Family Travel Tips

January 14, 2020 at 6:51 am (Family Stuff, travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Traveling with kids is not for the faint of heart. But, it’s totally possible to have an awesome time and not lose your sanity! We are living proof. I have a few simple tricks to keep it all together when traveling with a crew. My family of 5, mom, dad, 17 year old, 6 year old, and 1.5 year old, recently traveled to Florida and not only survived, but also had an amazing time. (Read about Florida ideas is previous post!) Here are some things that worked really well for us that we recommend and will be doing again.

Packing Cases- We got each family member a different color set of packing cases this time. Especially helpful since plane tickets no longer come with a checked bag any longer, as we decided to pay the extra fee for only two large checked suitcases between the 5 of us. This set of packing cases, which we used, are decently priced, come with 6 pouches per set, and had plenty of color options. They are a bit cheaply made, but did a good job for us. Lots more options for these on Amazon too! I divided each person’s cases into groups, like one pouch for shirts, one for bottoms, one for undergarments, etc. I also think it may be helpful to divide by outfits rolled together. At least this way there were only 6 options for where your swim suit could be located on the chaos! 😉

Nacuwa Bottle- If you haven’t heard already, all airlines now only allow liquids in 3.4 oz bottles and these need to be in a quart sized ziplock baggie. To simplify things, use the Nacuwa bottle! All of our necessities can go in one bottle. It’s even TSA approved! Tip- add a ziplock to each bag. You might bring home a hotel lotion, or find that you had a little perfume in your purse without a baggie. Each person is allowed one, so make sure you are prepared to take advantage of this! We use the Nacuwa travel bottle for camping and cabining as well! So handy!

Bubble Bum Seat- Got kids in the booster seat age and size range? You need this. Its handy for all the things, travel, grandma’s car, carpool, etc. We loved having it for the rental car. I know rental cars can provide carseats, but they add an extra expense. And, I’ve heard rumor, that sometimes they don’t have the size seat you requested on hand, or it is outdated or dirty… Save yourself extra trouble and get this guy. He fits in this bag shown in my hand, then blows up to the seat B is holding below. It meets and exceeds all safety standards! Plus, B says it’s super comfy.

Spirit Airlines- Ok, hear me out. This may not be the airline of beat choice if you are taking a super long flight and need extra comfort… but they have their perks if you are ok with very basic and are hoping to save some money. Perk 1- they allow you to bring a diaper bag on free, in addition to the one personal item each traveler is allowed. Thank goodness! Perk 2- they also allow you to check a stroller and carseat for each child for free. We checked the toddler’s carseat (again with the rental car issue) and gate checked the stroller. This means we drove it all the way to the gate with kiddo in it, and it goes right in the door of the plane and off to meet us. Perfect! Perk 3- they combine weights for your suitcases, whereas other airlines don’t. Each checked suitcase is allowed to be 40lbs without extra charge. With Spirit, one could be 20lbs and one could be 60lbs then. Less stress worrying about how to split things up!! Perk 4- you can bring your own snacks and drinks! They do not serve anything for free on the flight, adding to your lower prices, but this also allows you the freedom to pack what and how much you want! Some airports will not allow you through safety checks with drinks. Chicago did, because Spirit’s checkpoint was separated. However, Jacksonville did not, as all airline were checked together. Snacks were fine. Exceptions are always made for breastmilk, formula, etc.

Carseats– I mentioned above that I believe in the perks of bringing your own carseat when renting a car. Here is something you should get. A strap to attach the carseat to your wheeled suitcase. So handy to not lug another parcel through the airport. We wheeled the carseat to baggage check. Then we packed it in it’s own travel bag to be checked. The second picture below is how the carseat bag rolls up into it’s own pouch to pack. Pack this in an outside pocket of your suitcase and you will know where it is before you check bags.

Last tips- stay organized, go with the flow, don’t see it all, and enjoy the little things. Dad says- pack lots of snacks. You will have a blast! Safe travels!

Anything you would add?

XX,

Jess

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Again For Mom ;)

November 26, 2019 at 9:33 am (Mom Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I had to share Eshakti one more time. I couldn’t help it. They are just that awesome!

I was on the hunt for the perfect fall into winter dress… and knew just where to look. Eshakti! Plus, I’m on a major leopard kick right now! 🤣

Again I was able to fully customize this dress. The sleeve length, the hem length, the neck line, and even my size measurements. And again it fits perfectly and looks just like I had envisioned.

This one happens to be a crepe material, is double lined, has modesty buttons so that you can open up some in the neck or bottom, and has pockets too! Love!

I wore this out for my birthday dinner the other night and had so many compliments. I just can’t help but to keep telling everyone, its Eshakti, check them out!

Don’t forget that you can use code JESSI10 on their gorgeous dresses and clothes too!

XX,

Jess

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Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

October 22, 2019 at 5:27 pm (Mom Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

If you know me at all, you know I’m no cook. It’s never been something I enjoy to do, so I have never gotten much better than “able to keep my kids alive” level. 🤣

But, I have a few recipes up my sleeve that make it seem like I know what I’m doing just a little. This is a family favorite. So easy, probably 10 minute prep time, inexpensive, and both adults and kids love it. It makes enough for the 5 of us for dinner plus leftovers. Leftovers are almost even better with this dish! 😉

Ingredients

2 c shredded chicken

1 box spaghetti

2 can cream of chicken soup

1 can original Rotel

1 8oz package sour cream

Large sprinkling of shredded cheese

Tips: use a broasted chicken from the store. Easiest to shred when its warm. Shred then refrigerate if making tomorrow. Shred an overly full 2 cups. There will be just enough left for a couple of legs for kids lunch or to put on a salad, etc.

Instructions: Boil the entire package of spaghetti. Mix with all other ingredients except cheese in a 9×13 casserole pan. Cover in foil. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes. Remove the foil and add a full sprinkling of your favorite shredded cheese. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Viola!

One more tip, a sprinkling of crumbled potato chips tops it excellently. Especially day 2 leftovers! Yumm!

Xx,

Jess

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Perfect Mama Gift

October 17, 2019 at 8:31 am (Mom Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Are you a mom? Do you know one? This is something you will want to see! I have the perfect gift for a mama you know or even for yourself!

My new necklace by Forever Anniversary is a sound wave of a clip I recorded of my boys!

How amazingly sweet is that? This has got to be the ultimate keepsake!

Visit here for their custom soundwave necklace.

They have lots of unique and customizable jewelry options that are all stunning. I think they would all make amazing gifts. I personally adore the soundwave and all it represents for me, so I can vouch that any mama would love to receive one! 😉

My husband recorded my 1 year old saying “mama, mama” and then my 6 year old says “we love you.” I find it so sweet that I haven’t stopped wearing this since I got it!

It’s made of steel, and just gorgeous. The simplicity of it is stunning with any outfit. I love that it’s my little secret as to what it really means. 💙

Here is the clip of my boys, just so you can hear (not much to see) what I gave them to customize this.

You will not be sorry if you visit Forever Anniversaryfor your next gift or treat!

Xx, Jess

*I recieved this necklace from Forrever Anniversary in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own! 😘

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Where Have You Been, Girl?!

September 24, 2018 at 1:03 pm (Our New House, Tid Bits) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hi all! Yes, yes. It’s been forever. BUT, I am back. And with lots to share.

One more kiddo and a new (to us) house have kept us very, very busy. But this new house has also given us a TON of new projects to show you while we go. So, I’m back and full of fun stuff to document.

The house. If you have been following along here for very long, you know I love me some old houses. And old projects. And old antiques. Everything with a story. Let me tell you, this house had lots of stories. Built in 1860, and sadly remodeled in the 70’s, we have our hands full, both with old stories and new ideas.

So, here she is. All potential and boring right now.

Pretty cool, right?! And a ton of work, a few headaches, blood, sweat, tears… and love. I’m excited to be getting all creative again. As the new little one allows, of course. 😂

As many of you know, this space was created years ago when I got my first house to document and share all of my remodeling and decorating ideas, trials, errors, and adventures. This is where a plan to keep most of my focus now that I am back with plenty to keep sharing. But, I also plan to share some family, kids, health, and even personal stuff. Let me know if there’s something you would like to see!

And finally, I haven’t shared about myself in a very long time. So, my name is Jessica. I am a social worker with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in Forensic Psychology. I love to be outdoors, camp, and travel, decorate, refinish and repurpose furniture, and and hunt for bargains and hidden gems. I live in Iowa with my significant other, Jason, my 15 year old step-daughter, Jordin, my 5 year old son, Brantley, and my 4 month old son, Barrett. Oh, and our little growing crew of pets. Every farm needs chickens and goats, right? We not only love making our new old house a home, but we also love trying out new things along the way. I hope we can inspire you!

Glad you are here! It should be fun, and a little new, so stick around!

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My Life Gets Even Busier!

March 3, 2009 at 4:54 pm (Tid Bits) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

In addition to my full time job, planning a wedding, caring for two puppies and a fiance and decorating our first home, I also get to be a student again now!  I just got accepted into grad school!  I will be starting my master’s program in forensic psychology online with the Chicago School of Professional Psychology this coming Monday.  I am excited and nervous.  I will be busy, but that’s the way I like it.  So, if my post slow a bit once in a while it may be because I am doing homework!  Here are the books for my first term:

book21

book-1

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