Traveling with kids this holiday? Here’s my round-up of travel-tip resources

Good tip round-up for traveling with young onesHoliday travel isn’t always fun. It’s great when you get to your destination but the road traveled is often bumpier than normal, especially with kids.

Our holiday travel started last week and we have more miles to cover. This prompted me to research how to keep my kid somewhat pacified during our trips.

Here are some of my favorite resources and pieces of advice from the blogosphere:

1. What’s a road trip without music and videos? In addition to your kids’ favorites, Cool Mom Picks has found some awesome videos on YouTube for kids of all ages, perfect for a road trip.

Watch here: 14 of the best (this means fun!) YouTube videos for kids

2. I love this post on Kids Activities Blog. As the title suggests, the blogger lists more than 40 travel activity options for your children. I keep going back to this blog to find new ideas for our trips.

Read here: 40+ Tips for Road Trips with Toddlers & Preschoolers

3. Last month, the Life as Mom blog addressed a different aspect of family travel every day of the month. This series covers money saving tips, packing, kid tips and more.

Read here: Travel with Kids {A Series Recap}

4. Speaking of Life as Mom, I really like this post too: Tips for Flying with Kids

Holiday travel tips with kids

5. Check out  my earlier post on “How to fly with an 18-month-old.”  My favorite piece of travel gear was the carseat trolley pictured above. It made it easier to get the carseat to the gate and doubled as a stroller!

How to fly with an 18-month-old

6. Still need more? Red Tricycle created a list of the top 30 family travel blogs here.

Happy travels!

6 surprising walls to clean crayon off walls

6 surprising ways to clean crayon off your walls

Have your walls become a gigantic canvas for your kid’s crayon masterpieces?

My toddler son is starting to figure out that he can make a permanent artistic addition to our house. He has already colored blue scribbles on a white pillow sham and on our arm chair. No walls yet but I imagine that’s next.

It made me think: What’s most effective in cleaning up crayon markings?

I remember my mother scrubbing our walls furiously when my younger siblings would color on them. There’s gotta be a better way, right?

I did some digging and found some simple and surprising solutions to cleaning crayons off your walls.

1. Cucumber: Keep the peel on and just rub the outside of the cucumber on your wall. Seems crazy, right? I haven’t tried this yet but I will.

2. WD-40: Rumor has it that it will also clean crayons and markers off of furniture and appliances too.

3. Toothpaste: Make sure you use the regular paste. I don’t think the Spongebob Squarepants gel will work very well! (I’d also caution you to test this out somewhere first so you don’t ruin your walls or wallpaper.)

4. Mayonnaise: Let it sit for a few minutes before wiping off.

5. Goo Gone: Some mothers swear by this!

6. Blow dryer and dish soap: Heat up the crayon markings first with a hair dryer and then clean your walls with soap.

Of course, there are more common ways of removing crayon markings. The Magic Eraser sponge has supernatural properties and so do pencil erasers.

Our hope is that we took adequate preventative measures: Our living room walls are a darker blue, which we hope deters our budding artist!

Here are some more resources:

3 Ways To Get Crayon Stains Off Walls
21 Crayon Busters: How To Remove Scribbles From Walls
How to Get Crayon Off the Wall: 7 Speedy Solutions

It's so much fun to clean with a power drill!

Power drill cleaning: That’s what I’m talking about!

Do you ever run across a cleaning project that needs more elbow grease than you can muster? This pretty much describes my life!

We live in a house built in the 1940s. It has wonderful charm but also many of its original fixtures, which attract grime a lot quicker! Or at least it feels that way.

Use your power drill to get a deep clean!Recently I bought a brush attachment for our power drill. It’s a round bristled brush and it attaches to your drill just like a bit. It was relatively inexpensive — only $7 from Amazon.

And boy is this fun! Just turn the drill on and you have a crazy-strong cleaning machine.

I had a spot in my bathroom that I needed to attack. I loaded the drill, and applied the cleaning solution to the spot. I saw progress on grime that I’ve been working on for years!

I should warn you of two things:

  1. Depending on your drill, there can be some kick-back when cleaning. You are dealing with a powerful tool, mind you. You may have to adjust the settings so the brush doesn’t rotate as fast or as forcefully.
  2. Not all surfaces can take this kind of pressure. You should test an area first, or at least be very mindful. I would be ultra careful on surfaces like a bathtub, which may have a more delicate coating.

Even if you don’t need extra power, adding a drill to your cleaning routine makes it a lot more fun!

Cut up food for baby quicker! #Momhack

Mom hack: A quicker way to cut up baby food into tiny pieces

Do you regularly need to cut up food into little pieces? Try using a pizza cutter.

Every baby hits a magical age when he eats real solids (that aren’t liquid). You are not sure how much those four front teeth will really cut into the food, and you start chopping.  And chopping. And chopping.

For me, I spent plenty of time cutting ZJ’s food into baby portions. We transitioned into some baby-led weaning techniques that didn’t require a knife, but we did our fair share of slicing and dicing in the beginning.

A pizza cutter would make the task that much quicker!

 

Easiest way to clean your shower curtain liner

Clean your shower curtain liner effortlessly. Yes, this hack works!

The easiest way to clean your shower curtain liner is to throw it out and buy a new one.

I used to do this all the time. Until I ran across this hack.

Just throw your liner in the washing machine, add detergent and push start. No pre-scrubbing is needed! You will want to add a few small towels to balance the load. After the wash and spin cycle, the liner will look brand new.  Then just re-hang it in your shower to let it air dry.

I was so happy that I didn’t have to scrub, or better yet, replace my liners anymore.

One small step in making bathroom cleaning easier!

Clean your shower curtain liner

Before

Scummy liners no more!

After!

Alternatives for Halloween giving

What’s in your pumpkin? Alternatives to Halloween candy

Our family is trying something new this year for Halloween: we’re handing out miniature Play-Doh tubs. What a delightfully messy alternative to candy!

We are not opposed to giving out Halloween candy, and in fact, we’ll still give some out.

Halloween giving alternatives to candy

This was a spur-of-the-moment decision.  While at BJs wholesale club, we found this 80 pack of Play-Doh cans. It was relatively inexpensive and we thought it was fun.

Of course this supports healthy kids by eliminating some of the candy in their pumpkins, but more so, we wanted to hand out something that would last longer than a momentary sugar rush.

As we consider the tween set that may come by our house, we will likely supplement our Play-Dohs with candy bars. We are still figuring out the details.

Here are some resources if you are considering eliminating some, or all, of your edible treats this Halloween:

1.  Mommy Poppins has some great ideas in this blog post for those too old for Play-Doh. The blogger recommends visiting Oriental Trading Company’s website, where you can find tons of Halloween novelty items in bulk. Check out these Halloween tattoos here.  whoppee cushions or googly eyeballs are also recommended.

2. Check out 10 Ways to Wow Your Trick or Treaters Without Candy by Tip Junkie. What an amazing resource to create non-edible Halloween treats for kids of all ages. This site has quite a few DIY tutorials if that’s your thing.

3. The Jenny Revolution has 50+ recommendations for candy alternatives. I particularly like the idea of handing out glow sticksmini koosh balls or mini slinkies.

Today we have so many options for Halloween treats. Our family will start this year by giving out Play-Doh and see how that goes. Luckily, any leftovers can be used for next year!

Alternatives to Halloween Candy

Dear Mom who is about to give birth

Dear mom who is about to give birth

Recently, a good friend was gathering advice to share with a soon-to-be mom who was expecting any day. It’s been almost two years since I’ve been at that point but it made me think. What advice did I receive? What helped me through the beginning of this journey?

It inspired me to write a letter. I may need this advice again sooner or later.

Dear future mom,

Your son or daughter is already a part of your life as she kicks and hiccups and does somersaults in your tummy. I’d love to give you solid advice on what you are about to go through, but I can’t. This particular journey is individual. It’s unique and special to you and your child.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned since my son’s birth is that there is no one-size-fits-all guidebook to giving birth and being a new mom.  However, my friends helped with some key points which I will share with you:

1. The Birth: It will likely be different than what you imagine.

No matter how you give birth — in a hospital, at home, in a tub, in a operating room, in a car, with drugs, without drugs, with a midwife, or even adoption — you can’t predict your exact childbirth experience. It’s easy to get disappointed if you do and you’ll miss the beauty of welcoming the new one to your family.

Your baby is going to come out at his or her own speed. Just focus on providing warm and accepting arms for your new one, no matter how it occurs.

2. The meeting: Don’t be upset if you don’t immediately fall head over heals in love with your child. For some, there will be an instant bond. For me. I cared for my son immediately but it took months to fully bond.

You may need time to get to know your child. Or you may not. It will come. Let that bond happen on both of your timelines. Don’t let TV or a friend’s experience set the bar for what you feel.

3. The first month: It’s okay if your first month is a little difficult. You may panic. You may not. But if you do, get support. Pray or meditate. Hug your child. Call a friend. And know it will get better. Get more support if needed.

Again, it’s an individual experience and you shouldn’t compare it with anyone else’s.

I was told that something magical happens one month after the birth and it did. Breastfeeding became easier. The baby’s sleep was a little more predictable. I became more confident as a mom. You have a little more time to make better meals for yourself.

You start to remember who you were before you gave birth.

At the beginning I fought this journey. I did not gracefully enter motherhood and it’s comical that I am even writing this letter now. I was not a model first-time mom.

But now I see how my life is changing for the better — how I am being pushed to grow in ways I didn’t know I needed to.

I’ve learned to give up expectations of how my days should go. They rarely follow my plans, and at first this frustrated me. Well, it still frustrates me a little, but I’ve learned a bit more patience, and a bit more grace.

I also learned that a hug from your child is much more rewarding than a clean living room.

Now I love my new life and I would not have it any other way.

So the best piece of advice I received: Just let go of your expectations and enjoy the experience. Just wait long enough and whatever circumstance you are dealing with will likely change for the better. At least, it did for me.

Enjoy the journey!

P.S. Yes, in case you were wondering, you will sleep again.