Homemade Travel Journals


This weekend I decided that the kids needed travel journals. And I’m the sorta person who gets an idea in her head and then has to jump on it immediately. This is one of my best/worst qualities. Once an idea weasels its way into my brain, I cannot let it go.

Etsy is one of my favorite resources and I headed there first, but I just couldn’t find what I was looking for. Lots of cute items, but I couldn’t find THE THING. The ideal journal in my mind is one that serves as a writing prompt, has room for drawings (for little ones who aren’t writing fluently yet) and fits the nature of the trip (i.e. doesn’t ask about amusement park rides when you’re not taking a trip to Disney).

And there are little pet peeves I have with kid products in general, such as having teensy weensy lines for the kids to write in and cheap spiral bound coils that immediately get crushed and make it hard to turn the pages.

So I decided to create something myself. Now I’m not a crafty McCrafter or a graphic designer. My skills are primitive, at best. However, I know my kids and I think I know the types of things they’ll want to remember and the types of questions I’d like them to think about.



Using some map/globe/travel-y photos from my computer, I tried to make it colorful and inviting. I brainstormed the questions I want my kids to answer and left plenty of space between lines for large kid handwriting. There are still more components I’d like to add later, including a way to house souvenirs and photos.

One draft later, I printed it out and hole punched the pages. I happened to have a cute 3-ring binder on hand and it worked perfectly. When I showed my daughter she said, from the very bottom of her dear heart, “I think I forgot to brush my teeth.”

Clearly, the sentiment was overwhelming.

But I’m not sweating it. I have a feeling she’d rather do this than practice workbook pages this summer. Plus, this little journal didn’t cost me a dime so I’m not really out anything if it doesn’t work out.

Any tips or tricks for helping kids record travel memories? Let me know!

Homemade Travel Journals

Packing light for a quick trip

IMGP4888 I try to pack as light as I can. And I’m hoping to instill in my kids this same habit. Packing properly and carefully is important, but after many years of trial and error we’ve discovered proper packing doesn’t mean taking everything for every scenario. (Not everyone feels the same way, I totally respect that every family has it’s own approach!)

However, extra stuff can be such a burden and I don’t like the weight of heavy bags to put a damper on our arrival and departure. If I can’t carry it myself (in this particular case Mike will be meeting us at the hotel and I have to account for his bag also), then I’d better rethink.

My road trip packing tips were posted here recently. I hate being frazzled and snappy with the kids because I’m overwhelmed with baggage and transition. It’s one of my personal weak spots! And I can only expect so much assistance from kids who are ages 8 and 5…

Why does this matter? I’ve got packing on the brain. We’re headed out for a quick trip to a new spot. Luxury hotel. Two nights. We hope to answer the question… is it worth it to take kids to a luxury hotel? Will they enjoy/appreciate it? Will it be worth the time and effort and expense?

Packing light for a quick trip


We know nothing about wine. When I approached mike about trying out some French wines before we head to France next month, he said, “like Merlot?”

Because we seriously only know the names of the most basic and commonplace wines. I’ve always preferred beer and we’re not big drinkers to begin with so wine knowledge was never a high priority.
But I thought it would be fun to try a few things. I googled wine varieties near Normandy (not much wine production going on in Normandy itself). Turns out the Loire region (nearby) is known for its Chinon. My that sounds so… French!
Guess we’ll pour some in our Toby Keith beer mugs. Kidding, kidding… Though we were once given something along these lines.
I recently had a brief discussion with some friends on whether we like or get frustrated by the planning and trip prep. Personally, I enjoy it! And what better way than to drink through this bottle of “research?”
Previously published elsewhere on our family blog on Wednesday, April 09, 2014