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Archive for the ‘packing’ tag

January 27th, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Packing for Children

imagePacking for children isn’t that hard if you are organized. You simply need to face the fact that kids need a lot of stuff and will require your extremely efficient packing skills.

First, you need to go to this site and check out these incredible packing lists. There are lists for packing with children and adults in different circumstances. This is a great way to start before you have even packed an item.

I also wanted to share some of my thoughts on what to bring or not bring and things to think about.

Bathing Suits - If you are going someone where a bathing suit is involved , you truly need more than one per person. Hanging them on the shower curtain rod overnight just doesn’t dry them fast enough. With boys, you can always use trunks as a pair of shorts if needed too!

Washer & Dryer - Lots of people stay in condos that have washer and dryers available. If you will have access to these, take this into account when packing. No one wants to do laundry while on vacation, but it saves a lot of packing room if you do a quick load part way through your trip!

Toys - think about what toys give you the most bang. What will keep the kids attention the longest. My boys have always adored our tablets and phones. These can be a life saver in a airplane ride. Purchase some new games and that will be even more exciting for them! If you are going to visit the beach and want beach toys, visit the local dollar store once you get there to buy some. Leave them with another family on the beach on your last day!

Baby items - leave the jumper, high chair and more at home. A trip may mean more mommy holding time for the baby, but saves you from the gazillion things that you use on a daily basis.

What are your packing tips for traveling with children?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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January 18th, 2013 at 8:30 am

Planning a Family Vacation

I don’t know about you, but I desperately need a family vacation right about now! Between the craziness of raising kids, the holidays, and the dead of winter in Wisconsin I could go for something warm and relaxing. The task can seem overwhelming though. All the planning, packing, and decision-making sometimes makes a family vacation seem not as much fun as you anticipate. I guarantee it will be fun once you go through with a little organization up front.

First, you want to decide where you are going. Is this a Staycation, or do you want to go on a big trip? This also depends upon budget and how long of a vacation you are taking. If it is just a weekend, you may want to stay closer to home; but for a week, you can definitely travel cross-country. Part of this is deciding the travel arrangements –car, train, airplane, boat? During this time of year, we usually take an extended weekend to a waterpark; a great way to getaway from home.

The next big part of planning the trip is deciding the details. Where will you stay or eat? What exciting activities are in store? I like to narrow these down. I’ve tried to figure it out when we got there, but with kids that doesn’t always work so well. When they are hungry, there isn’t a lot of time to wait; in my family that leads to meltdowns! So, what I do is create a list of options for restaurants with a few extras in case one isn’t what we expected. In this digital age, it is so easy to really delve into what restaurants and activities will work for your family. I usually call myself the “Cruise Director” and have a list of possible activities for each day. This takes the stress off me and lessens decisions that need to be made during the vacation. That means more relaxing for Mom!

Now everything should be pretty much planned! You would think we are onto the fun part, but now comes the packing! Depending upon how big your family is, this could be a hefty task. Gone are the carefree days of throwing a couple of things in a bag and having a weekend away. Now I need to tote teddy bears, sound machines and extra clothes in case of accidents. This step takes as much preparation as the others. I like to start a list a week before I am going to start packing. I write down everything I think I may need. I go over this list every day because I can guarantee as the week goes on I will add a few things (sometimes really important ones) and take a few things away. As that week passes I also think about bags that are needed and have time for shopping for last minute items.

Once the list is done I start to gather. My bed usually becomes suitcase central. Luckily, my husband goes on a lot of business trips so I let him pack himself, but always remember to ask him if he has certain items (like swim trunks) that he would typically forget! I like to involve the boys as much as I can, having them retrieve things or pick out their favorite clothes to wear.  Packing can be a big task, but I feel like it starts to get you excited to go.

Then you are set! Well, as long as you thought about your pets, if you need anyone to watch the house or collect the mail too! These are important details that can be forgotten!  Trust me! Last fall, when we went for a weekend I almost forgot to make arrangements for the dog, which led to a 2 hour vet appointment to update shots. Don’t ask!

Once you leave your house, make it fun! Vacation starts on that first step out the door!

Are you going on a fun family vacation anywhere?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.



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July 12th, 2011 at 5:00 am

Packing for a trip? There’s help for that.

There’s nothing worse than getting to a destination and realizing you forgot something. Sometimes it’s toothpaste. Other times it’s Bubby, the favorite toy. If you’re lucky and realize it’s absence early in the journey, you turn around and go fetch him. If not, bedtime with a bereft child awaits.

Admit it. You would (or have) turn(ed) around to fetch the beloved companion.

As our family prepares for our annual camping trip, it’s time to consult “the lists”. Unlike vacations where you stay at a house or hotel, camping brings packing to another level. The lists are absolutely necessary, and you MUST check repeatedly, lest you be stuck in the woods without a necessity.

Now paper lists have served us quite well over the years. Our friend Joe supplied us with a great list years ago, so we usually always have the important tools, supplies, and necessities. But what about an app that does this and possibly more? So I went looking for an app that might make this task a little easier.

I rounded up some candidates from both iTunes and the Android App Market and did a little research. Here’s a sampling.

Pack the Bag and uPackingList (both free versions) start you out with a fairly good list of items categorized by type (clothes, accessories, hygiene, gadgets, etc). They also include the Before you Go category which reminds you of things like turning off appliances, informing neighbors, and things you always seem to second guess yourself about just as you pass the point of no return.

The best part is the ability to customize the lists and add new categories and items so you can get specific about your particular packing tasks. Or add things for the next time. As you start packing, you check off each item and can then filter the list for packed/unpacked status. Very helpful.

I also came across an app called Pack & Go ($0.99 and $2.99 versions) which I didn’t get a chance to try out. They also have a Baby Pack & Go version ($0.99) that, if you have an infant, I’m sure will come in very handy very often.

I then tried Packing Pro ($2.99) which has the features of the others but also includes import/export, sharing, and advanced customization features.

uPackingList is out on the Android, but not the others yet. Two free Android apps include Packing List Lite, which provides an expandable list of categories to create and edit your list. Easy enough to use and customize. Travel Checklist seemed a little more basic but very straightforward. It gives you a list and as you select each item it moves it to the packed items list. It is also customizable. Both offer paid versions that provide more features.

Any one of these apps can be a huge help in keeping organized and sane when preparing for a trip. And hopefully help you avoid one of those stomach churning omissions that you know is going to be painful.

I’m a fan.

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