CiaoMom

About Ciao Mom

Hello there, and welcome to my personal website. This is a website that is written by a mom, who has lived through a lot. I am a cancer survivor, mother, retired teacher, triathlete, and all around go-getter. And my website features all of my musings and the different things that I have encountered in my life. You can read all about what I have written through my various posts. Those posts are also arranged by different categories. So if you want to read about my health tips, just head on over to my website’s health section. The website is organized neatly into different sections, to make it easier for my website’s readers to navigate around.

You can find inspirational posts, stories and other content on my website. So if you want to grow a little bit every day, you can go on the same journey I am going through. Life is full of surprises and little adventures. And you can read about my little adventures as well. You can look through all of the old posts that I have on this website, to be able to read through all of the past adventures that I have gone through. My travels, lessons, and so much more are all on my blog posts. I promise that you can learn something if you just take the time to read through my blog.

Growing together

Ciao mom in a nutshell

My website is all about the different things I can teach to other people. I write about my life, productivity, health tips, and a whole range of other topics as well. You can look through these individual website categories to read what I have personally learned through my life. My inspirations are numerous, and I want to share what inspires me, to my readers. And I hope by reading through my website, you can learn to get inspired too!

My family is one of the most important things in my life. And being a mother has taught me a lot about caring for a full family. You can read about my cooking, homemaking, and child-rearing tips and guides on my website. I try to cover a wide range of different topics as it relates to family life. So there are a lot of parenting tips, baby guides, cooking guides, and a whole lot more on my website.

Family life

My life

I also try to write about my personal life as well. So I try to include the details about what I have been doing day to day. This is a personal blog in addition to a website, after all. So all of my readers can read about what I have been doing lately. I try to write about my day job, what movies I have seen, books I have read, etc. And on all of my posts, I try to include a little inspirational content for my readers to get a benefit out of!

Since I am a cancer survivor, I am much more conscious about my own personal health. Ever since I beat back cancer in my life, I have become much more proactive about taking better care of my health. I am a mother, and I want to be there for my children as they grow older. So I try to take care of my health as much as possible. I also try to spread health awareness to anyone that takes the time to read through my blog. So I try to share tips and guides on how to take better care of your personal health.

Yoga, dieting, sleeping habits, nutrition, and many other health topics will be covered by my blog. All of the readers, who come to my website, will learn a thing or two, about taking better care of their health. There are a lot more in-depth guides on health on my website. We’ll also cover various cooking techniques, from grilling, to baking, to cooking with a sous vide machine.

Health and fitness tips

Productivity

I am a retired teacher, and throughout my career in education, I have learned quite a few things about maximizing personal productivity. And I share all of those tips to help everyone do more in their lives. By sharing my posts on productivity, I hope to spread more productive habits among my readers. And to that end, I try and write about tips and guides on how to be more personally productive in life. I also try to live as an example to my readers as well. So this will means that I also try to practically follow the productivity tips on my website. I am still learning about personal productivity, so there is a lot more to write about the subject.

Doing more is a personal mantra of my mine. And doing more in life requires more than just being busy. It takes inspiration to also increase personal productivity. So I hope to feed your personal inspiration. I try to lead as much of a positive life that I can. And I share that positivity with all of my readers. My posts are all positive, and I want to inspire the readers who read my website. So I try to share some of the best stories and moments of my life!

There is a lot more that you can find on my website, so just browse through my archive if you would like to read more about me. There are a lot of old posts on the archive of my website, which you can read through at your own convenience. So be sure to check out what I have written in the past to see what else I have been up to. This website has been on the internet for several years now, so there is sure to be something that you can read on my post’s archive if you look hard enough.

There is a newsletter subscription for my website. Consider signing up for my newsletter to get regular updates on the newest content that can be found on my website. If you sign up for my newsletter, you will get regular email updates on any new content that has been posted onto my website. So if you want to read the latest posts that I have written, you can do so if you sign up for my website’s newsletter. By signing up for my blog’s newsletter you will also be supporting me since I can directly reach you by email!

4 benefits of using sous vide machine a family kitchen

Cooking for a family is difficult, as any person should know. And that fact is even truer for a larger family. There is a lot of preparation to go through whenever you are cooking for any large meal. And the pressure can even increase when you are trying to cook for a special meal, such as the holidays or a family get-together. However, one piece of cooking equipment can really help you prepare your dishes much faster. If you want to cook meat the sous vide style, you should be using the best sous vide machine. Having this kind of machine in your family kitchen can be beneficial in the following ways.

  1. Faster preparation

Usually preparing any kind of meat for a recipe can take a really long time. There is just a lot to do whenever you want meat in a recipe to taste good. With the use of this machine, a lot of that preparation time can be speeded up. You just have to put the meat and its sauce in a plastic bag and let the machine handle the rest of the preparation.

  1. More convenience

Using these kinds of machines is actually really convenient. You will only need to set a timer, and then add the piece of meat. You then just have to wait until the timer is up, and you can get the meat out and it will be ready for further cooking or even consumption!

  1. Better tasting food

Any kind of meat that you prepare using the proper cooking machine is going to end up tasting much better. The meat will be tenderized in its own juices, so it will ensure a juicier and more flavorful piece of meat. And since the meat will be sealed in a vacuum, it will also end up really soft. In fact, if cooked right it will end up butter soft in the mouth!

  1. Versatility

You can use this kind of cooking machine to prepare any kind of meat dish. If you want, you could use it to prepare everything from pork to poultry. You may even use a vacuum-sealed cooking method for fish dishes as well. And every time that you use it on any kind of meat dish, the meat will come out tasting juicier and be so much softer to chew on.

  1. Easier to cook sous vide style

The sous vide style of cooking, when translated from French, literally means vacuum-sealed cooking. And while that may sound fancy, it is not all that different from normal cooking at all! You can also have that same method of cooking at home if you have got a machine that can do the sous vide style of cooking.

This kind of cooking machine is not only for professional kitchen restaurants. Any cook in their own family home kitchen will be able to benefit from cooking it. You will have a much easier time preparing for any kind of family meal if you have got this piece of cooking equipment in your own kitchen. And even if you are not a cooking enthusiast or a seasoned chef, you will still be able to get a lot of use out of this kind of cooking machine. There have been a lot of people who have successfully cooked steak and even fish dishes with just the use of this cooking equipment. So you can expect to get a lot of delicious dishes with this kind of cooking equipment.

Cooking with your Children Helps them Grow

Cooking with your Children Helps them Grow

Cooking with your child is a great way to foster their development. Much like playing a musical instrument, it has been proven that cooking with your child will help develop their creative skills.

Think about it – cooking involves so many different practical, complex thought processes, such as math and science. By starting your child early, you’re giving them a leg up on their competition.

Also, having your child cook with you is going to strengthen the bond between the two of you. One of the fondest memories I have of my childhood is cooking with my mother and grandmother. We wouldn’t cook anything too intensive; just simple cookies and cake.

It was a blast! I learned so many different things about math and science that I still use today.

Also, I gained the confidence to cook my own meals and try new foods. This has led me to live a very healthy and active lifestyle.

I also saved a ton of money when I was in college. While most of my friends were out partying and eating take out, I was staying in and cooking my own healthy food. I used to cook on an old school Lodge skillet and created some of the best meals I’ve ever tasted.

Yes, as I’m now older and much more experienced, I am more comfortable cooking with fancier techniques such as sous vide, but the main principles I learned as a child are still there.

This is often demonstrated in children that you meet when you travel overseas. Family time is valued so highly in European and Asian countries. Why? Because if the family doesn’t band together and help one another out, then they aren’t going to survive.

I’d also like to point out that you shouldn’t rely on technology when you’re cooking with your child. Let them figure out how things are done the old-fashioned way. This will help their cognitive ability develop. It’s certainly worth the extra time.

The Benefits of Hosteling

The Benefits of Hosteling

If you are looking to save money on your next trip while meeting people from all over the world, hosteling may be the answer for you. Once thought to be limited to youths and foreign exchange students, hosteling has become popular with travelers of all ages. There are hostels all over the world, even in the heart of major American cities like New York, Washington DC, and San Francisco. Believe it or not, it is possible to spend a night in downtown for less than $30 by choosing a hostel instead of a regular hotel.

Benefits of hosteling: Cheap lodging

Obviously, saving money is the main reason most people choose hosteling over staying in hotels. In major cities, even the cheapest hotel room is often $89 or more. A hostel bed rarely costs more than $20-30 per night, which can make a significant difference over a long trip. Keep in mind this discounted rate is for a bed in a shared room, usually dorm-style. The kitchen, bathroom, and shower facilities are communal as well, so you may have to allow some extra preparation time in case you have to wait for other guests. Despite these minor inconveniences, hosteling is often the best choice, especially if you do not plan to spend much time sitting around in your room anyway.

Benefits of hosteling: Meeting fellow travelers

Hostelling is great for those who are unfamiliar with the area or simply want to meet other travelers along the way. The hostel staff is usually willing to help you work out bus schedules, find local attractions, or recommend a great place to eat. They are accustomed to helping foreign travelers find their way around town, even those who may not be fluent in English. Many hostels offer group activities like communal dinners or movie showings to give travelers an opportunity to socialize. Hostelling is an excellent choice if you are traveling alone because you can often find other people willing to visit the local attractions with you.

Benefits of hosteling: Great locations

Many hostels are located in unusual buildings or locations, giving you a unique experience in that particular city. There are hostels in converted lighthouses, railroad cars, tents, treehouses, and many other interesting configurations. You can often stay in popular areas for much less by hosteling. For example, San Francisco has hostels downtown, near Fisherman’s Wharf, and in the heart of the city, all for under $30 per night. Hotels in similar locations would cost in the hundreds of dollars each night, if rooms were even available. In addition to being located in interesting places, most hostels are also in convenient locations near local tourist attractions and public transportation. This makes it very easy for hosteling guests to get around town without having to spend money on expensive rental cars.

Benefits of Hostelling: Learn New Cuisines

When you’re hostelling, you’re going to be able to learn so much more about other people’s cultures – including the food that they eat and how they prepare the food.

When I was travelling in France, I stayed with a wonderful couple who created the most fantastic of meats. I figured they were baking them or doing some sort of smoking, but I was very wrong.

It turned out that they were cooking with a French food technique called sous vide. I had never heard of sous vide before, but man was it fantastic. Apparently they put the meat in a vacuum sealer bag to suck the air out. When the air is sucked out, they put the meat inside of the new best sous vide machine to cook the meal to perfection. The meat always came out juicy and tender and amazing. When I got home I immediately bought a new sous vide machine. It was the best purchase for cooking that I have made in along time.

All of this is because I went hostelling.

Great Tips for Helping to Reduce the Amount of Packing for Traveling

Great Tips for Helping to Reduce the Amount of Packing for Traveling

Traveling can be a hard time for people when it comes to determining what to pack. When you are figuring out what all you need to pack you must take several things into consideration when determining what you need. The factors that you need to consider are how long your vacation is going to be, if you are going to have access to laundry, plan on purchasing additional clothing while traveling and if you will be staying with family or in a hotel.

The first thing you need to consider is how long your vacation will be. If your vacation is going to be for a week you will need to at least take enough clothing to last that long. For instance you will probably need at a minimum seven pairs of underwear, and enough clothing changes to last that long to. Some people will end up re-wearing pants or shirts, which will help reduce the amount you have to pack.

If you have access to laundry facilities it will lessen the amount of clothes you need to pack. However, if you do plan on using a hotels laundry room you might want to pack a small bottle of detergent due to the high cost for a pack at the hotels. Granted it is better than having to pack your whole closest, but it could end up costing you a small sum of money.

Another option that could really save you a lot of packing and space while traveling to your destination would be purchasing new clothing at the vacation spot. Now this option saves you quite a bit of space when you are traveling and possibly when you go home if you ship them via a shipping company. This option though can be very expensive because purchasing new clothes each time you travel might not be feasible.

Depending on where you are staying if it is a hotel or with family you might have a wider variety of options available. For instance if you are staying with family you might be able to borrow clothing to wear if they are the same size. Now this might not be the healthiest solution, but it could work in a pinch if you are desperate for clothing.

When you’re traveling to visit your family, it would be nice if you brought them a gift or two to remind them of the stay. One popular thing that people are doing is making family shirts using a best heat press machine. They’ll typically use heat transfer vinyl to press their design onto the shirt. Once the vinyl is placed onto the shirt, then it’s super easy to use the heat press machine to transfer the vinyl onto the shirt. By doing this, you’re going to be giving your family member a piece of clothing that they’re going to be remembering for the rest of their lives.

Traveling does not have to be hard when you figure out what you need to pack. Packing is easy if you know how long your vacation is going to be, if you have access to laundry, plan on purchasing additional clothing, or if you are staying with family. With these options figured out you will be able to have a fun and relaxing time on your vacation.

Top 11 Favorite Airports

Top 11 Favorite Airports

Travellers hate to spend more time than they have to at an airport. I’m no exception.

But if I had to spend some time at the airport, these 11 would be my favorite airports to spend time at.

Denver International Airport, Colorado- The Rocky Mountains come to the airport.

Salt Lake City International, Utah- It’s very close to the city of Salt Lake and like DIA, the Rocky Mountains really come to the airport. When you land, the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains are the first thing you see.

Pittsburgh International, Pennsylvania-Who needs to go to the mall when this airport has all the stores you want or need?

Boston Logan Airport-Massachusettes- At what other airport in the United States besides Baltimore -Washington International can you pick up a live lobster to bring back home?

Las Vegas McCarren Airport-Nevada- Ching! Ching! even before you hit the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.

Singapore Changi Airport,Singapore- Free internet, comfy sofas in the lounge area, not to mention the free movie theater. No wonder this airport is ranked as one of the best airports in the world.

Minneapolis-St.Paul International,Minnesota-For the child in you, where else can you be greeted by a statue of “Snoopy”?

San Francisco International, California-Ghiradelli chocolate and sourdogh bread stands. It’s easy to leave your heart in San Francisco.

Kuala Lumpur International, Malaysia-An airport in the middle of a rainforest.

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson, Georgia- Home of my favorite airport restaurant, Paschal’s for good old Southern style comfort food.

Calgary International, Canada-You know you’re in cowboy and cowgirl country when the Customer Service agents greet you with a smile and the famous white cowboy hats.

Parenting Young Children: How to Be a Calmer Parent

Parenting Young Children: How to Be a Calmer Parent

Raising children is not easy. Raising children is generally not calming, but rather chaotic and sometimes stressful. Siblings fight, rules get broken, and bills pile up. It can be very difficult to juggle family and career as well. All of this combined with all of the other aspects of life can leave parents feeling anything but calm.

The truth of the matter is that none of the above matters to your child. Little kids don’t know how hard it is to raise a family, pay bills, or juggles work and home. They don’t know and they don’t care. All a little kid knows is that they don’t feel happy or good if mom and Dad are stressed.

Parents need to try their best to be calm despite anything. We need to do this for our children. Here are some ideas to help you be the calmest parent you can be, despite it all, for your children.

The first thing you can and should do in order to be a calmer parent, and person, is to make sure that you are making and taking the time to take care of yourself. All too often parents take care of everything but themselves. When this cycle continues for too long parents burn out. Make time and take time to take care of you every day. Eat a healthy balanced diet, enjoy a daily shower as a relaxing getaway, take a vitamin to keep yourself in tip top shape.

Exercise ties into the first tip but is actually the second. It’s more than just taking care of your body. Exercise is also a form of stress release. Stress relief, if you will. Setting twenty minutes or so to work out or to walk can greatly lower your stress level leaving you not only calmer for your children, but also healthier.

Many parents lose their calmness when their children start to act up. Did you know that when a parent loses their cool when their kids are misbehaving that they are actually giving their children a reaction that will encourage more unacceptable behavior? Oh yeah, it’s true. If a child is doing something wrong and they get a good reaction from their parents they consider it attention. They also see that it is bothersome and will not hesitate to keep it up until Mom or Dad gives in, giving them what they want or allowing them to do whatever. When parents remain calm and do not allow their feathers to be ruffled it takes all of the fun out of it for the kids. They realize when a parent remains calm that it won’t work, only discipline will be enforced. Consistent discipline along with parental calmness can reduce unacceptable behaviors to almost none. That is calming in itself.

The last way to be calmer as a parent is to not let the little things bother you. Kids will be kids. Hen parents allow every little thing to make them lose their calm they are never going to be calm. Learn to let the little things go. Don’t worry so much, or at least try not to. Don’t fret over every problem or every squabble your children have. Use problem solving skills when big problems arise and let all of the rest go. That alone calm make you calmer as a parent, and as a person, giving you and your family a calmer life all together. Good luck and relax!

Bad Parenting Adages: Forget These Sayings

Bad Parenting Adages: Forget These Sayings

When you were a kid, you probably swore to yourself that you would never, ever repeat certain adages and proverbs that your own parents told you. But, now that you’ve got children of your own, you probably find yourself making the mistake of repeating mantras you grew up hearing.

Childish rebellion isn’t the only thing that points out the fault in adages like “Say you’re sorry” and “If you can’t say anything nice…” Logical, responsible parenting can also reject the use of some negative and hurtful sayings.

Bad Parenting Adages: “Because I said so!”

Children ask “why” because that’s the only way they know how to learn. When a child wants to know why you’re leaving the playground, why he can’t play with matches, or why he can’t spend the night at a friend’s house, it’s not because he’s challenging your authority: it’s because this is the only way he can understand the adult world.

To tell a child that “because I said so” is a legitimate answer, is to tell him that explanations don’t matter and that he should blindly follow any and all authority figures without learning how any of it works– a sure method to render him unable to make his own decisions. It is never wise to deny your child education about the functions of a society.

Bad Parenting Adages: “Say you’re sorry.”

When we insist that children apologize because we think they should, we are essentially telling them to lie. The child may grunt “I’m sorry” under his breath to a sibling or playmate he just hit, but unless he actually feels remorseful about his action, this will just built resentment. Instead of forcing children to apologize when they don’t mean it, we should work toward getting them to understand what they should feel sorry in the first place.

If we instill our children with a sense of empathy by pointing out how their actions affect others, they will naturally apologize without force or resentment. Instead of “You’ve been bad! Say you’re sorry!” something like “Look how you made your sister feel when you hit her! How would you have felt?” can work to create true sympathy, rather than fake apologies.

Bad Parenting Adages: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Like adults, children need to feel heard in order to feel secure, and no one’s opinions include only nice things. Imagine what our world would look like if adults only said nice things about politicians, consumer products, and world history! We may not have nice things to say about the holocaust, ecological destruction, or social injustice, but we say what we think anyway. Dissent is what keeps the world spinning round.

Children must be taught that it is okay for them to have a negative opinion of someone or something: be it the kid across the street who stomps bugs for fun or the taste of last night’s dinner. Rather than teaching them to avoid expressing their opinions, parents should focus on teaching them polite and productive ways to go about creating change.

Bad Parenting Adages: “You’re a bad girl/boy!”

If you tell a child that he is bad, he just might believe you. And if he believes you, he is likely to follow with behavior patterns that fit this assumption. Children will eagerly follow nearly any label that we apply to them. If we call them “spoiled”, that is what they become. If we call them “hateful”, they to the best they can to live up to our expectations.

No child is perfect, but the best way to insure a child’s imperfections is to communicate that his identity and his behavior are one and the same. There is no harm in telling a child that something he does is hurtful, silly, or mean, but there is a great deal of harm in tellling him that his own identity is based in these labels.

As parents, we owe it to our children to put thought into our roles as parents. Beyond repeating the mantras that we grew up hearing, we must teach them with dignity, thought, and respect.

Traveling with Kids? Suggestions to Make it Easy

Traveling with Kids Suggestions to Make it Easy

Almost everyone at sometime or another ends up taking a trip in a car somewhere with kids along. That is part of the American image after all. However, that image usually does not include the kids in the backseat chanting over and over “are we there yet?” Car trips with kids can either be great, or a total nightmare depending upon how well prepared you are.

Remember kids really do not care how long it takes to drive a mile or that once they are at their destination they can finally get out and stretch. They are not typically capable of long car rides with no breaks along the way. To help make the trip as peaceful as possible be sure to schedule breaks along the way to stopping for bathroom breaks, food and the occasional chance to just stretch the legs and awaken the brain.

Do make sure that car doors are locked and kids know not to play with the handles, make sure kids are aware that they are not supposed to even have any part of their body hanging out of the car, this includes arms, hands, and feet and legs. Make sure everyone in the vehicle wears their seat belt, adults included to set a good example. Kids who are to be in car seats should still be in their car seat for the entire trip. Do not ever walk away from the vehicle with kids or pets alone in the car; it only takes a moment for a disaster to strike.

Kids love to ride in the front seat of the car, but car trips are especially important to make sure kids are in the backseat. Many states have now made it a law that kids ride in the backseat only. It is always a good idea to take a small cooler along for the ride so that a cold drink is never far away. Keep juice and water for the kids, especially since soda tends to make kids hyperactive and hyperactive kids and a long drive do not mix well.

Keep a close eye on the little passengers in the car, hot temperatures, and curvy roads can allow carsickness to set in quickly. Small kids who are sick can quickly and easily become dehydrated if they are not closely watched. Make sure to pack a fresh pack of baby wipes they are great for a large number of uses while on the road.

I always allow my children to pack a small rolling suitcase for trips that will fit in the backseat between their car seats. They themselves pack the bag that way the toys in the bag are what they themselves have picked out. I however always check the bag to make sure it does not have every loud toy in the house packed in it.

Remember that while stopping for food is always good, a snack every so often is also necessary. Packing snacks where the kids can reach is always good to help curb the afternoon munchies so they are not starving the whole way. Another good idea is to pack where they can reach a car pillow and small blanket. This way they can get comfortable and take a nap when they become tired without getting neck pains from uncomfortable sleeping positions.

How to Use the Metro

How to Use the Metro

Transportation in and around Washington, DC must be among the best in the world. You can get just about anywhere with a combination of the Metrorail, which is the subway system, and the Metrobus, which is the bus system. Together those two make living life in the DC Metro region a joy. Since I want others to enjoy the same luxury of traveling the area that I have had, I’m going to tell you the basics of how to use the metro. Hopefully after this article, you’ll feel confident enough to hitch a ride on the green line.
The prices are very reasonable. For the buses, a normal trip is $1.25. Express price is $3.00. The cool part about the whole set up is something called a transfer. When you get on the bus, you’ll be handed a little slip of paper. Hold on to it. Present it to the bus driver when you get on the bus the next time and you’ll get on the bus for free. I was amazed that I could ride round-trip for only a buck 25. Just be sure to look out for the time that the slip of paper says. Usually you’ll have 2 hours or so to use the transfer. You can’t use it after the time is up so plan your trip accordingly.

Metrorail is also very well priced. For barely four bucks you can ride from Maryland to Virginia. That’s why most people that work in DC opt to take the Metro to work every day. The thing to keep in mind with the subway is that the price is different depending on the time of day. Regular fare is during weekdays from 6am to 9:30 am, 3-7 pm, and 2 am to closing. This is peak traveling time for the train, so it makes sense to charge a little more since the trains run more frequently. All other times are reduced fair.

Also, if plan you get off the subway and use a bus, be sure to get a transfer for the station. It should be somewhere near the gate when you are about to board the train. If you present this to the driver of the bus after you get off the train, you’ll only have to pay 35 cents to ride the bus. Just be sure to get the transfer from the station you are boarding, not at the one you are arriving.

Now, I must highly recommend getting a Smartcard if you intend on frequently using the Metro system of transportation. It’s a little card that you can purchase at any station for $5.00. You can place money on this card and use it to pay for your rides on the bus and the subway. I guess they call it a Smartcard because it eliminates the need for paper transfers. The card automatically gives you whatever discounts are coming to you based on your usage of it. It’s so much better than keeping track of papers and whatnot. You can also register your Smartcard so that if it gets lost your balance will be safe.

In the next part of this series, I’m going to teach you how to navigate around the metro stations.

How to Fight Flight Boredom with Audio Books and Short Novels

How to Fight Flight Boredom with Audio Books and Short Novels

So it’s going to be a long flight home. As you find out your flight is delayed another three hours from the snowstorm, you anticipate a long, long day of traveling ahead. Traveling on a flight that doesn’t offer in-flight movies, extras, or entertainment options can make the whole trip seem like a lifetime. If you’re traveling alone, it’s times like these that a great music collection, novel, or stack of magazines can offer some great company.

Some new options await this year, that may just boost your spirits and help you spend your time well. It’s easy to pick up a pre-recorded book complete with headphones and batteries to accompany your carry on baggage. Or, take along a short book that already has an anticipated reading time printed on the back; your choice of 1-3 hours, depending on the length of your travels (or lack of).

Audio fiction and nonfiction titles, in short bites, are a great option for frequent travelers who are looking for minimal fuss. Pick up the Play Away Digital audio books for the latest titles, new releases, or your favorite classics. These pint-sized books include their own set of headphones. Each feature is a full narration of your book in an easy-to-carry miniature box. The box itself looks like a miniature size version of the hardcover title. The company has recently launched a custom library too, allowing downloads and streaming music in addition to your recent read.

OnFlightFiction.com offers a time scale of fiction novels for your selection Ranging from 1-3 hours, the book list currently highlights westerns and a few thrillers. The company plans to expand the titles list to include nonfiction, business books, and even self-help topics as the company grows. Still, this is a great way to find a quick time-filling activity if the reading rack at the airport disappoints. Amazon.com is the place to pick up your favorite, and the OnFlightFiction.com website features summaries and upcoming releases when needed.

For crossword and game lovers, there’s still plenty to choose from at the airport’s convenience store or kiosks. Track down some crossword puzzles or cryptograms to decipher; or, catch the Sudoku craze and stock up on the foldover tablet books that fit neatly into any backpack or purse. For the digitally inclined, keep your mind sharp with the touch screen handheld console loaded with the New York Time crossword puzzle. The device looks like a PDA, and offers some of today’s most challenging puzzles that can keep you busy for hours.

Delayed flights, inconsistent flight schedules, or just having to kill time at the airport can add to the stressors in traveling. When you’re stuck for entertainment options, or just need to occupy your mind with something creative, pick up a few interesting reads and activities in today’s most convenient formats. Your travel time will zip by faster than ever!

We Made Family T-Shirts With Our Heat Press

We Made Family T-Shirts With Our Heat Press

We had the 2017 family reunion a few days ago. It was an absolutely amazing time! We had over 50 of our immediate family and cousins there! This is by far the biggest showing that we ever had. To commemorate the occasion, we created T-Shirts for our family using our brand new heat press machine!

We chose to make our own using a heat press rather than buy them because we are such a creative family! Buying them from your usual shirt manufacturer would have been more cost effective, but would not have been nearly as much fun.

We spent about 30 hours making all 50 shirts. I’m sure that we could have done it faster, but spending quality time with our family was much more important than being very efficient.

We used a PowerPress heat press machine with Siser glitter vinyl; simply because we wanted our shirts to be fabulous! The shirts took about 20 minutes each to make.

Typically the Ciao Mom family will do some sort of family unity craft. In the past we have crafted ribbons to coordinate with what branch of the family tree we are on.

We did have an assembly line crafting the t-shirts comprised of several generations of our family. The grandparents were in charge of actually using the heat press. The moms and dads were in charge of making sure all of the transfer vinyl was properly lined up on the shirts. Of course, the kids had the most fun out of anyone since they were the ones designing the shirts.

While we liked to think that they would follow the crafting guidelines that us adults had set forth, they surely did not. However, the end result was amazing!

What resulted was the finest family made shirts that I have ever seen. Okay, maybe I am a bit biased since they were made by my family; but I couldn’t have been prouder of how everything came out! Coming together as a family to make something so wonderful and seeing everyone get all crafty with a heat press and vinyl was really a joy in my life. I’ll cherish these memories forever!

4 benefits of using sous vide machine a family kitchen

Cooking for a family is difficult, as any person should know. And that fact is even truer for a larger family. There is a lot of preparation to go through whenever you are cooking for any large meal. And the pressure can even increase when you are trying to cook for a special meal, such as the holidays or a family get-together. However, one piece of cooking equipment can really help you prepare your dishes much faster. If you want to cook meat the sous vide style, you should be using the best sous vide machine. Having this kind of machine in your family kitchen can be beneficial in the following ways.

  1. Faster preparation

Usually preparing any kind of meat for a recipe can take a really long time. There is just a lot to do whenever you want meat in a recipe to taste good. With the use of this machine, a lot of that preparation time can be speeded up. You just have to put the meat and its sauce in a plastic bag and let the machine handle the rest of the preparation.

  1. More convenience

Using these kinds of machines is actually really convenient. You will only need to set a timer, and then add the piece of meat. You then just have to wait until the timer is up, and you can get the meat out and it will be ready for further cooking or even consumption!

  1. Better tasting food

Any kind of meat that you prepare using the proper cooking machine is going to end up tasting much better. The meat will be tenderized in its own juices, so it will ensure a juicier and more flavorful piece of meat. And since the meat will be sealed in a vacuum, it will also end up really soft. In fact, if cooked right it will end up butter soft in the mouth!

  1. Versatility

You can use this kind of cooking machine to prepare any kind of meat dish. If you want, you could use it to prepare everything from pork to poultry. You may even use a vacuum-sealed cooking method for fish dishes as well. And every time that you use it on any kind of meat dish, the meat will come out tasting juicier and be so much softer to chew on.

  1. Easier to cook sous vide style

The sous vide style of cooking, when translated from French, literally means vacuum-sealed cooking. And while that may sound fancy, it is not all that different from normal cooking at all! You can also have that same method of cooking at home if you have got a machine that can do the sous vide style of cooking.

This kind of cooking machine is not only for professional kitchen restaurants. Any cook in their own family home kitchen will be able to benefit from cooking it. You will have a much easier time preparing for any kind of family meal if you have got this piece of cooking equipment in your own kitchen. And even if you are not a cooking enthusiast or a seasoned chef, you will still be able to get a lot of use out of this kind of cooking machine. There have been a lot of people who have successfully cooked steak and even fish dishes with just the use of this cooking equipment. So you can expect to get a lot of delicious dishes with this kind of cooking equipment.

Cooking with your Children Helps them Grow

Cooking with your Children Helps them Grow

Cooking with your child is a great way to foster their development. Much like playing a musical instrument, it has been proven that cooking with your child will help develop their creative skills.

Think about it – cooking involves so many different practical, complex thought processes, such as math and science. By starting your child early, you’re giving them a leg up on their competition.

Also, having your child cook with you is going to strengthen the bond between the two of you. One of the fondest memories I have of my childhood is cooking with my mother and grandmother. We wouldn’t cook anything too intensive; just simple cookies and cake.

It was a blast! I learned so many different things about math and science that I still use today.

Also, I gained the confidence to cook my own meals and try new foods. This has led me to live a very healthy and active lifestyle.

I also saved a ton of money when I was in college. While most of my friends were out partying and eating take out, I was staying in and cooking my own healthy food. I used to cook on an old school Lodge skillet and created some of the best meals I’ve ever tasted.

Yes, as I’m now older and much more experienced, I am more comfortable cooking with fancier techniques such as sous vide, but the main principles I learned as a child are still there.

This is often demonstrated in children that you meet when you travel overseas. Family time is valued so highly in European and Asian countries. Why? Because if the family doesn’t band together and help one another out, then they aren’t going to survive.

I’d also like to point out that you shouldn’t rely on technology when you’re cooking with your child. Let them figure out how things are done the old-fashioned way. This will help their cognitive ability develop. It’s certainly worth the extra time.

The Benefits of Hosteling

The Benefits of Hosteling

If you are looking to save money on your next trip while meeting people from all over the world, hosteling may be the answer for you. Once thought to be limited to youths and foreign exchange students, hosteling has become popular with travelers of all ages. There are hostels all over the world, even in the heart of major American cities like New York, Washington DC, and San Francisco. Believe it or not, it is possible to spend a night in downtown for less than $30 by choosing a hostel instead of a regular hotel.

Benefits of hosteling: Cheap lodging

Obviously, saving money is the main reason most people choose hosteling over staying in hotels. In major cities, even the cheapest hotel room is often $89 or more. A hostel bed rarely costs more than $20-30 per night, which can make a significant difference over a long trip. Keep in mind this discounted rate is for a bed in a shared room, usually dorm-style. The kitchen, bathroom, and shower facilities are communal as well, so you may have to allow some extra preparation time in case you have to wait for other guests. Despite these minor inconveniences, hosteling is often the best choice, especially if you do not plan to spend much time sitting around in your room anyway.

Benefits of hosteling: Meeting fellow travelers

Hostelling is great for those who are unfamiliar with the area or simply want to meet other travelers along the way. The hostel staff is usually willing to help you work out bus schedules, find local attractions, or recommend a great place to eat. They are accustomed to helping foreign travelers find their way around town, even those who may not be fluent in English. Many hostels offer group activities like communal dinners or movie showings to give travelers an opportunity to socialize. Hostelling is an excellent choice if you are traveling alone because you can often find other people willing to visit the local attractions with you.

Benefits of hosteling: Great locations

Many hostels are located in unusual buildings or locations, giving you a unique experience in that particular city. There are hostels in converted lighthouses, railroad cars, tents, treehouses, and many other interesting configurations. You can often stay in popular areas for much less by hosteling. For example, San Francisco has hostels downtown, near Fisherman’s Wharf, and in the heart of the city, all for under $30 per night. Hotels in similar locations would cost in the hundreds of dollars each night, if rooms were even available. In addition to being located in interesting places, most hostels are also in convenient locations near local tourist attractions and public transportation. This makes it very easy for hosteling guests to get around town without having to spend money on expensive rental cars.

Benefits of Hostelling: Learn New Cuisines

When you’re hostelling, you’re going to be able to learn so much more about other people’s cultures – including the food that they eat and how they prepare the food.

When I was travelling in France, I stayed with a wonderful couple who created the most fantastic of meats. I figured they were baking them or doing some sort of smoking, but I was very wrong.

It turned out that they were cooking with a French food technique called sous vide. I had never heard of sous vide before, but man was it fantastic. Apparently they put the meat in a vacuum sealer bag to suck the air out. When the air is sucked out, they put the meat inside of the new best sous vide machine to cook the meal to perfection. The meat always came out juicy and tender and amazing. When I got home I immediately bought a new sous vide machine. It was the best purchase for cooking that I have made in along time.

All of this is because I went hostelling.

Great Tips for Helping to Reduce the Amount of Packing for Traveling

Great Tips for Helping to Reduce the Amount of Packing for Traveling

Traveling can be a hard time for people when it comes to determining what to pack. When you are figuring out what all you need to pack you must take several things into consideration when determining what you need. The factors that you need to consider are how long your vacation is going to be, if you are going to have access to laundry, plan on purchasing additional clothing while traveling and if you will be staying with family or in a hotel.

The first thing you need to consider is how long your vacation will be. If your vacation is going to be for a week you will need to at least take enough clothing to last that long. For instance you will probably need at a minimum seven pairs of underwear, and enough clothing changes to last that long to. Some people will end up re-wearing pants or shirts, which will help reduce the amount you have to pack.

If you have access to laundry facilities it will lessen the amount of clothes you need to pack. However, if you do plan on using a hotels laundry room you might want to pack a small bottle of detergent due to the high cost for a pack at the hotels. Granted it is better than having to pack your whole closest, but it could end up costing you a small sum of money.

Another option that could really save you a lot of packing and space while traveling to your destination would be purchasing new clothing at the vacation spot. Now this option saves you quite a bit of space when you are traveling and possibly when you go home if you ship them via a shipping company. This option though can be very expensive because purchasing new clothes each time you travel might not be feasible.

Depending on where you are staying if it is a hotel or with family you might have a wider variety of options available. For instance if you are staying with family you might be able to borrow clothing to wear if they are the same size. Now this might not be the healthiest solution, but it could work in a pinch if you are desperate for clothing.

When you’re traveling to visit your family, it would be nice if you brought them a gift or two to remind them of the stay. One popular thing that people are doing is making family shirts using a best heat press machine. They’ll typically use heat transfer vinyl to press their design onto the shirt. Once the vinyl is placed onto the shirt, then it’s super easy to use the heat press machine to transfer the vinyl onto the shirt. By doing this, you’re going to be giving your family member a piece of clothing that they’re going to be remembering for the rest of their lives.

Traveling does not have to be hard when you figure out what you need to pack. Packing is easy if you know how long your vacation is going to be, if you have access to laundry, plan on purchasing additional clothing, or if you are staying with family. With these options figured out you will be able to have a fun and relaxing time on your vacation.

Top 11 Favorite Airports

Top 11 Favorite Airports

Travellers hate to spend more time than they have to at an airport. I’m no exception.

But if I had to spend some time at the airport, these 11 would be my favorite airports to spend time at.

Denver International Airport, Colorado- The Rocky Mountains come to the airport.

Salt Lake City International, Utah- It’s very close to the city of Salt Lake and like DIA, the Rocky Mountains really come to the airport. When you land, the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains are the first thing you see.

Pittsburgh International, Pennsylvania-Who needs to go to the mall when this airport has all the stores you want or need?

Boston Logan Airport-Massachusettes- At what other airport in the United States besides Baltimore -Washington International can you pick up a live lobster to bring back home?

Las Vegas McCarren Airport-Nevada- Ching! Ching! even before you hit the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.

Singapore Changi Airport,Singapore- Free internet, comfy sofas in the lounge area, not to mention the free movie theater. No wonder this airport is ranked as one of the best airports in the world.

Minneapolis-St.Paul International,Minnesota-For the child in you, where else can you be greeted by a statue of “Snoopy”?

San Francisco International, California-Ghiradelli chocolate and sourdogh bread stands. It’s easy to leave your heart in San Francisco.

Kuala Lumpur International, Malaysia-An airport in the middle of a rainforest.

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson, Georgia- Home of my favorite airport restaurant, Paschal’s for good old Southern style comfort food.

Calgary International, Canada-You know you’re in cowboy and cowgirl country when the Customer Service agents greet you with a smile and the famous white cowboy hats.

Parenting Young Children: How to Be a Calmer Parent

Parenting Young Children: How to Be a Calmer Parent

Raising children is not easy. Raising children is generally not calming, but rather chaotic and sometimes stressful. Siblings fight, rules get broken, and bills pile up. It can be very difficult to juggle family and career as well. All of this combined with all of the other aspects of life can leave parents feeling anything but calm.

The truth of the matter is that none of the above matters to your child. Little kids don’t know how hard it is to raise a family, pay bills, or juggles work and home. They don’t know and they don’t care. All a little kid knows is that they don’t feel happy or good if mom and Dad are stressed.

Parents need to try their best to be calm despite anything. We need to do this for our children. Here are some ideas to help you be the calmest parent you can be, despite it all, for your children.

The first thing you can and should do in order to be a calmer parent, and person, is to make sure that you are making and taking the time to take care of yourself. All too often parents take care of everything but themselves. When this cycle continues for too long parents burn out. Make time and take time to take care of you every day. Eat a healthy balanced diet, enjoy a daily shower as a relaxing getaway, take a vitamin to keep yourself in tip top shape.

Exercise ties into the first tip but is actually the second. It’s more than just taking care of your body. Exercise is also a form of stress release. Stress relief, if you will. Setting twenty minutes or so to work out or to walk can greatly lower your stress level leaving you not only calmer for your children, but also healthier.

Many parents lose their calmness when their children start to act up. Did you know that when a parent loses their cool when their kids are misbehaving that they are actually giving their children a reaction that will encourage more unacceptable behavior? Oh yeah, it’s true. If a child is doing something wrong and they get a good reaction from their parents they consider it attention. They also see that it is bothersome and will not hesitate to keep it up until Mom or Dad gives in, giving them what they want or allowing them to do whatever. When parents remain calm and do not allow their feathers to be ruffled it takes all of the fun out of it for the kids. They realize when a parent remains calm that it won’t work, only discipline will be enforced. Consistent discipline along with parental calmness can reduce unacceptable behaviors to almost none. That is calming in itself.

The last way to be calmer as a parent is to not let the little things bother you. Kids will be kids. Hen parents allow every little thing to make them lose their calm they are never going to be calm. Learn to let the little things go. Don’t worry so much, or at least try not to. Don’t fret over every problem or every squabble your children have. Use problem solving skills when big problems arise and let all of the rest go. That alone calm make you calmer as a parent, and as a person, giving you and your family a calmer life all together. Good luck and relax!

Bad Parenting Adages: Forget These Sayings

Bad Parenting Adages: Forget These Sayings

When you were a kid, you probably swore to yourself that you would never, ever repeat certain adages and proverbs that your own parents told you. But, now that you’ve got children of your own, you probably find yourself making the mistake of repeating mantras you grew up hearing.

Childish rebellion isn’t the only thing that points out the fault in adages like “Say you’re sorry” and “If you can’t say anything nice…” Logical, responsible parenting can also reject the use of some negative and hurtful sayings.

Bad Parenting Adages: “Because I said so!”

Children ask “why” because that’s the only way they know how to learn. When a child wants to know why you’re leaving the playground, why he can’t play with matches, or why he can’t spend the night at a friend’s house, it’s not because he’s challenging your authority: it’s because this is the only way he can understand the adult world.

To tell a child that “because I said so” is a legitimate answer, is to tell him that explanations don’t matter and that he should blindly follow any and all authority figures without learning how any of it works– a sure method to render him unable to make his own decisions. It is never wise to deny your child education about the functions of a society.

Bad Parenting Adages: “Say you’re sorry.”

When we insist that children apologize because we think they should, we are essentially telling them to lie. The child may grunt “I’m sorry” under his breath to a sibling or playmate he just hit, but unless he actually feels remorseful about his action, this will just built resentment. Instead of forcing children to apologize when they don’t mean it, we should work toward getting them to understand what they should feel sorry in the first place.

If we instill our children with a sense of empathy by pointing out how their actions affect others, they will naturally apologize without force or resentment. Instead of “You’ve been bad! Say you’re sorry!” something like “Look how you made your sister feel when you hit her! How would you have felt?” can work to create true sympathy, rather than fake apologies.

Bad Parenting Adages: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Like adults, children need to feel heard in order to feel secure, and no one’s opinions include only nice things. Imagine what our world would look like if adults only said nice things about politicians, consumer products, and world history! We may not have nice things to say about the holocaust, ecological destruction, or social injustice, but we say what we think anyway. Dissent is what keeps the world spinning round.

Children must be taught that it is okay for them to have a negative opinion of someone or something: be it the kid across the street who stomps bugs for fun or the taste of last night’s dinner. Rather than teaching them to avoid expressing their opinions, parents should focus on teaching them polite and productive ways to go about creating change.

Bad Parenting Adages: “You’re a bad girl/boy!”

If you tell a child that he is bad, he just might believe you. And if he believes you, he is likely to follow with behavior patterns that fit this assumption. Children will eagerly follow nearly any label that we apply to them. If we call them “spoiled”, that is what they become. If we call them “hateful”, they to the best they can to live up to our expectations.

No child is perfect, but the best way to insure a child’s imperfections is to communicate that his identity and his behavior are one and the same. There is no harm in telling a child that something he does is hurtful, silly, or mean, but there is a great deal of harm in tellling him that his own identity is based in these labels.

As parents, we owe it to our children to put thought into our roles as parents. Beyond repeating the mantras that we grew up hearing, we must teach them with dignity, thought, and respect.

Traveling with Kids? Suggestions to Make it Easy

Traveling with Kids Suggestions to Make it Easy

Almost everyone at sometime or another ends up taking a trip in a car somewhere with kids along. That is part of the American image after all. However, that image usually does not include the kids in the backseat chanting over and over “are we there yet?” Car trips with kids can either be great, or a total nightmare depending upon how well prepared you are.

Remember kids really do not care how long it takes to drive a mile or that once they are at their destination they can finally get out and stretch. They are not typically capable of long car rides with no breaks along the way. To help make the trip as peaceful as possible be sure to schedule breaks along the way to stopping for bathroom breaks, food and the occasional chance to just stretch the legs and awaken the brain.

Do make sure that car doors are locked and kids know not to play with the handles, make sure kids are aware that they are not supposed to even have any part of their body hanging out of the car, this includes arms, hands, and feet and legs. Make sure everyone in the vehicle wears their seat belt, adults included to set a good example. Kids who are to be in car seats should still be in their car seat for the entire trip. Do not ever walk away from the vehicle with kids or pets alone in the car; it only takes a moment for a disaster to strike.

Kids love to ride in the front seat of the car, but car trips are especially important to make sure kids are in the backseat. Many states have now made it a law that kids ride in the backseat only. It is always a good idea to take a small cooler along for the ride so that a cold drink is never far away. Keep juice and water for the kids, especially since soda tends to make kids hyperactive and hyperactive kids and a long drive do not mix well.

Keep a close eye on the little passengers in the car, hot temperatures, and curvy roads can allow carsickness to set in quickly. Small kids who are sick can quickly and easily become dehydrated if they are not closely watched. Make sure to pack a fresh pack of baby wipes they are great for a large number of uses while on the road.

I always allow my children to pack a small rolling suitcase for trips that will fit in the backseat between their car seats. They themselves pack the bag that way the toys in the bag are what they themselves have picked out. I however always check the bag to make sure it does not have every loud toy in the house packed in it.

Remember that while stopping for food is always good, a snack every so often is also necessary. Packing snacks where the kids can reach is always good to help curb the afternoon munchies so they are not starving the whole way. Another good idea is to pack where they can reach a car pillow and small blanket. This way they can get comfortable and take a nap when they become tired without getting neck pains from uncomfortable sleeping positions.

How to Use the Metro

How to Use the Metro

Transportation in and around Washington, DC must be among the best in the world. You can get just about anywhere with a combination of the Metrorail, which is the subway system, and the Metrobus, which is the bus system. Together those two make living life in the DC Metro region a joy. Since I want others to enjoy the same luxury of traveling the area that I have had, I’m going to tell you the basics of how to use the metro. Hopefully after this article, you’ll feel confident enough to hitch a ride on the green line.
The prices are very reasonable. For the buses, a normal trip is $1.25. Express price is $3.00. The cool part about the whole set up is something called a transfer. When you get on the bus, you’ll be handed a little slip of paper. Hold on to it. Present it to the bus driver when you get on the bus the next time and you’ll get on the bus for free. I was amazed that I could ride round-trip for only a buck 25. Just be sure to look out for the time that the slip of paper says. Usually you’ll have 2 hours or so to use the transfer. You can’t use it after the time is up so plan your trip accordingly.

Metrorail is also very well priced. For barely four bucks you can ride from Maryland to Virginia. That’s why most people that work in DC opt to take the Metro to work every day. The thing to keep in mind with the subway is that the price is different depending on the time of day. Regular fare is during weekdays from 6am to 9:30 am, 3-7 pm, and 2 am to closing. This is peak traveling time for the train, so it makes sense to charge a little more since the trains run more frequently. All other times are reduced fair.

Also, if plan you get off the subway and use a bus, be sure to get a transfer for the station. It should be somewhere near the gate when you are about to board the train. If you present this to the driver of the bus after you get off the train, you’ll only have to pay 35 cents to ride the bus. Just be sure to get the transfer from the station you are boarding, not at the one you are arriving.

Now, I must highly recommend getting a Smartcard if you intend on frequently using the Metro system of transportation. It’s a little card that you can purchase at any station for $5.00. You can place money on this card and use it to pay for your rides on the bus and the subway. I guess they call it a Smartcard because it eliminates the need for paper transfers. The card automatically gives you whatever discounts are coming to you based on your usage of it. It’s so much better than keeping track of papers and whatnot. You can also register your Smartcard so that if it gets lost your balance will be safe.

In the next part of this series, I’m going to teach you how to navigate around the metro stations.

How to Fight Flight Boredom with Audio Books and Short Novels

How to Fight Flight Boredom with Audio Books and Short Novels

So it’s going to be a long flight home. As you find out your flight is delayed another three hours from the snowstorm, you anticipate a long, long day of traveling ahead. Traveling on a flight that doesn’t offer in-flight movies, extras, or entertainment options can make the whole trip seem like a lifetime. If you’re traveling alone, it’s times like these that a great music collection, novel, or stack of magazines can offer some great company.

Some new options await this year, that may just boost your spirits and help you spend your time well. It’s easy to pick up a pre-recorded book complete with headphones and batteries to accompany your carry on baggage. Or, take along a short book that already has an anticipated reading time printed on the back; your choice of 1-3 hours, depending on the length of your travels (or lack of).

Audio fiction and nonfiction titles, in short bites, are a great option for frequent travelers who are looking for minimal fuss. Pick up the Play Away Digital audio books for the latest titles, new releases, or your favorite classics. These pint-sized books include their own set of headphones. Each feature is a full narration of your book in an easy-to-carry miniature box. The box itself looks like a miniature size version of the hardcover title. The company has recently launched a custom library too, allowing downloads and streaming music in addition to your recent read.

OnFlightFiction.com offers a time scale of fiction novels for your selection Ranging from 1-3 hours, the book list currently highlights westerns and a few thrillers. The company plans to expand the titles list to include nonfiction, business books, and even self-help topics as the company grows. Still, this is a great way to find a quick time-filling activity if the reading rack at the airport disappoints. Amazon.com is the place to pick up your favorite, and the OnFlightFiction.com website features summaries and upcoming releases when needed.

For crossword and game lovers, there’s still plenty to choose from at the airport’s convenience store or kiosks. Track down some crossword puzzles or cryptograms to decipher; or, catch the Sudoku craze and stock up on the foldover tablet books that fit neatly into any backpack or purse. For the digitally inclined, keep your mind sharp with the touch screen handheld console loaded with the New York Time crossword puzzle. The device looks like a PDA, and offers some of today’s most challenging puzzles that can keep you busy for hours.

Delayed flights, inconsistent flight schedules, or just having to kill time at the airport can add to the stressors in traveling. When you’re stuck for entertainment options, or just need to occupy your mind with something creative, pick up a few interesting reads and activities in today’s most convenient formats. Your travel time will zip by faster than ever!

We Made Family T-Shirts With Our Heat Press

We Made Family T-Shirts With Our Heat Press

We had the 2017 family reunion a few days ago. It was an absolutely amazing time! We had over 50 of our immediate family and cousins there! This is by far the biggest showing that we ever had. To commemorate the occasion, we created T-Shirts for our family using our brand new heat press machine!

We chose to make our own using a heat press rather than buy them because we are such a creative family! Buying them from your usual shirt manufacturer would have been more cost effective, but would not have been nearly as much fun.

We spent about 30 hours making all 50 shirts. I’m sure that we could have done it faster, but spending quality time with our family was much more important than being very efficient.

We used a PowerPress heat press machine with Siser glitter vinyl; simply because we wanted our shirts to be fabulous! The shirts took about 20 minutes each to make.

Typically the Ciao Mom family will do some sort of family unity craft. In the past we have crafted ribbons to coordinate with what branch of the family tree we are on.

We did have an assembly line crafting the t-shirts comprised of several generations of our family. The grandparents were in charge of actually using the heat press. The moms and dads were in charge of making sure all of the transfer vinyl was properly lined up on the shirts. Of course, the kids had the most fun out of anyone since they were the ones designing the shirts.

While we liked to think that they would follow the crafting guidelines that us adults had set forth, they surely did not. However, the end result was amazing!

What resulted was the finest family made shirts that I have ever seen. Okay, maybe I am a bit biased since they were made by my family; but I couldn’t have been prouder of how everything came out! Coming together as a family to make something so wonderful and seeing everyone get all crafty with a heat press and vinyl was really a joy in my life. I’ll cherish these memories forever!