Nov 142014
 
 November 14, 2014  food, natural parenting Comments Off on An Easy Way to Go Organic {Farm Fresh to You}

An Easy Way to Go Organic {Farm Fresh to You} | Alldonemonkey.com

Thank you to Farm Fresh to You for sponsoring this post!  All opinions are my own.

We all know the benefits of eating organic foods, especially for vulnerable groups like children.  There are also many benefits to eating locally grown foods.  And while more supermarkets are offering these options, often they are not as fresh and the offering not as varied as what we might like.

And if you have small children, the idea of spending time thoughtfully selecting your produce at the store will likely seem a bit far-fetched!

Enter Farm Fresh to You, an easy way to go organic!  This wonderful service brings local organic produce right to your doorstep.  You set up your deliveries on their easy to use website, picking and choosing exactly what you want in your box.

An Easy Way to Go Organic {Farm Fresh to You} | Alldonemonkey.com

It is so easy – and fun! – to use.  I love that it is so easy to customize your service and modify it as your needs change.  You choose not only the frequency of your delivery, but also the type of box.  For example, we chose a small box of fruits and vegetables.  I love the option of a “snack” box filled with ready to eat produce, designed for offices!  (Wouldn’t you love to work somewhere that had organic fruit delivered for you to munch on??)  If you are the more adventurous type, you can choose the traditional CSA box, with the best seasonal local produce – including some you probably wouldn’t find in your grocery store!

I have seen other services that say you can customize your box, but really just within limits.  (You can remove the carrots, but not the kohlrabi!)  But Farm Fresh for You really lets you pick and choose exactly which items you want to include – and you can change your mind up to just a few days before your next delivery!

An Easy Way to Go Organic {Farm Fresh to You} | Alldonemonkey.com

Monkey had a blast helping me customize our order.  I think it was like a computer game for him, except with organic fruits and veggies – score!  It was a fun way to get him involved in the process, which of course meant he was much more likely to actually try the food when they actually arrived!  Thanks to Farm Fresh for You, my picky eater tried pomegranate for the first time – and loved it!

I must say the quality of the food we received was exceptional.  The taste of the apples, for example, was out of this world!  This is even compared to the organic apples we purchase from our local grocery store.  Much of the fruit we ate right away, while the kale I used to make muffins and the pumpkin was made into pie!

Does organic produce delivered to your doorstep sound like something your family would enjoy?  Now is a great time to try it out and go organic!  My readers can use the code LEAN4714 to get $10 off your first box!

An Easy Way to Go Organic {Farm Fresh to You} | Alldonemonkey.com

To sign up, simply visit Farm Fresh to You or call 800.796.6009.

What is your favorite way to go organic?

Oct 282014
 

Pumpkin Rolls from Vietnam {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.com

It’s time again for my monthly post for “Around the World in 12 Dishes,” the series in which each month participating bloggers travel the world with their kids by cooking a dish from another country and perhaps reading a book, doing a craft, or learning fun facts about it.

This time we travel to Vietnam, and in celebration of the season we made these wonderful pumpkin rolls.  We took them to a play date, and the moms couldn’t stop talking about how soft and yummy they were!

I got the recipe from this fun Vietnamese cooking blog.   I had a hard time thinking of pumpkin rolls as being authentic Vietnamese food, but the recipe has a very authentic looking Vietnamese title (Bánh Bí Ngô Tí Hon), so I decided to go for it!  Below is the recipe, with converted measurements.  I did modify some of the proportions, which seemed off to me.  In particular, the ratio of wet to dry ingredients did not work for me, so I ended up added a great deal of extra flour in order to get the right consistency.  Also, I couldn’t find what “brown yeast” was, so I just used regular baking yeast with great results.

As you can see, because the consistency of the dough was still relatively wet (but I was worried that if I added any more flour the taste would be drastically altered), I wasn’t able to do the adorable design like she does, which makes the rolls look like actual pumpkins!  If you are able to make this work, please send the pictures, because it looks adorable!  But even if you aren’t able to achieve this (as I wasn’t), kids and parents will still love the pumpkin flavor of these delicious fall rolls.

Pumpkin Rolls Recipe from Vietnam {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.com

Makes 13-14 large or 17-18 medium rolls

Ingredients

200ml whole milk (between 3/4 c and 1 c – most measuring cups for liquids have markings for ml as well as cups)
1 can of pumpkin = approx 2 c of pumpkin puree
200g butter = slightly less than 1 c
2 – 7 oz packets of yeast
1 T sugar
1 T brown sugar
1 t salt
1 egg
2 c whole wheat flour
2 c white flour
Warm water, approx. 1/4 c

 

To Make

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a large baking sheet (you may need two).

Warm the milk then add melted butter and pumpkin puree.  Mix well.

2. Add yeast packets, sugars, salt, egg, plus 1/4 c of warm water.  Stir well but gently

3. Add flours then mix with wooden spoon until smooth and soft.  Add more water or flour as needed to make smooth dough.

4. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and let rest for 5 minutes.

5. Knead by hand for approx 10 minutes then let rest for at least one hour, until dough has risen and is no longer sticky.

6. Divide into small balls of equal size. (See the tutorial if you would like to try making these into mini pumpkins).

Pumpkin Rolls Recipe from Vietnam {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.com

7. Arrange the balls on a greased baking sheet.  Allow room for them to rise more as they cook.

8. Brush tops with beaten egg yolk then bake for 10-15 minutes, until rolls begin to brown.

What have you been cooking up with your kids?

Pumpkin Rolls Recipe from Vietnam {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.com

 

Around the World in 12 DishesCheck out the other participating blogs to see what they have been cooking up:

Adventures In Mommydom, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, Maroc Mama, Creative World of Varya, Glittering Muffins, Kid World Citizen, Mermaids’ Makings, The Educators’ Spin On It and The Mommy Talks.

If you try a dish from Vietnam, we’d love to hear about it! You can link up your dish or craft here to share your post on all the participating blogs:


Oct 092014
 

Saudi Arabian Magic Cake {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.com

It’s time again for my monthly post for “Around the World in 12 Dishes,” the series in which each month participating bloggers travel the world with their kids by cooking a dish from another country and perhaps reading a book, doing a craft, or learning fun facts about it.

I posted earlier about our dress-up play to learn about Saudi Arabia.  Today I am sharing our experience making Magic Cake!  This is an absolutely delicious recipe for  semolina cake with lemon rosewater that I borrowed from my amazing friend Sasha of Global Table Adventure!

Monkey was fascinated with the idea of a “magic” cake!  I called it that because after you bake it, you pour on top a heavenly concoction of lemon juice, sugar, and rosewater.  This perfumed syrup forms a lake on top – which magically disappears by the next morning!

The real trick of this recipe is to get the right kind of semolina.  (You can get all the details and see a photo in Sasha’s post).  Otherwise the syrup won’t soak into the cake properly.

 Saudi Arabian Magic Cake {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.comBefore adding the syrup

Saudi Arabian Magic Cake {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.com

Covered in a glistening lake of lemon rosewater syrup

Saudi Arabian Magic Cake {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.com

Ready to eat!

Saudi Arabian Magic Cake {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.com

We also learned about the geography of Saudi Arabia by tracing a map and filling it in.  This went much better than when I asked Monkey to make a flag during our last unit!

What magical adventures have you been having with your kids?

 

Around the World in 12 DishesCheck out the other participating blogs to see what they have been cooking up:

Adventures In Mommydom, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, Maroc Mama, Creative World of Varya, Glittering Muffins, Kid World Citizen, Mermaids’ Makings, The Educators’ Spin On It and The Mommy Talks.

If you try a dish from Saudi Arabia, we’d love to hear about it! You can link up your dish or craft here to share your post on all the participating blogs:


Oct 032014
 
 October 3, 2014  food, Kid Fun 6 Responses »

This may by far be my strangest post yet, but indulge me: Monkey loves carnivorous plants.  Fascinated by them.  As a result, we all know about not just venus fly traps but also pitcher plants, waterwheels, and sundews.

And so, like any good mother, I try to feed my son’s interests (sorry, couldn’t help it!) plus inject a little fun into the whole proceedings.

Thus, our carnivorous plants food art – enjoy!

Carnivorous Plants Food Art

Venus Fly Trap

Carnivorous Plants Food Art | Alldonemonkey.com

Ah, those poor little beans, caught in a clever tortilla trap!

Carnivorous Plants Food Art | Alldonemonkey.com

Note the trigger hairs inside the trap itself.  Watch out, raisins!  You don’t want to touch those!

Long-Leafed Sundew

Carnivorous Plants Food Art | Alldonemonkey.com

Ay, poor cranberries, caught in a sticky honey trap!

Pitcher Plants

Carnivorous Plants Food Art | Alldonemonkey.com

The hapless raisins, forever stilled by the plant’s evil jello walls

Carnivorous Plants Food Art | Alldonemonkey.com

And finally, the innocent chocolate chips take a final slide down the slippery ice cream slopes to their doom.

How are you having fun with your kids lately??

Sep 292014
 
 September 29, 2014  food, recipes 6 Responses »

Weeknight Dinner: Parmesan Noodles, Plus How to Earn Free Cookware! | Alldonemonkey.com

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for Save Mart Supermarkets. I received Thomas Cookware items to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

No matter how much I try to plan ahead, weeknight dinners seem to always be rushed in our house.  So I love having a healthy, yummy dish like these Weeknight Parmesan Noodles I can pull together quickly for my kids – with minimum cleanup!  Best of all, it’s something both my boys love to eat!  Seriously, if it were up to Monkey, we would have this every night!

Recently I made Parmesan Noodles (see recipe below) with my new Thomas Cookware from Save Mart.  I loved that it was so easy to make in a single pot – I didn’t even need a colander!  The lid is cleverly built so that it’s also a strainer, saving me a cooking step plus one less dish to clean – priceless! And when time came to wash the pot, I got an extra surprise with how easy it was to clean.

Weeknight Dinner: Parmesan Noodles, Plus How to Earn Free Cookware! | Alldonemonkey.com

Thanks to Save Mart, now through January 20, you can earn this high quality cookware simply by doing your regular grocery shopping.  Every $10 you spend earns you a bonus stamp, which you can use towards your choice of pots and pans from Thomas Cookware, exclusively at Save Mart Supermarkets!

Weeknight Dinner: Parmesan Noodles, Plus How to Earn Free Cookware! | Alldonemonkey.com

I love participating in rewards programs, and this is a great one.  Why not put your dollars to work earning you some great new additions to your kitchen?  Cook like a pro with this top quality cookware!

Weeknight Dinner: Parmesan Noodles, Plus How to Earn Free Cookware! | Alldonemonkey.com

I am always impressed with how friendly and helpful the staff are at our local store, and how open and airy it is.  Save Mart carries all the name brands we find at other stores, often at lower prices.  Plus we ran into some fire fighters in our recent trip, which I consider a high stamp of approval!

And now on to the recipe!  Enjoy this quick but tasty weeknight version of the kid classic macaroni and cheese!

 

Weeknight Parmesan Noodles

Makes two generous kid-sized servings or three adult side servings

Ingredients

1/2 lb pasta

Butter or margarine, approx. 1/2 T

Grated Parmesan cheese, approx. 1/4 c

Salt, dash

Weeknight Dinner: Parmesan Noodles, Plus How to Earn Free Cookware! | Alldonemonkey.com

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Strain noodles then stir in remaining ingredients and serve.

That’s it!  Hope you enjoy as much as my Monkeys and I do!

Weeknight Dinner: Parmesan Noodles, Plus How to Earn Free Cookware! | Alldonemonkey.com

Sep 182014
 

Spiced Vanilla Oatmeal Steamer and Learning to Take Time for Yourself | Alldonemonkey.com

As a busy mom to two active young kids, I spend most of my day on my feet – cleaning, cooking, changing diapers, wiping noses, or running around the park.  It is easy to get burned out this way, so I try to remember an important lesson I learned from my own mother and take some time for myself to recharge and regroup.  I often tend to just go go go and sometimes need a reminder to take time to just sit and relax.  This is good not just for me but also for my kids, who get to have a happy, refreshed mom to play with!  It’s also crucial for them to learn by example that everyone needs time to rest and take care of themselves – even Mom!

As fall approaches, my favorite way to do this is to curl up with a mug of this yummy vanilla oatmeal steamer, a family recipe from Costa Rica.  Known as atol, it is also a favorite kids’ drink.  It is nutritious, with all the benefits of milk and oatmeal, with just a touch of sweetness.

Spiced Vanilla Oatmeal Steamer (Costa Rican Atol)

Ingredients

Milk (whole milk is best for real creaminess) – approx 1 1/2 cups per serving

Oatmeal (either instant or rolled, depending on desired consistency)

Sugar

Dash of vanilla

Whole cloves

Cinnamon sticks (or can use powdered)

Spiced Vanilla Oatmeal Steamer and Learning to Take Time for Yourself | Alldonemonkey.com

The exact amounts of each ingredient depends on your preference.  For example, I like a lot of oatmeal, while others like just enough to thicken the milk.  As seen above, powdered cinnamon can be used, though it will give the drink a light brown color.

Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan and hit on medium-low heat, stirring constantly until thickens.  Remove cloves and cinnamon.  Serve warm!  Best enjoyed with your feet up and eyes half closed 🙂

Be sure to check out more Mom wisdom and great ideas for enjoying milk!

Spiced Vanilla Oatmeal Steamer and Learning to Take Time for Yourself | Alldonemonkey.com

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Aug 122014
 

Though many families are preparing for the start of the school year, we are still enjoying warm, sunny weather here.  One of our favorite ways to savor these last, lazy summer days is by enjoying a cool, frozen treat.  Monkey and Baby both love ice cream, but this is only part of the tale.  There are so many other wonderful icy delights you can enjoy – here is a just sampling:

Beyond Ice Cream: Frozen Treats Around the World

Piraguas - Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes

Many of us here in the United States grew up with sno cones.  Frances from Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes introduces us to a different version of sweetened shaved ice from Puerto Rico – piraguas!  She tells us that you can find carts selling this popular treat in every park and neighborhood!

Paletas, Mexican Popsicles - Kid World Citizen

And who can forget yummy paletas, the Mexican popsicles?  Kid World Citizen shares a recipe for this refreshing treat!

the piri-piri lexicon - Fruit Popsicles

A wonderful fruit popsicle recipe comes to us from the piri-piri lexicon, a French expat living in Germany.  She notes popsicles = happy kids.  So true!

Pomegranate Popsicles and Pistachio "Ice Cream" - Persian-Inspired Summer Treats - Alldonemonkey.com

Earlier this summer we tried some Persian-inspired summer treats, including pomegranate popsicles and pistachio non-dairy “ice cream.”  Yum!

15+ Favorite Popsicle Ideas - Alldonemonkey.com

For even more popsicle ideas, check out our popsicle roundup from last summer!

Sweet Tea Slushies - Alldonemonkey.com

As a nod to my Southern roots, last summer we also made sweet tea slushies, a delicious way to beat the heat!

Limber - summer treat from Puerto Rico - Discovering the World Through My Son's EyesAnother yummy summer treat from Puerto Rico is limber, which you can easily make yourself.  Frances at Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes tells us how, including a version with Oreos!

Snowman Ice Cream - La Cite des Vents

And if you are going to have ice cream, make it into art, like this adorable ice cream snowman that Eolia of La Cité des Vents enjoyed at an ice cream shop in Germany!

Kenyan Mango Ice Cream - Around the World in 12 Dishes - Alldonemonkey.com

You can also try a new version of ice cream – from Kenya!  We made ours with frozen mango, simple but delicious!

InCultureParent - Egypt

One of my favorite posts comes from InCultureParent, who put together this amazing slideshow of ice cream around the world – “from cart to mouth”!  (The photo above is from Egypt).

If you are in Chicago, be sure to check out these global sweet treats recommended by Raising World Citizens!  The Italian ices remind me of growing up in New Jersey!

And finally, don’t miss these 10 brain-freezing treats from around the world, courtesy of Mashable.com!

What are your favorite frozen treats?

Jun 212014
 

Pomegranate Popsicles & Dairy-Free Pistachio "Ice Cream" - Persian-Inspired Summer Treats - Alldonemonkey.com

This post is part of the World Cup for Kids project from Multicultural Kid Blogs.  Each time Iran plays, I will be doing a post on some aspect of that country’s culture.  Today I am sharing some summer treats inspired by Persian cooking!

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.  I appreciate your support!Pomegranate Popsicles & Dairy-Free Pistachio "Ice Cream" - Persian-Inspired Summer Treats - Alldonemonkey.com

Some of my best memories from childhood are of Persian cooking – delicious rice dishes (mmm, tahdig!) and delicately spiced sweet treats.  But integral to this was the hospitality and generosity inherent in Persian culture.  Years later, when I was a homesick college student, this would mean even more, as Persian mothers in our local Bahá’í community would graciously take us in and feed us heaping quantities of delicious food, as we basked in their attention.  (Btw, if you are so lucky as to be invited to dine at a Persian home, you will quickly learn that it is futile to refuse any food or drink, no matter how full you are!  It is best to surrender to your fate and just enjoy yourself completely :)).

Because it is summer (and because I am a fraidy cat about attempting Persian cooking!) I decided to try some cool treats with my kids.  For this I drew from a wonderful cookbook by Najmieh Batmanglij, the woman considered by many to be the best expert on Persian cooking.  She has many great cookbooks, but for this I used Happy Nowruz: Cooking with Children to Celebrate the Persian New Year.  Yes, I know that the Persian New Year (celebrated on the first day of spring) has already passed, but she has great kid-friendly recipes in here that can be enjoyed year round.  (For another great source of Persian dishes, try My Persian Kitchen!)

Monkey loves popsicles and ice cream, so I immediately draw to Ms. Batmanglij’s versions of these – what a perfect way to celebrate the warmer weather!

Her pomegranate popsicle recipe is super easy – but when I spied the ready-made pomegranate drink on the shelf at the store, I decided to make things even easier by just using this to make popsicles, rather than making my own batch from pomegranate juice, lime juice, etc.  Next time I would like to try her full version, but for now this was just right for us.

I will warn you that these are a mess!  That beautiful deep ruby color is not so pretty when seen on your furniture, so I would recommend enjoy these treats outside!  Even so, my Monkey looked more like a wolf pup when he was feasting on these, with the dark red liquid dripping down his little chin.

Pomegranate Popsicles & Dairy-Free Pistachio "Ice Cream" - Persian-Inspired Summer Treats - Alldonemonkey.com

For the next treat I deviated completely from her recipe, simply because we do not have an ice cream maker.  We do, however, have a Yonanas Ice Cream Treat Maker, which makes it easy
to make healthy frozen treats for your kids.  (You can also make the recipe below with a high quality blender, though I prefer the Yonanas).  The key to making this diary-free “ice cream” is bananas.  (Not in Ms. Bajmanglij’s original recipe!)  The flavor really isn’t very strong, but the bananas really add a great creamy texture that mimics real ice cream.Pomegranate Popsicles & Dairy-Free Pistachio "Ice Cream" - Persian-Inspired Summer Treats - Alldonemonkey.com

Inspired by Persian sweets, I decided to add pistachios, plus some cardamom and rose water.  The pistachios were easy to find (especially here in California!), and the cardamom and rose water are sold at many ethnic grocery stores.  We found ours at the Indian store nearby.  (Now I can make this rose water cheesecake I’ve been drooling over for quite a while!)

Pomegranate Popsicles & Dairy-Free Pistachio "Ice Cream" - Persian-Inspired Summer Treats - Alldonemonkey.com

Dairy-Free Pistachio Ice Cream

Ingredients

*Note* The proportions are all to taste, particularly for the flavorings.  If you are not familiar with them, I would suggest just adding a bit at a time and taste as you go.

3 very ripe bananas, cut into chunks and frozen

1/4 c. unsalted, shelled pistachios (can freeze these as well)

Dash of cardamom

Splash of cooking rose water

Mix bananas and pistachios in your Yonanas or blender.  Add cardamom and rose water to taste.

Pomegranate Popsicles & Dairy-Free Pistachio "Ice Cream" - Persian-Inspired Summer Treats - Alldonemonkey.com

Enjoy while watching some World Cup soccer!

 

World Cup for Kids - Multicultural Kid Blogs

See all of the posts in the World Cup for Kids project, plus follow our World Cup for Kids board on Pinterest, and join the conversation on Facebook and Google Plus!

Jun 202014
 

Costa Rican Snack: Empanadas - Alldonemonkey.com

This post is part of the World Cup for Kids project from Multicultural Kid Blogs.  Each time Costa Rica plays, I will be doing a post on some aspect of that country’s culture.  Today I am sharing about one of our favorite snacks!

Many countries throughout Latin America have some version of the empanada – the hand-held savory pastry that has echoes of the Indian samosa and Cornish pasty.  The Costa Rican version is made with corn meal and is typically filled with a black bean mixture or just cheese, as in the recipe below.

If you visit with families in Costa Rica, chances are you will be treated to these tasty snacks, which kids there love (including mine!)  They are usually served mid-afternoon, along with a good cup of coffee (for adults) and agua dulce for kids.

Here is own you can make your own!  Keep in mind this is something that is usually made more by feel than by following a strict recipe:

Costa Rican Empanadas

Ingredients

Couple cups of masa harina (corn masa flour) (We use Maseca)

Pinch of salt

Spices (Often crumbled cubito – bouillon cube – and a dash of Salsa Lizano.  We also like adding a bit of garlic powder)

Water

Grated white cheese (We use Monterey Jack)

Vegetable oil

 

1. Mix together the Maseca, salt, and spices then slowly add water until you get a dough-like consistency.  (This for me is always the difficult part, determining when the masa has just enough water without getting too soggy).

2. Pinch off a small portion and form into a ball.  Flatten into a disk.  (There are tortilla presses you can use, though many people just use a plate.  It also helps to form your disk on a piece of plastic or wax paper, which makes the folding in Step 4 easier).

Costa Rican Snack: Empanadas - Alldonemonkey.com

3.  Layer grated cheese onto one side of the disk, leaving a margin of roughly 1/4 inch.

4. Fold over to form a semi-circle.  Pinch together the edges.

Costa Rican Snack: Empanadas - Alldonemonkey.com

5. Fry in an inch or so of oil, turning halfway through until golden on both sides.  Drain on paper towels and serve warm.

Costa Rican Snack: Empanadas - Alldonemonkey.com

Don’t forget you can also follow my Costa Rica board on Pinterest:



 

 

World Cup for Kids - Multicultural Kid Blogs

See all of the posts in the World Cup for Kids project, plus follow our World Cup for Kids board on Pinterest, and join the conversation on Facebook and Google Plus!

Jun 162014
 
 June 16, 2014  food, travel 9 Responses »

Travel with Kids: What to Pack | Alldonemonkey.com

Thank you to Cottonelle for sponsoring this post!

Traveling with young children is challenging in many ways (though also rewarding!)  For me, one of the hardest parts has always been deciding what to pack.

Young children in particular require a lot of gear, but you don’t want to be lugging around more than you have to – especially since you will also probably be carrying your little ones at some point!  There are, however, some things that are worth bringing because they will make your life so much easier, like these great new on-the-go products!

Here is my list of essentials to pack for travel with kids:

1. Favorite Foods and Snacks

Yes, travel is a wonderful time to encourage your child to try new foods, but keep in mind that for young children it can be stressful to be out of their routines, even if it is something they enjoy.  Having a few favorite foods from home can help ease the transition.  While you don’t want to overdo this, we have found that having a few familiar snacks actually makes Monkey more willing to try new things.

Travel with Kids: What to Pack | Alldonemonkey.com

2. Healthy and Specialty Foods

If you have a child on a special diet, you need to consider bringing with you foods you know they can eat.  (Here are great tips on for families with food allergies).  If you are traveling internationally, specialty foods are increasingly available (especially in large cities/tourist spots), but it is often a question of how much of your vacation time you want to spend searching for these items.  The same can be said for all-natural convenience foods.  In our travels abroad I have found that often foods labeled “all-natural” contain more sugars and additives than their American counterparts.  Again, you can probably find what you want in either the very large chains or the small specialty shops, but why waste valuable vacation time on this endeavor?  In your decision try to balance the following factors: destination (and your familiarity with it) and length of stay.  If you are not staying for very long, and you are not familiar with the area, you may decide it is worth using the slightly more sugary versions, for example, while for a long stay it might be worth throwing a few healthy snacks in your luggage.  Keep in mind that for many international destinations, fresh fruits are available in abundance – the ultimate convenience food!

Travel with Kids: What to Pack | Alldonemonkey.com

3. Diapers

Babies go through a looooot of diapers.  I am so used to using cloth diapers that I often forget how true this is!  We do use disposables when we are on the road, and I am constantly surprised by how often we have to go to the store to restock.  Usually we pack enough to get us through the first day or so then buy in great quantity once we arrive, to lessen the number of shopping trips we have to make.  However, with my older son I had to do a little more planning, as he had very sensitive skin and would break out in a rash if we used generic disposable diapers.  Yet all-natural diapers are often difficult to find when traveling abroad – and even when you do find them they are not exactly the same as what you are used to at home.  (Not to say they are better or worse, just different, and with a highly sensitive child, “different” often equals “bad”!)  So instead what I would do was pack an extra package of diapers from home, and space them out throughout the trip, so he was periodically given a break from the new diapers.  Also, it was well worth it to bring plenty of his favorite diaper cream.  An extra tube doesn’t take up much room, and that added layer of familiar protection will mean a lot to your baby’s bottom!

Travel with Kids: What to Pack | Alldonemonkey.com

4. New Cottonelle On-the-Go Supplies

Speaking of bottoms, a baby’s isn’t the only one to suffer when you are on the road.  Often when you travel you end up using facilities that aren’t exactly up to the standard you are used to, so it’s great to have products that really help you feel fresh.  Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths On-The-Go Soft packs and Clean Care Toilet Paper are the perfect wet-and-dry combo for when you are on the go.  And I love that the cleansing cloths are flushable – one less mess for me to worry about!  The cloths come in soft packs that are easy to throw into the backpack or diaper bag, and it’s easy to stash a roll of the toilet paper in the car.  This combo is especially great for summer day trips to the splash park or the beach!  Our favorite park, for example, has port-a-potties rather than actual bathrooms, and I feel so much better cleaning my boys (and myself!) off with these convenient products.

Travel with Kids: What to Pack | Alldonemonkey.com

5. Emergency Supplies

You never want to be caught in a health emergency without essential supplies.  I have a mini-first aid kid in our backpack and a larger one in our car/suitcase.  Again, you can find all of these items in pharmacies around the world, but you don’t want to waste precious time searching when someone you love is ill.  Here is a great how-to on creating an emergency kit.

6. Strollers and Carriers

Carriers are an essential for babies and young toddlers.  Carriers are so easy to pack and allow you to be hands-free.  Plus, being so close to you is very comforting for kids when in a new place, and it’s an easy on-the-go way to get them to sleep.  Strollers are great but are very bulky, so this is really a personal preference.  When Monkey was a baby, it was worth it to us to bring his big stroller because it gave us a break from carrying him, plus it provided a safe, clean place for him to sleep when we were out and about.  Once he got older, we switched to an umbrella stroller, which is much lighter and easier to take along.  With two kids, now we have opted to bring a foldable double stroller.  I thought it would be a pain to bring, but it was well worth it for us to be able to easily push both kids through the airport and on long walks.

What are your essential travel supplies?  What do you prefer to leave behind?  I’d love to hear your stories!

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