Kid’s Party Planning – Dr. Seuss Party

So I went a little overboard for my son’s 4th birthday party.  We had never thrown a party for him before and I’m never one to pass up a theme, so I went a little nuts. It was so much fun though and the party turned out great. Here a few ways I organized for the party beforehand and then I’ll share a few party pics because I can’t help myself! The theme for the party was Dr. Seuss so the possibilities were endless!

1) Lists, lists, lists – I love making lists and have a tendency to have too many flowing around. But I tried to streamline a little for the party so I could keep a handle on what tasks were left. First I made a spreadsheet and just did some brainstorming. I used separate tabs at the bottom of the sheet so I could split up my thoughts into categories: decorations, food, invite list, favor ideas, etc. Then as the party got closer, I used the Listo app on my ipad (recommended by Thea over at Time With Thea). This is such an efficient and easy app to use and I’m pretty much obsessed. On Listo, I had a list for Party Tasks and another one for my grocery list.

Listo

2) Assess  – I searched my house for what I already had and what I would need to buy. I wanted to do all of the decorations as cheaply as possible so there was a lot of DIY and a lot of Pinterest involved here. After I got a little creative with what I had, I bought or ordered the rest of the decorations, favors, etc. Most projects were a combination of purchasing and DIY. For example, I made Truffula Tree decorations for the kids table. To hold the trees, I used cans I had saved ( I told my husband I would use them someday!) and covered them with printed paper. I painted some cheap dowels and bought some small styrofoam pieces and round sponges from the dollar store. I ended up buying the feather boas from an online party store because it was cheaper. IMG_8575 IMG_8573Here is the finished product!

Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (128)For the favor bags, we bought candy and a bag of little toys, but then I made a bookmark and activity book with coloring pages, connect the dots, etc. I laminated the bookmarks and put the favors in cheap plastic bags I bought at the dollar store.

Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (143) Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (138)I also did a lot of other print outs to use as decorations, table signs, etc. I even made some cutouts for a little photo booth wall we had set up.

Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (113) Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (120) Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (130) Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (139)I laminated all of the signs because I knew they would hold up better, look nicer and could be reused. I happen to know of another upcoming Dr. Seuss party, so some of these can be passed on. And several are going in the scrapbook!

3) Recruit help – I had several people lending me chairs, tables and decorations so I picked up those things early in the week before the party. I even had to borrow a camera because mine broke with the party just several days away. I was so worried, but I ended up having 3 people offer to lend me cameras! I also had 2 friends agree to come early the day of the party to set up and do all of those last minute things. It was great to have the help. I never would have finished cutting out all my Dr. Seuss Lorax Mustaches without them! My friend Roni drew the Cat in the Hat for our ‘Pin the Hat on the Cat’ Game and Deb made an amazing cake!

Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (116) Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (144)Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (108)

3) Grocery Shop – I did a preliminary shopping trip a few weeks before hand to get all of the non perishable items and also all of the paper plates, plastic silverware, tablecloths, etc.  I wanted to get some of this stuff purchased so I didn’t have to get everything all at once right before the party. Then the day before the party was the big trip for the fruit and veggies, drinks, meats, etc. I normally don’t take my ipad to the grocery store with me, but in this case it was perfect. I usually categorize my grocery list by store section so it’s easy to shop. But for the party, I was just jotting down items as they came to me so the list was all out of order. With the Listo app, you can cross off items and they automatically move to the bottom of the list. It was a really easy way to shop actually. If I had an iphone, that would make more sense to do on a regular basis, but for now I don’t have one.

4) Set up – Party set up was going on the whole week as I slowly transformed our house into Seussville. I knew that if I waited until the day of the party, I would be a frantic mess. So I did a little each day and crossed items off my list a bit at a time. I tried to get decorations up, chop veggies, and make a list of items I realized I had missed in my previous 400 lists.

5) Let it go – This was the most important for me. Even with all of the planning, there were still many things I didn’t get done that I originally wanted to do. I didn’t have a cute sign on my front door, I didn’t finish the backdrop behind the drink table, I didn’t make signs for all of the snacks. And the list goes on. But no one came in and asked me where my front door sign was. And no one came up to me with a confused look on their face because the pretzels weren’t labeled with a cute Dr. Seuss inspired name. And no one left the party because there wasn’t a decorative backdrop behind the drinks. In the end, the party went great because I focused on my 4 year old boy and all of his friends at the party.

If you want to see my crazy Pinspiration board for this party, take a look-see here.

And here a few pics from our party:Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (37)

Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (7)  Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (2) Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (31) Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (53) Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (78)  Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (91) Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (95) Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (123)

And......spent

And……spent

 

Happy Birthday Evan!!!!!

~Erin

 

Cute Valentine’s Craft and Art Organizing Tips!

When I was helping my mother-in-law clean out the Playroom Closet in her house, we came across the cutest little Valentine’s craft called the ‘Lovebug.’ Here is the one we found:

IMG_0154

I actually have no idea if this was made by my husband or if it was one of his siblings, but I loved the idea. Soooo…I stole it for my own kids.

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It’s so simple and we already had all of the supplies, so that made it even better! Just a Popsicle stick, construction paper, pipe cleaners and crayons. Easy!

I am constantly trying to find new ways to store and organize photos and art projects so that they don’t take over my house. I do have a scrapbook for the kids crafts, but since Evan started preschool a couple of weeks ago, I know the sheer volume of felt, crayon drawings and tissue paper animals will soon overwhelm me.

I take pictures of the kid’s crafts whether I decide to keep the actual craft or not. That way I always have a record of them. For my husband’s birthday last week, I gave him a framed collage print of my favorite of Evan’s art from 2012. Here is what it looks like:

Evan's Art - 2012We are going to do a new one every year for both of the kids. When the frames get to be too much, we will just put the 8″ x 10″ prints in a photo album. And of course, I will always have the files on my computer too.

I love to have some of the actual crafts, so I will keep on doing my scrapbook for my favorite pieces. However, I try to keep the paper in our house to a minimum, so I’m hopping on board the technology train to help me wrangle in some of the paper clutter. Scanning, JPEGs, and collage prints are some of my very favorite ways to preserve memories.

How do you preserve your family’s memories but also contain the paper clutter?

~Erin

 

Playroom Closet Makeover

It’s time for a playroom closet makeover and reveal. I am super excited about this project.

Nan & Gary - 2013 January - Playroom Closet (10)

It was another room to tackle at my in-laws house and it was fun for me in a lot of ways:

1) This was a fairly big project and I LOVE a challenge! And who isn’t ridiculously excited about organizing a playroom closet? Wait, I’m the only one?

2) This is now the place where my kids play when we visit my in-laws so there was an added benefit for me too!

3) I also got to help go through so many toys that belonged to my husband and his siblings while they grew up. How adorable is that?!

So let’s start with the before pics of this daunting task:

Left side of Playroom closet - before

Left side of Playroom closet – before

Right side of playroom closet - before

Right side of playroom closet – before

This is a large closet and the door is in the middle so when you walk in, you can go to the left or the right. Or, NOT go to the left or right because of all of the stuff. The space was filled to capacity and partly dark because you couldn’t get to the burned out light bulbs to change them.

The first step was to take out everything! This took a long time and resulted in the main playroom area looking like this:

Nan & Gary - 2013 January - Playroom Closet (3)Holy Moly! My initial thought was that we would never get all of that stuff back in there. Then came the realization that if all of that stuff had to go back in there, I wasn’t doing my job. We quickly started a sell/donate pile that eventually grew to about the size of a dinosaur.

Nan & Gary - 2013 January - Playroom Closet (12)There was also a pile for trash that started growing out in the hallway.

After everything was out of the closet, we looked at our organization options. There were three existing shelving units that were perfect for toy storage. There were also 5 large storage bins and 2 of these were completely empty!

We got our general layout in mind and put the storage bins and shelving back in the closet with nothing in them, just to make sure we liked the flow and that everything fit well. We also moved a smaller shelf from the playroom into the closet.

We decided the left side of the closet would be mostly focused on non-toys. There was a large file cabinet with activities and papers that we pushed back against the wall. There were also numerous boxes of items that my husband and his siblings needed to go through because they were filled with their memories and personal storage. All of those items got piled up next to the file cabinet. Now obviously these need to be gone through, but my mother-in-law was the only one there with me and it wasn’t her stuff so we designated that as a safe zone for the clutter. We did try to make it as pretty as possible. Here is the left side now.

Left side of playroom closet - after

Left side of playroom closet – after

You can also see the small wood shelf which now holds clear plastic bins of toys. These separate smaller items like toy cars, dinosaurs etc. They are great because the kids can see exactly what is inside each bin without taking it off the shelf. There are also a few baby/ toddler toys on lower shelves which my one year old can pull off and play with.

Since this closet has an angled ceiling, I thought it might present a problem with fitting everything in. However, it turns out that the 5 large storage bins fit perfectly underneath the angled edge. You can even open the lids without them hitting the ceiling. These bins became storage for larger items. One for stuffed animals, one for balls, etc.

Nan & Gary - 2013 January - Playroom Closet (11)

The best part is that one of these bins is still empty so if another storage need comes up, there’s an option!

The right side of the closet is my favorite part. We put the 2 large shelving units and the smaller shelf on this side. The small shelf is now for books and board puzzles.

Nan & Gary - 2013 January - Playroom Closet (10)

One of the large shelves is for games and the other is for misc items (though they are all grouped and/or containerized).

Nan & Gary - 2013 January - Playroom Closet (7)Nan & Gary - 2013 January - Playroom Closet (8)

Basket for dress up hats

Basket for dress up hats

I am beyond thrilled with how this turned out. The space is clean, bright and organized. The best part was that when my 3 year old went in there, he stayed in there for more than 2 hours playing….in a closet! See, even 3 year olds rather be in a space that is organized!

Ok, one more time with the Before & After photos!

Left Side - B&A (3) Right Side - B&A (3)I love it!

~Erin

Kid’s Magnet Board

I finally finished a project that was way too long in the making. It actually went through several concepts and incarnations before I got to the final product. I wanted to make a magnet board for the kids that I could keep in the ‘monkey cave’ in their room.  I’ll go into more detail on monkey cave another day, but basically it is a second closet in their room that we converted into a little play area for them.

The first magnet board concept was a board painted with magnetic paint. I went to Home Depot and they actually had 2′ x 4′ sheets of craft wood that was thin, durable and fairly smooth. They cut it into two 2′ x 2′ squares for me and I painted them with magnetic paint.

I did two coats of the magnetic paint with a small roller. Once that had dried, I painted 2 thin layers of paint I had used for my pantry. I used as little paint as possible for this part because the magnetic paint loses some of its’ magnetic properties under too many layers of latex paint. My plan was to add some decorative trim around the edges and have a cute and finished looking magnet board. Before I was able to complete that step, I came across this at a yard sale:

It’s a large cabinet door front that was just begging to be up-cycled into something fun. I actually got 3 cabinet door fronts in different sizes and I have no idea what the other 2 will turn into yet. Pretty much as soon as I got home from the yard sale, I took the hardware off of one and sanded the door front.

After that, I applied a couple of layers of Kilz primer. Now learn from me here, people. I did NOT stir the primer as well as I should have and when I first started applying it, it looked like I had just poured some Elmers glue on there and then topped it with a heavy dose of olive oil. It was completely separated and it was a horrible mess. I let it dry and then tried to re-sand, but it created little bubbles that are still there to this day! Sooooo, stir primer extremely vigorously and then apply thin coats until you get the coverage desired. Also, make sure to allow ample drying time. My patience was tested here and I think I went in a little early with the re-coats!

I painted the trim with some green paint I had left from another project. I forgot to take a photo of this step, so you’ll have to use your imagination. I considered using the magnetic paint again, but decided to try a sheet of metal. I bought a thin piece of metal from Lowe’s and cut it to fit the inside of the cabinet door panel. I used tin snips, which wasn’t easy on a 4′ piece of metal, but we had them around so that’s what I used.

I knew I wanted to cover the metal with fabric before I put it in the ‘frame’ so off to my local fabric store I went. Normally when I go into a store and someone asks me if they can help me find anything, my standard answer is “No, thank you, I’m just looking.”

When I went in the fabric store and the lady asked that question, my answer was….”I need a cotton fabric that won’t wrinkle and is easy to iron, and is fairly thin but not easy to tear and I would like a light color (but not too pastel) and it should have a little bit of a print on it (but not too distracting) and it can’t clash with light green.” Poor lady.

So I went home with my thoroughly searched for fabric. Although I felt all of my requirements above were important the two most important were that it was fairly wrinkle-free and that it was pretty thin. If I had used a thick fabric, the magnets would not stick as well. I ironed my new purchase and then my husband and I glued it around the metal sheet using Liquid Nails. I made sure to pull it taut so that it wouldn’t wrinkle on the front. Then I put a bunch of books on it and left it overnight.

The next day, we glued the fabric covered metal to the inside of the cabinet door and let it sit under books and weights for another 24 hours. Then, finally……A Completed Project!

I love it.And more importantly, the kids love it. I set it in our play room/ guest room for the kids to see it and play with it. When I said I was going to put it in Monkey Cave, you should have seen the meltdown. Evan insisted it had to stay in the playroom. So, the playroom it is. But I kept looking at the lonely Monkey Cave wall where I had envisioned the board. I decided a magnet board was going in there whether Evan liked it or not! So I went back to my original 2′ x 2′ board with magnetic paint. To be honest, I just didn’t have the energy to cut, paint and glue trim around the edges. However, I had recently gone to a teaching store (my new favorite place!) and picked up some monkey paper borders. They didn’t work for my original intended purpose so they were just laying around. I decided to cut them to size and glue them to the edge of the 2′ x 2′ board.

Now I have two equally cute and functional magnet boards in different parts of our house. Are there about a million things I would do differently next time to make the finished product better? Yep. But for now, I’m pretty happy. One more Before & After? Okay!

~Erin

Turkey Box Craft

As an organizer, I’m always looking for ways to maximize the use of things. The other day I found the perfect way to combine two projects. Me and my 3 year old made a fun craft project that was also a game! I mentioned this project in my Collectively Creative post here. I got this idea out of book of Thanksgiving craft ideas that my mother in law gave me. I changed a few things, but I like how it turned out. It was pretty simple but a lot of fun. Here’s what you need:

1 medium size cardboard box and at least 1 tiny helper:

An assortment of construction paper in fall or ‘turkey inspired’ colors:

And glue and scissors. That’s all you need.

First I cut the flaps off of one end of the box. This end will be the ‘bottom’ of the turkey. Then I drew a triangle on one of the bigger sides and cut it out with the scissors. This will be the mouth and you need to make the triangle pretty big.

Then I cut out construction paper shapes for the eyes, beak and weird turkey thing that hangs on their face over their beak. (Not sure what that’s about). I let Evan help me glue them on.

Then I cut out feathers from various pieces of construction paper and glued them to the top of the box. I had actually glued a brown piece of paper to the top of the box first to give me an even surface for the feathers. I also took one of the cardboard flaps I had cut off, bent it and taped it to the back of the feathers. This helps them stand up straight instead of falling backwards.

The instructions then say to make little bean bags out of material to use as ‘corn’ for the turkey, but we didn’t do that. Instead we crumpled up pieces of construction paper that had been cut in half. We used yellow paper for corn, but then Evan decided the turkey was REALLY hungry and wanted cherries, blackberries and grapes so off we went, crumpling up every color in the rainbow.

The best thing about this part of the craft is that it’s really fun, but it is also a great hand strengthener in little kids and helps them develop fine motor skills because of how their hands have to move.

Now it’s time to feed the cardboard turkey!

Both kids could do this part!

The kids took turns putting the ‘food’ in the turkey’s mouth. Evan also stood back and practiced throwing the food into the mouth. That was why we needed to make the triangle mouth so big, so that he could toss the paper in.

Great things about this project:

-It is very hands on.

-It involves lots of different skills for little kids to practice, like cutting, gluing, crumpling, throwing, gluing and sorting.

-The kids are able to get creative with the colors used and also use their imaginations when it comes to what the turkey is ‘eating’

-I got to see some adorable teamwork from 2 sweet little boys! (Can you tell it was pajama day at our house?)

This was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, create a memory with the kids and make a game that they could keep playing with.

I recommend this one!

~Erin

Kid’s Bathroom Organizing

So I am back from another couple days of travels with the kids. I took both kids to Phoenix for 4 days to see my family and to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday! We are back, unpacked, laundry going as I write this, and it’s good to be home!

A couple weeks ago, I got frustrated with the state of my kid’s bathroom closet. It looked like this:

Kid’s Bathroom Closet

Now, overall, it’s not horrible. It’s a really big closet and the kids don’t need too much stuff in there. But there was one shelf that was awful!!!! It was…the everything shelf!

Medicines, bath toys, cleaning supplies, lotions, shampoo, diaper bin bags…pretty much everything that wasn’t a towel. So I actually spent a while looking for some medium size bins to organize. I had a couple big bins and also those little plastic baskets, but nothing in a medium size. Then one day, I was walking through the garden section at Walmart and they randomly had a tiny clearance shelf with the perfect size baskets! I scooped up 6 of them (3 for the kids bathroom and 3 for mine).
Here is the after!

First I took everything out of the closet and cleaned the shelves, then put the towels and extra bathmat back in nice and neat.

After that, I did the purge! I think I literally threw away half of the stuff that came out of the closet. Between packages, duplicate items and a couple expired medicines, the trash can was overflowing.

With half the stuff gone, I divided everything into piles. For the 3 medium bins, I decided the categories were:

-Bath Toys – I try to switch out the bath toys so the kids have something new to play with and it also gives me a chance to clean the ‘out-of rotation’ toys and let them dry completely.

-Extras – This is for the extra bottles of lotion and shampoo I’m not using yet, as well as the replacement bags for the diaper bin.

-Misc – This is for powder and a couple of other items that just didn’t fit anywhere else.

Then I took a large shallow bin and placed 4 smaller baskets inside it. Then each basket became it’s own category, such as ‘teeth’, ‘first aid’, etc. I labeled the front of the shallow bin so each baskets contents could be easily read.

-Last but not least, I took one more small basket and labeled it ‘Daily Use’. This is for the stuff I use very often with the kids, such as vitamins, allergy meds, and nail clippers. The toothbrush and toothpaste are in the bathroom drawer, so the stuff in the basket is everything I want to keep out of reach from the kiddos!

I love how clean it looks. It also looks pretty empty, but I rather have extra space than cluttered space!

Lessons Learned:

-Keep your eyes open when you are looking for something specific to help you organize. Sometimes you have to look in unexpected places (like the clearance shelf in the garden section) for the perfect organizing tool.

-Try to be patient when looking for supplies. It took me a couple weeks to find the perfect bins, but they work sooo much better than anything else I could find and they made the actual process of organizing a lot easier.

-A labeling machine can be your best friend! It also helps others navigate your house when you have guests, babysitters etc.

Happy Neatening!

~Erin

Initial Baskets

I am not a creative person by nature. I like the idea of creativity, but it is not something that comes naturally. So I, like so many others, have turned to Pinterest for inspiration. Today’s project comes from something I repinned from my blog friend Kelly’s board. See her other pins here!

The concept was to cover wooden letters with book pages. My plan was to do this with the word READ and put it in the boys room. But I wanted to test it first, so I got two small wooden letters. I chose E and O because that’s what the kids names start with:

Then I bought a Winnie the Pooh book at a used book store. I told the guy at the store I was buying it to cut a couple pages out and I thought he was going to faint. But I assured him it was for a reading corner project and that no other books would be harmed in the making of this project.

I flipped through the book until I found a picture I thought would work size-wise for the letters. Then I cut a square of the page out for each letter and glued it to the top of the wood. I used Mod Podge for the first time ever!

Then I took a super sharp craft knife that I got for an art class in college. When was the last time I used that thing? The art class in college …and that was a looong time ago. I flipped the letters upside down and cut the extra paper off. When I flipped them back over, they looked like this!

I loved them! I sanded the edges a little and then used a couple coats of a  spray adhesive over the top just to protect them. Soon I will be posting about the other, similar project I was doing at the same time. It was NOT so easy breezy as this one.

I wanted to do something really cute with the letters since they turned out so good. I knew I had two wicker baskets in the boys room so I decided to attach the letters. I didn’t have any specific to attach them with, but I was able to find some small picture hangers in the garage, so I just hammered them into the back (well, actually my husband hammered them in while I fretted about the wood cracking).  But it was all good!

Anyways….I put a piece of string through each bracket and tied them to the baskets. Ta da!

Cute labeled baskets which are personalized, fun and easy to make. They look adorable in the boys room….now I just have to figure out what to put in them….

I’m kind of liking this DIY Craft stuff. More to come!

~Erin

 

http://cobwebscupcakesandcrayons.com/

Super Sunday!

So I arrived in Georgia yesterday afternoon after a surprisingly easy plane ride with two tired little boys! We left our house at 4:15 in the morning, drove the hour to the airport and waited in unusually long check in and security lines. I was trying to push my way to the crowd to get to the pre boarding line and I have to admit I was a little perturbed by my 3 year old who was walking soooooo slow. We were late and he was stopping to tell everyone how he was ‘going on a plane’ and ‘going to Georgia’ and ‘Owen is in the stroller’. Looking back on the situation, I am so proud of him for being so personable and smart and excited about life. But at 5 in the morning, I was like ‘Come on already!’.

So I had my backpack full of activities and healthy snacks for Evan. I had a bottle for Owen and I was going to hold him off until the plane started to take off. Also, we had been assigned to the aisle and middle seat so my plan was to politely ask the person in the window seat if they could switch to the aisle (pretty please if that’s ok with you?????). Here’s how the first 20 minutes really went:

-Owen screamed for 10 minutes as I tried to scoot Evan down the aisle.

-The person in our row wasn’t there yet so we just sat in the window and middle seat. When the guy showed up he said ‘I’m supposed to be in the window seat’ and I must have just looked at him and not said a thing because he paused for half a second and then said ‘um, I’ll just sit in the aisle if that’s ok’. I don’t technically remember giving him any particular look, but it must have been a look of absolute pleading for the window seat or else it was a death stare and he was afraid of me. Window seat…check.

-Owen’s first bottle was gone before the plane backed out of the gate.

-Evan spent the first few minutes in his seat crumbling up a strawberry Poptart EVERYWHERE!

-5 minutes into the flight, Evan was watching ‘Rio’ on my computer.

Ha!

After that, things calmed down and Owen did take a nap (after spitting up on me a dozen times) and Evan did look at flashcards and read his book about safaris. We did have healthy snacks and we sang a couple songs and practiced not kicking the seat in front of us. Another passenger carried my carry-on suitcase all the way up to the front for me after we landed and the pilot gave Evan a little plane ‘wings pin! I had no idea they still did that. How freaking cute!

Lessons Learned:

-No matter how much you organize and prepare for an event, something unexpected will probably come up and catch you by surprise.

-If you prepare as much as possible, then you know you’ve done the best you can and it makes all these little upsets sooooo much easier to deal with.

Here’s a couple pics of our trip and our 24 hours in Georgia so far:

I was so proud of both my boys and now I’m not nearly as nervous about flying back to Colorado with them. They are amazing little people and I’m blessed to be their mom. Funny side story…today Evan went around to everyone and said ‘Are you a human?’ How funny, why would he even say that? 🙂 Love those kids…..

On another note, my sister in law is pregnant (Yea!!!!) and I went with her today to start her registry. I was seriously so excited, not only because she’s having a baby, but because a registry is literally the first organizing thing you do for a new baby! And I got to share it with her! Thank you Stacy!

However, the store did not offer any kind of real checklist. Now I know everyone’s needs and wants are different, but it’s still helpful to have a general guide for anything like that. We are continuing the registry process tomorrow so tonight I searched websites and found a couple great baby registry checklists that I’ll print off for her to look at. It really does help to have something to check off and reference. And I’m such a ridiculous list person that I literally can’t do anything without a list. This registry thing is right up my alley. I’ll keep you posted on my travels through Georgia!

~Erin

Fear of Flying

In 3 days I am going on a cross country plane trip with a hyper 3 year old and a possibly teething 5 month old. I’ll pause while you gasp sympathetically. I must admit I’m pretty nervous. First of all, Owen may or may not be teething. Either way, he’s been a little extra fussy for the last few days and hasn’t exactly had a reliable nap schedule. Second, to say that Evan has an abundance of energy is a major understatement. This kid stops about as often as a hummingbird. I don’t have any idea if I will be able to corral them into plane seats for 3 1/2 hours. Not to mention the fact that our plane leaves at about 6 in the morning, so they will be up hours before they normally get up! I actually had this picture in a post early last week, but it perfectly exhibits what I’m expecting on the plane:

Enough whining. Here’s what I’m doing to prepare:

-I have a carry on suitcase, but everything I will need on the plane will be in a backpack under the seat.

-I will have sooooo many snacks. I have a stash already set aside of granola bars, raisins, dried fruit, lollipops and Buddy Fruit.

If you haven’t heard of Buddy Fruit,they are blended fruit purees in a little resealable pouch. They are about the size and shape of a Capri Sun, but they are real fruit blends and you can put the twist cap back on if your kid doesn’t finish it all at once. Genius! Hope they are good on a plane!

-I also have an ‘activity kit’ for Evan. Here is what it includes:

~I have 4 books – note that they are all thin so they store easily. I also have one book called ‘100 Things to Spot in the Town’. This is a more interactive book and Evan will probably spend more time looking through it than a typical story book. He also loves the Richard Scarry and I Spy books si I highly recommend those!

~A plastic case which holds a pad of paper, coloring book, stickers and crayons. The case snaps shut to keep all of this together and it even has a clip on the front to hold a piece of paper still while coloring.

~2 Movies – I am bringing my computer for work so I will have it available to pop in the DVD when it comes to that (and I know it will). I have super slim cases for the DVDs so they take up barely any room at all.

~And here is my absolute favorite thing I’m bringing, just because I’m pretty proud of it. I’m bringing 2 sets of flash cards. To keep them from flying all over the place, I hole punched the cards and attached the sets with a metal ring that clasps:

Evan is learning how to spell simple words, so one set is short words. The other set has pictures, colors, shapes and numbers. I think Evan is really going to like them because they are new and he can flip through them by himself. Also, each set of cards cost less than $2.00 and a set of 8 of the metal rings was also less than $2.00. So economical, so practical, great for learning, and fun for the kids! Yea!

Another great thing about these activities is when they are stacked, the whole stack is less than 3 1/2″H.

I have a couple more days to mentally prepare myself, but knowing that I have done everything I can to keep them busy and happy will make the anticipation a little more relaxing. So wish me luck everyone. I will be keeping you posted on our travels!

~Erin