Fin.

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end ~Semisonic

Though some of us would like it to last a little longer and some of us would like it to last forever, today is the “official” last day of March Break. That’s it! That’s all she wrote. It’s over. Fin. Finito. This is the end. Roll the credits. Curtains! (You catch my drift? You buying’ what I’m sellin’? Okay, somebody stop me!)

Clearly, I have a problem with goodbyes.

So, before I let go of March Break 2014 for good (Hah! As if I could. Forever is a long time.), allow me to fill you in on the rest of our week.

From Monday to Wednesday the Things were pretty busy with all kinds of fun, frugal, or free activities and just enough downtime at home to maintain a bit of balance while still having fun.

We had a tentative plan to take in a Toonie Matinee with friends on Thursday, but as luck would have it Mother Nature had a different plan. (Has anyone else noticed how completely horrible many of Mother Nature’s plans have been this winter?) We were in for some nasty weather. There were big snow storms all around us and we had snow, followed by a lot of rain with the threat of a flash freeze, so we decided to kick “downtime” up a notch. While the storm raged on – or “rained on” in our particular case – we spent the day, safe and warm, inside. A nice sleep-in in the morning with extra Thing snuggles. A leisurely lunch. Lots of LEGO! A bit of CPU time. A DVD from the library. We spent the whole day jammified! It was glorious.

In retrospect, we needed it. That was the *exact* Thursday we required. Thanks, Mother Nature*!

On Friday (Oh no! It’s already Friday!!) we decided we’d definitely take in a movie at the theatres and figured it was our last chance for a Toonie Matinee, so that was what we were going to do in the afternoon. On a whim, I decided to check out what was happening at Chapters that morning and I was very happy I did because Thing 1 & Thing 2 were really happy to attend a KLUTZ event where they learned to make cootie catchers and paper airplanes. Each Thing even won a prize for a test flight with their planes. (Eventually, all the children were given a prize for their efforts – it was nice.) Kudos to Chapters Indigo for its daily events during March Break. It’s very nice when a retailer has a free event and does a great job executing it.

Thing 1 & Thing 2 were ready for lunch after their fun activity, so we headed home to make lunch and relax for a little while before heading out to the movies.

That’s when Daddy-O and I came up with a little surprise for the Things.  We would take them to see a *new* movie and we’d make it our Friday Family Fun Night. They were really excited to see “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” – in 3D no less – and we all enjoyed going to the the movies together. I enjoyed having movie popcorn for dinner. I’m not gonna lie.

On Saturday I went for a big walk with my NS BFF and it was great! The weather was perfect and we had as much time as we needed to solve the problems of the world while getting a bit of exercise. There is nothing like a nice long walk ‘n’ talk with your best friend to elevate your mood and erase any exhausted-from-a-week-of-March-Break-fun feelings.

This brings us to Sunday. Sunday, can be a sad or stressful day at the best of times, but after a break from school it can be really difficult to face the reality of back to school. Thanks to some friendly** friends, we had early morning plans to go outside and play. I love going outside to play and so do Thing 1 & Thing 2. Isn’t that convenient? Even though it was cold and a bit snowy and had rained all night, we were outside by 10:30 in the morning meeting new friends and playing. It was really wonderful! A great way to start the day and a nice, positive way to end the March Break. Yay, for smart friends!

Our final fling with fun for the March Break was to try out Ol’ School Donuts. If you have not had a chance to try these delightful, hot, morsels of pure joy, I highly recommend that you find out where this fun red school bus will be parked next weekend and go! Scrumptious!

What better way to end a great week than with a last hurrah!

*But seriously, enough already with the snow!

**Do you see what I did there?

Is your March Break half full or half empty?

Much to the chagrin of Thing 1, March Break is now half over. He loathes this fact. He doesn’t want to be reminded of it or the time. Ever.

This is especially challenging because Thing 2 absolutely loves telling time. Loves it. If given the opportunity she’d announce every tick of the clock, well, every tick of the clock!

She loves announcing the passage of time so much these days that yesterday when we were in a rush (and quite late!) to make it to an appointment for Thing 1, I told her if she announced the time again during the drive she was going to have a new nickname – Big Ben.

We talk a lot about not wishing our days away at Chez Peady. We try to live in the moment. Thing 2 is clearly the best at this. When she was a baby – you should know she was talking pretty early on – one of the best and most astute things she ever said was “Be here now”. I am actually tearing up as I type that because it’s just so perfect. Such a brilliantly simple concept. Three little words. Be here now. Our Zen baby.

March Break should be an awesome week whether you are on a beach somewhere in the tropics or you are staying at home and things are pretty much business as usual. We find doing a little something special each day works best for everyone involved. It’s very important to find the right balance of “out doing something” and downtime. You don’t want to burn out and need a vacation from your vacation, but you also don’t want to waste your time away doing too much of absolutely nothing. It’s not a crazy race to live your life in one day*, but a way to spend time together while experiencing something enjoyable, familiar, interesting or new.

A week off school for Thing 2 is a week of adventure and time to play, use her imagination, do whatever she wants; living in the moment is a great trait to have when there’s a whole week of freedom. Thing 1 feels pressure right off the bat. “Oh no! It’s already Monday! I haven’t even read on the patio yet. I better get that done right now.” So out he went, still in his PJs, in *very* cold temperatures to read a bit of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”. I have to hand it to him, when his determination and focus line up he’s unstoppable.

As you may have already read, I really enjoy finding fun, frugal or FREE things to do with my Things. I thought maybe I would share a few photos with you to show you some of the things we’ve been up to, so far, this week. Sound good? Great!

*I just gave myself a Howard Jones mind worm that sent me down a must-find-that-video rabbit hole. Meanwhile, how can there not be a single website with the official video for “Life in One Day”? Not even HoJo’s itself. Come on! Really?! I’m disappointed in you internet web toobz. I thought you were more reliable than that.

March Breakin’!

We worked so hard. We studied and tried our best. We did our homework and learned lots of new stuff. We woke up on Mondays and went out bravely into the cold even though there were some days when it was physically painful to do so. We had our hair brushed and braided. We were on time for band. We made healthy lunches (or, at the very least, interesting ones). We suffered through cold and flu season and survived. We finally made it! Yippity biscuits! It’s March Break!

*blink blink*

Now what?

March Break Mug

Monday morning coffee in a customizable mug. LEGO! (Bonus: Math book)

Well, first of all a healthy dose of relaxation is in order. That is what the weekend is for, in my not so humble opinion, and we relaxed as much as we could knowing we didn’t have the same obligations we usually do, to be up and at ’em, come Monday. There is something so glorious about the Sunday before March Break “officially” starts. We were mellow. There was no acute case of the “Sunday Stresses”. It’s a beautiful thing, I tell you.

Yesterday was great! We had a day free of scheduling and just relaxed and spent time together as a family. We played an epic game of LEGO Champion, had a simple lunch,  went outside into the sun (and cold!) to play at a local park close to the water (well, it’s still ice actually, but I digress..) – we even invented a new game while we were there! Then we went grocery shopping (Yes all four of us! Crazy, I know, but it works for us.) for the week and came home to prepare dinner. We really kept it simple because everyone needs to minimize stress, not just the “students”.

After dinner there was time to do whatever we wanted on our own before we all got jammified and ready to watch our feature presentation. Thing 1 had some CPU time with Daddy-O, Thing 2 watched a TV show and made more Rainbow Loom creations, and I went to my happy place. Yup. Social Media. Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. Pinterest. I even perused Linked In. (WOT!) It was wonderful!

Then we all piled into the big bed to watch our movie. It was one of our favourites. We used a randomizer app – just for fun – to choose between “A Bug’s Life” and “Enchanted”. “Enchanted” won. Yay! Silly technology FTW! The movie was great, as usual. The Princess saves the Prince and they all live happily ever ever after.

Now it is Monday. March Break has officially begun, and we, like many families are looking forward to five days of freedom and some frugal fun!

So, without further ado (Hah! That’s totally further ado, isn’t it?!), here are some ideas for free, frugal, or relatively inexpensive fun, for the coming week.

From Monday to Thursday of each week Video Difference allows families to borrow two DVDs gratis.

Of course you know we are readers and we love the library. There are special events planned for each day of the March Break at Halifax Public Libraries branches all over HRM.

Chapters Indigo also has a free special activity for children in store every day this week.

All week long from Monday to Friday Cineplex has a March Break promotion called Toonie Matinees.

With many fun museums to choose from, in and around Halifax, there is plenty of entertainment and even a bit of education (Awww. Mo-OOmm!) to be had by just picking one and going for it!

I think we might choose to spend some of our March Break budget on something grody! The Discovery Centre has “Animal Grossology” as its feature exhibit. Ewww!

As always, we will go out and play as often as we can this week – even if it is a bit chillier than we would like – because playing is simply the best way to get exercise and have fun together as a family. Getting outside into the sun is good for everyone!

Hopefully, we can swing a play date or two and maybe even meet up at one of the special events mentioned above with some good friends.

How will you be spending your week? Will you have lots of time with your children? Does this fact frighten you.. or is it business as usual? Are you on a beach vacation? (What?! And you didn’t invite *me*?! *harumphs*)

I’d love to know what you will be doing and what kinds of activities your family enjoys during these long school breaks. I hope you will share some of your fun ideas with me by leaving a comment. Let me know if you decide to take in any of these cool activity suggestions! I’d love to hear what you think!

Happy March Break, everyone!