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Archive for the ‘planning’ tag

January 18th, 2013 at 8:30 am

Planning a Family Vacation

I don’t know about you, but I desperately need a family vacation right about now! Between the craziness of raising kids, the holidays, and the dead of winter in Wisconsin I could go for something warm and relaxing. The task can seem overwhelming though. All the planning, packing, and decision-making sometimes makes a family vacation seem not as much fun as you anticipate. I guarantee it will be fun once you go through with a little organization up front.

First, you want to decide where you are going. Is this a Staycation, or do you want to go on a big trip? This also depends upon budget and how long of a vacation you are taking. If it is just a weekend, you may want to stay closer to home; but for a week, you can definitely travel cross-country. Part of this is deciding the travel arrangements –car, train, airplane, boat? During this time of year, we usually take an extended weekend to a waterpark; a great way to getaway from home.

The next big part of planning the trip is deciding the details. Where will you stay or eat? What exciting activities are in store? I like to narrow these down. I’ve tried to figure it out when we got there, but with kids that doesn’t always work so well. When they are hungry, there isn’t a lot of time to wait; in my family that leads to meltdowns! So, what I do is create a list of options for restaurants with a few extras in case one isn’t what we expected. In this digital age, it is so easy to really delve into what restaurants and activities will work for your family. I usually call myself the “Cruise Director” and have a list of possible activities for each day. This takes the stress off me and lessens decisions that need to be made during the vacation. That means more relaxing for Mom!

Now everything should be pretty much planned! You would think we are onto the fun part, but now comes the packing! Depending upon how big your family is, this could be a hefty task. Gone are the carefree days of throwing a couple of things in a bag and having a weekend away. Now I need to tote teddy bears, sound machines and extra clothes in case of accidents. This step takes as much preparation as the others. I like to start a list a week before I am going to start packing. I write down everything I think I may need. I go over this list every day because I can guarantee as the week goes on I will add a few things (sometimes really important ones) and take a few things away. As that week passes I also think about bags that are needed and have time for shopping for last minute items.

Once the list is done I start to gather. My bed usually becomes suitcase central. Luckily, my husband goes on a lot of business trips so I let him pack himself, but always remember to ask him if he has certain items (like swim trunks) that he would typically forget! I like to involve the boys as much as I can, having them retrieve things or pick out their favorite clothes to wear.  Packing can be a big task, but I feel like it starts to get you excited to go.

Then you are set! Well, as long as you thought about your pets, if you need anyone to watch the house or collect the mail too! These are important details that can be forgotten!  Trust me! Last fall, when we went for a weekend I almost forgot to make arrangements for the dog, which led to a 2 hour vet appointment to update shots. Don’t ask!

Once you leave your house, make it fun! Vacation starts on that first step out the door!

Are you going on a fun family vacation anywhere?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

 

 

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October 17th, 2011 at 5:00 am

My Biggest Stress at This Time of Year

Work? School? Kids? Chores?

I have to make a big admission- during this time of year my biggest stress is the amount of toys my kids have. What adds to this stress is the fact that in a little more than two months we will gain even more. How are you doing on your Christmas To Do List?

For the past 5 years I have just ignored our playroom until a week or so before Christmas. That, combined with the normal stress of Christmas, has ended up in near panic attacks. So, this year I decided that I was going to do things a little earlier, and a little differently. It seemed to go a little easier, plus I really weeded a lot more out than I expected.

First, I went through the room and took everything out that the kids no longer show any interest in. I piled all these items in my kitchen so I could accumulate any parts that may have been separated at first weeding. I was amazed at all the things that I was able to pile together. What surprised me even more is that my youngest son, who was home at the time, only threw a fit about two items. I asked him why he wanted these items and he was convincing so those items went back into the room. If he would have asked for much more, I would have had to make him make harder decisions about what he wanted to truly keep.

Next, I went through the remaining toys in the room and reorganized them. If I discovered broken parts then I decided wether something should truly be kept. Most of those things went. I was able to reorganize and move some things around and make the playroom much more spacious.

The last part is that I went through the times that I plead in the “garbage” pile and made sure that some of the little parts weren’t truly essential parts to toys we were keeping. My oldest son did this with me and only one item he pleaded to keep. Most of the items were truly garbage.

Now, we have a clean playroom that has some room to grow. I do find as my boys get older that we don’t accumulate as many toys since their wish list has some video game and book options. It’s amazing the difference that this experience felt like compared to the normal “cleaning of the playroom” at this time of year.

No, I truly feel like I can tackle Christmas!

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