10 Ways to Save on Your Next Trip to Hawaii

Last year, my then six-old daughter celebrated her 12th visit to Hawaii. However, to her, the Aloha State is more than just a top tourist destination, it’s also home to grandma, grandpa, and a huge network of aunts, uncles and cousins. I kid that she would have been marking trip number 20 if it weren’t so dang expensive to fly from Wisconsin to Hilo. Fortunately, once we land in the “Land of Aloha” we score free room and board. Bottom line: traveling to Hawaii is not cheap. However, there are ways you can save on your next vacation there provided … Continue reading

Convincing a Child He Will Burn

Even though I just wrote about skin tones and summer skin care for my son who is bi-racial with African American features we still managed to mess up on vacation. George did not think he would sunburn so whenever I gave him the sunscreen he said he was putting it on himself. I made sure everyone had all the sunscreen they needed. George thought it was funny that I was asking him to put it on because as he put it “I’m brown I will not burn”. As part of our family vacation we went tubing down the Comal River … Continue reading

Learn While Lazing at Aulani

Last time I looked at Aulani, Disney’s newest (and first) resort in Hawaii the details were still conceptual. Now that Aulani prepares to open its doors at the end of August, it’s time to take another, much more definitive look at what’s sure to be one luxurious hotel. Over the past few months the Disney Park blog has published several sneak previews of the resort. I’ve browsed through many of the recent ones to present a more rounded picture to bring to you today. Aulani will be open to the public and will also contain lodgings exclusively for Disney Vacation … Continue reading

My Mother’s Hand Came Out Of My Sleeve

This year I’ll turn 45. That doesn’t worry me since I’m far healthier than anyone in my family was at my age. My great grandmother died at 73, my grandmother at 63, and my mother at 53. Since I made it past 43, I feel I’ve broken the family curse of each woman dying a decade earlier than the one before. Through exercise, stress reduction, staying busy, and eating as healthy as I can, as often as I can, I have hopes to live longer and look younger than anyone in my family ever has. I’ve been mildly OCD about … Continue reading

Hawaiian Location for Fourth “Pirates” Film

My second and final Hawaii week installment has Disney promising a swashbuckling adventure in Hawaii’s tropical paradise. Executives at Disney have announced that the fourth “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie will be filmed in Hawaii. “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” will begin filming this summer on Oahu and Kauai. It’s slated for release in 2011, likely in the summer. Few details are known yet for “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.” The movie is a confirmed adaptation, in places, of the 1988 historical fantasy novel “On Stranger Tides” by Tim Powers. The main plot point in the … Continue reading

Disney Resort to Open in Hawaii

Because it’s a cold February for most of us (it’s currently snowing outside my window), I’ve decided to name this Hawaii week at the families.com Disney blog. Today and Friday I’ll post articles about what Disney’s got going on in Hawaii, and those of us freezing elsewhere in the country can squeeze our eyes shut and pretend we’re somewhere sunny and warm. First up is Disney’s announcement that in Fall 2011 they will open a resort on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The resort’s full name is Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa, Ko Olina, Hawaii. According to Disney officials … Continue reading

Six Winter Skin Savers

Many people have a harder time with their skin during the winter months than any other time of the year! Here are some tips to help keep your largest organ happy during cold weather. Number one: keep up with your moisturizer… especially in the places where you tend to have problems. For me, I find my winter problem spots are the forehead, the knees and elbows, and the feet. And I’m good about applying lotion to my face after I shower… I’m not always so good about the other spots. And they show it! Number two: keep wearing your sunscreen. … Continue reading

Family Travel: Festive Christmas Displays

Last weekend my family traveled to Madison, Wisconsin, to take in the city’s spectacular Christmas displays. My kindergartner squealed with delight at the botanical garden’s annual gingerbread mansion and holiday train show. She was equally thrilled when we headed over to the State Capitol building’s rotunda to view the stunning 60-foot Christmas tree decorated with thousands of twinkling lights and handmade ornaments. Finally, her jaw dropped when we got to the city’s popular outdoor Festival of Lights event featuring more than 250,000 colorful Christmas lights strung on elaborate moving displays. It was a great way to get into the Christmas … Continue reading

Reading Beauty Labels: What is Urea?

It’s time for another closer look at the stuff that goes into our favorite beauty products. Today’s target: urea. Urea (sometimes known as carbamide) is an organic chemical compound. It is produced by humans and many other mammals, amphibians, and some fish. It is produced when the liver breaks down ammonia and protein or ammonia and amino acids. The kidneys then send urea out of the body along with urine. Urea helps carry excess nitrogen out of the body. Um… sounds like kind of a yucky thing to put into beauty products! But it’s used in cleansers, conditioners, hair dyes, … Continue reading

Reading Beauty Labels: Petrolatum

You may run across petrolatum as an ingredient in some of your favorite skin care products. Or, you may be familiar with petroleum jelly — a staple in many medicine cabinets. Moisturizers in beauty products fall into two categories: humectants (which draw moisture out of the air and into the skin) and occlusives. Occlusives trap water in the skin and prevent it from evaporating. Petrolatum is most definitely an occlusive, reducing water loss from the skin by as much as ninety-eight percent in laboratory tests! Other studies have pointed out that petrolatum can help fill in spaces between skin cells … Continue reading