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

Wrapy Product Review & Guest Post

Hey everyone,

I’m so excited to feature a guest post from my amazing friend Sarah. She recently gave birth to one of the cutest babies I have ever seen, and she was kind enough to review the Wrapy on behalf of Sprouts En Route, since I don’t have any wrap sized children these days. Thanks Sar!! Happy reading to everyone else, and if you want to read about some other slings and things, check out this post after you read Sarah’s review.

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Sarah and her little cutie.

Since my daughter was born in October this year [2015], I’ve been experimenting with a couple different kinds of carriers of wraps, so when Kristin offered me the chance to try out the Wrapy, I was more than happy to do so. We have a Boba wrap and an Ergo carrier, both of which we use on a fairly regular basis. I generally use the Boba around the house and the Ergo when we’re out shopping or something.

When I opened the Wrapy, I noted that it was similar in style to the Boba wrap – a long piece of stretchy-ish fabric. I read through the instruction book that accompanied it and immediately noticed a few differences:

-Wrapy suggests one hold that is specifically for nursing, which I was pretty excited to try.

-Unlike the Boba, you fold Wrapy in half lengthwise before tying it on. (The reason for this is because it creates a pocket that you rest the baby in for some of the holds or gives you extra support in other holds.)

I have a Boba wrap as I noted above, so I’m familiar with how to put it on. If you’ve never used this type of wrap before, there’s a learning curve, but the instruction book is very clear. I tried a couple of the holds with my daughter [10 weeks, 11.5 pounds] and in the end, came to the following conclusions.

PROS:

-Wrapy fabric only stretches in one direction, which makes it a little more secure than my other wrap. With our other wrap, I often have one hand supporting my daughter (especially if I’m leaning over for anything) and have to tighten it if I want to put her back in after removing it. Wrapy stayed much tighter and I didn’t feel the need to keep a hand on my daughter.

-Offer multiple holds that facilitate nursing.

-Comfortable

-Secure

CONS:

-It’s kind of a pain to fold the fabric in half because it’s so long.

-The previously mentioned learning curve—but don’t be intimidated! With a little practice, you can put it on really quickly.

-The nursing hold—while freeing up one arm—presented me a dilemma when my daughter fell asleep because it only supports the bottom half of the baby and requires you support the baby’s head with your elbow. I wish there was a way to transition from that hold to another one without waking the baby… maybe there is, and I plan to explore a bit more, but nothing explicit that I saw in the directions.

-My daughter screamed when I tried a hold that places the baby in a pocket (the second hold that allows nursing), but I think that’s something that is more specific to her… she hates swaddling too and generally dislikes anything restricting. I think a newborn or a baby who enjoys swaddling might like this hold a bit more.

Overall, I was really happy with the wrap—and even my husband tried it out and thought the wrap was comfortable and convenient!

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Thanks again Sarah 🙂

Happy travels,

Kristin

The Wrapy was given to Sprouts En Route in exchange for the honest review you have read here.

BullRest Travel Pillow

So I was looking around on Kickstarter today, which I sometimes do, and I came upon this pretty interesting idea for a travel pillow. If you have 50 extra dollars lying around, it sounds like a good idea. If you travel a lot for work or something, I could see making such an investment in something that will allow you to sleep. I can’t ever sleep on the airplane no matter what I do so it would be pretty pointless for me, but my husband would probably love it (he travels a lot more than I do these days).

And if the price point is too steep, you could always make one of my non-patent infringing travel pillows using this pattern (the big kids size also works for adults).

Happy travels,

Kristin

Awesome Apps For Kids: Three Free Apps

Yesterday I was looking through the App Store for a few goodies to keep my kiddos occupied after homework as NaNoWriMo winds down. Mommy (that’s me) has 11,000 words two write to finish the first draft of her first novel. I was delighted to find a few for free, and though I would share them with you all. Here are today’s free awesome apps for kids.

Toca Kitchen Monsters by Toca Boca AB

Toca Monster Kitchen

This is definitely a boy game. I’m not saying girls can’t play it, but it has all the aspects of a game that would make it appealing to a little guy. You get to chop food, or process it… cook it, all in the disgustingly dirty kitchen of a cute little monster. My son loves it.

Fairy Tales by Sago Mini

Sago Mini Fairy Tales

This is another one of the Sago Mini games where you go around a limited world and experience different options. It is similar to Sago Flyer or Boats in that aspect. But once again, still super fun and my kids all like it.

Toca Tailor by Toca Boca AB

Toca Tailor

In this game you design outfits for the characters. That’s it. It is fun, but also limited. Still, it’s free. My girls like designing outfits, so it suits them.

So there you go, three different fun apps to choose from for your kids to play as you travel to wherever you are going for the holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy travels from Sprouts En Route.

Mighty Mug Product Review

Mighty Mug : The Mug That Won’t Fall Over from Mighty Mug on Vimeo.

The Mighty Mug – The Ultimate Travel Mug

Every day I receive offers to promote products, kickstarter campaigns, and subscriptions on this blog. Honestly, a lot of times, I say no. I don’t want to waste your time, even if it means I get free stuff. When I heard from one of the representatives of Mighty Mug, I was super excited, because they actually have products that make traveling better. They were kind enough to send me my very own Mighty Mug so I could test it and write a review for you. All of the opinions you read below are mine, and they in no way influenced these opinions. They also want to give you a chance to win your own Mighty Mug, and they ship internationally, so this giveaway is also open for all my global readers!

Mighty Mug_1

Not Your Ordinary Travel Mug

The market is saturated with choices for your hot beverage travel, but the Mighty Mug is different. It has patented technology that makes it impossible to knock over. The instructions say that if a surface is curved, or it is textured, then the Mighty Mug won’t work. I found that to be accurate information. So, it is very likely that it wouldn’t work on the inside of your car. However, if you are like me, you don’t care about that because that is what your car cup holders are for. This mug does make my travel routine a lot easier. Let me share with you what a typical travel day set up would be for me.

Mighty Mug_kid proof
This is not him acting, but genuinely befuddled.

Everyone is dressed, and taking turns in the bathroom. I have just started to pack everything we will need for the day, and have set everything I haven’t packed on the dining room table. Now that I am finished tying shoes, I can finally make my coffee. I drink coffee almost every day, and in fact I also count it as my breakfast, and I want it hot, not luke warm (yuck). So I make my coffee, in whatever 5 minutes I can squeeze into our travel prep, and put it in my travel mug. Then I place the mug on the dining room table next to my purse so I don’t forget it. Enter curious children. My three year old especially wants my coffee. I don’t understand why, but he likes it (and no, I don’t take sugar in my coffee). I was interested to see how my son would respond to the Mighty Mug. He couldn’t knock it sideways, and he couldn’t open it. Score one for the tired mommies out there! Before I would have to guard the table to keep him from opening my mug and spilling it, or even worse, drinking it!

Testing the Mighty Mug

This thing is ingenious. Even though you can’t knock it over accidentally, you can lift it easily if you just pull straight up from the table. I really appreciate the engineering that went into this product, because you can tell they thought about what would make the consumer happy. This product works so well, that they even include a warning that you should not punch it from the side.

Mighty Mug_2

I thought that was a ridiculous warning to include in the instructions, but I have to admit I was tempted to see just how strong of a force this travel mug could take. My husband was too, and I actually had to remind him that it said no punching on the instructions. I also filled the mug with hot coffee and screwed the lid on before shaking it violently upside down over my sink. Not a drop leaked. Several hours later, my coffee was still hot.

The Price

Although this is an amazing feat of engineering, one of the things I find the most impressive about this mug is the price. It is around the same price as many of the travel mugs you find at other places, but it won’t tip over. They also come in a large variety of colors (I got my favorite color, teal), and are now available in Stainless Steel as well. Plus they have options for non-coffee drinkers, including a straw option which I am tempted to order for our kids to use during smoothie time. The mugs, cups, and desk mugs range in price from $14.99 to $24.99.

Just For You

Mighty Mug wants you to have the opportunity to test one out for yourself. They are going to be giving away one $30 gift certificate to one of you lovely readers. Anyone can enter and the contest will run until Monday, October 12th. So head on over and enter now.

I am really impressed with this product, and I think you will be too. Thanks Mighty Mug.

Happy travels,

Kristin