Travel & Vacation


Hi everyone, it’s Kimberly from Get Away Today. I’m so excited to be on the Crafting Chicks sharing fun Disney and vacation ideas. Getting ready for a Disneyland vacation is almost as fun as going on one. We surprised our kids at Christmas with a spring time Disneyland vacation and we have had so much fun “getting ready” by watching Disney movies, playing Disney games, and making Disney recipes. Luckily, our blog, Packed with Fun, is just that, packed with fun ideas to get your family excited for an upcoming vacation. I compiled three of our most popular Disney inspired recipes. They are simple, cute, tasty, and guaranteed to get your family excited about your Disneyland vacation.

Three Easy Recipes to Make Before Your Disneyland Vacation

Mickey Pop Tarts

Ingredients:

Ready made pie crust (or your favorite recipe)

Your Favorite jam

Butter

Frosting and Sprinkles (optional)

poptartbuild

Start by taking your pie crust and cutting out an equal number of Mickey heads with a cookie cutter.

Put your favorite jam on one Mickey head at a time. Cover it with another Mickey head and use a fork to seal the edges.

Butter the tops of the Mickeys and bake them at 400 degrees in a preheated oven.

Decorate with frosting and sprinkles to add a little more flare and flavor.

finishedpoptart

It’s our version of a Character Breakfast at home!

Mickey and Minnie Oreos

Ingredients:

Double Stuf Oreos (make sure they’re Double Stuf)

Mini Oreos

Red and/or pink melting chocolate

White decorating pearls

Dipping

Start by separating your Mini Oreos and licking scraping off the cream to make your Mickey or Minnie ears. Stick them into the top of your Double Stuf Oreos to create a Mickey head effect. Dip the bottom half of each cookie into the melted chocolate. Use red for Mickey and pink for Minnie. Then, add decorating pearls. Two pearls side by side on a red cookie make a Mickey, and a few polka-d0ts make Minnie’s dress.

2Cookies

We’re sure these will be a hit at your house!

Lime Mickeys

Ingredients:

Sprite or 7up

1 Packet of Grape Kool-Aid

2 c. Sugar

1 c. Water

Fresh limes

KOOLAID

Start by making your grape syrup by dissolving two cups sugar into one cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Once it’s dissolved, bring it to a boil for a few minutes, then remove the mixture from the heat and stir in one packet of grape Kool-Aid until it’s completely dissolved. Move your syrup into a container that’s good for both pouring and storage. Next, slice your limes into circles with one small slit going towards the center (see below). Add your limes to a glass to make Lime Mickey ears, then make your drink by adding some ice, soda, a little syrup and fresh lime juice to taste.

finsheddrink

Ahhhhhh… it’s as refreshing as it is adorable.

If you haven’t booked your next Disneyland vacation, our agents at Get Away Today would love to help! We have the best deals on Disneyland tickets and hotels – even over Spring Break! You can book any of our Disneyland packages at getawaytoday.com, or you can all our agents at 855-GET-AWAY. Our agents have been to the parks multiple times and they tour all of our hotels each year, so that can give you expert advice. Be sure to use promo code: CraftingChicks and you’ll save an extra $10 off your 2-night or longer package, and enjoy your countdown until your Disneyland vacation!

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Hey Everyone, I’m Kimberly, with Get Away Today, and I am so excited to be here on the Crafting Chicks! I regularly contribute to Packed with Fun, the official blog for Get Away Today where we share our best travel tips and all sorts of fun ways to extend vacation magic at home with vacation countdowns, games, crafts and more. There is so much to love about Disneyland, and it seems like there is always something new and exciting happening. This year is no different, so for my first article, I thought it would be fun to do a quick year-at-a-glance for everything you need to know about going to Disneyland in 2016.

Everything You Need to Know About Going to Disneyland in 2016

Pin this: Everything you need to know about going to Disneyland in 2016.

Early Winter/Spring

The Diamond Celebration is still going strong with sparkly decor, upgraded attractions, limited time merchandise and food items, and three incredible nighttime spectaculars; World of Color – Celebrate, the Disneyland Forever fireworks, and Paint the Night Parade.

DiamondCastle

For the first time ever, Disneyland is offering a dining package that includes premier viewing for the Paint the Night Parade. You can get a grab-and-go picnic from Aladdin’s Oasis for reserved viewing by “it’s a small world,” or enjoy a three-course meal at the Blue Bayou with reserved viewing on Main Street U.S.A. Reservations can be made online or over the phone 60 days in advance.

Star Wars is all the rage and Season of the Force is a limited time Star Wars overlay that has temporarily taken over Tomorrowland. If you have a Star Wars Fan at your house, go you must. Space Mountain has become Hyperspace Mountain complete with Rebel Wing Fighters and the Tomorrowland Theater is showing Path of the Jedi, a 10 minute 4-D compilation of the entire film series. Kids ages 4-12 can register to be a part of the new Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple show. There are normally six showings each day and the spots are filled on a first come, first served basis, so you’ll want to get there early. The Star Wars Launch Bay has actual props and costumes from the films, and you can meet Chewbacca and Darth Vader. Special merchandise and food options are available. It’s unclear how long Season of the Force will be available, but we have been told at least through Spring 2016.

HyperspaceMountain

Along these lines, Disneyland is beginning construction on the new Star Wars Land that was recently announced. To make way for this 14-acre expansion, some attractions, like the Disneyland Railroad, Fantasmic, and Tom Sawyer’s Island will close indefinitely. Also closing, but this one is permanent, is Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular at the Hyperion Theater. Its final performance will be on January 10, 2016 to make way for an all-new musical coming this summer.

Summer

Summer is always a fun time at Disneyland! With extended hours, there is so much more time to see and do everything. In addition to being the last few months of the Diamond Celebration, a new Frozen Musical is coming to Disney California Adventure Park in the Hyperion Theatre. This will replace Aladdin, and we’ve been told that it will also replace the current Frozen Celebration Sing-a-Long that is held in the Royal Theater, formerly the Muppet-Vision Theater. There’s no word on what will replace the Royal Theater, but we’re sure it will be fantastic. And I just have to say, summer nights are even better at Disneyland. Try to make sure that you are in Cars Land when dusk hits at least one of the nights of your vacation. There is an informal neon lighting ceremony each night set to music. You may want to consider dining packages for World of Color – Celebrate! and the Paint the Night Parade. Make sure you make time to experience the Tim Burton inspired Diamond Mad T Party and the Disneyland Forever fireworks as well.

WOC

Fall

Halloween Time is one of the most festive and popular times of year to visit Disneyland. Halloween Time officially begins mid-September and continues through Halloween. If you want to beat the crowds, September is a great time to go to still get the Halloween experience. Or, if you don’t want the kids to miss school, make your plans over their fall break. Halloween Time includes the annual Main Street U.S.A. Pumpkin Festival, Haunted Mansion Holiday, extra spooky overlays to the Tower of Terror, costumed characters and so much more. Mickey’s Halloween Party takes place on select nights during Halloween Time. This is a private event that requires a separate ticket. On party nights, Disneyland closes a little early to regular guests and is only open for party guests who get access to most attractions, trick-or-treating, a special Halloween parade, fireworks, and other fun treats.

HolidayHauntedMansion

Winter

The holiday season kicks off in mid-November and continues through early January. The holidays bring festive overlays to classic attractions like “it’s a small world” holiday, the Jingle Cruise, and other fun surprises. A Christmas Fantasy Parade and the Believe in Holiday Magic fireworks are guaranteed to get you in the Christmas spirit. Plus, the entire Disneyland Resort is completely decked out for the season.

HolidayCars

Also, although it’s not Disneyland related, it is definitely worth mentioning that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will open at Universal Studios Hollywood on April 7, 2016. The new land will include incredible rides, shops, entertainment, and of course, Butterbeer. If you are a Harry Potter fan, you’ll definitely want to make it part of your Disneyland vacation.

HogwartsStudioTour

Here are some dates to keep in mind when planning your 2016 Disneyland vacation including school breaks:

  • February 15, Presidents Day
  • March 27, Easter
  • April 7, Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens at Universal Studios Hollywood
  • May 4, Unofficial Star Wars Day (May the Fourth Be With You)
  • Season of the Force – limited time experiences
  • May 30, Memorial Day
  • September 5, Labor Day and Final Day of the Diamond Celebration

If you would like help planning your Disneyland vacation, our agents at Get Away Today would LOVE to help! They’ve toured all of the area hotels and visit the parks at least once a year so that they can pass on their expert advice. Give them a call at 855-GET-AWAY or check out our Disneyland packages at getawaytoday.com. Be sure to mention promo code: CraftingChicks when booking online or over the phone and you’ll save an extra $10 off your package.

Once you have your Disneyland vacation plans, make the countdown even better with our free Star Wars vacation countdown printables featuring your favorite Star Wars characters. Everyone in your family can have their own and choose from Han Solo, Darth Vader, Chewbacca and R2-D2, Yoda, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker.  Download your favorite one here, and May the Force Be With You!

StarWarsPrint2


DisneyStore.com

And for more Disneyland fun and entertainment check out:

FREE Disneyland Countdown Template

disneyland countdown crafting chicks 3

Disney Vacation Ideas and Printables

Disney vacation ideas and printables! Countdown, luggage tags, games, incentives for kids, t-shirt designs, autograph books, and so much more!

and

Dole Whip Recipe

How to Make Dole Whip

This post contains affiliate links. Please read disclosure policy for more information.

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Disney vacation ideas and printables! Countdown, luggage tags, games, incentives for kids, t-shirt designs, autograph books, and so much more!

Disney is such a fun family vacation destination!  We absolutely love the memories that we make when we are there.  Sometimes planning a vacation can be overwhelming.  We’ve rounded up some of our favorite Disney vacation must haves.  We’ve got it all, countdowns, autograph books, incentives for kids, stroller printables, games for waiting in long lines, luggage tags, and more!  Enjoy!

Disney Vacation Ideas and Printables

Disneyland Countdown Printable from The Crafting Chicks

disney countdown

Disney Countdown Printable from All for the Memories

disney countdown

Disney Vacation Incentives for Kids from The Crafting Chicks

disney incentives for kids

Disney Autograph Book from The Cards We Drew

disney autograph book

How to make Disney Luggage Tags from Disney Cruise Mom Blog

luggage tags

Disneyland Fun Book Free Printable from The Craft Patch

disney activity book

Disneyland Journal from Eighteen25

disney journal

15 Things to Buy Before Your Trip to Disneyland from Mother’s Niche

things to buy before your trip to disneyland

50 Photos to take on your Disney Vacation from Simple As That

photos to take on your disney vacation

DIY Disney Stroller Tag Template from 2 Paws Designs

stroller tag printable

DIY Disney Shirts from Two Oh Two Seven

disney tshirt design

Disney Travel Game from Get Away Today

disney game

Hidden Mickey Tracker from Yellow Bliss Road

hidden mickey printable

Disney Vacation Packing List from 123 Homeschool 4 Me

disney packing list

Jedi Training Academy Sign from Follow That Mouse

jedi training printable

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michaels makers 2 mm 6

We have loved being apart of the Michaels’ Makers team for the past few years.  It’s so great to be apart of the Michael’s “MAKERS” movement.  I love being inspired to create…and that is Michael’s goal…to inpire ALL to create.

We look forward to another great year sharing tutorials and ideas with you…our readers!   We love the Michaels’ challenges and can’t wait to see what they have in store this year.  We would love you to follow along and join us in creating.  You can follow along with the hashtag #michaelsmakers.  We would absolutely love to see what you create.
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In July, I was able to attend the Michaels’ Makers Summit in the beautiful Sonoma, California.  While there, I was able to meet the Michaels’ Makers Team (a group of 50 inspiring and creative women), learn about Michaels’ Vision, and create some amazing projects with fabulous instructors from Creativebug (hundreds of craft classes online!).  It was awe-inspiring to be surrounded by so much beauty in one place.  The perfect place to get those “creative juices” flowing.

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There were beautiful flowers everywhere and fresh fruit and veggies at our fingertips.  I saw limes growing bigger than grapefruit!

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The garden party was gorgeous…and we made pretty flower crowns.

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I’m excited to share with you the craft classes I was able to attend with Creativebug.  We are excited to share that our readers will be able to access these four classes for free through August 22nd.  You will love them.  Amazing teachers…and craft classes…right from your computer or tablet.  I’m sharing 4 of the classes with you today.

Frame Weaving with Annabel Wrigley

In this class we learned how to weave on looms – and make Yarn Wall hangings.  I have another fun idea to make with this loom…and can’t wait to share soon.  I found this so relaxing.  I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy weaving.  Annabel was such a great teacher.  She teaches sewing classes to kids all over, and has written books on sewing and weaving.

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Watercolor with Yao Cheng

I loved getting to know Yao Cheng.  If you have ever wanted to try Watercoloring, you will love to take Yao Chengs beginning class.  I fell in love with watercolor and can’t wait to do more!  I love her style.  You have to give it a go!  If I can do it…you can do it!
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Tissue Paper Flowers with The Green Vase

Livia Cetti taught us the art of tissue paper flowers.  I was amazed at how real her paper peonies look.  So beautiful.  She has made thousands for events and weddings.  From the stem…to the petals, you can learn how to make these gorgeous flowers too.  They take a lot of patience, but are so worth it in the end.

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Image Transfer with Courtney Cerruti

I loved Courtney!  Her passion for art and creating in contagious.  I loved how simple, yet beautiful image transferring can be.  You will love the different techniques she teaches in her class.

mm image transfrer

You will love Creativebug and we hope you will take advantage of the free classes this month!

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Camping Activities and Printables - So many summer activities for the kids!  Love these!

To kick off our Camping Themed Week, we’ve got a great round up for you!  Printables, activities, games and more!

Camping

Natural Paintbrushes from Learn Create Love

Camping Activities and Printables - So many summer activities for the kids!  Love these!

Camping Themed Story Stones from Playdough to Plato

Camping Activities and Printables - So many summer activities for the kids!  Love these!

Dramatic Play from Pre K-Pages

Camping Activities and Printables - So many summer activities for the kids!  Love these!

Pinecone Owls from Crafts By Amanda

Camping Activities and Printables - So many summer activities for the kids!  Love these!

DIY Solar Oven from I Can Teach My Child

Camping Activities and Printables - So many summer activities for the kids!  Love these!

Walking Sticks from The Crafting Chicks

Camping Activities and Printables - So many summer activities for the kids!  Love these!

Glow in the Dark Jars from A Girl and A Glue Gun

Camping Activities and Printables - So many summer activities for the kids!  Love these!

Tabletop S’mores from The Crafting Chicks

Camping Activities and Printables - So many summer activities for the kids!  Love these!

Camping Scavenger Hunt from The Creative Homemakers

Camping Activities and Printables - So many summer activities for the kids!  Love these!

Leaf Rubbing Collages from Mama Papa Bubba

Camping Activities and Printables - So many summer activities for the kids!  Love these!

Silly Stories from Classy Clutter

Camping Activities and Printables - So many summer activities for the kids!  Love these!

Camping Preschool Unit from A Teaching Mommy

Camping Activities and Printables - So many summer activities for the kids!  Love these!

Camping Pack from Homeschool Creations

Camping Activities and Printables - So many summer activities for the kids!  Love these!

Don’t miss the rest of our Mother Hen’s Summer Survival Guides!  Please join us for this summer of fun & learning!  We will give you all of the ideas, supply lists, book ideas and more to make this a smooth summer program to enjoy at home.  Sign up for our newsletter HERE.  Each Friday we will be sending links to the weekly theme and posts so that you can get started!

Mondays: We will be sharing the best learning ideas, crafts and more from our favorite sites that tie into our weekly theme.

Tuesday:  We will be sharing the best Children’s Books!  And a literature activity that coincides with both the Chicks’ Pick book and weekly theme.

Wednesday, Thursday & Friday:  We will be sharing posts from our favorite bloggers!  They have the best ideas and are excited to be a part of this series!  All of these posts will tie into the theme:)

Fridays: Make sure you join each Friday to see what activities, supplies & other things you will need to plan your themed week at home.  We also will be having really cool giveaways each and every Friday of this series.


DIY Sunglasses and Accessories Bag – personalized pre-made (or you can sew your own) muslin bag with fun bright paint colors.  It’s the perfect bag to store your sunglasses and girly accessories.

DIY Sunglasses and Accessories Bag - great for on the go or in the car

Hello there!  It’s Katie from The Casual Craflete blog.  I am excited to share how to make your own DIY Sunglasses and Accessories bag.  These bags are super fun and easy to make.  I have a tendency to throw my sunglasses in my purse or in the car and they always end up getting scratched.  The worst is whenever you put your sunglasses on and there’s a big ol scratch right in the middle of your vision.  Also, my accessories are always at the bottom of my purse and I can never find what I am looking for.  So, I made a cute solution to my problems using a pre-made muslin bag, fun paint colors, paint brushes and Q-tips.  These DIY sunglasses and accessories bags are the perfect bag to keep in the car or in your purse.

Use supplies around the house to make a fun bag for your sunglasses and accessories

Here are the supplies I used:

  • Pre-made 3 x 5 muslin bags (I buy mine here) or you can sew your own
  • Scrap cardstock
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Q-tips

Here is how I made the bags:

Personalize a small bag with fun pops of color - perfect for storing your sunglasses and girly accessories

 First, I started by placing a piece of scrap cardstock inside the bag.  The paint will bleed through and you want to make sure to protect the other side of the bag when painting.  Next, I made a cross design and an arrow design using fun acrylic paints and a paint brush.  I just free-handed the designs.  These bags are supposed to look hand painted and fun, so perfection is not required.  HAVE FUN!

Add a painted confetti look to a muslin bag using paint and Q-tips

Another technique I wanted to show you, is what a call confetti.  You simply dab Q-tips into the paints, then dab the bag where you want.  This is a fun and random way to make the bag look like it is covered in confetti.

DIY hand painted sunglasses and accessories bags

Here is the final look of the bags.  I choose some bright summery colors, but you can use whatever colors you like or have on hand.  I think they turned out super cute!

DIY Hand Painted Sunglasses and Accessories Bag

 Put your girly accessories in the bags to keep from getting lost in your purse and car.

DIY Sunglasses Pouch

Now your favorite pair of sunnies will be protected with a super cute bag.  I painted a geometric wood bead and tied it to the strings on the bag.  This just added another fun pop of color and texture to the already adorable bag.

I hope I have inspired you to create your own DIY Sunglasses and Accessories Bag!  Have fun this summer!!!

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DIY-Paper-Camera-for-kids As many of you know we are honored to work with Michaels as part of the Michaels Makers. Michaels is offering a kids’ summer crafting program, Passport to Imagination, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 am – noon from June 14-July 31 at every Michaels location across the U.S.  Passport to Imagination takes kids on an imaginary seven-week summer road trip from the beach to main street and more! We were excited to join in celebrating Main Street Week. micheals-passport-to-imagination

Main Street USA reminds me of fun street shops and great photo opportunities with family.  My girls are always wanting to take pictures and would love to have a camera of their own.  I decided to make DIY Paper Cameras with them and we even added some pictures that they could stick inside so it feels like they are taking real pictures.

 

To start you will need to download a Paper Camera Template.

paper-camer-print-outs

I found this template online but could never find a source. I pulled it into Photoshop and enlarged and added a few touches that I wanted, like the picture window and top button.  My girls couldn’t wait to get their hand on these.

Download

And Pictures for your Paper Camera. These are some stock images that reminded me of fun places around the world. You could also use family or neighborhood photos.  The size is 3×2 if you would like to make your own pictures.

Download

Once the you have downloaded, print each paper on a nice heavy card stock. I like using Image Plus card stock for color printing at home.

coloring-paper-camera

Hand the DIY Paper Camera over to your kids to color and you can cut out the pictures.

cutting-paper-camera

Once the camera’s are colored, have the kids cut them out.  Have them cut along the thick black outside lines.

folding-camera

folding-paper-camera The gray lines on the sides are fold marks. Depending on the children’s ages you may have to help fold a little more. my 6-year-old did a pretty good job, but the 4-year-old needed help.

strap-for-paper-camera

My girls all wanted a camera strap, “like mom’s,” so I got my trusty hole punch and made the necessary holes in each side.

camera-strap-on-paper-camera Slid a piece of baker’s twine in through the holes and tied a knot and made sure the knot stayed inside the camera body.

 

making-paper-camera

Now comes the fun part, putting the camera together.  Now I remind you that I found this template online with no credit, just an uploaded image that went nowhere.  Well, there were no instructions on how to put them together, but I did my best. And I think each camera went together differently.  You may have to fold and use an exacto knife on some parts or cut and fold the extra long sides a bit.  I will tell you that my favorite way to secure it ended up being scrapbook adhesive mounting squares which you can snag at Michaels. They held everyone together the best and were easy to use.

finished-paper-camera

To add the pictures to the back, we just used some washi tape.  I know seems really simple. But it hold the pictures in place for the 5 seconds that my girls want the pictures on, and makes swapping pics really easy.

pictures-for-paper-camera

You could probably put some velcro on the back and do it that way but we liked the ease, and look, of the washi tape.

kids-paper-camera

Now let them at it.

taking-pictures-with-paper-camera Watch the creativity blossom as your kiddos take picture after picture.  We went on a walk and I loved to hear their snaps and clicks.

playing-with-paper-cameras

pictures-with-paper-camera

kids-cameras

paper-cameras-on-girls

Aren’t their camera’s so cute? I love how each one captures the personality of it’s owner. My oldest, all grown up and wants a camera like mom’s. Middle daughter still loves pink. And my baby is so colorful and full of life.

I also love how their outfits fit their personalities too.  Each outfit is from Gymboree  which offers cute, coordinate looks that help your little ones enjoy the little and big moments this summer—from craft time to beach time. 

I also love that Gymboree has proudly watched kids learn and grow through the power of play and has seen firsthand the desire from Mom for cute, comfortable, long-lasting, coordinated style at an everyday great price.

#CraftInStyle Instagram Weekly Sweepstakes

We’re hosting a 7-week weekly Instagram sweepstakes, encouraging Mom to share a photo of her family getting crafty and inspired by each week’s summer destination. The weekly winner will receive a $100 Gymboree gift card, a $100 Michaels gift card and craft supplies!

All you have to do is:

  • Follow @Gymboreeand @MichaelsStores on Instagram
  • Post a picture of how your family crafts in style
  • Tag your photo with #CraftInStyleSweeps
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Disclaimer: Whispering Oaks Lodging traded part of our stay in exchange for this post. All feelings on reunions and opinions of the cabin are mine.

familyreunion

I love family reunions! I grew up on family reunions and have learned that not every family will reunion the same. Family reunions can be as simple as an afternoon of eating (always eating!) and catching up in a park, a week long reunion of camping at the lake, a themed reunion full of activities and games, or a few days with everyone together under the same roof. The size of the family and the proximity of family members have a big role in how you reunion. But it doesn’t matter how you reunion, it just matters that you do! Here are 4 tips to planning the best family reunion ever.

familyreuniondestination

This year we were in charge of my husband’s reunion. With family spread between 4 states, we chose a new location and headed to Moab, UT. We chose Moab because it was between the Idaho and the Arizona family, and is full of things to see and explore. The best part of a destination reunion is that seeing the sites is the reunion. I didn’t spend any time preparing games or activities because Moab is full of hiking and biking trails. With 2 national parks and a ton of red rock to explore there was more to do than we had time for.

location

1. Location

Depending on how big your family is, and how close to each other you may decide to reunite away from the homestead. When looking for a location, I recommend picking a family favorite or trying something new. The tradition of going to the same place each year gives you something to look forward to and let’s you really get to know a location. Picking a new-to-you place adds a fun vacation element to your family reunion.

mancave

lodging

2. Lodging

If you’ll be spending a few days together, finding a place where you can all be together is important. Depending on your budget your lodging could vary from camp ground to rental house. If staying in a rental house, I would recommend finding one large enough that every individual family can have their own space. Family togetherness can quickly become too much if you are on top of each other with no place to retreat.

With our family spread out, the reunion is the only time we see some family members for the entire year. Staying under the same roof let’s the adults talk and catch up late at night after the kids have gone to sleep.

upstairs

gaming

The best rentals we have found have activities already there. A pool table, hot tub, and even story books for younger kids help keep cousins interacting without a rigid itinerary. The last thing you want at a family reunion is complaints of bored kids!

grandma

morning-grace

Photo Credit Whispering Oaks Lodging

We stayed at Whispering Oaks Lodging, in the mountains above Moab. The Cedar Bend Lodge was perfect for our family. It was originally built to be a bed and breakfast, so each bedroom had an attached bathroom. When you aren’t used to spending 3 days together, having a space to retreat to for a few minutes helps keep everyone happy. And helps with bedtimes and nap times for little ones.

cedar-bend-breakfast-bar

Photo Credit Whispering Oaks Lodging

It also had a big kitchen, 2 refrigerators, and a huge dining table which made meal time a breeze. Two fridges may not seem like a big deal, but when you are packing food for 24 people for 3 days fridge space is in high demand! Whispering Oaks also has smaller cabins on the property, which would be great for a really big reunion.

 

planearly

3. Plan Early

Don’t wait to plan! The sooner you can secure a date and place the wider your selection will be, and the sooner family members can put it on the calendar to make sure they can be there. We chose to hold our reunion over Memorial Day Weekend so letting family members know 9 months in advance let them keep that weekend free.

 

hottubfun

4. Have Fun

Remember things don’t always go as planned. The weather doesn’t always cooperate, and activities may take longer than planned but don’t let little hiccups ruin your reunion. You are probably the only person with expectations of how it is supposed to go – so let it go and have fun!

petroglyphs

 

Some of our favorite reunion activities are our Larry Loot Auction and the video contest. And matching reunion shirts. Let’s not forget those reunion t-shirt!

For the Larry Loot Auction everyone brings a few items to auction off using “Larry Loot” which is just play money with my father-in-law’s (his name is Larry) pictures on it.

The video contest was new this year, but provided a way to keep tech savvy teens involved. The rules were to make a video using photos and video clips from the weekend. Not only were they fun to watch, but everyone took home a little souvenir to remember this year’s reunion by. My kids my or may not watch them on repeat.

Do you have any other tips for how to plan a family reunion?

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Summer is almost here!  Vacations, road trips, plane rides… always a good time!  To help your vacation go smoothly this year, we’re giving you 10 Tips for Traveling with Kids.  We’ve got printables, games, activities and so much more!

For more ideas, come over to our Road Trip Pinterest board.

10 tips for traveling with kids - printables, games, activities - this has it all!

Travel Activities for Kids

Pocket Sized Fishing Set from Doodlecraft

Traveling with kids - printables, games, activities - this has it all!

Kids Size Travel Pillow with Carrying Case and Pocket from It’s Always Autumn

Traveling with kids - printables, games, activities - this has it all!

Lego Travel Case from The Pleasantest Thing

Traveling with kids - printables, games, activities - this has it all!

Ticket Time from Grays Harbor Deals

Traveling with kids - printables, games, activities - this has it all!

Road Trip Travel Trays from Somewhat Simple

Road trips with kids - printables, games, activities - this has it all!

Traveling with kids - games, activities - this has it all!

Travel Printables for Kids

Road Trip Scavenger Hunt from Mom’s Minivan

Traveling with kids - printables, games, activities - this has it all!

Road Trip Activity Pack from Playdough to Plato

Traveling with kids - printables, games, activities - this has it all!

Read and Write on the Road Printable from Small Types

Road trips with kids - printables, games, activities - this has it all!

Slug Bug Printable from Prepared NOT Scared

Road trips with kids - printables, games, activities - this has it all!

License Plate I Spy from 3 Boys and a Dog

Road trips with kids - printables, games, activities - this has it all!

Traveling with kids - printables, games, activities - this has it all!

Don’t forget these travel tips:

5 Carry-On Must Haves from The Crafting Chicks

5 Carry on Must Haves

10 Tips for Traveling on a Budget from Tastefully Frugal

10 tips for traveling on a budget

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Disclaimer:  Royal Caribbean and Southwest Airlines were sponsors of the Click Retreat and cruise, and Del Sol provided my ticket  for this adventure.  All opinions are my own Cruise-Tips-and-Tricks

This past January I had the opportunity to attend CLICK Retreat, A bloggers retreat focusing on photography and building your skills. Now this wasn’t any old retreat or blogging conference.  It was held on the the World’s Largest Cruise Ship, The Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas.  The ship was amazing! The Conference was amazing!

I did learn a new trick or two when it comes to cruising that I wanted to pass along to you. So here are my top Cruise Tips and Tricks to help you either save money or make your money go farther.

Research your Ship

The Oasis of the Seas was an amazing and very large ship.  I’ve cruised before and never had problem with my sense of direction.  On this ship,however, I could never get my bearings.  They had amazing resources to help you find where you were, like large touch screen-tv’s near every elevator so you can find a place to eat or to show you your location.  And also large models of the ship to help you too. Of course, I had my trusty roommates, Amy from Super Healthy Kids, and Stacy from Kid Stuff World, who made sure I was going the right direction. They had a better sense of where things where. 😉

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Research Port Excursions in Advance

Make sure you plan your excursions in advance.  There is nothing worse then walking off the ship and not knowing what to do.  You don’t have to plan the excursions on the ship or do any excursions at all if you want.  But just make a plan before hand.  On my last cruise to Alaska, we missed out on a few things because we were too slow in planning.  You don’t want to miss out believe me.

We were lucky to have Royal Caribbean offer the CLICK Retreat attendees some amazing excursions. You could attend these excursions if you wanted, or find something else you’d like to do. I opted to stay with the group and see the amazing places Royal Caribbean had set up for us.

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Take Advantage of On-Board Activities

Cruise ships have a little of something for everyone.  Research before you go and see what there is.  You will also get the daily schedule showing what is happening on the ship that day.  From Karaoke to games, there’s bound to be something to for everyone. Have fun and join in.

We were lucky enough to have Sabra sponsor some yoga classes for us.  I’ll let you guess how hard yoga can be on a swaying cruise ship. But it was tons of fun.

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There are also a lot of quiet places where you can relax if you aren’t into all the socializing.  If you make yourself acquainted with your ship earlier on, you’ll be able to find these great spots to return to often.

Eating on the Ship

So cruise ship food is suppose to be top notch.  Eat as much as you can in the main dinning room is my best advice.  Breakfast and lunch are served here, not just dinner.  If something doesn’t taste like you wished, order something else.  They are always happy to give you what you want.  If you have food restrictions make sure you let your server know from the start.  Stacy was waited on hand and foot by the awesome staff because of her gluten allergy.  They brought her all sorts of specialties because she let them know and was so sweet to them.

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Don’t be afraid of spending a little money on the specialty dinning as well.  For a cover charge you can get a most exclusive environment to eat in.  We were treated to a couple specialty restaurants and the food was amazing. I would rather skip the beverage package and eat at one of these dinning areas instead.

Don’t fall in the Souvenir Trap

Yes, this is a real thing.  You want to take something back to your family and friends and so you buy them some magnet or spoon because it shows where you’ve been.  If that’s your thing, great, but I was so tired of looking at the same thing in every store and it all seemed like junk that would be tossed out in no time.

That is until we walked into the Del Sol store.  This place was a goldmine.  I knew right off my girls would LOVE it.  Everything changes color in the sun. There are Disney and Marvel superhero shirts, nail polish, frisbees and the list goes on.  I got a shirt for each girl and some finger nail polish.  I really love the polish myself.

Cruise-Del-Sol

Since Del Sol was one of my favorite stops on the cruise I’ve partnered with them to give you, our readers, and exclusive coupon code to save 25% off a purchase.  Just use code CRAFTINGCHICKS to receive the discount. (Expiration Date: 9/30/15, 1 use per customer.)

Cruise-Del-Sol-Coupon

I hope that I’ve given you some great Cruise Tips and Tricks. Do you love cruising as much as I do?  Tell me your thoughts.

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