Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Family Handbook

My husband and I had the awesome opportunity to go to Alaska this past September. Ryan had a work conference there, so we decided to make a trip of it since his flight would be taken care of. Since, we lived so far from family we had to call on the grandma's to brainstorm what we could do for our girls to get watched. If you have kids but don't live near family, you know what I mean. It's one thing to leave them with your friends for maybe a day and a weekend if you stretch it but for a whole 10 days? Nope, it just wouldn't happen. Plus, the limited friends we would even consider all have quite a few children themselves. And we didn't want Kara and Emma to be a burden on anyone.

So, my mother volunteered to help watch the girls for part of the time and Ryan's mom and youngest sister offered to come out for the rest. Hallelujah! What a blessing they are to us! At their own expense they chose to come and spend time with their grandchildren so we could have our first time away since our first child was born- 3 years!!

Anyways, so in preparing to leave my children with grandparents who know nothing of our schedule, where things are in our house, the girls' likes and dislikes and not to mention doctors or emergency info...I decided to create The Garcia Family Handbook.

You can see it starts with a simple silhouette picture with all of our family members listed. (Emma is a baby now but I'd rather prepare for the future, so I chose an image that our family can grow into).

The first and most important thing to include was our emergency info. I listed our doctor and her phone number. I listed nearby urgent cares and hospitals that are covered on our insurance. The number of the sheriff and pretty much any other number I could think of, including my two go to people that I could call on for anything. I also made copies of our insurance card and my drivers license, just in case.

Mostly because of this page I have always gotten this handbook out whenever we have sitters watching our girls too!

The next pages list our regular schedule. Both our weekly and daily schedule.

Next, is our nap schedule and rules for putting Kara down since she can sometimes test the boundaries.

This is followed by our night time order and enforcement.

Next is the outings page with a list of ideas of places they could go. I included places, like close parks, jumpy places, our friends' farm, library story time, pet shops (we always look and then buy a handful of cheap treats for our dog) and other places as well.

Here's just some more info and calendars from our regularly visited places or places that we have memberships to: children's museum, gym, etc. That way they could plan to go to storytimes, events and whatever was happening that week.

Here are the pages I put some food suggestions. What the baby can/cannot eat at this point. I also put some likes and dislikes with some meal suggestions. This helped them to know what the girls were used to.

Next were some pages on 'Where is That?' and 'Plants'. I included these pages to make sure all my plants didn't die while we were gone, ha! And because some things I just didn't think they would remember where stuff was. I listed things like cooking supplies (because my mother in law is an amazing cook and knew she'd be baking up a storm) and medicines, band-aids, clothes, diaper storage, extra toilet paper, etc.  I'm sure there were a lot more things I could have listed but I only got a couple calls while we were gone asking me where things were, so I think this worked out pretty well.

The last and final spread of the handbook was about our pet care. We have a dot and cat and we just wanted to make sure they got fed at the same time and put away and out at the same time as normal. 

If you are planning a trip and leaving your kids with a babysitter or family member I highly suggest investing the time to make one of these books!  The grandma's said they brought it with them wherever they went (mostly because of the emergency info) but they looked at the nap schedule and everything whenever they needed to.

God Bless!

Heather Joy


  1. This is really good! I love the graphics! I'm definitely using some of these ideas for our babysitting binder! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Anyway you will share these files? Love your graphics!!

  3. Awesome! I'm getting ready for a trip and was looking for ideas/printables for just such a binder. Thanks for sharing!