Asheville, NC (May 2015)

* I'm participating in August Break 2018 by responding to prompts with pictures. Want to join in? Click the link and share a picture! It's that simple!


Continue Egypt planning.
Prepare for August Break.
Take a much needed break from life by going on vacation.

Additional Successes:
• Updated my wardrobe. (Good in that I have more options, bad in that I spent money.)
• Started walking/exercising almost daily.
• Went to a theater production. (A children's production, but still. Staying culturally aware is good.)
• Tried Mexican street corn for the first time. Had no idea what I had been missing my whole life! ;)
• Finished a book! (7/12)
• Tried seven new kinds of wine. (Not necessarily a success, but certainly fun!)
• Booked flights for a wedding in NYC.

August Goals
• Continue Egypt planning.
• rotate truck's tires
• book another hotel night in NYC

IWSG Question: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

I've never published, aside from blog posts. 😳I guess with any kind of publication, I would warn other writers that anything you share online or publish is forever. Be sure you want to be that open with your audience. Also know that there will always be mistakes that you won't spot until you've published; this is why an editor is important. Have at least one other person read your writing before you publish. Also, consider reading your writing out loud. You may gloss over mistakes if you read your writing to yourself but reading out loud will force you to see and hear each word that you've written.

Your Turn:

Have you ever unintentionally shared something with someone by being too open either online or otherwise? What happened? Would you approach the situation differently next time?

Click here to learn more and
link up with IWSG!

The Friday Five #6

1. What plans did you have for this summer?

Working. Vacationing. Apparently deep cleaning? (Who knew?)

2. Have you accomplished them or is it still a work in progress?

Cleaning will always be a work in progress.
a. I cleaned out my email. (One account was getting closed, so I needed to update subscriptions so that I would continue to get emails I was interested in.)
b. I got rid of a bunch of clothes. That's been at least 5 years of ignoring/putting off.
c. We got rid of at least 3 printers. My husband keeps old electronics to tinker with. Six years in and the electronics still haven't been tinkered with? Out they go.
d. We also got rid of books that no longer apply to our lives. I mean  – do people ever really go back to the same books they've already read? Life feels too short to!
e. We also organized by buying new tupperware and shelves. Unfortunately, I still don't have a place for everything!

3. What would make this summer much better for you?

Getting asked to work more in August. Extra money is always nice.

4. When did you go back to school from summer break when you were a kid?

At the end of August. It feels like kids go back to school so early now!

5. Is anyone else as shocked as I am that July and most of the summer is nearly over?

YES! Where did summer go?

The Friday Five #5

Another week, another Friday FivePlease join me in answering these questions. I'd love to read your responses! :)

1) If you could be either a fish or a bird, which would you be, and why?

I'd be a bird. I'm not sure why. I guess I like the idea of soaring over everything.

2) Would you rather it be 10 degrees too hot or 10 degrees too cold? (Does your answer change if that’s indoors or outdoors?)

Too cold. Always. I live where it is already pretty hot, so "too cold" is probably like 20º or 30º F in the winter and 70º or 80º F in the summer. Indoors? I live at 70ºF, so 60º or 50º isn't too bad. I like blankets and sweaters. Of course, it's hard typing when your fingers are freezing, and fingerless gloves don't seem too appealing. Maybe a hot glass of tea or hot chocolate would suffice? So long as I don't spill it on my laptop!

3) What is the best thing that happened to you today?

It's 7am, so not much! The best thing that happened to me this past weekend? (I'm blogging ahead. It's Monday morning.) Finding and buying a mostly sold out dress. It's the wrong size, but I'm going to get it altered. I also spent time with friends and family. Went wine tasting. :) 6 types and one port. We paired them with a three course meal. And then we ate homemade pizza last night. Yum! :)

4) Is youth wasted on the young? (Follow-up: are you old or young?)

I'm not sure. I'm not particularly old. I definitely wouldn't want to be a child again. And teenagehood wasn't that great either. There are things I wish I had realized or done at a younger age that I have done or realized since that have impacted my life positively. But was my youth wasted with naivety? Was my time and energy wasted?  Doubtful. Ask me again in 20 years.

5) Pasta salad or potato salad?

Depends on if I'm in Hawai'i or not. Pasta salad goes with everything in Hawai'i. Potato salad goes with barbecue, burgers, or KFC. Both can be good.

Do you have any special plans for the weekend?

9 Tips for Smoother Travel Adventures with Young Kids

Today, I have a very special guest, Daniel Sherwin of, who has offered to write a guest post about the best ways to travel with young children. He has some awesome tips to help keep your whole family happy whether you are taking a road trip just a few miles down the road or flying to another country with your little ones!

Adventuring with the family this summer? Get ready for some fun in the sun! Here’s how to keep everyone happy, entertained, and safe during your journeys.

Travel with Toddlers

Little people like to explore… everything. Build in extra time to accommodate additional bathroom breaks and side-trips to keep your stress levels lower.

1. Whether you’re motel-hopping or camping, book ahead. Nothing’s worse than arriving at a destination with tired, cranky kids to find everything filled to capacity.
2. Give your littles an inexpensive easy-to-use digital camera. It’s fun to see the world from their point of view.
3. Consider the climate where you’re headed. Water shoes protect tender feet from crunchy shells at the beach. SPF rash guards and longer boardshorts cover more skin.
4. Still potty-training? Pack pull-ups especially for long plane and car trips.
5. Try public transportation — it’s another experience for toddlers to interact with different cultures, especially if your kids rarely travel regularly by train or bus or boat.
6. Get a child locator. These GPS devices strap to belts, shoes, or wrists. You keep the transmitter or download an app to your phone.
7. Pack antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer for wiping down utensils, seats, and toys. 

8. Put together a traveling first aid kit with kids’ Tylenol, antiseptic wipes, sting and sunburn treatment, a thermometer, Neosporin, Band-Aids, and a few ice packs.

Travel with Elementary-Age Kids

Encourage independence when your kids pack for the trip, but check their bags to verify they’ve remembered the essentials.

1. Whether you’re journeying by plane, train, automobile, or a combination, don’t just count on electronics to keep them occupied. Pack a selection of battery-free activities like puzzle/activity or coloring books, travel games, mini-packages of slime, or Play-Doh.
2. Give your kids a travel journal, where they can write about and draw pictures of the trip. As with younger kids, encourage older kids to use their iPods or other digital cameras to visually document their adventures.

Don’t Be a Stickler for Rules

It’s true that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limited screen time for little people; however, if you’re on a transatlantic flight, delayed in an airport, or stuck in traffic, a Disney movie on the iPad or an extra hour of Minecrafting won’t hurt. Have ice cream for lunch, and let the kids watch television in the morning for an extra hour so you can relax on the deck with your coffee and book.

Talk About Budgeting Before You Go

By age 5 or 6, kids can grasp the idea of budgets, especially if you have simple discussions as part of everyday life. Before heading on your trip, decide on the amount of money your kids can spend on souvenirs. If they earn money doing extra jobs or receive a weekly allowance, suggest they bring some of their money to spend. If you’re headed to a specific destination, like Disney World, you can purchase a gift card with a specified amount for kids to spend with the understanding that when it’s gone, it’s gone.

Healthy Car-Friendly Meals and Snacks for All

Sure, you could go with the standard PB&J or crackers and veggies with hummus. Wrapped sandwiches and protein boxes are good, too — but what about the taste? Your road warriors don’t have to sacrifice taste if you’re replacing traditional road-trip fare with healthier options. 

Protein-filled foods like mozzarella string cheese and apple slices or hard-boiled eggs are excellent examples of meals to eat in the car. All-natural beef jerky’s a win, too. We often snack from boredom, so offer carrot sticks and grapes which last for miles and miles. Make air-popped popcorn for complex carbs, fiber, and antioxidants.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Traveling with kids is never dull — but if you’re a wanderer at heart, don’t let a larger family slow you down! Expect the unexpected, cultivate a healthy dose of flexibility, give yourself permission to go with the flow (even if it’s not part of the itinerary), and enjoy the adventure!

For those of you with young kids, are there any tips here that you plan on incorporating during your next vacation? Is there anything else that you think would be important to keep in mind that may not be mentioned in this post?