}

Popsicle Blog Road Trip | Zion National Park

zion-national-park-entranceafter we left Fort Zion, we continued our road trip heading to Zion National Park which is located in Southern Utah. it was our first time visiting Zion National Park and we had no idea what to expect. driving in, we got our first views of the mountains. our car was filled with oooo’s and ahhh’s. the mountains were breathtaking.

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it costs $25 per vehicle or $12 per person to walk-in to the park. since we had planned on visiting many national parks on our trip, we found that our best choice was to buy a National Parks Annual Pass (thanks for the tip Michelle from Nature Play Trips). it was $80 and would pay for itself on this trip.

you can drive into the park with your vehicle, but places to park are scarce. most people walk in and take the tram to their desired hiking spot. we learned this the hard way. we thought we could drive in, park and then hike. that’s not how it works!zion-national-park-ticketsthese park trams run up and down the road in and out of Zion National Park all day long. you can get on one at the park entrance, or at any of the stops in town. they run every 10 minutes, so it is really easy and fast to get where you want to go.utah-zion-national-park-tramafter asking the rangers and locals which trails were best for families, we headed on the tram to our first stop. we wanted to go to a spot called “Weeping Rock.zion-national-park-tram
the Weeping Rock Trail is a half-mile round trip trail that leads you to a large rock ledge that is literally weeping water! the trail is fairly easy for everyone except for the fact it is uphill. but the trail is paved, and we had no problem hiking up to the weeping rock.

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when we arrived at Weeping Rock, it was breathtaking. as you looked up at the massive mountain ledge, water gently showered over us. it was beautiful and a very special experience we shared as a family. it was quiet and calm and the beauty was overwhelming.weeping-rock-zionweeping-rock-zion-utah
there was an area where the cliff over hung, and you could go under the ledge and be protected from getting wet. that is where we could look out and see a amazing view of Zion National Park.

zion-national-park-weeping-rock it’s hard to describe how beautiful it was . it was just amazing.zion-national-park-weeping-rock-trailthe other trail we hiked was called the Riverside Walk Trail, a 2 mile round trip hike. it was the perfect trail for families and was paved the entire way, except for the small trails that detoured off of it by the river. there were no uphills and it was filled with lots of wildlife and unique landmarks.utah-zion-national-park-easy-trailwe saw deer, and squirrels who were a little too friendly….zion-national-park-animalszion-national-park-squirreland also enjoyed the beautiful river that ran the entire length of the trail.zion-national-park-river-walk-trail
i was just overtaken by the beauty of Zion National Park. this had to have been the most wonderful hike that i have ever taken.

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and what i really liked, is that i didn’t feel this hike was dangerous or scary. the water was calm and not deep (at least during this time of year) and the kids were able to explore the nature surrounding them.

river-walkriverside-walk-trail-zion at the end of the Riverside Walk Trail, you can continue onto the trail to what they call Narrows. it looked like it would be an awesome hike to go on, but it is recommended for ages over 8, so we had to pass. next time we visit, that is one trail we will do.

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my best suggestion, is to stop at the visitor center before heading into Zion National Park. talk to the ranger and tell him what you want to do, and he will direct you to the best trails that are right for you. there are many trails fit for every skill level. even trails that are hand-cap accessible. at the visitor center, you can also see great exhibits and fun landmarks like this lock sculpture…..zion-national-park-locks-wallzion-national-park-locksor this scale model of the park.zion-national-park-visitor-center
our time at Zion National Park was amazing. it was one of my most favorite parts of our road trip. it is so difficult to capture how beautiful and amazing it really was on camera. the entire time i was there, i was overwhelmed with how enormous and how absolutely gorgeous it was. there was so much more that we could have done and explored there, we could have easily stayed a week….but we needed to continue on our way. 

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Zion National Park needs to be on everyone’s bucket list. no joke. to find out more about Zion National Park, check out their website.

and to read more about our Popsicle Adventures during our summer 2014 road trip through Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Yellowstone:

Where We Traveled
How We Traveled
Tahiti Village - Las Vegas
Denny’s and Fremont Street - Las Vegas
Cedar City KOA
Fort Zion – Utah


Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt in Laguna Niguel | Giveaway

This is a sponsored post on behalf Menchie’s Laguna Niguel.menchies-laguna-hills-best-yogurtthere’s new frozen yogurt store in the OC…it’s Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt in Laguna Niguel...and you are going to want to try it!  it is some of the best frozen yogurt i’ve had…no joke. especially the fruit flavors, they taste so fresh.menchies-laguna-hills-frozen-yogurtplus, there are many things that are special about Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt in Laguna Niguel. first of all, it is owned by a fabulous father/daughter team. how cool is that! they are having a blast opening this store together, and are so excited to not only be opening a Menchie’s together, but they are also partnering with companies in the community….including the local high school’s anti-bullying program. they are donating a portion of the sales to the club. 
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and at Menchie’s, you can get freshly made waffle cone bowls to put your yogurt in.

menchies-laguna-fresh-waffle-conethe team members make them right in the store….and they smell Heavenly.menchies-laguna-fresh-waffle-conesone of the things i was excited to hear about Menchie’s, was that they purchase their milk from a family owned dairy farm in Corona that does not use GMO’s in their cows. that is something that is really important to many families.menchies-laguna-best-flavorsmenchies-laguna-frozen-yogurtmenchies-laguna-toppings-yogurtmy boys sure loved the yogurt and all the yummy toppings. and they were very excited about the waffle cone bowls…something that most frozen yogurt stores doesn’t have.menchies-best-frozen-yogurt-oc

menchies-best-flavorsbut i think i loved it the most. thanks Menchie’s Laguna Niguel…we had a great time!menchies-best-frozen-yogurt-orange-county

we are so excited about the opening of your new store. congratulations!

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try to make it over to Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt Laguna Niguel this week to help them celebrate their grand opening. there are lots of fun activities going on all week….plus lots of free frozen yogurt.

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be sure to follow Menchie’s Laguna Hills to find out the latest happenings and specials!
Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

here is your chance to win a $20 Gift Card for Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt! enter via Rafflecopter below AND be sure to leave a comment in the comment section of this post. contest ends July 23, 2014 at midnight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

{Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own….and that’s the truth! }

Yummy Melon Spritzers | Summer Drink Recipe

This week I made my Sweet’N Low melon spritzers as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars #SweetNLowStarsEasy Melon Spritzers | Summer Drink Recipe  #mocktail #SweetNLowStars

summer! i love summer. the weather, the sun and most of all…summer fruits. melons happen to be my favorite, and sometimes i end up buying a little too many of them because my eye are bigger than my stomach. so what can you do with melons when you have to many to eat?

melons

make Melon Spritzers!

Yummy Melon Spritzers | Summer Drink Recipe  #mocktail #SweetNLowStars

this is one of the easiest drink recipes i know. all you need to make some refreshing Melon Spritzers is melon, sparkling water (you can use plain water instead) and a few packets of Sweet’N Low. there is no added sugar in this recipe, which is great when you don’t want to add those extra calories that adding sugar brings.melon-juice-recipe

to make a Melon Spritzer, all you have to do is remove the seeds from your melon, cut it into cubes, blend it in the blender, then add water and Sweet’N Low to taste.

cut-up-watermelon-cantaloupe-honeydewyou will want to chill it before drinking, because it enhances the flavor and makes it more refreshing. also, add ice to it when you serve it. it makes the perfect treat for a hot summer day, or compliments a summer picnic. happy summer!Easy Melon Spritzers | Low Calorie Drink Recipe  #mocktail #SweetNLowStarsmelon-spritzers-drinks

ingredients
5 cups of melon (watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew)
5 cups of water (or sparkling water)
5 packets of Sweet’N Low
ice

directions
first, remove the seeds from your melon and cut the melon into cubes. next, in a blender, place the melon and puree until smooth. in a pitcher, pour the melon puree and water and stir until combined. add the packets of Sweet’N Low. you can add more or less according to your taste. place in the refrigerator for a few hours until chilled (the colder the better!). add ice before serving. enjoy!

you can even make a single serving if you want! i found that 1 cup of water to 1 cup of melon and 1 packet of Sweet’N Low is the perfect ratio for this summer drink. make sure that it is nice a cold…that is the key to making it taste super yummy.

Easy Melon Spritzers | Summer Drink Recipe #cantaloupe #watermelon #honeydew #juice #recipe #mocktail #SweetNLowStars
to find more yummy Sweet’N Low drink recipes, visit the Sweet’N Low Beverage Page or Facebook page.

{ disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I am an Ambassador for Sweet’N Low. All thoughts and opinions are my own. }

 

 

 

 

The Fresh New Look of Camp Snoopy

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have you heard? Knott’s Berry Farm’s Camp Snoopy has a fresh new look!

not only has Camp Snoopy been beautified with brand new signage, a fresh coat of paint, a beautiful river flanked with flowers, it also now has a great photo op area where you can get photos with Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang, a brand new Camp Snoopy theater, and THREE NEW RIDES!!!!!

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all this excitement to celebrate 30 Years of Camp Snoopy.

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the first new ride is called the Linus Launcher. fly on Linus’s blanket arcrossed the sky.

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my boys loved this ride. you must be 42″ to ride.

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next up is Charlie Brown’s Kite Flyers. a kiddie version of the swings ride.

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this ride is super fun fun for the kids, and adults can ride too. being able to sit next to your kiddie is a great option, especially for the little ones.

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weeeeeeeeeee!

camp-snoopy-new-ride-tree-swingthe third new ride is Pig Pen’s Mud Buggies. new-camp-snoopy-mud-buggies

bouncy car buggies that are sure to make any kids smile. just check out the cuteness of Pattie’s boys riding them.

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our favorite part of Camp Snoopy was the photo area, where we got to meet and greet our favorite dog Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts Gang.

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there was the cutest backdrops to take pictures in front of…just look out how fun these photos with Snoopy and the Gang are!

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and the Camp Snoopy Theater is so cute now….

camp-snoopy-new-show-theateri can’t wait to see the new show on stage.

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all around the new Camp Snoopy, you are going to find fun new signs, character back drops and colorful flowers throughout the camp. and don’t forget about all the other great rides. there are still all your favorite rides to enjoy.

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the is even a new picnic area with picnic tables and climbing structures for a nice spot to sit down and relax. there is even a rocky river that runs through it.

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and just so you can see how great the new Camp Snoopy looks….check out this great video.

#KnottsSummer

{ Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I was given complimentary tickets from Giga Savvy for review purposes. }

Popsicle Blog Road Trip | Fort Zion in Virgin, Utah

Fort Zion Trading Post in Virgin, Utah. A fun stop to make on your travel to Zion National Park. #Utah #familytravel #travel #Zion when you’re on a road trip, you probably will be in the car for long periods of time. to break up those long stretches of driving, i recommend stopping at anyplace that looks cool along the way. a lot of times you will see signs promoting places to stop…or a place to get a local treat…or a historical site for the area. they don’t always end up being super exciting, but sometimes they are! it’s called exploring…and MANY times, these stops have been some of our favorite places to visit on our travels. don’t let the excuse of not wanting to get every one out of the car, or you need to get there faster discourage your decision to make stops along your route. everyone needs a break from driving and by stopping and taking a break to explore, you will probably continue your journey with renewed energy.

one of these impromptu stops we made along our road trip was Fort Zion in Virgin Utah. it is located on the side of the road just a few miles outside of west entrance to Zion National Park. it’s sort of a tourist trap….but a good one.

Fort Zion Trading Post in Virgin, Utah. #Utah #familytravel #travel #Zion

what draws you in, is the awesome little old wild west buildings and covered wagons. at least for me, it was a photographers dream with the detailed painted buildings, mountainous backdrops and perfect blue skies.

family-travel-fort-zion

inside the main fort, there is a huge gift shop with everything you could image…from the old west to native American crafts and artifacts. there is also a restaurant that has burgers and homemade ice cream and treats that has gotten great reviews on Yelp and other websites.

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my boys were very intrigued with everything, and the adventure in this stop was trying to make sure they didn’t touch anything!

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utah-salt-watetaffy-fort-zion

you could even get your fortune told by Pappy.  my littlest boy Vann, thought this was soooo funny.

utah-fort-zion-family-fortune-telleroutside the main fort is where you find the great painted wild west buildings. to visit this area it costs $1 per person. there is also a petting zoo. you can buy carrots 3/$1 to feed them…animals such as lama, donkeys and deer.

my boys just needed to get their energy out and ran among the buildings and enjoyed the sunshine.

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i had the best time taking photos of it all and taking in the beautiful landscape that surrounded Fort Zion Trading Post.

this is one of the many stops we made along our trip that we really enjoyed. it may have only been 30 minutes of our journey, but the memories of the fun we had will last forever.

virgin-utah-fort-zion

read more about our Popsicle Adventures during our summer 2014 road trip through Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Yellowstone:

Where We Traveled
How We Traveled
Tahiti Village - Las Vegas
Denny’s and Fremont Street - Las Vegas
Cedar City KOA 

Cow Appreciation Day 2014

cow-appreciation-day-chick-fil-acow-appeciation-day-free-chick-fil-a

today, July 11, 2013 is Cow Appreciation Day!  Chick-fil-A restaurants all over the nation will celebrate the Chick-fil-A’s annual Cow Appreciation Day event by offering a FREE meal to anyone who visits the restaurant fully dressed as a cow! this has been a family tradition of our for five years now. we LOVE Cow Appreciation Day over here. that means FREE dinner at Chick-fil-A. we already love the food….and getting it free makes it even yummier. you may think you need an elaborate cow costume to participate, but all i do each year is cut some black spots and a yellow bell out of some cardstock and print out these cute cow’s masks.

so get dressed “head-to-hoof” in cow attire and be rewarded with a FREE Chick-fil-A meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner). for those “too chicken” to wear full cow costumes, Chick-fil-A will award a complimentary entree to customers partially dressed in cow attire, such as a cow-spotted scarf, purse, hat or other accessory.

Q: what does “fully dressed as a cow” mean? 
A: “Fully dressed as a cow” means an effort to be dressed like a cow from head to toe. for customers who want to join us in partial cow attire (such as the cow headband, a cow-printed hat, vest or purse) a free entrée will be given.

costume tips:
• here is the printable cow mask we use every year. isn’t it cute! I keep it in a file and re-use every year.
• wear white and then just add cow spots. throw on a white t-shirt with white pants (even sweatpants) and stick on your cow spots using black contact paper. cut spots out of construction paper and tape them to your shirt and pants. if nothing else, you can grab an old white T-shirt and color black cow spots all over it with a magic marker, and you’ll still get a free entrée.
• not feeling too creative? search the internet for “cow costumes!”
• you can also use the cow items provided here. just print them out and tape or pin them to your clothes. you will instantly turn yourself into a cow.

Cow Appreciation Day 2010!
here is our picture from three years ago. even baby has spots!
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Cow Appreciation Day 2011!
cow-ppreciation-day

Cow Appreciation Day 2012!

cow-appreciation-day-costume
Cow Appreciation Day 2013!
dress-like-a-cow

Bj’s Restaurant Mobile App Makes Wait Times Shorter

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and BJ’s Restaurants, but all my opinions are my own. #DineInOrderAhead #pmedia http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV
bjs-mobile-app

this weekend we headed down to Bj’s Restaurant for a weekend family lunch. it happens to be one of our favorite restaurants, so we were super excited. but today we were going to try something different…we were going to use the Bj’s Mobile App which allows you to Dine in Order Ahead and Mobile Pay.

you can download the Bj’s Mobile App for iPhone or Android and have it ready on your phone anytime you want to head over the Bj’s Restaurant.

bjs-restaurant-mobile-appi was so impressed with how easy the app was to use. you just choose your restaurant, the time and how many are in your party, then pick the food you want to order. the menu items are all in the app…with pictures and everything! once you have chosen all your items, you can review your order with the pricing in your cart. if your order is all correct press send. when you arrive to the restaurant, notify the hostess that you are checking in, and that’s it!

when we arrived at Bj’s Restaurant, we were seated immediately, and literally received our food within a few moments of being seated and served our drinks. so, not only did we get to enjoy yummy food like this fantastic appetizer sampler platter….

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and this great flat bread club pizza.

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we got seated super fast and by using the Preferred Waitlist feature in the app, where our name got put into the wait list before arrival, so we were seated, fed our food in record time. which is super helpful for families on the go, and kiddies who don’t like to sit still. plus we used Mobile Pay, so we didn’t even have to wait for our server to bring us the check. these features would also come in handy for date nights especially when planning to go to a movie, quick lunches when you need to get back to the office, and anytime when time is an issue. and how about using the Bj’s mobile app with Curbside Delivery. by using mobile pay, this takes Take-out to the next level.

when you get your food fast, you end up with happy kids….

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a happy dad….

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and a very happy mom!

thanks Bj’s Restaurants for the cool app and for making our dining experience even more enjoyable.

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don’t forget to download the Bj’s Mobile App for iPhone or Android. you’ll be glad you did!
#DineInOrderAhead and #PMedia

{ Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are a bazillion times my own. }

Tiny Whales July Tee Shirt of the Month

tiny-whales-hawaiian

last month i introduced you to the Tiny Whales Tee Shirt of the Month Club, which has been so fun for us to be a part of. we just got this month’s tee for July and are already loving their summer vibes. the boys and i just had to head over to the beach and take some fun pictures to celebrate.

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and even though the boys got the same shirt, it is easy to style it differently to fit both of their personalities.

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hang loose for Vann with his beachy, carefree, no shoes style…..

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and Mr. Cool style for my more hip and serious Kyle.

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they have really enjoyed receiving packages in the mail with a new tee each month, which is probably just as fun for mom!

tiny-whales-boys-fashion-shirt-trendy
what is the Tiny Whales Tee Shirt of the Month Club?

it’s where you sign up to receive a new tee shirt each month designed by an artist or artists. sign up by the 15th of the month and receive it at the beginning of the next month. it’s a limited edition, so if you miss the deadline, you won’t be able to get it again.
Tee_of_the_Month_club-tiny-whales

next month, Tiny Whales Tee Shirt of the Month Club is perfect for you little explorers, with the theme of Be Bold, Go Forth and Blaze Those Trails! it features the artwork of Aaron Talili, a local resident of Orange County California and a freelance designer. Aaron’s specialty is lettering, design, tribal pattern-work and illustration. he’s a self taught artist who began his affair with lettering in the third grade. graffiti was a major influence in the beginning stages of his art, however, he has since moved onto hand lettering and typography.

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you can purchase this great tee shirt separately or by purchasing a Tee Shirt of the Month subscription over at Tiny WhalesBut HURRY fast because July 15th is your last chance to get the August Tee of the Month.

but wait!!!!!!  here is a promo code to get %20 off of the Tee of the Month!!!!!! just us the discount code POPSICLES

 

 

Care Bears Love to Learn App for Early Learning

This is a sponsored post on behalf of the Care Bears Love to Learn early learning app.

care-bears-love-to-learn

when i was little i LOVED Care Bears. i remember watching the cartoons on television, and i had a homemade version of Bedtime Bear. having all boys…we haven’t really entered the world of Care Bears…which is one of the reasons i have always wanted a little girl. so i was very excited to download the Care Bears Love to Learn app for our iPad. and the even better news is that my 4 year old son loves to play it with me! i finally got some Care Bears into the house.

i also love that it is a learning app for little ones…so instead of trying to get the iPad away from my kids, i want them to play.

care-bears-love-to-learn-ipad-app

The Care Bears Love to Learn app is the first early learning app developed by the creators of the iconic, classic brand, The Care Bears! Your kids will delight in playing along with their favorite Care Bears in a series of fun and educational puzzles and mini games designed to help children learn to count, identify colors, shapes, and letters while sharpening cognitive and motor skills.

the activities include:

• Counting sweet treats with Share Bear
• Building shapes with Grumpy Bear
• Card matching memory game with Love-A-Lot Bear
• Identifying colors in Share Bear’s garden
• Matching objects with Funshine Bear
• Music making with Harmony Bear
• Learning letters with Tender Heart Bear

and the games are so cute and fun. like this counting games that lets players count desserts.
care-bears-love-to-learn-ipad-app-preschool or this game that helps with color recognition.care-bears-preschool-learning-ipad-app
after the player completes all the learning games (about 5 per series), they get to spin the prize wheel and win a sticker.

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you get to collect all the stickers on a special sticker page. my son loves this part, and it fun that the stickers are saved there so he can see them each time he plays.

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Overall, we have been having a lot of fun with the Care Bears Love to Learn app. it’s perfect for the preschool age…girls AND boys! to check out the Care Bears Love to Learn app or to download it for you iPad, click here.

#carebears #lovetolearn

{ disclosure: this is a sponsored post. all thoughts and opinions are a bazillion times my own. } 

Popsicle Road Trip | Recap

Our-Road-trip

it’s been about a week since we got back from our road trip and i am smiling ear to ear just thinking about the fun we had. before we left on the trip, when i mentioned our plans to my friends or people i talked too, they would say…

“Wow! that’s a lot of driving.”

“And you’re taking the kids????!”

“You call that a vacation”….Good Luck!”

since it was our first experience doing a road trip, i started to get worried that i was crazy for thinking this trip was going to be fun. but i couldn’t help but think it was going to be wonderful experience for our family. the only expectations that i had were the hopes that my children would see other areas of the country, enjoy the outdoors and see things they haven’t seen before. i had the same hopes for myself and my husband.

16 days, 3,187 miles, 7 states and 4 National Parks later, i would have to say that we had the time of our lives! the road trip was even better than i imagined. so much fun, such beautiful scenery and so many amazing memories. this is one trip my kids will never forget.

now…i will be writing about each stop we made during the trip on the blog in the upcoming weeks, but just to let you follow our route, here are the major stops we made:

Tahiti Village – Las Vegas
Denny’s and Fremont Street - Las Vegas
Cedar City KOA
Fort Zion – Virgin, Utah
Zion National Park – Springville, Utah
Parry Lodge – Kanab – Utah
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary – Kanab, Utah
Coral Pink Sand Dunes – Kanab, Utah
Little Hollywood Museum & Chuck Wagon Dinner Theater – Kanab, Utah
Bryce Canyon National Park – Bryce Canyon, Utah
Dixie National Forest – Utah
Salt Lake City KOA
Temple Square – Salt Lake City, Utah
Cedar Creek Mall – Salt Lake City, Utah
The Real Up House – Herriman, Utah
Heber Valley Railroad – Heber Valley, Utah
The Homestead Crater - Heber Valley, Utah
Heber Valley Artisan Cheese - Heber Valley, Utah
Natural History Museum of Utah – Salt Lake City, Utah
Lava Hot Springs KOA
Lava Hot Springs Hot Pools – Lava Hot Springs, Idaho
Lava Hot Springs Olympic Swimming Complex - Lava Hot Springs, Idaho
Blackfoot Idaho
Yellowstone West Gate KOA
Yellowstone Hot Pots
Yellowstone Old Faithful
Yellowstone Bear World - Rexburg, Idaho
Idaho Potato Museum – Blackfoot, Idaho
Ruth’s Diner - Salt Lake City, Utah
Gadgets & Gifts – Parowon, Utah
Las Vegas Strip – Las Vegas, Nevada

these stops were not all planned before we left…many of them were recommendations from people we met along the way and readers who emailed, facebooked and messaged me while we were traveling. the visitor bureaus were also amazing at finding special and unique things for us to experience. they really know there stuff, so it’s great to give them a call if your need some help in your planning.

it may sound crazy to travel without knowing what you will be doing, but i think this is what made our trip so much fun.

being flexible is the key.

we knew some of the stops we wanted to make and cities we wanted to visit…and booked KOA and a few hotels a couple days before we left, but we kept our schedule open to allow us to do activities we discovered along our journey. which was great…because we actually deviated a bit from the original plans. we ended up taking out the end of our trip and adding a day in Idaho and Yellowstone. also, the frequent stops is what made the traveling so enjoyable. the most we drove was 4-6 hours at a time. and thanks to DVD players, iPads, a few games and beautiful scenery, there was little whining from the kids. i was really impressed at how good they were.

here is a sneak peek of some of the highlights of our trip. i can’t wait to write more about each of our stops…(so stay tuned!)