School Car Line Etiquette 101

Other titles I considered for this post were “how not to be a jerk in the school car line” and “school pickup etiquette for dummies”. I truly can’t believe this needs to be written but it does. I think I am pretty patient but there is one thing that drives me crazy and that is parents that can’t follow the simple rules of drop-off and pickup. And we aren’t talking about new parents who are doing this thing for the first time….it’s April you guys. We started school in August so if someone is still acting foolish in the school car line then it is not because of lack of knowledge. So here are basic etiquette rules for the car line. Feel free to share this post with anyone you think could use the refresher…

General car line guidelines

 

Don’t cut in line.

This should be obvious because even kindergarteners can line up and wait their turn but this is the biggest problem at our school and what prompted me to write this post. We had one vehicle in particular cut in line almost EVERY WEEK FOR A YEAR AND A HALF.  There would be a line of cars and she would literally go up along the side of the line (or enter into the exit of the parking lot), pull up and BACK INTO THE FRONT OF THE LINE. Seriously. Who sees a line and thinks that reversing their car and backing into the front of it is the correct thing to do!? Now I do not like confrontation so I never talked to the parent but I would definitely sit there extremely annoyed every time she did it. Finally the staff talked to her but only after she almost backed into a staff member who was crossing to get to the parking lot. Same with the parents who try to squeeze their vehicles into the small gaps between cars. Just find the end of the line. Please. Anyway, moving on….

Pull forward.

There is no reason to leave a car’s length of empty space in between your car and the vehicle in front of you. Dozens of parents are trying to get their children to or from school every day and it takes much longer when parents don’t pull forward.

Don’t park in the line and get out of your vehicle.

The pickup and drop off lines are supposed to be moving lines. If you have to park and help your child out of the vehicle or run something inside (or for any other reason), then find a designated parking spot and park your vehicle there. Otherwise STAY IN YOUR VEHICLE during drop off and pick up times when the car line is full of parents trying to drop off or pickup their children.

Get off your phone and pay attention.

You are outside a school which means that there are kids all around you. Get off your phone and pay attention when you are driving because the kid’s lives matter more than whatever you are doing on your phone. Just put it down until you are at home or at work.

School drop off 

 

Your kid doesn’t need to be let out right in front of the door.

A few car lengths walk will not kill them. I tell my boys that every time they want to whine about having to exit the car when we are not right in front of the door to the school. I mean, I can see if it’s pouring rain or something but even then your kids won’t melt. Promise.

Make sure your child is ready to get out of the vehicle when they need to be.

School pickup time is not the time to do a long goodbye ritual, get the cold weather gear on, or fill out forms. When it’s time for them to get out of the car make sure that they are fully dressed and ready to go so you don’t hold up the line.

Let your child out in a designated area only.

The school has designated drop off and pickup areas for a reason. Letting your kid out in the middle of the parking lot may seem like a great way to avoid the car line when you are in a hurry but having them run through cars in the car line is dangerous!

School pickup

 

Get your kid and go.

You don’t need to get everything organized, have a conversation about their day, or whatever the heck else is taking you ten minutes to pull away from the curb once your child is insidee your vehicle. Just have them buckle and then pull away from the line when it’s safe to do so so other parents can pull up and get their children.

And if you choose to park…

 

If you choose to park your car so you don’t hold up the car line, first of all- thank you, but please remember the simple rules of parking lots that exist. First, the parking lot is not a race track so drive slowly and find an actual space to park in. Remember that two vertical white lines indicate a parking space and park in between them. Parking your car anywhere you please is not okay, especially if it blocks other cars from moving through the parking lot. And remember to check for cars and people when you back out of the spot! Also? Parking in a handicap space (without a placard or sticker) or in the lines between handicap spots that are designated for wheelchair ramps is not only inconsiderate of those who need to park there, it’s illegal.

Lastly, BE PATIENT.

 

I think it’s a pretty safe bet to say that no parent likes the school car line. (Personally, I’d put my kids on the bus to avoid it if I could but we are about a mile away so the school district considers us too close to be bussed. Instead, I just get there really early to try to avoid all the other crazies.) Remember that none of us want to be there so just try to stay patient. Honking at other parents or kids or displaying any other form of road range is not necessary and will probably not make them move any faster.

What to do when your child needs extra assistance.

 

This post is not geared towards the parent who is dealing with that occasional meltdown that they can’t predict or who has a child with special needs, but more for the parents who just constantly feel like the rules don’t apply to them. I understand that some kids may need extra help at drop off or pickup because they may be differently-abled in some way because I have been in that position as a mom with a child on the Autism Spectrum. I know how difficult these transition times can be so if your child needs a little extra help getting in or out of the vehicle because they are still working on self-help skills or if getting in or out of school is a struggle in other ways, here are a couple of tips that might help during drop off and pick up times: 1) Consider finding a parking spot and walking your child into school. 2) Talk with the school about having a staff member outside to help your child in or out of the vehicle if you want to use the car line or see if you can pull forward more to let other vehicles exit behind you if your child needs extra time. 3) Call the office and ask if there is another place you can arrange to drop-off/pickup your child that has less traffic and will allow for a slower exit/entrance. 4) Consider picking up or dropping off a little earlier or later if the school allows it. Every school and child is different but it’s in everyone’s best interest to find a drop off and pickup solution that works so hopefully they can assist you in this situation so you and your child can have a smooth start and end to the school day.

Thanks to the moms in my mom group who helped complete this list by sharing some of their stories. What would you add to this school car line etiquette list?

Which Sport Will Be Best For Your Child?

To say that my family is involved in youth sports is an understatement. Between my two boys, they currently participate in football, baseball, soccer, basketball, karate, gymnastics, dance, and bowling (which I guess could be considered a sport since I heard it will be in the Olympics soon!). Life is crazy at times but I let the boys participate in what they want to and have seen the many benefits that sports have brought to our family.

While my oldest is the “play everything” type, my youngest has been a lot pickier about what he wanted to do and it took a lot of trial and error to find what he loves and what he can have a successful experience participating in. Lucas struggled with the concepts of football (in his eyes intercepting the ball was cheating), thought the hour long karate class was boring and had too many rules, and didn’t really enjoy the running back and forth involved in a soccer game (which meant he spent the whole hour just wandering around the field). He does however, love the creativity he can express through dance, enjoy showing off his cartwheels at gymnastics and playing all positions on a baseball field (simultaneously lol). Thankfully we found places that can accomodate his special needs and he is thriving (mom brag alert…. he’s headed to the state competion for gymnastics through the Special Olympics!!)

I thought I’d share some of the things we learned while trying to find the perfect fit for him in hopes that it could help another parent find what works for their child without the years or trial and error we went through. Though he’s on the Autism Spectrum which probably led to some of the issues we’ve had, I think most of these things to think about can be considered for kids of all abilities. Here are some things to consider before choosing a sport for your young child to try:

What do they gravitate to during play?

Next time you head outside pay attention to what your child tends to gravitate to. Do they love playing catch? Are they kicking things around? When indoors, what active things are they doing at playtime? Do they like to wrestle with their siblings? Do they love to dance around the house? Do they pretend to be ninjas? These natural tendencies during play can give you a clue to what sport they might enjoy!

Is there anything they are naturally good at?

Sometimes children show talent at a young age for something and I think that’s definitely a sport to consider if they seem to also enjoy it. For example, my nephew and neice’s brother, who is three, was playing a carnival like hockey game this past weekend and he was hitting the ball into the goal more often than most of the children that played the game even though he was the youngest of the group by about four years. One of the adults joked that he might be a future hockey star, and though he was joking, it did seem that he might have some natural talent when it comes to hockey that may be worth exploring.

What sport is a good fit for their personality?

Sometimes a child’s personality or temperament will help guide what would be (and would not be) a good fit for them. Here are some things to ask yourself:

  • Team sport or individual sport? Does the child play well with others or prefer to play on their own? For example, a child who plays well with others might enjoy a team sport like football but someone who prefers to play on their own may like a solo sport like ice skating or golf.
  • In the spotlight or out of it? For example, a child who likes being in the spotlight may love a sport that is performed in front of an active audience like a ball game, but a child who is shy may prefer a sport that is done without a large crowd like swimming where they are in water and tuning out the people in the stands.
  • Follow the rules or create their own? For example, kids who love rules would like karate where their every step is coordinated while kids who want to be creative would probably enjoy dance more.
  • Competitive or not? For example, a child who loves competition may enjoy a team sport that keeps score like lacrosse and a child who gets anxious during competition may enjoy a sport that doesn’t keep score, like gymnastics or karate.

Have you found a sport your child enjoys? I’d love to hear about your children’s favorite sports in the comments below!

New Kitten Gift Basket

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LitterMaidWalnut #LitterMaid #CollectiveBias

Getting our two cats, and becoming a fur mommy, was one of the most memorable moments of the past five years for me. I remember heading to the store before we went to pick up Peaches and Boomer, and being so overwhelmed by all the options and leaving the store with a trunk full of things. I thought it would be fun to put together a little gift basket that would be perfect for someone adopting a kitten so they can focus on the excitement adoption brings, and not all of the “stuff” they need to buy.

Here are the items I put in the gift basket:

Cat Bed

The base of the basket holds a small, soft cat bed. Kittens may be active but they still enjoy napping in a warm, sunny spot and a cat bed is perfect for this purpose.

Toys

I filled a little plastic jar with small toys because I know from experience that cat toys tend to go missing quite easily (though I’m guessing the majority of them lost in our home could probably be found under the couch!)  Kittens have a lot of energy so little balls and other toys will get a lot of use and putting them in a small container makes it easy to give them and then gives the new pet parent something to hold them in.

Grooming Items

I included a pair of nail clippers and a brush in this gift basket. Since both items are small I hung them on the outside of the basket with decorative ribbon. Other grooming items could include cat cleansing wipes or even a lint brush for the new pet parent who will soon discover that black pants and pets don’t mix :)

Litter

Every cat parent knows that litter is a must-have item and while shopping for litter I look for two main features- that it has odor control and it’s clumping litter which makes cleaning the cat box easier. One great brand I discovered recently that has both of these features is LitterMaid® Premium Walnut which is made with natural walnut shells. Not only does it help neutralize tough litter box odors and have powerful clumping that makes clean-up quick and easy, but it’s 99% dust free which I love.

(Boomer just had to get in a photo. I think some of the toys had catnip so he jumped up and was sniffing around. Sorry Boomer, this gift basket is NOT for you!)

Picture Frame

A picture frame is a sweet idea to include because then the recepient of the basket can display a photo of themselves with their fur baby. When I got my first pet, a kitten named Boots, in 1989 we took a picture of our family all together with him and it’s still one of my favorite pictures to date.

Odor Eliminator Spray

Odor eliminating spray is great for the cat bed, the couch, or anywhere else the cats sleep on a regular basis. Coupled with the LitterMaid® Premium Walnut that neutralizes odors in the cat box, their house will stay smelling fresh and welcoming to guests.

LitterMaid® Premium Walnut is now exclusively available at Walmart and can be found in the cat litter aisle.

You can also add cat food and/or treats, a collar, a cat box, pet food dishes and more to your basket! What would you put in a gift basket to give a friend who was adopting a new cat?

Realistic Cleaning Tips For Busy Parents

Thanks to Unelko Corporation for sponsoring this post.

Out of all the things that I have to do as a mom, cleaning definitely tops the list of my least favorite tasks (with listening to my kids whine as a close second lol). Nevertheless, cleaning is something that must be done so today I’m sharing some of my top cleaning tips for busy parents. The best part? These are all realistic! I’m not giving you a list of 20 things you need to clean in a day or expecting you to make cleaning your house a full-time job. After all, we all have errands to run, kids to love on, and a few dozen shows we’d love to binge watch. Whether you are in the season of motherhood known as the toddler years, your kids are finally back in school after the flu ravaged your home, or you just can’t seem to keep your house tidy even on the best of days, read on for cleaning tips that will work for you!

The room-by-room cleaning method

We are going to start with one task that will work on even the messiest of homes- pick a room that is the easiest to clean up (or parents of littles may want to start with a room the kids don’t frequent often) and tackle that room at naptime, after the kids go to sleep, or (if you have older kids) on the weekend when they can help. (BTW- the entry of your home can totally count as a “room” here!) Personally, I have found this is the best way to clean because you can actually see the progress which creates momentum, unlike cleaning a little bit here and there throughout your home and then an hour later it looks exactly the same. This motivates me to not only keep it clean but makes it easier to tidy up.

When doing this room-by-room cleaning method I start by moving stuff that belongs elsewhere. I don’t put it away but instead just drop and run back to the room I was working on (because we all know that story about the mouse who wanted a cookie and ended up doing a million other things….) Those who have a large home may want to just gather up anything that doesn’t belong into a laundry basket so you aren’t running around and wasting time. I put away and tidy things up and then sweep or vacuum and clean surfaces. I don’t organize drawers. I don’t pull everything out of the closet and start an organizing project. I pick up and tidy what can be seen and save the projects for another time. After all, I just want my house to be presentable should someone stop by. Once I’ve gone through the above and done this for all rooms, I mop the floors. This may take a few days but then you can start my next steps with a semi-clean home.

Create a cleaning plan that works for your schedule

I found a daily/weekly/monthly schedule works best for me and suggest that you create a cleaning plan that works for your schedule. I have a short daily list that consists of two 15 minute pickup times (one in the morning after my kids have gone to school but before I start my work day and one in the evening) and some basic bare-minimum cleaning. I have a weekly list that are things I don’t need to do daily but at least want to do once during the week, along with larger deep cleaning tasks and organizing projects I have on a monthly list. Some days I’ll get one or two weekly or monthly tasks done, other days I just get the daily basic tasks completed and then there are the days when I’m trying to meet work deadlines or am too busy to even enjoy my coffee and nothing gets done. It happens to us all and honestly, if your kids are fed and happy, just call the day a win and realize that tomorrow is a new day to try again!

Use Invisible Shield® cleaning products because they work well and minimize future cleaning time

If you are spending time cleaning you want to use products that work well and make cleaning easy. I love the line of Invisible Shield® products that shield and protects glass and other surfaces because not only do they work, but they minimize cleaning time in the future by protecting against re-soiling and stains without all the harsh chemicals. When you go back to clean the second time, you’ll notice far less soiling, dust and spotting and how effortless it is to go over the surface. The Invisible Shield® Marble & Granite Cleaner and Protector even leaves a lustrous shine that will last longer than any other Marble or Granite cleaner! Their products also prevent corrosion around water areas such as faucets, sinks, shower doors, wall tile, and tubs, extending the life of hard surfaces & fixtures. Anything that protects our home investement and lets us spend less time cleaning the shower and more time cuddling on the couch with the kids is a must-have if you ask me!

While all the products are amazing, my favorites in the line are the Invisible Shield® Water Spot & Stain Remover and the Invisible Shield® Protective Glass & Surface Coating that let me tackle one of the most difficult and time consuming areas to clean- the bathroom- with ease. They specifically help with the shower, removing stains and protecting the build up from coming back. Just look at the difference below and it only took minutes to clean! Plus, the protective glass & surface coating saves valuable time because it reduces the need to squeegee and keeps glass cleaner longer.

I love the brighter appearance that cleaning with these products give all my surfaces because shiny glass, counters, and more make my house look cleaner, even when there are toys strewn about the floor as my kids play!

Keep a list of quick tasks you can do when you have a few minutes

When you are a busy parent you need to utilize every second of the day to the best of your ability. So often I’d find myself checking my phone or just standing around as I waited on hold or for the water to boil or any of the other times I’d find myself with a few minutes. I suggest making a list of quick tasks you can do in 3-5 minutes of time so when you find yourself with a few extra minutes you can complete something on the list. Things like cleaning a mirror, wiping down the baseboards in a room, or throwing a load of laundry in the washer can all be done in minutes. Five minutes may not seem like a lot of time to get something done but if you had just 10 minutes a day to do a quick task or two, you’d have about 60 hours of “extra” cleaning time each year!

Ask for help

As much as we think we can do it all, we can’t. Don’t be afraid to ask your partner or kids for help with cleaning. I know it often seems like there is so much to do around the house and we get frustrated when they can pass up that stuff on the step waiting to go upstairs or the overflowing trash can, but sometimes our family members just need us to be clear about what we need from them. They aren’t mind readers after all! Start by giving them specific tasks or asking them to do something on a daily or weekly basis to take some of the cleaning responsibilities off your to-do list.

You can purchase the Invisible Shield products on Amazon and they even have bundles like the Household Spray Cleaner Combo (which includes the Invisible Shield Glass & Surface Cleaner & Stainless Shine and Marble and Granite) and the Glass Essentials Combo (which includes the Invisible Shield Glass & Surface cleaner, Water Spot & Stain Remover, and Protective Glass & Surface Coating).

Do you have any cleaning tips to share? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below but before you go, enter the giveaway to win some of these amazing products yourself!

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12 Things I Want To Do More Of With My Kids In 2018

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of On-Cor. The opinions and text are all mine.

You may have noticed that I didn’t make a New Year’s Resolution post this year. Usually I have a long list of goals that I want to work on throughout the year but this year I decided to keep it simple and really focus on what was important. In years past I had a laundry list of things like “read 10 books” and “save money” and that was great and all (and still things I’d love to do) but this year I have only two things I’m going to focus on- self-care and more family time. For the later, I brainstormed things I wanted to do more of with my kids in 2018 so I thought I’d share them. Obviously, “more family time” is really broad but I figured I’d come up with 12 ideas- one for each month of the year- of what I want to do more of with my boys.

I want to eat dinner together more often. 

We used to eat dinner together every night but it doesn’t happen as often as I’d like it to anymore between sports schedules and work schedules. I’ve found that making easy meals, like On-Cor Frozen meals, is the best way to make this happen because they are ready in just minutes. I’ve stocked up on some of our microwave favorites and hearty entrées, like the Macaroni & Cheese, Penne Pasta & Meatballs with Tomato Sauce and the “Selects” Lasagna with Meat Sauce, so I’m always ready for “one of those” nights I’m too busy to cook.

I want to travel more as a family.

This past year we didn’t go nearly as many places as I would have liked to so I hope to travel more in 2018. Traveling with my family and introducing them to new places is one of my favorite things to do! Hopefully we will visit a handful of places here in the Midwest and take at least one or two longer vacations.

I want to have more family game nights.

We used to have game night pretty much every Friday so I’d love to get back to that now that the holidays are over. We got a number of new games as well so there are plenty to play. Whether we sit in front of the cozy fireplace or play on our back porch in the warmer months, game time is a great way to start the weekend off right.

I want to bake more with my kids.

Lucas baked cookies with Daddy on New Year’s Eve and it made him so happy! Though baking can be very messy I think that it’s something that is worth the mess. (Plus warm cookies out of the oven are one of the best things ever.) I have a new cookbook with kid-friendly recipes that I can’t wait to make with my kids.

I want to spend time together exploring local towns.

When the boys were younger we’d visit a new local place weekly and it was so fun to discover all the things there were to do that were just a short drive away. From going on paddleboats to visiting the zoo to hiking to a hidden waterfall, spending the day together exploring local towns is a fun way to spend the day together (and it’s much more enjoyable than spending the day cleaning!)

I want to spend more time doing puzzles together.

I love puzzles and the boys do as well. We have a big table in our tv room now that’s perfect for puzzles so I hope to always have a puzzle out that we can work on here and there.

I want to go on more family walks.

Walking around with no destination in mind is a nice way to spend an afternoon. Whether we are walking slowly down a bike path on a warm, sunny afternoon or exploring the streets of a little Michigan town on a cold, snowy day, it’s nice to just spend time together walking around and seeing what we find.

I want to spend more time crafting together.

In 2018 I hope to make a lot more crafts together. From decorations to gifts, there is so much that we can make ourselves and I think it would be fun to create things with them.

I want to spend more time playing with my boys, especially when they are playing outside.

Whether it’s playing tag or tossing around a football, I hope to participate in whatever my boys are playing instead of just sitting and watching them play.

I want to spend more time camping.

I’ve camped since I was a little girl and last summer I really came to realize all the amazing benefits of camping. There’s just something about being in nature, away from most of our technology, that creates the perfect atmosphere for quality family time making great memories together.

I want to read more books together.

When the boys were little we read books every day but now that they are older we don’t read together as much. I want to find some good chapter books and read them together, a chapter at a time.

I want to spend more time together talking (and truly listening).

My boys are getting older and I’m realizing that soon enough they are going to prefer talking to friends over their mom. I really want to practice being a better listener, even when they are telling me hour long stories about stuff they’ve watched on YouTube.

There are so many ways to connect as a family and I’m looking forward to a year of rediscovering all of the fun things we have done in the past. What is your favorite thing to do with your family?

If you are busy, but still want to make meal time together a priority this year like I do, you’ll want to check out On-Cor’s line of entrées. On-Cor is just a freezer away for an always easy, always satisfying and always ready solution for “one of those nights.” Their frozen, fully-cooked meals are conveniently packaged and ready to heat and serve so you can spend more time making memories and less time in the kitchen. The multi-serve entrée products feature popular flavors and varieties including Macaroni & Cheese, made with 100% real cheese, which is one of our favorites.

For your next family meal, head to the freezer aisle of Jewel (or check out the store locator at www.on-cor.com) to pick up one of On-Cor’s entrées. You’ll also want to enter the giveaway because it includes a coupon for a free On-Cor entrée!

I’d love to hear what things you love to do with your family and what New Year’s Resolutions you have in the comments below.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of On-Cor. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

Mommy To “Bee” Gift Basket

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NatureMadePrenatalDHA #CollectiveBias

I think that one of life’s greatest blessings is children so it’s no wonder that pregnancy is celebrated like it is in our culture. From baby showers to gifts, moms to be are often overwhelmed with love from their friends and family. I created a cute little “Mommy to Bee” gift basket that is perfect to give as a gift to someone who is expecting. What you include can depend on the mom that’s receiving the gift basket but I included some necessities that I used when I was pregnant with my own boys.

Essentials I added into my gift basket:

  • Nature Made Prenatal Multi + 200 mg DHA Vitamins from Sam’s Club- because a healthy mom equals a healthy baby
  • Peppermints – relieve dry mouth and freshen breath (especially needed during the 1st trimester)
  • Decorated journal – to document the pregnancy
  • Mom mug – for tea or coffee
  • Nail polish – to brighten those toes before she can’t see them anymore
  • Stretch mark lotion – to help prevent stretch marks
  • Chocolate – does this need an explanation?
  • Tin with lip balm in it – for dry, chapped lips

Other ideas include:

  • Gingerale and crackers – for queasy stomachs
  • Pickles – a commonly craved food during pregnancy
  • A coupon for a month’s worth of maid service – mom will be busy with the baby and will need help around the home
  • Pregnancy book – to refer to when she has questions in the middle of the night
  • “Mom to be” holiday ornament – a cute item to add if you are giving this around the holidays

Before I added the things to my gift basket I decorated the outside of it with letters that say “mommy to” and then I added a large bee shape to make it “mommy to bee”. I added bows to the sides of the container to make it even cuter (I just can’t resist big bows and if the baby is a girl they can be used as hair ties when she gets older). Once you’re done decorating the outside you can add some crinkle paper and tissue paper inside the basket as a base for all the goodies if you’d like.

I tried my best to keep this gift for mom and not add any baby items in it. It was a hard thing to do because there is tons of adorable baby stuff out there! Keep in mind that as the months go by and the mom has the baby she probably won’t get much for herself (#MomLife) so you want to make this about her as much as possible.

What you add will depend on the mom you are giving it to, but I think the prenatal vitamins are must-haves in the basket because a healthy mom equals a healthy baby. Nature Made Prenatal Multi + 200 mg DHA Vitamins provides essential vitamins and minerals (before and during pregnancy) including Folic Acid, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Iodine, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D3†. It also provides 200 mg DHA which may help support fetal brain and eye development † and Folic Acid which is an important B Vitamin for Women of Childbearing Age and Pregnant Women because it plays a critical role in the proper development of the baby’s nervous system.†

Nature Made Prenatal Multi + 200 mg DHA Vitamins, made from carefully selected ingredients under strict manufacturing processes, are available in an easy-to-swallow softgel and can be purchased from Sam’s Club. They contain No Synthetic Dyes, No Yeast or Starch, No Artificial Flavors, are Gluten Free and have clinically proven absorption of Folic Acid and Iron.

What would you include in your “mom to bee” gift basket? I’d love to hear what you think are the essentials for newly pregnant mamas!

†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Why Camping Trips Make Some Of The Best Family Vacations

I love taking mini-vacations with my family and I’ve shared before about how much we enjoy camping. There’s just something about being in nature, away from most of our technology, that creates the perfect atmosphere for quality family time making great memories together. I wanted to share why I believe that camping trips make some of the best family vacations, whether you visit a campsite across the country or just camp overnight in the next town over.

Camping creates the most uninterrupted family time together. When we are at home we are all going different directions, between work, school, sports and activities. When we are camping though, we spend most of our time together. Camping trips mean your family is with each other from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep (and even then you stay together sleeping in the same tent or cabin!)

Everyone pitches in and gets the work done on the campsite. Whether it’s pitching the tent, building the campfire, or making dinner, everyone’s help is needed to get the job done. Often at home we don’t spend time doing all of the daily chores together but it’s nice to work as a team to make things run smoothly.

Camping trips are made for relaxing. For the most part, camping is a pretty unscheduled vacation. There are no places you need to be early in the morning and no dinner reservations to keep. Most of the time camping is spent just sitting around the campfire- what could be more relaxing than that?

Families get a break from electronics while camping. Nowadays most families, including our’s, are addicted to their technology. Camping is a pretty unplugged vacation with no tv, no video games and limited cell reception and wi-fi. We bring our phones along but try to limit use to the early mornings (when the boys wake up before the sun!) and then a little bit in the evenings while the kids are waiting for dinner to cook on the campfire or grill. It’s a change for the boys but they don’t seem to mind that much because they are too busy playing or roasting marshmallows for s’mores.

Kids can have more independence at a campground than they might get otherwise. Since many campgrounds are fairly small, kids can get a sense of independence while still being under the watchful eyes of their parents. I was able to let my boys go to the playground and walk around with other kids while watching them from my chair at our campsite. This made my boys feel like “big kids” but still gave me comfort knowing where they were and what they were doing.

Campgrounds are a great way for kids to meet different types of people, practice their social skills and make new friends. Since families tend to stay at campgrounds for at least a couple days (and sometimes even a week or more) children can develop friendships with kids that come from different states and backgrounds than they do. This last time we went camping, Lucas- who typically has a harder time making new friends- quickly became friends with a girl about his age and he spent a lot of time playing with her. They got along so well that the second he woke up in the morning he was standing at our cabin door waiting to see when she woke up so he could go play with her. It was the cutest thing to watch and I loved seeing the friendship they had formed in less than a day.

Camping gets kids outside. I’ll be honest- my kids don’t spend nearly as much time outside as they should (and most of the time they are outside is spent dong structured activities like sports). Camping is a great way to get kids outside playing and leads to a lot of spontaneous fun. We love bringing balls, toy rockets, and other things that they can play with.

Campgrounds often offer a lot of free fun. Once you pay for the campsite rental most everything else is free. We’ve enjoyed hayrides, flashlight candy hunts, face painting, swimming in the pool, a jumpy, mini-golf, a playground and more! It’s nice not having to pay for every little thing we want to do and it ends up being a fairly cheap vacation.

Have you ever gone camping with your family? I’d love to hear about your favorite camping memories in the comments below! (P.S.- Don’t love the idea of tent camping? I’ve discovered camping cabins and I’m in love!)