Category Archives: Summer

Winding Down Summer

I don’t know about you, but the end of August always marks the end of Summer in our house.  Now I know the actually first day of Fall isn’t for a few more weeks, which means we still have some Summer days left.  But it just doesn’t feel like it.  

School is back in session (even though our little guy isn’t in school yet, I still feel it), which means the town just seems quieter.  We’ve been busy soaking up the last few bits of Summer and it has been amazing.  

meredith rines, merelynne, budget expert, toddler, superman, little boy, toddler boy

meredith rines, merelynne, budget expert, toddler, superman, little boy, toddler boy

We have been working hard at crossing off everything on our Summer Bucket List before the temps start to dip too much.  We’re even planning a new list for next year.  I think since our little one is going to be 2 and J’s school won’t be as crazy then we’re going to make a bigger and badder list to conquer.  

meredith rines, merelynne, budget expert, toddler, superman, little boy, toddler boy

meredith rines, merelynne, budget expert, toddler, superman, little boy, toddler boy

meredith rines, merelynne, budget expert, toddler, superman, little boy, toddler boy

What are your end of Summer traditions?  

Cheap Summer Fun

cheap summer fun, ways to have cheap fun with toddlers, summer with toddlers, activities to do with kids, free things to do with toddlers

We have been having a ton of fun this Summer.  Lots of memories being made and since our little guy is just a year old, I’ve been taking lots and lots of pictures to share with him when he gets older.  At the beginning of Summer, J and I sat down for one of our money dates to talk about what we wanted the summer to look like.  We knew we wanted to have fun, make memories, but not go crazy overboard on our budget.  So we started planning and even made a Summer Bucket List to go off of.  We scoured around Southeast Missouri for fun activities to do as a family and we even traveled to St. Louis a few times to see J’s family.  

Grant’s Farm

Earlier in the Summer we went to Grant’s Farm, which was actually the first time I had ever been there.  I traveled to St. Louis so much as a little girl to visit my grandparents, I’ve been to the Zoo countless times and to the arch, but I had never been to Grant’s Farm.  So I had just as much fun as our little guy did wondering around.  

We ended up going later in the day, which worked out perfectly.  There were hardly any lines to see the animals or feed the baby goats and we didn’t have to fight crowds while sweating from the heat.  The best part is the price!  Grant’s Farm is actually free to get in, but you have to pay for parking and if you want to feed any of the animals.  But all of those prices were really cheap.

Petting Zoo

On a boring Saturday afternoon, J and I decided we did not want to stick at home all day.  He found a petting zoo that wasn’t too far away and totally within our summer fun budget.  So we took off.  We let our son walk around the whole time and he was just amazed by the animals.  He thought it was fun to tell the baby goats off when they came nibbling on his shorts.  The best part was a deer that just fell in love with our son and he loved him right back.

Swimming

We’re lucky that my parents have a pool and my SIL has a pool in her subdivision.  So we have been able to take our little man swimming this summer.  I had plans on getting him into some swimming lessons before summer really got started, but I missed the deadline by a few days so we’ll have to wait until next year. Being by the water is one of my favorite things to do and it was really important to me that our little guy love the water, too.  Last summer we took him to the beach twice before he was even three months old, so I wanted to keep the momentum going this year.  We even went to the beach for a few days earlier in May, which was a blast!

We bought him a highly rated life jacket to have around the pool and when we go out on the boat, but it’s definitely not his favorite.  He gets a bit of an attitude when he has it on for too long and luckily the pool we go to is never crowded so we’re able to use other rafts and rings so he can have a little bit more fun.  But I am determined to get him used to the life jacket so he will have fun when we’re on the boat.

Baby Pool in the Backyard

We threw a fishing themed first birthday for our little guy at our home, the best attraction of the whole party was this little kid pool I bought for less than $10 and filled with this fishing activity from Amazon.  Since that party, we have pulled the pool out of storage a few times and filled with water.  We let our little guy splash around and around.  The dogs even like it too.  I’m waiting to come out one day and find at least one of the dogs laying in the middle of the pool on a hot day.  I know it’s going to happen!

Walks Around the Park

For Christmas this past year my sister and brother-in-law gifted our son the coolest trike ever!  It starts as a trike I can push and steer, but as he grows it becomes his very own trike to pedal and steer.  So cool!  We like to take that with us to the walking trail.  It’s free to walk and he just loves people watching, trying to talk to other kids and just being outside.  I get some exercise in since it’s a mile lap just to get around once and we get some quality time together.  Sometimes J will come with us, but I really enjoy just having some time with just the two of us.  

Once I tried to bring one of my pups with me (we have three, but one is a little overweight) when I put our son in the stroller.  Half way around, the dog gave up on me and just laid down.  I couldn’t for the life of me get her to get up!  I tried everything… I said “let’s go home!”, “let’s go get a treat!”, everything!  And she still wouldn’t budge!  

cheap summer fun, ways to have cheap fun with toddlers, summer with toddlers, activities to do with kids, free things to do with toddlers

Swinging at the Park

There is another park in town (well 2 actually) that have pretty decent gyms to play on.  Our little man is still a bit too small to climb all the way to the top, but that doesn’t usually stop him from trying.  One of his favorite things to do at the park is just to sit and swing on my lap.  Now I’m sure if he was old enough or big enough he would prefer to do it without my help, but lucky for me he ins’t quite there yet.  The parks are only about a 5 minute drive from our house, so we try to hit them up early on the weekends before they get too busy with older kids running around.

BBQs

Another favorite of ours is to just have a BBQ in our backyard or go over to one of my parents’ houses for dinner.  BBQ is super easy to prepare and it gets us outside for a bit.  I just hate being cooped up inside on a nice, sunny day.  So I’m always looking for something fun to do.  Sometimes we mix in the baby pool while we BBQ to burn off even more energy.

What are some of your favorite activities for some cheap summer fun?

 

Summer Family Activities for Free

free summer activities, list of free summer fun

It’s summertime!  Oh how I love Summer.  When I was younger Summer was my least favorite season.   When I was in middle school through high school I would have to help my parents in the yard on summer weekends.  It was always so hot and so miserable.  We would have to pick up sticks on their 5 acres, burn leaves and work around the yard.  I hated it.  I used to beat my sister for volunteering to stay inside to clean the house.  I would much rather have cleaned the entire house and made lunch for everyone than having to sweat outside picking up sticks.  As I’ve gotten older and the yard we have is much, much smaller I don’t mind summer yard work nearly as much.  Now don’t get me wrong I would much rather be having fun on a hot Saturday morning, but I’ll take a hot summer day over n ice-filled winter one. 

Now that I’m older and have a family of my own I like to save those hot days for finding free and fun stuff to do.  I’m bringing you my complete list of free activities you can do with your family this summer.  You may have to be a little creative, but you and your kids can have a blast checking these items off.  In case you missed it, not too long ago I created a list of free activities to do during the fall, but I figured it was time for a season update.  Plus it goes perfect with our spending freeze we’re currently doing.

I love finding fun things to do as a family especially when they are free!  

best summer ever, free summer activities, free activities for the family

Here you are – a complete list of free summer activities for your family:

  1. go swimming – around here most public pools are free or you could always befriend someone with a killer backyard pool!
  2. go to the zoo – we’re lucky because the St. Louis Zoo doesn’t charge for admission and if you get there early enough then parking is free too!
  3. head outside for a picnic
  4. scavenger hunt in the backyard
  5. sprinkler fun!
  6. have a game day where you play board games inside
  7. go to the local park
  8. camping
  9. checkout an outdoor movie
  10. museum free days
  11. explore the public library
  12. host a summer reading challenge

You can print off a PDF of the summer activities, too.

Party Like It’s the 4th

Well that was an unintentional break from posting.  Sorry about that!  I have some really good posts in the works, but it’s just hard to get it all done.  To be honest, it’s been a very hard week over here.  I took an unexpected week off work (well really only 3 days thanks to already being off yesterday and today because of the holiday) and had to go the doctor a few times.  I finally feeling a little better, but it’s still a struggle most days.

J has been really good to me, too.  Unexpected flowers, date nights and just being there for me.  He really wants to get out of the house tomorrow and it just be the two of us.  So I’m planning on making lunch to go, a little dessert and some yummy snacks for a quick picnic.  We’re thinking of going fishing and just enjoy being together.  We’re probably going to hit up a fireworks stand on our way home to get a few to light.  It’s going to be a nice, relaxing day – just the two of us.

4th of july

I hope your 4th of July is filled with family, fireworks and great food – the 3F’s!

4th of July is my favorite

4th of july

4th of July is my favorite holiday of the year.

The smell of fireworks fill the dark sky, lightening bugs flickering in the air, and the sound of crickets chirping far off in the distance.  It’s a beautiful thing.    What’s not to love?!  I get to spend all day laying out by the pool while the Mom grills yummy food.  Then the evening is filled with bright lights, crackling sounds and lots of laughter.  Sounds like a pretty decent way to spend your day.

Last year J and my sister were deemed the official firework artists.  They were getting all into it and not really paying attention.  I mean, it was pretty dark outside and they didn’t really come prepared with flashlights.  Next thing we hear is my sister tell J that there was a small fire behind his foot.  He stomped out and then Dad took off to get a shovel.  The entire family couldn’t stop laughing.  The two pyros were about to really get the show going.

My Grandma carried the hilarious incident over to Christmas and gave them both a baseball cap with a light attached to the bill.

The 4th of July brings out the best in all of us.

My birthday and my sister’s is only a few days after the 4th.  When I was little I naturally thought all the fireworks were the kickoff to my birthday celebration.  It didn’t help my egotistical ways when we ate birthday cake the day BEFORE my birthday thanks to my sister’s being 2 days before mine.  She had to wait a whole day and I got cake early.  I had to be the favorite child, right?  Right.

Okay, I know that’s not true.  A girl could dream though.

What’s your favorite holiday?  I’d love to know!

Recap of our {Dominican Republic} Honeymoon

Dominican Republic Honeymoon
Can you still call it a honeymoon when you’ve been married for 7 months?  I mean, that might be stretching it, but since it’s my blog, I get to call the shots.  J and I finally took our honeymoon.  We planned, we dreamed and then we flew our early early one morning headed to the beach.  Our flight left at 6am, which meant we had to be there a little after 4am.. UGH! I am so not a morning person. The only thing that kept me going was the fact we would be landing in Dominican Republic by noon and at the hotel within an hour.

We arrived and were handed a gorgeous blue drink before we could even check-in.  Perfection.  I am the type of girl that loves to lay on the beach, read my book and take a few naps here or there.  J, on the other hand, is more of the type that likes to be in the ocean, walking around, drinking at the bar and meeting new people.  We struggled with that a little, but survived each other.  We planned a deep sea fishing excursion for one of the days.  J thought he was going fishing and I thought I would get a nice boat ride to the middle of the ocean.  We did get a long boat ride, but the boat was smelly (like fish) and the only fish we saw was the one caught about 30 minutes from shore.  And when I say shore.. I mean, from returning to shore.  It was kind of a bust.  We did meet some fun people that travel the world deep sea fishing, which ignited a desire in J to travel to Florida and rent a fishing boat.

Dominican Republic Honeymoon
The resort was beautiful.  Palm trees, the ocean breeze and bars located throughout.  Plus, they even had a casino that J and I went to one night.  We ended up breaking even, but it was so much fun trying my hand at Roulette.
Dominican Republic Honeymoon Dominican Republic Honeymoon

I want to go back, like today.  I’ve been fortunate enough to be to the DR 3 times now.  I am never disappointed!  The beach is always beautiful, it barely rains, the food is great and the drinks are tasty.

That one time at the brewery

 

 

 

 

 

brewery
Don’t you just love the weekends?  I mean, they are the absolute best.  Especially when the weather is perfect and nothing has to get done.  J has been itching to take a tour at Anheuser-Busch Brewery.   …so that’s just what we did.  We went with J’s family and met up with some friends at their Biergarten after the tour.brewery breweryOnly at the brewery can you order a Budweiser Signature… to say it’s amazing would be an understatement!  It’s my favorite beer – Budweiser, but carbonated and cooled differently.  Yummy!

Then we grabbed the dogs and let’s just say Maggie had an absolute blast with her bestie Oliver!  She makes a great pillow for him and he shares his chew bones with her.  It’s a pretty even friendship.
maggie and oliver_edited maggie in the car_edited

 

Things To Do Around St. Louis

Spring is here.  The color is coming back to the trees outside and it’s finally above freezing around here.  I am ready for nice weather to be a permanent thing and excited not to have to bundle up just walk from my car to the office.  St. Louis is a fun city to live near and we have some serious plans to act like annoying tourists this Spring/Summer.
things to do around st. Louis, mo

1) Drink some fresh beer at the Biergarten at Budweiser
2) Take a brewery tour at Budweiser
3) Celebrate the Cardinals at some games
4) Eat at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
things to do around st. louis, mo5) I-55 Speedway to watch some dirt track racing
Last year J and I went to the racetrack around the beginning of fall.  It was the coldest day of the year so far and it was miserable.  I am so thrilled to go to the track when I don’t have to cover up with multiple blankets.
6) Explore the St. Louis Zoo
7) Get lost at the art museum
8) Wander around the Botanical Gardens
9) Lose track of time at the casino
10) Watch Shakespeare come to life

Top 10 adventures that J and I have to conquer this year.  I can’t wait!

It is the 4th of July

happy4th

Hope everyone has a joyous 4th of July.

This holiday is my favorite. Possibly because my birthday is only 5 days away and when I was little I thought the fireworks were just for me. Self-absorbed much? Probably, but I’m okay with it.  Secretly I still think the fireworks on the 4th of July are just for me!

J and I have plans of grilling some food and drinking some beer in the backyard because that’s what we do! Hope you have a wonderful 4th of July!

Cheers!

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DIY Repellent Spray for Flies

How would you like a DIY repellent spray for your outdoor space?

J and I are determined to use our backyard to the fullest this summer.  We love that it is fenced in, the patio is covered, and we especially love our new patio set.  That’s the icing on the cake!

Last week I talked about repelling flies in our backyard here. J and I have worked on another home DIY treatment to rid our backyard of flies.  A repellent spray for our patio furniture was what we were looking for.

Ingredients:

1) Pine-sol
2) Water
3) White Vinegar

In a spray bottle you want to mix 1 part Vinegar with 2 parts Pine-sol and 2 parts Water.  Spray this mixture onto the patio furniture.  I could instantly see how this spray was working.  And I liked it!

DIY Repellent Spray for Flies

DIY Repellent Spray for Flies

Then I got a little carried away … I started spraying the siding of our house.  It worked!  One downfall of using this spray is the smell.  It can be a bit overwhelming.  Mainly smells like pine-sol, but that’s not a smell that I want lingering around for a long time.

But overall I love, love, love this repellent spray!  I’m thinking that I will keep a bottle mixed and ready to go.

What products do you use around your home to repel flies?

Cheers!

[hupso]