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family travel

0 In Entertainment/ Travel

Here’s How Sesame Place is Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Sesame Street

Sunny days! Can you believe Sesame Street is 50 years old this year? I’m amazed (though not surprised) of the longevity of this program. I remember being in love with Sesame Street when I was a kid. When I had RJ Sesame Street used to come on every day at 10:30am, and it was a part of his nap time routine. Now, Zayn enjoys Sesame Street too, mainly via YouTube Kids. It’s so amazing how the show has been able to evolve over time,yet still remain the same show that I loved in the early 90s.

This spring, Sesame Place is looking to kick off their most exciting year yet!

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0 In explore - nyc/ Travel

Meet Me in the Catskills! – The Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark

We LOVE a good waterpark. We took RJ to Coco Key for his birthday in October and I thought we may be headed back in the spring BUT! New York is getting a new Indoor Waterpark and Resort. The Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark is coming to upstate NY and I am probably more excited than the kids.

The Kartrite Resort will be a part of Resorts World Catskills campus which is comprised of four major components. This includes a 100,000-square-foot Casino featuring more than 150 live game tables, 2,150 state-of-the-art slot machines, a poker room and private gaming salons. The accommodations will include 324 luxury suites. The hotel and indoor waterpark will also feature multiple dining options, a spa, a ropes course, and an entertainment arcade.

One of the biggest things that deter us from staying at these resorts is pricing. Luckily, the Kartrite Resort (scheduled for grand opening on April 5th), is running an amazing special in lieu of its opening! If you head to their site you can see the MANY specials they offer. Specials include a military discount, and a discount for local visitors.

Guests can begin to stay at the Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark April 4th, 2019. Will you be meeting me in the Catskills?

0 In Uncategorized

I Have to Stop Calling My Oldest a Toddler

My family and I were hosted for the weekend at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort in exchange for sharing our experience with you! As always all opinions expressed are my own.

A week and a half ago my big boy turned 4. I cannot believe that I have a four year old. It was emotional when I realized that I don’t have two toddlers anymore. I have a toddler and a preschooler. A whole school aged child. How did that even happen? Wasn’t I just sharing his birth story like yesterday? It’s unbelievable.

Anyway, we’ve started trying to travel more especially for birthdays. Our children are blessed to have big families and of course.. blog life, so they truly don’t need anymore “things”. We took a big trip to Disney and LEGOLAND this summer and I was hoping to be able to take RJ back to LEGOLAND for his birthday this year. Bonus: knowing your children! My kids LOVE water so I was on the search for an indoor waterpark, not too far from the city where they could “swim” to their hearts content, and have access to other amenities as well.

Thank God for Coco Key!

If you live under a rock somewhere, CoCo is an OG when it comes to the indoor waterpark game. Located about 2 hours from our house, it was the perfect distance for us to take a short family road trip. We left in the afternoon and got to the resort early evening. We didn’t get to check out any water park features that evening, but I thought it was great that inside CoCo Key they hosted family movie nights both nights that we were at the hotel. The first night they showed COCO (one of RJs favorites and the second night they played Horton Hears a Who. The boys opted to just watch COCO in the room but I loved that they still had the option of an evening activity.

The next day was the day RJ probably dreamt about all night. We woke up for breakfast downstairs (the hotel has packages that offer buffet breakfast with your stay), went outside for a little while, and then we waited. RJ asked over and over if we could go to the waterpark but we were waiting for his cousin to show up and he had no idea. When they got there it was finally time and we headed around the corner to the water park (thank God for a first floor room!).

So how did they feel?

The boys absolutely loved the waterpark, as expected. I love that Coco Key has something for everyone. They have 2 hot tubs, a lazy river, multiple slides and a kiddie pool plus more. All ages were enjoying the 80+ degree temps as if it were a summer day in NJ. Another cool thing was there were multiple birthday parties going on. I never thought to have a whole party there, but I guess I haven’t gotten that far into mom life and birthday planning yet. They have birthday party packages as low as $228 for up to 10 kids. That is really an amazing price for the fun your kids are gonna have. To check out their rates, you can visit their reservations page here.

Have you stayed at Coco Key? Are you a waterpark fan? Am I the only one sad that my kids are growing up? LOL

0 In Travel

Is LEGOLAND Florida Toddler Friendly? – Review

My family and I received complimentary admission to LEGOLAND Florida in exchange for our honest review. All fun was had by us, and all opinions expressed are my own ;). 

When we planned Zayn’s birthday trip honestly I had RJ in mind. I really wanted to take him to LEGOLAND because he LOVES all things LEGO. He begs me to take him to the LEGO store EVERY mall trip, he watches LEGO shorts on Kids YouTube and he has a good amount of LEGO books. I knew we had to make the trip there during our vacation. 

LEGOLAND actually isn’t in Orlando, unbeknownst to me. It was about a 45 minute drive from our hotel in Winter Haven, Florida. We packed the kids into the rental, and made the trip without telling RJ where we were headed. I wish I had the footage of when we arrived to the park. He literally started singing “Everything is Awesome” and sang it from the parking lot through the gates. 

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0 In Travel

The Suite Life! |Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa

  My family and I were hosted for 2 nights at Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed belong to me ;). 

If you don’t know it is ALL DISNEY, ALL THE TIME in our house. I wanted to take RJ to Disney for his birthday last year but timing didn’t work out and I chickened out with taking Zayn while he was only 3 months old. So this year, our plans were SET. Disney for Zayn’s first birthday because we were ALL ready to go. RJ had started asking, I’ve never been, we were ready. I googled for MONTHS about what to do, where to go, how to get there, what to wear what to eat, but most importantly I had to know where to stay. I knew we would see more than Disney on this trip and while I know there are amazing benefits to staying on Disney property, I just wasn’t sure if we were ready for that. 

*Enter Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa*

When I came across LBV resorts condo style suites online I IMMEDIATELY fell in love. If we can, I try to stay in suites whenever we vacation for multiple reasons. The comfort, space and amenities definitely make it worth it and more often than not the location is ideal. Our resort was located right next to Lake Buena Vista Factory stores so when we realized last minute that we didn’t shop for RJ’s stepping up ceremony which was the day after we got back, we walked over to Osh Kosh and got the kids cute clothes at outlet price! In case you need further convincing, here is a complete breakdown of why you need to reserve your next Orlando stay at Lake Buena Visit Resort Village and Spa.

Location 

I already told you that the resort is located right next to the outlets, but Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa is centrally located close to many of the must see attractions/parks in Orlando. Our first night we drove to Disney Springs, the outdoor shopping complex at Walt Disney World Resort. It was about a 15 minute drive to most attractions, and the resort is also close to many restaurants, and we saw a few other outlets close by. 

All Suite Style Rooms

The rooms at Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa are BEAUTIFUL. My photography really doesn’t do it justice. The resort features all suite style rooms of different sizes. Each suite includes a full kitchen and a private balcony. There was ample space for our family and we only ended up sleeping in one room (cosleeping problems). The extra spacious suites definitely give the feeling of being at home and would be perfect for families. 

Images via LBV Orlando Resort

Outdoor Pool & Bar

While neither of my kids are swimmers, they both think they can. THE FIRST thing we did after checking out the room was head to the pool located on the resorts property. The boys loved the pirate ship (which actually has a slide if you can tell from my picture) and I loved all the outside seating available. There is also a bar located on the pool deck that serves drinks, ice cream and different “bar type” foods. I definitely went there by myself when I had a VERY BRIEF free moment ;). 

On-Site Dining & Grocery 

We went out to dinner our first night but the second night after had a long day at Magic Kingdom, no one felt like going back out. The Pizza Hut express was perfect for all of us to grab something quick to eat. RJs favorite food is pizza and daddy was able to get pasta. Plus there was a fully stocked grocery section in case you needed to grab anything to cook in your full kitchen! We weren’t really grocery-minded but I wish I would’ve remembered to head down there when I realized that I had forgot to bring deodorant. They literally had EVERYTHING. 

Customer Service

All in all, the customer service at Lake Buena Vista Resort and Spa made the trip even more special. The concierge was available to answer all the thousands of questions that I had being a Disney newbie, we were able to check in early without there being a lag in service and the smiles were genuine and didn’t feel forced. Even with the resort being as beautiful as it was if the customer service was poor, it would’ve ruined the experience so I’m glad that was not the case. Everyone was more than willing to help us out at all points of our stay and I was so grateful for that. 

We had an amazing experience at Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa and it made our first family trip to Disney even more magical. I’m so grateful for our experience and I would definitely stay here again, check out the spa, and maybe even take an adult trip =). 

Have you ever stayed on a resort that was off Disney property? Where do you Disney? 

0 In Travel

The REAL Rules for Roadtrips with Small Children

  Special thank you to Mazda as I received the 2017 Mazda CX-5 as a loan free of charge for our road trip in exchange for my honest review! All opinions expressed are my own! 

Special thank you to Mazda as I received the 2017 Mazda CX-5 as a loan free of charge for our road trip in exchange for my honest review! All opinions expressed are my own! 

So I’m not gonna lie, when it came to planning RJs birthday trip I was super excited. As the days ticked down and it got closer??? Dread! I just knew I was plum crazy for planning a trip that would take us 12 hours to drive to with a 3 year old and an infant that hates the car seat! Wtf was I thinking?? Truthfully when road trip day (night) arrived anxiety almost made me cancel. I just knew it was going to be awful and it wouldn’t be worth it. I was sooooooooo wrong. Taking a long trip with two kids this young though did make me realize that the rules of the road are completely different when it comes to traveling with kids. 

1. Be prepared to spend some time in the back seat. 

Comfort played a big factor when we were thinking about the long drive. I knew I’d have to spend some time in the back seat between two car seats consoling one kid or the other and I was happy it wasn’t a SUPER struggle in the car we drove for our trip. The 2017 Mazda CX-5 had a decent amount of space in the backseat even with 2 car seats back there. I’m not gonna lie though I’m still SOMEWHAT small even after having two kids haha. I don’t think my boyfriend would have fit back there.  

2. Speaking of time, don’t even watch it. It doesn’t matter when kids are involved.  

I tried to plan our departure time perfectly. Both times according to their sleep schedule. I convinced myself that if we left during a time they were normally asleep that we’d have more time with them asleep in the car and it’d make the drive a little less painful. I think RJ woke up within 1 1/2 of us driving down with a cheerful “Good morning Daddy!” Ready to take on the day… at 5am.  

3. Don’t put a limit on stopping. You will stop. 100 times or more.  

When we road trip alone, my boyfriend makes it a habit to remind me 1000 times that he IS. NOT. STOPPING. He’s obsessive about getting to our destination and he always says “I’m stopping ONE TIME”. Ask to stop again and die. Except this trip. We stopped. I can’t even remember the amount of times but it was ALOT. Thankfully, we only had to stop twice for gas since the CX-5 averages 26 highway mpg. We got to stop at bigger rest stops and didn’t have to worry about just getting gas and leaving. Kids need to stretch their legs and everyone was a lot more pleasant after taking a break from sitting for hours. We stopped at Chick fil a’s that had play places so RJ could run some energy off and I even let him run around a rest stop at 5am *shrugs*. Sorry not sorry. We had a long drive and he wasn’t hurting anyone. A couple 20/30 minute stops made a BIG difference in how the drive went. 

4. The drive is still part of your trip, use it as an opportunity to make memories.  

I quickly realized RJ was just excited to be on an adventure. He loved looking out of the sunroof at airplanes and pointing out different things in the sky, and he loved sticking his head out of the sunroof even more. He also loved sitting in the trunk which is super spacious in the CX-5. He called it his cave! This is definitely a time to relax and not be super crazy with the rules. Within reason and safety first of course! He wasn’t sticking his head out the sunroof while we were driving or anything LOL. 

So basically, like anything with toddlers/infants involved, there are no rules on road trips! As long as everyone is comfortable, not screaming their. heads off and everyone makes it to their destination then I’d call it a #momwin! 

What has your road trip experience been? Have you braved the road with small children? Interested in reading more about the Mazda CX-5? Leave your thoughts below!

0 In Travel

FALL for the East Coast – Captain’s Quarters Resort is An AMAZING Family Destination

RJ turned three 2 weeks ago and we desperately wanted to get out of New York. We’re trying to step our travel game up so when we got the opportunity to head to Myrtle Beach for the weekend it was a fast and obvious YES! 

We set out on our road trip EARLY Thursday morning and arrived at Captain’s Quarters Resort that evening. It was a LONG trip but we were immediately excited to get out of the car. No one was more excited than RJ especially since he had some birthday loot waiting for him once we got to our room. 

IMG_2121 from Tanay Howard on Vimeo.

I’m going to admit I’m a habitual trip checker and I researched everything up and down when I’m headed on a trip. I was sooooooo happy with our hotel choice and I knew after a good night’s sleep RJ was going to be EXCITED to check out the pools. Captain’s Quarters boasts an impressive 15 water features and we tried just about all of them! Myrtle Beach still has beautiful weather at the end of October so we were able to enjoy both the indoor and outdoor water features which RJ LOVED. 

Everything at the resort was super kid friendly and they truly pride themselves on being the friendliest resort on the beach. This was our first birthday trip, our first trip as a family of four and our first long stay away from home all together and I couldn’t have been happier with our stay at Captain’s Quarters! 

Fast Facts About Our Stay – Captain’s Quarters Resort Myrtle Beach, SC

  • We stayed in an Angle Oceanfront Suite. The view was beautiful (see below). Captain Quarters has a variety of room accommodations to fit families of various sizes. Accommodations can be checked out here
  • Level 6 Entertainment Center hosts a variety of games, 20 AMF lanes of bowling and a bar. We fully took advantage of the fact that each guest receives a free game of bowling per day!
  • Captain’s Quarters has several dining options. Our favorites were Loco Gecko, and the Vista 9 buffet-style breakfast. I’m bummed we didn’t get a chance to get a window seat because the view up there is amazing! 
  • The back of the room key is a discount card to a lot of local places around Myrtle Beach. Though by the time we realized this it was our last day, and the boys randomly got a cold so we took it easy most of the day. Check out all the places it can be used here
  • Fall and Spring are the best times to visit Myrtle Beach as the ocean waters are warm and inviting, the sunshine and ocean breezes are abundant, and there’s more elbow room on the beach.

Where was your last family getaway? Have you been to Myrtle Beach?  

My family and I were provided complimentary accommodations by Vacation Myrtle Beach to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed belong to LifewithTanay. 

0 In Travel

Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes When Applying for Your U.S. Passport

Disclaimer: I am by no means an authorized agent to issue US Passports, I am solely speaking from experience based on everyday encounters. For authorized, professional information please visit travel.state.gov or your local passport acceptance center. 

I hear people applying for their passport all day and person after person comes in ALL day asking the same questions and making the SAME mistakes. ALL of the instructions are on the form when applying for your passport but most people get intimidated because there are quite a few pages and paragraphs of instructions. I don’t have a long intro for this post to make it sound good I’m basically about to tell you the most frequently asked questions/mistakes I hear all day and the answers to those questions. 

 

1. Fill out your passport application using BLACK INK only. 

It’s literally like the first thing the application says after “Application for US Passport” and still its one of the most common mistakes. No it won’t be ok if you use blue ink. Yes it really does matter. Especially now more than ever the lines when applying for your passport are LONG and you WILL get sent to the back of the line with a blank form to fill out again. Don’t waste your time. You can also fill it out online ahead of time and print it out at travel.state.gov.

2. The bottom part of the first page that says STOP…. really…. STOP. 

That portion of the front page has to be signed and completed in front of an authorized passport agent. I promise they don’t need your help. Do not sign ahead….or you will again, be filing out another passport form. 

3. If you’re a minor applying for a passport, BOTH parents must be present. 

The only exception to this rule is to have written, notarized consent from the other parent and it must be signed the same day. You can check out form DS-3053 here for the complete rules regarding circumstances like these. For special circumstances such as sole custody, death of a parent etc., proof must be provided. 

4. Renewal forms are for adults over 16 years of age only! 

If you were issued a passport and you were under the age of 16 at the time it was issued, you have to go through the process as if you were obtaining a new passport. Point blank. Even if you still have your old passport. 

5. You must check online for the appropriate fee for your application! 

There is a separate passport fee and execution fee. Both can be found here. This is the most updated way to get the appropriate fee for your application. 

 

Dassit! So now, where are we headed? xo.

0 In Travel

5 Instagram Accounts That Will Ignite Your Family Travel Wanderlust

For some reason this post was a lot harder to write than it should’ve been. I really had to sit and question, where are all the black family travel bloggers? If you do a quick search of the hashtags #familytravel or #familytravelblogger the lack of melanin is all up and thru there! I was slightly disappointed and for a minute I questioned if we’re still so busy buying Jordans and “doing it for the gram” that we STILL aren’t providing our children with experiences when it’s becoming even easier to find inexpensive ways to do so. 

Anywho now that my short little rant is over I have to say I’ve been bit with the wanderlust bug. Of course now, I’m 8 months pregnant and I can’t go much of anywhere so I’m hoping this baby comes a little early so we can fit in a late summer trip. But while I’m waiting these families on Instagram are giving me all the feels and reminding me that #blackfamiliestravel. 

1. @themomtrotter

Aiden: "Mom, can you take a picture of me under water?" . With the weather in the 80's yesterday, this guy spent all day in the pool. —- He starts his summer swim lessons next month and is super excited about it 🏊🏊🏊 —- Do you know how to swim? Do your kids know how to swim? And At what age did they learn how to swim without floaters? . . . . . . . . . . . #GoProHero4 #GoProKids #UnderWater #LosAngeles #HomeSweetHome #SummerReady #KidsSwim #JetsettingKids #FamilyGo #FamilyAdventure #TravellingFamilies #FamilyTravel #FamilyTravelBlog #TravelKid #ToddlerTravel #KidsTravel #TravellingWithKids #TravelWithKids #TravelKids #KidsWhoTravel #ThingsToDo #OneStateAtATime #FamilyOnVacation #WorldSchooling #TakeYourKidsEverywhere #ShowThemTheWorld #HaveKidsWillTravel #WeAreTravelMums #TakeTheKids #BringTheKids

A post shared by K @ theMOMtrotter (@themomtrotter) on

2. @thepreciousmommy

3. @thetravelingchild

4. @seejettfly

5. @heathergd

Loved the bright colours on the streets of #Cascais #art #instaart

A post shared by Heather Greenwood Davis (@heathergd) on

Are you following any of these beautiful traveling families? Who are some of your favorite family travel bloggers?