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Top 5 Tips for Surviving a Long Road Trip with Kids

These top 5 tips for surviving a long road trip with kids will help keep you and your family sane on your next fun road trip!

This summer has been full of fun memories for our family. From days at the beach, to drives up to Disneyland and Great Wolf Lodge, to a road trip to Washington State, we’ve seen quite a bit of excitement. But being prepared for traveling with kids in the car has been something we’ve worked on. And surviving a long road trip with kids takes a bit of planning. 

Since my daughter is newly potty trained the one thing we worried about when on the road with her is that she’d have to go #2 and not be able to tell us until we were too late and she got out of the car. Also, with the long 2 day ride to Washington State, we worried about how many stops we really needed to make and how many stops were just “fun” stops.

In preparation of our trip we decided to bit of research to make sure that we had a successful journey with three kids in the back seats. Since we’ve made this trek once before with our two older kid,s we kind of had an idea about what to expect. In an effort to make our next trip successful we wrote down a few things that helped us along the way.

Top 5 Tips for Surviving a Long Road Trip with Kids

Top 5 Tips for Surviving a Long Road Trip with Kids

Here are a few ways to keep your road trip fun and successful with young children:

1. Make sure to pack a potty –

We simply placed our Joovy Loo in the back of the car. That way if we needed to stop and there wasn’t a place to do so, we could just use the back of the van. This helped us a lot when my son was working on things and just needed to sit on something other than his car seat to help him along when he was little and it worked perfectly for our daughter as well.

It also gave us peace of mind when on long stretches of road. We didn’t have to worry about not being able to find a sanitary place to stop (my husband isn’t as adventurous as I am and doesn’t approve of a 2 year old relieving themselves on the side of the road unless it’s an absolute emergency… just wait till we go camping!).

Potty Kit Necessities to Bring: 

Top 5 Tips for Surviving a Long Road Trip with Kids

2. Plan out frequent stops –

This won’t just give your child a chance to “try” to go potty but it will also give them a chance to stretch their legs and get a little energy out. By planning out where your next stop will be you might be able to quickly answer your children when they ask how long it will be until you arrive at your next stop. That’s much easier for them to handle then to say, “Oh, about 12 hours!”

You can also use pre-planned stops as points for conversation. By letting your children know what the next stop is, or giving hints to where your heading, you might be able to create a sense of excitement and adventure as you make your way through the trip.

We had fun picking out where we stopped and made sure to mix restaurants in with quick pit stops at gas stations. I also allowed the kids to pick out one “surprise” at each stop to make it more interesting to them as well. They sure did love the huge gas stations we found along the way filled with everything from fidget spinners to snacks to souvenir t-shirts. 

Pit Stop Checklist: 

  • Did everyone try to go potty? 
  • Do we need to re-load on snacks or water?
  • Did we take all of our trash out? 
  • Do we need to change clothes?

Top 5 Tips for Surviving a Long Road Trip with Kids

3. Create a fun pack filled with games and activities –

By creating a fun pack filled with new-to-you toys, activities focused on the age level of your child, and games the children can play in the car you can create distractions and, hopefully, reduce the amount of, “Are we there yet?” questions from the back seat. Surviving a long car trip with kids is no fun when they don’t have anything to do IN the car. 

Figure out some fun games you want to play with your child on the road. Consider simple ideas like finding an object of a certain color, finding a certain letter of the alphabet, or, depending on where your driving, looking out for different animals! By making the ride fun and entertaining itself, your child will be less likely to complain about being in the car and more excited.

We brought our fun activity backpack and filled it with the following:

Another great distraction for the older kids is a portable DVD player or tablet that already has their favorite games and movies downloaded. We grabbed a copy of The Lion King and Disney’s Star Wars Rebels: Season 3 (both out on Blu-ray August 29th) to keep our kids entertained on the trip. it helped to have both a movie and a tv series because we could switch from the longer movie for longer stretches of travel and the shorter episodes of Disney’s Star Wars Rebels while we went through smaller stretches or in between playing other games in the car. 

Top 5 Tips for Surviving a Long Road Trip with Kids

Pro Tip: Finding fun crafts to go along with the movies you select are also fun! Check out these awesome Lion King crafts by clicking the button below: 

Download The Lion King Signature Mask Craft

4. Find a great local attraction to visit –

Take a look at a map and find a great middle point between your home and your destination. Are there any fun, quirky activities you can stop and do in between? Maybe a museum or a historical monument. By maping out a spot or two on the way to your destination you can talk with your children about what you might see, what they would like to do, and how you will spend your time at the next spot.

You can also use these stops as teaching opportunities. By learning a bit about the spot beforehand you can tell your child about the history behind the attraction as well as why it’s such an interesting stop on your journey. Surviving a long road trip with kids takes a bit of planning when it comes to local attractions but there are sure to be some gems along your route! 

Local Attractions Do’s and Dont’s: 

  • Do – take the time to explore and learn about where you’re stopping
  • Don’t – spend all day unless already scheduled
  • Do – consider free or in-expensive pit stops that take an hour tops
  • Don’t – forget that delicious bakeries and restaurants can be considered local attractions too! 

5. Make Sure The Kids Are Safe And Comfortable

When traveling with young kids, it’s important to remember that while we want our kids to be comfortable, we also need them to be safe too. I have 3 kids in 3 different types of car seats right now. My 2 year old is in a 5 point harness, my 6 year old just transitioned out of her 5 point harness into a high back booster, and our 8 year old has now transitioned into a regular booster seat. 

To make things easier on us and allow all of these car seats to fit, we brought along the new mifold we received so that our son could easily transition from our van to my family’s car up in Washington State when we arrived. mifold is more than 10 times smaller than a regular booster seat and is just as safe. The foam padding technology provides extra comfort and stays cool, even on hot days. And since it was averaging about 80-90 degrees our whole trip, this was a huge relief for my son. 

The mifold is convenient for parents for travel and road trips but it’s also great for carpooling, taxis/ubers, etc because it can literally fit in my son’s back pack. how awesome is that? 

In addition to car seats, check out our Road Trip Safety Kit:

  • first aid – includes bandages, first aid ointment, tweezers, scissors, and an ice pack
  • every day medication – includes indigestion medicine, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and allergy medicine
  • flash light
  • jumper cables
  • roadside assistance kit
  • 1 gallon water

What are your best travel tips for surviving a long road trip with kids?

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Top 5 Tips for Surviving a Long Road Trip with Kids

Tips For Gut Health + a Bacon Brie and Sauerkraut Egg Cups Recipe

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This past week I hosted an event at my house sponsored by Renew Life Probiotics. We enjoyed delicious food, tried new things (kombucha!), and had a frank discussion about gut health. Yup. We went there. But one thing I learned was that I’m not alone in my gut health issues. And there are a lot of things I could be doing differently to take better care of myself. So I’m sharing a few tips for gut health along with a recipe for delicious Bacon Brie and Sauerkraut egg cups. Yum! 

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All of my life I’ve had stomach issues. And I always assumed it was related to the ulcer that first developed when I was a pre-teen. Heartburn, tummy trouble, and digestive issues were always something I dealt with. And to be honest I just assumed it was normal. Didn’t really think anything more of it. Then I got older, I read more about our body and how everything is connected, and tried to see if there was something else going on. 

Fast forward about a decade and I’ve finally figured out a solution to my issues. Probiotics

No, seriously! While I only used them previously alongside antibiotics (for both myself and the kids), I’ve now started taking probiotics daily and boy have I noticed a difference. But that’s not the only change I’ve made. Probiotic rich foods, plenty of water, and healthy changes in diet can also play a huge role in gut health and one’s comfort. Opening the conversation with my guests allowed to me to learn more about how I can be proactive and focus on self care in the new year.

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Tips For Gut Health

The “gut” is considered the core of your body’s overall health and well-being and can affect your entire body, including immunity, digestion and more. So that means paying attention to your gut health should be pretty high on your list of priorities.

Here are a few ways to do just that:

1. Start taking probiotics –

To help keep your complex digestive system thriving and restore good bacteria, Renew Life Ultimate Flora Probiotics deliver unique, potent formulas that contain tens of billions of cultures, and multiple probiotic strains to help achieve better digestive and immune health.*

2. Drink plenty of water –

Drinking enough water is so important for healthy digestion. Water helps break down the food you eat and allows waste to pass more easily through the intestines. It also helps boost nutrient absorption. Water also softens stool, which helps to prevent constipation. Yup… we’re getting real! If you aren’t a huge water drinker, you can infuse your water to make it taste delicious. 

3. Talk about your gut health –

Whether it’s with friends, your doctor, or family, don’t be shy about speaking up about your gut health. If something doesn’t feel right, you more than likely need to change things up. Nearly two in three women (64 percent) aren’t willing to talk about gut issues with their friends. And with almost three quarters of women (72 percent) experiencing a digestive/gut issue in the past 12 months with gas/bloating (53 percent) being the most reported issue, you aren’t alone.

Nearly a quarter of women (22 percent) don’t consider the status of their digestive health when they think about their overall health and wellness, but it can affect your entire body, including mood, memory, immunity, digestion and more. By being proactive and talking about your issues, as well as taking probiotics regularly and getting enough water, you can help increase immunity, lessen the negative effects of gut issues, and find relief.

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Gut-Friendly Probiotic Rich Foods

In addition to taking probiotics, you can also find them naturally in these probiotic-rich foods that are hosts to the good bacteria our guts need: 

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso Soup
  • Kimchi
  • Tempeh
  • Kombucha
  • Pickles

While some of these are easy to enjoy in our diet, others need a little… sneaking in. You can only eat so many hot dogs with sauerkraut. So finding other dishes to make with probiotic rich foods can give you more variety in your diet. 

The Renew Life blog also has some great recipes as well! We made the fresh carrot, cabbage, and apple medley juice and quick and easy whole wheat pumpkin muffin recipes for this event and they both tasted so good! 

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Probiotics 101

  • A proper functioning gut, containing a delicate balance of both good and bad bacteria, helps with digestive and immune health.
    There are more than 100 trillion bacteria of many diverse strains inside your digestive tract which need to be balanced in order to keep your body healthy.
  • 70% of the immune system is located in the intestinal tract, therefore, maintaining gut health is a key part of maintaining your overall health.
    Signs that your gut is in need of replenishment and balance can include occasional bloating, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, headaches, and weight gain among others.
  • Experts agree that taking a probiotic supplement like Renew Life Ultimate Flora Probiotic is a good way to help support balance in the digestive tract and replenish the good bacteria found in a naturally diverse and healthy gut. It is reported that a person typically feels a difference after taking a probiotic supplement for 7-14 days.

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Bacon Brie and Sauerkraut Egg Cups

A variation of this recipe

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cubes frozen sauteed glazed onions (or 1/2 an onion, diced)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 6 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sauerkraut
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 container 16oz cottage cheese
  • 1 8oz package of shredded cheddar
  • salt and pepper
  • 2oz brie cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add oil to large skillet and heat on medium high on the stove. Once hot, add onions to pan and saute 2-3 minutes. Then add spinach and cook until slightly wilted. Toss in bacon and sauerkraut and set aside to cool. 

While spinach/bacon/onion mixture is cooling down, add eggs, milk, cottage cheese, and shredded cheddar to a bowl and mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper). Drop pieces of brie cheese into the mixture and fold in. Then add spinach/bacon/onion mixture to eggs and combine. 

Line 2 muffin tins with baking cups or spray well with cooking spray if not using baking cups. Using a large cookie scoop, scoop mixture into the muffin tin wells filling about 2/3-3/4ths of the way up. 

Baket at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until top is starting to turn golden brown. Let cool 2-5 minutes and serve. 

Makes approximately 24 but could get more if you scoop less into each cup. 

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What are your favorite gut-friendly foods? 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

**This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Renew Life Probiotics from November 9-11, 2016 among 1,127 U.S. women ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Katie Young at Katie@pdcpr.net.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Renew Life Probiotics.

5 Easy Way to Be Healthier in the New Year

5 Easy Ways to Be Healthier In The New Year

Waking up on New Year’s Day is a great feeling! It’s a new year, a blank slate, a fresh start to make changes and set goals. Setting a new goal, or resolution, for the year that’s ahead of you gives you renewed strength and purpose to conquer your dreams. Having said that, did you know only 8% of people actually stick to their goals throughout the whole year? Sometimes, you want to eat healthier but you also want to enjoy pie while out to dinner with your friends. I’m here to tell you that it’s okay! Every now and then you are allowed to enjoy some desserts.

Going into 2016 you want to start leading a healthier lifestyle! This means so much more than just eating healthy or losing weight. In order to achieve your goals to be healthy in 2016, you have to have a healthy mindset and the right setup to make it work. Below we list the easiest 5 things you can do in order to be healthier in 2016. This doesn’t necessarily mean losing weight (although it could be that) but being healthy is more than just a number on a scale. Having a healthy mental state, a good routine, and the right tools is the best way to set yourself up for better health. This may not be easy but it’s worth a shot! If you fail, pick up the pieces and try again. Even if it takes you all year to figure out how to lead a healthier lifestyle. And always remember: Everyone’s path looks different!

So here are some simple ways to improve your health and wellness in 2016

5 Easy Way to Be Healthier in the New Year

1. Routine

Start your day off right! Every morning wake up and do a simple routine. Mine usually consists of washing my face, then I drink a glass of water infused with lemon oil or a squeeze of fresh lemon for immune and digestive support. Finally, I sit with my cup of bulletproof coffee and set a positive intention for the day. For me, this means meditating in my faith and going over my daily affirmation (I share these daily on Facebook). This was super easy when I didn’t have kids but now in order to do this, I must wake up a bit before them to get enough time to start my day off right. And you know what? Some days it just doesn’t happen with kids but I try to make certain it does 80% of the time. However, if your kids are overrunning you for a week straight, give yourself some grace! Being a mom is not an easy job.

2. Cut out chemicals

Try and research affordable alternatives to cleaning and household items you use in your home. Cutting out chemicals improves your health drastically and increases your longevity. Before we started using Thieves household cleaners we used homemade cleaners with vinegar, distilled water, baking soda, and tea tree oil. It was 1/100th the cost of buying cleaners at Target. But that doesn’t mean you have to make your own cleaners or purchase from an essential oil distributor. There’s also no problem with purchasing the ready made cleaners already on store shelves.

3. Cut out processed foods

For many this is difficult to do because many foods have become more like addictions. That may seem extreme but it’s very true. You may even consider changing your lifestyle like I did to reset your system to not crave refined sugars every day. It’s a hard transition, and some even come down with what’s called keto flu, but you feel amazing after! So amazing that you never want to go back to how you ate before. Cutting out refined foods, carbs, and sugars, is very simple and the easiest way to boost your metabolism and set yourself up for a healthy life.

Try not eating foods that come in a bag, can, or box. Anything with a long list of ingredients you cannot pronounce is good to avoid. Instead of cereal for breakfast, try eggs, sausage, and some spinach. If that is too much to make on the go try some bulletproof coffee. You’d be amazed at how full you are from one cup of coffee For lunches try a nice big salad with meat and a handful of nuts or a lettuce wrapped burger! For dinner stick to protein and veggies. For the kids you can serve a healthy carb like sweet potatoes, brown rice, or quinoa. It takes a little planning but in the end it will become your way of living.

I’ve even started ordering my food from Amazon Prime Now (yay Sprouts delivery!) and have a monthly fruit and vegggie delivery through Farm Fresh to You. Thinking of signing up? Use my referral code: DANI3568. And use promo code HEALTHY for $15 off! Not only does it help me stay on budget, but we’re forced to plan and eat everything that comes to the door. This means less wasted food and less wasted money.

4. Cut out sugary beverages

Soda, juice, lattes, milk, tea, Gatorade, diet sodas you name it. We stick to coffee, water, bubble water (La Croix), and sometimes 100% juice (for the kids). You’ll be amazed at how much this improves your energy throughout the day and helps you shed pounds fast! (side note: tea bags are okay here I’m talking about teas that come in a bottle from the store that have 45 grams of sugar in them). The biggest thing to do is look at labels. See what you’re consuming and how much sugar or carbs are in the drinks you’re enjoying. That doesn’t mean giving up lattes completely. Consider subbing almond milk or heavy whipping cream instead and asking for sugar free syrups. That weekly trip to Starbucks is now a treat for me once or twice a month. And diet soda – oh so bad for you! – is slowly starting to leave my life. 

5. Get an exercise routine down

Three times a week for at least 30 minutes get your heart rate elevated! You don’t have to sweat through 6 layers of clothes like some Crossfit junkie you know but go on a walk, bike ride, or play in the backyard with your kids. I like to do a home workout with my kids present. Walking around the neighborhood to explore with them and switching out different strength training exercises is fun for us to do together. Example: We walk around the neighborhood in one direction (I let the kids choose) for 15 minutes, then return back home. Once we’re home I do 20 squats holding the baby. Or lunges over the kids. My kids personal favorite is to have the baby crawl on my back while doing push-ups. Other days, we just go on a long walk or bike ride with the dog to get out some energy and burn some calories.

The most important part here is you need to be realistic with yourself. Perhaps you start doing this 80/20. 80% of the time you stick with organic and healthy and then 20% of the time you allow yourself some freedom (in moderation). Now that doesn’t include the diet. For me, if I allow myself a “cheat” day, it’s all over and all of my hard work is undone (or it’s two weeks later and I am kicking myself for hopping off the wagon). If unhealthy food is seriously an addiction for you I would highly suggest a food cleanse to help you move past those sugar and refined carbohydrate addictions. Once you get past that initial change, it’s all downhill from there! By making these changes a way of life you’re committing to your health and wellness in the new year and beyond!

What changes have you made in your life this year?



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