Stock-Up for a Road Trip at Jewel-Osco #AHugeSale

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AHugeSale #CollectiveBias #JewelOsco

Heading our for a road trip can be a hectic time. You’ve got to make sure you have your itinerary ready, you’ve packed everything you need, and, most importantly, you’ve got the car loaded with all of your favorite snacks. My family takes road trips fairly often, and there’s always a tantrum when a favorite snack is forgotten.

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Here are some tips on packing some snacks for your next family road trip:

1.) Keep it simple and easy. Any snacks you take should be just as appetizing as they are portable and transport-resistant. Snacks like salsa or dip would probably be impractical to take in the car. Granola bars, trail mix and crackers are great road trip-ready snacks to take on the road.

2.) Balance out the junk food. You don’t have to skip the junk food completely –  a vacation is the perfect time to splurge – but try to incorporate more than just candy and junk. So limit the sugar and try some fruit and veggies to keep yourself well-nourished.

3.) Stay hydrated. Be sure to take plenty of water and Gatorade to keep hydrated. Water and Gatorade will keep you hydrated and are better for you than other sugar-filled drinks you’d pick up at a gas station.

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Beginning 7/29 through 8/11, Jewel-Osco is having a huge Anniversary Sale. Lots of great items to be purchased! I actually stocked up for my upcoming road trip at Jewel-Osco and picked up some fruit, Pepsi, Gatorade, and my family’s favorite – Doritos! We’ll be in the car for awhile, so I probably should’ve picked up two bags!

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You don’t want to miss out on the savings during the Jewel-Osco Anniversary Sale. Pop in today and save on everything your family loves, from snacks and drinks to cookout classics and more.

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Jewel-Osco is having a huge Anniversary Sale, but you can be sure to check out what great deals are available at Albertsons, Safeway, or Amigos too!

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Jewel-Osco is my go-to grocer. Shop the HUGE Anniversary sale and stock up on your favorite brands 7/29-8/11. I’d love to hear how your family will stock up!

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Planning a Family Road Trip to Sheboygan, WI!

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I am so excited about all the traveling my family plans to do this year. Family travel is so important to me (and I’m slowly starting to convince my husband of this too) and there’s no better education you can give your kids than out on the road. We have been blessed this year with a long trip planned, and a few Midwest road trips up our sleeve too. One destination that I can’t wait to see is the Blue Harbor Resort & Spa in Sheboygan, WI. Living in the Chicago area, I’ve traveled to Wisconsin many, many times with my family, both as a kid and as an adult with my own family. But I can honestly say that I’ve never spent any time in Sheboygan – and it’s only about 2 and a half hours from Chicago!

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Blue Harbor Resort & Spa is the #1 resort on Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan coast. With stunning beachfront and water views, Blue Harbor Resort features 182 suites, 64 villas, more than 17,000 square feet of meeting and event space, a 54,000 square-foot indoor waterpark entertainment area including a mini glow golf course, a full service spa, three restaurants, and recreation amenities including watersports and access to the Bull golf course. This award winning resort is located just two hours north in nearby and scenic Sheboygan, WI, known as the “Malibu of the Midwest.”

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To book a stay, visit BlueHarborResort.com or call 866.701.BLUE. Thoughts from Her readers can receive FREE Water Park Passes and savings up to 30% OFF with this exclusive Blue Harbor Resort coupon: http://usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=75&bid=11746&dealid=1749.

Disclosure: My family will receive a complimentary one-night stay in exchange for this post.

Let Out Your Inner Rock Star at the Rhythm! Discovery Center in Indianapolis #VisitIndy

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If you’re visiting Indy and are looking for something totally awesome to do indoors, I hope Rhythm! Discovery Center is on your list.  Rhythm! Discovery Center is THE place to be to let your inner rock star out – and have loads of fun doing it too!  We visited Rhythm! Discovery Center on our last trip to Indy, and my son still  has not stopped talking about it.

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I hadn’t heard much about Rhythm! Discovery Center before my visit, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I had no idea that this place is totally interactive.  What kid wouldn’t have a good time here?!?!  My 3-year-old had a blast and, I’m not gonna lie – I totally did too!  Percussion, percussion, percussion.  Instruments made of wood, skin, and metal.  We tried them all!

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We must’ve banged on every drum, shaken every tambourine, and played every xylophone in the place!

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We really loved the interactive tribal-like circle featuring the many percussion instruments created right at home by The Leedy Drum Company, a company that began in Indiana.

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Their Interactive Area was also a lot of fun – I can see many field trips having a good ol’ loud time here.  So many instruments to choose from.  Believe me, my son tried them all!

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Probably our favorite parts of the museum were the sound-proof rooms that allowed you to play a real drum set and be as loud as you wanted to be – we felt like rock stars!

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Handy Tip: Visit this museum late in the day.  We arrived about an hour and a half before closing and had the entire museum to ourselves.  I’m sure it’s very noisy (and migraine-inducing) at peak times.

Rhythm! Discovery Center is located at 110 W. Washington Street, Suite A (in the basement), in Indianapolis, IN.  Admission prices (as of January 2015) are $10 for adults, $6 for kids 6 and up, kids 5 and under are FREE!

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Disclosure: My family was invited to visit Indianapolis by the Indianapolis CVB, Visit Indy, and were provided with complimentary admission to many attractions and a hotel stay.  I was not compensated for this post.  I was not asked to provide a particular point of view, and all opinions expressed are my own.

Winter Getaway: Wisconsin Dells’ Wilderness Resort

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If you’re anything like me, you’re already missing the warm weather and dreaming about your next escape.  While we haven’t had any heavy snowfall…yet…in the Chicago area, the chilly temperatures already have me getting a little stir-crazy and thinking about where I want to go next.  At the moment, that dream contains water, bathing suits, and family fun.  It’s a recurring dream, really, and I can’t wait to get away.  But with the holidays literally around the corner, I know I don’t want to stray too far from my home base.  I need a destination within driving distance – and a vacation that won’t break the bank!

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Located in Wisconsin Dells, approximately 200 miles from Chicago (about a 3-hour drive), the Wilderness Resort, offers everything I am looking for – and then some!  From multiple waterparks and restaurants, to an arcade and laser tag, this hotel has it all – it’s like an entire city located on one property.  I promise, you will never find yourself with nothing to do.  In fact, you never even have to leave the resort!

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A few months ago, my family had the pleasure of staying at the Wilderness Resort and I can already tell you that we are eager to return.  My four-year-old (who is not one for rides or fast movements, by the way) had an absolute blast at the resort’s many water parks.  The Wild WaterDome, for instance, was one of our faves.  A 70,000-square-foot indoor waterpark that features a see-though-roof (very cool to catch some of the sun’s rays even when it was too cold to swim outside) that bathes the entire park in natural light and actually allows guests to tan all year long! The Great Wave, also known as America’s largest indoor wave pool, was probably where we spent most of our time.  Just seeing my son’s huge smile whenever the wave hit him was probably worth the trip for me.

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Wilderness Lodge_Wave Pool

There are also plenty of life vests at the First Aid Station that kept the “Helicopter Mom” in me happy.

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The other water parks at the resort offer plenty to do for the whole family – from lazy rivers to fast-paced slides – but we loved the Bonanza Bluff at Klondike Kavern best.  Wilderness also offers 4 outdoor waterparks during the summer months, but we visited off-season so we didn’t get to experience those.  Just another reason for us to return!

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Family-friendly amenities don’t stop at the waterparks either.  The Wilderness Resort offers so many things to do – there’s never a dull moment here!  Their indoor amenities are fantastic!  You can ride go-karts indoors, play laser tag, complete a sky ropes course, ride bumper boats, try your hand at mini golf, or spend hours playing games at the arcade.

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Our room, while located a bit far from all the water park amenities, was another hit with my family.  For one, it was HUGE.  There was a separate seating area (with a sink and counter) from the bedroom that really came in handy when my son was ready for bed.  My husband was still able to catch up with all the sports channels, causing minimal noise, allowing my little one to fall asleep quickly.

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I also have to give a HUGE shout-out to one of Wilderness Resort’s employees at Tommyknockers Lounge – Madison.  We had the most positive interaction with her, and my four-year-old was immediately smitten.  She was so sweet to my son, and I would definitely like to publicly thank her (and tell her that we still use her name when we want to get him to do something.) Thanks, Madison!

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Overall, our stay at the Wilderness Resort was really great.  My family loves the year-round fun that the resort allows – and kids adore the many water parks this hotel offers.  I urge you to check out this resort if you’re in town – you won’t be disappointed!  Better yet, if you’re looking for a spot to ring in the New Year, Wilderness could be just what you’re looking for.  Wilderness Resort is offering a guest-exclusive New Year’s Eve Party that will provide some serious fun with music, dancing, party favors, laser lights two ballrooms with DJs playing popular hits! There will even be a midnight balloon drop in one of the ballrooms. The cost for this fun event is $12 in advance ($15 at the door) for adults 21 and over (includes two drink tickets. IDs are required). It is $7 in advance ($8 at the door) for kids ages 3-20 (and this fee includes punch).  A great price for what looks to be a super-fun event!

Connect with Wilderness Resort

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Cool Down at Millennium Park in Grand Rapids, MI #ExperienceGR

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Millennium Park, just a short drive from downtown Grand Rapids, features a 6-acre beach on a lake; a large splash pad; a trail network for walking, running, or biking; a boat rental area (kayaks, canoes, row boats or paddle boats); playground areas; and picnic shelters.

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Cool tunnel entrance to one of the playgrounds.

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Climbing Playground for Older Kids

Entrance to the park and trails is free, but there is a separate admission charge ($4 for ages 16 and up, $2 for kids 3-15) to enter the beach area and splash pad. The beach area has locker rooms, changing areas, a concession stand and picnic tables. You can also pack a lunch to bring along to Millennium Park – perfect for families!

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I visited the park with my family – my husband and myself, my teenage daughter, my toddler son, and my mom – and, truth be told, my toddler had never been to a beach prior to our visit to Millennium Park. I regret not thinking ahead and bringing along his sand pail from home, but he still enjoyed digging in the sand and walking in the water. He got a kick out of watching the tiny fish scatter when he walked through the water and I wish I had taken him to a beach sooner. My teen, of course, just wanted to lay out and catch some rays.

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We also visited the splash park where my son spent most of his time at the water table. There were numerous sprinklers, buckets, and sprayers at the splash pad, but he preferred to splash around at the table. I liked that there were plenty of beach chairs around the perimeter of the splash pad for the adults to sit and watch their kids play, and an employee guarded the entrance to prohibit kids from wandering away.

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Bottom line, we enjoyed our time at Millennium Park, a relaxing oasis located just minutes from the heart of Grand Rapids. We’ll definitely be back the next time we’re in town – and next time we’ll be sure to remember the sand pail!

Disclosure: My family received complimentary admission to Millennium Park in order to facilitate this review, and I was not asked to provide a particular point of view. All opinions are 100 % my own.

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This review originally appeared on Trekaroo!

Build Your Dream Vacation & Win It with RCI

I think about getting away every, single day.  Visions of traveling dance in my head multiple times a day – all day long.  I dream about strolling through the streets of Rome, sunbathing on a remote beach in Hawaii, ziplining through the lush rainforests of Costa Rica, shopping in London, snorkeling in the Caribbean, and hugging a koala in Australia.  I could seriously go on and on.  Traveling fuels my soul and there’s nothing I would rather do.  Other than traveling with my family, that is.

Typically we go on a few small road trips every year, and I like to plan a big trip every few years.  The planning is half the fun!  So it’s no surprise to me that the vacation planning process alone boosts happiness. Just the anticipation of a vacation boosts happiness for eight weeks!

So if you’ve been dreaming about your dream vacation like I have, you’ve got to try RCI’s vacation builder and enter to Win Your Dream Vacation Sweepstakes.  It’s so easy, and actually fun to do.  Dream It.  Share It.  Win It.

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You have to sign up to register, but they only ask for basic information – you don’t have to sign your life away. Smile

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First you have to choose what type of vacation your dream vacation is.

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For me it was a family vacation.  Because if I’m really dreaming, my family is definitely with me.  Then, you get to chose a destination.

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In my wildest dreams I am lounging on the beach in Hawaii.  So Hawaii it is!  From there, you chose your extras.

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When I’m on vacation I like not worrying about where we’re going to eat, or how much a cocktail is going to cost.  I love all-inclusive plans!

Then you pick how many people in your family and confirm your choices.

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Now all that’s left to do is Share It!  Every share earns you more entries.

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Through RCI’s “Win Your Dream Vacation Sweepstakes,” you have the chance to win a dream vacation worth up to $25,000!  A total of 40 vacations will be given away in celebration of RCI’s 40th anniversary.  RCI is the global leader in vacation exchange.

Visit RCI.com/sweeps to enter to win until June 18 – and the more you share your dream vacation through social media, the higher your chances of winning.

Happy planning!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

There’s Lots to Do at the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids, MI #ExperienceGR

One of the biggest surprises for my family during our trip to Grand Rapids was the John Ball Zoo. We had no idea we’d have such a great time, and even see some animals we’d never seen before! My family – my husband and I, my teenage daughter, my toddler son, and my mom – spent about 3 hours at the zoo, and only wish we had more time to explore more.

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The John Ball Zoo, just a short drive away from the downtown area of Grand Rapids, is a smaller zoo with a surprising number of animal exhibits. Admission to the zoo in the summer is $8.50 for ages 14 and up, and $6.50 for ages 3-13 (admission prices vary during the off-peak season). There are a number of concession stands throughout the zoo, as well as picnic table areas.

One of the neat features of the zoo is the Idema Funicular, a train-like vehicle that can take you to the highest point of the zoo (or back down near the zoo entrance). It’s a great way to quickly move from one side of the zoo to another, although you won’t see any animals on the ride. There is an extra charge of $3 per person for a one-way ride.

Photo courtesy of John Ball Zoo on Facebook

Another unique feature of the John Ball Zoo is the number of “adventure” opportunities offered. You can take off on a zip line ride ($6 per person), navigate a ropes course ($6 per person), ride a camel ($5 per person), and touch some stingrays and sharks in a small pool ($1 per person). I really wanted to try the zip line (an item on my bucket list), but both my husband and teen had no intention of trying it with me.

Photo courtesy of John Ball Zoo on Facebook

Some of the exhibits here seemed too close together to me, but that didn’t take away from our experience at all. One of our favorite exhibits included the Pelican Pier, located near the entrance of the zoo. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pelican in real-life, and I was mesmerized by these beautiful birds.

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My toddler loved the Aquarium, where he got to play with a penguin. It was so cute – the penguin would follow him from one side of the tank and back. He got a kick out of his interaction with the penguin, and we all did too!

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Red’s Hobby Farm, the children’s zoo at John Ball, was another family favorite. Both of my kids got to pet some sheep and goats!

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We also enjoyed watching a zoo keeper interact with a grizzly bear, watching a mountain lion pace back and forth in his habitat, and watching the monkeys playfully interact with each other.

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Overall, I’d say that my family would definitely revisit the John Ball Zoo the next time we’re in Grand Rapids. A new tiger exhibit, set to resemble their natural habitat, should be completed in 2014 and it’s a great reason to bring my family back next year!

Disclosure: My family received complimentary admission to the John Ball Zoo in order to facilitate this review, and I was not asked to provide a particular point of view. All opinions are 100 % my own.

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This review originally appeared on Trekaroo!

Kids will Love the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum! #ExperienceGR

The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum is located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, and just a short walk from other attractions in the area. I knew my toddler would love the activities there, but had no idea that my teen would have a good time there too! (I was just as shocked as you probably are by reading that.)

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My family visited the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon and the museum opened at noon. Admission is $8.00 for ages 1-64 and $7.00 for ages 65 and up. Children under 1 are free. There was a bit of construction going on at the intersection where the museum was located when we visited, but I noticed a few open parking spots right out front. Upon entering, there is a fairly large closet area where we were able to park our stroller. They do not sell food items here and I didn’t see an eating/snack area either. You could, however, rent a room for a birthday party.

Our first impression of the museum was that it was MUCH larger inside than we thought it would be. The two-story museum features some permanent exhibits, along with some rotating ones to change it up a bit. Some of my toddler’s favorites were the Construction Zone area where he built a foam “brick wall”, the bubbles exhibit (because, what kid doesn’t love playing with bubbles?!?!), the train table (always a favorite), the alphabet carpet squares, and hanging apples on the apple tree.

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Surprisingly, some favorites for my teenage daughter were the Mom & Pop Store (she relived the times when I used to take her to children’s museums), the Wee Bank (where I determined that she should NEVER work for a bank because I asked to withdraw $1,000 and she proceeded to give me the money WITHOUT asking for identification… LOL), and the Play Day Café where she was the waitress and I was her customer. I thought she would be bored to tears here while her brother played, but she surprised me by making the most of it.

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One aspect of the museum that I couldn’t take my eyes off of was the bee exhibit with REAL, LIVE BEES! I was fascinated because I have never seen so many live bees before. My whole family tried to locate the queen, with no luck. The elusive queen was nowhere to be found. We all thought that it was really cool to see a bee colony in action – though we were thankful that they were all behind the glass!

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Overall, we enjoyed our time at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum immensely. If you’re visiting the Grand Rapids area with kids, I’d put this attraction at the top of your list. Kids of all ages will find something to do and, chances are, will learn something new too.

Disclosure: My family received complimentary admission to the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum to facilitate this review, and I was not asked to provide a particular point of view. All opinions are 100% my own.

The inside scoop on everyday travel with kids.

This review originally appeared on Trekaroo!

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Soak in the Beauty at The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan #ExperienceGR

The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is a 132-acre botanic garden that has both indoor conservatories and outdoor gardens. One area of the property, Sculpture Park, contains more than 200 sculptures dispersed throughout the grounds. For those planning a visit, the park is open daily with $12 admission for adults over the age of 14, $9 for students and seniors, $6 for kids 5-13, and $4 for kids 3-4. My family – my husband and myself, my teenage daughter, my toddler son, and my mom – visited the park as our last stop before heading home from our road trip to Grand Rapids and spent about 3 hours here. I regret not visiting the park sooner, as I felt we missed so much during our short time there.

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Frederik Meier Gardens Entrance

After entering through the main building, the first exhibit you see is the Tropical Conservatory inside the large greenhouse. We saw banana trees, cacti, carnivorous pitcher plants, and other tropical plants. We then walked over to the gorgeous Lena Meijer Children’s Garden. I love how there was a child-size gate to enter through too.  It felt very Alice in Wonderland to me – and kids loved going through over and over.

Frederik Meijer Gardens Childrens Garden

My toddler spent a lot of time at the Great Lakes Garden where he launched boats from one of the great lakes to another on the tiered water table.

Frederik Meijer Gardens Water Play

There were numerous opportunities to learn about the plants in the Children’s Garden, with some areas even allowing you to use your senses to learn about the plants. Our favorite was the Touch section where there were four different plants with varying textures to touch – the fuzzy leaf was interesting to feel.

Frederik Meijer Gardens Touch Section

And to continue with the whole Alice in Wonderland feeling I had – there’s the white, err, bronzed rabbit!

Frederik Meijer Gardens Rabbit

We then ventured to the Sculpture Park to head to the Waterfall. The sculptures were larger-than-life works of art – most of them very unique, and all of them beautiful.

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The waterfall was breathtaking with lily pads and even a bunch of koi fish in the pond.

Frederik Meijer Gardens Waterfall

Probably the best part of our visit to the park was the lunch we had in their Taste of the Gardens Café. Seriously, probably one of the better meals we’ve had in a long time. The food was so fresh and delicious, I felt like I could eat there every day. My son had the peanut butter & jelly kids meal, while the rest of us chose sandwiches that were served with a fresh salad. I had the Calder City Pulled Pork Quesadilla and it was divine. Tender chunks of pork and pepper jack cheese, served with a honey chipotle sauce drizzled on top. A little spicy, but just how I like it.

Frederik Meijer Gardens Quesadilla

Again, I wish we had more time to spend at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, but I figure that it’s a great reason for me to make a return visit since we still have so much to see.

Disclosure: My family received complimentary admission to the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in order to facilitate this review, and I was not asked to provide a particular point of view. All opinions are 100% my own.

The inside scoop on everyday travel with kids.

This review originally appeared on Trekaroo!

Classic Comfort and Elegance at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan #ExperienceGR

I’ve been thinking about our next family vacation more and more lately.  We had some fun adventures last year and can’t wait to do it again!  Last summer, my family  ventured to Grand Rapids, MI for a weekend stay.  The whole brood came along for the ride – my husband and myself, my teenage daughter, my toddler son, and my mom.  Naturally, with the varying age groups in my family, we look for vacations that offer something fun to do for all of us (which is much harder than it sounds!).  On our trip to Grand Rapids we stayed at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel located close to many major attractions in the downtown area.

Amway Grand Plaza Hotel

Hotel: My first impression upon entering this hotel was “Whoa!”  I was immediately impressed by the décor and grand chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.  The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel first opened as the Pantlind Hotel in 1913.  Since then, a 29-story glass tower was added to the building and the hotel still maintains its old-world charm, combined with all the modern amenities.  The inside is definitely classy and elegant – I almost thought that my toddler would somehow destroy it! LOL  But we did see other toddlers (and even some babies) at the hotel too.

Amway Grand Plaza Addition

Here’s the addition to the Amway Grand Plaza hotel.

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Amway Grand Plaza Hotel Interior 2
When I learned that access to the pool wouldn’t be available during my stay at the Amway Plaza, I was a little bummed.  The photos looked great on the website, but unfortunately, due to maintenance being performed on the pool area we had to walk the Skyway to the JW Marriott to use the pool.  My kids look forward to a little pool time whenever we’re on vacation so we took the 5 minute walk to the neighboring hotel.  I was disappointed with the Marriott’s pool area as the floor tiles were VERY slippery, making it easy to slip and fall.  Also, towels weren’t immediately available (it took more than 20 minutes after another guest called to get towels sent to the pool area), and there wasn’t a locker room area we could use so we changed in a bathroom.  Not exactly the pool experience we had in mind.  But again, this was at the JW Marriott pool that was available for us to use.

Room:  We were fortunate to secure two adjoining rooms – one with a king bed and the other with 2 queens.  This worked out great for my family since my husband and I, along with my teenage daughter, could watch movies late at night without disturbing the toddler that was trying to sleep.  Unfortunately, the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel does not have a movie pay-per-view service (or the ability to check out over the television) so we had to stop by a nearby Walmart to purchase some DVDs (and a cable to connect to the TV) to watch movies on our portable DVD player.  No biggie, but a staff member did tell me that they were looking into this option for the future.  The room was very clean and I did not notice any stains or rips in the upholstery.

Amway Grand Plaza Hotel Room Beds

Amway Grand Plaza Hotel Room Chair

Amway Grand Plaza Hotel Room Desk

One of my favorite aspects of our room stay was the information (and chocolates) provided with turn-down service.  A small sheet of paper with the weather forecast for the next day was a really nice touch.  I also liked the fact that the hotel offers free WiFi to guests, as we needed it for my son to view content on our tablet.  My family’s favorite aspect of our room stay was definitely the soft and plush mattresses and pillows.  They were heaven!

Amway Grand Plaza Hotel Turn-Down Service
Room Service: Like all room service options, the items on the menu are a bit pricey.  We opted for room service on our last morning at the hotel out of sheer convenience – we didn’t want to have to get out of the room early and come back to pack up before check-out.  I’m so glad we ordered in!  The food was delivered within 30 minutes and we had a FEAST!  Pancakes, eggs, bacon, fruit, yogurt – I felt like we tried it all!  And it was all delivered at the perfect temperature and was simply delicious!  My only gripe with our room service was that we were shorted a set of silverware so my husband and I had to share until another set was delivered.  But the food was so good that I overlooked that a bit.

Location:  My entire family loved the location of our hotel.  We were within walking distance to some major attractions like the Grand Rapids Public Museum, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, and the Grand Rapids Public Museum.  Seriously, all within a 5-10 minute walk from the hotel.  And that’s not even mentioning all of the great restaurants within walking distance too!  The location of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel was just perfect for exploring the city of Grand Rapids.

Amway Grand Plaza Hotel Room View 1

Aren’t these views gorgeous?!?!

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That’s the Grand Rapids Public Museum – just steps from the hotel!

Restaurants:  There are a total of 8 restaurants on the hotel property – from breakfast and coffee, to a deli for lunch and steak for dinner – the Amway Grand Plaza hotel can cater to a wide variety of cravings.  Personally, having a Starbucks in the building was a huge perk for me.  One of my biggest peeves when visiting a hotel or resort is cruddy coffee in the morning.  Thankfully, the Starbucks was just a short walk from our hotel room.

Amway Grand Plaza Hotel Starbucks
We also dined at Cornucopia for breakfast (oatmeal, bagels, and breakfast sandwiches) and lunch (salads, paninis and pizza).  There was plenty of seating available, but we opted just to take it back to our room.  The food was good, but we mostly enjoyed the convenience.

Amway Grand Plaza Hotel Cornucopia

Amway Grand Plaza Hotel Cornucopia Menu

Cornucopia’s Menu

We had one “fancy” dinner at the Ruth’s Chris Steak House on the property.  Going in with a toddler, we were a little apprehensive because we thought he would be too loud and disturb other guests.  The service at the restaurant was so awesome that they sat us in a louder section of the restaurant and checked in every so often to see if we were doing alright.  The food at Ruth’s Chris was so delicious and we enjoyed getting to spend some family time together at a nice restaurant.

Amway Grand Plaza Hotel Ruth's Chris
Overall:  Our stay at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel was pretty great.  I do wish that they had more amenities available to children, but I would definitely recommend this hotel to any family wishing to visit the Grand Rapids area – the location alone can’t be beat!  We enjoyed our Grand Rapids trip so much since there are so many amenities in the area that appeal to varying age groups.

Disclosure:  My family received complimentary accommodations in order to facilitate this review and I was not required to state a particular point of view.  All opinions are 100% my own.

The inside scoop on everyday travel with kids.

This review originally appeared on Trekaroo!

The Traveling Family: Safety First!

Disclosure: As a Britax Latina Blogger/Advisory Board Member (and in partnership with Mami Innovative Media), this post is part of a sponsored outreach. All opinions expressed are my own.

I’ve traveled a lot (so far) this year.  Well, I mean, traveled a lot for me I guess.  Usually I’m lucky if I can get out of town once or twice a year, and this year I’ve been out of the Chicago area SIX times already…with another trip planned for the fall.  I’m a lucky gal!  Traveling has become one of my absolute favorite things to do, and I love taking my family on for the ride.

Pure Michigan

Our most recent family road trip was to the Grand Rapids, MI area and my entire family had a blast!  It’s not easy keeping both a toddler and a teen entertained, but Grand Rapids did just that.  We visited museums, a beach, a pool, a zoo, a park, and dined at some pretty fabulous restaurants.  An awesome family trip.

BRITAX Michigan

I thought our time would be a little too jam-packed for my toddler (because Momma is a Type-A, itinerary-having junkie) but he loved every minute of it.  The most important tip I can share when traveling with toddlers is: make sure you plan for naptime.  So even though our schedule was full, my boy’s naptime was definitely planned.  It allowed for a much smoother transition going from place to place.

This trip to Grand Rapids was also my son’s first road trip lasting more than 3 hours.  We were really nervous that he’d give us trouble on the way, but surprisingly he took it all in stride.  Aside from the obligatory potty breaks, we tried to keep our stops to a minimum.  Worked out great!

And I know one thing that definitely kept him safe and comfy: his brand-new BRITAX Pinnacle 90 car seat!  I can’t even tell you how much this boy loves his car seat!  For the first time (he’s almost 3!) he can finally hop in and out of it himself.  He’s not very fast, but it’s really cute:

And he’s so proud when he does it too.  A big plus for me since we upgraded from the Advocate 70 is the addition of the cup holders on the seat!  Well, actually, I might take that back because I’ve found Goldfish cracker crumbs everywhere since we installed the new seat!

BRITAX Pinnacle 90

As a traveling mom, there’s nothing more important to me than my child’s safety on the road and I’m happy to know that BRITAX has my back in that department!

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