The Airport Book…perfect for your next trip!

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The Airport Book by Lisa Brown (Roaring Brook Press, 2016) is a wonderful read.  This book is perfect for summer travel.

Last night as my husband read this to my girls we both looked at each other with that knowing look that this book is fabulous.  This book is fabulous for many reasons, the first – for any petite who has never traveled by plane before this book is fantastic in depicting the steps and things that will happen from leaving the house to arriving at your destination.  Immediately we both thought that this would be a perfect book for petites who might find air travel to be a struggle, to be a challenge, even petites who might be scared or need some practice to get ready for the big travel day.

The illustrations are busy and give you a sense of the feel of the airport.  The book exemplifies diversity, which I love!  The family that the reader follow is a family of four, Mom, Dad, older brother and toddler sister.  The family is biracial and like the rest of the illustrations this book does a wonderful job of giving a real world picture of all the people you might find at the airport (young, old, eccentric, multiple ethnicities, wheel chair users, seeing impaired with a guide dog).

The book completely prepares a little one for what air travel will look like from beginning to end.  It is perfect for petites ages 3-8, those who might need more support and planning to get ready for all of the noises and the bustle of air travel.  Or perhaps the perfect book for those who will be taking their first flight this summer.

Bon Voyage!

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Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 2.51.02 PMTraveling with Young Toddlers


America’s Best Breakfasts…Who Doesn’t Love Breakfast?


To be perfectly honest, I have not always been a fan of breakfast foods.  I didn’t like bacon until I became pregnant with my oldest and then I couldn’t get enough of it.  Since then, I have been a huge fan of breakfast foods, especially when eaten at dinner time.  So when I saw America’s Best Breakfasts: Favorite Local Recipes from Coast to Coast by Lee Brian Schrager and Adeena Sussman (Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2016), I got incredibly excited to see what this book could possibly teach me about making awesome breakfasts.

There was one recipe in particular that I wanted that this book contains: Shrimp and Grits from Hominy Grill in Charleston!  When we lived in Charleston I became incredibly fond of grits, it was a texture thing, basically it was love at first bite.  It is a food that has been refined for hundreds of years into this simple, rustic, down-home goodness – well, that is the food I want to be eating.  Living on the west coast now, it is a rarity and not a breakfast staple here, so having this recipe in my hot little hands was a must.

I do have to say the major complaint that I have heard about this book is that it does not represent every state…however, the states and restraunts they do cover…well yum.  Some of the cities that are heavily represented in this book are San Francisco, Chicago, Miami and New York.

Some of the recipes that I was most excited to read and add to our weekend breakfast menu are:

From the West Coast:

  • The Yolko Ono Sandwich from Fried Egg I’m in Love, in Portland, OR
  • Lobster Scrambled Eggs from Connie and Ted’s, West Hollywood, CA
  • Avocado Toast from Plow, San Francisco, CA

From the Midwest:

  • Fruit Crepes from Bluestem, Kansas City, MO
  • Graham Cracker Waffles from Jack Flaps, Cleveland, OH
  • Bacon Cheddar Potato Pancakes from Ann Sather, Chicago, IL

From the South:

  • Shrimp and Grits from Hominy Grill, Charleston, SC
  • Barbecued Brisket Breakfast Burrito from Elwood’s Shack, Memphis, TN
  • Brioche Cinnamon Buns from Honey Bee Bakery, Oxford, MS
  • Creole File Gumbo from Li’l Dizzy’s, New Orleans, LA
  • Frito Pie from Lambert’s, Austen, TX

From the Northeast:

  • Coconut Pancakes from Miss Lily’s, New York, NY
  • Cannoli French Toast fromCafe Lift, Philadelphia, PA
  • The Big Hot Mess from Heritage, Richmond, VA
  • Fried Chicken and Waffles from Birch & Barley, Washington DC

As if this cookbook wasn’t making you salivate just by reading these recipes then they go and add a Bloody Mary list!  Come on, this book is now my new travel guide, because I want to eat in just about every one of these places.

This is the first breakfast cook book that I have, and I am thrilled with it, I think that these are recipes that are accessible to most home cooks, the pictures are gorgeous.  Not to mention it is also a travel guide in a way, because you will want to add these breakfast spots to your next travel itinerary.

The downside, many states don’t get love – Washington is one of them…honestly, I was a little bummed.

Bloggers Note: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review, however, the opinions shared are my own.


Historic Charleston: In Search of a Map

I have a thing for maps, if you’ve read any of my previous posts you’ll notice a trend.  Before we left for South Carolina, I called around to find out where you could get a print of an antique map in Charleston.  I called the Charleston Historical Society and the Preservation Society of Charleston.  Both of the lovely ladies I spoke with recommended the same place: Carolina Antique Maps & Prints.

This is the map I desired

Antique Map of Charleston SC, by C.N. Drie 1872 Print $25

When we planned our day trip to Charleston this was one of my main places I wanted to stop.  So off we go with our two children in tow.  Ironically enough, I cannot read a map to save my soul; truly ask my husband.  This is silly on so many levels, mainly because while we were driving I kept saying we are close, just park here.  Since my stellar map reading skills are so honed we ended up literally parking right in front of the store even though I couldn’t see it.  Here is where silly turns to hilarious in a matter of seconds.

A Plan of the Attack of Fort Sulivan, near Charles Town in South Carolina. William Faden

A Plan of the Attack of Fort Sullivan, near Charles Town in South Carolina.
William Faden $13,000

We open the door to this cute little map shop and walk in.  The woman running the place welcomes us, my husband, 5-year-old daughter and 14 month old who is covered in snacks from her car seat.    My husband while holding tight to the 5-year-old looked at a map that was $13,500.  While I flipped through a folio of maps that were ranging between $800-$1300.  My husband and I glance at each other while flipping, doing that silent look of knowing that only spouses can do.  Knowing that you have no business being in this place with these children.  This is when things just got ridiculous.  The lovely lady asked me if I was looking for anything special.  To which I, with reddening cheeks, say yes, I was told that I could get a print of an antique Charleston map here.  She says oh yes, what price point are you looking for?  I respond under $100 and she almost laughs and says that nothing in the store is under $200.  Then she lets me know of a linguistic, possibly regional error that I have made.  The word “print” does not mean “reproduction” which is clearly what I am looking for.

I do want you to know that Carolina Antique Maps & Prints, has some of the most gorgeous maps I have ever seen.  However, if you are looking for a “reproduction” of an antique map of Charleston, go to the market, I found one for $25, and we didn’t even have to break into the girls college fund.


If you like maps too, check out my etsy shop.


Traveling with Young Toddlers

Traveling with babies ItemsOne of my dear friends is traveling with her petite to Hawaii in a few days, I was trying to remember what all we packed for our little one when we traveled to California when she was 13 months old and then to Ireland when she was 16 months.  There are a few things that really saved us on our travels:

Stacking cups were great for her because we could put snacks in them and then hide things under them as well.

AquaDoodle book is a must for any kid who is on a plane or in the car it is great.  At 4 years old she still uses it in the car.  It was one of the best purchases we’ve ever made, just don’t lose the water pen.

Easter eggs are great too, buy them now, I always seemed to want them when it wasn’t near Easter.  They are great to put little snacks in or you can put beans in them and make shakers.  Plus they are fun for the kids to open, its like a little present.  Try to find the eggs where they shells are attached that way you wont have to try to find tops or bottoms.

Colorful Post-its these are fun to stick onto the tray table as well as window.  They are also fun to pull off of the little stack, not very environment friendly though.

Blue Painters Tape this stuff is awesome, same idea as post-its, fun to peal on and off of the tray table and windows

Cheerios we used these in the eggs when the petite was 12 months, then used them with pipe cleaners when she was 16 months, she enjoyed putting them onto the pipe cleaners and then eating them

Fruit/Veggie Squishies these are a must for traveling babies, they are the perfect size to take on the plane and virtually mess free.

Toddler or Baby Crayons these are awesome, you can color on small notebook pages. Really easy for little hands to hold onto.

Window Clings I just saw this one on Pinterest, and thought it would be a good idea to have these little cute clings to decorate the window.

Some other items to pack, an extra shirt for you especially if the petite will be sitting in your lap.  A scarf/pashmina for nursing in private.  Extra set of clothes for the petite and binkie if they will use them.

I am sure there are a ton of other ideas out there for traveling with toddlers, if you have a suggestion for something that you do and love please let me know in the comment section.  All of the stuff I listed above can be found at Target, the only thing that I have to order online was the AquaDoodle and you can find it here.

Traveling with a little one can be very overwhelming, I find that the more planning I did the better things turned out and who knows the petites might even just sleep the entire time.  🙂sleeping

Happy Travels.


Erin Go Bragh – Trip Planning

After I posted yesterday I got to thinking about our trip to Ireland, romantically thinking, about how incredibly wonderful it is.  My hubs and I both agree that you can walk out of the airport in Ireland and be good to go.  Meaning, Ireland is a place where you feel safe all the time, you feel welcome all the time, no one ever gets pissy with you – even if you don’t know how to maneuver the roundabouts, are trying to sort out how to drive a stick shift in a parking lot, or accidentally bump someone’s car as you are trying to get the hell out of the busy streets of Dublin.  In my last post I shared my top 5 (okay, really six) places that I loved the most.

Now, I want to share about the planning and prep-work that we did to get ready for our amazing travels.  I hit the local public library and checked out every book they had on Ireland, literally every book.  I have the library fines to prove it.  I watched all of the Rick Steves episodes about Ireland – in the end deciding I am not sure I like Rick and his ambiguous accent.   After religiously pouring through the travel books, I decided, to buy these three books:

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So as you can see I love the DK Eyewitness Travel books, they are very visual which I like, it also gives a little snippet of historical info which I find to be super helpful.  The reason that I would recommend these books above the others, are mainly for the maps, visuals and accuracy of the information in them(as long as you get a recent one).  The back roads book was so helpful in looking at the different ways one could drive around and points of interest along the way – I loved seeing the potential of our trip(this was the book that got me the most fines).  The Dublin Top 10 may not have been necessary, but we had used one of the DK Top 10 books when we traveled to Washington DC and it was so helpful, gave a lot more detail of places to eat and have a pint etc.  Another reason why the DK books worked well for us is that we chose a B&B package where you paid all up front and then got a little travel book of all the B&B’s that qualified.  So we didn’t need a book that would offer places to stay…if you are looking for a travel book that will offer advice about places to stay these are not the books for you.  Books that give advice about where to stay that I really enjoyed are, wait for it: Rick Steve’s Book, they have a lot of staff working to make their guides awesome – and unlike the reruns of his trip to Ireland from what seems like the 80s, seriously, with the backpacks, I can’t handle it –  thankfully the books are up to date.


My personal travel guide

But here’s the real deal, when you’re traveling you have limited space, so you’re not going to bring a library with you that will take up space in your suitcase when you consider how much room you’ll be needing to bring back bottles of Jameson.  At the time, I read a blog that said you should take the books apart and make your own book.  EEK!  As a book lover, taking a book apart is…well it’s not going to happen.  So, I opted to copy the pages that I thought I would need and made my own book (see below), I took notes on places that were of interest to us all in this little composition style notebook.  I personally loved having this as we would pull up to places, I could spout out what I knew about it and write down other notes about the places we went.  I also kept lists of the things we wanted to see, and then marked them off as we saw them.  It was great.  But I am a bit of a nerd, and I loved putting together this special book.  If this is not your thing, the books listed above will be great, if I had to buy just one book, DK Ireland would be my go to guide.  In thinking about it, we have been other places and I have not done anything like this again, I think I did it because I knew how special this trip would be to us, how it was our dream adventure that I would never want to forget.


The next time you come, you’ll be home.

When my petite family went to Ireland in 2011 we didn’t really know what to expect, it was our first trip overseas and we were so excited.  We had planned out our self driving tour of Ireland – two weeks to cover the entire country, Irelandeven though our travel agent really advised us not to move so quickly.  Little did we know that what he said would mean something else when we returned.  It was not about seeing everything, it was about being in the moment and being able to take the time to get acquainted with this remarkable place.  In retrospect it was perfect for us to get a small sampling of so many different areas, because in all honestly, once we saw the lovely fields and all of the green we were sold.  We were greedy and took all that we could get of this amazing place.

Top Five in Ireland

I couldn’t commit to finding just five attractions that I liked the best so we are going with places…here goes…

In Dublin, we did all of the touristy things, we got a pass to ride the hop on hop off, best deal, when we did take a cab – the asshole, not an Irishman took us on a long journey through the city, when we were essentially a handful of blocks away.  Boo!  I think my top three of Dublin would be 1. Kilmainham Gaol; 2. Long Room @ Trinity College; 3. Jameson Distillery Tour – I was an official taster.  Awesome!  My Hubby’s top three were 1. walking the streets over the bridges of the River Liffey (although there were some super sketchy people as the sun went down – I am a bit of a wuss though) 2. Jameson Distillery – he wasn’t a taster 😦 3. Trinity College seeing the amazing long room.  You could spend a ton of time in Dublin and still not see everything.

In Wiklow, oh my goodness, when you think of Ireland and see the green fields and the lochs with the misty mountains in your mind, IDSC_0576 am pretty sure you’re dreaming of Wicklow. After leaving the grit of Dublin it was our first “country” experience and it did not disappoint.  Go to Glendalough!  Seriously, go, right now, I think I might have even cried I was so overwhelmed with the immense beauty of it all.  The pictures cannot capture it all.  The old monastic settlements just standing there for you to walk through, there is a loch to go and stand and look at the gorgeous beauty of it all.  In fact it is so lovely that tons of movies have been filmed in Wicklow – Braveheart, PS I love you, Becoming Jane, there is a whole website about doing film drives in Wicklow.  Had I known this before hand the hubs and the petite and I would have been reenacting FREEDOM!!!

Cobh and Cork, so if you happen to be one of the 35 million people in the US who claim Irish heritage odds are your DSC_0063people last touched the shores of Ireland in Cobh pronounced “cove”.  Before we left I had done a ton of genealogical work about my Irish ancestry, I even have relatives still in Ireland (stay tuned), so it was an important stop for me to see what my great grandpoarents last saw.  It is a gorgeous little town.  On to Cork, see how I really have six favorites, but I put two together…sneaky…Cork is awesome, I loved it there, made my hubby go shopping with me at this totally fun store Oasis, the open air market was awesome – we picked up goodies to eat on the road so much fun.

County Kerry, I would move here in a millisecond, seriously, I would pack up the petites and go to Kerry, more DSC_0424specifically Portmagee felt like home.  My family is from Portmagee, has lived in the same parcel of land for hundreds of years, and some still live there, we had the opportunity to randomly meet them, but that’s another post.  Kerry is like Wicklow in the sense that it feels like the purest form of Ireland.  I was so nervous and excited to roll into Cahersiveen and then into Portmagee, for me it was all about where my people had come from and how even generations ago impacts who I am today.  What made Portmagee so amazing was the PEOPLE!  What amazing people, seriously, you felt like you were meeting old friends.  People say that kind of thing all the time, and I had previously thought yeah right, strangers aren’t that friendly – no in Ireland they are – okay maybe just much more so in Kerry.

Clifden, I used to have this calendar, you know how you buy a calendar of places you’d rather be then where you are, well I DSC_0079ripped out a month and saved it like 10 years ago and it was Clifden.  The place looks like a postcard.  We splurged here and took our 16 month old out to a fancy dinner, haha, she was so good, previously she would fuss a bit because she wanted “real food” – as in not boiled veggies.  We stayed at this B&B that was our favorite in all of Ireland, Ardmore House.  As I write this I am thinking of the place we stayed the night before, the B&B house dog was so cute and the petite wanted to see it, she also wanted to see the cows (working dairy farm – should have known better) and the dog jumped all over me and covered me in shit.  I mean I smelled, well, I smelled like cow shit. Sorry I digress.  Okay, back to Clifden, some of my favorite pictures from Ireland and memories are from this lovely place.  Behind the B&B were cliffs, what?  Cliffs in Clifden – say what?  So I laid down in the grass by the cliffs and it was just this completely serene moment I will never forget.  And my hubby actually captured the moment, how sweet is that?

Ireland is all everyone says it is, so amazing, we miss it, it is a place where I felt like I was at home, in fact after chatting with a local historian in Portmagee about my family he looked at me and said, well dear, the next time you come, you’ll be home.  Until then…