Simple Green Me

Cultural reporter for KUTV 2News and adjunct yoga/meditation professor blogs about wellness, green living, downsizing, simplifying, better travel✨and more. Offering mindfulness, meditation, goal-setting and decluttering coaching!


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8 tips for easier travel with a toddler

   
Even though it’s now a bazillion times harder (packing for two is just the BEGINNING), having a baby didn’t cure the travel bug. So, when you must drag a now-toddler first on a 13-hour road trip, then a 2-leg plane journey, I hope you find these ideas save you at least a couple Xanax (because we all know we need more than PATIENCE to cope with a small megalomaniac).

ROAD TRIP

1. Bag of Goodies – place an easily-accessible basket of goodies next to the car seat. 

  
A) books

B) fake wallet full of loyalty cards (a clear winner)

C) sound-maker toys

D) wooden “thinker” toys or single-piece/all-in-one puzzles

E) an empty wipe package full with cut-cloth squares (it was also a winner! As long as you don’t mind picking them up and putting them back in every time).

D) crayons and hard-back notepad (the crayons themselves eventually become entertainment…biting, eating, snapping in two…)

E) snacks, snacks, and more snacks! As many different finger-foods as you can muster! I liked sandwich crackers,  pretzel sticks, seed-bread, veggie pouches and the occasional sucker. For a month, at each visit to the store, I’d put another snack in the cart.

   
2. Sitting next to him or her – he was so much happier and calmer when I sat in the back with him! 

3. IPad with his or her fave flick – I don’t allow games yet (I have weird phobias) but I will let him watch a few non-lame movies. We bought and downloaded his fave movie “the Boxtrolls” (14.99 – good thing we just needed one!), and he was cool and calm drinking it in a few 20-min intervals at a time. 

PLANE TRIP

When you are flying solo with a toddler, or even with help, two plane rides and a layover can seem like a death wish! And it could be…but this is what made my experience actually pretty darn pleasant.

1. Family restrooms – your own private safe-haven to refresh/relieve yourself, change diapers, sanitize, and just play for a few minutes in peace! He liked climbing on the “baby seat” and the changing table, and washing his hands.

2. Eat – my toddler and I are used to restaurants (he’s not well-behaved, but I know what he’ll be like and what he usually needs), so it seemed natural to grab dinner during the layover. It fed us, took up time, and he made lots of friends with the servers. Plus, I got to have an adult beverage (tequila only – the sole alcohol that doesn’t make me feel sluggish and depressed)!

3. Yoga – there’s plenty of open space in the airport, so movement like yoga, stretching, stomping, dancing, etc helps get the wiggles out before the plane!

  
4. Machinery – escalators, moving walkways, elevators…you know what your toddler likes.

5. On the plane – it’s hard to keep your toddler entertained on the plane. I found “can you find the ___” game using the flight magazines to be helpful! Snacks, too. And the iPad. It really is like the only option for a cramped plane ride with a hyper 20-month-old. 

Hope this helps you prepare for your parent-tot trip! And rest assured that all this preparation pays off, and that the hard moments where you feel like breaking down are at least twice as infrequent as seeing your child experience a new place, and new memories. 

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How I know that less is more

  

our kitchen, post-purge

 
The Spring tends to bring about a desire for change and renewal. Spring cleaning our lives allows us to let go of things that no longer serve us, so that we may live our best lives unburdened by STUFF. Clutter STUFF. Emotional STUFF. Time-wasting STUFF.When I started feeling like I was suffocating under STUFF at home, work and in my life, I knew it was time to downsize. Let me tell you, two months later, my life is SO different: So free, so open, so RIGHT! Here’s what I did:

1. GOODBYE, CLUTTER.

Start with three piles as you go through your ENTIRE house (yes, even the junk drawer!): Keep, donate/sell and trash. BE BRUTAL. Here’s a whole blog about how to part with stuff you never thought you could. Trust me, you will NOT miss it. And bonus? I made almost $500 selling what I thought was junk on KSL Classifieds. Hellooooo, date nights!

2. HUMBLE ABODE

Now that you see your home without all of its clutter, and now that everything has a place, ask yourself how well your home serves you. Do you spend too much time cleaning? Do you have TOO much space? Is it lacking beauty? Does it fit your lifestyle? I came to the conclusion that my suburban home is too big, and does not fit my desire to be eco-conscious (using car leww, using less utilities, etc). So, we put our house on the rental market and are moving to a condo downtown. Less to maintain, less to pay for, and a WAY cheaper mortgage to free us up even more! Helloooo, travel!

3. TIME OUT

Making space can also apply to your job and leisure activities. My job was very social media-intensive, with a demanding (always texting late) boss, so it felt like it filled every nook and cranny in my day. I said “yes” to every coffee date, which took away any chance of “me” time. I felt like every day was a giant hill to climb, with no rest. So, I restructured. I started saying “no” to coffee dates, which freed up my time when my son is in preschool for me to nurture myself and my hobbies. Freeing up even more space, I quit my job on a whim (still keeping freelance TV and yoga as income), but without a steady paycheck. But not even a week later, now that my schedule opened up drastically, I was able to interview for a job as an adjunct instructor at Salt Lake Community College. Well, I got the job! So now my schedule is: A few days of prep, one day of teaching per week, and with my son in preschool three days a week, PLENTY of “me” time! It’s amazing the opportunities you attract when you MAKE SPACE.

PS – THANK GOODNESS I GOT MY YOGA CERTIFICATION TO FALL BACK ON! IF YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO GET YOUR 200-Hour CERTIFICATION, I WILL BE TEACHING A COURSE STARTING MAY 16 (THROUGH AUGUST 6) IN THE YOGA TEACHER TRAINING AT SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE! Sign up here!

I hope as this Spring inspires you to release, you are able to make room for your freshest life ever