Okay, first is this excellent universal packing list. It was very useful and it did actually help me remember several things that I would have otherwise forgotten.
Next is this "Are we there yet?" progress bar. The original idea called for some string or a ribbon strung across the inside of the car and used a clothespin, but I used an adhesive road tape similar to this one instead, with a car that I cut out with my Cricut machine and laminated, then stuck it on the road with a rolled up piece of packing tape on the back. I moved the car along the road as we traveled, so the boys could see how far we'd gone and how far we had to go. I used it on the way back home too. It definitely helped put the distance in perspective for them.
Another Pinterest idea I used was to make these super simple tray tables for the kids out of $5 cookie sheets from Walmart and some velcro (illustrated instructions can be found here). The boys really dug them, but I must offer a disclaimer: when they get tired of them and take them off and drop them onto the floor, they make such a loud bang that you will think another car has crashed into yours and you will have a mini heart attack. Every. Single. Time. But they were perfect for eating, coloring, magnet play, etc.
Finally, I used this idea to make little goody bags to pass out every so often as we traveled. I filled them with simple things like a hot wheels car, a magic ink coloring pad, a prism, etc. The original pin said, "To keep the kids happy in the car, create mystery bags to be given to them about each hour or two. They get a map with each city marked, and they have to follow the route and ask for the bag when we get to that city. Bags are filled with snacks and small toys and games." I didn't do the map part, I just gave them one whenever they were getting cranky or overly wound up; I would just announce, "Guess what time it is?!" and they would gleefully reply, "Time to choose another bag! Yaay!" and peace would be restored.
And since I am sharing Pinterest ideas, here is a BONUS tutorial I'd like to share on how to make the perfect wedding gift for your bestie. I was so thrilled with how these turned out...
Step 1. Stalk your friend's Pinterest boards looking for ideas.
Step 2. Find this pin on etching glass to add personalization.
Step 3. Pore over friend's wedding registry looking for glass items; choose pretty champagne glasses.
Step 4. Quick trip to Joann and Hobby Lobby to get supplies.
Step 5. Use Cricut machine to cut out designs on adhesive vinyl and adhere to glass. (Borrow perfect font cartridge from your fabulous sister-in-law if necessary.)
Step 6. Paint on the etching cream and cross fingers.
Step 7. Wait 20 minutes; rinse off cream and remove vinyl; wash well.
Step 8. Enjoy the awesomeness! Can you tell I'm quite pleased with myself?
And BONUS #2, did you know that you could make something so pretty out of toilet paper rolls?!