How to have fun with your kids while camping


Pic courtesy University of Maryland

Getting the kids out into the great outdoors isn’t exactly easy these days. Inside we have things like air conditioning, video games, the Internet, and indoor plumbing. How can a camping trip stack up against all that?
If you are going to be the one to drag them away from their afternoon cartoons and force them to spend some time where the sun can reach them (while they’re well-protected with sunscreen, of course), then there are some things you can do to make the experience much more enjoyable for everyone. Having fun with the kids while you’re camping isn’t hard, but it will take a little extra planning.

Prepare for the Adventure
Get your children ready for the adventure by introducing it to them a little at a time. Set up the tent in the back yard and let them have their own little campout back there. There’s a big difference between sleeping on their beds and sleeping in a bag on the floor, and if they’ve had a little experience with it at home (where they can come back inside if necessary), you’re nights will be more enjoyable when you get to the real campsite.
Try to involve your kids in the planning. Let them know exactly what kinds of foods and supplies you’ll be packing, what they will have to do to make sure everything goes smoothly. Make sure they know that there will be plenty of things to see, do, and eat while they are out there.
You may also try a few day-trips to help the kids get used to the idea of having fun outside without a single power outlet in sight. Head down to the lake or a campsite that isn’t very far away and spend the entire day away from your home and all the normal amenities. This will show them exactly how much fun they can have without turning on any video games at all.
Be Quick and Organized
Setting up camp isn’t going to keep many children entertained, but, of course, it is a necessary part of the process. Try to involve you kids with the set up. Let them help put up the tent and organize the food and supplies. But don’t take too long – children don’t exactly have a long attention span. It’s important to keep everything organized, though, because if they are giving up the comfort of home, they will often latch on to the stability of a well-organized camp.
This is also a good chance to teach them a few lessons about camping. Take the time to point out a few landmarks nearby and make sure they remember the number of the campsite in case they wander too far. Make sure they also know how to react to wildlife and how to take care of their environment. If they are going to use any of the sharp tools, like hatchets, axes, or Benchmade knives, you should also make sure they understand how to do so safely.
Plan for Activities but Don’t Make Schedules
Once your children are accustomed to the outdoors, they will not require much help to stay entertained. However, if they start to look a little disinterested, you should be ready with some outdoor games and activities. You don’t need to schedule your activities for each day – it’s best to let the child’s interests act as a sort of guide – but you should be ready to offers some alternatives if they run out of their own ideas.
It doesn’t take long for kids to get accustomed to the great outdoors, and when they are having fun you will be able to enjoy the excursion a lot more yourself. It will take a little planning, but soon your children will be asking when you’ll be planning the next trip.


How to write a school note


Guest post by Neltje Maynez

Sometimes your kids get sick, sometimes they can’t make it to school. There are manyreasons why a child has to miss school. As a parent, you will one day have to write a note for your little one (and in some cases, big ones). It is your responsibility to inform your child’s teacher. Their teacher would like to know why a child has missed classes. If you are able to tell a teacher why a student has missed school, the teacher is more likely to be willing to help your student with the things they missed. There are certain rules that you should follow when writing a note. Here are example of how not to write a note:

Please excuse Mary for being absent. She was sick and I had her shot.

Dear School:

Please eckuse John being absent on Jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and also 33.

John has been absent because he had two teeth taken out of his face.

These are three notes that are prime examples of how not to write an excuse note for your children. There are three things that you must make sure your note is written well.

1)   Spelling

You don’t have to perform a spell check on your note, but make sure that everything is spelled right. You are a bust parent and you have lots of things to do, but it reflects on you if you can’t even spell things in a simple note right. Even if you see yourself make an error, change it. You don’t want your simple spellings to end up on the internet.

2)   Grammar

As you can see with the notes above, making sure that your pronouns are used correctly can be crucial to your note. Although most people will understand what you are trying to say, it’s better to just say it right. Take the time to gather your thoughts and accurately convey them in your note.

3)   Simple Courtesy

Simple courtesy begins with addressing the teacher by name. Keep your note short and sweet. Try to explain your child’s absence in as little words as possible.

Hopefully these tips can help you become an expert note writer for your children. If you have some hard time writing notes, I have provided a template for what a note should typically look like.

Here is an example of what a note should look like:


Dear [teacher’s name].

I would like to inform you that [your child’s name] will

have to miss school because of [reason].

If you have any questions, please call me at this number: [your number]

Thank you so much,

[your name]

For the most part, a teacher appreciates a note that is simple and to the point. Don’t write the teacher a novel. You probably don’t have time to be writing long, verbose notes, and your child’s teacher probably doesn’t have time to read them either. Keep your note simple and to the point. Your child and teacher will appreciate it.

About the Author
: Neltje Maynez is a freelance writer for Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them understand what kinds of online colleges are available to help them reach their goals.

A mommy’s guide to dealing with used car dealers

I have a friend that lives in Green Bay, and she decided that her car wasn’t big enough forwisconsin-used-cars her growing family anymore.  Honestly, the whole process of car shopping for her was enough to make her cry.  So I decided to write this blog post and dedicate it to her.

If you live in Wisconsin, used car tips for buyers can be extremely beneficial before hitting the dealership. There are a lot of good reasons for purchasing a used vehicle – it’s cheaper, the insurance is often lower, you can still take advantage of some factory warranties, and you may just find an incredible bargain. But a good deal doesn’t mean you should immediately jump into a purchase. You will need to rely on your vehicle to get you through the Wisconsin winters, so you should take a careful and thoughtful approach to car buying.



Modern resources give us more opportunities than ever to fully research Wisconsin used cars before we make a final decision. We can find out from other buyers whether or not they were treated well by the dealership. We can look at reviews for that particular make and model and see if the majority of people are having a good experience. There are also tools that allow you to look up a vehicles market value and trace its entire history. Don’t ignore these resources. Put them to good use and go to the dealership armed with your research.


Test Drive

Once you are backed by solid information, you’ll be ready to go into the dealership and get your hands on some cars. No matter what the history says or the customer ratings indicate, you won’t really know how a specific vehicle performs until you get behind the wheel. When you do get there, you need to be methodical about it and do more than just take it for a quick spin around the block.

Check out the acceleration from a dead stop as well as its ability to speed up while already in motion. You need to make sure the engine and transmission are still capable of providing some get-up-and-go and still shift smoothly into lower gears so you can efficiently pass vehicles at higher speeds.

Make sure you note all the blind spots of the vehicle and see how well the suspension handles the cornering. You need to feel confident and comfortable in your vehicle because you never know what you might encounter on Wisconsin roads.

Finally, take some time to fiddle with all the buttons and dials on the dashboard or doors. Nothing is worse than going through all the effort of test driving and purchasing a car just to find out that the passenger-side power window has a short in it.



A lot of people fear the negotiation process – and for good reason.  Most dealers have a lot of experience negotiating, while most average people have only seen it done on TV and have never had any real practice. However, this is the final step before your used car finally becomes yours, so it has to be done.

If you have done your research, and made notes from your test drive, you should have enough information to hold your own in the negotiations. Even so, you should only try to negotiate with a salesperson with whom you feel comfortable, and always decide before you go in exactly what you will be willing to pay. If they can’t meet that price, be ready to walk away. This is the most powerful tool in your negotiation arsenal, so don’t forget about it.

Once you are able to reach an agreement on price, don’t let them talk you into all the “additional features” that the dealership may offer. When you get a bargain on your vehicle, make sure you leave the lot before they have a chance to get a little more out of you.

The importance of caring for your children’s feet

kids-shoesChildren’s feet, just like the rest of their body, are delicate and precious from an early age. Many people don’t realise, but babies’ feet don’t have any bones from birth. They’re made up of a soft cartilage which is extremely vulnerable to damage from the outside world. Something as simple as a badly fitted children’s shoe could cause untold damage.

Growth for the future

Every parent knows that children are constantly growing. You’ll always be spending money on new clothes, shoes and trainers. Obviously, you’ll want to keep costs down, but you can’t risk the health of your child in the process.

It can take up to 18 years for children’s feet to properly form into the adult feet that they will use for the rest of their life.  Which is why it’s so important to care for their feet for a young age. Just think about how many miles you’ll walk in your lifetime and how much you use your feet every day, then imagine what you’d do if your feet were damaged or malformed. Even something as simple as socks that are too tight could damage their feet at a young age.

Support their feet, support their future

There are simple steps to caring for your children’s feet which can make all the difference. These tips will help their feet grow properly; giving them the support and protection they need for healthy feet in the future:

  • Avoid buying children’s shoes that are the wrong size. Shoes that are too big won’t give the right support to your child’s feet, will hinder movement and potentially harm their feet later in life. Children’s shoes that are too small could squash their feet causing them to grow in unnatural positions and directions, leading to hooked toes and other deformities.
  • If you have more than one child, don’t be tempted to hand down shoes from one to the other. Every child will have different feet whether it’s shape, size or width. The wrong shoe won’t give the right support.
  • Purchasing shoes made from natural materials (i.e. leather shoes) help feet to breathe and avoid sweaty, uncomfortable feet and athlete’s foot.
  • Shoes for the right occasion – buy children’s shoes for the right purpose to ensure the right support and protection. Football boots for football, smart shoes for the right occasion, wellies for dirty play and boots for supported walking. Even slippers around the house will ensure your child’s feet get maximum support.

Remember to look after your children’s feet from an early age and they’ll be greatly to you in the future.

Start-Rite Shoes have an excellent range of boys and girls shoes which offer the right support and protection for your children’s feet. With measurement and fitting guides designed to help you get the right size with ease.