Akron Children’s Museum. Cabin Fever No More.

1017541_582065261846428_877869030_nHere in Ohio its winter. Well, I think? It’s currently 50 and raining, so not the normal -15 F and a snowstorm, but still pretty gross. My kids are bouncing off the walls lately and I have been searching for something new for them to do! I know not everyone is close to Akron, Ohio, but if you are or ever find yourself near here,  this place is the solution! Akron Children’s Museum is more like a huge discovery playhouse than a “museum”. Don’t let their name fool you.

IT’S AWESOME!! So much thought was put into this and they aren’t even done yet. Some of you might have seen me try and go live Thursday morning, but Facebook/Verizon was NOT cooperating. You can see the general lay-out though ,and get an idea of what it looks like, even though  Facebook kept cutting in and out a lot.

Akron Children’s Museum’s mission is to be a gathering place for children and families, where play inspires exploration, discovery, and problem solving. ACM envisions a community shaped by lifelong learners, who provide innovative leadership inspired by creativity and diverse perspectives.

Beyond the museums exhibits  they have a calendar of events and activities booked full of fun things to get involved in! Things like little kids yoga, theater games, art studio and much more.

Not only are there awesome and educational exhibits, but they really went above and beyond to think about parents and families. There is a whole area to park strollers and hang coats. If you are a nursing mom or have a child that needs some quiet time there is a quiet room that has dim lighting and a few comfy chairs! 

The museum is located at 216 S. Main St. in downtown Akron, Ohio next to Lock 3 Park.
You can park in the State Street Parking Deck located at 52 W. State St. (behind Barley House). Take the elevator to the ground level, take a right to go outside, and doors to the museum are straight ahead. Out of the elevators you will be right inside of Lock 3. There are plenty of signs showing you the way to the entrance.img_2622

Open Tuesdays- Sundays 10am-6pm

$5 for kids and adults (infants 12-months and under free)

Annual memberships start at just $55 and include free parking.

If you have a family of 4 all requiring admission, the annual membership would pay for itself in 2.5 visits! With the ever changing calendar of events and their additions and continuing to build, it would be well worth it!

My kids and I LOVED Akron Children’s Museum! We will be returning! The only suggestion I have is a little more security. I was very thankful to have someone with me, but if I was alone with two children I would have been very concerned. It is a very open layout and a child could run off or be misplaced fairly quickly. I would love to see a few staff people just walking the floor with the sole purpose of keeping an eye out. The staffers that were around were cleaning and then running back into closets and to the desk to fulfill other duties.  The museum is  wesome, and we were very excited to return, but definitely with daddy or a grandparent to help wrangle those quick toddlers!

Be sure to Check out their website here for more information and to follow them on Facebook to stay up to date on all the awesome things they are doing for the community!   ~Amanda

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Minivan Mama

I officially gained my “soccer mom” status this summer when we traded in my little blue SUV for a MINIVAN. And let me tell you, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made!! It’s true love. I knew I 17194_600always wanted a minivan someday, because I grew up with my parents always having one, and it always just seemed like the most practical with kiddos. What I didn’t know is how much I would not miss my old car and absolutely love this van!

My husband I had been talking about them for a while and finally buckled down and started researching them after we had our second child. We were tired of not having a lot of room in the car especially if we needed to take any extra people anywhere. Two car seats take up a lot of space. We looked at several minivans on the market, but narrowed it down to the Toyota and Honda. We did have a rental Chrysler that we were happy with as well. After test driving, we were actually surprised at how easy the decision was with the Honda Odyssey. The vans were priced roughly the same, but the Honda just felt like it was made better. We didn’t dislike the Toyota (my hubby drives a Toyota Tundra), but the Honda was just better.

 

 

We waited several weeks for the specific model and color to come in that we wanted, but once it arrived, it was love at first sight. I was so anxious and excited that Saturday morning we were able to go and pick it up with the kids. Our 3 year old was excited for the “new van!” too. It was bittersweet leaving our old SUV, but there are new reasons every day why I am so thankful to be a minivan mama now . . .

Here’s a few of them . . .

1.       The automatic sliding side doors… need I say more?! I don’t have to worry about my kids or I banging any cars parked next to us with our doors. You know how loading and unloading our kiddos goes, these door make it a dream come true!! Because of the sliding doors, the opening is so much bigger than an average car door – WONDERFUL! The doors also open and close by the simple push of a button from either the key fob, by the driver’s seat, or on the inside of the sliding doors themselves.

 

2.       Not only is there more room in the doorways, there’s more room EVERYWHERE in this car. I can honestly say I’ve been a passenger in every seat and never once did I feel like I had no space to move. And if you need more room . . . You can MAKE more room . . .

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3.       . . . You can make that extra space because of the movable seats. I know this is typical with most minivans and vehicles with a third row of seats, but the way the Honda was set up was another big selling point for me. Our Odyssey has the option to have an eighth seat. All of the seats are removable (except the front), but with the Odyssey you can have an eighth seat in the middle of the second row. You can easily remove that middle seat of the second row to have 2 captains chairs and an aisle way to the back row, or you can leave it in place to complete the row and have an extra seat. The seat also folds down as an arm rest if it’s left in place. The third row of seats EASILY folds down into the trunk of the van. When we drove to the beach this summer, we opted to fold the third row down so we had TONS of room for luggage and could still see out the back window.

 

4.       Handles on the high way – We drove the minivan on the West Virginia turnpike on our way to Myrtle Beach this past summer, and it handled so much better than my husband’s truck the year before. We could set the cruise control and not have to waver and hit the brake on those winding highway turns.

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5.       Good on gas – I know the gas tank in the minivan is bigger than my tank was in my SUV, but I swear still that the van gets better gas mileage. According to Honda, the Odyssey gets 19 mpg on city streets and 27 mpg highway. Either way, its way better on gas than a huge SUV would be!

 

6.        Does NOT ride like a bus – I traded in a small SUV for my minivan. I had driven it for 5 years. I will say that I was the most anxious that the minivan was going to feel like I was driving a bus after driving my little SUV. I was so wrong. The van does not feel any bigger to me. I would say it sits up off the road the same height as my old car. Even though the van is significantly longer, I really haven’t noticed other than making sure I pull in the garage far enough. The back-up camera has made this easier as well!

 

7.       Bang for the Buck – I’m telling you, you cannot beat a minivan. Even if you have a small family like we do, it is worth considering. For some reason, they get a bad rap, but I can’t think of one negative thing to say about mine. Maybe I don’t look the “coolest” driving the minivan around, but that is the last thing I’m worried about. Most companies offer all the bells and whistles you can find in luxury cars and SUVs, so don’t think those options aren’t available in a van. It’s convenient, affordable, and I know my kids are safe – that’s what matters to me.

If you’re thinking about getting a new vehicle for your new family, growing family, or just want more seats/space, take a look at a minivan. Check out all the options. Take them for a test drive. I think you’ll love it! And if you take the plunge like we did and buy one, you won’t regret it!

-Megan

 

Feeling Green: A Guide to Morning Sickness

What is the mantra? “It will all be worth it in the end.” Instead of puking, you’re getting puked on. Seems like a fair trade.


**I am not a doctor, nor will any of this solve morning sickness entirely. If you feel your morning sickness is not able to be managed, contact your doctor.**

Statistics say 70% of women experience nausea while only 50% actually vomit with pregnancy and the term “morning” is a bunch of bull because I personally know people who are sick all day, everyday for their entire pregnancy.

So what can you do?

  1. Always keep a full tummy. I’ve heard of people taking a few sips of juice during in middle of the night (when you get up to pee 59 times), even have a snack. However, eating saltine crackers before your feet hit the floor in the morning is a problem solver for most.
  2. Ginger. Drink a glass of ginger tea or ginger infused water first thing in the morning. Ginger is a natural stomach soother which is why it helps.
  3. Stay Hydrated. Mild dehydration can make you feel sick even when you’re not pregnant. Add in “growing a human” into the mix of daily activities, hydration is quite important.
  4. Graze. Not like a cow in a field of grass, but in the kitchen! Eat 4-6 small meals a day instead of 3 large meals. Hunger brings on nauseousness.

I’m lucky enough to not be in the “actually vomit” percentage, but the extreme nauseousness makes me want to vomit about 99% of mornings. I have noticed a huge difference if I eat dinner at 5pm and don’t eat a bedtime snack and the other times when I eat dinner and then a snack. I still feel blah, just not as bad.

Just remember Mama, this too shall pass and it will all be worth it in the end.

– Kirstyn

Bring it On, Apocalypse.

Natural disasters. Terrorist attacks. Wars. Zombie outbreaks. Real outbreaks that should be worried about more than zombie outbreaks. Etc.

Zombie-Apocalypse-Gear-Survival-Essentials-0.jpg

All of these things make us worry. In all seriousness, before having a baby, I didn’t care. I just figured I’d face things head on. Once that tiny human of mine came into this world, everything changed. I became this person consumed with thinking of the worst case scenario. If the plague reemerged, did I have enough water to stay put in my house for long periods of time? Did I have enough wood to board up my windows to keep zombies out? Enough food to last a few weeks if I suddenly needed to pick up and go because of a natural disaster? Could I protect my family if a ground war began? I literally dreamed about apocalypses. There is nothing in me that could stand to see my child suffer.

The world is a shitty place. There is a lot of good, but a freaking lot of bad. I think, mostly, the world has always been full of bad people. We generally like to romanticize the past, but shitty things have been done by shitty people since the dawn of time. And mother nature, she’s the biggest jerk of them all. When you have a family, there is no such thing as being too prepared for the worst. Of course, all situations cannot be prepared for but I’ve done my best to take care of some of the minor things that are within my control.

ENTER THE SURVIVALIST MOMMY

I have no doubt turned into a crazy person. But here are some of the things my husband and I have done to make sure that our family has the basics should a catastrophe occur.

91Y4dYU4roL._SL1500_.jpg1. Bug Out Bags: You can make these yourself, but we took the easy route and purchased highly rated bug out bags. Ours is a 4 person set, even though we are a family of 3. Ours came with two fully loaded backpacks. Ours was about $160. It included the following:

ORGANIZATION:
Black backpack (2)
Zip lock bags x5
Waterproof document container

WEATHER PROTECTION:
Reflective sleeping bags x2 (4)
Adult size poncho x2 (4)
2 person tube tent (2)
Hand warmers x2 (4)

FOOD AND WATER:
US Coast Guard approved 5 year shelf life 3600 calorie bars x 2 (4)
US Coast Guard approved 5 year shelf life 4.2 oz water pouches x12 (24)
1 L water purification powder x5
Folding 1 L water container for purifying water
Water purification instruction sheet

LIGHT AND COMMUNICATION:
Dynamo AM/FM radio/flashlight/mobile phone charger
Light sticks x2 (4)

HYGIENE:
Toothbrush x2 (4)
Toothpaste
Comb
Razor
Shampoo
Soap
Feminine pad x2
Washcloth
Toilet paper roll
Sewing kit.

61 PIECE FIRST AID KIT:
Band aids
Dressing
Butterfly closures
Cotton tip applicators
Towelettes
N95 masks x2 (4)
Self-adhesive bandage
Tweezers
Trauma scissors
Pair of medical grade nitrile gloves

MISC SUPPLIES:
10yd duct tape
5 in 1 survival whistle
50 ft rope
Leather palm work gloves
Multi tool knife
Playing cards
GI can opener
Pencil
48 page Emergency Preparedness Guide

Emergency Zone 840-2 Urban Survival Bug Out Bag Emergency Disaster Kit, 2 Person, Black

After doing quite a bit of research, I thought that I got the most bang for my buck with these bags. I did end up adding additional emergency rations, which brings me to point 2.

71sY2HepiSL._SL1500_.jpg2. Extra rations of food: I don’t mean bring a few extra cans of pop and some Easy Mac. I mean, get some SOS rations that will last and also contain the necessary nutrients to keep you and your family going.
S.O.S. Rations Emergency 3600 Calorie Food Bar – 3 Day / 72 Hour Package with 5 Year Shelf Life- 10 PK

717f-So8y7L._SL1500_.jpg3. A way to easily filter a lot of water: I chose to buy a few LifeStraws. If you haven’t heard of these, they are absolutely revolutionary. They filter water as you drink directly from the straw. Of course, you have to be close to a water source or have a way to obtain water. Once you do, this is definitely a must have.

– Removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria (>LOG 6 reduction) and surpasses EPA standards for water filters
– Removes minimum 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites (>LOG 3 reduction) and filters to an amazing 0.2 microns
– Filters up to 1000 liters of contaminated water without iodine, chlorine or other chemicals
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

4. Extra first aid supplies: Any large piece first aid kit should do. Your bug out bag(s) should already contain numerous first aid items, but having extra never hurts. We also keep various medications in bags that might be beneficial in extreme situations.

5. Self-Powered Radio/Flashlight/Charger Combo: I own the Eton self-powered radio 71iBq53iBNL._SL1500_.jpg(flashlight/charger) and have used it several times. It has a solar panel as well as a hand crank. I live in Ohio, so I use the hand crank (laughs). We don’t have cable TV, so I often monitor the weather using this radio. I’ve had it for years and have no complaints.

6. Extra light sources: We have a supply of candles, as well as emergency lanterns. I prefer hand-crank lanterns, but we also own a few that are battery powered (not practical long term, but okay for short spurts).

7. Map/Compass: I get lost, even with GPS, so these are just a necessity.

8. Some way to protect yourselves: Something that you can keep from your children in the home. Safety is of the utmost importance and keeping your littles away from dangerous objects is crucial. But it’s a good idea to have something you’re comfortable using. I have a taser and a few other tactical things.

us-passport.jpg9. Documentation: Keep your important documents in a water safe bag or safe and easily accessible. On that note, it’s never too early to get your children a passport. We have a passport and ID for Lucas and having the ID card makes crossing the border fairly straightforward and easy.

10. A Survival Handbook: I prefer the SAS Survival Handbook. This book is so thorough that it’s sometimes overwhelming. This book is more geared towards campers/hikers/outdoors folk, but it’s all the information you’d need to know to live off the land and brave the outdoors.

This list isn’t all-encompassing and there are obviously many things that would be great additions to this list. However, being a family on a budget, this is the prep work I’ve done for emergency situations. I hope I never need to utilize any of these things, but am thankful that I’ve taken at least a few steps to ease any burden we would feel should a situation arise.

– Katie