Sundance Ladies Day Lesson 1 The Might Fall Hard

Today was one of the hardest days I have had in a long time–just getting from the car to the Sundance Ladies Day ski school took everything I had.  How do skiers walk in these dumb boots wearing these hot clothes and carrying these heavy skis and poles.  Make this times two since I had my daughter with me and had to carry her stuff and help her walk in the boots. Luckily, no one was filming us because we probably looked very silly.  When we finally tromped to Sundance, we were met by a legion of angels–women there to help lost people find their way around. They helped us find how to finish registration for Ladies Day and Ski School and one lady was even kind enough to walk back to my car and retrieve my poles which I forgot.  Then, these angels helped us walk to the ski school and even gave Anna a certificate for a free hot chocolate at the end of her lesson (I guess I wasn’t fooling anyone that I was ready to be anything than the hot chocolate mama).

My daughter, of course, was ready and excited to learn to ski.  She took off with her teacher, Kaleb, and was happy as a clam.  Never having been to Sundance Ladies Day , I was very pleased to find out that my ski instructor would not be a college-aged kid who does not understand the workings of a older body.  To my great joy, my instructor turned out to be Linda’s husband Cody.  After years of convincing me to learn to ski, Linda could not be my teacher, but Cody stepped in.  The touch of grey in his hair gave me confidence that I was in good hands (along with the fact that everyone kept telling me he was the best instructor around).

That was the best part of the day.  I actually want to forget most of the rest of today.  While my daughter whizzed around me doing everything with ease, I had a hard time doing anything.  I thought it was bad while I was at the bottom of the hill (trying to make small turns and shift my weight and move the skis around), but then, Cody and I went up to the bunny hill. Walking up there in those boots almost put me under!

Surprisingly, I did great at the tow rope–thanks to lots of tubing runs at Soldier’s Hollow. But then, the real test came–getting down the bunny hill.  I have bruises on my bruises.  I fell so many times and I don’t think I will ever get the hang of skiing.  Four lessons is not going to be enough.

All I can say is that I feel bad for Cody who had to hold my skis so I did not fly down to my demise.  Why did I ever think I could do this?  Actually, it was a bit fun and I could see if I can get the hang of this, I will probably enjoy myself.  Well, I guess I will be back next week to try again. Learning something for the first time is always hard.

As an FYI, my daughter conquered the bunny hill before I even got to it and took the lift to the first stop where she skied down with her instructor.  Oh, to be young, foolish and close to the ground! We ended our day with hot chocolate, of course!

Teaching the Cost of Freedom

During a trip to Washington DC, children learn that freedom has a cost and that cost can be very high.  Learn how to instill a lesson that helps your child to understand the cost of freedom and the history of the United States.  On our quick one-day trip, we were able to see as much as we did thanks to the Old Town Trolley company.  Their trolleys took us directly to the places we wanted to visit on our one day blitz of the nation’s capital.

Preparing Kids for Historic Travel

Whether you are traveling to historic places like D.C. or just visiting the local historic locations, a bit of preparation can help your children really absorb and enjoy the history they will see.  We share insights and tips on what to do to prepare: things like reading historic fiction, watching documentaries, discussing family stories, sharing pictures of you as a child in those places and many more tips help bring historic travel to life for kids and give them mental hooks they can hang their experience on to savor for years.

Seeing Stars

When was the last time you got to see the stars–the celestial ones that really are beautiful?  We discuss ways to introduce kids to star gazing and taking advantage of your local planetarium or local star gazing groups to see planets as well as stars.  Introducing your kids to the night sky can have incredible educational benefits.  Lear more today!

Disney YES is a Dream Come True

We’ve done a show on Disney YES and here is a video of our experience of the program! It was a hit once Alex woke up and realized that school at Disney would be fun! Our teacher Tabia was incredibly energetic and happy while still teaching the kids great info. Tabia taught the kids about the first 18 presidents of the US and the challenges they faced creating the nation, keeping it together, and then expanding it West. We were allowed behind the scenes at the Hall of Presidents where we got to meet the presidents up close and personal–you could see every hair on the heads of their animatronic doubles. We also rode Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain before the park opened to other visitors–I really appreciated that later in the day when the wait was 60 minutes (I thought WDW was supposed to NOT be crowded in October)!

NOTE: The YES Program only recently opened to individual students and their families and is only available on select days but you should check and see if your dates coincide with YES programs because your school-aged kids 6 and older get an exciting experience in the park behind the scenes (along with a chaperon) and your entire family gets discounted park tickets (our discount was 50% off the regular ticket price—an incredible savings). Fore more information, check out their website at and check out my podcast where I interview the YES Marketing Director about the program and learn more details at

Educational Opportunities at Disney Parks

Disneyland and DisneyWorld have an exciting opportunity for families (and a huge discount!).  Listen as we discuss the Youth Education Series with Christine DeMichael, Marketing Manager for Disney Youth Programs.

The YES Program allows children from age 5 to Grade 12 participate in an educational experience at a Disney park (ones that are usually reserved only for school groups).  Not only do kids get to participate in a great program, but the participants, parents and other family members get to purchase tickets at the deeply discounted group rates (for us it was a discount of 50% off the regular ticket price and saved us $600).

For more information on the individual programs now offered to children who are not attending as a part of a school group, go to
UPDATE:  Check out Alex’s YES Experience

Green Halloween

Halloween is one of the most Eco-Unfriendly times of the year.  Mom-daughter eco warriors Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson have taken the holiday on with Green Halloween and the National Costume Swap Day.   They are also co-authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family and founders of the non-profit Green Halloween initiative.  Learn how to make your Halloween fun less harmful for the planet.  Check out the locations in your area that might be holding a costume swap or learn how to hold one in your area!

Travel to Orlando Part 1

Thinking about a trip to Sunny Florida?  We’re talking with Jill Martin, Family Travel blogger for  You’ll learn where to nurse your baby and fun places in addition to Disney World.  We’ll even talk about educational opportunities in Orlando and Cape Canaveral (only an hour away)!  Get your bags packed!

Don’t miss Jill’s Blog on and remember that she is looking for questions from our listeners!

Dinosaur World

Wonderworks–the Upside Down Amusement Park

Princess Makeover at Disney

Book Clubs for Boys Only

Boys sometimes have a harder time getting interested in books.  One way to solve that is to start a book club for boys only. Laura Blum, mother of 4 and reading advocate, discusses how she turned her reluctant readers into great readers and how you can too!

Check out her site and some great ideas at

UPDATE:  Nancy’s son and his friends met for the first Boys Only Book Club and about 50% of the kids showed up, but they had fun and Barnes and Noble was very accommodating to help them choose books.  They chose Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians.  They will be meeting every 3 weeks over the summer to get them interested in reading.  They also joined the Barnes and Noble reading plan, the Borders reading plan and a local library reading plan that all give freebies to kids who read.

Summer Reading Fun

Looking for summer reading ideas to keep the kids reading?  We share ideas and lists of books.

Check out these lists of books for kids in every age and group:

Check out the local library reading program

Check out bookstore reading programs like Barnes and Noble and Borders book programs.

Here are some of our kids’ favorite books:

  • 39 Clues series
  • Percy Jackson Series
  • Diary of a Whimpy Kid Series
  • When You Reach Me (2010 Newbery Winner)
  • Savvy (2009 Newbery Honor)
  • Hoot
  • Flush
  • Scat
  • Bud, Not Buddy
  • Hatchet
  • Captain Underpants
  • Stink
  • Miss Daisy is Crazy
  • Time Warp Trio Series
  • Encyclopedia Brown
  • Fablehaven
  • Swindle
  • Zoobreak
  • Radio Fifth Grade
  • Invention of Hugo Cabret
  • No Talking (any Andrew Clements book)
  • Magic Tree House Series
  • Al Capone Does My Shirts

A New Way to Look at the World

Shelly discusses how to look at things in a different way and spell your family name with things around your house or in a building.  Nancy interviews an expert on taking beach photos.  Make sure you check out the photos on the website to see the great results and read comments from Steffani on her reactions!

These are Shelly’s Results:


These are our friend Steffani’s results and her comments about how this has helped her kids:

“I let them each child take the camera and find things around the house that could look like the letters in their first name. After they took the pictures, we edited them on our computer, cropping them so that the most important part was revealing the letter.  It was a ton of fun.  I have our last name one printed up in a small oblong frame and underneath “Packer” it says, “Home is where the most important things happen” because all of the things we used for our letters were found in our own home. I want to have their first names printed out in 4×6 and deco-page them to wooden blocks to put in their room.  That part hasn’t happened yet.  But . . .  I have noticed that the kids (after doing this–even CY) are always pointing things out as we drive or go places.  ”Hey, that looks like an M! or  K!”  I think it is helpful in their brain development and creativity to think outside the box.