Going on a scavenger hunt can be a great way for you and your kids to explore an area.

Through April 7 with scavenger hunt and NOFO 075  Through April 7 with scavenger hunt and NOFO 071Through April 7 with scavenger hunt and NOFO 074

Last week, the girls and I did a scavenger hunt in New York City. I created a list of 50 items I thought we might see. We had a really fun time on our “hunt”and we took pictures of many of the items we saw. I thought I would share the scavenger hunt I created:

NYC Scavenger Hunt for Kids and Adults:

  1. Water Tower
  2. Taxi
  3. Empire State Building
  4. Macy’s
  5. Trash Can
  6. Dog
  7. Tree
  8. Ant/Bug
  9. Food Street Vendor
  10. Statue
  11. Slice of Pizza
  12. Street Musician/Acrobat
  13. Stairs
  14. Street Lamp
  15. Graffiti
  16. Scaffolding
  17. Time/Temperature Sign
  18. Little Bird
  19. Building between five and ten stories tall
  20. Grass
  21. Double Stroller
  22. Fire Truck
  23. Police Car
  24. Mailbox
  25. Family with 3 kids
  26. Park Bench
  27. Yellow Flowers
  28. Person wearing Sunglasses
  29. Person speaking a Foreign Language (not English)
  30. Bus (extra point for Double Decker Bus)
  31. Fruit Stand
  32. No Smoking Sign
  33. Outdoor Table with Chairs
  34. Billboard
  35. Cash Register
  36. Person wearing a Baseball Cap
  37. NYC Souvenir Vendor
  38. Church
  39. Starbucks
  40. Escalator
  41. Bathroom Sign
  42. Red Car
  43. Someone wearing Orange Shirt or Sweater
  44. Suitcase
  45. Subway Sign
  46. Flag (extra point for American Flag)
  47. Bagel Store or Person eating a Bagel
  48. Sign in a Foreign Language (not English)
  49. Person Drinking a Soda
  50. Sign which has the words New York or NYC on it

This past weekend, I created another scavenger hunt for our weekend in NOFO (North Fork, LI).

Through April 7 with scavenger hunt and NOFO 127

NOFO Scavenger Hunt for Kids and Adults: 

  1. Carousel
  2. Croteaux Vineyard
  3. Aldo’s Coffee
  4. Goat
  5. Ferry/Boat
  6. Lavender Farm
  7. Fruit Stand
  8. Firewood for Sale Sign
  9. Seagull
  10. Beach
  11. Ice Cream
  12. NOFO Sign
  13. Playground
  14. Fish (real or picture)
  15. Wine Bottle
  16. Green Car
  17. Gazebo
  18. Real Estate Sign
  19. Map of North Fork
  20. Dog
  21. Oyster (real or picture)
  22. Anchor
  23. Grapes
  24. Flowers
  25. Lighthouse

Some of you may be on spring break and I wanted to share this quick and easy activity you can do with your kids when you’re on vacation or even locally in the area where you live. Have fun exploring!

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Family and “me” time vacations are important to help you recharge your batteries.

Recharge Your Batteries

Between the holidays and our end of the year family vacation, I took a bit of a longer break from writing posts. Vacations are an important way for people to relax and recharge their batteries.

Top 5 Reasons Vacation is Important:

1- Quality Family Time: School, work, after school activities keep us so busy that we don’t get to spend quality time with the family. Be present and shut off those electronic gadgets to create some lasting  memories on your family vacation.

2- It Destresses You: It allows us to take a break from the everyday stresses of life. I remember reading somewhere that “Stress is related to 99% of all illness.” So relax, catch up on sleep and exercise a bit more (going for long walks count too).

3- “Me” Time: While family time is important so is “me” time – girlfriend weekend getaway anyone? A weekend of sharing, laughing, eating, drinking and focusing on ourselves and not our family can be very reenergizing. This is important for guys too; everyone can use a break.

4- Exploring New Places Is Fun: You can also have a “staycation” and explore places which are not too far from home. This past weekend, we decided to go on a BA (I just made that up) – Brooklyn Adventure (BA). We walked on the promenade in Brooklyn Heights, asked the girls to identify NYC landmarks and had a delicious pizza lunch at Dellarocco.

5- YOLO (You Only Live Once): “Work to live, don’t live to work.” is one of my life mantras. As I tell my daughters all the time, “Life is not a dress rehearsal, enjoy life.”

Keep in mind, vacations dont have to be 1-2 weeks at a stretch, a 3 day escape from your daily routine can refresh your mind and body too.

So what is the parenting life lesson here? Parenting is hard work! Take some time off/vacation to recharge your batteries to help you with the ups and downs of the wonderful parenting “rollercoaster” and enjoy life!

Extend Your Summer T-shirts into the Winter Months

A Tantra T-shirt

What do you do when you have a great short-sleeved t-shirt that you bought while you were on vacation, but it is 30 degrees out? You wear a white long sleeve shirt underneath it! It’s a great way to extend those favorite vacation/summer t-shirts into winter.

The t-shirts in this post were actually purchased at Tantra™, a cool t-shirt store in India. I actually just saw they have a US supported website where you can purchase different styles also. Click here to check them out

Two additional helpful tips for girl’s clothing:

1) Do you have girl leggings which have holes in the knees? Cut off the “legs” and make them into biker shorts which you can wear underneath dresses.

2) Does your daughter have a favorite dress which is too small/short?
There is this one dress my daughter just loves and insists on wearing even though it is too short now. We have transformed this dress into a new “top/shirt” she now wears with leggings.

Parenting Life Lesson – It’s possible to extend the “life” of your children’s clothing when you get a bit creative. Your child will be able to wear that favorite t-shirt or dress a bit longer and it can save you money at the same time too!

Teach your children how to explore a new place on vacation with their senses.

5 sensesWhen we went to India on vacation this time, I asked my kids to think about New Delhi, India with all of their senses instead of just the things they could see. This is the list of things we came up with together as a family.

It’s been a fun way to think about and remember things we did on vacation. Perhaps you will think about doing this when you go on vacation in 2014 !

Smell: calming scent of incense in India, yummy food being cooked

Taste: the different types of food you enjoy – spices, kebabs, dal, paratha, roti, butter chicken, kulfi, mango ice cream, gulab jamun

Hear: the honking horns singing together in harmony, peace, laughter yoga, music

India Motorcycle ride

See:  multiple people riding on a motorcycle,  beautiful paintings in the National Gallery of  Modern Art (New Delhi), stray dogs happily walking on their way, lots of people everywhere, organized chaos, monkeys, cows, lots of traffic

Touch:  the beauty of the temples, the warmth and hospitality of the Indian people, the elephant ride on Christmas Day, hugging family members we don’t get to see so often

Elephant ride on Christmas Day

Create family memories with credit cards: Starwood American Express Card is my favorite.

Starwood Card

Having worked for a credit card company, I always put everything on credit cards – it is all about getting something for spending… be it cash back, miles or in my case Starpoints.

I love my Starwood American Express Card and a lot of it has to do with the great loyalty program Starwood has. There are no black out dates, you can use points as currency and they have beautiful properties all over the world. We have enjoyed free nights or reduced rates all over the place… from a staycation in NYC and a beautiful resort in Vermont to places abroad (India, London, Turkey).

Most people spend money on every day necessities like groceries, gas, etc. If you put it on the Starwood American Express Card, the Starpoints will add up quickly. The beauty of this card is that you can redeem for free nights at some properties for 3,000 points ( a much lower redemption than many other hotel chains). An up to 25,000 points acquisition bonus gets you on your way to free nights after your 1st purchase.

If you have to spend the money anyway, use your credit card for all purchases and save money on your next family vacation… 🙂