Friday Things #332
1. These three are quickly turning into the three amigos. Now that Isabelle is walking, she’s EVERYWHERE her brothers are, and doing whatever they are doing (usually playing with cars). It’s so fun to hear them all screech and giggle and play together. There are arguments and toy stealing and all the usual stuff you would expect, but they just adore playing together and I love hearing how happy they make each other.
2. Isabelle is starting swim lessons today! In true third child fashion, she is beginning way later than her brothers, but I’m excited to get in the pool with her and see how she takes to the water. I think she’s going to love it!
3. My 25-year-old self would have never dreamed that nearly 15 years later I would have 4.5-year-old and almost 3-year-old kids proclaiming a song by The Jonas Brothers, of all bands, as their favorite. They also like the Billy Ray Cyrus song (I can’t for the life of me remember the name – Old Town Road?) I feel like we’re in a time warp. They also moan and ask me to change the channel when a U2 or John Mellencamp song comes on, so apparently, I have reached “old mom” status who likes “bad boring” music. I thought this wasn’t supposed to happen for many, many years?!
4. How amazing is this?! A woman had her grandma’s most beloved noodle recipe (in her grandma’s handwriting) made into the backsplash for her pantry area. Absolutely beautiful.
5. This is an absolutely fantastic read, with great tips, and such a wonderful reminder that we don’t have to say yes to everything or otherwise come up with random excuses >> The Art of Saying No to Invites When You Really Don’t Want to Do Something. (h/t to Jessica who shared the link in her Tuesday Things this week)
6. We are heading to the beach next month and will have a 10-11 hour drive to get there. I would LOVE to hear your travel tips for toddlers and preschoolers. Any must-take things, tips for keeping them from getting too bored or restless? We have a DVD system in our van, but we’re planning on holding that back until things reach desperation level, lol! We’ve actually never used it; we generally don’t drive any further than an hour or so around here and never saw a need for it on trips that length. So it should be a good novelty to break out on the trip.
7. I think you know by now I’m a huge fan of decluttering and purging (I feel like I can breathe so much easier when there isn’t stuff everywhere) and these are some great tips >> The First 15 Things You Need to Do to Declutter Your Entire Life
8. Have you bought anything from the Nordstrom sale? I picked up just a few items, but my favorite, by far, is this cozy twist front pullover. It is, quite possibly, the softest shirt I have ever put on – it feels like butter! A lot of the colors/sizes are sold out, but if you can snag one, do it! (It seems to run big, so I would recommend sizing down one size unless you like your tops quite loose.) I also grabbed these Zella high waist pocket 7/8 leggings and they are extremely comfortable and flattering, plus I love that they have sleek pockets on the sides.
9. I saw the Mr. Rogers movie trailer this week and cannot WAIT to see it. Being from Pittsburgh, Mr. Rogers is especially near and dear to my heart, and the trailer gave me all the feels. You can see it here or watch below:
Also read this older article this week, which is so fascinating >> Mr. Rogers Had a Simple Set of Rules for Talking to Children
10. TGIF! These two are freshly groomed and feeling the love :)
A warning about the DVD player in your car, I learned the hard way, it can make them carsick. (Even if they don’t normally get carsick)
Ugh! Thank you for the tip!
I did a course many years ago and it was recommended to just say no to an invitation you don’t want to accept, without giving reasons or excuses. If you do, it opens the conversation to negotiation. Of course, it depends who you’re responding to as to how you phrase your response but the message was that you don’t have to justify yourself. This is empowering.
Omg, #3 is so my life, too… my 4 y.o. daughter refuses to listen to the original version of “Africa” by Toto, she only likes the new one and she says that Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” sounds “weird” and she only likes the Miley Cyrus version…
I am so not cool and totally out of the loop because I didn’t even know those songs had been redone, ha!! 🙈 Africa is such a fantastic song.
We did a 14 hour car trip already this summer and have done this for a few years now. We drive overnight, and my husband and I take turns driving/napping. Before the kids go to sleep, I totally give in to them using iPads. We start driving a couple of hours before dinner, always stop at Chick-Fil-A because they ALWAYS have a play place so the kids can burn off some energy, change the kids into pajamas before we start driving again, and then they sleep for most of the rest of the drive. If your kids are going to be up for most of the trip, then I would suggest grabbing some new, cheap toys at a dollar store and also looking for playgrounds along your route so they can stop and stretch their legs.
I just did a 12-hour car trip with my 6- and 2-year olds. We’d never done anything even remotely that long, so I was nervous. I bought some magnetic games on amazon (my two year old is really into matching things, so I got her a matching game, and a hangman for the older one). I also got clipboards that open up to hold paper so they could draw and color. And we went to the library and got a bazillion books (flap books and Where’s Waldo are big hits). We made sure to stop every couple hours for potty and stretching breaks. They did great, and I was so surprised at well it went. Good luck!
Thank you for posting The Art of Saying NO. I needed to be reminded that I can say no. I wish I had read this sooner as I am on my way to an event tonight I could care less about. I read When I Say No I Feel Guilty years ago, guess I forgot the art of saying NO.
One more thing – if traveling by car, take a port-a-potty. Despite how many times you stop, there will be a potty emergency and it will happen when the next stop isn’t for 10-15 min.
Travel tips for kids – I always had a special backpack to take when we road tripped. It contained toys I collected over time so most of the toys were new or only used during travel. Crayola as well as Melissa & Doug have some cute small activity books that are good for travel. Reusuable sticker books, travel games, books, play I spy, travel bingo, sticker books, magnetic dolls or action figures (instead of paper dolls), Etch-a-sketch (used to be a small size), Silly putty, other magnetic toys, age appropriate activity books, lacing cards, Barrel-of-Monkeys, View Master. We also had a small fabric doll house with dolls that was great for travel. I used to use a lap desk or lap tray (something with a 2″ lip to keep things contained. Have a sing-a-long.
I understand about the music thing. My 17 yo daughter complains everytime 2 of my favortite artitsts play in the car. She says “mom, turn off that horrible country music of yours!” The part that gets me is that she’s calling Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger country!!!!! lol I just shake my head and of course, leave the music on, singing, off key, at the top of my lungs.
Oh my gosh, that’s so funny! Country! One of my favorite songs to blast if I’m in the car by myself is Glory Days :)
I just wanted to let you know how much I love reading your blog, and hearing all about your sweet family and doggies! I grew up watching Mr. Rogers, who I absolutely loved, so I really look forward to seeing the movie as well.
For your upcoming road trip, I found some great tips from another blogger that I follow. She also has 3 young children, and shared her tips recently that i thought might come in handy for your family.
Have a great weekend!
My daughter LOVED these. Again many to choose from…
I have done both flying and long drives with my son for years. Some of the things that I have found how far:
1. Wrapping up new toys (from the dollar bins) in wrapping paper. Then every once in awhile, let them open one.
2. Each kiddo with their own plastic “desk” to use for art, racing cars, eating snacks, etc.
3. “New” to them DVDs…anything they haven’t seen before. This is how I introduced my son to the older Disney classics, like The Sword in the Stone, Robin Hood, 101 Dalmations).
4. Folding foot stools. It makes it easier for them to relax in a car seat if their feet rest on something. Then you can take them and use them at your destination.
5. Airplane pillows…I keep one in the car for when he naps, as well as small blankets and a favorite lovey.
6. Snacks (and a lot of them).
7. Magnadoodles or Boogie Boards
8. When you stop at rest stops, make then run around, do jumping jacks, touch their toes, anything to stretch out and burn off some energy.
9. If you can build in a stop around a fast food joint with a children’s area, even better.
10. Childsafe Headphones or wireless ones for your DVD player. That way YOU aren’t stuck listening to their movies the entire trip.
I have two boys same ages as yours. Yes to everything Diane said. I’d add
1. In our car the #1 Rule of Roadtrips is that you always try going potty anytime we stop. If they protest my “compromise” is to say “Ok, but you have to go in and just look at the toilet then”.. This works everytime – as soon as they see the toilet and hear the bathroom sounds, they have to go. Totally minimizes the need to constantly stop for the toilet.
2. Have some treats/fun in mind if you need to use them. But under no circumstances say “We might stop at McDonalds…” or “There’s a playground in the next town that looked really fun….” The second you give them a “Maybe” they’ll hear it as as a “Defininately” and if the timing doesn’t work or it’s not feasible to make that fun stop you will never hear the end of the whining. Make all your fun ideas seem spontaneous and you can’t go wrong. Ask me how I know.
3. If your vehicle doesn’t have built in sun shades or window tinting, make sure you bring removable ones or some kind of towel/blanket to hang over them. Also bring their sunglasses and put sunscreen on them before getting in the car. Sitting with the sun blaring down on you is no fun!
4. Make sure their most beloved snuggle/lovey is with them in the seat. Kids can make it throug a lot of road trip misery if they have their snuggle pal.
5. If you stop for meals out, let them take turns “picking”. Of course, as the adult, you can read the roadsigns and know what your options are and give them a choice of two places you and Dad are willing to go to. But kids this age love being the Picker. And listening to my boys debate the merits of Qdoba vs. Culver’s is so amusing.
Enjoy your trip!
My kids loved these sticker books when we were traveling.. There are tons to choose from.
I’d have them in my bag of goodies that only came out after we were on the road. Most things in the bag came from the Dollar Store. or Target’s Dollar Spot.
Also when they were a little older, we would check out audio books from the library. We discovered some of our favorite books/authors when we were traveling.
I saw the Mr. Rogers trailer a week or so ago. I was amazed how Tom Hanks literally seemed to morph into the character. I am looking forward to seeing it. I also am looking forward to “The Art of Racing the Rain”. Have you seen the trailer on TV? The main character is a Golden Retriever and the story is told from his perspective. I read the book years ago and was surprised to see the trailer pop up on TV.
I am guessing you and your husband are going to have a very interesting first long road trip with your crew! I wish you the very best!
#1 tip for the dvd system: DO A TRIAL RUN parked in the driveway, with you in the driver’s seat, going through the whole process of putting the dvd in, pushing the appropriate buttons, running a little bit of the movie, then getting back to the regular radio, etc. Practice doing this with your eyes straight ahead to get a feel for the process while driving – even if you are going to be a passenger working the system during your trip -especially if you’ve never used the dvd system in your car! My Odyssey’s entertainment system can be finicky. I use an HDMI cable to Lightning adapter to plug in my phone to watch movies on our entertainment system. This saves a little space so I don’t have to carry dvds. There’s nothing worse than whiny kids while trying to figure out gadgets in a moving car. Hopefully yours is just plug in the dvd and hit play. We recently returned from a 10hr trip to Ann Arbor, MI to pick up a kid from music camp, then we drove from Ann Arbor to Branson, MO (a 12hr drive w/ a 10yo, 13yo, and 92# 19 mo golden retriever 🤣😬😵🤯🤪). Did a pit stop overnight and went to Silver Dollar City, then…. onto grandma’s in Oklahoma, another 7-8 hours!) I had a ton of snacks up front w/ me to dole out. I made little containers and bags of single servings. Fruit, nuts, popcorn, jerky, crackers & cheese, pretzels, even candy (gasp!!), etc. I used hydroflasks for each kid and had a jug of water to refill as needed. We had a cooler in the kid’s row with drinks and ice that I could reach as a passenger and the kids could reach if they were thirsty. I “made” ice over several days before the trip by dumping our ice in the freezer into large ziploc bags. This saved us from buying ice at a gas station. Pack extra straws and napkins because it is inevitable the fast-food drive through will give you 3 straws instead of 4, and will definitely forget napkins😩. Stow a few garbage bags in your glove box and make everyone hand you their trash when you stop for gas / potty breaks. I had a container of wet wipes in each front door cup holder for wiping hands. My kids brought books, an electronic chess set, crayons & coloring books, rubix cubes, friendship bracelet kits, sticker by number picture books, Math homework books and Music Theory books. My kids do not have cell phones (when they are in 8th grade, they will have a basic phone). I also made an epic playlist on my phone with over 40 hours of songs we love (even John Mellencamp😁👍🏻). The kids ended up watching two movies on the trip to Oklahoma and back home (Northern Virginia). Make sure movies are something YOU want to listen to while driving if the kids will not be using headphones. Are you taking your sweet dogs too?? For the dog, we put him in the third row of our minivan and used a seat protector sling. I have a Mighty Paw harness and used a doggy seatbelt with our LATCH anchor. I had two collapsible bowls, a huge jug of water, his leash, pickup baggies, plenty of food, treats, a benebone, an elk antler chew, his favorite toys, etc. He was pretty chill except the time he tried to climb over to the kid’s row. We have a small air pump, jumper cables, a roll of toilet paper and paper towels, a backup cellphone battery + cable, tire gauge, small first aid kit in the back of the car, and started with a fresh oil change, tire rotation, etc. AAA is always a good idea if you are able. I do NOT recommend driving 24hrs with a tween, a teen, and a huge dog. It is possible to survive, but NOT exactly what I would call fun… If you can handle gum popping, by all means, buy a few packages of fun flavored gum – it will keep the talking, whining to a minimum, but the chomping, chewing and popping just about drove me NUTS😂😬😂🤪😵Wishing you safe travels and sleepy kids😊❤️❤️❤️
Your kids are growing up so fast! Good luck with the road trip. I remember counting all the different state license plates but your kids maybe too young for that game. Make sure they get a trucker to blow his air horn by pumping their arms! We loved doing that! The recipe backsplash was so incredible!!! Love that idea!
While our kids are teenagers now, when they were little and a road trip was planned I always brought along a “Surprise Bag.” When it was time to stop at a roadside rest and stretch our legs, without looking inside = the kids could pull something out of the bag. It might be a pink for her, blue for him soccer ball for kicking around, new movie (those DVD players are terrific for long travels!) a book, game, or bottle of bubbles. Something they could enjoy while we were picnicking or when it was time to get back on the road. Have a great time…enjoy every minute!
Huge Mr. Rogers fan here! I can’t wait for the movie.
Happy Friday Michelle! I agree with your boys-the new Jonas Brothers music is so fun and definitely this summer’s soundtrack.
As a fellow yinzer I cannot wait for the Mr. Rogers movie.
That backsplash is beautiful. I saw a great idea on a smaller scale where a wall plate rack was built and a poster sized copy of a family hand written recipe was applied to the back of the rack. I saved a wall in my newly remodeled kitchen for one of these plate racks with my late mom’s recipes.
Good luck with the road trip! On road trips as kids (long before portable electronics) we played car games like find the alphabet (on signs and trucks and license plates) and collecting cows (if you pass cows or horses or animals) on your side of the car they are yours. You loose your animals when you pass a cemetery on your side of the road. We still laugh at the time when we were all waiting to find the letter Q and we crossed the Susquehanna River and our mom yelled “I got Q and U”! Of course what she really need next was an R!
Ok, so we just got back from a road trip with my 4-year-old, and here’s what worked for us.
I got an over-seat organiser to stash activities for the trip. He loved the paint sticks (low mess painting), activity books and, surprisingly, the play dough. I also made a box of loose parts (one of those small tackle box things with screws, small plastic animals, dinosaurs, pom-poms, etc.) and that kept his attention quite well. It was also less likely to result in carsickness than the activity books were. We also stopped quite frequently (at least every 1.5-2 hours) but our longest drive on one day was only 6 hours (I prefer not to have to drive for a full day with a kid, as it just makes everyone cranky).
Hope some of that helps!
About Mr. Rogers’ rules for talking to children….by the time you rephase what you want to say, the kid has probably been run over by a truck.
Well, I think the entire article was about how he scripted his show, talking to children through the television, so of course he had time to craft the words exactly how he wanted them. Naturally, if your child is running into the middle of the road right this very second, this goes out the window. But, I do find that there is merit and truth to the notion of saying EXACTLY what you mean and being clear, leaving no room for ambiguity, and telling kids what they can do versus cannot do (my husband actually read something in a book about persuasion that if you tell someone – adults – what should not be done, that idea sticks in their heads, and they are more likely to do it, versus just saying what you wish to be done – I find it fascinating how people respond to language).
That backsplash is breathtaking! What an amazing idea