20+ Cross Country Roadtrip Essentials

Hello lovely reader,

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Since we are preparing for our own road trip, I thought it would be great and helpful to all you summer vacationers to compose a list of road trip essentials.
The key to any painless road trip is supplies! Whether you are traveling by yourself, with a partner, or with a whole car full of adventurers, it is important to be prepared for your trip, journey, and any potential situations that may come up along the way.

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For our journey, we are going to be traveling cross country with over forty hours of drive time one way. Whether your traveling this far or only driving for a few hours, it is great to pack your car with some regular necessities:

  • A Cooler. Or at least an insulated bag. Having something that you can keep drinks and food cold in is invaluable to your traveling food budget! When we roadtrip, we are usually driving to a destination where we plan to vacation and then driving back, therefore, we like to save our food money for our destination and pack sandwich supplies for the trip.
    • Keep drinks cold. We mainly take water and just a few specialty drinks.
    • Sandwich supplies are really easy and will be a light meal.
    • Cheese for crackers.
    • Humus and some carrot or celery sticks are a great snack as well.
  • A Snack Bag. Packing a tote or a box with some snacks will save you not only money, but time as well. In the past we have forgotten to bring along little tid bits and ended up stopping multiple times to grab little munchies! If you are traveling with children, snacks, as you probably know, are crucial to making a trip painless! So, take it from us and save yourself some time and money! Here are some of our favorite road trip snacks:
    • Jerky, Chips, Protein Bars, Nuts, Trail Mix, and Gummy Worms (I know, we are so healthy, right?!)
  • A Trash Bag or Can. Keep the clutter of wrappers and napkins at bay by placing a trash can behind the driver’s side seat or tied to the back of the driver’s seat.
  •  Blanket. If you are traveling with a family, bring multiple blankets or at least one for the front seats and one for the back. I usually pack two, because my hubby freezes me!
  •  Travel Pillow. You can share one pillow if you only have two people traveling, but remember to bring extras if there are multiple travelers (stops pillow fights!).
  • Hotel Bag with a change of clothes and basic toiletries.
  •  Tote with Shared Pastimes. My hubby and I usually keep a tote in the front floorboard with our laptops and other things we use to keep us entertained. Here are some pastime ideas:
    • Books, Laptop, Tablet, Notepad w. pens, Coloring books, etc.
  • Paper towels / tissues.
  • USB Chargers for Electronic Devices.

Though most of us have these items in our house, here are some great travel accessories:

Preparing for emergencies – it’s great to have a shower caddy or a box with some essentials for emergency situations.

  • Flashlights, Car Fluids, Basic Tool Kit, First Aid Kit, Rain Coats, Matches, MREs (just in case), Jumper Cables, Duct Tape (because it really fixes everything), and WD-40.

Traveling with pets?

  • Large ziplock with dry food.
  • Small ziplock with treats. This is great for in between stops.
  • Large bottle of water. 
  • Water bowl. There are some great foldable travel pet bowls, but if you don’t want to spend the money, just bring their regular water bowl and put it in the floorboard of the backseat.
  • Leash. These leashes are great! They allow them to have more room to walk about when your letting them out to use the restroom, and you can easily set the leash length.
  • Blanket or pet bed. This will give them something to snuggle with and will keep your car scratch and fur free.

Traveling with kids?

  • Have each one pack a small backpack or tote to keep at their feet full of pastimes like books, tablets, MP3 players, travel games, notepads, and coloring books.
  • Lap desks are great investments for the back of cars as well. They give them a flat space to do puzzles, color, and, most especially, eat without making a mess.
  • Kids sometimes get a little car sick, so keeping some extra trash bags and some medicine close by isn’t a bad idea.

Looking for ways to organize your car?

Both my hubby and I have a Kia Soul and we usually use mine for road trips. In the very back (trunk area) we neatly pack our suitcases or duffle bags, and our overnight hotel bags. Sometimes we like to camp instead of staying in hotels along the way so we pack our compact tent and sleeping bags towards the top for quick access. When traveling with our dogs, the back seat area is where they travel and the floorboards are used for their supplies. When not traveling with the pups, I neatly fold two blankets and place one each over the head rests of the backseats. The tote with our pastime supplies and my purse go in the passenger side backseat along with the travel pillow. Since the passenger is usually the one to throw things away, we keep a little trash bin behind the driver seat. Our cooler and snack bag go on the seat behind the driver and our coats and sweatshirts go in the middle of the back seat.

Here are some great items for organizing your car and obtaining quick and easy access to your necessities:

As always, thank you for visiting my little slice of the net! Don’t forget to like us on Facebook for more inspiration, encouragement, and reviews. Please let me know what your road trip must haves are!

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Mowing The Lawn – A Family Activity

Hello lovely reader,

I don’t know about you, but in our family yard work is almost as bad as going to the doctor. We seem to work ourselves up in to a state of laziness that makes us ultimately despise going out and cleaning up our yard.
However, after a long winter and a lot of a procrastinating, plus all this rain we’ve been getting lately, made it impossible to put off the dreaded chore any longer.

After getting outside, it turned out to be such a beautiful day! The sun was shining but the trees in our yard provided great shade! 19429833_1588341157896770_2928945753126576998_nAnd soon it became a chore that the whole family dived into! I ran the mower, my husband cut back branches and roots, and our fur babies ran about providing laughter and encouragement.

We also had a lovely surprise! Our neighbor kindly offered to lend us his riding lawn mower! Seeing how we have half an acre of land, you can understand how invaluable this was to us! Immediately, the mower was hogged by my hubby who couldn’t help but drive around the yard with a big smile on his face!

Within no time there were smiley faces all around!

The message of today’s post: find joy even in the post tedious of tasks! For those of you with families, let your children join in and find ways to make each other laugh and have fun while completing hard work!

As always, thank you for visiting my little slice of the net! Please leave me a story about how you brighten up chore days!
Don’t forget to like our Facebook page for more information and encouragement!

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The Importance of Meditative Prayer &a an Example of My Personal 15-20min Sessions

Hello lovely reader,

Being a person of faith and belief of God, prayer is an essential part of my day to day life. As I have grown closer to my faith and have met with many other catholics and christians, I have discovered that most of us believers fall short in the prayer department. Of course, we are all human! These things happen. Sometimes it’s hard to explain, but we feel separated from our faith and separated from God. Our hectic lives get in the way and before we know it another day has gone by and we haven’t communicated with the one who makes each day possible.

I’m ashamed to say there are many days that I wake up with the intention to pray and then get swept away by other activities. Or nights when I try to remind myself to pray before bed and then when my head hits the pillow, I feel too tired. Some days, I feel as though I cannot communicate at all, purely because I do not want to bring forth any unwanted emotions or feelings that have been created by the week’s trials and pains.

I, like you dear reader, am human. We all struggle with our faith and beliefs at certain times and our connection with God often suffers. But, there is something that we seem to forget….God FORGIVES! God is our father who wants a connection with us no matter how many times we run in the opposite direction. He always forgives us when we forget to talk to Him and He understands those deepest emotions that are bubbling inside us when we cannot create the right words or thoughts. He knows and He understands. For us women, He is the one man who will ALWAYS understand you! How amazing is that?

However, we must realize that prayer is not meant just for times of crisis. Prayer is something that we are called to do daily in order to grow our relationship with God and to give Him the thanks and praise He is due for His wondrous deeds. When I start and end the day in prayer, it feels as if my day goes by much smoother. It sounds silly, but everything truly seems brighter. I am able to notice the little things God orchestrates for us!

I have found that separating a short time out of each day to devote purely to prayer provides the most  spiritual benefits. Setting a certain amount of time, whether 5 minutes or an hour, just to meditate on your thoughts and feelings and relay them to God through prayer, can make a huge difference in your day to day life and will certainly begin building the bridge to a fuller and more complete relationship with Him.

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So, what is this daunting thing called meditative prayer? Really, it’s simple and easy. There are so many options out there for everyone. Here are some tips for getting started based on time and creativeness:

Only have a few minutes?

  • Make a quick list and pray it. Use a bullet journal or a piece of paper (even a napkin or post-it will do) and write down 3 things you would like to thank God for and 3 things you would like to pray to Him for. Then compose a prayer around these listed items.
  • Use a prayer book. Prayer books are a collection of already composed prayers that are usually separated by need. For example, my prayer book contains sections for morning prayer, midday prayers, prayers for sickness, health, pregnancy, etc. If your someone who would rather have a single prayer to use each day or if you are having trouble putting the words together, prayer books are a beneficial resource and can really help you begin quickly. There are so many prayer book options out there for all faiths and they even have ones for people of different genders and occupations. The photo above shows my personal prayer book that is targeted to Catholics. Stop by your local christian store or look online to find one that suits your needs.
  • Use an app. There are hundreds of apps that are easily accessible on phones, tablet, and computers that can replace prayer books. I find apps to be incredibly useful because I can use them anywhere at anytime. Often times my hubby will read a prayer out loud from my phone while we are driving.
    • My favorite catholic apps:
      • Laudate & Magnificat

Have a little more time to meditate?

  • Use an app with a meditative prayer outline.  I know this tip was previously mentioned, however, some apps provide a longer prayer sequence that includes a hymn, reflection, bible verse, and a succession of various other prayers. These types of prayer outlines allow you to meditate on God’s word and your prayers towards him.
  • Use a devotional. There are many devotional books and apps that give a 1 to 5 minute reflection on a bible verse. These reflections usually imply embracing a certain action, quality, or characteristic in your life. These are great to read and meditate on while praying, because they give you a chance to reflect on your own life and ask God for guidance or thank Him for certain works.
  • Pray the Rosary.  Though the Rosary is usually considered a Catholic prayer, anyone can partake in its benefits. There are booklets, apps, and web articles that give the outline for the prayer. It is extremely easy and repetitive in order to allow you the chance to meditate on a certain wish, need, want, or desire. As a Catholic, I find the Rosary to be extremely empowering and reverent. It gives me a chance to pray to my Father and the Holy Mother. The Rosary usually takes about 20-30 minutes, however, it is a great source of meditative prayer that I usually try to work into my schedule.

An Example of My Personal 15-20 Minute Sessions:

I usually set aside 15 – 20mins in the morning and in the evening for meditative prayer.

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As I mentioned before, I am not perfect and I do not always pray as often as I should, however, I have made a point to make prayer an important part of my day.

  • Sign of the cross.  I start by completing the sign of the cross and saying a short prayer of blessing for the session. Usually the short prayer is:
    “Lord, I ask you to bless this prayer session and to help me to open my mind and my heart to you.”
  • Magnificat. Next, I open my magnificat app or book and complete the prayer for the morning, midday, or evening, depending on the time of day.
    • I love the Magnificat because it provides a short hymn, a Psalm, a verse reading, a canticle, intercessions, an our father, and a closing prayer.
  • One-minute Devotional. In the picture above you can see my One-Minute Devotional Book for Women. This book provides a verse and a reflection of the verse for each day. I read this and reflect briefly on its contents and then ask God to help me achieve such action in my own life.
  • Read a passage of the Bible.  If I have time or if I make time, I read a section of the Bible, usually only a few verses, and reflect on them in my Bible study journal.
  • Closing Prayer.  I usually use a blessing or guidance prayer from my prayer book to close the session.
  • Sign of the cross. Lastly, I close the session with the sign of the cross.

 

Make it your own…

Prayer is something that is very personal and every individual puts their unique twist on the exercise. It’s important to just open up your mind and heart and to feel comfortable talking to God. As always, my thoughts and reflections through this article are completely my own and everyone is different. Please do not embrace my example session for your own prayer session if you are not comfortable with it. Also, I intend all of my material to be open to people of all faiths, though I am Catholic, so feel free to customize certain parts to fit your own faith.

Question: What prayer methods work best for you? How do you fit prayer into your day to day life? Leave me a comment!

I want to thank you for visiting my little slice of the net and invite you to join us on Facebook for more inspiration and encouragement.