We were lucky enough to spend all of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend with our dear friends T., A. and their daughter K. at my mom’s lake house.
Overconsumption was definitely the first order of business, but we also managed to put together two 500 piece puzzles (an activity that the adults were surprisingly into; next time I’ll bring two more puzzles or ones with more pieces) and play a few rounds of Not Parent Approved, which is basically Cards Against Humanity for the entire family. Top tip: this is a great holiday gift if you have kids somewhere between 8 and 13.
[Don’t worry: once the kids were out of earshot, we got a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity in, too.]
My sister and her husband came over for post-Thanksgiving dessert and brought an ice cream maker, which was also kid-approved and kept them enthralled for long enough to mix the ingredients, watch the churning and make outrageous sundaes.
One of the most popular outings over the long weekend was to the local Children’s Museum, which featured a traveling exhibit about Japan.
There was a portion dedicated to Japanese street culture and all things kawaii (a.k.a. extremely cute).
They even had costume props to dress up:
There was also a pretend sushi bar, which got a lot of attention from Trixie and K. but made me supremely hungry, since it was well past lunch time.
I loved the Shinto shrine. You could write a wish and hang it on the tree.
K. graciously wished that everyone would have a home.
Trixie wished for toys.
Some of the wishes were hilarious (“I want to get mared [married]”), and others heartbreaking (“I wish mom and dad would stop fighting”).
There was also an area where you could get a fortune for a penny.
I vehemently disagree with that LOVE section.
To quote my friend A.:
I never thought I’d be disappointed for something that only cost a penny, but I am.
By the end of the weekend, I think we were all slightly diabetic and exhausted, but even now, I’m ready to do it all again, and better.
Takeaway thoughts from spending a holiday vacation with another family:
- I should have done a better job with meal planning. In the end, we had way too much food. Our friends brought a lot and so did we. They also very generously contributed a lot of cooking. In the future, I’d assign different meals to different people to avoid food duplication.
- The games were a lot of fun. Many kudos to A. for bringing Not Parent Approved. We all thought this was hilarious, and it’s hard to find something that 3 kids and 4 adults agree on.
- Puzzles were a hit. They could be set up and people could randomly work on them for a few minutes at a time. This is an especially perfect, quiet activity for kids who wake up early.
- Get the kids to cook. I gave them a pass on this, but in the future I’d consider planning a taco bar or panini station where kids had to at least assemble part of their meal.
- Find enough places to sleep. While my mom’s lake house is well-suited for entertaining and general vacationing, the kids had to share quarters, which prompted late night whispering, giggling, arguing and eventual separation. If possible, I’d keep all of the kids together during the day but apart at night, which maximizes quality sleep and pays dividends the next day.
- Plan active outings. The weather wasn’t terrible, but obviously it was too cold to swim or go tubing, two activities that historically have burned off a lot of energy while we are at the lake house. Kids + Pent-up Energy = Meltdowns.
- Booze. Self explanatory.
The best news? T. and A. have a beach condo and we’re going there next!
I am so grateful for good friends and the opportunity to spend time together.