Even though I’m thrilled to be back home, I was seriously so bummed about leaving LA. Even Julian, the day after getting home, saw a plane and said “LA…. go now!”. We’re all missing the warmth, sunshine, great food, and excitement a new city brings.
Still, being home has it’s major perks. Being back in my kitchen has been so relaxing for me. I wanted some comfort food this week, but also wanted to make sure I wasn’t building on some of the naughty food I ate last week, so in addition to my go-to beef stew, I also made a cleaner turkey sloppy joe mix I’ve been adding to everything from buns to polenta to baked sweet potatoes this week. It’s been a major hit!
It’s even been popular with Julian who yesterday was hit with his first cold in over a year. The kid’s been so miserable but he’s still eating most of his meals. Still, he was developing a nasty cold so I made a warming strawberry citrus tea that while tangy was too yummy for him to pass up. With every sip he’d pull a face then ask for more. Gotta love that kid!
I’m sharing both of these recipes a bit later in my weekly newsletter so if you don’t want to miss out, just sign up right here:
I’ve mentioned it in passing but despite all of my planning, the flight to LA was hard.
For starters, I booked the worst time for a flight with a toddler EVER! I read up on it and many flight attendants discourage flying during your child’s nap time since many won’t nap on the plane, causing hysteria and stress for all. That was baaaaad advice for me. Julian napped easily but since he’d been up a whole 3 hours before his normal wake time, dude was crabby. That crabbiness persisted the whole day and even bled into our Wednesday. Worst. Decision. Ever!
What I should have done was booked a later flight, pushed his nap a little later, then adjusted to the new time upon his waking. But I didn’t.
I had to look at the bright side and remind myself it could have been way, way worst then just a crabby kid who was unhappy about everything, and I owe that in great part to all of the many successful activities that kept our flight as sane as possible. That’s why this week’s Fave Five is 100% dedicated to our top 5 traveling lifesavers and our fave 5 screen-free activities for a toddler!
THIS WEEK’S “FAVE FIVE”
When planning for activities I had a few criteria: it needed to be light since we’d be carrying a ton of stuff on the plane, it needed to have parts that wouldn’t get dropped and lost for obvious reasons, and it needed to be either new or something I knew he’d love. I wanted to avoid using the iPad or in flight TV’s so I knew I had to be creative. We had a few misses but these were our superstars:
- Food: Do you know how long it takes a toddler to eat a brie ball from TJ’s, or finish a portion of oatmeal, or even how many bites go into eating an energy ball? I would say 1/4 of our trip was spent just talking about food, getting it out, feeding him slooooowly, and getting everything back in our “food” carry on. Also, don’t miss this post where I share all my healthy traveling essentials.
- MagnaDoodle: You guys, I bought this on a whim. I remember loving my magna doodle as a kid and thought Julian, the lover of drawing and writing, would get a kick out of it. Little did I know it would literally keep him busy for an hour, then another 20 minutes here and there. It even came in handy in the hotel rooms, car rides, and even now that we’re home he still wants to play with his magna doodle. Best $10 I ever spent! I also think the multicolored panels are pretty cool. Some people complain about there being a scratch or two that won’t disappear and to them I say are you serious? A toddler is going to be playing with this, won’t notice it, and BTW those marks have disappeared with heavy usage. Take a chill pill!
- Window Clings: We actually didn’t get these until before our flight home but considering how nuts he went over them I think having them on the flight there would have been so helpful. I got ours at the dollar spot at Target (where we also picked up some activity packs with mini coloring books and crayons and a ball with glitter which was also great on the ride home). Dollar Spot, you guys- just go nuts! It’s only a dollar!
- Z-Dough: I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’d bought Julian some scented play dough for Easter and since then it has been one of his absolute favorite toys. He likes to act like he’s making food for us then feeding it to us. Besides being beyond cute, I love how much it encourages him to use his imagination. We also used it throughout the week to do some alphabet and counting lessons on the go. Learning time shouldn’t end because we’re on vaca!
- Reusable Sticker Scenes: For Christmas Julian’s Nanni and Poppi gifted him a sticker book he already owned. I considered donating it but am so happy I didn’t because I cut it into smaller pages and having those on hand provided a great quiet activity that was familiar to him while also being fresh. I also packed some washi tape so I could tape it down to the tray table and created a little washi road to drive his sticker cars on.
So that’s this week’s Fave Five! What are you loving this week??