Showing posts with label fun activities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fun activities. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

5 Fun Things to Do in November


It is that time of year when we all start to accept that the "good ole summertime" is gone for another year, and we will be relegated to inside activities during the cold winter. BUT that doesn't have to be the case.  There are still lots of nice days in November to get out and enjoy the sunshine and soak in some of that Vitamin D that we all need!  Check out at least five things you can schedule for the beautiful month of November!


fun activities
For your kids, plan fun activities
for when they are bored.

1.  OUTDOOR FUN IN NOVEMBER~~~

In a lot of areas November is the time of year that we see all those gorgeous fall leaves fall from the trees. Now is the time to get the kids outside for some fun activities when they are bored! Grab those rakes and leaf bags and get them moving while you get the yard cleaned up too!  Let them have some fun in the big piles of leaves! Maybe you have elderly neighbors that could use the extra manpower to help them with their fall cleanup too? 



 2.  SLEEP-IN DAY ~ Daylight Savings Time Ends


fun activities
Fall back and enjoy
Sleep In Day!
We gained an hour of precious sleep on November 4th, when we once again "fall back" as daylight savings time came to an end. Sunday, November 4th was "Sleep In Day". Did you take advantage of that extra hour to catch up on much needed rest? It is well deserved for all you busy parents trying to keep up with those crazy schedules these days! And don't forget this is the time of year we change the batteries in our smoke detectors.The International Association of Fire Chiefs recommends changing your smoke detector batteries at daylight savings time.This will insure that they are working properly as you enjoy your extra sleep time!


November event
Honor veterans on Nov. 11.

3.  Honor our VETERANS Day!! 


November 11th is a day set aside to honor our Veterans who have fought to preserve our freedom in this country. On this day and every day we can all take time to seek out and thank those who have served and made tremendous sacrifices for us. This is a time to honor all those who lost their lives as well as veterans who fought for our country so that we can live in a free society. This would be a great time to tell the kids about volunteering at shelters or soup kitchens as we approach Thanksgiving as many of our veterans seek help from those agencies. This is an annual November event that we can all take part in.

4.  THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY 

This is one of my favorite holidays of the year. This is a time of year that we can reflect on all the wonderful things that have happened for us this past year. We can give thanks in whatever manner we choose for the blessings in our lives. I have been lucky enough to spend each and every Thanksgiving with our family.


This is a good time to take part in donating to the local Food Banks to make sure that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving meal. Check with your local charities to see if you might be able to volunteer your time serving or helping in some way provide that special meal to those less fortunate. 

This is also a great time to check out some new recipes to add to the traditional family recipes we see on the Thanksgiving Day table each year. 

Buy Nothing Day
Shop on Black Friday or
stay home and relax!

5.  You Choose!  Black Friday or Buy Nothing Day!!!

Many people want to get a jump start on their Christmas shopping and have made a tradition of rising VERY early on the day after Thanksgiving also called Black Friday (or maybe not going to bed at all that night!) just to get the door buster specials at their local retail outlets! I have to admit I fell into the trap one year with my daughters. We hit the store at 5am to hopefully get the 50% off on electronics. The place was a madhouse, and I decided that I had experienced the event once and that was enough for me! I will willingly pay the extra few dollars just to avoid the chaos of BLACK FRIDAY.  I have also discovered that I will be able to find some of those same bargains in December when I start my shopping. I am, therefore, a member of the Buy Nothing Day crowd on November 23rd! But for those that just enjoy the experience, I applaud you! I will be thinking of you while I am snug in my cozy bed, sound asleep as you fight your way through the mobs! Happy Shopping! 

Whatever your plans are for November, I am sure that you will enjoy the time. Get outdoors while there is still beautiful weather because it won't be long before our winter sets in. Enjoy some family time and check out those organizations seeking volunteers to help with the holiday meals. It can be very satisfying to help others who need the help.

Cindy Foley
Contributing Writer 





 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Concerts in the Park


The fall season is a wonderful time to enjoy concerts in the park and the great outdoors. The local entertainment section of your newspaper often lists fun outdoor activities to attend this time of year, especially in our beautiful public parks and community venues. In addition to concerts, there are outdoor festivals that families and friends can enjoy together.

upcoming events
Summer brings many music concerts to local venues.
When my husband and I vacationed in New Orleans a few years ago, we enjoyed a wide variety of live music outside in the French Quarter. The sun was shining and people all around were dancing, singing, and having a great time. Since then we have been to a number of other outdoor concerts, like the Lehigh Valley’s famed Musikfest and live music performances at area bars and country clubs. Listening to music outside has become a favorite pastime for us as a couple, and now that we are plus-one with our little girl, we will be looking for more community events to enjoy as a family.

We're located in the Lehigh Valley and finding upcoming events is really easy. Music concerts are often announced through television programs and radio. A concert schedule or listing of other local events with live music in your area by searching on Eventful or Pollstar.

Concerts in the Park
Checking out a concert at the park with your family or friends can be a memorable summer or fall activity that everyone will enjoy.  A concert in park can combine music, fresh air and a good time doing something a little out of the ordinary. If you enter your community name and FREE concerts in your browser's search box (Ex. Bethlehem free concerts), you can find events in your area.

The concert in the park series in the Lehigh Valley usually includes an array of performers, from the very well known to new and upcoming acts. Events in your area might draw well-known performers and new, local artists. One thing is certain, a good time will be had by all. Many concerts in the park actually begin in the early summer, so remember to start checking in June next year if you missed any this year. But don't worry, there are still some events coming up.

upcoming events concerts
Enjoy a concert at the park with friends and family.
Bethlehem Pride

Recycling isn’t limited to product packaging. Bethlehem is proud of having recycled a historic landmark into a great venue. SteelStacks is an incredible arts and cultural campus located at the site of the historic Bethlehem Steel plant. Check out www.steelstacks.org for a listing of upcoming concerts. We're also very proud of Celtic Fest. This fun festival has everything from a herding show starring energetic border collies to a haggis eating contest. This year the 25th Celtic Classic takes place September 28 – 30 at its standard location in Bethlehem. Food, beer and merchandise vendors as far as the eye can see make this annual event a versatile and  terrific way to spend an afternoon, evening or the entire day.


If outdoor music concerts aren’t what you're looking for, there are probably plenty of fun things to do in your area. Autumn is the time of year for hayrides, haunted houses, pick-your-own pumpkin patches and corn mazes. To find events in your area, type your county, city or community name and FREE events in your browser's search (Ex. Bethlehem free events) and I'm sure you will get a list of great things to do in your community.

Tell us what Autumn entertainment you enjoy most. What fun family activities are popular in your neck of the woods.  Are you aware of any upcoming concerts not listed in our post? Please feel free to share your feedback in our comments below.

Kathryn M. D'Imperio
Contributing Writer 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Park It--Summer Activities at State and National Parks

Whether you are six or 46 (or 23 like me!), I'm sure you have a soft spot for a good park. The merry go round, swings, and slides can make a child or an adult alike go weak at the knees!

Summer Park Activity
The girls swinging away at one the many parks we have been to!
During the summer when I was home from college, I would babysit two little girls who lived a town over.  The sun would always taunt us to come out and play, but there is only so much tag a girl can play!  I tried to brainstorm different ideas of where to take the girls without having to:
  1. Pack them up in the car, and;
  2. Spend a ton of money 
One day while towing them around town in their red wagon, I remembered there was a huge park down the road.  Oh, did I make a b-line for it!

Parks are awesome.  Whether you go to a community park, amusement park, state park or national park, they are fun places to go with little cost or no cost.  My motto is "If it's free, it's for me!"  I am also known to settle for almost free, too!

Typically community, town, and city parks are almost always free of cost and are extremely family-friendly.  Pack up a picnic basket full of goodies and maybe even some watermelon (check out some scrumptious watermelon recipes on our Pinterest)!  You can take advantage of the basketball and tennis courts most parks offer or even bring the bathing suits to go swimming in the pool.

If you want to put some amusement in your summer, many theme parks offer discounted rates for large groups.  They also offer season passes, one fixed price to visit as many times as you want during the season, which is great if your family goes often.  Also, keep an eye out for discount coupons.  Hershey Park, which is about an hour and a half drive from our corporate office, puts discount coupons on the back of Coke cans.  Once you're done drinking your Coke, take your can to the park and receive a discount on the price of your admission. (And they recycle the can for you!)


Parks - Know Where to Go

State parks are great because there are so many to choose from per state.  With so many choices, odds are there is one close enough to avoid the infamous, "ARE WE THERE YET" from the backseat.

park activities park recreation
Ohiopyle State Park in PA (iStock photos)
Niagara Falls State Park - I'm sure you've heard of Niagara Falls, but did you know that it's a state park, too?  Neither did I!  It's actually America's oldest state park. This park does have an admission fee for visitors, but it offers a Discovery Pass, which can help you save up to 35% on your visit.  There are many different activities at the park to give you a bang for your buck.  If you want an even bigger bang, beginning at 10 p.m. from late May to early September, every Friday, Sunday and on certain holidays the park puts on a spectacular fireworks show.

If you're not sure which of the many state parks to visit, you can visit America's State Parks and use the Find a Park Tool to find one that speaks to you.

National Parks 

With 397 national parks in the U.S. there are many gold mines of fun to uncover.  For money saving ideas - choose from one of the 264 that are FREE! The other 133 charge entrance fees.  Fun abounds with camping, hiking, canoeing, and more!

During spring, summer, and autumn at many of the parks, there are numerous programs offered for children which allow them to explore, discover, and learn about the park they are visiting.  If you think that's cool, kids between the ages of 5 -12 can become a junior ranger!  It's no wonder so many people visit American National Parks each year!  Two parks that stand out:

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Named America's most visited national park, more than nine million visitors a year flock to this free park every year.  It extends from Tennessee to North Carolina with a diverse pallet of flora and fauna bustling in between.  Known for the blue haze that hangs over the mountains, this park is also known as the "wildflower" national park because plants bloom year-round. It also takes pride in the hundreds of miles of hiking and horse trails, as well as waterfalls that jut from almost every river and stream.
  • Wrangell- St. Elias National Park and Preserve - Grab your walking shoes! This free park in Alaska is the largest in the United States totaling 13.2 million acres which is bigger than Switzerland.  If you are thinking 13.2 million acres is a little much, start your visit off with a guided tour or a thrilling mountain bike ride on Alaska's wild terrain.

Want to visit a national park that's not free? Below is a list of dates when the admission fee is waived (2012):

  • January 14-16 - Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend
  • April 21-29 - National Park Week
  • June 9 - Get Outdoors Day
  • September 29 - National Public Lands Day
  • November 10-12 - Veterans Day

If you're not sure about which national park to go to, find a park by name, location, activity, or topic through the National Park Service.  Plan on going to any of these national parks or another cool park?  Take us with you!  We understand if you don't have room for ALL of us.  At the very least, you can comment or post a picture on our Facebook wall to let us know how fun it was! Or friend us on Foursquare and let us know where you are!

Krysta W.

Friday, July 6, 2012

National Ice Cream Month - Sweet Treats in July

ice cream flavor
Ice Cream Deliciousness!
As the temperatures have soared to the upper 90's and 100's and storms across the country have knocked out electricity - many are doing anything possible to keep cool.  I have the perfect solution - ice cream!  July  is after all - National Ice Cream Month!

I didn't realize it was National Ice Cream Month until I received an email from Blue Bunny Ice Cream - a company for which I was a contributing writer for their online magazine.  Of course, since that email I have had ice cream on my brain all week!  So to support, celebrate, and provide a solution to the sweltering heat - let's scream for ice cream!

Fun Facts About Ice Cream:
  • In 1984, former President Ronald Reagan designated July the National Ice Cream Month.
  • The 3rd Sunday in July is National Ice Cream Day!
  • 1.53 billion gallons of ice cream and other frozen desserts were made in 2011 in the US (International Dairy Foods Association; source USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service)
  • 90% of American households eat ice cream (National Geographic article)
  • In 1919, the "I Scream Bar" was invented, later to be renamed Eskimo Pie in 1921 by Russell Stover (Source: The Facts of File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, 1/1/2004)
  • The term "brain freeze" was trademarked by the retail chain "Seven-Eleven". Scientific name is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia - which happens when the extreme cold hits the roof of your mouth and causes an increase in blood flow in the anterior cerebral artery according to a study led by Dr. Jorge Serrador of Harvard Medical School. (Reported by American Physiological Society)
ice cream flavor
Sharing an ice cream cone is twice the fun!

Facts and fun aside; eating ice cream is not just an American past time.  This cool treat began in early Europe in the second century B.C. with snow ice (maybe that is where snow cones originated).  The frozen sweet treats of sweet milk, cream, butter and eggs (originally reserved for the elite in the 1800's) are now enjoyed by people of every culture.  In 1925 the Waring's Pennsylvanians even had a musical hit that we all know a version of called, "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream."


From ice cream cones to ice cream sodas, to sorbets, sherbet, and frozen yogurt - the concept of cool treats has evolved through the years.  And although ice cream is not considered a food group - I am sure some would disagree.  Some of the more popular types and flavors of ice cream listed by the International Dairy Foods Association are:
  • Ice Cream - homemade ice cream, hard or soft ice cream
  • Frozen Custard or French Ice Cream
  • Sherbets
  • Gelato - Italian ice cream
  • Sorbet / Water Ices
  • Frozen Yogurt
  • Mochi - Japanese confection of sticky rice with an ice cream filling (I added this one.)
Nutritional information and value aside; tomorrow as the heat of summer hits 102 degrees in eastern Pennsylvania, you can be sure that my family and I will be taking in the coolness of a sweet ice cream cone or ice cream sundae or other ice treat at the local ice cream shop.  We will just have to decide whether that is at the local Cold Stone Creamery, Dairy Queen, Maggie Moos, Rita's or the mom and pop stand down the street - sooo many choices!

Join our ice cream poll and tell us what your favorite ice cream flavor is!

Monday, July 2, 2012

4th of July Safety Tips - Word to the Wise

The 4th of July - the day we - as a country no matter our ethnicity, culture, or heritage - come together in one day or week (if you're lucky) to celebrate this country's unity and declared freedom.  Being of multicultural descent - my family, who has been here for several generations, celebrates in typical American style of barbecue, swimming, enjoying our friends and family and going to see the display of fireworks in town.

July fourth is the day we celebrate freedom and unity.
We also get to enjoy our Indo-Armenian neighbors who once a year have a blow-out bash with their friends and family.  Amazing sweet smelling cultural cuisine wafts through the air, the exotic, beautiful bells and music of their heritage plays as they dance through the night, ending with their own colorful fireworks display.

Now I realize I have a couple of days, but the July fourth holiday period actually is much longer than just one day or so the statistics show.

From traveling to swimming at the beach to boating and backyard bashes with friends and family, there are barbecues, an abundance of tasty treats, drinks of all flavors and fireworks!  However, what is supposed to be a day of celebration is often reflected as a day of many accidents and injuries.  Therefore I thought some insight, wisdom, and a few statistics might be a bit prudent.

Impaired Driving - Not a Wize Way to Spend Your Holiday

According to the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHSTA), "Most Americans don't realize that July 4th is one of the deadliest holidays of the year due to alcohol-impaired driving crashes."  During 2010 Fourth of July celebrations (from 6:00 p.m. on July 2 - 5:59 am on July 6):
  • 392 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes
  • 39% involved at least one driver or motorcycle operator with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher
  • 80% more alcohol-impaired driving fatalities took place at night
  • 50% of young drivers killed were alcohol impaired (BAC of .08 or higher)
If you do drink on the 4th, please DO NOT drive! 

Getting Fired Up - Not Just From Fireworks
Did you know that a Sparkler can burn at 2,000 degrees? This small fact from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission is just one reason NOT to let children light or play with Sparklers.  The CPSC also offers other safety tips for a safe and enjoyable 4th of July.  Some alarming burn and firework statistics for not following the tips in 2011 resulted in:
  • An average of 200 people visit the emergency room every day with fireworks related injuries
  • 65% of these injuries occurred within the 4th of July holiday period
  • Most injured body part is no surprise the hands and fingers - 46%
  • Most injuries by type of fireworks goes to the Sparklers - 17%
For more interesting statistics go to www.cpsc.gov.  Be sure to know some basic burn care as well - just in case.

Also - watch the barbecues, backyard fire pits and camp fires - statistics from the National Fire Data Center indicate that more than half of the 11,000 injuries related to these types of fires happen the first week of July.

Turning Up the Heat
Keeping to the hot topic of heating things up.  It is July and the temperatures across the nation have been hot and the weather unpredictable.  With temperatures soaring into the 90's in many states, drink your water!  Alcohol will actually cause you to get dehydrated, so drinks with electrolytes, juices, and water, water, water - will help prevent the many heat related illnesses like heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat rash, and sunburn.  Even if you are in the water don't discount the power of the sun!   For tips on preventing heat related illnesses check out www2.redcross.org. One food with sweet water power and great nutritional benefits is watermelon - check out some amazing recipes from our "Fruit-tastic Watermelon News For Your Summer" blog!

Have fun, be safe, and if you find yourself packing this week for your holiday summer vacation check out Krysta's blog of things to remember on your summer vacation "Don't Forget FamilyWize this Summer!"

Happy 4th of July from FamilyWize!

Donna Cornelius
Online Marketing Manager

Monday, June 25, 2012

How to Save Money This Summer at Your Local Movie Theater

It seems the cost of everything is going up these days!  From prescription medications to groceries to utilities, gasoline, and more!  As I chat with family members and friends, I continually hear how expensive it is to do much of anything beyond paying the bills.  The mere cost of living often prevents many people I know from taking a summer vacation or doing the relaxing activities we all need.  Cut backs aren't just an employment issue, they are a household issue.

So beyond our free prescription discount drug cards, part of what we aim to do at FamilyWize is to provide you with money saving ideas.  I love to share ways on how to save money while doing fun activities for kids, date night with your spouse, day trips with your family and friends!  Each week I will share some ideas I've found, or those you've shared, of simple ways to save money, cut your budget, and plan affordable fun activities - such as....

Summer Movie Theater Discounts and Coupons!
Looking for affordable options for movies in theaters?  Know where free movies at theaters are, as well as other summer movie coupons.
fun activities
Check with theaters for summer discounts and coupons.

Regal, United Artists, and Edward Theaters  - Summer Movie Express is a family fun special that runs for 9 weeks.  You can see G and PG rated movies for only a dollar at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This festival also benefits the Will Rogers Institute.

Marcus Movie Theaters - this movie theater provides $5 coupon deals on Spotlight movies on Wednesdays and Thursdays - who says date night needs to be on a weekend.  They also have a Young at Heart® program for those aged 60 and over. And for fun activities for kids check out their Kids Dream Summer Film Series on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 10 a.m.

Carmike Cinemas - their 2012 Summer Kid Series, which started June 7th, offers 10 weeks of summer movie viewing every Thursday for only $2, which includes a drink and popcorn.

Rave Cinemas - has summer movie fun for the whole family!  Their Free Family Film Festival offers a variety of FREE G and PG movies twice a week for nine weeks at 10 a.m. Dates and times are available by state on their website.

Cinemark (Century Theatres) - has a Summer Movie Clubhouse. For only $5 you can see 10 movies (movie tickets must be purchased in advance; otherwise each movie is $1 at the door or $10).  For a list of participating movie theaters, dates and times, just click - Cinemark.

Second Run Theaters - all across the country are smaller mom and pop theaters that offer second run movies at discounted prices. These theaters don't just offer summer pricing - their discounted prices are year round.

Although I didn't list all of the summer movie theater discounts and coupons, there are many more summer movie specials for early birds, coupons for discounted food items, and group discount tickets.  Check out your local movie theaters for the best movie deals near you.

Be sure to check in and let us know what summer movies you are watching and where you are by liking us on FourSquare FamilyWize or twitter us about the movie when you follow us at Twitter FamilyWize.  Or just leave a comment about your favorite summer movie savings right here!


Donna Cornelius
Online Marketing Manager at FamilyWize