Kids Activities, Life, Parenting

Busy on a Budget

Oh, well hi there, readers!!

You guys, I’ve been dormant and still collecting followers left and right. It’s crazy!! So many followers!! And all from…outlook accounts…well…there goes my excitement.

Turns out that there’s a trend where outlook “users” start following blog en-mass. I googled it because after about 15 in a week, something seemed off. I mean, realistically, I’m not that amazing when it comes to blogging.

I’m not sure if I should attempt to weed them all out? Or just ignore it. It doesn’t sound like there’s anything overly alarming about this. It’s something WordPress is aware of so I know that the issue has been looked into and honestly, the idea of removing over 150 new followers is a bit overwhelming.

I have the time on my hands, don’t get me wrong. But I’m very “meh” as my oldest would say about weeding out the fake accounts, regardless of whether or not I have the time to do so.

Summer has officially started and now that I’m on a paraprofessional schedule with a spot already guaranteed for the coming school year, I’m free to enjoy my summer with my girls and keep up on house/yard/farm work.

Gradually, of course…gradually.

It’s very tempting to grab those first few weeks and just relax, enjoy the time off.

But at the same time I’ve got two little girls to keep occupied.

That alone has taken up a considerable amount of time because a paraprofessional schedule also means a tight budget. There are a few things that have been hard to avoid as far as a high cost goes, things such as swimming lessons which are essential to two little girls who love water. They’re not interested in anything else past that, really. No t-ball, dance lessons, golf lessons – which is fine by me. There will be plenty of time for organized sports in their future.

Still…the goal this summer is to keep them busy with a bit of necessary down-time here and there and keep them busy on a budget. So, for all you summer moms out there or stay at home moms wondering “what do I do to keep myself from going insane?? I mean…to keep them busy??” here are some tips.



This social media tool has proven itself to be an asset. Through the “Events” tab, you can search events by day, week, or month. You can narrow it down to something more specific like sports, crafts, networking. And once you select a few, of course more like what you have selected are going to show up in your news feed.


Park Districts

Search your local park district and park districts within a radius you’re willing to travel. They will likely have a calendar or events page listing upcoming events and whether or not there is a cost involved. They may have a list of public pools and deals going on with those where it’s free admission for the day or half-price admission. Additionally, there is no downside to packing up a lunch and having a picnic in the park with your kiddos.



This one, I have to give full credit to my old boss Sara on. There are apps you can download on your phone specific to geocaching…or as she liked to call it, real life Pokemon Go. Geocaching is like treasure hunting – you follow the map to find the treasure and take what others before you have left, replacing it with something of your own. For more information on this one, check out the link below for full details on geocaching, including directions for registering online and which apps work best for you.



Some may think that libraries are limited to a child-specific story time. But there are other libraries that offer up activities that come at no cost. The Moorhead library has a list of events – some that require registration but some that don’t. Those activities include scavenger hunts, a visit from a guy who collects bugs and allows kids to get an up-close and personal experience with them, Inspire Labs which lets kids have fun with science projects and several other great hands-on activities.



If you have a 4H group in your community, I strongly recommend joining. This will provide your children with opportunities to learn about animals, help their community, and develop leadership skills. My girls have been in 4H for a few years now and are not as highly active as some children. However, they have still gained opportunities to do things that I did as a child and that’s always fun to see. Both will be showing chickens at the county fair this year and doing a craft project to go on display as well. (


State Parks

Living in Minnesota has its perks. Abundant lakes, great fishing, and several state parks to visit. A state park pass in Minnesota is $35.00 for the year. This will get you access to any state park. The MN state parks website has a list of activities happening at every state park through the year, but even if you don’t attend these events, having a pass gives you access to all state parks and their hiking trails or swimming areas, if you have a state park with one of those. We’re fortunate enough to have one. $5.00 for a day pass or free admission for the year with the purchase of a state park pass.


Stay and Play

Staying home does not limit your abilities to have fun with your kids. There’s plenty you can do at home to keep your kids busy. Starting with a chore list. Nothing wrong with a chore list. I’ve come up with a yet-to-be-used idea of putting 2-6 chores on a whiteboard every day and having the girls a dice to see who gets what for the day. No one gets to pick what they want to do or they’d end up fighting over it and talking about how it’s so not fair that so-and-so got this when they wanted it.

Once chores are out of the way, homemade slime and playdough can go a LONG way. Especially when coupled with Shopkins or Littlest Pet Shop toys.

Stop at a thrift store to find games and toys to keep your kiddos busy. We just scored an Operation game for $2.95 and a 1000 piece puzzle for a dollar. The 1000 piece puzzle is on the kitchen table and gets worked on by all three of us sporadically…and destroyed just as often by arrogant jerk cats that sprawl all over the puzzle pieces and knock them onto the floor. Brats.


So there are just a few of the many ideas I have on keeping my kids busy and maintaining my own sanity. You’re only limited by your imagination, so go nuts and really explore what’s out there. A few “free summer activities in (insert your town here)” searches can provide you with several ideas or at least a starting point.

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