Plan the best stay-cation EVER

Some of these items were gifted to me as a thank you for inclusion in this post. All opinions are mine. 

I remember spring break before I had kids were old enough to be in school. It was like getting hit with a motherhood Mac truck. Suddenly the parks were crowded with sweatpants-wearing giants and library story times went from a sweet, tranquil part of our morning routine to a sure-fire way to end up with pink eye and a skinned knee. But fast forward a few years and now that my oldest is in Kindergarten and my work schedule is based around the school calendar – oh boy am I whistling a different tune.

We are those giants thundering through the playground and library and I laugh in the face of pink eye . and a good skinned knee (and in a crazy twist of fate, my oldest actually has pink eye right now)! So, this spring, with those things in mind, when our March break rolled around, we thought it might be a good idea not to head for the hills to the beach, but to plan a Stay-Cation, right here in good old Nashville, Tennessee. I realize that most of you do not live ’round these here parts, but I’d love to share some of the fundamental ideas that made our Stay-Cation such a success!

 Take a Wee Jaunt

We are super lucky that my husband’s job is flexible and he was able to take a day off midweek to drive with us to Chattanooga to visit the Tennessee Aquarium. Okay, so I realize I’m breaking my own Stay-Cation rule in my very first bullet point, but something about leaving town, even if it’s just a short distance for less than 24-hours, can make your whole week feel a little bit magical.

But even if you don’t leave your city limits, planning a unique day trip can really break up the week and keep all members of your family from catching a mean case of cabin fever. Before we left for our getaway, we were lucky enough to download the Kidloland app, which was perfect for keeping our little ones entertained in the backseat when we hit some unexpected traffic. My oldest and I spent some time exploring it together before our trip and he loved all the art-based games and activities and I loved how they each had an area of academic focus that they helped encourage. Hooray for apps that come without a heaping helping of #MomGuilt! Our family can kind of old-fashioned with our screen time allotments, but over our Stay-Cation, I tried to find new ways to make screen time less of a “reward” and more of a tool for learning and exploring. KidloLand was perfect for this. My kiddos and I were able to sit down together and play games that highlighted early literacy and math skills, in a way that was laid back and fun for all of us! You can download the Kidloland app for iPhone or iPad here, or enter for your chance to win a free 3-month subscription at the end of the post!

Turn your House into a Hotel

Okay, so there may not have been mints on the pillow, but we tried to make our house feel as vacation-friendly as possible! We built forts so that we could take an indoor camping trip (complete with camp fire sound effects from YouTube) and I’ll be honest, I caught a sold 6 minute catnap in our “tent” while my boys thought I was just “pretend sleeping”. Hey, you try staying awake in a dark room with pretend crickets chirping in the background!

We tipped couch cushions off couches to make cozy little club houses and snuggled up with our brand new, SUPER soft and totally super hero friendly lovies from Tuesday June to read every Richard Scary book in our collection! We spent an entire morning sitting on the hard springs of our sunroom couch, completely oblivious to the bruises slowly forming on our backsides. The magic of hotel living, amiright?

Expect the Best, Plan for the Worst

The weather here in Tennessee has been a little Dr. Jeklye and Mr. Hyde this spring; with 70 degree temps one day, snow the next.and tornados tomorrow. Needless to say, I totally caught off guard when bees, beetles and other creepy crawlers started showing up while we were playing out in the yard and at the t-ball field.

Thankfully, I had been hanging on to a sample of the KITE insect repellant and it was a total lifesaver! KITE is completely DEET-free and made from a combination of essential oils, so it not only keeps the pests away, it actually smells good too! I’ve always gone back and forth on the whole “bug spray” thing – because well, I don’t want ZIKA, but also I’m also not entirely in love with the idea of spraying chemicals all over me and my kiddos. Also bug spray smells. And requires showering.

Luckily, KITE checks all my bug spray boxes.

No ZIKA – check.

No stink – check.

No post application shower – check.

Befriend a Farmer

Okay, this one sounds a little specific, but spring is such a fun time to visit a farm! I was so excited that my sweet friend Suzanne invited us over to meet her two brand new baby goats and take a tour of her farm. It also gave us like a hundred opportunities to make jokes about my kids playing with her kids. And we ALL know how much I love the chance to make a good pun! Especially a good goat related pun.

Isn’t that a freaking cute baby goat? Don’t look at the goat poop. Just focus on the goat. FOCUS ON THE GOAT! Even if there isn’t a real live farmer in your midst, check out a local farmer’s market or heck, even an extra deep puddle to check for tadpoles! Spring is a time of new beginnings and new life and that is so much fun to celebrate with your little ones.

Overall, I would say our Stay-Cation was resounding success. Sure, an all-expenses-paid Caribbean cruise miiiiiight have been nice, but when I look back through the photos of this cozy, close-to-home Spring Break, I get all the same warm fuzzies I would expect from a fancy, international getaway. And aren’t the warm fuzzies what it’s really all about?

Have you planned a Stay-Cation in the past? What were some of the things that made your non-vacation a success? While you’re here, be sure to enter my giveaway for 3 FREE months of KidloLand for your iPhone or tablet! The winner will be announced on April 6th!   a Rafflecopter giveaway