{family fun} favorite bag for traveling (& giveaway!)

{This giveaway is now closed. Winner was notified via email. Congrats #38 Kelly S.!}

It’s no secret that I love Halsea. The clutches, the tote bags, the luggage….well, pretty much anything Halsea makes me happy.

Why do I love it so, you ask?

Because it WORKS.

Because it DOES what it’s SUPPOSED to do.

Because it LOOKS GOOD doing it.

Again, because it WORKS!

Here’s an example.  I’ve had this rolling duffel for a few years now. It used to be the suitcase I used just for me, then me & Addie, then me & Addie & Hayden.

When Piper came along, mom got booted. But it works ooooh so nicely for my 3 Little Punks (which means when we’re all flying on a plane and allowed 1 checked bag per paid ticket and 1 for the lap baby, that ALL the girls clothes are in this 1 bag leaving me 2 open checked bag spots for anything my heart desires to make our trip easier.)

But I digress.

This Halsea bag is a winner, beyond a winner actually. Quite simply, it rocks.

Here goes…I lay out Piper’s clothes.

Then Hayden’s clothes….

Then Addie’s clothes…(and yes I use my bed for all our packing).

Then I open up this fabulous bag (it’s like an old school doctors’ bag) with this nice big space with 4 great inside pockets, and 2 outside ones.

Shoes, hair clips/brushes, undies, & socks all go in the inside pockets.  Then I fold everything up and line it up so I can see it all.  When we arrive at our destination, I rarely unpack their bag, instead just taking a quick glance and pulling what I need when I need it. (Albeit, this isn’t one of my better folding jobs, I knew we would be gone a month and would unpack this time when we arrived….but I’m sharing the photo none the less.)  What you can’t tell is that there is actually even more room on top of these clothes, so there were 3 little puffer vests that I rolled and placed on top before closing up the bag.

Then I grab my most favorite clutch/wallet/date night bag

And throw it in my tote bag (carry on in this case).

This is what it would look like if i was headed to the pool. I forgot to snap a photo before our flight…but think snacks, empty sippy cups to fill after security, iPad, laptop, kids earphones, diapers…there are 6 fabulous pockets to choose from and keep  you organized with a nice giant space in the middle of it all.

Now I’m not quite this good, but I’m sure I’ll get here one day. Even though Halsea has so many fun patterns to choose from, if you wanted to keep it all together you could take this direction…kind if makes my heart skip a giddy beat!

AND there’s another reason it’s skipping a beat. Halsea is giving away a fabulous clutch in the winners pattern of choice! I use my clutch EVERY SINGLE DAY. It goes from “diaper bag” to “work bag” to “on its own for date night” without a hitch. LOVE.THIS.BAG.

Who am I kidding, I love all their bags! (Be sure to click on “Collections” on the Halsea site to see the different patterns.

So here’s what you can do to win this little gem of a bag:

1. Mandatory (1 entry) ~ Visit the Halsea site and comment below with the bag you most dream about.

2. Optional (1 entry for each comment) ~ Comment below with your favorite Halsea pattern. Share your favorite packing tip. Share a link to this post. Share anything Halsea or travel related. You can leave 3 extra optional entries :-)

Giveaway ends Friday, October 21st at midnight, PST. Winner will be notified by email.

Good luck!!

{Disclosure ~ Halsea is a My Favorite Everything sponsor. But these are my honest opinions. I have loved and owned and used their bags LONG before this site came to be.}

{Family Fun} Traveling? Don’t forget…

Planning on traveling out of the country this summer, or frankly EVER?  Some of this may also apply if you’ll be somewhere closer to home, but remote. In this case I’m writing in regards to our being both out of the country for a month, and VERY remote.

1. Talk to your Pediatrician about prescribed medications your Littles may need. If you are traveling internationally, and your child needs antibiotics, you could find yourself trying to battle paperwork and courts to get a prescription written and filled without a local doctor.  And if you are staying in the boon docks somewhere, getting said antibiotics could be really difficult.  Planning ahead with your pediatrician and pharmacist will most likely help you, as the goal is to keep kids safe.  My Little Punks were each written a general antibiotic prescription which was filled but not mixed, therefore good longer than the 7-10 days.  If something happens with the kids, all I need to do is call their Doctor and if he feels it warrants the medicine, we mix it and it’s ready.

2. Pack other medical supplies you may need. No need to carry a pharmacy, but Tylenol, Ibuprofen, (& their respective dispensers), Simply Saline, Neasporin & Band-Aids are all good things that you will most likely use at some point.  I also take the kids inhalers.  I’m not going to tell you how many times in their young little lives we’ve been out of town and unexpectedly hit with Pneumonia. Also Benadryl or the generic form.  If you are going somewhere that you could come into an allergic reaction to something you might want this in your back pocket.  And don’t forget a Thermometer. Your Pediatrician will ask if your child has fever, and you’ll need to know.

3. If your children will ever be crossing a border without both parents (whether married or divorced), you need to have a notarized letter from the parent not traveling that they are aware their child is crossing a border. This happened to me when Addie was 9 months. Never even dawned on me! I was going to a funeral and since Hubs had to be with me to get her passport, I thought that was enough. I got REALLY lucky at the border. I think it helped that our trip was short and for a funeral. But I’ve always traveled with one since.

So as not to overload you, I’ll share some other tips for another post….most of all, you want to have fun on your vacation. For me personally, the best way to have fun is to know I’m prepared.

What other necessity tips do you have to share? I’m sure there are a zillion I have not even thought about!!

{Family Fun} Airplane bags for the Little Punks

I know I’ve mentioned it before, and really, it’s true.

I’m lazy.  If it’s going to require too much extra effort, I’m just not into it.  Now I know that is probably opposite of what you would think of me…but here is where the little violin starts to play….

These 3 Little Punks that we have? The ones that I LOVE with all my heart? That I really can’t imagine not having them glued to me at all moments of the day??? That I want to hug on and just play with and not worry about any responsibility?

Yep, those ones. They are work. Lots and lots of work.

And not matter how much I love them, that work is always there. So back to the lazy part about me…when it comes to the Littles, I try to make my life as easy as I can, because ultimately it’s STILL going to be a lot of work!

The kids travel quite a bit, but recently its been more car trips than plane trips.  That being said they are really into knowing about where we are going, how we are going to get there and what we are going to do. I mean this about life in general, not just this trip. So I picked up a few fun books that the kids have been going CRAZY over! After we read them they each choose one to sleep with. Curious George Goes Camping is the favorite for sure. (And because I planned on packing these, I ordered all paperback books for obvious reasons…).

In the past we’ve given the kids their own little backpacks to carry on.  I am still taking these on this trip, but have not decided it they will carry them or not. (Again, I’m lazy and as I write this, am still working through all the moving parts of this trip).  I think I may only carry on 1 backpack/diaper bag.  The front pocket carries all my personal things (wallet, sunglasses, phone, travel docs, etc). The center section holds their diapers & wipes. The largest section in the back holds their snacks, sippy cups, and “travel treats”.

Depending on the trip, I change up how we are going to travel, the types of treats I pack, and whether I’m going to wrap them like gifts. Once again, all the complexities and moving parts for this trip made me decide that nothing would be wrapped and it would all be in one bag.

This is what I chose:

Silly Putty – It can’t do too much damage, lots of fun uses, and it’s similar to play dough (kinda) which they love. And I’m pretty sure Hubs will find a way to make tooting noises to make the kids laugh… (Michaels $1.00)

Airplane Sticker Activity Book – This is a super small little book. The middle pages come out and are filled with airplane stickers that are removable & repositionable. And (this is important) they stick to the little airplane scene in the book and not annoyingly to airplane windows (nuf said). (Amazon)

Candy Bracelet – Nope, it’s not h. but it IS entertaining and fun. (Michaels $.25)

Cars Magic Pen Book – Do you remember these from when you were little?? The pen doesn’t draw on anything but the pages in the book and you need to color the whole page to see the picture hidden on the page. Magic! (Amazon $5)

Doll Coloring – Now this is going against my “easy” rule for this trip, BUT Addie is so into dress up and this is a fairly large doll for coloring that I thought I would save it as a “Big Gun” treat if needed. Otherwise, a project for when we arrive. (Michaels $1.00)


Cars Books – These were sold in a set, and are small board books. The girls LOVE Cars. They are still just fascinated with Cars 1. The pages can’t get ripped, they are easy to pack, and each girl can have her own book.

Last item is the Crayola’s Color Wonder pens and paper. I love these!  They have great coloring books too, but I choose to just buy one Color Wonder pad of paper so each girl could have her own page to color  on.  Plus since they already have the Cars Magic Pen Book above, I thought having an open clean page to color on might be nice. If you have never heard of Color Wonder Pens and you have toddlers, you are MISSING OUT! The pens can only draw on the special Color Wonder paper. Great for visiting at a friends, airplanes, resteraunts.  (Ignore the little crayon case in the photo. I thought the pens would fit, but they don’t. I ended up using a small Ziplock for the pens and the cute crayon case for something else. You’ll see it in another post in a few…)

Snacks – Every trip is different for us. The girls are at different ages/stages, the travel times are different. And as of now, we are still traveling with a “baby” which makes taking certain “liquids” through security a non issue, whether or not it’s 3oz.  This trip for us requires an 1 hour drive, 2 hours in the airport, a 3 hour flight, an hour in the airport, 1-1/2 hour flight, and just under 2 hour drive.

So I chose lots of little easy snacks.

Squeezable Sauces – There are loads of great ones out there. I love Trader Joe’s Crushers, both the Apple and the Apple & Banana. Happy Tots is great, and (???).  Anything that is over 3oz, I call “baby food”, because, well, Piper is a baby, and she will be eating them (along with her sisters…)

Easy finger snacks that seem like candy, but aren’t quite as bad – Annie’s Organic Bunny Gummies, Annie’s Chocolate Chew Granola Bars, Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies. Best to control the sugar spikes when possible….the other passengers will thank you.

On the day of, I’ll also add little clementines. But since we can’t cross the border with fruit, this is just for the plane ride. Nice to have fruit that is contained and protected in it’s own little packaging.

All of the snacks are packed in that large Ziplock. I just left the boxes in the photo so you could see what they looked like.

In the past when I’ve need to make formula, I’ve also included a couple big bottles of water with all the other necessities. But this time will just bring their sippy cups and buy a bottle of water after security.

Ohhhhhh, one more key item. Hubs laptop, my iPad, and our iPhones, along with our favorite little earphones.

Laptop – Having DVDs is always nice. A bit bulkier than carrying on your iPad, but the wider screen is goof for letting to both girls watch a movie at the same time. And really, “Cars 1” could carry us all the way to Canada if we’re lucky.

iPad – We have a few different preschool aps the kids LOVE.  Monkey Preschool, When I Grow Up, Handy Mandy, My First Words, Bubbles, Piano, Learn & Draw Coloring. These aps warrant their own post, they are LITERALLY our favorite aps!

iPhones – these can be disable for airplane use and loaded with the same games as my iPad. Helpful when they want to do different things.

Headphonesthese have been a favorite for years…3 years, since my oldest is only 3-1/2.  My genius sister in law gave them to Addie and we quickly purchase for the other girls. they fit their little heads, help to reduce outside noises and have their own volume control. PLUS they fit into any standard earphone spot – car, phone, laptop, etc.  We actually have a separate little gadget that I got when Hubs and I were dating. It lets you plug 2 headphones into one jack.  I think it was $5-10 dollars and I got at Radio Shack. HELPFUL!

Sorry for the lack of links. Just too short on time these days…but I’m happy to answer any questions (assuming I end up having an internet connection…).

Don’t forget to enter the Sarah & Abraham Giveaway! Or the $25 Visa Gift Card Giveaway from Arm & Hammer!

Tip of the Day: Aquaphor!

I’m big on muti-tasking, and when people or products can do the same, it’s a big gold star in my book. (If I could find my book….or my roll of gold star stickers….but you get the drift!)

Aquaphor is one of the wonderful, mutli-tasking products for me.  You’re probably all saying I’m preaching to the choir right now, but SERIOUSLY, Aquaphor has saved me more than a few times.

First ~ Do you rememeber my mentioning it HERE? A booty LIFESAVER for long car and plane rides.

Second ~ ESSENTIAL for mom’s cracked heels (did I just tell the internet I have cracked heels??? Oh my…) Ok, I do, or rather I don’t, when I am diligent and slather on some Aquaphor Healing Ointment and my socks at night. Heading into flip flop weather here in Southern California, I urge you to start working on those feet Mommies!

Third ~ Keep a small tube in your purse, when you find you can’t get to your makeup bag, throw a little on your lips….it gives you a smidgen of gloss and helps you feel and look a little refreshed (not to mention it’s moisturizing your lips for smooching!)

Fourth ~ Do you battle Excema at all? All three of our girls suffer from it in varying degrees. Not too over the top thankfully, but enough that a weather shift causes some itchy, dry patches. Rub a little Aqauphor Healing Ointment and you’ll have it gone, and a happy face on your Little, in no time. I also like to use their Gentle Wash & Shampoo, finding that it helps from drying the girls baby skin out, and decreasing the Ecema flare ups.

So that is my tip of the day for you.

If you don’t use Aquaphor, go buy some now. And if you do, then I’m sending some gold stars for your book (once I find the Gold Stars…and my book….)

*** GIVEAWAY ***

I love the stuff so much that if you disregard the laundry I was folding in this photo, then I’ll draw a name on Friday and send you a little Aquaphor package.  All you need to do is answer this question in the comments ~~ Do you use Aquaphor? What’s your favorite tip or trick to share?

For more information about Aquaphor’s products visit www.aquaphorhealing.com as well as the Aquaphor “Comfort Zone” Group on BabyCenter Community.

(Disclosure: This post is sponsored by BabyCenter in conjunction with the BabyCenter Blog Network, all opinions are definitely my own!)

do what you love

Sponsored By

Cheerios® is giving you the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, your ultimate family vacation. As part of a paid promotion for their “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, Cheerios® is sponsoring my post today about what my ultimate family vacation would be. Read mine, Enter the Sweepstakes for a chance to actually win your own fantasy family trip or one of a bunch of other great prizes.

We are a busy family, with 3 little kids 2-1/2, 1-1/2 and 7 mos, we have always got something going on (but then again, who doesn’t when you have kids??).  So down time to just enjoy our family to me IS our ultimate family vacation.

I could list a number of different things we would love to do with our girls, Europe, skiing, a trip around the world….

but for this stage

for right now

to leave tomorrow (or tonight is just fine too!!)…

We would love to go to our FAVORITE vacation spot, the Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii.

(Image: Mauna Kea)

There are loads of sentimental reasons why we would like to take the girls to the Mauna Kea

  • My husband and I had just started dating (maybe 2 or 3 weeks) when I flew over for a very good friends wedding. We talked on the phone like school kids the entire time I was there (Remember those days?  When your heart goes SUPER pitter-patter the moment you hear his voice on your phone, not that it doesn’t now, but you know what I mean….that SUPER NEW dating pitter-patter.).
  • A year later, those same friends took an anniversary trip back to the resort with a group of friends. And you bet we were with them as our first big trip together.
  • We were engaged shortly after, and seemed only fitting to us to return to the same spot for our wedding.  November 2006 we spent an unforgettable week at the Mauna Kea with close to 200 friends & family.  (Honestly, how often do you get to do that???  A once in a lifetime vacation!) It was 3 weeks after the earthquake on the Big Island, and the Mauna Kea was closed a couple of weeks after our wedding to repair the resulting damage. It sadly remained closed for the next 2 years.

(Image: Liz Banfield)

Each vacation at the Mauna Kea is a special one.  There is just something about it. We let go of the world of worry and stress that seems to mount itself on our shoulders. It is not only beautiful and breathtaking, but also beyond family friendly.  The moment you arrive you feel that “comfortable house shoes” feeling wrap around you.

But there are no big pool slides, or fancy toys and kids programs.  What there is, is a big, BEAUTIFUL beach.  With no waves to fear sweeping your children away.  There are just families that have been returning for years, and years, and some for generations. There is an understood “knowing” that you have all come to a very special place. A place that you want to share with your children and their children to come. A place were memories are made, not in fanciness and 5 star luxury, but in just “Being”.

Truly, simply enjoying “being” with each other on a beach of such honest and pure beauty.

(Image: Mauna Kea)

As the resort has been closed, and because we have had a baby every year since we’ve been married, we have not been able to return to the Mauna Kea.  This November is our 4th wedding anniversary, and it is the first anniversary we have not been pregnant (Can I get a “woot-woot”??! I know I can from my husband!!).  It is a family vacation I would love to take!!  To a place so very special to us, encompassing so much of our time together, newly dating, dating, and then our wedding. It is a place that will always be a part of us.  We would love to see our baby girls playing in the ocean and digging in the sand.  We would love for them to experience the same casual, comfortable, specialness that makes this place hold such a dear place in our hearts.

We would love to see them just “be” on that beach. “Be” kids, “be” happy, “be” in love with the same place we are.

Thank you Mauna Kea, I hope we will see you soon!

Don’t forget to enter the “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, for a chance to win your own ultimate family vacation. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

my favorite place

I’ve mentioned it before. My favorite place.  The cabin on the lake where we spent our childhood summers.

It was and is an amazing place.

It’s in the middle of NO WHERE (which I say with all affection, no where is a PERFECT place for the cabin to be).

Addie & Hay visited with me last May, but this was the first time to take all 3 kids and to be there together with the other kids we grew up with on the lake.

We visited with my 91 year old great aunt who is living there soaking up the summer sun, tending to her garden, and visiting with friends (and battleing 14 bats in her bedroom at night – I had to go to battle with ONE and nearly went nutty….).  Did I mention, she’s 91???  She is a spitfire and one of the most amazing women I’ve ever known. I think the lake is secretly a fountain of youth….

We played with childhood friends, and our children played with their children.  Where does the time go??  The newest addition was only 2 weeks old!!

We ate well.

We dressed in our Sunday finest.

We enjoyed all that the lake had to share with us.

On Sunday we packed up and headed home.

Reluctantly.

Until the next time we get to visit you, thank you for the wonderful summer vacation, and bringing us back to our childhood days!

Hoping to stay on track this week with posting, but as I’m still rocking on my sea legs (much time spent on a floating dock will do that to you…) we’ll see  how that goes!

couple travel favorites & lifesavers!

As I’m working on getting the family packed up for the next big adventure, thought I would point out a couple travel ESSENTIAL favorites!! I don’t think I could ever travel without either of these.

Aquaphor is a booty saver! The first time we traveled with Addie in a car, we drove to and from Tahoe, that’s 9 hours each way.  She was 9 months old and she got the worst diaper rash and yeast infection (didn’t even know that was possible!!).  I was horrified!  I was and am so diligent about getting the kids diapers changed frequently.  (Though at the time it was only Addie). This especially when we travel, whether car or plane, if there is an opportunity to change them, I do, as you don’t know when you’ll get the chance again.

So THIS?? THIS horrified me.  Then I talked to her pediatrician about it and he told me it was common when traveling as they are sitting in their diapers more, literally sitting in them. Ahhhh!  Light bulb went off.  They aren’t wearing their diapers and running around, they are SITTING in their cars eats.  Even if its the exact same amount of time between changes at home, they are not SITTING the whole time at home.

That’s when I started using AquaphorLOVE THIS STUFF!  (Plus it’s a multi-tasker, but I’ll get back to that).  When you’re traveling in the car or  on a plane, use it with EVERY DIAPER change, no need to see a rash, just slather that stuff on and you wont ever see one or have any trouble.  I have not seen a diaper rash or infection since I started doing this on any of our girls.

The second essential are the face wipes from Babies R Us, it’s the “Especially for Kids” brand. (Sorry – I can’t find a link online.  I buy mine at the store) I have no idea why, but these wipes can get any stain out.  I’m sure many of you have used baby wipes to clean up a spill or mess on your shirt.  It does help the problem, but usually doesn’t make it disappear.

These will.

I have yet to try it on something and not have it come out.

And trust me, when you travel, there will be a.lot.of.stuff.to.clean.up.a.lot.

Oh, and I’m sure they are great on faces too, but I keep my stash for getting the grub off.

And that multitasking thing I mentioned with the Aquaphor??  GREAT for softening up mom’s tough heels from summer flip flops.  Throw it on at night with some socks and do your feet a favor!

road trips ~ a favorite thing

So I took a road trip this past Saturday to see family and friends in the Bay Area.  The drive took me about 7 hours, which is what I had guessed it would with the kids.  I pretty much thought I had lost my mind to even think doing a drive like that with a 2 year old, 1 year old and 4 month old was a good idea.  My husband thought so too, but he didn’t do a very good job of convincing me NOT to do it.

(He WAS about to have 4 nights and 5 days without kids, can you blame him!?!?)

But the drive ended up giving me a few things I didn’t expect.

  1. It proved to me that I COULD do something that seemed impossible, by having a plan A and a plan B (maybe a C and D just in case…). Tips from what I learned will be posted soon.
  2. And it took me on a nostalgic memory trip that brought me to tears while I drove.  It brought back so many memories of the road trips our family used to take.  Thank you Mom and Dad for the experiences, and for your patience.

To back up for a minute, my parents have a lake house in Canada.  It’s in the middle of NO WHERE (which I say with fondness).  It definitely takes a little time to get there.  If you drive, it’s about 24 hours.  If you fly and then drive, it’s about 8 or 9 hours (unless you get lost trying to find a Walmart to buy a pack n play and it ends up taking 15 hours.  Which is not so fun when you have a 14 mos old and a 3 mos old. in the car..but that’s a story for another day.)

Back to the house.  This place is super special to us.  We grew up there in the summer.  There were some years we begged to go to summer camp with our friends, but my mom said “we were already going to the best camp”, we just didn’t always realize it until we got there.  A month later, we were all begging to stay.  We have family on this lake.  We have dear friends that have become our family. This place IS family.

I have not done the 24 hour drive in a LONG time.  As we’ve all gotten older and had limited time to take off, we’ve had to take the shorter traveling routes, to accommodate our shorter stays.

But as I drove away from our house this past Saturday morning, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I was 10 years old again, in the second row captain seat of our pimped out tan striped Dodge van (with our matching tan monogrammed duffle bags.)  So excited about which VHS movie we would put into the little square TV in the back (kind of the size of an old Mac square computer).  For music, we would all take turns picking which cassette was going to be played next, mostly loving the mixed tapes my mom had had made for my dad with all their favorites songs from their album collection.  (Yes, I said ALBUM and CASSETTE).

My sisters and I know the route up the “I-5” like nobody’s business.  We learned to drive on that route.  We exhausted our learners permits on that drive.  We  can totally hang with the truckers in their semis.  We’re all best buds. We have sung “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” about a zillion times (it was on one of those mixed tapes) because we were allowed to say a “swear word” (it was in the song).  And that made us feel SOOOOOOO grown up!

We spent our summers completely carefree and blissful. Water skiing, riding horses, rounding up cattle, playing crib, picking berries, baking pies, eating pies, dancing, laughing, listening to the loons in the morning, waiting for Dad to make us all hot cocoa and bring it to us in our bunk beds, shooting cans, fishing, searching for moose, being lazy in the hammock, chopping wood (OK, watching Dad chop wood), singing songs by the campfire. It was an amazing place to spend our growing up summers “keeping it real”.   It may not sound it from the list of all that we did, but there was not a lot of luxury (for my mom’s 40th birthday, she got a dishwasher, and washer & dryer, and a bathtub – we were thrilled to say the least!!! Prior to we used a solar shower bag, out house and pot belly stove.) Those summers will remain the most special times of my life (right next to marrying the amazing man that I did, and giving birth to 3 of the most beautiful girls!)

So to the point, as I left our driveway Saturday morning and started to see all the familiar sitings, Six Flags, the Grapevine, the Harris Ranch.…it all came rushing back to me.  I drove with tears trickling down my cheeks as I thought how lucky I was that I get to relive those summers through my girls.  That WE will most likely do those same drives. Technology will have been updated, but the drive will still be the same.

We will pack up our sleepy kids in their PJs at “o-dark-hundred-hours” as my Mom used to say.

We will stare at a trucker’s backside for 23 of the 24 hours.  Know the code to “flash our brights” telling a passing semi it’s safe to move back in front of us, and we will wave our hands asking him to honk his horn!

We will see tomato trucks and be in awe that the bottom tomatoes aren’t crushed when they get where they are going.

We will see loads and loads of crops and try to guess what each one is, and almost always fail.  But we will have fun trying.

We will see the sign for the Harris Ranch. and start salavating….

Oh my goodness, almost there…

Oh Lordy, bring on a cheeseburger, or maybe steak fajitas….doesn’t really matter as long as beef is involved.  And on the way out, grab a box of Pecan cookies from the bakery.

Seriously, I am really not joking on this one.

These cookies taste like a Pecan Pie in a cookie.  And not any ole Pecan Pie, but one your Southern grandmother makes for Thanksgiving with loads of brown sugar chewy goodness.

You will thank me for telling you about these cookies.

Then we will get back on the road and wonder if we see a cop car ahead (because on this trip I counted 17 cops in total), and then breathe a sigh of relief when we see it’s just a split personality Honda.  Just not sure who it wants to be when it grows up.

And when we get where we are going, we will share a box of Harris Ranch. Cookies.  They wont quite be the dozen plus 1 that we started with, but there still might be 1 or 2 left.  HEEEYYYY, it’s a long drive!  We’ll need the sugar rush!!

Thank you Mom and Dad for our amazing childhood summers.  Thank you for the lake.  And thank you for the Harris Ranch and Pecan Cookies, can I have another please??

(As you read this, I will be back in the car headed home and will be sure to share lots of tips on how it all worked, assuming of course that I survive the next 7 hour drive!)

my new best friend

I took a little adventure on Saturday and drove 7 hours with the babes to see friends & family.

Yes. Drove. In the car. Just me.  And 3 babes, 2 years old and under.

Fun.

In all honesty, not that bad…I had pretty much thought out how the drive needed to play out and had a few contingency plans, but all in all, it went off without a hitch!

But I think I really have Dora and all her friends to thank for that.

Now I’m not a big DVD in the car kinda girl.  In fact I loved a comment I heard a mom friend say one time, “I know, such a bummer that the DVD doesn’t work unless we are 100 miles from home…”

But when you are 100 miles from home, it’s pretty handy!

I picked up this DVD a few days before we left. But had NO IDEA it would be as helpful as it was!!  I liked it because it was a mix shows, Dora, Diego, Yo Gabba Gabba, Wonder Pets, Ni Hao Kai-Lan, and Blues Clues (not my fave, but all the others are good ones.)  My thought was, it had a good mix of the shows they like to watch at home, good variety and might keep their attention a little longer than normal.  And the fact that all the shows were focuses on teaching being “Green”. (Makes you feel good, like eating lettuce with your cheeseburger. Or milk with your chocolate cake….)

Wow!  Was that a good call!

Addie (2) was pretty much glued to it.

Hayden (1) could watch every other episode, but then needed to be entertained.  And then she would glue back in for another episode.

The DVD was such a hit, that yesterday when I popped it into my laptop, all the kids glued themselves again to watching Dora.  Which was kinda nice to get a breather for a bit….you know, after drawing pictures, and playing in the water & the sprinklers, riding on scooters and jumping in the bounce house….

And the adults weren’t going to complain one bit about that.

Quiet. If only for a few minutes.

Thank you Dora!  You and your friends are welcome in my car and on my laptop anytime!

(Disclosure: Nick Jr has no idea who I am ~ but this DVD saved my sanity on a 7 hour drive, which makes it a favorite I needed to share.)

another quick travel tip

Get your kids their passport.

I think the current (normal) quoted time is 6-8 weeks.

Piper’s came in 3 weeks.

I have gotten each Little their passport within a few months of birth.

It’s EASY!

Make an appointment (or walk in) at your local post office.

Or check here for local places for your area.

You will need your husband, your babes birth certificate & Social Security #, both parents IDs (drivers licenses) and a checkbook.

Fill out the application while hubs plays with baby.

(You can also do online and print, but if it doesn’t print PERFECTLY, you need to re-do)

Go to lunch after.

Easy.

Now you can enjoy any spur of the moment summer travel adventure that may arise.

Mexico

Canada

France.

The WORLD is your oyster!

(Then add a reminder alarm/note in your calendar 3-6 month prior to each family member’s passport expiration date)

A minors passport is good for 5 years.

Go now.