5 Tips for How to Survive the Family Road Trip

Over the years we have done many road trips, to visit family, to go camping or simply to see and appreciate this amazing country we live in. It has taken many years of trial and error to hit on a road trip plan that works for our family. Here are our top 5 tips for how to survive the family road trip.

  1. Pack your own food for meals and snacks. Eating out can take a toll on the pocket book and also on your health. When we can’t pack our own food we like to stop at Safeway, their deli is a great place to find fresh and healthy choices.
  2. Download some new movies, TV shows, books and music to your mobile devices before hitting the road. Keeping everyone occupied is of utmost importance!!! It is just as important to keep older children and adults busy as it is to keep young children busy!! Don’t forget to bring chargers and charge cords so that you can enjoy your diversions for the entire road trip!
  3. Stop!!! Make sure to make many stops along the way. Everyone will appreciate the time to stretch their legs, use the washroom and perhaps grab a snack. Incorporating pit stops actually makes the trip seem shorter rather than longer because it breaks up those long monotonous hours.  Every road trip has some interesting attractions along the way so plan to stop and enjoy them.
  4. Bring along some blankets and pillows. It is inevitable that people will fall asleep on a road trip, at least this is the case in our family! Make a nap more enjoyable by planning ahead.
  5. Engage in conversation. You are all stuck in a vehicle for many hours, this is a perfect time to chat! Our family has come up with some wonderful ideas during long road trips and we have solved some problems as well. A road trip can be the perfect time to engage in quality conversation no matter what age your children are!

A road trip with the family can be enjoyable, but it takes some planning and preparation! Here is a great link with more ideas on how to survive the family road trip. Source: Survive the Family Road Trip With These 13 Tips – Survival Mom

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20 Cheap Things For Couples To Do

Here is our list of 20 cheap things for couples to do.

  1. Make a fire in your backyard. Pull out the marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate and devour some Smores while enjoying the warmth and glow of a cozy fire. Be sure to cuddle up and keep each other warm!
  2. Go out for coffee to your favorite coffee house, even better explore a coffee house that you have never visited before. Pick a place with comfortable chairs, a couch would be great, and settle in for some great coffee and conversation.
  3. Cook dinner together. Pick your favorite meal or browse through cookbooks and pick a meal that you have never created before. Turn up the music and let the good times roll!!
  4. Go bowling!  Pick out some of your favorite songs on the jukebox and challenge each other to a fun and friendly bowling competition.
  5. Go out for dessert. Instead of indulging in an entire meal go out just for dessert. Pick something large so you can share it together!
  6. Go for a drive to and watch the stars. Find a place in your area that is free of light pollution and spend some time under the night sky marveling in God’s creation!
  7. Play your favorite board game or card game. Preferably pick a game that will take a long time to finish, such as Monopoly, and make a night of it. Don’t forget to turn on some music and put out some snacks!
  8. Watch a movie together. Make sure it is just the two of you, kids not invited! Pick out the most romantic movie that you can think of, cuddle up and enjoy!
  9. Go hiking. Explore an area that you haven’t explored before, be adventurers. Make sure to let someone know where you are headed before you leave, safety first!
  10. Make a batch of cupcakes and decorate them. Don’t hold back, pull out all the stops and see who can come up with the most creative cupcake!!
  11. Go to the park and play. Get on the playground equipment and pretend that you are a kid again! Push each other on the swings, play tag, hang from the monkey bars. Let yourself be free just like when you were young. Before you know it you will be laughing till the tears start rolling!!
  12. Spend a morning at the farmer’s market. Get up early on a Saturday, grab a coffee and spend some time browsing the farmer’s market. Don’t forget to pick up some fresh bread for lunch and some cinnamon buns for breakfast!
  13. Browse your local thrift stores or flea markets and see who can find the most unique/ugly item. Be sure to proudly display this item at home to remember your wonderful day together!
  14. Go skating. Skating, especially at night, on an outdoor rink is very romantic. Hold hands and navigate the rink together.
  15. Play a round of mini golf. Our city has an outdoor and an indoor mini golf course so this can be a year round activity. Mini golf is relatively inexpensive, doesn’t require too much concentration and will certainly provide you with plenty of entertainment and laughter.
  16. Go to a thrift store and put together an outfit for each other. Be creative, don’t go for something “normal”. Be sure to try the outfits on and take a picture to capture the moment. If you are really adventurous, purchase the outfits and wear them out to dinner together!!!
  17. Go sledding in the winter. Grab your sleds or borrow some sleds and hit the most popular hill in your area. Be sure to enjoy a mug of hot chocolate together after you have conquered the hill!
  18. Play video games together. Pick a game that involves some interaction, “Just Dance” or “Mario Kart” are good choices, and prepare for the hilarity to begin!!
  19. Fly a kite. Don’t let a windy day get you down instead grab a couple of kites, head for an open field and prepare for some fantastic fun! Dollar stores usually carry inexpensive kites if you don’t have any of your own.
  20. Go to the museum. Our local museum has everything from live animals to dinosaur bones. Every museum has something interesting to offer so why not explore one together and perhaps learn something new!

Can you think of any other interesting activities to add?

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6 Mother Daughter Activities

It has been such a whirlwind raising a daughter! You think when they are little that they will never get older and then one day they are standing in front of you asking you to teach them to drive!!! I loved the time when my daughter was younger, but I am also loving this new chapter in our lives of watching our daughter grow into a woman. We can now connect on a whole different level than when she was a toddler or pre-schooler. One thing that I am finding particularly awesome about this stage in my daughter’s life is the one on one time that we have together. Here are 6 mother daughter activities that we enjoy doing.

  1. Coffee Dates – We are both Starbucks fanatics so naturally we would gravitate towards having a coffee date together! This is simply a time to grab a coffee and chat about what is going on in our lives. It is a laid back, relaxed time of bonding that we both really enjoy and the coffee is an added bonus!!
  2. Shopping – Okay, I know that not every woman likes to go shopping but my daughter and I actually enjoy this experience. Whether we are shopping for a dress for a special occasion or just popping out to Target in the evening to browse the makeup section we find this is a great way for us to spend some quality time together. Usually our shopping trips involve some form of silliness and lots of laughter, which is good for the soul!!
  3. Physical Activity – This could involve anything from taking the dog for a walk around the neighborhood to hiking in the woods to kayaking to biking along the river. If it involves getting outside and getting active we like to do it together! My daughter sometimes has to convince me that getting active is good for me, especially on those days when work has been long, but I am always glad when I do get out there with her!
  4. Watching Gilmore Girls Together – The show Gilmore Girls is my daughter’s all time favorite television show, she has watched all 7 seasons 7 times all the way through! I am also infatuated with this show so it stands to reason that we would enjoy watching it together. When my husband is out of town we will make some food, settle in and watch one or two episodes in the evening!
  5. Sharing Great Books – So, this isn’t technically time that we spend together but it is a shared experience. If I read a great book that I know my daughter will enjoy I pass it on to her and she does the same for me. These books give us something to discuss together, maybe during our coffee dates! We are always on the lookout for books that we might enjoy together.
  6. Special Events – So, this could incorporate many different activities such as going to a movie together, watching a play together or going to a concert. My daughter and I have enjoyed going to a couple of concerts together and it is a neat experience to share. Last night we attended a Taylor Swift concert together and it will be something we will talk about for a long time to come! We also get excited about going to movies together that we have been anticipating for a long time such as the Hunger Games series or the Divergent series.

The time that we have with our children is relatively short. It is up to us to make the most of this time and relish every moment. These mother daughter activities are extremely precious and bring memories that will last us a lifetime.

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5 Interesting Facts About Traveling with Older Children

We have spent a lot of time with our children this summer camping, hanging out in airports, staying in hotels and visiting many attractions. It is, in many ways, much more enjoyable to travel with older children, ours are 16 and 20. However we have also discovered that some things never change. Here are 5 interesting facts about traveling with older children.

  1. They will still want you to carry their “stuff”. No matter how old they get it seems they need you to hold on to their belongings. Water bottles, sunscreen, sunglasses you name it they will want you to carry it! I haven’t carried a diaper bag in many, many years but it almost felt like that was what I was lugging around with me on vacation this year!!
  2. They still like to play! Apparently you never get too old to play. Our 20 year old son likes to splash around in the pool and chase his sister just as much as he liked to do it when he was 10! Our 16 year old daughter likes to be chased just as much as when she was 6! It is a wonderful thing to see your children play, no matter how old they are!!!
  3. They will still complain. When they get tired, when they get hungry, when they get hot; you can be sure that you will hear about it! Usually this means that it is time to take a break, whether that means heading back to the hotel, sitting on a bench in the shade or grabbing something to eat.
  4. They will follow you around like little ducklings. We were certain that given the ages of our children they would want to explore some things on their own. We couldn’t have been more wrong! On a couple of occasions I would turn around and bump right into my son!!
  5. They still like to hang around with mom and dad! This was the most wonderful revelation to us on our vacation. Our children still want to spend time with us! I guess we must have done something right as parents!

We have been lucky to have this summer with our children and to spend so much family time together. Our son is applying to universities across the country and may only be at home for another year and our daughter is chomping at the bit to get a part time job! It might be the last summer vacation that we have together so we are taking the time to soak in every moment.  Traveling with older children is a blessing!

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4 Useful Things to Bring Camping

Camping is a part of our life. We can’t imagine an existence without some form of camping. Over the years we have written and revised our camping list many times. The current list is about two pages long but there are  four useful things to bring camping that we never leave home without.

  1. iPad – Yes an iPad is definitely a source of entertainment when we are camping, we can listen to music, perhaps watch a movie or read a book. However, the best reason for bringing an iPad camping is for the use of the app “Simply Noise”.  Simply Noise is an app that plays white noise and is perfect in muffling the sound of the guy in the next site who has had on too many to drink or the kids who are allowed to ride their bikes till sun rise! We turn on “Simply Noise” when we are ready for bed and always experience a great night’s sleep.
  2. Sun Shelter – Obviously this is great to throw some shade on a hot summer day but it is also very useful on a rainy day. A sun shelter also makes a fantastic rain shelter instead of using a tarp. Bonus … no trees needed, no ropes needed; just put up the shelter and you are done. Pick a shelter that can be easily moved; you can put it over the picnic table during the day and if it is raining at night it can be moved closer to the campfire.
  3. Battery Charger – So, maybe you already bring one of these camping with you but we just recently started taking ours. We find it useful to charge our cell phones and also to charge our iPads (so that we can continue to enjoy our “Simply Noise”). If we are camping without the kids it is very important that we are able to remain connected. It might not be something that we take on a weekend trip but it does come in handy on long excursions.
  4. Box of Latex Gloves – Latex gloves are always in one of our outdoor storage compartments. They came in handy when we had to relocate a bat that had found it’s way into our water bucket! Latex gloves are particularly useful when Dave has to empty the sewer into the sani station (you would be surprised at how many guys do NOT wear gloves when doing this chore!!).

These items might not be the first things that you think of when you prepare a packing list for a camping trip but they do come in handy. Here is a link to 8 more things that you might forget to pack when  heading out camping (Source: 8 Things You Need For Camping That You Might Forget | Ever In Transit)

Pack well and enjoy your time in the great outdoors!

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