Tag Archives: tips and tricks

Things You Need To Know

Sometimes I see things on the internet and I think — man, everyone should read this/know this, so I might share it on Facebook or tweet it.  And like four people probably read it.

But then I thought it would be better to post a little compilation of links to things you definitely should know about every so often.  (And it helps me too, ’cause I won’t lose the links!)

Also, today is St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday which is largely ignored by the English, celebrated minimally by the Irish, and a really big deal to the Americans (particularly those in Boston and New York, it seems).  Since I am an American from Boston in England of Irish descent (and traveling to Ireland next week), I am in a weird place for this holiday, but I do love it and feels like home, so I’m celebrating — Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Now, here’s the list of things that I think we should all know about this week.  Go, read, and be more knowledgeable!

This simple explanation of the female anatomy — some of which I honestly did not know, despite the fact that I have indeed been a female for almost 38 years.

How all 158 members of the Irish parliament feel about Beyonce.  Hysterical.

Really great skiing-with-kids advice from a mom of two in New England.

Very detailed and specific information on how to get involved in local politics (and RESIST!) from a dedicated group of former congressional staffers.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg works out with a personal trainer twice a week.  And she bench presses more than you do. (Fine, more than I do.  But I have a bad shoulder, so…)

The oxford comma is important, necessary, and apparently worth a bit of money. (See what I did there?)


See something on the internets that I should include in this list of things people should know? Email it to me at jessica@littlenestingdoll.com






Four Tips for Easier Traveling

in the airport

We’re doing a fair bit of travel these days, and I’ve got four important tips for making any trip easier, whether it’s a day trip into the city or a ten-day family excursion to a different country.

Charge your devices in advance!

When we left for our big trans-Atlantic, moving-to-England flight, we somehow managed to get to the airport with all 6 of us needing to charge a device.  Matt and I had our iPhones, and all four kids have an iPod Touch.  And all six of us were low on batteries and had a 2-hour wait in the airport before we could get on the plane.  We basically took turns standing at the charging station at Dulles Airport and rotating which device was charging.  Bad planning. 

B and Dad in the airport

With that annoying experience seared in my mind, I make sure to collect all the kids’ iPods the night before we’re going anywhere and charge them all.  Then I hand them out when we actually need them — and not a moment sooner, otherwise at least two kids will have killed the batteries already.

Cook (and maybe freeze) a meal before you go away that you can easily heat and eat when you return

My family is very food-centric.  When we get hungry, we get cranky (or hangry, if you prefer).  All six of us.  And a house full of six hangry people is a recipe for disaster.  The worst is when you get home from a trip, have piles of luggage full of dirty laundry, are exhausted from traveling, and have nothing to eat.  I’ve learned that it is in all of our best interests to have something waiting to be eaten when we arrive home — either a meal I’ve cooked and stuck in the fridge or freezer that will defrost and be ready in 30 mins or so, or something that’s quick-cooking on standby in the pantry.  Easy meals consisting mostly of comfort food are the best choices. 

Need ideas for meals you can make in advance, freeze, and cook in less than a half hour?  Baked ziti.  Enchiladas.  Meatballs and sauce.  The world’s most delicious Chili.

And ideas for meals you can have in the pantry and cook in 20 minutes or less? Pasta and sauce.  Grilled cheese and tomato soup.  Bacon and eggs.

Wear Layers, even when it’s warm out

With four kids, I can almost rely on the fact that when we’re traveling someone will be uncomfortable — too hot or too cold — at some stage of the trip.  I now make sure my kids wear layers, no matter where we’re going or what we’re doing, so that I can head off meltdowns induced by incorrect temperatures.


Even when the kids say they’re warm, I make them bring a light sweater or a long-sleeve shirt.  When it’s freezing, I make them wear a short-sleeve something UNDER their warmer layers.  When they complain, I tell them to shut up.  (Not really, but in kinder terms, it’s basically my response.)  The temperature can fluctuate so much from the car to an airport or train station to wherever we’re actually going as our final destination.  Layers are the key to not listening to a crying child who is too hot/too cold.

Take a photo of where you parked your car and text it to your Husband/Wife (you think you’ll remember, but you won’t)

We took the kids to Disney World a few years ago, flying out of Reagan National Airport in D.C. in January.  We parked the car in long-term parking at the airport.  When we arrived back in D.C., exhausted after 6 days in Disney World and freezing as we stared at the snow and remembered the 75-degree weather we’d just left behind, Matt took the parking lot shuttle to get the car while I waited in the airport with four exhausted and insane children and all our luggage.

A half hour later, Matt was still not back.  The kids were a hot mess of complaining, hyper, exhaustion, I was short-tempered and annoyed, and Matt was wandering around the enormous parking lot full of snow-covered cars hitting the panic button on the key fob in the hopes that the alarm would go off so he could find our vehicle.  It was not awesome.

Now we take a picture of the parking lot sign indicating where we parked the car and we make sure we each have the photo on our phone.  Live and learn.

What tips do you have for making travel with or without children go a little more smoothly?

Also, here’s how we made it through the airport with four kids and twenty-three bags when we moved to England!


School Break


School Village

After three and half weeks off for Christmas break, my kids went back to school this morning.  The house is oddly quiet. 

The longest mid-year break we’ve ever had by far, the past three weeks were actually incredibly enjoyable.  I thought going in that I would be SO ready for the kids to go back to school long before the break was over, but that wasn’t the case at all.  We had a really relaxing and much-needed respite from the crazy daily grind and I was actually sad to see them go this morning.

That being said, three and half weeks is also a really long time to be out of school in the middle of the year.  It was a little hard to get back into the swing of things today, but I expected that.  And I prepared for it, so it turned out to be much easier than I anticipated.

On the very first day of break, when I was still used to having a million school-related things to do everyday, I emptied all the kids’ gym bags and washed all their one gazillion P.E. and sports uniforms and re-packed the bags.  I washed their dress shirts and dress socks, cleaned up their blazers, and shined their dress shoes.  (To be clear: the children all helped.  Please don’t think I did all of that smilingly and unassisted.)  We unpacked their backpacks and recycled unneeded papers and we checked out what the homework assignment situation was over break so we weren’t caught by surprise by a long-term project on the last day before school started.

We got everything clean, sorted, and re-packed.  And then I could just forget about it.  I relaxed and didn’t even think about school stuff again until this past weekend.  I made everyone double-check their homework (which we did here and there over the break, so it wasn’t a mad all-day affair on the last day).  I double checked sports bags and backpacks, put beach towels in everyone’s swim bags, and that was it.  We were already ready.

That one day of work on the first day of break made the entire rest of the three weeks so much more relaxing.  And it absolutely made this morning run much more smoothly.  A day’s work well worth it!

Also, how school breaks can be frustrating!  And another example!


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