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Goody bags for the road

2012 June 5
by Emily Hill

Last week, along with pulling off Nathan’s surprise 40th birthday AND early graduation party, my sister and I planned a surprise visit to California for my dad’s 60th birthday.

That’s two surprises I had to keep secret for at least a couple months.

It about killed me.

But it was so worth it. I’ve set the bar pretty high for my 40th birthday, believe you me.

Back to the surprise visit for my dad’s 60th. That required a good 10-hour drive, 2/3 of which was through the always exciting state of Nevada, with George (age 6) and Livi (age 4) in tow. To his credit, George is a pretty good traveler but Livi…well, she’s never much liked long drives even as an infant. Every 15 minutes—and I’m so not exaggerating—she asked us what state we were in. And every 15 minutes we answered, “Nevada.”

The game wasn’t as much fun as it sounds.

I was determined to make the return drive to Utah a lot less painful, so I relied on the wisdom of my dear friend Lindsey over at the r house and harnessed the power of the goody bag.

A day or two before we planned to leave, I headed to Target with my mom and sister. Man, did I hit that dollar section hard! I found the cutest totes for holding their treasures and stocked each one with about 10 items—one for every hour of the drive.

road trip kids goody bags

Of course I didn’t think to snap a photo before we started handing out goodies but you get the idea.

Also, doesn’t Little Miss Chatterbox’s “Call me?” immediately get Carly Rae Jepsen’s song stuck in your head? You’re welcome.

Here’s what you would’ve found inside their goody bags had you seen them just outside Reno:

  • Dry erase boards
  • Coloring books
  • Cheetos
  • Stickers
  • Littlest Pet Shop toy for Livi; Hot Wheels helicopter for George
  • Books
  • Ring Pops
  • Fun pens
  • Swedish Fish
  • And something else but it totally escapes me

I followed Lindsey’s advice and kept the items in the bags as similar as possible to avoid any fighting or extra whining.

Once we hit the freeway, Megan and I told the kids we had treasures for them. The rule was we would pass one out every hour. Having them watch the clock while watching movies cut way back on the times we were asked, “What state are we in NOW?!?”

Another trick I love for road trips is Redboxing (yes, it should totally be a verb) along the way. We picked up two new-to-us flicks before we headed home and this time we actually made it to Utah without needing to exchange them in Winnemucca, Elko or even Wendover. For some reason they wanted to watch Chipwrecked twice.

Hey, whatever works.

I’ll definitely do the goody bag thing again when we head back to California in July.

Maybe this time I’ll throw in some extra sticky Laffy Taffy to cut down on the number of times I’m asked, “Are we THERE yet?!?”

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P.P.S. You so need to read Lindsey’s “Six tips for surviving a road trip with kids.” It’s pure genius. In fact, I’d like to go on a road trip with them (as long as I get my own light saber and backpack full of snacks and surprises).

10 Responses Post a comment
  1. June 5, 2012

    LOL! YES! You would need to bring your own light saber …my boys are not great at sharing theirs. :)
    Lindsey from´s latest ~ How adoption has blessed your life | DelilahMy Profile


    Emily Reply:

    Do I have to bring my own movies or will you provide those for me? I want to make sure I’m all set! ;)
    Emily´s latest ~ The family that plays together, … {GIVEAWAY}My Profile


  2. Dad permalink
    June 5, 2012

    Did you really have to mention my age?!? Then again, the older I get, the older you get my dear daughter.


    Emily Reply:

    Of course I did–it’s a landmark birthday, especially when you don’t look a day over 50! :)
    Emily´s latest ~ Cross Your T’s: Copyblogger editionMy Profile


  3. June 5, 2012

    Great ideas, Emily! Where were you when I had a 12 hour drive to Arizona in April? ;)
    Pam´s latest ~ How to Make a Roman ShadeMy Profile


    Emily Reply:

    I was right here, babe. All you needed to do was ask…and then I’d have directed you to Lindsey’s post. ;)
    Emily´s latest ~ Pretty Darn Funny is back!My Profile


  4. Jennifer permalink
    June 5, 2012

    You are a busy woman! No wonder you have not had time to call me back.

    I would love to hear more about the surprise party. So fun!


    Emily Reply:

    Sorry–it’s been crazy busy around here. I can’t even think straight!
    Emily´s latest ~ Creamy chicken crescent rollsMy Profile


  5. June 6, 2012

    I have been getting so good at these since we go to Idaho every freakin’ weekend I swear. :)

    You know what was a hit, and I was shocked, it was so random that I even stuffed a package in each bag…pipe cleaners!
    evonne´s latest ~ did you miss me already?My Profile


    Emily Reply:

    Oh my goodness, that’s an awesome idea! I’m going to try that next time!
    Emily´s latest ~ The family that plays together, … {GIVEAWAY}My Profile


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