Monthly Archives: October 2017

The British Royal Family

The Royal Family, otherwise known as the British Monarchy has been ruling over the UK since 871 when King Alfred the Great was recognised as the first British Monarch or King of England. The current British Monarch stands as Queen Elizabeth II who has two main roles, one of which is official and one of which is unofficial. The official role is head of state, the unofficial role is head of the nation.

Head of state
This role is what gives the British Monarch the power to appoint Prime Ministers and approve legislation as well as bestow honours. On top of this they also have official roles to play in other organisations, which includes the Armed Forces and the Church of England.

Head of nation
The role of the British Monarch when it comes to the less official role of head of nation is when the British Monarch acts as a focus for national identity, unity and pride. The role also includes providing a sense of stability and continuity. It is also within this role that the British Monarch recognises success and excellence and supports public and voluntary services.

Members of the Royal Family
When the Queen is however carrying out her duties she is supported by other working members of the Royal Family. They help with carrying out a wide range of public engagements and involvements with charities as well as personal interests. The Royal Family however is a large one and one that dates back years and years. Currently the Royal Family is made up of the Queen and her consort, The Duke of Edinburgh as well as the following:

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall who are The Queen’s eldest son and his second wife
Prince William of Wales and Prince Harry of Wales who are The Prince of Wales son’s
The Duke of York – The Queen’s second son
Princess Beatrice of York and Princess Eugenie of York – The Duke of York’s daughters
The Earl and Countess of Wessex who are The Queen’s third son and his wife
Viscount Severn, the Earl of Wessex’s son and Lady Louise Windsor, the Earl of Wessex’s daughter
The Princess Royal – The Queen’s daughter
The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and The Duke and Duchess of Kent and Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy who are the Queens cousins and their spouses.

Within the UK there is no strict legal or definition of who is considered to be a Royal Family member. However those who carry the titles HM – His or Her Majesty or HRM – His or Her Royal Highness are always considered members and all of the above have one of these titles.

The British Monarch – Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the British Royal Family and has reigned for 57 years. She is the 32nd great-granddaughter of King Alfred the Great who as I previously mentioned was the first effective King of England during the years of 871-899. She has four children and eight grandchildren and is 83 years old.

Queen Elizabeth II has broken several records. She has become the first reigning monarch to have been married for 60 years. In December 2007 she became the oldest reigning British Monarch and has even outlived her great, great grandmother Queen Victoria. Also in March 2007 Queen Elizabeth II become the 3rd longest reigning monarch in over 1,200 years of British history.

The Royal Family have been a part of the UK for hundreds of years and the British Monarchy also represents several other countries, making it one of the biggest monarchy’s in the world and the title of Queen or King of England will continue to be passed through the family for as long as the blood line continues.

Lisa Mills runs two websites, one selling baby gifts and the other promoting childrens gift ideas.

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Experience Traveling in a Different Light – Backpack, Volunteer, Work

If you have a passion for international travel that exists outside the “tourist” box, the possibilities are endless. You don’t need an excessive budget to travel the world nor do you need to do what is typical when on vacation. There are ways to not only see and experience a country, but a chance to immerse yourself to be a part of a place that is initially foreign to you.

Growing up in the United States has limited myself and fellow Americans from having the convenience of traveling abroad. First off, our country is diverse enough in climates and subcultures to keep domestic travel exciting. Secondly, we only border Canada and Mexico, which leaves little room to understand the extent of our world. And lastly, the thought of any overseas travel is just expensive, especially flights departing from the U.S.

The above are examples that hinder us to break out of our comfort zones and experience what the world has to offer. Traveling should be more than the destination, the photo of the famous landmark, and the overpriced souvenirs that we bring home. It should open our eyes to things we can’t understand by remaining in our comfortable lifestyles.

The following are three ways to explore a variation to the standard vacation:

Backpack: The most affordable way to visit other countries is to break out of the typical style of vacation and do things a little bit differently. An easy way to do that is to get a Lonely Planet book specific to your destination. Lonely Planet is a travel guidebook that offers information on everything that will help you enjoy your experience to the fullest while keeping money in your pocket. Instead of booking a hotel online, look under ‘Accommodations’ and read about some hostels or guesthouses that are much more affordable and a great way to meet other travelers to pick up even more tips. Find some great hole-in-the-wall cafes that offer authentic, cheap and usually the most delicious cuisines. There are even excellent maps to help you navigate the city and all different means of transportation to do so. The greatest way to really get a good feel for a place is to watch the locals, talk to the locals and make friends with the locals. Locals are a great insight to step away from being the tourist and truly experience the culture.

Volunteer: Volunteering in a third world country is an incredible opportunity to learn about a lifestyle we could never imagine by simply reading about. It is a chance to give back to the less fortunate and acquire immense personal growth. There are many online volunteer programs, although some of which are quite expensive. A more affordable way to volunteer is to look into a Lonely Planet book specific to your chosen country.

Work: Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) is one of the largest international industries available to Native English Speakers. Depending on which country you look for work in, the prerequisites will vary. Bachelor’s Degree, TESL Certificate, and teaching experience are a few things you may need to have in some countries, but others you will just need to be a Native English Speaker. Dave’s ESL Cafe is a large international job board that lists work opportunities all over the world.

The world is a playground full of opportunities you never thought possible. Knowledge is extremely helpful in experiencing the world, but a passion for travel will take you anywhere you desire to go.

Have a Family Picnic

How many of us remember the family picnic?

I have many fond memories of packing up a cold supper and going with my family, including aunts, uncles and cousins, for a family picnic by the lake. Sometimes we would barbecue hot dogs and hamburgers to go with the salads and cool desserts my mother had packed. Other times it was a cold supper, with cold meats and fried chicken pieces to eat alongside those wonderful salads.

Before supper we would play in the water, play games and get our appetites ready for delicious picnic food. After supper, we would relax, maybe play some cards and watch as the beautiful sunset amazed us yet again.

Times have changed and it seems we don’t always take the time to create those memories with our families. It’s an easy thing to do though.

Here are three easy recipes that will help to create a memorable picnic experience for your family. They are all easy to pack up in plastic containers with lockable lids. Just pop them into a cooler with some ice, take along some cold drinks and maybe a watermelon, the perennial hot weather refresher, and you have a fun day that family and friends will remember for a long time to come.

Peanut Crunch Slaw

2 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup finely cut celery
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
2 tablespoons chopped green pepper
1/4 cup chopped cucumber
1/4 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Toss the cabbage and celery together and chill. Mix the sour cream, mayonnaise, salt, onion, green pepper and cucumber. Chill that mixture too. Just before serving, toss chilled vegetables with the dressing. Sprinkle the chopped nuts on top.

Makes 4 servings.

Sweet Potato Salad

4 orange sweet potatoes
1 small red pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 ribs celery, thinly sliced
2 green onions, sliced
1 – 8 ounce can pineapple chunks, drained
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted

Wrap each sweet potato in foil and bake for 1 hour at 400ºF until tender, or poke with a knife, wrap each potato in a paper towel and cook in the microwave for 5-6 minutes until soft.

Peel the sweet potatoes, then cut them into 3/4 inch chunks. Combine the mayonnaise and mustard in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the sweet potatoes, celery, red pepper, pineapple and green onions. Toss gently. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

Chill, covered, for 1 to 10 hours.

Just before serving fold in the pecans. The salad can be sprinkled with chopped chives for presentation if desired.

Serves 6

Three Fruit Fluff

1 cup crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup canned mandarin oranges, undrained
8 ounces strawberry yogurt
8 ounces whipped topping
1 small package white chocolate instant pudding mix
maraschino cherries or fresh strawberries (optional)

Combine the undrained pineapple and mandarin oranges, yogurt, whipped topping and dry pudding mix in a large bowl. Mix well. Chill, covered, until ready to serve.

Top each serving with a few maraschino cherries or a fresh strawberry.

Serves 6 to 8

Of course all of these recipes can be enjoyed anywhere and any time.

I hope though that they pique your interest in packing up and finding a great spot for a family picnic.

Don’t forget the frisbee!!

Karen Ciancio is a cook and a fan of all things cooking related. Her website contains recipes for all occasions, cooking tips, cooking measurement conversions and lots of kitchen ideas. Look for more great summer recipes here

Traveling With Children – Five Quick Tips to Help Your Vacation Run Smooth

Go where YOU want to go
When choosing a place to vacation, think of a place that you yourself would want to go and find interesting and enjoyable. Don’t change your mindset of places that you would enjoy now that you have kids. For young children, your kids will be fascinated in what fascinates you. If you find a place interesting, your interest will interest your kids. You can explain what makes a place special and they will find it special. So ask yourself, where do I want to go, not what places would best occupy the kids.
Your children are your travel partners.
Travel with your kids and have them engaged in the trip instead of either having their activities central to the planning or letting them simply tag along with your plans. Discuss with your kids the itinerary and let them feel involved in the decision making or at least give them some options from which to choose. They will anticipate the trip more and become more engaged when they feel that they have helped to choose what to do. Even a child as young as eighteen months can express anticipation for a trip and have interest in the place they are visiting.
Stick to a plan.
Don’t expect to be spontaneous and makes plans at the last moment. Be content with a well thought out and predictable itinerary. Children are less stressed when they know what to expect. However, don’t think that making good plans will lead to boredom. Having kids with you always has its surprises and unexpected episodes. When you are with your kids, nothing will seem boring. Even places that you’ve visited many times in the past will seem new and fresh again. With kids, you can’t go with the flow or live in the moment like you did before them, but they will keep you thinking on your feet and give you a different perspective on the places you go.
Understand the needs of your children. 
When you are not away from home and spend the day with your kids, how many hours in the day do you spend attending to them? How much time during the day are you not either preparing their meals, feeding them, cleaning up after them, running errands, or getting them ready for bed. When on vacation, you will still be looking after all of their daily needs. Therefore, you will need to take that time into consideration into your plans for each day.
Don’t get overwhelmed.
If being the sole caregiver of your children seems overwhelming and will not leave enough time to unwind and relax in what should be your vacation and your best chance to relax, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Ask you spouse to share responsibilities, or a more elaborate plan would be to find a resort that offers child care during the day. Don’t let the demands of having your children with you take too much away from replenishing yourself and recharging your batteries.

Traveling and need to transport your child’s car seat? Visit where car seats become travel car seats and where you will find a wide selection of travel car seat systems.

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Fun Family Phonics

There are many courses out there to teach phonics and it can be confusing trying to decide which one to go with. The problem is that not all phonics courses are created equally. Some phonics courses are overpriced, some lack good support material, some use rather shady business practices so that you can’t claim your refund, and the biggest problem with a lot of phonics courses is that they fail to make phonics fun.

This issue of having fun while learning phonics is absolutely critical. If your child sees phonics as boring and dull, then they will be hesitant to study it with you.

So how do you make phonics fun? That’s a big question that we faced at my school. On face value, phonics wouldn’t seem to lend itself to games that young children could play, but there are actually a lot of games that you can use to make phonics entertaining.

Newspaper search: This one is really easy to do. Let’s say you just learned a blend, like “sp”. You’d give your child a highlighter and see how many times they could find it in the newspaper within a minute. Use a timer (egg timer or a stopwatch) to make it more exciting.

Dance Dance Phonics: This one takes a little more setup. You probably don’t have many hula hoops lying around, but one thing I used to do was say a sound like “buh buh”, then children would jump to the circle with the “B” in it. And if I said “duh duh” then they’d jump to the circle with the “D” in it. Sometimes I’d say a sound that wasn’t actually in one of the hoops to catch if they were listening or not.

Scrabble Tiles: This can work two ways. One way is to take a few consonants and vowels out then allow your child to arrange them and then you pronounce the word for them. Kids really enjoy seeing what kind of sounds come together. Or, alternatively, you can have a word written on a flashcard, say the word, and see if they can spell it correctly. If you’re teaching phonics and have a big group of kids, you can pour out the bag of letter tiles and see which team can correctly spell the word the fastest.

My Story: Have children draw pictures based on their life and then you write simple sentences underneath the picture that describe what is happening. This keeps the reading material relevant to their lives while teaching reading and writing skills (you can ask the children to trace over the sentence in a different colour).

These are just a few games to enjoy fun family phonics. Learning phonics and reading skills is critical and I hope you try some of these games out and have fun doing it!

What’s the best way to teach your child reading? Some approaches work brilliantly, while others can damage your child’s chances to read successfully. Find out more about reading techniques at…

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Tips For Traveling To Orange County, California

Orange County, California is a well-known destination for tourists year round. People come here to enjoy the beachside areas in southern California and the sunny, beautiful weather. OC has two servicing airports, including LAX and John Wayne airport. The Los Angeles airport is a bit of a longer drive, and the John Wayne airport is smaller and closer, right in Orange County. When you arrive to Orange County you can use Orange County airport transfers or a Orange County airport taxi service to get to your hotel that you have decided to stay in from the airport.


There are a lot of things to do and see while visiting the OC. There are some popular attractions that many people enjoy visiting and some are quite historical as well. The Mission San Juan Capistrano is considered the birthplace of the OC and is over 200 years old. It is a monument to how multi-cultural California is and it’s history. Another historical site to see is the Richard Nixon Library and birthplace of the former President of the United States. This is a great place for history and political buffs to see.


There are many other attractions to see while visiting Orange County. A popular one is the Flight deck Air Combat Center which is great for those people that are interested in all things related to aviation. This is a fun attraction for people traveling with kids too. If you prefer boats to planes, then be sure to take one of the several boat charters that go out to see the dolphins and the whales. Depending on the time of the year, you can see quite a few of these beautiful mammals of the ocean in their natural setting.


There are several different places to go visit and one of them is right off the coast of Orange County called Santa Catalina. It is a cluster of channel islands in a row off the coast and is a fun thing to do on a day trip. Another must see area is the sophisticated and beautiful ocean side town of Newport Beach. It has a lot of fun things to do such a great al fresco dining, yachting, and a lot of great shopping at several upscale boutiques. Newport Beach emulates what the OC is all about, the beach setting and the opulent lifestyles of the wealthy who live here.


Beaches are what really define Orange County and these areas have become better known to those that enjoyed the TV show The OC or the reality show called Laguna Beach. Laguna Beach does not have extensive beach areas due to the large cliffs that offer unbelievable views for the homeowners in their multi-million dollar homes. One beach that does offer extensive large beaches is the town of Huntington Beach, California. This also has a great city park system connected to it offering a lot of great outdoor activities for the more active visitors such as equestrian areas, golf, tennis, a marina and a wildlife preserve.


Family Memories Scrapbook

You are ready to make a family memories scrapbook and you do not know where to start. This will be a special scrapbook if you take the time to arrange the items you want to include together in some type of order. Do you want to have pages for the grandparents and the aunts and uncles? Or are you thinking more along the line of using special times spent together such as birthday parties, weddings, holidays and vacations? Whatever way you decide to arrange your pages, it is a good idea to put everything you want to use in your family memories scrapbook together before you start.

The Arrangement is up to You

For going back into ancestors in your family, you may want to make copies of some of their photos. This will keep the originals in good shape and you will still have a photo for your scrapbook. Some of these pictures are very old and the daughter or son who has them may not want to part with them. So copying them is one way of having the photos for your design and allowing them to keep the original.

The family memories may start with the relative of your choice. If it is your great-great-great grandmother and grandfather, that is fine. Someone may have a picture of their wedding or a photo of their family after their children were born. These are the types you want to place in your scrapbook. Write in anyone you do not have a picture of and if you are good at sketching, you may want to sketch their likeness from a description from one of your relatives.

Work your way down the line to your children’s grandparents and aunts and uncles. This is where you will have more to work with because of the increase in the number of photos taken in recent years compared to 70 or 80 years ago. The pages can reflect all the special occasions as well as just family time spent together. For instance, a backyard picnic is a time that you will want to remember when the whole family was together.


There are all types of embellishments that may be purchased today to add to the pages. Even the ones of your ancestors from many years ago can be embellished using things you can find on the Internet if you cannot find them anywhere else. If for instance, a relative was in the Civil War, find a picture depicting this war and copy it for your scrapbook. Using the computer you can even replicate the color these old photos would be if they were real.

Copies of newspapers that were from the era of the relative’s time are another great way of adding interest to your scrapbook. A replicated post card from another era is also a great way to add to the scrapbook and make the page especially for the person who is being featured on the page.

If you take your time and think about every page before you put the scrapbook together, the finished project will be a great tribute to the family memories scrapbook. There are so many you may have to make more than one.

Tracy Ballisager provide info on babyscrapbooking tips online.See her website for Family-Reunion-Scrapbook layouts and more

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A General Guide to Traveling to Italy and the Italian Lakes District


It is never a good idea to carry a lot of money while in Italy or Europe. While the Italian Lakes district is a very safe area, pick pocketing is a common problem in all areas of Europe. Don’t carry lots of cash at a time, and make sure it is not easily accessible to pick pockets (the wallet in the back pocket is an easy target).

Traveler’s checks are somewhat outdated these days, and a lot of places no longer accept them. Use a credit card; they are accepted in most places and have the best exchange rate. To pull out Euros you can go to Italian ATM machines, known as BANCOMATS. They accept all major debit cards.

Don’t forget to alert your local bank that you are traveling to Italy so they don’t freeze your account by mistake.


Communication to countries outside of Italy is fairly easy these days. Internet cafes exist in all towns and are not very expensive; usually not more than 12 Euros per hour. A lot of them also have phones to make international calls, paying by the minute.

Another option is to sign up with Skype, where international calls are extremely cheap and you only need an Internet connection to use it.


Italy is not as convenient as the US in terms of hours of operation for many establishments. Most places are closed in the early afternoon for two to three hours, and also tend to close earlier at night as well. This includes restaurants.


In Italy, it is not the norm to leave a tip. Usually people will leave the change and maybe an extra Euro. The same is true for taxis; don’t leave a tip unless you really want to.

Just remember that the customs in Italy and the Italian Lake district are different from those in America. This is just another reason Italian lakes holidays are so interesting and fun!

For even more information about Italian Lakes Holidays, go to Italian Lakes Holidays. This site has information related to travel tips, the lakes, Italian culture, villa purchasing information, and more!

Our Latest Family Time

It is just really fun to spend time with our love ones. I always look forward to it once a week. and so with my husband Jeff. Taking time being with each other every once in a while makes our relationship stronger. It doesn’t matter where and how we celebrate it, whether at home or in a park as long as we are together, it makes a difference. It feels so so so good knowing that my husband and I with our little angel Mac never forgets that family is the most important thing in life not money. Some photos are below taken during our family time:

During the 16th birthday of Cameron, our nephew.

At Boston Market while having our late lunch

My husband has been working out at the gym every week nights. He is just so determined to maintain his body health and figure. Sometimes I even ask him to skip working out but he always refused. I can’t believe how disciplined my husband is when it comes to something he wants to do. Aside from regular exercise, he does strict diet too, which I couldn’t do. We are totally opposite on diet and exercise thing kinda.

Months ago before I got pregnant and before I gave birth to our first baby, I use to work out with him. My husband helped and encourage me to go to the gym and I did really enjoyed those times. Aside from spending time together, we both like doing something productive to our body health. In fact, I went to the gym still the night before I delivered our baby. I loved going to the gym, those equipments are just great and very effective to everybody who uses it. I have seen gym members where we workout who exercise couple times a week and I can tell how physically fit they are.

To Continue Please Visit

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My name is Vicy. I am married to a wonderful man and a mom of a baby girl. They are my joy and my inspiration. They are the reason why I continue to breath, to smile, to laugh, to cry, to dream and to live. They are my angels. I am very proud of my family.

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Top Four Things to Do When Traveling in Italy

One of the best places in the world to visit is Italy. Planning a trip there can seem daunting because there is so much to see and do. So once a traveler has arrived, checked into their hotel, freshened up at a local Florence salon for nails and a Florence hair salon it’s time to start exploring the shopping, food, local culture and historical sites that Italy has to offer. By concentrating on these four things, a visitor will feel like they have truly experienced the many wonderful aspects of this amazing country.

There is world renown shopping throughout the entire country of Italy. Whether it’s the fine pottery, paper goods, leather or clothing, there is something for everyone to browse, buy and cherish. People should go into the local shops and outdoor markets to see all the cultural elements that have been made for centuries. Buying merchandise like this will give people constant reminders of the places they discovered on their trip. It also continues to boost the economy for the local Italian people. Shopping and spending is truly a win-win for both the traveler and the local merchants.

While in Italy, a visitor cannot miss out on the glorious food experiences that the entire country has to offer. It has some of the best fresh food cooking establishments in the world. Italy also boasts some of the greatest wineries as well. To truly experience the cuisine, a traveler needs to go to the small local restaurants that have been run by the same family forever. They should ask to have the house specials and try to be as adventurous as their palate with allow. Travelers should also indulge at the small delicatessens and markets. It is here where fine cheeses, salami, bread and Italian pastries are made. Grab a bottle of vintage wine, a couple small chunks of cheese, a baguette and salty meats and head to a park or fountain for a picnic. This is the way a traveler will have a true Italian food experience.

When in the local markets and shops, a traveler should take time to have conversations with the local people. They will start to pick up some of the language and begin to understand how they interact with each other, both verbally and physically. The language barrier will begin to feel smaller with increased exposure to the Italian people. Also, there are words and phrases, just like in the English language, that are spoken differently throughout the country. For instance people in the North may sound different than people in southern Italy, just like the difference between a dialect in Maine versus Oklahoma. Communicating with locals gives traveler a glimpse into the everyday interactions of the local Italian culture.

Lastly, but just as important, a traveler should plan to see all of the main tourist attractions throughout the country. From the museums and churches to the gardens and statues, the sightseeing in this country is limitless. Prior to arriving, a visitor should either meet with a travel agent or explore great travel guides to map out their trip. Being well planned, traveler will get the most out of their trip to this beautiful country.

Connor R. Sullivan has a teenage daughter who uses the services of a Florence salon while she is away at college. Many of her friends go to services of a Florence hair salon to get their hair done.