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Traveling with kids. An adventure in parenting, patience and practical planning. Part 2

Jul 05, 2011 | By Cari Hale
Last time, we talked about some of the do’s and don’ts of traveling with children, favorite “playthings” for car and plane travel and questioned at what age was it appropriate to travel with children. (Read part one.) This week, we’ll get down to the nitty gritty of traveling with youngins’. We’d love to continue this dialogue with you. Please keep sending in travel tips, as well as pictures from any fabulous family vacays you might have ventured on this summer. We love hearing from you!

What medicines do you travel with?
Mama always had aspirin, Pepto, Band-Aids, Neosporin, aloe packets, hand sanitizer and sunblock.

EVERYTHING! Children’s Advil, children’s Tylenol, children’s Benadryl, cough meds—am and pm—eye drops, diaper rash cream, Vicks Vapor Rub, sunblock and lots of Neosporin … and Kleenex. Never fails, on every trip, I find myself running out to Walgreens at midnight for something for the kiddos—so I take it all!

Nothing, if I know we are going to have a pharmacy nearby. If it’s out of the country, I take Tylenol, Motrin, and my daughter’s inhaler.

Children on car trip
Water bottles are a must!

What snacks do you take with you on long trips?
Goldfish, raisins, crackers, suckers, pretzels, Cheerios, dried fruit, juice boxes and a ring pop in case of emergency.

I always start out with the best intentions of bringing along healthy snacks. But it never fails, we always end up with a bag of something bad from the roadside Stuckeys!

M&M’s are a must. We also take crackers, chips, cookies, etc. Wow! I guess lots of junk.

Name your favorite family vacation spots.
At this age, the beach because you don’t feel like you have to stay all day, and you can go back to the condo for naps. Or go to anywhere there’s family, so they can HELP!

The mountains. We’ve been skiing with our kids since they could practically walk. Our favorite is Beaver Creek. Very kid friendly.

Our lake house in Pickwick. It’s the best memory-making getaway for our family. Late night card games, cookouts, sunburns and total exhaustion from a long day of tubing and skiing behind the boat. I tell all my friends, even if you don’t have a place, take ours or go rent one. But you must take a long weekend away to a cabin or lake house.

DisneyWorld of course.  Manhattan Beach in California is great, and it is close to DisneyLand. Destin is fabulous.

Child on the Beach

What are your Disney World dos and don’ts?

We went last August and I was 10 weeks pregnant. I was definitely worn out at the end of the day but it was worth it. There is so much to do and see that I personally would not take a child under 3 years old.

Allow time for afternoon rests/napping. For mom and dad as well as the children. And try not to over schedule your days. You might not get to see everything but at least you’ll have good memories of what you did see.

Make sure your children are tall enough. Stay at one of the resorts.

Well, there you have it. Hope these snippets of wise advice and personal reflections help in some way. Whatever you plan, have fun. And don’t forget to send us your stories and photos!

- The Girls at Itty Bitty Bella

Fourth of July Festivities

Jul 02, 2011 | By Cari Hale
The Fourth of July weekend is finally approaching! Kids and parents alike have all been counting down the days until this beloved holiday weekend rolls around, and we've got a few ways to make your celebrations this year extra special.

Parents Magazine

Round up the kids and get out the streamers, cans, paper and glue. Spend time Monday morning decorating bikes, wagons, or anything else with wheels so you can create your own Fourth of July parade. Get all the neighbor kids together to join in...the more the merrier! Get tips and directions from Parents Magazine.

Parents Magazine

All the neighborhood girls will love creating festive decorations for their hair. The simple coffee filter "wildflower" hair clips will go perfectly with their red, white and blue outfits. Get the directions.

Don't forget to have patriotic songs playing in the background! These upbeat, USA centered songs are sure to get everyone in the mood for some Independence Day celebrations.

Party in the USA (Miley Cyrus)
America's Our Country (David Tobocman)
This Land is Your Land (Woody Guthrie)
Before the Parade Passes By (Dan Zanes and Matthew Broderick)
Born in the USA (Bruce Springsteen)

Have a safe and happy Fourth!

- The Girls at Itty Bitty Bella

Pool and Beach Favorite

Jun 30, 2011 | By Cari Hale
Now that we're right in the middle of a heatwave summer, it's time to embrace all things wet and cold. That means lots of pool time, beach getaways and sprinkler parties in the backyard.

When it's time to dry off for lunch or a little downtime, don't throw your itty bitty's just any old towel. Get them a beach towel of their own. We all have them, so why not let them have their own too!

Fish, octopus, and footballs are perfect for your little boys.

Floral cross and cupcakes are ideal for your sweet little girls!

The perfectly appliqued images are ideally suited for your little girl or boy, and the smaller size is just what your tots need.

Let us sweeten the deal...they are on sale! As of June 30th they are 40% off until supplies last! Come stock up before your Fourth of July getaway.

- The Girls at Itty Bitty Bella

Traveling with kids: An adventure in parenting, patience and practical planning. Part 1

Jun 29, 2011 | By Cari Hale
“Are we there yet?”

“Mom, she won’t quit touching me!”

“I have to go to the bathroom!”

Ah, the summer months of traveling with family.

We’ve all heard these traveling cries, whether it’s from the backseat of a car or across the aisle of a hot, crowded airplane (with all eyes on you to calm the crying, whining child).

How can you turn your summer vacations into memories filled with fondness and not frowns?

We’ve recruited some of the best, most qualified folks around to find out how they travel with their young ones in tow: You! Over the course of the next few days, we’ll dish out tips and tricks to help you get your trip started by putting your best foot forward as you head out on an adventure.

Should you accidentally pack the blankie, mom's scarf and jacket work as last minute substitutes on long flights.

At what age were your children when you took them on their first trip? Why did you decide to go on the trip?
Carter was 10 months when I flew to Kansas to see my sister. It was so traumatic I haven’t flown since, much less with two children now!

My twins were five months old. I flew up to Chicago with my mother to see extended family. We timed it so they could have their afternoon bottle and take a nap during the one-and-a-half-hour flight. And they actually did!

My son was only six weeks old when my husband was best man in a wedding. Too far to drive, we flew with our precious cargo in tow. But he was great. I timed it so I was breast feeding during take-off and landing to help with any cabin pressure and to make sure he was quiet and sleepy.

My oldest daughter was 4 weeks old when we went to Las Vegas to watch my husband play in a poker tournament. My youngest daughter was 4 months old when we went to Destin with family.

What’s your secret to happy travels with children?
Attitude! If you go into it (the trip) knowing you’ll have bumps, accidents and the occasional temper tantrums (and not just among the children!) along the way, the trip will be much less stressful for everyone.

I take everything that my baby uses daily/nightly plus some for just in case. I felt like I had packed my entire house but it was worth it. We had everything we needed to keep baby on her normal routine and happy as I can.

Be careful not to over schedule your days; allow time to rest, particularly if your children are still napping during the day.

Three words: Portable DVD player.

Never have a schedule. We try and keep it simple and on their terms.

One DVD player is fine, but two sets of headphones is essential!

Name your favorite kid-friendly vacation locales.
The beach. WaterColor (a master-planned community in Florida along Scenic 30-A), and this year we are trying Destin West. Aquariums are always good; they’re a cool place to get away from the heat and the kids enjoy looking at everything.

Uhhhh, why Disney World, of course.

Our family loves camping. We get away from all the phones, TV, ipads and pods. It’s a great trip to remind yourself what family is all about. The evenings are my favorite when everyone is winding down, talking quietly and listening to the night.

Disney World. There is something for everyone.

A $7 float purchased at the nearest Publix is well worth the 7 hours of unforgettable fun.

How do you keep children occupied while traveling via car, plane or train?
Plane: Play-Doh and toothpicks. Sounds weird but it kept my girls busy for hours while flying. They would make shapes and then use the toothpicks to connect their shapes in new and different ways.

I sat next to a man on a plane who said that if you have something warm/hot on the child’s ear, it helps with the air pressure. That could be a warm washcloth or even buckwheat/lavender pillows.

For younger kids, get triangle-shaped crayons as they are less likely to roll off the tray table.

Bringing an extra snack for the plane helps as food is hardly ever provided.

Car: Children’s audio books, so the whole family can enjoy the story together. Car games, like car tag are fun too. Find all 50 car tags, and don’t forget to add Washington, D.C. Or the alphabet game. Start with the letter A and find a word that starts with that letter on construction signs, road signs, gas station signs, car tags, vehicle logos.

In the car, they have our iPhones loaded with games. They also have DVDs. On planes, we take a bag of toys and a computer for movies. What did we do growing up??

Stay tuned for part 2...we love reading your fun (and not-so-fun) travel stories!!

- The Girls at Itty Bitty Bella
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