Friday, December 19, 2014

Great Holiday Getaways:Hotel del Coronado!

image courtesy of Hotel del Coronado
It’s a little known fact that in 1905, 28 years before there was the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting, it was Hotel del Coronado who strung the first set of outdoor tree lights, setting a widespread precedent of tradition across the nation. Since that time, The Del has become a holiday centerpiece of the West Coast for it’s annual, family-friendly activities and programming found nowhere else in the country. After recent polar vortexes, it’s time to pack your bags for a warm weather winter wonderland holiday excursion and check out some of these one-of-a-kind experiences. 
  • Skating by the Sea - Named the top ice skating rink in the US by Travel Channel, The Del’s outdoor and oceanfront ice skating rink is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary this year! To mark the decade, Hotel del Coronado is expanding the ice rink surface to now accommodate up to 200 skaters at one time. Guests and visitors can inquire about private lessons or enjoy a picturesque sunset over the Pacific Ocean while on the ice. East Coaster’s and our friends up north will appreciate the 66-degree weather and not having to bundle up like an abominable snowman before stepping on the ice. [Cost: $25 per person, all ages, for 90 minutes of skating time]

  • Elf Tuck Ins - As bedtime approaches for your little ones, have an elf visit your room to read a few classic stories to the kids before lights out. “The Night Before Christmas” is the classic book of choice for it’s detailed illustrations, holiday spirit and calm, relaxing storyline.

  • Jingle S’mores - You and your family can cozy up to your own private beach bonfire, tuck your toes in the sand and toast some marshmallows for an evening of sweet treats. Enjoy seasonal smores with beach bonfire experience including Cinnamon Graham Crackers, Ghirardelli Mint Chocolate, Marshmallows, and a holiday hat for all! 

  • Brunch with Santa - Every Sunday from November 30 through December 21, families can enjoy The Del’s famous and festive Sunday Brunch in the legendary crown room with visits from jolly ol’ St. Nick. Take pictures and review Christmas lists with Santa himself all while enjoying a seemingly endless array of classic holiday and international foods perfect for every palate. 

  • Kidtopia At Kidtopia activity center, the new DelVenture program offers children ages 4-12 exciting and seasonal activities and adventures such as safaris, ocean learning, mosaics, junior photographers, beach Olympics and more. Kids ages 4-12 will also receive an adventure pack at check-in [overnight guests only], complete with a treasure map and compass. They can explore the resort and uncover the hidden clues, leading them to a “treasure” at the end.


As you begin to deck the halls and plan for online holiday family travel roundups, keep Hotel del Coronado in mind - it's the perfect spot for holiday family fun!

Safe and Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Safe Sleep: Important Reminder and Brilliant Solution!

image property of Vusee
Sometimes preventing a tragedy is impossible; so many dangers are unpredictable and fundamentally unavoidable.  But often, simply knowing about a hazard and making an easy modification can, quite literally, be lifesaving.  One of the leading causes of injury in crib-bound children is strangulation from cords and wires pulled in by curious little hands and unwittingly coiled around the neck, and the items most commonly located within reach are baby monitors.  Preventing this kind of tragedy is as easy as relocating these items to areas in the room where they are safely out of reach - and one of our favorite products, the Vusee, does just that by providing a shelf mount, which offers greater visibility into the crib and safer out-of-reach location!  At only $15.00, it makes a great stocking stuffer for your favorite family!

Safe and Happy Holidays!
-Destination Mom

Friday, December 12, 2014

Books We Love: PJ's Backyard Adventures!

image courtesy of Rebecca P. Cohen
This week, I am privileged to have the opportunity to share with you my review of the new children's book, "PJ’s Backyard Adventures - Who is PJ?."  This book is the first in a series from Rebecca P. Cohen, the author of "15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids""Who is PJ?" is an interactive adventure book for ages 2-8 that engages children’s imaginations and joy of learning through coloring, reading, hidden sight words, creative play, and geography. It even features a "cut-out PJ" on the back for children to remove and take on their own adventures!

I am thrilled to report that the children I shared this story with enjoyed it as much as I did!  This adorable, accessible tale instantly captivated my "test subjects" (two 5-year old children, one boy and one girl).  They not only enjoyed reading the story, but on each page they raced to see who would be first to find the hidden word, then had a blast coloring in the pages!  But, perhaps most exciting of all, they both asked several questions about the spots PJ visited; guessing what a desert was, and trying to figure out what continent we lived on! 

This story, while simple, leaves an enormous amount of room for children to use their imaginations, and encourages active outdoor play by stirring curiosity about the world outside their own backyards.  I would absolutely recommend this book for pre-readers and beginning readers. Parents will love how it spurs their children's love of the great outdoors, and helps them explore their own creativity; not to mention how it fosters basic reading skills through word recognition, vocabulary building, and writing!  A fun twist on traditional first-readers, "Who is PJ?" will open up a whole world of exciting adventures for your little explorer!  Get your copy today on Amazon!

For more information about worldwide distribution of PJ's Backyard Adventures, visit http://www.BeOutsideAndGrow.com.  In the interest of full disclosure, I was compensated for my review with a free copy of this book. 

Safe and happy travels!
-Destination Mom

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Winter's Here: Safety and Sledding!

image courtesy of Ventrilock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Temperatures are dropping and snow is on the way!  As any parent can tell you, nothing says winter quite like watching your child, bundled up, squealing with joy as he goes flying down a pile of snow! Unfortunately, according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, serious sledding injuries, most of which include children under the age of 15 who suffer a head injury, are increasingly common during snowy winter months. Preventing tragedies such as these starts with awareness and planning ahead. Following the 4 basic tips below can help avoid such injuries and help prevent sledding-related emergency room visits this winter.

  1. Adult supervision:  An adult should always be present while children are sledding. They can help guide children to make good decisions about sledding and can be there (with a cell phone and first-aid kit) in case of injury or emergency.
  2. Dress for success:  Children don’t always recognize that they are getting too cold or too damp for the conditions outside, so be vigilant about making sure that they are well protected (set time limits based on weather conditions, monitor how damp their clothing becomes, etc.).  Staying warm is an essential part of outdoor winter play; have your child dress in layers that can be removed and added back as necessary. It is also advisable to dress children in bright colors so that they are easily visible at all times.  Finally, wearing a helmet will help prevent head injuries in the unfortunate event of an accident while sledding, so insist on properly fitted head gear.
  3. Equipment and technique: Sleds should be inspected for safety; they should be free from damage and should have handles that children can hold.  Children should be instructed to sled sitting upright with their feet facing forward; allowing better visibility and control.  If they fall off while sledding, make sure they know to roll to the side and get out of the way of the sled and other oncoming traffic. Also, if they find themselves on an out-of-control sled, they should roll off to the side to safety.
  4. Location: Always know the terrain before allowing children to start downhill; make sure that the path is free from obstacles and other children who are sledding and make sure hills are appropriate for the child's age and ability (i.e, not too steep, free of trees and bodies of open water, etc.).
Safe and happy sledding!

-Destination Mom

Friday, December 5, 2014

Gear Up for Winter Safety!

image courtesy of  Evgeni Dinev/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Winter is here, and that means more time hunkering down indoors and trying to stay warm. But snuggling up with a warm mug of hot chocolate is not always going to be enough! According to the CDC, young children and the elderly are disproportionately affected by hypothermia and carbon monoxide poisoning during the winter months. Often this results from failure to prepare for weather-related emergencies or improper maintenance of heating systems. The checklist below contains a few crucial steps that you can take now to help prepare your family for whatever this winter may bring.



Check your home’s heating systems:
  • Make sure that all heating systems are clean, working properly, and vented to the outside.
  • Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
  • Install smoke detectors and test batteries monthly.
  • Have a safe back-up heating source and fuel.
  • Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies by:
    • installing a carbon monoxide detector,
    • being aware of and alert for the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, and
    • keeping generators and grills out of the house.
 Prepare for weather-related emergencies and power outages:
  • Stow a broom and a shovel in a handy spot (to clear leaves and snow from walkways, driveways, and low lying vents).
  • Consider investing in a generator; the upfront cost may seem high, but it can save you money in the long run by making your home habitable in case of long-term power loss, and preventing the loss of perishables.
  • Stock a supply of food that does not require cooking or refrigeration and water.
  • Keep an up-to-date emergency kit, including:
    • battery-operated flashlights, radios, and lamps;
    • spare batteries;
    • a stocked first-aid kit and extra medicine;
    • baby items (i.e. jar foods, powdered formula, etc.); and
    • rock salt, cat litter, or sand for icy walkways.
You'll all enjoy snuggling up together indoors a little more if you know you've done everything you can to plan ahead for the safety and comfort of your family, should an emergency arise!
- Destination Mom

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

An Elf Away From Home!

It's the holiday season again; time to be heading over the rivers and through the woods to visit far flung family members and friends. It's also the time of year when the Elf on the Shelf makes his (or her!) great return! So if you spend time away from home, chances are, your Elf will follow, and no self-respecting Elf would leave home without the basics for some hilarious hi-jinks... (see material list below for ideas)! 

Luggage: an Altoid's mint tin or small matchbox painted and given a handle is the perfect suitcase for your Elf as you begin your journey!

Pre-printed Joke Cards: Kids love jokes, so why not let your Elf bring some back to share from the North Pole!

Skis: A pair of candy canes and two fancy toothpicks and your Elf is ready to hit the slopes!

Bowling: Set up gumdrops and let your Elf take aim with a gumball!

TicTacs: Brilliant as Elf poop; after all, an Elf in a strange new place may have trouble finding the restroom! Also great for spelling out messages!

Planning ahead for any non-sense is imperative - be sure you have all necessary materials before you go to keep things fun!  If you're looking for ideas for more crazy capers, check out these outstanding videos of Elves caught in action on YouTube!

Safe and happy Elfing!
-Destination Mom

Friday, November 28, 2014

Healthy Family Getaway Ideas!

This week we are very excited to share a guest post by travel guru, Paul Joseph, co-founder of Health and Fitness Travel.  If your family is looking for an exotic getaway that combines wellness, activity, and relaxation, you need look no further than the amazing suggestions below!  Safe, happy, and healthy travels!
-Destination Mom

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10 of the Best Activity and Sporting Holidays for all the Family


Keep up with the kids and return a youthful lease of life to your body on an action-packed family holiday with Health and Fitness Travel that guarantees fun for the whole family. From surfing in Morocco, to tennis in the Caribbean and skiing in Switzerland, get ready to be inspired with 10 of the best activity and sporting holidays for all the family.

Make the most of family time with activities from horse riding to mountain biking, or take five and indulge in therapeutic treatments at the luxury spa, whilst the little ones are entertained at the kids club. So, why not take a break from your usual routine and jet off on a family holiday which promises fun-filled memories and a healthy active break.

Best for Sport with Swimming: Thailand Thanyapura

image courtesy of Health and Fitness Travel
Escape to tropical Thailand for a luxury activity holiday where there’s guaranteed fun for all the family. Keep the kids active in the children’s Tree Club, and watch them excel in the sport they love with a variety of training camps and activities. After a tough day of running, swimming, tennis, rugby and circuit training, scoop up the kids and hear all about their wonderful day with new friends. Great for an all-round family fitness holiday, improve your swimming technique with lessons from the qualified instructors in the 50m Olympic swimming pool, before heading to the beach for a family game of volleyball.



Best for Horse Riding: Portugal The Oitavos Horse Riding

image courtesy of Health and Fitness Travel
Learn to ride on a healthy family activity holiday in Portugal, boasting an Equestrian Centre with 230 stables, complete with an outdoor and indoor riding school. With professional instructors, all levels can enjoy lessons on this healthy break, so while the kids are learning the basics you can ride off with the experts. There are also large areas for hacking, enabling beginners to get more used to their surroundings while those more advanced can enjoy a leisurely ride around. After a morning ride, sample some of the other activities on offer, from tennis to biking and golf to surfing, on your healthy family holiday.


Best for Tennis: Antigua Carlisle Bay  

image courtesy of Health and Fitness Travel
Escape to the Caribbean for a fun-filled family sports holiday where everyone can improve their tennis technique on one of nine available courts. Whether you’re a budding beginner or an expert on the court, enjoy six private tennis lessons with a professional instructor on this healthy break and while the children are busy at the kids club, unleash your competitive side in the hotel’s round robins competition. After a morning playing tennis, add a splash of variety to your tennis holiday and head to the water to enjoy complimentary water sports, ranging from windsurfing to snorkeling and water skiing to paddle boarding.






Best for Surfing: Morocco Paradis Plage

image courtesy of Health and Fitness Travel
Ride the waves in Morocco on a family water sports holiday where everyone can hit the water and learn to surf. Whether your family have never surfed before or are experienced water babies, there are lessons available for all ages and abilities so that everyone can get the most out of this active break. While the kids try their hand at sports and arts activities with the kids club, mix up your healthy holiday with a beachside yoga class or beach circuit training. Make time for family holiday fun with mountain biking, paddle boarding and kayaking before unwinding at the luxury spa.


Best for Multi-Activity: St Lucia The BodyHoliday WellFit Families

image courtesy of Health and Fitness Travel
Enjoy action-packed days in the Caribbean on a five star all-inclusive luxury family holiday where all the family can enjoy a host of activities. Raise the stakes and compete against each other in the parent vs children competitions, including volleyball and beach-a-thons, or cook up a storm together in the healthy family cooking classes. With activities ranging from snorkeling to scuba diving, windsurfing to water skiing and cycling to sailing; everyone will be able to try something new and find an activity they enjoy on this family active holiday.





Best for Golf: Cyprus Aphrodite Hills

image courtesy of Health and Fitness Travel
Discover this award-winning holiday in Portugal, where there’s loads to do for all the family, including learning to play golf. Experienced players can head straight for the 18 hole championship golf course, while those less experienced can learn everything about golf from the three PGA instructors at the academy. With lessons available for all ages and abilities, you can enjoy group sessions with the whole family on this activity holiday, or one-to-one lessons for something more private. After a day on the course and the little ones at the kids club, make the most of this luxury spa retreat and unwind with a choice of holistic treatments.


Best for Skiing: Switzerland The Alpina Gstaad

image courtesy of Health and Fitness Travel
Hit the slopes in Switzerland on a luxury skiing holiday and enjoy new ways to keep the family fit and healthy. Whether the kids are beginners or experienced slope sliders, there are on-site instructors available to help them improve, and while they’re learning a new skill mum and dad can have fun flying down the mountains. For alternative ways to enjoy the scenery on this wellness holiday, get the family together and go rock climbing or hiking. Once the children are at the kids club, head to one of the group classes with activities ranging from Tai Chi to Pilates.



Best for Football: St Vincent Buccament Bay  

image courtesy of Health and Fitness Travel
Pack your boots and jet off to the Caribbean for an active family holiday that includes a Liverpool Football Club soccer school, available all year round. Featuring master classes from professionals (with John Barnes and Ronnie Whelan having previously visited) the whole family can enjoy personalized training sessions and group matches to keep active on this healthy sports holiday.

If you’re looking for a change of scenery, let the kids enjoy a kick about while you indulge in the holistic spa therapies, including bath rituals and ESPA body massages to help aid relaxation.


Best for Land & Water Sports: Bali: Grand Mirage

image courtesy of Health and Fitness Travel
The perfect spot for a fun-filled activity holiday, it doesn't get much better than Bali for a family friendly healthy escape. With an idyllic beach front setting and wide array of water sports available, hit the beach and try out your water skills with paddle boating, boogie boarding, kayaking and windsurfing. Keep active on dry land with activities from tennis to basketball and billiards to archery for a fitness holiday everyone can participate in. While your mini-me hunts for treasure and plays mini soccer at the Bamboo kids club, enhance your well-being with daily group yoga classes and lifestyle classes from cooking to painting.


Best for Mountain Biking & Windsurfing: Portugal:  Martinhal Luxury Beach Resort

image courtesy of Health and Fitness Travel
Discover the best of Portugal with mountain biking and windsurfing on an active family adventure holiday, suitable for all ages. Make the most of this healthy retreat’s award-winning and highly popular windsurfing academy, with lessons available for all ages and abilities. Meanwhile, with a varied selection of TREK bikes, keen mountain bikers of all sizes can kick up the dust, allowing you to reach new heights as a family and explore your beautiful surroundings in style. After an active day, indulge in the luxury spa treatments while the children have fun at one of the seven kids clubs and five sports academies.






For advice, guidance and booking visit www.healthandfitnesstravel.com/family-holidays or call 0203 397 8891


About Paul Joseph:
Paul Joseph is co-founder of Health and Fitness Travel, the leading experts in tailor-made healthy holidays worldwide. He searches for the rare and hidden gems around the world and puts together exclusive and trend-setting holidays for those who would like to improve or maintain their health and fitness whilst on holiday. As well as a love of all things travel, Paul’s other love is exercise, cycling and yoga. Paul also contributes to the travel pages of various high-profile newspapers and magazines where he offers his expert advice on wellness holidays.

About Health and Fitness Travel
Health and Fitness Travel is a global luxury wellness travel company that originated in the UK in 2010 and is committed to providing healthy holidays that enhance and change lives. Created by Paul Joseph and Adam Heathcote as a result of their passion for health and fitness travel and offering bespoke holidays to improve people’s well-being to lead happier and healthier lives.

Health and Fitness Travel offers clients a tailor-made seamless service with the very best health and fitness holidays, handpicked by its expert team, together with exclusive and added value packages with the best deals. As leading specialists, Health and Fitness Travel has also created their own collection of trademark healthy holidays in various destinations which include Fusion Fitness™ BodyBreaks™ and Discover Recover, offering clients the best value and holiday experience. For more information visit: www.healthandfitnesstravel.com