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Well… hello summer! It’s time to make the most of it! I absolutely love all this extra time with my kiddies BUT my pocket book isn’t too fond of the thought!

Sometimes I wish that “bartering”, was a term that businesses were familiar with! I love the idea of “trading” services- too bad airlines, amusement parks and hotel companies don’t fancy the idea as much as I do!

The “modern” day vacation means you pack your family up (with a family of three little munchkins this is a daunting task), you load up your car or into a plane and your off, on your wonderful summer vacation that you have saved for… oh I mean waited for all year!

You have jam packed your schedule to get your moneys worth… so you better make the most of your vacation. Then after you return home, if you’re the “planner” of your vacation you’re ready for a vacation FROM your vacation!

So needless to say, families like me are starting to sing the little Jingle that I’ve been singing….

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My kids would tell you I often sing everything- so to me this sounds FUN!

Here are some tips on how to plan the perfect vacation!

1. Pick when you “leave”
Act like you are going on vaction, tell your friends, family, work… “sorry I will be in town at my stay cation” Plan the days on your calendar and start the mental preparation that you will be “IN town”

2. When you go on a trip how do you typically prepare… do you buy magazine, books, and coloring books, special groceries…. Whatever it is do that! Have everything you need/want before you start your STAYcation!

3. Plan out everyday. When we go out of town we typically will have one night where we will have our “more expensive meal” or our “all out night” where we go a little bit out of our strict budget and splurge! Do that same thing… Plan a nice dinner with an activity that you would pay for!

4. Monitor “electronic time”. I would recommend 3 times a day. If your kids are at the age where they have a phone, ipod, ipad etc. they will want to spend time on this! But us “grown ups” really need to mentally cut off as well and pay attention to our families. So set the rules up front and come up with a plan…. Set an amount of time and try your best to stick with it! I love to take pictures and post them- if your are one of these people too… you can post them three times a day ☺ !

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Here are some fun and free activities (well almost FREE activities) that you can do on your STAY-Cation!

Go to the park!
Parks are a great way you can explore with all ages of kids! Take pictures of different flowers, trees, birds, or animals then come back to the house and try and look up what it was and learn about their habitat.

Ride your bike or go for a walk. This is something really simple and surprisingly VERY fun! When I was growing up we would always go for a family walk after thanksgiving! It was so fun to all be together just walking. We even did this as teenagers. My Brothers would end up chasing each other, my sister and mom would be holding each other arm in arm and I was usually bugging my dad to give me a piggy back ride (yes I was like 16)! But to this day I remember those special times and they were so simple. If your not a family that typically would do something like this… I encourage you to try something new… You might end of being “that family”

Golfing or Batting Cage
Go to a driving range or batting cage. AGAIN you may not be athletic BUT just going and trying is the best part! I have little kids and we always bring our kids to the driving range! Its about 6 dollars for a bucket of balls. If you don’t have clubs some places let you borrow/ rent them! My daughter loves to dump the palls out and put them back in… my boys like to practice swinging… but by then end of it we all end up on the putting green laughing and trying to either putt… or just ROLL the ball into the hole!

Fly a Kite
Go buy one or have your kids make one…. Here is a great website where you can find ways how to build a kite…..

Historic Spot
Set a day to go see an old cathedral or something historic in your area!
It’s a fun way to learn while you are on vacation- plan some trips to places where you can just sight see, you will find that Historic spots like old cathedrals are free- Look for stuff like that!

At home activities
Play board games
Potatoes sack races
Balance an egg on a spoon and go through a maze (outside)

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Water balloon toss or a water balloon fight!
Side walk Chalk – make liquid sidewalk chalk (recipe here)
Bubbles- Older kids actually will have a hay day with this! Check this tutorial out on how to make REALLY big bubbles! I’ve done it and it works (LARGE BUBBLE)
Play twister

Make smores- You don’t have to have a fireplace for this! You can do table top s’mores check this out…

Ice Cream date

So, I have taken my own advice and this year… I’m sticking to a STAY-Cation… (and yes we will all be singing my jingle). This is what my week will look like here in the good ole’ San Antonio! At the bottom you will also see me grocery list…. Just saving you one more step!

Date: July 15th-19th

Morning- French toast for Happy Vacation Day
Then off to Phil Hardburger Park for some exploring and Lunch at the park
Home for some relaxing and prepping for dinner-
Hot dogs ( you can boil them or put them on the grill)
After dinner a little Twister fun!

Morning- donuts trip to crispy crème (not my favorite but the kids love it)

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Then straight to McAllister  Kite Park! We will try our hand at flying a kite-
We bought one to fly but used this tutorial to have the kids make one too!…..
Lunch- a place with a playSCAPE!
Home to relax and then spaghetti for dinner
Dinner activity is cards- matching game, poker, crazy 8, old maid… the list goes on and you can find a way for all to have fun
Dessert make cookies as a family! Its ok to make a mess… trust me when I tell you to just let the dough fly… let the kids crack the eggs and take deep breaths while doing it… the memories will last for ever!

Eggs- (phew a little protein after those donuts)
Then head down to the San Antonio Missions
Lunch =Probably a restaurant in the area
I’ll call Wednesday WATER wednsday…. Weather its slip’n slide running through a sprinkler or a water war! This one will be fun!

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Dinner Kabbobs – this is something you can pre do put on the grill and on the oven
At night go for a family walk!

Thursday –
Glass Bottom Boat tour in San Marcos
Head to the outlet malls after for lunch at Johnny Rockets and maybe a little shopping
Early dinner at La Gloria and then a walk down to the river (before sunset) because at dusk under the I-35 bridge at Camden Street the mexican free-tailed bats are streaming from beneath the bridge. The bats are coming out to feed. A colony of approximately 10,000 Mexican free-tailed bats visit this bridge every year, its pretty amazing. Then walk a little further to my favorite part of the river …. Below interstate 35 you will see larger than life fiberglass fish! At night they glow in the dark and it is truly the most amazing thing I have seen!

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Ride bikes make large bubbles, color with chalk, make liquid chalk all day
Then head to the San Antonio Missions for a family baseball game!
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Grocery store check list
Hot dogs, hot dog buns, Graham cracker, chocolate, marshmellows,
Bread, eggs, milk
Kabob sticks, chicken, steak, green peppers bell peppers, rice and beans, water-balloons, bubbles, chalk, cornstarch food coloring
Deck of cards, kite,

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