Paradise Found

What do you give someone turning 80? Well, if she is your mother, you give her whatever she wants (within reason).  My mom chose Hawaii.  But not just Hawaii: Hawaii with her daughter and grandchildren for a week.  She’s never been there.  I’ve never been there and of course the kids have never been there.  But we wanted to make it memorable for all of us.

And is it really as incredible as everyone says?

Well, in a word . . .Yes.  Paradise is paradise.  Now, we are not tourists and we didn’t stay on Waikiki.  We are cultural anthropologists.  So we rented a house (what’s new?) and stayed on the North Shore. We like to experience a place like the people who live there experience it.  And . . . it was still paradise.

In planning the trip, the focus was on my mom’s birthday but she didn’t have too many ideas of what she wanted to do.  So, I asked everyone to choose one activity that they wanted to do while in Hawaii–apart from just being in the most beautiful place you can imagine.

  • My mom chose the Polynesian Cultural Center and a helicopter ride
  • Alex chose surfing
  • Anna chose night paddle boarding the Polynesian Cultural Center
  • I chose snorkeling with wild dolphins

But we are not independently wealthy.  The trip to Hawaii cost 3 times as much as our trip to London and Denmark (thanks to Skymiles, a rewards card, and good planning).  How did we do all this and not break the bank?

  1. Stay local and off the beach.  We used Airbnb and found a great house.  We could have stayed on the beach too if we were willing to pack in like sardines, but a house further away worked fine.  We paid about $1200 for 7 nights in paradise in a 3 bedroom house with a beautiful back yard and a great kitchen–about $170 a day.  Thanks Kalani.  If you haven’t created an Airbnb account, use this link to create one.
  2. Use Groupons.  When you are traveling, look for deals in the place you are going.  We got the helicopter rides and dolphin dives at a discount of 50% off the price.
  3. Be targeted and selective about the activities you want to do.  We had the must-do list (above) and then we had the nice-to-do list.  Those things came and went from our activity list based on timing and on cost.  Sometimes we were just too tired and other times, we were enjoying a must-do too much to get distracted.
  4. Find out the Free Stuff.  In Hawaii, there are amazing places to swim and snorkel (duh).  Unlike California, there are no private beaches so every beach is open.  Knowing where to go is important and taking advantage local knowledge and guide books.  I read a lot, talked to family that have been therebefore, and even talked to the locals over breakfast.  This conversation scored us a private place to swim with Sea Turtles (Righteous–like Crush says).

    Also, don’t undercut the the power of a sunrise at the beach (the chickens had us up early anyway).  One of my favorite experiences was watching my son and his grandmother wait for the sun to rise.

  5. Look for things that matter. Perl Harbor was a wonderful way to get up close with history. Actually, Perl Harbor is the only thing we saw up-close-and-personal in Honolulu.  The rest of our view of the city was from the window of a helicopter. 
  6. Cook your own meals and scout restaurants before you leave. Paradise has a big price tag.  You can’t look at a hamburger for less than $12.  Breakfast the first day set us back $80 for eggs and bacon for 4 people.  We went only because the birthday girl wanted to go.  But, after that bill, her interest in paying that much ended. The bonus to having a house is you can prep the easy meals at home and keep snacks and to-go food fresh.

    We ate breakfast every morning and my kids would say, “That’s the best $80 breakfast I ever tasted.”  We planned the places we might want to eat based on reviews and locations.  This helped us know where we wanted to go and what to expect.  No expensive surprises (Ok there was one–a local suggested an island-style restaurant that none of us liked but that may be just because we aren’t into poly food).  We also found an amazing restaurant this way: Maui Mike’s Chicken.  Highly recommend it.
  7. Spend Time Just Being Together.  All the activities were great but I loved just laying on the bed and listening to my mom tell me stories about her I had never heard.  Make sure you plan time to have these moments.
  8. Experience the Local Motion.  Our house came complete with it’s own crazy Hawaiian rooster and his hens/chicks.  I had heard about the wild chickens, but there was nothing to prep me for the 4am wake-up call.  Now that we are back, we always refer to the chickens and laugh.  It will be a lasting memory.
  9. Sometimes, the things that just happen along the way can be the most fun. Stopping for Dole Whip was a real treat.
  10. Be flexible.  I am General Patton and love to plan the movement of my troops and our attack plan.  But, having an 80-year old and kids means you have to be flexible.  I only planned one must-do each day and then we flexed around it with other things.

What was the Best? 

There was not enough time to do all the things we thought we wanted to do.  Seven days seemed to go by in a blink.  Of all the things we did, here are the things each person liked best:

  1. According to Alex: swimming with wild dolphins
  2. According to Anna: riding in a helicopter
  3. According to Grandma: being with her grandkids
  4. According to Nancy: watching my kids enjoy the beach and the water (we are divers).

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Privates are Private

Tricia and Nancy discuss what to do if your child is showing his privates.  How do you handle it and what can you do to help your child understand that Privates are Private?

Here are a few tips:

  1. Don’t freak and if you do, don’t show it.
  2. Figure out what is going on.
  3. Very young kids can seem immodest and may display curiosity about other people’s bodies and bodily functions.  These can include touching women’s breasts, wanting to watch when grownups go to the bathroom, wanting to be naked (even if others are not) and showing or touching private parts while in public. They are curious about their own bodies.
  4. When you are ready and they are ready, ask open-ended questions (and they are old enough to answer)
  • What were you doing?
  • How did you get the idea?
  • How did you learn about this?
  • How did you feel about doing it?
  1. Have a general discussion about what is private and what to do if someone invades your privacy.

Some causes for concern:

  1. Actions beyond their developmental stage (or language)
  2. Actions with threat or aggression
  3. Actions between kids of very different ages

Our Past Show for kids who are a bit older:

LINK: More Info on Sexual Development and Behavior


Taking Kids Out of School for Travel

Nancy shares her exciting news about an upcoming trip and how to take kids out of school for travel.  Some school districts fine parents for taking kids out and others just don’t like it.  There are ways to make a trip work for both your family and your child’s classroom.

What to consider first:

  • Know what your child’s School Policy is and how you can work with it.
  • Ask yourself how is your child doing in school and can they make up the work?
  • Ask your child how she feels about missing school.  This may not be the right time for your child.
  • What grade is your child in? Earlier grades are easier than when it counts in High School.
  • What time of year is it? Time travel when it is close to a break or not during important testing time or semester finals.

Some tips to help in taking your kids out of school:

  • Talk to the teacher(s) before you plan the trip and Ask them. Talk to the Principal as well.
  • Go in with an Educational Plan (why the trip is educational) explain to teachers they history, geography, language arts, and science your child will learn.
  • If necessary, make plans to cover topics missed—not just homework so that your child is caught up with the rest of the class.
  • Keep the amount of school missed short and if you can’t make it short, make a really good pitch.
  • Remember you are your child’s main educator and if you feel the trip will be educational, take it.

Making the Pitch:

  • Show how your Child will be Learning
  • Quantify the Results
  • Make it benefit the Class

59 inches and Counting

10445499_10153705257567597_4471772102934270553_nThis winter is blessing Sundance. The #prayforsnow campaign is working!  In the past few days, almost 5 feet of snow has fallen.  Ladies–we can’t miss this epic season!  Come and ski with me!

We are going to ski on Thursdays and it will be AMAZING! My first year of skiing, I learned on ice. So if you have ever wanted to learn, this is the year. Don’t let all the snow deter you!  They groom for those of us who are Groomer Girls.  And on Thursdays, we have the mountain to ourselves so no crazy teens to bug us.

And if you wanCECE76758AC204C97ED8648C50AEF1439D3FACCCB845C590D6pimgpsh_fullsize_distrt to learn powder skiing, this is your year.  It is going to be wonderful and when we fall, it won’t hurt!  I may have to purchase some powder skis and a snorkel!

Contact me at and join us!

Chicks on Sticks–Join Us!

KipperNancyUber ski instructor Kipper Warren Cluff explains Sundance Ladies Day to Tricia and why skiing is an excellent option for women–even those who have had a bad experience in the past or don’t like cold.

Long time listeners know that Nancy took on the challenge 4 years ago and you can read about her exploits on her Sundance Ladies Day page.  But in this podcast, Tricia talks to Kipper and decides if skiing is right for her.   Once she joins us, she will be a member of our group called Chicks on Sticks.

Don’t be deterred from listening if you don’t live in Utah or you think you will never ski because you live in the Bahamas.  There are lots of lessons to learn about taking on a challenge that is both physical and mental.  Maybe you want to run a marathon and this will inspire you.  I don’t know why you would ever want to run a marathon, but you  may be thinking that I am crazy for throwing myself down a mountain on sticks.

Interested in learning more? Contact me directly at and I’ll let you know how to join Chicks on Sticks.  You can also read my recent guest blog post on the Sundance blog. If you live in another state, look for a ladies program at your local resort.  If all else fails, take a lesson.  It really makes all the difference and will get you enjoying both a mental and physical challenge (mostly mental) that will invigorate the long winter months.

See me getting my Bearclaw pin from Kipper?  They usually give the pin to little kids when they learn to ski the mountain, so Kipper thought it was appropriate for me.  I treasure that pin and the friendships I have made on the mountain.   CHICKS ON STICKS RULE!


Summer Break

We are taking a summer break for the second half of July and the first half of August.  We will be podcasting again! We look forward to sharing what we know and helping others!

Health And Family First

We are taking a short hiatus due to health and family issues.  We know you all understand because you are in the same situation we are in.  Thank you for loving us and caring for us!

Happy Holidays

We are taking a break on podcasting until the New Year.  Please send us show ideas and other things you would like to share with us.

Happy Holidays and all the best in 2015. See you in the New Year!

Upcoming Shows

We have several shows we are working on so please stay tuned (or let iTunes automatically download us when we post):

  • Cross-country Move: How to handle it with kids
  • Halloween Ideas to Get your Spook On: Costumes, Decor, Food, and more
  • So How Was School: Better Questions to get the goods on what happened during the school day
  • School Social Skills: What kids need to Learn to Succeed in the classroom
  • Best Baby Gifts Ever: What really is useful for new moms
  • Claire Lerner: Effects of Screen Time–the Definitive Study
  • Problem Solving with Kids
  • Homeroom Hero: Volunteering at the School

Thanks for your patience. These shows are worth the wait!

Guy’s Take on Ladies Day

Last Saturday, I went to Sundance for a lesson from the same instructor that Nancy has had during Sundance Ladies Day last season. His name is Jay and he is a regular Ladies Day Instructor. Frankly, I thought it wouldn’t be much of a challenge for a guy who comfortably skis the black runs for almost last twenty years. Maybe he could give me a few pointers, but I know how to get down a mountain fast so what could he teach me?

It was a humbling experience, to say the least. The lesson showed me clearly that I no longer could call myself a decent skier. After the first run, Jay kindly pointed out several areas that I need to work on so that I can improve my skills. Being a car guy, Jay used car analogies to help me understand what I was doing wrong and how to make thing right–this made things clear to me. Jay also did other things with me like drawing the forces that act on a body during the turns on the snow, “playing tug of war” pulling each others’ hand and twisting the body while trying to keep the balance, following Jay’s ski line on the runs, and “waltzing on the snow” drawing the circles with the boots.  All these tips made total sense and helped better embrace the new concepts.

Run after run, we went over things that I needed to pay attention to. Ski lifts quickly became not only a chance to recap the instructions but also increasingly more welcome breaks between the runs. By noon, my mind was overloaded with new information and my legs and back was surely screaming for a break. After the lesson was over, I thought I would take a few more runs to solidify what I had been taught but my body was ready for a hot tub and a long afternoon nap.

The main point learned was that lessons are not easy if you do them right but they can really advance your skills even for tough guys who think that they are awesome on the slopes.

WIFE NOTE: My husband’s experience was so much like my experience with Sundance Ladies Day–it is an incredible learning opportunity and there is so much to be conquered to get better at skiing.  So, even if you are not a beginning skier and have skied for 20 years, come try it.  There is an instructor and a level just for you! And not so secretly, I am glad Jay worked him out because I have had many-a-day when I came home mentally and physically wiped out when my husband wondered why 2 hours of skiing could be so taxing.  Now, he understands!  We learn the same skills and do the same drills he mentioned above.

Taking time for Family

We will be collecting our own family stories this holiday and hope that your family will have an amazing time together!  We wish you all the best and hope that 2014 will be an amazing year for you! See you in January!

Turkey and Sick Kids

No–it is not what you think.  The turkey doesn’t have salmonella.  Our kids are just sick with the late fall crud.  And since Shelly is dealing with her caboose being sick and life is crashing for Nancy and Tricia, we decided to give ourselves an early Thanksgiving Break.  Catch us the week after Thanksgiving–it will take us that much time to recover.  But have no fear.  We are working on great topics.

End of Summer/School Starts

We have been crazy busy getting the end of our summer wrapped up and getting kids back to school give us another week or so and we will have new shows every week for you!  Thanks for understanding that it is hard to be a mom and a podcaster at the same time!

Ladies Day Spring Ski Lessons

Spring skiing in Utah is interesting.  Last week, it was still cold and then almost overnight, the temperature rose by 25 degrees and things began to change.  I was a bit hesitant to take Sundance Ladies Day in March, but I had such a BLAST in January and could not take it in February that I had to take a chance.  This is the first time Sudance has offered Ladies Day in March in years.

I was having one of THOSE days where it would have been safer to lock me in a padded room than put me on skis, but I did not want to miss out on the learning and the comradery.  Seeing Lindsay and Linda started to change my attitude, but I had the jitters really bad.  I had gone skiing on Monday afternoon and it was no good.  It had rained and then iced over and I was not happy–after three runs, I gathered up the kids and left.  We all crawled into bed when we got home.

Monday’s experience was still fresh in my brain  but the snow today was actually great! We started class by skiing up to the First Stop (I found out today that people in the know call that Mid Mountain).  We showed our ski skills to the instructors and were divided up into groups by ability.  Lindsay and I have now officially made it to the Intermediate group and were so happy to have Linda be our instructor again.

Lindsay and I have been skiing a few times together since January and she got a really NICE set of skis.  Last Saturday, I could tell that she was no longer a beginner and had some real style to her skiing. Her years of snowboarding are now transitioning to ski knowledge.

Linda took us straight up to the Back Mountain–the Top.  We started working more on carving.  Linda calls it directional skiing.  Lindsay got it right off but I was having issues.  Like I said–Padded Room. So, it was my turn to get ALL the attention during the lesson (sorry Lindsay).

Linda pulled out all the tricks teaching skiing for years gives you to help me get myself back on track without any frustration or judgement.  That is what I so LOVE about Ladies Day–you get help right where you are at specific to the things you need to work on and you don’t feel dumb if you struggle.  January was Lindsay’s learning curve and this lesson seems to be mine.

Since temperatures were a bit warmer, I decided not to wear my Demon Flexforce X D3O Women’s Long Pants (my crash pants I call them).  But I wish I had worn them because I did take a tumble and slid down the mountain about 100 feet.  Nothing badly bruised except my ego.  But, the Demon pants would have provided the padding to make it easier (remember that Padded Room–I should have taken it with me).

By the end of the day, I think I got the hang of carving.  I do have to get different skis though because the ones I have are NOT made for carving and I believe in the right equipment.  Thank goodness Sundance Ladies Day has a deal that if you bring two friends, each person will get high performance rentals for FREE!  I will be taking advantage of that next week.  What a deal!

Just in case you did the math, I have another friend, Ashlee, who is doing Ladies Day on Tuesday (that makes my 2 friends this time).  She had a wonderful experience Tuesday and is loving Sundance Ladies Day as well.

Next year, I have more friends who want to ski.  Come join us.  It is an amazing experience.

FYI:  If you want to know about ski totals in Utah, check out

The Hardest Thing about Learning to Ski

The hardest thing about learning to ski is the GROUND! I learned January 2012–the worst snow season in many years so it was very painful. I came home week after week with bruises on my bruises. The pain almost kept me from completing my lessons but I saw all those people having fun and decided to continue.

I don’t subscribe to the “No Pain, No Gain” philosophy and have been looking for ways to lessen the power of the ground.  Of course I have a helmet—that is why I can still string sentences together. But, I recently found a company that creates protective gear for hips, tailbones, and ribs as well as wrists, elbows and knees and it happens to be 4.7 miles away from my house. COOL!

Before my first trip down the mountain, I took a detour to DEMON Sports. They specialize in  “Keeping You from an Early Grave.” Sounds like my kind of place. After chatting with Brent about my painful months on the slopes, here is what I tested today:

  • Demon Flexforce X D3O Women’s Long Pants: long johns on steroids with pads at the hips, thighs, tailbone and knees. They are lightweight and did not feel any heavier than my regular base layer but provided great warmth and protection. They were comfortable on the drive up to the resort and on the lift. Nothing was binding or tight on the way down–I actually forgot I was wearing them. If you are hoping to look svelte on the slopes, they do add a bit to your profile, but that is a small price to pay for protection. Just channel your inner Lindsay Vonn–she doesn’t seem to mind the look of padded thighs.

UPDATE:  I took my first spill today and thanks to the Flexforce Pants, no pain and no bruises!

  • Demon Vest X D3O: protects your back and your inners from attacks by those who can’t stop with stealth back protection technology and padding on the ribs. The belt even helped keep my back warm so my back didn’t tighten up. It was comfortable all day.  I am NOT looking forward to the situation where I will be glad I am wearing this, but I know it will be much less painful than without it.
  • Flexmeter Single Sided Gloves. These gloves have a great range of motion while still having a wrist guard built right in them–no need for a separate piece of equipment and are made to distribute the impact of a fall. Having taken a trip over the front of my mountain bike (broke my elbow) a few years ago, I have been protective of my wrists and arms but worried that wrist guards would impede my range of motion. These don’t. If you already have gloves you love or just want to get wrist guards, Demon also has wrist guards made specifically for ladies. But these are great gloves all around and the wrist guards make them superb!

DEMON Sports has tons of other protective gear for skiing at all price points: protection shorts that could work for other sports, knee pads, shin guards, wrist guards and padded compression shirts.  I’ll be making a trip back to the store. Their protection gear for bikers may even get me back on my mountain bike again. I don’t think their gear for boarders will get me on a long board but that is OK.

Check them out at Our listeners and readers get a 25% discount (take25).  They are happy help protect your tuckus.