April 16, 2014


La Familia Conover will soon embark on our annual voyage-by-car to the great state of New Jersey. And after much consideration – including playing out a myriad of “what if” scenarios in my mind, these are the exact items we’ll have on board so as to evade any meltdowns or mishaps. That said, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being a bit nervous about this adventure. Yes, I think I’ve got all the bases covered. But, still, God help us…

1.       Diono Radian RXT Daytona Convertible Car Seat: A bit pricy, yes, but I believe this to be the best run for your money, considering a child can go through at least two car seat stages during childhood. This seat goes from rear-facing, to forward-facing, to booster, and is a cinch to install. It is the only car seat our kids will ever need. albeebaby.com; $269.00

2.       100% Cashmere Pullover: You know how I feel about my cashmere sweaters. We’ll be driving through the night and I find these sweaters to be more versatile and comfortable than a jacket. I’ve ordered a few more just to take on this trip – inexpensive ones from eBay so that if they incur a few snarls or snags along the way, I won’t be too upset. I bought this one by Charter Club new with tags for under $20 from a New York clothing wholesaler. eBay; $16.99

3.       Saucony Hattori Running Shoe: The lightest running shoe I’ve ever worn. (They wash well in the machine, too.) Plus, they are slip-ons with an easy-peasy Velcro closure, so I’ll be able to take them off easily when I get in the car, and then put them back on again with ease when we make pit stops. If you care to order a pair, just know that they run small. amazon.com; $69.95

4.       Sleep mask: I can’t get shut-eye – in a bed or a car – without it. Marshalls; $4.99

5.       Sony Portable DVD player: I bought this dinosaur back in 2007 as a wedding present for Scott. But since it’s still ticking, we’ll be taking it with us. Best Buy

6.       Dr. Seuss - How the Grinch Stole Christmas DVD (1966): Scotty watches it All. Year. Round. It’s the gift that keeps on giving in this house. And no disrespect to Jim Carey, but only the original will do. amazon.com; $11.67

7.       Infantino Rory the Loveable Lion Linkable Toy: This is Kennedy’s homegirl. walmart.com; $13.99

8.       Zoo Animal Character Bubble Bottles: The best cheapo bubbles around – and the fact that they are the size of a box of Tic-Tacs makes this a genius invention. orientaltrading.com; $5 per dozen                                                              

9.       Super WHY! – Jack and the Beanstalk (in paperback): Because morning is not morning without Super WHY!. amazon.com; $7.99

10.   Louis Vuitton Batignolles Horizontal: I used to carry this bag during my suit-and-heels career days. Now it is stuffed with broken crayons and miniature canisters of Play-Doh. It is one of the most functional totes Louis Vuitton ever made. Too bad it has since been discontinued. Louis Vuitton; $795

11.   Oakley Gascan Sunglasses: Only the best for Scott, our trip’s captain. zappos.com; $100

12.   Mind Power by John Kehoe: Perhaps the book that has had the most influence on my adult life. I re-read it at least once every year. amazon.com; $10.68

13.   Vogue: Maybe if I skim through this before we stop off at McDonald’s, I’ll have the necessary willpower to not order a large fry. Where magazines are sold; $4.99

14.   Peekaboo Bedtime by Rachel Isadora: The kids and I love anything by Rachel Isadora, and this is one of her best works. amazon.com; $5.99

15.   Bruce Springsteen’s Greatest Hits CD: An obvious choice, seeing as though Scott and The Boss Man share the same hometown and attended the same high school. amazon.com; $9.99

16.   Double-sided Fleece Tie Blanket: With a University of Michigan print on one side, and a Purdue University print on the other, this blanket represents both Scott and my alma maters and was made by hand by one of my yoga students in celebration of Kennedy’s birth. (Thank you, Lisa!)

17.   Yo Gabba Gabba Music Is Awesome CD: 21 earworms. On one CD. amazon.com; $12.09

18.   Rapper’s Delight by SugarHill Gang (1979) CD: The holy grail of clean, classic rap. amazon.com; $10.39

19.   Twizzlers Strawberry Twists: These will be gone by the time we hit the Ohio Turnpike. walmart.com; $3.48

20.   Michigan apples: To mitigate the damage (at least somewhat) of #19.

21.   Fuhu Nabi Jr. (Not pictured): I can’t believe I neglected to include this in the collage above because This Little Tablet That Could has the ability to soothe the savage beast that is a tired and irritable two-year-old. Scotty loves this thing. (Thanks, Grandma!) amazon.com; $149.99

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  1. The bubbles would entertain me for hours! I am very impressed you can sleep in the car. Mask or not, there is no sleeping for this girl whether I am traveling by planes, trains, or automobiles!

    1. Mornin', Susie! Yeah, well, sleeping while in motion doesn't necessarily come easily to me, but I don't have a snowball's chance in you-know-where unless I'm wearing this mask. And I am so very sleep-deprived that, frankly, I'll steal sleep anywhere I can these days.

      Kennedy is popping her first tooth. Guess how many times I got up last night? Every. Two. Hours.

      Oh, yeah, Mama will be catching some serious Zzzzzzs on this trip. ;-)

  2. Brilliant. Gone are the days of just getting in the car and going are gine. PS more stuff I s needed as they get older. Good luck.... Enjoy!!!

    1. More stuff as they get older? Ray, you just keep dashing my hopes. MORE STUFF? Big sigh.

      At the rate we're going, we'll have to rent one of those party buses for future Jersey voyages.

      Fun times. :-/

  3. I said a hip hop a hippie to the hippie, the hip, hip hop you don't stop... Wait, I meant to leave a comment not rap for you. Bubbles for the car are genius! Kiernan loves when I blow them above her at home -- I bet she'd love them in the car too :)

    1. Break it down, Sara!! I was nodding along as I read your comment. (I just slapped you a virtual high five.) lol

      These bubbles are AWESOME. And effective, as far as cheap bubbles go. (We haven't had such good success with cheapo dollar store bubbles, so I was super surprised at the performance of these when I encountered them at a party Scott was invited to...

      Oh, and speaking of music, guess what The Hubs just pulled up on YouTube? You'll never guess, so I'll tell you: "Pour Some Sugar on Me" by Def Leopard. He's going down Memory Lane again, reliving the songs of his 80's youth. lol

  4. Courtney, you've totally got me trolling e-bay for cashmere now. I'll let you know if I find something! Actually, I've found a couple of things, but haven't purchased yet, because I want them to arrive in GOOD condition. I'll have to be brave one of these days.

    Love this post; super fun idea! And those running shoes are cute and a steal!

    Not that you need any more ideas, because you look like you're set for your trip and this takes a wee bit of coordinating, but when we moved across country from MN to FL when my girls were 4 and 6, I took along gift bags with little toys/treats in them that they could open as we got to each state. Each bag had a the shape and name of the state on in and when we crossed the border they could open one. I put little things in like books on tape (yes, tape back then!), stamps and post-it notes, snacks, etc. Something new to keep them interested for a while. This was before cars came with DVD players, so it really helped! Not that we have a DVD player in our car now, but my mom did give us a portable one that we have since used from time to time.

    In any event, have a wonderful trip! :)

    1. Thank you so, SO much for these lovely ideas. (I have definitely filed them away for future reference!) S and K aren't quite there yet with regard to recognizing when we cross borders -- and we'll actually be driving through the night, so when we pass through OH and PA, they will (hopefully) be sleeping, and if they're not, it'll be dark so they won't be able to see anything, anyhow...

      But guess what? I've got a ton of little snacks for S that I didn't include in this post that will absolutely knock his socks off! IF he behaves and earns them. lol

      And about the cashmere. It would be my pleasure to look for you -- and if I wasn't tied up in preparation for this trip, I would totally look for you. (In fact, I'll still do that when I get back, if you want; just give me your size/color preference. Trust me, I know exactly what to search for. ;-)

      Let me know what you find!!!

  5. Great post Courtney! Enjoy your time in New Jersey!

    1. Thank you, Louida! We still have a few days yet before we take off.

      It seems like I've been packing for this trip since the Fourth of July. :-/

  6. I have to second the SONY portable DVD player. I got one 3 years ago and it has been used over and over and over. It has been stepped on, slimed on, dropped, stood on and more and that thing just keeps going. Good luck on your trip - it sounds like you are prepared. I'd love to see your post when you get back called 'what i forgot to pack..." Cheers!

    1. Okay, Susan, you do know how cruel it is to even suggest to The Universe that there may be a future post which exposes my forgetful tendencies while packing? lol

      But, seriously, your comment was like a ginormous finger with a bow-tie on it: It led me to remember to pack my neck pillow, an umbrella, and my arch inserts for my lambskin Minnetonka driving loafers. (Those things are lovely but leave much to be desired in the way of support.) :-/

  7. Love this post!!! I live on the Sony portable DVD player! Even if it is a 30 minute ride or a 6-hour ride, that thing is plugged in and my son is watching his favorite shows. My son is a SERIOUS backseat driver (turn that way mommy, you have to stop, what color is that, where are we going, can I have French fries) and the DVD player has given me some semblance of peace in a potential world of frustration.

    You have an amazing list here! Hope it all works out! Wishing you the best!
    Thanks so much for sharing on Turn It Up Tuesday! We love having you! :)

    1. Thanks, Natasha, I'll take your well-wishes because I am not too proud to admit that I will need them.

      We haven't even set sail yet, and already I can see that traveling with a 6 month-old and two-year-old makes this an all-hands-on-deck situation...

      Thank you for your kind words! We LOVE being a part of #TIUT!!!

  8. We watch Super Why on Netflix! It's an awesome show. We're in the market for a new car seat, I'll have to check this one out!

    1. Hi, April! This is actually a book -- it's available in paperback, but we have the hardbound version because my son would tear it up otherwise...

      I LOVE the Diono Radian. We have two. Pricey, yes, but, again well worth it -- especially when you consider their excellent safety ratings and the fact that one seat will last through each child's stages -- from birth and beyond.

      Thank you for commenting!