Sunday, May 8, 2016

Carsick Safe Activities for Road Trips!

Car sickness is no laughing matter. I jokingly tell everyone that I have adult onset motion sickness, but really, it's not a joke. It's not fun, and I hate it.

If I'm driving, I'm fine. If I'm the passenger in the front seat, I'm ok as long as I don't have to read anything. Seriously. Google Maps and Waze and GPS can navigate for you. But don't ask me to look up and read anything on my phone, and for goodness sake, don't hand me anything printed to read. Can't handle it. I was trying to amuse myself on two hour drive with my sister (who also has motion sickness issues, so she was driving) by playing on my phone a bit, and that was a bad idea. I was ok, but yeah, it took a minute. Not fun.

Now, as an adult, if I'm not driving, then theoretically there is another adult who is driving that I can interact with. I might not love long car rides, but I can handle them.

As a kid, motion sickness really stinks. My sister was one of those kids, and she remembers our long drives to vacation spots very differently than I do. I could read my books, draw, pretty much anything. She could not. Gazing out at the horizon was fine, but watching the scenery whip by so she'd have a fighting chance at Car Bingo was not. So she got bored. And nauseated. And crabby. And a bored crabby kid who really doesn't feel well makes everyone crabby.

So, inspired by my own motion sickness issues, I brainstormed for some ways to amuse everyone on a long trip that didn't involve reading, coloring, writing, or anything else that would induce nausea. From audiobooks to sing alongs to silly games that are played entirely verbally, there should be something to keep everyone happy. In fact, I've found such a love for audiobooks that it's now my go-to when I'm in the car alone!

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Creating the Perfect First Aid Kit

Reagan is really at the age for boo-boos. Real ones, imaginary ones, self-inflicted ones, clumsy age related ones, telling on my sister ones, old ones that have been dealt with and are nearly invisible now, pretty much any and all boo-boos. They all produce tears, and they all require immediate attention. Nothing can ruin her day more than reaching down to unbuckle at preschool, spotting a microscopic scratch, and realizing that she will have to get through her entire preschool morning without a bandaid. Instant meltdown and a fabulous way to start the morning.

Since she usually both creates and notices these legitimate and fictional boo-boos when we're in and out of the house, and all require a prompt response, I've learned to be prepared. I have boo-boo treatment ready to go wherever we are. Little first aid kit in my purse. Big first aid at home, on both floors. And best first aid kit in my trunk, stocked with anything and everything someone could possibly require when we aren't home.

OK, not really. But I have all the possible remedies that we could potentially need, short of a tourniquet or limb splint.

Recently I put together a specific kit for exactly what we need, and when we use something, I text myself a note to replace it ASAP.

I customized our kit for the typical four year old to six year old injuries and ailments, but there are some really great premade kits that work well too. In fact, that princess kit is currently living in one of my many tote bags, just waiting for scrapes.

I might be accused of being overprepared, but at least we're never caught off guard. And anything that can diminish the anguish of a sobbing preschooler with a scrape is well worth it to me!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Less Mess Road Trip

This is the first dance competition season where we have been fully immersed in the experience. Last year, Madison participated in two competitions, both of which were within a thirty minute drive, and we only had to be there one weekend day. It was a very gentle initiation period.

Now that Madison is in her second year of competing, and has added two more dances to her roster, we're totally involved. Five competitions, multiple days each, and three out of the five have been longer than an hour's drive. Which, remember, we're making several times over the course of the weekend.

Mind you, I am not complaining. Madison loves every bit of it even more this year, and I like feeling like I'm actually getting the full experience instead of (pardon my pun) dancing around the edges. Last year was the warm up, but now we're in the game. And we like the game.

This means we are in the car a lot. You've noticed a car centric, road trip theme lately? This might be why. I've always been a "the car is my mobile office" and "we're always on the go" sort of mom anyway, but now it's even more true. Combine that with the fact that Madison's giant competition duffel takes up the entire trunk (not kidding, see picture below), and our road trips to competitions have become much more interesting.

I'm really trying to keep a neat and clean car (mostly because I'm trying to prove that the kids and I are ready for an upgrade - anyone want to gift me a minivan?) and multiple competition road trips have really tested that resolve. It's so easy to just throw up my hands to crumbs and wrappers from breakfast sandwiches, scattered clutter, and bags stuffed everywhere, but so far, I'm fighting back. I wrote up some ideas for a Less Mess Roadtrip (because let's be honest - there is no such thing as a no mess road trip), and it's helping.


We've got Nationals coming up at the end of June, several hours away, so I'm glad for the practice now. What am I missing? What else helps your car stay in control on long trips?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Good Ideas Everywhere - DIY Snackboxes!

If there's anything I love, it's a good hack that makes my mom life easier. Tips and tricks float around on Pinterest, Facebook, blogs, mom group conversation. In fact, we dedicated some time at our last MOPS meeting solely to share "mom hacks" that we can use.

Recently I stumbled across a great idea for road trip snacks: snackboxes.

One of my car trip pet peeves is dealing with snacks. I'm either giving the girls too much to keep track of in their carseats, struggling to find food that is relatively nutritious while still staying portable, snacks that create mess and trash, and having to essentially be the waiter, handing back snacks while driving.

Snack boxes fix that. It does require a little more preparation on my part. Creating the boxes was simple enough (and a one time thing), and it only takes a few minutes to fill them before we head out the door.

I found the boxes at a craft store, but I also found them in the craft area of Wal-Mart, and they are on Amazon (of course). I paid 2.99 each at Michael's, which seemed like a bargain for something I can reuse over and over again.

The girls get snacks they love, in a mess free container, personalized for them.

I get a mess free, bother free road trip. No fighting, no issues.

Win, win, win.

For a more in depth post I wrote about these snackboxes, check out this link!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Taking Oils on the Road

I'm not normally a crunchy, health food store sort of person. In fact, my own mother, when referencing a natural grocery store in my own town, told her friends that I'd probably not be a good person to offer an opinion on the quality because she was certain I'd never set foot inside.

Well, mother, actually, I've set both feet in many times. Not looking for the overpriced organic produce or bulk quinoa, but because I discovered the glory of essential oils, and that is my favorite place to get them.

What do I use them for? What don't I use them for!

I've used clove oil along with a good carrier oil for teeth and gums.

I use clove and tea tree oil as a natural bug repellent (since I am seriously arachaphobic and can't handle the thought of creatures anywhere around me).

I've used lemon and orange oil to discourage creatures from nesting under our porch. We have a skunk who is determined to build her nest there, and we found that the best way to keep her away is to spray the porch with a mixture of citrus oils diluted with water.

I use peppermint and thieves for home remedies.

I use oils in the car for a whole host of reasons. From staying alert to keeping motion sickness at bay to keeping bugs out and just keeping the car fresh, I always keep oils with me.

I'm still definitely not a crunchy person, but I'll add a little crunch to my life to keep oils around!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Killing Time in the Best Way

As the girls are growing up, I've found myself with more time...sort of.

Looking at our family calendar, you would think that we are absolutely crazy, running around from place to place. That's true. We're busy, we have plenty of activities we're always heading off to, and we have very few "free" days.

However, as busy as this schedule is, it has a lot of down time in it for me.

I sit and wait in waiting rooms at dance and gymnastics and tennis, killing time during activities where I don't have time to leave, but it's too much time to just sit.

I sit and wait at appointments, the kind where you never know if you'll be called right in, or end up sitting for a while.

I sit and wait in my car at pick up times, when I did get to leave, but need to balance the right time to get back.

When Madison went to preschool, her pick up situation was interesting. All the cars pulled up and the teachers would keep the line moving, loading the first car, waiting for the next to pull up, loading that kid, and on and on down the line. From what I hear, this is actually a pretty common situation in pre- and elementary schools. It's tricky. To be first in line, getting your child right at dismissal, you have to be pretty early, which means you need to wait in your car for the kids to come out. If you get there on time, you end up at the end of the line...which means you need to wait in your car.

So basically, that pick up scenario assures you some time to kill.

It's really tempting to just spend those waiting minutes on my phone. But honestly, there are plenty of ways to kill time without needing to pull it out. From catching up on paperwork, to reading a magazine, to people watching, it can be time that feels relaxing and productive, instead of frustrating and battery sucking!

What's your favorite way to use those waiting times away from home?

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