Baby Delight Snuggle Nest XL Traveler

Ok, so you guys know I’m a huge dockatot fan. Love love love our dock. I will still get one for Fitz to use at home and after he outgrows this for travel, but I check the dock when we travel. It’s just too much to carry on. I found this Snuggle Nest online for a great deal (1/3 the cost of the dock) and it turns into a bag! I can put diapers and wipes, a little blanket and extra outfit in here for the inflight plus have Fitz’s bed with us. No worries of it getting lost and it won’t be using up my carry on allowance bc it’s my diaper bag! It’s light enough that Bash can even carry it around. Now I really can’t wait for Fitz to get here and join our family adventures☺️ And I can give a full review of the product then! 

PS: please forgive the tot tornado in the pictures. They aren’t worth picking up until he is in bed😂

48 hours in Holland, MI and Bash’s first horse race! 

We decided to hop in the car with Dada on Wednesday as he went up to Michigan for work. We stayed in Holland, MI after seeing some great pins on Pinterest. We were not disappointed! We ended our week with a horse race at Arlington Park with daddy’s work colleagues. 


Wednesday we got to Holland, MI in the evening. I heard the beaches and sunsets over Lake Michigan here could not be missed, and it is so very true! I packed a picnic dinner for us so we could head straight there after running into the hotel to check in and get room keys. The beaches here are nothing like the Chicago side. The sand is white powder, the water fresh and clear and the sunset, wow! The fire red and hot pink sun dipping down into the water is breathtaking. I only got a pic of us toward the end because I wasn’t going to disturb anyone or myself with electronics in our faces. Please, do yourself a favor (at least the first time) and just watch without distraction. When people were leaving someone kindly offered to take one of all three of us. Our plan was to just picnic and enjoy the sunset, but Bash ended up playing in the water and sand. Should have just a swim diaper and trunks on him anyway. If you have a waterbaby, I’d highly recommend to just go ahead and plan for them to splash around. The beach closed shortly after sunset at 10, so we went back to the hotel and settled in for the night.

Thursday I took Sebastian to Nelis’ Dutch Village while David went into the local office. This little amusement park/live action museum was super cute and Bash had a great time. The location right next to the outlet mall is a little off putting, but the place really is great for toddlers-bigger children. 


Their petting zoo/Dutch farmstead is really fantastic. All of the animals were super happy (clearly used to children constantly touching and feeding them) and there a lot of helpers there help the children engage with the animals properly or to pick up animals for the little ones like Bash to get a chance to participate in a less overwhelming way. Bash loved feeding the animals and petting from the outside. You can go inside the stalls, but I think this is something more suited for the  rule understanding and stronger more stable 4 yrs+ crowd. 

They have some little rides, but the carousel was the only one I felt was appropriate for little toddlers. There is also the spinning swings, these kind of train pedal cars and a small windmill themed Ferris wheel. 

The living Dutch village museum part is interactive and informational. They have different demonstrations from Dutch dancing, which Sebastian really enjoyed watching, to wooden shoe making. The entire place looks like a little Dutch village (hence the name) and has information to go with everything you see. There is also Dutch food. Bash wasn’t willing to try it, but he did enjoy the cool high chairs and French fries😂


How cool is this high chair, though?! 

We went back to the hotel for a nap until Daddy was done working. 

We went to downtown Holland for the evening and were surprised to find a street performer festival. There were street performers everywhere of all different types. This was both cool and annoying. It made the sidewalks too crowded to pass through, but Bash enjoyed the dancers, musicians and acrobats. There are a ton of cute stores in the downtown, something for everyone. There were also a lot of breweries. We planned on going to the New Holland Brewery for dinner, but it was soooo packed and this preggo wasn’t waiting to eat. Hubby has to forgo the beer tasting. 

We ended up at “Michigan’s best pizza” Fricano’s too. I love thin crust pizza, but was it the best I’ve ever had? No, but it wasn’t bad. I’d definitely prefer a great grab slice in NY or NJ or my beloved Monicals (the truly best thin thin crust!). They take cash only, which I also find obnoxious, but the one size only pizzas are only around $12 so at least the cheap price makes up for that a little. They also charge more to drink a soda in the restaurant than if you carried it out. So weird. None the less it is probably a much better choice than any of the chain options in the area, and I’d eat again with out complaint. An Italian family needs to move to Michigan and really show them the best pizza, though!😂

We walked the Hope College campus and then went back to the hotel to go to bed.


Friday, we checked out and headed over to Chicago for the horse race at Arlington Park. Bash loved the race. He loved going to the paddock level and seeing all of the horse and jockees. He loved watching them race and yelling go! He picked a favorite horse, and we cheered it on. It was a great evening. A horse race might not seem like a great toddler activity, but it had so much going on there was plenty of distraction to keep any little occupied. We ended the night with Bash’s pick not doing very well, but lots of great memories. We went back to the hotel to sleep. and then headed home this morning. 

Sad about his horse😂

Bash’s pick


Go horses go!


It was a lot of driving for some in 4 days, but with a lot to do inbetween it wasn’t so bad. We had lots of snacks and car toys (Tsum tsums mostly) to keep Bash happy, and he never cried once:) If you are in the Midwest it is definitely worth the drive up to Holland, MI. It was so nice, we will probably rent a lake house for a week up there in the near future.

Our Little Summer Disney World and Beach Vacation


First, I have to say flying out of Indy Airport (IND) was the best airport experience I’ve had with or without a baby. Orlando (MCO) is always a total sh*t show, so Indy airport was a nice way to start the trip off. They have a great kids play area in the terminals, great dining options, super clean, not crowded even during high travel season. 


When we got to Orlando we picked up the Chrysler Pacifica (loved it, want to buy it😍) we rented and went to the hotel. We checked in, then headed to Disney Springs for the rest of the afternoon and evening. We love it there. We go even when we don’t go to Disney, so this wasn’t new to Bash and he did remember the awesome Disney toy shops. WARNING you will not be able to leave without buying something. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible. We came back here the last night of our Disney stay and ate at Morimoto. I would get reservations for this restaurant at Disney Springs as it’s delicious and a very popular choice for Iron Chef fans (like myself). 

The next day we drove to our character breakfast at Grand Floridian. The breakfast quality is definitely not what it used to be, but Bash enjoyed some of the characters. It might just be our 22 month old, but he did not care for the characters that are still “people”. I’m talking about Mary Poppins, Alice, the princesses. He literally told them no not when they said I’m so and so! He realized their faces were not like the actual movie characters😂  After our breakfast we went to Epcot and toured the world. If you have a little world traveler they may recognize some of the different country markers, like the Eiffel Tower. Bash loves Little Einsteins, so he even recognized the Great Torii and was very excited. We however did not find any Tokyo bananas in the Japanese market:( After we were going to ride the ferry over to Hollywood Studios to see some Star Wars stuff, but rain was coming at 4. We just went back to our hotel to chill for a bit while it rained. Then, we ended the night with the spectacular new fireworks show at Magic Kingdom. Almost Everyone clears out after the fireworks. It is an awesome time to stay!! It’s cooler and almost no lines! We were able to get Bash on the teacups and Dumbo before he fell asleep. We waited less than 5 minutes to ride them. Then while Bash was sleeping we walked around the castle, through it with the beautiful mosaics lit up at night and checked out some shops until close. 



The next morning we went back to Epcot to start the day. We went straight to the picture spot for Mickey, Goofy and Minnie because there is no wait first thing in the morning (usually). Then, we grabbed a Starbucks and hopped on the monorail to MK to ride some of the rides Sebastian would love. It’s a Small World was his favorit! He was in pure awe and it was super hot and super humid so the mostly air conditioned wait and entirely air conditioned ride was refreshing. Bash slept for a bit, so we watched a street performance and started lunch without him. After he woke up we finished eating and then watched the parade. The afternoon rain was back so we went back to shower and get ready to meet my family from Florida for dinner at Morimoto. We spent the rest of the night in Disney Springs. Bash danced with one of the kids dance entertainers, he fell asleep and we did our final shopping. The next day was the start of Disney Pride which gets a little crazy we decided we weren’t going to do another day at the parks and head to the beach early. 

We hit the road in the AM, stopped to meet one of my hubby’s old professors for lunch, and then on to Saint Augustine where we spent the rest of our trip:)

The beach, splash pad, dolphin watching, old town and Salt Water Cowboys were the kind of relaxing we needed after a couple hot days at Disney. Especially, being pregnant! 


Happy summer Travels! 

Traveling Light

One of my goals is to start traveling light. Yes, even with my toddler (Gah! I can’t believe he’s almost 2😭) in tow, I want our family to be less weighed down by stuff. Not because our backs are breaking (they are though!), but for the mental weight it also takes off of travel. 

Now, I know in my baby packing post I say less is not anymore, but I’m going to try and change that! With an infant, I am not so sure it’s possible. But an older baby or toddler, I think it is! 

I managed to pack our family of 3 a weeks worth of clothes for Disney World and the beach into our carry on size suitcase! We will have our dock a tot and diapers in another bag. So, we aren’t going with just a carry on suitcase, but this is a huge change from our usual two small suitcases or one large suitcase plus the dock a tot bag. 

I’ve been reading more and more about traveling with less and doing more, so I decided that’s our new motto.

I realized in Paris we really didn’t need half the clothes we packed, and that trip was over 2 weeks long. Obviously, having a washing machine made that possible, but going to a laundry mat would work too. It’s also amazing how mixing and matching pieces can make so many different outfits. In Paris, I ended up wearing the same two sweaters over with different bottoms and even over a dress. And my black leather boots were really the only shoes I needed. Baby supplies are hard to cut back on, but I think with adult packing downsizing is definitely possible! 

This is only the beginning of our traveling light journey, so that’s really all I have for now. Hopefully, I will have more to report in the future! 

Happy travels!

Travel fears and Is it safe to travel internationally with baby/children? 

I was watching one of my favorite travel bloggers this morning talk about travel fears, and how it is a major concern for people these days. It made me realize how many of you mommas and papas probably feel that fear heightened when bringing your most prized processions (your babes!) along. So I’m going to talk a little bit about how I combat my fears/why my momma bear instincts don’t stop us from traveling. 

Let’s tackle this in a question answer format for organization and because time is of the essence as my little man is not really into solo play this morning. 

What if we have an emergency? 

Program all local emergency numbers into your phone!!! Police, EMT, Fire Department,  numbers all in your phone. I even favorite the closest hospital, police station, grocery store and pharmacy in my google maps on my phone. If you don’t have international service, you can download the local area map and use it without service. 

We have utilized resort health services in Mexico after making a mistake eating fresh fruit in a market (ooops I even knew better!). Luckily, obtaining medication in Mexico is really easy and we didn’t need an actual hospital visit. I have only been to Mexico sans bebe, but I imagine the resorts marketed with children in mind would be able to assist with a child’s medical emergency as well. With children in Mexico, I would definitely go the resort route. I’m sure there are some really great non-resort areas, but when it comes to travel with baby I like to advise on making your location and accommodations as easy and baby friendly as possible. In Mexico, this means resort to me. 

In Peru (no baby here either), I traveled with a tour group and our group had our own nurse traveling with us who had her own medical supplies and managed our malaria medication as well. I was fortunate to not find myself in any medical situation, but one guy in the group was bit by a snake and our local guide knew exactly what to do. Another woman had many fire ant bites and our nurse was prepared with the right tools and medication to help. Our group spent 3 days in Lima, a day in Iquitos, and 10 in the Amazon Rainforest. If you want to do an ecologically adventure and/or service trip the Amazon has a lot of great groups that go, and again for something like a rainforest I highly recommend an organization and lodge with meals, guides, activities included. The Amazon is amazing, but very dangerous in the sense it is wild and emergency assistance is not a phone call away. 

While my husband has not needed any medical assistance in Japan, he said the hospitals are very modern. If he were to need help he would not have any worries about receiving care. 

If you travel in the European Union have no fear. You will be given great and affordable care at any of the government hospitals. I can’t say what the price will be everywhere, and if you go to a private hospital I really have no idea. As an American traveling without purchasing international medical insurance (maybe I should post why we don’t usually purchase it? If you would like me to post on that leave a comment) in the EU we have never had a problem with baby or without. While in Paris December 2016 our son, 16 months at the time, was taken to the pediatric emergency and the care was exceptional and affordable. No insurance the visit was 62€ and his 3 medications were 2€. We have good American insurance and still can’t get away with an emergency visit that cheap. 

What about terrorism and violence?!

I actually had people give us a hard time about going to Paris over Christmas because terrorists might attack due to the Christian holiday. I literally laughed at them, and replied you realize we live in Chicago, right?! Violence is every where. Not too long ago BLM ripped apart the giant Christmas tree downtown and were shoving and screaming at Black Friday shoppers on magnificent mile. I lived less than a mile from all of this. We stayed inside that day. I live in one of the most violent cities in the United States, making it really one of the most violent places in the western world. It is more likely we will be victims to violence here than really anywhere else we would travel. Most Americans wouldn’t bat an eye at a trip to Chicago as dangerous, we sensationalize the unfamiliar. Try to keep that in perspective when questioning the safety of a destination. 

 It’s all about doing your research and avoiding areas known for violence. When you come to Chicago, you obviously aren’t going to be wondering around the south side alone at night. The acts of destruction and violence a Black Friday ago didn’t seem to stop tourists (or locals as we were out there, gotta get my deals!😂) from shopping the mag mile this year! Why should that not apply to foreign destinations as well? Paris is a fantastic city, that has had a couple of terrible tragedies, like almost every major city in the world. 

The media sensationalizes most of what we hear and see. They also love to leave out the wondeful and amazing good things that are happening. They prey on our fear. Don’t let it get to you. Find local blogs of the place you wish to go and find out from a real source what the area is like. Email the hotel or apartment you are interested in and ask if it is in a kid friendly neighborhood. If lots of families live there, it’s probably because it’s a safe neighborhood! 

We don’t know the language, how will we manage? 

One, you can learn some basic words and phrases. With just a little practice this is a very easy way to make your trip wayyyyyyy more enjoyable. You should always learn hi, please, thank you, have a good day/afternoon/night. You will learn this goes a long way, and is greatly appreciated. After that if you convey you don’t the language it is likely they will still try to help you. It really is disrespectful to not even make an effort, and will not get promising results.

Two, make a list of important phrases and keep it with you all the time. Numbers, how much?, where is (bathroom, the elevator, the exit, a good restaurant), I would like, we want to go (blank), we are staying (with the address of where you are staying). You can even open the list and point to it if you need to. I put these in my husband’s phone. I’ve been fortunate that everywhere I have traveled I have at least an elementary level knowledge of the language. My husband speaks only English, so this is a vital tool for him and works very well:)

Bring a small English-Language dictionary to keep your room and when you have something you struggled to convey that day that might be helpful later look it up and add it to your list.

We also always grab multiple business cards with address of where we are staying and put them in our wallets, passport holders, taped to our stroller, pockets. You can never have too many on hand. It’s also good to memorize at least the intersection. Then if you get lost and can’t find any of the cards or your list you can have some idea of  what to say to get help as the location of Hotel Orange probably isn’t common knowledge. 

Any travel fear I left out? Leave a comment! 

Ciao amici!!

P.S. We have some exciting things happening here at home! Can’t wait to fill you guys in! 😘😘

Long Haul Inflight with a Toddler or Young Child: a how to sleep guide.

Ciao amici!

 I haven’t posted in a while, sorry! I’m really quite terrible at this whole blogging regularly thing. 

Anyway, I’ve been seeing/hearing a lot people have difficulty with their littles inflight. I can’t promise to work miracles, but I can tell you we have had two fantastic international round-trips with our son at 13/14 and 16/17 months. With babies under 12 months (or pre-walking) you really shouldn’t have to worry, the boob or bottle will knock them right out! But for our now curious travelers who are in the toddler stage inflight seems to be a bit more difficult. 

We slew this dragon with establishing an inflight routine. 

To successfully create an inflight routine we used the following items. However, you can alter these based on your own preferences.

iPad games: fisher price has great free ones, kids doodle, coloring book apps

iPad shows: we have Little Pim in French and Italian, Little Einsteins, Thomas and Friends (whatever your child likes or none of them if you don’t do screen time) 

Bedtime books: if you have specific books you read only for bed or nap time bring them on the plane!!!! I can’t stress this enough!! Or if you have a lovey or something that signals bedtime to your little bring it!

Snacks: whatever your babe eats at home. Nothing new and exciting, we are going for routine and minimizing the stimulation that your little is already getting enough of from the new environment.

So you have your supplies now what? Time to get your itinerary down. Ours goes like this:

1. Board and get everything organized for ease of transition. No pulling bags down from the overhead to get the books, lovey etc. Keep all of that with you from the start. If you didn’t have time to do a diaper change before you boarded do so now. 

2. Snack time. Eating and drinking during takeoff help their little ears feel better during the pressure changes. 

3. Watch a show/play iPad games

4. Meal is served. Eat.

5. Depending on the lights dimming, watch shows or play iPad games. Also take a stroll to the bathroom to do a diaper change into an overnight diaper. Let your little stretch their legs and walk to the bathroom holding your hand. Changing into pajamas is also a good idea if that helps your little get in the sleepy mood. 

6. If the lights are dimmed or they have announced they will do so soon, pull out the bedtime books. Read them with the overhead reading light or until the lights are dimmed. 

7. Now that the cabin is darker, sleep! Your little should be pretty ready for this after a full tummy, fresh diaper, their bedtime books and the lights now low. 

For domestic just alter the routine to the amount of inflight time:) 

Happy Travels! 


Also note the baby neck pillow* 

Saint Augustine, FL our European escape right here in the US

So, I haven’t posted on St. Augie yet despite our many trips because, well, it was always our little secret. The European City right here in the US my family has gone to since before I was born, but the cats finally out of the bag. The last few years the city has changed a lot and the crowds are bigger, but it’s still a fantastic vacation spot with something for everyone. 

We are big history buffs. I like the beach for a day or two, but that’s all the relaxation my brain needs. Many beach vacation spots in Florida don’t have much to offer beyond the boardwalk. This is not the case in Saint Augustine. Ponce de Leon landed here in search of the fountain of youth, and with him came the Castillo de San Marcos, Spanish architecture and the charm that makes the city so wonderful. Henry Flagler saw the wonder here too and made it a popular vacation spot in the 1880s and beyond. His beautiful hotels are now part of the Flagler College campus and open for tours. When the littles need to release some energy take them to Swing Park. The park has two sections, one for little kids and one for bigger kids. It also has a great covered area with tables and benches, a nice place to stop and nurse out of the sun.

If you are more into the beaches and nature, you won’t be disappointed either. The beaches have nice white soft sand and good shells can be found by the early bird. Anastasia state park is beautiful, has some secluded beach areas and a light house you can tour. The St. John’s farmers market is held in a lovely park with beach access. Grab some local treats and have a brunch right out on the beach. About an hours drive south in the winter months and you can see manatees up close where they stay in the warmer water until spring comes. 

The kids will have plenty to keep them occupied on rainy or non-beach days. The Ripley’s believe it or not museum has sites of wonder for all ages. The Alligator Farm seems to have more birds than alligators now, but it’s definitely worth visiting. They also have a zip line for older kids and adults. We have not done it, both of us don’t handle heights well. The pirate museum and wax museum are also a good choice for families.

We will hopefully be heading back down there before the springbreakers because we really can’t get enough of this Colonial Spanish city just a 2 HR flight from Chicago.