Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The 411 for a 911!

image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Until you have a toddler, it is hard to understand how many facets there are to keeping your littlest family members safe; car seats, childproofing (at home and on the go!), infant/child CPR classes, baby monitors, identification tags, cribs, toys, strollers - and the list goes on and on!

However, one of the most basic things you can do to keep your children safe is to create a comprehensive listing of all medical and emergency contact  information.  Print multiple copies so that you can post one on your refrigerator at home, pack one in your wallet for whenever you go out, and provide a copy to each of your children's caregivers (i.e. pre-school, after care, relatives, etc.).  Be sure to include:

Emergency Numbers:
  • Parent's cell phone numbers;
  • Parent's work phone numbers;
  • 911;
  • Non-emergency Police Department phone number;
  • Poison control phone number;
  • Fire department phone number;
  • Child's doctor's practice, name, and phone number;
  • Off-hours doctor's phone number;
  • Child's chart number;
  • Child's dentist's practice, name, and phone number;
  • Address, phone number, and directions to preferred hospital;
  • Emergency contact information for two people other than parents, including:
    • Name;
    • Phone number(s);
    • Relation.

Emergency Information:
  • Home address;
  • Mom's full name;
  • Dad's full name;
  • Child's full name;
  • Child's date of birth;
  • Any allergies, medications, or special conditions;
  • Insurance provider;
  • Insurance provider phone;
  • Insured name and ID;
  • Group ID;
  • Policy ID.

Travel-Tot is pleased to provide an easy-to-use Emergency Information Form here for our readers!  Having such information available all in one place in an easy-to-distribute format could be the difference between life and death, particularly when your child is under the care of someone who may not have all that information committed to memory!

Safe and happy travels!
-Destination Mom

Friday, March 27, 2015

Family Friendly Spa Getaways!

Health and Fitness Travel Introduce…
Family Friendly Spa Holidays for Stressed Parents

While fitness and healthy nutrition has become an established expectation for most spa hotels, it is only recently that wellness retreats have begun to cater deliberately for stressed and tired parents. No longer a no-go zone with the children in tow, Health and Fitness Travel, the leading specialists in wellness holidays worldwide, round up their top 10 family friendly spa holidays across the globe, so stressed out parents don’t have to choose between family time and relaxation.

Combining spa retreats with kids’ club activities and childcare services, these welcoming family friendly spa holidays allow strung-out parents some much needed time out to recharge and rejuvenate. With specially designed mini treatments for children, there is no need for the kids to feel left out, and with a host of activities and sports there are countless ways to invest in some quality family time whilst enhancing everyone’s health and fitness.

Escaping on a family friendly spa holiday is a breeze with the phenomenal kids programme at Adler Thermae in Italy. Set in the heart of Tuscany’s natural park, Val d’Orcia, the AKI Kids Club offers a great mix of sports and activities, including their own spa experience, horse riding and even yoga. Whilst the kids are entertained, take advantage of unlimited access to the luxury spa and complimentary attendance to group fitness classes, including yoga, Pilates, mountain biking and hiking tours.

Contact Health and Fitness Travel for pricing information (0203 397 8891 healthandfitnesstravel.com).

Mauritius: Shanti Maurice

Set amongst 35 acres of tropical gardens, this family-friendly spa retreat is within walking distance of the pristine white sands of the Indian Ocean. While the kids are at play, rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit, as spa therapists work in collaboration with nutritionists, personal trainers, Ayurvedic physicians and yoga masters, to restore your well-being. Les Petits Dodos Kids Club (3-12 years) boasts a broad activity programme for inquisitive minds including face painting, crab hunting and cooking lessons, as well as field trips to the nearby Crocodile Park and Casela bird sanctuary.

Contact Health and Fitness Travel for pricing information (0203 397 8891 healthandfitnesstravel.com)

Vietnam: Fusion Maia

Situated on Vietnam’s stunning East Coast, Fusion Maia offers creature comforts for all ages. Set within tropical gardens, parents can indulge with a minimum of 2 holistic treatments each day, while little ones join in with their own mini treatments. The Mini Maia programme has a host of creative activities to stimulate their minds every day from 2pm-4pm, including cookie decorating and singing. Enjoy a range of group classes, including meditation and Tai Chi, or explore on a family snorkelling excursion through the pristine waters to nearby Cu Lao Cham Island.

Contact Health and Fitness Travel for pricing information (0203 397 8891 healthandfitnesstravel.com)

Greece: Porto Elounda

Overlooking Mirabello Bay, sport and spa enthusiasts will love this coastal getaway off Crete’s North-East coastline. Find a true sense of relaxation at the Six Senses Spa with a tempting menu of luxury treatments, before taking a restorative visit to the spa’s authentic Turkish Hammam. With the Arsenal Football Academy camp and waterpark keeping their smiles coming all day long, boost your fitness with a selection of group classes, before enjoying some family time with a game of tennis or sailing lessons.

Contact Health and Fitness Travel for pricing information (0203 397 8891 healthandfitnesstravel.com)

Thailand: Soneva Kiri

Indulge in a slower pace of family life at this little corner of paradise in Koh Kood, where the Six Senses Spa includes treatments created especially for teens. The kids will discover a magical experience at The Den (5-12 years), a multi-tiered treehouse shaped like a giant mantra-ray, together with activities from learning to play Thai instruments to rainforest walks and delectable chocolate making. Enjoy a group fitness class and dinner on the beach, before experiencing a magical family movie night beneath the stars at the open-air cinema.

Contact Health and Fitness Travel for pricing information (0203 397 8891 healthandfitnesstravel.com)

France: Terre Blanche

Boasting the charm of Provence with a modern twist, this luxurious spa holiday is a treat for the whole family. Retreat to a haven of well-being at the spa, with 100% organic treatments even the kids can join in with, before boosting your well-being at a complimentary fitness class. The Kids Club (2-12 years) will keep them active, creative and playful with Mini Olympics and outside painting, while outings based on bee-keeping, botany and the animal park will see them discover the beauty of their natural surroundings.

Contact Health and Fitness Travel for pricing information (0203 397 8891 healthandfitnesstravel.com)

Portugal: Penha Longa

Just half an hour from Lisbon, this family-friendly spa retreat can be found within a stunning national nature reserve. Amongst scenic gardens and a spectacular 3m waterfall, treat the kids with their own tailored spa treatments, including manicures, pedicures or a visit to the salon for a special occasion up-do. With the Rookie’s Kids Club Room offering an exciting diversion of picnics, cooking lessons and fashion nights; shape-up with a yoga or Pilates class whilst the kids try their hands at tennis, golf, or even horse riding lessons.

Contact Health and Fitness Travel for pricing information (0203 397 8891 healthandfitnesstravel.com)

Antigua: Carlisle Bay

Escape to the tropical waters of Carlisle Bay on a beach spa holiday that promises a welcome escape for parents at the award winning Blue Spa. Welcoming children of all ages, this family spa holiday hosts 3 kids clubs catering to ages from 6 months to 19 years. While the little ones hunt for buried treasure, juniors will love raft building, as seniors try out a range of exhilarating water sports. Make the most of family time family time zip-lining through the rainforest or playing a game of tennis round robins.

Contact Health and Fitness Travel for pricing information (0203 397 8891 healthandfitnesstravel.com)

Escape to this family-friendly spa retreat nestled on the Croatian coastline, for a seafront holiday that promises relaxation combined with a variety of exciting water sports. While the kids are entertained with Banana Olympic relay games and face painting at the dedicated kids club, choose from a menu of 30 indulgent spa treatments and therapies, incorporating all-natural ingredients. Release the kid’s full energy and challenge them to a family game of beach volleyball or try to keep up with them whilst wall climbing, before taking a dip in the lagoon pool.

Contact Health and Fitness Travel for pricing information (0203 397 8891 healthandfitnesstravel.com)

Keep the kids entertained with more activities than you can shake a stick at and a daily dose of relaxation for mum and dad on this family-friendly spa break in Turkey. Indulge in unlimited use of the spa facilities and daily Asian inspired holistic activities for total rejuvenation. With activities such as cookie making, beach games, face painting and table tennis, the Kempinski Kids Club ensures that the kids have fun, keep active and get creative. Make a splash with water sports or feed their minds with a cultural tour family outing to ancient bodrum.

Contact Health and Fitness Travel for pricing information (0203 397 8891 healthandfitnesstravel.com).

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

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

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Books We Love: Space Taxi

image used with express permission of author
Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight marks the debut of a brand new chapter book series from New York Times bestselling author Wendy Mass and teacher Michael Brawer, with illustrations by Elise Gravel! Space Taxi is the hilarious, fast-paced, action-packed story of eight-year-old Archie Morningstar, who embarks on what he thinks will be an ordinary "Take Your Kid to Work Day" with his father, a taxi driver.  What he doesn't know is that there is nothing at all ordinary about his father... or his father's job! 

Without giving away too much of the story, the reader can expect to encounter a multitude of other-worldly creatures, outrageous adventure, and even fun scientific facts. The cartoonish illustrations and cover art really help bring the story to life, as does the first-person narrative writing style. Space Taxi is a brilliant introduction to science fiction for young readers, cleverly intermingling science facts with the story line.  

Though recommended for readers from age 6 to 10, I believe it is truly is a read for children of almost any age. I loaned my copy to a friend whose 4-year-old son simply adored hearing it read aloud by his mom, and had my 10-year-old daughter read it as well (her assessment: "hilarious and wacky!")!  So whether you read it with your child, or your child reads it for him- or herself, Space Taxi is an entertaining, educational, and creative romp through the galaxy!  But the fun doesn't stop with Archie Takes Flight... the Space Taxi series also features, Water Planet Rescue, and, now available for pre-order on Amazon for April 14th of this year, Archie's Alien Surprise! All three make a great gift for the little reader in your life, and are available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle formats, so order your copies today!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Opportunity for Families Who Love to Travel!

image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Attention adventurous families!  We are excited to announce that a major television production company is currently working to develop a show centered around parents who travel the world with their children; specifically families with young children (at least one should be in diapers) who are taking their shared love of travel to the next level! They are looking for fun-loving, risk-taking, dynamic families who have a passion for travel and showing their young children the world. 

  • Do you and your young family regularly travel to exotic locations?
  • Are you and your significant other new parents who love to bring your kids along on global expeditions? 
  • Are you already planning to see the world in a new, adventurous way? 
  • Are you living halfway around the world already and continuing to travel from there? 

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, they want to hear from you! They are seeking fun-­loving, risk-taking, larger-than-life families who are always on the move. Please contact travelignparents1@gmail.com for more information. Please provide a headshot and brief blurb about yourself. Casting starts ASAP, so the sooner they hear from you, the better!

Safe and happy travels!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St.Patrick's Day!

image courtesy of moomsabuy/
May the luck of the Irish
Lead to happiest heights
And the highways you travel
Be lined with green lights!

Wherever the road takes you, may the sun shine warm upon your face and the wind be always at your back!  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Sites We Love: Precious Hearts by Grace - Super Simple CPR!

It may seem intimidating, but put simply, CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is an emergency response measure combining mouth-to-mouth resuscitation with chest compressions. CPR can be a lifesaving technique during many different emergencies, including: accidents, near-drowning, smoke inhalation, suffocation, poisoning, overdose, electrocution, and suspected heart attack or even sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Often, however, CPR training can seem overwhelming; that's why we are so excited to share the wisdom of Grace Ghazarian of Precious Hearts by Grace.  Her amazing website and free e-book, Super Simple CPR, help demystify the principles of CPR!

All parents should know how and when to administer CPR, and Grace's site provides invaluable instruction and information to help parents feel more comfortable about getting trained. Performed correctly, CPR can save a child's life by restoring breathing and blood flow until advanced life support can be given by medical professionals.  Anyone responsible for the care of others should take a course to gain hands-on experience and a comprehensive understanding of the technique. If CPR is needed, performing the technique with proper form will give someone the best chance of recovery.

If you're lucky enough to reside near Nashville, TN, Grace offers "CPR Parties" where she shares her knowledge of CPR in an environment that lends itself to greater personal comfort and comprehension. For those of our readers in other parts of the country, nearby hospitals, fire departments, and your local chapters of the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Red Cross are good sources for finding a CPR course in your area. Qualified instructors (like Grace!) demonstrate proper technique using a combination of videos, printed materials, and infant-, child-, and adult-sized practice mannequins. Bottom line: being CPR-trained could help you save your child's - or someone else's - life, so find a course in your area and get certified.

Side note: In addition to providing CPR information, Precious Hearts by Grace also offers tips for preparing your babysitter, as well as how to handle an emergency. Grace is a dedicated health care professional who has created a truly amazing site dedicated to helping others feel more confident in the face of an emergency; Precious Hearts is fun, interactive, and packed with valuable insight and information - so check it out today!
- Destination Mom

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Get Motivated: 3 Reasons Family Travel Rocks!

Need motivation to plan that family getaway?  Her are three fantastic reasons to hit the road with your family today:
  1. image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
    Traveling with your children gives you a chance to experience the world in a whole new way.  The magical perspective of a child's eyes allows you to find excitement in the simplest things and places! 
  2. Changing up the everyday routine keeps things fresh and offers children and their parents a chance to learn not only more about wherever you may all be together, but also about each other!  Travel just seems to bring out a special brand of giddy, giggly, silly fun that brings families closer together.
  3. Travel gives children of all ages a chance to learn new things. For young kids it can be as simple as exposure to new places, sights, sounds, and smells. For school age children, being immersed in historical places makes the experience more engaging and personally relevant than simply reading about it.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Apps We Love: Spot!

Spot App Icon
Looking for an app you can feel good about letting your child use?  How about one that encourages storytelling through imaginary travel between abstract, interconnected worlds; where a visual adventure unfolds as you venture into spaces that transition into one another, encountering robots, frolicking insects, the underbelly of a lounge chair, an eerie underwater world and more! This is the idea behind Spot, a mesmerizing new app from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Caldecott Medal-winning author David Wiesner. A virtual riot of creative landscapes and characters reveals itself via the pinch-and-zoom feature of your iPad. Simply zoom and scroll to move through dazzling scenes, delving into worlds within worlds realized in Wiesner’s gorgeous original artwork.

screenshot from Spot
I honestly cannot recommend this app highly enough - it's a solid five stars! It is intricately designed, artfully-rendered, and packed with stories simply waiting to be told! While visiting each of the the various worlds, children can select a cast of characters, and spin stories crafted in their own imaginations. The possibilities are virtually endless, and the artwork inspires creative thinking and lots of giggles; each visit truly guarantees a unique experience!

Perfect for home or on the go, the app retails for only $3.99 and, while it is geared primarily for children ages 6-8, younger children could easily enjoy it with parental assistance and my almost-10-year-old daughter enjoys it immensely. It is also an ideal tool for the classroom. There is also a free companion eBook for this app called David Wiesner’s Spot: A Parent and Educator Guide, which contains prompts and questions to enhance your child’s experience with the app, as well as unique writing and classroom activities for teachers.

screenshot from Spot
My final word: there are few better ways to spend four dollars! Spot is a brilliantly executed app that disguises education as fun.  It not only encourages creative thinking and storytelling, but exposes children to art and three-dimensional spatial thinking.  My only criticism is that Spot is currently only available for iOS-compatible devices (a bitter pill to swallow for this loyal Android fan!); a critique I only mention because I would love to see this app available on multiple platforms to maximize its potential user reach.  To all our readers with young children, I say: go get your copy of Spot today!

Safe, happy, and exciting travels!

-Destination Mom

*In the interest of full disclosure, I was provided with a complimentary copy of this app to review.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

St. Patrick's Day: Family Fun!

image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee/
St. Patrick's Day is only a few weeks away, and if you have school-aged children, chances are they've heard rumors about mischievous leprechauns wreaking havoc trying to find gold and avoid "traps" in your house the night before St. Patrick's Day!  It's ton of fun (if you don't mind a bit of clean-up the next day!) and can help make the day truly magical!

Each year in our house, we create a new leprechaun trap designed to dazzle leprechauns and lure them in!  One of our favorite lures is fake gold coins, though I know several families who swear by Lucky Charms cereal or gelt chocolate coins!  Once the trap is set, the children go off to bed, because everyone knows leprechauns don't come if you're awake!

Once the kids are asleep, the "leprechauns" sneak into the house and, upon discovering that the loot is fake, trash the place!  Typically, we find over-turned furniture, toilet paper strung about the house, green "pee" in the potty, green hard-boiled eggs in the fridge (and a kitchen full of dirty dishes!), little footprints in the dust on our tables and even snarky little notes making fun of how they outwitted our attempt to capture them!  Once in a while, we get a nice leprechaun who leaves behind a small shamrock plant or other shamrock shaped goody, but not always. 

One year we tried to catch the leprechauns on film - we got some hilarious shots of little legs and giggling... it was a huge hit! That's what really makes it magical; trying to come up with clever tricks and then watching your child's face when you all get outwitted!  It's an inexpensive, fun way to get into the spirit and to share some laughs with your children.  So, give it a shot this year and see what kind of mischief those leprechauns cook up!