The #Skydeck Experience in #Chicago is Breathtaking!

Our family visited Chicago for the first time over the Memorial Holiday weekend last week.  We had several different places we wanted to visit and see during our short stay in the windy city.  Of course, on our list was visiting The Skydeck Experience on top of the world-famous Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower. My hubby is fascinated with skyscrapers and was so excited to be on top of the building that was the tallest building in the world for almost twenty-five years.  We decided to go after dinner so we could see downtown Chicago and the surrounding area at nighttime.


Once we arrived at the top and entered the Skydeck, it was just amazing and breathtaking when we saw the incredible views from over 1400 feet for the first time.  Our daughter really enjoyed the Skydeck Chicago because you can see the whole city and so many different buildings, along with Lake Michigan and a gorgeous sunset while we were there.

This was the highlight of our summer trip to Chicago, so we would highly recommend anyone visiting or living near Chicago to visit the Skydeck Experience on top of the Willis Tower.  You can visit their website, TheSkydeck.com, for more details.

6 Quick Tips for Traveling with Children

Photo from Pexels

The summer is almost upon us, which also means that it’s almost time for the summer vacation we’ve all been dreaming about since Thanksgiving! Woohoo! However, traveling with a family in tow can sometimes be akin to herding cats, and can need a strong approach to organization, entertainment, and patience. Here’s my quick guide to surviving a vacation without going completely bonkers!

Don’t let them pack their own backpack

It seems like it would be a good way to teach your children about what they need and what they don’t, but take it from me, you’ll likely get to your destination with a rucksack full of tutus, sticker books and cuddly toys rather than the essential junior swim shorts and warm layers. Allow them to have an input into what they would like to take, but it’s good to do an audit before walking out the door. Flying long-haul? Check out my guide for packing hand-luggage like a pro here.

Book ahead of time

Whether you are camping or staying in hotels, it pays to book ahead when traveling with a family. You may have played it by ear and chosen guest houses and hostels on a whim when you were backpacking in your early twenties, but things are different now, and spontaneity won’t seem so fun if you can’t find a pitch or a room and have to hit the road again with a screaming toddler in the backseat!

Give them a camera

Give a small person a robust and unbreakable camera, and you’ll be surprised by what they snap. By doing this, you will be encouraging your child(ren) to be observant about the world around them and give them an interest in colors, textures, faces and nature! Along with photos of feet and wheels, you may be surprised by what they spot from knee-height!

Use public transport

Children are fascinated by the world, and more often than not, traveling by train, bus or boat will be much more exciting than spending hours in the back of a hire car. Not only will the world rolling by outside be a fascinating thing to watch, but you will be able to enjoy the view with them, rather than concentrating on the road and directions.

Encourage them to keep a travel journal or scrapbook

Spend some time each day drawing, sketching or writing down what they saw, enjoyed, or even hated throughout the day. Talk to them about the food they have tried and get them to describe it – this exercise is a great way for kids to remember family vacations, as they will always have something to look back on. If they would rather, help them collect postcards, entry tickets and transport passes so that they can put them all into a scrapbook when they get home!

Brand them

If you are going to be traveling through busy airports and transport stations, write your mobile number on their arm in pen, just in case they get lost. This way, whoever finds them will have an instant port of call to get them back in touch with you.

Texas de Brazil, Our Best Family Dining Experience Ever!!! @texasdebrazil

We decided to visit Chicago for our summer vacation this year. I have been wanting to go there for a long time since our family has never been there. There are so many places to see we were really excited to get there. While we were planning our visit, we decided to find a classy restaurant in downtown Chicago that the whole family would enjoy. After doing some research, The Texas de Brazil Steakhouse was exactly what we were looking for. They are a family dining restaurant that provided an incredible dining experience for our whole family. First, they have the best salad bar I have ever seen because they have such a great selection including sushi and salmon, two of my favorite foods. Everything tasted so good at the salad bar, we had to remind ourselves to save room for the main course and dessert. We really enjoyed the staff of carvers who visited our table with their impressive selection of meat items including filet mignon, basted beef ribs, leg of lamb, pork chops and other tasty and tender meats. The meat was cooked to our personal preference, for example, I like my meat medium-rare and my hubby prefers his cooked medium-well. Then, we ordered the chocolate mousse for our dessert and it tasted out-of-this-world. The entire staff at their Brazilian Steakhouse was first rate and could not have been better.

We experienced our best family dinner ever at the @texasdebrazil in downtown #Chicago. First we started with the amazing and incredible salad bar that has a huge selection including two of my favorite foods, #salmon and #sushi. Second was the meat carving staff that visited our table with an impressive selection of all types of meat including filet mignon, braised beef ribs and more. Lastly we ordered our dessert that was #chocolatemoussecake and I’m telling you it tasted out of this world!!! The wait staff provided impeccable service by providing us everything we needed. Thank you @texasdebrazil !!! #prochnowstravelingadventures #Chicago #blast #instagood #summer #travel #trip #dinner #dining #family #familydining #braziliansteakhouse #blogger #sponsored #prochnowtriptochicago

A post shared by MomGlenz (@momglenz) on

Our family agreed this was the most enjoyable family dinner we have ever experienced. To learn more about Texas de Brazil, you can visit their website TexasdeBrazil.com to learn more about what they have to offer and their other locations they have around the United States and in other countries. Our family gives them our highest recommendation when it comes to their outstanding and tasty food selection and the impeccable service their staff provides to their guests.

@360Chicago & #360Tilt! Ride are a Must See When Visiting Downtown #Chicago

Last weekend was our first family trip to Chicago. We had so many places to see during our stay there for our summer vacation. So, the first place we wanted to see was the 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck located on top of the famous Hancock Tower. The ride to the top was quick and easy. After we arrived, we had to decide whether to look at the fantastic views from over 1000 feet above downtown Chicago or to experience their 360 Tilt ride that looked really interesting and a little scary for me since I’m afraid of heights. We decided to enjoy the ride before walking around to look at the different views and to take pictures.

When we get on the ride, we stood facing looking out and grabbed two bars on each side of the window. Then, as the ride started, the floor and window began to lean outwards so we were literally tilting down to the buildings and street below. It was really an amazing feeling because you feel like you can actually reach out and touch the buildings next to the Hancock Tower. My hubby and our daughter said they really enjoyed the ride as much as I did.After the ride, we walked to each side of the observation deck and took dozens of awesome pictures of downtown Chicago, the Lake Michigan beach and many other sites you can see for miles around. 360 Chicago is a much see visit because of the incredible views and the 360 Tilt ride that is like no other ride we have ever experienced. To learn more, I suggest to visit their website: 360Chicago.com!!!

@TheJoeyTag Locating Device for #kids is Awesome!

0e3edd_e3a74408a01f4660ba436ad941cfef85-mv2

Our daughter is active and hard to keep track of sometimes when we are in public or even sometimes around the house.  So, I was real excited to learn about The Joey Tag that is a device she wears like a watch on her wrist which provides a lot of features including a panic button.  For example, I can create an ‘electronic safe area’ on my smart phone within 100 yards of my location so an alarm sounds when she leaves the safe area.  It even sends me an alert if the device is underwater to prevent accidental drowning and can only be removed with a special tool.

I would recommend this for parents or anyone who is responsible for watching young children.  The Joey Tag was sent to me as a complimentary item in exchange for writing this article.

Versatile Expandable Backpack by @EagleCreek: The Expanse Convertible 29

What luggage can you depend on that is designed to carry on your back and big enough to wheel around when needed? The expansion from backpack to wheeled luggage is perfectly sized for both needs, it’s called the Expanse Convertible 29 by Eagle Creek.Screen Shot 2017-04-01 at 6.00.22 PM

Details & Features

Bi-Tech Armor Lite material maximizes the bag’s resistance to rugged environments
Zip away backpack straps and adjustable suspension allow you to travel hands free for ultimate versatility
A Central Lock Point with Secure Zip Toggles will keep your luggage safe from unwanted intruders and ease your mind to enjoy the vacation
Heavy-duty wheels and housing keep your adventures moving forward when other brands stall out with lesser equipment
With comfort a priority, there is a padded hip belt, sternum strap, and load stabilizer straps to minimize pressure and pain when using your pack
External compression straps and internal compression straps allow this bag to be packed to the max and keep your gear in place to stop unwanted shifts from knocking you off balance when the bag is on your back
A large zippered pocket, an external stash pocket, lash points, and a side water-bottle pocket keep you traveling smart
With the No Matter What™ Warranty, you have a sense of security in your investment as you travel from one destination to the next 

Eagle Creek has been known to be very durable so that it can withstand a heavy beating. Especially, if you are a frequent traveller, you cannot control how others handle your luggage when check your bags to be loaded in the luggage compartment. Assuming handlers are careless, you do not have to worry if it gets thrown around instead of just laid down carefully. It is easy to carry and things you put inside are manageable because of the different compartments for different purposes like clothing for one and gear for the other.

It is easy to have back with perspiration after carrying your backpack for a long time. The Expanse Convertible 29 has a ventilated back panel and breathable 3D Air Mesh straps.

The quick adjust sizing feature can accommodate varying torso lengths. It also has a padded hip belt, sternum strap and load stabilizer straps. The zippered side water-bottle pocket is also for small things you do not want to get lost. All these available in the Model 29 only.

As light as 9 pounds and the storage area dimensions are 16x29x12.25 inches.  All of these features can be found only at EagleCreek.com.

Enjoy a Vacation in the Rocky Mountains

With 52 weeks in a year and only 2 or 3 weeks of vacation time off from work, it is important to plan your time wisely so that you can make the most out of your getaway. For starters, you must decide what type of vacation you want. If you are someone that seeks adventure, but also peace and quiet at times then you may consider making the Rocky Mountains your next vacation spot. There are many perks of taking a vacation to the Rocky Mountains because of the variety of things you can do.

Take a Road trip to the Rockies
Many people can attest that the best part of a road trip vacation is the road trip itself! If you have never taken a road trip before, don’t worry, it is easy to find all the tips you need to succeed. If you are traveling to the Rockies from a few states away, don’t miss out on enjoying the uniqueness of every state by flying instead of driving. Pick a few places in each state that you can visit without detouring from your route much and I can guarantee you that it will be one of the most exciting things you will do! If you are feeling spontaneous, don’t search for places to stop ahead of time, but look for billboards on the highway for interesting places to go! You will be surprised by how many unique places you can find without searching on Google.

Buy a timeshare
One of the best ways to enjoy your vacation is to buy a timeshare with family or friends. For example: while searching for a place to stay, you may find that the Welk Resort timeshare cost fits your budget perfectly. When buying a timeshare you can split the total cost while enjoying the benefits of having a home away from home whenever you desire. Owning a timeshare is relatively easy to maintain and it is more cost efficient than buying a vacation house on your own. You also have the possibility of buying a timeshare with strangers. I know that it might seem scary, but in reality you would be splitting the cost with people that are seeking to enjoy the perks of the timeshare as well. This means, that you won’t have to worry about them trashing the place because it will be a vacation home that they have invested in, too.

Go Hiking
The best part about being in the Rocky Mountains is the amazing view that you will get every time you walk outside. If you are someone who enjoys nature, then consider spending a portion of your time in the Rocky Mountains hiking. Hiking is a great way to test and build your endurance. It is also a great way to explore, have fun and get into shape! Another perk is that you can turn your hiking trip into an educational lesson by teaching yourself or your kids about the different animals, trees and plants you may see while hiking. You can find lists of the different types of species online and make a scavenger hunt out of it as well!

Go Skiing or Snowboarding
There is nothing like skiing in the open mountains. There are many resorts in the Rocky Mountains that make skiing safe and enjoyable! After skiing in real mountains, you will wonder how you ever lived without it! You can take lessons if you are a first timer and who knows, it just might turn into your new favorite hobby!

Enjoy the rivers
The Rocky Mountains are a great place to go fishing however, that is not the only thing that you can do in the rivers. You can enjoy water rafting, swimming and a whole list of fun water activities. Many of the state parks can supply the equipment that you need for a reasonable price as well.

Go camping
While it is nice to have a timeshare to come home to, you may also enjoy camping for a few days out of your trip. You can camp in the wild or in your timeshares back yard but either way, your experience will be completely rejuvenating. You can build a fire the old school way, tell night time ghost stories, eat marshmallows with hotdogs and sleep under the stars or in a cozy tent. An added bonus is that spending a few nights without using electronics will bring you and your family or friends closer together.

All in all, a vacation in the Rockies is a very thrilling experience if you plan your time wisely. The spontaneity of road tripping, the excitement of experiencing the outdoors and the security of knowing that you have a timeshare in one of the most luxurious places in the country will make waiting for your vacation worth it.

Our Awesome Family Experience at The @GreatWolfLodge in Colorado Springs

Our family has been really looking forward to attend the Grand Opening of the Great Wolf Lodge in Colorado Springs. The special event took place just last weekend and we all had such a great time that we can’t wait to go back for another Weekend Getaway.

When we checked in, they gave us gold bracelets that we used as a key to get into our hotel room and to enter the waterpark. This was so convenient knowing we would never forget or lose the key to our room, especially when we visited their incredible Waterpark.

Our daughter wanted to sign up for the MagiQuest before doing anything else. We were all given special ‘magic wands‘ that are used at kiosks located in easy to access areas. We saw so many kids and parents playing the game and enjoying the unique experience of the game like we did. There is even a high scores list shown on a special MagiQuest channel on their TVs in their hotel rooms.

Then, we played some Miniature Golf that was really fun with their customs themes on each hole. After golf, our daughter really impressed us by reaching the top of the climbing wall,the Rustic Ridge Climbing Wall, on her first attempt.

Enjoying the #climbingwall @greatwolflodge #gwlcosprings #prochnowstravelingadventures #sp

A photo posted by MomGlenz (@momglenz) on

Next to the climbing wall is an obstacle course that looks challenging for kids and even adults. We were a little nervous watching our daughter at first on the elevated Howlers Peak Ropes Course that has different types of challenges to move from point to point, but she did great and made it look easy.

For our dinner, we were really impressed with their custom made pizzas at Hungry As  A Wolf. Also, it’s important to mention the signs we saw in their restaurants advising to let their staff know if any guests have any allergies. This is obviously a big focus for their kitchen staff and chefs so families have the piece of mind they deserve when they are away from home.

At the end of our first night after seeing a gorgeous sunset over the Rocky Mountains and Pikes Peak, they held a Story Time in the main area for kids that includes a visit from the Clubhouse Crew who are animated characters that steal the show.

Nightly #storytime @greatwolflodge #gwlcosprings #latergram #prochnowstravelingadventures #kids #sp

A photo posted by MomGlenz (@momglenz) on

The next day we were planning to mainly spend time at their huge indoor waterpark. This waterpark has two slides you go down one at a time and two other slides you ride with one or more other people.

For my hubby, this was his favorite part of the weekend. He said the slides were such a blast he could ride them over and over and still want to ride them again. It was great to have fun with our daughter in all of the different water areas, the wave pool and of course, the slides!

It was so convenient to have a snack bar/cafe right in the water park called Buckets Incredible Craveables. We stayed in the waterpark from mid-morning until late in the afternoon. Then, we went back to our comfortable room with a huge TV and great views to relax until dinner.

Their Loose Moose Family Kitchen has a very impressive presentation that I have never seen at a any buffet before. The food looks and tastes like a five-star restaurant.

During our second evening of enjoying their Family Adventures, we took a break so our daughter could attend the Scoops Kid Spa. She got such a kick out of being pampered with lotion, lip gloss, scented hair spray, a sash that says, “Princess” and a dazzling crown she was able to take home.

Afterwards we received a bag of rocks and sand at the Olivers Mining Co. We took the rocks and a sifter to their ‘stream’ and sifted out the sand to uncover the precious rocks and stones. Our daughter loved matching the stones to the pictures on the card they gave us that shows what each stone is called. At the end of our visit, we realized we didn’t get to visit their bowling alley because we were so busy with all of the other activities including the arcade. So, we decided the bowling alley would be first on our next visit.

This is a must visit experience for any family or any other group gathering for meetings, family events or any other special occasions. Our family is already talking about when we should schedule our next visit to the Great Wolf Lodge in Colorado Springs.

Hand Luggage Necessities When Traveling Long Haul With Kids

screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-7-49-09-am

Credit

You might think that your kids will be okay on a long-haul flight. After all, airlines now put individual TV screens on the backs of each seat. And that means your kids will be able to watch movies and TV shows throughout the whole journey, right? Well, i an ideal world, that would be the case. But I bet your kids will get bored after their second movie! And don’t think they will sleep throughout the entire journey either. After all, would you be able to sleep for twenty hours straight?

One thing is for sure, your kids will get very bored throughout the long-haul flight. So it’s important to pack some fun things for them in your hand luggage. Not only that, though, but you will also need to pack some other practical things. Not sure what you need exactly? Here are my long haul necessities.

screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-7-49-18-am

Credit

Tablet

These days, it’s perfectly fine to use your tablet and smartphone on a plane as long as it is in flight mode. It’s a good idea to have your tablet with you for when your kids are bored with watching films. That way, they can start playing their favorite games. Sure, some airlines provide computer games, but I’m sure your children would rather play their favorites on your tablet! Remember to charge your device fully before boarding the plane. Otherwise, your children could end up very bored and annoyed!

Headphones

Most airlines will hand out free headphones to all its passengers. However, these are never any good. You will find that it is much better to take your own headphones. Especially if they are noise-cancelling ones. That way, your kids won’t be disturbed in the middle of their movie or game! Not sure which are the best for kids and travel? Dextro Audio explains about some of the best brands on the market.

screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-7-49-24-am

Credit

A Change Of Clothes

Accidents can happen at any time, but they are a lot more likely to occur on a plane! Especially if you are eating your meal during a period of strong turbulence. For this reason, it is a good idea to take a change of clothes onto the plane for your kids. If anything does happen, you can always take them to the toilet and get them changed. This will make the rest of the flight a lot more comfortable for them. No one wants to sit in a sticky sweater for a few hours, not even your kids!

Sweets And Snacks
There will be a lot of food available from the airline, but it is a good idea to take some of your own food on board for your kids, especially if they are picky eaters! It’s a good idea to pick snacks that are easy to pack and won’t make too much mess. You should also think about taking candies on board. These can help bribe your children whenever you need to persuade them to do something and don’t want to risk a tantrum!

5 Tips for Traveling Outside the Country

Are you planning an international trip soon? If so, here are some tips to keep in mind before you jet out on your next adventure.

1. Limit Social Media Announcements
It’s sad to say, but burglars’ ears perk up when they catch wind of a vacation announcement. Avoid making huge public statements about your trip on social media, and limit the number of pictures and posts you create during your trip. You’ll have plenty of time to upload photos and memories when you return. You don’t need the whole world knowing when your home will be vacant and vulnerable. Ask a trusted neighbor to keep watch of any suspicious activity and message you if anything seems out of the ordinary.

2. Don’t Overpack
Do you easily come down with the “just in case” syndrome while packing for a trip? Avoid overpacking and include only the necessities. You’ll appreciate the lighter load and have less to carry around with you. Consider the climate, culture, and activities you have planned while adding clothes and supplies to your suitcase. You probably won’t wear as many outfits as you think. Plus, if you seriously need something when you get to your destination, you can always purchase it there and support the local economy. There’s no point in overstuffing your bags.

3. Research Local Dos and Don’ts
The last thing you want to do when you travel to another country is offend all the residents. For example, if you’re an avid fan of the thumbs-up, research whether such a hand gesture translates directly. Also, look into mannerisms such as bowing and hugging, policies on tipping at restaurants, pedestrian laws, and how to politely address strangers. You may stick out like a sore thumb no matter how well you memorize the local customs, but you can minimize tourism angst by assimilating to the communication styles of the populace.

4. Take Care of Your Health
No one wants to sit next to a sick person on an airplane. Take good care of your health during the weeks before your departure so that you prevent the spread of illness during travel. Plus, traveling can present challenges for your immune system, especially in airplanes where space is tight and air is recirculated.
Prior to traveling, make sure all your medical records are up to date in the event you need to provide documentation or proof of vaccination. As the University of Cincinatti reports, electronic health records are more widespread throughout the globe to help minimize diseases and provide the best possible treatment plans.

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-3-16-14-pm

5. Sign Up for Travel Alerts
An article posted by USC recommends that you keep tabs on travel warnings such as disease outbreaks and risky weather patterns. You can register with the federal government online by providing your email, phone number, and travel destination. If there are any important safety or health updates, you will receive a notification with the details, severity of risk, and recommendations for handling the alert.

All Aboard!
Most of all, relax and enjoy the ride! Travel is a wonderful adventure so long as you plan ahead. Protect yourself, your health, and pay attention to travel alerts so that you’re fully prepared and safe.