Showing posts with label Family Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family Life. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

If You Give Your Husband a Kiss....

I fell in love with Leah Heffners "If you give your husband a kiss" article and I wanted to put my own spin on it for this time in my life. My hubby works long hours, we live on a hobby farm, own a home business, home school three kids, have a special needs son, and try to keep up with everything else that makes up this life we live.... but I still love kissing my hubby and nestling my head under his chin....
So here is my version...

If you give your husband a kiss, he’ll probably want a hug to go with it.
You’ll nestle your head under his chin, and just breathe him in.
The smell will remind you of when you first started dating and you didn’t want to be anywhere else but nestled under his chin.
You’ll think back on some of your favorite first dates – ice cream, long walks, holding hands, and late night talks.
Before you can get too carried away, a child (or dog) will probably interrupt you, breaking apart your hug.
You’ll open your eyes to see dishes that need cleaned up, kids waiting for your attention, and the million other tiny and enormous things you do every day.
You’ll see homework that needs finished, the floor needing swept, the bills to mail, and beds that need made.
You’ll see marks on the walls and mountain of laundry and the inch thick dust bunnies.
You might be so overwhelmed, you won’t know where to start.
You’ll see all the ways your life is different now than it was when it was late-night dates and ice cream runs.
So you’ll take a deep breath, whisper a prayer, take a drink of tea, and just start on something.
You’ll get so caught up in what’s going on around you, you’ll miss talking to your husband before he goes out the door.
You’ll start to tell him you love him, when you notice someone spilled water on the floor.
After you mop up the floor, you’ll wash your hands, and notice your wedding ring.
Your wedding ring will remind you of your wedding, and the man that you married.
You’ll think again of all the ways life is different now than it was when he slipped that ring on your finger.
And then you’ll think of all the ways it’s still the same, just like when you nestled your head under his chin.
You’ll hear the door to the garage shut and realize your husband’s off to complete his tasks for the day.
You’ll realize you don’t want to miss giving him one more hug before he gets too busy.
So you’ll run outside, barefoot, looking like a hot mess.
He’ll smile because he thinks you’re beautiful, and you’ll still not understand how much he means it.
You’ll probably smile back, trying to pick one out of a million things you could say.
Instead, you’ll decide to give him a hug.
And chances are, if you give you’re husband a hug, YOU’LL want a kiss to go with it.
 NOTE: You can read the original article at Life Around the Coffee Cup.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Little Girl Who Broke My Heart...

While my son, QW was in ICU of the Children's hospital, we were moved to the ICU Burn Unit due to the regular ICU being under staffed. We ended up staying in the ICU Burns Unit for 4 1/2 weeks out of the five weeks that we were in the hospital.

We came to like and know most all of the burn unit staff and some of the patients..... including a little (3 or 4 yr old) girl called Miesha. Oh, my goodness, she was the cutest little thing! She was already there when we arrived and was still there when we left. She was burnt from head to toe and could hardly walk or talk when we first met her, but every day she got a little bit stronger. 

The kids in that unit would do their walking therapy in the hall. Miesha would stop and wave at our sons door when she did her walking therapy and my son and I would stop and wave at her door when he did his walking therapy. 

Some days you could hear her just scream and scream when they did dressing changes. Other nights you could hear her little voice crying for her momma. Most of the time, she was alone in her room. In the five weeks we were there, her mommy (who looked to be in her teens) only came 3 times. Her grandma came 2 times. The nurses said no one came to see her the first two weeks she was in the hospital. 

My heart broke for her. 

The child life specialist would take her stuffed animals and toys. The music therapist would play and sing Disney songs for her. The nurses would put in movies, and would put her in a wagon and bring her out to the nurses desk so she would have someone with her. They would paint her nails and dress her up in little sun dresses and rock her to sleep. But, they also had a job to do and couldn't be with her all the time.

The only photo I have of the little girl who stole my heart.....
 taken on the day my son was discharged to come home.
The last day we were at the hospital, we had taken my son down to the child life zone and the child life specialist brought Miesha down also. She saw me across the room and came right to me, arms open wide, and gave me the biggest hug....

I wished right there I could've brought her home with me; burned, scars, feeding tube, diaper, and all.... she had won my heart and tears started running down my cheeks....

I pray for that little girl every time I think of her, for healing, for someone in her family to step up and love her, but also for her to know the Lord, and to know her worth someday. 

She will never know the impact she had in my life or the unspoken love I have for that black headed, brown eyed, dark skinned, little girl in my heart.

So, although she will never know... there will always be a middle aged, white woman, work from home, stay at home wife, and homeschooling momma of three, living on a hobby farm in East Central Indiana, praying that God will be extra close to a little girl named Miesha and surround her with love.

PS. I think she stole a little piece of my hubby's heart too... 

*We went back a month later for my son's checkup and to see Miesha and taker her a book, but she had been discharged, and by hospital policy they can not  give us any info about her. I may never know what happens to her, but I will always remember her and pray for her from time to time.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Planning a Graduation Party

Our beautiful daughter, Faith graduated from High School this Spring - so I wanted to have a graduation party to recognize that accomplishment... only problem was, trying to keep it simple, and not spend too much.... here's what I came up with....

Our theme was blue (her school colors), gold, silver, black, and white with pink peonies for a touch of elegance.


The Guest Table - 
We had guests sign a JENGA block with a message. Picture frames hung on the wall. A Vase of flowers, a card box, and a basket for the JENGA blocks on the table. We also had a quiz about the graduate for guests to fill out. You can see the quiz here.

The Gift Table was pretty simple - it was the top of a garage cupboard... I glammed it up with a sign and flowers...

We had her diploma, more pictures and some of her artist work (paintings and drawings) showcased in a bookcase.

Faith Through The Years - On one of the garage walls, I posted 8x10 pictures of our graduate from a baby to her senior year. I used gold stars to write her age on. And used cutout lettering above.

Another section of the wall had a picture of the graduate, along with an Inspirational Speech printed out. You can read the speech here. (This was my hubby's contribution!)

The Food Table was decorated in blue and white table clothes with gold doilies. We hung gold, white and blue table clothes from the ceiling to hide more garage stuff. We hung paper lanterns, paper fans, and blue paper swirls above the tables. 

Our Menu was simple....
We had a Cheddar Cheese ball, Dried Beef Cheese ball and crackers, Mixed Fruit, Assorted candy, and Vanilla and Chocolate cupcakes. I also made a layered cake to use as a center piece.... we sprayed the cakes with gold color mist. I used clear plastic serving dishes from the Dollar Tree.

For drinks we had fresh garden mint tea, chocolate and regular milk, and bottles of water. I purchased the milk cartons from the public school and bought 'Class of 2017' labels for the water bottles.

The one thing that my daughter wanted most, was a Photo Booth/Selfie Station. I bought a room divider, hung a sign, and set a basket of props on a chair beside it! For props, we had a mustache, bow tie, masks, boa, top hat, sun hat, sunglasses, necklaces, leis, #DONE, and a chalkboard sign. I bought skewers and hot glued the masks, mustache, and bow tie myself.


The tables were covered in blue table clothes with confetti. We bought a helium tank and had balloons around the garage in several places and tied to a pole by our lane and at the walk in door. 

Overall, I thought the party turned out pretty much how I imagined it to be.... the only regrets I have is that I wish we would have had more people show up (out of the 90 invites, we only had 40 guests). And I wish that I would have taken more and better pictures....

Most of our party decorations were purchased at Party City.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

5 Best Household Hacks

There are some 'household hacks' that I think just about every body has heard of by now, like heating a bowl of lemon water in the microwave before cleaning it and it will wipe off effortlessly. But then, sometimes as I'm using a household hack, I think to myself, I wonder if people know to do this, because I love it so much!

So, today I'm sharing 5 of my favorite household hacks....

1. Upside Down Laundry Room Towel Rack
How many times do you have a wet rag with no where to put it, so it ends up on the washer, counter, floor, or flung over the hamper to dry until laundry day? Well, I don't know about you, but at our house we go through a lot of wet rags.... I had hubby screw in a towel rod upside down under the laundry room cabinet. It is the best thing ever! Now we hang the wet rags up, and when they're dry, I toss them into the hamper. Having this in my laundry room has made me a happier person!

2. Spinning Spice Rack Pampered Chef
I used to have the little spice rack shelf where every single time you reached for a spice bottle, about 3 or 4 other ones would fall over, creating a domino effect and they would all come falling out. Every. Single. Time.
Now, if I had a huge kitchen with lots of drawer space, I'd love to have the ikea spice rack drawers to lay my spices in. But since I have a modestly small, (just right for me size kitchen), I absolutely love my pampered chef spice rack spinner! (PS. If you need a great Pampered Chef lady.... Rose is awesome! And, no, I don't get any perks for saying that) but please let her know that I sent you her way!

3. Plastic Shoe Boxes For Medicine Cupboard
Our bathroom closet used to look like a tornado hit it on a regular basis.... it was chaos to find anything, bottles would fall over, I would end up buying 10 tubes of toothpaste, because you couldn't find the other 6 I had already bought that was hiding out in the huge mess! I took everything out of the closet and bought 6 plastic shoe boxes. Then I sorted everything into piles: slaves and creams, first aid, colds and flu, eyes and razors, teeth stuff, and allergy...... I got rid of anything out dated or no longer used and put each pile into the perspective box, put a label in the front and walla! -Now you can find everything your looking for and the closet always stays clean!

4. DVD Albums
At our house we have 3 kids and 2 adults with vastly different movie preferences. We don't pay for TV, and we don't own any Wii or Ps games or anything like that and do not have a library close by, so for our entertainment - we enjoy watching DVDs. Over the last 10+ years, we have acquire quite a few movies! (Let me insert here that I try to spend no more than $3 per DVD with the exception of season sets). As, you can imagine, I had a whole closet full of movies (both VHS and DVD's). Well, I decided something had to be done, so when our VHS player quit, we got rid of all the VHS tapes, then went through our DVD stash and gave over 70 away.....

Anyway, we were left with still a whole lot of movies, but also ones we like to watch, so I ordered Cd pages, bought albums, and organized the albums by kind. 

Right now our album titles along with the kind of movies are as follows:
Dads (Fast and Furious, Ocean 13, Duck Dynasty, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.)
Moms (Love Comes Softly Season Set, Lipstick Jungle, Fireproof, God's Not Dead, Mom's Night Out, etc.)
Kids (The Fox and The Hound, Secret Garden, Robots, Finding Nemo, American Girl Movies, Horse land, etc.)
Family (Ice Age, Madagascar, RV, Princess Diary's, Flubber, Disney Cars, etc.)
Little House On The Prairie - Complete Seasons Set
Heartland - Complete Seasons Set
CSI - Seasons Sets (we will sell this set after we finish watching it)
Everwood - Complete Seasons Set
Parenthood - Complete Seasons Set
7th Heaven - Complete Seasons Set
Sex in the City - Complete Seasons Set and Movies 1 & 2 (don't judge - its my own personal secret indulgence.)
Gilmore Girls - Complete Seasons Set (another favorite of mine)
Christy - Complete Season Set

This system has made things so easy and the best part is, it has given me back my closet. I can now keep all our movies in the bottom of an end table!

5.  Cutting Curtains
If you like redecorating your home.... I'm sure you know that it can get somewhat costly. I shop second hand stores, antique shops, craigslist, etc. and try to keep my costs down but the one thing that always surprises me with the cost is curtains! Even a cheap curtain panel will usually cost around $18 - $25..... and that is for just one panel. Well for two windows, you'll easily have $80 just in curtains.... While $80 for curtains might not be much for some, for me, that is a whole lot of $$$!

So, in stead of buying 4 panels for the 2 windows, I only buy 2 panels. I measure and cut the panels in half. Then I hem them up where I cut, restitching the rod pocket and guess what? I now have 4 panels!! A word of caution: I only do this for windows that I am using either a blind, shade, or sheers in, as I am just using the panels for decoration. Here is the girls room, that I just made last week.

So, there you have it.... I'd love to hear some of your favorite household hacks in the comments!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

How Well Do You know The Graduate Quiz

Here she is.... Our oldest daughter, Faith Dahlia... a graduate of the class of 2017! ..... We are so proud of her!

We had the following quiz at her graduation party....

How Well Do You Know The Graduate?

What is her middle name? Dahlia

What is her favorite color? Blue

What is her favorite ice cream flavor? Chocolate

What is her favorite holiday? Thanksgiving

What is her biggest pet peeve? Tardiness

What is her favorite food? Fish

If she could go anywhere in the world, where would she go? Ireland

What was her favorite subject in high-school? English (funny side note - she hated English in grade school and had to take 4th grade English three times!)
What is her dream job? Writing or Acting

What shoe size does she wear? Size 7½

What is her favorite book genre? Fiction

What super power would she choose? Invisibility or Flying

What is her favorite movie? Lord of the Rings

How many musical instruments can she play? Four - The violin, piano, ukulele, and guitar  
How many States has she visited? Twenty-Two

What is/are her favorite animal(s)? Horses, Dogs, Cats

What US State would she like to live in? Washington State

Where was she born? Greenville, OH

How old was she when she started riding horses? Four years old

How many times has she flown an airplane? Three

What is/are her favorite hobby(s)? Writing and Drawing

Where did she volunteer at for 3yrs? Redkey Veterinary Clinic -  Redkey, IN

Where would she like to go to college? College of the Ozarks, Missouri

What was her 1st published newspaper article about? Saving Grey Wolves

What is one thing she wants to change in the world? Hatefulness

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Tuesdays With Morrie - What a Great Book!

"The last class of my old professor's life took place once a week in his house, by a window in the study where he could watch a small hibiscus plant shed its pink leaves.  The class met on Tuesdays. It began after breakfast. The subject was The Meaning of Life. It was taught from experience. 
No grades were given, but there were oral exams each week. You were expected to respond to questions, and you were expected to pose questions of your own. You were also required to perform physical tasks now and then, such as lifting the professor's head to a comfortable spot on the pillow or placing his glasses on the bridge of his nose. Kissing him good-bye earned you extra credit. 
No books were required, yet many topics were covered, including love, work, community, family, aging, forgiveness, and, finally, death. The last lecture was brief, only a few words. 
A funeral was held in lieu of graduation. 
Although no final exam was given, you were expected to produce one long paper on what was learned. That paper is presented here. 
The last class of my old professor's life had only one student.
I was the student."
- reading that had me hooked. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I too, wonder why we as people seem to confuse what is important in life. 

Morrie reminded me of my Grandpa Stump, always interested in people and having a smile on his face. 

My Grandpa lived out the last few months of his life at my parents house, where he was surrounded by people he loved. I was privileged to give him his lunch the day before he died and to sit on the porch swing with him, listening to the sounds of nature....

I cherish every memory that I have of my Grandpa!

Here is my Grandpa Stump with my kids Dec. 2013

I think everyone could benefit from reading Tuesdays with Morrie and taking time to contemplate the bigger picture of life. This book will be added to my bookshelf.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Blogging for Books, book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Three Loves and Lessons Learned

It's no secret that most of my friends growing up were boys....
Aside from my sisters, I have only had two extremely close girlfriends in my life.... Carla and Suzie - one when I was younger and one as a young adult, - the rest were all guys. 

I'm not sure if I liked hanging out with the guys more than girls because I was a tomboy myself, or because most girls are just too much drama, and drama has always stressed me out! 

While I could name off a whole list of guys that I considered my friends over the years... there have been three guys who not only were my best friends at the time, but whom I also loved....

I came across the following article the other day and while it may not be true for everyone, it is definitely true for me.....
It’s been said that we really only fall in love with three people in our lifetime. Often our first love (his name was Joshua and I really thought we'd be together forever!) is when we are young. It’s the idealistic love—the one that seems like the fairy tales we read as children. We enter into this love with the belief that this will be our only love and it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t feel quite right, or if we find ourselves having to swallow down our personal truths to make it work because deep down we believe that this is what love is supposed to be. Because in this type of love, how others view us is more important than how we actually feel. - It’s a love that looks right, even though many times, you really don't know what love is yet. 
The second (my 1st husband, Jim) is our hard love—the one that teaches us lessons about who we are and how we often want or need to be loved. This is the kind of love that hurts, whether through lies, pain or manipulation. Our second love can become a cycle, oftentimes one we keep repeating because we think that somehow the ending will be different than before. Yet, each time we try, it somehow ends worse than before. Sometimes it’s unhealthy, unbalanced or narcissistic even. There may be emotional, mental or even physical abuse or manipulation—most likely there will be high levels of drama. This is exactly what keeps us addicted to this storyline, because it’s the emotional roller coaster of extreme highs and lows and like a junkie trying to get a fix, we stick through the lows with the expectation of the high. With this kind of love, trying to make it work becomes more important than whether it actually should. - It’s the love that we wished was right.
And the third (my loving hubby, Stephen) is the love we never see coming. The one that usually looks all wrong for us and that destroys any lingering ideals we clung to about what love is supposed to be. This is the love that comes so easy it doesn’t seem possible. It’s the kind where the connection can’t be explained and knocks us off our feet because we never planned for it. This is the love where we come together with someone and it just fits—there aren’t any ideal expectations about how each person should be acting, nor is there pressure to become someone other than we are. We are just simply accepted for who we are already—and it shakes to our core. It isn’t what we envisioned our love would look like, nor does it abide by the rules that we had hoped to play it safe by. But still it shatters our preconceived notions and shows us that love doesn’t have to be how we thought in order to be true. It’s the love that just feels right.
Maybe we don’t all experience these loves in this lifetime, but perhaps that’s just because we aren’t ready to. Maybe the reality is we need to truly learn what love isn’t before we can grasp what it is. Possibly we need a whole lifetime to learn each lesson, or maybe, if we’re lucky, it only takes a few years. Perhaps it’s not about if we are ever ready for love, but if love is ready for us.
And then there may be those people who fall in love once and find it passionately lasts until their last breath —the kind that leaves us wondering if we really know how to love at all. Someone once told me they are the lucky ones, and perhaps they are. But I kinda think that those who make it to their third love are really the lucky ones.
What it really comes down to is if we are limited by how we love, or instead love without limits. We can all choose to stay with our first love, the one that looks good and will make everyone else happy. We can choose to stay with our second under the belief that if we don’t have to fight for it, then it’s not worth having—or we can make the choice to believe in the third loveThe one that feels like home without any rationale; the love that isn’t like a storm—but rather the quiet peace of the night after.
And maybe there’s something special about our first love, and something heartbreakingly unique about our second…but there’s also just something pretty amazing about our third. The one we never see coming. The one that actually lasts. The one that shows us why it never worked out before.
I have been asked if I would do things differently if I could change my past.... my reply has always been and still is "No!" My past has made me who I am today. I wouldn't change a thing. I have no regrets. I'll always care for my first two loves, but my third love- he has my heart and is my world!

Thank you Stephen for being my love..... I wasn't looking for you, but I'm so blessed that you are mine! 

"You found parts of me I didn't know existed and in you I found a love I no longer believed was real." - Unknown

*Please note: The article was originally written by author Kate Rose and was published by: elephant journal. I have edited parts of the article. You can read the full article here.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Talking With God Book Review

Talking With God
By: Adam Weber
5 Stars

I love, love, love this book!!! The style of writing, the simple truths, the practical lessons, the humor, the realness. It's a great book!

Prayer seems like it should be so simple. Yet, when it comes to actually praying, often it feels awkward and complicated. I mean... what should you actually pray about? What do you say? Is there anything I should or shouldn’t say? Do you have to speak out loud?

Then comes the craziness which is life. Between work, changing diapers, walking the dog, unread emails, trying to keep up with our neighbors... and the laundry, who has time to pray?

The truth is, prayer is simple. It’s like talking. Talking with a good friend. And the best part? Our God can’t wait to talk with us.

I have always loved South Dakota... the Badlands are one of my most favorite places, and we've also been to Sioux Falls, Falls Park and the Corn Palace in Mitchell.... if I'm ever in South Dakota again, I'd love to visit Embrace Church and meet Pastor Adam Weber in real life.... 

This book will definitely be added to my book shelf.

You can purchase the book here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Bloggingforbooks, book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

When your Family Isn't Your Family Anymore

I grew up as the middle kid out of seven. There are 6 yrs between my oldest sibling and me, and 9 yrs between my youngest sibling and me. There were 2 boys and 5 girls. I have very fond memories when I was little.

 I remember our family trips.... I loved playing the car game with Dad at night while everyone else was asleep..... it was my favorite part of traveling.

 I loved going to the auction barn with dad -especially if we come home with a baby lamb or other animals.

I loved the wintertime when Mom would read stories, with all of us kids piled up beside her on the sofa.

We spent a lot of Sundays at G'pa Stumps house- playing games and eating popcorn and ice cream.

I loved spending the night at my G'pa Fricks... G'pa had two nicknames for me... 'Goldilocks' and 'woodchuck'.

I loved going to church, singing at the nursing home, and bible study- because it meant that I would spend time with my best friend- she was great. I loved sleeping over at her house.

I especially loved Christmas when all the aunts, uncles, and cousins would spend the whole weekend at Grandpa's house....

Growing up, us kids were never close, but life was good... we played outside, rode our bikes into town, played with the neighbor kids, and worked hard. We lived in the country and had 15 acres to roam. We loved finding treasures in Dads junkyard.

When I was 12, it all changed. My parents took us away from our church, our friends, aunts, and uncles.  We stopped spending Sundays at G'pas house.... our family was strained. Us kids didn't get along.

Through my teen years, I really struggled to be connected to anyone. I ran away from home at the age of 13. My closest sister moved out of state when I was 14. My oldest sister married and moved to MS. My older brother moved into his own house. I hated my three youngest siblings....  with 6 and 9 yrs younger than me, they always got on my nerves. My parents moved out of state and I moved into my first efficiency apartment at the age of 16.

Life drastically changed... over the next few years I had very little contact with family. My best friend deserted me. The church that I had grown up in wanted nothing to do with me. I was an outcast to pretty much everyone, but especially my family - my parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins. I got pregnant, got married, had step kids, moved a lot, and got divorced.

Then life changed for the better. I got saved, made new friends, met an awesome guy, (my hubby) and got married.

Through all of this, my family was mostly absent... I saw my parents once (sometimes twice) a year. I did keep in contact with my sister closest in age by phone for a few years, but she lived out of state and after I got married, she had nothing more to do with me.

Two years after I got married, my parents moved an hour away from us, back to the area I grew up. Most of my siblings also moved back to the same area and we started seeing each other more.

 Hubby and I had 2 more kids and while my parents have always been wonderful grandparents to my kids, my relationship with them has pretty much stayed the same.

All the family gets together for Thanksgiving and Christmas and a few times in the summer.... It's like everyone tries to get along... like they want it to be one big happy family, but in reality, everyone is putting on a front to try to be something that we have never been.

My extended family is no longer my family.... we have all gone in different directions, we don't have much in common with each other, we never did. It's not who we were and it's not what we are now.

Has your family dynamic changed or has your extended family stayed connected?

Please note: I do love my extended family. I will always be there for my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews.... that won't change. 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

15 Ways to Keep Kids Occupied On Long Car Trips

We have taken a few family trips with our kids.... and I have found, if you have some fun things to keep kids occupied with, the trip will be much more enjoyable for everyone! 

Here is a list of idea's that my kids love.... 

1. Camera - I give each kid (I started doing this when my youngest was 3 yrs old.) a camera. Make sure it is charged or has fresh batteries (take the charger along with your overnight bag and charge while your sleeping so it will be ready to go the following day.) I let my kids take pictures of anything that interest's them. When we get home, I delete the fuzzy or blurry pictures and use some of their good pictures, along with some of mine, to make a keepsake book for them to look through to remember the trip by. 

2. Silly Putty - All kids, all ages love silly putty! You can also buy different colored silly putty. Just keep it off of clothing! 

3. Bingo Car Game - this works great for middle school kids that know how to read.... My mom always had these for traveling when I was a kid! We have a few different sets. I bought mine at our local Rural King store. 

4. Water Wow Books - My two youngest kids (ages 6 & 9) loved these! They are no mess and reusable, which I love and water to fill the pens is so easy to come by on a trip! 

5. Figurines - I bought each of the kids some Figurines to play with ( I thought these were cute since our trip this year was to the ocean!) Any figurines would work, as long as it's something you kids are into. 

6. Sponge Ball Shooters - My kids also love playing with these Sponge Ball Shooters - they are perfect in the car, as the foam balls are attached to a string! 

7. Silly Neon Rubbery Monsters and Plastic Magic Springs and Sticky Hands make for fun car toys also. I got these for Our trip out west and the kids liked them. 

8. Glow Necklaces and Bracelets and Finger Lights are fun to have if you are going to be traveling at night. I forgot these for our last trip and wished I'd have had them. 

9. Books - I let each kid pick out a couple favorite books to look at on the trip. 

10. Notebook and Pen or Activity Book and Crayons. Each of the kids had their own notebook and pen to draw with. If your kids won't keep the pen on the paper when using it - this may not be for you. Older kids could keep a journal of the trip if they wanted to.

11. Stuffed Animal - everyone is allowed to take their favorite stuffed animal, although my youngest is the only one that takes a stuffed animal with her now. 

12. Stick Bots - I bought a stick bot for each of the kids. They are pretty cool in general, but the teen especially enjoyed playing with hers using the stick bot app. 

13. Pillows and Blanket - Each kid takes their own bed pillow or a neck pillow (depending on how much room we have) and a small fuzzy blanket. We love the small lap blankets and use them all the time here at home. It makes tired kids feel cozy and helps them to sleep. 

14. Music and Audio Books - We love Sirius XM and have it in our home and our car! No more commercials and no more flipping channels. It's well worth a subscription if you are taking a long road trip! I also check out audio books on CD at our library for the kids to listen to stories. We like Laura Ingalls Wilder Series and Magic Tree house

15. Electronic Game - If your kid has a tablet or DS, a new game for their device will keep them busy - just remember to take a car charger with you. (We have a rule that if we are driving long hours on the interstate, they may play on their games, but if we are sight seeing - the games have to be shut off) - I want them to experience the trip as much as possible! 

  • I usually open all the toys from any packaging and put them in a container for the trip. We have a SUV, so the two youngest have the container between them on the seat and the teen keeps her stuff in a book bag with her in the back seat. 
Other things to do on a trip is to stop and let the kids get out and run around a bit. Take a jump rope, sidewalk chalk, or a ball for them to kick around at the rest stop. Stop for an ice cream cone! 

Always keep a water bottle for each child beside them. I also always put together a basket of snacks for the trip and keep it within reach while we are driving! (See my list of snacks here.) 

Most of all, remember that kids are just that, kids! Traveling wears them out and sometimes you need to give them extra grace on a road trip! Make sure you are making memories!

*Note. I generally don't recommend Dollar Tree toys, because they are cheap and often don't hold up well - but for trips, they have worked out great for our family - the kids are excited to get new toys and I love that it's not costing me an arm and a leg!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Snack Ideas for Long Road Trips

When we are traveling - I like to take our snacks with us. It cuts down on stops and on the cost of buying snacks at convenience stores or gas stations. I try to pack a mixture of sweet, salty, crunchy, chewy, healthy and not so healthy snacks..... I want snacks that are easy and that don't make a huge mess! I try to get snacks that my kids don't have on a regular basis - it gives them something to look forward too and makes the trip more fun! Here we go!

Nuts - honey roasted peanuts, cashews, and roasted and salted almonds are our family favorites!

Fruit Snacks or Fruit Roll Ups

Shaklee Snack Bars - choose from crunchy peanut butter, cherry and almond, chocolate and coconut, or toffee and chocolate crunch.

Snack Crisps - my personal favorite is the barbecue flavored ones.

Beef Jerky

Trail Mix

Raisins - little individual boxes work great!

Starburst Minis - my kids love these and there are no paper wrappers to deal with!

Green Matcha or Pomegranate Energizing Tea (just mix with a bottle of cold water, shake, and enjoy for a great pick me up!

Combos - I like to mix the cheddar and pizza combos together before the trip.

Dried Fruit - Apricots, Banana Chips, Pineapple, Papaya, Kiwi - it's all good!


Energy Chews - a great pick me up for the driver - 

Cheez-its or Goldfish Crackers for the kids

Animal Crackers


Popcorn - sometimes I pop it at home and put into an airtight container. Sometimes I buy the Puffy popcorn. And sometimes, I just take microwave popcorn for a snack after we get to the hotel!

Soda/pop - we usually take a few 16 oz. bottles and split it between us all.

Mini Choc. Chip Cookies - you can get these for $1 at the family dollar store.


Skittles or any candy that you or your family enjoys.

Small individual boxes of assorted Dry Cereal - you can use dry as a snack or use for breakfast at the hotel.

Chex Mix

Little Debbies - swiss rolls, zebra cakes, or oatmeal cream cookies - these are a treat as we very rarely buy them.

Snacks that are better in  a cooler:

Protein Balls - this is a healthy snack you can't go wrong with!

Pudding Cups - I stick with the vanilla, as it is less messy than chocolate!

Cheese Sticks

Frozen Grapes

Yogurt cups or Squeeze Tubes

Juice (try to stick with clear juices that won't stain bad) or Milk boxes/bottles

Always take extra Water Bottles - we love our Shaklee Get Clean Water here at home, but on trips, it's nice to have recyclable water bottles within easy reach that you can toss! If you have room, a small cooler of ice is great also.

Lunch Idea's: If you are wanting to reduce the cost of eating out on a trip - pack a cooler with chicken, egg or ham salad, or lunch meat, cheese, lettuce, and miracle whip. Add a loaf of bread (or round Ritz crackers), a bag of chips, and paper plates and fix your lunches to eat at a picnic table at a rest stop or park.

For Breakfast - keep the cost low by:
1. Mixing up a protein shake or a meal shake for the kids. It's quick, easy, nutritious and keeps tummies full! 
2. We usually always have one morning where we get donuts and milk for breakfast. It's become a family tradition!
3. Buy milk to pour over dry cereal - (don't forget paper bowls and spoons). 
4. My sister always packs an electric skillet and turner and takes eggs to cook her family for breakfast in the hotel room. I personally don't want to cook while traveling so I skip that, but it is a great idea!

I always put these clips in my snack box - they come in handy for open bags. (I also use these at home - they are my favorite bag clips!)

Other things to include are plastic cups (they can be used to drink out of, or as individual containers for snacks), and plastic spoons.

Remember to take wet wipes for wiping sticky hands and a small box of Kleenex. In our SUV - both can fit perfect in the glove box within easy reach.

I also try to include a couple gallon and quart zip-lock bags, plastic grocery bags, trash bag and a hand towel - those things have come in handy multiple times!

Note: We always take our vitamins with us! It helps keep us healthy and feeling good, so that we can enjoy our trip to the fullest!

You can see a list of great ideas for keeping kids occupied on long car trips here!

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