We’ve spent our fair share of spring breaks in warmer climates, enjoying far-flung family vacations and returning home plain exhausted and needing a break from spring break! Last year we decided to stay home for the spring break (that's hubby and the kids in the photo, taking a break from bowling), and it was such a hit the whole family requested the same vacation again this year. I think we've started a tradition at my house (at least until the kids are out of school; then you’ll likely catch me on a spring break cruise!)
Top 10 Stay-cation Rules (listed in reverse order):
10. Pretend We Aren’t Home
- Don’t answer the phone, let the machine get it (We’re on STAY-cation we can’t come to the phone, we’re having way too much fun!)
- Close the garage door immediately upon returning each day
- If a neighbor notices us in the backyard playing catch… pretend we can’t see them!
- Above all, treat the whole week like a real vacation!
9. Bedtime. What Bedtime?
Every man, woman and child shall fend for themselves. This mom is so tired of waking up too early every day, then fighting each evening to convince my munchkins that, yes, bed time IS still at 8 p.m., even with confusing daylight savings!
So, yay! On a Stay-cation, you can sleep in, go to bed late—I don’t care!
It’s very classy vacationing at “Chez Rogers.” We set up all the kid’s mattresses in the living room with DVDs, popcorn, and their own pillows! The best part of this deal is that mom gets to sleep in her own bed at the end of the night.
We search out all the local fun things to do, as if we were on a real away-cation, such as:
- Children’s museums and petting zoos
- Bounce houses, open gymnasiums and batting parks
- BOWLING! (It’s become a Rogers Stay-cation tradition that every year we must go bowling! And eat the greasy food of course.)
- Movie theaters and community plays
- Local hikes and parks, depending on weather
7. Limit the Electronics
All cell phones, iPads, iPods, (i-everythings) are gathered up and stored in the “basket of screens,” only to be returned for 30 minute increments as determined by the sanity level of the mom throughout the day. Yes, even mom’s computer is off limits for a whole week! (She’s rolling her eyes right now.)
6. Family Time
What’s the point of a family stay-cation if the whole time everyone is off doing their own thing? To that end, we have lists and lists of activities, games, and for all of us projects to work on:
- Each year we plant spring pansies together during our spring vacation.
- It’s a great time to play the least played board games (all at once!), which we set up around the living room with a 10-minute timer. When the buzzer rings everyone switches to a new game.
- We love dragging out old home movies from when the kids were babies, and then of course we make new ones, including silly family plays the kids make up on the spot.
- We’re already planning our projects for the week: sewing Easter skirts with my daughter, working on art projects with my creative middle daughter, and performing a whole laboratory of science experiments for my little boy. I’ve warned the fire department.
5. Hotel/Pool Time
You didn’t think we would go without the requisite pool time while on vacation did you? No—we’re local after all, which means we know how to get the best hotel deals right here in town! One overnight stay and as much pool time as our prune hands can handle is perfect for our stay-cation.
4. Maid Service
We figure with all the money we’re saving on what we’d usually spend on six nights at a hotel, gas money, and other travel related costs, we owe ourselves a few hours of cleaning services. Plus there are plenty of “daily half off deals” to be had. Watch and get a cleaner at a steal (or see if your teen wants to earn a little moolah for her upcoming band trip to Canada, and pay her to clean instead!)
Speaking of vacation cost savings…we don’t have to eat every meal out like on an away-cation, but we still get to pamper ourselves. We eat breakfast out one morning, and lunch a couple of days. We eat out for dinner as a family once during the week, but we grab take-out or pizza on other nights. The one hard and fast rule is that mom and dad get to have a dinner/date away one night during the stay-cation (babysitting—that’s what teenagers are for, right?).
2. Day Trips
What are the best off-the-beaten-path day trips in your area? We live near Crater Lake National Park, and it’s breathtakingly gorgeous in the springtime. It’s the bluest blue and something everyone should see before they die. And yet places like that in all our communities fall to the bottom of the priority list because they’re so close that you either forget about them or figure they’ll always be there for a later time. Go NOW! (TIP: On the way home hit the mall and make a sulky teen smile.)
1. Relax. Enjoy Your Family (for a change)
Sometimes we forget what it’s like to just BE together. The hustle and bustle of daily life—kid’s crazy school and extracurricular schedules and daily homework; volunteer hours; church dinners; not to mention dad’s travel time—are all on hold during a spring break stay-cation. Enjoy the down time and even the “boredom” time because it won’t last for long. Sleep in, eat cereal for dinner, wear your PJs all day, and above all RELAX. Chill out. Dare I say it? Do nothing!