Friday, May 29, 2015

How You Were Raised

Take a second and think about how you were raised.

What did you like?  

What didn't you like? 

What would you change?

How would you change it?

Is it something you want to do with your own child or in your own household?

When I take stock of my own upbringing there are clear answers to the questions above.  The easiest of examples I can give revolve around food.  

I have a love and a passion for being in the kitchen but it didn't start in childhood.  In fact I rarely was allowed in the kitchen to do more then peel potatoes, retrieve an item from the pantry, or set the table.  The cooking process itself was foreign to me.  When I got married I had very few dishes I knew how to make and poor hubby suffered the consequences of it.  It was then that I realized I wanted my child to learn how to cook and to start doing so at an early age.  I knew I wanted this for my child before we even started thinking about expanding our family.  

Now that I am a parent I still want to teach Bear how to cook.  I'm not expecting him to become the next iron chef but I do want him to feel confident that he can put a decent meal on the table for himself or his future family.  Bear is obviously a bit too rambunctious for this right now but I will eventually start him off by dumping ingredients into the bowl or helping mix.  It is a process after all.

I mentioned above that I would be the one tasked with peeling potatoes.  I also spent a decent amount of my childhood shredding zucchini. Something my father grew in his garden by the wheel barrel full! I often helped my dad with the garden as part of my chores.  I pulled weeds, tied up tomatoes, and more often then not I had to retrieve whatever my mom requested for that nights dinner. Typically, I ate more green beans I cut off the vine then I carried back up to the house in my bag.  
Our vegetable garden circa 2011

This is something I knew I wanted my kid to experience even before I got married.  Working in the garden made me enjoy more foods than most of my peers.  Even more than my own brother who did not have to help out in the garden.  Why would I not want that for my own child?

Then there is dinner itself.  What mostly stood out to me was that my mom made 2-3 meals every night!  One for me, one for my brother, (sometimes the same thing) and one for them.  Well as a kid sure!  As an adult? No, I'm not a short order cook.  My kid will eat what I put in front of them or they will go hungry, generally speaking.  I have said this for as long as I can remember.  

Now that Bear is eating more than just the puréed food you see above, we more often than not give him whatever we are eating if he can have it.  As he gets older he will get exactly what we are having for dinner.  

 When we started thinking about having children it is memories like these that I pulled from when figuring out what type of parent I wanted to be.

 I remember asking my mom once when I was in High schools why she cooked us all separate meals.  It seemed crazy to me.  She told me that she hated being forced to eat what her mother made for dinner.  She added she remembered choking down brussel sprouts with milk because you had clean your plate before you left the table.  Yet she had repeatedly told her mother that she hated brussel sprouts.  She said that she hated the way it was handled and when she had her own children she never wanted to put them through that.  She didn't.  I never once was forced to eat anything I didn't like.  Clearly her upbringing effected her parenting.

My thoughts and opinions on parenting have changed very little since becoming a parent.  Does this happen to everyone? No.  However I had been around children enough to know what would work for me and what I wanted for my future family.  All of the opinions I wrote about above were formed prior ever having had my own child in my arms, yet they still hold true today.

I say all of that, to say this... 

Just because a person does not have a child of their own does not mean their thoughts and opinions on parenting mean nothing.  I regularly talk with friends who are childless that have amazing insight, great instincts and a different perspective than I do.  We all learn from each other.  Parenting is no different!  It's their upbringing, experiences and knowledge they are pulling from.  After all isn't that what we are all pulling from?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Working towards being a Flexitarian

Back when I was in college I was in the best shape of my life.

I don't mean to toot my own horn but I had an amazing body back in the day.  Not that you could tell from this picture but imagine something similar to Britney in her prime with a much bigger chest and brown hair.  I worked out in my free time and ate extremely well.  There was no freshman 15 for me.

I got in fantastic shape then I worked hard to maintain it.  Keeping on track food wise helped me tremendously.  The saying you can't out exercise a bad diet really is true.  While everyone else was ordering pizzas and eating fast food there I was with a bowl of salad or a piece of fruit.  This is a bit of an exaggeration as I did partake in these things every now and then.  You have to indulge sometimes.  However this was a rare occasion for me.

Living at college though meant that I spent the majority of the time trying to eat the healthiest food from whatever garbage they were serving at the cafeteria.  Eating right often meant that I would be eating the same thing meal after meal or day after day.  Sometimes just salads and veggies.  Over time this bothered me less and less.  Then again not having to cook for yourself was a blessing back then.

 A lot of my effort started to pay off when I began eating a heavy plant based diet. I was eating a mostly vegetarian with maybe 2-3 meals a week that included some type of animal protein.  The term commonly used for this is know as flexitarian.  Really it means flexible Vegetarian or as Hubby calls it "a bad vegetarian"... lol.  He is right I guess.  Regardless of what it is called my body responded best to this type of diet.

Now I am getting back into the flexitarian diet is one of my biggest health goals.  The heavy plant based diet was good for my body and good for me.  I like eating the vast majority of vegetables so it was an easy fit.  It has been something I have been working towards for the past month anyway.  Giving it a title really doesn't change that.  

This does not come without its challenges.  My husband is, as I lovingly call him, a carnivore.  He likes vegetables just fine but for him it is all about the meat on the plate.  That's the star for him so to speak.  Even when I make something without meat or specifically vegetarian he often will rummage through the fridge to find whatever left over chicken or steak we have and dumps it onto his plate to mix into the meal I made.  I don't have an issue with this because while I don't feel like I always need to have meat on my plate, while he does.  To each their own.  Still, me moving more towards a plant based diet you can easily see how this could become a problem.  I tend to be the one cooking meals the majority of the time, so I will need to make sure that I am cooking some meat on the side for him to add into the dish later on.  Even if it simply means keeping some grilled chicken in the fridge specifically for him.  I am hoping that this "fix" for him will be enough for him.  I guess only time will tell.

Starting dinner...

I feel I should add that I have no problem with eating animal meat or animal by products (eggs, milk).  I do prefer organic, free range, etc. items when I do pick them up, but let's face it, that can get expensive quickly.  I also don't always have access to them.  So I will use whatever I can get when needed.  

My decision to move towards the Flexitarian diet is simply based on my desire to get healthy.  Get back into shape.  One does not need to do this to get healthy but for me this is what has worked in the past.  You can get the same results you once had but you need to do the same things you used to do.  For me this is what has worked in the past.  I have no doubt in my mind that this will work for me now.  

Friday, May 22, 2015

Shades of Brown

Color and pattern are two things hubby hates.  If it were up to him the whole house would be various shades of brown, all with no pattern.  Correction all with what he thinks is pattern,  because, you know, this is a pattern right?

Our living room area rug.

It is beige with a brown boarder and is currently our "patterned" area rug.  He thinks, and I agree completely, that we need to keep large pieces of furniture in neutral, solid color especially when you move all the time.  Neutral piece always fit in when you can't pick color choices of walls.  Hello, LSU colored living room from our last house, gag!  Yet, it doesn't mean ALL home decor needs to be neutral in color like ours seems to be.  The living room alone consists of beige couches, brown pillows, Beige carpet, tan throw, truffle throw, and dark wood tables (which I love!)  So basically I am drowning in a sea of brown.

I did have a small victory in home decor.  I pushed enough to pick up this rug to use for Bears' play area.

Sorry for the sleeping baby,
it is the best picture I have of this rug.

It is gray but it shockingly has a design.  Baby steps here people.  I was damn near floored when he said he "liked it" last month.  He added that while it was sorta neutral "that he liked, it had a design that I liked.  The best mix of the two of us."  It was a start anyway.  Now I just need to push a bit more.

My plan is to continue with small bits of color and pattern.  I want to pick up a table runner or some place mats.  Maybe even some kitchen towels.  I am thinking something like these...

images from

A touch of color and pattern but it does not hit you in the face with it.  This is the only way I know that it will happen.  I can't just totally drop him in Homes Goods and expect him to like anything colorful without throwing him a bone.  For him, its a neutral backing with a simple pattern.  What most of the above items have.  I'll admit the table runner on the top left would be a bit of a push, but I think he would grow to like it or at least tolerate it.  

Following those parameters I even got him to agree to these kitchen towels not too long ago!

I bought these at Kohls.

My next jump after the kitchen takeover is to get some pillows for the couch.  Something with a neutral background but a colorful pattern.  Additionally I want pillows for the outdoor furniture set we to buy.  Any other ideas you all have me?

How does your spouse feel about color and pattern around your house and in your home decor?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Love It, Like It

Love it

My kindle.  It's not fancy, as it is the reads like paper version.  I love it more and more every time I use it!  Yes, the system for ebooks are not anywhere close to perfect (the dreadful lending limitations), however I find that as long as the ebook I want is a reasonable price I will continue to use it!  Now what good books have you been reading that I need to add to my list?

Running/jogging/walking.  Lately, I have just been happy getting out and moving. Rediscovering my love for running.  For now I am simply focused on duration and number of days per week.  Speed will come over time.  The win here is that I want to get out and get moving.
Post workout accountability

Yoga.  I love getting up and spending 20 or so minutes working on various poses. Stretching my body out and relaxing before the whorl wind that is Bear wakes up and the stresses of the day begin.  

New Workout Clothing.  I have been using my old pj's as workout clothes and frankly it is not cute.  Not in the least.  Then came a shopping spree...

Old Navy Active 
I spent waaaaay to much but I do love everything I got!

Like it

Craft DIY. I am loving various home DIY crafts that I can't wait to dive into.  The biggest two on my mind right now are a Quilt Ladder and a Mason Jar Herb Garden.  I can't jump into any projects right now but I will as soon as we get settled I will.

I am thinking something like this but I want to put my own spin on it.

Shopping in my makeup cabinet.  It no secret that I have a ton of makeup and beauty products.  I have the cabinet packed.  Since I really don't need anything I have put myself on a beauty ban of sorts.  This means I am not allowed to buy anything and need to use what I have.  I like that I am "shopping my cabinet" and finding things I didn't know I had in there.  I mean really picking through it and not re-buying things even if I love them.  That is my main problem.  It keeps me from tying other things that I already have.  Also can I ask, who needs 12 different shades of pink blush?  I certainly don't but I will use them because well I have them.  

Along with Shopping my Makeup Cabinet, No more Nail Polish Purchases.  I have to many nail polishes banning any new purchases has helped me cut them down significantly!  The latest polish I am loving the Mint colored polish by Essie.  It's last years color and the name has since worn off.

Furniture shopping.  We have no real need for furniture but we do have things that we want.  At the top of this list is a Buffet or Sideboard.  Something to hold our fine china yet it's the typical cabinet.  This is something that we are leaning towards from target.  The only modification I would make to this is to add some removable window cling to frost the glass.  I like that it is not very traditional.  I didn't want the whole China cabinet with the plates displayed.  It's just not us.  I should be able to nearly stack everything inside.

image from

We also are looking to get an outdoor patio set like this one below from Target.

Images from
Clearly we are unsure on the color we like but either will do for me.  Shockingly, hubby likes them both!  

What are you loving and liking lately?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Deleting HIMYM

One decision we made for our family is to give up cable when we move.  This doesn't mean will stop watching tv but we will do so via Netflix and channel websites as they often show full episodes, albeit a week or so later.  We have been cutting back anyway so why not just take the full leap when we move.

That said we want to empty our DVR prior to turning it back in.  Most are current episodes or movies but there is a handful of one TV show that has stuck around.  I am specifically talking about 4 episodes from the last season of How I Met Your Mother. 

I love this show.  I have seen every episode multiple times since the show first started.  I am terribly sad that it has ended.  I sobbed watching the last episode live while my husband mocked me.  I'm not one that cries very often but dang it that episode did me in.

So now I have four episodes that I need to cave in and delete.  And delete I did after one final viewing. 

Goodbye "bedtime stories"


Goodbye "Daisy"


Goodbye "The End of the Aisle"


And Goodbye "Last Forever"


It is pathetic I know but I love this show.  I really liked how the last season touched on so many of the big moments from the series.  Not just in flashbacks but in references.  Obviously like most great shows HIMYM is in reruns like crazy but I have yet to see the final season show up.  Or maybe I just need to stop being so cheap and just buy the full series.

Hello new Amazon order!  

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Oregon Trail Generation

Every once and a while I find a very interesting article.  The one below popped up in my Facebook feed not that long ago.  I have to say it is very spot on and worth a read for anyone born in the late 70's and early 80's.  I'm showing my age but in this case I'm ok with it.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Does that not make me at all qualified???

I originally write this post in January of 2013.  I was newly pregnant with our first child when I received what I thought was a rather off beat comment from my Mother in Law (MIL).  She said "it will be different with your own child."  It was in reference to my experience as a nanny as well as my experience/degrees in teaching.   

Recently an acquaintance of mine made a similar comment to that.  "Just wait, you only have one child."  When I questioned her further I found that she did indeed mean to Imply that my previous and current knowledge mean nothing when I have another child.  When she said it, it instantly reminded me of this post.  Upon re-reading it I realized everything I wrote (but didn't post) then is still true now.  I can now officially say, now that I have a child, I in fact use my experience and degrees in my everyday parenting as well as in my overall parenting philosophy.  I didn't see it changing then and I don't see it changing if another child comes along.  

So here is the post I wrote about that very first comment, that to me, can easily apply to this one now.  

January 2013

I have been working with kids for as long as I can remember.  I love education and specifically early childhood education.  I have a resume full of experience using the various degrees and certification I have acquired over the years. However, people seem to think that none of this qualifies when it comes to raising my own child.  That the experiences I have had and knowledge I have gained will not affect how I parent.  

So I can be trusted to mold the minds of children in a school or day care setting but that I am unable to apply that same knowledge and concepts to my own child?   How does this make any sense?

My Mother in Law (MIL) said "it will be different with your own child."  Yes, but only to an extent.  I will be able to focus on just one child, not 25.  I will be able to instill my out own set of beliefs and values into them.  It will be different because these guidelines will show through in my child.  My child will clearly know what is expected from them from an early age.

My background has taught me a lot about how I would like a child to behave and what values I hold of high importance.  Anyone who works with children from kindergarten up can see what values are instilled in a child at home.  The kid who can't button his coat probably has it done for him all the time.  The kid who never says "please" or "thank you" is likely not required to do so at home.  The kid who shares toys or supplies willingly was taught to share at home.  These are clear cut things in my book.  I know I want my child to mind his manners at school so I need to teach and reinforce them at home if I expect him to use them else where.

This knowledge that I have gained can only benefit our future child as I understand what is required of them in schools and why certain activities are more than just fun things to do.  That there is actual science behind them.  Lessons to be learn.

It kills me that some people, adults older than I mainly, are quick to disregard these experiences and knowledge I have gained over the years.  That magically I will forget everything I have learned because I popped out a child.  Or even worse that the knowledge I have gained doesn't apply to actual parenting.  I beg to differ.

The example that comes to mind happened over the second or third time having dinner with my In-Laws.  The whole family was gathered including hubby's older brother, his wife and their 2 year old son.  They were attempting to get the little boy to try a new type of food.  I am sure you all know exactly where this is heading.  The boy was quite opposed to trying it.  His parents were saying things like "look it's good" and then they would take a bite.  He still refused. "Just a little piece," or "only one bite" they begged.  It was not enough to even get the boy to touch the food let alone try a bite.  

I watched this interaction go on for most of dinner when my now Sister in Law (SIL) asked me if I had ever dealt with situations like this at my job.  I said I had on many occasions which clearly prompted her to ask how I dealt with it.  She and her husband (Hubby's Brother) are super smart, fact based, logical people.  I approached the situation in that manner.

I first suggest that they let him touch it and play with as it is something new to him.  Think of being in a foreign country trying a new dish.  You will use all of you sense to try to associate the food in front of you to something that you already know.  The little boy has only a limit knowledge base so he will be more shy about it and take longer in making those connections.  You need to give him time to explore.  Then when he is ok touching it you prompt him to give it a kiss.  This puts the food near the mouth, possibly even puts some food on his lips, where he might then lick and get his first taste of it.  If he eats it you can then possibly do a cause and effect approach. Think ABA for the teachers out there.  You kiss the food you get a bit more of "x" food you like once they have finish it all.  In this case it wasn't needed but I mentioned it to them anyway.  Eventually, you can work up to them putting the food in their mouth.  The child may or may not chew it and more likely they will spit it out.  This is still a success.  The final step is actually trying (Chew and swallow) a piece of the new food.  I noted that it could take several times with the new food to work up to taking a bite of it.

The little Boy gave the food a kiss and even put a bit in his mouth and spit it out.  To me this is a success for the first time with a new food.  Acceptance happens over time.  

My now Father in Law (FIL) said that my techniques was Bullsh!t, picked up the food, got the little boys' attention, Showed him the food in his hand and took a bite exaggerating how good it was.  I kept quiet as I was not about to say anything to the head of the family I was trying to fit in with.  

My knowledge and experience on the topic was instantly dismissed.  I could have easily started stating facts about how the use of modeling has limited success when it is between adult and child.  That it is far better to have another fellow child model the behavior as they are more willing to follow along with their peers.  This is why parents may find their second child isn't nearly as picky of an eater as their first.  Or that they are more willing to try more things with less hesitation because they see a sibling eating the same thing.  This yields a much higher success rate.  

I could have also added that in getting the child to participate in their own discovery of the food it allows the child to make new connections and further concrete already discovered concepts.  It also promotes the use of his other senses, all of which are Incorporated into the act of eating.  Not to mention working on fine motor and oral skills that he can only benefit from with added repetition.  

Had this been my child I would have said all of that and added a "with all due respect, sir" into the mix.  However I was not looking to step on ones toes so I let the situation fizzle its way out with awkward silence.


2015 me, needs to interject here.  I probably would not have stated all of that to my FIL.  I likely would have said that "With all due respect, sir, we do things a bit differently and that is ok."  If asked further as to why we do what we are doing, I would then state some of above.  I like to avoid confrontation with my In-Laws as we already have enough of that as it is by parenting differently.

I could think of a dozen different ways off the top of my head to get the little boy to try the food.  I would have guessed only 2-3 different ways that would have worked.  This was just one way that I have seen great success.  Let's face it, what they were doing wasn't working.  That's the whole reason they asked me in the first place.  They were looking for another way to attempt something (well, that and to try to include me into the conversation as I was pretty quiet the whole time).   It's not to say that the way I mentioned to them will work every time or is even appropriate for even situation because its not.  This is simply another tool that can be used.

Clearly my knowledge in this situation was beneficial, or at least could have been had it not been shot down by the elder of the group.  Am I saying that my knowledge and experience makes me an expert at parenting...  Of course not.  I also don't think that I will know the answer to everything for every situation I will encounter with my own child.  I know I will be thrown into new situations all the time when I am a parent.  What I do believe, is that my background will make those situations easier to handle.  

So, I take offense to those who are quick to dismiss my background as anything other than helpful.  So give your advice...  I'll listen to it, take it under advisement but in the end I will do what I think is right for me and my family.

Do you think that education and experience equate to parenting knowledge?  


I really am interested in hearing from you all about what you think on this topic. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Pictured Pop pulled pork (some words included)

I previously wrote about how I love using the crockpot for home cooked meals while I unpack the house.  This is another great recipe I like to use when unpacking.

Or any rootbeer soda works. 
Dr. Pepper is good too.

Cook until it falls apart easily.  Skim the fat off the top of the liquid then remove the meat.  Shred the pork.  We serve it as is and let the person decide what BBQ sauce (or dripping), if any, they want on their sandwich.  You could also toss the shredded pork in the BBQ sauce prior to serving. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

An amazing cookie recipe!

You had me at Recipe!  Having duplicated many recipes that she posts on her wonderful blog, I was instantly drooling when Ingrid offered up a recipe post for my readers.  She knocked this one out of the park!!!!  I know exactly what I will be baking for hubby to take in on his first day of work, these cookies!


Hola! I'm Ingrid, your guest blogger today. Jenn told us we needed to include a little "about us" blurb so, let me tell you something about myself.  I hate, okay maybe hate is too strong.  I loathe, despise, detest baking cookies.  While they aren't too difficult to make a lot can go wrong. The dough can be easily overworked giving you tough cookies.  They go from perfectly cooked deliciousness to hockey pucks in like 30 seconds,which means you're chained to the oven.  Oh, and if they bake up perfectly they never taste as good after they cool let alone the next day. Yup, I much prefer throwing that dough into a pan and calling them bars. Why am I telling you this?  Because folks, this chocolate chip cookie recipe is a game changer.  Me, a first class cookie baking hater has fallen in love with these cookies.  They are easy to make. Don't require any crazy ingredients and are still delicious the next day! (Disclaimer, it does call for 3 different sugars but if you bake regularly you probably already have them.) Seriously, if you don't have a "go to" chocolate chip cookie recipe or just like to try new ones you really need to try this recipe.  I've actually tried quite a few and always end up disappointed.  Not this time. 

I found the recipe through Smitten Kitchen's IG account.  Deb does a bang-up job breaking it down for you and I didn't change anything so, I'm just going to link to the recipe.  

Thanks for having me Jenn!  

Friday, May 8, 2015

Reverse Culture Shock

I was so super excited when B responded that she was willing to guest post for me while PCS.  Having just gone through her own huge move back to the US, I was positive she would have some awesome thoughts on the matter.  She definitely delivered! 


Since returning to America from our time in Japan, we have definitely experienced some reverse culture shock. Even though we lived on installation in Japan, and were surrounded by other Americans, we hadn't actually been in the U.S. since June 2013. We knew there would be some adjustments when we moved back across the Pacific but didn't quite anticipate them all. Here are a few that we've experienced over the past few weeks:

- Speed limits are way higher. We're used to driving an average of 30-40km per hour which is 18.6 and 25.8mph, respectively. Driving on the interstate again feels like we're in the Indy 500!

- People are much ruder. Japanese people and culture are notorious for being polite (sometimes to a fault). Americans are not, unfortunately. It's been quite frustrating to be out in town and realize that people rarely care about anyone but themselves. 

- The "tipping culture" is more annoying. My husband was not a fan of tipping before we went overseas, but now we both find it irritating. In Japan, tipping is considered insulting as it's seen as an indicator that you believe someone doesn't make enough money. It seems that tipping in America is more about "having" to than really appreciating great service. Let's just pay people real wages!

- Grocery stores are overwhelming. SO.MANY.CHOICES. Our overseas grocery options were often slim pickings as far as product variety. Now, there are so many products available for anything we might want that it's hard to choose. However, the plus side to this is that we finally have an abundance of organic options which I am thrilled about. 

- Things feel more dangerous. Japan is often rated the safest nation in the world. Not only that, but we lived in a pretty rural area and on a small, secure base. For now, we're back on the east coast and it feels like everyone is doing something nefarious everywhere we go. 

- We can actually try on clothes before buying. The past few years we've been limited to online shopping for 98% of our clothing purchases. It has been so nice to actually be able to feel and try on clothes before buying them!

- Easier to get around. We can actually read street signs again! And streets are actually labeled! 

- Familiar restaurants abound. We are some delicious things in Japan, and there are some restaurants I will probably miss forever, but I am loving being around American restaurants again. Old favorite chains, great local eats, and new places popping up all the time means our taste buds have been treated well these past couple of weeks!

- Family is much closer! We are actually near both of our families for the time being, which is a rare treat as a military  family. My husband's next duty station will likely be quite far away, so we are enjoying and trying to take advantage of this time. 


B, a military spouse, blogs over at then there was we. She writes about all things family (including stepmotherhood and having a new baby), and shares recipes, recommendations, and tidbits about life being married to the Air Force. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

What's in my Travel Bag

Every PCS (military lingo for a move) I pack myself a backpack of some of my creature comforts.  Things that will make the move easier for me especially if we aren't going to have our stuff for a bit.  My one rule is it all must fit neatly into my back pack. 

Cell phone with charger - duh!

Net Book with charger and wireless mouse - I'm not sure I could be without a computer during a move.  My net book especially.  It's usefulness is to great not to bring it!   Since hubby is bringing the laptop for him/us, I have my Netbook for whatever I need to do.  Granted his is mostly for watching movies as netbook a don't have DVD drives.  Let's be honest here!

DVDs - my DVD case is packed to the brim! I wouldn't have it any other way.  Since we can't take all our movies with us I picked out some chick flicks for me, a few chick flicks hubby can stand, a few action and comedy movies for hubby, and the rest are kids movies.  To be fair Bear will really only care about the Paw patrol DVD but at least these we can watch with Bear around.

kindle with charger and light
Thanks to technology I can now take most of my library with me in one compact little eReader.  I have a 3 chick lit books/beach reads and 2 parenting books.  This should be enough for me for a few weeks anyway.  If I need more I can  hop on Amazon and get them with ease. The light is simply because I have the kindle 5 that reads like paper.  I did not like looking at a computer screen when trying to read a book.  It bothered my eyes too much to make it worth it.  That said if I don't have a light I can not read before bed since my kindle is not back lit.  

Nintendo DS with charger and games - My inner 6 year old is showing though here I guess.  No internet means I resort back to playing my DS.  I used this a lot when I was traveling for work in my 20's.  Now it only really comes out of the box when we travel long distances.  So I really haven't used it in a few years.  This is also back then I also didn't have a smart phone to use for games, which oddly even now is rare.  I try to not just play games like Sonic or Mario cart but things that were a bit more educational like Brain Age or My French Coach.  Which I guess are still games.  Maybe this is me just justifying my usage.  Regardless it is something for me to do when break from my book at some point.  You know, when I am not busy tending to Bear or some other aspect of the move.

iPod with charger - I keep old favorites and I try to add a couple new Albums to it a few days before I move.  I like listening to something I haven't heard a million times over on a long car trip.  It is mostly just country and classic rock with a few pop songs thrown in.  For this trip I picked up... 

Loving "mean to me" right now.

I love anything rascal flatts puts out.  
Most of their stuff is great driving music.

And a few songs from the Zac Brown Band. 

Who doesn't like a good summer song?

Headphones - it's always good to have a set or two for a long trip!  One set must be able to function with my phone for hands free talking on my cell while I do what I need to do.  My car had Bluetooth but that's not always convenient.  

A New Magazine (or hard copy book) -  I am a reader at heart.  Because of this, I like to keep a book or magazine on me to read whenever I get the chance.  When I am in a waiting room or in the car waiting in line for an oil change I pull out my reading material and take in as much as I can until some action from me is needed.  Call me crazy but little bits of me time is good for my sanity.   Naturally, during a move I will also need to take full advantage of these little down times.  

This issues of women' s health (Britney!) has been sitting on my nightstand for a few months so it will work for traveling.  

Cards, pen, and paper -  For us that means a deck of regular playing cards, uno, and of course phase 10.  If you follow me on Instagram then you know I love a good game of Phase 10.  Thankfully hubby also likes to play as well.  I have an extra pad so I'm taking that Instead.  As a side note I prefer the index cards because a few of the standard size fit neatly inside the box.  

My nail kit -  I like to try to keep my nails looking nice.  During a move I typically have plenty of down time.  I'm not going to be painting my nails in the car or anything crazy like that but I will make them looks pretty sans polish.  My nail kit typically contains a cuticle pusher, nippers(that's what I call it anyway, not sure what it's really called), nail clippers, and various files.  I removed and packed away the base coat, quick dry top coat, travel nail polish remover, and cotton balls from the kit.  I won't be added polish so they aren't needed.  I have no desire to worry about broken nail polish on this trip.  The thought alone of one breaking gives me anxiety.  After all the whole point in doing my nails is to relax.  It's a little something I can do to pamper myself along the drive. 

My Pillow - my pillow will always make the move on my person or crammed into a suitcase.  Hotel pillows are just not the same.  However because I have left it in a hotel, they mailed it back to me, it will not leave the car for fear I will not get it back.  

Eye mask - Hubby found this eye mask for me a few years ago and I have to say it is my favorite.  It seems a bit funny looking with the bubbles over the eyes but I never really liked the mask directly on my eyes while I tried to sleep.  With this one on I could open my eye completely and it wouldn't touch the mask at all.  Hubby said from his research it helped to promote REM sleep by allowing for rapid eye movements by not touching the eyelids.  I don't know if any of that is true but I do greatly love this eye mask.  

Snacks - lately that means raw almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, left over candy canes from Christmas, junior mints, some green tea super fruit tea bags, and lots of bottled water!  Again I am trying to stay away from sweets but I wanted to have a few sweet treats so I didn't pick up even worse junk at the gas station for pit stops.  Additionally I tossed in some granola bars.  They are just good to have on hand.

I think every PCS brings something different with so much down time I wanted to take advantage of it.  Some of the following items would have been nice to have but they just didn't workout this time.

Audio Book(s) -  typically I add an audio book onto my iPod as well as some new music.  However, I just didn't have time to find one we both would like so I skipped it.  Surely I know I will regret this at some point along the trip.  Also please tell me I am not the only one that likes audio books?

A small crocheting project - I have a small bag that I keep my crochet projects in that I can and often do take on long car trips.  It gives me something to do that is often a mindless task.  The whole idle hands thing and all.  Most of the time I don't even need to look at what I am doing which makes it easy to do in the car.  However this time I am fresh out of projects that can comfortably fit in the car.  So for now this will get packed by the movers.  

What creature comforts do you take with you when you move?  or travel even?

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