Tag Archives: packing

Tip Tuesday: Preparing our home….to leave for vacation!!!

Whenever I am leaving for vacation, there is the inevitable packing list and thing to do. (I will blog about both of these later.)

But this post is about all those last minute things we can do to make our house a happier place to return too.

(I will tease you with a shot of where I am…)

Photo: Good Morning!!!!

Outerbanks…2013!!! View from our back deck!!!

Ok….I digress …but this is what I envisioned as I frantically cleaned my house and prepared to move to a new house for a week.

If you haven’t thought about some of these ideas before, try it!

See if it doesn’t make you feel better!

Mentally prepare for breakfast. Have you ever gone away on vacation and you pull into the driveway to remember there is no milk for the baby? The pure exhausion of the trip summons you inside the house and behind the locked door. You are done. The kids can drink soda and lick the chocolate off a few granola bars for all you care….well…until tomorrow morning when you are hating life. haha.  So my advice is grab a few items that you will need that will NOT go bad in a week. I am grabbing some eggs, milk, cheese, butter, apple sauce and bread. I figure my kids can eat some scrambled, cheesy eggs with a slice of toast and a side of apple sauce and be pretty happy til I can grab a few items for lunch and beyond.

Empty every trash bin in the house. Have you ever left your home for a few days and you return and it smells like pee. And then you discovered the baby’s diaper in a trash can or the fish from dinner before you left. Get everything emptied. I go through all the bathrooms and empty everything.

Ask your neighbor to take your trash to the end of the driveway or curb on trash day. Let’s be honest…you don’t want to smell that trash after a week in the sun and neither does your neighbor. Plus, an empty trash can at the curb screams, “We are not home!!” Make sure you also ask him/her to put the trash can back at the end of the day.

Have all the kids make their beds. Then surprise them and put out a little piece of candy on everyone’s pillow for the return. How exciting would this be to walk into your room to a fun little treat??!!! and come on the kids…..they would love it??!! It’s like being in the hotel all over again!

Make sure to empty your washing machine. There are few things as bad as mildewed laundry sitting in your washing machine a few days or a week!!! I try to make my last load, before I head out, dishcloths or washcloths. They are notorious for hanging around the bathroom and kitchen. Make sure you toss these in the dryer before you leave. These don’t need to be folded nor will you worried about them being wrinkled.

Swifter the kitchen floor. I hate a gross floor and I love the smell of febreze swifter pads. So…once you get all those kids strapped in and the car/van is packed. Run back in and do a quick swifter around the kitchen. Trust me…you will be so glad that you did. =)

Clear out your fridge…especially your leftovers, vegetables and fruit.  You might be able to avoid this step if you have done an excellent job with meal planning. I always have some stuff leftover, so….I like to bring over a little bunch of veggies and leftover fruit to my next door neighbor.

Clear out your garden. If you have a summer garden like I do, your tomatoes are still doing well. I had the Fashionista drop a one gallon ziploc bag full of cherry tomatoes off to our neighbor before our left. She was so ecstatic! So great to brighten her day while keeping my garden clean and mushy tomato free.

Well, I’m off to enjoy my vacation here in Corolla!

I will check in with you later for the part two of this post: what to pack!!

God Bless,


Tip Tuesday #2: Bags, Bags, and one more bag!!!

This picture shows my bags that hang on the back of the garage door before you enter the kitchen. Everyday I grab these up and head out to start my day. This is that fun blog where you get a “sneak peek” into my bags to see what I deem as “important stuff” to have on hand.

I’m not a super organized person…but I definitely like to be prepared. I thought I would share with you my 3 bag system for running errands with the kids or being out for the day. Is it ideal for everyone? Certainly not. If you read my blog to find out the “right way” to do anything, you clearly are reading the wrong blog! haha. I’m just a simple mom trying to offer you my solutions to problems I have encountered.

the purse

Bag #1:  This is the simplest bag. I purchased this little purse from Ross for about $16. The strap is super long and can be draped over my shoulder. This has a very few items in it, so that it is super light-weight. And if you are thinking Coach wallet?!!! haha. It was an awesome bridesmaid gift from my SIL….and  I LOVE it! My wallet has my debit card, license, cash and all my loyalty cards. No receipts in this bag. It stays super simple. In addition, it has a pair of sunglasses, some lip moisturizer, and my cell phone. I’m obsessed with my iphone. Using my gmail account and google calendar, I can check my blog comments; plan play dates and doctor appts . With my facebook app, I can “check in” on friends and family and post fun shots where we are. This is THE essential bag when I go out. Depending on what I am doing, this bag stores easily inside Bag #2 or Bag #3. This is the perfect bag to pick up to just “run and grab some ice” or when you are with someone else and run into a store to “grab one thing”.

Mom's bag

Mom’s bag

 Bag #2 : Mom’s bag ( the large brown tote): This is the bag that sits next to me in the passenger’s seat. It’s like my personal assistant…hahahaha. No….but seriously. I really need everything in this bag. I found this “gem” at Ross as well. It’s a large Steve Madden brown bag that I paid $30 for. I have used this bag for a carry on at the airport as well. Here is the rundown.

  1. blue makeup bag (I’m a “mascara, lip gloss and go” kinda girl). This has more stuff in it for special occasions as well.
  2. blue pencil case bag filled with receipts/gift cards/checkbook. I hate looking for a receipt or having a bag I’m constantly cleaning out. This little bag eliminates the need to “look” in multiple bags for anything. (This little bag can also get cleaned out when I’m waiting for something.)
  3. baby wipes (I use these as much as the kids)
  4. a pair of headphones and my arm band for using my iphone at the gym
  5. Kidstuff book: this has coupons for all kinds of stores, events, and activities- I often check this out before planning an activity with the kids to see if I can get a discount. Although its called “kidstuff”, it also has great department store coupons as well. These books are primarily used for fundraising in schools and are specific to your area.
  6. a leisure book. I am currently reading “Rapunzel, Let down” by Regina Doman. She’s a friend from college and retells fairy tales in the modern day. So far…its really good. Often times I have my All You Magazine or store magazines as well. When I get Pottery Barn or any home decorating magazines…I throw these in too.
  7. sunglasses
  8. extra tampons/pads that I keep in the pocket
  9. ******my clipboard with my things to do list on top*******This is my biggest tip! Make yourself a Master Thing to Do list for the week/month, then keep it close by in your bag. I have found that once the toddlers fall asleep, I’m not rushing to drive home and wake them up. I will pull up to a park….let the older kids get out and play, and i will tackle some of my list. I prefer the clipboard to a notepad because I can “clip” bills I have to pay, complete with acct numbers or bills I have to call about; or anything I can “handle” while waiting for the kids to nap or waiting for the kids to finish their music or swim lessons
  10. an extra ponytail holder
  11. extra pens
  12. extra bangles/bracelets to make my outfit fun.
  13. the Magnificat – my devotional for the day since most of my prayer time is when i’m out and about.
  14. travel size Alleve pills
  15. 3-4 envelopes with our return address stamped on them. These are perfect if you need to send a bill out while you are on the road.
  16. Not pictured: I often carry a small pack of tissues; stamps for my letters; and a healthy snack like nuts.

Often times, this bag will not leave the van. However, if I am out running errands by myself, especially at the mall, this is the bag I want with me. It’s big enough to throw in a sweater for chilly nights or a bottle of water while I roam.

kids bag

kids bag

Bag #3: The kids bag. I don’t have a baby right now and I’ve never been a fan of a diaper bag. I get lost in all the compartments and don’t get me started with how the husband feels about “compartments”. haha. I decided on this cute LLB tote, also from my SIL for a bridesmaid gift. (Talk about a thoughtful bride!) This tote is neutral so the hubs won’t moan about carrying a “girlie bag”. haha. This bag has helped me through lots of situations. If you really think out situations you encounter, be proactive and create a bag that is helpful for you and your kids.

  1. diapers and wipes for Miss Missy. She has really bad eczema and needs chlorine-free diapers.
  2. an extra outfit for Miss Missy including a hairband and sandals. At that 1-2 yr old phase, they are always taking off their shoes and it’s not helpful if you need them to walk. Miss Missy get a shirt and pants since she likes to itch…I want more material on her.
  3. an extra outfit for Mini Mini (3) with two pairs of underwear.  She is fully potty-trained and rarely has accidents but there is always the chance for a “I fell asleep in the car and peed” or “mommy….I threw up!” I pack a sundress for this occasion, because it takes up less room.
  4. benadryl- essential in allergy season.
  5. nail clippers for those “down times” when you notice your 7yr old is sporting nails longer than wolverine….I exaggerate only slightly…=)
  6. a picture book/ small toys for waiting at the doctors or waiting for your food in a restaurant
  7. small “treats” to bribe them in tough situations. I was glad I had this bag when Miss Missy was having her allergy testing. She was able to suck on a lollipop while they examined her pricks on her back.
  8. a healthy snack (peaches). I usually keep a few granola bars as well.
  9. an extra pacifer for when Miss Missy wants a nap and we can’t locate her pacifer
  10. extra ponytails or bows for the girls
  11. Not pictured:  a small pack of clorox wipes (for restaurant highchairs/seats), an extra sippy cup for Miss Missy when we decide to eat out while running errands; and bandaids.

I love that I can give this bag to the hubs if he is taking the kiddos out for the day. I don’t need to “create a bag”…I can just add more things to it.

Hope this is helpful or a good “jump off” point for you!

God bless, Tammi