Welcome to the July 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Vacation

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared their family-travel tips, challenges, and delights. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.





Family vacation

“Here we are together.”

A dream family vacation requires minimal packing, no hotels, unrushed travel, easy meals to everyone’s taste without a bill, no schedules, everyone’s favorite interests, and most of all, three generations playing together.

This blissful family vacation can be enjoyed many times over. Everyone travels by train and car to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s big house where the adult kids grew up a good part of their lives. Grandchildren come of different ages and sizes and settle into their rooms with their wonderful comforters, books, and stuffed animals.


On this family vacation the refrigerator is stocked with yogurt, peanut butter, jam, string cheese, fruit, vanilla and almond soy milk, whole milk, juice, chicken and turkey, lox, bagels and cream cheese, fresh vegetables, tortillas, ingredients for homemade ice-cream and everything else on everyone’s list. The cupboard has powdered chocolate for hot cocoa (even in the summer). Anything we run out of or forgot is remedied with a quick trip to the grocers.

tomatoesEveryone eats what they want, when they want, where they want—all day long—except for dinner that we all cook together and share together at one big table.

It doesn’t matter how big or small you are, everyone gets to create the meals, and of course eat them. We don’t care about being neat though we do say, “please” and “thank-you.” Then we all help clean up.

Grandpa’s daytime favorite is a tortilla that he spreads with peanut butter, tops with blueberries, and rolls up just right. Grandma likes to make fun things and is always on hand to give you what you want but after many years of cooking, her preference is eating. Some of the family likes sparkling water, but others say, “Ew. Fizzy. Yuck!” So bottled water it is.

We have homemade pizza (thanks to Mom) as well as baked bread (in a bread-maker—let’s not go crazy!) Daddy is a great stir fry chef. Oh, and if Grandma disappears she’s at a bakery buying the kids favorite muffins. What a great family vacation!


Grandma’s and Grandpa’s house is everyone’s house. We all call it home. On this family vacation, don’t think of these grandparents with some kind of old folks myth. Grandma’s always raising the bar on herself and learning new things that she loves to share and Grandpa is more fit than anyone and seems to know about everything anyone thinks of discussing.
We don’t need rules, by the way, because we all care about each other and look after each other. Are your eyes filling up? Because it’s all really true.




The best fun is without any toys. We make up stories, chase each other around, swing on swings, swim in the summer, play in the snow in the winter, watch the birds, squirrels, chipmunks and deer.

tree and wagon sceneGrandpa is a great story teller and he creates tales with the kids’ favorite characters. Grandma draws with the kids and does an immense amount of hugging.

We laugh a lot at the pictures and movies we make especially the kids’ films with a smart phone which is a throw back to when Grandma and Grandpa were just parents and their kids (now grown-ups) made great videos with a camcorder.

It’s amazing the games that come from finding an old wagon that’s pulled around the yard filled with all sorts of discoveries. Then there’s the fun from pulling out the hose that seems to get turned on unexpectedly (Watch out!). There’s also the tree that is climbed higher and higher because Grandma is watching and has always been a free-range parent and thus, grandparent who sees the natural world as a kids’ playground. And there’s excitement catching all kinds of insects with huge nets ( Mommy’s idea).

We do a lot of talking and listening. The little ones tell the grown-ups everything about their ideas and opinions and invite each other to play around the yard.

Grandma and her daughter-in-law get to have the long talks they don’t always have time for when they’re not together and they laugh a lot.



 There are always those moments on a family vacation that stay in your mind.

“Grandma, I love you.” “Sweetheart, I love you, too.”
“Grandpa, push me on the swing really high.” “Sure. Real high. Here we go.”
“Mommy, I want more sushi!” “Okay. Here it is. Yummy.” (I forgot. Mommy makes sushi)
“Mommy, I want to collect more bugs.” “Let’s go out in the yard. Ooh, look at that butterfly.”
“Daddy, read to me. Now read more.” “How about two more?” “Yes!” (He’s so patient. Yeah. Incredible,too.)
“Daddy, I want more ice-cream.” “All right. One more bit.”
“I’m so lucky to have you as a daughter-in-law.To me, you’re my daughter.”(smiles and hugs)


After dinner, we watch a children’s movie all sitting closely on the couch until tiredness comes into the eyes of the little ones. We don’t have strict bedtimes but when the fairy dust descends, we know it’s time. Everyone kisses good night and sometimes the grandparents and sometimes the parents put the young ones to bed.

Then the grown-ups have a party! Only kidding. We talk, have a snack (like more ice-cream), sometimes watch a show and relax together.


Family Vacation


When it’s time to say good-bye, we are all sad because it’s a vacation you don’t want to end. The children tell Grandma and Grandpa they want to stay longer and will miss them. The littlest insists only Grandpa can put his seat belt in place.
The kids are reassured they, too, will be missed and we set the next visit. Everyone waves from the car. We drive to the train.

AH-H-H-H. Grandma and Grandpa hug. Home is such a Sweet Home.


I know this sounds like an ideal family vacation and it is, but it’s also real. These parents grew up with Parental Intelligence and have Parental Intelligence themselves. They are invisible parents. The kind no one knows a lot about because they don’t cause a ruckus. They just love to listen and offer a hug to the kids and to each other as needed.



Do you want to learn more about an example of using Parental Intelligence? Click  here.



  • Favorite Family Vacation Recipe: Staying at Home — The best family vacation Laurie Hollman at Parental Intelligence could ever recommend requires minimal packing, no hotels, unrushed travel, easy meals to everyone’s taste without a bill, no schedules, everyone’s favorite interests, and three generations playing together.
  • Scared of toilets and other travel stories — Tat at Mum in search is an expert at flying with kids. She shares some of her tips and travel stories.
  • Staycation Retreat for Busy MamasLydia’s Handmade Life gives Budget-friendly, eco-friendly staycation ideas for busy work-at-home moms.
  • How We Leave It All Behind — At Life Breath Present, they don’t take traditional vacations — they go on forest adventures. Here are some tips in planning for an adventure, if you don’t just go spontaneously, as they have before. Plus, many pictures of their latest adventure!
  • Traveling while pregnant: When to go & how to manage — Lauren at Hobo Mama discusses the pros and cons of traveling during the different trimesters of pregnancy, and how to make it as comfortable as possible.
  • Our Week in Rome: Inspiration and Craft Ideas for Parents, Teachers, and Caregivers — If anyone in your family is interested in learning about Ancient Rome, if you enjoy crafts, of if you’re a parent looking for a fun staycation idea, check out Erin Yuki’s post for a Roman-themed week of crafts, food, and fun at And Now, for Something Completely Different.
  • The Real Deal: A behind the scenes look at our “Western Adventure” — Often Facebook and blog posts make vacations look “picture perfect” to outsiders. If you only looked at the pictures, Susan’s recent family vacation was no exception. In this post at Together Walking, she takes readers “behind the scenes” so they can see the normal challenges they faced and how they managed to enjoy their vacation in spite of them.
  • Welcome to the Beach House! — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is in love with her family’s new “beach house”!
  • Road Trip to Niagara Falls — Erica at ChildOrganics writes about her first trip out of the country with just her and the kids.
  • 5 Essential Things to Take on Vacation — Five things Nurtured Mamas should be packing in their suitcase for their next trip, in a guest post at Natural Parents Network.
  • The Many Benefits of Camping with Friends — Do you want to go camping, but the very thought of it seems daunting? Make your life easier – and your kids happier – and go camping with friends! Dionna at Code Name: Mama discusses how much better camping can be when you join forces with others.
  • My Natural First Aid Kit for Camping, Travel, and Everyday Use — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama gives us an insiders looks at her natural first aid kit for camping, travel, and everyday use. These natural remedies have saved her hide and those of others many times! You might be surprised what made her list of must-haves!
  • Traveling Solo and Outnumbered — Alisha at Cinnamon and Sassafras shares lessons learned from a recent trip with two toddlers and no co-parent.
  • Compromise and conviction on the road — Jessica of Crunchy-Chewy Mama shares the reality vs. the dream of travel and dishes on the compromises she makes or won’t make while traveling.
  • Camping Trauma — Jorje of Momma Jorje offers why she loves camping and why she and her family are a little gun shy about it, too.
  • First in our Books — Writing fresh from her first family vacation, Laura from Pug in the Kitchen has realized that helping pack her parents’ station wagon made for a smooth and pleasant trip that was more than she hoped for!