10 (Inexpensive!) Spring Break Staycation Ideas.

It's time for Spring Break! If you don't have any plans that are beckoning you to the beach (although I'm sure we all wish we had those plans...), I've compiled a list of fun, inexpensive things to do for a staycation. Next week is Everett's preschool spring break, and I was getting a little worried that I would feel kind of trapped at home for a week with nothing to do and nowhere to go. Truth be told, we love to travel, and most of the time I would have planned a trip for the week. However, I think it's really important to be able to make fun at home and explore what's right around at home. I think it teaches kids to be creative with what they're given instead of always needing a new toy or exotic trip to create excitement for them. And let's be honest, I should be flexing my mom magic to make everyday things a little bit more magical :)

Amicalola Falls State Park, in all it's glory.

Amicalola Falls State Park, in all it's glory.

1. Explore State and/or National Parks.
This is the perfect time of year to visit a state park in Georgia because it's not too hot yet! Come June, you practically need an IV drip to stay hydrated while you hike around, but in April? The weather is perfect (other than the pollen, but hey, you can't win em all). While admission to the park might cost a few bucks, this is a great way to get outdoors with your family and hike, fly a kite and enjoy a packed lunch. A few of my favorites in this area are Sweetwater Creek State Park (we went glamping here once :), Cloudland Canyon State Park, and Amicalola State Park (we hiked this last summer and it was sooo hard!) Also, I like to follow @exploregeorgia on instagram to get inspired about new places to visit in our great state ;)

2. Take advantage of the Local Library.
This might sound a little lame, but have you been to your local library lately? It's worth exploring, especially if you have little kids. Every library is stocked with resources and classes - I had no idea that our local chapter offered so many art & music classes, story time, language lessons and technology-based learning games. Of course, Everett always makes a beeline straight for the giant stuffed animals and then the kid computer (he likes the headphones), but usually I can pry him away to read a few books and try some other activities.

3. Try Geocaching.
Want to go on a treasure hunt? Did you know there are treasures hidden all around you, called "caches", and they are meant to be found? It's a really fun concept! Download the app and go on a "treasure adventure" with the whole family (it's like the first generation of Pokemon Go). If you want to know more about this little activity, you can watch this 75-second video. It helped me realize this is kind of cool and not at all weird :)

Everett learning to throw a frisbee last summer. He makes me laugh so much.

Everett learning to throw a frisbee last summer. He makes me laugh so much.

4. Play Sports.
This is not rocket science. Get outside and play! We love to go over to our local frisbee golf course on random week nights, because Stevie is a hippie in his heart and he's teaching Everett how to throw. Play a game that the whole family can enjoy, like wiffle ball (or baseball for those of you with big kids) in the back yard, basketball in the cul-de-sac, or soccer at the park. Sometimes the simple stuff can be really wondrous fun.

5. Back Yard Camping.
Camping with little children can be intimidating, but pitching a tent in the back yard is the perfect solution. You can still use the restroom in the house and cook up a big breakfast in the morning! This is actually a great way to "trial run" a camping experience with your kiddos if you've never taken them before, and it gives you the opportunity to pull out all your camping gear and explain it to them.

6. Explore museums.
Most museums have "free days" during certain times of the month - a list can be found here. I personally love going to the High Museum here in Atlanta, but there are tons of others that are worth checking out, like the Coca Cola Museum (a classic), the MLK Museum, Fernbank Museum and of course, the Children's Museum. Ha, just bring hand sanitizer.

7. Host a Family Film Festival.
It's time for blankets, pillows and popcorn! Vote on 2 movies and make it a double feature with pizza in the living room :) It's not like it's all that different than a Saturday night after the kids go to bed (true story, if you're over here in our shoes), but it's a really fun way to cozy up with the whole family together and watch something fun. We recently watched Finding Dory and Everett keeps asking to watch it again and again.

8. Check out local markets/fairs/festivals.
Our local farmer's market is really fun - there is usually live music and locally-made treats (hi, King of Pops!) to be enjoyed. But each community around the Atlanta area also has a slew of characteristic festivals in their area - check out a comprehensive list of Atlanta-area festivals here. So much fun to be had in the springtime here in Georgia!

9. Go fishing & canoeing.
If you live near a body of water, take advantage of it! Post a quick Facebook message and see if one of your friends has some gear you can borrow. Then trek out to the back yard and dig up some worms for bait (if you have little boys, they will love this). Again, ages of your kiddos matter - I won't be taking a newborn on a canoe anytime soon - but as long as everyone has a life vest, this would totally be an adventure.

10. Go biking and have a picnic.
This one sounds so simple, but it's so much fun. We loved when Everett got old enough to ride on the back of Stevie's bike (this bike carrier and this helmet), and he was totally mesmerized by the experience! Since the weather has started to warm up, they've been back on the bike again lately. We have amazing trails throughout our entire city that we can ride on (one of the reasons why we love living here), but there are also some great biking parks to check out, including Callaway Gardens (where I biked and was so sick last year - that's how I knew I was pregnant!), the Chattahoochee River Trail and the Silver Comet Trail. Pack a delicious lunch and bike until hungry. Make sure to pack lots of water and sunscreen, too.

There you have it! 10 ideas to get your juices flowing, outside of the normal activities like going to the zoo or getting ice cream.

Many thanks to my sister-in-law Lauren, who helped me brainstorm these ideas (so that we don't go out of our mind next week!) Any other ideas you have? Please share in the comments - I'd love to hear from you!

Happy Spring Break, everyone! xox

A Morning at the Central Park Conservatory Garden.

This week went a little differently than I had planned. After the excitement of coming home to Georgia after a month in New York, I was a little bombarded by some pregnancy discomforts and a wicked stomach bug. I'm still coming out of the sick stupor but am taking a moment away from cloroxing everything in my home to share this post. Because it's a good one and it makes me smile.

One of the first things we did when we visited NYC this month was check out the Central Park Conservatory Garden - a formal garden tucked into the upper east corner of Central Park. It's a little bit of a hike to get all the way up there (which is why we've never visited), so there were virtually no tourists, but I am so, so so glad we finally made the effort. After coming off of our London trip and swooning over all the practically enchanted gardens there, it was really fun to see an American version of something so charming and well-kept. Also, I have been telling Everett all about the English rose gardens that we visited in London, and he keeps asking to visit "the garden", which is just so fun. He is so my kid, that little botanist.

This is typical. Even if we're in a mall, and there's a fountain, he's suddenly in it.

This is typical. Even if we're in a mall, and there's a fountain, he's suddenly in it.

This has got to be in a movie somewhere. It's too perfect.

This has got to be in a movie somewhere. It's too perfect.

This juice you guys. It's all the rage. Well, in my heart. It's  Juice Generation's "Get Ur Green On"  and it's SO GOOD.

This juice you guys. It's all the rage. Well, in my heart. It's Juice Generation's "Get Ur Green On" and it's SO GOOD.

These two. They tend to always match because almost everything I buy for them is blue :)

These two. They tend to always match because almost everything I buy for them is blue :)

This is a really special park of Central Park because it's divided into three sections - English, Italian and French gardens. Each garden has its own flair and obviously, plant life, associated with the gardens. The most formal entrance is through the Vanderbilt Gate on 5th Avenue between 104th and 105th and immediately leads you down a staircase into the English Garden, which is flanked by magnolia and lilac trees. The Italian garden is punctuated with crabapple and yew trees and features a gorgeous wisteria-laden pergola. To the north, the French style garden features a water fountain called Three Dancing Maidens surrounded by a myriad of low-to-the-ground seasonally changing foliage, including tulips, mums and Japanese holly. For anyone who loves flowers and gardening (or who has a child that likes to trespass into water fountains), this is such a sweet, quiet spot of the park that really makes you feel like you're in a different country. You certainly forget for a moment that you're in New York City, and some times, that's a nice reprieve.

He was racing. Himself.

He was racing. Himself.

We do a lot of the same things when we travel - we walk around, we find things to munch on, we explore parks and gardens, and we take too many photos. But really, is there anything more relaxing than lazily exploring a quiet garden with your loves?

Seeing these pictures makes me want to go back. And simultaneously makes me want to go home and get gardening again :)