Monthly Archives: March 2013

Big Family Trip: Day 5, Willoughby to Little Falls, NY

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Five to six hours of driving a day is not proving to be too much for any of us. There’s minor irritations and tingly legs, but nothing unbearable.
Willoughby, Ohio was so warm. When I got out of the van last night, in the dark, I could smell spring. The morning welcomed me with green tulips well on their way poking through. Emmett found a stick that even had buds on it.
Now we are only one hour left until our destination for the night. We didn’t do much today but stop to pee (a lot) and look at a camera in Buffalo, NY. The sight driving in was unbelievable. Enormous building after building, falling apart with broken windows. It Ominous to see a dead industrial area for mile after mile. What happened?

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Omg. Nova’s self portraits

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He’s a mess! Lo

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Finally! The Overlook Mansion! And a real supper.

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Will post more pictures of the mansion tomorrow.
GOOD NIGHT NEW YORK!!!

Big Family Trip: Day 4, Chicago!

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We’re having continental breakfast with a view of the stream of planes flying overhead. Its neat. Chaz and Emmett are having oatmeal with coconut oil in it and fresh apples. I big step up from the previous mornings. I’m having a cup of homemade broth I’ve reconstituted from stuff that Keirsten dehydrated.
Last night we looked up routes and decided against takin the El, and instead to drive through downtown Chicago to the Field museum. Fun! It wasn’t that busy, we went at a good
Time. But the museum was very busy with lineups for everything even the water fountain. At the end I thought that the zoo may have been a better choice. It’s free (the museum was $130, plus $19 for parking). And the zoo would have appealed to everyone’s interests. Chaz love the museum. He was taking it all in, but Nova and Emmett really only liked the animal exhibit. Live animals would have been much cooler. It was impossible to stay together. And this place is huge! We didn’t even see half of the exhibits. The museum was awesome which made it difficult when the children didnt want to actually look at stuff, which was most of the time. These aren’t regrets, just advice for someone who will visit Chicago with children. The kids were wild in Chicago. Darting an running from here to there. I had a few moments of panic. We decided not to do anything else downtown. Instead we drive through Chicago and got gas at a
Place with a man behind glass that double charged us. I even had to show ID to be ripped off. The GPS is a life send, but common sense is needed too. Bad areas can be spotted by broken windows, falling down buildings, boarded up houses, broken glass and shifty eyes. Do not enter.
The drive to our destination in Ohio was great.As we drove through downtown Cleveland at night, it woke something up in me. Something adventurous an alive.

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That’s how far we’ve traveled so far. Today we leave Ohio, travel through Pennsylvania and deep into New York. We’re excited as we will not staying at a chain like we have been. Update to come…

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Big Family Trip: Day 3, Eau Claire to Elmhurst, Illinois.

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That’s Chaz and Emmett in the morning inspecting the ants, termites, whatever they were.
Man, it’s just city after city on the interstate and every place has at least on massive water tower, even the big city. Wisconsin had breaks of thick trees resembling a mountainous area with “CHEESE” signs nestled in them. But I forgot to buy cheese. We saw beautiful resorts and rock formations.

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I pondered the enormity of fear it would take to make a parent carry a concealed weapon at all times. How much do they think about an attack on them? What does it feel like to live like that?

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The differences in speech are becoming noticeable as are the distinct divisions of skin colors in restaurants, malls, vehicles…
Coffee is harder to find here. We find a Starbucks here and there but it’s no Tim Hortons every few blocks. I’ve been drinking a lot of tea and water and it feels so clear. Strangely all my nausea has gone away, even while on the road, so long as I eat often.
The kids had an absolute blast at the Children’s M

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I spent $50 on fruit, lunch meat, garlic stuffed olives, non-Wisconsin cheese, kamut puffs, bowls, spoons, licorice and a few other things. I found some extremely reasonably priced organic milk from grass fed cows. The $3.50 a lb apples surprised me as did the kombucha and milk find! The last two were scores! I made sandwiches which everyone liked.
In Madison, Wisconsin at the mall we also ate a pizza slice each from Sbarro. The employees were fun and felt big city. I got a neck and back massage at the mall and he said I was tight. The malls have photo ops with the Easter bunny just like with Santa.
I’ve decided to write my daily blog to you while driving to Chicago. We will spend the night just outside, in Elmhurst then wakeup and do a day of big city Chicago. I have no idea what to expect. I have found that its important to have destinations where the kids can freely play. I am planning a museum for tomorrow. Michaels explaining to me how in Saskatchewan he doesn’t have to look at the road all the time. I don’t like his Saskatchewan driving. The traffic can be intense but it’s seriously calmed with the help of our GPS. I love that I can look up restaurants, gas, grocery stores or anything and it gives me the closest one with directions. Michael likes that “she” redirects him so gently when he takes a wrong turn.
So, today was awesome. I told myself that we’re settling into traveling. I did have a moment where I became angry over Michaels constant pestering his brother in the back seat. Chaz gives of a Hugh pitch squeal and I tell myself that he shouldn’t do that. But he does and it hurts when I argue with reality and I say things like “quit it or I’ll whip this at you!”. I have a lot of work to do… Michael says things that surprisingly don’t bother me like “Way to keep your cool”. I smiled and pulled out the folder from my mom with Byron Katie’s “The Work” in it. I filled it up quickly in mostly darkness and yelled “Mom, the sheets not long enough!!!” and then I laughed when I realized how much paper she put in it.
I really enjoyed each of my kids today. Emmett and I went early to the breakfast room were he told me that Grandma and Grandpa Dalton had told him that fruit loops were good for him. I cringed and gave him a bowl and he barely ate any.
I dreamt about the conference last night and I cried when I got there and saw Laurie A. Couture.
Back in the van…
“Michael says “Can you feel it? The buzz of one of the biggest cities in America?”
We ignorantly passed a toll booth without paying. And the fourth time we didn’t have change. The camera snapped our license plate. We’re outlaws now…

Big Family Trip: Day 2 Fargo to Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

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Yesterday we drove through the three states of North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. North Dakota was like Saskatchewan. Mostly flat with few trees and no business for a long time. It didn’t feel very American yet. Old abandoned houses had me pondering the incredible homesteading that took place. Minnesota got different. Barely breaks between Super Walmarts and Menards and Super Targets. But with more trees! And they’re so tall that it reminds me of Alberta when you’re headed to the mountains.
We are still in Wisconsin this morning, at The Knights Inn. It’s a chain here just below the Super 8. I will not complain. It’s exactly what I expect a $57 hotel (huge taxes included) to be. I wholeheartedly am embracing Emmett’s friends, the ants in the bathroom. This rooms been comfortable. The coffee kept telling my taste buds that it’s bad but my body liked it. Something’s changed as I haven’t been able to stomach the stuff for weeks. I like that this hotel doesn’t have a pool. While nice for the kids, I’m not sure I’m in the mood for a cold, chlorine dip.
Yesterday was hard. I didn’t embrace it very well. I’m great at accepting situations but I struggle with accepting when others do not accept situations. I judge judging. The two parents had two different ideas of how things should go and I’ll be sure to present my side as right. Just kidding.
We learned that we can not make rigid rules such as we must wake at this time and drive for this long. Every day must be evaluated. I started off the day wanting to relax, snuggle and connect with my kids before we hit the road. I wanted them to be tired before we drove again but michael didn’t want to arrive at our destination late. Neither of us was wrong, except him when he was demanding we do it his way. 😛
There were lots of good things that happened. We went to a super Walmart before leaving and spent $25 on yogurt, pistachios and fruit. It was a good thing too since the continental “breakfast” left me with a deep hole in my stomach. This left enough to snack on at the end of the day. I wish I’d noticed that the yogurt was aspartame sweetened before I ate two. Walmart was not really part of the good things that happened: We found a Chipotle, food with integrity! Everyone liked it and they even gave us a free burrito when Emmett and Nova wanted their bowls wrapped up. It was filling too. I loved the fresh and spicy salsa. It was $45 for all six of us. Total we spent $78 on food, and our budget is $95. We are up $50 on our food budget and we are saving up for something good.
Today, I’m thirty so maybe I’ll spend it.
By the time we got to Minneapolis, which is HUGE by the way, the children’s museum was almost closed. So we went to the Mall of America. It wasn’t that impressive to me, Coming from the city of The Big Mall, West Edmonton. We went to Sea Life. Nova became mesmerized by the flowy sea creatures like the giant octopus and jelly fish. I loved the jelly fish too. They have a dark room surrounded by mirrors full of tanks with jelly fish all around. I think I could stare at them for hours. I felt in my being that I am a jelly fish or that I would like to become more like them. Slow and beautiful. My second favourite part was the “kiddy” ride. Cars that go round and round. To my delight they WHIP you once you go around the end. I couldn’t help but squeal. It was the perfect amount of whiplash for me.
I really need to start documenting some of the things that the kids are saying. It can be hilarious and brilliant.
The night ended with kefir smoothies that I made in the hotel. It was heavenly to have something nourishing.

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Day One of Big Family Trip: Gravelbourg to Fargo.

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This is what it looked like before we left. You can even see exhaust from the van running. I love this organization system. We have one bag that comes in with just what people need for the night and we have a laundry bag and a swimming bag. And food.
It’s early morning the day after our first day traveling and I’m up to reflect on it. It was our biggest travel day with 937 km (10 hours plus) and it felt like a breeze for the most part. There were times when I would become anxious and fear that things would get bad. By bad I mean loud crying, whining and general unhappiness.
I definitely could have done the day better, and here’s how:
-I didn’t pack enough food for fear of having it taken at the border. I brought lunch kits for the kids but didn’t put anything in them, thinking I would do it once we cross the border. Mistake number one. Chaz was hungry and the passing of things back and forth was making me carsick. Next time I’ll fill their lunch kits and not worry if they take it away. We can buy more.
-I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be but I also could have been more connected to my kids. I was worried about unhappiness and carsickness. Neither were a problem. Today, I’m going to make a point to connect with each child in a meaningful way before we head out. I’ll fill each of their lunch kits with foods that they like.

I did a lot of stuff right!
We had no problem at the border, he seemed please that we all had passports. I also had a bank statement, our land title, all our hotel reservation info, a list of all the foods in our van, trip
itinerary and homeschool registrations. Only the passports were asked for. He didn’t even verify the lump under the blanket in the back, which was our Mexican, Michael. We laughed about that for quite a while when we realized.
I had brought a lot of water and kept
It in an accessible container with a straw. This kept us all hydrated until Emmett chewed the straw up.
I diffused peppermint throughout the vehicle with a bit on a kleenex and jammed into the heater. I’m pretty sure this is what saved me from sickness.
We were very good at stopping when kids had to pee. We brought the potty which made it so easy. Trying to balance kids over a ditch in the prairies with wind is not easy! Even the older kids can use the potty. It’s a large baby bjorn which is very stable.
When we got to Minot we went to the grocery store, kindly found by our good friend, Garmen the GPS, we spent $51.40. At the suggestion of my
Mom and the criticism of me, We bought:
Buns, a whole cooked chicken, smoked salmon, imitation crab, cheese slices, a veggie tray, two tomatoes, organic baby kale and avocado and four Pieces of assorted fruit. Michael used his own money to buy fried chicken and Chaz bought a $6 pint Of raspberries. We could have bought liquor, had we wanted.

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I made sandwiches in the van which had me designing a travel cutting board in my head. It would fold out and have a space for two types of knives and a wet cloth, my dad would be proud. The sandwiches were satisfying and did well with a swig of milk kefir which I’ve been choking down lately with my changed pregnant tastes.
The kids went swimming with daddy as soon as we arrived and I organized our room and cleaned garbage out of the van.
After swimming there was enough food leftover from the Minot grocery store to make salads:

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The kids complained a bit saying they wanted a real supper in a restaurant, but then they happily picked apart the rest of the food:

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Yesterday was good, actually it was great and I learned a lot! My favourite part was the giant billboard that said “Be American use ethanol”, all one sentence.
Our hotel room has three beds, a pool and free breakfast for $56. With the grocery store trip and coffees we spent $62 on food, and our budget is $95 a day. We plan to save up and eat like kings. Maybe in Chicago we will do street hotdogs and deep dish pizza. I’ll need a nap.
Today I let go of fear and of lack. There is enough. I submerse myself in the abundance available to me. I am
Open and ready to respond to all that wants to come through me.
But first a shower…

Parents: Memorable Trip or Mental Health Issues?

This morning the sanity is being questioned of two parents who plan to drive their family across two countries; big countires. The Neuman-Lee-Urquhart-Ramos’s, a family of four children and two parents set out on what is being labeled by them “The Super Amazing Trip of a Lifetime: The Trip To Begin all Trips.”.
The world will be eager to follow, be shocked and feel inspired by the family’s travels as they document each destination and cheap motel along the way. Six months of preparations have been laid to inspect hundreds of hotel reviews for blood stains and naked people roaming halls.
Reporters had already begun circling the families home at 5 AM in anticipation of their departure. Many swarmed the familiy’s van sniffing the air outside and speculating as to what the family could have packed that was so oderous. The family did cleverly managed to fool the media by sleeping in an extra four hours.
The children were last seen at 12:04 AM, the night before the planned trip. It was reported that many of them were not properly clothed or versed in the actual methods of sacrificing ones self to the moon. The youngest child was dangerously wielding a steak knife and cutting up apples in the from yard.
When CBC’s Anna Maria Tremonti asked the father if he would be taking his guitar, he replied “No comment.”.
The mother was last reported weeping tears of joy and blubbering “I just want to thank tripadvisor for making this all possible. I couldn’t have done it without you.”
We will be carefully updating and warning the public of their current whereabouts. If you see the family, do not make eye contact and slowly walk away. Their influence and power of love can be very convincing to abandon your beliefs and live freely.

Big Family Trip: Food Preparations.

What we eat on the road could make or break us. Especially with me being pregnant and already prone to car sickness. With so much time on the road, I’m taking extra steps to ensure
my health and happiness on the trip.

I will have nutrient dense foods available first thing in the morning. Filling up will avoid the urge to eat something that will harm me later. When we are nourished, I don’t need food rules.
We will make frequent adventures to the grocery store. I am Excited to see what we will find in each place and what the kids will pick for themselves. I’ll document it, it will be interesting!
Here are some of the nutrient dense foods I’ll have on hand:

-Avacadoes. I eat them with salt and pepper and a spoon. Bring a knife with a safety case.
-Boiled eggs. Very nutrient dense and filling. Also, they are versatile and can be paired with other foods like even kimchi!
-Homemade deer sausage cooked and sliced.
-Beef jerky and pepperoni. Look for stuff that doesn’t have a bunch of ingredients except meat and spices; if possible 😉
-High fat yogurt. With all dairy, I look for grass-fed and organic. I’m actually going to bring my Mesophilic Viili yogurt. I can make it right in the van or hotel simply by adding cream to it and letting it sit a day or two.
-Cheeses, hard and cottage cheese too. Again, grass-fed and organic if possible.
-Lunch meats. I only do this if I can find a natural meat without fillers and chemicals.
-Fresh fruits and vegetables. My kids love apples and bananas. I’ll only buy a few at a time to save on space and the possibility of them getting mauled or frozen in the van.
-Cooked fish, like smoked salmon, herring, etc.
-Fermented vegetables. Kimchi, sauerkraut and pickles.
-Nuts. Sprouted, roasted, salted?

Make nourishing drinks on the road:

-Ginger, nettle and peppermint tea. Some gas stations may have it but I’ll bring my own just in case. I’ll use the hot water at gas stations to make it.
-Kefir smoothies. I’m bringing my hand blender, kefir grains and I’ll buy frozen fruit to blend in with egg yolks.
-Bone broth. My friend makes wonderful, homemade bone broth and then dehydrates it. I can easily reconstitute it at a rest stop with hot water. I’ll be counting on this to keep
Me super.
-Mineral water or coconut water
For hydration and many impromptu pee stops!!

Try not to buy too much food at once. I find stuff gets wasted if there’s too much. I also don’t like hauling in bags and bags of food and often there is no refrigerator. I’ll just buy why we need for the next few hours, each food item will become more of a novelty, something to be savored and appreciated.

I’m also bringing a crock pot to do soups, stews and overnight breakfast
Meals like oatmeal and egg/ham bakes.
I’m bringing my grill as well as it fits perfectly in my under floor compartment. I’ll use it for nourishing pancakes (can be eaten all day or made into sandwiches), steaks, chicken and omelets.
I’m contemplating a hot plate too, with a pot to boil eggs. I’m so smart it scares me.
I’ve been pondering adding some other nutrients to my foods. Maybe gelatin, hemp, coconut oil, chia seeds… Any other ideas?

Here is a super tip! Save your favourite snacks for on the road. For is that’s fruit leather, jerky, smoke salmon, muffins, dark chocolate almonds, tamari almonds. If you and your family are looking forward to your favourites on the road, then evil will not tempt you.

The Liberated Kitchens Travel Essentials

This is just my brainstorming so far. More ideas to come!

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That is what I have packed so far. There’s some homemade jams in there for pancakes. 😀

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I’m adding more as I go along… Healthy Himalayan sea salt. I’m bringing a little jar of it for in our restaurant entertainment bag.