Car Hacks for Traveling with Families

And......WE ARE BACK!  Sorry for the long pause in blog posts.  It's been a little crazy over here.  Vacay and moving will do that to you.  But no one can say we didn't warn you right?  Anyway, thanks for your patience.

Who doesn't like car trips right?  I honestly don't mind them, however, driving for 11 hours can be a bit intense with 3 children under the age of 5.  We just came back from our vacation late Sunday night.  (10:00 pm to be exact.)  It was a wonderful vacation--but a long drive.

That being said, there are some things you can do to make those car rides easier on you and your kids.

Here are some car hacks for traveling with families:

Original post from Kids Activities Blog. Such great ideas!

No more trying to dig coins out of a cup holder (not even to mention trying to clean the little bits of lint and crumbs that get stuck in the crevices.  Use silicone cup cake liners (affiliate) as inserts for your cup holders.  When they get grubby, wipe them out.
Trunks can become the car’s catch-all.  This trunk organizer can help limit the chaos.  It has sections for groceries and a middle cooler.  Another option is to add a shelf to the back of the back seat, leaving floor space open.  (affiliate links)
Have a single serving tableware ready for an unexpected meal on-the-road.  Stephanie over at Modern Parents Messy Kids keeps a couple sets in her glove box.
Use Easter Eggs as snack packs.   They are easy to pass out in the car and perfect for portion control of snacks while you drive.
Collect Bags of Blessings to keep in your car.  If you come across a person in need you can “be a blessing”.  

Create a kit for all the little things that you might need – ideas of things to add include antacids, nail clippers, extra cash, band-aids, Advil, etc.   Organized Junkie has a terrific tutorial on how to customize your emergency kit.  You can also purchase pre-packaged first aid kits (affiliate link) that can help in the time of need.
We have jumper cables in our car but the times my battery has been dead I have been lost as to how to connect the jumper cables (affiliate).  Even if you don’t have a set of jumpers in your car, print this nifty tag just in case you need to jump another vehicle.

If you use reusable tote grocery bags you will love this idea.  Fill a bin with the totes and keep it in the trunk.  You have one place to go for all those bags.  Thanks I heart Organizing.
If you have a lot of driving this might be super helpful.  If you have older kids who have had back-to-back games, during nap-time!!  This inflatable bed would make resting easier on your tyke while the kids played/practiced.
Poke a hole into the lid of a water bottle and add a straw for an instant “sippy cup” for an older child.  Perk:  Throw it out when you reach your destination.  For more ideas like this one, check out the Kid's Activities Blog meals-on-the-go post.  It's got many more ideas!
Don’t let all the bags and jackets pile on the floor.  Use a tension rod - the kind designed for closets.  You can hang all the kids things.  Thanks Madame Deals for the idea!

For those kids who figure out how to unbuckle their seats, but do it at all the wrong times, this trick is invaluable!  Make a car seat belt “cover” using a small plastic cup.  Genius!
Organize the car and all the kids towels and other items that come with activities using a magazine rack.  No more digging through stacks of things in the trunk.
Put a pool noodle along the bed of a child when you are traveling in place of a bed rail.  Your kids will hopefully stay in the “new” bed.
Use a sponge as a back-up ice pack.  No more drips from ice!  Don’t have a sponge or have a larger thing to keep cool?  Try a dish towel.
Thanks again to the Kid's Activities Blog for the great ideas!
Hope this makes your travels a little easier!  Now I need to get motivated to unpack everything when I get home!  lol!  That is a whole other blog post!   

Until next time,

I Am Not Sorry That You Are Hyper

It took me a long time to realize that my children are not quiet kids. That sounds dumb right? How could I not understand that my children are active, energetic and  powerful forces that I am responsible for aiming, directing and releasing into the world?   Well, I guess I did not realize it because I did not want to realize it.

 Hello denial!

I think most new parents want to have  quiet, well behaved, always polite, respectful, obedient children.  I have several friends who birthed these types of kids and  I sure do appreciate those qualities when we have play dates or visit restaurants!

 I however have children , two in fact, that want to test, challenge and explore the world around them...and that is also wonderful.
Roots & Wings 8x10 art print

When I look at my sarcastic, sometimes loud self, and my gregarious, sometimes blunt husband I think... where, or how was I going to get a quiet child?  Was I going to magically combine genes that I do not possess? Possibly I guess... but based on my High School biology class... chances were not good.

So why do I feel the need to say this?  I say this because I think that most parents feel like they are doing something wrong if they have to constantly correct, or instruct their little ones.  I want to give you a cyber hug and tell you it is ok that your kid pushes boundaries, tests the waters, frustrates you to no end because that kid is the kid that I am proud to have, and the kid that I will want to have if I am blessed to have another.

When your child wants to climb on the outside of the slide, wants to jump in every mud puddle, wants to have their hand up to answer every question, wants to sing endlessly in crazy voices in the backseat of the car, wants to choose their own purple skirt, green leggings, blue shirt and cowboy hat, refuses to take off their superman cape for dinner, refuses to put on clothing for dinner, wants to bake without a recipe, wants to turn their whole bedroom into a giant fort,  skins more knees than you can count, climbs every tree in your yard, tries to take home sand from the sandbox in their shoe, makes their body into art with markers,  or simply just pushes your nerves, know that with your love and guidance they will make it --  and so will you.

I needed to understand that it is ok for my child to ask to do these things, that there is a time and a place to say yes and that if I allow them to explore we are all often better for it.

Please don't take this the wrong way, no is still a word that I use more than I should to keep these little baby trains on track; however I have also let go of some of the smaller things in order to win some of the larger battles. My children understand what it is to listen and learn, to sit queitly if needed (they try hard at least) but they also know that mommy will get out the paints, or get out the baking ingredients and let them be the creative, active kids that they are.  For it is their gift to me to let me see the world through their eyes. To allow me a glimpse at how their tiny active brains work. To see the glorious things that they come up with once I give them  permission to just be themselves.

So when you are pulling your hair out trying to figure out games or activities to keep your kid busy know that your kid's energy will make them a powerful force later in life. That is right, if you are able to focus their energy for good then your child has a chance to lead the world. As one of my wise friends said to me, your child will get things done and lead others to want to do that too. What a great compliment.

I don't want my kids to be passive participants in the world.  I do want them to be respectful people, and understand that there are rules for a reason, but I also want them to push boundaries, explore, and make sure that they live their lives to the fullest.

So the days that have been so crazy that  you just can't fathom how you will make it through.  Just know you will.  You will run, skip, hop, jump, roll, and probably fall across the finish line, but what a glorious race you will have run, and what an awesome prize your precious active kids will be.


Until Next Time,

Movin' & Shakin'

So many changes are happening it's CRAZY!  They are exciting but at the same time there are a lot of the unknowns.  This next week on the blog may be a little sparse but we will do the best we can!  As most of you know Jenn is moving with her family to North Carolina on Monday.  And I will be on vacation for part of this next next week.  So just bare with us as we navigate through all of this.  We are still going to be doing festivals and trade shows and Kinder Keepsakes isn't going anywhere because of this move.  We are still close enough to each other to serve you in the way you deserve!  We are excited for this fun adventure! 

We are still going to be on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram throughout this next week too, so make sure you stay involved!  We are still here to have some fun!  

Don't forget--tomorrow we will be at the South Carolina PEACH FESTIVAL in Gaffney, SC.  So for all of you locals-- please come and stop by our booth!  We would love to see you!  

So here is to a fun, hectic week-to-come!  HAPPY FRIDAY!

Apples in a Bag

I am all about quick, convenient and yummy tasting.  And as a mom with 3 kids and running a business I kind of have to be.  Here is a quick and easy way to have the perfect topping for your ice cream or  something sweet when you are wanting to pick something a little more healthy.  This is so good even your kids will love it!
This recipe was found from Salad in a Jar website.

Apples in a Bag
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
  • 1 small apple (Golden Delicious or Granny Smith are my favorite)
  • 1 packet of sweetener (Splenda is my favorite), or a spoonful of sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Small handful of raisins, optional
  1. Peel or don’t peel apple, core and slice or dice. Place in freezer-quality plastic zippered bag along with remaining ingredients. Seal bag and shake well to mix ingredients.
  2. Reopen bag just a touch to vent. Microwave on High for 2 minutes– longer if you use a big apple.
  3. Carefully (it will be HOT and steamy) open bag and pour over plain or cinnamon-sugar pita chips, flour tortilla chips, oatmeal or ice cream.
(Nutritionals based on no raisins, unpeeled apples and artificial sweetener)
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 59 Fat: .2 g Carbohydrates: 16.7 g Sugar: 11.0 g Sodium: 2 mgFiber: 2.9 g Protein: .3 Cholesterol: 0 mg


Who Is Ready To Duel?

Boys will be boys is the saying right?  Most will want to rough house, wrestle, have sword fights, climb trees, and pretty much do everything in the house that may break the furniture.  This is very true for my son. He is an active 'all boy' type of kid. Don't get me wrong, he can still complete one pretty awesome art project, but boy does that kid love to wrestle!  I have figured out that my goal for his first 10 years is to provide a place that he can play in a fun yet ultimately safe way!  What is the first step... to replace the plastic swords, and light sabers that he is currently loves with 'Padded Play Swords'!  

Hopefully this saves a few bumps on his sister's fingers and a few marks on my wood  furniture =)

 Now to be honest, I said how do I fix my plastic sword problem.... it is really how did my amazingly crafty husband solve our collective sword problem!

See... my husband went to Home Depot and came home with a bunch of items that lead me to believe we were fixing a plumbing problem in the house. Little did I know he went to the store with the kids in mind and we were going to have some epic battles as a result.

Here is what you need...
PVC pipe, Pipe Insulation, electrical tape in the color of your choice, PVC pipe cap, silver faucet connector, rubber bands (or hose washers), rope or string,  and a pair of tights... That is it!  Easy right!?

1.  First step is to cut the PVC pipe to the proper length. The first trial sword we made was 40 inches but that was too long and heavy for the little kids.  Hello new adult way to settle disagreements.... DUEL!  I kid really, I kid ...

 The final length we used was 30 inches... 6 inches for the handle and 24 for the blade. This is long enough to keep the kids away from the opponent but not too long that it is too hard to handle.

2. Put the PVC Pipe cap on one one end of the pipe. This creates a solid base for the handle.

3.  Step 3 is to slip on the metal ring that creates the hand guard on the sword. If you put rubber bands, or hose washers on either side it prevents the ring from slipping.  Side note, in the plumbing section of your hardware store you can find these in metal or plastic.  Pick metal. The plastic will break and leave sharp edges when you are  playing with them.  Also, this shows the metal piece facing down but we turned it up so that it keeps any sharp edges away from little hands. You can also cover this with electrical tape if you want to remove a rough edge.

Step 4: Wind Electrical tape around the bottom of the sword in the design of your choosing. My daughter picked red and black and my son wanted an all black handle!  If you don't have electrical tape then pick one of the decorative duct tapes that are so popular right now!

Step 5: Slide on the first sleeve of pipe insulation.  Below you will see the completed sword at this point  The small insulation looks great but does not provide enough cushion for the little ones so make sure you use both layers!

Step 6 :  This is your second round of insulation. We used Polyethylene self-seal pipe insulation for this part and it made it SUPER EASY to complete!  You just wrap it around the 'blade' of the sword, and stick together at the seam. 
Step 7: Cover the blade of the sword with one leg of a pair of tights and tie it off with string between the insulation and the metal plate. Once cut, the tights can tuck in the space before the handle.

Side note-- my husband went to buy tights at the store without me...  He needed enough 'legs' to fit 4 swords two swords for the kids, and two for the parents -  (we don't want to leave unarmed parents)  -  It is hilarious that he went to the store just to guy tights by himself, but then it is also funny that he bought a package that said 4X 1 on the top. He read this to mean  4 times 1 pair - meaning 4 pair.  Um no, he bought one pair of 4X tights! Love him ! 

Step 8: PLAY!!  In our house we had to make the 'battle rules' so that once kids got ready to play that our little energetic selves didn't get into trouble and lose our new toys! Rule #1: do not hit anyone without a sword (we learned from experience).

 Have fun, and have a battle!

Until Next Time,

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