Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A New Website!

We have moved! We now have our own webpage, You'll still find all the great information we have here plus even more! You can also find us on Facebook and on Twitter @CloudSurfingKids.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Top 5 Recycled Travel Tools and Toys

We like to be frugal and re-use things when possible. Here a few ideas of things to assist in your travels. We've found them useful and hope you do too!

1. Plastic shopping bags

It is so useful to have a stash of these in your backpack. I love to use them to collect trash as I go. I put the bag in the seat pocket and fold it down around the magazines and front of the pocket to make a trash can. This doesn't work in all seat pockets...the 737 seat pockets are larger...but it's perfect for some planes. Otherwise you can just stow it at your feet for easy access.

2. Bubble Wrap
Found this cute critter on Teen Scene @ Fredricksen Library

A flight attendant friend of mine says she always packs fruit in bubble wrap and it remains bruise free. Apples, bananas, and peaches are all fruits she has successfully transported. I have yet to try it but will on my next flight.

3. Restaurant Crayons
One of our helpful readers said he always saves the crayons they get at restaurants to keep permanently in his travel bag. If you run out of things to color on, just color on the air sickness bag and make a hand puppet!

4. Play-Doh (it's not free, but you probably have some in the house)
 Another reader favorite, Play-Doh is great for entertaining when traveling. You can bring a few small cookie cutters. We like to use Littlest Pet Shop Animals to make footprints. A few things to remember: Play Doh is considered "liquid or gel" by the TSA and can only be brought on in containers sized 3 ounces or less. You need to pack these in your quart-sized bag along with your other liquids to declare at the checkpoints. One last thing, be responsible and don't let the Play-Doh get smashed into the seats and carpet. This is where that plastic bag comes in handy. As pieces fall and get dirty, just pick them up and toss them in the trash bag.
I have been lucky on occasion and found small Play-Doh Kits such as this one. With a play mat and fun tools it's a great travel item. Found this one at Amazon.
5. Kleenex
Directions for this and many other great preschool crafts at
This ghost craft is just one of the many things you can do with a Kleenex. What else can you and your child think of? It doesn't have to be a permanent creation. Your hands can be puppets with the Kleenex on top for hair; you can twist it into a bow/mustache for a silly game of Villian (mustache), Hero (bow tie), Heroine (hair bow)...Use your imagination and you can have lots of fun! Remember to keep and "indoor voice" while locked in a tube with 180 others. :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sleeping issues? Advice from an expert.

An over-tired child is a crabby child.

Getting proper sleep when traveling is hard for all of us. Children are especially sensitive to the change in sleep environments. A sleep-deprived child usually equals a grouchy, fussy, or uncooperative child. So what do you do? Irene Gouge, Sleep Consultant & Faciliator, from Loving Lessons was kind enough to speak with me over the phone to give her advice. Here are the things she shared with me:
Understand your child's individual needs and personality. Is he tempermental, sensitive, or flexible? Each child in your family may be different. It is important to identify his needs so you can, when possible, arrange how and when you travel to have the best outcome for your child.

If you have a child who is particularly sensitive to his environment, it might work best to host the holiday celebrations at your house so that he can continue to get the best rest possible. This is not always an option, so here is what you can do when you DO have to leave home:

You will probably have to shift the actual times that your child is used to doing things, but keep the same routine. If your routine is dress after waking, breakfast next, mid-morning snack, nap after lunch, then stick to that pattern. Children are more agreeable when they know what to expect in the day. Keeping the basic routine will help them be flexible in the other activities throughout the day.

Plan ahead when heading out for the day. If your child is used to a mid-morning snack then bring one with you in case it's not part of the plan for the rest of the group. If he needs a particular stuffed animal or blanket to nap, bring it with you.

Keep the bedtime ritual the same. If your child is used to the routine of bath/brush teeth/story/bed, then do that when away from home too. Repeating the pattern he is used to will help him feel comfortable.

Do what you can to create the sleep environment your child is used to. A favorite book, pillow, or blanket will bring familiarity to an unfamiliar setting. Black sheets can be hung to darken the room for a more comfortable sleep. I bring black out curtains and clothespins to hang them.
A cozy blanket from home made this hotel stay more comfortable.

Let older children pick out a special travel pillow or blanket that is used only when you're away from home. It helps them adapt when they feel involved in the decision making.

When you're doing something unique to your stay away from home, (like having milk and cookies with Grandma before bed, or all the kids/family sleeping in one room together), explain that this is something special for this one trip.  Remind them that when you return home the sleep arrangements and patterns will return to normal. Returning home to your regular rules will go more smoothly when kids understand the change in rules was temporary.


Sometimes family members with the best intentions stand in the way of your child getting the rest he needs. You need to advocate for your child. Everyone benefits when your child is well rested. A well rested child is always less fussy. (Or maybe I should say an over-tired child is almost always fussy.) Your family will have more quality time with the child if he is not tired. If your child normally takes naps but skips it when traveling, be sure to plan for an earlier bedtime. This is not always easy with many adult activities planned, but do what you can to allow your child to get the sleep he needs. Everyone will be happier for it.
More sleep=Happy Child!

**To learn more about Irene Gouge and the services she offers, visit or "like" on Facebook at Loving Lessons Pediatric Sleep Consulting and Educational Growth Center**

Monday, December 12, 2011

5 Inexpensive Gift Ideas for Traveling Kids

Well, Christmas is right around the corner. Are you still hunting for some good gifts? Here are a few things we think are great for travelers. All are under $10.

1) Banana Savers- Bananas would be such a perfect travel food if only they didn't turn black and mushy with the slightest pressure. Have you ever put a banana in your purse or diaper bag? Even if you're very careful it quickly becomes mush. Solution: Banana Savers! I have even put a banana in this and packed it in my checked bag. It stays bruise-free and perfect for eating! The container is large so bananas of almost any size and shape fit. The clasp breaks fairly easily, but  wrapping a rubber band around it keeps it closed.
Banana Savers
2) Feeding Spoon. If you're in the stage of cereal feeding, this spoon works so well for travel! Just pack a small amount of powdered cereal mixed with powdered formula. Just add water when you're baby is ready to eat. You sqeeze the cereal into the spoon one bite at a time. This is an item we used often for E. at that age.
Boon Feeding Spoon

3) Take 'n' Toss Straw Cup. I love these cups. We still use them even though E. is old enough to use a regular cup. They are BPA free and even though you can toss them, you can also re-use them. The Disney characters available just add to their charm.
The First Years Disney Take and Toss Straw Cup
4)Take and Toss Utensils. Of course you can get by without these, but I find it nice to have the right sized utensils for my little one. These are BPA free and inexpensive. Like the cups, they are inexpensive enough to toss, but you can wash and re-use them. We have used the same set for over a year.
The First Years Take and Toss Flatware Travel Set

5) Juice Box Buddies. It is so frustrating for both parent and child to have a juice box or pouch accidently squeezed and spilled everywhere. Solution: Mommy's Helper Juice Box Buddies! Just put the juice box/pouch in the holder and no more spills! The handles make it so easy for any child to manage.
Mommy's Helper Juice Box Buddies

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Traveling with more than one child

I only have one child so my advice for traveling with several is based on my observations as a flight attendant. My sister, however, has 3 kids: ages 13, 9, and 3 so she has a lot of experience. Here are a few tips she shared with me about traveling with more than one child:
E. and her cousins who also love to travel.

Booking tickets
  • If two adults are traveling with 2 or more children, try to book the window and aisle seats in rows directly across from each other. There's a slight chance that nobody will buy the middle seat and you'll have more room for your family. If someone does arrive to take the middle seat, you can always offer to let them take the window or aisle so you can sit next to your child.
  • (With many seats blocked for frequent fliers with status,  it's often hard to find seats together when booking your tickets. Agent friends recommend selecting ANY available seats, even if they are not together. Grab the best seats available: aisle and window whenever possible. If they are spread throughout the aircraft it at least gives the agents something good to work with when you get to the airport.)

Before leaving home/Arriving at Airport
  • Do everything you can ahead of time. Print your boarding passes at home and bring snacks from home. If there's anything you can do to eliminate having to stand in a line at the airport, do it.
  • If you're checking bags, it's usually quicker to have a skycap help you instead of waiting in ticket counter line inside the airport. You'll need to tip him or her a few bucks, but you'll be on your way much more quickly. 
  • Airport food can be very expensive and adds up quickly when you're feeding a party of four or five. If you have a layover at a mealtime, come prepared with snacks like nuts and fruit and see if you can get by with buying one or two meals for everyone to share.

Getting through security checkpoints
  • The security person who checks your ID and passes will ask your children their names. Prepare them for this ahead of time. If your child answers to a nickname, tell them to say, "My name is Elisabeth, but I go by Lily." For my kids, this is easier than remembering to tell their given name, and it can eliminate that, "Ummm, it's....." response which I'm always sure marks us as suspicious travelers. ;);)
  • When going through security, don't feel rushed. Take the time that you need and keep your sense of humor. If you act stressed out, your kids will pick up on it.
  • Children under the age of 12 no longer need to remove their shoes before going through security, so that's one less hassle.
  • Tell older children to remove their own liquid baggies and place them (as well as other small belongings) in a bucket.
  •  If you are the only adult in your party, send the oldest child through the scanner first and go through last yourself.

On the aircraft
  • If you're planning to put a child's bags in the overhead bin, make sure you remove some entertainment items (handheld game, pad of paper, book) and put them in your purse before boarding. You don't want to be trying to remove them from suitcases while people are waiting behind you on the plane. Do everything you can ahead of time so that boarding is quick and easy.
  • Before the flight attendant begins serving drinks, go over the beverage choices with your kids so they already know what to request when their turn comes.
  • Bring gum for older children to chew upon descent (chewing and swallowing helps with pressure changes). Gummy fruit snacks might work for younger children.
  • Talk to your children about turbulence and tell them it's like a little roller coaster at the fair. :):)

In the airport
  • Many airports have family restrooms available. Seek them out if you're the only adult traveling with more than one child. It's much easier to use a family restroom than to have children wait for you outside a stall or outside the bathroom itself.

    Sunday, December 4, 2011

    Review of Go-Go Babyz Handle Pouch

    I am a huge fan of Go-Go Babyz Products. We have used their Travelmate wheels since E.'s first flight and I can't imagine taking the car seat throught the airport without using the Travelmate.

    Go-Go Babyz has been adding innovative travel products to their line over the last several years and I am so excited to tell you about this Handle Pouch.
    *I am not being paid for this review. I am not affiliated with Go-Go Babyz. I often recommend Go-Go Babyz products because I find them so useful for air travel and I enjoy supporting and promoting small U.S. businesses with great ideas.*

    When I first received the Handle Pouch I thought it looked ideal for quick access to diapers and wipes but since E. is out of diapers I wasn't quite sure how I would use the handle pouch. At first I just packed toilet seat covers, wipes, hand sanitizer, camera, a granola bar, fruit snacks, and my keys. I thought it worked well but it was really just adding another bag to what I already had. I did realize I had plenty of space in the bag. I decided to use it as a replacement for my purse.

    I wasn't expecting to love this, but it fit so much and everything was visible at a glance and easily accessible! The thing is like Mary Poppin's bag! It seemed like it could fit anything! In addition to what I put in the first time, I packed: Flip video camera, Blackberry, iPod touch, wallet, 2 passports, Bandaids, gum, pen, Kleenex, powder, lipstick, pocket calendar, Tic Tacs, nail clippers, eye drops, my sunglasses and E's sunglasses, and  I could even fit my husband's wallet if he asked me to carry it.

    What I liked best about using the Handle Pouch is that I had quick and easy access to things like my camera, toilet seat covers, wipes, and ID. When they were in my backpack it was always a hassle to dig through everything else I was carrying to get to these items. The Handle Pouch is designed to attach easily to any luggage handle with a velcro strap.

    I love this little bag so much that I have now been back from my trip for 3 days and I have yet to transfer my things back to my purse. This is a very functional item. If you want to be organized when you travel I highly recommend getting a Go-Go Babyz Handle Pouch for yourself.
    Everything you see below is neatly tucked in above.
    Passports go in small pocket in back.

    You can buy the Go-Go Babyz Handle Pouch online at and at

    Just a happy photo of E. to thank you for reading the whole blog post. ;)

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    Sleeping when traveling

    Our biggest challenge when traveling is getting enough sleep. There are so many things that interrupt the sleep schedule. Start with flying at odd hours. Add to that schedules that interrupt regular sleeping hours combined with strange sleep environments.Sleeping is difficult for everyone, not just the kids. E is extra-sensitve to her sleep environment. I have never seen any child who has as much difficulty sleeping as she does. I think the bottom line is she just wants to have all the fun she can. She pushes through exhaustion in order to have fun.

    There are a few things that have helped E feel more comfortable in strange environments:

    After she turned 2 we got this AeroBed Sleep Tight Inflatable Bed for Kids. It has a cozy fleece cover/sheet which is the only texture that  makes her comfortable. Although she can't have her own bed at least she can have the consistency of her own travel bed.  I have fallen asleep in it too when trying to help her fall asleep. It's very comfortable. I've learned from past experience in buying full size air mattresses that the extra cost of the AeroBed brand is worth it. I bought other similar mattresses at half the cost but they were not at all comfortable. On an AeroBed you can really get a good night's sleep. Setup is quick and easy with the included pump. Just plug it in and it's ready within a minute or two.
    AeroBed Sleep Tight Inflatable Bed For Kids
    Something that has been a HUGE help in getting E to sleep both at home and when traveling is a sound machine. The Brookstone one we have is nice because it operates both on A/C power and on batteries. Power outages do not interrupt our sleep! It also has a locking feature so it doesn't run the batteries down in transit. You can even record your own custom sound on this one.
    Brookstone Travel Clock Sound Therapy Machine
     Here is one that is really cute and has great reviews:

    Cloud B Gentle Giraffe On the Go Travel Sound Machine

    The third item that has until recently been a necessity for E is blackout shades. They are easy to pack and I just throw in a handful of clothespins for easy installation wherever we are. Thankfully she will now stay asleep past dawn if she is really tired, but from ages one to three-and-a-half she simply would not sleep if it wasn't dark. I hope you don't struggle with this problem, but if you do, blackout shades are a life saver.
    Eclipse Blackout Panel

    Of course a pillow and blanket from home are a tremendous help. I love Pillow Pets for their cuteness, but they really are too big to serve as a comfortable pillow and aren't very convenient for traveling. We pack E's regular toddler pillow in with the AeroBed and bring Lilly the Ladybug with us on the plane. A full-size blanket zips right inside to create a pillow/pet. There is a collar around the neck and we use a Mini Carabiner to attach it to our backpack so it doesn't take up valuable packing space.
    Lilly the Ladybug 3-in-one Zoobie Pet