"See You Soon" Countdown Chain

This past May, my husband and I left our 3 kids with grandma & grandpa for 10 days and went on a Mediterranean Cruise. It was the first time either of us had been to Europe, and it was also the first time we had left the kids for that long!
Part of our preparations for this vacation included making a countdown chain for the kids. Since our itinerary was set by the cruise line and we had booked our shore excursions before we left, we knew pretty much exactly what each day would entail, and I wanted the kids to know what mom and dad were up to each and every day. Here is what I did:
countdown chain
1. I grabbed 3 pieces of coordinating scrapbook paper
2. I typed a little blip for each day simply telling the kids what mom and dad were doing that day. I ran the scrapbook paper through the printer & printed these small notes on the backside of the scrapbook paper. Here are what some of the notes said:

Sunday, May 9
Today mom and dad are in Spain and we get to board the big cruise ship! Mom will probably eat a ton of ice cream and dad will probably eat a ton of shrimp at dinner. Be good at church today! Ethan, remember you are saying the scripture in primary! You will do great! We love you!
Tuesday, May 11
Today mom and dad are in Naples, Italy. We are going to go see an old town that was completely covered in ash when a volcano exploded thousands of years ago! We will take a lot of pictures and maybe buy you all something fun! We hope you are being good for grandma! We love you!

3. Then I cut each day into strips and began assembling them in chronological order, forming the chain.

Each morning, the kids got to tear a link off & read what mom and dad were doing that day.
Each night they got a candy hug & a candy kiss just before saying their prayers- our way of “tucking them in” even though we were thousands of miles away…. it was like we weren’t even gone! ♥

About Stephanie

Wife, mom of 5, preschool teacher, and creator of Somewhat Simple, Stephanie has a passion to create and inspire. She is an Orange County transplant who is now enjoying life in Phoenix, AZ. She enjoys traveling, shopping, organizing, cooking and creating simple projects for her home and family.


  1. Awww this is so sweet!! What a lovely story and a great idea.

  2. Jaime @ Our Journey says:

    This is fabulous!! I'm linking this under my "Inspirational Projects" section on my blog.

    We were on a 10-Day Mediterranean Cruise aboard the Disney Magic in May! :o)

  3. What a awesome idea…If we ever go away without the kids I'm going to make one :)

  4. Pati @ A Crafty Escape says:

    What a sweet idea! We got married in Spain and went on that cruise for our honeymoon :)

  5. emilyc @ Sew Super Sweet says:

    What a neat way to make your kids feel included as part of the trip! Thanks for sharing the idea!

  6. WHat a great way to help your kids feel involved while you were on your trip. This is such a sweet idea.

  7. I've done the chain thing before for my kiddos… but never the little notes inside. Brilliant, I love it. I'll definitely remember that for next time! :) Thanks!

  8. Darling idea! What a great way to let your kids feel connected while you were gone!! So fun.

  9. We did this too when we went to China to pick up our daughter. I just wrote on plain cardstock but the boys loved it. I will have to do it your way next time since you can fit alot more words on the strip this way.

  10. EF Willi says:

    I love this idea— it's so thoughtful!

  11. That is such a sweet idea! :)

  12. Count-down chains are such a wonderful idea. I love that you personalized yours with notes on the inside.

  13. Christina says:

    Fantastic idea! Although the date is 5 years away we're already planning our first child-free vacation- can't wait!

  14. Candace @ Candace Creations says:

    What an awesome idea! I know the time will come when my hubby and I go on a vacation without the kids…doing something like this would make me feel so much better! (oh and I mean it's for the kids too right? :P)

  15. trooppetrie says:

    I think this is a great idea. i may do this the next time my husband deploys

  16. My husband and I are taking a vacation soon without the kiddos. I am so glad I came across this! Thank you!

  17. What a thoughtful idea! I'm so going to use it. Found you on the Shabby Nest (and so glad I did).

  18. Stephanie Lynn @Under the Table and Dreaming says:

    Hi Steph. I love this idea – simply adorable! I'll be featuring this today. Thanks so much for joining the Sunday Showcase party! Hope you have a wonderful week! ~ Stephanie Lynn

  19. The Coleman's says:

    how sweet. great parents!


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