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Sophia’s Peter Pan and Pixie Hollow Party

All You Need is Faith and Trust and a Little Bit of Pixie Dust…and your child will have a fabulous birthday party!

Sophia turned 4 and wanted a Peter Pan Party but she wanted to be Silvermist, her favorite Disney Fairy. Thus was born the Peter Pan and Pixie Hollow party.

I like having parties at home because she can invite her whole class and not make anyone feel left out. It’s fine for families to bring siblings and we can all have a relaxing afternoon. It’s also a lot cheaper than paying for a kids venue and all the grown-ups get to have some wine or beer…which is nice.

For the invitations I used leftover sparkling gold paper from our wedding programs and printed them out at home. We added our own pixie dust! This was super simple and basically free!

I always like to have something big and fun for the kids to play in. Last year I built Sophia a Princess Castle but this year we went with a giant pirate ship fit for Hook, Pan and the Fairies! It is built out of 7 cardboard refrigerator boxes using Mr. McGroovy’s plans for a pirate ship ($4.99) and a combination of his box widgets and a lot of machine screws and furring strips to sturdy the ship for 40 little scalawags. His plans are awesome but I will post a how-to so you can see the steps.

The Pirate Ship

You can’t have a pirate ship without a pirate and my neighbor was nice enough to let us borrow his! The blackguard talks and waves his sword. He is awesome! The kids loved using the microphone to talk through the pirate and watch his mouth move! It was hilarious.

Of course, Sophia needed a Pixie Hollow scene fit for Silvermist so I picked up this 8×12 foot mural from Party City for $19.99. Usually I hate to spend money on this kind of stuff but I was beat after the pirate ship and I could not have painted anything like this!

The girls and boys posed for pictures in front of the pirate ship and pixie hollow and I will include those pictures in their thank you cards. Here’s my clan! I love their costumes!

Silvermist posed in front of her ship after the festivities were over.

I got a few pictures of me for a change too!

Miles is a huge fan of the pirate! He looks like he could take him down! Actually, he spent a lot of the time feeding the pirate goldfish.

All of our little people loved playing in the ship too. It will be around for a month or so and we’ll host a neighborhood playdate again so everyone can enjoy it.

We had a search for gold coins in the back yard that was a bug hit as well as a coloring table where the kids could color pictures from Peter Pan that I printed at home. The kids danced and played to the music from Peter Pan, which I downloaded from itunes.

Usually I bake a cake but this year I just picked one up from the grocery store and decorated it with tiny Disney fairies I found at target. She loved it and gets to keep the figures!

Overall the party was a huge success and my little fairy Silvermist was so excited to have all of her friends come to her Pixie Hollow party.

She got to see her grandparents and her cousins and I got to see my mom, which made me so happy!

I was just so excited to give my daughter such a special 4th birthday party. I hope she will never forget it…but just in case, I took almost 300 pictures to remind her.

This is not the best but it’s my favorite…my beautiful firstborn fairy.

Pre-Schoolers Dream of Being Princesses

My Daughter is a Princess. She is loving, kind, impetuous, gentle, funny, creative, wild, sometimes disobedient, sometimes bossy, and incredibly intelligent. No Princess is perfect – and I want her to know that she doesn’t have to be.

Pre-Schoolers Dream of Being Princesses

Sophia will be 4 in September, and I believe she is beautiful. As her mother, I am 100% biased. I also believe that all children are beautiful and more importantly, I believe that they should know this and not doubt for one minute either their inner or outer beauty. At such a young age it seems impossible for a child to worry about her looks, to wonder whether she is beautiful enough to be a princess. It breaks my heart to see Sophia ponder that very question.

My daughter talks about being a princess constantly. She lives in dress up and imaginary lands where everyone around her is cast in a role as a princess, knight, fairy, pirate or mermaid. Usually I am either a good queen or an evil queen and I am happy to play along. However, the last couple of weeks all this princess talk has me in a tizzy. Our fairy tale is in jeopardy.

Sometimes, Sophia is not sure she is beautiful enough to be a princess. It started with her hair. She has never had a lot of hair and it is taking forever to grow. She begged me to let her bangs grow out, convinced that would help her look more like a princess. I agreed. As long as she is not asking to shave her head or dye it purple, it is her hair and if she doesn’t want bangs – so be it. Lately, she has been unhappy with her hair’s growth and more than once I have found her sobbing over the length of her locks. She wakes up in the morning and stares in the mirror, wondering how much it grew while she slept. Even more recently, she was in distress over the light brown color I myself was blessed with and now dye as most would call it mousy brown. I have never said this to her. I think her hair is perfect. She said she can’t be a beautiful princess without long blond hair. She demands to know when it will be long. She compares herself to every girl with long hair. I have told her that being beautiful has nothing to do with the length of your hair but the size of your heart. She is not buying it.

The other day, Sophia asked me if she was fat. She said Princesses are not fat and she wanted to know if she was. I, probably with way too much enthusiasm, said absolutely not. I am not sure I convinced her. As her mother and her best friend, isn’t she supposed to believe me at this age? Shouldn’t she know that when I say she would make a perfect princess I am telling the truth? Little girls who are 4 years old should not worry about being fat…ever.

My little princess also spends time obsessing about clothing and whether or not each piece that she is wearing is beautiful. I get frustrated, telling her that it is not our clothes that make us beautiful. I say it is nice to have lovely things, but that what you wear is not as important as how you act. She says she knows, but don’t I know that sparkly dresses are prettier than jean shorts? Seriously? I am totally stuck here.

Usually she thinks she is beautiful and dances around the house singing about gardens and fairies and pixie dust. It is precious sight! In the moments when she is unsure of herself I fear I will lose it. I wonder if I have made a mistake somewhere along the line.

Why does she worry?

I am sure that the Barbies everyone gives her on every occasion for presents do not help. I bet the princess movies and books she devours are part of the problem too. Everything she sees is long, blond and very skinny! She loves these stories and usually these gorgeous royals have a big heart and are doing good. I do think Sophia is getting the lessons along with the small beauty complex. I also do not want to take something away that she loves so much – this fairy tale land.

Is part of this just being a girl?

I know I struggled with body image, and still do. My parents never gave me reason to worry, always telling me I was special and pretty and wonderful. Still, while I do not remember being self-conscious as a small child, I know I was weighing myself before junior high school. I am sure my own mother was worried too. To this day she tells me I am beautiful, and sometimes I struggle to believe her. My husband tells me too, and I love him for it. I would by lying if I said that my outer appearance is not important to me. I just don’t want is to preoccupy me or take any joy from my life.

More importantly now, I don’t want it to take any precious moments away from my daughter’s own childhood.

What can we as parents do to make our little girls proud of who they are and how they look? There is no way to keep pop culture completely out of their lives and I believe it would be unrealistic to do so considering they will grow up and be assaulted with it as we are. So where do we go from here?

I want her to know….

Your heart and soul are the most important things. Love and kindness trump looks any day of the week.

You can be beautiful with long hair or short hair or no hair at all.

Clothes do not make the woman. We are lucky to have beautiful things – but not everybody can dress in sparkles and dresses and they are princesses too.

Our bodies are a gift and we must treat them with respect and care, but we are all made differently. Big or small – short or tall – we are all beautiful and we are all major Princess material!

That life is to be lived and enjoyed. The more she lives and loves and plays the happier she will be. Let your crown fall off and your short hair blow in the wind and know – my sweet daughter – that you are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and I will think so no matter what – forever and ever – to infinity and beyond.

Even if you are covered in chalk and in a sweatshirt. You may not know it – but we can see your beauty no matter what you wear.

Do you have any advice? Do your little girls already worry about their looks? Am I silly to be worried? I hope I am not alone and I hope that we can all work together to let girls know they are all beautiful. And so are we.

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Teach Kids to Love Writing with a Noticing Book


How well do you remember your childhood? Before I get to teaching the love of writing with the Noticing Book, I wanted to just say how much I wish I still had the writing of my youth.

Do you ever wish you had more to look back on, something to hold and smell, a diary that was just a little more? I know I do. I mean I have a strange (maybe normal?) need to look backwards at myself as a kid and wonder if I am doing things as right as my mom did with me. I have old school notebooks and pictures and folders and even a scrapbook or two, but I never actively created memory books for myself. I want to make sure my kids have something as they grow up and that I have something both to record my thoughts and days as well as express my creativity and jump start my writing.

But how to do this and make it fun and easy? I don’t have hours for scrapbooking and neither do my kids. We all want to remember our thoughts, our experiences and our great ideas. Who knows what could come of this?

Inspiration Comes from a School Email

I now find myself immensely grateful for an email from my daughter’s school. Usually I click open my calendar when I get these, ready to add another event and wonder how I am going to be two places at one. This time my brain went on overdrive! This email about The Noticing Book coupled with a book I am loving called The Raw Art Journal could really change the way my family lives, thinks, writes and remembers.

I’m sure there are thousands of people who do this, but this summer we are noticing, writing, remembering and making it all look a bit artsy when we feel it.

The Power of a Noticing Book

I believe there is power in writing. They say writing something down helps you remember. They also say that a picture is worth a thousand words. The combination of writing and images is a beautiful thing. I believe that the younger you start and the more you write, the more natural it will be and the better you will become. Writing is both a natural gift and a developed skill, so we must nourish this part of our creative selves.

Just think how many times you forget your amazing idea or you wish you had recorded something. For my kids, they are constantly recounting their thoughts and ideas and it is wonderful to have a place to put them down. It helps build their confidence in writing, reading and even speaking as they can read their writing out loud as they show their pictures or items.

What is a Noticing Book Exactly?

A primary component of the Writers Workshop, and really life in general, is the belief that writers are always noticing what’s happening in the world, that which they see, hear, or smell, experiences they have, their ideas or thoughts or dreams. Writers plant these “seeds” in their noticing book with intention and the hope or promise that one day they can turn that idea into a bigger piece of writing. It’s one of the best ways to avoid “writers’ block” and a great antidote to the “I don’t have anything to write about!” refrain.

I absolutely love the definition of the noticing book from our school.

Noticing Book: (noun) 1. a simple notebook in which students of all ages can “take note” of most anything happening around them, for the purpose of being actively engaged participants in life and for planting the “seeds” that, as writers, might later be grown into a story, poem, or published piece. 2. A long-held tradition that began when the school began; an authentic way for students to document their summer days so that upon return to school they are literally bursting at the seams with ideas to share as a community of readers and writers.

It doesn’t have to stop with the end of summer days and if you replace school with family or friends then we are creating a community of readers and writers and artists.

How to Make a Noticing Book

It’s so easy and fun. You can go as simple or as detailed and artsy as you like.

What I will tell you is this. For a long time I had a dozen different books and / or planners for a dozen different things. It just doesn’t work. When you are organizing your organizing you get overwhelmed. With that in mind, consider the types of things you might put in this book and have just one place for your child to put all their noticing creativity. For me (a grownup) I still have my main family organizer and calendar where I also include notes to myself and little ideas. But now I am going to add a noticing book where I can let all those creative juices flow!

1. Simple Pictures and Writing

If it is simple pictures and writing, for a child I would recommend a composition book. For the youngest noticers I absolutely adore the Mead Primary Journal. You will find it online but it is about 2 bucks at Target or Walmart. It is meant for kids in K-2 but I think it is awesome for ages 4-8 or any kids who benefit from the wide ruled lines with the dots and a place to draw a picture up top. I also love that the page in front gives all the capital and lowercase letters as well as a pencil grip diagram. Sophia (my 6 years old) decorated hers at the beginning of the year and it is still going strong. She drew the picture on this page quickly as she has a lot to say about her visit to the Pyramids in Mexico.

This book works fine for taping ticket stubs or other flat items but if you have a real collector, keep reading.

Early Writer Noticing Book

2. The Noticing Book of a Gatherer, Collector or Mixed Media Artist

If you or your child loves to experiment with ideas and add cardstock or paint or collects leaves or you just know that what they will want to put in the book is thick, I am going to recommend a binder. It can have pages for writing, pages with combined pictures and writing, blank pages as well as thick cardstock pages or scrapbook paper for their creations. Of course, you could keep a scrapbook but more often than not it is hard to keep up with these. What I like about a binder is that for kids the creations can easily be put in a scrapbook later but they can also have all their writing and ideas in the same place. Binders are also expandable and easy to add or take away from. Scrapbooks are just a little harder to manage and we really are focusing more on the writing and remembering here.

Sophia will be using a binder this year with a spiral notebook she takes to school for regular writing. The pages rip out cleanly and have holes. While she wanted to buy a very expensive adult journal, the lines were not right and she needs space for pictures. I love the idea of using a binder you can slip a cover in, but she chose a glitter binder. I love that with a binder we can also add the special writing she brings home from school. We will have a LARGE one at home and a small one she can easily tuck into her backpack for school or take on our vacations. A noticing book is an amazing thing to have when you travel!

We are making our binder this week and I will share it with you as soon as it is finished!

3. For the Teenagers or Grownups

I still think a binder works really well if you will be adding art or want flexibility. However, you could also find or make a beautiful journal you keep with you. This is key. In our hectic lives, it is best to jot things down when we think of them so we can reflect on them when we have more time. You could have a simple journal while you are out and about that transforms into a Raw Art Journal or scrapbook when you return and have the time.

So Now What do We Do with Our Noticing Books?

You use them! Throw a date on the page and write at least one thing. I like starting with the date because for the kids they have put their pencil or pen to paper and that is the first step. If your kids are reticent at first, offer to help them write what they are thinking and let them color a picture. This also works really well for the littlest thinkers. Violet is 3 1/2 and is starting her own book after begging me. At the end of the day, sit down anywhere, even in bed, and record at least one thing. You will be surprised how much can come of just one thought! She puts her stickers and her drawings and I will write the date. You might be surprised how much stuff a 3 year old has to paste into a book!

I’ve decided to start a noticing book page on this site in the hopes of creating a community of people who share ideas and inspiration as we begin to create our noticing books. I will start by posting a list of ideas there that we can add to and expand on. From writing a letter to a teacher or friend or pet to making an acrostic poem out of your name or a word drawn from a word box we will build a list of great ideas so your child can always find a place to start. We need a lot of ideas because we are all moved by different things.

Every Noticing Book is an interpretation of life from one writer’s point of view.

Now let’s get to writing! Please let me know what you do in your home to encourage writing and if you have any new ideas for our noticing book page please email me at brittanyvandy at gmail dot com.

Noticing books are Totally Vandy!

Oh to Have a Spotless, Organized and Not Smelly Fridge!

Confession: I don’t put anything on my fridge. I’m a little non mom here. I’m going to let you know how to clean your refrigerator, or at least how I do it. It had been too long, and really, the summer Popsicle mess needed to be cleaned.

How to Clean Refrigerator

No matter what we choose to do with the outside, the inside of your fridge should be clean! Really, then you are just creating a nicer place for your food and your magnets and knick knacks and menus. And your food will taste better. And it won’t stink. Yay!

Now, I love to look at other people’s refrigerators and I need to display my kids’ masterpieces somewhere, but it will never be there. I hope my kids don’t think I am terrible! Every once in awhile I tape something up but it never lasts for long. Believe me, I’ve got some hot mess spots elsewhere, so do not think my whole house looks this clean.

I just like to look at the outside and imagine the rest of my house is so shiny and clutter free.

The Non Mom Fridge

How to Clean Your Refrigerator


1. Clean Up Spills When they Happen: Don’t let them get sticky. Or you will spend an hour chipping caramel off the floor of your freezer like I did. Pull out your drawers and take a look. Yuck! It’s simple to wipe up spills when they happen and also to wipe off jars before you put them back in. A sticky bottom makes a mess and food on the rims of jars prevents them from closing completely and creates odors in your fridge!

2. Get Rid of the Nasty Old Stuff: The first time you do this, it might take some time, but once you are done if you keep up with it you will never think you have shredded cheese just to find that bag deep in the fridge with mold growing. You may also save some money because you will know what you have if you regularly chuck the old stuff and keep an organized fridge.

3. Clean the Doors: Wipe ’em down weekly with hot water or water and dish soap, but beware of odors in the soap. You can also use a simple baking soda and water mixture to clean your fridge. If your fridge has not been cleaned in awhile, take out all the door shelves and wash them in the sink with the same baking soda and water mixture or any non-scented cleaner. Don’t forget to wipe down the seal and get any crumbs out from it. Make sure to thoroughly dry it and check that it is working when you close the doors. A wet seal may not stick like it should. Check this regularly. Get any jelly or juice or anything sticky off as soon as you see it. If it sticks and rips the seal, you will be out a couple hundred bucks!

4. Clean the Inside Including Shelves, Drawers and Walls: You can turn your power off at the circuit breaker or just go drawer by drawer and area by area like I do. Start at the top ad work your way down so anything you wipe falls to the bottom, which you clean last. Same drill with the hot water and baking soda. For glass shelves be sure to let the them warm up before hitting them with super hot water. Take them out and while you wait, wipe down the inside area where the drawer or shelf was. You may need to let shelves and / or drawers soak awhile to get the nasty out. You may need elbow grease (like when the caramel ice cream melts and makes a home for itself n the bottom of your freezer. Once you have it all clean, this can be done quarterly or whenever it starts to look like it needs a little extra love.

It can help to take all of the food out if you have a lot of purging and organizing to do. However, my sink only fits one thing at a time and I have a fairly big sink, so I choose not to take every drawer and shelf and all the food out at once.

Once you are done stick a backing soda in the fridge and freezer and replace these every three months. It takes care of any odors!

How to Clean Refrigerator

5. Make and Keep that Food Organized: I have a shelf for tall drinks like milk and O.J. Right now we are digging the liquid water flavors so we have very little in terms of other drinks. Except my Diet Coke and my box o’ wine and the nicer bottle of wine. We have a shelf for dairy and spreads and a shelf for snacks like yogurts. We have a shelf for breads and bagels. The bottom shelf is tall enough for long neck beers and that’s where we keep any soda or other individual sized drinks. In the drawers we keep sandwich meat and cheese in one and meat to cook in one. We should be using the drawers at low humidity for veggies and high humidity for fruit but it goes so fast we keep the fruit and veggies in one drawer on the middle humidity setting. In the freezer we just try to keep meals together and veggies together and then we have a whole bacon drawer at the bottom because who wants to run out of bacon? Not us.

6. Regular Maintenance of the Parts: Unplug your fridge and take a few minutes to keep it working well. Almost all refrigerators have a drip pan that is underneath to catch water. You should clean the drip pan every 6 months or so. You can access it from the front or back of your refrigerator, depending on the model. Pull it out, empty it and wash it in warm water. You also want to keep your condenser coils clean. You can use a coil cleaning rush and the vacuum hose to keep these babies working well. Finally, you want to clean out the condenser fan by locating it and cleaning all the debris from between the blades. And of course, if you have a water filter, it should be replaced at east every 6 months.

With any refrigerator, your manual is your best friend. It will point you right to what you need and let you know what is recommended for your unit. If you don’t have it, google it and save it to your computer or in Evernote in a folder called Home Maintenance. Be sure to add your model and serial number to the file so it is easily accessible should you ever need a service call or just to look up a specific problem.

Did you know that more than 70% of refrigerator service calls end up requiring nothing more than resetting a breaker or completing these simple maintenance tasks? Save your hard earned pennies and keep your fridge running cool and super efficient!

Ta Da! Now you have a clean place to store your food and show off your artwork. Now #ThatsVandy!

p.s. cleaning refrigerator shelves makes a great chore for kids. A sponge and some warm water and you have a great little activity for your little ones. I would say 5 and up can rock this task.

I am linking up with Elaine from The MisselaineousLife and Katie of Sluiter Nation for Old School Blogging. People are showing their fridges and the stories behind them. Well, my fridge isn’t exciting but here’s learning something about me. A lot of food grosses me out so I really prefer to have a clean fridge. I am a huge DIY nut and I’m working on a whole home manual. So, when asked to show my fridge, I thought I could show and tell and teach a little, just in case you didn’t know all those tidbits about your fridge. Also, yes that is a box of Target wine in there. And Diet Coke. And we need to go grocery shopping. I’m just not a fan.


So check out the refrigerator madness going on and of course, let me know if you have any questions.

DIY Pretty Practical Platform Bed

DIY Pretty Practical Platform Bed

Sophia’s New Store It Bed

When I realized that Sophia could get out of her crib at 18 months and she had a baby brother coming in a month who would need her sleeping quarters I went looking for a bed. I wanted to find something that would not kill her if she fell out of it. I needed to find something that had some storage possibilities since at that time she was in a room that was basically all dormers and very little “room”. I only hoped I could find a full sized bed that a child could sleep in for a long time! Turns out it is sometimes better to build it and get everything you want!

I found something I liked at Pottery Barn called the Store-It Bed (no longer shown below *wink*). I think I did a good job on re-creating the concept and I got the storage I needed – not the storage that only fits the expensive bins they make. Pottery Barn wants $799 for this bed in a full size. I made this bed for a little under $200 – including the large plastic storage bins!

I know usually I take a bunch of pictures, but I was really pregnant when I built this. I used 3 sheets of hardwood double sanded plywood that was luckily on clearance at Home Depot. Each sheet was $30! Every once a while they have a stack of this clearance stuff and I almost always pick some up to build stuff. I had a friend help me make the big cuts because using a circular saw for ling rips when you are that pregnant is not smart or safe. I used my pneumatic nail gun for all joinery. Overall the planning took the longest at about 5 hours and I will post a link to my plans in case anyone is interested. It was not easy to “fit” all the pieces into only 3 sheets. The bed is in 3 large pieces.

DIY Pretty Practical Platform Bed

Three Piece Full Size Platform Bed

The overall height of the bed is 16″. Since there is no box spring and a standard 5 inch thick mattress Sophia sleeps at under 2 feet of height. The overall size of the bed was planned for a full size with about 3 inches of extra space around the sides and 5 inches at the bottom. I wanted to make sure there was room for little knees to help get up and down. In addition, this will fit a queen mattress with no extra room. Alternatively, I will have space to rest a headboard on if I chose to go that route and build a bookcase headboard and attach it to those extra inches! I planned the storage box sizes underneath to fit these bright pink plastic bins I found at Target and some of Sophia’s larger toys. You can see one of the bins and the doll crib in the picture. Neither of these would have fit in the smaller spaces in the Pottery Barn bed and with the custom bins this $800 bed would have cost almost $1000 at PB – way over my budget! Altogether there are 9 large storage cubes! Thinking ahead and taking the time to plan wil give you the best results when building anything!

I also designed the length of the two top pieces so that if I ever do not want to use this as a bed they will fit perfectly across the wall in my upstairs foyer to be used as benches with some cute cushions. This was a very smart idea since if we don’t use it for Miles and the girls need twin beds in the room we will have a huge seating and storage area in the foyer playroom! Yay! More PB furniture we won’t need to buy!

I essentially planned and built 3 large boxes, trimmed them out with simple 3/4″ trim and then painted them!

F.Y.I. I used a twin size quilt so Sophia would be able to see the bed and be as safe as possible. It works great and it doesn’t bother me to see the bins and her stuff…well not too much anyway! You could easily use a full mattress and a bed skirt and then you would have hidden storage!

Here is one more pic from the bottom of the bed.

DIY Pretty Practical Platform Bed

Happy Building!

Disney Autograph Book Free Printable

Just a few years ago I wrote the most popular post on this site, the DIY Disney Autograph Book. Everyone loved it, but not everyone wanted to make it. That’s understandable. It took a long time. Today, I have the printable autograph book for you to download and take on your magical Disney adventure! I hope you enjoy it as much as we have over the years.

Disney Autograph Book Printable

There are more than 100 characters represented on the pages plus a few pages at the end for extra signatures. I’ve included pages for every kind of character from Disney Classics, Disney Princesses, Disney Villains, Disney Junior and the more recent Disney movies. There are even pages for Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Not every character meets every day. Some are regulars and some are rare. Whether your family just wants to meet the big guys or loves to find the rare character, this book will have you covered.

We started using these books when my kids were just 3, 2 and 12 weeks old. They were awesome in preparing the kids for our trip and for helping them learn who the characters are and get excited when they saw them. Since that first trip almost 7 years ago we have gathered almost 100 character autographs and still have a fairly long list of love to meet characters.

Pluto Meet

This printable is formatted to be printed on letter size paper and will work at this size in any binder. We cut the book down and bind it at Staples (or any office printing store) for the parks. It makes the flipping really easy and fits nicely in a backpack or thrown in the bottom of the stroller. You will notice an open area at the top and bottom of the page when you print. The area at the top is for top binding. We have the books cut to 9 inches long for the trip so the area at the bottom is cut off.

I suggest printing on cardstock so you have a more durable book and the sharpies don’t bleed through to the next page. The Disney characters with fur have trouble with pens and sign with the fat sharpies. We have the books bound with a clear cover and the thickest plastic back. This protects the books. It costs about $10 plus the cost of printing, which I do at home.

Disney Autograph Book Printable

If you choose to make 8×8 scrapbooks from the pages, you will simply cut the remaining space off the pages, which leaves you with a nice edge. The edges of any book can get a little worn in the parks as you can see in the above photo. Here’s a page my almost 4-year-old made in 2010. We still flip through these all the time. The pages are so much fun to make and can be done one at a time, adding stickers and photos.

Printable Disney Autograph Book

My kids absolutely love these books and the characters always get a kick out of them and chat the kids up about their special pages. All the kids in line love looking through these special Disney Autograph books as well. They are a big improvement over the small blank page books they sell at the parks, in my opinion.

Disney Stepsisters Meet

A huge part of the Disney magic is in the characters we know and love. These autograph books just help bring a little extra magic!

Tinkerbell Meet

I should show you at least one of the princesses, right? Even I love to meet them and get my picture with the characters from my childhood.

Snow White Meet

Without further ado, please enjoy this Free Printable Disney Autograph Book.

Please feel free to ask me any questions in the comments. Please share with your friends and fellow Disney lovers! I hope you enjoy this as much as we do. I am planning on making some half letter size books as well.

Heber Valley Makes Everyone Happy

Planning family travel isn’t always easy. Yes, we are related. No, we don’t like all the same things. Yes, we all want to travel. What is one mom to do? Well, families who want to travel together and find a huge range of activities, cuisine and culture throughout the year might just find a winner in Heber Valley, Utah. We all know I love Utah!

I’m excited to partner with Heber Valley because I think I found a place we can all agree on and it turns out my husband has had this valley and a little family skiing on his bucket list for a very long time.

Family Vacation Utah Heber Valley

We all know the Park City area is a winter wonderland, known for its fabulous skiing and other snow activities. I’m looking for a place that can wow year round. Can Heber Valley meet the challenge?

The Family Travel Challenge

Can one place really make everyone happy?

The challenge – find a place that we could go any time of year and find at least one activity that everyone will love.

Ages and Adventure Travel Preferences:

Please note that we all prefer gorgeous natural places that have a personality of their own. Ross and I both agree that evening childcare is just a fantastic bonus.

  • Ross (40) – Great Food, golf, tennis, sailing, skiing, water sports, hiking, biking, great hotels
  • Brittany (38) – Hiking, sailing, water sports, spa, wine and cheese, biking, zip lining and other high up activities, great hotels
  • Sophia (9) – Swimming and any water sport, zip lining, ropes courses, sailing, dessert, hiking, biking, tennis, hitting golf balls
  • Miles (8) – Swimming and any water sport, rock scrambling, zip lining, ropes courses, trains, biking, hiking, dessert, tennis, hitting golf balls
  • Violet (6) – Swimming, sailing, trains, dessert, hiking, fancy dinners where you dress up, places for her stuffies to sleep

As you can see, we all like versions of the same things, but in varying orders and intensities. We also have Violet, our fancy little one who can be quite picky about things. We would all love to ski, but I have not been skiing in 20 years and the kids got frostbite the first time they went, so I couldn’t really add it to our lists of existing loves. Skiing as a family is a high priority for us going forward.

Is Heber Valley Great for Families?

If you refer to our lists above, Heber Valley has everything a family could want in an outdoor adventure vacation coupled with fantastic resorts and amenities that make everyone happy. Their website is a fantastic resource for the hundreds of things to do in Heber Valley and is extremely well organized. Actually, it has everything we want and more plus it’s got Solitude and Deer Valley, two places with fantastic ski schools for the whole family.

I threw together a little collage of just a few of the things we will do when we visit Heber!

Heber Valley Four Seasons

We can adventure in the day and relax at night no matter what time of year we visit. As we just returned from Spring Break in Utah, our next trip out west will be in search of snow, but I will have Heber Valley on our list for future summer vacations as well. It can be snowing well into March and even the beginning of April, so plan accordingly for which season you want to experience!

A Little Luxury in Heber Valley

Believe me, we love travel and road trips and the roadside hotels that come with them, but sometimes we want a little luxury. Researching Heber Valley, there a couple places I want to arrive in and unpack. There are many options for accommodations, but I’m leaning strongly towards 3 places or maybe a mix and match of all 3.

1. The Zermatt Resort

I’m pretty sure, based on the photos and reviews, that we will have a spectacularly wonderful time enjoying the full swiss themed resort, the pools, the cuisine and of course, the shuffleboard and mini golf. Isn’t it pretty?

Heber Valley Resort Zermatt

2. The Homestead Resort & Crater

Across the street from Zermatt one will find the Homestead Resort. This is the home of a geothermal spring known as “The Crater” in a 55-foot tall, beehive-shaped limestone rock. You can explore on foot, take a dip, snorkel and even learn to scuba!

Homestead Crater Hot Spring Utah

You can book packages to The Crater with or without a stay in the hotel, but it is simply lovely.

Homestead Resort Utah

3. Deer Valley Resort

My husband has been talking about taking the kids to this area to learn to ski for at least 5 years. We won’t miss the opportunity to spend a couple days at Deer Valley as we have heard fantastic things about the resort, the people and the mountains. The kids do want to learn to snowboard, and this is not allowed here, but the care for families is bar none according to everyone. It is consistently ranked one of the best ski resorts for families. The ski instructors are fantastic, the trails are kept clean and are perfect for learning and advancing. Basically, Deer Valley is gorgeous with an enormous number of trails and it is easy and fun for families. There are hotels, condominiums and houses available for your stay. They are all beautiful, but my favorite based on looks is certainly The Grand Lodge.

Grand Lodge at Deer Valley

I think it is fair to say that a family could hit Heber Valley any time of year and have a fantastic adventure vacation full of memories that will last a lifetime.

You can check out a ton of information on the Heber Valley Tourism Website.

You can also follow Heber Valley on Twitter and on Facebook.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the lovely people at Heber Valley Tourism Group. All opinions and of course my love for Utah, are all my own. Photos provided by Heber Valley and resort sites.