I have to admit, I am a device junkie.  My husband will agree that it is rare that you will find me without my smartphone, my iPad, or a laptop.  (Sometimes it’s a combination of the 3 – with TV playing in the background.)  It’s not something I’m proud of- just a fact.  So, I try to make a conscious effort not to let K & E pick up those same habits.

This year, there was a snowman there to greet us!

This year, there was a snowman there to greet us!

Thank goodness I married someone who is the exact opposite!  Once a year, we book a trip to Canaan Valley, WV to stay in a little cabin and go skiing.  And once a year- I am forced to separate myself from all of my devices and contact with the outside world.  Admittedly, I still bring my phone for emergencies and my iPad to read books (Hey!  It packs much better than a stack of books)- but outside of that- NOTHING!  No texting, no facebook, no twitter, no checking email like my life depends on it, and – my worst habit– no streaming netflix!!

Those are the smiles of 2 little girls that are about to eat S'Mores

Those are the smiles of 2 little girls that are about to eat S’Mores

What I discover each year is that – as a family- we really like hanging out with each other.  We spent 4 straight days together and I can’t remember a time when I wondered who was kicked off project runway* or how many people had already seen Les Mis before me.  I learned that:

  • My hubby is a master at making fires
  • K is ridiculously coordinated (figured out ice skating after 1 loop around the rink)
  • E has no fear.  At only 3 years old, she skied down the mountain with her dad.
  • As a family- we LOVE buffet dinners.  (Seriously- walk in and immediately get your food.  No waiting!!  Why don’t we do that more often?)
  • I can only eat 1 S’more
  • My dog, Arnold, hates snow.  What a wimp!
stay-puffed marshmallow girls?

stay-puffed marshmallow girls?

Going on trips like this helps me realize that I need to find ways to take breaks from all of my connectivity.  (she said 2 weeks after starting a blog)   I’m not going to lie- I can’t give up my “toys” or my desire to check facebook one more time before bed, but I am going to make an effort to find more things for us to do as a family.  Here’s what I’ve found so far:

G.O.I.N.G.- my friend started this group on facebook last year and it’s on my to do list.  They plan outings around Richmond and share activities and crafts for the outdoors.

BabbaBox– I came across this reading the LateEnough blog.  (If you’re not reading her blog, you should- she is hilarious!)  This company makes boxes of themed crafts for you to do with your kids.  They put everything that you need in the box.  The goal is that you don’t have to go to the store for anything!

Blackwater Falls, WV

Blackwater Falls, WV

The Green Kitchen– My hubby and I love cooking together.  We went to a few classes at Sur la Table and met one of their teachers, Tammy Brawley.   She was fantastic and has since started her own business and offers cooking classes.

What else is out there?  If you’ve discovered something fun to do with your family, share it!


*Spoiler Alert: They didn’t kick anyone off this week because “They are all so talented.”  This, of course, is not a spoiler because they do this at least once every other season.  But at least I didn’t miss anything…


My winter break relationship with ds106

Every year, I get a nice 2 week holiday break from work that includes lots of down time.  At that same time, the ds106  crew gear up for their winter MOOC.  ds106 and I usually get along great when I’m on vacation. Unfortunately, our relationship fades when I go back to work and all of my creative juices are re-purposed into other projects.  The best part of ds106 is their spin-off site.  Basically, anyone who has a good idea for a media “assignment” can submit it here under the category of visual, design, audio, video, web, writing, fanfic, or mashup.  If you see something that peaks your interest, you can create and submit it to the site.  This morning, a friend shared a link to his most recent assignment submission “Not Quite Norma Jeane” where you are supposed to make a grid of faces “a la Marilyn Monroe.”   Time on my hands?  Check.  Rainy day?  Check.  Adorable children who like to make faces?  Check!

ds106:  here you go!  I’ll miss you in a few weeks when I get back to work, but we’ll meet again on my next vacation.

Kids a la Marilyn

Thanks Tom for the assignment idea.   For anyone who’s curious, I used my iPhone 5 for the pictures and adobe fireworks* to make the grid.  I actually used the blur tool on the background to make it look a little more like I have an awesome manual camera that can focus in on certain things.  I kind of want to blow it up and hang it in my room now.

*I know, I know… I should use photoshop or something a little better than fireworks, but fireworks is on my mac and I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t open my Dell (which has photoshop) until I went back to work.