Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a very safe, happy, and healthy 2015!  
Best wishes for a New Year filled with love and laughter! - The Travel-Tot Team

image courtesy of satit_srihin/

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Baby, It's Cold Outside: Four Fun Outdoor Activities for Winter!

image courtesy of TinaPhillips/
Remember the magic of the first big snowfall from childhood? Heck, remember the excitement of any decent snow accumulation?! What is it that makes a cold, snowy day so uniquely exciting? Maybe it's all the fun things you can do in the cold, snowy weather that can't be done any other time during the year! After all, the snow and biting cold definitely provide an opportunity to create fabulous sweet treats and a rare opportunity to seemingly "freeze time!" So gear up and get ready to head out into the cold snowy weather and make some fun with these ideas that we love:

Embrace Your Inner Candyman!  If your kids are familiar with the Little House on the Prairie series (or even if they're not) making candy from snow and maple syrup is a must try!  The best recipe I've found for this particular activity can be found here.

Create Frozen Sweet Creaminess!  If you haven't tried Snow Ice Cream, you haven't lived!  Simple recipe below: 

You will need:

8-10 cups of fresh, clean, snow (no yellow snow!)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Scoop snow into a large bowl. 
2. Pour condensed milk and vanilla over snow and mix well.
3. Serve immediately!

Freeze Time!  Think bubbles are the domain of Spring and Summer?  Think again! Grab that bubble solution and a bubble wand and head out on those bitter cold days (try to avoid windy days!) and blow some bubbles that will blow your kids' minds!  Watch in awe as the bubbles harden and solidify before they hit the ground - seemingly defying the passage of time!

Colorful, Chilly Scavenger Hunt: Freeze food-colored water in several colors (in ice cube molds or in balloons!) and hide in the snow - send kids on a scavenger hunt - the one who finds the most colored cubes or globes wins!

So next time the forecast calls for snow, bundle up and head on out for some magic that can only be made with the help of Mother Nature's snowy, cold goodness!

Safe and happy adventuring!
-Destination Mom

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  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/
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/
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