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Destination: A Perfect Vacation Plan the Ideal Family Trip
Summer is fast approaching, and I know a lot of people are looking forward to the time when the kids are out of school so vacation season can finally begin. Already, commercials for resorts, cruises, and theme parks fill the airwaves. These are all standard family vacation options, but I’ve been thinking about more unique trips I could take with my family — vacations that will be truly memorable. Let me share a few ideas I came up with.
comfy cabin and cooking dinner every evening. Others might want to rent an RV and visit as many parks as possible.
You can also calibrate the adrenaline level to suit your family members. Will your family of thrill-seekers hit some whitewater rapids, or is bird-watching on a relaxing nature hike more your speed? Considering my own history with kayaking, you can bet I’ll take the more adventurous route.
An Urban Adventure
“Vacations like these also leave plenty of room for discovery, which is one of the reasons you travel in the first place.”
Multistop Mini Tour
For families who want to experience culture and adventure, a major city is the perfect destination. Trips to cities offer a lot more flexibility and personalization than one-size-fits- all cruises or resorts. The whole family can go sightseeing in the morning, then split up so some family members can explore an art museum while the rest catch a baseball game. Visiting a city also cuts down on the more frustrating aspects of travel that most people detest. You don’t
Vacations that span multiple destinations may require a little more planning, but they’re worth the effort. Rather than planning your vacation based on a place, you can organize your trip by theme. As long as you’re willing to be flexible and put in the legwork, you’re only limited by your imagination.
Maybe you want to explore sports halls of fame from
Canton to Springfield by way of Cooperstown. A family of history buffs might love to revisit the American Revolution with a trek from Boston to Jamestown. Perhaps you want to visit wineries up and down the California coast
have to rent a car when you have robust public transportation and ride-sharing services like Uber. You’re also far less likely to encounter the fifth-day fatigue that sets in when you’re stuck at a resort and have run out of things to do.
— though this trip might be better suited for families whose children are of legal drinking age. Whatever your family’s shared passions are, there’s a way to build a trip around them. Vacations like these also leave plenty of room for discovery, which is one of the reasons you travel in the first place. When you see something cool between planned stops, there’s nothing to stop you from checking it out. These ideas are a lot of fun, but honestly, there’s no wrong way to plan a family vacation. It doesn’t matter if you book a cruise or pile in the car for a cross-country drive. As long as the family is together, it’s a vacation well-planned. -David Brauns
Considering most people already live in or near a bustling metropolis, hitting another big city might not be appealing. If that’s the case, I recommend a nature-focused getaway. Places like the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park are on most of our bucket lists, so why wait? You can craft the perfect outdoor vacation for your family. Some people prefer settling down in a
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Searching for Spring FAMILY SCAVENGER HUNTS MADE EASY
Spring is in bloom, and there’s no better time to get some fresh air. If you are looking for a way to get your family outside and away from their screens, why not plan a spring-themed scavenger hunt? More than just a fun way to spend the afternoon, scavenger hunts build problem-solving skills, encourage teamwork, and get your family to exercise their minds and bodies. Here are some tips on how to plan a memorable family scavenger hunt. Play in Teams Your whole family can participate together, but it can also be fun to strike up some friendly competition with teams. Have at least one parent or an older, responsible sibling on each team to make sure everyone stays safe and follows the rules. Take Pictures Since everyone has a camera on their phone, why not use it? By taking pictures, you don’t have to worry about losing anything you find, and your teams can more safely collect certain items. For example, bird feathers are a great item for a spring scavenger hunt, but you don’t want your kids to touch them. Make a rule that a team member must appear in every picture so no one can cheat by finding photos online. Customize Your List There are plenty of scavenger hunt lists online, but it’s more fun to brainstorm with your family. Have everyone think of three to five spring-related items, like yellow flowers, a kite, or a rabbit-shaped
cloud. Do some research into your local flora and fauna. If you put a bluebird on the list, you might want to make sure there are bluebirds in your area. Don’t Forget the Prizes! Prizes don’t have to be elaborate to be fun. It can be something simple, like Popsicles or fake medals, or maybe the winning team gets to pick a restaurant for dinner. Scavenger hunts are one of the best ways to create lasting family memories this spring without breaking the bank. Just get your list, gather your family, and have fun. Happy hunting!
DON’T JUST TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT
“I couldn’t have chosen a better law firm. From beginning to end, I felt like top priority, as if I was their only client. Everyone I encountered was always compassionate and kind, even in my moments of flipping out due to the stress of changes my accident caused. Mr. Brauns kept me informed every step of the way, educated me on things I didn’t understand, and he made me feel part of the process. He definitely is there for his clients and their best interest, not just another case. Yessenia was amazing about helping with everything, and I appreciate her hard work! I’m thankful I was led to this particular law firm (after being in the area only a month). I’m grateful for their attention, compassion, and hard work to get my family through this ordeal.” –Carmen M.
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WORD SEARCH April When you sit behind the wheel, your smartphone shouldn’t be joining you. If you need to make a call, use a hands-free Bluetooth headset. But the most responsible decision is to not use your phone at all until you have reached your destination. When we look down at the screen to send a text or read a post on Facebook, we take our attention from the road for around 4.6 seconds. If you think this doesn’t sound like very long, ask yourself if you would feel comfortable driving blindfolded across a football field at 55 mph. This is exactly what you do every time you take your eyes off the road. Texting, scrolling through social media, and watching online videos while driving costs lives every year. From 2014 to 2017, the number of people killed in Georgia auto accidents increased by a third. During this same time period, smartphone and data usage increased exponentially. Distracted driving claims lives — the lives of drivers who use their phones behind the wheel and the lives of victims like Emily Clark and her fellow nursing students. WHERE R U? The Cost of Distracted Driving
Emily Clark was going to be a nurse, and she was enrolled in Georgia Southern’s nursing program. Emily was driving with six other student nurses on their way to St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital in Savannah for their last day of clinical rotations in April 2015. Emily never achieved her dream of becoming a nurse, because as she and her passengers waited at a red light that morning, a truck driver hit her car from behind. The driver would later say he didn’t even realize he’d hit someone. As he drove over Emily’s car — and the car in front of her — he thought he’d just gone over a bump in the road. Police learned the man was texting during the time of the accident, too distracted to notice traffic in front of him had stopped. Emily Clark was one of the five women who lost their lives in the accident, but she is far from the only person to die due to distracted driving. It seems impossible that a truck driver would fail to notice hitting another vehicle, but this loss of awareness is exactly what happens when drivers let themselves be distracted by their cellphones.
PASTA WITH TURKEY AND BROCCOLI
This simple, delicious recipe only takes 20 minutes from start to finish. It’s also a great way to encourage kids to eat their broccoli. The next time you make pasta, leave the canned sauce in the pantry and make this instead!
Directions 1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Add broccoli when pasta is 1 minute from done. Drain both and return to pot. 2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the turkey, garlic, crushed red pepper, and a pinch of salt. Ingredients • 3/4 pounds pasta (shells or orecchiette) • 2 cups broccoli florets • 3 tablespoons olive oil
Cook while breaking up meat with a wooden spoon for 3–5 minutes. 3. Combine turkey with pasta and broccoli mixture, adding the remaining olive oil as you stir. Serve in bowls topped with Parmesan. • 1 pound ground turkey • 2 cloves garlic, chopped • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper • Salt • Parmesan cheese
BASEBALL GARDENING PUDDLES SPRING
BEES GREEN RAINBOWS TULIPS
BLOSSOMS KITES RAINDROPS UMBRELLA
(Recipe inspired by realsimple.com.)
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Think Outside the Theme Park
This Season’s Best Family Activity
What You Need to Know Before Sending That Text
Pasta With Turkey and Broccoli
Why You Should Consider a Media Detox
The Dangers of Overstimulation With the current trend of getting TV, social media, and news alerts sent to our phones, we have access to more media than we could ever consume. While constant connectivity is a boon for many aspects of our lives, researchers are discovering that too much stimulation is cause for concern. One study in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found that too much social comparison, spurred by the likes of Facebook and cable news, can lead to an increased risk of depression. If you find yourself pressured to live up to the public lives of friends and family, or if you feel like you’re being bombarded with too much news and entertainment, consider a media detox. A detox doesn’t require you to unsubscribe from social media services or unplug your TV forever. Instead, think of it as a vacation from the overstimulation so many of us experience. Ask yourself which aspects of your media diet are causing more stress than they’re worth, and take a break from them for a little while. “In the same way we think about what we eat, we should think about what we read, what we’re seeing, what we’re engaging in, and what we’re interacting with every day,” Emma Watson told CNN in an interview about her selective social media use. If you’re not mindful of your Do You Need a Media Detox?
media consumption and participation, it tends to pile up. When you detox, it’s a lot easier to identify which parts of your media diet are essential and which are only a burden. Another benefit of a media detox is that you’ll have more time to pursue new and dormant hobbies. Because most of us consume media in small chunks throughout the day, it’s easy to overlook how much that time adds up. All
those hours you spend on Facebook could be used to start a garden, knit a quilt, or join a soccer league. Unless you have an unlimited supply of leisure time (and who does?), you need to be selective in the way you spend it. Remember, media isn’t the cause of all your ills. Used mindfully, it can actually increase happiness and satisfaction. The problem is that we are so mired in the media muck that we can’t get a perspective on how much is too much. A detox will allow you to reassess the media you’re consuming and build a better plan for the future. You can still keep up with your grandkids on Facebook, but it shouldn’t be the only way you interact with the world.
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