Best Family Roadtrips

Driving can be a brilliant way to enjoy the sights and explore a landscape with your kids and entire family. Renting a car on vacation and taking off as a team, in order to inspire you for some quality family time is a great way to spend your time off. I both advise using Avis coupons and have selected several of the best countries to roadtrip in.

1. Austria – Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse

The High Alpine Road or the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse how the locals call it, passes through the Hohe Tauern National Park. The landscape is stunning. As the road climbs to 2,504 meters, it is offering seemingly limitless views over the range of 37 mountains. You can combine a fly-drive trip and use a car rental from the airport in Salzburg. As the road soars through the ever changing landscape, there is plenty of variety that can keep the passengers happy.

There are barren and dramatic rocky cliffs, pine-clad hills, penetrating the mountain peaks of the Alps, lakes and glaciers, and verdant meadows. The route is difficult in winter and is closed from November until May, being best driven in late spring and summer. It is recommended to check the weather forecast before starting your journey, because visibility can be affected by dense fog even when the route is open. It is also best to start early in the morning in order to avoid the hordes of tourists.

2. France – Verdon Gorge circuit Provence

This road is well known as one of the most attractive regions of France. You can experience it at its finest with a road trip. The Verdon Gorge circuit rises at first gently, then sharply to villages like Tourtour. Higher yet are Europe’s version of the Grand Canyon, the Verdon gorges. They provide Europe’s most dramatic driving, with drops of 2,000 ft. As you slip back south, the road is more gently around Sainte-Croix lake and down to Thoronet Abbey. Keep the kids occupied during this time with games and books.

It takes around four hours to do the Verdon Gorge circuit non-stop. However, that would be pointless as these hill roads require care and frequent stops. It is recommended to allow all day for your roadtrip. The circuit is best driven in early autumn, late summer, and late spring. You need to be careful in high summer, as the gorges can get clogged.

In order to save rushing later on, you have to start early in the morning. Also ensure to start with a full tank from Lorgues because gas stations are scarce elsewhere. You may use some car rental coupons and rent a car from the Nice airport.

3. Iceland – Route One

Iceland’s spectacular volcanoes, waterfalls, ash deserts, lava fields, hot springs and geysers make for an amazing road trip. The Route One road circumnavigates the island. Among its highlights are included the rocky vistas of the south coast, the north-east ash fields, the whale-watching at Husavik and hot springs at Myvatn on the north coast.

4. Romania – The Transfagarasan

“Dracula’s country” provides a great budget roadtrip, as well as “world’s best driving road”. The Transfagarasan highway is an extraordinary feat of engineering, packed with viaducts, tunnels, and bridges. The road stretches over more than 50 miles, through the scenic mountain passes of the Southern Carpathians. The Transfagarasan is a most scenic drive, ascending the mountains in hairpin bends through forests.

Easy Arts And Crafts to Keep Your Kids Entertained

How many times in a day do you hear your kids say, “Mommy, I’m bored!”Enough to make you look for ways to keep them busy during the summer afternoons, right? Here are some simple arts and craft activities for you and your kids to enjoy.

1. Bath Bombs

If you thought bath bombs could only be enjoyed by women, then you got it wrong. Kids love to see round colorful balls turning into a fizzy bath. These bath bombs are simple to make and your kids would love to add their science knowledge into it.

Things you will need

  • Half cup of citric acid
  • Half cup of cornstarch
  • One cup of baking soda
  • Half cup of Epsom salt
  • One tsp water
  • One tsp olive oil
  • A few drops of any essential oil
  • A round shaped mould

How to:

Mix the baking soda, citric acid, cornstarch and Epsom salt in a dry bowl. Combine the dry components well and set it aside. Take another bowl, add water, olive oil and drops of essential oil, and mix well.  Now add the dry mixture into the oil mixture and mix them thoroughly. Set the bowl aside for few minutes. If the mixture looks too dry, add two drops of olive oil. Divide the mixture into smaller bowls, add few drops of food coloring in each, and mix well. Lastly, take a mould and pour in the mixture of one color first, layering it over with mixture of another color. Fill in two halves of the mould tightly and let the mixture get dry in it for a while.  After a few minutes, turn the mould upside down and let the ball dry over night. After drying for 24 hours, they will be ready to use.

2. Chicken bobble heads

Your kids would love the wobbly chicken bobble heads dyed in their favorite colors. Moreover, they make cute knick-knacks for your shelves.

Things you would need:

  • Polymer clay (different colors)
  • Glass beads
  • Gauge wire
  • Chopsticks or a pencil
  • toothpicks

How to:

Take the polymer clay and make two small balls out of it, which would make the head and the body of chicken. Keep the head smaller than the body. Take another glob of clay and make tail and wings of the chicken. With a toothpick, make feather marks on the wings and tail. Press them on to the body. Take the glass beads and insert them in place of eyes. Then take yellow or any bright color of clay to make beak out of it and insert it on the head ball. For the last part, take 2 inches of gauge wire and wrap it around the pencil or the chopstick, keeping the ends of the wire straight. Remove the pencil from the wire coil and insert one end of the spring in the head of the chicken and one heading the body, joining the two balls together. Now bake the clay according to instructions specified on the clay package. Your chicken will be ready to bobble in no time!

3. Salt-Water Paintings

Watercolors infused with salt water can be used to make beautiful and unique patterns, making each painting unique with no same design. You can make salt water wrapping sheets with your kids, and wrap them around flowerpots, vase, or use them as origami sheets to make hangings.

Things you will need:

  • Epsom salt
  • Sea salt
  • Watercolors
  • Paintbrushes
  • Watercolor sheets or normal paper sheets

Lay down the paper sheet and wet it with water either by water spray or by stroking a paintbrush with water over it. Now dip the brush in the color of your choice and stroke it over the wet surface. Divide the paper sheet into two parts and sprinkle Epsom salt on one side and sea salt on one. Let the sheet dry. Once the sheet has dried, brush off the salt – you will see beautifully lined patterns formed underneath the salt.

5 Tips to Keep Your Kids Occupied When Travelling

Planning to take that family vacation you have been dreaming of for ages? Before you get too much excited and start packing, take a look around because the two rambunctious packages currently creating chaos in your living room will make your flight unbearable if you don’t have some tricks up your sleeve.

Kids are a blessing when they are asleep and your own personal hell when they are awake. What people don’t realise is that unlike a moody 16 year old teenager, kids are easily distracted. All you need to do is hold them in a fascinating conversation and they will listen to you with rapt attention. You might be subjected to an airport runner, the yeller or I-want-what-you-are-drinking but other than that, everything will be – peachy!

Every kid is different and a mother knows best how he or she can be handled. While you might not get those glory days back of drinking wine and watching a movie under the blanket with your hubby, you sure can get some rest with these 5 tips when travelling with your kids:

1. Bring Out the Technology

At home, there might be a curfew on watching TV and playing games but when on flight, let your kids loose. If the arm rest has that little screen, then flip it out and let them watch a movie. If you have an iPad, download some games, so that when they get bored from watching a movie, they can play on it. The extra screen time will eventually exhaust them and they will go to sleep.

2. Outfit Them in Footie Pyjamas

A long flight and stuffy clothes can irritate kids to the point that they won’t sit anywhere for long. To make it easy on you and them, dress them in footie pyjamas, so that they can enjoy the flight comfortably. Moreover, in case of a diaper outburst, you will only have to replace only one soiled clothing item.

3. Load Up On Anti-Bacterial Wipes

At one point or another, your kid will surely touch something gross that will have you cringing with disgust. Instead of using a single cloth wipe over and over again, load up on those individual anti-bacterial wipes. You don’t know what the bathroom situation will be and these wipes will feel like a godsend when a sticky situation comes up.

4. Only One Carry On Allowed

Now that you are a mother, it’s all about the kids. The carry on you are taking with you, must contain all the essentials your kid might need. Do keep a t-shirt or two for yourself for those unexpected vomits but other than that, make sure everything in it belongs to them. Plus, a single carry on will give you the freedom to hold your kid and navigate through customs easily.

5. Bring Snacks

Food served in airplanes is not necessarily to every kid’s liking. They may taste the food in the excitement of unwrapping those small bowls and plates but it’s possible that they might not eat it after taking the first bite. For situations like these, do bring along snacks that are approved by the customs and airport authorities.

Most parents leave the discipline at home while travelling with kids. Yes, it’s time to let your kid a little loose but not so much that they start disturbing the other passengers and flight attendants. They might give them indulgent looks but nobody likes a kid running down the aisle and creating chaos. Try these tips and you will be able to keep them calm, and enjoy your flight in peace.

5 Kids’ Lunch Ideas for Home and School

Kids are very picky when it comes to food. If it were up to them, they would eat mac and cheese all day long and every day. However, a mother’s concern never goes away and that’s why most of them are always busy in the kitchen trying to whip up something good when those little monsters in the belly start screaming. Whether they are at school or at home, lunch time calls for something yummy that can be eaten quickly and is still fulfilling. So, here are 5 lunch ideas that you can try to please your kid’s palette:

Recipe 1

BBQ Chicken Sandwich with Pickled Cucumber

Ingredients

  • Small white onion: ¼ cup finely chopped
  • Small seedless cucumber: 1
  • Rice wine vinegar: ¼ cup
  • Rotisserie or boiled chicken: 1 bowl
  • Kosher salt: ¼ teaspoon
  • BBQ sauce: ½ cup
  • Country bread: 4 slices
  • Copious amount of ketchup (necessary)
  • Potato chips

Preparation

  • In a bowl, add rice vinegar and salt, and toss in the cucumber and onion.
  • Let it sit for 15 minutes, tossing it occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, shred the chicken.
  • Spread the BBQ sauce on the bread, place the chicken and toss the pickled cucumber and onion.

Note: If your kids like their sandwich with ketchup and crunchy, you can use any kind of potato chips.

Recipe 2

English Muffin Pizza

Ingredients

  • Whole grain English muffins: 2
  • Homemade or store bought tomato sauce: 1 cup
  • Slices of pepperoni: 4
  • Mozzarella slices: 4 (¼ inch thick)
  • Salt
  • Dried oregano

Preparation

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Toast the muffins for 4 minutes until they turn brown.
  • Spread tomato sauce and pepperoni on the muffin and then top it with the cheese slice.
  • Sprinkle some salt and oregano and place it in the oven.
  • Bake for 4 minutes until cheese has melted.

Recipe 3

Ham and Cheese Quesadillas

 

Ingredients

  • Whole wheat tortilla: 4
  • Jarlsberg cheese: 4 triangle slices, ¼ inch thick
  • Ham: 8 thin slices
  • Baby spinach leaves
  • Mayonnaise: 1 tablespoon
  • Mustard: 1 tablespoon

Preparation

  • Cut two tortillas into half and open them.
  • Mix mustard and mayonnaise together and spread it inside the tortilla.
  • Create two layers by placing one slice of cheese and two slices of ham.
  • Top with baby spinach leaves and fold it into a triangle.
  • Place it in a Panini press and cook it until the cheese melts and the tortilla turns golden.

Recipe 4

Peanut Butter and Jam Bars

Ingredients

  • All purpose flour: 3 cups
  • Large egg: 1
  • Butter: 1 cup
  • Sugar: 1 cup
  • Creamy peanut butter: ½ cup
  • Strawberry or grape jam: 1 cup
  • Salted roasted peanuts: 1 cup

Preparation

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • In a bowl, beat sugar and butter until fluffy and light.
  • On low speed, add in the egg and peanut butter.
  • Now, add the flour in small amounts until a dough forms.
  • Finally, mix in the peanuts.
  • Divide the dough equally and hand press one layer on a greased foil pan.
  • Spread the peanut butter and put the second layer of dough above.
  • Now, spread the jam.
  • Bake for 50 minutes and cool it on a wire rack.
  • Place it on a cutting board and cut into strips.

Recipe 5

Spiced Chocolate-Banana Muffins

Ingredients

  • Old-fashioned oats: 2 cups
  • Brown sugar: ½ cup
  • Whole wheat flour: 1¼ cups
  • Large beaten egg: 1
  • Baking powder: 2 teaspoon
  • Chia seeds: 2 tablespoon
  • Salt: ½ teaspoon
  • Ground ginger: ¼ teaspoon
  • Baking soda: ¾ teaspoon
  • Ground cinnamon: ½ teaspoon
  • Mashed banana: 1¼ cups
  • Bittersweet chocolate: 2 oz
  • Vegetable oil: 2 tablespoon
  • Low-fat buttermilk: 1 cup

Preparation

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • In a bowl, beat sugar, oats, flour, baking soda, Chiaseeds, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and ginger.
  • In another bowl, stir buttermilk, egg, oil and mashed bananas.
  • Fold the banana mixture in the flour mixture.
  • Divide into the muffin tray and bake for 25 minutes.
  • Drizzle the top with chocolate when the muffins are hot.

You can pack these easy recipes in your kid’s lunch box, so that they can share it with their friends or you can serve them piping hot in the evening.