Family, Surviving Chaos, When in

Road Trip Essentials

Whether your planning your next mini vacation or for the upcoming holidays, many families are considering road trips as their mode of transportation. Road trips can be so much fun, are perfect for family bonding and are a great opportunity for site seeing. But before you leave, be sure to pack the essentials so your road trip doesn’t go south! I’ve compiled a list of essentials to bring on your next road trip.

Car Essentials

  • Car Kit: Spare tire and jack, jumper cables, air pump, gas can, flashlight, etc are some of the essentials you need should anything happen to the car while your on the road. Also, invest in a good roadside assistance service just in case. Many of them have apps that can pinpoint your exact location, notify the provider you need assistance, closet gas station, etc.
  • Blanket/Sarong/Sweater: No matter what you put the temperature setting on, someones either going to be too hot or too cold. Have a blanket or light sweater ready for all the temperature fluctuations each person will go though. Plus, you’ll be saved from any A/C vs heat fights. I’ve listed my favorite travel sarong here. Surviving Chaos Tip: Use the blanket as a makeshift pillow for you car naps.
  • Mask: Currently, each state has a mask mandate that requires masks to be worn in stores. You don’t want to be caught without them because you will be denied entry. Not ideal if your stopping for a bathroom break. Pack at least 2 masks/person so you’ll be ready for pit stops.
  • Hand sanitizer: Perfect for cleaning everyone’s hands after your pit stop when you don’t have access to soap and water. But if there is soap and water…..wash those hands!!

Food Essentials

  • Gum: Perfect for family bubble blowing contests or releasing the pressure in your ears as you travel over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house
  • Snacks: Pack plenty of snacks that will keep you full between meals. Protein bars, granola, raisins, goldfish, etc are perfect options and come in bite sized portions. You definitely don’t sugar meltdowns and HAN-gry kids during your road trip.
  • Water bottle: You still need to stay hydrated while your driving so don’t forget to drink water.
  • Tissues and Toilet Paper: Tissues for the runny nose, to clean hands after snacks or to clean up spills. A roll of toilet paper just in case…you don’t want to be caught without it at during your pit stop.

Entertainment Essentials

  • Portable Device: When you or your kids are looking for some entertainment other than the mountains, rivers and forests. This is the perfect option for music, movies and games. Be sure your subscriptions and up to date and their is an option to download content when data is not readily available.
  • Headphones: 1 for each person and so there won’t be a who can turn up their entertainment volume the loudest competition or I can’t hear my movie argument. Surviving Chaos Tip: Moms…this is your quiet time. Your welcome!!
  • Portable charger: Be sure to get a universal one for your cell phone, tablet, etc and with multiple ports so you can charge multiple devices.
  • Non-tech Activities: If you need a break from screen time, why not sing a song or play “I Spy”. Flash cards, felt activities and game boards are just some activities that will keep your family entertained. A list of our road trip activities with links on how to make them or purchase them are listed below:

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Surviving Chaos, When in

Tips for Surviving Long Haul Flights

Long haul flights can be brutal! These are flights that last 8 or more hours, a full day, from beginning to end in order for you to get from 1 side of the globe to the other, literally. Sitting in the same spot in a small confined spaced can be tough on the body….and mind! Once you finally land, you’ll feel some serious jet-lag that goes far beyond basic exhaustion. Whether your travelling to Australia or Singapore (hello 19 hours!) or Germany, we’ve got some tips and tricks on staying comfortable and sane so you survive your long haul trip.

  • Wear Comfortable Clothing: Forget about those jeans! Bring on the stretchy pants! Wear compression socks to reduce swelling and prevent blood clots. With all the changes in air pressure and temperatures, you’ll want something that’s breathable, easy to move in and stretchy. Your body naturally adjusts to these changes and you don’t want to be bottled up in jeans. Additionally, wear loose fitting layers i.e. a light sweater, light jacket or oversized scarf/pashmina to adjust to temperature fluctuations. Plus, they make great pillows when your ready for some shut eye.
  • Noise Cancelling Headphones: You’ll want these for a number of reasons….to hear the inflight entertainment, to listen to your favorite tunes or podcasts or to drown out the snores of the person sleeping next to you. Don’t forget them, you’ll be miserable without them.
  • A Book: A big long book would be ideal. A trilogy perhaps?? You would be surprised how much time elapses when you get lost in a good book….or two. Here are some recommendations: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (800 pages), The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara, Black Swan Green by David Mitchell.
  • Snacks: The last place you wan to be HAN-gry is on a flight at 30,000 ft in the middle of the ocean. Be sure to pack plenty of snacks but choose them wisely. Peanuts can be unforgiving on the tummy let alone pose an allergy risk to others. Opt for a protein bar, they’re the right portion to keep you satisfied until the inflight meal or after. Avoid alcohol and lots of caffeine (a cup of coffee is fine) as they can dehydrate you and cause more potty breaks. Remember to drink lots of water!
  • Keep Clean Bag: After you’ve travelled for 10 or more hours, you definitely want to freshen up. Travel size toothbrush and toothpaste, facial cleansing wipes, breath mints and lotion are easy to slip into your carry-on. This gives you the opportunity to freshen up mid-flight or right before landing. Plus your skin dehydrates so you’ll want to moisturize frequently. You can find more ideas on what to put in your carry-on bag here.
  • Grace and Patience: Remember to be kind to the person sitting next to you….your new neighbor. They may provide great conversation or snore the entire trip. Depending on what seat your in, EVERYONE has to go to the lavatory at some point. Regardless, be kind, gracious, courteous and friendly….your both in it for the long haul! And don’t forget about the stewardess who will tend to all your needs and requests. Always say thank you!

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What’s in My Carry-On

What’s In My Carry-On

During these unprecedented times, I’ve had to rethink and revamp my carry-on bag for when I travel. As you will see, I have eliminated quite a few things and added some travel necessities. Here’s a sneak peek at my travel bag:

  • Sakroots Tote: These bags are the perfect size for travel and fit perfect under the seat in front of you on the plane. There is also space for additional items needed for long haul flights. You can find my tips and tricks for those flights here.
  • Face Masks: 1 to wear through the airport and on the plane and 1 for just in case….
  • Sunglasses: A pair of “sunnys” are always in style!
  • Tablet: Perfect for inflight entertainment and listening to my favorite jams.
  • Hand Sanitizer: This is a necessity! TSA is now allowing up to a 12oz size bottle of hand sanitizer per person in your carry-on. Don’t leave home without it.
  • GermKey: The perfect tool to keep you from touching dirty surfaces. Use it for door handles, touchscreens, buttons, etc.
  • Earbuds: So you can hear the inflight entertainment or drown our the snoring person next to you.
  • Scarf: This scarf opens up into a shawl which is perfect because it always feels so cold on the plane.

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4 Things We Miss About Home While Travelling

Although we love to travel and we really miss travelling right now, there are some things we miss about home while we’re travelling. You experience so much when you travel like meeting new people, going on uncharted adventures, and exotic food but there are some things we take for granted. We really miss these things when we are away from home. Here a a list of 4 things we miss about home when we are abroad.

  1. Familiar Food: As much as we love to try new and exotic foods, after a while you want to eat something familiar….and that you can identify. After your 5th squid dish, or 3rd hot and spicy meal, your really wanting something more simple. Yes, American food is not as exotic, but its familiar to us and easily recognizable.
  2. Doing Laundry: I’d never thought I would miss this, but I do! Being able to go and wash clothes whenever I need to is a big perk. But when your travelling, this service may not always be available to you or cost quite a bit.
  3. Our Bed: Believe it or not, we really miss our bed. Yes, there are beds at the hotel but its not quite the same. Your own bed has the perfect lumps, nooks and crannies specific to you but its not the same when your in a different bed. There’s no substitute for the 3-4 pillows you use or 1 sheet, 1 quilt and 1 blanket combo that are perfectly setup in your bed. There’s just something about your own bed that’s welcoming.
  4. Not Living Out of a Suitcase: Pack…unpack. Pack….unpack. With my husbands work trips, he typically visits 2-3 countries per trip. This meant that he was constantly packing and then unpacking when he got to his next destination. He never truly felt settled and felt like he was living out of a suitcase. When your at home, all you stuff is just there. No need to move it or pack it up and unpack at. You just feel settled and grounded, literally and figuratively,
Family, When in

Brushy Creek Lake Park, Texas

Brushy Creek Lake Park, Texas

If your looking for place with fresh air, wide open spaces and supports social distancing, then look no further than your local park. Our most recent adventure brought us to Brushy Creek Lake Park in Cedar Park, Texas. This park is absolutely beautiful! There are a ton of hike and bike trails to follow in this 90 acre park and plenty of picturesque landscape views. You’ll definitely need a map to make sure you don’t get lost. Our kids pretended to be wildlife rangers and loved discovering and exploring all the different flora and fauna withing the park. They had a ton of questions, of which we had to consult Google for answers, about all the things they saw. They even created their own sketch book of the flowers they discovered. If you want to get wet, you can rent a kayak and/or canoe to explore they lake or visit the splash pad to cool off. This by far is the most popular activity at the park. If your looking for more fun, check out the volleyball courts, playscape, fishing pier, exercise stations and much more. If your looking for more ways to tour your own city, check out my blog post here for more ideas.

Surviving Chaos

In order to make the most of you time at the park and prevent kid meltdowns, I’ve provided some surviving chaos tips. Have fun exploring at the park.

  • Sunblock: Be sure to put on lots of sunblock to prevent sunburn. This is the first rule of thumb for any outdoor activity.
  • Early Morning: Best time to visit the park is early morning. It’s cooler, less crowded and your kids will have energy to burn. A fun filled morning at the park makes for a well rested and relaxed afternoon (I hope).
  • Backpack: This is the perfect place to keep water, first aid kits, sunblock, snacks, portable potty seat, etc. What ever creature comforts you need. Remember to keep it light weight since you’ll be doing a lot of walking and/or biking.
  • Snacks: Don’t forget the snacks! Apple slices, carrot and celery sticks, granola/protein bars, goldfish or whatever your kids like. You don’t want food meltdowns and HAN-gry kids in the middle of your hiking journey

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