Monday, July 18, 2016

Must-Haves for Road Trips with Young Kids / Preschoolers

This summer has brought on many firsts for my family, including our first family vacation.  And our first road trip. I asked family and friends for tips on taking a preschooler in the car for hours on end.  I searched the internet for helpful products.  And, surprisingly, I came up with very little.  My family and friends traveled by plane when their kids were my son's age.  I found numerous blogs with games and products geared towards elementary aged kids, but nothing for young preschoolers.  So, I did my best, packed a little too much just to be safe, and kept track of what was most helpful.  So, hopefully, the next mama searching for preschooler road trip advice will find some helpful information.



Portable DVD Player

I purchased this portable DVD player set at Walmart because it seemed like a good deal at $35.  Little did I know how much we would be using this to watch DVDs in the car.  The battery life held up for 4 hours of playtime in the car.  It would have lasted longer, but we limited our car trips to 6 hours at a time. I easily recharged the player every night.  It was fully charged within a couple of hours. DVDS played perfectly - no skipping, no pausing. The screen also swivels 360 degrees.



Small Tray for Under the Seat Storage

We used these trays from the Target Dollar Spot ($3) in order to utilize the space underneath the seats. These were a super convenient and effective for storing our DVD selection while still giving us easy access to them.



Shower Caddy for Toy Storage

Another handy storage item that allowed for easy access? A shower caddy.  It kept our items organized and, when placed next to my son's car seat, he was able to grab whichever book/toy he wanted on his own. (Purchased at Target  Dollar Spot for $3.)





 



Magic Ink Coloring Books and Markers

Between this and the DVD player my son was pretty much occupied.  He was fascinated by the "magic ink" in the marker.  What color will it turn the paper next?  Plus, since the marker only works on the "special paper," this was a mess free option to coloring in the car. (Also a Target Dollar Spot purchase. $3.)






 
Folding Step Stool

I set out looking for this one.  I wanted something light and compact for traveling but still sturdy enough to hold my big boy when he needed to wash his hands or reach the air hockey table to play with his cousins. At just under $10, this stool was perfect and easy to store.




 
Potette Plus

I bought the Potette Plus awhile ago thinking I would carry it with me when I was out and about with my son running errands. I don't. BUT it was an absolute lifesaver during our trip.  Its folds up easily for travel and storage.  It's also easy to clean on-the-go (simply throw away the potty bag).  We used this once we were at our hotel or destination because my son very much prefers using a "little potty" to the real thing.  And when potty training, preference is EVERYTHING.






Stacking Storage Container for Toys

These are toys we used once at our destination.  I love how the container has a handle and  makes organizing easy with three stacking containers.  It was also a space saver for our room and a great way to have all of his toys in one place without having them mixed in one container.  (Purchased on sale at Target. I think it was around $5.)









Helpful Packing Tip Bonus

Keep your child's outfits together (instead of packing each individual item separately) for an easy on-the-go routine each morning and night.

Examples: 

Roll a pajama set together when packing. Fold the pants/shorts in half and place on the left side of the shirt. Roll the shirt vertically and there you go! The outfit is together and rolled (instead of folded) to save space.

Keep a top with its designated bottom by rolling both items separately and then wrapping a rubber-band or hair tie around the two to secure them together.



Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Summer Style: The Perfect Everything Bag - The Moxie by NET Effects

Before I had kids, finding a purse was as simple as finding cute details, bright colors, or a beautiful design.  After having kids, I have a lot more requirements for any purse that I'm going to be carrying around.  Most of the time I have to carry around a large, heavy diaper bag.  So when I am able to switch it up and pick a purse, its going to be one that is 1. smaller and 2. comfortable. 

So when I came across the NET Effects Moxie bag, I immediately fell in love with the attractive design.  I love the outside zippered pocket for quick access to my cell phone and other items. Zippered compartments are a must have for this girl.  I am always worried that something may fall out of my purse during my travels and a simple zipper cures that little bit of anxiety. The interior is super spacious with a ton of room without being bulky or heavy.  The strap lays comfortably and is easily adjusted. The outside is made of re-purposed remnants and end pieces of agricultural and industrial netting (hence the name) and is surprisingly durable.  This bag can be wiped clean with a wet cloth and doesn't stain or damage easily. (I tend to be rough on my bags...)

The best part of this completely versatile bag is that it is a product with a cause.  A portion of each sale benefits the foundation Nothing But Nets.  Additionally, the NET Effects company mission is to "bring 'trade not aid' to the disenfranchised women of Cambodia."  The company provides "unbeatable work conditions, quality training and good pay" to the women in Cambodia who create these bags.  So many good things from just one product!

For more information and to purchase NET Effects bags go to  http://neteffectstraders.com.  And now through July 26th get $15 off any purchase with the promo code NETTYNOW.