Monday, June 21, 2010

Frugal Family Fun

We had such a fun weekend.  And it was cheap!  That's my favorite combination.

I love small towns and the community events they put on.  This weekend was our town's "Dairy Days" as a nod to our farming history.  The whole town came out for the parade, the carnival, and all the other activities that went on all weekend. 

Now sometimes these types of events can get costly if you don't plan right.  But we were careful not to let that happen.  So Friday night we quickly scarfed down dinner before we had to leave to line up for the parade.  And Saturday we packed a picnic lunch for the park.  But we were still completely spoiled and stuffed from all the free treats like chocolate milk, string cheese and milkshake tasting.  Gotta love a dairy-themed event!

For free entertainment there was of course the parade, the playground at the park where the festivities were, watching a Mascot dance-off competition, and even a bike race for the kids on the speedway.  Plus some of the booths had free craft activities for kids, or wheels to spin for prizes.  Emma actually spun a wheel at a Tae Kwon Do booth and won 4 lessons plus a uniform for $5.  That was our big splurge of the day, but we are super excited to give Emma a taste of TKD to see how we all like it.  It wasn't something that was previously on our activity-radar, so we'll see how it goes!

Here is our church's float.  We were promoting our superhero-themed Vacation Bible eXperience which is next week.

Emma and her buddy got to ride on the back.

Isaiah thoroughly enjoyed his free chocolate milk and ice cream.

Noah, on the other hand, screamed and cried after tasting his ice cream, because it was too cold.  Hmm, maybe I should break down and buy ice cream ONCE in a while.

I thought this was interesting.  When the Clydesdale horses went across the railroad tracks, the crossing arm was triggered and came down.  I guess the metal in their shoes was enough to set off the sensors.  Did you know that could happen?  The same thing happened at the end when the street-sweepers went by.

Lining up for the bike race the next morning.

Rounding the first turn, keeping a nice tight line.

Emma, coming in for her finish!

Isaiah's big finish!

The finishers!

By the way, the free race also included medals for the kids, plus a "raffle" where every kid went home with a prize.  Oh, and while we were wandering the booths at the park we scored six tokens for free kid's meals at one of our favorite restaurants, plus four tokens for kid's drinks at a local coffee joint.  Not bad!

On a frugality-related topic, I wanted to share another tip.  This week our family will be heading to the water park for a day.  Emma did a read-a-thon at school where she earned a free day pass to the park, so we've been promising to take the whole family (thankfully the little boys are still free).  There are a lot of kids at local schools who earned the passes, and in a moment of brilliance last night I hopped on craigslist to see if anyone was getting rid of theirs for cheap.  Sure enough, I found someone selling two tickets for almost half-price.  And for our third ticket that we need, a sweet friend is allowing us to be her "plus one" on her season's pass for the day.  Sweet!

I love sharing these stories because for me it is encouraging to know that people can still live well without going broke.  I hope it is encouraging for you, too!

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