The Week Ahead: My Summer Picks

Library Balloon Show at Boca Raton Library

My Summer Picks:

Library Programs for Broward and Palm Beach Counties

Library Balloon Show at Boca Raton LibraryYour local library is the best place to get out of the summer heat for an special activity.  We are so blessed here in South Florida with some really amazing libraries that offer kids shows, demonstrations, play areas, and incredible learning opportunities! Click Here for links to many of my favorite libraries from Broward and Palm Beach!

If you are trying to keep your kid reading this summer, then this is the one book for you.  You can borrow books from the library for free without ever leaving your house and the kids can simply touch a word they don’t understand and get the definition without disrupting their story time! Click Here to learn why you should get a Kindle (the black and white one like the PaperWhite, not the Kindle Fire)

Kids Bowl Free

Kids Bowl Free Logo

Take the kids Bowling for free! If you sign up for free, your kids get to bowl (2 games a day) for free all summer long!  This is available in Florida as well as a long list of other states.

$1 Movies at Regal Cinema’s Summer Movie Express

Free Movies at Regal Cinema

Imagine you get up on a Tuesday or Wednesday morning and just don’t know what to do! Here is your answer! Times vary by state and theater because they try to follow the local school summer holiday calendars  Click here for more information and movie times! 

Adventure PassThe South Florida Adventure Pass is one of the best deals around!

The Adventure Pass offers unlimited admission for the whole summer to Flamingo Gardens plus 4 other top attractions in South Florida! Visit  Flamingo Gardens, Jungle Island, Perez Art Museum Miami, Sawgrass Recreation Park, and Young at Art Museum as often as you like from May 15 through September 30, 2017.

South Florida Adventure Pass is just $45 for Adults (ages 13+) and $35 for Children (ages 3-12). Flamingo Gardens Members can purchase the pass for only $30.00 per adult and $20.00 per child! Passes may be purchased at the Flamingo Gardens Ticket Booth or at any of the 5 participating attractions. Save time and download this form to fill out in advance.

More details can be found at:http://www.southfloridaadventurepass.com/

The Summer Saving Pass! 

Summer Savings PassWe pick this Summer Saving Pass up every year. It is a great deal, you get unlimited admission to four different attractions.  The Museum of Discovery and Science, Lion Country Safari, Miami Seaquarium, and Miami Metro Zoo.  I particularly like that the Museum of Discovery is air conditioned!  Bonus!  You can pick this pass up at the gate of any of the participating facilities.

It’s all about the water!

Splash Pad A1A & Atlantic in Pompano Beach
Splash Pad A1a & Atlantic in Pompano Beach

 

 

Summer in Florida means water play! Click Here for a list of our favorite Water Parks and Splash Pads!

Learn something new, like piano.

There is an App for that!
pianomarvelI am a geek, I know! I have been obsessed with all things educational & technological! So what about Piano Lessons? Yup, There’s an app for that too! Piano Marvel is a completely online piano course that uses a midi interface with your piano to give you instant feedback on what you know! I have been using it to brush up on my extremely old skills and to supplement my child’s lessons! I am LOVING IT! I also negotiated a Coupon Code for you try it for free! If you buy a subscription you will get a discount too! You won’t believe what you get for about a quarter of the price of piano lessons!

Be a Circus Star!

Circus of the kids will be here in South Florida to help inspire kids.  Campers will spend the week learning circus skills and learning to trust their own ability to succeed.  Sign your kids up for this life changing program or just bring the family to the shows.

June 15- June 24
Mandel JCC of the Palm Beaches
Ticket and Registration Information
Show Times:
Thursday, June 22 at 7 pm
Friday, June 23 at 10:30 am and 2 pm
Tickets can be purchased in the JCC gym starting on June 15

June 24 – June30
Michael-Ann Russel JCC
Ticket and Registration Information
Thurday, June 29 at 7 pm
Friday, June 30 at 10 am
Tickets can be purchased in the JCC gym starting on June 25

The calendar is filling up quickly! Please make sure that we don’t miss your next event and submit your event today!

Click Here for the full list of upcoming events!

Got a Summer Camp?

Let us know and we will place your Summer or Spring Break Camp information on our Find a Camp page!

How you can help keep this site running.

If you have found this site helpful and want to keep me writing please use the Donate Button on the right side of this page. This helps us pay for our domain, ip address and hosting, maybe even a cup of coffee as I sit at Panera searching for more free events. Some sites require membership fees in order to pay for their site. We really want this information to be free and available to all. Thanks for your support!

If you would like to learn more about our partnership opportunities Contact Us today!
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The Week Ahead for South Florida 1/21/16

Green Cay Nature Center

The calendar is filling up quickly!  Please make sure that we don’t miss your next event and submit your event today!

Click Here for the full list of upcoming events!  or scroll down for this weeks events!

Diary of a Rogue House CatDiary of a Rogue House Cat

Have you ever had a pet that just seemed to cause havoc at every turn? Has your cat ever knocked over glasses, hidden your keys or generally created chaos for no apparent reason? Have you ever wondered what on earth your pet could be thinking? Baby Girl the Rogue House Cat explains all her crazy and funny actions in her new diary. Her journey to become a good house cat will help explain why cats do some of the things they do. I hope you enjoy her antics as much as I do.

Thank You for you support!

Available in Print and on Kindle

How you can help keep this site running.

If you have found this site helpful and want to keep me writing please use the Donate Button on the right side of this page. This helps us pay for our domain, ip address and hosting, maybe even a cup of coffee as I sit at Panera searching for more free events. Some sites require membership fees in order to pay for their site. We really want this information to be free and available to all. Thanks for your support!

If you would like to learn more about our partnership opportunities Contact Us today!
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01/18/2016 – 08/28/2016
12:00 am
Free Entrance to National Parks
01/20/2016
10:30 am – 11:30 am
Storytime & craft at Nova Library in Davie
Alvin Sherman Library at Nova Southeastern, Fort Lauderdale fl
01/20/2016
3:15 pm – 3:30 pm
Daily Animal Feedings at Daggerwing Nature Center
Daggerwing Nature Center at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park, Boca Raton FL
01/21/2016
10:30 am – 11:15 am
Little Minnows Storytime (18-36 months)
Alvin Sherman Library at Nova Southeastern, Fort Lauderdale fl
01/21/2016
3:15 pm – 3:30 pm
Daily Animal Feedings at Daggerwing Nature Center
Daggerwing Nature Center at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park, Boca Raton FL
01/22/2016
3:15 pm – 3:30 pm
Daily Animal Feedings at Daggerwing Nature Center
Daggerwing Nature Center at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park, Boca Raton FL
01/22/2016
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Free Movie Night & Funtastic Friday in Hollywood at ArtsPark
ArtsPark at Young Circle Amphitheater, Hollywood fl
01/22/2016
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Lake Worth Beach Bonfires
Lake Worth Beach, Lake Worth FL
01/23/2016
8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Nautical Flea Market
Pompano Beach Community Park, Pompano Beach FL
01/23/2016
9:00 am – 10:30 am
Yoga, Zumba & Capoeira Saturdays @Sanborn Downtown Boca
Sanborn Square in Downtown Boca, Boca Raton FL
01/23/2016 – 01/24/2016
10:00 am – 11:30 am
Teddy Bear Picnic at the Palm Beach Zoo
Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society, West Palm Beach FL
01/23/2016
3:15 pm – 3:30 pm
Daily Animal Feedings at Daggerwing Nature Center
Daggerwing Nature Center at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park, Boca Raton FL
01/23/2016 – 01/24/2016
3:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Weekend Science Demo’s at Sugar Sand Exploratorium
Sugar Sand Park, Boca Raton FL
01/24/2016
8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Nautical Flea Market
Pompano Beach Community Park, Pompano Beach FL
01/27/2016
10:30 am – 11:30 am
Storytime & craft at Nova Library in Davie
Alvin Sherman Library at Nova Southeastern, Fort Lauderdale fl
01/27/2016
3:15 pm – 3:30 pm
Daily Animal Feedings at Daggerwing Nature Center
Daggerwing Nature Center at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park, Boca Raton FL
01/28/2016
10:30 am – 11:15 am
Little Minnows Storytime (18-36 months)
Alvin Sherman Library at Nova Southeastern, Fort Lauderdale fl
01/28/2016
3:15 pm – 3:30 pm
Daily Animal Feedings at Daggerwing Nature Center
Daggerwing Nature Center at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park, Boca Raton FL
01/28/2016 – 01/29/2016
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Green Cay’s Nightstalkers
Green Cay Nature Center, Boynton Beach FL
01/29/2016
12:00 am
Kids Night Out in Pompano Beach
EMMA LOU OLSON CIVIC CENTER, Pompano Beach FL
01/29/2016
3:15 pm – 3:30 pm
Daily Animal Feedings at Daggerwing Nature Center
Daggerwing Nature Center at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park, Boca Raton FL
01/29/2016
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Free Movie Night & Funtastic Friday in Hollywood at ArtsPark
ArtsPark at Young Circle Amphitheater, Hollywood fl
01/29/2016
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Night Hike at Daggerwing Nature Center
Daggerwing Nature Center at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park, Boca Raton FL
01/29/2016
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Hayride & Campfire at Tradewinds Park
Tradewinds Park, Coconut Creek FL
01/30/2016
9:00 am – 10:30 am
Yoga, Zumba & Capoeira Saturdays @Sanborn Downtown Boca
Sanborn Square in Downtown Boca, Boca Raton FL
01/30/2016 – 01/31/2016
10:00 am – 11:00 am
Story & Craft Time at Green Cay Nature Center
Green Cay Nature Center, Boynton Beach FL
01/30/2016 – 01/31/2016
10:00 am – 11:30 am
Teddy Bear Picnic at the Palm Beach Zoo
Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society, West Palm Beach FL
01/30/2016
10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Python Challenge Training
Daggerwing Nature Center at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park, Boca Raton FL
01/30/2016
11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Unity in the Community in Pompano
Pompano Beach Community Park, Pompano Beach FL

The Week Ahead for South Florida – Getting out in Nature

Yamato Srub Natural Area Landscape
Pondhawk Nature Area
Pondhawk Nature Area

Take advantage of the cooler weather and head out to the parks!  Yes, it’s hiking time!  Learn how to start your family out walking/hiking with 5 Tips to Hiking with Kids.  Take a walk with the kids at a nearby park or natural area like Pondhawk Nature Area, Fern Forest, Birch State Park or head out to Tradewinds park and ride the miniature trains.

Yamato Srub Natural Area Landscape
Yamato Srub Natural Area Landscape

Flamingo Gardens will be hosting Flamingo Fest this weekend, what a great time of the year to take a walk in nature!Flamingo Fest 2016

The calendar is filling up quickly!  Please make sure that we don’t miss your next event and submit your event today!

Click Here for the full list of upcoming events!  or scroll down for this weeks events!

Diary of a Rogue House CatDiary of a Rogue House Cat

Have you ever had a pet that just seemed to cause havoc at every turn? Has your cat ever knocked over glasses, hidden your keys or generally created chaos for no apparent reason? Have you ever wondered what on earth your pet could be thinking? Baby Girl the Rogue House Cat explains all her crazy and funny actions in her new diary. Her journey to become a good house cat will help explain why cats do some of the things they do. I hope you enjoy her antics as much as I do.

Thank You for you support!

Available in Print and on Kindle

How you can help keep this site running.

If you have found this site helpful and want to keep me writing please use the Donate Button on the right side of this page. This helps us pay for our domain, ip address and hosting, maybe even a cup of coffee as I sit at Panera searching for more free events. Some sites require membership fees in order to pay for their site. We really want this information to be free and available to all. Thanks for your support!

If you would like to learn more about our partnership opportunities Contact Us today!
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Click Here for the full list of upcoming events!

 

The Week Ahead for South Florida: Pumpkins, Fall & Halloween

Fall Leaves because we don't get to do this in South Florida

 

Fall is finally here!  There are dozens of fun activities on the calendar for the next couple of week!  I have the short list for you, but you can Click Here for the full list of upcoming events!

Fall Leaves because we don't get to do this in South Florida
Fall Leaves because we don’t get to do this in South Florida

 What is New with Us?

Diary of a Rogue House CatI wanted to share some fun news! I finally published a book! It’s little and a bit silly, but I think it’s cute. (My 7 year old likes it for what that is worth.) This project is certainly a learning experience! It is available on Kindle US and Kindle Europe now and I am working on the print version at the moment. The print version should be available for purchase within the next 3 weeks.

Diary of a Rogue House Cat

Have you ever had a pet that just seemed to cause havoc at every turn? Have you ever wondered what on earth your pet could be thinking? Baby Girl the Rogue House Cat explains all her crazy and funny actions in her new diary to help explain why cats do some of the things they do. I hope you enjoy her antics as much as I do.

Free Preview

Get a preview of Diary of a Rogue House Cat by Cynthia Yates Buckley. The book will be available to purchase in about 3 weeks. https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1179567

Amazon Kindle US

If you like the preview and just can’t wait to read it, the book is available on Amazon Kindle right now.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0161QL9AQ?keywords=diary%20of%20a%20rogue%20house%20cat&qid=1445352453&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

Amazon Kindle in the UK

Diary of a Rogue House Cat is now available on Amazon Kindle in the UK! So all our British friends can feel free to share the link around. I would very much appreciate it! It is only £1.99!
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0161QL9AQ?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

How you can help keep this site running.

If you have found this site helpful and want to keep me writing please use the Donate Button on the right side of this page. This helps us pay for our domain, ip address and hosting, maybe even a cup of coffee as I sit at Panera searching for more free events. Some sites require membership fees in order to pay for their site. We really want this information to be free and available to all. Thanks for your support!

If you would like to learn more about our partnership opportunities Contact Us today!
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Click Here for the full list of upcoming events!

 

The Week Ahead: More Summer Deals and Free Programs

Pondhawk Nature Area

This week we have even more summer fun for you to check out!  Keeping Up With Kids is your best resource for summer fun!  I have listed below some more making  the list of our favorite summer deals and places even longer!  This is the way to do summer on a budget!

I realized I left off Libraries on last weeks list!

Boca Library Kids Programs
Boca Library Kids Programs

In case you are looking for cheap, cool, fun, and educational opportunities for the kids this summer, don’t forget about your local library! Most libraries throughout Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties have story times for young kids and even activities for tweens, teens and adults. Many of the Libraries offer shows by professional performers, these can include puppet show, magic shows, and storytellers among others.  Look up your local branch now and fill your calendar!  Even the smaller branches have shows and programs, so don’t miss out!

Think about it when you travel this summer too, we have been to free programs when we visit family out of town and never been disappointed.

Alvin Sherman Library at Nova Southeastern University in Davie is one of my favorites.  Their PK and toddler programs are developed with pre-reading in mind.  They often have information available for parents to help you develop reading skills in your kids.  They also have a great kids section in the library with comfortable places to sit and do puzzles, color and draw, or read with your kids.  Computers are available with great software games as well.

Oakland Park Library is a great place to spend some time.  It is a small library, but they have professional puppeteers come in over the summer to do shows for the kids as well as other presentations.

Imperial Point Library does story time for the little ones weekly and reading programs for school age kids.  I love this library, they are always so friendly and it just has a great vibe.

Wilton Manors Library is a great one too.  They have special presentations for kids as well as summer reading programs.

Palm Beach County Libraries have massive and multiple programs going on around the county!

Splash Pad Playground at Patch Reef Park in Boca Raton

Water Fun!  One of our favorites is Coconut Cove Water Park in Boca.  Most all the water parks in Broward and Palm Beach County open every day for the summer starting June 5th or 6th.

 

Castaway Island at TY toddler interactive pool
Castaway Island at TY Park is another favorite.  It is a bit cheaper and has a great fenced in kiddie splash pool, big kid slides, a rock waterfall and more!

 

 

Splash Pad A1A & Atlantic in Pompano Beach
Splash Pad A1a & Atlantic in Pompano Beach

Pompano Beach Splash Pad is another great day out!  Between the playground on the beach, the ocean and the splash pad, how can you go wrong?

You can find many more of our favorite Splash Pads and Water Parks under the menu tab Events and Review, scroll down to Water Play.

 

Schoolhouse Museum Train

Indoor Museums are the best bet for those days that you just can’t face the heat or the summer storms are making outdoor play tough.  Boca Children’s Museum is a great one for the little ones (Preschool) or Schoolhouse Museum in Boynton Beach is perfect for younger school age kids!  You can find more of our favorite museums under the menu tab Events and Review, scroll down to Museums.

 

Movies!  Imagine you get up on a Tuesday or Wednesday morning and just don’t know what to do!  Here is your answer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The South Florida location for Paragon Theaters is in Davie, please check here for more locations.

$1 Summer Movies at Regal Cinema’s

Click here for listing and movie times!

Kids Bowl Free Logo

Take the kids Bowling for free! If you sign up for free, your kids get to bowl (2 games a day) for free all summer long!

 

The Deals!
Need a good reason to visit a local (or not so local) museum this summer?  Here are several!

BOA Museums on US

Bank of America is offering it’s customers free admission to local museums all over the country.  It is usually the first full weekend of the month and you just have to present your bank card at the door.  We have been to Museum of Discovery and Science with the program.  Basically it means the adults are free (as long as you have a bank card for each person) and you just have to pay for the kids if they are over 2.

Click Here for the link to see other participating Museums in your area.

2014 Summer Savings Pass

The Summer Saving Pass!  We pick this Summer Saving Pass up every year. It is a great deal, you get unlimited admission to four different attractions.  The Museum of Discovery and Science, Lion Country Safari, Miami Seaquarium, and Miami Metro Zoo.

 

 

Adventure Pass
The Florida Summer Adventure Pass
is a new one this year!  It allows you to visit Everglades Alligator Farm, Flamingo Gardens, Jungle Island, Patricia & Phillip Frost Museum of Science, Perez Art Museum Miami, Sawgrass Recreation Park, and Young at Art Museum as often as you like from May 15 through September 30, 2015.

How you can help keep this site running.
If you have found this site helpful and want to keep me writing please use the Donate Button on the right side of this page.  This helps us pay for our domain, ip address and hosting, maybe even a cup of coffee as I sit at Panera searching for more free events.  Some sites require membership fees in order to pay for their site.  We really want this information to be free and available to all. Thanks for your support!

Click Here for the full list of upcoming mostly free events!

Special Thanks to our sponsors for making this site possible!
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Things I Wish I Knew Before my First (4) Hurricane(s)

Hurricane Wilma – Fort Lauderdale by LM Burton
Palm Beach Zoo - Hurricane Frances
Palm Beach Zoo – Hurricane Frances

Hurricane season is right at our doorstep.  I wanted to compile some of the things we learned in 2004 & 2005.  I wish I knew these things before the storms.

I worked in West Palm Beach at the time and lived in Fort Lauderdale and as anyone who was down here during these hurricane seasons will tell you it was a trying time.

In  September 2004 we were hit by Hurricane Frances which according to FPL left 1,715,400 addresses out of power in 6 counties. Frances had an eye that was reported to be 70 miles wide.  Hurricane Jeanne visited a little more than 2 weeks later, this time leaving 2.6 million homes and businesses in the dark, some had not gotten power restored from Frances yet.   The following August Hurricane Katrina found us as a Category 1 and went onto become disastrous for the Gulf Coast.  Last and certainly not least was Wilma which arrived in late October 2005. This huge storm affected virtually all of South Florida.  I hope that you find this information helpful, for us this was BC (Before Child), but I think much of what we learned will be helpful for families.

Below you can find the list that the National Hurricane Center website recommends.  Everyone of them is important so make sure you have them.

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape  Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

Okay so here are some things that we didn’t think about before 2004.  For some of the storms I mentioned above we went many weeks without power or water.

Make sure you have plenty of cash.  No power means no ATM’s and certainly no stores can use plastic either. Many gas stations and Publix Stores have generators, but there will still be no way to use credit or debit cards.  I remember after one of the storms  a local Duffy’s managed to open.  It was the best meal I had ever had. (We just ate whatever they served us). Of course, cash was required!

Hurricane Wilma – Fort Lauderdale by LM Burton
Hurricane Wilma – Fort Lauderdale by LM Burton

A Bathtub full of water and a bucket.  Scrub your bathtub out as well as you can and fill it with water. I forgot to do this during Wilma and boy was I sorry!  We had no water for about 2 weeks.  No water, means no way to flush the toilette.  If you have this extra water you can pour a small bucket of water into the toilet bowl and force it to flush itself.  You can also carry buckets of this water to the kitchen sink to wash dishes or use it for sponge baths.

Paper plates, paper cups and plastic utensils. Normally, we wouldn’t use these items, however if your water is out, you won’t want to waste what precious water you do have on dishes.  Also remember that after a storm there are often boil water orders because of flooding and contaminated water, so even if do have water, you may not want to use it on anything you eat off of anyway.

Freeze as much water as you can.  I didn’t figure this out till much too late!  You can fill Tupperware containers, bottled water, and even gallon jugs with water and freeze it to keep coolers cold.  A couple of frozen 1 gallon jugs set inside your fridge can help keep food for a bit longer.  You can also drink it as it melts.  Friends of mine say they even use zip lock bags.  If you lay them flat they freeze flat and take up less room.  I remember being so hot when the ice ran out that I would have given anything for an ice cold drink of water.  Bags of ice cubes melt quicker than blocks of ice do.

I know the guides all say 1 gallon per person per day, however I know that when it is hot we get through more than that. Don’t forget you will need to brush your teeth with it too!  The more water the better.

Hurricane Katrina - Pompano Beach by R. Mackenberg
Hurricane Katrina – Pompano Beach by R. Mackenberg

You need bug spray and sun screen.  It is usually desperately hot with clear sky’s after these storms and you will probably rather be outside in the shade than inside.  All the water from the storm means that the mosquitoes will be in full force, so be ready to protect yourself.

 

Get a battery operated Carbon Monoxide detector.  Sadly, there are always cases of fatal and non fatal carbon monoxide poisoning after hurricanes caused by generator fumes.  Even if you don’t have a generator, your neighbors might, so be careful and take precautions. The National Center for Environmental Health published a paper on the numbers in Florida for the 2004 storms.  These detectors are very inexpensive and can save lives.  Foundation like the Caitlin Brondolo Foundation are great resources for more information on this topic.  It is one that hits pretty close to home for me and our family friends the Brondolo Family.

Get the right food.  We were so desperate for fresh food and cold drinks.  The usual hurricane fare will keep you alive, but it won’t make you happy!  Peanut butter, crackers, Easy Cheese, trail mix and water get old fast.  A Camping Stove or a Barbeque Grill can be used to boil water for Mac & Cheese or heat canned soup.

Don’t forget that the heat outside can dehydrate you quickly, especially if you are out cleaning up the neighborhood.  Juice boxes  (can also be frozen ahead of time) and work well in conjunction with water to provide electrolytes. I like the ones that have veggies in them, just for a little extra nutrition.

Individual fruit and applesauce cups don’t have to be refrigerated and though we don’t normally eat these, they are extremely welcome after a storm.  Individual sized box milk and things like Earth’s Best Organic Fruit Yogurt Smoothies  do not require refrigeration and freeze well before the storm too.  (Again, these can be frozen ahead of time, are you getting the idea that I like frozen stuff?) A big bag of apples and oranges seem to last longer in the heat than any other fresh fruit, so I now make sure that they are on my supply list.

Shop early. Many years ago, I remember waiting to the last moment to shop for hurricane supplies. The only cans left on grocery store shelves were some sort of Dinosaur spaghetti, they were disgusting. When the storm missed us we were faced with giving them away or eating them ourselves. If you shop early, then you are guaranteed to get the kinds of things your family will actually eat.  In addition you will also avoid major long lines and frustrated people in parking lots.

Hurricane Shutters and candles do not mix. DisasterCenter.com advises to “Avoid using open flames (candles and kerosene lamps) as a source of light. Flashlights provide the safest emergency lighting source. Between 1984 and 1998, candle-related deaths from home fires following hurricanes were three times greater than the number of deaths related to the direct impact of the hurricane. Kerosene lamps require a great deal of ventilation and are not designed for indoor use.”  Remember to remove your hurricane shutters immediately following a storm because these shutters make emergency exit from home difficult, if not impossible.

Heat up water in your garden hose.  It sounds silly, but when it is so hot both outside and inside your house, the shower water (if you are lucky enough to have water) feels really cold and can be almost shocking. Coiling a water filled garden hose in the sun will give you enough water for a sponge bath that will still cool you off, but not give you the shivers.

Don’t expect to use the phone.  After both Francis and Wilma landlines did not work and cell towers were damaged so calling out was difficult at best.  What seemed to work best was to use text.  It sometimes took awhile, but texts seemed to get through eventually.

Fill it up.  Charge your phones, your laptops, Leap-Pads and Game Boy type devices, and well, anything you can before the storm. Make sure your cars are full of gas too.  After Francis and Jeanne gas was difficult to get, not because there wasn’t any, but because there was no power at the gas stations for the pumps to work.  We planned on recharging our phones with our cigarette lighter in the car, but as it turns out, our cigarette lighter port only works if the car is running (which uses up precious gas). Many gas stations have since put in generators, so hopefully that situation will be different in the future.

Fort Lauderdale-Hurricane Katrina - Lisa Magnes Burton
Fort Lauderdale – Hurricane Katrina – Lisa Magnes Burton

There may be a curfew.  After all the storms we had, driving was difficult and dangerous.  There were trees, poles and wires down everywhere.  Make sure that you do not drive over live wires, standing water (unless you are certain you know how deep it is) and be courteous to other drivers.  When lights at intersections don’t work they must be treated as 4 way stops.  All those lessons we had as preschoolers about taking turns really come into play in this situation.  Everyone is usually asked to stay off the streets after dark until the streets are completely cleared and power and lights are restored.

Backyard camping.  If you have a tent or a screen room, plan on sleeping outside in it.  With no fans or AC indoors, this is often the best way to get a good night’s sleep.  I talked to a few people who admitted to going and sleeping on the beach.  Not sure if I would recommend spending the whole night there, but the good news is when the lights are out all over the town, the stars are amazing!

Other things I like to have on hand:

    • A battery operated TV during the storm
    • Battery operated fans
    • Solar phone charger
  •  A couple of new games or toys to be strategically given to the kids during and after the storm.

For more information be sure to print out  your local Hurricane Guide and keep it with your supplies.

Printable Hurricane Guide: Broward County, Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade, Monroe County

The Be Red Cross Ready Power Outage Checklist is another great resource.

Save

The Week Ahead for South Florida 1/8/15

Daggerwing Nature Center

Patch Reef Park Winter FairOkay, I had to type and retype that headline 3 times! 2015! Happy New Year! I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for reading the site.  I hope you and families have a fabulous new year in 2015!

We have been very busy, you know the usual, the beach and the pool.  Not our typical January, but I won’t complain with our friends up North freezing!  Although I will admit I did complain a few nights ago when our AC quit and it was 85 degrees in the condo!

We went to Patch Reef Park for the Winter Fair over the break, it was a good time (crazy hot though).

I am looking forward to the cooler weather that is supposed to come in tomorrow!  Grab Daggerwing Nature Centerthe chance to take the kids a little hike!  Need some tips for hiking with the Family?  Check out 5 Tips for Hiking with Kids or 5 Tips for Birding with Kids!  We love Check out one of Boca’s best secret hiking trail (Yamato Scrub Natural Area)!  I also love Pondhawk Nature Center, it has stroller friendly paths and is near the playground.  I almost forgot to tell you, we went to Daggerwing Nature Center as well. It was really nice, loads of playground, a nice small interactive education center, and of course playgrounds!

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Broward County Chip a Tree Program!

Christmas Tree & Cracker
Christmas Tree & CrackerAs I take down my tree today, I thought some of you might be interested in this!  Still not sure where to go in Palm Beach County though!  Let us know if you have any ideas!
Friday, December 26, 2014, through Monday, January 19, 2015,
-regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee will not be in effect for recyclers, so there’s no excuse not to do the right thing.
-Hours vary; call the park of your choice for details.

 

Castaway Island Water Park at TY Park in Hollywood

Castaway Island at TY Park interactive pool.

I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts on Castaway Island Water Park at Topeekeegee Yugnee (TY) Park in Hollywood Florida!

I will start by saying that I can’t believe I have lived in South Florida for so many years and never been here before!  What was I thinking!  The park itself is huge and the Water Park is huge too!  There are 3 different sections a climbing slide area for everyone, a toddler pool with a slide and activities, and a huge pool.

I liked that it did not have the 2 hour time limit of some of Broward County parks, so you can pay the entry fee and spend the day there!  The pools were clean and well maintained.  It was not a super busy day when we were there, but then again it certainly was not empty either and the bathrooms were pretty decent for a water park.  I didn’t try the snack bar, but I saw people with all the usual pool snack bar items, the pizza smelled good and I am not really sure how we got out of the place without buying ice cream, but we managed.

It was pretty quiet for us in the morning, however about the time that we left (2:00 pm) a camp group came in and there were long lines at the slides.  This happens at all the water parks I have been to in the summer, The kids were good and there were no problems, however it was pretty packed then.  Not sure if you can call ahead and find out what time the groups are coming on the day you visit or not.  It is worth a try though, and worth the effort at any water park you decide to head out to.

Castaway Island at TY Park interactive pool.
Castaway Island at TY Park interactive pool.

The first interactive water playground area has all the required water park attractions, it has a dumping buckets lots of slides, and splash cannon areas on a climbing structure.  It is big enough to entertain most kids (maybe not teens, but then again……..I thought it was pretty fun!).

Castaway Island at TY toddler interactive pool
Castaway Island at TY toddler interactive pool

The part I really like is the toddler area.  There is a toddler interactive pool playground with slides and water cannons.  What is nice about this area is that it is completely fenced off from the rest of the water park.

 

Castaway Island water fall in the zero entry swimming pool.
Castaway Island water fall in the zero entry swimming pool.

The third area is the pool, and wow, it is truly beautiful!  This huge pool is zero entry on one end and the other is a beautiful rock waterfall.  Again, the place was immaculate!

All in all, this park is certainly worth spending the afternoon.  It cost us $8 each to enter and I think we had a great day!  You have to love all the amazing parks here in South Florida!

Castaway Island’s normal summer operating hours are 9:30 am to 5:20 pm, and is located at 3300 N. Park Rd, Hollywood, FL 33021.   Please check with the park for current prices and hours before you head over as they do change seasonally.