Parenting · Saving Money · Summer

Keeping Busy in Summer

“We’re bored! There’s nothing to do.”

One of my most useful and successful tools I’ve made for the summer is a list of possible options of what we can do and how much they cost.

Too often my kids find themselves wandering towards screens because they don’t know what else there is and screens are easy to fall back on. This is why we made a list of ideas to help us.

We try to pick something off the list quite often. Typically every day unless we’re already super busy with something special.

Being that I have my girls every day, I found it was getting too expensive to just have them pick whatever adventure they wanted all the time, and whole I like to them about budgeting, I like to refrain from complaining about money too often.

Creating our list into categories gives them a better understanding of what type of activity we’re looking to do.

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I might say “you can pick from the whole list today” or “we just did something from the purple column. Let’s go for a blue today please.”

They’re just as happy with this because everything in the blue column is spending time together and sure to be a great time.

This list also gives me a reminder of everything we’ve looked up to try in past summers, and what’s locally available to us. This way I’m not starting from scratch each summer with ideas to stay busy.

Life · Parenting · Saving Money · Summer

Summer Rain

So my girls and I have a summer rule to do something active every day. We had decided to go on a bike ride as our Wednesday activity only to walk to the window and see the downpour.

The sound of rainfall is one of the most soothing sounds to me so we opened the garage door and sat watching the rain. All of the sudden I stood up and walked out in it and the girls shrill laughter made my day.

I turned around, smiled and said “let’s go!” and we were off. Running the sidewalks, jumping in every puddle, splashing water as high as we could. When the rain stopped, we sat down in puddles and continued splashing around until we couldn’t take the laughter anymore.

IMG_3111.JPGThere’s too much time in the day that’s ┬ánecessary to adult and be serious and plan. When I take a spontaneous moment to be a child and be silly, we always end up creating some of our most favorite memories together AND this is a free activity that only requires some warm, dry clothes after.

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If you haven’t already, get out there in the warm summer rain and show your kids, or even remind yourself, you still have a carefree, silly side.

Bonus: if you happen to have cool neighbors, maybe they’ll grab a hose and join in like ours did only extending the party.

Parenting · Saving Money · Summer

Book club for kids

My 7 year old has been part of a book club this summer thanks to a friends suggestion. (Thanks Heydie!) She and a few friends read half a book each week and then we all get together to discuss what they read and how they felt about it.

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We go to the library together and pick out a book that they all think looks interesting. The girls (this would be great for boys too) read a portion of the book and then we get together for them to discuss it.

They answer questions together like:

Who are the characters?

What is the setting?

What is the main idea of chapter 1, 2, 3…?

What do you predict will be the ending?

What was your favorite part?

It’s been so much fun and such a great addition to our summer. It creates a fun way for her to make sure she gets her reading in, while also working on her reading comprehension during the summer months.

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We jazz it up with tea parties, snacks or lunch, and playtime afterwards, which makes the girls even more excited to participate.

I thought this was such a good idea and so enjoyed by all of us that I would share this creative and cute idea with you.

Parenting · Saving Money · Summer

Blog break is over and what we made today with these parts that cost only $16!

I had just started my writing adventure when everything around me became too much. Every area of my life had so much going on that I couldn’t have a proper thought for myself and if we find we aren’t good for ourselves at the moment, how could we possibly be any good for others?

So, against what I wanted, I set everything aside and focused on what I had to. One day at a time, one project at a time and one emotion at a time. Lots of deep breaths, lots of hugs from my kiddos and many chats with wine with my besties. This last part of the plan, video chats work beautifully if you can’t see them in person, is 100% essential to the healing process and should never be ignored.

Now that “schoooool’s out for…summer!” I’m enjoying time with my babies and planning adventures (cheap ones…hey this girls on a budget and I LOVE cheap, fun projects!!) What better ways to spend time with your kiddos then building new things and going new places while not breaking the bank. I plan to write mostly about these adventures this summer unless, of course, I have one too many glasses of wine and see a picture of Ryan Gosling without his shirt on…then I may feel compelled to write about that instead.

Today’s fun project? This fabulous sprinkler/bike wash toy.

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It cost $16 in parts from Lowe’s. Any other hardware store, with plumbing parts, would do just fine. It took us approximately 30 minutes to complete the project from start to finish and it proved to be loads of fun that will be great all summer! This kind of project is one of my favorites because it costs a small amount of money only one time, we built it together as a team and it can be used over and over on a hot day. Who needs an expensive water park? Not us!

 

Parenting · Saving Money

Making a doll wardrobe for free

Does anyone else become completely frustrated with the inflated price of doll furniture? I do.

While I love my kids, unless they receive it as a gift, I’m not spending $60 on a wardrobe (as seen in the Target version, called Our Generation, in the picture on the left) or a whopping $120 (as seen in the American Doll furniture picture on the right).

Seeing these sticker shock prices is what drives our creativity. We decided to make one of our own and for FREE!

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My daughter had received an American Doll gift in an adorable box, which we chose to use. You could also use an ordinary box and paint it and/or cover it with your favorite stickers to make it more special.

First, I removed the lid, laid the box on it’s side and cut one side off with an exacto knife (or any blade would do).

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Sitting the box upright again, this is what it looked like. While it was on it’s side, I reinforced the bottom with gorilla tape we already had on hand. Packaging tape would also work because it’s clear, as well, but being that’s it’s on the bottom and not viewed, duct tape would also be just fine.

I then cut two small slits in the middle of each side of the box. This is to hold the support that is to go across for the hangers. I had originally tried placing string across the box (pictured) but found the weight of the dresses/hangers to be too much.

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We then decided to use 2 strips of cardboard that we cut off the side I had removed, glued them together back to back to reinforce the cardboard, and then placed the strip in both slats and taped it down to reinforce it. It would be even better if you had a small piece of wood/dowel to place across the box that would hold even more weight.

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This was the end result which we found adorable! It was the perfect size for what she needed and we didn’t spend a dime. (She used hangers she’d saved from build a bear visits and hangers that came with different doll clothing purchases and gifts over the years.)

What have you/can you create that saves money and is functional and adorable for your kiddos?