It’s funny how some things stick with you from childhood. As we turned a corner in downtown Seattle, I became giddy at once upon seeing this landmark still stood, rotating proudly above the traffic at Denny and Aurora. Though the shimmering, Las Vegas-like invitation to cleaner living is magnificent by night, to behold the Elephant Super Car Wash sign in its pink splendor by day is nothing to sneeze at either.
Good luck convincing the kids your rental car doesn’t need a good wash.
I first tried these out with my kids when I grew weary from scrubbing “washable” kid’s paints off my kitchen table, floor, walls, and vacuum cleaner. I know that half the fun of painting for little kids is the skloosh of it squirting between the fingers or the gratifying plop as it schlops off of the chandelier onto a younger sibling, but in the airplane and at Grandma’s house messy paint just doesn’t fly.
For my preschooler, I was instantly sold on these “Hassle-Free Watercolors” from Crayola. They are actually safe to use on the airplane tray table, in the car, at the vacation rental with the hefty security fee–and even at Grandma’s house. Whenever it’s time for a little travel art, just wet the white “cleaning pad” at the front of the paint set (you can just drizzle it with water from your cup) and moisten the ends of the painting pens. Your child dips them into the different colors as desired and creates an airline napkin masterpiece. When finished, just snap the color lids closed and cap the paint pens, and into the carry-on it goes.
If your child paints for a quite a while, or with much fervor, you will need to remoisten the pad and paint pens with more water. For us one set lasted through several uses, and it was perfect having two pens to keep two kids busy at a time.
My kids, on many occasions after watching my live segments on View from the Bay, have greeted me at the door with the question: “But when will they let you COOK on TV?” as they’ve seen numerous other guests of the show do. I’ve tried to explain that if the producers ever saw me cook they might not let me back into the studio at all.
Travel tips I’ve got by the dozens, but cooking skills? Let’s just say I’ve had more “I Love Lucy” moments between the kitchen and dining room than I care to revisit, although I’ll never forget wiping wild mushroom soup off my kitchen ceiling as I offered guests another glass of wine—as their first course.
Perhaps part of the lure of travel to me is escaping my own kitchen and the daily obligation of deciding what to make for dinner for… sigh… five people. As we all know, opting for a vacation rental or hotel suite with a kitchen gives you the advantage of preparing foods you know your children will eat and saving over costly restaurants every meal of your vacation. But if you’re like me, you may still find yourself craving the gourmet flavors and sidechair serendipity of OTHER PEOPLE’S COOKING.
As we planned our trip to Vancouver, BC, I was ecstatic to find out I could have my Wild Sockeye Salmon and eat it too, while my kids noshed on their nuggets, bananas, and cheerios in the comfort of their pajamas. “Indish,” the nickname for Vancouver’s “Indishspensable” dine-at-home service, makes it as easy as anybody possibly could to eat all-natural, gourmet-quality, freshly prepared meals in your home—or suite or vacation rental.
When invited to try Indish for myself at our Kitsilano vacation rental, all I could say was, “Please pass the salmon!” While the simplest Indish offerings let your simply “Heat and Serve” their own freshly made meals (Boeuf Bourguingon, Chicken Pot Pie, Lasagna Bolognese to name a few – see the current menu here), I was so tempted by the Chef and Serve menu that—with the promise that I could have these dinners prepared in about 20 minutes—I had to go for it. I mean, that’s at least “Trader Joe’s easy,” am I right? But unlike my arsenal of T.J. fodder, all of the ingredients were fresh, natural, and regional. Cool!
When we arrived in Vancouver, two nights’ of Indish Chef ‘n Serve meals (each serving two adults) had already been delivered and were awaiting us in the refrigerator of The Modage, our vacation rental which can make similar arrangements for any of its guests. It was tough deciding which to cook first:
Grilled Wild BC sockeye salmon with teriyaki sake glaze, coconut yam mash, stir fry baby bok choy… or Korean Barbecue Beef with crispy fresh vegetables, noodle salad in mint-basil dressing with toasted cashews? Happily, I knew I’d get my chance at trying both dinners. There was only one catch: I still had to cook!
So as happy hubby took the antsy traveling tykes for a walk around the block and stopped at the market for a few things for our stay… I set to work in the kitchen. The instructions? Easy. The organization of the pre-chopped and pre-sorted ingredients? Brilliant. The results?
And just in case you were wondering, no ceilings were harmed in the preparation of these meals.
If I do have one good cooking tip to offer now it’s to take advantage of Indish while your family vacations in Vancouver. They’ve also got vegetarian and ocean-wise entrees to choose from, family-friendly offerings (none moreso than fresh cookies!), and even microwave-and-serve single-serve options, so even if you’re staying in a hotel room equipped only with a microwave, you can take advantage of their service. The menus change frequently to reflect the freshest local ingredients, so hop on to their website to see the latest: http://www.indish.ca/.
Thanks so much, Indish, for providing these delicious meals and renewing my family’s faith in me in as a cook. Too bad we’re not in Vancouver tonight!
Related posts and pages:
Tips for visiting the Vancouver Aquarium
Granville Island with Little Kids
Review of The Modage – Vancouver vacation rental
Hooray, hooray for Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe
Tips from a local mom: Moms Around the World, Vancouver
Find baby gear rentals in Vancouver, BC
If you use a Blackberry, iPad, iPhone, PC, Android device or Kindle when you travel, your next trip with your little one just got a whole lot easier.
Take-Along Travels with Baby - the new companion to the ultimate planning guide – has just become available in a Kindle edition with apps for your favorite devices.
Be road-trip ready!
Picture this: You are on a winding road with your baby who suddenly begins to cry, and you’ve got 4 hours of driving ahead to reach your destination. You pull up the TOC for Take-Along Travels with Baby and jump to your “Tips for a Happier Backseat Baby” and see a list of ideas that may help you make it there without ear plugs or killing each other.
While you’re at it, you jump to the lyrics of ”Easy Songs to Sing in the Car” to help pass the time until you can pull over for a pit stop.
What, it’s raining and cold outside? You know I wouldn’t send you out on a family road trip without a list of “Best Bet Rainy Day Road Stops.”
Cranky toddler on an airplane? Fussy baby in a restaurant? Sick kid in a faraway country? Yep, this one’s got you covered there, too. (See the whole TOC here.)
Your best deal on the book?
And for those of you who prefer to have the pocket-size paper edition (with room for your child’s travel doodles!), don’t miss the special publisher’s discounted price available through Amazon with free SuperSaver shipping, when you buy from Travels with Baby Books.
|Atop the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.|
Seeing this one never fails to give me a lift.
If I were Oprah, I’d fill up an AirFrance jet with each of you and your little ones and head straightaway to Paris. The flight may be a bit noisy, but we’d all be in good company–and what a playdate at 30,000 feet! When we got there, naturally, our sponsor Air France would chauffer us around in their big buses to the 5 Best with Children Under 5 in Paris (map included below for the driver’s reference!). Of course, there are so many other great sights to see in Paris with little ones that we could try and check as many off the list as possible while there.
How about you?
Have you visited any of the ”5 Best Paris”? And what else would you add to the recommendations for our Paris with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers page? Add your suggestions below or email me to have them included–and bloggers feel free to include a link to a related post!
Related posts and pages:
View TravelswithBaby.com – 5 Best with Kids Under 5: PARIS, France in a larger map
Before having a family of your own, you may have welcomed the chance to jump on whatever mode of local transport provided the most authentic arrival from airport to your travel destination.
Nothing against tuk-tuks, rickshaws, or overcrowded commuter trains, but with a small child—or two, or three—and an extra suitcase—or two, or three—some of us find ourselves wondering how much more it might be to just take a taxi instead?
If you haven’t checked out the World Taxi Meter site yet (www.worldtaximeter.com), you may be glad to add it to your list of helpful online travel planning resources (you’ll find it in my Quick Links, too). Use the site to enter two points in cities around the world, say JFK to Times Square, or CDG to the Louvre, or Indira Gandhi International to Humayun’s Tomb for example, and shazam: you can see the cost of the journey before you even pack your bags.
What else is notable about this site?
- The site also factors in the time of day you’ll be making the journey, so average traffic delays and additional costs are also shown in your results.
- Make sure you scroll down to see the “Useful Information” section about taking taxis where you’ll be as well, including airport or luggage surcharges and suggestions for tipping.
What’s better than that?
You can also see the Google-recommended route the driver should take—you know, to print and tuck in the side of your day pack in case there are any questions (ahem).
Related posts and pages:
Tip #21: Car seats and taxis
Tip #15: Use car service in New York
Review of RideSafer Travel Vest
Travel Car Seat Alternatives
How to take a London taxi cab with your stroller (and your child still in it)
Let me start by saying… I’m so excited about this new project for TravelswithBaby.com! Okay, whew. Now let me add… I’m so excited for my next trip to Paris! Because like you I will be so much better prepared for visiting Paris with a toddler. And when I do, you can bet I will be ordering up one cafe creme at this most child-friendly cafe I have just learned about thanks to Camille Spanjaard, founder of Paris-based baby’tems and the contributor to Travels with Baby’s 5 Best with Children Under 5: Paris.
Sure, Paris is full of fabulous places to stroll your baby or tot, but when it comes time to break pain au chocolate or even sip a mere coffee, it can be hard to find a suitable place to park a stroller–or a toddler-in-arms. Les 400 Coups is a cafe that “gets it” and stands ready to receive parents and wee ones alike with open arms–and high chairs, and toys, and children’s books–and for Mom and Dad? Newspapers and free Wifi. (Click here to see it on the Travels with Baby 5 Best map.)
Sound good to you? Head over to the Paris Tips page at Travels with Baby.com for more details and recommendations of the best places to visit in Paris with your baby, toddler, or preschooler.
How about you?
Have “Paris with tots” tips of your own you’d like to share? Post below or see details on our Paris page.
Hooray! We made it to another Friday – and I’m still blogging! If you haven’t weighed in yet on the “To Benadryl or not to Benadryl Q2U” — that is the question. I’ve enjoyed reading your responses so far, and somebody’s getting a free copy of Take-Along Travels with Baby just for sharing their thoughts.
This week’s Photo Fave is a fave for a couple of reasons. While I realize it doesn’t scream its destination of “San Diego,” I do appreciate the composition and of course the people in it–and also that this simple courtyard at the Estudillo House in Old Town has always been a favorite place of mine. Some people would say it’s got great energy, others might say heart, and certainly most would say “history.” But I can feel all of the above when I’m there, sitting on a sunny bench, sniffing the Mexican lavender and sage, watching my kids run wildly in circles around the fountain.
How about you? Have a favorite family travel photo to share? Post to the Travels with Baby facebook page or share a link to your blog post in the comments below.
Cheap & Free San Diego: Old Town San Diego with Kids
Cheap & Free San Diego: Balboa Park with Kids
Three reasons to visit Liberty Station on your San Diego family vacation
Stretch your family vacation dollars in San Diego
Tips for renting baby gear in San Diego and beyond
Review of Homewood Suites Liberty Station, San Diego
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