21 Car Games for Kids

Holiday travel is upon us and it’s time to share some car games for kids!  If you’re like us, you don’t want your children to be glued to the DVD player or gaming devices the entire trek over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house.

What’s a parent to do?

I’m so happy to tell you there is an overabundance of options!  Win!!!

21 Car Games for Kids from the New Lighter Life

Some of the ideas below are crafty and some need to be purchased.  The age range on these games varies considerably.  Maybe it’s just my kids, but my older children liked to the younger children activities too…so I didn’t even to attempt to separate out by age-appropriateness.

I’m sure you’ll find some great ideas to ease the boredom!

Games to Make

1.  Button Snake

Simply cut some felt squares and put a slit in the middle of each one, (except for one of them).  Sew some webbing or wide rick rack to the square that doesn’t have the slit.  Next sew a button to the other end of the webbing/rick rack.  Voila!

DIY Felt Button Snake Travel Toy

 

2.  Velcro Building Sticks

This is super easy to make.  Just buy some popsicles (you can purchase them dyed or dye them yourself) and add sticky-backed velcro to the ends.  My kids LOVED this.

Beware.  If you have a little guy that likes to make swords, he will make swords out of these sticks.

Velcro Popsicle Sticks Travel Game

 

3.  Color Swatch Matchup

Again, very easy to make.  This was a bit challenging for my 3 year old to match up.

Color Swatch Matchup Game

 

4.  Keep the Coins by The Vintage Mother

I love this idea!  My children are always looking for gum money and the idea of keeping your change is motivating!

Keep the Coins Travel Game

 

 

5.  Pipe Cleaner and Pony Beads

Yep…for real.  Just some pipe cleaners and Pony Beads and my 2 younger kids were entertained for at least 20 minutes.

Pipe Cleaners and Pony Beads Travel Game

 

6.  Homemade Color (or Colour) Book by Craftulate

I LOVE this idea from Craftulate!!!  We are road-tripping soon and this is on my to-do list!

Homemade Color Book from Craftulate

 

7.  Crayon Roll

There are so many different options for making a crayon roll to hold a notepad.  I whipped this puppy up in about a half an hour, but you can find some inspiration and ideas to make your very own, here.

Crayon Roll for Traveling

 

 

 

8.  DIY Travel Geoboard by Left Brain Craft Brain

Wow!!!  Seriously, this is so smart!!

DIY Travel Geoboard

 

9.  Magnetic Tangram Puzzle by Delia Creates

Travel Tangram Game

 

10.  Tic Tac Toe photocredit Canadian Family

Travel Tic Tac Toe

 

 

11.  Portable Lego Box by Fun at Home with Kids

Head over to Fun at Home with Kids and print the cards out!  If you need some random lego pieces to be able to complete the puzzles, Bricks and Minifigs has loose legos you can buy!  If you don’t have a store near you, make up your own puzzle cards, buy more legos, or beg and borrow from friends.

Portable Lego Kit

 

12.  Magnetic Peg People

This was such a fun little project!  I used a left over tin to house our family.  Once I was done painting the people and spraying with sealer, I added pieces of magnet to the bottom of them so they could stand on the tin during play. Sew a pillow and throw in a piece of fabric, you have a bed for the family.

Portable & Magnetic Peg Family

 

13.  Friendship Bracelets

There are a whole bunch of instructions on how to make different friendship bracelet patterns, here.  You can also search for printable friendship bracelet patterns and gather supplies for your little crafter.

Friendship Bracelet Kit

Games to Buy

14.  Magnatab

This little board is mesmerizing!!  As you “draw” the pen over the board, the beads come to the front.  Love it!

Magnatab a Great Travel Game

15.  Mad Libs

Totally fun for the kiddos and they get to brush up on their grammar.

Mad Libs

 

16.  These Water Wow books were a HUGE hit!!

You can buy them on Amazon and they have a whole variety of themes.  Individually they are only about $5 so they are a great deal.

Water Wow Books for Kids Traveling

17.  Lacing Cards

Take a few of these out and have a nice little travel size project for the kids.  We used different lacing cards but my kids enjoy doing this and it doesn’t make a mess. Okay, truth be told – I attempted to make lacing photo frames but the laces kept getting snagged on the finish project so I now opt for the store-bought versions.

Lacing Cards for Travel

 

18.  Doodle Pro is a classic travel toy.  Bonus is that there is no mess.

Doodle Pro Trip

 

19.  Spot It! on the Road

I Spy but with cards.

spot it

 

20.  Travel Memory

Since this is completely contained, there is no worry of losing pieces.

Travel Memory

 

21.  DryErase Dot to Dot

I also love games that are reusable.

DryErase Dot to Dot

So those are some of our favorite car games for kids.  We ration out the games so they do not get bored as easily.  Also on a round trip trek, we save some of the games for the return ride

How about you?  Do you have a particular game that you absolutely love for road trips?

 

How to DIY a Twig Christmas Tree

I’ve been swooning over a twig Christmas tree for a couple years now.  In all fairness, I think it’s actually more adequately called a driftwood tree…but tomato tomata.

Today I’m going to share with you how how you can DIY your very own Twig Christmas Tree for less than $5 in materials.

How we remade the Twig Tree

First, here is the original inspiration.  I saw this photo probably a hundred times on Pinterest.  I fell in love.
christmas tree

(I’d love to give proper credit to whoever made this beauty but I’m unable to find the original source)

Isn’t it GORGEOUS!!!  I mean really.  I LOVE it!!

Why this kind of tree for Christmas?

Last year was our first Christmas in a home after full-time RVing, we were sparse on the Christmas decorations!  Meaning, we had Christmas stockings – that is it.  In the past, artificial trees have been our tree of choice because of how easy cleanup is with them.

We decided to keep our spending to a minimum last year…

Enter our very own Twig Christmas Tree.

This beauty was so easy to make, I’m kicking myself for not making one while we lived in an RV!

So here is how we did it!

How to DIY a Twig Christmas Tree

Materials:
  • branches
  • jute string or twine
  • staple gun and staples
  • two angle aids:  scrap wood, string, or tape measurer long enough to lay along the side.
  • saw (circular or scroll)
Directions:
  1. Find the stud on the wall you plan to hang your twig tree.  Measure to figure out what the optimal width your tree should be.
  2. Gather twigs that are a similar diameter and are fairly straight.
  3. Lie them out on the ground to get them to the desired graduated pattern. (See that stump at the bottom? We were winging it and ended up NOT using it so let’s just pretend it’s not there.)twig tree how to
  4. Using one of your angle aids, lie the aid on the side of your “tree” to get the desired angle of  your tree.twig tree ~ lining up angels
  5. Move the twigs flush up against your chosen angle aid.
  6. Take another similar angle aid and lie it on the other side of your “tree”.twig tree with angles on both sides
  7. Following the 2nd angle aid, mark a line on your twigs to be cut.
  8. Using a saw, cut along the mark to shorten your twigs. Cutting twigs down to size - twig tree
  9. Remove and small branches from your twigs.
  10. Make sure your tree branches are positioned how you want them to be as a finished project.
  11. Tie your jute to one end of the bottom twig (the longest one), then staple it in place.  Wrap the jute once and staple in place again.jute wrapped twig tree
  12. Bringing the same piece of jute up to the next rung, wrap it around the twig 2 times, (the jute should be positioned slightly angled in), staple the jute in place.Wrapping twig tree with jute
  13. Continue this process until you get to the top rung.  Finish this angled side of by wrapping the jute a couple of times around the rung and tieing the end off.  Staple in place one last time.
  14. Repeat the jute tieing, stapling, and wrapping process on the others angle of the tree.
  15. Holding you tree up agains the wall, check to make sure it is positioned as you’d like.
    NOTE:  When we put our twig tree on our wall, we noticed we put some of the rungs too far apart so we wrapped the jute one more time around some of the branches.
  16. When you are happy with your tree, lay the twig tree down on the floor again and reienforce with staples again.Twig Tree DIY Almost Finished
  17. Wrap your Twig Christmas Tree with lights.twig tree wrapped with lights
  18. Hang the tree with the staples hidden against the wall. (we simply drilled a hole through the top run of our tree and screwed a large screw through it and into the stud)
To Hang:
  1. Hold the tree up against the wall (it’s heavy), drill a hole through the horizontal center of the top rung.
  2. Find the stud again and screw a 3 inch screw in through the drilled hole in the rung and into the stud.
  3. Have fun decorating!

So this is what we did last year and that time of year is just around the corner!  (can you believe it?!?!?)

Admittedly,  I regret not taking better pictures last year.  I will totally update with better pics once we pull this puppy out of the decorations.

This was such a fun little project for us.  Okay…I’ll be real and tell you that Mark and I didn’t see eye to eye on different aspects of the project, but once it was finished we gave each other a high five and a kiss.  Success!!

diy driftwood twig christmas tree

How to Organize Your Purse

I’m so excited about a recent project I finished.  Today I’m sharing with you how to organize your purse. I don’t know about you, but my purse was a horrid mess!

Always digging for essentials and coming up empty-handed while we were out and about…no bandaids or breath mints…and lets not even talk about the days I forgot to put on deodorant!  Eeeek!
How to Organize your Purse ~ Purse Organizer & Essentials

While at a planning meeting for CC recently, I was oohing and aahing over how organized 2 of the homeschooling moms were…like major organization envy!  Their organizers inspired me!  They were so beautiful and compact!

I tried to resist the urge to be a complete stalker and I only asked them where they got their bag, an Orla Kiely bag.   Target.  I scored this baby for about $17, a little pricey in my book, but worth it.  These bags are in the makeup section and I have to say I love mine!  LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!

Orla Kiely Makeup Bag Purse Organizer

It can hold quite a bit of goodies.  There are 3 different sections and that middle section below, (labeled personal care) is it’s own little attached self contained bag that is easy to access when you unzip the zippers just to the point where the sides curve.

Makeup Bag Purse Organizer and Essentials

As you can see above, I keep my “stuff” compartmentalized and it makes sense to me.  So here is what I have in each section…

Medical

  • Cough drops (2 kinds – 1 for me and 1 for the kids)
  • Tylenol
  • Alcohol wipe
  • Neosporin type gel
  • Plexus Fast Relief sample (just had to use this the other day)
  • Tissue
  • Bandaids
  • Tweezers
  • Nail Clippers
  • Stick of Plexus of Slim (just in case I forget to take mine or someone wants to try a pack of it)
  • Throat Coat Tea (LOVE this stuff for sore throats!)

Look at all this stuff!!!  Keep in mind it’s winter.  For summertime this will likely look different, (bug spray, afterbite stick, etc).

Medical Section of Purse Organizer

Next we have the Personal Care section of my organizer.

Personal

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lip moisturizer (okay…so I KNOW this is lanolin but this stuff is awesome and I still have samples from when I was in the hospital with Zander)
  • Deodorant
  • Hand lotion
  • Mints
  • Sanitary pad
  • Travel dental brush/picks
  • Hair ties
  • Hair clip

 

Personal Care Items for Purse Organizer

My last compartment is for odds and ends.

  • Shout wipes
  • Grocery bag folded like a triangle (love this tip and have been doing this for years)
  • Pen
  • Sunblock Bar

Purse Organizer Odds and Ends

I LOVE my organizer and I finally have what I need contained!  My organizer has more room but I didn’t want to cram too much in there…here are some other ideas you could add to your purse organizer….

  • Mirror
  • Protein Bar
  • Lip gloss/ lip stick
  • Bug bite stick (to stop the itch)
  • Bug spray
  • Flash light
  • Extra cash
  • Bobby pins
  • Phone numbers in case of emergency
  • Note pad
  • Brush (but NOT for curly hair)
  • Safety pins
  • Sewing kit
  • Ginger chews (or Tums)

This is my list but I’d love to hear what tiny essentials you keep in your purse on a regular basis.

How to Fix the Tension on an RV Window Shade

I just love easy and today’s little tip is super duper easy.

Many RVs have a pleated window shade similar to this…

How to fix the tension on an RV Window Shade

These privacy shades are great but the tension can become too loose and stripped.  So today I’m going to share how to fix the tension on an RV window shade.

  1. First take out the screw that is holding the plastic cord retainer.
    Cord Retainer Tension Spool
  2. Next, you’ll want to take a toothpick or a bamboo skewer and glob some wood glue on the end.
    How to Fix RV Window Tension
  3. Insert the glued end into the hole where the stripped out screw was drilled.
    RV Window Shade Repair
  4. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Break off the end of the toothpick or skewer that is sticking out of the wall so that the end is flush with the wall.
    Fixing a Stripped out Hole
  6. Wrap the cord around the plastic cord retainer until it is the correct tension to stop the blind from slipping down but still loose enough to easily raise or lower the blind.
  7. Drill the screw back into the hole that is now filled with the skewer or toothpick.
    RV Window Tension Repair

Easy right?  This will save you frustration with trying to keep your blinds up and you don’t have to drill a new hole in your wall.

Kitchen Countertops ~ The Options

Previously, we updated our RV countertops with countertop paint.  That didn’t go so well, which I wrote about here.

We’re ready to do some more work on our kitchen countertops.  Today it’s about our options, which are limited to those that will be lightweight and not add too much weight to the RV.

Kitchen Countertops

Kitchen Countertops ~ The Options

Touch Up Paint.

We painted our countertops with Gianni Granite’s Countertop paint.  According to a Giani spokesperson, there is some additional steps needed for high-use counters.  We’re open to this and it’s worth a try.  We’re working out the details and will update soon.

Resurface With Sheet Laminate.

This is the most cost-effective option for resurfacing.  Here is a how-to video that shows the process.

I did some research on whether you could adhere sheet laminate to an existing countertop. Turns out you can, you just need to make sure to sand the surface well and wipe clean.

Replace the Laminate Countertops.

This one is a little more work and requires precise cutting around the cutouts. It is a relatively inexpensive option.

Tile Over Existing Countertops.

While this is a beautiful option, it adds more weight and is more work. Plus you’d have to deal with grout getting dirty.

We are still trying to decide what we will do.  If I missed an option that is suitable for an RV, I’d love to hear your recommendations!

Shampoo for Curly Hair

I really need to share with you naturally curly-headed folks my shampoo for curly hair – that isn’t drying, and isn’t shampoo.

Last spring, I did a 3-part series on naturally curly hair.  First, I whined about how my mom cut off my cherub curls as a little girl and some of the products for curly hair that I love.  Next, I covered curly hair styling tips.  And lastly, I explained the key to amazing haircuts for naturally curly hair.

I mentioned in my post about products and that I don’t use shampoo.  I know there is specially designed shampoo for curly hair, but I find those to be drying.

Thankfully, I can *wash* my curls without drying them out with my Clarifying Rinse for Curly Hair that has apple cider vinegar.

The purpose of this rinse is to remove any product or conditioner build-up.  This is the same reason I’d use shampoo but with this rinse, you won’t dry your hair out.  Here is what you need…

Clarifying Shampoo Rinse for Curly Hair

Clarifying Rinse for Curly Hair

  • 1 Part Apple Cider Vinegar, (ACV)
  • 2 Parts Conditioner
  • Squeezable Bottle

Pour the ingredients into the squeezable container.  Shake well to distribute the apple cider vinegar throughout the conditioner.

To Use:

Wet hair thoroughly and squeeze some of your homemade *shampoo* on your scalp and along the length of your hair.  Rinse your hair thoroughly to get out all the apple cider vinegar.

Add any more conditioner to moisturize your hair as needed.  Continue on with your styling your curly hair as demonstrated here.

That is my shampoo for curly hair – not shampoo but better.  It has worked very well for me and my natural curls and I hope it works for you too.

How to Remove a Plantar Wart ~ Home Remedy

One thing that can be a burden while living on the road is dealing with routine medical care.

In the case of an emergency, you go to the hospital.

For non-emergency issues, we try to treat the problem at home before heading to the doctor.  So when our Eva had a plantar wart on her big toe, I sought out a home remedy to remove it.

I dreaded the thought of bringing her to the doctor to have her wart frozen off.  If you’ve never been fortunate enough to have a plantar wart frozen, you just don’t understand how painful the process is.

Aside from the standard over-the-counter wart medication, I came up empty handed….until I remembered Black Salve.

How to Remove Plantar Warts at Home

 

Black Salve

I remembered some of my friends posting nasty looking pictures of suspicious moles removed by using black salve.  I couldn’t find anything about using it on plantar warts.  Since I read that it works on regular warts, I decided to go for it and try removing her plantar wart.

The main ingredient in Black Salve is bloodroot, some people are not comfortable using bloodroot (which is an herb).  Since she wasn’t going to be ingesting bloodroot and we were going to be using it very short term, I decided the risk was insignificant.  The black salve I bought was through Virxcan.

Now keep in mind should you scroll down, this isn’t pretty but it’s about Eva’s wart and it’s death.  Trust me, don’t Google “black salve moles.”  It’ll make you woozy because it looks so completely nasty while the salve does it’s job, but it’s effective.

My pictures are not nearly as graphic but consider yourself forewarned.

Below is a picture of Eva’s plantar wart through the course of a couple months.  A couple months?!  Yes, it took that long and I’ll tell you why, but first the pictures…

Wart before black salve

It doesn’t look bad right?  I didn’t think so either, but that little bugger is definitely there.

Plantar Wart with Black Salve Applied

The above picture is of Eva’s wart after treating it with black salve for a few weeks.

plantar wart falling out after black salve

Above was as bad as it got, but truth be told, I was concerned at this point!  I though the wart was possibly growing and I considered calling  her pediatrician to get it frozen off.  I called my friend instead and had her look at it.  She agreed, it looked big and like it was worse.

Plantar wart removed with black salve

The last picture above is the view right after the wart had come out.  The skin you see was scabby skin that eventually fell off.  Her toe is now smooth and there is no evidence of  her ever having a wart.

 

Black Salve Process for Plantar Warts

How did I do it?  Here was the general procedure I followed…

  1. Dabbed a small amount of black salve on wart.
  2. Covered with a tiny square of gauze.
  3. Duct taped gauze onto toe.
  4. Checked after a day or 2.
  5. Washed.
  6. Repeat step 1-5.

The reason it took me a couple of months to get rid of her wart is because sometimes there was a lag between step 5 and 6 of about a week.  I was guessing at this and at times I wasn’t sure it was working.  I didn’t want to overdo the black salve either and cause her big toe permanent damage.

Final Thoughts

  • The plantar wart looked MUCH worse right before it fell off.
  • There is no scar or emotional trauma from the black salve.
  • She did complain of pain at times, maybe from the salve, maybe the wart but it didn’t seem to be unbearable pain.
  • Eva’s toe is completely healed up and she is wart-free.
  • Black salve was less than our insurance co-pay and we have enough to treat 40 plantar warts if need be.