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4 Weeks of Frugal Family Fun: Picnic at the Park & Baking Chocolate Chip Muffins (Day 7)

All three children started swimming lessons this morning. Kathrynne had a blast (she’s been anticipating swimming lessons for weeks now!). Silas and Kaitlynn are still warming up to the idea.

But their instructors promised me that it’s perfectly normal for the first day for young children and that they’ll come around and be loving it soon, so I’m hoping that’s true. We’ll see how the next two weeks go. 🙂

After swimming lessons, we went to the park to play and have a picnic lunch.

Kathrynne had fun trying to climb a tree.

And Silas had fun watching her climb!

Kaitlynn enjoyed riding her bike around on the many sidewalks at the park.

While the children ate lunch, I read a few more chapters of Snow Treasure.

Later in the afternoon, Kaitlynn and Silas made chocolate chip muffins using a mix and child-sized pans that a kind friend gave to her for her birthday.

I think they might have made more messes than muffins and they adapted the recipe somewhat (hmm, I wouldn’t know where they would get that idea from?!?), but the final result turned out beautifully and it was a fun addition to dinner tonight.

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: 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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  • Charley says:

    I linked up, Cooking with kids~ Corndog Muffins! We had a blast making ans eating them 🙂

  • It looks like you all had so much fun at the park!

    I’ve been trying to convince my 6-year old to take swim lessons for quite some time. She has finally agreed, so we are hoping to sign up for some this week!

  • Tiffany says:

    Must be cooler in Kansas! Playing at the park nowadays in TX is only permitted at 6 a.m.! Loved the pictures. We had an alphabet scavenger hunt with my 5 year old–highly recommend it.

    • Our parks are busy after it gets dark. If you go any earlier, you will get burned on everything!
      Last night it was 108º at 8 p.m. By 10:30 it had cooled down to 97º.

      We’re doing indoor activities now!

  • What a nice day! Love the pictures.

    It’s very cute that your kids adapted the recipe 🙂 They come by it naturally.

  • Sarah says:

    We walked to the library today and the kids had fun getting their prizes for finishing the next level of their summer reading logs. It was about a 4-mile roundtrip walk so the kiddos were definitely ready for some quiet time when we got home. Tonight was the free car show in town so we went there and listened to some music, enjoyed some free sno cones and free bouncies for the kiddos. We came home to no power in our house 🙂 but it’s all good!

  • Lynn says:

    Our pediatrician advised us to have our 18 month-old son sign up for swimming lessons as we live in South Florida and have pools all around us (we even needed “special permission” by having the doctor sign a form stating it was alright for the swim program to teach him so young). Although I initially didn’t like the tears, our son quickly learn he was ok…and it was fun to hear Mommy clap and cheer. It was the best decision for us, and 5 years later our daughter joined the club. I highly recommend it as it is a great risk in warm climates with pools and water everywhere. Fast forward, my kids are 25 and 20 and I have two strong swimmers (yes!!! I’m not a great swimmer). Just my take on this, but it was great for us!

    • Stephanie says:

      I had friends who lived on a house boat and they did the baby swim lessons too thinking it was a good idea. Saved their kid’s life when she fell into a pond while on vacation with the grandparents- the kid just rolled over to float on her back, kept her head above water and waited for help (loudly). She was only around 15 months old and when they fished her out she tried to jump back in!

    • August says:

      In NC they start classes at 6 months. It’s more for emergencies. But the videos are proof in them self. They teach the baby to flip over and float if they fall in the water. There’s a video on YouTube where a two year old falls in a full blown pool, flips over, and floats around crying for over 5 minutes just to prove that it works. It’s hard to watch, but I’d rather my son cry for 5 minutes then something much worse!

  • Anna says:

    I put a couple of drops of food coloring in vinegar, put baking soda in a plastic container, and then gave my boys – ages 3 and 2 – old medicine droppers. SO MUCH FUN! I saw it on Pinterest. They loved it. It kept them busy for 40 minutes – probably would have been longer, but it was lunch time and my two boxes of baking soda had been used. Great experiment – especially for me as an FCS teacher – food science principles! Very frugal, very fun. Highly recommend it to anyone. I think older kids would like it too!

  • Marie says:

    I am surprised we squeezed in some fun in the midst of a day turned upside down! My husband left for Nebraska for the week at 5am. At 10am I walked into the garage to a dead battery in the car. I needed to be at an appt. by noon. Plus my daughter started community ed gymnatics. Luckily a friend came to the rescue so two of the three kids had a playdate while my daughter and I got some one on one at her class. Then because of the caos with the car situation I picked up pizza and returned the car rental to the dealership and got my car back. The good news is the battery was covered under warrenty so that was FREE and so was the rental although they were going to charge $17!!! Thank you God for the blessing on a day that did not go well to start.
    Tomorrow we are heading to the splash pad, well deserved I might add.

  • Man, it is so hot here in SC, we just can’t do outside stuff unless it is the pool!!
    I love seeing the pics of you having so much fun with your sweet children. My kids are at VBS this week at my in-laws’ church. Imagine having 8 kids still in your home and the house being empty for 3 hours every night. It’s been weird. My hubby and I sat and ate supper at the table tonight and just had to laugh.

  • Susan says:

    We went geocaching after running errands. My kiddos love finding the treasures inside even if it’s a penny. Check out for more info. Lots of free fun.

  • Shannon says:

    Saturday we went to a free festival in our town , and sunday was spent in grandmas pool.

  • We had rain again today so we went to the dollar store. The kids like to look around and they picked out one item each. They each got a ball shooter. So when we got home they set up some items to knock over with the balls. It turned out to be good fun for our cat too. She loved chasing the balls around. We did also get some raspberries and strawberries picked from our garden.

  • My eldest was very anxious about swimming lessons when he was little, it took 3 rounds of swimming lessons (each a month long) to convince him to put his face in the water. He is 16 now and has been swimming like a fish for years. So hang in there, they will warm up to it.

  • Patty says:

    After lots of rain/storms it cleared up and we spent a couple of hours at the skate park, then the library. My 6 year old loves the ramps! We had him start swimming lessons at 6 months. My husband and I love swimming and the ocean and wanted him to be a strong swimmer. He has been swimming without a life jacket since he was 3 and can easily out swim me now! I still worry all the time around water, but glad he is a strong swimmer. Your kids will love the water in no time.

  • Val says:

    We invented a superhero and then created a costume. We used one of my husbands old t shirts to make the cape and the mask (saw the cape on Pinterest—genius idea! I don’t have to tie and retie and retie and retie…) We decorated it with Sharpies. We also used toilet paper tubes, construction paper and rubber bands to make super cuffs that “detect bad guys”. My little guy loved the whole thing so much he wore it all day—even to the grocery store!

  • My kids get bummed sometimes when a new movie comes out and it’s not in the budget to see it (until dollar theater or dvd). So from what we knew of the movie, we acted part of it out. ( ;

  • Alicia says:

    On Saturday my kids found a swallow tail caterpillar. We were SO thrilled. My daughter looked on the internet and found out that it was the right size to start making its chrysalis. Sure enough, today, we looked in our bug house (which we just purchased at a garage sale last week for $1!) and there was actually a chrysalis. I couldn’t believe it.
    Then….yesterday my DH was home since we had company in town. We went to the Wichita Botanica Gardens and were able to watch a butterfly emerging out of its chrysalis at the butterfly house. Very cool! My kids took thier nature notebooks along and drew pictrures of the different butterflies. We have a family membership there so it was free admission for all except our one guest. Family membership has an annual fee of about $45 so it is a good deal for us. Enjoying God’s creation is really a blessing – like climbing trees :).

    Keep having fun and stay cool!

  • Jen says:

    I hope your kids warm up to swimming lessons. I did a round of lessons (just 4 lessons) for my 5 and 3 year olds and they did not like it at all. I know everyone says it takes a while for them to warm up to it, but at $55/session for 3 kids, I just can’t afford to keep sending them, especially if they aren’t into it.

  • Kathleen says:

    I just signed up my 2 kids for swimming lessons. My daughter who is 8 has been taking them for 2 years she likes them but she is nervous this year because she is afraid to swim out to the big dock even though they wear a life jacket. My 5 year old son has never taken them so we will see how he does. We have a pool so I really hope he wants to do the lessons. He has never been in the big pool he’s too scared.

  • August says:

    This is the website that I’ve been using for my almost 3 year old. It’s amazing! She has over 120 activities that seem like so much fun. I made some extra money today, so I used my cash to invest into all the activities I plan to do with him. I wrote down all the activities with directions on slips of paper and then put them into a jar. Today was build activities day (my son’s on vacay with my parents so I had plenty of time) that way I can pull the slip of paper out and be prepared no matter the task. I’m super excited! Here’s the link

  • Susan L. says:

    Yesterday (Monday) was spent getting ready for the trip to my sister’s, but Rene had fun with the prep work…especially laundry. He LOVES to do laundry.

  • Jen says:

    I think you are amazing for letting the kids get so involved in the kitchen. It is probably wonderful experience for them that gives them practical skills and builds their confidence too. I apologize if you have already answered similar questions elsewhere, but I have to ask you: What is your secret? I am such a control freak, that I can’t even fathom letting my two oldest (4 1/2 and 3 yrs) sit on top of the counter and crack eggs and make their own muffins! Did you struggle with this at first? If so, how did you let go?? Isn’t it time consuming to clean up the mess? Do they ever fall off the counter? I want to let my kids get more involved, but I always thought they were still to young, until I read the ages of yours. 🙂

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