DIY Travel Journal - an easy way and beautiful way to keep track of your travels.

Summer is in full swing and we have been traveling like crazy.

I wanted a simple journal for my 6 year old to keep track of all of the places we have been going. I found some beautiful travel journals, like this, this and this, but they were all better suited for adults. I really love this and may have to get it for her when she is a bit older because it looks so fun! But for now, I wanted something with very thick pages (she likes to use markers or watercolors) and spiral binding, so that it would lay flat while she was working on it.

Since nothing quite fit the bill, I made her a travel journal using a spiral bound book with nice thick watercolor paper, and an old map that we had laying around.

After each trip that we go on, she writes about her favorite part of the trip, and either draws or paints a picture to go with it. She also likes to glue in keepsakes that she picks up along the way.

Her journal is quickly filling up, and I think it will be such a great keepsake of our 3 years in Europe!

DIY Travel Journal - an easy way and beautiful way to keep track of your travels.

You will need:

  • spiral bound journal with thick paper
  • a map, cut into 2 rectangles that measure the same height as the cover of your journal, and double the width
  • scissors
  • an exacto knife
  • a pencil
  • a ruler
  • glue

DIY Travel Journal - an easy way and beautiful way to keep track of your travels.

Directions:

  1. Start by carefully pulling the spiral binding of your journal apart, just enough to slip both the front and back cover off of the binding.
  2. Spread glue on one side of the front cover.
  3. Place one of the map pieces on the front cover, using your ruler to press out any air bubbles.
  4. Then fold the map wrapping it around to the back of the front cover, spread glue on the back of the front cover and press the map down.
  5. Using your exacto knife, cut out all of the holes for the binding.
  6. Repeat steps 2-4 with the back cover.
  7. Gently push both covers through the opening in the spiral binding. Make sure that the covers are facing the right direction.
  8. Carefully squeeze the spiral binding back together.
  9. Add any other embellishments you want on the cover, or leave it nice and simple.
  10. Now go fill that journal up with all of your fabulous travels!

DIY Travel Journal - an easy way and beautiful way to keep track of your travels.

Bon Voyage!

Bad Ischl Travel Guide

After reading The Accidental Empress, I became fascinated with Empress Sisi and her life. Bad Ischl plays an integral role in the book, first as the site of her engagement to Franz Josef at age 15, and then as their summer residence and escape from Vienna. The Kaiservilla may have been the main motivation behind visiting Bad Ischl, but we found so much more to love about this charming little town in Upper Austria.

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Anne Frank Diary; Dept of Speculation; Everything I never Told You; My Sunshine Away

On My Bookshelf for July:

Dept. of Speculation  |  A young couple writes love letters to each other postmarked The Dept. of Speculation, for the beautiful uncertainty that lies ahead. Then they get married, have a baby, and experience all of those things that we are all too familiar with. Difficulties with the baby, difficulties in their marriage, disappointments and stalled career aspirations. This is a short book, easy to read in just one sitting, and so beautifully written it will leave you thinking about it long after you finish.  |  “If you are tired of everything you possess, imagine that you have lost all these things.”

Everything I Never Told You  |  From the very first line in this book, “Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet” to the last, I was absorbed with this story of the seemingly normal family from small-town Ohio in the 1970’s, who completely fell apart in the face of tragedy.  |  “Before that she hadn’t realized how fragile happiness was, how if you were careless, you could knock it over and shatter it.”

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl | Anne Frank Remembered  |  Annexed  |  In the weeks leading up to my trip to Amsterdam, I read everything I could find about Anne Frank. Although I had read her diary when I was younger, it was just as powerful as ever. Plus, I think that re-reading it made visiting the Anne Frank house even that much more meaningful. |  “I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”  |  Anne Frank Remembered is written by Miep Gies, who helped hide the Frank family from the Nazis, and is a wonderful look at what was going on outside the annex, while Anne was writing about the daily life within the annex.  |  “I am not a hero. I stand at the end of the long, long line of good Dutch people who did what I did or more—much more—during those dark and terrible times years ago, but always like yesterday in the hearts of those of us who bear witness. Never a day goes by that I do not think of what happened then. More than twenty thousand Dutch people helped to hide Jews and others in need of hiding during those years. I willingly did what I could to help. My husband did as well. It was not enough.”  |  Annexed explores what life was like from the point of view of Peter, the boy Anne Frank was in love with. These 3 books should definitely be read together to get the full story of Anne Frank, and all the Jewish people who went into hiding in Holland during WWII.

 

My Sunshine Away  |  In the summer of 1989, in a privileged neighborhood in Baton Rouge, a beautiful 15 year old girl is raped. This book is a coming of age tale of her 14 year old neighbor who is infatuated with her, and how this event and those following it shape him into the man that he is.   |  “But for every adult person you look up to in life there is trailing behind them an invisible chain gang of ghosts, all of which, as a child, you are generously spared from meeting.”

Feeding Baby Oatmeal - How to make easy homemade natural baby oat cereal

Oats are naturally high in fiber, protein, calcium, and antioxidants. Plus they are inexpensive and easy to prepare, making them an ideal baby food. 

Feeding Baby Oatmeal - How to make easy homemade natural baby oat cereal

Oats can be used as a simple first food when introducing solids, and can easily be adapted for any age.

Feeding Baby Oatmeal - How to make easy homemade natural baby oat cereal

There are a lot of different options when it comes to oatmeal. Pictured from left to right:

  • finely ground oat powder
  • rolled oats
  • steel cut oats

For the littlest babies, start with a fine oatmeal powder. Simply put rolled or steel cut oats into your blender or food processor, and grind until you have a fine powder. To prepare, boil 1 cup of water in a small pot or saucepan. Add 1/4 cup of oat powder, and whisk for about 10 minutes, until oatmeal has thickened. Allow it to cool, then add breast milk or formula to thin oatmeal to desired consistency.

For older babies, cook rolled or steel cut oats according to the package instructions. Add breast milk or formula to thin oatmeal to desired consistency. Add fruit purées, as desired.

For toddlers, cook rolled or steel cut oats according to the package instructions, using whole milk in place of all or part of the water. Add fruit purées, or finely chopped fruit, as desired.

Feeding Baby Oatmeal - How to make easy homemade natural baby oat cerealTry alternating between rolled oats and steel cut oats, to give baby a variety of textures. Try adding different fruits or fruit purées. Add cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, or any other spices you like. As with all baby food, the idea is to have fun and introduce baby to many different flavors and textures.

Feeding Baby Oatmeal - How to make easy homemade natural baby oat cereal

For more homemade baby food:
The Basics
Fruit Purées
Vegetable Purées

Brno Czech Republic Stará Radnice

A few weeks ago, we decided very last minute (like the day before we left) to take a quick weekend trip, and didn’t know where we wanted to go. I always see the signs for Praha/Brno as I am driving around town, and thought Brno might be fun to check out. Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic, the capital of Moravia, and just 100km north of Vienna. But I asked around and couldn’t find anyone who had been there. We decided to give it a shot anyway, and what a pleasant surprise! Brno is a wonderfully charming town with plenty to see and do, and it is super close, making it a perfect weekend trip from Vienna.

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