20 Free or Low-Cost Summer Activity Ideas for Kids

20 Free or Low-Cost Summer Activity Ideas for Kids.

These ideas for summer activities are great!! Anyone who knows me knows there’s no way I would come up with even half of this stuff. I’m printing them off and pinning the ideas to the refrigerator. Happy Summer! (At least I’m planning for it. A first).

The pursuit of a lifelong dream

This week’s inspirational story comes from the talented Indie Chick Julia Crane. Please welcome her to my blog. Take it away, Julia!

Julia Crane

Moving to the Middle East

Separation was normal in my marriage. My husband was in the military, and usually gone six months a year. We had adapted quite well to the schedule. Of course, we had the normal period of adjustment when he would return, but that was part of the lifestyle. We were looking forward to his retirement, and being able to spend more time together as a family. That didn’t work out quite as we expected. My husband was offered a job in Afghanistanthat would set us up to really retire. The kicker? It would last a year. We thought the sacrifice would be worth it, so off he went. One year became a year and a half.

While he was gone I took care of our small business, running a gym. I loved it. It was very time-consuming, but it was also very rewarding. It started to wear on me only when my pre-teen children complained that I was always at the gym, and never had time for them. Finally, I told my husband that it was time for him to come home.

He put in his notice and started a stateside job. Though the new job still required him to be gone for six months of the year, the absences were in manageable blocks of two weeks. When he was home, he would take care of the gym and I would have time off. It was perfect.

Then he got a call from a friend, with a job offer that was just too good to turn down…in Dubai. We discussed it, and decided he should take the job, even though we had a new one-year-old.

Not long after my husband left for Dubai, I was at the breaking point. I felt trapped with the business, our teens, and a one-year-old always needing my attention. I had no personal space, and I’m a person that requires time alone, or else I get cranky.

As luck would have it, the new job offered to bring family members over to live in Dubai. My first thought about moving to the Middle East? “Yeah, right.” However, I researched Dubai and was surprised at what I found. The country seemed very modern, and the schools sounded good.

So I told my husband, “Ok, we’re coming.” While I was both nervous and excited, I was ready for a change, and moving to the Middle East sounded like just the adventure I needed.

When we got off the plane in October, the hot air hit my face and it felt like I had walked into a sauna. I thought, “Uh oh, what have I agreed to?” Yes, the heat is hard to handle, but you learn to live your life around it. We do most things early in the morning or after the sun sets. It is very much a nighttime culture. The city is beautiful and the Arabian Sea is breathtaking. I have grown comfortable living here, and easily call it my home. Though I can now see myself here for a few years, there are of course many things that I miss about America, and most of them involve food. Some things are just impossible to find: I’ve searched high and low for a Butterfinger, with no luck.

After a couple of months of enjoying my newfound free time, I eventually started to twiddle my thumbs. I was used to being busy, and with all the free time I needed to find something to fill the void. I saw an article that went into detail about how e-books had flung open many doors for writers. I thought that was interesting, and I mentioned it to my husband and he said he had also seen many articles saying much the same thing. I jokingly said that I was going to write a novel. My husband, who believes I can do anything, thought it was a great idea. I have always enjoyed writing even though I had not written much since having children. As a teen, I used to mail short stories to magazines and such, and like most avid readers, I always dreamed of someday writing a novel. Now I had my chance.

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Never Give Up On Your Dreams by Christine Kersey

Please welcome fabulous Indie Chick, Christine Kersey, to my blog this week. Here’s another inspiring story about never giving up on yourself or your dreams. Thanks for sharing, Christine!

Never Give Up On Your Dreams

by Christine Kersey

I love to read and lose myself in a good story – forget all that is going on around me and be in the story with the characters. One day in 1997 I finished reading a novel by Joy Fielding and realized she hadn’t needed to be an expert in a particular field, like medicine or law, to write a good suspense story. This fact inspired me to try my hand at writing. It also didn’t hurt that we’d just gotten our first computer and I can type much faster than I can write longhand.

At this time in my life I was thirty-two and my youngest child was three. I also had three other children who were in elementary school. A stay-at-home mom, I was able to carve out some time to work on this project. At first I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing. What if I couldn’t complete it? What if I failed? After a short time I told my husband, mother, and sister and they were supportive.

I kept working at it, day by day, until after about four weeks I’d finished a complete novel. At that point it was nowhere near ready to be published, but I’d proven to myself that I could write a novel with a beginning, middle, and end. I continued working on the story, then put it aside and began working on another.

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Embracing the awesome moment

It’s not about me, this awesome moment. It’s about our son. I thought I’d experienced more than my share of these awestruck moments this year: watching him play offense and defense in football and be near the ball every time, watching him come in off the bench and energize the basketball game from a defensive standpoint, watching him race across the finish line at lightning speed in his gold track shoes, or even watching him check his grades for school online (of his own volition) and determine where he was at and if he needed to improve.

No. The most awesome moment came yesterday.

He’s fifteen going on sixteen and lettered in three sports and achieved almost straight A’s for his freshman year. (His French class was .5 away from an A; can you believe it?) Yesterday, he was awarded “Athlete of the Year” by his school. This award is nominated by the coaches and voted upon by the teachers at his school.

Now, my husband and I are more than aware that he has come into his own in the last year and a half, but to be the one holding the video camera as the speech was being made about him and watch “our son” walk to the podium with such decorum, grace, and honor was beyond thrilling. It was a moment of extreme awe. It was our child walking up to the podium and getting this kind of recognition from his school. Our child who used to hate to get dirty or touch grass, who needed help with cutting his pancakes for a number of years, who still likes to say one extra good-bye before he heads out that door. Our child. My child.

Awesome seemed to be the word of the day to describe him as we walked the halls of his school yesterday; each teacher or student that passed us or stopped to say hello or congratulate him on his award. Awesome or cool was also a common sentiment from his friends and classmates waiting outside at the school entrance as we left.

I was so proud of him, so astonished by him, and so humbled all at once. Overcome, I recalled the first few hours after he was born when this little newborn was staring over at me from the newborn bassinet in the hospital, just staring right into my soul at that point. I remember feeling astonished at the thought that this little person now depended upon me. It’s the day I grew up, ascended to adulthood for good.

And now, here he is, almost grown up, himself, and all these people in his world now recognize and appreciate his gifts and the wonder of him.

What an amazing moment for him and for us.