Day 4: Single Parents are Amazing!

I’d like to use Day 4 to talk to all the other single parents out there. I’m a single mom of five children, and yes at times they do drive me completely batty. They argue and they fight and they can’t share things, even though three of them are 12 and older. I sometimes feel like wanting to pull my hair out or run away and hide in the closet with a bottle of wine. I have my four oldest all the time except for they go to my parents house for the weekend once a month. And my youngest will go to his dads house once in a while but not very often or consistently. While this job as a single mother can be tiring and exhausting to do by yourself, I honestly wouldn’t trade it for the world. My children have taught me so much about myself and have shown me how to grow into the person I am today. We figure things out together, we laugh or cry together, and while yes they may swear up-and-down that they don’t like each other; they won’t allow anyone else to pick on one of them at school.

So all you other single parents out there who feel as if your world is collapsing in on yourself, stay strong and know that it is all worth it. You’re giving your children the best life you can give them and showing them how to be strong. You’re showing them that one person can do anything. If any of you single moms or dads out there need someone to talk to, please send me a message. Even if it’s only to vent about your day; I’ll be there to listen. You are amazing. You are strong. You can do anything and you are inspiring your children. Single parents are amazing!

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Day 3: Lancaster County Fall Treats

Living in the middle of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania; there is so much good food and drinks here especially in the fall. I’d like to share a couple of those with you guys.

Scrapple

Scrapple, also known by the Pennsylvania Dutch name Pannhaas or “pan rabbit”, is traditionally a mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and wheat flour, often buckwheat flour, and spices. It’s delicious with a little syrup to dip in.

Whoopie Pies

It is made of two round mound-shaped pieces of chocolate cake, or sometimes pumpkin or gingerbread cake, with a sweet, creamy filling or frosting of different flavors sandwiched between them.

Shoofly Pie

Shoofly pie is a molasses pie or cake that developed its traditional form among the Pennsylvania Dutch in the 1880s, who ate it with strong black coffee for breakfast.

Apple Cider Doughnuts

They are often paired with apple cider, and may be covered with cinnamon and/or granulated sugar. They are “cake doughnuts” and get their flavor from cinnamon, nutmeg and apple cider used in the batter.

Day 2: Guest Post from Stuart Cooke

Our second day of Blogtober is off to a great start. We have a special guest for this post: Stuart Cooke from UniBaggage.com. I love exploring new places and budget is a keyword for me. Stuart has some amazing tips on how to visit London on a budget!

4 Ways To Visit London on a Budget

A trip to London certainly doesn’t have to break the bank. If you do enough thorough research before you begin planning your trip and start to budget like a pro, you’ll be surprised at how well you will be able to make it work for cheap. London is, without question, an expensive city, but there are ways you can get around this. In this post, we’re detailing some of the best tips for visiting London on a budget so that you won’t be out of pocket.

1. Budget accommodation

One of the most expensive aspects of planning a trip to London is finding affordable accommodation. Hotel prices are constantly soaring, meaning it’s hard to plan a trip for more than a day. Thankfully, there are alternatives. Hostels provide some of the best budget accommodation, and you certainly don’t have to sacrifice luxury for the price. You’d be surprised at just how luxurious some hostels can be for a fraction of the price of a hotel room. Another option is AirBnB, which offers something different than a standard hotel room.

2. Free attractions

Sightseeing in London can cost a pretty penny and can make the city a little off-putting for those on a shoestring budget. However, there is a surprising number of attractions that are completely free. The National Gallery is one of the many free attractions that London has to offer. It includes work from some of the most talented artists in the world, including Michelangelo and Da Vinci. Another top attraction is the Houses of Parliament. You can simply reserve ahead to get in free of charge to watch a debate. Enjoying yourself in a city such as London certainly shouldn’t be contingent on the amount of money that you spend.

3. Get a travelcard

When in London, travelling is a hefty expense that you will be faced with. However, you can minimise your travel spend by simply purchasing a visitor Oyster Card. Having an Oyster visitor card means that you can get over 50% off your travel costs in London, and it works on all public transport. With this card, you will also receive discount on a number of restaurant and activities, which will ensure that you stick to your budget and still have a great time.

4. Ship your luggage

Paying out for excess baggage fees on your airline for simply having oversized or overweight luggage can substantially increase the overall cost of your trip. Thankfully, you can save money by shipping your luggage to London with a reputable luggage shipping company. Your luggage can meet you right at your accommodation in London, which means you don’t have to worry about hauling heavy baggage through train and tube stations across London.

Written by Stuart Cooke, blog writer at UniBaggage.com.

Thank you so much Stuart! I can’t wait to put these into play! And be sure to check out his blog and other social media sites here:

https://UniBaggage.com

https://www.facebook.com/unibaggage

https://twitter.com/unibaggage

https://www.instagram.com/unibaggage/

Day 1 of Blogtober: World Bullying Prevention Day

Today is the start of Blogtober. This is where bloggers post short pieces every day of October, a sort of challenge. Each day is a different topic and doesn’t necessarily follow our niche. Hope you enjoy our first post!

October 1st is World Bullying Prevention Day around the world. Many schools are participating in different events around the world. This is a topic that is dear to my heart as my children have experienced this first hand. We are still having issues at school but are making progress with how they respond to it. I’d love to share some of the suggestions we’ve put into effect that they can do on their own after telling a teacher.

*Confusion

My youngest had great success with this and even became friends with one of his bullies. Riley wears glasses and this child (we’ll call him Bob) would tell him that his glasses were stupid and he has four eyes. After a couple times of coming home upset because of the bully, I told Riley that next time he says that to him to turn around and tell him ‘I know right! My mom picked them out and I told her they were dumb.’ He came home that day thrilled that Bob looked at him confused on the bus that morning and when Bob tried it again that afternoon, he asked Riley if he wanted to play Fortnite later that night. He hasn’t picked on Riley since then and they are actually friends now.

*Confidence

My daughter has problems with self-esteem and will take people’s barbs to heart about she’s fat or she’s ugly. This is a work in progress and she has gotten a little better with understanding that some people will constantly pick on people in order to make themselves feel better about something they don’t like. We worked on her confidence in responding to those barbs that she knows she smart or beautiful and perfect just the way she is and to ignore the bully after saying that. It has worked with two girls but one girl kept going and now my daughter just ignores her completely. She’s getting more confident in her skin and taking pride in herself.

*Don’t Care

Another effect that we use is the ‘I Don’t Care’ or ‘So’ words. I’ve taught my children that most bullies say things to get a reaction. It blows off their steam if you respond with ‘I don’t care’ or ‘so’ or just completely ignore them and walk away. This has worked greatly to reduce the instances of bullying.

While these are just a couple that have worked for us, you should always encourage your child to tell a teacher or another adult in charge and to let you know every time. Sometimes all it takes is the bully to get in trouble once to get them to stop. But no matter what, try to teach your child to be confident in their own skin and their abilities and to let the bully’s words roll off their shoulders. But as parents, we do need to keep our eyes and ears open as children won’t always tell us if something is wrong. We might want to be our child’s best friend but if you believe something is bothering them or is wrong, don’t give up on finding out. Together we can hopefully change the next generation for the better.

B&O Railroad Giveaway

If you love railroads then I highly recommend heading down to Baltimore, Maryland; and checking out the B&O Railroad Museum! It’s a historical landmark that would excite children and adults alike. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was the first railroad in America to transport passengers in 1827. You can see some of the oldest and best restored railroad collections in the world here. You can find uniforms, items from the dining cars, lanterns and even original tools! I love history, especially history that helped develop our country and the railroad was one of the big factors in connecting our coasts. For the model collector, there are dozens of scale models including rare pieces. You can check out restored trains and marvel at the engineering that went into developing them. Their collections has steam, electric and diesel engines, all types or passenger and freight cars and even snow plow attachments and cranes! Your children will not stop being in awe of the awesome displays.

Another unique exhibit of this museum is their employee records. If you think one of your family members worked for the B&O Railroad, you can scan through their records to see what their position was and where. There is a fee for this request but it can add to your family history. If you love historical items; be sure to check out their Archives full of books, records, maps and so much more from 1827 on. This is my happy place and I could spend all day in there. The museum also offers train rides on the Mile One Express and you cannot beat the prices at $3 for adults and $2 for children ages 2 to 12! If you want to take your train ride to the next level, they have a first class ride at $10 for adults and $6 for children ages 2-12 and includes light refreshments and a living history steward for an interactive ride. Their Kids Zone offers train tables, book reading, scavenger hunts and even a train carousel! Make sure to meet their mascot Choo Choo Blue, she loves to make new friends! Be sure to check out their website at http://www.borail.org for all their admission prices and times.

Now the time for the best part! The B&O Railroad Museum and I are having an amazing giveaway!! I have 3 vouchers for 4 people each good for their fun family events!

The three events are:

Super Hero Days on September 29-30– Getting ready to ride the rails with a crew of caped crusaders! Practice archery with the Flash, build freight cars with Thor and so much more!

Toddler Time Halloween & Costumer Parade with Choo Choo Blue October 25th at 10:30am– Come celebrate Halloween by dressing in your costume and parading around with Choo Choo Blue, enjoy a funny Halloween story and fill your bags with lots of treats and goodies!

Witches & Wizards Weekend October 28-29– Wizarding School is in session for all you Harry Potter fans. Learn in potions class, check out the magical items display, grow a plant and run through the magical maze with a book and a free ice cream cone!

In order to win one of these vouchers, there are two ways. Either leave a comment here or head to our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/singlemomstrongtraveler and follow the instructions there. Best of luck and can’t wait to see who wins! The winner will be drawn next Wednesday September 26!

The Littlest Labradoodle

While this is a sponsored post, all opinions are our own.

I grew up reading from a young age and devoured every book I could get my hands on. Actually I’m still that way, only now I get to share my love of reading with my children. I celebrated with each of them once they could read and now it’s my youngest chance to shine. Chase just turned 5 and has started kindergarten. He loves to pick out books and have me or one of his brothers or sisters read to him. He is having a little more of a hard time learning words so I love to look for easy books to read with him. Our newest favorite is The Little Labradoodle Puppy Pickup Day. He loves dogs so this was an easy choice. It’s written by an amazing woman April Cox and illustrated by the talented Len Smith and is perfect for beginner readers.

The book starts out with the cutest little puppies waking up for the day that they get their new homes. All the puppies run outside to play but the littlest pup has a hard time playing with his brothers and sisters. He’s too small to jump high for the ball or slide the slide. Feeling sad, he left the yard and followed two small bunnies out to play as they were his side. The book tells of his adventures after the littlest pup realizes that he’s lost and his journey to make it home in time to find a forever home. Chase had me read it three times in a row the first time we read it and worried and laughed right along with the littlest pup on his adventures.

It’s a heartwarming book and goes to show your child that no matter how small they are, they are perfect the way they are. I’m collaborating with the author to offer my followers the PDF of the book to download along with coloring pages for children and adults alike and even an activity book for more fun. You can find the book on Amazon right now for pre-order so don’t miss out!! I hope you and your children enjoy this book and the activities as much as Chase and I have. In the words of Chase ‘the littlest pup is the best book mommy!’

You can find the link here http://www.thelittlelabradoodle.com/thank-you-gift and be sure to leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads and also subscribe to April’s newsletter for more amazing books and fun!

Inside Eastern State Penitentiary

It might look like a castle right in the middle of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with its turrets and high walls but this massive building wasn’t built to keep invaders out, it was built to keep criminals inside. This castle located at 2027 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia is actual a prison: the Eastern State Penitentiary.

We were lucky to be granted tickets to explore the prison and find out its history. When we pulled up in front of it, the easiest parking we found was to the lot to the left of it. We checked in and received our audio tour items before heading out through the prison. I loved how they have a trail on the ground for you to follow and a sign that depicts which number you need to push on your audio device to follow along. Even my 5 year old was able to follow along with the tour.

The corridors are haunting but also beautiful in photographs. I cannot imagine being locked up in one of the cells, they are so tiny. Most of the cells are either locked shut or blocked off but they do have some that you can explore.

You can almost feel the previous occupants. The audio tour will tell you about life in prison and tales about the prisoners and even the history of the wing that you’re in at the time. There are a couple of the corridors that are blocked off as they in need of repairs but it is still hauntingly beautiful.

Some of the unique points of the tour are the hospital wing, the Jewish Synagogue that has been restored, the kitchen building, a ball field, and a restored solitary exercise yard.

Did you know that there was even a tunnel escape?! Twelve prisoners dug a 31 inch hole in the cell wall, down 12 feet and then another 100 feet underground to the street; all through solid concrete! The video they show to tell you about this is amazing, they even had lights and ladders in the tunnel! You could feel the desperation in that cell. They still have the hole open to show you where it was.

The kids loved reading about Al Capone and checking out his cell. After looking at all the furnishings you could tell how many people he had in his pocket to achieve that.

The prison is amazing and haunting at the same time. It’s a great part of Philadelphia history and somewhere that everyone should visit at least once.

Birthday Bucket List

Today’s my 34th birthday. While I don’t feel old, it causes me to reflect on my life and my dreams. This past year has been amazing with my blog starting up, leading to collaborations with brands and even receiving tickets for amazing places to review. All of my amazing readers and followers are helping me to achieve my dreams. You all make me tear up sometimes reading your comments and seeing your likes on our posts across social media.  My children and I have traveled to amazing places including the Strasburg Railroad and Corn Cob Acres in our home county and so much more. We’ve been to 5 different states through our blog and am working on reaching out into several more. We’ve learned so much about science and history and nature, and even more about ourselves. Items on our bucket list have been crossed off while so many more have been added. This life is a dream come true and I cannot wait to see what the future holds. I’ve sat down and decided to organize my bucket list for my birthday. I’d love to share some of it with you and hopefully find out some places that are on your bucket list. It’s was hard to narrow it down with what to share.

USA Bucket List

1.       Walk the Freedom Trail in Boston

2.       Visit the Grand Canyon and hike down the canyon

3.       See Mt. Rushmore

4.       Visit Disney World (we went before my youngest was born and he’s been begging to go see Mickey Mouse)

5.       Camp in Yellowstone National Park

6.       Travel the Oregon Trail

7.       Camp in Glacier National Park in Montana

8.       Take a train ride from the East Coast to the West Coast and back again

9.       Hug a redwood tree

10.   Visit every state

USA Food Bucket List

1.       Beignet in New Orleans

2.       Texas barbeque brisket

3.       Grapes and Wine in Napa Valley

4.       Catch, cook and enjoy a lobster in Maine

5.       Luau in Hawaii

6.       Crawfish Boil in Louisiana

7.       Gumbo in New Orleans

8.       Fried chicken at Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken in Mason, Tennessee

9.       Dungeness crab in California

10.   Indian-Alaskan fusion topped with moose meat in Alaska

World Bucket List

1.       See the Northern Lights in Iceland

2.       Kiss the Blarney Stone

3.       Walk the equator line in Quito Ecuador

4.       Visit Petra in Jordan

5.       Splash with an elephant in Chang Mai, Thailand

6.       See bioluminescent plankton

7.       Go on an African picture safari

8.       Zip line in Costa Rico

9.       See the fjords in Norway

10.   Explore the colosseum in Rome

World Food Bucket List

1.       Gyro in Greece

2.       Peka in Croatia

3.       Paella in Spain

4.       Swedish meatballs in Sweden

5.       Sachertorte in Vienna

6.       Pho in Vietnam

7.       Pad Thai in Thailand

8.       Asado in Argentina

9.       Mole Poblano in Mexico

10.   Poutine in Montreal

It was so hard to narrow down what to put

on these lists as my full bucket list is

pages and pages and pages. Basically I

want to visit every state and country

including Antarctica and try a new food in

each location. What is on your bucket list

either food or travel? I might have to add

your favorites to my bucket list.

“I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag

Car Ride Fun

Even though school has started, there’s always time for travel. As a single mom who strongly believes in a good education for my children, I’m always looking for fun car activities that will keep their mind sharp. I try to keep our car rides electronic free so worksheets and printouts are my best friends! I struggled to find a place where I could print out fun worksheets that all my children could enjoy. And I finally found that website! Their website includes so much great resources including fun travel ones.Pack your bags for this learning adventure word search. Get other great games, resources, and worksheets over at Education.com!

I’ve included the worksheet and the answer key.

They offer a variety of worksheets and themes so you’re sure to find the perfect fit for you and your children. My little guy just started kindergarten and while he can’t read all the words, he loves matching up the letters in order to find them. If you’re looking for fun worksheets for home and one the road, this momma highly recommends heading to Education.com and checking them out!

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