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How To Tour Your City

Now that people are starting to come out of their houses and stay at home orders are easing, this is a great opportunity to explore your hometown. Not everyone is comfortable traveling out of state now that we are in the COVID-19 era so why not support your local community and explore local shops and restaurants. This goes without saying but I’m going to mention it anyway….please remember your social distancing guidelines like wearing a face masks and staying six feet apart.

One of the best ways to tour your own city is to have friend show you all of their favorite spots. You’d be surprised at how many places you haven’t visited with your friend. Its also a great way to find out your friends favorite spots around time or places you never thought of visiting. Another great way to explore your city is via tour bus. There are lots of local companies that offer tours around your town and know the ins, out, and places unseen throughout the city. The best part, the tour guide will have LOTS of stories and history to share about each of the local sites.

Do adventures that are specific to your hometown, for example Austin is home to the largest bat colony in North America. Every year, we visit the Congress Avenue bridge during late fall to see the bats. Its an awesome experience and fun for the kids. You can check out some of our adventures in Austin here. Each city has it own adventures and experiences that make it famous and are worth being explored. While your out, don’t forget to eat local! There are so many local restaurants to try in your city that could definitely use our support during these unprecedented times. Local eateries offer one of a kind experiences with lots of history and stories to tell. What a great way to add to your experience.

These are just a few ideas on how to be a tourist in your own city. With all the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we rarely stop to explore and experience what’s in our very own backyard. Who says traveling has to be done far from home?

Family, Surviving Chaos, When in

Best Travel Apps

Now that its spring and summer is right around the corner, some families will begin to travel (of course adhering to ALL the COVID-19 precautions). With that being said, now is great time to make sure you have the best travel apps on your phone so that your adventures will be smooth and stress free. Here are out top 5 travel apps.

Hopper

Hopper is best for fare watching to ensure you get the best price on airfare and hotels. It watches prices so closely, it can tell whether you should book your trip now or wait. Set up your own price watch alerts so you don’t miss you an opportunity to save. #winwin

TripIt

TripIt helps you get organized!! You can upload your itinerary and share it with your friends so they when you leave and arrive at your destination. #safety For an additional fee, you can unlock more features like flight alerts, refund notifications, and reward tracking. The best part, this app works without Wi-Fi so it perfect for those rural or secluded destinations.

Timeshifter

Timeshifter is perfect for those who travel internationally and want to prevent jet lag. Based on sleep and circadian neuroscience, the app provides you with a personalized “jet lag plan” based on your destination time zone. It suggests when to wake up, when to consume or avoid caffeine, and so much more.

Trabee Pocket

Need a way to track travel expenses, be sure to download Trabee Pocket. You can track all you spending in this app and upload receipts (especially if your travelling for business). Added bonus – it even has an exchange rate calculator! #sohelpful

PackPoint

It never fails….we always forget SOMETHING on when we are packing for trip. PackPoint to the rescue! Just enter your itinerary: date, destination and activities and PackPoint will generate a packing list with everything you need. Plus, it checks the weather and will remind you to pack an umbrella or jacket for your trip.

Family, Surviving Chaos

Surviving Chaos: Brain Quest Workbooks

Brain Quest Workbooks

Need to keep your kids busy on long flights but keep them learning? Check out Brain Quest workbooks! These workbooks are my absolute favorite busy activity for our kids when we are training. Why? The are small and compact, no pen or paper needed, fit easily in our carry-on, and it helps our kids continue learning. Our kids love the quiz style format of the workbooks and all the fun illustrations throughout. I have been known to bring these out on weeknights when I am trying to get dinner ready. #survivingchaos

Each Brain Quest deck is a fast-paced question-and-answer game that challenges kids on the stuff they need to know, when they need to know it. The workbooks are jam-packed with curriculum-based activities, exercises, games and challenges, all in full color. There is workbook for each grade level from pre-kindergarten thru 6th grade. These will keep them busy for hours!

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Food, Surviving Chaos

Slow Cooker Crock-Pot Chicken

Looking for a meal that can feed the family all week but only takes a day to cook? Check out this Crock-Pot recipe for a whole chicken. Yes, you can put a whole chicken in the Crock-Pot!!! This meal really comes in handy when I know we have a busy week of gymnastics, piano, work events, etc coming up. Make it on Sunday and you can use the leftover chicken for lunches or dinner the rest of the week. With all my recipes, this one is easy to customize, healthy and only takes a couple of ingredients. Bon Appetit!!

Ingredients

  • 4-5 pounds whole chicken
  • 6 stalks of celery, cut in half
  • 2 carrots cut in 1 inch pieces
  • 8 ounces of red potatoes cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 5 garlic cloves peeled and smashed
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons of olive oil

Let’s Make it!

  1. Arrange celery, carrots, garlic, rosemary and thyme into a 6 quart slow cooker bowl. The chicken will rest on top of the vegetables.
  2. Combine salt, paprika, black pepper, and olive oil in a bowl to make a seasoning paste.
  3. Remove giblets and neck from chicken (this items may have been removed before the chicken was packaged). Dry the chicken with a paper towel.
  4. Spread the seasoning paste evenly over the chicken.
  5. Place the chicken breast side up on top of the vegetables inside the Crock-Pot.
  6. Cover and cook on High for 4-5 hours or LOW for 6-7 hours.

Surviving Chaos

  • Use the leftover chicken to make chicken salad for lunch.
  • Add barbeque sauce to the leftover chicken and broil in the oven for 10 minutes for a quick weeknight dinner.
  • Make a gravy with the juices from the slow cooker by adding butter and flour.

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Family, Surviving Chaos

A B Choo Choo!

An ABC train is loads of fun! This was one of my first DIY kids projects when we my husband first started traveling. I needed a way to not only keep the kids entertained while I made dinner but also get them to learn something!! A few pieces colorful construction, laminating sheets (for durability) and creativity made this project a breeze. And as an added benefit, when we started traveling as a family, the ABC train came in handy as it was easy to pack in a carry-on for long plane rides or road trips. Its a win-win!

To make it, cut out 26 wheels (they can be any color) and label them with the ABCs. Next cut out the boxcars and add 3 letters per boxcar (or 1 or 2-its up to you!). As for the locomotive (or engine), I drew it by hand; there are lots of free locomotive printables online if free hand drawing is not your thing. Laminate all you pieces and voila!

Surviving Chaos Tips

  • Let the kids help cut out the all the pieces; keeps them busy for while and helps their scissor skills
  • Change the letters to numbers
  • Use sight words on the boxcars instead of letters. This is perfect for kiddos learning how to spell!
  • These also make great letter recognition flash cards
  • Put it in zip loc bag: it keeps the pieces together, an added layer of protection from spills and it’s TSA friendly