10 Activities for Long Car Rides with Kids

carrideactivitiesSummer vacation time is upon us. That time of year when family trips happen and lifetime memories are made. It is my favorite! However, with three kids 5 and under, we have to be prepared on long trips or the fun happy family memories can quickly become lost in the chaos. Multiple kids screaming and whining while parents pull their hair out and grind their teeth in frustration does not make for good memories. We are taking a family vacation soon that will require a long trip in the car so I have been trying to prepare myself to avoid meltdowns (or at least as many) and ensure happy memories for all. I have found that planning and organization are the key to successful happy car rides with youngsters. Today I am sharing 10 car activities that I have found from various sources. I plan to add to this list throughout the years and adapting it for our kids’ ages, but for our upcoming trip I hope this will do. Obviously I will be prepared with plenty of snacks, drinks, and movies on hand for emergencies. Let’s be real, I can’t possibly keep them all entertained the ENTIRE trip!

1. Handwriting Practice Pages

I love this idea because my kids will be doing something educational and worthwhile. Go to www.handwriting.com and you can personally design a handwriting practice page to say whatever you want. Since my girls are still little I just made them say their names. I chose to use my Scotch Thermal Laminator to laminate them so the girls could use them over and over using a dry erase marker and a cloth to wipe it off.

handwritingsheets

2. Scavenger Hunt

There are so many scavenger hunt pages out there. I used this one because it included pictures since my girls can’t read yet. I also laminated it so it could be used over and over again.

scavengerhunt

3. Interactive Gifts

I love this idea and free printable. What a fun way to keep the kids engaged on the trip. I picked up some little toys and treats at the dollar store that I plan to use this for.

interactivegifts

4. Go Fish

I am hoping to make this super simple and fun fishing game. The fish are made out of felt with a paperclip hotglued on. The magnets are just tied and hotglued to some string. Let each kid have a string and go fishing to catch the fish on the floorboard. This would especially be a good one for us since the trip we are going on is going to involve a lot of fishing.

magneticfishing

5. Coloring Pages

I printed some of these to take along. Of course I will be taking some regular coloring books too, but thought these were a fun and creative alternative.

coloringpages

6. String Car Travel

Nothing fancy, but such a great idea. Find an image of a car like yours online, print it, and hang it from a string that goes across the inside of your car. Make marks on the string for each hour passed and move the car each time. I love this to help the kids see how close you are getting to the destination.

stringtravel

7. Busy Packs

Everyone seems to have their own ideas and ways of making busy packs, but I liked some of the these ideas for little kids like mine.

busypacks

8. DIY Magnetic Dolls

My girls love their magnetic dolls at home so I think they will equally love this.

DIYmagnetdolls

9. Magnetic Sandpaper

Since I will already be buying a cheap cookie tray for each girl for the trip, I figured it should be put to good use. I would have never thought of the idea to put magnets on sand paper and then use yarn to stick to it. It will be another fun way to encourage the girls to practice recognizing and making their letters and/or being creative and making pictures.

magneticsandpaper

10. Would You Rather Conversation Cards

Whatever happened to just good old fashioned talking on car trips. I am super excited about these free conversation cards. What a fun way to get to know each other better and have some laughs. Conversationcards

And just for fun there is this awesome Road Trip Questionnaire that would be great to do with older kids and/or yours spouse. Jason is going to love me pulling this out while the kids are sleeping. Even though we have known each other since we were 5, there is always more to learn or refresh on.

QuestionnaireI will try to follow up and let you know which of these my kids actually liked, hopefully at least some keep appeal to them. Whatever travel plans you may have, just try to plan ahead as much as you can and then just go with it. In the end it will all be fine and memories will be made no matter what. Happy Trails!

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Chevron Nails

I love to do my nails.  It’s relaxing to me.  I really love to have them done at the salon, but that gets crazy expensive, so I don’t do that very often.  I found this awesome chevron nail idea on She Knows and thought, “I can totally do that.”  She has some really fun nail ideas.  You should totally go snoop around her site and see what’s what.  She did a wonderful job with her tutorial, but I did a few things differently.

chevron nails

Step 1

Paint your nails with the color of your choice.  If I were doing my fingernails I would do a base coat, but I usually don’t use a base coat on my toenails.

Paint NailsStep 2

Get out your Scotch tape and paint it with nail polish.  Use whatever color you want your chevrons to be.  Mine are going to be white.  I think silver or gold would be fun too.  You will need to let it dry and add another coat.

Paint the tapeStep 3

Use pinking shears to cut a strip of tape.  The first piece you cut will be trash because one of the sides will be flat.

Cut the tapeStep 4

Cut another strip right beside the other one.  Be sure to keep the points together so it fits the chevron pattern.  If you don’t get them matched up it will end up looking like a diamond pattern.  Continue cutting strips until you have enough for your nails.  I only needed four because I just did my big toe.  You can just hang them off the side of the table until you are ready for them.

points together

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5

Put the strips on your nails.  Place the first strip anywhere you’d like.  When you place the second strip, the points must match again.

Step 6

Trim the ends of the tape.  My friends all think I’m crazy, but I used an exacto knife.  If you aren’t comfortable with this just use scissors.  I thought it was easier to use the exacto knife.

Trim the tapeStep 7

Paint a top coat.  I put a coat of clear Shellac on.  I do this often with my toe nails so they last longer.  If you’re using regular polish, I would do two coats.

Top Coat

 

Voila!  Your nails look amazing!

chevron nailsLast time I added a silver strip parallel to the chevron.  I thought it added a nice touch.

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You know you are a mom of many young children when…

MothersDay2014

We planned to have our children spaced 2 years apart (they are now 5, 3, and 1). That meant that when our baby was only 15 months old we were already trying for the next one. I know there are plenty of people who have had their kids even closer, but having a 15 month old again now that seems crazy. I can’t imagine being ready for another one this time, but we did it twice.  I wouldn’t have it any other way though. It has made the last 5 years very busy, but also great. Now that I feel like I am slowly coming out of the fog and whirlwind of constant babies I have been thinking about how much my life has changed. Motherhood has made me a better person and is truly the most rewarding but hard job I will ever have. It’s amazing how you just get through it and do things (even things you never thought you would do). This list could go on and on, but these are just a few I have noticed. This is my life.

-cleaning up messes is just a normal part of your everyday

-you trip over small toys constantly

-you are a constant life saver

-cleaning someone else’s poop becomes just a part of everyday life

-you wipe a lot of little bottoms

-being thrown up and/or spit up on no longer sets off your gag reflux-it is truly like it no longer exists

-you can never make a satisfactory meal-there is always some child who doesn’t like it

-you are never, I mean NEVER, in the bathroom alone

-nap time for the kids means snack time for mom (otherwise the risk of them catching you and you having to share is too great)

-you have said, “Do you need to get in time out?” At least 10 times today(maybe this morning. Depending on how good or bad the kids slept last night)puddlegirls

-meal clean up takes forever

-there is a constant supply of goldfish in your pantry

-you have either been pregnant or breastfeeding for so long that you forgot what its like to have your body to yourself

-you have no personal space or privacy

-you field questions all day everyday

-you fix your hair so little that you hardly remember what you look like without a ponytail

-when you actually put on makeup and look nice your children ask, “Are we going to church today?”

-you are almost immune to the sound of fits and whining

-you have never ending laundry at all times

-you have to climb over baby gates at both stairways

chairs-your car is so full of carseats that you barely have room for any other passengers

-your car is full of trash and and at least 20 toys always

-your car cd collection consists of: Elmo, Disney Princesses, and a VBS CD

-you are only up to date on new animated kids’ movies (and haven’t been to an actual movie theater in months or maybe even years)

-you can sing Sophia The First, Doc McStuffins, and other shows’ theme songs

-you have the Frozen soundtrack memorized

-you get excited about getting your jogging stroller fixed

-sometimes the only date nights you get are out on the deck after the kids go to bed

-most days it is just easier to wear comfy pants since you will be on the floor most of the time anyway

-getting out the door and loading up to go anywhere takes at least 30 minutes

jeep-you have to plan your day around naptime

-you have had high chair at your table for over 5 years straight

-you have a cabinet full of every brand of sippy cup ever made

-day to day you never know when/if you will get to shower

-it takes you months and months to actually finish reading a book

-the bedtime routine takes at least an hour with bathtimes, teeth brushing, book reading, prayers, and cuddling

-you have a third car garage but it is strictly used to house all of the kids’ outdoor toys

-you have only been to Intrust Bank Arena (our local an entertainment venue) for: Sesame Street Live (3 times), Disney on Ice, and Sophia the First and Jake Princesses and Pirates even though there have been all kinds of great concerts and events there over the years

-your golf game handicap game has tripled since having children

-you forgot what hot food even tastes like because you are so used to not being able to eat until it is already cold

snacktime-no longer do you get to go on relaxing evening runs; now you are either pushing a double jogging stroller or having to go at 10pm when you would rather be going to bed

-an overnight stay somewhere requires days worth of packing and preparing along and then your vehicle looks like it is packed for a small army with enough stuff for a 6 month stay

-the bathtub is literally stained from kid’s bathtub paint

-you have been in a public restroom (with your kids crammed in the tiny stall with you of course) while your child proceeds to loudly announce and ask you about your business

-you grocery shop you have to drive the ridiculously large, hard to maneuver car carts around in order to have enough room for  your children and your groceries

-you no longer get to watch College Game Day on Saturday mornings (or really any uninterrupted sporting events) because you are watching cartoons

-you feel like you are constantly failing at parenting but then remember that no one is perfect and loving them is the most important thing

-your friends without kids don’t seem to call or want to hang out much anymore

-you honestly can’t remember the last time you had uninterrupted sleep because just when the baby starts sleeping through the night now one of the toddlers is having bad dreams, wetting the bed, scared, or who knows what else

-when everything you once knew or thought you knew about kids and parenting has changed and so have you (but for the better!)

 

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

guernsey book

I’ll start by saying that I really enjoyed this book.  And now the bad news.  It took me a while to get into the book because it is written in letter format.  In the end, I liked the format because it allowed me to have access to the thoughts of every character in the book, but it took me extra long to get to know the characters and keep them separate.  This also weirdly convicted me that I should write some actual, snail mail letters to people.  I mean, how fun is it when you get a letter in the mail?

One of the things that I liked most about the book was the references about new readers.  The literary society was formed accidentally and not very many of the members were readers.  The book demonstrated that even non-readers can enjoy a good book.  It’s about finding the book that’s right for you.  And they didn’t push the members to read other books.  Most of them attached to a book they really liked and stuck with it.  Reading never came easy to me and was certainly not something I would do for enjoyment.  Until recently.  But it all started with a really good book that made me realize that it can be fun.  And that made me seek out other really good books.  And the trend just continued.  So it really just starts with one book.

I also enjoyed the historical references and learning more about the nazi invasion and life in England during World War II.  This surprised me because I don’t really like history, but I actually enjoyed that part.

I always enjoy a good love story, so that was another favorite part of the book for me.  I, not surprisingly, thought the author could have delved deeper into this side of the book.  Most of the “romantic” moments were not really romantic at all.  In fact the couple barely even acknowledged their love for each other.

You might find it interesting to know that the author, Mary Ann Shaffer, passed away while writing the book.  Her niece Annie Barrows was the one to finish it.  Everyone in my book club thought you could definitely tell that there were two separate authors.  Not that we were complaining about it, but just that you could tell that the beginning of the story was written by one author and the end by another.

It also felt like the first 3/4 of the book were somewhat slow.  Then all of a sudden, everything that you had been waiting on to happen the entire book, was squeezed in to the very end.  It would have been nice to be able to enjoy those last moments and have them written out in more detail.

I liked the book and I would recommend it to everyone.  I hope that every non-reader out there finds that one special book at some point in their lives, so they too can realize how enjoyable reading can be.

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Mommy Moments

We had a staycation lake weekend with Jason’s side of the family this past weekend. We spent the night at Grammy and Grampy’s house. The girls were scared when it was bedtime so I told them to enjoy being able to sleep in the same bed and cuddle with each other. A little bit later we peaked in and found them like this. I guess they took my advice very literal. It was the sweetest thing! I couldn’t help but snap a quick picture on my phone. I love seeing the bond that they have! snuggles