An England Family Vacation Is Worth The Flight

 

england family vacation tips

 

Getting to England with kids isn’t easy. It’s a pretty long flight, but if you want to see what the rest of the world raves about, it’s worth the trip. England is the home of the British Royal family, cute accents, and incredible landscapes. Most importantly, fun things to do with your children is limitless. If you want to take a vacation overseas, England is a great option for family fun.

Lots of people are curious about England. It’s a tiny country that packs a big punch when it comes to tourist attractions. The word ‘quaint’ is used a lot to describe English villages, houses, and local activities. After all, there are some pretty weird, wonderful, and whacky things that the English like to do! Rolling big cheeses down hills, Morris Dancing, and welly wanging. Those are just some of the village delights you might come across up and down the country.

English Yorkshire Pudding and Sunday Roast

Traditional English Sunday Roast With Yorkshire Pudding

 

When it comes to food, you may also find some little gems and weird dishes. Most towns and villages have their own local delicacy. This might include cakes, biscuits, or cheeses. Seaside towns might offer jellied eels and liquor pie. What about a beef stottie? And the Cornish pasty will definitely delight your entire family. Common favorites include the traditional English Breakfast and the Yorkshire pudding roast dinner.

American theme parks may be huge, but the British are definitely catching up. There are several to choose from all over England. Your kids will probably find their favorite TV characters at the themed parks. English favorites like Thomas the Tank Engine and Peppa Pig have their own parks!  You can buy your attraction tickets online in advance or at the entrance kiosk. Many parks have special events at certain times of the year. It’s worth doing your research to find out what they’re offering. Some include large wildlife parks. Additionally, those that are by the beach offer extra value when you’re out for the day.

However, if it’s the beach that brings you to England, you’ll not be disappointed. Some are world-renowned for the surf. Cornwall, in particular, brings professional surfers to the UK. There are plenty of surf schools and courses to choose from around the coast of England too. English kids like to bring a bucket and spade to the sand. Then they make elaborate sand castles with sea water moats. You can find sand sculptures at some of the popular tourist promenades.  If you’re feeling particularly relaxed, you can enjoy letting your kids bury you neck deep in the sand too.

England Tourist Attraction

 

Scotland and Wales might boast some of the most characterful castles. But England certainly has some remarkable ruins and inhabited castles for tourists to visit. Some have been turned into hotels. Others are free to visit and roam around the old ruins. Many have activities to help engage your kids in the history of the place. They can even experience what life was like hundreds of years ago. As well as castles, you can find estates, manors, abbeys, cathedrals, palaces and country houses that are all open to the public.

Other activities in London that you may want to consider is the world-renowned museums and art galleries. You can visit Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament at Westminster. This is also the home of Big Ben. St. Paul’s Cathedral is a remarkable building. Its design is particularly interesting for those who have a passion for acoustics. Children will love the Whispering Gallery.

British theater is also lots of fun for an afternoon out with the kids. You can find plenty of shows in the West End. If you visit England in the winter, you can experience the delights of the British Pantomime. These productions are very funny and will leave your kids squealing with delight. Well-known celebrities and TV stars often perform, so you might even recognize a few familiar faces.  Some performers engage the audience with a little audience participation. Adults love them just as much as the kids, and the humor will definitely appeal to all.

Making the trip to the UK may feel like a huge undertaking, but the pleasures of an English vacation will make up for it. There are so many great attractions. There are interesting things to see and do that will suit the entire family no matter what their ages or interests.  The lack of language barriers definitely helps if your kids like to explore on their own. If you’re looking for something a little extra special,  start planning your next year’s vacation to England.

5 Places To Travel for the Best Wildlife Experience

 

tips on where to find the best wild life experience

As the English writer Samuel Johnson said, “The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” So if you’ve always imagined how it looks like when a huge whale breaches the ocean’s surface or a lion hunts its prey, there’s no reason not to go and see it in person. Luckily, today there are many wildlife holidays you can opt for. And if a true wildlife experience is what you’re seeking, these five destinations might just be perfect for you.

Gansbaai (South Africa)

There’s hardly anything more extreme than diving into the shark-infested waters of South Africa. Gansbaai is a small fishing village in South Africa, famous for shark cage diving. Since the waters in this part of South Africa are full of sharks, tourists have a chance to get into a cage and see these marvelous creatures in person. The cages in which you go under the water are 100% shark-proof and there’s nothing to be afraid of.  Not to mention that this thrilling experience is something that’ll inspire you for a lifetime. The best time to visit Gansbaai is May to October since that’s when the success rate of shark sighting is highest and surpasses 95%.

Quebec (Canada)

Quebec is a city that sits on the St Lawrence River and it’s just a couple of hours away from the gulf of St Lawrence.  During certain times of the year, you can spot up to 13 different whale species   This includes humpback, blue, fin and killer whales among them. The best time to visit Quebec and go on a whale-watching trip is between mid-May and mid-October. There are many whale-watching operators that can take you to this beautiful place. There’s nothing to be afraid of as there are strict rules and ships aren’t allowed to get too close to the whales.

Corcovado (Costa Rica)

The national park of Corcovado is surely one of the most intense biological places on the planet. Cloud forests, old-growth wet forests, wild beaches and mangrove swamps you can come across in this national park are absolutely magnificent. Not only this, but Corcovado is full of tropical wildlife.  Tapirs, red macaws, quetzals and many different types of monkeys are just some of the animals you can spot in this amazing place. If you’re lucky, you might even get a chance to see a mountain lion or jaguar hunting for turtles on the beach. Since this is one of the wettest places on earth, make sure you visit it during the dry season (January to March).

Serengeti (Tanzania)

The great migration is one of the most dramatic scenes of African wildlife.  During the migration, more than 1.5 million wildebeests and 200,000 zebras set off on their 1,200-mile odyssey. What makes the great migration so special is that all of these animals are hunted by predators during their journey. Wildebeests and zebras follow the rain, which means you’ll have to plan your travels accordingly. The best time to visit Tanzania is  February or March.  This the time when animals congregate in Serengeti. By June and July, animals get to Masai Mara (Kenya) and that’s where you can witness magnificent Grumeti River crossings.

Yellowstone (USA)

The Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park is another area you’ll simply have to see if you’re into wildlife holidays. This place is famous for being a home to “big five” animals in the USA. The famous “big five” consists of the grizzly, bison, elk, wolf and cougar.  If you visit Yellowstone, chances are you’ll get to see all of them. If you get up early in the morning, you might even spot a bear or wolf looking for a pray.  Spotting a cougar may be more difficult but it’s possible if you’re persistent enough. If you want to record these incredible creatures by night, make sure you check out trail cameras before you visit Yellowstone.

All of these five places guarantee you a great time you’ll never be able to forget. So there’s no reason why you shouldn’t book your flight today.  Be a witness to some of the best wildlife experiences on earth.

Have you be on a wild life vacation before?  If so, where were you a what did you see.  If not, what spot would you like to visit.   You may also like 4 Top Family Activities in Bali.

Author  – Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls simply in love with interior design and DIY projects. In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.

 

4 Top Family Activities in Bali

 

Bali vacations, friendly vacations, vacations

 

Bringing kids along on an exotic vacation can be challenging.  Luckily, Bali isn’t just an exotic island.  I knew that it was the best choice for our first international family vacation because of its high standards for safety and adventure. My 14-year old soccer-loving son (Aaron) and his 11-year-old sister (Olivia) would agree, there are plenty of family-friendly activities in Bali. Fun is pretty much guaranteed if you try out some of the following:

Elephant Riding
Bali’s main asset lies in the island’s picturesque natural landscape. Gorgeous beaches are a plus too. We decided exploring nature by visiting one of the island’s top elephant safari parks. My kids love animals, so it wasn’t that hard of a choice.  We headed to a nearby rainforest where we took our sweet time admiring the endangered Sumatran elephants. The massive exhibit of a mammoth skeleton in the park’s museum is breathtaking. To top it all off, we had a tasty dinner at the nearby lakeside restaurant. Afterward, we returned home with several bags of souvenirs.

White Water Rafting

White water rafting is a fun activity for the entire family, but I don’t recommend it for the squeamish. Olivia decided to stay on the sidelines on our first go-around. She relented it after seeing Aaron having so much fun.  Consult experts before booking a ride, not every place is suited for children.   The Telaga Waja River is only suited for kids 9 years old and above.  The Ayung River is slightly easier and is suitable for children as young as 5.

Waterparks

Bali has perfect spots for water fun. One of the most popular is Waterbom.  It’s a paradise of water slides that made me feel like a kid again.  Aaron and Oliva were screaming their heads off with joy the entire time.  Their water slides that made me feel like a kid again too.
I recommend paying a visit to Splash Waterpark if you have small children. It is smaller, which allows you to keep an eye on your kids across the whole park.  It also makes the children safer in the water park and the experience less dangerous.  Come fully equipped with swimsuits in tow.
Treetop adventures
After splashing around for some time, we felt the need to cap off our vacation with a bang. We knew that Aaron was into sports and that Olivia would likely want to follow her brother’s lead.  The Treetop Adventure Park was filled with all sorts of circuits and courses.
Old fashioned tree-climbing was just what they needed.  Your little ones will want to explore at length leaving you and your weary bones in the dust as you struggle to catch up. The zip line we boarded at the end of our trips makes my head spin.
The island is remarkably kid-friendly.  My children were welcome in most places with open arms. Bali will always be at the top of my list for family vacation spots. I encourage anyone to try it out and see for themselves what all the fuss about.

 

Image-Heather-GreenHeather is a accounting professional turned SAHM of two and a Midwest housewife.  She was born in England, and met the love of her life in Italy while studying abroad. In her free time she enjoys gardening, jeopardy, and planning family gatherings and vacations. 

 

6 Second Honeymoon Destinations

 

travel, caribbean destinations, honeymoon

 

Just the mention of the word ‘Honeymoon’ and one thinks of romance. First, a honeymoon is such a beautiful experience. So, why have it just one! Don’t stop at your first honeymoon, take a second, third or fourth.  Every couple deserves a honeymoon.  And one that doesn’t break the bank. Furthermore, it’s nice to get away from the normal routine of every day life.  Especially, when you can spend some time alone with your partner. Many couples struggle to find alone time.  Especially, as kids come into your life and responsibilities multiply. Because alone time strengthens and cements the relationship, a honeymoon should be important to every couple.  

Furthermore, taking a second honeymoon can be accomplished economically. The trick is to plan in advance.  Also, choose a destination that offers the excitement you are looking for.  Most importantly, choose one within your set budget. Here’s our pick of Top 6 Honeymoon Destinations That Are Exotic Yet Inexpensive:

SIKKIM

Sikkim, is a popular honeymoon destination in India. It is a place that offers a beautiful experience for travelers. The rich culture and natural beauty adds a magical and an exotic experience to the trip. Couples can enjoy the peace and serenity.  Additionally, they can delve into the history and mouth watering local cuisine. Also, they can spend a few days just soaking up the multiple facets of Sikkim.

 THAILAND

Next, Thailand is a beautiful beach honeymoon destination. It should come as no surprise that it’s always buzzing. Thailand has it all. If your idea of the perfect holiday is lying on the beach, shopping or just plain relaxing, you can find in Thailand. It’s budget friendly.  It also offers a multiple choice of accommodations and entertainment. 

Did you know that Thailand offers destinations with pristine waters and natural beauty? You can choose between being secluded by surrounding yourself with water or staying in the city. These pros make it an amazing honeymoon destination. You can try your hand at water sports and adventures and/or gorge on delectable seafood and local cuisine.

 KERALA

Kerala in India is well known for its backwater and massage experience. Combine the two and you have the perfect honeymoon destination! Furthermore, imagine soaking up the sun while nestled in a houseboat. Or sipping on sweet and pure coconut water. A professional masseuse will help you unwind by soothing stressed joints and limbs.  Isn’t the thought is divine!  You can also indulge in some guilty food pleasures.  Furthermore, you can marvel at the natural beauty.  If you’re feeling adventurous, visit some of the beautiful temples.

 BUDAPEST

Next, Budapest is a European delight! It is small, but oh-so-beautiful! The chain bridge across the river, the ruins, the castle and shops are filled with energy. Together they offer an experience that will leave you asking for more! Also, the thermal spas are a popular getaway for the locals and a must for every traveler in Budapest. You can choose from a variety of hotels, B&B’s, and motels. It’s a beautiful mix of peace and energy!

 PORTO

Last, if you are looking for a Europe holiday, Porto city in Portugal is the perfect place. It’s full of culture and a marvelous experience for  travelers. Next, the rich history, warm people, and great food adds to the experience. Lets not leave out the serene natural beauty Also, you can revel in the flourishing vineyards and exotic wine flavors. So, expect to be floored by the richness of culture and activity.  Yet, you can also spend time relaxing and just be lazy!

Finally, you have our picks for the 6 Second Honeymoon Destinations. So, start planning an adventure full of love, romance and rejuvenation! 

I hope that you found our honeymoon destinations beneficial. You may also like Second Honeymoon Travel Tips.

About the Author: Tejaswi Bhagavatula

An avid biker, published author and a regular blogger who has written for sites like Huffington Post, Life Hack, Better India, Times Network and more.

 

Bearoy Back Seat Organizer Review

 

car organizer

 

car organizer, backseat organizers

How many times have you taken a road trip and you’ve ended up struggling to reach an item or you have a screaming child in the backseat who wants something. I travel frequently. Sometimes I drive and other times I fly. Either way, I’m on the road to my destination or the airport. If I’m traveling with my grandchildren, one or the other ends up wanting a snack, drink, electronic device or some other object that I can’t reach from the front seat if I’m driving or can barely reach if I’m a passenger.

When I was contacted to review the Bearoy Organizer I jumped at the chance. I had actually been shopping for an organizer and tray, so the timing was perfect.  This is a picture of the organizer hanging in the backseat of my car. I love that the 8 year can easily access the organizer and retrieve items for both him and his sister when needed.

 

Image-Car-Organizer

 

This is an up close of the organizer in the back of my car. As you can see, the organizer is a nice size and holds lots of items.  I grabbed the items that I normally take to keep the children occupied when I’m driving.  There’s a drink for the 8 year old, the 4 year old has a cup holder on her car seat, but there is room for both of their cups.  I love the pockets, they’re insulated so drinks will stay cold. or baby’s bottle warm. 

I have the Kindle in the picture, but it’s large enough for the iPad and the Samsung Galaxy too. We normally carry 2 Kindles and either the Samsung tablet or iPad. The pocket has an opening on both sides to plug in headphones or a charger. I love that feature. The kids run down every electronic device that they can get their hands on. We always have a device on a charger. I have a charging station in the console of the car and truck, so the side openings are perfect. I also love that I can keep the tablets in a central location, and not wonder where they are later. 

Lets not forget snacks.  Lemon Heads and peanut butter crackers are a must. Books will easily fit into the bottom pocket.  I pack coloring and reading books as well as crayons for the little one. There’s also 3 pencil holders for pencils, pens and markers for the 8 year old, he loves word search puzzles. 

If your wondering about the fit, don’t. The organizer fits over the headrest and adjust easily. I highly recommend the Bearoy Luxury Backseat Organizer. 

Note: I received the Bearoy Organizer in return for this review; however, all opinions are my own.

 

18 Places To Travel Off Season

vacation destination tips


I love to find travel bargains.  First, off season travel gets you the most bang for your travel buck.  So, I start planning my summer vacation off season.  As a result, planning is essential. Deciding where I want to go, and then coming up with a ball park figure on how much it’s going to cost are essential in my planning.  So, I look for places that have great deals off season.  Enduring crowds is bearable, but my preference is for the crowds to be small and the prices reasonable when I travel.

Next, I put together a list of 18 Places To Travel Off Season and when the best deals are offered:

New York in January – It’s the city that never sleeps. You can find great shopping, Broadway shows, sight-seeing, and dining in so many places.  For example, Harlem, Manhattan, China Town, Soho and the list goes on.

Montreal in February – Brush up on your French.  Because Montreal is considered to be cosmopolitan and is the second largest French speaking city in the world.  Also, it is second only to Paris.  Montreal is known for its museums, shopping and great food.

Italy in March – Next, Rome, Sicily, Naples, Venice, and Milan are places that I wish to see.  Milan is famous for it’s designer shops and Leonardo da Vinci’s painting, The Last Supper.  Also, there’s the canals in Venice.  Italians are known for great pizza and pasta.   

Rio de Janeiro in March –  Rio is known for it’s world famous Carnival, beautiful beaches, and the infamous Sugar Loaf Mountain.

Rocky Mountains in April –  You can enjoy the Rocky Mountains from British Columbia and Alberta in Canada.  This includes Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico in the U.S.  The mountains are approximately 3,00o miles from Canada to the U.S. Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are popular in April.

Australia in May – If you like wildlife, Kangaroo Island is the place to go.  Additionally, you can meet sea lions on the beach, kangaroos, koalas, penguins and more on the beach.  Furthermore, you can also snorkel, dive or swim on one of the beaches. While you’re there, head to the Australian Alps and spend your time hiking.

Lake Tahoe in May –  For me, either North or South Lake Tahoe will suffice.  The choice is yours. Lake Tahoe borders the Sierra Nevada, state borders of California and Nevada. Tahoe South is great for skiing, boating, bike trails, and bar hopping.  Tahoe North is great for biking, hiking and golf.  Either way you will enjoy this freshwater lake surrounded by beautiful mountains and alpine trees.  Lake Tahoe is the 6th largest lake in the United Sates.  Great family vacation spot.
 
Dallas in June
– So, if you’re a Cowboys fan this is a perfect city to visit.  And there’s plenty of beef and history in Dallas too.  To name a few, Sixth Floor Museum and Southfork Ranch, which is about 25 miles north of Dallas.

Thailand in June – Thailand is located in Southeast Asia’s Indochina peninsula. Known for its tropical beaches, royal palaces, ancient ruins and displays of Buddha.  Add Asia to your vacation list.

Palm Beach in July – Great beaches, shopping on Worth Avenue and a tour of celebrity homes.  Howard Stern, Tiger Woods, Serena & Venus Williams, and Rush Limbaugh are a few celebrities living in the Palm Beach area.

Caribbean in July
– Choose from the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, St. Thomas or Aruba to name a few. Turquoise water, white sandy beaches snorkeling, diving and great food for reason enough to vacation in the Caribbean.

Las Vegas in August –  What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.  There’s plenty to do in Nevada’s Mojave Desert. Gambling on the Las Vegas strip, catch one of your favorite celebrity’s show, visit Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon or the Colorado River.

New Orleans in August –  Looking for a diverse city with plenty of French, African, and American cultures?  Head to New Orleans.  It is located on  the Mississippi River and near the Gulf of Mexico.  It provides plenty of action around the clock.  Likewise, if you like it hot, there’s plenty of spicy food to be found there as well.

Martha’s Vineyard in September – Martha’s Vineyard is only accessible by boat or air. Namely, vacationers head to Martha’s Vineyard for its beaches, lighthouses,  farmland, and celebrity sightings.

Vancouver in October – Known for whale watching, Grouse Mountain, ziplines, Capilano Canyon  and horse dawn carriages.

Riveria Maya in November – Next, Riviera Maya extends along the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula from Puerto Morelos to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.  Notably, its beautiful white beaches and the bluest water that you can imagine is a major attraction too.

Napa Valley in December –  Last, San Francisco has hundreds of vineyards.  Take a ride on the infamous Napa Valley Wine Train.  In fact, it’s actually a restaurant in vintage Pullman railcars with views of the vineyards.

Finally, select your dream destination and start planning your next vacation today.  Most importantly, you can save hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars traveling off season.  In conclusion, Pack light and enjoy your time relaxing and enjoying the sights.  What’s your dream vacation destinations?

 

 

Amish Country: Quilts, Transportation & Great Food

The Amish

 

This is Part II of my posts on the Lancaster, PA, The Amish community.  Today I’ll be focusing on art, great food and unique transportation used by the Amish. Lets start with the quilts. I consider them a work of art. Finding beautiful quilts in Lancaster is not difficult. You can find them in shops or hanging on clothesline in the backyard.

First, Sylvia’s Quilts, in Bird In Hand.  It is one of my favorite places to visit.  I’m always in awe of what awaits me on her front porch and clothesline. Her quilts are handmade and flawless.  Furthermore, they start around $500 and up.  This type of artwork doesn’t come cheap.  Amish women invest hundreds of hours making quilts.  So, it is not uncommon for a mother and daughter to work on a quit together during the winter.  Also, it’s a great way for widows to occupy themselves during winter months.  Once you have admired the artistry outside, head inside her shop.  You will find hundred of quilts in every size as well as wall hangings, fabric and more.

 

Amish, Amish quilts, Amish handmade quilts, Dahlia quilt, Lancaster PA quilts

Dahlia

 

amish quilts, Lancaster Pa quilts, spinning star quilt, Sylvia's Quilts

Spinning Star

 

Additionally, murals can be found on the side of various buildings in Lancaster. This particular mural was on the side of a business in the Kitchen Kettle Village.  Quite frankly, I think it sums up Lancaster nicely:  yesteryear, rolling hills, and the warmth of beautiful art.

 


 

 

 

 
Most importantly, the main mode of transportation for the Amish is the horse and buggy.  Additionally, they use scooters and do plenty of walking.  Just like an automobile, their horses are groomed and brushed to perfection. You will spot several types of Amish buggies and wagons.  As a result, they have buggies for every day transportation.  They have buggies for church or wagons that are used to pickup supplies and the harvest.

Most of the buggies are black; however, the Lancaster Amish drive gray buggies as well.  You will find brown buggies in New Wilmington, PA. and yellow buggies in Mifflin County, PA.  However, the Nebraska Amish drive white buggies. In addition to horse and buggies, scooters that are used by youth and adults can be purchased for a starting price of $200.00.  Although they are not allowed to own motor vehicles, they are allowed to ride in cars, buses and trains.  No airplane rides are allowed.
 

 

Amish, Amish Shetland Ponies, sheltland ponies


And you can also find the unexpected in Lancaster.  What’s the chances of finding mules in that order or a young Amish boy riding a miniature pony up and down the road.   There’s definitely photo opps in Lancaster.     

Now if you’re hungry and you’re near the Kitchen Kettle Village, check out the Kling House Restaurant.  It’s located in Intercourse, PA. It’s a great place to eat lunch.  Somehow, I’ve never managed to get there in time for breakfast.  But the restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch.  Depending on what you’re craving, their sandwiches are great.  And they have a nice selection of salads.  You should know, the restaurant was actually a farm house.  And the surrounding area acreage. The front porch, living room, dining room and office remain a part of the restaurant. Service is great and so is the ambiance. I was lucky enough to get a seat by the window.  Saturday’s are great days to watch the action.

In addition, across the street from Kitchen Kettle Village are a few vendors that sell pizza, wings, Whoopie pies etc. The wings alone are worth the trip.

Furthermore, the smorgasbords in Lancaster are worth a trip.  If you have a hardy appetite, check out Bird In Hand, Millers and Shady Maple buffets to name a few.  They serve everything from Prime Rib to homemade apple pies. Oh, the apple pie alone is worth the trip.

 


Not far from the Kling House Restaurant in Kitchen Kettle Village is Lapp Valley Farm. Their specialties are homemade ice cream and kettle cooked potato chips!  Because I have a weakness for kettle cooked potato chips, I always buy a bag to munch on later.  In Lancaster, Whoopie pies are big among the Amish. Unfortunately, they are little too sweet for my taste.  So, I leave them for others to enjoy.

Finally, I hope that you have been inspired by The Amish series.  In the future, I will be posting on fall foliage, places to stay & more in future posts.  Until then, you may also like Why You Should Visit Amish Country.









Why You Should Visit Amish Country – The Home and Farm

 

I spent the week-end in Lancaster, PA recharging my battery and admiring the Amish.  Regardless of the time span between my visits, I always find it to be peaceful. First, who can’t use a little peace in their life, right. We may recharge our batteries and seek peace in different ways, but we all need to stop and take action at some point.
Next, watching the Amish and their way of life causes me to pause. The fields of corn, horse and buggies, roadside produce stands, handmade quilts and the slow pace take me to a peaceful and simple way of living. They are gentle people with a deep belief in God and family above all else. Furthermore, they have a deep sense of community and helping their neighbor without the distraction of modern technology. Most importantly, they are self-sufficient, independent, and they take care of each other. They pay taxes, but no welfare or social security benefits for their community. They have no desire to integrate into our society, their lifestyle is a choice.  Plain and simple is their motto and they live it.
During my visits, I’ve taken tons of pictures and I thought I would share some of them with you in a two part post on the Amish and their lifestyle. This is Part I  – The Amish Home and Farm.  Before the Amish Home and Farm became a tourist attraction, Amish and Mennonites families lived in this house for many years.

 

 
Because most Amish families are large, most have 7 or more children, Amish homes are usually quite large.  When parents get older they remain at the home.  They usually stay in another home on the property called a Dawdi Haus.   The second home can also be used as a guest house.  The Amish take care of each other life.  Rarely is an Amish person put into a nursing home or sent elsewhere to live.
Furthermore, the Amish are a deeply religious community.  However, they don’t attend churches as we know it. For example, families take turns hosting church service at their homes. The picture above shows an Amish living room that has the furniture removed.  The host family removes the furniture and replaces it with benches.  Or, benches are set-up barn or buggy house on the property.
Benches are placed on both sides of the room. Women sit on one side and men on the other.  So, benches are placed on both sides of the room.  German is the official language of the service.  After the service, lunch is served.   Everyone socializes while the children play.  Sunday is the day of worship, so only the basic chores are done at home.  Therefore, businesses are closed. Visiting neighbors is high on the list for the Amish on Sundays.
 
There is no divorce in the Amish community.   The women take care of the home, husband, children and kitchen gardens.  The men bring home the money, work the fields and take care of the farm animals.  There are some Amish men and women who work outside the home or farm.  They own businesses such as making furniture, storage sheds and yard furniture.  Additionally, they also work as waitresses, in factories or other jobs with the English, non-Amish. I own 2 storage sheds built by the Amish.  Their work is superior.
Those who work on the farm are ready to go at sun up and stop working at sun down.  As a result, they eat a hearty breakfast before heading out to the fields.  Normally, they return around noon for lunch and again for dinner. They usually start their day at 5:30 am and are in bed by 8:00 or 9:00 pm.
The above picture is a typical Amish kitchen. Appliances are powered by propane gas.  Lights, faucets, sewing and washing machines, as well as blenders and mixers are powered by compressed air. As in most homes, the man sits at the head of the table and his wife to the right of him. The oldest child sits on the opposite end of the father. There are no pictures of family or children hanging on the walls, Amish do not take pictures. They do hang quilted wall hangings, a framed list of their children and their birthdays, framed puzzles etc.
 
Amish serve hearty meals.  They typically preserve hundreds of jars of vegetables, fruits and meat during the canning season to feed a family of 9 or more during the winter months. They are masters at baking bread, pies, and cakes.  Fortunately, they are able to grow their own fruit for jams, jellies, pies and cobblers as well as vegetables in their kitchen gardens. Their gardens and flower beds are meticulous. You won’t find a weed in them. The children start in the morning pulling weeds to ensure that nothing distracts from mom’s garden.  They butcher or use Amish butchering shops for their meat. Self-sufficiency and being experts at it is the name of the game.  And the Amish know how to play. They are astute at making things happen.
Amish women are experts at sewing and quilting.  They do the sewing for the entire family.  Furthermore, they make their own dresses and aprons, pants and shirts for their husbands and all of the children’s clothing.  Additionally, they also make quilts, diapers for infants and a host of other items. Most prefer the old Singer treadle sewing machines shown above.
They do shop at local stores such as Wal-mart for plates, glasses, and other home goods as well as undergarments, socks, hosiery, Birdseye diapers/pampers etc. Most stores provide hitching posts for their horse and buggies while they shop.
 
 
This is the typical wardrobe for Amish girls.  Dresses are muted colors and calf length.  Muted colors include: pink, green, purple, blue, brown and black.  However, no prints are allowed.  Prayer coverings are black or white. And are pinned onto the solid colored dresses.  Hook and eye closures can be used, but no buttons.  Prayer caps are white and heart shaped. Shoes are black.  I have seen the Lancaster Amish wear sandals, Crocs, sneakers or go barefoot.
 
Girls wear a white prayer cap around age 9.  A black bonnet can be worn over the prayer cap.  In the winter, a black cloak is worn.  The black bonnets may be worn without the cloak, but the black cloak can’t be worn without the black bonnet.  Also, Amish women do not cut their hair.  Amish women are not allowed to wear prints or jewelry, not even a wedding band.
 



This is a picture of a nursery or small child’s bedroom in the Amish home.  They have the usual furniture that you would find in a nursery: a crib, rocker, changing table and dresser.  What I didn’t see was a bottle warmers, mobile or  baby monitors.

 

I bet this changing table is worth a mint.  It was heavy and study.  The hardwood floors are the wide planks and absolutely beautiful.  Amish women take their ability to keep house seriously.  As a result, their homes are spotless.

 

This is the typical Amish boy’s room. The boys wear black pants that hit about the ankle.  Their shirts are muted colors with snaps and hook and eyes.  The pants are worn with suspenders, but they have no zipper.  Instead, hook and eyes are used.  On Sundays, the boys and men wear black pants, white shirts, black vests or jackets.  Married men grow beards without a mustache.

 

This is the typical dress of a married Amish woman.  Her aprons are black instead of white.  Her husband’s clothing, is the same as the boys.
Another fact is, Amish women usually give birth at home and are assisted by a mid-wife.  However, they can use a birthing center or hospital if they desire.  

 

 

It looks like an older son is replacing posts on the farm.  Also, he has several of his younger siblings on the wagon.  He made sure everything was in place after making each turn.  Amish boys work the fields with their fathers at an early age.  Women and girls also help if needed.  Usually, Belgian horses or mules pull the equipment.

 

Corn fields are abundant in Lancaster.  It is harvested in stored in the farm silo to feed the farm animals.  This young man above is handling a team of 6 horses.  The Amish are masters of their domain.   The women are subordinate, but equal partners in their marriage.  Women are involved in the daily operation of making the farm efficient and productive.  Many can be seen hand picking various vegetables or helping with the harvest.
Amazingly, the Amish still use wringer washers to do laundry.  Hanging clothes outside on a clothesline is still a part of their chores.  Once dry, they iron the clothes.
Most of all, Lancaster is a combination of things. For example, traffic, shopping malls, horse and buggies and endless rows of corn and other vegetables.  It’s a place where you can lose yourself in the simplicity of a culture.  The beauty of the farm houses and acres of rolling land capture your deepest senses.  Furthermore, it draws you into a life that can only be admired by those who are willing to put down their smart phones and laptops.  I admire their ability to persevere in the mist of modern technology.  Also, their calming affect takes me back to the days of running through the cool grass bare foot.  Eating homemade ice cream or drinking ice cold water from the hand pump down the lane when I visited my grandparents.  Oh, how I yearn for those days now.
Last, if you have an Amish community nearby and you haven’t visited, you should.  We can all learn from the Amish, and it’s a great family activity.  Additionally, you may also like:  Quilts, Transportation and Great Food.  
 
 

6 Tips To Save On Travel Food Budgets

When I’m traveling with my family, I have travel food budgets and it’s imperative that I stay within them. I look for ways to save on meals, but also ensure we have a great time. My grandchildren like snacks and sandwiches, but I’m also feeding adults who need meals that will fill them up and stick. Eating 3 meals out for 7 days can be expensive for a family.  I have a grocery store budget and an eat out budget. Here’s a few ways that I ensure we stay within the set budgets:  

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Kid’s Road Trip Scavenger Hunt Printable – Part 2

 

Our road trip series continues.  We have 2 additional printables that we have added to our Scavenger Hunt. It’s as bright and colorful as the first scavenger hunt printable too. Children like to choose just like adults. If you have more than one child they may not be interested in searching for the same items. Who wants to hear over and over, I don’t want that one or I’m not going to be able to find those things before the hunt begins. Keeping children occupied during a road trip can be challenging. If you’re like me, you don’t want electronic devices to be the solution to everything.  Especially, when there’s so much more that we can be enjoying.

What’s the goal of the trip? Isn’t it to arrive at your destination safely, create great memories along the way and enjoy your time when you arrive. Why get into a struggle and ruin the memory while you’re trying to get there. Pouting, crying and unhappy kids can make the trip seem much longer than is really is.   Give each of them their choice of scavenger hunt printables, a snack, drink, and let the trip begin.

Searching for different items and trying to finish first makes the hunt exciting and challenging. Take their mind off of how long it’s taking to arrive at your destination by getting them focused on their surroundings. One of your greatest memories will be the kids searching for the items, the conversations you will engage in while hunting for them and the peace you will find by having happy children. Now that is priceless.

Print the game on stock game if it’s available.  Stock paper is heavier than regular copy paper, and won’t tear as easily.  Purchasing clip boards is a great idea too.

You may also like this game: Road Trip Print:  Scavenger Hunt Game – Part 1