Traveling with your kid: Managing the Crazy

  Traveling with kids SUCKS! It's horrible. I absolutely want to take adventures and see the world with my child, but let me be honest by saying that I'm literally praying daily for someone to invent teleportation or the "beam me up" situation from the Star Trek. TSDSTTR PA062 Before I had a child I would say I was an expert traveler, I had packing down to a science, and the ability to travel anywhere at anytime.  Now? Oh, how the game has changed my friend.  As a person living with anxiety I really don't enjoy the traveling with my kid in tow.  It freaks me out!  I need lots of time to prepare, pack, repack, panic, and repack again.  That usually helps me control the anxiety, so needless to say, I'm pretty good at it.  Here's what we so to get through it.  ***Note this is for ONE parent flying with ONE child.***

His Carry On: (Boy 3 1/2 years old): Pick a backpack that has plenty of room but that your little one can wear or even better a rolling back pack like the ones from Pottery Barn Kids that they can pull around behind them. In quart size ziplock bags separate the small toys, crayons, etc so that you can not only see them but feel them while you're searching thru their bag for them because they just can't (ugh.) Grab a few brand new Grab and Go fun packs from the Target dollar section or the Dollar Store.  Get one new decent sized toy that kiddo has never seen before but really likes (i,e. a Spider-Man or Barbie, or an Imaginext) this way they have a surprise that will keep them preoccupied for part of the plane ride. On this trip we're trying a new Disney Star Wars kinetic sand may be a disaster, but he loves them and it will keep him entertained (wish me luck.) image   I swear by the iPad mini, but make sure you have enough memory to download a new movie and maybe a few episodes of their favorite show, just in case there isn't any wifi.  Other Apps to consider are VUDU, Disney Anywhere, Netflix and YouTube Kids for wifi hotspots or even use your phone as a hotspot for driving. Snacks: just a few so that they can grab it themselves. I pack 1 Pirates Booty, 1 Veggie Stick, 1 Annie's fruit snack, and one small pack of cookies or graham crackers...but here's the thing if you run out of room just grab some snacks after you get through security.  We usually find hummus packs, yogurt, a bagel, or pick up a smoothie at Starbucks. Pack a hoodie, an empty water bottle, some toddler flushable wipes, a spare pair of underwear and a wet bag or gallon size ziplock bag for any accidents that could occur.  Don't forget their blanket or favorite stuffed animal for comfort.

My Carry On: I carry a pretty big (but very chic) back pack.  I don't do the tote bags because they tip over, can be reached inside of and they pull one shoulder down or slip off and just make your life a little more unbearable.  A backpack makes your hands free to hold onto little ones and a rolling suitcase.  Keep liquids to a minimum (if any at all) and contained to a quart size ziplock or clear makeup bag.  I pack a few daily wear contacts, mascara in travel size, hand sanitizer spray, lip balm and a good tinted CC cream (you can buy anything at your destination that you may need beyond the bare essentials.)  I highly suggest skipping the laptop computer if you can and investing in a good tablet that can replace it while you're traveling.  I love my iPad Pro and found it at a good price at Costco! You won't have to unpack the iPad's at security so that totally rules.  Grab a comfortable, light and versatile cardigan for the air conditioning and a bonus is that it can double as a blanket. Lululemon or Three Dots make great ones.  I pack a compact cross-body bag in my carry on.  When I need it on my trip it's there but one less bag to sling around my neck at the airport.  You can even store your wallet, keys, and sunglasses in it and ready for when you get to the hotel.  All you need accessible for travel is your photo ID, boarding pass (which you can put on your phone now), cash and your phone.  Hello! That's why I suggest a backpack  plenty of little pockets for that crap.  Remember to bring a snack for yourself, a refillable water bottle, toothbrush,  antibacterial wipes, facial wipes (please don't confuse the two...ouch) and your phone charger.  In fact, most of the time I only carry the USB cord to save room because you can plug it into a hotel TV or charging station at the airport.  Most places have joined the tech revolution and have USB ports for charging now.  We only need one cord for all of our devises.  A good pair of ear buds or headphones just in case you can manage to catch a movie or listen to your tunes if kiddo falls asleep is a bonus.

What we pack in our Carry On Size Suitcase: Basics and favorites.  For a 4 day trip we need to keep it simple.  Anything longer try to see if laundry is available.  I only fly with a carry on suitcase.  I almost NEVER check a bag.  I can't stand waiting for it to get off of the flight and such, and for us that has added an extra hour stuck in the airport and not on our way to the fun stuff.

For my little dude:  I pack sunglasses, a baseball cap, 4 pairs undies, 3 t-shirts, one collard shirt, 2 shorts, 1 pant, 1 pair of pjs, one swim outfit, 2 socks, 1 pair of sneakers, 1 pair flip-flops or crocs. (Remember the hoodie in the carry on.) Roll each outfit together including undies.  Stick socks into shoes.  Anything over that is too much probably.  Lay it all out and see if you can edit or combine outfits to make even more room.  Here's where you can get them involved....have them pick out the clothes they want to wear.  My son hates to wear a collard shirt or anything dressy so I have him help me choose his outfits.  I have a higher success rate when his opinion has been factored in.

For me: I can get away with dresses for day or night and simple sandals.  For a 4 day trip I do denim cutoff shorts and 2 cotton tank tops, cotton sundress, simple black dress that can be worn day or night, white jeans with a grey or black cotton t-shirt, maxi shirt and white tank top and one basic black bathing suit. (Remember you have a cardigan in your carry on bag for layering.) Do your self a favor and just leave the crazy big platforms and whack ass fancy heels at home, girl.  You won't want to be burdened with them in your bag.  Simple black sandals, comfortable flip-flops, one pair of comfy pjs, however much underwear you feel you need, and 2 bras should be sufficient. You can wear your sneakers to travel in.

Consider shipping: Diapers, liquids, bulky items and extra clothes can be shipped to Grandma's, but you can also check hotel policy and for longer trips this is super simple and easy to do and just makes dealing with checked bags a thing of the past. Hallelujah!


What we're wearing to fly: Gone are the days of dressing to the tens for airline flights. Boo can wear his favorite t-shirt, comfortable cotton shorts (with pockets if you can,) crocs and a baseball cap.  I always travel in black leggings, cotton tunic style t-shirt, 'no-show' socks and Adidas sneakers (preferable black and white because they go with all of my other clothes.) I wear a sports bra to travel in just in case I get the ol' frisk and fondle by the TSA agents.  A baseball cap always is helpful so that you don't ruin your blowout by pulling your hair up and wasting that time an energy.

Airport Tips: Buy snacks and fill water bottles after you get through security checks.  Make sure you are early for flight times...and by early I mean like an hour or more kind of early.  You have no idea how long the lines can be, who will need to pee or poop (which with a newly potty trained kid can take some time) and it gives you plenty of time to make sure you can check in at the gate and let them know your needs to pre-board.  A few times I have been lucky enough to upgrade seats to first class or business class on the cheap so look out for these options.  Trust me, they call it first class for a reason.  I don't like traveling with a stroller or car seat.  It's just as easy to rent if you need to.  Try finding a car service that supplies the seat.  You'll have to buckle it in but that's old hat for a seasoned parent.  Less is more here, people.  I have been known to buy a cheap umbrella stroller at Rite Aide or Target in desperate times, but I prefer not to relive those.  Once you've been seated on the plane make iPads readily available along with water bottles and blankies.  Sometimes the pilot will let the kids see the cockpit which is pretty cool and totally take the flight attendants up in the little wing pins...cause that's about all that is free on an airplane now.  Also, if you can allow your little one to sit in the window seat you'll be happy to have that entertainment but if not the middle seat will do and if the person next to you is annoyed offer to buy them a drink.  This is real life and in real life kids travel so we all have to deal with it.  They can be nice or go to sleep.

Many trips will be taken, many people will be annoyed by kids on an airplane...even in a train or on a all sucks.  But for us it's about memories.  Try to be prepared, try to keep your wits about you, try not to over pack or over stress (like I have a tendency to do) and remember to have fun.  As much as we hate the travel grind the kids can't help who or how they are and most of the time they're more well-behaved than the adults.

Good luck and ALL Love,

W and B


Persnickety Palate: Trick Your Toddler

These days getting Boo to eat anything that isn't hotdogs or mac'n'cheese is basically a miracle.  He's pretty resistant to eat anything vegetable related…so I trick him.  I hide veggies in everything.  Is it just us? I mean, I feel like I hear other people saying that their kid will eat anything… I want to slap them.  I have worried myself sick in the past thinking that my child will end up unhealthy, but the fact is feeding them a balanced diet is possible. Here are my top tricks for sneaking in nutrients into your toddlers otherwise crap diet:


  1. Replace lasagna noodles with zucchini ribbons, or make "pasta" with this handy little tool.  My kiddo will eat anything with a pasta sauce on it, so this is always a great options for replacing gluten and carb loaded foods with a veggie.
  2. Add frozen spinach to meatballs.
  3. Reduce ground beef, chicken or turkey portions and add ground mushroom.  This is a great boost of vitamins and minerals.
  4. Try adding a bit of pureed pumpkin or butternut squash to tomato sauces.
  5. Add steamed and pureed cauliflower to cheese sauces.  This can lighten your alfredo and mac'n'cheese considerably.
  6. Always add spinach or baby kale to your smoothies.
  7. This Airfryer is amazing.  We make a ton or sweet potato fries, zucchini fries, tater tots, etc. with little to no oil.
  8. If you have a juicer making carrot juice or beet juice to add to fruit juices and freezing into popsicles makes kiddos happy and cools them off.
  9. Add whipped avocado to puddings and brownie mix.
  10. When in doubt look for store bought items that add veg to the old standbys (just be ware of added preservatives, dyes and sugars!!)

Monday Fave Rave: Target Obsessed

Anyone who knows me know that I am totally TO (Target Obsessed.)  It's my happy place. A place I like to escape to while kiddo is in preschool.  I swear I could walk around in that red palace of impedimenta for days.  It's also just super convenient that they sell all of my favorite brands these days.  For busy parents with a multitude of tasks to juggle, we can all appreciate a one-stop-shop.  This also happens to be Boo's first choice in bigger retail stores too. I don't know about you guys but I'm kind of picky about what I feed Boo, use on our skin, or purchase for the home.  I try to go for the most organic, GMO free, artificial additive free, all natural as I can, when I can.

Heres my list of Target must haves:

  1. Annie's Organics everything.  From soup to snacks this brand is a go to for us and we can usually find our necessities on sale.  that's awesome since my picky eater goes through about 6 cans of Bunnies a week.
  2. Zarbees.  Holy crap, I love this brand!! Finding supplements and all natural meds for children is not an easy task.  Other brands on the market are homeopathic and give my son an adverse reaction at times.  Once I discovered this brands I fell in love.  Adults won't miss out either.  Personally, I can't take many OTC meds, but this stuff helps me feel a lot better when the germs get the best of me.
  3. Nature's Wick candles and home scents are so awesome.  I am officially nuts for them.  I love the wood wicks and soy based wax.  No stinky chemical doers when you blow them out and their unique scents, like bonfire nights, keep my whole house feeling all warm and cozy, even with stinky kids and a smelly dog running around from time to time.
  4. Pacifica is a great brand, but I specifically love these makeup remover cloths are super luxurious feeling and smell fantastic.  Keep these in your gym bag or purse and they are safe to use on the kids, too.  Trust me.
  5. Imaginext are the greatest toys ever.  I recently stumbled upon these for my 2.75 year old.  They are perfect.  Fisher Price hit right on the money with cool characters and infinite possibilities to encourage your little one's imagination and story making skills.  We have probably a million of these because I buy one to two "mystery packs" per trip.

Next time your in Target check these out and please let me know if there is a "must have" that you guys are obsessed with, too.  I am always down to try new brands.

Next week look for my have rave on local Orlando shops for all of your gift giving needs!!!! 

Persnickety Palate: Popsicles

Who doesn't love popsicles? I mean, really? Everyone does, but there are way too many out on the market that are full of crap.  I am a firm believer in feeding kids "kid food" but without the additives, preservative, artificial colors and flavors, etc.  Living in Florida, popsicles are a staple in our house.  As summer turns to fall, and fall turns to cold and flu season, I will be stocking up on our favorite popsicles to help battle sore throats and fevers.  They're not just for the poolside lounging during the dog-days of summer. I know a lot of you uber moms out there probably pick, squeeze, blend and freeze your own healthy concoctions for your kiddos favorite frozen treats, but I just don't have the time or really want to deal with the mess.  Here's a little list of our choice icy treasures.  IMG_8468

  1. Ruby Rocket's  Yumm! These are our go-to for heat relief and to soothe an ailing toddlers bout of the yucks.  We found these at Union Market in Brooklyn and at Winn Dixie (yeah, you read that right.) These will work for anyone with gluten or dairy allergies, are completely vegan, have added probiotics, and no artificial junk.  Keep these on hand all year long, your kiddos will thank you.
  2. Lifeway Frozen ProBugs Push Pops A great alternative to ice-cream! These little beauties are frozen kefir with all natural flavors, gluten free, lactose free and have 10 added live probiotic cultures.  THese are great when my son has an upset tummy and isn't really interested in eating.  I can usually find these at Whole Foods and Fresh Market.
  3. Diana's Bananas because dark chocolate covered frozen bananas are the jam! An added bonus is that I usually run across these at Aldi on the cheap, so I load up.

My picky little eater loves all of these and even kids in our neighborhood eat them all with no complaints.  It's a great way to sneak healthy ingredients into any diet and can help battle the blahs of being sick this winter.


-W and Boo


Persnickety Palate: The Smoothie Addition

Every Tuesday I will post a recipe, snack and meal ideas, or restaurant reviews all relating to my picky little eater.  When I hear other moms say, "oh my precious little so-and-so will eat anything I put on his/her plate" I want to scream and pull my damn hair out.  HOW?? How the heck do you do this? Boo can be particular, to say the least. And it sucks!  When the Boo was a baby I made homemade organic baby food.  I bought the most expensive and healthiest brands on the market.  He really ate anything.  Right around the time that I could foolishly join ranks of moms who can brag "oh my precious Boo, he will eat anything" he started eating...NOTHING! It didn't matter if it was his favorite food or something new, he threw it down or refused to eat it. Not for lack of trying on my part either.  I cooked and created and cried until I found a meal he would eat.  It felt like I was doing that all day, everyday (somedays I still do!) Thankfully, we have smoothies.

I started making smoothies for Boo around the same time that I introduced solids (cleared this with his doc and got the OK as long was we stuck to foods that didn't include nuts, honey and other allergens advised against in the first 12 months.)  He instantly loved them and the liquid meals kept him full and happy. We made this part of his daily routine and now when he wakes up a smoothie the first thing he asks for! I call it his "baby coffee" because he's not fully awake and ready for the day until he has had at least 12oz of yummy fruit and veggie medley.  Added bonus: whenever Boo won't eat a meal that I have cooked,  or is sick/teething and doesn't seem interested in actual food,  and especially when "the incident" happened and Boo had to live in a spica cast for 10 weeks we LIVED on smoothies.  Dense nutrition, easy to make and portable!

**It is very important to me to feed Boo organic fruits and veggies, non-GMO (if I can find it), no added dyes, artificial sugars or sweeteners, etc. which I know can be expensive.  Costco, Aldi and Winn Dixie all offer Organic, Non-GMO, no high fructose corn syrup products at a lower cost than other grocery stores.**

For recipes and tips on smoothie making I heart this book big time!


Heres what I do to prep smoothies for the month:

Wash and Dry baby spinach and baby kale (I find these easier on Boo's tummy while offering the same benefits as mature kale and spinach)

Break out your favorite frozen and fresh fruits: dark cherries, pineapple, mango, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, blackberries, raspberries, citrus, apple slices etc.

Using quart size freezer baggie and add a heaping handful of spinach or kale and any combination of fruit.  Squeeze excess air out of the the baggie.  Typically I can get 2 days worth of smoothies out of one baggie.  Just add half the bag to the blender with your liquid and additions.  The frozen spinach or kale blends very nicely and no one would even know it's in there by taste! In my house we make enough for one smoothie a day for at least 30 days or more.  The goal is between 15-20 baggies. If you have any left over greens freeze them in snack bag size portions for soups, sauces, extra boost to smoothies, etc.

Our daily morning routine:

I add a fresh (not frozen) ORGANIC banana or fresh avocado daily.  In my opinion, these blend easier and give the drink a creamier constancy if added while at room temp.  For a liquid base I like to use kefir for added probiotic benefits. You can also use coconut milk, sambazon juice (yum) or water.

Add in some extra love:

I like to add in a dash of cinnamon, a generous glob of local honey, a couple of 60% cacao dark chocolate chips, or a spoonful of nut butters (almond, cashew, etc) **DO NOT add these if your child is UNDER 12 months or you suspect any allergies.  Check with your pediatrician before adding new foods like these into your kiddos diet. 

Mix it up: Currently I use a NutriBullet which is easy to clean, blends fast, and takes up very little space on my counter.


Toddler eating habits can drive you crazy so best of luck!

-W and Boo