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4 Weeks of Frugal Family Fun: Painting With Water + Read Alouds (Day 3)

Today didn’t go as I’d planned, but it was a good day, nonetheless. Kathrynne was still quite sick today, so I spent a lot of time caring for her and we finally ended up taking her in to the doctor. Come to find out, she has a really bad double ear infection. Poor girl!

At any rate, we didn’t get around to doing the Bubble Painting I’d planned that we’d do today. But we still had some frugal fun — or at least lots of special time together.

We did some paint with water books (I picked these up on a Buy One, Get One Half Off special from Light of Faith at our homeschool conference), Silas got to cut his pages (using scissors is a big privilege for him now and something he can only do with Mommy around after he cut his hair a few weeks ago!), and Kaitlynn made and painted a paper basket.

We then spent a long time cuddled up on the couch together reading a big stack of books with Kathrynne. We’ve been keeping our library hopping with all the books we’ve been checking out from them recently  — especially now that Kathrynne is reading so voraciously!

Did you do something fun and frugal as a family today? If you blogged about it, I’d love for you to leave a link to your blog post below. Or, you can just tell us what you did in the comments.

Note: There seems to be some confusion as to what to link up with this series. Since the purpose of this series is to encourage you to be intentional about fun in your home this summer, please only link up posts showing pictures/sharing details of fun things you did as a family today (or within the last few days). Posts that do not adhere to these guidelines will be deleted in order to make it fair for those who are putting forth a lot of effort to participate in this challenge.

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  • Shelly says:

    Today we did an indoor picnic. We would have loved to eat outside but we just were having rain off and on so inside it was. The kids and myself had a great time anyway. We used paper plates, sat on our checkered table cloth that has ants all over it. We made some ham and cheese uncrustable type sandwiches and made some whole wheat chocolate chip cookies from the freezer.

  • Corine says:

    We did peanut butter playdoh today. Bubble painting sounds like a blast. It is too hot here right now but a break on Thursday. I hope your baby feels better fast. I once took one daughter in because I thought she was sick only to find out my other daughter had a double ear infection! She didn’t say anything or show signs.

  • Audra says:

    Noticed Snow Treasure in your stack….love that book. Used to read it with my fourth graders…lots of vocabulary.

  • Abigail says:

    We Love, love, love the book Snow Treasure! It was recommended reading for MFW’s Exploring Countries and Cultures this past year (Norway). Are you planning to continue using MFW this next school year?

    • Crystal says:

      Yes! We already bought ECC and are looking forward to starting it near the end of August!

      • Abigail says:

        We are just at the end of ECC, really enjoyed it tremendously! Be sure and find out if there are any language schools in your area, we truly enjoyed the German American school in Portland, OR. It was so neat to attend a class in a foreign language. Not to derail the comments, but we are real MFW fans around here. 🙂 Looking forward to starting Creation to the Greeks this fall.

  • Michele says:

    Our activity today wasn’t so frugal, but it was fun. A new frozen yogurt place opened in town, and the kids have been begging me to take them. My daughter had a 10% off coupon that she got from school, and I promised them we’d go before it expired. This morning we did extra chores – purging unnecessary items from the kids’ bedrooms, and as a reward we went to the yogurt place this afternoon. Eleven *cough* dollars later, I had three happy children eating frozen yogurt with various toppings. Not somewhere I’d go on a regular basis, but as a special treat it was fun.

    • Crystal says:

      Sometimes, it’s totally worth it to splurge on a special treat! I’m glad you were able to enjoy the outing!

    • Stephanie says:

      $11 to make three kiddos happy and make a memory, I’d say it’s worth every penny (and pretty frugal too!) We’ve gone out for ice cream before and it cost us almost $20 for a family of 5. It’s a rare treat!!!

  • Aja says:

    We went to see Kit Kittredge at the theater for $1. Every Tues/Wed they play older movies for $1.

  • Jess says:

    Today we made Ivory soap “clouds” from a pin I found last week. We crumbled up the clouds, added a little water and “made our own” soaps. We even invited a neighborhood friend to join us.

  • Painting with water use to be one of my favorite rainy day activities when I was little. It’s hard to find them now. My daughter would probably still love them. Hope your daughter feels better soon. I always hated being ill in the summer as the child as I wanted to be outside playing.

  • tracie says:

    it was hot yesterday so we did slip and slid, swimming pool and bubbles. Today we are going to make solar smores and hotdogs and more swimming since its going to be hotter.

  • Kelli says:

    When my children were small, they used to love to “paint” the outside of the house (or the concrete patio) with a paintbrush and a bucket of water!

  • Amanda says:

    Wes did bubble snakes yesterday(put a sock over a cut open water bottle and dip in bubble soap) my son did want to stop but it was so hot. Think we may do some more today:-)

  • My kids love to do water paint books. I never thought of using the paint to paint other pieces of paper.

    We made a city on our sidewalk with chalk and the kids had fun playing with their cars after we were finished drawing.

  • Emily (7) had her softball awards and we were responsible for desserts so I decided to make choc. chip cookies with the kids. I’m going to have to find a better way of cooking with the kids since it was a little bit of chaos! Suggestions anyone?

    • Crystal says:

      I’m not sure that I have any brilliant suggestions for cooking with kids. What helps me is to just expect for it to be chaotic and messy — and to plan for it to take a lot of extra time and patience to pull off! 🙂

    • Vanessa says:

      When our boys {5,3} want to “help” me bake, I usually measure the ingredients myself and then let the boys take turns pouring them into the bowl and then they take turns mixing. Another way our older son can help is to find the measuring cups and spoons that we need. I think their favorite part is putting the chocolate chips in. 🙂

      When our younger son was very little but still wanted to help because big brother was, I gave him his own bowl with a little bit of flour and a spoon. It made him feel like he was helping with very little mess.

  • Andrea says:

    I am reading aloud Little House in the Big Woods to my 3 and 4 year old, and I am shocked at how into it they are. More, more, more chapters is all I hear when I get done reading. Love the wholesomeness of the “olden days” and I am sure my kids do to!!

    • Crystal says:

      It amazes me sometimes how “into it” kids get — especially when the books might seem a little above their level. I’m glad you’re enjoying Little House in the Big Woods. It’s been awhile since we’ve read it together, so we’re enjoying it all over again!

  • Marie says:

    We didn’t do our planned activity today as my daughter has had a fever of 103 for 4 days. finially went to the ped. to make sure there wasn’t anything else going on and luckily there wasn’t. So we just had a lazy day together reading books and watching a special show.

  • I love this series. Food, cleaning, etc. are important but family times are the most important!

  • Caroline says:

    Not sure if I found it on this blog or not, but I’ve been loving Motherhood on a Dime’s 101 Days of Summer Fun for Kids ( The other day we did the Ivory soap experiment and my boys loved watching the soap in the microwave. They also had fun that night with the soap in the tub. They also spent almost two hours one day “painting” with water on our patio outside. I just gave them a bucket of water that they refilled multiple times and two paintbrushes. They started out doing letters and and shapes, then it progressed to flinging water to see if they could cover the whole patio. Finally they moved onto the swingset. But they were happy and it was just water! Today we’re going to see Happy Feet 2 for $1 each at our local theater!

  • I love those paint with water books! They have them at Michaels in the dollar section! I bought some for end of the year gifts for my 1st graders at school. I’d never seen something like that before and was tempted to get one for myself, lol!

    • Crystal says:

      I’m totally going to have to check out Michaels. I’ve had a hard time finding any paint with water books recently — and my kids love them!

  • Judy says:

    I linked up our milk jug watering can. It’s definitely frugal, and my boys have so much fun watering the plants on their own :). We can all tend to the garden together now.

  • ks says:

    Looks like fun…but your son and that sharp scissors right near his fingers is scaring me…LOL (sort of)…stay safe!

    • Crystal says:

      Like I mentioned in the post, he only gets to use scissors when Mama is right there right now. After the hair-cutting incident, I’m not taking any chances!!

  • Jen says:

    My 5 year old was sick yesterday too. Right now she’s really into American Girl dolls, so we’ve been reading those books. And I think I enjoy them as much as she does!

  • Denise says:

    Day 3 wasn’t my best day as a mommy as I was in some funking cranky mood, but the kiddos did get some giggles from the kitchen clubhouse we made out of one of my kitchen cabinets.

    Cost = FREE!

  • Jenny says:

    I hope Kathrynne’s ear infections are just a one-time thing and that she gets better. My son had recurring ear infections, and we ended up getting him tubes in his ears and his tonsils out. I just wanted to mention that those procedures ended up helping him a lot. It made those problems completely go away. Believe me, I hope it doesn’t come to that for sweet Miss Kathrynne, but if it does, just a note of reassurance to let you know that’s okay too. Sounds like you guys are having a lot of fun this summer!

  • Anne says:

    One of my all time childhood favorites: Snow Treasure. Have you read the Carolyn Haywood’s Betsy series? may be out of print.

    All your pictures remind me of our younger days. I’m glad I have these memories. Young moms, embrace the moments!

    • Crystal says:

      Snow Treasure is a new-to-us book and we are loving it so far! I’ve not heard of the Betsy series, but I just requested one from the library! Thanks for the suggestion!

      • Michele says:

        A second recommendation for the Betsy books by Carolyn Haywood. I loved them growing up. And then I read them with my oldest daughter a few years ago. She enjoyed them, too.

    • Michele says:

      I loved the Carolyn Haywood Betsy books, too! I have a vivid memory of me checking them out of the school library when I was in second grade. They reprinted them several years ago with new covers, and our local library carries them.

    • Kristi says:

      My children liked Carolyn Haywood’s books, too! So fun to remember reading them when I was young.

  • Andrea says:

    My little ones are doing some (very eclectic) embroidery with supplies I already had on hand.

  • Danielle B says:

    I’m following along with these posts, but haven’t really done anything except reading aloud with my children so far. I’m nursing a bulging disc in my lower back (which is what has been causing my back pain and sciatica since mid-April during the organizing challenge). I start physical therapy next week. Until I get relief I’m honestly just surviving.

    Everything takes 4x as long to do since I can’t just do it, but on the bright side the kids are stepping up amazingly and learning how to do quite a few chores that I didn’t think they were capable of completing yet. I might have taken many more years before teaching them things like doing laundry (including sorting, starting/switching loads, folding/hanging and putting away), making laundry detergent, actually sweepingand moppig the kitchen themselves, washing, rinsing and drying/putting away dishes, scrubbing the bathroom and even making their own sandwiches, scrambled eggs and slicing fruit carefully with me right beside them. Thankfully, because of the children’s ages- 6, 4, 2- they think these things are “fun”. So, maybe it’s just a new definition of “family, frugal fun”. 😉

    But, hopefully we’ll be able to start doing a few of these little projects in the coming weeks. 🙂

  • Kiersten says:

    I have a question about read-alouds….I have a two-year-old who loves when I read picture books to her, but I would also like to start reading read-alouds (which may not have many pictures) to her. Any suggestionson how to start or which books are good beginning books? I know Crystal, you have said that your little ones listen along with your older kids. Just wondering how to start.

    • Crystal says:

      I started mine at mealtimes when they were sitting in their chair eating. We’d just read a few pages — and we gradually worked up from there. I’d suggest checking out a copy of Honey for a Child’s Heart from the library for some great ideas of read-alouds. I also just keep my eyes and ears open for any that I think we’d be interested in and add them to our list that we’re slowly working through!

    • Busy Mama says:

      What worked for us was letting the kids do a quiet activity while I was reading. They weren’t allowed to sing, make vroom-vroom sounds, etc. while listening to the story; however they were allowed to build with legos, color with crayons, etc. It allowed their young antsy selves to remain busy, while keeping their minds fully engaged in the stories. Rather than be distracting, I found it actually helped them focus better.

      We started reading some of the Lamplighter books as read-alouds when our kids were older – good, quality stories with strong moral characters and extensive vocabularies. The books are a bit pricey, but well worth the investment.

  • Nat says:

    We are so fortunate to live on a lake. It’s been so hot we’ve been spending every moment in the water. I don’t blog, but one suggestion I have to readers is to check out local State Parks for activities. Our local state park has been having a variety of activities every week – aimed at children and educational. It may cost you a park entrance fee, ours has been waving the fee during the activity time period.

  • Carol says:

    We buy these books at Dollar General & Walmart for $1 each. My kids & students love them

  • Aleicia says:

    We tried the bubble painting and it didn’t turn out like the pictures at all. I’m curious to see how yours turn out if you get around to them. We got some of the cheap bubble wedding favors at hobby lobby, I wonder if that makes a difference.

  • Pam says:

    Hot in CT. We filled the kiddie pool today and hooked up the slip and slide that my grandchildren use as a car wash with their little tyke cars. My husband also tied the cars and the wagon together to make a train. My 4 year old grandson loves this and makes all the right train sounds as he leaves the station.

  • amanda says:

    We made sidewalk chalk paint! 1/2 c. cornstarch, 1/2. c. water, and food coloring. So much fun, very frugal, and a great excuse to play outside. 🙂

  • Sarah says:

    We had a Hawaiin Luau party at our library this morning that was free with face painting, crafts, games and ice cream. Then we went to our other neighborhood library in the afternoon for Bingo. My daughter was so excited since she won the first round 🙂

  • Cassie says:

    There is a wonderful family amusement park about an hour away from our home. It has FREE parking, FREE admission & FREE entertainment! You can purchase discounted books of tickets through AAA and at some grocery stores, but one of the highlights of the year is when they print coupons in the newspaper for BOGO wristbands good on the first day of summer.
    My sister had my mom & aunt clip their coupons for us. We were able to get a ride-all-day wristband for each of our children (ages 9, 10, 10 1/2, and 14), one for my sister and some lucky teenager waiting in line next to my sister. (She wasn’t going to get a wristband unless she could find someone to split the cost; otherwise she would have used tickets.)
    The park is in a beautiful wooded setting and has picnic tables where you can enjoy your packed lunches from home, which we did. The park also allows personal coolers, so we had plenty of water bottles on hand (savings $2.00 for each would-be park bottled water). My brother-in-law and I didn’t go on any rides because the kids always seemed to pair up with each other (and we don’t like roller coasters).
    I had budgeted $100 for wristbands and food for snacks & dinner. I ended up spending only $68 total, which works out to about $23 per person for a day at the amusement park! I would never be able to do that at Disney, Six Flags or Hershey Park. I know it’s not exactly on the “frugal” list, but planning ahead, using coupons, and bringing lunch & drinks saved us a lot of money & made for a wonderful day out for our families. BTW if anyone is visiting northeast PA, check out this great park – Knoebel’s Amusement Resort 🙂

  • heather says:

    ah, look at your little guy. he can use scissors. my daughter just turned 3, and we are having troubles with even the small safety scissors. have modeled, but not sure how to help her “get” the finger positioning.

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