Have Fun, Stress Less When Vacationing with the Kids ~Post 2 14 more tips


Picture of Greenville, South Carolina “The Reedy River”

Today I am adding more tips to the series see my previous post to catch up “Have Fun, Stress Less when Vacationing with the kids ~Post 1 Streamlining the preparation with 15 easy tips”

  1. If you have a DVD Player take along movies that interest various age groups & have a variety within children's reach.
  2. Carry some cash, but make sure to have a debit/credit card and checks if in case you forget your money or credit card. I did just recently when my daughter and I got out nails done on vacation. I almost panicked then asked if they accepted checks. Whoosh saved!! That’s what I get for paying my bills online earlier in the day (forgetting my card at home by computer).
  3. Plan on doing laundry 2 days before you leave and pick out fold and put into piles separated by child and adults. For example Shirts/Shorts/Socks/Underwear/1 pair of jeans/1 Hoody. Keep it simple and if staying 2 weeks, pack for 1 plus 2 days, on day 8 do laundry and you’ll be set.
  4. Pack toiletries, I use a backpack for this, for separate pockets, yet I still use Gallon and sandwich bags to separate everything. For example: Separate 1 toothbrush and toothpaste into one sandwich bag, do this for all kids and adults/write on them with a sharpie everyone’s names. Bundle Shampoo/Conditioner/Hairspray into a Gallon Baggie. I put full sized soaps into separate baggies, since we have a family of six, we put hotel soaps to shame. Razors/Shave Creams/Soaps bundled together Gallon Baggie. I put my moisturizer/body spray/deodorant into one separate Gallon Baggie. My husbands into another. I have used many different types of toiletry bags and stuff gets spilled all over, so this is what works then if you need something, take out a bag at a time. Easy!!
  5. I grab a variety of chips in a pack, usually Lay’s. I used to buy separate snacks for everyone, but the Lay’s variety bag has a cinch top and you can put some more snacks in it like granola bars and peanut butter crackers. My kids can get car sickness so we bring mini coke bottles and mini waters. I buy these the day before and stick them in the fridge so they are nice and cold when I arrange them in an insulated bag.
  6. Pack the car/van/suv/truck the night before and stick everything your kids need i.e.: pillow/blanket/stuffed animals/chargers etc. near their seats. Also make sure you have baby wipes in middle console, change for tolls, within reach (if needed), GPS system charging and ready to go.
  7. Pack a mini first aid kit and put it into glove box. Include in it band aids/Neosporin/pain medicine/alcohol swabs.
  8. Hand sanitizer
  9. Are pets coming with? We brought our cat with us to South Carolina. I included cat litter in a plastic bin with lid for the drive. I brought food/water/mini bowls/leash/cat carrier/kitty blanket/litter pan and toys.
  10. Recycle your plastic bags. Use them for trash/kitty litter cleanups/change of clothes for kids/wet clothes/laundry.
  11. When I pack the suitcases and we are staying over night 1 night and breaking up the drive. I pack individual bags with 1 outfit/socks/underwear/swimsuit for pool/pj’s for each person and stick them all in a tote bag, instead of unloading whole van. And bringing everything in. One bag, easy!!
  12. Do you have your hotel confirmation numbers written down or a printout of it? Bring drivers license, license plate number, phone numbers of hotel and emergency numbers/ health insurance cards ( my son got strep the second week we were in South Carolina) keep them handy for anything you anticipate on the trip.
  13. Bring a folder of bills that may be due when your gone and hopefully you booked a hotel that has free wifi or use your smart phone to pay them. Or go to the lobby and use the free computer.
  14. Bring crayons/tablets for drawing/mini games/markers/crayon books/chargers/DS’s/PSP’s/video games etc. for keeping the kids occupied.

To be continued… there are more tips to come about the drive and when your actually there at your destination.

It’s Labor Day weekend and I may not get anymore tips up until the long weekend is over. Hope you have a Great Labor Day ~Christina

Have Fun, Stress Less when Vacationing with the Kids ~Post 1: Streamlining the preparation with 15 easy tips

1345958476558 Vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina -August 2012

With a little bit of planning you can have a “FUN” vacation, but you need some tips to prepare yourself ahead of time when traveling/vacationing with kids. The following are steps you can take to use as a guideline. I’m telling you I am the master at traveling light and effortless, since we had to travel back and forth from Indiana to Pennsylvania every year. The following may be a little out of order but extremely helpful.

  1. Think out your whole trip ahead of time. Sort of a budget before the month begins. So you know mostly what to expect and life isn’t too out of sorts for you and your kids. Preparation is key.
  2. Determine your length of stay, a couple of days, a week, 2 weeks or more, then you can plan around this time accordingly.
  3. If you are driving, will you drive all the way through or break the trip up. I break the trip up by staying over night in a hotel if the drive is longer than 7 hours. Since I have four kids ages 16, 12, 9, and 7, you can see why. I do want to get to my destination, but with my sanity intact!!
  4. What amenities does the Hotel/Villa/Condo have for convenience once you’re there. Don’t be surprised at what they have and don’t. Get acquainted with their policies online for pets, gym, pool, laundry, and access to the outside, the internet and ATM, oh and do they provide a free breakfast?
  5. With hotels, are you going all-inclusive or are there any hidden fees. Also, sign up for their club card if applicable to maybe earn nights or get coupons and discounted stays. My husband is a “Priority Club” member of HolidayInn so that helps earn free nights for us if we choose to go with HolidayInn.
  6. Check various websites, like hotels.com or priceline, orbitz, expedia, travelocity to find and compare hotel deals. I did this and then went to my hotel website to see if they had anything to offer. They actually had the lowest pricing. So I booked on the hotel site. You can also check for coupon codes for a better deal.
  7. Pack lightly, Don’t pack “Just In Case” style. So that you don’t have too much to bring with you.
  8. Check the weather for traveling to and from your destination. So that you are prepared for what is to come for the most part.
  9. Make sure trunk is packed efficiently. Where you can see through the back window safely, or if your lucky to have a case for on the roof of your car, this will not apply.
  10. If staying longer than a week, will you need to do laundry? If so, do they have a service that they will bill to your room. Or laundry facilities that you can use. Remember to get a roll of quarters if that’s the case.
  11. Can you get away with packing kids clothes in a backpack, they can carry it on their back and help take things to the hotel room. This is how I would always pack my little ones things, but now their clothes are getting bigger so I have to stuff into a small wheeled suitcase. I would sometimes double up 2 in 1 suitcase.
  12. Bring Ziploc bags in various sizes: Gallon, Quart, Sandwich.
  13. Separate Kids and Adults phone/laptop/iPod/tablet etc chargers, into baggies. Then the ones you need when traveling in car can be easily reached for if mom keeps them in purse or where kids will be seated.
  14. Moms, always keep camera and Smartphone in purse for those times when you need to take a quick picture or make a phone call.
  15. Make a list of the things you will need for the trip. That being said, will you need snacks, drinks, medication, special needs, batteries, tickets? Write it down so you don’t forget when your at the store.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this post so far, but you’ll have to come back tomorrow… to be continued. So stay tuned for Part 2. Hope you have a great start to your weekend. See you tomorrow!! ~Christina




What’s in my Purse Tour, Organizing My Chaos & 22 Purse Must Have’s

So I got my new purses and can only use one at a time, oh darn. So here’s the one I chose. The black one for now and I’ll change it up, when the mood strikes. I don’t know about you but, I cannot have too deep of a purse, in fact I prefer a more shallow purse that is wide so that when I go to dig for something it doesn’t take long to find my items. I have to have an organizer in my purse too it keeps everything in it’s place Now I just need to get an apparatus to hold all of my fly away receipts and a trash can installed and I’ll be set. hehe. See how beautiful it looks all nice and neat. Trust me it’ll start filling up with receipts soon don’t worry, so I have to clean it out at least once a week. SAM_0918

Here’s a list of my “Must Have’s” for a purse that survives a chaotic household.

  1. A cell phone pocket.
  2. Sunglass holder pocket.
  3. A Kangaroo pouch, a big purse organizer turned inside out and a small one put inside it. Easy to see into and keeps chaos organized. Or a purse organizer of some sort.
  4. Pens for when you need to write notes. 
  5. Markers and Note Pad (I always seem to run out of these, need a stockpile for sure), for those creatively sparked ideas when your out and about.  For me it’s usually for the home or my blog.
  6. Lipstick, organized upside down so I can see what color I am hurriedly reaching for, gotta have this handy.
  7. A card holder, just for health insurance cards, kids pictures, social security cards, and store cards. Will be doing a tutorial on what I did to put all of my large store cards together, even though I have the key fob ones attached to keys, at a later date.
  8. I have a sample sized deodorant on the left side pocket and usually my body spray is in there somewhere, need to go get some more. Love Vampire, I get this at Rite aid. I get so many compliments on it, people follow me around.
  9. Girly items inside discreet pocket.
  10. Kabuki brush (not shown) for touch ups.
  11. Hand Sanitizer
  12. Change (especially quarters) for when your kids bug you to do the claw.
  13. Band-Aids and Neosporin for the boo-boos.
  14. Chargers when on the go.
  15. Small pouch of wipes or napkins for messes. Also keep wipes in my car too.
  16. Small trial sized hairspray.
  17. When I am at a family function for a couple of hours I take a mini makeup kit, for touchups, cause we get to laughing and there I go touching my face again.
  18. Small snacks for car drives.
  19. Stamps
  20. A couple of plastic sandwich bags for trash, more organizing etc.
  21. I stick my keys right on top or stuff them in next to my check book.
  22. A Checkbook Cover and Checkbook SAM_0923I really don’t ever use my zipper because it is so impractical with 4 kids that I have no time for fussing at the store counters. So it stays unzipped but I always carry it on my forearm for safety. You’ll notice in the next picture that my cell phone looks damaged and melted, well I left it in my car in 100 degree heat, which I don’t recommend, still works though.SAM_0920Now go organize that purse of yours. Just dump it like I do and start all over. Sometimes my daughter even reorganizes for me. Any questions, contact me on the side bar or Please leave a comment. Thanks for reading, Christina

Charming Charlie (My Favorite Accessories Store) Purse Haul

So I was vacationing in Greenville, South Carolina and to my wonderful surprise they have a Charming Charlie store. I absolutely love this store. It can be overwhelming though, if you’ve never been. I have been to the one in Fort Wayne, Indiana, another one in Collegeville, PA and now Greenville, SC. Collegeville is one of the biggest so far. They have every accessory under the sun, from Shoes to Belts, to Purses, to Jewelry, Hair accessories and even Blouses. THE BEST PART about Charming Charlie is…..It’s all color coordinated. Clapping like a Seal right now, just walking in is inspiring let alone buying something. If I worked there they’d have to take my check right back, because it would be spent on the spot. Love!! So when I went into the CC’s at Greenville, they were having a BOGO on top of their red tag items. I guess to make room for the new product coming in. Well I got 2 purses and a pair of sunglasses for $27, yes $27 I was so glad I waited to get a purse, cause I was able to afford 2 and shades to boot. Here’s my Black purse: This was “Free” only $9.99 marked down and it was part of the BOGO deal. Gotta love the Gold chain.

SAM_0913 SAM_0915

Then here’s the purse I bought marked down to $18 Little bit of bling, soft and nice wide straps. So which one will I choose to use for now, stay tuned…

SAM_0908  SAM_0905

Here’s another post I wrote a while ago during my month long posting Challenges, fyi, Day 18 Challenge about CC’s.

So I encourage you to save yourself some money and check out Charming Charlie, if you don’t have one near you, no problem you can buy everything online. Yeah! Go take a look at all the pretties. Have fun shopping, ~Christina

After the Birth, Baby Gifts~ Memory Keepsake Photo

You go into the hospital for labor and delivery and you come out with the most precious of gifts a baby girl, then she starts to grow up. That little baby is now 9 years old and time surely does fly. I want to thank myself for taking the time out to take photos of what she received when she was born. Now, she and I have a memory, of the sweet things people got for her then. Soon after we came home, since everything is in bags, boxes and such, I cleared off the kitchen table and sat everything on it. Then a couple of days later, when I had the time between feedings and diaper changes, I arranged them into a display and took several photos up close. Here is one of the photos I took. Including flowers, clothes, cards, stuffed animals, baby blankets etc. I think this is a great idea to remember those baby days for Mother and Child. Start planning now for when you go to deliver (if your expecting) and you’ll be so pleased to look back on such a wonderful time. I know I am. ~Christina


Wonderful Mediterranean Eats at River Place Greenville, SC

Way back in June my husband had an interview in Greenville, SC for a new job, so I came along with him to get to know the area. I was also due for a mini vacation. The first day he was interviewing I decided I would order food close by our hotel room at The Hampton Inn, overlooking The River Place Downtown Greenville. The Lazy Goat Restaurant which was literally underneath my hotel room, was a perfect choice. Wonderful Mediterranean food might I add. Before I even get into my meal, I have to say I am big on great first impressions and I give Props to The Lazy Goat, for friendly service, cozy atmosphere, and their superb take-out presentation. They had no idea that I was a blogger and delivered more than expected. Well here’s my gift bag of yums: Nice sturdy bag with plenty of napkins, utensils, and everything was wrapped up tight. This is how it should be no matter where you go!!2012-06-22_14-13-01_66

Harissa Whipped Hummus: crisp veggies and warm pita $7

This was my appetizer. My personal review of this is ~~~~~ 5 tizzy’s (my version of 5 stars). Warm homemade hummus, add to it warm and chewy pita bread plus some crisp crudités on the side. I couldn’t get over the flavor of their homemade hummus, puts store bought to shame! There is an immense difference. It has way more texture and for crunch they sprinkle sesame seeds on top. So Good!! PS I did save some for my hubby, but we ended up going out to another place that evening. So it was my midnight snack later on. 2012-06-22_14-15-01_771 2012-06-22_14-13-37_748 Italian Grilled Cheese Panini (pesto, sliced tomato, fresh mozzarella) $5

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