Part of Me Blog

mom life

our road-trip travel hacks + must-haves

TRAVEL, LIFESTYLE, MOMLIFElissa-anglin1 Comment
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So far this summer we’ve spent about 60 hours in the car as a family, getting to our vacations. :) It’s not been near as bad as I anticipated, and we’ve learned a few trips along the way- so I’m here to share!

Our best road-trip travel hacks:

  • Slip on shoes for kids. Keep in one place when inside the car so you don’t have to search for them every time you need to get out. We especially love Natives so this is usually what they are wearing.

  • Small neck pillow and blanket for each kid. We keep in a basket of these in the back of the car all the time.

  • We are big fans of leaving early in the morning so that we can take a pit stop at lunch. So, we get up early. To help the kids sleep, and because I just love it, I keep my car diffuser on all the time- usually with a relaxing scent like lavender. I will throw some peppermint oil in there if I’m driving and feeling sleepy and it perks me up right away. This is the one I have, and it works well, though I wish I would have tried this one since it doesn’t take up a cupholder.

  • Unlimited screen time & cell phone hotspot or downloaded movies. That’s right- we give our kids unlimited screen time and turn on one of our cell phone hotspots while driving. We came really close to using up all of our data this month, but didn’t and it was worth it for the peace and quiet! Also, we say “unlimited” screen time, but in reality they fall asleep watching or their devices die. If you don’t want to turn on your hotspot, you can download selected movies from Netflix for free. They expire in a week so be sure to do it just before your trip. A couple of must-haves for this are some good headphones (we have had plenty break, these are the best), durable iPad cases. We keep a designated backpack to hold all 3 tablets, headphones, and chargers so that they are easily found when not in use.

  • Stay hydrated- We also always bring an insulated mug for both Shawn and I and a water bottle for each kid. The kids know they are in charge of their own cup, so it gives them a little responsibility- though we are still picking them up a lot! Did you know you get a .10 discount if you bring your own mug to Starbucks?! Also, on this note- you’ll want to check out the travel potty that we love because it definitely came in handy!

  • I bought several snacks in bulk at Sam’s before the trip and they really came in handy and kept us from buying junk at the convenience store. (However, my love for chewy Sweet Tarts did overpower me once!) For these trips I bought fruit snacks, Goldfish, Pop Chips, zBars, turkey pepperoni, bottled water, powdered flavorings for water, Babybel cheese, and apples. We kept them all in my favorite travel cooler bag with these flexible ice packs and the cold items stayed nice and cool!

  • Get a good gas station routine. To cut down on time and confusion at pit stops (and there are many when you have 3 littles), we stick to this plan every time- Shawn gets gas and takes Knox to bathroom, I clean out trash and take girls. Seems small, but saves us a lot of stress.

  • I always bring a small dish brush (this one fits in my toiletry bag) and a travel sized container of dish soap. I’ve used it for so many things- namely cleaning our water bottles, but they have come in handy with shoes, stains, and lots of other things!

  • I love to pack with compression bags. I have found I can fit so much more in and keep it all organized with them.

  • When there’s room, I bring a foldable laundry hamper that I set up in the room where we are staying. Makes doing laundry after we get home a breeze and keeps the room clean.

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I love a good list- so here are some things that makes life easier for us when traveling!


IN THE CAR

AUX Cable with iPhone/iPad charger port

• Band-Aids (these are for practical purposes but also entertain when you’re in a pinch! Warning- they make lots of trash)

The Best Portable Potty Seat + Liners (we LOVE this foldable potty seat and the throw away liners. It comes with a bag to store everything in and fits under a seat!)

Car Seat Protectors & Kick Mats


FOR THE KIDS

Cute backpacks they can carry

Contigo cups

Boogie Wipes (we love the grape ones)

Kid’s Melatonin (We first used these to help with jet lag while in China, and they work so well for our kids that we now take them with us whenever we travel.)

Kickee Pants Blankets So soft and lightweight, fold up to a small size

Boogie Board

Water Wow

Wikki Stix

• Our Favorite Activity Books

Durable Headphones

Tough iPad Cases


FOR THE BABIES

Tula Carrier

Airlight Carrier - we used this when the Tula was too hot. The airlight is mesh and breathable, perfect for a newborn to about 6 months. It packs small and is also great for water/splash pad/pool situations because it dries quickly. Of course, I wouldn’t swim in it- but it was nice to have when I was supervising one child while wearing another.

Snack Cups

Portable Placemat


BEAUTY/HEALTH

• Mineral Sunscreen (my favorite for face, for body)

Essential Oil Carrier

Oils that I typically carry are

  • Thieves - germ blaster

  • R.C. - excellent for congestion

  • Lavender - sooooo many uses but great for allergies, bug bites, promoting sleep

  • Peppermint - Shawn swears by this for headache relief, great for tummy aches and cooling in the heat

  • DiGize - for all those tummy troubles after adventurous eating

  • Geranium - this is a MUST HAVE for us because Liv gets nosebleeds and this oil stops them quickly

  • Oregano - ear infections, other infections)

Travel Size Dry Shampoo

• Travel Size Dish Soap

Small Dish Brush

Thieves Hand Sanitizer (Young Living)

Probiotics (we use Life 9 by Young Living)


LUGGAGE + GEAR

Hardside Rolling Suitcases - These are great because they are expandable and hold a lot.

Foldable Laundry Hamper

CamelBak - I bought one of these years ago and now Shawn mostly carries it. It’s been great for family camp and other days when we’ve been outside a lot.

Tough Luggage Tags with Privacy

Compression Bags

Double Inline Stroller - This one folds down relatively small and we have loved it!

• Extra Gallon Ziploc Bags/a few empty plastic grocery sacks- these are great for alllllll sorts of things. Use them as a dry bag or to cover super dirty shoes. They don’t take up much room and I love having them because I always find a use for them.


BEACH SPECIFIC

Foldable Cart (Beach) - Thankfully, the condo we rented had one of these, but we found out quickly that the wheel size matters! This cart is pricier but worth it when you’re dragging your stuff across the sandy beach.

Portable Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

Pop-up Beach Tent - a MUST HAVE with an infant!


GO-TO SNACKS

Freezable Tote

Dried Chile Mango (addicting!!!)

Larabars (Lemon is my fave!)

ClifKid Zbars

• Turkey Pepperoni

• Beef Jerky

Yeti Ramblers for Coffee

Nalgene Water Bottles

SHOP THE POST


liv jumping on the bed

MOMLIFElissa-anglinComment

I had an impromptu shoot with Liv a few weeks ago and am finally getting some time to edit them. These are some of my favorite images I've shot of her because they are just completely her! Messy hair, baby dolls, and lots of jumping. 

I shot these with my D750 with a 24-70 2.8 lens. I stayed right around 2.8 1/500 with my ISO at 1250 the entire time. 

I also shared my editing process in my Moms Who Snap group earlier today and that video is available to watch for the next couple of days if you'd like to check it out!

Ready to harness the power of your fancy camera and learn to shoot in manual? Or want to learn how I use Adobe Lightroom to edit? Check out my Skillshare classes! They are perfect for beginners- http://www.partofmeblog.com/photoworkshops/

Click on either image below to get 2 free months of Skillshare- more than enough time to complete both classes!

my wonder women tribe

MOMLIFElissa-anglinComment

You guys, Shawn and I just saw the new movie Wonder Woman. I know- #latetotheparty...but, kids. 

It is literally 12:00 a.m. and I am ready to hit the gym. I can't be the only woman who just wanted to go kick some ass after watching that, right?! Simply. Amazing. 

I loved so much about the movie- there is not one aspect that I felt was ill-conceived or executed- and I am NOT a typical superhero movie lover. I can't even tell you the last superhero movie I saw- but Wonder Woman was just awesome. 

Enough about the movie. This post really isn't about that. This post is about my friends. You see, somehow on my wandering train of thought, the movie got me to thinking about real-life wonder women. I've got to believe that the main reason Wonder Woman (the movie) has been so popular since it debuted is because every woman wants to be her. And why not? She is a total badass.

But I started thinking about my friend group. I have such an interesting array of friends- some I've shared years of memories with. Some I've grown very close very quickly with. Others that I don't typically see eye to eye with yet we still need each other. And I realized just how many Wonder Women I get to be around, day by day.

I have a friend who prays so consistently for me that she will check in on me just to let me know she is still interceding for me- even after I've already given up on it and stopped even talking to God about it.

I have a friend who devotes at least half her week to pouring meaning and purpose (and food and other necessities) into kids who literally do not have any real understanding of family or unconditional love.

I have a friend who confronts conflict like it is something to be glared at, worked out, and once it's all over, smiled at with a "good game" pat on the back.

I have a friend who has witnessed friends betray her without apology, and yet she still persists in being genuine, graceful, and true to herself and Jesus.

I have a friend who chooses to hope and speak gospel truth in the face of infertility and purposefully loves on many kids each week (including my own).

I have a friend who isn't afraid to love a little girl that needs it- even though her foster daughter's future is still unknown.

I have a friend who isn't afraid to say "depression" or "anxiety"- no matter what uninformed misunderstandings it may bring (including my own- can we add forgiveness as another attribute as well?)

I have a friend who isn't afraid to leap- and change all of her life circumstances to do just what God has called her to do.

I have a friend who chooses to live uncomfortably- to raise her children in a new and different culture- just so that they might meet a few who need to have their lives changed forever.

Y'all, I could go on and on- the truth is, most of the incredible women I get to be around day in and day out are undeniably brave overcomers. They choose to do the good thing even when it's hard. And that is so stinking beautiful. 

Proverbs 31:17 (the Virtuous Woman passage) says: 

She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong.

After seeing Wonder Woman, how appropriate is that?!? Regardless of the battles we are fighting, it takes a warrior to win the battle. It takes a Wonder Woman- and it doesn't take much to recognize how each friend is a Wonder Woman in her own right- every single day. 

Makes me thankful for my tribe of believing women- and more encouraged to continue to "gird myself with strength" in my own battles. What's so incredible is that the movie I watched tonight IS real, and is playing out right before our eyes. Yes, I do wish I had a cool sword, ridiculously gorgeous fishtail braided hair and a truth lasso (I mean, how amazing would that be to use on a 6 year old boy who loves to...shall we say...alter the truth?!?)- but I do have my own, very real weapon in the God whom I know goes to battle for me (Deut. 1:30). And, if you're a woman of faith, you do too. 

Thanks Wonder Woman. Maybe I'll braid my hair tomorrow.