The warmer weather has arrived, hopefully to stay, and for many it means ROAD TRIP! Or maybe it just means a staycation. As a kid, long car rides and I would fall asleep. Belinda liked to be kept busy when we traveled in the car. What about your kids do they sleep or are they a “when are we going to get there” kind of kid?
Another recipe for disaster: Take an important meeting, or doctor’s appointment, add one squirmy toddler and hope (or pray, as the case may be) for a tantrum-free hour. You know what I mean, those times when a quick trip turns into an hour plus mess.
Fear not because there is a simple way to ward off a boredom-induced meltdown – build a busy bag! This tote can be filled with quiet toys, books and crafts and is an easy way to keep your little one entertained and (relatively) silent.
Here’s how to make your own:
Start with the bag
Help your child choose a bag or tote to fill and then decorate it together! The Statement Canvas Shopper – or for littler hands, a Statement Canvas Mini Shopper – can be personalized with their name, a fun Icon-It, graphic or even their own photo or artwork! You can upload your littlest ones’ fingerpaint masterpieces online and create a bag they’ll carry long after the “originals” have been tossed.
Bring along something soft
Smaller children may enjoy having a comfort item or “lovie” they can snuggle while the grown-ups are busy. For older children, choose soft dolls or finger puppets for imaginative play instead of noisy plastic action figures.
Add a little fun
A simple activity keeps little fingers engaged and focused. Old-fashioned toys like lacing cards, paper dolls or a matching card game don’t take up much space and can be enjoyed over and over.
Encourage reading and writing
Babies and toddlers who can’t yet read love books with different textures and flaps to open and close. Older children may enjoy age-appropriate books or a notebook and pencil to practice handwriting. Include some coloring books and crayons (as long as you know they’ll be used only on paper).Add some of your child’s favorite toys and activities to customize your busy bag with whatever will keep them content. Keep your bag ready in the car or diaper bag so it’s always with you on the go, and switch out toys and games frequently to hold your child’s interest. And most importantly, have fun, because they’re only little for so long!
What do you carry to keep your little ones busy when you are out and about? Do you have a favorite game to play on car trips? Share it with us…
“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.”
On this day, let’s remember the true meaning of Easter as we visit with family and friends. Treasure the moments for the days go by quickly, loved ones are gone and kids grow up. Today holds so many mixed feelings for me…..
Growing up, I used to go to my grandparents while my parents and aunts went to sunrise service on the beach. Then home to get ready for church. Totally new outfits to wear to church. Sometimes even a trip to the Boardwalk for the Easter Parade in Asbury Park. Then back to my grandparents for a traditional Easter dinner with the whole family. Easter baskets overflowing with candy from the “Carmel Shop” and “Old Monmouth”. Happy memories of my childhood.
Fast forward (many years) to having my own home with my daughter, Belinda. Easter took on a different meaning. Gone were the tradition of church. For the first 3 Easters, I was still in my addiction so it was dinner with family and an Easter basket for Belinda. When I entered recovery, things changed slightly – I had a relationship with God but still did not have a church. As Belinda got a little older, we did Easter baskets but they were filled with toys and games because she didn’t like chocolate. I know can you believe it! She did like white chocolate but only in small amounts. And of course “stale” marshmallow peeps. It was a treasure hunt to find the basket with clues left in Easter eggs throughout the house. I can still remember the squeals of excitement as she found the basket. I even remember making her Easter outfits (I know she hates this picture but I think it is cute!) and heading to Atlantic City for the Easter parade. Dinners were a little smaller but family was still together.
Now, as the miles stretch between us, we each celebrate Easter with our extended family. Gone are the Easter baskets filled with candy. Gone is the traditional family Easter dinner. There will be loved ones in heaven celebrating together while those of us left behind still struggle with making new traditions. The true meaning of Easter begins to shine through…
After relapsing and returning to recovery, my relationship with God has grown a little stronger. I am grateful he loved me enough to sacrifice his son for my sins. Today, I will count my blessings and treasure the memories I can remember. I miss the traditional family holidays (what little I can remember) but am learning to create new memories with each passing day.
Share your Easter memories with us. Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!
Thank you Pillsbury.com for today’s recipe….I know crockpot season may almost be over at least for me since I really only use it during the winter month BUT this looked too good to pass up. It’s not the same old pork chops! Tender chops slow-cooked with flavorful creamy mashed pinto beans make a tasty dinner for four.
4 – bone-in center-cut pork loin chops, 3/4 inch thick (about 2 lb)
1 teaspoon Old El Paso™ taco seasoning mix
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
2 cans (15 oz each) pinto beans, drained, rinsed
Chopped fresh cilantro, if desired
- Heat 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork chops with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the seasoning. Cook pork chops in skillet 4 to 6 minutes, turning once, until brown.
- In 3- to 4 1/2- quart slow cooker, mix remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon seasoning, the salsa, corn and beans until well blended. Top with pork chops, overlapping as necessary, pressing gently into bean mixture.
- Cover; cook on Low heat setting 4 to 5 hours.
- Remove pork chops to serving platter. Cover to keep warm. With fork or potato masher, mash beans slightly until slightly thickened. Serve pork chops over beans. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
- Browning the pork chops before placing them in the slow cooker adds flavor to this dish.
- Substitute black beans or red beans for pinto beans in this recipe.
Nutrition Facts: Calories 360, Total Fat 11g, Saturated Fat 3 1/2g, Cholesterol 85 mg Sodium 1110mg, Potassium 760mg, Total Carbohydrate 32g, Dietary Fiber 7g, Sugars 9g, Protein 33g. Daily Exchanges: 1 1/2 Starch; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 4 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 0 Fat;
Since I am the Queen of leftovers – LOL. I love when there are 4 servings because it ensures I have a meal or two to freeze for hubby’s dinner. Since he works the swing shift, he uses Thirty One’s Picnic Thermal. It holds his dinner, snacks and LOTS of other stuff. We actually weighed it one day and it was 35 pounds! So whether you are headed to the beach, campground or family picnic with your favorite foods. The Picnic Thermal Tote has a Leak Lock® thermal lining to hold ice when you need to keep things cool for a longer time. A removable, adjustable shoulder strap makes it easy to carry when you have your hands full, and the zip-around closure ensures everything stays put while you’re transporting it from the car.
Share your favorite recipe with us, and if I publish it….YOU will get a FREE gift from me.
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!