Road Trip Checklist: 10 Things to Do Before Your Next Car Trip

Road Trip Checklist: 10 Things to Do Before Your Next Car Trip

Get the car & family ready with this free printable road trip checklist and tips for how to prep for a long car trip! 

This week's one of those quiet times -- not too much on the calendar.

But I know it won't last long --

We're waiting to hear about college acceptances, looking into a few new attractions and counting the days until Spring Break (less than a month away for us!)

And I can smell an AWESOME family road trip somewhere in the near future.

Ahh ... I love the thought of exploring someplace new with our kids!

When it comes to taking a car trip,  I'm one of those "need to plan ahead" type of people.  I don't like to get on the road and worry about whether we might have any car problems or worse, run out of snacks before we reach our destination (heavens no!! the kids might not last until the next stop ;)

So today I'm sharing the checklist we use before heading out on our trips -- whether it's a day trip or cross-country vacation -- PLUS affiliate links to some of our favorite items & a FREE printable road trip planner to help you prepare for your next family car trip!

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Free Kids Summer Programs & Workshops

Free Kids Summer Programs & Workshops

Check out these FREE kids' programs, workshops & clinics this summer where your kids can explore hands-on activities, master a skill or create something beautiful!

Summer is coming and kids are looking for fun things to do -- and us parents are hoping that it's not all tech time ;)

There are a number of free programs & workshops your kids can try this summer -- my favorite part about these are that they are only a few hours and give kids a way to try something new without investing a ton of time (or money).

Summer is the perfect time to try out something new -- you never know what your kids will gravitate to unless you introduce them to new things!

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Summer Water Safety: A Must Read for all Parents!

Summer Water Safety: A Must Read for all Parents!

May is Water Safety Month and the perfect time to talk to your kids before gearing up to visit the pool or beach this summer!

My husband & I disagree about a lot of things -- like who's the best canoe paddler (it's me ;) and whether pasta or burgers are a better summer dinner.

But the one thing you'll find us both in agreement on -- teaching kids to swim and understanding safety near the water.

Be sure to take some time this summer to talk to your kids about the ABCD's of water safety with these easy tips!

 
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12 Inspiring Outdoor Activities: The Lorax & Ecology for Kids

12 Inspiring Outdoor Activities: The Lorax & Ecology for Kids

Use The Lorax and these fun outdoor activities to teach ecology and inspire your kids to change the world!

Today we're combining a few of our favorite things -- books & nature -- to kick off some early Spring exploring.  

In honor of Read Across America Day (celebrated on Dr. Seuss' birthday), let's take a look at how books and outdoor activities can teach our kids more about the environment.

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5 Ways to Get Your Kids Outside to Play

5 Ways to Get Your Kids Outside to Play

 

We played outside all the time when I was a kid!  Seriously, those had-to-be-called-in-to-eat type of days.  Even on school days, I remember walking home with friends and talking about what we'd do that afternoon before dinner.

Just like this Come Out and Play! video (definitely brings me back to childhood) -- "going out to play" meant using your imagination, exploring new places and feeling grown up because there weren't any grown ups around -- just kids who were having fun.

Do you remember those feelings? 

Sadly, play is disappearing  with our kids. 70% of moms played outside when they were kids and only 31% of their kids play outside today.

And yet, play is such an important way for our kids to stay healthy & build life skills -- learning to be independent, trying out a new idea to see if it works, negotiating and communicating with friends without an adult jumping in to solve the issue.  Not to mention all the benefits of getting outside.

Play is vital for our kids!

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DIY Cleaning Caddy for Household Cleaning

DIY Cleaning Caddy for Household Cleaning

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FallIntoClean #CollectiveBias

 

Every summer, we have an odd sort of tradition in our family – our kids learn a new skill with regards to home keeping and it's been a tradition in our house for over 15 years. 

In addition to swimming, traveling and having lots of other fun, we also think it’s very important to teach our kids life skills and summer is the perfect time for this to happen. And I've learned that one thing that goes a long way to making it easy for kids to help around the house with adult supervision is for them to have their own cleaning caddy and weekly jobs that they can learn to master.

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Books that Inspire Kids to Learn

Books that Inspire Kids to Learn

Many thanks to Hallmark for sponsoring this post and helping to create communities where all children have the chance to grow up as healthy, productive & caring persons.  All book choices and thoughts are mine alone.

 

Today's book list was inspired by a young lady who fights for quality education for all children around the world.

Malala Yousafzai was 15 when she was shot by the Taliban for attending school in Pakistan.  It was against the law for girls to go to school and yet, every morning Malala would get up and not only get herself to school but encourage other girls in her village to attend as well.  She survived the attack and has since become the youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient who now travels the world with her father to share their story.

In honor of both Malala & Ziauddin Yousafzai, I wanted to share a book list that will inspire kids to speak up for what they believe, to change the world and to appreciate the opportunity to get an education.

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20 Printable Scavenger Hunt, Car Games & Life Skills Activities for Kids

20 Printable Scavenger Hunt, Car Games & Life Skills Activities for Kids

We're so excited about this Printable Activity Pack with TONS of fun summer activities for your kids!

And right now, you can get it at a special price (50% off) for a limited time!!

Because it's never too early to start preparing for summer break, right ;)

Since we're all about helping to make family life easier while your raise curious kids, we've combined those two goals to create a Summer Printable Activity Pack with activities the kids will LOVE along with time-saving printables for parents!

 
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Outdoor Photo Scavenger Hunt

Outdoor Photo Scavenger Hunt

We're back with our nature buddies for this wee's Outdoor STEM Activity -- and since this week's theme is taking technology outside, we thought we'd create an awesome Photo Scavenger Hunt!

This is a super easy idea that will keep the kids both busy & creative on those long "Mom, I'm bored!" days ;)

Plus, Summer is the perfect time for kids to explore something new or master a skill such as photography -- those less-scheduled days allow them more time to pick up a camera and practice.

So grab a camera or smart phone along with our free printable Photo Scavenger Hunt list and let's head outside to explore!

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Tips for Helping Kids Meet New Friends

Do you know how every kid has some special talent -- a skill that just makes you go "Wow!  Where did they learn that?!" 

It's that thing about your child that impresses you, makes you proud and causes you to stop and think how it will help them in life.

For my daughter, her amazing talent is meeting new people.

She's always the first one to volunteer to sit next to the new student at school.  And every year she goes to a summer camp, she'll come home on the first day and tell us about her new friend.  Granted, sometimes she doesn't know this 'new friend's' name ;) but she's always knows something about them and is excited to see them the next day.

When we saw the trailer for the NEW Peanuts movie that's out in theaters, I was reminded that meeting new people doesn't come naturally for everyone.  As Charlie Brown finds out (and some of us have experienced), meeting people can be a little awkward whether you're the new person at school or the one who wants to welcome a new neighbor.

But my daughter has shared with me that there are some super easy ways to meet new people and help kids to begin those new friendships that could last a lifetime!

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14 Crafts for Your Thanksgiving Table

These beautiful & easy ideas are the perfect crafts for kids to make to decorate the Thanksgiving table!

When I think back to holiday celebrations, there are 3 things that I loved about Thanksgiving:

1. Having family come to visit

2. PIE! 

3. Helping to get the table ready for the meal

I always felt so grown up when my Mom would give us 'special jobs' so we could help with the holiday prep.  My sister and I were asked to put together the cookie tray, decorate the centerpiece and (if we were lucky) set out the china and fancy glasses.

Not only were we helping but we were also learning how to host a big dinner (a skill that's come in quite handy over the years ;)

And truth be told, these are still my favorite things about the holiday.

So this year, think about how the kids can help you to get the table ready while you focus on the food! 

 

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Teaching Kids about Veterans Day & Remembrance Day

Talking to kids about unhappy moments can be tough -- BUT it's a necessary thing in life. 

Educating them about Veterans Day, Remembrance Day and war is one of those occasions -- it's not a pleasant topic to discuss but one that needs to be talked about with the next generation.

It's important for our children to honor and appreciate what others have done for all of us and to understand some of the sacrafices that each person makes during wartime.  So today, we're sharing some great resources for introducing kids of all ages to the topic of wartime and service to your country.

 

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30 Service Projects for Kids & Families

Looking for volunteer ideas or service projects to help others this holiday season?

I’ve written before about what I want my kids to love about November and understanding how to help their community, serve others and be grateful for all they have is a big part of it.

But here’s the thing – it’s not always easy to do, is it?

We all get busy – school events, homework, prepping for the holidays, daylight savings time makes the day feel much shorter so you’re more likely to stay inside in the evenings ....

.... so many small excuses for why we aren’t able to fit things in.

But I realized over the years that the idea of giving & kindness doesn’t have to be this BIG, GRAND action --

The small acts are JUST as important!  

This year, we're sharing 30 Ideas for Gratitude & Giving to inspire families -- service projects that can be done at home, Random Acts of Kindness that can be done together and places where families can to volunteer during the holiday season.

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Tips for Keeping Kids Safe while Playing Sports

I recently received an email with a question that caught my eye --

"Worried Your Kid Is Going To Break...Something?"

"Hell Yes!"  was all I could think because we have kids who are prone to injury.

Anyone who knows our family is not surprised to see one of the kids walking around with a cast or brace.  I swear that our family motto should be 'Play hard, get hurt, do it again'.

Let's see, the kids have suffered from a deep bone contusion while playing football, a broken wrist in basketball, a leg fracture with dance and four teeth knocked out during another basketball game (read more about our medical adventures & tips on caring for a child in a cast).

And I only have 2 kids!

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DIY First Aid Kit List {with free printable!}

DIY First Aid Kit List {with free printable!}

Use this free printable First Aid Kit list and quickly know what to include in your own medical kit for the car, classroom or college student!

We are currently packing up my oldest and getting him ready for his first year at college this week (one of those big life moments for both parents & kids)!

And in all the packing & shopping, I'm trying to think about what he'll need when he's 1,000 miles away from home.

You know, the stuff that Moms always seem to prepare for -- all those "What if" moments.

One of the items that quickly came to mind is a portable First Aid Kit that's perfect for students!

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