Tag Archives: spring break

Take Me Out to the Ball Games


We made it to Spring Break!! We didn’t make any big plans to go away. Flights were too expensive to fly anywhere and Dave had to work so we decided to make it a staycation instead.

A few weeks ago, Drew and I made plans to go to Philadelphia to see the Mets play the Phillies on Monday.  My friend Melanie and her family are going to the Orioles vs Yankees game on Sunday and that got me thinking….

I found some good seats right near their’s and a last minute hotel deal and surprised Drew tonight. Maybe this will move me up a few points on the “fun mom” scale!!

Might not blog for a few days…but…you never know what stories will pop up. If I have something fun to share, I will. Otherwise, back at it next week.

Flight to Nowhere

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We don’t travel much so maybe I am out of the loop, but is it always so ridiculously expensive? I know I was looking during a “prime time” but as a teacher, I don’t have a lot of flexibility of when I can go away. Our Spring Break this year happens to fall during Easter Week so the prices are astronomical!

I tried all the bargain sites out there. We were hoping to fly to Las Vegas to visit our cousins. I never found a price under $500 and we just can’t swing that right now. I have already begun to look for flights in August – the next break I will have from work. I often wonder, (and envy) how people who fly often can do it.

I have registered for “cheap flight alerts” in the hope that a good deal arrives in my inbox…we shall see, or maybe I will win the lottery!! Then we can fly anywhere anytime! I can always dream right?



10 scruffy.JPGDJ is home for Spring Break. At least for a few days. Tomorrow he leave for Florida with my dad and brothers. Tonight we went to see Grammy for dinner. Although she is doing well for a woman who is nearly 102 years old, her memory is starting to dwindle. She can’t remember my name all of the time but tells me she knows that I am “a person who is very kind to me.” That makes me laugh. She also calls me Dale – my aunt, who is not blood related at all but Grammy thinks we look alike and that’s okay with me!

Tonight, she recognized DJ right away but was very unhappy with the beard he has grown while away. She said,”Why would a good looking man ever grow hair on his face? Good Lord!” which just made everyone laugh. She’s been saying that to my uncle for at least forty years so he’s not alone. When we were leaving she told him to shave it off before the next time she saw him. I guess he has until May to take care of that wish.

Our Staycation


On April 3, I decided that I would not be writing daily on my blog. It is funny, some nights, I go to bed thinking that I forgot to do something for the day! It got to be such a habit for me.

I have still written several times this month and posted stories of kindness. I still read other bloggers entries and when I am feeling inspired or whimsical, like tonight, I sit down and write.

Tonight ends our Spring Break.  Back to reality tomorrow morning when that alarm goes off at 6am. Back to schedules and routines.  I got used to being at home.  We had a “staycation” this year.  No trip for us.  Drew was lucky enough to be invited to Great Wolf Lodge with the family of one of his good friends. DJ was busy with baseball.

Drew started the week off on a high note with his Spartan Race.  The weather was gorgeous and we knew if the whole week could be like that, it wouldn’t matter that we were staying home and not going anywhere.  Well, it wasn’t.  We had torrential rain on Monday and SNOW flurries two days!

At least it forced me to get some Spring Cleaning done – nowhere near as much as I had hoped to do, but some. The Veterans came and picked up a lot of “stuff” that was cluttering up the rooms.  I always joke that the house feels lighter after a donation pick up.

I was lucky enough to get to celebrate my best friend’s birthday by taking her to lunch. I did some collections for the Prom Dress Drive and for the local food pantry.  Dave and I used some gift cards we had been saving for awhile, and got to see a movie and have lunch.

I got to experience everyone’s vacations through Facebook. When I realized that DJ’s Spring break won’t ever fall at the same time as ours, it motivated me to look into a trip over our holiday break from school. Maybe it is something to strive for.  Looks like I need to sell a lot more jewelry!! 🙂 🙂


I know I shouldn’t complain about the cold weather here in New Jersey.  My uncle lives in Fairbanks, Alaska where it has been negative 40 degrees for days, but I don’t live in Alaska and I never will!!! In New Jersey, we expect some cold days.  That is one of the greatest thing about living here.  We get to experience all four seasons in their glory! I can’t stand this though. It has been so long since it has been warm!

Today, the “Capture your 365” photo prompt was Depth of Field. A difficult one to find something I could also write about, but from what I understand, the photo challenge is to get photographers really thinking about their shots.  I looked around the house wondering what to shoot because there was no way I was going outside! I found these shells that Drew had collected while we were in Hilton Head last April.  It made me think of the beach and warmth and wound up photographing beautifully.  I took so many photos, focusing on the intricacies of each shell, never realizing how beautiful and individual each one was.

This photo captures the huge one he found laying on the beach one morning while we were watching the sunrise.  Inside of it was a tinier one that nestled in perfectly.  I turned it to black and white just to enhance the details of the shell. This might not be exactly, “Depth of field” but it was my favorite.  I might even frame it!

For about fifteen minutes, as I photographed them, I actually wasn’t cold anymore.  Only a month or so until Spring!  I cannot wait!!


Yearly Wrap Up

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Two years.  730 posts. Over 118,000 views. As I looked back on my second year of blogging, I went through it month by month and realized just how uneventful and mundane a lot of it really was.  Yet, people are still reading it.  More than once I thought of stopping.  Next year should be a more interesting one.  DJ will be going to college – a totally new adventure!  There should be a lot more to write about.

2013 was a difficult year for us with all of the heartbreak and loss in our family.  2014 was less eventful.  A good thing! This blog has allowed me the opportunity to look back though.  It reminds me of all of those little things that make up our lives.

So….my 2014 year in review…

I think what I wrote most often about this year was SNOW!  There was so much of it.  One of the snowiest winters on record.  I lost count of how many times I wrote about snow in January and February! We went over our allotted snow days for school and even had to give back days during Spring Break.  It will be nice to get a break from all of that snow this winter!  One or two snow days are perfect!

I was so proud of our school community after another successful Food Drive and Pajama Drive and it has only made me want to do more!

We quietly “celebrated” and remembered mom and Francine on their one year anniversaries.  I have heard that the first year without our loved ones is the most difficult.  All of the “firsts” go by without them.  It does seem to be getting easier though.

We got to go away in April! Something we hadn’t done in a long time.  Hilton Head was the perfect Spring Break getaway for us!

For Mother’s Day, in memory of my mom, I got a tattoo of a duck on my wrist.  A way to remember her every time I see it!

DJ got his drivers license – and I have to admit, it has made life easier in some respects!!  We spent a lot of time together exploring colleges!

The toughest part of 2014 was the amount of time my dad spent in the hospital.  Too many days to recap here, but May 21st began his ordeal.  After a diagnosis of a Urinary tract infection that led to sepsis, he wound up being in the hospital and then a rehab center for over four weeks.  Then, a relapse and back in the hospital for about a week in September.  Fortunately, other than his bad knees, he is doing much better.

This summer, I was able to meet up with the woman who inspired me to become a teacher.  Miss Lampros, my 4th grade teacher.

We also had a lot to celebrate this year. I was fortunate to attend two weddings this year, Both of them are coworkers of mine. Stefanie’s in March and Jonathan‘s in August.  My grandmother turned 99 in September and we celebrated all summer with visits from our cousins from Nevada.

Our year was filled with sports.  Soccer, baseball, football, hockey, mudruns….games we played, games we watched….our lives wouldn’t be complete without sports!

Overall, it was a good year. Recapping it on the last day of a year is good for me.  A way to reflect on the past.

Next year, I will try to keep it on writing.  I have thought about different directions to take the blog.  A fun photo challenge has inspired me and I am working on a way to incorporate it into the blog. A lot happens in 365 days so only time will tell!

Turning a Loss Into a Win

saving money

Last year, the best present of Christmas was one that I gave to Dave and the boys. It was The 52 Week Money Challenge.  I had wrapped up a box filled with over $1300 that I had saved all year.  The plan was to use it for Spring Break and we did.  We went to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina and had a great time. The plan was that we would do it again this year.

I tried. I really did, but with Dave still out of work and more money being taken out of each pay check for benefits/insurance, there wasn’t as much “extra” money to do it.  I did not have as much photo work as I had the earlier in the year, although that began to pick up later in the year. So this year, I just wasn’t able to do the challenge completely.  I got close, but was disappointed because all year I had looked forward to wrapping up that box again and saying, “Where should we go this year??!!”

I had kept it a secret again but told Dave about it last weekend. I just purchased a new camera.  A splurge on myself way beyond my means.  My old camera was amazing, but after five years, it was getting tired and old and it was time to upgrade.  In the end, I had saved $900 of the $1300 in the money challenge.  I put that money towards the new camera instead. It was a HUGE amount to spend on myself. Something I never do.  It will definitely get put to good use – but I still feel some guilt over spending it all on myself.

I will try to do the challenge again next year, but with college looming over our heads for DJ, we will just have to see what happens.

Change is good!


We made it to Hilton Head Island. This year we decided to take a different route. We have driven here several times and always went the same way. Straight down Route 95 from New Jersey through South Carolina. This year since we were stopping at a few colleges on the way we took another route. A more scenic route. The speed limit was slower and every now and then we would have traffic lights to stop at, but overall we liked the ride much better. We saw a part of the East Coast that we have never seen before.

The ride down reminded me a lot of “Cars the Movie.” Although there were many places all built up and running, there were also a lot of places that were dilapidated and falling down as well. It was kind of depressing. You could almost imagine what it was once like there. It was so interesting to see.

We saw so much farmland and old railroad tracks. When we take Route 95 it is just highway – the whole way. Even Dave and the kids agreed that they all preferred going this way. It might have added on an hour to the ride but I’d suggest we do it again next time. Another benefit was when we heard about the horrible traffic all the way down Route 95! We definitely made the right choice!

We stopped at two colleges on the way down but since it was Good Friday not much was open at either one of them. We still went around both campuses and we got to see what was there. DJ seemed happy about looking at them. I guess it is making it “real” for him.

We decided to spend the night when we got to Raleigh, North Carolina. We had never been there before so it was a good place to stop. We had to find a hotel that was pet friendly since Emmy Lou was with us. DJ found a place online so we called it and got a great deal on a room. It was a Marriott Residence Inn, so we figured it couldn’t be too bad, but the rate was so good, we were a little bit nervous about going to a place sight unseen.

Not only were the accommodations great, we actually had a small suite, but this morning there was a free hot buffet breakfast for us. Drew loaded up on waffles and strawberries and Dave had his fill of sausage and biscuits. I’d highly recommend this place to anyone headed to Raleigh.

Despite the weather today being rainy, we had another drive with no traffic down to Hilton Head. The place we are renting is awesome! Big, spacious and right near the beach. We are so happy.

My dad and brothers arrived too. They are staying on the same plantation, in a complex just down the road. Will head to dinner in just a little while, then back to our home away from home for the week.

I love vacation!


Spring Break Countdown

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Two days ago I wrote about how excited we were for Spring Break to arrive.

What has been more fun to watch, is the joy that Drew has been showing for the last few days.  It has been a few years since we have been away and I guess for a twelve year old kid, that could be like FOREVER!  Even DJ, our nearly 17 year old, brooding teen, who rarely shows any emotion lately, is showing some delight in the fact that we are leaving soon.

Drew went to the attic last night and dragged down the suitcases.  He even cleaned his room – an undertaking I have been begging and pleading with him to do for weeks now!  He came downstairs to tell us that he has all of his outfits planned out and even decided to bring his, “nice button down shirt” to wear on Easter with a bow-tie!  Some days I really feel like I don’t know this kid!  Outfits?!?!  Most days, we are lucky if we can get him to choose a clean shirt out of his pile of laundry on his floor each morning.

We are in the final countdown.  One more day of school.  Two more “sleeps” (as Drew as been calling it,) and we are off!  To everyone off on a Spring Break adventure, and to all of you taking a “staycation” this year, have fun and enjoy every moment of it.  They are so few and far between we have to cherish them as we get them!


spring break waiting

I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas!!  Only four days till we leave for Spring Break.  With our very tight budget, I saved and saved for this and FINALLY it is here!  It seemed so far away when I gave the box of money to the boys for Christmas and now it is here!  We have been counting down the hours for a week now!  We are off to Hilton Head Island.  A place I spent many spring breaks as a teenager. My dad has a time share there, so we had gone for years.  This year, his “week” just happens to be our week so he is going down too.

Dave and I are going to drive down with the kids and take a few stops along the way to visit colleges with DJ.  My dad is bringing my brothers with him and they are taking the train.  They have always flown down in the past so this will be an adventure for them.  We will all be staying on the same plantation while we are there, but in different locations.

My kids have been there before, but it has been awhile since we have gone away so our excitement is barely containable!  The kids have been planning out all the places we need to go while we are there.  We have favorite restaurants and favorites shops that we want to go back to.  The boys want to try golf this trip.  There is no shortage of golfing there!  We have always suck to mini golf in the past but the boys seem up for the challenge and want to get out on one of the beautiful courses.

It will be so nice just to get away.  There is a kitchen and washer and dryer where we are staying, so we will be doing cooking, cleaning and laundry, but for some reason, when we are doing it somewhere else, it just doesn’t seem so hard!  Perhaps it is the beach, or the warm weather, or maybe it is not having to work or be on any schedule, but whatever it is, it is still a vacation.  A week away but so needed and so deserved.

Only 85 hours till we leave 🙂