As I watched several of the neighbors packing up and pulling out on Saturday morning, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit envious. Spring break was supposed to be the mecca of all things warm, tan, and fun. I was watching the snow fall and the ecstatic neighbor kids waving frantically from their back seats. Something about this scenario just wasn’t right. I decided that I might not be able to be warm and tan, but gosh darn it, I was going to make sure that our family had fun. I was going to prove that a staycation was just as much fun as a vacation.
Research The Local Hot Spots
The first thing I did was check out the local news-sites and local mother websites. Businesses know that there are many envious, bitter moms out there that are staying home during school vacations. So, many offer deals during school breaks to help out. On my search, I found several helpful ideas such as The Y was offering free swimming all week, local bowling alleys were offering specials, and the public libraries were hosting daily events. The kids were thrilled to have options everyday, and fun, new things to try. Fun? Totally. Free? You betcha. Win-win in my book.
Invite The Locals and Not So Locals
I contacted family from near and far to see who would be up for a mini-trip to our neck of the woods. Our niece and her two children came to visit for three days. It was the perfect amount of time (remember the fish and family rule) and the kids had a ball playing all day and night with their cousins. Fun? Absolutely. Free? Even better.
Do The Opposite of The Ordinary
The best thing about a vacation is doing things that you don’t normally do in your day-to-day lives. We had a movie night where we set up air mattresses in the living room and ate popcorn (free from samplestuff.com) and watched new movies that we rented (again free, thanks to Sample Stuff). The kids also set up slumber parties in each of their rooms; they loved inviting others into their bedrooms and “hosting” sleep-overs. We also had a dinner tea party, where we dressed up in our favorite, fancy outfits and hats. The cloth napkins and my grandmother’s china completed the effect. We invited others to our tea party by connecting via telephone and videophone. It was so special for our children to have a tea party with their great-grandmother who couldn’t make the trip in person (even if my son’s idea of a “fancy outfit” was dressing up like Anakin Skywalker…). Fun? Most definitely. Free? You get the gist…
At the end of the week, we managed to save money and still have ridiculous amounts of fun. When the neighbors slowly migrated back home from their trips, looking much more tan but not exactly rested, I was out in the yard (sadly, still in the snow) waving and smiling and feeling completely satisfied with our week. What a fun and money saving staycation!