Castles for Kids

PK (pre-kids), my husband and I took some great vacations. Germany, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, etc. I’ve been daydreaming lately about our PK adventures.newsch1

Throughout our trips in Europe, I always resisted touring the old castles. I’m not much of a history buff and honestly I preferred a good shopping trip to touring the castles.

In Germany at the end of the Romantic Road, my husband convinced me to tour one castle with him, Newschwanstein .

I’m so glad that I did. I have very vivid memories of this place (including the very steep climb up a snow covered path). The rich tapestries, the grandiose beds, the intricate details…I was very impressed.

I’ve been thinking lately, “How do I convince my kids that all this history is really interesting?”. By breaking them in slowly. Try these castles to get your kids interested in ‘history’:

enchanted-forest British Columbia’s Enchanted Forest

cinderellascastleCinderella’s castle at Disneyland

Disneyland in Canadian Funds!

Okay, we leave for Disneyland in 3 short days. I’m notorious for leaving some travel planning to the last minute. This trip, it is tickets to the Disney Theme Parks.

When we booked our vacation (www.alaskaair.com) I was so excited at the great deal we got that I declined to buy Theme Park tickets through them because I was convinced I could get a better deal elsewhere. Turns out, Disneyland tickets never really go ‘on sale’. You can find $20 off here and there or a 5 day pass for the price of 3, yada, yada, yada.

disneyland-passes

I like hunting for bargains (hotels, airfares, and now Theme Park Tickets) so this was a challenge I was prepared to take on. What I have found is that 3 day Park Passes must be going like hot-cakes in my city (Calgary) because all of the local agents I talk to are sold out!

What I have found is that my local Disney Store (you know, the one in the Mall that sells all the licensed merchandise), sells theme park tickets. And yes, they too are sold out of the 3 day Passes. The little nugget of information that made my bargain-hunters-heart race: they sell their tickets in Canadian Funds!

A 4 day pass (all they have left) purchased through them was cheaper than a 3 day Pass with anyone else because of the exchange rate.

It’s as good a Disney deal as I think I am going to find. I’m prepared for $6 bottles of water and $10 ice cream cones when we get there!

Calgary Baby Gear Rentals

I’m loving all the cool video applications out there on the web these days. Videos are a great way to show our customers what our company is all about.

Check out our latest video on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHCejW46Y2E. logo

It features pics of some of our best equipment like the ZOOPER jogging strollers, GULLIVER full size cribs and our line up of BRITAX car seat rentals. As Calgary’s premier baby equipment rental company we pride  ourselves on providing premium baby equipment to our customers.

Our line up of baby gear is safety checked and cleaned according to the Calgary Health Region’s guidelines for cleaning children’s equipment.

As the owner of the company, I have worked as a Health and Safety Officer and have experience working with safety in Children’s products for 10 years. All of us at One Tiny Suitcase are Moms with experience selecting and using this equipment.

Feel confident renting from One Tiny Suitcase. Check out our guarantee http://www.onetinysuitcase.ca/SatisfactionGuarantee.htm

Boarding the Baby Plane

This afternoon I talked to another mom who was so excited about her trip to Disneyland later this week. She had mapped out where they were going, how they would get there, what they could see…the only thing she didn’t have a plan for was how to keep her 3 year old entertained on the plane.

babyairport

I feel so lucky to be as web savvy as I have become since opening One Tiny Suitcase (www.onetinysuitcase.ca) in 2006. I wanted to say to her, “just do a search on some blogs”, but wasn’t sure she would understand. There is so much great information out there and here is another example of a traveling mama helping other moms with a great article (that was actually picked up on Frommers.com):

Baby, Come Fly with Me: Stress-Free Airtime for the New Jet Set

Bags packed? Check. E-boarding passes in hand? Double check. Diapers, ear plugs, Ziploc bags, and dry baby food? Got ’em. Congratulations. Flying with a baby will be a thousand times easier because you’re prepared.

For many parents, even the thought of taking a baby on a plane is stressful. And no wonder — air travel can be a hassle for adults traveling alone. Add a small child to the mix, and there’s suddenly so much more to think about, not to mention so much more to pack….

http://www.frommers.com/articles/5982.html

For even more tips visit the We Just Got Back family travel website: http://www.wejustgotback.com/

Eco-friendly Family Travel Article

Hello,

In honor of Earth Day we wanted to contribute a little to the ‘green theme’.

If you want your next vacation be a little more earth friendly, read our article about Eco-friendly family travel.

This article was originally published in Bo Bebe’s Birth of a Mother magazine and contains lots of great tips for getting there a little greener!

baby-feet

http://www.onetinysuitcase.ca/Eco%20Friendly%20Family%20Travel.htm

 

Traveling with your Breast Pump

For many moms the use of a breast pump while breastfeeding is essential. Traveling while breast feeding and pumping can present some unique challenges.

Some Moms that travel as part of their jobs and are away from their babies rely on a breast pump to maintain their supply. Even if your baby is going to be coming with you on a trip, if you are planning to bring your breast pump it will require some careful planning.

medela

I was a big fan of MEDELA’s hospital grade Symphony Breast Pump (http://www.onetinysuitcase.ca/Medelapumps.htm) when I was breastfeeding my twins. But, for travel I often traveled with MEDELA’s mini-electric breast pumps. You could only pump one side at a time but they ran off of battery power and were super light weight.

If I had it to do all over again I would probably look at purchasing the new MEDELA Freestyle pump because it seems to have the best of both worlds:

  • Light weight (weighs less than 1 pound)
  • Rechargable battery (up to 3 hours of pumping time)
  • Carry case that includes a freezer bag

I’m always interested to hear first hand experiences from moms who have traveled with their breast pumps. Have a look at this article http://wasylik.net/kids/2006/08/17/have-breast-pump-will-travel/.

At One Tiny Suitcase, we also rent out the MEDELA hospital grade Symphony breast pumps to moms who are coming to Calgary & Banff for extended stays. We can deliver a pump and have it waiting in your hotel room or even have it available for pick up at the Airport!

Kids and Car Sickness

Our latest road trip (to downtown Calgary and back to the burbs) was a little more eventful when my son unexpectedly came down with a case of the flu.

There is nothing like the panic of your child telling you that you they are going to be sick and not being prepared. I recently read an article written by a mother of triplets about how she stocks every floor of her house and all the family vehicles with ice cream pails filled with vomit supplies.

I am much less prepared. I am notoriously without an extra diaper, wipes, snacks, etc. So, when my son suddenly became nauseous in the middle of rush hour traffic yesterday I was scouring my van for an appropriate item to ‘catch’ it in!

chicness

Luckily, my good friend Tara Ramos and creator of Morning Chicness Bags (www.morningchicnessbags.com) had sent me a couple of samples of her creation. These bags (modeled after airline sickness bags) were designed for expectant moms who needed a discreet and chic way to dispose of any morning sickness remnants. I quickly tore open the package and handed  my son a beautiful purple puke bag. When he was finished I closed the fold lock top on the bag and sealed it until we could properly dispose of it. Thank you Tara- you saved the day (and the interior of my van)!

I’ll be packing a couple of these in my carry on bag for our next family trip!

Cupcakes in Calgary

Food is a big part of any vacation for me. I don’t consider myself a foodie but maybe a carbaholic.soft-pretzel

In Germany it was the soft pretzels. I think one day I actually ate 3 of them.

In France it was the baguettes. We would start off every morning with them. baguette

In Denmark it was the chocolate spreads, wafers and anything filled with chocolate for breakfast.

In Hawaii it was the Aloha Bars (more sweets).

In Canada I am now hooked on gourmet cupcakes. My favorites are from CRAVE (www.cravecupcakes.ca). Nestled in a cute little store front in Calgary’s Kensington area, this bakery is as visually appealing as the treasures that come out of it.
crave-cupcakes1

My kids love going into this store and peering through the glass at the colorful cupcakes. My favorites are the minis (just the right amount of icing and cake) and the Cravolicious flavor (moist chocolate cake base with blue icing).

Definitely worth the trip and you can always take a leisurely walk along Calgary’s Bow River to work it all off!

Our Maui Private ‘Resort’

I’m still day dreaming about the last vacation house rental (www.mauiprivateresort. com) we stayed in when we were on the island of Maui. We are always looking for properties that are a bit off the beaten path when we vacation. We like the quiet and seclusion of private homes versus a condo complex whenever possible.

hawaii020

On Maui, most visitors stay on the West and South sides of the island where it is typically warm and sunny.

We chose our location on the North Shore because of the amenities it provided, the view from the cliff that our house was perched on (look for the white structure nestled in the hillside in this picture) and the close proximity to town.

This house had everything we were looking for: 2 bedrooms plus additional sleeping areas, private pool, full gourmet kitchen, wrap around deck with amazing views, basketball court, water slide…need I say more.

It is always great when your family photos look so much like the promo pictures on the website!hawaii028

Gate Checking Your Stroller

I heard a wild tale today about a new mom, a new stroller and an old Air Canada policy.

I was in my favorite baby store (www.bobebe.com) in Calgary admiring the new line of Valco lightweight strollers http://valcobaby.com/products/strollers.html?tx_productcatalog_pi1%5Buid%5D=5. The new Latitude strollers seem like the perfect travel companion- it has lots of the features of the popular Valco T ri Mode but is compact, lightweight and super stylish. latitude

This mom was telling a story about how someone she knew tried to gate check the new Valco Latitude stroller for an Air Canada flight and was actually turned back at the gate by an Air Canada agent. They said that the stroller was too big and did not fit into their stroller policy (http://www.aircanada.com/en/travelinfo/before/youngtravellers/infant-child.html). They asked her to return to the check in desk to check the stroller (paying any additional baggage fees).

We all agreed that although Air Canada’s policy is pretty clear on their website, it all depends on who you get on your flight that day. Calling the call center does not seem to guarantee you a clear answer either.

That same mom said she was on a Westjet flight recently where a mom gate checked her Valco Tri-mode (technically a jogging stroller) – no questions asked. tri-mode What has your experience been with these airlines?