With amazing tips from a few of my readers, I gathered up enough inspiration to create a pretty neat activity system for my mom and Marlowe while we were away. Tucked away in the back work room, I had a handful of brown bags (one for each day we were gone), pinned closed, all lined up in a row, waiting to be opened. I told my mom to kinda of play it out and see when Marlowe seemed the most needy or sad (she usually misses us most at night for sleepovers) and have her open one surprise bag each day at that time. Two were marked for sunshine days (outdoor activities), but most were activities that could be done inside and out, since its been hot hot hot and rains all summer long in south florida. I even had a surprise bag for my mom, since it was her birthday the day after we left. A hand painted gift from Marlowe along with a list of instructions, to grab a bag, take Marlowe to Auntie Nicole’s, and rush over to the spa for a whole planned, scheduled, and paid for spa day courtesy of me, the step pops, and everyone else involved. I’ve got to say, between getting together all the details of our courthouse wedding (dress altered, self beautified, and whatever else), packing and planning a honey moon, getting the house in order for Marlowe and my mom, and just all the last minute details, I was pretty impressed that I was able to pull this all off. Unfortunately, there were no sun days for the two of them, so the beach day didn’t work out and my mom never opened the safari bag for the zoo day, but otherwise: it was a big success. Other than the movies, I spent almost nothing getting everything together. Many of the things were items we already had in the house anyway, so I just pulled them all together and made activities. I drew a calendar on the wall to count down the days, wrapped up a Minnie Mouse Look & Find book (think Where’s Waldo, but with Minnie and for toddlers—- she is OBSESSED) for the first night to keep them entertained each night and voila, the girl was set! 


  1. new here (directed over via apartment therapy): great idea! how old is your daughter? did she "get" that mommy put these together for her?

  2. Right on, Mom! You definitely should be in the running for mom-of-the-year! can someone in MY family please leave for a week and leave ME some goodies??? That would be great. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Such a sweet idea to help everyone involved! I'm sure Marlowe felt super loved!

  4. Such a sweet idea to help everyone involved! I'm sure Marlowe felt super loved!

  5. You're such a thoughtful mum! Love this activity-a-day idea. I shall do that for my.boy or other children in the future. Sounds fun and exciting! 😉

  6. So many great ideas — I just might have to steal a few for Eva now that we are trying to work out a new routine with her baby brother.

  7. This is totally awesome and sweet. I bet she felt super loved while you all were gone.

  8. this is such a neat idea! what a wonderful way to give her surprises while you were gone.

  9. I love this idea! My husband and I are going away for a week next month and my kids would love it!

  10. This is a really great idea, and now I want to make up some grab bags for the days we are bored out of our mind!

  11. This is genius! Great ideas. And speaking of your courthouse wedding (I had one too), you looked gorgeous and I love your dress! Any more pictures to share with us?

  12. I love this idea! Also, Bailey (my 5 year old step daughter) loves those look and find books… she has Minnie and the Princesses (they are also fun for parents 🙂 )

  13. The best activity pack a child can imagine thanks to your creativity and organizational skills. I love the safari idea, would never think of a little preparation in order to explore like real explorers do.

    Thanks for inspirations, Drea. Always! xxx

  14. i have done this every time my husband and i go for a cruise. i find an empty box, go to the dollar store and pick up some treats. wrap them and write a number on each package. the last day…mommy and daddy come home!