Travel Product Review: ICU Eyewear for summer reading

With summer finally here, many of us are making plans and going places. For your next summer road trip, we hope you are lounging poolside or down by the beach and enjoying a good summer read. ICU Eyewear has a fantastic creative team who have designed a great line of readers and reading sunglasses that are perfect to take on your next summer getaway.​ 

So the folks over at ICU Eyewear sent me some samples to try (note: my opinions are my own, but the samples were free for me to keep).

Light Blue Cat Eye Lifted Bifocal Reading Sunglasses ($25.95)Cat Eye frames are hot, hot, hot this summer! These frames are perfect for summer reading because they are polarized and 100% UV A and B ray protective; say hello to your anti-aging BFF.

icu sunglasses

These are my new poolside glasses! What I like best is they have all the perks of sunglasses but the readers are built in so someone looking at you can’t really see the readers built in. So…no one needs to know you’re cheating…readers are disguised. Any travel moms who still want to look youthful (cause we still feel young!) should try these!

ICU sunglass readers

Black/Tortoise Contemporary Readers ($23.95). Get your reading on with these stylish and very practical ICU Eyewear mens readers, great for all gents of all ages.

Another tester product. Ok dads/grandpas. You are the last one’s to ask for directions and the last one’s to remember to bring readers OUT (if you own some, they are probably granny glasses sitting by your favorite chair at home). One of my good friends (and mentor), Mike, was always borrowing other’s glasses or having to ask the server for advice on the menu. The best little local restaurants are often darkly lit and it can be difficult to see the menu.  Many “middle-aged” men and women hate to admit their vision is impaired enough to have trouble reading menus. But these stylish uni-sex readers are fun to pull out and use! 

icu readersICU mens readers

Oh the places you will go this summer are endless and there’s no doubt you have some great trips ahead of you. For your next summer road trip, don’t forget to pack a great book along with your favorite ICU Eyewear readers or reading sunglasses.

Be sure to download ICU Eyewear’s free mobile app today:

http://www.icueyewear.com/mobile-app.html

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Fun in South Bend, Indiana

FUN FACTS

  • The University of Notre Dame’s Main Building has 1,250 thin strips of 8 oz. 23-karat gold, 3 microns thick. http://tour.nd.edu/locations/eck-visitors-center/ (pg 93 of Kids Love Indiana)
  • The University of Notre Dame has the oldest continuously existing college band in the nation. When Notre Dame played football for the first time against Michigan in 1887, the Notre Dame Marching Band was already celebrating its 41st birthday.
  • The South Bend Chocolate Company produces more than 3,000 pounds of chocolate daily at its South Bend, Ind. factory. They invite you to “take a dip” literally – paid tours get to make a chocolate golden spoon! (pg 99 of Kids Love Indiana. www.sbchocolate.com)IMG_20140613_151753IMG_20140613_155107southbend choc tour
  • South Bend’s East Race Waterway was the first artificial whitewater course built in North America and opened in 1984.
  • The St. Joseph River flows north from South Bend into Lake Michigan. Several great walking/biking paths loop around the bends of the river. (you will cross it upteen times as you wander the city and surrounding suburbs)
  • FourWindsFieldSeatingChart_zvoo41i7SilverHawks single A baseball team is an affliate for the Arizona Diamondbacks. www.silverhawks.com. They play at Four Winds Field. The night we were there they had fireworks after the game. New are the Splash Pad water play area right behind Lawn SEating (only $6.00 for lawn seats) and the Tiki Bar, where parents can linger while their kids play in the Fun Zone.

9780615731674

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Downtown Fun in Indianapolis

I recently traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana with a youth baseball team. Since we knew we’d have time each day to check out the city’s attractions, we decided to plan some side trips within a short distance from our downtown hotel.

SUGGESTED LODGING:

SPRINGHILL SUITES BY MARRIOTT DOWNTOWN

Springhill Suites is located on a beautiful seven-acre site overlooking White River State Park and adjacent to the Convention Center. The downtown is located directly across from the Eiteljorg Museum, Indiana State Museum, the NCAA Hall of Champions, the historic Canal with miles of jogging/biking trails as well as just a 4 min. drive to the Indianapolis Zoo. With upgraded WiFi and super-fast bandwidth, guests appreciate the complimentary, new breakfast buffet served daily and the mini frig & microwave in every room. Ideally suited for families (and teen boys) with suites 25% larger than other traditional downtown Indianapolis hotel rooms, they also offer an indoor heated pool, activity kits for kids and even rentable board games and Wii! 

INDSD_ ExteriorDay1INDSD_QQSuiteINDSD_SuiteSeasons_BreakfastAreaold-world-gondoliers-1

Here’s a suggested itinerary for your next sports-themed trip to Indianapolis…

INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY: (pg 27 of Kids Love Indiana) Although recognized as a sports capital and home of the world’s largest single-day sporting event – the Indy 500, visitors will find there is a surprise around every turn…literally! We happened to visit on a day where they were not conducting Track Tours. Instead, time trials for a vintage car race were going on and we watched from the observers grassy mounds on the infield. The roar of the cars whizzing around the track in brightly shined color made our day!

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum 2014

 

INDIANAPOLIS ZOO: (PG 29 Kids Love Indiana) World’s Most Important Zoo Exhibit: International Orangutan Center. www.indyzoo.com. Features eight orangs that interact with visitors! through computer games or a 40 foot high tram ride along the recreated natural habitat of the Hutan Trail. Nightly, an orang climbs to the Beacon of Hope and flips on a light that can be seen from downtown Indy! Amazing, creative space!

Indianapolis Zoo Orangatang Center

 

NCAA HALL OF CHAMPIONS: (pg 23 Kids Love Indiana) www.ncaahallofchampions.org. Because we LIKE most college sports but LOVE baseball, we spent most of the time in that area. Mom (me) earned some cool points on the basketball half court though…made the same shot Michael Jordan did to win for Tarheels as a freshman.

NCAA Hall of Champions Baseball exhibit

Indy is at your service! You will quickly discover that Hoosier Hospitality is not a statement, but a lifestyle. Notoriously nice, helpful people are everywhere to assist you in planning and implementing a successful tour. http://www.visitindy.com and www.kidslovetravel.com/kids_love_indiana.htm9780615731674

 

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Travel Product Review: Secur Sun Power 6000 Charger

It is becoming the time of year to be outside and in the sunshine. Many people enjoy going to outdoor destinations, but are forced to leave when their electronics run out of battery power. Secur Products solves this problem with the Sun Power 6000 Charger, the fold-up solar panel designed to charge electronics.

SP-3008_cell_charge

Sitting on the beach with a drink in hand, enjoying time spent with the family or friends is the daydream of many desk dwellers, so why ruin the image with a dying cell phone? The Sun Power 6000 Charger allows you to charge your electronics without leaving the fun in the sun. This handy charger is water resistant, and perfect for seaside festivities. Now you won’t have to cut the day short simply because you can’t take that perfect “selfie” in the sand.

Or, got kids playing sports? I spend gobs of hours at ballparks all summer long. Tournaments can go all day…and I’m checking emails and updates of brackets all day. My battery always runs out at the worst times. Not now…

secur

Sun powering my charger up so I can charge up my cell phone in a little while…

Easy to use, really simple. You’ll never feel out-of-communication out n about again.
Suggested Retail Price for the Sun Power 6000 Charger is $129.00 and it can be found on Amazon.com for purchase.
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MIDWEST HOMESCHOOL CONVENTION in Cincinnati is hosting a workshop about Family Field Trips on a Budget

COME TO booth #1621 – KIDS LOVE TRAVEL at the Midwest Homeschool Convention and check out our books and show specials. (http://midwesthomeschoolconvention.com ).

ONE of the authors will be there so think of a QUESTION or two to get a JUMPSTART on your next trip!

AND, take a fun break and listen in on one of our convention workshops:

Room – Duke 235

Friday, April 25th – 1pm-2pm

Kids Love Travel – Let’s Plan an Affordable Family Day Trip!

Family Field Trips with kids can be a delight or a disaster. Two things that make a homeschool trip great: low-cost and educational fun.


1. FREEBIES? Know where to look for FREE car games to play while day-tripping? Our new books suggest online places to find and print them.

  2. INSIDE SCOOPS. What are some secrets to get the most value for your money. Where to sit to get best value? what to bring? why to get there early? Examples: on Tours-why standing in the first two rows is beneficial. What about having a picnic at a castle? Why go early to outdoor dramas?

3. EDUCATORS? There’s suggestions for finding FREE lesson plans embedded in many listings as helpful notes for educators.

4. Marriage of guidebook and the Internet.

Guidebook= organic – highlight it, dog ear pages, write notes, already organized and filtered for kids, unbiased (no fee), and accessible without a wireless connection.
Internet=  the newest discounts, web updates, extra insights can be found at the links provided on every page.

KIDS LOVE TRAVEL GUIDES can save you $$ in just 20 minutes reading just one chapter in one book! We can save you dozens of hours on the internet, too.

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TRAVEL PRODUCT REVIEW: Sun Bum Sun Care

Check out these perfect traveling companions new for summer 2014!

NEW! Sun Bum Shorties: sun bum

sun bum

Sun Bum premium sunscreens now in TSA-approved sizes. Protect your skin from harmful UV rays with the classic Sun Bum Moisturizing Lotion, and replenish on the go with the moisturizing Sun Bum After Sun Cool Down Lotion. Smells like a tropical vacation every time you apply instead of chemicals.  Available in SPF 15, 30, 50.

On a recent trip to the Yucatan, I commissioned a friend to give his face, head (balding some;-) and body a fighting chance to become bronzed but not burnt. It was a success!

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Though the sun was beaming down hard…especially climbing the Mayan ruins…the sunscreen provided protection. On two occasions Jim wasn’t donning a hat and was concerned he had too much exposure. Each night at twilight, he used the moisturizing After Sun Cool Down Lotion. The next day he woke up without burn and his skin felt great…even on top of his head :-)

Our family will put the lotions to the test again this baseball season…once the Ohio weather clears enough to actually be in the sun for more than a couple innings! (I’ll update this post later)

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Travel Tips from the Family Travel Mom: subject – Natural History Museums – flashback

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUMS – It’s all in the starting point.
Flashback to an earlier time:

As we waited in some lines opening day of the new Creation Museum, we were greeted by friendly faces and warm smiles from the docents and the guests alike. Many had been waiting for this museum to open for years, so what was another few minutes. “Much of the experience features displays that would be similar to what you would find in a natural history museum, so you will see exhibits on par with some of the fine science museums around the world,” said director, Mark Looy. “Because we’re taking our visitors on a walk through history from Genesis to Revelation, it is a biblical museum combining Scripture with the best of what science can present.” Interesting twist on most “Dinosaur” museums. Yes, there were tons of dinos, many animated –even dragons! Really, right up there with “Dinolands” in VA, OH & FL but also including some items like simulated walk-thru gardens, caves and even an ark! Elements we like best in Natural History Museums are simulations: walk thru limestone caves (OH), Ice Age (OH), Indian mound sites (TN, IL, OH), copper mines (MI, TN), or coal mines (TN). Some of our favs have giant prehistoric creatures hanging overhead (OH, NC). Many have wonderful paleontology labs (OH, PA, VA, MD) where real scientists are actively working on specimens. All that wonderful science to absorb – but one difference…the timeline. Same science, different starting points. Curious? Check out the Creation Museum for details…

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Travel Product Review: Fix N Zip

As seen on the TODAY show TWICE, this item is perfect for traveling, business, and home. When traveling, the last thing you need is for your zipper to break. From researching a local tailor to scouring the premises for household items – you simply do not have the time.

Easy to use and eco-friendly, FixnZip is reusable and can be taken off one item and used for another. It has a patented spring plate design consisting of two slider plates, a thumbscrew and spring, all manufactured within the USA. The slider parts are made of nickel plated zinc die cast and the spring and thumbscrew of stainless steel.

 

Product highlights:

·         Zipper repair without tools or sewing

·         Easy to apply

·         Repairs tooth and coil, metal and plastic zippers

·         Each fits a range of sizes

·         Can be started anywhere on the zipper

·         Comes in attractive bright nickel or black nickel finishes

·         Non-corrosive surface

·         Durable

·         Promotes recycling and sustainability

·         Can be re-used

·         Full website and online instructional support

·         Online store for ease of ordering

·         Made in the USA

·         Assembled and packaged by Exceed Enterprises, an employer of the disabled

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Have a Holly, Jolly Season at a National Wildlife Refuge

Walking in a winter wonderland? Check. At some national wildlife refuges, you can also hear sleigh bells ring, join in carols or turn fresh pine boughs into a festive holiday wreath. Many refuges will host free, family-friendly holidays activities though the New Year. See what holiday treats are in store at a wildlife refuge near you. Check here for added listings as the holidays draw closer.

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree
Work off those holiday-season calories by cutting your own tree at Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge in Maine, Rydell National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota and Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

  • Moosehorn Refuge lets visitors cut two balsam fir or pine trees per person, starting at the end of November. The trees must be cut to maintain road safety. Pick up a free permit from the refuge office before you cut. Phone: 207-454-7161
  • Rydell Refuge will allow Christmas tree cutting on Saturday, December 7, and Sunday, December 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This may be the last year for this activity as the refuge restores native vegetation. Phone: 218-687-2229
  • Kenai Refuge lets visitors hand-cut one tree per family between Thanksgiving and Christmas. No fees or permits are required. Cutting is restricted to certain areas. Phone:  907-262-7021 or toll-free: 1-877-285-5628.

Wreath-making Workshop
December 1 & December 7, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge, OR
Learn how to combine native conifers and shrubs into a beautiful wreath you can take home. Bring your family. All materials are provided. If you have a pair of pruning shears or gardening gloves, please bring them. Pre-registration is required: 503-812-6392 

Holiday Open House
All month - Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, WI
Borrow snowshoes, outdoor activity backpacks and binoculars from the visitor center. Enjoy the wild Wisconsin winter.

Winter Wildlife Excursions
Starting in early December, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. — National Elk Refuge, WY
Take a free guided tour along the refuge road where elk, bighorn sheep, waterfowl and other animals can often be seen.  Hear a naturalist recount refuge history and wildlife management methods.  To reserve a seat, call 307-734-9378 or stop in the visitor center. Updates: http://1.usa.gov/19amBix

Holiday Open House
Thursday, December 5, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge, IL
Celebrate the holiday season with staff from the Cache River Wetlands Joint Venture. 

Holiday Full-Moon Howl
Saturday, December 7, 5 to 6:30 p.m. — Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, NC
Hear endangered red wolves in the wild.  Bring a flashlight and insect repellent. Howling trips will occur except with lightning, heavy rain, wind or impassable roads.  See a short video about the wolves and hear them howl.

Wildlife Holiday Bazaar
Saturday, December 7, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Patuxent Research Refuge, MD
Shop for wild and not-so-wild treasures at this annual Friends group event.  See live animals. Find unique gifts and support the refuge and the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Make origami ornaments and hand-crafted cards. More info:  http://friendsofpatuxent.org

Christmas on Chesser Island
Saturday, December 14, 6 to 8 p.m.  — Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, GA
Celebrate the holidays at the Chesser Island Homestead with luminaries, caroling and live music. Tour a swamp homestead adorned with traditional homemade decorations.  Stay warm by the bonfire while enjoying homemade cookies, hot chocolate or cider.

Santa Comes to Call
Saturday, December 14, 2 to 4 p.m. — Southeast Louisiana Refuges Complex, Lacombe, LA
Mrs. Claus will read Christmas stories while Santa greets kids and families in his “Cajun Cottage” outpost in the visitor center.  Admission, photos, refreshments, and visits with Santa are all free, courtesy of the Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges.  Enjoy hot chocolate and cookies. Explore the trails and grounds of Bayou Gardens, filled with many varieties of camellias in bloom. 

Winter Sleigh Rides
Monday, December 16 — National Elk Refuge, WY
Enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride to see the elk that winter on the refuge. For details, see: http://1.usa.gov/1646lhY or http://bit.ly/1djB8Mb.  Sleigh rides will continue through Saturday, April 5, daily except for Christmas.

Winter Tram Tour
Saturday, December 22, 1 to 4:30 p.m. — Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, VA
Take a ride on an open-air tram and see the ducks, geese and swans that make Back Bay Refuge their winter home. Continue into False Cape State Park for a one-mile hike to the Wash Woods cemetery and church site. $8 per person. Reservations are required: 757-426-7128.

Christmas Bird Count
Many national wildlife refuges will host the 114th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count on specified dates between December 14 and January 5.  The citizen science effort provides data on bird population trends. To find a bird count near you, check this page.  Participating refuges include:

Sunday, December 15, 6 a.m. to dusk — Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, SC

Sunday, December 15, all day — Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, NV

Monday, December 16, all day — Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, MD.
Teams will cover about a third of Kent County, including the refuge.  Registration is required: 410-778-9568

Monday, December 16, 6 a.m. to sunset ­— Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge, IL

Saturday, December 21, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, MO

Saturday, December 21, 7 a.m. to dusk — Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, TX Sign up: www.friendsofhagerman.com/BirdSurvey

Saturday, December 21, 8 a.m. to dusk — Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, MO

Sunday, December 22, all day — Santee National Wildlife Refuge, SC

Sunday, December 29, all day — Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge, AZ  

Monday, December 30, dawn to dusk — Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, CA

Monday, December 30, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, TX 

Holiday Open House
Tuesday, December 31, all day – Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, WI
Self-guided items for checkout from the visitor center include snowshoes, “Let’s Go Outside” activity backpacks, and binoculars.  Enjoy and explore the wild Wisconsin winter!

Christmas Tree Drop-Off
March 2014, Exact date TBA. Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, LA
If you live near the refuge, you can see that your Christmas tree aids wetland restoration when the holiday ends.  Place your tree at the curb for collection and delivery to the refuge by city contractors.  Volunteers will band the trees together for a helicopter sling.  The Louisiana National Guard will drop bundled trees in selected wetlands to boost habitat for waterfowl, wading birds and other wildlife.  In recent years, this effort has created about 100 new acres of refuge marshland.  Check the refuge website for updates.

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Travel Product Review: Travel size lotions from Coppertone…sun protection is always in season.

When Coppertone first approached me a couple weeks ago about doing a blog review of their sunscreen products, I thought, “it’s almost the end of summer!”

But then I received the sample package…right after Labor Day weekend full of outdoorsy fun at festivals and football games. Right after days in the late summer sun…and a little sunburn on my face and shoulders! Ok, I get it. Providing broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays is always in season.

I focused on the facial products – especially the Sport Lip Balm and Oil Free Faces Sunscreen Lotion. An outdoor concert, a baseball game and a college football gameday tailgate were on the agenda the following weekend. I applied the lightweight products (btw, won’t clog pores or cause breakouts, water-resistant (80 minutes) and the Sport even sweat proof) and they worked! Soft skin and no burn.

And, for you sun-seeking travelers who fly south when the chill hits North – Coppertone Travel Size offerings are now available. The 3 oz lotions are made specifically for convenience and comply with TSA travel size regulations.
  • For portable protection, Coppertone Travel Size Lotions are perfect for your weekend away game trip – they can easily fit in a purse or carry-on bag for on-the-go sun protection.
  • For a simple beauty regimen, Coppertone Oil Free Faces SPF 15, 30 and 50+ is a fragrance free, hypoallergenic sunscreen lotion specifically designed for the face. It helps prevent premature skin aging and won’t clog pores or cause breakouts.
  • For convenient lip protection Coppertone Sport Lip Balm SPF 30 can easily fit in a pocket for on-the-go sun protection that also helps smooth and soften lips.

Where to find: Available nationwide at food, drug, mass and internet retailers. Sport $3.99. Lip Balm $2.99. Oil Free Lotions $8.99. www.coppertone.com 

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