Family Summer Road Trips

When I was growing up we never flew anywhere (it was expensive then). We drove on our vacations, me and my sister in the backseat, my mom telling me over and over again to stop reading and look around I was missing it all!

(Folks, to this day I can read whole novels in the car. I am also quite adept at reading in the bottom of a fishing boat because fishing is boring.)

We have flown a lot with our boys, but trips to The Smith Place in Florida are done by car. We have driven there twice already this year. (It's eight hours.)

We also are planning a First Ever Getting On Board With The New Economy Camper Trip this summer, which I'm very excited about. This idea was partially inspired by my parents shiny new camper, seen here being tended in my driveway by Rob and Bear.



Well, Bear is really scrubbing the driveway, but I'm sure it needed it.

Baby Car Washing

You could eat off my driveway.

One thing that I'm looking forward to with Shark Boy is his abilty to do new activities in the car now that he's reading well. Sponge Bob videos and playing with small toys which he drops and I have to retrieve and games of Guess What I'm Looking At (oh kill me now) only go so far.

So in the spirit of The Family Summer Roadtrip I have a terrific giveaway for you!

The Sparky Junior Travel Backpack from AllChildrensFurniture.com.

sparky junior travel backpack

Look how cute! Winner of the 2004 Creative Child Preferred Choice Award and ideal for ages 5-8, it contains Kids' Travel Activities, Kids' Travel Fun & Games, Kids' Interstate Road Atlas, Kids' Travel Activity Map and Sparky U.S. Map playing cards. And it comes with crayons.

Thank you to the friendly folks at AllChildrensFurniture for providing it. I love this website. They have a wide selection of kids furniture), plus some of the best pricing I've seen on toy kitchens (oh how I love a pretty little toy kitchen), and I've been checking them out since I'm in Kid Room Redo Mode.

Leave a comment telling me something about one of your family road trips (or about you know, whatever) and you are entered to win! (Residents of the US and Canada only. Sorry extra-North American readers!)

If you Twitter the post, let me know and you are entered twice.

I'll draw a winner via a supremely scientific method involving my kid picking a name from a hat on Friday, June 5th, and the winner will be notified by email and announced here as well. (AllChildrensFurniture will ship Sparky directly to the winner.)


It struck me as I loaded photos of Bear washing the camper that kids love to help wash cars! Here is Shark in 2007 (age 5) helping Mr. P.

Car Washing Shark

These two photos of Sugarplum are among my absolute favorites. It was her first day of Pre-School and we came back to my parents house where Robin Hood was washing the cars. She marched straight up to his sudsy bucket and plunged her head straight in!

Car Washing Sugarplum Head Dunk

Sugarplum Car Washing

To this day I have no idea what possessed her to do such a thing and I can't even remember who had a camera (my mom maybe?) but I'm so glad I have these pictures. It was one of the millions and millions of times that little girl made us belly laugh and I don't ever wish to forget it.


Jodi S said...

One of our first road trips was to a campground maybe an hour away, but we had to go past my mom's house and as we passed it my 1 1/2 year old yells from the back seat geema, geema (grandma) he knew that was her house at 1 1/2! We had been there maybe 5 times his whole life. Still floors me now to this day, how much they retain.

OHmommy said...

This reminds be that my minivan needs to be washed. Awesome pictures Amy.

Belle said...

I can imagine camper holidays being incredibly exciting for kids!

Michele R said...

My boys are a little old for your giveaway goody but I wanted to post anyway about road trips. I have a road trip post on my blog too--mostly it is about my husband's childhood road trips--he did lots. In honor of that, we are going on our own one now. Hubs and the 3 boys are driving on I-24 in Nashville right now on way to St. Louis (from GA). Destination is Denver and then Estes Park, Colorado. I am joining up with them there and then we go to Black Hills, SD to see Crazy Horse, Mt. Rushmore, etc. Recently realized that we have a few years till oldest will graumble about road trips so we are Sooo excited about this one. Past 2 years just stayed with Family in FL. Did Washington D.C. and VA a few years ago--that is a good one.

Michele R said...

Meant to add that the camper looks like loads of fun. Where are you headed?

Amy said...

Jodi - Same here! I'm always amazed at how they know where they are, sometimes even if it's been months since they've been there.

Michele - Your driving through my town right now?? (It's hot here eh?) I will email you re: Estes Park. I was there twice last year and it is gorgeous BEYOND description.

We will likely head north, but haven't yet mapped out a plan.

Michelle Smiles said...

My kids are too young so don't enter me. I just wanted to say that I am so jealous you can read in the car. I never could (still can't) because I get car sick. My sister used to read (usually a new Nancy Drew that I hadn't read yet) just to taunt me because she could pass the time by reading and I couldn't.

Michele R said...

Amy, my husband and 3 sons drove thru TN today and went to St. Louis. They are staying right by the Gateway Arch and say it is amazing so far (they will visit it tomorrow). Two more nights and they will be in Denver for a couple days, then Estes Park. I fly out of GA at end of week to Denver and take a shuttle bus to Estes. He teaches and gets the summer off and I have to work :(
I love to read in the car too. You were in Estes Park twice!!? Wow!
You can email me at michelerenee5 at gmail dot com
Have fun with your camping!

mo.stoneskin said...

Looks to me like you're training Bear well. With a bit of luck and clever strategy he could look over the whole place!

Rachel said...

The utter cuteness of those pictures!! Maybe if I get the kids out washing my car they'll get tired and it'll rain? There's an idea!!

Love that little bag, too cute!

Sarahviz said...

Um...I need this. Our road trips consist of 3 boyz intermittently asking, "Are we there yet?" and the latest and most annoying, "Are we on the highway? How about now? NOW?"

Amo said...

Those pics are adorable! We have been traveling from NC to TN (6hrs each way) about twice a month since we moved (6 months ago). We are now preparing for our we-can't-afford-a-vacation-so-we're-driving-to-FL-to-stay-in-a-hotel-for-a-week-while-daddy-works vacation. Pretty excited...I'm telling ya.

Basically, spending way too much time in the car as a family has kinda become our 'thing'.

They tell me that duct taping the kids is so very wrong, so maybe I'll win this instead!

Broccoli Cupcake said...

We have no family in TN so we travel with the boys a lot. I have to say, they are generally pretty good on road trips. As long as we bring along the DVD player. The biggest problems started when we potty trained our oldest. He waits to tell you he has to go until he just can't hold it anymore. On our last trip we stopped to eat at Chili's and while we were getting our youngest out, our oldest dropped his pants and peed in the parking lot for all the world to see. Do they include emergency potty kits in the road trip kit?

evenshine said...

We haven't taken any yet (kids ages 5 and 1) and I can't imagine the insanity if we do. Activities and contained play sets like this one would help. As would a pillow and sleep mask for me.

Anonymous said...

Oooh, that would be perfect for the little one's first plane trip we are about to take in three weeks!!

I have taken many road-trips but one that comes to mind is when my oldest son who was only 2 at the time discovered his fingernails needed trimming and cried the whole way about it. No idea what was going through his head!

Madonna Cramer said...

I would love to win this road trip backpack and contents. We are kind of old school travelers, we don't have a DVD player in the car and we don't have hand held electronics for now so this would be great for entertainment in the car along with sticking your tongue out the window and letting it dry out..this travel kit would be much more exciting for my son.

Very cute pics by the way.

Halifax @ Sparkled Beauty said...

I love doing road trips, not too long ones though. It's hard to keep the young one entertained along. It's just nice when she falls asleep

Halifax @ Sparkled Beauty said...

I tweeted

Vanessa said...

When my boys were little and we were traveling, I would plan an hourly treat bag. One bag for each boy every hour. Each bag contained a different toy and a snack. Most of the toys were from home, but I did purchase a new toy (or more depending on the drive time) as a special surprise. Crayons and coloring book, bubbles, hot wheel car, unopened McD happy meal toys were good for this. It gave them something to look forward to. Every other hour would be a juice box, with a planned "potty break" about 20 minutes after opening it. Worked well to keep them entertained!

Amy said...

My SIL lives in FL, about 6 hours from us, so most of our road-trips are to visit her and "the cousins." When my older son was 18 months old, and I was pregnant with our younger son, we drove to FL in July. We packed a cooler with drinks, snacks, and a HUGE bowl of fresh strawberries, Kieran's favorite. My most vivid memory of the drive was after I handed him a bag of them. Just about a minute later, I heard him say "more, more." I turned to see his face COVERED in strawberry juice. Bright red dripping off his chin, little strawberry seeds stuck to his cheeks. And when he smiled, juice seeped through his little teeth. Ah, the simple joys!

Liz said...

I haven' taken my so on a road trip (YET) and he isn't old enough for the pack (YET) but i'd still love to have it to save!!!

i do have a story of a road trip my parents took me on when i was 2. from NJ to Florida... We were heading down to disney world by car. it was an off season, and some form of biker trip (or so we found out on our way down) we must've seen a few hundred bikers. i was bored out of my mind and saying "let me out of this chicken outfit" over and over and over again. when we arrived at the hotel outside of disney. it to was filled with bikers. I was cranky and crying... and bikers began to bang on our walls and yell to quiet me. and a few showed up at our door. my parents tried to hush me, but of course I didn't understand. after that trip we never attempted to do a vacation on such a small budget again!!! sometimes it's worth spending the extra money to have a good time!

AmyLauren said...

I love the pictures on your entry, btw. When I was a kid, my parents and I went on road trips each summer. Of course, it was too expensive to fly back then as well, and we wouldn't want to rent a car when we got there, etc. Usually my dad always tried to make the trips educational, so we would go to Luray Caverns (in Va.), one of the many Civil War battlefields (in Va.), etc. Being from the coast, we also took lots of trips to the mountains and to Dollywood, places like that. Those are really some of my best memories with my family, and I can't wait to share them with my kids and go on road trips :).

AmyLauren (proudpatriot2007@yahoo.com)

PsychMamma said...

When we traveled to FL this spring, Hubby decided to drive straight through (20+ hours). Wouldn't have been so bad, except 3 y/o decided she was NOT going to sleep. She kept herself awake by screaming & slapping herself in the face. Good times.

I love the picture of the head in the bucket! Glad that moment got captured.

Thanks for the chance to enter!


Chris said...

Here's my entry, if you DARE . . .


Kristi said...

We have taken a few road trips with my girls, ages 6 and 8. One of the best was a "surprise trip" and we didnt' tell them where we were going. We had fun listening to them guess all the way there. That kept the excitement level up enough for them to not get too bored of riding in the car. They never did guess until right when we got there and they saw the rollercoasters, etc. We had arrived at an amusement park of course!

Amy said...

Kristi - That is such a fun idea!!! We'll have to try that sometime too.

Amy said...

Chris' post is hilarious!! Check it out:


aj_18 said...

Our first road trip with our daughter(3 months at the time & exclusively breastfed) was out to Dallas Texas from Tampa Fl. I combed many websites looking for tips on travelling with babies and couldn't find any so we just decided to "wing it". We were good the first 3 hours because she slept but after that we had to stop every hour to get out and stretch her legs/give her attention. Not too bad out but the drive back we were coming from Oklahoma and it was horrible!! I cried most of the way as did she...And we are taking another roadtrip this summer with her now that she is 2 yrs old and she has a 8 mo old sister to come along with too.

aj_18 said...

Car trip from Tampa to Dallas Tx & Oklahoma with a 3 month old exclusively breastfed baby was decent going out but on the 27 hour ride back from Oklahoma it was WRETCHED. Nothing worked she cried most of the way and one of us had to sit in the back with her while she was back there. This August we will be going from Tampa to Pittsburgh with our now 2 y/o daughter and her 8 mo old sister :) Got a dvd player this time ;)

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