A Family That Plays Together thumbnail

A Family That Plays Together

3 Things by Mary Ostyn, Owlhaven

3 Things by Mary Ostyn, Owlhaven


Some of my most treasured memories of childhood came when my family was on vacation: taking long road trips to visit family in Idaho, camping in the hills, sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows.

As John and I have parented our ten children, we’ve tried hard to find time for vacations, no matter how tight the resources.

They’re a time to connect on a deeper level than during the regular scurrying of daily life.


Some of the secret joys of living are not found by rushing from point A to point B, but by inventing some imaginary letters along the way. — Douglas Pagels


My momma was a master vacation planner.

Before each trip, she’d pack lots of little baggies of treats, which she rationed out every few hours on a long car ride. These days I do the same thing, alternating small toys with food items that the kids don’t usually eat at home.

Good car toys include: markers, and small magnetic Etch-A-Sketches.


The one thing I didn’t like about vacations when I was growing up was the carsickness that assaulted me on driving trips. To my dad’s despair, I even got sick on a needle-flat freeway driving across Kansas.

A couple of my kids have the same tendency. Thankfully, we’ve discovered Red Earth Motion Stop — an herbal motion sickness remedy that soothes the queasiest of tummies.

It contains cinnamon and ginger and other natural ingredients that help sooth sick tummies. It doesn’t taste great, but it works within minutes.

My kids who struggle with carsickness ask for it, because even though the taste makes them shudder, they appreciate the relief that quickly follows. And I like that it’s made with natural ingredients and doesn’t leave kids feeling drugged and drowsy at our destination. A couple drops under the tongue is all it takes.

One little bottle lasts our family for many trips!


Contributor: Mary from Owlhaven
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Check out her books: Family Feasts for $75 a Week and Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Margaret Polino Nicholas March 5, 2013 at 3:39 am

    I admire your dedication to family. Especially to help each feel special, like a vacation . I am sure it is not easy to do with ten children. I only had four!

  • Maria March 6, 2013 at 10:55 am

    The kids will remember he tiny est details about their childhood, like for example , the way you cut their apples.

  • Alea March 7, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Thanks for the recommendation for the car sickness product! We have one that struggles, and we usually just try to keep him in snacks because an empty tummy makes it worse.
    I have a bin of activities that I keep for car trips only. A good one is a set of cards with a dry erase marker and lots of different activities – not for car-sick prone kids though. We also download free audiobooks from bookshouldbefree.com and that entertains all but my 4 year old for several hours! And since you’re just listening, you can look out the windows which helps with car sickness too.
    I remember hearing over and over as a kid – “look out the front window” I don’t think it helped, but it was mom’s standard answer to queasiness.