We took our toddler on her first airplane trip recently. This involved a layover each way for a total of 4 flights. Longest leg ended up being 5.5 hours on the airplane.
Doing research on toddler travel tips, talking to mommy friends, and having a solid plan really helped. All flights went great and my girl was on her best behavior. I’ve compiled the advice and made a list of what worked and didn’t work for us:
A few other items I wish we would have brought along for the trip: Outlet plugs and a power strip. We were fortunate to be staying with family and they had everything we needed. I ended up borrowing these items from them. Our toddler travel bed was up against a wall that happen to have 2 outlets right by her face. She generally leaves them alone but I didn’t want to take a chance.
I have many wonderful memories of traveling to California as a child. It was like a fairytale land where I got to play with one of my favorite people in the world, spend time with Uncle Silly and Aunt Karen, and go to the Hello Kitty store. Being able to take Penelope there for her first vacation was something I have always wanted to do. I hope the fond memories I have will now be hers as well.
A big thank you to our hosts for everything they did to make our trip amazing! Here are some highlights:
Here are some of my favorite photos:
Toddler travel tips post coming soon :).
I decided to kick my Luna Bar habit a few weeks ago after reading and hearing not so great things about soy protein isolate. After a quick visit to Pinterest I found a delicious replacement! These energy bites are a perfect morning snack. I bring a few to work each day and they help keep me full between breakfast and lunch. Here's what I learned after making them twice:
No Bake Energy Bites
Adapted from here
1 cup dry old fashioned oats
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a medium bowl mix the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients together. Combine the two and stir well. Put mixture into the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Using a medium cookie scoop press into balls (rolling them between your hands doesn't really work). Keep refrigerated in an airtight container.
Penny: Mom say "cup of water"
Me: cup of water
Penny: say "candy land"
Me: candy land
Penny: say "salt and pepper"
Me: salt and pepper
Penny: say "Christmas decorations"
Me: Christmas decorations
Penny: say "bath tub"
Me: bath tub
Penny: say "pretzel hearts"
Me: pretzel hearts
Yep, she's crazy.
Chili's ranch dressing is one of my favorites. Combine that with their chips and salsa and I have lost all self control. In my endless search for a delicious homemade ranch dressing similar to Chili's this recipe came along. I'm in love! Here's what I learned:
Chili's Copycat Ranch Dressing
1/4 cup mayonnaise (NOT/NEVER Miracle Whip)
1/4 cup sour cream (add another dollop for a thicker dressing)
1 tablespoon pickle juice, dill
1 tablespoon buttermilk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 dash pepper
Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, and dill pickle juice in a medium size bowl. Add in buttermilk and stir. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes. Give it a stir before serving.
*Edited to add: I put an extra dollop of sour cream into my last batch and loved it! Even more like Chili's and a bit thicker.
Daddy: Penny you need to help clean up.
Penny: I'm a princess daddy. Princesses don't clean up.
Happy Valentine's Day from my feisty princess!
And oldish Instagram randoms...
I would like to retract my previous statement about this being the best basic guacamole. It's not. Because the recipe I'm about to give you takes the number one spot. SO. FREAKING. GOOD. And thank you to my friend Cheryl for bringing this keeper into my life. Please do yourself a favor and make this. Here's what I learned:
By: Cooks Illustrated
3 ripe avocados
2 tablespoons red onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
juice of one lime
Mash one avocado and put into a medium bowl. Squeeze lime juice over the top and sprinkle with kosher salt. Mix to combine. Dice two remaining avocados (cut a cross-hatch pattern in the flesh and gently scoop out) and add to the bowl. Add remaining ingredients and gently stir. I like to refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.
*Tip from Cooks Illustrated (and it works!): Cover the guacamole tightly with plastic wrap pressing directly onto the surface of the mixture to prevent browning.
Ginger the cat is my girl's very favorite. I think she loves her more than me. She has created this entire cat world involving many imaginary friends. They attend an imaginary daycare and do crazy things like play kitty Kindles despite running out of batteries, buy trapezoid shaped helmets, and live with a King in a very foggy castle. Her imagination is endless and stunning. Ginger has three imaginary friends: Capmit, Jewel, and Newnuts. And they all know a cat named Wally who got stuck in a snowman who then got stuck in a tree. All of this happened in a very secret storybook with a castle and a new shopping store inside that sells "elephants and stuff". We do realize we are raising a crazy cat lady.
"Ginger got married in that pink house. She doesn't want to live there at the King's castle because it's foggy. Not even for a little minute"
"Ginger has a trapezoid helmet. Is that cool?"
"Ginger named her Christmas elf Lion Mocha."
"Ginger has a lot of rope so she can catch people."
"Ginger said noonanette. That means I need to come home."
"Ginger's bridge is out so she cant' get across."
"D-I-L-P-I, that's how you spell Capmit."
"Ginger rides on roller coasters and puts her hands up and says weeeeee!"
"You know where Ginger lives? She lives at Target."
"Ginger does this (waves arms up and down) when she sings."
And on and on and on and on. You get the idea.
She even asked me if we could write a story about Ginger. She told me what to put on each page without prompting. I need to put this together soon. It involves a bike accident and cookies. Perfect.
17 years together. 4 years married. Always my love. Happy anniversary to us!
(Prom 1996, Wedding 2009)
Memories from our cruise wedding. Sail away with me...