Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Traveling Mom and 2 Kids to Italy

We are currently in Italy visiting my husband while he works, training military. Yesterday we traveled from Baltimore, Md to Padova, Italy. It was just me and my two girls 4 and 16 months. Wow! what an experience. My girls were excellent the entire 3 plane - 18 hour trip. I, however, am completely exhausted. I am no hero, this was not our first time traveling internationally but it was my first time doing it without my husband. But my choices were 1) go and visit him taking both little ladies with me or 2) not go..... so the choice was very easy to make.

We traveled with 2 checked bags, 2 checked car seats (which are required in Italy), 3 carry-ons, and 1 stroller. The three carry-ons included a diaper bag, a Melissa and Doug roller suitcase which included books and coloring activities, and my personal carry on which included my computer and other things I thought I would need to keep myself entertained. Well, this was indeed, my first mistake. For future reference, a mom traveling with two kids has no time to do anything for personal entertainment. When my two beauties were awake I was making sure they were not standing, being dangerous, or otherwise making poor choices, while on the plane. When my little girls were sleeping, I had to sleep. So, next time I will just check my bag with my personal items, one less thing to carry.

Our flight path included Baltimore-Atlanta-Paris-Venice, with less than a 90 minute layover on each leg of the trip. Rushing from gate to gate was not difficult until we arrived in Paris. Paris has to be the biggest airport I have landed in. I had to go from gate E? to D55 which does seem like far but was about 1 mile walking. The signs were not helpful to find the "D" gates. Several of signs pointed down which made me think I should take an elevator down but then when I looked straight ahead I kept finding signs pointing to "D". So, I thought I would follow the signs. I did eventually find "D". Once arriving at "D" I was told my infant in arms daughter actually needed her own boarding pass, which was not necessary in Baltimore or Atlanta. I then had to go to the AirFrance service desk and had them print her out one. We ended up being the last people on plane. I am sure there has to be an easier way to get around in the AirFrance airport, maybe a tram or bus, but I did not find it and did not have the time to explore.

Like I said before, traveling with my little ones was a lot of work but so worth it. They gave me some of the best laughs and smiles while traveling. Now, we are in Padova, Italy. My husband will be working during the day and I will be exploring Padova with my girls. Today we slept till noon and had to eat in the hotel because everything closes at 2:00. So, tomorrow we will begin our exploring.

Here are traveling with babies internationally tips:
  • Traveling with kids automatically bumps you to front of almost all airline lines. You will be able to board first, go through customs, etc....
  • Do no bring a carry solely for your personal entertainment items. It will just be a nuisance and something extra to carry.
  • Map out the Paris Airport or have a layover grater than 90 minutes.
  • Have passports and boarding passes in their own sachet, because you will need quick access to these often.
  • Bring several "d" rings. Being a military family, we often have "d" ring laying around and I have 2-3 in my purse at any given time. They are great to hanging coats on the stroller, attaching carry one bags to the stroller, and other random things you will need to hang or attach to each other.
  • Bring an iPad or other tablet with movies already loaded. I had about 50 movies loaded on my iPad and it kept my 4 year entertained until she fell asleep from Atlanta to Paris.
  • From Atlanta to Paris the flight was not full so the flight attendants allowed us to use three seats. My 16 month year old did wonderfully having her own seat. So, if you have an infant in lap I would always ask if there are any available seats.
  • My 16 month year old is attached to her blanket so reduce the amount of times my daughter dropped it on the floor I attached it to the stroller with "d" rings.
If you have any additional tips or know the secrets to Paris Airport please comment below. Here are some "d" rings and "s" rings for those who not are military or hikers.

D - Rings

S - Rings

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Crayon Homemade Valentines

Using this idea found on Pinterest:

My husband, daughter, and I created them for her preschool class. It was surprising easy and a great family project to complete. Here are the pictures of use completing the project. Here is template I created for the circles: (You will have to download the original from Google inorder to view the template)

We crushed the crayons using a hammer type tool. We used one box of crayons and had more than enough for 24 hearts.

I uploaded the template I created for this print out. I used resume paper to print the circles then, pasted the circles on construction paper. Then using designed scissors, cut the circles out again.
230 degrees for 15 minutes.

After the crayons cooled, they popped right out of the trays.

The trays were 2 for a dollar at the Target dollar area within the store.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Clay, Playdough, Paste, etc.

Baker's Clay

4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 1/2 cups water

Combine in bowl and mix thoroughly with hands. Knead four to six minutes. Make into shapes or use cookie cutters; use a straw to cut a hole for hanging. Bake in 325 degree oven for 30-50 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and paint with tempera. (Raw dough can be colored by using food coloring.)

Iridescent Soap Bubbles

1 cup water
2 Tbs. liquid detergent
1 Tbs. glycerin
1/3 teaspoon sugar
Mix all ingredients. Make straw bubble blowers; use cookie cutters, colanders, strainers
and other household items. String works well for huge bubbles.


Part "A"
2 cups Elmer's Glue (some others do not work)
1 1/2 cups warm water
Part "B"
4 tablespoons of borax powder
1 1/3 cups warm water with food coloring

Pour "B" into "A" and mix with hands.
(Note: Gak will remove color from wood.)

Modeling Goop

2 cups salt
2/3 cups water
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water

Stir salt and water over heat 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water, stir until smooth. Cook until thick. Store in a plastic bag. This can be used for modeling and will not crumble when dry.

Playdough I

Mix together:
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 cups water plus food coloring
2 tablespoons baby oil (other oil can work, too)

Place over low heat and stir often until playdough is consistency of mashed potatoes. Knead when cool.


When cool, place on table for children to use.
Do not make models for the children.
Try to vary the availability of tools - some days allow hands only; other days put tools out.

Playdough (II)

This recipe is similar to the commercial brand, but more durable. Keep in closed container when not in use.
1 cup flour
1 cup water
1 Tbs. oil
1 Tbs. alum
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoons vanilla
food coloring

Mix all dry ingredients. Add oil and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes. Remove from heat and add vanilla and food coloring. Divide into balls and work in color by kneading.

Koolaid Playdough

Mix together:
1 cup sifted flour
1/2 cup salt
3 Tablespoons oil
1 small pack of Koolaid

Add 1 cup boiling water. Stir ingredients together and knead mixture to soft dough.

Non-hardening no-cook Playdough

2 cups self-rising flour
2 Tbs. alum
2 Tbs. salt
2 Tbs. cooking oil
1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons boiling water

Mix and knead.

Pasta Dye

1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
Food coloring

Mix alcohol and food coloring in bowl. Add small amounts of different shaped pasta to the liquid and gently stir. Dry pasta on waxed paper or newspaper.


Dissolve 1/2 cup cornstarch in 3/4 cup cold water in a pan.
Dissolve 1 envelope knox gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water. Set aside.
Add 2 cups hot water to starch mixture. Cook until thick and clear.
Blend in gelatin
Add 1/4 cup liquid detergent and tempera paint for color.

Glue Paint

Use any amount liquid glue (ie., Elmers, Ross)
Add food coloring

Mix to desired shade. Looks wonderful on children's artwork. Make nice colored frames for artwork, as well. Sprinkle with glitter or add glitter to glue.

Sand Paint

1/2 cup sand (washed, dried and sifted)
1 Tbs. powder paint

Shake onto surface brushed with watered glue.
(Note: Empty plastic vitamin or soap bubble bottles make excellent containers.)

Soap Paint

1 1/2 cups soap flakes
1 cup hot or warm water

Whip with an eggbeater until stiff.

Bookbinder's Paste

1 teaspoon flour
2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon. powdered alum
1/3 cup water

Mix dry ingredients. Add water slowly, stirring out lumps. Cook in a double boiler over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat when paste begins to thicken; it will thicken more as it cools. Keep covered. Thins with water when necessary.

Homemade Paste

3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup warm water.

Mix until thick and sticky. Add drops of wintergreen or peppermint extract for smell. Store in refrigerator in airtight container.

Sugar Flour Paste

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 cups cold water
2 cups hot water
1 tablespoons powdered alum
3 drops of oil of cloves

Mix flour and sugar together. Mix water together. Slowly stir in one cup water. Bring remainder of water to boil and add the mixture to it, stirring constantly. Continue to cook and stir (approximately 1/2 hour in a double-boiler) until fairly clear. Remove from heat and add oil of cloves. Makes 1 quart of paste. Paste keeps a long time. Keep moist by adding small piece of wet sponge to top of small jar of paste.

Salt Glitter

Add 5-6 drops food coloring to 1/2 cup household salt. Stir well. Cook in microwave for 1-2 minutes or spread on waxed paper and let air dry. Store in airtight container.