Tuesday, May 30, 2017

2017 Kansas City Summer Bucket List

Welcome to the 2017 edition of The Kerrie Show's Kansas City Summer Bucket List! The more I homeschool, the more summer is a relief. Don't get me wrong: I LOVE HOMESCHOOLING. But it does get harder ... the more kids you homeschool and the older they get. Sure, Joel does a lot of independent high school work, but also there is a lot more that goes into figuring out his future while trying to find that balance of not being too pushy (YOU MUST ATTEND HARVARD!) and not being too laid-back (eh, do whatever you want when you turn 18, including video games all day long and not having a job ... it's all good).

ANYWAY ... I was like a regular teacher this year counting down the days until I could sit in my pool chair chatting with my friends and reading a book or listening to a podcast. Getting a tan. Hopping in the pool to cool off. Going down the slide with the kids (but NEVER the diving board for me, thank you). RELAXATION instead of running from thing to thing and haranguing about homeschooling stuff.

So here is our Official Summer Bucket List. Some we have already hit because school ended pre-Memorial Day for us this year due to fishing trips and some other things going on. A lot of these activities are educational, but DON'T TELL MY KIDS THAT!

Some of these places we have been before and they are tradition. Some we have never done and want to try. Please check the links to head to a blog post about our experiences, past and current, complete with photos!

*means we’ve never done it before

Nature, farm to table, fitness
✅Pick strawberries at Wohletz Farms near Lawrence, KS (here is the post from 2015) ... we did it again May 25, 2017 and this time just took one friend, our neighbor Matthew :-)

✅Pick blueberries at The Berry Patch in Cleveland, MO (here is a post from 2014) ... went at night July 14 and we were practically the only ones there and it was much cooler at night. Don't forget your bug spray!

*See sunflowers at Grinter Farms near Lawrence, KS (August) ... I keep checking but they are not ready yet as of August 13

Deanna Rose Farmstead in Overland Park, KS (here's a cute pic on the blog from 2009 before Sam was even born and here's our post from 2011 when the kids were teeny tiny) ... planned for August 4

Ernie Miller Nature Center in Olathe, KS

Beanstalk Children’s Garden in KCMO

Burr Oak Woods hike with my dad (Poppy) and the kids

Nature hike at Lakeside Nature Center in KCMO

Topeka Zoo in Topeka, KS

George Owens Nature Park in Independence, MO

Go camping with my family anywhere with a lake and sandy beach! shoot for spring

Sar-ko-par park in Lenexa, KS (eclipse day?)

What we call “School Hill” Park in Lenexa, KS (night after dinner instead of TV)

*Some cool parks in Lee’s Summit next year

Meadowmere Park in Grandview and take our friends (try to do this in the fall after Theology of the Body has started and a bunch of their friends are right  up the road)

Franklin Park in Prairie Village

✅Chik-fil-A dress like a cow day (July). We have done this for years ... about 5, I believe. Here is a post with last year's picture and also some pictures from years before that!

*Bowling with Kids Bowl Free

✅Apple Camp (signed up to find out about it here) ... Callie and Michael will be attending the week of July 10

*Money Museum

*Old Shawnee Town

*Ride streetcar downtown

✅Home Depot free build first Saturday (monthly) and we were able to get that done June 3rd (post is here)
Kaleidoscope (here is a post from 2013 when the Curious George exhibit was on the ground floor of Crown Center; we also like to hit Fritz's for food if we can because a train delivers your meal!)

Helpful, friends, religious
Volunteer at Harvesters (planned for Michael and Aron August 25)
*Have a BBQ and invite everyone from co-op
*Have a BBQ and invite all other friends
*Have a BBQ and invite all family
*Go to daily Mass for one week

✅Check out $1 movies at Cinemark. Yes! We saw Angry Birds!

✅Go to the drive-in at least once (we saw Cars 3 on my son's 16th birthday)

✅*Lawrence: Laugh Out Loud (went May 26, 2017 and post to come)

Lawrence: KU Natural History Museum and stuff that goes with it like Burrito King and Dairy Queen … the royalty meal and treat

✅Chuck E Cheese because I haven’t been since my bigs were little

*Go to Brick Fest Live with Michael July 8-9 if he wants to (he probably wanted to but I forgot and also we didn't have the money ... and we ended up being busy all weekend). Check it out for next year.

Long weekend at The Elms because the kids want to do the outdoor pool this time (can't afford it since we're saving for Florida ... add this to next year)

Water fun
Lawrence: Aquatic Center because it’s the best; go with friends. They chose Merriam Pool instead.

✅Splash Cove in Shawnee for half price night (here is the post of that from 2014)

Paddle boats at Shawnee Mission Park in the early evening

*Have pizza delivered to the pool one night (planned)

✅Read a bunch of books while lounging at each of the five Overland Park Pools. Okay, maybe not a BUNCH of books and I don't think I finished one thing. But I chatted with my friend Jill a lot and sometimes also Ginette, Shannon and Kitty. And when they weren't around I listened to some great podcasts by Brave Writer, Organize365's Lisa Woodruff and the Homeschool Sisters. Also the Homeschool Highschool Podcast. Wait, I did listen to The Husband's Secret on audio  by Liane Moriarty and some of Hourglass by Dani Shapiro and then started What Alice Forgot, also by Moriarty.

✅*Lenexa Pool, Lenexa, KS (went for a birthday party so it was FREE ... well, the cost of a gift haha)

Indian Creek, Overland Park, KS

✅*Roe Park Splash Pad, Leawood, KS ... went May 16, 2017 and post to come

ADVANCED BUCKET LIST, as in, someday when we can find time or afford it:
Silver Dollar City in Branson (I grew up spending long weekends in Branson when Shepherd of the Hills was much different and untouched; I'd love to get my kids to Marvel Cave)
Starlight Theatre (this is where the Pointer Sisters signed my 8th grade yearbook and I'd love to get my kids there for the magic of a show)
Read about Thomas Hart Benton and then go to his home in KCMO near Roanoke and a park where we play!

Please leave me a comment about your favorite things to do in Kansas City with kids (you don't even have to have kids to comment ... grandkids, nieces and nephews, kids you babysit, whatever!). I'm willing to travel a bit so broaden my geographical horizons!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Leading Your Child To Career Success

There is a very fine line between helping your children to make the right career choices, and doing it for them. Let’s face it, every parent wants the best for their child. Whether it’s the way you teach them in mainstream school or in home school, parents spend the early years of their children’s lives making decisions that they can only hope are the right ones. When it comes to their future, you want them to have everything they could want and more than anything you ever had. We build castles in the sky for our children, imagining them to be presidents and marrying into royalty. Basically, we want them to have financial security and happiness, which often don’t go hand in hand. It’s an unfortunate fact, but it’s one that as a parent, you need to remember when your child asks you the big question of what they should be when they grow up.
The answer to that question should always be ‘whatever you want to be, you can be’. However, children need guidance. Their whole lives, they need a helping hand and a listening ear to help them through the biggest decisions of their lives. Children hang onto the words of their parents and often follow in their parent’s footsteps. If you are a successful surgeon or doctor in another field, then it’s likely your child will want to do what you do. Sometimes, children make the wrong decisions in order to do what they think their parents want. It’s admirable and it’s sweet, but if your child isn’t built for what you do, then they should learn to pursue their own likes, passions and dreams.
Most parents have every good intention to be supportive, especially during the biggest stages during their academic career. But, how can you be the sort of parent who is supportive without being pushy? Some children require a gentle hand to nudge them toward the things they are good at that they can’t see. Others are already so focused that they know from a very young age what will make them happy in life. Some parents aren’t as well-equipped as others to guide their children successfully. It doesn’t mean they are bad at it, it just means that they haven’t got a clue where to get started in guiding their children toward what they want the most.
The world today is one that is constantly changing. Parents grew up – for the most part – in a generation that didn’t have computer games, online shopping and instant banking and yet this is the world our children grow up in now. Surrounded by new technologies and digital platforms, children are constantly exposed to new ways of doing things and parents have to educate themselves on how children today are following trends. A good starting point for parents of school-age children is to learn what options are available right now. A college degree may seem like a no-brainer for a parent, but if your child isn’t academically inclined but are creative, there may be other avenues that you are not aware of that they could go down to embark on their career. A lot of parents want their children to have stability and so the options of being a doctor at a large practice or a lawyer somewhere like Ellis Whittam can feel like the only options. In fact, there are hundreds, if not thousands of careers your child could embark on and it’s up to you to help them play to their own strengths. Helping your child to fully understand their non-academic strengths will help them go a long way to discovering where their passions lie.
Having your children happy, secure and financially solvent is the dream of every parent. Always encourage their individuality in whatever setting you choose to teach them. Many parents unintentionally put pressure on their children to realise ambitions that they themselves failed. It doesn’t make you a bad parent, but you want your child to do what they are good at and happy about, rather than what you hope they are good at. They need freedom and space to realise what they are passionate about, and above all else they need your encouragement. Children thrive on praise and encouraging words, and even if you don’t agree with their particular career choice, you should see the light in their eyes when they talk about what they are passionate about. You may feel concerned over their choices, but your advice has to stay impartial as you assist their decisions rather than push your own agenda. If your child is going to be extremely happy driving trains for a living, then encourage that goal rather than deter it.
Not every child is suited to an academic life. Getting through school, which is compulsory, is one thing, but headed to do a degree and then a master degree afterwards can be daunting for some children. Don’t ever assume that your child will be as academic as you are. Some children are better suited to a workforce environment where they can earn money and see their own earnings rather than sit in front of a lecturer or professor learning some more. If you’re home schooling your child, getting them involved in networking with you can really assist your child to have the best resume possible. It’s never too early to think about the future where your children are concerned, so taking them to careers fairs from high school age and asking outside advisors to appraise their resume and give them advice on areas they are interested in is a very supportive thing to do as a parent.
One of the hardest thing a parent will do is let go of their child. You never truly let go, of course, but when you’ve spent their whole life teaching them how to do everything and often doing things for them, it’s time to step back and let go. Let them go ahead and make their choices with regards to career. Advise impartially where you can and support unreservedly. Going through puberty, keeping on top of their academic scores and discovering their passions in life is all one big mess and as a parent, you are there as the constant throughout that mess. In the world we live in today, children have a lot on their shoulders. There are expectations through every aspect of life and children are under a lot of pressure to perform against those expectations. The last thing they need is a parent who raises the bar too high and makes them feel like a disappointment.
While final decisions on careers won’t be made until later in their teens, children should always be encouraged to talk about and be open about what they are passionate about. You as a parent are the biggest influence a child can have in their life. It’s important you’re aware of the influence you have over your child and that you are mindful of how they respond to you. Children who are closed off and quiet can be harder to reach but they will still have the same decisions to make as an outgoing and more extraverted child. In the end, your support is what will count and you cannot give support if you are uneducated on what your child wants to do. Research their goals and encourage them to the best of your ability and you will be able to guide your child on their career choice.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Earn Money This Memorial Day with Swagbucks!

Most Memorial Day sales are about saving you money. With Swagbucks, you'll earn money too! They're offering increased cash back (in the form of SB points) at several of your favorite merchants. 

If you haven't heard of Swagbucks, when you shop there you get cash back in the form of SB points for every dollar you spend. Then you redeem those points for gift cards to places like Amazon, PayPal, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, and more! Sign up here to get started 

Plus, if you've signed up through my links at some point this month (or do it now), you'll get a $2 (200 SB) bonus added to your account when you spend $25 or more through Swagbucks Shop before the first of June!

You can earn SB in all sorts of ways, including discovering deals and trying new products/services, watching videos, taking surveys, or just searching the web!  

Get your shopping done early AND get points for it! Offers last through Monday, May 29th, 2017.

Why Your Business Should Consider Animation for Marketing

Marketing will always play an important part in the delivery of new services to a target audience. Through marketing, companies are able to present their ideals, motivations and goals, all in one compressed package, to those they consider would be interested in such offer. There are many ways through which marketing can be manifest, many mediums that do it justice. But while there’s a matter of preference in a sense, you can’t argue with the idea that not all ways of marketing a product will yield similar results. Taking computer animation into account, we can say that it’s one of the most effective ways of promoting a product. So if you’re interested in learning how animation can help you promote your offering, having a consultation with a few established agencies like Spiel Studios that specialize in delivering high impact marketing campaigns through the use of animation can be a good place to start.

A lot of data in a tiny box
Computer animation is great for marketing because it allows you to display a large amount of content in a very small package. Commercial time can be costly so getting the most amount of content out to the public in the most effective way while limiting your commercial expenses will prove a very important perk. Through animation you can convey entire stories and ideologies in a manner of seconds. There’s hardly anything that can compare with animation in this sense.

Attention grabber
No matter what it is that you are trying to sell, your main goal is to make people pay attention to what you have to say. Grabbing their attention isn’t always easy but through animation you have a big advantage on your side. Animation lets you employ the use of bright and extravagant colors that will catch the eye of even the most non-interested person that glances towards the TV. Rapid motion and aggressive shapes will also contribute to achieving this goal.

Give the product a modern feeling
Animation is definitely something that resonates with today’s crowds and it helps you give your product a modern feeling. The type of animation style that you choose will heavily impact the way in which your product will be viewed but whatever the outcome may be there, it will still be regarded as something new and fresh.

Denote style
One of the easiest ways in which you can denote style before people have even seen your product is by making your animations gorgeous and classy. It’s a lot easier to implement these themes into an animation than it would be in any other type of commercial or marketing strategy.

These are the main reasons why you should really consider animation when it comes to choosing a delivery method for your marketing campaign. It can be cost efficient and precise, all at the same time, not to mention the fact that its format allows for it to fit in the smallest of time frames, meaning that you will save even more money.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Father's Day is Coming! Get up to $15 to try Dollar Shave Club

Swagbucks is running an offer with Dollar Shave Club, so if you or your family have been thinking about trying it out, this weekend is the time to do it. Try any razor For $1  for the first month with FREE shipping & earn 500 SB (equal to $5 in Gift Cards). Stay subscribed for 2 months & earn an additional 1,000 SB ($10).

Here's how you do it:

1. Click this link
2. Create your Swagbucks account (takes 30 seconds)
3. Click "Continue" and sign up for Dollar Shave Club. Order your first razor for just $1 to get your 500 SB bonus     
4. If you like it, stay subscribed for 2 months and get an additional 1000 SB!    

Haven't tried Swagbucks yet? They're a site where you earn points (called SB) for doing things like online shopping, watching videos, taking surveys, and discovering deals and services you might like to try (like Dollar Shave Club!). You then take those points and turn them into free gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash.

This is a great time to join because when you sign up for Swagbucks through the link above and get your 500 SB from the Dollar Shave Club offer, you'll get a bonus 300 SB at the beginning of June. So that's $8 (800 SB) for trying Dollar Shave Club plus your $3 (300 SB) bouns, which gets you 800 SB, which means you make a profit of $7 total just for trying a new razor! Keep it for two months and your total profit goes up to $17!

Happy Memorial Day from MyGiftCardsPlus #Swagbucks

MyGiftCardsPlus is celebrating Memorial Day with huge deals! If you're not familiar, MyGiftCardsPlus is a site where you earn cash back (in the form of SB points from Swagbucks) for purchasing gift cards to your favorite retailers.

Purchase gift cards now through Monday and you’ll earn an extra 33% cash back on all gift cards! (that’s 33% more SB for your gift card purchases). For example, when you buy a $50 Applebee’s gift card you usually earn 300 SB, but now you’ll earn 399 SB! Use gift cards to stock up on summer essentials, treat your family to dinner, or book flights and hotels for a long weekend getaway. You won’t want to miss these cash back deals, so click here to make advantage of this deal while supplies last!

P.S. Lots of summer birthdays coming up, and maybe even some graduation parties still. Everybody loves gift cards!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

7 Ways I Earned Over 70,000 Swagbucks ($700+)

Today I'm going to answer a question I get asked quite often ...

How do I earn most of my Swagbucks?
  1. Surfing the internet. As a homeschooler, I do a lot of internet searching. Every now and then a notice pops up that I've gotten some Swagbucks just for doing that, and it's lovely!
  2. Shopping. I feel like I buy something on eBay almost daily. I get 2SB per dollar I spend there. I need a $75 math program? Well, I'm already saving money buying it used, then I get 150SB just for buying something I needed. Sometimes maybe I need to get a size bigger of pants for a kid and know I can just do it online at Old Navy, for instance. More SB! Instead of wasting gas and time, I just saved money and earned SB. I also get a lot of SB when I buy movie tickets online using Fandango ... and sometimes we see a LOT of movies. I think I got a ton of SB when I signed up for Hulu years ago, and I got some when I signed up for our homeschool program. When I decide to sign up with Sam's Club, I'll also get a ton of SB.
  3. Daily poll. No-brainer. (also, surveys!)
  4. Checking out new products and companies from the main page.
  5. Checking out the the videos.
  6. Referring friends. So I tell my friends and blog readers about this great program and they sign up. I get a bonus and then a portion of SB when they shop :-)
  7. As an Influencer, you see my blog posts here and hear my stories. If you have a blog or website, you can apply for the Swagbucks Influencer Program and post special offers to earn extra Swagbucks and help promote the site.

What I Spend My SB On
Lifetime Swagbucks = 70,676, which is $706.76. Honestly, I just get my SB redemption sent to PayPal. That way I can do anything I want with it. I can send it to my checking account to help pay for things like braces. I can spend it on things like Teaching Texbooks Pre-Algebra 2.0. But what I've been doing lately is sending it to our Vacation Savings Account so we can get to Florida this fall!

So my question for you would be ...

What Are You Waiting For?  Sign up here!

Friday, May 19, 2017

May Swago Pie Fest is here! 500 SB bonus

Swagbucks is holding their Swago promotion on Monday, May 22nd! It's just like bingo, but in this case you're filling out squares as you earn points on their site for doing things you already do online. If you're thinking of trying Swagbucks, this is a great chance to learn all about how the site works and earn bonus points while doing it. I do it whenever it comes up and it's a BLAST!

The best part is that the points you get can be used to get free gift cards to places like Amazon, or PayPal cash!

Fill up your board and then submit your pattern to get even more points - if you can fill in the whole board, you get a 500 SB bonus!

Click here to sign up and get started! If you sign up through my link and earn 300 SB before June 1st, you'll get a bonus 300 SB!

How to Prepare for Your Next Family Trip to a National Park

Are you thinking about taking a vacation in a national park shortly? This type of family holiday should be a memorable experience for all the right reasons for everyone involved. However, some holidays don't go according to plan. You can avoid this situation by following the tips below.

Research and Planning

Before you go on your adventure with your family members, it's crucial to find out as much as possible about your destination. For instance, is your best friend – your family dog – welcome to come here to a specific park and stay with you? Thanks to a wide range of online resources, this has never been as easy to do. Every national park has different things to offer, and travel websites are available that include helpful information, reviews and people's accounts of their experiences in a particular national park.

Equipment and Resources

When you reach your holiday location, it’s important to have all the equipment and resources you require. To start with, you need to get your bearings, and you should have a detailed map or maps that give you all of the necessary information about the park you are visiting. For instance, if you decide to go to the Big Bend national park, you should invest in a Big Bend map, so that you can become familiar with your new surroundings as quickly as possible.

As mentioned earlier, different national parks have different activities and attractions that you can take advantage of. Water sports, hiking and biking, are just some of the activities that you could take part in, but they require certain types of equipment and resources. You’ll also want to make sure you carry sunglasses, sun cream, water bottles, head gear, a camera, binoculars and any other items you believe are important.


When you're planning your trip, make sure you are prepared for the weather conditions that will exist when you get there. Waterproof, windproof and insulated clothing may be needed if you will be visiting in the winter or spring, while lighter clothing and accessories will be appropriate during warmer times of the year. In some instances, the weather conditions can change quickly, so you should be aware of these changes and pack the necessary clothing items.

Food and Drink

If you are spending some time at a particular national park, bringing your own food and drink will make your trip more affordable and allow you to go off the beaten track for longer without needing to visit a store.

Going on a break with your family means you have to keep a number of people happy, so make sure you pack all of the snacks and food items each of your family members like. Finding out what each person wants before you set off on your travels will prevent a lot of problems later.


Different families have different requirements when they go to a national park. Younger members have different requirements than senior members of the family, so you need to be certain that every facility each family member needs is present at your destination.

Going to one of the many popular national parks in the US should be an enjoyable experience for everyone of your family members. Addressing each of the points above will ensure that this happens.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

5 Top Secrets to Self-Motivation

Self-motivation is an important tool for winners and achievers; unfortunately, not so many folks out there know how to stay motivated or even motivate themselves to do anything meaningful. To some, self-motivation is a myth reserved for a ‘special elite’, WRONG! Anyone can be self-motivated, anyone can apply the same principles that highly motivated principle lives by and succeed. Here are 5 secrets that can raise your motivation game, and aid you achieve your life’s goals:

Wake up early
Self-motivated folks make it a point of duty to wake up early every day. One of the greatest indicators of a self-motivated individual is a penchant for starting early; making the decision to wake up early everyday sub-consciously instructs your body to get set for work daily. Waking up early sets your mind in an alert state and allows you to take advantage of opportunities that may come your way. Getting up late is a bad habit that you must change to improve your daily motivation. This amazing quote from Charles Duhigg’s the Power of habit says it all:  "You can’t extinguish a bad habit; you can only change it".

Have a vision for your life
Most people do not have a life’s vision. A life’s vision includes setting goals like; "I want to be the top TV presenter in New York city by the time I am 35"; "I want to have a globally recognized chocolate factory valued at a hundred million dollars by the time I am 50"; "I want to be a popular music star with global following and win 10 Oscars straight"; these are but a few, having goals like this help you have something to always look forward to and focuses your energy so you do not attempt to do everything that comes your way. In addition, you can books that inspire and motivate greatly about having a vision for your life and help you stay focused.

Have daily goals
The best thing you can do for your psyche is to have little goals you seek to achieve every day. Always seek to do something new every day. Look for the opportunity to stretch your limits and set new records. You may decide to learn a new software that can help you become more efficient at your job, you can take up an online course in an area of interest, you can attempt to reduce the time it takes you to complete a particular task daily.

Always be positive
Positive people always get the best from life because they see good in everything. Self-motivated people cannot be beaten down because they see a way when others see despair. They take criticism as an opportunity to get better and move ahead to achieve more. In his book: The power of positive thinking, Norman Vincent Peale stated that: The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism. A lot of people change their outlook on life when they are criticized and they start to become negative about everything.  A positive mind will never give up, it will never relent and does not require the praise of others to achieve.

Be spiritual

One thing you can never underestimate is the power of spiritual influence. Spiritual guidance and counsel daily provide a refreshing motivation and energy to run through every day.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Things You Can't Miss on a Trip to Hong Kong

Hong Kong is teeming with energy. It is a bustling and vibrant place that is thriving in the modern world. For nomads that travel there, there is certainly never a shortage of things to do. It is full of shopping experiences, landmarks and a load of other usual visitor experiences. Except, in Hong Kong these experiences are a lot less ‘touristy’ and far more life enriching than they are in other places. In Hong Kong, these experiences are matched with the most breathtaking of sights. And there are plenty of them to see!

Because there is so much to do and to see you should most certainly make use of a Hong Kong taxi service. And your first stop should be Victoria Peak. If you are only to do one thing during a visit to this part of the world, let it be allowing yourself to take in the famous views afforded by this Peak. It rises an astonishing 1,805 feet above feet, allowing those that stand upon it the chance to see everything that is worth seeing in Hong Kong. There is Hong Kong Island. There is Kowloon (on clear days you can witness its eight mountains). And there is Victoria Harbour. All three are just waiting, and have been waiting a long time, for you to look upon them. To look upon them all you must reach the top of the Peak, and to do so you should take world’s steepest funicular railway, the Peak tram. Whether you go by day or night, you are sure to see something up there that will not leave your memory for a very long time.

But a visit to Hong Kong is not all about lauding over local landmark or site spotting. No, it’s about eating and trying the local delicacies too. And there are a whole host of delicacies to choose from, the most famous of which is Dim Sum. A trip to Hong Kong would be incomplete without a Dim Sum eating experience, and there are plenty of restaurants there that offer it. The most famous, and surprisingly the most cost effective, of the bunch however is Tim Ho Wan. It is known as the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant not only in Hong Kong, but in the whole world. So, could really justify not paying a visit to it when it is both so lauded and so cheap?

If you’re devoid of inspiration as to where your travels should next take you, then look no further than Hong Kong. It is a fantastic place to find yourself simply because it is probably a lot different to your own way of life. The customs. The climate. The cuisine. They will all probably be quite alien to you, especially if you come from the Western world. But there is no better place to truly find yourself than in a place that is so different to your home. If you do find yourself homesick, however rest assured Hong Kong has it’s very own Disneyland resort. It is a mixture of both Eastern and Western cultures, so you’ll always be able to find a hint of your home there. So, what are you waiting for? Make Hong Kong your next big adventure!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

5 Brilliant Ways to Team Building

When you are working together with other people, it is important to adapt team building ways so you can work more effectively. Without having communication and understanding between the people in your group, you cannot have the best of outcomes. Therefore, below are some activities you could choose for team building.

1.   Escape games

Involve yourself in some risky game which has a concern with creative thinking. Escape games will give your mind a greater place to think for ideas. Also, this kind of game will let you decide on things immediately. Working in a team will let you implement decisions quickly.

2.   Coin Logo

This activity needs all coins to be gathered together by each employee. You can share coins with others to create more friendliness. With the help of all coins gathered, your team will have to make a logo which represents them as one group. This kind of a game will enhance communication skills among members of your team.

3.   Picture Pieces Game

This game includes a very complex image which needs to be cut into equal squares in correspondence to the number of people in the group. Each member will be given one square. They will be required to draw an enlarged version of that image. Members are not allowed to view pictures of other employees hence they will not know what they are making as a big picture. Once every square is enlarged, each member is supposed to join them to make one big picture. This helps in problem-solving.

4.   Two truths and one lie

This game is somewhat similar to truth and dare. Each member of the group is required to write three facts about them out of which one should be a lie. After completing, get yourself involved in a ten-minute conversation with every member of the group. Your conversation will be in such a way that other members will guess which fact is a lie about you while you are supposed to convince them that it is the truth. This game increases communication between your group mates.

5.   Sneak a peak

The leader of the group is required to make a 3D model out of building blocks. Once you have completed, show it to your group members. Divide them into groups of 4 members where they are supposed to make the same 3D model in a given time limit without looking at the original piece. One member is allowed to view the original piece for 10 seconds to tell other members how it is made. Each member will go one by one after every minute. This game increases communication skills between members, so they will know how to solve problems when divided into teams.

Involving your members in a team building activity will let you have better communication opportunities. Every representative of the group will know how to go about a situation which includes problem-solving. They will know when to look for help and when to implement their decisions. You may also search for activities on. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Bedbugs – How to Avoid Them What to Look For And What to Do If You've Got an Infestation

Bed bugs are becoming a more and more common phenomenon in the US, and while nobody is really sure why there has been such an increase in infestations in the last couple of decades, it makes sense for everybody to know a bit about the bugs and what to do if they are infested. There are a lot of common misconceptions about bedbugs, too. Here, we look at what you need to know about these domestic pests, how to try and avoid bringing them home, and what to do if you find them.

Myths About Bedbugs

Some people believe bedbugs are invisible to the naked eye. This is actually a misconception caused by being confused about the difference between bedbugs and dust mites. Dust mites are very tiny, and very common, and usually don't cause any problems unless you have an allergy. Bedbugs on the other hand are small, but clearly visible bugs, and you can see both the bugs and the eggs if you look for them. They bite, and leave itchy marks on the skin, meaning they are a pest you want to avoid not only for the 'gross' factor of having bugs alongside you when you sleep, but also to avoid irritating bites.

Another myth about bedbugs is that they only live in dirty homes. Unlike cockroaches and other pests associated with things like food remains being left in the house, bedbugs feed off of mammals like humans and their pets, and so will want to live in your home whether you are messy or keep your place immaculate.

How Do Bedbugs Get Into Your House?

Bedbugs are usually brought in from somewhere else that has them. They can be transferred on your clothes or luggage if you visit someone's house or a hotel that has bedbugs already. Another common way to end up with them is by buying or collecting secondhand goods. Things like upholstered furniture, cushions, linens, towels, soft toys and clothing can carry bedbugs if they come from somewhere that has an infestation.

Of course, this doesn't mean you should avoid buying secondhand items or accepting hand-me-downs just in case bedbugs come with them, however you should take care to clean anything you get in this way thoroughly before bringing it in to your home. With small items like teddy bears or cushions, a good way to make sure no bugs get transferred into your home can be to seal them in vacuum bag for a couple of days before washing them. This will suffocate any living bugs or newly hatched eggs and make sure none of them manage to get out and move on to other things in your home.

Checking for Infestation

If you wake up with itchy spots on your body that weren't there before, then there is a good chance you have bedbugs, especially if you have recently bought furniture or been away somewhere with luggage. Of course, there are other things that may have bitten you that are not a sign of an infestation problem, such as mosquitoes, so you will need to check for signs of bedbugs before taking action.

Bedbugs don't have one particular nest like ants do, but tend to set up groups in places where they can hide easily, so if you find one collection of bugs then this is unlikely to be the only one. They are most active at night, as you might expect, when they come out to bite and feed on human blood. This means if you search for them during the day you will need to look in hard to reach places, such as under your mattress, in dark corners, and even in cracks in the plaster or patches of peeling wallpaper. What you are looking for here is the bugs themselves, which are flat, oval shaped, and brown in color, but you may also find other evidence such as shed skin, egg shells, eggs (which look like small black dots), and smudges of bug excrement on your sheets. You may also find tiny spots of blood on your sheets where the bugs have bitten.

Another way to tell that you have bedbugs is of course to catch them in the act of biting you. When a bedbug attaches itself to feed, it uses a long thin beak to break the skin, and then feeds on blood for up to ten minutes. As it is feeding, it becomes full and swells up. If you can find a bug on you doing this in the night, it is certain there are more where it came from. Bear in mind that bedbug bites are painless when the bug actually bites you, so you probably won't be woken up by this. It is only later that they become irritating, itchy welts.

If you do find bugs in the most obvious places like your mattress, then you will need to check elsewhere to see the extent of the problem. They may not be limited to just one room, and while they don't fly, they can move quite quickly and make their way into different crevices. If you are unsure of whether you have found evidence of bedbugs or not, or don't know how bad the infestation is, then the best thing to do is have an expert from a pest control company like Go Forth Pest Control of Charlotte come and take a look. They will also, of course, be able to help you get rid of the infestation.

What Can I Do If I'm Infested?

The easiest and best thing to do if you have an infestation of bedbugs is to get a pest control company to deal with it. Bedbugs can be pretty persistent, and can survive for quite a long time without blood to feed on, so even if you clean very thoroughly or leave the house unoccupied for a while, the infestation can remain and the population of bugs can build itself up again quite rapidly. One female bedbug can also lay hundreds of eggs, so what starts off as a very minor infestation of a few bugs brought in on an item can quickly become a big problem.

However, if you do want to attempt to tackle the bug problem yourself, you will need to strip down the infested rooms and clean everything, as well as checking and cleaning every conceivable bedbug hiding place, including things you might not expect like electrical outlets. You should wash all fabric items on the highest temperature they can stand, and also put things that can't be washed with water in your drier for a spin so the heat and motion can kill off bugs and eggs, or try the suffocation technique of sealing them in a vacuum sealed plastic bag.

You'll also need to vacuum very thoroughly, including things like the hard to reach parts inside your bed frame. A vacuum with a HEPA filter would be ideal. Remember when you do this that your hoover will be picking up bedbugs. Seal your hoover in plastic (for instance in sealed garbage bags) and leave it somewhere like your garage so the bugs can die without being moved around the house. Make sure too that you immediately take out the garbage as you do all of this cleaning, as bed bugs and their eggs will probably be in there too.
You may also want to consider replacing some things that may be harder to rid of bugs, or which may have been the source of the bugs in the first place, for example if you have a secondhand mattress.
Getting rid of your own bedbugs is not an easy process, so be sure to keep checking for signs of bugs for a couple of months after cleaning.

Warn People

Although it may feel a little embarrassing, you should also really warn people that have visited your home and close by neighbors that you have experienced an infestation. If you live in an apartment then it is possible bugs have moved between homes just as they move between rooms in one house, and so the people in neighboring condos or apartments should check their own homes too. If you have had guests, especially if they have been in rooms that were infested (for instance if your couch was infested and they sat on it, or they stayed the night in a guest room that was treated for bedbugs), they may have taken bedbugs home with them, so it is best to warn them so they can check before a severe infestation develops.

Bedbugs are more of a nuisance than anything and the bites don't spread diseases or cause risks of more serious complications. However, it is of course not very pleasant to have these pests in your home biting you, and a minor bedbug problem can escalate quite quickly. Be sure then, to know the signs, and to know what to do if you do suspect bedbugs are in your home.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

10 Ways the #AshleyShelly Planner Saves My Life

So how do I manage my crazy life as homeschooling mom of 5, proofreader, wife, writer and blogger and stay somewhat sane and stay mostly on top of things?

Well, I have to write everything down. I always have paper around me for various daily, weekly, monthly, someday, and will-probably-never-get-to lists. I write on napkins and Post-It notes.

This has always worked great for homeschooling, and I use this great one called A Simple Plan (you can see more about it on my homeschool blog and also how I am now using a separate one for my high schooler as well because he has so much going on). As for life and work, though, I have never been able to find one that works. 

Back in the day, before kids, I loved my DayRunner ... the medium-sized one. It was perfection. Then I tried the huge 8 1/2" x 11" one that zips and everything, but it got too cumbersome. I couldn't drag that beast around with me AND make sure I kept track of my kids at the same time so the planner had to go.

I've tried legal pads, spiral notebooks in all sized, and Moleskine notebooks with a lovely elastic closure (bullet journaling). I do jump around from thing to thing and try to rebel against them all. After all, I SHOULD have a life I don't need to keep track of on paper, right? According to my dear husband, I should only have so many things to do in a day such that I can remember them all in my head.

Hold on a second while I try to stop laughing and wipe the laughing tears from my face.

Look, if I didn't write everything down, do you know how many appointments would get missed if they were only written on the big wall calendar I sometimes try to avoid? Doctor, dentist, orthodontist, eye doctor, hearing tests, payment deadlines, fundraiser deadlines, church stuff, homeschool stuff, homeschool co-op stuff, dates with the kids, dates with the husband, times the kids hang with their grandparents and friends, and about a million other things we do. I seriously also have to write SHOWER down on my planner. It's pretty bad.

Anyway, on a whim, I started checking out planners on YouTube ... lots of vloggers like to check out several different ones and open them up and show them off so you can see every page and make a good decision for your life.

When I saw the Ashley Shelly, I loved it. Here's how it saves my life:

1. It's pretty. Don't underestimate aesthetically pleasing.

2. It's sturdy. A must with my life. I don't treat things that aren't human very well.

3. It's affordable. Especially since I ordered in March and there was a 40% discount.

4. It's inspirational. It's more than a planner ... each month you can jot down what you want to say NO to and what you want to do more of. Monthly goals and a monthly word (which I turn into a weekly word at the start of each new week).

5. It's genius. I love that I can tear off each perforated tab as a week goes by so I can find my place quickly.

6. It's small enough that I can carry it in my purse when I know I'm going somewhere.

7. It has a pocket in the inside front cover that can hold my supplementals (invitations, things to mail, etc.).

8. One week is on two pages, and there is a spot for times and a spot for to-dos. There are only so many to do spots, which means I can't overfill the dang thing with too much stuff I will never get to. It forces me to put down only the most important things. 

9. There is a see-through pocket in the front for things like post-its. It came with appointment and special occasion stickers, but I don't really need those. Some might find them incredibly cool, though.

10. It has a monthly view so I can see everything at once. It's small enough that it encourages me to not overbook our lives.

Okay, so I just got back from the orthodontist, who wanted to see my son in 8 weeks, then later I went to the dentist for my two youngest, where I had to schedule FIVE appointments for follow-up. Normally I would have to go home and then try to remember to call both of those places to set those things up, using up precious time because I always forget.

INSTEAD, I whipped out my planner both times, totally surprising myself with my efficiency, and was able to schedule what needed to be scheduled RIGHT AWAY.

This product saves my time and saves my memory! So far I have gotten rid of so many random pieces of paper all over the place by writing things down from the papers onto the planner! I'm excited for our summer and for the start of the new school year after that ... organization brings peace to me. How about you?


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