Road trip season is upon us and while we understand why you’re considering faking a flat tire to avoid the imminent whining from the back seat— we challenge you to put aside your fears and create lifelong memories along the ribbons of roads that cross North America. CTV Morning Live invited me on set to chat about these trip tips, and—while organizing for the segment—the nostalgia swept over me and I wanted to share some of my personal family road trip tips with you.
It’s the first day of summer vacation and we are still on lockdown. What do the kids want to do? Game. It’s the BANE of my existence. We’ve been in self isolation for three months (but who’s counting). While we were fortunate that their school kept them in Zoom classes from 8:30-3:30 daily, it’s a whole new world now. I have this Mom-guilt thing, where gaming is never a problem if they have school or activities all day and want to ‘chill’ in the evening. But balancing it all can be an issue. The blessing is that they have been connecting with friends through gaming, but I feel as if I’m losing my own connection with them. Because I can’t beat them, I will try and join them – with Apple Arcade.
This recipe for hot sauce is my husband Derek’s favourite. There are so many ways to add spice to life, that right now are kindof impossible to do, like travel, new experiences, theatre, music and art – why not start in the kitchen? This is a great pandemic kitchen trick to learn, and can save a fortune in buying sauces. Adding a little spice to life is always fun, and so is making delicious condiments yourself. Hot sauces have become quite popular, with a wide variety of options available on the market including curated subscription boxes. I love making things home made wherever possible, and this recipe makes that a cinch.
Summer is just beginning (though it totally feels exactly like the last three months, minus the home-schooling). While parents likely had a pre-pandemic line-up of activities ready to go to keep kids busy, not only are camps cancelled, but pricey day-camps and caregivers can squeeze an already tight budget. International and Canada-US travel is likely a no-go. Some provinces are still locked down, some require quarantine for 14 days when you get there, and others simply don’t want your ‘foreign’ license plate traipsing around their roads. Here’s the Canadian Government site on COVID, so you know where your province stands. And here are a few ideas for sticking closer to home, getting out in nature and saving some precious cash.
When I was a child, our summer vacations were usually a three hour journey from our front door to the door of where we were staying. Most of the time we journeyed to our vacation destination via car and ferry. My sister and I loved that our parents were sharing with us all of the fabulous sites that our province had to offer whether we were camping by a lake, staying in a cottage by the ocean, or exploring the coast in an RV.
Now that I’m a mother myself, I am taking a page out of my parents’ book. My husband and I alternate our family vacations. Some destinations are by plane, and we alternate with places closer to home.
Our last road trip was an epic two day journey from Vancouver to Calgary in 30 degree heat with a 1 year old, a 5 year old, a 12 year old yorkie and two very cranky parents. I think the kids survived the road trip better than the parents and the dog did. Despite all of the “bumps in the road” we managed to have a great time, see sites both awe inspiring (Lake Louise) and entertaining (The Enchanted Forest in Revelstoke) and spend time bonding as a family.
After our trip, I put together 5 tips to make future road trips smoother. Pin them for easy reference for your next road trip.
5 Tips for a Fabulous Family Road Trip
1. Make Your Road Trip About the Journey, Not The Destination- It’s so easy to get caught up in “We have to be to X destination by X day.” When planning your next road trip try to throw your timeline to the wind and enjoy your journey. Not getting caught up in how long it’s taking you to get from here to there will allow you to enjoy your stops more and not get so frustrated when the kids need an extra pee stop or chance to stretch their legs.
2. Be Flexible- Children can be unpredictable. Sometimes naps happen and it’s better to let sleeping children lie than wake them for a pre-scheduled activity and risk the crankies. Save the stop for your trip back home and continue on or take a road trip break, find a shady parking spot, roll down the windows and enjoy a good book. Be willing to be flexible depending on your children’s moods. Making a trip to the history museum may not be the best plan if your kids are feeling cooped up and extra rambunctious. Being prepared to make unexpected changes depending on the moods of your passengers will lead to a much happier family road trip.
3. Plan Ahead- Research pit stops along the way, a list of pet friendly parks and hotels if you are traveling with a furry companion, family friendly restaurants, gas stations and site seeing opportunities. Even if you don’t end up needing all the resources you collect you’ll be happy to have them when you need them, especially when you get stuck in the mountains with no data coverage. (Does it sound like I’m speaking from experience???)
4. Bring Food… Lots of it- Nothing causes the crankies like an empty tummy. Bring a range of snacking options, in pre-portioned containers or snack bags and make sure that you put them someplace that is easy to access. Fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds are all great great snack options but make sure to include some treats as well to avoid expensive gas station cravings.
5. Plan Entertainment- Before I was a mom, I swore up and down that I would NEVER have a DVD player in my car. Now that I am a mom I often rethink that decision. Let’s face it, even the most amazing kids can get bored when cooped up in a car for too long. Hearing “Are we there yet?” for the 100th time will try any parent’s patience. Create a playlist of family friendly songs on your phone, learn the words to a few good road trip tunes, research car road trip games, find a few car travel games and activities and when all else fails… have your kid’s favourite movie loaded on the iPad.
Perspective as parents can be tough, and even harder for kids to gain. We continually tell our kids things can always get worse. This is some ethereal notion that makes the little ones roll their eyes and tell us we are overreacting and doing a guilt trip on them because they can’t possibly send their broccoli to the kids in another country. Once I wished that the next generation could experience something so immense, it would give us all appreciation and curb feelings of entitlement. I should be careful what I wish for.
If you’re like us, you are super-attentive to the little ones, but when it comes to writing stuff down in the baby book? But wait! There are chicken pot pies to make, and socks to launder! You might even be trying to catch up on your baby book with extra time on your hands during this pandemic. Your child’s smile is something that can be so great to document and it’s easy to do with a baby and toddler teething chart.
Summer fun happens in the pool. For all the fun that happens there, pool safety for kids is really important. Keeping safety in mind is the best way to avoid joining the scary statistics around drowning. The dangers of pools and swimming shouldn’t be overlooked. We’ve compiled some handy tips so you can enjoy the summer fun.
Remember when maternity fashion was an oxymoron? When insipid little rosebuds on a mu-mu were au courant? Canadian designers are among the top in the world, and as our reputation grows as a world-class travel destination, our shopping options do as well – even for maternity clothes. I remember when I was trying to conceive and kept going to the States to buy out of season Pea in the Pod items on sale in hopes that they’d fit if I conceived right away!! NO MORE. Shop local. Shop Canadian. We are featuring stores that carry maternity clothes in Canada and the ones below are Canadian-based stores dedicated to the belly. We’ve also got a section on nursing bras and nursing wear. Let us know if you have any additions!
With endless colour combinations and many different ways to decorate, making colourful eggs can be as easy or as intricate as you choose, making it a perfect activity for all ages and skill levels. From a simple egg dyed one colour, to ornate and delicate patterns, Easter eggs are as unique as the people that create them. Here are a few Easter egg decorating tips for you to explore – but I’m sure your kids have TONS of ideas of their own!