Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halloween Links

It's getting closer to Halloween! We carved our pumpkin last night and roasted the seeds (so yummy!). If you need any last minute Halloween ideas, here are some ideas :) 
ACTIVITIES:

FOOD:

CRAFT:

TIPS:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Maze: Pumpkin Time

It's time for another Halloween themed maze! This time I made the kids a pumpkin shaped (more or less) maze.
Work your way through the maze from Start to End.
To Print: Right click on image, Save As/Save to Computer, Print.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pumpkin Sloppy Joes

I wanted to make something themed for dinner, but something quick and easy. I had already made Haunted Shepherd's Pie and wanted something else. I had sloppy joe mix and since it was a little chilly out, it seemed like an easy dinner.  I love cheese on my sloppy joes, so I used a pumpkin cookie cutter to cut out a pumpkin face and placed that on top of the sloppy joes! Maybe I'll make Haunted Parfaits for dessert...


You will need:

Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloween Maze: Monster Time

The kids asked for another maze, so here is a Monster themed one!
Don't get caught by the monsters!
To Print: Right click, select Save As/Save To Computer. Find on computer, Print.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Drink Is Staring At Me!

I found a pack of gummy eyeballs at the store and wanted to do something with them. I had frozen raisins in ice cubes to make ants or spiders, and wanted to try the same thing with the eyeballs. I filled the ice cube trays and added in the gummy eyeballs. I froze it overnight and then at lunch gave the boys a drink with the eyeballs in them! At first they just had water, but them I gave them fruit punch, which gave it a creepier look. They melted faster than a regular icecube, so I wouldn't add them to the drink until you are ready to serve them. The kids had a blast with these.


DM TIP: If the eyeballs keep floating to the top, fill about halfway, add eyeball and freeze. Once it is frozen, fill the rest of the way and freeze again.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Spider Suckers

The boys made these at a Halloween party last year, and they are a super easy Halloween party craft or a goody to give out!

You will need:
  • Suckers/Lollipops
  • Googly Eyes
  • Black pipe cleaners
  • Glue/Glue dots

Directions:
1. Glue on the googly eyes. I like to use glue dots to attach the eyes because you don't have to wait for the glue to dry.
2. Bend the pipe cleaner in half and wrap around the stick to create 2 legs. Repeat to get 8 eight legs.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Homemade Tombstones


I wanted to do a graveyard theme in the front yard, but nothing too crazy. When I went to the store, I couldn't believe how much they charged for a small plastic or styrofoam tombstone. It was nuts! I decided to make my own, and it was pretty easy. I used cardboard, so you will need to bring these in if it rains. I had a few styrofoam signs and a plastic tombstone that I added in as well.
You will need:
  • Cardboard (DM Tip: Check Costco/Sam's for boxes. Other stores will usually be glad to let you have their empty boxes if you ask.)
  • Dowel rods, Paint stirrers (ask at Lowe's and Home Depot and they will usually give you free paint stirrers)
  • Paint. I used a black spray paint as the base layer. I then sprayed a textured spray paint over top.
  • Hot Glue/glue gun
  • X-acto knife

Directions:
1. Cut out 2 shapes for each tombstone.
2. Hot glue the paint stick in between the two pieces. I also glued around the edges of the tombstones to help keep them together. Let set.
3. Spray paint the base color.
4. Optional: Cut out RIP, a skull, etc. out of cardboard and glue onto the tombstone.
5. Lightly spray with textured spray paint.
6. Optional: Use red craft paint to add blood splatters.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pumpkin Toilet Paper Craft

Higgins made this last year at school, and it is super cute and easy to do! It makes a great decoration too. We kept it in the the guest bathroom for while before Higgins snuck it back into his room for safe keeping.

You will need:
  • A roll of toilet paper (per pumpkin)
  • Orange tissue paper
  • Green pipe cleaners
  • Brown paper bag

Directions:
1. Wrap the tissue paper around the toilet paper roll and tuck the ends into the open center of the roll.
2. Roll a brown paper bag to create the stem and stick into the open center of the roll. This also helps keep the ends of the tissue paper in!
3. Wrap the green pipe cleaners around the stem to create leaves/vines.
4. Enjoy!

DM Tip: You could even glue on googly eyes or cut out pieces of construction paper to create a jack o'lantern face.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Monster Time

Higgins loves crafts around Halloween, especially monsters. This was an easy craft that he could do pretty much by himself and make it how he wanted to. We started with one made at school but now we now have several of these he made at home decorating the fridge too!

You will need:

Directions:
1. Cut out a square or rectangle from a piece of construction paper. This is going to be the base.
2. Cut out legs, arms, body, mouth, horns, etc. from pieces of construction paper.
3. Glue down the body and the arms/legs. Glue on horns, wings, etc.
4. Next spread glue around the body area. Place down the shredded/crinkle paper. 
5. Glue on mouth, eyes, etc.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Witches Potion

Makes about 4 servings.

You will need:
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 2 Tbpn honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Blender
  • Food coloring, optional
Directions:
1. Add all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. Add food coloring, if desired, to make drink look spooky. I added about 6 drops green, 4 drops blue, and 2 drops red.
2. Enjoy!

DM TIPS:
  • We liked the flavor, but for younger kids, you may want to cut the cinnamon and nutmeg in half as it is somewhat strong.
  • If you want more of a milkshake, try adding in ice cubes to thicken it up.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Monster Eggs

We like to try different styles of Easter eggs each year. Last year, we bought a monster egg kit ($3.99). However, this kit was so easy to make on our own!  

Why am I posting about Easter eggs in October? Because these Monster eggs and the Crackle eggs fit in great for a Halloween breakfast or lunch! DM Tip: Use a orange or black dye on the Crackle eggs for a Halloween spider web effect. Dye another egg black and use black pipe cleaners to create a spider to go with it!


You will need:
  • Hardboiled eggs
  • Egg dye (It can be hard to find at Halloween, but check out my post on homemade egg dyes for ideas!)
  • Glue/Glue dots
  • Googly eyes, Pipe cleaners, Pom Poms, Stickers (for eyes, hair, etc.)

Directions:
1. Make hard boiled eggs. Let cool.
2. Dye eggs and let dry completely.
3. Use stickers or glue/glue dots to attach pipe cleaners/googly eyes/pom poms to create your monster.




Monday, October 13, 2014

Halloween Maze: Candy Time

The boys have really gotten into mazes lately, so I thought I would make some Halloween themed mazes. They enjoyed them and I hope you will too. Here's the first one!

Work your way through the maze to get to the pail of candy!
To Print: Right click on image, Save As/Save to Computer, Print.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Easy Fall/Halloween Themed Pumpkin Snack

I love surprising the kids with fun snacks, and I especially love it when it is easy for me to do. The leave are changing and Halloween decorations are coming out, so I wanted to do something Halloween themed. I had clementines and green peppers, so I made orange/pepper pumpkins!
I carefully peeled the clementine so that it stayed intact. I then cut a little sliver of green pepper and stuck it in the middle to create a stem. It was a huge hit and super easy to do.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Chalk Board Table*

*After seeing a few old school desks at garage sales, I thought I would repost this older craft post.

Do you have a kids table that is so well used with marker and crayon all over it that it's in the donation pile? Did you see a cute kids table at a garage sale or flea market, but the top was ugly? You did? Stop! Get the table out of the donation pile! Drive back and buy the table! I'll wait....

You're back? Great!

I saw a really cute idea at a local children's bookstore for a chalk table. I wanted to try it, but didn't want to ruin the kids perfectly good picnic table, so I was on the look out at garage sales. I came across this little school desk and got it for $5!


Here's how I turned it into a chalk table:

1. Bought the desk.

2. Took desk home and sanded off some of the small rust spots.

3. I also sanded the top of the desk to get rid of any finish that was left.

4. I used an enamel spray paint for metal and painted the legs and drawer area of the desk. I wasn't sure if it was going to live inside or outside yet and wanted it to be protected against rusting. I already had the spray paint, but you can get it at local hardware/home improvement stores. Sometimes a Meijer type of grocery store or Wal-Mart will carry it as well. It usually is about $4 for a can.

5. I let the paint dry overnight. (I think the can said it can be handled in 8 hours.)

6. I bought the Rust-Oleum Chalkboard Paint. You can buy it at Amazon.com or local hardware or paint stores often carry it.

7. I put on 3 or 4 layers of the paint and let dry (letting the paint dry between each coat). The paint instructions said to let the paint set for 3 days before using!



ALTERNATIVES:
If you don't want to do a desk, you can also do an old mirror, back of the playroom or bedroom door, or even their wall! If you are going to do an upright surface, like a door, you might want to use the Magnetic Primer! That way they can stick magnets to their door and use chalk. Rust-Oleum also sells a Dry Erase Paint (from what I read, the Dry Erase paint only has a shelf life of 2 years. If you buy an older can, it won't work as well. The date is on the bottom of the can). I haven't tried the Magnetic Paint or Dry Erase Paint, but they did look super neat.

Chalk table at bookstore. Has a hole
with a basket insert for the chalk.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Friday is Johnny Appleseed Day!

Johnny Appleseed Day is celebrated on March 11 (possible date of death) and on September 26 (birth date of John Chapman). To celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day, make crafts with apple stamps, eat apples or applesauce for snacks, maybe even plant an apple tree!

Here are some ideas to celebrate:


CRAFTS & ACTIVITIES:
  • Apple Stamp Art
  • Visit an apple orchard/Go Apple Picking
  • Try different kinds of apples
  • Make apple shapes out of clay. Place a small stick in the top to form the stem. Once dry, paint red.

FOOD:


LINKS:
Johnny Appleseed Festival
About Johnny Appleseed

Friday, September 12, 2014

Cherry Compote Filled Cupcakes

I've filled cupcakes before, usually with my peanut butter, strawberry, or chocolate buttercream icing. I love trying new things, but for some reason "compote" just sounded a little intimidating. After our cherry tree harvest, we made a cherry pie but we still had a lot of cherries left over. They were sour cherries, so not exactly the best cherries to munch on. I decided to finally try making a compote and found it was a lot easier than I had expected! I made chocolate cupcakes and filled them with the cherry compote. I topped with a buttercream and they were delicious!

You will need:
  • 4 1/2 cups cherries, pitted (*see tips for help)
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup sugar


Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to boil.
2. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until cherries soften and release juices.
3. Remove cherries with slotted spoon and set aside.
4. Continue simmering the juices until thickened (about 15-20 minutes). DM TIP: I used this as a cupcake filling, so I let the juices get pretty thick so the cupcakes didn't turn to mush. However, if you were using this as an ice cream (so good!) or pancake topping you might want it to be a little runny still.

DM TIPS:
1. We only really deal with pitting a lot of cherries once a year, so I don't want to buy a cherry pitter. However, we tend to have those wood chopsticks from sushi or Chinese food laying around. Pitting cherries can be a pain, but if you have a chopstick, it can be easy! Break apart the chopsticks, place one end of the chopstick in the center of the cherry and push through to pop the pit out!
2. Filling cupcakes is pretty easy. I had bought a cupcake corer, but found it didn't work as well as I had hoped. If you have an apple corer, I found it works a lot better! Place on the middle of the cupcake and push down, but make sure to not go through the bottom of the cupcake since you need a bottom to the cupcake so the filling doesn't fall out. Twist and pull up. The cored part should be in the apple corer and make great little snacks for "helpers".

Friday, September 5, 2014

Homemade Sandwich Bread

I've been making homemade bread for awhile now, including sandwich bread for boys lunch. I also bought a bread slicer, which works well for making the sandwiches. I made it based of Arthur's recipe and used half white unbleached flour and half white whole wheat flour. I have used regular whole wheat flour instead of the white whole wheat. It did change the texture and make the bread harder to cut into sandwich slices.


Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½  white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 packet active dry yeast, dissolved in 1 tablespoons warm water
  • ½ cup skim or 2% milk
  • ½ to 2/3 cup hot water, enough to make a smooth, soft dough
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • Misc.: loaf pan, non-stick spray, plastic wrap
Makes 1 loaf

Directions:
  1. Mix together the cold milk and ½ cup of the hot water.
  2. Combine all ingredients together and mix until the dough starts to come off the sides of the bowl. Slowly add more water if needed to form a smooth dough, but not sticky.
  3. Transfer the dough to a silicone mat or a greased surface and knead for 6-8 minutes. You want it to be smooth.
  4. Lightly butter the inside of a bowl and set dough inside. Cover and let rise until doubled (usually 1-2 hours).
  5. Shape the dough into a log that will fit into the loaf pan, about 8” long.
  6. Lightly spray a piece of plastic wrap and cover the dough, oiled side down. You want the plastic wrap to be loose, not tight. Let rise about 1 hour, or until domed above the pan.
  7. Remove plastic wrap and bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. The bottom of the loaf should sound hollow, or an instant read thermometer should read 190 degrees F at the center. 
  8. Remove and let cool on wire rack.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

It's Almost Labor Day!

I can't believe it is almost September already! Of course, the first holiday is Labor Day.

When is Labor Day: Labor Day falls on the first Monday in September. This year Labor Day is today, 9/1/13.

What is Labor Day: Presently it is a day off of work and is seen as the last day of summer. However, it began as a day to celebrate different labor organizations' achievements and contributions to the economy and the nation.
  • "Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country. All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day...is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation." ~ Samuel Gompers, American Federation of Labor founder

History of Labor Day: Labor Day was first held in 1888. In 1894 it became a federal holiday. There are two people who are credited with beginning Labor Day; Matthew Maguire and Peter McGuire. There has been some documentation that leans towards Matthew Maguire starting Labor Day. September was chosen for a few reasons; one of which being that there was no holiday between the 4th of July and Thanksgiving!

How To Celebrate With Kids:
  • Attend a parade.
  • Talk about why we celebrate Labor Day.
  • Plan a family outing, BBQ, or last summer event.
  • Ask your kids to name all the jobs they can think of. 
  • Ask your kids what they want to be when they grown up and why. 
  • Make a few crafts:
    • Make your own bricks. Mix a little water with dirt in a bowl. You want to add just enough water that the dirt holds together, but not enough to make mud. Press the wet dirt into small containers (small juice or milk cartons, ice cube trays) and let dry for 10 days in a warm dry place. Once they are dry you can build your own houses and buildings.
    • Make your own candles. You can buy a candle making kit at local craft stores or at Amazon (Beeswax Kit).
    • Bake your own bread. Check out my Soda Bread recipe for a super easy to make bread!
  • Make thank you notes and give them out to your teacher(s), garbage person(s), mail delivery person(s), etc.f
  • Have the kids dress up like their favorite profession.
LINKS:
Wiki
www.timeanddate.com
Department of Labor

Here's a Labor Day themed Word Find in honor of today.







































STOP! ANSWERS BELOW!




Wednesday, August 13, 2014

School Time Word Find

I can't believe it's already Back To School time! Here is a school themed word find.



HINT: Punctuation and spaces are removed from words in the puzzle.








































STOP! ANSWERS BELOW!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Ball Game

The boys love playing games at festivals/fairs/amusement parks. They love the ball toss games, especially the cup game. I thought I could try to recreate it on a smaller scale for a fun afternoon at home. We even had some candy prizes!

You will need: 
  • Box with dividers (You can usually find them at Costco/Sam's, the larger cases of beer, etc.)
  • Paint/spray paint, optional
  • Markers
  • Balls (I used Ping Pong balls)

I spray painted the outside of the box black. It doesn't have to be painted (or even well in my case), I just had a few extra minutes one day. Once it was dry, I colored the top of a few dividers different colors. I used green, purple, blue, and red. I assigned the different colors point values: blank/brown 0, Green 2, Blue 4, Red 4, and Purple was worth 5 points. The prizes were whatever I had in the pantry, so we had a sucker worth 5 points, a Hershey Kiss for 4 points, 5 Runts worth 4 points, and 2 Tootsie Pop Drops were worth 2 points.

DM TIP: I wanted to have the top of the dividers about the same height as the top of the box. However, I didn't think of that until I had already painted the box and didn't want to cut it down. The boys had just finished off a box of cereal that fit perfectly in the bottom of the box. I placed the cereal box in the bottom and the dividers on top of the cereal box. It worked out great!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

We have been baking and trying new recipes this summer. I can remember making oatmeal raisin cookies with my mom, but I hadn't made them with the boys yet! The cookies were a big hit. The boys loved them and so did hubby's coworkers when he brought them into work. We've made them several times now and they love them each time.

You will need:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 cups oats (quick-cooking or old-fashioned)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening/vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup raisins*
  • 1 cup chocolate chips*
  • Parchment paper, cookie sheets, cooling racks
*We like a lot of stuff in our cookies, so I added 1 1/2 cups of raisins and chocolate chips.

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Set aside oats, raisins, chocolate chips, and flour. Combine all other ingredients in a large bowl. 
3. Stir in flour, oats, chocolate chips, and raisins.
4. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
5. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto sheet, about 2 inches apart.
6. Bake 9-11 minutes, or until lightly browned.
7. Remove from oven and cool on cooling rack. DM TIP: I find it easiest to simply move the parchment paper with the cookies still on it to the cooling rack. The cookies cool and don't get smooshed being moved.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Zucchini Pizza Bites

A friend posted a picture of these and we couldn't wait to try them. They are super easy to make and a great side dish, although I may have eaten an entire sheet for dinner.
You will need:

  • Zucchini (I also used yellow squash, which turned out pretty well too.)
  • Pizza sauce
  • Cheese
  • Toppings (I used diced ham and small pieces of broccoli)
  • Cookie sheet, non-stick spray
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Grease cookie sheet with the non-stick spray.
3. Slice zucchini into slices, about 1/4" thick and place on cookie sheet.
4. Top with sauce, cheese, toppings.
5. Bake for 15 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and let cool for a minute or two, as these are really hot. 





Wednesday, July 23, 2014

National Hot Dog Day

Today is National Hot Dog Day and Vanilla Ice Cream Day! Ok, they seem like a weird combination when put in the same sentence, but one can be for lunch or dinner and the other for dessert.

If you need some food ideas to help mark this outstanding oddball holiday, here are a few:
What's your favorite way to eat a hot dog?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Happy National Junk Food Day! I'm enjoying some Milk Duds with my coffee in honor of this oddball holiday. What is your favorite junk food?







































STOP! ANSWERS BELOW!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Popovers

Here is another new recipe we tried...Popovers! The boys loved them at dinner instead of a roll, at breakfast, and as a quick snack. We made some plain and others had cinnamon/sugar sprinkled on top. Surprisingly, the plain ones were the biggest hit with the boys while I liked the cinnamon/sugar ones best.

POPOVERS
Total Time: 50-60 minutes 
Makes: 8

You will need:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup Greek vanilla yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk 
  • Vegetable oil
  • Cinnamon/sugar, optional (I used about 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon)
  • Muffin/Cupcake pan, popover pan, or small ramekins 
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Lightly beat eggs. Combine all ingredients and mix well until smooth, but be careful not to over mix. Cover. Set aside for 30 minutes.
3. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon oil into each muffin pan/ramekin and swirl around to coat. Place pan in oven for 2-3 minutes to heat oil. You don't want it to smoke or burn though.
4. Optional: Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mix on top of batter.
5. Fill pans about halfway and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and puffy.


DM TIPS:
  • These are pretty easy to adjust to your tastes. You could add vanilla extract, or herbs or Parmesan cheese to the batter for a more savory popover.
  • I have better results if the milk and eggs are at room temperature. I also used a large muffin pan, which seemed to work well.
  • If you don't have yogurt, you can adjust the recipe (3 eggs, 1 1/3 cup flour, 1 1/3 cup milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt). Mix together. Oil and preheat pan for 2-3 minutes. Fill pan halfway. Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes. Reduce temp to 350 degrees F and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until puffy and golden brown.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Traveling With Kids

*Since it's vacation time again, I thought I would bring back an old post and update it!*

It's vacation season! Before we had kids, it seemed like we could pack in an hour, throw some stuff in a backpack or small carry-on and go. Then we got a dog, and it was still pretty easy. Throw some dog food in a bag with her leash and bowls, drop her off and go. Now we have two kids and the dog. Packing is not quick or easy at this point.  When the kids were little, packing was worse with the bottles, sippy cups, diapers, swim diapers, extra clothes, etc. As they get older, it became less baby stuff, but more toys and books to keep them entertained. We still need a water bottle and snacks. I always throw in a few extra shirts because I know there is no way my kids are going through the day without spilling something on themselves or each other. I also like to throw in small first aide kit because you never know when they might get hurt or get sick and you might not be close to a drug/grocery store.

CAR TRIP
Most of the time we drive to our vacation. It can be anywhere from 2 hours to 15 hours away. We make plans to stop along the way to make it more bearable for everyone (mostly the kids because they can't sit still that long), and normally stop every two to three hours for bathroom breaks and to run around. It can still be rough.

However, I did learn what to pack to keep the kids entertained on a long car trip (see below). I also learned that as they get older, the car trip is also part of the vacation. This year, we tried to stop at fun restaurants, rest areas, or even weird attractions along the way (check out Road Side America or Road Trippers for ideas). There are even fossil parks across the country (see list by state and other fossil parks) and the National Park Foundation offers a free Junior Ranger program where kids learn, answer a questions in a booklet and earn a badge.

     CAR PACKING LIST:
This is only a very small part 
of the mess. The rest fell out 
and is on the pavement. It 
happened every time we got 
out of the car.
  • TOYS. Toys are a must. We had a box of toys that sat between the kids on the seat so they could grab the ones they wanted. 
  • Coloring books, paper, and WASHABLE crayons/markers. Why washable crayons? Because you never know when the kids are going to get super bored and draw on each other or their car seats.
  • Stickers. These might be better for older kids. When he was younger, Higgins tried to stick them to his car seat in one of his tantrums.
  • Books. I packed a couple of their favorites and also packed a few new ones. If you have a Half-Priced Books (or other used book store) near you, it's a great way to buy a lot of books for pretty cheap.
  • Games. If you have older kids, there are a lot of travel sized games out there. You could also play I Spy or a license plate Scavenger Hunt (see who can find the most states). I also have lots of Word Finds and Scavenger Hunts on the blog, including Car Bingo and a Car Ride Scavenger Hunt.
  • iPad. Load up on some free apps or add on a few new games before leaving to help keep them entertained.
  • DVD player and their favorite movies. We borrowed one from the in-laws and it turned out to be a lifesaver. These have gone down in price a lot over the past couple of years. You can find a decent one for around $100.
  • Music. Ok, this one was mostly for me because I love listening to music. However, the kids also like it, so I have a Kids Playlist just for them.
  • Paper towels and wet wipes or diaper wipes. After all, snacks can make for sticky messy kids.
  • Snacks. We brought a small cooler and packed cheese sticks, peanut butter/jelly sandwiches, and cut up fruit. We also had pretzels, bags of plain popcorn, and trail mix. *This year, the Car Trip Snack Box got upgraded to a Rubbermaid container and a small cooler.
  • Drinks. These were also in the cooler. We packed soda for us and water for the kids. It was a lot cheaper than stopping at a drive-thru every time someone got thirsty.


PLANE TRIP
We have flown a few times. I learned a few more lessons, as flying with kids was a whole new experience.

     PLANE PACKING LIST:

  • Pack a backpack for each kid. They get to have their own carry-on just like Mom and Dad. Plus, it keeps everyone's toys and snacks separate to reduce fighting.                  

      • Include a change of clothes (at least socks and underwear). 
      • $20-$25 (in different denominations).
      • $3 or so in quarters (vending, emergency phone calls...).

      • Coloring book/crayons/markers. There are a few sets that contain spots for the crayons/markers so they don't roll off the tray. Crayola has a few different kinds called Mini Coloring Pages
      • Book(s) to read.
      • Some toys (no swords or guns on flights).
      • Current family picture, in case they get separated from you.
      • Snacks. Trust me on this; if you get stuck sitting on the runway or in the airport, you are going to want to have some snacks. You can usually bring in pre-packaged snacks. I brought granola bars, snack size bags of M&M's and pretzels, fruit snacks, fruit leathers, nuts, suckers, and some hard candy.
      • Water bottle (will have to buy at the airport after pass through security, or bring a reusable one and fill at a water fountain after security). 
      • A card with peoples phone numbers. See my post on Picture Phone Cards For Kids.
      • Games, iPadNookKindle.
    • Gum. Our family tends to have ear pain during take off and landing. Chewing gum helps a lot. If you have little kids (like Higgins) who insist on swallowing the gum instead of chewing it, pack some jelly beans! I gave Higgins one jelly bean at a time; he could chew, swallow, and help his ears at the same time.
    • EarPlanes Ear Plugs. These are ear plugs made for flying and they come in adult and child sizes. *Update*I tried these while flying to my sister's wedding with a bad cold. These helped so much!

    For more vacation tips, check out my Vacation Time! post.

    You may also like:
    Snack Box
    Picture Phone Cards For Kids