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Coping with Kids: Cool products for family road trips

| Monday, Aug. 4, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

These items will make any family road-camping trip a success.

Reese Explore Car Top Carrier: (Reese Brands) This rooftop carrier is made of lightweight-but-durable nylon that will keep your belongings clean and dry regardless of the weather and is easier to attach to your car's side rails or cross bars than many of its competitors. Best of all, it's expandable (from 12 cubic feet to 16 cubic feet). It retails for about $65 at www.walmart.com.

Dragons Adventure World Explorer: (DreamWorks) Dragons Adventure is inspired by the “How to Train Your Dragon” movies and set on the Isle of Berk. The game app uses HERE maps to bring the roads you're driving on into the game in real time, so players will see familiar landmarks as they fly their dragons. It uses information from The Weather Channel to change the weather in the game, and data from Foursquare to determine how many Vikings appear along the route. Another neat feature: If you plug in your starting point and destination, the game will wind down as you reach your trip's end. It is free for Microsoft Windows phones and tablets.

Conifer 5+: (Mountainsmith) This tent has 83.5 square feet of floor space, lots of interior pockets and a ceiling height of 6 feet 2 inches, so there's plenty of room for two adults, three kids and a dog or two. There's also a “porch,” which adds another 30 square feet. It's quick and easy to set up, but is easiest with two people doing setup. Prices range from $285 to $360. mountainsmith.com

Sewing without, well, sewing

Learn to craft sans needle and thread with Ashley Johnston's “No-Sew Love” (Running Press, $20), a book featuring 50 projects that ordinarily require sewing to complete but have been adapted to use alternative adhesives. Each chapter is preceded by a supply list, fabric guide, helpful tips section and list of resource centers along with color photos to demonstrate to the reader how these crafts come together without a sewing machine. Johnston's crafts ideas include tufted headboards, woven clutches and infinity scarves.

Vending machine with breast-feeding gear may be a first

Every working breastfeeding mother has had it happen at least once: You're on a break, ready to pump, when you discover you forgot a crucial piece of equipment. Maybe it's a valve, a piece of tubing or a storage bag. You find yourself wondering whether you can store milk in a water bottle or use butter as a nipple cream because there's no time to run home. What can you do?

Workers at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore can now purchase breastfeeding equipment from a vending machine — believed to be the first of its kind. The machine, which was installed last month, stocks pump accessories, storage bottles, breast pads and nipple cream, among other supplies for nursing mothers.

It's the brain child of Meg Stoltzfus, lifespan-services manager for the Office of Work, Life and Engagement at Hopkins. “I worked and pumped, as well, so I've made it sort of a mission to help other moms,” she said.

Stoltzfus said other institutions have expressed interest in following suit.

— Staff and wire reports

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