Monday, August 13, 2012

Our Frugal Summer

Early in the Summer I was having a bit of a pity party for myself.  Money is tight and we couldn't give our kids a lavish family vacation (or any vacation at all).  There weren't going to be trips to the amusement or water parks.  We committed to the bare necessities and I worried that my kids would resent me for it.  We were just weeks into summer and already they were singing the "I'm bored!" blues.

They didn't want to be home...when their friends had swimming pools.  I felt like I was always filling their requests with "No" or "Not right now...", and it all didn't seem fair.

I was frustrated.  Frustrated with all that I couldn't give them, and with all that they were asking for.  Wasn't I raising my children to be grateful?  Weren't we striving for a simple life full of love and laughter and not just things?

How had we lost our focus?  We were not being thankful for all we had and allowed things to control our happiness.

I had had enough.  I didn't like who I was becoming and if I wanted my children to change, it had to start with me first.

I started a Summer Bucket List:

I filled it with simple things we loved that we could enjoy as a family for free or almost free.

Waiting for the fireworks to start
Eating watermelon outside

Taking a walk on the beach

Backyard campfires and lots of S'mores!

Blueberry picking

Growing sunflowers

Our Summer was full.  As we learned to enjoy the simple things again, we became even more creative.  We made so many beautiful memories.

One hot afternoon we set up a $5 slip and slide and borrowed a kiddie pool.  When the kids were exhausted from playing we handed out ice cream sandwiches and ate them under my willow tree.  I overheard my daughter exclaim, "A water park in our yard and ice cream?!  This is the best day ever!"

I looked at my husband and smiled.  Our water park looked rather pathetic, but to our children it was glorious.

As our summer is winding down we crossed one more memory off our list.  We set up our tent in the front yard and slept under the stars.

I laid there in the stillness of midnight, listening to the crickets and even catching a shooting star.  I looked over at my sleeping family, all 8 of us crammed in a tent on our lawn.  I just had to smile.  It was ridiculous, but it was beautiful.

It was in this moment that I remembered how blessed we truly are.  I thought of all the families who live like this everyday because it is all they have, and the families who just wish for a roof over their heads. 

This morning I am tired and sore from sleeping on a lawn that is more dirt than grass.  But I think it was one of the best night's sleeps I have ever had.  My body may not feel refreshed, but my heart is renewed.

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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  1. This is a wonderful story! We all should be grateful for what we have and can do...not focus on what we don't have and can't do. Thank you! I needed this today.

  2. This is wonderful, Crystal. It is amazing what fun you can have with a little creativity.

    This reminds me of an article I read years ago about encouraging our kids to "make their own fun". It encouraged parents to keep things on hand (like basic craft supplies, etc.) and allow them time and freedom to create. It also talked about doing things like things like this with them. It really stuck with me. :) Like you said, I think that this mentality helps our kids be more content and thankful.


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