Point Vicente Lighthouse


Finding something cheap to do in the Los Angeles area is not easy and then when you do find something that is inexpensive there is often a parking cost that goes with the outing that makes the budget friendly adventure not so friendly. My husband and I discovered something not only free to do, but with free parking as well.

Point Vicente Lighthouse

The Coast Guard opens the Point Vicente Lighthouse to the public the second Saturday of every month (except March, where it is open the 1st Saturday to coincides with Rancho Palos Verdes’ Whale of a Day Festival). There is a small museum inside and you can climb the steps to the top of the lighthouse (children under 7 are not permitted in the lighthouse).

Point Vicente Lighthouse

Point Vicente Lighthouse is located next to the Rancho Palos Verde Interpretive Center and park. The Center is also free and has a number exhibits ranging from marine life to the cultural history of the Palos Verdes peninsula with a special emphasis on the Pacific gray whale. The Center also offers tours inside the museum and lead several hikes each year through out the Peninsula. The park is open daily from dawn til dusk and the Center is open from 10 am – 5 pm. For more information check out their website.

point vicente lighthouse

The views from the cliffs are beautiful and the park is often full of picnic baskets and blankets and people running and playing. This is a premier spot for watching the annual migration of the Pacific gray whale, from December through April. Pets are permitted if on a leash and no fires are allowed. This is a great Saturday adventure for any family.

Free Family Activities in Dayton Ohio

airport-decoration-airplane-1013tm-pic-1319 (2)Here a list of activities in Dayton Ohio perfect for a families on a budget because they are all FREE.

  1. The National Museum of the United States Air Force: A person could spend a whole week inside the museum and you still would not see everything. Free tours daily and the Memorial Park is a great place for a picnic.
  2. Dayton Aviation History: Did you know Wright Brothers grew up and begun learning to fly in Dayton? You can visit the all the Wright Brothers sites for free. The original bike shop (Wright Cycle Company) and the Wright-Dunbar Visitor Center are close together in downtown Dayton. Visitors can also visit the field where they practiced flying (Huffman Prairie) and just up the road is the Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center.
  3. John Bryan State Park: This park has camping, hiking, mountain biking (11 miles), places for picnics and more. If you are up for a longer hike, hike into Clifton Gorge for even more spectacular views. There is dining near by in Yellow Springs or in Clifton at Clifton Mill. Young’s Dairy is also nearby and is a great place to stop for fun and ice cream.
  4. Rails to Trails: With the conversion of train tracks to bike paths there are more than 330 miles of paved trails in the Miami Valley. If you have a bike and a map you have hours of entertainment and can see so many different places through out the Miami Valley.
  5. Five Rivers Metro Park: There are a number of free parks through out the Dayton area. Ranging from farmers markets to fishing ponds to playgrounds.

They are so many activities available in Dayton Ohio for free.

Check out more articles from Amanda at Airman2Mom

7 Thanksgiving Travel Tips

thanksgiving travel tips

thanksgiving travel tips

Ahhhh, Thanksgiving. When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of spending time with loved ones, remembering what we are thankful for and enjoying delicious food. I didn’t always think like this.

I used to go into a panic thinking about Thanksgiving because making travel plans would push me to the end of my sanity and have me seriously reconsider just staying home. Then I started doing some research on

Thanksgiving travel in an attempt to make life easier and prevent me from totally losing it and now I would love to share them with you. Take a look at my 7 Thanksgiving travel tips to stay cool, calm and collected this year!

1. One of the best ways to save is to book your flight in advance. Now, I don’t mean you should book it 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. I’m talking more like 2 months in advance. That’s when you will get the cheapest prices. As you get closer to Thanksgiving, prices will increase.

2. If you can’t afford to book your flight months in advance, then consider flying in the early morning hours on Thanksgiving Day and arriving at your destination in the afternoon. Those will be the cheaper flights because a lot of people prefer to get to their destination by Wednesday night or even earlier because that Wednesday is a busy travel day.

3. Returning home, you will find the cheapest flights on Friday morning or Monday. Friday night through Sunday nights are busier and more expensive. Plan to leave either right after Thanksgiving or wait until the weekend is over.

4. Pack smart to avoid high baggage check fees. If you over pack you can end up spending a lot to check extra luggage.

5. Use the internet to compare prices from all major airlines and get the best possible price you can.

6. Skip the flight altogether and take the train instead. Flying may be faster, but consider taking an overnight train trip. You will avoid the hassle of airport security and baggage checking and save money as well. Train travel is the safest way to travel and also the more comfortable option in terms of room to move around, bringing electronic devices with you and food.

7. Don’t stress yourself out! Thanksgiving is supposed to be a fun and relaxing holiday. No matter how well you plan, expect a few bumps in the road and don’t let them ruin your Thanksgiving.

If staying home for Thanksgiving is not in your plans this year, make the best of your travels. Plan ahead, shop around and don’t let traveling during the holidays get the best of you. Use these 7 Thanksgiving travel tips to make planning your trip and getting to the turkey a breeze!

Exotic adventures top last minute Christmas travel

Zip lining in Costa Rica

Zip lining in Costa Rica

Even though summer has passed, many travel companies have last minute opportunities for exotic adventures for Christmas travel. While some families prefer to spend the holiday at home with family, an exotic adventure can be the perfect holiday gift for the whole family. The memories made on that vacation can last much longer than the season’s hottest gadget.

When it comes to  exotic adventures for Christmas travel, families should consider locales that appeal to their personal likes. Some families prefer to cruise the open waters and discover the expansive beauty surrounding them. For others, an active, rugged adventure exploring the land calls to their passion.

Since the holidays are quickly approaching, time is wasting to book your Christmas travel. Below are options that your family might consider for last minute Christmas travel.

Exotic Adventures, Ideas for Christmas Travel:

Hawaii Christmas Cruises Hawaiian Seascapes Dec. 20-27, Dec. 27-Jan. 3, Jan. 3-10 on the 36-passenger Safari Explorer yacht lets guests explore four islands. This active itinerary includes time for snorkeling, paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking, touring local farms and museums, and even night snorkeling. The 8-day cruise is from $3,595 per person double.

Baja, Mexico, Christmas Cruises. The first is Wild Islands & Treasures of Baja Dec. 20-27, Dec. 27-Jan. 3 on the 62-guest National Geographic Sea Bird. This expedition unites its twin facets: culture and wildness. Guests explore pristine desert islands, rife with endemic species, rare plants and towering forests of cacti, and spot Humpback whales migrating in the Sea of Cortez. The 8-day cruise is from $5,690 per person double.

Cousteau’s Aquarium of the World Dec. 20-27, Dec. 27-Jan. 3 uncovers the area of Dabo Pulmo where French Oceanographer Jacques Cousteau led numerous expeditions in a setting of steep bluffs and sandy beaches. This Baja expedition through marine-life-rich waters aboard the 84-guest Safari Endeavour offers opportunities to snorkel among gentle whale sharks and sea lion pups, and explore the desert landscape explored by Cousteau. The per-person rate for 8 days is from $3,395.   Baja, Costa Rica, Chile/Patagonia, Guatemala, Panama and Peru offer opportunities for both pre-set and on-request land departures that may also include itineraries suited to families. These combine hiking through rainforests, sourcing indigenous wildlife, sometimes whitewater rafting and explorations of archaeology, culture and history.

Peru. the Peru Mountain Lodge Trek Dec. 20-26, Dec. 21-27 Dec. 24-30 Dec. 27-Jan. 2 is the very first trans-Andean lodge-to-lodge trek to one of the ancient world’s most extraordinary sanctuaries: Machu Picchu. After full days of trekking, guests spend evenings unwinding by the fireplace, stargazing and enjoying a comfortable lodge. The 7-day program is from $3,489 per person double.

Costa Rica Christmas Tours. Quest for Pura Vida Dec. 20-28, Dec. 27-Jan. 4, combines the cloud forests of Monteverde and the active Arenal Volcano with the verdant lowland tropical forests of Tortuguero to highlight Costa Rica’s diversity of nature and culture. This 9-day program combining mountains, rainforest and the Caribbean is from $2,700 per person double.


Exotic Adventures for Christmas travel are not for everyone but if your family is adventurous and looking for a very memorable holiday then consider one of the destinations above.cristine-vm-signature


Fall 2014 Homeschool Day at the Mariner’s Museum, Newport News, VA

 Homeschool Day at the Mariner’s Museum



Homeschool Day at the Mariner’s Museum is on October 17th this year from 10AM until 3PM. Plan on spending the whole day as they will have plenty of activities. This is one of the best field trips for homeschoolers in Virginia combining maritime history and science all rolled up in one great museum. . The folks at the Mariner’s Museum are super organized and plan activities for all ages so you don’t have to fret over whether the little ones will have anything to do but you can count on your older students having fun and learning as well.

This year’s theme:

It’s a Maritime World After All. Do you think that the sea influences your life on a daily basis? If you answered “no” you are in for a surprise! Join The Mariners’ Museum as we explore the importance of the maritime world in your life. From the first Thanksgiving to the most recent hurricane and so much more, you’ll discover why it is a maritime world after all!”  

Classes Offered:

Grades: K – 2nd:  Sailing into Thanksgiving   and   Lighthouse Lore

Grades: 3rd – 5th:  Buoyancy and Pirates

                                                                                                     Grades 6th – 12th: Tsunamis and  Hurricanes

Museum Prices:

Early Registration – Until October 10

Members $12 per student/adult
Non-Members $15 per student/adult
5 and Under FREE

After October 10

Members $15 per student/adult
Non-Members $20 per student/adult
5 and Under FREE

Prices include homeschool activities, classes and museum admission. Children 5 and under get free Museum admission and may participate in activities with their older siblings at no additional cost.

These are great prices considering that the early  registration is the same as their regular admission but you get two classes of your choice and extra activities are set up at the museum for homeschoolers. You can register for Homeschool Day at the Mariner’s Museum online here.

Other noteworthy exhibits:

Savage Ancient Seas: Dinosaurs of the Deep   We are super excited about this exhibit. On display are 20 fossilized skeletons or replicas of huge marine reptiles.

Crabtree Miniature Ships are still on display. This was a huge hit during our last visit. Children of all ages are mesmerized by the detail in the miniature ships.

International Small Craft Center I am not sure how we missed this during our last visit but I am definitely going to make sure we explore this exhibit during this year’s trip. This is a collection of 150 boats from 36 different countries. I know my boys are going to love looking at all these boats.

How to get there: The museum is located in Newport News, VA and their website offers helpful directions here and parking is free.

Tips and Tricks: 

  • Pack a lunch. The cafe is small and has a decent selection but we prefer to save money and bring our own lunch. I did let the kids pick out a cookie shaped like a pirate as a reward for good behavior throughout the day.
  • Arrive a few minutes early so you can get oriented and get to your first class on time
  • Don’t forget your camera
  • Bring a cinch sack to put there make and take activities in. Last year we had quite a few crafts and activities to carry and I was thankful for my sack.

Enjoy your day at the museum! Hope to  see you there!

mariner museum 2