Thanksgiving Thanks

I know I haven’t posted a lot here recently but things have been chaotic in our little corner recently. My oldest son at 14 is seeing a rheumatologist as the doctor thinks he might arthritis is his one hand and wrist.

My daughters and middle son are starting up square dancing again so watch for that post in January when they compete.

My middle son also suffered an injury on the bus by another student so that’s currently undergoing and not fun.

So Life has been crazy here. I’m so thankful for my amazing family who supports us and is there for all the craziness. I’m thankful for all of you, my amazing followers and I’m thankful that I have a job and a house that allows me to have a place to write and take care of my children. I hope each one of you stays safe throughout the holiday season coming up. What are some things that you are thankful for?

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Science Fun Part 1

We were lucky to be asked to review some amazing products by Zimpli Kids. We’ll be doing 3 different posts as these products are so much fun and my kids loved trying them out. Zimpli Kids products are 100% safe for your children and completely boron free. We tried out the Snoball Battle Pack first and this was so much fun and so easy to do! You just add water!

Chase and Emma were my helpers to create the snow. You’ll pour it into a large bowl as you will need to add 40ml of water for one pack of snow. Make sure to spread newspaper on your table if your child gets overzealous with mixing the snow as mine did, but hey messes mean that you had fun! If it doesn’t look like snow, keep stirring and slowly add a little more water at a time until it looks like this!

And since it is environmental friendly, we took it outside for a little snowball fight!

We’re saving the rest of the packs for this coming weekend to have more fun and keep your eyes out for the other two posts about these amazing products: Gelli Baff and Slime Baff! If you’re interested in buying these products for your kids, you can find them at http://www.zimplikids.com. And if you love interacting with amazing brands like we do, find them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/zimplikids for more great information and even some fun giveaways! They’re also on Twitter at http://twitter.com/zimplikids; Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/zimplikids and on YouTube!

Earn Holiday Money

With Christmas and the Holiday season fast approaching, everyone’s minds are set on buying presents and finding the money to do so. I’d love to share with you some of the ways that I earn money each year for this time of year though websites and apps.

1) InstaGC: https://www.instagc.com/Vballangel5 This website allows you to take surveys, watch videos and completing tasks in order to earn money or gift cards. You can even sign up for free trials or shop to earn the cash. I usually cash out over the year with $400-500 but it’s entirely up to you for how much you want to make. It can take some getting used to at first but it’s definitely worth it.

2) Ebates: https://go.ebat.es/mNsSakjcAW Ebates is a great way to earn cash back when you shop online. By signing up today through this link, you can even earn a $10 bonus. You can link your store cards to Ebates and obtain cash back when you shop in the store as well

3) Ibotta: https://ibotta.com/r/jgvrayx Ibotta is another great tool to have when shopping online or in the store. You earn cash back on certain items that you buy, even grocery items.

4) Shopkick: This app is amazing! You can earn points just by walking into a store, you have to have your Bluetooth turned on your phone. You can also earn points by scanning items and by purchasing certain items. When you download the app, use the code KIND618443 to earn an extra 250 kick points.

5) Field Agent: This app is based on your location. It’s a mystery shop type app for the most part but you can also earn by answering surveys and purchasing items. If you purchase those items and upload the receipt, they will give you the money back.

6) Acorn: https://acorns.com/invite/43CUW3 This app is designed to help you save money. You can shop online or in shores and save your cash back. You can also chose to add any amount of money to your portfolio and invest it as your rainy day fund.

There are more ways to earn extra money and save money out there but these are the ones that have succeeded for me the best. If you’re interested in signing up, use these links or codes and we can both earn extra money/points. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or confusion with these. And Happy Holiday Savings!

Blogger Recognition Award

I was very astonished to be nominated for this honor by the inspiring @Polley93. She is a very inspiring and upbeat blogger. I encourage all of you to follow her amazing blog:

Life in a Suitcase at https://lifeinasuitcase.net

The Blogger Recognition Award is given to bloggers, by bloggers, who appreciate the hard work, dedication and vast amount of hours that are put into each and every blog post, as well as keeping their websites updated and current. We, as bloggers, whether full time or part time or just for fun, realize that blogging is a time consuming and dedicated effort.

THE RULES

·         Write a post showing your Award

·         Give brief story of how your blog started

·          2 pieces of advice to give new bloggers

·         Thank you to who nominated you and include a link to their blog

·          Select 15 bloggers to nominate

And here we go!

I started my blog in January 2018 to write about the adventures I take with my 5 children and hoped to inspire other single parents that they can travel with their children. They love learning and exploring all about our world and making plans on what to visit next. My children are 14, 12, 12, 10 and 5 right now so sometimes it can be tough to find a place they all will like but it can be done. We’ve so far explored 10 states and Niagara Falls, Canada. Their buckets lists are pages long so stay tuned. We’ve discovered some amazing places in our own state (Pennsylvania) that we didn’t even know existed.

The first piece of advice I can give new bloggers is don’t try to compete with other bloggers who write once a day. Write at your own pace. Sometimes I write one or two pieces a week, other times depending on my schedule and the kids, I don’t write for two weeks. I write what inspires me and will hopefully inspire my followers. Don’t ever compare yourself to someone else. You are what makes your blog unique.

The second piece of advice I can give is don’t give up. If you want to write a blog and no one reads it at first, don’t give up. It can take some time to find your audience. And if you need a push or help, feel free to reach out to me and I’d love to share your blog with my audiences. You’ll never know how close you are to your goals if you give up, they could be right around the corner.

Here are my amazing nominations for the Blogger Recognition Award:

@PrsannaDiana

@JmSaldana212

@the2kidsdidit

@TTcantravelers

@4seasonsofus

@f_hutchie

@LifeNesters

@SDianaax

@jehousel

@luvlifewlee

@sophisobel_

@bexcapades

@travellightblog

@this_is_zenobia

@HiswordM

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!

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!

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