As soon as the children are old enough, assign one of them to keep track of where you are on a map. If you buy an inexpensive atlas, cover the paper with clear sticky paper and tie a colored marker to the spiral ring at the top. The ‘kid in charge’ can use the marker to keep track of, "Where are we now?" and "Are we there yet?"
To keep the peace on a trip of several hours with a toddler, tie some of the toys to the car seat so they don’t end up on the floor. If they drop something, an older sibling can just use the tie to get the toy back in place without having to undo the seatbelt and scramble around on the vehicle floor. Much safer!
Please also encourage your children to keep a journal of their travels and to write down the things that interested them on the trip. They can record animals they observed, flowers, types of landscapes, homes that caught their eye, people they met, pictures they took, etc.
When you enter a National Park or an area of interest, have the kids (and the adults) shut off and put away the cell phones, ipads and any other electronic devices! So many of these young folks we talk to on a daily basis have no clue as to where they are or what is going on because they are bored and have their heads in their phones! They pay no attention to the wildlife, the landscapes, the trails, the people. I have seen teenagers with their heads down looking at their phones, completely unaware of the big bull buffalo standing just six feet away from the car they were in! (I work at the entrance to a national park.) I observed this, and asked the young man about the buffalo as they were leaving the park. He didn’t even know there were buffalo around!
Family reunions are a good time to share stories and pictures and get to know those distant cousins you only see once in a great while. We always hosted our family reunions at our farm. This gave the city cousins a taste of country life–milk cows, chickens, ducks, geese, the farm fishing pond and all the other wonderful things a farm could have to offer. One of the helpful events our extended family did was to have an ‘exchange’. Every family brought their outgrown, don’t want any more clothes, decorator items and toys. The kids and the parents would exchange/trade things they were tired of and we kids usually exchanged clothes. I usually got a new school wardrobe basically for free–and nobody else at my school had clothes like the ones I got. A visit from seldom seen family plus a new wardrobe–it was great!
(Pennywise says: When my children were young, we would hit the yard sales in August and come home with ‘new to them’ clothing that nobody at their school had either! They learned early on that gently used shirts and jeans meant they could get that new pair of boots they so badly needed–our budget didn’t allow for much extra. Since neither one of the boys gave a hoot about brand names on any kind of shirts or jeans, it worked well for them and they could get that pair of boots.)
Recycle those one-gallon plastic milk jugs into berry buckets by cutting a big hole in the side opposite the handle. Simply run your belt through the handle and fasten it around your waist–a piece of clothesline or rope would work as well. The bucket is conveniently located right in front of you, leaving both hands free for picking the fruit.
I cut the back pockets out of a pair of old blue jeans and pinned them to a corkboard by the back door with a notepad in one and a couple of pens in the other. It makes it easy for folks to leave a note. My ‘better half’ took the front pockets of the same jeans and used big tacks to hold them to a weathered board in the laundry room. We put all of the pocket change that comes out of the washing machine into those pockets. He cut the jean part long enough to hid the white pocket so it is hidden and used several tacks on the bottom. You would be surprised at how fast that change adds up!
Old or non-matching (to your body) colognes or perfumes from grandma’s house or even your own can be recycled by dripping the scent inside of the cardboard roll of toilet tissue. This will keep your bathroom smelling really nice. You can change the scent of the perfume/cologne with every roll change. This is a great way to use up those old bottles taking up space in the cabinet.
A friend and I were chatting the other day when I mentioned I needed to make a trip to the veterinarian for some flea shampoo for my dog. My friend told me to save the trip and expense–just use blue dish soap! Put a few drops of this in his bath water and clean him up thoroughly. The blue dish soap kills the fleas. It’s a super cheap remedy that is readily available and easy to use. I was also told that by adding a few drops of blue dish soap to a pint of water sprayed around your counter tops where ants collect will deter the ants and they won’t come back.
If you were lucky enough to inherit an old cedar chest from you grandmother or other relative or friend, count your lucky stars–those things cost big bucks. But, after a number of years, the cedar scent will be gone and sometimes folks just toss them. The simple secret to restoring the cedar scent is sanding the wood. Just take some sandpaper and rub it all over the inside of the chest, making sure you are getting inside every little corner. Afterwards, use a vacuum to get out all the dust. Your cedar chest will smell like it just came out of the factory!
Now that the weather is warmer and folks are no longer burning candles in their bathrooms, use those same little candle holders for potpourri. It smells nice and with no flame makes it safe for summertime use. And, you get double duty out of your candle holders.
If you want to dry herbs for winter use, simply spread them out on a cookie sheet and set them in the back window of your car with the windows rolled up on a hot day! My basil and oregano took a little over an hour to dry–cheap, and it works! PS: You may want to roll the windows down for a few minutes when heading out on errands to let the scent out of the car.
Use a broom to clean your garage floor, driveway and sidewalks instead of running water out of the hose. It looks the same as a washed floor once it has dried, and you didn’t run good water down the sewer drains!
Do you have any tips or ideas you would like to share? Email them to Paula at [email protected] Be sure to mention the "Farm And Livestock Directory" when you respond.