2016 Travel Plans

New year, new places

Continuing on with my 2016 goals, I’d like to share my travel aspirations.  The first two are for sure BOOKED, the others are wishful. 🙂  As with everything, timing and finances will play a role.  Since we’re taking a big trip to Australia to start the year, Brian’s time off will be limited – and because we have some big financial goals, travels we do take will be “beans and rice” in nature!



We’re crossing off a few things on the Bucket List by heading to Australia this month.  We have tickets to the Australian Open, which has been one of  Mr. Yoder Toter’s top choices…and we’ll get to spend Australia Day in Sydney (kinda like the Aussie version of July 4th except THE WIGGLES WILL BE THERE), which has always been on my Bucket List (the holiday not The Wiggles, sorry Simon).  Our trip is also rounded out by Tasmania.  We’re staying in Hobart and we’ll have four days to explore “Tassie.”  I’m thankful Richelle directed  me to this blog, Tasmania is incredible and you should go there now, or I may have missed it altogether.

Alberta, Canada

I’m so completely pumped about going to see Banff and the Canadian Rockies!  We’re not going until October – and maybe even more exciting, this trip is sans kids!!  We had some airline miles that were due to expire so I nabbed a couple seats and we’re off for a quick 4-night getaway.  The Fairmont Lake Louise has been on my Bucket List for ages, so we’ll stay a couple nights there, too.  I’m calling this our 12 year anniversary trip! 🙂



More of Canada

The US Dollar is really strong, saving Americans about 25% on a trip to Canada.  I’m dying to see Quebec City and Montreal, but I’m not sure it’s in the cards for this year as those places would probably require a full week away.  We shall see what happens- maybe 2017?  It’s a 14-hour drive from our city, so I’ve even looked into flying to Boston and then road-tripping from there.


New River Gorge, West Virginia

We’ve driven past this area probably 20 times on our way to the beach, but we’ve never made the stop.  I would like to spend a weekend and stay at Hawks Nest State Park and plus hike throughout the various state parks.

Pittsburgh, PA

I’ve had my eye on Pittsburgh thanks to the Children’s and Andy Warhol museum.  I’ve been watching for a hotel sale via Groupon or Travelzoo and maybe we’ll make an overnight trip.

Western KY/Southern IN road trip

Mr YT brought home a brochure from Marengo Caves while he was out and about in Indiana.  This National Landmark in Southern Indiana would make a nice combo with checking out the West Baden Springs Resort (Ok, maybe we won’t take the kids there).   I think the boys would also enjoy the Louisville Slugger Museum and Louisville isn’t too far across the Ohio River.  Sounds like a fun long weekend.  I think we’ll save the longer road trips for when the kids have their own iPads (#kiddingnotkidding).


OH-10 (by region)

Some of my favorite Aussies refer to Ohio as O.H.- 10.  Who knew that Ohio was so hard to pronounce with that sweet accent?  I digress.

Guys, gas is under $2/gallon.  They are practically GIVING IT AWAY.  There is no reason not to at least see your own state.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park-– done- May 2016!  5 Favorite Spots

Football Hall of Fame (for our 5 yr old world’s greatest football fan)

Columbus Museum of Art (they just did a revamp- haven’t been there since college).

Toledo Zoo and Oak Openings Preserve Metropark

Logan County Transportation Museum and Cedar Bog Nature Preserve

Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve


Have you been to any of these places?  What’s on your 2016 travel radar?


2015 Travel Bucket List updates

Where did we go?

I’m feeling like this year FLEW by.  It is seriously a blur.  2015 is probably not one I’ll hope to go back to (sad, but true) as it definitely had its up and downs, BUT that doesn’t mean we didn’t accomplish some things in the way of travel (we’ll leave all that personal schmuck for another day, you are welcome).

If you check out my 2015 Travel Bucket List you’ll find that I’d hoped to go four places:



Northern Michigan


It’s not quite the lyrics to a Meatloaf song (get it, 2/3?), but we did 3/4!!  And we added in another destination of Fort Myers Beach, Fl!  #winning. Northern Michigan just didn’t fit into the timeline, or maybe I was dreading another long drive after 10 hours each way to Ottawa.  Nevertheless, we’ll table Northern Michigan for another year- probably looking at 2017.

I liked downtown Asheville, but what really took me was the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Biltmore Estate.  Here are my reviews for both:


Asheville and the Blue Ridge Parkway

Yes, you can visit the Biltmore with kids


In May, my mom and I headed to Ottawa, Canada.  The city was so beautiful.  The canals!  The Victorian architecture! And most of all- the Canadian Tulip Festival.  Oh, the flowers!

Here are my links reviewing Ottawa:

Ottawa in Bloom  –I’m here sobbing about how little my kiddos look!   This was only 8 months ago. 🙁 🙁

I also blogged about Ottawa over at Suitcases and Sippycups: A Family Walking Tour of Ottawa


I didn’t blog about Indiana, but I enjoyed a great 24- hour getaway to Indianapolis when I tagged along to my husband’s work meeting.  Downtown Indianapolis really surprised me.  Nice architecture, very clean, and VERY walkable.  I’ll share with you more about Indiana in my plans for 2016.

In November we traveled to Fort Myers Beach.

Here’s a few blogs about our time there (with more coming):

Skimming Through Swampland on an Everglades Airboat Tour

3 Family-Friendly Places to View Wildlife in Southwest Florida


The kids and I were really intentional about spending more time out in Ohio.

We made it to:

MAPS Air Museum in North Canton

Carillon Historical Park in Dayton

Zane Grey and National Road Museum

Blackhand Gorge

The Dawes Arboretum

Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus

Cleveland via Suitcases and Sippycups

Amish Country via Suitcases and Sippycups

These three. When I think I’m teaching them about life, they are showing me what truly matters. They loved the James Garfield Mausoleum. So much they called it “Elsa’s castle.” 😉


I think that’s all!  No wonder this year is a blur.  I’d totally forgotten that we did so much!

Just a few shout-outs-

Thanks to my mom who went to Ottawa with me and also helped out on a couple of the local trips.  She doesn’t get a lot of time off of work, so I know it’s a sacrifice for her to use that time to tag along with this highly-opinionated daughter of hers.  I’m glad we all got some extra time together, on which you can’t put a price.  Honestly, one of my favorite travel memories was being able to stop in Sykesville, Pennsylvania and see my great-aunt and my mom’s two first cousins.  My grandma’s sister is the only sibling left, and talking about my Gran was a beautiful (and bittersweet) ending to our trip.

Thanks to Mr. Yoder Toter (aka Brian)  who willingly supports my favorite hobby (ok, with maybe a little resistance). 🙂  When I look at the destinations here that we traveled to together I come up with memories that I don’t share with ya’ll- I don’t know, do you want to hear about this tired mom flipping out about whiny kids and dense fog as we made our way into Asheville??!  Or when I thought Olen was secondary drowning so I took him to the ER at 2 am??  Maybe how 2/3 kids had strep on the plane to Florida and one puked in my hands? For. The. Love.  I know it’s cliché but we always talk about how travel is about the journey and not the destination.  Guys, I’m growing up right there along with my kids.  As much as I love travel, it takes this mama’s anxiety and magnifies it about 1000x.  It’s a huge blessing and sometimes a curse (have you ever tried to sleep in a hotel room with 3 kids under 5? No, just no).  I hope that any tidbit of info I give is a feather in your cap, and I really hope you never think I’ve got it together.  I’ve had this desire in me to see the world, and now I’m happy to push that cause onto my children (along with a few other worthy causes).

Adieu 2015- it’s been one for the books!



What was the favorite place you visited in 2015? How do you plan where you’ll go next?  Have you ever caught puke (on a plane)?