High School Camping Trip

School arranged a week long camping trip for the class of ’73. I was a teenager at the time and had not been away from home. I was excited and anxious to finally be part of a group that could share stories experienced together. The trip was an opportunity for teenagers to spend time in the wilderness, no parents in sight from miles around at Camp “I don’t know.” Our counselor Mrs.Thompson supervised us to the Northern Ontario campsite.

Arriving late that afternoon, Mrs.Thompson and the camp counselor met with us for a brief information session explaining the week’s activities and campsite rules. The girls and I were assigned to a spartan cabin furnished with bunk beds, table and chairs. The boys however, ended up roughing it, they setup tents close to our cabin.

We paired up with each other, my friend chose the lower bunk; the first night at camp we made ourselves comfortable. It didn’t take me long to hurt myself; I attempted to climb to the top bunk, I slipped and fell to the floor injuring my foot: I saw stars–ouch! It was painful to remove my shoe Oh no! I fractured my toe! Stupid me–I wore dress shoes; wrong footwear for camping that’s for sure! As I showed Mrs.Thompson my injury explaining what had happened, as she examined me, she said “which toe hurts? they all look fractured to me”. As a child I always preferred roomy shoes, my toes spread out as they grew. Well, the camp nurse bandaged up my toes and advised me to rest for the day. That first day I can truthfully say was rather uneventful for me. For the remainder of the trip I ended up limping..no fun that’s for sure!

Anyway, the first night the boys scared us out of our beds; they made noises outside the cabin; whipping a water hose around among the dried leaves it sounded like a snake or someone lurking outside. You could hear the boys snickering as they ran back to their tents waking a group of us in the cabin screaming like a pack of banshees; taking a long time to return to our beds.

The next day we hiked the rough terrain studying nature, wild flora, fauna, trees, birds and more. That night the boys learned how to build a campfire and we toasted marshmallows while singing campfire songs. Later that week, under the supervision of Mrs.Thompson, we all went swimming in a nearby lake and were taught some basic first aid. The following the day was warm and sunny, we went for a long hayride, made crafts from hay, sticks and stones we had collected along the way. That afternoon we had lunch at a picnic site near the river. The boys went exploring–climbing nearby trees to view the riverbank . A half an hour later the boys ran back to the site telling us about a raccoon and its family they saw while climbing the trees.

As we arrived back to camp “I don’t know” a native Indian member and his family were waiting near the totem pole to give us a history lesson; how each section was carved and painted representing ancestral and religious worship. That night we all packed up, had one last marshmallow toasting before we headed back to reality. I walked home dragging my bag of stuff behind me with a tiresome limp; mom greeted me at the door exclaiming “what happened to you?” I ended up staying home from school the next day. Every once in awhile as I take out the beaded necklace souvenir; memories come flooding back of  the first camping experience from Camp “I don’t know”. And ever since then I wear proper shoes for camping!

Travel With Kids: Kid-Friendly Travel Tips

Traveling with children can be an extremely daunting task; it’s like taking a herd of goats on a vacation. The factor of traveling with children means that you need to take a lot of toilet breaks, stay prepared for a tantrum at any time and constantly staying engaged. Here are some kid-friendly travel tips that will help you in making you’re traveling less stressful. These tips include advices on traveling with toddlers and older children.

Take Your Time – Easy Way To Avoid Tantrums

When traveling with toddlers try to reach the airport a couple of hours earlier then the scheduled time. Toddlers love to explore and they don’t care about time pressures while traveling, so if you travel a little early it can save you from the tantrums, delaying, ogling and faffing.

Give Your Little One A Camera – Be A Photographer!

Give your little one a camera, tell them you are playing a game with them, kids love to play pretending games. Tell your child that he or she is a photographer and they should capture some nice photos. The result can be surprising because those little hands will soon get busy and get you some cool pictures of things which caught their interests.

Be An App Lover – Try Toddler Friendly Apps

Thanks to the play store loaded with numerous toddler friendly apps now you don’t have to pack a bag full of toys. But I will recommend you to pack a coloring book and magic scribbler because crayons can get lost easily and this means that if you don’t find the crayons, a tantrum will be coming soon.

Try To Invest In A Child Locator

Honestly speaking, when I traveled with my little one for the first time my experience wasn’t good, I realized you just can’t leash them. Little ones don’t like any contravention on their freedom. So take my honest suggestion, invests in a child locator if you are traveling through train station, bus station or airport. The child locator is not at all uncomfortable for the child they have to wear a small unit strap to their belt or shoe and you get to keep the transmitter. So incase if you lose your kid, just set off the alarm and follow the sound to find them.

Don’t Let Your Children Pack Their Backpacks

I once allowed my five year old to pack his backpack and all the time at the airport he kept complaining that his backpack was too heavy. Reason? Well when I opened his backpack I found he brought the entire fossil collection of his just in case. So another honest advice do let the kids pack their own bags but later do check it and edit out the heavy stuff.

Avoid Sweets And Give Them Healthy Snacks

If you are traveling on a long haul flight with kids then avoid feeding them sweets. Pack some healthy snacks like fruits, bagels, pretzel, bread sticks or cheese cubes, plus avoid sugary juices instead encourage them on drinking water.

Encourage Your Kids To Keep A Travel Journal

Encourage your kids to keep a travel journal, get them to draw the places they have seen and write down something about it which interested them the most. Get them to write about different food which they tried. Also help them with collecting postcards and ask them to write some message on it so that when they grow up they can always know the things they did in their childhood.

Top Ten Tips – How To Hang Curtains

Tip 1: Always wash hands thoroughly. It’s very easy to forget but after you have been handling dirty tools when fitting your pole it is all too easy to put dirty hands on your clean, fresh new fabric.

Tip 2: Check curtains before hanging. Remove from their packaging and lay them out on a clean, flat surface. Check that both curtains match in terms of pattern and colour, check the stitching of the curtains and check the size of the curtains. Nobody wants to spend time carefully hanging their curtains to stand back and see that one is longer than the other!

Tip 3: Creased curtains? Do not worry. It is likely that your curtains will be creased from their packaging, do not be concerned, the weight of the hanging curtain will ensure all creases drop out over time. If you want to speed the process along it is sometimes possible to lightly iron the curtains before hanging. But, please check with the label or manufacturer first as not all fabrics will respond well to the heat from the iron.

Tip 4: Pull up your curtains evenly. First of all measure the length of your pole, divide the measurement by two and add approximately 2 cm’s for overlap. This is the width that your curtain should be pulled up to. (Assuming you have a standard two to a window, for more or less adjust accordingly.)

Tip 5: Make sure one end of the strings are tied off or stitched down. Grasp all three strings of the opposite end and gently slide the curtain evenly down the strings to the desired width. Tie the remaining string into a slip knot.

Tip 6: Curtains not pulled up evenly? Do not worry. Now your curtain has been pulled up to the desired width you can adjust the gather of the curtain evenly along the string by sliding the curtain to and fro until you have even gather across the width of the curtain.

Tip 7: Count how many hooks you will need. It is advised that curtain hooks are placed in a minimum of one out of every five slots in the heading tape including one at either end. So count how many you need and make sure the exact amount are on your pole or track.

Tip 8: Where to place your hooks? Curtain tape usually has three different positions in which to insert your hooks, one at the top of the tape, one in the middle and one at the bottom. Inserting your hooks into the bottom location will ensure the bottom of your curtain hangs higher, where as inserting the hook in the top position will ensure your curtain hangs lower.

Tip 9: Adjust the hanging height of your curtains. It is advised to insert only the first five hooks in the middle slot, hang your curtain (ensuring a partner is taking the weight of the remaining curtain) and see the height at which the curtain is hanging. To low and move the hooks to the bottom slot, to high and move the hooks to the top slot.

Tip 10: Hanging curtains is a two man (or woman) operation! Ensure you have a sturdy ladder. Whilst one person is inserting the curtain hook into the eyelet of the track or pole the other person must take the weight of the remaining curtain, failure to do this will result in the remaining curtain sliding down the strings and ruining the even gather you have created.

This information has been provided by Merlin Fabrics.

How to Find Local Plano Restaurants

This is a question I have found myself asking quite a bit recently. Having recently moved into the area, and in search of something “not manufactured”, I have found it hard to find true authentic restaurants in Plano Texas. In a city that seems to be fueled by Starbucks, Brinkers chains, and other nation wide chains; whose passions seem to be marketing and not food, I find it difficult to weed out the few remaining Mom and Pop local restaurants. Who, unlike national brands, strive to deliver the best quality around. Not that there is anything particularly wrong with Chili’s, Bennigans, TGI Friday’s, and the like, I am just looking for something that wasn’t developed in a focus group.

When you go online, looking for local restaurant reviews, you get directed by Google to go to sites like City Search, trip adviser, and active diner. All sites that allow customers too fill out reviews of local restaurants. You would think that these sites would help when one is trying to discover local restaurants. But, I have found that generally these so called “reviews” are one liners limited to “This place Sucks!” or “It rocks”. Occasionally, for a particular venue, you may get lucky enough to find a review where someone had taken ten minutes and wrote up a decent critique. I understand that taste is subjective, and one man’s favorite is another man’s cringe, but I want to see a review that gives fair credit both too what a restaurant does well and what they don’t.

What makes a good review? In my opinion, a good review of an establishment, not only takes into account the building itself, but also the quality of its food, and the customers it attracts. You can have the hippest looking burger joint on the west side, but if your idea of a burger is frozen patties from Sam’s and micro waved bacon, then your created atmosphere is only lending itself to a false economy. That being said, I have the utmost respect for a place that seems warn, but serves Barbeque that will knock your socks off, (or any type of food for that matter). I search long and hard to find these places! Because, they put more work into there food than they do there “cool” factor. However, if the place is crawling with cockroaches and the bathroom resembles Seven Eleven’s, I am likely to think the food is prepared in similar fashion.

Also, contributing to a restaurants atmosphere is its customers, I understand most places, can’t choose who decides to dine with them and who doesn’t. However, if you decorate your place with the latest line from Ikea, and serve lettuce wraps with bean paste – you are going to attract a certain type of person. You will likely, not be a big hit with the local truckers union. (Maybe you will odder things have happened). Point is that the customers combined with the decor and the food all contribute too how a restaurant is perceived.

With only a small help from the Internet, I decided to go it alone. I started driving into every small shopping center in search of local Plano cuisine that excels at being original and authentic. So far, I have had some successes and some failures. But, I have found several Coffee shops that actually care about there quality and not about selling you the latest album release from John Mayer. Currently, I still seem to be missing out on what is great in Plano. Is it that Plano doesn’t have anything great to offer? I doubt it. Maybe, I just haven’t turned down the right street yet.