Friday, April 2, 2010

25 Free Activities To Do With Your Kids

Spring is here, summer is quickly approaching. With that in mind, I came up with a list of 25 free things to do with your kids this summer. I am going to try to do everything on this list.

1. Fly a kite
2. Make dinner together
3. Go for a hike
4. Play a board game
5. Bake cookies
6. Play a family soccer game
7. Do a craft (my girls love Perler beads)
8. Run through the sprinkler
9. Read a book
10. Watch a movie together that you already own and pop some popcorn
11. Roast marshmallows over a backyard fire
12. Catch fireflies
13. Make up stories
14. Jumprope
15. Go fishing
16. Look for shapes in the clouds
17. Visit the library
18. Go to a local park
19. Take your dogs for a walk
20. Create art with sidewalk chalk
21. Birdwatch
22. Search for morel mushrooms
23. Plant a garden
24. Stargaze
25. play with playdough

So, what ideas do you have? I know my list is far from complete. I am looking for a lot of ideas to fill my days this summer.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Break

Today marks the beginning of Spring Break for my children. My kids are very happy to have a week off, they really need some time off. School really can be stressful, especially in this day and age. I think this is going to be a low key, stressless week for all of us. Of course, my Hannah already has 2 sleep overs planned with 2 friends. One sleep over is tonight, one is tomorrow. I know, too much. But, they are only young once, I am so happy that she has so many nice friends. I want to encourage those friendships.

My parents are coming for a visit this weekend to celebrate Easter. We are all looking forward to their visit. In fact, I am saving the coloring of the Easter eggs for the weekend. I think that it will be a perfect activity for the kids to do with Grandma and Grandpa. I am planning a brunch Sunday morning with muffins, fruit, smoothies, eggs and bacon. Dinner will be an organic roast chicken, sweet potatoes and asparagus, cupcakes for dessert.

My plans for next week include a visit to the museum, a movie, some game and movie nights and maybe lunch with my husband. I really need to keep our plans extremely frugal, our windows are going to be installed on Monday. The final payment is due, our saving account is bleeding. Ugh!!

As we celebrate Easter this weekend, I will take some pictures of the kids to try to post. While I am not a very religious person, I have to admit, I love Easter! The colors, the idea of rebirth and the change of season make me very happy.

Have a great night!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Beautiful Day

Today is the first day since October in which I was able to turn off the heat and open the windows. Ahhh! It is wonderful. My house is beginning to smell fresh, a breeze is blowing through and the stuffy feeling that a closed up house will have is gone.

Our extended forecast is for warm weather, with little rain. Spring is here, at last. It was such a long winter here in Wisconsin. Here is to a fantastic spring. Now, I need to go outside and enjoy the weather.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Meals March 28 - April 3

Here is my meal plan for the week of March 28 - April 3. I am doing this for me more than anything. I try to stick to a menu for each week, but always seem to lose the little piece of paper that I have the menu written on:

Sunday 28 - Kung Pao Tofu

Monday 29 - Vegetarian Chili (frozen from a huge batch made a while ago)

Tuesday 30 - Pasta w/Red Sauce and salad

Wednesday 31 - Salmon, Sweet potatoes, salad

Thursday April 1 - Beef Stew (this will be made in my slow cooker)

Friday 2 - Pizza night!

Saturday 3 - Salmon w/mushrooms and greens, asparagus

Monday, March 29, 2010

Freezer Meals

For the last several months my husband has been making massive quantities of food and freezing for nights that we don't have time to cook. This practice has become a real lifesaver for our family. We do not eat fast food, ever! With 3 kids, jobs, grad school, activities, pets and all the other things going on, meal time could be a problem. When you consider that we don't eat fast food, dinner time would become stressful. Not anymore. Our freezer is stocked with at least 10 evenings of meals, large enough for lunch leftovers. I cannot take credit for this surplus of food. That honor goes to my husband, Eric. Thank you Eric, you are like a male version of Martha Stewart. Here is a list of some of the things we have on hand for future use:

Vegetarian Chili
Chana Masala (Indian beans)
Falafel and pita bread
Mexican Rice
Butternut Squash Casserole

These meals were made out dry beans and rice bought in bulk. Buying rice and beans in bulk is a major money saver when sticking to a budget. Fast food was never an issue for us as a money waster, but I would often times stop at the grocery store for a quick meal that was not cheap, probably as expensive as McDonald's would be. I know that having this inventory of premade meals has saved us a lot of time and money, as well as unwanted calories and fat.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Protein without Meat

We are trying to save money on groceries. One way we have found is to skip the meat as much as possible. Tonight we had Kung Po Tofu over Quinoa. The tofu and quinoa provided protein at a cheaper price than the same amount of meat would have cost us. For about $4 we got 2 pounds of tofu, 1 cup of quinoa cost us about $2. Not bad. We added some peppers and found that we had a very healthy, inexpensive and earth friendly meal for 5 for about $8 total.

The recipe for the tofu can be found at:

My kids liked this meal, my youngest did not love it. But, she ate without a lot of complaints. It is so hard to get kids to eat tofu, so we were happy to get them to eat it at all. I really want to make more of an effort to skip the meat and eat more plant based foods. My daughter, the vegetarian, would be forever grateful. I also feel like we would be a much healthier family if we would just skip the meat. I think our checking account would also thank us. As a meat lover though, I think it will be so hard. I have tried so many times, and failed on the quest to vegetarianism. Small steps I guess.