WFMW: Traveling with Kids | Mega Tip List

I’m starting to think about travel again this summer for straight 24 hours (one way) with a five, ten and twelve year old. I brushed off this list and started planning. You can never be too prepared!

  • Audio books (my library checks them out) or you can download some for free here
  • Ice chest w/drinks
  • DVD player, preferably with movies that haven’t been seen
  • We’ve been driving our smaller less gas-consuming car that doesn’t have a built-in TV.  So, we strap our laptop on an ice chest with a bungee, so the kids can watch a movie. (Yeah, we are THAT family).
  • Bag or backpack with coloring books and small toys for each child.
  • Pack a plastic box for kids personal things and then use the lid as a tray to eat on.
  • Lap Desk for writing and drawing
  • Headphones for MP3 players and/or DVD player
  • Kid’s camera
  • Sketch pad/pencil
  • Extra change of clothes, separate from luggage.  Because if it can happen, it probably will.
  • If you’re traveling with a toddler, leave when they are tired.  If you leave first thing in the morning, this is their active time and they don’t make the best travelers
  • A package of pipe cleaners (to bend, twist and create)
  • No Spill Bubbles
  • Pack paper towels, wipes, and a couple of blankets.  Remember, we’re talking kids.
  • Buy $5 Tape Recorder and ‘Read’ stories to your kids in your own voice
  • Put a trash box in the back seat
  • Travel Journal
  • Sing silly road trip songs
  • Travel games from the store  (Target has some great ones in the stationary section that are cheap and magnetic!)
  • Travel freebies-links to free stuff for traveling
  • Play the I spy game with license plates
  • Wipe-off white board/marker
  • Magnetic sets (paper dolls, fire trucks, found in book sections)
  • Snack bag filled with pre-portioned zip-lock bags of non-messy foods
  • Kid’s music
  • Desk To Go
  • Tin foil for creations
  • Play Go Fish
  • Make string figures
  • RandMcNally Kids’ Road Atlas
  • Kids pillow and blanket
  • Treasure Jar
  • Rest Stop Box-stock with jump rope, frisbee, inflatable beach ball and Nerf ball, according to July’s issue of Parents Magazine.
  • No Spill Snack Catchers
  • They also encourage travelers to ‘crank up the radio, open the doors and have an outdoor dance-a-thon).
  • Printable Car Trip Check List
  • Child-safety scissors and paper (it worked on a long flight w/my preschooler)
  • Invisible markers/Magic paper
  • Chalk Cloth Oil Mat
  • Moon sand on a tray
  • Post It Notes-draw on them, then decorate the car (Women’s Day, July Issue)
  • License Plates Across the States:Travel Puzzles and Games!
  • Printable Car Bingo
  • Stickers
  • Band-aids (again a toddler-pleaser)
  • Leapster, DS Lite or hand-held game
  • Magna Doodle
  • Cookie sheet with magnetic alphabet letters
  • The following incredible ideas came from MomsMinivan:  travel tickets, surprise packages, and more (Actually EVERY idea on this site is amazing!)
  • Printable Boredom Busters
  • I spy bags/jars
  • Ear plugs for when the “how much longer questions begin”
  • Potty chair (for those long stretches without a rest stop)
  • Best Travel Activity Book Ever
  • Travel Memory Game

Edited repost

What works for you when you travel with kids?




One Month From Today

Our family will be in Nairobi, Kenya at Mercy House!

We now have 8 babies–all 8 of our girls have delivered healthy, beautiful babies. A true miracle!

It’s fun to imagine the house with all sixteen, plus our two live-in staff, our family of five and an intern. One big happy family. It will be crazy and we will fit in perfectly.

You can read the touching and beautiful birth story of our two newest babies born within one hour of each other (on my son’s birthday last week!)

It’s hard to believe Mercy House has been open for only one year this month. I can only say over and over, Look what God has done!

Most of my days are spent exhausted and overwhelmed, trying to discern the next step. But this makes it all worth it:

Meet Rehema and Maureen, 4 days old

We appreciate your prayers as we prepare!


Make Some Crazy Noise

I live with noisy people.

We have loud meals, rambunctious bedtimes and chaotic car rides. It’s just how we roll.

It may also be why I have chronic headaches. Oh, I kid.

But I’d much rather have planned crazy noise than just crazy noise, especially in the car. The other day, I popped in this CD that Hillsong Kids JR sent me for my preschooler:

Everyone got quiet and I couldn’t help but capture this while my hubby drove:


Only don’t let her adorable innocence fool you.

That girl is the boss of our family.

But then the song Crazy Noise came on and my kids went wild. In a totally holy way, of course.

The lyrics are about how everyone who makes a noise can praise the Lord and then there are some funny exaggerated noises. My 5 year old loved this song and giggled.

Apparently so did my son.

Because since then, he (the in-house comedian) keeps clearing his throat and making this awful racket until I make him stop.  When I get onto him for being annoying, he says in an angelic voice, “but I’m praising God.”

All I can do is laugh. That kid.

So, I give this CD two thumbs up because you can never have too much crazy! Plus, we love Hillsong around here and every song is based on Scripture! Perfect for your toddler and preschooler. And perhaps your big kid will give you something to laugh about too.

You can get a copy for your little one here and stay tuned for a very fun, very big giveaway later this week…

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but the opinions are mine. So is the crazy.


80+ Books to Inspire and Challenge Your Family

We love books and we try to spend a little time everyday reading together as a family (and by ourselves).  We have books on shelves, next to beds, piled on counters and tucked away throughout our home. We are working our way through a big list of books to inspire and challenge our family. I’ve been adding to this list for a long time and I thought I’d share the books that inspire and challenge our family:

Disclaimer: I love reading on my Kindle app on my phone, but in an effort to be unplugged more when I’m with my kids, I only read fiction on my phone (usually while I’m waiting somewhere). I purchase almost all our books from Amazon (prime member), so these affiliate links are from there.

*Books we have read (or are reading):

Board Books:

  1. *Because I Love You
  2. *Just in Case You Ever Wonder
  3. If You’re Happy and You Know It 
  4. *I Love You Just the Way You Are 
  5. *Counting Kisses
  6. *Jesus Loves Me!
  7. *Really Woolly Bedtime Prayers
  8. I Love You So Much
  9. If Jesus Lived Inside My Heart
  10. Recordable Storybook-My Rainy Day Imagining Book

Picture Books:

  1. *Love You Forever
  2. *You Are Mine (Max Lucado’s Wemmicks)
  3. *Punchinello: One of a Kind (Max Lucado’s Wemmicks)
  4. *The Boy Who Changed the World
  5. You Can Do It!
  6. *Parable Series: An Audio-Book for All Seasons [Audiobook on Cassette] (Parable Series, All 4 Seasons (Together))
  7. The Tallest of Smalls
  8. *Just in Case You Ever Wonder
  9. *The Giving Tree
  10. The Oak Inside the Acorn

Read Together Books:

  1. *The Chronicles of Narnia Scholastic Box Set (Book One Through Book Six) (all ages)
  2. *The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name (all ages)
  3. *The Complete Little House Nine-Book Set(all ages)
  4. The Story: Teen Edition (Chronological Bible)
  5. *Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions For Kids (all ages)
  6. Take Your Best Shot: Do Something Bigger Than Yourself (8 and up)
  7. My Life, His Mission: A Six Week Challenge to Change the World (inspiring stories)
  8. Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board (8 and up)
  9. *Place at the Table: 40 Days of Solidarity with the Poor (family devotions w/missions focus, edited while reading)
  10. *Window On The World (missions focus)
  11. kisses from katie
  12. Running for My Life: One Lost Boy’s Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games

Tween/Teen Books:

    1. *Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations
    2. Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are
    3. *You Were Made to Make a Difference
    4. *It’s Not About Me Teen Edition
    5. *Make Every Day Count – Teen Edition
    6. *Jesus Freaks: Martyrs: Stories of Those Who Stood for Jesus
    7. The Hiding Place
    8. I Kissed Dating Goodbye
    9. Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is): Sexual Purity in a Lust-Saturated World
    10. *Truth and Dare: One Year of Dynamic Devotions for Girls (ages 9-12)
    11. *Triple Dog Dare: One Year of Dynamic Devotions for Boys (ages 9-12)
    12. Wild grace
    13. End of the Spear

Parenting Books:

  1. *For Parents Only: Getting Inside the Head of Your Kid
  2. *Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman’s Battle
  3. *Preparing Your Son for Every Man’s Battle
  4. Raising a Modern-Day Knight: A Father’s Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood (boys)
  5. Five Conversations You Must Have with Your Son
  6. Five Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter
  7. *Have a New Kid by Friday (Strong-Willed Kids)
  8. Shepherding a Child’s Heart
  9. *Grace-Based Parenting
  10. *Your Girl: Raising a Godly Daughter in an Ungodly World
  11. *Your Boy: Raising a Godly Son in an Ungodly World
  12. *Raising Kids Who Turn Out Right
  13. *You Can Raise Courageous and Confident Kids
  14. *Raising Kids for True Greatness
  15. Bonus for Moms: Don’t Make Me Come Up There!: Quiet Moments for Busy Moms

Books for Husband and Wives

  1. *For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men
  2. *Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs
  3. *The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex: (And You Thought Bad Girls Have All the Fun)(her)
  4. *NIV Couples’ Devotional Bible
  5. *Men Are Like Waffles–Women Are Like Spaghetti: Understanding and Delighting in Your Differences
  6. *You’re Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be(her)
  7. *For Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women
  8. *Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul (him)
  9. *Every Man’s Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time (The Every Man Series) (him)
  10. Don’t Waste Your Life