Trip Essentials: A tale of two backpacks…

Two backpacksAfter hemming and hawing over what to carry on our trip, I was debating two options at DSW last week. One was a messenger and one was a striped backpack. My sister and I decided against both options because the messenger was two different colors of leather (and not in a good way) and the striped backpack was a bit young looking. However, I kept going back to this picture and decided I was going to go for it. So, now that backpack is on my list for before the trip shopping this weekend. Along with my backpack choice, I finished up my packing list for our vacation if you’re interested…

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Trip Essentials: The Beach

We are about to head on our second road trip of the year, this time the beach. I have to say we are all excited to be taking a trip where we will arrive the same day we leave. We are also staying in a condo on this trip and I am looking forward to the boys having a bit of extra space to roam. In addition to my basics that I have discussed before (here, here, and here), I also bring a beach bag and a condo essentials bag.

Beach Trip EssentialsThis is my very favorite beach bag. It’s a jute tote from Mint Julep Monograms (You can find an updated version here). It will hold (with room to spare) the following:

Beach Tote:

3 rolled beach towels

1 tupperware container of goldfish

2 drink thermoses

1 pair of flip flops of me

2 pairs of beach shoes for the boys

2 sunblocks (face and body)

beach hat for J

Ziploc bags and two target bags for wet clothes

small camera

swim diapers

Beach Trip Essentials

Condo Essentials:

Condo Trip Essentials

Staying in a condo they usually provide basics such as: utensils, small kitchen appliances, towels.

They usually do not provide basic paper products (some do, check where you are staying). So I am bringing: toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, kleenex, sanitizing wipes, sponges, kids’ utensils, wash cup (for the boys’ baths…we use a newk’s cup). I also am bringing electrical outlet covers and cabinet locks because J is into EVERYTHING, EVERYWHERE.

I fit all of these essentials into a large Earth Fare bag:

Condo Trip EssentialsPlus J’s diapers and extra swim diapers.

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Trip Essentials: To bring, to do, and not to bring

So there are always a few last minute things that you think of to do, to bring, and not to bring. Here is my list of extra items for trips:

To Bring

– An umbrella (I put a larger one in the car and carry a mini in my purse)

– Safety pins (For some reason you always need them)

– Slip on shoes and lightweight socks (I wear ballet flats and normally carry a pair of lightweight socks in my purse)

– A pillow, or a zippered pillow case cover (if you have kids with allergies this is a must have).

– A crossbody purse so your hands are free at stops (I like this Xhilaration mint tote, and this Coach leather legacy swingpack).

My uniform for the road:

Trip Essentials/Cupcakes and CommentaryEasy pieces: jeans, ballet flats, lightweight sweater, tank top, crossbody bag

To Do

-If traveling with children plan an extra hour for every two-three hours of driving time (so if you plan for six hours in distance miles, it will probably take you eight)

-Plan a music list of kid friendly but not drive you crazy songs (ours includes a lot of eighties music, which is why A randomly asks people if they know that Africa song by Toto).

– Check oil, tail lights, break lights, etc. before you leave.

– Set a goal and never try to push kids past their riding in the car limit.

To Not Bring

– Travel coffee mugs for yourself (I did this once and then there was just a cup rolling around the whole time).

– Large stuffed animals (I’m pretty sure my sister is thinking of a certain yellow bear I used to tote around).

– More credit cards, cash, debit cards, than you actually need. My parents always taught me to clean out my wallet before a trip, so you know exactly what is in it in case it gets lost or stolen.

Happy traveling!

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Trip Essentials: On the road

Before we get started: After quite a bit of thought and researching I linked up with Amazon to be an affiliate for their site. While I don’t typically go into a lot of details about our working lives, the current situation in congress is affecting our financial status right now (as I’m sure it is affecting a lot of people). When my husband started this site for me about three years ago he went with a paid site that he could run most of the software/design update aspects of it.

I really want to keep my blog, so in the interest of being able to do that and keep you all updated (you know all ten of you…HA! I love each and every ten of you πŸ™‚ ) I decided to do a bit of affiliating to bring a very small amount of profit. Not to be long winded, but I guarantee that anything I link up with on the site are items I genuinely recommend, not just random stuff I found on Amazon. And I will still recommend and discuss items that aren’t on Amazon too. Those items I do not receive a monetary payment for…unless you want to throw a Chanel bag my way and have me recommend it on the site…which, yes, of course I will do…maybe a pair of Jimmy Choo’s as well? Hahaha.

And as this is mainly a family followed site, don’t worry family. I am still going to post pictures of the boys all the time.

Cupcakes and Commentary / Two lambiesBoom. There’s one. See, something’s got to pay for those lambies’ ears to be washed. Oh and let’s not even start into the discussion that this child is wearing a 2T shirt.

Okay so enough of that talk. On to more important discussions….trip essentials for on the road.

When we travel there are a few things that we do that make traveling with toddlers easier.

1. Map out your route. We locate rest stops, restaurant stops, and hotel stops ahead of time. My husband typically is in charge of this as my sense of direction probably wouldn’t get me out of a paper bag in an emergency. I have to say that we usually don’t schedule a hotel ahead of time. What we typically do is get a printed out list of hotels at certain stopping points (say hour 4, 5, or 6 on the road). I will be honest and say this isn’t always the best idea because we have encountered some serious meltdowns when we try to push our luck and go a little bit further.

Sometimes a better idea is to go ahead an schedule a hotel at several places and find out what their cancellation policy is. If you can cancel with no fee the same day, then when you reach your destination cancel the other hotels.

An even better idea? Pick a designated goal (that is within reason for your kids’ age) and stop there. So if you plan to make it six hours the first day, stop after six hours…go ahead and schedule your hotel ahead of time.

2. Bring a battery charger that you can jump your battery without road side assistance. My Dad bought my sister and I each one of these one year for Christmas. We keep them in our glove boxes. If you are ever traveling alone it is super helpful to have.

3. If you are traveling with a child in diapers, for the car trip (plane rides too!), put them in one size larger than what they normally wear. Trust me on this one.

4. While we are on the subject of diapers. I prepare a diaper changing area for the car, so I don’t have to change J at the rest stops. The boys have seat protectors like these Eddie Bauer ones. The bottoms of them have three pockets. In front of J’s seat I put diapers in one, wipes in another, and a tub in the other.Β  that used to hold hand sanitizing wipes, but now holds Target bags. On the pocket in front of his seat I put a changing pad and a towel. When we stop I pull out A’s seat (he is now in a booster, like this Graco one). I lay down the towel, changing pad and change J there. I also put a little ziploc with random items in it to distract J while I change him because he likes to flip over. His favorites are these Sesame Street books, or a plastic baby fork or spoon like these First Year’s brand.

5. Bring change in case you run into a toll road and put it in an easily accessible place (like the little change spot in your side arm panel or wherever it is in your car).

6. Clean and vacuum your car out before you go. I know it seems counter-productive because the car is just going to get messy again, but I have to do it. It’s genetic.

7. Prep for whatever you might need at hand while you are on the road. One of the things I always do is put a bottle of Tylenol in the arm rest between the front seats. Nine times out of ten about an hour into our drive my husband gets a headache.

8. Bring a list of “cannot leave without” and put it in the car and check it off before you leave. Wallets, cellphones, cellphone chargers, camera, glasses/sunglasses usually make the top of our lists. There are some things that you can do without if you forget them, but you don’t want to have to turn around to get something thirty minutes down the road.

And I think that’s it! Am I forgetting anything?? Let me know! πŸ™‚ Have a great Monday!

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Trip Essentials: Things I always pack

cupcakes and commentaryThis is A from July 2009. Silly baby! Look at those chubby arms!

Whenever we take a trip I make lists. I have a list for the car, hotel, what to pack for my husband and I, and what to pack for the boys.

Some of the items that always make my list (and probably yours!):

For the boys:

Outfit for each day + two extra changes of clothes

1 pair of pajamas per two days of trip

Weather appropriate socks and shoes

Weather appropriate hats and sunglasses

Toothbrush and travel sized toothpaste (I save the ones you get at the dentist for this such occasion)

Travel sized shampoo, baby wash, and lotion (or you can purchase cheap containers from Target or Walmart)

For J, five diapers per day (that is a minimum, I pack extras in the diaper bag and I have extras in a make shift changing station set up in the car). I think on our first road trip ever I asked the boys pediatrician if there was anything we should bring or think about. He laughed and said, make sure their seatbelts are secure and pack LOTS of diapers.

For my husband and I:

Outfit for each day plus one change of clothes

Warm and cold appropriate pajamas (no matter where you are going). We adjust the temperature in the room so the boys are comfortable, which usually means I am cold….so I bring warm pajamas.

Weather appropriate socks and shoes

Weather appropriate hats and sunglasses

Toothbrush and travel size toothpaste

Travel size shampoo, conditioner, etc.

Make-up for me (I go with my everyday essentials plus one extra eye shadow palette)

Hair essentials (If I know the place we are staying has a hair dryer, sometimes I won’t bring mine, but I usually cave and do bring it. I always bring a 1 inch curling iron and a flat iron)

Okay. So that’s the basics. Here are some other things I pack that you may or may not have thought of:

A flashlight (with new batteries). Super important if you have to rummage around at night, or the power goes out in the hotel, as it did on our trip to Chicago last year.

A hand held travel steamer. This may sound crazy, but irons in hotels (even the nicest ones) can be unfortunate. I borrow my parents, but if you travel a lot it is a good investment, especially if you are going to a special occasion type setting where your clothes need to be wrinkle free.

Thermometer. I never, ever travel with children without one. If you do travel without one, you will need it. And you don’t want to try to find a Walgreens in a city you aren’t used to navigating at one o’ clock in the morning.

Every medicine that the boys could possibly need during the trip. My basics include motrin, tylenol, benadryl, and kids culturelle. Again trying to find these items when you need them can be difficult and they can be much more expensive than you find at home. Make sure you bring appropriate measuring cups, syringes, etc. for the medicines. I have a steel sided vintage Caboodles case (yes, you read that right) that I lock all of our medicine in. That way I know where it all is and the boys can’t easily access it.

I also pack any medicines that we might need in that same case (my basic extras are adult tylenol, motrin, excedrin, culturelle, emergen-c packs, and mucinex). Based on our history I never travel assuming we won’t get sick. In fact I travel knowing that at some point, someone will, and it’s best to be prepared.

A lint roller.

An umbrella.

Gallon and sandwich size ziploc bags. Trust me. You won’t know where or when, but you will need them.

A tide to go stick

A small container of non-antibacterial dish detergent (I like the Palmolive free and clear. It’s little). It plus the tide to go stick helped remove a ketchup stain from A’s white oxford shirt at my cousin’s wedding last summer.

Three things if you are going somewhere cold:

A coat and hoodie for every person.

Baby aquaphor healing ointment and/or Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream skin protectant. If you are going somewhere cold and dry either of these are awesome for chapped hands and cheeks. It saved my face one year that my Mom and I went to Chicago in November.

Little microwavable hand warmers. You can find them at Target and on-line at Etsy shops.

Three things you are going somewhere warm:

Beach towels

Rash guards + swimsuits + sunscreen (I use sticks for faces, lotion for body, and kid friendly spray for their hair)

Hooded towels/ robes. When heading out from the beach when we took A, we would put his robe on him and take off his swimsuit and everything so he was covered up, but we could shake the sand out of his clothes.

Happy packing! πŸ™‚

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