Well, I think I’m finally getting back to my normal routine around the house after the kids have been out of school all last week. I enjoy spending the extra time with them, but housework sure seems to get backlogged since I find myself playing “spring break” from some of the not so urgent things on my to do list.
In fact, since I’m an on the go sort of mom, we spent half of their vacation away from home. The way I see it, I’m extremely blessed to be at home and I only have a limited number of school breaks and summers to enjoy with our kids before they will be grown. So, I like to make the most of it. Winter break, spring break, summer vacation…I love to take them places, educate them, show them the world and make memories. It’s especially wonderful when my husband can join us, but unfortunately he has limited vacation time and not much choice on when he can take it throughout the year 🙁 But he takes pride in supporting our family so we can provide these experiences for our kids.
This little get away took us to Indiana. Back to where my maternal grandmother and grandfather where raised and began their life together. I’ve visited the area many times during my childhood with my grandparents as we went to visit my great grandmother, grand aunts, and other extended family. In many ways, it’s still very much the same…lots of farm fields and two lane roads. We visited a modern dairy farm, a water fall, a historic farm, the Tippecanoe Battlefield, an old service station turned walk by museum, The Erie Wabash Canal, a historic bridge…pretty much if we saw one of those brown attraction/historical signs along the road, we stopped…and oh, yeah we also saw St Elizabeth East Hospital in Lafayette. Unfortunately the day we arrived, my grandmother, who often travels with us, fell and broke her hip. I’m happy to say, she is now patched up, on the mend and back in Michigan.
While our family takes in the breaks a little get away offers…breaks from school, breaks from chores, even unwelcome breaks in the case of Grandma, what doesn’t take a break in our life is our diet. Because what else doesn’t take a break?…Our son’s reaction to unwelcome chemicals in his food. I see this as a great thing because those immediate, real, visual consequences help to keep us all on course. Not to mention that some reactions last several days…not worth it, especially when we are supposed to be having fun and making memories together. In addition to this little trip, we have also endured a 20 hour car ride to Florida, stayed a week while doing the typical sightseeing adventures and returning. All without visiting a drive through and sticking to our diet.
So how do we make it work while on the road and traveling? Pack, pack pack…a cooler full of food! It was really not too hard once I simply made the commitment that there is no other option. For both trips I have purchased a Feingold approved spiral ham and packed the slices in a gallon ziplock bag. I also pack cheese, homemade bread and sandwich fixings (lettuce, onions, etc), carrots, potato chips, homemade cookies and more. To avoid the inconvenience of melting, wet ice in the cooler, I always freeze bottles of water and use them as ice to keep the cooler cold. They are easy to throw in any freezer over night between excursions or to replace should someone have been thirsty. I like these much better then the typical freezer packs because I don’t have to keep track of them or worry about them getting left behind. It’s just a bottle of water, easy to find, easy to replace.
So this is what our drive through meal looks like these days:
Please excuse the fact that we had, no plates. A little wipe down of their trays and they are good to go.
When it gets nicer outside, I look forward to making our travel meals into more of a picnic lunch. Get out, enjoy the fresh air and maybe enjoy some scenery. I have fond memories of doing just that as a kid while traveling with my paternal grandmother. When there weren’t drive thrus every mile, that’s what people did, right? So, why can’t we still do that? I can specifically remember the routine places that my grandma would pull over while on the way up-north to her cottage. One was a beautiful white church in a little town. She would park in the lot behind the building and get out her red jug thermos filled with watered down Kool Aid, and pre-made egg salad sandwiches. What I didn’t realize at the time was she was implanting memories in me that I would remember for the rest of my life. I still pass by that church on every trip up north and guess what I think of every time…my grandmother! I haven’t stopped there for probably 30 years…since I was with her. I’ve always hit the McDonald’s drive thru about 10 miles prior to the church and sailed right by thinking of grandma for a moment while chowing on my double cheese burger and getting excited that I’ve almost made it to our destination. But you know what I plan to do this summer?…I’m going to sail past the McDonalds and instead stop at that little church for a picnic lunch with my kids while recreating my grandma’s travel stop memories with them. Just another side effect of this diet…ditching the convenience foods and slowing down to make more memories.