Open House, Spring Break, and Staycations

This time of year can be overwhelming for a teacher! I really have to step back and look at the big picture. My second graders have accomplished a lot this year and I am proud! But, with Spring Break five days away and open house looming, I am anxious for this week to go quickly so I can enjoy some quality time with my family.

Open House is usually scheduled the week before spring break. My second grade team tends to plan our main field trip to the Dallas World Aquarium the same week, and this can make for a stressful time! But when it’s over, it’s done! This is a time for parents to visit the classroom where their children spend so many hours, and see projects and displays of their children’s work. The children really enjoy the reponsibility of showing parents around the class: their desk, projects, work, journals… But what’s on everyone’s mind is the count down to spring break! I always have a constant soundtrack to life running in my head and instead of singing “ I love Paris in the springtime, I’m singing, “I dread open house in the springtime !” But after open house my song will change to Madonna’s Holiday!

DWAclass2009 018.jpg You can turn this world around
And bring back all of those happy days
Put your troubles down
It’s time to celebrate
Let love shine
And we will find
A way to come together
And make things better
We need a holiday

Photo: Two of Ashley’s adorable students from last year’s field trip to the Dallas World Aquarium checking out the sharks!

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Photos: Ashley and her daughter, Zooey at the Frank Buck Zoo.

There is usually a staff e-mail about this time sharing with co-workers where you will be going for spring break. We teachers like to live through each other. So far I haven’t heard of anyone going anywhere exotic! It seems that only a relative few are vacationing now! I believe most Americans will be taking a “Staycation” this year!

“Staycations” are like vacations, except you don’t travel far from home, or away from home at all (which still makes them vacations).

I’ve always loved The Today Show’s “Where in the World is Matt Lauer,” because it made me feel like I was on vacation too. I would Tivo the show and come home from work to see where Matt went. This year, instead of going himself, The Today Show is sending its four anchors on a weeklong journey to find affordable vacations spots. This is perfect because it reflects what’s going on in the world right now.

It seems like only the very rich are going on vacation this spring break. Those of us who are not, need to make the most of what we have to work with. Most people will probably be spending their spring break on a “staycation” instead of a vacation this year. Please don’t get me wrong, travel is NOT wasteful! Only extravagant travel seems wasteful. There really are plenty of places near home to make you feel like you are on vacation. I’d be the first one on the airplane if I could (kids in tow)! My Mom joked that when I was pregnant with my first child and my brother and sister-in-law were deciding wheather or not to get married in Turkey, they said, “What about Ash since she’s pregnant?” She told them not to worry, that I would swim across the Mediterranean just to travel. I crave it!

Keeping a good attitude is one of the keys to happiness… It’s very hip now to do a “Staycation” because we can take advantage of that free time we don’t usually have and spend it locally. It can make you appreciate where you live.
Last year my husband and I did a staycation with our family and truly made the most of it. Going to the Dallas Arboretum acually felt a bit like traveling to a foreign country! There were people with different accents all around us! I remember my then two-year- old daughter picking up on this French conversation she heard with the parents and child. She noticed when this little boy fell, the parents asked, Ca va? She knew that expression because I say it all the time. I felt like I had taken my kids to Monet’s Giverny and not just the Dallas Arboretum.

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Photo: Ashley’s children at the
Dallas Arboretum.

Photo: See Ferdinand the Bull topiary at the Dallas Arboretum! March 6th was the opening Day of Dallas Blooms, Fiesta de las Flores. Mayor Thomas Leppert declared it Dallas Blooms Day. You’ve just got to see Ferdinand (the 12 ft. topiary) for yourself!

I’m très guilty for being an ultra over-scheduler, that’s just me! This staycation I have plans to: have a datenight with my husband and use our gift card to the Dallas resaurant Rise, read as much as possible, take my children to the zoo, repeat the Dallas Arboretum and finally, make some incredible things in the kitchen. At the top of the list is making my own lemoncello because it will make me feel like I’m in Italy! I WILL go to Italy again and when I do it will be fabulous! Until then, cin cin to spring break!
Please share your ideas for a staycation!

As G.K. Chesterton said, “The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.”

Ashley’s Lemoncello recipe:
4 Cups 100 proof vodka (750ml)
2 pounds lemon skin only (try meyer lemons)
3 cups sugar
3 cups water

Steep the peel of two pounds of lemons in four cups of vodka for one week at room temperature. Stir three cups of sugar and three cups of water in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves; cool. Add to the vodka mixture and stir. Strain the liquid into bottles; seal and chill. Lemoncello makes a wonderful palate cleanser or a nice after dinner drink.

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