The Easiest Family Vacation Resorts for Working Moms

The Easiest Family Vacation Resorts for Working MomsWhich family vacation resorts have you tried and enjoyed? Are there any you’ve tried that you wouldn’t? Which is your kids’ favorite? When you want to have a fun family vacation but don’t want to do a lot of planning, where do you go? Which do you think are the easiest family vacation resorts for working moms?

Before my husband and I became parents, I wouldn’t have considered an all-inclusive and/or resort-type of vacation. We valued flexibility and spontaneity: the opportunity to have our full pick of hotels and B&Bs, the ability to choose any restaurants we wanted and also to discover some by wandering around a new city, etc. Why would we want to limit ourselves by taking a cruise or staying in a resort, and why would we want to stay in one place?

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Three Companies That Rent Baby Gear for Travel

Three Companies That Rent Baby Gear for TravelParents learn very quickly that going anywhere with a baby requires a lot of “stuff.” If you’re talking about going out to dinner and bringing a diaper bag packed with supplies, that’s not so bad, but family vacations are another story. If you’re traveling somewhere (say, an Airbnb) rather than visiting friends or relatives who already have baby gear you can share or borrow, you’re likely to find yourself with a long list of things to bring: carseat, Pack ‘n Play, stroller, baby carrier, etc. — and that’s a huge hassle, especially if you’re flying with kids. Have you ever used a service that rents baby gear for travel? What did you rent? (Do you have any other strategies for dealing with a need for baby gear on a trip?) As the holidays approach, we thought we would round up three companies that rent baby gear for traveling families:

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School Break Camps: Open Thread

School Break CampsDo your kids go to school break camps during winter and spring school vacations? With day care, you usually don’t have to worry — just send them to your regular provider. But parents of school-age kids need to find an alternative child care situation.

Good sources for information about school break camps include local parent magazines and websites, and local parent email lists/groups. Last month I asked about camps in a Facebook group for parents who live in my town and got some great ideas. (They included unexpected options from a chess center and aerial arts studio!) Depending on where you live, you might find school break camps from providers like these:

  • Cultural attractions: Check museums, art galleries, zoos, and other institutions. (Think outside the box: Even our local animal shelter offers break camps!)
  • Kid-oriented businesses: Good bets include martial arts centers, dance studios, climbing gyms, or places like The Little Gym.
  • STEM & arts centers: Your kids could spend a week enjoying photography, creative writing, robotics, Lego building, or Minecraft.
  • Grocery stores: Larger stores may offer kids’ cooking classes during breaks.
  • Libraries and bookstores 
  • Gyms/pools/YMCA 
  • Community centers/rec centers
  • Academic/tutoring businesses 

So, let’s talk about what you do during school vacations! Do you ask family for help or hire a babysitter? Do you ask your nanny to work extra hours? Do you enroll your kids in camp? Do you take time off, or go on a family vacation? Also, how do you find out about camps? When you’ve chosen a school break camp, does it usually fit your work schedule? (Or does it seem geared toward families with a stay-at-home parent?) When do you think kids are old enough to stay at home while you’re at work?

Pictured at top: Lego Club — 2012, originally uploaded to Flickr by Clearwater Public Library System Photos

Toys, Birthdays, and Experiences

birthday experiences toysIt is my eldest’s birthday today (happy 4th, Jack!), so I thought it might be a great time to have a discussion about birthdays, toys, and experiences.  More and more of my friends are telling me that they are purposely not buying presents for their kids, and instead planning experiences like trips, concerts, etc.  At 4, he’s been a bit young for all of that in the past — and honestly, every day is like his birthday around here.  Besides, all of the grandparents love to buy presents for the boys (sometimes it feels like they are single-handedly keeping Fisher Price, Bruder, Tonka, Thomas, and so forth in business!).  So: this “plan a nice experience” sounds like a great idea.  I think up first, we’ll plan a day with him at an amusement park near my parents — they can watch the baby so Jack can get Mommy and Daddy all to himself for a day the next time we visit.  It’s still going to involve a fair amount of planning and research, not to mention day-of logistics, but I think he’ll have a blast.

(When asked what he wanted for his birthday, he said, “Ummmm… a cupcake.” Yes! We can do that!)

Ladies, how do you celebrate your kids’ birthdays?  If with experiences rather than toys, what other kind of experience-focused presents have you given to kids?  

Pictured: Jack, sizing up his huuuuuge Costco cake last year — pantsless, of course, because that’s how we roll.  Also pictured: our fugly but functional oilcloth table cover and our Oxo Tot High Chair.  All rights reserved.