Jeep Sewing Projects

We recently bought a jeep and have been four wheeling every weekend this month. I want to buy accessories for it, but I’m being thrifty as usual and making my own. It sure helps out for making the payment too!

Handle Bar Bag

This turned out to look a little frumpier than I wanted it to. Next time I’ll have to use some heavy backing. I do love that I have all of my stuff close and convenient. There’s always extra space for snacks and for my camera too.

Tool Roll

This is an adult version of a crayon roll! The tools are a little bit odd shaped, so they don’t roll as well as a crayon roll but it is a great way to save space and keep your tools safe and organized. It’s also convenient to have all of your tools in one spot and can be easily carried to wherever you need them.

Fire Extinguisher Holder

Did you know it cost over $20 for one of these? I made it for much less! I finally finished a great easy-to-follow tutorial for how to make your own. Click here to see the full Roll Bar Fire Extinguisher Holder Tutorial.


This wasn’t the most important thing I wanted to make but it is always great to have a spare blanket and to use a ton of extra fabric. It’s now my son and my dog’s favorite blanket to fight over. I love the patriotic color theme, it’s like a taste of 4th of July every day!

More Jeep Posts:

Camping Food Menu and Ideas

One of the great parts of camping is the food. We recently went up to the Mogollon Rim near Payson, Arizona and had a great time. The great food was just a bonus!

Day One
Breakfast: Whatever we had at Home
Lunch: from Wendy’s on the ride to the campsite
Dinner: Shepherd’s Pie Tin Foil Dinners

Day Two
Breakfast: Pop Tarts and Cereal
Lunch: Grilled Ham and Cheese or Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
Dinner: Steak and Potato Packets

Day Three
Breakfast: Eggs and Bacon
Lunch: Sausage and Tots or Hot Dogs and Tots
Dinner: Classic Tin Foil Dinners

Day Four
Breakfast: Pancakes
Lunch: Snacks on the way home
Dinner: Whatever we had at home

Different Cooking Methods

For the Sausage, Hot Dogs and Steak we cooked them over the fire (our neighbors that went with us sometimes pulled out the grill instead). You can make your own sticks by whittling the ends of a stick and sanitizing it by burning the edges really quick or use ones that you bought. For the steaks especially, they can be propped up to the fire by rocks and turned as needed. The campfire really does add good flavor to them, I’m already craving another campfire steak!

The tin foil dinners are cooked over coals. I don’t mean that you brought charcoal, I mean that you started a fire and let it burn for a little bit until you had some great coals. You will have to move around the logs that are still on fire to get to them though. Also, make sure to bring some gloves to pick up the foil packets because they will be really hot! I use just plain leather work gloves but something a little bit more fire-safe would be better. The potatoes were cooked in tin foil packets as well as the tin foil dinners.

For the breakfasts and the grilled cheese we used my camping frying pan inside of our friend’s 5th wheel on their gas stove. If it were just me camping I would have cooked all of those things over the campfire/coals or even on a camping stove. Do whatever is easiest for you!

Prepare Ahead

Most everything we had prepared ahead of time. I made the tin foil dinners and prepared the tater tot packets before we left and froze them. Freezing them helped them stay at a safe temperature in the cooler, and helped keep everything else cold. The first night we realized that we should have taken out the tin foil dinners way sooner to thaw, because they took a long time to cook. The rest of them defrosted right on schedule.

The only thing we really prepared there was the pancake batter and the potato packets. It was fine to do them while we were there but had we done them earlier it would have saved us some stress of bringing all the ingredients and supplies.

Check out recipes that we made after this camping trip from the wild blackberries we picked. See them here at Arizona Mama.

Road Trip Packing List Printable- Toddler Edition

Toddlers need a lot when they go on road trips. Not quite as much as babies, but to keep them happy and entertained for hours on end they need plenty of stuff. After I worked on my regular road trip packing list, I realized that I should just have a second one for the toddler’s stuff. He is pretty spoiled. I bring movies for me, and separate movies for him. I bring snacks for me, and separate snacks for him or else he eats all of mine. It goes on and on, but with the separate list it is easier to get it all straight.

One of my tricks for road trips with toddlers is that if they are drinking real milk regularly you can buy cartons of shelf milk that don’t have to be refrigerated until they are open, or I like to give him the pedia sure milk replacements. They are expensive, but cheaper than buying a big thing of milk and wasting it because you can’t refrigerate it. Also, I have found that it is hard to get whole milk most places, so I really like having my own milk with me.

Another thing is that I like to buy a few new toys or books. They don’t have to be “new” I usually get them from yard sales or kid’s resale stores but something new keeps him entertained for longer. The good thing about getting them at yard sales is that if you don’t want to keep them after the trip you can turn around and yard sale them again or it won’t hurt as much to donate them. It’s worth spending a little bit to have more sanity while traveling. I put some of his toys for the car in his backpack, so that they are easy for him to get to. If we are going to a family’s home that don’t have little kids, or staying in a hotel, I bring my playmat full of toys so that he is entertained the few days that we are there too. I just try not to bring anything sentimental orĀ irreplaceableĀ as toys are more likely to get lost when traveling.

I have a large rubberband that I use to hold his diapers together. It keeps them in one spot and is easier than a half empty bag later on.

Road Trip Packing List Printable

I first posted a packing list that touched on what I do for flying and for road trips, but I really do pack much differently for road trips than I do for flying. There is something about having to depend more on yourself that makes me want to be more prepared. I also I wanted a nice printable list so that it was easy to physically check off what was in my bag and in my car so that hopefully I don’t forget anything. There are blank spots for anything extra you might want to remember. I usually use this list for 4 days or more. Anything more than 4 days I plan on doing laundry. Check back later, there will be a road trip packing list for toddlers soon!

Play Mat Bag

I saw this picture on Pinterest a long time ago, but I didn’t have internet access when I went to go make one, so it turned out a bit differently. I had also seen this lego playmatat A Girl and a Glue Gun, so my idea came from that one too. There is a better way to do this, but I didn’t do it that way this time, and who knows if I will make another one any time soon, so after I tell you how I did it I will tell you how you should do it (because I’m bossy!).

Fabric for the “mom side”
Fabric for the “kid side”
5 Yards Bias Tape (Homemade or bought)
5 Yards Ribbon or Clothesline

My son’s little so I knew I would be the one carrying around his toys for him. Don’t worry, when he’s bigger he is doing all the work! But I wanted to make this bag cute-ish for me too. I seem to have an obsession with making myself bags, even if it is under the pretense of making it for my kid. So that’s why there’s mom side and kid side fabric.

I did as Kim did for her Lego Play Mat and used a string and pen to make a perfect circle. (I pinned the string down to the corner of the fabric.) I cut out one piece each of my “mom side” and “kid side” fabric, the same sized circle.

Then I made a ton of homemade bias tape. (Hi, I’m Monica, I don’t know if you know this but I’m cheap thrifty, and I am also too lazy to drive to the store) It took FOREVER mostly because someone wanted to be held the entire time and didn’t realize I was making *him* something. So anyway, I made about 15 feet worth of bias tape (the right way too, I usually cheat and don’t cut it on the bias) and pinned it around the edges.

I sewed on the bias tape, threaded the clothesline through it and then decided to add handles. So I made the handles with leftover bias tape and sewed them on.

I realized though using it (and through looking at the pinspiration closer) that it was hard to cinch it together and then to un-cinch it when the baby was ready to play. So I switched to ribbon and cut a few more holes in the bias tape so that the ribbon could be pulled out in a few more places. (Thanks for the idea, Kalli!)

Also, when using it at first I loosely tied the ribbon so that the bag wouldn’t undone, but I added cord stops. (And do you know how long it took me to google that word. I knew what they were but I had no idea what they were called until now!)

So when you make your own, here’s a better way to do it.

1. Cut your circles the way Kim shows us here.

2. Sew handles onto the “mom side”.

3. Make your bias tape. Or buy it. Sew four buttonholes into your bias tape.

4. Sew bias tape on.

5. String your ribbon or thin rope through the buttonholes, add cord stops and tie the ends.

I actually have to go buy two more cord stops before mine is completely finished but we used it for a few vacation days already with out them and I will be using it with just a couple for our next few outings. He never stays on the playmat for long but it is nice to have one small patch of the ground that is free from tiny things he can find. Thanks for suffering through reading about my mistakes have a great day!

A Packing List for Traveling Light but Comfortably

A few months ago we had to move up our vacation plans by 3 days, so I had one day to pack. A neighbor had a list they used whenever they need to go somewhere, and it was great to get my mind moving in the right direction. It has to be altered a little bit for road trips vs airplane trips but I don’t bring any more clothes even if we are staying longer. The only thing I will bring more of is winter clothes if we are traveling to snow country.

I would love to pack lighter- like Leo at Zen Habits– but I want to relax on vacation and not be worried about washing clothes every night. I also don’t like the idea of buying stuff I have at home. We usually stay with family and I will use the washer, but only once a week or after a few days.

The biggest fears I have when packing are “I hope I’m not forgetting anything” and “I hope I didn’t bring too much for X amount of days”. I bring about 5 days worth of clothes for me and my husband(I re-use pants and shorts) and a few more sets for the baby because he dirties stuff faster. Even if we are gone a month we don’t need any more than that. The baby is one now, so I don’t have to pack as much extra stuff like bottles and spit rags.

play pen(road trips only)
baby carrier backpack
stroller(If space, not necessary)
cloth high chair
heavy blanket (I carry this hung over the messenger bag when we were at the airport, so we can use it on the plane. I mean, so the baby can use it;)

phone charger
headphones/splitter (for the two of us)
small first aid kit
safety pins

gifts (I made some cloth high chairs for some of our families new babies the last few times we traveled.)

5 shirts
4 underwear
5 socks
1 jeans
1 shorts
1 pj pants
1 sweatshirt
1 pair sneakers(I wear flip flops to the airport)
swim suit

toothbrush/toothpaste (for the baby too)
bo juice
feminine products
disposable razor

7 shirts
4 pants
3 shorts
2 sweatshirts
5 socks
4 sleepers/pajamas
30 diapers (I buy these when we get there if needed)

water bottle
sippy cup
drink mixes
wipe-able bib
pack towel
changing pad/wipes

small toys

When flying, our ride to the airport will take home the car seat and when we get to our destination our Aunt had plenty of baby stuff for us to use, all we needed this time was a play pen and car seat. For our road trips I bring my own play pen as well as a small stroller. The stroller isn’t necessary because I have the backpack, but in the car if I have the space I may as well use it!(Thanks again Aunt Cindy!)

In my picture you may see that I have a toy that isn’t so small- the stuffed animal hangs on a hook on my bag, so that we can try to convince my son to sleep in places that aren’t his own bed. My water bottle has a loop too and it hangs off of the same carabiner on my bag.

For a road trip I also bring more snacks and drinks in a cooler. I will even bring cold lunch stuff to save money on going out too much.

Check out these other Traveling posts:
Airplane Travel Tips
Mom and Baby in the Airport
Decorated Suitcase

Camping Foam Pad and Case

My husband has been doing some training with the military and has been sleeping on a cot. Trying to sleep, anyway. It’s been super uncomfortable so he asked that I buy him a foam pad for it. They were really thin and not very squishy, so I bought a queen-sized foam mattress pad instead. Doubled up it will be thicker and more comfortable.

Queen Sized Foam Mattress Pad
Fabric (or a queen sized sheet would work better)

1. First cut your foam mattress pad in half. It should be almost perfect size for a cot (or to lay on the ground under a sleeping bag). My mattress pad measured 56″ x 77″ x 1.25″. If yours is different the next few measurements will be different also.

2a. If you are using fabric instead of a sheet you need to cut your fabric. You should have two pieces that measure 33″ x 80″. I was using fabric I had, so I had to sew two pieces together to get the right length.

2b. If you are using a sheet, you don’t need to cut anything, just fold your sheet in half.

3. Next you will need to sew around all the edges but one of the skinny sides. Make sure your outsides of the fabric are together. When you are done turn it inside out.

4. The final step of sewing is to hem the edge and add velcro. We’re going to make that one step. Fold the edges, and pin the velcro on top of them. Sew the edges of the velcro.

5. Now for the fun part. Getting the case onto the doubled-up foam pad is a little bit of a nightmare. It’s just like a pillowcase. Bunching it up and putting it on like panty hose helped.

Velcro it shut and your done! I used rope to tie it when it’s rolled up, but you could sew on straps. Have fun camping more comfortably!