Let’s be honest – being a single parent/married parent – or just an aunt trying to have fun with some kids – can be EXPENSIVE! My budget is so tight this year, you can almost hear the seams ripping in the process. That being said – I still want to give my kids a summer to remember, so here are a few of my plans that won’t cost you a penny!

Winter Garden, FL

1. SPLASH PAD!– I live in Winter Garden, Florida. In our downtown area – there is a splash pad. Pack a few sandwiches, throw them in a backpack, and go down there. I don’t get in a splash pad myself – but I have seen parents wear their swimsuits and walk through it. It’s great fun for the kids, and you can get some serious reading done if you want! DON’T FORGET THE SUNSCREEN!

2. SCAVENGER HUNT! – A scavenger hunt is a little bit of work with a whole lot of payoff. Now, my kids are 20(almost), 16, and 9. My suggestion is this. Tailor it to the kids level. There are a ton of ideas that you can do! I live in a neighborhood, and I am fan of the photo scavenger hunts. That’s where you have to take picture of something with the clue. Use your cell phone! And for my youngest, I can let him borrow an ipod, have one of the bigger ones go with him, or actually have him gather. What’s fun? If it’s way too hot…. you can do this in a mall! And have all the kids work together! Some examples could be, 1.Film your sister doing 10 jumping jacks in front of the fountain! 2. Ask an employee at H&M their middle name. 3. Find the letters “ch” together in the name of the store. And that’s just a few! You can get on Pinterest and find a ton of list ideas ! I take a few of those and make them my own! Just type it up in word/notes on your phone/ and text or print it out! (This can also make a fun date night, just sayin’.)

3. OUTDOOR/INDOOR MOVIES – This is gonna sound basic, but it’s fun. Put your TV in the garage. Get on Netflix. And watch a movie. If you don’t have a garage, put it in a window. Live in an apartment? Put it on the balcony. Now take blankets, air mattresses, whatever you got, pile em up. And lay down and watch a movie. Why? One , you get fresh air. Two, it’s a change of scenery. Three, It’s the intention. Of course you could watch TV on the couch. Or a movie. But it’s the whole plan of making everyone be together, and setting the intention of having fun. And trust me – they will remember. And if you have TV’s outside already? Change the seating – the key here is intention.

4. FAMILY GAME NIGHT/NEW LOCATION – Ok, I love the idea of family game night. I don’t do it – but I love the idea of it. I am going to try to make a part of my life this upcoming school year, but we will see. I love this because it’s intentional, again. Here’s how I do it. Cook dinner (or make a sandwich- judgement free zone, here.) And head to the closest park with a picnic table. I recommend doing this around 7 or 8. Take a card game, or a time managing board game. (We aren’t talking about monopoly or something that can be hours – cause guys, it will get dark.) But it’s a fun time, and it’s alot better to be in a new spot. It really seems to make the kids talk more, especially the older ones.

5. BIKE RIDES/HIKE ON THE TRAIL OR BECOME A LOCAL HISTORIAN– As we already established, I live in Florida. And lucky for me, I am surrounded by nature trails. This is easy – just go. Walk, ride, whichever. But notice things along the way. If you do this all the time? Go a different way. Start at a new location. Now, here is another fun part – become a local historian! You and your kids research your city. A specific fact or location. Read about it. Now, trek over to the spot. And you (or whichever kid) becomes the teacher! This is fun, and I like to try to find the most obscure and random facts!

6. CHALK PAINT/BOMBS/ART – So much fun. And you can do this in a driveway, parking spot, anywhere there is asphalt. (If you live in an area without a driveway, check with your complex, chalk comes off, and they might just ask you to clean after play – and you just need a bucket of water. Also, check in the downtown area. Many places close at 5 or may not open until 10. Ask if your kids could do some chalk art in their lot! ) Now, if you want to buy chalk – hit up the dollar tree. They have it. Saw it this past weekend. If you don’t have the dollar tree, or want to make your own, here’s how ya do it.

A little chalk photo shoot!
  • You will need a muffin tin, cornstarch, food coloring, and paper towels. I recommend that you do this outside!
  • I fill up the muffin tin about halfway up with the cornstarch.
  • Then, add a few drops of food coloring at a time, mixing in between.
  • Next, water. I also do this a little at a time, until I get my desired texture. and Voila! Chalk paint hack.
  • If you want to do the bombs, which are hilariously fun – make the mixture super thin. Then pour it into a pump bottle. Pump the mixture into balloons. There you go!

I also recommend doing a photo shoot. We have done this – actually as a gift for my parents. And it is so adorable. Think it out, and let them get creative! These pictures can have some great memories, and also – might be making some gifts in the future to save you some more money come Holiday time! Nothing like planning your Christmas gifts in JULY!

I hope you can use one or all these ideas, and have some fun with them! I would love to hear what are some of your cost effective summer ideas to do with the kids! Please comment below or send me a message… and sidebar, all of these would be fun date ideas, also!

Live Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

You know you want to.

Strip down. Right down to your birthday suit. And cruise down mainstreet.

Probably not. Maybe a couple of you do – and if so – more power to you. I think we will all agree, that we currently live in a society – where acceptance is demanded. Every where we look. Love yourself. Love your body. Be comfortable in the skin that you are in. We have went from a time where all females felt like you were supposed to look like a Victoria’s Secret Runway Model, to now – we are told to love ourselves no matter what.

Don’t get me wrong – this is fantastic. Our bodies are freaking amazing. And of course, you want to love and cherish and be comfortable with your own body. Now, I am of the belief that you should dress how you want, cut your hair how you want, wear your makeup how you want – all to make you feel the best version of you. But let me tell you what I have dealt with on my end. And frankly, it needs to stop. If you preach acceptance, believe in acceptance, then do just that. Accept it. I am going to tell you a little bit about myself now, and my beliefs – in the clothing genre.

I am 41 years old. I am 5’9″. I weigh between 135-145, depending on the season. My clothing size is a 4-6. I have a bleach blonde mohawk. I have quite a few tattoos. I have my ears pierced four times on one side – three on the other. And I love it all. I also, am one of the most modest dressers you will ever meet. I don’t wear shorts. I don’t wear skirts more than an inch or so above the knee unless I have leggings on. I don’t wear spaghetti strap tops. And, to top it off, my bathing suit often has more fabric and layers than a burka. But aren’t we supposed to accept each other as sisters, and raise each other up?

When someone, normally a female, starts talking to me about clothes, and showing me bathing suits and things, and I talk about how pretty it would be for someone – More often than not, I get a negative response. To me, it’s negative. To me, it’s an opinion that I didn’t ask for. And then, it normally starts a long explanation as to why. But aren’t we supposed to accept each other as sisters, and raise each other up?

Here is the responses that I have gotten:

  • Girl, it’s your body – wear what you want to!?
  • That’s weird. Why would you wear a bathing suit that looks like that? I know you aren’t the religion of 19 kids and counting?
  • You have a fantastic body – you should show it off!
  • Kristie, you aren’t heavy anymore, you don’t have to dress like that.
  • It’s not the 1800’s – we can wear what we want!

Yeah, I’m not joking. I get people trying to “peer pressure” me into dressing more scandalous. Now let me explain something, I dress the way I want to because I am comfortable that way. I know what my body looks like. I love the way my body looks. Naked and in clothes. Guess what? I also like to be comfortable. I wear form fitted clothes all the time. I think, I am quite stylish, thank you very much. I also, like keeping my lady bits covered because I am comfortable that way. But aren’t we supposed to accept each other as sisters, and raise each other up?

Here are my responses:

  • Girl, it’s your body – wear what you want to!? I am wearing what I want to. This is how I am comfortable. I don’t like shorts. It’s rare I find pants that I like. I’m long waisted. Thick thighed. The effort to find shorts, I’m good. I’m tall. I don’t like showing a lot of skin. But if you like it – go off, sis!
  • That’s weird. Why would you wear a bathing suit that looks like that? I know you aren’t the same religion as the “19 kids and Counting” are you? No, I am not. You are correct. I wear a bathing suit like that because I am comfortable. I live in Florida – and I need to be comfortable. If I am at home with my family in a pool – Sure, I’d wear a bikini. No issue. But at Cocoa Beach? Burka style it is. I believe, I carry myself the most confidently, when I am covered. I sit easier. I am not worried about a boob popping out. Mortifying my three children if it did. I just feel better that way. If you want to wear a string bikini that’s a thong – go off. It’s not for me, though.
  • You have a fantastic body – you should show it off! Thank you! It has served me well. I feel like I do show it off in a confident and classy way that is comfortable for me. I am sorry – but pulling on a top to keep your boobs in, or tugging on a skirt to keep it down, is not cute.
  • Kristie, you aren’t heavy anymore, you don’t have to dress like that. First of all Tammy, I dressed great when I was bigger, too. Actually, I didn’t. But I could when I wanted to. I also got thinner and didn’t dress great. It’s been a process to get where I am. But because I am thinner – doesn’t mean I have to dress with a lot of skin showing, just like because someone is curvier, doesn’t mean that they can’t wear a bikini! It’s our personal choice. Personal. Choice. Which means we pick it. Personally.
  • It’s not the 1800’s – we can wear what we want! I know. I am doing exactly that.

I am pretty sure, that guys don’t sit around and say – “Dude, show more tummy and thighs!” or “Don’t wear that T-shirt at the beach with your swim trunks!” I mean, really. I dress the way I do for myself. I don’t cover up because I have a bad body image. I don’t keep everything covered because I feel like it’s against my religion to do so. I feel like, with the way I dress, I am respecting myself, my future husband, and everyone in between. I am comfortable that way. I haven’t always been this way. I definitely don’t believe that everyone should have this mindset. I believe that you should do what makes you feel comfortable. And let everyone else do the same.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On. Sat nam.

That sounded quite philosophical in it’s own right didn’t it?  The decay of the nation… our horrible society… blah blah blah.  But what I am really writing about – is me.  My face.  Who I am.  A lot of you guys have known me for years.  Some of you – recently.  Some of you – have never met me.  But let me give you a little background.

Fifteen years ago – I was a completely different person.  I didn’t wear makeup.  I didn’t have a “hair style” per se.  I was overweight.  And frankly,  I felt like I didn’t deserve any better.  Now – that being said, I wasn’t some depressed, emo, sad sack type of person.  I was kinda factual.  I had become overweight – so there was no point in buying flattering clothes – because I thought I would never look good in them anyway.  I didn’t wear makeup – same reason.  Hair – same reason.  I was just super duper plain.

Fast forward a few years – I met a girl who become my best friend ever.  She kinda had an intervention with me.  She told me to get my own sweats – and quit wearing my husbands.  She took me out and got me first “cutesy” sweatsuit.  And I say sweatsuit, because there was no way I would wear anything but that.  And guess what?  I had a shape – some might call “hourglass”.  It might have been a yearly hourglass – but hourglass, nonetheless.

Fast forward again.  I lost the weight.  Started getting into clothes.  Was much more confident.  I began working out.  I was more active.  I had great people in my life.  I was happy.  And then… we all know what happened.  I went to bed blissfully happy.  I woke up in a nightmare that I thought would never end.

There was a lot of self reflection that happened over that next year.  First,  I really embraced the aspect of “you only live once.”  I don’t mean that in a reckless way – I mean it in a – seize the day, type of way.   I always loved edgy clothes, hair, makeup, all of it.  Whether I looked like it or not – I always got Cosmo – was intrigued by fashion shows… I loved it – but was embarrassed to love it because I felt like people would think… “Ummmm…. really?  She doesn’t look like it… ”  And, in turn – I would be made fun of.

Guess what?  Make fun of me.   Don’t like my clothes?  I do.  Don’t like my makeup?  I do.  Don’t like my accent?  I do.  Don’t like my tattoos? I do.  Don’t like my Jeep? Then we can’t talk.  I kid.  But, you get what I’m saying.

I feel like through my outward appearance:
1.  I am showing my resilience… because I have a lot of it.  I am a fighter.  I believe life can never defeat me – unless I allow it.  No outcome of any situation will control me.  I am tough.
2.  I am happy.  Not to sound like Pharrell… But I really am.  I mean, my life is far from perfect.  But I am really, and truly deep down happy.

I want my outside to match the insides…And I do that through makeup and clothes.  It’s my thing.  I don’t see any problems with my face without it.  I just like it.  It’s like creating a painting – on yourself. 🙂

So — here’s a video of the whole process…. Sped up.  If you have any questions… Let me know.   Hope you enjoy – And get a little more of who I am !