Friday, May 7, 2010

Road Trip: Checking Things Off the List Part 1

My last post told you about a list I made for this crazy road trip. Making the list was really the fun part. Preparing to implement the ideas was a lot more work. The first thing I needed to do was divide my mammoth list into three separate lists.

List #1: Tangible stuff that would need to be purchased. This included items that required me purchasing supplies to put together before they were ready for use (like the lacing cards).
List #2: Stuff that would go into Mom's Emergency "Are We There Yet?" notebook.
List #3: Stuff that would be apart of the Learning About Our Journey notebooks.

(I won't give a lot of commentary about how helpful each of these things were. Watch for those kinds of details in the daily journey notes that will post during our trip.)

List #1: Tangible Stuff
  • Digital Kids Camera: After reading tons of reviews that said not to waste your money on this piece of junk (other words were often used, but we try not to use those kinds of words in our house), I decided that I didn't really want to spend money $50 on something that would only entertain one child at a time at best. But my hubby remembered that my brother had loaned us a digital camera a couple of years ago that was an extra for him. So we decided to ask to borrow it back for the road trip. He was willing. Savings: $50!
  • Lap Desks: We decided to order one of these. We just ordered one to start with because we weren't sure if they would work on all of the kids' car seats. We are currently waiting for it to arrive.
  • DVD Player and NEW DVDs: Eric took care of selecting the DVD player. I just said there had to be TWO screens because I knew Gracie would need to watch too. He chose this one. I knew right away that I wanted to get The Sugar Creek Gang 5 DVD Set, figuring we would let them watch a new one each day of our journey when they started to get grumpy and we needed to press on just a bit further. So I am watching for the best deal. Eric installed the DVD players in the van. The kids even tested them out the weekend I went to Women's Retreat. They think they are pretty cool!
  • Stories on CD: I am so thankful for our library. I put about a half a dozen children's books on CD at our library right away. I chose ones that were series. I tried them out on the kids before the trip. The ones they seem to like I will put more on hold for the actual trip. Tip: pick ones that aren't in high demand if you are taking a long trip. We are going to be gone for more than two weeks. I want to be able to renew them on the road without any problem.
  • Colored Pipe Cleaners and Crafts: I'm intending to give the kids a handful of pipe cleaners to shape into animals, I got them dirt cheap at Walmart.
  • Magna Doodle: My kids already had one of these and I didn't want to invest in a couple of more, mostly because I didn't want them to take up valuable packing space.
  • Lacing Cards: I made some of these. I'll post with my super easy tutorial later.
  • Crocodile Dentist: Decided to skip this one, mostly because I didn't want to spend the money or sacrifice the space.
  • Legos: I will give Daniel a small container to put Legos into. The rule is that it had to fit into that small container if it was going to go with us in the car. Then I will give him a larger tub (a little bigger than a shoe box) that we dumped them into. This gives him room to build and find the legos he needs without having to dump out the whole box. I don't want to be finding legos in the van for the next year and a half.
  • Magnet Dolls: If Daniel could take some legos, it is only fair that Mercy be allowed to take some of her magnet dolls. She got these for Christmas two years ago. My mom found them at Costco for under $20. They have given me hours and hours of time to work on my blog!
  • Surprise Bags: The point of this was to have small new items that I could pull out every two or three hours along the journey. I am keeping my eyes open for things that are cheap that I think might entertain the kids. The dollar bins at Target are ideal for this. But I confess, I'm really cheap. I am raiding my kids toy bins a month and a half before leaving and taking some of their favorite little toys (play cell phone, mini purse, action figures) to surprise them with on the trip. You can usually get away with that when your oldest is five and forgiving.
  • Mini Battery-powered Clip-on Reading Light: I'm still on the fence with this one. Not sure we want it, at least not for the kids.
  • Treasure Bottle: I'm pretty sure I'm going to do this. You take a clear container with a lid that screws on (tightly). You fill it with white rice and a bunch of small objects (penny, paper clip, Lego, you get the idea) that the kids have to look for by turning the bottle over and around to move the sand. You can make them, or buy them. I remember my mother-in-law getting one of these for Lauren, our niece. I think it'll entertain for a stretch in the can. As long as I don't run out of time I'll do this.
  • Books to Read Aloud: I tried out some different books ahead. (Again, I chose series so that when I found one that they really enjoyed I would be able to bring several books in that series.) I raided the church library for this one, mostly because we can check them out for a month at a time. I also dug into Eric collection of Encyclopedia Brown  and Choose Your Own Adventure books from when he was a kid. The kids love them and are broken up into short satisfying stories.
  • Coloring Sheets and Crayons: I printed about a zillion coloring sheets off and put them in my Mommy Emergency Tricks notebook. Read more about my notebook in a later post. We had given the kids the twistable crayons in their Christmas stockings and so we pulled those out, perfect for travel.
  • Special Road Trip Tickets: We do Chore Tickets at our house. Chore Tickets translate into monetary value. On the road we plan on giving them out at increments along the journey for good behavior. We will likely change the name, making them Road Trip Tickets. We plan on stopping at Legoland Discovery Center on the way home. So, the this will help them save up to purchase some Legos at the store on the way home.
I'll deal with the other two lists in a later post. I feel like we are really starting to get underway in our planning. As long as I stuff the overwhelmed feelings, I am genuinely excited.

Got any great ideas? Please, tell me! I'm taking all advice.


  1. hee hee. we drove 4000 miles without such amazing planning. :) the kids are so lucky to have such a good mom!

  2. Well, you know me... I stress unless I FEEL in control. Perceived control gives so much more peace than it ought to :) I need to do this to get excited about the trip.