Friday, July 23, 2010

Another Great day on the Rappahannock

Well, it was sooooo much fun swimming in the river last week for free, we decided to take it up a notch this week.  For $15 per person (group rate), we were driven up the river in a van started by our guide with a screwdriver.  From the drop off point to the pick up point, we floated in tubes (and life jackets for everyone) for about 2 hours.  It was an absolutely wonderful way to spend a miserably HOT day!  With the water levels being low, even the 7 year olds were able to manage!  Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Grandfathers.... everyone did great and was completely exhausted by the end.  
Tomorrow we're off to the Orange County Fair.  It's to be an old fashioned County fair with hay rides and a moon bounce as the only "rides".  Lots of farm animals to see and pet, with many, many 4H clubs showing their animals as well.  Lots of good "fair" food, and from what I read, pie eating contests as well.  I can only hope there will be tents and fans for cooling off as it should be another record breaking heat day!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Swimming the Rapahanock

It was GREAT!!!  The water was calm and perfect!  The two youngest wore life jackets as there are occasional spots over their heads, but not many.  We had almost an entire section of river to ourselves except for a few fishers in canoes that floated by sporadically.  Highly recommend spending a day there.  We packed a picnic and towels and that was all we needed.  Other than the gas to get there, it was free! Oh, and we did need to clean the van afterwards as the amount of sand brought home was HUGE!!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fun and Free (or at least cheap) in Fredericksburg, VA

Well,  tomorrow we are going to try swimming in the Rapahanock River!  It's free... which makes it $450 less than a membership to the county pool!!  So, that makes it SOLD!  We had considered putting a pool in the yard since we have 3 acres and the space to do it, but decided that between maintenance and chemicals we would pass, (not to mention the cost of actual pool).  I have informed the family that nothing else will go into our yard that doesn't produce something for us to use ourselves or sell to someone else to use.  We have several chickens that give us eggs, sometimes enough to share with neighbors too.  Other than that, everything here is a consumer, not a producer!  We have considered a goat, but I'm pretty sure I know who will end up milking it within two weeks... me!  The place to go for lots of activities for parents to do with kids is a local publication Fredericksburg Parents. 

Check back tomorrow for a review of our river experience.

Frugal, fun, and character building

At about week 4 of summer vacation, we have completed allot!! We have done VBS, gone to the beach, visited the library, played more video games than one family should be allowed, and shopped at Target and Walmart until we are broke! After all this activity, it is obvious that all this "fun", has done nothing but create four over stimulated, and dare I say, bratty kids!! I noted that my kids were so happy to accompany me to the store to fill a prescription. On the way IN the door, everyone was cheerful and pleasant. On the way OUT it was a different story! While in the store, each of the three children that accompanied me asked for no fewer than 5 items. After many, many, "No's", the mood changed! The walk to the front door and through the parking lot with 3 stomping, grumbling, and sullen children was embarrassing! I would bet that every mom there could see and spell SPOILED!! While I was very tempted to let loose on them, I began to realize that maybe I had in some way trained them to be that way. With this thought in mind, I decided some changes were due!
The first thing to change.... I am not the maid. First thing the next morning was laundry lessons for the two older kids. Both the oldest boy and girl where to begin doing their own laundry and that of the younger room mate. That went remarkably well. Using the new space ship like washer is apparently very fun, and according to my daughter, the sheets smell better when you wash them yourself!
Next on the list....I'm not the only cook or kitchen cleaner! Again, my oldest son stepped up and volunteered to make dinner! He seem to have fun letting me know I should set the table with paper plates to make clean up easier, and he really thought using the grill was cool! He must have been watching his dad, because he didn't burn anything and the one hot dog that was dropped, he brushed off and served himself! Who is that kid?? The girls and the boys now take turns cleaning the kitchen in the evening, which give daddy and I time on the front porch rockers to catch up from the day!
Third on the list... turn off the TV, video games and computer! I was ready for battle!! The kids complied and we had a small battle. The first couple of days was really rough! It was actually too hot to send the dog outside for long, much less the kids. They kept bickering and annoying each other. However, just as I was about to give up, something amazing happened! I walked through the kitchen to get a glass of tea, and there at the table sat 2 kids playing Scrabble and 2 kids coloring in coloring books! No yelling, no bickering, no anything but concentration! I backed out of the kitchen and got the camera! It's been several days now, and I can't believe the difference! Playing together, reading to each other, sharing and just general cheerfulness. The only change the kids requested has been to be allowed to "earn" TV, computer or game time! After discussing it with dad, we agreed. Complete extra chores such as yard work, cleaning the car, cleaning the fridge, etc.. for equal screen time. Thus far, cleaning the car turned into water play in the yard, yard work led to building a fort, and cleaning the fridge led to making an apple cake with shriveled apples. I'm not sure they noticed they didn't use their screen time, but I'm not pointing it out!
This summer is going to be great! If it goes this well the rest of it, I might be sad when school starts back. My kids are really neat, especially when they aren't so busy bickering! Now it's time to find some fun and inexpensive activities, and a little old fashioned too!!