• travel

    Travel With Kids: Safety Tips for Foreign Travel

    I’m not a safety expert, but I am a mom who overthinks ALL. THE. THINGS. Especially when we are traveling with kids in a foreign country because there is plenty of opportunity for things to go wrong. Specifically, there’s increased opportunity for my kids to get lost. I have two kids, ages 8 and 11, who have already visited 11 countries. We are American citizens who just spent two years living in Dublin, Ireland. It was a big change moving from the U.S. where we NEVER used public transportation to living in a foreign country and ONLY using public transportation – even for going to school. I’ve learned a few things about…

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    Travel: West Point Military Academy

    Yes, a military college is a tourist attraction. Judging by the number of tour buses in the parking lot, West Point Military Academy is a VERY popular attraction! Who knew? FIRST, A BIT OF HISTORY Before West Point was a military academy, its location played a pivotal role in America’s Revolutionary War. George Washington considered this area along New York’s Hudson River to be the most important strategic position in the fight against the British. In 1778, soldiers built fortifications to defend the area and also ran a 150-ton iron chain across the Hudson River to control river traffic. Their plan worked. After the war ended, the country’s founders became…

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    Travel: Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park

    I love travel. I love exploring. I love finding FREE things to do while out and about on our adventures. Oh, yes I do! If you are on the East Coast and want to see the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, then I recommend a stop in an unlikely spot – Paterson, New Jersey. Paterson is considered America’s first planned industrial city and the idea for it came from Alexander Hamilton. Yes, THE Alexander Hamilton. Paterson has a pretty important feature for an industrial city – particularly one back in the 1800s – water. The Passaic River runs through Paterson and the energy from the 77-foot high Great Falls…

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    Travel: Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

    We have traveled to a lot of places in the past couple of years, but it was a visit a to my childhood home that prompted a recent excursion to Mt. St. Helens with my kids, ages 8 and 11. I have been to Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument a couple of times, but this was my children’s first visit. And, boy, did they have a lot of questions, starting with this one… “What was it like when Mt. St. Helens erupted, Mom?” I indignantly replied, “How old do you think I am, kids? Huh?” Actually, they were right. I was alive during the volcano’s last big eruption, but I was…

  • Ireland,  travel

    Visiting Ireland: The Book of Kells

    It’s hard to prioritize what to do and see in Dublin if you are visiting for a short period of time. You’d think this process would be easier if you are living in Dublin, but NOPE! It took us two years before we got around to seeing the Book of Kells. I’m not sure why we waited so long. No one else does! Close to a million visitors a year view the Book of Kells making it the 5th most popular tourist attraction in Ireland. If you’re a history buff, a book lover, a believer in the gospels and/or a Star Wars fan, this is the tour for you! WHAT IS…

  • travel

    Travel: One Day in London with Kids

    One of the best things about living in Ireland is being able to get relatively cheap flights from Dublin to other cities in Europe via Ryan Air. Awhile back we took advantage of one of those airfare deals to make a quick weekend trip to London. I do mean quick. While we were there for 2 nights, we really only had one full day to see the London sights. Here’s how to make the most of one day in London with kids. Getting Around There’s no other way to get around London than with public transportation. If you want to know which travel pass is the best one to buy…

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    Travel: One Day in Berlin with Kids

    One day in any city is never enough, but sometimes a quirk in your travel plans presents an opportunity. For us, it was one day in Berlin or zero days in Berlin. Of course we’ll take the one day! Especially since it meant being able to see friends. The biggest thing I learned? We need to go back! Getting Into Berlin from the Airport Getting from the Berlin Airport into the city involves either taking a taxi or a bus. We took the bus. And then the train. And then walked to our hotel. Figuring out the bus and train situation was not impossible – we did it after all,…

  • Ireland,  travel

    Visiting Ireland: Kilmainham Gaol Museum

    When we arrived at Kilmainham Gaol Museum on the west side of Dublin, we were greeted at a big imposing door by a stout-looking Irish man with grey hair. He looked at me and with all seriousness said, “Ah! I see you’ve brought us some long-term guests!” My kids stared at the man and then slowly looked at me like, “He’s joking, right mom? RIGHT?!?!” Have I mentioned that Kilmainham Gaol is a prison? Technically, it WAS a prison. Kilmainham Gaol opened in 1796 on a site known as Gallows Hill. If that doesn’t set the stage for an 18th century prison, I don’t know what does. WHY YOU SHOULD…

  • Ireland,  travel

    Visiting Ireland: St. Patrick’s Day

    Visiting Ireland any time of year is special. Visting Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day? Well, that’s taking things up a notch or ten million. Let’s start with some basics. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland who is believed to have died on March 17 around the year 460 A.D. Record keeping might not have been quite as stringent in the 5th century. Hence, all the qualifying words. It is believed that St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland or, at least, had a large influence on Christianity in Ireland. Many of the stories about St. Patrick aren’t necessarily factual. However, they are impressive if you have certain phobias. For…

  • travel

    Travel: Paris with Kids

    When I told a family member we’d be visiting Paris, she said, “That sounds so romantic!” To which I replied, “Did I forget to mention we’re visiting Paris WITH our kids?” So, no romance this trip, but lots of family fun. It’s a good trade-off. Right?!?! While I would love to see Paris in the spring, it was pretty special to be able to ring in the New Year (from our hotel room, of course) in this beautiful city. Here are my impressions of Paris, things we did and my tips for visiting with kids. (Our kids were 7 and 10 at the time of our visit.) GETTING AROUND The…