Vacation Dreaming

I love vacations. The chance to go somewhere just as a family and spend uninterrupted time together–fabulous! I’m such a researcher and planner, so each year (at least nine months in advance), we start planning where we want to go on our next vacation. After brainstorming ideas and gathering initial facts, we book the condo. Then I get to work researching everything there is to know about the place we are going.

For the following months, I share my findings with my family as I go along, and we talk about our favorites we each want to do. By the time we leave on vacation, I have a 3-ring binder of goodies about the destination, activities ideas, and helpful tips about the area.

Well, last year we booked our vacation for this year but I never got a chance to start researching. I dove into planning and starting our homeschool year and life took off. Fast forward to this week, my daughter asked me, “What sort of vehicle rental can we get to see the whole island?”

“I don’t know,” I said. She stared at me like I had been abducted by an alien.

“Do they have different currency there?”

“Uh … I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?”

“Nope. I haven’t started my research.”

“That’s not right,” she said with the alien abduction look glaring at me.

You see, we leave in just a couple short months and I haven’t begun–outside of a few discussions with my hubby about airfare. Even though my family gives me a hard time about my 3-ring binder, it’s obvious they’ve come to depend on it and miss that planning and dreaming of our vacation before we ever leave. I think I’d better start.

No matter where you go as a family this year–whether in the backyard, tropical, or mountainous–make it memorable!


One of my favorite things to do with my daughter each Christmas is to make our annual Christmas ornaments. We give the extras away as gifts and keep a few for ourselves. It’s a great inexpensive memory maker and gift idea!

I started this tradition when she was 21 months old and I love putting the ornaments on the tree that we made each year. They vary in difficulty depending on her age, of course, but each is labeled with the year it was made. Some are holding up good and others need a few touch up repairs before they are put on the tree, but all have great memories imprinted with them.

Now that she’s a teen, it’s much easier to decide what ornament we’ll make. I select a few of my favorite options, show them to her, and she quickly vetoes all but one. Decision made!

Even though this time of year lends itself to full schedules and bursting to do lists, take time to make a few memories with your children. Click here for a few homemade ornaments ideas.

Have fun and let me know what you make!


Last Friday night I had plans. Make dinner, hug and kiss hubby and daughter goodbye as they head to a concert, spend the evening writing in quietness. Simple. It wasn’t.


Late in the day, I called tech support to fix my printer thinking it’d be a quick fix. Fifteen minutes passed, then thirty … no dinner made, concert goodbye getting closer, no solution to printer problems.


I handed sticky notes to my family:


“Can you make dinner?”

“Don’t forget earplugs.”

“Almost an hour and STILL no progress!”

“Have fun.”


My family left for the concert. I sat stuck on the phone.


“Will this take very much longer?” I said looking at the clock anxiously bouncing my leg.


Thirty more minutes passed, then sixty. I reminded myself that I could never be a tech support person–I would pull out my hair. A mound of patience is needed for that job! Clearly I don’t have that much patience.


After 2 1/2 hours, my printer printed and I hung up. Starved, I made myself dinner. Once I finally reached my office again, I lit my candles and sat down to write. After a mere ten minutes of my coveted quietness, the phone rang.


“Mom. They don’t take debit cards and that is all Dad has with him.”


“What? You mean the concert is done already?” My mind immediately went to why the artist couldn’t have sang longer.


“I want to buy a T-shirt and CD, but they only take checks or cash.”


“What are you asking me honey?” I said knowing I wouldn’t like the answer.


“Can you bring the checkbook to us? I really, really want her to sign them.”


All I could think of was the 20 minute drive to the concert and the measly 10 minutes I got.


“Mom? Are you there?”


Just breathe slowly … inhale.






“Yes, I will come down. I’ll leave now.”


Did I just say yes?


As I drove, I argued with myself.


Selfish Me: Nothing went as planned tonight.


Caring Me: Part of being a parent means learning it isn’t about me.


Selfish Me: Yeah, but I needed my writing time. I’m on a deadline!


Caring Me: What about the concerts you went to as a teen. You didn’t get autographs. She has that chance tonight.


Caring Me won. I couldn’t deprive my daughter of an once-in-a-lifetime souvenir. On the ride home, I told her how thrilled I was she got her autograph and picture taken with the artist. I meant it.


The next day, I got my quietness time while my hubby and daughter did grocery shopping errands for me. It’s what being a family is all about–we help each other out!