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Friday, September 2, 2011

Caesars Palace pool

The pool area at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas is very nice.  There are multiple pools, but some are private and others we never saw open.  This is the pool I was at when my wedding ring was stolen out of my purse by the mini bar attendant.
Caesar's Palace Pool Las Vegas

Caesar's Palace Pool Las Vegas

Caesar's Palace Pool Las Vegas

Caesar's Palace Pool Las Vegas

Caesar's Palace Pool Las Vegas

Caesar's Palace Pool Las Vegas
View from upper pool at Caesar's Palace
Caesar's Palace Pool Las Vegas

Caesar's Palace

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Best Back pack for Traveling around Europe

The High Sierra 23" Transport Travel Pack (Navy/Graphite) is the one my husband and I both have.  I like these travel backpacks for multiple reasons. 
  1. It has different sections and can actually make into two backpacks.  I find this feature convenient.  When we get to a destination we can leave our stuff in the room and use our little pack backs during the day. 
They do not weigh much.  This lets us maximize what we can put in them without going over weight.  This is important if you plan on traveling on a cheap European airline, because you can carry them on for free. 

It does not have wheels.  Having that feature would add weight.  It is also difficult to roll anything around on cobblestone and up and down stairs. 

The large pack has straps to cinch down your clothes and the small pack has multiple pockets making it easy to organize your pack. 

At the very top of the large pack is a small area where you can put your cell phone, camera, sunglasses or what ever you want to keep handy. 

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Truth behind Hotel Security

Until recently, I never thought much about hotel security.  It was only once I needed them that I interacted with them.  I found that many of the assumptions I had about hotel security were completely off based.

False Belief - No one comes in the room except the house keeper.
Truth - At any time, in a hotel were a card key system is used, there are many people that can gain access to your room.  Housekeepers, mini bar attendants, room inspectors, managers, maintenance, and more.

False Belief - There are cameras all over the hotel. 
Truth - They have cameras in the elevators, but beyond that not many.

False Belief - The room has already been clean, therefor, no one else will enter the room.
Truth - Workers come in your room for many other reasons besides cleaning. For example: the head housekeeper may come in your room to inspect the work the housekeeper did.

False Belief - When the privacy light is on no one can enter your room.
Truth - These lights mean nothing to the staff.  One security officer at Caesar's Palace told me that meant: Knock instead of using the doorbell.  A hotel manager at Caesar's told me that 85% of people leave them on "accidentally" and become upset if their room is not made up.  The hotel policy is to disregard the privacy light all together and assume you left it on by accident. 

False Belief - The room door shut all the way when I heard it slam shut. 
Truth - Many of the doors are heavy and seem to slam shut.  Due to fire codes, that prevent smoke from spreading into rooms, there is a barrier all around the doorway.  The door slams into this and may or may not actually close.  You should actually push it a little until you hear the door click. 

False - Placing items in the safe will prevent them from being stolen.
Truth - Items are often stolen right out the safes and sometimes the entire safe is taken from the wall.  (This is information I was told by a detective.)

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Maintaining Sanity on the Road Trip: Slow Down and Listen

Ready to take that end-of-the-summer road trip but worried about how your kids will fare in the back seat?  

Translation: do you fear the bickering and yelling?  Do your kids get car sick watching DVDs?  Mine do.  And they fight in the back seat.  A LOT!  This was a painful situation for me: I like road trips, but I don’t like my kids on road trips.  How to fuse the two?

A little over a year ago, we were on a road trip and I wanted everybody to listen to audiobooks: they improve your vocabulary, they broaden your world!  I downloaded an iPhone app that had the entire Librivox.org catalog in it for a mere 99 cents.  That’s over 30,000 books!  Problem was, many of the narrators were unbearable.  I also found out: thirty thousand books is overkill.  Too much choice creates paralysis.

And that’s when it hit me:  I would create my own iPhone app with only the children’s catalog from Librivox.  And only with the best narrators.  No matter how good a book is, if the narrator is no good, it’s impossible to enjoy.

I engaged Mazal Simantov – a good friend and excellent designer, programmer and lifelong children’s advocate.  Together we created Audiobooks For Your Kids.  Thirty of the best narrated titles from the children’s catalog of Librivox.org.  Now, you don’t have to spend the time figuring out which book to listen to: you can search by title, age, genre and author.  Best of all, the app is only 99 cents.  We also made sure that the design was beautiful, spare and easy to use -- and we’ve done the legwork for you by curating the app!

Here’s what you get when your kids read on the road: they don’t wander away, they don’t fight, they are safe.  They are quiet. 

There are no bells and whistles to this app: it’s old school, if apps can be called such things.  You don’t read along, there are no graphics, no animations.  You just listen.  Slow down and listen.  There’s a lot of noise out there, online, and most of it is no good for us.  You can listen in the car, at home, in the doctor’s waiting room.  We even explain how to do it on our website.  Easy peasy.

Over the next few months, we’ll release three new apps with 30 titles in each of the following categories: Science Fiction, Fantasy and Fairy Tales/Folk Tales.  Stay tuned.
Raise your kids as readers.  Audiobooks is too reading!  Enjoy the summer.  Drive safely!

The first five people to retweet this blog post will be sent a free copy of the iPhone app, Audiobooks For Your Kids.  Be sure to send your email to feedback AT audiobooksforyourkids DOT com so that we can send you the code.

Elizabeth Rodgers is an avid traveler, award-winning filmmaker and Los Angeles native who now lives in Boise, Idaho with her lovely family. She’s the co-creator of the Audiobooks for Kids iPhone app and contributes regularly to TravelingMom.com as the Idaho TravelingMom. Follow her on Twitter at erodg.

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Book Review - Strike it Rich with Pocket Change

Strike It Rich with Pocket Change

What a great book this was.

Although this is not something I would normally read it has been quite interesting. I had no idea until I read this that you could make money off off coins with errors in them.

My 10 year old devoured this book! My 7 year old has had a lot of fun with it as well. Apparently this topic is fascinating to children. Both kids have gone through every coin we have in the house and sure enough they found two of the ones mentioned in this book. It has fun to read something with the kids and talk with them about it

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