Summer Family Road Trip Ideas on Budget

Summer is the classic family vacation time in America. It is the time to cram the vehicle, pack in the gear and snacks, prepare the kids, and pull onto the highway for a family road trip. There are so many things that you can do under the sun this time. Definitely, the pleasure becomes double if you can make extra savings on your trip. Check out these frugal ideas for family road trip this summer:

Take Trips to National Parks

Road trips to park are a common frugal family fun but national parks will give the highest value of your money. You will have a number of entertainment options in these parks like   swimming , exploring, camping, hiking, and many more. For example, you can visit the ‘Acadia National Park’ that simultaneously offers superb panorama and ocean access. On the other hand, ‘Shenandoah National Park’, which locates near Washington, D.C., is another great place to chill out. The park is within a day’s drive for millions of Americans.

Opt for Scenic Drives

In spite of increasing gas prices, scenic drives can still be considered as one of the most thrifty family road trips. New Hampshire’s ‘Kancamagus Scenic Byway’ is one of the most suitable places to take such drives. You can just hang out with nature in general in this Byway entwined through the ‘White Mountain National Forest’. It offers you a number of stopovers with chances to hike and experience natural water slides. However, never head out for such family trips without planning beforehand. Make a proper plan and download some travel apps for the trip. It will help you to handle logistics emergencies with ease.

Join Tailgating Events

During summer, it is not very rare to catch up some tailgating events while you are on the way for some inexpensive concerts or for your kids’ sporting competitions. Such parties will offer opportunities for pre-game actions and recipe books galore. By bringing your own food to prepare, you can enjoy these events without spending much. To make the process of food preparation easier, you had better learn some awesome tailgate menus before going to the trip.

Waterfront Park Pavilions

Waterfront park pavilions are sources of unlimited fun and water activities. If you do not have a  swimming  pool nearby, take your kids to a waterfront park that offers rentable pavilions. Your kids will have as much splash, sand, and sun as they want. You can cut the renting cost half by teaming up with another family. Apart from passing quality family time, you can also use these pavilions for arranging your kid’s birthday party or a family reunion because these places are less costly than hotel rooms are.

The fresh and vibrant summer season sets the atmosphere for a great road trip. Whether you are visiting a tourist attraction or planning for a beach plunge, this season will let you to appreciate the complete scenery. The sunny and bright weather is also favorable for enjoying the trip to the fullest.

It’s No Child’s Play

Every child’s first best friend is either his parents or that special toy he keeps dragging around the house. A toy that is so dear to the child that he keeps it close to his heart, literally and figuratively, and the one that even adorns his room when he is past the age of adolescence.

Shopping for toys and games for ones child is an extremely pleasurable and satisfying experience for any parent. But, choosing the right product is not a child’s play. A toy should be bought keeping the interest and inclination of the child. Similarly, before buying a game, always keep in mind that it is not meant merely for time pass, but should act as a catalyst in your child’s mental and physical development.

When it comes to actually buying toys and games, the alternative option these days is to buy them online. E-shop and cashback portals selling toys and games are in abundance and they offer heavy discounts and real value for money as well. Toys and games might be for the child, but no way do you get them cheap on the high street.

For cheap online games in UK, you can depend on the e-shops that offer all kinds of toys and games for children of all ages and adults as well. From mini infrared talking dalek to radio controlled helicopter, and playing cards to amazing snowman, all kinds of toys in various ranges are available online.

Price is definitely the prime consideration but compromising on quality would be tantamount to compromising with your child’s development. Toys and games are not just helpful developmental tools but form an integral part of that most cherished phase in every child’s life-i.e. childhood.

Lose Weight The Fun Way

Have Fun While Losing Weight

Are you one of those people trying to lose weight and having a hard time doing it? Do you dream to have the body of a super model but dread the thoughts of all the rigors and vigorous you have to go through to achieve your desired results? Well relax your mind now because am not here to add to your fears by telling you what vigorous exercise you have to go through to have that perfect shape you desired. Losing weight does not have to be something you dread doing but something you look forward to doing. You can inculcate fun ways to lose weight in your daily routine or get creative with your weight loss program. Some ways to have fun while losing weight are outlined below;

1. Instead of being a couch potato,eating and watching TV or movies most of the time, you can pack yourself a picnic box with healthy food in line with your diet and take yourself out for a picnic or invite a friend along to make it fun. That way you burn the fat and also have fun doing it.

2. If you have space in your back yard,you can start a garden and plant flowers or grow your own vegetables. Fresh vegetables are highly nutritious especially one grown by you. This is a very good form of exercise that is guaranteed to make you sweat and more fun to lose weight if you love gardening.

3. House chores can be very boring and hectic but you can change all that by timing yourself while you perform your house chores, it encourages you to be fast about it and before you know it, you are through with your chores in no time with sweat streaming down your back. Don’t forget to lighten the chores by listening to some energetic music.

4. WALK! Move more everyday.Instead of driving in your air conditioned car, you can do without your car from time to time by walking.If you don’t have a car,you can drop from the bus a bus stop before your stop and walk the rest of the way. Make it more fun to challenge yourself to walk more each day by buying a pedometer and strap it on, that way you can know how many steps you take each day and challenge yourself to walk more.Its a sure fun way to lose weight because walking is a full body exercise.

5. Bike. If you have a bike, you can take long or short rides around your neighborhood. Biking helps you burn a lot of calories and its an enjoyable way to lose weight and keep fit.

6. Choose an exercise you enjoy doing. If you like to dance, or   swim  or play any sports like table tennis, volley ball, badminton etc, these are fun ways you can engage in lose burn off those calories.

7. And lastly but not the least,my favorite fun way of losing weight is to make love. Yes that’s right, love making helps you to lose weight but these is for consenting adults and don’t forget to play safe.

Are We Victims Of Our Circumstances Or Have We The Freedom To Transcend Them?

Do you feel out of control of your life? That events and the situations around you dictate how you feel? That your appetites or fears are in charge of you rather than you being in charge of them? That you are not free to break away from their hold and that life is a powerful current that you are helpless to   swim  against? Many have wondered about just how free anyone is to determine one’s personal destiny. Are we victims of our circumstances or have we the freedom to transcend them?

Limiting factors

We are all only too aware of the way personal freedom is restricted by lack of money, demands of parenting, or the economic recession, to mention just a few limitations commonly encountered in everyday life. From an academic viewpoint, scientists point out the myriad of factors which influence our behaviour and thus curb our liberty to do and be what we want. These factors include – to name just a few – your bodily constitution and family upbringing, any physical impairment, the chemical effects of medication and the social values of our culture.

Reciprocal determinism

Yet, although the environment can be seen to determine behaviour, psychologists also talk about how we shape our own individual environment. This they call ‘reciprocal determinism’. One example is the experience of mass media. People can affect this by what video and television they individually choose to watch and what magazines they choose to read. Another example is to do with personal interactions. We have all come across those people who seem to cope well with problems. They can be easy individuals to be with because of their rewarding conduct and charming and sincere way of dealing with others. They predictably bring about a positive social atmosphere wherever they go.

In other words although the environment around them may play an important role in determining what they do, nevertheless to some extent they make this environment themselves in how they interact with it. Perhaps we have some say in controlling our lives after all.

Inner versus outer freedom

Another reason for supposing we have more chance to take control over life is the sense of inner freedom we can experience. For example how you choose to think is something you are free to inwardly do regardless of your outward activity. You can manufacture a self-fulfilling prophecy by the way you look for the worst or the best in others, or in the way you focus on the threats or the opportunities in any new challenge.

My favourite Greek once said:

I must die. I must be imprisoned. I must suffer exile. But must I die groaning? Must I whine as well? Can anyone hinder me from going into exile with a smile?” (Epictetus)

Not even the god Zeus could conquer his inner freedom of will.

A patient of the psychotherapist Irvin Yalom had a serious physical deformity. She believed that life without a love-sexual relationship with a man was without value – that one is either coupled or one is nothing. So she shut down many options for herself including a close non-sexual friendship. Through therapy she eventually realised that although she was not free to escape her deformity, nevertheless she was inwardly free to adopt a different attitude towards it.

Illusions of freedom

We can get ourselves caught up by negative attitudes and corrupting habits. Fears and obsessive cravings can become reinforced if repeatedly adopted. The sufferer does not realise how much of life is dictated by these feelings.

Some people drift into self-centredness. They can be caught up in the desire to exercise manipulate and control, to get even with anyone who does not please them, and get hold of anything that they fancy having by foul or fair means.

When one wants to carry on in this way it seems like one is acting freely. But I would suggest that anyone who has allowed bad desires and self-delusional thinking to predominate is actually in a state of spiritual slavery. When you are carried away with delight in something it seems like you are a free person to have chosen it. But this is self-deception.

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Real freedom

According to philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg, real freedom is something very different. It is having the heavenly state of mind and character to be able to receive the spiritual life unspoilt by all the negative stuff that blocks out the heat of love and light of wisdom.

Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.


As long as we remain attached to envy, greed, resentment and other selfish attitudes we are not free to experience deep happiness. The negative stuff first needs to be set aside if we are to gain unfettered access to the divine source of all that is good.

Copyright 2013 Stephen Russell-Lacy

Cheap Holiday Deals to Santo Tomas – Good Times With Friends and Family

Whether you are traveling with friends, family, or that special romantic someone, there is much to enjoy about finding cheap holiday deals to Santo Tomas. This resort is popular among British and Spanish travelers and offers a more relaxed pace than some of the other resorts on Menorca and elsewhere in the world. The relaxed pace makes it an excellent choice for couples as well as families traveling with children.

For families the beaches are a huge draw as is the proximity of Santo Tomas to other resorts on the island that offer family friendly activities and fun. It is nice to sleep at night in a resort that offers fewer distractions than some of the more exciting resorts. The   swimming  conditions in Santo Tomas are nearly ideal. Be careful though that you find the beaches you are looking for. There is a local nudist beach that you don’t want to happen across unprepared.

Visitors to Santo Tomas enjoy a ride range of activities to keep them occupied. Among these activities are: shooting, mini golf, horseback riding, tennis, and play areas for children. Of course this is only necessary if you can tear yourself (and your family) away from the beach long enough to explore these options. There are also plenty of island tours you might want to take that offer a different view of the island. The location of Santo Tomas puts you within easy driving distance of all the other attractions on Menorca. Of course, if you really want to relax you can spend your entire holiday doing nothing more strenuous than lounging on the beach and lifting your cocktail glass.

When you find cheap holiday deals to Santo Tomas you may be wondering what to do with all the money you saved on lodging and travel. Not to worry. You can enjoy plenty of great shopping on Wednesdays at Migjorn Gran and on Sundays at Mercadal. You can also enjoy trying out the many great restaurants you will find in Santo Tomas.

Whether you are in need of late holiday deals to Santo Tomas and trying to book last minute holidays or you are trying to find family package holiday deals well in advance there are plenty of options available for

cheap holiday deals to Santo Tomas. Book today for the best selection and see how quickly you become the family hero.

Traditional Wooden Toys For Education and Child Development

Children are learning even before they are born. Every event or experience they have is educational which is why it is important for them to have access to play facilities and toys that will make a positive contribution to their ongoing learning.

Play activities contribute towards a child’s educational development in many ways including:

  • Psycho-motor skills development: hand to eye coordination, dexterity
  • Language development
  • Communication skills
  • Cognitive skills: (concentration, perception, memory and logical thinking)
  • Creative thinking and problem solving
  • Personality development

Modern Toys

Today’s toy shops are full of the latest whizzy electronic toys. Many are advertised as being educational but are really little more than attention grabbing noise making devices. Tests have shown that humans are predisposed to pay attention to rapidly changing events and loud or unusual sounds. Many modern toys exploit these predispositions with loud, noise-making flashing toys that will grab the attention of any youngster. While toys like theses may be amusing many actually provide limited educational value.

The right educational toys will be stimulating and fun to play with rather than simply another form of entertainment. And the right educational toy for a baby is obviously a lot different to the educational toy that will stimulate a 10 year old.

Babies and Infants

Babies and infants need things to look at, to touch, to shake, to taste, to rattle and to roll. Varied colours, varied textures, varied sounds and varied behaviours will all provide immense enjoyment and stimulation to an infant and they will be learning whilst having fun.

Toddlers in the 1 to 2 year age range are getting to grips with language and associations with the physical world. They like to stack things, build things up and then knock them down again. They will often find the packaging more interesting than the item that was packed!

The baby walker is a well known traditional toy that is loved by toddlers, helping them to take their first wobbly steps. Equipped with a cargo of assorted bricks that allow the child to stack and build and knock down while encouraging their creativity.

As they grow toddlers begin to copy and emulate the adults and older children around them. They will enjoy dressing up, role play and imaginative fantasy games that will see them adopting personas such as a fireman, postman, nurse or doctor. They will also derive enjoyment from problem solving, puzzle games, building kits and creative craft work.

The toy castle is another traditional toy that many of us will remember from our own childhoods. Building the castle encourages all sorts of skills development including manual dexterity, language skills and creativity as the child imagines their castle occupied by knights and princesses, fighting off dragons and invaders.

Creative Play

From a very early age children will enjoy creating things by drawing, painting, gluing and colouring. As they grow their drive to create becomes ever more sophisticated. They will want to have a go at all sorts of creative play, from painting pictures to pottery. Luckily there are plenty of creativity toys from simple sets of crayons and colouring books to bead jewellery and flower gardens.

Don’t be deceived by the hype and advertising of modern, supposedly educational toys. Many have limited educational value and are actually entertainment devices that provide little stimulation or opportunities for learning. There are many traditional toys that make ideal gifts and will provide a valuable educational experience for a growing child.

Island Cruises – The Ultimate Play Time

You are trying to plan your holiday for this year, but you have decided that you want to do something just that little bit different. One of the best ways you could possible spend your holiday is by taking part in an Island Cruise. Not only will it be fun the choice of where you can take the cruise is limitless. You can either go to the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, The Bahamas, Hawaii, Alaska or the South Pacific. Each cruise provides you with a wide variety of things to do whilst on board and as you cruise from each Island to Island, and thus discovering the cruises unique appeal that has people coming back time after time.

Many Island cruises provide their passengers not only with nightly entertainment, great food,   swimming , gambling,  games  and movies they also have a very social diary organized for the passengers to meet and take part in various events. Another thing that many cruise ships will have arranged is for a well known celebrity or musician to give the passengers a special performance on board. Certainly you will never be loss for things to do whilst cruising between the islands and certainly everything that is organized has been well planned by the cruise director and his crew. However, if you feel like relaxing then what better than spending time in the spa or just reading, writing or relaxing in a deck chair, whilst you watch the world float by. What could be even more charming that standing by the rail of your cruise ship and watch the sun setting as the dolphins play in the waves below.

Many cruise ships will also arrange daily activities and excursions so you never really spend too much time at sea or in port. But may be the thought that each morning you will have the opportunity to go ashore and explore the Island you have docked at, do some shopping etc. Just think of the fun you will have not having to worry about hailing a taxi or long queues to stand in at the airport and no baggage needing to be carried from place to place. It does not matter if you only want a week’s holiday or you want more an Island Cruise promises to provide you with the ultimate play time at all times.

Amenities Included In All Inclusive Vacations

Many amenities are included in an all inclusive vacation package. Some packages a whole list of activities. One could either pick and choose the activities of interest or try out all of them if time permits.

Room amenities include a variety of options like flowers and wine upon arrival. Some resorts provide a basket of assortments like scented body oils, aromatic teas and other enticing products. Private pools, Jacuzzi baths and private patios are provided by most resorts. Suites which have private pools usually have their own sauna and a lounge area with CD stereo. Complimentary room service is also added on some packages. This is useful when you don’t feel like getting dressed up for dinner. These packages also include taxes and service charges.

Outdoor amenities include water sports, cruises, treks and sometimes safaris. Islands like Antigua and Jamaica have all inclusive resorts which include non-motorized water sports.. Some of these sports are snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, wind surfing and sailing. There are experienced staffs available to take lessons from. Some resorts include unlimited golf, tennis and use of their gym equipments. They provide exercise and yoga classes too. Volleyball courts with equipments and water polo are some of the other activities included. There are many all inclusive resorts that are kids friendly. They include passes to different theme parks in the nearby area. Kid clubs in the resorts organize activities enjoyable for children like parties and games. Some resorts are free for kids below the age of 12 and provide free passes for food and activities like whale watching,   swimming  with dolphins, island tours and rock climbing.

Special packages are also available depending on the person’s interest. Wedding packages offer services like legal fees, organizing the services, champagne, marriage license, wedding cake, standard bouquet and gifts for the bride and groom. Car rentals for a limited period of time, spa usage, and massage parlors are other amenities are available in all inclusive resorts.

Handling Invitations For A Kids Birthday Party

The making and giving out of birthday party invitations isn’t an easy matter. There’s a lot of planning that you need to put into it.

The very first thing you need to know about birthday party invitations is that you can give out readymade invitations (where you simply need to fill up the details), or make them yourself. Generally, parents like to give out readymade invitations because they save time and effort, but if you have more time on your hands and if you want the invitation cards for the little guests to follow the specific theme of the party that you might have chosen, and then you could do that as well.

The basic details that you must include in a birthday party invitation are whose birthday the kid is being invited for, the date the party will be held, and the time and venue. If it is going to be an outdoor party, make that clear as parents might want to send their kids with an extra sweater or perhaps a raincoat – or something of that sort. If the party will include a special activity like   swimming  or even outdoor  games , then make that clear as well so that parents can send the necessary special equipment with their kids, like  swimming  costumes, for example.

The invitation cards should also include an RSVP – which is French for “respondez sil vous plait” – meaning, “please respond”. To be on the safe side, you can include a name and number of the person whom you would like the responses to come to. You could put in an “RSVP regrets only” – which means that you assume that everyone is coming, except for the ones who call up and say otherwise.

Invitation handling for a child’s birthday party isn’t that difficult, but with the right planning and commitment, you can make it much easier.

Detroit Schools Excel in National Competitions

Detroit Schools Win Awards in the Academic Games Leagues of America Competition

Schulze Elementary, representing the Detroit Schools, has won several awards, in this year’s Academic Games Leagues of America Competition. The elementary school had several teams competing in the Academic Games Leagues of America Competition. Both team and individual awards were given for performance. The teams have won state awards at the Michigan League of Academic Games competition held in Grand Rapids and the Academic Games Leagues of America Competition held in Eatonton, Georgia. Three teams received awards in the state level, Team Unbelievable, Team Unpredictable, and Team Small Wonders. Team Unpredictable members were Kiara Chatman, Tierra Holland, Toria Holland, Ahmed Patterson, and Chaves Wesley. Team Unbelievable members were D’Lante Boyce, Dantez Boykin, Anesha Hamlin, Royal Maxwell, and Bhe’Anna Thomas. Team Small Wonders’ team captain was Kambria Chatman.

Team Unpredictable is the State Champions in the Wff n’ Proof Game, First Place in the Elementary Division in the On-Words Game, Third Place in the Elementary Division in the On-Sets Game and Honorable Mention in Propaganda. Team Unbelievable won Second Place in Elementary Division for the On-Words Game and Team Small Wonders won First Place in Elementary Division for the Minor Equations Game. Team Unpredictable went on to compete and win several awards at the Academic Games Leagues of America Competition. They won team awards in the following: Second Place in On-Sets Game and Wff n’ Proof Game, Third Place in Propaganda and Overall Math, and Second Place in Best Overall Team in the Elementary Division. Team Unpredictable’ team members also received some individual awards. In the Wff n’ Proof Game the First Place Individual winner was Tierra Holland and the Second Place Individual winner was Chaves Wesley. The Detroit Schools are proud at how well they were represented.

Academic Games Leagues of America

The Academic Games Leagues of America is a non-profit organization founded in 1991 to encourage and conduct academic games competition at the local and national level. There are currently state chapters in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Detroit Schools is an active member in both the state and national organizations. The academic games are designed to create situations where students must attempt to outthink each other in the fields of mathematics, language arts and social studies. Game types include games Equations On-Sets, and LinguiSHTIK require a kit in which cubes are rolled and played on a board and games Presidents, World Events and Propaganda involve students answering questions read by a central reader.

The Crocket Career Technical Center Competes at the Michigan State Health Occupations Students of America Conference

Twenty-one students from Detroit Schools participated in and competed in the Michigan State Health Occupations Students of America Conference held in Traverse City. The students represented Detroit Schools in competition involving various health related competitive games with students form other Michigan State Health Occupations Students of America groups. Health Occupations Students of America is a national student organization endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and the Health Science Technology Education Division of ACTE. HOSA provides a unique program of leadership development, motivation, and recognition exclusively for secondary, postsecondary, adult, and collegiate students enrolled in HSTE programs. Awards won by Detroit Schools’ students include: Tellyah Kennedy in Category II Health Occupation Skills Events; Pricilla Hill, Devonte Glass, Deangalo Jones, Lisa Jenkins, Shellee Shepherd, Candace Johnson, and Kamesha Smith in Category II Individual Leadership Events. Detroit Schools proved to be quite strong at this year’s Michigan State Health Occupations Students of America Conference.