While Mommy is Away…

To help the boys stay busy and not think about me being away for almost 2 weeks, I put together daily gifts for them to open. With the exception of the McDonald’s gift card, everything cost less than $15. I got all of the items from the Dollar store (except the Hershey’s kisses..they were the free item of the week from Kroger). It was such a small gesture, but the boys LOVED it, and it only took a few minutes to put together. On each day after school, they got to open an envelope containing a small gift along with a note attached. They looked forward to it, and it was an incentive for good behavior.



*Unfortunately, I don’t remember exactly what I wrote on the notes but it was along the lines of the following.

Monday – Note: “Mommy flew away in an airplane today. I will be back in 11 days, but I’ve left a special surprise for you each day.”

Item: glow in the dark airplanes


Tuesday – Note: “Are you guys as excited about Christmas as I am? Let’s see what Christmas items you can create.”

Item: playdoh & Christmas themed cutters


Wednesday – Note: “Here are two fun puzzles featuring your favorite characters. Put them together and send me a picture.”

Item: 2 puzzles – paw patrol (Jayden Baby) & Disney Cars (Shad Bod)

Thursday – Note: “Are you minions taking care of each other? Here’s something to help.”

Item: Minions bandages

Friday – Note: “Tonight is movie night! I hope you enjoy your pizza and snacks. Here is an extra special treat.”

Item: snack for movie night (milk duds)

Saturday – Note: “Have you been good this week? You deserve a reward. Go to Dollar Tree and pick our two new toys.”

Item: wallet & money ($3)

Sunday – “How about another reward? Get lunch & have some fun at the play place!”

Item: $25 McDonald’s gift card

Monday – Note: “Do you know what I miss most? Your hugs and kisses! I hope you are saving them for me.”

Item: Hershey’s kisses 

Tuesday – “Paw Patrol to the rescue!” Will my pups make me a card?”

Item: paw patrol stickers to use with construction paper

Wednesday – Note: “There are only 2 more days until I get home. Have a party to celebrate.”

Item: balloons

Thursday – Note: “Mommy will be home tomorrow, and I can’t wait to hear about all the fun things you’ve done. Will you make me a list or draw a picture?”

Item: Disney journal

Friday – Note: “I am coming home today! I have missed you boys so much. Will you be my dinner dates tonight? Please say ‘yes.'”

Item: ring pops

I even got to help RaShad with his homework!


I also made their lunches for school and freezer meals for dinner. Amazon Prime Now is AMAZING! I didn’t have enough EasyLunchBoxes so I placed a quick order using the Amazon Prime Now app, and a new set was delivered within about an hour and half! For everything else, I placed it Ziploc bags to be frozen and thawed when needed…and I added a few more freezer meals to the collection, just in case 🙂



2 Weeks, No Checked Bag!

I am always nervous of lost luggage and mishandling so when I found out I had to take a two week trip to South Dakota, my goal was to pack everything I needed using ONLY a carry on. I managed to not check a bag….and still pack a crap ton of stuff. I will say I could have done without a lot of the items I packed because most didn’t get used.

Here’s what I took:

1 -21″ spinner containing:

  • 1 cardigan
  • 1 peacoat
  • 6 pairs of underwear (& bras)
  • 4 sets of PJs (no, I didn’t need 4)
  • 4 sweaters (very thick)
  • 2 blouses (1 long & 1 short)
  • 2 skirts
  • 3 pairs of pants
  • 2 pairs of tights
  • First aid kit
  • 5 necklaces, 1 pair of earrings, 1 bracelet
  • Brush
  • Slipper socks

Liquid Bag

  • Shampoo
  • 2 bottles of conditioner
  • 2 bottles of lotion
  • liquid foundation
  • disinfectant spray
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Tide to go pen
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Deodorant
  • Wet ones
  • Emergen-C
  • Theraflu
  • Argan oil

Cosmetic Bag

  • Lip gloss
  • Makeup brush travel kit
  • 3 tubes of lipstick
  • 2 eye shadow palettes
  • Eyebrow archer razor
  • 2 tubes of mascara
  • Blush
  • Eyeliner pot & brush

Personal item (laptop bag/purse)

  • Laptop & charger
  • Picture of my sweet angels
  • Snacks (4 granola bars, 5 packages of peanut butter crackers, 2 bags of M&Ms) –didn’t use ANY
  • Wallet
  • Eye mask
  • Cell phone & Charger
  • Headphones
  • Kindle & Charging cable
  • Naked eye shadow palette
  • Small bag w/ facial wipes, lip balm, stamps (idk why…), lip stick, pens, pony tail holders, Bobby pins

*Most of these items were travel sized samples that I have collected. I keep them in a woven basket in the guest bathroom.

I also put together a wardrobe capsule to make sure I packed as few as possible and still had enough outfits to last.

Packing to come home was more challenging, especially with the 30+ bottles of shampoo, conditioner & lotion I smuggled on the plane. I wore my largest items on the plane to go to South Dakota (boots, heavy coat), BUT wearing those items to Houston wouldn’t work because of the temp changes so I held my jacket on the plane and used it as a blanket (it wouldn’t fit in the overhead bin in my suitcase). That worked perfectly because it was cool on the plane. When we landed, I just placed it back in my suitcase.

Minus getting stuck at the airport for 8 hours with my connecting flight being delayed 3 times, then canceled, then delayed again AND arriving in the midst of a snow storm, the trip was well. I only had to purchase a hat….could have used gloves also 🙂