Family, Surviving Chaos

Online Virtual Museum Tours

Natural History Museum

While we are all doing our part to shelter in place and/or work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, we will definitely need something to keep your children busy. These are definitely stressful and anxious times so how about a virtual get away? I’ve compiled a list of museums form all over the world offering free virtual tours of their museum and exhibits. These tours are fantastic and will definitely spark your kids interest to learn more. Enjoy!

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Family, Surviving Chaos

Surviving Chaos: Brain Quest Workbooks

Brain Quest Workbooks

Need to keep your kids busy on long flights but keep them learning? Check out Brain Quest workbooks! These workbooks are my absolute favorite busy activity for our kids when we are training. Why? The are small and compact, no pen or paper needed, fit easily in our carry-on, and it helps our kids continue learning. Our kids love the quiz style format of the workbooks and all the fun illustrations throughout. I have been known to bring these out on weeknights when I am trying to get dinner ready. #survivingchaos

Each Brain Quest deck is a fast-paced question-and-answer game that challenges kids on the stuff they need to know, when they need to know it. The workbooks are jam-packed with curriculum-based activities, exercises, games and challenges, all in full color. There is workbook for each grade level from pre-kindergarten thru 6th grade. These will keep them busy for hours!

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Family, Surviving Chaos

Loving Abroad

Absence makes the heart grow fonder…

When my husband first started traveling, I thought I was prepared and would be comfortable while he was absent. The beginning trips were small, 2-3 days but as his achievements in career progressed, the business trips grew longer to 5 days and now 7 full days. When his role expanded to a global position, not only were the trips longer but we also had to coordinate the time difference, which really hindered phone calls. I thought I was prepared for this type of separation -I wasn’t. It was harder than I expected , sometimes more than I was able to handle and more than I wanted to deal with. So I needed to be creative…..how could stay connected while we were so far apart? So, I started putting cards with hand written notes in his suitcase. While he was busy working on logistics of his trip, I would go and hide them in his suitcase. I became an expert at finding good hiding places in his suitcase…..between shirts, inside shirt sleeves, in his toiletry bag, inside a pant leg, etc. The possibilities were endless! And these cards were not your run of the mill cards; I would specifically choose cards that were quirky, odd, funny, romantic or matched whatever was happening in our lives at that moment. He was so thrilled to receive a card and find it in the most unsuspecting places and when he was least expecting it. He would call me and tell me what part of his trip (or where he was in the world) when he found it and how he found the card, which was always the best part and the most hilarious! Thus started our tradition of writing cards to each other whenever one of us was traveling. He has kept every single card I have given him…..a whole drawer full (he travels a lot!) These cards gave me the opportunity to write all the things I hadn’t had time to say or the courage to say. To make up for missed opportunities. The idea of him reading a heartfelt note about what was on mind and on my heart brought me comfort over long distances and during the long separations.

Although I would write all kinds of things in his cards…appreciation, thanks, funny stories, etc, it wasn’t always about the content. It was more about receiving a personal note from a loved one, a small token of affection, or that I took the time during all the chaos to write something especially for him. If this note was going to be the last thing he would see or my last opportunity to say what was on my heart, why would I not take that opportunity? I encourage you to find ways to connect with spouse during travel times. What may seem like a small gesture or insignificant action makes a huge impact on someone else. It definitely gets us through the long trips and tougher parts of having a traveling spouse. How do you stay connected during times of travel?

Family, Surviving Chaos

A B Choo Choo!

An ABC train is loads of fun! This was one of my first DIY kids projects when we my husband first started traveling. I needed a way to not only keep the kids entertained while I made dinner but also get them to learn something!! A few pieces colorful construction, laminating sheets (for durability) and creativity made this project a breeze. And as an added benefit, when we started traveling as a family, the ABC train came in handy as it was easy to pack in a carry-on for long plane rides or road trips. Its a win-win!

To make it, cut out 26 wheels (they can be any color) and label them with the ABCs. Next cut out the boxcars and add 3 letters per boxcar (or 1 or 2-its up to you!). As for the locomotive (or engine), I drew it by hand; there are lots of free locomotive printables online if free hand drawing is not your thing. Laminate all you pieces and voila!

Surviving Chaos Tips

  • Let the kids help cut out the all the pieces; keeps them busy for while and helps their scissor skills
  • Change the letters to numbers
  • Use sight words on the boxcars instead of letters. This is perfect for kiddos learning how to spell!
  • These also make great letter recognition flash cards
  • Put it in zip loc bag: it keeps the pieces together, an added layer of protection from spills and it’s TSA friendly
Family, Food, Style

Our Thanksgiving Table

Our Thanksgiving Table

  • Modern Farmhouse Harvest Collection serving plates linked here (the whole collection is 50% off)
  • Sparkle Foliage Napkin Rings linked here (currently 15% off)
  • Felt Leaf Coasters linked here (currently 15% off)
  • Leaf Jute Utensil Holder linked here (currently 30% off)
  • Harvest Napkins linked here (currently 15% off)
  • Harvest plaid tablecloth linked here (currently 70% off)