About Ashley

Ashley is very happily married and the mother to a beautiful little girl and handsome little boy. She is the main voice behind Embracing Homemaking.

Top 5 Survival Tips for Holiday Road Trips

Are you planning a holiday road trip with your family? Going on a road trip during the holiday season will honestly bring more precautions to take and things to think about. The holiday season is one of the busiest travel seasons of the year and that’s why I wanted to feature a few of the top survival tips for holiday road trips today. I want your family to enjoy your next road trip during the holiday season and stay safe at the same time.  This post is brought to you by ZeiglerChryslerDodge.com.

Tips for Holiday Road Trips

Top 5 Survival Tips for Holiday Road Trips

Get a First Aid and Emergency Kit

Step one to surviving holiday road trips is to have a first aid kit and car emergency kit on hand. You can easily purchase these two items online and have them delivered or go to your local retailer that sells items like this. You’ll want to have band-aids, ointment, and hand warmers as well as road flares and flashlights with batters to say safe during your holiday road trip.

Bring Entertainment

Remember to pack up enough entertainment options for those kids! Having kids in tow during your holiday road trip can get rather distracting if you don’t bring enough items to keep your kids entertained. I highly recommend you print coloring pages, bring crayons, download songs and movies along with a tablet or smartphone that the kids can use during your holiday road trip. You could even bring some lessons for homeschooling your kids on the road.

Plan Your Route

Listen, it may sound fun to be spontaneous during your holiday road trip with kids, but let’s face it, traveling with kids can get a little overwhelming. That’s why I highly recommend you plan your route well in advance. This ensures you have time for rest stops to use the restrooms and stretch breaks along your route during holiday road trip travel with kids. Don’t forget about some must-see locations that your kids are interested in, let them pick a couple of spots on the route.

Pack Snacks

Kids can get really cranky when they haven’t eaten enough food. That’s why it’s a must to pack some snacks and drinks for the entire family. This will help you and the kids survive a long holiday road trip together without having to deal with the grumpy moods that can come when you’re hungry. Snacks will also help the younger kids take a nap, as they will feel sleepy when their bellies are full. Be sure to pack healthier snack options, not sugar treats, or you may have some restless kids in the backseat.

Be Prepared to Sit in Traffic

Lastly, remember that this is a busy travel season for families. That means you’re apt to end up in long lines of traffic on the more popular routes. Try to plan your route around any major travel portions of the road so that you won’t have to sit in traffic as often, but always prepare to sit in traffic. Talk to your kids before you venture out on a long holiday road trip so that they know there may be some downtime during heavy traffic moments.

These are just my top 5 survival tips for holiday road trips with kids. Each of these survival tips will help you enjoy a long road trip with kids during one of the busiest travel seasons of the year.

How to Choose the Right Family Car

Choosing a family car can be somewhat difficult. There are more options than ever before at your local car dealership. From a van to an SUV and a full-size car, these are just some of the ideas that will work for your new family car. When it comes to buying the right family car though, you’ll want some ideas on how to make the right choice. That’s why I’m featuring some tips to help you choose your next family car purchase and choose right.  This post is brought to you by BarkauAutomotive.net.

How to Choose the Right Family Car

How to Choose the Right Family Car

Seating and Storage

Any parent out there knows that when it comes to having a large family, as in a family with more than one child, seating and storage is a must! That’s why it’s important to think about how many seats you’ll need, remember to think about those friends that come over, and how much storage space will be feasible for your family. Make a note of this data so that you can share these details with your local car salesmen before buying your next family car.

Simple Features

Some of the cars on the market today may be too much for the average family. If you have younger children then you’ll want to make sure that your family car has features that help you stay safe on the road, even during those little kid distractions. You’ll also want to make sure the features in your new family car easy to figure out, that last thing you want to do is have some complicated procedure to turn the blinker on during your time driving the family around in the new family car.

Consider Your Budget

Lastly, remember that buying a new family car means that you’re bringing a new expense into the household. That’s why you’ll want to follow some easy tips for setting a new car budget. You’ll need to review what expenses you already have and how much income is flowing into the home before determining the best price range for your new family car.

When it comes to choosing the right family car, there are many different things that each family must take into consideration. You may find these tips helpful and have more ideas to add to my list, but at the end of the day, each of these tips I’ve shared today will inspire you to be financially smart and careful when it comes to choosing the right family car.

5 Car Hacks Every Mom Needs to Know

Whether you’re planning a long road trip or traveling frequently in your car, there are some car hacks that every mom needs to know. Traveling with kids is not an easy feat, that’s why you have to make sure your car is in tip-top shape and you’re traveling equipped with the best car hacks for moms everywhere.

Today, I’m going to share some of the top hacks I feel every mom needs to know. These hacks will help you get through life without too much of a headache during high travel seasons. Whether you’re traveling for the holidays or simply find yourself in the car frequently with kids, these car hacks that every mom needs to know will help you survive and keep your sanity during car time with kids.  This post is brought to you by www.newarkcjd.com and contains an affiliate link.

5 Car Hacks Every Mom Needs to Know

5 Car Hacks Every Mom Needs to Know

Entertain Kids

Give your kids dry erase markers and a winter glove. This will keep your kids entertained for hours during long road trips. Kids can easily draw on the car windows and erase them easily using their winter gloves. This car hack is best suited for older kids who won’t draw on the car’s interior.

Use Organizers

Let’s face it, traveling in a car with kids makes for a messy car! There’s a meme that features a funny depiction of mom’s car versus dad’s car, it shows mom’s car being the messiest one. I think this holds true, so use organizers like fabric collapsible bins to keep kids stuff organized and off your car floor.  There are some great ones here on Amazon to choose from.

Use Cupcake Liners

Gather up some reusable cupcake liners to place inside your car cup holders. This will keep from having spills seep into those small areas and keep the kids’ drinks held more securely during long-distance traveling in the car with kids.

Make your Own Car Fresheners

Kids are messy and sometimes pretty stinky! So if you’re going to be driving with kids in tow it’s always cheaper and best to make your own car air fresheners. There are many DIY car air freshener recipes online that will work using Essential Oils and last much longer than store-bought options.

Get an Emergency Kit

Lastly, make sure you and your kids are always safe by investing in a car emergency kit. This kit should have jumper cables, a first aid kit, road flares, hand warmers and everything that one would need in case your car breaks down on the side of the road while traveling with kids.

There you have it, my top car hacks every mom needs to know. These simple car hacks will keep your car organized, clean, smelling fresh, and staying safe every time you travel with kids.

Tips to Care for a Used Car

If you make the choice to purchase used, these tips for keeping your used car in top shape are going to keep things running for years to come. Any vehicle investment is something you want to have last for many years. Being able to keep your car or truck running smoothly will make your investment even better in the long run.  This post is brought to you by Waynesborocdjr.com.

Tips to Care for a Used Car

  • Have regular tune ups.

This is key for any vehicle but is definitely a must do tip for keeping your used car in top shape. Regular tune ups will alert you to underlying problems, as well as keep things running smoothly. At least once per year have your mechanic take the time to do a thorough check of your car You should also regularly take it in for oil changes and basic maintenance needs.

Things to have your mechanic check or change regularly:
-Oil and oil filter changes
-Air filter
-Fluids
-Belts checked or replaced
-Spark plugs
-Brakes and tires
-Air conditioning and heater upkeep

  • Repair things before they break.

There are many things that may not need to be replaced regularly, but if they do go bad can lead to other costly expenses. Checking things like your brakes, timing belt, radiator, transmission and even simple electrical needs on a regular basis and replacing at signs of wear is important. A routine replacement can prevent you from having multiple other problems associated with a break later down the road.

  • Check for potential recalls on your car model.

One thing you should always do when you have a used car is to regularly check for recalls on your car. From ignition switches, to computers, filters or braking systems you may be eligible for a free upgrade on parts if your model has had a recall in recent years. This is a very important part of keeping your used car in good shape. Don’t miss out on any covered recall item replacements. This will keep you safe, as well as keep your resell value higher.

  • Get to know common issues with your car model.

Just like you can check for past recalls, you can also look into what are common issues with your specific make and model of car. This will help you to know what to look for in terms of potential issues later, as well as knowing what areas you need to be more diligent with for upkeep.

These tips for keeping your used car in top shape are sure to make your initial investment a great long lasting one. Purchasing a used car is a great choice for many families with limited budgets.

How to Start Identifying Birds By Their Songs

Going bird watching can be a very fun experience for anyone. People of all ages really enjoy watching what birds land in their backyard or sing from the trees up above. While this is a fun way to get in touch with nature and the world around us, I often wonder how to identify birds by their songs. This idea really had me thinking and so I did some research to figure out a way to help my kids learn this concept of identifying birds by their songs. I wanted to share some of the information with you today so that you can start naming that bird by their song, a concept that’s called “birding by ear”.

How to Start Identifying Birds By Their Songs

How to Start Identifying Birds By Their Songs

Focus and Analyze

Since there may be many birds singing at once, it may be difficult to hone in on one bird song over the rest. That’s why it’s important to really open your ears when you’re “birding by ear”. Learning the various songs of the most common birds that frequent your backyard will take a lot of focus at first as you figured out which bird is singing which song.

Figured Out the Syllables

One of the more common birds to identify is the Barrel Owl as their song sounds much like “who cooks for you”. The syllables of the bird songs will help you to identify birds by their songs. Take a moment to listen to the number of notes, also referred to as syllables, and the tone of each note to help you identify your backyard birds by their songs.

Make a Memory Hook

Once you’ve figured out the syllables of each bird song you can easily make some sort of memory hook, such as the Barrel Owl’s “who cooks for you” as a means to remember which bird song is related to the specific bird breed. The Common Yellowthroat bird has a note that sounds like “witchity-witchity-witchity” but you may find another memory hook helps you remember this bird breed when identifying this bird by its song.

Download Song Sleuth

This app is available for both Apple and Android devices here. Song Sleuth will help you learn the bird songs so that you can better identify your backyard birds by their song. You simply use Song Sleuth to listen to the birds around you and the app will use your recording to help tell you what bird species you’re hearing so that you can save this identifier to help get used to what bird songs belong to which bird breed.

Being able to identify birds by their songs is a fun way to spend quality time with family outside. Not only does this “birding by ear” concept help you enjoy more of your backyard together, but it’s a fun way to help teach your kids about the bird species that frequent your local region. Using my tips to help you start identifying birds by their songs will surely help you and your kids appreciate the birds on a deeper level as you learn their songs and more about their singing habits.

5 Ways to Keep Kids Busy in the Backseat

With the holiday season approaching many parents are wondering how to keep kids busy in the backseat. This is such a challenging concept for parents with kids of all ages. While you’d think preteens and teens can self-entertain, just take them on a long road trip to visit family and see how well that truly entertain themselves. Since kids of all ages may need some entertainment options during a long holiday travel road trip, I wanted to share some of the best ways you can keep these kids busy in the backseat.  This post is brought to you by Easterns.com.

5 Ways to Keep Kids Busy in the Backseat

5 Ways to Keep Kids Busy in the Backseat

Printable Games

There are so many printable games that kids of all ages can enjoy in the backseat. Car bingo and i-Spy come to mind as two childhood favorites that kids can enjoy playing while they’re patiently waiting to arrive at your next family holiday gathering.

Portable DVD Player

Whether you love or hate electronics, the sad reality is that our kids are growing up with technology all around them. A two-hour movie or two will keep your kids busy in the backseat. Have the kids take a vote before leaving what DVDs will be played in the backseat to avoid sibling rivalry on the road.

MP3 Player

Grab an MP3 player or a smartphone with a music app downloaded for use in the car. Have your kids create their own holiday travel playlist that they can listen to during the long haul to visit family. If you don’t have a device for each kid, consider playing each list over the car radio during your travels.

Paper and Drawing Utensils

Get a little holiday travel tote bag that’s full of drawing utensils like crayons, markers, and pencils as well as pads of paper. This will give your kids plenty of supplies to draw on and enjoy playing games like Hangman or Tic Tac Toe together in the backseat during long road trips.

Bring Audiobooks

Take this time to give your kids a little homeschooling on the road. Download audiobooks that will help your kids learn about your current topics you’ve been studying. This allows you to do some homeschooling on the road during the heavy holiday travel season.  Check out our Family Audiobooks.

There you have it, my top 5 ways to keep kids busy in the backseat. As you can see my ideas will work for most any age group and will help your kids remain calm so that you can arrive at your destination in one piece.

How Do You Take Care Of Your Car In Extreme Cold Weather?

With cold weather approaching, you’re probably wondering who to keep protect your car during the extremely cold weather season. Living in a world that has changing seasons isn’t easy for car owners, you always have to check your car to ensure it’s going to survive the next change of seasons. Whether you use your car for family road trips, business or just casual drives to run errands, it’s important to keep your car in tip-top shape during the cold weather season.

Since we all have our own daily to-do’s to check off before the cold weather hits, I wanted to share some tips to keep your car safe this winter, before the extreme weather hits and your car experiences a breakdown.  This post is brought to you by GatorChrysler.net.

How Do You Take Care Of Your Car In Extreme Cold Weather?

How Do You Take Care Of Your Car In Extreme Cold Weather?

 

Invest in Winter Tires

Living in an area that gets hit hard with snow and blizzards means that your tires must be in shape to handle such treacherous conditions. Consider investing in a set of winter tires that you use during extremely cold weather. The investment will pay off after just two seasons of using them to drive during the winter season.

Keep Fluids Up

Visit your local car dealership to have them perform service maintenance on your car. This service will check your tires, the fluids, brake, and all other important maintenance features to ensure your car is ready for extreme cold weather. If you want to do this at home, that’s fine, just check all fluids such as oil, antifreeze, power steering, brake fluid, and air pressure level as well as the tread on your tires.

Check Your Battery

A tired battery will surely make it difficult to get your car started during extreme cold weather. Most car dealerships advise a change of your car battery every three years, or when the warranty runs out. Check to see what you have going on with your car battery, such as a warranty, erosion and how much power it has to ensure it will last through the winter season.

Grease Car Locks

Some car locks can freeze in extreme cold so make sure you have you inject lubricant spray into the gears and locks of your car if they’re older and not moving as solidly as they did the day you purchased your car. Greasing all locks and other gears in the car is usually something older vehicles need, so call your mechanic to confirm this is a necessary step to take care of your car in extreme cold weather.

At the end of the day, it’s all about being proactive so that you can keep your car running smoothly without any major mishaps during the extremely cold weather that arrives when winter comes your way.

How Do I Decide What Car To Buy?

Whenever we need a new family car, it’s always a stressful time. I never quite know how to best choose the right car to buy. I know we spend a lot of time on the road, we enjoy family road trips and homeschooling on the road, but what happens when you simply have no idea how to choose the best car for your family? Well, you read a blog post like this where I share some tips to help you decide what car to buy. Continue reading to hear my reasonable tips to help you make the right decision for a car that suits your family’s needs.  This post is brought to you by CerritosDodge.com.

How do I decide what car to buy?

How Do I Decide What Car To Buy

Review Household Income

The first step to deciding what car to buy is to know what you’re working with for funds. Review all income and expenses that are flowing within the household. Figure out how much money you’re able to designate towards a new car down payment and monthly bill. Take into consideration the cost of car insurance and any applicable taxes so that you can figure out a solid new car purchase budget.

Assess Your Needs

Figured out what you’re going to use this new car for. Will you need a car that can drive a lot of miles with ease through a variety of weather patterns? Do you live in an area where four-wheel drive is important? Assessing your needs for this new car purchase will help you narrow down your options based on what you use a car for while still keeping your car-buying budget in mind.

Consider Other Cars

Perhaps you have your heart set on a specific class of car, but your budget and needs says you need to pick a different car. This happens to the best of us! The good news is that when you’re deciding what car to buy, it’s easy to find a similar car of our dreams without spending as much money. Visiting your local car dealership will help you use a salesperson to determine what car options are available.

At the end of the day, you’ll want to decide to buy a car that will suit your budget and needs. You’ll also want to take into consideration reliability and the car’s ability to drive in the weather conditions that your local area has in store for you.

Road Trip Audiobooks For The Whole Family

Audiobooks are game changers for car trips.  It allows the whole family to bond together through the story.  You’ll all groan when it’s time to stop for a restroom break.  You’ll talk about it for days, maybe weeks after the trip and the memories you’ll share over the books may last a lifetime.  This post is brought to you by Jeepcheap.com and contains affiliate links.

Here are the audiobooks my kids would enjoy on a road trip and I hope yours will too!  If you’ve never tried Audible by Amazon you should look into it.  Their free trial gives you 2 free audiobooks that you get to keep even if you cancel your subscription right away.

Boxcar Children Audiobook

The first book I’d recommend is the beginning of The Boxcar Children Collection.  This series is a rich, easy read that my kids are hooked on.  My kids are 4 and 6 and they both enjoy these stories.  We haven’t enjoyed the audiobooks yet because we haven’t traveled since we’ve discovered this series but we’re already on book 38 of the series. 

This audiobook series includes 3 books for one price ($33.60) but you’ll get the whole set free plus another book if you sign up for the free trial.  I like how they’ve lumped the first three books together into one set.

Little House Audiobook

The Little House series is another great one that we’ve only had the pleasure of reading and not listening too.  It has great reviews on Amazon though so I’m sure the reader does a fabulous job.

Pippi Longstocking Audiobook

Pippi Longstocking has been a favorite of young girls for decades now and this audiobook will help introduce it to more children.

Mary Poppins Audiobook

What kids wouldn’t love a story about a nanny who could clean up their toys, dance with them on rooftops and hop into sidewalk drawings with them?  Mary Poppins is a classic and my kids adore her.  I love how drastically different the books are from the movie and yet how they are similar.  We’ve loved both movies and it’s fun to see what bits and pieces they’ve chosen from the books to include.

Peter Pan Audiobook

Peter Pan is another story that ignites a child’s imagination and takes them far away from home.  This is another one I think all young kids would enjoy.

A Bear Called Paddington

The bear from darkest Peru will surely warm heart young and old.  🙂  A Bear Called Paddington is another great classic book for young kids.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a delightful tale of fantasy.  I can still remember feeling my heart race as I first read this book and eagerly anticipated Charlie opening his chocolate to find the golden ticket.

The Little Duke by Charlotte Yonge, performed by David Thorn (This might be best for ages 7-10)

Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling Clancy Holling, narrated by Terry Bregy

Peter Rabbit Collection by Beatrix Potter, performed by Peter Batchelor

Don’t let anyone tell you that audiobooks don’t count as real books.  They absolutely do!

Tips for Traveling With Kids

Tips for Traveling with Kids

Fall is upon us.  Ladies, lock and load ‘cause we’re hittin’ the road. We are traveling with kids.  This helpful post is brought to you by Robertloehrchryslerdodgejeepram.com.

I thought I would share my tips and tricks for traveling successfully with the kiddos.

1.  Prep

I know this goes against the grain of the wild adventurer in every one of us, but seriously, you are cruisin’ for a bruisin’ if you don’t know where you’re going or what your doing on the trip. These are not the days of the road trip when we had the luxury of packing the essentials and hitting the road.

Most likely you are intentional about where you want to go and what you’re going to do, but the amenities of those places you will frequent are worth their weight in goal. Number one priority – a playplace. Have you planned a place to let your smunchkins out to roam, to get out the wiggles. Is there a good rest stop that can provide a run and roam area? How often do you need to stop on the way? Planning stops along the way can be crucial to a happy crew.

2.  Protect

If you still want your vehicle to be in one piece after your return home, I suggest that you use protective covers on your car’s fabric features. There are expensive seat covers to protect the car’s fabric from kids’ spills, but you can also use a fitted crib mattress sheet. This is cheap, probably something you have on hand, and can be easily thrown into the wash.

I also like to put down old towels on the floor areas where my kids might drop something or to catch the snack crumbs. I don’t do this all the time because I don’t like a junky car, but it’s nice when your car is home on a long trip.

3.  Pack

Pack your items in such a way that you can grab the essentials at a moment’s notice. You need to be able to get to your toiletries and an extra set of clothes in case junior decides to get carsick and go projectile on your clothes. Vivid but true…

Also, if room provides, make sure that you think through where you could change baby’s diaper if need be. If you’re tight on space, you can always change baby in one of the front seats when you’re not sitting in it. And pack those extra diapers. I’m constantly tucking diapers side pockets, nooks, and crannies like a little squirrel just in case we sometime forget to have diapers. Silly, but I’d rather be prepared.

4.  Pennies

If you have a child at the begging age, you know it’s important to have some money set aside. We collect our pennies and loose change for trips, and then hubby and I decide on what we’d like to use it on. Sometimes it’s what the kids are whining for… within reason ;), sometimes it’s something special we planned. Either way, it’s nice to have cushion change that didn’t come from the budget.

What did I leave out? Let me know what your essential traveling habits are!