Travel Planner


     As you know from reading our blog, we are a family who love traveling and learning by sharing new experiences together.  Growing up, my parents put a lot of emphasis on being outdoors and traveling which helped me fall in love with travel at an early age.  It is a passion and love that I shared with my husband when we met, and now with our children.  I have traveled all over the United States and to 24 countries (…and counting) around the world, so I’ve seen a lot!  One of my favorite things to do with my family is to dream up our next family adventure, plan it out, and make it happen!  This has resulted in so many great family trips and such wonderful memories that I truly cherish. 

     When my youngest child entered school full time, I thought a lot about what I wanted to do.  I decided that I want to work as a travel planner helping other families imagine their next adventure and turn those ideas into actual trips… trips that create memories, trips that strengthen family bonds, and trips that create stories that will be told over and over.  We live in such a fast paced, hectic time…traveling together as a family provides such an amazing opportunity to spend quality time together.  Family members are focused in the moment and not on all the other demands and stresses that tug at us each day.  I love the idea that I can share my passion and love for travel to help other families grow stronger.

     All the trips that we have taken as a family have taught me so much about how to plan family vacations and how to make the absolute most out of them.  I have used many different agents and services and have experienced the best, the worst, and everything in between.  All experiences have helped prepare me for this next chapter in life to be a great travel agent!  Now that I am a travel planner for Twice asNice Travel, I very much look forward to sharing everything I have learned from my own travel experiences (the good…the bad…and yes, the ugly!) as well as help others plan and take trips that will create wonderful memories for themselves and their families.   I look forward to helping you plan a vacation that is an experience you will always remember and leaves you excited, thinking about planning your next trip!  

Please contact me through my Facebook page with any questions, tips, and/or suggestions.

Tips for the Harlem Globetrotters in Philly

Our family had a fabulous time at the Philadelphia Harlem Globetrotters show held at the Wells Fargo Center, as well as our lucky winner.  Here are some pictures we captured during the game...




Sorry, I coudn't get this photo to rotate for whatever reason?



Gunn Family Tips:

  1. Make sure to bring cash for parking outside of the Wells Fargo Center (it is pricey so if you can, take public transportation).
  2. Let the kids dress up in their favorite basketball jersey.  If they are wearing a favorite they might not ask for a pricey Harlem Globetrotters jersey at the game.
  3. Don't miss out on the half-time performances.  Local dance troops and schools put together some great acts.  Must be so exciting for them!
  4. The game is constantly keeping the kids and audience engaged so ENJOY!

Do you have a tip you would like to add?





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Easy Lemon & Pepper Salmon




What you will need:
  • Salmon fillets - frozen or fresh
  • McCormick Lemon & Pepper (to taste)
  • Lemon juice 

After you make this salmon at home, you may never want to order salmon at a restaurant again.  This is a delicious and fast recipe that will be sure to impress your guests.

Preheat our oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, spray with cooking spray, and place your salmon on top.  This recipe works well with frozen or fresh fillets.  If you are using frozen, I like to let my salmon thaw slightly while the oven is preheating.  

Generously shake the lemon & pepper seasoning over (and under the fillets). Make sure to give them a good coating.  Then squeeze a little lemon juice over the fillets and you're done!  Bake your fish for approximately 20 minutes (give or take depending on whether you are using fresh or frozen salmon). 

TIP: To know if your salmon is ready, use a fork to pull the salmon apart in the center.  If it is ready, the inside will be a pale pink and the "meat" will flake off to the touch of your fork. 


I love to serve my salmon with a side of asparagus or green beans and long grain wild rice.

 Enjoy!



Easy Homemade Applesauce



This recipe has been adapted from Fabulessly Frugal.  It is super easy and only FIVE ingredients.  For my family of five, this is devoured in one sitting, so I'd suggest doubling, so you have some leftovers. 

6 Gala apples - peeled, cored, and sliced 
1  cup water
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon


Peel and core your apples, slice, and toss into cooking pot. Add the water, sugar, and cinnamon. Mix the ingredients and then cover and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes (or until apples are soft).  Let stand about 5 minutes with the lid on.  

Pulse in your cuisinart (or blender) until desired texture. We like ours a little chunky.  Serve warm or chilled and top with a little extra cinnamon. 

Enjoy!



Monster Jam Show Photos and Tips

Last night our clan went to the Philadelphia Jam Show at the Wells Fargo Center.  It was our youngest son’s first time, so we were super excited to see his reaction when the monster trucks entered the arena.  As we were walking along the concourse, L heard a “rumble” and he bolted into the arena.  It was adorable.  

If you haven't been to a show before, there are dirt bikes and quads that typically ride around the pit while the crowds wait for the trucks to begin, as well as in between monster truck show acts.  The kids will never be bored!  Here are some pictures we took last night, followed by our family tips.  We’d love to hear from you if you have an additional tip!










Here are our family tips:


  1. Make sure to bring ear protection. It gets super loud inside with the engines rumbling so you will want ear plugs or the “ear muff” protectors. They do sell them there but can be pricey, so we find it’s better to pick some up at your local hardware store.
  2. Bring coats. It can get chilly inside since they leave the door open for the monster trucks to enter in and out of the arena. Some people even bring a blanket depending on the location of seats. 
  3. The souvenirs can be expensive so if you think your kids will want a new monster truck at the show, buy one at Target before you come and surprise them with a new truck when you get there. I will note however, the soft monster trucks (like stuffed animals) are really cool and I have not seen them sold in any of my local stores…they sell for $20.        
  4. If you are attending the Pit Party, bring your own memorabilia (poster, book, hat, etc..) with you and ask the drivers to sign! It is always fun to meet the drivers, see the faces behind the trucks. My son loved the pit party when he was younger. He was in awe of the massive trucks and tires.


Delaware Saengerbund Oktoberfest

It is that time of year again....school has started, nights are cooler, leaves are beginning to fall off the trees, and we patiently await the tapping of the first keg of Oktoberfest beer!


After having been to the official Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany and celebrating Oktoberfest in Dusseldorf, Germany, I can honestly say the Delaware Saengerbund Oktoberfest is the most authentic Oktoberfest we have attended in our area.  We initially learned of this Oktoberfest through my husband's co-worker.  He is a member of a German band that participates in the Oktoberfest every year.  We have been attending this fest for the past several years thus making it an an official Gunn Clan tradition.  Not only do we enjoy the German liters of beer and delicious food, but the kids have a blast listening (and dancing) to the German music, and of course, the carnival rides.

Hours: The Oktoberfest opens on Friday (10/19) at 5:00 p.m. and closes at 11 p.m. Hours on Saturday are 12 to 11 p.m. and Sunday 12 to 6 p.m. Admission: $8.00 per person.

Our tips for DE Oktoberfest:

1. For the cost of entry, you can have access to unlimited rides but come prepared with cash for food and beer tickets.  You may bring your own stein for beer and/or  purchase one there (they do bring in novelty gifts and souvenirs straight from Bavaria).

2. Arrive early on Saturday or Sunday if you are coming with the family.  It can start to get a little crazy later in the day as you can imagine.  

3. There is a small playground for the kids if you want to let them play while you try to eat.

4. You will see many people dressed in their Lederhosen or Dirndl dresses, so if you have one hanging in the closet, dust it off and sport your Bavarian attire.


Here are some pictures....Prost!
     
                                                  












Old Forge, Adirondacks


 If you close your eyes and think of an outdoors vacation, the town of Old Forge in the Adirondacks would appear in many a mind.  For the Gunn clan, the trek to Old Forge each July is a rite of passage.  We fell in love with Old Forge several years back and that affection grows with each visit.  This town (and all of the Adirondacks really) has a zen quality about it that exudes calm and tranquility.  The Main Street is welcoming, the residents are friendly and the temperatures are cool.  The entire town has a hip, rustic and non-commercial vibe.  Unlike some places that try to manufacture that image, what you see is what you get with Old Forge.  It is what it projects.  It is committed to outdoor beauty, locally owned businesses and family.

   


There are so many things that we love about Old Forge and the Adirondacks, here are some of our favorites:

  • Old Forge Hardware store – This place is right out of a Norman Rockwell painting.  It feels like you have traveled back in time to the 1950s while you wander around this gigantic store that seems to sell everything. 
  • Swimming in the channel – there is a dock and swimming area within steps of our cabin.  The kids love swimming there and it’s easy for us to keep an eye on them from the yard or deck

  • Enchanted Forest Water Safari  – this amusement park is a unique blend of fairy tale stories, rides, petting zoo, circus and water park.  The kids love it all!
  


  • Old Forge pondThe town’s public beach starts the Fulton Chain of lakes.  In addition to the beach, there is a platform with a diving board in the deeper water, a wooden ship / playground and one absolutely amazing view!     
                    

  • Pied Piper – The only thing better than the ice cream is the view of Old Forge pond


  • Inlet – Small town north of Old Forge that has an old school playground including a "merry go round"(remember those?) and other play areas that you have disappeared from most parks because of liability concerns!

  • Bald Mountain – Hiking to the ranger's tower on Bald Mountain is a must.  The hike is challenging but not too challenging to do with children.  The views along the way of the Fulton Chain Lakes are breathtaking...




  • Bear watching – It’s not uncommon to stumble upon a black bear.  We’ve seen them in trees, in town, on the road.  One year, one even broke into our car to eat some candy that we had mistakenly left!

  • Slickers – This local restaurant has hands down the best French Dip sandwich you’ll ever taste, in our opinion.  We love going on Friday nights to listen to some live music, have a French Dip and share a pitcher of beer.
  • The Strand – Part movie theatre, part museum.  This theatre is so vintage you feel a little hipper just being there.  They are are now digital so if you would like to make a donation, please visit their link!
                                             

  • Adirondack Pizza and Arcade – The games are old and the prizes aren’t anything to write home about but this arcade has a vintage feel as well.  We get the family special of pizza and wings and then let the kids play games for as long as $5 will take them.

We love Old Forge and the Adirondacks so much.

It’s a tradition passed down to our family, from Margie's family, and will remain a part of our family for years to come.

We are a family focused on experience which often times means finding new places to create new experiences.  For us, Old Forge is so special that it deserves a repeat visit every Summer because each visit blends a combination of new experiences with the comfort of familiar memories. 

Old Forge is what other outdoor vacation towns try to be.

Here are a few more photos to share our "ADK vacation" with you...

View from our table looking out at 4th Lake at Northwoods Inn 
(great breakfast, lunch, and dinner)


Grab this paper as soon as you arrive to town...
We have found this to be the best way get all the info. on what is going on in the area.

Ask a local how to find this spring water spot...fill your own bottles off the side of road 
(just down from Bald Mt. parking lot).  How cool!?

Ever seen "bear proof" trash cans?

To read even more about Old Forge, we have made a blog with some more details here:
http://escapetooldforge.blogspot.com/