5 Stay at Home Fourth of July Ideas with Family

This Fourth of July is very different than what we’ve seen in former years. Local and national politicians have ordered all to remain away from beaches, public parks, national monuments, bars, and dine in restaurants. They are still trying to prevent the COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus from spreading, infecting and killing the masses. Therefore, lets make lemonade out of lemons and enjoy our family.

Below are 5 Stay At Home Ideas to help enjoy family together while keeping everyone occupied!

1. Backyard BBQ

Break out the hamburgers and hot dog buns, we’re going to have a cook out! Barbeque is a big staple in American culture, and if you have some meat, poultry or vegetables to grill now it the time to start marinating it in your favorite spices and sauces! When we grill we love putting the corn on the grill, and you can actually keep them in the husk so that are insulated and get nice and soft. You can get help from others and get the kids excited about setting up the backyard table for a nice lunch or dinner.

The best BBQ’s have homemade lemonade too! Just chop up some lemons, add a cup of sugar, and some cold water in a pitcher. Pour and enjoy! If you prefer iced tea, add 10 tea bags to the concoction and let it sit for a few hours. Better start prepping it now! If you have mint growing in your backyard, pick and add that too.

Fruit salad is a great citrus treat, that is fun for the kids to help out with too! If you have a watermelon and a watermelon baller, you can give the baller scoops to the kids and have them ball out little pieces of watermelon for your fruit salad while you prep the pineapple, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, mint and more! Some like to add papaya and mango too, it’s really up to you!

2. Karaoke Dance Party

Kick it! Below are the best free karoake dance apps you can download today and get to singing your heart out!

  • Smule (Free 7-day Trial)
  • Karaoke by Yokee (Free 7-day Trial)
  • StarMaker Lite (Free)
  • WeSing (Free)
  • Midifun Karaoke (Free)

3. Creative Crafts + Puppeteer Ideas

Let’s make patriotic necklaces! As soon as COVID hit this year, I ordered a bag of beads and string for the kids to keep them busy and creative. I ordered it right off of Amazon and they delivered it the next day, but if you have Amazon Prime they should be able to deliver your craft needs within the hour if they have them on stock.

Tell a story with a puppet show! If you have a big empty cardboard box, you can cut it out and make a stage for either sock puppets or puppets on string. The kids can make up a story line, practice and put a play together for the adults. This is a great way to get the kids thinking outside of the box and get their creative thinking caps on too!

4. Family Game Hour with Board Games + XBOX

There are plenty of fun family board games out there that you can buy and play! My favorites growing up were Twister, Sweet Valley High, Chutes + Ladders, Monopoly, Connect Four, Tic Tac Toe, Uno, and Boggle. If you have a deck of cards around too you can play Go Fish, Gin and Rummy, Poker, Spades, Matches, and more. We have an old XBOX here, so we’ve been enjoying old Nintendo games like Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, Sonic the Hedgehog, Zelda, Mario Brothers 1-3, and more. There are plenty of fun games to play, you just have to search for them!

5. Sidewalk Chalk Games + Drawing Contests

You can play tic tac toe, hopscotch, draw hearts, birds, stars, whatever you’d like! This is be sure to get the kids going, and they will be happy to brag about their special creations!

Surviving this Year

Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com

COVID, also known as the coronavirus, is a massive flu that had killed over 100,000 people and affected millions world wide.  Scientists and health professionals are comparing it to the Spanish Flu of 1918, and most all are working from home, schooling their kids from home, have lost their jobs, and it is more important than ever to take care of ourselves.  Most of us were already wearing 10 hats and now with the hunker downing its 20. 

Self management during this crisis is critical.

Here are some tips on coping and hoping with ease:

  • Enya is your new mix tape. Your environment and home is your sacred space.  if it’s not, your car, your local Starbucks drive through, your local CVS, all are escapes to peaceful bliss. 
  • I hate the term time management, but it’s very important especially now. Daily tasks need to be set, and the best way to execute them is to take care of what you need to do first.  Don’t give a %#$% what other people are doing, focus on the time in the day and segment it towards your long and short term goals.  Good questions to ask yourself include, what do I want to accomplish today?,  what do I need to accomplish today?,  what will make me feel accomplished by accomplishments completed?
  • You are what you eat. As much as I want to eat 30 dumplings in one sitting, I need to take care of my body.  My body is my temple.  Eating clean as possible is recommended, and fresh fruits and vegetables should be readily available at your home ready to cook.  Grocery list pick recommendations include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, eggs, nuts, Lara Bars, and wine (no more than one glass a day if absolutely necessary). Drink water to avoid dehydration, and wash your damn hands.
  • Set your boundaries. This is key.  Used to group chats?  Now is a sensitive time and if you feel more stressed after conversations with certain family and friends, it is OK to limit those to what you are comfortable with.  Audit your conversations to see how you feel after the interaction.  If it’s overly stressed and it’s complicates your daily living and survival you need to reassess the relationship and push the pause button as often as possible.
  • Worm hole of social media will suck you up and you may never return.  Auditing your social media accounts is crucial as well.  Election years are already tough and with the hunker downs now we need to temporarily block ads that are good for our well being.  People that have been over accommodating and over serving others will most affected by this.  It’s OK to give emotional support but relationships should work both ways in mutual respect.
  • Tame slash entertain the kids.  – My kids are the best things that ever happened to me, but to avoid extra stress I have been setting boundaries more often on time for me.  This can be hard and sometimes I feel guilty, however it’s good for parents to get alone time to avoid getting angry at them.  The activities that have worked best are necklace making (bought a 5 pound bag of beads and string on Amazon), play dough (on the kitchen table only, and THEY have to clean it up), Netflix movies (Despicable Me, The Grinch (it’s Christmas in July), Morphle, Garfield, all were sure bets for us), Baking brownies (pre-made mix is the best and we mixed it with a few eggs and water, right in the 9×11 pan and wallah!).
  • Don’t splurge on that new bag.  – The economy is weird now, and your first priority is paying your rent and paying for your food.  If you can’t live in or eat the bag, it’s time to pass on cutting grass.  For now anyway!

No matter what the circumstances are, don’t break!  We have all felt like we were dead before, and we all have made a come back.  If you have any other tips to share, please do below. We are all in this together!

Photo by Matt Hardy on Pexels.com

A Day at Santa Monica’s Clover Park

Another day off on vacation means finding another activity with the kids!

We decided to roam around the Santa Monica area today and found ourselves close to the Santa Monica Airport!  Since my boys love airplanes I was going to sit near the tarmac to see them take off and land, but ran across a HUGE park called Clover Park.

clover

Park Name: Clover Park at the Santa Monica Airport

Address: 2600 Ocean Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Website: http://www.santamonica.com/what-to-do/clover-park/

There are many great things about this park!  First off, the parent vibe was super cool.  At times you find parks where the parents are perpetually pissed and this was nice as it seemed most of the people were pretty happy.

It had a watch tower, and of course it had a wrap around staircase all the way up to the top!  The top was enclosed for kids safety and the kids loved it.  They went up and down and up and down, also other bigger kids were going up and down it too so they had that interaction as well.  My kids were calling it a castle which was hilarious and everyone loved it.  Everyone also loves twins and so it is nice too to get a warm reception from others.

airport tower

The boys were running back and forth from the tower to the playground nearby which was also awesome.  Again minimal helicopter parents at this park which was nice.

park

All photos were courtesy of Yelp.com as we left our phones in the car during the visit. Funny and also scary, we left the car running by accident (key less car entry port) so by the time we got back the car was still running and no one stole anything which was nice.

Other great qualities of the park include:

  • A tire swing under sand
  • A few sets of 2 safe swings
  • A drawbridge which is safe for kids to cross and helps motor skills
  • A seesaw under sand too, which is great as one boy fell off and he was just fine
  • Easy accessible and clean restrooms
  • No homeless people around
  • Water fountains
  • Basketball court
  • Expansive lawn to play soccer and football
  • Airplanes in sight taking off and landing which the kids loved

Overall a good trip, no major accidents and everyone had a good time.  I would say to make sure to bring hat, water, sunglasses as parts can be super sunny, but otherwise good times.

We also started potty training them and had them pee before they went, with no drinking in the car.  They did just fine without diapers which was great.  We did start the potty training and have had some accidents, however I think we should be able to get them fully trained by the end of the month!  Fingers crossed.