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Cultivating Gratitude While on the Road

IMG_5819Gratitude has always come more easily to me when I’m away from my usual surroundings. I find myself acutely aware of my environment – the crackle of leaves underfoot, brightly colored tiles set in cobblestone, or fresh croissants wafting from a nearby bakery.

The effect lasts for a little while after my return. Home seems somehow cozier, and Read more

Enlightenment in a Bowl? Thrive Café

ThriveCafeI don’t always eat vegetarian at restaurants, but when I do, I’d prefer that it be honest with me. Typical vegetarian fare can be shifty— quinoa tucked slyly into a soy-based “meatloaf” and chickpeas lurking in a faux “chicken burger” patty. Delicious as these dishes can be, I find myself craving veggies and grains in their natural form. So after checking out their menu online, I was eager Read more

5 Tips for Traveling with Picky Eaters

Picky Eater

It’s easy to spot the parent of a picky eater. You’ll find our bags brimming with odd but nutritionally dense snack items to be doled out at key moments. Our grocery carts hold foods of  limited flavor and texture. Loyal to those tolerant of our quirky orders, we dine at the same restaurants again and again.

Eating on the road can provoke Read more

Saving Sea Turtles One Lemonade Stand at a Time

Sea Turtle
Although I’ve dabbled in meditation, I’ve never been able to extinguish the most mundane thoughts from my mind —grocery  items, overdue library books, the grease stain on my favorite sweater. It wasn’t until I gave snorkeling a try in April 2012 that I fully grasped the concept of “quieting the mind”. We were visiting Read more

Deception Pass State Park, Whidbey Island

When our kids were very small, my husband and I couldn’t muster the courage go camping as a family. Our sanity depended on keeping everyone on a routine back then, and “roughing it” meant straying radically from the norm. How would we get the kids to sleep? What would our picky eaters think of camp food? Then there was the whole containment issue — no walls or doors, and certainly no baby gates. With an open fire roaring nearby, it seemed exhausting at best, hazardous at worst.

We didn’t want to deprive our kids of the camping experience, but our Read more

Central Oregon Coast Vacation Rental

View from waterAlthough they were a wonderful treat before we had kids, hotels are not the best setup for our family. Rushing around every morning to get all four of our groggy, hungry selves down to the breakfast buffet is far too reminiscent of everyday mornings at home. Well, except for the whole buffet part. Yes, the bold might simply go down pajama-clad, but that doesn’t solve the other problem with hotel breakfasts, being that one eats twice as much as normal when presented with such an array of tantalizing choices. Or is that just me? 

We don’t live near our extended family, so Read more

When Your Child Travels Without You

No Striding!

When my son and husband flew to Taiwan to visit my brother-in-law in 2009, my daughter and I stayed behind. We’d decided the long flight would overwhelm my daughter, then 5, and that she’d be so out of sorts that she wouldn’t get much out of the trip. So she and I were granted 10 full days together, and since she was going through a bit of a girly phase then, we indulged in a fit of shamelessly stereotypical baking, crafts, and dress-up.

Diverting as these activities may have been, my thoughts kept drifting back to Read more

What Not To Do On Vacation

Three days in Madrid. Four people whose ages, energy levels, and interests vary wildly. A deep seated hatred for the word “bored”. How could we pull this off without someone feeling shortchanged? I was gripped by a vision of myself and my husband dragging our kids, attention spans long expired, through steeply priced art museums, self-consciously avoiding the judgmental glares of kid-free passersby. No, not my most optimistic moment.

We knew we didn’t want to be tethered to a schedule in Read more