My Top 15 Holiday Survival Tips {Sponsored}

by Holly on November 28, 2013

I know everyone has been posting recipes and ideas for Thanksgiving, and that Thanksgiving is indeed happening tomorrow. However, at our house, the past month or so has been a lot more about getting through the days (semi) intact and trying to not catch germs.

Although this seems like a stretch, I do occasionally like to just talk about life here on the blog without recipes. When you have kids like mine who don’t do anything the easy way and seem to be germ magnets, you pretty much gather your resources at the beginning of the cold and flu season and batten down the hatches.

These Holiday Survival Tips are in a few parts – keeping healthy / getting well AND keeping the kids busy (in case you are sick or they are sick, or bored, or trying to see who can wrestle who to the ground…)

Let me tell you why I’m sharing my tips for Holiday Survival on my last official post as a Popsicle Mom Ambassador (and thank you again for hanging out for the ride!).  As strange as this may sound, the main thing that propelled me to be a Popsicle Mom Ambassador was actually the fact that Popsicles are a main staple in our house in the Winter. Yep. The Winter.


I realize this may go down as one of the oddest posts I’ve ever shared on the blog. But this is real life and the stuff that I think about a lot and that tends to consume a lot of my day. I’ve decided it’s about time I started sharing more of that side of things too. I doubt it will be often, but I’ve always been about my community of friends out here in the blog world and if I have something good to share that helps even one of you this winter, then this is worth it.

Of course we have them year round and in the Summer, however in the hot months I’m just odd enough that they are a treat the boys have to earn. In the Winter, they are part of my first line of defense when the boys get sick. You can read more about it in the tips below.

Since this time of year is spent with so many fun outings, gatherings, traveling and general merrymaking with others, consider this my PSA about the holiday season.

It is almost guaranteed someone will show up and spread something other than holiday cheer. Be ready. Incidentally, did you know that often someone who has something contagious doesn’t show signs of being sick right away even though they are contagious. This means that thwarting the germs constantly is still the best line of defense. Am I an expert? Not exactly, but I do have three kids who get sick A LOT and have spent a fair enough amount of time with my pediatrician that she calls me Dr. Mom. I just want to share what I’ve learned.

Here is my Winter survival kit with our kids. I would LOVE to know what other remedies and supplies you all put together out there – in no particular order. These may not be earth shattering ideas, but sometimes it’s a good reminder. :

    • FOODS: Yogurt, Bananas & Applesauce, Popsicles, Chicken Noodle Soup, Lemon Herbal Tea & Honey, Vitamin C throat lozenges – Here’s Why:
      • Yogurt has probiotics (make sure it says it has live cultures on your yogurt carton) – if there is something funky happening in your or your kids bodies, probiotics can help combat that (especially if it’s tummy trouble – you can also buy straight up probiotic powder packets for kids (or adults) that dissolve in liquid and can’t be tasted.
      • Bananas & Applesauce are just classic boosters and easy on the tummy and even if there is a sore throat involved.
      • Popsicles are cold, which helps numb a sore throat, kids love them and if you are concerned your kid isn’t staying hydrated enough this is a great way to get some fluids in them. There’s a good reason that Popsicles are one of the first things the hospital may offer your child if they refuse to drink. And avoiding dehydration is key for everyone but especially for little ones. And if your kids are like mine they don’t particularly want to drink when their throat hurts. If someone gets sick it is open season on the Popsicles and keep ’em coming.
      • Chicken Noodle Soup. Really. Let’s be totally real here for a moment. Do I think it is best if you can make your own wonderful chicken noodle soup from scratch to feed your poor sick child? Absolutely. Which is why I’d recommend making it and having it in the freezer. And if you are a great plan ahead type person then more power to you. I, however, am usually under the gun with just trying to take care of the kids and almost never have the soup in the freezer. So having a few cans of good soup that you can heat and feed quickly can be key. Otherwise, again if your kids are like mine when they are sick, they are liable to want you every minute and snuggles rank over making soup.
      • Lemon Herbal Tea & Honey – great throat soothers if you’re kids like a warm little drink. I like to be pretty liberal with the honey since it can kind of create a little protective coating layer that soothes in the throat.
      • There are great little throat lozenges / cough drops out there now that are full of Vitamin C and taste like little fruit candies. They aren’t candy so don’t let the kids go crazy, but they sure help in the fight against sore throat and are easy to take on the go.
    • MEDICINES & SUPPLIES: Fever & Pain Reducers, Saline Nasal Spray/Saline Sinus Flush, Mentholated Ointment, Peppermint Oil, Probiotic Packets (see Yogurt above also), Hand Sanitizer, Thermometer, Humidifier, Tissues, Disinfecting Wipes
      • Fever & Pain Reducers are important. Don’t wait till you have to go to the store for them and ask your pediatrician what dosage per weight and age for each child and write it down. I always forget and hate going off the package so I have a list of the kids dosages directly from the pediatrician and always confirm the schedule of how often you can give each kind. The general rule is you can alternate and slightly overlap giving some kind of acetaminophen and ibuprofen.  And if the medicine bottles (if you are doing liquid) don’t come with a medicine syringe, go to your pharmacy and ask for a handful of them. In fact, go ask for a handful anyway. They make giving the medicine easier and once a contagious period is over you can get rid of the yucky ones. Make sure to never ‘double dip’ into your bottle without cleaning the syringe first so you don’t contaminate your whole supply.
      • Saline Nasal Spray/Saline Sinus Flush. Saline spray is to help moisturize the sinuses and keep things moving. The sinus flush is if it’s all stuck in your head and it’s not moving. It isn’t pleasant, but it is effective. Just make sure to read the packaging and use water that is clean and around body temperature because cold water (or too hot) is going to hurt! And remember to go slowly when using the saline flush – don’t squeeze too fast. You won’t like it and if you have to do this for one of your kids, they will likely gag on it if you go too quickly. Getting the sinuses cleaned out can really affect how long and lingering being lasts since the sooner you can get all that out the sooner the germs can’t keep lingering.
      • Mentholated Ointment and Peppermint Oil are both great for helping relieve congestion. Strangely enough you can rub either on your feet, cover them in socks and go to sleep) and it will help absorb and relieve some of the symptoms.
      • Probiotic Packets – again. It’s worth repeating. And if you or your child happens to end up on an antibiotic, you should just plan on starting some probiotics at the same time because it can really help with the upset stomach the antibiotics can cause.
      • Good hand soap (and a nail brush if you can find one), Hand Sanitizer, Tissues and Disinfecting Wipes – Keep it clean and catch those germs with excellent hand washing (front, back, in-between fingers, under nails – get them all! Enough said. If you want to be really odd like me, during the really bad months I have my kids wear those little knit gloves when we go out in public so that the germs can’t get to their hands from touching things – and my kids touch everything! I also like to take my own disinfecting wipes with me to stores just in case there aren’t sanitizing wipes for the carts available. Yes, a cart cover would probably be ideal, but that doesn’t mean I’ll always remember it. I can tuck a small baggie of wipes in my bag and always have them handy.
      • Humidifier and Thermometer – equipment you don’t want to go without. And if you can handle it you should just start running the humidifier throughout the entire Winter season since it will help with breathing when the air is so dry from heaters having to be on. As for the Thermometer, you want to invest in a good one and keep it where you always know you can find it. For a fairly inexpensive option there are good behind the ear options that are quick, and there are some temporal ones that are the no touch option, but they can be a bit more spendy. If possible, do yourself a favor and don’t bother with the under the tongue or in the ear option with kids. They aren’t going to hold still enough for an accurate reading under their tongues and if you had a possible ear infection (watch for the hot ears and tugging on them!) you wouldn’t want someone sticking something in your ear either.
      • NOTE FOR UTAHNS: Check out Germ Watch to see what is going around near you! Know before you go and when you may want to be extra careful. Better safe than sorry!
    • If you want to go the extra mile: Fingertip Pulse Oximeter, Otoscope and Stethoscope
      • Yes. I’m serious. If you are like me and don’t want to be wondering what to do and how your child is doing and if you need to haul everyone out to the doctor’s office (and potentially pick more germs up while you’re there), or to the urgent clinic then have these items on hand. You could even take them to your pediatrician and ask them what to watch for. If your child is coughing or wheezing, that isn’t good and you know that. But wouldn’t you like to be treated with some extra respect when you call to be able to say that you could hear the crackling in their lungs or see the retractions in their rib cage from labored breathing. Or be able to know how much oxygen is getting into their bloodstream? I know I do. I also like to be able to take a look in their ears and just see if it looks normal or swollen and red. Weirdly enough not a single one of my kids pulls on their ears or gives me any real indication when they have an ear infection. None of these items are actually as expensive as you might think and good deals can be found online.
      • So. Now we are already in no man’s land and someone is sick. They already feel out of sorts, grumpy, tired, etc. Now what? No matter how much you may want to you can’t take care of them by spending every single second having to be their entertainment. They need to be able to keep themselves busy too, which will help their mood. Here are some of our favorite ideas:
        • Popsicle stick crafts – it stands to reason that if we have open season on Popsicles this time of year, we end up with plenty of sticks. And my boys love to play with them. Generally I just let them play and do whatever with them, but sometimes they want something extra fun and some guidance. I’m always looking for good ideas and generally try to theme them around the time of year. So most of my favorite ideas are on my current Christmas board on Pinterest. We’re talking crafts for the holidays like sleds and snowflakes and trees, but we are also talking things like airplanes and marshmallow shooting catapults. (photo credit: – incidentally we had to build a slightly modified version of this catapult as a part of our 3rd grader’s science project last year and it may have been the most fun we’ve had with a school project ever!)popsiclestick-catapult-1
          Popsicle also has a fun new project on their website that shows how to make your own Popsicle Stick Theater! That’ll keep the kids busy!
        • Movies, books, coloring books – no brainer right? Here’s the thing. I like to rotate out their favorites so they stay a bit more fresh. They are going to be whining within the first 10 minutes if it is the same thing they have access to all the time. And that isn’t good.

While my fondest wish is that none of us will have to worry about any of this in the coming months, since odds aren’t always in our favor, it’s best to have a plan of attack.


Disclosure: This post is the last in my Popsicle Mom Ambassador series and I was compensated for my time. My opinions and experiences are, as always, my own.

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{ 1 comment }

Rachael (Fuji Mama) December 2, 2013 at 10:28 am

If I survive the holidays, it will probably be thanks to you! Friendship is an amazing thing. Plus, these tips are awesome.

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