Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Top 10: Fun (almost free) things to do on staycation (Part 2)

Last summer, I wrote about this same topic—Top 10 (low cost) things to do on staycation. Well, I just recently had another glorious two weeks off with Lila. We, once again, had no fancy vacation plans, but we had the absolute best time together. Here are some highlights and suggestions for easy, fun and (practically) free things to do on staycation!

10) Outdoor public art. On our first day of staycation, we had absolutely nothing planned (exactly the way I like it). It was beautiful day, so we decided to just go for a stroll. On our walk, we made it our mission to take a pic on each and every painted bench, which is this summer's public art display in our city. We had a blast being silly and taking selfies! You can likely find outdoor public art exhibits own your town's or city's website such as "Art in the Parks" in NYC.

9) Art classes at Michaels Crafts. This summer, Michaels Crafts is hosting a series of children's art classes, Passport to Imagination, that correspond with museum exhibits across the US– including The Field Museum, the Georgia Aquarium, the Denver Art Museum and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Kids can participate in arts and craft sessions every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Michaels stores for just $2! Lila took a class each week (one with Clara and one with Elisa) while the moms had some much-needed "mommy time" over coffee/tea.

8) Beach time. No vacation (or staycation) would be complete without a day at the beach. We spent plenty of time relaxing with the summer essentials- sun, sand, and water. We are fortunate that Grandma has a condo at the beach.

7) Backyard fun. We had some HOT days this June. Phew! The type that drain you if you just try to walk for a few minutes. We don't have our own pool and our local Y was packed with summer campers (which means no family swim hours- Boo!), so what is there to do to stay cool??? The sprinkler! Yes!!!! Guaranteed to make any little one squeal with excitement, the sprinkler is easy, instant fun. And I have no shame running around in my bathing suit and acting a fool in my own backyard when it means lots of mommy-daughter giggles.
6) Play dates. The summer is the perfect time to get together with friends we don't see as often as we would like. Although we tried to stay unscheduled for the most part, we definitely wanted to get some long overdue play dates on the calendar. We are blessed to have great friends (old and new) and it was nice to spend some time catching up.
5) Free summer movies. I mentioned this in my previous post, but it is worth a slot on the top 10 list again this year. The summer kids movie series at Bowtie Cinemas is a staple in our staycation plans. You can catch a free movie at 10am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the summer.
4) Taco Tuesdays. We joke that Lila's favorite food is Mexican because that's what I was eating when I went into early labor. It seems she wanted to get out and join the party with some chips and salsa. Ha! Lila has coined "Taco Tuesdays" in our home to ensure that her favorite meal makes it on the menu each week, especially on staycation. Whether we are walking to our neighborhood taco joint or making tacos at home, Lila's Taco Tuesday is a hit. Check out Lila's delicious guacamole recipe. 
3) A day at the zoo. One of our best days on our staycation was going to the zoo with Annabelle and Elisa. It was so much fun to ride the monorail, carousel and a camel and to see all of the amazing animals and exhibits.  Our favorite was the butterfly garden.

2) Summer festivals. The summer season is full of many free (or low cost) festivals, fairs, carnivals, and outdoor concerts. We enjoyed an arts festival in one of our neighboring cities with friends where we saw live dance and music performances, had a picnic lunch, and toured one of the art museums. Just check your local newspaper or city/town's website and you are sure to find something fun.
1) A weekend sort of away. We ended our two week break with the absolute highlight of our trip-- the lake house! Annabelle invited us, and other friends, to spend the weekend together at a gorgeous lake home. It was only an hour away, but it was just far enough to feel like a special vacation outside of our city norm. We simply relaxed-- ordered in, cooked out, made s'mores, chilled at the beach, enjoyed the water view, and experienced a breathtaking fireworks show on the dock. It was an amazing finale to our lovely time together.

It was difficult to go back to our routine and Lila and I are already looking forward to our next non-vacation/do-nothing/stay-home/chill-out/quality-time-off together.

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