Travel Tips

Flying with Kids Can Be Fun

I feel like every post I see on Facebook is talking about travel plans – from Nationals/Worlds for cheering to graduations to just family vacations.  Although I love road trips, I do prefer flying when the price is right.

I remember Belinda‘s first trip on an airplane.  She was about 18 months old and we were headed to Florida.  It was a business trip. I was blessed that mom and Belinda got to travel with me.  I scheduled the flight for late at night thinking Belinda would sleep on the plane.  I didn’t want her to disturb the other passengers.  I figured she would be so tired when we got to the hotel, she would go back to sleep so we could all get a good night’s sleep.  WRONG!  She couldn’t wait to explore the airport so we walked around forever before getting on the plane.  She napped on the plane BUT by the time we got to the hotel at 1AM, she was ready to go.  I was not anticipating that she would notice all of the Disney signs on the way to the hotel and want to go right then! Lesson learned and I wish had some of these tips from a fellow blogger:

#1.  Avoid checking bags if you can.  I know that this sounds crazy but a carry-on make things so much easier when traveling with kids.  If they are walking, let them carry or roll their own little suitcase.  It is also a good way to save money if the airline offers free carry-on, plus one personal item.  Combing clothes together helps too since carry-ons can now be quite large.


#2. Check in online.  The more lines you can skip, the better it is. This may seem like a no-brainer but the truth is that many just figure it is easier to check in at the airport.  Some airlines use online check-in as a way to assign seats. The best way to get seats together is by checking in 24-hours prior to the flight ONLINE.

#3. Go direct. Changing flights is always a hassle – flight delays, weather, and then there is the sprint through the airport to catch a connecting flight. Throw kids in the mix, and you’re asking for trouble.

#4. Food is your friend.  I always pack enough snacks to feed a small army, whether we are flying or on a road trip.  Snacks will keep kids occupied and from getting cranky.  Yes, snacks are permitted on the plan so try: pretzels, goldfish, carrots, an apple, nutter butter crackers, or fruit snacks.

f934049236054f818efd6ab7c91246f5  8256359A

#5. Bring your own carseat. Yes, it’s a pain. Yes, they’re bulky and heavy. We made this mistake and didn’t take one.  Add to that, not taking a stroller.  I figured we could just rent one!  I so wish that someone had of told me about the carseat trolley like this one.  It would have made life so much easier.


Now, you have packed for everyone else but be sure NOT to forget about yourself. Grab a book you have been wanting to dive into.  The crossword puzzle you never get to do.  Whatever it is, make sure you have something for yourself to do to pass the time.

Travel can be stressful, so go with the flow.  Remember flight attendants, pilots, and TSA staff are only doing their jobs. They don’t make the rules, delay, or cancel flights. All you can do is make the best of whatever situation arises, and set a good example for your kids.

Do you have any tips for flying with kids? Share in the comments.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th

According to Wickapedia “Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain“. For me, the 4th brings up all kinds of memories that are bittersweet…

Life in Ocean Grove over the 4th of July was a whirlwind of fun and excitement. I can remember many 4th of July parades and bar-b-ques with the family. Belinda was always in the parade in an array of costumes. Costumes were made by me – Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Pocahontas, Peter Pan… are you getting the Disney theme? Yes, we were obsessed with Disney and we wore out many VHS tapes before DVDs came around. Then as Belinda got older, it was decorating her bicycle. Cards in the spokes to make the flipping sounds – okay, am I really showing my age now? Red, white and blue shirts, shorts, hats…

Sitting on the side of the parade route on Main Street waiting for the parade and the barrage of candy that was thrown by the floats as they traveled down the street. Grams worried that Belinda would get too close to the trucks. Belinda hiding and covering her ears as the fire trucks came by – her sensitive ears were always a concern for Grams.

Life in Ocean Grove was fun and has lot of memories for us. I mean there was a time when ALL of us lived in Ocean Grove on Broadway – Edythe, then Grams, Pop-pop & Elsie then closest to the beach was mom and I. Okay, so that was BEFORE Belinda but it was always a lot of fun. Believe it or not, I miss living in Ocean Grove…  this is so off topic.  Yes, I squirreled!

Best wishes for a ThirtyOne-derful day with friends and family celebrating today…

Hope Wissel

Happy Halloween

happy halloween

Halloween, the time of year when we get to dress in costume and pretend to be someone or something else. I can remember going trick or treating when I as growing up with lots of friends. It was a big deal to dress up and collect as much candy as possible. I wanted it to be a fun time for my daughter, Belinda as well but from an early age, this fun night turned into something totally different. We laugh about it now but I know that it has left an impression on her that caused her to dislike Halloween and “masked” people even now at the ripe age of 26.

Our first trip to Disney, Belinda was about 18 months old. I think my mom and I were more excited then Belinda for her first trip on an airplane AND her first of many Disney trips. In a nutshell, Belinda screamed every time she saw a Disney character come near her. She was happy to see them at a distance but did not want them to be close to her. They were BIG, SCARY creatures. To say the least, there are no pictures of my daughter hugging Mickey.

Every Halloween, Belinda dressed in costume and did the trick or treat thing. We did the mall thing sometimes because Belinda wasn’t a big candy eater and the local mall gave out stickers and other items for the kids. Belinda also managed to always get Edythe, Elsie and I to dress up. I can remember one year – we were all ducks. It was rather comical to see 3 grown adults walking around in all yellow sweats with foam web feet and caps made to look like beaks. No, there are no pictures of that fateful night.

Fast forward again when Belinda was trick or treating with her best friend Jen Loder (Otepka). Halloween in Jen’s neighborhood was a BIG deal. The kids dressed in costumes, the houses were decorated and even the adults got into the spirit of things. It was Belinda’s first year spending the holiday in their neighborhood. Rich dressed in costume, came out of the darkness and scared the kids. Now, he did this every year so most of the kids knew it would be coming sometime during the night. No one bothered to tell Belinda about this Halloween tradition. Rich jumped out from behind a tree shaking his chains and dressed in costume. To say the least, Belinda screamed and ran to Jen’s parents who quickly tried to convince her all was well. Rich apologized but it became the talk of the neighborhood how he had managed to scare her. From then on, when Belinda did Halloween at Jen’s, she was watching for him but she was never ready for him to scare her.

Masked people, large characters and scary/ haunted events were on Belinda’s list of things NOT to do which is funny because she ALWAYS watched the “Nightmare on Elm Street” series at home with my friend April when she was young. Great Halloween memories. What are your favorite Halloween memories growing up or with your children? Share them with us or share pictures of your BEST Halloween costume

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!



Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

Monsters University

monsters university

The other night I spent an fun filled evening with some friends from the Entrepreneurial Think Tank for Moms (ETTM) just having some girl time. Yes, there were some kids there but they were off playing in the other room together.  We snacked on Dove Chocolate fondue courtesy of Amy Rundbaken and watched “Monsters University“.

Yes, it is a Disney movie.  Yes, it is geared to kids and done so adults can enjoy as well.  With the help of my ETTM friends, I looked at this movie so different then I would have in the past.  If you have children and saw “Monsters Inc” this will make sense.  If you don’t have children, watch the movie and see if you agree with me.

The story shows how Mike and Sully first met back at Monsters University long before they were employees at Monsters Ine.  Throughout the course of the movie, Mike is told that he will never make it at Scream Academy even though that is his dream.  Sully on the other hand is from a family of screamers and just expected to be accepted into the Academy.  Each experience different obstacles during the course of the movie until they TEAM up to work TOGETHER to reach their common goal.  Mike never let go of his dream even when there seemed to be no hope of reaching it, he didn’t give up – he kept coming up with different paths in the hopes that he would obtain his goal.  I am sure you can guess that both Sully and Mike reached their goals since there was a prequel called Monsters Inc.

TEAM WORK!  Dream BIG!  Reaching for the stars and never giving up!  I know that I have fallen victim to Doubtful Debbie or Negative Nellie and wondered if it was time to give up.  I am sure that I am not the only one out there, right?  Setting your goal, dreaming big and then reaching for it with everything that you have is what this movie reminded me.  My dream is to have the self-confidence and the title of Senior Executive Director with Thirty One.  A BIG dream that is shaken at times when obstacles come up – cancelled parties, lack of recruits, low team sales, etc.  But for me, self-confidence and dreaming big go hand and hand so I need to pick myself up, dust myself off and get back to work.

Take some time to watch the movie and then what is your BIG dream?  Have you put it on hold?  Do you dream and then decide that it isn’t possible so you have already set yourself up for defeat?  Find a mentor, a coach, a friend who is willing to walk with you (maybe even has the same kind of dream) and work together to reach that goal.  You will BOTH be WINNERS!

Share your BIG DREAM with us… once a goal is on paper you will commit to it.  I look forward to seeing you in the stars as we all DREAM BIG and SUCCEED!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

#hope  #hopes31