Sunday, July 29, 2012

Car trip entertainment - surprise bags

Two weeks ago we packed up the swagger wagon for a long drive to Vail, Colorado.

I found this idea on Pinterest and decided that since we were facing 15 hours in the car, I'd better have some creative ideas to keep everyone happy.  I also figured that we would spend close to $100 for a hotel room if we did it in two days, so I could spend some money for car entertainment.  The most expensive thing I bought was the movie, "Up" on iTunes so they could watch it on the iPad.  It was money well spent.  Everything else was either something we had at home or from Michaels.

Both Stella and Hudson ended up sleeping from Douglas to Cheyenne, so we had two bags that we didn't even open and saved for the return trip. 

Overall, I would rate this project as time well-spent.  The kids loved the excitement of getting something new every hour or so, and it gave me the peace-of-mind knowing that I was providing them with interesting entertainment.  I admit that they would have been completely happy watching shows on the iPad the whole 15 hours, but that wasn't what I wanted for this trip (the way home was a whole different story). 

Here's what was in each bag -

1 Big Timber, MT: Silly Putty
2 Hardin, MT: magnetic balls toy
3 Sheridan, WY: Fuzzoodles
4 Buffalo, WY: slip with note about special movie on iPad - "Up"
5 Casper, WY: pipe cleaners with animals from the toy box at home
6 Douglas, WY:  a Leapfrog game and the kids' iPod touch which they thought was lost :)
7 Wheatland, WY: shiny scratch paper
8 Cheyenne, WY: colored duct tape and scissors
9 Fort Collins, CO: key chain making kit
10 Denver, CO: pipe cleaners with beads for making bracelets, necklaces
11 Idaho Springs, CO: shiny scratch paper fashion dolls
12 Silverthorne, CO: glow bracelets

Here is the map with all the "landmarks" where they got to open another bag.  Thank you, Mr. Yost, for the beautiful rendition of these western states.

 The first bag, which they got as we cruised through Big Timer, MT at about 7:30 am, contained....Silly Putty!  This was by far the most popular of all the surprise bags.  I was glad they got it early because they kept pulling it out the rest of the day.
 I also bought them these lap desks from Michaels.  I'm not usually one to buy large plastic items, but I knew I didn't want them playing with Silly Putty without a solid surface.  They worked fairly well.  I think Hudson kept feeling like they kept him even more locked in place that he already was, so he kept wanting it down as soon as he was done playing. 
 Vivi didn't have any surprise bags because things usually only keep her attention for mere seconds before she tosses them over the side of her car seat.  I didn't feel like wasting a bunch of money or cluttering up the car with things she wasn't going to play with anyway.  What DID keep her attention was ziploc bags of food.  She LOVED having a bag of cheerios or raisins and picking them out one at a time.  We only had one instance where she got excited and shook the bag vigorously in the air and tossed cheerios from the front seat all the way to the back.

 Here is the map again taped onto the window in front of Stella's seat.  Since she can read, she was in charge of looking at the road signs and then crossing off the landmarks.
One of my car treats - breakfast cookies.  They are made with oatmeal, bananas, applesauce and whatever else you want to through in like craisins, raisins, nuts, etc.  Yum!

 Gotta love a sleeping baby!  She took two very good naps which certainly helped tame the craiziness factor.  

Towards the later part of the trip, I must have lost my enthusiasm for taking pictures.  However, here is a picture of a duct tape wallet that Stella made for Grandpa Pete the next morning.  She also made three little purse-type bags while we were in the car.  I think Hudson made a very impressive duct tape ball :)  

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Our Anniversary & juice reboot update

It seems like we've had a lot going on lately.  Not like we don't ALWAYS have a lot going on, but I am using it as my excuse for forgetting our anniversary.

Yep.  I forgot that is was our 12th anniversary this weekend. Whoops-a-daisy.

To help you understand (and make myself feel a little better) I'll list some of the things that are going on.
  •  Last Monday my best friend, Keely, lost her Mom.  It has been absolutely heartbreaking for everyone who knew her.  I'm pretty sure that every other thought I've had for the past week has been about them and the grief of losing a wife, mother, and amazing Nana.  
  • It was Vivian's 1st birthday on Friday.  We ended up celebrating on Monday because Stella and  Hudson weren't going to be here on her actual birthday.
  • Stella & Hudson weren't here because they went to Arizona with Pouli & YaYa!  Just a little bit of packing, preparing and taking to the airport to do for that. 
  • Vivian had an audiology appointment to get fitted for new ear molds.
  • We had a walk-through of the same daycare/preschool where Vivi goes to see if it would work for Hudson to go there this fall.
  • Vivi started crawling!!!
  • After weeks of foot pain, I went to the doctor for an x-ray.  Bunions!  Yippee!  Custom orthotics here we come!  Goodbye to all my super cute dress shoes.  Ergh.  Not only that, but I'd been favoring my large toe for the past few weeks which changed the way I was walking, which led to a grossly swollen knee and almost no mobility or range of motion for about 5 days.  The advice I got was to take ibuprofen (that I can do), rest (iffy) and elevate and ice it multiple times a day for 20 minutes each time (are you kidding?)
  • I am supposed to take my second CFP module exam this Tuesday. I'm supposed to be studying an average of 20 hours per week which of course I haven't been because of all the other things, so now I am seriously cramming.
  • I'd decided that this would be the perfect weekend to try a juice only "reboot."  This means that we spent last week weaning ourselves off of caffeine, meat, dairy and refined sugars and flour.  We have done okay, but definitely modified it a little to include a few meals.  Today we made a juice for lunch that had beets, radishes, a jalapeno and a bunch of other veggies.  It was the most disgusting thing I have EVER had.  I"m getting the shakes just thinking about it.  I have to say that I am very proud of Aaron for even trying to choke it down.  However, I do feel very good - light, alert and only a little hungry.
  • We are meeting Pouli, Yaya and the kids in Boise this coming weekend for a reception for Zach and Lori.  Just a couple things to pack and prepare for that one.
  • What am I forgetting???...hmmmm...oh yeah!- 12 years ago today I married my best friend - Happy Anniversary, Aaron!

*That cake would not be on the list of acceptable foods for my juice reboot.  However, I'm pretty sure that I weigh less right now than I did on my wedding day.