Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Product Review: Snack & Play Travel Tray

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

The Family Travel Gear company contacted me to see if I would be interested in reviewing one of their most popular products, a Snack & Play Travel Tray. I am always interested in trying out any product for our children so my daughter Emily was the happy recipient of this awesome product.

This tray is very versatile because it will fit on your car seat, the stroller, or it can be used on an airplane. It is made of all nylon with a foam core, so it would not injure a child in an accident. It has handy mesh pockets on the side to store anything you would like to bring along with you on your travels. The pockets would easily accommodate books, crayons, sippy cups, and any snacks that you would like to bring along for your child.

The tray simply has a plastic fastener that belts around the place they are sitting. It hooks together just like my daughter’s booster seat and can easily be adjusted to fit perfectly with your child.

I think the best part about this tray is that it has a lip around the outer edge so that all of your child’s items will stay in place when you are moving. Snacks and toy cars won’t fall off of the tray making the trip much smoother for you. I can’t tell you how many times I have almost wrecked our car trying to reach for a tiny toy that has been thrown overboard by my daughter.

So far we have used the tray while waiting for my son to get out of school, used it on our stroller during a hospital visit to see a family member, and I have whipped it out during long errand days. My daughter enjoys coloring and reading her books in the car, and this makes the perfect surface to do that!

This company offers a variety of products for all of your travel needs and they have extended a special discount to our readers. You can receive ten percent off of your order by using the coupon code welcome.

We thank the Family Travel Gear company for giving us the opportunity to test their product. Both my daughter and I give your product two thumbs up!

Lessons Learned from a Day Trip to the Museum

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

You guys left some fabulous vacation tips in my last entry- thanks for the tips on all of the things to do in the Chicago area and ways to see the sites in the US for cheap!

Well, we survived a day trip with the two children to the Museum of Science & Industry, in Chicago, Illinois. We were in survival mode, as Emily did not enjoy any portion of it and cried almost the entire day. She did not seem to appreciate the sites or the train ride there. Lesson #1 learned: Taking an 18 month old to the museum is quite challenging and no amount of tricks in mommy’s bag were interesting enough. This stage is very hard with kids because they don’t want to ride in the stroller for any length of time, but she is also not walking so we couldn’t set her loose either.

The hard part, for us, was that the returning train times were so limited. The first one (around 12:30) would have been too early, but the one later (after four), was way too late. We had to wait for the later train and the kids were both too tired to enjoy anything as the day progressed. Six hours in a museum with two children who desperately needed a nap was too long for them and for us us. We must have looked pretty bad as a man came up to us and told us that he could tell that we looked like we had a long day. I mentioned that the train times were limited to South Bend and he taught me our next lesson. Lesson #2 learned: There are many more time slots available taking the train out of Michigan City versus the South Bend location. Although we would have to drive 45 minutes, we would still not be driving in Chicago, and we would shave some of the time off of the train trip. We are definitely going to be doing that next time!

Ethan did enjoy the train ride though and struck up a long conversation with the conductor including telling him his age, his cousin’s age, and all about where he was going. He was in heaven on the way there, but the novelty did wear off on the return trip.

Ethan’s favorite part of the museum was definitely the train exhibit. If you have a little boy who is into trains, this is a great place to take them. They let you tour a train with a conductor and learn all about it. There are also amazing trains to look at and train sets to watch. He wanted to stay in that section for hours.

We also appreciated the museums, “Idea Factory” which was a special play area for the kids to burn off some energy. They had a section of the area dedicated to children under 36 months, with tons of things to look at and do. Emily enjoyed playing in the water table and playing on their baby jungle gym. As a side note, they had a changing area and an area for mommies to able to rock their little ones and nurse them privately. When I was nursing, this was a huge perk for me, so I thought I would mention it!

Overall, we did have a wonderful trip. I think next time we will either pick the train up at an alternate location, or next time just take Ethan on his own. The important part for us was that we create some really great memories for our family, and I think we accomplished that! We look forward to many more of the free admission days in Chicago and we thank the Museum of Science & Industry for giving us the opportunity to visit such an amazing museum for free!

Total spent for train: $40 (the children rode for free because we took advantage of the train’s Family Fare)
Total spent at the museum: $12 (for drinks & a special treat at the end of the day)
Cost for a day in Chicago for a family of four: $52

I hope you enjoyed your virtual day trip with us!

Free Museum Day: Museum of Science & Industry

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

You know your family loves getting things for free when they plan their entire vacations around free days at local museums and attractions. That is exactly what we have done for this summer and we are looking forward to spending a day at the Museum of Science & Industry for free tomorrow (Monday).

When my husband asked when he should use his vacation days, I told him I would check all of the museum websites and let him know the days based on the free admissions in the area. We have plans to hit several Chicago attractions including Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum. We also are looking forward to National Museum Day and are hoping that our new favorite place, the AirZoo Museum, will be participating again this year.

Here is the tip for today…check for free days in your area. These are usually listed under the Admissions link and should give you a listing of dates that they offer free or discounted tickets. You can also do a internet search and look under “free” and the name of your museum. Try and plan some family trips together.

Don’t forget to pack a lunch to eat on the way! The trip isn’t really free if you have to pay for twelve dollar burgers!

Sound Off: What museums offer free days in your area? Do you plan your vacations around free attractions?

Getting the Car Organized

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

This week’s Works-For-Me Wednesday solutions are all ideas for your car. Shannon requested any great ideas for moms on the go. It is great timing to read all of these entries with Spring Break fast approaching. Be sure to read all of the entries there!
I like to keep a tidy home, but the car is a completely other story. It seems like we are in the car a lot and somehow cleaning out the car becomes last on my task list.

A couple of weeks ago, the warm weather got me out to finally clean my

car though and I must say that the car is looking much better this month. Whether or not we can maintain that is yet to be seen, but I do like some of the solutions I came up with for organizing it (for now!)
- I had two small milk crates that I put on each side of the back seat of the car for each child. My son’s crate is filled with crayons, paper, flash cards, and workbooks for him to work on. My daughter’s crate is filled with lots of baby toys for her to play with. Each child’s also contains a clean sippy cup. This solution has worked really well for us if we visit people’s houses who don’t have toys or when we go into a restaurant and want to keep the children entertained. The container is small enough that my son can carry his own and I have been toting my daughter’s around when I meet friends for coffee and such. This is much better than toys haphazardly thrown around in the back and they now have their own organized space.
- In the front seat, I have a small folder and today I am working on printing out directions to all of the local parks and a few day trips in the area. This will be a great reference for us if we want to get out of the house when the weather is nice out and it will save me a step when we need to be somewhere. I also keep directions to other people’s homes that I frequent. I belong to a good size mom’s group and to try and remember where everyone is can be difficult. This makes for a great reference and saves me from printing the same directions out multiple times.
- In my trunk, I have a small tote bag filled with a few things that the kids can do when we go to the park. I put two Frisbees in there, bubbles, and bubble wands. I am planning to hit our dollar tree to get a few more things to add to the mix, but it is a nice thing to have to keep the kiddos entertained.
- We also keep a spare phone book in the trunk of our car. This makes it easy to call for directions or place reservations with restaurants.
- Take advantage of times when you are filling your gas tank, to clean out wrappers and such out of the car. I keep a tissue box filled with plastic bags under our seat and I pull that out to make gathering trash up a little easier.
- One thing that I try to do is keep a spare backpack in the trunk of our car. Sometimes we are on the road and aren’t able to get home to pick up a backpack before I have to drop my son off for school. This spare backpack comes in handy for those occasions and helps the teacher too!
Feel free to share your own car solutions and be sure to check out all of the entries this week!