Outdoor Activities For the Family

Spending time outdoors enjoying family activities with your children is one of the best ways to pass a day. There are fun family outdoor activities that you can take part in year round. Doing things with your children in this way offers unique opportunities to communicate and reconnect while also having fun.Planning fun family outdoor activities takes a little preparation. It’s best to talk with your family and find out which activities they would enjoy, then plan outings accordingly. Medical conditions have to be a consideration also. A child with allergies probably won’t enjoy a walk in the woods as much as the rest of the family. You have to take everything into account so the whole family enjoys the activity.

There are quite a few outdoor activities to choose from. Here are some you might want to consider:o Boating: If you do have a family member with allergies, you might consider boating as an outdoor family activity. With boating you don’t have tree and flower allergens to deal with.o Hiking: Going for a hike is a great outdoor activity for the whole family. You can take traditional hikes in the woods of your local state parks, go to military parks and use the hike as an educational tool, or even go to botanical gardens and caves for day hikes. Hiking is an activity that you can partake in most any time of the year if your state doesn’t have bad winters. Just make sure you and your children have the appropriate clothing and gear.o Swimming: A day spent swimming at the lake is probably the ultimate fun family outdoor activity. Children love splashing around in the water, and going to the lake is usually a fairly inexpensive activity which is good for your wallet.o Fishing: Get the kids and the fishing gear together and head out to catch the big one. Fishing is a sport that everyone can enjoy. They even have pink fishing poles for little girls these days to make them more interested in the activity. Fishing offers great opportunities for reconnecting for the whole family. Sitting on the creek bank, or in the boat, waiting for the fish to bite, is the perfect time to ask about each other’s day.

o Skiing: During the winter months the family can go skiing together. Everyone can start out on the bunny slopes together while they learn the ropes. Being on top of the mountain and looking out at the vast horizon and beauty surrounding you is one of the best feelings in the world.Those are just a few ideas to get you started. There are numerous outdoor activities that families can enjoy. Being together is the most important thing. Spending time doing fun family outdoor activities will improve relationships, develop bonds that last a lifetime, and keep everyone active. Make outdoor family activities a part of your life.

Love That Lasts A Lifetime

Practically everybody remembers the first time of making love with a spouse. Practically nobody remembers the 373rd. love stories are about falling in love, not staying that way.

One wonders what happens in a marriage that has lasted many years. Is there any excitement about staying in love? Can it remain romantic when you climb into bed with the same person night after night?

“It depends on what you mean by romantic,” says one wife of 15 years. “If you mean that can’t-keep-your-hands-off-each-other feeling, then no, you don’t have that. It’s actually better than that, because sex is no longer a performance. You can relax and enjoy what’s happening. That’s what makes it romantic to me. I know I’m loved by someone who really knows me. Nobody can beat that.”

Of all the joys of familiarity, one of the most central is security. You learn to trust this person who handles your body and your emotions so intimately. You can let down the barricades and approach the experience with openness.

More than that, there is the security of having a shared history as lovers, a sense of safety about each other. Given the avalanche of sexual information available today, there is formidable pleasure to “get it right.” Husbands and wives have the comfortable knowledge of all the times their love-making has worked – as well as the knowledge that when it has not, nothing important changed in their relationship.

Just Talking. Whereas in the early stages of love the obsessive desire for each other closes out the rest of the world, intimacy between two people who have been married for many years has room to take in all facets of life. It can be exchanging a look over the head of your child or reaching out to take your husband’s hand at the exact moment he reaches for yours.

Some of the most intimate moments in marriage are those spent just talking, at times when the disappointments of the world seem to have stripped away every defence and you are sad.

Toni remembers a day like that. She’d been excited about having a job again, after years at home with two daughters. An opportunity for promotion came up, and Toni was in contention. After a week of suspense, the decision was made. Another woman got the job. “I felt as if somebody had hit me in the stomach,” Toni says.

She called her husband at his office. “He told me to meet him for lunch. We talked and talked – I told him things about myself I never dreamt I’d tell another human being. And he talked about us, and about our girls. If felt as if I’d come ti him a jumble of broken bits and pieces, and he was putting me back together again, building me up with all the chunks of our life together. When I think about that lunch, it feels to me every bit as intimate as we’ve ever been in bed.”

The core of intimacy is a profound knowledge of each other, and that knowledge takes years to develop. For husband and wives who work at staying in touch – who listen to each other, who share what’s going on whether it’s fascinating or not – intimacy becomes a steadily increasing element of the marriage that enhances all other elements. Within the intimacy of marriage, sex becomes the physical expression of the unity of two people.

What frightens many people is the normal fluctuation of passion within the long time-frame of intimacy. When the fresh excitement of a new love begins to mellow into the gentler security of an established relationship, some people panic and try to find the newness again with somebody else. To make marriage work, you have to step forward into the territory of familiarity and discover, beyond novelty, the intimate warmth of making love with the person you know almost as well as yourself.

Faces do wrinkle, bodies do get pudgier, energy levels do recede, and most people do face an increasing number of niggling ailments. A long lasting love accepts all of these less than agreeable facts. It comes to terms with me. What binds the lovers together is not what they look like, but what they are.

If the physical need for each other feels less all-consuming as time goes by, it can still be intensely satisfying. In anything, it can be better, since like most other skills sex improves with practice.

Range of Moods. There is a particular pleasure in making love for couples in the middle phase of their marriage, when the world around them is the most demanding. The whole intricate machinery of jobs and household has to be kept functioning. The days are relentlessly busy, and in the middle of all this making love can be an island of privacy.

“You know the greatest thing about sex for me?” says Judy (married 12 years, two children). “It’s putting the kids to bed, running a warm bath and getting into the tub with my husband. Were relaxed and we can giggle like kids.”

Explains Jack (married nine years, no children), “Sex does a lot for me, but one of the most important things is just release of tension.” Says Abigail (married seven years, three children): “I sometimes feel that making love is the only grown-up thing I do. All the rest of the time, I have to be doing my best to be a good a mother or a good neighbour. In bed with my husband, I can be whatever I want to be – I just leave all the roles in a pile with my nightgown.”

In the delicious privacy shared by a husband and wife, there can be the whole range of moods in love. Sometimes making love can be routine. It can also be funny or chatty or exquisitely intense. In a long marriage, sex can be experienced in all its permutations, because the two people involved are caught up in the business of living, and their moods will reflect that.

Mutual Goal. It isn’t that sexual relationships in long-term marriages present no problems. A study of couples in successful marriages, published in 1978 by researchers at Pennsylvania’s University of Pittsburgh, reported a frequency of sexual difficulties similar to that of couples studied by Masters and Johnson. Despite the problems, almost all of the individuals in the study reported that their sexual relationship was satisfactory. When it was good, the sexual sharing added to the overall sense of contentment and affection. When it wasn’t, the rest of the relationship seems to have supplied enough warmth and understanding to make the difficulties less important.

Some therapists even feel that when a married couple does find sexual problems troubling enough to seek counselling, what may help the marriage more is not the improved techniques learnt but the experience of sharing a mutual goal and working together, tenderly and lovingly, to achieve it.

When problems are not so acute, or when people feel they’ve hit a dull patch, many couples take time off by themselves. Says Susan, “When my husband and I are by ourselves, there’s a feeling of real romance all over again.”

Going away together, alone, can provide a temporary return to that blissful first stage. “You have to go away,” one wife says, “even if you just go downtown to a hotel. Otherwise you see the dust under the bed, the dishes in the sink and the briefcase in the hall. You have to leave all that behind.”

When everything is left behind, all the energy that went into running a joint life can be turned into renewing the basis for it – the loving, continuing relationship of a man and a woman who have chosen to move through time together.

Those are the moments that sustain a marriage, and spouses committed to along love build up their own private treasury. It can be lying together in a quiet room while dawn slowly lightens outside the window, holding hands under a restaurant table or coming together after a separation with fresh hunger for each other.

All are ways of making love.

The Controversy of UK Agricultural Land Conversions to Housing

What are seen as the controversies around converting land from agriculture to housing?The value of UK Green Belt and agricultural lands is undisputed. But the environmental costs of modern farming and housing needs are part of the conversation as well.Anybody considering making an alternative investment in strategic land will know that Britain unquestionably needs more homes to accommodate a growing population. According to the Office for National Statistics, more than 4.4 million homes should be built by 2016, largely in response to two factors: A decennial growth rate of 7 percent, as measured in Census 2011, and lagging new home construction that fails to keep up with this population increase, largely attributed to the stringent lending standards of banks following the 2008 economic crisis.At least one group claims the solution is to build on Green Belt land. The Policy Exchange, a centre-right think tank, said in late 2012 that the supply of land near cities that is kept unbuilt is a drag on the housing market. They argue that swaths of English countryside that typically surround towns should be opened up for development. The fourteen Green Belts in England cover about 13 percent of the country, enveloping about 60 percent of Britain’s population (about 30 million people).The Policy Exchange faces plenty of headwind in its positions. Since the “garden city movement” of the early 20th century, the effort to combat urban sprawl led by such groups as the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and the London County Council sought to maintain open spaces dedicated to recreation, forests and agriculture as a social good. But the Town and Country Planning Association has proposed since 2002 the adoption of more flexible policies toward Green Belt lands, suggesting that instead of a growth-stifling “belt,” that “wedges” and “strategic gaps” might allow a natural expansion of urban areas.

Famously, the head of Natural England, whose charge is entirely to ensure protection and improvement of flora and fauna, said in 2007 “we need a 21st century solution to England’s housing needs which puts in place a network of green wedges, gaps and corridors, linking the natural environment and people.”Agricultural land outside of Green BeltsOf course, land away from the major cities is green as well, much of it in use for agricultural, forestry and recreational purposes. More than 80 percent of the landmass in England and Wales, 12 million hectares, are used for farming and forestry. Local planning authorities can more easily rezone the lands outside Green Belts when market factors, such as the demand for housing development, call for it. Since 2000, about 1500 hectares of agricultural land has been converted to housing development every year.Of course, similar sentiments understandably still exist relative to the bucolic perceptions of farming in the U.K. But environmentalists take exception to how modern agricultural methods, which include excessive application of fertilisers, can actually burden nature with its by-products:• Toxic build-up. 100 million tonnes of sewage sludge, compost and livestock manures applied annually to agricultural lands is leading to a build-up of potentially toxic elements such as zinc and copper, and more than half of sensitive wildlife habitat experiences harmful acid and nitrogen pollution, according to a paper published by Environment Agency UK.• Loss of soil. About 2.2 million tonnes of topsoil is lost each year due to intensive cultivation, some of which is instigated by compaction from heavy machinery and livestock, which precludes plant growth and leads to runoff in rain. (source: Environment Agency UK). To be fair, some runoff is noted as well from building sites before landscaping is completed.• Water quality compromised. About 70 percent of sediments found in water come from agriculture, and those sediments can carry metals, pathogens, pesticides and phosphates.Such problems due to modern agriculture plague the planet, as similar pollution levels are reported throughout Europe, Asia, North America and Australia. Africa, Brazil and Argentina, the newer frontiers for agriculture, are expanding arable croplands to meet global food demands but also exhibit a host of environmental sins.The food-housing tugThere is no denying that the housing needs in the UK must be met – and soon. A whole generation of families are postponing children or living in cramped quarters, awaiting homes they can afford or at least rent to accommodate their members.But Brits need to eat as much as sleep. So how to balance the use of land for each?A number of approaches are being tested. One is to encourage development of so-called brownfield lands, which include properties that may require remediation from previous industrial uses. These lands are often within towns or immediately adjacent to them, some with excellent access to existing urban infrastructure while others are cost-prohibitive for a variety of reasons (no existing infrastructure, undesirable locations for housing or extensive environmental remediation required).

SustainableBuild.co.uk is a web publisher that considers the balance between development and environmental sustainability from a very pragmatic standpoint. The site offers several points on how land conversions to development can have a negative effect, which include: converted greenfields are quite unlikely to be converted back to nature; there is inevitable loss of habitat for animals and plants; a loss of employment for agricultural workers; and a loss of Green Belt land that provides geographical definitions and separations of cities, towns, villages and hamlets (I.e., American-style urban sprawl).Answering the problem of diminishing agricultural lands is a nascent movement to small-scale, organic agriculture on greenfield lands. SustainableBuild notes, “There are greenfield sites that are not being used for any purpose, for whatever reason. Development must consider all human and environmental factors, not just consume land and space for short-term solutions. A sustainable vision would look at all the options for land use, human population expansion, urban sprawl, economic considerations as well as environmental needs.”Which, in a country with a growing population and a concurrent appreciation for the environment, is perhaps the most realistic and pragmatic approach.