Staycations on the Cheap: Family Holidays with Anna Krafve Pierce

Anna dressed as Yoda and her brother dressed as Popeye.FTR Co-host Anna Krafve Pierce and her brother still having fun in costume. 
(Can you guess who Anna is?)

Spring Break and Easter are two family moments that used to have me biting my fingernails. In fact, we accidentally innovated dozens of staycations on the cheap. Really, it wasn’t the holiday as much as the Monday after. Invariably, the teacher asked the kids to write about their vacation.

What Did You Do Over the Holiday?

Naturally, other kids wrote about snow skiing and cross-country travel to visit grandparents. Sadly, my kids struggled to fill a page about why their parents think down time is good for children. Thus, the dreaded question: What did you do over the holiday?

Being entrepreneurs, we still don’t take days off easily, not if we want to pay the bills. But, we’ve learned along the way to work in some fun. Especially when our kids were growing up, staycations were a godsend! Maybe, like me, it’s up to you to figure out how to use the extra holiday time with family. Of course, we all want our children proud of their rockin’ family.

More Dates, More Romantic Adventures

Perhaps, you, too, look for creative and innovative ways to bless the socks off your own kids. Just for you, I interviewed Anna Krafve Pierce on this very topic on Fireside Talk Radio. An artist, Anna is one of the most creative people I know. Plus, she’s in the midst of creating second generation staycations on the cheap for her own kiddos.

“I need more dates, stay at-home-style dates,” Anna says. Not an easy assignment for parents of toddlers. “Child care is expensive, but I don’t want to miss out being in love with my husband.” Her creative juices flowed in all directions on the show: how to engage the children, have fun, cultivate cultural blessings, and still make time for romance? Wow! That’s a bunch of multitasking, even for Anna! So, what’s she got up her sleeve?

“We plan to take our family on a vacation to the Mexican market and do all the things we can that are hispanic in our area,” laughs Anna. Maybe at first, the market doesn’t sound like much of a holiday, but wait until Anna adds all the fun fluff she thought up as bonus excitement.

The Blessing of Cross Cultural Holidays

In Texas, where we live, hispanic culture adds all kinds of spice to our lives. In big cities, there’s often a China Town, which we make a point of visiting whenever we travel. Whatever cultural backgrounds are prominent in your area, remember experiencing different cultures expands your child’s horizons.

Cultural Vacations on the Cheap

Anna recommends taking the whole family to specialty markets. There, look for inexpensive splurges, like fancy salsa, unusual beer, or regional chocolate. Let the kids explore and savor the new sights and sounds specific to the market’s cultural specialty.

“Let them pick out treats and tell them this is from another country and explain what that means,” Anna says. In doing so, you can teach your kids the great advantage we have in America to “travel” without leaving home. Savoring foods and music from all cultures are ways to value our cross-cultural American heritage.

Movies, Music, Costumes, Oh, the Fun!

Like discovering new foods and music, finding movies that tie into the theme, especially if they’re bilingual, can make for more culturally-themed, family-friendly fun. We also like picking out simple children’s books in Spanish at the local library to expand our vocabulary. 

When my kids were in their teens, I often begged them to attend a local church with me that held services in Spanish, with Mariachi music no less! What fun! Surprisingly, the vocabulary is easier when they’re quoting familiar verses from the Bible in Spanish. Along with music and language adventures, don’t forget to round up some costumes for family fun over the holiday.

“The idea of blending it with a date night makes it fun for everybody,” Anna says, “My husband will be so much more game to wear a sombrero to the Mexican market if he thinks he’s going to get all my attention once the kids are asleep!” She’s planning to download a Tango lesson video from You Tube, too. Por supuesto!

Friends With Cultural Skills

The benefits of cross-cultural friendships are too numerous to name, but she especially likes exposing her children to language opportunities. As a grandmother, who raised kids to be unafraid of second and third languages, she’s right about giving kids the advantage of exposure to languages.

“They’ve started greeting my children in Spanish for me,” Anna says about some friends who know her desire to help her kids embrace language learning. Such friends are a fabulous resource. Like my hubby’s grandmother who sang Jesus Loves Me in Swedish, you never know what beautiful surprises cross-cultural friends have in store!

Freedom from Guilt

Consistent, not perfect, is every parent’s goal, according to Anna. The whole purpose of fun is to be free, not to put more guilt trips on mom. Doing something consistently, does not have to take its toll on your sanity. Fitting fun into your family’s priorities can stay relaxed. Thankfully, kids often give parents  more credit than we deserve because special moments resonate so much with them, according to Anna.

“I could have told everybody Dad made pancakes every Saturday,” laughs Anna. Truly, her dad made pancakes often, but there’s no way he could do it every Saturday. It’s simply not possible to be that perfect. So, Anna recommends cutting yourself some slack. “You can feel like you’re failing when you’re really knocking it out of the ballpark.”

While we’re on the subject of holiday fun and giving yourself a break, we’ve got you covered for a fun family craft. To get your free printable templates, click here. You’ll get our blog each week, filled with all kinds of ideas to foster companionship and fellowship in our lives. Plus, as a special little treat just for you, we’ve created boxes to color, cut, glue, and wrap around a candy bar. Your kids will love them!

More Ideas for Staycations on the Cheap

Cooking Camp Adventures

Older kids can claim the adventure of creating their own kitchen on a porch, like our son did when he was young. For a staycation that includes cooking adventures, turn all the meals over to the kids. Let them choose and budget for the groceries. Let them search for recipes they want to experience.

“Coleman stoves are almost indestructible,” Anna says, adding “two or three days of that is probably enough, but the kids will never forget.” Also, for the truly adventurous, they can set up their own tent in the back yard.

The Picnic Challenge

To test your kids’ imagination, challenge them to think of unusual places to enjoy a picnic. Help them pack new foods that intrigue their taste buds. Different places each day can include your own patio, nearby lakes and rivers, a friend’s boat or camper, a relative’s back porch, the top of a tall building, an office on Saturday, a tree fort, a nearby church foyer or grounds, a local zoo, local attractions. Heck, we’ve even picnicked in a really beautiful, small cemetery.

Family Holiday Reality Show: Hollywood Week

Get the kids engaged for an upcoming Family Holiday Reality Show. As they think ahead about all the fun, they’ll be ready for lights, camera, action at your house. With phones, youngsters easily record video. You’ll create staycations and they’ll document the occasions for lifelong memories. What a perfect way to delegate! Enlist their help in planning the pre-show promos before your holiday. They can create costumes, topics, even scripts.

“Have everybody get excited about what they’re going to wear and what their personas are going to be,” says Anna. “Let everyone go around interviewing each other.”

Additionally, Hollywood Week is a great time to co-star the grandparents, telling family stories. Obviously, you cannot record enough family stories. Also, here’s the list of questions Anna gave us on the show for your kids to ask anyone who happens to drop by over the holiday.

“How do you Mom and Dad? Well, do you know how my parents met? Do you know my grandparents? What stories do you have about them?”

Vaya Con Dios!

Finally, we suggest you give your culturally themed staycations on the cheap a special name, like, How to Rock a Central American Adventure Without Ever Getting on a Plane. Or, Vaya Con Dios a la CentroAmerica! Certainly, Our Family’s National Lampoon Holiday is a sure hit. Armed with hilarious memories, your kiddos return to school with a title for their post-holiday writing assignment. With so much fun on the agenda, it wouldn’t be surprising if you have your family serenading soon, maybe in a new language!

May I pray for you?

Dear Father in heaven, we love the way You spend time with us, always available, always present. Sometimes, as parents, we feel we’re letting everyone down around us; there’s just not enough hours in a day! We need You to help us choose priorities that honor You. Help us use creativity and innovation to create memories for our kids that don’t break the bank. O Lord, supply our needs, please. Let us create fellowship with our children just as You create fellowship with us. Give us what we need for today. We are Your grateful people. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

We love to hear from you!

How are your Spring plans shaping up to include easy-on-the-budget staycations? Which family staycations on the cheap secured a special place in your memories? How is your family savoring the spice of other cultures? (Please leave us messages in the Comment Box below.)

We have Winners!

Winners were contacted via email and will be receiving Open With Your Broken from author Dana Goodrum!! If you missed the contest, it’s not too late to get in on the action because I created a fun little freebie just for you, printable templates!

Yep, just in time for Easter! These darling templets are perfect for a Sunday school craft or entertaining kids over spring break. Heck, adults love these! (I tested them on my friends!) Each one has inspiring messages and can be cut out to wrap up a candy bar. They are the perfect little treat to let friends know they are loved. Sign up for our blog and get your free templets here!

Or, find lots more easy ideas about spending time with creative kids from Anna Krafve Pierce, here.

More Stories and Wisdom to Bless Our Hearts

If you, too, are committed to building companionship in your own families, we want to encourage you! Joyfully, we’ve interviewed experts. Don’t miss their stories and wisdom, shared just for you on Fireside Talk Radio: James Kemp, Sarah Cummings, Tina Meier, Neita Fran Ward, Benjamin A. Simpson, Chris Legg, Katie Butts, and Tony Johnson.

Cathy Krafve, Columnist, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Christian Writer, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at Truth with a Texas Twang.

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