations can also be quick overnights that don’t require extensive stays at a hotel or resort.

Visit local museums

Try Geocaching

Go to the movies or a play

Visit a nearby zoo, aquarium, or amusement park

Rent a boat or other water sports items

Take a hike or bike ride

Go fishing

Go to a sporting event

Go camping

Go mini golfing, go karting or other fun things you would do on vacation

Eat out and try some new places

The most important part is to RELAX just like you are on vacation. Let chores go for the week, put away the computer, and put down the phone! Take time to reconnect with your kids and spouse so you can laugh and talk and create memories! Be sure to get the camera out and document all the fun you have!

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July 1st, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Book Not-To-Miss Vacation Excursions on Peek

peek icon

Getting ready for a vacation? There are lots of easy ways to book flights, hotels and rental cars online, but what about booking the things that make the trip truly memorable? What are the best things to do and how do you get them arranged ahead of time? Try peek.com.

Peek is a new site that makes it easy for you to see what great fun activities and excursions are popular at your destination and lets you reserve your tickets before you leave home.

Walking tours, water sports, museums and sporting activities are just some of the options you can explore and decide on while planning your trip. There are also testimonials from well known folks and Peek community members on how they love to spend their time at places like Washington DC, Cape Cod, New York, Cancun and Orlando.

Tired of the beach, the pool or the theme park? Perhaps there’s something you’ve never done before that would be a thrill to try. Ziplining? Kayaking? Ghost tours? Activities like these could make it your best vacation ever. I recently spent a day off in Austin and I can testify that my Bridge Bat kayaking tour was the absolute coolest thing I did. Who knew?

Peek is fairly new so the content isn’t as comprehensive as it will be over time, but if your destination is there, it’s an excellent way to get the inside scoop on the best things to do so you can come back refreshed and rejuvenated. And hopefully with some really good stories to tell.

Download the IOS app here. Can’t wait for the Android app.

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May 30th, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Encouraging Learning During Summer Vacation

summeractivities

Just because school has ended doesn’t mean that kids should stop  learning. Summer is a great time to incorporate learning into your everyday plans, and work on skills for the next year.

Use Your Imagination
Summer is a great time for your kids to use their imagination. Play with Legos, dolls, or even stare at the clouds outside. If your children are at an age when they can write, have them keep a journal (it makes a nice keepsake for them to look back on as well).  Make  time to do some of these things with them.

Visit The Library
The library is a great place to explore regularly during the summer. While this is a great place to get reading materials, you can also investigate and learn about things you may encounter. If you are going on a walk in the woods, you may want to pick up a book about wild flowers or insects. There are children’s book clubs or story time events you can join as well.

Take Field Trips
One of my families favorite summer activities is exploring places during our lazy summer days. Take some time to check out nearby parks, wildlife centers, museums and more. There is so much you can learn plus it is a great way to learn about the area you live in.

Worksheets/Coloring Pages Are Fun and Educational
There are some great workbooks available to help your child. Something as simple as a journal or some coloring pages can help them too.

Study Nature And Science
Summer is a great time to learn about science and nature. How do bubbles work? Can the hot sun fry an egg? How do caterpillars turn into butterflies? The list is endless. Use this time to help your children what’s going on in the world around them. If you have a telescope, you can help your child identify constellations and such.

Sing Songs
My boys love music. Even if we are just outside hanging out, we love to listen and sing to music. Sometimes we even dance around. Look for outdoor concerts to enjoy. There is a summertime lunch concert each week in our town that we like to attend and bring a picnic lunch to. It’s nice to get outside and enjoy some culture!

Play Games
We love play card and board games together! Whether it be puzzles, strategy games, or just games of concentration, they are all fun tools for keeping brains sharp and focused.

How do you incorporate learning into your summer days?

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January 27th, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Packing for Children

imagePacking for children isn’t that hard if you are organized. You simply need to face the fact that kids need a lot of stuff and will require your extremely efficient packing skills.

First, you need to go to this site and check out these incredible packing lists. There are lists for packing with children and adults in different circumstances. This is a great way to start before you have even packed an item.

I also wanted to share some of my thoughts on what to bring or not bring and things to think about.

Bathing Suits - If you are going someone where a bathing suit is involved , you truly need more than one per person. Hanging them on the shower curtain rod overnight just doesn’t dry them fast enough. With boys, you can always use trunks as a pair of shorts if needed too!

Washer & Dryer - Lots of people stay in condos that have washer and dryers available. If you will have access to these, take this into account when packing. No one wants to do laundry while on vacation, but it saves a lot of packing room if you do a quick load part way through your trip!

Toys - think about what toys give you the most bang. What will keep the kids attention the longest. My boys have always adored our tablets and phones. These can be a life saver in a airplane ride. Purchase some new games and that will be even more exciting for them! If you are going to visit the beach and want beach toys, visit the local dollar store once you get there to buy some. Leave them with another family on the beach on your last day!

Baby items - leave the jumper, high chair and more at home. A trip may mean more mommy holding time for the baby, but saves you from the gazillion things that you use on a daily basis.

What are your packing tips for traveling with children?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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June 10th, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Keeping your Child Safe Around Water

One of my family’s favorite things to do in the warm weather is to head to the local pool 0r spend time in the backyard on our water slide. Remember that water safety should be your #1 priority. I wanted to share a few tips to keep you and your family safe:

  • Always remember that your children should have your undivided attention when they are in and around water.
  • Infants and toddlers should always be only an arm’s reach to provide active supervision.
  • Dress your children in bright colored swimwear so you can find them at all times and to help lifeguards spot them.
  • Don’t depend on floaties, inflatable rings or blowup items as flotation devices. These often provide a false sense of security. If you use devices like the one in this picture, make sure to have your eyes and hands on your child at all time.
  • Learn CPR. Check with your local hospital, fire department or the American Red Cross for classes.

Stay safe when you are around water!

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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April 19th, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Entertaining Kids on a Road Trip

Any road trip with children can be interesting, to say the least. The endless cries of “Are we there yet?” are almost as fun as a screaming infant or toddler that has just had enough! Here are a few ideas to make the road trip a little easier.

Movies – What did people do before there was access to watch things in the car? Plus, if you don’t have a tv in your car, it is easy enough to watch on your tablet or phone. Too much of this can’t be a good thing, though. Make sure you save this for down time so it doesn’t lose it entertainment value.

Electronic Games – My kids love to play games in the car on their devices. Make sure to load their Leap pad, DS or other game system and favorite games for the road trip. On our last trip I found that headphones are a must!

License Plate - Print out a sheet of paper with all the states on it. As kids see a license plate they can cross off that state. If you are taking a long road trip see who can find the most!

Toy Bribes - Pack a special toy or activity for every hour of the trip. If they behave they get to open the next surprise. This is great with small cars, a new coloring book, or even small doll they can play with.

Doodling Fun - What’s better than some art fun? Make sure to bring some crayons and paper or go paperless with a Magna Doodle, Etch a Sketch, or Dry Erase Board.

Cameras - Pack disposable cameras for your kids to document their journey along the way. My boys like to use an Ipod to take pictures and video and it is great fun to watch what they do after the trip!

Snacks - Never leave home without your kids favorite snacks!

Audio Books- Pick out a story to listen to on the vehicle’s radio or alone. This is a great way to listen to new stories that can take up a good portion of the trip!

Make a Roadtrip Binder – Fill with worksheets that your kids can work on. There are ones for older kids, also.

Magnetic Travel Activity - If you are crafty this is a great way for little boys o play with their cars and trucks during travel.

These activities just might make you hear a few less “Are we there yet?”

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

 

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January 18th, 2013 at 8:30 am

Planning a Family Vacation

I don’t know about you, but I desperately need a family vacation right about now! Between the craziness of raising kids, the holidays, and the dead of winter in Wisconsin I could go for something warm and relaxing. The task can seem overwhelming though. All the planning, packing, and decision-making sometimes makes a family vacation seem not as much fun as you anticipate. I guarantee it will be fun once you go through with a little organization up front.

First, you want to decide where you are going. Is this a Staycation, or do you want to go on a big trip? This also depends upon budget and how long of a vacation you are taking. If it is just a weekend, you may want to stay closer to home; but for a week, you can definitely travel cross-country. Part of this is deciding the travel arrangements –car, train, airplane, boat? During this time of year, we usually take an extended weekend to a waterpark; a great way to getaway from home.

The next big part of planning the trip is deciding the details. Where will you stay or eat? What exciting activities are in store? I like to narrow these down. I’ve tried to figure it out when we got there, but with kids that doesn’t always work so well. When they are hungry, there isn’t a lot of time to wait; in my family that leads to meltdowns! So, what I do is create a list of options for restaurants with a few extras in case one isn’t what we expected. In this digital age, it is so easy to really delve into what restaurants and activities will work for your family. I usually call myself the “Cruise Director” and have a list of possible activities for each day. This takes the stress off me and lessens decisions that need to be made during the vacation. That means more relaxing for Mom!

Now everything should be pretty much planned! You would think we are onto the fun part, but now comes the packing! Depending upon how big your family is, this could be a hefty task. Gone are the carefree days of throwing a couple of things in a bag and having a weekend away. Now I need to tote teddy bears, sound machines and extra clothes in case of accidents. This step takes as much preparation as the others. I like to start a list a week before I am going to start packing. I write down everything I think I may need. I go over this list every day because I can guarantee as the week goes on I will add a few things (sometimes really important ones) and take a few things away. As that week passes I also think about bags that are needed and have time for shopping for last minute items.

Once the list is done I start to gather. My bed usually becomes suitcase central. Luckily, my husband goes on a lot of business trips so I let him pack himself, but always remember to ask him if he has certain items (like swim trunks) that he would typically forget! I like to involve the boys as much as I can, having them retrieve things or pick out their favorite clothes to wear.  Packing can be a big task, but I feel like it starts to get you excited to go.

Then you are set! Well, as long as you thought about your pets, if you need anyone to watch the house or collect the mail too! These are important details that can be forgotten!  Trust me! Last fall, when we went for a weekend I almost forgot to make arrangements for the dog, which led to a 2 hour vet appointment to update shots. Don’t ask!

Once you leave your house, make it fun! Vacation starts on that first step out the door!

Are you going on a fun family vacation anywhere?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

 

 

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