Friday, March 6, 2015

Worry Free International Travel with Kids

  Well, look who's back?!!! Yours truly.. My quick hiatus turned into months long break. It was crazy busy last holiday season, between school events, church and planning for a trip ..it got really hectic. I love to blog and I just could not get myself to write just to publish something. And besides, I always advocate spreading love with the one closest to you..your family. I did enjoy the break!






    We spent our holidays in Philippines, We are so elated and blessed to have this opportunity to see our family. I must say that I've heard bothersome stories about traveling with kids..young..think of a 2 yr old and a 4 yr old. It did worry me at first but we prayed and I told myself that this blessing doesn't come very often..so I will enjoy every minute of our travel. It is our first International travel as a family. Call us brave I guess, We are a testimony that traveling with kids is not as awful as you may think.  Every situation , every  family is different of course  and every child is different , know that our suggestions here are merely based on our own experiences.

1. Call ahead for kids meal.

            You can call your airline to request a kids meal ( under the age of 12) in flight. Ask for their policies first, while some may offer it for free,  others may have an extra charge. Most airlines provide special in flight meals , for those who can not eat the provided regular in-flight meal -- for babies, toddlers and children ( 2-12 yrs old) and due to health conditions , age , religious practices.We flew with Asiana, We must say we are pretty impressed with their kids meal.

2. Pack snacks and an empty water bottle.

              Yes, you can pack snacks for your kids. Just make sure that it is a non messy snack ( sorry chocolates) Instead pack their all time favorite snacks. Pack snacks like granola bar , pretzels, raisins and fruit snacks.
             I don't know about you but I have a problem buying a $3-4 water bottle. It is the 4 of us traveling so buying those bottles can add up really fast. You can fill up the bottles ( water fountains)  after the checkpoint. We used  Contigo Autospout Addison Water Bottle.
   
 3. Pack activities for the kiddos and some for you .

              Divide certain activities depending on the length of your trip. Since we had the red eye  trip, I pretty much know that they will not be needing one on the first leg of our trip. Going to Philippines, we had a quick lay over in Korea. It is just enough time to go through another checkpoint and then find our gate. So the flight from Korea to Philippines, we made sure that it was well divided into 4-5 hrs. You wont need much though, there is a movie with a lot of choices for kids in flight.  
                Here's a few of what we brought:
                - pipe cleaners ( tons of things you can make with wonder fuzzy sticks)
                - sticker books
                - Highlights Hidden Pictures ( with paid subscription) See here for info
                - coloring books and crayons ( small pack) or just download some pages from the internet.

We also printed some of their favorite characters , Dora for Lily and Little Pony for Lucy.
                -  Melissa & Doug Design-Your-Own Bracelets

 
                  - Books to read :
 

 


 

            We packed sets of activities (2 , one for each kid) in a ziploc bag , so I don't have to choose from the variety. I'll just grab one.

4. Rewards.
We prepared a few small baggies ( gift bags) with inexpensive toys. Just small enough so it is not that bulky for your carry on.  It can be challenging to reason out with a two year old that she needs to stay buckled until the pilot says it's safe to take it off. Either during take off or landing or when needed due to turbulence. We are not afraid to reward them for staying buckled and seating still.  Those little toys are handy during lay overs or those long lines at check points.

5. Traveling with kids does have PERKS.

                Call your airlines and ask about any special family services. They are very accommodating when they see that you have kids in tow.  As with our experience, we were able to avoid the lines at the check in area and boarding area. They let you go first , right after the seniors or passengers with disabilities. BUT , at the NAIA Airport ( Manila, Philippines) it was a different story. They only prioritize female passengers traveling with kids without another parent or guardian. Needless to say call ahead as every airline and airport have different and awesome support or services for families traveling with kids and babies.

6. Know the airport.

             I did research in advance as far as the lay out of the airports ( including the lay over). You may be surprised on how awesome some of the airports are. We really loved the Incheon ( Korea) Airport, they do have a nice sleeping area , kids area ( play area), internet area ( though most airports offer free WiFi) , shower area and so on. In that way, you can kind of plan ahead specially if you have a long lay over.(like us!)

7. Take turns

             Lets face it..traveling internationally is exhausting. I advise that parents take turns. Let the husband stroll around the shops or look for a nice coffee shop while you take charge of the kids. Give each other a breather.

8. Pack your carry on wisely and bring an (umbrella) stroller.

             Yes, you can bring a stroller. A lightweight , small and foldable in straight line(umbrella stroller). As far as the car seat is concerned , we did request for one .The airline said,since she is already two yrs old, there is no need for it. Pack your carry on very wisely, remember .. it is also nice to enjoy the journey not just the destination and carrying a heavy  carry on would not only leave you feeling like a packing mule but exhausted..beyond words. Trust me..we learned from this.

9. Relax

          Don't stress yourself thinking how well ( or not) will your kids behave on the flight. Sometimes, not over controlling the situation is the key. They will at some point fuss, complain..talk..and talk some more, after all they are kids right? You may encounter some bad looks, some unkind comments but hey.. we can not please everybody. You will be surprised as well at how many passengers , strangers , even the flight attendants will step up to help you.

10. Pray

         Nothing else can calm you down like a good talk with the Lord.


 -- Philippians 4:6-7
" Don't worry about everything, instead pray about everything. Tell God your needs and don't forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do these you will experience God's peace which is far more wonderful than the human can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus. "


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How We Paid Cash for our International Travel 






Friday, October 17, 2014

Love Begins by Taking Care of the Closests Ones -- the Ones at Home . A QUICK HIATUS


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Dear sweet readers of mine,


" Love begins by taking care of the closests one -- the ones at HOME " -- Mother Theresa

Love that quote. In fact , it is one of my favorite quote that I truly live by and I do advocate it. We all can inspire and we all can make a difference to a fast pace , technologically inclined , modern world. Everyday life can either be mundane or stressful . Luckily , we have a choice. 

We've been busy this past few weeks. Between planning a trip , school , Church ,some extracurricular activities and errands.. there is just not enough time in a day. When you are raising small children , I know you will understand how crazy it can get and how much important it is to be PRESENT. How important it is FILL THEIR LOVE TANK inspite of the everyday busy-mess.. busyness.


 

Honestly , hubby and I are still adjusting to our new role. There was a lot of changes to routines, schedules and ways since our eldest went to school. It is a good change and I love it. We love seeing her learn new things and oh how she gets excited going to school. It is the same with Lucy too.. she is also adjusting. From just being around us and somewhat "sheltered" life..School scene and setting can be too much for her too.


On the other hand , Lucy's time at school means ,alone time with our youngest Lily. They grow up way too fast , my sensitive and emotional mama heart calls me to spend those " open times" with her. Without distractions. Just her and me. 

How can I say no to building more good memories with that sweet and happy kid?


and with my down times , aside from finding a "me time".. I would love to spend time with this handsome man of mine.

Finding a balance..it's not easy. Possible with God's help.



No , I don't plan on being a helicopter mom. I just want to build more memories with my Lily bug. I had plenty with Lucy when she was at her little sisters age.


With that being said , I will be on a quick..break. A short hiatus.

   I have a lot of good plans on future post and recipes. I will be working on inspiring and helpful topics and recipes! Because I do love all of my readers .. I want to give you all a great content.



I would love to connect with you , Do not forget to sign up for our free newsletter and never miss a budget friendly and delicious recipe .  You can also follow me via:


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Friday, October 10, 2014

Crockpot Mac and Cheese

   It was such a busy week lately for us , it was a doozy. There were crazy days , there were " did I just forget that" moments , an " oh my gosh I just did the laundry..what happened?? " moments and there were " I could really use a HUGE cup of coffee right now " moments. However in those moments , I still learned some valuable lessons, to breathe in and pause. A mental pause and a physical pause. Also, at the end of a busy tiring day, I am surrounded with love.

      So busy mommas, here' s an easy and budget friendly recipe for you. This is WAY better than the boxed mac n cheese .



Ingredients:

1 package ( 1 lb box) of Gemelli pasta or elbow macaroni
2 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 10.75 oz can of condensed cheddar cheese soup
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp black pepper


Directions:

I like to use a block of cheese and do the shredding on my own.. but a package of shredded cheese is also good.


Boil your pasta for only 6 minutes .. only for that amount of time because we don't want to overcook the pasta.


In a saucepan , mix the butter and the shredded cheese..


Mix in the cheddar cheese soup,

 

Spray your crock pot with non stick cooking spray , Combine the cheese mixture , sour cream , salt , milk, dry mustard and pepper.



 Add the pasta and stir it ... stir it like you mean it. Cook it on low for 2 - 2 1/2 hrs.
Stir it constantly, do not overcook.. nobody wants a mushy mac n cheese,


I promise you, it is way better than the boxed one.



Delicious , my family loves it , budget friendly ---> right up my alley.


Unlike the boxed mac and cheese , this recipe is not yucky the next day! It still tasted really good.   Serve with steamed peas and corn.


I would love to connect with you! 









Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Letter of the Week : Tt



*  The Letter of the series contains affiliate links .  It will also feature several links and other awesome blogs to which I will give credit for their great job .

BOOKS TO READ

 To save money , local library is a good option. You can also use whatever books you may have in your home library to supplement with the lesson. 

From the library...


  • Tt ( See it. Say it. Hear it) by Kelly Doudna
  • A Train on the Track by Sarah Sheffield
  • Tam and Tom by Pam Scheunemann


From our book shelves...


  • I'm a Little Teapot
  • Sofia the First : Perfect Tea Party
  • Tag and Tick -Tock by Hooked on Phonics
  • Nursery Rhyme Box Set by Trace Moroney
Three Little Kittens
Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
  --> Here's the complete set, we love this : ( click on the picture to learn more)

 


Start out by saying the letter out loud,  teaching the phonetic sound of the letter. Next is the  letter tracing . I downloaded the tracing sheets from : First- School

Click here for : 





We used Sandpaper letters and salt tray  to practice the letter too ,Check this easy and cheap : Montessori at Home : DIY Sandpaper Letters .


We practiced the phonetic sound using leap frog's alphabet phonics fridge magnets,


Our girls loves Veggietales , so we did a coloring activity . Get this free and cute Bob the Tomato coloring page here : Veggietales.Com . They can also play online with this awesome website.


We read more about the letter T and did a find the BIG T and SMALL T activity , Get this alphabet lapbook here : Homeschool Share


She also ,did a play dough and toothpick fine motor activity, we counted as she pokes  the toothpicks on the play dough,


We did a teapot counting activity , there's two ways to do this . First is you can practice number sequencing , letting your child put the numbers in order. Second, use clothespin to attach or pin on each number card.  Here is a free printable , download it through Scribd , if you do not have an account , sign up... it is free and a wonderful site to find both free and paid printables and books : Teapot Counting Activity


 I purposely did not  put the numbers on each teapot to give you other ways to utilize it , I'm sure all of you smart mamas out there have a whole lot of tricks up your sleeves.  You can use the teapot printable for alphabets , coloring activity or even sight word activity.  If you prefer to receive the printable through your email , feel free to let me know!


We did a pattern  and sorting activity ,


For this tomato counting and collage activity, Get the Letter Collage printable here : Confessions of a Homeschooler .  For these cute tomato printables , download it here : Tomato Counting and Collage Activity
Again, my sweet readers..you can get it free ( PDF form) through Scribd.  There are many ways to use this printable too , you can also use it as a cut and paste activity.





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