Here is what NOT to forget on your next vacation with children.

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Our family has been working non-stop around the clock for a couple of months. As our summer was winding down, we had some friends who own a house in the North Carolina mountains who were kind enough to let us stay in their house. However, the weeks leading up to vacation were so busy and work-filled I did no planning at all. On Sunday before we left, I told the kids to pack enough clothes for 3 days (there would be a washer and dryer), and to include clothing for warm or cool weather.

My husband and I threw our things into a duffle and grabbed our toiletry bag.

I then went to my pantry and pulled out canned foods and boxed foods. Here is what I took:

  • 2 large cans of cooked chicken
  • 2 boxes of Au Gratin Potatoes
  • Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Canned veggies and fruit
  • 2 packages Spaghetti
  • Large Jar of Spaghetti Sauce
  • A Gorden Food Supply dry chicken noodle soup mix
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Tea bags
  • 2 Cake Mixes
  • 36 Bottled waters
  • Dried Fruit mix
  • Oatmeal
  • Pop tarts (a rare treat at our house!)
  • A bread mix (tell no one!)
  • Toilet paper
  • Disposable Diapers
  • Baby Wipes
  • Dish soap

From my freezer I took:

  • 2 lbs of ground beef (I should have browned this before I left and frozen it browned, but alas, did not)
  • A whole frozen chicken.
  • 3 loaves of Honey Whole wheat bread

My intention when I arrived in Sparta was to buy eggs, milk, yogurt and fresh fruit and veggies. Shockingly the milk was $5.00 a gallon, so rather than buy 3 gallons as we would normally use in a week, I bought 1 gallon and we rationed everyone to one small serving of milk per day except the baby who is still occasionally nursing, We were on an extremely tight budget, so bringing as much as I could from home was part of the plan. We also bought a couple of frozen pizzas and some cheese sticks for Anne Mary who is allergic to tomatoes.

Here is what I forgot to bring:

  1. Desitin: Daniel who never, ever gets diaper rash ended up getting diarrhea on the trip on the day we left. Not kidding. Which brings me to another item to never, ever forget on a trip:
  1. Tylenol- for the baby who never ever gets sick, but decides to get diarrhea and a raging fever and cries non-stop for three days.Buying this at full price in a small town pharmacy was painful when I knew I had some at home that I got for practically nothing with coupons.
  1. Some kind of pedialyte type of product. Or juice you can water down…..something to give a kid with continuous diarrhea. Water just made him angry and he would throw his sippy cup (see item 5 below) when we gave him water. Milk did not seem like the best thing to give him when he was running like a faucet, and since he is 15 months old, my milk supply was hardly adequate to keep up the supply.
  1. Extra diapers and wipes for previously aforementioned child. See item 1.
  2. An extra sippy cup. This is one of the finest inventions since diapers and one I never want to be without for children under the age of two, or three, or ten, depending on the child.
  3. Feminine products. Never leave on a trip with 3 females without some feminine products. Ever. Small towns fleece you on these things. Had to pay full price for something I have bought dirt cheap and have a closet full at home. Sigh
  4. My coupon bag. Would have made it all less painful.
  5. Extra shoes for everyone. We all remembered an extra pair except David. At age six, he is just not trip-savvy enough to know to bring an extra pair of shoes. My bad, but we adapted.
  6. Laundry Soap and Dryer Sheets.Duh.I make my own for pennies and I had to buy a bottle there for $4.00.It was only enough for a minimum of loads and did not smell nearly as nice as mine does.
  7. My own large pots. At the house where we stayed, everyone else must have had just one or two kids because all the bog pots were small- like a family of four would use. I was creative in the use of the pans….but having my own big ones would have been nice.

Overall, we had a fabulous time.The kids were smart and brought a bunch of board games.We played Risk over and over- Mission Style Risk.We played cards.I read a TON of books that I bought with me, many of them in the car while on the way up and back.We hiked, we visited some historic sites, we went into town and bought David his every own walking stick as was promised him earlier in the year. We ate super simple meals.We napped daily, Duncan and I took turns.

Our phones did not work much and I had no computer with me. Bliss.

And once Daniel started to feel better, he really started to shine.He learned to run get his socks and shoes and bring them to us to take him “bye-bye.”He learned to say, “All Gone” when his food was empty.He loved to stand in the window and feel the wind in his hair.

1 Comment

  1. Andrea W.

    This is terrific. We are getting ready tlo leave on vacatino for 8 days and I am making my packing list. I have added all diarrhea needs because now that you mention it, someone always ends up with diarrhea on vacation. 😛 We are also going to stay in a condo that is supplied with pots, but I am going to take my large stock pot because there will be 3 kids and 5 adults to cook for minimum.

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