Vacation preparation

Vacation! It’s here! It’s time to pack and prepare! What are my best ideas as a mom of three and my “must haves” when traveling across the country for a family road trip? Well… I have compiled my list of the top 10 things I think are most important to have to keep my sanity.. and my families sanity!

1. A MAP

Yes, that is correct. A map. Good old fashioned maps cannot be beat when you are driving cross-country. I do not know how to read them but my husband does. And like Plat books and field agronomy maps, he thinks that no amount of hardware and GPS devices beat pulling over to review your path and where you need to go next. Even though my map reading skills are a source of contention between us… 🙂

2. Movies

I have three kids and all three are movie fanatics. All three love to kill time watching movies and admittedly it is a great way to pass the miles. Our van has dual DVD players so the older ones can watch in the back while the younger one in front. Best invention EVER.

3. Snacks

No brainer here?

4. Technology

Forget I said that it can replaced. It can be in terms of finding your route.. but not in passing time. We are loaded down with Ipods, Kindles, Ipads and the like when we travel.

5. Old timey games

Yep- we play the license plate game, travel bingo and the alphabet game. When you are in the car trapped together for 24 hours driving you have to do something to pass the time!

6. Your eyes

My kids have been fortunate to see most of the states in our great country through road trips we have taken.  We have had them go from Iowa to Arizona, Wyoming, South Dakota, Florida, Wisconsin, Indiana, Georgia and all the states in between. They have been to the Rockies, the Great Smokey Mountains, have been skiing in Denver, to the gulf shores of Florida, the Grand Canyon, the “Grand Daddy of them all” rodeo in Wyoming, through all the sights in South Dakota and that just scratches the surface of what they have seen. They have tasted true gulf seafood, touched Sbarro cactus plants, walked among the masses in Walt Disney World, raced in a conversion van across the Atlanta motor speedway finish line and  sat in a chair in one of the minutemen launch sights in the prairies of the Dakotas.  While they appreciate the convenience of flight, they appreciate even more all the sights they see in driving across our beautiful country. So make sure you have your eyes open, your ears open and you are ready to watch our beautiful country roll by.

7. Sense of humor

It’s fun to take the time to laugh and watch the people around you. I remember once I walked into a gas station in Tennessee to buy gas on a road trip and the lady behind the counter called me a Yankee! This made me laugh just because my accent was something that was foreign to her and she appreciated the time I took to share where I was from. It was a great teaching moment for me and my kids!

8. Travel apps

I do not have a favorite for these, I kind of search as I go. But I have used apps that show restaurants, best gas prices, and local landmarks before on previous trips we have taken. Do you have a favorite for me to keep in mind?

9. Kleenex… and baby wipes

Even if your kis are grown- you never have enough of these when you spend several days in a car toegther. Someone is bound to spill something!

10. Lastly- an open mind

Keep your mind open because the road is yours for the taking. Who knows what memories you will create? I LOVE the idea of not knowing what is to come. We have had GREAT family vacations… too many to mention all of them. But we have had the rotten ones too. (ask me about the time my husband was hospitalized the entire trip and we got hit by a blown tire on the way home). It is what it is though, and I would not trade those experiences for all the money in the world.

Safe travels!!


A nod to supplements…

IMG_3666 I need to take a minute to give supplements a shout out. Literally a shout to the heavens of their benefits. But let me back up a minute….

It starts a couple years ago actually. I was a nurse working odd hours in  cardiac rehab unit getting up to go to work at 3 am and going to bed when all other “normal” people go to bed. The result was a disaster. I was tired, my body clock was off and I was awake when I should be asleep and asleep when I should be awake. I was drinking gallons of caffeinated beverages trying to get enough energy to get through my day. I was headed down the wrong road and quick.

Speed up a couple years worth of lost sleep, MD appointments that resulted in medications prescribed to help me sleep- something that I believe should come naturally and eventually me saying “enough is enough”. I went back to the MD and asked for lab work to be done. Real lab work, not just the normal complete blood count and liver/kidney functions. I wanted the nuts and bolts- vitamin levels, thyroid tests, estrogen levels etc. The results were astounding to me. My Vitamin D level was well… in the basement.

I felt like an idiot~ how as a nurse did I not see this coming? I was so wrapped up in my day to day life that I did not see that the lack of sunlight {thank you Iowa winters} had robbed my body of the basic vitamin my body needed to function. My adrenals, my thyroid, my vitamin levels all needed to be realigned.

So here I am supporting my body with what it needs. I am not a sales person, I do not push or promote any products. I believe in only one basic thing. My body needs nutritional support. It needs vitamins and “supplements” to maintain balance and I love to experiment with different products to see what makes me feel best- all under the direction of my physician.

Currently I am taking Vitamin D, Symplex F and Hypothalmex. I feel GREAT. I am no longer tired, I have the energy to write, exercise, and do more than sit in the chair when I get home. Since I am typically not a breakfast person, I also experiment with different protein powders {here you see Shakeology chocolate supplement} and various smoothies to help get my day started. My current favorite is LeVels Thrive am shake mixed with frozen fruit and some Naked juice in green power or banana strawberry. Some times I add ice, sometimes I don’t, depends on the amount of time I have in the morning.

I can say this- I am a lifetime believer in the use of vitamin supplements now. Not only do I have energy but I am drinking water and eating more healthy as a bonus! I do not say this as a nurse, I do not say this with the intent to direct anyone in what to take. This is between you and your doctor just as it was for me and my doctor. If you feel the way I did- see your physician and get some directions. I check my levels every three months now and I could not be happier.

There is a lot of research out there on supplements and diet. I do believe in the power of traditional medicine and that it has a place in managing our health, but I also believe in the power of the supplement as well.

It worked for me! Good luck…..

Who I am and why I am here

Why Dirt Road Nightingale? Well… it fits me. I love dirt roads, small towns and living in a small town in southwest Iowa. Born here in Iowa, raised here in Iowa, and raising my family here. I am a Nightingale because my chosen career is nursing. I love it, it is in my blood. I love everything about taking care of others, helping them with their health and educating others on how to be the best they can be. What can be better than taking care of others?

I have long been a fan of writing, I love to read and I love to follow bloggers. I think that is why I am giving this a shot. But to be fair.. I better come clean and say I have tried and failed this once before. I have always wanted to be brave enough to put my thoughts on a blog. But…. as I have sat typing before I have thought- who would want to read this? What could I possibly have to share and contribute?
So… it is rough, and I am green but I might as well give this a whirl. I don’t exactly lead a boring life, it is in fact very busy. My kids, bless their hearts, keep me busy driving the mom bus. I taxi them here and there day after day and week after week. I cheer in tournaments and games and every activity you can possibly think of. But that is a story I will save for another day.
My husband, who manages farms throughout south west Iowa, will give me countless thing to talk about through blog posts as well. He has taught me the value of hard work and respect of those who take care of the beautiful state I live in.
So this is just my introduction, it is brief but I will tell my story the best way I can. Bear with me- I am just learning! 🙂