I love great ideas. Gadgets, unique inventions, problem solving ideas, etc.
But as I’ve said before, it’s my love of “cool stuff” that has put me in this mess. It seems that normal people can see an item, evaluate whether or not they truly need it, purchase it, find a proper place to store it, and (here’s the biggie), remember that they have it in the moment when they need it.
Yeah, ummm, I can’t do most of those.
I can see it, buy it (that’s my favorite part), but the rest are almost impossible for me. So I’m learning the value in not having single-function items, even though they are generally cuter and cooler-looking than multi-function items.
Here are a few multi-function items that have come in handy on our road trip.
Plastic storage-container lid. I’ve been using this one for a few years now. As a slob, I have lots and lots of storage containers. But are they neatly closed and put away? Ummm . . . not so much. So I have some spare lids around. I use them as trays to lay out coupons to cut while sitting in the car, waiting for kids to get out of school. For traveling, I brought one, intending to use it as a desk to do my Savvy Blogging Summit homework. It turned out to also be a great counter for making peanut-butter sandwiches, etc. for our can’t-stop-driving lunches. I loved having a little workspace for many different uses.
Chip cans. I like to buy chips in cans for road trips, to avoid having to pour a cup full of crumbs for each kid. Pringles are the obvious choice, but I also found shorter, wider cans of Doritos and Cheetos at the Dollar Tree. Once we ate (inhaled) those chips, I used the cans to divide up other snacks to pass back to the rows of kids. They have plastic lids which means they can be sealed and thrown to the back row if necessary. And when the lid gets lost, or the kids decide to put dirty socks in the can, you can just throw it away, without the guilt of throwing out a Tupperware container.
Twin-sized fitted sheet. I absolutely love the idea of cutesy little picnic tablecloths and fancy weights to clip on the edges to keep the wind from blowing your cloth away. But remembering all of that? Whatever. I used a fitted twin sheet, which fit perfectly over the picnic table, and stayed put! And I’m much more likely to remember to wash it (since it is needed for everyday use) than I am to remember to scrub down or wash a fancy tablecloth. So hopefully, we won’t get to our next picnic to find smushed raisins in the folds of the cloth.
And while I’m sharing some travel advice, I want to tell you about our KOA experience. If you have more than 2.2 kids, you know that hotel rooms can be difficult to find. My kids are 4,6, and 8, and so I’m not ready to have them in a separate room. Suites are great, but can be hard to find at an affordable price. My husband’s family used to camp a lot in RVs, and he suggested we look at KOAs, since they have cabins you can rent as well. For about 70 dollars a night, we got a tiny but adorable two room cabin. It had two sets of bunk-beds in the first room, and a queen in the second. We also had a half-bath, a porch with swing and bench, and a private picnic table area behind the cabin. We did have to bring our own sheets (not a problem for this germaphobe), there wasn’t a TV (which I actually like), and we had to take our showers at the shower-house. But the showers were impeccably clean, and if you have a handy-dandy plastic basket to put your shower stuff in, and some flip-flops, it’s not bad at all. With decent balance, you can even dry off without ever letting one of your feet touch the clean-but-still-not-my-own shower floor. I guess I could vlog a demonstration, but honestly, I’m just not that committed to you as my readers.
But the greatest thing about our KOA was the grounds. They had two cool playgrounds, a very nice pool, free hayride every night, free movie with popcorn every night, a creek to explore, and lots more. The kids didn’t want to leave to go do all of the cool stuff in Colorado Springs! For less than we would pay for a crummy motel room, we got an experience. And they do have larger cabins with full baths! If you have a hard time finding a hotel to fit your family’s needs on a budget, you might want to look into any KOAs in the area where you’re staying. Now that we have had such a great experience, I’m noticing them everywhere as we drive.