Thursday, May 25, 2017

How to Survive a Long Car Ride with Children

A long car ride can be exhausting for anyone of any age. Children are usually have the most difficult time since they are little Energizer Bunnies that can't keep still. Having them belted into a car seat is not easy for them and hence, not easy for you, the parents. I've compiled my time tested list of must haves when taking young children on a car long ride.

  • Portable DVD Player. The power of a good movie will quite your little munchkin down for over an hour! Arm yourself with your kids favorite DVDs and you too can survive your road trip. I personally own (and love) the RCA 7-Inch Dual Screen Mobile DVD System. I have two kiddos so having two screens with the same movie is helpful so there are no arguements over who gets the screen in front of them. Plus, having the screens headrest mounted means the toddler can't drop (or throw) the DVD player. You can buy them refurbished for only $49.95 from Amazon. And if you're a Prime customer like me, you will love this item has Prime shipping. Check out the link bellow.

  • Lovelys. Don't forget your child's lovelys. Having their favorite stuffed friend or their blanky is important for your little one's comfort. Just make sure that they stay safe on your car ride as things often get left at rest stops. Make a rule that stuffed friends must stay in the car. Also, its a good practice to check for your child's lovely before hitting the road after every stop.

  • Mess Free Coloring. Pack crayons over markers or get some mess free markers. My toddler loves Crayola's Color Wonder Mess-Free Coloring Books and Markers. There are so many different character themed coloring books and many different color markers. They even sell a travel case which not only holds everything in place but it offers a coloring surface while in the car seat. My suggestion is to load up on many different books and extra markers. Mess free coloring has kept my kiddos busy during trips which saves my sanity as I know they wont get marker covered hands or faces, you can't put anything past a toddler.

  • Pillows. Even if you plan on staying at a hotel at night, a pillow can still come in handy. Children often nap in car rides, even big kids. If you child is in a booster or a regular car safety belt then it is best to pack a pillow so they can rest their heads. Its not a bad idea for any adult passengers as well.
  • A Cookie Sheet. Sounds strange but cookie sheets are awesome for a car ride. I buy each kid a cookie sheet for things like coloring on or writing in journals. Also you can bring magnets to entertain your kiddos. Cookie sheets are metal and using them to display letter magnets or magnetic puzzles. Your older kids into Minecraft? They can build a Minecraft scene with magnets that resemble the blocks from the game. 
  • Reusable Puffy Sticker Sets. These sticker sets worked wonders for my toddler. It would work even better for a Preschooler. I found Disney themed stickers for our resent Disney trip and my toddler got a new set every time she fussed. I brought 3 which worked wonders for the ride to Disney. Next time I will buy 3 more for the ride home as stickers get lost or lint covered. 
  • Snack Cups. The most brilliant inventions, snack cups. Especially those straw cups with the snack compartments. If your car seats lack cup holders then you are really going to love the compact design of a snack and drink cup. We usually get ZakSnak Tumblers. They have all kinds of characters from Pokemon to R2D2 and Princess Poppy to Minnie Mouse. We bought Lion Guard and Shimmer and Shine for our toddler who loved the characters which made it seem like a special treat. You can find them at Target or on Amazon. 
  • New Character Toys. Kids love receiving new toys. Something new will give your child a whole new world to imagine. I recommend toys your child doesn't already have. If you buy another Littlest Pet Shop and your child has a dozen or more at home, they will loose interest quicker than a whole new toy. And from one mom (and Dad) to another, don't and I can't stress enough, DO NOT buy Legos! No matter how big your big kid is, Legos go everywhere! If you buy a set and those sets needs every stinking Lego piece, I promise you, one will get lost and spoil the whole set. You will have that big kid beside themselves over a single missing piece. Its not fun!

  • Snacks! Snacks! and more Snacks! Trust me, snacks of all different kinds are necessary for a long car ride. Make sure you have a variety from pretzels to fresh fruit. As much as I usually like to push the healthy snacks, on a long car ride have a few fun sized candy bars tucked in your purse so when the kiddos are fussing and don't want to sit in the car any longer you had them a fun size Musketeers bar and enough the silence.

  • Electronics. I saved this one for last because its usually the most expensive. But having a few games on a tablet or smart phones help. If you have an old smartphone that you don't use load it up with games over your home WiFi. Make sure the games don't need the internet to run and you have a free way to entertain your munchkins with electronics. If you don't have an old phone laying around then get a kid friendly tablet. This may not be as expensive as you think. We've heard good things about Dragon Touch tablets. A few of our friends have them for their toddlers and preschools and they have held up the constant drops from tiny hands. I found a Dragon Touch Y88X Plus 7 inch Kids Tablet 2017 Disney Edition, Quad Core CPU, Android 5.1 Lollipop, IPS Display, Kidoz Pre-Installed with Bonus Disney Content (more than $60 Value) for 68.99. The cases come in a couple of different colors so check them out.

  • Camera. Whether its an old point in shoot or a disposable, giving an older child a camera to take their own photos can be a great source of entertainment. Plus, you get great selfies and shots of the kids during the ride without any effort on your part. :)
Hope this list helps. Please leave any other suggestions in the comments bellow. Don't forget to pack some things for the ride home as well. I hope you all survive and enjoy your trips with your children! Stay sane!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Freya is 2!

Where did the time go?
Can't believe this little munchkin is 2 today. My little fiery Freya who loves Frozen, to sing and dance, and can convince anyone to join in on the fun. The world, or at least the toy aisle at Walmart, is her stage. She will sing a Frozen song any chance she can get. She surprises me every day with all the things she does. Today might be her second birthday but she acts like she is 10. She has shown her strong personality since she was 3 months old. This girl walks to the beat of her own drum. As much as she looks up to her sister, she does her own thing. She is my little toughy that can pick herself back up when she falls down, she doesn't take crap from anyone (unfortunately me included), and always willing to try something new. To my tiny little Norse warrior Freya, Happy Birthday!!!♡♡♡

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Been M.I.A. for the Summer.

It's been a difficult summer. I had so many plans and it's already the end of July. My oldest returns to school in a few weeks and we've accomplished nothing on that list. This summer has been full of virus after virus. My oldest actually missed the whole last week of school because of hand, foot, and mouth.

It seems like one by one we get sick. Then once we are all better it takes a week for us to get our house back in order. Then we catch something else all together and the cycle continues. I've tried immune boosting vitamins for all of us but the baby. She is still nursing so she get immune boosts from me. But still we keep getting sick.

It's not just things that are contagious. My husband hurt his neck and was unable to turn his head. He had to turn his whole upper body. Poor guy was like that for a week. He still isn't 100%. I went through a case of fatigue so bad I was just falling asleep randomly. I had to fight to stay awake. That lasted for two weeks. That was at the end of May and first week in June.

My birthday was June 1st. I spent it in the emergency room with sever pain in my abdomin. Apparently I was passing kidney stones. The next few days was completely laid up in pain but when my kidney stones pain past so did my fatigue, go figure.

So really since May we've been dealing with this or that. I haven’t had a moment of free time to write a single blog post. I will get back to writing posts after my house gets cleaned, so never. *wink*

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

It's Free Fun Fridays again!!!

Rather than posting exactly my post from last year with updates, I will spare you the details. However, I will post the 2016 Free Fun Fridays list from the Highland
Street Foundation.

If interested, you can read my post from last year at Battleship Cove

Friday, May 27, 2016

Summer is Coming!!!

We live in New England so while the rest of the country is out of school now, we are still in school and making up snow days. Our school district has the last day of school on June 17th. With tomorrow's temperature reaching 90`f it feels like summer.

It's interesting to hear the difference between parents at the bus stop in regards to the summer break. Some can't wait until they can sleep in and slow down in the morning. Some can't wait for vacations, traveling, vacation homes, and getting things done.

Some dread the summer break. They are usually the ones that would then have to pay for daycare while they work during the day. While some are saving up for a trip to Disney these parents are saving up for camps and daycare so they can continue to work.

We no longer have a community. We no longer have one working parent and one at home. It's rare to see stay at home parents now. So think about all those kids that don't get to wake up when they want, they don't get to run the streets like our generation did. They don't get to eat every meal in the backyard and live in the pool all day.

So, my challenge for those stay at home parents out there is this. Take one of your child's friends who would otherwise go to daycare during the summer for a sleep over during the week. Let them sleep in, serve breakfast outside, spend all day doing fun summer things like running through a sprinkler or have a water gun fight. It's their vacation, help them have a long summer day not just on the weekend. It feels so much better when you know you should be in school but you're free.

We should all be working towards building back a community. Including someone else is a step forward in rebuilding a sense of "us" instead of it always being about "me".

Thursday, May 12, 2016

My PSA for Moms

Apparently moms fall into two different categories, laid-back moms or pinterest queen moms. One thinks it's silly and a waist of time to try to make your kids childhood magical. They don't care for the pinterest queen who find laid-back mom lazy. See pinterest queen goes above and beyond to cut every sandwich into animal shapes and build forts out of pvc and weather proof material they special ordered. This back and forth judgements are found in every mommy bloggers page. It's sad that we judge if not this then helicopter vs free range, breast vs bottle, cloth vs disposable diapers, homeschooling vs public schooling, etc.

I certainly don't do no GMO, organic, foods only but I do try to cut back on sodium, and vegetables with high amounts of pesticides but I don't sweat it. I do watch my kids like a hawk but I make them order their own food (when Freya can talk she will) and have moments that they get the independence they need to be adults someday. I love throwing themed parties but I enjoy it, I don't feel obligated. I use what I have for projects because I'm teaching my kids how to be resourceful and make do with what they have. We reuse things and value what we have rather than always making a fuss about the latest and greatest.

I don't think mom's should be one way or the other but rather we should walk somewhere in the middle. Childhood is fleeting and if we can make it fun then we should but there should be a lesson there one that teaches children how to see things differently and be creative. Guide children don't force them, don't do it all. Hold their hand and show them what they need to do. Those memories will be just as important to you as it is for them. So don't sweat it, magic can happen in the simplest act of giving them your time and attention. Put down the phone, step away from the computer, leave pinterest alone and use your own imagination and just be mom!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Memories Are Funny Like That

I'm writing this post because I'm the type of person that thinks symbolically. I see the patterns within the chaos that is life. My measurement of time is not based on days, weeks, months, years, but rather moments of related coquidences that seem to happen within a single stretch of time.

Today, there has been a theme, all conversations and thoughts have all brought me to the subjects of memories. From conversation at the bus stop to Facebook friends clear across the country, there seems to be that people are reflecting and recalling deeply buried thoughts they had nearly forgotten about. It's interesting how people that have no way of knowing each other are talking about similar things all within the subject of memories. My own thoughts have been triggered to think about memories though out today.

Today started out a difficult day. After a busy week and a even busier weekend I had fallen behind on my house work. My little girl had been restless all night keeping Mommy and Daddy wake all night. I struggled to start my Monday more so than my usual Monday. Once my oldest was off to school I was faced with the daughting task of cleaning a pile of dishes from entering friends last night and with four kids in a small space things  got messy with the toys. I also had a mountain of laundry and a little girl that didn't want to be put down. I could only handle so much screaming! I had to call for reenforcements!

It was Nana to the rescue! She arrived with coffee and donuts! Just what Mommy needed, coffee! The donut actually got the little Miss to sit in her highchair so cleaning could get done. Also, I was out of dishwasher soap so she brought a bottle with her so I wouldn't have to hand wash all those dishes. Hurray!

My mom is great! She can clean anything in no time. What I thought would take hours upon hours to do took 45 minutes. Between scrubbing dishes and folding laundry we talked about so many things, politics, food, my parents remodeling their house. But the topic we discussed the most was memories. Her memories, my memories, things we did together. It's one of my favorite things to do is reminisce with my mom. It keeps those memories fresh and vibrant in my mind.

Strangely, I received a message from my friend that I met at work over a decade ago asking if I remember the name of a co-worker from 10 or 11 years ago. It wasn't someone either of us talked to often so she wasn’t someone I would have remembered anyhow. I remembered her face and some facts about her but her name escaped me. He said this co-worker was in his dream last night and he can't remember her name for the life of him. He had nearly forgotten this girl but deep in his subconscious he remembered her and that is why she could be recalled for his dream. It's strange how we both remembered her likes, what she did after work, the time she colored her hair red, or that she worked specific days during the week yet we couldn't remember her name.

After my mom left, the little one was taking a nap and hubby took the oldest to dance class I opened up the living room window to let in some fresh spring air. It's the day after May day which bring my attention to the changing scenery out my window. The maple tree outside my window has the first signs of leaves poking out of those tiny yellow flowers that broke free of those buds I waited to see all winter. There is change in the air and it smells earthy and rich. The rain water is slowly dripping from the tiny leaves and following down onto the alley way below my apartment window. It brought me back, for that moment to a time when I was seven years old living in the city of Boston in a apartment. It was a flash of a memory, what the view from my living room window was 26 years ago. I remember then watching rain drip off of fresh spring maple leaves falling to the cement parking lot below and smelling that fresh earthy smells of spring showers.

It's funny how your brain can take you back to any given moment triggered by anything really. All these thoughts about memories made me think, how will my children remember their childhood? I think back to moment, like during my oldest daughter's first few years of life. We were so much more spontaneous then. We got do things with little planning and find fun things to do that didn't require much at all. We hiked trails, we drove to historical sites, we would walk the beach. But that changed as our life changed and for a moment I forgot how different and simpler things were then. Now our time is scheduled and limited. My little girl is growing up with a completely different type of parents then her sister did. We can no longer stay out late or do much during the week because of her sister’s school and her father's work schedule. Things are different and I nearly forgot that.

With all this thought surroundings the subject of memories I figured I would write it down. Something is pointing me in the direction of self reflection. Maybe there is a lesson in the past that needs to be revisited now in my life. During such a time of change and growth I would not doubt the universe was trying to get my attention and my brain is seeing something that I have to explore deeper. I hope all of you out there surviving staying at home take a moment to reflect and see the simple beauty in the mysteries of life.