Using a Menstrual Cup on Vacation

The title says everything, doesn’t it? If you don’t want to read about how successful I was in using a menstrual cup on vacation, feel free to skip over this article. If you are intrigued, however, read on.

using menstrual cup on vacation

Almost a year ago now, a dear friend messaged me on Facebook and said something like, “Sorry if this is TMI, but have you ever tried a menstrual cup?” It was just the thing I needed to hear. I am allergic to every kind of disposable pad here, and I pass out from tampons (since the very first time I wore one, and yes I have tried again at least twice a year since that first, fateful day when I was 13). So about two years ago, I made the decision to switch to cloth pads. Cloth pads are not bad. They were ok but I still got a rash. I think it was from the detergent, even though I tried every kind. Apparently I have extremely sensitive nether regions. The doctor gave me a cream, but it always took at least seven days to work, and I was really depressed every time my period arrived, knowing it would take two weeks to complete this tedious routine I somehow found myself in. As you can imagine, my friend’s message was an answer to prayer.

A Diva Cup for Christmas

When my father-in-law came to visit in December, he brought me my first Diva Cup. It might seem weird that I asked my FIL to bring me something so, well, private, but I was desperate! I honestly didn’t care if he thought it was weird or not. The timing worked out that he headed back to the States just before my period started.

Diva Cup Dilemmas

Every crazy thing you read about Diva Cups happened to me, minus it getting “lost.” I pinched my cervix trying to put it in too many times to count. About once a period I accidentally pressed on my bladder and felt like I had to pee for an hour. There were innumerable leaks. The first month was the worst, but I noticed that each month, things seemed to be getting better, and the leaks were almost nonexistent. Just for the record, I use the “C” method, where you fold the cup in half so it resembles the shape of the letter this method is named for.

Then it came time to plan for our family vacation. I knew my period would occupy one of the two weeks we were away. I had used the cup for four periods, but was that enough practice? What about washing it in between emptying it out? What would it look like to use it in various bathroom in different countries?

Going For It

I decided not to pack any cloth pads because then I would have to carry them around with me dirty as we backpacked. Gross. I thought, “Hey, if I fail halfway through, I can buy disposables and use my trusty seven-day cream.” I packed several small packs of pads, figuring I could just wipe the cup out when I was in a strange bathroom where the sink wasn’t close, and then wash it thoroughly with warm water and soap when we got back to our Airbnb.

Success!

I didn’t even need wipes. Toilet paper worked great for wiping out the cup, and wiping off the outside, after I emptied it into the toilet. The only problem was that I was often accompanying my girls to the restroom, so a few times I had to take them in, walk them back to my husband when they were finished, and go back into the bathroom alone. Trust me when I say, you do NOT want your kids to see you emptying your menstrual cup. They will think you are dying or something. However, in all of the countries we visited, you could flush toilet paper, so it wasn’t a big deal. If I had tried to that in Greece, the trash bin in the stall would have looked like a murder scene. Just saying. When my period was over, I put the cup into it’s handy draw string bag, and threw it into our toiletry bag, ready to be cleaned with hot water and hydrogen peroxide when I got home. Ta-da!

Ok, I won’t go into any more detail, but if you have questions, please feel free to ask.

Happy travels,

Kristin

Backpacking With Kids: 5 Backpacks – 5 People

Hey everyone! The last two weeks have been a little crazy, but I think it proved that our family has moved into the next stage of traveling; backpacking. We went to London, Paris, Budapest, and a tiny village in Hungary called Vajta. Why Vajta? Some of the most amazing people in the world live there… but that’s for another post.

On our way from Paris back to London for our flight to Hungary. As you can see, one of the girls wasn't very happy...
On our way from Paris back to London for our flight to Hungary. As you can see, one of the girls wasn’t very happy…

Five Backpacks for Five People

That’s right, our family has been introduced to the world of backpacking with kids. We took two medium sized backpacking backpacks, one large school backpack, and two small school backpacks for our entire family of five. This was our first time traveling without any suitcases, and it was so much easier. The only catch was that we had to do laundry, but we had planned for that ahead of time. We knew there would be a washer at our Airbnb in London, and Travis found a laundromat in Paris where he went to do laundry while I read and the kids played on their Kindles. In Hungary, we stayed with friends and they let us do the remainder of our laundry. We also used vacuum bags to make everything in our packs more compact.

My New Purse Rocks

I got to test out my pickpocket proof purse (anti theft purse), which is a tutorial I’ll be doing in the coming months. It worked out just like I wanted it to.

A “Sprouts En Route” Book

We have realized that, as a couple, we are now on the tail end of traveling with small kids (since our youngest will be four this summer), and we want to compile everything we’ve learned into a book… I have no idea when I will be planning and writing that since I have a full writing schedule for the next few months, but it’s a goal.

Now that we are home we are all struggling with some kind of intestinal virus we probably caught on the plane (yay!), but once that is over, I should be posting on a regular basis again. I hope you are in the mood for many exciting posts about our trip, and traveling with kids in general. The timing seems perfect, as everyone is starting to plan for their summer vacations.

Happy travels,

Kristin

Potty Training – Updated

A few years ago (I cannot believe this blog has been going for so long), I did a series all about my potty training adventures with my two daughters. I am thankful to say that my house is a diaper free zone, and that means that my littlest, the energetic little boy in our family, has finished his potty training. Since I have friends that are also braving potty training, many for the first time, I thought I would do an update post about potty training, along with specific tips for potty training little boys. If you want to read any of my original posts about potty training (which are way more detailed), click here.

potty training boys

When to Abandon Before You Begin

There are several instances when you should avoid starting potty training. If there is any major life change coming, for example. Our oldest daughter had been potty trained at 16 months, and then we moved. It was a disaster and back on the cloth diapers went. She didn’t end up being ready again until she was two. I guess she got over her irritation with the wet cloth diapers at some point after the move. That is just one example, but here is a quick list of times to avoid potty training (if you can).

-You are planning to move within three weeks.

-You will be traveling anytime in the next three weeks.

-The child has not exhibited any of the steps of readiness: waking up with a dry diaper in the morning, being able to go without liquids two hours before sleep, being able to communicate effectively to tell you when they need to go.

-You are not in a place mentally or emotionally where you can support them through accidents.

-You will not be able to be with them 24 hours for the next two weeks.

Prep Work

You will need to get the following items to prepare for your 2 week potty training adventure.

-2 waterproof covers

-Training underwear (7 pairs)

-Plain underwear (7 pairs)

-Character underwear your child would love (7 pairs)

-A reward system. I used gummy bears, but if you are anti sugar you could use craisins or something else that is tasty

-A reliable alarm of some sort (I use my iPhone)

-An extra sheet for their bed Read more

When Is My Child Old Enough To Pack By Themself?

When Is My Child Old Enough To Pack By Themselves

When Is My Child Old Enough To Pack By Themself?

I don’t think there is any one right answer that fits all children, but I will give you the answer that has worked for my family. We are transitioning out of the baby days, and my kids want to do a lot more without mommy and daddy’s help. So when we announced a 3 day vacation to Kalamata (one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen) the first question my girls asked was, “Can we pack our own bags?!” They are currently 8 and 6 years old.

I thought about it for a moment. The last time they asked me this question, I let them do it, and then I had to repack everything. They disappointed that mommy dared to undo all of their careful, mismatching and weather inappropriate work. This time, I had a flash of inspiration. My oldest can read in English now! I realized. So I made a specific list of the things they needed to pack. It worked out wonderfully.

So here is what I would say if you asked me how old your child needs to be before they can pack by themselves. If they can read and follow the instructions on the list, they can pack.

We are going away for three nights. Here is what the list for each girl looked like:

What To Pack

-5 pairs of underwear

-2 tank tops

-1 tee shirt

-2 pairs of shorts

-1 dress

-1 swim suit

-2 sets of pajamas

-2 pairs of socks

-2 books and a few small toys

We are going to a beach city, so why would my kids need socks? Always bring socks! You never know when a blister is going to pop up, and they always seem to wait to appear until you are on vacation. I suspect that it has to do with the constant walking we do when we are in a new place. We want to experience everything, and the best way to do that is to walk. It may take up a little extra room in our backpacks, but we always make sure to have a pair of normal shoes in addition to our sandals.

I hope you get a chance to get away this summer (if you haven’t already) and enjoy some quality family down time.

Happy Travels,

Kristin

When do you start letting your children pack on their own?

Flying With Children

As of this year I have been traveling with children for over 6 years. It doesn’t seem like that much time could have possibly passed, but I guess having an 8 year old proves that it did. Looking back I can remember all the major incidents, but I’m glad that I took the time to write down the smaller ones and which things really helped me along the way. As I was wandering around Pinterest.com today, I noticed that I don’t actually have a post where all of my posts about flying with children are listed. So here it is – a list of all the posts I’ve written about flying with little ones.

Flying with children

 

Flying With Children

How I Roll

Air Friendly Car Seat

Traveling With A Newborn or Infant By Plane

Flying With A 2 Year Old

Flying With A Forward Facing Car Seat

Flying with children

Packing 101: How To Pack A Suitcase Efficiently

Waiting At The Airport: Time & Money

The Seat Swap

Searching For Airplane Tickets Online

Infant Flies Out of Parent’s Arms in Turbulent Flight

flying with children

A Suitcase You Can Ride!

What Should I Pack In My Carry On Luggage?

Dealing With Jet Lag

flying with children

Dear Jet Lag, I Hate You

Flying In Bad Weather

How to Spot Human Trafficking Victims at the Airport