Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Preparing for my "I Teach K" Vegas Trip... and a little "Throwback Thursday" post

As most of you already know, I'll be on my way to Vegas in just a few days for the "I Teach K" Conference, the National Teacher Blogger Meet-Up, and the TPT Conference!  As you can imagine, I'm beyond excited to meet up with some of my "blogging besties" to share ideas and just plain have a blast! 

However, on the other hand... I gotta admit, leaving my own dear sweet family for a week is just not easy!   It never has been for me.  SOOOO... Several years ago when I was getting ready to leave for another conference, I found an awesome "tool" for making the separation easier!   

It's called the "While I'm Away Box."  It was created by a company that I used to work for called "Once Upon a Family."  {Hello.  My name is Holly Ehle and I'm a family traditions junkie.}  
While I�m Away Box

Here is the "formal" company description for this product: 
The While I'm Away Box is a delightful way to stay connected to your loved ones while you're away on a business trip, church retreat, weekend with the girls, or a vacation with your spouse. It's also wonderful for siblings who go back and forth between two parents and two homes. The purpose of the box is to fill it up with bits of you and lots of love... cards to open on particular days, favorite stories tape-recorded by you, notes, photos, or treats... something special to wear or play with that belongs to you, perhaps a t-shirt with your perfume on it, or some old jewelry. Even though you can't be together, a part of you will always be with them. Personalize box  cover with your own 4" x 6" photo.

Ok. So that's the "formal description"...but I want to share more of a personal, warm and fuzzy description of how I use it with my family.   And since it's Thursday, what better way to do that then by sharing with you a "THROWBACK" post I published last year while I was in Vegas!?  

So, read on! 
Remember, this is a post from my trip LAST YEAR to the "I Teach K" Conference!  


As most of you know... I'm currently in Vegas for the "I Teach K" Conference.  And while I'm lovin' every minute of it.... as a "Momma" it is hard to leave my own kiddos back home in Indiana.  {Oh!  I'd better mention it's hard to leave Mr. Spouse too! He might check my blog!  LOL}  I try not to "over-share" on the personal details of my life, as I don't want to put ya'll to sleep....but as a blogger, I want you to know I'm "real" too! 

Now, my life is NOT perfect...but I do feel VERY blessed to have 3 wonderful kiddos and an awesome hubby.  Here is a peek at my family, in case you haven't "met" them....

The little dude {on left in solid blue shirt} is Colton, my "baby."   
Alexa and Hunter are my twins {Super BFFs...never fight!  So blessed! Whew!}

Well... I'm a family-tradition "nut"... and one of the tradition-type things that I do is create a "While I'm Away" box every time I have to leave my kiddos for an extended period of time.  What I do is create little bags or envelopes for each day that I have to be separated from my family and fill them with a trinket or "token" type of surprise gift and then attach a goofy little rhyming note to them.  I place all of the bags/envelopes into a bigger box called my "While I'm Away" box.   Each day that I am gone, the kiddos get to open the box, find the marked bag or envelope for that day, read the silly note or poem that I wrote and attached to each one, and open their surprise.  {Now I do not put anything expensive or over-the-top in the packages.  I'm talking surprises from the dollar store.... like silly string, glow bracelets, puzzle books, etc.} My kids LOVE it!  They have gone from crying when I leave, to asking me when I'm gonna get out the door!  LOL   It's nothing spectacular on my part....but just a little love... which helps deter the "Momma Guilt" of going away for a week!  

Ok... Well I just had to share this part.  Last weekend, I left "While I'm Away Box" for my kiddos.  As usual... they gave me big hugs and told me they'd miss me...but they were also anxious to get me out of the door so they could read their note for the day and open their surprise!  Ha!   Well.. I had a little surprise of my own coming!    When I landed in Vegas and got to my hotel, I opened my suitcase. Guess what I found inside???   Yep!  A "While I'm Away" package of my own.  My youngest son, Colton, had secretly put together his own "While I'm Away" box for ME!!!  When I saw it... I didn't even care what he put inside... I just cried!!  What a sweetpea!

Here are a few of the notes and surprises he made me...
{Think "little guy" perspective here!  He gave what he had!}

This note said, "Here you go Mom.  You will need this."
When I opened the package I found his cross necklace. 
The Ehle family LOVES the Lord!

 This package said, "I know I can't come with you...but here is something that can."
Inside was this happy little dude!  :)

This package said. "This should remind you of all that we have done together."
When I opened it I found one of the mini-hats we made together by shrinking a styrofoam cup!
{What can I say... we are an arts-and-craft family!}

This package said, "And here is this... this that I use for all of my advenchures (adventures)."
Masking tape of course!  The kid goes through multiple rolls per month! Ha!


This package said. "I am giving you this because it powers up my time-machine...just like YOU power up my heart!"  
(Colton is an "inventor" to put it lightly!  Just last week he invented a "time-machine" which he built himself out of an old booster seat, misc. trinkets... and LOTS of tape!  He used this gemstone as its "power source.")   This note DID make me cry!   

Seriously...this little man is going to make a great husband one day!

Alright... I'll quit babbling on for tonight!   Can you tell I'm missin' my babies???
I'm flying home tomorrow!  Can't wait to hug my little Ehles!!!
I promise I will  blog more VERY SOON about all of the wonderful things I learned in Vegas!

To all of my "I Teach K" and Bloggin' Buddies....
I miss you already!   Have safe trips home... and love on your families!


Hope you enjoyed that little "Throwback Thursday" post! :)

If you are interested in getting your own "While I'm Away Box," just click HERE.

Now, I gotta run!  I have to fill up my box with envelopes/goodies for each day I will be gone!

My kiddos are already asking me how many days it is until I leave so they can start opening the box!  LOL  {True. Story.  I swear!}


  1. Soo love this idea! My boys are big, but I am going to do this for them while I am away at I teach K and the blogger meet up next week too! Just love the things your little guy sent with you! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Luv My Kinders

  2. Oh my gosh, Holly! Your little guy's surprises are SO sweet! I definitely would've been a puddle of tears!

    Hoping to see you next week! :)

    First Grade STARS