DIY CRAFT read more PARTY DECOR read more PATERNS read more RECIPES read more DIY CRAFT read more PARTY DECOR read more TRAVEL TIPS read more Party Planner and DIY Projects Hack Your Household Spending And Save Some CashAugust 27, 2019The average annual cost of household expenses in America adds up to $60,006, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and finding ways to hack household spending will make it easier to spend less and save more. Since most USA residents end up spending a whopping 82 percent of their annual income on household expenses, this is an area where trimming costs really pays off. Follow these tips to hack your household spending, and then use the money you save to make your dreams come true in the future. Switch to a cheaper home energy plan No matter which state you live in, you’ve probably got a lot of options when it comes to home energy providers. You may not know that it’s possible to switch energy providers without experiencing service interruptions or cutting through red tape. It’s actually very simple to make a switch, and you may save big bucks by comparing energy plans from different companies and then choosing the one that is most affordable. Quake asserts that homeowners and renters can switch energy providers without hassles and headaches, and then enjoy saving money on electric or natural gas bills. Shop with cash instead of plastic If you want to spend less on household items, bring cash along on your shopping trips and use it to pay for smaller purchases, such as cleaning supplies and groceries. Save the plastic for big buys like electronics or large appliances. When you skip the plastic and use cash, you won’t need to pay interest on the cost of your purchases. Some people pay off their credit cards each month so they don’t get hit with much (or any) interest charges, but most people find that interest charges creep up over time and cost them money. Plant a garden in your backyard When you plant and maintain a garden in your own backyard, if that garden measures 600 feet square, you can anticipate saving 600 bucks per year on the cost of food. The cost of maintaining the garden should be only 70 dollars annually. A garden of this size should yield hundreds of pounds of healthy produce every year. If you don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry. Anyone can learn how to take care of a garden, and you may find that the time you spend working in it really zaps stress. When you spend less on household expenses, you’ll free up cash, enabling you to build security for your family. Down the line, this saved cash may give you the means to plan a special family vacation or select investments that become valuable nest eggs. So, why not start trimming household expenses today?... Read more...10 Best Bridal Shower IdeasAugust 19, 2019Four years ago we were planning my son’s summer wedding. It was a fairly large wedding with just under 200 guests and we had over a year to plan it, but we were quite busy the whole year. My two daughters were bridesmaids as were the bride’s two cousins, her maid of honor was her high school best friend. We all assumed that the maid of honor would do her duty and plan both the bridal shower and a bachelorette party. The bridesmaids offered their help about 7 months before the wedding; the MOH said she’d get back to them. We were all shocked when one month before the wedding the MOH told the bridesmaids that the bride didn’t want the shower nor party, and she, the MOH, didn’t have time to plan them. A week later as we were putting welcome bags and favors together a discussion about a shower and bachelorette party ensued; the bride was waiting for her MOH to throw both. We didn’t have a choice but to break the bad news to the bride, thankfully she didn’t quite have a melt down! Instead she called a meeting with her bridal party for the next day, I was invited along. It was an awkward meeting, but the MOH agreed she could make time to plan the parties, that is until she sent a text to the bride later that evening quitting! She stated she was just too busy to take on MOH duties and didn’t like the bridesmaids. This unnecessary drama was upsetting, but the bridesmaids stepped up to the plate. The MOH was replaced by the bride’s cousin and another cousin was appointed bridesmaid, thankfully the gown fit the new bridesmaid and the old MOH returned it! Once the dust settled we realized we had 2 weeks to plan and execute a bridal shower and a bachelorette party; and we didn’t even have a guest list! Undaunted the girls set to work with the help of their mothers. Together with various friends and relatives we were able to throw both events without anymore hitches! Thank goodness for Party City! Thankfully when my daughter got married the following year her bridal party planned her bridal shower and bachelorette party well in advance. The Las Vegas themed bridal shower was held at our house in honor of the Las Vegas wedding. The bachelorette was in Las Vegas and didn’t require a whole lot of planning other than transportation. The bridal party was very much on the ball and got everything done. Their drama didn’t start until the day before the wedding! But that’s a different story! I hope no one else has to go thru the wedding drama we did, but if you do rest assured you can still plan and throw a great party at the last minute. Whether the bridal shower you’re planning is last minute or not here are some ideas to help you get started. *clicking on product links will take you to our Amazon affiliate. Southern Blue Celebrations A Paris/Chanel Bridal Shower is perfect for the bride who is a fashionista, is off to Paris on her honeymoon, or both. You can get inexpensive Paris themed decor, like the Eiffel Tower, at Ross, TJ Maxx, discount stores and on Amazon. You can change up the colors, but keep the black, it’s tres chic! Serve dainty finger food, French macaroons, and don’t forget the champagne! My Wedding Favors An Italian Themed Shower for a bride who loves to cook, is going to Italy for her honeymoon, or both! Set up food stations: Pasta Bar, Italian Soda Bar, Bruschetta Station, Wine Bar, and even a Gelato Bar. You can decorate with herbs planted in tomato sauce cans, and jars of assorted pastas, they can double as party favors and game prizes! We did an Italian themed “Despidida del Soterra” (good-bye to singleness) when my daughter got married. We served different types of pastas and sauces and lots of breadsticks and garlic bread. Happy Wedd Beach themed parties are always fun. It’s the perfect bridal shower theme, specially if the honeymoon’s at some romantic tropical island like Hawaii or Bora Bora. Decor can be dreamy and bright, calling to mind tropical breezes and gentle ocean waves. Use shells, wind chimes, and sandcastles to create a romantic background. Serve fresh salads and seafood. For dessert offer tropical fruit mousses or sorbets. The Glamorous Housewife Nothing screams romance more than a vintage garden tea party. If you’re bride is a romantic it’s the perfect bridal shower theme for her. Have it outdoors if weather permits. Instead of tables and chairs lay out a pretty cloth to sit on and make it a picnic. You’ll have ready made decor with the surrounding trees and flowers, enhance them with pretty lanterns you can hang from low tree branches. Wildflowers in vintage bases add romance. Serve tea sandwiches, scones, and other tea party fare on vintage china and teas in silver or pretty china teapots. Don’t forget to line serving platters with paper doilies for added cuteness! A Well Crafted Party A Las Vegas theme is popular for bachelorette parties, but it works for a bridal shower as well. The girls had one for my daughter, her wedding was in Las Vegas. Decorating was easy and inexpensive; lots of playing cards, dice, and crap table/blackjack printed felt used as tablecloths. Serve fun foods such as sliders, chips, dips, and mini tacos. Paige’s Party Ideas Pamper the bride and her guests with a spa bridal shower. It’s a great way to unwind and visit with her friends before the big day. You can set up DIY stations for facials and mani-pedis. Your supplies can serve as decor and favors. Serve fresh salads and infused water and play soothing background music. With treatment like this everyone will be ready for the wedding on time! Learn how to make your own bath salts click here! They make great favors, pack them up in small jelly jars, too cute! The Hostess with the Mostess For the bride who loves to cook and bake or the bride who needs to learn how, a kitchen/cooking shower is a great idea. You can plan on a cooking/baking demonstration as part of the event. Have each guests bring their favorite recipe written on a recipe card to share with the bride. Decorate with kitchen utensils and gadgets, they can double as favors or the bride can take them home for her own kitchen. You can serve the bride’s favorite foods or just about anything you like. Pretty My Party For the elegant bride plan a Breakfast at Tiffany’s shower. It’ll be extra special if she happens to be an Audrey Hepburn fan too! Your colors are set, Tiffany blue and white of course! Decorate with strands of faux pearl necklaces, over sized “diamond” rings, and other bling. You can set up a breakfast or brunch buffet, don’t forget the Mimosa or Bloody Mary Bar! Amanda Erickson Design For the bride going on a honeymoon cruise send her off in style with a nautical themed bridal shower. Decorate with fishing nets, lighthouses, anchors, oars, and other seafaring gadgets. Serve fresh seafood and salads, and set up a Bloody Mary Bar. Brooklyn Limestone Throw a Floating Umbrella Garden Party, it is a shower after all! I just love this idea of using umbrellas for decor, it looks so fun! I think it’s a great idea for a spring bridal shower. You can make it a tea party and serve finger foods and tea cakes. Use bright colors to make it fun.... Read more...DIY Citronella Jars – Pretty & InexpensiveAugust 5, 2019This month we hosted an 80th. Birthday Party for my Mom in her Texas home. Guest seating was outdoors and mosquitoes were a concern. To keep these nasty bugs away my mother had her yard man spray mosquito repellent and we incorporated these Citronella Jars in our centerpieces, it worked out well, no one got any mosquito bites that night. These jars are so simple and inexpensive to make and will fit any party theme or decor. I’ve used them for outdoor barbecues, birthday parties, and pretty much any outdoor event. I find them much prettier than store bought citronella candles and torches, cheaper too! You can use ribbons to match your color scheme or for a more rustic look use burlap ribbon or twine. I fill the jars with fresh herbs that are have natural mosquito repellent and citronella essential oil. I try to use herbs from my garden when possible making these jars even more economical. Mosquito repelling herbs include Lavender, Mint, Lemon Balm, Basil, Catnip, Rosemary, Lemon Thyme, and Lemon Verbena. There are other plants and herbs that have natural mosquito repellent qualities, but I like to use the ones I listed as I have them in my garden. I like to use 2-3 different herbs and choose herbs with leaves that look good together. I add lemon and lime slices for color and a floating candle at the top to keep the herbs from floating over the jar rim. If you use homegrown herbs each jar cost about $2 or less to make. I got the Citronella Essential Oil from HEB for just a bit over $5. I made a dozen jars and still have more than half the bottle of essential oil leftover. I got the Mason Jars (about $1 each) and floating candles (6 for $4) from Walmart. If you need to buy fresh herbs you can buy small amounts for about $2 – 3 a package in the produce section of most grocery stores, but if you need to make a lot of jars you will probably get a better deal at your local farmer’s market. If you can’t find a farmer’s market nearby consider buying pots of herbs from the garden department of Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, or your local garden shop; it’s less expensive than buying sprigs from the grocery store and you can plant leftover herbs to use next time. Here are directions for making your own Citronella Jars, the best part it you can reuse the jars for other events, just change the ribbon to fit your decor! Materials: Quart Sized Mason Jar Sprigs of Fresh Herbs – Lavender, Rosemary, Mint, or any other mosquito repelling herbs 5 drops Citronella Essential Oil 1 Lemon – sliced in circles (optional) 1 Lime – sliced in circles (optional) Ribbon or Twine 1 Floating Candle Directions: 1. Snip sprigs of herbs to size you want; rinse off any soil. 2. Place herbs in mason jar and fill jar half way with water (herbs will float). 3. Add Citronella Essential Oil to water and shake gently to evenly distribute the oil. 4. Add more water to fill the jar. 5. Add lemon and lime slices. 6. Gently push herbs and fruit slices into the water and place floating candle on top. 7. Tie ribbon or twine on the jar. 8. Light candle when needed. When it’s very hot outside store jars indoors or in a cool area to keep the candle from melting. Herbs will last in the jar for several days depending on the temperature. When the herbs wilt just toss them out, wash the jar in warm soapy water to remove oil residue, and make another batch when you need them. Make these jars in a well ventilated area and avoid inhaling the Citronella Essential Oil, it’s unsafe and has been reported to cause lung problems. Wear gloves when handling this oil as it can cause allergies in some people. Keep the jars and citronella oil away from children and pets. It is safe to use around children and pets but ingesting large amounts of the oil is very harmful.... Read more...5 Fun Unicorn CraftsJuly 22, 2019Unicorns seem to be all the rage these days! You see these magical creatures on everything from t-shirts to backpacks to sunglasses. And why not? They’re adorable! I myself have recently gone bonkers making unicorn crafts and selling them on Etsy and Facebook. Any they’ve been selling like hotcakes! But you don’t have to spend lots of money indulging your love the the magical unicorn there are many DIY unicorn crafts you can make for very little money using supplies you already have at home. To help you get started here are 5 adorable unicorn crafts you and your kids can make at home. Unicorn Mason Jars These are one of my best sellers. They make great centerpieces for unicorn themed parties! They’re easy enough to make at home all you need are mason jars pretty much any size, I usually make them in pint and quart sizes, or any empty jar you have at home like a pickle jar, rubbing alcohol, acrylic paints in any color you want, I use Apple Barrel paints, a paint brush, and craft foam to make the horn, ears, and flowers, I use foam sheets with adhesive backs but you can use regular sheets and just glue them on. All you do is clean the jar’s outside surface with rubbing alcohol (this allows the paint to stick better) and let dry completely. Paint the jar in the color you want, you may need to do 3 or more coats but let paint dry between coats. Then cut out the horn, ears, flowers, and eyes and stick them on the painted jar. How easy is that! It’s a great way to recycle those jars you’ve been stashing in the kitchen! Unicorn Gift Bags Here’s another best seller that’s so easy to DIY. Unicorn gift bags! Who wouldn’t love to receive a gift wrapped in this adorable gift bag? You can use any size bag, yes even a lunch bag! Or a plain kraft bag with handles you can buy at the craft store. Just cut out the horn, ears, eyes, and other embellishments from card stock or construction paper and glue them on the bags. Hey these unicorn bags make great favor bags for unicorn parties too! Unicorn Book Marks These book marks are too cute! Here’s a tutorial from The Inspiration Edit! I’m sure you and the kids will end up making a bunch to keep and to give away! Hey it’s a great activity at a unicorn party too! Unicorn Pencil Holder Here’s a great way to recycle tin cans. Turn them into Unicorn Pencil Holders! Here’s a tutorial from Crafts On Sea. Unicorn Masks Here’s a fun craft from Simple Mom Project. Unicorn masks! Click here for instructions and template! ... Read more...DIY Fizzing Toilet Bowl Cleaning TabletsJuly 8, 2019Cleaning the toilet bowl is probably one of life’s most unpleasant tasks. I know I hate cleaning my toilet bowl and am always looking for ways to make the task easier, faster, or at the very least a bit more pleasant. That’s why I decided to try this DIY Fizzing Toilet Bowl Cleaning Tablets. They’re pretty easy to make and doesn’t really need a bunch of costly ingredients. In fact most of the ingredients are already in your kitchen or can be purchased inexpensively at Walmart or other discount store. This article contains affiliate links. After trying these toilet bowl cleaning tablets I can safely say that they aren’t really going to leave your toilet bowl spotless without any effort (elbow grease) on your part. They will however leave the toilet bowl and the bathroom smelling very nice. These toilet bowl cleaning tablets work best if your toilet bowl isn’t super dirty and have rings around it. Trust me if you have built on rings inside the toilet bowl no tablet, spray, or cleaner will magically remove them. The only way to get rid of those rings in my experience is a good old fashioned scouring with a pumice stone! I prefer using a Pumie, that’s a pumice stone attached to a handle so you can scrub without getting your hands too close to the toilet bowl surface. So before you toss in one of your DIY fizzing toilet bowl cleaning tablet don a pair of disposable gloves , grab a Pumie and scrub! Once you’ve got the rings out of your toilet bowls these DIY Fizzing cleaning tablets will easily keep the bowl clean and fresh when used weekly. In short they’re a great way to maintain the freshness of your toilet bowl and bathroom! I keep a jar in each bathroom and toss them into the toilet every few days just because I love the smell! I used Neroli essential oil to scent my tablets because I love the citrusy scent of Neroli, but you can scent your tablets with your favorite oils! Other essential oil scents that would give your bathroom and toilet bowl a fresh scent would be: bergamot, lemon, and orange blossom for a citrusy scent; eucalyptus, tea tree, and peppermint for a minty pine scent; or lavender, ylang ylang, or rosemary for that calming scent like you find at the spas. Or you can mix and match these and other oils to get the scent that you love! To make these fresh smelling Fizzing Toilet Bowl Cleaning Tablets here’s what you’ll need: 2 Glass bowls – 1 large and 1 small 2 Cups Baking Soda 1/2 Cup Citric Acid powder (you can find this in the canning section of most markets or order it from Amazon) 1 Tsp White Vinegar 2 Tbs Hydrogen Peroxide 30 drops of essential oil – your choice – I love Neroli Essential Oil Candy or soap molds – I prefer silicone molds that come in various shapes and sizes like hearts and roses. (I usually use the baking or candy molds but keep a set to be used just for making non-food items and one set I use strictly for food like the wine gummy bears I love! – I guess you can use a set to make everything just be sure you thoroughly wash them between uses.) Once you’ve gathered your supplies it’s time to make your fizzy tablets! Here’s how! Place baking soda in the large glass bowl and using a fork or whisk break up any clumps. You want the powder to be fine and powdery not hard and clumpy. Stir in the citric acid powder and set the bowl aside for n ow. In the small glass bowl mix the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Slowly, and I mean slowly like one drop at a time, add the vinegar mixture to the baking soda mixture. Again do this very slowly, just a little liquid at a time. If you add too much of the liquid mixture you the baking soda and citric acid will react and you will have a big mess on your hands and no cleaning tablets. That situation is not salvagable! Add the essential oil of your choice and mix gently. Again add oil drop by drop. Scoop powder into your molds. Don’t overfill the mold as the powder will expand as it dries. So fill it about 3/4 full and gently press the powder into the mold with your finger. Let dry overnight. Gently pop out each tablet and store in a sealed glass jar. Be sure you label them and keep them out of children’s reach! Keep the jar in your bathroom and pop one in your toilet whenever you want to freshen it up! ... Read more... Recipes, Parties, Crafts & Travel FREE Things to Do with Kids in HawaiiAugust 28, 2019 The mere mention of “Hawaii” brings to mind pristine beaches, crystal clear water, and big waves. Hawaii boasts some of the best beaches in the world and a major part of a Hawaiian vacation is some serious beach time. One of the best things about Hawaii is that all the beaches are public with the exception of a few that are strictly for the federal government, meaning the military. Developers are required to provide public parking and access to the shoreline in areas that are residential. Hotels and resorts around the island must also allow the pubic to use the beaches directly in front of their property, however access thru hotel property and use of hotel facilities can be restricted to hotel guests. But beaches are not all Hawaii has to offer, there are many family friendly activities on the islands. In my previous post 14 Things to Do in Hawaii with Kids I listed some fun activities that have a fee, in this post I will list some FREE things to do with kids. You can decide to include a few activities from each category to make your Hawaiian family vacation memorable. Most families who visit the islands generally rent a car, it makes getting around to the places I list so much easier. It is possible to get around on public transportation. Hawaii, at least Oahu has a pretty good bus system. Bus fares are $2.50 one way per adult, kids 6-17 $1.25, under 6 is free. Visitors can also purchase a 4 day pass for unlimited use for 4 consecutive days. Price of the pass is $35. For more info click here. Savvy Nana You can’t go to Hawaii without spending time at the beach. The islands are full of fantastic beaches. Our favorite family beach in Honolulu is the Ala Moana Beach Park where the water is calm and the sand is fine. Other favorites are the Ko’olina Beach lagoons on the Leeward coast of Oahu, and Kailua Beach Park on the Windward coast. A drive around the island will take you to many more beaches, I’m sure you’ll find your favorite ones. Savvy Nana Turtle watch at Laniakea Beach a.k.a. Turtle Beach. Located on Oahu’s North Shore just past the town of Haleiwa this beach is consistently visited by the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles. You’re almost sure to see at least one or two on the shore. This beach is not the easiest beach to find. The best way to find it is to drive on Kamehameha Hwy. thru the historic town of Haleiwa. Pass the town, the ocean is on your left. About 1.5 miles past Haleiwa town you will probably see cars parked on both sides of the road, in the dirt. This is the area where the beach is. If you park on the mountain side of the road you will have to cross the very busy street, or you can try to make a U-turn further up the road and double back so you can park on the ocean side. From the road you will have to walk down to the beach, be careful as it’s rather steep in some areas. You will be rewarded with the site of these gentle sea creatures basking on the beach, but don’t get too close they are endangered and are protected by conservation laws. There are no facilities at this beach so you must bring food and drink with you. The nearest restrooms would be back in Haleiwa town or further along the coast at one of the other beach parks on the North Shore. This beach is not really a family day out kind of beach, it’s best as a short stop-over on your way to one of the other beaches on the North Shore like Waimea Bay or Sharks Cove. Or if you like the kids can go sand boarding down the slope that is further along the beach and less crowded. All you’ll need is a cheap kick board you can buy at any ABC Store in Waikiki or a flat cardboard box. This keeps our boys entertained for a little while. Savvy Nana Savvy Nana Explore the tide pools at Pupukea Beach Park – this beach is actually 2 “pocket” beaches along the coast – Sharks Cove and Three Tables. Both spots are a favorite for divers and snorkelers. Located further along Oahu’s North Shore just past Waimea Bay, across the street from the Foodland Supermarket. This beach is calm and safe during the summer but has very high surf in the winter. Low tide reveals tide pools and lava formations that are fun to explore. Keep safety in mind, the best way to explore is to start as far out as you wish to venture and work your way towards shore. You don’t want to be caught far from shore when the tide comes in, there are no lifeguards. Savvy Nana Go fishing! You’ll find fishermen fishing off the coast at many beaches, you may even see some spearfishing. We usually go fishing in Haleiwa Harbor or at Kakaako Waterfront Park by downtown Honolulu. All you need is fishing pole and some bait. Hawaii does not require a fishing license for recreational saltwater fishing. You can cast your line from any beach on the island except Hanauma Bay which is a marine wildlife preserve. Courtesy of Oahu Family Activities Spend a relaxing day at Moanalua Gardens located about 5 miles Northwest from Honolulu. This small park is home to a variety of native plants and flowers which line the short paved trail that is suitable for strollers. It’s a wide open space that’s great for picnics, tossing a frisbee, and relaxing on benches and tables under the shade of the many banyan trees. There’s a Koi pond where you can feed the fish with Koi food that can be purchased from the small gift shop at the entrance, you can feed the ducks bread if you have some. King Kamehameha V’s summer cottage and tea house are located within this park, as is the famous “Hitachi” monkey pod tree which has been used by the Japanese company as their corporate symbol since 1973. The company pays the park foundation an annual fee for the tree’s upkeep. There’s also a small stream running along one end of the park. My kids used to bring small nets to catch tadpoles in the stream. I’m not sure if they still allow you to do this, you may want to check with the caretakers first. Courtesy of NPS.gov History buffs and older children would enjoy a visit to the USS Arizona Memorial which is in Pearl Harbor. The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument is gateway to the Arizona Memorial. There are displays and information about the war in the Pacific. Then there’s the boat shuttle to take visitors to the memorial which is built directly over the sunken ship. It’s a very moving tribute to all the troops who served in the Pacific during World War II. Older children will definitely learn a lot of history, but younger ones may find it a bit boring. Children under 5 are not allowed on the launch that goes to the memorial. Admission is free as it is part of the National Park Service. You may want to rent an audio guide for $5 to get the most of your visit. The Junior Ranger booklet is available to young visitors free of charge, just ask for one at the ranger desk. This is the 3rd. most visited attraction on Oahu, it is busy year round. Click here for more info. Courtesy of Honolulu Family Go fishing at Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden in Kaneohe on the windward side of Oahu. Every weekend the garden sponsors a catch and release program. The visitor center provides free bamboo poles you can pick up and plunk in the water, casting is not allowed. You must bring your own bait, I’m told white bread is the best bait. Hoomaluhia means ” a place of peace and serenity”, and that it is. It’s a great place for a picnic and short nature walks in the lush garden. Bring bug spray, wear good shoes, and bring snacks. Courtesy of Pinterest.com Hike on the Aiea Loop Trail that begins and ends in Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area. The park is located in Aiea on Oahu at the end of Aiea Heights Drive. The trail loop is 4.8 miles and takes about 3 hours to complete. It’s billed as an easy hike suitable for families with kids. It can be strenuous specially if you’re carrying infants and toddlers. There’s a short paved portion at the beginning mistakenly leading one to believe that it’s a cake walk. It is not. The trail has narrow portions at the edge of the cliff so make sure little ones are kept close. You may have to climb over or crawl under several downed trees that block the path, and the trail has some steep sections. There are a couple of benches strategically placed along the trail where you can rest and enjoy some awesome views. There is also remnants of a plane that crashed there in 1944, it’s been slowly disappearing over the years but you can still make out a few pieces. We’ve done this trail many times with the kids. We started taking them there as toddlers but never really completed the loop until they were about 7 years old or so. We’ve taken our old Doberman on this trail, but she had to be carried over some trees and bribed to go up the steeper slopes, not so much fun when your dog weighs 90 pounds. Do bring plenty of water on the trail and perhaps some energy snacks for the kids. If you like you can camp at the park, but you must obtain a camping permit. You don’t have to be a guest at The Kahala Hotel to watch the dolphin feedings at 11:00am/2:00 & 4:00pm daily. You can park at the hotel for a fee or park for free at the Waialae Beach Park and walk along the beach to the hotel. You can wander around the hotel grounds and enjoy their landscaping with lush tropical greenery and waterfalls. You can even enjoy the beach fronting the hotel and dine at one of their restaurants. The beach is free to all but beach and water sports equipment is limited to hotel guests. Restaurants and bars are open to the public, but they are rather pricey. For a nice respite from Waikiki relax at the Kakaako Waterfront Park. It’s a great open space in the middle of Honolulu’s industrial area. The kids like to slide down the hill on cardboard boxes. You can walk along the paved sidewalk along the shore or even go fishing. There are picnic tables and benches throughout the park and restroom facilities. Courtesy of Iolani Palace Listen to a free concert by the Royal Hawaiian Band while enjoying a picnic lunch on the Iolani Palace lawn. The Royal Hawaiian Band gives a free concert at the Palace most Fridays between 11:00 – 1:00 weather permitting. Iolani Palace is the only real royal residence in the United States. It is located on King Street in Downtown Honolulu across the street from the famous King Kamehameha statue. Tours of the Palace start at $14.95 for an audio guided self-tour. Children under 4 must be carried during the tour. There’s also a museum in the basement that houses artifacts from the days when Hawaii was a Monarchy. They also offer Hawaiian Quilt Making Classes. Click here for more info. Fly a kite or ride a bike at the Blaisdell Park in Pearl City. This neighborhood park in Pearl City is a local favorite. The wide open space is a great place to fly a kite and the bike path along the water has great views of Pearl Harbor. We’ve hosted many kid’s birthday parties at this park. There are picnic tables and benches, restrooms, and exercise equipment the kids can climb and hang from. The park is located on Kam Hwy. a few miles west of Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial. You can pick up a picnic lunch at one of the many restaurants along the way and enjoy it under one of the many trees in the park. Spend Saturday morning at the KCC Farmers’ Market. Located on Diamond Head Road at the Kapiolani Community College parking lot the market is open every Saturday from 7:30 am – 11:00 am. You’ll find the best locally grown produce and flowers here, as well as a large assortment of freshly baked goods, jams & jellies, and much more. There are other Farmer’s Markets around the island click here for schedule and locations. Don’t forget the Hawaii State Public Libraries. They offer free activities, classes, movies nights, and events year round at most of the libraries in the state. My grandsons and I attend Children’s Story Time and Craft Time weekly and have attended various events at different libraries around the island. Click here for more info, schedules, and locations. Pearlridge Center located in Aiea has a free kids’ program called Connect Kids. Members can participate in events and activities at the mall throughout the year. My grandsons enjoy performances by Chris the Clown, and interactive song and dance programs by Gymboree. Click here for membership application and event schedule. Watch a free Hula Show at Ala Moana Center’s center stage. There’s a Hula show presented by Old Navy Monday – Saturday from 11:00 – 11:20 am. There are other performances and events throughout the year. Click here for schedule of events and other mall info[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″] Every Friday night the Hilton Hawaiian Village puts on a fireworks show that can be seen on the beaches along the coast from Ala Moana to Diamond Head. Pick a spot and enjoy the free show. For a list of the best kids friendly hotels in Hawaii Click Here! For more kid friendly activities in Hawaii Click Here!... Read more...25 Free & Cheap Things to do With Kids in DubaiAugust 21, 2019The Burj Al Arab has become the modern symbol of Dubai. Whenever Dubai is mentioned this beautiful iconic building is almost always the first thing that comes to mind. Courtesy of Wikipedia Dubai has a lot of fun things to do for kids; water parks, theme parks, skiing, and more; but admission and tickets to these places add up fast, making a Dubai vacation pretty costly. Here is a list of things you can do with kids in Dubai that are free or cheap, combining them with some paid attractions will help stretch your vacation dollars and make your vacation all the more memorable. A visit to Dubai is not complete without at least seeing this building which is home to what is billed the world’s only 7 star hotel. The nightly cost to stay at this hotel starts at around $2000, but you don’t have to stay there to see it, at least from the outside. You are welcome to enjoy a meal or snack at one of its restaurants or bars, but it will be expensive. We had lunch at the Al Iwan, the Arabic buffet restaurant on the first floor, a couple of years ago. We paid a over $400 for 3 adults; the price for a lunch buffet is 505AED ($138US) per person. Children 3-12 is 50% off, under 3 is free. There are other restaurants, bars, and lounges in the hotel, expect to pay high prices and you must have reservations to get on hotel property; you’re name is checked off at the gate; no reservation, no entry. If you don’t want to actually go inside the building you can see it as you walk along the shore of Jumeirah Beach. If you’re not staying in one of the hotels along this stretch of sand you can spend the day at Jumeirah Beach Park, entrance to the Park is 5AED ($1.36US), a considerably cheaper option than staying or dining at the hotel! Great views of the building can also been seen if you’re on Jumeirah Beach Road. Superb views of the Burj can also been seen from Kite Beach, entrance is free. Kite Beach is on the shore opposite the Al Manara Road junction Safa Park in Dubai is a large green space in the middle of the the city’s modern high rise buildings. The park has 3 lakes, a waterfall, and a fountain. Park facilities include boat and bike rentals, barbecue area, sports fields and courts, snack bars, and stores. Entrance fee is 5AED for adults ($1.36US) Za’abeel Park in the more residential area of Dubai is another large municipal park in the city that holdsthe distinction of being the first technology driven park in the Middle East. The park has children play areas, lake with boat rentals, an ice skating rink, mini golf and cricket, 3D cinema, picnic and barbecue areas, cafes, and more. It is also home to Stargate Dubai a futuristic indoor space themed educational and entertainment center. Park entrance is 5AED ($1.36US) for adults. Entrance to Stargate is free. All park attractions are priced separately. If you time your visit on Friday mornings you can wander around the Ripe Food & Craft Market in the park. It’s Dubai’s largest open market featuring food at very reasonable prices and local crafts as well.[spacer height=”-20px”] Al-Mamzar Beach Park located close to Hamriya Port is one of the best beaches in Dubai. It has 5 coves along the coast, green space, swimming pools, a park train, play areas, rollerskating rink, bike rentals, barbecue areas, chalet rentals, restaurants, and more. Park entrance is 5AED ($1.36US) per person. Air-conditioned chalets can be rented daily for 150AED ($41US) for a small that fits 4 people and 200AED ($54US) for a large that fits 6. All activities and attractions including pools require separate fees. Mondays and Wednesdays are ladies day, meaning the park is open only to women and their children (male children up to a certain age only) Russian Beach, on the lower end of Beach Road on the opposite side of the Burj Al Arab is an open free beach. There are some showers and restrooms, but the facilities are limited. However the shops and restaurants along Beach Road are close by.[spacer height=”-20px”] JBR Beach is another free beach. It’s located next door to the Jumeirah Beach Resort. It has clean facilities including restrooms and showers and a bit of green space. There are also many ocean view restaurants around where you can enjoy a nice lunch or snack.[spacer height=”-20px”] Take a ride on the Metro. It’s not so much the destination, it’s the ride on this state of the art driverless automated train that kids love! You can start at Dubai Mall to Dubai Marina and back again. Fares are 2-6AED (.50 – 1.50US) depending on the length of the ride. The kids will love the space age looking stations! My grandsons thought they were cool, they look straight out of s sci-fic movie! The Dubai Miracle Garden is a refreshing break from all the buildings, although they do have a floral version of the Burj Khalife. There are kid’s play areas, , and floral displays. Admission is 30AED ($8.25US) per person Kids 3 and under are free[spacer height=”-20px”] Take a wooden boat across the creek, (an Abra found along the creek in Bur Dubai), to the Gold Souk in Deira. You can just wander along the alleys for a bit of window shopping. The amount of “Bling” in the shop windows is amazing. You don’t have to buy anything, assuming you can resist the temptation of different shades of gold just calling your name. I can never resist and end up spending way too much, next time I’m leaving the credit cards locked in the hotel safe! You’ll find these abras along the creek in Bur Dubai ferrying people across the creek. It’s the best way to get to the Gold Souk in Diera to avoid the problem of finding parking. The kids will love bobbing along this wooden boat that have been modernized with the addition of diesel engines. You’ll get a different perspective of the Dubai skyline. The cost of an abra ride is 1AED, .27 cents US![spacer height=”-20px”] Take a day trip to the Emirate of S harjah and search for bargains at the Blue Souk. The tile on the outside is worth the trip! The inside is filled with shops selling everything from electronics to antiques. There are several snack bars inside as well.[spacer height=”-20px”] Built in 1787 the Al Fahidi Fort is the oldest building in the city. It houses the Dubai Museum where you can learn about the region’s history. They have various exhibits of historic books, traditional dress, and dhows (wooden boats). The Museum is located in Bur Dubai. Admission tickets cost 3AED (.80US) for adults and half price for children. Built in the late 19th. Century along the Creek at Shindagha is the Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s House. Once the seat of the local government and the official residence of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum, the grandfather of the current ruler, Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, this imposing building has been converted into a museum that showcases the progression of Dubai from Bedouin tents lining the creek to the amazing buildings we see today. The ancient wind towers served to cool the building and is a testament to Arab architectural ingenuity. For those interested in architecture this museum is a must see! Admission cost is 2AED, (.54US) Located behind the Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s House is the Camel Museum. The museum will probably tell you everything and more that you want to know about camels. This museum is a testament to the Emiratis’ passion for their beloved animals and explains why they they gained such prominence in Arab history. The museum blends history with technology with their camel race simulator. Visitors can virtually ride a camel in a race. Admission is free. Take a breakfast picnic to Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary . The sanctuary has 3 hides, head to the Hide 2 at the junction of the Al Wasl and Oud Metha roads, that’s by the flamingo roost. If you’re there at high tide the kids will love watching the big pink birds. Admission is free, just register in the visitor’s logbook. Check out the Dubai Dino. This is an almost complete skeleton of a dinosaur called Amphicoelias brontodiplodocus. It was discovered in 2008 in Wyoming, USA and transported to its new home at the Dubai Mall. Talk to the Dubai Dino Team, they’re armed with some interesting facts. Best of all it’s free! While you’re at The Dubai Mall have a look at the Dubai Aquarium. The gigantic aquarium is the Centerpiece of The Dubai Mall. You can view the aquarium inhabitants from the mall viewing panels for free, but if you want to walk thru the tunnel for a more up close and personal look you must purchase a ticket. Tickets include a walk thru the tunnel and a visit to the Underwater Zoo. Directly across the Dubai Aquarium is Candylicious one of the world’s largest candy stores. It’s also the home to Spun Candy where candy confectioners make handmade candy on site. You can even design your own candy and watch them make it for you. A visit to the store is free, but what you fill your basket with is totally up to you and your budget. If you’re at The Dubai Mall, wander around, window shop, and enjoy the fountain and store fronts, some of them are pretty cool. My grandkids loved the kiosk selling Camel Milk Candy, there’s a large golden camel at the front! If you’re hungry wander over to the huge food court or one of the many restaurants throughout the mall. Better yet grab an outdoor table at one of the eateries along The Dubai Fountain and watch the show. The fountains shoot up to 500 ft. and dance to all types of music. There are daily afternoon shows (except Fridays) at 1:00 and 1:30, and evening shows every day every half hour from 6:00 to 11:00. This area also offers wonderful views of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Let the kids splash around in the fountain at Marina Walk, it’s fun and it’s free! Just bring a change of clothes for them. You can grab a cup of java from the Starbucks next to the fountain and keep an eye on the kids from the outdoor tables. Catch a ride on the Marina Water Bus. This air conditioned boat shuttles between Marina Walk, Marina Mall, and Marina Promenade. The cost is 2AED (.54US) each way, kids ride free. Feed the ducks in the lake located in the Dubai Media City Park, it’s a bit of green space with a couple of cafes near by. Along with the ducks you may see some office working having lunch or just taking a break. There are no facilities, and no admission fees. \ Head a bit out of town to the Mirdif area to Mushrif Park. It’s the largest park in Dubai. The park has pools, gardens, playgrounds, camel and horse rides, train rides, bike and walking paths, but the best attraction is the International Village. The village has 13 child-size houses from around the world, perfect for tots filled with imagination. Admission is 3AED (less than $1US) The Burj Park is a man made island between the Burj Khalifa lakes. It offers an excellent view of the Burj as well at The Dubai Fountain show nearby; best of all you can enjoy the Burj and the fountain away from the jostling crowds at the mall. There are no shops or cafes here, but the mall is steps away, you can grab a drink or snack from there and have a picnic in this small green space in the middle of downtown Dubai. Admission is free and it’s open 24 hours. Creek Park along the Dubai Creek in the heart of the old city is one of the oldest parks in the city. It’s home to the Children’s City, Dubai Dolphinarium, and Wonderland Theme & Water Parks. There are barbecue and picnic areas through out the park as well as play areas and walking paths. You can also ride the cable car for views of the city. Park admission is 5AED ($1.30US) per person and must be paid even if you have tickets to the attractions inside. Cable car tickets can be purchased separately. Children’s City in Creek Park is an interactive museum geared towards kids from 2-15 years old. They have fun displays to teach kids about the world we live in. They have a toddler’s section for little ones to climb and play, a human body section, a planetarium, and more. Last time we were there children went it free and adults were 5AED ($1.30US). It’s a great place to spend a hot summer afternoon. It’s air conditioned and there’s a small snack bar where you can purchase lunch or snacks, or you can bring your own and eat it there. For more info on Children’s City click here! Address: Creekside Park, Gate 1, Umm Hurair. Open: Saturday to Thursday 09:00 to 21:30; Friday 15:00 to 21:30 For more things to see and do in Dubai click here!... Read more...10 Best Bridal Shower IdeasAugust 19, 2019Four years ago we were planning my son’s summer wedding. It was a fairly large wedding with just under 200 guests and we had over a year to plan it, but we were quite busy the whole year. My two daughters were bridesmaids as were the bride’s two cousins, her maid of honor was her high school best friend. We all assumed that the maid of honor would do her duty and plan both the bridal shower and a bachelorette party. The bridesmaids offered their help about 7 months before the wedding; the MOH said she’d get back to them. We were all shocked when one month before the wedding the MOH told the bridesmaids that the bride didn’t want the shower nor party, and she, the MOH, didn’t have time to plan them. A week later as we were putting welcome bags and favors together a discussion about a shower and bachelorette party ensued; the bride was waiting for her MOH to throw both. We didn’t have a choice but to break the bad news to the bride, thankfully she didn’t quite have a melt down! Instead she called a meeting with her bridal party for the next day, I was invited along. It was an awkward meeting, but the MOH agreed she could make time to plan the parties, that is until she sent a text to the bride later that evening quitting! She stated she was just too busy to take on MOH duties and didn’t like the bridesmaids. This unnecessary drama was upsetting, but the bridesmaids stepped up to the plate. The MOH was replaced by the bride’s cousin and another cousin was appointed bridesmaid, thankfully the gown fit the new bridesmaid and the old MOH returned it! Once the dust settled we realized we had 2 weeks to plan and execute a bridal shower and a bachelorette party; and we didn’t even have a guest list! Undaunted the girls set to work with the help of their mothers. Together with various friends and relatives we were able to throw both events without anymore hitches! Thank goodness for Party City! Thankfully when my daughter got married the following year her bridal party planned her bridal shower and bachelorette party well in advance. The Las Vegas themed bridal shower was held at our house in honor of the Las Vegas wedding. The bachelorette was in Las Vegas and didn’t require a whole lot of planning other than transportation. The bridal party was very much on the ball and got everything done. Their drama didn’t start until the day before the wedding! But that’s a different story! I hope no one else has to go thru the wedding drama we did, but if you do rest assured you can still plan and throw a great party at the last minute. Whether the bridal shower you’re planning is last minute or not here are some ideas to help you get started. *clicking on product links will take you to our Amazon affiliate. Southern Blue Celebrations A Paris/Chanel Bridal Shower is perfect for the bride who is a fashionista, is off to Paris on her honeymoon, or both. You can get inexpensive Paris themed decor, like the Eiffel Tower, at Ross, TJ Maxx, discount stores and on Amazon. You can change up the colors, but keep the black, it’s tres chic! Serve dainty finger food, French macaroons, and don’t forget the champagne! My Wedding Favors An Italian Themed Shower for a bride who loves to cook, is going to Italy for her honeymoon, or both! Set up food stations: Pasta Bar, Italian Soda Bar, Bruschetta Station, Wine Bar, and even a Gelato Bar. You can decorate with herbs planted in tomato sauce cans, and jars of assorted pastas, they can double as party favors and game prizes! We did an Italian themed “Despidida del Soterra” (good-bye to singleness) when my daughter got married. We served different types of pastas and sauces and lots of breadsticks and garlic bread. Happy Wedd Beach themed parties are always fun. It’s the perfect bridal shower theme, specially if the honeymoon’s at some romantic tropical island like Hawaii or Bora Bora. Decor can be dreamy and bright, calling to mind tropical breezes and gentle ocean waves. Use shells, wind chimes, and sandcastles to create a romantic background. Serve fresh salads and seafood. For dessert offer tropical fruit mousses or sorbets. The Glamorous Housewife Nothing screams romance more than a vintage garden tea party. If you’re bride is a romantic it’s the perfect bridal shower theme for her. Have it outdoors if weather permits. Instead of tables and chairs lay out a pretty cloth to sit on and make it a picnic. You’ll have ready made decor with the surrounding trees and flowers, enhance them with pretty lanterns you can hang from low tree branches. Wildflowers in vintage bases add romance. Serve tea sandwiches, scones, and other tea party fare on vintage china and teas in silver or pretty china teapots. Don’t forget to line serving platters with paper doilies for added cuteness! A Well Crafted Party A Las Vegas theme is popular for bachelorette parties, but it works for a bridal shower as well. The girls had one for my daughter, her wedding was in Las Vegas. Decorating was easy and inexpensive; lots of playing cards, dice, and crap table/blackjack printed felt used as tablecloths. Serve fun foods such as sliders, chips, dips, and mini tacos. Paige’s Party Ideas Pamper the bride and her guests with a spa bridal shower. It’s a great way to unwind and visit with her friends before the big day. You can set up DIY stations for facials and mani-pedis. Your supplies can serve as decor and favors. Serve fresh salads and infused water and play soothing background music. With treatment like this everyone will be ready for the wedding on time! Learn how to make your own bath salts click here! They make great favors, pack them up in small jelly jars, too cute! The Hostess with the Mostess For the bride who loves to cook and bake or the bride who needs to learn how, a kitchen/cooking shower is a great idea. You can plan on a cooking/baking demonstration as part of the event. Have each guests bring their favorite recipe written on a recipe card to share with the bride. Decorate with kitchen utensils and gadgets, they can double as favors or the bride can take them home for her own kitchen. You can serve the bride’s favorite foods or just about anything you like. Pretty My Party For the elegant bride plan a Breakfast at Tiffany’s shower. It’ll be extra special if she happens to be an Audrey Hepburn fan too! Your colors are set, Tiffany blue and white of course! Decorate with strands of faux pearl necklaces, over sized “diamond” rings, and other bling. You can set up a breakfast or brunch buffet, don’t forget the Mimosa or Bloody Mary Bar! Amanda Erickson Design For the bride going on a honeymoon cruise send her off in style with a nautical themed bridal shower. Decorate with fishing nets, lighthouses, anchors, oars, and other seafaring gadgets. Serve fresh seafood and salads, and set up a Bloody Mary Bar. Brooklyn Limestone Throw a Floating Umbrella Garden Party, it is a shower after all! I just love this idea of using umbrellas for decor, it looks so fun! I think it’s a great idea for a spring bridal shower. You can make it a tea party and serve finger foods and tea cakes. Use bright colors to make it fun.... Read more...Best Kid Friendly Resorts in HawaiiAugust 14, 2019Hawaii is a great family vacation destination. Hawaii has many fun family activities to keep kids entertained; nature hikes, surfing, hula, and ukulele lessons, museum exhibits, pirate ships, and Mickey too! Our world class hotels on the shores of our world famous beaches offer luxurious accommodations, award winning cuisine, and diverse activities sure to please guests young and old. Here is a round up of the the best kid friendly resorts in the Aloha State. Spring break is coming up, escape the cold winter for some fun in sun. “Voted No. 1 in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2014 for Top Family Hotel in the U.S.A” Hands down Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa wins the top spot. No one does family fun better than Disney. Located on Oahu’s west shores this resort boasts a lazy river, water slides, a kids club, and more. Book your Hawaii Disney adventure today! The Kahala Hotel & Resort is tucked away in Honolulu’s plush Kahala district. It’s a favorite with presidents, international royalty and celebrities. This luxurious oceanfront resort boasts a natural lagoon that is home to a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. During your stay you can reserve an interactive encounter with these playful creatures with Dolphin Quest. They offer several packages for different age groups. Reserve your family vacation here! The Hilton Waikaloa Village is situated on the Kohalo coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. Stay, play, and dine in this lush 62 acre resort. The fun begins when you board a boat or tram to take you from the hotel lobby to your room. Indulge in a couples massage at a private poolside cabana while the kids splash in the waterfall pool or play and swim with the resident dolphins. Reserve your Dolphin Quest encounter here! Sip a tropical drink at the grotto bar while the kids float along the lazy river or ride up the water elevator. Situated on 40 acres of lush tropical gardens on the shores of world famous Wailea Beach on the island of Maui is the Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort. It will surely meet your expectations of any resort under this iconic brand.... Read more...How to Survive a Long Red-Eye FlightAugust 7, 2019Flying as much as we do I’ve got the routine down to where I can get enough rest on route and hit the ground running when I arrive. I can’t guarantee the most comfortable experience, but I can make the flight more bearable. 1. Get plenty of sleep the night before. 2. Dress in comfortable loose fitting clothing, but not shabby wrinkled clothes. Don’t wear anything tight fitting and complicated; tight fitting clothes restricts blood flow, you increase the risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis), and clothing that has lots of buttons, laces, etc. makes using the tiny restrooms difficult. I usually wear an old comfy t-shirt under the jacket of a dark colored Juicy Couture sweat suit. The jacket can be removed if it gets too warm and will keep me warm if the cabin is cold. I like dark colors because it hides stains, in case I spill something on the plane. 3. Wear comfortable footwear that is easy to slip on and off. In warm weather I usually wear flip-flops or sandals, in cold weather my comfy pair of knitted Uggs. Footwear that is easy to slip on and off makes going thru security easier, also easier to slip them on and off on the plane. My feet tend to swell a bit on very long flights so I avoid wearing shoes that require me to painfully shove swollen feet into. 4. On flights 5 hours or longer don’t wear any make-up, if you arrive at the airport wearing make-up use a cleanser wipe and take it off. Make-up will dry up, cake up, and leave you looking less than lovely. If you must have make-up on arrival apply it about half hour before you land. 5. Don’t drink booze, it will dehydrate you and make you miserable. Drink plenty of water instead to stay hydrated. For every hour you are airborne your body looses an extra glass of water leaving you looking and feeling miserable. Adding alcohol into your system only dehydrates you more. Staying hydrated also decreases the chances of airborne germs getting into your system, mucus serves as a “filter” and may just keep you from catching a cold. 6. Sanitize your area. I bring along anti-bacterial wipes and wipe down the arm rests, wall and window if I’m in a window seat, headrest, and table. I know I look crazy but I’m not sure how clean the plane is and I’d rather be safe than sorry. 7. Bring your own shawl or blanket, and neck pillow. I’m pretty sure the provided pillows and blankets aren’t changed or washed between flights. I prefer to snuggle up to my own clean items. I always bring a cashmere shawl to use as a blanket. 8. Practice good personal hygiene. Don’t cough and sneeze on your seat mates, wash your hands often, and use a paper towel to handle the lavatory door knobs. 9. Stretch your legs and walk around when you can. Do a small in-flight workout to reduce your risk of DVT. Here’s a link to show you how. 10. Bring travel size moisturizers, body lotion, lip balm, and lip balm. Keep them in a clear plastic bag or ziplock along with your toothbrush, toothpaste, and make-up. I use Amore Pacific and I always ask my cosmetics associate at Neiman’s to give me samples, they work great for trips. 11. Bring a change of clothes if you need to look your best on arrival. You can struggle into them in the tiny lavatory before landing. 12. Bring reading material, noise canceling headphones, chargers, a meal or snacks, and sleeping mask. I load up books and movies on my ipad in case there’s nothing I like on the in-flight entertainment. I prefer my own headphones, they’re much more comfortable than the ones they provide, they sound better too. I prefer to bring my own food, I bring what I want and save money too. Food sold in-flight is limited and expensive. The only way I know of to have a really comfortable flight is to ante up and fly business or first class. They feed you and the seats usually turn into beds. I usually try to upgrade at the gate, sometimes I get lucky and get a first class seat with by using frequent flyer miles or paying an upgrade charge. Upgrades are never guaranteed. If you want to try for one it’s best to put yourself on the upgrade list the day before departure or get to the airport early and get on the list.... Read more... Get Our Newsletter Success! First Name Last Name Email Subscribe Latest Posts How to buy good but affordable car insuranceSeptember 14, 2019Corner / Product Reviewshttps://www.pexels.com/photo/red-and-yellow-hatchback-axa-crash-tests-163016/ When it comes to buying car insurance, we all want to get the best and the most cost effective option that is available. As such, there are a number of things that one can do so that they can find affordable and good car insurance. The fact that there are thousands of companies that sell car insurance means that there are good deals that you can go for. Now, what are some of the tips that one can follow so they can find suitable car insurance? Other than Balsiger Insurance, where else can one buy affordable car insurance? What kind of terms and conditions do they need to fulfill for them to buy affordable and effective car insurance? Well, here are some tips to help you find affordable car insurance: Shop Around This is definitely a common thing people do when they want to find bargain items. The same case applies to insurance companies. It is true that there are thousands of insurance companies that sell car insurance. Therefore, for you to find affordable or suitable car insurance for your needs, it is important that you shop around to find out what the various companies have to offer. It is important to know that different insurance companies offer different rates for their auto insurance clients. The best way to find the right one is by contacting insurance companies. Visit their websites and even make a call to the insurance companies and get to know their auto insurance rates. Think about group auto insurance It is possible to buy car insurance through your employer, just like it is easy to buy health insurance in the same way. One advantage of group auto insurance is that it offers effective and cheap insurance coverage. This kind of insurance coverage also comes with other perks such as towing, repairs, discounted car rentals and so on. If you work for a company that has many employees, it is possible to enjoy group auto insurance coverage. Drop the auto insurance coverage that you don’t need It is important to know that you may not need all the auto insurance options that are offered. The law only requires one to have the basic coverage of liability insurance. This means that one will need to have third party insurance coverage where they will pay the drivers and other third parties that they injure or make damages to their property. There are other extras that one can add on top of the basic auto insurance. However, if you want to make some savings, it is important that you choose only the auto insurance coverage that you need. Bundle your auto insurance with other policies Bundling your insurance coverage will help you get better rates. Just like it is possible to bundle TV and internet services, the same can be done for insurance coverage. You could get better rates by buying more than one insurance cover. You could, for instance, bundle your car insurance with life insurance. You could also get better rates if you insure more than one vehicle or driver. This way, your insurance provider will definitely offer you better rates.... Read more...What’s The Difference Between Macarons And Macaroons?September 14, 2019Cookies, Cakes & Pies / Corner / Desserts / Recipes https://pixabay.com/photos/macarons-raspberries-pastries-2548827/ Do you get confused between macarons and macaroons? You’re not alone! Many people use the two names interchangeably, when in fact, they refer to very different sweet delights. So read on to find out the differences between these two exquisite confections. Differences in Ingredients The main difference between macarons and macaroons is their ingredient list. Macarons are meringue-based and consist of almond flour, egg whites, and sugar. Macaroons, on the other hand, are coconut-based and comprise of grated coconut alongside powdered sugar and egg whites. Looking at the history of macarons, they are single recipe cookies that were brought from Italy and introduced to France by the famous chef, Catherine de Medici. When macarons got to France, they were upgraded and a new sandwich cookie recipe was created. The method that was created is not the recipe most pastry chefs use today. If you’re looking for a recipe for the kind of macarons you’ve probably sampled at high-end patisseries, see here for a guide to how to make macarons for beginners. There seems to be some confusion about the origin of macaroons because there are numerous stories. The most famous tale told about the history of the macaroon is that it was an American version of the French macaron. With an increased import of coconut into the Americans in the 1800s, Americans quickly re-invented the original macaron recipe which was later referred to as the macaroon. Or so the story goes. Main Differences in Characteristics Macarons are characterized by their delicate egg-shell like crust with an inner meringue texture while macaroons are characterized by their dense and lumpy texture that creates that delectable chewy experience in the mouth. Macarons come with a delicious filling of fruit jam, ganache or buttercream, and the ratio of cookie to filling must be 2:1 respectively. On the other hand, macaroons’ shredded coconut gives them their signature texture and taste. Another characteristic difference between macarons and macaroons is that macarons are moderately sweet while macaroons are extremely sweet. Macarons come in a wider variety of colors while macaroons are only known for three popular variations which are; chocolate-dipped, lemon-flavored and original coconut. Preparation Differences Between Macarons and Macaroons Macarons are the more challenging and fiddly to make of the two, especially for beginners. They require significant practice and patience to get right. The key step is the “macaronage” process, where ground almonds and sugar must be carefully folded into the meringue before being piped onto baking sheets. The macaroon, on the other hand, can be prepared in under 20 minutes, and there is even one variation that requires no baking at all. https://pixabay.com/photos/dessert-food-macaroons-macro-1850216/ Other Differences Macarons are best enjoyed within a few hours of baking, and will last a couple of days when kept in the fridge, whilst macaroons can last for more than two months when frozen. The average cost per macaron cookie is almost double the average cost of the macaroon cookie. Whilst the macaron and the macaroon are very different confections, they are both sweet treats worth making the effort for!... Read more...Coping With Hearing ProblemsSeptember 14, 2019Corner / Health & FitnessHearing problems are rarely discussed, especially compared to sight problems. Those who suffer from hearing problems might choose do so in secrecy, which can be stressful and cause all kinds of other issues. Being able to talk and learn more about hearing problems is important. If you suspect you have problems with your hearing, or you have a diagnosed hearing condition, the next step is to learn how to cope with it. Take a look at some of the following tips for coping with hearing problems. Image Credit: Unsplash under Creative Commons Talk to someone When you’re going through a difficult time, you must talk to someone. If you’re concerned about your hearing or any aspect of your health, then talking to a friend or relative and making a doctor’s appointment will help. Suffering in silence could lead to you feeling lonely, isolated or depressed, which can cause further problems with your health. Don’t bottle up what you’re feeling – let it out! Make sure you get the right help Have you gone and got a diagnosis for your hearing problems? This is a crucial first step towards getting help. You might think that you’re a lost cause, but if you click here, you’ll see the benefits that hearing aids can bring you. Different treatments can improve the quality of your hearing, as well as ease the effects of tinnitus. It’s important to seek ongoing support for your hearing issues, as your condition will undoubtedly change as you age. Find support You might think you’re alone in your hearing problems, but there’s a lot of people out there who are going through the same thing. You can find support from many sources, including local support groups and online forums. While friends and family can offer their support, it’s comforting to share your experiences with others who know how you feel and can offer some guidance and advice. Find out more about getting emotional support for hearing loss – it can help you learn to cope. Protect your ears Protecting your ears is an important part of preventing hearing loss, but it can also help you to prevent hearing problems from getting worse. From using ear defenders in loud environments to not playing your music too loudly, there are multiple ways you can protect your hearing. Your hearing is one of your most important senses, so it can be frightening when it starts to suffer. The sooner you take action and get help, the better the outcome will be. Different advances in technology and medicine have improved the treatments for hearing loss over the years, so the outcome could be better than you expect. Taking care of your senses is an important aspect of looking after your health. Making regular appointments for testing can help you identify problems before they become serious, so make sure you put them in the diary. Remember that there is help available to help you cope with hearing loss, so please don’t suffer alone.... Read more...Changes To Notice When Caring for Your Older Loved OnesSeptember 10, 2019Health & FitnessThere is no getting away from the fact that we all age. And if you are helping a loved one through some of the big changes that can come from again, then you will be part of enjoying the good times with them, as well as those tougher times. A lot can change and there will be new things to get used to. It can be hard for you all to accept some of the changes that do come, as the changes can be physical, emotional, and practical. So if you are helping an elderly parent, for example, it can be a real challenge for you, just as it will be for them if they have been used to being completely independent in life before. If you are the person who will be making a lot of the decisions, then it can feel like even more pressure. But the more prepared that you are, the more ready you will be to help your loved one to deal with changes, as well as help yourself deal with it all too. So here are some things to be thinking about. Is It Time to Move? As people tend to get older, then their needs are going to change. The home that they have lived in for years may not be suited for how they need to live their life. For example, if they have a lot of stairs in their home, and only a bathroom on the second floor, then that is going to be difficult for someone who needs help walking on their own. You may be able to work a solution, and it could be something as simple as finding canes for sale and choosing one for them. But it may be time to think about moving them to a bungalow perhaps, or to move in with you or another carer. You could also think about assisted living spaces or nursing homes, depending on the need. Are They OK to Drive? If your loved one has been able to drive a car until now, then you need to assess whether it is a good idea for them to be doing so now. Their doctor could do an evaluation to see if they will be able to, but generally, you will have an idea of if they can or can’t (they might even choose themselves that they don’t want to). But really, if the decision is for them to not drive, it can be hard to deal with. It isn’t necessarily about driving that will bother them. Rather, it is all about the loss of independence that they will be feeling. For many, driving is what keeps them active and involved with those around them. So looking for options to help is something to think about. Grieving Losses As we get older there are people around us that we are going to lose. And for older people, it can a spouse that they could lose and have to adjust to life without; the grief can last for a long time. There can be changes in mood and emotions, so being a constant support and helping them to keep busy, as much as possible, is a good idea.... Read more...Signs that you Are Not Taking Care of your Mind or Body 100%September 10, 2019Health & FitnessIf you’re not quite sure if you are taking care of yourself as much as you should be then here are a few things that you need to look out for. You’re Constantly getting Sick If you seem to catch every flu, virus or cold that goes around the office then this could be because you have a weakened immune system. This could be down to a number of factors, whether it’s stress, an unhealthy diet or even nicotine. A weak immune system doesn’t always mean that you’ll catch every bug around, but it does mean that you will take much longer to recover, and you may even find that you end up at the doctors more than you should. Always Tired There are so many reasons why you might be constantly tired. If you suffer from insomnia or if you are not able to get 8 hours of sleep every day then this could be one of the many reasons why you are so exhausted all the time. If you do not get enough sleep, then you may end up with heart problems or even depression. It’s also possible that you’ll experience forgetfulness and impaired mental judgement. Of course, if you find that you are just having a hard time sleeping in general then it is always a good idea for you to consult a professional as they may be able to give you the support you need. You Never Feel Great You might not feel sick, or good in general but if you constantly have a headache, joint pain, stomach pain or any other kind of discomfort then this could be a sign that you need to make a change. These could indicate that you have some form of undiagnosed medical condition or that you need to change your diet. Anxiety and stress can also cause these types of symptoms too, so it’s always worth trying to take that into account. There are plenty of ways that you can help yourself here, such as by taking more long walks, having more sleep or even by trying to remove stressful factors from your life. You Haven’t Been to the Doctors in a Long Time If you haven’t been to the doctors in quite some time, then it may be a good idea for you to pay them a visit. You have to stay on top of your appointments as much as you can, and this is especially the case if you’re experiencing chronic fatigue. You may also want to visit the doctor if you are experiencing any kind of unknown hearing loss. Click here to find out more about that. You Feel Anxious You’re only human at the end of the day, but if you constantly feel anxious then this is a sign that you are far too burnt out. You may find that you get upset at things that you shouldn’t and even that you are irrational too. If you want to change this then it may be time for you to look at the various factors of your lifestyle.... Read more... Shop Fun.com for Back to School supplies!