UA-99606640-1Family time – Welcome to The Frugal Family

Category: Family time

Don’t Panic!
Don’t Panic!

Easter School Holidays are upon us (at least here the in the UK they are!) – they are a difficult one to plan as the weather at this time of year is a bit unpredictable. It could be anything from glorious sunshine (friend of the frugal) or knee deep in snow – this year the forecast is for the cold stuff…

This can make 2-3 weeks off school hard to plan and prepare for. Here are 10 suggestions that I hope are worth your consideration…

 

  1. Visit to a car showroom, lots to look at and ‘play’ with ahem…
  2. Continue your love affair with a local library
  3. Visit to the toy shop (bear with me…) to make a Christmas or birthday list. Mine love this – you give them a pad and pencil to write down the names of things they love, and then in the car on the way home they give the list numbers so most wanted is number one etc. For some kids you could let them take photos maybe? You can also grab any free catalogues or similar and make a collage list when you get home. Supermarkets are good for this as well, and you can grab some bread and milk while you are there.
  4. Wrapping sessions, we try to get gifts for friends and relatives organised in advance and then have a grand card making and present wrapping session on the table, works for us.
  5. Indoor challenges,  – try making an assault course, playing traditional games like pass the parcel (with toys they already have or sweets/treats from the cupboard) or musical statues. If you have older children you can try a board game or jigsaw day
  6. Cut up any Easter egg boxes, wrapping paper etc so you have a collection of pictures you can then use to make a collage. You are likely to have things related to farms and Spring so use that as your theme.
  7. Plant some seeds. This is a good time of year to grow things indoors, easy options could be cress seeds, sunflower seeds and beans. Watching things grow is always such fun and you can sneak in a bit of science too… 
  8. Hunt the ______ games aren’t just for Easter! You could cut up the letters of their name and hide them around the house. Or cut up the favourite characters in a TV show and they have to find the whole gang.
  9. Collections… these are actually a real pain in the neck as we end up with bags and boxes of weird things we can’t identify all over the house BUT they do keep kids occupied for quite long periods so probably worth it. You can take a walk in the woods (don’t forget a thermos of hot chocolate or soup if it’s cold) and collect, pine cones, seed pods, sticks, stones, feathers, leaves etc. Try not to pull blossom off the trees!
  10. We have a free download with a week of kids activities you can print off and use – just follow this link and add your email address x
Saving It Up
Saving It Up

I keep singing Elton John songs today ‘Don’t wish it away’ is the line I keep repeating… As most schools in England break up for Summer tomorrow (we are going on until Tuesday!), and I can feel myself start to ‘brace’ for it – I’m also conscious that I don’t want to wish it away, I’m making a real effort to practice parenting mindfulness – in between yelling ‘I’ve asked you to get your shoes on’ obviously – and it seems to be working. Having said that I have the flu and am quite dosed up on medicines so it could also be that that’s working…

My Thursday Thought links with our tip of the day, no. 16, to think about how you will preserve the memories of this Summer? We like to make a scrapbook of each year as a family, I’m running quite a few years behind schedule as the kids are so time consuming, but I do take a lot of photos, and now so do they to capture the moments of their lives and our family adventures. How to arrange them for posterity is a tricky subject as our walls and cupboards are already full and the digital photo frame is already one child out of date! I’ve enjoyed using Instagram (we have a daily pic and spend if you’re interested x) to keep track of what we’re getting up to but that is all digital again. Keeping items that are made is also hard as there is so much, so we have started to wallpaper our loft with the kids artwork, and it should be a while before we run out of space.

Saving for the Summer isn’t all about money, it’s also about saving those memories and experiences. You may remember a precious moment from your childhood, and it will be a unique memory to you – we are trying to find ways to cherish those. Let me know how you save all those wonderful moments in your family x

Happy Planning!
Happy Planning!

As our new series Staying Sane in the Summer continues, it’s made me realise just how much planning I do for school holidays – I’ve never written it down before and I was genuinely surprised that I could fill every day in July with ideas! I do find myself more able to enjoy time with the kids when I have a back up of activities, lots of ideas, know what’s available locally and some fixed points in the holiday for certain events. I don’t dread them like some families do (that’s not to suggest I don’t find them exhausting…). Today I mention some of the things we’ve had from school, the NHS provides brilliant resources via their Change4Life program to reduce childhood obesity – these ones are based on the LazyTown TV show that our kids have loved – so much free fun to be found.

Another aspect of planning the time is that you can see where busy and quiet times will happen, we like to have down time to just watch tv or play as it’s supposed to be a holiday… if you can see when you have free activities planned it’s nice to then just have days at home in the garden or making forts.

I’m trying to enjoy this process of planning – rather than looking at it as a chore I’m focusing on having precious time with the kids, we’ll have about 18 Summers with them before they don’t want to be seen with us (probably less than that!). When I thought of it like that it didn’t seem enough time at all, as they saying goes the days are long but the years are short… enjoy this Summer xx

 

The Staying Sane in the Summer series is a gallery of tips, ideas, links and downloads to help you plan and manage the long School Summer Break. I really hope it helps you to enjoy feeling more in control of the time and to have fun with your family without worrying too much about the cost as most of the things you will be doing are going to be free or very frugal. Kids really don’t need much money spent, they like fairly simple things – it’s often adults that go for the most expensive options as they may have lost confidence in their ability to stay sane with the children home for that long.

Water Woes…
Water Woes…

It has been unbelievably hot here over the last few days, and so we have got the paddling pool back out and the kids have cooled off and had lots of fun soaking each other (and daddy!). But, inevitably my new way of thinking caused me to reflect on how easy it was for us to just turn on the tap and use beautiful clean water to just play in… and that didn’t feel quite right.

We always recycle our play water, usually by watering our veggies and it isn’t refilled very often (we use a sieve to get the grass out!)   . But I thought about other ways we could ‘offset’ our water usage, and show the kids how lucky they were as a good opportunity to think about our impact as a family. I went to have a look on one of my favourite sites  Good Gifts and found a wonderful range of ways to support water related projects across the world… They range from just £8 to £500.We are going to think about which one we can afford, and which feels the best fit for our water usage – I feel better about the paddling pool already.

Unexpected Parenting # 16

That a gift ‘we’ve decorated the mantelpiece for you’ is one of the most genuine expressions of love you will ever receive – no alterior motives. It’s a beautiful thing even if it’s not what you wanted, it may be all they have to give, like the daisy they pick for you. Be gracious and thankful. They may not always want to please you…

  

Win! Win! Win!

There’s a silly competition over at The Frugal Family to win a colouring pack, just guess the age of the person that coloured this (use the link above x)

  

Unexpected Parenting #10

How can there not be an app for all the repeated phrases a parent needs? I could put them on a timer to just be randomly called out from a tannoy…

“please don’t jump on the sofa”

“is that safe?”

“no pushing”

“sit down to eat”

I could go on and on and on – I bore myself sometimes…

Unexpected Parenting #9

How beautiful a tidy bedroom can be… Frustrating getting there but hugely proud of myself now – and tea I think.

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Unexpected Parenting #3

That you can still be totally google eyes in love with someone that just bit your boob…

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Unexpected Parenting #2
Unexpected Parenting #2

Genuinely considering 7am as a refreshing lie in…