Boones Find a Pump Track

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This is what everyone wears to ride in dirt, right?

When Dominique goes out of town recruiting I am often faced with a few choices – hang at home with the kids for a few days, tag along and navigate hotel life with 4 kids or if the event is “somewhat” near my parents head there while he heads to a childfree bed and continental breakfast at Hampton Inn. There is no “perfect” option here, but I usually try to weigh all the factors before making a last minute call.

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This is what Dominique sent me when I asked how things were going.  Me: Looks like your heaven Dominique: Uh this is called work.

 

This weekend Dominique was headed a few hours from my parents’ house and we were headed to the Outer Banks shortly after so we made the journey to our old stomping area – Bucks County. Heading to the Philadelphia area fills us with a ton of different kid activities – from countless playgrounds and libraries to parks and indoor “fun” spaces. When we got home on Thursday evening I just had a feeling we could find a “pump track” for my kids. They have been dying to try one out since the dirt track at Tupper Lake’s Bike Rodeo (two years ago). Low and behold my google search found a brand new one just 20 minutes or so from my parents!

 

Within 30 seconds of arriving, Flynn deemed this bad boy the greatest place on earth and asked to have his birthday party there. (Whose making the trip 6 hour trip from the Adirondacks for this. Anyone?)  All three “big” kids were able to ride the track with basically no assistance. We had the place to ourselves, which was great because Quince made up his own direction based on the best hills and added a fun challenge for the big kids of not knocking him over. After about an hour of riding, the kids wandered over to a decent playground packed with kids who were floating between playground and swim club nearby.

 

For anyone in the Bucks-ish area, the pump track at Fanny Chapman Pool park area is worth the drive. The pump track is located right behind the playground area and is surrounded by paved trails, which make for added biking fun. Now to figure out how to build this bad-boy near Saranac Lake!

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Mother, where is my bike?

Nomads

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For anyone who follows along on instagram you can see we moved…again. Still in the Adirondacks, but into a new home. In 2015, we moved to the Adirondacks with anticipated housing. However, things have not gone as planned and here we are in our fourth house in less than three years. And even this placement is not exactly permanent. I am not going to lie – this is a major stress in our life, but when I am feeling my best self –  I breathe and accept this journey for what it is. Each move so far has provided a ton of stress, but also so many moments of fun and joy. I do not want to sugar coat this and act like we (I) do not have have moments of meltdown, moments where I am so overwhelmed with our lack of “structure” I cannot breath. Moments where I go down a deep rabbit hole wondering how all this moving will affect our kids in the future. Then there are moments (usually during the brief part of the day where everyone is happy and no one is whining/screaming/hurt/hungry/bored, etc) where I am so grateful for this season of our life.

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Prior to moving to the Adirondacks, I whole heartedly was a city person. I lived in NYC as a young, single teacher before moving to an awesome part of Nashville on a whim. I love walking places, new restaurants, an abundance of events and classes and people. I love the diversity of people and the hustle of life. Living a rural mountain life was never on my radar. I will be honest, it wasn’t even on my vacation list. However, I have to admit that pre-kids Dominique and I were playing a fun game in our old loft talking about 3/5/10 year goals. I can actually picture where we were sitting and the excitement of thinking about the “future”.  I told Dominique I would move to one “insane” place for a few years in order for him to pursue his goals. One. I suppose he has cashed in on that.

With all that said, I have taken and continue to learn so much from this adventure. My kids – while they think of houses as brief stopping points and talk about packing as if it is a normal occurrence – love their life. They are constantly outdoors riding bikes, making messes and being kids. It does not matter the temperature, if it is raining/snowing/sunny/hot/cold they will be outside. My kids (and me) love that every event we do go to – we are certain to run into people we know. People we love. Things that were “extra” before are now our normal – from going for a hike, to swimming in the lake, and taking out the canoes to snowshoeing or riding bikes on the trails.

All of this and more are things that make so much of this chaos – worth it. I do not know where we will land in the future (near or far), but for now we are back on campus, in a home (peace out dorm life) and making the most of this journey. Even if at times the journey is infused with stressed out meltdowns and anxiety about whats next.

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Navigating the Paul Smiths VIC

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Before moving to the Adirondacks, I always had my “go-to” activities to entertain Flynn and Nola. I knew how to navigate the situation with two under two from bathrooms, to length of time, to what to pack and when to eat. When we were first living in Lake Placid, Flynn, Nola and I created a few places to hang and set about a new rhythm that matched the (at times limited) offerings of our new town. (read about our new normal here) Fast forward two years and two more kids, we have a list of places that I know I can either navigate alone with all the kids or where we can get a good number of hours and keep everyone happy on the rare chance we are all together. I will admit winter is a hard one for us because the bulk of fun active activities often require a second adult to keep everyone engaged, but winter is when Dominique is least available. I have high hopes for this upcoming winter now that I am not pregnant and won’t have an infant in tow, plus the big two are getting a tad more self-sufficient. We shall see.

Today (the other day because never post on day I actually start writing) the whole crew headed out after Navi’s nap to the VIC. When we lived on campus, we often could just walk over there to kill a few hours on the weekend or before dinner. Having moved off campus this past year, I often forget about the VIC as an option and figured today we would head back to our old stomping grounds.

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The VIC is a place I can navigate on my own – even with all four kids. Parking is easy, there are clean bathrooms to use before/after we hit the trails, plus a small indoor area with books, coloring and a few hands-on activities that add a complete extra minutes of entertainment for my kiddos. Additionally, there is a small playground which often is where we start while we apply bug spray, use the bathroom and fill up any water bottles at the water fountain. Inside there are a couple of tables setup where you can enjoy lunch and take a break from the sun/bugs etc if needed.

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As for the trails themselves, there are a variety of trails to pick from ranging from an easy terrain mile and upwards. Today we hiked Heron Marsh trail, which was about 3 miles and while at points a tiny bit muddy, we were able to navigate with our Thule stroller with relative ease. Pre-Navi we often would just head out with Quince in the carrier and the big kids on their own, however, when I go alone or if I am uncertain of the kids stamina, the stroller was nice to have – even if a bit shaky at the muddy parts. We did someone walking with a non jogger style stroller and while I am sure they survived, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have a few adults who want to lift the stroller at points.

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If you are looking for something to do the VIC is always a great, kid-friendly option to get outside for as long or as short as needed and with the bathrooms and added playground I can also adjust based on the kid’s moods.

Pros: Well-maintained kid friendly trails at a variety of lengths, clean bathrooms and indoor facility, small playground area and deck or indoor tables to eat lunch.

Cons: Kids on hikes are unpredictable :), if you don’t plan food/eating or time things wrong there really isn’t much around and so you could potentially endure a 15-20 minute drive of kids whining they are hungry. Not that has happened or anything.

Meacham Lake

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When I first ventured into the blogging world “Brunching with Babes” was a story of all the restaurants Dominique and I frequented with baby Flynn in tow. However, shortly after we moved to Philly and this space was sort of a round up of all the fun places in Philly with kids coupled with random nonsense.

Now that I am nearing almost 3 years up here (yea not sure how that happened) I figured I would share some fun kid places we end up and my kids take on the event.

Last summer when I was very very VERY pregnant with Navi and had a 1 year old Quince bulldozing his way through life, I knew that the next few months were going to be a bit of “hibernating”. And while I am not usually a fan of being trapped inside, I knew that it would be a bit of a challenge for the first few months. However, the hibernation has ended and getting out and about is a lot less stressful – or shall I say worth the stress.

Today the kids were off from school so we headed about 30 minutes from Saranac Lake towards Malone to a the Meacham Lake Campgrounds. While the day pass is $8, I am a fan of hitting up Meacham because the access to bathrooms, the really nice playground, easy parking/access to my car and of course the beautiful lake is worth it in the end. We have been here a number of times, especially back when we were living on campus, and my kids often fixate on the lake and beach or get wrapped up in some game in the playground. Either way we usually can last a really long time here and I never have to worry about taking all the kids off the beach to run another kid to the bathroom.

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In the Boone kiddo opinions, this place is worth the bit of the drive and we will continue to dream that Saranac Lake (or Brighton Park) add a Bears Playground to the area.

Couple of notes:

Cost: $8 per car

Playground: Listed as 2-12 – some parts are higher or require climbing, but this is where Nola learned to the lower monkey bars last summer. There are also swings, but they are off the side so never have to worry a kid is going to run into swings.

Lake Area is a fine size, nothing huge, but plenty of space.

Also, has covered pavilion and bathrooms near by.

Typical to up here in the spring/early summer, the bugs can be annoying, but not the worst I have seen (May 2018).

 

Four Kids, One Parent, Bedtime Routine

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Note: When I wrote the first post about sleep, Flynn and Nola still mostly napped. Once they dropped their naps – Nola especially – an early bedtime was a must and a lot easier because the window was clear. When they used to nap there were some LONG nights of trying to get them to relax and fall asleep.

A little over two years ago (which as many people say about things feels like yesterday and so long ago all at the same time), I wrote this post “What I Googled This Week” about getting two toddlers to sleep at the same time and how I was very incapable of doing just that. If you didn’t read it, I was failing. I still have hot mess sleepers and have lived in two houses since this post and had two babies – like most sane individuals do.

While some locals around here are wrapping up the Olympics in such events like luge or the Biathlon. I have just wrapped up the  5+ month long event of getting 4 children 5 and under to bed – solo – basically every night. And friends, I survived and was actually not too horrendous at it. I deserve at least a silver, if not Gold. I mean we actually are a few nights in with Dominique home and he has set back by time by like 15-30 minutes. Technically it is not his fault – we have just been waiting a bit to actually eat dinner with him and we also have been each taking one kid from the set (me Navi, D Quince – me Nola, D Flynn). This dividing up has sort of slowed things down a bit, but we will get it right just in time for D to hit the road all the time again.

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If there is any mom out there though who is searching Dr. Google for a bedtime strategy for getting kids to sleep SOLO here are my sub-par tips for you. Also, if you have kids that you just read to and then leave the room well you probably are on the wrong site. So let’s go.

  1. Start early. Like two hours earlier than when you actually want your kids to sleep. My goal is big kids asleep between 7-7:30 and we legit start baths and all that at 5:30. Worst case scenario, we get to bed super early and I just read an extra book or two or heck see if they will fall asleep early. Obviously, if you aren’t getting home until later – bedtimes will be later, but I also find that with Nola I have to try for as early as possible or girlfriend gets a huge second wind and throws a party like it’s her last night of freedom.
  2. Baths do not have to happen every night or even at night. I am blessed with a bath tub on the first floor and so I often threw all 3 older kids in the tub while I semi-cleaned up the kitchen, but some nights when running late I would just skip the bath or plan on giving kids a bath in the morning. I mean Quince often showers for fun while the kids are at school and Flynn gets up so early he can shower before school or sometimes they bath in the middle of the day since they get out of school at 12:30. Basically all that crap above is summed up as just rethink the whole need bath every night at night thing. IMG_6832
  3. Plan for the infant to not sleep. Navi cried for the first few months of her life. Basically, all of October she screamed through bedtime. I would wear her in the sling while reading and rubbing backs. The kids oddly accepted it and it made life easier just planning for her to bed around and really being around and screaming. Now a few months in she turned into a not Boone baby and I can nurse her, throw on a sleep blanket and put her in the dockatot between 5:30 and 6 and she passes out pretty easy. It is very foreign to me and I still am concerned she was switched at birth – aside from the fact that she oddly looks a lot like me.
  4. Have some idea of a plan and some backups. My most common night I would get Quince to sleep between 6:30-7. The big kids tended to have phases of activities they liked to do – like color, magnatiles or play with their figurines. I admit my kids play nice together – especially at night for some reason – but they sort of took to this just given the situation. They often bring everything upstairs because they are scared to be on the first floor alone, but some nights they’re playing in their PJs and didn’t even notice. On nights when I thought they might be a pain while getting Q to sleep I would give them a snack to eat while I went up with Quince. Now I would be lying if I said there were not nights were Quince was basically asleep and those two would come into the room asking for things or be yelling for me to wipe them waking the whole damn neighborhood. But we sort of had some routine and they took to it. As for the nights where they interrupted, I just try not to lose my mind because it all went down hill once that happened. Note: I often would threaten their existence because they’re requests were insane. IMG_7549
  5. Prepare for the plan to not work. That line sums up everything in my life, but there were times when Quince took a late nap or was having a hard time falling asleep and was pushing too far into the big kids bedtime. Those nights Quince would come into bed with the big two and annoy us while I read/rubbed backs. Flynn gripped about it, but we just moved forward and I focused on whatever treat/show I had planned for myself downstairs.
  6. On that note, prepare yourself a reward. Beer, wine, cookies, ice cream, all of the above. Doesn’t matter, but plan for a treat. DO NOT PLAN TO GET ANYTHING DONE. (or at least I cannot) That makes me insane. When I used to work from home, I would plan to get work done after the kids went to sleep. It would make bedtime so stressful because I knew I had something I had to do. Now that I just plan on (maybe) cleaning the kitchen and for sure watching a show with a dessert in hand I am much calmer. And bedtime is much calmer. And life is better.

So there you have it. Have a strategy, keep said strategy simple, plan for when things need to change (like order of kids) and give yourself a treat (not work) at the end. Simple right?

 

Another One Down

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We just wrapped up Dominique’s second real season as the head coach up here. Prior to this, Dominique was a part time D2 assistant coach and I (wrongfully) assumed that now that he was just a full time coach things would be “easier” or at least flexible in our favor. However, I don’t think either of us anticipated the amount of overnight travel required for this conference with the average team being 5 hours away (don’t quote me on this, but I do know it’s not close haha). Nor did we (or at least me) account for things that small schools do not offer student athletes like priority scheduling and access to the cafeteria during breaks. These things may seem minor, but having to coach two teams (yah for just the guys team next year!!!) with late practice hours and figure out meals for kids for basically the month of January is tiring. Doable, but exhausting and often consumes the entire weekend life we live.

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So for the past 5 months most weekends are spent on the road, solo parenting at home or attending home games and waiting around for D to figure out past game meals because the games are during cafeteria dinner hours and kids gotta eat. I often wish that I could be spending this season maximizing the benefits of where we live – taking the kids regularly to ski or be out skating on the lake or snowshoeing. While we occasionally get to dabble in the winter greatness of our town, it is rare. I am not yet capable of taking all four kids alone. The thought of figuring out how to load car is daunting enough – let alone putting on gear and getting the kids on the mountain. I may be awesome, but not that awesome.

So we make the best of it and we make different types of memories. We travel with the team and do post game activities like jump at Sky Zone. We survive team dinners sometimes where the kids are being awesome and other times were Nola has to exit stage right a tad early for being insane. We swim in hotel pools and play in college gyms from Maine to Brooklyn. We experience the “joy” of team bus rides and the thrill of hotel breakfast. And sometimes we are inside playing and baking and praying Dad will walk through the door so I can shower in peace.  And while I personally would much rather be watching my kids ski down mountains in the quest of being the next Lindsey Vonn, my kids do not know the difference. They just know we are together, we are happy and we are having fun.

Don’t get me wrong – I am exhausted, and I think D is too. It is not easy entertaining four kids 5 and under in a hotel room for a few hours while your husband is at a awards banquet or team walk through. It is not easy entertaining said 4 kids in the stands during games and dealing with split popcorn and kids who have a death wish in the bleachers. (D actually asked me if I got pictures of the kids in the stands after the last game. I nearly died how little he knows about what goes on over there :)) However, I do know that this time is short. Next year we will most likely have at least one kid in “traditional” school, where people may not be too fond of us missing a Friday or Monday so we can go with Dominique. Next year, I may not be able to manage a walking Navi and crazy Quince during games, even home games where we have our “setup”. Next year, I may have lost my mind and moved in with Nan during the season. One will never know. Until then I share a glimpse into the life of a coach’s kid and while they sacrifice a lot of time with their Dad, they also get a lot of great memories!

 

I know everyone is dying for updates

Want some updates on how things are running around here? no, okay well then click here and go enjoy yourself something actually interesting.

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Those of you just dying to know what is happening in the Boone Show read on.

  1. Quince is weaned. I mean he still might occasionally walk over flapping his hand at me signing for milk, but he accepts that they do not work (for him) and moves along. Well by move along I mean he says paci belly on repeat and then pulls up my shirt and rubs his head on my flabby stomach. It’s really cute worse than nursing him. Maybe next time I blog (in 6.5 months) he will be weaned from this weird habit. Or on that show strange addictions. Either way you’ll just have to sit tight to find out about that. Also, if anyone out there is googling weaning tandem fed toddler the answer is cold turkey – or at least that was our answer for a kid who nursed as much as his 5 month old sister. Oh and it wasn’t pretty.

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    She won’t give me milk anymore, but she

  2. I followed some sleep consultant blog and decided I was going to get my kids to sleep through the night (or at least better) starting from the bottom up. So Navi is up first. I haven’t done any sleep training techniques, but just trying to stick to a schedule. That lasted all the three days. Then my husband left town, we had birthday parties and I realized I have to leave the house. So I’ll do my best, but basically just resigned to that fact that no schedule/no sleep training method will work for us. So instead I just google how little sleep one can function on and keep track of kids night wakings in the notes on my phone. I figure those notes will be evidence when I go insane. Seriously, though, I can’t be consistent for 3 days let alone 3 weeks.

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    Do you plan on sleeping, Navi? Oh good because we don’t,

  3. I need a carseat for the third row of a Honda Pilot, preferably harness, but high back booster will do. Needs to be really short in length so the tiny bit of leg room that exists back there is not consumed by carseats hanging over. Or need a new car. Carseat seems cheaper option so lets start there.

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    No really, my legs are trapped, mother!

  4. I survived another long weekend alone with two very fun birthday parties for the kids. I will be honest I need to get a fit bit to monitor my blood pressure during these weekends because it seems whatever plan I have to make things run a tad smoother will go to crap – from D’s schedule changing last minute to a store being closed to packages not arriving. I have to be “on” 24/7 and I feel like I am still trying to recover days later.

 

 

5. When is Quantico coming back on? I mean I know I am the only one who watches this show, but really I miss it. Please come back, Quantico, please.

 

 

Five Favorites: Warm Winter Babies

In my imaginary blog world where I actually write consistently, Friday favorites was an idea. However, we all know I am about how consistent I am in keeping up with this blog. I like to keep people on their toes and just when they can breath a sigh of relief that this blog has died I pop back up with my nonsense.

Today schools are closed because the wind chill is a balmy -40 degrees. We may not close for 40 inches of snow, but apparently the Adirondacks draw the line at negative 40. Who knew?

Having now had two babies (one 4 months old and one 8 month old) during the frigid north country winter months I have rounded out my five favorite things for keeping babies warm in the winter. I would like to say it’s having 4 kids that makes me need quick and easy, but in reality when I had just Flynn I was not one for nonsense and needed to keep it simple. Pretty much like all of us because no one has time for nonsense.

So here you have it – my five favorite baby items for the winter.

  1. This Bunting. Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 11.13.47 AMPatagonia is my all time fav just because they are awesome people and seriously I want to work there so my kid can go to their amazing employee childcare center. That said, their products are also magical. Nola still squeezes her 5T self into 2T vest. Sure it is a tad snug, but it gets the job done. Quince is typically a 2T, however, he still is rocking this bunting from last year in a 12 month. I recently snagged a 0-3 month bunting for well over half off on a kid’s resale site for Navi and while she probably could use the next size up – it works for her at the moment! {Note: I always like gender neutral when possible not just so I can share with my own kids, but also if I ever pass it on or resell it gets more use!}
  2. These woolies.Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 11.15.06 AM I don’t know if you know this, but I love all things wool, especially Merino wool. My kids daily rock a pair of Merino wool base layers. They are the best for keeping kids warm and easily can layer to provide hours of outside play without the whining. Ella’s wool has a great pair for babies. I love the footie pants and how easily it is to wear alone or layer with another piece!
  3. Zutano fleece booties.Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 11.15.21 AM These have been my go-to since Flynn was a baby. They are a favorite baby shower gift and a piece that we have passed on from kid to kid. Navi has so many color options because pairs from all my kids are still in play and my sister passed a bunch down from my soon to be 6 year old niece. They stay on great and keep kiddos feet warm with or without socks underneath!
  4. Stroller Footmuff. Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 11.14.37 AMWhen we lived on campus and were a one car family, I bought a stroller that basically served as our “second car”. I found a deal and while it was still WAY expensive, the stroller has been amazing for what we do, especially having two babies less than 16 months apart. Even now that we are off campus, I try to get the kids outside daily despite the weather (perhaps not -40 wind chill, but most other weather). One thing that gives me peace of mind (and makes it not a nightmare with blankets falling off, etc) is a stroller bunting or foot muff. We currently only have one because Navi was still using the bassinet function of the stroller, but as she transitions to the big seat I am scowling the internets (and gilt.com) for a deal on a second stroller footmuff. I believe they make generic ones, but we use the one fitted for our stroller.
  5. An easy hat that does not strap under the chin. Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 11.13.55 AMThis is a personal preference and really just because my babies always get annoyed with the chin strap. A good hat though is key. Navi rocks around the house and when I throw her in the carseat to pick the kids up we rock the bunting and a hat and go about our business without much fuss. Our favorite hat is one the hospital gave us when we left (a little knit cap), but this one also works now that Navi is larger and outgrowing Quince’s little knit hat.

Ebags Ebates

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Navi and Quince are napping and the big two are entertained in my parent’s basement so I snuck away to check out the deals. If you didn’t know deal hunting is my jam and Black Friday is a holiday.

Last night we bundled up and headed to a local farm – Shady Brook Farm – for a fun night of hayride holiday lights, hot chocolate and bonfire smore’s making. As we bundled up, my sister mocked the family’s patagonia-fetish. While it was quite ridicilous, I cannot pass up the quality, their ethics and how a coat I purchased on used Ebay for Flynn in 2012 has been used my nephew and now Quince and still is perfect.

Now that I have two kiddos rocking cloth diapers, I have been eyeing up a Patagonia tote to replace my diaper bag. Actually, I am diaper bagless because the one I was using Flynn stole for school 🙂

Today, I happened upon a great Ebags sale and while I normally refuse the site because their promos never apply to the products I want to buy, today worked out. Not only were a number of great things on sale, but Ebates (which if you never heard of read here) has 12% cashback! Sign up for Ebates Here! 

In my quick perusing of the site, here are my favorites. All the items get an additional 12% cashback.

Patagonia Down Jacket – originally $229 down to $160

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Patagonia Lightweight Travel Tote – originally $79 down to $55.30

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Fjallraven Mini Backpack – I love this bag for my kids. It is small, but holds all they need. This rarely ends up on sale and is currently full price on the site, but the 12% cashback is nice bonus.

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Herschel Wallet – Originally $39.99 down to $23.99 Dominique has this wallet and makes for a great gift for teens and dads alike.

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Fjallraven Foldsack Backpack – the blue color is on sale for $82.50 down from $110.

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Just popping back in with some No Tech Travel Activities

Edit: I wrote this a few weeks ago. It is funny because the topic for my MOPs group (that I had to miss due to kiddos) was all about self-care, which I mention below. It has been popping up all over my life lately (and probably every mom’s life) and I am feel like I am at a point to figure out what is my version of self-care and how to make time for it!

Right now in this season of my life, I have little to zero time to do things for me. And while many articles talk about the need for “self-care”, with 4 kids in 5 years time for me is  on hold just like this neglected/nonexistent blog has been. However, I do enjoy writing my nonsense even if no one reads it these days or it is read and then I am texted my 47+ grammatical errors/typos and so when I find a minute I always attempt to write. I always keep a running notes of things I’d like to “blog” about and have about 15 unfinished blog posts in my drafts. Heck, this one will probably end up there too. This season of life is demanding – demanding of my time, my attention and basically my full focus 24/7. Early on in motherhood I could steal 23 minutes while I plopped my one/two kids in front of the TV, however, I have found that my kids do not respond well to technology. While we still enjoy a movie or show occasionally, the daily watching of TV just does not work for us (or particularly Flynn).

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This no (or low) screen-time makes traveling difficult at times. When we make the road trip 6 hours south to my parents, I often struggle to find screen-free things to entertain the kids, especially now that they don’t always nap on the road. Sure we pull out the iPad or a movie every now and then, but we try to go without otherwise the next few days are painful. Over the past few years, I have tried multiple activities to keep the crying at bay and the ride as pleasant as possible, especially now with 4 kids 5 and under. Here are a few things that work for us!

Look and Find Books

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These books come in two levels – My First Look and Find Books which are easier for the 2-4 set and the regular Look and Find Books for slightly older kids. Nola and Flynn like both, but the My First require less help or shall I say less request for help from the kids. Quince will even flip the pages of the My First ones because the pictures are big and fun to point at. Added bonus, many of these you can find at a library and the characters are endless so you can switch it up.

 

Sticker Puzzles

IMG_3870This activity is ongoing both in the car and at home for us. The kids pull off numbered stickers and match them to a sheet with numbers to form a picture. This is better for a little older crowd (3+). Flynn and Nola received this as a gift from my awesome sister-in-law and they have been awesome quick activities. We use this in the car, but also for a quiet activity at home. I find this is a little easier than coloring books as I do not have to fetch rolling crayons every 2.4 seconds.

Audiobooks 

These another great library grab before a long car ride. We have quite a few of these and just leave the CD in the car and listen on long and short drives. My kids also have a little CD player (purchased just for these, and yes they still make them as I have found) in their room. I often use these for quiet time or just for a kid to go chill out. You can also download audiobooks to your phone, but I prefer to keep my phone “kid-free” to avoid asking to see it (ie break it). That being said I have downloaded a few with and without pictures to get my kids through longer drives or on tough days.

Catalogs 

As a kid I remember when the JC Penny’s christmas catalog would arrive. We all would hover around and circle the things we wanted. Often we would cut out our great finds and glue them to a “book”. And while JC Penny’s christmas catalog was all the praise hands, any catalog that arrived was pure joy – American Girl, Toys R Us, Eastbay, Pottery Barn, etc. Fast forward these same catalogs, bring me precious minutes of entertainment for my kids. They love to flip through, circle and at night Flynn often asked me to read the descriptions of the products. When I know I have a long drive ahead, I try to stock up on various “kid-friendly” catalogs as my kids will flip through and chill out, buying us a few extra tear-free minutes (or at least one less kid tear free!)

Snacks + Water Bottle

So I know this not original and everyone knows to pack the snacks (well everyone except me the last few trips). And really this could be a list be itself. However, I will say one thing that makes the life easier is to let the kids manage their own snacks. I usually pack a Ziploc bag full of things I don’t mind they eat and they can decide what they want and when. These two gallon bags are a complete game changer – sorry our family is obsessed with organizing toys/diaper bags/life in ziploc bags. I throw in a few pieces of fruit, a gummy snack, pepperoni sticks, pretzels, Larabar, sometimes a sandwich, cheese sticks, etc. My kids usually will go for the sweet stuff first, but since there is just one and it’s their own bag they eventually move on to more nutritious jazz without whining for more of whatever they ran out of.