Packing for Family Travel: 6 Steps for Success

Maybe it was due to the fact that I had to help pack the boys up for a trip that I wasn’t going on (more on that soon!), but I recently found myself reflecting on the way we go about stuffing our suitcases prior to an adventure.  And I realized something: We almost always go about packing in the same way.  And it works! Rarely does anything significantly important or essential get left behind.  At least not anymore.

 Now that we have a system in place, things like drivers licenses, boots for a cold weather destination, toothbrushes, and medication are all stowed safely in our luggage.  Yes, each of those items were forgotten by one of us at one point or another.  We are much more prepared these days.

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11-Day Road Trip: Packing for a Family of 4

Do you consider yourself an expert packer? I’m somewhere in the middle of an expert and a novice.

Like many, I have mixed emotions when it comes to packing for a trip.  On the one hand, having to pack means we are about to embark on an exciting adventure! But on the other hand, it takes a lot of work to decide what we need, organize all those essentials, and fit it all into bags and suitcases.  I worry about over-packing and forgetting necessary items all at the same time.

Last month, when it came time to start getting ready for our Oregon-California road trip, I agonized about getting it right.  We had 6 different overnight destinations.  Thus, I wanted to make sure that we had a system that wouldn’t leave our car looking like a tornado blew through.  I didn’t want to waste a lot of precious adventure and family time trying to figure out where something was located.

Packing for a Road Trip | WildTalesof.com Continue reading

Traveling to and through High Altitude Destinations with Babies

When we road tripped from Seattle to Oregon and California, we traveled through more mountain passes than I could count or keep track of.  One of our longer stays was also in the small mountain town of Truckee, California where the elevation is about 6,000 feet, a far cry from our usual comfortable and damp sea-level living.

We took a couple of things into consideration (and preparation) knowing we were traveling with our newest (now 4-month old) adventurer, and we also picked up a few tips and ideas along the way to make high altitude travel most comfortable for babies.

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Oregon-California Family Road Trip: 11-Day Itinerary

We recently embarked (and returned all in one piece) on our first {family of four} multi-day road trip.  The journey was eventful to say the least, and to my surprise, a whole lot more enjoyable than I anticipated.  I’ll admit that I expected wild tantrums occurring in the backseat along with piercing baby cries that would be impossible to quiet.

And while there was some of unpleasantness, it certainly wasn’t the norm.  More often, we found ourselves enjoying the scenery, having the luxury of researching possible lunch and rest stops, and actually engaging in grown-up conversation! The one thing that did cut into our travel time (and sometimes sanity) was the amount of bathroom stops required for a 3.5 year old!

We’ll dive into more specifics of each of our destinations (and even pit stops) in the coming weeks and months (we covered a lot of ground!), but first we want you to see the bigger picture, and a few statistics for fun.

Day 1: Salem, Oregon

A good distance away (but not too ambitious) from our home in Seattle for the first leg of our trip, and also the home of my husband Slaed’s aunt, uncle and cousin.  Here we visited with family and took some time to explore the capitol.

Salem, Oregon | WildTalesof.com Continue reading

New Year’s Savings: Chinook Book 2015 Giveaway!

Are you a New Year’s resolution person? This year, I created more of a mantra rather than lofty goals as I figure I have enough “new” on my plate adding another little person to our world.

Always in the back of my mind (and that of my husband Slaed’s) though is budgeting and saving money.  Also of great importance and a major focus of our life? Our family’s mission to get out, experience, and explore.  Can you guess one of the ways we accomplish both?

Coupons!

New Years Savings: Chinook Book 2015 Giveaway! WildTalesof.com

We’ve sung the praises of the Chinook Book before, and I’m so happy to be back again this year.   All that we love about “the book” remains, but this year there are several new features that make the product (or “tool” as we like to think of it) even better and even more suitable for active families.  That’s why I’m excited to share that we get to give away SIX Chinook Book mobile apps to 6 lucky readers!

Recap: What is the Chinook Book?

The Chinook Book (print and mobile app versions) is a coupon book containing loads of valuable saving opportunities on dining, entertainment, recreation, groceries, and more.  The print version has coupons that are cut out and simply presented to the merchant at the time of purchase.

The mobile version works as a downloaded app on your phone (or mobile device).  Pull the coupon up on your phone or mobile device and show the merchant your screen.  A couple of clicks & your discount is applied!

New Years Savings: Chinook Book 2015 Giveaway! WildTalesof.com

What’s New?

  • Users have a full access subscription.  Instead of coupons expiring right before a new book/app comes out for the year (in the fall), users have access to coupons 12 months after the app is activated.  Before, all the coupons would just expire at the end of August and disappear, but now they remain for a full year after the subscription is activated.
  • With the app, users have access to ALL of the other cities where Chinook Book exists, so if you happen to be traveling to one of the other cities, you’ll get to load all the coupons & take advantage of big savings.  With family in Denver & the Bay Area, and Portland just a few hours away, this is HUGE for us!   Chinook has coupon packages in the following cities:
    • Denver, CO
    • The Bay Area
    • Minneapolis, MN
    • Portland, OR
    • Seattle, WA
    • And limited (but expanding packages) in…
      • Sacramento, CA
      • Corvallis & Eugene, OR
      • Salt Lake City, UT
      • Connecticut
  • Seattle’s Chinook book has an additional 120 new coupons compared to last year’s book! Here are a few from various categories that I am most excited about…
    • Dining:
      • Araya’s Place–A vegetarian Thai restaurant right in our neighborhood
      • Assembly Hall Juice and Coffee–One of Tom Douglas’ newest establishments
      • Capitol Cider–I’m a huge fan of cider & love that they offer a gluten-free menu
    • Family Activities:
      • Pacific Science Center–Can’t wait to explore the center again now that Bergen is a little older. Just getting to experience the butterfly room is enough to go!
      • Burke Museum–We’ve never been to this museum located in the University District, and I’d love to see the mask that inspired the Seahawks logo before the exhibit ends this summer.
      • Kids Discovery Museum (Bainbridge Island)–With tons of coupons on Bainbridge Island (including ferry discounts), we could create a whole day of savings.  Check out our Father’s Day of Savings on Bainbridge from a few years back.
    • Travel/Recreation:
      • Bloedel Reserve–An amazing public garden on Bainbridge Island…
      • Issaquah Paddle Sports–Would love to do some paddleboarding this summer!
      • Center for Wooden Boats–Would love to rent a canoe or row boat and paddle around Lake Union.
  • There are now “seasonal” offers included in the app.  These coupons come and go every two months, and there is a special tab (under the coupon section) where they can be accessed.  I love how this keeps “the book” fresh, and creates new opportunities for us to check out places around our region AND SAVE!

Our Savings Adventures so far…

We’ve only had the 2015 Chinook Book and app for a few weeks now, but we’ve ready put it to good use saving on coffee, lunch, and a visit to our local drug store.  The most memorable savings event though was a recent trip to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma.  With the free youth or tot admission with the purchase of an adult admission, Bergen was able to visit the zoo and aquarium at no charge.

While we are members of the Woodland Park Zoo in our home city of Seattle, we’d never taken Bergen (or Georgia) to our “sister zoo” to the south.  We loved the opportunity to see a different set of animals with such a large focus on sealife.  The walruses were some of the most memorable animals for our family.  We still can’t get over their massive size! Getting to watch the tiger cubs romp and play was pretty special too!

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium: Tacoma, WA | WildTalesof.com

 To Enter the Giveaway of 6 Chinook Book Mobile Subscriptions:

 Winner Winner…

6 Mobile Subscription Packs will be given away! Contest ends and all entries must be received by Friday, 1/30/15 at 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time.  Winners will be chosen at random and notified on Monday, 2/2/15.  Giveaway open to U.S. residents 18 years or older.  After notification, winners have 3 days to connect.  Questions? Don’t hesitate to contact me!

Many thanks to Chinook Book-Seattle & Puget Sound for providing print and mobile packs for giveaway and review.  All opinions about the books and app are my own.  

New Years Savings: Chinook Book 2015 Giveaway! WildTalesof.com

Surviving the Dark and Rainy Days: Tips for Getting Outside + Enjoying it!

Surviving the Dark and Rainy Days: Tips for Getting Outside + Enjoying it! | WildTalesof.com

It doesn’t always seem like the logical choice, but these days we are working hard not to let the rain and lack of daylight stop us from our usual afternoon walks and adventures.  After all, the boy needs to get his energy out, the dog’s gotta go, and we all need our exercise.  I fully admit that it’s hard, and sometimes a struggle. I’m discouraged when I realize we are quickly kissing the sun goodbye at 4 o’clock in the afternoon.   And yes, its sometimes a drag to spend all that time suiting up to protect against the cold and the rain. But the thing is, we can’t be limited to indoor play when its… Continue reading

Keepng Feet Warm, Dry and Supported: Muddy Munchkin Boots by MyMayu Review

I’ve been disappointed by kids rain boots ever since Bergen started to walk.

We live in Seattle.

We need boots that keep his feet dry and stay relatively dry inside.  Rain here isn’t just a once in a while thing. Boots can be necessary multiple days in a row, and often more than once a day.  We don’t have time to wait for wet boot linings to dry.

We also need boots that last.  With frequent use, we can’t worry about tears and gaps developing after just a season (or a few wears).  Our son is very active.  Between playground romping, hiking, scooting around on his balance bike, and trekking through the neighborhood, he’s quite hard on shoes.

Plus with this frequent use, the boots have to be supportive.  Clunky rain boots that cause him to trip and fall just won’t work.

Up until this recently, we made do, but we really weren’t happy with the (run of the mill) rain boots we’d purchased, and even with a lot of research for alternatives and trying to scope out what other kids were wearing, we were coming up short.

Keepng Feet Warm, Dry and Supported: Muddy Munchkin Boots by MyMayu Review | WildTalesof.com Continue reading