5 Packing Tips

I’m camping with all of the Girl Scouts in our town this weekend.  We leave Friday, come home Sunday.  The following Friday, I leave to go visit Mount Vernon for a media trip.  Fun? Yes. Exciting? Yes.  At least…. once I’m done packing. You see, I have historically had a reputation as an over-packer. I’m not too proud to admit it.

 

 

One quick and sure-fire way to ruin a vacation is to not pack properly.  There’s nothing like getting to your destination, and finding that you don’t have everything that you need. That’s why I’ve put together a few tips on packing that can guarantee you have the basics each and every time.

 5 Packing Tips You Can’t Afford to Miss

5-packing-tips

1.)   Mix and Match Outfits: When packing, space is of the essence. It can be hard to decide what exactly you may need, and anticipate for each and every activity on your trip. I’ve learned to pack clothing that is versatile, and can be easily switched up. I may pack a little black dress, for instance, that can be worn by itself for a night on the town; or paired with a blazer for a more professional look.

2.)   Keep “vacation toiletries” separate from regular toiletries:  Toothbrushes, mouthwashes, bath soap… all the most common things to be left behind when traveling. That’s why I keep a Ziploc bag of these essential items just for traveling. Not only does this help to not leave anything at home, it eliminates me forgetting my favorite shower gel in the shower at the hotel (something I’ve regretted doing time and time again).

3.)   Don’t Assume: Don’t ever assume that the hotel will have the essential items you need for your trip. If you know your clothing will need ironing, just pack an iron. If you’ll need to blow dry your hair, take a blow dryer! Lots of times the items at the hotel, if they have them, aren’t of the same caliber as the ones we’re used to. Trying to knock the wrinkles out of your slacks may turn out to be a much more tricky task with the small travel iron at the hotel!

4.)   Expect the unexpected: ALWAYS plan for the unexpected lady surprises. This means extra underclothes, and Carefree pads. I can’t stress enough the importance of this! I’ve been caught of guard, and had to resign to buying some very expense and overpriced off brand feminine products from the hotel gift shop. Now, I never forget my Carefree! (This also applies for all outings. I was caught quite by surprise at Fenway Park last month and upon finding nothing for sale in bathrooms, had to ask three strangers, which in itself was embarassing, although they had none- I did find out you can get some supplies at the First Aid Station).

carefree-acti-fresh

5.)   Roll, not fold:  A little extra suitcase room can go a long way. Rolling your clothes, when possible, rather than folding leaves you with a lot more open room for your items. This also keeps the close tight and compact, allowing for less wrinkles during travel!

 

The most important part about traveling is to have fun! Following the tips above will leave you spending less time stressing about your bag, and more time enjoying your vacation!

 

 

carefree-logo

So soft, so thin, so absorbent. Carefree® Acti-Fresh® daily liners leave you feeling nothing but fresh. Get $0.50 off any Carefree product at http://www.carefreeliners.com/carefree-coupons-offers.

 

 What are your packing tips?

 

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Energizer Personal Care via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Energizer Personal Care.

  • n the rights to this image

Bear Creek Campground at Lake Compounce

Lake Compounce, America’s oldest continuously operating amusement park in North America, recently opened their new Bear Creek Campground to visitors.  Having a campground with close proximity to the park seems like a natural progression and a great way for this staycation destination to become a vacation destination.Thanks to Lake Compounce, we were able to stay the all new Bear Creek Campground and spend the day a  Amusement Park in Bristol, CT.  It features the award winning wooden roller coaster, Boulder Dash and has Crocodile Cove water park.  Now, you can stay at Bear Creek Campground and enjoy even more time at the park.

Camping at Lake CompounceFrom Bear Creek at Lake Compounce Website

The Lake Compounce Bear Creek Campground is a brand new 15 acre campground which features 20 fully furnished cabins that sleep up to 10 people, 56 RV sites with water and electricity hook ups, and 30 tent sites. In addition, five tipis have been added to the campground; each sleeping six and equipped with cots, electrical outlets and a miniature refrigerator. The campground also has a main lodge that features a general store for stocking up on camping staples, as well as a 24-hour restroom, shower and laundry facility. Each campsite has a picnic table perfect for games and meals, and a campfire pit for barbeques and simply relaxing.

Features

Tents

  • • Picnic Table
  • • Fire Pit
  • • Daily Kid and Family friendly Activities
  • • Close Access to clean Public Restrooms (showers and toilet)
  • • Leashed Pets Welcome!
  • • Discounted Tickets to Lake Compounce

rv set up at Bear Creek
RV’s

  • • 50/30/20 amp capabilities
  • • Water Hook up
  • • Electricity Hook up
  • • Can accommodate any size RV or Motor home
  • • Cable hook up
  • • Fire Pit
  • • Picnic Table
  • • Wi-Fi access
  • • Daily Kid and Family friendly Activities
  • • Close Access to clean Public Restrooms (showers and toilet)
  • • Leashed Pets Welcome!
  • •We offer a dump station on site
  • • Close Access to clean Public Restrooms (showers and toilet)
  • • Discounted Admission Tickets to Lake Compounce

bear creek lake compounce
Regular Cabins

  • • 2 full size beds (linens included)
  • • 1 twin size bunk bed (linens included)
  • • Full Kitchen
  • • Full bathroom (shampoo, soap, and towels included)
  • • Loft
  • • Dining Room table
  • • Wi-Fi and Cable
  • • Heat and Air Conditioning
  • • Picnic table
  • • Fire Pit
  • • Daily Kid and Family Friendly Activities
  • • Parking for two vehicles
  • • Discounted Admission Tickets to Lake Compounce

tipis at bear creek


Tipis

  • • 4 Cots (up to 5 cots available)
  • • Mini-fridge
  • • Plug ins for electronics
  • • Fire-pit
  • • Picnic table
  • • Close Parking available
  • • Wi-Fi
  • • Daily Kid and Family Friendly Activities
  • • Access to clean Public Restrooms (showers and toilets)
  • • Discounted Admission Tickets To Lake Compounce

Our Review of the Campground

We enjoyed our stay at Bear Creek.  The fact that it is on the same property as Lake Compounce is a huge selling point.  Bear Creek did just open up at the start of July 2014 and the staff is working hard to get many projects done.  The camp store is well stocked with food and camping items and the bathroom/showers are brand new and well maintained.

We stayed on an RV campsite.  It was easy to pull into and it has electricity, cable and water hookups.  The sites are level.  There have been trees planted but right now the sites are not shady.  They show great potential and I am excited to see how the campground grows.

There were activities everyday such as movies, bingo, tie dying and daily wake up with Kyle the Crocodile.

Kyle the crocodile

The campground was quiet and night and we got some really good sleep after a busy day at the park.  We spent 7 hours there and then took the convenient shuttle back to our camper.  We returned to Lake Compounce in the evening to play games and watch the light show.

Bear Creek Campground is new and not 100% set up.  The area has some construction equipment around, construction supplies and dirt piles.  All of the areas have not been seeded with grass yet so it was a little dusty.  It is their first season and we talked with a staff about all the work that is being done to make it a better place.  I would go back again.

Best Camping on Cape Cod

After a long week in the city, there are few things better than escaping up to the Cape. Going on a hike, watching the waves roll in, and camping under the stars is sure to help you hit that reset button. There are 20+ campgrounds on Cape Cod. Whether you are in an RV or tent camping,these spots make for the best camping on Cape Cod.

Camping Spots on the Cape

Bourne Scenic Park

On the iconic Upper Cape is Bourne Scenic Park that is right along the banks of the Cape Cod Canal on the mainland side of the Cape. The park has two pools, a picnic area, plus a game room and playground for the little ones. This campground can handle both tents and RVs and has a few cabins available. It is open April through October from $36/day or $216/week.

Dune’s Edge Campground

On the lower cape is the quiet 100 spot, Dune’s Edge Campground that sits in the middle of sand dunes and pine trees. The campground is on the edge of Provincetown, which is a historic retreat for artists and writers. Camp here and after a 15-minute walk be in the middle of Cape Cod’s eclectic street scene. The campground is open May through October and is part of the Cape Code National Seashore. If you love to be on the water sailing, boating, fishing, or swimming you have come to the right place.

Nickerson State Park

Away from the coast 30 miles south is one of the most popular campgrounds that has 400 campsites on 1900 acres of forested land is Nickerson State Park. These camping spots are quite spacious and private which leads them to being sold out 6 months in advance. There are eight freshwater kettle ponds that offer up the chance to soak up the sun swimming, canoeing, and fishing. If you are a cyclist, check out the 22-mile Cape Code Rail Trail that runs along the Outer Cape where you ride past cranberry bogs!

 

Check out the bests camping spots in New England and where to camp in MA!

How to Get Started Geocaching

Geocaching is a great activity to do with the family.  It gets you outdoors, walking around and makes you use your mind.  We started Geocaching a year ago and we still are loving it. If you are wondering how to get started geocaching, read on!

What Is Geocaching?

Geocaching is a global treasure hunt.  Participants use GPS enabled devices to locate specific coordinates where they can search for a hidden cache.  The caches are small to large containers that will have a log to sign and often fun little items to trade.  These caches can be in a parking lot, a nature center, just off a trail or on a small island that can only be reached by boat.  Geocaching has so many different levels of difficulty and terrain.

 

What do You Need to Start Geocaching?

What is Geocaching

 

Good Shoes

Start by going to Geocaching.com where you can sign up for a free account.  There is also a Geocaching 101 section that helps explain the game.  I also recommend getting the app.  You can use app to find a cache, mark it as found and leave notes.  The site and app are both very user friendly.

Next, find caches near you and head out on the hunt.  We were surprised to find that we had a few within walking distance of our house. After just one evening of geocaching, we were hooked.  It is kind of like being in a secret club and only the members know where the caches are.  I like driving by spots knowing there is a cache there.

Some walking trails and biking trails have several geocaches along the way.  I always check the recent logs on caches before I go.  If it looks like it has not been found or is really hard I may skip it.  Always remember that kids have a different way of looking at the world.  Sometimes I over think the hiding places or clues and my son will find it quickly.

geocaching 101

Why We Love Geocaching

The number one reason is that we can go geocaching as a family.

It gets us outside and seeing parts of our state that we have never seen before.

The excitement of the find is addictive.

My son gets to trade fun small items, like toy dinosaurs, compasses and rubber chickens. I recommend going to party store and picking up some small items to trade.  This is really fun for the kids.

When we go on vacation it is fun to find a cache or 2 while exploring new places and we get to see spots that are away from the typical tourist attractions.

geocaching swagCheck out these other Geocaching posts.

Geocaching

and

GPS

 What is your favorite outdoor family activity?

Where to Camp in Massachusetts

The good thing about Massachusetts is that it is close to some amazing camping spots. (And super close to Connecticut!) When you are ready to walk out of the office and sit next to a campfire making s’mores, Massachusetts’ outdoor playground doesn’t disappoint. Whether you want to camp near the dunes on the Cape or in the forest near a lake, you can find a great camping spot in MA. Where to camp in Massachusetts is as simple as deciding what you want to relax around and drive just a couple hours to get there.

Where to Camp in MA

Nickerson State Park, Brewster

Close to Cape Cod is one of the largest campgrounds at Nickerson State Park. There are over 400 campsites, yurts, and a group campsite is available. This camping mecca sits on 1900 acres of forested land and has eight kettle ponds where you can fish, canoe, or go swimming. One of the best things about the camping spots is that they are very large and have a lot of privacy with all the trees around. There are no hookups here but they do have flush toilets, showers, picnic tables with fire rings and dumping station available.

Wompatuck State Park, Hingham

Just 35 minutes outside of Boston is a great campsite that can accommodate both tents and RVs. Bring your bicycle and hiking boots and have fun on both the paved and hiking trails. You can fish at Cohasset Reservoir and have fun kayaking there too. Bring your water jugs and fill up on the fresh drinking water at Mt. Blue Spring – a true treat to do on a hot summer day. The campsite offers electric hookups, a dumping station, and potable water.

Shawme-Crowell State Park, Sandwich

When you want to camp near the beach out at the Cape, this is the campsite you want to head to. It has 285 sites in a wooded area and it even has yurts to rent. You can bring your horses and ride them on 15 miles of roads and trails. It has full hookups and a dumping station for your RVs.

Can’t stand to fully unplug from social media? Bring along a solar battery pack!

Where do you like to camp?

On the go first aid

On the go first aid is not always something we stop to consider. Honestly, if it wasn’t for my husband being safety man, I’d probably not be prepared often on the go.  He’s always been insistent that each of our vehicles have a well-stocked first aid kit. Which we do.  But I usually leave it in the van, and don’t carry it with me.  Some men carry protection in their wallets.  My husband carries bandaids (totally serious, and always at least 2…. which I found out when I cut my finger on my own jeans in a store a few months ago… he whipped out a bandage!!)  Mr. Martin totally needs a Safety Man shirt.  He’d rock that. Also a cape.  Made from bandages.

All of those scrapes and cuts from summer fun don’t have to have to be a nightmare to contend with. At least not anymore. Having a first aid kit nearby can help immensely, and it doesn’t have to be a big kit.  A few basics are all you need!

What to include in an on the go first aid kit

on-the-go-first-aid-kit-essentials

Bandages (I recommend a box with multiple sizes)

Ace bandage (or similar- can be used to support a twisted ankle or knee, or tied as a turnicot)

Puracyn OTC Wound & Skin Care  

Puracyn OTC Wound & Skin Care is a unique, patented solution of electrochemically treated saline for cleaning and healing wounds, including cuts, abrasions, irritations and lacerations.  The solution mimics compounds naturally produced by the body, making it an ideal aid in wound cleaning and healing.

Doctor-tested Puracyn® OTC Wound & Skin Care is non-irritating, non-toxic and non-sensitizing as well as safe, effective and easy to apply in first aid situations. It does not contain antibiotics, steroids or alcohol and no prescription is required.

Benzocaine (or similar) in case of sting or bite

I’d love to suggest coins to call for help from a payphone but I’m not sure where many payphones are located anymore! 

on the go first aid kit

On the go first aid kits don’t need to be a full first aid kit. The above items will all fit into even a sandwich sized reusable container and won’t take up a ton of room in your day pack, diaper bag, etc.  It will allow you to treat minor cuts, scrapes and wounds on the spot when you are on the go, so that all of those fabulous fun memories you are making with your loved ones aren’t interrupted or put on hold to go back home or to the car for some first aid.

firstdayatbeach

My kids haven’t spent much time at the beach.  We just haven’t been often- pools, lakes, yes.  Ocean? Not so much.  On Mother’s Day, we took our first family of 5 trip to the beach! It was tons of fun, no injuries, and we’re all anxious to visit again when it’s warm enough to swim!

 

Puracyn-knee-scrape

Puracyn-wound-care

You can see the drops of Puracyn on his leg- we left them there so you can see that the solution itself is clear. We used the Puracyn to clean the wound for a few days- someone won’t keep bandages on and continues to fall and scrape the knee over and over again…

 

Check out the HUGE and fabulous giveaway Puracyn has going on over at their Facebook page-you’ll have a chance at winning a $400 summer themed prize package for fun at the beach, on a camping trip, at a backyard BBQ and more! Enter from 6/21 to 7/24/14 (18 and older)

 

This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation that contains affiliate links. I received one 4 oz. spray bottle of Puracyn® OTC Wound & Skin Care and a branded first aid kit. All opinions, text and experiences are my own.

This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation that contains affiliate links. I received one 4 oz. spray bottle of Puracyn® OTC Wound & Skin Care and a branded first aid kit. All opinions, text and experiences are my own.

Fun Things to Do Without TV

Fun Things to Do Without TV

fun-things-to-do-without-tv

Summer is here, and it’s time to unplug! While it might be tempting to let the kids veg out on electronics or in front of the television, summer will fly by and I promise you’ll wish you spent more time doing non-TV stuff!

Get creative. Do something awesome and fun, like DIY Scratch Art, Cool Whip Painting, or Rainbow Bubble Snakes.

Visit the library. During the summer especially, most libraries have a program for the kids each week – sometimes each day. Before you leave, don’t forget to check out some books! Book reports keep “bored” kids busy all weekend. 😉

Have a dance party. Try out a new game, like Twister Dance! Or, better yet, take a dance class together with your spouse, BFF or sign up and meet new friends!

Make a bucket list. Out of ideas? Try 101 Things to Add to Your Bucket List for inspiration.

Bake something. Cake Balls are always fun to make, and great to surprise friends with. Try baking something you’ve never made before- and invite a friend for a picnic! Not into baking? Pick an ingredient and use it in a recipe during the week.  Have friends over to try your new food!

summer fun cake balls close up

Join a class. Whether it’s a painting or pottery class, or an archery lesson, getting out of the house keeps everyone’s minds off of television.

Become a tourist, in your own city! Look up the best tourist attractions in your area, and visit them as if you’re new to town! Visit local art shows, attend concerts, check out the history museum. Your possibilities are endless.

Learn a skill. Teach yourself to knit, and donate your creations to a local shelter. On that note, another great thing to do without TV: volunteer!

teach-yourself-to-knit

What do you do when you’re not watching TV? Leave your ideas in the comments!

Best Places to See Nature Outside NYC

Best Places to See Nature Outside NYC

 

 

New York City is filled with the sounds of the city from the honking of taxis, to people talking on their phones, and sirens at all hours of the night. Sometimes though, you just want to escape out into nature and hear the sounds of a stream running or birds chirping. Here are some of the best places to see nature outside NYC.

Best Places to See Nature Outside NYC

In less than a 1.5 hours from NYC is Bear Mountain State Park along the west side of the Hudson River. You can see wildlife like raccoons, wild turkey, deer, foxes, and even black bears. Don’t forget to stop in and check out the Trailside Museum and Zoo while you are there. The lake is the perfect spot for a summertime picnic or lace up your ice skates in the winter as it turns into the picture-perfect skating rink. This park has it all and is a great day trip to escape the city.

Head over to Yonkers, which is just 35 minutes north of NYC, and spend the day at Sprain Ridge Park. If you are a flower and plant lover, you have to check out their arboretum. They also have a lake and two picnic areas for you to enjoy a bite to eat with your family. Bring a blanket and spend some time soaking in the sun’s rays and listening to the calming sounds of nature.

Less than an hour north of the city, you can spend some time seeing bald eagles at George’s Island Park. This waterfront park along the Hudson River has tidal wetlands, boat access, and some great trails for hiking or a trail run. Hard to imagine this little oasis is so close to the city!

These are just a few great places to see nature outside of NYC in just a couple hours. Grab the kids or that someone special and head out for a day filled with bird watching, swimming in a lake, or just relaxing and taking in the scenery.

Where to Pitch a Tent in New York

                       Are you a camper? Find out where to pitch a tent in New York!

Where to Pitch a Tent in New York

New York State is filled with amazing places to pitch a tent. Whether you like to hike up mountains, fish in a crystal blue lake, or just read a book in a good camp chair, New York has you covered. There are many federal and state run campgrounds throughout New York ranging from $15-55 per night. Typically the higher the price the more you can expect in amenities such as hot showers and flush toilets. Federal campgrounds usually do not have showers or laundry and are thus much cheaper. If you have kids, look for the campgrounds that have ranger stations as they often will have camp programs for kids. Here are a few suggestions on where to pitch a tent in New York.

Where to Pitch a Tent in New York

Where to Pitch a Tent in New York

 

Allegany State Park

At 65,000 square feet, Allegany State Park is the largest park in New York. Here you can camp, fish, hike, and even take in the beautiful waterfalls of Bridal Falls. There are Red House and Science Lake for you to put your boat in or do a little swimming. This park is handicapped accessible and has electric hookups as well as shower facilities for campers. It is an amazing place to spend a weekend! Bird watching and wildlife viewing is pretty awesome here. There are so many activities to do for the whole family, that you can’t go wrong with choosing Allegany State Park for a weekend getaway into nature.

Beaverkill Campground

Calling all trout fisherman to Beaverkill River, which is right next to Beaverkill Campground. This park is incredibly beautiful and Beaverkill River is great place to have a picnic next to and awesome fishing abounds. Pull up a chair, a good book, and get lost in the sounds of nature by the river. This is the campground where you go if you want a true camping experience. It can fill up quickly, but it isn’t overly large so it doesn’t feel like you are camping with the whole neighborhood. There is a 150-year old wooden bridge that is the perfect place for a picnic and to capture a great family photo.

Meacham Lake Campground

If you like hearing the sound of loons calling out over a pristine lake, head over to Meacham Lake Campground. They have daily organized activities for the kids, and a great place for the fisherman in the family to have fun too. This is one of the most scenic and beautiful campgrounds in New York and should be on your short list of where to go this weekend.

 

Where have you pitched a tent?

Enjoying Hot Coffee when Camping

Whether you are camping in a tent or a camper, a great way to start the day is will a hot cup of coffee.  Some may say that hot coffee when camping is a luxury, I might argue that it’s a necessity.  Enjoying a cup of coffee outdoors surrounded by nature is a pretty amazing way to start the day!

Cuppow sent me the Perk Me Up! Ultimate Coffee for One Gift Pack to to try out and I LOVE it.  Everything is reusable, BPA free and it makes a great cup of coffee that I can drink while listening to nature.Camping Coffee Cuppow The Perk Me UP Cuppow  set (retails for $40) includes one of each

    • #2 Organic cotton CoffeeSock Filter (2-Pack)
    • Wide mouth jar Pour-Over Cone
    • Wide mouth Cuppow (Colors options: Clear, Orange, or Mint)
    • 16oz or 24oz Wide mouth Ball Jar
    • Cuppow Freaker Jar Insulator!

coffee gift set

This set is so easy to use.

While your water is brewing place the brewing cone and filter on top of your jar.  Scoop in your favorite ground coffee.  When the water is ready slowly pour a bit of water on the grounds to get them wet.  Once they are wet continue to pour in the hot water and watch the coffee greatness drip in to your jar.

drip brew 1 cup coffeeIt is as simple as that.  No electricity needed, no disposable cups and truly great coffee.  I don’t just use this when camping, I also use it for a nice afternoon brew.

coffee with almond milkCuppow has many other great items to offer so head on over and check them out.

What Every Camper Needs

Cuppow provided me with the set to facilitate the review.  All opinions are my own.