Monthly Archives: December 2009

It’s My Blogging Birthday

One year ago, I published my first post. It was short and sweet, like me. I am living proof that you don’t need to know much about blogging to blog. You just need an idea, an inkling to share it, and the ability to find the publish button on your screen. Now that doesn’t mean there isn’t much to learn along the way. Because there is. I find myself gaping at my laptop in confusion at least once a week-on a good week. On the bad weeks, I want to hit the delete blog button. Luckily, I can’t find that button. So Kids Go West lives on; powered by copious amounts of caffeine, lots of love and support, and just a few delusions of grandeur.

In honor of the big birthday, I’m wearing a tiara all day long, and I’m giving you a behind-the-scenes look at my plan for global domination the blog this year.

  1. I have a domain name, but I’m not ready to use it. The whole part of my web address is cramping my style. It’s long, and it’s not as professional. I’ve had my domain name all registered for a year now, but I’m not ready to go all website-y. So I may at least map (I think that’s what it’s called) the domain name to my existing blog and just keep the template the way it is for now…
  2. This is a labor of love. Which is why I’m in no hurry to go all pro yet. I don’t have the time or resources to compete with the big guns, so I’m going sit back and let the posts flow. Wait, that sounded a bit too hippie-dippy. I’m going to let the blog follow it’s own path. Still sounds too hippie-dippy. I’m going to write about what I love, love what I write, and wait for the fame and fortune to roll in. Take that Donald Trump.
  3. I will share my writing with the world (but not so much). One thing that I’ve been surprised by, as a newcomer, is how much writing bloggers are asked to give away for free, or for very little compensation. My writing is a valuable resource and I don’t take it lightly. I will write to gain experience, to promote something I believe in, or to gain a foothold in the travel blogging community. Or just because I like you. But I won’t let the bigger fish get their hands on free content from me-for their monetary gain-without giving me my fair dues. All that ranting aside, I do plan on writing more guest posts for my blogging friends this year. Let me know if you’d like a guest post from me, just be very, very patient with me. I’ll get it to you, it just may take a while.
  4. There’s so much to learn. Part of the reason I started to blog, was that I needed a new challenge in my life. I’ve been at my current profession for many years, and I was ready to expand my horizons. I’m learning how to be a more effective writer, a better photographer, and how to market myself as a writer. I didn’t become an expert in my profession in one year, so I don’t expect that will happen as a professional writer either. I’m willing to learn, but still have a long way to go.
  5. Meeting the bloggers behind the comments. Last June, I met Lorraine from Keeps Me Smiling and it was tres cool to interact with a fellow blogger in sentences longer than 140 characters. I need to find the time to do that more. So I’m all signed up for TBEX ’10 conference in New York and hope to make an appearance during (what I lovingly call) the East Coast Insanity Tour that I’m planning for next summer. I hope to meet more of the masterminds behind the blogs I’ve been reading this year. So if you’d like to set up a coffee date sometime, give me a holla. Except for weirdo stalkers, there will be no coffee dates for you.

I’m blowing out the candle on my cake, and getting ready for another year. I’m also going to open presents, so send me lots of shiny, wrapped boxes. Thanks again for stopping by.

A Year in the Life of Kids Go West

It was a good year for my me and my son. Here we are in the final days of 2009, and we are healthy, happy, and just a bit more well-traveled. Yes, I’d have to say it was a fantastic year. So as I sit here with my pom-pom slippers-pondering my good fortune-I think it’s appropriate to share my joy with the world. Today I’m going to my blogging mountaintop to post forth my travel blessings.

I searched the blog for some of my favorite posts. I have to admit that I’m proud of how I captured these travel moments, happy that I decided to dabble in the world of blogging, and looking forward to another year. (You’ve been warned!)

Sometimes they were blessings in disguise, otherwise known as the story of my life.

  • Here’s a little story of an unexpected road trip moment: Red Dawn on I-5 I will always remember my sleepy kid in the back seat, waking up and uttering: “The sun is a big red ball, mami!”.
  • And I found that sometimes I can come up with posts even when I’m swamped and under pressure. I wrote this one in a hotel room in February:  When Maps Fall Into the Wrong Hands.
  • Being a travel blogger means that I need to get out there as much as possible. So you can imagine my frustration when a long awaited trip was detoured in: Surviving a Sickation.

Sometimes I got a bit sappy about it.

  • In August we sat on the beach in Kauai and I was gifted a heart : The Fuzzy Moments.
  • This Snorkel Dream is just one of the reasons why I travel with my kid, despite all the trouble.

And there was always adventure to be found.

  • Sometimes all you have to do is lay down and stare up at the sky in: The Monarchs Are Back.
  • Even in the midst of the worst California traffic and crowds, you can find awesome beauty:  Postcard From Yosemite.

I have a video camera and I know how to use it. Apologies.

  • You may not like burritos for dinner, but you’re sure to love this Maui Sunset in: Burritos on the Beach.
  • Look it’s a little LEGO President Obama.

And now for one more appreciation: you. Thanks to all of you who have stopped by to visit, contributed with your comments, and gave me a reason to keep up with the challenging task of maintaining a blog. You’ve helped make this a memorable year for me.

Photo Friday: Snowball Fight

Please note that no grandpas were hurt in the taking of this photograph.

Wishing the happiest of holiday seasons to all the Photo Friday folks over at Delicious Baby.

On Board With Trekaroo KidsMobile: San Diego

If you’re a traveling parent and still haven’t visited the Trekaroo website, then you’re missing out. Big time. I’ve had them listed under travel resources, because I think that their parent reviews of destinations, hotels and restaurants come in pretty handy when I’m planning a trip. You can also create your own Passport Page and chime in with your own reviews. I know you’re dying to put in your two cents. Their travel lists are also a superb resource, so I joined in with one of my own.

This week, a fab group of blogging moms came together for a San Diego list-off, otherwise known as the Trekaroo KidsMobile. Go check out all of our San Diego tips.

Trekaroo families  have been voting for their favorite kid-friendly activities and hotels in and around San Diego.  We’ve tallied their votes for 2009 and here’s the line up!

Top Activities for Kids in San Diego, CA – voted by parents

Top Kid-friendly Hotels in San Diego, CA – voted by parents

Living in San Diego leaves local families little excuse to stay home.  These moms bring you their personal recommendations of the best places to take kids in their hometown.  Want the local scoop?  Here it is!

Bridget Smith, the author of The Unauthorized Legoland Guidebook not only shared with us her Top Tips for a Legoland Adventure with Toddler and Preschoolers, but now gives us some great ideas about Fun Things to  Do After Visiting Legoland, California. Bridget spent countless hours in Legoland one year and made more than full use of their family’s season pass to bring us the blow-by-blow of making the most of your visit to Legoland.  Follow their family’s other adventures on her blog:  Family Adventure Guidebooks

The Q Family  isn’t local but lives to travel.  If you have 5 days to spend in San Diego, here’s their list of the Must See Attractions with Kids in San Diego. This is a family who’s constantly on the go!  The Q Family Adventures Travel Blog chronicles their adventures with wonderful photos, fun stories and helpful tips.

Balboa Park is a wonderful urban park that families love.  But when hunger strikes, Carolina has a list of Kid-friendly Dining in Balboa Park.  She is the mom behind the blog Kids Go West.  As a public school teacher, mom and freelance travel writer, she shares her insider tips on all the totally awesome places to go with kids in her home state of California. Bookmark her blog if you’re heading to California.

Rockinmama loves to mix fun and learning.  She recommends these 5 Fun and Educational Kid Activities in San Diego.  On her blog Rockin Mama, she writes with great humor about pregnancy.  She also write prolifically about parent-friendly products.  If you’re looking for the inside scoop on new products for parents out there, this rockin mama’s got it.

Amie O’Shaughnessy of Ciao Bambino brings us San Diego: Favorite Family Hotels . Ciao Bambino is a one of Trekaroo’s favorite partners because we share a common passion – inspiring families to travel.  Ciao Bambino provides tips and advice around all things related to traveling with kids and is a guide to the best kid-friendly hotels.

Wylsa runs Toddler’s Travel – a local baby equipment rental company for visiting families.  Naturally, she’s a guru on Fun Activities for Toddlers in San Diego.  Instead of lugging all those bulky items on the plane, rent it when you arrive from Toddler’s Travel.

Colleen of TravelMamas has the scoop on the 5 Best Family-friendly Restaurants in San Diego County.  Her blogTravelmamas blog gives tell-it-like-it-is tips about traveling with kids.  Gathering information from travel experts (with kids), moms who’ve been there she got loads of practical advice on traveling well with kids.

La Jolla is one of the most beautiful suburbs of San Diego and La Jolla Mom shares with us her list of Things to Do in La Jolla With Kids. Her blog La Jolla Mom has become a meeting place of sorts for local moms looking to connect.  Her Family Fun section is full of popular and off the beaten path places to go with kids.  Hop on over and see why La Jolla is a town you must stop at when visiting San Diego.

Other Resources for San Diego, CA

  • All 104 Activities for kids in the San Diego County
  • Kid-friendly hotels in and around San Diego County

Which Hotels came up at the top?

Top Activities for Kids in San Diego, CA – voted by parents

Next stop, Denver, CO (that’s right, the launch of Colorado is coming soon)

KidsMobile_jumponThe Trekaroo KidsMobile is a blog carnival with a twist. It’s designed to provide a unique opportunity for mom and dad bloggers to be featured on Trekaroo while

1) expressing their unique point of view

2) getting a web of link exchanges.

Join us for one of our next stopovers.

Photo Friday: Samba From Neverland

There I am in downtown San Jose, waiting for my little guy to board the Samba Balloon Ride, when I see this sign. Unbeknown to me, we were standing next to a little piece of pop culture history. I was also unknowingly blocking the sign from a lady trying to take a picture of it. Apparently, the historical significance of these spinning hot-air balloons didn’t escape her either.

The Balloon Samba is just one of the rides that were bought from Michael Jackson by Butler Amusements in 2008, and  after being featured at the California State Fair this past summer, have been making their way across California. They are currently stationed outside the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose as part of Christmas in the Park.

I’m linking up this photo to Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday. Hopefully, that lady behind me wasn’t a travel blogger and going to post up this photo too.

Today’s Tip: Easy Beach Clean-Up

The beach is my family’s favorite natural playground, so we’d like to keep it looking spiffy. Earlier this year, I noticed myself picking up trash as I walked along the beach. I just couldn’t stand to think that any piece of plastic would end up being washed back into the ocean. But my pockets got full while on our walks, so I decided to start taking along a specific “trash” bag anytime I went to the beach. Now we collect shells and bits of trash. It’s sad to have to pick up any trash at the beach, but it’s a good feeling to leave our favorite place just a little bit nicer than we found it.

Three Travel Secrets: Maui

It’s no secret that Maui is a popular family vacation destination. But there are some hidden places families may often overlook when planning their itineraries. Lucky for them, I’m not good at keeping secrets. Here are three of my favorite places in Maui.

1. Kahekili Beach Park

This became one of our favorite beaches in Maui, by default. We gave up trying to find free parking at the more popular Kaanapali Beach nearby, so we drove on to Kahekili Beach Park instead. We loved that this beach was quieter, but still had the conveniences of a bathroom, picnic tables, barbecue pits, and a parking lot. When you’re traveling with young kids, these are all a godsend. The snorkeling is also good and it makes the best location for a sunset dinner. And by sunset dinner, I mean a picnic of take-out food from Maui Tacos.

2. Upcountry With Kids

I put off a visit to the upcountry region of Maui, because I wasn’t sure if was going to be to my son’s liking. I had read about the pineapple wineries and the rolling countryside, but it didn’t sound like kiddie paradise. I loved to be proved wrong. We spent a very relaxing Sunday afternoon at the Alii Kula Lavender Farm and the Kula Botanical Garden. Both places had plenty of activities to keep kids busy: scavenger hunts, poi fish to feed, brownies to eat. I truly wish I could spend more Sunday afternoons walking in fields of lavender, through bamboo tunnels and sitting pretty while I sip my lavender tea and gaze out over the Pacific Ocean.

3. Hawaii Nature Center

I’m a sucker for a good education center, so of course I loved the Hawaii Nature Center. On the way up to Iao Valley State Park, most people will drive past this place. They shouldn’t. Kids (and parents) can get a bit more out of their Hawaiian vacation than boogie boards and shave ice. At this center, they learn about the flora and fauna of Hawaii with hands-on, engaging exhibits.

This post was inspired by Lorraine at Keeps Me Smiling, who gave me a little shoulder tap in a game of blogger tag that began with Katie at Tripbase. Lorraine shared her secrets learned while on a trip to Novia Scotia with her family and inspired me to go. She then tags me and other bloggers to share their travel secrets. Now I’m ready to tag a few more fellow bloggers because I can’t wait to read what they have to share. I’ll keep this post updated with my tags as well.

Tagging Sharlene from Double Adventure: She shares all the wild O.C. secrets.

Tagging Mara at Mother of All Trips: She shares family travel wisdom.

Kihei Family Travel Tips