I am not sure where the term “staycation” came from or where I first heard it. A staycation is when you use vacation to stay – not to go. It is still a vacation, but by choice you don’t go you stay.

This past week my family did a family staycation. We all went to Ruston. My Mom and Dad and sister both live there. Their houses are through the woods from each other. Our staycation was a great week. The thing I learned, though, is that a fun staycation is a lot of work.

So here are some ideas from our family staycation to help you and your family have some good time together.

Day One: Family Reunion – Mom and Dad invited all of my Mom’s family to come to the house. I got to see aunts, uncles, and cousins I had not seen in years. Sure you are doing it when it is convenient for you, but you are the host. Invite everyone and then enjoy who shows up.

Day Two: Local Fun Day – Denise, my oldest sister, has a pool so we swam. Then we all went to a movie together and out to eat pizza. It was a great day.

Day Three: Water Carnival and Adults without the Kids Night – Rachel, my middle sister, put together a day of fun water games and the three families competed against each other. Grandma and Grandpa served as referees and Grandpa took a spot in one of the families on some games. We played water balloon volleyball, water balloon toss (like egg toss), swimming pool relay race, sprinkler tug of war, water bucket race, etc. Then we had carnival food (corn dogs and nachos) for lunch. The kids swam the rest of the afternoon away. That night Denise and Keith hosted us for a murder mystery. During this night my oldest niece and a friend were paid to babysit for us. It was a lot of fun. You can buy the kits for them. The food was great. We laughed. It was Hawaiian themed. Wendy was a supermodel, Dad was a tribal chief, Keith was a tourist with a past, Mom was an elegant woman with a shady reputation, Rachel was a hula dancer, Denise was a LPGA pro, and I was a surfer. It was pretty funny. The costumes were fun and funny. We got into it and had a great time. Plus I got to be the murderer.

Day Four: Scavenger Hunt – Wendy and I put on a scavenger hunt that was perhaps the longest ever but a great time. We started at the house and gave the kids notebooks and pencils to write things down. We had a video clue and then I used my voice recorder and my radio tuner thing for mp3 player (not sure what you call it) to have a radio clue. The majority of the scavenger hunt was at a park. One spot was a fishing challenge and each kid caught a fish before we moved on. We also played some games and at the end we buried the treasure on the lake beach and in the box were water guns and water balloons. It was great fun. Then that night mom and dad cooked ribs and we pigged out. (Well, most of us did. One of my sister’s can literally not eat meat off the bone, while I can barely stand for meat to already be off the bone. Go figure.)

Day Five: Golf and Kid Fun – The guys got to go play golf at Black Bear in Delhi, LA. It is a great course but my score was not great. The moms took the kids to a play place in Monroe and they had a blast. Wendy and I cooked Mexican food for the night.

Day Six – Girl Spa and Tea Party and Boy’s Golf Day and Date Night – Friday we took the boys to play golf. With a 6, 7, and 8 year old boy it was interesting. We had a great time together on the slowest nine holes of golf in the history of the game. The girls had an elaborate spa day with a facial and foot scrub and pedicure and manicure and make-up and dress up. They loved it. The food was abundant but very girly. Then that night Mom and Dad took all NINE grandkids while the parents got to go on a date. (I highly recommend that grandparents do this for their kids as often as possible. Every time you give your kids a date night you strengthen that home. Just a thought.) So we all went to a Japanese steak house and sat at the hibachi grill and it was fun and we talked and laughed and had a good time. Then we went to see a movie together. Then we went to Wal-mart because I think all married couples must end up at Wal-Mart during each date.

Day Seven – Go Home – Well we had a birthday party first and it was a lot of fun. My niece Ashley had a party at the pool with the family. We invited my dad’s family and it was good to see cousins and my aunt. Then we headed home. It was a great week but by this point I am pretty sure we were all ready to be apart.

So why did I share this. First of all it was a great week and I wanted to write about it. Second, I hope you and your family might can learn something from it. And third to make a point about families.

Great families are great fun but it takes a great amount of effort. I have a great family but it is great because we work at it. You might not have the means to head off on your dream vacation this year but maybe you have the time off and the resources to dream up a whole new kind of vacation.

The next blog will get back to spiritual things, I think.

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