10 Tips for taking Family Day Trip Road Trips

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10 Tips for taking Family Day Trip Road Trips

10 Tips for taking Family Day Trip Road Trips

Planning a family day trip road trip this summer? As the mother of three tween/teenage kids, we have had our share of road trips, so I thought I’d share some of the tips and tricks we use to make these a success and keep our sanity! With middle grade kids who all play various sports that require us to travel around the region, we take a good amount of day trips, so I thought it might be helpful to others to share my Top 10 Tips for taking Family Day Trip Road Trips.

Summer is a great time to hit the road to explore and make fantastic memories as a family. The temperature is warm enough that heavy winter gear isn’t needed, so packing is lighter, the scenery is gorgeous, and fresh air and new experiences are good for the psyche!

With current GPS technology, our kids can see exactly how long until we arrive at our destination, they learn about distance as they can see how long it takes us to drive various distances, and often relate trivia tidbits as we pass through small towns that they have heard of before. Living in New England, there is a ton of historical sites in the area, and it’s such a great experience for our kids to get to visit these places to see them firsthand.

Here are some tips that work well for us:

1. Pack a cooler with snacks and drinks. Even for short day trips, we always pack a cooler. We bring plenty of water, and I cut/chop veggies such as carrots, celery, and broccoli into snack size ziplock bags. We bring our along a bottle of ranch and bathroom cups to pour individual servings, so the kids can dip their veggies, then dispose of the cups so there is no mess! (Plastic grocery sacks are great for keeping trash contained).

2. Electronic Devices. For longer trips, we have a portable DVD player, so the kids can watch a movie in the backseat to make time pass more quickly. They also have handheld devices they can use. However, we don’t want them to spend the whole trip staring at a screen, we want them to enjoy the beauty! They have small increments of time they can use devices, and they know they must take turns and share, or the devices will be taken away – which eliminates most fighting :)

3. Play Games! My kids enjoy playing the ABC game from signs on the road, who can find license plates from the most different states, I Spy, etc. They also play Pictionary, Disney Trivial Pursuit, and asking each other Big Bang Theory trivia questions from their board game.

4. Art Supplies. Each of our children has a drawing pad to use, and a shoe size plastic box to keep art supplies in. They can draw pictures of scenery, people, or anything that inspires them.

5. Books. Some people get car sick reading, so audio books might be a better alternative, but each time we leave home, everyone typically has a book with them to read in case they get “bored” :)

6. Baby Wipes. It is so easy for someone to make a mess in the car, so we keep a package of baby wipes with us to quickly clean up.

7. Sunscreen. The spouse of someone close to me has been facing a serious battle with skin cancer for several years. Many people forget or don’t realize that they can get sunburns and sun damage to their skin while in a car. Be sure to apply sunscreen when you are in the car or outdoors, and re-apply as needed throughout the day.

8. Sunglasses. Similar to sunscreen, it’s important to protect our eyes from UV rays with sunglasses.

9. Change of clothes and towels. We learned this lesson 2 years ago. We took a quick day trip up to The White Mountains, and found  a beautiful, shallow creek the kids could wade in, and it had a swimming area. We weren’t prepared and didn’t pack swimsuits, so the kids were just wading in the creek. Until one of them slipped and fell in, and his brothers thought it looked fun, and “slipped” too. They had a blast, and we have fantastic photos from the trip, but it was a shaded area, and they weren’t able to really dry completely out before it was time to leave. They had miserable 3 hour drive home, and now we always pack swimsuits, extra dry clothes, and towels with us in case we discover a creek to play in on our travels.

10. Bug Spray. Since many of our trips are in areas with trails to hike, we keep bug spray in the car to apply before we hit the trails!

What are your favorite tips?


Be confident with #Underwareness and get your FREE SAMPLE!

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Today’s post is sponsored by Depend, but my love for their Silhouette Active Fit Brief is all my own!
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I am excited to share with you how women across the country are becoming more confident as they embrace the Underwareness Movement with Depend. This social movement and charitable cause is now entering its second year, and breaking down the stigma associated with light bladder leakage. The best thing we can all do to help this movement, FOR FREE, is to help remove the stigma. Many women are embarrassed to discuss this issue with their physicians, much less their friends, and the result is that they have issues that go unaddressed. Light Bladder Leakage is something that can affect women for a variety of reasons, and a common one is pregnancy and childbirth. Let’s face it, growing a child is hard work, and since the baby is in the general bladder area as it grows, kicking and pushing on the bladder at times, it makes sense that a little bit of leakage can happen. The Depend Active Fit product is a great product to help women as they exercise and live active lifestyles. There is no need to be embarrassed, chances are there are many other women around you dealing with this issue too! Personally, I’d much rather use a product to prevent stains on my clothing than have people see soiled clothing! If someone you know is brave enough to bring up this subject, support them, don’t shame them and make them feel as if they are the only person with this issue. Better yet, be the person to start the conversation with your circle of friends!

 

REQUEST A FREE SAMPLE HERE!

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For every photo and video shared using #Underwareness and featuring Depend products, the Depend brand will donate $1, up to $3 million, through 2016 to fund charities that advance the research and education of bladder leakage!

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I would like to encourage you to visit the Underwareness Campaign page to support the cause and request free samples of Depend Silhouette Active Fit.

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Truths about bladder leakage and Depend:
• Depend Silhouette Active Fit briefs have a lower rise for an underwear-like look, fit and feel.
• As a category first, Depend SAF is available in black and beige colors
• More people with bladder leakage are in their 20’s than their 80’s
• The average age of someone with bladder leakage is only 52!
• More people with bladder leakage are 50 or younger than 60 or older!

P.S. Don’t forget to share this post using the share buttons so your friends/family can get their free samples too!


How to create a Share A Sale creative

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, any purchases made after clicking links in this post help support this site. Thank you!

Make Money Blogging With Share A SaleFIRST: With ANY affiliate company, be sure you place a disclosure before any links in the post. (See the top of this post for an example).

Share A SaleSecond: Log in to your Share A Sale Account. If you haven’t joined yet, you can do so via that link. I also admin a Facebook Group where we share information and tips on how to Make Money Blogging. around the holidays, I expect many Bonus Post opportunities from Share A Sale merchants, we list those there so others don’t miss them. If it’s through a merchant they haven’t joined yet, there is usually a link for them to join that specific merchant program. There are thousands of merchants in this program, you choose which ones are a good fit for your site, and apply to those.

SAS ToolsThird: From the affiliate home page, hover over the Tools section, and click on “Make a Page”

SAS KeywordsFourth: In this example, since it’s the week of Halloween, I thought I’d feature a Halloween Costume store. As you’ll see in some linked examples at the end of this post, Frozen anything has converted extremely well this year. I chose “frozen costumes” as the example for this post. I am an affiliate of BuyCostumes,  BuySeasons (aka Birthday Express, Celebrate Express, and Costume Express), Costumes4less, and HalloweenCostumes.com.

SAS Keywords examplesFifth: As you can see, it lists options in different sizes, relevancy, etc and shows a small picture, merchant name, price, etc. so you can build exactly what you need.

SAS Page Layout

Depending on how many you are shown for your chosen topic, you can click PAGE OPTIONS to adjust the settings.

SAS Page Options

I clicked three items, Frozen – Deluxe Olaf Infant/Toddler Costume, Disney Frozen Deluxe Elsa Toddler/Child Costume – both from BuyCostumes, and a Frosty Cuties from Shutterfly. These are cute little postcards you can give out, or even make with a picture of your child in costume to mail to family and friends. You click the green ADD button to add it to the layout, and once it’s there, there is a small red x in the top left-hand corner if you choose to remove something. You can also click the Blue Result Option to view results from merchants you haven’t joined yet. If you choose, you can type something (such as Frozen Costumes) in Link Aff Track to track clicks and sales specific to the post each widget is used in.

SAS Other MerchantsIf you see something there that’s a good fit for you, you can choose to join that merchant. There will be a red line on the left and right hand sides if you aren’t a member of a specific program just yet.

SAS Product Display OptionsSixth: Once you’ve selected the products to be displayed, use the Product Display Options to customize your Width, Height, Border, Colors, Font, etc. I made a few changes from above to give you an idea (Border thicker and in BLUE, links in purple, and adjusted width/height).

SAS Save Get Options

 

Finally: You are ready to use the Save/Get Options. I chose “Get Gallery Code” and installed it on this post (text NOT Visual in WordPress), so you can see it below:

Often, in my blogging circles, I will hear people ask if affiliate marketing really works. People want to know if there will really be a return on their time investment (it does take a good bit of time and work to prepare successful posts). The answer is Yes! I share the pre-written BONUS posts that many merchants send periodically, and pay between $5-$20 on average for. This is lower than the amount I charge for a sponsored post, but they do include affiliate links that occasionally convert. However, I don't stop there. Other times they'll send just sale or informational posts that can be copy/pasted and I only post those if I think it's a good fit for my audience, such as merchants that I see my readers are clicking through and making purchases from. My goal is to help my readers save money, find sales and discount codes, and stretch their budget dollars. In return, merchants pay me a small portion of the sale price in commission - costing nothing additional to my readers. My most successful posts are content posts that I've created on my own. Here are some examples of content posts that have converted well into sales (note: these were written BEFORE I knew how to use creatives!): Plan the Perfect Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles party, Disney Frozen Party in a Box, Affordable Disney Frozen School Supplies - (this was Amazon, but did a record # of sales for me each month from early July-end of Sept).


5 Sneaky Food Traps to Avoid

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Disclosure: This is a non-compensated guest post, courtesy of Rise.

5 Sneaky Food Traps to AvoidEveryday people sabotage their diet with choices they think are healthy.

Rise coach Elisa Itkowitz, MS, RD shares tips to help avoid sneaky food traps. Rise is a nutrition service focused on helping people lead healthier lives by connecting people 1:1 with their very own registered dietitian “coach” to guide them through nutrition education and small behavioral changes to achieve their health goals.

(1) Protein Bars: Unless you’re extremely active—doing strenuous exercise for more than an hour per day—you likely don’t need the high amount of protein that’s packed into these bars. If you aren’t burning it, excess protein is stored as fat! For the average exercise enthusiast, simply grabbing a glass of skim milk will help you replenish and refuel post-workout. If you do grab a bar, look for one that has no more than 250 calories, 8-10 grams protein, 1 gram or less saturated fat and no more than 4-8 grams of fiber.

(2) Smoothies: Blended fruit is healthy, right? The answer depends on the size of the smoothie and what else is in it. A good tip is to go for the smallest size, which can easily save 200 or more calories, and make sure the base is either ice, non-fat yogurt or even coconut water. Then stick to 1-2 servings of fruit. Some smoothies pack 4-6 servings, which can cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash, leaving you susceptible to more sugar cravings.

 

(3) Low Fat Foods: Even after the SnackWells Era, were still hesitant to include fat in our meals. But including healthy fats (nuts, avocado, salmon, tofu) in your diet can help your satiety level and actually lead to eating less! Plus, in order to make a food low-fat, the manufacturer typically has to add something to make the food taste good. That something is often sugar, which means low-fat foods are often higher in calories than the regular version. A good rule of thumb: if you’re eating 2,000 calories per day, aim for 30% calories from fat, or about 66 grams.

 

(4) Serving Sizes: Theres no doubt that our food portions are getting larger and larger. Take a simple burger. A few decades ago, it would have been a simple 3 oz patty. Now? Its mainstream to have it be at least 6 oz topped with loads of cheese, bacon and mayonnaise. I recommend that everyone spend about a week paying attention to labels and measuring out certain foods that we tend to overeat at home, like cereal, rice and pasta. And when out to eat: order apps, which are typically a healthy size, in place of entrees.

(5) Coffee: Black coffee with a little bit of milk is great; but over the years, coffee has morphed into a decadent dessert, with some coffee beverages weighing in at more than 600 calories! As with everything, watch your portion sizes and the add-ons like sweeteners & whipped cream. To keep your coffee to 200 calories or less, opt for a small with low-fat milk. Stick to 1 pump of added sweetener or packet of sugar and use cocoa powder or cinnamon for extra flavor.


Top 10 Tips to Start Getting Out Of Debt

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Top 10 Tips to Start Getting Out Of DebtAs the holiday shopping season approaches, more and more I hear people discussing how overwhelmed they feel with budgeting and their debt load. The temptation to overspend on holiday gifts is very real to many people, and they max out credit cards planning to find a way to deal with it in January. It’s not too late to make a plan, budget for the holidays and try not to charge if at all possible. You have to be strong to resist all those promotions to “SAVE AN EXTRA %% on today’s purchase if you open an account with us!” unless you truly can afford to pay the balance in full each and every month. These tips are applicable any time of the year to help you whenever it is that you decide to tackle your debt. Kuddos to you for being brave enough to take on this task, eliminating debt is truly freeing, and I’d love for anyone who has been successful to leave additional tips in the comment section below. If you have a question and need help, leave that in the comments too, my readers are kind, and would love to offer words of encouragement to you.

Top 10 Tips to start getting out of debt:

  1. STOP Charging. If you don’t have cash to pay for it, you can’t afford it.
  2. Make a list of ALL of your incoming money and debts. You need to know where your money is coming from AND going.
  3. Create a workable budget AND STICK TO IT. Once you know how much money is coming in, you can allocate where it’s going.
  4. Pay yourself FIRST. You need to set up a savings account, piggy bank, or some secure place to store some savings for emergencies. Even if you can only save $20 per month, you KNOW emergencies happen, and you need a contingency fund to pay for them. When just starting out, I’d say set a goal to save 10% of each paycheck, but that isn’t always feasible in reality. So, save as much of that as you can. This may mean cutting out extras temporarily, but you can add those back in once you get your finances under control.
  5. Try to lower your interest rates. This isn’t always possible, since you are at the mercy of your lenders to approve this. Each person’s situation is different, but it’s worth a call to see if this is possible.
  6. Look for ways to increase your income. Perhaps you can get a 2nd job, or sell some things, take online surveys, perform some secret shops, etc. But, if you can get some extra cash coming in, you can apply that to a debt.
  7. Determine your % of debt on each account. If you can get each account under 80% of its limit, you can increase your credit score. For example, if the limit is $1,000, try to get the balance below $800.
  8. Next, payoff the smallest amount owed. Once each card is below 80%, if your score is in bad shape, try to get them under 60%. If the score is ok and you just want the debt GONE, payoff the smallest balance to give you a boost of encouragement to keep going.
  9. Payoff highest interest rate balance. Snowball the amount you were paying towards the smallest balance, add it to the payment you’ve been making on the highest interest rate account, and you will payoff this account faster. Continue this process with each additional account.
  10. Pay ON TIME. Even if you can only pay the minimum balance, and are applying extra income sources to accounts, it is imperative you pay the minimum payment on time each month. You can always send extra payments, but meeting the due date is so important. Once you’ve made on time payments on each of your accounts for 6 months, you are in a better position to call and ask for rates to be lowered. Not to mention, on many accounts, if you are late with ANY company, they can raise your rate to their max rate.

It’s always important to READ your terms and conditions with ALL accounts. Knowledge is power. Know when your payments are due, how you can make them, and under what conditions your rates can be raised/lowered. If you are making on time payments and get your percentage owed balances under control, you should notice improvements in your credit score.

It’s also very important to make sure you are monitoring your credit report regularly. I recommend using the free annual service, and spacing your requests out. Order 1 every 4 months so you can see the improvements over time. Likely you didn’t get into debt trouble overnight, so it’s unreasonable to expect things to improve overnight. Most people that I have known personally, usually see massive improvements in about 2 years of paying on time with balances under that 80% mark, but everyone’s situation is different.