April 2024

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• A Variety of Large Floor Plans to Meet Any Need

• Diverse Amenities Inspiring Our Residents to Live a Social, “Sterling” life

• Certified Parkinson’s Programs - Emphasizing Balance & Maintaining Strength

• State of the art Wellness Centers & Programs, led by Sterling Recreation Therapists and Exercise Specialists

• Award Winning Food

• Beautifully Landscaped Campuses,

Neighborhood Settings

“We sold our home of 20+ years earlier this year, above our asking price, and moved into our beautiful cottage home at Sterling Estates, freeing us from all the responsibilities of homeownership. We freed up cash, traded in property taxes and constant maintenance for the many benefits we’ve discovered living here at Sterling. We exercise more than ever. I love to walk through the grounds and enjoy the large wellness center, while my wife swims almost daily in the indoor heated pool. She is fond of her weekly art classes. A day here is much more fulfilling for us, we wished we had moved sooner. We encourage you to come see what we mean.” -


Row, Cobb’s BEST Retirement, Assisted Living & Memory Care STERLING ESTATES Independent Living, Assisted Living & Memory Care WEST COBB 3105 Dallas Hwy Marietta, GA 678-498-7414 Lacey & Sherry EAST COBB 4220 Lower Roswell Rd. Marietta, GA 678-929-2374 Shelly
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4 Our Town THE DALLAS THEATER events 208 Main Street, Dallas, GA 30132 / 770.445.5180 For more information on Tickets, Acting Classes, Auditions, Free Movies, All Our Shows and Venue Rental, visit our website! DALLASTHEATERGA.COM R&B, inc FRI MAY 3rd - 7:30PM $18 - $20 FIRST TIME AT DALLAS THEATER! R & B, Inc. is a 9 piece R & B and soul and funk band from ATL! The band has appeared in concert with such artists as, The Atlanta Rhythm Section, The Family Stone, The Association, The Zombies, Mother’s Finest, Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, Joe Diffy and many others! 2024 SUMMER CAMP REGISTRATION NOW OPEN! The Dallas Theater offers summer Drama and Musical Theatre camps for kids ages 7-17. Come spend the week with us learning the ins and outs of theatre and end the week with a performance for your friends and family! It’s a week of fun you don’t want to miss! THE GLOWBAND Experience The Eagles SAT MAY 18th 7:00PM $22-$24 INTERSTELLAR ECHOES A Tribute to Pink Floyd SAT APR 13th 7 PM / $20 -$22 Struggling with UNFILED TAXES? Let Denson Pepper resolve your IRS tax problems. Take away the STRESS of worrying about the IRS. DENSON PEPPER, CPA 678-797-5241 Schedule your FREE in-person consultation. Formulate a strategy to resolve your tax issues. Negotiate with the IRS. File your back taxes. Let Denson talk to the IRS for you. R R R R DensonPepperCPA.com Feature Photographer Call now for spring portraits Affordable photography in Cobb County! Claire Christa Photography Myviewoflife.com f
Our Town 5

In This Issue


Talkin’ Sports Batter Up!


Cover Story

Dominion Christian School


Featured Photographer Claire Christa............4

Talkin’ Sports

The Braves are Back!............................................11

Cover Story:

Welcome to Dominion Christian School.............15

Local Events

Ready for Spring Fun?

Join us at the Jonquil Festival.............................18

Community Spotlight

Since 1995, Summer Lunch has been a MUST.......21

Book Club

Another Exciting Chapter for Our Town’s Book Club...........................................................23

Food & Entertaining

To Snack or not to Snack? Tips from Our Town’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Allyson Balzuweit...........26

Travel Going on a road trip? Travel expert, Heather Meliski has some survival tips just for you.......................30

Travel Road Trip!
Tan’s Circle of Women
Book Club Lady

Our Town is published and direct mailed monthly to prestigious homes in Cobb County. Opinions expressed by the editorial staff are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher.

Our Town reserves the right to edit and or reject any editorial or advertising content.

Our Town is not responsible for errors in advertising beyond the cost of the space or for the validity of claims made by advertisers.

Entire contents copyright 2024 by Our Town. Reproduction in whole or in part is forbidden in any media without prior written permission from the publisher.


Tara Hill Hanover


Justin Hanover


Jules Fandos


West Cobb

Sara Young sara@ourtownmonthly.com


Amy Knight amy@ourtownmonthly.com

Christa CONTRIBUTING WRITERS JRM Management SMY Book Club Allyson Balzuweit Heather Meliski OTM Staff PO Box 813610 Smyrna, GA 30081-8610 (678)337-7844 info@ourtownmonthly.com www.ourtownmonthly.com FB: Our Town Monthly IG: @our_town_monthly 7 FAMILY LIFESTYLE NEWS MAGAZINE K E N N E S A W Taste The Arts! TM K E N N E S A W M O U N T A I N H I G H S C H O O L Saturday, April 13, 11-5 Raindate: Sunday, April 14, 11-4 WWW.KENNESAWMOUNTAINFEST.COM THE NATION’S BEST JOURNEY TRIBUTE BAND: DEPARTURE! GET CONCERT TICKETS AT: WWW.KENNESAWMOUNTAINFEST.COM presents: Af ter Dark M O U N T A I N F E S T For more info e-mail: mail@kennesawmountainfest.com 1898 Kennesaw Due West Road, Kennesaw, GA 30152 A-TEAM SERVICES Braces for Kids & T 770-974-3633 .myorthozone.com 8-10 PM
8 Our Town & sign up to receive 20% off one item on your next purchase OPEN Mon-Sat 10-7 Sun 11-5 80 Seven Hills Blvd Dallas GA 30132 l 678-483-0283 l shopindigogoods.com l info@shopindigogoods.com

“My Mom has been living at Holbrook since November and we are thrilled with everything about this amazing, family-owned company. Especially because my Mom has improved so much, in so many different ways, since she moved in. They do so many "little" things to make my Mom and my family feel special. I live in Philadelphia and came down to see my Mom for 4 days and stayed at one of the apartments on site. It was wonderful! I can't recommend Holbrook more highly. If I could give it 10 stars, I would.”

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Talkin’ Sports

Talkin’ Sports

Your 2024 Atlanta Braves

Itruly can’t remember a time where there was as much optimism about our hometown Braves as there seems to be right now. We have seen some great baseball throughout the years (and some bad baseball) but something feels different at this moment in time. The buzz is palpable as the team is absolutely loaded for bear without many weak spots at all.

The 2023 regular season was amazing. The Bravos won 104 ballgames and bashed the most home runs in the history of baseball (tying the 2019 Twins) with 307. We now fast forward past the playoff disappointment against the Phillies and can’t help but realize that pretty much everybody is back. Yes, I mean everybody!

The MVP in Ronald Acuna returns. Matt Olson and his 54 round trippers and 139 runs driven in is looking great again to go along with phenomenal young stars like Austin Riley, fan favorite Ozzie Albies and Michael Harris II. Add in the 40-home run, 100-RBI man in Marcell Ozuna and the newly acquired and very talented Jarred Kelenic among others and the bottom line is this lineup is once again as good as they come.

As for the pitching, it’s healthy and led by a couple of aces. Spencer Strider is not only the best strikeout pitcher on the planet but a budding superstar who just added a curveball to the already amazing repetoire. Max Fried is in a contract season, meaning that yes, this may be his last year in Atlanta, but it also motivates him to pitch great in order to get that next lucrative contract. Add in

the crafty soon to be 41-year-old experienced veteran in Charlie Morton and the newly acquired potential southpaw sensation Chris Sale and this team is not messing around. No doubt there is a great big question mark with Sale and his health but anything he gives is truly a bonus. Just keep him healthy enough to give you a little bit in October and he can absolutely be a difference maker. The team’s closer, Raisel Iglesias, is also back, giving this team maybe the best group of arms on the planet.

So, who is the main competition for 2024? Well, there is a good feeling in Los Angeles as well as the Dodgers just spent literally a billion dollars in the offseason on two-time MVP Shohei Ohtani and Japanese pitching sensation, Yoshinobu Yamamoto. They also have former Brave Freddie Freeman and a star in Mookie Betts along a few other quality bats making the blue and the Bravos the teams to beat in all of baseball.

The odds in Vegas seem to favor the Dodgers as the top team in the game. Los Angeles is getting only plus 300 to win the World Series, meaning 3:1 with the Braves second best at plus 500 or 5:1. As for some individual numbers Strider is the odds-on favorite to win the Cy Young Award as the National League’s best pitcher at plus 425 and the reigning Most Valuable Player Ronald Acuna, Jr. is at the front of the pack to go back-to-back at plus 500.

Brian Snitker’s squad has been eliminated the last few years by Bryce Harper and those pesky Phillies. Could 2024 be the year we get back over the hump and have another parade down Peachtree? It’s certainly possible and that’s all you can ask for in April!

11 Justin Hanover is a sports reporter/analyst who has worked in the business since 1996. His stops have included ESPN, CNN, 790 The Zone, 680 The Fan and the Atlanta Falcons. He has also done play-by-play analysis and color commentary ranging from the high school level all the way through the professional level. Justin lives in Smyrna with his wife and three children.
Our Town 13 www.myposhandpampered.com 770 742 5248 Open Phone camera, aim at the QR code, tap the banner. Special Occasions, Birthdays, Prom, Quinceañera, Wedding, Date Night, Charter, Corporate, Real Estate House Showing, Airport-Doctor's appointment Sprinter Limousine Service for: Helping families plan for the future and protect their loved ones. OFFICES IN CANTON AND Kennesaw Estate Planning l Probate Elder Law l Small Business Contact Erika Today 678.383.7857 info@orcuttlawoffices.com
14 Our Town
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36th Annual

april 27-28 / sat 10am-6pm / sun 12pm-5pm

The Smyrna Spring Jonquil Festival presented by Superior Plumbing features over 175 Arts & Crafts booths, 20 food booths, an entertainment stage, multiple beer gardens, and a variety of children’s activities. The Jonquils will be in bloom in Smyrna. Bring the family to shop, play, eat, and drink.

Peter Hart of Atlanta Puppetry appeals to everyone in the audience with unique marionettes and puppet characters that sing, dance, juggle, play fiddle, break apart and come back together, squirt water, and are even launched by catapult across the stage! Patrons will enjoy interacting with Peter & his puppets through musical and comical performances.

Acoustic sounds for your listening pleasure: Scott Thompson will be performing all the songs you know and love on the lawn adjacent to the Spring Jonquil Food Court. Bring a blanket, sing-a-long, and relax in a beautiful setting with the family.

Back in 2024: The Georgia Grown Member Market ~ Highlighting goods and products from all over the state of Georgia.

New in 2024: Ready, Go Dog Show ~ The show features world champion Frisbee dogs and the highest box jumping dog in the world. Followed by a world class “meet and greet” for fans to get up close and personal with the 4-legged stars of the show.

INTERACTIVE KIDS ZONE: Bring the kids, as they are sure to be entertained with a wide variety of inflatable slides, bounces, and much more sponsored by St. Benedict’s Episcopal School.

When? Saturday April 27 & Sunday April 28

Times: Saturday; April 27, 10am - 6pm & Sunday; April 28, 12-5pm

Where? In and around City Hall and the Market Village - Smyrna, Georgia

Take I-75 to Exit 260 (Windy Hill Rd.) head west approximately 3 miles to Atlanta Rd., turn left onto Atlanta Rd. The festival will be one mile on the right.

Admission: Admission is FREE!

Attendance: 30,000 people!

Information: 770-423-1330

presented by

e-mail: missy@jrmmanagement.com. smyrnacity.com

18 Our Town
Our Town 19 Independent & Assisted Living Community - One block from the historic Marietta Square 100 Whitlock Avenue NW, Marietta - Learn more at www.WinnwoodRetire.com or scan our QR code! Isn’t it time to start enjoying your retirement? Call 770-738-4143 to schedule your tour today! “Walker made it easy for me to introduce myself to a variety of activities, clubs, sports and people.” Andrew University of Georgia “The most important things that I have learned at Walker are the importance of challenging yourself and pushing yourself to be the best that you can be.” Nikhil Univ. of Pennsylvania Sandra Tulane University “Walker fostered my love of learning by teaching me how to speak up for myself and establish lasting relationships with my teachers and peers.” WHERE WILL WONDER LEAD YOU? RANKED #1 PRIVATE SCHOOL IN COBB COUNTY PK(3)-12 700 Cobb Parkway N Marietta, Ga. 30062 Open to all faiths Visit thewalkerschool.org/admission or call (678) 540-7229 to learn more.

Introducing Dr. Jeremiah Cook

Dr. Chris Shim and The Oakdale Family Dental team is excited to introduce Dr. Jeremiah Cook!

A native of the Smyrna area, Dr. Cook has been in the field of dentistry for over 13 years, first as an assistant, then as a dental hygienist for 8 years. Dr. Cook recently received his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from The Dental College of Georgia in 2023. As an associate dentist, Dr. Cook is looking forward to providing excellent and gentle dental care for all our patients at Oakdale Family Dental. He has been married to his wife Kim for 6 years. Dr. Cook enjoys spending time outdoors with his family and friends, along with fishing and playing soccer.

/ www.oakdaledental.net

OUR TOWN’s Community Spotlight


Since 1995, Food has been a MUST.

This summer, MUST Ministries will continue the time-honored tradition of partnering with churches, schools, corporations and volunteers to feed thousands of kids in the metro-Atlanta area all summer. MUST’s goal is to provide breakfast and lunch to at least 7,500 children for 9 weeks.

An estimated half a million meals will be distributed across eight counties (Bartow, Cobb, Cherokee, Douglas, Fulton, Paulding, Pickens & Gwinnett). In addition to food, MUST will also have mind, body and soul activity kits. Summer Lunch will run from June 1 - July 29.

How can you get involved?


You can volunteer to be a driver/rider, checker/packer or drive-thru volunteer. *Go to https://www.mustministries.org/summer-lunch to find locations near you.

Kids’ Kit Groups:

Few things are as meaningful as helping others. Families, clubs, churches, neighborhoods and other groups can work together to make a high impact this summer by building Kids’ Kits to feed hungry children. While students are out of school and unable to access meals for breakfast and lunch, MUST Ministries and our valuable partners are building and delivering Kids’ Kits. Simply purchase foods from the list of suggested items and join in the fun of putting the kits together…. a great group project.

Donate food/supplies or financial donations online or through Amazon or drop off in person:

1280 Field Pkwy N, Marietta, 30066. Open Tuesday - Saturday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

For more information regarding Summer Lunch, email: summerlunch@mustministries.org

Our Town 2121





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Book Club

One of the reasons we love reading is the ability to transport ourselves to different places, cultures, and eras. Reading historical fiction often leaves us in awe of how much progress humanity has made in certain areas, while reminding us how little has changed in others.The opportunities available to women against the backdrop of societal expectations is one such topic we explored at our March bookclub meeting.

Our Book: Lady Tan’s Circle of Women

Our Scene: We met at Shannon’s home this month. If you’re planning to host a bookclub gathering, we recommend letting the book inspire your menu, and we all echo Shannon’s advice to explore your local specialty grocery stores. In Smyrna, we have several, including Goodness Grocery, Nam Dae Mun, and Cayce Foods International, to name a few.

Shannon decided to pay homage to the Chinese setting of the book and her own Charleston, South Carolina, heritage by starting the evening with a tea-inspired cocktail, the Sweet Tea Mojito, using Firefly Skinny Sweet Tea Vodka. The recipe can be found on Firefly Spirits’ website. Shannon’s Asian-inspired menu included firecracker meatballs, edamame, mini wontons, and Mandarin chicken salad. Dessert was a selection of mochi doughnuts from an Atlanta Asian market.

Our Favorite Questions: We get our discussion questions from a variety of sources but most often find them online or generate our own. This month, we pulled from the website Reading Group Guides and found these most interesting:

1. After reading the novel, what does it mean to be a “female on this earth”?

2. A case could be made that Yunxian was a modern woman. What are some of the ways she balances work and family? Do you see yourself in her?

Our Synopsis: Lady Tan’s Circle of Women trasported us to late 15th-century China where we were introduced to a society of elite women kept like precious treasures and the women who served them. The story is based on the remarkable real life of noblewoman Tan Yunzian, who lived in a world where women were secured in the innermost confines of their homes, where no man outside their family was permitted to lay eyes upon them–even the doctors who came to treat them. Educated women were viewed as useless during this time, and poor women experienced limited freedoms outside the home: they were freer than elite women to move around and be seen, but in most cases they were still oppressed as concubines or laborers. Main character Tan Yunxian, however, is deteremined to apply her knowledge of Chinese medicine to save women even when the rules of society present major obstacles. In this world of rituals and expectations, readers witness how women’s relationships with one another change across seasons of life. These shifts highlight how our motives and actions can be rooted in selfishness or sacrifice, how we can support others or tear them down. LadyTan’sCircleofWomen is made up of complex characters with the power to hurt or to help the women in their communities.

3. Lisa was inspired to write this novel during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, walking past her bookshelf to find a text she had but hadn’t read in the decade that she owned it. How does time and memory inspire us to examine neglected objects? Have you experienced newfound inspiration or ideas by the objects around your home?

Our Key Takeaway: Lady Tan’s Circle of Women had us thinking about our book club as our own circle of women. We’ve been together for years now, through a lot of the ups and downs of life, just like the characters in this month’s selection. The book reminds us about the power of female relationships, especially the ways we help one another celebrate our greatest successes and survive our most difficult challenges. We enjoyed reflecting over dinner on the value of female friendship in our lives.

A fun tradition our group has is that of the “Special Guest.” We invite “VIPs” from other friendship groups to attend a meeting when schedules allow. We’ve had a blast getting to know each other’s sisters, mothers, childhood best friends, and college buddies as a way to expand our own circle of women. We highly recommend incorporating the Special Guest concept at your next social gathering! We hope our book club write-ups encourage others to carve out time for the relationships and hobbies that make life sweeter.

Our Stars : 3.5

Our Next Book:

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Our Town 23

Personalized Care for All Stages of Aging NOW OPEN!



At Varenita, residents can “age in place” comfortably and securely. One of the main benefits of choosing Varenita of West Cobb is that residents can stay in the same community and, in many cases, the same “living area” even as their health care requirements change. This means that once you or your loved one moves into our beautiful community, it’s home. No matter how much needs to change over time.


The perfect option for independent seniors who want support with daily tasks and personal care.

Varenita of West Cobb’s personalized assisted living care is designed for primarily independent seniors looking for a rich and rewarding lifestyle with an enhanced level of support. Guided by compassion and clinical expertise, our highly trained team members offer residents the gentle, individually focused support they need to flourish while retaining their independence.


This specialized program is ideal for those living with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or early memory loss. Our industry-leading transitional care program is built around an inclusive “open campus” model. It is specifically designed for residents experiencing the early symptoms of memory loss or MCI but may not require the full attention or secure environment of a traditional memory program. Residents who are appropriate for transitional care continue to reside in the Assisted Living area of the community while receiving additional support with daily activities.


An enriching and supportive program designed for those living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias.

Based on the latest research, Varenita’s memory care program offers a truly compassionate approach to care designed for those residents living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. This living option combines an engaging, secure memory care neighborhood with a stimulating, person-centered lifestyle often missing from other cognitive care programs.


Unlike many other senior living communities, Varenita offers comprehensive physical, occupational, and speech therapy services for all our residents without the hassel of having to leave the community.


Varenita offers residents and their families an impressive mix of delicious cuisine and rich dining experiences. Our accomplished chef and culinary team create an ever-changing menu of delicious entrees made with organic, locally sourced ingredients across three beautiful dining venues. These include vegetarian, gluten-free, and specially designed dishes for residents with specific dietary needs. In addition, we have a registered dietitian available to help with residents’ nutritional needs.


At Varenita, we offer an impressive mix of activities, classes, and events that foster engagement, stimulate the mind, and provide a rewarding sense of purpose.

• Arts & Crafts

• Daily Gardening

• Group Outings

• Move & Dance

• Animal Activities

• Cooking Classes

• Music & Song

• Live Concerts

• Exercise Classes

• Family Events

• Guest Speakers

Varenita of West Cobb | 1979 Mars Hill Road, Acworth, GA 30101 | 470-750-3500
Our Town 25

Snack Smarter this Spring!

To snack or not to snack is a personal decision, but I can tell you with 2 teenagers and an active almost 10 year old there’s a lot of snacking going on in our house, and the number of times per day I find someone standing at the pantry or refrigerator door is way too many to count! Obviously there’s a big spectrum of what snacking looks like from one person to another, but if done the right way, it can be a helpful tool to curb hunger and prevent overeating at meal times. Reaching mindlessly into a big bag of chips is NOT a strategy I’d recommend, but being deliberate about seeking out a balanced snack that is also portion controlled will set you and your family up for success.

Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind: Include protein or healthy fat with any snack, regardless of whether or not you’re including a carbohydrate (even fresh fruit, for example). This will optimize blood sugar levels and prevent the peaks and valleys that wreak havoc on metabolism and trigger sugar cravings. It might surprise you that while grabbing a piece of fruit by itself sounds like a healthy choice, but it’s much better to have it with a little nut butter, a piece of cheese or some yogurt to prevent the peaks and valleys that come after eating it in isolation.

Keep washed and cut fruit and veggies on hand and store them where they will be seen (in clear containers in the fridge, on the counter, etc). They’re far more likely to get eaten if they’re ready to go and in sight. You and your family may not seek them out over chips and other snacks, so keeping them more visible is a great strategy. Once again, pair these with protein and/or fat for a more satisfying snack.

Limit the variety of processed snacks you bring into your home and try to prioritize ones that need minimal unwrapping and have few ingredients. Even when purchasing more responsibly sourced snacks that have fewer ingredients, these aren’t necessarily providing the best source of nutrition, and they’re expensive.

The more variety available, the more appealing these types of snacks will be, so selecting just a few at a time can help cut down on how much gets eaten compared to whole food snacks.

Purchase individually wrapped single serve items to help with portion control, or if buying a larger bag, make sure to pour a serving into a serving dish rather than eating straight from the container.

Consider choosing nuts or legumes in shells like pistachios, peanuts and even edamame in the pod take longer to eat and enjoy compared to mindlessly popping a handful without the shell, which makes it easier to control portions.

Here are some examples of balanced “real food” snacks that I love to recommend to my clients, and check out the recipe below for peanut butter energy bites that are sure to be a hit. Happy snacking!

Great snack ideas!

Hard-boiled or Deviled eggs

Chicken/Egg/Tuna Salad

Greek yogurt with fruit with a little nuts or granola

Cottage cheese with fruit

Smoothie with protein powder (prioritize one with minimal ingredients)

Beef jerky


Cheese stick/fruit/olives


Guacamole or hummus with veggies

Nut butter on a rice cake

Avocado and smoked salmon on a rice cake

Nut butter and fruit


Cheese and Whole grain crackers:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

Energy Bites

In a medium bowl, combine:

1 cup dry oats

1⁄2 cup peanut butter or almond butter

1⁄3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1⁄4 cup honey or maple syrup

1⁄2 cup ground flax meal

1 tsp vanilla

Mix thoroughly (mixture will be dry at first) and shape into 1 or 2 inch balls. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Allyson Balzuweit is a Registered Dietitian based in Smyrna and has a private nutrition consulting business. She loves to help people ditch diets and embrace a healthy and realistic approach to eating for optimal health with individualized strategies that considers all aspects of life.

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Surviving a Road Trip with Children

We often drive long distances, whether for vacations or to see our families who live out-of-state, so our family has logged tens of thousands of miles on road trips. I thought I would share some things that we have found work for our family, and might for yours as well.

Pack each kid a backpack – we allow the kids one backpack and one blanket to bring with them in the car, and they can fill that backpack with almost anything they would like. Definite must-haves at various ages have included lovies, stuffed animals, books, and toys of their choosing (Nintendo Switch is their current favorite). If they get tired, they have what they need to sleep and we have a place to store their stuff so it isn’t all over the car.

Bring all the electronics – we generally subscribe to the ‘get outside, run around, and create your own fun’ philosophy with our boys. But when we’re driving a long distance, all bets are off if it keeps them entertained. Play that Nintendo Switch or watch that iPad as much as you would like – just use headphones so we don’t have to listen to it.

Let them watch as many movies as they would like – we limit screen time during the school week, have family movie night most Fridays, and let the boys watch a decent amount of TV on the weekends. When we’re on a road trip there is a constant loop of movies playing in our car, some repeatedly.

Snacks, snacks, and more snacks - the quantity of food my kids can consume in a vehicle is astounding. Before we leave for a trip, I stock up on enough snacks to feed a baseball team. Sweet, salty, candy, and fruit for a healthy option. I even bring a small cooler with cheese sticks, yogurt tubes, and drinks. I also keep their snacks in a container situated between the boys so they aren’t constantly asking us for food. One other tip is to make sure you pack extra snacks and store them in the back of your vehicle for the ride home.

Have a bag full of surprises – my boys know that during a long drive there are going to be surprises for good behavior. Before we leave, I pack a small bag with all kinds of goodies – new movies, candy or gum, games, books, etc. If they’re good in the car, at a predetermined time – two hours into the drive, when we stop for lunch, when we pass through this city, etc. – they will each get a surprise. Nothing motivates good behavior like seeing your brother get a bag of Skittles while you get nothing because you threw a fit 30 miles ago. If you don’t bring a bag, you can offer up a treat at the next gas station for good behavior.

Heather Meliski is a travel agent specializing in the Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, Europe, Australia, the South Pacific, cruises, theme parks, and more. She lives in Smyrna with her husband two sons. Heather@yellowshoetravel.com FB @ heatheryellowshoetravel IG @yellowshoetravelheather

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