Grandparents Day always lands on the Sunday after Labor Day. With summer winding down, it's time to start finding some summer-fall activities to do, and what better than to spend a day with your favorite grandma or grandpa. Grandparents can be the most wonderful people, so let your kids spend the day with them. Here are twelve fun things that we have done in the past.
Missoula, MT is a strange little town. It has a university that is falling apart under restrained budgets. It boasts a nasty winter lasting from October 31 to April 30. It has hot, dry summers that will make your hyperpigmentation fall off.
Missoula is a nice town. It has a beautiful river curving through it that you could easily spend all day floating down or making rock dams. There are two ice cream shops: Sweet Peaks and Big Dipper. Sweet Peaks is better every time. There is a lot of bars, expensive boutique shops, and hamburgers to be eaten, if you're into American pub food. In the past year, we've learned a thing or two about MIssoula, good and not-so-good. Hiking and the river are great. But the main problem with Missoula is that there isn't anywhere indoors to go in the winter or summer that entertains children.
But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the summer heat!Here are our favorite things to do in Missoula, MT in the summer:
We went to Seaside, Oregon this Spring and last Spring. Actually, we go every spring during Saint Patrick's Day. It's the best time to go because you get there right before Oregon Spring Break, which means that the beach is empty, but the fin is spectacular.
Seaside is a rainy, windy place. Since we don't have a car, we take Amtrak to get there. The tickets are only 50 bucks roundtrip and if you schedule it right, you can have two nights and three full days there! We take the early bus out, arriving at 11AM, and don't leave until 6PM on departure day.
It's brilliant. Why anybody would want to drive is beyond me. The world is full of options.
Some people get to Seaside and wonder what the heck there is to do there...and I get it. I really do. The first year that we took the bus to Seaside, I felt that way. We were soaked. We couldn't check into our hotel until 3PM and some things weren't quite open just yet.
And it was rainy. Rainy rainy rainy. Seaside gets that kind of rain that soaks everything. All misty. We had to figure it out. Here is what I figured out to do in Seaside (rain or shine)
Kids have birthdays every single year. Duh, right! And every year they seem to want more. And more. Even my well-behaved, frugal child seems to want more...this year she wanted a cat. Well, she didn't get one. She won't be getting one any time soon.
Because my child is an only child and we don't live near any family or know anybody in the new area, we didn't have a party this year. Actually, most years we don't have a "party" in the same sense that most people have children's parties...we tend to keep it in the family and go out-and-about for birthdays. We redeem free birthday rewards at Starbucks and Barnes & Noble. We go to the matinee flick and redeem our free popcorn. We hit up the bowling alley for $2 bowling for the hour. We go for hikes and open presents in the mornings.
What can I say, we're just not into parties...I take that back, I'm not into parties. I think my little one loves parties. She had one this year, but at grandmas's house. Grandma gave her a party. But grandma kept it real and kept it cheap...and you can too. Here are the things my mom did this year to celebrate the boo-boos party:
My mom put out large old white sheets in the garage and provided the kids with all sorts of tools to make a community masterpiece. They used tempura paint and went at it! This cost $5 at most and the kids had so much fun.
Cupcakes for Portion Control
Cupcakes are cost-effective and you can control kid meltdown by only having enough for the guests. It's simple. It's an understood notion that you only get one. Done.
I hate making individual drinks. Instead, I like to have drink mixes available for when guests (*cough* I mean Netflix all night because the kids went to sleep early) are coming over. Lately, several of my "friends" are raging about Negroni and seeing how this is Portland folk, it totally makes sense.
Oh don't you just love alcohol served in Mason Jars. Um, no actually I don't because the lip of a mason jar was not intended to be sippedfrom, thus resulting in your "beverage" to dribble down my favorite gray sweater. Thanks hipsters. Thanks for ruining the only 100% cotton sweater I could fund for under $20 at Forever 21.
Okay. So now that I am down whining, I would like to tell you that I keep a Negroni mix in the cabinet/freezer/fridge. And here is how you make it.
Birdwatching can be a really great way to spend time on a hike. To celebrate January 5th, which is National Bird Day, our family is taking a hike through the Rattlesnake Wilderness in Missoula, Montana. Some of the birds we are going to look for in this frigid weather are:
Birdwatching can be done in any city, town or national park. Not only that, it is great way to learn about the world and spend time together. And if you're a homeschooler like us, then it can fit right into your science lesson! Here are some tips on birdwatching:
Celebrate National Bird Day on January 5th or any day of the year.
As I walk down the sidewalk of my San Francisco neighborhood, nothing tells me that Halloween is around the corner more than the cute kids pre-dressed in their costumes. Halloween is a huge deal in the city, mostly in part due to the adult celebrations held throughout the city, but more importantly due to the array of children hunting the streets for chocolate goodness. This Halloween, check out one of these five neighborhoods to take your child trick-or-treating in San Francisco:
1. Turn the Trip into a Picnic
Bring a packed picnic lunch. Kids love to do this and so do adults. Rather than spend $40 on the shittiest food of all time (hot dogs, nachos, and fries...gross), plan a healthy and satisfying lunch. The Oregon Zoo allows you to bring in food, blankets, and supplies.
Consider making raw veggie kabobs, peanut butter sandwiches, and fresh blackberries from the side of the road to your picnic. Don't forget some Zevia soda or sparkling water to top it off.
And if you really must make a splurge, the little food window near the front of the Oregon Zoo sells slushies for $2-4 bucks! We only get them on special trips to the zoo and always AFTER we've done everything in the zoo. Anticipation keeps the trip on task.
2. Make a Scavenger Hunt
Who doesn't like to do a scavenger hunt? Make a scavenger hunt using facts about different animals in the zoo. Print that puppy out and bring it with you to the zoo. Sure, you can still all of the other animals at the zoo, but this makes the trip WAY more fun because it motivates you to really see these creatures as more than just caged creatures.
The Oregon Zoo is dedicated toward conservation. Remember, the zoo isn't a place to awe and gawk...it's a place to remember just how screwed up we humans have made the world...we're collecting and caging animals to "protect them" from ourselves.
Wow, sorry about that little rant. It just happened.
Some of the best animals to use in the scavenger hunt are: elephants, bald eagle, polar bears, mountain lions, crocodiles, and wild dogs. That'll get you into each section of the zoo.
3. Bring a Zoology Textbook
Total nerd move, I know. Bring a little animal identification book or, if you are like me, bring the whole gosh darn biology textbook. Why? Well the zoo is great place to turn pages into practical ideas. Read bits and pieces on living things, animal classification, and food chains.
Yes honey, the mountain lion would eat you. No, it isn't just a big kitty.
4. Make Animal Masks
We like to shout out our weird to the world. Going to the zoo in style is key and the only style that'll do is wearing an animal mask of the animal you want to support whilst on your furry trip to the caged world. Here are some mask ideas, compliments of Pinterest (AKA that place with pins of all the things I suck at...):
5. Go Every Second Tuesday
Wanna go to the zoo on the cheap? Go every second Tuesday and ride the MAX. Tickets are $4 and they take $1.50 if you rode the max. That equates to $2.50 for the MAX and $2.50 per ticket. Yup. Go early. Go on a rainy day. Go late. Go when everybody else is in school. Best. Time. Ever.
Other than splashing around, there are plenty of things to do on rainy days:
We went to San Francisco this weekend and while we usually don't make plans, I wanted to share some of the activities that we do while in San Francisco.
I believe that a lot of parents avoid travel to bid cities with children because they do not feel that the children can handle the trip, but I beg to differ. You can take the city by storm with your children, seeing adult and kid stuff.
Here is what you need to bring with you to survive the trip:
Five Places to Visit in San Francisco with Your Kids:
Not only do these regions offer a energy outlet for your children, but you can enjoy the scenery and entertainment of each region.
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