Roadtrip with Toddlers

This week we are planning on setting out on our first family road trips. And by road trip I mean a 19 hour/ 2 day drive each way. The longest we’ve gone with kids before is just under 4 hours so to say that I am nervous is an understatement.

I know that many people have had cross country trips with story and lived to tell the tale but that doesn’t make me feel much better. Specially when I ask for the wisdom of parents that have done it before and their advise usually includes a DVD Player and an iPad and we have none of those options available. Plus with Zen still rear facing I don’t think that a DVD player would be such a great option anyway.

I have to work with what I have so I hope that a bunch of books, crayons, paper, snacks and a cookie tray with magnetic letters will be enough to save our sanity in between stops. I am also planning on packing balls for playing and running in those grassy fields in the rest tops (weather permitting) in hopes of burning off accumulated energy.

I am off to my Excel packing list and pray that I can get through packing without having to take a hit of Rescue Remedy…

family-road-trip-cartoon

Have you gone on a long road trips with toddlers? What survival tips do you have to share?

Will work for Amazon Gift Cards

It can be very hard to make it on practically a single income. While I do work part time, the income 10 hours a week is a drop in the expense bucket specially after paying for childcare. Childcare is becoming so expensive that it’s not cost effective to get a second job or switch to full time, as it is I am having a hard enough time finding affordable care for 1 day a week when a sitter wants to charge $10 an hour for me to work my $12 an hour job. But I think I have ranted about that before…

So what do you do when you want something that you can’t afford and traditional work is not an option?
I have found that I have 4 options:

  • I can go without
  • I can “save” for it which would take months and years for all but the cheapest of items and the money ends up having to be diverted for some emergency.
  • I can sell something to buy something new
  • I can barter and trade

I don’t include MLM and Independent Distributor sales among my options because they require a start up cost that I don’t have and I don’t consider sales to be a strong suit of mine. Plus anytime I see something that I wouldn’t mind selling I feel that there is enough competition out there.

There are many things that I go without, the saving is strictly left for gifts, I usually have to save for 6 months for Yule presents and the other 6 months are spent saving for birthdays and Father’s Day. For a while I was doing really good at selling things but after a while you just start running out of things to sell so that leaves us with trading.

I love the concept but it can be a logistical nightmare since it’s very hard to find someone that is willing to trade what you want for something you have to offer. Thankfully I’ve been blessed with having some skills that can be helpful to others such as web design and bookkeeping.

This week I hit the jackpot when I found a person that is starting her own business and needed a web presence but lacked the technical skills to DIY or the budget to hire a “pro”. What she did have were Amazon gift codes that she had no plan to use. I had the skills and she had the need, she had the gift codes she didn’t want and I have an extensive Amazon wish list. It’s a win-win!

In the end most of the Amazon order comprised of things for the kids (yay for a magnetic dry erase board!) but it’s still a victory as we wouldn’t have been able to get one unless we found it in the trash.

barter

I wish people did this more often.

Classroom? What classroom?

“I don’t have space in my house for a classroom”

This is the latest “but” that I received from someone talking about homeschooling. I really don’t understand why people feel the need to give me their excuse as to why they don’t homeschool… but I’ve ranted about that before.

As for the classroom situation, we don’t either. Or we didn’t, or we still don’t… I am not quite sure yet.

You don’t need a special classroom setup for education, learning can take place anywhere at any time, that is part of the beauty of homeschooling, flexibility.

In our particular case, we have what would be considered the master bedroom of our house be our computer room, there are 3 desktop computers and a whole lot of extra space that just attracted messes of laundry and toys and would make the perfect classroom. Sadly I don’t have the budget to have a learning room out of an Ikea catalog and despite the availability of cheap items on Craigslist and thrift stores, we don’t have the trunk space in our car to transport a desk, bookshelf or anything larger than a chair. So I never envisioned having a classroom and I was OK with it.

I did have a couple of assorted furniture pieces that had the potential to at least be a nice reading nook and preschool learning corner so with about 30 minutes of time and some shuffling of things around the house we have a “classroom”. It looks very nice and the boys like it, I don’t see myself doing much schooling there, maybe we will, maybe we won’t. It is in the same room as the homeschooling computer so it may come in handy. I am also open to schooling on the dining table, on the couch, on the porch or park if the weather is nice.

Only time will tell what will ultimately work for us.

classroom

Our preschool nook

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