Surviving a winter family road trip.

Surviving a winter family road trip.

Christmas is in just 12 short days, and for many people that will involve loading up the car with people, gifts, and luggage to head on a long winter family road trip. Family road trips at any time of year can be overwhelming and stress full, but during the winter where everything is in another level.

Much of my husband’s family is about an 8-hour drive away from where we live, and while we have never made the trip at Christmas we have made it in the winter more than not. This, of course, involves packing up three kids and make the journey.

These are the tricks that I have accumulated over the years to make travelling with our boys a tad easier and in some cases, safer.

Let them pack their own bag

Kids, or mine at least, get excited when they have some independence. Letting them pick and pack their own clothes really helps them be excited about what is happening and going somewhere. I send mine with a number of shirts, pants, socks etc so I still know everything they need is taken.

Leave early

On the way out of the city, we started our journey at 4 am. Cruel I know, worse for me than the kids.  Our hope was that they would sleep for the first part of the trip. Little H is usually asleep the moment he was buckled into his car seat and Big H doesn’t make it out of the city. L can usually power through nearly the whole drive but he is a unique boy. The later we leave the more they seem to fight.

Books

Neither of my kids can read yet but that doesn’t stop them from flipping through books and making their own stories. I bring a handful and this keeps them busy for a few hours.

Games

I am not an iPad mom. But, I believe there is a time and a place and so we have a couple of personal games systems that we let them play with when they really got stir crazy and that kept them busy for a bit.

Have something for them to look forward to at the end of the drive

This can be as simple as ice cream or a toy or anything that they are going to want to get.

If possible have a pool at the hotel

This is probably our best move. L has never been a strong sleeper so when staying in a hotel we prepare for the worst. Making them super tired always seems to do the trick. Swimming, even for a half hour is always sure to exhaust my kids so before bed each night we went for a swim by the time they hit the pillow they were already asleep.

Bring their bedding

Our kids each have a special pillow and blanket they can’t sleep without. By bringing them with us it is close enough to their actual bed that it wasn’t a big deal.

Bring an extra full outfit

My boys, always seem to need an extra change of clothes no matter where we go. L somehow manages to get syrup all over his shirt he is supposed to wear to dinner. Big H loses a pair of pants. Little H explodes out of his diaper. Seriously just bring extra clothes.

ALL your winter gear

Be prepared for the worst. In the event that your vehicle breaks down or you get lost, or any other of the million things that could happen you want to be prepared. No heat in the winter means you’re going to be cold. Have everything you need to be as warm as possible.

Understanding

Remember these are little people who normally move 100 miles/minute. Being strapped into a vehicle for hours means that energy isn’t being expelled. They are going to misbehave.

Travelling isn’t easy for anyone, let alone with kids. We usually make it through unscathed and are able to enjoy our time at wherever we were headed.

What are your best road trip tips?

Posted by Jenn in Travel, 8 comments
Jord Watch: A Review.

Jord Watch: A Review.

**Disclaimer: I received this product for free from Jord watches in exchange for 
social media and blog posts. All opinions, however, are mine and uninfluenced.**

My father in law got married last fall and I was lucky enough to be part of the wedding party. I had a dress, shoes, earrings, necklace, rings, and a beautiful shawl. I even had a watch. Except, my watch was actually my Fitbit, and while it matched the colour it didn’t really suit the occasion.

That was when I came to the conclusion that I needed to get a “dress” watch for just such an occasion. That is when Jord came into the picture. I had been eying them up for a while, their unmistakable beauty at a more than reasonable price point made them a perfect addition to my jewellery box.

Their options are seemingly endless and each just as or more beautiful than the last, and so the hardest part was probably trying to decide on which one to get. I ended up with the gorgeous Zebrawood Emerald square face watch from their Reese collection.

Let’s just take a moment and talk about the box this came in.  This is an intricately built wooden box that is something to be appreciated. Complete with a bottom pull out drawer to store your polishing cloth. But we’re not here to talk about the box.

The watch is… wow.

THE FACE

The square face is emerald coloured and is a classic, is stylish, and the fold numbering is easy to read. There is a slight texture on the face which can be distracting. I frequently thought it was a plastic protective layer I forgot to pull off. Overall, I believe it is just something I needed to get used to.

THE BAND

The band is flawlessly put together in a lightweight manner, not at all heavy. Knowing it was made of wood, this was my fear. The zebra wood is unique, making each an every piece different and therefore no two-time pieces are the same. The links are a larger than average, making the band a little looser than I would prefer but a size smaller would be too tight I believe.

THE CLASP

The clasp was a huge seller to me. Due to the fact that I am extremely uncoordinated, I can’t manage most clasps.  This one, however, was simple and I was able to do it one-handed. It is a double fold so it is secure, but still easy to do.

 

This is a conversation piece. When we went to my husbands Christmas party I had at least a half-dozen people ask about my watch. All of them with admiration. Perfect for dressing up for a night out, or even for dressing down on a night in. You could wear this any day of the week, and have it blend with any attire.

Check out the Men’s line, the Women’s Line, or take a closer look at my watch, get 25% off your order; and make sure to let me know your favourite in the comments down below.

 

Wooden Wrist Watch

 

Posted by Jenn in Lifestyle, Lifestyle Review, 18 comments
Learning to Skate

Learning to Skate

The fact that I have never really enjoyed watching a hockey game makes me a pretty bad Canadian. Add to it that I never learned how to skate makes me the worst Canadian.

I can count the number of times I went skating as a child on one hand. Most of them were part of a gym class so they were mandatory. When I took my skates off in the n10th grade I never put them back on again, and the one time I considered learning I fell down a flight of stairs and took that as a sign. My skills we always lacking, and my stopping skills were non-existent.

10 years after I hung up my skates, I was faced with a 2-year-old who desperately wanted to skate. But because he was so young, I was able to skate by – haha See what I did there – with just my shoes while he was learning. By this time last year, it became clear that I needed to learn how to skate.

Lucky for me Santa left a brand new pair of figure skates with my name on it last year. – Can you hear the eye roll? – so, off to the rink we went.

Now, I won’t say I’m a great skater, yet, but I am getting better every time. Just like Hunter who can literally skate circles around me. I can confidently go from one end of the ice to the other, and I have almost figured out how to stop properly. I took Hunters skating lessons and applied them to myself.

Here’s what worked for me:

Walk like a penguin – You’re going to look ridiculous, BUT, it helps you keep your balance while still learning how to place your feet. Put your heels together and walk exactly like a penguin would.

Keep your hands and arms out – Just like a tightrope walker uses a pole to keep their centre of gravity, use your arms to keep yours.

Keep by the boards – This will, at least at first, act like a security blanket. If you start to lose your balance you can grab on to them.

Stay near the way off – Skating is hard; Especially at first. There is nothing worse than having sore feet and legs and then realizing you have to go all the way back to the other end, of what seems like an Olympic sized, arena before you can get off.

1,2,3, glide – Take 3 quick steps and then glide. Soon you’ll be able to reduce that to 1,2 glide then 1, glide and then with enough time glide,

Make Snow – stand in one spot and push outwards with your skate, scraping the top layer off the ice. This is the basic premise for stopping. Eventually, you will be able to incorporate this into movement and stop.

WEAR A HELMET – I can not stress this enough, and I really should practice what I preach, but that ice is hard. One good fall could be disastrous.

If you have a choice, I suggest learning as a child when your body recovers fast and you don’t hurt so much. But, if like me, you are ready to learn now I hope these help. While I probably won’t ever skate as well as my avid hockey player of a son, I can at least hold my own now.

How old were you when you learned to skate?

 

Posted by Jenn in Fitness, 23 comments

The breeza: a review.

brz-024_1zWhen I first heard about the Baby Breeza Formula Pro we had just taken Hunter off of formula, but I was certainly intrigued. I loved the concept. Bottles at the touch of a button, mixed and to temperature. It sounded almost too good to be true, but alas, I had no reason for it anymore. When I got pregnant with H.D. I thought of it almost immediately. I began researching it, and the reviews I found were mixed, but positive seemed to outweigh the negative. I wanted to try it for myself but the price of $199.99 it was far out of my price range. Then a wonderful friend of mine bought it for me as a gift.

About a week before H.D. was born I set it up. First I read the directions cover to cover, they were well written and easy to follow. Then I sterilized all the pieces that would be exposed to water or formula, and I left them to dry overnight. I filled up the water canister and ran a full container through it to ensure all the inside pieces were clean as well. Nothing happened. That is when the first swear came in. Turns out the directions only help when you read them, and I didn’t give them to Blayne before asking him to put the formula dispenser together. They have to be in the exact right order or it doesn’t work. Once that was fixed it worked perfectly and I was immediately impressed with how quickly it made a 10 oz bottle. It took seconds compared to the minutes it would take to do the same by hand.

When filling up the formula holder I discovered that it held a full container of formula. This was great news, as I now knew that I wouldn’t have half full containers of formula on my counter. From the minute we mixed our first bottles, even Blayne was impressed, and he was my hardest sell, he wasn’t comfortable with losing “control” over how the formula was mixed.

My biggest complaint is the size of the water canister. At 50ml even when making bottles for a newborn it empties quickly. When bottle size increases I know it will have to be refilled often.

My biggest rave would be how quickly it makes bottles. While we are only using it for 2/4 oz bottles at this point the time it takes to make bottles is even less than it would take to even warm up a bottle our old way.

Notes 

  • The mixing of the formula to the water causes it to be dispensed in a ‘swirl’ motion, so if the holder isn’t high enough it doesn’t all make it into the bottle.
  • There is no alarm if something isn’t right. If the water canister isn’t right you get a bottle of straight powder.
  • The bottle holder has to be moved up or down to accommodate the size of the bottle needed. Unless the bottle holder is firmly locked into place you risk losing the whole bottle onto the counter. Something we learned after losing 2 bottles worth of formula.
  • Powder formula is sticky, so it needs to be cleaned daily. This only takes about 15 seconds but it does need to be done.

Wish List

  • Lower price – at $199.99 it is a very big purchase for a lot of families, especially when there are already so many other large purchases to make at this time, and this one is a luxury, not a necessity.
  • Small water canister –  My coffee pot has a bigger water canister, this already needs to be filled up daily and we are only making 2 and 4 oz bottles.
  • An alarm –  or even a light to tell you if something isn’t proper before you get a bottle full of nothing.
  • Glowing Buttons  – Specifically the mix button, it would make those middle of the night feedings slightly easier.

Love it

  • Directions – The directions are wonderfully laid out and easy to follow, so even in a sleep deprived state you’re able to follow them,
  • Fast – less than 30 seconds and you can have a 10 oz bottle warm and ready to drink. When you have a screaming baby at 3 am there is nothing better than quick.
  • Formula – Holds a full container, of my brand anyways, so no half full containers on the counter deceiving you about how much you have in reserve. Something you don’t want to find out you’re out of in the middle of the night.

Swear Factor

2/10 – This is mostly due to my inability to read, or pass directions. Still, even at that, I would say that this is a fantastically low rating.

When we first were talking about the Breeza, Blayne was against it. Making bottles isn’t necessarily a hard or time-consuming task but by day one he was sold. He can not speak highly enough of the Breeza and brags about it at every opportunity. I have to agree, the pros far outweigh the cons , and if it wasn’t for the price is would be our go-to baby gift. 

Mad Mommy

 

**Opinions expressed here are solely mine and/or my husbands. In no way have I been approached by this company to endorse their product, and I have written this review at my own discretion.**
DomesticatedMomster Petite Pudding
Posted by Jenn in Lifestyle, Lifestyle Review, 6 comments