I really hope you guys have enjoyed the summertime bucket list blogs so far!
Today is another totally free post! I have made a point time and time again to advise you to make. Your bucket list according to what your kids are interested in! It makes it so much more for them and for you as well! So let’s get started.
_MOM TIP #1 Get a library card
Most of you with school aged kids have seen the papers that come home where you are able to log your reading time each day. In our house we aim to read at least 20 minutes a day. Getting a library card has been one of the best things I have done! It has saved us so much money because of how many books we go through. Whether it be Elijah reading books to me or the other way around. We read simple stories we get from the library, we read chapter books, and we read the bible. It really doesn’t matter to me what we read as long as we are spending some time with each other each day! It is a way for us to connect and have fun! During the school year Elijah earned SO many rewards for all of his reading and most of them came in the form of food. Whataburger coupons, Pizza Hut, Papa Murphy’s, and Braum’s to name a few! We collected them up and use them when the budget was tight! So on this day we used the free ice cream from Braum’s coupons to get a little sweet treat!
_MOM TIP #2 Find free museums
Elijah has always loved anything to do with the military. Ever since he was a toddler he has been infatuated with the little plastic army men and setting them up for battles. I truly think it began because his biological dad was in the National Guard Reserves, so naturally he thought it was really cool. I have never discouraged his interest in this but more so encouraged it.
To serve in the military is a huge responsibility and a great honor. If you have served, or are serving currently, thank you.
He still finds great joy in all things military so I thought what better place to take him to than to The 45th Infantry Museum.
Museums are a fabulous way to spend your day, which is why I said to choose things that interest your child. If your kid doesn’t enjoy things about the military I wouldn’t take them to a museum that offers nothing but military artifacts! You will get worn out and frustrated super fast and the point is to have fun not to do something just to say you did it.
We walked in and signed our names in the book and asked the man at the front which way we should start. We walked through and I have to say for someone who has grown up interested in history it was very neat. I am the kind of person who gets distracted easily but the information and all of the artillery and guns were fascinating to look at.
It was interesting to read about the different wars.
To know that the things we were looking at were legitimately used by men who served was very cool. We took our time and Elijah had fun telling me what guns were AK-47’s and which ones were used for certain battles. His knowledge about these things blew me away! He has my dad to thank for that.
_MOM TIP #3 Avoid unnecessary expenses
We finished up inside in the gift store which is the only place we spent money. I bought Elijah another collection of plastic army men for $10 which isn’t a bad price at all. This was an optional expense so you could easily avoid the gift shop if you need to! Outside they have big tanks and various forms of transportation. By the time we got out there we had just enough time to walk around and look at them before it started to rain on us! Overall it was a short afternoon and we both really enjoyed our time here!
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We are trying to keep our kids entertained this summer without breaking the bank, right?
In my last Summer Bucket List post we talked about how boredom kicks in way too fast once we hit summer break and all we really want Is our kids to be thankful for their break and have fun! When you have a tight budget this can be something that seems nearly impossible, so in this specific blog I am going to talk about one of the cheaper days we had so far.
One of the best things ever I remember as a kid
was doing things with my friends. I loved that my parents were really involved in my life and activities and always welcomed having our friends over to the house! They were so willing to pick them up and take them with us to do whatever it was we were doing. I remember countless times when my parents would LOAD up the suburban with our friends to take them to the lake or pick them up for church events. I remember late night taco bell runs when I was still unable to drive. Most of my memories are very simple but I hold them so close to my heart. I know that growing up with parents who were willing to lose some sleep and have a messy house made a tremendous impact on me and how I want my kids to grow up. With that in mind, I like to try and include Elijah’s friends in our activities!
_MOM TIP #1
Choose a friend who wont drive you to insanity! Don’t hate me because I speak the truth. Some kids just don’t play well together!
We decided to bring along Landen, who you will see in a lot of these posts because Elijah and him get along so well! We wanted to do three things on this day. Our itinerary looked something like this: Go to the park, have a picnic, and get snow-cones! You guys, local parks get overlooked so often! We think kids need some super extravagant play place when in all reality most kids can have fun anywhere, especially if you bring along a friend they enjoy spending time with!
_MOM TIP #2
Go buy an outdoor blanket from Wal Mart! The brand is mainstays and it cost around $10. It is a padded quilt that folds up and zips so it’s easy to carry and doesn’t take up a ton of room.
We live in Midwest City so we decided to go to Joe B. Barnes. Regional Park on Reno and Douglas. I love this park because there are plenty of things for them to do and I can sit back and relax because it’s small enough to see them as they run around. They also have a dog park on one side so you can bring your doggies along as well! The walking trail really isn’t too bad either, but today was more about the kids! So first we set out our picnic under some shade and ate it because two 8 year old boys are ALWAYS hungry! Our lunch was simple too! Sandwiches, apple sauce packs, fruit, gatorades, and some bubble gum! No need to go buy McDonald’s or pizza when you’ve already spent money on groceries!
_MOM TIP #3
Take advantage of the fact that your child has a friend with them and take something with you FOR YOU to enjoy while they play. I took a book! But you could color or listen to an audiobook or journal. Or maybe you just want to sit quietly. But PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE! Unless it’s for pictures of course!
After lunch they ran off with the soccer ball and I got to sit in the shade and read. They played for a couple of hours and decided they were in DESPERATE need for a snow-cone. So that’s what we ended with! This park has a snow-cone stand available right near the play area so that’s super convenient. I sent them up with their money and they joined me back on the blanket to enjoy it and cool off. The boys were hot, sweaty, and stinky when we left but we had a virtually free (besides the $5 on snow-cones) fun day! And even I got to relax!
Just remember as you’re planning your bucket list the most important thing is making memories. It doesn’t have to be expensive or something extremely out of the ordinary. Most kids will just appreciate it that you want to spend time doing things that they enjoy!
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I was talking to my son the other night while he was taking a shower and he was telling me how I am the best mom he has ever had.
He went on to start talking to me about his dad and how much he loves him. If you know anything about our life you know that Elijah’s dad is not his biological dad. I usually don’t even have to clarify who he is talking about anymore when he says dad because he rarely talks about his biological one anymore. He went on to tell me “I would take a bullet for my dad.”
This was the same evening I sat in Elijah’s bedroom crying my eyes out watching the Budweiser commercial about stepdad’s who stepped up. If you haven’t seen it, youtube it and get ready to cry. I sat there at his window looking out watching my amazing husband spend his evening playing baseball with Elijah and felt so overwhelmed with thankfulness that God had given him to us. There was a man pouring his time and love and knowledge into my precious boy, our precious boy, all out of his own choice to do so. Zach didn’t have to choose us. He didn’t have to choose to step into a dad role and what was at the time a very complicated situation. But he did.
When Elijah was telling me how much he loved me and his dad, I suggested he let Zach know how much he loved him. When he got out of the shower he went into the living room and I heard him say, “Dad, I love you so much. You are the best dad I have ever had.” It was so sweet and I of course was just overwhelmed again.
It wasn’t until two days later
on the car ride home when Elijah said, “Mom, Can I tell you something?”. I said, “Of course, what is it?”. He continued on to tell me that it was very easy for him to tell me I am the best mom he has ever had because I am his only mom but it was a lot harder to tell dad that because he has two dads and he loves both of them. Wow. I had not even THOUGHT for a second about my simple request to let his dad know how much he loved him would make him even consider his biological dad. I immediately let him know that is completely normal and it’s great for him to love both dads. I apologized for not thinking about that before suggesting he convey that sweet message to Zach and how thankful I was that he shared it with me.
If that’s not enough to get your heart pounding…
he came in to me last night after we had celebrated Zach for Father’s Day and said, “Mom, is it okay if I tell dad what I told you the other day about it being hard for me to love two dad’s?”. I of course let him know that was okay. He walked his cute little rear back to our bedroom and I heard him explain it to Zach who answered in the best way he ever could have.
“Buddy, I understand how that would be hard. And it’s okay. It’s okay for you to love both of us. Just know that I love you so much and I am so thankful for you because you are the whole reason I even get to be a dad at all. Thank you for letting me be your dad.”
Cue the waterworks.
Our story of redemption is not over. GOD is moving in our family. This Father’s Day is Zach’s first official one to celebrate and I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to call the father of my children. Everything he does is for GOD first, and then for us. I respect this man beyond what my words could ever write or speak.
Pray for Zach. Pray for. Elijah. Pray for the baby on the way. Pray for my dad, and your own dad. If you aren’t married pray for the man who will father your children and lead your family. And also, pray for Elijah’s biological dad and all of the dad’s around the world. Pray for everyone who have lost their dad. Pray for the broken father/child relationships. We serve a good GOD who will work everything for His good.
Happy Father’s Day!
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The F Word.
It starts with an F and it’s four letters but it isn’t the one you’re thinking of.
We all have it. Some of our fears are legitimate and some are not. We have fear of spiders, sharks, heights, drowning, public speaking, rejection, the list goes on and on. Fear shows up in so many ways in our lives. But today we are talking about the hidden fears.
While fasting with my church this January I set my expectations on several things, one being my physical healing and two being that God would speak to me about which direction he would have Zach and I go in our pursuit to have more children. Would that come through my healing and my body beginning to function the way it should? Or did God want us to adopt, or maybe foster? These were a few things I was expecting Him to direct my path on.
God spoke and I didn’t like what He had to say. He allowed me to realize that I have a deeply rooted fear when it comes to physical healing and having a child. I never even KNEW I had any fear related to these things. While praying one day wondering “Why have you not healed me? I know you want to answer me, why am I not getting an answer from you?”. He made me see that I have fear of asking Him and believing because when we ask for the desires of our hearts we then set an expectation and when you have an expectation it sets you up to be let down.
I have been let down many times in my life. I was let down when my sons father didn’t follow through. I was let down when I believed I had been physically healed and haven’t seen it manifested. I’ve been let down when I gave so much to people to have them steal from me. I’ve let myself down. These let downs have two things in common: Humans & expectations.
In my heart something tells me believe will only bring disappointment.
I believe this because I set my expectations on humans rather than who God is. My fear is ridiculous. If I would trust that God is who He says He is and not set my expectations on the outcome but instead have a desire to know Him above what He can give me… I have no reason to fear. God won’t keep himself from me. He won’t keep himself from you.
I had to continue my fast. I had to learn to “Count it all as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him…” (Philippians 3) And guys this is HARD. To tell yourself, “I know how badly you desire to be healed and to have a baby, but that is all garbage compared to knowing God.” It sounds crazy- but I had to do it. I believe that through the fast God has gave me the desire to have healing and have a baby- He has it for me. God will deliver on His promises, He has too. But the joy that comes from his blessings are nothing compared to what He is going to give me in knowing Him more.
As hard as it is and as much as I have to force myself to say it… this has to be the cry of my heart:
I believe your promises are for me. I place my trust not in man, or in the outcome of my prayers. I know your word does not return void and I will see the goodness of the Lord. But more than that, You are my true blessing. You are the only thing that fulfills. I lay down my desires to you and say they are nothing compared to knowing you. Help my heart to believe.
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