Traveling Mamas

Inspiring you to explore our world

  • My family is spending Christmas Eve in St. James Parish, Louisiana to witness the bonfires along the levee of the Mississippi River. This Cajun Christmas tradition dates back to 1870 when plantations would light bonfires here and there on Christmas Eve. Today, this humble tradition has become much bigger than a small family gathering. The first time I saw the bonfires was in 1987 on a visit to see the bonfires under construction.

    This year, I’ll be able to share this Louisiana tradition with my own children and maybe we’ll even read “A Cajun Night Befor Christmas” like my mother read to my brother and I when we were younger. While we’re all standing around the levee, watching the bonfires light up the Christmas Eve sky, we’ll be sipping on Louisiana’s Community Coffee and some hot chocolate.


    Can’t see the video? Watch it on YouTube

    This coming weekend will be The Festival of the Bonfires in St. James Parish, where there will be a fair, bands, and vendors with each evening ending with one bonfire being lit. On Christmas Eve is the big show, with bonfires of all shapes and sizes lighting up the levee of the Mississippi River in Louisiana from Gramercy to Lutcher.

    Here are directions the bonfire festivities:

    For The Festival of the Bonfires (December 10,11,12)

    From New Orleans, Take I-10 West to Lutcher-Gramercy Exit (194), Make right on LA Hwy. 3125 to LA 3193. Turn left to festival site.

    From Baton Rouge, Take I-10 East to Gramercy Exit, Travel South on U.S. Hwy 61 (Airline Hwy.) to LA Hwy. 3274 (approx. 7 miles on right), Turn Right on LA Hwy. 3125 to LA Hwy. 3193 (Lutcher Ave.) to festival site.

    On Christmas Eve
    It is recommended that you get into the area before 6:00 PM. The fires will be lit at 7:00 PM. Try spending the afternoon, walking the levee, taking pictures and touring the museum. Parking is available in lots along LA 641. Please do not park in lots that are roped off! There will be a 3 to 4 block walk to the levee. If you are interested in driving through, take LA 3213 to LA 44 (Exit before the bridge). This will take you to the first bonfire. Drive along River Road through Gramercy & Lutcher.

    Have you ever heard of “A Cajun Night Before Christmas” by Tee Jules? Here it is, all animated and recited by Tee Jules himself before his passing.

    Can’t see the video? Watch it on YouTube.

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  • Last year I took my first ski lessons, thanks to SkiUtah.com. One thing I noticed about the fashion at the various ski resorts is that women want to look good both on and off the slopes. I had no idea what type of ski wear to pack for a cold weather destination. Keeping your feet warm and dry after a day on the slopes is important, but there’s nothing wrong with keeping with the current fashion. Here are some of the best apres ski boots that work for both function and fashion.

    teva kiru apres ski boot print zapposTeva Kiru Boot – We love Zappos.com, not just because they’re friendly people, but because they offer great products at fabulous prices. These Teva Kiru print boots will keep your feet warm and cozy when the temperatures drop. The side zipper makes it easy to slide these boots on and the top laces help with taking these beauties off. They not only look fabulous with your apres ski attire, but they keep you upright with their non-marking Spider soles that help grip on slippery surfaces.

    apres ski boots Sorel Cate the Great ZapposSorel Cate the Great Boot – Waterproof construction is important when temperatures are below freezing. Sorel is one of the top brands that keep feet warm and dry in winter and these Sorel Cate the Great will help you look fashionable too. The upper is leather and suede and the recycled inner felt InnerBoot is removable. These boots even fit those with a little bit larger calf, which is sometimes hard to find with taller boots. Be aware that if you are looking for tight ankle support, these boots fit a little loose in that area.

    apres ski boots Keen Charleston Boot 6pmcomKeen Charleston Boot – Not everyone is comfortable wearing tall boots as their apres ski attire. Keen is a classic brand that produces quality products for all seasons. The Keen Charleston Boot boasts a soft, microfleece inner lining to keep your tootsies toasty. These boots aren’t just quality and will keep your feet warm and dry, they are also very light for apres ski boots and will be a welcome respite for your legs after a day on the slopes and the binding fit of ski boots. You can find these boots online at 6pm.com, the sister site of Zappos that offers AMAZING discount prices.

    apres ski boots Khombu Moon Boots Sierra Trading PostKhombu Moon Boots – The Khombu Moon Boots are cute, fur-trimmed waterproof boots for apres ski. They have a faux-fur lining and removable foam-cushioned insole. The rubber outsole is great for gripping icy sidewalks and stepping through snow to get to that apres-ski lunch or afternoon of shopping after a day’s adventure on the slopes. We found this boot and many others at SierraTradingPost.com.

    Apres Ski boots Timberland Crystal Mountain CampmorTimberland Crystal Mountain Mid Pull-on Boots – Timberland is a classic outdoor adventure brand and their winter offerings won’t let anyone down. These Timberland Crystal Mountain Mid Pull-on Boots don’t have that bulky look of Timberland’s classic hiking boots. These are very fashionable for apres-ski adventures. The removable anti-fatigue footbed is an added aspect to these already quality boots. The rubber outsole not only provides traction on slippery surfaces, but it’s also eco-friendly. Campmor is one of the many places to purchase these apres ski boots for women.

    These are just a few of the many apres ski boots available for women. What are some of your favorite brands of winter boots?

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  • Sometimes when I check into a hotel room on a girlfriend getaway or family vacation, I like to listen the personal road trip soundtrack I’ve put together on my portable music device. Hotels are not all created equal with only some of them providing iPod docking stations or mp3 player connections as an in-room amenity. I do have an inexpensive portable speaker case to play music when the family is at the park or I’m sitting down near the pond for some afternoon fishing, however, the gadget is a few years old and it finally gave out.
    iMainGo X portable speaker system for
    I recently tested out the iMainGo X Portable Speaker system and also handed it over to each of the kids to also check out and provide their opinions. My daughter was the first to check it out, claiming that it was now her gadget so that she could listen to the Glee soundtrack and make up a dance routine. We had to wrestle the iMainGo X from her so that my teen son could check it out. He has an iPhone 4 and proceeded to put his phone in the protective case of the iMainGo X and then tortured us on the way to a family dinner with his collection of those annoying commercials about Real American Heroes – you know, the ones that begin “Here’s to you, Mr. Nosebleed Section Ticket Holder”. Annoying. Fortunately, as the mom, I was able to declare his review time as expired and that it was time to hand the iMainGo X back to me.

    The iMainGoX isn’t just portable speakers, but it’s also a protective case for various products, such as the Apple iPhone, Microsoft Zune, or your preferred MP3 player. It does NOT protect the iPod Shuffle, but will work with other electronics such as a laptop, portable gaming systems, Kindle, and even the iPad and other devices with a 35mm connection. I will admit that what makes this portable speaker system with case better than my older system is the ability to control my device without having to open the case. The clear protective covering allows me to use the touchscreen without going through too much trouble.

    This device is powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery which lasts for up to 12 hours. The exterior is made of Neoprene waterproof material (great for the beach or poolside), but as with any electronic device, try to keep it from getting wet. This item comes in black and also in a recently released pink. MSRP is around $75 but can be found online at various retailers for a few dollars less.

    How to Enter: TravelingMamas.com was sent an iMainGo X for review and we also have one for a lucky reader. Just leave a comment telling us where you would take this portable speaker system and what device you would use with it, should you win. Once you leave that comment, you can like us and share this post on facebook or follow us on Twitter and tweet this post for bonus entries. Be sure to leave a different comment for each entry to count. Comments close at 11:59PM EST on December 10, 2010. Contest is open to US residents ages 18 and older.

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  • If you find yourself in a hotel room over Christmas this year, here are some tips on making your hotel room feel a little more like Christmas. My nephew also joins me to talk about his special Christmas “job.”

    Want to submit your own holiday travel tip? Send us a link to your video and we’ll post it here on TravelingMamas.com.

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  • Sunday, the talk around my house was the BCS Bowl Games announcement. My husband and I exchanged words a few times as he kept changing the television back and forth between the show I was watching and the BCS conclusion of selection Sunday. Finally, they finished the announcements. All the games will be aired on ESPN. Every year when I hear the brand name Tostitos followed by the word bowl in these game titles, I want to break out the chips and salsa.

    Here are the list of games, in case you want to plan that surprise BCS bowl game trip as a surprise gift this holiday season:

    Rose Bowl Presented by Vizzio
    Pasadena, California
    Jan 1, 2011  at 5PM EST
    TCU vs. Wisconsin

    Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
    Glendale, Arizona
    Jan 1, 2011 at 8:30 PM EST
    Oklahoma vs. Connecticut

    Discover Orange Bowl
    Miami, Florida
    Jan 3, 2011 at 8:30PM EST
    Stanford vs. Virginia Tech
    See our parking tips for Sun Life Stadium

    All State Sugar Bowl
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Jan 4, 2011 at 8:30PM EST
    Ohio State vs. Arkansas

    Tostitos BCS National Championship Game
    Glendale, Arizona
    Jan 10, 2011 at 8:30PM EST
    Auburn vs. Oregon

    Some tickets can still be found for these events through ticket brokers such as StubHub or through eBay. It’s never too late to plan that amazing dream trip to a BCS Bowl Game. We’ve linked each city to their respective convention and visitor bureau websites to make things a little easier for getting the most up to date local information for these sporting events.

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