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Family vacations that won't break the bank


Getting away from it all for a week or two on vacation can offer you the perfect opportunity to unwind and to spend quality time with your family. The trouble is, if you're not careful, your summer sojourn could end up costing you a small fortune. If you're looking for budget holiday ideas this summer read on. The following suggestions could help you to enjoy a relaxing trip away from home without breaking the bank in the process.

Keep your spending in check on a camping trip

Camping trips have to be the ultimate cost-saving adventures. You can book a pitch at a campsite for a fraction of the price of getting a hotel room, and these holidays offer you and your brood a great chance to get close to nature. Wherever you choose to travel you shouldn't struggle to keep your spending in check. Just make sure you select a campsite that has all the facilities your family will need, and plenty of activities nearby to keep you entertained.

Save money by staying on a working farm

Working farms can also be inexpensive vacation options. These farm stay trips, which are sometimes called agritourism or agriturismo, depending on where you go, can be surprisingly inexpensive. Many of the hosts invite holidaymakers not only to boost their income, but also because they enjoy the sociable side to having guests to stay. This means the trips often represent a real bargain, with food and accommodation often provided for just a few hours of work every day. If you're traveling with small children, look out for farms that offer you the chance to get stuck into activities like gathering eggs for breakfast, milking cows and feeding animals. Young kids usually can't get enough of these hands-on activities.

Bag yourself a bargain package holiday

Another great option is to book a package holiday. These breaks can save you both money and hassle. Your vacation provider will arrange every aspect of your travel, from your flights and transfers to your accommodation. Depending on the type of trip you're after, you might be well advised to book an all-inclusive package. These deals may seem a little more expensive initially, but bear in mind you'll hardly have any costs to cover when you're there. . Everything, from your meals to your drinks and snacks , will be provided, meaning you won't have to worry about overspending while you're away from home. For the very best deals on cheap package holidays, it helps to be flexible about when or where you go.

It's true that some family breaks can cost a fortune, but by following suggestions like these, you should be able to bag yourself a bargain.

Image by vastateparksstaff used under the Creative Commons License.


Disclosure:  This sponsored guest post was written in collaboration with Falcon Holidays.

Unequal Protection for Youth Sports

Guest contribution By Michelle Sisco

ali headgear large.jpg My 10-year-old son Drew suffered a concussion this year. It was a freak accident when he was snowboarding - and he WAS wearing a helmet. This experience made me much more aware of the growing problem of concussions in youth sport.

As I looked for ways to keep my children safe, one of the companies I learned about was Unequal Technologies. They have developed a new line of headgear to give players the confidence they need without affecting their style of play. Unequal protective sports gear uses patented military-grade materials that are 5x stronger than steel.

They do not claim their products will prevent concussions, but rather reduce the risks as their technology absorbs and disperses the energy from common sports impacts.

I was also impressed that to get Unequal protection you do not need to purchase new helmets. Instead they offer supplemental protection for baseball, softball, football, hockey, lacrosse and action sports helmets. Just insert the Unequal pad inside the helmet and it will absorb and disperse the impact.

The one sport that Unequal has been very active in is soccer. Since soccer players do not wear helmets, they created the Unequal Halo™ - a stylish headband that offers the same type of protection.

HALO green white f&s .jpg For those of you with kids playing soccer, you might be interested to know that Ali Krieger, a defender on the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team, has chosen to wear the Unequal Halo for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup after suffering the second concussion of her career in April - less than two months before the start of the World Cup.

In the company's press release announcing this, Ali Krieger said, "I had never worn protective headgear before so I was surprised how comfortable, and lightweight the Unequal Halo is. The fact that that it helps protect me and does not affect ball control made the decision easy to continue wearing it in the World Cup and beyond. I have learned the hard way that concussions are not fun. Unequal has empowered and bolstered my confidence since coming back from my most recent concussion."

Hopefully when other young soccer players see one of the best players in the world wearing this headband, they too will think it's cool.

For more information about Unequal, visit or check them out on Facebook at

What's Your Wish?

unnamed-7.jpg My wife Beth and I have been together now for almost 23 years. While the two of us have definitely enjoyed imbibing on more than one occasion, neither one of us has ever really been a binge drinker. The only time I remember differently was our first Halloween night together. Beth threw a party in New York City and I met many of her friends for the first time, even though it was in costume. I first had to pick up Beth at her parent's house in Brooklyn. Fortunately, I had already met Beth's parents once, but then again, it was only once. Even though I loved getting dressed up for Halloween as a kid, many years passed since I last wore a costume. I really struggled with ideas of what to wear for Beth's special party night. To this day, I'm still not sure why I took advice from one of my best friends from high school as to what would be a great costume. Somehow she convinced me that I should get dressed up as a woman. The momentary lapse in judgement and independent thinking by me led to a night of unending torture for my future wife. Not only did my in-laws see me wearing a dress, a long wig and a face full of make up, but I was also introduced to many of Beth's closest friends as a woman. From the moment I showed up at her door until the second she was sprawled across the bed in a drunken stupor, Beth just kept asking "why?" It went from a coherent and dismayed "why?" to a mumbling and tear ridden "why?" I don't know quite how many drinks Beth ended up consuming that night, but it's safe to say that is was well beyond what she was capable of handling. Fortunately, my poor judgement didn't cost me my future with my wife. Thankfully, she ended up being a good sport about the whole evening, realizing that dressing as a woman was not going to be a way of life for me.

Maybe that whole night could have gone a lot more smoothly if I didn't struggle so much with a costume selection. Had the same thing happened today, I would have just gone online to a company like that offers plenty of choices for men's costumes. It would have saved my wife the agony and embarrassment she endured that Halloween evening. Now who is to say that one of the costumes I could choose from now wouldn't have been an embarrassment for my wife? It would probably be wise for me to stay away from a few of the selections like "Pimpin in Style"and "Buck Wild" outfits and stick with some more of the conservative choices like the "Big Bad Wolf," "Gangster Guy" or "Robber" costumes. The online site offers a very wide selection of costumes to choose from and they can be delivered to your house within days.

Now if you are a parent and are thinking about checking out the site for your next costume party, be careful about not having children around when you are browsing. In addition to offering adult costumes, clothing, jewelry and many different accessories, specializes in relationship enhancement garb and products that are best left unseen by kids. That doesn't mean you should feel guilty about viewing the site. Navigating through the site is very easy and the content is tastefully organized. While human sexuality is not a topic often covered by Role Mommy, we are not blind to the fact that many people out there look for ways to spice it up a bit with their partner. Who those people are and descriptions of what they do to improve their relationships doesn't need to be addressed here. But if you and your partner are seeking a relationship spark, then could be a great site for you. And if you are concerned about what may show up a your front door, the company has a discreet worldwide shipping policy along with hassle free returns.

It will be difficult to go through the site and not laugh just a bit or even a lot. I'm sure you will find yourself saying, "never in a million years" a few times as well. And that is what makes the site uniquely appealing. They have a wide selection of everything and for everyone. From the guy like me who could have just used a good Halloween costume one night to the woman looking to get dressed up as a French Maid for her husband on their anniversary, has something for everyone.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by However, my incredibly embarrassing costume story and my review of the site's offerings are entirely my own.

A Letter to My Dad on Father's Day

Dear Dad,

2loB0O1pIQN9ieovpkPWs5CUBrMYeamC5XotVKH1oxo,KUqHVUDintg3vopLPlTTd43cyTfiEkn6sA-WYJ3PXm0,OkL-uelFihkqsFhd7MUQZ5yxvzDkVImAuCNA3_dP8ek.jpg I know I don't really say it that often, but figured with Father's Day right around the corner, I wanted you to know how much you mean to me. From as early as I could remember, you have always been the driving force in my life who has inspired me to do what I love, perform in front of hundreds of people, push myself to the limits and never give up. I live my life by following your lead and throughout your life, you have always managed to do the things that make you happy. Whether it's performing in a show, tap dancing, playing tennis or doing the hustle with mom, you have lived a life anyone can truly be proud of.

You've also been one of my biggest supporters -- whether it was cheering or letting out audible sighs in the stands during a tennis match, attending all my singing performances and shows and being that voice of reason in my life who has told me not to take crap from anyone and truly share what's on my mind. I know I'm more like mom in that I keep things bottled up until I spontaneously burst, but I do want you to know that as I'm getting older, I am getting more bold about sharing what I truly feel and it actually feels good when I give people a piece of my mind.

On the career and community front you have always been a pioneer and a leader. I still remember how you played an instrumental role in being one of the original educators to become involved in the Special Olympics back in the 1970's. At work, you were always known as a tough cookie, but for your close friends and co-workers, you were a total mush. And at home, you managed to always land the job as President of the Neighborhood Association. Everyone in the community could always count on you. So much so, that they even have confused you with being the "Super" - calling you when the plumbing went, a window needed fixing or if they had lighting issues!

Dad, you and I have shared some incredible memories - especially when I took you to Nashville for the CMA Awards and you helped me out on the red carpet - handing bottled water to Brad Paisley and all the other country stars and even wrote a song called the Jewish Cowboy.

And speaking of your poems -- they are truly legendary. I'll never forget the poem you wrote for me on my wedding day -- I have that one framed in my bedroom and am grateful that I inherited your knack for finding ways to tell a story or re-write a lyric with a clever rhyme.

Let's not forget your fabulous gift for storytelling. You even started to write a few children's books when the kids were little and we surprised you on a special birthday by publishing Grandpa Fix-It. Sure it may not have been a bestseller, but among the Feldman and Stollers, it's a family favorite.

I also know that you tend to have a short fuse when things don't go your way and honestly, that has led to some of the most memorable and comical moments in my life. Like the time you used to start our humongous Plmouth Fury with the words "Son of a Bitch." Or the day Eric and I got caught shoplifting fishing equipment at Jamesway in Port Jervis and you smoked about three packs of cigarettes in an hour. Okay, maybe that's a memory that should be left in the fishing pole section. But I digress.

There's also another amazing trait that you have that was once embarrassing for me that I now use along with my husband Darin when we are unhappy with the way we are treated. I remember cringing whenever you'd complain about the service or food in a restaurant only to be amazed when the waiter or waitress gave us a free item or lowered our bill. But the best time was when we went to Italy on Perillo tours and after a friend told you to use his name because he had had an awful experience on the tour, you made sure to call Mario Perillo and explain you were concerned and he told you not to worry, they'd take good care of us. When we arrived at the airport the day of our trip, you told the woman at the check in counter, "You must be expecting us. We're the Stollers," and to our surprise, she said yes and upgraded us to first class!

IMG_3104.JPG Dad, you know exactly how to live life. On your terms, telling people exactly what's on your mind, all while doing what you love. You've been performing since you were a toddler and still do it to this day. You are 75 years old and still can run me ragged on the tennis court. You can still save us a bundle at a restaurant if a waiter trips up or the food doesn't live up to your expectations, and you have always been in my corner throughout my childhood, my career and my life as a wife and mother.

I love you very much and want you to know that you are an amazing dad who has instilled a sense of creativity and curiosity that I plan to take with me throughout my life. For that I am grateful and wish you the very best Father's Day.

Love always,

Is Your Kid Telephone Challenged?

teens and mobile phones How many arguments did you get into with your parents growing up about not monopolizing the house phone? Call waiting was the greatest invention as far as my mom was concerned. I could no longer be oblivious to the fact that someone else might be trying to contact her while I was yapping to friends about nonsense. Parents and kids just don't have those fights anymore. The busy signal has become virtually obsolete and since anyone and everyone has their own mobile phone, there is no need to quibble about whose call is more important. And while technology has eliminated that problem, it has created one far more severe. Those smartphones are creating a generation of socially awkward misfits that only know how to express themselves with their thumbs and not their mouths. I am shocked and somewhat dismayed by the inability of most teenagers to talk on the phone. I don't want to pat myself on the back too much, but I have actually been able to get my daughter to talk to her friends on the phone and even call potential employers for summer job opportunities. I'm still working on it with my son, but it is definitely moving in the right direction.

Emails and texts undoubtedly have a very useful and important place in social circles. But like with everything else in life, the pendulum has swung way too far. Our kids are hiding behind texts and social media tools to express themselves instead of intellectually and emotionally challenging each other through verbal communication. We all know tone and intent is lost in texts and emails. Of course one can add the annoyingly silly emoticons to help convey sentiment in the written messages, but is that what our next generation has been reduced to? I have grown tired of seeing teenagers take cover behind their phone screens. It has become way too easy to shoot your mouth off without ever saying a word. Verbally spewing hurt and stupidity is a lot more difficult to do than to write it. And the bigger problem for kids long term, is that they never develop the appropriate filters of what to say, how to say it and who to say it to. They have become accustomed to having a blank writing canvas to communicate whatever is on their minds.

I cringe when I hear about boys asking girls out on dates via text. It's pretty safe to say the break ups usually occur that way as well. Information gathering, whether it's for school or social events, always seems to be via text. My daughter has gotten so much better about calling her friends to relay important information and details to me about social and educational activities. In the past, the conversation with my daughter went like this; "did you find out the info for ...." and she would say "yeah". I would ask, "what did she say?" My daughter's response was, "oh she texted me". I said, "uh uh, call her up and find out everything that you know I want to know." Now we no longer argue about it, she just does it. I'm not naive enough to think that texting as the primary means of communication is just temporary and I certainly do it enough myself. But we need to make sure that our kids are equipped with the ability to talk on the phone when the situations call for it. I'm afraid most teens just aren't and just sound like bumbling buffoons when forced to do it. So what can you do to help prepare them?

1) As a parent, refuse to communicate with your own child via text. If they need to tell you something or vice versa, force them to talk to you on the phone.

2) Have your child call a relative, grandparent for distant friend at least once per week.

3) Next time your child wants to be taken to a store for something special, make him or her call the place first to find out the hours they are open and if they have the desired item in stock.

4) If going out for a family dinner and need a reservation, have your kid call the restaurant to make it. And no, do not allow them to go on Open Table.

5) Do not allow your kids to text while they are driving as passengers in the car with you. Tell them they are allowed to communicate with their friends, but only by phone.

6) Next time a telemarketer calls your house, force your kid to answer it and talk to the person on the other line. Tell your kid that you are too busy to take the call but that you are actually interested in what the telemarketer might be offering.

7) Encourage the use of FaceTime, Skype and other forms of communication that actually require talking to and seeing the person live.

8) Have your child call someone he or she knows when the time is appropriate, to either offer congratulations for a happy occasion, or extend their condolences or sympathies for something sad or unfortunate.

9) Have your child call someone for directions. "Can't you just use GPS? " will most certainly come right back at you. Be strong and insist that it doesn't work.

10) And finally, I can't believe I would suggest this. I will deny it if anyone ever asks me if I actually recommended it. Give your kid the okay to make a prank phone call once in a while. The call should be harmless and in good fun where the only thing that was lost was a person's time. But the prank can't be a ring and hang up. It has to be well thought out dialogue that wants the person on the other side of the line to feel compelled to stay on the line. By the way, you probably will do just fine with the first 9 tips suggested, but since top ten lists are so big, we threw this one in here.

If you have some tricks of your own to get your kid on the phone instead of texting, by all means, do whatever it takes. We as a society need to get the gift of gab back and the only way that will ever be done is with practice.

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I'm a mompreneur who runs two businesses at the same time - a PR company and Role Mommy, an online community and events company for busy moms. Additionally, I offer an opportunity on my website where I connect media, events and giveaways that are available to mom bloggers, parenting experts and entrepreneurs. I'm also the co-author of Peeing in Peace: Tales & Tips for Type A Moms, a confessional, quick and laugh out loud read about balancing work, life and everything in between.
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Rolemommy's Blog

Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

If you're a popular mom blogger, parenting expert or an author, you may one day find yourself in a position where reporters and even TV producers might be interested in featuring you in a segment or news story. However, before you agree to share your story, it's important to be aware of the interview requests you should stay away from at all costs. You see, not every interview request is reason for you to get your name out there. Some publicists will argue that any publicity is good publicity… Continue

Posted on April 18, 2009 at 9:30am — 2 Comments

The Ins & Outs of Blogger Events

Recently, I've had the chance to speak with a lot of bloggers on a topic that has been weighing on their If you've been blogging for a while and your site is receiving lots of traffic, you have probably been on the receiving end of several invitations to attend events. These events range from conventions to events in your area to online teleseminars. When all you're trying to do is blog, how can you make sense of the events that are right for you?

Well, as someone who… Continue

Posted on February 28, 2009 at 6:00am — 1 Comment

The Do's & Don'ts of Self Promotion

I apologize for being a bit late to the party with my latest article. I've actually been vacationing with my family in Orlando - the first real vacation I've taken since starting my business in September 2007. In fact, I've even stepped away from my laptop for several hours each day and I have to admit, it does feel a bit liberating. While I had never planned on heading to Florida this time of year, I have the folks at Disney to thank since they invited me to the red carpet premiere of the… Continue

Posted on February 17, 2009 at 5:02am — 17 Comments

The Back Door Plan

Hello Twittermoms - hope you're all having a great week despite the constant barrage of negative news about our crumbling economy and the rising unemployment rate. If you're like me, it's probably starting to feel a bit daunting if you're trying to build a business or raise your platform when all we keep hearing around us are stories of doom and gloom. So how can you break through the bad news and get your story heard without being ignored by reporters who are too preoccupied with the bleak… Continue

Posted on February 6, 2009 at 8:30pm — 3 Comments

Making Your Mark as a Mom Blogger, Author or Entrepreneur

I know it's a little late in the day, but since I've had a marathon week of events, I've had time to think about the ways you can drive traffic and awareness to your book or brand by following some simple steps. Here are some of my thoughts on ways to make your mark in an incredibly saturated field.

1. FOCUS ON YOUR AREA OF EXPERTISE - If you're the "Coupon Queen" or a Nutrition or Fitness Guru or maybe you're a fashionista (hello… Continue

Posted on January 30, 2009 at 3:00pm — 22 Comments

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At 1:15pm on May 1, 2014, Mary said…

How are you today?
I hope you are well and healthy, if any, to the glory of God Almighty.
please dear do not embarrass or surprise to get such a letter from my good ness My name is Mary, I saw your information on this site and I'm interested to hear from you, and I want to be friends Please, I want to contact me directly to my email address private ( more information about me and my photography.
Thank you and good day
Yours in love,

At 12:38pm on September 1, 2010, Maggy Woodley said…

I am new to Twitter Moms and look forward to meet everyone!

I have a Book & Craft blog called Red Ted Art (, where I bring you children's books & iphone reviews, LOTS of craft ideas for children <`12yrs, as well as week Craft Tutorial for adults.

I hope you will come and take a look. Be inspired and Get Crafty!!

Oh and I am @redtedart on twitter!

Red Ted Art
At 5:50pm on November 22, 2009, Amy Robbins-Wilson said…
Hello Rolemommy!

I enjoy your posts and wanted to share some of my work with you!

My new music video for my lullaby Child of Sunshine is finished! Would love to know what you think :)

You can see it at:
If you enjoy it, please share it with as many people as you can.

All downloads from now through the end of 2009 will be donated to the Children's Miracle Network as they helped us so much when our son was born 6 weeks early.

Hope you are well!
Amy Robbins-Wilson
At 2:10am on August 2, 2009, Heather Pelsman said…
Hi Laura. Its nice to meet you here in twittermoms. I have no doubt you love it here. I look forward to connecting with you. Kindly check this site and let me know what you think
At 12:28pm on January 31, 2009, Midwest Mom said…
It's good to meet you! I enjoyed reading your blog post. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. - Julia
At 7:43pm on January 23, 2009, Bridget Smith said…
Great blog today! Your website looks very interesting. I'll sign up for "The List" when I get the chance. It looks like a great way to promote my Legoland Guidebook.
At 8:23am on January 20, 2009, susie smith said…
Congrats on your new gig here at twittermoms. I've so enjoyed your posts so far and look forward to more. Thanks for the positive and useful information to us all.
At 7:39pm on January 15, 2009, Synolve Craft said…

At 6:04am on January 15, 2009, Karen Gallagher said…
Love the Oprah piece! It's a good reminder that success does not come overnight. There is no magic bullet; rather, it requires building momentum through lots of hard work and strategic networking. Looking forward to reading your next post.
At 7:46am on January 12, 2009, Lisa C. Decker said…
Congratulations on being named a feature contributor here! I look forward to reading your posts.

Love the yoga pic...something I want to get back to. Thanks for the reminder.

Lisa C. Decker, CDFA




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