10 Travel Tips To Help Dad When Mom Travels

Here Are A Few Travel Tips To Help Your Home Run Smoother While Your Away

As bloggers, many of us are now traveling to conferences and events frequently. I’ve heard several moms who need some travel tips to help their husbands have an easier time while they are gone. I use the term “husband” or “dad” throughout this post. It might be that the caregiver is your mom, or a sitter, relative etc. This is all applicable. So know that “husband” is interchangeable for whatever your circumstance might be.

travel tipsI wanted to share a few tips that seem to help my home run smoother while I’m away. I have to admit that my husband is pretty self sufficient while I’m gone, so I don’t have the issues that I’ve heard some moms have. (I say that and knock on some wood because I am traveling as this is posted). The kids I still have at home are also very self sufficient (11 year old triplets) and know our routine.

Several of these ideas take some preparation prior to your trip. Even though we are often stressed trying to get ourselves ready and it’s not much fun to do some extra work before we leave, it can often help things run smoother.  Keep in mind, if things aren’t too bad while we are gone, then going the next time isn’t going to be such a big deal.. right?

10 Travel Tips to help your home run smoother while you are gone.

1) Clean your home right before you leave.

If things are in order before you leave, then it might not seem as over whelming to your spouse. If the house is already a mess, then he will feel the pressure of cleaning too.

2) Pre-plan meals

Depending on your husband, and his level of expertise in the kitchen (or lack there of) have meals prepared ahead of time. Either frozen (with directions telling him when to pull them out to thaw) or in the refrigerator.  Label the meals and have a guide prepared with directions of how to heat them up.

3) Prepare lunches ahead of time.

You can even pre-pack the lunches if you have room in your refrigerator for that. Make sure you have purchased plenty of lunch supplies before you leave.

4) Have all the laundry washed and put away

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of my husband in the laundry room. He likes to “help”. Which in turn, means I have to rewash clothes that I’m not sure are clean or dirty. He tends to let clothes sit in the washer over night (and sometimes a couple days!) and you all know the sour smell that develops when you do that. So I generally re-wash anything that he has “helped” me with, once I get home.

5) Leave a detailed itinerary of the kids activities, sports practices and directions if necessary.

6) Leave a list of phone numbers, Doctors, Dentist, neighbors, car pool, babysitter, school etc.

7) Leave a list of the routine the kids are used to (if Dad,  doesn’t know)

8) Leave your itinerary and schedule of your events.

Husbands like to talk to us, and as busy as some of these conferences or events can be, they are already feeling left out (if any of you have had your husbands travel… you might know the feeling well yourself. My ex husband traveled a LOT and I relate very well when I hear one of my blogging friends say their husband is “needy” when they are gone). Both of you get skype and plan times that you know you’ll be at your computer and can skype with him and the kids.

9) Have a back up plan in place.

In case one of the kids gets sick, school is cancelled due to weather etc, someone misses a bus.Leave instructions with Dad and the kids as to what will happen or who will take care of the kids in these situations.

10) By all means… make sure the soccer socks are clean and laid out.

Quick story: On one of our trips to Vegas, where we were two hours earlier than home – Kim @CraftyMamaof4 hubby called her about 6:00 in the morning. Her husband and son were in a panic because they couldn’t find a soccer sock for his practice that day. We (@ZipporahS) were cracking up because she was so embarrassed that he woke up all of us calling that early over a soccer sock.  Moral of the story – make sure every piece and part to every thing you can imagine is clean, laid out, prepared, written down and posted before you leave.

More work on us? Yes… a lot! But the benefit would be not getting awakened at 6am with a frustrated husband looking for a soccer sock.

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The Look of Autumn

September 21, 2012 by  
Filed under Attractions to See, Blog, Family & Friends, Travel

When you think of Autumn what do you think of?

Living in Ohio the air gets cooler and crisp and all the colors of Autumn start emerging.  We haven’t really started getting leaves changing colors yet, but there are other sites and colors that we are seeing now.

With the cooler weather just starting to set in, it made me look back to this post that I first posted last year on September 22.

autumnOn the way to our farm today we stopped by a local orchard and it really put me in the mood for fall.

We didn’t go apple picking (not time today) but there sure are orchards near by us to do so if we wanted to.


autumnMums, pumpkins, and apples…

autumn Pumpkins.. and more pumpkins


Pears – we bought some of these, they are so sweet and juice!

autumnTheir peaches are awesome, but we didn’t get any on this trip.

peachesDon’t you think of corn for the fall?  You know, indian corn to decorate with and corn stalks?


I never used to appreciate fall, but I have come to love it.  My husband really loves it.  He isn’t a fan of the heat…. so as soon as the cooler weather comes in, he is one happy camper.

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Do it Yourself Easy Desk Storage Set

Easy To Make – Do it Yourself Desk Set

do it yourself desk storage set

Some of the plastic containers you get products in are really nice, and I decided to make a diy (do it yourself) desk storage set out of three different ones.

I do not normally keep storage containers like these, unless I have a specific use for them.  I love do it yourself projects, but I see too many people keep SO many things like this… with the intention of “some day” getting to it.  Only keep enough containers for the specific do it yourself project you want to accomplish. It will decrease the clutter… and you will be able to save up new containers when you are ready for your next DIY project. But I thought I could make a nice little set for my daughter’s desk by recycling plastic storage containers and some decorative tape.

I kept two different tea mix containers and took the labels off.

do it yourself desk set

I then took the labels off the two tea containers. Both of these labels came right off… easy peasy.

diy desk set

I then had two naked containers, like this one!

do it yourself

I then took my decorative tape.  This is duck tape that I got at Target or Joanne’s. (I can’t remember which)  You can decide how you want to place your decorative tape on the container. You can cover it completely, or make stripes up and down or a single one around…. like this one.

do it yourself

Here is the other container.

do it yourself

I also kept this larger round nut mix container. The label for this container was glued on.

do it yourself

I could have spent a lot of time and soaked it off… peeled  and gotten it sparkly clean first… but heck – I’m covering it with tape.  So I just taped over the label.

diy desk set

Here is the finished product. You can use the lids on your containers if you want.

do it yourself

Here is the finished product that you can put pencils in.

do it yourself

do it yourself


do it yourself desk set

There are so many things you can use something like this for.  This do DIY desk set is going on my daughter’s desk in her room – but I could also see something like this being really cute in a craft room. you could store beads, or any kind of craft supplies in these.  Ideas are endless.

diy desk set


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Ziploc Storage idea for Guest Bedding

Ziploc Has An Easy Way To Store Entire Bedding Sets

I found Ziploc totes are an easy way to store guest bedding all together in one nice neat package. I  now have five sons who live out of the house, but come back to visit often.  Since we don’t have a large home, we have air mattresses and futons they usually sleep on.  Each time they come, I have to go to several different places to get a clean pillow, sheets and blankets.

I decided I wanted to figure out a system, so that I could have them all together in one place. I was going to get clear plastic trash bags, but  I decided to try the Ziploc Extra Large Storage Totes I have seen in the stores, instead. I purchased (this is review I’m doing, I wasn’t asked to do via the Brand and the products were not given to me) several of the 22 gallon bags.  I bought one at Krogers for $5.99 on sale.  I realized they were going to work and wanted to get a few more.  I saw them later that day at Target for $7.49 or $7.99 (I forget which), but they weren’t on sale at the time. I went back to Kroger to buy a few more.  My guess is that there might also be coupons out there for them, but I didn’t have one.


This is a more expensive option than buying clear plastic bags, but I like that they have zippers and that there is a defined shape to it.  The plastic seems pretty heavy duty… so I’m assuming they were last for awhile. (At least I hope)

I placed a pillow, twin set of sheets, blanket and a comforter in this bag.  I’m sure I could have done a little maneuvering, maybe rolling the sheets or making them all Martha Stewart like in how I folded them… to make this look a bit neater.  lol  But I was so excited it all fit!!


My next step was to label each bag with the size of the bedding and contents.  Again… you could make a darling label for these for display, but obviously I didn’t.  Mine are going into a metal cabinet in the basement.


The plan is to give each of the boys a bedding set when they come to visit.  They will bring up the dirty bedding to me when they get ready to leave, along with the plastic bag.  At that point I can wash the bedding and place it right back into the proper plastic bag, so they will be ready for the next time they visit.

Of course these bags can be used for many other storage needs than this, but this solved one of my storage issues and I was excited enough about them to share it with you!

Let me know how you store your bedding for guests.

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Ideas for Kitchen Shelves

September 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Kitchen

Short On Space In Your Kitchen? Add Shelves!

I’m having this issue myself.  I have a small galley style kitchen with a small pantry.  With seven people living in our home, we end up with a very cluttered pantry and cabinets really fast.  I want to add some shelves (I’m thinking Ikea Expedia shelves) to help out.

I love the look of this. I wouldn’t take the doors off my new cabinets, but I think I can achieve this look with the Ikea shelves.  Mine would be on one end of my kitchen.

I found all these photos on pinterest.  But these photos were taken from the sites themselves and all link back to the original source.  You can find these photos and many more on my Kitchen pinterest board.

kitchen shelves

Photo can be found on  Better Homes and Gardens.com   It is also on my kitchen pinterest board.


I think this is also a really cool look.  These are metal shelves that someone has made look really cool! lol But for me personally I don’t know that this solution with the metal tins would serve the purpose I need.  But I certainly like the look.

kitchen shelves

This photo can be found on Apartment Therapy.com.  I also have it pinned on my Kitchen pinterest board.

I have a lot to think about with how I want to add more space to my own kitchen.  My pantry drives me crazy. It is kind of tucked back in and the space is small to get back to it.   I wish I could take off the pantry door and add some space that way.. and I might still consider that as an option.  But along with that I have some space on the opposite end of the kitchen from the pantry that I have some wall space to work with.  We have a small eating table there for the kids to have snacks at, and also a small pie safe with plastic dishes in it.  I would have to remove both of those items in order to use one of the Ikea shelving units.

Any ideas?

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Wicked on Broadway

My First Broadway Play was Wicked

I have been to plays before, but never a Broadway play in NYC, let alone it being Wicked! How cool is that?


I was in NYC for the Blogher 12 conference and had no intention of going to see a Broadway play. We got to NYC around 2:30, after an eight hour Megabus ride and dragging our suitcases through the subway to get to our hotel around 3:30, I was exhausted, hot and tired!  But I was with a couple die-hard NYC lovers! Kim and Mel were dying to go right out and see all the sights. I was ready for a nap.  This was only my 2nd time in NYC and although I was really excited to see everyone and go to Blogher, I wasn’t overly excited it was in NYC. I’m not a big city kind of girl.

We took a little time and rested up in our room. I agreed to go with Kim and Mel to do a ticket lottery to try and get tickets for Wicked. I agreed that if I won them, I’d give them to Kim and Mel (you would get 2 tickets) because they both wanted to see this play so bad… and it wasn’t important to me.  If two of us won, then I’d be happy to go.  We didn’t win any. Kim and Mel were both pretty bummed.

Skip forward to the next day ( I think… or maybe 2 days). We are all sitting in our rooms (adjoining) and Courtney and Kim walk in and Courtney announces that she has a surprise for us. She pulls out 4 tickets to go see Wicked! OMG… now I am rested and it sounds like so much fun!


Courtney and Kim had seats right in front of Mel and I.  I think Kim and Mel were SO excited.. they were ready to burst! Kim had seen it three times prior, but Mel, Courtney and I had never seen it.

It was really cool as we waited for it to start. Of course I couldn’t take any pictures during it… but I did get this one of the set up before it started and you can see some on the Wicked site.  I was amazed at how the entire theater was designed for this one play. When I’ve seen plays before in Columbus, Ohio… they are only there for a few shows, so of course you don’t have anything permanent in the theater like they did for Wicked.


The play was amazing!!  I LOVED it and can now understand why Kim was excited to see it again. I’d love to see it again.  It put this whole new perspective on The Wizard of Oz. Of course that was a favorite of mine growing up in the 60’s.  It used to be on TV once a year and was a big deal when it came on.  This left you with such a feel good feeling…. the kind I love to walk out of a theater or show with.

Thank you SO much Courtney for the wonderful surprise and chance to see my first (but not last!) Broadway play!   I am really glad that I this experience and really thankful that Courtney was kind enough to treat me to something so cool.  The four of us had an awesome adventure together.

If you get a chance to go see it… then be sure you do!

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Closet Solutions

September 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Closets

Be Creative With Your Closet Solutions

I was organizing a room and needed a closet solution for this closet.  The room was going to be used for an office rather than a bedroom and we had a lack of space for the large amount of office supplies.  The shelves that were already in place were not a good solution and putting in an installed shelving system was not an option.


office closet

I started thinking about what else was in this house and knew there was a bookcase that was not being used.  Measurements were a must in this instance.  I “thought” it looked like it was going to work, but I also knew it was going to be a close fit – so of course I got out the tape measure to be sure. (I always recommend measuring before you move things around in a home)

It was going to work! I was so excited!  I had a couple guys carry this bookcase for me and thank goodness it fit perfectly!

From there I  took out the shelves that were not attached.  I took out the closet bar.   I was like a kid in a candy shop I was so excited for all the space.

I  got many clear bins and sorted out the many office supplies that needed to go in this space.

Each pen was tested to see if the ink was good.  I even made up a bag of pens to go in their car. Donating pens and pencils to under privileged schools or communities is also a good option if you find yourself over flowing in pens and pencils.

Each bin was labeled with what was in that bin and the lids were stored safely underneath the bins.  I knew in this case that if I used the lids to close off accessibility to the supplies, then the system was not going to work for this individual. Making it easy and accessible is often the best solution.

Perfection in each individual bin was not critical either. You can line everything up perfectly, but unless you have an individual that is going to keep it that way, that isn’t a system that appeals to all.

Remember if you are helping another person organize, to keep your closet solutions (or any organizing) customized for the individual, not yourself.


closet solution

They will have no problem finding the office supplies they need next time they go to their “supply closet”.

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