10 Fun & Frugal Spring Activities

10 Fun & Frugal Spring ActivitiesThe weather is starting to warm up. It’s beautiful outside. Our kids are clamoring for an adventure so mom is scrambling to find something, anything, we can do which will equal fun without breaking the bank. Together, we’ve created a list of ten fun and frugal activities we plan to enjoy this spring.

I suppose before we talk about fun and frugal ways to enjoy the spring season, we should define exactly what we mean by frugal. Budgets being different in each household, we might have varying ideas on just how frugal, frugal is. For the purpose of our discussion today, frugal is as close to free as possible. The maximum being $20 for the entire family to enjoy this activity together. Can we do it, especially with six people in our home? Oh, yes; yes, we can!

10 Fun & Frugal Spring Activities

  1. Make Ice Cream – This is a fun, easy, inexpensive activity for us to enjoy. No ice cream maker needed. Just a few ingredients, a bowl or two, and a freezer. If we need a recipe? Pinterest has all the ideas we could ever want.
  2. Go Camping – Not the leave home, pack an entire truck full of supplies, kind of camping. Let’s camp in the backyard! All we need are sleeping bags, flashlights, and maybe a book or two to keep us company all night. The best part? Close morning showers and private restrooms.
  3. Take a Nature Hike – Most local hiking trails are free! With a sturdy pair of shoes, several bottles of water, and trail mix to keep us going, this should be fun. If we can find a trail with a stream; even better.
  4. Have a Picnic – This is not merely eating out-of-doors. Our plans are to pack a pretty basket full of lovely things (fresh fruits, croissants or rolls, tea sandwiches, cucumber, and more), visit a local grassy field, and enjoy a leisurely picnic. If we happen to bring along our current read or a guitar to pass the time, so much the lovelier.
  5. Host a Movie Night – Prices at the local theatre can be out of this world. Instead, we will host a movie night in our living room. Let us not forget the sugary snacks, cola, and buttered popcorn. For added memories, we’ve even gone so far as to print ‘tickets’ for our film.
  6. Go Fly a Kite – For that matter, we’ll build a kite! This project is not only educational, but tons of fun. This is the perfect season to explore this adventure.
  7. Build a Bird House – Inexpensive kits can be purchased at a local hardware store, but it’s more fun to build our own. Painted in bright, fun colors, these are great additions to our backyard.
  8. Blow Bubbles – The science behind bubble making is fascinating. Let’s see how big we can make our bubbles, and if we can get bubbles to land on our hands without breaking.
  9. Chalk Art – Before the pavement becomes so hot you can cook an egg on it, we’ll explore this creative medium. We’ve seen so many lovely examples of possibilities. This should be fun!
  10. Farm Visits – Where we live, local farms love having families come visit. For a nominal fee, we can even pick our own fruit.

Having fun doesn’t mean we need to spend tons of cash. It only takes a little creativity and a sense of adventure. What’s important is not how much money we spend, but how much time we are investing in our children.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
~ Matthew 6:19-21

Time to Chime In! : What budget-friendly ways do you spend time with your family and friends? Share your top five with us!

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Am I Fun?

I spend a great deal of time with my kids. We do all our learning together, we eat together, we clean together, we run errands together, and, on occasion, even sleep in the same room. Essentially, I spend almost twenty-four hours a day with my littles. Because we are together so often, I can mistake being together with having fun together. On occasion it might be beneficial to stop and reflect. Am I a fun mom?

There are times in life when it is important to be serious. Laughing at a funeral would be impolite, rude, and insensitive. However, there are also moments when you ought to be lighthearted and able to have fun. It’s important to find balance in all things.

Raising kids and being a homeschooling parent is no cake walk. Sometimes I can become overwhelmed by responsibilities and needs. The moment a ‘break’ becomes available, my desire can often lean towards just wanting a moment to breathe… alone. While everyday won’t be a breeze, I do need to make a point of finding ways to be fun and silly; enjoying the sound of my children’s laughter and initiating a little joy into their lives.

Kids & I

Honestly, being at home and being ‘fun’ mom is hard for me. Everywhere I look, I see something which needs to be done: laundry, house keeping, dishes, cooking, yard work, home improvement, writing. You name it, I see it. Getting out of the house usually works best for me; this is where park days, Disneyland days, visits with friends, and more come into play.

However, being out of the house every day just isn’t an option. This requires me to then be more creative in our home environment and make a conscious choice to overlook those things which keep catching my over-critical eye.  So we do chores, but we race to get them done (then have ice cream as a treat). We sing along with those playing the piano and have fun being silly. We take moments to stop and play card games, eat cookies, dance to fun songs, and plan upcoming events.

I am learning to look for ways to incorporate fun into their lives and be a source of fun, instead of standing by merely watching. It’s not enough for my children to grow up commending my parenting for its cleanliness and well planned organization (although that would be nice); I want my children to remember their youth fondly and be filled with awesome memories they can’t wait to recreate with their own family. While I won’t be a perfect parent (who is), I would like to think they will look back and smile, remembering how much fun was stuffed into those all too short years we called childhood.

Time to Chime In: Do you make ‘fun time’ purposeful or wait for those moments to arise naturally?

All Aglow

In an ever-increasing attempt to play as hard as we work, I thought we would knock out a few more “pins” and try something absolutely new. I would love to continue my post with a phenomenal success story, with pictures to prove our triumph; however, it was an epic fail! (laughing)

My kids really like glow sticks. (Can you name a kid who doesn’t?) So I thought we would attempt to take something we already like and change it up. There were three great “pins” I was very excited about.

Fairies in a Jar

What the Fairies is supposed to look like, but ours turned out nothing like it. (sigh)

The first activity we tried was “fairies in a jar”. The concept is extremely simple. Take a glass jar, a few glow sticks, and some diamond glitter; cut a few of the glow sticks and shake the contents into the jar; add some diamond glitter; shake the jar and, wallah, … Fairies in a Jar! The problem? The glow solution didn’t shake into the jar all nice and pretty. It kind of drizzled down the side of the jar and looked like a gloopy mess. Adding glitter was rather pointless, as you couldn’t see the effects.

So, on to the next experiment. We thought we would try another “pin” in which we take a small bottle of bubble solution and empty the contents of a glow stick into the bottle. The idea is to get “glowing bubbles”. The problem? The solution sank to the bottom of the bottle and wouldn’t mix with the bubble solution at all! Another experiment gone wrong. (laughing)Glowing Bubbles

For our third and final trick, mommy was going to put glow stick solution in the bathtub and let them take a “glowing bath”. Yeah, nope! It just wasn’t our night.

I’m not sure if we just bought cheap glow sticks or if others have run across the same problems, but we were kind of bummed. These all looked like awesome ways to have some fun and try something new.

I will reserve one “pin” for next year though. One thoughtful person had the idea to put glow sticks into Easter eggs and do a hunt at night! Now, that seems like a great idea and I can’t see how that wouldn’t work.

Oh, well. The night was an epic fail, but at least we tried. That is what experimentation is all about, right?

What is the neatest thing you have done with glow sticks (or any other glowing variation)?

Work Hard, Play Harder: Tons of Fun!

Yesterday we filled our day with tons of fun! There is nothing like playing hard….

It started out with some fun at the park, with a few of our Keepers at Home crew. We decided to get together over the summer break and hang out. It was the perfect day too; sunshine and a cool breeze.

"T" and her friendThen we headed over the library to turn in our summer reading assignments and grab books. Wow! “T” had eight reports to turn in and mommy had sixteen! Way to go gang!

After a quick trip to the grocery store, the kiddos and I dug into amazingly awesome watermelon. There is nothing quite like juicy fruit on a warm day.

While at the park, one of our friends had reminded us the young adult event (can’t believe I’m already there!?) for the library was that same afternoon. So, “T” and I headed back into the great outdoors for some fun with kids her own age.

There she was able to do some cupcake decorating with her friends. (I confess, I thought there would be a little more to the class. Instead of teaching them various methods of decorating, they simply let them have at it. They did make a point teaching the kids the history of cake decorating, which was interesting.)

Mickey Mouse

I just couldn’t stand around and NOT help. “T” and I came up with this cute design…

While most people credit Europe with the invention of decorating confections during the mid-1800’s, it actually began as early as Ancient Egypt where they decorated their sweets with condensed honey and almond slices. Interesting….

After all that fun, we headed back home and into our own kitchen to make a mess. After some dinner and a movie or two, it was time to call it a day.

Who knew having tons of fun could be so tiring?

How Pin-tresting: Messy Twister

If you are on Pintrest often, you might begin to notice a trend of “pinning” items, but never actually getting around to completing any! I know this was true with me. To this end, the kids and I thought we would make an attempt to work through quite a few of our “Beautiful Kids’ Corner” pins and have some fun.

Today’s “pin” of choice… Messy Twister!

Messy Twister #1 Messy Twister #2 Messy Twister #3 Messy Twister #4 Messy Twister #5 Messy Twister #6 Messy Twister #7 Messy Twister #8 Messy Twister #9 Messy Twister #10 Messy Twister #11

Playing Messy Twister is so simple. Take a Twister mat, four colors of paint (red, green, yellow, and blue), and have some fun!

Now it’s your turn! Let us know if you play and post a link in the comments below, so we can all see how much fun you had!

Summer School: Scheduling Fun

A Homeschool Mom

School has ended; the books are put away, the paperwork is filed, and the heat has begun to hit. With twelve weeks of summer ahead of us; what do we plan to do with our free time? … Summer School!

(Gasp) Summer School? I can hear the groans of children all over America and imagine the questioning looks from parents. Why on earth would I want to do summer school voluntarily? My kids must really be behind, right? (Come on, I know that’s what you are thinking. Be honest.) In all seriousness though, there are several great reasons why we do summer school and none of them have to do with my kids’ lack of education. In fact, just the opposite!

 

There are three basic reasons why we do summer school. 

  • My kids and I get to have some great fun together! We enjoy each other’s company and learning becomes…

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I Said It Then, I Say It Again

Summer FunLast week wrapped up our official “school year”! The kids are ready to have a week of down time and then… our summer of fun!

To this end, I am going to spend this coming week finishing up paperwork and prepping for some of the awesome activities we have scheduled. In order to fully focus on meeting the needs of my gang and getting caught up on life, I thought I would repost some of the previous thoughts I had on our summer activities.

Summer time isn’t “vacation” in our book, but a time for more hands-on learning with lots of experiments and cooking.

Perhaps you’d care to join us on our exciting adventure and join in our “Summer of Fun”?

Keepers Christmas Party

Keepers finished out 2012 with a fun Christmas party. We had an abundance of sugar, some creative crafts to make, and gifts all around.

Ornament Prep

Our craft tables, set up and ready to go.

Oh, Christmas Tree

This is one of the finished Christmas ornaments. I think they turned out cute!

Story Time

All the little girls ready for story time.

Left or Right?

The girls played the Right Christmas story game with ornaments! They had a great deal of fun!

Christmas Girls

My little girls having a great afternoon; this is why I do what I do.

Frosty Christmas

This centerpiece was too cute to resist. We let the little girls take them home.

Good Food

What’s a good party without good eats? We had sugar, sugar, and, let’s see… sugar!

Friends Abound

Some of the girlies having a blast; the mommies had fun too!

Who Me?

In all, I think we had 35 girls in attendance. We had a wonderful time and enjoyed the true meaning of Christmas… Jesus’ birthday!

Way too Good!

I am not sure who made this delicious cookies, but they were wonderful!

I hope all the girls had a wonderful time at the Christmas party. We started out with a Christmas story about Baby Jesus, created a fun ornament, played the Right Christmas game, ate lots of fun treats, and ended with gifts from everyone’s secret sisters.

It was a blessing being able to spend time with those young ladies and to enjoy this season with them. I pray that each of them are blessed this Christmas.

Now, mommy is off to her own homeschool mommy Christmas party. ‘Night everyone!

First Park Day

Today was the first park day of the year for our homeschool PSP. I wish I could say there was a large turnout, but unfortunately only a small group showed.

For those of us who did, it was a blast! Our kids had fun running around and playing with bearded dragons, the moms were able to fellowship, and the weather was simply wonderful!

Pet Lovers

My littlest girl, her friend, and one of the bearded dragons.

 

Fun with Grandma

A few of the little girls, having fun at the park!

 

I'm Eating!

(Really, sis? I am trying to eat here!) My middle girl trying to eat her lunch, while her little sister snaps some shots.

 

The Flying Dutchman

Our dog, Dutch, hiding out and looking for scraps.

 

Sand Box Time

There was no way my little girl was letting go of this new animal! She held them from the moment they came, till the moment they left.

 

Finding Time to Write

Even in the midst of chaos, my “T” will find some opportunity to write.

 

Got 'Ya

“Let’s take each other’s picture!”

As I mentioned, there were very few people who made it to the park day today, but it was a good afternoon. We had a lot of fun and fellowship.

A new mom was invited, by a mutual friend, to join in. It was a pleasure to meet her and to help her begin her homeschooling journey. I hope that she will be back!

Does your PSP do park days or do you plan them on your own? If you have adolescents, do they attend park days? (Sometimes this can be a real challenge.)

Retirement

Today we went to a retirement party for one of my husband’s tias (aunts). We had a great time visiting with everyone and enjoying some awesome food. There is nothing quite like a big family get together.

While the retirement party was fun, I couldn’t help but wonder what retirement means for a family like mine. My husband is a self-employed illustrator and I homeschool. While both of these have potential for “retirement”, I just don’t see it happening for either of us.

For me in particular, I began to wonder what I will be doing once I am no longer teaching my own kids. Yeah, I could just say, “job well done” and then enjoy a life of leisure. Somehow I just don’t see that as the path the Lord has laid before me. Education is in my blood. I love learning, I love sharing what I have learned, and I love keeping busy.

I think that, at some capacity, I will always be involved in the world of education. If my children are willing, I would love to help out teaching various little things to their children. If I have the ability to go back to school, I might even get a formal degree and start teaching at our church’s private school. I even think I might like to continue leading, or at least helping, with the Keepers at Home group through our church.

No matter where the Lord plans to use me when I am done teaching my own kids, retirement just isn’t in me. My retirement will be when I am done and gone; when I am able to enjoy heaven and the things to be learned there. Then, I will be the one getting educated and there will be nothing more for me to teach.