Traveling with Kids

???????????????????????????????Before we tell you some of our recent travel stories with all of you, I wanted to share some tips from our friends. (We’ll share our tips later on.) Norm has traveled internationally with his family, with high school choir, and with the San Francisco Boys Chorus, but this was my first time, as well as the girls’ first time, leaving the country. And we had only ever traveled short distances from home – two-hour plane ride to Seattle and nine-hour road trip to Southern California. Not only were we headed out of the country, but we were headed toward a whole different hemisphere, season, and day! While it is winter for us in California, it is summer in Australia, and they are 19 whole hours ahead of us. Luckily, we were having a layover in Hawaii, which also saved us hundreds of dollars. We only have to deal with a five-hour flight to Honolulu, and then a ten-hour flight to Sydney.

Have you traveled internationally with kids before? What are some of your top tips for traveling with kids? My friend Kat has a great podcast episode about travel.

I will tell you more later, but here’s the tips!

  • I haven’t done international, but lots of cross-country flights: pack an outfit for everyone in your carry-on. I was puked on at the beginning of a long flight and could change the kid, but not me. – AB
  • What airline are you flying? Qantas treats you well and will provide you with food and a little “comfort kit” while flying – an eye mask, a little pouch to put things in, socks I think, plenty of water. Just bring any small lap activity or book that the girls will like. You and they will be bored, but it is worth it! Definitely pack a change of clothes for everyone, and wear layers so you’ll be comfy no matter the temperature on the plane. Australia is very casual – so whatever you wear in the summer here will work. Be sure to bring your togs! Sunscreen can easily be bought there. I have no advice for jetlag except to power through it and don’t plan too much the first few days. – CM
  • I haven’t done international but plenty of cross-country. Send one parent first with as much carry-ons as possible so he/she can everything situated and the other parent can board last with the kids. Get special kid headphones for the kids. They are perfectly sized and have volume control. Pack a special carry-on for each kid with activities, special snacks, books, extra clothes, and any loveys or blankets for sleeping. Load new apps and videos onto your smartphone or tablet. Bring kids pain reliever on the plane just in case. Have fun! Sounds like it will be quite a fun adventure. Not sure if you will need this since your kids are older but I make P wear a Pull-up even though she is potty trained because once we were stuck in turbulence for almost 2 hours and the poor thing couldn’t hold it. – WF
  • If you plan on traveling separately, make sure that you have document stating that your spouse is aware of it and make sure it’s notarized. You also need to have copies of your spouse travel itinerary and hotel information. So when they ask, you will be well prepared and won’t be ask into another room for questioning. – CL
  • We’ve been traveling a lot with Nathan, then later with Kaitlyn. All I can tell you right now is to always bring all kinds of medicine with you (well, we usually traveled in countries like Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Kyrgyzstan and such). It’s important to have it with you in your carry-on. Bring extra presents for your relatives just in case. I don’t think you will have a hard time traveling with your daughters (they are older and wiser). As for jetlag, just try to sleep as much as you can while flying, sleep even if you know it’s daytime where you came from. Open all windows to your hotel room and let the sunshine in. The sun usually forces your body to wake up. But if the kids are too tired, let them get as much rest as they can, just do little at first until they are sort of adjusted to the time difference. Oh, force yourselves to eat according to your destination’s time frame. Say, eat dinner even if it’s breakfast time here in the US.  – HJ
  • Get a headphone splitter so everyone can watch the same DVD. You can borrow the one we took to Europe. Big battery gizmo to recharge your iDevices without a plug. Anker is a good brand. – JW
  • Bring snacks that the kids like – nothing fresh that will be confiscated. – BD
  • Pack outfits in Ziploc bags. If you can find 2 gallon size they’re ideal. Pants, shirt, panties, whatever you need. Easy to grab and keep track of. – CK

More to come later!! :)

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Books I’ve Read {January Update}

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I am going to try to remember to give updates on what I am reading, so I can keep to my book list for the year. If I miss an updates, please give me a reminder. :)

I’m so glad I started the year with these books! They’re all sooo good, and just what I needed to help me get a clearer vision (and clearer home!) for 2015.

IMG_0578Clutter Free by Kathi Lipp – I honest to goodness thought that I would read the book and just share with everyone that it was released (because I’m a serial declutter-er already), but y’all, there is some good stuff in this book. I met Kathi when she came to speak at our MOPS meetings in the past 2 years, and I love that she is honest, authentic, and funny. She speaks truth. I have read a few books on this same topic, but none seem to address it from the point of view that Kathi does. It has helped me to take a good look at the ‘why’ behind the clutter, and given me peace when passing an item on. If it is not something I need, want, or love, it has got to go.

31 Days to Clean by Sarah Mae – Cleaning is the next natural step after decluttering, right? This is a re-read for me, but a first read of the revised edition. Another awesome book with Scripture to help me make my house a home. Sarah helps us to see our home from the Mary and Martha perspectives. “Before the cleaning and the day and all its troubles get a hold of you, I’m encouraging you to get a hold of Him.” And this is exactly what she does in 31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha House the Mary Way. I’m still working through the challenges.

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine – This is another re-read for me. The first time through last year, I just read it through quickly, but this time, I took each day to complete the little assignments Crystal has in each chapter, and really making it practical and applicable to my real life. I love goal setting, but I’m pretty bad at being intentional to take action on those goals.

Looking forward to reading these books in February. Anyone else want to join me?

IMG_0580Mindset for Moms by Jamie Martin
Happy Habits for Every Couple by Roger and Kathi Lipp
EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey – bits and pieces
Plus another book…probably a fiction…

Have you read any good books this month?Book List 2015To check out the books on my book list, you can READ THIS POST or visit our Amazon store.

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What We’re Eating: Cobb Salad

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We’ve been using Plan to Eat to do our meal planning recently. It has been awesome! My favorite thing is that I can see which recipes are frequently used, so I know everyone likes it. It is super easy to input recipes, too. My friend Kat has a Meal Planning Boot Camp which will help you avoid stress when anyone asks, “What’s for dinner?” Norm put cobb salad on the plan yesterday. Sure, you just cut up stuff and put it on the plate, but I would usually just put all the ingredients into bowls and then toss. Inspired by Pioneer Woman’s blog post with her cobb salad, I did this…

I only had 2 greens on hand, no chives or green onions around, and I used prepared chicken strips instead of making my own. I added olives at the end. I don’t know many people who like blue cheese, so of course, the girls got shredded cheese and dressing of their choice – ranch dressing for Emily and poppy seed dressing for Melody.

Norm found a good way to remember what ingredients goes in a cobb salad.

E = eggs
A = avocados
T = tomatoes

C = chicken
O = olives
B = bacon
B = blue cheese

Probably a given, but this is a recipe that is super easy to prep ahead of time if you don’t have a lot of time to prep before the meal.

Thumbs up all around!

– Joyce

Click on the link to view more of WHAT WE’RE EATING

COBB SALAD recipe from Pioneer Woman with changes

Total time: It took me about an hour only because I kept stopping to reply to emails. That, and I was trying to figure out if I wanted to try making blue cheese dressing. :p
Serves: 8


  • Grilled chicken strips, diced (from Trader Joe’s)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • Butter lettuce, chopped
  • Plus other lettuce of your choice (we only had the above 2 kinds on hand)
  • 6 whole hardboiled eggs, peeled and sliced
  • 1 pound thin bacon, fried until crisp
  • 8 oz red grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 avocados, removed from skin and diced
  • 1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Blue cheese dressing, or any dressing
  1. Prepare all ingredients above as instructed.
  2. Arrange the three types of greens in a large bowl or on a large platter in three separate sections.
  3. Arrange eggs, bacon, tomatoes, and avocados in different piles.
  4. Pile the blue cheese crumbles in the center and sprinkle the whole salad with a little black pepper.
  5. Serve with blue cheese dressing!

BLUE CHEESE DRESSING recipe from Pioneer Woman with changes

Total time: 5 minutes
Serves: 12


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup homemade buttermilk*
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 oz blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, and Worcestershire until smooth.
  2. Stir in blue cheese crumbles, salt, and pepper. Taste and add more seasoning if needed.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Flavors deepen as it chills!

20150127_182934*I didn’t have buttermilk on hand, so I used 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 tablespoon vinegar. I later realized that I did have some cream from when I made broccoli cheese soup last week. It still turned out decent, but a little milky.
*Bold instructions can be done by younger kids.

Here’s how my salad compared to Ree’s. I still need to work on presentation and photography. Any food bloggers reading this? :p

IMG_20150127_191623Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

Homeschool Supplies We Love and Use Daily

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homeschoolstuffI was inspired by Jolante at Homeschool Creations to create a homeschool supplies favorites list. Photos courtesy of the 7-year-old. :)

Expo 2 Low-Odor Dry Erase Marker Set, Chisel Tip, 16-Piece, Assorted Colors – All the pretty colors! :) We have a set of the thin ones too…for all our dry erase needs.
???????????????????????????????Prismacolor Magic Rub Vinyl Drafting Erasers, 12-Pack – They are by far cutesy, but they work great!! The girls do have a few penguin or heart shaped erasers, but nothing compares to the Magic Rub ones.
???????????????????????????????Lakeshore Count Up & Count Down Digital Timer – Love this! Sometimes I just wanted to get things done, but I know the girls need a break, so the timer helps us to know when to take one!! We also use it for math drills, or how much screen time they have (I should do this for my own screen time!). I also use it for cooking even though we have a timer on our ovens. It is magnetic, too. I’m going to read more on the Pomodoro technique.
???????????????????????????????Post-It – We use it for checklists and as bookmarks to keep our spot in workbooks. Also, great for reminders (as long as I remember who I put the notes. :p
???????????????????????????????Fiskars 5 Inch Classic Blunt Tip Kids Scissors – I like the blunt tip on these scissors. I think if you are getting your first crate with a Kiwi Crate subscription, you get a pair of these in the crate too. Only $10 using THIS LINK.
???????????????????????????????Ticonderoga pencils and sharpener – There’s bound to be a bad pencil in the bunch, but these have always been longer lasting than any pencils with designs on them.
Lakeshore Best-Buy Washable Fine-Tip Markers broad tip and fine tip
???????????????????????????????Crayola Twistable Colored Pencils, 12 count – Our favorites are actually a set of My Melody twistable pencils, but I figure these are easier to find. :p
???????????????????????????????Lakeshore Glue Sticks
???????????????????????????????What are some of your homeschool essentials for everyday?

Book List 2015

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Sooo…last year, I didn’t do a good job of updating you on the books I read. I lost track myself. :p But I have a little more accountability this year, so hopefully, I will share my thoughts on some of them. You will notice that there are some that are repeats from last year. It wasn’t that I didn’t read them. I did! And I really liked them, and I want to implement some of what I learned from them. What books do you have on your Books-to-read list for this year? Are you more of a nonfiction or fiction reader?Book List 2015I will updated as the year goes on.
Italicized = currently reading,
Bold = done reading

Some others that I also want to read…if I were honest, this list would be a thousand times longer than this, but that’s not realistic. :p

21-Day Clutter Free Challenge {Day 12}

My Un-Cluttered Thoughts

I think it was February of last year when the local consignment store closed. My friends were all frustrated that there wasn’t any place in town to consign their stuff. I didn’t consign stuff, or have yard sales, or anything like that (I just like to give stuff away), but I was hoping to find a solution to my friends’ problem. So, this is not typical of me, but I had posted a few things onto my own Facebook timeline a few months before that, and people seemed to like the idea of how easy it was to just post and have someone buy or take an item. I started an online swap/sell group. And I am amazed at this community that is now almost 450 members. People are able to sell their stuff and earn a little money, others are able to give away items (sometimes brand new with tags), and still others who are searching for items are able to get them at a low price or sometimes free! And we have used it to raise funds for charity. It is just an awesome place. If you are on social media, you will probably find a similar group near you.

Here’s my post from IG (photo above):

Gearing up to my final 3 (more challenging) rooms but working on one more easy area…the living room which stays pretty clutter free most of the time. Stay tuned for an update soon. #clutterfree #themoysdeclutter

Clutter Free Challenges

One of our challenges today is to declutter the pantry. This is a black hole at our house. Our pantry is just another one of our cabinets with all the extras. Along with not being able to cook well from the freezer and microwave, I am also not great at cooking things from a can. hahaha! Now you’re wondering if I can even cook at all. :p Well, Trader Joe’s has been really good to us… Okay, I will need to start posting What We’re Eating posts again soon. Anyhow, this is one place where clutter does pile up, so I need to be careful with what goes in, and knowing the dates of when things need to go out.


We are more than halfway through the challenge. How is it going for you? How many things have you declutter? How do you feel as the clutter starts to leave your home.

Follow me on Instagram (@iamjoymoy) to see pic updates of our progress.

Related Posts:
Clutter Free in 2015
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5
Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10
Day 11