Emergencies to Plan for Before an International Trip

Many people have international travel on their bucket lists. I know I do! Whether it’s a week in Paris or a month in Costa Rica, traveling internationally is as educational as it is exciting. But what happens if you experience an emergency on your trip? Do you have a game plan for that situation? Here are three emergencies to plan for before an international trip.

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international trip

Natural Disasters

international travel

Image via Flickr by NASA Goddard Photo and Video

Before traveling to your destination country, be sure to educate yourself on what type of natural disasters could happen. Are tornadoes common in the area? What about hurricanes? Although experiencing a natural disaster while you travel may be rare, it’s still important to take precautions in your planning.

Designate a location where your family or friends could meet in case of separation. Pack a first aid kit, a flashlight, and some food. Check in with the State Department for natural disaster information. Also, make sure you have copies of your passports, visas, and travel information so you can leave quickly if needed.

If a natural disaster does strike, seek out evacuation routes. Follow any instructions given by emergency personnel, including the Red Cross. Find a safe place to wait for help. Only eat food and drink water that you know is safe. Avoid downed power lines and flooded areas. Pay attention to television or social media alerts. And, after the natural disaster passes, be sure to check in with your family and friends; they’ll want to know you’re safe.

Terrorist Activities and Violence

Terrorist activities and violence, whether criminal or political, can happen without any notice. The State Department recommends that travelers stay aware while traveling abroad. It’s also a good idea to register your trip with the State Department to receive security messages and travel advisories.

Keep in mind that terrorists look for “soft targets,” such as airports, public transportation, sporting events, and hotels. Be aware of suspicious activity when you are in or around these locations while traveling. Pay attention to the local news. Also, make sure you know the location of your home country’s closest embassy or consulate. Finally, you and your travel companions should stick together. Don’t wander off alone.

Medical Emergencies

If you get sick or injured while you are traveling, having the right protection is important. For example, a membership with MedjetAssist can provide additional assistance to you in case of an emergency. MedjetAssist can arrange air medical transport from the hospital in your destination country to a hospital of your choice in your home country.

By upgrading your membership to MedjetHorizon, you will receive additional protective services in the event of a natural disaster, terrorism, kidnapping, or violent crime. Additionally, you will receive crisis response services including evacuation, legal assistance, and communication with your family members back home.

Although you hope to not deal with a crisis during your international trip to Paris or Costa Rica, being prepared for an emergency abroad will give you comfort. To enjoy your international trip and stay safe while traveling, education and preparation should be on your to-do list.

How to Set Up the Our Pact Premium App

Do your kids have cell phones? When my kids were younger, I said that my kids wouldn’t get cell phones until they were driving. That changed! Getting them phones earlier has actually been a benefit. There are times I need to be in two places at once, which means one child gets dropped off somewhere earlier. Having that phone makes me feel better. Besides that, having a phone gives me something I can take away. It’s all about finding what’s meaningful with punishments, right?!? However, taking away the phone defeats the purpose of why I initially got it for them. That’s were the Our Pact Premium app comes in.

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our pact premium
Image via Pexels

What is Our Pact Premium?

A lot of parents joke that they give their kids electronics like phones or an iPad so they have something to take away. As parents, we know we have to discipline our kids and take things away. In order for it to be effective, it has to mean something to them. Taking away the phone leaves kids without the very reason you gave it to them. So they can contact you if need be. Our Pact Premium is an app for both iOS and Android that allows you to manage exactly what they do on their phone and when. It’s a parenting game changer. Goodbye are the days when you collect the phone and take it away for X amount of days. Just turn off what you don’t want them using (games, YouTube, etc) and hand the phone back to them.

 

PopSockets 707027 : Expanding Stand and Grip for Smartphones and Tablets - Blue NebulaPopSockets 707027 : Expanding Stand and Grip for Smartphones and Tablets – Blue NebulaPopSockets 707030 : Expanding Stand and Grip for Smartphones and Tablets - BlushPopSockets 707030 : Expanding Stand and Grip for Smartphones and Tablets – BlushPopSockets: Collapsible Grip & Stand for Phones and Tablets - Peace Mandala SkyPopSockets: Collapsible Grip & Stand for Phones and Tablets – Peace Mandala Sky

Installing the App

It is very important that you read this section. I do not want another person to have the trouble I had installing this app and setting it up. At 9 pm I started setting it up and at 3 am, I was still trying to set it up. Nothing was working right. The directions on their site are a little vague and the step by step directions tech support emailed me didn’t work either. I finally gave up and went to bed and figured I would try again in the morning. When I woke up this morning, I had an idea as to why it wasn’t working and decided to try a different way. It worked! Had two phones set up in less than 25 minutes.

First things first…if you are planning on going with the Premium plan, set that up FIRST. Trust me. Once you have the Premium plan paid for, you will be prompted to download the Our Pact Utility onto your computer. Once that is downloaded onto your computer, do the following:

  1. Plug your phone iPhone into your computer.
  2. Run the Our Pact Utility program and follow the directions on the screen.
  3. Follow the prompts on your iPhone. When it asks you about allowing configuration, click “skip configuration”.
  4. Pair your phone by going to pair.ourpact.com.
  5. Log into the parent app and start setting up the schedules and blocks.

So why didn’t it work before?

When I initially tried setting up the app, I didn’t purchase the premium plan at first. By not doing that, I set up the free account. With the free account you do not need to use the Our Pact Utility program. Should be easy to upgrade from the free to the paid accounts, right? Wrong. In order to set up the paid account, you have to fully remove the free account. That’s easy enough. However, you cannot use the same name for the paid account that you used on the free account. So be sure which account you want from the beginning. I will say, in my opinion, this app is not worth it unless you pay for the premium plan.

Our Pact Premium App Features

You will know you have your account set up with the premium features when you see “access granted” and you can start blocking apps.

our pact premium

Next you will want to decide which apps you will always allow, which apps you would like to block for now and which apps you would like set up according to a schedule (more about that later). The nice thing is, if you decided to block an app, it disappears from your child’s screen. When you unblock it, it reappears.

our pact premium

Once you’ve decided on what to do with the various apps, you will want to set the schedules. On my kids phones, I have all the apps that I do not want them having access to during the night set to disappear at 8:15 pm and stay gone until 6 am (Monday through Friday). Since I would like them to not wake up at the crack of dawn just to watch YouTube, I also set a schedule for Saturday and Sunday.

our pact premium

Another really great feature is the ability to limit how much time your kids will be on their phone and iPad. You can set a daily allowance for them. When their time is up, they are done! I know when my kids were much younger, I was very strict about electronics during the school week. By setting daily allowances, your kids and their device self monitors and you don’t have to sit and watch the clock!

our pact premium

As if this app was already great enough, this next feature allows you to completely block adult content. I don’t know exactly what constitutes as “adult content” (besides the obvious), but I like that there is that extra little feature to help keep that stuff away from the kids. We have the settings on their iPhone to block it too, but as you’re probably aware, things can slip through.

our pact premium

Tonight we were at Sam’s Club picking up a few items and when we got in the car, Bella said “hey, where did all my apps go?”. So the bedtime schedule worked exactly the way it was supposed to! Besides the issues I had setting the app up with my sons phone, I am very happy with the Our Pact Premium app.

Have you used the Our Pact app?


5 Tips for Finding the Perfect Family Car

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Finding the perfect family car can seem like a daunting task sometimes. Not only is it an extremely large purchase, but it’s also something you will be using day in and day out for years to come. Especially if you have kids in sports or activities. If you are like me, you spend several hours a day shuttling kids back and forth. Since I spend so much time in a car, here are my top five tips for finding the perfect family car, hopefully they help you as much as they have helped me!

perfect family car

Image via cars.com

How to Find the Perfect Family Car

I still remember when I was pregnant for the first time. I had a new VW Bug that I loved! It was super cute, but totally not practical at all for a mom with a new baby. It would have been very difficult to get an infant seat in an out of the car. Not to mention, the trunk was not big enough for all the baby stuff we carted around daily. So off we went looking for a new car for our growing family. Little did I know, having kids would change my ideas on what I needed in a car!

Tip One: Infant Seats and Car Seats

What I didn’t know with my first child was how important it was to take the car seat with you when shopping for your perfect family car. With our first child, we leased an Aztec. We felt rushed with time to pick a car and the price was right. However, no matter how much I enjoyed driving that car (it really was a good car), it was NOT a good car for a rear facing car seat. Even having the car seat in the middle seat, it pushed both the driver seat and the passenger seat too far forward. It was NOT comfortable for us at all. So, not only do you need to take the car seat with you, but you also need to read up on the car seat safety checks done on may popular brands of cars.

Tip Two: Test Drive All the Cars

Make a list of the cars you like. Using sites like cars.com, you can easily make a list of cars you like. Once you have your list, go to the dealership, used car lot, etc and test drive the car. Sometimes you don’t even need to leave the lot. There was a car that I thought I loved, but the second I sat down, I realized I did not like the car at al. I didn’t even turn the car on. The shape of the driver seat was so uncomfortable. I couldn’t wait to get out of it.

Tip Three: Features

This may seem silly to some, but the features in a car are very important to me. I drive a lot. We are gone many weekends for lacrosse or soccer tournaments. If I am going to spend a lot of time in the car, I want to make sure it has the things I want. For instance, the three things I have to have in a car are heated seats, a heated steering wheel and remote start. I live in Michigan. The winters are brutal. Those three things insure that each and every time I drive my car, I am comfortable.  So think of the features you want and don’t settle. Make a list with a column of must have features and a column of features that would be nice, but not mandatory.

Tip Four: Backseat Space

After you turn the car seat front facing, the kids really don’t need much space in the backseat. However, once they outgrow the car seat, leg room for the kids need to be taken into account. My husband is tall. When he sits in the front seat, he has to have the seat all the way back. In some cars, it was very difficult for someone to sit behind him. So take your kids car shopping with you so you can see if the car is right for everyone!

Tip Five: Trunk Space

Finally, when I am looking for a car, one of the first things I do is open the trunk. Like sitting in the seat, opening the trunk can determine right away if the car will work for you or not. Lacrosse bags are huge. If they won’t fit in the trunk, the car won’t work for our family. Think about the things you cart around all the time. If you have a baby, make sure your stroller fits in the trunk.

Whether you are checking out local dealerships, used car lots or online searches for your next car, these five tips will help you narrow down your list and help you find the perfect family car.

What tips could you add to my list?

Spring Cleaning Essentials

Spring is right around the corner. In fact, it barely seems like we even had a winter this year. We hit record highs in February and I am happy to say, I barely had to shovel any snow at all this winter. As if the temperatures aren’t crazy enough, my tulips are already coming up! Since we are well below freezing today (we were at almost 60 yesterday…crazy, I know), I am sure my tulips are done for this year. At any rate, spring is around the corner, which means we need to start thinking about getting started with our spring cleaning.

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spring cleaning

When I first got married, I always laughed when I heard someone talking about spring cleaning. To me, you clean all the time, why do you have to have a special spring cleaning? It’s wasn’t until I owned my own home and was responsible for the entire place, and my kids got much older, that I began to understand the importance of spring cleaning.

Spring Cleaning Essentials

Spring cleaning doesn’t need to be difficult and it’s not something that you need to spend all day, one weekend doing. Sure, it’s easier to knock it all out at once, but with kids in travel sports, our weekends are mainly taken up with those sports. So I put together this spring cleaning guide, complete with those essential items you might want to pick up to make your cleaning easier. And who wouldn’t want their cleaning to be as easy as possible?!?

Protect Those Hands

Before I clean anything, I make sure I have these Mr. Clean rubber gloves. I cannot stand my hands getting dirty and I don’t like all the cleaners, no matter how natural they are, on my hands. I suggest you pick some up. They are really inexpensive on Amazon.

Mr. Clean 243093 Duet Reusable Latex Gloves, Medium, 2 Pairs/2 ColorsMr. Clean 243093 Duet Reusable Latex Gloves, Medium, 2 Pairs/2 Colors

Get the Kids Involved

One of the first things I take care of, or bribe my kids to do (let’s be honest), is cleaning the baseboards in my house. You don’t realize how dirty they get, and yes you should be cleaning them regularly, but who does? The best way to clean them is with these microfiber clothes and vinegar (I mix up my own with water, vinegar, dish soap and essential oils). Be sure to label your spray bottles.

Sinland All-purpose Microfiber Cleaning Cloths Wiping Dusting Rags 12Inchx12Inch Dark Grey 6 PackSinland All-purpose Microfiber Cleaning Cloths Wiping Dusting Rags 12Inchx12Inch Dark Grey 6 Pack24 Oz. Spray Bottles, 3 Pack, No-clog, Leak-proof Adjustable Nozzle, Janitorial, Cleaning, Housekeeping, Office, Chemical, Pump Bottle, All Purpose Cleaners, Glass Cleaner Sprayer24 Oz. Spray Bottles, 3 Pack, No-clog, Leak-proof Adjustable Nozzle, Janitorial, Cleaning, Housekeeping, Office, Chemical, Pump Bottle, All Purpose Cleaners, Glass Cleaner Sprayer

The nice thing about the microfiber clothes and the homemade vinegar spray, is that you can use them to clean other surfaces and areas in your home too!

Speaking of microfiber cloths…what if I told you that you could get microfiber slippers that will dust your floors? Hand your kids a spray bottle and have them dance around the floor. They will have fun AND be cleaning at the same time. You’re welcome!

Special Life 4pcs(2 Pairs) Microfiber Mop Shoes Cover - Easy for House Floor Dust Dirt Hair Cleaning(Color Random)Special Life 4pcs(2 Pairs) Microfiber Mop Shoes Cover – Easy for House Floor Dust Dirt Hair Cleaning(Color Random)

Must Have Item

If you feel like splurging this spring on something that you will use all year long and that will help you with your spring cleaning, as well as all those hard to reach spots all year long, then you really want to take a look at the Dyson V6 Animal Cord-Free Vacuum. Right now it’s $150 off on Amazon!! Quick…pick it up before it goes up in price!

Dyson V6 Animal Cord-free VacuumDyson V6 Animal Cord-free Vacuum

Other areas to remember to clean:

  • Windows, inside and out
  • Spray down your air conditioner
  • Change your furnace filterspring cleaning (6 pack on a tremendous sale!!)
  • Vacuum your air vents
  • Wash or dry clean your curtains
  • Clean, organize and sweep out your garage

Am I missing anything? What are some of the things you do when you are spring cleaning your home?

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Making a Milestone Birthday Special

It’s always fun to celebrate a milestone birthday. I know we had a huge party when my kids turned one and we will probably do the same on other special birthdays like when they turn 16 and/or 18. This year (February 26th, to be exact!), my husband turned 40! We have had a lot of stuff going on the last few months, so planning a bit surprise party or party of any kind, just wasn’t in the cards, timing wise. However, I still wanted to make this milestone birthday a special one. After a lot of reading online and planning, I came up with a really fun and special birthday for my husband.

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Celebrating a Milestone Birthday Idea

I love quotes. If I could walk around and speak in various quotes for most of the day, I would. I’m not kidding! I’ve always been like this. So when I was planning what I wanted to do, I knew I wanted it to have something to do with quotes about getting older (be sure to check below. I listed all the quotes I used).

Do yourself a favor and pick up this inexpensive quote book on Amazon. You will be able to thumb through it quickly and get whatever quotes you need!

&

1001 Smartest Things Ever Said1001 Smartest Things Ever Said

The second thing I wanted to do was figure out a way to make his birthday celebration last the entire day. I didn’t want to just give him some presents, have the kids eat cake and call it a day. This was a special birthday, so I wanted the whole day to be special for him. So instead, I got him enough presents to give him one present every hour we are awake at 40 minutes after each hour. So his first present was at 12:40 am and his last present was at 11:40 pm!

Quotes I Used

Like I said before, I love quotes. Here are the quotes I used and the present I bought to go along with each quote:

  • “It’s better to carry a tune than a grudge” ~ Modern Family
    • Kid Rock concert tickets
  • “At 40 you are not old, you are classic” ~anonymous
  • “Age is not important, unless you are a cheese” ~Helen Hayes
  • “Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well” ~Jack London
    • Card game
  • “The first 40 years are just practice. Now it starts for real” ~anonymous
    • Red Bull Total Zero
  • “Don’t take life too seriously, it’s not permanent” ~unknown
  • “Happy 11th anniversary of your 29th Birthday (steel anniversary)” ~unknown
  • “Life is too short. Smile while you still have teeth” ~unknown
    • Toothpaste
  • “At 40, I realize that I was built for comfort, not speed” ~unknown
    • Socks
  • “You are only young once, but you can be immature for a lifetime” ~John P. Grier
  • “Everyone is the age of their heart” ~Guatemalan Proverb
    • Heart Smart Peanuts
  • “You are only old when you think you are old” ~anonymous
    • Suduko and Logic Puzzle books
  • “You are only as old as you feel” ~anonymous
    • Bengay
  • “You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing” ~Michael Pritchard
  • “40 is when your body gives your brain a list of things it’s not going to do anymore” ~anonymous
    • To Do List pads
  • “There is no such thing as too late. That’s why they invented death” ~unknown
  • “Friendship isn’t a big thing, it’s a million little things” ~anonymous
    • 40 Things I Love About Him jar

milestone birthday

  • “Youthfulness is about how you live, not when you were born” ~Karl Lagerfield
  • “At Your age, you are going to need glasses” ~anonymous
    • Book about people in their 40’s

milestone birthday

Each gift was wrapped in either red paper (what I had) or in a gift bag. I used my Tag Makermilestone birthday to make tags for each gift. One side of the tag had the time he was supposed to open the gift and the other side had the quote. He saved every tag. That made me very happy! The night before his birthday, we lined all the presents up against the couch.

milestone birthday

This was so fun to put together! He had fun getting a present every hour. The kids made sure that he opened it right on time and if we happen to be out at one of their many games (lacrosse, soccer and basketball) this weekend, then they made sure he opened what he needed to when we all got back home.

This idea is perfect for any milestone birthday! Use the quotes above or find your own, but the general idea can be geared towards any age. I may do this again for my kids for their big milestone birthday…18! I went ahead and linked a lot of the products I picked up on Amazon for you. A lot of them, like the Yeti cup, for example, are cheaper than what you can get at the store! Plus, I don’t know about you, but I like things to be simple and there is nothing easier than having everything arrive in a box from Amazon!!

Atari Flashback Classics: Volume 2Atari Flashback Classics: Volume 2Giant Jumbo Pink Eraser For Big MistakesGiant Jumbo Pink Eraser For Big MistakesYETI Rambler Lowball 10 oz Stainless Steel Cup with LidYETI Rambler Lowball 10 oz Stainless Steel Cup with LidPotty Putter Toilet Time Golf GamePotty Putter Toilet Time Golf GameThis Is 40This Is 40100 Best Ways to Stay Young100 Best Ways to Stay YoungSeek Publishing 1977 Remember When KardLet (RW1977)Seek Publishing 1977 Remember When KardLet (RW1977)Fiskars Tag Maker II Standard/ScallopFiskars Tag Maker II Standard/Scallop

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