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Monday, February 6, 2017

Kevin Goes to the Grand Canyon

Kevin Rides the Rails to the
Rim of the Grand Canyon


When he goes to the Grand Canyon, Kevin carries his own backback.
Before boarding the train, Kevin saw a Wild West show.
With the shriek of a steam whistle, Kevin and Miss Janet left for the Grand Canyon by train.  We were sent off with a rousing cheer from cowboys and fancy ladies and, on the way back, we pretended to be scared when our car was boarded by train robbers








 Instead of long waits at the Grand Canyon National Park entrance in a camper or car, train passengers are delivered right to the rim of the awesome Grand Canyon.

 The train trip begins in Williams, Arizona, about 125 miles north of Phoenix.  Part of the fun is staying in the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel at the rail depot  in Williams before and after the trip .  We had a big Depot breakfast, then saw a free wild west show before boarding the train.  


 While we enjoyed the passing scenery, we nibbled at complimentary fruit, cheeses, crackers and beverages until the train arrived at the rim just before lunch time.  Within walking distance of the rails are restaurants, scenic overlooks , shopping at the historic Hopi House, a place where Indian artists lived in the old days and place to board the shuttle buses that take people around the park. .


 Shuttle buses make it easy to hop off and on, stopping throughout the park for a short hike,  photo op,  ice cream cone, a program presented by a park ranger.


Kevin Says:
 For more information: Go to thetrain.com, (800) THE-TRAIN.  Many options are available: three classes of rail cars, hotel add-ons in both Williams and in Grand Canyon National Park for one or more days, an RV package (leave the RV in Williams and ride the train) and much more. During winter holidays The Polar Express, based on the timeless movie,  rides these rails.

 Tipping: Have a few dollars ready for the “train robbers,” who are the same actors seen in the pre-train show. They’re cheerful hombres, willing to pose for your camera.


  Safety concerns: many edges of the Grand Canyon have no  rails. Maintain close watch on each other. Squirrels in the park can bite. Don’t feed or approach them. Carry plenty of water. Know your limits. Follow rules. Cell phones don’t work in many areas here. Rescue may be slow or unavailable.

Janet Groene develops healthy trail mix recipes to make at home, then package for the pocket or backpack. See Create A Gorp.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Kevin Likes Florida Butterflies

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Kevin Learns About Butterflies
 
        I see butterflies where I live. Do you see butterflies where you live?


        Around the world there are thousands of colors and sizes of butterflies and many,  many places where you can see them in a shelter called a conservatory. Is there a butterfly conservatory in your state?

We like the Butterfly and Nature Conservatory in Key West, Florida and Butterfly World in in Fort Lauderdale.  I hope you can see them someday. 
 
In our travels Miss Janet and I learn a lot about butterflies.

    * Butterflies and moths belong to a family called Lepidoptera.  Can you say lep-a-DOP-tra?    
    * A butterfly starts out as an egg.  Eggs are laid on a leaf or stem that the larva can eat when it comes out of the egg.

    * When the egg hatches it is a caterpillar, also called the larva stage. It may be pretty or it may look like a yucky,  fat worm. It may also be very destructive to the garden. It’s a hungry new worm and it needs a lot of food. If it eats weeds, that’s good. If it eats your mother’s garden or your dad’s wool  sweater,  that’s not so good. The larva grows so fast it keeps shedding its skin and growing a new one.  It may get four new skins. 

    * Next the larva forms a hard shell where it will hide until it’s ready to be a butterfly. This is called the chrysalis (CRISS-a-liss)  or the pupa. It may stay inside this shell for weeks, months or even over the entire winter.

    * When the time comes for a butterfly to come out of its pupa, it flies away to find food and then it looks for a mate. During its short life it will find a husband or wife.  They will create more eggs to make more butterflies. 



       * In butterfly conservatories we see butterflies, eggs, larva and pupas.

    Miss Janet and I love butterflies. It is exciting to see them fly free in a conservatory. Love, Kevin


See five best Florida Keys resorts for families with kids at http://www.floridafivebest.blogspot.com 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Traveling Teddy Bear Tells Kids about Camping North Florida

blog copyright janet groene.

Kevin Camps the Florida Panhandle











Kevin Camps the Florida Panhandle
by Janet Groene


       Campers love the famous Emerald Coast beaches and dunes between Pensacola and Panama City Beach.  Enjoy campfire evenings and breezy days that are ideal for kite flying and other active sports. 


Camping Options
 
    Commercial campgrounds range from bare-bones trailer parks to destination resorts with golf, shuffleboard, heated swimming pools, planned activities, game rooms and full hook-ups for RV’s. Some have cabins or on-site RV rentals for those  who don’t have their own tents or  campers.  Campsites in commercial campgrounds are usually smaller and costlier than in state parks, but longer stays are permitted.


    Florida state parks in the Panhandle that offer camping (two week limit)  include Big Lagoon, Pensacola; Blackwater River (inland at Holt, Florida); Dr. Julian Bruce/St. George Island; Falling Waters (inland at Chipley FL); Florida Caverns (up-country at Marianna); Rocky Bayou at Niceville; Grayton Beach at Santa Rosa Beach; Henderson Beach State Park, Destin; Perdido Key, Pensacola; St. Andrews, Panama City; .H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Port St. Joe; and Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, Santa Rosa Beach.


Sightseeing   

 Panama City Beach is known for nonstop beach fun. Water parks  are closed until late April, but everything else is go-go going full blast.     
    Pensacola is the home of the world’s largest collection of naval warbirds. Kids love the
National Naval Aviation Museum. It’s the ideal place to spend a chilly day, but don’t miss the eye-popping outdoor displays too.  We learned a lot about American history in the city of Pensacola, which was actually settled by the Spanish before St. Augustine. See museums and historic homes.
    Spend long days at the sprawling Gulf Shores National Seashore. See  Fort Pickens and, if time allows. Fort Barrancas. Brick forts built before the Civil War, they have a fascinating history from the Indian Wars era into World War II..  Gulf shores here are a bonanza for bird watchers during fall and early spring migrations.
    For more information: Florida State Parks, floridastateparks.org.

See Janet Groene’s recipes for camping and RV travel at CampAndRVCook. Her recipes for healthy, homemade trail mix and snacks are found at CreateAGorp.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Teddy Bear Visits Tennessee's Davy Crockett Country




top: This is Davy Crockett country
middle: See prehistoric fossils
below: fish, camp, explore





















The whole family will love....
Tennessee’s Davy Crockett Country
copyright Janet Groene
    Melting snows flow from cold mountaintops to form the Nolichucky River, where John Crockett built a log cabin soon after the Revolutionary War.  When his son Davy was born here in 1786,  Northeast Tennessee was still a wild frontier, but settlers had been trickling in since 1775 when Daniel Boone blazed the Wilderness Trail from Virginia to central Kentucky.


    Come explore rugged  hills and introduce your family to unspoiled natural sites,  historic treasures, country music shrines,  fly fishing, NASCAR races and one of the nation’s most exciting archeological digs.


    This pie-shaped wedge east of Knoxville is bounded to the south by the Appalachian Mountains and to the north by the Virginia border. Interstate 81 is faster but the back roads bring you to the best sites.  Stay in a cabin or campsite in one of the state parks, an historic  inn, or an economical chain motel. 


    Here’s a sampling of sightseeing highlights in the hills where Crocket was “king of the wild frontier” and where, much earlier, Daniel Boone carved on a tree that he “kilt a bar on this site.” It’s still here. See if you can find it. 


     The Appalachian Trail traverses this part of Tennessee. Hike local sections  or start here for a major hike north to Maine or South to Georgia.
    Bristol. The Virginia-Tennessee state line runs down the middle of State Street. Walk the historic shopping district to see a farmer’s market where concerts are held often, the restored 1930s movie palace,  monuments galore and the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.
    Bristol Motor Speedway is open every day. Visit the museum and gift shop. Walk the race course or catch a ride in a pace car . Bristol Dragway is next door.
    Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park, Limestone, has a museum and a replica of the cabin where Crockett was born. Fish for bass, crappie, bluegill, redeye and catfish.
    Exchange Place, Kingsport it was a stagecoach stop on the Wilderness Road in the
1850s.  See real homesteads, the original general store and post office, and the schoolhouse.     Fly fishing, Johnson City area. Fish the Holston and Nolichucky rivers, Watauga Lake, and countless tail waters and little-known streams.
    Gray Fossil Site. South of Kingsport, see an amazing find of prehistoric bones. Discovered in 2001, the ancient sinkhole has already yielded a complete rhino family, tapirs, camels, a three-toed horse, an elephant and much more.
    Greenville. Stroll the historic downtown with its quaint shops and old homes. A cannonball from one Civil War skirmish can  be seen in the church near the Inn.
    Sycamore Shoals State Park, Elizabethton. Bring a picnic and come here for a history lesson. Under the British, colonists were forbidden to settle west of the Appalachians but defiant Over Mountain Men not only homesteaded here, they beat the British at the Battle of King’s Mountain in South Carolina.
 If You Go
    For more information: Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, (www.) TNtourism.com.  Order a Tennessee guidebook here.


See Janet Groene's easy recipes for camping, boating, RV travel at http://www.CampAndRVCook.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sleeping Solutions for Traveling Tots

10 Sleep Tips for Travel with Tots
    Can’t get your little one to sleep when you’re away from home? Here are tips for your own toddlers and teddy bears from Dr. Rebecca Kempton, M.D. a certified infant and toddler sleep consultant. 
    1. Travel during sleep time but try to be at your destination by the usual bedtime.
    2. Think ahead about sleeping conditions. Many hotel suites have a pull-out sofa or crib.
“Extra sleeping space makes for a more relaxed time for everyone,” says Dr. Kempton.
    3. Buy, rent or reserve the beds you’ll need or ask family members to borrow a crib for you. Call a hotel in advance. Portable options for car travel include travel beds or sleeping bags.
    4. Do practice runs. If you take your own travel bed, allow the child to sleep in it a few nights before you leave home, to get used to it.
    5. Take along sleep accessories. Dr. Kempton suggests a white noise app, favorite stuffed animal and/or familiar sheets.
    6. Re-create bedtime routines such as the regular bath, books or songs.
    7. Squeeze in naps as much as possible. Take advantage of a midday siesta yourself too.
    8. Anticipate time differences. Move schedules into the new time zone as soon as possible or, if you’re traveling for just a few days, it’s sometimes easier to stay on your home time, the doctor observes.
    9. Break some rules and have fun. Don’t stress out about sleep habits on vacation.
    10. Get back on track as soon as you get home. Don’t bring home bad habits such as staying up late to eat popcorn at Grandma’s. “It might take a few days and a few tears,” Dr. Kempton warns.


See Janet Groene's easy recipes for healthful, homemade travel snacks, gorp and trail mix at Create A Gorp.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Family Memories are Made of This

Make Sourdough a Family Tradition

   Start a family tradition with sourdough starter. It's a living, breathing food that creates breads, pancakes, biscuits and dozens of other treats. Best of all, it collects  friendly new spores from your family kitchen and becomes uniquely your own. Soon you'll be able to give starters to others and launch them on this wonderful tradition too. 
    With a sourdough starter kit you'll get sourdough plus instructions and recipes and you're on your way. Additional recipes including instructions for making your own starter are found at http://amzn.to/ZjkJvK. 

Best adventure yet for families. The Caribbean has history, nature, culture and BIG DISCOUNTS IN SUMMER. Book now for the best choice of dates, packages, islands.  

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Just in time for Father's Day. Get Dad a bright LED lantern that also repels mosquitoes. Great for camping, boating, patio barbecues, night fishing. 


Children's author Carole P. Roman has released another book in her colorful series, Captain No Beard. It's Stuck in the Doldrums, a Lesson in Sharing, that teaches kids the importance of being part of a crew. Little ones will want you to read it to them time and again while they pore over the fabulous color illustrations.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Top 10 Things Parents Get Wrong About Kids' Life Vests

Blog copyright Janet Groene. All rights reserved
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 photo courtesy BoatUS














For the best selection of the best life jackets in all sizes visit West Marine.

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Top 10 Things Parents Get Wrong
When Buying Kids’ Life Vests (PFDs)

by Janet Groene

Disclaimer: PFD’s pictured or linked here are solely for illustration. No endorsement is implied by this blog or blogger.

1.  Getting no PFD at all. Even if a child swims like a fish, there's no substitute for the added floatation a life vest provides. The vest also guards against hypothermia by allowing a victim to assume the "huddle" position rather than losing heat by swimming. It’s also a harness that can help a rescuer to get a grip when pulling a child out of the water. 


2. Buying a buoyancy device that is not USCG or UL approved. Some gimmicky swim aids made for children actually force a child’s face into the water.   


3. No head support. The heavy head-to-body weight ratio of tykes requires greater flotation for the head.  Life vests made for babies under 30 pounds have added support for the head. 


4.  Loose fit around the chest. When the child stands up straight, try lifting the PFD. If it comes up over the child’s ears, it’s too loose and will ride up around the face when in the water.  


5. Discomfort in the crotch. If leg straps give a child a wedgie, the PFD is too short. Half the battle is to find a stylish, comfortable PFD that the child will wear willingly. 


6. Zippers versus buckles is a personal decision but children who reach the “let me do it” age want fasteners that work for them. Enlist the child in style choices. 


7. Not enough flotation. Children’s life vests come in three sizes: for those under 30 pounds, 30 to 50 pounds and 50 to 90 pounds. Children who weigh more than 90 pounds need an adult life jacket.


8. Failing to replace last year’s life vests. Start each season with a weigh-in and a refit to see if a new size is needed or straps need adjusting for growth. 


9. Not knowing when a PFD should be discarded. Sun, heat, constant wetting, mildew and ordinary wear cause a PFD to lose its buoyancy over time. Keep life vests handy but out of the sun. Rinse out salt water. Dry thoroughly before stowing. 


10. While not every situation calls for a Class 1 (offshore) life vest, it does provide extra security because it is rated to bring the head above water and keep it there even if a person hits the water head first and unconscious.

    Lastly, use the life vest as an essential part of family fun on or near the water. One boating family says, “We keep our children’s life vests in the trunk of the car.  We don’t leave the car until everyone is fitted out and life vests don’t come off until we’re safely back at the car again.”


Janet Groene develops galley-easy recipes for boating families at BoatCook.