Switch Up Your Mealtimes…For Good!

We’ve noticed a change in meal times, with it becoming more of a necessity rather than an event for the family. Growing up, family meal times were always very important, but with society now being so fast paced and technology being rife, for a large majority, meal times with the family are few and far between or an item to tick off the ever growing list of day to day tasks.

It appears Ceramictopia may have found a solution. The founder went on a mission to try to reinject fun back into meal time and focussed on the current dinnerware products. They have since created a unique and original concept, being the first company in the world to combine the plate and mug. Individually the products create a scene but together they form an entire story and they really do make you smile every time you look at them.
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Delving deeper into this and to find out where the idea stemmed from, Giles Moore, founder and CEO of Ceramictopia, said “The idea stemmed from my brother having fun in an arts and crafts café with various paints, plates and mugs. For fun, he created a Giraffe that went across the two items, and at that moment, a lightbulb went off in my head and I knew I had to bring this to the market”.

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The company, Ceramictopia, are working with various artists from around the world to create unique and individual designs that have their own distinctive personality, inspired by a memory, a dream, or a human experience. For the Ceramic and Glassware ranges, the designs are focused on animals, sports and landmarks, and for the Paper products, they are focusing on seasonal events such as Halloween, Bonfire night, Christmas, New Year as well as big sporting events such as the Superbowl.

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We are very excited to see this company launch. What a great way to add some fun into dinner times. They are running a Kickstarter Campaign to raise funds for the tooling, so they can create the products on mass scale. Please do make sure you check out there Kickstarter Campaign and back them because this is one of those products we need in this world. cornu6
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As Giles says, “It’s time to remove the boring dinnerware and introduce Ceramictopia, where your personality can shine through”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Ceramictopia:

Ceramictopia, a new Sheffield start up, is the first company to combine and create a story using every day dinnerware. Established in the UK using only English products, Ceramictopia is looking to work with artists around the globe to create unique and original designs for dinnerware, to reinject fun back into meal times. All designs are available on ceramic, glass or paper and are based on a memory, dream or an experience. Ceramictopia are launching a Kickstarter Campaign to produce the tooling for the artwork so the products can be mass produced. Go to ceramictopia.com for more information and to back our Kickstarter Campaign. (Press Kit)

 

How to Get Kids Involved in the Game of Golf

Golf isn’t the first game or sport that most kids think of when they conjure up images of getting outside and having a good time. Oftentimes, they would rather be playing sports like baseball, football, basketball, or soccer because those activities really get them moving and running around, and some of them, like football, are contact sports that are attractive to kids as well. But the truth is that golf can be a lot of fun too, even for kids, and it can build physical strength, as well as concentration. So how can you get your kids involved in the game of golf, especially if they have negative preconceptions about it? Keep reading for a list of handy tips you can start using today.

Start with Mini Golf

A good place to start if you are hoping to get your kids interested in golf is by taking them to a mini golf course while they are still young. Mini golf is a lot of fun for kids, and it can also be a good way to get some exercise. Once your kids get used to playing mini golf and they see how much fun it is, you can mention that regular golf is a more advanced, and even more fun, version of miniature golf. That could be the perfect segue to taking your kids to the next level of golfing. Before you know it, your kids might even be ready to shop with you for the best blade putters.

Next Up, the Driving Range

After your kids have played a lot of miniature golf, you can move on to the driving range, where they can even bring a friend or two in order to make the experience even more social and fun. Again, you want to emphasize that golfing at the driving range is enjoyable, but it is also a good form of exercise. This is also the ideal time to start teaching your kids how to execute a perfect swing in order to improve their accuracy over longer distances than they are used to at the miniature golf course.

Go Golfing Together for the First Time

After a few times nailing down the right form at the driving range, you can then go to the golf course together with your kids in order to show them just how much fun a real game of golf can be. Just be sure to take them when you know that the golf course will not be experiencing a lot of traffic. In this way, you can keep the pressure off as you show your kids how to play the game, and they can also experiment with hitting the ball, perfecting their form further, and learning about all of the obstacles that golfers typically encounter and how they can overcome those obstacles.

Just be sure to start off by playing on a course that your kids could actually handle. Diving in too quickly by heading to a course that is too difficult could deter your kids from sticking with golf. Choose something like a local public course that is not too long, or a par-3 course. These options will give your kids the opportunity to learn the basics, as well as the ins and outs of the game of golf, and their odds of being successful at it are higher than if you ventured into a tough course from the start.

Avoid Competing with Your Kids

Many parents make the mistake of competing with their children when they are attempting to get their kids interested in a specific activity, such as a sport like golf. But the key to success will lie in making the experience a pleasant one for your kids, so avoid directly competing with them. Otherwise, they might end up resenting the experience rather than looking forward to more.

However, once your kids do become more comfortable and confident on the golf course, and once they have honed their skills and gained plenty of experience, you can certainly make it a little competitive by playing a game against one another. Just be sure to follow match play rules, and keep in mind that all of the holes that your kids win will basically give them a fantastic memory of spending time with you and achieving something special. That will serve to further encourage your kids to stick with the sport and keeping learning and improving.

Watch Tournaments on TV or in Person

In the same way that your kids love to watch sporting events, like football games and basketball tournaments, on television, you can spend quality time with them while watching a golf game on TV, such as the PGA Tour. If you can go to an event in person, that would be even better. Watching these events can be exciting, and it can be a good opportunity to show your kids just how skilled the players need to be, and how competitive the sport really is. In other words, you are basically proving to your kids that golf is not boring or non- competitive at all; in fact, the opposite is true.

Hire an Instructor and Invest in the Right Gear

If your kids start to show a more serious interest in golf and you can only teach them so much because you are not all that advanced, don’t worry. There are golf instructors whom you can hire to teach your kids. A good resource to start your search is the PGA website, where you can look for local PGA pros who are willing to teach children who are hoping to improve their golf swing.

As with any other sport, having the right golf gear can make a big difference in your kids’ ability to succeed and really enjoy the game. So, in addition to searching out the right professional instructor for your kids, you can also invest in the right golfing equipment. Stick with junior sets that are specifically designed for kids, as these are offered by the biggest golf club companies to make it easier for kids to learn on gear that is made with their size in mind. After all, if your kids develop their swings on equipment that is faulty or is not appropriate for them, they could end up holding onto those mistakes as they get older, so you want to make sure they learn the right way to swing from as early on as possible. The right gear will be balanced and will be the appropriate weight for your child, increasing their odds of perfecting their technique in a shorter amount of time.

Purchase the Right Golf Wardrobe

Kids love to shop, and they love it when their parents buy new things for them. Considering the fact that, like other sports, golf requires a certain uniform, you can use this as yet another opportunity to bond with your child and get him or her excited about the game. But it is a good idea to wait until your kids have a solid grasp of the rules of the sport and you have already invested in higher quality gear for them. This will ensure that you do not end up spending money on clothes that will end up sitting in the closet.

You want to be sure that your kids are serious about the sport. Then head out and look for apparel lines designed for young golfers. Junior golf apparel companies are surprisingly easy to find, and you can find a good selection of everything from outwear and hats, to golf shirts and accessories for kids of all ages. By dressing the part of a golfer, your kids will be even more proud and even more excited to head out onto the golf course and play, so this can be yet another way to get your kids ready to take this sport more seriously.

Don’t Force It

Not every kid will be interested in golf, no matter how hard you try and no matter how many times you take them mini golfing, to the driving range, or to the more advanced golf course. Keep in mind that every child is an individual who may or may not like the same things that you do, and that is perfectly fine. So, if the tips above still don’t seem to get your kids excited about golf or they continue to be more interested in other activities, respect their wishes and encourage them to pursue whatever it is that they are most passionate about.

By following these easy tips, you can certainly get your kids involved in the game of golf, even if they start off not knowing much about it and thinking that they will not like it. Focus on proving to them that this is a sport that requires focus and form. Your kids will discover that golf is not just a competition, but also a means by which they can improve both mentally and physically while doing something fun. And when you start playing together, you will be making memories that will last a lifetime.

Top 5 Easy Dog Tricks That Even Your Kids Can Teach Fido

Adopting a new puppy can be exciting but, properly training a new puppy can be exhausting, especially if you have kids. Dog training requires consistency, which can be derailed by young kids who just want to play with the new family member.

Luckily, there are many ways to ensure your puppy gets the proper training, even when you have eager children running around. While you may be responsible for more serious training, such as teaching your puppy to go to the bathroom outside, there are many ways kids of all ages can assist with training.

When kids are a part of dog training, not only is the puppy receiving consistent training, the kids are also learning how to interact with him or her. Therefore, if your kids are old enough to play with your puppy then you should let them teach him or her a few tricks.

The younger your kids are the easier the tricks they teach need to be. Young children aren’t known for their patience or long attention span. Luckily, these 5 dog tricks are easy for kids of all ages to teach Fido.

Trick #1: Teaching Your Puppy Its Name

Teaching your puppy his or her’s new name can make the rest of the training process easier. It’s also one of the easiest tricks your kids can teach, as it doesn’t require intense concentration—at least not for your kid.

Instruct your kid to say your dog’s name every time they pet, hug, or play with him or her. You could even instruct them to say your dog’s name when he or she is passing through the room. Make sure they give your dog a couple of delicious dog treats when he or she responds to their name.

While this isn’t a difficult trick for your kids to teach, make sure they understand your dog only gets a treat when he or she responds to their name. One suggestion is to repeat your dog’s name several times. If your dog responds and comes to you or the kids, then he or she deserves a treat.

Trick #2: The Sit Command

In the beginning, teaching your dog to sit is a trick you and your kid should do together. Or if you have more than one kid you can teach them to work together. As your dog starts to learn the command it won’t take more than one person to finish the training.

When you first start teaching this command, have your child hold a treat above your dog’s nose. If your child’s arm is long enough, place his or her hand on top of your dog’s butt. Or put your hand, or have another child put his or her hand, on your dog’s butt.

Then have your child move the treat upwards, while you press down on your dog’s butt. Make sure to repeat the word “sit,” while you are gently pressing down. Once your dog sits reward him or her with a treat. Repeat this cycle several times throughout the week.

Trick #3: Hush

“Hush” is another easy trick for kids of all ages to help teach. It only requires your kids to watch and respond to your dog’s barking. Therefore, even the youngest toddlers can learn to hush your dog.

When you first teach your dog to hush, have your kids watch your when he or she is barking. If your dog notices you or your kids staring and gets quiet, have your kid reward him or her with a treat. Do this every time your dog become quiet, even if it’s only for a second or two.

As your dog starts to respond to the treats, instruct your kid to say hush. Repeat this as often as possible, so your dog associates “hush” with him becoming quiet. After a while you will no longer have to give him or her treats to quiet down.

Trick #4: Heel

Depending on how young your kid is, you might have to help him or her to teach your dog to heel. Even if your kid isn’t old enough to walk your dog by him or herself, they should be a part of training. This trick is key to being able to walk your dog without him or her pulling on the leash.

Start off walking your dog at home, either throughout the house or in the backyard. Put your dog’s collar and leash on him or her. Instruct your kid to hold the leash close to their side as they slowly walk around. Then have them say “heel” when your dog stays too close to their side.

When you think your dog is ready you can start to walk him down the street. If your dog pulls on the leash say “heel.” Remember to reward your dog with treats when he listens and stays at your side.

Trick #5: Stay and Come

Once your dog understands the “sit” command, “stay” and “come” are fairly easy tricks to teach. They are also simple for your kids to teach. It’s also a good trick for kids who are slightly hyperactive, as it allows them to move around.

Start by teaching stay. Once your kids have instructed your dog to sit, have them walk backward. If your dog starts to follow them, have your kids stop and repeat the process. Once your dog stays, even if it’s for a few seconds, give him or her a treat.

Repeat this process, increasing the distance between your kids and your dog each time. Once your dog is willing to sit and stay for a few minutes, you can move on to teaching the “come” command.

Once your dog is sitting still, have your kid walk a small distance and say “come.” They can also pat their legs or say your dog’s name. When your dog comes to them, tell your kid to pet and praise them. They can give the dog a treat every few times he comes.

There are many tricks you can teach your kids and your dogs. However, these five tricks are usually the easiest tricks your kids can help teach the dog. They also tend to be the most useful, as they are the backbone to teaching your dog more complicated tricks.

Author Bio:

 

Anna Smith resides in beautiful Santa Monica, CA, where she works as a Pet Nutrition Expert in a leading retail pet store. She is responsible for nutritional strategies for different breeds and development of new products on the market in compliance with Association of American Feed Control Officials. Anna’s passions are education about proven methods and best practices in the industry and her dog Max, who is always well-fed. She also helps curate contents for DogsAholic.com

From Under the Stars to On the Road: The Essentials for Any Camping Trip

Going camping is one of the best ways to have a fun-filled, exciting vacation, without spending a huge amount of money. Plus, if you tie it in with a road trip, you’ll be able to explore loads of countryside, and not just stick to the same area for days on end. However, camping is only fun when you’re prepared. If you turn up with no food, a leaky tent and no sun block, you’re going to wish you were back at home fairly quickly. So, the key is to get everything you need, and get it far enough in advance that you can get a few trial runs in before the big expedition.

Camping kit

The most important thing to get sorted is your tent. Find one that doesn’t leak and can put up with extreme weather. You don’t want to be woken up first thing in the morning every day because it’s far too hot to stay inside. It needs good ventilation, and secure window flaps. Plus, it needs to be big enough. Always err on the side of caution, especially if there’s a few of you sharing the same tent. Plus, if you’re going to be hiking with all your equipment in your bag, the tent needs to be lightweight.

Once your tent is sorted, you need a backpack that’s going to be comfy and keep your belongings safe. You should always go to a professional shop to have a backpack chosen and fitted for you. If you get back ache after one day of walking, the rest of your holiday will be ruined.

Then, think about your sleeping setup. If you’re pitching up once and not traveling with your kit, then you could think about blow up air beds or camp beds. If not, then find a lightweight roll-up mat to sleep on. A fold-up pillow and eye mask are always welcome, especially in the summer.

Food and catering

If you don’t have good food while you’re camping, you’ll be in trouble. You need to think about what equipment to bring: a portable stove with tin pans is a good idea. You can always light a fire when you arrive, but it’s risky to use it as your only cooking method, just in case you can’t light it, or it doesn’t cook quickly enough. Then, try these camping recipe ideas to make sure you start and end the day with a full stomach, and all the nutrients you need to keep you going.

First aid and protection

If you’re going on a road trip, make sure your vehicle has the right insurance – with breakdown cover if possible – and that you’ve got enough spares, including tires, petrol or diesel canisters, and oil. Then, put together a comprehensive first aid kit, including sun block, fly deterrent, gauze and bandages, antiseptic wipes, chlorine tablets for drinking water, and pain relief. Make sure this is always accessible and always to hand. It should also contain any required medication for anyone on the trip, with enough spare in case some are lost, or you’re out for longer than you planned.

How to Teach Your Kids to Ski – And Have a Great Time Doing It

Skiing is a lot of fun, and it is also a good form of exercise. Plus, it gives you an excuse to get outside and enjoy the natural world even when it is cold out and there is snow on the ground. But if you have children, you will need to teach them how to ski if you want to take a family vacation to a resort like WhistlerPremier.com, so follow the tips below to discover how you can teach them while having a good time.

Start by Teaching Them How to Skate

Whether you go for regular in-line skating or ice skating, teaching your kids how to skate before hitting the slopes is a great way to set a solid foundation. These are activities that can teach youngsters how to balance while on the move, which is also known as dynamic balance.

Choose the Right Mountain

Before booking your trip to a local ski mountain, make sure that the resort offers areas where kids can learn to ski. By ensuring there will be an area for the age groups that your children fall within, you can rest assured that they won’t become intimidated and that they can more easily socialize with other kids their own age while they learn. Plus, many resorts also offer both private and group lessons, so if your kids are not that social or would prefer learning in a quieter atmosphere with fewer distractions, you have the option of using a private session to teach them.

Keep Your Kids Comfortable

The last thing that you want to have to deal with is an uncomfortable kid while teaching them how to ski. So, make sure that you give them layers of comfortable clothes to wear on the slopes where it can get really chilly. Also be sure to pack snacks so your kids can eat if they get hungry. And get them the right equipment as well, such as a helmet that fits just right, glove liners, gloves, and goggles.

Start Slow and Close to Home

You can certainly hit the slopes and start training your children to ski at a resort, but that might be too intimidating for very young kids. A better alternative might be to start practicing at a location closer to home, such as a park that has some hilly areas, or perhaps even in your own backyard. Again, many kids prefer learning in a quiet environment when they are tackling a new challenge, so being on the slopes might be too overwhelming at the very beginning. If you can get your kids comfortable in their gear and with sliding down smaller hills first, they will be a lot more confident once they get to the ski resort.

Overall, teaching your kids to ski should be an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. But if you find that your kids are not having a good time, don’t force it. Skiing isn’t for everyone, and it’s totally fine if your kids prefer a different activity in the snow.

Four Easy Ways To Eat Out On a Budget

Saving money while still enjoying eating out is a struggle that many families face. But with the proper knowledge, this can easily be done. Today, we are going to learn about four easy tips that you can use to eat out while on a budget.

Go Early

An easy way to save money while eating out is to go early. Many restaurants will have early bird specials between lunch and dinner. For instance, when checking out the Ruby Tuesday menu, a popular restaurant, you will find that the menu increases in price after 3 PM. While some may be hesitant to eat dinner so early, it can really save you lots of money. If your family doesn’t want to eat that early but still wants to have restaurant quality food, you can simply order it to go and warm it up later.

Buy Gift Cards

Another great way to save money on dining out is by purchasing gift cards. Many restaurant chains will offer up to 50% on gift cards. This means that your next meal will cost you only half of the regular price! But remember, most restaurants will only allow you to use one gift card per visit. Another way to save money with gift cards is to purchase them at a discount at one of the many gift card exchange websites. Here you will be able to find cards from your favorite restaurants all at handsome discounts. There are many other ways that gift cards can save you money, and you can learn about them here.

Drink Water When Dining Out

If your family wants to save money while eating out and be a little bit healthier, then order water with your meal. Most restaurants do not charge for water, and it’s better for you than drinking sugar-filled soda. This may be a little difficult with smaller children, but with practice, your whole family will get used to it. Drinks are very pricey in restaurants, and some even charge as much as $3.00 for a regular size soft drink. For more information on how you can save while eating out, check out the rest of these helpful tips.

Eat at Kid Friendly Buffets

If you have small children under the age of 3, many buffet style restaurants will let them eat free! Some kids are picky eaters, and buffets offer them plenty of dining options. These types of restaurants often fill up quickly during the weekends and summer months, so make sure to go early. Often there will be long lines and waiting times may vary. This can be difficult with small children so make sure to be prepared and bring along some activities for the little ones.

These four simple tips can really save you a lot of money. So, if you enjoy eating out with your family, why not combine some of these tips and save loads of money? You might be surprised at just how much you will save!

How to Stay Safe on Your Next Family Camping Trip

Camping is an excellent way to spice up your family vacation. However, top of the list of your priorities when planning the camping trip is your family’s safety. You need to prepare for all types of incidents and accidents that could happen when camping. It all starts with choosing the safest location, especially if you intend to bring young children. An injury can ruin the camping experience and cut short your trip. How do you keep everyone safe and still have fun? Here are some useful tips:

1. Bring Safe Food and Water

Preparing your food instead of buying adds to the fun of the camping trip. However, your family trip may be ruined by illnesses caused by contaminated food. Be careful when packing foods. Separate raw and cooked food and use waterproof containers or plastic bags to pack everything. Ensure that each meal is fully cooked before serving. Wash your hands often, especially before meals with clean water. If you cannot access clean water, use hand sanitizers.

2. Stay Away from Wild Animals and Insects

Insect bites and contact with any wild animals will cause illness. One sure way to keep insects away from your tent is to apply an insect repellent. Ensure that your tent is insulated properly to keep insects like bugs, mites, and mosquitoes away. You need to buy the right camping tent to protect your family. Research the best air tents to buy as you plan your camping trip. Avoid close contact with wild animals. Instead, watch them from far in their natural habitat.

3. Prepare Adequately for Water Safety

If your camping site has a pool or a water body for water activities, you need to plan for water safety. Kids are known to like exploring their environment. Watch their movements around water and carry life jackets and floating devices. The camping sites may provide the gear but you need to confirm their availability before starting your trip. No one should go to the swimming pool or swim alone. Ensure that everyone has a life jacket on when taking a boat ride.

4. Protect Your Family from Temperature-Related Illnesses

Temperatures at your camping site can be extremely hot or cold depending on the season and location. You need to prepare for both scenarios. Carry warm clothing and bedding to keep everyone warm at night. When pitching your tent, place plastic sheeting on the ground to keep the tent area dry. Many families prefer to camp in the summer when the weather is warm day and night. The danger of camping in a hot season is dehydration. Take plenty of water throughout the day, even when you are not thirsty to stay hydrated. Avoid sugary and alcoholic drinks in hot weather.

5. Take Care of Your Pets

Your pets are part of your family and you may not want to leave them behind. However, you must plan for their safety as well. Watch your pets carefully because wild animals may attack them if they wander away from the tent. Ensure that you bring safe food and water for them as well. Watch what they eat when playing outside because they may consume poisonous foods. Vaccinate your pets before the trip and inspects them frequently for ticks. Remove any ticks immediately.

6. Choose Safe Outdoor Activities

You cannot stay in your tent all day and night and enjoy your camping trip. However, you must be careful when choosing physical activities. First, ensure that the weather is right for each activity. For instance, hiking is risky in foggy and rainy weather. Pack protective gear depending on the outdoor activities you intend to do on the trip. Carry sturdy shoes, helmets, and life jackets. As you search for the location, you can check the possible physical activities at your destination. It helps to choose activities that everyone can enjoy such that the adults can watch the kids throughout. While exploring your environment, avoid touching poisonous plants.

7. Get the Right Directions

If you are camping in a new location, ensure that you get the directions right. Getting lost is risky and scary. Do not allow the kids or anyone to wander away alone. Carry walkie-talkies, GPS, whistles, or any other devices that can help you trace one another if you get lost. When you arrive at your destination, identify landmarks that can help you trace your way back to your tent. If you go to a remote area, you may lose GPS signal on your device. Carry a physical map or take a screenshot of the area map.

8. Keep Carbon Monoxide Away from Your Tent

One of the reasons why you need to research the best air tents is ventilation. While you want to keep all insects and animals away from your tent, you need fresh air in the tent day and night. One of the hazards associated with camping is carbon monoxide poisoning. High levels of carbon monoxide lead to illnesses and sometimes death. Do not use fuel-burning appliances in an enclosed shelter. The appliances to use outside your shelter include gas stoves, charcoal grills, lanterns, and heaters. Carry warm bedding and clothing instead of depending on such appliances for warmth.

9. Avoid Prolonged Exposure to the Sun

Direct ultraviolet rays are harmful to your skin and eyes. Protect your eyes with sunglasses and skin with broad-spectrum sunscreen. Stay under shades on sunny days or wear light clothing. Remember that sun rays can reach your skin even on a foggy day. Protect your skin throughout the day.

10. Prepare for Emergencies

The tips outlined above will help you protect your family from specific hazards. However, injuries and incidents can still occur during your trip even with proper preparation. Ensure that everyone is vaccinated before the trip. Carry an emergency kit with a first aid kit, whistle, batteries, a map or GPS, warm blankets and a flashlight among other items. Ensure that you have some contacts to call for help in case of an emergency.

You can enjoy a family camping trip without any injuries or illnesses if you prepare adequately.

How to Enjoy a Stress Free Vacation with a Baby

Babies sure are a lot of work, nobody could deny that, and when even a short trip to the local market can mean packing two bags of supplies and taking an entire afternoon of your life, the thought of going on vacation probably seems at best exhausting and at worst, well, impossible.

The good news is that traveling when your child is quite small is actually often easier than when they are a little older, so long as you are open to it being a different experience to pre-baby getaways, and are able to plan and organize a few things ahead of time Here are some basic guidelines to help you make it happen.

Choose a Destination That Suits You All

Planning a vacation with a baby inevitably means compromising on your destination or the type of break possible, but it is still important to go somewhere that will be fun for everyone. Babies are generally easy to please, so while a beach or ski only resort type vacation, or a long haul flight to a country where you can’t drink the water are probably impractical, there’s not much else that is completely off limits, so don’t be too hasty when deciding on a destination.

If you decide to go somewhere exotic don’t forget to seek medical advice about the vaccinations needed, and when a young child is old enough to actually have them.

Consider Self Catering Options

Hotels, motels and similar types of accommodation may not be the most practical in terms of space and facilities when you have a baby to consider, so instead make a point of looking at self catering options. The rapid growth in sites offering full and exclusive use of self contained apartments and houses makes it even easier than ever to rent a private space that is much more user friendly for a family. Do check that the place is completely childproofed, though, if your little one is able to move independently.

While self catering may not sound like much of a relaxing break, it has more good points than bad. For example, if eating out is impractical, there are bound to be plenty of carry out/delivery options available, and as most places include a cleaning fee in the total charge there’s no need to spend hours a day on tiresome domestic chores. Overall, having access to laundry facilities and enough home comforts to properly relax are bound to make the vacation more fun than being confined to one room.

Pack Wisely

Both what and how you pack can make your trip much easier. All parents soon learn just how much paraphernalia a baby needs for even a short visit to see family or friends, but traveling doesn’t actually mean taking that much more. Choose easy to launder, comfortable and uncreasable clothes for the baby, along with some favorite toys. If you will be able to wash and dry clothes while away, prioritize packing only the 20% of items in your wardrobe that are worn regularly.

Pack a couple of your baby’s favorite snacks if they are at that stage already, for emergency use as necessary.

Don’t be tempted to force everything into one suitcase, it’s always safer to have something for everyone in two or three smaller cases in case one goes missing or is lost somehow. Some people like to bag up each entire outfit, making it easy to locate everything you need for a quick change. This would work equally well with adult’s clothing as well as a baby’s.

Make a note of what you are packing as you go along; this is an invaluable help when you are trying to find everything that needs to be brought home again at the end of your trip, especially if you are staying in a private rental, with the owner’s things around too.

Make Unpacking a Priority

It may seem counterintuitive, but unpacking generally makes it easier to be organized than living out of a suitcase does. Having familiar items around helps to settle a baby, and you will appreciate not having to dig through mounds of clothes, shoes and baby items to find anything. As a bonus note – unpacking also helps to prevent clean and worn clothes getting mixed up, so you will always know what is wearable.

Don’t Change Routines

This isn’t always easy, after all vacation is meant to be the time when you can sleep later than usual, eat when you feel like it and generally please yourself. If you have a baby who thrives on change, then you may get away with that, but otherwise be prepared to work around any routines you have already got in place. [If your travel plans involve crossing at least one time zone the jet lag, and consequent interruption of regular set routines will make a mockery of this advice!]

Get Mobile

Vacations offer a lot of time to explore a city and soak up the culture and history in local museums and galleries, enjoy the coastline or architecture, and see any famous sights and landmarks that are close by. All of these things and more are possible to do with a baby, especially if you have come prepared and brought along the best travel stroller you found online. A portable, lightweight and easy to maneuver stroller makes getting around much easier, safer, and faster than carrying the baby on your body.

Keep Baby Safe

If you plan to get a car rental, it’s best to reserve a car safety seat ahead of time. If your child has regular medications, make sure these are packed and carried in hand luggage, along with everyday items such as sun block and appropriate bug repellent.

These tips should help you plan and enjoy a peaceful, fun vacation with your baby, and allow you to spend this valuable family time relaxing, rather than being stressed out. The next time you take a break together, you may have two children to consider, but that’s a whole new ball game to think about once this vacation is all done!

5 Creative Ways You Can Bond with Your Kids

Many hardworking parents feel guilty for not spending enough time with their children. You leave early and come home late after work, trying to give your children the life they deserve. However, you cannot ignore their need for affection and attention. Your financial situation may not allow you to work for fewer hours per week, and you may not have much time to spend with your kids, but you can make every moment count. The secret is to be fully engaged in their activities whenever you have a chance to spend time with them. Here are some creative ways to strengthen your bond with your kids.

1. Allow Them to Choose Activities

Allowing your kids to decide the fun activities you do as a family makes them feel important and appreciated. Choose one day in the week when you spend time doing what they love. If you have more than one kid, give them an equal chance to pick an activity. You may not spend the whole day at an attraction, but spending one or two hours doing their favorite activities will strengthen the bond.

2. Take a Family Road Trip

Nothing brings a family together like a road trip. The experiences and activities shared will keep everyone talking for weeks. You can drive to your favorite holiday destination or a new destination. You get to spend quality time on the road and in your destination. If your kids have a favorite spot away from your hometown, take trips to that spot as often as you can.

3. Bond Over Art and Craft

If you want to create a strong bond with your kids, you must be willing to spend time on the floor with them. Getting crafty with your kids gives them an opportunity to explore and grow their creativity. You may have a mess to clean after, but it will all be worth it. Alternatively, make use of technology to build their creativity. For instance, you can make a collage together with a picture collage maker. You can use family pictures with special memories to create the collage, and then hang it on your wall.

4. Read Books Together

You have probably bought many children’s books but never read them to your children. You do not need much time to read a book with your children. You can pick one of their storybooks spontaneously and tell the story. Bedtime stories still work for children. Allocate ten to fifteen minutes before bed to read just one story. They will always look forward to bedtime stories. If you always come home after bedtime, schedule reading on your days off or weekends.

5. Try a Massage

Massages work best for toddlers. If you leave your child with a nanny as you go to work, practice giving him or her a massage every evening. Massaging the full body after a shower or just their feet and hands before bed will create a great bond. A gentle massage communicates love and affection.

Conclusion

You can create a strong bond with kids even with a busy work schedule if you know how to maximize each moment. Make each day different for them by introducing a new fun activity. It can be just ten minutes of storytelling or playing their favorite game together. Eliminate any distractions like phone calls or house chores during playtime. Pay full attention and allow your kids to lead the way at times. Your bond will grow stronger as you take simple but consistent steps to spend more quality time with them.

Charity Fundraising Ideas for the Whole Family

Raising money for valuable causes is something that you can take part in with the whole family. Not only does this help to bring you closer together, you are teaching your kids valuable life lessons about charity, unity and the power of people when they work alongside one another. Not only this, it gives you all a project to focus on, and provides you the opportunity to get creative in coming up with ideas. If you need a helping hand, here are just a few ideas to get you started when it comes to family charity fundraising.

 

Sell Food and Products
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Selling baked goods or handmade products are both very common ways of raising money for charity. Firstly, you need to decide on a location and a way of getting the word out there that you are going to be hosting this event. Then, you need to decide on what product you want to sell and start your very own family manufacturing line! If you want to do it the old-fashioned way, you could simply set up a table outside your own home with a sign explaining that funds raised are going to charity.

 

Go on a Journey

 

Choosing a journey that you can go on as part of the whole family can be a great way to capture the imagination of people. It could be an epic road trip – check out the No Birds Bash website for some inspiration. It could simply be a walk or bike ride between some points that have some sort of significance to you. You could either raise money by speaking to people directly or you could even set up your own website where more people have an opportunity to donate to your cause.

 

Host an Event in Your Hometown

 

There is nothing like hosting an event for bringing together the whole community in the spirit of togetherness and charity. For example, you could organise a scavenger hunt that brings kids and adults together as they search for items that you have hidden around a particular area. Charge a registration fee and the winners could receive a small prize at the end. Another idea is that you could host a talent show in a local high school auditorium, inviting anyone with a talent to come and showcase it up on stage. Why not create an obstacle course for kids to take part in? It doesn’t need to be overly expensive as you could use objects like tyres, traffic cones, ropes and slip ‘n’ slides.

 

Second-Hand Item Sale
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Most people have some stuff lying around the house that they are happy to donate, so you could set up a second-hand sale to raise money. Depending on the age of your kids, they could run certain stalls themselves. You could divide up the items by category (books, clothes etc) and have a separate stall for each.

 

Raising money for charity is a wonderful thing that you can do with your family. Choose a cause that it close to your heart and get creative!