Fun and Frugal Family Outings

The time we spend with our families is priceless. But most popular family activities are quite expensive. Even a simple night at the movies can put a serious dent in the budget by the time you buy tickets, popcorn and drinks for everyone.

 

Fortunately, there are cheaper alternatives to expensive family outings. They provide the opportunity to have just as much fun at a fraction of the cost. Some are even free.

 

Movies and Music

 

Kids are often itching to see the newest releases at the movie theater. Doing so even once a month, however, can get pricey. One alternative in some areas is the drive-in. Admission is usually much cheaper than it is at a regular theater, and some let you bring your own drinks and snacks. Drive-ins usually show fairly new releases, so the kids can say they saw something that’s not out on video yet.

 

Some theaters offer reduced-price matinees during the day. Some even have free kid-oriented movies on weekend days. These options offer the theater experience without the outrageous cost.

 

Kids often want to go to concerts, but tickets to see the most famous bands are far from cheap. Check your local paper for free concerts in the park. Many areas have them during the warm months. Young children can enjoy the music without the huge crowds and deafening sound systems, and older children might gain an appreciation for less well-known bands.

 

The Great Outdoors

 

Nature offers a wealth of possibilities for family outings. Camping is a wonderful activity for families, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be as simple as pitching a tent in the back yard, or you can spring for a camper and rent space at a campground. Bring the grill and some hamburgers or hot dogs, or catch some fish to fry.

 

Parks are great for day trips. Those with playground equipment can keep youngsters entertained for hours on end. Hiking trails offer opportunities for exercise and exploration. Most parks have picnic facilities, so you can pack a lunch instead of eating out.

 

Other Ideas

 

Here are some more inexpensive family activities to consider:

 

* Play miniature golf. Admission is usually quite reasonable, and it provides the opportunity for relaxed yet engaging family competition.

 

* Visit a petting zoo. These small zoos do not have the exotic animals you see at larger ones, but kids can feed and pet the animals.

 

* Go to a museum. Some offer cheap or free admission, while others cost more. But the larger and more expensive ones often sell season passes, so if you live close by, you can visit numerous times for one low price.

 

* Go boating. If you’re fortunate enough to live near a body of water, boating is fun and relaxing. Canoe and paddleboat rentals are inexpensive, and when you’re done boating there are usually other cheap or free activities in the area.

 

* Attend events at a nearby college. These may include plays, concerts, dance recitals and movie showings. Prices are low, and student discounts usually apply to kids, too.

 

Having fun as a family doesn’t require a six-figure income. If you look hard enough, you can find lots of free or cheap activities that parents and kids can enjoy just about anywhere.

 

Family Camping Fun

While getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life is one of the reasons families choose to go camping, for kids – it’s the ultimate adventure.   If you are planning a family camping trip this summer, here are some tips that will ensure your vacation is both a safe and fun experience.

 

1. Pre-camping preparation.  If you have small children, you may want to select a tent that will accommodate all if you comfortably.  On the other hand, if you are camping with older children, it may be a good idea to purchase additional pup tents to give them some sense of independence.

 

Another great tip is to practice assembling the tents in your backyard so as to avoid wasting time at the camp site.

 

2. Selecting a campsite.  Depending upon whether you decide to “rough it” or choose a campsite that is close to amenities, you can research the many campsites online that offer comprehensive information on the area.  This will enable you to decide not only what equipment, clothing, and food you need to take, but the available hiking areas and points of interest as well.

 

Ensure that the campsite you select is an official campsite area.  Moreover, when researching camping sites it’s a good idea to look for those areas that are on the high ground.  Thus, if it rains, your tent and equipment will not become water logged.

 

3. Make a checklist.  This is very important to ensure you do not forget anything on your camping trip. Among the items on your checklist, some of the more important items you will need are:

 

* Cooking gear such as a frying pan, a few pots, a bucket, barbecue grill or stove, bags with a Ziploc, and cooking utensils.  In addition, food containers and canned goods are best.  It is also recommended that you prepare meals at home and package them in containers for the trip.  Also bring water, a can opener, hot water kettle and coffee pot, and a cooler with a block of ice.

 

* Packing the appropriate clothing is also essential.  Depending upon the location, wearing light layers is a good idea as well as packing some sweaters and jackets for the evening hours.  Extra socks, hats, and gloves may also be warranted. If you intend to engage in some hiking, proper hiking boots are necessary.

 

* Sleeping bags, first aid kit, flashlights, cell phone, garbage bags, toiletries, sunscreen, ointments, a map of the area, insect repellent, games for the kids, and rainwear.

 

For a complete checklist on what to bring on a camping trip, there are many camping websites that offer a myriad of suggestions.

 

4. When you reach the camp site, choose an area to set up the tents. Ensure there are no rocks or debris where the tent will be set up.  Most campgrounds will post warning signs or instructions regarding specific animals and vegetation.

 

5. When preparing a campfire, if appropriate, ensure that it is set up further away from the tents.  After you have roasted the marshmallows, sang songs, and told ghost stories; douse the fire before going to bed.

 

Finally, enjoy the entire camping experience.  Sleeping under the stars, communing with nature, and relishing the time spent with family will not only bring a family closer together, but the memories of this experience will last forever.

 

Is Your Lifestyle Causing You Pain?

Sometimes the way you live your life and the things you do can be causing you pain. And that actually is good news. It means that with some simple lifestyle changes, you can begin to live pain-free. If you have a job or hobby which is characterized with repetitive actions and movements or you live a sedentary lifestyle, there is a good chance that you experience pain on a frequent basis.

 

Stiff muscles and joints can come from inactivity, and those over 40 years of age are going to have to deal with chronic pain more frequently than younger folks. Let us take a look at several lifestyle choices that cause chronic pain, and what you can do you for relief.

 

A Finnish study tracked thousands of volunteers for 30 years. The findings were actually quite amazing, and pointed to a cause of pain which doctors had never linked before. Those male test subjects that took up smoking between the ages of 14 and 44 were much more likely to experience back pain.

 

Smoking in both men and women was found to be a direct cause of fibromyalgia and neck pain. Incredibly, that study, as well as an important piece of research done in Kentucky in the United States, showed that smoking was more directly linked to chronic pain than old age and obesity.

 

And while we all know that exercise is important for a healthy life, obese women in that study had dramatically higher rates of sciatica than those who were not overweight. Sciatica refers to chronic pain which can move from your lower back through your hips and buttocks, and even down your legs.

 

The last couple of decades, more and more workers have begun to telecommute. Working at home from your PC can cause back, shoulder and neck pain if your computer chair is uncomfortable or poorly suited for your body type. And of course, spending a lot of time on the computer, for work or fun, can lead to pain in your wrists and hands.

 

If you are frequently on your computer, make sure that your chair is comfortable and supportive. And stand at least 10 or 15 minutes for every hour of sitting. If you use a mouse to control your cursor, make sure that your forearm is in a posture which is parallel to the floor.

 

If you smoke, you probably know the many dangers this life-shortening activity is known to cause. You can now add chronic pain to the list. There are many methodologies which can help you stop smoking. And in all of the cases above, exercise and a proper diet can do wonders for alleviating pain, no matter what type of lifestyle you choose.

 

Free Weight Loss Tips: What You’ll Need To Get Started On Your Goal

When it comes to free weight loss tips, it’s not the “magic cures” that you should pay attention to, it’s the real, solid advice that will set you on a healthy track for the rest of your life. And when you’re starting a new weight loss goal, anything that’ll make things easier on yourself is worth trying. With that in mind, here are 5 steps you should take at the start of your weight loss journey.

 

1) Buy A Scale: This is the first of the free weight loss tips and it’s a very important one. You’ll need to keep a scale not only to keep track of your weight, but also scales for the kitchen to weigh out proper portions of food. Many of us overeat when we don’t strictly measure our portions!

 

2) Find Support: If you can find an exercise and/ or dieting buddy then you’ll have support to continue even when things are at their most difficult. Studies show that dieting alongside someone else makes it a lot easier to meet your targets and set up healthy new habits. If there really isn’t anyone who wants to join you, one of the best free weight loss tips is to at least confide in others and share specific goals that will keep yourself accountable.

 

3) Get A Notepad: You need a notepad to note down the foods you’re eating, and even the exercises you’re doing if that helps. Although it can be tedious, knowing exactly what goes into your body helps you to improve things little by little. You can also use your notepad as a place to vent if you’re feeling frustrated, and to reinforce your goals to help motivate you to continue.

 

4) Go Through Your Cabinets: If you’re going to be dieting then you don’t want to have temptation all around you in your home. So go through all your cabinets and get rid of food that will lead you astray and won’t serve you well. Then go shopping and buy plenty of healthy snacks, like fruit, that you can have on hand whenever you’re feeling peckish.

 

5) Choose An Exercise Program: Now that you’ve got everything else sorted, it’s time to work out the kind of exercise you want to do. Although you’ll have to make sacrifices and sometimes do things you won’t enjoy, you can cater your exercise to what feels best for you. This could mean starting by walking every day, or running x amount of miles on the treadmill. Whatever you do, make sure you put it into a solid plan!