Inexpensive Spring & Summer Activities For Young Children

By Jenny Jiménez on May 23, 2019

Good Afternoon.  Sorry this is late but I wanted to get it out today.  With the holiday approaching and warm weather already here (or close to it for most of us) I figured I would let you know what I did to pass time with Elisa and Jonah when they were little.  Remember I was a single mom and little to no money to spend and as most parents know, young kids bore easily and it’s best to keep them entertained (to some extent anyway) during the summer months.

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I’m a planner and found that I was at peace when I had a plan in place.  I’ve always worked full time so I usually tried to plan anywhere from 1-3 activities to do together weekly.  During the day Elisa and Jonah were usually in a summer program through the daycare in their school.  Most grade schools in Lehigh Valley, PA have a daycare attached to the building.  The daycare generally has it’s own entrance.  I used that entrance to drop off and pick up the kids each day.  Well during the summer the daycare ran more like a camp.  They had activities planned throughout the week that included swimming but I’ll get to that in a moment. 

Each year they would give me a calendar that included all the activities they had planned for the summer.  They generally took one field trip per week.  This trip could be the movies, miniature golf or other local things going on and then they would swim three days a week.  So for example, they may swim Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays so the field trips would be on a Tuesday or Thursday.  Young kids love to swim.  It kept them active and allowed them to spend all that time with friends swimming.  Who wouldn’t love that, right? lol

I can easily go off on a rant so let me pull myself back.  Each each, around April I think, I would purchase a t-shirt for each of the kids that had the daycare name on it so they can be identified on field trips and paid for all of their field trips for the summer.  It usually wasn’t to expensive, again since most things were local so approximately $50 per child.  Then I would purchase a family swimming pass for $99 and that included admission to all of the local pools in Bethlehem. The daycare would make a copy of the passes to keep on file to present when they went swimming and I usually had the originals.  Whenever the kids wanted to go swimming with me, we had the pass.  It was so much cheaper buying the family pass than paying each time.

As Elisa and Jonah outgrew daycare, I found that our local community center had a similar program that ran from 8am – 1pm each week day so similarly I bought them shirts and paid for all the field trips.  Ladies if you are questioning whether or not to do something like this, remember, it beats them being lazy in bed all day.  Yup that’s right, I said it.  And, you’ll know that they’re in a safe place while you’re at work.  That’s peace in itself.  The other parks where I used to live had a FREE program that allowed the children to go from 8am -12pm weekdays.  They provided breakfast and lunch for the kids but did not do field trips.  I just want to let you know that you need to look but there are programs out there that are free.  Most kids have cell phones and mine had simple ones back then for security reasons so they could call me as they walked to and from school (when they weren’t in daycare anymore) and to the park programs.

Soooo, the activities that I mention below are for when you are with your children.  

7 FREE or Inexpensive Activities to do with young children:

1. LIBRARY EVENTS.  Call your local library for a listing of local events they have setup.  I usually went online and printed a calendar of all the library activities for the month so I could plan accordingly.  Generally their events were free however often you do have to register for these events so they can get a headcount and have the right amount of materials needed for any crafts or enough food for both parents and children.  I recall doing a camping themed event.  There was a story-time and then the children and parents would split off into one of the tents set up indoors (their activity room) and work on an art project while making s’mores with marshmallow fluff.  It was definitely memorable and FREE.  The only cost to me was my time.   

2. MOVIES IN THE PARK.  In  Bethlehem PA there are about five or six major parks in the area.  I would go on to the city’s website (just google it) and click on their Parks and Recreation Tab.  I recall the movies were done weekly.  The online calendar or flyer would say what movie they were playing and at which park on that particular week.  

As you can see by the image below, there are quite a bit of movies being played at the parks locally by me this summer and although my children are in their later teen years, we still enjoy these things together.


You’ll also notice the Summer Playground Program in the above image.  That is the free park program I mentioned above in my intro.  That got me thinking that Elisa and Jonah were both in their Tennis program for some time as well.  I had to complete some forms but because I was a single mom, I did not pay any fees.  They loved it.  

Just look at this schedule for the movies.  I’ll definitely be attending some.  


3. PLAN A PICNIC.  Sounds simple but sometimes this is all you need.  Children need to learn to keep it simple sometimes.  Bring a blanket, some picnic food and a few games to play.  We would play music on our cell phone in the background while we ate and played board games.  Yes, go find those board games you haven’t touched in years.  This is the perfect time to bring them out.  We also brought some balls and played catch or volleyball, depending on the park we went to.  Overall, it’s about have some good quality time with the kids.

4. GO SWIMMING.  If you’ve already purchased a family pool pass like I mentioned above then put them to some use.  Trust me, the kids won’t mind that they already went swimming with their summer camp.  I have yet to come across a younger kid who turns down the chance to go swimming.  

5. PLAY MINIATURE GOLF.  This one will cost you a little bit but it’s so worth it.  Be sure to check Groupon and other sites for local coupons.  I also always leave some money for ice cream after the game which most places do sell.  Last year for fourth of July, there were thunderstorms all day here so Elisa, Jonah and I went to an indoor miniature golf course.  They had an outdoor course as well but for obvious reasons we skipped that one. lol.  The indoor course was glow in the dark so we had a fantastic time.  There weren’t many people that day so we took our time and acted silly.  It was so much fun.  In fact, Elisa recently told me that shortly after, she and Jonah took their friends there also.  

6. GO FOR A BIKE RIDE OR WALK.  I usually love to save the hikes for fall but in the spring and summer, we love to go for long walks.  This gives us some time to catch up and talk, without distractions, plus it counts as exercise… I mean talk about multi-tasking right? 😉

and finally, one of our favorites…

7. APPETIZER NIGHT.  On these days, anything goes in my household as long as the menu is good!  I like to make finger foods and freeze them so on these days (and for snacks in the afternoon) we can just heat it up.  A lot of times we will watch a movie, or play a game or really anything…as long as there are appetizers.  I don’t know what it is about miniature food that somehow makes it more special, ha!


I hope that the above list gives you some ideas to do this summer without breaking the bank because God knows we don’t want to do that.  Oh and one more thing, remember to set some rules for these activities like no phones allowed!  This is important so your kids learn the value of good quality time together. 



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If you would like to recommend a specific topic for a future post or just have comments, feel free to reach out to me.  


Have a wonderful and relaxing Memorial Day weekend!



The post Inexpensive Spring & Summer Activities For Young Children appeared first on Tenacious Jenny Jiménez.

Wants vs. Needs

By Jenny Jiménez on January 21, 2019

Happy MLKJ Monday!  If you were off work today then all I have to say is… I’m jealous. ha!  Last week was definitely a crazy week.  I had so much going on at work at had to finish some painting in my son’s room and building his new bed so after two days of body aches (I’m so out of shape, lol) I had little time to sit down and write my blog.  I wanted this one so be a good one so here goes.  

Before I get into it, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog below and to the right so you’ll be the first to know when I post!  AND follow me on Instagram and Facebook.  Don’t procrastinate, go ahead, do it now and get it out of the way 😉

Okay now let’s get to it.  With the new year in full gear and Christmas behind us and tax season on it’s way, this felt like the perfect time to touch on Wants vs. Needs.  For so many people, Christmas was about wants.  I know so many people that focus on the amount of gifts under the tree as opposed to the real need of those gifts under the tree.  Quite frankly, were they necessary?  As people file for taxes soon and are probably still getting over the debt of Christmas keep the following in mind.

Things to consider when making a purchase:

1. IS IT NECESSARY?  Do you really need this purchase or are you just tempted because of how it’s being displayed at the store or online?  Does someone you know have it and perhaps you are just trying to keep up with the Joneses?  Trying to keep up appearances is tough and stressful.  This certainly is not a good reason to buy something.  Stay strong and keep moving.  If you don’t need it then let it stay at the store.

2. CAN IT WAIT?  As time goes by, even a week or so, will you still feel you need this item.  Is it worth you making the purchase now?  If you can wait a few days minimum for this item and will still want it then maybe, just maybe it’s okay to consider purchasing.  Usually a little time will help us to be in a stable, better state of mind.  More rational and realistic about what it is that we want to buy.

3. HOW WILL IT IMPROVE YOUR LIFE?  It’s very rare for purchased items to impact our lives.  Unless of course it is a need, like a microwave or refrigerator (assuming your current one is broken).  If you could only see my raised eyebrow. LOL  These types of purchases generally require a bit of planning because they are usually pretty pricey.  Please don’t go out and buy a large ticket item without doing your homework first, that is a HUGE NO NO!

4. CAN YOU AFFORD IT?  It’s not worth going into debt, let alone for something you do not need.  Often when we make impulsive buys it’s not something we really needed.  It is most likely a wasteful purchase.  This will be the item that stays in the box.  That ‘thing’ that five years later you come across while cleaning your basement or garage and say  Wow I completely forgot I even had this.  If you’re not going to use it right away, then chances are you do not need it.  Keep your money in the bank!

5. WILL YOU REGRET THE PURCHASE OVER TIME?  I’m guilty of this one here.  I cannot tell you how many times, especially clothes or handbags, I’ve purchased over the years only to end up giving them away or donating because I had no real use for it.  I’m pretty good now and rarely make impulse buys.  My wallet is glued to me. At this stage in life you’d need the jaws of life to pry it away.  Avoid the guilt and just don’t buy.  We work so hard for our money to just throw it away on these pointless items.


Remember make smarter purchases –  your future self will thank you for it.


I really hope you will consider these five things when making purchases this year.    Financial Wellness is something that everyone needs and once they learn how to handle their money, many of the stresses (at least related to money) will stop being a concern.

Lets make 2019 the year you get your accounts in order!

If you receive an income tax refund this year, remember to be mindful of your spending.  Don’t blow it off right away.  We’re just in the beginning of the year and when you’re broke, the year can feel a lot longer than 365 days.  Take it from someone who knows what that has felt like before.


Stay tuned to future blog posts by subscribing to my blog below and to the right so you’ll be the first to know when I post!

If you would like to recommend a specific topic for a future post or just have comments, feel free to reach out to me.  

Check out last week’s post on goal setting and take advantage of my free printout to help keep you on track. 


Hold on to that money!  See you next week 🙂



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By Jenny Jiménez on October 29, 2018

There we go again.  Another week behind us.  I don’t know about you but wow is this year flying by.  I could barely keep up.  This got me thinking about prepping for the winter.  Like bears preparing for winter hibernation, we need to stock up for the cold weather ahead.  We do this for two reasons.  First, so when that snow storm comes, we don’t have to rush out to the grocery store and Second, so we always have back up meals at home.  Remember hearty meals doesn’t mean it has to take hours to prepare.  

Something about the winter that makes you feel lazy and want to just cozy up by a warm fire and chill… or is that just my fantasy? LOL

The great thing about this time of year is how comforting and filling the food is.  That’s right ladies, bring out the stretch pants because you’re gonna need them through March 😉 .


I hope that you will share my blog with other lovely ladies in your life! 🙂 AND subscribe to my blog using the SUBSCRIBE button to the right and below.  


Keep these four things in mind when stocking up for the winter:

Stock up on things that are versatile, like pasta.  There are a million ways to cook pasta.  You don’t have to be a great cook to know how to boil and add salt.  I usually don’t like to spend more than 30 minutes to prepare food during the work week.  Having real meals and not fast food is important to your health and your wallet.  You can use pasta in a ton of meals and salads so this is a good one to have in your pantry.  Don’t buy all the same pasta either.  Purchase a variety so you have some flexibility in your meals.  

Freeze, Freeze, Freeze.  The freezer is your new best friend.  Keep it clean and organized.  Things that freeze are always a bonus.  Most people don’t realize that you can freeze practically anything.  I said practically, don’t go throwing all your items in the freezer.  Be realistic about what you want to pull out of there in a month or two.  Fruit, vegetables and cheese are all good to freeze.  I actually stocked up a few weeks ago and bought around 15 bags of shredded cheese.  Different varieties of course.  You can also make meals ahead and freeze those as well.  This way you just have to warm it up before eating… one less thing to do.  

Load up on meat.  If you’re anything like me, then you are a dinosaur.  And not the cute plant eating type, nope I’m a T-Rex.  I love all things meat so don’t skimp on this one.  Remember you can toss some chicken and veggies into your crockpot and eight hours later dinner is ready with little to no effort.  These are the meals we need for the winter.  I prefer to cut up and prep my meat after purchasing.  Then I’ll portion them out into freezer bags and label them with the date they were bagged.  This helps you use older items first.  Quick Tip: I’ve found that meat is generally cheaper when purchased Tuesday through Thursday in the early afternoon.  

Don’t forget your canned goods.  People often donate canned goods for good reason… they seem to last forever, well not forever but you know what I mean.  Don’t forget about your tuna and canned chicken – chicken salads are awesome.  Also beans, don’t forget your beans.  Keep this on hand for those chili days.  I mean you’ll have the meat and cheese so why not the beans right.  Pick up a few varieties.  Don’t just load up on one type.  Remember you want options.  


I love the house brand pasta and sauce at Wegmans and despite what people may think you can actually get it at a really great price.  Below is what I purchased this weekend.

My Pasta_Sauce

Currently the pasta and spaghetti sauce is on sale at my local Wegmans through December 29, 2018.  They generally run this sale each year so I take advantage and stock up.  The pasta, well most Wegmans pasta is on sale for $0.79 per box and the sauce is $0.99 per jar.  They have several different flavors.  My favorites are Marinara (I use this for dipping mozzarella sticks), Tomato Basil (this one is great for topping everyday pasta), Meat (this one I use for lasagna and those types of meat sauces) and Parmesan Romano.  They also had mushroom but I didn’t purchase that one.  My kids do not care for it much.  

My Sauce



As for pastas, these are some of my favs.  Obviously I need to stock up on the Spaghetti, Lasagna and Fettuccini but I also like Penne, Shells, Elbows for macaroni and even Orzo for soup soups headed my way.


My Pasta


I spent a total of $24.58 on 14 boxes of pasta, 14 jars of sauce.  I do plan to shop more before the sale ends.  I’ll put a few of my favorite recipes in future posts to let you know how I use it and some quick time saving meals for weeknights.  You’ll notice some varieties of pasta I was able to purchase in a box of 4.  This saved me an extra $0.17.  It may not seem like much but over time that does add up.  


Sauce zoomed


Pasta zoomed

While I only purchased fourteen boxes of pasta and fourteen jars of sauce, I will definitely be returning to purchase more.  In addition I really enjoy their soups so will be stocking up on that also.  Since I’m still in the process of my kitchen renovation and expect that will be the case for several more weeks.  Whatever I cannot fit in my pantry, I will just put in an air and water tight bin and keep on a shelf in the garage. 


Stocking up like this will generally last me about a year.  Do a little research on your local stores and seeing what you can stock up for the winter and save yourself some money.  The goal is to be proactive so when you’re driving your kids around to all their practices, you aren’t stressing out over food.  One less thing to worry about is always good, right? 


Don’t worry, what to do with all of this food coming up in a future post.  In the meantime I would love it if you would share this and my other posts with friends and family.  Helping others is what it’s all about.


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Have a great week!



The post Thinking Ahead: Stocking Up Now appeared first on Tenacious Jenny Jiménez.