Friday, June 10, 2011

Family Values--out and about on the cheap

My kids were walking all over me on the invisible walkway in I5's new First Impressions Room
"Wings From Down Under" at the Potter Park Zoo
When we go into Lansing, about a half hour's drive away, for some decent shopping, I try to make the most of it, between combining errands, buying what we need, and having some family fun.  Last week, on such a trip, we picked up some compost from a friend's (and loyal reader's) house, went to Impression 5 Science Center, and did a little shopping at Lansing City Market.  This week, we went to the Market, the zoo, and did our grocery shopping for the week (well, some of the stuff was for beyond the week, since it was time to buy more cheese).  I feel that it is worth it to combine purposes of the trips like this since A) it saves gas since we don't have to make multiple trips to town to do the different things and B) it eliminates some of the drudgery of the more mundane activities since there is some family fun thrown in there.

I'm thinking that I'll probably try to keep up this pattern of fun and suckish (as my kids say) activities on the same trip, possibly every week as the summer goes on.  We don't take family vacations really, since my husband can't really get the time off work and I can't really afford to leave the garden that long, so these days also serve as mini-staycations.

Part of what makes these trips so doable is that we have memberships to the zoo and museum.  The best part:  I didn't even pay for the memberships!  Every year, rather than a bunch of material crap that I don't really need (or even want!) cluttering up the house and my life, I put together a wish list of things I could actually use for holidays and birthdays, and on that list I always include memberships to these places so we don't have to shell out money every time we'd like to do something together as a family.  Some people may think that's tacky, but personally, I think it is tackier to have to pretend you like something that someone gave you while you are already plotting on how to get it out of your house without them hearing about it!  Besides, I don't force the list down anyone's throat.  It is available upon request and is produced when someone asks "So what do you want for <insert occasion here>?"  The past few years, my parent have been wonderful enough to give our family both the zoo and museum memberships, so we are free to go whenever we like, and as homeschoolers, that's quite a lot year round!


  1. I really wish my family would listen to me when I ask for memberships, they just don't understand that stuff breaks down, gets outgrown, but memories last forever

  2. Maybe if you showed them this post they would get the hint ;-)