Monthly Archives: May 2012

How to have a fun road trip with a 2 year old (Part 2)

Happy first day of June! can you believe it? How did we get to June already? Today is my final part of our series on how to have fun with a toddler on a road trip. I have a couple of lists and a couple of photos of our packed car and a couple of things I have learned. Hope you enjoy.


First up, here is our food bag for the trip. I should say that we do make it a ritual at stopping at In N Out and since it is only 2 or 3 times a year I feel fine about it.  Even with that stop we need a snack bag. Pretty much everything is from Trader Joes, maybe next time I will make more of my own snacks. I have a verity of trial mix in there, veggie sticks, turkey jerky, buffalo jerky, scoops (tj’s organic version of fritos) dried mangoes and dried mangoes with chili powder on them. You can also see one of our Starbucks tumblers sticking out. My cousin works at a Starbucks and has gifted us two of these. We bring them for cold drinks like coffee or water. I also have a water bottle for each family member packed.


I tend to be copilot for our trips. So here is our car garbage bag stuck to my door. Easy access for me and easy to empty at each gas station we stop at.


Here is Little in her little nest. You can see her toy box is next to here so she can access her books or toys or whatever else she wants. You might also notice a cardboard box on the ground.I keep this in my car all the time. (some day I will cover it with fabric and it will be pretty) I keep several blankets in there and a changing pad and wipes (really can you have to many wipes?) The car bag is on top of this box, You can also see Little’s feet on a pillow. You can’t see it but I also have a sippy cup leash that I found on pinterest.


here is another picture of her feet 🙂 and of course the snack bag. I put the snack bag so I have easy access to it. right between and behind the front seats. If you’re going to be in the car for several hours (or at all) you should be comfortable. As I am short myself I know how uncomfortable it can be to have your feet dangling. Yep I’m that short that my feet often don’t touch the ground when I am sitting in chairs. So I figured it might not be comfortable for Little either. We didn’t want her to be  kicking our seats so giving her a feet rest seemed like a good idea.

The one thing I forgot to pack and I HIGHLY recommend bringing is a family dirty laundry bag. I usually bring one so we can just put the dirty clothes all in once place and that bag can go right to the laundry when we get home.

I also recommend doing a 5-10 minuet clean up of your house right before you leave. Coming home to a clean house is oh so nice.

Remember your goal is not just to get to your destination but enjoy the ride. So if that means you play silly faces or sing If You’re Happy and You Know it 15 times it is OK. You baby will feel so special and who doesn’t love kids peels of laughter. We also look for animals and maybe next year she will be old enough for an animal bingo.  The point here is distraction and laughter.

Happy travels everyone? What are your favorite tips on how to travel?

oh and if you missed it don’t for get to check out part1 and  part .5

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For the table


Nothing compares to meals as a family around a table.

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how to have a fun road trip with a 2 year old (part .5)

As is often the case with me I feel like I got a head of myself. So lets back up a little.

Vacations. You remember them right. Time off to do what ever you want. Hike up a mountain or lay on a beach. Visit fine restaurants and dance all night? yeah not anymore. The first thing that I needed to deal with to get ready for our trip, AND to be able to have fun, is realize that vacations are totally different now.

To be able to have fun traveling with little ones you must have a good attitude. If you are grumpy grumbling mommy no one has fun. There is no point in being upset that you can’t sleep in. If your child wakes up at 0 dark thirty at home they are going to be like that on vacation. It’s who they are and accepting that and preparing for that will make everyone much happier. As our Little wakes up oh so early (happy and talking, often dancing) it is important to have activities for her to do without waking everyone else up. For this trip our Hotel was 3 blocks from a Starbucks. We would wake up get dressed and walk down there. She would play on the different benches and structures in front of office the buildings. No one was at work yet so we weren’t bothering anyone. She got to be outside and moving around and I got my tea, and Hubby got a little extra sleep. Win win!

Another key I have found with Little is that she still needs her routine or daily rhythm on vacation, and maybe more so. She is so excited to be around all the people she loves and new places, that she can get to wound up. Whats more when you’re in a large family group (or any group) your meals are different. Coordinating 10 or more people is just a different beast. Not to mention that we don’t eat the same types of things when were on vacation as when were home. We are lucky in that our child doesn’t have allergies which would give this a whole other layer or complication. All of that said I think keeping a nice supply of food in my huge purse and making sure that Little gets her nap are invaluable! I want her (and us to have fun) and for that to happen we need to plan down time. She needs time to relax and she needs her nap.

Not every kid naps, or has the same criteria as our kid. Because every family and child are different you will want to think about what works best for your family. Basically before you even start to pack anything at all here are 2 things to take care of:

  1. Do an attitude check. Are you excited and happy to be going? If not ask yourself why and see if it is something you can fix or something you can choose to feel differently about.
  2. Figure out how you will meet your family’s needs while gone, Naps snacks etc. How will you keep the kidlets on there rhythm as much as possible.
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How to have a fun road trip with a 2 year old (part 1)

This series is based on our last trip. We have just today gotten back from a trip down to L.A. I must say that it was just a wonderful trip. We got to celebrate my Grandmas 90th birthday in their home that they have lived in for 61 years. This in itself is pretty amazing and I will probably write more about that later. For now lets talk about the drive. For us it is about a 6 hour drive down. This is of course based on perfect conditions. No traffic or road construction or melt downs.

The first thing I do is do a little (ok a lot of)  planning. We were leaving Thursday morning so; everything needs to be packed by Wednesday, everything needs to be washed by Tuesday, last minuet purchases such as snacks need to be done on Monday. This means I also need a list of snacks and other purchases. I also tend to write a packing lists for myself and the kidlet. Hubby is on his own. This was probably all learned from the packing list. She has a free printable on her site Of course as with everything we modified it to fit our family. Besides the clothing we will need some car entertainment.

On Monday I bring the toy box out. Here it is below.image

It gets unceremoniously plopped down in the middle of the living room. I then tell Little versions of  “we will be going in a long car trip in a few days. We are going to Great Grandpa’s and Great Grandma’s house. This is your toy box to pack any toys, or books, or anything else you want to bring with you.”  I repeat this several times a day for the next 3 days.

I find a lot of benefit to this. For one thing Little is really aware that we will be going and she can ask all the questions she wants. She has adequate time to mentally prepare herself. I tell her it might be a long trip but I know she can do it, and she will get to see her cousins. This also gives her plenty of time to choose what toys she wants to bring. She spent the next few days putting toys in the box and taking them out. She looked like she really enjoyed this process. This box sits next to her seat on the back seat of the car. It also comes in to my grandparents house so she always knows where her books and toys are.


The other bag that I find very important is a car bag. You can see mine above in front of the toy box. This bag becomes much more important when we visit our family in Sun Valley  or Phoenix, both of which are 16 hour drives, and usually require an overnight stop somewhere. In this case for our “short” drive I have extra diapers and underwear in there (we are potty training) wipes, hand sanitizer, and a change of clothes for Little plus a jacket. I also have in here, a portable DVD player with 3 DVDs. As you know I’m not a fan of the constant screen time. I try not to use the DVD player but if it is between that or my hubby’s sanity, I choose sanity. When we travel farther for and have an overnight on the road the car bag also has toiletries we may need and our pajamas and change of clothes. By keeping all 3 or our pajamas etc together we can just bring in the car bag instead of all of our suitcases.

Tomorrow in part 2 we will talk more about what to pack and all my lists.

Categories: daily life, Kids | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

righting a wrong

I owe a huge apology to Jim Patterson. I was using that lovely image of the California poppies and lupine for my banner. I have had it on my computer for ages and neglected to remember where I got it. There for I was using it without permission, which of course is stealing.

If you love that image as much as I do you can purchase it at his site and check out his other beautiful pictures.

Once again I am very sorry.

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Happy Memorial Day


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Slow and steady


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House Altar

Back in the very early days of this blog, you know almost a year ago, I did a post about altars and I talked about having your mantle over your fire-place as your home altar.  (check out og post here

I also talked about faking a mantle if you didn’t have one. Low and behold I found this as I was cruising the web. Thought I would share.

Categories: daily life | 1 Comment

on writing

I have a slew of half written posts. I keep trying to write but my muse is off. I”m not sure what it is. I have been quite tired as of late too, so maybe that is it. Or maybe it is the no spare quite time.  Of course this is a fantastic snap shot of my life as I feel like many things are in the works and half done. I also go in waves of reading a lot of things and then writing a lot. Right now I’m reading a lot.

so here are the two that I am reading most. Along with all the kid books and the blogs I love

The Happiness Project

I am also reading some really old Archaeology and Anthropology papers.

What are you reading? what do you like to read?

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Mothers Garden


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