REAL, FRUGAL, HEALTHY, and FUN!!!
Wow! So, my husband went to the field the middle of September. He’s army. A lot of people have asked me what that means. Basically, he’s camping out with his unit doing different training exercises. For me, it means I’m playing the role of a single mom. I have full parental responsibility, which means more work and more stress. Lucky for me, my little sister decided to get married. That meant my boys and I got to fly home to my parents’ so we could be there for the wedding. I really looked forward to this trip the whole time I was playing single mama. I always love going home, but this made it more appealing than ever!
I definitely did a few dumb things. Being stingy, I didn’t want to pay to check bags. The whole trip was just 5 days/4 nights. The boys were easily able to pack everything they needed in their backpacks. I however, over-packed. I used my husband’s duffle bag. I brought my personal training books in case I had time to study. I didn’t. I brought my laptop in case I had time to post to my blog. I didn’t. I probably could have, but it was busy, and I wanted to spend as much time with my family as possible. I definitely don’t regret that. Anyway, back to my packing… I brought a lot of things I didn’t need to. My bag was pretty heavy. I knew that there was a lot going on with the family as soon as I landed. I knew that first, a bunch of us were heading to my sister’s haunted house, and then to my other sister’s bachelorette party. I wasn’t going to have time to get ready, so I dressed nice, and I wore my nice shoes. Oh, they just happened to be stilettos. Yep, I flew home with 3 little boys, with a heavy carry on, duffle bag, in my stilettos. Not sure what I was thinking. We had a layover. Our 2nd plane was nowhere near the first. Don’t try it. It was not fun.
We didn’t pack food to bring. We ate a big breakfast before we left. We brought an empty water bottle to fill up once we passed security. In between flights, we bought some fruit to munch on. My mom fed us well once we arrived. At the bachelorette party, my hosting sister, not the one getting married ( I have 5; it gets confusing) provided salads, fresh fruit, and veggies. She had the biggest bananas! They served a purpose in the bachelorette party (I’ll leave it to your imagination), but yes, we totally ate them.
We also had a birthday party for my little Sam while we were visiting. His official birthday is next week, but we threw him an early birthday with the family in Utah. My older sister and I made minion cupcakes. We used this recipe for the cake, but didn’t add the topping. We used urban posers marshmallow recipe for the frosting, which worked, though most people found it too gelatinous, and if we did it again, we decided we would just do a whipped coconut cream (I’ve used the same marshmallow recipe for homemade s’mores, and found it more appropriate and delicious for that). The main reason we chose to do the marshmallow recipe is that we used bananas, cut into thirds, for the minions, and we thought they’d give better hold. In the end, we used toothpicks to hold the bananas, so it wouldn’t have mattered. We used freeze-dried apples for the eye circle things. We used a chocolate ganache made of melted chocolate and almond milk. We melted the chocolate and added enough almond milk to get a consistency that we could pipe. From there we just had fun piping. We actually had a ton of ganache leftover. My sister, her kids, myself, and my kids started dunking extra bananas in the ganache. It was ah-maze-ing!
One of my favorite things to do when I go out of town is to explore different grocery stores. It’s fun to find things that aren’t in your local grocery stores. I explained this to my 2 youngest. We had fun walking through the produce section finding things we hadn’t seen before. We actually found quite a few things, including purple potatoes, and cactus pears. I bought nutritional yeast for the first time. I’ve been dying to try it. It’s used as a cheese substitute in a lot of recipes. There are even recipes to use it to make cheese using gelatin and zucchini. I also brought back some banana flour. I absolutely love baking with banana flour, and I can never find it locally. Oh, and carob chips! I bought carob chips, too! I haven’t been able to find them locally either.
Alright, so I have another story of a dumb thing(s) I did. This one is right up there with the stilettos at the airport. First, I have to explain that I always get traveler’s constipation. It seriously never fails. Always. It also happens to hit immediately when I leave on my trip. On my last trip home, my mom had me try magnesium. This actually worked temporarily, but the effect did not last. My mom actually bought a special gluten-free dandelion tea blend for me to try. I drank it religiously, bother morning and night. Nothing. I was disappointed because I’d really thought it might work. My aunt had given my dad prunes for his 60th birthday a few weeks ago as a joke. My mom passed them on to me. I ate them regularly. Nothing. On the third day, my stomach was starting to get the usual uncomfortable stuffy feeling that goes along with constipation. It got a little puffy and pregnant looking. My aunt, who also suffers with digestive distress, and was also visiting for the wedding, had me massaging my tummy. Nothing. My mom had castor oil. The day before the wedding, I was desperate. I drank some. Nothing. Later that night, I drank some more. Nothing. The morning of the wedding, I drank some more. Nothing. At last, I couldn’t take it any longer, and though I definitely don’t advise this, I used an enema. I was so desperate to relieve the stuffiness before the wedding. Well, the enema did it’s thing. It more or less worked. I could tell it wasn’t fully resolved. Well, a few hours later, it all started working. The dandelion tea, the prunes, the castor oil; they all started working. Yep. I had to make a lot of runs to the bathroom during the wedding. Of course, I only thought to research traveler’s constipation after the fact.
One thing that can cause traveler’s constipation is dietary changes. I actually knew this, and typically plan ahead. I bring food or grocery shop after I arrive. Luckily for me, my mom is very accommodating. I suspected that being out of my usual routine contributed to my digestive distress, and according to www.gutsense.org I was actually correct. Jet lag can also be a contributing factor. Anxiety, whether you are aware of it or not can slow your system down. It can be anxiety over the facilities, or even anxiety as you anticipate the digestive upsets. The best tips and tricks I found in my research are to focus on a healthy diet, hydrate, stay active, and never ignore the urge to go. If you have a certain time of day that you typically go, try not to schedule anything at that time. Have yourself close to the facilities. Have a book or magazine, and just relax and take your time. Stool softeners can help soften and add bulk. Laxatives should be a last resort.
I’ll be honest. I followed the above protocol quite well before I’d even researched it. I have a very stubborn system. It’s definitely tricky on vacation. It’s harder when you’re not in your home environment. It’s also harder when you’re thrown into a different schedule. I struggle with it on every trip I take, but it all works itself out in the end.
Ok, I have one more thing I want to share. So, the wedding of course wasn’t overflowing with food I could eat. I must say, the chef was awesome and came out and talked to me. I was very pleased. They had salad, meatballs, bruschetta, cream filled crepes, and beautiful spa waters. I could only have the salad. It was a delicious salad. However, my mom had given me a heads up about what was being served. I was super bummed about missing out on the crepes. My awesome aunt made me gluten-free crepes to bring. When I was talking to the chef, I let her know that I’d brought some. She had no problem with it. In fact, she started telling me about her neighbor who has celiac. It was so nice to be able to sit and enjoy my food with everyone.
Alright, well, this post is getting awfully long, but if you’re interested in more tips and tricks on staying healthy while traveling, you can read more, here.