Saturday, May 25, 2019

All About Our Vacation In #Hawaii: Our Jungle Jeep Tour At @KualoahHi

A few weeks ago I shared with everyone the details of our 9 hour flight to Hawaii. Today I am going to share with ya'll one of the fun activities that we did in Oahu. The most fun and adventurous tour we did in Oahu was visiting Kualoa Ranch! I highly recommend if you are on Oahu that you make time to visit. They offer a variety of tours including a 2 hour kayak tour around Chinaman's hat, 1 and 2 hour horseback tours, ATV tours, Farm to Table Tour, etc. We hope to visit again when we return to Hawaii. I'd love to try the ATV tour next time.



We are big fans of Jurassic Park and my kids were super excited to learn that it was filmed in Oahu. We booked the Jungle Jeep Tour at Kualoa Ranch which is where many movies and tv shows have been filmed. We enjoyed the Jungle Jeep Tour, it was probably one of the highlights of the kids vacation.



All About The Tour:
90 minutes Rainforest Tour
Tour movie sites including Jumanji and Kong Skull Island, Jurassic Valley 
Beautiful scenic views 
$47.95/adult $36.95/child

Look at the incredible view from the jeep of the famous Chinaman's Hat




Check out those dinosaur claw marks!!


My kids absolutely loved seeing the many movie sets, especially Jurassic World! Be sure to save time to check out the huge gift shop. My son purchased a Jurassic World tee shirt and my daughter purchased a beautiful hand carved stone turtle. 

Kuaoloa Ranch has an on site restaurant called Aunty Pat's Cafe serving breakfast, lunch and snacks until 6 pm. The buffet looked good and it is open daily from 10 am until 2 pm. 


I highly recommend a visit to Kualoa Ranch if you are visiting Oahu. Plan to spend at least 45 minutes in the gift shop :) It is great!




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Thursday, May 9, 2019

All About Our 9 Hour Flight To Hawaii on #UnitedAirlines


We recently traveled to Oahu Hawaii for spring break. We flew United Airlines out of Raleigh, NC and we had an hour layover in Houston, Texas. I had just enough time in the Houston airport to grab a Starbucks and a fruit cup before it was time to board the flight.  From Houston, Texas the flight to Oahu Hawaii was 9 hours!! The time also changed and we lost 6 hours since we were coming from the East Coast. I chose United Airlines because they were the best priced flights I could find. We really enjoyed flying United. We were able to each bring a carry on size bag on the flight plus a 'personal item' which was the kids backpacks. Overall the flight went fairly smooth. They no longer offer complimentary meals on flights to Hawaii, however they had meals available for purchase including snacks. They did give out complimentary pretzels and drinks.  To view the menu's for United Airlines visit the United Airlines website. They also gave out complimentary ear buds and a (new) soft blanket. 

It was so nice having our own tv screens! We were able to watch lots of movies and tv shows.


I ended up purchasing my kids their own "Classic Snack Box" which cost $10 and included:
Cheese spread
Crackers
Oreos (2)
Pretzel Crisp bag
Root Beer Float marshmallow (this was delicious!)
Salami
Twizzlers


They also sell a "Kids Snack Box" which costs $6 and includes: applesauce, beef stick, cheddar crackers, fruit snacks and graham snacks.

My kids watched two movies on the flight. I had packed them a lot of fun things to do in their backpacks to keep them busy. Check out my detailed packing list here. In addition to watching movies my kids also did some sticker activity books, played with Lego's, did some drawing, played on their Nintendo DS's and they never napped! UGH! The 9 hour flight went by somewhat fast up until the last hour. My kids started to get antsy so I took them to walk around the plane, we asked the flight attendants for an extra sprite and we walked the aisles for about ten minutes.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

All About Our Visit To Sea Life Park #Hawaii

We visited Sea Life Park in Oahu, Hawaii. The park is located about 30 minutes outside of Waikiki. We had a rental car so we drove but if you do not have a car you can ride the bus. Parking cost $5. They have lockers available to rent. 

The kids had SO much fun seeing the beautiful turtles, dolphins, penguins, bird aviary, fish, sharks and the adorable sea lions

Honu means sea turtle in Hawaii



My kids loved the touch pool

Exploring underwater

Sea Life park offers many wonderful animal experiences that are available for an additional cost. Guests can swim with the dolphins, encounter a sea lion, feed a dolphin, etc.

Be sure to check out the Kolohe Kai Sea Lion show!

The bird aviary was so fun! The sticks are complimentary and allow guests to feed the birds up close


There are 2 fun playgrounds available for little one's

Be sure to save room for lunch! They have several great food options at Sea Life Park. Check out the various dining options here We had delicious hot dogs from Pinks Hollywood Hot Dogs. The pineapple hot dog was amazing! 

Ticket prices:
General Admission: $39.99 (13 and older) 
Junior Admission: $24.99 (3-12 years) 
Infants: Free (1 year to 2 years ) 






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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Top 10 Tips For Your Hawaii Vacation


We had the best vacation in Oahu, Hawaii this past April. The kids loved Oahu and all of the beautiful beaches. I'm going to share with you my top 10 tips for planning your own Hawaiian Vacation.

  1. Plan, plan plan! Save websites to your "favorites" tab on your computer. Start researching using www.TripAdvisor.com and www.gohawaii.com 
  2. Make a list of all of the activities and attractions you would like to do. 
  3. Create a daily plans document for each day of your vacation. We had 10 days on Oahu so I had a detailed plan for each of those 10 days. The travel days simply included things like get a cab, get groceries, go to dinner, etc. Take the list of things you would like to do and add it into your daily plans. 
  4. Don't try to do to much each day. Be sure to allow time each day to relax, enjoy the pool, beach, etc.
  5. Before you book your flights shop around! Compare prices. We booked our flights directly by calling United Airlines. I wanted to be 100% sure that my 3 kids would be seated beside myself and my husband. 
  6. Book your hotel or condo before you book your flight. This is the most important aspect of your vacation. 
  7. Book dinner reservations online ahead of time
  8. If this will be your kids first time to fly show them a YouTube video of the inside of an airplane to prepare them for what it will be like. 

  9. Check websites like www.groupon.com for deals on attractions
  10. Remember to have fun and be flexible! Don't worry if something on your list doesn't happen on the exact day you had planned. One of the days we were in Oahu it rained and we switched our plans. We also had made a 'backup plan' for rainy days. Our rainy day plans included going to an aquarium or seeing a movie. 
Coming up next on the blog, my kids favorite attractions in Oahu!




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Monday, April 15, 2019

All About Our Hawaii Vacation Part 1: The Planning

We had been planning on taking our children to Oahu in the summer of 2019. I started pricing out airline tickets in February 2019. I quickly realized that July and August cost a lot more for plane tickets than March and April. So I changed our plans a little bit and booked our flights for March 2019. That gave me less than two full months to plan our vacation!! When you are booking 5 plane tickets every little bit of savings can add up. I compared airport pricing and searched all airports within 2 hours of our house. I am lucky because I live just less than 2 hours from Dulles airport and exactly 2 hours from Raleigh, NC airport. Both of which have excellent airfare rates to Honolulu. We decided to book with United Airlines out of Raleigh. Our airfare was around $900 per person and this was for economy. We were able to bring one personal item (bookbag for each of us) and one carry on luggage. We ended up checking 2 pieces of luggage for $30/bag. We had a total of 7 bags + a bookbag for each person.



More on the flight experience later. After booking the airline tickets I booked our hotel for the night before our early 6:30 am flight. We absolutely loved the Holiday Inn Express in Raleigh, NC. They provide a park n ride option where you can leave your vehicle for up to two weeks at the hotel to avoid paying for parking at the airport. They will take you and pick you up at the airport with their shuttle. It was SO convenient. We loved the hotel and the breakfast was delicious. Due to our early morning flight we did not have much time to enjoy the breakfast, but we did grab coffee to go and nice to go bags. The to go bags were filled with: banana, granola bar, cereal bar and a delicious fresh baked muffin. I can't say enough great things about this hotel! We will definitely return.

Luckily I had been pre-planning and doing research on must see attractions in Oahu for many months! I had saved many websites to a folder on my "Favorites" lists on my computer. I've always wanted to take the kids to Hawaii but I wanted to wait until my youngest was at least 7+ or older to fly. It is a long flight and I knew it was going to be too stressful to fly with 3 kids when they were really young.

I knew that we would have only 10 days to see many many places, beaches, attractions, restaurants, etc. So I had to make the most of our time and our days. I used my favorite Lilly Pulitzer notebook to make our itinerary. I booked dinner reservations at the following restaurants:

https://www.tanakaoftokyo.com/
https://www.dukeswaikiki.com/
https://www.haleiwabeachhouse.com/

After booking dinner reservations I started booking reservations for attractions. I booked our rental vehicle. This is another topic that I debated on. Should we have a rental car for the whole 10 days or just part of the vacation? Parking in Waikiki is very expensive so that was another added factor. In the end I decided to book the rental car for 4 days. We were able to ride http://thebus.org/ to most of our destinations, such as Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, Ala Moana Center (mall), Waikiki Aquarium, Honolulu Zoo, etc.

Up next, part 2 Packing & The 9 Hour Flight Experience



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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Easy & Affordable #Easter Basket Ideas + My Fav Easter Books

Easter will be here before you know it and chances are if you're like me you like to plan ahead ;) I'm going to share with ya'll some super easy and affordable Easter basket idea's and tips on how to get the best bang for your buck.

I have 3 children and I try to set a budget so that I don't overspend. I like to have 1 'WOW' item such as a new dvd or video game (depending on the age of your little one) and then a few small items plus some candy. I try to limit candy and just do a few chocolate eggs, jelly beans or LifeSaver gummies.



Ideas:


  • Movies
  • Books
  • Video Game
  • Barbie doll
  • Lego's
  • Play Doh
  • Squishies
  • Hot Wheels
  • Stuffed animals
  • Beanie Boo's
  • Bubbles
  • Chalk
  • Hula Hoop
  • Rock Tumbler
  • Art Set
  • Magazine
  • Watch
  • gift card to ChickFilA (or whatever their favorite fast food place is)
  • new swimsuit
  • beach towel
  • nail polish
  • spring socks
  • spring pj's
  • Slime kit

Check your local churches for Easter Egg Hunt's and sign your kids up! My kids love to go to Easter Egg Hunts this time of year. Also, don't forget to purchase a kit to dye your own Easter eggs at home. I love these Eggmoji eggs!

Some of my favorite Easter books include:
Pete The Cat: Big Easter Adventure
How To Catch the Easter Bunny
The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story
Happy Easter Mouse! (board book)
The Tale of Peter Rabbit  (board book)
Where Are Baby's Easter Eggs? (board book)
The Berenstain Bears: Easter Sunday
Pinkalicious: Eggstraordinary Easter
Minnie Easter Bonnet Parade
The Night Before Easter


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Thursday, March 7, 2019

How To Create A Budget Friendly St Patrick's Day For Your Kids #StPatricksDay

St. Patrick's Day is going to be here before you know!! My kids are really into the whole Leprechaun visit and they love pinching people who aren't wearing green. I am going to share with you some really budget friendly ways to make St. Patrick's Day special for your little one's!


First off, you just need a few things from the store. Pick up some green food coloring, Lucky Charms cereal, and some yellow cake mix and icing of your choice. Add the green food coloring to the yellow cake mix and bake following instructions on the box. The cake (or cupcakes) will be green and super festive! Add a few Lucky Charms to the top of the cake after you ice it. You could serve the cake for dessert on St. Patrick's Day or even for a snack after school.

It's fun to decorate the kitchen table the morning of St. Patrick's Day with some festive beads to go along with the theme. Most of the items I use to decorate the kitchen table I already had lying around the house. Hobby Lobby also has a lot of great St. Patrick's Day decorations. Start the day out with  really easy and fun St. Patrick's Day breakfast: green pancakes!! What kid doesn't love pancakes?! Dye the mix green and use a shamrock mold to shape the pancakes if you have a shamrock cookie cutter. If not, just making the green pancakes will do! A fun touch is green sprinkles and whipped cream. Don't forget to add green food coloring to the milk!!
Image result for green pancakes


When your little's are home from school you could serve them some super cute green snacks (check out my Pinterest board for lots of fun ideas)  I personally love the green popcorn idea!

                                                    Homemade St. Patrick's Day Crafts for Kids, Green Popcorn, DIY St Patricks Day Treats:

Make the day fun and creative with surprises around every corner. You could even leave a few gold coins under your child's pillow the night before or in their backpacks.




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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Must Pack Items For Flying With Kids #Familytravel


Flying with kids can be super stressful. I am in the process of packing and preparing for our spring break vacation. I am going to share with ya'll some of the must have items that you should pack for your kids if you are flying. 
  • Favorite blanket
  • Small travel size pillow or neck pillow
  • Clipboard and blank paper for drawing
  • Activity book (purchase a few new one's from Target or Barnes & Noble
  • Coloring books
  • Pencil case 
  • Colored pencils
  • small hand held pencil sharpener
  • crayons or markers
  • Ipad 
  • Nintendo DS
  • Headphones
  • Snacks
  • Empty thermos
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Wipes
  • Books
  • Play-Doh
  • Small travel size board game (Uno, Go Fish, travel checkers, Battleship, etc.)
  • Gum to chew for take off/landing



For starters, have each child empty their bookbag. Be sure the bookbag is not the smallest one they own. I really love the bookbags with the water bottle holders. These make great travel bags. Once the bookbag is empty start out by having your child put their favorite blanket in first. Then add in some activity books, coloring books, clipboards, paper and a pencil case filled with some colored pencils, a sharpener, crayons or markers (markers tend to be messier imo). Add the empty thermos to the side pocket. This will come in handy after you have gone through the TSA checkpoint. You can then fill the thermos with either water or juice for the plane ride. Keep the hand sanitizer and wipes in the front pocket of the bookbag so that they can be easily reached. 

The play-Doh is great for children ages 3-10. This will give them something to play with and provides a somewhat mess free creative outlet. You could even bring a few Play-Doh accessories if you like. 

The travel size board games are wonderful for both the plane ride, the layover and for the actual vacation. I'm sure you will have some down time and your kids will enjoy spending time playing a few games with you. 

Snacks! This is one of the most important must have item!! Don't forget the snacks!! My kids favorite snacks include: Goldfish, Pringles, Cheeze Its,  Raisins, bananas, peanut butter crackers, etc. Just pack more than you would normally pack. The longer the flight the more snacks you should pack. If your flight is 5+ hours I would recommend packing at least 1 giant box of the Goldfish! You never know when there could be a flight delay. 
Try to avoid messy snacks. 

Electronics
It is so important to pack your kids favorite electronics. This will be your best friend during a flight. Don't always count on the tiny tv in the seat to provide entertainment. Sometimes the tv's aren't working or not every seat may have a tv. Pack your personal electronics. They will come in handy during layovers, car rides, Uber rides, dinner, etc. Ipad, Nintendo DS, Leapster, etc. Don't forget the headphones!! 

Happy kids = stressfree flights!

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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

All About My #Springbreak In #Hawaii


Spring Break is coming soon and I'm super excited because this year my family is going to Hawaii! I'm going to share with ya'll some must see attractions in Oahu. After our vacation I will post a full review on each of the activities listed below. Be sure you are following me on Instagram because I will be posting lots of photos & going live at many of the attractions below.

1. Pearl Harbor This historic site offers free tickets to tour the U.S.S Arizona Memorial. They have over 1,300 free tickets released every morning at 7 am, but the tickets are first come first serve. They often run out by 9 or 10 am. We decided to secure tickets online for $1/each. You can reserve tickets ahead of time here

2. Honolulu Zoo The Honolulu Zoo is located between the slopes of Diamond Head and Waikiki at the corner of Kapahulu Avenue and Kalakaua Avenue and is open 9:00 am to 4:30 pm daily. Admission is $19/adult and $11 for children ages 3-12. Military members receive a discounted rate.

3. Kualoa Ranch This 4,000 acre ranch is not only beautiful but it is home to famous movies such as Jurassic Park and the tv show Lost was filmed here!  Kualoa Ranch offers many activities to choose from including a Jungle Jeep tour, ATV tour, secret beach tour and more! I am SO excited about our tour to see scenes from the movie Jurassic Park & my favorite tv show Lost.

4. Waikiki Aquarium Discover the beautiful fish and sea creatures that live in the waters of Hawaii. 

5. The Bishop Museum A wonderful place to visit and learn all about the history of Hawaii. Educational, fun and exciting lava demonstration! Plus a planetarium with daily 25 minute movies $2.95/each.

6. Dole Plantation Pineapples galore! Kids will love the Dole Plantation's Pineapple Express Train. Parents will enjoy the garden tour. Be sure to save room for a sweet treat, the dole whip! There is a free pineapple cutting demo and a fish feeding pond. Plus a huge pineapple maze too!

7. Polynesian Cultural Center Travel through time as you experience thousands of years, north of culture from six different island nations. The Polynesian Villages are open 12-6 daily. Play ancient games, sample poi, watch a cultural presentation, paddle a canoe, etc. Be sure to save time to visit the nightly Luau. Fun for both parents and kids. Super educational too!


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Sunday, February 10, 2019

How To Find The Best Airfare Deals


Flying can be SO expensive, especially when you have a big family like me! Purchasing 5 plane tickets really can effect the "Vacation Budget". I've done a lot of research on how to find the best airfare deals and I'm going to share some interesting information and tips with ya'll. For starters, I learned that the best day of the week to book airfare tickets is TUESDAY specifically around 3:00 pm. This is because the newest rates have come out at the beginning of the week and by Tuesday a lot of the competitors have released deals to try to beat the rates.

Another tip when searching for the best airfare deals is to DELETE your COOKIES on your computer after your search. This way the sites airfare rates will be refreshed and the newest updated rate. 

Be sure to check multiple sites and compare airfare pricing. Check out sites like www.Expedia.com and www.priceline.com and https://www.cheapflights.com/

And did you know that many airlines offer day passes to the private lounges?! www.aa.com American Airlines has a one day pass for customers. The day pass is $59 per adult. Up to 3 children per adult are free. The Admirals Club offers many great perks such as wi-fi, drinks, snacks, private space to relax and charge your devices, business center and some lounges offer shower suites. It sounds like a great deal for people traveling with long layovers.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Aloha Pineapple Smoothie #Recipe

I just made one of the most delicious smoothie's ya'll and it was SO easy! I am on a smoothie kick lately. I am supplementing a smoothie for my lunch. I found some great recipe's on Pinterest.


1 whole pineapple makes a lot! I frozen the pineapple in the container for later. 


Ingredients: 

1 pineapple
1 banana
5-6 frozen strawberries (or fresh)
1/2 Cup Ice
1/2 Cup Vanilla lowfat yogurt

Slice the pineapple. Add ingredients to blender. Blend until smooth and enjoy!



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Sunday, January 27, 2019

Enter To Win A Family 4 Pack of Tickets To Finding Neverland at The National Theatre in DC


I am a huge Peter Pan fan and this Broadway musical looks absolutely amazing! I am super excited to host an awesome giveaway for my readers. If you live in Virginia, Maryland or DC you will want to check this out. 

FINDING NEVERLAND
Tuesday, Feb. 26 – Sunday, March 3
The National Theatre

Directed by visionary Tony®-winner Diane Paulus and based on the critically-acclaimed Academy Award® winning film, FINDING NEVERLAND tells the incredible story behind one of the world’s most beloved characters: Peter Pan. Playwright J.M. Barrie struggles to find inspiration until he meets four young brothers and their beautiful widowed mother. Spellbound by the boys’ enchanting make-believe adventures, he sets out to write a play that will astound London theatergoers. With a little pixie dust and a lot of faith, Barrie takes a monumental leap, leaving his old world behind for Neverland, where nothing is impossible and the wonder of childhood lasts forever. The magic of Barrie’s classic tale springs spectacularly to life in this heartwarming theatrical event.

Run time: Approximately 2 hours and 25 minutes, including one intermission. Recommended for age 7 and up.

The National Theatre is located downtown
on 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC, 20004, facing Pennsylvania Avenue and Freedom
Plaza. The closest Metro stop is Metro Center.
For more information on Finding Neverland visit:
http://thenationaldc.org/events/category/series/neverland-19/

One lucky winner will be selected to attend the February 26th show at 7:30 pm with their family or friends. Prize: 4 pack of tickets. Must be picked up between 6:30-7:30 pm.


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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Welcome To Our #Disney Travel Agent

Hi, My name is Sarah Howell and I am a travel planner with Pixie and Pirate Destinations, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.  I live in Chesterfield, VA with my husband, 13-year-old identical twin girls and 10-year-old boy/girls twins. That’s right I have 2 sets of twins.  Believe it or not it’s not has hard as it sounds. I book vacations to all of the Disney destinations (Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani, Disney Cruises, and Adventures by Disney), plus Universal Orlando, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and Beaches and Sandals luxury all inclusive resorts.  I prefer to focus on only a few destinations to be able to provide you with first hand knowledge of the destinations. I have been an agent for almost 8 years. When it comes to planning your vacation, we will work together to plan a trip that is right for your family and your budget. The key to finding a good travel planner is to find one that is willing to work with you and knows that its more than just planning the same trip for you that they planned for their family.  We all lead busy lives, and nobody has the time to research, book, and plan a vacation. That is where I step in to help. I’m here to offer guidance and suggestions. My goal is to take the stress and confusion out of planning a vacation. My services are Free. Email me at sarah@pixieandpiratedestinations.com so we can start planning your next vacation today.

Visit Sarah on Facebook at:
www.facebook.com/pixiesarahhowell




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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

How To Make Creative Art Work On A #Budget #DIY #Disney Artwork


This past weekend was a snowy/icy weekend and we were stuck inside. I decided to get creative with my kiddies. I purchased some canvasses from Michael's Crafts. They were on sale 2 for $4. I picked up some acrylic paint in my favorite colors $.70 cent each. Not bad! Spend a total of $12 for this little project for 4 canvasses and all supplies.

I already own the Mickey cut out, but if you don't own one you can find them at Michael's also. They are hard to find because they are so popular. Here's one on Amazon.

Step 1: Hole punch the Mickey shapes using painters tape

Step 2: Place Mickey shapes onto canvas (arrange however you'd like)

Step 3: Paint your canvas

Step 4: Allow paint to dry completely before removing the tape. Now you have a fun piece of art that you can hang wherever!

My kids also did canvas paintings using the painters tape. They chose to paint their initials. 

My daughter chose her favorite colors and did a great job!

Finished product





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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Getting Organized In 2019 With Free #Printable

Related image

Here is a great 30 day organizer check list that you can print out. If you have already done one of the daily tasks skip it and move on to the next. If one of the tasks is too much for you to do in one day then by all means tackle over the course of several days. I know it is hard and overwhelming when you look at the list, but remember, you can always ask your husband for help. HA who am I kidding. Scratch that. 😝😆


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