Parents That Travel for Work – Tips for Surviving

I’ve been married for 15 years. A couple years into our marriage, I had my son. Two and a half years later, I had my daughter. 13 of those 15 years, my husband traveled for work. A lot. In the beginning he was only gone a day or two, here and there. Now, the travel is much more substantial. It’s not abnormal for him to be gone every week day, every single week. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it sucked having parents that travel for work. Since I have been doing it for so long, and with kids the entire time, I put together this handy list of tips to help you survive the travel.

travel for work

Parents That Travel for Work – Tips for Surviving

Being a stay at home parents has its own set of challenges, as any job does. However, being a stay at home parent when the other parents is gone the majority of the week can and does have many challenges that not everyone thinks of or acknowledges. It’s not the same as being home with the kids between 9 am and 5 pm. If you only take one thing away from this article, take this. It is important…no it is VITAL that you set up a routine for yourself and the kids. It can be as loose or as strict as you want it to be, but have something in place. Whether it be a set meal schedule and sleep schedule or more rigid with the same things done on certain days of the week, it doesn’t matter. It just matters that your children know what to expect. And it helps you too! Trust me on that!

Thoughts on Mom or Dad Calling Nightly

You have to know your child. If they are the type of child that needs to check in with the parent each night or has the ability to talk with the parent and say goodbye when the conversation is done without getting upset, then by all means, set up a time each night for mom or dad to call. With my children, I was always very matter of fact with them.

“Daddy is gone because he is working to provide for our family so we can eat, have a house, do fun things, etc” 

Tip…Pick up this Cloud Pet. You can record messages on the stuffed animal using an iOS app or android app!

CloudPets Talking Dog - The Huggable Pet to Keep in Touch Through the Cloud, Recordable Stuffed Animal by CloudPetsCloudPets Talking Dog – The Huggable Pet to Keep in Touch Through the Cloud, Recordable Stuffed Animal by CloudPets

I never set up a time for my husband to call each night. His schedule was often unpredictable. So the one thing I did not want to have happen is for him to tell the kids that he will call every night at 6 pm and then something happen and he not be able to call until much later or not call at all. For me, it was better for the kids to randomly and periodically talk to him during the week. Thankfully that approach worked very well for them. As I said before, he’s been traveling for the last 13 years. My kids are 13 and 10. They are very used to it and while they wished he was home, they get it and sometimes don’t talk to him all week long. When he does get home, my daughter will talk his ear off and tell him EVERYTHING that went on all week!

Setting Up a Routine

I briefly touched on the importance of setting up a routine. In the beginning, I was very rigid. My kids woke up at the same time every day, they took a nap at the same time every day, and they went to bed at the same time every day. As a result, their mealtimes were also at the same time every single day. As they have gotten older and involved in more things, I’ve had to relax on certain things, but the general schedule shell is still there. They know what to expect and when to expect it. By setting up a routine, it allows for the week to go by smoothly and, in some cases, a bit quicker!

Bringing Gifts Home

Don’t do it! I mean it. Once in awhile is OK, especially when mom or dad travel to a unique place, but gifts every single time will make things VERY difficult on the parent at home. Trust me. I know from experience. My husband used to do this and not only did the kids start to expect it, but it always made me the bad guy. I could be disciplining them for something during the week (or even that day we pick dad up) and then dad gets in the car with a gift. Now…if you want to suggest that the spouse bring YOU a gift each time…that’s OK. I am all on board with that! Just kidding! Well…sort of!

Rustic Town Handmade Vintage Antique Looking Genuine Leather Journal Diary Notebook Gift for Men Women Him HerRustic Town Handmade Vintage Antique Looking Genuine Leather Journal Diary Notebook Gift for Men Women Him HerExpandable Inspirational Bracelets “Be Thankful, Brave, Happy, Kind, True, Strong” - Perfect Gift for HerExpandable Inspirational Bracelets “Be Thankful, Brave, Happy, Kind, True, Strong” – Perfect Gift for HerKindle Paperwhite E-reader - Black, 6Kindle Paperwhite E-reader – Black, 6

 Don’t Forget to Live

Early on I fell into the trap of not wanting to do certain things because I was worried my husband would be sad he missed out. We spent many years not doing much of anything because of that. Don’t do that! If you want to take the kids to the Science Museum or even a little two night trip to the beach. Do it! Yes your spouse may feel sad that he or she can’t be there, but it’s OK. You will have plenty of other opportunities to do fun things together at another time. Sometimes it just works out better to do these things during the week, rather than waiting until the weekend when it will be crazy busy.

Rely On Friends

This is something I just started to do, even though he has had to travel for work for the last 13 years. I am the type of person that does not like to inconvenience others. However, if someone ever needed help, I am the first person to help. Over the past year, I finally started to rely on friends and asking for help when I need it. It has definitely made things easier. While I still get a little uncomfortable to ask, it is something you MUST do. Unless we somehow figure out how to clone people, you can’t be in two places at once. No matter how hard you try!

While things are difficult for the parent that is home, it’s just as difficult for the parents that travel for work. They miss out on so many things. That’s where you come in. Take lots of pictures and videos. While it’s not the same, I know my husband has always enjoyed seeing the pictures and videos that I text him. And, while it’s easier said than done, try to be patient with the parent that has to travel for work and know that they wish they were home with the family too.

What tips for people that travel for work do you have?


Surviving Summer on Keto Diet

School is finally out for summer! Can you tell that I am one happy mama! No more alarms; No more school lunches to make; Just park programs, soccer camps and lacrosse tournaments to fill our days. When you follow a very specific diet plan, eating out or enjoying BBQ’s with friends and family can be pretty stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! Surviving summer on the Keto diet can be very simple and you don’t have to worry about feeling like you are missing out on something. Trust me!

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surviving summer

Surviving Summer on the Keto Diet

So you’ve been following the Keto diet all winter and now summer is upon us and you are afraid that you won’t be able to enjoy all the summer fun with friends and family. Don’t worry! Following the Keto diet in the summer is no different that following it any other time of the year. If you’ve been on this diet for any amount of time, you know that it is a mindset and a lifestyle change, more than a diet. Like anything else, you need to plan, plan, plan.

Appetizers for Your Summer BBQ

In planning on how you will be surviving summer on the Keto diet, you need to think about things like appetizers. At most BBQ’s over the summer, appetizers include things like chips and dip, chips and salsa, or hummus and veggies. None of those options are Keto friendly, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take something with you that is Keto friendly! Try one of these three recipes:

Delicious Deviled Eggs Recipe

Bacon Wrapped Smokies

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Both of the bacon wrapped recipes could probably be made on the grill! However you choose to make them, they will be a crowd pleaser and a nice addition to the other food at the BBQ.

Pro Tip #1…pick up one of these cups. It is the perfect summer cup!

Simple Modern Tumbler Vacuum Insulated 30oz Cruiser with Lid - Double Walled Stainless Steel Travel Mug - Sweat Free Coffee Cup - Simple StainlessSimple Modern Tumbler Vacuum Insulated 30oz Cruiser with Lid – Double Walled Stainless Steel Travel Mug – Sweat Free Coffee Cup – Simple Stainless

BBQ Main Meal

Bummed because you think you won’t be able to eat a burger or a hot dog? Don’t be! I can honestly say that I do not miss hot dog or hamburger buns. Plus, by not eating the bun, I don’t feel embarrassed when I load my plate up with both a hamburger and a hot dog! If you really must have a hamburger that you can pick up, just wrap it in lettuce! I personally like to eat my hamburger on a plate with a fork and knife with a little Franks Red Hot sauce and sometimes a little ranch dressing! I used to be a ketchup-aholic…I don’t even miss it!

Pro Tip #2…if you absolutely need some crunch, either on your salad or in place of chips, pick up these Parmesan Whisps!

Cello Whisps Pure Parmesan Cheese Crisps, 2.12 OunceCello Whisps Pure Parmesan Cheese Crisps, 2.12 Ounce

Keto Desserts

While you won’t be eating pies and other traditional BBQ desserts, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out. For me, if I have the carbs available, slightly frozen raspberries or blackberries are my dessert. When you’ve completely cut out sugar, fruits like raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries start to taste like candy to you! Now, some people that are super strict with the Keto diet will not eat fruit at all. I have had tremendous success by only allowing me fruit on occasion and only when I have the carbs to accommodate it. Another Keto friendly dessert you may want to try are these delicious Keto cheesecake bites! So good!

 

What are your favorite Keto friendly recipes for surviving summer?


Chore Lists for Tweens and Teens Over the Summer

Summer is almost here!! Here in Michigan we have the rest of this week and all of next week and then it’s no more school until September! I can’t tell you how excited I am to not have to set my alarm or to make school lunches. The kids are also excited to be out of school. With no school, they can play outside more, watch more TV and play video games. One thing I will be starting this summer, that I have been meaning to do all year, but haven’t, are chore lists. I think the chore list will help things run a little more smoothly and give them a little responsibility while they’re at it!

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chores

Chore Lists for Tweens and Teens

The one thing I really hate, as a mother, is when I have to nag the kids to do something. I don’t want to do that. They don’t want to listen to it. But what they do want, is for me to take them to the park program every single day, let them watch TV and play video games whenever they want. Quite frankly, that is what I would like too. I like them running around outside all day long and I don’t mind the TV and video game time when they are indoors…but, when I do start minding all that is when I have to ask them repeatedly to do something.

How Will Chore Lists Help?

By setting up chore lists with a things daily that I expect them to do, they will know that if they complete their tasks each morning, then they will have the rest of the day to do the things that they want. Not only that, but they will learn to be more responsible and to prioritize their time. For instance, the park program starts at 10 am, Monday through Friday. They will know that if they want to go to the park program at 10 am, then they will need to eat, brush their teeth, and complete their daily chores. If the chores aren’t completed, they don’t go. They will have a chance to go to the 2 pm park program instead.

Knock Knock This Week PadKnock Knock This Week Pad

I picked up this magnetic pad to put their chore lists on. It is currently marked down super cheap right now, so I would pick it up if you like this idea! My idea is to put their initial next to a couple chores each day. That way they know which one has to complete the chore.

Types of Chores

My kids are 10 and almost 13 (next week!!). A few of the chores I am thinking about are:

  • Unload the dishwasher
  • Load the dishwasher
  • Put clothes away
  • Sweep the floor
  • Wipe the counters
  • Wipe the kitchen table

I’m not looking to give them massive jobs that will take hours. Just little jobs that help with the day to day running of our household. Since I will be driving them all over the city for the park program, lacrosse practices, etc., giving them these little jobs will help me, as much as it will help them!


How to Fix Chlorine Damaged Hair

A few weeks ago, we were in Lansing, Michigan for my son’s lacrosse tournament. After the games on Saturday, the kids all went swimming. They were having a blast playing in the pool, running outside and playing basketball, and hopping in and out of the hot tub. Thankfully they didn’t have any adults in the actual pool or hot tub to bother with all their cannon balls (yes…they did cannon balls in the hot tub too) and splashing! What I didn’t expect to happen, was have my daughters hair completely destroyed by the chlorine. Not after one time in the pool. Here’s how we fixed her chlorine damaged hair.

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chlorine damaged

To see her hair so damaged after one trip to the pool was very confusing to me. She has spent all summer in the pool before and never had any damage at all. This one trip completely destroyed her hair. Imagine someone that tries bleaching their hair at home and they leave it on too long. Her hair was FRIED. I could barely get a Wet Brushchlorine damaged through it. And when I say  barely, I actually mean, at all. It was horrible. This hotel pool had WAY too much chlorine in it. Of course, I completely forgot to have her get her hair wet with fresh water first, but I really don’t know that it would have helped much.

How to Fix Chlorine Damaged Hair

I knew that I needed to strip the chlorine out of her hair. A friend told me to use baking soda or the blue Dawn dish soap, but I didn’t have it. While I was out shopping, I was next door to a beauty supply store so I walked in and asked a few questions. She quickly recommended a clarifying treatment that will strip residue from products, chlorine and other things from the hair. I also picked up a deep conditioning mask that she said works wonders.

Crystal Clarifying TreatmentCrystal Clarifying TreatmentSoft 'N Style Applicator Bottle, 4 ozSoft ‘N Style Applicator Bottle, 4 ozone 'n only Argan Oil Hydrating Mask Derived from Moroccan Argan Trees, 8.3 Ounceone ‘n only Argan Oil Hydrating Mask Derived from Moroccan Argan Trees, 8.3 Ounce

I picked up those three things and that evening, Bella and I got to work on her hair. We followed the directions on the clarifying treatment and once we shampooed it out, her hair was already starting to feel better. After two deep conditioning treatments (one week apart), I can happily report that her hair is back to normal and is no longer chlorine damaged!  The only thing we need to do is get a trim, but we were going to get that done soon anyway!

You can put a plastic bag or shower cap over the conditioning treatment, but it’s not necessary. We did use a shower cap, but only because I had one on hand that my husband brought home from a hotel he stayed at. I picked up these shower capschlorine damaged. They are on a super sale right now! Get them while the sale lasts!

Since I worked so hard to get her hair back to normal, I want to make sure it stays that way. These are our daily hair products that we both use and I highly recommend.

Living Proof Restore Shampoo 8 oz. and Restore Conditioner 8 oz. Duo.Living Proof Restore Shampoo 8 oz. and Restore Conditioner 8 oz. Duo.Living Proof Instant Restore/Repair Complete Breakage Solution for Unisex, 4 OunceLiving Proof Instant Restore/Repair Complete Breakage Solution for Unisex, 4 Ounce

What are your favorite and must have hair products?

Family Fun Night Plans

One of the things I like, more than anything else in this world, is family time. I crave it. Literally. Between having a husband that travels a ton for work and two kids that are both in travel sports, we don’t have a lot of family time. So, as you can imagine, the time we do have together, I want it to be special and fun! As often as we can, we plan a family fun night. The kids love them and so do we!

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family fun night

Planning a Family Fun Night

To be honest, there are times that we do something really low key like pizza and a movie from the movie rental place…they still exist! The kids enjoy walking up and down the aisles looking for a movie. Zack usually disappears in the video game section, while Bella is trying to find some 80’s or 90’s movie that I used to watch like The Gooniesfamily fun night. I love that she wants to watch all the movies I grew up watching! If you are looking for movies with a faith based background, then check out Pure Flix’s collection of Christian movies.

I will admit, we love video games in our house. Some really fun, family friendly video games that we enjoy are:

Mario Kart 8 - Nintendo Wii UMario Kart 8 – Nintendo Wii UMario Party 10Mario Party 10Just Dance 2017 - Wii UJust Dance 2017 – Wii USuper Smash Bros. - Nintendo Wii USuper Smash Bros. – Nintendo Wii ULEGO Jurassic World - Wii ULEGO Jurassic World – Wii USplatoonSplatoon

When we are planning a family fun night, at least one of those games (usually Mario Cart) is on the list of things to do. The fun part is how competitive we are with each other. The kids laugh so hard when I tell them they’re going down! If you are a fan of the Lego video games, then you really need to consider the Jurassic World Lego game. It’s my favorite out of ALL the Lego video games!

If we aren’t playing video games, then we love to play board games. One of my FAVORITE things about Christmas is when we are with our entire extended family and we sit around and play board games. It’s so loud, but fun. It’s because of those times, that my kids always want to play a board game on our family fun night. Some board games we like are:

Monopoly Empire GameMonopoly Empire Game5 Second Rule - Just Spit it Out!5 Second Rule – Just Spit it Out!Watch Ya' Mouth Family Edition - The Authentic, Hilarious, Mouthguard Party GameWatch Ya’ Mouth Family Edition – The Authentic, Hilarious, Mouthguard Party GameExploding Kittens: A Card Game About Kittens and Explosions and Sometimes GoatsExploding Kittens: A Card Game About Kittens and Explosions and Sometimes GoatsSequence GameSequence GameBananagrams Wild TilesBananagrams Wild Tiles

In my opinion, and if you ask my kids, it is truly essential to plan a family fun night as much as possible. Not only are they fun, but the things your kids will remember when they are older are all the fun times you had together as a family.

What is your favorite family fun night activity?