Shut the door on Week 4.

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Last week was SPRING BREAK for the girls, a week we had planned both a trip to the snow and a weekend with friends in Palm Springs. But hey, I’m willing to bet that when you finish reading this, you’ll say there’s a chance we had way more fun at home.

Since we have lots to do at work these days, Bart and I split the week: Me with the girls Mon-Tues and him Thurs-Fri with a family day on Wednesday. On Monday morning, I was ready.

We kicked off the week with a “Freeform Brainstorm”, a concept I can’t believe I haven’t already taught the kids, where I challenged them to think of as many things they’d like to do during Spring Break as possible – no such thing as a bad idea. They came up with 51.

To make that list manageable, each “Mommy” day we each picked our 3 favorite ideas, wrote them on post-it notes, which we folded and put in a bowl, then we took turns drawing an idea and giving it a whirl. Before the brainstorm, one of their first requests was “camping”, but since it was going to rain all week, this became a daytime activity on Sunday, which was mostly “how many stuffies can we fit in the tent” and Minecraft.

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Our Freeze Dance party was a blast, especially the freeze frames I got to immortalize:

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If you look beside Ella’s head, you’ll see remnants of Story Time, where each girl picked books for me to read. Ella made the mistake of getting “Cinco Monitos“, a bilingual version of Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. So I ended up with a daughter on each side and by mid-book (there’s a lot of repetition), I had Ella “reading” the English and Zoe reading the Spanish, in unison. Fun, right?!

Next, I had looked up fun indoor activities and found “hopscotch” with a grid made of painter’s tape. Sounded brilliant, but in a time of conservation, I didn’t want to use all that tape, so we adapted, using a blue X for each square and had just as much fun:

I mean, what can’t you do with painter’s tape on a hardwood floor? An idea we haven’t gotten to yet is making a track for our radio controlled cars, which would require a great deal of painter’s tape. Among the other great ideas was Make a Mask, during which Ella very proudly made a two-sided mask:

Sure, one looks like a hockey mask from that scary movie, but I’m not sure she knows that yet (does she?). Another favorite was Beanie Boo Party, which was more complex than you’d think. First, you take every Beanie Boo in the house and put it in a pile, then one at a time we each pick one to join our team, then we party.

During this fun exercise, we confirmed how many times Mommy failed to remember we already HAD that Beanie Boo when she was in an airport. It was at least 9 times (we found more stuffies after our party, but I was too lazy to check those), and yes, one of those sets is a triplet of puppies:IMG_6531

The end of every good Beanie Boo party happens when they dogpile someone, first Zoe:

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Then Ella (see if you can “Where’s Waldo?” her face in the pile):

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As a bonus, I happened to find two bags of St Patrick’s Day items (including crafts, plates, napkins, more…) that I had purchased for the sleepover that never happened during the weekend before St Patty’s Day. And so, one of our activities was, yes, St Patrick’s Day!

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We played Irish music, drank green milk and for about an hour pretended it was the actual holiday. And yes, Dad got pinched. Among other non-photographed items (since I’m sure you’re curious), we played Uno, Jenga, Robot Turtles (a coding board game), Hoot Owl Hoot (a cooperative board game where you work together to get the owls to the nest), Minecraft, Drawl (like Pictionary), and a “Take Turns” game I made up where for 5 minutes everyone has to do whatever you want. This game teaches the good lesson of “Do unto others…” I got a massage.

We also had a Talent Show (which was hilarious and thankfully not filmed though my mother watched on FaceTime so there’s proof), built an “Under the Table” jungle world, built a fort which spanned almost all of Ella’s room, made an obstacle course, and made a nice card to say thanks to the mailman. We made ice cream and edible slime.

Two really fun things for the kids were Inside Shopping and Mom & Dad play with Barbies… For Inside Shopping we used My Little Pony Monopoly money, and the girls could buy whatever they wanted around the house. Notable items include an overpriced iPad, an Amazon dot and a clock, which Ella stole from my bathroom (er, bought?) and will not return.

For Mom & Dad play with Barbies, I wrapped that into a dinner theme, where we ate appetizers (google “Barbie Party”, and you’ll see lots of comments about how clearly Barbie does not eat much) and watched a TERRIBLE Barbie Charm School movie… followed by some really painful (for the parents) play with dolls in a Barbie house. This game will not make our next list.

Insert bike/scooter rides and walks in there, as we got out of the house every day but one, which was extra cold and rainy. These got progressively less fun as we stayed closer to home and Bart (and our governor) began to insist we all wear masks (of a sort):

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The girls’ favorite is when they scooter the sidewalk back and forth in front of our house and Bart throws a playground type rainbow ball at them. I know I’m leaving things out, like online time with friends and some other limited screen time, but I’m pretty proud that we actually PLAYED IRL and spent time together during Spring Break. It really is a stressful time balancing work with family time, and I try very hard to remember that we will (hopefully) never have this kind of time together again. So pay attention.

We wrapped our week by watching a monumental development in theatrical entertainment: the Trolls World Tour movie was released on a STREAMING PLATFORM FIRST! For $19.99 you can rent it on Amazon for 48 hours, which we did, and the kids have now watched it three times. including a “private viewing” in Zoe’s room last night which I setup like a mini-theater. I’d say we’ve gotten our money’s worth.

And in case Dreamworks needs any additional advertising, our girls made this:

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Overall, I’m chalking Spring Break 2020 up as a win. And by the way, the “brainstorm, pick your favorites and randomly draw one out of a bowl” system is amazing. Feel free to use that on any weekend with any group to keep you sane. And if you’re wondering if there’s a Google doc i created to keep track of all these ideas, of course there is.

Today we have two “Zoom” calls with family planned for Easter, which I’ll blog about later, but in the meantime, HAPPY EASTER! Stay safe and well, and remember: Life is what you make it. So let’s make some memories!

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