6 ways to celebrate Memorial Day with your family

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Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, but it’s also a day often spent with close friends and family.  If you are looking for something to do with your family this Memorial Day, check out the six suggestions below and pick one or two that work for you!

Six ways to celebrate Memorial Day with your family

6. Visit a military cemetery, memorial, or flag garden – Almost every town has one, and it would be a wonderful way to teach your children that there is more to Memorial Day than just hanging out and having fun.  Be sure to look up a brief history of Memorial Day if you don’t know it already, because your kids are sure to ask questions about the holiday.

5.  Go swimming – Most pools open right around Memorial Day, and it’s usually warm enough by then to really enjoy lounging in the cool, refreshing water.  Don’t have a pool nearby for the kids to play in?  Buy a small wading pool for them instead!  They’ll have a blast just splashing around, believe me.  If you want to get something big enough for you to splash around in too, you can get huge discounts on pools online this time of year.

4.  Share memories and photographs of loved ones – If you have a family member or friend that died while serving our country, take some time to share your fondest memories of them with your children.  If you have pictures, pull those out as well, so they can put a face to the name and really understand that you are talking about a real person that you once knew.

3.  Throw a red, white, and blue party – A party doesn’t have to have tons of guests, you can have a party for just your family!  Pick up some red, white, and blue decorations from a dollar store, classic Bomb Pops popsicles, some blueberries and strawberries, etc.  Get colorful and creative!  You could even let the kids invite their friends in the neighborhood!

2.  Attend a local celebration – Large tourist attractions typically have some sort of celebration, and your local city probably has something going on downtown too.  For those in the Atlanta area, Stone Mountain Park always has a huge celebration with amazing fireworks, and it’s FREE with the cost of parking!  Remember to bring blankets, camping chairs, and snacks or a picnic lunch with you!

1.  Say “Thank You” – Although Memorial Day is meant to honor those that died in service of our country, it’s also a great time to stop and thank those that are currently serving, or that have retired from the military.  If there is a nursing home or assisted living facility near your home, they almost always do something to honor their veteran residents, it would be wonderful to stop by and thank them as well.

What do you do for Memorial Day?  Does your family have any annual traditions?

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Why Should You Care About the New Smurfs Movie???

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The Smurfs The Lost VillageOver the weekend, my kids and I got a sneak peek at The Smurfs: The Lost Village movie, and we were quite pleased with it.  (Thanks again to Stephanie of Autism, A Diva, and Dance!)  I had zero expectations of this movie because I honestly knew little about it coming out (I avoid children’s programming commercials at all costs these days!), and because I had only seen bits and pieces of the first movie, and none of the second. [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Car Games for Kids

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Morning car rides can be daunting if you’re not a morning person, and sometimes even if you ARE a morning person.  Although I believe it’s perfectly ok to let your kids be bored, I also believe it’s important to use moments together wisely.  So we tend to spend our morning car ride having conversations, and playing kids car games that help wake them up and keep them on their toes, AND it’s all done sans technology!  Here I delve beyond “Punch-Buggy Charlie” and the license plate game for some good no-tech car games for kids.

Car Games for Kids

20 Questions – We each take a turn coming up with a person, place, or thing.  Then the other participants take turns asking yes or no questions to figure out what it is.  If we figure it out before the 20th question, we win; if not, then the person answering the questions wins.  This is a good exercise in making deductions and also figuring out good “category” questions. [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Tips for making a summer bucket list for your family

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Tips for Making a Summer Bucket List for Your FamilyA few years ago, Tiffany of RealMomTalk.com created this post on creating a summer bucket list.  I am reviving it, in hopes that it may help inspire some of y’all this summer, as we zip through these last few days of school, and prepare for summer with our kiddos.  

We’ve all been seeing a lot of stuff on Facebook and Pinterest about Family Summer Bucket Lists, and many of you have said that you wish you could do something similar with your family.  Well today, I’m sharing tips on how to make your own summer bucket list!

First off, let me say that our summer bucket list is SUPER long, but yours doesn’t have to be.  We have eight people in our family, and I told the kids I would include everything they suggested, within reason of course.  Pretty much everything made the cut, except Nate’s desires for worldwide travel to places like China, that’s not quite possible with our budget right now!  Plus, there’s really no possible way we will do it all, but it’s still fun to dream!  So don’t feel like your list is no good just because it may only have 5 items on it.  That’s still 5 more super fun memories you will be making with your family this summer!  The point is to make a list of activities and then make a conscious effort to allot time to do those things with your family.  Here are some of my top tips and suggestions to help you get your list going! [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Advice for My 6-year-old Daughter, For the Teen Years and Beyond

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For some reason, today I felt just a little extra whimsical while watching my daughter.  Like many mothers, I’m sure, I catch glimpses of her older self throughout the course of the day, and today -for a fleeting split second- I saw my little girl all grown up.  I’ve already shared my wishlist for her, but here is my collective little nuggets of advice for my daughter.

Advice for My 6-year-old DaughterAdvice for My 6-year-old Daughter,
for the Teen Years and Beyond

 

Don’t be a mean girl.  Ever.  But don’t be mean back to the mean girls – how else will they learn kindness if it’s not extended to them?

Love yourself, on the inside and the outside.  Treat your body with respect now, and it will thank you in kind as you get older.  Learn now how to take care of your whole self.

Be kind but firm. [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

My Wish List for My Daughter

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 I came across this post, from an old blog I created about and for my daughter.  Unlike my actual daughter, this blog’s been neglected for about three years, but I wanted to breathe new life in to this post, as I still feel it’s relevant to her -and to daughters and children everywhere.  What’s on YOUR wish list for your children?
 My Wish List for My Daughter

My Wish List for My Daughter

October 2, 2010

My Dear Carol,
As your mother, I wish for you many things in this life.  Above all, I pray daily that you live an exceptionally long, happy, healthy, meaningful, and purposeful life.  I wish this for you, and any siblings you may have.  I hope to help make those things attainable for you, with these things I wish for you:
[Read more…]
Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Saying Goodbye to Kindergarten

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Saying Goodbye to Kindergarten

It seems like it was just last week I walked my little girl in to Kindergarten.  And yet now, in a blink of an eye, she  was saying goodbye to Kindergarten.  While I knew she was more than ready to start Kindergarten, I still knew this year would be filled with many “new”s: she started a new school, venturing away from the preschool where she was already well-known; which also means she made new friends, whom she embraced with her big heart and they she; new teachers, all of whom she seems to like, her classroom teacher the most!

In the last nine months, she’s become an even stronger reader, mastering even more sight words, gained more confidence as a reader, began to experiment with spelling, finished writing her own book, began formerly learning Spanish, learned how to skip count by 2s, 5s, and 10s, learned how to add numbers in her head, almost mastered shoe tying (gonna keep that on our summer checklist!), and grew by leaps and bounds in ways I never imagined!

I’m not sure what it is about Kindergarten in our present culture that invokes such sentimentality, but I will gladly testify to its strength.  We weep when our babies start Kindergarten, whether they do so as the king of the hill in a preschool setting, or as the littlest guys in an elementary school setting.  We weep because Kindergarten signifies that our little babies are no longer our little babies, and that, with each step they take towards their school, they take a further step away from our safe and comfortable arms, away from our safe world where we can control and protect them.  They take a step further towards leaving the proverbial nest.

Saying Goodbye to Kindergarten

My little girl can now be considered what she calls a “grader”.  Wow.  How on earth do I have a first grader on my hands?!  That I’m not sure, but I do know that, as I watch my little girl grow up -a girl with a heart bigger than any ocean- I’ll mourn the loss of each previous stage, watching small slivers of her childhood slip away, while also celebrating the little person she is becoming.  And she is quite a cool little person.

So, here’s to a wonderful year in Kindergarten, to all the excitement this summer may hold, and to the wonders that await us next year in first grade.

Saying Goodbye to Kindergarten

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A Message from My Daughter

A-Message-From-My-Daughter_profile.jpg
Kindergarten Readiness

Kindergarten Readiness

Starting Kindergarten

Starting Kindergarten

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Making the Most of Virgin Mobile Custom Plans

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Sprint. I received a device to facilitate my review.  All opinions and bad puns, however, are all my own.

I am frequently asked about the best phone plans out there.  And, to be perfectly honest, my husband works for a major phone company, so I don’t actively seek out this knowledge for my personal use.  Tiffany shared information with y’all about a mobile plan a while back Walmart was offering.  However, I was recently invited to an event with other local bloggers to learn more about Virgin Mobile’s Custom Plans, and was rather impressed by it all. [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Stick Figures, Hair Clips, & a Message From My Daughter

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A-Message-From-My-Daughter_banner

The other day, I took my daughter to the gym with me.  Not for any super-compelling reason, other than convenience and lack of child care. My daughter is five, going on fifteen, and isn’t interested in playing with the “little guys” in the kids zone, where her 2-year-old brother goes.  So, got the green light from my instructor ahead of time to let her come with me to one particular class I take, Les Mills Body Combat.

What happened in the 48 hours during and then following that class, and the lessons *I* would learn continue to surprise me, even as I type this out.

I prepared her for the class, letting her know that it would be similar to the gym class she got to try out at UFC Perimeter Gym, but with grown ups.  I assured her she was welcome to join in with us, and that it was ok if she didn’t know all the moves.  None of us did, really.  But I also comforted her with the iPad (don’t judge me!), a pad of paper, and her markers.  On the drive over there, I tried pumping her up, getting her excited about doing “mommy’s class”, without trying to push her too far.  She seemed on board.

However, once we got in the room, and other people started coming in, her shyness kicked in, and she only wanted to set up camp and draw and play on the iPad.  Fine.  Mommy needed to workout, so I went about my ways, while keeping an eye on her.  She occasionally came over to me, to ask random questions, really just needing reassurance that I hadn’t forgotten she was there, and giving her attention.  I came over to her in between each track, grabbing a sip of water, planting a kiss on her sweet little noggin, and showing interest in whatever she was working on at the moment.  I continued to lightly encourage her to get up and try the moves, if she wanted.

Long story short, she hopped up a handful of times to try to participate.  The moves were complicated, and intimidating at any age.  But she tried.  She ran a lap with us, and the instructor gave her a high-five as she passed, just as she did for everyone else in the class.  She ran in place, holding my hand.  She attempted to do lunges and other complex leg moves.  My heart grew full watching her.

She was doing what her mommy was doing.  She was imitating me.  I was her role model.

During and then after class, she showed me two pictures she drew.  Both were stick figures of me kicking and punching, like I did in class.

A-Message-From-My-Daughter_Stick-Figures

She was watching me, her mother, work hard.  She was watching me, her mother, keep going, even if I wasn’t perfect.  She was watching me, her mother, do something to improve my health and fitness.  She was watching me, her mother, and taking notes.  She was watching me, her mother.  Period.

The following evening, which happened to be July 4th, I gave the kids a bath, put them in their PJs, and we whisked them out to see the local fireworks.  They’re kids, and they need to make memories.  After she got her PJs on, she insisted on taking out my hair clip and using it in hers.  I instead offered her a smaller one that would fit better in her hair.

A-Message-From-My-Daughter_Hair-Clip.jpg

She wanted her hair clipped up in the same manner I had been doing this summer.

She was watching me, her mother.  Again.

After securing her hair in a smaller clip, she held her head up, chest out proud and said “now we’re twins, mommy.  HAIR TWINS!”

That’s when the emotions began to overwhelm me.  I am my daughter’s role model.  I am my daughter’s example of what a mother is, what a woman is, what a girl is.

I.  Am.  Her.  Example.

I honestly just assumed, since she is such a daddy’s girl, and seemingly only has eyes for her sweet daddy, that she wasn’t really paying much attention to me.  That she was more apt to imitate him, not me.  Boy was I wrong – this couldn’t be further from the truth.  I’m getting a message from my daughter, loud and clear: daddy may be her prince and hero and ideal of a perfect man in her eyes, as he should be.  But, just as I viewed my own mother through childhood’s eyes, I am her image of beautiful.  I am her image of all-knowing.  (Yes, she’s told me she thought mommies are supposed to know everything about everything.)  I am her image of perfection, period.  She doesn’t see my flaws as flaws, but just part of my perfect-in-her-eyes package.

A-Message-From-My-Daughter_profile.jpg

It is up to me to show her what’s important.  Our mantra for several months now has been “pretty isn’t important“.  But those words mean nothing if my actions and my example don’t mesh with that mantra.  I have this amazing, bring-me-to-my-knees humbling privilege of teaching this smart little girl to love herself, to love herself enough to take care of herself.

It’s my job to BE the good example.  To live my life in an exemplary manner.  My words need to match my manners.  So while I serve my children milk and water, while I sip on (WAAAAY) too much soda or sweet tea, she is seeing my actions.  Although she’s not interested in drinking either, she’s taken a sip here and there, almost as if she wants to like them, because she sees her mother drinking them.  Or worse, when I serve my children a balanced dinner, yet sit down with nothing in front of me -or with some quick crap I grabbed from the freezer- she is watching me.

By the same token, she also sees me with a stack full of books at my bedside table.  She sees me reading frequently, and sees the spark in my eyes when I do so.  She sees me get up in the morning, and put on my workout clothes.  She sees me scrutinize and compare at the grocery store, coupons in hand.  She sees my husband and I discuss our meals if we go out, searching for good coupons or Scoutmob deals.  She sees her parents say prayers before meals, attend Mass every week, and putting our strength and trust in God.

My daughter needs to see me mess up, and watch how I keep trying, how I don’t just quit.  My daughter needs to see me defend myself, and not get pushed down and cower in times of adversity.  My daughter needs to see me handle adversity with strength and grace, with poise and self-assurance – even if I’m secretly cowering in my proverbial boots.

She has asked already if she can come to class with me again.  I will make certain she can do so at least a few more times before school starts back.  I will hold my head up high, knowing my example during class is shaping a little girls’ mind, a little girl’s schema for persistence, hard work, and self-confidence.  And perhaps I will even set us up with matching hair clips.

You may also like:

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Starting Kindergarten

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Chalk Preschool – FREE Online Curriculum

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



This is a sponsored campaign with Mums the Word Network and Chalk Preschool . However, all opinions are my very own.

Chalk Preschool collage

Now that school is out for the summer, I am constantly searching for ways to keep my kids actively entertained.  While we want to be outside as much as possible, we also need to take frequent breaks from the sun!  (Remember, I have two fair-skinned gingers!)  Since I want to maintain my rising daughter’s budding reading skills before she heads to Kindergarten in the fall, and DON’T want her to park her brain, I’m tapping in to FREE resources I/she can utilize at home.

Enter: Chalk Preschool

It’s super-easy: sign up for a FREE account here for each child.  Each day you have new lessons that are in video format and also printables that go with it. The lessons are simple and easy but are fun for kids too. Plus, did I mention, everything is FREE!

The premise behind Chalk Preschool comes from their brick and mortar schools in Chicago and in Los Angeles.

My 5-year-old daughter and I set up an account for her the first week after school was out, and she started watching the videos.  What I liked about the program is it completely reinforces concepts she learned last school year in pre-K, and does so in a fun manner.Chalk Preschool Orange Room Collage

I also created an account for my 2-year-old son, who LOVES “pwaying on da iPad”, so introducing him to the fun and games available to him through Chalk Preschool was an easy step.  And to sneak in learning was a bonus!  😉

For both kids, I was even able to differentiate the printable activity, which was the letter “f” this time.  For my 5-year-old daughter, who is a reader, we talked about words that begin with the /f/ sound.  Had I not just donated a handful of magazines, I would’ve had her cut and paste pictures representing the /f/ sound.  *sigh*

For my 2-year-old son, who can recognize letters and numbers, I had him identify the letter presented to him, trace it with his cute, pudgy fingers, then talked about how the letter “f” makes the /f/ sound.  He got to basically hear that when I discussed it with my daughter.  He got to color the letter “f”, and we followed up with finding frogs, fingers, and a football around the house.

Here’s what you’ll find with Chalk Preschool:

  • Preschool lessons align with Early Childhood Learning Standards
  • Hands-on activities
  • Integration of cooking, geography, and weather
  • Play-Based teaching methods
  • Both indoor and outdoor activities
  • References using real life visuals
  • Optional activities that continue the learning beyond the computer

As I’ve mentioned before, this is a great way to supplement what you’re already doing.  You cannot rely solely on one program or app or online program to teach your child, but Chalk Preschool is a great way to reinforce what you’re already doing, and to help maintain skills while on long-term school breaks.

To stay abreast on the lastest with Chalk Preschool, go “like” Chalk Preschool on Facebook – also check out the Chalk Preschool Blog, and the Chalk Preschool News Room.  And if you’re not sure where to start with the Chalk Preschool program with your child, check out the Parent Portal to help get you started.

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Atlanta's Frugal Mom is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. In other words, if you click through to Amazon from some of the books or products I recommend and make a purchase, I get a small percentage in exchange for your purchase. It's a small way you can support AFM.