Posts filed under ‘Travel’

Rock Star on the RoadL Rand McNally’s Car Karaoke

I love being out of the city.  The flowers, the sea, the incessant barking of the dog of the people renting the house next door.  Sunshine, fresh air.  Picking the herbs I need to cook instead of spending $1.50 a bunch for them, using only a few tablespoons worth, and waiting until the rest gets moldy or dried out before tossing it out.

What I don’t like, is all the driving.

Aside from the fact that all the time I spend in the car is one of the primary reasons I end each summer flabbier and fatter than I began it, is the endless tedium of sitting in the car. How many times do I need to hear that the Black Eyed Peas think “tonights gonna be a good night”?  Or that Cobie Caillat is so in love that it’s wrinkling her nose?  I’m wrinkling mine, too, honey, in disgust at the amount of gas I’m using and time I’m spending SITTING SITTING SITTING. (Does pushing the gas pedal burn calories?  I hope so.)

Notice I haven’t mentioned the kids?  Generally speaking, the bickering begins just as we reach the end of the driveway.  Lovely.

Imagine, then, how happy I was to get a distraction in the mail: Rand McNally’s Car Karaoke, part of their Boredom Breakers ™ series of car games for families. (Full disclosure:  they sent it to me for free.  Asked me to review it, but IN NOW WAY direct what I am going to say)

The Boredom Breakers Game Series

Rand McNally, the 100 + year old travel company mostly known for maps, just introduced a whole series of  games and activities to keep kids entertained and families connected in the car.  Since we don’t have a DVD players in the car (I know, I’m the last holdout) and my kids get sick when they read in the car or even play their DS, The Boredom Breakers™ games are perfect.  According to Rand McNally “The products are designed to bring families together, encouraging conversation, laughter and fun making the miles fly by for moms and kids on the go.”

They sent me Car Karaoke.  Here’s how they describe it: “Mom can sing lead and kids are back-up vocals.  Just pop in the CD with 12 classic rock, pop, and kid favorite songs.  Includes everything needed to be a rockstar: an inflatable microphone, rating cards, and three lyric books.  Choose from favorites like “Build Me Up Buttercup” or “Twist and Shout,” to see who’s got the pipes in the family.  Earplugs not included!”

Here’s how I describe it: hysterical.  My kids LOVE the blow up microphone.  So much better than a hairbrush.  Quite honestly, they don’t know a lot o f the songs on the CD, and don’t really want to sing the kid songs they do, but they use the mike for songs on other CD’s or on the radio (there’s a lot of wrinkling noses in the car) – and are surprisingly kind with the rating cards!  The only suggestion I would make it to include two mikes in the kit — one for each kid.
The quality of the singing on the CD is pretty varied — from quite good to bordering on torture — but you can choose to sing without the singers (like real Karaoke) and in any case, they sound better than you or your kids. (or at least me or mine!)
Truly, they could have just sent the inflatable microphone and the ratings card and it would have been just as good.

Still, it has helped to end the tedium enormously.  And from what they tell me, their other games help spark conversation.  Which, since they are trapped in the car with me, is perhaps the best time to get their attention and get them to talk.
Bottom Line: If you are heading out for a long drive this Labor Day Weekend.  Give these games a shot.  They’re not expensive (under $15,.00 for the Karaoke (why not Car-aoke?? I don’t know!), and they really might make being trapped on the road a lot more fun.
Rand McNally’s Boredom Breakers series of car games are on sale at and


September 4, 2009 at 8:39 am Leave a comment

I’m packin’ up!

Oy. For those of you who have never seen a Woody Allen Movie, gone to hear Barbra Streisand perform, or had grandparents who remind you of Billy Crystal when he does his old man schtick, “oy” is “oh boy” with a Jewish accent. It pretty much describe the way I feel right now. There are lots of different kinds of travel. Family trips with our kids or romantic rendez-vous without them, business trips and girlfriend getaways. I am on a different kind of trip. I am entering the full-fledged land of the grown up.

Read the rest of this post at Traveling And while you’re there, check out some of the articles about planning your summer vacation, saving money on trips, and lots lots more. I know I write for the site — but I’m not just saying this – there is A LOT of good info at TMOM.  Check it out!

June 9, 2009 at 12:01 pm Leave a comment

Sleepaway Camp for Families? You Bet.

traveling-mom-logoSo last week on Traveling, I wrote about camping.  Or, to be more honest, about NOT camping.  It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that — well, I don’t know how so I don’t want to.

So this week, I started looking for alternatives.  And here’s what I came up with: Family Camp.

Family Camp is sleepaway camp for everyone:  the bunks, the campfires, the mess halls, and games of spin the bottle (oh, well, maybe not.)  In any case, it sounds like fun to me.  Sleepaway camp was great.  I made lifelong friends, (I had dinner with one last night), I had my first kiss, my first lead in a big musical (at 11, I was Mary Poppins! Whoo!). I learned how to use a potters wheels and lost my virginity to a lake when I attempted water-skiing.  I even I found out that it was possble for both of your counselors to get knocked up by the same guy in six short weeks. (OK, so maybe it wasn’t ALL positive)

This time around, I’ll be Mommy.  No first kisses– and clearly the virginity thing is WAY over.  But I’ll be Mommy in shorts, no make-up, and using a communal shower.  Don’t ask me why- but I think I”m gonna like it.

Read more about Family Camps on my post on Traveling

May 23, 2009 at 9:08 am 1 comment

Only in New York…

traveling-mom-logoThis past Wednesday, I had a day that could only happen in NY. The first part of my day will reassure anyone considering a family vacation to New York City that Manhattan is a surprisingly friendly place. (Here’s my friendly native New Yorker tip: NO ONE who lives here EVER EVER EVER calls it The Big Apple. Never.) The second part of my day will convince anyone who is on the fence about this town, that coming to New York is a really really bad idea. In other words, I had the kind of day that epitomizes New York: complicated, surprising, diverse, friendly, and scary…all at the same time. So what happened? Click here to read the rest of this post on Traveling Moms.

April 26, 2009 at 10:04 pm Leave a comment

Why I Love Skype!

I am LOVING Skype.  Read why, here. On my latest NYC Moms Blog post.

March 30, 2009 at 1:08 pm Leave a comment

Longboat Key: The Secret to Staying (relatively) Young

The kids love the calm water

The kids love the calm water

If you’re from the Northeast -and maybe even if you’re not – going to Florida means one of two things: going to the ultra-hip, cool, and trendy South Beach, or going to see your Grandparents.

Of course Grandparents-in-Florida means a lot of things:

  • – polyester pants –
  • canasta by the pool –
  • early bird specials –
  • really really bad driving
  • women sneaking rolls into their purses at the diner
  • constant discussions over the price of a can of Tuna Fish
  • constant monitoring of every single piece of food you put in your mouth because your grandmother is obsessed with being thin and you’re not. Thin, that is.

Oh, wait. Was that last one just me? (more…)

March 14, 2009 at 7:39 am Leave a comment

Check out my post on

traveling-mom-logoI’m TravelingAgelessMom at my new gig, as the Saturday blogger on Check out my first post here:
Business Travel: The Good, The Bad, and the Yoga.

January 24, 2009 at 11:44 pm 1 comment

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