Yay!! We leave in just a little over 24 hours for 9 days of Family Fun!!
First of all, 21 hours of car time. But no worries. I am prepared and loaded for BEAR.
First off, we have an awesome practically new Toyota Sienna WITH DVD PLAYER. Let me just say that the best part about this is that the kids won't fall asleep during the day, so when we stop at night, they will be tired enough to sleep so us, the drivers, can sleep as well.
Speaking of which, every other trip we have taken, we always talk about stopping, but I think a hotel room should cost $50. So when we drive by on I-70 and everything is $75-80-99, we decide not to stop. KOA is $20 and I don't feel like paying that and then having to set up the tent either. So this year we got on priceline and bought nice hotel room in Denver for $50. My first time bidding on something on Priceline! VICTORY! It has a pool in case the kids need to get some energy out before bed. I'm not allowing us to watch the TV though. We are stopping so we can get sleep! That way we will not end up at a truckstop somewhere in Wyoming at 4 a.m. trying to snatch a nap because we just can't drive another minute. Ahh sweet sleep.
Second, I have coloring books, including one of those cool ones that has the colors printed on it and you "paint" it with a wet q-tip. My kids have never seen one so it will be a huge hit.
We are not taking crayons because those melt in the hot car, so we will be taking colored pencils and markers. I also have batteries for Bubba's sudoku puzzle game and his rubix cube game.
Third, I am giving the kids some control over their snacks. They will each have a snack bag and be responsible for portioning out their own treats. This way, I hope they will bug me for things less. Don't worry, I'm keeping back snacks so we are not left bereft if they gobble all the treats in the first hour of driving.
Speaking of snacks, I put a great deal of thought and friend research into choosing snacks that would be yummy but not too sticky or messy AND not make us feel sick by the end of our trip. Here is what I came up with:
Cheddar whale crackers (cheaper than goldfish and just as tastey)
Then in the cooler:
Grapes (were on my list, but at $3 a pound, did not make the budget after all)
chive & onion cream cheese for the wheat thins
Blueberry Bagels (with choice of plain or strawberry cream cheese)
already peeled boiled eggs **this is a maybe
baby dill pickles and toothpicks
PB&J on store bread already made up and cut in cute triangles
slices of cheddar cheese
lunch meat (turkey) for sandwiches or just eating
Side note(these snacks and food for 2 days of car travel cost the same as a week of groceries. yikes! That is the hard thing about travel food. maybe i'll be lucky and can stretch it for the two day trip home as well. After looking at my list, it seems heavy on the candy. It didn't seem that way in the store....)
What did not make the list
Granola bars (my kids never quite finish the ends and then drop those sticky messes on the car seat for me to find later)
Suckers (same reason)
laughy taffy and fruit snacks(same reason)
oreos & animal crackers (same reason)
cookies & graham crackers & homemade bread-- too crumbly
One of my friends says she has her kids wear their shirts inside out in the car. That way when the get where they are going, they turn the shirts right side out and look clean. GENIUS!!!!!!!!!
Last of all, I have a bag of magic tricks for when the kids just can't make it another mile. I scored some pretty sweet stuff at the dollar store, including a set of travel games and one of those magnetic fishing games where the fish rotate around and their mouths open and close. also one of those pictures that you can change the hairstyle by moving the iron filings around with a magnet, a mini magna doodle and a mini etch-a-scketch.
If only my printer worked and I could print off a few Madd Libbs games for Bubba and Magpie, it would all be perfect. None of the coloring book places had Madd Libbs. Just endless crossword puzzles. you'd think they could have ONE madd libbs book.
I still need to compile the CD's and DVD's for traveling and see if the library has any good books on tape. But I think we'll be good.
I can't wait to see all my family good times will be had, and probably enough good belly laughs to keep us all out of the hospital for another year. Plus I'll meet some of my husband's family that I've never met in person before. His family has never done a reunion, so he tried to organize one this year. He didn't get very much response, and got pretty discouraged for awhile. I think he wanted more involvement on the planning side. I kept telling him, just plan a potluck at the park and tell people when to show up. That's what we've finally done, reserved a park pavillion by a lake, so .....here's hoping lots of cousins come!!