Summer and vacation tips

Here are some tips and ideas I have read some time back and thought I would share.

17 Frugal & Fun Summer Activities

Frugal & Fun Summer Activities.

Frugal Summer ActivitiesHere are some frugal & fun summer activities. Summer is a time when we all let loose and enjoy life a little bit more than usual. I don’t know what it is about summertime, but everyone is almost always in a good mood. I guess it’s all that vitamin D that the sun is giving us!

If you have school-aged children, I’m sure you are used to hearing your child say “I’m bored” every 5 minutes during the summer (am I right?). I used to say that to my mom all the time – I’m dreading the day my kids start saying it to me!

Last year was the first time that we actually had a solid plan for the summer. We took a look at our calendar and planned out fun things to do before Old Man Winter finally returned.

I really do believe that having this “summer plan” allowed us to have a fun summer, with very few “I’m bored” moments.

Since we are about to start making our plan for this summer, I thought it might be helpful to post a list of frugal summer activities that we are likely to include in our summer plan. I hope it is helpful to those of you that are currently planning your own summer.

1. Backyard Camping – As long as you have a tent, this is a fun, FREE activity that you can enjoy with your kids (or with only your spouse I suppose!).

If you have the spot for it in your backyard, have a campfire complete with s’mores.. maybe you can even roast some hot dogs over the fire for dinner.

2. Library – The library is a fun and frugal activity all year round, but it is especially fun in the summer. Many libraries have free summer reading programs, arts & crafts days and other summer activities for children.

Of course, you can always just stop and pick up some new reading material or some movies to enjoy for FREE!

3. Picnic In The Park – This is something that we plan to do a lot of this year. We have already had 3 or 4 picnics and it is always so much fun.

We pack some fruit, veggies, a sandwich and a few snacks like rice cakes or granola bars and find a nice shady spot to lay down our blanket.

There’s something really exciting about eating food outdoors!

4. Water Parks, Sprinklers or Kiddie Pools – Many cities have free water areas at local parks. These are free and provide great entertainment for children and adults alike!

If you don’t have any free water parks in your area, you could instead purchase a cheap sprinkler or kiddie pool and splash around in your own backyard to keep cool.

5. Sidewalk Chalk – This inexpensive summer must-have is tons of fun for children, but adults can have a good time with it as well.

Write your name, draw your favourite animal or do what most people do – draw a rainbow!

We purchased sidewalk chalk on clearance last summer and plan to bring it out soon for the kids to play with (okay, and us too!).

6. Bake Something – Yes, you can bake all year round, but if you have children at home that are just itching for something to do, they will often really enjoy baking something in the kitchen.

Let them pick their favourite (FRUGAL) dessert and then whip it up!

7. Hike or Walk – When the weather is nice, go for a nice long walk or a hike. Not only is this a frugal activity that the whole family can enjoy, but it’s a great way to get some exercise!

Perhaps you can go for walk to the farthest water park from your home and then once you get there, cool off in the water!

8. Fly A Kite – Nothing screams summer like flying a kite! These fun toys are fairly inexpensive, but you could also make your own, if you’re so inclined.

Pick a nice, open park and see who can keep their kite up in the air the longest!

9. Bike Ride – Dust off that bike and go for a nice long bike ride this summer.

Bike rides are a great way to explore your city and get some exercise at the same time.

Don’t forget to wear your helmet!

10. Host or Shop At A Yard Sale – One of my favourite things about summer is the abundance of yard sales. I just love picking through someone else’s trash and finding treasures for myself.

If you are in the process of de-cluttering your home, it may be a good idea to have a yard sale yourself. You will de-clutter your home and make some extra cash at the same time!

11. Berry Picking or Farmer’s Markets – Picking berries is a fun experience for kids or adults and is often a more frugal way to purchase your fruits.

Buying produce straight from the source is a great way to save money and you will usually find that when you pick the fruit yourself, it tastes much better than the fruit you will find in stores.

If you don’t have a farm nearby that allows public berry picking, you could also have some frugal fun exploring a local farmer’s market. Most cities have these all summer long (and some cities have them all year!).

12. Arts & Crafts – If you’re a crafty person, you may enjoy doing lots of crafts this summer.

Keep this activity frugal by trying to use up the craft supplies that you currently have, instead of purchasing new items for every craft you make.

Crafts are also a great idea for those with young children. Construction paper, glue, sparkles and little coloured pom-pom balls and you’re good to go!

13. Beach Fun – If you’re fortunate enough to have a beach nearby, a frugal summer activity that you could enjoy would of course be to go and play at the beach!

Swim in the water, lie out on the sand, build sandcastles, bury someone’s entire body (except their head!), have a picnic – the possibilities are endless!

14. Barbecue – This is another frugal summer activity that we plan to do quite a bit of this year.

Barbecue items (such as burgers, hot dogs, salad ingredients, barbecue sauce, etc.) are on sale all through June-September, so stock up for the summer when items go on sale cheap enough for you, and you can enjoy frugal barbecues all summer long.

15. Do More Reading – Summer is a great excuse to be lazy and lie around. Why not lie around with a book to keep your brain stimulated?

If you have children, take them to the library and have them pick out a bunch of books to read over the course of the library due date timeline, and then go back and have them pick out some more.

It’s always a good idea to encourage children to read, and summer is a great time for them to read more than they normally would.

16. Train Your Dog – Don’t forget about your pets this summer!

If you have a pooch, teach him or her some new tricks to show off to your friends and family members.

This is a fun, FREE activity that will entertain yourself (or your kids) and your dog as well!

17. Free Local Events – Check out all of the free local events available in your city.

Do a search online for “______ (your city) free summer events” and you should be able to find a bunch of local events for you and your family to enjoy this summer – at no cost to you!

What are some frugal activities that you have planned for this summer?

  • PREP: 0 hr(s). 15 min / Total: 3 hr(s). 45 min
  • PHOTOS:1Add your photo
  • Servings: 16 servings, 1 piece (92 g) each

What you need

  • 2 cups Honey Maid Graham Crumbs
  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 pkg. (250 g) Philadelphia Brick Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 3 cups thawed Cool Whip Whipped Topping, divided
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 pkg. (85 g each) Jell-O Raspberry Jelly Powder
  • 3 cups frozen raspberries (Do not thaw.)

Check All Add to Shopping List

Make It

  • Mix graham crumbs, margarine and cinnamon. Reserve 2 Tbsp.; press remaining onto bottom of 13×9-inch pan. Beat cream cheese and sugar with mixer until well blended. Stir in 1 cup Cool Whip; spread onto crust. Refrigerate until ready to use.

  • Add boiling water to jelly powders; stir 2 min. Add berries; stir until thickened. Pour over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate 30 min. or until set but not firm.

  • Cover with remaining Cool Whip and reserved crumb mixture. Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm.

    Made a recipe very similiar to this today! Yum Yum!!!

New post on The Intentional Mom

How to Pack For a Family Trip With NO STRESS!

by Jennifer

how to pack for a family trip

I am in the midst of getting ready for a family trip the next weekend and am knee deep in this system. Many of you may have seen it, but many of you may not have. I didn’t want you to miss out on making packing soooo much easier as we are entering into the busy travel season. There are so many great tips here.

Doing some traveling as a family this summer? Taking a road trip for a few days? Going away for a long weekend? Getting a family ready to hit the road or take to the friendly skies doesn’t have to be complicated. We don’t go away that often, but when we do, mobilizing my super-sized troop is no small feat. I finally got smart and created a list that I just keep on hand. The list does give me item by item details, but it also reminds be of the variables to remember depending on the trip, making it a list that is applicable to every trip in some way.

I am a fairly organized person. Actually, I am highly organized by nature. However, if there is one thing I have learned as a mom to many it is that you can only be too organized when there are a couple of variables that keep me from being able to plan everything ahead of time. With a family, there are always bits and pieces of everything that will have to be handled on the fly.

I find it works best to start preparing about two weeks before the trip is planned. I start building an organized gathering of things in an out of the way place in my bedroom. My gathering place has four main areas:

  • adult stuff
  • girls stuff
  • boys stuff
  • odds and ends

Two weeks before:

  • Go thru all of our toiletries bags to make sure they are loaded with enough soap, shampoo, toothpaste etc. and put in pile
  • gather flip flops for shower
  • Begin gathering clothing – in outfits for each person and put in pile
  • Gather “entertainment” for kids to do in car or on plane – place each persons’ things in a separate labeled bag
  • Make grocery list for needed food items whether for meals or snacks
  • Gather insulated food bags or coolers that food will be transported in – make sure they are clean and ready to go
  • Plan how young children will be transported on the trip – will we need strollers, baby carriers etc. and put on list
  • Gather the needed number of diapers/wipes
  • Make easy to use soap-filled cloths for easy washing up before bed – COOL TIP!!!put some liquid hand soap on a heavy duty paper towel, dampen it and allow to dry. Once completely dry, put in ziplock bag. These are amazing “washcloths on the go!”
  • Gather any needed baby/toddler feeding items – breastfeeding cape, sippy cups, baby spoons etc. and put in pile
  • Create a list of everything you will need that you can not pack at this time – organize list by boys and girls and then break it down by person
  • Gather sunscreen, after sun care, bug spray, bug bite cream, essential oils, hand sanitizer, hand sanitizing wipes and put in pile
  • Create first aid kit of bandaids, gauze, tape, antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide and put in pile
  • Create medicine kit with tylenol, ibuprofen, infant/child pain relievers, cough syrup, decongestant, antacid, cough syrup, throat/cough drops and put in pile
  • Gather needed prescription meds for family members and put in pile
  • Gather any feminine products if needed and put in pile
  • Create a shopping list of any needed items like flip flops etc.
  • Make sure anything that requires batteries has extra needed batteries in the pile

One week before:

  • Review any lists made in the week prior and add what you can to the pile
  • Create snack bags for the car/plane and put in pile
  • Complete all shopping from needed lists including food
  • Make a list for someone to care for pets that are being left behind
  • Find someone to care for any outdoor plants that will need to be watered
  • Gather Garmin or other needed items for adults who will be navigating and put in pile
  • Make sure any camera batteries are charged and put in pile
  • Double check that vehicle you will be driving is not needing any maintenance
  • Clean out car so it is ready for packing
  • Call to stop mail service while gone

A few days before:

  • Complete all lists with packing needs
  • PACKING TIP: Pack each outfit in a separate bag for younger kids, for older people, divide by person and put all shirts in one bag, pants/shorts in one bag, warmer weather wear in one bag, socks in one bag that are all LABELED. In this way, my oldest daughter will have up to four bags all with her name on them.
  • PACKING TIP: as I pack, I place a mark next to the things I am putting in the pile on my list. Then when I review my list the day before, I place another mark next to each item. That way, I know everything has been checked twice
  • PACKING TIP FOR COMING HOME: use these same bags to separate your laundry into lights, darks etc…that way you can just start dumping in the washer right away
  • Prepare any needed food. I often make pizza for on the road etc. to avoid eating out
  • Make a list of schoolwork that will need to some along, if any

The day before:

  • Buy ice for the cooler
  • Put gas in car
  • Complete all lists
  • Pack bags – I have one bag for adults, one bag for girls, one bag for boys, a bag for baby, bag for books, bag for toiletries and extras
  • Pack car with entertainment bags
  • Set out clothes for each person to wear the next day
  • Pack car with what you can
  • Plan easy meals for the day of departure
  • Double check list before bed, completing the double check process

Day of:

  • complete all lists
  • load car
  • make sure phones are charged
  • pick up the house
  • make sure only lights that I want left on are turned on
  • run dishwasher after last meal

Tomorrow, I will share my master packing list with item by item details including the things we so often forget like phone charging cords etc.

Preparing for a family trip is often a huge undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Tackling things in bit sized chunks beginning two weeks ahead of time takes the overwhelming job and makes it manageable. Keeping an ongoing list takes the fear of forgetting something out of the equation, which is usually the most stressful part for me. Share and save this list for later, pin this list for later, or print this list, but hang on to it for the next time you find yourself planning for a family trip.

Dorito Chicken Cheese Casserole
(Printable Recipe)

3 cups cooked chicken, chopped (I used a rotisserie chicken)
8 oz sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups salsa or 1 can Rotel
1 can of corn, drained
2 cups Mexican cheese, shredded
1 bag of nacho cheese Doritos

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.  Crush the entire bag of Doritos and cover the bottom of the dish.  Reserve one cup of cheese.   Mix together remaining ingredients in a large bow.  Pour chicken mixture over the Doritos.  Bake for 20 min. Top casserole with the remaining cheese and bake 5 additional minutes or until melted.
Pin It!

Made this for supper again tonight. I think I will serve it with potatoes and fiddleheads.

Also made a baked mocha cheesecake and chocolate cheesecake today to have in the freezer for a busy day when I need an emergency dessert.

Last week we painted all the cement , decks, doors ect that needed freshened up. Seeing I was outside for two days Monday was spent catching up. Been a rainy overcast week so far so been doing reading with the kids, crafts ect. Kind of nice just to be home:)


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