With amazing tips from a few of my readers, I gathered up enough inspiration to create a pretty neat activity system for my mom and Marlowe while we were away. Tucked away in the back work room, I had a handful of brown bags (one for each day we were gone), pinned closed, all lined up in a row, waiting to be opened. I told my mom to kinda of play it out and see when Marlowe seemed the most needy or sad (she usually misses us most at night for sleepovers) and have her open one surprise bag each day at that time. Two were marked for sunshine days (outdoor activities), but most were activities that could be done inside and out, since its been hot hot hot and rains all summer long in south florida. I even had a surprise bag for my mom, since it was her birthday the day after we left. A hand painted gift from Marlowe along with a list of instructions, to grab a bag, take Marlowe to Auntie Nicole's, and rush over to the spa for a whole planned, scheduled, and paid for spa day courtesy of me, the step pops, and everyone else involved. I've got to say, between getting together all the details of our courthouse wedding (dress altered, self beautified, and whatever else), packing and planning a honey moon, getting the house in order for Marlowe and my mom, and just all the last minute details, I was pretty impressed that I was able to pull this all off. Unfortunately, there were no sun days for the two of them, so the beach day didn't work out and my mom never opened the safari bag for the zoo day, but otherwise: it was a big success. Other than the movies, I spent almost nothing getting everything together. Many of the things were items we already had in the house anyway, so I just pulled them all together and made activities. I drew a calendar on the wall to count down the days, wrapped up a Minnie Mouse Look & Find book (think Where's Waldo, but with Minnie and for toddlers---- she is OBSESSED) for the first night to keep them entertained each night and voila, the girl was set!