Posting this means that my amazing husband is finally home from his golf trip, and I couldn’t be happier to have him back. But it also means that my at-home vacation with Maddy, Owen, and Cora has come to an end. That’s right–we were playing vacation here (kind of) while Dad was away.
Here’s what we did to “up” the fun factor for a few days to keep ourselves busy and to keep my little ones from missing their daddy:
- Movie Night: This may be a staple for others, but for my Maddy and Owen, this was a real treat. Madagascar 2 after Cora went to bed. Snuggling under a blanket on the couch. Tons of giggles. Popcorn. Lots of it. Need I say more?
- Dress-up Marathon: Under the guise of a dress-up extravaganza, I organized our massive amounts of dress-up clothes while “trying them on” the kids for size. They were happy to see what fit and laugh at what didn’t, and I am now happy to have a clean toy closet.
- Computer Game Free-For-All: I set the timer for a longer amount of time than usual, and Maddy and Owen were able to “free play” on the computer. They love to have control over their favorite sites, and adding an extra 5 or 10 minutes was out of the ordinary for this mom who tries to limit screen time.
- Creek Walkin’: We got crazy lucky that our friends invited us over to play and have dinner on Saturday and doubly lucky that they were in the mood to do some exploring in the creek near their house. We brought boots, extra clothes, and dove in. We splashed, explored, skipped (okay, threw in) rocks, and we even saw a tadpole-almost-frog. Being invited to our friends’ house was one thing, but to walk in a creek and climb on rocks–that’s another.
- Breakfast Out: Going out for breakfast is one of my favorite activities, so one morning I rallied the troops right after they popped out of their pj’s and headed to a nearby breakfast joint. Pancakes as big as their plates? Check. Buttering and cutting their own pancakes? Check (Minus Cora). Full bellies? Check. Super fun and kind of vacation-y? Check!
- Big-time Bike Ride: My kids love to ride their bikes. Love it. So one morning, I packed drinks and snacks, threw Cora in the wagon complete with baby doll and baby doll stroller, and I let them ride and ride. Or, at least they rode the paths to the park, where they rode–and Cora pushed baby–some more. Having snack at the park is always fun, and so is climbing the pine trees and getting all sappy. . . well, fun for these little vacationers.
- Backward Dinner: Dessert before dinner only happens on vacations, so we had to throw in a backward dinner during our . . . trip. Icecream sandwiches before hotdogs and Smiles? Talk about bliss–for three kids 5 and under, at least.
- Ikea: For our family, a trip to Ikea is an event in itself. I had a few organizing dreams in mind and knew that it would be a great place for the kiddos to burn some steam on (yet another!) rainy day, so we got there right as it opened at 10am. We walked through the staged rooms, played at each–and I mean each–of the kid stations, met some cool pals in the children’s area, had lunch in the cafeteria, and even shared icecream cones with our new friends before we left. Fun, indeed!
- Hibachi Dinner: Woo-hoo! The best part of our at-home vay-cay is that my husband returned early from his trip, so we decided to celebrate by taking the family to a local Japanese hibachi restaurant. I packed our favorite chopsticks, and we were off! It was everyone’s first time there, so when Maddy, Owen, and Cora saw the flames in front of them, they were surprised, but once the food hit their plates, they were smiling. Talk about an adventure–sure beats Cheeburger, Cheeburger! (Guy at right is not our chef, but you get the picture.)
And that’s it–our at-home vacation while Mom’s rolling solo. Now I’m ready to pack my bags and head out on my own for a bit!
FYI: The idea for a vacation at home was inspired by an article I read awhile back in either Wondertime, Family Fun, or Parenting–three pretty darn cool magazines that I subscribe to but rarely have time to read. I’m happy to hand over my pile to anyone who’s interested before I recycle. . .