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Joanna Greenberg

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How to Live the Smart Gamer Lifestyle while Traveling the World

Being a gamer while travelling is for many people the best of both worlds. It’s definitely two big luxuries rolled into one great lifestyle. However, it’s not easy to do this for several reasons. Let’s look at some of the potential hurdles the travelling gamer is probably going to face in the course of going all over the earth, and possible solutions for them.

Gear Considerations:

This is the easiest thing to worry about in a way, because you can plan for it 100% ahead of time. There are many options here but there are some abiding principles that will guide the savvy travelling gamer.

You want a good laptop, preferably one that was designed with gaming in mind. You may be doing other activities like browsing the internet or sport betting at bettingtop10.com , but the critical activity will be the gaming, obviously. Make sure you have the CPU and graphics capability for the games you are going to be playing.

Make sure especially that the keyboard on said laptop is absolutely and completely comfortable, and works for you on your favorite games. Some people may want to go as far as bringing along a separate USB keyboard, because these are always going to be superior, and they are much more customizable than any laptop keyboard. At any rate, put lots of thought into the keyboard situation. Obviously you will be bringing along a good quality gaming mouse, and an ergonomic mouse pad is highly recommended as well.

Internet Considerations:

This is really the toughest part of gaming while travelling. But don’t fear; there are many ways you can mitigate this.

The biggest hack is perhaps surprising: try to avoid hotels, especially the cheaper ones. Hotel wi-fi is notoriously poor quality, even in some of the more high end hotels. You can break this rule if you have been to a hotel before and had a positive experience, or if someone you trust can vouch for that hotel’s internet.

This is where sites like couchsurfing and airbnb rule, because you will usually get much better internet quality in someone’s own palace than in a hotel. You may or may not also have the option of simply staying with friends, which is the best, because you know exactly what you are getting beforehand in terms of internet, and if you are staying with your fellow gamers, they will probably have done everything possible to get a good internet connection.

Be Realistic In Your Expectations:

You have to also be honest with yourself on this one. Most countries these days have good enough quality broadband internet for gaming, but some really exotic destinations may fall short. Sometimes it’s better to know when to pack your gaming gear up for a few days and just enjoy your destination.

Happy gaming!

Family Fun: 5 Activities to Get Your Kids in The Garden

A survey has revealed that most parents in the US are having a difficult time balancing their careers with family life. In the poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, 56% of working parentsfind the balancing act to be challenging. However, it is crucial to spend some quality time with your children to help them grow up happier and healthier, and one way to do this by getting them to participate in outdoor activities in your garden.

Benefits of spending time with your children

As working parents become preoccupied with their careers and the various responsibilities in raising a child, it’s easy to feel disconnected from your kids. It’s even truer for those with school age children as they spend more time doing schoolwork and extra-curricular activities, and most of them would rather be with their friends during their free time.

But experts have found thatspending just 20 minutes a day with your child can help them build their self-confidence, lowers risk of drug use, and encourages healthy habits. While bonding in front of the TV is better than nothing, it is advisable to spend time with your children outdoors. Even just a few minutes doing fun activities in your garden will help engage all their senses as it fosters family bonding. Here are a few fun activities to get your kids out in the garden.

Give your garden a makeover

If your garden is starting to look like it needs a change, you can have your children help you to give it a makeover. Decide on a theme—do your kids prefer a Zen garden, an English garden, or an eco-friendly one? Once you’ve decided, choose your plants and have everyone map out where to plant them. You can also add a few accessories such as outdoor furniture, atraditional or modern water fountain, some solar lights, and the like. This is a great outdoor activity as giving a garden a makeover can teach your kids to have patience, to cooperate, and to know the value of teamwork.

Have a tea party

What’s more fun than having a tea party in your garden? You can use your child’s play set, but it’s even better to serve real food and drinks. All you need is a table, a few chairs, a tea set, some sandwiches, tea, or other beverages that your children will like. Go all out and have everyone dress up in gloves and hats. This activity is a good opportunity to teach the little ones a few basic table manners.

Paint

Let your children paint to their heart’s content without fearing for your couch. Get out the paint, brushes, and other art supplies and head to the garden with your kids for an hour of painting. To make it even more fun, you can let them have asquirt gun painting session. Afterward, you can have everyone wash off any paint spatters before going inside the house.

Have a garden movie night

Setting up a backyard or garden theater is not as hard as some might think it is—all you’ll need is a projector, an outdoor projection screen or even a plain white bed sheet, speakers, and some snacks. Lay down a few blankets for your kids to sit on and place some lawn chairs in the garden for the adults. Make sure to show kid-friendly movies and that the volume is not too loud that it will disturb your neighbors.

Go camping

On the weekend, you canpitch a tent in your gardenand sleep there for the night with your kids. You can tell stories, look at the stars, and even roast marshmallows if you have an outdoor fire pit.

Try any of these activities that you can do with your children in your garden. Not only do you get to spend quality time with the little ones, but everyone is guaranteed to have a fun time which will be part of your kids’ memories for a long time.

Vision Direct’s Baby Sight App Helps You Understand Baby Vision

Vision Direct Baby Sight App is a new interactive tool designed by an optician to help parents understand how a baby’s eyesight develops over the first year.

If you were ever curious to know how your baby sees the world, you can now see things through your baby’s eyes with the tool here: http://www.visiondirect.co.uk/baby-sight-tool.

You can quickly shift from a newborn’s first view to the fully developed vision of a 12 month old child. You can input your child’s age and get an idea for your baby’s field of vision, depth perception and colour awareness.

A newborn’s vision

A newborn sees shapes, light and movement, but only in shades of grey.

6 months

A six month old baby can move her eyes quickly to follow moving objects and is beginning to understand object permanence.

10 months

At 10 months old, a baby’s eyes will be the colour they’ll stay when she’s grown up; give or take a shade or two.

Help your baby’s vision develop!

Another great feature of this app is it provides tips to help facilitate your baby’s vision development under each month. For example, at seven to eight months playing games like peekaboo is a great way to help your baby improve her understanding of object permanence, that items still exist even when she can no longer see them.

Vision Direct is the UK’s online leading retailer for contact lenses (also shipping to the USA with no prescription required).

Millenials Are Right About Cars (To An Extent)

Millenials are the generation every other generation loves to look down on, there is no doubt about that. And there are legitimate issues that annoy a lot of people from previous generations. Millenials can come across as apathetic, selfish, lazy, a whole host of unsavory things. These stereotypes are often unfair but they also don’t exist in a vacuum.

However, having said that, there are some areas in which millenials really are seeing things more clearly than those that come before them.

It’s been said that this generation possesses the best BS meters out of any generation before it, and this is definitely true in more ways than one. One area where I think their perception serves them very well is in the area of buying vehicles. This is often a bad investment, and millenials aren’t having it anymore.

Cars are useful, there is no doubt about it. And the idea that privately owned cars are just going to disappear in a few years time is honestly more than a bit premature, especially in countries like the USA and Canada. Self-driving cars are still far far away from becoming a day to day reality on the street level, and while rideshare technology has transformed how people get around to an extent, many people are still going to need some form of private transportation for the forseeable future.

However, what really doesn’t make sense anymore, and honestly probably never did, was buying a new or even newer car. It’s a luxury that many people can’t afford anymore, and frankly it’s mostly a big waste of money.

The smart thing to do is to analyze a car’s depreciation curve before buying it. As the article in that link shows, a car starts to be a much more sensible investment after it reaches five years of age or so.

People who know the most about this subject from personal experience are, ironically, often the rideshare drivers themselves, especially the ones who have enough experience to be already using a car they bought specifically for rideshare purposes. It becomes painfully obvious that it’s very bad business to put a car on the road driving rideshare and having it chew through that depreciation curve in what seems like record time because of the high levels of usage these vehicles endure. But in all honesty, this is just an accelerated version of what happens to any car under any circumstance; the car’s depreciation curve has not changed at all.

So in short, if you’ve decided you need your own car, aim to buy vehicles five years old or older,  buy them in good condition, and budget appropriately for their maintenance. Over the long term, your wallet will thank you for it many times over.

How to Showcase Your Family Pictures

Gone are the days where film cameras limited the number of pictures a family can have. Today, digital albums are the only way to truly share every moment you have captured in time; traditional albums won’t cut it. The only problem with the digital era is that there are just so many incredible photos of your family that it can overwhelm any viewer.

Don’t let those precious memories sit in a Facebook album or on your computer where no one can see them. Photos are meant to be viewed. You can print out a few and hang them up, but the problem with this method is that it is guaranteed to miss out on so many great photos.

So, unless you want to cover your walls from head to toe with family pictures, you will have to convert to a digital age. Here are two great options for displaying and sharing your photos in your home:

Collages

Before, the only way you could have a photo was to develop the negatives. You had a physical copy of the photo right from the start. The thing is, though, when pictures were still film, people took a lot less of them, and there were usually only a few copies. Nowadays, you can have hundreds or thousands of pictures that you want to display.

Use a free collage maker to format your photos to maximize space for when you are creating your modern-day equivalent to the photo album – picture books. These books are easy to create online, and will be shipped to you in the quantity you want so that you can give them to your family members too. In order to do this, maximizing space is imperative.

This option is perfect for those who like the feel of physical pictures. They make perfect gifts too! Never again do your grandparents, and older family members have to miss out on your family photos, you can send a copy to them right from the get-go.

Digital Photo Frames

For digital photos, it only makes sense to showcase them digitally. A great way to bring all your family photos into your home is using a digital frame. This frame simply plays slideshows of your photos on loop. For the best results, select only the best photos. You don’t have to worry about seeing too many similar photos as well, as the digital frame can shuffle your photos, so you get a nice mix of your memories.

Your memories are important. It makes no sense at all to hide them away in an old album buried deep on your computer. You certainly don’t want to publish too many photos of your kids online. When you have friends and family over, it likely won’t be comfortable for them to stand behind your desk while you scroll through your photos.

Creating beautiful photo collage books is a great way to bring your photos out from the digital world and back into the physical one. Digital photo frames are a great way to showcase your digital photos as you take them. Choosing both options is the best way to showcase all the best photos of your lives.

How to Improve Interaction Between Kids and Senior Family Members

The multigenerational gap is most evident in families where younger members of the group fail to understand older loved ones and vice versa. Such is particularly the case in small children who may not understand why Grandma or Grandpa ignores them or is always mean. For kids, adults refusing to engage in activities is evidence of such persons wanting to be left alone. The contrary is true as older adults enjoy the company of vibrant youth. Finding a middle ground andbolstering harmony among generations is a task that parents of small children and caregivers of seniors can accomplish by working together.

Communication is a two-way street

Many children believe that older adults do not like them because they do not interact during conversations. By the same token, senior citizens think that smaller children do not want to hear what they have to say because of the difference in ages. Parents can encourage children to move past their fears of being ignored and engage in meaningful conversation with older adults. Caregivers can help seniors by encouraging them to share their life’s wisdom with the kids. Such interaction presents the potential for both parties to learn new skills.

Acceptance is essential

Isolation is common among seniors. Even those matureadults residing in assisted living communitiesface the possibility of loneliness because those surrounding them are not close loved ones. Children in the family can be the remedy for isolation if youngsters learn to accept older adults along with their limitations. There are many things that kids and seniors can do together when both parties make accommodations for one another. Also, parents can teach children the invaluable lesson of accepting people of all ages and lifestyles when they encourage kids to interact with older members of the family.

Respect sparks concern

Parents are always telling kids to respect their elders, but few understand that such esteem for older adults ismore than good manners. Teaching children to abide by the elders of the family compels them to develop relationships with senior citizens. Emotional bonds form during relational building that prompts young people to respect and help mature members of the family with disabilities and other limitations. Respect, then, becomes the driving force behind concern that urges children to interact with older adults.

Among the many things that parents can do to foster a positive relationship between their kids and older adults in the family, setting a positive example is probably the most useful measure. It makes little sense for moms and dads to tell the children to respect mature adults if they do not revere senior citizens. It is always in the best interest of caregivers to encourage seniors to remain in good spirits even if children are initially reserved. Such positive attitude can significantly contribute to closing the multigenerational gap in families.

Make the Most of Your Summer With These Home Improvement Tips

What better time to get the home ready for winter than in summer time? The kids are out of school during these sunny months, which makes the weekends ten times more relaxing. You and the family can make the most of the summer by engaging in these DIY home cleaning and repair projects.

Consider Painting the Deck

Your deck goes through a lot during the winter months. Why not take a summer weekend to repair and paint the outside structure? Having a paint day is just what the kids need to get away from the video games and into the center of nature in all of its splendor. You can even turn the chore into a complete day of fun by having a cookout, away from the fumes of course, after everyone has completed the task. Checking for damage while the kids are painting the deck is the best way to make the most of your time.

Clear Out the Garage

Platform shoes were in during your last garage overhaul. It is high time that you got rid of unwanted furniture and clothing that have taken up space in your garage for years. Consider selling items that are not too worn so that the kids can get a lesson on business this summer. You should also check the interior garage for obvious holes in the roof. Hire the best local roofing company if the sunshine radiates in places where darkness should dominate.

Thoroughly Clean the Showerheads

The shower gets brief cleanings throughout the year. Summer is your time, then, to address buildup that could lead to clogs and malfunctions. Remove every showerhead in the house and, with the kids’ help, clean every opening. You will notice the difference between a cluttered showerhead and clean device immediately upon bathing.

Clean the Refrigerator Coils

So many families use spring and summer to thoroughly clean every crevice and crack of the fridge’s interior. Few, however, remember the coils on the back of the appliance. Your refrigerator will thank you and the kids for purifying it through and through by preserving your foods for longer periods after a good coil cleaning.

Your family can take full advantage of the summer months by locating and filling open spaces in which rodents can enter. Making a game out of the chore is usually the best way to get kids interested in the activity. You deserve rejuvenation this summer, and so does your home. Cleaning and caulking for better home care are the way to go during sunny months.

How To Get Your Home Ready for Seasonal Changes

When there’s a change of seasons in the air, you can always tell. Whether you feel the sweaty touch of summer, the chill grasp of winter, or the delightfully refreshing kiss of spring and fall, you should take care to celebrate each season. To make sure you’re ready, prepare your home for the changing weather, diet, and lifestyle that accompanies different times of the year.

Switch Up Your Home Décor

The seasons typically invoke certain colors or moods. Winter, for example, is a time of darkness, while summer is light and airy. By switching up your décor to match the time of year, you’ll feel more festive and ready to partake in that season’s events. Choose yellows and greens in the summer, burnt orange in the fall, rich and dark colors like purple or brown in the winter, and floral and rustic prints in the spring.

Use Essential Oils

Essential oils are a mixture of different natural substances designed to improve overall health and well-being. When placed in your home, they act as a natural aromatherapy that reduces tension and increases energy levels. For example, you might want to try a mix of cardamom, orange, and ginger oils in the fall to keep your immune system boosted and get rid of seasonal depression.

Perform Routine Maintenance Tasks

While it might be boring, there are certain things you have to do to physically prepare your home for the change of seasons. For example, when cold weather strikes, it’s time to roll up the outdoor hoses, close your pool, clean out your gutters, check your hot water tank, re-caulk your windows, and more.

One essential thing to check on regardless of the time of year is your HVAC system. You’ll want to make sure you have air conditioning when the hot days of summer make their appearance, as well as heat when the blistering days of winter arrive. Getting an HVAC tune-up from a service professional can ensure your system gets any repairs or maintenance it needs to function properly.

Stock Your Cabinets with Seasonal Food

Many fruits and vegetables only grow seasonally, meaning you can only get them at specific times. Don’t squander this opportunity. Instead of stocking up on processed foods, fill your refrigerator with fresh, locally grown produce. This will prevent you from overindulging on sugary, processed foods during the lull of winter or the excitement of summer.

Retrieve Your Seasonal Clothing

There’s a good chance you have a bag of winter or summer clothes stuffed away in the attic. Don’t forget to go get it before you’re stuck wearing jeans and a sweater on a 90-degree day. Take the opportunity to go through some of your older clothing and donate it to a homeless shelter or other charity. Spring isn’t the only time for cleaning.

There’s no need to panic when the seasons change. By keeping your home updated for the appropriate time of year, you’ll always be prepared for what the world throws at you.

Streamline Your Family Life With Smart Technology

It can be tough to manage a family in the modern age. However, instead of letting all the technology in the world suffocate you, why not harness it to keep your family safer? There are plenty of smart technologies available for your home that will make it easier to spend quality time with your children. By adapting a few modern touches to your abode, you can feel safer, save money, and even improve your health.

Improve Your Overall Health

Did you know that they make smart refrigerators now? These high-tech devices can monitor when you bought certain pieces of food and remind you when it’s about to go bad. You’ll never have to sniff questionable leftovers or deal with a bellyache after eating something you probably should have thrown away.

Keep More Money in Your Pocket

Smart homes are about more than just convenience. They can also help to lower your utility bills by about 10 to 15 percent. Installing a smart thermostat will allow it to monitor the temperature and adjust automatically depending on whether or not you are home. You even have the option of controlling the temperature via your smartphone or computer while on-the-go. If you know you’re staying late at work, simply keep your heating or cooling turned off until you’re on your way home.

Save Time and Effort

Going through and locking all of the doors before you leave the house each morning is wasting crucial minutes of your day. Imagine if you could automatically lock all of the entrances to your home with a single click of a button. You’d no longer have to rush around in a hurry to lock up everything before you leave. While this might not seem like a huge time gainer, you know just how precious seconds can be when you’re a busy parent.

Watch Your Children Closer

Certainly, you don’t want to intrude on your children’s private lives. However, you do want to make sure they’re not getting into any trouble while you’re at work. With a monitoring system installed in your home, you can get a live look from your phone to see what they’re up to while you’re away. Even better, you can get text alerts sent straight to your phone to know that they made it home safe from school.

Feel Safer and More Secure

Leaving your house unattended during long vacations can be a bit scary. The thought of a burglar breaking in and stealing your possessions might make you feel nervous and want to cancel your trip. However, with a smart home, it will look as if someone is at home at all times. You can program lights to come on automatically, monitor your home at all times thanks to a live camera stream, and even trigger an alarm to the police if you think something is awry.

While there’s an initial investment to certain smart technologies, the peace of mind and added savings you’ll receive will be well worth it in the end.

Just Passed Your Test? Tips for Driving with Your Kids for the First Time

If you have recently passed your driving test then you’re probably feeling excited, and maybe even a little nervous, about driving in your own car for the first time. For parents with young children, the idea of taking the kids in their car can be a very daunting one. As a new driver, you’ll know that you’re already more susceptible to accidents on the road since you’re not yet experienced in driving on your own and no longer have the safety net of your instructor with dual controls. So, it’s natural for you to be feeling anxious and perhaps even scared about driving somewhere with your children in tow after recently passing your test. We’ve put together some top tips to help you and your family get safely on the road in no time.

Tip #1. Practice Alone

If you’ve recently passed your test and have purchased a shiny new car, the first obstacle is going to be getting used to driving in a new vehicle. Chances are, you won’t have gotten the same car as the one that you have learned to drive in, so you should allow yourself some time to get used to the feel of the car and the positioning of the controls, which vary between different makes and models. For your first few drives, go on your own or with another adult who can help to reassure you on the road. Check out toptests.co.uk as well, where you can revise driving theory and improve your confidence reading road signs via practice driving theory tests.

Tip #2. Use P Plates

Although it’s not mandatory to use P plates when driving in the UK, after recently passing your driving test it can be a good idea – especially if you have young passengers. Although you’re probably more than aware that there are always going to be some inconsiderate drivers on the road, the majority of drivers will remember their first few drives out after passing their test and will be a little more forgiving of you if you display P plates on the car. It may also be a good idea to display a ‘child on board’ sign, as this will signify to other drivers that you have little passengers and warn them to keep their distance and drive safely when they are close to your car.

Tip #3. Keep Your Children Occupied

Your first few days or weeks driving independently in your own car can be a little bit daunting as you get used to your car and to being on the road. Because of this, anything that can distract you in the car can increase your risk of having an accident. If you are driving with your little ones in the car, then they could distract you from the road. So, it’s important to make sure that they are kept occupied for the duration of the journey; stay well prepared with games, or even give them your iPad or smartphone to play with, as this will help to keep them happy and quiet and allow you to focus on the road.

After just passing your test, driving with your children in the car can be nerve-wracking! These strategies will help you stay calm and safe.