This week, my family embarked on a family stay-cation adventure. Each day, we did something different, fun and most importantly, local (or within a short drive).
As I’ve been working through my #LifeOnPurpose challenges, I’ve realized that part of being mindful and intentional is allowing myself to be entertained and find enjoyment in things that I might have overlooked or even turned my nose up in the past. Kids have a way of making you look at the things with new eyes because you don’t always have the time, energy or money to do the things that adventurous, single-adult you would do.
I know what you’re thinking. It sounds like I’m lowering my standards. Making the best of a sub-par situation. Giving up the things i love to do….right?
That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Because the truth is, not too long ago, I thought I had to travel far, spend a lot of money, and be constantly entertained in order to have fun. Now, especially as I’m going through my #LifeOnPurpose journey, I realize that I’m fun. My husband is fun. My kids are fun. We bring the fun. What’s more, you don’t have to work hard to create the perfect get-away when you consciously work at being present in the moment and intentional about enjoying the life you’ve been blessed with.
His Girl Friday Top 10 Stay-Cation Ideas
1. Become tourists in your own town. Visit stores you’ve had no reason to patron in the past, buy coffee or treats at local cafes, and allow yourself to see old, hum-drum sights with new eyes. Sometimes, we don’t notice how great our town is because we aren’t looking for it!
2. Go bowling. Seriously. Even if you haven’t bowled since you were 16 and thought glow-bowling was the world’s greatest invention, give it a try with your new live-in-the-moment attitude. Whether you go with friends, your kids, or by yourself, just remember…bring socks.
3. Have a dinner party on your patio or in your backyard. Nothing feels more festive than creating a simple meal, putting on a summer dress, opening a bottle of wine, and enjoying the sights and sounds of summer while dining al fresco with friends. Get a sitter for the night if you have kids and, if you made your meal plan simple enough (message me if you want suggestions!), I guarantee you will feel relaxed and refreshed!
4. Take advantage of local events, such as live music, outdoor movies, festivals or kid’s activities. Summertime is the perfect time to let others do the planning. Check out your cities local events calendar and give something a try! (Note: I’ve found that our local calendar doesn’t have a complete listing. Instead, I routinely check out the websites/Twitter accounts of places we like to go to see if they have anything coming up.)
5. Visit you local farmer’s market for dinner. I love visiting farmer’s markets. For this idea, you have to give yourself plenty of time to visit your market and then prepare a meal, but it’s worth it! Challenge yourself and/or your family to pick out items that they want for dinner and if possible, suggest a way to prepare/eat it. If you are big meat eaters, have a simple meat dish in mind for the evening (or have it prepared in advance), but fill in the rest of the menu with fresh, local yummies.
6. Ride bikes someplace new. If you don’t have bikes of your own, most bike shops offer rentals. If that doesn’t work, borrow some from friends and family! Stay-cations require you to be creative with resources, but that is also what makes them so affordable!
Most cities have bike paths, but if you have kids then your options for “new places” open up even more. We visited a local winery this past week and packed Theo’s bike in the car. After brunch, we got his bike out and let him ride along the sidewalks that outlined the vineyards and we got to enjoy the scenery!
7. Picnic. You can picnic in the park. You can picnic in your backyard. Heck, you can picnic almost anywhere! Take the opportunity to pack up some of your favorite foods, grab a comfy blanket and soak up the sun or shade depending on your preference. If you are with friends or a special someone, bring a fun old-school board game like checkers or chess. If you are with your kids, bring along a few books or a simple game. If you are by yourself, bring a book, or a pillow!
8. Do the things you would do on vacation, just do them locally. Sleep in late. Go to the pool. Go out for breakfast. You don’t have to leave your state in order to enjoy the things you would do on vacation. It might feel like you are breaking the rules to sleep in late, go out for breakfast at noon and then accomplish nothing the rest of the day other than reading a good book and eating foods you love, but sometimes it pays to live dangerously. Go ahead. Break the rules. I dare ya.
9. Get together with friends. Whether you meet up at your place, a friend’s house, or at a restaurant, summer is the perfect time to catch up with friend, especially if you are doing stay-cations! Make it feel festive by putting some thought into who you invite (who will contribute to the relaxed and fun environment?), the place you choose (again, be smart about where you go depending on what type of vibe you are hoping to achieve), and the type of gathering (Is this a coffee date with a few girlfriends? A dinner party with a few couples at your home? Or maybe an open-ended invite to a large group of friends to meet up at a local restaurant?). The more planning you do on the front end, the more likely you will be to end up with a gathering that perfectly meets your expectations. A little planning goes a long way!
10. Get ice cream. Get it often. Invite others to come along. This, is not only a great stay-cation idea, it is a recipe for happiness and success in your life. Just joking…not really. We have a couple of favorite places to go for ice cream, and we usually try to invite others to go with us. It is just more fun that way!
I hope you have enjoyed and been inspired by my top 10 stay-cation ideas. We’ve enjoyed our simple yet fun adventures this summer. I’d love to hear from you. What stay-cation ideas do you have?