Finding the Perfect Summer Camp Just Got Easier

We all know the drill.

You come back from Christmas vacation and settle into your routine. School starts up again, homework and after school activities are back in swing, and suddenly – it’s spring break.

Then, it hits you: Summer break is just weeks away. What are you going to do with your kids all summer?! Panic. Time to start planning for summer camps. Panic again. They’re getting older, and that Princess camp they went to last year may not cut it this year. That means now you have to research new options – venture into Internet rabbit holes, pore over magazines, search for flyers, ask friends for their plans, etc. With so many choices available, the amount of information to sift through can be overwhelming – and really, who has the time?!

Good news! That dreaded annual process just got easier. Summer Camp Guru will revolutionize your planning process. 

Four Easy Steps to a Successful Summer, thanks to Summer Camp Guru:

  1. Use up to 10 search criteria to filter by activity, age, gender, cost, dates, pick-up times and location – all at the same time.
  2. View details for each session on screen, or download results for future reference.
  3. Once you know a camp meets your criteria, you can click to visit their website, learn more, and register.
  4. Save your favorite options to a list for each child, and share with your friends.

Done!

Scenario Before Summer Camp Guru After Summer Camp Guru
Your daughter insists on attending a Frozen camp. Commence an endless search through dozens of camp websites searching for a Frozen session. Type “Frozen” into the keyword search on SCG and see a list of Frozen camps.
Beach vacation fell through at the last minute. You now have a gaping hole in your summer schedule. Panic. Run a search on SCG for that week, and then check our list to see who had openings as of May.
You can’t leave work until 5:00, but ‘full day’ camps end at 4:00. Scour camp websites to find pick-up and drop-off times that work only to find that they charge an extra $100 for the privilege. Select the times that work for you, view appropriate camp sessions, and see what the total cost is without going any further.

I realize that some of you are thinking, “But what about that spreadsheet model that took years to perfect?” Never fear! You can download your search results to Excel and organize to your heart’s content. As a former financial analyst, this feature almost brings me to tears.

Others may be wondering, “What in the world are you talking about?” That means your children are still in preschool or day care, and you have not had the pleasure of experiencing this dreaded annual task. Lucky for you, with Summer Camp Guru, you may never have to. Just know there are plenty of preschool camps to explore, should yours not be open in the summer – simply search by age and location and see what sounds like fun for you and your kids. You can also check out this article on what to do the summer before kindergarten.

Plea for help: This is a collective effort! The site will be most useful if most camps are participating. In order for them to convince them to take the time to post and share their information, we must demonstrate that we need this resource. That means strong user statistics. Investing two minutes to sign up on the site could save you hours of research time next year. And tell your friends to do the same!

GRAB YOUR BASKETS!

As the Easter holiday approaches, little ones are eager to grab their special baskets to hunt for colorful plastic eggs full of goodies! I have gathered some great spots for eggs hunts happening that are free to participate in, and loads of fun!

Easter EGGstravangza – March 19th
Stumptown Park 120 South Trade Street, Matthews, NC
11:00am-2:00pm
12 and under free

Easter Happenings at Phillips Place – March 19th
Phillips Place in SouthPark
6700 Phillips Place Court, Charlotte, NC
Free for all ages

Concord Mills Egg Hunt – March 19th
SpeedPark 8461 Concord Mills Blvd, Concord, NC
10:00am
All ages

Eggnormous Twilight Easter Scramble – March 24th
Harrisburg Park 191 Sims Parkway, Harrisburg, Nc
6:00pm
All ages

This one isn’t free but it’s a BLAST! It’s UNDERWATER!!
Ray’s Splash Planet – March 24th
5:00pm-8:30pm
Standard admission

Rural Hill Egg Hunt – March 26th
Free, but arrive a tad early to register
Historic Rural Hill  4431 Neck Road, Huntersville, NC
Children under the age of 4 at 11:00am
Children over the age of 5 at 11:30am

Community Easter Egg Hunt – March 26th
Zeta House at 4248 Beatties Ford Road, Charlotte, NC
12:00pm-4:00pm
Ages 3-11 years old

Tips for Traveling with Kids

Spring Break is nearly here, which means for many of you parents out there, the next big trip with your kids is right around the corner. Yay! Vacation time!

Ok, let’s be real here – traveling with young kids isn’t the easiest thing to do (or, let’s face it – the most enjoyable. What’s a vacation??) But it CAN be done with less stress and more enjoyment all around. How? By planning and preparing (and planning and preparing again) ahead of time.

Before You Go

  • Prepare the Car. Don’t leave town without making sure your car is ready to roll. If you’re in need of an oil change, tune up or even just little more air in your tires, do it before you hit the road. You’re less likely to encounter car troubles along the way, and basic tune ups will keep your car running more efficiently. I like to wash my car and clean out the inside before leaving town too – there’s nothing like being stuck in a dirty car for hours to really raise the stress levels! I also like to take the chance to give our car seats a nice cleaning (aka, unearthing the thousands of Goldfish that have found new homes in the cracks and crevices). If you’re looking for someone who can do that for you, be sure to check out our friends at CleanKidzUSA.
  • Map Your Route. Make sure you know exactly where you’re going, and don’t just focus on the destination – try and figure out ahead of time where you’ll be stopping along the way. Does your route take you past anything your kids might love to see or do? When on long road trips, we like looking for places where we can eat outside – it gives us a nice break from the car, and allows the kids room to run around and be crazy without bothering fellow diners. On our road trips home to Northern Virginia, we like to stop at the rest stop on the border (off I-85) – there’s a playground and picnic area, plus clean restrooms. While you might have to stop more frequently than planned, or you might need a back-up plan in case the weather doesn’t cooperate, it does help to head out with at least somewhat of a “plan” in mind.
  • Give Yourself Plenty of Time. Accept that traveling with kids is SLOW. Accept that it WILL take longer than you’re used to or expect to to get from Point A to Point B. The sooner you just accept it and move on, the happier and less stressed out you’ll be!
  • Try Really, Really Hard NOT to Overpack. Easier said than done, I realize. But stressing about where all of your belongings will go – or having a car that’s so totally jammed that a diaper change is out of the question, or snacks are impossible to reach – makes road trips a lot less fun and a lot more frazzling.
  • Pack the Day/Night Before. As much as you can, pack up your car the day or night before heading out of town. This way you’re able to leave more quickly in the morning, without the stress or worry about forgetting things.

When You’re on the Road

  • Pack the Car. Luggage aside, some essentials we stock in the car head of trips include:
    • Diapers and wipes (and extra diapers and wipes because of course there will be a major blow out or three while you’re away from home). Wipes also come in handy to use as wet naps and to clean up any potential spills inside the car.
    • Trash bags.
    • Paper towels.
    • Snacks/lunch/drinks. My surefire method for keeping kids happy in the car (or just anywhere in general)? Snacks. Lots of ’em. There are tons of great “on the go” snacks you can load up on for your next trip – applesauce pouches, granola bars, fruit snacks, etc. And, you can seriously never have enough water (or at least, that’s the case on our house). Make sure you have enough water on hand for refills (inevitable). I like to pack our own lunch when we go on road trips too – this way we can avoid having to eat super healthy fast food, we can save a little money (feeding five people even junky fast food gets expensive!), and it’s one less stop to have to make.
    • Entertainment/books. In a perfect world, the entire car sings together or plays rousing games of “I Spy.” In reality, much of your trip will be consumed with kids complaining of boredom or getting fussy/fidgety. Get ahead of this by making sure the car has things to keep the kids entertained – lots of books (maybe even some new ones), small toys, MagnaDoodles, Water Wow! sets, crayons, paper, etc. Lots of cars come equipped with DVD players now, and tablets are also a great way to entertain on the go.
  • Take Breaks. Can’t be emphasized enough – it’s important to build in some time for everyone to get out, run around, and use the bathroom.
  • Enjoy. Road trips are big experiences in childhood. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I remember taking lots of them when I was younger – and I really don’t have any negative memories about any of them (and we used to drive 10+ hours to Florida every summer). Try not to let the little things stress you out, and just enjoy the time you have together as a family! It won’t be long before your kids are grown and out of the house and traveling is made much easier again (and you will miss these road trips like CRAZY).

Flying with kids? Check out Lexi’s tips on how to handle flying with toddlers and flying with a baby

Spring in Charlotte

Cannabis light in Italy, what the law says. How, when and where it sells

What is the fundamental requirement of this law? How is it applied? Where is the risk of waste hiding, even for people’s health? The 2016 regulations set a decisive stake for the sale of light cannabis in Italy, actually in a slightly ambiguous way. The limit is this: the sale is allowed for cannabis that has THC (the active ingredients that generate psychotropic effects) up to and not more than the percentage of 0.2. But the legal cannabis seller is not criminally liable up to the 0.6 percent threshold, beyond which the marijuana is seized by the judicial authorities and a file is opened that will then go to court. These two limitations certainly open the doors to different interpretations and stretch marks of the law.

CANNABIS LIGHT LAWS
When we talk about psychotropic effects we refer, and here we quote the Treccani Encyclopedia, to “substances that act on psychic functions”. With what effects? The answer comes from the levels of cannabidiol (or also defined as Cbd) contained in marijuana which, let’s remember, is a derivative of hemp. And the CBD does not induce the “high”, but if anything it has a natural anxiolytic effect . Relax. And it replaces other types of drugs, very widespread and very present on the pill market, which serve precisely to control anxiety . With these premises and with its backs covered by a law, a legal cannabis industry was born in Italy, which sees about 1,500 companies in the field, starting from points of sale, and from online ones, such asSevenhemp.it .

Last May, the joint criminal sections of the Court of Cassation ruled that selling cannabis light products is a crime . Specifically, the judges explained that the 2016 law on cannabis light “qualifies as lawful only the cultivation of hemp of the varieties registered in the common catalog of agricultural plant species” for medical use and purposes. All other products, such as leaves, inflorescences, oil, resin derived from cannabis sativa do not fall into this category. In essence, they remain legal only those products that are actually devoid of doping efficacy . In fact, the ruling argues that the tolerance range between 0.2% and 0.6% of THC must not be measured in the final product but in the cultivated plant. With this interpretation, however, it becomes very difficult to classify the individual articles. In fact, the decision is sent back to the courts , which after the seizure, will have to decide whether or not there is doping efficacy.

CANNABIS FOR THERAPEUTIC USE
Another issue concerns the sale of cannabis for therapeutic use . This type, in fact, has been legal in Italy since 2006. Moreover, since 2016, thanks to the collaboration between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Defense, the product is manufactured in the military pharmaceutical chemical plant in Florence . Containing THC 5% – 8% and Cbd 7.5% – 12%, it is sold in pharmacies upon presentation of a medical prescription. Since 2018 Cannabis FM-1 is also available (THC 13.0-20.0% and Cbd <1%). This type of cannabis is prescribed for the treatment of chronic painand that associated with diseases such as multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, side effects caused by chemotherapy, radiotherapy and HIV therapies. But also for the reduction of involuntary body and facial movements in Tourette’s syndrome, and as an appetite stimulant in patients with eating disorders or suffering from AIDS.

Hemp cigarettes – a dangerous fashionable product

One pack of hemp cigarettes contains 4 grams of hemp. The sale is legal, as the THC level of the hemp used remains below 1 percent. Hemp contains a high concentration of the active substance CBD. Contrary to THC, CBD does not cause arousal. A relaxing effect is instead attributed to this substance. The manufacturer of hemp cigarettes focuses on advertising the active substance and the effect it produces.

The hemp cigarette is also advertised by the manufacturer as an ‘alternative smoke of a natural product’. Yet it consists mostly of traditional tobacco. It does not differ from normal cigarettes except for the addition of a small dose of hemp. The Swiss Tobacco Prevention Association therefore expressly stresses that the consumption of hemp cigarettes is just as harmful as traditional cigarette smoking. The hemp cigarette is no less harmful alternative than the cigarette. It makes you addicted quickly just like other tobacco products.

Dangerous incentives

CBD hemp is increasingly establishing itself as a fashion product. After special hemp outlets have already been opened in many Swiss cities, its easy availability at the supermarket checkout or kiosk lowers the inhibition threshold for such consumption even further. These products can be particularly attractive to teenagers, given the aura of forbidden that surrounds hemp. Teens are particularly sensitive to advertising and underestimate the speed with which tobacco makes addicts. The Swiss Tobacco Prevention Association will continue to keep an eye on developments in hemp cigarettes.

One cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds of these are toxic and at least 70 are directly carcinogenic. Smokers and smokers die on average 10 years earlier than those who have never smoked. In Switzerland, 9,500 people die every year from the direct consequences of tobacco use.