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Christi Homeschool Ink Slingers Motherhood Parenting Vocations

Diary of a Homeschool Mum part 3

homeschool diarySeptember 6th, 2016- My first two posts in the Diary of a Homeschool Mum have been set in the past as I shared the beginnings of why we started homeschooling, the when, and the how. I am deviating this month from writing about the past and am focusing on the now, as well as my future, as a homeschool mum of what is now only a few.

This has been the toughest beginning of a homeschool semester ever. For years I was adding to my homeschool registry. Many school years saw the addition of a nursling who was traveling from arm to arm in the school room  whilst we were also accommodating a preschooler or toddler who created his or her own commotion to the schooling scene in our home.

Then in 2001 we reached a stage where we maintained a status quo in classroom numbers because as one child would spread their wings and leave home, another joined the family. So for years the number of children at home hovered around 10. Finally back in 2008, the year our 13th entered the world, we actually dropped to nine children at home when one flew the coop and another returned to college after taking a year off to help with the family business. We held steady at nine until we dropped to eight in 2012 but, with the youngest just barely a preschooler and several children still in the single digits, I wasn’t fazed. At.All.

Then this summer happened.

Two left home for college. 

going going gone2

We organized a good bye party for the two leaving for college and gifts began to arrive in the mail for them from family out of country. It was so much fun watching for boxes as the postman drove up. But then it was time to actually pack all of that stuff into the back of our mini-van since our big van is nearing retirement and decided to loll about the yard this summer. This meant not all of us could go so I got to take the pictures of them leaving and then have a good cry every time I walked by the piano the 18 year old was always playing.         Yes.         Every. Single.Time.       All day!

But then a few belated boxes arrived and I had an excuse to go visit…

bearing gifts

That was mid August and we were down to six children still at home.

Lonely, only, six.

When was the last time I had  ONLY SIX? That was in May of 1995 just before I gave birth to our seventh child, third son… That’s a long, long time ago – though I remember it like yesterday.

And then today….. today we dropped to five! When were we ever only five?  Twenty three years ago – that’s when. And ironically it is our fifth beautiful child who left today to begin the biggest journey I think a person can ever begin – the giving of oneself entirely to God through a religious vocation.

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
— St. Augustine

That was the quote from the source of daily readings that I use. I actually couldn’t read it aloud as it caught in my throat because truly – could I have asked for better reassurance of what my child is doing? Finding her heart’s rest within the heart of Jesus for whom she will live the rest of her life? My 13 yr old daughter, Emma, had to read it aloud, along with today’s Mass readings to our small group gathered at the breakfast table. 

So once more we loaded the back of the mini-van but with far less belongings then when we moved our two children to college this August. An hour later we arrived at the airport where we dropped off our precious daughter, and much loved older sibling and said our hurried goodbyes before having to leave and make room for other harried travelers. The tears began to drop as we pulled away from the curb while Gabby wheeled her two suit cases towards the revolving doors.

I have known this was coming for such a long, long time – this drop in numbers. These huge changes have been looming in front of me for the past couple of years. As the big 5 0 crept up on me and no more new babies joined the classroom, I faced the inevitable truth- our family had reached its zenith. We are still growing, but in a different way. This summer we watched as our ninth grandchild was welcomed into the church in the same gown many of our children and other grandchildren had been baptized in.

baptismal gownWhile there are still children at home, I have found myself longing for the past as I began to count down instead of up. In addition I have had to face the truth that my youngest child’s firsts are my lasts- last first tooth, last first bike ride, last first Holy Communion… I have been filled with dread over this. Absolute dread. I’m experiencing empty nest syndrome before the nest is empty. I’ve been almost paralyzed by it.

My challenge now is to accept that “I’m entering a new season in my life.” I find myself grimacing as I type that because I do not like that expression. Most likely because I have loved so intensely THIS season of new babies, new personalities developing, talents explored and found. Being a mother of a large and growing family has been my vocation and my complete and total identity for thirty plus years.

 And now, as I help the last five of my beautiful children find their wings and watch them prepare to leave the nest, I too need to find new wings so that I can fly with the future. After all, next year the only adult child still at home while he studies locally for a year will be leaving for his college of choice and I will be down to four and I don’t even want to think how long it’s been since I only had four.

I need to find a new me.

Over the next year when I pop into Catholic Sista’s every few months to keep up my “Diary of a Homeschool Mum” I will continue to share the memories of over two decades of homeschooling while I enter into my last decade of teaching children at home. But I will also begin to include where I see my future taking me. I will share as I explore my talents that got left in the dust while I changed diapers, chased toddlers and helped teens and tweens find pencils so they could do their math. I am already tackling an even bigger challenge – rebuilding my body that has been ravaged by 13 births and hypothyroidism, among other health issues.

Until next time – God Bless!

Christi

PicMonkey Collage

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7 Quick Takes Christi Domestic Church Ink Slingers Recipes

Seven Quick n Easy Meals

calendarGood day dear readers; this week we are going to face the ugly truth glaring at us down the barrel of time. In a very short number of weeks, even perhaps days for those in the south, we are looking at the return of the school day, the end of summer and all that that entails. For many this means the resurgence of  late afternoon practices – be they choir at school, band practice or one’s favorite sport. For some it means getting up at the crack of dawn to pack school lunches and catching busses or meeting the carpool. For others it means getting back into the practice of having school started by a decent hour each morning along with co-op meetings and so on. In a nut shell, the lazy, hazy days of summer are drawing to a close. Even for those not with school age children – it typically involves a change of pace.

Many of us have been enjoying being able to throw together those quick summer meals intended to keep the kitchen cool and the family fed with as little fuss and muss as possible. As the weather cools down (for most of us) we will begin to hanker once more for hot meals instead of salads with burgers thrown on the grill (barbecue for those in the north!) – I can hear the collective groans at the thought of the hours spent in the kitchen creating those yummy, hot; stews, roasts and chowders while also contemplating how busy life speeds up come fall. But all is not lost.

My hope is to help us all settle back into our fall routines with a host of easy but delicious and warm meals at your finger tips. I polled a number of readers and some of our very own ink slingers as to what was their answer to quick last minute meals (You know for when you have forgotten to take the meat out of the freezer or you woke up only to remember TODAY is the day ALL the kids are getting their teeth cleaned and there is no way you can possibly make what you had planned.) And I also asked them for some of their favorite crock pot days for when they are actually on top of their game but know there will be no time/energy to cook after their busy day.

Here are their favorite sanity time savers and some great crock pot ideas:

 

pulled pork

 

Quick take 1) This first quick and easy idea is similar to one of our favorite crock pot recipes only we use our own special blend of chimichurri spices. Here is what one busy reader offered as a quick and easy crock pot idea: ‘Put a pork shoulder roast in crock pot, dump 1/2 jar of (your favorite) BBQ sauce over it and cook on low all day. Shred & pull apart about 20 minutes before you want to eat, dump rest of BBQ sauce over it. Serve on buns (Or not.)’ Throw together you favorite salad and stand back to receive the accolades this is sure to bring. (We often serve our chimichurri variation of this with rice made in our handy dandy rice cooker!)

Quick take 2) Breakfast for dinner! What kid doesn’t love upside down day and what mum doesn’t love an easy meal. This reader’s favorite breakfast for dinner choice is “scrambled eggs, omelet with whatever filling we happen to have, waffles, pancakes, sausage if there’s any in the freezer…”  This reader also shared that she tries to buy some precooked sausages when they are on sale for those really hectic – don’t. have. a. minute. to. spare. – before CCD/practice/meeting days!)

Quick take 3)  One of our family favorites (okay, not really the family’s but mine) is to whip up a few cans of tomato soup with grilled cheese on the side. Now I do have to say that my kids really enjoy grilled cheese when we have homemade bread to make them with. This idea is almost identical with one reader who shared that one of her go quick meals is; Tuna melts (which usually means grilled cheese for the kids since my kids are not fans of tuna!), canned soup (I usually stock up with good sales/coupons) and I typically add some fruit or raw veggies (with salad dressing for “dip”) when we have this for dinner.

 

buffalo-chicken-quesadilla-2

Quick take 4) One busy mum shared that in her home quesadillas are a good ‘ready in 5 minutes’ dinner. She says: ‘I use whatever we have: shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, meat if we have some (leftover ground beef or chicken or Perdue short cuts chicken in tiny pieces), peppers, etc.’ She serves hers with salsa. 

Another one of this reader’s favorites that she shared with us was a burger version of this or Burritos, as she called them.  She fries some ground beef and suggests adding your favorite seasoning to the burger as it cooks. She then heats up a can of refried beans, and sets the meat and beans on the table along with cheese, lettuce, tortillas, salsa, and sour cream. “Takes 10 minutes at my house.” she told me.

I don’t know about you but I’ll take a ten minute meal from start to table any day! (Hint: throw a few pkgs of soft taco wraps in the freezer as a back up for busy days.)

Quick take 5) Here is another burger menu pleaser:  Prepare 2 pounds hamburger meat with your favorite seasonings. (This reader uses salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, paprika, or a bit of smoked paprika) Then shape into patties, put in a pan and sear. While these are cooking, prepare brown gravy to pour over patties and simmer for about 20 min until patties are cooked through. She serve hers over rice or egg noodles. For those not familiar with Kitchen Bouquet which is an ingredient listed in the brown gravy recipe you can check it out here.

When I asked this reader why she used patties she replied ‘Patties cook faster than huge meatballs…. mine are a cross between a meatball and a pattie…. but I don’t use egg or breadcrumbs… if your meat is too dry, and patties won’t stay formed… use an egg… if they are too wet, throw some breadcrumbs or crackers in the mix… ‘  You can throw a veggie on to cook while this is being prepared and voila you have a quick, easy and a tasty meal for those busy ‘back to fall routine’ evenings. 

loaded spuds

Quick take 6) This menu idea is a neat version of baked potatoes in the oven. This reader offered this idea: Poke and wrap in aluminum foil baking potatoes. Place in crockpot and cook on low. Serve with all sorts of toppings, like canned chili (don’t judge-desperate times come desperate measures LOL), cheese, bacon crumbles, broccoli, whatever you have on hand.  And againif you have salad ingredients you can easily round this out to a complete and easy meal. 

Quick take 7) Korean Beef, a few readers shared their personal version of this recipe so check it out and spice it up (or down)  to your own liking. I would think you could substitute shredded chicken breast for this recipe and enjoy that too!

If you are partial to shredded chicken and the Korean flavor doesn’t appeal to you then you can try one of our new favorites. I put a bag of chicken tenderloins (or breasts) in my crock pot, turn it to high if it’s mid day – low if I remember first thing in the morning. I pour a jar of (mild in my house) salsa over the chicken and sprinkle a touch of cumin over the salsa to give it a slightly Indian flavor. Before serving with rice (made in my handy dandy rice cooker) I shred the chicken in the pot and then sprinkle shredded cheese over it. I usually have sour cream on the side for people to add to their own plates. My favorite vegetables to steam with this is broccoli or green beans. Depending on the amount of meat left over we might serve it in taco shells for lunch the next day. 

Well – there you go – some pretty easy and delicious sounding last minute meals as well as some great crock pot inspirations. But I never seem content with stopping at seven (just read some of my past 7QT and you will notice I typically mange to sneak a few extra items in) so why should this month be any different.

While begging recipes from these wonderful ladies – one of them pointed me in the direction of Pinterest where apparently our very own Catholic Sistas has a CROCK POT BOARD. And here it is! So, if none of these ideas piqued your interest – hop on over to our crock pot board and start drooling, errr, I mean, planning some great meals for this fall.

Of course – don’t forget to head over to This Ain’t the Lyceum and see what everyone else has had to share this wonderful first Friday in August.

Seven-Quick-Takes- new graphic

 

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7 Quick Takes Christi Getting to Know the Ink Slingers Ink Slingers

Seven Catholic Sistas Ink Slingers favorite posts and why!

For this First Friday’s 7QT we will learn what are some of our ink slingers favorite articles and why they chose those particular posts. I asked them the impossible question: which is your favorite post that you have written and why?  Here are the results in the order I received them. 

7 fav posts

Quick take 1:  Rita Suva  who will begin writing on a more regular basis starting next month has to date been responsible for a lot of the behind the scenes  activities such as editing and organizing many of our photo challenges and when asked responded “Can I say that one of my favorite things is/are the Instagram photo journeys/challenges?” My answer: Absolutely!! So check ‘em out here if you have not followed any of these challenges. This one was co-lead by Rita. 

2016 Lent Photo Journey

Quick take 2Kerri has authored a number of posts as an ink slinger for Catholic Sistas. One of her favorites is Celebrating Womanhood – Catholic Church Style. When I asked why she responded: “I think I like it because it was more than just the original post itself. There are a lot of comments on this post as well which greatly added to the conversation and added a lot more depth to what I had outlined in the post.” 

A full sixty-four comments dear readers  – now THAT’S a conversation! Make sure you scroll the whole way down the post’s page if you wish to follow that discussion.

Kerris quote

Take 3: Mary S shared “ I haven’t written very many, but probably my favorite was Loving My Cross (Even When I Hate It.) It’s my favorite because although it was difficult to write, and made me think about some painful parts of my life, it was also a way of healing somewhat. It also helped me write it because it helped me see my depression in a slightly different light (as the reason I cling so tightly to Christ and the Cross), which has continued to help me handle periods of deeper depression since I wrote it. I just pray that the Holy Spirit can use my experiences to help others.”  To read this post head over here.

Marys quote

Quick Take 4: Janalin Hood shared that her current favorite was about to publish and she loved it “because it is full of images from our readers own homes!

(here’s an example of the gorgeous photos she shares with us)

Laura M - Easter

Quick Take 5: Alison H replied when I asked why she chose Thank God Judith is in the Bible: “After we decided to ‘come home to Rome’ I read all the OT books stolen from our protestant bibles and loved Judith so much. At the time I had five boys and one girl (the tough one) and what I read there had a deep impact on how I saw my daughter (so different from me) and her personality.” Now if that doesn’t pique you interest I don’t know what will!

Allisons quote

Quick take 6: Charla  chose this post for me to read When Life Gets Old. Based on a conversation we had about this favorite that she also shared another favorite post which was A time For Every Event Under Heaven.

Charlas quote

Quick take 7: A round up of a few extras. As my fellow ink slingers and I chatted back and forth about our favorites, a few extras were thrown into the foray and they are: 

Here Comes the Judge

Catholic Women and Faith in the Work Place

An Interview with Ken Howell, Former Assemblies of God Pastor

Now this last one I’m going to finish with was not directly named but referred to by Alison when she commented: ‘I think people are shocked at what the “divine health and wealth gospel” does to people when  a healing does not come. That’s why I like to share my conversion story. The Catholic Church’s teaching on redemptive suffering saved my life and marriage.’ This resonated strongly with me as a convert myself and also because of a story with me by one of my children’s’ God mother who had a friend who was not Catholic. I have never forgotten my friend’s sorrow over the blame this woman felt over her own battle with cancer because ‘obviously if she was not healing it could only be due to lack of faith on her part.’  Because this spoke so strongly to me I looked up Alison’s conversion story and I’m finishing with it here. 

STOP! HOLD THE PRESSES!  I have received a late submission and it’s so good I cannot resist adding it even though I’ve completed all of  my Seven Quick Takes! Michelle Fritz shared Three Things I used To Know About Myself as her most favorite post. 

Michelles quote

So hopefully with this round up of favorites I have provided some fun and, hopefully, inspiring reading to fill those quiet summer nights that are still ahead of us. Until next time – happy reading and don’t forgot to mosey on over to this Ain’t the Lyceum and see what everyone else is up to this week.

Seven-Quick-Takes- new graphic

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Christi Fatherhood Homeschool Ink Slingers Motherhood

Diary of a Homeschool Mum Part 2

Back in March I introduced the beginning of a new series I am writing for Catholic Sistas – Diary of a Homeschool Mum and today we pick it up again with part two:

July 7th 1991 C.P. Ontario, Canada

Yesterday we went to the Block House to celebrate the ending of school as well as the joy we have that this fall we will start that crazy, scary adventure called homeschooling. The kids had a blast. We took tons of slides, can’t wait to watch them with the new slide projector we bought with our tax return this year.

We finished off with dinner out. We even let each kid have a glass of pop.  Great memories except for that moment when I saw Alicia’s face as she tried to read block house part 2 of diary frame 2the menu given to her by the waitress. She had asked the kids ‘who can read’ and Alicia excitedly put her hand up and proudly took one of the menus. I watched carefully because I had not been convinced the school had, in reality, imparted any reading skills to her. They just had the kids memorize and memorize all year long – convincing the kids they could read… I suppose a few connected the dots – but how many more are experiencing that moment when they are handed a bunch of words that they have not yet encountered and don’t have the phonetic skills to break them down and ACTUALLY read. My heart broke when Alicia’s expression of delight to be a big girl and read a menu like her big sister clouded over as she perused the menu and the realization of “I can’t read this” dawned on her. I had a lump in my throat when she handed the menu back to the waitress and mumbled “Never mind – I can’t read.”  I can’t wait to start teaching her phonetics – as scared as I am with the enormity of it all. But I succeeded with Caroline – I can do it again. Next time she gets offered a menu she won’t be cheated of that moment of pride and victory!

Totally different note – I’m still having trouble with my hands. Now Hugo has to get up with Elizabeth at night when she wakes to nurse and hold her while I slap my hands together to get feeling back into them. I can’t even try to pick her up when my hands are like this because I can’t feel enough to be able to use them. SO strange.

July 10th… so tired. Just so tired. This evening I tried playing a game of solitaire on the new computer. Couldn’t focus enough to complete it.  5 yr old Erik finished it for me.

 

July 15th 1991

Dear Diary

Despite feeling so tired I was able to get my order written out and mailed so our books should arrive soon – I just have yet to decide on a math text for Caroline, the principal for our little school has made some suggestions and gave me a catalogue to go through. I think I’m going to go with the Houghton Mifflin grade four book. And I’m going to spring the extra dollars to go with the coloured edition. I want Caroline to be inspired by this book.  I always hated math as a child and I really want my kids to learn to enjoy it. Such a bright and enthusiastic looking book should surely help keep her engaged!

Strangest thing happened last weekend. I was visiting a friend and suddenly I had no idea who she was. One minute I was chatting with someone I know well. We see each other every Sunday at Mass and at our bi-weekly rosary gatherings and there I was – with no idea who she was. I was too embarrassed to interrupt her and say – umm hey – what’s your name? I knew where I was – I mean I recognized her kitchen I just didn’t know who SHE was. It was so disconcerting.  I tried not to lose track of what she was saying while I tried to think of her husband’s name. I kept thinking that if I could just remember her husband’s name I would remember hers. It worked. Such a relief to remember who she was.  I hope that doesn’t happen again.

July 20th

That name thing happened again. I have to admit, it’s kind of tricky keeping a conversation going while you are trying desperately to remember the person’s name.  Seeing the doctor this Monday for Elizabeth’s check up. I’ll mention to her how tired I am all the time – maybe I’m just too tired.

July 22nd  – great check up for Elizabeth, great weight, on target for all her milestones. Such a mama’s girl – doesn’t want anyone to hold her but me – not even Daddy – this could be a challenge come September and it’s time to start school. Discussed my fatigue with the Doctor – she said I was expecting too much of myself – after all I had just had my fifth baby which is similar to the doctor said when I talked to the Dr about being tired even before I was pregnant with Elizabeth. (You have four babies what do you expect…)  But so many friends have as many babies or more, and they are doing so much. They are painting their houses, helping build decks, and homeschooling. And me? I can barely get through the day. I feel like I’m pushing through water just to walk. I guess I’m just lazy.  She did offer to request for home help for MovingBoxes frameme. She thinks with five very young kids I should be able to get a few weeks worth of home help paid for through OHIP. That would be great – I still have not completely unpacked from the move here last summer. Being on bed rest most of Elizabeth’s pregnancy kind of made it impossible to get the house completely unpacked and organized.

I hope our books get here soon. With this fatigue (or incredibly bad habit of laziness?) I’m going to need lots of time to get them organized and lessons planned out. 

July 25th

YES! Dr’s office called and she was able to arrange for some part-time home help. An intake person will be calling me and discussing what I need from this. Apparently I have to decide whether I want someone who will sit with the kids and watch them or someone who will clean while I watch the kids. I’m totally going with someone who will help me clean. I have mountains and mountains of clothes to go through – we haven’t had a dryer since we moved here (or a stove either) and between tons of boxes in the sun porch still waiting to be unpacked I have a billion pieces of clothes to go through. Our new dryer arrives next week. Our school books will be here any day and once I get all of this organized with this lady – we will build the desks in the dining room. This is starting to get real – like when you have a shower for the first baby and the house fills up with baby furniture and clothes and you suddenly realize – it’s really happening.  

Not sure how much help I’ll be to Hugo when we start building though. Lately I can’t even use the can opener. I have to get Caroline to open all cans for me these days. I seem to have lost all strength in my hands.

This concludes part two of Diary of a Homeschool Mum. Next time we get together I will share more about that last month of getting ready for ‘school’, the continuation of Alexander’s problems, as well as my growing health issues. Until then – have a great summer. See you in the fall. 

homeschool diary

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7 Quick Takes Christi Domestic Church Ink Slingers

Stress Free Vacation at Home, or As It’s More Commonly Known, a Staycation!

This month with summer full on for most readers, many of us are wondering about what to do for a vacation. Planning is the key here. As is a budget. (That nasty four six letter word BUDGET! Shiver!) Realizing that some readers are budgeting on a string, and a worn out one at that, the goal of this seven quick takes will be how to plan a very economical staycation. (With a few parenting tips thrown in for FREE! Who can beat free!)

NC sky at night 7qt

Quick take one: defining a staycation.

Simply put: it’s staying at home and having a vacation enjoying activities that are free or very cheap. Let’s face it, while gas has dropped in price the past year – traveling long distances to enjoy paying for a hotel room is still expensive. Thus many families are opting to stay home and enjoy their local sights, sounds, and activities. A staycation can be designed anyway you want to do it – it can be as long as you like or chopped up and spread out over summer weekends.

Budget-red-word-with-dollar-signsQuick take two: that nasty word I eluded to earlier – the budget.

What is your budget? For some I realize it’s zero, absolutely zero dollars, for a vacation. So for those readers I’m going to suggest that for next few weeks you conscientiously hoard all the pennies and dimes you can find and plan on staycationing later in the summer to give you time to save for the one big staycation splurge; be it delectable ice cream sundaes at home or a night at the movies. For those with a larger budget think carefully of what you want to do and what you can afford to pay for – maybe meals out or a family movie. If you can swing it – a family membership to a local zoo or children’s museum might be an option as then you can continue to enjoy this for the whole year after and it would open the doors to other companion zoos, museums etc for free or half price.

 

less is best croppedQuick take three: creating a hotel atmosphere in the home

Have a power cleaning day (or couple of days) before the vacation. The week before you leave on a vacation is always spent packing, writing lists, laundry, writing more lists and a frantic tidy up before you lock that door behind you. So take that last week before your vacation starts and think minimalist and if at all possible, put away a lot of stuff that is cluttering up your ‘hotel’. Extra toys – bag ‘em and hide them in a closet or garage.  You get the idea. On the last day of your staycation do a quick tidy up like you would in the hotel room or house you were renting. After all, it’s never fun to come home from vacation to a messy house. To motivate the kids to clean that day hold out on one the best activities as a reward for helping.  

 

frog-farewell-travel-luggageQuick take four: Pack

Pack as if you are going away. Yes, you heard me correctly. Choose your wardrobe (obviously I’m referring to a several days long staycation) and pack it in suitcases, back packs, whatever. Have the kids help you – this will increase their anticipation of a staycation and cut way down on laundry for you. (Tell the teens that the laundry room is off duty the entire week so if they don’t want to pack they had best make sure they have lots of clean unmentionables for that week) If necessary though – midweek you can open the laundry room and go to the ‘Laundromat’ for an hour or two just as you might need to do on a week-long vacation. BUT keep it to a minimum!

 

man-vacation-people-summerQuick take five: Meals

This is almost a subcategory of budgeting but I decided to treat it on its own as after all – it’s FOOD we are talking about here. Again for those on very tight budgets try to put away a special treat each week – a bag of chips you don’t usually buy, that package of chocolate bars you never buy. Keep your eyes peeled for sales that might allow you to stock up on a favorite treat that you can hide until the staycation begins. However – the real concern is the meals. It’s a little hard to be on vacation and have to cook every last drop of fuel that goes into your family’s mouths. One suggestion is to prepare freezer meals, along with planning a picnic style menu. Stock up in the weeks or months ahead with disposable plates, cups, etc so that clean up is at a minimal. Don’t forget the carrots – and I don’t mean the edible kind. Hold off on that rented movie until everyone has helped toss the Styrofoam, washed the table and have put away the pot used to heat that frozen chili. (I promised free parenting tips – remember?)

 

rulesQuick take six: Planning the staycation rules

Uh huh – rules! Or perhaps we can call it boundaries if that’s more comfortable. What will we allow/not allow on the vacation? Will the cell phones be put away? Will we include best buddies on any of the out of house activities? Online games – yay or nay? This is something I strongly suggest you figure out a few weeks before you start the staycation. You know your kids best so decide accordingly which will work better – parents deciding the boundaries and presenting them as part of the staycation plans – or having a family meeting and pounding out the details together. (Another free parental tip – I give you full permission to limit input from kids and to warn them in advance that inability to discuss these details nicely will result in adjournment of meeting and parental authorities deciding all boundaries/rules. Second chances are your prerogative.)

 

freeQuick take seven: Activity ideas

Ok – so I’ve convinced you that this idea is worth a shot but you are drawing a blank as to what to do? Once you have a good idea how many dollars you have to throw at your staycation – I suggest you start brainstorming about what kind of things your family enjoys? Jot down things you love to do; movies, hiking, bowling, picnicking, listening to music…

Movies – tight budget? See if your local library is showing free movies. Sometimes the local movie theater shows 2 dollar matinees throughout summer. These are good possibilities. If you can afford an evening movie with treats though, go for it! 

Hiking – If you love outdoor activities like hiking, exploring parks etc – consider dressing up a hike with some geocaching. Here is where you can find out if there is one near you. Be sure to pack a picnic so you can make it an all day thing with a heavenly crockpot meal simmering away to great you at the end of the day.

Bowling – check and see if your town offers a cheap night or afternoon of bowling. Same with roller skating, ice skating etc.

Music – pay attention for possible music festivals in your area or a free concert in a local park.

How about a date night for mum and dad perhaps in the middle of the staycation? If so, rent a kids movie and you two nip out for a romantic dinner or if your kids aren’t old enough to be left alone and a babysitter is just not in the budget – try a driveway date or two!

Hopefully, I have gotten your creative juices running and your imagination is boiling over with ideas now. No vacation time available this summer? Simple – break up your staycation over the weekends. You and the kids power clean and cook all day Friday and hit the deck running Saturday morning having planned your staycation around the free activities in your area. Make sure to take advantage of any long weekends on the calendar.

Be sure to come back after and share in our comments what you did and help inspire others to step out and enjoy their own staycation! So bookmark this quick take seven so you can easily find it. Oh, and don’t forget to mosey on over to our hostess This Aint the Lyseum and see what everyone else is saying today.

 

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