|Our little family on vacation at home in Colorado Springs|
Ah, yes, SUMMERTIME!!!! This means that the hubs and I love to load the kids (all 5 in the summer) up in the car and take them somewhere that usually has them asking “are we there yet?” A couple of people have asked me how we do this so easily, so here are the things we do to make everything go a wee bit smoother on our journey.
First, my husband wired individual DVD players into the headrests of our Odyssey. This makes it so the kids can all watch different movies, or team up with the age-appropriate ones. We try not to make our 14 year old hang out with Blues Clues. We also provided them with wireless headphones, which make it so I don’t worry the three year-old will strangle himself in the cord, but the car’s noise level doesn’t drive me to migraine city before we get out of the state. This keeps everyone moderately happy.
Ziploc bags are a family’s best friend. We love to travel with the kids, but we have 5 of them, and 2 of us. So, we’re looking at 7 outfits PER DAY. That can make up for a seriously messy suitcase if you’re living out of one. I take outfit per child, socks, undies, tees, the works, and put it into a Gallon Ziploc bag, squeeze the air out, seal it up, and label it with which kiddo it’s for, and which date. That means that they already have their super-comfy outfits for the car labeled, and when we know we have a social engagement on vacation (it happens, trust me), I know that I packed that tie. If you have super-picky kids, just have them help you do this part so they get to “choose” their outfit ahead of time. It also helps in the morning at a hotel, when you can toss each kid a ziploc, tell them to get dressed, and then they put the dirty jammies in the bag. Perfect!
Ah yes, those little guys get thirsty! We bought a brand-new mini-van three months ago, who I affectionately named “Charlotte.” (She’s my favorite NY gal). There’s zero chance in heck that I want sticky stuff all over my seats, and every chance that I want my kids well-hydrated. These little guys solve our issues. They’re pretty cheap at Walmart, I used a paint-pen to add our kids’ names, and they all look alike, which saves us from the “his bottle is cooler than mine” argument. We travel with a gallon of purified water, and fill them up when we stop. Happy, non sugar-ized kids!
HUNGRY kids! Or bored kids, at least, right? I’m a huge fan of trail mix. It’s high in protein from those nuts, low on carbs, but has those little sweet m&ms to keep the kiddos happy. Our littlest guy is a white-chocolate only dude, so his are special. We keep them on relatively the same snack schedule, but this is always what I hand out in the morning to keep little mouths busy. It also stops them from fighting when they’re mouths are full. 😉 The cup here to the left is what we use for Brody, since he tends to spill.
When we travel for days, like our recent trip from NY to Colorado and back, I pre-pack snacks using the jumbo boxes that we’ve emptied into our “car” snack area. Then on day #2, I just pull the next days snacks out of the packed area of the car so the kids aren’t whining that they ate all the “good stuff”‘ the day before and now they’re stuck with what’s left.
Another huge thing when we travel are the messes we make. See above section on the BRAND NEW car… Sigh. I also have a tendency to ride with my feet on the dash, which drives the hubs nuts when I leave little toe-prints on the windshield. (smirk). So, this is my solution. We travel with this little bag, and we keep the paper towels in the middle, windex on the side, and the snacks on the other side. I love this skinny little flexible bag. It always fits perfectly into the spot beneath our pre-schooler’s dangling feet.
I got this one from Thirty-one, and had it embroidered appropriately. 😉 If you want one like it, you can order them Here. I have a good friend who is a consultant for them.
I hope a few of these little tid-bits that we use help you on your next little jaunt. Oh, and above all else? We have fun. 😉