Packing for trips with my children was always an adventure. Especially with the twins, the dog, my mom, my mother-in-law and my husband. Now that just spells adventure. Ok, not really adventure but I am trying to put a happy spin on this travel stuff.
When we moved to Tennessee the girls were two years old and it was like a chuck wagon of items that clang as we go down the highway. No, we didn't pack the kitchen sink (but if Brianna had thought about it... ) She thought of everything including a small port-a-potty that they insisted on using along the side of Route 66 as they had the need. My mom would go back and forth in the van like Cooky in the old chuck wagon to prepare meals in the back which delighted the girls to no end. Veggie Tales often played for us on the what seemed the endless miles to our destination.
I realized some time later that as much as a list what to bring is another maybe more important list of what not to bring in order to not lose your sanity. They packed these delightful talking toys (two of them because they were twins after all) that taught them their alphabet and the road made it sing in an endless alphabet rap song
A-A A A B-BBB C- C AAAa...
Finally, not able to stand it any longer I revved the engine of my overstuffed minivan and rushed into the fast lane passing my husband the moving truck then pulling in front of him and off at the next off-ramp. I could see the strange look on his face as he saw me drive off and pull into a parking lot.
He laughed as I asked him to open the back as I went to the back of the van to pick up those terrible toys. I rushed back to the back of the U-Haul and threw in the offenders, smiled at him and said, "Ok, we can go now!" and got back in the car. He watched me obviously worried about my sanity. As I looked in the rearview mirror I noticed our dog was sitting in the driver's seat of the U-haul like she was driving. Yep, my sanity was a goner!
Ok, so for real here, what do you need to bring, well for littles especially healthy snacks and drinks. We have no peanut allergies so we did plain sliced apples or apples with peanut butter on them. Healthy organic crackers like these Homemade Cheese Its are great and very tasty for those that can eat wheat. We packed dried fruit, carrot sticks, other fruit and squares of cheese for protein along with meat roll ups. Here is where I recommend my slicer - You can make healthy meat and slice it yourself for a wonderful treat for the family. So much better for you and saves a ton of money. We pack Bottles of water to keep hydrated. I am not a soda or juice person, I believe in really good water for young and old alike. I have seen what sugar and artificial color does to a person and just didn't want that for my children. So for food and drinks, I would say keep it as healthy as you can. The kids will be much more calm and you will too.
For entertainment, we like to use things that are calming. We are a Christian family and we really love to listen to audio dramas, scripture set to music like this. We love to listen to books on tape as we drive as well. It is wonderful to find some good Christian music and sing along but it is also great to turn off the radio and talk, listen and just be a family.