25 Easy to Pack Travel Snacks

alpha-2In our family, there is meal time, and there is snack time, and it often feels more importance is given to the latter. We have found that nothing satisfies a child (or adult) on the verge of a meltdown more than a quality snack. Here are some of our favorite choices for snacks on the go. Some of these work best if you have a cooler and don’t have to deal with TSA, others work well with any mode of transportation. Hopefully, even the pickiest of eaters and most food allergy sufferers will find something to satisfy them on this list.

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Chicago’s Greatest Attractions for Families

Kids in Chicago

When our family moved to the Chicago area nine years ago, we were pleasantly surprised by the wealth of kid-friendly activities the city has to offer. Chicago almost feels like a city built with children’s entertainment in mind.From the Lincoln Park Zoo to the Museum of Science and Industry, the city offers destinations for children of all ages, which makes it a perfect destination for a family getaway.

Chicago is a city made for walking (except in the dead of winter). Gorgeous architecture abounds, but there is also a sparkling lakefront, a charming river, world class restaurants and endless shopping. These are the features that make the city attractive to adults, but children find the city appealing for many other reasons. In creating this post, I decided that my kids (ages 7, 9, and 11) would be the best ones to ask about their favorite Chicago attractions. Hopefully, their perspective will help guide you in choosing the sights you want to visit with your family.

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Packing Tips for Families

Family Packing Tips

Don’t Take More Than You Need!

Packing for a trip can be an overwhelming task, but when you add kids to the mix, the task becomes more daunting. With the addition of each child comes more clothes, toys in every shape and size, and the need for new packing strategies. As a parent you need to have a game plan in place. There are things you will need to do before you go, things you will have to pack in your suitcase, and things you will need on the plane. Here are our tips for managing the mounds of clothes, eliminating the extras, and saving space in your suitcase.

Before You Go

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Universal’s Islands of Adventures – The Other Orlando Theme Park

Islands of AdventureIf your kids love Harry Potter and super heroes more than princesses and cartoon characters, Universal’s Islands of Adventure could be the place for you. People often overlook this Orlando attraction, but it actually delivers on some things where Disney falls short. However, it does fail in some rather important areas, namely rides suitable for the little ones and a lack of food allergy awareness, which is a problem for our family.

Universal Studios Islands of Adventure is a theme park that is easy to manage in a day. There are seven “islands”:

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Around the World in A Day: 5 Things We Learned at Epcot

EpcotIf you have never visited Epcot, you don’t know what you’re missing. Think of traveling around the world, but never leaving the confines of the United States. Well, central Florida for that matter. Think “It’s A Small World” on steroids. The park is made up of two distinct sections: Future World and World Showcase. Future World is not so futuristic, it actually consists of an aquarium, soaring experience, and some hands on technology exhibits that now seem incredibly dated. If you have read any of my previous posts, you know why World Showcase appeals to our family. Eleven pavilions, each representing a different country, ring a central lagoon and within each one you can experience a bit of culture through shows, rides, shopping, and our favorite, food. This time we showed up just in time for the Disney Princess Half Marathon (bad idea) so the park was crazy busy. NOTE: These people actually run a half marathon and then tour the park the rest of the day. Who does that? Be sure to check the Disney calendar and make sure there are not any major events on the days you are planning your visit.

We entered the park and headed directly for the FastPass+ kiosk (see previous post about navigating Fast Pass +), got our coffee on at Starbucks, and set off to explore. Continue reading

Traveling With Food Allergies – Challenging But Not Impossible


Be Safe when Traveling with Food AllergiesTraveling when your child has allergies can be a scary proposition.  Each restaurant you enter is a potential threat to your child.  When you grab a snack, it is no longer an easy choice, you must carefully scan each label to make sure the product does not contain something that could cause your child to have a reaction.  For those of us who have children with allergies, this is the world we live in.  We can choose to be proactive, or we can stay at home and never leave again.  Believe me, in the beginning, I wanted to choose the latter.  It is a scary world out there for children with allergies, but after many hours of research and multiple discussions with doctors and other parents, I realized it was ok to take my child out into the world and let him taste it.

Here are some things we have learned about how to stay safe on the road when you have a child with food allergies:

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