Change is Good

>> Sunday, January 24, 2010

Have Kid Will Travel is changing. A new name, a new home, and new goodies to share with you!

I want to introduce you to Family Rambling. This is where I'll be updating our travels, sharing great contests that I find and sharing all those tips, tricks and tools that make our travels easier. (I'll even host some giveaways- with one beginning next week!) I also plan to have some freebies for my readers every so often.

You'll want to bookmark Family Rambling, add it to your reader and be sure to subscribe to keep up to date with the stuff I have planned.

Change is good- come along with me! Click the header below to visit Family Rambling!


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Roadtrip to Blissdom Update

>> Tuesday, January 19, 2010

10 hours. 5 states. 3 bloggers. 1 minivan.

One now... 1 sponsor! A huge thank you to...

Cozi is a FREE online family calendar, shopping list, family journal & photo collage screensaver. Simplify family life with Cozi.


I'll be using Cozi's free tools as I prepare for Blissdom. From the calendar- to keep my family on the same page- to the lists - to keep track of what to pack, what I have packed and what I need to buy- to the journal I'll be using Cozi for all it's worth. In fact, I've opened my journal for Blissdom. Check it out here.

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Win an All-Inclusive Stay in the Poconos

>> Friday, January 15, 2010

Here's another great contest from We Just Got Back! They are giving away a three-night all-inclusive stay for a family of four at Skytop Lodge, a grand and historic resort in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. The prize includes deluxe accommodations, three meals a day, plus as much winter wonderland as you can handle—unlimited downhill skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, sledding, snowshoeing, tobogganing, and a dogsledding excursion for the whole family! Rental equipment for each activity is also included.

You can enter once a day through February 15, 2010. Click here to enter.

Rules are here. Good luck!

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A Return to Hyatt Regency Crown Center

>> Wednesday, January 13, 2010

You may remember that my first stay at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center in Kansas City was less than ideal. As I mentioned at the end of that post, the hotel contacted me and we agreed to return and give them another chance.

We arrived in Kansas City on New Year's Day. The hotel was hosting a huge wedding party and was very busy. Happily the front desk had plenty of staff to handle the number of guests checking in. There were even enough bellmen- one brought up our luggage, a nice change from our last stay.

Unfortunately we encountered two rather problematic situations when we entered our room. After our long drive a restroom visit was necessary for a couple of girls. We found out very quickly that the toilet was clogged. The second problem was the very strong evidence that the non-smoking room had housed a smoker quite recently.

When the bellman arrived with our luggage I pointed out these problems to him. A call was placed to the front desk and we were moved to a new room before we had even unloaded our bags.

All the rooms are very similar. Two beds- quite comfortable- TV, dresser, mini fridge, desk, reading chair, bathroom. Everything was clean and neat and our room looked out at the World War I Memorial.

I was impressed when, a while later, we received a small "thank you" from the assistant manager of the hotel.


The fruit, bread and water arrived with a note thanking us for giving the hotel another chance. It was a nice touch- and much appreciated as the Crown Center restaurants were all closed on New Year's Day and I had a couple of hungry little girls!

Our check out the next morning was hassle free. We called down for a bellman and one was at our door within 5 minutes.

In retrospect:

The hotel seemed more fully staffed during this visit. The service we received was friendly and quick. It was a very pleasant stay and we will use this hotel for future visits to Crown Center.

What you should know:

Parking is an extra daily charge. A ramp is next door to the hotel. Self parking is around $14 daily, valet is around $18 daily. This is common for hotels in the area. Parking is included in some hotel packages.

Wifi is free in the lobby but is $9.99 in the room. Wireless service in the rooms is provided by Tmobile- which means you have to sign up for an account. (My biggest pet peeve is hotels that charge for wireless.)

Everything in the Crown Center area is in easy walking distance. The shops, entertainment, restaurants... Even Union Station is just a short stroll away.


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Roadtrip to Blissdom

Blissdom Conference ~ Nashville ~ February 4-6 2010


In just 3 weeks I'll be dropping my girls off at school with an extra big hug and a couple of kisses. I'll come home, pack the mini van, pick up my blogfriend Paula and we'll hit the road. Destination: Blissdom.

If you haven't heard of Blissdom let me fill you in. It's a terrific blog conference. I attended last year and, using the information I learned there, grew my blog 120%. I made connections that helped me grow as a professional. And I had fun- which is always important.

Blissdom is held in Nashville, Tennessee. That's a fair distance from Iowa. 10 hours to be exact. Last year we flew. Which, all told, took about 10 hours (awake at 2:45 am to catch 5:30 am flight, layover in Memphis, arrive in Nashville, collect luggage, catch shuttle- arrive around 1 pm at hotel.) So this year we are driving.

10 hours. 5 states. 1 minivan.

Driving may be less expensive than flying, but it's still not cheap. We are currently accepting sponsors for our drive. I'm open to options involving (removable) logos to my van, information to pass out as we drive, snacks and drinks (munchies are important on a roadtrip), or anything else you may think up. In addition Paula and I are both very active on Twitter and Facebook and between us we have 3 blogs. That's a lot of exposure!

So let's talk! Just email me and put "Road to Blissdom" in the subject line.

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Where Would You Go?

>> Tuesday, January 12, 2010

OK, so here's the deal. You know how I always list vacation contests on Fridays? Because a free vacation is the best vacation of all. Well...

I WON ONE! I know! That never happens. Ever! And more than it just being "a vacation" it's a rather "open" vacation. As in I can choose where to go. The only limitations are:

Flight will be on Continental Airlines
Hotel is provided by Marriott
Location may be North America, Central America or the Caribbean
Value is $2500

That leaves a lot of choices! It's a trip for two so I would love someplace romantical (yes, it's a word. My word.) but preferably not just a beach. We love to immerse ourselves in the location.

So, fire away. Where would you go? Why?

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Gastropub Dinner with Irish Celebrity Chef Kevin Dundon at Raglan Road in Kansas City

>> Monday, January 11, 2010

I'm pretty sure that celebrity chef dinners happen quite often in places like Los Angeles and New York. And maybe even in Chicago. But it's not really something that happens in the center of the country so when I saw that one of my favorite Kansas City restaurants, Raglan Road, was hosting a Gastropub Dinner with Master Chef Kevin Dundon (Ireland's Chef of the Year 2009) we made the drive down for dinner.

Yes, we drove 3 hours- one way- for dinner. And drove back that night. Yes, it was worth it!

Kevin and his wife Catherine own and operate the incredible Dunbrody Country House Hotel in Arthurstown, County Wexford, Ireland. (It is, incidentally, across the road from Glendine House, where we stayed in 2008.)

We were lucky enough to meet Kevin briefly before dinner and again after the meal. It's no wonder his hotel is so highly rated: the man exudes Irish charm. And he can cook! Our meal was incredible! Forget what impressions you may have of Irish food- this isn't typical "pub grub"...

Our four course meal began with a choice of Warm Goat Cheese and Orange Salad with Caramelized Walnuts or Mini Beef and Lamb Shepherds Pie with a Port Wine Jus. I can't speak about the salad, though it looked incredible, because everyone at my table had the Shepherds Pie. The flavors of the meats with the port wine jus...fabulous. I loved the presentation of the potatoes artfully balanced on top with a caramelized onion leaf. Delish!

The second course was Maine Lobster Bisque. I'm not a huge fan of lobster but the bisque was very flavorful and creamy. Of course the presentation was incredible...

video

The entree followed. The choices were Roast Pork Belly with an Irish Mist and Honey Glaze served with Pickled Cabbage or Crispy Pan Seared Salmon served on a Ragout of Winter Vegetables. I chose the pork belly. I cut it with a butter knife. It was so tender and flavorful. The glaze was so sweet- I'm going to have to do my best to recreate it. Doug had the salmon. He pronounced it perfectly prepared and "excellent".


And then came dessert. Merely calling the Chocolate Fondant with Irish Stout Ice Cream "dessert" is almost too plain. Though it appeared unassuming on sight there is really no way to describe the incredible richness of the chocolate, how the surface opened to reveal an interior of molten chocolate or how truly decadent it was.

The Gastropub Dinners at Raglan Road just began in summer 2009 but response has been positive and the restaurant plans to do more- one per quarter at each restaurant (there is another location at Pleasure Island in Downtown Disney, Orlando, Florida.) To keep up to date on upcoming events check out the "Get In Here" page on Raglan Road's website or follow @RaglanRoadPub on Twitter.

If you're really wanting a taste of Ireland try some of Kevin Dundon's recipes for yourself! The mini shepherds pie recipe is in the "starters" section, there is a lovely loin of bacon in Irish Mist glaze in the "mains", and an Irish whiskey chocolate fondant in the "desserts". I have a feeling my annual St. Patrick's feast may have some new dishes this year! Sláinte!

Kansas City Couple Travel Tips

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Thank You for Visiting!

Thank you for visiting and reading of our adventures. I hope you are inspired to travel with your kids and I hope I gave you tips, tricks and maybe destinations you didn't think of!

Come back often!

PS Information is accurate when published.

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