Organizing Our Chaos: Summer Hiatus


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Yesterday I posted about my summer abroad visiting family and loving life back on the mainland after FOUR YEARS (I still can’t get over that!) of island living. I’ve been sporadic with my posting and begging my co-blogger to help out. She has been amazing, but now we both are at the point mid-summer where we are just having to much fun and enjoying our family.

As you know we are a family blog. We love to share our funny, positive stories along with how to manage and organize chaos while raising children with special needs with a dash of being military wives. Enjoying your family, despite diagnosises, is our most important point we like to make. Furthermore, because of that we can going to cut back on our daily posts to live what we preach. Hopefully, we can provide you with new entertaining stories like Dirty Water and Manhood. Take the rest of the summer to read some past articles and familiarize yourself more with who we are and what we our mission.

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The moment when…you find your kid sleeping in random places…


Happy Monday everyone!  Mondays can be rough, but a Monday right before Christmas hardly even seems like a real Monday.  We are traveling and blessed this Christmas to be spending time with family.  But, traveling with kids means lots of “kids-sleeping-in-random-places.”  Or just falling asleep wherever they can to keep up with the holiday bustle.

The car...This one isn't too random...but sometimes the only way to catch some zzz's when traveling during nap time.

The car…This one isn’t too random…but sometimes the only way to catch some zzz’s when traveling during nap time.

Or when you try for two hours putting them on a bed to take a nap and they insist over and over, “I AM NOT TIRED!” …and then promptly fall asleep on the couch causing everyone to tiptoe for the next hour or so to not wake the child and disturb the peace.

sleeping on couch

Okay, this one is more random.  We were moving from Hawaii back to the mainland and it was just a crazy time.  We took a break for lunch and found a restaurant to eat but there was a wait.  We settled in and got out our phones so the kids would have something to keep them busy.  We looked and saw them both laid out like this…

sleeping on benches

Who knew benches outside a busy restaurant could be an oasis on a busy day?

One of my favorites was when we couldn’t find our oldest one day (that’s happened to others out there, right?) .  We looked all over our house, the garage, the yard, getting more panicked by the second.  We finally found him upstairs.  In the cabinet we have in our hallway.  He loves tight spaces and crawled in there to play with his stuffed animals and fell asleep.  I can’t find the picture or I would share.

The last one I had to share (and I do have the picture), happened a few summers ago.  We were driving from New Jersey to Michigan and stopping and doing lots of family stuff on the way.  By the time we got to our final destination he crawled out of his carseat…and laid on the driveway.

Ah, nothing like a warm driveway at the end of a hard day.

Ah, nothing like a warm driveway at the end of a hard day.

Hope you have a great Monday, and get some rest this holiday season.  In a bed or a random place 🙂

Stick a Fork in Me I’m Done: Why I Need a Vacation from my Vacation Planning


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Oh my gee! I can’t see straight because my contacts are glued to my eyes from staring at my computer screen for the last three days while trying to book a family vacation. With all the stress and anxiety it has caused me, I need a vacation from all this vacation planning. My nerves are shot and if Hubs refuses to answer one more call from me trying to verify answers; I will go through the phone and tightly wrap my hands around his cute little neck.

Why is planning a vacation so hard?! I think its because I over analyze everything. I can’t just make a simple decision. I have to feel that I have made the best choice after weighing all options. It’s decision overload. So what options did I look at?

We looked at going home at Christmas. Barf, $5000 just for plane tickets is to expensive for our blood. So we looked at Disneyland. The kids have been asking since we got back this past February and I agree. Disney! But Disney at Christmas is just high as ranked up there with realizing you are out of milk…on pay day. Nuf said. So we thought about a staycation. Sigh, living in paradise has it’s up and downs… we have experienced all there is to experience here.

I can’t take another Christmas 4000 miles away from family. Having already spent two holidays away from them, it might put me on Prozac to experience another. It’s just the quiet of it all. No grandparent’s gushing over their grandkids; no brothers playing football in the snow; and no turkey on the dinning room table. Staying here is not a option.

So off I went in search of a cheap, but fun alternative; and wouldn’t you know.? There is more than just one island in Hawaii?! Oh snap, say whaaaa? There are several. So why not. Has anyone every asked you if you have visited Hawaii? I always wonder if its a trick question. Yes, I have visited a few islands that make up the entire state of Hawaii. Have you? It’s sorta a pet peeve of mine. But whatevs.

We have already been to two islands. We want to get to the Big Island, but really only desire to see the volcanoes and no desire to spend hours and hours driving. So we decided to do a staycation on Kauai. But is it really a staycation then if we leave the island? Whatever it is, it will be fun. Today I booked the house from Vacation Rentals By Owner online. Several friends have recommended and used them. I’ll write up a review after we return.

I am so excited to go. The last step is to book our flight and rental car. We were trying to piece together our trip; booking everything separate. Which was still cheaper than the tickets alone back home, but way to expensive for the budget we had in mind. Then we tried bundling them on sites like expedia.com or priceline.com; but neither had a feature to only book a car and flight. They both wanted us to include the hotel. So ITR to the rescue!

If you have never used the ITR at your base – GO! Run Fast! They not only saved us over $1000, they were also to obtain a much desired mini van for our vacation. The only thing we are missing? A Christmas tree. Maybe we can ship one?

Tip{py} Tuesdays- DIY Trail Mix Bags


I while back I blogged about how I acquired my sons old school pencil box and turned it into our snack boxes we stash in the diaper bag and purse. It is a amazing idea because I know you as well as me hates cracker bits, dried gummies and half eaten chips smooshed into the bottom of your purse. But what should we even pack to begin with?

I stopped buying gummies (fruit snacks) a long time ago. At $3.50 for a box of 8 they were gone the moment I brought them in the house (Hubs should really attend a 12 step program for this), not to mention they don’t even fill my spawn up. Five seconds later they’d be asking for more. So I looked for healthier and hunger sustaining options. And then a mom showed me her idea that has forever rocked my world.

She too had three kids who seemed like bottomless pits. Every weekend she would take a few moments while the kids were busy with dad and create her own trail snack mixes. She loaded up some ziplock bags and placed them in a child-accessible parent-monitored location (she had hers in the center of the dinning room table). Then during the week as their fuel levels reached empty, she’d tell the kids to grab a snack bag. I loved this idea and adapted it for our own family. But I use them on outings to keep the kids busy, happy and full.

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Here is a list of healthy (and not so healthy) ideas:

Pretzels (mine like the sticks)
Goldfish
Cheese its
Jelly beans
Yogurt covered raisins
Yogurt covered craisins (my favorite)
M & Ms
100 calorie snack packs (I love these because they have oatmeal clusters, cookies and other snacks with proportion already in mind)
Marshmallows
Dried cereal

There are dozens of combinations you can make. But don’t forget yourself! As moms we tend to make sure we have everything we need for the kids- extra diapers, wipes, sippy cups and a toy. But I am always forgetting to bring myself a water bottle or small snack for long trips. Which just equals poor choice in snacks, money you didn’t want to spend and a grabby mommy. And when mama ain’t happy; nobody is happy!

Tip{py} Tuesday…Welcome Baskets!


I am almost fully recovered after Labor Day weekend!  We had a great time and were blessed enough to have 9 family members come for a visit!!!  We hung out by the pool, went hiking, grilling, sightseeing and it was so much fun.  My boys got to hang out out with their three cousins from my side, and all of my siblings and their spouses (6 peeps!) were able to come.  With my husband’s deployments, training, etc…he’s missed out on the last two family get-togethers, so I was so happy we were able to spend some QT together.

Something fun that I put together to help welcome our guests is something that I’ve dubbed a “welcome basket.”  It’s a small basket I put on their bed, usually on top of some clean towels, with some goodies when they arrive.

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Ta-da! This soap isn’t the one from the farmer’s market I told you about, it’s just what I happened to have on hand to make the example 🙂

The welcome baskets this time around had a cup for the cousins to personalize so it was easier to keep track of, some local honey, some homemade soap I got at a farmer’s market, a washcloth, and some fresh rosemary from our backyard.  They weren’t expensive to put together and everyone talked about how much they loved them.  They cost about $5 a basket to put together.  I’ll be able to reuse the baskets for future guests and for different things around the house (napkins, etc…).  The baskets and cups I was able to get at the Dollar Store which definitely helped keep cost down.  Another great addition to the baskets would be extra soap, shampoo, etc… that we have from hotels we have stayed.  Just a little personal touch that was fun for me to put together while I was getting ready (and excited!) for everyone to come!

Now, I am going to put my feet up 🙂