How To Have A Fun Family Staycation

It’s summertime and it’s full on vacation season! Many families are vacationing all over the world but if you are like me (too busy) and didn’t plan ahead and have time off, you can still have fun even though every hotel and rental house is either triple the normal price because it’s now peak season or booked and have yourself a staycation playing in your own backyard. I have traveled a lot for work this year so I have had my travel bug satisfied so a staycation ended up being just what the doctor ordered! I realized that I have been vacationing all wrong by going to the same location every year and decided to switch things up in 2017. I deemed 2017 the year for new things on my first blog post of the year and so far I have done just that. Every year we go and visit family during our vacation time off and run and rip going from one person’s house to the next. We love our trips to DC & GA to visit family but we realized that they are fun but taxing! This year all of that changed with our staycation at home here in Tampa and it has been one of the most fun AND relaxing vacations we’ve had in a long time! It was awesome not to have to pack, unpack, drive far away, live out of a bag for a week or check into a hotel with 5 people in tow.  Here is how you can have a staycay, have fun in your own backyard, sleep in your own bed, not have to pack and save on traveling far away on your staycation:

Research fun local things to do & do them

I live in Florida so there are a plethora of fun things to do from amusement parks to the beautiful beaches but even if you don’t live in a vacation destination, you most likely have fun in your area so research whatever it is and plan a day of it. Most cities have museums, nice hotels and some level of fun within an hours drive of less from your home.  Do the things that you often don’t have enough time to enjoy because of work. Because I am always so busy with work, we don’t get a chance to visit amusement parks as much as we’d like so we planned a day of fun at Busch Gardens and a day at Adventure Island waterpark during what we coined #Staycation17 and both days were excited. The best part was coming home to our own beds and fridge!

 

Make time to relax

Many times when on vacation we tend to over schedule our vacations so much that we totally forget what vacations are intended for. In case you forgot, like I did, vacations are meant for breaks. Our bodies and minds need a break from time to time from doing so much so it’s important to take time to rest. During our staycation I scheduled time for fun and rest. I took naps in between outings and slept in late most days before starting out for our planned adventures. On the first day of our Staycay, we went to the beach and although that was enjoyable, it was relaxing because I sat and watched the beautiful turquoise water at Lido Key Beach and really released all of the tension in my body and mind. The beach is therapeutic to me so drifting into the warm water and laying out to dry under a cool breeze was so relaxing my entire body went limp. The best part of that was it was only a 45 minutes drive from my house and it was free!

Still enjoy vacation luxuries ( like eating out)

Just because you may be staying at home during your vacation doesn’t mean that you follow the same ole tired routines of cooking and cleaning! Heck no! It means cook when and if  you feel like it or not at all and go out to breakfast one day, lunch one day and dinner one day to get the full vacay effects! One morning my husband and I slept in late, got up and went to breakfast at First Watch for a very good breakfast alone. It was amazing to roll out of bed late and go out for a meal and not have to cook it or clean up the mess from it. We went out for lunch and dinner some days and pretty much left the stove O-F-F.  We pretty much treated our house like a hotel by cleaning it really well the week before the staycay began so that the house was already clean and we wouldn’t have to worry about cleaning during the staycay. We basically only used our house for sleeping during #Staycay17 lol.  Try it. The best part of our ‘housetel’ was it was not $300 a night like most places I tried to book for this week. It was FREE, well kinda, I still have to pay the rent and light bill.

Whether you stay or go away for your vacation, be sure to unplug a bit and refresh yourself. Don’t over do it, don’t wait until the last minute to plan it (lesson learned for me, planning next summer’s now) and don’t forget to try something new and enjoy the things in your own backyard.

 

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Tashia’s New Orleans Red Beans & Rice

Ingredients:

1 large 1lb bag of red kidney beans (rinsed, soaked in kosher salt and water overnight and drained)

1/2 cup of chopped onions

1 clove of garlic (chopped)

2 tbsp of vegetable oil

1/4 cup of chopped green peppers

1 pack of smoked ham shanks

2 tbsp of Lawry’s season salt

1 tbsp Zatarrin’s Creole seasoning

1 tbsp of salt

2 tbsp of black pepper

2 tbsp of crystal hot sauce

10 cups of water

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over med-high heat. Sauté the onions, bell pepper, salt, and black pepper for about 5 minutes. Add the cooked ham shanks and sauté for an additional 5 to 6 minutes to sweat the vegetables.
  2. Add the beans, garlic and 10 cups water to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmered uncovered, stirring occasionally for about 2 hours.
  3. Add more water if the mixture becomes dry and thick.
  4. After about 2 hours of initial cooking use a wooden spoon to mash about half of the mixture against the side of pot.
  5. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about another hour or until the mixture is creamy and the beans are soft.
  6. Add more water if it becomes too thick. The mixture should be creamy but not watery.
  7. Serve with steamed rice an ENJOY! 🙂