The other day I talked about Part 1 of my road trip: planning and packing. Click HERE for a refresher.
Today I'm going to share how we ate in the car while keeping the mess to a minimum.
We got a brand new mini van in December and had a no food in the van rule. We made some exceptions for the Babes every now and again, but for the road trip I knew we'd all be eating and snacking in the van.
Anyone who's ever had to remove a car seat cover to wash it knows what a pain it is. In fact the car seat we had in the van took me 30 minutes to disassemble so I could take the cover off to wash it.
So to make things easy on myself, I decided to use the other car seat that we had installed in my husband's car. This car seat also fits the standard car seat covers that you can buy/make to personalize or pretty up the store bought car seats. I wanted to use the removable pink car seat cover so the original car seat would still be clean underneath. This pink car seat cover is also a lot easier to remove then the car seat's original cover so that would be a time savings too.
However, the pink cover is not waterproof. And long days in the car, trying to make as few pit stops as possible might lead to a leaky diaper. So to prevent any wetness from getting on the pink cover and seeping into the original car seat cover, I decided to use these waterproof lap pads I had left over from when the kids were infants. They fit right into the seat part of the car seat so any diaper leaks would land on the pad and not the car seat itself.
To be able to buckle the car seat, I just cut a slit into the waterproof pad to allow the bottom buckle to come through. Perfect! This came in handy several times during our trip. I actually had 3 of these waterproof lap pads with the extras stored on the seat next to the car seat so I could easily swap them out. I should have also stored an extra pair of shorts along with the lap pads since if there was a diaper leak, the Babes would need new shorts. Oh, well, I'll know for next time. Although she should be potty trained by next summer if we decide to take a long road trip then. Now that I think about it, this would be great for newly potty trained kids too. I like to be prepared, and it's always better to be safe than sorry. OK enough of the clichés. The truth is I don't like messes so I try to make clean up as easy as possible.
I had a system in place to keep the van clean, well at least for the Babes. I was hoping the rest of us would eat neatly and not pee our pants. Only one of those things worked out. FYI Pop Tarts are NOT a car friendly food.
In case you are wondering what we ate in the car, here's a list of the food we brought along:
*Fruit snacks - these were a life saver since at one point in our trip that is all the Babes wanted. Sometimes you'll do just about anything to keep your sanity during an 18 hour car ride. If fruit snacks and an Elmo DVD are what it takes then you keep handing out the fruit snacks and watch Elmo again and again and again.
*Gum - great incentives for the older kids. I bought several flavors including mint chocolate chip.
*Cookies - the soft kind so there is less crumbs.
*Jelly beans - not a big hit
*Bread and stuff to make sandwiches
There might have been more food, I know we brought a lot and bought more for the trip back home and didn't eat it all. We had a small cooler between the front two seats and one on the floor in the third row of seats. We also had a box of food up front and one in the back. The kids all had water bottles full of ice water stored in the doors too. So we were all set to eat in the car. We'd usually have a big continental breakfast at our hotel and eat snacks in the car. We'd have a late lunch / early dinner and eat more snacks before arriving at our hotel that night. All in all, it wasn't bad. If I had to do it over again, I'd bring more healthy food since I seem to have loaded up pretty heavily on the junk food. Maybe some celery sticks in a container with peanut butter at the bottom, or some baby carrots, or even apple slices.
One of the snacks we got to enjoy while we were out west were Idaho Spuds. I love those things so my father in law loaded us up with them. In fact we still have one or two left over from our trip. Have you ever tried them frozen? Mmmm Mmmm good.
After the road trip, our car was a mess inside and out so Kevin gave it a thorough cleaning. He took out everything but the front two seats and vacuumed and scrubbed so it looks like new. In case you are wondering how my system for keeping the Babes car seat clean worked, I'll tell you. It worked great, however the spot in the pink car seat cover which allows the bottom buckle to come through also allowed lots of crumbs to come through. Even with the lap pad over top of it. Still, it was easy to clean and the original car seat underneath only needed to be vacuumed and not washed.
So while Kevin was cleaning out the car, I decided to clean out the fridge. After being away for two weeks, there wasn't much left in the fridge so it seemed like a great time to clean and organize it. Here is the after. I was so ambitious with this project that I forgot to take a before shot.
Stay tuned for part 3 of my road trip series where I'll be sharing how we kept the kids entertained.
Most of my ideas I found through Pinterest. You can check out my 'road trip' board on Pinterest HERE.
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