We just returned from a week in Iowa/Minnesota. We drove. Did you know that there is a lot of Nebraska out there? And it all mostly looks the same? I'm sure it's a lovely state in some respects but when you're driving from Denver to Minneapolis it can be hard to see anything but the backs of your eyelids. Am I wrong?
It was all worth it to get to Minnesota though...
I'm not going to paint a rosy-colored picture for you when it comes to road-tripping with a 2 year old. It isn't easy and it certainly isn't always pretty. This time was worlds easier than the first road trip when Riley was only a year and a half old. This time we were able to play games like "I Spy", he was able to color without immediately dropping all the crayons and his coloring book on the floor, and a simple handful of cheese crackers kept him happy for at least 10 minutes at a time. Huge improvements. Seriously.
And yes. We let him watch some educational shows on our iPad. With a child who refuses to sleep in the car this is sometimes the only way I can keep myself sane.
The first family vacation we took as a threesome was when we visited Kyoto, Japan. Riley was almost 4 months old and I remember looking at his peaceful little face as he snoozed away on the Shinkansen. We strapped him into his carrier and explored some of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. Riley fell asleep in the peaceful bamboo forest, played on the tatami mats at restaurants while we slurped noodles and dipped tempura, and flirted with anyone and everyone who would pay attention to him.
It was a wonderful, joyful trip as you can probably tell from the above photo. Plus, in Japan, we were never far away from a place that served incredible food. Handmade inarizushi, comforting Japanese curry, and big bowls of ramen were always around to fill our stomachs and keep us going. Unfortunately, the same is not true when driving through the Midwest in the United States. Rather than giving in to the many fast-food chains at each and every exit along the interstate, I wanted to give you some other options that will make you feel better about what you're putting in your body.
Sweet, salty, and healthy. This is an ideal alternative to heavy pasta salads that travels well. Pack the salad in mason jars for easy, spill proof storage and keep in a cooler.
2. Irish Soda Bread with Dried Fruit & Nuts
There is no denying bread's status as a great comfort food. Slice the bread and put it in an airtight container before you start your drive. Add a little almond butter and you've got a protein-filled snack to get you through those long hours of driving.
These chocolate-dipped macaroons are the perfect 2-bite treats for long car trips. They are reasonably healthy and last for 2-3 days in an airtight container. No need to stick in the cooler UNLESS you are driving during a really warm time of year. In that case, stick 'em in the cooler so they don't melt everywhere. Got it? Good.
4. Smoked Salmon Dip in Endive Cups
Say hello to the perfect light lunch! Flavorful, filling, and easy to eat on the go. Or during a picnic in the back of your mini-van. Whatevs.
5. Smokey Homemade Cheese Crackers
Cheese. Crackers. Homemade. Need I say anymore? I'll take two handfuls pleaseandthankyou.