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Peace! ✌

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A Dad’s Survival Guide To Beating All The Stress That Comes With Family Travel

When you have young children, the concept of going on vacation can be a daunting one. I mean, there’s just so much to think about, plan for, and get organized. It’s no secret that family travel can be seriously stressful. However, just because getting away with your little ones in tow comes with some challenges, that doesn’t mean you should give up on the idea.

The fact is, family vacations are an important part of parenthood. They’re vital for building bonds and making memories. So despite the stress that comes with them, it’s important for you and your family to get away at least once a year. The question is, how can you make family trips that little bit less stressful and more enjoyable?

Map your route

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Photo source: Flickr

Whether you plan on driving to your vacation destination of choice or you plan on traveling via plane, take the time to map your route. This is important, especially when you have little ones traveling with you, as when they say they need the toilet, the need to go. By planning your route in advance, you can ensure that you know where each and every rest stop is. This means that the moment you hear those five fateful words – Daddy, I need the toilet – you know where the next stop is and how long it will take to get there. As well as having a sat nav to hand, it also pays to keep a road map in your car. Just in case you lose your sat nav or it stops working.

Pack activities to keep your little ones busy

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One of the worst parts of traveling with kids is that they get bored incredibly easily. That’s why it’s essential that you pack lots of activities to keep them busy. How about putting together an activity pack for each child, so that they each have their own activities to do? This could include a coloring book and crayons, a puzzle book, a mini lego kit, and any other cute little toys or games that would be suitable. If your kids have got tablets, consider downloading a selection of games to keep them busy. You could also use the ShowBox app to allow them to watch their favorite movies while traveling. Or, if you’d rather that they read in the car, not watched movies, you could download the Kindle app and a couple of books for them to read.

Take a picnic

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Whether you’re traveling by car, train or plane, make sure to pack a picnic for you and your little ones. Firstly, this is important because the prices of food in airports, at train stations and at rest stops is seriously expensive. Also, by packing your own food, you can ensure that there’s lot of things your children like on offer. Kids can be fussy eaters, so packing a picnic is often the best option. It will help to make your trip less stressful and more enjoyable.

Family travel can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re properly prepared for your trip, taking your kids on vacation doesn’t have to be a nightmare. In fact, with the right amount of planning and preparation, it can be a lot of fun.

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The Cincinnati Bengals Roll Into Dayton!

Yesterday was a father-son day I’ll never forget.  The Cincinnati Bengals held a practice at a local high school here in the Dayton area, so my oldest son and I spent the afternoon there watching them.

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It was an absolutely perfect day to be outdoors and to watch our favorite NFL team practice!  We had great seats to watch the action and nothing but blue skies and picturesque clouds above us!

 

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Bengals 2nd string QB (former Alabama QB) AJ McCarron gives us a wave from the field.

 

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Bengals QBs (in orange jerseys) gather to begin their warm-ups at the start of the practice.

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Bengals kicker, Mike Nugent (OSU), warms up at the start of practice.

 

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Bengals cornerback #24 Adam “Pacman” Jones.

 

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Bengals QB #14 Andy Dalton (orange jersey) runs offensive drills.  Pretty cool to hear him calling plays.  It’s rare that you get to hear the QB call plays on TV unless there’s a mic nearby!

 

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Left to right – #10 Kevin Huber -punter (Cincinnati), #4 Zack Hocker – kicker (Arkansas), #46 Clark Harris – left safety (Rutgers) and #2 Mike Nugent – kicker (OSU).

 

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The team goes through their warm-up drills during practice. QBs in orange, offense in white, and defense in black.

 

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The view from the fence.  We were gathering with a large crowd awaiting the players to sign autographs.  Unfortunately, their practice ran longer than planned so we ended up leaving early.

We had such a great time!  As a daddy who works full time and has four little ones, it’s hard sometimes to just get one-on-one time with them.  To see my son so happy and excited to see his team means everything to me.  I enjoyed spending the day with him and bonding over the sport and team we love so much.

WHO DEY!!

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My Daughter’s First Time Cheerleading!

What a super-proud moment for my family yesterday!  My daughter took to the football field as a cheerleader for the first time and did an amazing job!  She’s worked so hard and has learned all of the cheers so quickly!

Here are a few pictures from the day! (I have blurred out the faces of the other girls for privacy)

OH, and the football team won 14-0!

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Childcare Options Every Parent Should Consider

When it comes to our children, we can all struggle with letting them be looked after by other people. However, when it comes to work commitments. Juggling jobs and school runs, there can come a time where you need to consider your childcare options. With four children under the age of 10, I know only too well the juggle. But it doesn’t have to be a complicated process.

When it comes to choosing the best childcare option, you must consider your family first. What will suit your needs and the children? The timing and flexibility of the choice will all be accountable things when considering the best choice for you. With that in mind, I thought I would explore some of the basic options for childcare. From when your child is young through to being at school I hope this helps you in some way.

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Daycare

According to the US Census, over 2.6 million children under the age of five attend a day care. It happens to be one of the most popular forms of child care before kindergarten begins. These tend to be locations or centers that must be licensed to look after children. Giving parents peace of mind that staff and productivity are managed. What is great about this facility is it tends to work around working hours. Offering early morning drop offs and late pick ups. But the cost can also be quite high. Especially if your child will need to be in daycare for long periods.

Family day care or home center

Often some parents like the idea of their children being looked after in a home environment. This is where someone takes care of a certain amount of children from their home. Often these offer a great compromise between a daycare and a nanny. Offering your child the chance to socialize with other children in a more relaxed setting. These organisations do need to be regulated in some way, though. Which does provide some peace of mind. The only worry is that some family day care centres don’t have to be as regulated as a daycare would be. Making it difficult for some parents to learn the history and background aspects.

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Nanny

Hiring a nanny is becoming a more popular choice. Once regarded as a luxury only the well off could afford, it’s becoming an increasingly more flexible option for many parents. However, the only worry is that you are never sure of exactly who you are hiring. This is why when advertising for a nanny it’s worthwhile to pay for extensive checks to make sure you protect your children and yourself. A great thing to consider would be a hidden nanny cam. This ensures the safety of your children. But it also gives you the opportunity to not miss a moment from your child’s life. A nanny could work with a baby, toddler or even after school for older children. Making it a hugely flexible and, in most cases, cost effective option.

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Au Pair

Having an Au Pair is one step further from a nanny. This is someone that lives in the family home, or close by, and is treated as a member of the family. They look after your children for up to 45 hours per week. They also need to have some accreditation and be licensed. Making it another viable option. As an Au Pair is also treated as an employee of the family, they can earn up to $17,000 per year. These figures tend to include all background checks and accreditation. So you are quite covered in that respect. The only main concern is having an Au Pair live with you. You don’t tend to meet them in person until they arrive at your home. So although you are covered in some respects, you won’t be able to gauge how the children will be until you have committed.

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Pre-kindergarten

Of course, there is a chance that you don’t need to consider much childcare until the school years. However, there are some school establishments that offer a pre-kindergarten. This tends to be where your child will go to school, albeit not a huge learning environment. They will, however, learn the value of the structure and will begin to learn some basic skills. A school environment can be of huge benefit to a young child. Preparing them for when Kindergarten starts. We all know it can be emotional when a child begins school life. So any way you can make that transition will always be of great benefit.

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Summer Camp

We all know that there seems to be a varied amount of options available for children before school but what about vacation time? Thankfully things like summer camp offer great options for some families. These could be anything from sport based to a camp offering a wide range of facilities. Some can be related to the church offering an alternative to some of the mainstream choices out there. These can be great options for parents as many offer accommodation for the children to stay.

Family member or relative

By far the most popular choice for any parent is to call upon a family member or relative. Over 4 million children under the age of five are cared for by a grandparent. A further 7 million get cared for by other relatives including siblings. It is the easiest and most cost efficient option. Often not costing the parent anything at all. What is great about this option is that your child tends to stay in a home environment they know of. Be it their own home or the relatives. It also is the most flexible option when it comes to time. As a relative or family member will take care of the child around the parents working hours. It’s always a huge advantage to allow your children to spend time with grandparents or relatives. It also works for any age of a child. However, the only downside would be asking yourself whether that relative is up to the task. Often grandparents are in their later years, meaning perhaps they weren’t as active as they once were. It would be worth asking yourself whether placing all the childcare on them is fair.

I hope this has highlighted to you exactly what childcare options are available to you.

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5 Daily Routines For Spotless Home That Will Save You Hours Each Week

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There is something about a clean home that brings a sense of fulfillment and relaxation. This can actually fuel someone into accomplishing more in a day. You also return home feeling satisfied and can easily prepare a healthy meal. With clean bedding, you can also enjoy better sleep.

The challenge is in maintaining this state of cleanliness in your home. In fact, not many people enjoy doing house chores. It becomes challenging when you have children who are always all over dirtying and disarranging things around the house. The house tends to get messy faster when kids are around.

Instead of piling everything and cleaning at once every end of the week, you can do better with a daily routine. This not only keeps your home clean but also reduces your weekly cleaning activities significantly. Here are 5 daily routines for a spotless home that will save you hours each week and make your cleaning feel less exhausting.

1. Control paper clutter

At the end of each day, it is important to sort out any newspapers, school work, and utility bills that may have arrived and still hanging somewhere on a table. Go through them to pick the important information then file those which you need to. When you leave paperwork to collect, it becomes hard to organize. The tables will look messy by the second day of the week. You do not want to go through the rest of your week in such an environment.

2. Do a quick cleanup after each meal

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The kitchen is one area you want to keep clean. In fact, when your kitchen is in a mess, you feel like the entire house is dirty. You can keep it in order by cleaning as you go. Do not keep dishes of an entire day in the sink just because you want to clean at once. Things may get out of hand. Besides, you end up tired and can actually hate cleaning. Utensils from a single meal are few and easier to deal with.

Also, make sure to wipe the kitchen counters, the appliance you used, and the cooking stove immediately after every cooking session. Be keen to tackle spills immediately as well. Also, conduct a quick sweep of the kitchen floor to get rid of any food crumbs.

Restore the food ingredients and kitchen appliances to their normal positions after use. If you follow these tricks, your kitchen will always look neat and you will have an easier time when you plan to conduct a deep cleaning exercise.

3. Wipe bathroom surfaces after shower

It is easier to deal with water and soap marks when they are fresh. This is true for any spills of toothpaste on the sink as well. For this reason, take a few minutes to wipe down the sink, bathtub, and other surfaces. Also, squeegee the bathroom floor and spray your shower head with a shower cleaner. You can replace any towels that are already dirt during this time. Make sure to open the windows so that fresh air will penetrate.

The above tasks will take a few minutes of your time. In fact, you can accomplish them when your morning coffee is brewing. Most importantly, this will save you the headache of dealing with tough marks as is the case if you leave soap marks to dry and build up for long.

4. Sweep or vacuum places with high traffic

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In most homes, this should be the sitting room. Many people hang around here to catch up, watch the television or share a meal. The children tend to play in the living area too. This makes it one room in the house that will become dirty quickly. It is also the face of many homes as visitors are ushered in here before they could go to any other room. You cannot wait till the weekend to spruce up this room.

Begin by collecting items such as kids’ shoes, toys, and clothes. Then, you can quickly wipe the coffee table and restore the flower vase. When vacuuming, make sure to look at the state of the coach, throw pillows and buff them before arranging.

5. Empty the trash

If you want your house to feel clean, it must smell fresh. No matter how much dirt you purge, your house won’t feel clean and refreshing if there is a pungent smell coming from somewhere inside it. The dustbin tends to be a culprit. In this case, consider emptying it each day, preferably, in the morning. Do a quick cleanup and line the can with a clean bag.

Conclusion

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At the end of each day, make sure you return everything where it belongs. You can spend a few minutes before going to sleep picking things around the house and placing them where they ought to be. These could be toys, kid’s clothes, shoes, papers, and even your clothes. You can make it faster by engaging your children. Follow the above routine and see the level of cleanliness in your home improve a great deal.


About the Author:

Beverly Jenkins is proud of her staff at The Tidy Maids house cleaning service in Raleigh, NC. She has 24 years of experience in house cleaning, customer service, and business operations. She knows all the tips and tricks and do-it-yourself hacks when it comes to cleaning and her clients’ homes are the best proof for that.

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3 Tips to Being A Dad During College Football Season

Here we go, guys!  Another football season is getting set for kickoff, and if you are like me you download your favorite team’s schedule, set up your DVR, and make plans to have no plans when it’s game time.  With a house full of kids and a load of regular responsibilities, it can be tough to set aside 4 hours on a Saturday to relax and watch the game.  But, it can be done.  Game day doesn’t have to be stressful for those in the house who don’t watch football.  Here are three important tips I came up with that work well for our household.

Make it fun

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There’s so much more to college football than just donning your team jersey, grabbing a cold beer, and chilling on the couch in front of the flat screen. A lot of families I know actually tailgate at home or at a friend/family member’s house. At our house, we watch the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide.  My wife and I love to make “football food” and special mixed concoctions for the occasion.  We also have our kids dress up in their jerseys and even go outside before the game to pass around the pigskin.

Get your kids involved with teaching them about the long engraved traditions of your favorite team.  Share the fight song, special cheers or motions with them.  Some kids just don’t understand all of the rules – hell, I don’t understand a lot of the crap they are changing today – so, make it fun by teaching them the most important rules of football in kid talk.

Use the time to teach your kids good sportsmanship

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I’ve been known to yell at the TV from time to time, and I guess that was ok before I had kids.  But now that I have 4 kids watching my every move, I don’t want to teach them that being a bad sport is ok.  Use the game time to model positive behavior even when the team is losing or a bad call was made.

There will undoubtedly be coaches and/or players that will lose their cool, and your kids may see it unfold on TV.  Use that opportunity to explain what the negative behavior displayed was, and what the appropriate reaction should have been.  By learning this behavior from an early age, kids will transfer this to other aspects of their lives.

Don’t neglect your other duties as a dad

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Even though football is important to you, there are things that are important to your kids. Your kids always should come first – even if it means missing a quarter, a half, or even the whole game.  This is a tough one for die hard sports dads.  But, it all boils down to displaying the behavior we want our kids to inherit from us. Neglecting a kid’s sports activity or birthday party that occurs at the same time will teach them that dad has other important things to do – which we know is NEVER true.  Be a dad 1st and then a sports fan!

 

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