Thursday, March 01, 2012

budget-friendly activities for kids :: thrifty thursday


Did you love having an extra 24 hours yesterday? :D

I’d never thought of it as being “extra” until I read this post by Patti {I met her at the MomHeart conference two weeks ago!}.

We only get one more day every four years, and by the time the next one rolls around my little ones will be 12, 10, 8, and 6! Not so little then, huh? Wow! :(

After we did our schoolwork, I was excited to see what fun things we could do with the free hours we were given. We didn’t want to spend much money with all the eating out we’ve been doing lately with the trips, so our challenge was to find a few budget-friendly activities the kids would love.

1. “eating out” at the specialty grocery store

We decided we’d visit our local version of Central Market/Trader Joe’s for a little shopping and eating! The kids actually cheered when we told them. Heehee. It was one of those little moments of happiness for me. They don’t normally cheer about going to the store. ;)

Instead of spending money to eat out at a restaurant, we walked around the store and picked out our lunch and a few other special food items in the grocery section.

We paid a little more for meat, fresh bakery bread, and tortilla chips {and chocolate milk!} than we would have at Wal-Mart, but it was worth it when we got to enjoy eating our meal out on their beautiful breezy patio!


Adding it all up, we bought an all-you-can-eat meal for five big eaters for less than $10, and still brought home at least 1/3 of it!


And I had sushi made just for me and a salad too! So, so good! I’ve become a sushi addict! ahhh…my mouth is watering as we speak…


2. enjoying the great outdoors {including business landscaping *wink*}

After enjoying our lunch outside, we headed to work with Rob for a little while…


Luckily his office has a stocked pond with fountains! :D The kids played outside the entire time we were there.

3. going for after-dinner desserts and games at Chuck E. Cheese

Oh, and did I tell you that Ava {2.5} is potty-trained! Hallelujah! {the angels are singing!}

It’s been a full week now- my first week without changing a diaper in almost 8.5 years.

It’s surreal. I still can’t believe it!

So we have a little “poopy party” for every child that goes three times without accidents. {That could go so wrong, couldn’t it? :) I’m afraid to search Pinterest for ideas for that one!}

We just go to Chuck E. Cheese’s for our party. ;) We had our party last night as part of our Leap Day fun.


I’m definitely not against spending more money for sweet little {awesome} occasions like that! :)

We like to go to Chuck E.’s for our birthday and poopy parties{!} after dinner and order a couple of dessert pizzas and drinks. Going after dinner on a weeknight not only saves us money, it pretty much means we have the place all to ourselves.

We love it, and the staff is always friendly and kind to us. {I actually kind of think they’re happy when we don’t buy a huge pizza and salad- that means less work for them too at that time of night.. :P}


The apple pizza and cinnamon sticks were $3 each:


{they were pretty good, but I’ve never met a streusel dessert I didn’t like, so take that recommendation with a grain of salt…}

The girls loved the roller coaster the most! My dad came along and helped the girls ride. Love him!


We all had a sweet “extra” day. We had fun, enjoyed our time together, and we didn’t even have to spend lots of money to enjoy going to special places!

I just love days like that, don’t you?

What do you like to do that’s fun for the kids but not too expensive? Leave me a comment with your idea! I’d love to compile a list for everyone to share!

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