Sunday, June 2, 2013

5 Ideas for Family Fun on a Budget

We believe fun should be free.
Do you agree? Good. We are on the same page.

Sometimes it's a bit of a struggle to think of something to do that's free (or cheap) that everybody enjoys.
Right now, we have a family of three. As our family grows, this list will change. But for now, here's a list of 5 cheap family activities that we love doing together.

1) Walk. 
Don't underestimate the fun a family walk can be. While we had a habit of occasionally going on a walk, we really made this a habit when I was pregnant. The midwife recommended walking for at least 30 minutes every day, to help keep me fit and loose for when the baby came.
But something amazing happened. We talked.
Yes, we talked and spent time together before, but it was a time with no other "entertainment" or digital distractions, and we just talked. About everything. Our day, our life, our dreams, and our feelings. Plus we got more fit doing it. Now that our baby is here, we still walk. We put him in the stroller, and he loves watching the cars go by, or the birds and trees. Sometimes part way through the walk, his daddy picks him up and he gets to join the conversation (while I push an empty stroller. Which is completely okay). He loves that!

2) Bookstore or Library
So, it sounds a little silly until you try it, but one of the things we love to do is go to the bookstore and browse. We never really have any intention of buying, but it is really relaxing and somehow bonding. We leave holding hands. This can be done at the library too- our town has a really great library, but we both really love the atmosphere in the bookstores. Baby gets so excited just seeing the books too, so he's a boy after our own hearts.

3) Geocaching
This is a little new to our family, but we are fast getting addicted. We went yesterday with all of my family and husband's family (20 people in all!) and that was how we celebrated my birthday. It was so fun, and it was the first time any of them had ever gone. I think we got several of them hooked as well,. They were all so surprised that there even was such a thing, and kindof didn't believe us that there was stuff hidden right under our noses... until we found some! Then it all of a sudden became more exciting.

What is geocaching? It's a high-tech outdoor treasure hunting game that's a great way to explore the world with friends, family or on your own. Participants use GPS-enabled devices to locate hidden containers called geocaches. There are over one million geocaches hidden around the world today, waiting for you to find them. Visit to search for geocaches near you. Basic Membership is free.

It helps if you have a smart-phone, and an app to access the list of caches. charges $9.99 for their app, and though it may be worth it, I have never tried it. If you think of it as purchasing a family game, that is still cheaper than most board games out there. I use and love the free android geocaching app C: Geo. There is a free iPhone geocaching app called GeoBucket though I have not experimented with this one. does have a free trial version of their app, though there are some limitations. If you've got a favorite, please comment below! I'd love to hear someone else's favorites. does have a free trial version of their app, though there are some limitations.

4) Photo Shoot
Don't be intimidated if you are not a great photographer. Just decide to have fun. If you have a tripod, this is a lot easier, but if not, you can usually find a passer-by who is willing to take a quick picture. Also, if you don't have a tripod, think of some friends you have who might have one. This is a more common household item than you might think. You can find an inexpensive tripod here if you're interested in investing in one. They're a great tool to have around.
We bought one with Christmas money, and then went out and took some photos. This was our last photo-shoot as a two-person family. Baby was along, but he was about the size of a blueberry, so he was pretty inconspicuous. I look forward to taking an evening this summer to do a family photo shoot with all three of us. Here are some of my favorites from our shoot.

5) Cook together
Again, if you're not a cook, don't feel intimidated. This can be so easy even for someone not familiar with the kitchen. There is a reason Nicholas Sparks has so many scenes in his books with the couple cooking together- it's fun, bonding, relaxing, and you can talk while you do it.
For a couple, you have a few more options, as it's easier for adults to be safe in the kitchen. But there are plenty of options for you and your kids too. Even ones that the whole family can enjoy. An easy one that comes to mind is building a pizza. In my family growing up, we would make what I like to call "plaid pizza". We used a rectangle jelly roll pan, and after the dough was rolled out, everyone would put their favorite toppings. If you can imagine the pizza divided in half horizontally- one side with pepperoni, the other with sausage. Now divide it in half vertically, with one half decorated with peppers, onions and the works, and the other half with just olives and maybe a little extra cheese. Everybody is happy!
We have a dough recipe we like (perhaps a post for another time?) but you could even do this with a ready made pizza crust. Put the crust in the middle of the table and let everybody help. Then the best part is, you get to eat it afterwards. See that wasn't so bad, was it?

What are some of the fun things you like to do as a family? What kind of activities do you like best- indoor or outdoor? I love to hear your comments!

Counting 1000 Blessings - June 2013


1        457 Pearl. My new fish are Pearl & Poisson, and the shrimp are Victor & Hugo.

          458 because sprinkles make the world a better place.

          459 iced tea after a day in the outdoors geocaching for my birthday

2        460  this guy is in such a silly mood!
          461  this goofy book #ClickClackMoo always makes Ivan laugh which in turn makes me laugh. At some point we will use it for an example when we are teaching him about strikes
          462 love to watch him play

3        463 reading On The Night You Were Born and telling Ivan how special he is ♥ #nancytillman

          464 my sweet lovely sister came over for a visit! #eucharisteo necklace from my sweet sister for my birthday!!! Love it!!!

          465 My husband picking up plants for our vegetable garden... with the church we married at in the background ♥
4        466 He is so wise
          467 He is so patient
          468 He is so faithful

5        469 This. My loves swinging, baby’s head lays down on Ian’s chest

          470 hoping for a great crop in this years garden

          471 loved playing in the grass while we worked in the garden

6        472 no makeup, bed hair, jammies; but snuggles make the moment beautiful

          473 he loves butternut squash! Is it silly that I kindof wish he got a little messier when he eats just because I think it's cute?

          474 Green people in The Pickle Town book I am blessed to be able to share with my son. My sister wrote it and I illustrated it.
7        475 1Peter 2:2: craving God, resting in Him. #shereadstruth

          476 1Thes 5:1 be thankful in every circumstance
          477 The losses that puncture our world become places to see through to God #annvoskamp

8        478 I'm running on empty so went for my free birthday drink at Starbucks 

          479 I love his little bath toys. It's nice having a kid around

          480 empty life to make room for God's fullness. #annvoskamp loving this book from my sister for my birthday!
9        481 whenever I let him pick, this is the one. Veggie Tales God Made You Special

          482 he plays with his ears when he's sleepy.

          483 Baby blowing kisses
10      484 Holding my baby and working on Bible Study
          485 walking the little man around the house

          486 I love my life. Working from home is such a blessing.

11      487 Paint Me Away. You are the Artist, paint away my past. I need you to paint me away. At Your feet is where I find grace. I give my heart. This is the day. I need You to paint me away. Brushstrokes remind me of how your mercies flow. Paint my canvas white like winter snow. The easel that showcased all my tainted past now shows the artwork that will always last. I need you to paint me away. At Your feet is where I find grace. I give my heart. This is the day. I need You to paint me away. –Paint Me Away, Nick Fry

          488 Baby's first library program - he enjoyed it so much! The light on his face when he listened
          489 Find Rest painting almost finished
12      490 hand full of blueberries

          491 My Faith Spoken Of Bible study notes all full on the pages

          492 First Small group meeting
13      493 Bird song all morning
          494 Coffee warm and comforting
          495 Cards bringing Joy to a loved one

14      496 Reached over to tickle my baby's arm, and he wanted to hold my hand. Blessed my heart so much.
          497 peels and stems ready for compost
498 so of my husband's brothers the most macho of them all is the biggest marshmallow toward Ivan. Ivan is fast becoming his favorite photo subject

15      499 loving the #shereadstruth #1peter study. 2 nuggets today, 1pet4:13-14  sharing our suffering with Christ
          500 1 Pet14:19 trusting our lives to Him because He never fails us
          501 my #romansproject emphasizing that we have the spirit of Christ in us.

16      502 Great Grandpa saying to my son “We are just a good pair, aren’t we?”
          503 Crackle of fireworks
          504 Last moments and promise of reunion
17      505 He cooks creatively
          506 Wisps of dark hair among the grey, remembering it the other way around
          507 The way his eyes crinkle when he laughs
18      508 Holding me
          509 Molding me
          510 Forgiving me
19      511 picking up after him. Glad he chooses books instead of toys.

          512 Delighted to delight him.
          513 Work-weary and feeling accomplished

20      514 welcoming my friend’s new baby
          515 Loving his first time swimming
          516 Picnic and toys at Grandma’s
21      517 Soft breaths in morning light
          518 Eyelashes looking red in the sunlight
          519 Swimming in sunset light
22      520 Hot.
          521 War
          522 History
23      523 Healing found only through Christ
          524 Painting again
          525 New baby born! Welcome, new niece!
24      526 we got to do a Google hangout with my sister and new niece!!
          527 Showing Ivan the water lilies
          528 The white push-toy helping Ivan walk. He loves it!
25      529 daddy reading the #jesusstorybookbible early birthday present
          530 drinks with my hubby ♥ #Starbucks
          531 My sweet father-in-law always on call for advice for the garden
26      532 Poor sweaty boy with the washcloth we use to keep cool. #acbroken
          533 Little boy swimsuit
          534 Cotton T-Shirt
27      535 Swimming to keep cool♥
          536 New Valencia orange Starbucks Refresher = yum!
          537 storm, sky and wind
28      538 Wedding cake bits
          539 Strawberries
          540 Warm coffee and iced tea
29      541 Little boy dress clothes get me every time ♥
          542 First wedding cake I've made - likely the last, but grateful for the opportunity and experience.
          543 White. This skirt I got from a lady I used to know is one of my favorites, because it's practically perfect in every way.
30      544 Encouragement and congratulations
          545 Time
          546 Sweet snuggles and kisses on the head for time that passes too fast