These were taken last week, one fine sunny day while we were driving around town. We are suppose to have a rainy weekend so I love looking at these photos, sunny days makes me me happy!
Friday, May 30, 2014
Now that summer is approaching, you are probably wondering where you want to spend your holiday. Is it going to be a staycation, exploring the wonders of your home town? A weekend trip to the sea? A week exploring a new city? A month spent backpacking around Asia? Whatever you do, book your flight in advance. Not only will this save you money, you will be able to start planning your trip and the places you want to visit right away.
If you choose to travel to another continent and across the ocean, chances are you are going to spend more than five hours on a plane. Here is a list of tips to enjoy your flight in the ill-famed economy class.
By checking in early you can get the window/aisle seat in the row of your choice. When you arrive at the airport, you will only need to check-in your bag and be on your way. Try to board last in order to not spend an extra hour on the plane.
Dry skin, dry hair, dry throat, those are the symptoms that you have spent a little too much time on a plane. Keep hydrated and ask for water, which is complimentary on long-haul flights. If you prefer to take your own bottle, make sure it is empty when you go through security, and refill it in the bathroom once you passed security. Check that the water is potable, just in case. And if you are prone to hunger pangs, bring a small packet of your favorite snack to nibble on during the flight.
If you have a tablet, use it.
Not all planes have a personal entertainment system, and not everyone can sleep through the whole flight. If you want to save space and avoid boredom, download a couple of TV series and films, an e-book and your favourite albums. Make sure your tablet is fully charged, and bring a portable charger if you have one. In this way you will be able to watch a movie before the meal arrives, take a nap, get hooked to a new TV series and listen to your travel playlist while you enjoy that book you have always wanted to read.
Bring your own gear.
By gear we mean you own travel blanket, neck pillow and anything else you will need for a comfortable flight. Noise cancelling headphones are a must if you are a light sleeper, ear plugs are ideal for those who cannot stand the noise of the engine, and an eye mask is recommended if you cannot bear bright lights. Just make sure that they do not take up all of the space in your carry-on luggage.
Wear comfortable clothes.
This is an absolute must on a long flight. Shoes that are easy to slip on and off, cozy socks, a large sweater and a loose T-shirt make all the difference when you have to spend the next half day cramped in an airplane. Tip: if you are a scarf person, a bulky scarf can be transformed into a pillow and a blanket ideal for a nap. However, do not overdo it. Sweatpants and flipflops are more suited to the gym and beach, respectively.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Going to San Francisco was fun and exciting for me and my kids because that was our first time seeing the beautiful city. My husband has been in California many times when he was still in the Navy so it wasn't something new for him but for us, it was all exciting. Here are few photos I took when we first arrived in San Francisco.
The island of Tenerife is one of the Canary Islands. Belonging to Spain and located off the coast of Morocco, these islands are the ideal destination for a summer vacation.
Tenerife has two airports, one located on the north of the island and one on the southern tip. There are several ferries that connect Tenerife to other Canary Islands, including Gran Canaria. It is recommendable to rent a car in order to be able to explore the island's many beaches and landmarks.
Where to stay?
If you are looking for some beach relaxation, book a hotel near the beach on the southern coast of the island. If you are here for a longer term and have a budget, rent one of the many apartments located close to the beach. There are many hotels, resorts and villas adapted to any budget in this area.
Those who prefer to explore the island's natural landmarks and want to spend some afternoons visiting cultural sights should stay in the north of the island. Most of the island's largest towns and cities, including Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Puerto de la Cruz, are located here.
What to visit: natural landmarks.
Do not miss the symbol of the island, the Teide volcano. Enjoy a guided tour to the Teide National Park before taking the cable car to the top of the volcano. From here you will be able to enjoy views towards the island and the sea.
There are many more natural landmarks on the island. Visit the Sierra de Anaga rural park, the ideal spot for a hike. Explore the Cuevas del Viento caves located near the traditional town of Icod del Vino.
What to visit: beaches.
The island's main attractions are its beaches. Many of the beaches are black sand beaches. Some of the most famous beaches include the Playa de las Américas and Los Cristianos, located a short distance away from each other.
In this area you will find many beaches ideal for surfers and windsurfers, and most have clubs from where you can rent surfing equipment. If you are less into sports and more into nature, enjoy a boat trip to Los Gigantes, a set of giant cliffs located on the west coast of the island. During the boat ride you will be able to see dolphins and whales and dive in the clear waters near the cliffs.
What to visit: museums and towns.
In the main city, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, you fill a wide range of museums. Do not miss the Museum of Man and History, dedicated to native settlements and the island's natural history. In the center of Puerto de la Cruz you will find many cafés and restaurants serving traditional papas arrugadas, potatoes boiled in their skin accompanied by mojo picónspicy sauce. If you are looking for colonial towns with cobblestone streets and pastel houses, La Laguna and Orotava are your ideal destinations.
On Mother's Day, my husband took me to the store and asked me what I want for Mother's day but I told him that I don't really need anything.. With so many expenses we are having at the moment, I'd rather save the money for important things than gifts. I know that my husband don't agree with my opinion but that is me. Being with my family is more than enough for me, better than any material gift I could get.
Is your car making a squeaking noise when you brake or seems to be struggling when you start it? If so, you may need to perform repairs on your car to ensure that it is safe to drive on the road. For those who do need to fix their car, what are some ways to keep the cost of auto repair work in check?
1) Take the Car to a Friend
If you have a friend who works at a body shop or runs his or her own shop, take your car to that friend for an estimate. There is a chance that he or she would be willing to give you a break on the price of parts, labor or both. This could save you hundreds of dollars off the price of what your repairs would otherwise cost.
2) Buy the Parts Yourself
Instead of paying retail price for parts at the body shop, you can find quality parts online for a fraction of the price. There are dozens of online retailers or private sellers who have the exact same part that is in your car right now who are willing to sell for pennies on the dollar compared to what you would pay at the shop.
3) Do the Labor Yourself
The price of labor is the biggest reason why it costs so much to have your car repaired by a professional. Therefore, if you know what you are doing, it may be best for you to do the repair yourself. In many cases, a basic repair job can be completed on a Saturday afternoon or in a couple of hours after you get out of work.
4) Have the Repairs Done at the First Sign of Trouble
Taking care of an issue with your vehicle at the first sign of trouble could stop a minor issue from becoming a large issue. For example, when you hear your brakes squeak, you should take the car in for service right away. Typically, squeaking brakes are a sign that your brake pads are wearing out.
If taken care of right away, you might pay $50 or less for a new set of pads. If you wait, you could end up paying $600 or more for new rotors. When you bring in your car for its annual inspection or every three months for an oil change, ask whoever is working on your car to do a routine check of your car's essential parts to ensure that everything is working properly.
5) Buy an Extended Warranty or Service Plan
Purchasing an extended warranty or service plan enables you to take your car in for service without worrying about how much it is going to cost you. For a few dollars a month, you can purchase a plan that will either cover the cost of your repairs or reimburse you for all or most of the cost of work that you need to have done to your car. Those who buy a used car from a dealership may be able to purchase the car as a certified used car. What this means is that the dealer is guaranteeing that the car will run properly for a certain period of time. If it doesn't, the dealer will take care of any repairs that it needs.
Even the smallest vehicle repairs can be costly. Fortunately, there are several ways in which you can reduce the cost of any work that needs to be done on your vehicle. When you buy the parts that your car needs or do the job yourself, you can save hundreds of dollars off what you would be charged by a body shop. Additionally, sticking to a routine maintenance schedule and bringing your car in at the first sign of trouble can keep a minor issue from spiraling out of control.
Friday, May 9, 2014
I don't know about you but most of my blogs were down to page rank of 0 during the recent Google update of page ranking. I am bummed out because that means that I have to work back up to achieve those page ranks again but that's how it goes so I will just deal with it.
On the lighter note, even if Google took away the page ranks of my blogs, our daughter is the winner of this year's Doodle4Google contest in West Virginia, which is a huge honor. This is her winning design and concept, to Create a Cure for Cancer.
Monday, May 5, 2014
Children grow up so quickly that it can be difficult to keep up with their changing needs for clothing and stimulating toys. Are the corners and cupboards of your house filled to the brim with old toys that your child no longer plays with? Don't automatically reach for the bin; there may be other options to give these toys a new lease on life without clogging the local landfill!
(Image Source: Image: © Nevit Dilmen found at Wikimedia commons)
Store them for future use.
Are you thinking of having a few more munchkins down the road? If so, toys that are still in semi-decent condition could be worth packing away for later. You can save a bundle of money on your future bundle of joy by washing and storing toys in an airtight container. It's best to store toys in a dry area of the home to prevent mildew, but you'll need to give them a good washing again when they're ready for reuse to get the dust off.
Donate them to charity.
Even if you don't plan on expanding your family, someone else's child could get good use out of your old toys. Package up old toys and donate them to the local charity shop, nursery, or homeless shelter. With the rate at which children are given new toys, it's a shame to waste slightly used ones that could become well-loved by another child. You may also be able to write off your donation on your taxes at the end of the year while reducing clutter!
Transform them into something new.
If your old toys are in less-than-perfect shape, they may not be worth donating. Yet this doesn't mean it's the end of the line for them. Think about getting creative and seeing these old toys in a new light. Is there another way that the toy could be used? Is it made of raw materials that could be used to create something new? Old books could be used for craft projects, or plastic figurines could be glued together to create a new monster. Ask your child for input if you're feeling less than inspired; children often see the world in different ways.
Do you want to turn those old toys into cash? If your toys are in excellent shape, or are old collectibles, they may be worth money. Try selling them to a consignment shop or putting them up on local listings sites like Craigslist or Quicksales. Another option is to hold an old-fashioned garage sale for the neighbours.
Swap them with your friends.
Do you have friends with children? Try organizing a swap of old toys and clothes. Invite your friends over, prepare a few party refreshments, and encourage them to bring along old toys and clothes to throw into the pot. Everyone can then choose to take new pieces away while getting rid of their pre-loved items. This ends up being a win-win situation, particularly for friends who have children in slightly different stages of development.
If a toy is simply beyond repair, incapable of being upcycled or given away, there's one final option before throwing it away. Check its list of components to see if it could be recycled. If you're unsure, call or email the manufacturer. Electronic toys in particular can often be recycled, as can old books or plastics.
These are just a few ideas to help give your old toys a new lease on life, whether it's in the happy arms of another child or broken down into key components for recycling!
When we were still living overseas, we often get the question of where we are from Virginia. We would always tell them that we are f...