Thaumaturgic Bio Mist | Our Favorite First Aid Companion

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If you’ve ever watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you’ll probably remember the dad who swore by Windex. He said it could cure everything and would shout, “put some Windex on it!”.

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Well, that is me with Thaumaturgic Bio Mist! I take it everywhere and put it on everything! It has become my go-to spray.

I put it on scrapes, stubbed toes, eczema, sunburns, and bug bites. Seriously, if you have a bug bite, this stuff is magic…and it works FAST! It takes the itch away almost immediately.

According to their website, Theralight’s website, the main ingredient in Bio Mist is HOCL, but we are pretty convinced it is unicorn tears or some sort of fairy magic.

And when I say we take this everywhere, I mean it! It’s always with us! It’s the only spray I can put on my kids after a fall without them screaming. I don’t even need to put band-aids on the tiny little boo-boos. I just spray it with Bio Mist and all is right with the universe.

If you are interested, you can buy some here and try it for yourself!

Disclaimer: I was given the opportunity by Theralight, Inc. to review this product. However, the brand or company has not influenced me in any way to provide any type of review other than my true and honest opinions. I am disclosing all information provided in this review according to the information provided in Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Independent and Creative Play with Fisher-Price Dough Dots

We recently had the opportunity to be one of the first families to play with (and review) a brand new toy from Fisher-Price, Dough Dots!™

We love toys that provide open-ended, independent, and creative play, and Dough Dots!™ do all three! We received several packs of Dough Dots!™ which was perfect because, by the end of the day, everyone (even our big kids) wanted to play with them. Each Dough Dots!™ comes inside a ball that is perfect for little hands to open and close. Some packs, including the tube, come with a shape cutter. The lion and giraffe were Team favorites!

I can honestly say that my kids were entertained for hours! They even took Dough Dots!™ on our most recent road trip…I also learned that Dough Dots!™ can be easily removed from car seat upholstery.

There are many things that stand-out about Dough Dots!™ .

The Ball

It’s durable. My crew is rough with toys. Really rough. The ball has withstood all of there shenanigans and shows no signs of wear.

It’s easy to open. I can open them with one hand (like a plastic egg) and even our toddler can open it without assistance.

Aside from storing the dough, the ball can be used to make an animal print! And it can be a ball.

The Dough

The dough itself is colorful with a pleasant smell. It is durable and has held up after many uses. It isn’t clumpy and has maintained its texture.

Creative Play

I gave the kids some random craft stuff and let them go. They played for hours! They used the shape cutters included in the tube and the smaller individual packs. They also created monsters, food, used it to imprint shapes, and occupied themselves on a three-hour road trip.

Conclusion

 Dough Dots!™ are perfect for open and creative play. The unique design of the ball compliments the bright colors of the dough and makes it visually appealing for the kids. We would definitely buy these and recommend them to our friends!

Disclaimer: I was given the opportunity by the creators of  Dough Dots!™  to review this product. However, the brand or company has not influenced me in any way to provide any type of review other than my true and honest opinions. I am disclosing all information provided in this review according to the information provided in Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Located in the Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon State Park boast the second largest canyon in the United States.

There is ample room for camping and lots of exploring. We enjoyed many hikes here including the Cowboy Dugout.

The local store, the Trading Post, is nice, and you can buy supplies and souvenirs. At night, there is an outdoor play “Texas”. We were unable to attend but could see and hear parts of it from our tent. We would definitely visit again!

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Dead Horse Point State Park

Dead Horse Point State Park, located just outside of Moab, UT, is one of the most scenic state parks that we have visited. And probably has one of the most unforgettable names.

Have you ever seen Thelma and Lousie? Their final stand at the Grand Canyon was actually filmed at Dead Horse! The Colorado River goosenecks in the canyon, carving an iconic landscape.

It’s often overlooked by visitors who visit it’s National Park cousins, Arches and Canyonlands, but Dead Horse Point can definitely hold it’s own. With views that rival the Grand Cayon, this park is a must see!

Everything You Need to Know About Traveling with a Large Family

Well, almost.

I remember going on vacations as a kid with my mom, dad and sister. They always seemed larger than life and thrilling. We would stay in a two-bedroom condo near the beach, and maybe fly if the price was right. It seemed like we would start packing weeks in advance, and it would take a minor miracle if we had everything we needed to last the week. Travelling with two children, I learned, requires planning.

Travelling with eight children is a whole other monster. Here are some things you need to know about travelling with a big family.

Occupancy Limits

This may be a no-brainer for some, but it came as a surprise to us. Depending on the hotel, you may need two rooms due to occupancy restrictions. I recommend calling in advance to see how many children they will accommodate in a room. We have found places to be more flexible if we book a suite vs a standard room with 2 queen beds. It really depends on the hotel, your destination, and the staff.

Have we smuggled kids in before? Yep. But we’ve been prepared to pay extra if needed. Just be courteous and try to keep the noise to a minimum. Our house is usually the loudest house on the block, but in hotels, we practice courtesy. It has worked to our advantage on more than one occasion and we are welcomed back wherever we stay. We hope this paves the way for other large families on the road.

We do the same with VRBO and Airbnb. We always let the host know we are travelling with many children in tow. We have been told that their space is suddenly “occupied” even after corresponding several times, but figure we are better off in the long run. For the most part, we have been welcomed with open arms.

Group Camping

Just as there are occupancy limits in hotels and such, there are occupancy limits in campgrounds as well.

If you are camping in a National or State Park, check out the group camping spots. Generally speaking, they are spacious and away from the crowds. These sites aren’t much more than what you would pay for a single site. We also found them to be superior in views. If your crew is 8+, always ask about a group site.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Or in our case, always automobiles. Anywhere we go, we drive. And while one day we will have to fly to get across the pond, we will drive to every place we can in the Americas. Why? Because flying is expensive.

We have road trips down to an art form. But us in a confined place with other folks for an extended period of time… You’re asking for an intervention with an air martial.

Same goes for a train. In theory, it seems like it wouldn’t be so bad but after the 20th “are we there yet,” the other passengers may start to form alliances.

We will do our thing and travel by van.

Pack Light

I remember packing for a trip to the Virgin Islands when I was a teenager. I think I packed EVERY item of clothing I owned along with what seemed the entire Clinique counter. I stuffed it into an extra large suitcase and off we went. Ah! Those were the days.

Now, we travel light. Can you imagine 10 xl suitcases?! We each have a very thoughtfully planned capsule wardrobe that will accommodate hiking, travel, church, and everything in between. We take shower shoes, hiking boot and sneakers in one giant bin. Our ultimate goal is to get each person down to a backpack with all of their personal belongings. For now, it’s two kids per small suitcase.

Because we pack light, we also do laundry on the road. It’s only been a problem once. And I think it’s good for the kids to learn how to use a laundromat.

And if we forget something…and it has happened, there is always a Walmart/Target/general store nearby.

Cook Whenever Possible

We like to eat semi-healthy when we travel. We are limited to food choices due to dietary restrictions, and cooking whenever possible just makes sense. If we will only be gone for the weekend, I tend to cook before we leave and stock the cooler. If we will be gone longer, we like to have access to a cooking source. It makes travelling easy on the budget and saves us from gaining 5lbs everytime we hit the road. In fact, with all of the hiking we do, we generally end up losing a few pounds.

Winner! Winner!

We love inspiring all families, big and small, to travel more. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments!

A Thousand Times Yes

We started our Instagram feed in the fall of 2015. It was our very first camping trip as a family. Ever. Philip was 8 weeks old. I only remember this because everyone we saw asked how old he was. One of us would answer and undoubtedly meet the same response, “you are camping with an 8 week old?!” And John or I would say with a shrug, “well, he has to be 8 weeks old somewhere. He might as well be here.”

philip1 Our First Pic on Instagram, Philip 8 weeks old[/caption]

We weren’t sure how things would turn out, but we decided to give it a go. We over packed on supplies and food. We took two cars. It took us an hour to set up two tents and about an hour and a half to start a fire (that was mostly smoke). To put it mildly, we were novices. John had been camping twice in his life, and my camping experience was limited to the Girl Scouts and random weekends with my family when I was a kid. We took what limited experiences we had and figured if anything went wrong, we could get home in under two hours. We posted on Instagram because we thought it would be fun to keep a few of our friends and family updated on how things were going.

noah indiana Yep. We were the weird family.[/caption]

Much to our surprise, we survived. We were undoubtedly “that family” at the campground. Our kids freaked out in the shower, we couldn’t make a proper fire, and everything about our family stuck out. Still, we survived. And it was then that we decided, if we can camp in Versailles, Indiana, we could camp anywhere.

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So, we did what any sane family of 9 would do. We went home and planned a month-long camping trip across the country. We spoke to friends who travelled, followed family and outdoor blogs, and devised a trip that would take us through 11 states.

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We didn’t think about the consequences of what we were doing at the time, or how it would radically change us. We didn’t know that by stepping out of our comfort zone and saying “yes” to an adventure would make it easier to say “yes” to more things. We also didn’t foresee the effects it would have on our children. By saying “yes”, we have watched our children become explorers and revelled as they developed an appreciation for life beyond our cul-de-sac.

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The stone we cast was a camping trip. Its ripples have been unintended adventures and opportunities for a life that we never knew was possible.

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Here we are. Two and a half years (almost to the day) and a thousand followers from when we started. We are now a family of 10 whose travels have stretched over 29 states, 3 shorelines, and countless adventures. Thank you for being a part of our journey. Thank you for bearing witness to all the “yeses” that are to come.

Team Horn’s Guide to Yellowstone

Yellowstone is on everyone’s travel bucket list, and for good reason. It is a geological unicorn filled with bubbling thermal hot spots, geysers, and some of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet. It’s also HUGE and can be overwhelming. We’ve put together a guide of sorts to help you navigate your trip. If you have been to Yellowstone and notice we’ve forgotten something, please add your tips to the comments!

Book your trip early and be prepared for the crowds.

Remember, Yellowstone is on everyone’s bucket list. Any given summer, you will be sharing Yellowstone with over 2.5 million of your closest friends.

Camping is possible within the park, but fill up quickly. They open reservations 6 months in advance. For the most part, the campgrounds resemble shanty towns. We tent camp and are partial to the tent only loops which are a good size and close to the lake. There are also hotels and the Yellowstone Lodge within the park and plenty of options in Jackson.

Along with limited lodging, you might run into limited parking at popular spots and even heavy traffic. In fact, plan on it. Be prepared to have an obstructed view of Old Faithful. It will look more like this:

That said, crowds decline sharply after dinner. So, enjoy a nightcap at the Yellowstone Lodge before heading over to Old Faithful, or enjoy a sunrise at Grand Prismatic Springs. Then you can spend the rest of the day looking at bison. Which takes us to the next topic.

Respect the Wildlife

Repeat after me: I am a guest. This is their home.

Check out the movie at the visitor’s center. The wildlife in Yellowstone might seem cute and cuddly but they are huge and everywhere. And they need personal space or they will hurt you. We saw more than one person trying to take selfies with bison. Don’t be that person. And be prepared for tons of elk in Mammoth!

Animal induced traffic jams are a common occurrence. There could be a herd walking down the road or twenty cars stopped in hopes of spying a bear in a field. Please be patient and respectful.

Yellowstone is a Fragrant Bouquet of Rotten Eggs

To put it mildly, it smells.

Bubbling sulfuric acid is stanky. And around Yellowstone, it’s an acquired appreciation. And it’s bubbling sulfuric acid…so keep your distance. This stuff has the PH of battery acid. Look but don’t touch.

The Pretty Stuff is Bacteria

Just make it a rule. Keep your hands to yourself. Yellowstone is dangerous. All of those magnificent colors you will see in places like Grand Prismatic Springs are BACTERIA. Very adaptable bacteria along a delicate landscape. And they steam because it’s HOT.

Don’t be one of those people who touch it. There are signs everywhere and you will watch people burn themselves. Just don’t do it.

It’s a Dead Zone

Yellowstone has very limited service. Chances are if you see folks pulled over on the side of the road, there are either animals in the distance OR cell service.

You can download apps like GyPSy that sync with your GPS and don’t require a connection to provide you with an awesome guided tour of the park.

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Photo Credit: Gypsyguides.com

If you work remotely and require reliable access, you can drive into Jackson or ask a ranger where the best place for service is in the park. We had service near the lodge but it was very hit and miss.

Enjoy the downtime. Plan on a break from social media and go off the grid for a few days. Take in the sights. Spend time soaking in the history and wonder of Yellowstone. It is like no other place on earth.

 

How to Entertain Eight Kids on a Roadtrip

We spend a lot of time in the van when we travel. And while we try to keep our stops 5 hours apart, sometimes that takes our family 8 hours. As you can imagine, this leads to endless cries of “are we there yet?!” We have learned that the more entertained they are, the easier our drive becomes.

As a mom of eight, I prefer ease. The difference between a content 8-hour drive and one that makes us looks like the Duggars meets Married with Children is often a well-timed podcast and snacks.

Here, in no particular order, are our favorite things to listen to while we are in the car.

1. Brains On

This educational, science-based podcast is thought-provoking and entertaining.  There are often children who help host, intriguing content, and even a mystery sound. We tend to shuffle a few episodes in on shorter stretches.

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Brains On, NPR Photo Credit: BrainsOn.org

2. Story Pirates

The format is simple. In their own words, “Kids write stories. We act them out. Kids write more.” I saw this explained as Drunk History with kids’ stories and it’s kind of a perfect description. Everyone is entertained and we love binge listening to these, as well as revisiting our favorite episodes.

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Photo Credit: Storypirates.com

3. The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel & The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian

I am lumping them together because they are both Sci-Fi stories but appeal to different ages. My older elementary kids like Mars Patel, and the younger ones tend to gravitate towards Finn Caspian. That said, we really enjoy them both. If you have a geek in your car, you can’t go wrong.

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Photo Credit: Marspatel.com
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Photo Credit: FinnCaspian.com

4. Musicals

This spectrum is wide. We listen to everything from Wicked to Hamilton. If you happen to run into us at a rest stop or even see Big Green on a highway, chances are pretty high that we are singing along to something by Lin Manuel Miranda. We have found musicals for free on Hoopla and through Amazon Music. 3bc38d8b4d01a8c33a22dfca77773ad5

5. GyPSy Guides

There are several GPS tour guides to choose from in the app store but our favorite is GyPSy Guides. We have found GPS tour guides particularly useful when going through National Parks and Monuments. They are quick to point out scenic views, history of landmarks, and points of interest along the way. They sync with your GPS, so they work even if you have no service in places like Yellowstone.

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Photo Credit: Gypsyguides.com

Bryce Canyon

Despite postcard views, sometimes things don’t go according to plan. I will always look back on our stay in Bryce Canyon as a time when everything went wrong. We were dirty, out of clean clothes, out of cash and in desperate need of sleep…so we abandoned our site for the night and got a room in Tropic.

Looking back, it was a great testament to our resilience as a family and the magic of Utah. It makes us go back.

Litter Patrol

As you wander, make sure to leave every place better than you found it. We always take a garbage bags with us.

We have found everything from spray paint cans to condom wrappers.

What’s the craziest piece of litter you’ve seen?