The 1 Car Seat Rule You Might Not Know

This post is brought to you by Kim’s Nissan.

Car Seat Rule

I always try to stay on top of all the car seat recommendations and while I was at a car inspection recently they weren’t aware that cars have weight limits for the LATCH system.  While I was very grateful for the service of them inspecting my car seat was used correctly, giving me a discount on buying a new car seat while they disposed of my expired car seat, I couldn’t believe they weren’t up to date on the LATCH system facts.

Here’s the deal…

Most newer cars and car seats use the LATCH system which stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children.  The LATCH system attaches the car seat to the car through anchor points installed in the car, which makes for an easy peasy installation.  Using this system can eliminate numerous potential errors resulting from improper car seat installation with a seat belt.  However, many parents (and sometimes car seat inspectors) aren’t aware that the 65-pound weight limit for using the LATCH system includes the weight of your child in addition to the weight of the car seat (most average around 20-25 pounds on their own). (By the way, the site which I linked to in this paragraph is wonderful for all information on car seat safety.  They also have a Facebook group which I’ve found incredibly helpful. It’s called Car Seats for the Littles and if you join make sure to read their User Agreement before you post because they have a lot of folks in the group.)

If you check and your little one is over 40 lbs and has reached capacity, simply consult your vehicles owner’s manual and car seat user guide (most are online now if you’ve misplaced yours) to make sure you’ve correctly installed your child’s seat using a seat belt and tether.  Car seats are a paaaaain in the rear.  There’s nothing I hate doing more than installing a car seat.  It’s so much work but it’s all worth it to make sure our most precious gifts are as safe as they can possibly be.

What to Do With an Expired Car Seat

This post is brought to you by Kim’s Chrysler Dodge Jeep.  If you’re looking for a new car to keep your family safe take a look at what they have to offer.  

Expired Car Seat

If you’re like most parents of young kids you probably have an expired car seat hanging around somewhere.  It may be gathering dust bunnies in the attic or collecting cobwebs in the garage.  Either way, I’m sure you want to find a responsible way to get rid of it.

It’s easy to overlook an expiration date on a milk jug but a car seat expiration date is one that shouldn’t be ignored.  There are many reasons for this but the one that stands out to be is that they are made from plastic.  Overtime that plastic tends to break down and get brittle – not what you want in case you’re in an accident!

Since we can’t re-sell or donate an old car seat, what are we supposed to do with it?  I recently came into this position and I’m happy to share with you the options I’ve learned.

Look for Trade-In Events

Last year around Earth Day Target teamed up with TerraCycle for a two week event where customers could bring in old car seats to receive a 20% discount on a new car seat.  What mom doesn’t love a Target discount? …and you get to do something good to the planet to boot.

Babies “R” Us locations often host car seat safety days where they’ll check your car seat to make sure they still fit your child and are installed correctly.  This is what we did recently and not only did they give me 20% off any car seat I bought (including ones that were on sale!) but they also installed it for me.  It was wonderful!  I think I heard angels singing.

BabyEarthRENEW

BabyEarthRENEW will disassemble your car seat and they’ll send some of the materials to developing countries, who can use the straps, buckles, and fabric for different purposes.  What they can’t use will be sent to accredited recycling centers.  You do have to pay to ship the car seat to them but they’ll make sure the most possible good can come from your car seat!  Plus, they’ll give you a $5 gift certificate to spend with them.

Recycle

Call up your local children’s thrift stores.  Some will accept at certain times a year and charge you a small fee to dispose of them properly.  Most recycling centers will also take expired car seats but they may have requirements about how the car seat should arrive and may charge a small fee for the service.

Donate

I’ve heard that police departments and fire departments may take donations of used car seats if they’re needing some to use for training.  Before tossing one, it would be worth a few phone calls to see if they could use your expired seat.

Throw it Away

When all else fails, you may have to just throw it away but before you do please take some precautions to keep other families from using what looks like a perfectly functioning car seat.  Cut the straps on the seat or remove them all together to ensure that nobody will snag it for their youngster.

What to do with an expired car seat

15 Family Activities for Fall

This post is brought to you by Kim’s Chevrolet.  If you’re looking for a new car to put in to practice our #13 on the list, check out Kim’s Chevrolet.

Many people love the fall season where you start to smell apples and pumpkins everywhere, feel the cool brisk breeze upon your face and watch as the leaves fall from the trees. This time of year is a great time to get outside to do some fun family activities.

15 Family Activities for Fall

15 Family Activities for Fall

  1. Go apple picking. This is a great way to experience the true season of fall with your family and have a nice treat later on.
  2. Jump in leaves. Get outside to rake up the lawn with your family. Create a pile of leaves and have fun jumping into them together.
  3. Decorate your home. Gather up the craft supplies and create some beautiful fall décor pieces with your family.
  4. Setup the front porch. If you have a front porch, get some beautiful pumpkins and scarecrows set up on the porch for passer byers to see.
  5. Craft it up. The fallen leaves of the season make for great crafting fun with the family. Leaf rubbings are a favorite for many.
  6. Take a fall foliage tour. Search your local area to see if any fall foliage tours are available to experience with the family this season.
  7. Attend a fall festival. There are many events in the fall season called Fall festivals where you can enjoy a family fun day.
  8. Bake it up. Gather the family up into the kitchen as you have a fun bake up with the focus being only fall style recipes or desserts.
  9. Visit a candle shop. This may not be suitable for younger kids but it’s a fun way to find some friendly scents to make your home smell like fall.
  10. Take a walk into the woods. Gather up the family, pack up some sweaters and head into the woods to experience nature during this beautiful season.
  11. Have a fall scavenger hunt. Create a list of items for the family to find. The person who finds everything on the list first wins a special treat.
  12. Get lost in a corn maze. Pack up the family and head to a local corn maze where you can enjoy being a kid again with the whole family.
  13. Plan a weekend getaway. Research bed and breakfast locations that offer a nice view of fall foliage and stay a weekend there with the kids.  I love driving this time of year.  The weather is usually perfect for driving with the windows down and the fall foliage makes any drive enjoyable.
  14. Take holiday photos. Create your own family photo session where you gather the kids around to capture them experiencing this fall season.
  15. Watch spooky movies. So as long as your family enjoys a little spooky time you can have a movie date with the family watching spooky movies.

There you have it, 15 family activities for fall that you can enjoy whether it’s raining outside or not. Between baking in the kitchen, heading out to a corn maze or crafting it up while the fireplace it is lit, you will be sure to enjoy this fall season with your family using this list of ideas.

Fall Date Ideas

Fall Date Ideas

5 fun ideas for a perfect date this fall

Tired of the same old restaurant and movie date? You and your significant other would love to take advantage of the beautiful fall season but don’t know what to do or where to go? Luckily for you, I have 5 fun ideas for a perfect date this fall!

Go hiking
Looking for a budget-friendly way of spending time with your love while burning some calories? Going on a hike is an excellent idea! Wherever you may live, there is certainly at least one trail accessible nearby. Focusing on the same goal, you and your date will be totally in sync while observing the beauty of nature. Benefiting from getting a good workout, your body will release endorphins (happiness hormones) to keep you in a good mood. Combine that with being in great company and you are set to have the most amazing date!

Try apple or pumpkin picking
If exercising while on a date is not a good fit for you two, you can have a wonderful time at the apple orchard or the pumpkin patch. It is still an excellent way of discovering nature while being able to have a conversation and connect with each other. Think about it: with all the apples you and your significant other are going to bring home, you can keep the date going by baking a delightful apple pie! You could also start carving your pumpkin and use the leftovers to make delicious pumpkin bread. Possibilities are endless!

Get lost in a corn maze.
They aren’t just for kids!  Have a fun day making your way through a giant corn maze.  Some are even “smart mazes” and incorporate your cell phone into the game.  If you and your husband are braver than I and up for something spookier, consider finding a “haunted” corn maze one evening.

Ride a horse
How about something totally different than the typical fall excursion? Ever thought of going horseback riding with your love? Even if both of you are completely new to this activity, it can be very interesting to take a lesson together and help each other out. If you are still unsure, hire an experienced guide who will take you on a slow and peaceful ride on the trails or in the woods. Feeling more adventurous? Try trotting or even galloping when you are more secure on the horse. 100% sure to impress your date!

Stop by the State Fair
Fall is usually fair time in many states. Fairs are perfect for a date because there are activities for all ages and interests. You can share a (fried!) meal with your sweetheart, cheer on a piggy at the races or admire arts and crafts exhibitions. Turn to the carnival side for a friendly competition and win a cute teddy bear for your love. Get the adrenaline rushing by going on one of those really fast rides! Don’t forget to end this amazing date on a romantic note by riding the Ferris wheel!

Whether you and your significant other are getting to know each other or have been together many years, going on a date that is out of the ordinary is an excellent way to discover new things about your partner. With these 5 fun date ideas, you can learn new skills, enjoy nature and have a blast together! Your fall season will be truly unforgettable!

Top Road Trip Tips when Traveling With Children

This post is brought to you Kim’s Toyota.

Tips for Traveling with Kids
It is almost time for vacations to begin and families getting out on the open roads taking road trips! So many wonderful memories come from family vacations, and spending time in the car site seeing all over the globe! Today I wanted to share some of the top road trip tips when traveling with children. These will make your life and theirs a little easier!

Car Sick Travel Bag: You never know when someone will end up getting sick, so I recommended making a car sick travel bag. Include medicines like anti-nausea, anti-diarrhea, gas medicines, something for headaches and so on. Just make sure you pack medicines for any occasion. I also toss in some sacks in case someone does have an upset tummy, you are not left in a bind. You can store it in a gallon bag and tuck in in the trunk or under a seat.

New Movies for Kids: If you have tablets or a portable dvd player, think about doing new movies for the kiddos. You can rent some from a Redbox if you have a dvd player, or download and/or stream from the tablet. Either way this is a great way to keep them occupied for awhile. You can also download fun games on tablets for them to play.

Prevent Boredom: Like above with the new movie idea, you can also think about other activities to keep your children entertained. Try to find new things like car bingo, or go to your local dollar store and find new toys for them. Anything you think your child might enjoy and be entertained for a little bit.
Shower Caddy Basket to Hold Crayons: Pack up some fun coloring or activity books. Then take a little shower caddy basket, that has the suction cups on the back, and stick it to the window. Then when they need a crayon they can reach up in the caddy to get a crayon or pencil. It keeps the crayons from falling into the seat or on the floor.

Pack Snacks: This is a great one to save a little money and to have snacks when your kids get hungry. Take sandwich bags and pack up some of their favorite treats. Like crackers, cookies, licorice, whatever you want. Then create single serve snack bags. When they get hungry let them pick out a snack to enjoy.

Bathroom Breaks: Be prepared to have more pit stops then if you didn’t have kiddos with you. They will need to stretch their feet and go to the bathroom more than adults. So just make sure to allow yourself the time to have those stops and let them burn a little energy off.

27 Ways to Get Family Time Outside

This post is brought to you by Trex.

Some people desire to spend their weekends with scenic trips and picnics; others look forward to overnight camping adventures; and some want to be outside as much as possible.  Something we can all agree on though, is that the feeling of sunshine on your face, a breeze blowing through your hair, and how your lungs feel full with sweet fresh air can make you a little bit happier.  Maybe it’s because if we weren’t outside we would be inside working in a small cubicle under fluorescent lighting.  Maybe.  I tend to think it’s a bit more than that.  We don’t need studies to tell us that getting outside is a surefire way to feel better and bring a smile to our face, do we?  Just being in nature and having our senses flooded with our surroundings helps bring calm to even the busiest of minds.  It does me anyway!

If you’re looking to get outside more with your family here are a few personal tips of mine to do so.

    • 1.  Start a nature collection.  Whenever you’re outside going for a walk or just watering the flowers, take notice of what’s around you and gather new leaves, rocks, or snail shells you find.  You could take photos to save or save the real item to put on display.  (Don’t save acorns without boiling them first….I learned the hard way that little bitty bugs live inside and grow to be disgusting bugs in your vases.)
    • 2.  When time allows, grab your meal and take it outside.  Chinese take out works great for this but even a breakfast bowl or dinner plate works too.  Have a designated table to eat on or spread out a blanket to enjoy your yard.
    • 3.  Plan birthday parties and play dates outside if whether allows.  Outdoor games are always more fun and the kids won’t constantly be told to use their “indoor voices.”  Win-win!
    • 4.  Spend evenings together and instead of sitting with electronic devices after dinner head outside.  Start a tradition of going for a walk after dinner or maybe even go on a family bike ride.
    • 5.  In the summer catch fireflies together.  We bought butterfly nets for this purpose and have had such a blast with it this summer!
    • 6.  Learn about the animals around you.  Study the types of bunnies you have running through your yard.  Observe their behaviors.  Our family has a lot of deer, squirrels, and birds.  My kids have even named our squirrels.  (Chicco and Dale have red tails and Chip and Cheesy have brown tails. Ha!)

A post shared by Ashley (@embracingbeauty) on

  • 7.  Create a nature journal and doodle some of the things you see.  This can be fun for adults too!
  • 8.  Make a family event calendar and make appointments to visit every park in your area this year.  Don’t forget to search for walking trails, paddle boats, horseback riding, and other activities parks may offer.
  • 9.  Go treasure hunting as a family.  Give letterboxing or it’s techy counterpart geocaching a try!
  • 10.  Teach them simple outdoor activities that we enjoyed as a kid.  Things like skipping stones, making daisy chains, and making a whistle out of a blade of grass.  Simple things can still be fun!
  • 11.  Create and hang homemade bird houses and bird feeders.  Watch what different birds come by and maybe even keep a journal of the different ones you see.  Recently, we were at my in-laws and my daughter stopped what she was doing, stared out the window and pointed with urgency and said, “birds!”  You would have thought she hadn’t seen them in real life before.  It was just fascinating to see them up close.  We already have bird feeders at our home that the kids enjoy helping fill but I think I’m going to add kid binoculars to our bird watching supplies.
  • Leaf Craft
  • 12.  Use the supplies around you to make crafty creations. Whether you make the leaf craft above, or write your names using piles of sticks, or make a Christmas ornament with a pine cone and a whole lot of glitter you’ll have fun gathering your nature supplies as a family.
  • 13. Play games outside.  Hopscotch, badminton, and catch are all super easy and fun.  (We’ve never been good enough to actually use a badminton net but I suppose that would be more of a hassle setting up if you used one.)
  • 14.  Buy rain boots and rain coats for the family and have fun.  Being silly and doing things your kids don’t expect is one of my favorite things about parenting.  I just love to see their little faces light up like a Christmas tree!
  • 15.  Along the same lines as the one above, buy some cheap water guns, fill a bucket with water, and let everyone have a blast shooting each other.  The one rule we have is that you can’t shoot someone when they’re filling up their water gun. 🙂
  • 16.  Plant a garden together.  I have the worst green thumb ever.  Seriously.  We still have fun attempting to get things to grow!  This year we managed to keep two hanging baskets alive for most of the summer.  It was a team effort and I’m proud of our accomplishment.  Maybe next year we’ll keep a vegetable alive or keep the squirrels from eating all the tulip bulbs!
  • 17.  Let them play in the dirt.  I prefer for my kids to play in dry dirt as opposed to wet but they still need a bath either way so I guess it doesn’t matter.  Experiencing the sensory sensations from digging with a spoon in bare earth can’t be duplicated and bought at a store.  Plus, all the little critters you find are just fun!
  • 18.  Go outside at night.  Lie on your back and watch the stars or maybe if it’s bright go for a moonlit walk.  One thing I want to do with my daughter this year is to track the phases of the moon.  She’s seen the markings on the calendar and I want to show her step by step what that looks like in real life.
  • 19.  Use a magnifying glass.  They are such great tools for kids to look at creepy crawlers up close or my favorite, the underneath part of a mushroom!  Plus they’re also fun for burning leaves…notice I didn’t say ants. 🙂 (with adult supervision of course!).
  • 20.  Have your children make a map of their neighborhood (or yard).  This is another activity I want to do this fall.  It seems like one that will get their minds working to observe and track the things around them.
  • 21.  Build a fort.  Inside forts are great for rainy days but what about sunny ones?  A few spare bedroom sheets, string, sticks, and some imagination are all it takes. ….and maybe some adult assistance.
  • 22.  Learn about clouds and then go outside and observe them.
  • 23.  Read to them outside.  Because we homeschool we have more opportunities for this than some do but if you’re already reading to your child why not do it on a quilt outside together?  Reading and drawing outside are some of my favorite things to do alone and with my family.
  • 24. Paint with nature.  As a child I used to find light colored rocks and red berries or flower petals and color the rocks with them.  Sometimes I would write words and sometimes I would color the rock completely pink.
  • 25.  Painting with fingernail polish (preferably old bottles) is also a great way to color some rocks around your house.  Why not make a rock garden with them or make little pretend fairy homes out of them?
  • 26.  Rocks rock!  Gather shimmering quartz crystals, smooth pebbles, and strangely shaped rocks.  Then research them and learn all you can about them.
  • 27.  Have a hula hooping contest to see who can hula hoop the longest.  Or maybe jump rope.

Trex Decking

I hope these ideas have inspired you to get your family together and get outdoors for some quality bonding time.  If your looking to spruce up your outdoor area to make those spontaneous reading sessions or dinners outside more doable you should look into our sponsor Trex.  It’s made of 95% recycled materials and it won’t splinter, crack, or stain.  It’s low maintenance as it easily cleans up with soap and water.  We’re constantly expanding our outdoor area.  We have a new swingset (new to us), and a porch swing.  We’re hoping in the future to create a separate deck space just below our house where we can grill out and chill out outdoors.  We don’t have all the plans laid out but one thing for sure is that we want to go with Trex composite deck and railing.  

Lowe's HardwareTrex

To learn more about Trex visit https://lowes.trex.com.

 

Demand Feeding Vs. Scheduled Feeding

This post is sponsored by Mirum. All opinions are my own.

When you find out you’re going to be a mom your world is rocked!  Not just in the “Outta my way, I’m going to puke” sense or the way you get lightheaded with all of the nursery decor themes in the big box stores.  I’m talking about the 101 decisions you have to make about how you will parent before your child is even born.  Not only do you have to have all of these decisions made but you also have to have five bullet points for each one, at least one unbiased clinical trial to support your choice, and a handful of witty comebacks for those who dare challenge your decision.  Ahh, motherhood.  It’s the most wonderful thing in the world and definitely the hardest for a myriad of reasons.

Let’s lay aside cloth diapers vs. plastic, home birth vs. hospital, epidural vs. natural, sleep training vs. attachment parenting, spanking vs. gentle parenting, to vaccinate or not, to cosleep or not, homemade baby food vs. store bought, baby-wearing vs. a stroller, aaaaand today we’ll talk about on demand feeding verses scheduled feeding.

Most everyone recommends on demand feeding for newborns and that’s what I did as well.  I had the goal of slowly working that into a schedule and that’s just what I did.  Not a strict schedule, but a routine.  As someone who exclusively bottle fed, having a loose schedule helped me tremendously.  I wouldn’t call it strict schedule feeding though, I definitely paid attention to my baby’s cues for the most part and not the clock.  Maybe I should call it semi-schedule feeding.

From the first day my oldest came home from the hospital I used a baby schedule, a blank one!  It was where I wrote what my daughter ate, how much, when, how many wet diapers she had, if she had any tummy drops…everything was written there.  I had a whole binder of them that set next to my daughter’s changing table so my husband and I could document how she was doing.  We could see that she was consuming enough and having enough wet diapers at a glance.  The pediatrician loved us when we brought in the notebook.  I started the notebook because I knew I wouldn’t be able to remember anything and my daughter’s health was too important to risk messing up.  I have narcolepsy and add in new-mama sleep deprivation and well, I just needed the schedule to keep me sane.  I used the free printable one from Get Buttoned Up.  I always swore I would make my own one day for my blog and changed what I didn’t love about this one but that never happened.  I still highly recommend theirs and I used it for my son as well.

After I had a few weeks worth of records, a list of how much my daughter should be drinking at each feeding and for the day’s total, my husband and I worked out a rough schedule.  If my daughter was hungry before the next “scheduled” meal we fed her and adjusted the schedule accordingly.  She never went hungry, in fact, I think having a schedule kept her from being hungry and having to cry for food.

Here’s why semi-scheduling worked for us:

  • – We worked to be able to recognize my daughter’s hunger cues.  She had different cries for different things.  Hunger, tiredness, and gas were all different and recognizable…after a while.
  • – Once we started a repetitive routine of feeding, play time, and then sleep, I was able to better know what my baby needed.  If I knew she just ate at 10:00 and it was 10:30 I know that she has a full tummy so I would check her diaper.  If she was closer to her sleep time and was cranky maybe she wanted an extra cuddle or was ready for her nap.
  • – I didn’t find a cute printable schedule on Pinterest but worked with my daughter to find a schedule that suited her.  Just when we got into a rhythm she changed it on me and had a growth spurt.  It’s important to always be flexible!
  • – Because I bottle fed a trip to the mall was a BIG deal! A trip anywhere was really.  I would envy the moms breastfeeding in public and all they had to bring along with them was a cover, if that.  I had to bring pre-measured and dry formula, room temperature water, very hot water to heat the room temperature water, hand sanitizer so I could prepare the bottle, the bottle, and the mixing lid.  That was just for one feeding out.  If I had to guess when she was hungry (if we didn’t stick to a loose schedule) and try and try again, it wouldn’t be pretty.  She was picky about the temperature and if I guessed wrong and she wasn’t hungry the formula might go bad or the bottle would be too cold before she cried again.  Knowing around the time that she would be hungry saved me so much headache…formula feeding out and about is hard enough, knowing she was ready for the bottle was nice.

While semi-scheduling might not work for your family I wanted to share what worked for mine in case it helped someone else.  Please if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Whatever you do, don’t get so set on a schedule that you don’t learn your baby’s cries.  All babies are a little different when it comes to feeding frequency and how much.  You don’t want to lean on a schedule so much that you neglect your maternal instincts.

Parent's Choice Formula

If you’re wanting to try formula, check out Parent’s Choice® formula that’s available exclusively at Walmart.  Their Sensitivity formula is at least $600 a year cheaper than an alternative formula.  It’s nutritionally comparable to more expensive national brand infant formulas and meets the highest-quality FDA nutritional standards, just like Enfamil, Similac and Gerber.

Parents Choice

Whichever parenting methods and feeding methods you choose I hope you’ll feel confident that you’re making the best choice for your family.  No one knows your family like you do, so rest in that.

The Parent’s Choice Formula Feeding Time Summer 2017 Sweepstakes

DIY Lavender Cloud Dough

I have been compensated by Johnson’s® Baby for this post; however, I am sharing my own thoughts. All opinions are my own.

You may remember me mentioning that my son has eating issues and a lot of that stems from sensory problems.  To help combat that we’ve been intentional about creating sensory experiences.  Sometimes it’s shaving cream in the bathtub, other times writing in salt, and on and on it goes.  Our most recent sensory experience was so fun and relaxing that I had to share it with you.

DIY Cloud Dough

This sensory dough is often called cloud dough, moon dough, or moon sand.  I like to call it cloud dough because it feels so soft like a cloud.  Not to mention that it smells heavenly because we use lavender scented baby oil!  So cloud dough it is.  Or maybe heavenly cloud dough.

Flour

My son helped me add the flour.

Recipe:

-Add 6 cups of flour to a large bowl.

-Squeeze in one 6.5 bottle of Johnson & Johnson Lavender Baby Oil Gel

Baby Oil

I recommend removing the whole lid before you squeeze any out.  We learned that squeezing it out quickly is challenging and removing the lid once you have greasy fingers is even more so. 🙂

Squeezing baby oil

I had good help though!

Making Cloud Dough

My son loved to help me make it.  He would pretend the oil was rivers and he watched it run as he built mountains.  What would have taken me a few minutes to stir and whisk ended up being 30 minutes spent with him playing while he mixed.  Even though he didn’t touch it with his hands I still think this was a win.  Maybe it was the calming lavender that made him chilled out enough to play with a bowl and oil for so long.

Cloud Dough and Trucks

After the dough was mixed up it was time to play!  I divided the dough into two small sensory bins, one for each kid.  They were less than $3 each at Walmart, which is also where I picked up the baby gel (which is in the baby section, not the lotion section, you know, just in case you are stuck searching for it like I was ha!).Cloud Dough and Dump Truck

These trucks were only about $5 for a handful of them and my son loves them to pieces!  They worked great scooping and dumping the cloud dough.

Cloud Dough Ice Cream

Together my kids pretended they were making ice cream for customers.

Beauty and the Beast Craft

Of course, my Disney loving daughter brought her favorite princess out to the “beach” to play in the sand.  How to Make Cloud Dough

If you’re looking to try a sensory bin, this is a great and inexpensive one to start with.  All the products can be found at Walmart and any cookie cutters, spoons, and little figurines you have already can be added.

For more creative #JohnsonBeautyHacks visit the Johnson Hacks Pinterest board.

Johnson and Johnson

Top Ten Family Friendly Road Trip Songs

This post is brought to you by Reedman Toll Nissan and contains affiliate links.

Family Road Trip Songs

As a family we love singing in the car. LOVE it!  So of course as I’m planning out every detail of our next vacation you can bet that a play list or 12 will be made.  It’s a long, long drive but these traveling tunes will help put us in the mood for a road trip!  I’ve compiled my list of family friendly road trip songs to help you get your motors running! 🙂

10. I’ve Been Everywhere by Johnny Cash

In four verses, 91 places are quickly listed off.  Destinations big and small are listed and it will be fun to cheer when he sings about a place where we’re from, or headed to, or are currently driving through.  You can’t beat the man in black.

9. On The Road Again by Willie Nelson

This is the perfect road trip song!

8. King of the Road by Roger Miller

I can still remember my parents playing this song on road trips when I was a kid.

7. Riding In My Car by Woodie Guthrie

My husband introduced this song to me recently and it’s one I think my kids will love to sing along with!

6. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers

This twin duo will get everyone singing and bobbing their head along with the tune.  The song may be about walking but it’s still an upbeat song about traveling so I had to include it.

5. Ramblin’ Man by The Allman Brothers Band

This song makes being on the road seem more appealing than ever and hopefully it will keep the kids enjoying the trip for a few more miles.

4. Route 66 by Chuck Berry

Bobby Troup wrote this song in 1946 and it has been covered by many but I’m partial to Chuck Berry’s 1961 rendition.  Not only is this a great one to sing a long to but it gives parents a great opportunity to squeeze in a mini history lesson in between songs.

3. Little Deuce Coupe by The Beach Boys

This song pays tribute to the 1932 Ford Model B…or is it Model 18?  Either way, this bouncy hit will have you dreaming of cars and the iconic life by the beach.  All of The Beach Boys songs remind me of road trips because it was a tape that my family played over and over and over again on our trips. The Beach Boys’ songs will always hold a special place in my vacation memories.

 

2. In the Car by Justin Roberts

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Justin Roberts but these last two songs on my list totally deserve their spot.  They’re catchy, singable, and best of all, kid-friendly without being annoying.

1. Do You Wanna Go? by Justin Roberts

Do you wanna go?  What else needs to be said!  Take a listen, it’s a great song!

I’m listing The Wheels on the Bus as an honorable mention.  While it’s a great road trip song for kids, finding a song of it that wasn’t annoying was an impossible task.  Maybe getting an annoying song stuck in your kid’s head probably isn’t the best idea anyway.

What songs are on your family’s road trip playlist?

20 Craft Supplies Every Kid Should Have

Kid Craft Supplies

I believe that everyone approaches crafting time differently. Some may anticipate it and bend over backwards to carve out that time.  Some enjoy crafting spontaneously.  Sometimes like just needs to take a break while you fire up your hot glue gun and go to town.  No matter which category you fit into I bet you feel like crafting is a relaxing affair.  A place where you can sit and let your creativity overflow and you don’t have to think about the worries of life.  I love crafting and enjoyed it since I was a kid.  Now that I have children I want to pass along my love for creating something from little pieces of nothing.  Making something beautiful out of otherwise trash-worthy items thrills my heart.

I know not all mamas feel the joy of crafting that I do but still want to create the bonding moment that is crafting with kids.  To help you out I want to give you a list of my go-to craft supplies.  Sure, you can feel free to add in a cleaned out milk jug lid or a left over twist tie.  Add what you want to the list but to get your creative juices flowing I’m going to share my basic bare bones list.  (Trust me, you don’t want me to lay out all that I have because it’s a lot.  We craft several times a week and would do several crafts a day if the decision was left up to my kids.)  This post contains my affiliate links.

1.  Crayons:  Crayola, crayola, crayola!  I’ve used others and I always come back to Crayola.  Call me a crayon snob if you want! 🙂  I usually stock up on the 24 and 36 packs during the back-to-school season and keep them out of reach of the kiddos until the current box is in nubs.  We’ll then take those numbs and toss them in a bin until we have enough to melt down and make our own crayon molds (they make great birthday party favors!).  I’ve been eyeing this 152 Crayola color set from Amazon and I’ll probably be investing in it soon.  So many colors!!

2.  Glue & Glue Sticks: Glue sticks are great for most things but liquid glue is a must in some situations so it’s a good idea to have both on hand.  This Crayola Washable School Glue is my favorite for little kids because it has a precise applicator and it’s slow flow.  No more gluey messes!  Elmer’s Purple Glue Sticks are my favorite because they’re colored and you can see where the glue is…okay, who am I kidding?  I just love them because they’re purple!  Glue Dots would be great with older kids but I haven’t shown them to my children yet because I’m afraid they would enjoy putting ALL the dots EVERYWHERE! 🙂

3.  Paper:  Construction Paper & Cardstock.  Paper is the foundation of most crafts so stock up on these babies.  I love cardstock because it is thick (which means less messes and it’s easier for little hands to cut) and holds up well to all sorts of paint.  I’m not picky on cardstock brands but I just try to get a heavy weight.  Construction paper seems to be the same colors no matter the brand, with one little exception.  Melissa & Doug’s construction paper has slightly lovelier colors.  I’m still waiting for the day when a company makes really pretty colored construction paper but I’m afraid my kids will be grown by the time that happens.  Hey, maybe I can be the crafting grandma!

4.  Child Scissors:   These Melissa & Doug scissors are great for early beginners and then any child scissors will do.  If your child is left handed do them a favor by getting them a pair of left handed kid scissors for them.  It didn’t dawn on me to do this till I happened to see some in the back-to-school isle one day and the light bulb went off.  My daughter cuts almost as good as I do now!

5.  Washable Paint:  Crayola’s Washable Paint paint is the perfect paint for nearly every project.  It’s thick so it won’t get all over everything (with adult supervision of course).  At our house we also love the Crayola Neon Paint Set and hope to try the Crayola Glitter Paint Set soon!  I don’t mess with the fancy paint cups or pallets, I just get a paper plate and put a glob of each color on it.  No clean up required!

6. Paintbrishes:  Sure, there are a 101 ways that you can paint without a paintbrush but brushes are generally neater and therefore my go-to.  The Crayola Assortment Paintbrush Set is my favorite and we’ve tried quite a few.  The brushes hold up very well and the quality is so nice that I’ve even used them for a few of my adult painting projects.

7.  Watercolors:  Watercolors are great when the kids get a little older but can be frustrating for very young children.  I started with a cheap watercolor set from Target’s dollar section and as my daughter’s skills improved we graduated her to the Alex Toys Watercolor Set.  The colors in here are absolutely stunning!

8.  Liquid Watercolors: Liquid watercolors are also AMAZING!  Every adult and kid who likes to play with paint should own this set of Sax liquid watercolors.  The colors are bold and beautiful.  You can dilute them with water if you want and they are washable!  These pipettes help in transferring the paint to a pallet or a small glass cup (as we use) and these watercolor pens are incredible!!  I’ve bought a set for my kids and a set for myself.  They make hand lettering with the watercolors very fun.  I’m not very good yet but I love to practice.  You can fill the pen with the liquid watercolor, leave empty to work with liquid watercolors, or fill with water to use with the dry pods of watercolor.  I just have to mention that this is my favorite book for using liquid watercolors with when I want to save the picture.  The paper is thick and nice and perfect for adult use…and sometimes I let the kiddos use it too.

9. Oil Pastels:  I’m still a tad bitter that no one told me about these until I was an adult!  These are the things creative girls should know about.  These were what I always wished crayons were!  Lovely, thick, mixable colors!  Seriously, these are beautiful!  It’s probably no surprise to you that Crayola Pastels are my favorite.  The Amazon reviews say that they are just as good as the fancy pants artist’s pastels so I’ll take their word for it and stick with these inexpensive gems!

10. Craft Sticks:  These craft sticks, aka popsicle sticks, come in a variety of sizes and are great for letting the kids use their imaginations.  They could transform them into anything! While they do come in a lot of colors and sizes we mainly stick with the regular sized craft sticks and the jumbo craft sticks.

11. Pom Poms:  These are so much fun to hold, build, and craft with.  I’ve even used them as a sensory/fine motor skills game with my little one as he put them in an empty coffee creamer container….over and over and over again.  You can pick these up almost anywhere but this set on Amazon has some truly lovely colors in it and a variety of sizes in one package.  This is one of those craft items that you’ll want to use the liquid glue with.

12. Clothespins & Doll Pins: Doll pins are absolutely perfect for making little people!  When buying clothespins look for ones that are specifically for crafts or double check that they’re smooth and not rough.  Some I’ve bought could have easily given someone a splinter if they weren’t careful and children aren’t careful.

13.  Pipe cleaners:  Pipe cleaners are fun to hold and bend even if that’s all you do.  Plus, you can make our super cool borax snowflakes with them!  Jumbo pipe cleaners are also fun in our house although I don’t think we’ve ever actually made a craft with them. 🙂  They are very fun to play with though!

14.  Googly Eyes:  Googly eyes make me feel like a kid again!  I love these things!!!  They come in all sorts of colors and sizes too.  Just be careful with these around little ones or stick with the jumbo googly eyes till they’re older.

15. Craft Foam:  The sheets are thick, durable, and comes in a lot of fun colors!  We save our left over craft foam pieces in a zip lock baggie to keep the waste and mess down. Foam stickers are also a great addition to your craft supply, especially if you don’t like the hassle of cutting little foam pieces out.

16. Contact Paper:  To be honest, I’m just now finding myself in love with this sticky substance called contact paper.  It makes tremendous sun catchers and fun sticky collages with magazine clippings (all pink things, random letters writing the child’s name, etc.).

17. Washi Tape:  It’s the easiest way to decorate, well, anything and it’s completely mess free.  The glitter washi tape is my favorite!

18. Pony Beads:  Pony beads are fun to glue onto a project but our favorite use of them is to make all sorts of bracelets and necklaces.  They have primary colored beads, neon colored beads, transparent beads, glitter beads, glow in the dark beads, and even beads that change color in the sun!

19.  Letter Beads:  Letter beads are also great for jewelry, not to mention practice with letters and spelling too!  They come in black and white beads and also colored letter beads.

20. Gems & Pearls:  I am a girlie girl and am raising a girlie girl.  We love the gems and the pearls that have flat backs and can be glued on anything.

That’s all that I can think of at the moment.  You’ll notice glitter (as much as I love it, it’s not for your average crafter.  You have to loooove it to make it enjoyable!) and markers didn’t make my list.  I like clean crafting. 🙂

Craft Storage

To keep my craft supplies organized and my sanity intact I use Creative Options’ Medium Rack System.  They sent me a sample a few months back and it has revolutionized my craft chaos.  I’ve even bought an extra one (or two lol).  You can check them out for yourself on CreativeOptionsCraft.com or buy them on Amazon or Hobby Lobby.  They hold everything in neat little compartments and you can pull out separate sections to bring to the craft table for easy working.

If you’re unfamiliar with kid’s crafting I do hope you’ll give it a try.  It can be a lot of fun!