How to (Really) Rock your Staycation: Planning Non-Getaways like a Pro

staycation-like-a-pro

The girls have a few days off from school this week, giving us a midwinter four-day weekend that I’m determined not to waste. While I’d love to be living it up at a resort with an indoor waterpark, we just couldn’t swing it this break, so it’s Staycation time, baby!

Good thing I really really rock at Staycationing.

And I’m humble too. ūüėČ

(Staycations, if you aren’t familiar with the term – are made up of vacation-like fun you have from the comfort of your own home: day trips, lounging by the community pool, popcorn and movies in your own living room – that sort of thing.)

Seriously though, Staycations can be so much fun, and day trips are totally my jam. If you’ve hung around here for awhile you might know this – I’ve written about it before once or twice.

 

There are so many things to LOVE about Staycations:

 

  • They can save you a ton of money.
  • They’re a fantastic way to have more adventure in your life.
  • Sleeping in your own bed. (<—- this is probably my favorite!)
  • NOT having to pack/unpack, make major arrangements for pets and house-sitting.
  • All the comforts of home – literally.

Of course, these things can just as easily ruin a perfectly good Staycation too.

 

It can be hard to truly relax when you’re surrounded by laundry and dishes and the chaos of everyday life.

The best thing about getting away, of course, is actually Getting. Away. Amiright?

Room service, housekeeping, and relaxing vibes all come to mind – not something you’ll experience on your average Staycation. But just because your recreation is home-based, doesn’t mean you can’t have a truly wonderful, relaxing time. It’s not rocket science, but it doesn’t usually just happen, either.

A well planned Staycation is a work of art.

 

As I was planning our current non-getaway (on a fairly tight budget, to be honest) I realized that there are a few things that make a Staycation just So. Much. Better. The best thing? The difference between a Staycation that’s just so-so, and one that’s truly great, is mostly made in the planning.

Here’s how to rock your Staycation like a pro:

Know what floats your boat.

 

While I might dream of days without having to cook or wash dishes, having extra time to make over-the-top gourmet meals might be your form of ultimate relaxation.

Before you plan a single thing, think about how you want this Staycation to make you (and your family) feel. 

 

Do you want to feel energized and refreshed from hiking and outdoor play or do you crave time to read or binge watch your favorite TV series? Are you looking for time to connect with your people or is time for solitude and reflection what you really need? Will you need to work in some productivity to feel truly relaxed or do you need to completely unwind from any type of work? What things have you been meaning to do more often, but just don’t seem to get around to? (I’m looking at you, board games!)

Make a list of the things that would make your Staycation feel amazing.

 

Here are a few of mine:

  • Sleeping in.
  • At least one good day trip that gets us out of the house and doing something fun.
  • Time to lounge and get totally lost in a good novel.
  • Experiencing something new/fun with my kids.
  • Heart to heart conversations with my husband over coffee (no kids interrupting).
  • Not having to cook or clean up for at least a good meal or two.
  • Really yummy food and special snacks.


Once you’ve made your list, look for ways to practically guarantee they’ll happen.

 

I mean, I can’t be 100% sure I’ll get to sleep in every day of our Staycation. But I can make a point not to schedule any activities that require an alarm clock, set my kids up with an easy breakfast, and hope for the best. (I’ve not slept in past 8 since my oldest was born – over eight years – so perspective, people!) But making room to sleep in helps me feel more relaxed, so I make room.

Also, at least for our family (and probably yours)

Food is an essential part of a great Staycation.

 

My best bet is always to try for a blend of old favorites and out of the ordinary snacks and meals. Going out to eat can get really expensive, so when the budget is tight we’ll eat at home and then go out for dessert, or pick a restaurant where we don’t have to tip. We eat pretty simply for breakfast most days, so picking up donuts or throwing together french toast and berries can make things feel really special.

Try not to cook all the things, unless that’s your fave.

 

Especially if you have kids, stock up on some easy crowd-pleasers. Use paper plates and napkins and line pans with parchment paper to make cleanup easy. Take turns with meal prep if you can. Stock up on lots of snacks and easy fixings, and don’t be afraid to let your people fend for themselves.

 

Prep for your Staycation like you’re really leaving.

 

I know, one of the perks is that you don’t actually have to pack. But trust me on this – there’s nothing better than starting out your time with a full fridge, clean clothes, and a plan in place for what to do with your time. Do the laundry. Hit the store. Make the list. You won’t regret it.

On the same note, make a plan for what you’re NOT going to do during your Staycation.

 

For example, even though I want my family to have a fantastic time over the next few days, I’m not going to wait on them hand and foot. There are going to be times where I’m going to put on headphones, write a blog post (for fun!) and basically ignore them for an hour or two. I’m also not doing extra cleaning or organizing this weekend, even though it’s tempting, because I’m making room to actually relax. We’re not spending our long weekend at a waterpark resort because the relaxation would never outweigh the financial stress it would cause. And I’m not overfilling our time with activities, because for me that’s not relaxing at all.

 

Planning is the secret sauce to any great Staycation, but what will really determine how much fun you have is mindset. 

 

Your Staycation doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.

 

Things won’t go as planned. Kids will be sick or cranky. The new restaurant you visit might be a total flop. But even if it doesn’t go as planned, you can still choose to have fun, rest and relax where you can, and make amazing memories.

And that, my friends, is what it’s all about.

Happy Staycationing!

— Jamie

 

PS. What makes a Staycation great for you? Any tips to add? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

When Momentum is Hard to Find

snowy road

It’s been over a year since I’ve blogged, y’all.

Am I even allowed to say y’all anymore now that I’m not living in the south? I don’t even know.

This last year has been a doozy, too.

Instead of blogging, I was walking through:

  • complete physical and emotional burnout
  • overwhelming grief
  • homeschooling even though it wasn’t a good fit
  • several major life changes
  • remodeling our house on an extremely tight budget while living there
  • listing and selling our home
  • moving cross-country (again!)
  • house-hunting under impossible circumstances
  • new schools
  • months of (unsuccessful) job hunting
  • a new job, finally!
  • and living in a house while making major renovations (again!)

It makes me tired just typing that.

It was a grueling year, to be honest. Even though looking back I can see the huge things we accomplished, in the middle it seemed like we were moving at a snails pace. Each tiny baby step of progress was SO hard won. Every day felt like a desperate push for some sort of momentum, a tiny bit of traction.

Last year I was so deep in burnout, the holidays almost didn’t happen for us.

I hung out with people other than my immediate family three times last December. Other than grocery shopping and a few family outings, I didn’t leave my house. A quick trip to the beach or playground would leave me crashed out for hours afterwards in deep physical and emotional fatigue. We didn’t have health insurance and couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket to see a doctor, so I just did what I knew to do and made space in my life for rest. As much and as long as I could get. Just barely, I kept our home life functioning, and I had to be content with that.

I had to let go of so many things.

There’s nothing quite like realizing that you’ve wrapped up your whole entire worth in performance – to then find yourself unable to perform. It’s the ultimate sucker-punch. Realizing that instead of saving the day (my favorite!) I was suddenly not contributing, and even worse, needy. Instead of productivity (my other favorite thing,) I was cashing in my “in sickness and in health” card, leaving my husband to pick up So. Much. Slack. I struggled with homeschooling, praying every day that I wasn’t scarring my girls for life with my sub-par teaching skills. I was the loser friend, barely able to respond coherently to a text message, let alone come up with the words to explain why I couldn’t, wouldn’t be showing up, again.

Sometimes, my friend, momentum is really really hard to find.

Sometimes life hits you like a tidal wave – you’re sucked into the undertow so long you don’t even know which way is up. Or you hit just one slick patch and find yourself completely off road, embedded in the ditch – not even sure what just happened. You’re desperately swimming for the surface, holding your breath, reaching for some traction.

Don’t despair, friend.

You’ll find it. I promise.

Of course momentum may look different than you ever imagined – life is great at throwing curve balls like that. It might mean floating for awhile, or just hanging there, waiting for rescue.

But one day you’ll realize that you’re actually caught up on sleep.

That grief isn’t as scary as it once seemed.

One day you’ll make dinner and wash dishes in the same evening.

You’ll call a friend and make plans to meet for coffee.

And show up for more things this weekend than last year you did in the month.

You might even start blogging again.

Hi there, Momentum! I’m so happy to have found you again. #finally

Thank you Lord for bringing me through this last year, and filling my heart with so much hope.

“Since we have been¬†acquitted and¬†made right through faith, we are able to experience¬†true and lasting¬†peace with God through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One,¬†the Liberating King.2¬†Jesus leads us into a place of¬†radical¬†grace where we are able to celebrate the hope of experiencing God‚Äôs glory.¬†3¬†And that‚Äôs not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance,¬†4¬†which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope¬†and anticipate God‚Äôs goodness.¬†5¬†And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God‚Äôs love.

6¬†When the time was right, the Anointed One died for all of us who were far from God, powerless, and weak.¬†7¬†Now it is rare to find someone willing to die for an upright person, although it‚Äôs possible that someone may give up his life for one who is truly good.¬†8¬†But¬†think about this:while we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed His powerful love to us¬†in a tangible display‚ÄĒthe Anointed One died for us.¬†9¬†As a result, the blood of Jesus has made us right with God now, and certainly we will be rescued by Him from God‚Äôs wrath¬†in the future.10¬†If we were in the heat of combat with God when His Son reconciled us by laying down His life, then how much more will we be saved by Jesus‚Äô¬†resurrection¬†life?¬†11¬†In fact, we stand now reconciled¬†and at peace¬†with God. That‚Äôs why we celebrate in God through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed.” Romans 5:1-11 The Voice

Thanks for reading, friend. I’m so grateful to be back here writing again.

xoxo

— Jamie

Why You Need a Pre-Holiday Purge (And How To Do It In Just One Weekend)

Have you ever done a pre-holiday purge? If not, you totally should. Here are four areas that you can simplify in just one weekend to make room for more peace and joy in your holidays.

There are so many things to love about the holidays: time with friends and loved ones, the spirit of giving and generosity, cozy places and twinkly lights. But the holidays can also be stressful. We’re faced with an influx of stuff and to-do lists into our already full homes and calendars. This is why we all need to set aside some time for a pre-holiday purge. It doesn’t have to take long. In fact, I think you can make a ton of progress in just one weekend. But where to start? Here are my best tips:

Start With These Four Hot Spots in Your Pre-Holiday Purge:

PIN TO READ LATER

Declutter Toys ASAP

If you have kids, toys should top the list for your pre-holiday purge. Take a few hours to go through everything and get rid of any toys that are broken, outgrown, or not regularly used. If your kids are a little bit older, include them in the process – help them to gather gently used or like new toys that they no longer play with and go together to donate them to a shelter or charity for kids who would truly use and appreciate them. This is a great way to help your kids grow in generosity and be less selfish – along with of course making room for the new toys that you know that they’re going to get this holiday season.

Related: How to Prep for Decluttering

Purge Your Pantry and Fridge.

This is the perfect time to purge your refrigerator and pantry, before they get filled up with baking supplies and holiday goodies! It might sound overwhelming, but if you’re focused it won’t take as long as you might think! Go through your condiments and toss anything that’s expired. Check your spices and make sure they are fresh, get rid of and replace anything that isn’t. Go through the fridge and freezer and use up or toss anything that’s been there for awhile. Take a few minutes to wipe down and organize as you go – you’ll never regret starting your holiday cooking and baking with a clean space and organized shelves.

Recommended: How to Organize Your Fridge from My Sweet Home Life

Organize Your Drop Zones.

These are the places where everybody dumps incoming mail, homework, and everything else that doesn’t have a place in your home. This only gets worse during the holidays. Take an hour or so to clean them out now, and make a plan for incoming cards and catalogues, invites, shopping receipts, etc.

Recommended: Drop Zone Organizing Ideas from Organizing Moms

Schedule.

Last but certainly not least consider doing a pre-holiday purge of your schedule. Set aside an afternoon to evaluate and review your calendar and commitments. Is there anything that you can get rid of from your daily to do list? Are you committing time to things that no longer fit your goals or budget? Is there anything you can consolidate to free up more room on your calendar?

Look for ways to leave blank space on your calendar during the holiday season.

You’ll reduce stress and make time for the most important things and people in your life. Try a house cleaning service or have your groceries delivered. Freeing up time is one of the best gifts you can give yourself this holiday season, and it’s the most important step in your pre-holiday purge. For more on that,¬†¬†I highly recommend¬†this post from The Art of Simple.

 

Do you think you could get through all of this in one weekend? Is there anything else you’d add to the list? Please share in the comments.

For more encouragement on how to simplify your life, click here. Was this post helpful? Spread the love by using the share buttons below!

Have you ever done a pre-holiday purge? If not, you totally should. Here are four areas that you can simplify in just one weekend to make room for more peace and joy in your holidays.

How To Declutter Your Car in Twenty Minutes (Or Less!)

I don't know about you, but my car can look awfully lived in pretty fast! Did you know that you can declutter your car in just 20 minutes? You totally can! Here's how:

I don’t know about you, but my car can look awfully lived in pretty fast! Did you know that you can declutter your car in just 20 minutes? You totally can! Here’s how:

*** Of course, this may take longer than 20 minutes the first time around, but once you have a system down it really does go that fast!***

PIN TO READ LATER

Before You Start to Declutter Your Car…

(There are affiliate links in this post, meaning we may get a small commission from any purchases you make.  Click here to read our full disclosure policy.)

1. Gather a few supplies:

  • Trash bin
  • Two large boxes or laundry baskets
  • Cleaning cloths or rags
  • All purpose cleaner (we like this one) or cleaning wipes.

2. Take everything out of the car.

Open all doors and the trunk. Starting at the front passenger seat, work clockwise around the vehicle. Toss any trash in the bin. Put anything that needs to stay in the car in one basket. Put everything else in the other.

3. Quickly wipe down the main surfaces.

Clean off the dash, steering wheel, mirrors and windows. This is not the time to detail the car – just get it as clean as you can in 2-5 minutes.

4. Find places for the essentials.

All those items in the first box or basket need their own designated home in the car. Important paperwork goes in the glove compartment (use a document envelope like this to keep things clean and organized). Stash your first aid kit and a working flashlight under the front seat. Only put what you need back in the car, and make sure each item has a place to call home.

5. Donate or distribute the rest.

Quickly sort through the second box or basket. Put away anything that belongs in the house, and donate anything you don’t need.

Bonus tip: when you’re done, spritz your car with a few sprays of your favorite room spray!

6. You’re done!

See? It doesn’t have to take long to declutter your car! And the more often you do it the faster you’ll be. This is great to do on a regular basis, OR the perfect prep for taking your car to a wash-and-vacuum place.

Was this post helpful to you? Please spread the love by sharing this post with your friends. For more great tips on how to organise and simplify your life, click here.

I don't know about you, but my car can look awfully lived in pretty fast! Did you know that you can declutter your car in just 20 minutes? You totally can! Here's how:

Essential Road Trip Routines (That Make Everything Easier)

These road trip routines make everything easier! Pin this post for your next trip.

Unless you take long trips by car very frequently, you probably don’t have road trip routines. But you totally should! Every just like in every other area of life routines have a magical power to keep things simple and on track – exactly what you need for a road trip!

Here are four road trip routines that make everything easier:

(There are affiliate links in this post, meaning we may get a small commission from any purchases you make. . Click here to read our full disclosure policy.)

1. Try these road trip routines before you head out:

Create a routine for what needs to be done before you head out for the day. On shorter day trips this might just be something that you do once but for longer trips it’s so helpful to start every morning on the road in the same way.

Here are some ideas for what to put on your “Before Heading Out” road trip routine:

  • When you’re loading up, make sure to load frequently used items last so that they are easy to access if needed throughout your day. (Think: coolers, snacks, diaper bag, extra blanket.)
  • Start each road trip day with an empty trash container/bag in an easy to reach spot.
  • Make sure each person in the car has a beverage and/or snack, activity and extra clothing layer within reach.
  • Check tire pressure, fluids and fuel levels before you go.

Related: 10 Road Trip Essentials That Could Save You Hundreds

2. Create a road trip routine for stops along the way.

When traveling on US Interstates we try to stop no more than every two hours. What this looks like for us is that every other stop will fuel up our vehicle and on the other stops we try if it all possible to use a rest stop instead of a gas station or convenience stores. This saves us money and makes getting in and out much quicker. Also rest stops usually have more room to walk around and stretch your legs.

Here’s the routine we use for each and every road trip stop:

3. Set up road trip routines for when you stop for the night:

Stopping for the night is the biggest reset of all, especially when you’re on a longer trip. As tempting as it is to pile into the hotel room and crash in the bed, or hot tub, what will help the most is to make sure you’re set for the morning before you relax for the night.

  • Empty all of the trash out of the car. Clean up toys and activities, and make sure that you’re grabbing everything you need for your stay for the night.
  • Don’t forget to grab water bottles and snacks for while you’re in your hotel room, plus any activities or books to read while you’re winding down for the evening.
  • Last but not least, reset all of your luggage so that it will be easy to pack up again in the morning when you’re headed up out of your hotel. The more organizing you do as you go the easier it will be to get in and out without too much hassle.

4. Start an end of road trip routine:

Debrief with your crew. Ask questions as you’re get close to home. Find out what everyone’s favorite parts of the trip were. What wasn’t great? What would we like to do more of next time?

Take note of these mental notes, but write them down of course! Along your trip make note of inexpensive stops, great restaurants, and hotels that have pet friendly policies, if that applies to you. What are things that you wish you had brought along on this trip? Write these down so you’ll remember them for future road trips.

Save all your receipts.

This may sound like a weird tip, but saving all of our receipts has been so helpful in planning future road trips! Not only do you have hard copy records in case there are any credit card disputes, but you also have a to the penny record of how much your trip cost. This data is so helpful for budgeting future trips.

Reset right away.

Unpack and do laundry as soon as you can once you’re home. Quick clean the car. Restock toiletry bags and other travel essentials before packing your luggage away.

Routines are the saving grace of a busy life, and our road trip routines have made travel so much easier for our family. Is there anything you would add? Please comment! Was this post helpful? Please spread the love by sharing the link with your friends!

These road trip routines make everything easier! Pin this post for your next trip.

How To Simplify Your Smartphone (And Create More Peace in Your Life)

Did you know you can simplify your smartphone so it's a more calming and peaceful part of your life? It's easy, and so very worth it. Here's how:

Do you need to simplify your smartphone? For many of us, our phones are part of our living space – an office, hangout, or even our view to the outside world. And just like our physical spaces, our phones get clogged up with unnecessary junk that causes distraction, frustration and even anxiety.

Here’s how to break that cycle, and simplify your smartphone so it’s a calming and peaceful part of your life. (As much as possible anyway!)

PIN TO READ LATER

Define your priorities.

List out why you have a phone in the first place. What is your main reason for having a cell phone? Who are the most important people that will be contacting you? Are you using the phone for business or just personal reasons? Is it a time waster or a productive part of your day?

Answering these questions will help you determine what is essential on your phone and what needs to go. Defining your priorities is the first step to help you simplify your smartphone.

 

Create a list of your essential peeps.

Make a list of the important people and places who call your phone. Think close friends and family, your child’s school or daycare, important co-workers and businesses like your primary doctor and insurance agent.

Set these peeps as favorites. Assign unique ringtones to anyone whose call you would hate to miss, and do the same for text notification tones if needed. Do this and you’ll know immediately if a call is one you’ll need to take right away.

On a similar note, if you get frequent spam calls or texts immediately block that number or set to a specific ringtone that alerts you to NOT waste your time picking up.

 

Make sure to set up do not disturb.

Do not disturb is one of my favorite smartphone features. Basically, you can set your phone to silence all incoming calls or notifications for a certain amount of time, as needed or on a regular basis. You can also set it to allow certain numbers, usually those on your favorite list to come through while it silences all other notifications and calls. Set up do not disturb for any time that incoming calls and notifications would be an unwelcome interruption to your day.

 

Set up auto backup for photos and important details.

While you’re taking the time to simplify your smartphone don’t forget to set up auto backup for any important files or details. Whether you use an app native to your phone or find one specific for the purpose, you’ll never regret backing up your phone. Make sure especially to backup photos and contacts. Knowing this is being taken care of in the background will definitely help to bring you peace of mind.

My favorite app for backing up photos is good ol’ Google Photos. It’s great on both android and iPhone and¬† your photos will all be there (and accessible by PC) should you ever switch devices:

Google Photos for Android

Google Photos for iPhone

Hide or remove non-essential apps.

These days every phone comes with apps that you don’t necessarily need or want. Take the time to either hide or remove these apps as they are a source of visual clutter. This is also a great time to delete any apps that you’ve downloaded and no longer need or use. You might also want to look into apps that will serve more than one purpose so that you can reduce the overall number of apps on your phone.

 

Set notifications on all of your essential apps.

This is super important! Go through each and every app that you leave on your phone and set the notifications. Try to keep push notifications to an absolute minimum. Decide which apps need a badge notification as well (this is the little red circle that tells you how many emails or how many Facebook notifications you have). You should turn badge notifications off unless they are absolutely essential. It’s amazing how much this one little step will bring peace to your life.

 

Know your rabbit holes.

We all have apps that suck us in, keeping us hostage until hours later we realize that we’re still on our phone and wasting our life. Knowing your rabbit holes is huge. If an app is not essential and becomes a problem to you delete it from your phone. It doesn’t have to be a permanent decision, even just taking a break from having Facebook or Pinterest on your phone can make a huge difference in how much peace you have using that device.

This is a great way to become more mindful and to help you know where your addictions lie. If it turns out that you do need that app for business or some productive purpose you can always download it again and use it wisely. On that note,

Related:100+ Things To Do Instead of Screen Time

Organize your apps by purpose.

Another amazing way to a simplify your smartphone is to organize your apps just like you would a physical space. Figure out which apps you need to have on your home screen and which ones would be better out of sight and out of mine. You may wish to group your apps by type and even group into folders for infrequently used apps.

 

Divide and conquer.

It’s easy to use our phones for every single purpose in our lives, but we don’t actually have to. If you have more than one device, divide and conquer so that you’ll have more peace in your life. We do this with our wake up alarms. My husband and I have decided not to have cell phones in the bedroom overnight, so we use an app on our tablet instead of using our phone for the alarm. I also use my Kindle to shop or read in the evening so that I won’t get phone or text notifications right before bed, and I don’t have social media apps on that device. It also has a blue light filter which allows me to get better sleep after using it late at night. Not using your phone for every little thing will definitely help to simplify your smartphone and bring more peace.

 

Be intentional moving forward.

Once you’ve taken the time to simplify your smartphone be intentional about moving forward. Don’t put apps on your phone that you don’t need. If you do download something that doesn’t work as well as you thought delete it right away. If you have a tablet or other device see if you can use that to fill some of the purposes that you would otherwise use your phone for.

These tips are simple, but they really work. It doesn’t take a lot of time to simplify your smartphone but it’s so worth it for the peace that it can bring to that part of your life.

Has this article been helpful? Please spread the love by using one of the share buttons below! For more great tips on how to simplify your life click here.

Did you know you can simplify your smartphone so it's a more calming and peaceful part of your life? It's easy, and so very worth it. Here's how:

Best Ever Road Trip Hydration Hack (No Extra Bathroom Stops!)

Learn how to stay hydrated on road trips without making a million extra stops. This road trip hydration hack really works!

We love to road trip as a family and there are few tips that I’ve learned that make everything so much easier. One of the best things I’ve learned is how to stay hydrated on a road trip without having to make a million bathroom stops. This road trip hydration trick is especially helpful as a parent traveling with kids (though it works for all ages!) I’m so excited to share it today.

PIN TO READ LATER

Road trip hydration is important – here’s why:

(There are affiliate links in this post, meaning we may get a small commission from any purchases you make. . Click here to read our full disclosure policy.)

Staying hydrated on road trips is super important. You’re exposed to all sorts of new germs, and making sure you stay hydrated is a great way to support your immune system on the trip. Plus there’s nothing like riding in an air-conditioned vehicle all day long to really dry you out. But how do you stay on top of drinking water without having to make a million extra stops?

Here’s how we do it:

We plan to stop every two hours, but not more unless someone is ill or it’s absolutely necessary. And, for every bathroom stop we make, everyone in the vehicle has to at least try to go the bathroom. Then we implement…

Our road trip hydration hack that works every time:

About 45 minutes before we plan to stop we hand out the water bottles and encourage everyone to drink up. This allows everyone to get a good amount of water in, with enough time for it to filter through our systems in time for the next bathroom break.

DISCLAIMER: We don’t keep our kids from drinking in between times but the idea is to just take sips of water if you’re thirsty and wait to really fill up until it’s almost time for your next stop.

We also don’t encourage drinking a lot of juice or sodas on our trip, because it seems like everybody downs those a lot faster – making for more bathroom stops. However, for a kid who’s not keen on drinking a lot of water at once I do hand out¬†these low sugar lemonade pouches¬† or these healthy drink mix packets when it’s hydration time to encourage them to drink more liquids at once before we stop.

This tip isn’t just for kids!

I actually learned this in college while making 12-hour trips home and back with a friend on holiday breaks. She had a super fuel efficient vehicle, and was committed to only stopping once in 12 hours to refuel. (Crazy! I know!!) Her rule for anyone who rode with her was that they needed to bring their own drinks and snacks and that she wasn’t making any extra stops.

I learned to not drink at all except for tiny sips for most of the trip and then I would drink one or two bottles of water about an hour before we stopped so that I wouldn’t really need to use the restroom until then. In the years since¬†I’ve used this with my kids and taught my husband the same trick. It works! Thank you Amanda from college.¬†

RELATED LINKS:

This road trip hydration trick has saved us SO¬†many headaches and unnecessary stops on the road. I hope it’s as helpful to you as it has been for us. If so, please help spread the love by sharing the link with your friends!

Learn how to stay hydrated on road trips without making a million extra stops. This road trip hydration hack really works!

11 Simple Ways to Make Room for Adventure in Your Life

Do you long for more adventure in your life? The truth is, it's already there - we just need to learn how to make room for adventure. Here's how:

Do you long for more adventure in your life? The truth is, adventure is already here – we just need to learn how to make room for it in our lives.

Here are 11 simple ways that YOU can make room for adventure in your life:

(There are affiliate links in this post, meaning we may get a small commission from any purchases you make. . Click here to read our full disclosure policy.)

Own less stuff.

Is your stuff really holding you back from having more adventure in your life? It totally could be!

Think about what your life would look like if you had less dishes, laundry and household chores each week. What if your garage was clear and organized, with JUST the stuff you used on a regular basis?

Keeping your belongings pared down to only what you actually need and use is so freeing! Most of the time you don’t even realize how much excess stuff is weighing you down until you get rid of it. De-cluttering and downsizing is a great way to make room for more adventure in your life.

Related: How to Prep for Decluttering

Pay down debt.

Speaking of things that weigh you down, that is another huge thing to get rid of if you want to have more adventure in your life. Imagine what your finances would look like if you had little to no consumer debt. What would you do with the extra? If you’re like me you would use that to go on more adventures! Paying down debt is a fantastic way to make more room for adventure in your life.

Choose a flexible job or business.

Now this won’t work for everyone, but if you are willing to make significant life changes, choosing a job or business that is extremely flexible is essential to making more room for adventure in your life. When you own your own time it is way easier to travel in the off-season. You’ll get better deals on attractions and excursions, and just overall have more fun. Plus, if you’re able to work on the road, you’ll be able to offset some of the cost of your adventures.

If you work in a profession that isn’t as flexible, make the most of the time that you do have. Don’t fill up your vacation time with cleaning out the garage and working around the house. Go on adventures! And on that note,

Leave room in your schedule for adventure.

Don’t leave your calendar so packed that you don’t have room for adventure. Just like you don’t want to own too much stuff for be weighed down with debt, leave some breathing room and your day-to-day schedule so that when the urge hits you can take off and do something fun. Also,

Try new things.

Check out a new coffee shop, go on a hike with friends. Check out Groupon for discounted meals, excursions and experiences – it’s a great way to find new experiences in an unfamiliar city… or even your home town.

Cultivate a sense of wonder.

Sometimes we can get so jaded by life we stop seeing the beauty and adventure that’s all around us. What we need to do then, it’s just simply open her eyes and appreciate the world we live in. Look around you there may be new friends to make new places to explore right in front of your nose. Cultivating a sense of wonder may be the most important way to have more adventure in your life.

Budget for it.

If having more adventure is important to you you need to make room for it in your budget. There are so many ways to do this! Learn to scrimp and save in other areas so that you’ll have more room for adventure in your budget. There are so many ideas around the web for how to do this, here are a couple to get you started:

101 Simple Ways to Save Money for Travel

99 Easy Ways to Save Money

 

Purchase basic gear.

It’s way easier to go on adventures if you have the right gear. Good walking/hiking shoes, a sturdy backpack and a stock of sunscreen and bug spray are good start, but where you go from there it’s really up to you. You might want to start building a stash of high-quality camping supplies, or rock climbing gear. Or you could invest in a kayak or mountain bike. To save money, try renting or borrowing the gear you want to try before you make the financial leap to buy it. Overall though, having the right gear make it way easier to go on adventures when the mood strikes!

Related:How to Prep for Family Outings So That They Are Easy to Do + Actually Fun

Find adventurous friends.

Having adventurous friends is a guaranteed way to have more adventure in your life. But what if your friends are only interested in spa days or movie nights? I’m not saying you need to ditch those friends, but you may need to find some new ones or at least feel out the ones you have to see who else is¬† interested in a more adventurous life. Put the word out on social media that you’re looking for adventure buddies –¬† you might be surprised at who you find!

Look for adventurous ways to volunteer.

There are so many ways that you can make the world a better place and have more adventure in your life at the same time. Look for community groups who are building houses, cleaning up the environment, or even traveling overseas to provide aid to distressed people groups. When you find adventurous ways to volunteer, you’ll not only improve your own life – you’ll be making the world a better place. It’s a win win.

Just Do It.

There is no perfect way to be adventurous, but there are a million good ones. And you won’t even know what you like until you try it so get out there and just do it! Try new things, meet new people. See the world. If you can’t do it right now, start making room in your life so that you can do it soon. There is nothing better than a life of adventure, the people that you meet in the things that you do make memories that last a lifetime. So get out there and make it happen!

For more great articles about living a life of adventure click here. Did this post help you in some way? Please spread the love by sharing the link with your friends!

Do you long for more adventure in your life? The truth is, it's already there - we just need to learn how to make room for adventure. Here's how:

Stress Reducing Road Trip Prep (You’ll Never Regret This!)

Road trips can be stressful, but they don't have to be! This road trip prep list will help you reduce stress and have a better trip!

Road trips are a ton of fun but they can also be really stressful too especially if you’re not prepared. There are some things you can do though to make sure that you’ll have a stress-free trip as possible. Here are four things to prep before your next trip.

PIN TO READ LATER

Stress reducing road trip prep:

(There are affiliate links in this post, meaning we may get a small commission from any purchases you make. . Click here to read our full disclosure policy.)

Get your car serviced.

It seems like a common-sense advice but taking your car in for a quick check and service is something that so easy to forget in your road trip prep. It doesn’t take very long and it’s definitely worth it!¬† Getting your car serviced before you go can even prevent costly repairs on the road.

Related: 10 Road Trip Essentials That Could Save You Hundreds

Clean and declutter your car.

There is nothing worse than starting off a road trip and an already cluttered up and grungy car. Taking the time to vacuum, wipe everything down, and get rid of any unnecessary clutter will definitely start your trip on the right foot. This is also a great time to find containers to organize any stuff that needs to stay in the car so it’s not just rolling around.

Check your emergency equipment.

Is your spare tire is filled with air? Do you know where your jack and tire iron is? Do you know how to use them? Is there a working first aid kit in the car? Are all of the contents fresh and up-to-date? Answering these questions will make sure that you’re prepared for any minor emergencies that arise on the trip. It’s not fun to think about them, but let’s face it life happens. It’s just better to be prepared.

Do a quick document check.

You’ll want to make sure that your license and registration are up-to-date before setting out on your next road trip, but that’s not the only paperwork to have on hand. Make sure you have proper identification for children if you’re taking them out of state, as well as any info for roadside assistance, updated health insurance cards, and any other documents you might need should an emergency arise on the road.

Related: 30+ Frugal & Healthy Road Trip Snacks

Take some time in¬† your road trip prep to make sure you’re on top of these four things. It doesn’t take long, and can make all the difference in reducing stress while you’re on the road. You will never ever regret being prepared.

For more great tips for road trip travel, click here. Was this helpful? Please spread the love by sharing the link with your friends. Click here to Pin on Pinterest:

 

Road trips can be stressful, but they don't have to be! This road trip prep list will help you reduce stress and have a better trip!

Toy Jail – How and Why We Use This Awesome Parenting Tool!

Toy Jail - How and why we use this awesome parenting tool!

Last week I shared with you about toy timeouts and why we love them so much. If you haven’t had a chance to read that post you can do so by clicking here. Today I wanted to share something we use just as much: Toy Jail.

(There are affiliate links in this post, meaning we may get a small commission from any purchases you make. . Click here to read our full disclosure policy.)

So what’s the difference between Toy Jail and a Toy Timeout?

PIN TO READ LATER

Toy timeouts are meant to give kids time and space to process why they are losing the privilege of playing with that toy. Just like a kid timeout, it gives them time to think. A toy might end up in timeout for as little as 5 minutes, or as long as a week, but they’ll always get it back when the time is up.¬†Toy jail is similar, but with one distinct difference: If a toy gets sent to toy jail the child will always have to do something to earn it back.

Related: Why Kids Need to be Bored

We use Toy Jail for the following situations:

  • If toys aren’t being cared for properly.
  • If toys are left out after the child’s been asked to put them away (and of course, has been given reasonable time to do so).
  • And sometimes if toys are being played with in an inappropriate way. (This is a scenario where sometimes we use a toy time out, but if the situation is more serious or is a recurring issue, the toy might actually go into Toy Jail and need to be earned back.)

How are toys earned back from Toy Jail?

Our kids can earn toys back from toy jail several different ways. At first we started just having them do an age appropriate chore in order to earn the toy back. Now we have a system of reward tickets that they earn throughout the day (more on that soon) and one of the ways our kids can choose to use those tickets to buy toys back out of toy jail.

So why do we love Toy Jail SO much?

Toy jail is an awesome parenting tool, because it‚Äôs a real life natural consequence. It just makes so much sense to lose the privilege of playing with a toy for a time if it hasn’t been cleaned up or cared for properly. And having to actually earn it back really solidifies that lesson in a child’s mind.

 

But my favorite thing about toy jail is that it has helped me to weed out toys that my kids say they care about, but really don’t.

You see when it’s time to sort through the toy basket for items to throw away or donate there can be so much drama. My kids turn into little hoarders and they don’t want to get rid of anything. But I’ve learned, if it toy ends up in toy jail it is a great test to see if they actually care enough to earn it back.

Related: Our Journey Towards Minimalism

If they’ve had the chance to earn a toy back several times and don’t decide to do so it’s automatically going in the donate box.

(They know this.) And that has been a great way for us to weed out toys without the normal drama and tears and gnashing of teeth. In fact, many times when given the choice between earning a toy back or donating it my girls have actually chosen to donate it and that is an awesome thing. It’s a win win for everyone!

Now, even though my kids get the opportunity to earn toys back from toy jail, they don’t always get to do so right away.

If the toy has been taken away because they were using it inappropriately, it might have to stay in jail for up to a month before they’ll even have the chance to earn it back. This is a great addition to the natural consequences of the toy being taken away in the first place and gives them a lot of time to think about what they might do differently next time.

Just like any parenting tool, this won’t work for every kid or every situation.

It works best when implemented with lots of love and respect for everyone involved. But it is a fabulous tool, and something that has helped us to gently provide real world consequences and (hopefully) equip our kids to succeed in the real challenges of life.

Love this article? Spread the love by sharing the link with your friends. For more practical parenting advice, click here.

Toy Jail - How and why we use this awesome parenting tool!

Pin It on Pinterest