Archives for February 2012

Road Trip Packing To The Max


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Our family of five recently went on a trip to Disney World. We decided to drive and not fly to save money. From our house to Disney is an 18 hour drive.

When I picked out my Trailblazer I thought more about my day to day life than once a year road trips. With that in mind I opted out of the third row of seats.  My hubby rarely drives with us and my son is old enough to occupy the front passenger seat, making the bench seat in the back very roomy for my two youngest children.

How to pack your vehicle for a road trip so that every inch of space is used effectively

So when faced with the upcoming 2 day drive with all five of us in the vehicle, I had to think about how to maximize my trunk space as well as passenger space.

Here is what I came up with.

How to make use of every square inch of your vehicles trunk space for a road trip.

I used 4 big plastic totes and 4 smaller plastic totes as well as 2 XXL Ziploc bags. I always find that luggage doesn’t stack well, and therefore inefficient in maximizing space. The bins were also easier to access when we needed something at  a rest stop.

To start, I carried out two totes to the vehicle, and made sure that they would fit, and figured out just how many I could fit and what configuration would work best.

Once I figured out exactly how many totes we could fit, and what size, I then went around the house emptying out totes we already had and putting them all in one central location of the house to begin packing.

Knowing exactly what would fit, really helped me decide what to bring and what not to bring.

I made sure to leave a little space in each bin to allow for purchases on the trip. Which was a good thing, because they were stuffed to capacity on the trip home.

All our belongings fit in these totes, our pillows went in the oversize ziploc bags. Down the sides of the totes I stuffed our 5 day packs and in the middle of the totes, I fit our 5 collapsible lunch coolers.

I also wanted to make sure that the kids had their Nintendo DS handy, as well as their iPods and my sons kindle. I wanted these items to be out of the way of their feet, and off their laps. My husband came up with the idea of slinging his work cooler over the headrest, and it worked great. (here is a cooler similar to the one we have, perhaps a bit larger but very similar)

How to make the most of your cars space for a long road trip

I then found a canvas bag that I could sling over the other head rest that held our first round of snacks and waters.

It is not shown but in the middle of the two front seats we placed my daughters portable DVD player, and strapped its case to the front seat head rests as well.

This system worked amazingly well for us. We have decided for our next road trip we will change only one thing, and that is we want to purchase one more cooler for the back of  the other head rest as the canvas bag hung down too low and got in the way of the children’s knees.

How about you? Do you have any tips on how to pack the family vehicle to the max for a long road  trip?

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How to maximize your carry on luggage space I can't believe what fit in this bag! (med)Learn how I maximize every inch of my carry-on luggage


Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies


(post contains affiliate links see disclosure)

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies made with coconut oil and white wheat flour

These cookies are still not healthy but they are healthier than the original recipe.

In the last few years I have been on a mission to make sure that all my children’s snacks have some healthy aspect to them the majority of the time.

This has lead me to being sneaky, as children don’t really like you messing with their snacks, and tend to all out revolt against it by simply not touching healthy versions.

There are a few products however that I have found that pass through their “healthy” radar.

One is using white wheat flour in a lot of our bake goods. The other is replacing shortening in recipes with organic coconut oil ( I have included links to Amazon so you could sneak a peak at what these product looks like but please note I get both products cheaper at various stores I frequent and often purchase other brands than the ones shown, if they are less expensive).

I have a few other tricks, but those two are the ones I used in this chocolate chip cookie makeover which were a hit with my children and my husband. None of them even questioned me as to if I had “healthified” their favorite cookies.

My daughter even said they were better than any cookie she has ever had from Paradise Cafe. Which is saying something because she loves their cookies.

How about you? Do you secretly healthy up your families recipes? Do your kids seem to have built in healthy foods radar?

Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2½ cups white wheat flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Combine butter and coconut oil till smooth
  3. Add sugar and to fats and stir
  4. Add lightly beaten eggs and vanilla and stir
  5. Add baking soda and flour and combine.
  6. Add in chocolate chips and combine till you have a mound of yummy cookie dough.
  7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes (until cookies are just a slight shade of golden brown)

Looking for cookie recipes? Follow my Cookies board on Pinterest.


Fitness Goals for the Week of February 27 to March 4th


This has got to be my favorite bondiband. It puts all my priorities in proper order.

I managed to keep most of last weeks fitness goals.  I of course switched a few things up from the original plan due to weather and appointments changing as the week progressed.

I ended up running for a full hour outdoors on Tuesday, and then on Thursday I spent a full hour on the elipitical. On Wednesday I decided to stay for spin class after strength training instead of swimming. However, on Saturday I did get my 50 laps in while my daughter played in the water slide area of our local Y.

Saturday morning I missed my workout with my girl friend. I miss my buddies now that I am working out later in the day. Can’t wait till mornings warm up and I can return to running more with friends.

This Weeks Fitness Goals

Monday: REST.  I am living up to the saying on my bondiband above today, and hanging out with my Hubby.

Tuesday: Looks like it should be nice enough to run outside 9 miles.

Wednesday: Workout 1: half hour strength class followed by 40 minutes spinning class.

Workout 2: 30 minutes on the elliptical

Thursday: looks like its the nicest day of the week to grab my long run, 16 miles.

Friday: Workout 1: 1/2 hour Strength Class followed by 60 laps of swimming

Workout 2: 4 miles running

Saturday: Girlfriend workout at the Y (snow in forecast) guessing 3 miles dread tread, followed by 30 minutes elliptical

Sunday: REST

This is the first spring marathon I have ever done, my last two were mid to late fall. I am seeing already that I am having to be very flexible with the day I do my long run to avoid trying to do a 15 to 20 mile run on the dread tread (aka treadmill).

I have read of some runners that do 100% of their marathon training on the dread tread and the thought of it makes me shudder.

I would much rather switch it up with more cross training than face the dread tread for more than 3 to 4 miles at a time.

How about you? Are you a runner? and if you are what is the longest treadmill run you have ever managed? (mine is 9 miles, and it was only once)

 This post is linked to 10 Weekly Goals at Money Saving Mom