Highlights of Yellowstone National Park

Highlights of Yellowstone National Park

One of my most cherished memories of my childhood took place in Yellowstone National Park. My parents had driven my brother and I from Southern California all the way up to West Yellowstone to show us the very first national park. The beauty was endless, the animals were majestic and the adventure was life changing.

Around every corner was another sign pointing you to a geological masterpiece. The signs kept coming and the curiosity of these “off the beaten path” treasures got the best of my father and I. My mom and brother don’t share in our adventurous spirit and decided to stay back in the car. We had no idea what we were looking for, only that whatever it was deserved a sign on the side of the road. Walking through thick brush, around trees and across small streams while laughing and talking with my dad, that was what family vacations were about.





After never seeing another sign we stopped to see some bubbles rising in a stream. Of course my dad would dare me to touch the water to see if it was hot (I do not recommend that) and of course it was. I would like to think that he had tested the water before he had me stick my hand in it but that was never confirmed, only joked about. Luckily I kept all my fingers and made this wonderful memory of walking around Yellowstone with my dad.

There are a few things to make sure to see while in Yellowstone and they are spread out through the park. One of the main things I wanted to bring my children to see is the wildlife. Showing them animals such as bears, bison and elk roaming in their natural environment will leave a lasting impression on them. On the NP’s website you can see various maps, one being the best areas to view the wildlife in Yellowstone. Here is the map and the link to view it on their website. https://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm

Yellowstone is such an ideal vacation for the young, the old, families, couples and friends. No matter your age or who you are with,  everyone will leave the park in awe. I am so happy that my husband and I now have had the privilege to take our children and the amazement in their eyes left me reliving mine as a child.

Road Trip 2017

Going into the park now 16 years later, I noticed how many things have changed. Places I remember seeing as a kid, now either don’t exist or are no longer marked. I felt as though I was seeing the same park but in a different light. I think this will be the same, no matter how many times I come to Yellowstone, it will be a new experience.

When entering the park, I let the ranger know that we had two children and they gave both of them a checklist with all of the animals they should see in the park. This was great because it gave them a goal and kept them on the look out for these animals. The kids were able to see all of them except a coyote.

Our trip being in mid May, crowds were minimal and traffic was the same. We were able to find parking wherever we stopped and had no trouble on hikes or finding places to picnic. There was however just enough cars on the road to alert us when something cool was coming up because everyone would stop to take a picture.

Although it was a fact that I tried to forget until we were well out of the park, Yellowstone is an active volcano that can erupt at anytime. When it does, it will be devastating to the United States. Signs of the volcanic activity surround you. From boiling mud to steam leaving mountains through crevasses, it is hard to believe that so much beauty can come from something so deadly.




Since we had so many places to stop on our road trip, we only spend a day and a half in Yellowstone. I do however suggest if it is your first time visiting, that you spend the better half of a week touring the park and its surrounding areas. There are many places to stay, eat and visit in West Yellowstone, Montana, as well as Cody, Wyoming.

Before booking your vacation you may also want to check https://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm   for any road closures or entrance closures. Certain times of the year are better than others for being able to see the most and is all explained on their website.

St. George Utah- Best Western Coral Hills

St. George Utah- Best Western Coral Hills

One of our favorite places to visit is St George Utah. It is rich with history and surrounded with breathtaking scenery. Each time we make a trip to the town of St. George, we stay at the Best Western Coral Hills. We have found it to be the best hotel in the area, offering wonderful accommodations for families and couples alike.




The location of Best Western Coral Hills is best in the city. There are many places to eat within walking distance or you can use their BBQ area and make a dinner of your own. Breakfast is included with your stay and offers a variety of choices that are sure to make your tummy satisfied.

Hotel rooms are clean and updated. Beds are comfortable and water pressure in the shower is wonderful. There are many ice machines and vending machines throughout the grounds. Plus two swimming pools, one indoor and one outdoor.

Stop by the front desk for a free walking tour map, that you can begin right at the hotel. When you have completed it, you will have a vast knowledge of the city and its history. You can even use one of the hotel’s bicycles to get around if that suits your fancy. Staff is friendly and helpful with all of your needs. There is also a place to purchase postcards and key chains by the front desk.

St George is an excellent place to vacation or stop on your way through and a stay at the Best Western Coral Hills makes it that much better. Book your next stay at http://www.coralhills.com/




Buffalo Bill Center of the West- Cody Wyoming

Buffalo Bill Center of the West- Cody Wyoming

Located a little over 50 miles from the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park is Cody Wyoming. A town rich with history and beautiful scenery. Every building pridefully shows reminders of its towns namesake, Buffalo Bill Cody.




Within the town of Cody is a museum, Buffalo Bill Center of the West. A museum whose outside appearance is just as beautiful as its contents within. As you walk into the museum the tall ceilings and spacious entrance allow you to take a deep breath of the history within the walls. The staff is there to greet you and help guide you as well as answer any questions you may have. You can also take a selfie with the man himself!

There are many rooms to tour through but my main goal was to make it through the Buffalo Bill Cody wing of the museum. I honestly could have spent an entire day reading every sign, admiring every picture and watching other visitors reactions. From Cody’s traveling tent to his coat, you could really grasp the adventurous life he led. I was especially excited to see Riverside, CA on the map of places he had performed.

There were also rooms that contained art, firearms and the plains Indians history. The collections were amazing to see. My children left there with inquisitive minds, asking questions they would have never thought of without being prompted by what they saw.

I have been to a lot of museums in my life and none have been as beautiful as this one. Displays bring you back to the era depicted, giving you that moment to live in history. Artifacts were so well-preserved and left you full of knowledge. Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum is a must see for everyone.

Plan your trip by visiting their website at https://centerofthewest.org/visit/

Special thanks to Nancy for allowing us to come in and experience the west as Buffalo Bill Cody knew it!

Old McDonald Farm- Rapid City South Dakota

Old McDonald Farm- Rapid City South Dakota

When I travel, I make sure to have a list of everything I can see and do in the area. When planning for Rapid City, I stumbled upon Old McDonald Farm, a family friendly petting zoo. I added it to my list and hoped that we would be able to stop. Both of my children are in love with all kinds of animals and being in Southern California, there isn’t too many opportunities to go hang out on a farm. So I knew this needed to be one of our stops.

As we pulled up to the farm, my kids were giddy as they saw two goats walking across a bridge and eating.

They both jumped out of the car and ran to the front entrance. Walking into the farm was refreshing. Buildings appeared to have a fresh coat of paint, animals seemed well cared for and staff was very friendly.





There was a trail that you could follow so that you didn’t miss any of the animals. Or if your kids are like mine, you can zig zag to all their favorite animals, and even visit some twice.

The baby animals were way too much adorableness to handle!! I was ready to load up a baby goat in my jacket and run. All of the animals were use to being held and pet making the experience even more enjoyable.

While adoring the baby goats we heard an announcement for pig races and ran over to check them out. Little piggies in a line and then set free to race around an oval. Everyone cheered for their piggy and then we were able to pet the pigs.

On top of having these amazing farm animals to play with and feed, the farm also had pony rides, tractor rides and food. It was such an amazing experience for our entire family and I know we wont be forgetting it anytime soon.

Check out their website at http://www.oldmacdonaldsfarmrc.com/ and plan your visit.



Positive Reward System While Vacationing

Positive Reward System While Vacationing

I have spent so much time on our upcoming road trip. Making sure that I have dont everything I can to ensure a fun and educational experience for everyone going. I especially made sure that I planned accordingly for my little ones. In our past vacations, there was two main issues we encountered and I would like to think that most parents with young kids encounter the same. For this road trip, I decided to come prepared!




The first issue that I knew I had to try to solve was being loud in the hotel. After a really long day on the road or out exploring, my children would get into a hotel and bounce off the walls. Touching everything, laughing loudly and banging on whatever they could. My fear was that we would be kicked out of the hotel and have nowhere to sleep.

What I have come up with is a hotel reward bag. Each night they will be reminded of how they should behave in the hotel and if they are well behaved, the next morning they will receive their reward bag. These bags can contain anything your child would be excited to receive. I chose to put a toy blind bag, a piece of sugar free candy and a small party favor. Each day will be a little different and the last day of the vacation will be an extra special surprise.

My children are at an age where they are trying their best to show us that they are the rulers of the world. They make every attempt to get their way and throw fits when it doesn’t happen. I knew this was going to be an issue on our vacation and decided I needed a general reward system. I printed out some fake money and filled up three bags deemed the treasure chests. When the children do something kind or are acting appropriately, they will receive a certain number of monies. Each treasure chest will have a value, in which they will have to pay to pick something out of it.

 

I made money values of $1,$2 & $5 and a trip into the treasure chests are 10$, 25$ & 50$. You can have your child make a wallet before hand or they have some great choices on Amazon. My treasure chests are filled with items that they can play with at rest stops or in the car and all of them are things they have really wanted. I purchased most of these items on Amazon but the Dollar Tree would be a wonderful place to fill the bags for cheap.

Road trips can be a spectacular experience that everyone remembers for a lifetime. They can also be trying at times, especially with young ones. Try to keep things fun and always listen to your childrens cue’s. These reward systems will help but sometimes they just need a moment to themselves, give them plenty of time to play, run and make their own memories.





Vacation Tips and Tricks for Saving Money

Vacation Tips and Tricks for Saving Money

One of the most common reasons I get from people on why they do not go on vacation, is because it is too expensive. I agree that certain aspects about vacationing can get expensive but there are so many ways to save money when planning your trip. Here are some pointers to help you save money and still have the vacation of a lifetime.




Travel During Non Peak Times

I have done quite a bit of trip planning in my lifetime. It is amazing how a week or two can change the amount of money you are paying for hotel, flight and even excursions. If you are flexible on your travel dates, run a few options in your search engine. Holidays, spring break and summer vacation are all high travel times and should be avoided if you can help it.

Choose One Meal A Day To Eat Out

Unless you are traveling to one of those wonderful all inclusive resorts, you have to plan for your meals. Majority of hotels will offer some kind of free breakfast, which is something to look for when booking. Lunch time can be a little more tricky depending on where your day will take you. Whether you’re road tripping or flying, packing a lunch is usually the easiest and best way to save money. Having a picnic with your loved ones is also a great memory to share. After a wonderful day of vacation, a big delicious dinner will complete it!

Plan Ahead For Souvenirs

Most people enjoy getting a souvenir to remember their vacation by. Some can be expensive and some not so much. Depending on your family size, it may be difficult to allow all of your children to choose one at every location you travel too. At most locations they have pressed penny machines, which I think are a wonderful souvenir. I also think that postcards, magnets and pencils are great ways to remember vacations by and very affordable. If you or your children are a little harder to please than that, set a limit and stick to it.

Use Coupons

If you know in advance that you will be visiting a certain establishment, check their website for coupons. A lot of places will give a certain percentage off for buying your tickets online or will offer a coupon to use at the gate. Most places will scan coupons from your phone but some still require the ticket to be printed, make sure you read the fine print. Hotels also sometimes have special discounts for local attractions, so it is a good idea to check with them when you arrive.

Make The Call

You would be surprised how many places give perks just for asking nicely. Make the call, ask if they offer private tours, discounts, early entrance, free food passes, etc. Some have a certain number of freebies they give out monthly and they are just waiting for someone to ask! The worst they can say is no.

Getting away is a time to relax and enjoy, not worry about money. Plan ahead and utilize as many of these tips as you can to save all that you can.



A Must Do Activity Before Your Next Trip

A Must Do Activity Before Your Next Trip





For me, vacation prep includes teaching my children about the different places we are going. I plan activities and print games that will enhance the lessons. An amazing website to use is Crayola.com. Among other coloring sheets, they have one for every state as well as other countries and landmarks.

The United States coloring sheets include state birds, flowers, flags and facts, all of which are great to teach ahead of time. They also describe the colors of each item, this saves a ton of time looking each of these things up! We focused on Colorado today. 

We are going to glue these sheets into a sketch pad, along with other activities we will do for each state. Other ideas would be in a scrapbook or a binder. All of these ideas can be added too while on your vacation, using postcards, stickers, pictures, etc.

My kids will have a good foundation for the states we will visit and I will be able to teach them more during the hands on experiences instead of the basics when we are traveling.




Safety For Your Child When Traveling- Tips To Go By

Safety For Your Child When Traveling- Tips To Go By





One of the many things that I think about when planning a day trip or a long family vacation, is safety. As parents we all try our best to keep our children out of harm’s way but there is always that small chance that something could happen and we just can’t keep it from happening. Those are the times that we have to be prepared for and I have a list of ways you can do that.

Take a photo of your child before you leave the house/hotel

If for some reason your child goes missing, you will want to be able to inform the police department of the exact outfit your child is wearing. As parents we have a lot on our minds, remembering the brand of shoes or what your child has on their shirt can be difficult, especially in a stressful situation. So take a photo of your child before you head out on your adventure. It doesn’t have to be a glamorous one and you can delete them nightly, it’s just a simple precaution to take.

Have your phone number on your child. 

Depending on your child’s age, they may not be able to tell an adult their parents phone number in the event that they are separated from you. There are many ways to keep that number on your child. My favorite is the Infoband Child Safety ID Wristband. It has fun designs for boys and girls, plus space for a phone number and any medical allergies. The band requires two hands to take off, this means that your child will not be able to take it off by themselves. They are also reusable and waterproof.

Another way to keep your phone number on them is with a sticky label. Write your phone number and any allergies on the label in the morning, stick it somewhere the child will not fidget with it. I would suggest on the upper back of their shirt.

Reminder, never write your childrens name on these items. If a predator can see your child’s name, it is easier for them to lure them away from you. Even though we all try to teach our kids not to talk to strangers, your child could feel that they should go to the person if they are calling their name.

Have a sheet with your child’s picture and information handy

I have already spoke about taking a photo of your child in the morning but another way to prepare yourself is having an information sheet about your child to give authorities. This paper should have a good photo of your child, height, weight, eye color, hair color, any birthmarks, names they answer to, medical issues and anything else that pertains to your child. The quicker they can get this information through the system the better chances they have of finding your child nearby. If you have this information and a picture of them from that day, you are definitely covering your basis.

From natural disasters to kidnappings, things happen and all you can do is be prepared. I hope that none of you ever have to deal with any of these situations but like the old saying goes, better to be safe than sorry.




Travel Attire Checklist- Free Printable

Travel Attire Checklist- Free Printable

When planning for vacation there are so many checklists that need to be made and done. For the most part I have always scribbled mine down on some random piece of mail that I then quickly lost and had to rewrite. For this vacation I thought it would be better to have a little more order to our chaos and create a checklist.

One of the struggles of road tripping or vacationing most places is the weather. Since you will not have your entire closet to choose from, outfits have to be chosen well when packing. My husband and I like to stay at hotels that have a laundry room area. This allows us to bring staples like jackets and pants and wash them when they start to funk it up.

I have created a travel attire checklist that y’all can print for free and use for your next trip. It has a column for each day of the week and a column for pieces of clothing that most people wear on a daily basis. I have also left space for you to write in your own necessities. It’s very plain, no decoration, because let’s be honest, ink is not cheap and these are just going to go in the trash once you are all packed! So head over to TPT and get your FREE Travel Attire Checklist now.




Family Road Trip 2017

Family Road Trip 2017

This summer we will embark on an 11 state road trip. My mother says that I must like being punished and she may be right. Traveling with a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old is no laughing matter. It takes months of planning as well as prepping and even then there are so many variables that you really cannot plan for everything.





A couple of years back, when my children were even younger, we took a road trip all the way through California, Oregon and Washington. I would like to think that I learned from mistakes made and absorbed all the positive tricks we implemented with them and apply those to this trip.

I am going to share with y’all my planning procedures, finding the best deals and my tips for road tripping with young children. Then when we get on our way, I will share with you the best hotels to stay at along the way and a must see list for each town we stop in!

Are you curious yet where we are headed? Make sure to be following us on social media for hints to where our adventure is taking us and you could win a fun giveaway!