Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Part 3- Capsules for Kids




Part 3- Capsules for Kids!
Hi friends,

The last part in this series is creating a capsule for your kids. I know creating a capsule for yourself can be a big enough challenge, but once you've got that down, creating one for your kids is pretty simple! Kids can either be super picky or not care, and regardless of which they are, creating a capsule is super easy to do.

1. First step is to clean out and purge your child's wardrobe.

Get rid of anything that doesn't fit, is damaged, stained or that they wont wear (don't like). If your child is older they may want to help in this process, and that's great. 
Once you've created your pile of items you no longer want, divide it the same way you did with your own wardrobe. Create 3 piles, sell, donate and toss. Depending on the ages of your children some of these items might be barely worn and in great condition and those are your re-sell. Other items can be donated or tossed (if damaged or stained, etc). 




2. Review your preferences

I find the easiest way to create a capsule for kids is to start with a colour palette and to focus on function. For our kids, they prefer clothes that are comfortable, easy to get on and that they can move in. In regards to colour and style, they don't really have many preferences (yet!) so that allows me to easily create their capsule. In terms of needs, we need school clothes, play clothes, and a few dressy items. Depending on your lifestyle, you may need more than one type of clothing or another so evaluate this and figure out how often you need dress clothes v.s play clothes, etc. 

3. Make a list of brands

I have certain brands I prefer, based on price, style and durability. I tend to look for those brands when buying second hand as well as new. Since I know those clothes fit my children well and work for us, I tend to buy less, because I know they will last. When it comes to the play clothes, I will always buy used as I don't really want to spend a lot on something that will likely get ripped or stained. 
I have 3 main brands I prefer and then a few small shops that I also love along with a few consignment shops I prefer. Choosing brands is completely a personal preference. I don't think you should pick a brand you like based on cost, it should be based on what fits your child well, what style you prefer and how durable it is. 

4. Make an exception (or 2)

My kids don't tend to care much at this age about what they wear. My oldest really only cares about the clothing being soft and comfy so that allows me the freedom to create their colour palettes for them. I do have a few exceptions though. I allow them to pick anything they want when it comes to pyjama's, socks and underwear. Since I don't really care if these items match or not, they get the choice to pick what they want and it doesn't matter if it fits in with the capsule or not. If you have a child that is very particular with their clothing, and you still want to be able to create a capsule with them, work with them to create the colour palette- you pick a few colours, they pick 2, OR give them some items that they can choose freely (pyjamas, shoes, socks, etc).

5. Pick what works for you and your child

I occasionally have people ask me if my kids get bored of the clothing I pick or why I always dress them in the same things. Honestly, its because 1. We like it (both the kids and I) 2. It works well for keeping a capsule 3. Its cost effective. 4. They usually look put together and clean 5. It makes it super easy for both them and us to pick an outfit quickly and easily that we can all agree on. One day it will change (I remember when my brother went through a phase of red hair and baggy pants!), but until then, this method works for us. We never have issues getting dressed or ready in the mornings, we all match and we all like how we dress. So do what works for YOU. Not what others think you should do!



6. Figure out what items you need

Every year, a few months before the next season I take inventory of what we have and what we need. I usually try to stick to a certain number of bottoms for each kid and tops. I watch out for sales on the brands I love and buy as soon as I see them. One of my favourite brands just had a huge sale a few months ago, so I bought a lot of what my kids needed for summer at that time. Anything I wasn't able to get there, I'll find at the other brands I prefer and I'll fill in the gaps with second hand and consignment shopping. 

I feel that one of the key tips to creating a capsule for your children is to be aware of what they enjoy wearing and what fits them best. Each child is so different and you might find that although a sweater looks fantastic on the hanger or on another child,  it doesn't fit your child well or they didn't like wearing it. Every time we change seasons I go through my kids clothing and make note of what they wear the most. Those are the items I'll buy again and again. If they didn't wear it, I'll sell or donate it and make a mental note as to why.



I hope this helps you in creating your own capsule for your children. One of the biggest benefits in doing this is that it will save you time and money in the long run, and who doesn't like that!

Melissa









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Thursday, 17 May 2018

Part 2- Modifying your Capsule



Part 2- Modifying your Capsule

Hi friends,
Alright so part 2 in this series is sharing with you some tips on how to modify your capsule for the changes in the seasons. We seem to have jumped right into summer this year (after an rough winter), but I've still seen a few spring days here are there, so I'm going to talk about transitioning to Spring!

Spring is my favourite season. I love how it brings about new life and a desire to clean and refresh. Plus I love the anticipation for summer! I'm a big fan of Spring clothing, everything is so white and bright and, ah I just love it.

So when you're transitioning your capsule to a new season, I feel there are a few steps you should take to start:

1. Think about what items you tend to wear more in the season you are in. For example, in Spring do you tend to wear a lot of pants or do you prefer skirts? Do you like layering (tank tops with cardigans) or do you prefer light sweaters? Find themes in your clothing and figure out the types of pieces you wear the most. Make a mental list of those. Those are the items you want to keep in mind, when buying some staple pieces.

2. Purge anything you didn't wear last year. If you didn't wear it last year, you likely wont wear it this year, so clear those items out.

3. Figure out your colour palette. You've probably already started doing this with your Winter or Fall capsule, but that might change for Spring. For me, my wardrobe colour palette tends to consist of white, black, grey, blues and greens. The overall palette doesn't really change depending on the season, but I might wear more of a particular colour in a certain season (more white in summer, less black, etc). So if you tend to wear lighter colours in the summer, make a mental note of that too. Having a colour palette that you generally stick with, will also help you with outfit planning as everything can be mixed and matched and works together!

At this point, you've got things somewhat sorted. You've got a mental list of the following:
- items you wear often
- colours you wear most
and you've paired down your wardrobe to just the things you love.



Now, your next step is to fill in the gaps. What items do you need that will help get you through the season that you don't currently own? What items do you need that will work with your themes and colour palette?  What items will be helpful in allowing you to transition pieces from one season to the next, therefore making them more versatile? This is my list of the top 6 items that have helped me to transition from season to season: 

- Denim jacket/green field jacket
- Vest
- Long Sleeve shirt
- Cardigan
- Boyfriend jeans
- Comfy shoes (that you can walk/run in)

I feel each of these items can be paired with clothing from all seasons, making them incredibly versatile and staples in my wardrobe:



A denim jacket is a staple- I don't tend to wear mine as much as my green field jacket, but its dependent on what else I'm wearing that day. Both are incredibly versatile and work with various outfits. 
This denim jacket is my current fav. Its a great price, the colour will work well for various seasons and its well made. 


A vest is another great option. I actually made this one myself out of an old jacket (I just cut off the sleeves and hemmed the edges), but Abercrombie always has some great options, like this one. A vest can be paired over a long sleeve, short sleeve shirt or a dress. 


A long sleeve shirt that buttons like this one from Urban Outfitters, is a fantastic option. It can be worn alone on cooler days, but also worn unbuttoned as a cardigan over a tank or tshirt on warmer days. You can pair it with shorts, pants, skirts, you name it. 


I have a thing for cardigans. Honestly, I have about 5 in my capsule, but its because they are the most versatile pieces! This one from Old Navy is one of my favourites, but there are tons of other options out there from various retailers. I would suggest buying medium length, like this one as it can then work with pants, jeans, shorts and dresses. 



Boyfriend jeans are a great piece to have, that are just a slightly change from the ordinary. I have 2 pairs in my capsule- one lighter and one darker and wear them both a ton in Spring, Summer and Fall. There are tons of options out there, distressed or not, but these American Eagle ones are some of my top picks.

Lastly, you need a pair of comfy shoes. As a mom, I am constantly running around after my kids...they never stop! So having a pair of comfy shoes (that aren't runners) are a nice option for both Spring and Summer as well as Fall. Along with my Nike runners, I have these Superga shoes,  a pair of black classic TOMS and my Adidas Superstar In terms of casual shoes, those 4 are pretty much all I need! 



The pieces you need are going to vary depending on your style, your lifestyle and various factors, but those 6 pieces are some of the things I wear the most and get a ton of use out of, regardless of the season. Focusing in on some key investment pieces will help you keep your capsule on track and help you to easily mix and match outfits too!

Melissa


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Friday, 27 April 2018

Helping with the 'big kid room' transition / C's room update


This post is in collaboration with Legrand. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 


One of the biggest struggles we faced with our oldest child was sleep. Since he was a baby, sleep was never his thing. Once we decided to move him into his "big boy room" and transition him from his crib to his "big boy bed" we decided to give him lots of time to adjust, having him nap there and spend time in his new room whenever he wanted. It was a slow transition and we definitely needed all the tips and tricks to help us out!



Once we had fully moved him into his new room, it took a while for him to feel comfortable in there and go to sleep on his own. The one thing that we found helped a lot with this, was a nightlight. We had a battery operated one that he loved, but the downside to that was that we needed to replace the batteries ALL. THE. TIME. We tried using a plug-in nightlight but our youngest is fascinated with anything at his level that he can "unplug" so that didn't last long. We needed a better solution.

Around the same time we were searching for something, we were introduced to Legrand's radiant line of light switches and plug-in's. While looking through their products I was thrilled to see that they had a night light/switch combo. I figured this might be the solution we had been looking for- high up on the wall where the littlest couldn't reach and obviously doesn't need batteries- perfect.



The product options in the Legrand radiant line are endless. We were able to choose a switch/night light combo and wall plate that matched our wall colour (black) so that it blended seamlessly with our sons chalkboard wall. You can definitely see how much of a difference the black wall plate makes, here's the before:



and the after (its hard to see it blends in so well!) :



This project was super quick and easy to do. Since all of the wall plates are screwless, it literally took us less than 30 minutes to switch out all 6 fixtures in the room. Now that's a project I can do with 2 little ones running around!

The first step was turning off the power to the outlets in that room. We tested to make sure the power was off and then away we went! All you need to do is remove the current wallplate and plug-in and unscrew the wires. Replace it with your new plug-in, screw back your wires properly and pop the plug-in back into the wall. The last step is to pop the plate on top and you're done! Simple.









We had 6 outlets to switch out in and we chose simple dual outlets for 3, the night light/ switch combo for 2 and a USB plug-in/outlet combo for the one near our sons bed (I know one day he'll thank us for that!)





The night light/switch combo at the entrance to his door has been helpful for our son at night. The night light gives out the prefect amount of light. They have 4 settings for brightness and to be honest, even the lowest setting is great. You simply tap the light to turn it on, and it remains off in daylight, but automatically turns back on when it senses darkness. Its been amazing for our son during the middle of the night if he wants to leave his room for a washroom break, etc , since he's less afraid now that he has a light guiding his way.



I'm thrilled with how they look too- very modern and updated and I feel that they work well with the style we have in the room. Its a simple project to take on, but I feel its made a big impact in the look of the space and helping our son to be less afraid at night. Plus, he ends up in our bed less (which means I'm not sleeping on the edge of the mattress) so that's a win in my books!





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Friday, 13 April 2018

Love it or Leave it




Hey friends,

So today I'm talking honestly about a few key items I've seen all over IG land that seem to be incredibly popular. Most of these items are recommended by bloggers and influencers and seem to have incredibly positive reviews, however I am going to give you my unbiased opinion.  I was not paid or compensated in any way to review these items; each item I purchased on my own, based on my research and interests.

I'm going to review an item (or 2) from each of the following categories:

Beauty
Accessories
Clothing (x 3)
Shoes
Athletic wear


and I'll let you know whether or not I think its worth spending the money on or not (love it or leave it)!

Beauty:




The Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara
I have smaller shaped eyes, so I'm always on the hunt for a mascara to make my eyes stand out more. I ended up trying a trial size of this from a Sephora order and actually really liked it. I don't think I would have purchased this without using the trial first.

Pros: Its definitely the best mascara I've ever tried and worth the money. It provides great coverage and really helps your lashes look longer. I liked the wand and the found the formula to be a good consistency.

Cons: Cost. They've recently come out with a waterproof formula and although I'm typically a fan of waterproof, I would actually recommend the regular formula. I've tried both and found the waterproof formula to be thinner and doesn't provide the same coverage.

A lot of bloggers had recommended this doupe as a comparable, more affordable alternative:

L'Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise

Pros: Cost

Cons: I don't feel it worked quite as well. I didn't like the wand design and found the formula too thick.

Verdict:
Love it- Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara
Leave it- L'Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara

For my Canadian readers- you can buy the Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara at Shoppers Drug Mart, Sephora or likely a variety of other beauty retailers.

Accessories:




Fawn Design Bag
Its all over IG, tons of bloggers rave about it and have even done collaborations with the makers, it comes in a variety of colours and 2 size options.  I researched a lot of bags before deciding on this one, and I am very happy with my purchase.

Pros: Beautifully made, love the backpack and messenger strap option. Looks classy and although its meant to be a diaper bag, you can really use it for a variety of things. I currently use it as a work bag and its been great for that. Love the overall look of the bag and supporting the family that own the business.

Cons: Cost. First of all the exchange rate. Secondly, you have to pay extra for shipping to Canada and you'll end up paying duty on top of that. I also wish the bag itself had a top strap, since that would make it easier to store and just for picking it up. Also the side pockets are small and you really can't fit much in them at all.

Verdict:
Love it- I do love it, however I do feel that there are comparable options if its not in your budget. I ended up going to the US to pick up the bag there to avoid the high shipping costs, but you'll still need to pay duty. There are knockoff options out there (one I've had myself that I did find was pretty close, the quality was not the same, but for the cost it would be a great option).

Clothing:




Abercrombie Asymmetrical Snap Pullover
I debated on this piece since to me it didn't seem that appealing at first, however living in Canada (and always being cold), I figured this was something I would likely use a lot. Once it went on sale, I jumped on it.

Pros: Soft, great for colder months, nice thick quality

Cons: Cost ($74 CDN, plus tax and shipping makes it over $90), nothing too special, shorter than I'd hoped it would be (I ended up exchanging it online for a bigger size, hoping it would be a bit longer). Plus if you don't have an Abercrombie near you, you need to exchange or return by mail (extra cost may be involved).

Verdict:
Leave it- I managed to get it on sale for 50% off, used a coupon on top of that and got free shipping. So, for the cost of $32, I think it was a great deal. If you can get it on sale, I'd go for it.
However, I only think its worth that price. Its truly a piece you could find at a variety of stores and don't know if its really worth full price. Plus, its not as long as I hoped it would be, so if you're taller keep that in mind.




American Eagle Dream Jean
One of my fav bloggers recommended these and based on the fact that our measurements are pretty similar, I hoped they might work.

Pros: Love them. I've never had jeans that fit this well, are this comfortable, don't bag out at all (EVER) and wash up great. They have a ton of colour options and they are a great alternative to leggings. You can order from AE Canada, and get free shipping and free returns so its a no risk purchase.

Cons: Cost. They aren't cheap but American Eagle often does sales and has coupon codes so take advantage of those. The light colour ( I bought both the light and dark) has a horrible smell that happens during the dye process, and wont come out. So I would not recommend the light colour.

Verdict:
Love it: the Dream jean in the darkest blue
Leave it: The Dream jean in the light colour (based only on the funky smell)



Urban Outfitters- Out from Under Jojo Oversized Thermal Button Front Top

This top is everywhere. There are dupes from various retailers and tons of bloggers are constantly promoting it.

Pros: Soft, comfortable, long sleeves, back is long (covers your butt!), buttons down which is great for nursing mamas, allows you to wear it as a cardigan, or knotted at the front (various ways to style it). Looks great with a bralette and perfect for Spring/Fall weather.

Cons: Cost. Its currently $54 CDN, plus tax and shipping, that's pricey.  I managed to get mine on a 50% off sale and used another code for free shipping, which made it much more affordable. I also find the front to be just a tad short for my liking.

Verdict:
Love/Leave: If you can get it on sale, I think its worth it. My main issue with it, is the length of the front so if it was longer, I would definitely rate it higher. The UO website does have a Canadian site, so order from there.

Shoes:




Birkenstocks 
Literally every blogger was promoting Birks last season (they did a fantastic job with their marketing!)

Pros: Comfortable

Cons: Cost, long time to break them in, bulky looking

Verdict:
Love it: Honestly, they made mom life easier for me! I have had a lot of issues with my feet since having babies and these have hugely helped. I don't like how bulky they look (they do have a more narrow option, but my feet were not narrow enough to fit them properly). but that aside, I love them.

Athletic Wear:




Old Navy Athletics:
I've never bought work out gear from Old Navy, and have been hearing great things so wanted to try. I purchased a zip up hoodie and a pair of 7/8 leggings.

Pros: Pants- affordable (esp if you have super cash!), soft, comfortable and have a high waist. Come in tall length if you're taller, however they are a cropped style that really works for everyone.
Hoodie- soft, great length (covers your butt!), nice colour and fits very well.

Cons: ??

Verdict:
Love it. I didn't expect to like each of these items so much but are fantastic. Highly recommend.

So there you go. That's my honest opinion one each of these items and I hope that helps you if you had been debating on any of them (as I had!)
Melissa

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Monday, 26 March 2018

Part 1- Creating your Capsule Wardrobe



Part 1- Creating your Capsule

Hi friends,
I wanted to start this capsule wardrobe series with a few tips on how begin, as I truly find that once you've got a few key steps in place, its much easier to start and stick with this process.

Having a capsule wardrobe has made things so much easier for me in a variety of ways, especially being a mom. After I had my second baby, I found it was harder to find the time to get dressed in the morning and putting cute outfits together wasn't exactly something I did very well. I actually didn't own a sweatshirt before I had my first baby, but that certainly changed after he came along!

Not only has the capsule saved me from the typical, walk into your closet and stare at your wardrobe for 5 minutes thinking "I have nothing to wear" situation, but it has helped me financially and allowed me to work towards a more minimalistic lifestyle.

Here are a few tips to help get you started on creating your capsule wardrobe.



1. Be invested in the process.

I truly feel that in order to develop a capsule wardrobe and to stick with it, you need to be invested in the process, be honest with yourself and stick with it. Its not always easy, sure there are days I would like to go shopping and pick up a bunch of cute pieces, but I know that's not what I'm working towards. You need to be prepared to drastically reduce what you have, commit to cutting back on shopping and focus on using what you have. (More details on that later).

2. Commit and Evaluate

Once you've committed to the process, you need to start by evaluating your wardrobe. Take inventory of what you have, get an idea of your style and the things you wear most. A great tip I was told when I started my capsule, was to look at your Pinterest account (if you have one) and see what kind of outfits/items you pin the most. This will give you an honest idea of your style (if you're unsure) and can help direct you in outfit planning, once you've developed your capsule, using what you currently have.

Start by working with 4 piles: Keep, Unsure, Donate and Toss.

I would suggest taking a general inventory first. Anything that is damaged, stained, doesn't fit well or you don't like wearing (itchy, uncomfortable, etc), put into a pile. You'll evaluate that stuff later.
Now, moving onto your other items. You need to be very honest with yourself and really think about what you want to keep for your capsule. I don't believe in keeping a certain number of items, because I think that puts too much pressure on the system, but I do think you need to focus on a minimal number of items. So if you have 10 pairs of jeans, really think about which ones are your favorites and that you often wear (likely you'll have a pair or 2 that you can get rid of).

Anything you love, obviously stays in the keep pile. Anything in this pile should fit you well, make you feel good and feel comfortable to wear. If you're even the slightest bit unsure of an item, put it in the unsure pile (you'll come back to that later). Now, here's where it gets tricky.

The donate pile should truly be things that you have honestly told yourself you don't wear. I know in the past when I've gone through my closet, I've kept things that I figured I *might* wear, but with a capsule, you need to be *SURE* you're going to wear it. If its a 'maybe' it goes into the unsure pile. If its truly unlikely you're going to wear it, donate it.

The toss pile is saved for items that are damaged, stained, etc. There are places that will take these items and recycle them, so refrain from throwing them out and look into some of these options (H&M offers a free service like this!)

3. Start slow

Now that you've started creating some piles, let them sit there for at least a week (if you can handle the disorganization!). You need time to review your choices and it helps you from regretting getting rid of something later.

Get rid of the toss pile first and the donate pile next. Now you're left with the keep and unsure piles. For the items in the unsure pile, you may want to take some of these items and just set them aside in your closet. See if you reach for them. If it is seasonally appropriate and you don't reach for the item in over 3 weeks, its likely ready to donate. If you're still unsure I would suggest using the storage box system.

Purchase a few small closet storage boxes and label them with "tops", "bottoms", "dresses/skirts", etc. Put the unsure items into the boxes and store them in your closet. If you should truly be keeping the item, you'll remember it and look for it. After a full season if you haven't used the item, its likely ready to donate. I find this "out of sight, out of mind" strategy works well, since with a capsule wardrobe you should be using and remembering what you have. Storing tons of items in boxes for "maybe someday I'll have a place to wear it" isn't really part of this process.

Eventually you can re-evaluate your keep pile again, but at this point you've hopefully reduced what you have and are on your way to a capsule wardrobe!

Melissa

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Friday, 16 March 2018

Nursery Room Change Table Topper DIY




When we were designing the nursery, we decided that we wanted to get a dresser for the room rather than an actual change table. We went this route knowing that we'd likely want to keep the dresser in the room even after its no longer a nursery.

We chose the dresser pictured above because it was the perfect height and depth to act as a change table as well as function as a dresser. We could have just put a change pad on top and been done with it, but I really liked the look of a topper and felt it gave a more finished look to the room (as well as making the dresser feel more like an actual change table).

I scoured change table toppers online and the cheapest one I found was $150, so I decided to come up with some ideas on how we could create our own...for a lot less. We ended up coming up with a basic/easy design that's incredibly easy to DIY.



Here's how you can create your own change table topper:

1. Purchase a change pad. Before starting this project you want to make sure you have a change pad so that you can create your change table topper to fit. Most change pads are a standard size (32 x 16), but best to be sure.

2. Design your topper. I wanted a simple design and we determined that we didn't need a base on the topper- just the frame itself. I wanted the frame to be just a bit higher than the actual change pad as well.

3. We purchased 2 pieces of MDF trim that were 84" length and 4" high, from Home Depot. The actual change pad was just over 3" high, and I wanted the frame to be just a bit taller than the actual pad, which is why we chose 4". We calculated that we would make each long side 33" long and the short sides 17.5" deep. So when we added that up (33 x 2 and 17.5 x 2) we ended up with 101" plus a bit of extra for waste, so 2 pieces 84" long would work fine.

4. We cut the pieces to size on a 45 degree angle in order to make a nice smooth corner and this allowed the pieces to fit together nicely:



5. After the pieces were cut, we simply nailed them together (using small nails and a hammer, if you have a nail gun, even better), filled the nail holes with wood filler  and once dry, sanded and painted. We opted to paint the topper Simply White by Benjamin Moore (the white we've used in many other areas of our home) since it blended well with the colour of the dresser. If you were planning on staining your table topper, you would need to buy actual wood trim, rather than MDF, in order to be able to stain it.

6. Lastly, once it was dry, we added some rubber feet to the bottom of the topper so that it wouldn't slide around on the dresser.

That's it- 6 easy steps to create your own change table topper. Simple, easy and cost us less than $30.00.







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Thursday, 1 March 2018

Tips for travelling with kids (and saving your sanity)




We recently took a family vacation that required us to travel on a plane and let me tell you friends, I was pretty darn anxious about it!

We've actually never travelled with either of the boys anywhere longer than 3 days...and the furthest we've travelled with them is 2 hours away. So, this was kind of a big deal to go on a plane with both AND to be going somewhere for a full week! This was also hubs and I's first week long trip since our honeymoon, so we were all pretty pumped to say the least.

Pumped annnnnd super anxious about the idea of taking a 1.5 year old and a 4 year old on a plane. To be honest, I'm not the adventurous type. The boys actually won this vacation (remember my story about the littlest being the Boss Baby Contest winner?! Well, this trip was the prize!), otherwise we likely would have gone to a local beach and called it a day! So I pulled out all the stops when it came to preparing for this trip...and the plane.

Overall, we had an incredible time. This was our first vacation that didn't involve anyone getting super sick or ending up in a hospital so IMO, it really couldn't have gone better. We used a bunch of tricks to help with the plane ride and keep the kiddos entertained while we were there so here are my top tips of what worked best for us.



Plane Ride:
- Look into a "kids club" if your airline offers this service. Our airline automatically enrolled our oldest (4 years old) into the club and it got him free snacks (GIVE ME ALL THE SNACKS), and a bunch of other goodies for the plane ride.
*If you have the option to pre-select your seats (you need to call early enough), you may have the option to get a row with extra legroom. Ask for it, if they don't suggest it. Seriously, it made a big difference with 2 kids and a 1.5 year old who wanted to stand (and occasionally dance) on the plane.

- Bring new/exciting things for the plane. I literally went to the dollarstore and bought a ton of small things for the boys to read/do on the plane. A brilliant friend of mine suggested individually wrapping each one, and although I wasn't thrilled with having to individually wrap 15-20 little trinkets, it actually made a world of difference. Each toy became a "gift" and just the process of unwrapping took up extra time for C on the plane. I bought books, puzzles, a few cars/toys and some crafts. Don't forget to wrap stuff for the way there AND the way back. I saved the wrapped items for the way back, in my suitcase so they were a surprise for that flight. Also, the one thing that kept C the busiest was actually a kindergarten math workbook (I have NO clue where the math gene came from!?!).

- SNACKS. Honestly, pack a ton. Based on our flight times the boys were up at 2:00am on the way to the airport and the coffee shop at the airport didn't open early enough for our flight. The flight didn't arrive at our destination until 12:00 so missing breakfast AND lunch wasn't an option. I packed a bag of snacks for my carry-on, and made sure to pack a second bag for the trip home (along with the billion snacks I packed for while we were there).

- Backpacks. I bought each of the boys their own special backpack for the trip, so they were responsible for carrying around their toys/stuffies/entertainment. Lets be honest, I have no idea how parents can fit all of their kids belongings into those mini suitcases that kids carry (we used one large suitcase, shared for both boys), but the backpacks made them feel like they were still helping.

- Media. Ok so both hubs and I have been hesitant about the boys having a tablet (just our personal choice) until they are older, but a plane ride really makes you throw all your rules out the window. We actually went and bought a tablet specifically to bring on the trip, since we didn't have one, and to be very honest, we barely used it. I think since the boys aren't used to using one, they didn't realise what they were missing (plus the tablet died day 2 into the trip so that didn't help). We also brought a bunch of movies/tv shows for the hotel room, since when the youngest was napping we had the oldest take some quiet time. If you do bring a tablet, make sure you get one of those tablet holder things for kids (lifesaver). We also bought each kid a set of headphones. They actually just liked wearing them around...not actually plugged into anything.

All these things made the plan ride go surprisingly very well. Both of us were pretty nervous about it, but the boys were super well behaved and even received a really nice compliment from an older couple on the plane. Parenting WIN.



During the trip:
- Stroller. We debated on bringing a stroller and which one to bring, but in the end we brought our middle of the road stroller with us. Its a Peg Perego Book Plus, so its not big or heavy, folds up very easily and also fully reclines (KEY!) for when the little guy needed to nap. The littlest would sleep in it every evening while we took C to the "kids show" at 8:00pm.  Important tip- DONT FORGET YOUR STROLLER AT THE AIRPORT! We'd never travelled with a stroller before and the stress of being in a new country and dealing with 2 tired kids just totally distracted us from going to find the stroller. (Side note: it took 2 days and LOTS of front desk trips, but we did get it back).

- See if your hotel has a "baby club". The resort we stayed at was very family friendly and actually had a baby club, that stocked baby food, milk, snacks, etc. Although we really only benefitted from the snacks we actually took a jar of baby food and used the empty jar for C's keepsake/memory jar. He put some sand it in and a few shells to bring home. Which brings me to my next tip...

- Bring a jar or container for your kiddos to use as memory/treasure keepers. You know what also works really well for this? A small Pringles container. Airlines always seem to have Pringles as a snack option. Keep the empty container and you can store shells, or treasures the kids find in there easily and they wont be crushed in your luggage. Otherwise an empty baby food jar (or a sippy cup!) works really well for this too.

- Beach toys. If you are going somewhere warm don't forget to pack a few sand/pool toys. We brought a few dollarstore toys (they literally had none when I looked), but anything inflatable is your friend. We also brought a lifejacket and a set of water wings and used them daily. They sold these options at the resort, but you don't even want to know how much they were charging. I probably could have almost bought an actual alligator for the same price as the inflatable alligator toy at the resort.

- Food. Bring ALL THE SNACKS, sippy cups (and also travel mugs for mom and dad beverages), and then pack more. We ended up giving the kids little boxes of cereal for snacks we took from the breakfast buffet since we had to start rationing our snacks at literally day 4.

- Bring a small tupperware container filled with some laundry detergent...and like a billion outfits for the kids. Dirt literally jumps onto them. Enough said.

So there you go. Some of my top tips for travelling with the kiddos. Safe travels my friends!


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