Traveling With Teens and Tweens

blended family vacation

Traveling with teens and Tweens can be the most amazing experience ever or the most dreaded. It depends on how you approach it. My best advice? Approach it together. This is a family vacation after all. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your family vacation with teens and tweens.

Choose the destination together.

When choosing your vacation destination, get the input from all family members. This will help to make everyone feel included in the process. As the parent, you know the budget, so give some options for your family to discuss. Narrow it down by listing out the pros and cons of each location. Soon enough, you’ll have come to a consensus on where the family should jet off to! If there’s contention? Consider solving it diplomatically or do what we do- draw from a hat!

Shop for necessities together.

Letting your teens and tweens pick out their travel shampoo and hairspray can make a huge difference in their outlook on the family vacation. When they’re feeling good and looking good while away from home, it’s amazing how attitudes can reflect that feeling! Bring along their favorite snacks, snag a new pair of earbuds, and load up tablets with entertainment. Knowing that you’ve gone the extra mile to make their trip comfortable will make their trip that much better. You might even hear- “Thanks, Mom (or Dad)!”

Plan Activities Just for Them.

Every waking moment of a family vacation doesn’t have to be spent together. If you choose a family resort, like Beaches, there are tons of activities that your teen or tween can do on their own. They may have grown out of Sesame Street, but how about snorkeling? There’s even a teen “night club”, where kids can mingle, dance, and let their hair down for a moment without the whole fam around.

HGTV Presents Santa HQ!

hgtv-santa-hq-2016-scottsdale-fashion-square

It isn’t too late to get that iconic photo of your kids and Santa! HGTV has once again outdone themselves with the Santa HQ display at locations across the country. My family was invited to walk through Santa HQ at Scottsdale Fashion Square in Scottsdale, AZ. Even though the kids are starting to feel like they’re a bit too old for this Santa business… they loved being scanned by the electronic “Naughty/Nice” meter upon their arrival. We also were able to create an adorable holiday family video where we “elfed” ourselves. The video was emailed right to me. How adorable is that? And finally- they were able to explore the secret wonders in Santa HQ by using a tablet as a viewer and discovering hidden elves, gifts, and starlight displays!

Our family took a few photos without Santa as we exited Santa HQ and then as we rounded the corner, the big guy was waiting with open arms for the children! And while Allison didn’t want to sit on his lap, it’s an adorable memory, just the same. HGTV paid close attention to every detail, making Santa HQ feel warm, homey, and full of magical mystery. Find a location near you and make photo reservations today, before Santa packs up and heads back to the North Pole!

*Note: We were invited as a guest of Scottsdale Fashion Square to tour the event. I was not compensated for this post.

How to Get a US Passport for Your Child

family vacation

We recently had the opportunity to take our family to the all-inclusive resort, Beaches, in Turks & Caicos. Neither of my girls had passports, so I set out on a quest to figure out how to get them. It’s a pretty straightforward process, but I’m divorced from their father, so that added another layer of complexity. In this post, I’ll guide you through the passport process. Happy Travels!

Before You Get Started:

Every child, regardless of age, needs a passport to travel out of the USPassports for children under 16, are valid for 5 years. If your child has never had a passport before, you must apply in person. The child must be present and BOTH parents/guardians must be present. If one parent is unable to be present, there is a consent form.  My ex-husband was present and I had a consent form, just in case, because we were going overseas and it made me more comfortable. The consent form must be notarized.

What You’ll Need to Apply For Your Child’s Passport:

  1. Evidence of U.S. Citizenship
  2. Evidence of Parental Relationship
  3. Photo Identification
  4. Parental Consent
  5. Passport Photo
  6. Application Forms
  7. Passport Fees

US Passport Application Forms:

Complete by Hand

Complete Online and Print

What Type of Passport Does My Child Need?

You can obtain a passport card or a passport book for you child. The passport card is not valid for International air travel. So, if you’re planning on traveling by air for your vacation, you will need to have a passport book for your child. The passport book is the only passport valid for International air travel. 

Fees:

Here’s a list of passport fees and how to properly pay for them.

 

Traveling with your children is one of the most amazing gifts you can give them. We took our first trip as a blended family in October of 2015. You can read all about here + some tips for traveling as a blended family. I’ve also shared some tips on how to pack for a beach vacation for adults and children.

Happy Travels!

xo

Kelly

*Note- This was not a sponsored post. I wrote this post in order to be a help to traveling families.

 

Hot Wheels, STEM, and Social Good

hot wheels speedometry

I got a call the other day, from someone that I admire greatly for their work in the digital space, particularly as it relates to social good campaigns. He asked if I would help spread the word about a new educational resource, developed by Hot Wheels, to teach STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Imagine a lesson in which the tools for success were Hot Wheels cars and racetracks!?

According to their website, Hot Wheels® Speedometry  encourages inquiry and real-world, problem-based learning through play, hands-on activities and in-depth lesson plans (for home use too!) mapped to state and national standards. This education curriculum, co-created with researchers at the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education, combines Hot Wheels® fun, imagination, and action, as well as toys and track to accelerate learning.

Do Some Social Good!

This isn’t just for the classroom! Hot Wheels has developed an “at home” program full of family activities that encourage STEM education to encourage parents to get involved too. Here’sthe best part… by simply downloading this exciting (not to mention fun) PDF… Mattel will donate $5 to Champions For Kids! This amazing organization makes sure that kids have the supplies they need to thrive in school.

Download the Family Engagement Packet *free* from Hot Wheels and do something good for children in need! It’s a win/win! This free packet is full of fun educational activities you can do at home!

For more information on Hot Wheels Speedometry… they’ve created a short informational video:

*Note- I was willing to write this post for free, but was graciously compensated after the fact. It does not change my views on working with your child at home on crucial learning skills.

A Comprehensive Review of Hypoxi (Part 2)

If you caught Part 1 of this 2 part series… then you read about how in 2 sessions of Hypoxi, I was able to go from a size Large Vacunaut neoprene suit, to a size Medium. What does that mean? It means that I lost some inches! Pretty much immediately. By the time I finished my 3rd session- I was able to slip on the Medium suit with no struggle at all! It felt pretty incredible.

I’ve now finished 6 sessions with the Hypoxi team at Biltmore Fashion Park in Phoenix and the results are really amazing! After two weeks, I lost a total of 6 inches over my body. The most astounding loss was 2 inches around my tummy area and 1.5 inches around my hips! What does this loss mean in my life? It means I can button a pair of jeans that were too tight just two weeks before. That’s a really big deal! And because I promised… I’m going to share with you my 3D image- before and after.

Hypoxi

I can’t even believe it when I look at it…

Notice the *mom gut* on the left? It’s much less jiggly on the right. And the back rolls? They’re all but gone! Even my booty appears to have gotten a slight lift :)

How did I accomplish these results? I followed a simple set of rules for each session:

  • Eat a meal with complex carbohydrates 1-2 hours prior to your session. (I ate oatmeal)
  • No eating 2 hours after your session. (This was a little hard, but I busied myself with work and drank more water)
  • No eating carbs 4-6 hours after your session. (This was pretty easy. I’ve already been cutting back on carbs.)
  • No alcohol on Hypoxi session days. (I confess. I didn’t abide by this one particular day.)
  • No exercise on Hypoxi days. (Ok!)

By following this simple set of rules, drinking plenty of water, eating clean and healthy, and attending all 6 of my sessions, 3 times a week, for two weeks… I lost somewhere around 4-6 pounds, 6+ inches, and fit into a tight pair of jeans! Yay!

Q + A

Is it expensive?

It depends on your definition of expensive, I suppose. It’s a little pricey for me, but they do allow you to make payments along the way. These payments are what will allow me to finish another set of sessions before my upcoming wedding!

Is it worth it?

Heck Yeah!

Is it hard?

No! It’s the easiest thing I’ve ever done to lose inches, smooth cellulite, and lose a few pounds too!

I really hope you give Hypoxi a try. They have a variety of locations. I’m real proof that it works and I wasn’t compensated for this post. I’m just a huge fan.

*Note- no money exchanged hands for this post. I did receive a trial period of Hypoxi to give you this review.

 

A Comprehensive Review of the Hypoxi Fitness Method Part 1

The first thing you’re probably asking yourself is… What in the world is Hypoxi!?

HypoxiBody

I asked myself the very same thing when I was invited to a media event near my home. I only went for 3 reasons- it was close to my house, I was intrigued, and I know I have some weight to lose. Actually, it’s not even the weight. It’s the inches. I don’t really care what the scale says as long as my jeans fit. Am I Right? :)

Anyway, according to their website, Hypoxi is “a low impact exercise method that is 3 x more effective at burning stubborn fat than traditional exercise.” They utilize a vacuum + compression + a healthy eating plan to burn fat (and get rid of cellulite). It’s really space age. I found myself walking through the little studio wondering if I should be scared or excited. I think I was a little of both!

The studio is small and you need to make an appointment, but the staff was very attentive. I wasn’t dressed that day to try anything out, but I did take some pictures and a copious amount of notes. After my tour, I decided that I would give Hypoxi a try.  If anything… I though, this will be interesting!

On my first day… I did a consultation with my trainer, a 3D body scan, measurements and weigh in. It was all very comfortable and not awkward at all. I was then led into the Dermology room. It’s relaxing with dim lights, a comfortable temperature and soft music. I slip into a snowsuit- like thing and lay down on the bed. My trainer connects me to some hoses that constrict and relax to stimulate circulation, diminish cellulite, and prepare my body for the next part of my session. I lay here and relax, enjoying my surroundings for 20 mins.

Once released from the dermology suit… it was time to change into another suit- much like a wetsuit. I couldn’t squeeze into the Medium size vacunaut suit for my treadmill session. It was really comical trying to wiggle into it, but after a valiant effort… we opted to slip into the size Large. Once on the treadmill, I was connected to a few hoses that do the contract/release portion of the session. Then, I was just instructed to walk! That’s it. Walk and sweat in a neoprene suit. I walked for 30 minutes- burning 130 calories and travelling 1.5 miles.

That was it! Painless! Although I was pretty sweaty!

I skipped a day in between my sessions. I ate healthy. I drank plenty of water and followed the instructions I was given. Guess what?! When it was time to squeeze into the vacunaut suit for session two… I did it! It was a struggle, but I was able to shimmy myself in! I felt great about this! All I did was walk and sweat and get these amazing massaging hugs from a really cool machine! I was down a few pounds too. Bonus!

In my next post- I’ll share with you exactly what I’m doing to follow along the Hypoxi instructions and my results from Session Three. You won’t believe it!

xo

Kelly