We are two individuals, sister-in-laws, and friends who are striving to thrive and be our personal best as well as making our surroundings a better place to live! Connected by faith, family, friendship, photos, and writing, we just want to share our journey with you!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Environmentally friendly and free family activities!

There are so many wonderful ways that you can spend quality time with your family. As I've mentioned before, Dan and I are still students as well as being parents and we don't have a lot of money right now! We have learned though that sometimes you have the most fun while spending nothing at all! All you need to do is put on your creative thinking cap and let your imagination whisk you away! All sorts of fun ideas will pop into your head and you'll end up spending more quality time together and laugh a lot more! We find out May 15th if Dan (and Ally) gets into med-school! It's been a long journey and as the date is just around the corner, we're trying to just focus on what's important so we don't get bogged down with the stress of everything: and the most important thing really is our family, each other!
Here are our family's five favorite free activities which we always enjoy together!

1. Go to the beach! Noah and I love digging in the sand and collecting shells! We also like to do our part in cleaning up the beach! Just today, Noah found a starbucks cup and two plastic bags. We put the bags into the cup and threw them out. I would have liked to recycle them, but they were really dirty, we didn't have gloves, there was no recycling nearby and I decided it was better to throw them into the garbage then let them get swept into the ocean for a bird or fish to choke on :( Not nice! I love seeing how excited Noah is to 'help' clean-up! Dan and Noah love to find walking sticks and walk together! It's so cute! We also love to find 'forts' or build our own! We have so much fun!

There is so much you can do! Build sandcastles, make pictures with rocks or shells, jump logs, look for crabs, have running races on the beach, play pirates...the list really goes on! It's not uncommon for other kids to want to play with us! We engage and aren't afraid to be silly! Noah loves saying "Come on" to our dog and then he says "Good geel (girl)" and it's so cute! So the next sunny day you have, go to the beach or lake and enjoy yourself!

2. Visit Your Local Farmer's Market! Every week, Noah asks numerous times to go to 'Dan's Farm' which is one of our local farms here in Victoria. The ladies who work there are so friendly and now know Noah when he comes in and it has such a great 'family feel'. If you bring a few quarters, you can let your kids (or the big kids), put them into the 'Goat Feed' dispenser and then the goat food comes out and you can feed the goats...or the chickens! What's great about Dan's Farm in particular, is that they let their chickens roam free and Noah and I have even pet them! It's so amazing to watch Noah treat the animals with such kindness and be so gentle! He already has such a respect for nature and it's neat for him to see where our local produce grows!
3. Play Hide-and-Go-Seek! Rain or shine, day or night, as long as you have some pillows lying around, you can play a fun family game of Hide and Seek! Noah never seems to tire of 'hiding' and having us find him! He always laughs when he is 'found' and immediately says "Again"! It's hilarious! We went to IKEA awhile ago and found a sweet tent for Noah for so cheap ($8ish)! We love to set it up in our living room and Noah goes in and we close it up and then peek through the mesh windows! He loves trying to figure out which window we will peek in next! Obviously since Noah is so young, we play a very modified version of hide and seek! If Dan and I are both playing with Noah, sometimes one of us will hide and the other one will wander the house with Noah 'searching'...it's so cute watching him say "Umm NO" when you ask if he thinks we are hiding in a certain spot! He gets so excited when he finds us but then even more excited when it's his turn!!!
Where's Noah??!!

4. Go For a Family Bike Ride or Walk Around your Neighborhood! One of the best ways to explore your neighborhood or community is by bike or by foot! It's amazing how much inspiration you will find from other families, couples and individuals who are out there enjoying the day too! The energy is contagious and I always end up going out much longer than originally planned! Now that Noah is older, I love hearing him get excited when he sees a dog, deer or birds while I'm cycling with him behind in the trailer! We always pack a healthy snack and sometimes a 'Pirate Booty' treat for Noah and stop at a park for some more playing! We were so blessed to get a bike trailer for Dan's birthday last year so we can all enjoy those sunny days on our bikes together as a family! Not only are we having so much fun exploring, but we are also being friendly on the environment because it's one less outing that we make in our van (not-so environmentally friendly)! If you don't have a bike or a bike trailer (if you're a parent with little ones), it's okay because you don't need any equipment to go for a walk! Dan and I were floored by the kindness we received from a neighbor we met while I was pregnant. She saw Dan and I walking and came to talk to us...the very next day she left daffodils from her garden in our mailbox and a container full of fresh raspberries! She has continued to leave little gifts of kindness at our doorstep periodically, reminding us how great it feels when someone reaches out with just a little random act of kindness! So when we go for our walks, we love to meet and greet with our neighbors and it gives you such a sense of community! Old or young, you find inspiration in all walks of life when you are out exploring your neighborhood!
5. Make a Mess in the Kitchen!!! Well not intentionally, but it will happen if you bring out some good ol' pots and bowls and mixing spoons! Noah LOVES it when we bring them out and he 'helps' me bake or cook in the kitchen! He used to be content with just the kitchen equipment but not he likes to actually mix with ingredients so I make sure that the floor is relatively clean and then I don't stress about it if he puts half of the ingredients (all things that he can eat) into the bowl, onto the floor and into his mouth!!! He feels like such a helper and then he helps me to 'sweep' the floor after our playtime is over! Noah also has his own play kitchen and I put water into the sink while Aunty Ally was last visiting and Noah LOVED playing with the water in his sink! He washed his 'dishes' and splashed! It was so great!

Those are just five ideas for free family activities but there are hundreds more! Just be creative and have fun with your family and you can't go wrong! Let me know if you have any really fun activities you enjoy!

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