Have It Done for You
- Bring a destination home for dinner. Can't make it to the Chesapeake? Order one of Harbour House Crabs' Maryland blue-crab dinners, complete with mallets ($110 for a jumbo dinner for two; ilovecrabs.com). Thoughts wandering Down East? Spread a cloth on the lawn (or the rug) and dig into a direct-from-Maine picnic of lobster rolls and whoopie pies from Hancock Gourmet Lobster Company ($95 for six of each; hancockgourmetlobster.com).
- Get your house cleaned from top to bottom. Part of the pleasure of a vacation is having the bed-making, dusting, and order-restoring consigned to someone else while you dedicate yourself to the task of lolling about. Why shouldn't it be this way at home―for one brief, shining week, anyway? Let Merry Maids send a cleaning crew to render your place spotless (rates vary, merrymaids.com). They don't do laundry, though, so why not let it pile up, then send it out to be done just this once? Or hire a cleaner on a friend's recommendation and negotiate the extras.
- Have dinner delivered every night. Place a stack of your favorite take-out menus next to the phone, and follow where your fancy leads you, from Chicago-style pizza one night to a Thai buffet the next.
- Organize a babysitting trade-off with two or three friends or neighbors. Have all the kids report to a designated house for an evening of organized fun―pizza, games, Toy Story DVDs―leaving the other parents free to enjoy a date night (while saving money on sitters). Another night, rotate houses and repeat.