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Colorado is home to some of the best paddling towns in the country. So it should be no surprise that these towns hold some of the most exciting, fun and renowned whitewater events in the country, which bring professional athletes and river enthusiasts from around the world. Here’s a list of upcoming whitewater events that you don’t want to miss. Colorado snowpack is above average so far, which means 2017 is likely to be another epic year for whitewater. So mark your calendars and join in the fun.

The Golden Games
May 18 - 20, 2018

The three day weekend hosts a variety of sporting events, live music, demos, clinics, gear swaps and more. Sports to be highlighted are Kayaking, Stand Up Paddle, Slack Lining, River Surfing and many more.

Golden is one of our favorite places to visit.

Dates: May 18 – 20, 2018
Location: Golden, CO
Camping: $$ Clear Creek RV Park
Website: thegoldengames.com

CKS Paddlefest
May 25 - 28, 2018

CKS Paddlefest is a weekend festival for all ages, abilities and activities. It includes running races, bike races, SUP clinics, SUP yoga, kayak rodeo, flatwater demos, bouldering competitions, raft race, slalom race, kayak instruction, family dinner, disc golf and more.

Dates: May 25 – 28, 2018 (Memorial Day Weekend)
Location: Buena Vista, CO
Camping: Free camping in the adjacent parking lot.
Website: ckspaddlefest.com

Lyons Outdoor Games
June 2, 2018

Professional athletes travel from around the globe to particpiate in Lyons Outdoor Games competitions in slalom whitewater kayaking, BMX/dirt-jumping, and slackline.

Lyons has always been one of our favorite small towns. Get in on this fun event and help support the Town of Lyons as they rebuild from the 2013 flood.

Dates: June 2, 2018
Location: Lyons, CO
Camping: $ Bohn Park (Festival Grounds) and Meadow Park (across town from festival grounds)
Website: lyonsoutdoorgames.com

Animas River Days
June 2, 2018

Durango was the first community in the nation to construct a whitewater park back in the late 1980s. New construction was started in 2013 to renovate and improve the the rapids on the Lower Animas in Durango. The Santa Rita Park is scheduled to be completed this year.

Dates: June 2, 2018
Location: Durango, CO
Camping: $$ There are several campgrounds in the Durango area.
Website: animasriverdays.com

GoPro Mountain Games
June 7 - 10, 2018

Professional and amateur athletes from around the world converge upon the mountains and rivers of Vail to compete in 9 sports for more than $110,000 in prize money.

The GoPro Mountain Games may be quickly becoming one of the nation’s premier sporting events (similar to the Winter X-Games in Aspen), but is it also one of the most commercialized. Many events take place in the heart of the Vail marketplace, and parking is limited and far away from the venue. And there is absolutely no camping or overnight parking allowed anywhere within the Town of Vail.

Dates: June 7 – 10, 2018
Location: Vail, CO
Camping: NO camping allowed!! Vail Police are vigilant.
Website: mountaingames.com

FIBArk
June 14 - 17, 2018

2017 marks the 69th anniversary of FIBArk, the nation’s oldest whitewater festival and Salida’s signature event. Since 1949, every June during the Spring snow runoff, Salida has hosted FIBArk, “First in Boating on the Arkansas.”

Dates: June 14 – 17, 2018
Location: Salida, CO
Camping: Free camping at nearby BLM campgrounds.
Website: fibark.com

Gunnison River Festival
June 22 - 24, 2018

The Gunnison River Festival is an annual river event that embraces river and stream activities, education and the celebration of the Gunnison River Basin.

The Gunnison Whitewater Park has multiple whitewater features from beginner to expert and the festival has events and activities for all ages.

Dates: June 22 – 24, 2018
Location: Salida, CO
Camping: $$ Gunnison KOA
Website: gunnisonriverfestival.com

Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival
June 22 - 23, 2018

The 10th Annual Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival features kayak, stand up paddle board, raft, and river board competitions along with other events to promote the outdoors and an active lifestyle.

Not only will you enjoy the festival event but there is plenty of food, beer, vendors, and entertainment for the entire family.  All of the money raised goes towards continued expansion of the Whitewater Park, river restoration, and charitable causes.

Dates: June 22 – 23, 2018
Location: Cañon City, CO
Camping: ?
Website: royalgorgewhitewaterfestival.com

Uncompahgre FUNC Fest
July 14, 2018

Water sports enthusiasts, competitors, and the fun-loving Montrose community are invited to enjoy the Fun on the Uncompahgre “FUNC Fest” at the Montrose Water Sports Park. The annual event is hosted by the City of Montrose Office of Business and Tourism and features a full lineup of events on water and land.

Dates: July 14, 2018
Location: Montrose, CO
Camping: ?
Website: visitmontrose.com/218/Fun-on-the-Uncompahgre-FUNC-Fest

The post 2018 Colorado Whitewater Paddling Events appeared first on Kellogg Show.

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There are plenty of people out there who are not lazy, but just can’t seem to get motivated enough to get themselves to the gym. If you are one of these people, rest assured, you are not alone. In fact I used to be the same way when I first started lifting. I would dread it all day long, day after day. But believe me, after around 2 weeks of commitment and zero excuses, I finally started liking it more and more as the days went by. And as I started seeing results, it got easier to get motivated to workout and I realized I was sitting on some epic Lifting Motivation Tricks!

Training with a buddy is the biggest hack to success.

The hardest part is the beginning, getting yourself to the gym and getting motivated. These 6 Lifting Motivation Tricks should up your motivation 100%.  Check them out.

Get a Buddy

The number 1 thing, the biggest hack is you absolutely, 100%, need a lifting partner/buddy. If you do not have someone you can workout with it will be extremely difficult to not only get yourself to the gym, but to stay motivated while there. Mainly because you will end up needing someone to spot you. But, also a buddy gives you someone who can push you past your limits and someone to talk to. The cool thing is, this buddy can be anyone.  Your buddy can your siblings, parents, friend, or even a personal trainer. Having a Lifting Partner is definitely one the top Lifting Motivation Tricks.

Dope Playlist

Another of the industry’s top Lifting Motivation Tricks is, hands down, a sick playlist.  You need good music, that gets you pumped and stoked. You can’t workout or do anything but sleep listening to twinkle little star, or jingle bells!! You need energetic and loud music with people yelling and screaming!! Heavy metal or dubstep type stuff, where when you hear it you just want to go crazy!!  

Supplements

In weight training, supplements are everything. My top supplements for lifting are pre workout, and post workout drinks. My goto pre-workout drink is Cellucor’s C4.  This drink gives me a huge boost of energy. In fact the pre-workout will give you so much you won’t have a choice but to keep going and working out to use it al up. I absolutely love my pre workout.  As for post-workout drink we just use Cytosport’s 100% Whey.  It tastes way better than anything else we’ve tried, and we’ve tried everything. Just adding these 2 supplements to your regimen definitely recharges your routine. Hence, it’s one of my top Lifting Motivation Tricks.  

Goals

If you are trying to get in shape, a great hack is to print out a picture of someone in great shape to motivate you. Or if you are trying to gain mass muscle, print a picture of a bodybuilder and stick it on the fridge or your bedroom door. That way you have a visual goal that you view daily to help you want accomplish it everyday. Visual goals are awesome Lifting Motivation Tricks.

Schedule

One of the industry’s top Lifting Motivation Tricks to to make a set schedule, start off with 2 or 3 days a week, pick a time and day, and don’t miss it. Ever. If you schedule a time to lift, you won’t have the universal excuse of being too busy.  My advice is to print a work out sheet and follow it. If you are serious, like I am, you will make working out like a second job. Your mind tells you that you have to do it. You don’t make money but you make progress and gains. And, after a few weeks you will actually enjoy working out.

Start NOW

Procrastination is the killer of goals. That is why one of my top Lifting Motivation Tricks is to simply start NOW. Don’t wait until New Year’s or Monday or the first of the month. Don’t wait to start next week, or tomorrow. Start today,  just do it today.  Break yourself in slow. Start off with a little workout, maybe it will be 30 minutes, maybe an hour. Start off small and work your way up. Then, after a week, 2 weeks you will feel great and it will be the most addicting feeling!!  We all get it, we’ve been there, it is difficult to start. But once you start you can’t stop. So just do it, and accomplish your goals!!

Those 6 Best Lifting Motivation Tricks should definitely boost your motivation, so get out there and hit the gym!! Hit me up with your favorite Lifting Motivation Tricks! I’d love to hear what you do to keep hitting the gym and surpassing your goals!!

The post Weight Training: 6 Best Lifting Motivation Tricks appeared first on Kellogg Show.

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People on the island of Puerto Rico love to drink. This makes all the bars in Puerto Rico very popular. While we stayed in San Juan, we did some touristy things, but mostly tried to immerse ourselves in the local scene.  After asking around about night life, a few locals insisted that we  go to La Placita if we were looking for a real Puerto Rican nightlife experience. I have to say it was, by far, one of the highlights of our trip!

Introduction to La Placita:

La Plaza del Mercado in Santurce is a hot spot for locals to hangout in Puerto Rico. Located across the Baldorioty de Castro Highway, just on the other side of Condado, at Dos Hermanos and Capitol Streets it is jam packed with people of all ages.

The famous La Placita, as it’s called by the locals, is a historical market place where, during the day you can buy many different fruits, vegetables, herbs, and other local produce. And at night, it transforms into a lively block party. Everyone comes to enjoy a night out with their friends and family.

The list of activities is as varied as the people who flock to it.  Go bar hopping from street to street. Eat the good local food at the different local eateries. Dance to the awesome live music, from live salsa to the best DJs in the Caribbean. And drink Puerto Rico’s national drink, the Pina Colada.

This was the street party in Puerto Rico. Photo: Luke Henthorn Why you should go to La Placita:

If you’re looking to get off the beaten path and go where the locals go, La Placita is the best place to be for an adventurous night. Not very many tourist know about this block party but it’s the most authentic destination to experience the flavor and vibe of Puerto Rico.

The best time to visit is Thursday through Saturday. After 10pm is when the crowds start to show up and the party begins.

Parking there is near-impossible so take a cab or walk. It was only a few blocks from where we stayed in Condado, so we walked. I never felt unsafe during the walk, not even on the way back at 4am. Still good to be cautious if you do decide to walk.

I also felt very safe the whole time at La Placita. There were cops on every corner and security guards at all the bars. Nothing worried me there.

 

Dress code:

Before you leave your hotel be sure you are wearing the proper clothing. We made this mistake and had to leave La Placita, go back to our hotel and change again to be able to enter into any of the bars. It’s a formal outing.

Men can not wear shorts and a tank top! My brother and friends, as the only tourists  that night, stood out even more in their sleeveless shirts.  They were actually told they couldn’t enter the bars.  They were informed that the dress code was jeans and a button down shirt.

I was fine in my dress, and all the other women I saw were either wearing dresses or skirts.

 

Where you should go in La Placita:

There are plenty of great places to dance, drink and eat in this square.

Some of my favorites included:

Tabaco & Ron Lounge, if you’re looking for a hookah come to this bar. Smooth hits and good tabaco. They also have great music.

El Coco de Luis, this is one of the smaller bars in La Placita. They serve the best Mojitos and Pina Coladas.

Mijani Club, was a great place for salsa dancing. Some locals showed us how it was done.

Fat Tuesday, This is a Mardi Gras-themed bar at La Placita. Come for the DJs and daiquiris.

The post Get Rowdy at La Placita in Puerto Rico! appeared first on Kellogg Show.

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We are a homeschooling family. My mom is an amazing teacher and has taught all of us at home, except for my oldest sister, Kerry.  We started when she was a Junior in High School and she did not want to make the move.  My parents respected her decision.  I am the first in our family to have never been in a real school.  My mom often says her only regret is not having homeschooled all of us from the beginning  I’m so glad she started because I Love Homeschooling.

Homeschooling can be done anywhere!

My older brother, Cardy was the last Kellogg to go to school. He finished Kindergarten and says he likes homeschooling way better. If you ask him why he will tell you because the teachers didn’t let him play on the playground with Kenny and Dally. They insisted he make friends with people in his own grade. It may seem silly, but that’s a pretty great reason to not want to go to school and to love homeschooling, in my opinion.

I Love Homeschooling for many many reasons. Here are the top 7 reasons that I love being taught at home.

Time with Family

Snowboarding during the week is great because we don’t have to deal with crowds.

The number one reason I Love Homeschooling is because I get to spend much more time with my family. If I went to school I would wake up and  leave and barely get too see anyone. After school we would have all sorts of extra curricular activities and have no time for family. It would suck. Being homeschooled means we study together, we eat together and we play together.  In fact, my older brothers help me a lot with school and I get to help my younger siblings too.

Freedom

We had a blast at Huntington Beach in November!

Another reason I love homeschooling is freedom. I don’t have to wait for weekends or for summer break to travel.  Or school can go with us everywhere. And I can go snowboarding, or kayaking, for the day, and come back and do school. Or I can choose to finish school early in the morning and then go do crazy fun things. It’s flexible, which means I choose when and where I do school, that is cool.

Student Led

Cardy and I made this map because we felt like it one afternoon. It was fun.

My mom talks a lot about student led learning, which means I can pretty much learn whatever I want. We do the basics, Reading, Writing and Math, but then we learn from our environment. Much of our school is done in real life. This is a big reason I love homeschooling. We learn about history going to places, like DC and Williamsburg and Columbus, GA.  We learn about Geography by traveling.  We learn how to lift Jeeps and change tires and renovate RV’s, and cook and so much more, just by living. But there is more.  For example, coding. I discovered I really like to code. It is so much fun for me and Cardy. And Cardy is learning Html/JavaScript! He is a 14 year old whiz kid! Another example, cats. I have researched so much about cats, that I know just about everything about them. I love cats for no other reason then I love cats.

Homeschooling is Portable

I love this quote said by Mark Twain. It’s definitely the foundation of our homeschool.

I also really love homeschooling because it is portable. I can do school in the kitchen, or my room, or on the deck.  I can even study in our RV. We could be driving down the road, and I cold be on the couch doing school.   I can choose to do school on Saturdays instead of a weekday.  I can look at the weather and see that we are going to get a storm on Wed and switch my school days to take advantage of the snow! Homeschooling is so great because it doesn’t tie me down.  And for my younger brothers and sisters, it’s great because they don’t have to sit at a desk.  They can walk around or stand or kneel or drink and snack while learning.

Homeschooling is Fast

After school, I love going hiking. If I had to go to school, I wouldn’t have time after to hike.

I like being homeschooled because my school day is so much faster than a sticks and bricks school.  I usually get up in the early morning around 7 and work on school while everyone else is still asleep, except my dad, because he wakes up at 4:30, for the same reasons … get our work done and get out and have fun.  It’s really cool having all day, or at least from lunch on, for family and fun! The world really is ours!

No Bullying

My family are my best friends. We are all crazy and we keep each other safe.

Another reason I love homeschooling is because I’ve heard a lot about bullying. I’ve even seen it when we visit friends and family. It’s so silly, really.  Luckily I’ve never experienced it myself.  Well, not really.  I guess kids have been mean to one of us at a playground or even at their house, but like, it doesn’t bother any of us.  We have each other’s back.  If anyone bullied me all my brothers and sisters would be instantly by my side. I can trust them to help me, and to always be nice to me.

Zero Oppression

I love being me and not having to worry that I might say something wrong.

So, in a lot of the books I read, the movies I see, the little news I catch, I’m always hearing about kids’ religious views being oppressed.  Probably the coolest thing about homeschooling, and why I love homeschooling is that I can practice my religion without consequence. I appreciate this because it’s not always the case.  My brothers friend wasn’t allowed to pray before a football game because it was, or could be, offensive to others.  Before every event or competition or fun day, we pray.  We celebrate Christmas and Easter.  We just pray all the time, we thank God and we ask for his protection.  To not be able to do that at school would suck.  God is part of my every day, I wouldn’t want to leave Him home just because I was going to school.

The post 7 Epic Reasons Homeschooled Kids Love Homeschooling appeared first on Kellogg Show.

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“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” Jack Kerouac, On the Road.

This is what freedom looks like to us.

Way back in the mid 90’s when I was a college student, I was assigned On the Road, by Jack Kerouac, easily one of the most profound writers of our time. I was on a path toward success. And, as 99% of college students will tell you, success is defined by the amount of money you make, the house you live in, the car you drive and the clothes you wear. I was about 95% in agreement with that assessment. I knew that was the way to respect.

But, the crazy thing is, I also knew I didn’t want to live the life that college prepares you for. I didn’t want the white picket fence and the 9 to 5 job. I wanted something totally and wildly different. So, I surrounded myself with crazy people. People who absolutely didn’t follow the rules. And so, when I read this quote from Kerouac’s novel it resonated so deep inside of me that I’ve never ever forgotten it, to this day.

I think that’s why it was love at first sight when I saw Dan. He was trouble. Dan rolled up on his motorcycle, a Marine and unlike anyone I’d ever known. And man, he had a confidence about him that drew me to him immediately. He was mad to live. Dan has never been and will never be boring. And his mind worked overtime in a constant race to find something of meaning.

So, when we got married and settled into adult life while still kids ourselves, life was monotonous and really a let-down. We kept telling ourselves, if Dan made $30k/year it would be different, or if we rented a bigger nicer place, we’d be content, or if we bought more stuff for our townhouse we’d be comfortable.

Damn, we even thought after buying our first home that we could consider ourselves arrived. But hell if it wasn’t all the same. Whether we lived in an apartment or a townhouse or our own home … we were bored and separated 5 days out of every week. We were the blasted TGIF people. Dan was an honest to goodness cubicle dweller. 

It took us 4 years to buy our first home and so, it took about 5 years for us to realize that this life would never fulfill us. This wasn’t us. We were bigger than all of that.

We had a passion inside us that was so explosive, it was impossible to contain. And, so it was impossible for us to fake happiness, when we felt so trapped, so controlled, so imprisoned.  What do you do? There was no-one with any vision in our lives, no-one to say “screw all of this, it’s not what life is about.” My gosh, we knew this, but we were so young and already had 4 kids, with a 5th on the way. Responsibility was the name of the game, until it wasn’t.

I’m not gonna lie, living in Northern Virginia was a nightmare for Dan. He wanted out. Dan wanted raw adventure, not pretty designer walking trails and malls. He made no secret of it either. We were leaving … eventually.  I was a city girl, I was ok with the mall. I didn’t push to get out, though I did know that I didn’t want city kids. However, it was a “one day” scenario.

One Day Became Today

Then, one day became a reality. I remember collapsing onto the sofa after one of our marathon painting nights and Dan throwing in a Warren Miller film. That film changed the course of our lives forever. In fact, that night we knew what our life was to look like. It was an epiphany. We wanted the life of adventure and fun and each other, even if that meant we’d have nothing else.

Suddenly, providing for our kids looked very different. Ski passes, not designer clothes. Hiking boots, instead of Jordans. Dirt bikes over Schwinns.  And eventually, kayaks and snowboards and gear, gear, gear.

It took us awhile to fully embrace the concept. I remember driving to Vermont, in search of the perfect place to raise kids… we saw the tiniest houses, with the biggest garages. It was totally perplexing, however we get it now. Heck, we got it about a year after moving to Colorado. The houses were shelters, a place to gather, but the garages, that’s where life happened. Snowmobiles, skis, snowshoes, Jeeps, dirt bikes, guns, kayaks, boats, fishing poles … everything that makes life fun was in the garage.

Tiny Homes

It’s the whole concept of the Tiny Home. It’s the whole reason we sold everything and hit the road in an RV with our family. Stuff doesn’t make a life. Stuff doesn’t equate to happiness or joy or success. Love does. Passion does. Listening to that inner voice that is screaming for more is what happiness is made of.

Time here on earth is short. I can’t imagine wasting it, living someone else’s dream.  Suddenly we knew freedom. Suddenly we knew joy. Now, we can’t make everything happen all at once, because much of our joy comes from our children.  In fact, they are so joyous, we couldn’t stop at one or two. We had 12. And we want to provide the best life for them, we want to teach them what life is really about.  We want to show them how to identify true happiness.

Happiness Looks Different To Everyone

Of course, we know their happiness will not look exactly like ours, but more than anything I want them to hold on to their faith and to shun societal burdens and the failed ideology it sells.  

And I know our minimalism doesn’t mimic that of other die-hard minimalists because of our numbers. We still had to keep a storage unit because our 300 sq ft RV didn’t have room for all the gear an adventure seeking family of 14 uses.

And, in the end, we kept our house, which is a source of comfort for me because we plan to keep it in the family literally forever. It’s also home base for all our world travelers. They have a place to rest their weary heads and from which to plan their next adventure.  They have the best of both lives … roots and wings.

And, most importantly, it is home. As my kids get older and start following their own dreams, I desperately need a place for them to come back to. A place where we all know, our family’s place, a place that says, if you are going to settle down and raise a family, this is the place to do it.  Because … family. 

Time is the Most Precious Commodity

In the end, living a wild, unpredictable, spontaneous life with Dan and my kids is ultimately what makes me happy. I don’t need stuff. I need change. I’ve embraced the fact that I can’t sit still. I see it in Kady and a bit in Brody too. The undercurrent of desire, of needing movement, of frustration even.

I was walking out of my Dr’s office the other day and a guy was exiting the elevator. I saw him out of the corner of my eye take a skip jump and as he caught up to me, he said, “Shit, I thought I walked fast.” Laughing, I looked back and responded, “Yeah, everyone says that.”

“You aren’t from around here. I can tell you’re from the city. All us city people walk fast. It’s taken me awhile to embrace the slow pace of the folks around here, but I kind of like it.”

This has stuck with me, because I walk ridiculously fast. I also drive fast. And, I shop fast. I also write fast, talk fast, suffer fast, grieve fast and struggle fast.  I do chores fast. And, I explode fast.

In fact, I do everything I deem senseless fast. Do it, get it over with and get on with the good stuff. I don’t waste time. That is my most precious commodity.  I know what authenticity looks like.  It is what makes me tick, what I need to be happy.

But then, I worship slow. I love slow. I make friends slow. I adventure slow. I travel slow. I play with the kids slow. Time … time to me is everything. It’s how you show what is important to you. It’s how you prove someone or something’s worth.

What you do with your time speaks more than any words you could ever say.  If you “would love to visit”, but don’t … I know you have higher priorities than me. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, we all have our priorities.

Authenticity

I truly know so few authentic people. It’s kind of a bummer, really. Most people are all about appearance, and authenticity is a foreign concept. I can spot these folks a mile away. Money is their god. It’s all they factor when planning.  They have no life outside of working.  No passion, no joys, no hobbies. They work for the future, forgetting about today. And even if you don’t know their daily life, you can see it in their eyes. They are devoid of spark, of mischief…the very thing that drew me to Dan is the very thing that most people are lacking.

When we moved to Colorado, that’s when I truly started understanding the concept of authenticity. I stopped caring about the shallow things and started putting much more effort toward the things that truly mattered. Working, instead of being the thing in which our lives revolved, became the thing we did as fast as we could. Get the work done and be done.  

But, it’s when we moved into the RV that we actually starting living the concept of authenticity.  We wanted to show our kids the world. Now, of course, the world became Canada and the entirety of the continental US, but you get the gist. Grady and Brody have been to France and Spain together. Brody and Kady have been to Puerto Rico and to Argentina along with Kenny and Dally and Dan.  Together, we’ve explored all of Eastern Canada from Ontario to New Brunswick.  We’ve also seen much of British Columbia.  Touched down in every state … this summer we will head to Alaska.  From there I believe our dreams will begin to take on a new form. Maybe the Great Loop? Maybe Bali? We don’t know. We aren’t there yet…

Finding Authenticity

What I do know is that finding authenticity means you are in touch with what truly matters to you. That you are immune to the opinions and judgement of others. Living authentically does not have anything to do with money. Money is merely a means of getting what you want. Being authentic to yourself is having the strength and fortitude to live for yourself, for your family, no matter how far off the reservation people think you are going.  

My hope and prayer is that we all, myself included, slow down long enough to evaluate the course of our lives. To change direction if needed, to pull the breaks or press the gas if circumstances call for it. And that each and every one of us takes control of our lives and that at the end we can look back and say, “Hell Yeah. What an effin ride that was!”

 

The post Our Story: Finding Authenticity Amongst the Noise appeared first on Kellogg Show.

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So much talk this year about Christmas gifts and the best Christmas gifts for Men, Women and Kids. Heck we even wrote blogs about this contributing to the very commercialization of Christmas that I am in such a conundrum about. I’m a total hypocrite, but I have such a hard time scaling down. On the one hand, Christmas is not a secular holiday, but on the other, it is a day filled with magic and hope and joy and miracles. So, I’ve found many ways to Keep Christ in Christmas, while also creating the most magical day filled with Santa Claus and mind-blowing gifts. Read below for 6 of my favorites.

I’m one of the gazillion of parents whose kids believe in Santa Claus long beyond the normal years. It’s magical, it’s brilliant!

I’m a Christmas splurger. I’m sure this comes as a surprise to most of our readers because we are bonafide minimalists. Seriously.  But … Christmas.  My only excuse is a two-fold one, of course, making it more compelling (to me). One, I grew up having the most amazing Christmas mornings. Every wish, every possible dream was fulfilled on that one magical day. And two, we don’t buy things year round. Our kids simply don’t get much throughout the year, save necessary gear for our adventures.

So, here we are preparing to spend a small fortune on Christmas gifts for our brood. Knowing it’s not necessary, not even a little bit, but not wanting to break with tradition, or have a less-than magical morning. Traditionally, our Christmas is HUGE. And, I know, it’s mostly for me. Dan found underwear, socks and jeans under the tree. He’s cool with finding the medium ground between our two experiences. 

And, it would be easy to do. Our kids literally have a hard time putting together a Christmas list. Partly because they aren’t in school so they aren’t privy to all the new fads. And partly because they aren’t really into material things … their lists consist of gear, Ruroc snowboarding helmets, Smith goggles, Kokatat PFD’s, Jackson Kayaks. And, saws, Rustler Kits and a baby doll or two.

And so, we give ourselves a pass because literally we spend every breaking breathing minute together year round, the gift of time is one we value over anything. It’s something we gift to each other every day of every week each and every year. And their lists are filled with things that enable us to do things together.

I understand the push back against the commercialization of Christmas, I really do. I mean, it’s lost it’s meaning amongst so many. But there are ways to make Christmas about the birth of Christ and also enjoy a little splurging and commercialization. It’s all about how you approach the season.  So, how do you approach the season and keep Christ in Christmas while also making the day a magical memorable experience for your kids? Read on …

Make Advent a Mini Lent

Counting the weeks down to the birth of Christ with the traditional Advent Wreath.

Advent is the season encompassing the four Sundays (and weekdays) leading up to the celebration of Christmas. Many Christian households treat Advent as a little Lent. Around here, instead of giving something up, as we do for Lent, we add something, or a few things to our daily lives.

For instance, one year we went to daily mass. Another we said a daily rosary. Another we made a Jesse Tree. This year we are adding more religious education to our curriculum. There are literally hundreds of ways to to centralize Christ in the days leading up to Christmas … and what’s more is that often these little additions become part of your Christmas traditions. In essence keeping Christ in Christmas and beyond.

Shepherd on the Search

Such a cute story and idea and the ultimate alternative to the secular Elf on the Shelf.

I don’t know about you, but I abhorred the idea of the Elf on the Shelf. My friends stressed themselves out to the max placing this stupid elf all over their house, trying to come up with new ideas each and every morning. But, I also thought it could be fun, and knew my kids would love finding him, and it might make mornings a little more fun.  

But, an elf?

When I found this adorable little Shepherd on the Search set, I was in, hook line and sinker. This is more along the lines of what we teach our kids They aren’t good and kind and generous because Santa, or one of his elves, is watching. They are all these things because of the promise of eternal life. Also, gift giving isn’t because you are deserving, it’s because you are loved.  And so, this sweet little activity, that celebrates the birth of Christ, was the perfect alternative to the Elf.

Music

Who doesn’t love music? Playing Christ centered songs keeps the focus in the right place.

There is nothing better than an epic playlist to set the mood for every activity.  I literally have a playlist for everything … and I mean everything {wink, wink}.

So a Traditional Christmas music playlist via Spotify is obviously something that plays a lot during Advent in our home. Put together your own, or follow any number of epic playlists and get your kids belting out the lyrics to songs like The Little Drummer Boy, Oh Come All Ye Faithful and more! Yes, beautiful traditional music helps to keep Christ in Christmas.

Put Down Your Phone

Cell phones are the bane of most parents existence. On the one hand our kids are reachable instantaneously, on the other, it’s seemingly all teens do.

Folks, this is an epidemic of mass proportions. Everywhere I turn I see teens and adults alike glued to their phones. What a collossal waste of time. In our home, and in many homes of our friends, phones are forbidden at the dinner table. But I think we all need to take that a bit further during Advent and have a strategic ban during certain times.

Electronics are stealing our attention and our ability to enjoy the moment. Hence, this year phones are forbidden at family and or close friend gatherings as well. These moments are few and far between and I’d like our children to bond with those we surround ourselves with. Giving the gift of your full attention can keep Christ in Christmas.

Give Jesus a Gift

Give Jesus a gift of time, forgiveness, whatever … it may just transform your life!

I was talking with Dan the other night and we were remembering a time when we would make Jesus a birthday cake for Christmas morning. With all the hullabaloo that goes along with having a large family, this tradition went by the wayside.

But it made me think. Birthdays are synonymous with gifts. What could we possibly give Jesus Christ for his birthday? I talked to the kids. They came up with a bloody brilliant idea. A sacrifice.

We talked about a few possibilities. Forgiveness was one. That was probably pointed because my kids are forgiveness kings, but they know I am struggling to forgive a neighbor who made our lives a living hell for 8 years!

Kindness. In a home that has 12 people living in it, tensions can get heated and lines can be drawn. We talked about making a concerted effort to be kind to someone with whom you may have an ongoing feud with.

Spending time with God. Maybe an added 15 minutes of prayer would be an amazing time of much need contemplation. We all love to spend time with the people we love, so why not spend more time with Jesus Christ?

The options are endless … be creative.

Write a Christmas Letter to a US Soldier

We pray for our servicemen and women every single night, so it only made sense to send a gazillion letters to them for Christmas.

So many of our servicemen and women are unable to come home for the Christmas holidays. This is hard for me to fathom.

Our church has a list of all deployed servicemen, so each of us pick a name and write a letter. Ask around in your circle of friends for names and addresses and brighten the day of a few brave soldiers!

I could go on and on and on. I could write a book about how to keep the Reason for the Season up front and central to your holidays. But short-ish and sweet is my motto. None-the-less, I’d love to hear a few of your ideas for keeping Christ in Christmas.

 

 

 

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Kellogg Show by Susie Kellogg - 2M ago

Words from the El Camino, from the heart of a friend on the journey of her lifetime, echo in my heart and soul. They force a contemplation that hasn’t been in the forefront of my thoughts. It’s funny how someone else’s pilgrimage can have such an impact on your own internal expedition.  And, if someone can do that for you, if someone’s mere words can force a shift in a long ingrained thought process, can’t you be the catalyst for someone else? Let’s explore the Common Denominator of all humanity, shall we?

Wise words flow out of suffering …

As I’ve written, I’ve been in a weird place in the last weeks, I’m trying to figure out some pretty ridiculous, yet pretty hefty life scenarios. In my mind there is chaos.  A nuclear fallout, a self identity crisis, if you will. 

I’m filled with endless yearning. I’m an adventurer, and I think that the adventurer in me will never be satisfied.  At the ripe old age of 40-something I’m finally understanding the phrase, “You can’t have your cake and eat it to.” And, truth be told, I’m kinda pissed about it.

There are so many things I want to be and do. I want to be a farmer and have abundant lands and grow my own food in the mountains, by the beach where it snows in the winter, and the powder is great, but I can walk down the street and go surfing on a whim at the beach or in the river. I also want to travel with my entire family all over the globe and have money grow on trees that I plant in my gardens.

Seriously, how does one choose their path in life when every path is so admirable and enticing?  This must be a mid-life crisis, but I’m not mid-life yet. I absolutely refuse to die in my 80’s.  But in order to live well past 120 I know I need to learn to just live, to just breathe, but the question is … how? 

My dreams are fluid, they are ever changing and I want it all. This restlessness is exhausting. 

And no, I’m not writing this blog as if a journal entry, I’m trying to set it up in direct contrast to my tumultuous soul. Bear with me, it WILL all come together, I promise! (I hope).

The point of my ramblings is actually about empathy. It’s about slamming the concept of diversity and turning it on it’s head in preference to commonality.  What do we all have in common as humans? How can we all actually coexist.

Social Media

“It’s been nice to check out of the goings-on in the states. I only find out what’s happening through fb. Here, everyone respects and trusts each other. It’s beautiful. And the Kiwi’s just invited me to have curry with them in the kitchen “ A.H., on the el Camino

This was written on FB by a friend who left the States on 6 October to hike the el Camino.

I commented on her post, I said, “Errday. We checked out long ago and it’s a beautiful, if not somewhat isolated state, not perfect, but I’m not going back either…I miss you, friend. Praying daily that your soul is nourished. Xoxoxoxo”

Immediately after I posted, I thought, “Oh shit. This post is about her, this journey she’s on is ALL about her, I intruded with my…self.”  Empathetic, yet solely focused on me. But, that’s human nature isn’t it? I mean, look how I started this blog … All. About. Me.

Now, her post, my subsequent comment, and my mid-life craziness made me pause. I delved deeper into the meaning of her post. 

Humanity

I started contemplating how we as humans are selfish, we are needy, we are self-focused. We are in the throes of our own lives and our lives are difficult.  It doesn’t matter who you are, you have your own struggles, and those seem, at times, to be insurmountable.

So cynically and predictably, my first reaction to the post was, “of course everyone trusts and respects each other. I mean they are all away from jobs, work, the daily grind, responsibility, stress, financial obligations, etc.  Psssh, no kidding, everyone is all kind and generous.”

Comparison

But, no. That thought process is THE problem. It is the BIGGEST problem we have as humanity. You gotta know, comparison is a joy stealer! We compare and rate struggle. We do it, the government does it, churches do it, we all do it. Those struggles that are deemed worthy are given priority over those that aren’t.  Some struggles are idolized while others are spit at.

For instance, being an illegal immigrant is a golden struggle in this country. In so many eyes, this cause, this struggle, is tantamount to others. This struggle is deemed more worthy, than say, my restlessness or even the struggle of the homeless. The latter is met with disdain and the general thought that they put themselves in that position. As a result, the homeless are a nuisance to the cities they choose to hunker down in, while the illegal immigrants find refuge and asylum across the country.

Responsibility

Of course we all are responsible for our own decisions, and we have to deal with all the direct and indirect results of our decisions.  As is the case with everyone on the planet.  Hence, struggle and suffering are abundant. If nothing else, this is the common denominator of humanity. You know the saying, “You don’t get out of here unscathed.” So much truth. 

Those that are on the El Camino are struggling too.  They are suffering physically, mentally and some even, spiritually. And they trust and respect each other because they understand, they are empathetic to their fellow pilgrim. They, too, are alone, physically and emotionally expended, spiritually raw. Each of them looks around and sees the same in their fellow trekkers faces, body language, etc.  They know and can relate.

Communion

So, what if, bare with me here, what if we all looked at each other the same way. As fellow pilgrims in this life journey. What if we, like those on the Camino de Santiago, communed over dinner. What if we wrapped our arms around our neighbors and let them know we empathize with everything they are experiencing. We just acknowledge their struggles with empathy.  And, we do so without rating the degree of suffering. 

I mean, as a mom I do this all day long with my kids. In fact, as a mom I believe I feel my kids suffering more than they do. I take it harder.

As husband and wife, Dan and I do this with each other. Never has Dan ever once said anything like “Woman, you don’t know stress until you’ve had to be 100% responsible for 13 other people.”

And never have I said to Dan, “Pssssh, you think you know pain? I’ve had 12 kids. Man up.”

The hierarchy of suffering isn’t necessary, empathy is.

Forget Diversity

So, what if we just made that conscious decision to simply love each other?

How about we truly respect and trust each other for no other reason than our own common humanity? To offer nothing less than understanding and support. It can’t really be that hard, can it?

You know, there has been such a push to celebrate diversity. It seems we are being held at gunpoint and demands being made that we see and acknowledge all that makes us different.  Shoot even our local parish has bought into it and every August there is the St Stephen’s Festival of Diversity. 

Forgive me, but diversity seems to be a failed experiment, doesn’t it? I mean it’s beautiful that we are all so different, but focusing solely on our differences serves to only divide, separate, and segregate us. 

In fact, we went to an All Saints Day mass and afterward there was a potluck dinner. Here we were introduced and encouraged to sit with people we did not know. We sat at our own table because of our numbers, but soon members of the hispanic community were sitting with us. 

You know what we talked about? Our children, our faith, our families, our love of our community.  Endless discussion ensued about how much we missed our older children who were beginning their own lives. We talked of the struggles of living in such a high cost of living locale. New friends were made that night over the subject of education and large families and how blessed we are …

No diversity brought us together. No diversity bound us to each other that day … it was all commonality.

Compassion, Empathy, Love, Understanding…

You know we are all the same.  The struggles and triumphs, love and loss, pain and joy, none of this is new or specific to any one person or group of people.

With this in mind, we should realize that we are all in this life together. Much like the El Camino Pilgrims, we are simply Pilgrims on the journey of life.  

Maybe that sounds cheesy, but it’s the absolute truth. The panhandler on the corner, he has a story. The elderly woman in the nursing home, with no visitors, she has a story. The young mom, the angry driver, the teen, the firefighter, your impossible neighbor, the used car salesman, the UPS guy, your kids teacher, your Priest … everyone has a story and when you learn it, you realize how human they are, how vulnerable, how beautiful and how similar they are to you.

In a perfect world, color, religion, ethnicity, it wouldn’t matter.  Humanity is what matters. The word love has been through hell and back, but the action, the reality of what love is remains true and stronger than ever. If you love, you sacrifice. I can’t tell you how frustrated I get when I hear the words, “I love you,” with no action to back it up. The word has profound meaning that only comes to life with profound action behind it.

Love

Love means putting your needs behind those of others. By loving others your story becomes relevant. Love is what makes the stories of others relevant.  Oh! Love conjurs flows of JOY from deep within you. Trust and Respect are automatic.  All because humanity. Because people matter.

When you start with trust and respect, love and compassion are sure to follow.

So why not, invite the pilgrims in your circle for some curry in your kitchen? Why not tell the mom of the screaming toddlers how adorable and precious her kids are? Visit a nursing home. Offer a homeless person a warm meal, a hot shower and a roof over their head for a night or two in a local hotel.  How bout we put some action behind the words and just DO love. 

Watcha think?

 

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Road trips are as All-American as Apple Pie. Surely, we all look back on the road trips we took with our families as kids with fond memories. But, going on a great road trip as a kid and going on a Great Road Trip with kids is an entirely different experience. There are a whole different set of rules and the name of the game is PEACE. Whatever you must do, to keep the fighting and the boredom at a minimum is what you must do. So, keep reading for the Ultimate Tips for a Really Great Road Trip With Kids.

8 Hours into our monster Road Trip and we are still smiling!

I’m a road-tripper. Not necessarily because I love the process, but because I love to travel and with 12 kids there is literally no other way to travel!  I mean, can you imagine the cost of air travel for 14? Or even 10?

And so, we road trip. When we first got the travel bug we gave car travel a valiant effort. We really did. But traveling with infants and toddlers and super young kids in a car was enough to kill us. You cannot drive 15 minutes without having to nurse or change a diaper or stop to pee or to get food. A 5 hour drive takes double.

So, we got the RV. And, guys that has been awesome for 5 years. It made traveling with super young kids beyond easy. It was like traveling with my home. It can’t get any easier or budget friendly than RV’ing, truly.

But, then it’s also cumbersome and, when you add driving an additional vehicle, a bit more expensive. And so, we have been leaving the RV home more and more and venturing our in our truck, mostly to visit family because, you know, they invite us in, offer us beds.

But, it still takes some crazy skills (or insider info) to get through a long road trip with kids.  So, following are KelloggShow’s top tips for a Really Great Road Trip With Kids!

Electronics

This is the number one tip! If you don’t have electronics, like a tablet, that the kids can play games on, don’t even pull out of your driveway. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Stop, read this guide and buy an electronic device on it!

Now, fret not, I’m not big on video games or tablet games, but in the car, you bet, they can play for 16 hours straight if it means they will be content. My kids did just this on the way home from SoCal this week.

Junk Food

Road Trippin means putting aside your clean eating lifestyle and throw caution to the wind. I’m a health food nut, but on a road trip, when I’m in the car with my gazillion kids for hours upon hours, I don’t care about their teeth or anything else. I care only about harmony. In the RV, it’s different, I’m a health food nazi, car travel is a whole different devil! 

This last trip was all Clearance priced Halloween candy and one fast food meal. I’m steadfastly more opposed to fast food than I am to candy, so my hierarchy of health took only a minor beating. However, my Aunt packed our car with some healthy choices for the ride home. I discovered Roasted Chicken Breast from Trader Joe’s in the bag somewhere around Mesquite, NV and did a serious happy dance! I did stick to my ONLY Water rule so we just packed our GeigerRigs, filled them with water and hydrated with pure filtered water!

RedBox

Our vehicles are all ancient, save one that is a 2005 … ancient by many standards, but still it has a flip down monitor with a built in dvd and wireless headphones. Genius.

Genius begets genius, hence, RedBox movies are the third most integral part of a Really Great Road Trip With Kids. Pick a couple in Nevada and return them in Salt Lake as you pick up a few more. And for like, $1.50 per movie, it’s literally foolproof, unless the kids fight over which movie to watch first. In which case, throw back some candy …

Quality Time

Ha ha ha ha, but seriously, I’m being totally serious. The car is where you tend to have your kids undivided attention. I mean they are trapped. They can’t go anywhere. And truthfully, they are looking for any distraction, so it’s a win/win.  A Really Great Road Trip With Kids is great conversation, yo!

This car ride I was keyed into all the gossip from the family visit, because kids miss nothing, y’all, nothing. I learned a few intimacies about an unnamed puberty stricken youngster who felt compelled to me about his/her experiences. My gosh, I learned about their hard limits in a game of I Would Never. I felt so important, so blessed to be able to sit and talk so openly and honestly with my kids. I also learned how amazingly, honest, sweet, kind and loyal they are to each other and the world-at-large. 

Minimize Stops

Counter to what everyone tells you, your best bet is to just reach your destination as quickly and efficiently as possible. I’m a master at this, Dan not so much. I despise stops, they are literal time killers. My ideal road trip is head down, balls to the floor … no freakin journey, just a mission. My ADHD goes out the window here, it’s truly the only area in my life that I focus 100% of my energy on.  And let’s face it, kids benefit immensely … less time in the car!

With our competitive spirits, we make it a game. We calculate the amount of miles, the average speed (mine is considerably faster than Dan’s because I’m goal oriented) and decide upon a time of arrival. On our trip home from SoCal it should have taken us 14.5 hrs.  It took us … 15 hrs and that’s with 3 stops for gas, and two side of the road stops to pee. It’s also, ladies and gentleman with Thanksgiving traffic which was astoundingly robust!

 

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Disney is renowned worldwide as the Happiest Place on Earth. And every parent wants to bring their children to the land of magic and make believe, joy and happiness. To see their children’s faces light up when they see their favorite princess live, or while watching the spectacular fireworks displays. Or even hearing their screams as they enjoy the thrill rides, is every parent’s dream. But the learning curve for first time visitors is steep. By reading the following DisneyLand Tips for First-Timers, you will have an edge on the park that is priceless when time is of the essence.

What a great time with my extended family!

We visited DisneyLand for the very first time a few days ago, and I’m telling you, the learning curve was astronomical! After visiting DisneyWorld a few years back, I figured I had this DisneyLand thing down, or I could muddle through it.  Boy was I wrong. In retrospect, I could definitely have used all the DisneyLand tips I have listed below, and then some!

You see, I went solo, no husband or older kids to keep an eye on my littles, and I did zero research. I rely heavily on my husband in situations like this, he’s a planner, I am not. 

Luckily, my cousin and her husband knew what they were doing and I simply followed them around ALL day. And I learned a ton. Like the necessity of the Fast Pass, a Park hopper Pass for DL and California Adventure, and more. I am a seasoned traveler and DisneyLand had me stumped!

So for all you who are about to embark on your first DisneyLand experience, here are my Top 15 DisneyLand Tips for First Timers.

Buy Tickets Online The castle was magical at night!

As is the case with most DisneyLand Tips for First Timers, this one is focused on saving you at least one precious hour.  Buying tickets in advance online enables you to go straight to the entrance without spending a whopping hour standing in line at the ticket booth! Be aware, too, that recent events have increased security everywhere and DisneyLand is no different.

Purchase a Park Hopper Pass Fun roller coaster at California Adventure. Photo: Dan Brace

The Park Hopper Pass is one of many DisneyLand Tips that is usually reserved to multi-day trips. However, I’m here to tell you we managed to visit both California Adventure and DisneyLand in one day with 15 people in tow. 4 adults and a whopping 11 kids ranging in age from 3 to 14.  

It was imperative that we all have Park Hopper passes because of the wide age range of kids and a few thrill-loving adults. We split the day in two, spending the morning at California Adventure and venturing onto DisneyLand in the early afternoon. Incidentally, California Adventure closes earlier …

Stay on Property Staying on property for a multi-day visit is the only way to go!

Of all the DisneyLand Tips, this one is focused the most on convenience.

You see, as the day came to a close, we were herded like cattle down Main St to the buses that lead us to our car. I thought of the hotels we had seen that were on property and how lovely those would have been.

There are three, if you are so inclined. DisneyLand Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, DisneyLand Hotel and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. This is a BIG DisneyLand Tip. In addition to beating the crowds at the end of the day, staying on property also gives you an extra Magic Hour in the park. Early admission, baby!

Rent a Stroller Stroller Rental is mandatory!

My youngest is 5 and he’s a pretty avid hiker and adventurer, but DisneyLand can be overwhelming in all it’s excitement. One of the top DisneyLand Tips I can think of is to rent a stroller. At the very least, it gives you a place to throw all your extra clothing, bags, souvenirs and everything in between.  Plus, it is surprisingly dark in the park at night, so the stroller became indispensable in helping keep my young buck close.

Further, it’s uber cheap. I mean we are talking dirt cheap … we rented two strollers for $25! That’s easily worth the hassle of lugging your own stroller back and forth!

Make Use of the FastPass These Fast Passes make all the difference in wait times!

Incredibly simply, even I was able to figure out the FastPass. It is one of the best ways to maximize your time at DisneyLand and I think one of the most overlooked DisneyLand Tips!

All you need do is choose one of the select FastPass attractions in both DisneyLand and California Adventure. Then, insert your park ticket at the FastPass kiosk and you will get a return time to the attraction you chose.

When you return to that attraction at the specified time, you literally bypass the long lines.  The trick is that you may only use the FastPass during the specified time and you can only hold one FastPass at a time.

Download the Disney Mobile App This is the coolest thing and it works like a charm!

Like many DisneyLand Tips, this is one I probably never would have thought of.

The DisneyLand app became indispensable as the day wore on and the crowds increased. It was simple to pull up the app and check wait times for the different attractions we were considering. And for first-timers there is a map, which I found more helpful than anything!

You can also use the app to decide which attractions to choose a FastPass for. It’s advisable to only use FastPasses for rides with a 30-minute wait or more!

Have a Plan and Prioritize Attractions This wait time was astronomical, but worth it. The youngest of our crew loved it.

I admit, this is not my forte’, and I can definitely use all the DisneyLand Tips in this area! However, my cousin is Type A+ and she had a perfectly executed plan. We chose the attractions with the longest waits and no access to FastPass early in the morning and late in the evening when wait times are significantly shorter.

There are a few rides and attractions that should be at the top of any first-timers list. The Pirates of the Caribbean is a staple Disney attraction as are the many fantasyland rides based on the classic Disney movies. My 5 year old loved the Jungle Cruise as he literally thought some of the animals were real. I hear Indiana Jones is amazing, but is was closed down for repairs when we got there. And of course The Matterhorn, Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain are all epic.

Matching Shirts for Larger Groups Matching shirts let everyone know we were together and made it super easy to spot each other!

My brilliant cousin’s idea was for all of us to tye dye T-Shirts. This DisneyLand Tip  is two-fold. One, everyone seen in matching shirts are obviously a group and therefore are appropriately seated together.

Second, we were easily visible throughout the day…priceless in a park as crowded as DisneyLand. 

Save Shopping for After the Attractions Close Shopping is a total time killer, save it for after the park closes!

One of the biggest DisneyLand Tips that I knew nothing about was not to shop until after the park closes!  It makes sense because the shops are all open a full hour after the park actually closes.  So to maximize your time in the park, ride all the rides, see all the shows, and play on all the attractions, save shopping for after the park closes.  

Use the Single Rider Line Single Rider is where it is at, baby!

Many DisneyLand Tips focus on how to avoid big crowds and long wait times at the popular attractions.  And this one is major.

You see, I mistook the single rider line for the FastPass line because it was so significantly shorter than the lines I was standing in. Of course, we were a group of 15 with some pretty small kids, so we didn’t make use of this tip, but if were with adults and older kids, you bet we’d have had no problem splitting our group up to take advantage of the single rider lines!

Find Your Favorite Characters Not meeting Jasmine was a real bummer for my 8 year old daughter!

I knew none of this. And my cousin, my guide, my DisneyLand lifeline did not have Princesses on her must-do list as her daughter is 10 and is not into Princesses. My 6 & 8 year old daughter, however, were jonesin to see some Jasmine and Tianna and some Snow White. Major mom fail because I did not read any of the plethora of blogs about DisneyLand character meet and greets, but I sure wish I did!! Mommy needed to read some DisneyLand Tips about this for sure!

Talk to Your Kids About Safety Nothing more precious than these little people. Safety talks are imperative!

Safety First, always. And this is one of a few DisneyLand Tips that focus on the unthinkable.  Its also not strictly for DisneyLand and should be utilized in the majority of the places you go.

Prior to entering the park I had the discussion about what to do if, God forbid, we got separated. I told them no way in the world would I let this happen, but if hell froze over and they got separated from me, they would have a plan in place.  

Plan Bathroom Stops For the amount of people using the restrooms, they are surprisingly clean!

DisneyLand Tips for First-Timers about restrooms? Well, yes, especially if you are traveling with young kids.

One of my littles has to use the restroom constantly because she’s literally the best hydrated person I know. She drinks more water than I do, and that’s quite a feat. The upside in the real world is she’s healthy as an ox. The downside at DisneyLand is that bathrooms seem to be few and far between.

So, being proactive and making sure everyone gets the opportunity to go each and every time one in your group has to go, ends up saving some precious time in the long run.

Pack Your Own Snacks and Water This Geigerrig saved us from having to buy tons of sugar-filled drinks or even water!

As established above, I’m a huge fan of water, but not water fountains so much. So here is my big DisneyLand Tip to help you save BIG money. 

Bring in your own water and healthy snacks. We brought our GeigerRigs into the park and packed them with water and sweatshirts and then stuffed them all into the rented strollers!

Plus, by bringing in your own food,..

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