I have always heard that Missouri is a great place to go and visit. Our family has this wonderful state on our radar this year for the family vacation, so I have been working hard to create our itenerary of all the amazing places we will want to see when we get there. Missouri sounds exactly like what our family needs and here are 3 reasons why I want to go.
- The outdoors: I have heard that the outdoors in Missouri is breathtaking, so I definitely want to experience that. There are 51 state parks all across Missouri so I am sure I can find somewhere outdoorsy to go to. In fact, there is a 225-mile Katy Trail (America’s longest rail-to-trail hiking/biking trail), along with hunting and fishing, ziplines for my son, and the Lake of the Ozarks has more miles of shoreline than the entire state of California. (Surprising, right?).
- A Great Family Destination: Missouri is home to many great zoos which my kids love, so I know that we would be visiting a ton of those. Both my son and daughter love waterparks and Missouri has 3 major ones. Missouri is also a great place for a homeschooling family because it is filled with museums and tons of history such as Mark Twain’s home and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home.
- Honeymoon destination: My hubby and I have never had a honeymoon, but I have heard some good things about Missouri being a great place to get away for some adult time. Filled with lots of great adult themed shows and fun, or you can just relax at a quiet bed and breakfast.
If I could Visit Missouri today here is what I would do….
If I could visit Missouri for 4 days, here is a few places that I would take my family.
- Definitely have to visit Branson Missouri for all the shopping and musuems
- Civil war battlefield for my son who absolutely LOVES that time period (plus it’s great for homeschooling as well)
- I want to drive down Route 66 — that has always been on my bucket list!
- I would have to take a stop at the Candy House Chocolate Factory for my daughter who loves chocolate.
- I want to see Silver Dollar City.
There are definitely a ton of things to see and do in Missouri and I want my family to experience the culture there. Be sure to like VisitMO on Facebook and to follow VisitMO on Twitter to keep up with all the exciting information about this hidden family destination.
Where would you go if you were visiting Missouri?
You could see it from a mile away as we approached the Red Carpet Wednesday evening. The blue of the balloon was vibrant and standing tall and proud as it let everyone know that the show was about to begin!
Seeing the balloon floating proudly in the air was exhilarating. There is just something about a hot air balloon– especially for Oz the Great and Powerful that makes the movie come to life.
As we got closer to the entrance of the El Capitan theater, I began to see the full size of the balloon. This was not some back drop for a green screen — NO this was the real deal, a hot air balloon specifically made for this particular Disney movie.
The balloon was so amazing that even James Franco himself had to test out the balloon! Uhm — hello! I want to ride too
On Valentine’s Day, we got an up close and personal look at the beautiful Oz balloon. I learned that it took over 1800 yards of fabric and 5 miles of thread to create this beauty. It’s creator told me that no basket is exactly the same. These balloons that are created for the Disney movies are so unique and stunning — you just have to see one for yourself.
I think the balloon has been one of the highlights of my trip. Now — if we can just get them to take us all up, we would love them forever!
You think we will all fit?
I was sent on a Disney press trip to cover the Red Carpet premier of Oz the Great and Powerful. All opinions listed are my own.
I’ve been married for almost 20 years. I still can’t believe it myself. I’ve been married longer than I’ve been single. The sad thing is this — I’ve never been on a honeymoon –at all. We’ve only been on one overnight trip together for just he and I, and to be honest, I am needing a trip with just me and my honey!
So where do I want to go?
I want to visit Maui. Ever since I have seen the Elvis movie where he gets married in Hawaii (I think it’s Blue Hawaii). I have wanted to visit there. It just seems like the most romantic spot ever.
Where Would I Stay In Maui?
I think I would love to stay at Maalaea Beachfront. It looks SO inviting and I have a beach view with a balcony. That is a definite must, because at night, the beach view would be romantic, right? I could picture us sitting on the balcony having a delicious dinner by moonlight.
It’s all about creating the romantical mood on a honeymoon!
What Would I Do While There?
There are so many options to choose from like National parks, beaches, and the Road to Hana sounds like something I would LOVE to do.
I want to see the Banyan trees, walk through Twin Falls, and to shop at the Lahaina Cannery Mall. I would definitely have to stay for a week or more to do all the things I want to do.
What Would I Eat?
I seriously have started trying to eat different foods when I visit somewhere new. I like to try things that you can only get from that area, so there won’t be any fast food places on my visit if I ever get to go. No — I want to eat at places like, Mama’s Fish House, The Hula Grill, The Flatbread Company, Aloha Mixed Plate, and I definitely want to experience a luau.
Putting together the perfect dream honeymoon was super easy thanks to Gogobot!
Gogobot, a social travel site that launched in 2010, is a place on the web you should know about. The company has racked up accolades including being named one of Time’s top sites of 2011 and winner of the 2010 Crunchie award for Best Design.
Gogobot’s big win is that it allows you to connect with your friends to get their advice on where to visit, what to eat, and where to stay when you travel. You can use the service to plan things ahead of time, or you can poll your friends on the fly.
Gogobot allows you to tap into the knowledge of your friends when planning a trip anywhere. You can find like-minded travelers and inspiration for your next vacation, creating easy-to-use wishlists you can return to again and again.
And when you are not in vacation mode or planning a trip, you can discover hidden gems in your own neighborhood for entertaining guests or a weekend staycation.
The best part? Every page on Gogobot is personalized. You can see reviews from your friends and people you are following at the top, which allows you to weed out the noise and fraudulent reviews that become a problem on other review sites. Check out Gogobot today!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gogobot. The opinions and text are all mine.
This past weekend, my family and I piled into our van and drove about 4 hours to spend a mini weekend getaway in the mountains of Chattanooga Tennessee. It was very much needed and I am really glad we got to get away.
Sites to See:
While we were there, we packed two wonderful days into sight seeing. I am going to be covering each one separately, but I really just wanted to take a moment to show you all the gorgeousness that was provided to us through this tourist town!
In the area where we stayed, we were just minutes from Ruby Falls, The Incline Railway, Rock City, the Tennessee Aquarium and Imax Theater, the Riverwalk, and more. We took the shuttle to most of these things, which really saved a ton on driving and gas and allowed us time to meet other tourists and some of the locals who helped us pick out places to eat!
We ate at places you can only eat in that area. I wanted to experience the food of the city so we tried Urban Stack — a burger joint known for it’s fresh and locally grown ingredients. The food and atmosphere both were SO amazing! Lupi’s Pizza Pies — this one Kayla discovered online and since they boasted about their fresh mozzarella, she wanted to go and try it. The pizza was fresh and all ingredients were grown locally. Sticky Fingers — this one had to be my most favorite of places to try! The food was amazingly delicious and left me wanting more! Cheeburger, Cheeburger — I have never been to a “build your own burger and fries” joint, but I will be going back! I have never tasted a more juicer burger than the one I had, and Robert got to participate in his very first eating challenge and WON! He ate the one pounder and got his name and photo on the wall of fame.
The Downtown sites:
We stayed at the Chattanooga Marriott which I totally recommend if you go and visit ChattanoogaTennessee. It is located right in the downtown heart of all the attractions. In fact, it was such a gorgeous night on Saturday night that we decided to walk so I could take some photos of the nightlife.
I was sad when our weekend ended and it was time to go home. There were SO many other things that we did not get to do, that I want to go back and try sometime!
Have you ever been to Chattanooga, Tennessee? What did you think?
I was sent on an all expenses paid trip to ChattanoogaTennessee provided by Chattanooga Marriott. All opinions listed are solely and 100% my own.
I have never been anywhere like the ocean. Going to Florida was a whole brand new experience for me. While I thoroughly enjoyed the trip, traveling 10 hours with a van and truck load of kids is HARD work.
I learned 5 crucial things this week while driving and I thought I would share them all with you!
1. Make sure that you make a list of things you want to do when you go on your trip. Research quite a bit before you go. This will help to alleviate any uncertanity once you arrive at your destination.
2. Try to take a friend along for your kid. This will free up some time for you and your significant other to spend some quality time together and also give your child some time to have free time with someone their own age.
3. Pack tons of sandwiches and snacks for a long road trip. This will help to cut down on eating out expenses and it will also help with stomach issues that arise for those kids who don’t eat out that much (we had several on our trip that wound up with upset stomachs because it was a major change in their diet — going from eating healthy to eating fast food).
4. Be sure to take a long something to help for upset stomach and digestive health like Culterelle Kids. You are always going to have kids that have stomach issues because of too much candy, pop, or food that just did not settle right in their stomach.
5. Be sure and relax while you travel. Take earphones so that you can listen to music and chill out. While someone else is driving, play your tunes, close your eyes, and dream of your vacation!
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“I was compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.”
I have never in my life been to a beach anywhere, and last week, I got to spend an entire week sitting and gazing out over the Gulf as we worked with our teenagers at Church camp.
I learned a lot about myself this week. I learned that I CAN conquer my fears regardless of the voices going on inside my head. I swam neck deep in the ocean. I remember the first day we arrived. I looked out and longed to feel the water against my skin, but there was a voice whispering in my ear — You’ll never make it. You’ll die if you go in that water. Your worst fears will happen.
But ya know what I did? I quieted the voices. I mustered up all the courage I could find and when we went swimming that afternoon in the ocean, I took off in a run and dove in. I swam until I could not swim anymore. Some of the rest of our group did the same thing. People that I had confided in about my fears, cheered me on as I went deeper and deeper into the beautiful blue water.
Another fear I have always had was getting bit by a crab. One night, we went crab hunting. If you have never been crab hunting, YOU HAVE TO GO! It is so fun watching the little guys scurry across the sand.
I ate fish — real fish, shared my testimony with people who have no clue about me, and just let completely go while I was in Florida. I cannot tell you how freeing it was to just have fun and not worry about fears or inhibitions while I was on vacation. The next time you are going somewhere, make yourself a bucket list and just see how many things you can do while you are there.
The beach was on my bucket list along with seeing the sun rise, set, and sticking my toes in the sand. I can now mark all 4 off of my list! God’s gorgeous creation is worth the drive to go see.
It’s no secret that I love Texas. I have only visited there a couple of times — once to Dallas and then once to Alvin when my brother was getting married. In just those two visits, I fell madly in love with Texas and all that it offers. That is why I cannot wait to use SAVE – San Antonio Vacation Experience and visit San Antonio this year!
What is SAVE?
SAVE is a new program that San Antonio is offering to help families save BIG money when they go on vacation. SAVE makes it easy to find deals & discounts in San Antonio. You can save money on attractions like SeaWorld, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Schlitterbahn, Splashtown, Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, San Antonio Botanical Garden, & more!
You can also stay at one of the 5 star hotels like Grand Hyatt San Antonio, Hyatt Regency San Antonio on the Riverwalk, San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk Hotel, Hilton Palacio del Rio, The Westin Riverwalk San Antonio and many more!
These are Limited Time Offers so make sure to get your trip planned out and all your offers chosen!
Upcoming Events in San Antonio
If you are gonna be in San Antionio anytime soon, be sure to check out these cool events going on!
7/6 – 8/3:Balcones Heights Jazz Festival
Visitors can enjoy this free jazz concert series on Friday evenings at the Wonderland of the Americas.
7/17: Concert AtSix Flags Fiesta Texas
Admission to Six Flags Fiesta Texas also gets a free Vanessa Carlton concert. Check calendar for other concerts at the park, free with admission.
8/4:Ford Canoe Challenge
Visitors should check out the action on the River Walk as canoe teams compete in timed heats.
8/4 – 8/5: Dog Days of Summer at the Botanical Gardens
All are invited to bring four-legged friends and explore theSan Antonio Botanical Gardens.
8/18 -8/25:Restaurant Week
One of San Antonio’s greatest attractions is its culinary scene, and August delivers a celebration of the city’s most exciting and diverse restaurants with Culinaria: Restaurant Week. Participating establishments are cooking up something incredibly delicious, offering delectable fare with specially priced menus.
My Perfect San Antonio Trip
Hopefully this fall, my family and I will be visiting San Antonio. Since we are a family of 4, I am always looking to save money the best way that I can. San Antiono’s SAVE is going to help me do just that. Here are a few things I plan on doing when I visit later this year.
- Visit Splashtown USA on a Friday night and watch movies while I lazy in the wave pool.
- A trip to the water park is an essential part of any vacation, and on my list is a world famous waterpark! NearbySchlitterbahn recently introduced The Falls, the world’s longest waterpark ride at 3,600 feet of continuous rapids. SAVE discount is up to $10.
- Definitley going to take my family to Sea World! This season,SeaWorld is debuting “Aquatica,” an 18-acre aquatic park with up-close animal experiences, high-speed thrills and relaxing, sandy beaches. SAVE discounts include deals on family-four packs, second day free, $10 off admission and more.
- Of course, no vacation would be complete without a stay at a 5 star hotel with 2 star prices. I will be staying at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio. I definitely intend on enjoying a massage or two while I am there.
- While sightseeing, I am going to make a stop in the San Antonio Official Visitor Center to do some shopping for gifts. Right now, they have a sweet deal where you can spend $15 and get a free gift just for mentioning summer lovin at the register.
- I want to take a tour on the Grand Trolley. In fact, I can save $3 per person by using this SAVE coupon.
What will you visit when you are in San Antonio?
To keep up with all the latest savings on these attractions and more, follow @SAVEinSA on Twitter
Have the best vacation ever with the SAVE – San Antonio Vacation Experience.
It’s that time of the year again when parents will begin to pick out the perfect summer camp for their child! My kids usually only go away for a week or so to summer camp and they love it! It is a week where they get to relax and get away from us and we get to miss them to pieces while they are gone.
There are so many choices of summer camps, but in the Carolinas, they have put together an awesome list of summer camps available. That is where Carolina Summer Camps and Charlotte Summer Camps can help you out!
They have compiled a great list of available summer camps in:
|Asheville Summer Camps||Greensboro Summer Camps|
|Cary Summer Camps||Kernersville Summer Camps|
|Charlotte Summer Camps||Wilmington Summer Camps|
|Durham Summer Camps||Winston-Salem Summer Camps|
What is so helpful about their lists is that they also have them sectioned by Art Camps, Sports Camps, Church Camps, Residential Camps and Specialty Camps. This helps parents find just the right fit for their small child or teenager. My daughter would definitely love art camp, while my son would love a sports camp.
If you are looking for detailed information on summer camps for 2012, don’t delay – check out Carolina Summer Camps today!
From their website:
F. A. Q. for Parents
How can parents save money when enrolling their child in a summer camp?
- Register early to take full advantage of all early-bird discounts!
- Ask friends of your child(ren) to register together for a group discount.
- Offer to volunteer at camp for a reduced price or for free registration.
- ASK if they have scholarships, financial aid or a sliding scale.
How can parents prepare their children for attending their first summer camp?
- Day camps are more fun when children know at least one other camper who will be attending. Don’t assume that they will be in the same group, let the camp director know your preferences when you initially register your child.
- Take a tour of the facility. Let them view their website ahead of time. The more familiar they are with the environment, the less overwhelming they will feel.
- For residential camps, make sure that this isn’t the first time your child will be sleeping away from home. Let them practice overcoming their separation anxiety with a couple of sleep-overs with friends or family before going to a residential camp.
How do parents find if a summer camp has had any complaints filed against them?
- Look up the camp on the Better Business Bureau for any grievances. (BBB.org)
- Ask your friends through social media (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.) if they have had any positive or negative experiences with the camp. Your friends will tell you!
When should teens start sending in their resumes to camp directors for summer jobs?
- NOW. Don’t wait. With the high levels of unemployment, there will be a tremendous competition for jobs. Send follow-up emails and make phone calls to show your interest. Camp Directors want fun camp counselors who campers will enjoy being around, while also respecting and obeying them. The more experience you have working with kids, the better. Volunteer with your local schools, YMCA, churches, scouts, and other civic organizations to build your experience levels.
What qualities should parents look for in a great summer camp?
- A high percentage of returning campers shows that the campers had fun last year.
- A low camper-to-counselor ratio. 10:1 is good. 5:1 is great!
- Staff trained in CPR, first aid skills, and conflict resolution techniques.
- Low staff-turnover shows good experience.
What different types of summer camps are there?
- Arts Camps
- Sports Camps
- Academic Camps
- Residential Camps
- Specialty Camps
What special tips are advised for sleep-away camps?
- Kids love receiving notes, money and care packages–even if they don’t tell you.
- Having a friend who is going along can make the camp experience more fun.
- Share any concerns you have with the Camp Director, but let them deal with any discipline problems. Don’t be a “helicopter parent” who flies in to resolve problems and hovers to micromanage the details.
If my child takes medication during the school year, should my child take it for summer camp?
- First, consult with your child’s pediatrician before ever deciding to stop treating your child with any medication.
- Most children with allergy, asthma, diabetes, attention and impulsivity conditions are not “healed” during the summer months. Many times it can be worse with the heat, additional exercise, and being outside. Children with medical issues usually need special treatment to help them enjoy their summer camp experience the most.
- For children who take medication for their attention or impulsivity, it can be especially hard for them to listen to instructions, get along with peers, and control their impulses when they are not on medication.
I love taking roadtrips. The part I hate though is planning. Being a foodie, I love to visit new places to eat, but to be honest, I have a hard time picking out places to go. I mean, who wants to pick out a place to eat and then soon discover it is NOTHING compared to what you were expecting.
That is why I am so glad to have discovered the Pennsylvania Roadrip-a-Matic — the online tool that will help you create the perfect road trip!
All my life, I have wanted to take a pa-roadtrips foodie lover’s type roadtrip and now I can! The Roadtrip-a-matic created the Taste Buds on Tour to help me visit all the best places to eat across Pennsylvania. I chose the “Eats Like a Champ in Pittsburgh” road trip. It has everything planned for me — 2 days and 2 nights on the road!
It breaks it down by days, and also gives you maps and detours you can take along the way. Now if I can just get my husband in the notion of taking a road trip, we just might hit the road sometime soon!
What about you? Where in Pennsylvania would you go? Which trip would you take?