The Best Las Vegas Itinerary for Kids

Las Vegas Itinerary for Kids
All the travel plans we had for spring break fell through at the last minute, so I decided to hop in the car and take Scarlet on a road trip to Vegas. Las Vegas is amazing for kids, and we had a total blast. And I didn’t have to bother with drinking or gambling, it was all shows, food, and games for us. We packed a lot into about three days, here is my recommended itinerary for families. Prepare for exhaustion, but also extreme fun.

Day 1
-Arrive in Vegas and check into your hotel. We stayed at the Signature by MGM Grand, which was great because it was a suite with a kitchen, a great view, close to everything, and no gambling so no smoky smell. Ask to be in Tower 1 to save yourself some walking distance. The Mirage, the New York New York, and the Mandalay Bay are all great for kids.
-Go for a swim in the awesome hotel pool (the MGM and Mandalay Bay have the best pools with lazy rivers and wave pools, etc.).
-See a show. We saw Love by Cirque De Soleil at the Mirage (the Beatles themed show) and ADORED IT.

Day 2
-Eat a buffet at your hotel. The kids will love it.
-Head over to Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage.
-Cross the street to have lunch and a gondola ride at the Venetian.
-Walk a little further south and stop at Serendipity for crazy ice Cream treats in front of Caesar’s Palace.
-Head back to your hotel for swimming/chillin’.
-In the afternoon, head over to the Bellagio to see the art exhibit and coservatory (amazing flowers) then catch the fountains.
-Spend an hour at the arcade at the New York New York, and ride the coaster if your kids are into thrills.
-Dinner at Rainforest Cafe (my kid loves Rainforest Cafe).

jaime and scarlet in vegas
Day 3
-Have breakfast at Le Village Buffet in the Paris hotel. It’s adorable. Make a reservation so you don’t have to wait on line.
-After filling up on crepes, head up the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Las Vegas.
-From there, grab a taxi or uber to the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay. It’s awesome!
-Take the free tram from the Mandalay Bay to check out the Luxor (maybe see the Bodies exhibit, we passed on that) and/or the Excalibur (maybe see the Tournament of Kings, we had just been to Medieval Times so we skipped it).
-If you dare, take the Las Vegas monorail out to the Circus Circus. You can go to the Adventuredome for rides, or if they just like games then head into the hotel and play at the midway.
-To get your bearings back after all that, drag the kids across the street to the SLS for sushi at Katsu-ya.
-Head back to your hotel on the monorail

Day 4
-Pack up and head to the Las Vegas Natural History Museum
-You may want to stop for the Ethel M Chocolate Factory tour
-Head home!

Bonus, if you are driving to/from the West Coast, stop in Calico Ghost Town. We spent about 4 hours there, it may have been Scarlet’s favorite part of the trip!
Calico Ghost Town


The Unassuming Pot Roast

The Unassuming Pot Roast

This basic bi-atch Pot Roast might not be pin-worthy but since I care more about knocking my sweet little meat and potato lovin’ family back 10 feet with the most amazing smell of garlic, onion, and beef roasting in red wine, broth and fresh herbs than some pretty online food porn (well, sometimes) the Pot Roast is culinary perfection.

I didn’t grow up on the classic recipes of my Irish-American ancestors, my parents were hippies, but the idea of combining fresh and healthy (but affordable) ingredients to create something totally satisfying, comforting, and delicious is totally what I was raised on and I’m happy to pass this way of cooking on to my kiddos.

The Unassuming Pot Roast
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 (3-pound) boneless chuck/pot roast, trimmed
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1.5 onions cut in 1″ pieces
1 cup red wine
3 thyme sprigs
3 chopped garlic cloves
1 (14-ounce) can beef broth
2 bay leaves
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 pounds gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
Preheat oven to 350º.

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat chuck roast with salt and pepper. Add roast to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side and brown all edges.Remove roast from pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, add onion to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until tender.

Return browned roast to pan. Add the red wine, thyme sprigs, chopped garlic, beef broth, and bay leaves to pan; bring to a simmer. Cover pan and bake at 350° for 1 1/2 hours or until the roast is almost tender.

Add carrots and potatoes to pan. Cover and bake an additional 1 hour or until vegetables are tender. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leafs from pan; discard. Shred meat. Serve roast with vegetable mixture and cooking liquid.

Serve with fresh bread, and follow with a Sunday nap.


An Afternoon at The Broad

Broad_JeffKoons_TulipsScarlet, Carleton and I headed down to LA’s new contemporary art museum, The Broad, Sunday afternoon. We were thoroughly impressed, and had a wonderful time seeing some of the greatest artists and artworks of the past century.

Kids always enjoy Jeff Koons. Tulips (above) and the balloon dog were favorites of Scarlet’s.Broad_JeffKoons_BalloonDog

Carleton and I were ecstatic to see Michael Jackson and Bubbles. Broad_JeffKoons_Michael Jackson and Bubbles

Scarlet was fascinated by Julian Schnabel and asked if we could try to create an artwork inspired by ‘The Walk Home’ (detail below). I said sure. I will report back once we do that. Broad_JulianSchanbel_TheWalkHome_detail

I’ve always been a huge Charles Ray fan, so I was excited to be able to snap Scarlet next to this oversize sculpture. I was also relieved that his more, shall we say… adult… work was not on display today. I wasn’t in the mood to explain all that. Broad_CharlesRay

Scarlet was fascinated by this painting. She could tell the women were pregnant, but was disturbed by the exaggeration in their shape, which is a perceptive reaction. We enjoyed discussing the entire room of John Currin paintings. Broad_JohnCurrin_PatchandPearl

Definitely book your space at The Broad if you are in Los Angeles, and while you are downtown you can hit up some of the other spots on our Downtown LA Guide for Families. We ended up having dinner at the recently re-opened Clifton’s Cafeteria which is weird and wonderful and only about five minutes from the Broad.

Do you take your kids to contemporary art museums? I highly recommend it, though I can’t promise they will love it. At one point Scarlet said she was bored. Which is when I lovingly explained to her that being bored in an art museum is not a sign that the museum is boring, its a sign that the person is boring. She laughed at me, spun around with a determined look on her face, and found ten more things to talk about. I firmly believe that even if they are too young for the art to really get in their heads, it still finds its way into their hearts.


How to Sew a Duvet Cover – Stripes or Solids

how to sew a duvet coverA duvet cover is the most practical bedding solution for families, pet owners, and those who like to eat potato chips in bed. Seriously, what’s with the potato chips in bed? Sewing your own duvet cover can be a costly and cumbersome feat but with these tricks you can create perfectly unique and prudent custom bedding.

The easiest way to make a duvet cover is to simply sew together two flat sheets, one for the front and one for the
back. But we wanted a bit more pizzazz. We cut up and sewed together small amounts of designer fabric with multiple flat sheets in different colors and patterns to make our striped duvet.

We’ve provided two ways for you to assemble your desired duvet. As you can see by the chart below, these large dimensions require some creative fabric piecing. For our queen-size duvet cover, we created a striped panel to make the front, and a solid panel to make the back. Of course you can make both sides striped, or solid. The choice is yours!

how to sew a duvet cover