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Preparing For Your First Camping Trip With Kids In Tow

There’s nothing quite as relaxing as a trip away from home to enjoy the outdoors. If you have kids, you already know that they relish in the sunlight and love exploring nature. Camping as a family is a wonderful way to spend time together doing just that. Preparing for your first ever camping trip will ensure that your children have a blast, leading the way to future trips together in this form.

Try A Practice Run

Before heading out for a camping excursion, try a trial run at home to see how your kids fare. Set up a tent in your backyard and keep tabs on all the items your family needs while you spend the night. Luckily, it isn’t too far away and you can grab things as you see fit. Write down a list of the items you used, and keep it handy for your “real” camping trip away from home.

Keep Devices Off

In today’s day and age, everyone has a cell phone or electronic device to look at. Camping should be based around nature and experiences as a family unit. Let older kids know they will need to shut down their phones while you are spending time together. Allow them an hour or so at nighttime to catch up with friends, but make it a priority that the device is shut off again for another day of fun, if applicable.

Don’t Make It Difficult

For a first camping trip, forego hiking in the woods to a remote location to set up your sleeping quarters. Instead, head to a family camping facility. Here your children have amenities available, such as restrooms with running water, electricity, and maybe even a gift shop or small store. This way you can observe what is needed and not needed for future trips out with your kids.

Don’t Overplan Your Excursion

There is no need to write up a schedule of events you wish to partake in with your kids. Instead, keep a few “must-dos” in mind and wing the rest. Spontaneity can be a great thing for everyone. You’ll see that your kids come up with unique ways to overcome boredom and creativity will abound. Refrain from writing up lists and allow nature to take its course. Another idea is to let each member of the family come up with an idea for an activity that everyone can do together. After this has been completed, another family member gets a turn. This way each person gets to experience something that they want to try.

Allow For Some Dirt To Accumulate

At home, you likely let your kids know when you don’t want them to get dirty. While camping, let this rule slide by and let your kids feel the earth without restriction. Dirt never hurt anyone and it will let your child roam around without worrying about their appearance or whether they will be scolded about its presence. Some of the best fun is to be had with dirt involved! This can always be washed off in a shower house, lake, or via a sponge bath if needed. Keep your child’s good clothing at home when you go camping so you do not worry about it becoming ruined during a time when you just want to have fun with each other.

It Might Not Be What You Expect

Don’t go into a camping trip thinking that it will be magical for all who are involved. You may have a child that just isn’t the camping type, and that is okay. You may find that your child really enjoys camping, however. You won’t know until you try!



Mysterious Buyer Orders HUGE Girl Scout Order to Save Troop

Kelly Taylor



When Kayla Dillard and her daughter went gathered with their troop to sell Girl Scout Cookies, they had no idea what was in store for them. If you only have a brief understanding of the Girl Scouts, you likely know that they are revered for the delicious snacks sold outside of stores and parking lots every year. One mystery man in Greenville, South Carolina, apparently loved the cookies so much that he decided to buy the entire stock from Dillard and her troop. This heartwarming story had a rather mysterious ending, however, with nobody knowing who the man was.

Let’s peel this story back and start from the beginning, and maybe we’ll learn more about the mysterious hero!

Troop 1574: Selling Cookies to Make a Difference

Kayla Dillard manages the cookie sales offered by Troop 1574. As part of her job, Dillard helps the scouts to advertise their cookies while making sales, using the received money to further support the troop. Dillard had been managing the station on a regular Friday night when a mystery man approached the table. Dillard relayed the story on social media at a later time saying, “This man purchased seven packs of cookies and gave the girls $40 and said to keep the change.”

A large order and not at all out of the ordinary, Dillard thought that she had made a great sale to a kind soul. Little did she know, the night was only getting started. The man would return shortly after making his first purchase before telling the troop, “Pack up all of your cookies – I’m taking them!”

According to Dillard, the man had wanted to help the troop while also getting the kids out of the cold. Apparently, the weather was bitter and cold, leaving the troop more than a little uncomfortable. Needless to say, the entire troop was ecstatic when they heard that their mystery buyer was taking the rest of the lot. Dillard would go on to say of the mystery buyer, “$540 he spent on cookies. What an amazing soul!!!!”

Despite the story going viral, Dillard and her scout troop have been unable to identify the man. Numerous reporters and local news agencies have tried to contact the mystery buyer in order to highlight his story. As it turns out, this is one hero who has decided to remain unidentified.

History of the Girl Scouts

The Girl Scouts were founded by Juliette Gordon Low in 1912, during the middle of what we now call the Progressive Era. It was at this point in American history that women couldn’t vote and this was something that frustrated the nearly deaf Juliette Gordon Low to no end. In order to fight back against this oppressive, Juliette would host events with fellow women, playing games, hiking, camping, and learning about the world around them.

Juliette and her girls would learn different languages, how to lend a helping hand, and how to read the stars. Thanks to these early efforts, the Girl Scouts Club would grow by leaps and bounds over the years, potentially to a level that Juliette never could have imagined. At the time of this writing, and according to the Girl Scouts, there are more than 1.7 m million girls and 750,000 adults within the organization across 92 countries.

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Fraternity Brothers Honor Former Cook/Motivator By Paying Off Her Mortgage

Kevin Wells



People build houses, but they live in homes where they are cherished. Family ties can also have nothing to do with genetics. Which is why, when a team of fraternity brothers heard that their “second mother” wanted assistance with her retirement, she didn’t have to ask.

From 1982 to 1996, Jessie Hamilton served as a chef at the Phi Gamma Delta frat house (also known as Fiji) on the Louisiana State University campus. Despite having three children of her own, the single mother regarded the young men in her charge as surrogate children, actively listening, offering advice, and occasionally bringing them to doctor’s visits or transporting them to the supermarket.

“I had a good time doing it. The Washington Post quoted Hamilton as saying, “They liked my cooking.” “I was still there for them to talk things over with. They’d come in and squat on top of the counter, telling me about their problems.”

In the late 1980s, Andrew Fusaiotti, now 52 years old, was a Fiji brother. He told the Post, “She was really like a mother to us.” “She handled us like her own. She was constantly on the lookout for us.”)

Hamilton had to work several jobs after graduating from LSU in order to stay afloat financially. It wasn’t a new concept. She’d been stuck in the loop since she was 14 years old.

But, pining for a home of her own, in 2006, Hamilton obtained a 30-year mortgage, at the age of sixty, for the house she wanted to live in someday.k

Hamilton kept in contact with other fraternity brothers over the years, including Fusaiotti, who is now a motor vehicle dealership operator in Mobile, Alabama.

When the pandemic first broke out, Fusaiotti called Hamilton to check in on her wellbeing. During the chat, he was disappointed to find that she was already working several jobs which hindered any immediate plans for her to retire.

It wasn’t a consideration for him to do nothing about the circumstance.

Fusaiotti contacted Hamilton’s family to determine how big a financial target he’d need to set, and then began begging his frat buddies for financial contributions to close her mortgage as well as provide her with a buffer. Fusaiotti’s campaign garnered $51,765 in total, with donations ranging from $600 to $1,000 from 91 alumni.

Just days before her 74th birthday, the boys of Fiji proclaimed April 3 “Jessie Hamilton Day,” honoring her with a catered party that included the presentation of two large checks, one for forty-five thousand dollars to clear her mortgage and the other for $6,675 specifically for Hamilton, as well as souvenir T-shirts and koozies—plus a lot of heart and warm nostalgia.

Hamilton can now finally turn in her notice(s) for the last time.

As Fusaiotti as well as the other men and boys whose lives Hamilton impacted will attest, guardian angels can appear in the most unexpected ways, such as the fraternity kitchen, where they dish out liberal amounts of fried chicken, kidney beans, and warmth that extends far beyond home cooking.

Fusaiotti told The Advocate, “She is the kind of individual that encourages me, people who don’t have a ton but give a great deal.” “She is the most generous girl you have ever encountered.”

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Golden Retrievers Live Up To Their Names By Retrieving And Delivering Beers Amidst Pandemic

Kelly Taylor



Whereas many animal lovers fantasize about teaching their dogs to bring the malt, Buddy, 3, as well as Barley, 1, are already doing that in the midst of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Six Harbors Brewing Company co-founders Mark and Karen Heuwetter became motivated to carry the puppies on beer deliveries to lighten up buyers in Huntington, a seaside area on Long Island, New York.

Mark says, “People started seeing the dogs on the deliveries, so we came up with the concept of making them [help] carry the beer to them.”

When the Covid-19 pandemic struck in March, the brewery was declared an “important enterprise,” allowing it to stay available for delivery and roadside pick-up, something the operators hadn’t ever done previously.

Heuwetter explains, “It wasn’t a significant issue in our business strategy, but we had to re-develop ourselves.”

The Brew Dogs, like so many other dogs, enjoys going for road trips and putting their heads out through the window. Heuwetter wanted to take them with him instead of leaving them at the brewing company while delivering goods.

The Heuwetters created “small accents” that could be worn around the dogs’ necks as a collar and could hold four beer cans. (They used empty bottles because Heuwetter says, “we’re dog-loving folk, and we wouldn’t want them to get physically harmed or stir up the beer.”)

The Brew Dogs soon became mascots, looking the same as St. Bernard dogs with a container of whiskey on their necks.

When it comes to deliveries, humans in masks and gloves bring the beer to the drop-off location, then let the dogs meet the customers and take photos while displaying their beer costumes.

On weekends, the brewery used to serve over 600 pints a day, but now the puppies and Heuwetters only make four to twelve deliveries per day.

And, despite the fact that April and May were usually the busiest months for the company, sales have dropped seventy to eighty percent from April 2019, attributable to the pandemic, according to Heuwetter.

Eleven part-time workers at the brewery have also been laid off, with some of the Heuwetter relatives filling in for them. As a result, the puppies, who have over 500 Instagram followers, have become a bright spot.

Users are searching for socialization throughout this period of social distancing, so [consumers] have a blast,” Heuwetter says.

Although there have been isolated cases of dogs contracting Covid-19 in Hong Kong, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in the spread of the virus that causes Covid-19. (However, it’s important to clean your hands after handling pets.)

Despite the fact that dogs can contract other forms of coronaviruses, Covid-19 is not thought to be a threat to them. The CDC, on the other hand, warns against allowing your pets to communicate with animals or humans outside the home.

The Brew Dogs are a mainstay, even after the pandemic. Since the brewing company is welcoming to dogs, customers often bring their dogs to enjoy a beer and interact socially.

Buddy, an older dog, has been a “stalwart of the institution” since it launched in May 2018, according to Heuwetter. Buddy will run to welcome customers and lead them into the bar as they pulled into the parking lot.

Heuwetter says, “We never instructed him to do all that; he simply picked it up.”

“He had the air of a mayor. He’d go out to every table and interact with people and to get petted because, well, he’s a puppy, and he wants to be petted.”

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Adorable Parrot and Puppy Become Friends With INCREDIBLE Greeting

Kevin Wells



When was the last time that you sat down and talked to your dog? When was the last time your dog talked back? No, we mean with actual words? Obviously, this would be quite surprising, so you can definitely understand why a little puppy reacted to a video of a parrot saying, “I love you!” upon their first meeting! A story seemingly pulled from the pages of a Disney storyboard, this story was all too real, but it requires us to start from the very beginning.

Meet the Talking Umbrella Cockatoo

Today’s fascinating story is about an umbrella cockatoo named Sweet Pea and the bird’s newest member of the family, a lovable puppy. Also known as a White Cockatoo, the umbrella cockatoo is considered a medium-sized bird, typical to tropical rainforests and on islands surrounding Indonesia. Known for their large head crest when surprised, cockatoos’ yellow or lemon-colored tails, and wings when they fly.

What makes the White Cockatoo a fascinating bird is its ability to speak, mimicking the speech patterns of humans. While they are not considered among the most ‘able bodied’ of speakers among the parrot family, the cockatoo has still been used in amusement parks and zoos throughout the world as an entertainer. Considered both ‘highly social’ and incredibly intelligent, cockatoos make a natural addition to just about any family.

Sweet Pea Meets Little Pooch

While Sweet Pea is definitely the more exotic member of this story, we are more fascinated by his introduction to a little puppy at home. Wendy Marie is a homeowner from Idaho who is known primarily as ‘the parrot lady’ all over social media, including her Instagram profile. Sweet Pea had been gaining fans for a while when Wendy decided to bring home another member of the family, a little black Labrador puppy. While integrating puppies into a new home can be challenging, there are new fears when a talking bird is involved.

Even though jealousy is common between animals learning to live together, Sweet Pea never showed any indication that he would dislike the new member of the family. The puppy would join Wendy and her three birds for an introduction that kicked off with Sweet Pea greeting the dog! The video features Wendy asking her cockatoo to tell the puppy that the bird “loves him” with the bird immediately responding, “I love you!” The initial words may have gotten you to say “aww” but it probably was the gentle pets that followed to send you into an absolute cute animal freak-out. The video would first get shared on TikTok before finding its way to hundreds of millions of homes around the planet thanks to the power of the internet.

Adopting a cockatoo may seem particularly exciting in the light of this fascinating and entertaining story, but they do require training, advanced care, and patience. Before considering adopting a cockatoo, take some time to research what goes into the maintenance of such an intelligent and lovable pet.

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Act of Kindness at Party City Launches Heartwarming Viral Challenge

Renee Yates



When Natasha and her son Grayson packed up their bags to visit Party City in Martinsburg, WV, they really had no idea what they were getting themselves into. Ostensibly on a trip to get some Valentine’s Day gifts for school, Natasha and her son would end up engaging in a conversation with the cashier at the register. A short talk later and the cashier would gift young 2-year-old Grayson a yellow balloon. While the interaction may have seemed relatively mundane at a glance, it would go on to launch a viral challenge that would bring smiles to households around the world.

Launching a Viral Challenge — on Accident!

After returning home from Party City, Natasha Kable Fogle realized the depth of how touched she was by the gesture of kindness. Natasha would turn to Facebook in order to highlight the act of kindness granted at Party City as well as what it meant to her son, Grayson. While Natasha had wanted to spread the word about Party City’s positive practices, she had no idea that her Facebook message would become the next big thing in viral challenges!

Natasha uploaded a video thanking the cashier at Party City for her act of kindness, and it wasn’t long until the message had found its way around the internet. Pretty soon, a local law firm near Natasha would decide to launch the #YellowBalloonChallenge. The law firm, named Catrow Law PLLC, decided to launch the challenge on Twitter to start an avalanche of positive acts of kindness.

Catrow Law described the #YellowBalloonChallenge as a game of passing kindness forward in ways both large and small. From mowing the lawn or shoveling a driveway to paying for the car behind you at the coffee shop, the Yellow Balloon Challenge would quickly find its footing on the internet. To get things started, Catrow Law PLLC would pay $100 to Meals on Wheels by paying for a stranger’s account. The donation was tagged with a simple message, “Keep the yellow balloon challenge going!”

The Internet Saves the Day

From Catrow Law PLLC, the Yellow Balloon Challenge would find its way to Studio M Boutique where it was summarily accepted. Studio M Boutique would agree to donate 10% of its sales for an entire night to a client that had been engaging in a fight against cancer. Not only would Studio M Boutique end up raising an exceptional amount of funds, but the business would push the Yellow Balloon Challenge into another demographic of potential challengers. Among the other local businesses to engage in the Yellow Balloon Challenge was TJ’s Pit Stop who had dedicated its donations to The Boys and Girls Club.

Viral social media challenges have played a huge role in day-to-day life and the Yellow Balloon Challenge was no exception. First there was the Ice Bucket ALS challenge and now the Yellow Balloon Challenge. What else can the internet do to help those in need?

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