10 Free Things To Do This Summer

photo credit: Smoke Trails via photopin (license)

It’s summer and everyone is ready to get out of the house and have some fun. Today’s post is 10 ways to have a great time without spending a penny, a win win.

  1. Story time at Barnes and Noble– Sit and listen to a story this summer. We love to go to Barnes and Noble and listen to stories once a week, and afterward we work on a craft or coloring. It’s totally free, unless Mom or Dad takes a trip to the in store Starbucks.
  2. Check out the library – Following up on story time, libraries offer story times, movies, and other great programs or activities during the week.
  3. Museum passes – If your library offers museum passes, take advantage! These are fabulous. Our library gives us access to two Children’s Museums and many others in our area. We can take up to 6 people with each pass! Visit your local library to find out more.
  4. Visit a farmer’s market – A great place to see and learn about colorful produce and flowers.
  5. Summer festivals – If it’s a summer staple, there is a festival for it! We went to a Red, White, and Blueberry Festival with blueberries as far as the eye can see.
  6. Fourth of July Fireworks – A must for the summer, pack a blanket and snacks.
  7. Be a hometown tourist – Take a fresh look at your hometown. What sights would you like to see if you were visiting for the first time?  Historical sites are often public places or parks and no cost.
  8. Take a nature hike – My daughter, Lillie, is amazed by the sights and sounds in the park when we go on the trails, she points to trees, flowers, and squirrels. Take time to look at the surroundings, or use a bird watching app, like this one from Cornell University.
  9. Movie night – Invite friends over, make popcorn, and watch a favorite movie. After all, no school in the morning.
  10. Visit a farm – During the week, we have a farm that is open to visitors for free (on the weekend you pay a small entry fee). We visit the farm stand, say hi to the goats and horses, and see apples growing on the trees.

Bonus ideas (not free but still fun!)

  1. The Philadelphia Art Museum offers a pay what you wish day twice a month. This is a chance for families to visit the museum without spending the $20 per adult and $14 per youth admission rates. Check to see if your museum does the same thing! Great for big families with older kids. Now cue the Rocky theme song.
  2. Visit a kids gym for open play, some offer free time for $5. It’s much cheaper than membership costs.
  3. Pack a picnic – pack up lunch and a big blanket and head to the backyard or a park.
  4. Put on a play or create a movie. With iPhones and iPads everyone can make a movie at home.

Save the cash for vacation and enjoy each day of summer!

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Reasons to Change

Image Copyright Lindsay Ann Loft.

What are your reasons to change and live a healthier lifestyle? Kathy shares hers in today’s guest post.

As we welcome our newest member of our family, my grandson Lucas, I think back on all of the reasons to get rid of those bad habits and get healthier.  I believe that everyone should make changes for themselves not to make anyone else happy but for themselves.  Each one of us have our own reasons for losing weight and throughout the course of my journey, I have found reasons that I never thought of before.

Most importantly, I am so glad that I lost weight and continue a healthy lifestyle so I can have more time with my family.  It makes me sad to think that I could have missed out on being at my daughters’ weddings, one upcoming in May, and the birth of my first grandchild and future grandchildren.  All over the addiction of food. It sounds crazy now but I have to say it was true!  I will never let anything take that kind of control over me again, life is too short!

The last 5 years have been such an amazing experience.  Just like everyone, I have had some struggles along the way but  I am certainly happier and healthier than I have been in years!  I am so excited to see what life has in store for me.

Think about what is most important to you.  Whether it be your family, friends, career, all of these or something else, being healthier is so beneficial.   None of us know what time we have on this earth but we certainly can do everything that we can to have the best life possible.  I think that we owe that to ourselves.

If making changes is a little scary, start small.  Take a walk around the block.  Eat an extra vegetable at dinner.  Switch white bread for whole grain bread.  Have yogurt as a dessert instead of ice cream, cookies or cake.  Trade sugary drinks for sugar free or better yet, water.  Little by little add to or increase what you are doing.  Small changes can lead to bigger results.

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Lucas | ab.d30

Welcome to the world baby Lucas!!!  This is a photo of my new baby nephew Lucas. Isn’t he a sweetheart?

You may remember, we had a baby shower for my sister in July. Here’s here!! We’re so excited for him to arrive!

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Eating Healthy as a Family at Christmas

Image copyright ralph and jenny.

Today Kathy is sharing ideas about eating healthy as a family during the holiday.

Just 4 days left before Christmas and the whole family is getting ready.  We have talked about the importance of healthy eating around the holidays and some ideas to get through those days with lots of food.  Keep in mind that children need to be eating healthier as well.

Starting with Christmas dinner, encourage your children to eat more of the healthier foods and just a little less of the fattier foods.  So many kids don’t like to eat the fruits and vegetables.  I like to cut fresh fruit and veggies in bite size pieces so they can just pop them in their mouths.  If they go back for seconds, have the first spoonful a healthy food.

About a 1/2 hour after finishing the meal, try to encourage some physical exercise.  Some of the video games available now involve physical participation such as dancing, tennis, running, etc.  If they have some of those games, that is a great way to get some exercise.  Make sure they don’t overdo it, you don’t want them getting sick to their stomach.

If your family is like mine, there are lots of goodies around the house and they are readily available to eat.  Even after Christmas, there are so many leftovers.  From the Christmas dinner leftovers to sweet rolls and donuts for breakfast, cookies, candy, the list can go on and on.  So what can you do to ensure your family doesn’t make all of those sweets their meal?

First of all, make sure all of the sweets are out of sight.  How many times your kids will run through the kitchen and it is so easy to reach on a plate and get a cookie or 2  and continue on their way.  Also make sure that you treat these things as a treat or dessert.  They only need to eat them once a day.

If you have days when you are just hanging out with the family, try new recipes.  Choose some sort of healthy meal or snack each day.  Let the kids get involved with picking a recipe and/or shopping for the ingredients.

Exchanging physical activity with computer or game time is an idea.  For every minute that they sit playing games, they have to do that amount of time exercising.  Get involved with the activity as well.  We all could use the exercise.

 The holidays are such a great time to really enjoy time with your children and with choosing different activities it keeps everyone entertained.  With just a little movement, you can get your kids ready for a healthier start to the new year.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Kathy has been posting with us every Wednesday and sharing her story and ideas for weight loss and a healthy life. Miss any of the previous posts?

Find them here:

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Preparing for Out of Town Guests

Image copyright Chichacha.

With the holidays comes travel, family, friends and trips! I am lucky enough to have visitors on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, I am picking up my Mom and Sister from the airport today for a weekend trip today. :)That’s why I wanted to write a little post about preparing for out of town guests. Sometimes we get wrapped up in cleaning the house and doing laundry that we forget why we’re doing all of these things. Having a cozy home is important but spending time with loved ones is the reason for the trip. Here are a few things to keep in mind for your overnight guests.

  1. Make note of any food preferences and dietary restrictions. Some friends need to have a large pot of coffee in the morning! I know that my parents prefer iced tea and make sure I’m stocked up on their favorite sweeteners. It’s nice to make them feel comfortable.
  2. Bake a treat. I must confess, I love to bake and I love to have people to cook for. 🙂 I am sure to make Dad his favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies when he comes to visit. Don’t go crazy, it could be something as simple as a loaf of banana bread or muffins. It also makes your house smell amazing.
  3. Set aside toiletries and cosmetics products that your guests may like to use.  Your guests may have forgotten something or if they are flying and don’t want to worry about packing liquids in their carry on luggage they may need to use soap and shampoo. Travel sized toiletries and toothpaste are nice to set out with their towel for a morning shower.
  4. Set out an extra blanket and pillow. Visitors have different tastes as far as temperatures at night, be sure to set out an extra blanket and pillow just in case your guests are chilly at night. Chances are they won’t wake you in the middle of the night for an extra blanket if they’re cold.
  5. Be prepared for stormy weather. You may have the weekend planned but also have a back up plan if it rains or something comes up. A movie night with popcorn can be a lot of fun!
  6. Don’t forget the touristy things in your area. You may walk past the Empire State Building everyday on your way to work but your guests may not have seen it before. It’s fun to travel your town as a tourist and do new things. You may see your world in a new way.

Be sure to have fun with your guests! Take lots of photos and enjoy your time together.

Are you preparing for any guests? Do you have any suggestions to add to the list? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

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