Surviving the Family Road Trip

Family vacations don't have to be super stressful. In fact they can actually be fun!

ROAD

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” — Henry Miller

It’s spring break season and for many of us that means it’s time for a family road trip. Whether you’re packing up the mini-van and heading cross country to visit Grandma and Grandpa or finally taking that trip to Hawaii, traveling with little ones can be a challenge. To keep them from shouting, “Are we there yet?” every two minutes and actually using travel time to bond with your family, we’ve asked some of our road trip all-stars how they make it work.

Jill – San Diego

2 kids ages 10 and 13

Off-Road Adventure

 ”We took a two day road trip to Baja, Mexico, it was off-road for most of it! Six months later we did two and half days of airport travel from San Diego to Montevideo, Uruguay!”

Surf’s up!
“I actually believe kids need to know how to feel bored, and overcome it on their own. However, I put a big box between them of books, pens, paper, etc., and we listen to music, talk, play “old school” travel games…and sometimes….GASP…feel bored! In our family you aren’t allowed to use the word ‘bored’ because my husband says, ‘only boring people get bored.’”

 

Heather – Fishers, Indiana
4 kids – Kaitlyn (8), Sadie (6), Porter (4), and Logan (16 months)

Bag of Tricks

“We went 1,500 miles in three days once for a family reunion. I packed a Mary Poppins bag to take in the car. I bought two huge reusable bags and filled them with all kinds of activities — in gallon-sized Ziploc bags — to pull out every couple of hours!”

Heather’s ‘Mary Poppins’ Bag of Fun:


- dry erase board and dry erase markers
- pipe cleaners & instruction book
- chalk and construction paper
- Bingo sheets w/ stickers to mark them
- brand-new spiral notebook and crayons/colored pencils
- mazes, dot-to-dots
- joke books
- new coloring book & crayons
- “how to draw” books & blank paper
- books
- Custom CD mixes
- Portioned out snacks (goldfish, granola bars, juice boxes, suckers, etc.)

Tara — Atlanta, Georgia
3 kids ages 2,7 and 8

 

 

American Idol Car Edition

“To keep everyone entertained I sing. I’ll sing Lionel Richie, Green Day, Coldplay, Katy Perry, cartoon theme songs, show tunes — even The Brady Bunch! The kids like to ask questions about whether or not the song is ‘old people’s music.’ It works every time!

Shannon — Frederick, Maryland

3 kids ages 5, 7, and 10

Making Something Old New Again

“I pack each of the kids a bag of things that I have either purchased for the trip or things from the house that I don’t think they have played with in quite some time.  These include books from under their beds, games from the basement closet, a few easy crafts that I find in the dollar bins, snacks and drinks, car game books that I make from online printables and magazines to cut up.  They also LOVE to write on index cards so I buy a pack or two for them to use.”

Under $30 – Easter Brunch for 8

Don’t let Easter brunch take a bite out of your budget

Easter Brunch for Under $30

There are endless wallet-friendly recipes you could make for Easter brunch, and the most befitting ingredient is obviously eggs. You need a solid meal between tearing through the Easter egg baskets and waiting for the Easter egg hunt to begin. Have some fun by making dishes that the kids can pitch in with, but keep the cleanup minimal by going for a “one pot” approach. Forget made-to-order eggs, here is an easy family-style brunch for under $30.

The Main Dish: Egg & Chorizo (or Soyrizo) Casserole

Cost of ingredients: $12

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 12 oz chorizo or Soyrizo, crumbled
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 3 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 12 oz pre-shredded hash browns
  • 1 small container of sour cream
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat eggs in large bowl and combine with bell pepper (or any vegetable you like), milk, pepper jack cheese and Soyrizo or chorizo. (Soyrizo is a delicious vegetarian alternative to chorizo available at all Trader Joe’s for about $4.) Evenly scatter hash browns in bottom of greased 9×13-inch rectangular casserole dish and pour egg mixture over them. Bake for 45 minutes until eggs are set and sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese on top. Bake for additional 15 minutes or until cheese has melted. Great garnished with a dollop of sour cream or your favorite hot sauce. You’ll love the crispy potato crust on the bottom.

Something Sweet: Ooey Gooey Monkey … err … Bunny Bread

Cost of ingredients: $10

  • 2 cans of pre-made buttermilk biscuits
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour the granulated sugar and cinnamon into a large bowl and remove the biscuit dough from the cans. Separate each biscuit into four pieces and roll into balls (this is a great job for the kids). Place all of the dough balls in the bowl and use your hands to coat them in sugar. Add more granulated sugar if necessary. Arrange the dough balls and pecans in a greased Bundt pan, making sure nuts are evenly distributed. Combine melted butter and brown sugar in a bowl and pour mixture over the dough. Bake for 30 minutes and let cool. Remove from pan and place in center of table. Kids have so much fun pulling apart the sticky sweet monkey bread.

*This meal is about 8 adult servings.

TIp: Use your remaining budget to buy some fresh fruit to slice up, or sneak a bottle of champagne for the grownups!

 

 

 

The Candy-Free Easter Egg Hunt

Avoid extra hyper kiddos and sugar surges with these tips for a sweet tooth free good time!

Easter

Sometimes it feels like the holidays have become synonymous with candy. Every month there’s a new celebration that leaves your overflowing pantry with chocolates, lollipops, and other irresistible treats. With Easter Sunday comes jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, and Cadbury eggs (not to mention Grandma’s famous sugar cookies)!

Our Indiana-based District Consultant Heather has some great ideas on keeping the cavities at bay, but still keeping the festivities fun during your family’s annual Easter egg hunt.

“I color-code some of the eggs so each child gets their designated surprises,” she explains. “ For example, my daughter Kaitlyn gets to find all of the purple eggs this year!”

This tactic helps keep things fair on the playing field and lets you plan out appropriate surprises for each age group.

Trying to cut out some of the sugar-crashes and chocolate smudges this year? Well just say “no” to the traditional Bunny delivery, and say “hello” to candy-free Easter egg hunt. Here are some fun, non-candy items to hide inside plastic Easter eggs for all ages. Bonus tip: Have your kids help decorate the plastic eggs with colorful markers or puff paint before you stuff them with goodies.

For Baby Hunters under the age of 3:
- Goldfish
- Cheerios/Fruit Loops
- Animal Crackers
- Mini-plush animals

For Little Bunnies ages 3-6:
- Pennies and coins
- Bouncy balls
- Puzzle pieces hidden among a bunch of different eggs
- Stickers
- Character Band-Aids
- Play-Doh
- Mini bubble bottles

For Big Kids:
- Lego pieces
- Hair accessories
- Jewelry
- Dollar bills
- Inflatable beach balls
- Temporary tattoos
- Gum

For everyone:
- Family coupons which can be redeemed for bigger prizes (like a family night out to the movies, a book, or a Barbie)
- Real eggs – Hard boil and decorate some real eggs the night before and have everyone help paint them. The kids will love finding the eggs they helped decorate.

What non-candy items do you plan on including in your Easter egg hunt this year? Let us know.

Fun With Peeps

Orange County District Consultant Stephanie shares three great arts and crafts projects using Peeps

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A note from Stephanie: Peeps are the delicious and absolutely adorable marshmallow candies! You’ll be thrilled to create these easy crafts with your kids. I have surrounded my home with these tasty delights and I actually enjoy Peeps even more once they’ve sat out for a while, rather than fresh out of the box!

Peep Wine Charms

  • Tie a colorful string or thin ribbon onto the middle of a toothpick and insert through the center of a Peep chick or bunny.
  • Pull string through to the other side and tie a bow around the base of a wine or champagne glass.
  • Choose different shapes and colors for the most variety, depending on how many guests you will be entertaining.
  • Keep your eye on your Peep charm during your special celebration and never lose your glass!

Easter Tree decorated with Yellow Peeps

  • Find some dried branches on the ground around your neighborhood, or your own backyard.
  • Spray paint and let dry overnight, or keep au natural.
  • Arrange branches in a tall vase.
  • Prop colorful Peeps on the branches and decorate the table for added festive flair.

Peep Straws

  • Grab a box of Peep chicks or bunnies and insert a festive plastic straw through the center of the Peep – then wipe the straw clean with a damp paper towel.
  • Decorate your favorite plastic cups with these playful straws and set the kids table for sweet fun!

About Stephanie:

Stephanie is a Huntington Beach native and mother of two. She enjoys jazz music, wine, food, writing, reading, good times, and anything creative. 

Celebrate on Pinterest with Plum District!

Now we're sharing our inspirations on Pinterest too

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We decided at Plum District that it was time for us to get in on the action at Pinterest. This week we are kicking off our Celebrations theme on plumdistrict.com – great local offers that will help you plan any event. Our mom salesforce are now not only bringing you the best deals,  but now they are sharing their online finds and creativity. Check out our party inspiration boards to find ideas for boys’ and girls’ birthday parties, gifts, adult dinner parties, and more!

Plum District Announces Friday Fundraisers

We are giving back 10% of deals to organizations in your community

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As a mom of three kids, I know first hand how important Moms are in the community – especially when it comes to fundraising for all of the organizations our kids and families are involved with.  Moms are the glue that holds communities together.

I also know that being able to multi task is key to my survival.  Now Plum District is offering me an opportunity to not only treat myself, with great products and inspirations I want, but an easy way to give back to my local community.

Coming soon, every Friday Plum District local markets are going to feature amazing deals at local businesses that give 10% of the net proceeds to a school, non-profit, or organization in your local community.

It’s easy for you to participate –as a mom, business, or organization. If you are interested in getting involved just email us at fundraising@plumdistrict.net and we will put you in touch with a District Consultant in your local market that will help pair your organization with a local business (or vice versa). She will even provide you the tools needed to spread the word about the fundraising effort!

Our goal at Plum District is to make Mom’s day by offering great values for you and your family.  And now we are helping you make the day for those in your community!

A Note from Megan Gardner Regarding Digital Doorstep

As many of you know, Digital Doorstep, our merchant for our recent Starbucks/Fandango offer, had technical complications with providing e-gift card codes for Plum District customers. I want to start by apologizing for any inconvenience or disappointment this has caused you. Plum District’s goal as a company, and mine as CEO, is to always “Make Mom’s Day.” Clearly this offer has fallen short for our customers, and for that I am sincerely sorry.

As a result, we have worked tirelessly with the Digital Doorstep team to resolve the problem and we are relieved to report that there is a resolution. As of this evening, Digital Doorstep has assured us that all codes that have not yet been redeemed should be working now. This includes the codes that showed an “invalid code” error message or showed “already redeemed” when they were not. We have tested codes to verify this is in fact true. You should receive your e-gift cards as promised. We ask that if you are still experiencing an issue with your code, please contact help@plumdistrict.com so we can report any outstanding code issues to Digital Doorstep and provide you with a quick resolution.

We realize this is an inconvenience for our customers and for that we sincerely apologize. We have learned through this experience that we need to better qualify our merchant partners to ensure their ability to fully deliver a customer experience that meets our standards. At Plum District, we truly strive to delight each and every one of our customers. We take it personally when we do not meet that standard. It is our commitment to you that we will continue to strive to bring you great offers every day.

Sincerely,
Megan Gardner
CEO, Plum District

Plum District’s Solution to Last Minute Shopping – Print n’ Go Gifts!

Last minute shopping has never been so easy

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The hustle and bustle of the holidays has a certain charm, but it can also be annoying … finding a decent parking spot at the mall … wedging your way through isles at Target … waiting outside a store at 4am to get that in-demand gift … and finally running to Walgreens at midnight on Christmas Eve because you ran out of tape while wrapping the stocking stuffers. Oh, and who can forget that pesky budget you promised to stick to, but somehow those dollars just don’t go far enough.

Plum District gets it, because we have all been there. Our lists our expanding, our budgets are tightening, and the mall is just not seeming all that appealing when you have to load and unload three kids. So we present you with our solution to last minute shopping on a budget - Print n’ Go gifts! We are totally serious – just pick out a local experience, an online deal, or a much needed vacay, and 3 clicks later you can print out a giftable voucher. Stick your voucher in an envelope, attach a bow, and you are good to go! You look like a total champ, gave someone twice the value of what you spent, saved a bundle doing it, and never had to leave the house. Take that Santa!

Our challenge to you – shop last minute … it’s easy!

Check out this adorable comic strip series that Colleen from the Web Production team created!

By Colleen Smith