#KIDSNTRIPS What’s New in Branson, Missouri Giveaway AUG 24

Cora is starting to get into riding roller coasters. Reminds me of when I was when I was a kid— the faster and crazier, the better! Way back then, the hot newness in roller coasters was simply going upside down. Today’s roller coasters are a whole new ballgame. Introducing, the world’s steepest, tallest and fastest spinning roller coaster— Time Traveler. Where is it? Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri!

Ever since I heard about Branson at TBEX Huntsville, I couldn’t wait to go. They seem to have a neverending list of super fun activities and adventures for families. We’ll be having a #KidsNTrips Twitter Party this Thursday to talk about what’s new in Branson for 2017.

Branson Missouri Fritz Adventure

#KIDSNTRIPS What’s New in Branson, Missouri  Twitter Party

Date: Thursday, August 24, 2017

Time: 9:30 am Pacific Time (10:30 am Mountain Time; 11:30 am Central Time; 12:30 pm Eastern Time)

Hashtags: #KidsNTrips

Theme: What’s New in Branson, Missouri

Hosts: Be sure to follow @TravelMamas@JenLeo@LaJollaMom, and @ExploreBranson

Sponsor:  Branson Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau

Special Guests: TBA

Giveaway Prize: 3-night stay at Still Waters Resort for a family of four, plus activities

Restrictions: Must be 18+ to win. Open to U.S. residents only. No purchase necessary to win. Prizes will be awarded to #KidsNTrips What’s New in Branson, Missouri Twitter Party participants. Winners will be chosen at random and notified via Twitter shortly after the party. Read additional prize terms and conditions.

Learn more: Not sure what a Twitter party is or why to participate? Learn more about #KidsNTrips family travel Twitter parties now!


Travel Deals for Branson, Missouri

What’s New in Branson for 2017

There are more than 25 new things in Branson this year. If you will be traveling with your kids, don’t miss Fritz’s Adventure, Bigfoot, Christmas Tree Tour, Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud, The 7D Dark Ride Adventure, and more! Join us on Twitter Thursday, August 24, 2017 to talk about  Branson. Don’t forget to bring your travel pics!


#KIDSNTRIPS Teen Road Rules Twitter Party (And $100 Giveaways!) AUG 17

LibertyMutualKidsNTripsTwitterPartyThe new school year is about to start. And with that comes new teen drivers. We know because we live next to a high school. We’re all to familiar with a variety of teen driving issues from speeding, to kids walking down the middle of streets where other students are driving through them – maybe paying attention, maybe not. However I had no clue about the statistics regarding overconfident youth and their driving behaviors. Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD partnered for a new study out that reveals the attitudes and behaviors of teen drivers. And you might be surprised. We’ll be talking about all sorts of teen driving and parenting tips this Thursday for our KidsNTrips Twitter Party sponsored by Liberty Mutual. Please join us!

Prizes! We will be giving away Four $100 Visa gift cards awarded to four #KidsNTrips participants. See details below.


#KIDSNTRIPS Teen Road Rules Driving Twitter Party

Date: Thursday, August 17, 2017

Time: 9:30 am Pacific Time (10:30 am Mountain Time; 11:30 am Central Time; 12:30 pm Eastern Time)

Hashtags: #KidsNTrips #TeenRoadRules

Theme: Safe Teen Driving

Hosts: Be sure to follow @TravelMamas@JenLeo@LaJollaMom, and @LibertyMutual

Sponsor: Liberty Mutual

Special Guest: @karasw of The Vacation Gals

Giveaway Prize: Four $100 Visa gift cards awarded to four winners

Restrictions: Must be 18+ to win. Open to U.S. residents only. No purchase necessary to win. Prizes will be awarded to #KidsNTrips Safe Teen Driving Twitter Party participants. Winners will be chosen at random and notified via Twitter shortly after the party. Read additional prize terms and conditions.

Learn more: Not sure what a Twitter party is or why to participate? Learn more about #KidsNTrips family travel Twitter parties now!


How Parents Can Encourage Save Driving Behavior with Teens

  • Keep practicing: Nearly 40 percent of teens say their parents stop practicing driving with them after they get their license. Teaching shouldn’t stop when teens leave the DMV with a license in hand. Parents should continue to drive with their teens and remind them of safe driving behaviors with frequent check-ins and conversations.
  • Hold each other accountable: Mom, dad and teens can all be held accountable and parents can set a good example with today’s new monitoring technology like Liberty Mutual’s HighwayHero app. The app tracks and scores driving behavior based on factors including phone usage while driving, acceleration, hard braking and speeding and even rewards drivers with a discount on auto insurance in select states.
  • Reward safe driving: Parents can consider regularly rewarding their teen for safe driving. Rather than focusing on the consequences of bad driving behavior, a reward like a break from a specific chore or a $10 gift card, could be an effective way to remind teens to think about their actions while driving.
  • Set expectations: Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD encourage parents and teens to use the Teen Driving Contract  as a conversation starter and discussion guide. This tool covers important safety issues and is an easy roadmap for parents and teens alike to uphold family driving rules.
For more information, visit www.libertymutual.com/teendriving.

How to Grab a Summer Travel Deal with Daily Getaways

plan for vacation baby
Are you counting the days until Summer? We are! Even though we live in Southern California where you can have fun outdoors almost all year round, we still can’t wait for school to go on break. There’s something about planning what to do during Summer that adds extra excitement. The local parks have free family movie nights, libraries offer great free programming and activities for kids, even getting a softie from the ice cream truck is more of a treat during the summer months. There’s never a shortage to actually do over Summer, but if you were hoping to take a vacation, or try a theme park you haven’t been to yet, grabbing a deal over the Summer can take a bit of planning.

The U.S. Travel Association puts together a great list of travel deals on the website Daily Getaways. I’ll show you how you can grab some heavily discounted tickets to theme parks and great rates on hotels, too! Even better, if you participate in the April 20, 2017 #KidsNTrips Twitter Party you have the chance to win one of two $100 AMEX gift cards (which can always be used on travel!). Details below…

DailyGetaways Universal Sutdios

Daily Getaways

WHAT: Deeply discounted points and packages from big name travel brands for hotel room nights, car rentals, theme park admission and more. New Daily Getaways deals in 2017 include offers from MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, Loews Hotels and many more. Top deals include travel packages such as a such as a three-night stay at The Mirage Las Vegas for $1,750 to 50 percent off deals to save on Alamo car rentals. Other deals include admission to your choice of any three SeaWorld® parks, your choice of Busch Gardens® parks, or tickets to Universal Studios Hollywood(SM) or Universal Orlando Resort™ with savings up to 50 percent.

WHO: U.S and Canadian residents, age 18 or older, are permitted to purchase available offers throughout the promotion period or until the limited inventory is sold out. Quantities are limited and individual offer terms apply.

WHEN: Preview deals on April 3 and begin buying on April 10. Each weekday a new exclusive offer from a prominent travel brand is unveiled on DailyGetaways.com at 1 p.m. EDT, and it becomes available for purchase throughout the promotion period, while supplies last. Daily Getaways concludes Wednesday, May 10. You can view the Daily Getaways calendar here:

WHERE: www.dailygetaways.com
Daily Getaways SeaWorld

What I love about these deals, besides the opportunity to save money, is that they’re not all about hotels. There are plenty of local families in our area of San Diego that can’t afford to travel far away for a Summer holiday, but they could grab a $50 Sea World ticket. That might not be much of a deal if you’re going in the Spring, but if you don’t have the time to go until Summer, then you’re saving $23/ticket and if you’re bringing the whole family that adds up fast!

TIP: Make sure that you are ready to buy that deal at 1 p.m. I already missed the Omni hotel deal because I was an hour late getting to my computer. The U.S. Travel Association promotes their deals on Twitter

As you can imagine, I jumped when I saw this deal! My husband and I are trying to get back to Vegas for our 10 year anniversary this summer. Caesars is where I first stayed with my grandparents when they took me to Vegas after turning twenty-one. That resort will always have a special place in my heart – even if I can’t always afford to gamble there the way I’d like to!

TIP: If you see a deal that you like, don’t miss the “Alert me” link. Click on that and it will take you to a page where you can give them your email address if you want to know when that particular deal becomes available. Opt in for other deal email notifications, too.

#KIDSNTRIPS Summer Family Travel Twitter Party

No RSVP is necessary and the prize winner will be announced after the party when we’ve confirmed participant eligibility.

Who: @lajollamom, @jenleo, @travelmamas and @dailygetaways

Special Guests: @FindingDebra2 (from FindingDebra.com) and @pointswithacrew (from PointsWithACrew.com)

When: Thursday, April 20 at 9:30am PT/12:30pm ET

Where: On Twitter using the hashtag #KidsNTrips

Prizes: Win 1 of 2 AMEX $100 gift cards

Sponsor: U.S. Travel Association

Restrictions: Must be 18+ to win. Open to U.S. residents. No purchase necessary to win. Prizes will be awarded to two #KidsNTrips Twitter Party participants. The winners will be chosen at random and notified via Twitter shortly after the party.

LAS VEGAS: 6 Sugar Shops & Bakeries

smore cupcake closeWhile bars are a dime a dozen, those wanting a non-alcoholic treat have to search a little harder to find satisfaction. Whether you want a cronut, éclair, decadant chocolate or old-fashioned apple pie, we think you should try one of the following Sin City establishments and score some “sweet” treats.

Sweet Ruby Jane Confections
Named after Grandma Ruby, this candy store offers “handcrafted candy with a retro flair.” That includes brittles and barks, cookies and clusters, popcorn and pretzels, you name it, they make it. Try one of their popular cookie pops, s’mores, or cinnamon caramels. You will not be disappointed. 9550 S. Eastern Avenue, Las Vegas

Gimme Some Sugar Bake Shoppe
Kristen LoVullo and Ashley Mastowski started making elaborately designed cakes for special events and have now opened their own shop. The décor features their whimsical and sophisticated themed cakes along the walls, while the bakery cases spotlight their artful  macarons, mini-cakes, pastries and cookies.  Try their Dirt & Worms (chocolate mousse, Oreo cookies, whipped cream and gummy worm), the decadent Opera Cake (Kahlua-soaked jaconde filled with coffee buttercream and covered in dark chocolate ganache) or their maple-bacon macaron. Mmmmmmm. 19 S. Stephanie Street, Henderson

Bambu Desserts & Drinks
Located over in Chinatown, Bambu Desserts & Drinks has almost 100 offerings, most of which include unusual Asian ingredients (lychee, longan, lotus, pandan jelly, taro). These exotic treats all come in a cup, whether it is a grass jelly or tapioca-based desserts or one of their milk teas, smoothies, or traditional hot drinks. This is a great place to try something new and be a bit more adventurous. (You are in Las Vegas, after all.) 4810 Spring Mountain Road, Suite B, Las Vegas

Sugar Factory
There Sugar Factory operates two restaurants as well as 4 stand-alone stores in Las Vegas. The Paris Las Vegas Hotel contains a full-serve brasserie, Sugar Café and Chocolate Lounge (open 24 hours/day) and there is a 7,000 square-foot brasserie at Town Square. Both offer their cool line of signature cocktails (Cotton Candy Cosmo, Blow Pop Martini, Cherrie Tootsie Pop to name a few), an extensive menu (with a lot of comfort food), as well as yummy desserts and fondues. For desserts only, you can find their stand-alone stores at the Paris, MGM Grand, Planet Hollywood and The Mirage. They have a full line of candies, cupcakes, desserts and are most well known for their couture pops (your girl will flip for the Britney Spears jeweled lolly pop) and Hello Kitty line of sweet treats.  Town Square: 6605 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Suite 145, Las Vegas/Paris Las Vegas Hotel: 3655 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas

This Southern California company is setting up shop inside The Linq complex mid-strip and scheduled to open—fingers crossed—in February. In this new prototype store, you’ll not only find an assortment of their 50 types of cupcakes (love those salted caramel cupcakes!) and rich and creamy ice cream flavors, but a new line of gourmet cookies as well. As a bonus, they will be installing a cupcake ATM. Yep, a vending machine that dispenses fresh cupcakes, baked that day in-store. (See video here.) And for those of you out for a stroll with Fido, you can purchase doggie cupcakes, too! The Linq, 3475 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas

Kuma Snow Cream
Opened late last spring over in Chinatown, this dessert palace was created by Jet Tila (formerly of Wazuzu at Encore). Snow cream is a cross between shaved ice and ice cream, featuring only a quarter of the fat found in a typical scoop. Kuma offers 5 base flavors to start (currently kuma snow, mango, strawberry, taro and green tea), to which you can add from a selection of 24 dry or 5 liquid toppings. And to stay true to its Sin City location, Tila may eventually add an alcohol component to these sweet treats. 3735 Spring Mountain, Las Vegas

And don’t forget, Cake Boss Buddy Valastro will be opening a Carlo’s Bake Shop in the Venetian in early 2014. The 2,200 square-foot space will serve up his famous cannolis, biscotti, and Italian sponge cakes, as well as the elaborately decorated cakes he is famous for.

LAS VEGAS: Family Adventure Awaits at Cowabunga Bay


Keeping the kids entertained in Las Vegas just got a whole lot easier with the announcement that the ‘60s-themed Cowabunga Bay will soon be open in nearby Henderson. Cowabunga Bay is a 23-acre water park that offers a variety of water slides, massive sand beach (with cabana rentals), endless lazy river, 33,000-foot wave pool, as well as food, drinks, and children’s play area.

Visitors can drop down a 73-foot enclosed tube that circles its way to the bottom and dumps riders through a trap door into a pool of water or take a raft down a 55-foot slide into the world’s largest man-made wave. If you are at all competitive, try the Surfin USA slide where your skills will be tested against 5 other riders as you make your way to the finish. Not adventurous? No problem. You can splash in the wave pool, cruise the Cowabunga River on an inner tube or float around one of the many pools. There is something for kids of all ages, so get on over there and check out the water!

Cowabunga Bay
Where: 900 Galleria Drive, Henderson (off the 515)
When: May 24, 2014 through Labor Day, weekends in September
Cost: General admission $35.99, under 4 feet $27.99, 3-hour evening rates $19.99 (includes free inner tubes and life jackets)

HAWAII: Kauai Festival of Lights


Celebrate the holidays with a twist on the island of Kauai during the upcoming Festival of Lights. This annual event is in its 17th season and runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from December 6th through December 24th. Hundreds of thousands of lights ring Historic Park and the interior of the Historic County Building is turned into a winter wonderland, with Kauai-themed decorated trees and forty years of holiday folk art.

Began by Hawaii native Jose Chansky over 40 years ago, this one-of-a-kind event features holiday décor made by local artists, all from recycled materials. Where else will you get to see a Christmas tree made from 7,500 green toothpicks, a tree decorated entirely from ornaments made of aluminum cans, or a SPAM-themed Christmas tree?

Along with the spectacular show of lights comes holiday music and caroling by the Kauai Chorale and visits from Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. Opening night will also feature the Rice Parade, considered “an unique showcase of island lighted floats.”

17th Annual Festival of Lights
Where: Historic County Bldg., 4396 Rice Street, Lihue, Kauai
When: December 6-24, Friday – Sunday, 6-8 p.m.
Cost: Free

SAN DIEGO: Halloween Activities for All Ages


Whether you are 5 or 55, San Diego will play host to a wide variety of spooky and fun activities for the upcoming Halloween holiday.  Families can enjoy month-long events at Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, Legoland and The Scream Zone Del Mar, while adults can party at several themed pub crawls or the Gaslamp Quarter’s Monster Bash and we’ve made it easy for you to find the event that suits your needs.

Sea World Halloween Spooktacular
Sea World San Diego is offering their annual Halloween Spooktacular, which runs until October 27th. In addition to all the regular shows and exhibits there will be a special Halloween musical at the Sesame Street Bay of Play featuring all your favorite characters, sea lions Clyde and Seamore have a spooky adventure at Uncle Schmedley’s Castle, pumpkinfish will take center stage at the underwater pumpkin patch, and children (who can come in costume) can visit Otto’s Candy Garden where gumdrops and lollipops grow and collect candy at various points throughout the park.  During the month of October, San Diego residents get one free child admission for each adult admission purchased ($79), non-residents pay $79 (ages 10 & up) or $71 for children (3-9).

San Diego Zoo Spooky Sleepover
The San Diego Zoo is offering two overnight adventures on October 19th and 26th. The Spooky Sleepover, hosted by Dr. Zoolittle, will include a special bus tour through the park that will deliver you to haunted Camp Timbuktu where each family gets their own tent for the night. Campers will enjoy dinner, meeting some spooky animals, have the option of participating in a costume parade and, if they can keep their eyes open, take a night prowl through the zoo. In the morning, campers get a buffet breakfast and time to roam the zoo at their leisure. Cost is $139 per adult and $119 per child (ages 4-11) plus zoo admission.

Brick-or-Treat at LEGOLAND
Saturday nights during the month of October bring Brick-or-Treat Party Nights to Legoland. Party nights include a dance party, “Mail Order Monsters Show,” live performances by the Witchettes and a magician, as well as a costume contest with some super prizes. Trick-or-treaters can score goodies at 10 treat stations spread throughout the park and enjoy a live fireworks show before departure. The event is free with paid one-day admission to the park ($59 per person) or $30 for admission from 5-9pm only.

The Scream Zone
The Scream Zone at Del Mar Scaregrounds, open until November 2nd, is not for the faint of heart. Featuring 4 haunts, you will have your choice of one or all: battling the undead at the Zombie Paintball Safari, making your way through the terrifying House of Horror, risking your life on a Haunted Hayride, or entering The Chamber, where there is no guarantee you will exit. The Scream Zone is open select evenings, including Halloween night. Tickets range from $17-$30, plus $20-$25 for Zombie Paintball.

And for those of you over the age of 21 who would like something a bit more raucous, there are two different pub crawls and the annual San Diego Monster Bash.

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