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)

conquest maps, Family

Conquest Maps

Conquest Maps

Calling all travelers!!!! I’ve finally found a good quality map to document all the countries we’ve traveled to…..Conquest Maps! Conquest Maps specializes in pin board and poster wall maps to document all your travel adventures. Ordering is so simple…

  1. Choose your map region: US, World, Caribbean, State, etc
  2. Choose your map style: they have 7 different styles (they are all gorgeous!)
  3. Customize: customize the legend including text, push pin colors and push pin style

For ours, we chose the World map in Rustic Vintage style….since my husband has LITERALLY been all over the world. We also decided to change the push pins to green – for places already traveled and blue – for future travel. We then decided to customize the legend and change the text; this was the hardest for me since the text possibilities are endless! But Conquest Maps saved the day with some really great quote inspiration (check out their Pinterest page). I had to stay true to my brand, of course, so we decided on “There and back again…..a globally inspired life.”

Once we placed our order, Conquest Maps customer service sent a proof of our customized legend and once we approved it, out map shipped and arrived a couple of days later. Talk about fast service! Our kids loved the new map and loved putting all the push pins on. Of course this led to lots of questions about each city and/or country my husband had visited. What a great conversation starter about different cultures! We had so much fun with this project and I plan on ordering more from Conquest Maps. It makes the perfect gift!

Fun fact….did you know they also sell travel decor, wall decals, vehicle decals, etc….

Family, Surviving Chaos

Time and Money

“If you’ve got the money I’ve got the time!” These felt toys, discovered in the Target Dollar Spot, are a favorite with our kids and are the perfect learning tool. And who doesn’t love to play with money?? The play money is perfect for counting and teaching good finance concepts (got to start them early). Now if they only made something for Bitcoin…..

From colors to counting to telling time, these felt toys are perfect for kids aged 3-7 and fit in any purse, carry-on or backpack. When my husband is traveling, I’ll pull these out at home to keep the kids occupied while I make dinner, do dishes, start/sort/fold laundry, etc. The best part for me (and I’m sure other moms) is that they are felt so they’re very durable- kid tested, mother approved!