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myself that if I made it to Wednesday, that was enough of a success for me. I woke up on that Monday, took a deep breath, got an extra cup of coffee and started the week. I grabbed my iPhone and that little weather app gave me some confidence that I might actually be able to survive staying home. The week ahead was looking gorgeous, and I got excited to break out the water table for the kids, picnic outside, and shoot some baskets with our new hoop. I did something very uncharacteristic and wrote some ideas in my planner for these special things we could do at home.

This weather really makes it easier to stay home since we can go outside. The day was going quite well until I logged onto Facebook and saw that The Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen was running one of their 99-cent ice cream specials that day! My first reaction was exuberance since I knew the kids would love a special treat. But failure on Monday? Already? I took more deep breaths, sighed and grabbed a few popsicles to take outside with the kids. They were no worse for wear, running around the backyard with popsicle dripping all over them, giggling with the dogs. I realized I am the one who needs to be entertained by going and running from place to place, not them.

Kids don’t need fancy entertainment; dirt and shovels suffice.

At left, James mixes colors to create purple paint. The children were thrilled about painting rocks and never asked to leave the house.

I’ve run out of inventive craft ideas; we are going to paint rocks. Instead, I hit our craft bin of supplies, the kids dug up and collected some rocks, which we painted outside. Once again, my children were beyond thrilled about painting rocks and they never once asked if they could hop in the car and go somewhere for better entertainment. We filled the other hours with water play, some gardening, car washes, and basketball since the weather was unseasonably warm. I actually sat outside in a shady spot and read a book while the kids played. Usually, my wheels are always spinning during the week and I don’t allow myself to relax, soak in their laughter, kick up my feet and read. It was nice. (In my head: “Maybe we should go to the library and get more books?” NO! Take a deep breath! Relax!)

As the week progressed, we were outside so much that I started to think up some ideas for creative things for the kids to do. I remembered seeing a great squirt-bottle sidewalk chalk activity on Pinterest and I just knew the kids would love it. But, after looking it up, I realized I didn’t have all of the supplies and thought, what’s a little trip to Michael’s? It’s for supplies, not really entertainment, right? I took one of my many deep breaths of the week and wished I had planned my ideas before Monday morning. 12 June/July 2012 www.todaysfamilymag.com 444

We haven’t spent a single dollar on dining out!

Hooray!

Did we make it through the entire week? Almost. Friday of that week happened to be the first swim lesson for my kids. If you consider their lesson a “necessary outing” since we had already enrolled, then we made it the entire week!

Staying home does not mean I have more time for housework; it means we are messing up the house even more! The days went by quickly and the weather surely was helpful. I don’t know that I would have been able to do this inside all week! But I took on my sister’s challenge and proved her wrong. My friend who offered to help was ill all week, and I actually found myself more focused on the simple things my kids enjoy and didn’t need visitors. I always knew that fun didn’t have to come in the form of a ticket to this, or admission to that. But this challenge helped me realize even more that fun doesn’t have to be elaborate, it doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to be with people that you enjoy being around, like some super-cute kids who find fun in life’s simple pleasures. Stephanie White lives in Louisville with her husband David and kids James (5) and Margaret (3). She is a frequent contributor to Today’s Family.

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Today's Family  

Quality Resource for Quality Time for families, parents and children

Today's Family  

Quality Resource for Quality Time for families, parents and children