Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Adventure Time - On A Budget

At the beginning of 2015, I declared this year the Year of Adventure. 2014 set me in a rut that I was (am) determined to get out of. Scott and I decided this year we'd do stuff, big and small, making this a year to remember.

It's jarring to think that we are already in the fifth month of 2015. What?! How?! While the big adventures we've discussed have yet to happen (we wanted to go to Washington DC for Spring Break or Texas for Easter, neither of which ended up possible), but we have succeeded in the small.

We'd gotten into a bad habit of whiling away the weekends, vegging out doing nothing but refereeing fights amongst the kids, and generally feeling pretty bored. We've changed that this year. We've gotten motivated. We've started looking for excitement anywhere we can find it - and rightly calling it "adventure", for that's what we're making of it.

One weekend we took the kids to a Scottish Festival. (Free entry)

One weekend we went to Little Rock for the Indian Festival. (Free entry)

We took them to a Superhero Horse Fundraiser. ($20 a family, all profits going to charity)

We went to an Arts and Maker Faire. ($10 each for all of us over 6 yrs, which I didn't realize, but worth every penny the oldest three of us had to pay!)

We went to the Museum of Discovery on Dollar Day. ($5 in all)

This weekend we're going to the Clinton Presidential Library to see the Dinosaurs Around the World exhibit ($20 for the family, it better be good!), and next weekend we're heading up to Fayetteville for the high school graduation party of an old wee pal (not gonna be cheap after petrol, hotel, and food, but it'll be like a mini family vacation, and we'll cut costs wherever we can).

We don't have tons of money, I can tell you that for nothing! But we've changed our priorities slightly. Instead of going out to eat when I can't be bothered to cook, we are trying to save those pennies for entry fees, searching for the free events and discount days. Food at these kind of events, while looking and smelling amazing, are usually ridiculously expensive, so we tend to bring water bottles and snacks, and perhaps a picnic lunch, to save spending $10 on a hamburger. We sometimes splurge on tiny treats, like homemade shortbread at the Scottish festival or handcrafted pottery fridge magnets at the Arts Faire, but mostly we just enjoy looking at all the things on offer and whispering to each other afterwards about how we'd never pay that for that. (Helps curb the "I WANT" urges.)

All of these little mini-adventures have been so much fun for everyone and really great for our family. And really great for improving my outlook. While the big things (like family vacations and some things I can't mention here until they actually happen!) keep not happening for various reasons (can't get dates off work or cars needs total of six new tires), the little things have made 2015 pretty adventurous. And with school holidays coming quickly upon us, I am sure there will be many more adventures to come! And hopefully without too hefty a price tag. (What is it about kids being off school and breaking the budget? All the food they consume while lounging around the house, all the activities we feel obligated to put on for them or send them to.... summer is expensive!)

Sometimes our adventures have been as small as a fire in the back yard...

... But I'm learning now that adventures don't have to be wild, exhilarating, and fantastical (or expensive) - adventures are made out of having an adventurous spirit!

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