Pupukea Road

Top 10 Essentials for Traveling with Kids

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A few weeks ago I was asked to contribute to a post about traveling with kids and honestly, I can’t remember what I wrote because I was happily at home – not traveling. 

But now that I’m actually on the road, I am able to recall what the essentials are. Here are my top 10:  

1. Timeless Beauty Bag: Each girl got a timeless beauty bag for Christmas and I filled it with random toys like NEW notepads, stickers, small toys (not new, just ones I hid a few months ago so they would feel new). This bag keeps everything in one spot instead of loose or in separate pouches. 

2. Kindle: I always go online to the public library before we leave and load the older girls’ kindles up with (free) books. We bring iPads, but kindles allow them to read without getting distracted playing games.

3. Doterra Petal Diffuser : no introduction needed. It has taken the place of carrying a nebulizer for Sebbies asthma. It also doubles as a room freshener for a musty hotel room.

4. Lemon essential oil: I don’t diffuse this. I save it to clean our water bottles. I use 1 drop with hot hot water into the bottle and shake all the gunk away. 

5. Cloth bag with waterproof liner: plastic baggies are expensive to buy, so we bring these. They zip tight, don’t leak and are great for carrying snacks and fruit. To clean I throw them in the wash or turn inside out and wipe down. I bought mine here

6. Hydroflask insulated water bottle: As heavy as they are, we still bring them. We buy large jugs of water and fill our bottles daily with ice and water. This is especially handy because a lot of restaurants outside of the U.S. don’t offer free water. It’s always bottled and ridiculously expensive.

7. Chip clips: We don’t ever bring enough of these. They are so handy when buying foods that are being saved for later. 

8. Beach towel: For a family of 5 squeezing into a small hotel room, there are never enough bath towels – let alone beach towels. The girls hold these in their carry-ons and it doubles as a (clean) airplane blanket. 

9. Skateboards: Totally necessary when sightseeing with kids. It buys us so much more distance and time! Because we are still traveling with a car seat, I pop these right into the car seat bag!

  10. Scissors and reusable shopping bag: Something so simple yet we always overlook! 

Oops, sorry that was 11. I pack pretty heavy. 

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My cramps are migrating

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Probably TMI, so not a good read for the general public.

I used to have the worst back pain – before and during my menstrual cycle. I went to chiropractors who said my back was crooked, but couldn’t seem to “fix” me. 

Then last year, as you may recall, my essential oil revolution started and I tried Clary Calm. (It’s a blend of oils including Clary Sage and Ylang Ylang – both known for promoting hormonal balance in women.) Within minutes of application, my backpain disappeared. WHICH MEANS,  I was having my menstrual cramps in my back! (Which makes total sense since I had severe back pain during labor!)

Well, tonight I started to get a stabbing pain in my neck -the normal telltale sign of a migraine. On a hunch, I applied Clary Calm on my neck (not the usual spot for me) and tummy and inhaled deeply for about 10 minutes….and…headache gone. Completely. WHICH MEANS, OMG, it wasn’t a migraine, it was a menstrual cramp in my neck!  

Is that just CRAZY?!  I think I need to invest in a case of these to get ready for menopause in a few years ūüė©. 


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Mosquito bite remedy

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When my toddler gets bitten by mosquitoes, it doesn’t just go away. It turns into a big welt, hard to the touch, warm, and red.  But I just discovered a new oil to put in my “need to carry at all times” keychain: Purify. 

Here’s the before (she gets bit, scratches it to death and it turns into an open sore):  

Here’s what I used:  

And here it is 2 days later (I used a bandaid to keep her from scratching): 


Here’s my keychain (note: I now carry 2, but they are a lot smaller than carrying 5ml bottles): 


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A few weeks ago, Lucy told her teacher, “This weekend we cleaned. Then we cleaned. Then we cleaned some more!”¬† ¬†In my defense, we were spring cleaning and making big clothing and toy donation piles. It can take all day to decide what you really want to keep or give.

S is for Sebbie, L for Lucy. It tells them who gets first pick at a chore that day. It was THEIR idea not mine.

Yes I make my kids clean. Not just basic “make your bed” or “clean your room” (those chores are just part of everyday living!) , but solid chores that contribute to the running of our household.¬† I’ve taught them to do laundry, dishes, and mop the floors ¬†(I don’t let them sweep. They aren’t ready just yet!). They fold, they rinse and now, thanks to a new recipe I’m trying, they scrub.

Powder Cleaner: 1C baking soda, 10 drops essential oil, 3 T castile liquid soap . Mix together and use!

It smells – divine. And I feel completely comfortable asking them to scoop a tablespoon into the sink or tub and scrub away. ¬† I keep it in a glass jar and poked holes to make a pseudo shaker cap, but it also really dried out the mixture and made the baking soda form hard chunks. Next time I will keep it in an airtight container (without holes).¬† The chore chart isn’t foolproof – most days we miss doing them – especially because it’s summer – ¬†but I like that it holds them accountable and I don’t have to nag,¬†as much.

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Refreshing summer treats

I had an amazing day of eating.

I rediscovered my new favorite drink: homemade ginger ale. I used to buy the same ginger syrup all the time but it was always too sweet and never tangy enough. But on impulse I bought some today to try it again. All it needed was 3 drops of ginger essential oil to give it that bite I was looking for. I mixed it with some soda water from my Soda Stream, and voila!  

  I also bought a mega bag of broccoli at Costco. Normally most of it would go to waste, but I used 100% of it making this:

Broccoli, bacon, mozerella and red onion salad with a homemade (sugar, mayo, red wine) vinegarette. It is such a refreshing salad for a hot day like today.

I love summer. Even though I’m not working right now (so everyday is like summer), there’s something about this time of year that is so magical. 

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ALMOST took out the nebulizer (but didn’t!)

I saw it all over the news, I even saw it on my Instagram – the VOG (volcanic smog) was going to be bad this weekend.  Sebbie has really been exempt from any breathing issues  since we started using essential oils,  so I forgot to even check on her. But out of nowhere she suddenly started wheezing and her cough progressed so quickly (like, within 5 minutes) that I was ready to rummage around for some steroid filled vials.

But first, I:

  • I diffused the respitory blend and frankincense and laid her next to it.
  • I put more respitory blend on her feet and covered them with socks.
  • I used a roller bottle and put lemon/lavender/peppermint down her spine and cypress and frankincense on her chest.
  • I repeated the above every 5 minutes. 

After the 3rd time, I told her we would only give the oils 5 more minutes to kick in or she would need to use her old meds. (She was miserable, but was ready to cry when I told her I was going to take out the nebulizer – she hates it.)
And of course, the oils helped tremendously. She is currently sleeping soundly, no coughing or wheezing. My room smells like a candy cane, but it’s okay.

Next time instead of panicking, I will try making  homemade cough syrup:

  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 drop lemon
  • 1 drop peppermint
  • 1 drop frankincense
  • 1 drop wild orange

Really, I’m posting this so I don’t forget. (When your child is suffering, its hard to calmly browse Google for the best remedy.

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Current project: Wool Dryer Balls 

I love having soft laundry but I strongly dislike dryer sheets. They are expensive and the smell gets to me. Plus, the scent in any softener is totally artificial and probably bad for Sebbie’s allergies.

So, I finally decided make dryer balls. Dryer balls are yarn balls made of pure wool. When added to your laundry load in the dryer, they basically pummel your clothes to softness. They also soak up moisture in your laundry load, shortening drying time. Bonus: you can add 1-2 drops of ESSENTIAL OIL so they will give your laundry a light scent. (You mean it saves energy AND uses oils? No brainier.)

To make them, you will need pure wool yarn. I got mine on Amazon for $7. (Make sure it doesn’t have ANY acrylic and DOESN’T say “super wash” or “machine washable” or it won’t “felt”.)


I followed the instructions here:

If you are in a rush, here’s a quick recap:

1. Roll the yarn into tennis ball-sized balls.
2. Insert the balls into the leg of an old panty hose and tie off.
3. Wash on hot and dry on high a couple times. You will know they are ready when the strands of the ball start to “felt” (mesh) together.
4. Remove from panty hose, add a 1-2 drops of your favorite essential oil, and pop them in the dryer with your next laundry load!

PS. If you’re really lazy (or intimidated), you can buy some ready made ones on Etsy here:


 PSS. If you want me to make you a set, text me now so I can add to the gang of yarn I’m ordering on Amazon. (1 skein makes 2.5 small baseball-sized balls.)

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Sebbie’s road to normal breathing

  Sebbie has always suffered from asthma.  Or is it allergies? We never knew.  I’ve tried changing her diet, special sheets for the bed, limiting physical activity, and let’s not forget the time I asked Ross to cut down six full grown eucalyptus trees because I thought the pollen was flying in through the screens. Nothing really worked and albuterol was our only real option. In a normal month, she probably had at least 4 minor asthma episodes and 2 or more (nebulizer-worthy) bad ones. When we were on our 2 month trip, I ran out of meds twice!

Then, I discovered essential oils.  Originally, I wanted my house to smell fresher, so I bought a plug in diffuser. A diffuser uses a few drops of essential oil with water to create a really light vapor like mist without any heat. The smell isn’t overpowering or perfumey, even if you are sitting right next to it.

I tried different brands in different sizes with different prices, but realized a certain brand was the “strongest” using the least amount of drops.  So of course, I decided I needed to stock up.  

I bought a roll-on bottle of lemon, lavender, and peppermint essential oils mixed with fractionated coconut oil to try when Sebbie had her next bout of breathing issues.

The first time we used it, we followed the directions and after 5 minutes she was breathing better and I didn’t hear her cough anymore.  When she started coughing and wheezing  the very next day, I skeptically rolled more oils on.  Within 5 minutes, I didn’t hear her wheezing or coughing and she was breathing normally.  

On the third day, she got another wheezing attack and yes, the oils helped her feel normal just as well as they did on first day.

On the fourth night, she got the fastest onset and worst cough of all.  So, we rolled some oil on her feet and covered them with socks.  After 15 minutes she was still coughing so we repeated the process.  After a total of 20 minutes she continued to cough, so I lay her in bed, plugged my diffuser in next to her, and added 5 drops of “Respitory Blend”.  Within 5 minutes she was sleeping soundly – she was breathing easier and her cough and wheeze gone.  

I don’t know much about essential oils, but I like that I can see an immediate difference with their use on Sebbie. I know there are some that you shouldn’t ingest, some that you should stay out of the sun while using, and some that you should be sure to dilute with coconut oil before putting anywhere near your face. Essential oils are strong and you should also do research before using them on children

My advice  is to do the research so you can make educated decisions. I’m not giving any medical advice here. 

But , I really feel so much better trying natural remedies first, rather than going straight to over-the-counter medicines. I can ALWAYS go back to Longs.

Update: Sebbie has STILL not had any cough, wheeze, or sneeze attack IN 4 MONTHS. She has also not used any prescription medication.  She uses her roll-on of essential oils IMMEDIATELY when her coughs or sneezes start, and for whatever reason, they don’t progress.