Parenting, Travel

Visiting the Oregon Coast – Seaside, Oregon

Visiting the Oregon Coast - Seaside, Oregon

This New Years we took a drive to the Oregon coast and stayed in Seaside. It has been many years since I have been to Seaside and we know it is plenty entertaining for our son. The weather was gorgeous for heading into January and Seaside is located less than 20 miles from Astoria, Or which is a fun town to stay and shop in and Seaside is also about 7 miles from Cannon Beach which is a gorgeous beach town.

Staying in Seaside, Oregon

We chose one of the several hotels located along the river and only blocks from the ocean. Broadway is the main stretch of Seaside where you find the arcade, shops, restaurants and even a summer fun center with activities so staying on the ocean side of the river and close to Broadway is best. The Comfort Inn was where we chose and the staff were all so fun and pleasant. Not just one staff member, but all of them!

pool hotel

The Comfort Inn on Broadway has a pool, hot tub, sauna room and free hot breakfast. The breakfast had a ton of options like waffles, eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy, cereals, breads, yogurt and much more. They kept a couple beverage items out all day to stop and and grab if needed. They also put fresh baked cookies in the lobby every afternoon!

Eating in Seaside, Oregon

If you drive to Seaside for a few days you won’t only eat in Seaside. With Cannon Beach and Astoria nearby there are several good eating options. However, with all of our stops over 3 days our favorite was Dundees in Seaside on the main Broadway and walking distance to many hotels. The staff is great and they have TV’s for the games and are family friendly. I had nachos and my husband ordered a pizza. We also had beers and mixed drink. Anthony ordered spaghetti and meatballs off the menu. Warning! The Nachos can easily feed 2 if you add meat!

We did go over New Years so hours of eateries were shortened. But when my son had a late night ice cream craving, the Dairy Queen 1 block over from Broadway was open late to serve. They were closing and loaded up his brownie sundae for him and offered him a bag of fries they were going to dump so he was a satisfied 9 year old.

We spent Sunday watching the Seahawks game at the Public Coast Brewery in Cannon Beach, Oregon. If you love unique brewed beers, they have many and are delicious. If you are not a beer drinker, their root beer is amazing! It was family friendly, order as you walk in and fast service.

What to do in Seaside, Oregon

Besides staring at the ocean? For the adults, there is shopping and good eateries. Located between about 6 pubs within a 30 mile radius you’ll eat well and enjoy some good Northwest beers.

For the kids, Funland about 2 blocks up from the beach is the hot spot! It is a huge arcade attached to a pizza place that has good food. It is called Fultanno’s Pizza and is a hit spot for lunch and dinner while the kids play. It is a ticket arcade so kids can earn fun prizes.

With the beach at my back, I took this shot of Broadway in Seaside. A long street of shops, food, hotels and fun!

In the summer, there is an indoor activity center across form the arcade with mini golf, bumper cars and more. There is no shortage in ice cream and candy shops and there are even swings and bathrooms on the beach.

It is also a pet-friendly beach and town! I think everyone in Seaside brought their dog on vacation with them. There is a dog around every corner and everyone stops to talk dog and owner with each other. With our new puppy, Maya she was in heaven and we got to meet and chat with so many other dog owners on our walks.

Gift Guides, Holiday Gift Guide 2017, Travel

Atlantic Unite™2 Luggage with Link2Go

I have partnered with Atlantic Luggage for feature

Atlantic Unite™2 Luggage with Link2Go

Where to start? This little carry on piece of luggage is all you would want for a day of travel. While I prefer a 21 inch carry on size, this Atlantic Unite ™2 set comes in 3 sizes and 2 colors – blue or black and in 21″, 25″ and 29″ spinners. Let’s examine this fantastic piece of luggage. I am so excited about this. It arrived even better than I anticipated. I can’t wait to travel with mine.

Like all luggage, the first thing I do is grab the handle to tote around. The grip is cushioned and there is a handle on the side as well as a bottom handle cup for that extra grip when lifting onto the security belt or overhead. This leaves a few carry options. For me, I like to extend the handle and the wheels are a spinner style so they spin freely to keep up with your twists and turns as you walk through the crowds and plane aisles.

The design is as durable inside as it is on the outside. With my blue luggage I have a grey liner with blue straps inside. There are 2 pockets in the liner on the inside-each across from each other to hold smaller items.

The back makes good sense flat and padded once you link your luggage pieces. This is because the Unite™2 has the Link2Go feature where you can attach 2 pieces very easily. Traveling heavy or have a child who won’t push their own luggage? This is where the feature comes in handy.

Once the 2 luggage pieces are back to back you will use these side straps to secure the pieces together then be back on your way.

Oh, and there is a USB charging port too. I know!! That is the greatest right? We have to dig for enough items in the airport from ID, boarding passes, kids snacks and now you don’t have to dig for your charger bank. I always grab our chargers and plug them all in the night before travel on the wall where our luggage is sitting and waiting.

Now I can grab those chargers and unzip the inside pocket to store them and once connected we just plug our devices into the side of the luggage and it is charging when needed again. I don’t know who will love this feature more, me or the boys!

[bctt tweet=”Have you seen the @AtlanticLuggage Unite2 luggage? It has a USB charging pot on the side! #travel ” username=”3sonshavei”]

Did the Atlantic Unite™ 2 luggage piece forget anything? I am not thinking so. Once I attach my neck pillow and fill it with clothes I have all I need to travel. OK….so I bring more than clothes and a pillow. I actually bring a whole lot more so it is a good thing I have enough pockets in this luggage to save room in my lap bag during flight.

Visit Atlantic Luggage to see all of their family-friendly and affordable pieces. It makes a great gift idea for families that travel.

Gift Guides, Holiday Gift Guide 2017, Travel

4 Best Gifts for the Traveler from Eagle Creek

I have partnered with Eagle Creek for this #HolidayGiftGuide feature and was sent product

Chances are there is a traveler on your gift list and like, the frequent traveler loves to pack light. Here are 4 best gifts for the traveler. I get so excited every time I see a new travel product that allows me to pack lightly because I hate paying those check-on fees. I also want to know I will have enough room to bring home gifts and souvenirs and many packing products can do that for me.

Eagle Creek has packing solutions in the form of organizers that you use within your suitcase. These systems are designed to organize and save space in travel bags. Let’s take a look at them – the Pack-It Original, Pack-It Specter, Pack-It Sport and Converge Collection.

Pack-It Original Collection

The best option is the Pack-It Original Starter Set in this collection. With 6 color choices, this set comes with the Pack-It Folder in medium size, Pack-It Cube and Pack-It Half Cub. I loved this set after watching the video below. It really shows you how easy packing can be using the starter set.

Pack-It Specter Collection

The Specter collection refers to the very lightweight material. You get the same organization as the Original collection but a lighter material which is great for those who pack backpacks and duffel bags where weight matters while carying it around.

Pack-It Sport Collection

The Sport collection within the Specter line has pouches and totes perfect to store dirty shoes in sports bags and items in lockers.

The Converge Collection

This Converge collection features sleek designs of weekend sets, laptop sleeves, messenger bags and more. This is a great collection for those looking for a new bag or set.

Of course, eagle Creek has more travel and packing solutions so look around while there for great Holiday gift ideas.

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Travel

What to do When Your Family Cruise is a Disaster

What to do When Your Family Cruise is a Disaster
Photo Source: Pixabay

So, you’ve saved up your money to take your family on a two-week cruise in the tropics.  But what do you if your cruise is a disaster?  This might sound implausible but the unfortunate truth is that it happens more often than the cruise lines would like to admit.  From running ashore to cruise ship medical crew negligence, accidents can happen while you are at sea and this article will explore your family if something like this occurs when you are enjoying your dream vacation.

First Off

Incidents aboard cruise ships are incredibly rare, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t happen and that something won’t happen to you or your family.  Even though the companies which operate the most popular cruises are highly professional, it doesn’t hurt to take some added precaution before you request permission to come aboard. Remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and here are some tips that you should know.

Know Your Muster Station

When accidents do happen, there might be a point where the captain sounds the general alarm and at this point, you and your family will need to get to their muster station.  As such, you want to know where the spot is and the most direct route to get there.

This isn’t like a fire drill in school.  If something does happen at sea, then the repercussions can be serious.  After all, you are hundreds of miles from shore and the odds are that rescue might not come for hours or more.

So, know where your muster point is and make sure you and your family have a way to remain in touch.  Given that you probably won’t have cell service, this means that you might want to invest in a set of waterproof walkie-talkies.

Prepare for Medical Emergencies

Imagine one of your kids has asthma and the have an attack while at sea.  Sure, the ship is bound to have a medical center but they might not have the exact medicines you will need to handle the situation. 

As such, you will want to make sure to pack a kit including any medicines you might need during your voyage.  This might even include a special pillow if you or your family has special needs while they sleep.

Sure, the crew will try to accommodate you as best as possible. After all, that is their job.  But if you know that you might have a medical issue at sea, it is best to plan and make sure that you have what you will need in case something happens.

Have a Family Plan

Going on a cruise can be a lot of fun for kids as they will spend plenty of time in the pool or enjoying the other activities on board.  This is especially true if you pick a cruise which is set up to cater to families with children.

However, you also want to have a family plan.  This might include some books to read while on board as well as knowing what to do if you can’t find your kids – another reason to bring walkie-talkies – as well as how to use life preservers. 

Don’t make your dream cruise a time of worry.  Instead, plan and communicate that plan with your family.  In this way, everyone can have a vacation that they will never forget.

Where are the Lifeboats

We have come a long way from the days of the Titanic when cruise ships did not have enough lifeboat berths for everyone.  However, if it does get to the point where you will need to use one, you can expect that people might cast off before the lifeboats are full.

As such, you want to make sure that you not only know where the lifeboats are located but also where are the backup lifeboats.  These might be wooden lifeboats or inflatable life rafts.  Either way, you are at sea and you want to make sure you and your family have a way to safely get off the boat in case of an emergency.

Never Jump Overboard

This is an extremely dangerous endeavor and should never be considered.  Why you ask?  Well, first there is the drop and then there is the chance that you could be struck by a lifeboat or potentially pulled under by the force of the propeller. 

Don’t forget the weather.  Maybe it’s a bad storm or you are sailing in cold water.  Either way, you don’t want to find yourself treading water in open waters.

At the end of the day, taking a family cruise is about enjoying some quiet time with those you love the most.  But just because you are having fun doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for the worst.  Instead, make sure you are prepared, while you probably won’t be in an emergency, you will want to make sure you know what to do if one happens.

Kids, Travel

The Biggest Bounce House Ever Visits US Cities

More to come as I use compensated tickets to visit our local bounce house stop

 

The Biggest Bounce House Ever Visits US Cities

 
This is so exciting and for many kids could be the highlight to ending their summer. The Big Bounce America Nation-Wide Tour is coming to cities nationwide and it is nearly the beginning of the tour. This bounce house is 10,000 square feet and 32 feet tall and full of fun inside and out.

 

 
Tickets are available for stops in Wa, Or, Ca, Tx, Fl and more. Once you come to the location you will find field day-type games outside the bounce house and many stations inside. With safety in mind, they only allow so many inat once so while you wait your shift they have plenty of fun games outside.

 

 
Once you get inside, enjoy the bounce experience as you play basketball, slide into a ball pit, run the obstacle course and even stop at the DJ booth with music and plenty of space to dance. Tickets start at about $9 and once inside you don’t pay extra for the outside games.

 
Can you find a stop near you? I’ll be at ours! Start HERE!
 

Apps, Car Talk, Sponsored, Tips and Tricks, Travel

Tips On Negotiating The Best Car Price

This post is in sponsorship with Cars.com. I was compensated but topic/words are my own

Tips On Negotiating The Best Car Price

Almost more dreading than deciding on the car you want is the negotiating process at the dealership. We have 2 older boys and my husband and I can’t hold onto cars for long so we are typically in a car dealership a few times a year. Not only are we in a dealership for ourselves but because friends and family ask my husband to come car shopping with them because they know how much my husband loves the negotiation process. It is a bit of a weird obsession he has as a negotiator. So I had him help me gather our thoughts into 3 (proven by us over and over again) negotiating tips when buying a new or used car.

Do Your Homework

You have searched cars galore and now you have narrowed it down to a model or 2 you may be leaning towards. This is where you begin your pre-dealership visit homework. When you hear the words from finance at the dealership “We’ll make you a great deal”, do you really know what a great deal on that car is? Not if you haven’t done your homework. We like using Cars.com to search for fair market values on the exact cars we want to look at.

Grab a notepad and pencil and write down the make/model of cars you want to see. List the fair market value that matches the exact features/series for that car. Do this for all of the cars you wish to see so it is handy in a moments notice. Make sure you keep Cars.com or the Cars.com apps available incase you find yourself liking a different model than you anticipated. Now, you have a number and a “great deal” will be that number or below.

Note Your Bottom Line

You know the fair value so now you can find your best bottom line! This will be what you want to pay after your trade in or down payment, etc.. Here is an example of the tone you can use in negotiation (right away) when it comes to fair value and your bottom line. For this example I plugged my car into Cars.com – 2016 Honda CR-V Touring Edition. I then clicked on comparison tool and see that the lowest it has sold for is $34,156 and the highest is $35, 139 with an average price of $34, 648. That gives me a good start to find my bottom line.

“I have a … to trade in. My bottom line is $34, 700. I know that fair value is $34, 735  so I am not asking for too much to come in at my bottom line. I don’t care how you work the numbers. You can discount the car or change the trade-in value on my old car but I need that bottom line top be $34, 735 (after registration fees).”

They may try and say you need to put more down (hence, the price becomes more than your bottom line), but you can tell them to please go back and rework the cost and trade in to get you to that number you gave. You may have to have a down payment especially if the car you trade in is a lot lower in value. Know your comfortable down payment mark and if they are close-get them closer!

Be Prepared For A few Hours Time (and no kids)

Most dealers play a game of wearing you down. You come in with a fair value, a bottom line and down payment and they will still try and stay away from your mark. Be prepared to send the dealer back to the sales manager again and again and be prepared for the finance guy to be “busy” and make you wait for a response. This wears you down fast. You just want to accept and go home. We have never walked out of a dealership because we allowed them to break us down-ever!

Keep the kids at home or with a sitter and most importantly, be prepared to walk away with no car! We have done that more than once. When they play hard to negotiate we turn to a phrase something like this,

” Listen. We don’t NEED this car today. You are our first dealership stop. It looks like we are too far apart so we will be taking off. Thank you so much for your time.”

If you have to walk away it is most likely because that truly is going to become your best deal. We have done it and we have been called back with the deal we wanted. We have also used it as leverage for the next stop by explaining to their team that we walked on place one for being too far off. It is a process and you need to be prepared to spend hours and even walk away and start again. In the end, it is your money and your monthly payment that will become your reward for taking the proper time.

So, head on out. Cars.com is truly a must visit before you head to the dealership. My note above says this is a sponsored post, but I am serious when I tell you that we never head out to shop before using their website to do our homework. I am honored now that I can team up with them for this post. We use it to browse cars, read reviews and find fair values. Plus, when you tell a dealership you found the fair value on Cars.com it is hard for them to argue with you. Hold your ground, it will work out for you and your wallet.

I’m curious, did you learn something new here? Are you less intimidated to car shop now?