Car Bucks

If you are traveling this holiday season, you might want to consider bringing some car bucks.  They have definitely brought peace and joy to our car.  🙂

20150512_101611This past summer we went on TWO major road trips, hitting both coasts–I am proud to say that during the course of the summer I drove on the I-10 in every single state it passes through.  All told we visited 15 states (but really Texas should count as like 10 different states since we drove from one end to the other).   And most of it I did alone with the kiddos. Two six-year-olds and a baby can make for a LONG trip.  Trust me.  Enter car bucks…

Car buck tickets

I got the idea on our first trip and we used imaginary ones.   By the second trip, I had my husband design actual “car bucks” for us.  The girls loved them!

So, how do you earn car bucks?

  • Being good during the drive,
  • Helping out when necessary,
  • Passing things back to siblings,
  • Being quick at rest stops,
  • Having good listening skills,
  • Good manners at our stops, etc.

With the baby in the car, my girls earned quite a few by helping keep Colton quiet and happy.  And I’ll admit that I pass the bucks out very freely.  I would rather reward good behavior throughout the trip then have grumps riding with me.  And this gives them more to spend.

Travel tickets

But what do you spend the car bucks on?

  • Buying souvenirs
  • Treats at rest stops
  • Special snacks

    Enjoying a rest stop along the way

    Enjoying a rest stop along the way

These were all things we would buy anyways but this way it was connected to good behavior which helped prevent whining and begging.  The souvenir money wasn’t an arbitrary amount and it allowed the children to practice good financial skills when deciding how to spend their money.  But don’t feel like you have to do a $1 to 1 buck ratio.  Make it work for you.

As for the snacks, of course our regular snacks were all free.  I just also picked up some extra special ones.  Like oreo sticks with creme dip (yum!) and the cups of cookies.  (I’m not very health concious on the road.)  The kids loved being able to choose when they could have something special like the cookies.  They tend to know best when they need a little pick me up.

Print on green paper to make them look more like money

Print on green paper to make them look more like money

Download Car Bucks

Car bucks have made our road trips easier.  I hope they help you!


Family Plan for Summertime

It’s summertime.  If you’re anything like me you have big ideas for family fun and projects to get done but before you know it summer has sailed by.  That’s why I loved this idea of my sister’s so much.  (She also came up with the game in the last post which just proves that she provides the best ideas!)

Anyway, last summer she made this chart for her family with spaces for Work, Play, and Learn.  She called a family meeting and then everyone in the family used a different color to write their plans in each category.  Their summer was well-balanced and productive but still a lot of fun.

Summer Chart

We were doing school this summer and the girls would probably blur Work and Learn together so our chart this summer was a little different with Play, Learn, and Projects as our categories.


This is such a quick easy way to focus your summer plans and make sure that everyone is on the same page.  I just think it’s such a great way to organize your summer!

Family Magnets–Stay Close When Far Away

Even though we have always lived away from our family, with our recent move the girls felt as though we are even farther away.  And of course they had to leave their friends behind.  family magnetsSo to make it easier and remind them of those they love who live far away, I made these magnets of their family and friends.

Using photoshop, I cropped recent photos and then resized them so that they would look similar when I printed the wallet sized photos.  I also added the names to each picture to make it a pre-reading activity as well.  We’ve also used the cards to make family trees and talk about relationships.

magnets closeThis is just a great way to keep family that lives far away close by.  I wish I had done it sooner when the girls were babies and recommend it to all my friends with little ones who are growing up far from loved ones.



Helping Around the Yard

With spring here we’ve been out in the yard P1020290A Lot, including landscaping and planting new gardens in both the front and back yards.  In order to get the girls more involved when we are doing the yard work, we put them on weed duty.  We filled spray bottles with plain, cheap white vinegar and had the girls spray the yard.  It’s very eco-friendly and you don’t have to worry about little ones getting it on their hands or in their mouths (which tends to happen with little ones, at least with my kiddos).

If you don’t want them killing your other plants or smelling like a dyed Easter egg, then just put water in the bottles and let them water the plants.

This was a great way to have our girls pitch in.   They also helped pull weeds by hand, plant flowers, spread soil, and roll out sod.  As their dad said, “If you don’t like to work hard, you’re in the wrong family.”  And this really is the reason why we wanted the girls to help out.  For most big projects like this, it’s easier to just do it yourself.  But this is how you teach the value of hard work.  I was so proud when Mia said, “We’ll like our yard even more now since we had to work so hard for it.”  I’m a firm believer that if you want your kids to help around the house when they are older, then you need to allow them to help even when they are very young and enthusiastic.   I also think that working together allows you to build a stronger bond with your children.  When pulling weeds together Zoe and I had a chance to have a quiet talk together about some pretty deep things; it was just one of those special moments that can come from working side by side.


Bad Bug Bite Blues

This has been a very buggy summer.  If you haven’t noticed then you probably haven’t been outside.  We have horrible mosquitoes here right now but it appears that many places are suffering from increased mosquitoes.  So, I thought I would share this super tip we got from a lady in CVS regarding mosquito bites.

That’s right, this tip comes from some random lady who saw us looking for something to relieve the girls’ bug bites while we were back East and she stopped us to share her experiences and recommendations.  She told us to have the girls soak in a bath in epsom salts.  And guess what?  It totally works!  When the girls get bad bug bites, we give them a bath and dump a bunch of epsom salt into the water.  Afterwards the swelling goes down and they itch less (I know because I do it too).

If you aren’t familiar with epsom salts, you can pick them up at any drug store.  They are cheap and tend to be in a cardboard box like a milk container.  They are completely safe, even if they get in your mouth (in fact, some people use epsom salt as a laxative).

Hopefully this brings you some relief!  And thank you to the random lady in CVS!



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