What to pack for car rides for kids

We take several car trips during a year since both of our families live far out of town.  Over the years we have figured out what works, and what doesn't when packing.  I'm sure you all have your tips and tricks too, which I would love for you to leave me a comment with those.  It's always nice to have a few things in the arsenal just in case.

For each of the boys, I pack different things.  For the oldest here is what I pack.
                                          1.  Field Journal with worksheets and coloring pages
                                          2. pencil bag with crayons, pencils, sharpener and eraser
                                          3. I-pod with his music
                                          4. Bop-it
                                          5. Camera/Camcorder for pictures and video by him
                                          6.  DVD player and 3 movies of his choice
                                          7.  Nintendo DS

             These are laminated letters that he will be writing when school starts with washable Expo markers.

 I print out worksheets for all the states that we go through for a small history lesson.

Baby Diesel's items include:
                                                     1.  A field journal
                                                     2.  Crayons
                                                     3.  Flash cards
                                                     4.  2 DVD's for himself
                                                     5.  Leap Frog Driving wheel
                                                     6.  We also picked up some new cars for him because he loves cars!
I put coloring pages in his field journal since he loves to color also

Of course there will be plenty of water and snacks packed in the truck too.  We carry snacks such as goldfish, grapes, animal crackers, things that don't get too messy.   It always seems like no matter what be bring, they would rather just talk, which is quite entertaining in itself.  I wish they would sleep, but it becomes a learning experience for us all!  

I hope you all have fun and safe travels this summer!



These yummy little cocktails mix 2 of my favorite things, mangos and margaritas, so how could we go wrong?  

What you'll need:
1 can (10oz) frozen margarita drink mix
1 cup mango nectar
1/2 cup tequila or mango nectar
2 cups cracked ice

1.  In blender, place all ingredients except ice.  cover and blend on high speed until well mixed.
2.  Add ice.  Cover and blend until smooth and slushy.
3.  Coat your rim with lime juice and dip into coarse sugar, pour into glass 
4.  Enjoy!


Picture Perfect {Seafood}

We're are having such a blast in Myrtle. We even ate this guys head off!!!

Sand Toy Bag

Many of us have enough sandtoys that could supply a small army, and the packaging the toys come in, are terrible for lasting.  So last year, after years of sand everywhere from lugging those toys around, I had a brilliant idea.  I went to the dollar store and bought a mesh laundry bag, plain and simple.  I threw all of the toys and even the shovels in it, and check it out!

All the toys in one place, big enough to even add more, with holes everywhere for all of that sand to get left at the beach, and not everywhere else.  You don't have to worry about this bag falling apart, at least not for years to come.  If you wanted to throw the trucks in there, they would fit also.  Your little one can even carry/drag this bag along the beach without any worries.  It's super easy and so very inexpensive.


Grilled Potato Wedges

I came across these yummy bites while thumbing through a little cookbook, and I just have to share it!

What you'll need:                                                      
4 medium white potatoes
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce

1.  Heat coals or gas grill fro direct heat.  Cut each potato lengthwise into 8 wedges; pat dry with paper towels.  Spray potato wedges thoroughly with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning.  Place in grill basket (wok)

2.  Cover and grill wedges over medium heat 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until tender.

3.  In small bowl, mix sour cream and barbecue sauce.  sever with potato wedges.

If you don't have Cajun seasoning, make your own, use 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp ground oregano and 1/4 tsp onion or garlic salt

Enjoy and have a Tasty Tuesday!


Back in the Day

Holy crap loyal blog followers! It has been scorching hot here in central Ohio. I remember how I used to cherish these miserable dog days of summer in my youth. Growing up in West Virginia definitely had its perks, one of my best friends and I would always take the hottest days of the year and embark on the most spectacular man day voyages that I recall. Most of these stellar trips revolved around Seneca Creek, and usually ended at Seneca Falls. We would wet wade the six mile stretch of White's Run from the road to Seneca Falls. The nice things about trout streams is that they are never usually over 60 degrees even during the hottest most humid days of summer. There could hardly be a trickle of water meandering down the bottom mountain skirted river bed and suddenly it would open up to an amazing hole that we would pull the most beautiful little trout of. All of the trout that were hidden in our little secluded piece of heaven were native to this stream and had lived their lives in the wild. The coloration of these trout is testament that God was an artist.

Although these trout usually never broke 12 inches it was one of the greatest thrills that anyone can experience. We used these extraordinarily hot days to take advantage of their natural instincts. The water levels would be quite low by this part of the summer and we could stroll up to a deep pool and catch these wonders of nature like it was going out of style. Do not think that we plucked the God given gifts from the river to keep friends and neighbors, not one of the fish that we caught from this paradise were ever kept. How could rob from this place? It was nearly a holy land and quite frankly it was our mecca. During all of our trips past the gated parking lot a grand total of 2 other fisherman were seen besides ourselves.
I am thankful that I have had my taste of the bliss that is wet wading this once unknown stream. As much as we thought it was our own personal Eden, it was not. Shortly after I graduated college I was informed that the exact location, directions to, and just how wonderful it was just happened to be published in a major fly fishing publication. Paradise lost.
The key to our joy during these hot days was the water. Heat illness is dangerous and can be fatal. Back in the day we could drink straight from the fast flowing parts of the stream and not think twice all that we brought were empty pop bottles to fill up as we fished. The heat and humidity can be very dangerous it can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Keep an eye out for the heat index when you are out adventuring this is how hot it feels with the humidity factored into the equation. High humidity makes it hard for your body's AC to work. It cannot cool itself, your sweat doesn't evaporate and you overheat. Once you add in exercise like hiking or fishing you are in trouble. You need to hydrate before during and after so that you do not succumb to the heat.
Symptoms of heat illness include rapid heart beat, sweating like a pig, cramping up, diarrhea, extreme confusion and unconsciousness. To treat these symptoms move into the shade immediately, remove clothes and wet the whole body down then fan rapidly to help the moisture evaporate and cool the body. If you are able to drink, drink cool non-alcoholic or caffinated beverages. During our trips to Seneca we would jump into the pools of cool mountain water to cool off and air dry on our hike back. Since everybody knows where it is, if you guys are ever headed down through WV and you see a little mountain road named Whites Run just before you hit the sprawling metropolis of Onego, and yes it is pronounced one go, stop by and bask in the fountain of youth.


Shower Caddie

If any of you go camping, and you need a shower caddie for your little one, here is a pretty cute and simple idea.  Of course any of us can go to the dollar store and pick up a shower caddie, everyone getting a different color. Or you can pick up a plain bucket for your kiddos, and decorate it to show their personality.  

I picked up an inexpensive bucket that D chose the color of.

Steve put holes in the bottom so that the water from the shower could drain out.
Be sure to be careful when drilling the holes so that you don't crack the bucket.

 I used my cricut machine and some vinyl to cut out the letters and shapes of the objects that D wanted.
Since we use ours at the beach, he chose ocean animals.

As you can see, it carries everything in it they'll need when they head over to the showers, it's the perfect size for the little ones' stuff. 

It was fun to make, and so cute to look at.  With each child helping to choose what they want, they are all one of a kind, just like each of them. 

Happy Crafting or should I say camping!


Get your feather on

So I guess the newest trend is getting feather hair extensions.  I'm not really always up with what's "in" especially when it comes to fashion.  I would say I dance to my own drum.  I do what I like, and the most important thing to me is being comfortable.  When it comes to hair styles, I don't take pictures with me or say I want to look like anyone else.  I like my hair simple, and easy to maintain.  For the first time ever, probably, I decided to do something new and trendy, something that is all for me.  I jumped on the wagon and got feather hair extensions.  Some really big stars are doing it too.
 He's been doing if for years, but he can pull it off!
 different but cute, 
what do you think?
and finally 

They don't look like this all the time, my hair hides them nicely, we moved it aside so that you could see them better.
I absolutely love them!  I think I might want more!  I love the bright colors and the strips in them.  They have all types, colors and lengths, it's just a matter of finding a place that does them.  
It's not permanent and can be easily changed unlike other things, which is another reason that made me decide to do it.   They are fun and trendy, and it's something that makes me happy, and I did for me.  (Though the boys think they are kind of cool)  
If you want to check them out, here's a cool website that I looked at and helped me to decide what I wanted. 

What did you do to make yourself happy this week?  Write a post and link it up to coffee talk.  I would love to read it!  

Have a wonderful Friday dear friends!  Love ya! BJ


Pineapple Limeade

Here's a de-lish recipe that's easy and fun to drink! 

What you'll need:

1 cup sugar
6 cups pineapple juice, chilled
1 cup lime juice
2 liters sparkling water, chilled
Lime slices, if desired

1. In large glass or plastic pitcher, mix sugar and juices.  Pour half of mixture into another large pitcher.
2. Just before serving, stir 1 liter sparkling water into each pitcher.  Serve over ice.  Garnish with lime slices

Wouldn't it be nice to be sipping on one of these drinks, staring at this view?! Have a fabulous Thursday!


How does your garden grow?

Growing up as a kid, I always remember my grandma out in the garden, taking care of the beautiful vegetables that she would make delicious meals with.
I would help her pump the water from the well into buckets, and carry them down to the garden to water the plants.  
I remember all the work and love she put into her garden, and knew when I had a yard, that I wanted to grow tomatoes and peppers just like her.  
My grandma's garden was huge, she had all kinds of vegetables in it.  It was so big, that she canned the items that we couldn't eat, and they lasted until the next summer.  

While searching around on the Internet I found these beautiful and inspiring  gardens  I would love to have a huge space to grow several varieties of vegetables, herbs and fruit.

Aren't they gorgeous?  I want them.  For the past 3 years, I have had a very small garden with tomatoes, garlic and peppers.  This year, I only have tomatoes and garlic.  Of course I have my basil and rosemary, but it's much smaller this year than in the past.  I didn't realize how much work even a small garden can be.  I wonder how my tiny, little grandma could take care of the garden she had, all by herself.  Planting the plants is the easy part, taking care of it, is the hard part.  Watering it, pulling the weeds, tying up the tomatoes, pulling the weeds more, it's hard work, and the larger the garden, the more work!

Here is my little garden.
 I have 4 tomato plants this year, Mr. Stripy's, they are so yummy on sandwiches!
20 garlic plants, that probably won't last me until next summer.  Luckily my uncle has a garden and has enough to get me through.

D eats the cherry tomatoes right off of the vine, as soon as they turn red, they are his!

There is nothing better than vegetables straight from your garden.  You know how they have been grown, what was used to keep the bugs off of them, and how much love was given to them to grow!    When you walk into a grocery store, what do you know about that produce?  Not much right?  I feel much safer feeding my family fresh, homegrown food that they love and are good for them, than buying from the grocery store.

You don't have to have land to grow your garden.  Buckets, barrels, and pots can be used to grow your fruits, vegetable or herbs.  If there's a will, there's a way.  Use your imaginations and grow some delicious love!


Easy Tortellini Salad

Saturday was my family reunion, and I needed a yummy recipe, but didn't want to make something I had before, so I called my mother-in-law and she found this quick and easy salad.  It was so good, one of my cousins asked me to post to, and who am I to say no.

Tortellini, Broccoli and Bacon Salad

2 bags (19oz each) frozen cheese-filled tortellini
4 cups broccoli florets (I used 1 small head)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, each cut in half
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 cup reduced-fat coleslaw dressing
1 lb bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled
1/4 cup sunflower nuts

1. Cook and drain tortellini as directed on package.  Rinse with cold water; drain
2.  In very large bowl, mix tortellini, broccoli, tomatoes, chives and dressing.  Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors.
3.  Just before serving, stir in bacon.  Sprinkle with nuts.

Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of it, but it super yummy!  I hope you enjoy!


How to be more Patient

Well….I’m listening.  Is there an answer?
There are no answers here, just things I am trying to do to become more patient.  I’d like to think overall that I am pretty patient but it just depends on the situation.  Maybe one day its traffic, the next it’s my job.  The number one thing that makes me lose it for sure though is my boys.  

I don’t know what it is, but I am going to try and figure it out.  I give them everything they could possibly ever need or even want.  Maybe I am expecting a little too much out of them, especially the older one.  I of course am speaking of Da freakout who is now 5.  With a nickname of Da Freakout, it’s a wonder how I have not been to the hospital yet on one of these.

Every time he is asked to do something it’s like a nuclear meltdown in the house or wherever we may be.  

It may be that he is still too young to understand some of the things that are asked of him.  After 10 times of telling him to pick up his toys or straighten the playroom up, he still doesn’t.  Maybe I need to tell him an 11th time.  At some point he will listen, it’s just a matter of time.
Here are a few things that I am going to try:
  1. Counting to 10 – I will just close my eyes and count slowly in my head.  Hopefully the thing that made me mad or frustrated will slowly disappear from my mind.  But counting out loud to 10, will give the boys a chance to escape.  Decisions….decisions.
  2. Take a few deep breaths.  Simple enough just close my eyes and breathe deeply and exhale all that frustration.
  3. Walk away- it sounds simple but may end up being the most effective.  Out of sight out of mind for a few minutes.  Combine with deep breathes;  this may be the way to go.
  4. Laugh it off – sometimes things happen so often that it becomes comical.  When this happens I will try to just laugh.
  5. Give love – things will happen where there truly is an accident.  When this happens I will just wrap the boys up in a hug and assure them things will be ok.
These are not cures, just things I am going to practice.  They seem simple enough in concept, now I just have to execute them when the crap hits the fan.  

Please share the things that cause you to lose your patience and possible ways to calm down before blowing a gasket.


Silent Saturday

This was our view into West Virginia, isn't it beautiful?
I love the West Virginia hills.
I wish Steve would stop to get more amazing pictures, but the little one was ready to be out of the truck, so a couple drive-by pics is what I have to share today.
Have a beautiful weekend!


Harry Potter 7- Thanks J.K.

I think this sign says it all.  Even if I'm not a child, these books have given many children and adults the ability to use their imaginations and be a part of a world that has never existed in real life.
These books are now classics, even for those that who will never get "into" them.
The cast of the movies are amazing.
 Look how much they've grown up!  It has been 10 years since they started this.   

It is wild how they were kids when we started watching these movies 10 years ago, and they have grown up to such amazing young men and women.
That's not the same Daniel or Tom!
Thank you to not only J.K for her amazing books, but also the cast and crew that have made these books come to life.
I love Harry Potter, hopefully my boys will grow up and love Harry Potter too.  Until then we will enjoy the books and movies that have been left for us!  
Have an amazing Friday fellow Muggles, and enjoy the movie if you are going out to see it!


Harry Potter inspired Drinks

Hermoine's Love Potion
Vanilla Vodka
top with Pineapple juice

Mrs. Weasley Pumpin Pie

Lord Voldemort
Blue Curacao
Sweet Vermouth

For those underage Potter fans or those of you that would rather not have a hangover...

Pumpkin Juice
2 Cups of pumpkin, chopped up into chunks
2 cups apple juice
1/2 cups pineapple juice
1 tsp honey (to your liking)

1. Juice the pumpkin pieces by squeezing through a cheesecloth or using a juicer
2.  Pour pumplin juice, apple juice and pineapple juice into a blender
3.  Add the honey and blend
4.  Chill pumpkin juice or serve over ice
5.  Enjoy all you Muggles!

Polyjuice Potion Punch
4 scoops Lime sherbet
1 quart pineapple juice
1 quart ginger ale

Add sherbet into punch bowl, then add juice and ale
It should look like an opaque tan-green potion with "scum" around the edges


Kids must-haves for the beach

There are a few basic things I always carry with me when we head to the beach.  These are the things that the boys love, and since they love them, it works for me!

1. Plenty of sand toys!
 I love these below from Delsol, they change color in the sun, they are so cool! 
2.  A Tonka dump truck.  This toy will be played with for hours and hours!
3.  Infant Beach tent.
It's just the right size for the little ones to keep them out of the sun.
Plus they could sleep in it for a nap, if needed.

4. Infant sun hat with spf, they are cute and they keep the sun off their heads and faces.
5.  Of course Neutrogena Sunblock, if you missed the post about it, check it out here
6. Water shoes to protect the littles toes from the hot, hot sand!  They might not really like them at first, but they do a great job protecting them.
7.  Backpack beach chairs.
I love these!  We have the adult size and the toddler size.  They are the perfect size for your 3 or 4 year old to put it on their back and walk it to the beach.

8.  A great beach wrap.  The boys love these, they feel like a superhero with the hoods up and being wrapped up and warm. I found mine here

Whatever you choose to bring, have fun and enjoy your kids, they are only little once!