Sunday, July 20, 2014

Simplicity Parenting: A Saturday With the Kids

Dance class, errands at Target, cat sitting, beach.  Those were the ingredients in my simplicity approach to parenting yesterday.  Doing the necessary, with a splash of adventure and a pinch of appreciation for the mundane.

Stop number one, the Madison Ballet School.  Minutes from our house, we could walk, and will in the future.  While my youngest enjoys "creative movement", the precursor to pre-ballet, my son and I cuddle on the floor.  Between his trusty copy of Legos Stars (used, from Goodwill, a gift from an aunt) and his stop watch for practicing number recognition -- well it was a parenting dream.  Quality time and really no expense other than the $70 for six Saturdays of dance.

Stop number two, Target.  From cat food to tooth paste to selecting match box cars for a classmate's birthday gift we chatted and wandered and took advantage of the Target Red Card DEBIT card, which saves us 5% on every purchase.  Note, it is a debit, not a credit card.  And Target always offers up great conversation topics with the kids -- such as pink aisles do not equate to "girl aisles", at least not in this mom's approach.  Once I start going on how offensive the "boy" vs "girl" sections are, both kids are eager to find the check out.....and a little bit more of my philosophy sinks in, all at Target.

Stop number three, cat sitting.  A dear friend is out of town caring for her ill mother.  Giving us the opportunity to scope our her amazing collection of cookbooks and bond with Paulie and Tiny.  Well, just Paulie, Tiny is a bit anti-social around my kids, who we affectionately call "the gibbons" because of their energy level.  Again, it was quite time together.  Another chance for me to talk with my kids about why we were her, why friends are so important, what it means to be a friend.  And to top it off, we learned that Paulies' favorite spot is perched on the closed toilet.  Classic memories in the making.

Stop number four, our last for the day.  Saving the best for last as my Smidge declared, was the beach at Fireman's Park in Verona.  Total admission was $13 for one adult and two kids. They splashed and dug and splashed some more.  We snacked on cold cuts, cheese, crackers, and lemonade girl scout cookies I pulled from the freezer.  Then they splashed some more.  We opt not to join a neighborhood pool, we simply would not use it enough to justify the $700 one-time admission fee to the pool, and the $700 annual fee.  Sure, swim lessons are included, but the kids are too young to be too structured.  At the moment they spend five full days in preschool, that's quite enough structured time.  One day we may join the neighborhood pool, but for now we'll swim in various spots around town, fitting it into life and our budget.

All in all it was an ideal day.  Errands completed.  Little bodies exercised.  Faces enveloped in smiles.  And a feeling of warmth in a frugal mom's heart.  What more could I ask for?  And that is the upside of a frugal life.

I will leave you with Paulie, just too darn memorable!

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