• travel

    Travel: Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

    I hope you know by now I wouldn’t recommend taking a trip to visit a small town in the middle of nowhere without good reason. When I say small, I’m not exaggerating. (Not this time!) And when I say good reason, I have more than one! Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, is a historic Victorian town (population 4,633) in the Pocono Mountains. It is situated approximately 1.5 hours from Philadelphia and 2 hours from New York City. (Unless you are leaving on a Friday night at 5 p.m. Then it might take half a lifetime a little longer.) If you don’t like 19th century architecture, great restaurants, quirky shops, eye-opening museums, outdoor recreation…

  • travel

    Travel: Hershey, Pennsylvania

    Are you a chocolate fan? Would it be blasphemy to say if you offered me a piece of chocolate or a gummy bear I’d probably take the gummy bear? Yes? Then I won’t say that. I’ll just tell you we visited Hershey, Pennsylvania. Do you know what’s located in Hershey, Pennsylvania? You do?!?! Was the clue in the name? Did I give it away? I did. I knew it. That’s right. Hershey is the home to The Hershey Company, which is known for its chocolate treats like Hershey Bars and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. It is also home to several tourist attractions and since they all have the name “Hershey”…

  • Crafts,  travel

    Souvenir Penny Magnets

    My son collects souvenir pennies when we visit tourist attractions. Souvenir pennies are small, inexpensive and apparently not illegal to make, so I feel like we are winning on all fronts. Much like the playing cards that I collect, a souvenir penny is a neat reminder of a visit to a specific place. Plus, this is something my son can collect his entire life. I’m not knocking the souvenir stuffed animal with this comment either. Okay, maybe a little, but we have more stuffed animals than Noah and his ark and at some point kids outgrow stuffed animals. Right?!?! Now, the problem with 8-year-olds and teeny tiny souvenirs is that…

  • travel

    Travel: Valley Forge National Historical Park

    We travel for pleasure and entertainment, sure. But we also travel to learn. I grew up in a rural area of the West Coast and didn’t travel much as a kid. I learned about history from school textbooks. It was a good foundation, but there is nothing, short of being there for the event itself, like seeing a historical site in person. Last month we visited Valley Forge National Historic Park in Pennsylvania. It’s not far from our house and made a great day trip. If you decide to go, here are some tips I picked up to help you plan your trip. WHAT IS VALLEY FORGE AND WHY IS…

  • 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…

  • travel

    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…

  • travel

    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…

  • travel

    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…