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

Santa HQ Presented by HGTV is Now Open!

I have a whole collection of photos with Santa over the years. I’m crying in some of them. Smiling in most of them. These were happy memories for me as a kid. When I had kids of my own, however, I never adopted the tradition of having our photo with Santa. Why not!?!? I ask myself this over and over again every year.

It’s not too late. Sure they’re getting a bit too old to sit on Santa’s lap, but it still could be a fun memory. Besides… We could do a family photo. We could start a new tradition now. This year. Macerich Malls all over the country have been transformed, thanks to HGTV, to spread holiday cheer!

Santa HQ

Now through Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, Santa HQ is spreading holiday cheer to guests of all ages with a 21st century immersive journey that features state-of-the-art digital technology. In addition to the classic photo with Santa Claus, mall guests can take an Elfie selfie to star in their own holiday video, use Elf-Ray Vision to explore Santa’s Observatory, and test out the Naughty or Nice O’Meter.

If that doesn’t sound like good, clean, holiday fun… I don’t know what does.

Reservations to visit the experience can be made in advance at santa-hq.com/reservations.

*Not a sponsored post. Just sharing a press release I received and thought you’d like it. xo

Blended Family Vacation Tips

If you just want to skip to the tips… they’re at the end. If you want to read a bit about our first blended family vacation experience… keep reading! xo

family vacation

Writing for multiple blogs and working in marketing, has allowed me to accept some really amazing opportunities. Most recently, I was invited for the second time to Beaches Resort in Turks & Caicos for a conference called Social Media on the Sand. This year would be different though. Last year, I was in a new relationship with someone I really saw a future with. And now… we’re a blended family. We bought a house and moved in. My kids love him. His dog loves us. We’re complete.

This trip was our first vacation together as a family. We both were nervous, but it turns out, there wasn’t really anything to be nervous about. PJ and I sat on the aisle seats with a girl in each middle seat beside us. Sharing the parenting responsibilities was really helpful. It was nice to know I could count on him to make sure she was comfortable, hydrated, and entertained- while I managed the other one. One the way home- we switched kids. This was key. Everyone wants to sit next to Mommy at some point. This made it fair.

blended family vacation

The conference was amazing. I learned a few new things I could do to better market myself and made some new connections. While I was off conferencing… PJ got some time with the kids by himself. He was nervous, but excited to be able to start really building a bond with them. They played on the beach, swam, had some meals together, and he even managed the drop off and pick up to the Kid’s Camp one day. I am so proud of him. And not just proud of him, but proud of the girls. My heart is so full knowing that they trust my judgement in choosing PJ as my partner. If I like him. They would like him too. Not all families are so lucky, but being open and honest with my children and speaking to them plainly, has really helped in our trust and communication.

During the conference, I was asked if I wanted to help in testing out a new printing beta program with HP. This was such an awesome experience! We were able to print photos right to a printer in our room by posting a photo to Instagram and using a personalized hashtag. This technology blows my mind. Just like magic… all of our family vacation photos were waiting for us on the printer when we returned from a full day of play! Capturing these moments was another important part of solidifying the bond we were building as a newly blended family.

HP Priner

Our vacation including travel time, was a week long. I really recommend an extended trip like this and I also recommend taking time to be with the children each on your own, as well as all together. One day, I took the girls snorkeling on a boat tour, while PJ had a couple of spa treatments. Afterwards, we came back together as a family for a meal. This reinforced that I was still making time just for them.

blended family vacation

Let me share a little bit about the resort. We paid for our flights and for conference badges. Part of the conference experience was our room and the resort is all-inclusive, so the food and activities were included. The Beaches staff is amazing. They go above and beyond to make sure that your experience is unforgettable. Even down to the smallest detail. Have food allergies? Simply note it on your reservation and every server at the 19+ restaurants know about it. They warn you about ingredients in certain dishes and make suggestions for you. Want to try a new tropical drink? The bartenders at each bar have a specialty of their own. Want to try a fresh coconut? Talk to one of the groundskeepers. They’ll cut one down for you! Really!

Then there’s the room. We were booked in the Italian Village. It was a two room sweet with a shared bathroom. The kids had a bunk bed in their room, which they quickly settled into. We had a lovely space with a large bed and a pool view from the patio balcony. The mini bar was stocked daily (free as part of the all-inclusiveness). And our beds were turned down for us each evening. What a special touch!

blended family vacation

The best part for families, besides the food being included, are the activities. The resort has a plethora of free things to do! From snorkeling equipment rental, to kayaking, to sailing… they have it all. If water sports aren’t your thing… there are sand toys too and various games on the lawn, like giant chess/checkers and boche ball. And don’t forget the pools! The girls found that the pool at the Italian Village, which is the main pool, had water toys and floats for everyone to play with.

I couldn’t have planned a better first family vacation than this. There was no fighting. There was no boredom. Everyone’s favorite foods were found. New adventures were had. This is a vacation worth saving up for. I can’t imagine vacationing like this without being at a Beaches Resort. We’re already talking about trying Jamaica next year. We’re golfers, you see, and there’s a course at that resort!

I’m sorry this got long, but so much went into making this trip a success!

Blended Family Travel Tips (Or Any Family):

1. Travel in comfort.

This includes: travel pillows and blankets, entertainment, and snacks.

2. Dress for the flight, not the destination weather.

I always dress my kids in sweatpants, a tank top, and a hoodie. No matter the weather, they’re comfortable in layers and warm on the cold plane.

3. Spring for a comfortable room.

If you’re on a budget, you can get a single room and save. But I found that having our own spaces kept us argument free. It also allowed me to keep us on our sleep schedule, even with a 3 hour time difference.

4. Take pictures!

This is a really big deal when you’re on your first big trip. The memories will last a lifetime.

5. Make time together. Make time apart.

Spend some time together, but not every waking moment. Show the kids that you are willing to make time just for them and allow your partner alone time with the kids to bond.

6. Try new things.

I credit our family’s spirit of adventure to keeping us close and argument free. Instead of struggling at mealtime, we encouraged them to try something new. This is especially easy at an all-inclusive resort like Beaches. The same goes for activities. Make some compromises so that everyone gets to do what’s on their list.

Feel free to tweet at me if you have any questions I didn’t cover here. I’m happy to help! And check out some of our pictures on Instagram. You can find me @kellyloubet on both or just click the links. xo