After a long morning of enjoying the beach and playing in the ocean we were starving. We did a fast rinse off and changed into sundresses or comfortable shorts. Then we were off to find a place that was befitting of our salty beach hair. We remembered that we passed an area near our hotel that had tons of restaurants and decided to go check it out. We walked up to the outdoor seating area for the Boardwalk Cafe and it felt like just the place for us on that laid back family day. Ivy and I shared a decent burger and fries. It is a common practice in our family to share meals or simply order a couple of appitizers to share for lunch. Restaurant meals can be so huge that we end up eating only half which is a waste of both food and money. Michael, the hubby, ordered a fish sandwich and had no complaints. Isabella decided on chicken strips and patiently waited until we finished eating to ask if we were getting ice cream.
Ivy, Isabella, and I lingered over the ice cream case each picking out a scope of Hershey’s ice cream. The hubby was too full from lunch to even entertain the idea of dessert. There are not many things as lovely as an icecream cone on a hot day. Isabella did require a change of clothing and a good rinse after this treat but it was more than worth it.
Isabella at a creek. She was taken in by the whole scene. The water running, tossing rocks, trying to keep her balance while walking, finding a place to sit, and looking for fish. It was a big day for such a little girl!
Here are 5 ideas for spending time with the kids on the cheap:
The Local Park –Kids of all ages (including 29, Wink, Wink!) love to swing and play on the monkey bars. The park is a timeless outing! Depending on where you live it is either free or very cheap. It is a fun way to pass the afternoon. I love to bring a picnic & plenty of drinks to make it a whole day event.
Historic Site – Be it a small town or a big city something important happened within a short drive. Everywhere we have lived we have found cool historical sites. Some are locally important but many are important on a state or country level. Many sites are free or under $5 to visit. The best way to approach a historical outing is to learn a few key points before visiting. It is very hard for a child or even an adult to get excited about seeing the childhood home of a President if they do not know who they are.
Art!- Be it a museum, a local exhibit, or a public piece, art is just plain cool. Art can spark all kinds of questions and interesting conversations with your family. The only rule to this is to make sure the place allows children (Many art galleries allow kids during the daytime.) and that the art is child appropriate. I once took my kids to the Contemporary Photography Museum in Chicago. The place was great and Free! The only issue was a large photo collection depicting murder that was a little disturbing. Consider a walk through or ask the front desk if you are concerned of what your children may see.
The Public Library- Any of you that follow my writing know how much I love a good library! We have been to so many! Over the years we have enjoyed train tables, block sets, car tracks, puppet theaters, toys, computer games, board games, puzzles, story times, classes (from Origami to sea creatures including a real penguin), a petting zoo, magicians, belly dancers, contests, ghost stories, and a butterfly release, not to mention quite a few great books.
The Bakery- If you are in a small town there is likely only one known simply as “The Bakery” and everyone I have ever gotten the joy of visiting was amazing! If you are in the ‘burbs or the city then there are many but I’m betting you have a favorite. Take your kids in for a cookie or donut. Sit down with them and listen to them talk. This time with them is priceless. They will be grown before you know it and you will look back on this time as a treasured memory.
Today my oldest is 11 years old! Wow, kids grow up way too fast! As part of her present she gets to plan a trip for the first time. While she has been many places, she has never planned a trip all on her own. It is just a day trip or single overnight at most. It can be anything she wants to do. It has to be within 75 miles of our current place and she has a budget of $200 which includes meals. It must be done on a Friday or Saturday and she cannot miss school to go. She has to do all of the planning. She must pick out the route on a road map, plan where we are going, find out how much admission is to the place or places she picks, plan meals (either packing or where we are going), and making sure we have any needed items or equipment (i.e. water bottles for outdoors, swimsuits, proper clothing). I am very curious to see what she comes up with. Ivy has varied interests from art and history to nature and animals. We could literally end up just about anywhere!
Yesterday was election day. I did my American duty and voted. We also decided to take the kids in with us this year. This was the first time Ivy had seen the voting booths. It led to many discussions about government, elections, and America. It turned out to be one of those little life moments that allows a child to connect the dots and gets them asking questions. Remember that education is everywhere.