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Monday, December 31, 2018

Our Third Family Road Trip (Ocean)

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!  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!


Olympic Penninsula with 3 Kids Under 4 from In Our Pond #travel #pacificnorthwest #roadtrip #travelwithkids #seattle #oceanwithkids #orca #ocean #beachtrip


Last weekend was our third west coast road trip five months.  Every time, I feel like I learn a bit more about what works for our family, and the kids get more "settled" about what a road trip means.  I now feel like we're ready for a trip to the east coast (several days vs one day of driving).


Olympic Penninsula with 3 Kids Under 4 from In Our Pond #travel #pacificnorthwest #roadtrip #travelwithkids #seattle #oceanwithkids #orca #ocean #beachtrip


One of the highlights of this trip was our "playground tours."  On the day we went to the coast, we stopped at a really nice "dinosaur" playground about halfway through our journey.  Then, when we got to the hotel, they got to play again on the equipment the hotel owned.  The next day, our kids played at two playgrounds near the bay and got to visit the ocean for the first time.  On our return trip, they played at a new park, rode a ferry, and visited the dinosaur playground again.  For my country kids, all that park time was a big treat.


Here are a few pictures of the logistics of traveling with three toddlers:


Olympic Penninsula with 3 Kids Under 4 from In Our Pond #travel #pacificnorthwest #roadtrip #travelwithkids #seattle #oceanwithkids #orca #ocean #beachtrip


I always pack a tiny bit of dish soap, a dish cloth, dish towel, paper towels, and bleach wipes when we travel.  We three toddlers, you never know what you'll need and when you'll need it.  During our stay, we went through more clothes than we had planned on, so I did some laundry in the sink.  I made soapy water with the dish soap, hand washed the clothes, and then line-dried them in the bathroom.  Also during the weekend, we had a potty accident, so I was glad I had paper towels and bleach wipes to clean it up.  And, of course, I always have lots of grocery sacks packed in different places for wet clothes, etc.


Olympic Penninsula with 3 Kids Under 4 from In Our Pond #travel #pacificnorthwest #roadtrip #travelwithkids #seattle #oceanwithkids #orca #ocean #beachtrip


I packed one tote with our snacks, treats, and meals (although we also ate out for at least one meal).  My kids love hotel dinner on the floor.  I spread out a baby blanket for their picnic, which helped to contain any spills.  The room had a microwave, so it was easy to cook up some Easy Mac.  I had a bag of disposable spoons in our food tote and everything went in the garbage when we were done eating.  We also had a small cooler with drinks, sandwiches, and fruit.  Frozen water bottles kept everything cold.


We actually did three days of driving because we spend a day getting to the coast, a day driving around the peninsula to the ocean, and a day driving home.  Dragonfly (4) was entertained the most by her I-spy picture book that I made for her.  She rejected a lot of the other activities that I packed for her and spent a lot of time talking, asking questions, singing, and explaining things to her brothers.

 Skimmer (3) entertained himself almost exclusively with cars.  He loved most his John Deere tractor and big motorcycle, but also kept a pile of other cars around him at all times.

Tadpole (1) had the hardest time and was happiest with a lollipop in his mouth (teething).  He also spent a lot of time playing with the obnoxious camera that I picked up at the dollar store.

We just got back, but I'm itching to plan another trip.



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Olympic Penninsula with 3 Kids Under 4 from In Our Pond #travel #pacificnorthwest #roadtrip #travelwithkids #seattle #oceanwithkids #orca #ocean #beachtrip



Olympic Penninsula with 3 Kids Under 4 from In Our Pond #travel #pacificnorthwest #roadtrip #travelwithkids #seattle #oceanwithkids #orca #ocean #beachtrip
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Sunday, December 30, 2018

Boys' Car Activity Bags

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!  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!

Yesterday, I posted about Dragonfly's activity bag.  Today, I'll show you the ones for the boys.


His bag contains:
- motorcycle (thrift store)
- various blue vehicles ($ store)
- altoid tin for pouring and dumping
- blue play dough balloon (DIY)
- pretend cell phone ($ store)

As you can see, it's all about cars, wheels, and things to spin in Skimmer's bag.  I'm sure he will also do some things from Dragonfly and Tadpole's bags, too.  I forgot to include the "something to spin" and i-spy activities that I posted about a few days ago (here).  'He also has a zipper bag in blue for snacks.


This is Tadpole's Bag:
- noisy camera toy (thrift store)
- marble maze (DIY)
- wood animal magnets (DIY)
- trucks ($ store)
- car track mat (DIY)

We'll have to see how well this keeps the busy on our upcoming trip.

Related Post- Trip to the Ocean with 3 Toddlers


Other Great Ideas

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Preschool Girls' Activity Bag

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!  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!



Our road trip is coming up soon, so I thought I'd give you a peak at all the fun things I've put together for my kids.  First, the four year old girl (Dragonfly).

- clipboard with fuzzy pen attached ($ store)
- coloring book ($ store)
- Toy Story 3 Look and See book (thrift store)
- create a scene stickers ($ store)
- Toy Story Magnetic Game (DIY)
- play phone ($ store)
- pink play dough stress ball (DIY)
- necklace making kit (DIY)
- Leap Frog matching game (thrift store)
- Toy Story matching game (DIY)
- pink pouch for snacks (Wal-mart)
- colored pencils

I bought her a car activity tray (Amazon), which I think will be a helpful addition.  I also have a stash for "hotel toys," a random bucket of toys that are always in the car, and a pile of glow sticks for night travel.



The Toy Story characters came from Spoonful (here).  I printed them, cut them out, laminated them, and cut them out.  Then, I stuck the characters to a magnetic sticker sheet (Wal-mart) and cut them out again.  The background was printed from a Google search and modge podged to the tin.  The black part is a magnetic sheet for additional storage.




Sorry that the picture is so bad- I think it's the modge podge mixed with florescent lights and camera flash.  Yuck!  Anyway, this is a Toy Story matching game.  I used the cupcake toppers found at Over the Big Blue Moon (here).  I modge podged them onto 1.5" wood disks that I bought on Etsy.  I also added velcro dots on the backside in the hopes that it would be more car friendly.  As an added bonus, the velcro sticks so well that it gives everyone who plays the game extra fine motor skills practice.




Another bad picture- ugh!  This is an experiment as I've never tried anything like this with Dragonfly before.  In my re-purposed altoid tin, I taped a piece of yarn, which has a large, dull, metal needle tied onto it.  Their are a few red pony beads and cut up paper straws for threading.  I'm hoping that the activity tray will keep the activity contained and that she'll get a lot of playtime from it.

I'll do the boys' travel bags another day.


Other Great Ideas for Preschoolers


Friday, December 28, 2018

DIY Road Trip Games for Preschoolers

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!  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!


It's summer time, and we're getting ready for another family road trip.  In preparation, I've been making some activities.



I'm obsessed with the I-spy stuff- bottles, books, bags, whatever.  I've been wanting to make an i-spy rice bag for quite a while.  After I made Dragonfly's space skirt last week, I had some fabric left over.  The window is a reused bag like the kind that sheets come in.  The orange part is felt (so that I wouldn't have to hem around the window).  It ended up being pretty messy, but I'm hoping all those stitches will keep the rice inside.  I also plan on attaching a "contents" card to it.  In case your wondering what I found to put in it, here's the picture:




These are all buttons from my novelty button collection (I'm a bit obsessed).  I even found a sun, moon, Earth, Mars, and Saturn that I think were part of one set.  I thought they were perfect for this project.  Hopefully, this i-spy bag will buy us some time on a ferry on in a restaurant.




Skimmer loves to spin things.  He loves car and train wheels, airplane propellers, the pizza cutter, play dough roller, and DVD cases.  Normally, we discourage him from spinning DVDs, so I thought it would be a special treat for him to get to spin them in the car.  I modge podge the green paper onto some junk disks and added the numbers and letters for visual interest.  I also replaced the cover paper with some fun scrapbook paper to distinguish it from our other movies.




We'll also be taking some games that I made a long time ago- like this tic-tac-toe game.  Click here to read the original post.


Other Travel Toys for Preschoolers


Thursday, December 27, 2018

Our Second Family Road Trip (Zoo)

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!  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!


Portland Zoo with 3 Kids Under 4 from In Our Pond  #travel #pacificnorthwest #travelwithkids #roadtrip #portland #zoo #portlandwithkids #zoowithkids

We had an opportunity this weekend to visit my sister, who is going to college in Portland.  Of course, we took it.  Besides, it was a chance for another road trip, and we were even promised a day at the zoo.  We had so much fun at the Oregon Zoo.  The kids got see real animals, which was pretty amazing for them.  They also got to ride the zoo train and a historical train in downtown Portland.  It was a great weekend.  See....


Portland Zoo with 3 Kids Under 4 from In Our Pond  #travel #pacificnorthwest #travelwithkids #roadtrip #portland #zoo #portlandwithkids #zoowithkids
Dragonfly looking at giraffes... Tadpole in the stroller... Skimmer touching wood penguins


Dragonfly decided that "all the kids" should wear jean overall shorts for zoo day.  So, that's what I packed.  I think it motivated her to use the potty all day since she didn't want to have to change and ruin the "look."  Now, that's a mommy win!


Portland Zoo with 3 Kids Under 4 from In Our Pond  #travel #pacificnorthwest #travelwithkids #roadtrip #portland #zoo #portlandwithkids #zoowithkids

Our zoo day snacks: jungle vines (licorice), animal crackers, and monkey mix (dried bananas and raisins).  It was nice to have some "themed" snacks to grab when the kids needed a boost.  I should have packed some "trains" snacks, too, since we went on so many of them that day.


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Portland Zoo with 3 Kids Under 4 from In Our Pond  #travel #pacificnorthwest #travelwithkids #roadtrip #portland #zoo #portlandwithkids #zoowithkids
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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Road Trip DIYs

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!  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!


We're gearing up for another road trip!  And, I've been crafting like crazy to get ready (I'm nuts like that).  Here's what I've been working on:



Clothes Scrunchies- I referenced these on our last road trip but never got around to blogging about them.  As you can see, the scrunchies are actually colored elastic that I sewed into a circle.  All my kids have assigned colors so I can tell immediately whose outfit I'm holding.

I love how the scrunchies keep the clothes neat and contained.  They don't get messed up no matter how many times we dig in the family suitcase!  Each clothes bundle has everything needed to get that kid dressed: pants, shirt, and diaper/panties.  I can hand a packet to my husband or anyone and they can help me get everyone ready in the morning.  Those bands are so small but so helpful. 




Activity Box- I also talked about this idea in the previous road trip blog.  I love how this flip top bin fits between the seats.  Inside is a treasure of activities, toys, and prizes to keep the kids entertained.  Just in this picture, you can see the magna-doodle, the little container with a sticky frog, a pair of sunglasses, a google-eye ring, and a mommy-made "Who's Who at the Zoo" flip book.




Mom's Activity Box- I used the tutorial on the Jembellish blog to make this hanging bin.  Our SUV has so much leg room in the front that I nearly cannot reach the glove box.  I mostly use this bin to hold my craft projects and Kindle.  It always has a pair of scissors, a pen, and a pack of gum.




Mom's Pillow- I got the pattern for this "dog bone" pillow on the Sew4Home blog website.  As you can see, I made it match my hanging bin.  I made a second one for my husband with airplane fabric.  He stores his pillow in a bin under his seat when he's not using it.

The basket in the middle is our "center console."  It's an organized mess of pouches, bags, bottles, and cords- all our important things.  Sometimes, the most important thing is a lollipop (or 3) or a baby wipe or the radio transmitter for the MP3 player.  Whatever I may need while driving, I try to stock in that bin.


Other Great Ideas for Car Organization


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Our First Family Road Trip (Aquarium)

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!  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!


Tips for Travelling with 3 Kids Under 4 and Our First Family Road Trip from In Our Pond  #travel #travelwithkids #seattle #seattlewithkids #pacificnorthwest #roadtrip #roadtripwithkids #packingtips


As I said in part one, we made the decision to go to Seattle one-and-a-half days before we left.  Luckily, I had already been crafting and planning for our "big trip" and had "a few" things ready to go.  The goal of this blog entry is to talk about the road trip part of the adventure.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Valentine's Day Road Trip 2015

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!


Seattle Road Trip with 3 Under 4 from In Our Pond  #roadtrip #travel #seattle #pacificnorthwest #aquarium #familytravel #travelwithkids #toddlers #preschoolers #travelwithtoddlers


Every year, my husband and I talk about how "Valentine's Day is just a made-up holiday" and that it "does really matter what we do for it."  It's funny, though, because of all the holidays, I remember the V-days the most.  Like the one when we were dating and he sent me a single fake white rose (purity) through the mail.  Or our first one after we got married, which was my first time out of the house after our ectopic pregnancy.  And, the one in Botswana.  And, last year, when an unknown someone paid for our meal.

This year, once again, we said, "Eh, it doesn't matter what we do."  Then, the Wednesday before the Saturday holiday, we decided to go to Seattle for the weekend.  This decision gave me exactly one day to plan our first family road trip.  Crazy!  (I'll write more about that aspect of it in part 2)


Seattle Road Trip with 3 Under 4 from In Our Pond  #roadtrip #travel #seattle #pacificnorthwest #aquarium #familytravel #travelwithkids #toddlers #preschoolers #travelwithtoddlers


We only spent one day in Seattle (two nights), but we packed that day full of fun.  First, we went to the Aquarium to see Nemo.  We got to the pier an hour early, so we walked around the docks and showed the kids some things they'd never seen before: the ocean, homeless people, multiple layers of roads running over the top of each other, cranes, ferry boats, skyscrapers, etc.  Just that hour made for a big day as my country mice saw the big city.

We spent about two hours at the aquarium, then got back in the car to drive to the next adventure.  Of course, we had hoped that the kids would nap during our drive.  Only one kid slept, which was a bit disappointing, since we knew that they all needed it.


Seattle Road Trip with 3 Under 4 from In Our Pond  #roadtrip #travel #seattle #pacificnorthwest #aquarium #familytravel #travelwithkids #toddlers #preschoolers #travelwithtoddlers


Our next stop was the Museum of Flight, which is located near the Boeing factory.  My husband and
Skimmer loved this place!  Airplanes everywhere!  Big ones.  Small ones.  Parts of ones.  Ones you could go inside and ones that you couldn't touch.  Dragonfly (and Skimmer, of course) loved the WWII hanger because each airplane had a button to push, which played the sound of that engine starting up.  Overall, we were very glad that we spent time there.

When we got back to the hotel after all that touristing, we were surprised to see that it was only 2pm!  Our kids were tried but very overstimulated and wound up.  We knew that a nap was just not going to happen.  So, we asked the woman behind the front desk if she knew of any parks in the area.  She had never been asked that before!  Fortunately, we were visiting the city that invented Google, and she was able to use the maps feature to find a park in our area (less than a mile from the hotel).

Another two hours or so was spent chasing the kids around the park/playground.  After that, we limped back to our hotel, ordered pizza, and called it a night.  All the kids were asleep by 7 that night.

Unfortunately, Tadpole woke up the next morning at 3am and wouldn't go back to sleep.  So, we started back home.

It was a great adventure and I'm really glad we went.  I can't wait until our next trip (we're talking about a zoo).

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Seattle Road Trip with 3 Under 4 from In Our Pond  #roadtrip #travel #seattle #pacificnorthwest #aquarium #familytravel #travelwithkids #toddlers #preschoolers #travelwithtoddlers

Seattle Road Trip with 3 Under 4 from In Our Pond  #roadtrip #travel #seattle #pacificnorthwest #aquarium #familytravel #travelwithkids #toddlers #preschoolers #travelwithtoddlers
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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Over the River and Through the Woods Road Trip

Winter Themed Road Trip // Party Through the USA // snow // snowman // party foods // road trips with kids // car trip activities for kids // travel food // winter drinks // winter party food

Over the River and Through the Woods
To Grandmother's House We Go
The Horse Knows the Way
To Carry the Sleigh
Through the White and Drifting Snow!


Although I am not old though to have taken a horse-drawn sleigh to my grandparents' house, we sang this song every year in the car.  Now I have become the parent, and I'm preparing my own family for the Christmas trip to my parents' house.  I know that winter is a busy time already of buying, baking, and bustle, but I wanted to do a snowman themed road trip planner anyways.  Like all my themed trips, these are just ideas.  Take what you love and forget the rest.


Snowman Themed Road Trip // Party Through the USA // winter // snow // snowman // party foods // road trips with kids // car trip activities for kids // travel food // winter drinks // winter party food












Snow Themed Road Trip // Party Through the USA // winter // snowman // party foods // road trips with kids // car trip activities for kids // travel food // winter drinks // winter party food












Happy Holidays and Safe Travels!



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Snow Themed Road Trip // Party Through the USA // winter // snowman // party foods // road trips with kids // car trip activities for kids // travel food // winter drinks // winter party food