Well here are some answers to the questions you asked last week. I am sure to get behind on the questions in the comment section again, I apologize…..

1. How about a tutorial on the Anthropologie pillow?

Well, that would be easy if I had made one at the time, but I was making it up as I went along. Basically I used a small square pillow, wrapped the tea towel around the pillow, hand stitched all the way down one end, folded the other ends and tucked them inside. Finally I made a small stitch on two sides to keep it all together. That is a terrible answer, but hopefully it will give you a jumping off point.

2. Where is the headband from that the cute girl is wearing in the backpack post?

Her talented aunt made it for her. Maybe I can convince her aunt to come over one day and let me photograph her doing a tutorial on it for all of us….beg Jamie in the comments and maybe it will work. Until then, you can find some similar on etsy. Here are some more super cute ones.

What is your favorite lens, camera, photo tips?

You can find a list of all my equipment on the About Me page under the “info” tab. I need to update all that with new pictures, but it has the basic info. My two favorite lenses are my 50mm f/1.4 & 85mm f/1.8. If I am out with the kids and need wide angle and close up shots I grab my 24-70mm f/2.8 lens.

Here is Sweet P (aka my amazingly cute niece) taken with my 50mm lens.

50mm, ISO 320, 1/200, f/2.8

This is the son of some of our friends…we (obviously) were at the park. I shot this with my 85mm. I love the backlighting. I know a lot of photographers would do a skin correction on his face to remove the yellow cast from the slide. If I actually knew enough about Photoshop to do that, I might, but I kind of like it because it is real….but if I knew how I’d probably like that better!

85mm, ISO 200, 1/160, f/2.0

The 24-70mm is considered a zoom (it goes from 24mm all the way to 70mm)….I use it for most of my indoor wide angle shots.

Here is FireCracker following her brothers out the back door, I am ‘zoomed out’ as far as the lens will let me.

24mm, ISO 400, 1/200, f/7.1

This is the same 24-70mm lens, but ‘zoomed in’ as far as I can. This is my friend’s daughter at a BBQ.  Yes, she has amazing hair.

70mm, ISO 160, 1/320, f/3.2

Where did you get your kid’s Arctic Cat?

Walmart, about 4 years ago. FireCracker prefers to drive herself.

Have you ever thought of homeschooling your kids? Yes….just like we think about private and public schooling. Our approach to schooling is Kid by Kid, Year by Year….our kids are all so different and we recognize what is best for one at a particular time may not be best for another….or that same child at a different time for that matter.

Where do you get your fabric?

Locally, I shop at Sew Flakes in downtown Broken Arrow. Online I just search around etsy by color or designer. You can find some great deals and many more options online.

On average when do you go to sleep and when do you wake up?

I usually get about 7 hours of sleep a night….often interrupted a couple of times….usually I’m up by 6:30am. My friends are trying to convince me to join them at the gym at 5:30am. If Jillian Micheals would meet me there every morning and yell at me (and promise me arms like hers), I’d be all over it….totally my kind of trainer, I don’t want fluffy sweet Bob talk at the gym.

What are your favorite local flea markets, antique shops?

Southern Hospitality & The Hitching Post in Broken Arrow, The RiverCity Trading Post in Jenks, the Saturday Flea Market at the expo in Tulsa.

Where did you get your baby wrap from?

Loveyduds on etsy. In the photo below my mom actually sewed the Amy Butler fabric over the original fabric that was on it when I used it with Littlest Brother. I just wanted to change it up a bit for FireCracker.

How do you organize your kid’s art projects?

We make way too many to keep. I usually display them for about a week and then recycle, compost or trash them. I keep only a handful each year. Right now they are just in a file folder. I am not one to keep stuff very long….

What is going on with the sweet potatoes you are growing inside?

I am not actually growing them for a long term purpose. I like houseplants, but I also kill a lot of houseplants. Sweet potatoes grow in water really quickly. Basically, I like how they look (roots, potato, leaves, water) so I keep them around until they get too big…then I compost them and start again. Like I said before, I am random….thankfully my hubby loves my randomness.

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  • Sarah M - Here is a DIY of that cute headband from blogger Rubyellen from CAKIES! blog:

    Easy peasy!

    Sarah M

  • Stacia - Love the q & a session. Thanks for the sweet potatoe a, by the way. I googled it. Hit Michaels for $1 mason jars. Rescued some sweet potatoes on the verge on suicide in our veggie bowl and now have similar houseplants on our shelf. They are mysteriously beautiful growing this way. Once again, thanks for the inspiration!

  • Hollie - Thank you so much for your answers! and Jaimie – I’m begging begging begging for a tutorial on the to die for cute headband. They would make the perfect handmade gift!! Please??

  • Tammy Kay - I love what you have done to your couch! The sweet potato is random but cool. Great post.

  • Shannon - What a fun q&a! I hope you don’t stress about doing those for us! I love love your blog no matter what you post, and shoot, you can’t share ALL your secrets! Sometimes people just need to find their own creativity and make something new! You are amazing Ashley! Keep it up!

  • Jme - I’m cracking up that something I made is on your question & answer! ha! I actually saw it on a blog, Cakies…. it’s super easy. Here’s the link:


  • RachelC - I LOVE that picture of L. Her serious face is so cute. Love those CURLS!!

  • Sarah - Thanks for sharing your wealth of information :)

  • Shannon - What a fun post! I hope you don’t stress about doing those for us! I love your blog no matter what you post and shoot! You can’t share ALL your secrets! Sometimes people just need to find their own creativity and make something new! You are amazing Ashley! Keep it up!

  • ashley jensen - I am so glad to hear some of your favorite antique shops! I will definitely have to check out the ones in B.A (since I am there a few times a week). There are a couple in Collinsville I visit occasionally but the prices seem high to me. Just because something is old doesn’t mean it needs to be expensive, especially if it isn’t in great condition!

  • Mandy - Coincidence, I just posted about braided headbands today – they’re so easy and fun to make! We did them as a moms group.

  • Brooke - Thank you darling. :) I appreciate you answering everyone’s questions.

  • Kara P - I LOVE that you don’t want any “fluffy sweet Bob talk” at the gym! haha! That cracked me up and I am totally with you- Jillian is my FAV!!! You should come work out at Cross Fit with Tim and I. It’s in BA, everyone does the same workout, its competitive, its encouraging, and fun!

  • Amy - Thank you for all the answers!!! Is Sew Flakes open on Sundays? I live in Tahlequah so Sunday is just about the only day we make it to the Tulsa area.

  • Holly Lesue - Thank you for being so real! One of the many reasons why I love your blog!

  • Mara - Thanks for the fun Q&A – I agree, I hope you don’t stress over doing those – but it’s so fun to read them when you do. You have such great ideas, and I love your style. I look forward to reading your blog every day :)

  • amanda torres - Jillian Michaels is my kind of trainer too! I don’t need to be encouraged, I need someone to hack me off. She’d do the job. It reminds of childbirth class. The instructor told the husbands to, “Keep encouraging your wife. Tell her what a fabulous job she’s doing.” I told Steven if he did that, he’d get the look of death. I knew I’d be trying my dardest to get my baby out, and didn’t need some mushy gushy pep talk.

  • Elisabeth - Thank you so much for answering questions. I have one more–but no pressure to answer soon! I like natural light the best, but am realizing that I need an external flash for times when I just can’t get it (like photos in the art studio at my son’s school, and nightime projects). Can you recommend one?

  • Jenny B. - Yea! Some of the questions I was thinking about asking got answered! :) I’m very happy to know that you are, in fact, a normal human who needs sleep. 😉 OK, so here’s a question (forgive me if you’ve addressed it in the past, or if there’s a photo somewhere that would make the answer obvious)… Do you have a TV in your home? If so, do you have cable/satellite, or do you just use it to watch DVDs? I’ve often thought my whole life might be more productive without TV.

  • Jenny B. - P.S. I was shocked to read that your house is only about 1500 sq. ft. You work wonders with that wide angle lens! 😀

  • giozi - Wow.How many question. And you said that there are more. ha ha ha.
    I was interested too about lens, but I have to confess I don’t understand very well. I’v just change my compact camera for my first reflex.
    Thanks for the tips about it. (lenses)

  • Lacey McKay - Oh what fun questions! Thanks for sharing! I love the photo of Firecracker looking out the back door at the tree. One of these days, I would like to come see that famous tree, and maybe have a little picnic beneath the shade of it.

  • Taylor - I made a headband that looks just like that! I posted the tutorial today. Hope it helps those who were commenting about yours :)


  • Colleen - I hate to add another question when you’ve already been so nice answering so many above, but I am in love with the headband Firecracker is wearing above in the fabric question photo. The one with the red flower and the thin black band. Wear can I find that? I want one for me and my baby girl. So super cute! Thanks a million. I love your blog!!

  • Kristin - You where on my blog with the headbands! :) When I linked to you. They are pretty simple and I don’t have a picture tutorial, but I do give basic instructions with the pics. :)

  • Desiree - I thought of you today when the landscapers were cutting down a birch tree in front of my apartment. I thought, “Ashley would snag some of that wood and make something adorable out of it.” I really wanted, to but I couldn’t justify grabbing the wood and having it sit in my backyard for nine months before I decided to finally throw it away. I was sad that I couldn’t think of anything to do with it.

  • May of MayDae - Yay! Thanks for answering my question about bedtime and wake time:)

  • amber - Crackin me up that in the picture with big brother, he’s not the least bit concerned that he’s upsetting his firecracker sis. Boys…I love em! And amen to Jillian Michael’s arms.

  • Heather - i like random, too. :)

  • kim - i think rubyellen from the cakies blog came up with the braided headband…i made some in high school that were very similar but she has a tutorial on her blog!

    now back to reading this fun post!

  • GRACE HAPPENS - hello! just found your blog and am so glad i did. do you mind sharing the source of the red and yellow floral fabric on the sofa? i am in love with it! off to catch up on your blog. :) grace

So I have come to the conclusion that most of my diy projects are born out of a desire not to go shopping with my kids. We recently replaced the shelves in our living room and I was having trouble figuring out a way to display my mounted photos. I didn’t like them just leaning against the wall. I propped a couple up in front of a jar of vintage wooden spools….then it dawned on me I can saw a slit down the side and stick the mounted photos in! So that is what I did….I am super random, I know.

Supplies: Hand saw, wooden spools, sandpaper

Step 1: Slowly saw a slit in the spool. Getting it started is the hardest part, go slow. Once you get past the edges it cuts very easily. There is probably a way to do this on a power saw, but I was too worried about cutting off my finger….and a hand saw fits in the house where it is air conditioned.

Step 2: Saw all the way to the middle and make the opening large enough to fit the mounted photos. Sand the wood down.

Vintage Wooden Spool Photo holders….one more way to avoid shopping with your kids when you need to display a photo! Of course you have to have wooden spools on hand!

Chris came home and didn’t notice the spools, but when I put a sweet potato on display he noticed that. I grow potatoes inside better than houseplants. I got the paperback book display from my grandpa’s neighbor. She was using it to hold books for a garage sale and told me she wouldn’t sell it. I mentioned my grandpa was her next door neighbor. The next time I was at my grandpa’s he said, “My neighbor left a piece of junk by the garage for you. Take it or I am throwing it away.” Score. My aunt made me a lap quilt…I love it.

And just because it is annoying to me to see glimpses of things and not the whole area….our new shelves (inspired by Anne-Claire Rohe’s). I am not done filling them…someday.

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  • Katie - I love the spool idea!

  • mrs.magoo - Oh my goodness I love it! What a great idea!

  • Jodi - I LOVE your style! These are gorgeous. Where do you get your photos mounted? I love the spools, the potatoes, and the old camera. I found an old kodak brownie on etsy that I put up in my craft room. Love it. Those old chairs look like they were part of an old stadium??

  • Yanet - I avoid going to the store with the boys as much as possible too. Cool idea. Now tell us more about the potato thingy.

  • laura - i’m so glad you included the whole view:). looks great!

  • Stacia - Um… the sweet potatoes have me baffled! Please share. Do they stay in the water or do you move them to a pot of soil? I’ve never seen anything like it!

  • anne c - i appreciate your randomness! espcially when you share it with us!

  • Julie - LOVE this idea. Now if I only had some spools! I think that is the one thing my grams didn’t save :(. If you enjoying growing sweet potatoes try an avocado seed. My kids love to grow them inside and its the same “technique” lol!

  • a pocket full of posies - Brilliant!! (and mighty useful AND lovely too!)
    LOVING the statement on how most of your DIY projects are born! :)

  • Sarah - cool as always!! thanks for sharing

  • Mandi Smith - Spools are soo cute, thanks for the idea, I’m on it :)

  • Timothea - Love the shelves! I’m wondering where you got them (or the components) since I’ve been searching everywhere for some shelves I like. Thanks!

  • jenny - I love the randomness, especially because I have some vintage spools that I have been trying to decide what to do with! Very fun!

    My mom has always grown sweet potatoes in a glass jar..brings back memories. I have always loved the way it looks too.

  • tasha roe - gah!! genius strikes again! i mean seriously!! I have a huge jar of those spools that I bought at a yard sale for $0.50….for the whole jar. score.
    love the diys.

  • Shannon{photos by shannon} - I wish I had a cute little area like that in my house!

  • Lisa P. - That quilt is beautiful! I wish it lived on my bed…

  • Liene - I really love this idea!

  • ellen - that’s what they say about necessity! my friend and i were just talking about which errands you can run with children and which ones you can’t. not that i don’t love my little ones. i do! so much. but sometimes i need to think and that takes a lot of concentration.

    i went to big lots today in search of some of the scrapbook supplies by martha you mentioned. i found some! i wasn’t sure if it was just a fluke or limited to where you are. i’m going to try to use them to make bookmarks for some younger women i’m doing a Bible study with. we’ll see if i can conjure up a smidge of your creativity!

  • D'On - I absolutely LOVE the spool picture holders. What a great idea!

  • Mara - Great idea – love the whole look too, and I agree, it is frustrating when you can’t see how the whole area looks – thanks for posting such a picture! Love your blog! (and by the way, I started following after you were done with professional photography – I love hearing all about your life and your projects – so fun!)

  • Jennifer - yes, I, too, am baffled by the potatoes! How lovely! Please do share on growing them indoors.

  • Katie H. - As you well know we have a lot of these mounted photos in our house and now that we have moved to a new place I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with them. I LOVE THIS IDEA!! Thanks a bunch.

  • Kari - These are AWESOME! Thanks so much for the great tip!

  • Giovanna - Is soooo easy and I never never thing in something like this.

    PLOP!! I need move my head, my mind is moth-eaten

  • Tammy Kay - looks great Ashley.
    I’ve been collecting spools for awhile now. I love your idea.
    I want to make a huge heart out of spools and hang it on my wall.
    I saw it on a blog but can’t remember where.
    Awesome space. I love the drawing of the frame behind the shelf

  • Kristi - What a fabulous idea…I have some spools and I didn’t know what I was going to do with them. Now I do…thanks to you!

  • Jolie - Genius!!! I was just the other day looking at my little pile of wooden spools and wondering what I could do with them…mind if I appropriate your idea?
    And the paperback rack is killing me….want want want!

  • KaraM - How do you come up with these ideas?! It baffles me.

  • Lisa Johnson - love it! I especially love the bookrack story!

  • Rachel - Ooh elegant Ashley! Thanks so much, I’ll be linking.

  • twirling betty - What a brilliant idea – I absolutely love it and it looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing it.

  • FullertonRegan - I just have to tell you… your aesthetic is so, so beautiful. Every peek at your home is so lovely, artistic, inspiring. I would love to capture more of that and find myself incorporating so many of your ideas into my own home (the pencil “frame” with the orange tape… oh yeah, that’s happening soon). I am so glad I found your blog. Thank you for sharing your creativity with all of us.


  • judy - still want to go down south. jar

  • Kristin - I am loving the spools! Such a cute idea. :) Also I love the picture frame that is painted on the wall or vinyl with the taped in picture. Haha I love those little touches of whimsical. :)

  • pamela - i was thinking about the spool project, which i love, and couldn’t help thinking there had to be a safer way. for our fingertips that is! i think if you had a c-clamp and a fine tooth saw it would be a safer. clamp the spool a little below the middle and then saw through. i just know myself and would definitely have bloody fingers if i tried it your way! awesome project though : ) (…as usual!)

  • Brooke - Cute, cute, cute….love the spools, the movie theater chairs.
    I wish I was friends with your aunt :) I did have a friend make me a quilt for Briar with almost all Amy Butler, but oh man, your aunt is awesome. And your mom for making you the cute Amy B. stackers….JEALOUS! :)
    Hope you have a wonderful week!

  • shelley venema - love your blog, my daughter told me about you!

  • JoLynn - Can your aunt make me a lap quilt? 😉 She must be very talented…I’m lovin’ that quilt!!

  • DIY: Candle Picture Holder | Photobooth Montreal - […] great ideas include the wooden spool picture holder from the blog Under the […]

  • PattyB. - Be honest… you’re some kind of Craft Genius, huh.

  • Jade - Going to make these today. Even borrowed a saw. Fingers crossed I don’t lose a digit. :) And I spy a red Craft Hope book on your shelf!!

  • Nancy - What a cute idea! I have loads of these old wooden spools.
    Guess that will be one of my future projects. Thanks for sharing.
    Smiles and Blessings,

  • Andrea - Thank you for posting. I bought wooden spools today with the intention of Googling ideas for use. Cute blog.

  • Nicci Neace - So excited to find your blog!! Please let me know how one enters the guveaways! Looking at your diy projects now. Thanks for sharing!

  • Chris - I love this idea!! Now I just need to find some spools!

  • mihaela - I am so in love with your blog. Everything here is just fits so perfect in any home. i honestly started clicking randomly on your projects just to borrow some ideas for the weekend, but now I’m taking them one by one. Just keep them coming!!! :))

  • Vintage Wooden Spools « Lived-in Home - […]  These wonderfully simple photo holders were created by Under the Sycamore: […]

  • Meghan Hill - This is such a great idea!! I am going to go home today and make lots and lots of these! Thank you:)

  • Mis puertos de esta semana | ¿Mi mundo? Los míos - […] * Ahora solo falta encontrar carretes de hilo de madera:  Marcos de fotos DIY […]

  • Katie@MyDarlingDays - absolutely fricken genius! love this!!

  • Nikki Decker - I love your honesty! Cutting off your finger and working in the a/c would be my first concerns. This looks pretty easy and doable, or at least something I could attempt without hours of my day wasted on what will soon become nothing similar to a craft, more like trash!

Contest is now closed, Jenny P. has the last counting comment.

We’ve air traveled with kids….we took an 18 month old to China, a 20 month old to Wyoming, an 11 month old to Seattle, a 2 yr old & 6 month old to Hawaii….we’ve air traveled with kids. We have never flown with ALL our kids.

We are getting ready to take THIS on an 8 hour plane ride:

Well we’re taking THAT plus a non-stop busy body of a little girl. The Target dollar section is helping me stock up on goods for the trip.

It will just be Chris and I with these 4 travelers:

I am pretty sure the boys will sit still and be content for 8 hours of air travel if it means they get to play video games and watch movies. We were planning on taking a portable dvd player and a bunch of disks. Guess that is old school. A friend told us we could fill iphones or itouches with movies and games….which among our friends we can round up that many old versions. So each kid is going to get a currently unused iphone filled with movies and games. Genius. So much smaller and easy to pack than a dvd player and disks. I am so behind the times. We are looking into some new apps for the kids. A blog reader pointed out the apps-jr store to me. We are trying out the Match-a-Roo Zoo. It is too simple for our 6 year old, but it is designed for preschoolers anyway. The 2 & 4 year old are still checking it out. I like the graphics, they like the animal noises.

I usually only do one giveaway a week, but who doesn’t like the chance to win something? This time it won’t be a random winner. I have 5 codes for Match a Roo Zoo to pass on, but I am picking the winners. I will not show favor to friends, but I won’t exclude friends either. Here’s the details:

Contest ends Friday, Sept. 3rd 9:00pm US Central

5 winners will receive a promo code to get a copy of Match-a-Roo Zoo from the apps-jr store

Winners will be my favorite 5 comments

In the comment section give me some type of advice for enduring an 8 hour plane ride with a 6, 4, 2 and 1 year old




and it totally unrelated news (other than marrying him led to the plane traveling with 4 kids)

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  • Kristin - Bring a big roll of tinfoil for each kid to make free form sculptures. Imagine all the little soldiers and swords and battles they could make in 8 hours! For Firecracker I would bring lots of lollipops. Good luck!

  • LauraC - Please do not enter me into the giveaway, just wanted to share a tip.

    I would ALSO bring the DVD player, if possible. When we travel with my boys, they each have an ipod touch and they never watch an entire video on it because they are so distracted by the possibility of games! Also, they tend to look down at the ipod and if there is turbulence, it’s nice to have a dvd player on a tray table so they can look forward.

    Also do you have headphones for everyone? Life savers! They make kid/toddler headphones that are available at Target. I bought my boys ifrogz a long time go and the headphones are virtually indestructible. I say this as a mother of twin four year old boys :) (aka product durability testers)

    I also recently picked up a travel bingo at Target that I love. They had some other good travel games there as well.

    Good luck on the 1 year old. We had our worst flight ever OF ALL TIME when my boys were 15 months old.

  • Reidunn - Happy anniversary Ashley!
    Have you tried audiobooks for children? I know they work on long road trips. Another suggestion is playing card games.
    Enjoy your journey.

  • Jenny - I’ve never traveled 8 hours with 4 kids, I’ve only done 5 hours with 2 kids however…bandaids are a cheap, time consumming “toy”, my son stuck them to everything and anything and they were easy to clean up! I also usually bring along those tiny tubs of playdough (the “treat” size) and that works well! Although I would recommend taking it out of your carry on bag when you go through security, the 1st time I took the playdough through they did a total search of my bag and told me next time to take it out and place it in one of the small plastic containers that they give you to put your keys/wallet/etc. in so that it doesn’t see off any alerts! Best wishes and have fun wherever your adventures are taking you!

  • Gevay - Please don’t enter me either-I don’t have an iphone. I have flown many times with my boys and I always take coloring books and books, action figures and candy, but none of that entertains them as much as a video except the candy which you can’t continue giving them for the entire flight :) ! So my advice is to take the dvd player anyway. Just in case. I’ll be praying for you. Have a safe trip!

  • Lucy - Please don’t enter me in the contest. But I do have some ideas. I recently traveled by myself with my 3 girls (3, 2, and 2 months) and this is what helped me survive. Each of the older girls had their own small backpack. Inside were several small wrapped toys. They got to unwrap one each at regular intervals (you might want to try one an hour). I used simple things like pez dispensers, matchbox cars, small books, and playmobil figurines. This worked really good for me because it was brand new stuff they had never seen before. And because they only had one new thing at a time, I felt it made the play last longer. Also, when you see a child getting antsy, you can just suggest they open another “present”. The other thing that worked fantastic for me was coloring books and crayon rolls. I don’t know if your boys are into coloring, but I made my own little coloring books by finding pictures of things we would be doing on our trip. The girls like coloring anyway, but it was really exciting for them to see all the things they would be doing. I hope there is something there you can use. Good luck!

  • Sara Smith - I second the idea on the headphones…my son thought the sound of the engine was WAY too loud, so he could listen to his music/movies and also block out the loud vibrating sound. My BEST tip is to take lots of those little dumdum suckers for take off and landing. Seems my kids had such a hard time popping their ears, but once I gave them the suckers they would suck on those and then swallow…and everything was better. Last tip is to pray for a sweet mommy, who has also brought kids on a plane, to sit beside you and smile (and help)…instead of a cranky, mean person who never traveled with kids. Makes it more enjoyable. Good luck!

  • Carol - Happy Anniversary. Love you both very much.

  • Jen - I travel a lot with my kids and a few of our favorite travel things are: stickers, movies, Crayola Magic Clay (doesn’t get all over the seats, etc.), snacks, tic tac toe, coloring books, crayons (washable), new little figurines, and match box cars. I don’t have that app and it looks great!

  • Noelle - We travel a lot. Last year we took a 5, 3, and 6 week old to Hawaii (from Maryland). We visit family on the west coast once or twice a year and next year after we have our fourth we’ll be heading to Hawaii again. Love that place.

    My tip is to underpack for the kids. I always want to stock up on a million crayons and sketch books and paints and what I’ve found is that they are so interested in the new environment that the toys they find entertain them so much better than I could have expected. The magazines and emergency exit card they give you in the back of the seats are very interesting to little kids. With the iphones, a few books, and a couple of drawing tools you should be set! Good luck!

    Also, our favorite apps for kids are: skee ball, kid calc, pickin’ time, and cookie doodle.

  • Colleen C - Similar to Lucy’s thought with the wrapped gifts … but (and this might not work for your little lady because she is a little too little) you could wrap a small gift and show it to them before they get on the plane and let them know they will receive it when you land as long as they are on good behavior for the plane ride. A little bribery never hurt anyone :)

  • Lori K - Don’t have advice. Don’t have an ipod, iphone,or itouch…but I will must say I love the picture in the vintage tv and the wallpaper. Love it. Please someday tell me, show me how to do that…it’s awesome. Good luck with all that, is all I can say. Please video tape it – could be great reality show. 4 kids -on a plane.

  • Jodi - I have only braved it with 2. But they are both under 3 and a handful. It sounds like you have a well stocked arsenal and the essentials. Other than what you have, my bag of tricks is to have their all time favorite snack or treat as BRIBERY for buckling seat belts and sitting quietly. And then on top of that, I pack a “special surprise bag”. It’s filled with little odds and ends for my girls–bracelets, dolls, fun dollar filled prizes. I also wrap up a few things in wrapping paper and when they get bored moved onto the next prize. I sewed up a tiny little purse to fit it all into. It did WONDERS. Good luck and have fun!

  • Tracey - Don’t tell any physicians you are doing this, but benadryl helped our kids (2.5 and 6months) sleep during the 16 hour flight to Asia. Of course they didn’t sleep the whole sixteen hours, that would be dangerous. But, it relaxed them enough to help them sleep. There is one problem. We heard benadryl can have to opposite effect on some kids. So, you might test it out before you hype one or two up for the entire flight. Try at your own risk.

  • Jodi - Oh and don’t pick me either. No Iphone in this household yet. ps…I second the lollipop. Use it for bribery and it helps with the popping of ears for takeoff and landing!

  • Candace - Two things I say can fix any situation: prayer and duct tape. May the force be with you! 😉

  • Arden - Wine and a DROWSY motion sickness pill. You’ll be out like a light 😉

  • amanda torres - I am also behind the times and don’t even want to go ‘there’ (iphone)because I wouldn’t even know how to get an app. But I do have one piece of advice…Let them run amuck on the plane. Other passengers should step up and entertain them. After all it’s their sanity too. Then you can pretend it’s a second honeymoon!

  • Angela - I was going to say Benadryl :P…
    but I like Candace’s advice better…”prayer and duct tape.” LOL

    Happy Trails!

  • Amber Nicole - Say a prayer, then duct tape their mouths shut!

    Only joking…. Hit up places like the dollar tree and buy cheap toys. They’ll be new and interesting to the kids for a while and the boys can rotate them.

  • Deanna - I don’t have any “plane” tips….but one thing that has always helped me pack is packing individual “outfits” in one ziploc bag….socks, underwear, shirt, pants all in one bag. That way I just pull out a bag and we’re ready to go for the day. I can also easily see how many outfits I have packed. As a bonus, if the clothes get dirty (which they always do), I simply put them back into the ziploc bag and they don’t “contaminate” the clean clothes. Good luck and have fun!

  • Amanda Fuentes - We’ve flown several times with our 3, 7yrs. and under. I always over pack, food is always a plus and DumDum lollipops. The MOST important thing with the 2 and under is the carseats. They are used to riding in them in the car so when you strap them in on the plane they more than likely aren’t going to resist and will ride more comfortably. A hassle lugging them around and installing but a lifesaver, especially when they fall asleep.

  • Amanda Fuentes - We’ve%20flown%20several%20times%20with%20our%203%2C%207yrs.%20and%20under.%20%20I%20always%20over%20pack%2C%20food%20is%20always%20a%20plus%20and%20DumDum%20lollipops.%20%20%20The%20MOST%20important%20thing%20with%20the%202%20and%20under%20is%20the%20carseats.%20%20They%20are%20used%20to%20riding%20in%20them%20in%20the%20car%20so%20when%20you%20strap%20them%20in%20on%20the%20plane%20they%20more%20than%20likely%20aren’t%20going%20to%20resist%20and%20will%20ride%20more%20comfortably.%20%20A%20hassle%20lugging%20them%20around%20and%20installing%20but%20a%20lifesaver%2C%20especially%20when%20they%20fall%20asleep.

  • ashley jensen - A Porable DVD player is NOT old school just yet (a lifesaver here) and I am not one to take many medications (ex: Benadryl)or give them to my family but desparate times call for desparate measures!!

  • ASH - Happy Anniversary! Sorry no tips on the kids .. no kids of my own yet. :)

  • Yvonne - Here we are: family with three children under 9 who has been travelling a lot by plane (intercontinental flights). We travelled Istanbul-Mexico and Mexico Germany and Istanbul-Bali and had long hours to wait . We always bought new books and magazines, some things to chew on (wine gums, liquorice, audio taped with a cd player with several ear phone plug-ins, a tiny special surprise for everyone, baby wipes for the in-between messes, a pair of spare clothes because some of them will either drop their meal on the lap, vomit on the plane or in the waiting lounge or in between, pee or something else. So better to have spare clothes and ziplock bags to take care of the mess… Another good thing is make a small flipthrough album with photographs of people places and things. They will look at them, talk about it and they can be easily distracted by showing photos and telling something about it. AND the staff will provide crayolas and things to entertain them and sometimes they can visit the staff in the kitchen pantry and get some extra jelly bears or biscuits!
    We always had two rows of seats and the children were split between my husband and me to make sure there is not such an uprow when three are together!
    The best of luck for you!

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  • Michelle - Please don’t ever me in the giveaway.

    My advice for kid travel is to not tell them what you’re bringing for them. Sometimes all of the new fun things are better kept as a surprise so they’re wondering what Mom is going to pull out next. That and packing a lot of snacks, you never know with travel if there will be a delay and a hungry child is a cranky child.

  • Brit - We love apps for our little toddler! He can watch movies, listen to toddler music (check out “Tractor, Tractor” by Slugs & Bugs & Lullabies), draw, and so much more. Some of his fave apps: Monkey Preschool lunchbox, First Words (they have all different kinds of these–animals, cars, etc), Madera & Figaro Save The Day, Wheels on the Bus (by Duck Duck Moose). Happy traveling!

  • Sarah - Happy Anniversary!

    We’ve only flown and driven long drives with one child. So I’m not much help on entertaining 4. But we did the same as you’re doing, buying little toys. I’d surprise her a couple times through out the trip with something new.. coloring books, my little pony, a book, a doll, whatever I happened to buy that time. And there was always a special backup new toy, that I knew she’d be super excited about should she just completely lose it. We had the lap top and lots of toddler dvds, and the kid sized headphones. And when we flew our 8 hour flight to hawaii with her, she was still using the pacifier so I had several backups just in case on that too. And snacks, lots of different snacks and some special favorites for freakout moments.

    And then I just pray for my patience and for help to remain calm in any situation.

    I’m not much help really.

  • Kirsten - Happy Anniversary!

    You don’t have to enter me in the drawing – Hubby and I are deathly afraid of getting an iPhone b/c both of us know we would spend waaaay too much time on it…but anyway, it looks like you are well-stocked for the journey! The only other thing I would recommend is snacks and drinks – for when they are hungry, but also for the ears when you’re going up and down. I had fruit snacks along the last time we flew, and ended up passing them down the aisle to the mom next to me who had two screaming girls with painful ears. worked like a charm!! hope you have a wonderful trip! can’t wait to see pics when you get back. :)

  • Shanalea Atchison - ok, so we have traveled cross country a few times with three, but most recently we took a trip to Canada with all four. We spent three days in the car before we even go to our destination. so my advice #1 if you try to control it all you will go crazy. you must be ready to let some things go and get some looks #2 (my mother in law helps with this one) We have gifts that they get to open after a certain point. If they get restless and start bugging each other, it’s time for a gift. They are things like candy, chapstick, crayons, a coloring book, books, and usually one DVD (for the boy and the $5 kind from Target) i suggest clutch powers – the lego one. My boys loved it. #3 food…bring snacks, that usually tames the beasts within.
    #4 with firecracker…I would walk her up and down the aisle if possible..it will keep her busy and she will win everyone over with her cuteness
    well, a longer post than normal, but those are a few of my tricks

  • Emily - I just got off a 6 hour trip with a 1 and 3 year old. (We’re headed on a transatlantic flight next).

    3 y/o: DVD, treats, Color Wonder finger paint, a random thing of tape (came in handy for LOTS of things, including taping napkins together as super hero capes for toys, tying up superheroes, tying mommy’s hands together, etc).

    1 y/o: “disposable toys” (the random crap from McDonalds, etc, where you don’t care if it rolls down the aisle and never comes back), suckers, stickers, really tacky flashing candy dispensers (can always find some at Target), lotsa trips up and down the aisle, get ice in a cup every time the stewardess comes (that with a bib for firecracker will entertain her for 30 minutes a pop). Last resort: Can always strip her down to her diaper… for some reason they always love that!

    Good luck!

  • Esther Nelson - sounds like you got things figured out with the toys and such. the only thing left to do to prepare is pray!!!

  • tawnya - I have always found that simple is best. Pez, dum dum suckers, and the best invention EVER for airplanes–triangular shaped crayons!! They are a little pricey, but they don’t ROLL off the tray! Trust me on this one, you WANT these. Otherwise you will spend all of your travel time bending over in your 1×1 space picking crayons off of the filthy dirty floor! And for baby girl–a stewardess handed us an empty plastic cup with a lid and a straw. Kept our daughter occupied for at least an hour! Happy travels, may the force be with you!

  • Michelle Z. - I make each of my boys a drawstring bag and put in surprises: stickers, pens or pencils, little plastic army men, Playmobil pieces. I always put in a clipboard for them to write on (smaller ones if we are going on a plane ride, regular size for car trips).

    THE BEST THING I EVER STUCK IN THEIR BAGS: satin eyemasks from the dollar store. Those things were played with almost non-stop.

    I also admit that plane trips = a slackening in the rules regarding candy consumption. I buy the biggest bag of M&M’s I can find and hand them out like, well, like candy. And sugarless gum.

  • Jenn W - DON’T include me in the giveaway, because I don’t have an i-phone! However, I wanted to tell you how brave I think you are for having the courage to fly with your children. We have a 4 yo, 3 yo and an 18 mo old. I do not think I would have the nerve to try. Also, Happy Anniversary!

  • ~abi~ - awww, i just want to say happy anniversary! :)

  • anne c - I really wouldn’t be able to put the app to use yet so don’t count me in the picking! BUT I just wanted to say happy anniversary and that I will be praying for a safe/sane travel for you and your family! You and Chris will keep things in order (at least that is what I believe only based on my reading your blog :) ). I think the best advice I can give would be to drink enough caffine to keep up with Firecracker! You will need tons of energy to entertain her..unfortunately one year olds need constant entertainment (i’ve learned recently through experience). They are not quite into things that provide instant gratification like the older kids…..by the way….when can I look forward to that? haha
    remember to have fun even in the chaos! :)

  • Joy - Something I always wanted to try I think I read in cookie mag and the idea of the drawstring bag for ea of them is similar…. but I wonder if you could wrap one small surprise for them for some set amount of time. So at say 2 hours and 6 hours in they get to unwrap something completely new and just for them. Since you have the whole gang I wonder if it’d be fun to get them something that is a set. They could play with the indv pieces but if they could also all play together with the whole thing if they were in a collaborative mood!

    Best of luck! (so far my son has slept completely through all the plane rides. I know this will not continue so I will look for your guidance on how this all goes!)

  • anne c - OH the “unfortunatley one year olds need constant entertainment” is just in a situation like this when you will be on a plane for 8 hours..not on a normal basis! I LOVE that Kate requires my attention all the time right now…b/c I know that one day she isn’t going to let me play with her :(

  • Sara - We live overseas and the last time we did the 15 hour flight back to the States to visit family our girls were 3 and not quite 18 months. I did the wrapped gifts but the 3 year old only unwrapped a couple. They are helpful for her to look forward to while we are waiting to board and then something to do while lifting off and landing since you can’t play an Ipod then. She mainly just watched the Ipod and played games. She didn’t sleep a wink but entertained herself! I did buy a monster digital scrapbook element kit from Jacque Larsen at The Lilypad and printed and laminated the pieces and put Velcro on them and the girls enjoyed making monsters. The 18 month old was a hand full and I used almost everything I packed for her! We were lucky enough to get an empty seat for her and used her car seat and that helped a ton because she wasn’t crawling all over me. But she would still scream if she got bored for too long! The Ipod would work for a few minutes — I would play games for her that made animal sounds or other things. She enjoyed taking the monster apart a few times. She really liked band-aids and stickers. Little snack bags of snacks helped a lot. She also liked the wrapped gifts — it would entertain for 5 minutes or so. Then we walked her up and down the aisle until she fell asleep and we said a little prayer of thanksgiving until we had to do the trip all over again a month later! 😉 By the way I’ve been a lurker for awhile but love your blog and pictures and all of your ideas!

  • ashlee - my advice involves seditives:) just kidding…kinda. My kids eat a ton and the older ones keep their hands busy while the younger ones must keep their mouths busy. it sounds like you are doing exactly what i would do…minus the benadryl:)

  • Kristen D - oh, I like the first tin foil idea!

    (warning…run on sentences, here we come)

    My advice for baby girl: 1. PRAY!!!!! 2. pray that you aren’t stuck on the tarmac for a long time. 3. Try to be one of the last to board (as annoying as it is to play pin ball down the aisle with all your kids and your stuff and all the other passengers….baby girl won’t have to sit as long) 4. pray you get really great flight attendants (that don’t make you hold your screaming child in a bear hug while you take off and land and who don’t make you keep the child in ONE LAP ONLY, NO PASSING YOUR CHILD ACROSS THE AISLE)(that was a a flight to remember, good thing it was the short leg). 5. lollipops work wonders, but are messy. 6. A little children’s dramamine works great for our kids 7. a WHOLE lot of luck!

    Have fun!

  • Mariah - hmmm… I think I might go ahead and bring the DVD player and a couple of tried and true discs. 8 hours is a LONG time. You might be happy that you can mix it up a bit. Here’s my other tip… either visit the dollar store, or the clearance section, or even the bottom of the kids’ toybox (I usually go that direction, they don’t seem to notice that the toy is from their closet. although, your bigger boys might) and wrap up a couple of small little presents for each kiddo. When things get… um… unpleasant, everyone has a little present to open. It’s the surprise of having a present, and the fun of opening it that dries up the tears. Wrap up a couple for you and Chris too… everybody likes presents! :)

  • Jill - Have you ever used Wiki Stix? They take up very little space and can be very entertaining. Your boys can take their lego building skills and try to create with Wiki Stix instead! We travel a ton and always bring these with us. Oh and a LOT of snacks – food always keeps my kiddos busy : ) Good luck!

  • Ang - I may have already mentioned this, but . . . ear plugs are cheap. Buy enough to pass out to those seated around your lovely family before the flight takes off!

  • kbonikowsky - I’ve done much traveling with kids (not four!) too. For the little one:
    scotch tape;
    paper clips attached end to end in a box or tin with a lid that she can take it in and out of, over and over;
    buy a bunch of earplug sets at a local safety store…handing them out to nearby passengers if she starts a fit earns much goodwill.

    Good luck!

  • Moriah - This worked for just one little munchkin, but every hour of the plane ride to Germany, we let him open a small gift. The gifts were little, $1 items or snacks, but the anticipation of opening a gift was great and by the time he got bored of it, it was time to open another.

  • Jessica Lynette - So… I’ll make up a tip for you because I really want to win this, but really I am SO excited about this contest – I am going to EAT UP these entries as I (as in, me, myself and I. Alone.) am taking my 2 and 3 year old boys to Nigeria (West Africa) all alone in November. A 16 hour non.stop.flight. {See why I need to win this app?!?}

    Anyways – my tip-that-I-am-making-up-off-the-top-of-my-head is to take Googley eyes and double sided tape and entertain your kids {and yourself} by attaching the eyes to all sorts of different things.
    We did it at 5 Guys and a Burger once and gots lots of stares. And had SO much fun! Googley eyes on peanuts just work.

  • SeaminglySarah - The legal definition of “bribery” is making someone do something illegal. So count these tips more along the lines as INCENTIVES! That’s what got me through potty training. A travel tip? Oh boy. The last time we flew on a plane with (just) one kid, she was 6 months old and breastfeeding. The nursing worked like a charm. I doubt that will help you out on this trip. Good luck!

  • Florence - Enjoy the travel! We have travelled quite a bit with our 3 (now 2,4 and 7)…. We’ve been lucky that some flights were overnight — so lots of sleeping for the kids but just in case I made a special bag for each of them filled with different toys for each – lego’s for the oldest (the kind that you can make 3 different things out of one), small plastic animals for the other and always lots of coloring things as well as stickers and a blank notebook…

    What also helps is taking along my own snacks — I know that they will enjoy the drinks on board, but the food…. they like the things they know )and I really don’t want them to whine….

    Also I try to avoid candy — just because mine tend to get busier than normal…

    Best thing I have found if we don’t make a big deal of the travel and their behavior, neither do they and they will just sit, watch movies, play, etc…


  • Lisa P. - Oh yikes! Good luck with the madness that is bound to ensue! Hang in there and have fun with the fam!! (and my advice is totally not appropriate for an airplane ride…but I was thinking boys are always entertained with a tampon!) hehe!!

  • Haylee - The hardest thing for my family has been getting through security…. have everybody wear easy to remove shoes!!!!

  • Natalie - Happy anniversary!
    I have flown (by myself) with my then-17-month-old girl on a 12-hour transatlantic flight (I was also 5 months pregnant at the time). My advice is to bring with you a whole lot of patience and snacks. My little one enjoyed walking up and down the aisles the most and saying hi to any passenger that made eye contact with her. The worst moments were during take off, landing, and turbulence when I would have to keep her sitting on my lap. During those times I sang all the songs I could think of and gave her snacks. Bring lots of wet wipes and a change of clothes for you as well (her messy hands are bound to grab on to you before you have a chance to wipe them).
    My daughter was starting to get interested in my iPhone at around 13 or 14 months, so you may consider bringing another one that she can look at with you. At first, my girl enjoyed flipping through pictures of herself and people familiar to her. Now she is very much into apps, movies, and music.
    On an unrelated note – I am really enjoying reading everyone’s comments and tips today: I am learning about many new apps I can get for my daughter as she starts to lose interest in what we already have. So thanks everyone!

  • Brook - We used to live in Japan with our four kids and I think I’ve flown internationally with all of them 6 or 7 times. You can totally do it. Just keep in mind that every kid has a fussy time of day or gets cranky so that may happen on the plane and stay calm.

    It sounds like you are set with the toys. I always bring a thing of tootsie pops because sometimes when your kid just loses it you need something for an emergency screaming situation and it’s really hard to scream with a giant sucker in your mouth. I’d also bring some motrin or baby tylenol. When you get on a long flight everyone may seem fine at the beginning but there is nothing worse than a kid suddenly getting sick or a fever with nothing to give them.

    I’d also explain security in detail to the kids before getting to the airport so they understand they will have to hand over their very favorite things to go through the scanner.

    Good luck!

  • Christian T - Drug them!


  • amy - bahaha love this post…love the individual shots of the kids with their description!!!

  • Jill E - thats a long plane trip i have a heard time sitting down for that long. there are some great suggestions. playdo in small amounts might good as well as dvd/cds i would say making friends with the flight attendants might be good if they like you then can be really helpful. i used to play a lot of cards on the plane when i was a kid.

    also, happy anniversary!

  • Jill E - sorry about the duplicate comment

  • Giovanna - I don’t understand very well he he he. But I don’t go to my country only thing that is 11/12 hours. Madrid-Lima. And my children are almost 3y and 19m. Besides now I don’t like airplanes :).
    Well a suggest? Maybe a “chipote chillón” do you know “Chapulín Colorado”? and they go all travel sleeping, he he he, nooooo is a little bit caveman method.
    Better, I going to pray for you 😉

  • Mandy - Marshmellows – lots of them.

    Also, sometimes my 3 older kids (7,5,3) take a rotating shift to entertain the 1 year old – 15 minutes or so to pull out all their fun tricks – and about the time they wind down, or the baby has started to loose interest in that sibling, it’ll be another one’s turn – – fun times!

  • Katie - Here are a few of my thoughts, although long car rides are usually what we’re up to: I don’t bring out the technology until the kids are settled, relaxed and enjoying themselves. We talk about the plane, the way it works, the view, the other people, the trip, the excitement . . . maybe ask the boys to think of what their little sister might be feeling about the whole experience and what they could do to make her feel cozy. We read books, tell stories and do crafts and other activities before we bring out the videos. Not that they are a last resort, but that my girls (4 and 2) tend to respond better after the movie is done if they feel comfortable about the travel in general beforehand. Then the movie is just part of the enjoyment of the trip, not a distraction. Oh, and I make sure I’m well-rested and highly caffeinated so I can be patient and calm, to set the tone. Perhaps that’s the most important part. And, um, that doesn’t always work. Expect to have fun!

  • Aimee - I took my 18-mo old on a 4-hr flight… just a fraction of what you guys will be doing. The iPod Touch proved invaluable! We also went through quite a few lollipops – something that kept his mouth occupied and noises to a minimum. :) Good luck!

  • Heather - i don’t have an iphone, but i wanted to wish you a happy anniversary!! enjoy your day!

  • jill b. - Secret candy that you can pull out in dire need! Like one of their favorites or a new one that they didn’t know you packed. Stickers, Magic erase boards… Michael’s also has great $1 items Top apps for my 2 year old: Angry Birds (all your boys will LOVE), Elmo Audio Book, I closed my Eyes by Little Bella, and The Wheels on the Bus. Hope this helps!

  • Carol V. - Happy Anniversary! (Today is my 26th) Have a fun trip!

  • monique - getting there is half the fun! i have traveled regularly with my four kids – similar ages to yours but three girls and one handful of a 2 year old boy! #1 your pediatrician can give you a perscription for ear numbing drops – i always travel with these handy as little ears even with cotton inside are still pretty sensitive to pressure changes. #2 i gift wrap/package toys/projects that you are bringing – it makes them even more exciting and you can play guess what is inside before you get to the project! #3 pack lots of bite size food – blueberries eaten one by one take a long time to eat! #4 hefty brand has small plastic bags – they are great for all the garbage that accumulates (and just in case of nausea). #5 all my babies always loved playing with plastic cups that you get from the stewardesses – make a pile, spill a little ball back and forth… #6 bring a jump rope or play relay races in the airport before you go to get out as much energy as you can. finally – dont forget to pack your sense of humor! have a safe trip!

  • monique - i saw that many posters recommended play dog but tsa just confiscated all my play doh before a 12 hour international flight so just be prepared that you may have it taken away from you if you bring it.

  • Mountainash - I Spy books and I Spy Jars are fun. You could even make your own!

    When my children were under 3yrs, I could occupy them for quite some time with some candies or colorful small toys in a re-purposed plastic mayo jar. I would screw the lid on just tight enough to keep it challenging. Toddlers are keen on getting into things so I try to find acceptable ways to satisfy that need.

    Larabars are multipurpose. They can serve as snacks and are pliable enough to serve as modeling clay. Tootsie rolls work just as well if no one in your family is allergic to dairy.

  • andy - just go to sleep :) hehe

  • tasha roe - happy anniversary!!
    i am at a loss. i’ve never braved a trip like that with the kiddos. longest for us was 4 hours to Cali and my guys were little then – no miss crazy lady ella either. good luck!!

  • amber - A row of seats, with no seats in front of you, just helped me with my 8 month old (I flew Southwest, so it was the first row of seats that had the big open space in front of them). He could actually get down, play with toys, & pull up on things. He can’t run away yet like Firecracker, but at least she could GET DOWN, which is, after all, the goal of all small newly mobile children anyway, right?:)

    Yay for trips! AND anniversaries!!!

  • Trisch - We are also flying to Virginia tomorrow with our 2 year old. I hate to say this, but we do keep him up for the shortest flight and add give Benadryl for the longest flight. I know it induces a nap, but also helps with congestion and popping ears for the little guys. I’m taking a computer to watch Toy Story with earphones for kiddos. I have two suckers for take-off that have Xylitol in them (actually helps prevent tooth decay). I find if I can get him to drink or eat during take-off he is much better with his ears.

  • lifeologia - Happy Anniversary!

    Please don’t enter me in the giveaway, but I am thinking of games and movies to keep them busy, And also activity books with stickers 😉 they pack small but will be loads of fun even for the little one – all chosen to be age appropriate and to their interests.

    By the way, I’m doing a giveaway on my blog today that you will like for sure 😉

    it would be lovely for you to come and visit 😉

  • Sophie - Hopefully she might sleep? I dreaded our 6 hour flight to Dubai when ours was a tiny tot, but she slept the whole way, and she really is a busy little bee usually! She did exactly the same just after her 1st birthday to Sicily! We were shocked, but the lull of the plane engines did the trick! Otherwise, food food and more food!

  • Amy W - I was so nervous taking my one-year-old also….then, I discovered suckers, stickers, and free Sesame Street podcasts. The target dollar is always a must! Oh, and I gave my daughter her first dolly as we went on the plane…which kept her busy for a long long time. Good luck! Sounds like you are doing a good job planning!

  • Ranee - 1. make friends with the passengers sitting near you..traveling is so much better when you don’t have cranky people giving you looks.
    2. pray for patience…half the battle is being able to handle whatever situation comes with grace.
    3. enjoy it…who could really get upset with sweet little wonder woman anyway??

    my son was 18 months when we went on an eight hour flight to germany…it wasn’t the most fun flight, but the trip was so wroth it!happy anniversary and i’m sure you’ll have a great trip!

  • MelissaM - It sounds like you have a great plan for the boys. For B, maybe some special snacks that she has never had before. That might be hard to find non-processed healthy snacks but anything new might help capture her attention. And snacks usually make my little Lily pretty happy. Also, the DVDs Baby Praise are awesome. We never let Lily watch TV or videos except for Baby Praise & she loved at B’s age and still loves it today. She is now singing the praise songs that are sung in it, which I love. :) It really helps capture her attention for al long time.

  • Tonia - First, feel free to enter me in place of all these crazy girls who have said, “don’t enter me in the giveaway!” :)
    Travel tips with 3 boys and 1 girl under the age of 9 (and in my case baby #5 on the way!)?
    1. Go ahead and just get your own plane. That would be best.
    2. If #1 is not an option make friends with those around you… start by offering all passengers chocolate chip cookies. Go ahead and tell them that you are a famous blogger and you are doing a blog experiment on how passengers react to and treat large families during airline travel.
    3. Once you have identified the “your family is so adorable and your children are so well behaved” individual, ask said individual to read aloud to your boys. Pick a really long book… one that might take several hours to read.

    And… Happy Anniversary!

  • Karen - I’m warning you this may be long- only because we’ve had some great flights and some awful ones and I want to spare you an awful one :O) !
    To pack/try…
    *loads and loads of new kinds of snacks in tiny pouches for firecracker especially- so she can keep getting excited about trying something new. Rationing them out slowly worked great for us.
    *have you or your hubby take her to the back of the plane a few times to play on the ground where the flight attendants are. This has worked for us multiple times- the flight attendants love the company and the little one loves the freedom to move around a bit.
    *some kind of toy for her to play with on the ground- we let my guy when he was her age play on the ground in front of us (yes, in that super tight leg space) with small cars or whatever will tickle her fancy.
    *a spinning top- the kind you wind by pumping over and over- it’s one of our daughter’s (she’s the same age as firecracker) favorite toys and it would work well on a plane to distract and keep her busy trying to get it to go.
    *A few new small books with the flaps to lift up (we got some at the thrift store for cheap!) so she can actively look at them.
    *her own set of headphones to play with as she will most likely want what her brothers have.
    *Sunglasses for her- they buy us at least 5-10 minutes of joy right before or during a meltdown.
    *A small mirror in your purse (so they allow those?)- either a compact type or a kid one for her to look at herself.
    *lots of patience/prayer for you as parents, an attitude of teamwork to pull it off successfully and lots of smiles for the people around you if she does in fact have some rough moments. Hope you have a great trip!

  • Stacy - When our oldest was 1, she was obsessed with an old pop bottle with rice in it. She loved to shake it, rattle it…it entertained her for hours.
    For you boys, the typical snacks, games and stuff. But pick up the little composition books and have them “write” a book. Also, bring a small photo album for each boy with pictures in it from when they were babies, and holidays…our kids LOVE to look at their pictures!

  • tobi d - I know this is putsie-but wrap everything in wrapping paper. It takes a little longer to open but is cooler because you don’t know exactly what you are getting.

  • Jessica - Dramamine! Enough said!

  • Colleen - Happy Anniversary! As for my advise to you… pray and a lot! Hee! I took my daughter on a 6 hour flight this summer when she was 21 months and I won’t lie it was tough. The best thing for her was my lap top and a new DVD to watch (Nemo was a hit.) Also it helped that she was totally exhausted from getting up so early in the morning and ended up sleeping 2 of the 6 hours.. on me, but at least she slept. Oh, another tip. I apologied to the person in front of my seat in advance for any little 21 month old seat kicks her might get and let him know I’d be doing my best. I think this helped. At least he knew I was trying to prevent the kicking.

  • Asha - I just have a tip, don’t enter me in the contest.
    For our recent plane trip my then 5 & 3 year olds were surprisingly good. I had bought at Walmart in the book section the Lego minifigure Ultimate Sticker Book. You can find these on amazon too. It groups minifig categories and he has to find the sticker that matches in the back of the book. HOURS of entertainment. Never heard a peep out of him. Not only that, he continued in the hotel room and the plane ride home because the book is huge. I’ll bet your 6 & 4 year old would love this.

  • tiffani - If your boys are good with gum, (Meaning they can chew it without the majority of it ending up in their hair) let them chew it especially during take off and landing. It helps a ton with ear pressure problems. I know that only covers the first and last few minutes, but any trip started with sore ears is a looooong trip. 😉

  • Karen - For the one year old…this sounds dumb, but my 1 year old played with small boxes for an obscene amount of time. I had old jewelry boxes that nested inside of each other. I would put small things in them (tiny finger puppet (IKEA has packs of cheap ones), goldfish cracker, matchbox car) and he was delighted with each new opening. Plus it took him a little while to get them opened, so it was a challenge for him. Perhaps he’s a simple mind, but it worked. HA! I also had a lipstick case and a plastic Easter egg that had a snap that I would hide things in. good luck – love your blog!!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Hi! Ok ~ favorite tips:
    Wrap the the toys (each and every one) like presents. It buys at least 1 minute and 17 seconds. And it could be that 1 minute and 17 seconds that saves your bacon.

    Tape. Tape is awesome. It can go on your nose. It can go on the airplane window. It can tape drawings to the seats in front of you. Amen.

    Pez. Pez are always fun and silly and take a long time to load.

    Hope these help!

  • Michelle W. - So, although I am a twenty-something, “apps” are beyond me. So I’m simply commenting because I cannot help myself. I am one of four children, all four born within a 7 year span. My parents took us on many long flights and video game type things are the BEST. I keep seeing people recommending candy… candy is good, but in resealable bags!! There’s nothing like mom’s face when she sees 20 melted Jr. Mints on little brother’s tush: “Is that..????” We pretty much kept each other entertained: coloring, video games (accept we all had our own gameboys– no iphones then: ), playing with the tray table, trying to dial numbers on the archaic plane phones… the usual. No matter how the plane ride goes, I”m sure your trip will result in awesome memories. From, A Proud Member of the “Four ‘n’ More Club” (what my mom always called “large” families like ours with 4+ kids)

  • Jennifer H. - Lots and lots of new gifts from the dollar section, or the craft section. Just a hint…security does not like floam or moon sand! I try to wrap each cheap little gift as well, then the kids get to open a new surprise, and often times the baby will play with the wrapping paper just as much as the gift. Super stretchies work better than half the toys or games, and yes, I’d bring a laptop or portable dvd player and headphones as well as the iPhones/iTouches. Snacks, water bottles (have to buy after you go through security), change of pants for anyone who might have an accident. As a military mom who’s flown completely across country by herself with the kids…total of four kids under ten at the time…you can do it! Good luck!

  • mandi - Remember colorforms? those are awesome because they stick to plane windows or trays.

  • melanie - My suggestions are different from most, but after 30 hours of traveling with kids, I think the advice is worth something…

    * Don’t take too much! They’ll be entertained by the plane, eat a snack, play a game, take a nap, repeat…
    * Take enough snacks
    * Take enough benadryl
    * Don’t stay up the night before finishing packing…you need to have rest before you get on the plane!
    * And if all else fails, ask them to bump you to first class and let C handle the kids (or you could take turns!)

  • Pamela - We drove to Florida with our 2 boys for spring break… To keep complaining and fighting to a minimum, I gave them each a role of quarters at the start of the trip. Each time they asked, “how much longer?” or “are we there yet?” they had to give me a quarter. Hitting your brother required surrendering 2 quarters.
    Any quarters they had leftover when we got to our destination could be used in any machinebthey came across or spent on what they wanted.
    It worked like a charm!

  • Aunt Sandy - Happy Anniversary Ashley and Chris. Here’s to many, many more amazing years together. I am so glad I have had the chance to watch you and your family grow over the years. I still don’t know how you get all that you do done, but, you do, and you do it well. I am proud to be your (wild and crazy) Aunt Sandy

  • Conni M - I traveled a lot as a kid … and on 12/14/day long flights YIKES … so my brother and I got very resourceful and imaginative {this was way before dvds LOL} … my advice is.
    1. GUM .. goes a long way for the ear drums {for the baby give her a bottle at take off .. and strave her before}
    2. Try and sit in a 3 seater a row in front and back (like row one and row two). Then take the blankets they provide and put them over the seat backs one row to the next .. makes a super cool fort. Bring little flashlights for them. The window turns into a porthole. It is a totally cool place to sit bringing up both arm rests, we rocked our forts. If you sit in front there is no ‘kicking’ the people in front of you :)
    3. Don’t sweat the small stuff .. roll with it!!

    Have fun!!

  • Lindsay - 3 words for you.
    Ben. A. Dryl.

  • Michele - My 4yo has cashed in a few frequent flier tickets. Wanted to add – don’t forget lots and lots of snacks that travel well, dried fruit, jerky (for the grown ups mostly!), small apples, granola bars, dehydrated fruit or veggies, grapes, lollipops for extra treats, etc. You can get kids apple sauce and small juice boxes through security. For long haul flights I bring on those small tuna fish cracker set-ups for a more savory snack.

    And ignore the advice on drugging your children. This can totally back-fire. Just go with the flow!

  • Kim - Duct tape and a bottle of wine! : )

  • Desiree - Happy Anniversary! Thanks for posting this! I read all the great tips and wrote down a bunch. We’re traveling across the country with our daughter next year. She’ll be 2.

  • JoLynn - Good luck to you! They will most likely surprise you and be very good. Just be prepared for the worst, and it usually is always better than that. :)

    Pack things that you normally never let them have for “fun” anyways. Like band-aids and little barrettes that they can clip on things. I find that my girls like the things that aren’t {meant to be} toys the most.

  • Jolie - Happy anniversary!!!

    I can’t offer any help on travelling with 4 littles, but have a decent amount of experience of travelling on my own with 2, including a couple of 30+ hour air journeys! The iphone games and movies sound genius, but here are a couple of other things that really helped us enjoy the journey (or at least make me less inclined to develop a drinking problem onboard the plane!!!): foam stickers – the older kids can make up stories with them (they stick to seat backs and trays without leaving any residue), and the youngers can concentrate on the important things…like seeing how many each person can stick on their face; you can play *who am I* with an animal sticker on your forehead etc etc, as well as using them as the base for artwork. A blank booklet each – for colouring, writing, scribbling, stickers etc. Never underestimate the power of a small pompom (like those glittery ones you can buy in bulk packs from the dollar store) and 2 plastic cups for your wee girl – this *game* saved me on a 9 hour flight alone with them (I am eternally grateful to the flight attendant who showed it to me – and we used wrapped boiled sweets instead of pompoms, since the kids didn’t know any better! Individually wrap some of the new things – it adds an extra 10 seconds of enjoyment to the process for your kids. A little backpack/carryon for each kid with a favourite book and toy etc, and a little stash of snacks that they can help themselves to (and have complete control over…I don’t need to tell you how cool that is for a little kid!) And a stash of little snack sized treats that you can pull out of your goodie bag when things get rough or the novelty starts to wear off – esp things that they don’t normally get (try an Asian food store for some fun ideas too in the way of strange and appealing candy!)
    phew – and here endeth the novel! So exciting – where are you heading to?

  • Carolyn - I love the picture of your little girl in her butterfly sunglasses and wonder woman t-shirt! Oh, and good luck with your 8 hour plane adventure. Your kids don’t look fierce at all! (referring to that first photo) :)

  • Mandy - Benadryl didn’t work on mine…. it had the opposite effect unfortunately! Start collecting McDonalds Happy Meal toys or something similar…ones that if they drop on the plane, it’s no biggie. Get lots of them so you can give them a new one when they get bored. Triangle crayons work great as well so they don’t roll when dropped. The candy section at the store also has some pretty cool light-up toy/candy stuff that keeps them entertained for a while. Those are a few of the things I’ve tried and am banking on for our trip back to China in a couple weeks. Will have to read other suggestions though as I need more ideas!

    You guys will have so much fun! Happy Anniversary!!!

  • Stefanie - Brothers sound covered! But, for Baby, I don’t think the electronics are going to cut it. In fact, for her, I’d do her own backpack. Do small snacks that require concentration (but safe) like peanuts and gummy bears. Takes time to grab each one! And plan on a ton of activities. Make sure you gift wrap each activity. It takes more time to get to it. And, make sure Brothers are willing to do some peek-a-boo, too. Great activities are puppets (finger puppets), reading (I LOVE the very colorful Miss Spider books), and stacking cups with something to hide under them. With BOTH of my kids, I learned that a car seat always put them to sleep on plane rides. So, if she has her own seat, I highly recommend going through the hassle of using the car seat (besides, in bad turbulence, it’s better). Call your airline for details on carry-ons.

  • Liz R. - Best thing I’ve done for long airplane rides is to put them (the tiny ones) in their car seats. They won’t be able to climb down and around–they’re used to sleeping in them in the car. Made a HUGE difference for us. Good luck!

  • Emily Lusk - I really only have one word for you—- Prayer! Have a good trip and hope everything goes good!

  • Lisa - I love the anniversary pic..So cute! In the spring, we’re movin’ to the Middle East and will be taking kids who will be 6, 4.5, 3, 1.5, and 3 months. I have thought about other air travel adventures with my littles, I think the only way we can survive a 20+ hour plane ride is to let go of what other passengers and crew might be thinkin’. 😉 Yes, we’ll be taking doodle pads (these are wonderful as they can’t write on seats, each other, etc.) and favorite blankets and an entire backpack of brand new books, among other things, but the thing that stresses me is the inevitable moments where a little is, well, being little – they are being themselves. We spend a lot of time teaching them to obey, etc. but I also want them to be authentically them. So just be mindful they are small, these experiences are new, and the other people around you probably aren’t thinkin’ what you’re guessing they are – they are more likely to be thinkin’, “WHOA, I am SO grateful it’s just me that I have to worry about on this flight! And not a crew of small children.” Have fun wherever you’re going!

  • Jessie - It seems you are covered with ideas for the kiddos. My piece of advice is simple…yet very hard to make happen. Get 8 hours of sleep the nigh before. No matter how many goodies and gadgets you have for the kids, if you have had little or no sleep the world will just fall apart! Trust me…we live across the country from our family and fly several times a year. The biggest disaster was when we took a “short” (compared to cross country) flight to Florida for vacation. I was working and packing all night before and never went to bed…it was the longest flight ever and my poor kids and husband had to deal with me, I had been up for 30 hours straight! Good luck and get some sleep!!

  • Mary - My husband and I took our 3 year old and our 9 month old on a trip to Washington this summer. I like to think that we gave the other passengers a something to talk about! My only advise for firecracker is to find all the grandmothers/ grandfathers on the plane and pass her around they would love it and if she is like my girls she will eat it up too.

  • Mandy - Thought of a couple other things that I used with Abby when she was B’s age… I had an empty tums bottle and little plastic animals and she loved dumping out the animals and putting them back in the bottle. Also, packing bubbles (the smaller ones are not so loud) entertain them for quite a while. Raw veggies to chew on are also good – celery, carrots, and peppers and will keep her occupied for a while.

  • Elisa B. - You already have great plans for entertaining them – so you don’t need any advice on that front. My advice would be to bring something for yourself: either lavender scented anything for stress relief, chamomile tea to calm you, or an eye pillow while you’re sleeping. Happy travels!

  • stonemama - We’ve logged a lot of international travel hours with our young 4, and having just made the 20+ hour journey back home to Asia with our 1,4, 6, and 7 year-olds, I can testify (again!) that it’s not easy! However, we’re learning as we go, and here’s our collection of DO’s: 1. pray beforehand, a lot; 2. ask a LOT of other people to pray for you; 3. smile at every airline worker you see… you never know when you’ll be in need; 4. Benadryl is our ‘magic fairy drink’, and it works wonders on those overnight flights; 5. When checking in (a bit early if you can), be sure to request an extra seat for your infant, and even a bulkhead row (often saved for familis with infants); 6. Junk food… it’s about the only time we indulge, but i always put a collection of individually wrapped snacks into each kid’s backpack, and i usually choose stuff they haven’t eaten before (or aren’t usually allowed to have)… NERDS are a hit because a handful of 25 Nerds can take my daughter 25 minutes to eat; 7. and finally, expect it to be challenging, but well worth it… our experience is founded in our expectations. Enjoy!

  • abbey - We have found them strangely fond of stickers when we travel. Much more so than when at home. We usually bring a new book of stickers, maybe one that has a place where they can be stuck and then re-stuck. We found some cool ones with Elmo where you can stick them randomly (read my one year old) or you can find their designated spots, or do one of several other exercises which my 3.5 year old really enjoyed.

  • Kelley - Forgot to add in my previous post – I don’t have an iphone either =(. ALso, my daughter the youngest (she has 3 older brothers too), and is slightly older than your daughter, LOVES her own purse. I would get her a purse with little things in it for her to play with. I know she is a little young, but my daughter at that age also LOVED a barbie (played with under supervision). She loved all the hair on it, since she didn’t have any of her own!!

  • Kristi - All I can say is…PRAY!

  • Kelly - My little guy is not old enough for the iphone app so no need to enter me in the giveaway. I saw my sil use one of the coloring books and “markers” that you fill with water and the water “colors”. The nice thing is when it dries they can do it all over again. Kelly

  • Becca G - we fly with four (8,6,2,and 1) cross country once a year. origami is great with my older two when they aren’t watching a movie. my 2 year old is content with his $store dinos. and for my little one we will be taking an empty wipes container filled with things he can pull out and put back in (and probaly lose along the way)
    good luck. it’s not my favorite thing.

  • bethany - Xanex.

  • Dana - Can’t take credit for this tip, but it does work; dress your kids (and the back up outfits) super duper cute and matching/coordinating if you can. For some reason people are a little more ‘enchanted’ with cutely dressed kids and are more likely to forgive the screaming (yours, of course). Oh, and dress them in bright colors so when they get away from you for that half second that your back was turned, you can easily spot them in a crowded airport. Good luck!

  • Kelli - We live overseas so we have flown many times for several hours. Get plenty of sleep the night before you leave. If everyone can that is great but especially the parents. We do the backpack thing and our rule is that they have to carry them in the airport too. I pack small new items in different ziplock bags so they can pull them out and play with what’s inside. With my youngest I manage that for him. I make my own coloring books from color sheets off the Interent. Making them half the size of a piece of paper is easier for my kids. With crayons and other things like small cars and such- don’t bring things the kids will be sad if they get lost. Crayons and cars roll off, and they can be hard to find. I also make them something fun to do and pack a snacks they are not use to eating. I also encourage the DVD player. I have a post on my blog from sometime in June andJuly 4th ish of what I packed, if you are interested. Hope the trip goes well.

  • delish - (no iphone) We travelled overseas with 4 kids, 18m,3yr, 5yr, 7yrs…they did great! I held the little one and we slept most of the time! nice. Splitting the kids up, 2 with each parent worked well, stuff to play with is good, but they were pretty excited just to be on the plane. A great thing to point out are the BARF BAGS!!! WE used them!!! Also maybe the kids could color on them! Well, you have tons of great advice, I see. I’m sure your kids will do fine! Make sure Daddy gets lots of rest before the flight and you’ll all survive!

  • Kathy Carr - Are you kidding me? You are the queen of creative and you’re asking for ideas?!? Just give your kids the same stuff that keep them happy at home… clothespins, twine, magnets, tape, foil, paper, a handkerchief and whatever else is in the bottom of your purse. You’re like McGuyver, surely that has rubbed off on them. =) They’ll probably build a fort in their seats, make an eyepatch, launch paper airplanes and come up with a secret language all by the end of the flight. The one year old might be tricky but things like peek a boo and find the goldfish cracker should take up lots of time. If she like Cheerios or fruit loops maybe you could make her a necklace for the trip, or better yet have the boys make her one on the plane. You could make a seek n find jar- just a bunch of their teeny tiny toys in a pb jar filled with rice. I kept a list of things they had to find in there; a monoply top hat, a blue button, etc. Also, an altoids tin with magnetic toys is pretty handy. Since your boys like legos so much, maybe you could buy them one box just for the trip with the understanding that if they get lost or dropped, no one will get upset? Maybe in a plastic box with sides so they don’t spill. Also just a word of caution, food dye makes lots of kids hyper so be careful with all the candy, fruitsnacks and even the benadryl. Makes a big difference in my kids anyway. Good luck!

  • JennyP - Before my babe I taught grade 3 and there were times when the little peeps in my class needed extra activities. I created Brain Challenge books using; mazes, wordsearches, compare two pics, pages from drawing books, matching of all kinds…the activities really are endless…I never did do it but always thought it would be fun to insert a 8×10 pic of my face and have them draw their teacher as a different profession ex firefighter, doctor, artist. Could do that with Mom and Dad’s pic. Are they into knights with swords? Just google to find knight word search or mazes! To make them reusable I put each page in a sheet protector and then in a binder. This made them easy to take out, write on then be wiped off. A bit of work but good for little brains and NOT lame if you find neat stuff!! Your peeps are little young but an idea for you. Good luck!!

  • Natalie - We flew 7 hours with a 10 month old from Chicago to Alaska, then drove 6 hours from the airport to our destination. Only one kid, but I like the comment about bringing FireCracker’s car seat. I’d say even if you feel like you just can’t manage to carry one more thing, you’ll be thankful you did. Then, don’t get her out of it unless she really throws a fit. After that, mini post-it notes, dum dum suckers, a hand-held magic doodle- and more changes of clothes & diapers than you could possibly imagine needing (our dear had a sick tummy from the travel/changes in water, etc.) Good to layer her up with light layers so if she get’s sick on her jammies, she has a onesie underneath- same goes for you! I don’t have an i-phone, just thought I’d chime in-

  • Megan H - I know the contest is closed but wanted to weigh in and wish you good luck! We traveled last week with our two one-year olds and did two long air flights and a 5 hour car ride. I love the lollipop idea – we ended up doing that, it was a sticky mess but they were quiet. Also you can bring a bag of chocolates for you and the other passengers on the plane…nothing wrong with a little bribery. Again, good luck!