Category Archives: Frugal Fun

Happy Valentine’s Day 2014!

Hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day today!

Our kids had a great day today and enjoyed spending time with mommy and daddy. We enjoyed a fun breakfast of oatmeal and waffles spread with peanut butter and sliced bananas. We got our schoolwork done and had lunch. Then after lunch we enjoyed homemade chocolate chip cookies (we made yesterday), sledding in the snow (though it was very cold), hot chocolates, crafts, and spending time together.  I spent time in bible study after getting baby down for a nap.  After supper, we enjoyed snuggling daddy on the couch, tickles and tackles and lots of giggles on the floor, and ended the day watching Gold Rush on TV together.  It was a good day.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Be blessed! 
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Museum Day

Saturday, September 24th, Is Museum Day. 

Museums all across the country will allow free admission for two people with tickets from the Smithsonian Institute.

Here is the link to find out which museums in NC are participating.

Here is the link to find out which museums in SC are participating.

If you need another state, just change the state and it will give you the updated information.

Here is the link to get your tickets emailed to you.

What other free museum opportunities do you know about?  Leave us a comment below, thanks.

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Fishing Trip

It was a gorgeous day fishing at the lake with Dad.

We loaded the van with a picnic lunch and drinks in a cooler, chairs, fishing poles, tackle boxes, and the stroller and headed to the lake for a relaxing afternoon.

Someday, when the kids are older, we want to take them fishing from a boat to access the best locations.  But for now, while they are little, we fish from the bank.

We do wish there were more options for public access for bank fishing.  Before coming to Lake Lure today, we also drove to Lake Adger.  But though they had public access for boats, they did not have public access for bank fishing.  We have found this same problem at a lot of lakes we have visited.  Most of the banks at the lakes are private property, so to get good access one really needs a boat. 

But at Lake Lure, there is a nice walking park with a cleared path, and the bank is mowed and kept nice, and they allow public access for bank fishing from there.

We chose a lovely spot to set up our gear.  It is an inlet channel and the water was less choppy compared to the larger lake area. 

All of the kids enjoy learning how to fish.  The older boys are learning how to bait their hook and they cast their poles very well.  The younger children still need almost everything done for them, though the six year old learned to cast his pole by himself today.   He was able to get it out about 12 feet or so in the water.  

The four year old would reel hers in just minutes after daddy would cast it out for her.  He said she needed it re-casted faster than he could keep up. 

The two year old played with a stick and a rope (his fishing pole).  But instead of casting the rope into the water, he hung onto the rope and cast his pole (stick) into the water.  Then he enjoyed reeling in his stick.  It was really funny to watch him, except for the two times he let go, and I had to go after the stick “pole” before it drifted to far out to sea! 

We brought three kinds of bait today (red worms, night crawlers, and cat fish bait), plus several artificial forms of bait in the tackle box too.

My 11 year old son is holding up a Canadian night crawler worm.  It looked like a small snake, and when I went to take the picture, it had already coiled itself back into less than half it’s length.  These worms are huge!

We actually did see a small water snake just after taking this picture.  It was about a foot long.  It swam right towards us as if to check us out.   It came within a few inches of the bank, then it turned and swam away.  The children squealed in delight to have seen a real snake so close to us today.

For the entire three hours we fished at the lake, the fish kept stealing our bait.  Cast after cast, we had to reload our hooks.  There was a huge amount of little baby fish in the water, that were two inches or less in length, and they acted like little piranha.  As soon as the hooks hit the water, they devored the bait, nibble after nibble.  We did get to see groups (schools) of 20 to 50 of these little bluegill fish near the shore when my son tossed in some chips into the water. 

It is amazing to observe so many amazing things on a mini-trip like we took today.  This is a great opportunity to talk to the kids about God’s creation, natural science, life skills, observations of the environment, and more. 

Besides a beautiful lake of water, there was so much more to observe, such as gorgeous mountains on all sides rising high above the lake, a beautiful sky with swirling white clouds, a hawk flying overhead, a blue heron swooping down to scout the water for food, a snake in the water, schools of baby bluegill fish, a dying fish floating on the water, bees pollinating flowers, wasps looking for a meal, ducks, geese, beautiful trees, people in boats of all kinds, people enjoying the lake fishing and swimming, a wedding next to the lake, a birthday party, ants, waves crashing to the shore, and more.


We decided to take a sample of the lake home so we can see under the microscope more things we could not see with our eyes today.  The microscope will give us the ability to see tiny creatures living in the water and tiny things in the sand.  We got a sample of just water, and a sample of water with sand.  We will use this in our studies this week to further our understanding about life in the lake.

About the last half hour, we were joined by several beautiful ducks.  Four stayed real close to us and another group of four were about another 20 feet away.

When I stepped away from the tackle boxes, the male duck came up out of the water and walked a complete circle around our belongings checking everything out.  Then he went back into the water and rejoined his group.  It was so funny.

Even with a toddler smacking the water with a stick, these littl
e ducks were determined to stay close by.  They came back repeatedly. 

We had quite the time with the little fish stealing our bait.  They ate the red worms, the night crawlers, and even the catfish bait.  Finally, the last 30 minutes or so, dad put on some artificial worms on the younger kids poles.  No more lost bait, but….no more bites either.  But he was tuckered out with re-loading their hooks every few minutes. 

I spent most of the time just enjoying watching my family.  They are funny, interesting, and a blessing.   I took this picture of them just before packing up to leave.   They all had such a good time fishing with Dad today.

The new life growing inside my womb will be here soon and join the line up of this beautiful family.  I truly am blessed!

The lake was so beautiful today, and even the sky was gorgeous.  I could have just layed back on a blanket and enjoyed many more hours of its beauty.

I truly enjoyed today, being in the company of my family and the awesomeness of God’s creation.

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Mills River Antique Car Show

On Saturday,  we attended the Mills River Antique Car Show.

It was hosted by the Mills River First Baptist Church.  It was in a field along highway 280.  This is where they plan to build a future church building.  It is a beautiful piece of land in the Blue Ridge Mountains just outside of Mills River.  

The pastors of the church are our missionary friends from Belgium, Andy and Annelies.  This photo of them was taken several months ago, and they were definitely not in jackets and sweatshirts today, I just couldn’t find a picture from today where they were standing together, so I went back in my “picture stash” and pulled out this one.

The Antique Car Show was a free event and everyone was welcome.

In addition to the antique cars, and motorcycles, there was also a concession stand with free refreshments such as soda, bottled water, snow cones, hot dogs, nachos, and more. 


They also had a clown doing face paintings,

a bouncy house,

and a large inflated bouncy slide for the children to play on and enjoy.

But the cars were the main attraction.

The children were very interested to learn about the older cars and see how folks had made them look new again.

There was also a contest going on during the car show, and trophies and prizes would be handed out to the winners.  And there was a contest drawing for door prizes too.

Andy’s wife Annelies is sitting behind the trophies in this photo. 

We were not able to stay for the final results of the contest.  But we had fun walking around and guessing who we thought might win.

Some of them had huge motors, and drove very fast with a lot of power.

There were cars at the show from the 1930s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s.  And several motorcycles too.

It was neat to see them all lined up and we could share with the children how the automobile and transportation has changed over time.

The children couldn’t get enough of the bouncy house and slide. 


Pastor Andy also gave a special message about salvation to the crowd.  Andy was a pastor for 10 years in Belgium, and has been assistant pastoring in the USA for one year while he attends bible college. 

He took over the role as full time pastor of the First Baptist Church several weeks ago, in addition to his schooling, being a husband and father, and has had relatives from Belgium visiting for the past six weeks or so.  Whew!  This fella is busy, and on fire for the Lord.


All this walking, bouncing, sliding, and laughing had us really hot.  While we listened to Andy’s speech, we got a refreshment from the concession stand for the children.

Thankfully SNOW CONES were on the menu.

Everyone ordered a different flavor, and then asked their brother or sister for a taste of theirs, so they could try each flavor.

It was cool and refreshing on this very sunny, hot day.

It took a lot of volunteers to pull this event together.  They did a great job and I know the town of Mills River, and Henderson County, NC was blessed by it.

Our whole family had a great time playing and learning at the Antique Car Show.

What kinds of activities does your family enjoy doing together?  Leave us a comment, thanks.

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WNC Air Museum Field Trip

In March, we went on a field trip to the Western North Carolina Air Museum in Hendersonville, NC with a local homeschool co-op.  

Our family has been doing an Airplane Unit Study from Hands Of A Child, and this field trip was perfect for putting some real live airplanes into our learning adventure.  This unit study has become a year long passion for our kids.  We do a little bit at a time and purchased several science (flight, air, airplane) kits to go along with our learning adventure.  You can read about part of our airplane unit
here (starting) and here (HOAC unit components), here about building a wooden bi-plane, and here when I get the rest of it finished.  I have tons of pictures, but have not had time to write all the stories.  But we have had a blast learning about airplanes and flight this school year.

This museum is an amazing place.  They have airplanes from WWl, WWll, Veitnam, Homebuilt Airplanes, Homebuilt Helicopters, Model Airplanes, lots of historical memerobilia, a store, and so much more. 

Before going into the museum, we spent a little time outside observing planes taking off, and coming in for a landing.  The children were so excited to see this. 

One plane acted like it was going to land, and as soon as it came down to the runway, it went back up again. 

Everyone ooohed and ahhhed!

Well, it took my eyes and my camera a few minutes to adjust after having been in the brite sunshine.  Sorry about the blurr…..

Inside the museum is a vast warehouse of history.

Kit helicopter.

All the walls were packed with history. 

Perfect for this knowledge seeking boy!

Can you believe in the 1930’s you could buy a plane blueprint for $5 and put it together with a motorcycle motor and have under $199 invested in owning your own airplane?

Here is the actual plane in the add above from the 1930’s.

This fella builds and maintances the planes in the museum.  He is a vietnam veteran and a licensed pilot.  He was our guide and gave us so many facinating details about the planes in the museum.

Everyone is a volunteer at the museum.  They are passionate about planes, and keeping history alive and available for future generations.

My daughter checking out the female pilot.  “Mommy is that lady going to fly the plane?”

Some planes were unfinished, so that visitors could see inside, and help them understand more about how airplanes opperate.

Lots of things to see.

There were fun things to do and see for kids and adults of all ages.  

Big or small we all add fun.

What could be better than getting to climb aboard a real plane?

ing to explore inside….

Getting a lesson from a real pilot about what each control and gadget does….

And have free time to role play…..

With all your friends.

“Attention all passangers, this is your pilot speaking.  Please prepare for landing, and thank you for traveling KIDS FLY HIGH AIRLINES.”

The museum is free to visit.  There is a small store inside, where you can buy items to help support the musuem, and donations are always welcome. 

Please visit their website to find out more, and to get directions to the museum.

Have you visited an airplane museum?  Leave us a comment.  Thanks.

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Garden Nuggets

It has been one week since we planted our garden and flower beds.  You can read about planting the garden here.  

Each day I catch the two toddlers watering their beloved flowers. 

It has happened the same way each day.  “Mom, can we go out to play?”  “Yes, but I want you stay right in the yard where I can see you.” 

But each time they went out to play this past week, I could hear the outside water turned on and off.  I peeked outside to see this sight:

They are lovingly giving their plants a drink of water.

They genuinely care about the well being of their plants.  Because of this, I have been hesitant to say anything to discourage them.    I have been a little worried they may give the plants to much water.  But they assure me they are only giving each flower one drink.  They fill their little container one time for each flower.

Who knew a two year old and a three year old would take such pride in their garden?  They genuinely want to see their flowers happily blooming and “know” they will become thirsty and need a drink of water to stay healthy. 

They know this because they also become thirsty while playing outside, and they come in frequently for a drink of water.  So this “knowing” about thirst, comes from their own personal experience.  They feel for their plants who are outside in the sun, and know they too will get thirsty.

I often see nuggets of truth about life and about my relationship with my heavenly Father, through observing my children playing. 

Our heavenly Father knows us.  He created us.  He knows what we need, even before we ask.  He genuinely wants to care for our needs, and see us be healthy and happily blooming where he has planted us. 

Matthew 7:11
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

Luke 12:56
“You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”

John 15:18
 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”

Jesus said to come, all who are thirsty in their life, and drink freely from his well, and you will be satisfied.

Matthew 5:6
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

John 6:35
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

Revelation 21:6
And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.”

Revelation 22:17
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

What nuggets of truth do you learn from observing your children play?  Leave us a comment.  Thank you.

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Recycle Boxes Into Fun

How fast can you drive?

A recycled diaper box derby car, no wheels or downhill track needed?

Its light weight, sturdy, compact, and goes everywhere.  Fits just one comfortably.  And its free!

Change of roadscapes?  No problem, drives just as well on smooth or rough terrain.

Sister has provided the “alternate green energy” power and is acting crew chief.

He has no idea what he is in for.  Crash Helmet would be a great idea about now.

But you will have to get your own big sister to power your car.  Sister is not included.

Don’t drive to fast.  Have fun!

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Century Park In Greer, South Carolina

The PARK is a great family place. 

It is frugal family fun.  It’s free. 
There are not many places that are entertaining, that you can take a family of seven for free.

Today was so beautiful, sunny and 65 degrees, we couldn’t resist a family fun day at the park. 

One of our favorite places to play is the Century Park in Greer, South Carolina.
This park is huge.  It has a massive disc golf course, ball fields, walking paths, and more. 

It is full of mature trees and natural beauty too.  Our kids love to climb and sit on large rocks at the entrance to the disc golf trails.  There are lots of picnic tables, shelters, a nice bathroom, and a concession stand too.

But our kids’ favorite parts are the wooden fort and the Kidz Planet play areas.

The wood fort is a massive structure. 


 It has two levels and is full of bridges, towers,  

hidden passage ways,

slides, open stairs, hidden stairs, and more.

Even daddy gets in on the fun.  In fact, this place is so big, parents have no trouble navigating and joining in.

Not pictured are all the swings, tire swings, tunnels, balance beams, monkey bars, obstacle courses, and too many play things to mention.  I stayed so busy with the younger kids, I forgot to get pictures of the older kids playing in the fort.  But trust me, older kids have a blast at this park.  My boys stayed busy making friends, playing tag, hide n seek, and lots of fun climbing through the fort and on the play things.

There are some great toddler areas too.

Wooden bridges,

Rubber bridges, tunnels,

more slides, towers, and hidden passageways,

lots of open spaces,

teeter totters,

sandboxes and sandtables

more sandtables.  The sandtables are the ultimate sensory experience.  My kids raked the sand with their hands into piles and added leaves and sticks.  They had so much fun creating at these tables.

Climbing the engine of the choo choo train.

Playing in the caboose of the train.

Helping each other.

My favorite play area was the musical instruments.   I am not sure what this is called, but it is built from pvc pipes of different lengths.

There were three sets of these wonderful xylophones.  The music these made was wonderful.    They also had pvc pipes behind them, and they resonated the sounds through the whole park.   The kids and I made lots of beautiful music.

My daughter’s favorite activity was the swings.

She waited a long time to get a turn on the swings, and she loved sharing it with brother.

A day of fun at the park.  A very happy little girl and boy.  Actually, a very happy family of seven. 

A smile of pure delight.   Priceless.

Where do you go with your family to have fun?  Leave us a comm
ent to let us know.

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Eraser Sort, Stack, and Count

For Tot School this week we have had fun stacking, counting, and sorting various erasers and putting them into muffin tins.  We also used spoons, scoops, and tongs, to pick up the erasers and get them into the muffin hole or into a bowl.

This is such an easy, fun, and frugal activity.  You can use it with any erasers you have on hand or pick up a good supply at the dollar store.  If you don’t have erasers, no worries find something else in your house to sort, count and stack: bottle caps, dice, dominos, buttons, pompoms, cubes, blocks, rocks, doll shoes, m and m candies or other candies, cereals like cherios and rice chex, dried rasins and crandberries, pennies or other change, legos, toys, or whatever you have on hand.  The possibilites are endless.

Sort by:

Count by:


Transfer from one container to another.

Transfer using different methods: spoon, scoop, tongs, hands, etc.

Count how many will fit into a small container and how many will fit into a large container.

Hide the erasers in a sensory bin filled with colored rice or other filler, and other small objects, and have the child find or discover where the erasers are hiding.

Put three in a row that match.  Once the child masters this, mix one each from two rows, and see if they can figure out which one doesn’t belong and put it into the right place. When I was a child in the 1970’s, Sesame Street used to sing a song about “One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong, can you guess which one by the time I finish this song.” Or something like that.  I just sang my own rendition of the song to my children as we played this game.

Play tic tac toe three in a row with two different shapes or colors.

Get silly and just allow free play too.  My daughter had a lot of fun making up her own games.  In a picture below, she tried to place all the erasers on the muffin tin without letting them fall into the holes.


Shapes of erasers we used in this game were: circle, oval, and rectangle.

Themes and colors of erasers we used in this game were:
Dark Brown Football, Light Brown Football, White and Red Baseball, Red and Black Basket Ball, Black and White Soccer Ball, Pink and Black Smiley Faces

Rectangles were various colors of red, blue, green, yellow, pink, orange. We had two of each color though “someone” wouldn’t give up what was in their hand for the picture.

Here, my daughter is sorting only the reds and whites (baseballs and basket balls).

Here my son is putting three in a row that match.  Except for pink and brown.  For some reason he thinks they should go in the same hole.

Here, my son is trying to figure out which one was switched and doesn’t belong.

Here he is just practicing his skills of putting erasers in the holes.

Again, the posibilities of this simple game are endless and it is very good practice of a variety of skills.  My kids find lots of stuff around the house, in mommy’s cupboards, in the yard, in the craft and school supplies to do this activity with, almost everyday. 

What do your tots love to sort, stack, and count?
Leave us a comment……

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