Get Your Car Ready for Summer

After a long school year most families are ready to get out of town! Make sure your car is ready to head out on the road, the last thing you want to do is to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with grumpy,  hungry kids and no place for miles to feed them! This doesn't make a pretty picture and it will not be long before tempers flare and words are said that you may regret! To keep your family happy make sure you have the family car checked out by your local mechanic before you head out this summer! 
Here are some things that you make sure you do to get your vehicle summer-ready:
Get a Checkup. Make sure to get your vehicle in the shop for some basic maintenance such as checking the brakes, wipers and fluid levels and an oil change and tune up. It is important make sure your car is in shape for a peace of mind, as well as optimal fuel economy.

Battery Check. Check your battery to make sure it has clean terminals and is working as it should. If the terminals do need cleaning a little baking soda and water will do the job. A road trip is no fun if your car won't start. 

Inspect Your Tires. Your tires are your connection to the road. It is important they are in good shape. Inspect for any tears or bulges in the side wall. Also make sure you have plenty of tread left. You can do this by using the 'penny trick'.  Tire pressure should also be checked. 

Stock Your Car. You never know when you might be stranded, whether it is with a flat tire, bad weather, or a traffic jam. So it make sense to stock you car with some items that you may need. An emergency kit, blanket, first-aid kit, and some basic tools are a good start. Also, bring water and extra snacks. 

Know where you are Going. Many cars today have a GPS included. If it doesn't it is likely that you can use your phone's GPS. Some still prefer to use their portable GPS navigation system to help get to where they are going. Regardless of the GPS system you use, it is still important to look at your route ahead of time, and know the basic track you are taking.   

Whatever you do this summer stay safe!

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Local Day Trips and Staycation

Sometimes a summer long distance road trip just isn't possible - whether it's scheduling conflicts or budget. Summer vacation time is not a time to stress, it's a time to enjoy and have fun and make last memories! One good suggestion is to have a stay-vacation! Put up a tent in the back yard and camp out under the stars. Fire up the grill and make some of Dad's best in the world burgers! If you are in an area where you can have a bonfire or a camp fire get out the makings for s'mores and hot-dogs and gather around the fire and afterwards get someone to tell ghost stories! It's really all in what you make it into, you can still have fun, even if you just stay at the house or take local day trips! 

Be sure to look around the area you live in for things to do, you will surprised how many festivals, art and craft shows and movies in the park you can go to, which is free! Many times you have several events at local book stores which are free, such as Books a Million or Barnes and Noble, be sure to check out your local store for events! Have a block party in your neighborhood, it's a good way to get to know your neighbors new or old ones and have each family bring a pot luck dish and maybe afterwards get everyone together for a base ball game, I am sure most families have supplies for a old fashioned baseball game! Maybe end the night with home made ice cream! I am sure you will have an ample supply of parents and kids with muscles to crank the ice cream machine! 
As you can see the list is endless of things to do for free or small amount of money to keep a family going all summer! Just remember to be creative and have fun and this may be the best summer vacation ever! It definitely will bring your family closer and isn't this the main idea behind summer road trips? Have a good summer whatever you decide to do and  remember relax and enjoy time with family!

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Entertaining older kids can sometimes be a bit more difficult than the younger ones.  Most of the time they only want to go to the beach and hangout, which can also be a magical weekend to them but if your not beach parents, maybe you need to find something for everyone to do which will hopefully keep everyone happy!  
Six Flags in Atlanta, Ga is good choice for all family members, just remember it's lots of walking in the heat, so go prepared! As an adult I still love amusement parks, it's the roller coasters that give me the adrenaline rush!  There are a huge variety of activities at Six Flags. Rides range from thrill-ride roller coasters to kiddie rides. If you need a break from rides there are all sorts of entertaining shows. When its time to eat, you will find a nice selection of restaurants and food vendors. And make sure to swing in the gift shop to pick up some souvenirs so you can remember the day!  

If you love water parks, Six Flags has that covered. Hurricane Harbor is open late May through mid- September.  It is a new multi-million dollar water park within the Six Flags property.  From a giant wave pool to a zero-gravity wave slide on Tsunami Surge, there is fun for everyone. Hurricane Harbor is included FREE with your Six Flags Over Georgia admission.  

It looks like your next adventure needs to be Six Flags over Georgia! Not only will it suit kids from 12 and up, it also has things to do for all ages! Plus it has a Water Park, which is included in the admission!  Just keep in mind that some rides do have height restrictions! You can go for the day or buy tickets for the whole season, it's just whatever suits your fancy!

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Once summer arrives it's time to get in the car and take a trip to places you haven't visited! It may be a new tourist adventure park, a state park for a day of hiking or go to a place to learn about historical events and the people from another era, whatever you decide, be sure to remember its a time with the family and try to enjoy every minute to make lasting memories, plus having a positive outlook is always nice to have when your traveling with kids under 10! In Atlanta, Ga there many things to do and see, but one adventure is fairly new and I am sure can be enjoyed by all, is the LEGOLAND Discovery Center, it's a trip where you can do it in one day or a weekend, with all they have going on I would suggest a weekend trip! Read below to learn more about LEGOLAND Discovery Center! 

The LEGOLAND Discovery Center is aimed toward children ages 3 to 10. You will find a variety of attractions, two rides, a 4D cinema and more.  Chevy out Atlanta's top attractions made from LEGOs in MINILAND. Kids can go to Master Model Builder Workshops to learn some great building tips. LEGOLAND is open Monday-Friday 10am -7pm ( with the last entry at 5pm), on Saturdayfrom 10am -9pm (with last entry at 7pm) and Sunday 10am-7pm ( with the last entryat 5pm). It will take around 2-3 hours to see and do everything but you can stay as long as you like!  The location is Phipps Plaza in Buckhead, and there is plenty of free parking.  The closest parking is in front of Davio's Italian Steakhouse - walk into the mall and go straight up to the 3rd floor.  If you park in the parking deck the closest parking is in Monarch Court.   The full address is: LEGOLAND Discovery Center 3500 Peachtree Rd. NE Atlanta, GA 30326.   

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Do you have a baseball enthusiast in your family? Did you know Rickwood Field, located in Birmingham, Al.,  is the oldest baseball field in the United States? It's amazing what you can learn simply by looking around a city near your home. So maybe it's time to take a road trip to your Birmingham. 

Rickwood Field's grand opening day was August 18th, 1910!  It was created from the baseball passion of Rick Woodward, a Birmingham industrialist. While still he was only in his 20s Woodward bought controlling interest in the city's professional baseball team, the Coal Barons. He then sought help from the legendary Connie Mack in designing "The Finest Minor League Ballpark Ever". Woodward's passion wore off on the entire community, the whole city shut down in honor of the park's opening day, August 18, 1910. Since 1910 over 110 Hall of Famers have stepped onto this field.  The Yankees and Babe Ruth were frequent visitors. Rogers Hornsby, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, and Dizzy Dean were other big names that played there.  Every year in May, Rickwood Field hosts a game, called the Rickwood Classic, to honor the hall of fame players from another era. Be sure to put Rickwood Field on your to do list! 

Another place to visit in Birmingham for more baseball, is Regions Field, where the Birmingham Barons call home!  The Birmingham Barons are a minor league baseball team and is the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. Be sure to visit the web site for schedules and special events. 

As you can see Birmingham is rich in baseball history, and a great place to learn about some of this history is at the Birmingham Negro Southern League Museum.  The Negro Southern League was created in 1920 by a group of African-American businessmen and baseball enthusiasts. The mission of the Negro Southern League Museum is to present the history of African-American baseball in an unsurpassed manner by maintaining a world-class facility that recognizes the League's impact on Birmingham, Alabama and the world of professional baseball. The museum first opened in 2015 and is located in the heart of Birmingham, this is a must see for the baseball enthusiast!  Admission is free!

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Once school is finally out and the kids have finished that last homework assignment, its time to start Summer vacation! Most kids already have written down a long list of activities they just have to do this summer and parents are wondering how in the world they will be able to afford half of it. Summer for a kid is a magical time. It's time to sleep in, go fishing, play baseball, hang out with the neighborhood kids, make new friends, swim and take several road trips! There are many things for families to do this summer. Be sure to check out the city you live in first, often we overlook many local things to do and most of the time it's free!  One place for a great family weekend getaway is going to Atlanta, Georgia!  Below you can read about several places to see for free or small admission fee!  Make sure you call before you go to make sure you don't have to have reservations or there is not a waiting list. 
Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area and Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve. Visit this nature preserve and you can wonder various trails to see mountains, farmland, lakes, and more on more than 2,000 acres. 

Atlanta BeltLine Tours.  You can take a narrated bus tour of the Beltline, a transit, trails and parks project connecting Atlanta's neighborhoods. The tours run Fridays and Saturdays. 
Centennial Olympic Park. Come to the park on a warm day and the kids can enjoy splashing in the Fountain of Rings. This well-groomed park pays homage to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. 
Georgia Capitol Museum and Tour Program. Here you can see your  government in action under the Gold Dome, constructed from 1884-1889. The museum includes historic flags and artifacts. 
High Museum of Art. This is Atlanta's premier art museum and it has more than 11,000 pieces. It is free for active and veteran military on Sundays and Tuesdays and free for Fulton County residents the first Saturday of each month. 

Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary. If you love animals this is the place to go. You can see all types at this wildlife rehabilitation center. 

Roswell Fire Museum. Learn about the city's firefighting history and see a 1945 Ford American LaFrance Pumper Truck and 

Yellow River Park. Explore 566 acres of forests and wildflowers along the Yellow River; also mountain biking, hiking and horse trails.

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John strapped his receiver tightly on his upper arm. He was ready to finish this game and finally claim victory. The sun had set...