Taking a road trip can be a wonderful vacation idea for you and your family. Loading up the car and driving somewhere is usually a cheaper way to travel than buying various airplane tickets. The journey of a road trip can provide wonderful sights and thrills along the way, rather than being clumped in a crowded flight, make a road trip its own reward.road trip

 

However, a road trip can just as easily turn into a major headache if you don’t plan for it. Traveling with the whole family in one car is surely going to turn up some challenges, but it’s still worth it. Here are some tips to make the family road trip go smoothly…road trip

 

Prepare some distractions for your kids

 

When you pack your kids into a car and expect them to sit there quietly all day, then you are invariably going to have problems. This is most families’ hesitation with taking a road trip, as it can be a horrendous experience if you are going to hear crying and bickering the whole time. For this reason, make sure that you plan out things for your kids to do on the road trip.

 

Think of some road trip games that the whole family can play, or give them a creative task to do while the drive is going. If all else fails, there’s also no shame in letting technology do some of the heavy lifting for you and getting some entertaining apps to hold their attention for a while during the longest stretches of road.

 

Budget what the drive will cost

 

While taking a road trip is definitely going to be cheaper than taking a flight, there are still going to be some deep costs for a long journey. You should expect this, but you can ease some of the travel pains on your wallet by thoroughly planning out the road trip and budgeting what it will cost you.

 

Once you get everything down and on paper, you can see ways that you can cut hotel costs, or ways that you can spend less on gas. Just make sure that you also budget yourself a cushion, because there are almost always things that come up that you just don’t expect.

 

Get your vehicle a checkup before you go

 

Nothing can wreck a road trip faster than having your transmission go out, or your engine stalling, in an area that you are unfamiliar with. Breakdowns are sure to add a great deal of stress to the trip, and can make your costs skyrocket. For this reason, it’s always worth the insurance and peace of mind to take your vehicle in for a checkup by a professional before a long drive, so that you can rest easy knowing that you can get where you’re going, safely.

 

Plan for regular bathroom breaks

 

When traveling with a large group of people, it’s important to understand that everyone’s bathroom habits aren’t going to suddenly synchronize, as beneficial as that would be. Don’t limit your family to only one, two, or even three bathroom breaks throughout the day. Plan for some regular stops so that they can relieve themselves and travel comfortably. This will make the trip much more pleasurable, believe me.road trip

 

Pack a wide variety of snacks

 

Getting hungry on a road trip is an easy shortcut to getting angry, and nobody wants that. Always make sure to pack enough snacks and drinks to keep everyone appeased for the duration of the trip. Sure, you’re probably still going to stop for a quick meal at an interesting place that you spot along the way, but you still want to make sure that everyone is staying hydrated and well-fed during the long stretches of road where you can’t stop. Don’t only stock up on sugary snacks, either, as that will lead to sugar highs and crashes, which won’t be fun in the full car. Make sure to get some healthy things in there, as well.

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I try to give blood whenever I can. Since I am A negative I can also give double blood. There are many good reasons why you should be a blood donor, every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood and more than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day, according to the American Red Cross.give blood

 

Here are 4 reasons to give blood.

 

People Need Blood Donations

 

Blood is essential for life; it carries oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, fights infections and helps heal wounds. When people are in accidents they often need blood. Blood transfusions save the lives of cardiac patients during surgery and premature babies come into the world often needing blood to survive. Your blood donation could save up to three lives.give blood

 

It’s a Simple Process

 

Donating blood is a simple four-step process:  registration, medical history and mini-physical, donation and refreshments (cookies!)  The whole process takes no more than one hour and 15 minutes with the actual blood collection taking about 12 minutes.give blood

 

You Get a Mini Check Up.

 

Before you are allowed to give blood you’ll have to complete a quick physical that measures your temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin levels. After the blood is collected it’s sent off to a lab where it will undergo 13 different tests for infectious diseases, like HIV and West Nile virus. If anything comes back positive, you’ll be notified immediately. The physical and blood tests are no reason to skip your annual doctor visits but it gives you peace of mind.

 

You’ll Meet Some Amazing People.

 

Every time I give blood I am amazed at how nice everyone is, from the people that take down your vital information to those actually drawing the blood. They are all friendly and want to make the blood donation process as easy as possible. There are also volunteers who will serve you sandwiches afterwards and make sure that you feel well enough to drive home. It’s actually medically necessary to replenish your blood supply after a blood donation. You get to enjoy sandwiches, cookies and a drink before they let you go home.give blood

 

If you’ve never given blood before there’s a first time for everything. As you sit in the donation chair, you realize how lucky you are to be healthy. Your heath is a gift you are bestowing on someone who needs some of your wonderful blood to survive.give blood

 

If you don’t know how to find your local blood donation center don’t worry the American Red Cross can help you with that. There are usually blood donations going on all the time.give blood

As we head into autumn one of my favorite recipes to make is my Aunt Cathleen’s Fresh Apple Cake. My aunt shared this recipe years ago with my mom and it has been a family favorite ever since! It is delicious anytime of the year but especially good in the fall when the apples are fresh.apple cake

 

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! It is best to make this recipe in the late afternoon just before you plan serving dinner. There is nothing better than warm apple cake with some vanilla ice cream. My aunt has since passed away but every time I make this apple cake it brings back wonderful memories of her.

 

Fresh Apple Cake

 

Ingredients:


2  ½ cups flour
½cup wheat germ
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp salt
2 cups brown sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup walnuts, chopped
4 cups coarsely chopped unpeeled applesapple cake, cooking, apple cake, prudent living

 

Directions:

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine the flour, wheat germ, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and brown sugar.flour, apple cake, pecans, applecake

 

Stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. It is often easier to use your hands to mix everything together as the mixture is quite stiff. Lightly grease a tube pan. Scrap mixture into the tube pan and bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours.apples, apple cake, applecake, prudent living Let cool for a few minutes before inverting onto a plate or cake stand.Apple cake, apples, baking

 

There is nothing that reminds me of autumn than this delicious apple cake. It is good with fresh apples that you have just picked or apples that you want to use up from your refrigerator. Do you have a favorite recipe that has been passed down in your family? Any favorite apple recipes?

 

Bon Appetit!

Welcome to the Simple Homestead Blog Hop!

We are so glad that you have stopped by for a visit! We encourage you to look through some of the great posts shared by our readers and then take the time to read those that interest you. If you are adding to our list, thank you for sharing your homesteading, homemaking, and homeschooling posts with us. It’s so much fun to read your hints, tips, and happenings. We hope you have fun exploring all the great ideas everyone has shared with us.

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Each week we’ll feature the most-viewed post from last week’s hop. Each host also features her own picks from the posts linked the previous week. Visit each of our blogs to see if you were featured this week.

Our most-visited post from last week’s hop:
Health Benefits of Eating Gelatin Daily

My Favorite Post:
4 Tips for a Clean House Without Working All Day

 

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If you’re like many people, you’ve thought about making an estate plan, but you just never get around to doing it. Perhaps you’re too busy, or maybe you’d rather avoid considering what will happen in the even of your incapacity or death. Although these concerns are understandable, estate planning is a vital component of your financial well being, and one that’s bet tackled sooner rather than later.estate plan

 

Why you need an estate plan.

 

An estate plan is designed to provide financial security for your family, ensuring that your property will be preserved and passed on to beneficiaries. IN addition it can minimize estate taxes and other administrative costs, ensure competent management of your property iin the case of incapacity, enable you to provide for a favorite charity and help mitigate or avoid disputes among family members.

 

Having lost both of my parents in the last four years I can’t tell you how true this is. My mother always had all of her affairs in order. When she passed away it was an easy estate to settle and there was minimal costs involved.

 

My father was another story. He was still working on getting his affairs in order when he went into the hospital. As a result we had to hire an attorney and it took three years to settle the estate with the attorneys getting the bulk of his estate.

 

Now contrary to popular belief you don’t need to have significant wealth to have an estate plan. Basic estate planning is for everyone. Putting a plan in place will help you protect assets during your life and control how you wish your estate to be distributed on your death, as well as ease the administrative burden on you family.

 

There are three basic components of your estate plan: a durable power of attorney for financial matters, a health care power of attorney and a last will and testament. What are each of these components?

 

Durable Power of Attorney

This document allows you to appoint someone to handle your financial matters in the event that you become incapacitated.

 

Health care documents

A health care POA allows you to name an individual to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so. It may be used in conjunction with a living will, which authorizes your health care provider to take specific actions in the event that life-sustaining decisions need to be made.

 

Last will and testament

 

A will dictates who will receive your property upon your death and under what circumstances. It also enables you to direct the payment of estate administration expenses and taxes and to nominate an executor to handle these matters. It also allows you to designate a guardian for your minor children.

 

Revocable Trust

 

A revocable trust allows you to maintain control and ownership of the trust assets during your life and direct how and when your beneficiaries will receive trust distributions upon your death. By funding a revocable trust during your life, your assets will avoid probate administration.

 

Remember a will governs only probate property; a trust governs only assets owned by the trust. It is also important to review the ownership and beneficiary designations of such assets as jointly held property, life insurance proceeds, retirement benefits, employee death benefits and retirement plan proceeds.

 

This may all seem a bit overwhelming but working with an experienced professional will help you to plan. The time to start your estate plan is now!estate plan

We finally had our first touch of frost in the garden and I’m seeing an end to our abundant harvest of zucchini! I had a few larger zucchini that somehow slipped by me and I decided to use them to make some double chocolate zucchini bread. This bread is more like a dessert. It is moist, dense and super choclatey! No one would ever guess that there is zucchini in it plus it’s a great way to use up zucchini!chocolate zucchini bread

 

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

 

Ingredients:

 

2 large eggs

1/3 cup honey

½ cup coconut oil

½ cup brown sugar

1 tsp. homemade vanilla

1 tsp. Slat

½ tsp. Baking soda

½ tsp. Baking powder

½ tsp. espresso powder (optional)

1/3 cup baking cocoa

1 2/3 cups all purpose flour

2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini, gently pressed

1 cup chocolate chips

 

Directions:

 

Preheat your oven to 350 and lightly grease a 8 ½ by 4 ½ inch loaf pan.

 

In a large mixing bowl beat the eggs, honey, oil, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.

 

Add the salt, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder, cocoa and flour mixing until well combined. Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips.chocolate zucchini bread

 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the bread for 65-75 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and let cool 10-15 minutes before turning it out of the pan onto a rack.chocolate zucchini bread Cool completely before slicing. Store at room temperature or wrap to freeze. Makes one loaf.chocolate zucchini bread

 

This recipe is a slight variation of one I found on the King Arthur Flour site. This Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread has got to be the tasty way to use up excess zucchini! I made a batch over Labor Day weekend and our company enjoyed it immensely. I think I’ll make a few more loaves to put in the freezer.

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