Penny Pinching Peach


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Camping With the Cuties

Want a relatively cheap way to spend a weekend with the family? How about trying camping?

With the weather warming up, this is the perfect time to plan a fishing and camping trip! With a little planning, you can have oodles of fun without breaking the bank!

First, where are you going to sleep? Do you have an RV or tent already?

Okay, then are you going to stay on private land, at a campsite or what? Make sure you have any necessary permission or reservations to avoid a last minute scramble to find somewhere to park your sleeping bags! If you don’t have an RV or tent and don’t plan to acquire one, see if you know anyone who will let you borrow one or if there is an inexpensive campsite with cabins for rent (like a National Forest). Wherever you choose to stay, don’t forget to make sure you have comfortable sleeping gear, like sleeping bags or blow up mattresses.

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Next, what are you going to eat? Think about EVERY meal and snacks!

(If you have small children and don’t pack snacks, I promise that you will regret it.) We often pack hot dogs and marshmallows to roast over the campfire, which covers one meal and a fun dessert of s’mores for an easy prep. Lunch can be something simple like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, premade for zero prep other than taking them out of the cooler to gobble up. Also, make sure you have whatever it takes to prepare the meal when you get there, whether it be a portable grill like this fairly inexpensive one my husband uses constantly, even at home Backyard Grill 278-sq in Portable Charcoal Grill, Black, matches or a butter knife. It’s not going to magically appear in the wilderness! 😉

Don’t forget to grab the gear for whatever activities you have planned

Fishing poles and all the accessories, if that’s your chosen pastime (and could provide a meal, but have a back-up plan in case the fish don’t wanna come to dinner! 😉 ). Comfy shoes and water bottles for hiking. Binoculars & camera for bird watching. Buckets and containers to store berries in for berry picking. Reusable bags if you decide to scavenge for hidden treasures like arrowheads and interesting rocks. There are sooooo many fun things you can do outdoors that cost very little! Whatever you are doing, don’t forget the sunscreen, sunglasses and bug spray! Trust me, I’m talking from my own painful & itchy experiences here, y’all!! 🙂

If you are camping with small children, make sure to bring their “comfort objects”.

Add them into the headcount while packing up to go home, whether it’s the teddy bear who rides with them in their car seat or the rocket ship they must have tucked in next to them to be able to rest at night or any special blankets. I love to bring these cute flashlight pals Flashlight Friends – The Huggable Loveable Child’s Flash Light and/or dream lights Pillow Pets Dream Lites – Pink Butterfly 11″ with us, because it helps make up for the absence of a regular night light with my scared-of-the-dark little ones. Both of my kids have their own, and they love them for home and especially for travel. My son has the blue camo dog in the dream lites and the dinosaur flash light pal, while my daughter has the butterfly dream lite and the unicorn flash light friend. They are AWESOME!!

What is your best tip for camping with kids?

Camping can be fun, just make sure you are well prepared with everything possible that your little ones may need or be accustomed to. It will make a huge difference in the outcome of your trip if you go prepared instead of flying by the seat of your pants. Need tips for traveling with little ones? Head on over to Traveling With Little Riders! Looking for gift ideas for your outdoorsman? You need THIS LIST!!!

For more great summer kids posts, check out:

Simply Rachel
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Traveling with Little Riders

A couple of years ago with one of my little riders.

A couple of years ago with one of my little riders.

Planning to travel this summer? Have small children? One of your big concerns is probably how to keep the little rascals entertained and happy on the trip to where you’re headed, right? Here are some of my tried and true tips for ways to keep toddlers and preschoolers happy while traveling!

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Snacks!!! Any parents know to bring something for the kids to munch on, but here are my tips to make this a success. Pack familiar favorites, as well as occasional treats and things they will like, but don’t really get at home. A treat they enjoy plain made in a cool shape can be exciting at this age! Make sure they are safe to consume while strapped in a car seat, and not overly messy. For children who are past the major choking stage, some good options are homemade cookies (like my super yummy healthy cookies or these less healthy easy cake mix cookies), raisins and other dried fruits, real fruit dye free gummies, goldfish crackers, cereals or mixes made with cereals, sandwich crackers, pretzels, grapes, bananas, apple slices, string cheese, etc. Some of these are assuming you are hauling a cooler, but that’s almost a given on a long trip with munchkins, isn’t it? 😉

Coloring books. If your children are a little older, make sure to get them some that also have appealing games in them, like mazes, color-by-number, dot-to-dot and things like that to keep them more mentally stimulated for longer.

Stickers. Encourage them to get creative. You could let them decorate their own activity boxes, notebooks, memory books from the trip or bookmarks & cards for family members using their stickers, like this set of 1,000 animal stickers for cheap or other varieties. You can also give them a little notepad and have them put a sticker in it every time they find a particular object you agree on them finding and counting, whether it be a school bus, fire truck, the same color of car that you are riding in, churches, fields of cows, seagulls….whatever would catch their interest and be something they would find plenty of without it being too terribly easy.

Electronic games. I rarely allow my children to play with their electronic games at home, so when they get them during a waiting time (like a road trip, when I need to make important phone calls quietly at home or while waiting at doctor’s office), it will hold their attention for a very long time.

I Spy. This game can carry on quite awhile, just adjust it to your child’s capabilities. You can use this to hone their skills in different areas. Some examples? I spy something big/little/green/orange/soft/wet/tall/round/square/sharp/etc. It doesn’t just have to be colors! 🙂
DVD player. In a modern age, I’m sure most parents think to bring a way for their kids to watch movies on trips, but it bears mentioning. This portable DVD player is a #1 best seller!

Children’s Songs. This one could drive a parent absolutely batty, but there are times when listening to 100 children’s songs and pantomiming along is the preferred torture. When your other options are whining, crying or bickering…who can judge you belting out “Twinkle Twinkle” complete with theatric gestures? 😉

Books. This may seem like a no brainer, but it has to be included. What I do to make books even more engaging for them to look through is to give them a “mission” to accomplish. “See if you can find the purple pony hiding in this book!” or for those who can count “Count how many fish are swimming through this book!” or any other searches you can send them through the pages for. This really appeals to my goal oriented munchkins, and can make half a dozen books last as long as 20 books might without the extra missions. This traveling book is chock full of travel activities!

What are some of your favorite tricks for entertaining little ones on the road? Need some money saving tips? Try my Cheap Travel Tips!


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Cheap Travel Tips

 

Cheap Travel Tips

Cheap travel Tips

With summer dawning, alot of folks are hitting the road for family vacation or visiting relatives. Since most of us are on a budget, I thought I’d share a few of the little things I do to save big when we travel.

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We like our caffeine when we’re on road trips, so instead of stopping everywhere for drinks, I make a big jug of sweet tea (Lipton, of course!)ahead of time and put it in mason jars in the cooler. It’s extremely inexpensive, and easily poured from jar to travel cup. We also pack jars of milk and juice for the kiddos, as well as water if we’re going somewhere with questionable water quality.

Anyone who travels with kids knows that plenty of snacks are a must. I make things like cookies (Try my recipe for Healthy Oatmeal Cookies here. They travel well for a few days.) and snack mixes, plus take things like boxes of raisins, apples and bananas. I also pack some emergency treats like lollipops for when the little stinkers start howling about being stuck in the car. Since they are a treat to our kids, they work well at buying some peaceful time. We still sometimes stop for an icecream cone or some local delicacy as a treat, but we aren’t tempted to grab convenience treats for inflated prices at bathroom stops when we already have plenty of yummy goodies to munch on.

If you can, pack some sandwiches, canned goods, and breakfast items to eat for breakfasts and lunches while traveling. Also, gather up coupons for various restaurants you may stop at on your travels. Often, you can sign up for birthday clubs (see my post here: Happy Birthday Freebies) and get some really high value coupons for various restaurants just for signing up, even before your birthday comes around.

If you have pets, and know someone trustworthy nearby who also has pets, try to work out a pet sitting trade with them. You watch their pets while they travel, and they watch your pets while you travel. This way, neither of you has to actually spend any money on pet care. Just make sure to walk them through how to care for your furbabies, leave a list of the basic necessities of their care, and leave everything in plain sight that they will need to taking care of your critters.

Always look for the coupon books that are available in any tourist area, and search online for savings ahead of time at any attractions you intend to visit. You can rack up some serious savings on tickets and shopping this way.

I think most of us know to check the coupon books or make reservations online at discounted prices to save on hotels,and I’m really trying to focus on the more obscure little ways to save, but it must be mentioned. Also, if you are a government employee, in public safety or any career like that, inquire into what discounts are available to you. You may be surprised at how much of a savings some hotels will give you for those careers.

What are your favorite little tricks for saving big while traveling? Traveling with little ones, check out my post Traveling With Little Riders!