Raise a Wild Child

Scott Sampson, author of How to Raise a Wild Child.
Topic:
The art and science of falling in love with Nature.
Issues: What is nature and why do we need it? discovering nearby nature; mentoring young children; how to instill a love of nature even if you don’t love it that much yourself; balancing technology and nature; rethinking nature and childhood.

Packing Shoes and Carrying Blankets

Here are two travel add-ons that you’ll definitely want to have along on your next road trip.

eagle creek shoe sacPack-It Specter Shoe Sac (Eagle Creek)
Shoes. We need ‘em, but they present a packing dilemma. Besides taking up a lot of space in your luggage, they’re often dirty and/or smelly. A lot of people use plastic grocery bags to segregate shoes and clothes, put the shoes in a separate compartment, or both. Eagle Creek has come up with a better way. Unlike grocery bags, Shoe Sacs are sturdy and water repellant—which means you don’t have to worry about your muddy, wet shoes making everything else in your suitcase filthy. They come in several colors and are washable. As nice as they are for travel, Shoe Sacs are also great for any time you might need to change shoes (such as after a long hike or run). $18. http://shop.eaglecreek.com/

skip hop travel blanketSkip Hop Zoo Travel Blankets (Skip Hop, Inc.)
Part blanket, part pillow, and part stuffed animal, these travel blankets are perfect for snuggling with on any trip—or even at home. If you start your adventure with the animal in portable-pillow mode, your child can easily pull out the blanket for nap time and just as easily stuff it back inside after. And the straps make it easy to lug around. Comes in Ladybug, Monkey, and Owl. $20.00. http://www.skiphop.com/product/zootravelblankets.html

The Giant Book of Creativity + The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature

Bobbi Conner, author of The Giant Book of Creativity for Kids.
Topic:
500 activities to encourage creativity in kids ages 2-12.
Issues: The principles of childhood creativity; being creative as a family; art activities, music activities, pretend activities; dance and movement activities, creativity with words.

Scott Sampson, author of How to Raise a Wild Child.
Topic:
The art and science of falling in love with Nature.
Issues: What is nature and why do we need it? discovering nearby nature; mentoring young children; how to instill a love of nature even if you don’t love it that much yourself; balancing technology and nature; rethinking nature and childhood.

Luggable Luggage Makes Travel More Fun

With summer upon us, road (or plane or boat) trips, with all the associated packing and schlepping, aren’t far behind. Here are a two pieces of luggage that can help make those family vacays and adventures go as smoothly as possible.

wicked cool vrum ride onVRÜM Ride-On Storage (Wicked Cool Toys)
Kids often have trouble deciding which toys and games to take with them. With VRUM luggage, they can take everything—and best of all, you won’t have to carry it. VRUM is a sturdy, hard-sided, rolling suitcase that’s easy for a child to pull. And if your child gets tired on the long walk to gate 264, he or she can sit on it and scoot along. (You can pull it with your child riding on it, but that’s a bit challenging). Straps inside can keep toys and clothes separated (or toys from falling over and hurting themselves), and it locks securely so there’ll be no emergency pickups on the jetway. VRUM comes in a number of licensed characters, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, SpongeBob, and Dora the Explorer. $39.99. https://shop.govrum.com

wildkin rolling packRolling backpacks (Wildkin)
One of the worst parts about trips with kids is that mom and dad often end up hauling around the kids’ luggage in addition to their own. Frankly, we think it’s high time for the kids to help out—especially if they’re old enough to have outgrown the VRUM Ride-On. If you agree, you won’t have to look any further than Wildkin, which has a wide variety of wheeled options. Their rolling backbacks have plenty of room, lots of zippered compartments, mesh dividers, and water bottle pockets. They also have adjustable shoulder straps, just in case you’re going over terrain that’s unfriendly to wheels. Wildkin also has duffels, tote bags, larger rolling luggage for bigger kids, and more. Each option is available in a variety of designs that make them easy to spot on a luggage carousel. There are cute animals, mermaids, and construction equipment for little kids and more sophisticated prints for teens. They’re all built to last. $49.99 and up. http://www.wildkin.com/B_LUGGAGE.html

#MilitaryFamilyFriday: Saving Money + Being an Absentee Landlord

At one time or another, most of us run into some tight financial times. Being on a military salary—which, as we all know, isn’t the greatest in the world—doesn’t help. But, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be able to save money, whether you’re trying to build your retirement fund or just socking away a few extra bucks for a rainy day. Here are nine tips that will help you save money, even on a military salary. Read the rest of this article on my about.com minisite.

If you’ve been living off base in a property you own, it also means that you have to figure out what to do with your current home. The most obvious choice is to simply sell the house. But what if the housing market is down or you’re underwater? Should you keep the house and become an absentee landlord? Read the rest of this artilce on my about.com minisite.

I’m always looking for great organizations, programs, and other resources to help the men and women who serve our country. If you’ve got a suggestion or referral, please drop an email to armin [at] mrdad [dot] com.