In LA we went to our friends’ beautiful house near Los Angeles over New Year’s. We did many fun things. We hiked, we swam, we shopped, we rented a Mustang convertible and Ellie lost her tooth while we were in Beverly Hills.

One of our most favorite days was when we hiked to the Hollywood sign. On the way, we saw a mini-Hollywood sign that you can only see from the hiking path. Watch out for horse poop along the way! Hiking to the Hollywood Sign

We bowled at the Lucky Strike lanes, Ellie won one game and Jake won two game’s.We went to see the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Kodak Theatre.

We ate at Mario Batali’s Pizza Mozza,, near Melrose. Order the prosciutto. It’s great. Jake had two servings of it. Ellie liked the plain cheese pizza. After dinner, Ellie lost her tooth. We went to Rodeo Drive to celebrate the tooth!

On New Year’s Eve day, we drove to Malibu. It was fun and sandy. It was sunny and we walked along the beach. We had lunch at Duke’s, Jake liked the bar-b-que burger and Ellie like the grilled cheese. The best part is the huge ice cream, chocolate and whipped cream dessert! Our friends had a really fun New Year’s Eve party and we watched the Times Square ball drop on TV.

We went to the Rose Bowl game it was fun! We went to the Rose Parade it was fun! Thanks to our friend DeAnn we got great seats for the parade and the game. We were cheering for TCU and they won. Wearing a TCU hat while sitting in the Wisconsin section was not a hit with the Wisconsin fans.

What a fun trip. Our friends DeAnn, John, Robert, DJ and Nan were wonderful hosts. We’ll be back.

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Fun at Half Moon !!!


We helped baby turtles get back to the ocean
We helped baby turtles get back to the ocean

We went to Half Moon a week ago.  It is a beach resort in Rose Hall, Jamaic. While we were there, baby turtles were born on our beach. The water was rough for a few days and the turtles kept washing back out of the water.  Some nice poeple there helped them find their way back to the ocean.


They have some really good restaurants there like the Sea Grape, Sugar Mill, Il Giordano and the Oleander. I love the breakfast buffet at the Sea Grape because the food is great, especially the egg-white omelets, and the fresh fruit, like the mango. The ladies who makes the eggs and Mark, who does the fruit, do good jobs.

The staff and management are great there!!!  They are nice to kids. Just this year they added a “hype zone” where they have air hockey tables.

Riding horses at the beach in Jamaica

When I go there I like to snorkel, kayak, horse back ride and play tennis.  When I went snorkeling I saw an eel, sand rays, a giant sea urchin and lots of fish.  When we go horse back riding, we go on the beach and the trainers are awesome. My sister likes to ride the pony, Sweetie Pie. I ride the horse named Devito. Tennis was fun. We got tennis lessons.



Sweetie Pie is our favorite pony









We found a giant conch on the beach. We nicknamed him King Conch. He squirted liquid stuff at us. It was gross. At the beach BBQ, I saw conch salad. It made me lose my appetite for a few seconds.

We like the beach BBQ. I thought the Tia Maria sponge cake was divine and my sister thinks it was just OK.  The ribs and crab legs were delicious. The entertainment was great.

Our bike rideThis year my family and I rode bikes all around Half Moon.  We got to see everything there like the Royal Villas, the shopping center and the giant chess board.  When we rode bikes, we’d stop at the store and get bottles of Ting, our favorite Jamaican drink. It’s made from Jamaican grapefruit.

We met a new friend. His name is Phil. We went snorkeling, played on the beach and in the waves and played tennis. 

Jake’s rating: 5 gum balls

Ellie’s rating: 5 smiley faces

All in all, it was a great trip and our parents liked it, too. Anyone would have fun there.


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Fun at Nemacolin

Paradise Pool at Nemacolin

Paradise Pool at Nemacolin

Nemacolin,,  is a resort spread out over 3,000 acres in the Southwestern part of PA. It is a fun place to visit with lots of activities and cool places to stay. Look for Fat Bird, the mascot. Ellie calls him chick-chick.

My suggestion  is to stay at the Chateau on the fifth floor. Up there you get butler service and there is a free, all you can eat breakfast and snack buffet. The employees are really nice all over the place, especially Jackie and Mark and Brian. They put goodies on our pillows at night.

The cool activities when you go there are the Wild Side where it’s a giant arcade and you can bowl. The new spa for kids, Spa Voyage, is very relaxing, according to my sister, Ellie. My mom and dad like the adult spa. You have to check out the Paradise pool. It has a giant water slide and “biggest splash” contests once or twice a day to win free ice cream. Also check out paint ball and archery. You can hike and play tennis, too.

To eat out, I suggest you go to Autumn or Aqueos. Aqueos is a steak house and Autumn has a good kids’ menu, including fillets and good meat balls. If you decide to eat lunch at the pool, I suggest a double-stacker grilled cheese with fresh fruit. 

Exellent tip: look for the Dino Dig and try to get a seat for dinner in front of the fish tank at the Tavern.

We have gone to Nemacolin in the winter and it’s a great place for kids to learn to ski.

Nemacolin is a must-do.

Ratings: Jake gives Nemacolin 5 gumballs and Ellie gives it 5 smiley faces.


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Fun at Fort Ligonier

Fort Ligonier,, located in Ligonier, PA, was built between September, 1758, and March, 1766, during the French and Indian War and Pontiac’s War.

It has an indoor museum with lots of guns and swords and a cool gift shop. When you walk outside you will see a Sentry Hut before you enter the fort’s outer wall.  Then you will see mini cannons that you can pretend to shoot.  There are big cannons too that you can touch. 

You then walk into the inner wall where there are buildings for the soldiers to eat, sleep and get medical help. If you walk straight back, you will see a gun port with lots of cannons.If you look to your right when leaving you see a moat  and to the left is another Sentry Hut but watch out for the bees nest. 

Excellent tip: After visiting the fort you can walk 2 blocks to get some yummy ice cream. 

Fort Ligonier is a must-go-to.Fun at Ft. Ligonier

Ratings: Jake gives Ft. Ligonier 5 gumballs and Ellie gives it 5 smiley faces.

Wishing you excellent adventures!


Fun at Ft. Ligonier

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Guest Blogger: Surf Dude

Jumping into pool at Calistoga Ranch!

Jumping into pool at Calistoga Ranch!

Doing flips and karate kicks.

Doing flips and karate kicks.

Robert’s favorite part of the visit with Jake and Ellie was doing backflips in the pool at Calistoga Ranch — even though my mom didn’t want me to do that.

My other favorite thing was getting a gold fish in the Hotel Monaco, but I wanted to take him home with me.

I liked the Rocket Boat in San Francisco.

Wishing you all awesome adventures — from the San Diego surf dude!

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Fun in Jamaica

Horse-back riding at Half Moon in Jamaica

Horse-back riding at Half Moon in Jamaica

We headed  to Jamaica earlier this year, when the weather is not so great in Pittsburgh. The hotel we decided to stay at was Half Moon,,  in Rose Hall, just outside of Montego Bay. The employees are really nice and you have your own hut to stay in. They have an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet in the morning. We recommend the freshly-squeezed orange juice, the salami, “flipped” eggs, fresh, toasted bagels and fresh mango.

Excellent tip: just ask and the egg lady will make you whatever kind of eggs you like! We prefer just egg whites.

Activities for kids: You have to go to the stables. Horse-back riding is the way to go. The horses and the staff are really nice, especially Trina. The horse I like to ride is Dragonstout. He is a bit crazy. I recommend riding on the beach, but not going in the water with the horse. Ellie rides a pony by the name of Sweetie Pie. Sweetie Pie is kind to children and gives a gentle ride.

You have to try swimming with the dolphins. It’s a great experience because you get to pet and, if you are lightweight, sit on the dolphins. They feel rubbery and smooth and will kiss and splash you.

We like to canoe with my dad. The canoe is just plain out fun. You get to go out in the ocean, a bit, and ride small waves in. You don’t get too wet, unless you fall out.

Ellie Riding Sweetie Pie

Ellie Riding Sweetie Pie

Entertainment for kids: You have to try the beach BBQ along with the owner’s cocktail hour which are held twice a week. Eveything is free at the owner’s cocktail party and last time I went I drank five glasses of Ting. 

Excellent tip: drink Ting! It’s a grapefruit juice soda and it is amazing. I love Ting.

At the beach BBQ, there is different entertainment and shows. Our favorite is the crab races. You can win lots of money by winning the crab race. I won five dollars!

Ratings: Jake gives Half Moon a 5 gumball rating and Ellie gives it 5 smiley faces.

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Fun in Napa

The Golden Gate Bridge Is Awesome

The Golden Gate Bridge Is Awesome

We left San Francisco and drove to Napa. Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge was an excellent experience. My dad likes to stop at every scenic look out and the one going from San Fran to Napa at the Bridge has awesome views. We had fun.

We liked that we had great views of the island of Alcatraz.

After about 1 1/2 hours, we arrived in Napa. The weather was sunny and warm. We were with our mom and dad and some good friends, John, De and Robert. 

The Calistoga Ranch,, is a great place to stay. It is kid-friendly. It has a pool and they sell popcicles at the pool bar. They have hot chocolate in the morning and the kids’s beds are comfy. There are not any grumpy employees. We hiked on two trails that were great. We had a view of a castle. Note: Keep your eyes open for animal poop, small and large, along the trail. Go past where the sign says “trail end” and you will find ginormous pinecones. We brought one home.

Calistoga Ranch ratings: Jake gives 5 gumballs and Ellie 5 smiley faces.Jumping into the pool at the Calistoga Ranch

Make sure you try to get a wine tour at Krupp Brothers Winery We climbed rocks, the wine is tasty and we learned a lot about growing wine grapes. Mr. Nigel was a great host and we even met the owner of the vineyard. Keep your eyes open for giant golden eagles.

Riding on the tram, up and back to the Sterling Vineyards Winery,, is a must-do. The views are spectacular and they give out Capri Sun juices to the kids at the main tasting room.

Napa is a must go to place because there are many fun activities and the weather is great.

Wishing you excellent adventures.


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