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Archive for November, 2010

Cyber Monday: Do Good, Build a Village, Maybe Score the Best Christmas Present Ever!

November 29th, 2010 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

Passports with Purpose has raised $40,ooo towards their goal of building a village in India, but they still have a ways to go.  In the midst of your online shopping stop by the Passports With Purpose website and make a donation on behalf of yourself or someone on your list.  The odds are great, and you can win some marvelous trips and travel gear.  If your special someone wins, but sure that they promise to invite you along ;) .

Here are some of my favorite prizes:

Travel Gear

What Boundaries Travelis offering a waterproof Kodak Video Camera.  I could have used this last time my family was splashing in those awesome Las Vegas pools.

The World is Calling is offering a Wireless 3G Kindle.  My ultimate vacation pleasure is taking some time to read a great book.  I don’t even mind the airplane ride if I can be reading ;) .  This is my dream travel accessory.

Desperately Seeking Rootbeer is offering a 3G Apple  iPad.  I can’t remember the last time I didn’t bring my laptop on a trip, and this would really lighten my load.

Mom and Dad Getaways

Big Island on the Cheap is offering a Hawaii Getaway.  A three night stay in an ocean view room would be marvelous.  Apparently plane tickets to Hawaii are cheaper then they have ever been, so this is a great time to visit.

My friends at The Vacation Gals are offering a  3-night Stay at San Juan Marriott Resort, Puerto Rico.  Now that would be a great way to practice my Spanish!

Best Family Travel Advice is offering a five night stay at any Paradise by Marriott resort.  I’ve been dreaming of a getaway to somewhere warm and tropical.  Haven’t you?

Family Fun

My friends at Trekaroo have secured a two night stay at any Homewood Suites in North America.  It sounds like Homewood Suites would be perfect for a traveling family.

Mother of All Trips scored 2 adult and 2 child Go Cards.  Use them here in San Diego and enjoy most of the cities major attractions.

Of course,Family Adventure Guidebooks is  offering the ultimate LEGOLAND adventure package.  Four passes to LEGOLAND, four tickets to the Museum of Making Music, and a $200 credit.

About Hotelclub:
HotelClub is a world leading global accommodation website offering hotel and accommodation bookings for up to 12 months in advance, listing hotels in cities big and small, from hotels in New York City to budget rooms in Amsterdam. Established in 1996, HotelClub provides consumers with over 69,000 accommodation choices in over 7,300 cities worldwide throughout 138 countries. HotelClub is a truly global offering with its services available in fourteen languages. The company operates three websites –, and

Happy Trails,




Happy Thanksgiving from Family Adventure Guidebooks!

November 25th, 2010 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

Happy Thanksgiving!

 Here’s Jared at Kindergarten Native American Day.  Sometimes the best adventures can be found close to home.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to share it with the ones I love.

Happy Trails,



Passports With Purpose: LEGOLAND Prize Package

November 17th, 2010 by bsmith | 2 Comments | Filed in Legoland, Legoland bargains, Passports With Purpose, San Diego Adventures, San Diego Family Travel

Once again, Family Adventure Guidebooks is proud to participate in the Passports with Purpose Travel Blog Fundraiser. Passports with Purpose, is a yearly fundraiser organized by travel bloggers that raises money for deserving non profits throughout the world.  Last year Passports with Purpose raised over $30,000 to build a school in Cambodia.  You can find out more about the this beautiful school built by PWP donations here.

This year the goal is even more ambitious.  We hope to raise over $50,000 in order to build a village in Southern India with the help of the non profit organization LAFTI.   How do we plan to do it?  Well Passports with Purpose has some wonderful sponsors ( BootsnAll, LiveMocha, Round the World with Us, HomeAway, Traveller’s Point, Hostelling International, Quintess, Raveable, TravelPost, and Uptake.) who have given us a big boost towards our goal, but we still have a lot of money to raise.  How can you help?  Bloggers around the web used their connections to secure great travel related prizes.  For a ten dollar donation you can enter a drawing for the prize of your choice.  It’s that simple!  Check out the Passports With Purpose prize catalogue.  Drawings will be held on December 13th to give you plenty of time, to slip your prize under the Christmas tree if you wish!

Because  Carlsbad is one of the most beautiful, most fun, most exciting locations for a family vacation (can you tell I live here ? ;) ).  I have worked with LEGOLAND California,  The Museum of Making Music, and to bring you a fun LEGOLAND getaway for four.  The winner of the Family Adventure Guidebooks LEGOLAND prize pack with receive single day Sealife Aquarium/LEGOLAND hopper passes for four.  They will also receive four tickets to the nearby Museum of Making Music.  In order to make sure you have a place to stay during your LEGOLAND Adventure you will receive a $200 Hotel Club credit at  You can use this for one night in an upscale property or two or more nights at a more budget oriented choice.

You have until mid September to use your prize passes, so do your Christmas shopping at the LEGOLAND gift shop, stop by the Carlsbad Flower Fields in the spring, or upgrade to a  LEGOLAND water park ticket for a nominal price and  float down the river on a LEGO raft.  The possibilities are limitless!

I’ll also throw in a PDF copy of The Unauthorized Legoland Guidebook  to help you find some great local restaurants and other nearby kid friendly attractions.

The value of this package totals more than $550 dollars!  Not bad for a $10 donation.  Visit the Passports With Purpose Prize Catalogue and click on the LEGOLAND prize pack.  Hope you win ;)

Happy Trails,


P.S. Thanks to LEGOLAND California, The Museum of Making Music, and  for your generous donations.

Here’s more info about Hotel Club:

Whether you are looking to book a hotel in Shanghai or accommodation in Istanbul, has got you covered.” is a world leading global accommodation website offering hotel and accommodation bookings for up to 12 months in advance. Established in 1996, HotelClub provides consumers with over 69,000 accommodation choices in over 7,300 cities worldwide throughout 138 countries. HotelClub is a truly global offering with its services available in fourteen languages. The company operates three websites –, and”


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I’m Going Golfing in The Library Tomorrow.

November 13th, 2010 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

A mini golf fundraiser  takes place this Sunday at the Dove Library to benefit Carlsbad’s Friends of the Library Foundation. Care to join me?  Check out my post on Carlsbadistan (one of the best sources of news about what’s going on in the wild’s of Carlsbad)  for more info.  I’ll be sure to post pictures soon!

Happy Trails,



Photo Friday: Reminders of Our Veterans’ Service and Sacrifice from Coast to Coast

November 12th, 2010 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in San Francisco Adventures, Washington DC

In our travels this year I have come upon several reminders of the service and sacrifice of our Nation’s veterans.  From the US Pampinito and the Jeremiah O’Brian on the pier in San Francisco to the World War II Memorial in Washington DC, you can give your children a chance to learn more about the history of military men and women in service to our great nation.  My uncle’s and Ken’s grandfather served in WWII, and my aunt was an army nurse at the military hospital in Philadelphia.

US Cadet Nurse Corps Recruitment Poster, Smithsonian

The Smithsonian does a great job of explaining the history of our nation at war and giving all of us some sense of the experience of soldiers and the families that they leave behind on the home front.  I think between his visits to the Smithsonian and the war memorials, my eleven year old gained a much deeper appreciation of the sacrifices that soldiers make for our freedom. 

When I was a teenager, one of my friends decided to join the Navy.  I had a very difficult time understanding his decision,  I didn’t want him to put himself in harms way even in service to his country.  Now that I am older and wiser, I have a deep and abiding appreciation for what our soldiers do and the sacrifies that their families make.  They are my friends, cousins, and neighbors.  They are mom bloggers holding down the home front while their husbands are deployed.  They are moms and veterans who have turned served their country  and now have settled down to raise their children.

Today I pray, for the kids who must cope with a parent deployed, for those risking their lives for us every day, for the soldier trying to reach out to the locals and make life better in Afghanistan, for those who have been injured or lost their lives in service to their country.  I also pray that our leaders make wise decisions and do everything they can to bring peace to this troubled world, so our soldiers sacrifices will not have been in vain.

This year, try to include a visit to a military memorial or historical site in your travels.  Remind your kids of the importance of freedom and the sacrifices that others have made on their behalf.

Happy Trails,




State Park Blog Rally Wrapup: How We Move Forward

November 9th, 2010 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in California State Parks, Uncategorized

Cleaning Up Carlsbad State Beach

Needless to say I’m a wee bit disappointed at voters in the State of California.  We have passed up a golden opportunity to improve access to our state parks, attract more tourists, and preserve these natural treasures for future generations.  That said, I was amazed by the overwhelming support for California’s state parks throughout the blogsphere.  Thanks to Delicious Baby, Trekaroo, and Traveling Mom for hosting blog roundups and twitter parties to rally for this important cause.  Thanks to all the other bloggers who shared their love of state parks through blog posts.  I treasured every one.

This week I found myself asking, “How can we continue to support our state parks in the midst of these trying budget times?”

Here are some thoughts:

Visit California’s State Parks!

California’s politicians aren’t going to consider this a budget priority unless they see that the majority of Californians visit state parks on a regular basis.  So, go to the beach, take the kids camping or hike through the redwoods.  Make California’s state parks a family destination.

Do Service Projects

One of my family’s favorite things to do is go clean up our local state beach.  My son’s cub scout troop does this twice a year.  In my study of the state parks issue, one thing that stands out  is the dedicated service that thousands of Californians perform for their state parks.  The volunteer docents in costume at Wilder Ranch State Park made for one of our most memorable state park visits ever!

Donate a Symbolic $18 to the California State Parks Foundation.

Visit the California State Parks Foundation  website to make a donation or buy a membership.  Some levels have pretty great perks.

Stay Informed and Inspired

In addition to the California State Parks Foundation, I have found Folks 4 State Parks to be a great place to be reminded of why we advocate for our California State Parks.  Stop by to see some breathtaking videos of Christopher’s state park journeys.

Buy a State Parks Pass

A current California annual day use pass is a heck of a lot more than $18, but it’s still cheaper than a family trip to Disneyland.  Rumors are swirling about dramatic increases in day use fees in order to fund the parks,  so buy your California State Parks Day Use Pass now.  Prices range from $90-$125 depending on the parks that accept the pass.

Once again thanks for all the blog love for California State Parks.  The rally is over, but the crusade must continue ;) .

Happy Trails,



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To do list for today: Vote Yes on Prop 21!

November 1st, 2010 by bsmith | 2 Comments | Filed in California State Parks, State Park Sundays

Well, I’ve been blogging in support of California State Park Intiative for almost 10 days straight (though I did take the weekend off), and I’m plum tuckered out.  I’m headed to the polls in the morning with my kids to drop off my absentee ballot.  I’ve done everything I can possibly do.  Now it’s your turn.  Get the word out to your friends by e-mail, twitter, facebook, and phone.  Be sure you cast your vote as well. 

Take a minute to watch this beautiful, award winning video “21 Reasons I’m Voting Yes on Prop 21″.   California Native Christopher Grant Ward took two roadtrips visiting and filming over 100 California State Parks.  His video is an eloquent reminder of why our parks need to be preserved. 

Visit and read their Proposition 21 FAQ.  It will address any concerns you may have about voting for Prop 21.

The  Travel Bloggers for State Parks Blog Rally may be coming to a close, but hopefully tommorrow a new day will dawn for California State Parks.  Looking foward to some state park road trips with the kids this summer.

Happy Trails.  Don’t forget to vote!



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Traveling Mom State Parks Twitter Party Tonight! 6pm PST #TMOM, #SOS Parks

November 1st, 2010 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in California State Parks

I am so grateful to receive such generous response to my call for a State Park Blog Rally last week.    Bloggers around the country featured state parks posts.  You can find many of these fantastic posts at the blog roundups at  Trekaroo and Delicious Baby .

With election day fast approaching,  we need to have one more big push to get out the vote on behalf of California State Parks.  That’s why I am so excited that Traveling Mom has generously offered to dedicated their weekly Monday Night twitter party to the subject of state and national parks.  If you haven’t checked out you really should.  They have lots of great content. Favorite posts that I read this morning were  The Guilt Trip the joys of traveling with sick kids and posts by  Middle East Traveling Mom who is relocating to Dubai to teach English with three kids in tow! 

Click on the highlighted links for details for tonight’s  Traveling Moms State Parks Twitter Party  as well as twitter party etiquette  for twitter party neophytes like me.

Talk to you tonight!

Happy Trails,


P.S.  During the twitter party Traveling Mom will be giving away PDF versions of my Unauthorized Legoland Guidebook  as well as some of My Busy Kit’s great apps.

PPS.  Love this FAQ about Prop 21 by our friends at Folks4State Parks.

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