Travel with Kids- 7 tips for group outings

family, Travel

If you are around kids, work with kids, volunteer with kids, or even just do family outings here are some quick tips on keeping tabs of your herd.

1. Make a detailed day plan

  • Start with a meeting and departure time, make sure everyone know where and when. Stick to this plan as much as possible, and only allow for some plan deviation.

2. Find an identifier

  • If your kids are a group/troop/ have a uniform of some fashion, encourage wearing it out and about.
  • Additionally, have something else each child wears. We do bandanas, all green, just so we can see a kid from a distance and know it’s our girl with the green headband.
  • Our Girl Scouts get green bandanas.

3. Be prepared

  • Be ready for any and everything, especially little kids. I have wet wipes in my car, I carry a first aid kit, and snacks are a must.

4. Plan on someone being short

  • Not on height, but money. Inevitably someone will not have enough for their slice of pizza or souvenir, or someone will just lose their money. Bring some extra cash to fill in the gaps. If it’s a lot of dough, ask a parent to fix it later.

5. Permission Slips

  • If you are part of a formal group especially, DO NOT FORGET PERMISSION, in writing, on a piece of paper, have contact information. Even if you don’t NEED a permission slip for group purposes, check your outing location to make sure everything is signed off and ready. Nothing would be worse than getting somewhere and someone not being able to go.

6. Make sure everyone can Enjoy

  • In order to teach kids to think of others, and ensure everyone has a good time make sure your outing is friendly for everyone. Sometimes a child is diabetic, make sure they can eat or treat properly for where the group is going. Sometimes a child is too small for the roller coasters, make sure that everyone helps plan a day for everyone to get to enjoy many activities. Whatever it may be, look into the limits for your group and try to help everyone create a great day.

7. Capture the Memories

  • Don’t forget your camera or cell phone to make sure you can get photos of your day to share with the kids for later in life, or black mail. Parents that are unable to attend will also enjoy the fun!

HAPPY TRAVELS!

travelwithkids

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Adventure of the Week- a Wedding and Graduation

adventure of the week, colorado, Colorado Events, family, Photography, wedding

I didn’t even leave Northern Colorado in the last week, but I have done plenty of time on the road and away from my home. My kitchen is a perfect display of the busy.

Yet, though it has been busy there is something invigorating about having fun things to do and celebrate with people.

Last weekend my best friend and maid of honor at my wedding got married!

It started Friday night with an evening of bad movies and carbs.

Saturday night was the rehearsal dinner and lots of nerdy conversation over noms at the Moot House in Fort Collins.

Ryan and Tara tied the knot in their hotel room Sunday afternoon at the Elizabeth in Old Town Fort Collins before having a party at the Social in Old Town.

It was a jazz and bee inspired shindig with fun people, tasty food and drink. And a bride and groom that were all smiles.

Post wedding and Monday night I photographed a darling old family friend who o have known since she was maybe 5!!!!

She’s going to be 22 and is graduating from college in a few weeks. She’s also gorgeous and a ton of fun to photograph. Check out all the cuteness!

It also meant I got to play with my new camera body and some new lenses! It was all the fun!

Happy Travels, near and far.

Next week…..watch for more animals!

Baby Goats- Adventure of the Week

family, musings, Travel

It’s Wednesday, and I am here to inspire you to get out and experience life in the simple ways. We don’t all have money to get out of town every few months, but we do have innovation, creativity, and often a lot of inexpensive means to get the most of our lives.

In order to make the most of my weekend I contacted a local goat farmer!

Goats?

Because they are some of the most adorable creatures on the planet!

Also, the farm, Barnyard Buddies Fainting Goats, is absolutely fantastic in their rearing of animals, and community outreach that educate and inspire others to learn more on the goofy babies.

The best part was that it meant my money, a donation for food and effort, went directly to encouraging small farmers and their mission of raising rare livestock.

Okay, actually the best part was getting to love on baby goats for an hour and a half. BABY GOATS FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF.

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You’re probably thinking, how did this rando blogger in Colorado get such a deal?

WELL the farmers want the babies socialized so that they make the best possible pets for their clients that buy the babies as pets and friends. Therefore, having people visit is a win-win for everyone. The farmer gets the goats socialized, the goats get lovings and hair to chew on, and the visitors have a freakin’ blast.

How did I know about the fainting goats?

Well they have a fantastic Facebook page! There, they post gobs of adorableness of babies playing, running, jumping, spazzing, fainting, and the other things goats do.

They also hold Yoga classes with the babies, of which I attended about a year ago, and had a blast with. This they do with the talented and wonderful OmKai Yoga based in Fort Collins. If you want to attend such a class, click here.

The added bonus to the whole adventure was some family visiting for my mom’s birthday. My mom turned 50 on the 2nd, so to celebrate; I took her to a goat farm. Which is a little odd. Originally the plan was Disney World, but life happened, so goats it was. I know this sounds selfish, and maybe a part of it was, but my mom grew up with goats, and loves goats, so I truly believe she had a good time. The photos also speak for themselves!

Happy Travels!

P.S. poop happens, just be prepared for stinky shoes, and maybe some accidents 😉

BabyGoats

Let Kids Plan the Adventure

family, Travel

It’s often assumed that mom and dad are the ones that plan travel. They take the budget, and they make something work. It is then that the kids toddle along, after the parents, sometimes exuberantly, from place to place.

In theory, this is not an oddity, it makes sense, parents have the wisdom and wit to know how to plan a vacation or adventure. Yet, when we stop to listen to kids, we often find they are full of creative ideas that can enhance a vacation.

Why? And how do I know this?

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My loves in 2012 in California

Well, while my stepdaughter likes to spout out different places she thinks she wants to go (New York, Paris, Hawaii, Mexico) she often lacks a full grasp on what these places offer for the average family. That is where the education and fun come in. Instead of saying “I don’t think so” we encourage Lily to research these places and why they may be worth visiting.

For instance, she hears from the boy at school that she has a crush on that he spent Christmas in Italy. Well, Lily now wants to go to Italy. Which is awesome! I love Italy. However, while Italy would be fun, she needs to have an idea on why she wants to go somewhere.

Another situation is with the Girl Scout troop that I help lead. The troop likes to take adventures and outings. What kid doesn’t? But in order to make it happen, we encourage thought and discussion in our meetings on how we need to plan the day or weekend away. It encourages the girls to think about money, time, everyone’s needs, and what it means to get to travel. The easy way for the leaders and girls would be for the leaders to just plan, the smart way is to get the girls thinking about the world and what it means to interact with it.

It can be scary to let kids take the reins, but usually it ends up with multiple benefits for everyone. Here are my observations:

  • The child feels included in family plans
  • It teaches budgeting and how to manage money, or how to save money for bigger trips
  • It helps kids work with others to find solutions that make everyone happy
  • It makes kids think about their impact on the world as they navigate life
  • It helps them think about time management and how to maximize days of vacation
  • It creates leadership skills as they take over say one day of planning
  • Their mistakes teach them how to improve next time
  • They develop research skills as they learn about new places

The list could go on, but what I have seen can be life changing for a kid.

My biggest surprise was telling my stepdaughter our planned vacation for this year will have to be a year later, as the wedding we are in was postponed. Instead of being devastated about waiting a year, she happily accepted it and we began talking about our summer/fall alternatives as a family.

So, my encouragement, is let the kids help, and see what magic is in their great little minds.

Happy Travels!

Create the BEST Staycation

family, Travel

While traveling is my preferred week off from work or school, sometimes the pocket book or life doesn’t allow for it. Thus, it’s important to know when and how to make the best of time at home, and this doesn’t mean cleaning everything.

  • I suggest planning ahead, same as you would for any vacation, to make the most of your time. Start by getting your house organized, not spotless, to make the week relaxing and easy.
  • Make a list of what you want to do locally. Maybe it’s just a few restaurants you have been wanting to try, or perhaps a new art exhibit. Make a list and plan out each day to see what you want. Plan it like you are a tourist in your own city and then see what seems like the best options.
  • Keep it simple and treat it like an easy vacation, where planning is loose and you just enjoy little things. Think of it like a reset, and a chance to revive from the stress of life.
  • Don’t over plan; make sure it’s legitimate down time and not a week of errands and running around town. Treat your stay like you’re not home to do the mundane and if you find yourself thinking about it, make a list to conquer it before or after.
  • “Treat Yo’ Self” in the totally Parks and Recreation sense of the phrase; visit the pa, shop, spoil, just make it about you and make yourself feel amazing.

  • Place your phone on “do not disturb” when you want to be left alone. Silence everything, turn it off, or unplug the internet and let the outside world melt away. Here is a news flash: The world won’t end if you are not constantly taking in information on it. I promise.
  • Turn on some rain sounds and sleep like a baby. Do this every night after the staycation and I promise it will make you feel better rested on the long term.

 

Happy Travels!

Between Travels, Make Home an Adventure

family, Travel

I just realized my title sounds like you are going to booby trap your house or fill it with kittens for sneak attacks. I promise that is not what this is about, although the kitten thing could be fun.

While I love being on the road, I also enjoy being home and having down time. I should say that I NEED down time in order to refresh and recharge. It means that I snuggle my cat, read some books, watch some Golden Girls, and reconnect with friends.

This also means that I want my home to be somewhere that I can truly enjoy being and that means bringing some of the adventures home.

I love picking up treasures on my travels. Usually, especially as I get older, this means artwork or crafting of some sort. Sometimes it’s pottery such as the skeleton cat spoon rest from Mexico, or the Navajo-designed pottery egg from Santa Fe. Other times it’s my photographs that I get blown up to put on my wall. Other times it is souvenir books from places like Hampton Court Palace that I can refer to when I want a refresher on some facts and details.

Even without the crap from my trips, I have a home full of music, movies, books, and people I love. All of which add to the culture and richness of my life at home. I have furniture I like and décor that makes me smile. It’s a refuge, at my refuge, and full of things that make life rich.

This same filling a home with richness can come with or without wanderlust, just do it because it’s somewhere you spend A LOT of time at. Make it yours, make it comforting, make it a reflection of your happy place.

 

Happy Travels!

When Nerds Unite

family, geek, love, wedding
Ryan and I have many interests that differ, opposites attract if you will. He loves Star Wars, we love Harry Potter. He loves Star Trek, we love X-Files. I ylove costumes, we love jeans and t-shirts. I love traveling, we love vacationing.
We balance it out and find a happy medium. So for our wedding we needed something that blended our quirks into one. So we blended my love of romantic art nouveau, Alphonse Mucha pretty details with our nerdiness to make a fun and entertaining blend of us.
Example A: Our cake. Traditional white frosting with a variety of autumnal saturated colored flowers and leaves. The cake was delicately pieced together to make a stunning result. Then, being us, we had to have a Millenium Falcon crashing into the side. Thank you Das Meyer for working your wonders!
Exhibit B:
We needed something to celebrate my love of Harry Potter, well OUR love (I’m the bigger fan though).
So we brought our wands and had some fun.
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And FINALLY Exhibit C: We entered to the Imperial March from Star Wars, complete with a Vader helmet…
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So that is us, a mix of love and crazy, and nerdiness….

Take Care of Yourself

family, love, musings

This season is hard on a lot of people. Not only does it bring on financial pressure to travel, to buy food and gifts, but also an expectation of leaves many anxious around their finances. Myself included.

Add on any family conflict. Myself included.

A dash of missing loved ones that died this time of year, or that had birthdays this time of year, or anyone you spent the day with this time of year. It becomes really stressful and lonely. Myself included.

The problem I am having is being stuck in my head too much, and stuck at home too much. I work remotely about 50% of the time, so this isn’t surprising. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel isolated or even trapped. Mostly, because I’m not practicing the things I know that are important for a healthy state of being. For myself or anyone else.

So I remind you all to take time to reconnect to what your heart loves and craves. If it’s music, find a concert- even a free one at a church or school. If it’s a social gathering, find a book group with the library or local book store. Maybe try a coffee shop and use meet-up  to connect.

Perhaps you just really want to play with dogs all day? Try signing up as a doggy daycare provider with dogvacay or volunteer with a local shelter.

It’s not easy to know what to do, but there are options. I am currently finding odd jobs t pay bills and connect me with new ideas and people. I am also making an effort to see friends and get back into craft projects that keep me happy.

I leave you with an idea discussed last night, as dinner, with ones I love, BE BOLD, BE BRAVE, BE. Be your own advocate, be a voice of reason, be someone that picks themselves up and dust themselves off and carries on. Be loving, and BE. IF you have a dream, see what it would take to get there, and take a step to be there. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid of learning. Research. Imagine.

And finally, if you are feeling sad and vulnerable and scared, then acknowledge those feelings in a friendly way. As you would to another friend. Hug yourself, drink tea, watch a favorite movie, breathe, and eat well. Hug yourself, cuddle a pet and just do anything to make you feel better.

Sometimes it’s not even making anything better, at times you can’t, but just getting through the day, the week, the month, the year, and working on something better.

Love,

Rebecca Lee Robinson

Land of Enchantment Part III

family, new mexico, Photography, Travel, United States

The final day was spent starting the day with a trip to the last two museums on my list, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the International Folk Art Museum. 

The first was home to a massive amount of history and artwork dating back to prehistory and into modernity. It not only showcased the long story and history of native peoples but also the current conflicts and issues that exist. I especially appreciated a section that called out cultural appropriation and stereotypes in modern american culture.

The plaza outside of the museum was equally impressive and an enjoyable visit all on its own. Full of life-size and larger statues it paid testament to native culture, struggle and existence, a story that often is overlooked and misunderstood.

The folk museum provided a great blend of other stories, and the fact it had a folk-art element meant that it reflected the tale of the average person and not that of another identity. Rooms were filled to the brim of a variety of cultural expressions including miniatures, needlepoint, dolls and much more.

After musuem land it was time to PARTY!

We started the events with a surprise mass, and wedding for my great aunt and uncle. We finished with food and sangria at their home in rural Santa Fe. I got to see cousins that live in Germany and England that I don’t usually see and talk with other cousins I didn’t know too well. All around it was a success and very enjoyable for all involved.

And sadly the next morning ment driving home…until next time Santa Fe!

Part I, Part II

 

I was listening to NPR on Sunday, and not that that’s surprising because of all the media I listen to NPR is the most common. Anyway, they were discussing the media bubble that is creating difficulties for NPR to make money and the conflicts of podcasts etc. Which is really interesting and something for another day.

They did say something else that I think may be even more important than that of the money/journalism bubble or at least equally important. They were discussing how NPR and for instance, All Things Considered, was established in the 1970s to promote intelligence and knowledge across the country. To cover minorities and give voice to the voiceless kind of story.  Which I would say they do make real attempts at doing and which is a real reason I try to listen a couple of times a week. Yay *applause*

But then the conversation took a turn to what is the reality of our culture and where real money in the media lies.

Let’s start here, TLC, The History Channel and the Discovery Channel and its subsidiaries were made, in ways, to replicate PBS-style stations. Where there was documentary type learning shows, that depicted and told stories around the world. This is the type of stuff I ate up day after day as a kid. The stuff I loved! Some of it was sappy and a little fluffy like “A Baby Story” or “An Adoption Tale” but other shows that talked about gender-identity and mental conditions or strange medical conditions were fascinating to me. I feel they gave me a more compassionate and thorough understanding to the world. Yet as culture changed and reality TV became more profitable and popular those stations changed to telling those stories.

In the last 10 years we have had Honey Boo-Boo and My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding (an admitted guilty pleasure) and Ice Road Truckers. All of which lack much of the substance of previous shows and station goals. My fiance jokingly calls TLC “The Loser Channel” but I honestly don’t know if that’s too far from the truth. Some of the shows really inspire me to care for people I don’t understand with more compassion, like my 600lb Life, while others leave me buying up stereotypes and inconsiderately dismissing other groups, such as 19 kids and Counting and it’s HUGE sex scandal mess that broke last year.

Ok all of that aside my point is that TV often reflects society like a mirror, and the unfortunate side is that most people embrace this gum-ball machine mess of television of a quarter in and sticky crap that rots your brain out.

What’s most upsetting is that while these shows are consumed and even loved, other REAL programming with great information on radio, TV or other gets bumped out. News even gets mushed up to be click-bait and full of thorough and honest information. Just this week I got into a conversation on Charlie Chaplin on Vice and had the author block me for calling her out on cherry-picking history.

Anyway, that aside I am BEGGING all of you to get out and learn. Something like only 78% of Americans read a book a year. And the number steadily increases for more than 5, 10 etc. There is research to indicate that this next generation will be less educated than any previous, a turnaround from the past. And it’s not just reading that’s important but the ability to think, analyze and understand what is happening around someone.

It’s not even just things that come from a good education but information that can be assessed through alternative means and through independent learning. This means pick-up a book, read a magazine that’s not fluff, have your kids watch a documentary on animals with you. Discuss the universe, have a lunch date with friends and talk about making the world a better place etc. etc. Jump into the fun of learning and take someone with you. You don’t have to make learning your only activity, but make it one that is also a part of your life.

My family, with all its crazy, constantly pushed for learning, and that is something that I will always push for others.

 

Anyone want to borrow a book?

Best,

Rebecca Lee Robinson

Lifelong Learning- Why We All Should

family, geek, History, musings