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Thrifty Traveler

Camping fun

Camping is one of the most relaxing and inexpensive trips you can take. Recently my husband and I joined some amazing friends for a group camping trip up by Naches, Washington. We had a huge group site right by the water. It was beautiful and with all of us it only cost $20 per family to stay for four days and three nights.

If you are looking to get away for a few days and don’t want to spend a bunch of money then I recommend camping for sure. If you are anything like me and you are more of a glamper than a camper well that’s ok too.

A huge shout out to Fire Cloud Entertainment for the taking these awesome photos.

Happy travels

Kaylee

Thrifty Traveler

Safety for Family Travels

Safety when you travel… a must…

Hi there, As you know I am all for coming up with different ideas and tips to save money when traveling. I can also tell you that I will mostly come up with this stuff when I am traveling and I realize that I have forgotten something. Gurr it is so frustrating. I just recently came back from a trip to California with my family as my husband and I decided to surprise the kids with a trip to Six Flags. This is not a short trip for us as we are about 13 hours away from Vallejo, California. However, with 8 people it is much cheaper to drive down there than it would be to fly. As you can imagine there was a lot of prepping and planning that went into this trip.  I will be honest with you as much as I love to travel I was worried about traveling with all these kids. I was afraid we wouldn’t have enough money or food. I was worried they would whine the entire time and that my husband and I would be so stressed out we would not be able to have any fun ourselves. I am happy to report that none of that happened and we had a great time. 

(This is us on the way out of town)
As you can imagine traveling with lots of kids can be stressful especially when it comes to safety. For my husband and I, we have 7 kids between the two of us. However, my oldest son is out on his own now with his own kids and he had decided not to come on this trip. This brought us down to 6. I am not so worried when it comes to my teenager who is now 17 but all the other guys are 11 years old and younger. Going to a large city like San Fransisco with 5 young kids who get easily distracted you can imagine my mom brain going crazy. Before we left my husband and I sat down with all the boys and explained the do’s and don’ts while we were on vacation and a huge part of this was about safety. Here are a few tips I wanted to share with you that we use when vacationing with young children. 
Tips
Never wander off on your own
Do not talk to strangers no matter how nice they may seem
Do not count your money in public
Always know the safe word
If we get separated stay where you are and we will find you
Do not go swimming without an adult present
Never tell anyone you are from out of town

A few items we also chose for safety was a whistle for the kids to wear just in case. This might sound funny but for us, with a large family, it gives a little extra sense of security knowing that your child could whistle if they were in danger. The only tricky part is getting them to understand they can not whistle it for fun.
Vacationing is amazing and being able to take these trips are memories you will never forget. Just remember to stay safe.

Next year I will be working on and finishing up the third book in my thrifty travelers series which is all about traveling as a family. Stay tuned for that.

If you haven’t started your own adventure yet and bought a shirt I still have some left. Check them out on my website or send me a message to get yours today. 

Here are a few more pictures from our trip. 

Lots of Love 
Kaylee 

Relationships, Thrifty Traveler

Time for a change

It’s time for a change!

Hi, I am super excited to announce the new changes in my business as well as a little sad. I will be closing down Shining Relationships with Kaylee Shadows. First off, I have loved doing Shining Relationships and enjoyed the people I have met and the people I have helped. I think one of my favorite memories is when I spoke at a suicide prevention rally at a high school in Spokane Washington. This is an area that touches my heart and I want to be able to help in. I have enjoyed the many conversations with couples who have needed advice and the people who have come to me to learn more about loving themselves. This is the part that makes me sad. However, I have not made this decision lightly, but I know in my heart it is time. I have been stretched so thin between relationships and traveling that I am not giving myself or anyone the attention that is needed. As much as I love relationships and the work I have done there, I know that I love traveling more. I also have seen that this is an area that I can help people a ton. I can help people travel and take vacations on any budget. I can help those families take their kids on trips they never thought they would be able to. What about the couple who wants to take a honeymoon but thinks they can’t afford it? Yes, they can, and I can help. This is my calling, and this is where I am needed. I am shifting away from Shining Relationships and focusing on Thrifty Traveling. I hope you continue to stay with me through this, but I can understand if this area is not for you. If so, you can either unsubscribe or unfollow my work and there will be no hard feelings. However, if you are interested in great tips and deals on traveling then stay with me. You will notice the change of everything very soon. For those of you who are still wanting relationship stuff I will still be posting stuff on my website www.kayleeshadows.comunder relationships and I will still have my Let Your Light Shine Facebook group that you can join if you haven’t already. My relationship advice podcast with my husband will also continue so you can listen to that or watch it on YouTube. Thanks for all your support and I hope to see you on this adventure as well.

Lots of Love 
Kaylee 

Thrifty Traveler

8 Hour Ghost Town Trip

Whether you are a fan of ghost towns or just a fan of old towns then this trip is for you. Ghost towns are deserted towns with few or no remaining occupants. These are great for history buffs and people who like to see things from before their time. These towns are usually filled with spirit energy and if you are a ghost hunter this is the place to be.

Ghost Towns are awesome and a lot of fun if you are into that kind of thing. Washington State is full of many towns that have been abandoned or small towns that have very little life left in them.

If you are up for a drive then this 8-hour road trip would be perfect for you. This ghost town map has been circling around for years but for the first time you will see up to date photos and details of these ghost towns, so grab a friend and some snacks and hit the road.

There are seven locations to visit on this trip and it will take roughly 8 to 12 hours depending on your starting location. This can be done in one day or split into two days if you prefer. If you are going to camp over for a night then be sure to go in the warmer months because some of these locations are close to Canada and very cold during certain times of the year.

Being that these are ghost towns you will need to use Google Maps to find them and it would be wise to print out or save pictures of the trip because there will be many times you will find yourself without service during this trip. Be safe and travel wisely.

Ready or not, it’s time to find some Ghost…Towns…

Govan Washington

Your first stop if you are traveling along Highway Two is Govan. This town used to be a ranching community in the 1800’s. This town is basically deserted with only a few people left there. It is also surrounded by fields and many farmers. There are a few structures including abandoned houses, a post office, and an abandoned school that is frequently visited by a crow. This town has a super creepy feeling especially around the school house. If you look under the front entrance of the school you will find a special wooden memorial box.

Sherman Washington

The second stop is Sherman which is only 15 miles from Govan. This town used to be a great place to live back in the late 1800’s, but eventually was abandoned. There is still a beautiful standing church and cemetery there. Take a stroll through the cemetery at the top of the hill and see what is left of this town.

Bodie Washington

Photo by Fire Cloud Entertainment

Your third stop is Bodie which is completely abandoned but still has quite a few standing buildings left. Bodie used to be an old mining town in the late 1800’s. There are many log buildings still left but watch for bears as they leave their tracks all over. This old town has a creepy feeling as you walk through but it is a must see on this trip. As you leave from Bodie to head to your next destination you will see quite a few old building a long the way. This is one area that you may lose signal at, so make sure you have your map ready for you will miss the turn to Chesaw.

Chesaw Washington

You are about half way done with your ghost town adventure and your next stop is Chesaw. There isn’t much to see in this old town as there are only a few buildings standing. This is one place you can drive right through on your trip as there isn’t a whole lot to see. There are some people still living here and making use of the old buildings, so this is a great place to get that old town feel in.

Molson Washington

This is your 5th stop along this trip and by far the best town out of all seven. Molson is very close to the Canadian border. This town was a big deal in the early 1900’s and the town developed well. It was short lived and eventually the population fell to 12. This town has been made a historical site and even has a open museum. There are pioneer buildings and old artifacts that you can touch. They even have turned the old school house into a museum that is open 7 days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Nighthawk Washington

This is the sixth stop along the way and just like Chesaw this could be left off your map as well. This small ghost town now has a population of 10 and there isn’t a whole lot to see. This town was once a hopping place to be back in the 1900’s but now it just has a few old buildings and you will leave with the feeling that you just trespassed on someone’s land. If you do decide to drive through here, remember that people are still living here and probably outside.

Dyer Washington

You made it! This is the last stop along the way before you head home. However, you might just want to head home and not stop at this one. There is not much left here as the old buildings that used to stand have now been blown down. This town is hard to get to and has many dirt roads. If you decide to stop you will see a bunch of old pottery and old metals, as well as a few standing buildings.

You did it! Time to go home and relax from the trip through Washington. There are many more ghost towns to see and visit all over the country. Are you up for it?

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5 Rules to being a stepparent

Being a stepparent can be exhausting and hard. It isn’t a job we ever thought we would have or even wanted. However, that all changes when we marry someone who has kids. Sometimes you will get lucky and have great step kids and other times you will not. We have all seen those snotty kids who are screaming in the store and throwing a tantrum because they didn’t get a toy they wanted. Sometimes this kid even belongs to us…eek! The difference is when you’re the parent you can put a stop to it. I remember when my oldest son was about 3 years old and I told him he would get a toy if he was good, while I did my shopping. He did great but as it came time to pick said toy, he couldn’t decide which toy he wanted. I explained he only got one and he threw a fit because he wanted two toys. He started to cry and scream at the top of his lungs so I did what any rational mother would do, I picked him up and put him over my shoulder and walked out to the car. There was no toy that day.

Most of us have been there with our kids but when it comes to step kids all the rules change. You will not feel the same connection with these kids as you do your own and that is ok. Do not let anyone tell you anything different. Eventually this may change but, in the beginning, you will have a different feeling and that is ok. Just remember how important it is to make these kids feel loved.

If you are would like to watch the video on the 5 rules you can do that here…

However, if you are the type of person who prefers to read it then here are the 5 rules, I give you today.

Rule One…. Be Loving…

Photo by J carter on Pexels.c

This is very important as children need to know that they are loved. This situation has not been easy for them and they need to know that you love them and welcome them. Remember that you just joined their family not the other way around.

Rule Two… Be Open…

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

This goes hand in hand with the first one. Be open to them so they know they can trust you. Keep your promises and let them know you will be there for them as well.

Rule Three… Don’t force your way in…

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This is really important to remember because the more you push the more, they will pull away. Don’t come in and try to be their parent or replace one of their parents. That is not your job. As a stepparent we have to realize that our roles in their lives are different. Let them come to you.

Rule Four… Don’t put down the ex…

Photo by Vera Arsic on Pexels.com

The kids don’t need to hear you trash talking their parents. This will not make them like you, and they will get defensive and hurt. Keep those feelings away from the kids and out of their earshot.

Rule Five… Don’t talk about money to the children…

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Money is something that we deal with as grownups and the kids don’t need to hear that one of their parents was late with the child support or not using the child support correctly. If you think that you are not getting what is fair, then you need to work that out with your ex and leave the kids out of it. If you can’t come to terms, then allow for the court or child support office to determine what is a fair amount. This is not the child’s problem.

Remember that this situation is different and fragile. You are blending families and kids sometimes don’t understand why that is. Stay calm and have patience and things will develop on there own.

A couple of great step-parenting books I recommend are…