Posts Tagged ‘vacation’

Spring Break: Kids’ Edition

Friday, March 11th, 2016

I remember my younger spring break days…road trips, margaritas, suntans and days spent at the beaches. Spring Break as a parent usually includes a few kids in tow, a whole lot of luggage, and even more planning. Spring Break with kids is different; but it can be just as great! Here are some key tips for traveling with wee ones this Spring Break.

If you are going to the beach…spring break

Choose a destination that is NOT synonymous with Spring Break. Plan ahead and research the beach areas that are known for loud and rowdy college students and AVOID them. Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, South Padre Island, and Miami Beach are all well-known college spring break locales. Not only are they typically much more expensive during peak seasons, they are also more packed and rowdy.

If you are going to the amusement parks…

Plan ahead and check out exclusive park tips prior to your stay. If you are going to Disney, Disneytouristblog.com and Mousesavers.com are great resources for park coupons, current happenings, and local attractions that are going on around the park. If you are eligible for a military discount, you can look up Military discounts listed by park.

If you want to stay close to the park but not at the actual resort, Airbnb can offer homes and apartments that are usually a walkable distance to the entrance. Vacation rentals can be cheaper than resorts and have full kitchen accommodations so you don’t waste money buying expensive meals at the park.

If you are nursing or have a child in diapers, Disney and Lego amusement parks offer pretty incredible nursing and childcare rooms. Some of the accommodations include rocking chairs, privacy curtains, private changing areas, high chairs, microwaves, refrigerators, bottle warmers and emergency diapers and wipes. I have used both the LegoLand and the Disneyland nursing rooms and I cannot say enough great things about them! It really made it feasible for our whole family to go to the parks when we had a young one in tow.

If you are visiting family or friends without baby or toddler items…

If you’ll be staying with people that aren’t equipped for small children, there are many different companies that rent kid supplies. A few years ago we stayed with a family friend in Malibu when my youngest was 8 months. We rented a high chair, crib, crib sheets, and even toys for an entire week, all for a very reasonable rate. If you don’t have to check extra bags when flying, renting can actually save you money. We used Baby’s Away and the delivery and set up was included in the fee! After a long flight, it is a real stress reliever to have everything all prepared at your destination.

No matter where you are traveling, if you’re doing so with kids, always have a plan for separation

Every family should have a predetermined meeting place to go if you get separated, like the ticket window or park information booth. Make sure to talk about your strategy with your child so they know the plan. Some families even use hospital ID bracelets on children to write pertinent information, such as your phone number, in case a child is lost. If you are staying at a hotel, you can also tuck a hotel business card inside your child’s pocket so they know where they are staying. No one wants to think about getting separated from their loved ones, but it is always best to be over prepared.

Tessa Wesnitzer is a health and wellness coach who lives in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves her husband, two boys, green tea, long runs, and snowy winters.

Leaving Baby for the First Time

Friday, August 21st, 2015

Nursing ResourcesFour months after our first baby was born, my husband I had the opportunity to spend the weekend in Sedona, Arizona. Alone. After solely taking care of baby C since birth, the thought of leaving him with anyone overnight was incredibly nerve wracking. I was a jumble of emotions…would I cry? Would he miss me? Would he be afraid? I was excited for my mini-vacation but I was also nervous. But leaving baby is monumental and it’s totally normal to feel this way. Fortunately, with some planning, your first overnight sans baby can be a well-deserved and pleasant experience.

Ask Family or a Close Friend

Who to leave baby with is the most important thing to consider when planning an overnight get away. Obviously you want someone that you implicitly trust but you may also want to consider how much experience they have with small children. For most people, that will be family but it could also be a close friend. You want to feel secure in their ability to handle any situations that might arise. We chose my parents; they had raised two kids successfully and I knew that they would be able to handle any situation that arose.

Leave Suggestions or Instructions

Even though it may seem like overkill, leave very detailed instructions with your caregiver. I never felt bad about being specific about how we did things. Does baby need a certain lovey to sleep? Like to be swaddled tightly vs. loose? The clearer the instructions, especially if baby is young, the smoother experience for everyone. Include feeding times, tips for baby’s preferences, and a solid timeline of what to expect and when.

Make a Breastfeeding Plan

If you are breastfeeding, you’ll want to begin pumping and freezing in advance. You should plan on leaving your caregiver with more milk than is needed and instructions about how exactly you’d like the milk prepared. If you have been almost exclusively breast feeding, give yourself a few weeks to test run with some bottles to ensure that your baby will take the milk. And don’t forget to pack your pump and cooler to continue pumping while away.

Relax and Enjoy

Even though you might be longingly looking at every baby that passes by, time away can be a much-needed stress reliever. In Sedona, I was able to take a long hot shower, read a book, and I even sat down to eat for the first time since baby C was born. It also allowed me to reconnect with my husband who was begging for some couple time. When you do get home, you will be a calm and rejuvenated momma!

 Tessa Wesnitzer is a mother of two boys and certified personal trainer. She lives and works in South Jordan, Utah.

Baby’s First Vacation

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Baby's FIrst VacationSummer is approaching and vacation time is on everyone’s minds. But now that you’re a mom, can you still take a trip? Of course! Babies are very adaptable and portable little people. Taking your baby on their first vacation can be a relaxing, enjoyable experience. So find a cute infant swimsuit, stock up on your sunscreen, and get ready for some fun!

Where to Go:

For my family, our vacations since children have been short but sweet. We have chosen to go on a 3-day trip for the past couple years. My husband gets to see a baseball game, we get to relax and play in a hotel pool, and we find a fun activity for the little ones to enjoy like the zoo, for example. Other moms choose to go on family trips with extended family. Sunny beaches like Gulf Shores, Alabama, provide a relaxing beach vacation spot. Try not to be too extravagant with baby’s first vacation. There is plenty of time to go to Disney World and other theme parks as baby grows. Keep it simple.

What to Bring:

In my opinion, you can never be too prepared when you have little ones. If you are hitting a sunny spot, remember some California Baby sunscreen. Bring a cute sun hat for baby. Remember extra outfits and extra toys. These Melissa and Doug toys are super cute and easy to pack. Most hotels and resorts have cribs available for use if you just ask. Also consider having a room with a refrigerator if you have breastmilk to store.

If you are vacationing in a cooler climate, consider baby wearing. Vacationing in a location like Seattle can provide beautiful scenery for hiking, and you will glad you have that Tula!

Don’t worry that you’ve over packed. You can never be too prepared!

What to Remember:

Keeping a good attitude is important when traveling with an infant. Remember that it’s your baby’s first vacation. Take pictures and video and make memories with your little family. Don’t sweat the small hiccups that you may encounter. If your little one doesn’t tolerate a plan ride or longer car ride, do your best to make them comfortable and push through. If your baby doesn’t love and adore the beach, don’t fret. Remember that you have a lifetime to make memories with your little one. Just have fun!

On my daughter’s first vacation, we traveled to Cincinnati for 3 days. We went to a baseball game, ate lots of yummy food, and checked out the zoo. The trip was full of great memories. I remember her smiles at the baseball game, looks on her face as she saw wild animals for the first time, bouncing her around in a baby carrier way past her bedtime so my husband and I could stay out later than 7 p.m., and the hilarious moments of trying to get a 10 month old to nap in a hotel room right next to my husband and I. Vacations change when you have little ones, but they are still something you will always remember.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two who lives and writes in Northeast Indiana. She is excited about taking her son Levi on his first vacation next month to Cleveland.

Tips for Road-Tripping with Babies

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Tips for Road Trips with BabiesWe recently completed a cross-country move with our 5-year-old, 2.5-year-old and 13-month-old daughters, driving from Fort Worth, Texas to Queensbury, New York.

When I sat down to Google Maps and started making our route, I was scared. Three days. Stretches of 8 to 11 hours of driving each day. Two overnight stays. How were we going to do this and all stay sane? We don’t even own a portable DVD player.

Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, sometimes flying isn’t an option and you need to road trip. Here are a few things I learned from our experience that can make your trip easier.

  1. Give yourself options. Kids love change, any change, no matter how small. So make sure you can keep things interesting when everyone has had enough. Change seating arrangements, change toys, change seat partners, change coloring books, or change snacks. We bought silly dollar toys at gas stations, had emergency snacks and different toys from home that I could distribute when things were getting ugly. Having a few new shows and games downloaded on the iPad and Leapster before the trip helped, too.
  2. Plan at least two extra hours for each day of driving. When I drive alone, I am a fill-up-the-tank, gulp-down-the-coffee, hook-up-the-catheter kind of road tripper. I live and die by making “good time.” So it was helpful for planning purposes, and for me mentally, to realize that having the kids with us added two hours to our total drive time each day. That way I didn’t stretch us too far.
  3. Get multiple rooms overnight. The tiny room at Motel 6 may seem like a wise choice on paper, but it’s very helpful to have room to spread out in the evenings. I love AirBnB when traveling, because we can rent an entire home for the price of a hotel room. Each night we all had our own rooms, we could put the baby down early without having to sit in darkness, and the kids had space to run and explore.  This can be especially helpful if you cloth diaper, because you can get a place with a washer/dryer if you want.  AirBnB isn’t the only place you can book travel this way—there’s VRBO, and more home-sharing or renting options online. Obviously, you want to be safe when traveling with your family. I have several conversations over email and on the phone with my host to get a general vibe before I stay somewhere, and I always pay through the site.
  4. Pack by the day. A friend who has four kids gave me this tip: Instead of packing each person their own bag, pack clothing for the ENTIRE family per overnight stop. Since we were staying in different locations and would have to pack in/pack out each night anyway, this made so much sense! Toiletries for the whole family went in one bag, and PJS/diapers/clothes for the next day in one bag. When we got to our destination for the day, out come the two bags and the pack n play. DONE.
    Tips for Road Trips with Babies
  5. Lower your expectations. The first night, I realized there was not going to be “bedtime” on this trip. We got to our first stop after 13 hours on the road (11 hours of driving), and the two older girls were running circles around the cabin, yelling. I told them they could run but no yelling, and they complied. The baby wanted me only, and wanted to nurse all the time, so we nursed. The girls crashed hard way after their bedtime, which resulted in napping in the middle of the afternoon in the car—normally something that would inspire fear in me. I knew we’d get back to our routine eventually, and it might be painful, but this was not the time to fight that battle. How strict you want to keep schedules while on the road will depend on your kids’ personalities, how old they are, and how well they adjust to change. Once we got to New York and got settled, we were back to normal bedtime within a few days. In my mind, the relaxed standards were well worth the saved sanity.

I think the key to any trip or vacation, even if it’s out of necessity and not for pleasure, is to enjoy yourself and the people you are with. Make memories when you can. Most of all, enjoy the journey!

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mom of three girls. She lives and writes in Queensbury, New York. 

 

Tasty Tuesday: Kale Smoothie

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

I confess, I am a bit obsessed with kale and finding new, exciting (and tasty) ways to include in my family’s diet. My kids are so used to me putting kale into their food, my 5 year old even asked me if I put kale into his pancakes the other day. Although I assured him there was no kale in his pancakes, he didn’t believe me. “Why are they a funny color then?” he inquired. They were admittedly kind of a funny color but kale was not the culprit this time; the pancakes had blueberries in them. I did however serve the blueberry pancakes with a kale smoothie. 😉

We are on vacation right now which makes eating the way I prefer to eat a challenge…in other words I suck at being vegan right now. Although we did travel with our blender (a true sign of a blender addict) so smoothies have my redemption! Plus they are a cool and refreshing treat during the hot summer weather. This kale smoothies has been a particular recent favorite of mine:

Ingredients:

1.5 cups coconut milk

1/4 cup frozen mango

1/4 cup frozen pineapple

1/2 frozen banana (fresh is fine too, I just prefer it frozen)

1 date, pitted (optional, but I tend to include it, especially if I am giving some to the kids)

2 tablespoons hemp seed

3-4 de-stemmed pieces of kale

Directions:

Blend on high for at least two minutes or until kale is completely blended smooth (you don’t want little chunks of kale in your smoothie). This recipe makes enough to share!

Two quick tips for awesome smoothies:

1. Green smoothies tend to blend best when liquid is on the bottom and greens are on the to, so put your liquid (milk, milk alternative, water, etc) in first and your greens in last.

2. If you have bananas that are about to spoil, peel them, half them, throw them in a plastic baggie, and pop them in the freezer. Then when you want to add a banana to a smoothie, you have a sweet frozen banana ready to go! (extra ripe means extra sweet!).

What do you like to include in your smoothies? Any favorites you want to share? Would love to hear what others are blended up these days! 🙂

-Sarah