We rarely go away during the holidays in December / January as Pete works between Christmas and New Year (the joys of owning your own hospitality business), but I always have a week or so time off work and I choose to spend it on catching up on stuff around the house and hanging out with the kids.
This time is somewhat of a challenge for me though, keeping the kids occupied day and night by myself, and getting them motivated to do and play something other than iPhones, iPads, Netflix or PlayStation – so I try and keep them busy and get them out of the house for some part of the day.
I also like to keep things very simple, after a thumper year of work (literally crawled to the finish line) apart from socialising at Christmas or New Year’s Eve with family and friends, I don’t travel much more than a few km’s during this time and I also love a bit of me or “loner” time, so I do keep to myself a bit and chill out with lots of exercise and yoga, sometimes a few pages of reading, and lots of online (shopping) browsing/purchasing, a little bit of Netflix if I get a go at the TV (ahh) and this time I also managed to do a massive amount of decluttering (I got rid of according to the skip guy who is amazing I can provide the details of you need them – 2.5 cubic metres of rubbish that I had somehow shoved into my cupboards for many years)! I have always complained of not having much storage space in our house…mmm now I know why! This mess was staring at me for literally 6 months, so I approached the monstrous task super motivated to see the back of it and I did just that.
Here are just some of the things we have done during our staycation! I try and do at least one of these things a day with the kids for a good few hours at a time. I never try and do any more than one, otherwise I end up getting too tired and so do the kids. As I don’t cook or bake much during the working year, I like to fit this in also as I actually quite enjoy it, just don’t get the chance to do it much. We also managed a few play dates during this time and hangouts with cousins.
I got the kids to choose a movie each and we went and saw them both one during the day and one in the early evening. Whilst my kids are close in age they both like completely different things, so by giving each of them the opportunity to choose makes things fair and very peaceful to say the least. Kristina’s choice was Ralph breaks the internet. James’s choice was Spider-Man! There was soft drink, pop corn and ice cream involved.
Movies nights at home
I usually finish the day with movie night, lights dim and movie on with popcorn of course. This year the kids have loved Christmas movies with the standout being Christmas Chronicles. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a must for young and old. Mr Bean is always a winner and Paddington 2.
We don’t have many board games, but given the kids are obsessed with money at the moment (thank you very much to the school canteen) I find this game useful in reminding them that you can’t just buy what you want, you need to make or have the money first! Lots of competitiveness comes out too which is fabulous, especially from me!
I can’t say I have much patience for LEGO, but the kids just love it when we build things together. When friends or family ask me what the kids want for birthdays or christmas and when they already have everything, I always say LEGO. You can never have too much, and its at times like this that it comes in handy. One day James and I spent over 2 hours building LEGO City, and Kristina’s favourite is LEGO Friends.
We managed 2 visits to Bounce these holidays (already) where the kids bounced for nearly 2 hours each time. We are lucky to have a centre about 5 minutes from our place, and the kids usually meet other kids there or see kids from their school. We finished both sessions with a iced drink as they literally came off the trampolines dripping with sweat! Such good exercise for them too.
Overnight Stay in the City
I like to stay at a hotel in the city a few times a year, this time we stayed at our choice of hotels – the beautiful Langham in Southbank, with the kids on the day before NYE. Even though I told them both (after countless amount of times to stop running and screaming in the corridors) that they would never be allowed to come back with us ahhhh – the rooms are spacious, there are two queen size beds in the twin share option and the buffet brekkie is amazing!!!!! We went for dinner, a long walk down Southbank and into Crown, and sat and watched buskers for hours. Kristina even asked me a couple of times, “are we in Australia?”. We stayed the next day and swam in the indoor pool and enjoyed the facilities (the Chuan Spa is incredible we didn’t book in for a treatment this time though) as they were setting up for NYE. It was a great 24 hours.
The local pools are about 3km from our house and the kids just love the diving board and two large pools to choose from. The facilities are next to brand new, there is lots of shade, and while there is a great canteen with icecreams, drinks and hot food, I always pack a picnic lunch. We could spend up to 5-6 hours at any given time here, and even mummy gets some tanning and free time!