Here’s How To Make The Most Of The Summer Vacation With The Kids

For working moms and dads the summer vacation is a precious time as it the one part of the year we get to spend with the kids. However, no matter how excited you are to spend some fun family time together the summer can get a tad stressful, especially if you aren’t prepared for it. Happily, you can get ready for summer with the little ones by following the advice in my post below.

Dress the part.

In the summer vacation, we want the weather to be as good as possible, as it means ice cream in the park, long hikes, and water fight in the backyard. However, it’s pretty important that we dress not just the kids right for the increase in heat, but ourselves as well.

Luckily, it’s not too tough for us dads to stay stylish and cool at the same time, as all we need to do is go to online stores like John Henric that stock summer clothes including those all-important swim shorts. Perfect for when you need to show the kids how it’s done when it comes to epic water fights!

Always have an emergency pack.

Summer often means a lot of time outdoors and away from home, and while this is exciting for the whole family, it can also increase the risk of accidents, emergencies, and being caught without the essentials you need.

Although, it is possible to avoid this is you pack an emergency bag to keep with you at all times. Such a kit should include drinks for the kids as well as sealed snacks that don’t need refrigeration.

It’s also a good idea to include some high factor sun cream and a small first aid kit with plasters and antiseptic cream in case of fall or grazes. Then even if the kids do end up taking a tumble, you will be able to treat them there and then and continue with your family fun.

Make the stay at home days fun.

While it is essential to go out and about with the kid in the summer, you will probably find that you still have plenty of time to enjoy at home as well. Of course, at home tend to be where the boredom sets in, so ensure they have lots of activities to keep them amused.

With this in mind,  be sure to stock up on coloring books and pencils, as well as outdoor toys like baseball and basketball sets. Paddling pools and water soakers are a good bet as well, as not in only are they lot of fun, but they also allow the kids to cool down in hot weather.

Plan some fun days.

Lastly, if you genuinely wish to enjoy your summer with the kids as well as survive it is essential to plan in lots of fun days. For a good mix, schedule in some adventures that are closer to home like the St Louis Arch is for us, as well as local farms, parks, and museums.

Then, on a few occasions in the summer vacation plan some more elaborate trips perhaps with a night or two away. Something that will provide a change of scene for the whole family and make sure that everyone will enjoy the summer as much as possible.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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Throwing A Surprise Party For A Teen Is Surprisingly Hard

Throwing a surprise party for anyone is risky business, but throwing a surprise party for your teenage kid is different ball game altogether. All kids catch a disease the moment they become teenagers, which means they become a little allergic to their parents and find everything they do super-cringy and embarrassing. Instead, they would rather just hang out with their friends and leave it at that.

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But I’m a dad, and I love trying to do the impossible, so I’ve never wanted to leave anything ‘at that’, and certainly not the chance to prove you can throw a surprise party for teenagers and class it a success. It’s about making memories, man.

So, without further ado, here some super-awesome tips to help you ail this tightrope walk and come out the other side with an unabashed cuddle and an “I love you, Dad. Thanks for doing this.”

1. The Two Kinds Of Help You’ll Need

When it comes to planning a surprise bash, you’re going to need help. But not just any help; very specific help. The first kind is professional help (you already knew that, though), by which we mean hiring a party planning – something you can learn more about here. The other kind of help you’ll want to enlist is your teen’s BFFs. They’ll know exactly who to invite, what sort of entertainment to get, what drinks are hot right now, what food your kid loves, the sort of music to play and what snacks to put out. They’ll also be clued up on decoration advice too.

2. Create A Great Keepsake

Us Dad’s may not be cool in principle, but we can do some pretty thoughtful things, such as buying a keepsake your kid will cherish for years to come. It could be a blank book that everyone can write in, such as a story they hare with your teen, or you could invest heavily in something that they’ll appreciate when they mature into fully-fledged adults, like a watch or jewellery (engraved with the date, of course).

3. Personal Touches Are Key

It doesn’t matter what sort of thing your kid is into, how much they loathe you in their teenage years, or how much angst they put out in the world, they’ll secretly love a personal touch or two. It could be that you hire a skateboard ramp knowing they’re into it, or you might print out some of their most-liked Instagram photos and hang them from the trees in your garden or anything you fancy really. Just make sure it leans on the cool side of the line and not the awkwardly embarrassing.

4. Hide The Party, Not The Day

As a golden rule of thumb, don’t plan the surprise party to be held on their birthday or any time afterwards, other wise they are just going to think you forget their birthday and be even more begrudged by your sight. Instead, plan the surprise to happen before their big day. That way you won’t have to act suspicious or anything. You can just blow their mind, which is cool.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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3 Ways You Can Save Up For That Dream Family Holiday

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What’s your dream family holiday? Is it Disney World? A European vacation? Or something else entirely? Everyone has that one holiday they dream about going on with their family, it’s something you almost aim to achieve one day. The elephant in the room is that dream holidays tend to be expensive ones, which is why they often remain dreams forever.

Not anymore! If you want to go on a dream holiday, then here are some ways you can save up for yours:

Get An Extra Job

The easiest way to save up fast is to get an extra job. Naturally, this is also the least attractive way of getting the money too! No one wants to work two jobs, but it may be necessary if you want to go on your dream family holiday. Just think about what you’re working towards, and keep in mind you can quite as soon as the funds are raised. Plus, nowadays, jobs come in all shapes and sizes. You can easily get another job where you work from home for a few hours on the weekend, so it’s not too taxing. Or, become a part-time blogger and earn money the fun way!

Play The Lottery

Let’s face it, the lottery is the one thing we all hope to win one day. It will solve all of life’s financial problems, and give us more than enough money for a holiday. Okay, granted, you aren’t guaranteed to win the lottery in your lifetime, but it’s worth a try, right? There are other lottery-related games you can try instead as well. These days, you can play US Powerball online and be in with the chance of a huge jackpot. I only include these ideas because I just think you may as well give yourself every chance you can find of falling into a large sum of cash. Just buy one less cup of coffee a week if you’re worried about how much it costs to pay. Plus, a lot of the money spent on lottery games gets put towards good causes, so you’re doing a good thing!

Work Together As A Family

Finally, you will save up for your holiday a lot quicker if you work together as a family. Make sure everyone does their bit to save money, and you’ll find the funds in half the time. Especially if you have older kids with jobs themselves. Kids in their teenage years can get part-time jobs to help save for the holiday as well. This means you have everyone pitching in, which takes the pressure off your own shoulders a little bit as well. This is my favorite idea purely because it just makes the holiday that little bit sweeter because it becomes like a joint goal for everyone.

Do you want to make your dream a reality? Then think about some of the ideas I’ve discussed in this article. Don’t assume you’ll never be able to afford that dream holiday. One day, it could happen by a sheer stroke of luck or months of hard work.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

 

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The Polar Express at Union Station 2017

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The start of this holiday season has been fantastic so far. Great weather, family, friends, and life! Each year we like to take our kids out to see the holiday lights, shows, and other festivities that are happening in the area, and this year we made our way back to Union Station for a first class ride on The Polar Express.

IMG_0354Our previous ride on The Polar Express can be read here. When we arrived I learned that they completely changed the setup from our previous visit. Upon arrival you will go to the ticket booth where you will be provided a bracelet which indicates which train car you will be riding in. It also allows entry and reentry into The Polar Express wonderland.

Inside is filled with Christmas galore! I would recommend arriving about an hour before the time listed on your ticket so you can see all of the awesomeness! Outside there were fire dancers. Two wonderfully talented individuals performed a number of tricks with fire. Definitely check it out if you have time.

Another fun fire filled activity was a fire show sync’d to music. It was incredible. Inside there were coloring pages, plenty of photo opportunities, games, jugglers, and more. If you arrive an hour beforehand you will have plenty of time to do everything.

The fire show at #unionstationstl #stlpolarexpress

A post shared by Richie Williams (@dadstl) on

An announcement will be made to start getting ready for boarding. This is where your bracelets really come in handy. You will be lined up according to your train car and from there you will wait just a bit for the Conductor to let everyone know it’s time to board the Polar Express to the North Pole.

IMG_0069You grab your seats and get your golden tickets checked by the Conductor and the fun just keeps rolling down the track. A nice cup of hot chocolate is delivered to your table along with a cookie. The chefs are bringing some serious energy with that hot hot chocolate! The music and dancing had everyone enjoying the fun. Once everyone had their drinks and cookies that’s when the story of The Polar Express is read. The kids relaxed and listened as the chefs walked up and down the aisle turning pages of the book.

After story time it was time to sing and dance! The kids marched up and down the aisle singing many favorite holiday songs. Just when we thought it was over, Santa got on board! He visited every child and asked them what they wanted for Christmas and then gave them a special bell as their first Christmas present. My kids want a new iPad and LEGO sets. So hopefully Santa comes through this year. Check out St. Louis Dad on Instagram and Twitter for more Polar Express pictures!

The Polar Express is at Union Station in St. Louis November 24th through December 30th. So be sure to book your tickets today. Coming from a out of town? You can stay at the grand St. Louis Union Station Hotel, a Curio Collection by Hilton. Your rate includes Deluxe accommodations for the complete holiday experience.

Did you ride The Polar Express? Comment below and tell me about your trip!

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St. Louis Dad was compensated tickets to ride The Polar Express in exchange for an honest review.

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