Taking Toddlers to Egypt

 

 

Traveling with toddlers always proves to be a bit of a challenge for most moms, and further problems present themselves when taking them to hotter climes. Holidays to Egypt invite families to explore its beautiful and intriguing lands. The high temperatures and longer flight haul might put you off it flying with young children, but here are a few tips to help you out and ease any hassle.

Traveling to Egypt with Toddlers
What to pack

Toddlers usually need a lot of items when travelling, with the essentials being wipes, diapers, changing pads, medicine, plastic bags and extra clothing. If you are a first-time traveller to Egypt, packing more than enough is the better strategy as you never know. It’s possible, for example, that you could arrive late at night only to find, that most of the shops at your destination closed for the day, when you badly need another set of diapers for the baby.

Moreover, you should remember to pack an umbrella stroller as it will help immensely, especially during those long waiting periods at the airport. A backpack is also recommended as it will free up your hands enabling you to manoeuvre the stroller more easily.

Don’t forget the entertainment 

Entertainment is a huge part of any toddler’s life and once they start squirming from discomfort due to the noises, strange surroundings, not to mention new faces, you automatically expect a trip predominated by tantrums and screams, and that’s when you know it’s time to rack it up a notch. You can achieve this by simply picking them up and being playful, which they’ll love, or offer them a favourite toy to play with. Be sure to take along their favourite teddy! These little distractions will go a long way. The amazing sights of pyramids, tombs and shrines will also surely grab their attention, for a moment or two at least.

Choose the right time to travel 

The weather in Egypt is a defining factor if you are looking to go there on holiday with your toddler. It is generally hot and sunny most of the time, but has a cool winter, which lasts from November to February, with temperatures during the day being generally mild and around 20 C cool at night. On the other hand, summer temperatures are 35 C on average with intense humidity, which can make things very uncomfortable, especially for the toddler. As such, the best time to travel to Egypt is in between the months of October and May, when temperatures are medial most of the time.

The most important thing is that you and your toddlers have a fun trip, exploring all that Egypt has to offer.

Have you ever visited Egypt with kids? 

 

Guest Post

 

Disney Studios, Here I Come! DVD & Blu-Ray Releases #PirateFairyBloggers #FrozenBluray

 

 

Next week I will be taking a short plane ride to sunny Los Angeles for a quick but incredibly magical three day trip and I can’t wait to tell you about it! Melissa is amazing to let me step in for her and I promise to do my best in sharing with you all of the amazing Disney coverage. Trust me, it’s going to be a really, really good time. You will want to keep up with the party on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with the hashtags #PirateFairyBloggers and #FrozenBluray!

I’m not going to deny it, we have seen FROZEN in the theater three times. The first time was a fun night out when Dad had to work late. We all fell in love with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and the rest of the characters. My kids adored Olaf so much that my five year old son declared in a very serious (and not open to any discussion) tone, that from now on all of our snowmen must be named Olaf! The second was because Dad hadn’t seen it and the third was my daughter’s choice for her birthday night. I guess I don’t have to tell you that we have already pre-ordered FROZEN!

Frozen Blu-ray

Walt Disney Animation Studios presents a chilly twist on one of the most humorous and heartwarming stories ever told. “Disney Animation’s best since The Lion King” (William Bibbiani, CraveOnline) will melt your heart.

Fearless optimist Anna sets off on an epic journey — teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven — to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom.

Did you see the exclusive preview of The Pirate Fairy during the Super Bowl? I missed it too! Here is a peek into the new adventure starring Zarina:

 

Pirate Fairy Blu-ray

From the world of “Peter Pan” comes “The Pirate Fairy,” a swashbuckling new adventure about Zarina (voice of Christina Hendricks), a smart and ambitious dust-keeper fairy who’s captivated by Blue Pixie Dust and its endless possibilities. When Zarina’s wild ideas get her into trouble, she flees Pixie Hollow and joins forces with the scheming pirates of Skull Rock, who make her captain of their ship. Tinker Bell (voice of Mae Whitman) and her friends must embark on an epic adventure to find Zarina, and together they go sword-to-sword with the band of pirates led by a cabin boy named James (voice of Tom Hiddleston), who’ll soon be known as Captain Hook himself. With laughter, heart, magic and thrills, “The Pirate Fairy” sets sail April 1, 2014.

Back to this exciting Disney trip… here is what is on the tentative agenda:

Monday, February 10th 

  • Travel to Los Angeles and check in at the Sheraton Universal Hotel.

Tuesday, February 11th

  • Travel to Walt Disney Animation Studios for a behind the scenes look at the making of FROZEN including:  
    • Q&A with Director, Chris Buck and Producers, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho
    • Hands-on demonstration of the Rigging process lead by Character TC Supervisor, Gregory Smith
    • Voice-over recording session with FROZEN’S Audio Engineer, Gabe Guy

Wednesday, February 12th 

  • Travel to the DisneyToon Studios for a look at THE PIRATE FAIRY including:
    • Advance screening of the THE PIRATE FAIRY
    • Sit down with THE PIRATE FAIRY Director Peggy Holmes and Producer  Jennifer Magee-Cook
    • Walk through the creation of “Zarina”, The Pirate Fairy from story to character design to animation

Did you catch the part about the voice-over recording session? VOICE-OVER! Aghhh! I’m going to be standing in the same studio where all of the biggest talents have made Disney’s most loved characters come to life. And if I happen to get the chance to do a voice-over for a character, and you happen to hear it, you have to promise to not laugh!

And on Tuesday we will also be visiting Walt Disney Studios to… I can’t tell you yet! It’s a surprise! So make sure you stay tuned in so you don’t miss it.

Okay, well… I am off to make my trip-list. Yes, I do this before every trip. Nerdy, I know. But tell me, what questions do you have for me to ask the film makers and creative teams behind FROZEN or The Pirate Fairy?

Disclosure: Disney is providing an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles including travel, accommodations and activities. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own. 

CoCo Key Hotel & Water Park is a Family-Friendly Getaway!

 

 

My family recently got the opportunity to stay at the CoCo Key Hotel & Water Park in Orlando, on International Drive (which, as you may know, is a very popular and fun area of Orlando to visit and vacation).  After dropping off the twins with both sets of grandparents in blustery Indiana, the three of us (Me, Husband Keith and son Isaac) headed toward the sunny skies of sweet, sweet Orlando.

ExteriorImage

Our first impression was that we drove past the hotel.  Oops.  From the photos online, it didn’t seem like there could be a cool tropical hotel smack-dab amongst all these buildings, but yes, there it is!  We drove in, went to the front desk and were greeted by an extremely friendly young lady who set us up with our room keys and welcomed us to the hotel.  The lobby is a welcoming place with things to do for kids and adults of all ages.  It’s a very relaxed atmosphere and I cannot begin to convey how absolutely friendly and helpful ALL the staff were to us.  Very gracious hospitality!

There is a business center (out in the open so kids can be monitored), a corner TV station, a nice open layout lounge area and a kids play area called Club Key!

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CoCo Key Business center

CoCo Key TV Lounge

coco keyOur room, which was actually a suite with 2 queen beds, was just as was pictured.  It has clean, updated décor and extremely comfortable Serta Perfect Sleeper beds.  Truthfully, it was at least 10 times more comfortable than my bed at home!  It was clean, comfortable, and spacious.    There was a mini fridge, digital safe, flat screen TB, desk, coffee/tea maker, hairdryer, full ironing board and free Wi-Fi.  Regretfully, I did not take a picture of the bathroom so the third image is a stock photo.  I did take the photo of our beds and the couch as part of our suite.  Ignore the bed bumps, we had already taken a nap in it! LOL!

COUCH

ROOM

Bathroom

I just loved this sign!  It felt like vacation!  Isaac was holding up a bowling pin keyring he got from a local bowling alley for his first time bowling!  So cute.

direction sign

 

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Because we were here during off-season, the water park was closed the days we were there.  Isaac was disappointed but the weather was just not warm enough.  We did see people swimming in the pool, but our thin Texas blood just didn’t allow for swimming in 70 degree weather!  Too cold!  Despite is being closed, we were able to walk around and look at everything and it looks AMAZING!  The photos I took were not as true-to-life as the stock photos, so I will share these instead.  There is a LARGE canopy-covered water park area (the only one in Orlando!) so kids who can play without the harmful rays of the Florida sun.  VERY nice!

Aerial View

Under the Canopy

Bucket

Boomerango2

There is also a HUGE (6500 sq. ft.) arcade with a mini bowling alley and cool games!

Key Quest Arcade

We ate dinner at TradeWinds restaurant next to the arcade and it served affordable, family-friendly meals.  There is also a food court featuring Pizza Hut Express and Callaloo Grill, as well as the Wet Rooster Tiki Bar for Mom and Dad to grab some adult beverages.

Tradewinds Restaurant

You may even run into CoCo (the namesake of the hotel and water park) himself!

CoCo and Friends

Whether or not your stay is part of a larger visit to Orlando (2 miles to Universal Orlando Resort, 4 miles to SeaWorld, and 10 miles to Walt Disney World) or a one-stop family vacation, I think CoCo Key Hotel and Water Park can fit just about any family’s idea of a fun getaway!

Make sure to check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Disclosure: I was provided free accommodations at CoCo Key Hotel & Water Park Orlando.  All thoughts and opinions are my own, as always.

Opening Soon: The Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Studios

 

 

When my family visits Orlando, Florida, one of our favorite places to visit is Universal Orlando! We love visiting both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, there’s so much fun for each member of the family!

Universal Heath

 

I’m so excited to share with you about their latest resort, the Cabana Bay Beach Resort!

Swizzle Lounge - Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

The Cabana Bay Beach Resort is Universal Orlando Resort’s fourth on-site hotel with striking color schemes and nifty, nostalgic details throughout the décor. The new 1,800 room hotel features moderately priced family suites available this spring at the special preview price and value-priced guest rooms available in summer of 2014 along with a wealth of recreation. When complete, guests can experience a 10-lane bowling alley and enjoy two massive pools with sand beaches, a lazy river, waterslide and more!

Doesn’t that sound amazing?! We can’t wait to get down to Orlando to stay here because with our family of 5, it’s definitely an affordable option for us!

The all-new family suites sleep up to six, surrounding guests with bold design, period colors, neon and a cool retro feel. The suites also feature a kitchenette with microwave, mini-refrigerator and sink. Combining affordability with convenience, the hotel’s location is within walking distance of both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Plus, hotel guests enjoy Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the theme park opens. With three kids, it’s worth it just being able to get into the parks early!

Right now, there is an awesome rate that you’ll want to grab up!

This limited time offer includes:

• Incredible rates for the entire family to enjoy all-new family suites

-   Seven-night stay: as low as $104 per night

-   Five-night stay:  as low as $108 per night

-   Three-night stay:  as low as $134 per night

• On-site convenience – the hotel is within walking distance of Universal’s two theme parks and Universal CityWalk

• Early Park Admission to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (when guests purchase theme park tickets)

 

**Package is available for purchase now through January 31, 2014 for travel March

31, 2014 through June 14, 2014.

**Theme park tickets are not included.

**Blockout dates may apply.

Connect with Universal Orlando

Facebook: Universal Orlando Resort

Twitter: @UniversalORL

Instagram: @UniversalOrlando

Will you be checking out the Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando?

Why I Love Memphis: Food, Baseball, Music and Justin Timberlake!

 

 

Living in St. Louis, there are a few cities within easy driving distance. While we’ve been to Chicago, Louisville and Kansas City, there’s one city that’s only 5 hours away that’s on our Bucket List to spend time in.

ILoveMemphis

That’s right, Memphis, Tennessee! We actually have passed through Memphis a few times. Once, we drove to Memphis to see Weezer in concert and then drove right back. I’m not quite sure why we didn’t spend a few more days there but hey, we were young and broke. The second time, we were driving through Memphis on our way to Gulf Shores, Alabama and heard that we had to stop and try some of that famous BBQ at Rendezvous – and it didn’t disappoint. It was one of the best lunches I’ve ever had. Now, I’m ready to get back to Memphis for a few days and while there’s a ton of stuff drawing me there like the music, food, shopping, attractions and more….there’s one thing that I’m ready to put my blue suede shoes on for….

JT

Justin Timberlake!

Memphis is the hometown of Justin Timberlake and he still keeps close to the city. He owns a golf course called Mirimichi and is a minority owner of the NBA team, the Memphis Grizzlies. He also has his own tequila – 901 (area code of Memphis). Justin Timberlake is performing in Memphis on Monday, Nov. 18 at FedEx Forum and I would love to be there! I bet you would too, so sit back and read some other reasons you should visit Memphis and then see how you can have a chance to see him perform live in Memphis!

Read on for my JT songs themed tour of Memphis!

“Strawberry Bubblegum”

My husband and I love to eat, so Memphis is the place to be! Memphis may be known for their BBQ, but that’s not all they have. Memphis was named by Travel + Leisure as one of the best cities for barbecue (of course) as well as burgers, pizza and dive bars. I’d love to try Lunchbox Eats, a school cafeteria-themed restaurant with dishes like a chicken-and-waffle sandwich or the broken rib bones sandwich. Sounds like an experience in itself!

If it’s desserts you’re looking for, you came to the right place. At La Michoacana you’ll find only the most authentic paletas (Mexican popsicles). At Jerry’s Sno Cones, try the red wedding cake supreme and a stop at Muddy’s Bake Shop is also a must – try the Prozac chocolate cupcake!

We’re also fans of craft beer and Memphis is the home of craft brews like Ghost River, High Cotton and Wiseacre.

Red Wedding Cake Supreme Sno Cone at Jerry’s Sno Cones

“Dress On”

Shopping! If you’re looking to pick up some eclectic items or art, Memphis is the place to go. There are so many interesting neighborhoods to spend time in where you’ll find everything from clothing to art. The South Main Arts District sounds like a great place to spend a day – there’s a strip of local clothing boutiques marking this area as the newest fashion district.

Shopping in Memphis

“Winner”

My husband and I are huge fans of the St. Louis Cardinals and I still can’t believe we haven’t gotten down to Memphis for a Memphis Redbirds game! Right now, the Cardinals are rocking thanks to some of the players who came from the Redbirds and it would be so exciting to see a game there.

If baseball isn’t your thing, there’s a ton of other sports to see. There’s golf at JT’s golf coure Mirimichi and of course the Memphis Grizzlies. With no NBA team in St. Louis, I say Go Grizzlies!

Memphis Redbirds Game

“Let the Groove Get In”

In addition to the food, the shopping and sports, there is of course - the music! Memphis is home to Sun Studio (birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll) and the funky Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Both have hosted music legends who recorded the music that changed the world – Johnny Cash, Otis Redding, Booker T & the MGs, Isaac Hayes and Elvis Presley.

If live theater is your thing, you can catch a live theater show at Playhouse on the Square. There’s also the National Civil Rights Museum and of course, Graceland! So many things to see, so little time!

There’s so much to do in Memphis and here’s a great list of reasons:

  1. Funky, historic and world-famous cultural attractions like the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Sun Studio and the National Civil Rights Museum
  2. Vibrant music scene. Live music at the Levitt Shell, which hosts 50 free concerts a year at this famous outdoor amphitheatre. The Hi-Tone another Memphis landmark just opened its new location in the Crosstown Arts neighborhood.
  3. Eclectic neighborhoods like Cooper-Young, Overton Square, Broad Avenue Arts District and South Main.
  4. The local beer palate is expanding with craft brews like Ghost River, High Cotton and Wiseacre (just opened a taproom and patio in August 2013).
  5. Nightlife at Raiford’s Disco, Rumba Room
  6. Fine attractions like the Dixon Gallery and Gardens or Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
  7. Food – Soul Food, Barbecue, nationally renowned chefs
  8. Memphis in May International Festival – Beale Street Music Festival, World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest and Sunset Symphony
  9. Hotels – keep it classy with The Madison or The Peabody. Get closer to the Mighty Mississippi at the River Inn.
  10. Experience the Grit & Grind of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum or watch the future stars of the St. Louis Cardinals play at Autozone Park – home of the Memphis Redbirds.
  11. Golf at Mirimichi (owned by Justin Timberlake) located in his childhood neighborhood.
  12. Memphis Fashion Week (March 27-29, 2014)
  13. Indie Memphis Film Festival (October 31 – November 3, 2013)

 

Okay, I’m ready to GO to Memphis! Are you ready, too? If you’re in St. Louis, you will want to enter this AMAZING giveaway courtesy of ALIVE Magazine and I Love Memphis.

One lucky winner will receive the following prize package:

-A two day stay at the famous Peabody Hotel (Nov 17-18)

-Two tickets to the Justin Timberlake show on Monday, Nov. 18 at FedEx Forum

-A round of golf at Justin Timberlake’s Mirimichi Golf Course (If your golf game is a little rusty, no biggie, enjoy a complimentary lunch and tour the club instead! We heard JT often makes an appearance while he’s in town.)

-Tickets to your choice of local music attractions like the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, Graceland, Sun Studio or the Stax Museum.

 Head over to ALIVE Magazine to enter, St. Louisans!

 

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post, but have the chance to win a trip to Memphis!