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Tips for Planning Winter Getaways

Winter occasions and celebrations equate to increased travel opportunities for many families to see destinations around the globe. Whether you’re planning a trip far from home or taking advantage of nearby attractions during a staycation, you can get more out of your adventures when you plan ahead.

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(Family Features) Winter occasions and celebrations equate to increased travel opportunities for many families to see destinations around the globe. Whether you’re planning a trip far from home or taking advantage of nearby attractions during a staycation, you can get more out of your adventures when you plan ahead.

Consider these facts, figures and tips from the travel experts at Go City, a top attractions and experiences pass for city travelers.

Planning
Overall, Americans spend an average of 14 hours planning their getaway, the majority of which happens online or with the help of apps that provide booking information, directions, localized tips and more. In addition to deciding where to go and what to do once you get there, you may find planning ahead and checking restaurant reviews is especially helpful for those first hours after you arrive. Upon arrival, the first order of business for travelers is often refueling with a good meal, typically based on reviews they read before reaching their destination. Also research attractions and create a plan of things you’d like to do each day, even if you don’t follow it to the letter.

Remember, while many attractions and entertainment options provide flexibility, some should be booked in advance. Check individual websites for events, attractions and more to find details about booking and tickets, if required.

Destination
If you’re like many Americans, you may favor traveling to a place where the temperatures soar and you can soak up some sunshine. However, taking advantage of some of those typically warmer destinations outside of peak season can actually provide a way to avoid lines and enjoy a break from the heat. For example, locals in Orlando prefer to visit the area’s popular theme parks in the winter. Using an option like Go City can help you save and experience more to make your in- or offseason trip even better with access to Legoland Florida, Fun Spot America and Boggy Creek Airboat Tours.

The experience passes provide access to popular attractions in 30 major cities around the world such as New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Orlando, London, Bangkok, Barcelona, Dubai and more. Cancun is another hot spot; using the All-Inclusive Pass during the cooler months allows you to take advantage of one of the best times of the year to enjoy Xcaret at Night, along with the Cancun Scenic Tower. Other favorites among visitors include the Sky Wheel and parasailing adventures.

Packing
Smart packing is an often-overlooked secret to successful travel. Not only do you need enough attire for each day, you may also need extras to accommodate special activities or adjust to changing temperatures throughout the day and evening hours. The majority of Americans (63%) pack the night before a big trip but starting sooner can help ensure you don’t forget anything important. Starting a list well ahead of time can help you get a jump on your packing while saving the physical act of fitting everything into your luggage until closer to departure.

Excursions
Taking advantage of the unique activities and excursions is a smart way to immerse yourself and more fully experience the cities you visit. On average, Americans participate in five activities and excursions during a single trip; most of the time, those outings are planned from home as much as four weeks ahead of time, rather than upon arriving in the destination city.

If you’re planning to schedule excursions on your trip, explore resources like Go City, which can help you save up to 60% over gate admission prices. Passes can unlock the best a city has to offer, from bucket list attractions and top tours in the United States, such as Universal Studios, Sea World, Shedd Aquarium, Long Beach Aquarium and the Statue of Liberty, or abroad like the Vatican, the Eiffel Tower and more. There are also plenty of hidden gems and exclusive experiences such as a tour of Fenway Park, Texas Ranger Museum, Museum of Us, Coral Crater Adventure Park and even wine and cheese-making classes.

Start planning your winter travel adventure at gocity.com.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images


SOURCE:
Go City

child education

Spilling the Secrets to Early Literacy

Reading is critical for young children’s educational journeys, impacting their cognitive abilities, language proficiency, and later academic achievement.

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literacy helps build cognitive abilities

(Family Features) For young children, learning to read is a critical step in their educational journeys, as literacy helps build cognitive abilities and language proficiency and has a direct impact on later academic achievement.

While there are no shortcuts to early literacy, there are steps parents can take to promote the development of children’s reading abilities. Dr. Lauren Loquasto, senior vice president and chief academic officer at The Goddard School, and Steve Metzger, award-winning author of more than 70 children’s books, share this guidance for parents.

Get Started Early
It’s never too early to start reading with children. In fact, they respond to being read to prenatally. One of the best ways to encourage early literacy is modeling the act of reading. Young children love to imitate, and if they see their parents reading, they are more likely to want to read themselves. Instead of scrolling on your phone or watching television while your children play, pick up a book or magazine.

Use Conversation to Build Literacy
To help build their vocabularies, consistently engage children in conversation. Literacy is more than reading and writing; it’s also listening and speaking. Children understand words before they can articulate them, so don’t be discouraged if it feels like a one-way conversation.

Expose Children to More Than Books
Make your home environment print-rich, as the more exposure children have to letters and words, the better. For example, keep magnetic letters and words on the fridge, put labels on your toy containers and position books and magazines in different rooms. Also remember reading isn’t limited to books. Words are everywhere, from street signs to restaurant menus. Take advantage of every opportunity to connect with your children through words throughout your day.

Let Them Take the Lead
Children engage with books in different, developmentally appropriate ways. Some children quickly flip through pages or only look at pictures while others might make up stories or their own words or songs. Some only want to read the same book over and over and some want to read a new book every time. Embrace and encourage their interest in books, no matter how they choose to use them.

Establish a Routine
Parents of young children often have busy and hectic lives, so it isn’t always easy to find time to read. Consistency is key, so be intentional about setting aside time for reading every day – perhaps it’s after dinner or before bedtime – and stick to it.

Select the Right Books
Helping young children choose books is an important part of their learning-to-read process. Developmental appropriateness is critical. For infants and toddlers, start with nursery rhymes, which are mini-stories that grasp children’s attention through repetition, rhythm and rhyming. Visuals are also important because they aren’t yet pulling words off the page. For emerging readers, choose books that align with their interests. Focus on books that are printed with text that goes from left to right and top to bottom.

Expose children to both fiction and non-fiction books. Non-fiction provides real-world knowledge children crave and helps them make sense of what they read in fictional stories. For example, the learnings about the life cycle of a bat they read in “Bat Loves the Night,” a non-fiction book, can help them better understand what’s happening in “Stellaluna,” a fiction book about a young bat.

If you’re in doubt about book choices, consult with a teacher or librarian, who can make recommendations based on your children’s interests and reading levels.

Foster a Love of Reading
Children’s early exposure to books can set the stage for a lifetime of reading. Make reading a time for discovery. Take children to a library or bookstore and encourage them to explore and find books on their own. Display genuine interest in their selections and use books as a tool for engaging and connecting with them. Don’t pressure children to learn how to read. Accept, validate and encourage them as they progress on their unique literacy journeys.

To watch a webinar recording featuring Loquasto and Metzger providing additional literacy guidance and recommendations, and access a wealth of actionable parenting insights and resources, visit the Parent Resource Center at GoddardSchool.com.

Photos courtesy of Shutterstock


SOURCE:
The Goddard School

https://stmdailynews.com/category/lifestyle/

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Family

Ways to Make Mom’s Day Extra Special

Whether she’s the culinary expert of the home or cooking is usually a team effort, make sure her morning is one of rest and relaxation while you handle kitchen duties from prep to cleanup.

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(Family Features) Don’t let Mother’s Day pass by as just another day on the calendar. Make this year’s celebration a true ode to the moms in your life with some extra special touches at breakfast and beyond.

Give Her the Day Off
Whether she’s the culinary expert of the home or cooking is usually a team effort, make sure her morning is one of rest and relaxation while you handle kitchen duties from prep to cleanup. These Bacon-Wrapped Egg Muffins are easily customizable to suit your family’s favorite tastes with nearly endless possibilities. Just make sure to place a foil-lined cookie sheet under the muffin tin to make cleanup a breeze.

For a sweeter touch on brunch, these Cinnamon Muffins offer a one-ingredient solution that take just 15 minutes to prepare. Serve alongside the egg muffins or let these ooey-gooey bites bake while mom enjoys the main course.

Add Flowers
Flowers are a timeless Mother’s Day gift for a reason. They provide pops of color on dining room tables, kitchen counters, end tables or even nightstands. Consider mom’s favorite spot in the house and place them within eyeshot for a frequent reminder of how much she’s appreciated.

Create a Personalized Card
Add a special final touch to an already memorable morning with a thoughtful card and handwritten message. Get the kiddos involved and create a card from scratch with construction paper, colored pencils, markers and more for a homemade gift she’ll cherish. If you didn’t fall from the artistic tree, don’t fret – a storebought card means all the same when paired with a heartfelt message that conveys your love.

Regardless of how you choose to celebrate, mom will appreciate the extra effort to make her day special. Find more family-friendly recipe ideas at Culinary.net.

Bacon-Wrapped Egg Muffins

Recipe courtesy of “Cookin’ Savvy”

  • 1 pound regular-sliced bacon (not thick-sliced)
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half or milk
  • 1 tablespoon garlic pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh or frozen spinach
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Using muffin tin, wrap bacon around inside of each muffin hole. In bowl, whisk eggs, cheese, half-and-half, garlic pepper and spinach. Pour into each hole, filling about halfway to avoid overflowing while cooking. Cook 40 minutes, or until eggs are golden.

Tips: Place muffin tin on cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil to catch grease and make cleanup easier. If you want bacon taste without lining muffin holes, mix fried bacon pieces into eggs.

Substitutions: Line each hole with hashbrowns then add egg mixture. Use broccoli instead of spinach, if desired.

Cinnamon Muffins

Recipe courtesy of “Cookin’ Savvy”

  • 2 tubes (8-count each) cinnamon rolls
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Grease muffin tin or line with liners. Using kitchen shears, cut each cinnamon roll into pieces and place in muffin holes.
  3. Bake about 15 minutes, or until golden. Let cool then add provided icing.

Tip: To make icing extra special, add 2 tablespoons creamer and mix well before icing muffins.


SOURCE:
Culinary.net

https://stmdailynews.com/category/food-and-beverage/
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Family

Elevate Your Easter Dinner with These Top Five Delectable Meal Ideas

“Elevate your Easter dinner with these top five meal ideas: herb-crusted lamb, lemon roasted chicken, honey-glazed ham, stuffed shells, and spring vegetable risotto!” #EasterFeastIdeas 🐇🥚🍽️

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"Easter dinner with a beautifully decorated table, featuring a delightful spread of lamb, chicken, ham, and other mouthwatering dishes."


Easter is a time for joyous celebrations and gathering with loved ones over a scrumptious meal. If you’re looking to make this Easter dinner truly special, we’ve got you covered! In this blog post, we’ve curated a selection of mouthwatering dishes that will leave your guests craving for more. From traditional classics to innovative twists, these top five Easter meal ideas will make your dinner unforgettable.

  1. Herb-Crusted Lamb with Mint Pesto
    For a show-stopping centerpiece, look no further than herb-crusted lamb with mint pesto. Tender and succulent, this roast is complemented perfectly by a zesty mint pesto, which adds a refreshing burst of flavor. Serve it alongside roasted vegetables and creamy mashed potatoes for a truly elegant Easter feast.
  2. Lemon and Herb Roasted Chicken
    For those who prefer poultry over lamb, a lemon and herb-roasted chicken is a divine choice. The combination of tangy citrus and aromatic herbs creates a tantalizing flavor profile. The chicken turns out moist and juicy with a golden, crispy skin. Pair it with roasted asparagus and buttered baby potatoes for a delightful springtime meal.
  3. Baked Glazed Ham with Honey and Mustard
    No Easter dinner is complete without a glazed ham that’s perfectly caramelized and packed with flavor. This baked glazed ham with honey and mustard will leave your guests craving for seconds. The sweet and savory glaze, made from a blend of honey, Dijon mustard, and spices, creates a mouthwatering caramelized crust. Serve it with a side of silky mashed sweet potatoes and honey-glazed carrots for a truly indulgent Easter treat.
  4. Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
    For a delicious vegetarian option that doesn’t compromise on taste, these spinach and ricotta stuffed shells are a crowd-pleaser. Imagine tender pasta shells filled with a creamy mixture of spinach, ricotta, and Parmesan cheese, baked in a rich tomato sauce. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella. Serve alongside a fresh mixed green salad for a complete and satisfying meal.
  5. Spring Vegetable Risotto
    Capture the essence of the season with a vibrant spring vegetable risotto. This creamy dish combines Arborio rice with asparagus, peas, artichokes, and fresh herbs, creating a medley of flavors and textures. Each spoonful is a burst of springtime goodness. Finish it off with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Serve it as a main course or as a side dish alongside roasted chicken or lamb.


This Easter, unleash your culinary creativity and impress your guests with these sensational meal ideas. Whether you choose a succulent roast, a flavorful chicken dish, a glazed ham, a cheesy pasta delight, or a vibrant risotto, your Easter dinner is bound to be a hit. Celebrate the joys of Easter with the ultimate feast that will leave everyone feeling satisfied and delighted. Cheers to a memorable and delicious Easter dinner!

"Easter dinner with a beautifully decorated table, featuring a delightful spread of lamb, chicken, ham, and other mouthwatering dishes."

“Here are some additional ideas for a successful dinner that you might find helpful.”

https://www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-and-parties/menus/best-ever-easter-dinner/best-ever-easter-dinner

“Elevate your Easter dinner with these top five meal ideas: herb-crusted lamb, lemon roasted chicken, honey-glazed ham, stuffed shells, and spring vegetable risotto!” #EasterFeastIdeas 🐇🥚🍽️

If you’re looking for delicious food recipes and the latest foodie news, make sure to visit our Food and Beverage section.https://stmdailynews.com/category/food-and-beverage/

🐣 Happy Easter, everyone! 🌼🐇
Wishing you a day filled with joy, love, and lots of chocolatey delights. May your Easter egg hunts be full of laughter and excitement. Remember to cherish precious moments with your loved ones and savor every bite of those delicious treats. Let’s celebrate the spirit of renewal and new beginnings together. Hoppy Easter! 🥚🌷 #Easter2022 #HoppyEaster #JoyfulCelebrations

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