A Peek Into Our Week {Spring Break!}

posted by Andrea | 04/9/2018
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I’m back after taking a few days off last week to enjoy Dave and Nora’s spring break.

We had a very fun week!

I probably tried to pack a bit too much into a few of the days, but we didn’t have much of anything planned this past Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, so I was able to catch up on laundry, house cleaning, grocery shopping… and sleep!

Although we didn’t actually travel anywhere, I’m positive our kids had a really great time doing lots of fun things we wouldn’t normally take the time or pay the money to do on a regular basis.

Here’s a peek at what we did on our Spring Break “Staycation”!

We started our staycation at the airport of all places… Dave brought a friend to the airport and took the older 3 kids along for the ride. They brought their binoculars (and pirate spyglass) to the airplane viewing area! 🙂

I took the kids to an Easter Egg hunt at a local church on Saturday — they got SO much candy!

Then, later that day, we had a Gender Reveal party for my youngest sister and her husband (at the same church)… it’s a boy!

We let the kids stay up extra late one night to watch a movie they had requested to watch several times now — they even got popcorn and candy for a snack (usually they just get fruit as a bedtime snack).

They didn’t even make it to the end of the movie and were all in bed by 8:30pm (we love us some early bedtimes!)

NOTE: they are just pretending to sleep in the photo below… they did not actually sleep like this all night!

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On Monday, we surprised the kids by heading to a local hotel (we clocked it at 1.3 miles away). We really didn’t have to pack anything, and it was so close, our kids never even asked, “Are we there yet?”

We spent the afternoon swimming, we walked across the parking lot to Arby’s for dinner, and then Dave, Nora and Simon stayed at the hotel while James and Clara slept at home with me (that is my kind of vacation!)

Dave picked James up again in the morning for a couple more hours of swimming.

The kids thought it was SO MUCH FUN — definitely worth the tiny amount of effort and money we spent on that mini vacation!

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On Wednesday, we ventured out to the Frederick Meijer Gardens to see the Butterfly exhibit. I’ve actually never been to it before and it was really fun. I’m not sure I’ll need to go back any time soon, but it was fun to see, and the kids enjoyed it.

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We were supposed to go to Rebounderz on Thursdays, but they canceled their Toddler Time because of spring break, so we had to change our plans. Instead, we hit up Costco and a new Aldi to run a few errands.

I’m trying to be open-minded about shopping at Aldi — but I’m still not a fan. Maybe I need to try it for several weeks in a row this summer (and go without kids)… it just seems like they only ever carry half the things I need to buy, and some of them aren’t even any cheaper than Meijer. Plus, since I use a Meijer credit card and MPerks, I get lots of rewards, coupons, freebie products, and cash back by shopping at Meijer.

Simon’s newest photo book arrived (this is always a really big deal for my kids) so we spent lots of time looking through all the pictures.

It really is crazy how much younger the kids look just one year earlier!

We also did a little experiment with white roses and colored water. It didn’t work quite as well as I hoped it would, but at least the blue rose looks pretty!

We ended our staycation by having some friends over to play on Friday and visiting the library on Saturday.

The kids were all tired and went to bed super early most of the week.

My projects:

I didn’t get as many things accomplished as I thought I might, but part of that was because it was freezing cold, snowy, sleety, and windy most of the days — so I didn’t tackle any of the yard work or outside projects on my list.

I did purge our filing cabinet (something I do every year after we get our tax return) and updated our Important Information Binder (something I try to do after the New Year).

I also purged Clara’s clothes, purged my clothes, and Dave purged his clothes. Then we both got a handful of new-to-us items at our local thrift store during a 5 for $5 sale!

I’m through episode 3 of Call the Midwife and reading a book about stress and sleep. It’s taking me a while to get into it, but I think it will be a good read.

Our Weekly Menu

After 2 months of not eating out, thanks to our mini no-spending challenge, we enjoyed a trip to Arby’s and Culver’s last week!

SUNDAY: 

MONDAY: 

  • Arby’s for our hotel getaway 🙂

TUESDAY: 

WEDNESDAY:

  • Culver’s after the Butterfly Exhibit

THURSDAY:

FRIDAY:

  • Leftovers

SATURDAY:

  • Beef Stew
  • Roasted Vegetables
  • Applesauce
  • Rolls
  • Fresh Fruit

I’ve been keeping up with eating all sorts of veggies throughout the day — it’s amazing how easily I can work them into almost any meal or snack. I’ve even been eating a lot of vegetables for breakfast (the kids think I’m crazy!)

Also, I finally REALLY enjoy cherry tomatoes! I’ve forced myself to eat them for almost 4 years now, and I can honestly say I’m to the point where I actually crave them as a snack or with a salad.

Now we’re back to our normal routine again — school, church, blogging, etc.

It was fun to have a different schedule for a week, but I think we’re all ready for our normal routines again.

Only 8-ish more weeks until Summer Vacation!!

Filed under: Life

 
 

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36 comments

  1. Julie

    04/23/2018

    Have you tried the colored water experiment with carnations instead of roses? Back when I was in middle school, it was all the rage. I heard they absorb the colors easily, but I don’t really know how true that is. Here’s a link, though, to a step-by-step way of doing it.

    https://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/colorful-carnations/

    Love reading your blog! Hope you have a nice week.

    Julie

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Julie!
    Yes, I’ve heard it works really well with Carnation — but I haven’t tried it yet. We got the roses for free, so it was just on a whim that we decided to try. We’ve also tried Hydrangeas and those definitely do NOT work! Next time, we’ll have to do carnations!!

    [Reply]

  2. Lea

    04/10/2018

    It looks like you had a super fun week, Andrea! Thanks so much for sharing!

    I’m with you on Aldi – I find their selection so-so and their prices really aren’t any better than our “regular” grocer 95% of the time. Like you, I use a shoppers car and coupons so that probably helps. I also make a list each week based on sale prices and stock up as needed. Anyway, I’m glad it’s not just me as nearly everyone raves about Aldi here!

    I miss Meijer – I grew up in Michigan but am now in Minnesota. It’s a great store!

    Thanks again for sharing your staycation photos – I really enjoyed them.
    Lea

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    ahhh… I can only imagine how much you miss Meijer. That would probably be the saddest thing for me if we ever moved (aside from family and friends of course!)

    [Reply]

  3. Lori

    04/10/2018

    This post brings back many fond memories! We had many ”staycations” over the years. Raising four children on one income had its challenges but the rewards were priceless.
    One year for spring break we planned a Hawaiian “cruise”. We created luggage by cutting up magazine/catalog pictures of everything we needed. We created a huge “buffet” of fruits, veggies and fun foods. The highlight was the swimming pool that dad set up in the basement. He filled it with warm water and we cranked up the furnace! It was so much fun!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    seriously! That’s amazing! Like just a kiddie pool in the basement or a bigger pool? So fun!

    [Reply]

  4. Veneta

    04/10/2018

    I’m always impressed at how much you guys get done! It looks like it was a really fun Spring Break for the whole family – and all without any camps or other expensive Spring Break activities.

    The one thing I can’t figure out is how you have all this time to purge? Every time I try to organize or purge anything, my kids either really like helping me (which is not helpful at all) or they end up needing my attention so I can never get it done. Even cooking is a challenge as I’m constantly having to check on them. I’m amazed at how much you get done with the kids around!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Keep in mind that Dave was home the whole week — so one of us could be with the kids while the other one was actually accomplishing something.
    Also, for me, purging takes 10 minutes (honestly). I can go through an entire coset and dresser in 10 minutes easily. I do it so often that it hardly takes any time at all — one of the benefits of regular maintenance I suppose!

    [Reply]

  5. Kylie

    04/10/2018

    Andrea, did you get a new Boba? The one you’re wearing at the Butterfly exhibit looks like a lighter/cooler material than the traditional 4G. We’re having another baby next month, and since I’d like to wear her a lot during the summer (we have the traditional Boba), it’d be nice to know
    if there’s one that won’t be as hot! Thanks in advance!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I’ve always had 2! This is the Boba Air — it folds up into a tiny pouch (looked like a fanny pack) so I keep it in the car. It’s fantastic for quick trips and packing BUT it’s not nearly as comfortable to wear as the 4G and you can’t use it until the baby is roughly 15 pounds as it doesn’t have the inserts. So that picture was actually the first time I used it with Clara (she’s almost 16 pounds now).
    Anyway, it’s really great, and much less expensive, but I have a feeling you’ll still want to use your 4G this summer (sweat and all!)

    [Reply]

  6. alice

    04/09/2018

    I’m not on the computer alot less time on e-mail, but i have enjoyed your post in the years. I started with you before you had your first child. read alot that first year with her and how hard it was, then you had your first son, and i changed jobs and didn’t read much. tonight i went thru my e-mail and see you have four children, each one a special gift. Your little family has grown and you are still as pretty as always. I enjoy your blog, and I enjoy your advice.God Bless

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Alice! Yes, we have 4 children now — crazy!

    [Reply]

  7. Kristen @ Joyfully Thriving

    04/09/2018

    Andy heads back to school tomorrow, too. Our Spring Break was pretty low key as well, but we LOVED having Daddy home with us! And yes, we’re counting down the weeks until summer too! It’s one of the best perks of being married to a teacher! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    hope you “survived” his first day back today — with THREE kids at home!

    [Reply]

  8. Gabriela

    04/09/2018

    I like Aldi but I also agree with you…you can’t find everything you need. I don’t have a meijer so I can’t compare. ALso…it took me a few shopping trips to like Aldi. For the rest of the stuff I need I go to any other store I am close by. 😉
    And….I can’t believe how big Nora got!!! 🙂 Congrats on the nice family! Many blessings!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I’m thinking I’ll try Aldi several weeks in a row this summer when Dave can stay home with the kids. Then next year, I’ll be able to get groceries with “only” James and Clara while Simon is at preschool. I might be able to manage 2 grocery store in between dropping him off and picking him back up again — so maybe I’ll become an Aldi shopper by then 🙂

    [Reply]

    Brenda Reply:

    I do that (and the opposite) depending on the time of year. Sometimes I use Aldi for my weekly shopping and then do a big trip to Meijer to stock up on what I can’t get/don’t like from Aldi. And sometimes, I do it the other way: weekly trips to Meijer and big stock-ups from Aldi. The trick is to figure out what you like from Aldi. Then get that stuff there and supplement with Meijer. For example, we’re not picky about TP and facial tissues at my house so I know I can count on Aldi to get cheap TP and tissues. I don’t even look at that stuff at Meijer anymore. It is easier to shop at Aldi without the kids, but when I have my kids it’s nice to shop at Aldi because I don’t feel like I have to say NO to everything. (You want the marshmallow cereal, fine. It’s a smaller box and less than $2.) They feel like they got a treat and I’m not breaking the budget.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    This sounds more doable to me! I like the idea of coming up with the set things I always buy at Aldi and then planning to get everything else at Meijer. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  9. Amber Woods

    04/09/2018

    I am so glad my little boy isn’t the only one who thinks wearing big sister’s dresses can be fun. She loves to put them on him. Your boys look like they think it is fun to be silly like this also.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha –they LOVE playing dressup and Nora LOVES dressing them up!

    [Reply]

  10. Barb

    04/09/2018

    Wow! That last picture of you and Clara, you look VERY young, a teenager!! Four kids sure hasn’t aged you!. I loved the shot! It was wonderful too that you had a great week with Dave and kids; it will be a memory forever etched in their little brains. And, I am glad you are back to blogging again, missed reading your blogs this past week.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Barb — I’ll take that compliment!!

    [Reply]

  11. Kate

    04/09/2018

    I love Aldi! But we don’t have a Meijer or anything like that close. We have a Walmart and the grocery stores we have are more expensive than Walmart. Yes, I can’t get everything at Aldi but getting what I can get there does add up to quite a savings compared to only shopping at Walmart. And I feel like I can get in and out of Aldi so much quicker than other places.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, Aldi was FAST!

    [Reply]

  12. Diana

    04/09/2018

    I agree about Aldi–it’s not a regular stop for us. There are things I would still need to buy at Kroger (Kroger brand natural peanut butter, unbleached flour, our favorite lemon juice, tea bags, coffee, and sometimes a specialty item), and so it couldn’t turn into our only grocery stop. I find better deals at Publix with their BOGO sales (plus coupons, if I have them), and almost all of Aldi’s prices are close to Kroger’s prices on sale.

    Produce is the one exception: they often have in-season fruit and veggies for super low prices, and it’s usually good quality. So if there are a lot of good produce sales (or if I just need a lot of produce for that week), I will make the extra trip and it’s worth it. Also, their milk and eggs are unbeatable prices in our area (but not in my parents’ town, so it is somewhat variable).

    I guess you have to know your area, your shopping habits, and make the decision that actually works for you! (Sounds like what you say about everything else…ha!)

    Ooooh–when I do go to Aldi, though, I always stock up on their specialty chocolate–I can’t remember the brand right now, but I get the 70% dark and the mint chocolate. It looks like one big bar, but there are actually 5 smaller bars in the package, and they are delicious if you like dark chocolate!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    ok, I’ll have to look for the chocolate next time 🙂
    I hear so much about their “cheap eggs and milk”, so I was SUPER bummed when I noticed that the milk and eggs were the same exact price that our lock Meijer carries them for. Maybe our Aldi’s just aren’t as great of a deal because we have so many great deals at Meijer. I will say, Aldi was significantly faster than Meijer (their checkout lines are brutal!)

    [Reply]

    Diana Reply:

    Well, our Aldi has milk for .99 (Kroger is 1.49 right now) and eggs for .49/doz (Kroger is anywhere from .99 to 1.89). But my parents in a different state have at least 1.99 milk (maybe 2.50) and the eggs are not .49 either.

    I agree, the checkout process at Aldi is so efficient!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah those are great prices! Our Aldi was almost $2 for milk and the eggs were more expensive because they were “cage free” which I could care less about!

    [Reply]

  13. Meghan

    04/09/2018

    I made your ham and potato soup last night to use up frozen Christmas ham. My pickiest eater gobbled it up and ate seconds! Thanks for the recipe!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh good — all my kids love this soup too!

    [Reply]

  14. Melissa Q

    04/09/2018

    Curious to hear more about your “stress and sleep” book. Hope you will share more.

    An option we just found out about and tried this past weekend was a family day pass to a local full-blown gym. For $35 we got to spend the day taking advantage of their swimming pool, hot tub, sauna, racket ball and basketball courts, plus hubs and I switched off using their exercise equipment. It was great!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    that’s a great deal for $35 for the whole day. We would love to do something like that, but didn’t have a ton of time to call around. The kids thought it was super fun to “sleep over” at the hotel, but once Clara is a little older, I’d be more interested in what you described.

    [Reply]

  15. Kim

    04/09/2018

    There may also be hotels that just let you use the pool for a few hours, for a fee of course. There are a few hotels here that charge $5 or $10 per child with no real time restriction on how long you stay.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, we thought about this option too — but we got the whole night (plus breakfast) for $50, so pretty reasonable 🙂

    [Reply]

  16. Amy

    04/09/2018

    Looks like fun….and stress free 🙂 I think we need to use your hotel idea…..

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    it was fun — and surprisingly low-stress considering we brought a baby with us for everything 🙂

    [Reply]