My husband is a teacher and his school was on spring break last week. We weren’t in a position financially to do an actual get away, but I wasn’t going to let that stop us from having a week full of fun family adventures!
Don’t get me wrong, I love a great beach vacation. But there is something super fun and special about planning little day trips to see things in your area. I love taking advantage of our days off to explore some of the local fun and flavor that is in our own state.
I budgeted $100 for all of our spring break adventures, which meant I had to be very thoughtful about where we went. There is nothing I love more than researching for and planning fun trips, so being creative on a budget doesn’t scare me – it’s part of the fun!
Everything that I mention in this post was accomplished within that $100 budget, including our meals eaten out. The only two things that weren’t included were gas and anything that we did with others. I have a separate budget for gas money and it’s pretty static. It is what it is and when it’s gone for the month it’s gone. So I’ll have to be conservative with my driving for the next two weeks. Then, anytime we do something with others, paying for lunch, buying treats, etc, that comes out of our “giving” budget. All of these budgets are taken out in cash so that we aren’t tempted to spend more than we know we should. I think it’s a fun challenge to see how far you can make your money go and it keeps us from getting ourselves in trouble! 😉
Spring break started off a little slow, as we had all been hit with the stomach bug the week before. So on Monday, we took advantage of the day off to just relax. After a slow morning and early lunch, we went into town to enjoy the beautiful sunshine. We got coffee and a treat at a favorite local coffee shop, Sure House, then strolled down the block to our food co-op to pick up some locally made bagels for the next morning’s breakfast.
Theo and I played a few games. We took naps. That evening Mike and I did mud masks, ate popcorn, and watched a show. It was lovely.
On Tuesday, we ventured a little further from home to hit up a hot dog place I had heard of. Yes, I tend to pick a place to eat first, then plan activities around the food location. Hey – priorities.
Dog Daze did not disappoint. I’ve hit up almost all of the hot dog diners in the area that offer veggie dogs, and this one tops the list. The location isn’t fancy but the food was SO GOOD and the prices were fabulous. We all devoured our hot dogs/veggie dogs and fair fries while comparing notes on which toppings were our favorite and which ones we wanted to try next time.
Our next stop was the Canton Classic Car Museum, a fun little place that is packed FULL of classic cars and memorabilia. The museum was really affordable and just the right size for little ones. Plus, it has plenty of fun and quirky surprises to keep everyone engaged. We loved it. (They have a 15% off coupon on their website right now that we applied to our admission!)
Before we headed home, the boys talked us into one last stop – for ice cream – and this is where one of my favorite things about road trips with my kids comes into play.
I hadn’t pre-planned an ice cream stop, but when we are out exploring I’m ALWAYS keeping my eyes open for places to make an impromptu stop to see/explore/try. (I’m super grateful to have a husband who doesn’t get upset when I yell out from the passenger seat, “Hey! Let’s go in there!”)
We had passed an old school looking ice cream stand on our way to the museum, so when the boys asked to extend the day’s adventure with one final treat, I knew right where to go! So we drove back down the street to Patrick’s for cookie monster ice cream for the boys and strawberry soft serve twists for daddy and Bea. (I would have been happy to go back for another hotdog, but ice cream doesn’t really tempt me that much, lol.)
On Wednesday, a friend of mine from Cleveland met me in Medina for some girl time. Medina, Ohio has some great shops and restaurants and we enjoyed chatting and catching up over coffee at The Honey Bee Bakery (I had a super yummy vegan blueberry lemon scone!), and then continued our conversation over the BEST plate of baba ganoush at Marie’s Cafe. On the way home I stopped at Boyert’s Nursery and picked up a few new houseplants (they have an AMAZING selection of houseplants, succulents, and air plants!).
Thursday, we decided to explore an area that we don’t normally visit and headed off for Mansfield, Ohio, where our first stop was the Ohio Bird Sanctuary, a truly wonderful place to visit. All the birds in the sanctuary have been hurt and can no longer survive in the wild. They have an incredible variety of birds in their care – everything from several types of owls to two bald eagles! The sanctuary sits on a 90-acre preserve with wooded trails for visitors to wander. Unfortunately, it was a really rainy day on our visit, so we are looking forward to going back in warmer and sunnier weather to do more exploring of the preserve! Admission for the sanctuary is wonderfully affordable – $3 for adults and only $1 for kids!
Next up we drove into downtown Mansfield where we enjoyed some delicious pizza at Two Cousins Pizza before walking up the street to grab coffee at Relax, It’s Just Coffee and heading to our final destination, the Richland Carrousel Park. The Carrousel is indoors and is only $1 per ride (or six rides for $5!).
We celebrated Good Friday by attending our church’s noon service. It was special to have the kids sit with us, along with my grandma who also joined us. Afterwards we all enjoyed lunch and fresh cinnamon rolls at one of our favorite local restaurants, Broken Rocks Cafe & Bakery. Bea reeeally enjoyed the cinnamon rolls, as you can see. 😉
On Saturday, we enjoyed getting together with our friends for our third annual Easter Egg Hunt and doughnut fest. We look forward to this fun and relaxing tradition every year. The dads hide the eggs while the moms chat and the kids play, and then we all enjoy one (or two, or three 😉 ) doughnuts from a local bakery. (This year we got them from Michael’s Bakery in Orrville, Ohio and they were delicious and did not disappoint.)
Sunday was, of course, Easter, and we had such a lovely day together. I loved getting the kids all dressed up for the occasion, and we enjoyed a beautiful and meaningful time in church. Oliver was presented with his first Bible. The kids celebrated Easter with fun activities in their classes. And then we all had fun watching them participate in the egg hunt held on the church lawn afterwards.
We came home and continued the celebration with a nice lunch, Easter baskets, and best of all – naps! That evening we gathered with my immediate family for an Easter dinner together, which was a nice way to end a great day.