Family, Fashion

What to buy to survive a road trip with a 2-year-old (no screen time involved)

Isn’t it funny how we put so much anticipation on a certain event and it turns out so much better than we ever could have hoped?! If it’s a road trip you are dreading, I hope to help with some good products to entertain your tot.

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Mi Amor and I hadn’t taken a trip to see our families in the Rio Grande Valley since BabyCoolJ was only 7 months old! That last trip set us over the edge with a crying baby for 5 whole hours. It was brutal.


So we avoided it. We enjoyed holidays alone, just our little family of 3. But we had promised we’d go back and visit for Christmas when he was two, so we couldn’t put it off anymore. And you know what? We were anxious for nothing, with a little prayer and a lot of stuff for him, he did amazing…round trip!

We planned to leave the Austin-area at 3am, with this bright idea we would arrive in the Valley by 9am, just in time for breakfast! Sounds great, right? Well, our alarm didn’t wake us up. So we jumped out of bed at 5:30am and needless to say we rushed like crazy!

We are a limited-screen-time family, and my kiddo doesn’t know he can watch anything in the car, so I didn’t want to start down that path. So I read a few ideas on how to entertain him and keep him occupied and thought I’d share for any wayward mamas out there.

I bought this Kids Compadre travel tray to keep all his stuff together. It was super convenient for coloring and snack time, but otherwise we didn’t use it too much. He played with his musical toys (a Daniel Tiger phone and no-screen tablet) but the biggest hit for the entire trip was this Melissa & Doug reusable sticker pad. It entertained him for hours and he had a blast pulling off all the extra sticky parts around the stickers. These things were everywhere, but he had a blast!

We made only one stop each way and that was for breakfast, about half-way through our trip. And on the way there he had his first McDonald’s outing! We let him roam the store a bit and packed back into the car. It also helped he knew we were going to Grandpa & Grandma’s house!


I also packed all his Christmas books since it was the last time he’d be reading them. We talked a lot about Baby Jesus this year, so he loved all his nativity books. I made sure the bag was within reach and it worked 60% of the time.

Of course we were armed with lots of healthy snacks. His all-time favorite is Little Duck fruit & veggies, a bit messy but it is natural and fruit is the only ingredient so it makes me happy! I love this Munchkin Stainless Steel Snack Catcher – it keeps his snacks contained with a silicon top-flap that is easy for him to maneuver his tiny fingers through but smart enough to keep most messes at bay. Plus it has a silicon lid so we can take it anywhere easily.

We also caved and let him have a Paci for the trip. Plus all his little plush friends (Peter Penguin, Bark Obama, Henry Who, Seymour and Monkey Do….can you guess what they are?!) and one more toy that keeps him busy for long periods of time: Bailey Elephant Buckle Toy. I have to warn you though, after he played with this he can now unzip anything!

I hope some of these ideas can help you, as they sure made our trip enjoyable. So much so that we even detoured into San Antonio and had a fun morning at the DoSeum while Mi Amor had to run to one of his accounts for a couple of hours.

It was such a good trip, some could call it a Christmas miracle!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


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Disclaimer: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, and at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links. I only recommend products and services that I have personally used and love. 

Faith, Family

Farewell, 2017. You’ve been real.

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This year has been a whirlwind….a roller coaster of sorts, with many many highs and some occasional lows (and shockers). If I could have seen the future, even just a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed what 2017 had in store for me…or who I would become!

Late in 2016 I started a new job. It was an exciting move for me, as my career had always come first. I love my husband and kiddo, but work was something I put everything into, where my passions and purpose thrived. So when I was given an opportunity to lead a new marketing department, I jumped on it. I never would have left the American Heart Association under any other circumstances….So, God had to yank me out of there and that started my unimaginable journey. Left job

In March, I lost that same job. The organization decided they no longer wanted a marketing department, which means no brand manager (that was me!). There I was, driving to pick up my kiddo at daycare, with tears streaming down my cheeks. Asking, WHY?? How could this happen???

I was devastated. I was shocked. We had prayed so hard before I made this decision, how could it be? As many of us know, God’s plan doesn’t always unfold right before our eyes. I’m fortunate that it unfolded for me months later.

I started applying for jobs right away, and even had a few interviews lined up immediately. I had to pull BabyCoolJ out of daycare, which made scheduling interviews a challenge. I applied for jobs at nap time and bedtime, took interview screenings at nap time, and planned around crazy schedules to make it all work out.

Within a week of my job loss, my husband was also promoted. It was a great step for his career, but he no longer was going to have his awesome schedule of working 3am – 2pm. He was fortunate to spend 18 months picking up our kiddo from daycare and having that time with him before I would get home in the evening. We quickly realized that is was all such a blessing, now I was home with J and he didn’t have to stress about his new schedule and J being at daycare super late.


Months passed and the job interviews dried up. During that time I joined a morning mom-and-preschooler bible study, a Sunday evening lifegroup and had my current Wednesday ladies bible study. I met tons of moms, started scheduling play dates, and had a very full calendar of activities every single day. My life was more full than I could ever have imagined.

Somewhere along the way I realized I wanted to be home with BabyCoolJ, but my husband and I couldn’t figure out how that was possible. You see, we purchased our home with two substantial incomes. Two incomes that were paramount in making our monthly payments. We just didn’t see how it was possible.

That’s when I started PR consulting and my new gig as a Stylist.. They are both lucrative and fun, but they aren’t bringing in the income stream that my career provided. We continued to pray and just put our faith in Him. And I continued to enjoy every friendship I was making and the time I was enjoying with J.

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My “fortune coffee sleeve” back in January, 2017

My husband was offered an amazing new job in September, which he started in October. What we didn’t know when he accepted was that he was going to be in San Antonio 85% of the time. He knew travel was involved, but not at that level….that’s when we started thinking….

I want to stay home with J. He wants a good quality of life (4 hour commute round trip daily is NO JOKE!). We both want what is best for our family.

So here we are, December 19, 2017. Three weeks ago I told him we need to figure something out because we can’t stay in our home. Two and a half weeks ago I came across Dave Ramsey’s ELP blog posts. Two weeks ago we met with realtors. A week and a half ago we hired our agent to help us sell, and a few days ago we hired our new buying agent. It truly is a whirlwind.

Y’all, our home is a mess. We are working on staging it and clearing it out. We list in January and begin our new life in a new city….those details are coming soon!


But the most amazing thing is our new life. Spending every day with my little one. Meal planning and activity prepping. Play dates. Church activities. It is all a blessing, and just proves how we must be patient and wait on God’s time. His plans are so much better than ours!

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