Favorite Fall Fun Activities that Dont Cost You a Dime

Fall is my favorite season. It’s not only a beautiful time of year with the changing leaves, but there are so many fun things you can do. I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you today. The best thing about all of these is that they don’t cost you a dime.

1. Enjoy a spectacular fall sunset

Do you have a porch with an amazing view? Do you have an amazing view? Then go outside, enjoy a hot cup of coffee or an iced tea, and enjoy the beautiful sunset. North Carolina truly has some amazing sunsets- I try to pause and enjoy it every so often.

2. Make a fire and roast some marshmallows

Your fire pit doesn’t have to be fancy. Just a ring of rocks will do. My kids love to make s’mores and they look forward to this every year.

3. Go hiking or trail running

My favorite running buddy and I love to hit a trail when the weather cools off. Even if you aren’t a runner, you still may enjoy taking a brisk walk on a trail. Either way, a trail walk or run doesn’t cost a thing!!

4. Check out the pretty fall foliage

The leaves burst into some beautiful colors this time of year. Take a walk or take a drive and enjoy the beauty.

5. Visit a pumpkin patch

This one may or may not cost money. If you know someone who has a pumpkin farm, you may get to choose your pumpkin for free, but local farms and pumpkin patches will likely charge admission. The good news is farms that charge admission often offer other activities, such as hayrides, corn mazes, or foods.

I hope you enjoy this edition of Five Friday Favorites!! Have a wonderful weekend.

Back to school: an easier approach to first-day photo shoots

My sweet girls went to school last week. My oldest started fifth grade and my youngest started kindergarten. Last year, I took no first day of school pictures since we were virtual. This year, I more than made up for it.

I may have gone a bit overboard- I ended up taking over 70 pictures, but I got some awesome shots. Today, I’d like to share some tips for getting some great back to school pictures.

1. Don’t wait til the actual first day of school

We put on our school clothes and back packs and we pretend it’s the first day of school. This year, we sneaked over to the school the day before the first day.

If you’re anything like us, you will be in a hurry on the first day and you won’t have time to get any good pictures. And if you are in a hurry and forget to take them, it won’t matter.

2. Wait until sunset

If you don’t wait til sunset, chances are really good you’re going to get lots of pictures with squinty smiles. The sun will be too bright.

3. You need a prop

Find a sign, find a wall, find a bus, make a sign.

Find a staircase and do this:

Whatever you can do to make it interesting.

4. Take a lot of pictures!

Because the more pics you take, the more likely you are to get some good stuff!

But most of all, don’t wait until the day of. Take a lot of pictures but have fun with it. You aren’t just taking photos, you’re making memories. And if your kids want to strike a silly pose, let them.

I hope you have an amazing school year.

Five things to do for a smoother start to the school year

School is just around the corner. As a teacher, I feel like we only just left school for the summer. As a parent, I am looking forward to the kids getting their routine back. While we are busy squeezing the last little drop out of summer, I have begun to think about what we can do to make our back-to-school transition go more smoothly.

1. Organize your children’s closets

Does your kid’s closet currently resemble an avalanche? If so, that’s really going to stress you out when you’re trying to get everyone dressed but their closets are insane.

Just grab a sheet of plywood, a saw, a drill, and some wood screws and build yourself a closet organizer.

2. Teach your children to prepare the night before

Pack your lunches, lay out your clothes, and get your book bag ready the night before. There’s no point in scrambling to find what you need in the mornings. This will only stress you out and make you feel rushed.

3. Establish bedtime routines and after school routines about three weeks before school starts

Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com

Don’t wait until the week before school starts to begin going to bed early. Make sure kids know what you expect them to do when they first get home from school and what times are bath time and bed time. We start working on this a month to three weeks before school starts to get it ingrained. We also use a checklist similar to this one to help:

Source: Pinterest

4. Go back-to-school shopping early!

If you wait until the last minute, items may be sold out. Get your back to school shopping done sooner rather than later and you won’t have to worry. Also, if you forget something, there is plenty of time to get it.

5. Take some time off

Rest. Don’t jam pack your schedule the last few weeks before school. Take one to two weeks to relax and prepare for school to start back. Spend time together and just enjoy one another. For the days are long, but the years are short. Someday, back to school time will be a distant memory.

Have a wonderful weekend.

15 Free Summer Activities For Your Family

I don’t know about you, but we struggle to find fun, free ways to occupy our time toward the end of summer. There are plenty of activities you can pay to do, but that gets expensive. Today, I am going to share 15 awesome ways you and your family can have fun this summer…for free!!

1. Go on a nature walk

You don’t even have to leave your house. Go for a walk around your yard. Check out the trees, the flowers and see if you can spot any small animals or insects. You never know what you may find (but watch out for snakes).

2. Blow bubbles

This one may cost just a little, but it’s a lot of fun for your little people. My girls are now 10 and 5 and they still love blowing bubbles. You can even make your own bubbles from dish soap.

3. Have a Photo shoot

Put on a cute outfit, play dress up or do each other’s hair and snap some pics! The sillier, the better.

4. Bake something from scratch together

You would be surprised what you can make from things you already have in your cabinet. Whip up some delicious treats and enjoy them together.

5. Swing on a swing

This was my absolute favorite thing to do as a kid. I absolutely loved it. So it’s no surprise my kids love it, too.

6. Have a water fight

Use water balloons, water guns, soaking wet sponges, water hoses, or whatever…grab something with water and have an all out battle. It’s a blast!

7. Go on a picnic

Grab a blanket and some snacks and head outside. You don’t even have to leave your yard. Find a shady spot and spread out the blanket, and have a tasty snack.

8. Make a backyard movie theater

Source

String up a white sheet and borrow a projector. Use your smart phone and a DIY projector if you can. This is a low cost way to have some easy family fun.

9. Set up an obstacle course

Use what you have to create a backyard obstacle course- hula hoops, pool noodles, a slide, you name it. Then, pretend you’re a contestant on American Ninja Warrior. It’s a blast- you can even take turns being the announcer.

10. Karaoke or dance party

Put on some costumes, pick up a toy mic, and belt out one of your favorite songs. We have tons of fun with this at our house.

11. Build something

Grab some blocks or LEGO’s and have a contest: let your imagination flow and see what you can come up with.

12. Make a bucket list

What is something you want to do during your life? Where do you want to travel someday? Make a list and share it with one another. You may be surprised at how similar yours and your family members’ lists are.

13. Go to the library

A lot of places will let you get a library card at age five. Most libraries do not charge a fee unless a book is lost or damaged. Check out some books from your local library and enjoy them together. Our local library even offers a summer reading program and story hour each week.

14. Make something fun

Draw or paint something, make a bracelet or sew a pillow. Look at the craft supplies you have and see what you can create.

15. Exercise together

Take a walk together, do yoga together, or try a YouTube exercise video. Find one you all like and give it a try. Exercise has so many benefits- it helps you sleep, it boosts your health and it evens put your mood. Use it as a free, fun way to spend time together too .

I hope you have enjoyed this list! What ways does your family like to spend time together and have fun?

Sunday Musings: Life as a Lumber

I hope everyone had a blessed week- we had spring break, so I chose to take a week off from blogging to focus on my family and getting a few things done around the house. It was a much needed break and I feel so much better.

I’m happy to be back at it again, from work to blogging. I’d like to share what we’ve been doing with you.

1. We went to church

We have been listening online to a local church for more than a year, and on Easter Sunday, we visited in person for the first time. We had a wonderful experience there and will attend again. It was wonderful to be back in God’s house again amongst other believers.

2. Our greenhouse is thriving

I’ll be the first to admit- I often just DO things without researching or reading the directions. Sometimes it works out well and sometimes it doesn’t. This greenhouse is only slightly different: I researched a bit, but I am mostly learning by doing. So far, it’s working well. We will plant our garden at the end of the month.

3. We plowed a bigger garden

Last year, the garden we grew was a little two small in square footage. Our veggies grew too close together, which often meant that we missed ripened veggies since we couldn’t see them. This year, we tilled a much larger area than we actually need so we can spread things out. We use a Wizard chain-driven tiller I inherited from my grandpa. It is older than I am but it works great. It’s a workout for sure, but I know he’d be happy to know we are using it. Plus, he has a hand in my garden, even though he isn’t here physically.

We will plow the garden one more time before planting.

4. Back to school!

Miss E went back to school this week- as in back in the building to school. In class. In person. She resisted a bit at first, but I think she is happy to be back. I’m also getting ready to get most of my students back four days a week.

5. The chickens went outside!!

Our chicken littles are no longer living in a wash tub in our bathroom- they have transitioned to our coop! I think they are much happier living outside. I’m much happier not finding chickens flying around my bathroom.

Have a wonderful week, everyone! Join us for the following articles this week:

1. Scrap wood challenge: chicken coop/rabbit hutch part one

2. Healthy school lunch ideas

3. Farmhouse Friday: spring decor roundup

Have a wonderful week!