Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Author: luvboxerdogs (page 1 of 5)

Self-Love: Stop Apologizing For Who You Are

One day, when I was feeling upset, I wrote this Facebook status:

A very wise person said to me: the only thing that is wrong with you is wondering what is wrong with you. I am done apologizing for who I am. There, I said it. Please hold me to this. I’m counting on you. We should all feel this way. I think anyone who has been through big life changes–divorce, parenting, breakups, marriage, job, death–you can lose yourself and wonder what is wrong with you. I am also a people pleaser, so I wonder if I even know who I am…

As soon as something goes wrong in my life, my thinking is: what’s wrong with me or what did I do wrong? This is not helpful thinking. Sure, it’s always good to assess situations and learn from them, and I’m sure that often mistakes are made–by both parties.  But I can really obsess like the best of them over things like:

  • I texted first one too many times.
  • I wore the wrong shoes.
  • I talked to strangers.
  • I wanted to sing karoke.
  • I get up at 5:30 am.
  • I like plans and schedules and calendars.

We can become so obsessed over minor, unimportant details that make up who we are. I do this all the time. Yes, I like to binge watch terrible shows. No, I don’t like to only drink beer. Yes, I can be loud and interrupt people. No, I don’t like to go out without make-up on. We are all made up of wonderful, interesting, annoying, and quirky personality traits that someone won’t like. We find ourselves apologizing for these. (I do anyway.) We wonder why we can’t be perfect, like Friend A or Acquaintance B. And I’m stressing the word, WE, because when I put this Facebook post up, it received a lot of comments, many were from people who were feeling the same.

” I had a friend yesterday tell me that I need to believe in myself more and be confident in my skill. She’s right.”

or

“I had a similar UGH moment a couple weeks ago! https://www.homewithkristen.com/new-blog/2017/6/21/you-do-you ”

or

“Thanks for this. I was at an event last night and started really feeling insecure and self-doubting. Just felt like a total loser compared to the other people there. Self-esteem today was so low, and I texted a friend to try to feel better. She reminded me that everyone else at that event also has demons to battle, scars they hide, and their own problems, even if it didn’t show last night. Sometimes you just need that reminder that NOBODY is perfect, and everyone has issues.”

Why do we do this to ourselves? 

Social media does not help with this issue because most of us share ONLY our glory moments. Sure, I’ll share my cute daughter at the state fair or her first day of school, but not so much sharing when she’s having a major meltdown over an art project. And everyone’s an expert these days with headlines, like: 10 Ways to Get a Guy.   How to Be a Great Friend.  Lose Weight Without Trying. And so on…look at the bio on some of these writers–they might have some good ideas, but they have zero qualifications to be an expert OR to tell you that anything is wrong with you!

I’m not advocating that we don’t self-assess, try to improve or work on making our relationships the best they can possibly be. But while we are doing that, we must also practice self-love and that includes STOPPING the insanity of apologizing for who you are. And I’m going to go one step further and include: stop apologizing for who your kids/family are too. We are who we are. NO ONE is perfect. Everyone has issues. The only thing you really need to apologize for is: if you stop learning, growing, and working towards becoming a better version of the almost-perfect self you are now.

That’s my two cents. I’m going to step off my soap box now.

 

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Nashville: A Surprisingly Family Friendly Vacation Spot

Contributed post

Straddling the Cumberland River in North Tennessee, Nashville has rightly earned its reputation as a thriving musical hub. The very name is synonymous with country music, gaudy neon, whiskey and downtown’s infamous status as one of the country’s premier party spots. It may not be the first place your subconscious mind would rush to when it comes to an ideal spot for a family vacation. But if you look beyond the shot swilling, guitar strumming Nashvillian stereotypes , you’ll find a whole lot to recommend as one of America’s most family friendly locations.

Image by Pixabay

Nashville has a surprising array of family friendly, fun and educational attractions that are ideally suited to moms, dads and kids of all ages. Here are just a few of the family friendly activities with which you can fill your Nashville Days:

Free Puppet Shows at the Nashville Public Library

If you have young children and a limited budget, then here’s a fun activity that’s completely free. Nashville Public Library is not only the perfect place for imaginative kids to lose themselves in the magical world of books, they also host a range of fun and imaginative puppet shows based on popular kids’ stories that are perfect for kids of all ages.

Experience the Musical “Petting Zoo” at The Country Music Hall of Fame

Whether they’re a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll or a little bit hip hop, musically gifted kids can literally get a feel for the music biz by trying out a huge range of new and familiar musical instruments. Aside from its ubiquitous Johnny Cash Museum, The Country Music Hall of Fame offers a fun and interactive experience for the whole family, giving everyone a chance to play instruments, sing, be a DJ or record their own track (a great memento).   

Learn and Have Fun at the Adventure Science Center

Kids learn best when they’re having fun, and there are few places more educational and fun than Musc City’s own Adventure Science Center. Hosting a wide range of year round exhibits that offer a fun and interactive experience for kids of all ages, the center features its popular Little Labs program in which children aged 3-5 can participate in age-appropriate lab activities, experiments and crafts. Kids with their heads in the stars can get to be an astronaut for the day by exploring the outer reaches of the universe in the Space Chase. They can even feel what it’s like to walk on the surface of the moon by taking the Star Walk, followed by a spectacular laser show at the Sudekum Planetarium!

Long Family Walks at the Cheekwood Botanical Garden

What better way to start the day or walk off a delicious meal than strolling the gorgeous grounds of the Cheekwood Botanical Garden? This 55- acre park has a spectacular range of trees and plants as well as hosting an award winning jungle gym.

When it comes to fun activities that the whole family can enjoy, you’ll be surprised at the quality and diversity of Music City’s family friendly attractions.

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Getting Rid of the Anger Caused by Ego (Guest Post)

When KJ wrote to me and asked if I was interested in the guest post below, I had been (and still am) thinking a lot about happiness and about how my beliefs and attitudes affect my day-to-day happiness. I posted a link to this article, “10 Ways You Are Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be” on my Editor 911 Facebook page.  In this article, many of the “ways” we make ourselves less happy and give ourselves a harder life concern our ego, as KJ discusses below, such as ascribing intent when none was actually present, making ourselves a star in our own movie, and having unrealistic and uncommunicated expectations (I had an a-ha moment at that one!).

So I invite you to read the short post, written by KJ,  full of examples, which will have you thinking about your own behavior and thoughts on anger and happiness and how you can control so much of it.

Immediate Reduction in Ego
(c) KJ Hannah Greenberg

Soothing anger is one reason folks overeat. So if the behavior of eating to sooth is to be abated, then anger has to be snuffed out. The other day, someone shared an amazing thought with me…anger is about ego.

Normal folks get indignant about all sorts of things: being passed over for a job, not getting invited to a party, receiving fewer hugs from a child than anticipated, flipping an omelet only to find lunch land on the floor, and so on. Our hurts, real and imagined, come in all sorts of kinds and types. Too often, we react to those actual or seeming injustices with the feeling of having been wronged.

Yet, truly, those scrambled eggs mixed with vegetables had no moral compass. Likewise, invitations get lost in the mail. What’s more, it’s possible, believe it or not, that the person promoted, “in our stead,” actually better deserved the position.

Regardless of whether the hurts we think we endure are intentional or accidental, good for our fiber or disastrous, it behooves us not to own them. If we can be just a tad less conscious of ourselves, we can experience less anger. If we can experience less anger, we can reach less to food or to other substances for “compensation.”

In my own life, I reflect that it did not really matter that a certain university turned me down for a position; I would not have invested (and BH succeeded) in creative writing, otherwise. It did not matter that a certain caterer served spoiled food at a party where I was a guest; the celebration, which was NOT about me, was as wonderful as it might have been had fresh comestibles decked the tables.

It does not matter than one of my children wears a rainbow of nail polish colors. What other folks think of me, in general, and of my parenting, more specifically, is palpably less important than is my interpersonal communication with that child. It’s up to me, as the mom, to bolster her.

Why should I care that a bus driver slammed close his door just as I was in a position, in the queue, to board the vehicle? My ease was not more important than was the comfort and safety of the hundred or so others folks who had already boarded.

It doesn’t really matter that a lady pushed me to reach in front of me to grab the last pair of discounted socks. It’s not for me to determine the ultimate destiny of a store’s merchandise.

KJ Hannah Greenberg © Yiftach Paltrowitz, 2010

In short, when I reduce my self-importance, it naturally follows that I reduce my anger. That’s quite a project. Fortunately, at present, there’s a lot for me to work with.

KJ Hannah Greenberg’s whimsical writing buds in pastures where gelatinous wildebeests roam and beneath the soil where fey hedgehogs play. She’s been nominated four times for the Pushcart Prize in Literature, and once for The Best of the Net. Hannah’s essay collections are: Dreams are for Coloring Books: Midlife Marvels (Seashell Books, 2017), Word Citizen: Uncommon Thoughts on Writing, Motherhood & Life in Jerusalem (Tailwinds Press, 2015), Jerusalem Sunrise (Imago Press, 2015), Oblivious to the Obvious: Wishfully Mindful Parenting (French Creek Press, 2010), and Conversations on Communication Ethics (Praeger, 1991). In the next few months, look for others of her essay collections; Tosh: Select Trash and Bosh of Creative Writing (Crooked Cat Books), Simple Gratitudes (Propertius Press), and Rhetorical Candy (Seashell Books).  http://www.kjhannahgreenberg. net/

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What You Deserve in a Significant Other

I should start this post with a couple disclaimers: 1. I’m not talking about any individual specifically, except myself.  2. I realize TV and movies are not real (just in case you think: oh no, this time, she’s really lost it).

When I first began this blog, I mentioned I would post about dating. I had a funny story about a “zero” date I went on, and that’s about all I’ve posted.  I haven’t written much about dating since.  It’s so personal, isn’t it? And you never know who’s going to be reading this blog!

But I had an epiphany, and so I must share it. If it helps one person besides myself, then any flack I get for this post about Gilmore Girls will be well worth it.

I am on a Gilmore Girls binge, thanks to the world of Netflix. One night, while putting a desk together from IKEA, I watched several episodes from season 3. In this season, Rory’s best friend, Lane Kim, who is Korean, wants this guy she likes, Dave, who is NOT Korean, to take her to the prom. Her mother does not approve, only because Dave is not Korean, and Mrs. Kim is very strict and religious. So, Dave dresses up in a suit and comes to see Mrs. Kim:

 

So my epiphany: don’t settle for someone who would not “read the Bible for you in one night.” Do I want someone to read the Bible? No. But I want someone who would go to the effort of everything Dave does in that wonderfully written scene. And I will point out, everyone–male and female–deserves this effort.

Everyone deserves someone who would dress up in a suit and make a formal presentation to a strict mother.

Everyone also deserves to find someone they would do this for–because it works both ways. Do you currently have someone in your life you would go that extra mile for? I know this kind of effort isn’t for everyone. People have relationships for many different reasons–something to do, sex, fun, compatibility. But if you want someone who loves and cherishes you, and you want to love and cherish someone, then that’s what you should look for, and that’s what you deserve.

I’m not giving up until I find it.

 

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The Worst Feeling As A Parent

Some things in life are very difficult. I’m sure every adult you know has some kind of difficulty whether it’s a relationship problem, financial concerns or health scares–problems and issues are all around us. I’ve had my share, but they don’t compare to what many of you have experienced or may be experiencing now. But the hardest thing for me is when my daughter has a problem and I can’t solve it.

Disclaimer: Before any of you get up in arms about this–I know I shouldn’t solve all her problems. She is only 6, but she has to learn to work through things and figure it out for herself (in a lot of cases), so she will learn to do this as she grows up. 

The problem my daughter and I are now facing is that the little girl who she considers to be her best friend, her grandparents’ neighbor, her playmate three or more times a week has MOVED TO FLORIDA. Naturally, KT is very upset. She has been crying off and on, and I have been encouraging her to talk about it. I’ve been trying to use skills I’ve learned at Kids in the Middle, where feelings need to be validated and worked through–not ignored and pushed under the rug.

I told her there is nothing she can do about this but feel the sadness and talk about it if she feels like it. I’ve left out the part that she will probably never see this little girl again. She might not even remember her very well in a couple of years because right now, this missing her friend already feels all consuming to KT. I think that “wisdom” would actually make it worse. We’ve talked about the things KT could do at Grandma’s house to pass the time and how sometimes, when you feel sad, it really is okay just to sit and watch TV and relax for a while.  That was the end of my wisdom. My heart breaks for her because she is so sad, and there really is nothing to fix this.

Of course, this made me reflect on my own friendships throughout the years. Social media makes it easy to “keep in touch” with people nowadays, but there are some people who I loved dearly that I am not in touch with anymore (whether it’s because they aren’t on social media or I haven’t found them or they don’t want to be in touch) or who have actually passed away. And there is nothing I can do. There is nothing I can do but feel the sadness and work through it, maybe write about it, maybe just sit and watch TV and relax for a while.

The worst to me as an adult is when you have a good friend and you are having a conflict and you are out of touch, whether it’s agreed upon or not. It’s sad. And you miss this person, but what can you do? You just have to work through the sadness and hope one day you both can figure it out.

So for now, that’s what KT and I are going to do. The good thing is KT is busy at cheerleading camp this week, and she told me that she doesn’t even think about it when she is there, and I see that as a positive life lesson she’s learning. And I will follow in her footsteps.

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4 Money-Saving Resources for Single Parents Looking to Vacation (Guest Post)

Recently, it seems as if I’ve been posting a lot about travel, and this is not a travel blog. But it’s summer, and let’s just pretend I had this in mind as one of my themes ON PURPOSE. Today’s post comes from Julie Morris, who is a life and career coach. She has a nice website with interesting articles, such as “How to Change Your Life For the Better When You Can’t Change Careers” and “How to Give Your Life a Positivity Boost.” Although this guest post is geared toward single parents, any adult could take advantage of some of these tips. So, on to today’s guest post. . .

4 Money-Saving Resources for Single Parents Looking to Vacation by Julie Morris

Traveling and vacationing are exciting, fun, and sometimes life-changing experiences, but for single parents making a solo trip, working it into a tight budget can seem almost impossible. The last thing you want to do is to spend your trip stressing out over money. Pre-planning and using all the money-saving resources at your disposal is the best way to guarantee a stress-free vacation. Here are a few of the best tools for saving money and enjoying your childless trip.

Don’t Over-Pack

Often, it’s tempting to throw in every item you think you could possibly need on your trip, but try to avoid doing so if possible. An over-sized, over-packed suitcase can lead to extra fees at the airport and will simply be a pain to lug from destination to destination. Before you pack, make a list of the core items you’ll need and try to stick to those items only. If you just can’t figure out how to get everything you need into your suitcase, there are many great tutorials available online.

If you will be traveling by car, try to get the car loaded up the night before, so it will be one less thing you have to worry about. Dedicate that morning to getting the kids dropped off where they need to be, securing the house, and making sure everyone has what they need for a few days apart. Make a pre-travel checklist , so you don’t forget to close the garage or turn off the bathroom light. Include a list in your child’s suitcase with any special instructions such as bedtimes, medications, or scheduled activities. You’ll rest easy knowing you covered all your bases.

Take Advantage of Research

Utilize available data to study bookings trends. Studies of these trends have shown that 54 days before your departure is the best time to buy tickets, as they are at their cheapest on that day. This time frame does vary when booking international flights, though. While you may have heard that you can get the best prices by waiting until the last minute, research has shown that tickets cost $150 more when booked two weeks in advance of your trip. Try to snag a departure date in the middle of the week such as Tuesday or Wednesday, as it will often fall in the middle of other people’s trips, making it a prime travel day. As soon as you know the exact date of your travel plans, let your child care know, so they can adjust their schedules accordingly. Nothing will cause more stress than having to scramble to find a sitter at the last minute.

For car trips, save on gas by utilizing gas reward programs or downloading gas saving apps to locate the lowest gas price near your location. Get the most out of your gas mileage by ensuring your car is in tip top shape before hitting the road. Properly inflated tires can increase your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent, while clean air filters increase it by 7 percent.

Freelance Sitters for Homes and Pets are Cheaper

Freelance pet and home sitters are often more flexible and affordable options than kennels or leaving your home unattended and hoping for the best when you return. If you require additional home services, you can ask your pet sitter or dog walker to water your plants, check your mail, adjust your thermostat, turn your lights on and off, etc. Furthermore, they will provide more personalized care for your pets than a traditional kennel facility will.

Take the Road Less Traveled

Beauty, majesty, culture, and wonders exist in all corners of the world. Just because a destination is not a typical tourist location does not mean it isn’t worth traveling there. In fact, the less tourist traffic a place gets, the cheaper it is to get there, stay there, and shop there. Food, souvenirs for the kids, and lodging will all be at a lower, more local cost as opposed to the increased tourist prices. Most important, the plane ticket costs will be lower if you choose to visit a place that is off the beaten path.

Traveling on a budget does not mean missing out. Sure, you may not be able to decide to hop on a plane to Catalina Island tomorrow, but you will be able to hop onto your computer and start comparing the prices of a trip to St. Petersburg, Florida. With simple tips such as traveling to an uncommon destination or booking your trip in advance, you will be sure to leave your stress at home.

beach photo above by Stevebidmead

Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. After years in a successful (but unfulfilling) career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had become her prison.

Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts. When Julie isn’t working with clients, she enjoys writing and is currently working on her first book. She also loves spending time outdoors and getting lost in a good book. To contact Julie and find out more, please visit her website at http://juliemorris.org/.

 

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Practical Moms Unite: Picking Your Parenting Battles (Guest Post)

I love this post about focusing on what is important to you and your kids when choosing your battles by my writing friend Jennifer DiCamillo. Jennifer is the author of 37 books and has won well over 200 writing awards. She is a mother of five and grandmother to 8. She lives and writes in a haunted hollow in the Missouri Ozarks. Her pets include a 4 lb Yorkie named Pixie and a blue eyed paint stallion named W.C..

Picking Your Parenting Battles by Jennifer DiCamillo

I am a mother of five. I grew up in the seventies when Daisy Duke shorts were in. However, for my four daughters, I preferred to keep their butt cheeks covered. That was my first rule. But my girls are really long legged, so I had to draw another line. Shorts must be at least three inches long from the center seam. At least, that insured covering of the buttocks and other private areas. But then I decided fingertip length was better. You see, as a parent, you have to be flexible. If something doesn’t work, try again, make a new rule.

Then came the prom dress dilemma. I’m frustrated by the strapless and spaghetti strapped formals offered, as if sleeves were not used on modern clothing at all. I fought this battle, made a dress from scratch that was perfectly modest; and when prom pictures came back, my daughter was the only one who didn’t have a dress to match EVERY OTHER GIRL IN HER CLASS. My daughter forgave me, but I haven’t forgiven myself. I stood strong on the basis of modesty, and the fear of her losing her virginity on prom night. When in reality, both issues were character issues, not reliant on the straps or lack of sleeves on a dress. So, I actually lost the battle that I won at the time. I’ve cried repeatedly over what I think was a big mistake.

In a similar issue, I inspected my kids before church, sent them out to the car, climbed in, and half way to the church one day, I looked in my rearview mirror to see one of my daughters, after inspection, had added a poofy ponytail on the center top of her head, and let her sister draw (with an ink pen) a rather stylish headband across her forehead. Complete with an impressive starburst in the center. I was livid. I ranted about respecting God and self and embarrassing your family on top of all else.

It so happened that my daughter had to speak in front of the congregation that day…on judging other people. Or rather, not judging. I learned that she’d been a victim of a very churchy woman who didn’t like the length of her dresses, or how she dressed, period. After she spoke, eloquently on the subject I must add, many women approached me, said they loved the example my daughters all set. I complained about the headband and ponytail, to hear woman after woman say, “If that’s the worst rebellion you have to contend with, thank God.”

So, I’m here to tell you, don’t let a hairdo, or even a funky headband be your undoing. Don’t let a dress become a mortal war between you and your daughter. Relationships are fragile and need nurtured. Pick your battles, give in a little, and maybe you’ll win the war and still be friends with your daughter(s) when it’s all said and done.

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Extreme Travel Gadgets to Improve Your Travel (Guest Post)

Perhaps you saw my post last month: “Practical Moms Unite: Traveling With Your Child” , which provided tips for traveling with a child that did not require breaking the bank or stressing yourself out AND did provide fun for EVERYONE.

Recently, I was contacted by a writer who provided me with the infographic below and I think some of these are pretty practical if you travel a lot with or without children. So, here’s a short, fun guest post courtesy of De Vere.

Extreme Travel Gadgets to Improve Your Travel  (guest post)

The rise of travel gadgets over the past decade has meant that whatever your reason for traveling, some tasks, such as staying in touch with people and recording your journey, should be much simpler than ever before.

But when you’re planning your next trip and wondering what gadgets are worth including, the sheer amount of gadgets available on the market can make it an overwhelming task. Luckily, we trawled through hundreds of potential gadgets to select just a few that we think are worth considering.

We focused on gadgets that should help across your whole trip, from your journey to your actual stay. Check out this great infographic put together by De Vere to discover some great travel gadgets you might not have seen before:

 

 

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The Thing About Change and Not Giving Up

Most of us want to change something in our lives–whether we want to be more patient with our kids, not engage with someone abusive in our lives, lose weight, exercise and sleep more, or clean and organize our lives. And we expect these things to happen immediately, and I don’t know about you–but I am very hard on myself when I have a “relapse.”

This past spring, I was in a 6-week book study course called Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst. Lysa has a great sense of humor and shares all the ways she still can sometimes come unglued–and she is the one leading us in trying to do better! This is why I liked her and her book. It was realistic and practical. The best thing I learned in this course was imperfect progress.

Imperfect progress is what most of us make when we are trying to change. We take three steps forward, and then we take a step back (sometimes a giant leap backwards unfortunately), and this backwards step is the turning point. This moment is when you decide if you are going to make imperfect progress and get back on your plan to the life you want (diet/training program/break from a bad relationship), or you are going to give up with the negative thinking of: What’s the point anyway?

There are a lot of things I need to change. And I am the textbook definition of imperfect progress, but here’s what I realized about myself and my progress after a brief encounter with a difficult person: I am finally starting to realize when I’m falling into the trap of what I usually say when faced with confrontation and also what I usually do. I also noticed I don’t have the same feelings or reactions as I did even if my behavior is the same, and  I am thinking about what to do differently next time.

Do you realize how big this is? It’s big. It’s big because before this year, an encounter with a difficult person like this would have left me for hours or maybe even an entire day upset and blaming myself, wondering why I am the way I am, and a lot of other terribly self-pitying behavior.

How about you? Did you cheat on your diet? Don’t beat yourself up! Did you eat healthy for five days before that? Then focus on those five days because you are making imperfect progress. Did you yell at your kids instead of using love and logic? Okay, you might have been tired or hungry, and next time you will realize that and won’t yell.

This is the thing about change–don’t give up. We all deserve the life we want. 

By the way, I’m currently having an Editor 911 sale and a writing coaching sale. Here are the details: Now through June 30, 2017, I am running a sale on my Editor 911 and writing coaching services. Regular price for a content edit OR proofread is $3.00 a page (250-275 words).SALE price $2.25 a page.FULL edit  (content and proofreading) regular price $5.00 a page, sale price $4.00 a page. If you pay your total bill upfront with Paypal, receive a 10 % discount on top of the sale price. If you don’t have a project ready, but want me to work on it this summer or fall, you can pay a $100 deposit before June 30 to keep the sale price and use it anytime.

For writing coaching, regular price is $25 for 30 min. or $40 for 60 min. If you pay beforeJune 30, 2017, you can get a package deal and use the minutes however you want (including splitting it with a friend)! SALE package price is…300 minutes for $150 (savings of $50). You don’t have to use these minutes this summer; but you must purchase them by 6/30/2017. Writing coaching can be used to complete projects, define goals, discuss plot, etc. and in person (if you live within 15 miles of Margo) or by phone or Skype.

EMAIL ME FOR DETAILS: margolynndill (at) gmail.com

 

 

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Practical Moms Unite: Traveling with Your Child

So the 6-year-old and I went on a trip during spring break, and I’m just now posting about it. No, it’s not because I need to recover–it actually went quite well. But I thought now would be a good time to talk about some practical tips for traveling with your child or children with summer break just around the corner.

First, don’t go to Disneyworld. HA! Just kidding. My friend Camille is planning a huge family trip for her 2 kids and hubby this summer. Did you know you can get someone to help you plan your Disneyworld trip? I don’t mean a travel agent–I mean another mom who likes to figure out where you should eat dinner and what parks you should go to and when! Now, this is practical. If you want more information about this, send me an email, and I’ll put you in contact with Camille. (margolynndill@gmail (dot) com)

KT at Legoland

Anywho, here are my actual practical tips for traveling with a 6-year-old:

  • Don’t overbook your days: If you do, both you and your child will be exhausted and not have fun. In my opinion (since you are reading my blog, you’re gonna hear my opinion), you need one big thing on the trip (like an amusement park) and the rest smaller activities that don’t have a set schedule. Here’s what our itinerary looked like:

Leave St. Louis at 4pm on a Monday night. Drive 2 hours to Columbia, MO. Eat dinner that I packed in the car.

Go to the first hotel  and go swimming that night. (Because this is what kids actually care about –hotels and pools)

On Tuesday, eat breakfast and go swimming. Check out of hotel and drive to Kansas City (2 hours). GO to next hotel and take showers there after check-in. Walk around the Plaza in Kansas City since it is a beautiful day and eat dinner somewhere.  (We didn’t have a specific time we had to be anywhere, so no rushing.) 

On Wednesday, OUR ONE BIG DAY–eat breakfast and go to Legoland. Make the reservation around 10:30 am, so we don’t have to get up early and rush. Eat dinner in the hotel room with food brought from home. Go swimming that night at the hotel pool.

We sat outside here at Crown Center for a while. (photo by Mark Goebel Flickr.com)

On Thursday, eat breakfast, check out of the hotel, and go to Crown Center and Hallmark’s Kaldeioscope, which is free! Eat lunch and drive home. 

  • You need a hotel room with a refrigerator and microwave when traveling with kids. You should also look for hotels that have free breakfasts and indoor swimming pools, so your child can swim regardless of the weather. After a long day at Legoland, being able to eat the food I brought from home and relax in the hotel room, as well as that night just go swimming for an hour, made both of us happy and not so tired or cranky!
  • Schedule activities as much as you can in advance and look for online coupons and deals. We got an amazing deal for Legoland because I had a buy one adult, get one child free Legoland coupon from McDonald’s. We saved $18 on Katie’s admission. We also would’t have been able to get into a session of Kaldeioscope if I hadn’t checked out online first how it all worked. Many children’s activities and events have special deals for people who buy their tickets online in advance. If you are military, you probably already know that you can get all sorts of deals on kids’ admissions to museums and other fun stuff. Check out the Blue Star Family website here.

Remember to ask yourself: What is your big goal (s) for this trip? These were mine:

  1. Take Katie some place for spring break, where she and I can spend quality time together and BOTH have fun.
  2. Don’t exhaust us.
  3. Don’t break the bank.

 

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