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div class=”separator” style=”clear: both; text-align: center;”a href=”” imageanchor=”1″ style=”margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;”img border=”0″ height=”182″ src=”” width=”320″ //a/divToday is the first official day of summer vacation! nbsp;Unlike last summer it is going to be less hectic…I think. Last year we were at a href=””softball/anbsp;practices and tournaments every week in June and then the first week of July went on a href=””vacation/anbsp;with family. Once we returned we had 3 weeks to ourselves and then school started. It felt like we didn’t have much of a summer /br /This year we decided to take a break from softball and not go on vacation with other family members…phew!br /br /Wanna know what we are going to do?nbsp;Anything we want!!br /br /Because we are a href=””debt free/a, doesn’t mean we are going to go crazy and take a huge vacation. nbsp;This year we are taking a mini vacation combined with a “staycation.”br /br /Now if you are a die-hard vacationer where you feel like you deprive your family if you don’t go somewhere at least 6 hours away for a week at a time, this post isn’t for you. nbsp;However, if you live on a budget and still want to feel like you have had a break from the chaos, then read on…br /br /bThe mini-vacation: /bThis year we were invited to a wedding that is 4 hours away. We decided to attend the wedding i{taking advantage of the group discount rate at the hotel}/i and tour the little town for our vacation. We will do some touristy things i{like eating at a href=””Paula Deen’s restaurant/anbsp;}/i, but mostly we like to explore the area and find little shops and restaurants that are not well known. i{Last summer I found a GREAT cupcake shop that made the best chocolate, peanut butter cupcake EVER!}/ibr /br /bThe Staycation:/b When we return, we are going to do some of the itouristy /ithings in Atlanta. We may visit the a href=””World of Coke/a, a href=””The GA Aquarium/a, a href=””CNN center/a, a href=””Centennial Park/a. nbsp;Or we may take a dip in Lake Lanier and enjoy a href=””Lanier World Water Park/a. What is great about a Staycation is that you don’t feel the need to ido /isomething. Or spend a lot of money doing /br /In the midst of all our “cations” the kids may attend a VBS i{vacation Bible school}/inbsp;or two at some of the local churches and our oldest boy will attend a Cub Scout day /br /What makes Summer Vacation fun is doing what you love to do as individuals and as a family. Kids need a mental break from school, but that does not mean I need to entertain themb every.single.daynbsp;/bwith a planned activity. nbsp;Children need to learn independence and that includes how to find activities for themselves, but that is another topic for another post. br /br /Happy Summer!br /br /a href=”” target=”_blank”img alt=”Anna” border=”0″ src=”” //a