This blog contains affiliate links. Please visit my disclosure page for more information.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Best Disney Audiobooks for Kids


My kids love the Disney Jr Novelizations of the movies, which have been turned into audiobooks.  Dragonfly (age 6) especially loves to listen to them at quiet time and bedtime.  She is able to pull up the Audible app on my old phone by herself and select the movies from our library.  I think we own every one they've made so far!

We also love listening to the audiobooks on our road trips.  Because the kids know the basic story of the Disney movies, even my kids younger kids are able to follow the audiobook (they sometimes get lost on other books).  We broadcast all our music and books through our phones with a radio transmitter.  I added a micro SD card to my phone, so we'd have lots of memory available for downloaded media.  As a bonus, if I want to put the audiobooks, movies, or whatever onto my Kindle Fire, I can just move the SD card from one device to another.

Can you guess my kids favorite audiobook?
























Have you figured it out?  Scroll down for the answer.


Pin It!
The Best Disney Audiobooks for Kids // Party Through the USA // road trips // vacation // family fun // disney // audiobooks





Answer- Zootopia and Brave

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

How to Plan a Shark Themed Road Trip



Discovery Channel's Shark Week is coming up in less than a month!  We've never watched the shark shows, but the kids are still fascinated with the sharp-toothed sea monsters.  I wanted our upcoming "Everything is Awesome" Lego road trip to be a shark-theme, but I was out-voted.  Maybe for our next beach trip (and when the kids are a bit older).  I made this theme road trip planner for myself, and decided to share it with all of you!


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Family Friendly Attractions- Oregon Coast

This blog article was originally posted on my first blog In Our Pond.  I started out trying to put all my travel content on my homeschooling blog, but it grew to be too big.  So, I'm moving all the road trip stuff over here!  It'll probably take me a while to move all the posts, but I'll also be posting new content on here as well.  In Our Pond will now be exclusively for homeschooling and parenting content, while this blog (Party Through the USA) is for all the family travel posts.  Check them both out!


Family Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast  #roadtrip #kids #vacation


We're home from our three night, four day vacation on the Oregon Coast.  While we did spend a lot of time exploring the beach near our hotel, we also visited four popular attractions in the Portland area.  Every attraction has been given a family-friendliness rating of 1 to 5 🌟 to help you decide the best fit for your family.  This is my honest and unbiased opinion of these places, and I have received nothing for these reviews.  I hope this list encourages you to make some fun family memories this summer.

Two of our family-friendly attractions were completely free!  On the way to the beach, we took a potty stop at MULTNOMAH FALLS.  There is a nice, well-maintained hiking trail up to the falls, a gift shop with bathrooms, and lots of parking.  It's always cooler near the falls than in the parking lot so it's a refreshing place to visit on a summer day.  You can spend ten minutes at the falls or an hour with a picnic and a hike.  Highly recommended for family-friendliness.  🌟🌟🌟🌟



Bonneville Fish Hatchery

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon

On the way home, we stopped at the BONNEVILLE FISH HATCHERY to stretch our legs.  The kids insisted on calling it a "fish factory," which I love.  I don't think it quite met their expectations.  They were also hoping to see more aspects of a fish life cycle.  We did get to see a huge sturgeon in a pond, and some big brooding trout.  The waking paths were lovely and well-maintained.  The hatchery was free, but it was also low on amenities.  Very family-friendly but sort of non-climatic.  🌟🌟🌟🌟

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon



Sea Lion Caves
Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon
photo credit- Emily Wilson

One day, we drove down the coast to visit the SEA LION CAVES, which is the world's largest sea cave and the brooding grounds of sea lions.  The bathrooms are free, but everything else is quite dear.  You pay to take an elevator down into the cave, where you encounter sea lions in their natural habitation.  The cave also had a few educational exhibits and a skeleton of a sea lion.  This attraction is not handicap accessible, and didn't offer very much for the amount of money that it cost.  🌟🌟🌟



Oregon Coast Aquarium

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon

Our very favorite attraction was the OREGON COAST AQUARIUM.  It was costly, but worth the extra money.  We spent about two hours there, but a family with older, interested kids could spend a lot longer.  They have a good variety of things that are found on the Oregon coast and beyond.  They have seals, sea lions, and otters in the mammal category, invertebrates like jellyfish and an octopus, sharks, and lots of fish.

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon

I love this picture because all the kids are doing similar things with their hands and all seem so engaged.  We saw sea lions sunbathing and seals swimming.  We missed the feed time, but I'm sure they would have enjoyed that as well.  We loved how this exhibit could be viewed from so many different sides and levels.

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon
photo credit- Emily Wilson
I was really surprised how much my kids loved the touch tank (we did it twice).  None of them hesitated at all to gently poke the creatures- skates, starfish, urchins, sea cucumbers, nudibranch, shrimp, and anemone.  We could have spent a lot of time here, too, if the kids had been better rested.

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon

One of the best known features of the aquarium is the tunnel.  There are 4 different types of tanks, which ends with the sharks.  The kids were so engaged in this exhibit, watching the fish from the sides, above and below.

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon

The kids spent a lot of time laying on their bellies and staring down at the fish.  It was such an interesting experience- a peek into the aquatic world from their level.  At one point, Tadpole moved his arms and legs like his was swimming and scooted across the window.  I think this area would have been a lot less interesting if it had been crowded with people.  We went on a Friday, and had lots of room for laying on the floor.

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon

There were many more thing that we saw and experienced that I'm not going to talk about today.  The aquarium is opening a new exhibit soon (Memorial Day weekend 2017), so we'll have to go back again.  Even without the new tanks, I know that we'll return because the aquarium was so nice and is the sort of place with will grow with the kids.  🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

*A lot of it is outdoors, so be prepared if the weather is rainy*

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon


So, that's it for my reviews.  We loved our time on the coast and can't wait to go back.  The kids haven't stopped talking about putting their feet in the ocean, seeing whales from our hotel room, exploring tide pools, and the amazing aquarium.








Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon




Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon



Pin It!
Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon







Tuesday, June 12, 2018

All American Road Trip Ideas for Kids


It's officially summer time here in the USA, which means a lot of red, white, and blue holidays and family road trips.  One of the most traveled times of the year is the days around July 4th, our nation's independence day.  In celebration of the great American road trip, I present a star-spangled, red, white, and blue road trip theme.


Printables

One of the easiest things to collect for a road trip is printables, and there are so many options online.  These are a small sampling of all thing ones you can find!










Food

The most important thing about summer road trips is having snacks that don't melt!  This list is a bit heavy on the "treats," but I don't regret it.  The red, white, and blue is so fun!










Activities

Some of these would be best at your destination or at a rest stop, but most would be ok in the car.  Put in the comments what other activities you like to do in the car.






Pin It!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Bananas! Our Minion Road Trip- a Summery

Our Minion Road Trip- a Summery // Party Through the USA // themed road trip // Minions // yellow // party // minion food // sensory bottle // i-spy bottle


I promised in the Minion planning post to update you after we got back from our trip and this is that post.  We went on a ten hour road trip to meet family for a camping trip.  It was a light trip compared to our twelve day one we have planned for later this summer, but it was a good tester to see how the other trip may go.  We were reminded once again that the children can NOT sit next to each other on long journeys (smile).  But, overall, the trip went very well.


Our Minion Road Trip- a Summery // Party Through the USA // themed road trip // Minions // yellow // party // minion food // sensory bottle // i-spy bottle


I surprised the kids with the Minion theme.  Since we had a relatively short trip, I only packed us a few themed toys.  The kids shared a Minion Bop-It toy, which was a perfect fit for my sensory-seeker (Skimmer- age 5).  Amazingly, the $5 toy is still unbroken (rare for this family), and we're planning on buying a few more soon.


The kids also shared a Minion Look and Find book.  It has fun, colorful Minion pictures that made the kids laugh.  I wish that the box with the list of things to find had been full of pictures instead of words, since it made it very difficult for my three non-readers to use the book independently.  It would be best for a reader and non-reader to do together.


Lastly, I made the kids a Minion I-spy bottle.  As a candy treat, I ordered a big bag of banana shaped Runts.  It was way too much candy for us to eat, but it made a really fun filler for the sensory bottle.  I also added some dyed lentils, which you can see on the top of the left picture.  Then, I added some cute and squishy Mini Minions, a few google eyes, and some random yellow things from around the house.  The kids complained that the bottle was too full, but it did keep them busy for a long time.  They're asking for more sensory bottles for the big trip.


Our Minion Road Trip- a Summery // Party Through the USA // themed road trip // Minions // yellow // party // minion food // sensory bottle // i-spy bottle

One of the hallmarks of our family road trips has been themed lunches.  The Minion-theme was a lot harder than I expected.  I used a printable from the web for the eyeballs and glued them onto 2 oz condiment cups with the banana candy in them.  We had simple lunch meat sandwiches on circular bread, banana chips, and veggies with homemade hummus.  The kids decided the hummus was icky (but the love the store bought kind- so...).  I think the only winner in this lunch was the sandwich.  Oh, well.  I packed our lunches in Ziplock 3-compartment containers, which are a great size for the kids to hold on their laps.


I also bought a few Minion-themed convenience foods like cheez-its, gummy candies, and graham crackers.  Buying marketed products is a really easy way to get themed foods.  Of course, for the Minions, you can also do any yellow foods, such as the yellow bell peppers in our lunches.  We also had some bananas.


Read the first blog (linked at the bottom) to get even more Minion road trip ideas!

Happy Traveling!




Pin It!
Our Minion Road Trip- a Summery // Party Through the USA // themed road trip // Minions // yellow // party // minion food // sensory bottle // i-spy bottle







Our Minion Road Trip- a Summery // Party Through the USA // themed road trip // Minions // yellow // party // minion food // sensory bottle // i-spy bottle

Thursday, June 7, 2018

What to Bring When You're Camping with Experts

This blog article was originally posted on my first blog In Our Pond.  I started out trying to put all my travel content on my homeschooling blog, but it grew to be too big.  So, I'm moving all the road trip stuff over here!  It'll probably take me a while to move all the posts, but I'll also be posting new content on here as well.  In Our Pond will now be exclusively for homeschooling and parenting content, while this blog (Party Through the USA) is for all the family travel posts.  Check them both out!

What to Bring When You're Camping with Experts // Free Printable Packing List // In Our Pond

There are lots of packing lists available on the internet for all types of camping trips.  I haven't yet seen a list for weekends with experts, people who have been camping so long that they have all the cool stuff.  The experts already have everything you need for cooking over a fire, cleaning, setting up a great camp, etc.

In our life, the camping experts are my parents.  We always camp with them (great for grandchild and grandparent memories), which means we have a lot less to pack than we would on a normal camping trip.

What to Bring When You're Camping with Experts // Free Printable Packing List // In Our Pond
Click on the Picture to Download the Printable

Even with just packing for my family, we still end up bringing a lot of things.  I made this free printable to help us pack for camping trips.  I plan on laminating it so I can use it all summer.  The extra lines are for adding more items (or use the back).

Our main responsibilities are clothes for all of us, the tent and sleeping stuff, some personal items, and toys.  Our favorite toys for camping are trucks, cards, glow sticks, and bikes.  In warmer weather, we also do a lot of swimming.

Happy Camping!




Pin It!
What to Bring When You're Camping with Experts // Free Printable Packing List // In Our Pond


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Mickey Matching Game in an Altoid Tin


Did you know that this year is the 90th Birthday for Mickey Mouse?  Perhaps you noticed all the extra Mickey and Minnie products in stores lately, including special edition goldfish crackers,  oreos (coming in the fall), and other fun things.  If the distinctive ears make your heart flutter, this free printable is for you!


I originally made this game for a friend who was heading on an international flight with her two small children.  I wanted something that would be easy to produce, would fit in a tiny recycled Altoid tin, and could be played on the airplane's tray table.  Teaching colors, patience, and matching is a bonus.

Click on Picture to Download the free Printable

Download the PDF by clicking on the picture, then print it on cardstock for durabilty.  If you have access to scrapbook paper, you could also print on the plain side of it, which would give the cards a more professional look.  Laminate the prinable and cut apart the pieces.  The label can be glued to a recycled Altoid tin.  Put the pieces in the tin and stick it in your pocket, purse, or backpack for travel and wait times.





Pin It!










Saturday, June 2, 2018

Vacation Countdown Ideas

This blog article was originally posted on my first blog In Our Pond.  I started out trying to put all my travel content on my homeschooling blog, but it grew to be too big.  So, I'm moving all the road trip stuff over here!  It'll probably take me a while to move all the posts, but I'll also be posting new content on here as well.  In Our Pond will now be exclusively for homeschooling and parenting content, while this blog (Party Through the USA) is for all the family travel posts.  Check them both out!


FREE Vacation Countdown Ideas and Printables from In Our Pond


We're going to the beach!  Every day, all day long, the kids have been excitedly nagging me about leaving and asking how much longer until we can leave.  I decided that I'd better do a countdown to save all of our sanity.  When I started looking on Pinterest, I found all sorts of neat ideas, so I thought I'd share them with you.  I wasn't expecting my list to include so many Disney themed ones, but this is apparently what people countdown to the most.



















Please consider supporting this blog by shopping the Amazon link below.




FREE Vacation Countdown Ideas and Printables from In Our Pond


Friday, June 1, 2018

How to Plan a Moana Themed Road Trip

How to Plan a Moana Themed Road Trip // Party Through the USA // family road trips // party food // costumes // themed car activities // beach fun // beach party for kids

In Our Pond.  I started out trying to put all my travel content on my homeschooling blog, but it grew to be too big.  So, I'm moving all the road trip stuff over here!  It'll probably take me a while to move all the posts, but I'll also be posting new content on here as well.  In Our Pond will now be exclusively for homeschooling and parenting content, while this blog (Party Through the USA) is for all the family travel posts.  Check them both out!


How to Plan a Moana Themed Road Trip // Party Through the USA // family road trips // party food // costumes // themed car activities // beach fun // beach party for kids
Disney
We're going to the beach!  We'll be driving to the Oregon Coast later this month for a long weekend.  As we were discussing which theme we should do for our "party on wheels," the kids suggested the pirate theme from last year.  They really liked having a themed flag, music, snacks, and such, so we discussed possibly doing a Finding Dory/Nemo party.  They decided that Nemo had been done, and that we should do Moana.
In the end, we're planning a beach/ocean themed trip with a Moana twist.  The kids are just hoping that I'll play the Moana soundtrack endlessly on our trip (smile).  I can't promise that we won't stream the video at some point either.  If the "ocean is calling" you too, you'll love this list of Moana and beach themed road trip fun!


How to Plan a Moana Themed Road Trip // Party Through the USA // family road trips // party food // costumes // themed car activities // beach fun // beach party for kids








How to Plan a Moana Themed Road Trip // Party Through the USA // family road trips // party food // costumes // themed car activities // beach fun // beach party for kids






How to Plan a Moana Themed Road Trip // Party Through the USA // family road trips // party food // costumes // themed car activities // beach fun // beach party for kids






How to Plan a Moana Themed Road Trip // Party Through the USA // family road trips // party food // costumes // themed car activities // beach fun // beach party for kids





How to Plan a Moana Themed Road Trip // Party Through the USA // family road trips // party food // costumes // themed car activities // beach fun // beach party for kids









How to Plan a Moana Themed Road Trip // Party Through the USA // family road trips // party food // costumes // themed car activities // beach fun // beach party for kids




Pin It!
How to Plan a Moana Themed Road Trip // Party Through the USA // family road trips // party food // costumes // themed car activities // beach fun // beach party for kids