Packing for Vacation with the Organized Mom

Organization expert Lorraine Brock gives our readers great tips on packing for your next vacation…

MP900446447[1].JPGMy family is about to go on a long overdue and much needed vacation. Nothing extraordinary but something fun for our family… a cruise. This cruise is one of the best vacation values I have ever found. With five in our family and four eating like the men they are, the endless food supply on cruises is worth its weight in gold.
Our trip is still a month away and I am already beginning to get things organized. I have contacted a neighbor to take care of our dog and pick up our mail, asked a family member to water plants, and have arranged for someone to take our responsibilities at church while we are away.
MP900305798[1].JPGI have begun buying and collecting items that we will need on our cruise that many families forget and thus pay extra for once on board. Some of these items are swim shoes, a waterproof container to hold ID’s, room cards, and even cash. Floatation devices are another thing we have spent top dollar for and then could not bring them home. We buy the cheap ones here at home, and then air them up when on the beach. When our day is over we leave them on the beach or at the pool for someone else to use since they would be a hassle to deflate and repack.
WP_000356 (1).jpgTravelling with five people and a lot of luggage, I get creative in making sure we can locate our bags quickly in a sea of mostly black cases. Instead of reading all the luggage tags, I use bold colored duct tape to wrap around the handle or make an “X” on the front or back. This allows our bags to stand out. See the photo showing the colors available when I was shopping at Michaels craft store.
Do you hate filling out those paper identification tags at the airport? If you have a business card you might want to consider placing your business card in the luggage tag holder. This is a simple and effortless way to include your contact information on your luggage.
My final suggestion is about spending money. We give each person in our family their own spending money for the trip a few minutes before we leave. The amount depends on the kind of year it has been….lean or mean. The money is placed in envelopes for each child and they can choose to spend the money on the trip or save it for something else. This prevents me from having to approve or monitor every purchase. On a prior trip one of my sons spent all his money on video game machines while another brought back money to spend on something at home. This is a way to teach our children to manage and budget their money for the things they want. They have to make wise decisions to make the money last the entire week of vacation.
One of my boys, our fashion king, has already decided how to spend his money: island jewelry, maybe a watch, a beach towel, and t-shirts. I am sure he will come back with nada in his pockets, but instead be filled with happy memories stored up until our next family vacation.
Lorraine Brock is a professional organizer, family coach, speaker, and president and founder of “Get Organized!” “Get Organized!” is a professional organizing company in the Dallas, Texas area. “Get Organized!” specializes in organizing and de-cluttering homes for moms as well as implementing systems in the home for better family management.
Description: Description: LB-EmailBW.jpegA popular media guest, Lorraine has appeared on Dallas’ two top morning television shows: Good Morning Texas and Good Day Fox , and has been featured on various radio outlets. She has been hallmarked in many local, regional, and national print and online magazines, such as the Dallas Morning News,,, and Daily Candy Kids. Additionally, Lorraine has shared the stage with stars from HGTV and DYI Network at the Great Big Texas Home Show at the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium. To obtain more information about Lorraine, visit

Ask Single Mom Walking

Dear Single Mom Walking:
I think my boyfriend has been sleeping with his ex wife. They have two kids together, I have no kids, no ex. I asked him if he was. He said no but I’m not sure I believe him. I love him so much.
Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now?
Dear Should I Stay or Should I Go Now:
I would sooner sleep with this homeless guy I saw walking down the street yesterday, his pants half way to his knees, spitting and yelling, “I’m available!” then sleep with my ex, or dine with him or even wish him a long life.
Love is so so complicated. It’s easy for me to say, “well then you have no choice but to break up with him.” But coming from me, it would be beyond hypocritical. I’ve been in love once and it took me 11 “leavings” before I really actually took off. My friends couldn’t keep up. I once called one of them crying and she said, “I’m so happy for you!” even though it was to tell her that I was leaving him. It’s amazing, once someone gets inside your heart how difficult it is to untangle yourself.
However, love does not conquer all. Dating a person with kids requires infinite patience, a copy of the custody schedule in every room and being okay with the fact schools, strep throat, lice, the dentist, the pediatrician, his clients, the airlines could care less what nights little Molly is supposed to spend with which parent.
Then there is the ex, in your case it’s a wife. I’ve never heard of a clause in any marital agreement where it says that “should respondent or petitioner come to the realization that divorce blows all the way around, both spouses must reunite immediately,” so at least there is that…which is doing nothing to help you feel better is it?
I’m sorry. Okay, let me ask you this, has your boyfriend ever lied to you before? Has he ever made any comments that would lead you to believe that he has feelings for her? Would you like a chocolate biscotti? (Sorry, I just got back from lunch and I just can’t get it off my mind, clearly).
I would wait it out and see what happens. Love doesn’t come around everyday that is for sure. In my case it took forty-five years. I only pray, I don’t have to wait that long for the next one. Now that is not to say I won’t continue to hold “auditions,” but I still hope that very soon, I will find that one person who nails the part (the “part” being me) and sticks around at least until he loses his right to drive.
Now, if you just have to know for sure one way or the other, you could hire a private detective or stake out his house for a few nights and if he goes out follow him and see where he ends up. However, if it’s gotten to that point in your relationship, I’d say move on and use all that energy to go to Trader Joes and get those chocolate biscottis! I’m telling you, they rock and they will never sleep with anyone.
Good luck
jessica bern 724 (1).JPGJessica Bern is a single mother to a 7yr old girl, a money sucking dog named Teddy and the ex wife of a man who left her for his mother. She writes at, where you she blogs all about it and where you can watch the Bernthis web series she created about a neurotic woman’s journey through her weekly visits to her therapist’s office. She also spends some of her time giving out sex/dating advice over at and has worked her vlogging magic with, Kodak and Seventh Generation.
For more from Jessica Bern, visit her blog, Bern This.