A Modern Day Fairy Tale

Friday, June 23, 2017

Simple Tips To Encourage Summer Reading

Rain, rain go away... we don't want to wash our summer away!

It's another rainy day here in Indiana, and that means being stuck inside all day. Aside from watching TV or playing on electronics, what can we do to keep the kids entertained! For us- reading is a go to! My son loves to read, and my daughter loves being read to. I'm pretty lucky in that respect, but how do you encourage summer reading in kids who DON'T like to read?

Today I'm sharing a few tips:

Find Something That Interests Them.
Simple enough, right? My son Shaun is a fantastic reader... but he can be rather particular when it comes to book selections. I am always on the lookout for books that will catch his attention. Take whatever your child loves, and find as many books as you can on the topic! When he started reading, it was all about trains. These days he loves anything with humor. Captain Underpants and Diary of a Wimpy Kid are his absolute favorites! 

Comic Books... Are Still Books!
Reading is reading. So encourage your child to read whatever they like best! Billboard signs, newspapers, closed captioning on the TV... these helped my son grow his learning skills long before we found books to hold his interest! Comic books are an ideal way to keep kids who may not otherwise be interested in reading interested! 

Make Reading an Experience.
Take whatever it is your child is reading and make an experience out of it! Make fun crafts to go along with the book. Check out this post on our Captain Underpants puppets. Reading Green Eggs and Ham? Find a recipe for... you guessed it, green eggs and ham! Or have a whole Dr. Seuss Day! Make it fun beyond the pages!

Reward Them For Reading.
Who doesn't love being rewarded for their hard work? Kids are no different! Check your local library to see if their offer a summer reading program that allows them to earn prizes for their time spent reading. Nothing local? Create your own reward system! It doesn't have to be anything fancy, maybe just collecting money for the ice cream truck for time spent reading! 

Let Them Read What They Like.
My son was an advanced reader, teaching himself to read when he was 2. By the time he was in first grade, even kindergarten he was more than capable ability wise to read chapter books, but up until very recently (and even still on occasion), he would still read picture books like The Magic School Bus--- or even chapter books that were well below where he was capable-- like Junie B Jones. It took me a little bit of time to realize that what was okay! Let them read what they WANT to read, the rest will come later! 

Lead By Example.
Perhaps this played a role in my children's reading habits--- they see me reading all the time too! We have shelves full of books to choose from, and its just always bee a natural part of our lives.

Do you have a child who loves to read? What tips would you share for encouraging that love of reading? What are some books or series that you would recommend?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

What I've Learned About Marriage {+ Wedding and Anniversary Gifts from Dayspring} #LiveYourFaith #Dayspring

**Post contains affiliate links. Thoughts are 100% my own. 

There has been a lot of talk about weddings this month, hasn't there?

Let's face it--- it's wedding season. Everyone dreams of that beautiful summer wedding, and so everywhere you look it seems like someone is celebrating yet another wedding. I love a good wedding as much as the next girl... in fact you'll routinely find me binge watching 'Say Yes to the Dress'... but sometimes in all that glitz, all that glamour, all that excitement, the reason for the wedding gets lost... the MARRIAGE.

So today, let's talk marriage!

I was married at the ripe ol' age of 19. I didn't have that fancy wedding- planning a wedding when you're marrying into the military is tough... but that didn't matter to me. I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with my prince, and saw no reason to wait. To some degree, I knew that marriage was going to take work and would not be the fairy tale in the Disney movies I loved so much, but I must admit, at 19 years old, I still couldn't imagine everything life would eventually throw at us. And boy did it- we went through deployments, we were given a special needs child, we suffered pregnancy loss, we suffered mental health, we endured cross country moves, we survived recruiting duty (one of the most difficult jobs in the military), we went through loss of income... the list goes on and on and on. We have encountered so many obstacles in our 10.5 years or so of marriage that have torn apart even the strongest of relationships, and somehow we came through it together. I'm not saying we have a perfect marriage--- far from it, there are always places we need to work on. We're human. But today, I am sharing some things that I have personally learned about marriage.

The Reality of Happily Ever After.
Obviously, I'm a big fan of the fairy tale. I love those stories that end with a 'and they all lived happily ever after'. But that's not the reality. Marriage is wonderful and beautiful and good... but it's not all sunshine and roses every single day. You'll fight, you'll disagree, you'll face hard time. Marriage doesn't come wrapped in that tidy bow our favorite fairy tales end with. And that's OKAY! We just have to know that before we go in, so we can better handle it when those moments come.

Be Stubborn.
When people have asked how our marriage has survived all that we've seen and even just the fact that my husband and I are complete and total opposites.But one thing we have in common is our stubbornness. So even when things aren't going according to plan, we hang on and work it through. You need that in a marriage, or it can become too easy to walk away.

Fight For Each Other. 
One of my favorite songs is Warren Beddingfield's 'Love Is Not a Fight'. There could never be a truer love song out there, 'Love is not a place To come and go as we please It's a house we enter in And then commit To never leave. Love is a shelter In a raging storm Love is peace In the middle of a war
If we try to leave May God send angels To guard the door No, love is not a fight But it's something worth fighting for.' Powerful words, aren't they? These are words that I try to live my marriage by. Even when we disagree, we're not going to let that be that. Again, I think that's where that stubbornness comes in to play! 

Pray For Each Other. 
If you can pray with your spouse, even better... but that's not always possible in all marriages. Instead, pray for your spouse and your marriage. Every single day. Prayer is such a powerful force, so why would you now want to have a little prayer power standing behind you?

Trust in God's Plan For Your Marriage.
That's a tough one, isn't it? I'm a planner. I like things to go my way. When I got married I had ideas of how things would be, and those plans might have changed ever so slightly over the years, but mostly stayed pretty well on track. Until they didn't. Sometimes you find yourself asking, 'THIS is God's plan? Why would He put us through this!?' Sometimes you just have to step back and remember those hard times are blessings in disguise and we just have to wait for His timing to make the reasons clearer. Put God at the center of your home, and when things get tough, remember He is there!

For keeping Christ in your home and marriage, Dayspring has many great wedding and anniversary (or just because) gifts to serve as daily reminders. It's amazing how a simple phrase like, 'Blessed and Grateful' can remind us as we go on about our day, just how blessed we are in our marriages and force us to stop and thank God for them!

Check out these other great wedding and anniversary gifts:

Are you a newlywed or a seasoned wife? What lessons have you learned from your own marriage or those around you?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What To Do If Your Child Has A Dental Emergency

Catching baseballs, running around the house, roughhousing with their sibling -- All sorts of activities could be risky for your child's teeth. While teeth are quite durable and are able to withstand general bumps, dental emergencies do happen. If your child comes running to you with a tooth problem, the American Dental Association recommends that you try to visit your dentist ASAP.

"For all dental emergencies, it’s important to visit your dentist as soon as possible," Mouth Healthy, an ADA publication, recommends. "Most dentists reserve time in their daily schedules for emergency patients so be sure to call your dentist and provide as much detail as you can about your condition. If the accident occurs when your dental office is not open, visit your local emergency room."

For specific dental emergencies, follow this guide to take the best action for your child's situation. By acting quickly, you can get your little one smiling in no time.

  • Cracks And Chips: A cracked or chipped tooth may be immediately painful and scary for your child, but can be fixed easily if you take the right steps. Start by having your child rinse their mouth with warm water, cleaning the tooth of bacteria. While you call your child's dentist to secure the first available emergency appointment, apply an ice pack to your kid's face to control any swelling.

  • Knocked Out Tooth: If your child knocks out a tooth, be sure to keep them calm and tell them that the dentist will fix it. Especially if this is a permanent tooth, place it in milk to keep it from drying out. If you happen to have an ADA-approved preservation liquid on hand, this is even better. Be sure to visit a dentist as soon as possible and address any other injuries that may have occurred as well.

  • Severe Toothache: This type of pain can have a variety of causes, so start by checking your child's mouth for any caught food. Then have them rinse with warm water to clean the area and remove any other particles. If your child's pain persists or they are unconsolable, visit a medical clinic or emergency room right away.

  • Bitten Lip: Steps to treat a bitten lip vary depending on the severity of their injury. If your child bites their lip and you think they might need stitches, be sure to take them to an urgent care facility, 85% of which are open seven days a week. You can also call 9-1-1 to get in touch with the closest emergency dentist. If they don't seem to have injured their lip too severely, simply apply a cold pack to the area to reduce swelling. Offering a popsicle may also console your child.

Remember that the best way to keep your child's teeth strong is to keep up with their semiannual dentist appointments. Most people wait an average of three years between appointments, which could let dental problems go unnoticed. By committing to preventative care and addressing dental emergencies, you can keep your whole family sporting healthy smiles.

Getting Started With Bible Journaling: Finding the Right Bible {+ A Hole Mess Journaling Kit Deal + Facebook Party}

**Post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

I've been Bible journaling- and blogging about Bible journaling- for almost two years now. During this time, I have been asked many, many questions on the subject. Perhaps there is no question than, 'What Bible would you recommend?'

Pretty basic question, isn't it? After all, it's pretty crucial in starting to Bible journal. These days there are many options out there... so which one is the best one?

Honestly, that all depends on YOU.

What are you looking for in a Bible?
Do you want a full page to work on, or just the margins?
Do you need a larger print?
Do you want predrawn pictures?
If so, do you want them precolored or color yourself?
Do you want to be able to build on to those illustrations?
Soft Cover/Hard Cover?

As you can see...there is a LOT to consider! But today, I'm giving you a look at some of these Bible types side by side to help you make the decision that best fits your journaling needs.

Layout Options

Single Column
If I had to choose one favorite, this is probably mine. Personally, I like having just the margin to work with and this is just the right size for me. In addition, I find it extremely readable with the single column layout.

Double Column
As far as margin size, etc... this type of Bible isn't much different at all than the single column, the text is just in two columns rather than one. If you're used to and comfortable with that layout, this would be a great layout to use.

Double Column Bible

Large Print Editions.
If you need a larger font, consider a large print edition. These are also great if you like the idea of margins, but want a little more space to journal in. Because of the larger page sizes, the margins are larger too!

Large Print Inspire Bible

Coloring/Illustrated Bibles.
Not an artist? These can be a great option to give you the fun and relaxation of Bible journaling with predrawn pages for you to color in. My Creative and Inspire are a few great options to check out, both with beautiful fully drawn designs. Notetaking Bible Illustator's Edition is another one, but these tend to be more subtle and would be great to add onto with your own work. For fully colored pictures, you have The Beautiful Word (also available in coloring). Each of these also has additional pages with blank (lined) margin for additional artwork/notes.

Notetaking Bible Illustrator's Edition
The Beautiful Word Bible


Don't want to be confined to the margins? The Interleaved is for you. Next to each full page of text is one full page for your artwork! These Bibles do tend to be much larger than your other journaling Bible options, but definitely open up more options for artwork too!

Interleaved Bible

Cover Types

Soft (Leather-Like) Covers.Personally, this is my go to type of cover. I find the flexible covers allow me to work more easily as the Bibles stay open better, in my opinion.

Hard Covers. 
One of the benefits of the hard covers I've found, is they are easier to make your own. This was a simple canvas hard cover Bible that I embellished with rhinestones to make my own. Aside from that, it's really again a matter of preference.

Leather Cover.
One of the most highly desired Bibles I've seen among journaling Bibles is the leather covered Bible. This is a higher end Bible as far as pricing goes, but it's made beautifully with a leather cover that wraps and ties. It's certainly stunning and a great keepsake, but I did find it a little harder to work on myself with the flap getting in the way on occasion.

Like I said, choosing the right Bible really is all up to YOU and what you want in your Bible... but by knowing the options out there, you can better decide what fits those needs. Find the cover style and layout you like, and chances are you'll be able to find the perfect Bible in your preferred translation too.


Now that you've decided to start journaling and know what to look for in a Bible... what else do you need to get started? I'll be sharing more tips in the future, but today I'm super excited to share a fantastic deal with you!

The Holy Mess has put together an amazing Trust in the Lord Bible Journaling Kit that has everything you need to get started journaling! And starting today through June 26--- it's on sale! Just $18!!!

What's included?

  • Bible Reading Plan
  • Fonts and Doodles :Quotes & doodles to trace or copy in your Bible or notebook.
  • Bible Verse Cards: Bible memory work notecards, also great for artwork practice.
  • Traceable Margin Strips :Trace margin strips in your Journaling Bible or use as bookmarks.
  • Calligraphy Practice Sheets: Practice your hand lettering.
  • Daily Journaling Pages :Pages to journal your thoughts, prayers, gratitude lists, and artwork notes.
  • Bible Journaling Instruction Guide: Step-by-step instructions for how to get started Bible Journaling.

This is a digital download, so you can buy and print... no wait to get started!

AND it doesn't end there! She's having a Facebook party! Come join the fun for more Bible journaling tips and tricks AND some great giveaways too. If you've considered Bible journaling and want to get started...this is the place to be! Head on over now and check it out.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Journaling Beyond the Bible {Alternative Uses for Illustrated Faith Devotional Kits + A Look Inside July's I Am} #IF_IAm #IllustratedFaith

***Kit received as part of the Illustrated Faith Launch Team. Post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

When I head to the mailbox, often it can be filled with a little bit of dread. You know the one I mean, right? The 'what bills are going to come in today? who all is asking money from me NOW?' kind of dread. But every month, I also get that excited anticipation too for the monthly surprises my mailbox holds... like the Illustrated Faith monthly devotional kit! As a launch team blogger, I don't get to see these beforehand so it's always a fun surprise for me that I so look forward to. In fact, in all the product reviews I share and all the posts I write, this is perhaps the thing that I am always MOST excited to share. For those that Bible journal, it's fun too. About the same time each month, I start getting messages filling my inbox: 'do we know who the artist is yet? any sneak peaks?'

Still, I also get a lot of comments from all you non-Bible journalers who love the kits, but well... don't Bible journal. So today, I wanted to share some ways to use these kits to journal outside the Bible. Whether you don't have the extra funds for a journaling Bible or you just prefer not to, here are some alternative ideas:

Different Types of Journaling

Hymnal Journaling. Hymnal journaling is a very similar idea to Bible journaling, but is instead done in a hymnal. There are no margins, so the artwork is generally incorporated into the sheet music itself with stunning results. You can often find hymnals at great prices at thrift stores or may even be able to get one from a local church (as most churches use projectors now). I love that this still allows time with God, and also reintroduces us to some favorite hymns!

Art Journaling. You don't need a journaling Bible to journal your favorite scriptures. Get a plain ol' journal and do your journaling there as you study the devotional. This is a great option for those who love the idea of journaling scripture, but prefer not to write in their Bibles. It's also a very affordable option (especially if you watch for those Dayspring journal sales!). 

Journal IN the Devo. Forget buying an extra journal. Did you know that each devotional has space to write your own thoughts and yes, even some artwork! These will be great to look back on and see easily exactly what inspired you.

Other Ways to Use the Kits.

Okay, technically they are journaling kits, but who says they cannot be used for other things? Here are a few other options.

Card Making. The stamps in these kits would be ideal for creating stunning inspirational cards to share with your loved ones.

Glam Planning. Stamps, washi--- even the die cuts are ideal for decorating your planner! Even the tip in can serve as a great daily reminder AND extra room for notes and to do lists. 

Happy Mail. Happy mail can be anything that you send to brighten someone's day. The tip ins offer a really great happy mail just by themselves, but you can create many fun happy mail pieces with the washi, stamps, die cuts, etc. By using for happy mail, you're passing along some of that mailbox joy to those you gift too! 

As you can see, there are many great ways to put these devotional kits to use, even if you don't bible journal! And this month's beautiful kit I Am is an amazing one to start with! Take a look:

In the Illustrated Faith 'I Am' devotional kit, Melisa Garcia invites you on a two-week journey to dig deeper into knowing Christ.  Join Melisa as she leads you to make room for Christ, to take steps in becoming fearless, to speak truth about who you are in Him, to be patient, to forgive.  "...I learned early on that if I wanted to know who I am, I first must know the great I Am.  You will know who you are when you recognize whose you are. So that is my call to you." —Melisa Garcia

1 plastic pouch
1 devotional booklet
1 clear stamp collection
1 roll of washi tape
1 sheet of cut-out paper pieces
2 cardstock sticker sheets
3 tip-ins
1 magnet
1 thank you card from Shanna

Can you say gorgeous!? These colors are much more subtle than I expected for mid-summer I must admit, but still absoultely stunning. The florals are amazing, and I love the messages found within the devotional. The stamps from this kit may be my favorite so far. Oftentimes, while I love the stamps in each, I find myself wondering how I will use them beyond journaling through the devotional. These I can see using over and over again. 

This kit is now available to purchase at Dayspring!

And I'm also super excited to share that Dayspring has just launched all new cards from Shanna Noel- creater of Illustrated Faith. Be sure to check those out too!

Become A Couponing Expert: Top 10 Extreme Couponing Groups & Pages on Facebook #Dealspotr

When it comes to online communities, the couponing community is one of the largest. Facebook has largely become a hub for like-minded people to come together and create groups, where they can share things they love and interact with others who share this common love.
As far as couponing Facebook groups go, there are groups for all types of bargain hunters. Looking for a large database of deals? What about tips on where to find inserts? Or coupons for a specific store? There are groups for all three, and countless others. Pages are also a popular way for like-minded people to connect and share, and they offer even more ways for Facebook users to locate and get help with coupons
Now, we’re bringing these must-see extreme couponing Facebook groups and pages to you. We’ve come up with 10 of the most helpful and interesting social couponing communities— so get your follow fingers ready to go for these groups and pages.

Extreme Couponing Facebook Groups

The Coupon Boutique
Members: 65.3k

If you’re looking for a generalized coupon group, The Coupon Boutique is for you. There are plenty of members posting very frequently, and most of the deals posted are actually worth trying. The moderator of the group is very responsive, and seems to try to moderate coupons as well as comments and other non-deal posts. If you’re looking for a group with a high volume of deals (we’re talking a deal a minute, sometimes) then The Coupon Boutique is for you.

Target Fanatics
Members: 30.7k

If Target is your go-to store, this is the Facebook group you’ve been waiting for. This group is solely for Target coupons, which the admins are very adamant about. But if you’re into the bullseye and know how to save money there, these are your people. There are a whole group of people who are in charge of this group, and they’ll usually spice up the savings posts with a few memes and fun videos about shopping at Target — a place where money seems to disappear from your wallet quicker than you can say Up & Up.

DG Digitals & Couponing
Members: 27.4k

Another store-specific group, DG Digitals & Couponing, is a group of people who coupon at Dollar General. From sharing the location of an item in-store, to getting help on which products a coupon can be used on, this is a super helpful community for anyone looking to hack savings at Dollar General.

Something seen a lot in this group is someone asking for the best way to use a specific coupon. Then, members will all chime in about how they successfully used each coupon, and what worked for them. It’s a very fast-growing group, and definitely a must-join for any frequent DG shopper.

Freebies and Hot Deals
Members: 20.4k

If freebies are more your thing, this group is focused on finding the free product offers and promotions that you’re looking for. They also have regular coupon deals, so you won’t miss out on saving money either. Many of the posts are written by the group admin Kristy Keuer, who runs her own savings blog at MyMommaTaughtMe.com. But there are also a few other influential couponers who add posts to her wall, like Suzanne of Suzy Saver WNY. Kristy says of the page’s aim:
“We strive to provide only the best deals while promoting the correct way to utilize sales and coupons. I’m always willing to help anyone out with their questions on sales, coupons and policies. We’re working hard to grow a community that helps one another save!”
Joining Freebies and Hot Deals will give you just what it promises — all the freebies and hot deals your heart desires, along with a friendly group to enjoy them with.

Extreme Couponing and Clearance Queens
Members: 9.1k

The part of this group that sets them apart from the others is that they outrightly mention that they support ethical couponing only. While the other groups seem to do so anyway, this is the one group that flat out states it in their about me. And while they call themselves queens, there’s no room for drama in this group — they really stress the idea that this group is a place where newbies can learn to coupon, and do so in a safe environment. After all, there are no stupid questions when it comes to couponing!

Extreme Couponing Facebook Pages

Yes We Coupon
Likes: 1.7M

Based on the website of the same name, the Yes We Coupon Facebook page is one of the most-followed coupon pages on the social media platform. The content is almost identical to that of the blog, but since it’s on Facebook, liking this page will ensure that these updates flow right into your news feed — right between your aunt’s photos of her cat and a high school friend’s latest family photo shoot. Not only is this page full of coupons, but there are always fun prompts to get you to interact with other members and the page administrators.

The Crazy Coupon Chick
Likes: 19.7k

This page has coupons for days, but also the added bonus of Missie, the Crazy Coupon Chick herself, popping up in a lot of the posts. She says:
“I started couponing to save money for my family and decided to share my savings with friends and family. Now I share deals for the grocery stores, drug stores, retail stores and more with all of you. I love helping you save one clip at a time!”
As with most pages connected to blogs, almost all of the posts on this page are taken from the Crazy Coupon Chick site. With this in mind, the amount of coupons actually posted each day is pretty impressive for one person — usually over 50. Occasionally, in the events section of the page, Missie will list any upcoming couponing classes that she’s teaching. If you think you’re crazy about couponing, you’ll feel right at home on this page.

True Couponing
Likes: 212.2k

Kati Kiefer, who runs this page, is another couponing character on Facebook. She frequently posts videos on things like getting your shopping list together and using a coupon cutter correctly, and includes photos of herself in her feed all the time. Not to mention, she offers a good amount of coupons (since she knows what you’re really there for). Because she runs a blog, you’ll also find savings guides to all of your favorite stores like Publix and CVS. There’s a True Couponing group on Facebook as well, but the page should work just fine if you’re looking for coupons and color commentary.

Coupons For Your Family
Likes: 13k

Coupons For Your Family might sound like it’s only geared towards those of you with kiddos at home, with posts about reusable diapers and coupons for Babies R Us. And while these deals do occasionally pop up, there are so many other helpful couponing tips that no matter if you’re in a family of 5 or it’s just you and your fish — you’ll be able to find a useful coupon on this page. Frequent posts include Amazon sale items and lists of drug store freebies. And their motto? “Make a choice. Save more. Live better. BE A STAR!”

Everyone Loves Couponing
Likes: 136.7k

This super popular page is last because it’s somewhat a mix of a page and a group. While the Everyone Loves Couponing will give you all the coupons, deals, and freebies you’re looking for in a page, their claim to fame is also the 9 private groups they run, all focused around couponing. This page is the best of all 9 worlds, coming together to give you the coupons you want — they even have a post asking for store recommendations to make sure they’re giving the fans what they want.


Of course, you can also always check out Dealspotr’s Facebook page to connect with coupon bloggers, find couponing hack guides to stores like Target and Rite Aid, and more. Need an excuse to spend time on social media? Following these groups and pages will let you do so while also saving you money.
Emily Helwig posted this article on the Dealspotr blog.
This post originally appeared on the Dealspotr blog. Dealspotr is the most accurate coupon site that pays you to save. I'm @RandiKaye on Dealspotr, use my link to join today and earn 5,000 bonus points.

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Military Wife's Guide to Surviving Summer Road Trips (with Kids)

Background image created by Whatwolf - Freepik.com

Summer is in full swing, and for many of us, that means summer trips! Maybe you're planning a family vacation, maybe just a shorter day trip to visit family. But either way, summer is another season full of TRAVEL! And if there is one thing our time in the military has taught us...it's how to travel! Specifically... how to road trip!

For the first five years of our marriage, my husband was stationed in California while our families were across the country in Indiana and Illinois. Flying with a family could be quite expensive and inconvenient for everyone, so at least once a year we would find ourselves driving from California to the Midwest- approximately 30 hours on the road (going nonstop)...and did I mention this was with a CHILD! Our son Shaun took his very first cross country road trip at less than five months old. As I said, we KNOW road trips! Our road trips to visit family are now a mere 3.5 hours, but we still put many of the lessons we learned during those longer trips to good use.

Are you planning a summer trip with the family? Whether you're traveling across the country or just a few hours away, I've compiled just a few tips to help you travel while keeping your sanity (and without breaking the bank too!)

Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst.
 Despite all your best efforts to plan the smoothest trip possible, things happen. We've had broken down cars, bad weather, a sick kiddo...not to mention that one time we nearly ended up in Mexico by mistake. Oops! Summer travels are a bit easier as you don't have to worry about icy roads, but do be prepared for any other obstacles that may arise. Pack a few extra outfits more than what you might need (if you're like me, that's NOT a problem!). Keep your phone charged and a charger handy. Chances are, everything will go well...but if they don't, make sure you're covered!

Check the Weather. On that note, check out the weather before heading out. If you can work your travel plans around any upcoming storms, it can be a good idea, but if not, just know ahead of time to be prepared. And find a local radio station to tune into as you go... if things start to look bad, switch it over. You can also have your phone set to warn you of any warning in your current location. On our last trip, we hit a bad storm that made it impossible to see. Thankfully we were able to get to a rest area and wait it out--- if storms are in the forecast, give yourself time.

Pick Your Music Wisely. A good music choice can really make a long drive more bearable. When I'm doing the driving, I prefer my favorite contemporary Christian or some good upbeat 90s pop music. My husband is a big classic rock fan. With the kids, we also like to keep some of their favorites- like Veggie Tales or Frozen on hand!

Entertainment for the Kids. Travel games, coloring books, electronics, small toys...whatever it takes! For our son, it's usually something to watch a movie on...or a portable game system. Let's face it...kids get bored fast, and when you're on a long trip, bored kids will make you lose your sanity quicker than they can utter, 'Are we there yet?'. One great tip that we found helpful was to buy something new just for the trip...with any luck, the newness will keep them occupied longer than the same old toys they've grown accustomed to. It doesn't have to be anything fancy--- just a cheap $5 or so toy (or book) from the bargain sections. Maybe even some printable travel games? 

Quench Your Thirst (& Hunger Too!). Perhaps this goes along with the first tip, but it's such a big one that it deserves being mentioned twice. A small thermal with snacks for the trip is a MUST. Of course, you can always buy along the way, but having made that mistake I can assure you, it's not the best option. First of all, the cost of shopping convenience stores can be a little ridiculous! We can buy the same snacks we could pick up along the way beforehand and pay MUCH less. Second, you never know where you'll be when hunger/thirst hits you. In our experience, it's never when there are gas stations and restaurants galore, but when you're on the long stretches with nothing in sight. Of course!! I typically take along a small thermal with ice packs, drinks and simple snacks.

Dress Comfortably. The last thing you want when you're on a long trip is to be uncomfortable, and clothes can play a large role in that. Where clothes that you are comfortable in (and dress your kids the same)... both in movement AND temperature wise! For my son, that's usually basketball shorts and a tee. My daughter and myself tend to stick with our LuLaRoe. If we're going somewhere where we need to dress a little nicer, we will change once there! 

Road trips with the family are always a little unpredictable, but with these tips you should be a little better prepared for whatever the road sends your way.

Are you planning a summer road trip? Where are you heading to? Road trip expert? Share your tips in the comments.