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Keeping The Kids Occupied During Travels: Everything Moms Need To Take In The Car

When traveling in the car, it can be a challenge for parents to keep their kids entertained. After all, if you are making a long journey, it can feel like the time can drag for little ones. And if you are busy concentrating on driving, you can not always keep them occupied. Therefore, to ensure journeys aren’t terrible with the kids, here is everything moms need to take in the car to keep the kids occupied during travels.In the Car with Kids

A good book

As you may know, reading is a great way to kill some time. Therefore, to keep your kids occupied on long car journeys, you should bring along some books in the car. They can read the books, and it might keep them occupied for a little while. You could even get them to read the books out loud for a while. For one thing, it can enhance their speaking and reading skills. But also it will be a challenge to them, so it will ensure they don’t get bored quickly. And if visual books are not your kid’s thing, you could consider bringing along some audio books. You can play these in the car, and it will keep your children busy during the travels.

A child’s tablet

You should also consider getting your child a tablet which they can use for long journeys. In fact, for a lot of families, they don’t get anywhere without a handy tablet which can keep their kid’s busy! You should make sure there are plenty of games on there which they can play during the journey. And ensure there is a case on the tablet so that it can’t get broken during the car travels. After all, one sharp corner could end up causing the tablet to smash on the floor! You can find out about the best kids tablet by looking online on review sites. Or you could even consider a handheld gaming device which would be a fun item to use in the car!

A CD of songs for kids

Singing is always a fun way to make time go quickly during a long car travel! After all, you are bound to have done it once when you were younger. Therefore, to ensure your kids don’t get bored during the journey, you could bring a fun CD full of songs that your kids can sing along to. You might want to opt for a CD full of Disney classics, or you could even choose a CD of nursery rhymes if your kid is younger. It will be fun for all the family to sing along to during the long journey!

A list of games to play

You could also research some games your kids could play in the car. For example, you might want to take some snap cards that the kids could play in the back. Or you might want to play a game of I Spy as a family to kill some time. There are plenty of fun games you can hunt down for the car journey if you look online.

And remember to bring a teddy and blanket for your kids. After all, sleeping is the best way to kill some of that time from that long journey. Therefore, getting them cozy will ensure they slip into a slumber before long.


How To Balance Work And Play When You Homeschool Your Kids

Being a Mom is a tough job at the best of times. Not only are you a primary caregiver, but you’re also a taxi driver, a nurse, a banker, a cook, a clothing stylist and the number one cuddler. It can be tough. Then, when you add the idea of homeschooling into the mix, you become their primary educator too.How To Balance Work And Play When You Homeschool Your Kids

As a busy Mom, you want to make sure that all of your lives are balanced. Not only are you trying to ensure that their education is varied, enriching and rewarding, but you want them to have fun being a kid too. It can be hard, but you actually can balance work and play when you’re a homeschooling family.

Have A Rough ScheduleHow To Balance Work And Play When You Homeschool Your Kids

It’s not always easy to have a set, dedicated schedule when you homeschool. Sometimes, you don’t even want one. But, you can allow yourself to find the perfect balance when you have a rough idea of when you’re doing what. It can also help you to make sure that their education is as varied as possible. Maybe it will work best for you to schedule in set times per week for play. This way, you can keep the education as free and flexible as possible, but know that a lot of playtime is allocated for too.

Be AdventurousHow To Balance Work And Play When You Homeschool Your Kids

It can get a little tiresome if you’re in your home a lot of the time. To add a little variety to your school day, and ensure you’re getting play ticked off, it can help to schedule in weekend trips, if you’re free time and bank balance allows it. You can head across the country, get out and learn. Your little ones can also have a fun and educational experience that enriches them in different ways to being at home.

Have A Goodie BoxHow To Balance Work And Play When You Homeschool Your Kids

You can have a lot of control over playtime when you have set activities allocated for it. Yes, you want your children to have fun at playtime, but it needs to be balanced. So, why not create a goodie box that’s specifically for playtime. Fill it with toys and games, like drawing and cornhole (and add cool cornhole skins), that your children will love, but will also ensure that their education is balanced out. You could even reserve it for the end of the day, or use it as a reward when your children have finished a quiz or done well after a tough lesson.

Connect With OthersHow To Balance Work And Play When You Homeschool Your Kids

As a homeschooling family, you can often feel alone. But, the homeschooling community to so big and inclusive, there’s really no need. Connect with other homeschooling Moms and families to share ideas and experiences. You might find that something another family does would work really well for you too.

Listen To Your InstinctHow To Balance Work And Play When You Homeschool Your Kids

Most importantly of all, do what feels right for you. You’ve chosen to homeschool your children for all of the right reasons, so you will know what suits you all. Listen to instinct and go with your gut. If you’re new to homeschooling, it might feel easier to follow other paths, but you’ll soon figure out what feels right for your family. Allow as much play as you feel necessary and work with what helps them to learn best and you’ll never go wrong.

Having A Hard Time Finding Balance

How the heck do parents, fathers, and mothers find a good balance between work, family and personal time?

I am a UPS driver and my day typically starts around 7am and typically ends around 7:30pm. By the time I get home from work I am utterly exhausted and find that I have zero time for anything other than eating dinner, showering and going to bed.  I feel like the kids stay up later than I do especially during the summer and I definitely feel like I barely see my kids until the weekend rolls around.  It is soooo frustrating and annoying but I know that I need to work and make money for my family but at times it really bums me out that I am never home.


I love the rare days when I am off or get home before 7pm because it feels like I have sooo much time to spend with the kids and Melinda.  That happens maybe once a week which is better than nothing so I know I shouldn’t complain.

I thought I hated my office job but I always (99% of the time) got off at 5pm and was home by 6pm.  I would kill for those hours again but that ship has sailed so I should stop living in the past because those hours will never happen again.

I know that I should be happy to have a job because a lot of people don’t and I am very thankful that I do I just wish I was able to get home a little earlier each night. That is all that I am asking for.

Do you have a crazy work schedule? How do you balance work and family?

Capture the Moments #VZWBuzz #Photography #Memories

Winter is gone and we’re soaking up the great weather every chance we can get.  One thing our family is obsessed with is firepits. Sometimes we get together with an elaborate spread of food and snacks and invite the neighbors and extended family. But sometimes we just have one to hang out as a family to spend quality time together.

I look around and see everyone staring into the fire, I call it the fire coma. The fire is mesmerizing, it draws you in.  It’s easy to lose focus on a conversation when the night is silent and the fire is roaring. These are the most relaxing moments of the week.  

Friday mornings are filled with anticipation and hope that there will be no winds that night.The kids ask over and over if the weather is right.

These calm, cherished moments are few and far between. We live such hectic lives every day between school, work, activities, errands and other obligations. It mean everything to me to slow down and soak up the attention my kids give to these moments.  Capturing Moments with your Phone #VZWBuzz #photography #memories

These moments are captured thanks to the technology that comes with me everywhere I go.  As a VZWBuzz influencer I’m aware of how much my iPhone can do but one of my favorite features is having a camera at my fingertips. Capturing Moments with your Phone #VZWBuzz #photography #memories

To say I have thousands of photos on my phone is an understatement. I’ve been taking pics as far back as my Blackberry days.  The quality has definitely improved but I wouldn’t trade them in for anything.

#VZWBuzz Lifestyle Blogger

Simple Gift Giving This Year

With Christmas coming up in just 2 months the kids and I have been chatting about what they think they want and would be asking for. Recently on night sitting at the dinner table I asked that question and it took them way too long to answer. That means one thing, they have too much already.

We spoil our kids. They truly want for nothing with a house full of 4 gaming systems, 3 handheld gaming systems, 4 tablets, 3 laptops, a desktop, 4 smart phones, a flat screen tv & Blu-Ray player in every room and so much more.  This doesn’t include the random toys and games,  hundreds of DVDs and BluRays  as well as the vacations, trips and events we attend on any given weekend.Kids and Technology

We did this. We created these little monsters who can’t even think of another gift they would like. We provided not just necessities and essentials but all the fun they could imagine and even what they didn’t know was out there.

I’m flipping around our Christmas giving this year. There’s no way I’m spending my time and money on things that aren’t appreciated, needed or even wanted.

This year we’re doing things differently. The kids are going to have to choose 4 things

Four Gifts for Christmas

This makes the kids really take a look around and see everything they have and take stock of everything they are provided. I can’t control what others will shop for but in our household the holidays are going to mean more than just a pile of gifts under the tree.

I was going to add another something to the list but I’m thinking we can do that differently. Something to Give is now going to be a family charity activity. Maybe we’ll volunteer at a shelter, collect food for the hungry, paint a room at a community center or clean a playground. Doing this as a family will definitely have a bigger impact than just purchasing a pair of shoes and dropping them in a collection box.

What are your holiday gift giving traditions?

image courtesy via Pixabay 

Family Camping Trip Tips and Ideas

There are some people that say this is the perfect weather for camping. The sunny days and crisp cool nights make for just right conditions for outdoor living. While I’m not completely onboard with sleeping outdoors I’m all for enjoying nature and the beauty of the world around us.

While I prefer the kind of camping that comes with an RV and warm shower I know my family likes to pitch a tent and live more simply for a few days. Doing this requires some planning. Camping requires some gear and tools that not only makes your life easier much enjoyable.

Preparing for a Family Camping Trip

First off let’s talk about food. Campfire hot dogs are delicious but that isn’t all you have to live on. There are so many recipes and food ideas out there that you could actually eat much more gourmet than originally thought.   These are some of the more tasty ideas I’ve seen lately that make camping a more likely idea before the snow starts to fall.

Campfire Potatoes with Thyme

Dutch Oven Braised Beef Roast

Mountain Man Skillet Scramble

let’s not forget about dessert. Sweets that are melted and gooey are the best  part about campfires

Roasted Strawberries with Marshmallow Fluff

Campfire Cinnamon Rolls

S’mores Dip

Every meal doesn’t need to be very elaborate or involve many ingredients. While big breakfasts are fun fruit, cereal, milk and yogurt are plenty nutritious to get through the mornings. Keeping it simple homemade granola and dry milk reconstituted as needed also saves on space.  Milkman low fat powdered milk is the only cream-containing low fat powdered milk easily available to consumers in the United States.  This gives the milk a better flavor and texture than other brands on the market. Making a quart at a time as needed is easier to store and carry when space and refrigeration is a luxury.

Having the right camping gear is key to being comfortable and safe. Families often have to pack more as there are more scenarios that could arise. The opportunity for a child caught in a mud puddle would require extra clothing and maybe clothes washing/drying equipment. has this comprehensive check list of just about everything life can throw at you.

The most important part of a family camping trip is to make sure everyone is safe, happy and having fun. The point of getting away and disconnecting is spending quality time with each other.  Keep the activities fun and easy. Hikes are first on the list of course. Swimming is a must when the weather is warm. Don’t forget card games, simple craft supplies and lots of glowsticks for Tic Tac Toe or a ring toss game.

image via vastateparkstaff flickr

image via vastateparkstaff flickr

What are your family camping trips hacks, must-dos or essential recipes?

*forest image via

Sabreena’s Graduation and Party

You may remember several weeks back, Sabreena graduated High School. It was a big deal. She’s not only our first to graduate but the first grandchild and niece. Her graduation was attended by my parents and my sister and of course our family.

The Graduate on her Big Day

The Graduate on her Big Day #family #graduation

We started with dinner and then went to the actual ceremony that was held at the University of Delaware Bob Carpenter Center. All the local high schools have their graduation there. It’s indoors and holds lots of people. We were extra early to ensure we had good seats.

The graduation party wasn’t until a month later. We planned for weeks. Made sure there was plenty of food and drinks and space for the people. Of course she asked for pulled pork on the smoker. Think we made enough?

Happy Graduation Sabreena #family #memories

What was supposed to be at our neighborhood pool ended up being at our house. I’m so glad we made the switch. It was great to be in our own space. See the little dare devil in the air? That’s my 4yo niece Ella.

Happy Graduation Sabreena #family #memories

Happy Graduation Sabreena #family #memories

Friends and family came and we had a great time. My best friend brought her inflatable water slide. That was definitely the icing on the cake. I even made a mini photo opp for everyone including props and a cool background.Happy Graduation Sabreena #family #memories Happy Graduation Sabreena #family #memories

Everyone had a great time. I am so grateful for the friends and family that came to support and celebrate Sabreena during her special moment. She’ll be leaving in just under a month for college. While she isn’t going far she won’t be home everyday with us. It’s gonna be a huge adjustment but we’re so proud of her.

Indoor Play Areas in Delaware

Delaware may be one of the smallest states but we know how to stay entertained and busy by packing in the fun within our small walls. When the weather is too cold or too wet to visit the beaches, state parks or playgrounds in our area we head to one of the many indoor attractions located in New Castle, Kent and Sussex Counties.Delaware Indoor Play Areas for families

When visiting museums, playlands or historical settings be sure to call ahead to confirm hours of operations, admission fees and exhibitions.  As a parent I’m always curious to find out if I can bring in my own drinks or snacks or if those things can be purchased inside that particular place of interest. Taking a few moments to plan ahead can make for an easy day when you know what to expect from your intended destination.

Don’t forget to ask the guest relations or help desk is there are any hidden gems in the area that aren’t on your list. You might find something like the world’s largest Doctor’s Bag or the Fountain of Youth

Vince’s Sports Center
14 Gender Road
Newark, DE 19713
Vince’s features a 9-Hole, Par-3 Golf Course, Indoor Baseball and Softball Batting Cages, two Miniature Golf Courses, and a huge Video and Ticket Arcade.

Delaware Children’s Museum
550 Justison St.
Wilmington, DE
Unique exhibits that educate and inspire kids in art, architecture, banking, the environment and more

Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE
Encounter life-sized dinosaurs, look beneath the seas, experience an African watering hole, come face-to-face with a jaguar, marvel at the diversity of birds and shells from around the world.

Hagely Museum and Library
200 Hagley Road
Wilmington, DE
Our scenic 235-acre campus along the banks of the Brandywine River includes the original mills of the DuPont Company, working machinery, a restored workers’ community, and more. Explore this microcosm of American industry and discover the fascinating links between history, science, and technology.

Christiana Mall Small Wonder Play Area
132 Christiana Mall (in front of Target)
Newark, Delaware 19702
(302) 731-9815
This 800 square foot play area showcases some of Delaware’s most beloved attractions.

Mount Cuba Astronomical Observatory
1610 Hillside Mill Road
Greenville, DE
One of the world’s greatest astronomers, Miss Annie Jump Cannon, was a native of Delaware and Mt Cuba Observatory was established in her honor. On select public viewing days guests are invited to view the planets, moon, or other objects of special interest through the 4.5″ F. G. du Pont refracting telescope.

Winterthur Museum, Library & Garden
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE 19735
Winterthur (pronounced “winter-tour”) is the premier museum of American decorative arts, reflecting both early America and the du Pont family’s life here. Its 60-acre naturalistic garden is among the country’s best, and its research library serves scholars from around the world. Winterthur closed to the public January 6–February 28, 2014.

Center for the Creative Arts
410 Upper Snuff Mill Row and Route 82
Yorklyn, DE
Explore drawing, painting, sculpture, pottery, glass work, mixed media, theater and much more with a variety of classes at this community center!

3031 New Castle Avenue
New Castle, DE
Bowlerama offers 62 lanes of bowling, arcade and redemption area, Dunkin’Donuts, a restaurant and sports bar.

Pump It Up
103 S James St
Newport, DE 19804
Play areas filled with gigantic inflatables and colorful party rooms where your child is treated like royalty.

Christiana Skating Center

801 Christiana Road
Newark, DE 19711
Classic roller skating fun.

The Pond Ice Arena
101 John F. Campbell Drive
Newark, DE 19711
302 266-0777
The Pond is open year-round and offers a variety of programs for recreational, figure and hockey skaters of all ages and abilities including daily open/public skate

Mid-Atlantic Grand Prix Indoor Karting
4060 N Dupont Hwy
New Castle, DE
8 minute, 6 mile Go-karting races for ages 8 and up. Birthday party packages available.

Hullabaloo Amusement Center
44 Fox Hunt Dr
Bear, DE 19701
Crawl, climb, slide and zip around in 2500 sq foot softplay area which includes softy climbing wall, ball guns and zip line.

Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE
The Delaware Art Museum connects people to art, offering an inclusive and essential community resource that through its collections, exhibitions, and programs generates creative energy that sustains, enriches, empowers, and inspires. Family and Youth programs are available multiple times a month.

Abbott’s Mill Nature Center
15411 Abbott’s Pond Road
Milford, DE
The nature center manages the 373-acre Milford Millponds Nature Preserve with hiking trails, boardwalks and teaching stations provide unique education opportunities.

xbōs  Family Fun Center
456 W. Glenwood Ave
Smryna, DE 19977-1087
Safe and fun-filled family environment with largest soft play on East Coast, bowling and arcade

DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum
708 Coastal Highway
Fenwick Island, DE
One of the most comprehensive collections of shipwreck artifacts on the Delmarva Peninsula. There are thousands of items on display ranging from gold and Silver bars, coins, weapons, china and items used aboard early day sailing ships. The seashells, marine life tanks and our working lab will help to educate guests of all ages about the aspects of treasures from our ocean’s depths.

Chuck E. Cheese (2 locations)
3601 Silverside Rd.
Wilmington, DE, 19810

1275 N. DuPont Hwy.
Dover, DE, 19901
Free admission for games, rides, prizes, food and entertainment for the whole family.

McDonald’s Restaurant w/ Playland (multiple locations)
1401 Governors Place
Bear, DE

Rt 404 & Rt 13

2351 S College Ave
Glasgow, DE

580 Middletown Warwick Rd
Middletown, DE

653 North Dupont Hwy
Milford DE

374 East Main St
Newark DE

4527 Rt One
Rehoboth Beach DE

4625 Kirkwood Hwy
Wilmington DE

Not in Delaware but still looking for more fun indoor places for play and activities? Try these other lists created from my friends in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.


Berks County Indoor Play Areas

Bucks County Indoor Play Areas

Chester County Indoor Play Areas: Northern and Eastern

Chester County Indoor Play Areas: Western and Southern

Delaware County/Greater Philadelphia Indoor Play Areas

Delaware County Indoor Play Areas

Delaware County Indoor Play Areas

Lancaster County Indoor Play Areas

Lehigh County Indoor Play Areas

Montgomery County Indoor Play Areas: Western

Montgomery County Indoor Play Areas: Eastern

Philadelphia Indoor Play Areas: Center City

Philadelphia Indoor Play Areas: Beyond Center City

Schuylkill County Indoor Play Areas

New Jersey

Atlantic County Indoor Play Areas

Burlington County Indoor Play Areas

Camden County Indoor Play Areas

Cumberland County Indoor Play Areas

Cape May County Indoor Play Areas

Essex County Indoor Play Areas

Gloucester County Indoor Play Areas

Passaic County Indoor Play Areas

Salem County Indoor Play Areas

Union County Indoor Play Areas

Sussex County Indoor Play Areas

Raising a Boy to be a Man

We are only raising one son, that is more than enough for me. He’s been a handful since day one and always pushing limits and stepping on boundaries. On one hand I appreciate this attitude towards life. I want him to question ideas and have his own opinions about the world around him. Then again I want him to know how to follow rules and have respect and realize making waves isn’t always the best way to accomplish something. I want him to grow up a successful, happy and confident man, father, husband and friend. Being a Man means different things for different people. For me it stretches across all aspects of life.

Teaching a Boy to Be a Man

A man takes care of his family. This doesn’t mean he has to be the breadwinner but he does have to contribute to the lifestyle and household. A man can do this sitting behind a desk, behind a toolbox or behind the diaperbag. The way a man takes care of his family is more about the completed task rather than how the task got done.

A man nurtures his children. Building a solid relationship with a child takes practice and effort. A man should be a listener even when he doesn’t like what he hears. A man should make his children feel secure and valued even through the tough times. A man should show his love of his love even when other emotions rise to the top.

A man is a teacher. Whether its teaching your child how to ride a bike, use the lawn mower or work the dishwasher a man should teach their children how to live their life successfully independently. Help should always be available but teaching your child to take steps on their own puts them on the road to a leading a life worth living.

A man is a role model. Celebrities and athletes have a place in our lives but our children need to look up to those that matter the most. A man recognizes his faults and actively works at improving them. This shows children that character and confidence has to be built up and earned and not handed over by popularity and material things.

Being a strong, independent man requires an equally strong and independent support. As parents we lead our children at first, walk beside them, hold them up then stand back and watch them venture out on their own.

Tips To Survive A Hectic School Year

So it’s been a few weeks since I wrote my last post on how Melinda and I try to survive the school year with our busy schedules which you can read HERE.

In this post I would like to share with you what survival tips seem to have worked best for us and maybe they will be able to help you and your family get through the busy school year.

Use some sort of calendar : Melinda and I use a paper calendar that everyone has access to and we also use a digital one on our phones that only Melinda and I have access to. Between the two calendars it shows everything that we need to do and when we need to do it. Without these two calendar we would be totally lost and in my opinion this is our most used tool that keeps us organized.

Have a good homework routine that works for you : Melinda and I allow the kids to come home, empty their backs packs, have a snack, then they get to work. Shaun gets his homework packet on Friday’s so we usually do it over the weekend so he doesn’t have to do it during the week but he does still have to read 20 minutes every day. Having a consistent homework routine allows Shaun and Shae to know what to expect every single day during the week and in my opinion allows after school to be so much less stressful.

Create a weekly menu plan : Melinda and I create a weekly dinner menu every single week so we know exactly what is for dinner every day. Creating this menu accomplished two things. First is allows you us to get everything we need for the week at the grocery store so we don’t have to make costly one off trips during the week and secondly it allows us to eat healthy. I find when we don’t have a menu plan in place we tend to order out which is bad for our budget and not very healthy either.

Above are the three main tips that I can share that I know work for us. We have many more tips and tricks that we use but it would take me pages to go through them all.

If you want some additional tips be sure to check out Tyson’s Any’tizers Snacks School Year Survival Guide that offers so many awesome tips that I am sure could and would work for you and your family.

If you have any special routines or tips that you use feel free to share them and maybe we could use them to make our lives easier as well.

Tyson Any’tizers asked me to offer your tips and tricks to survive the school year by all opinion are my own and belong to Look What Mom Found…and Dad too!