web analytics
Military Charities: The Best Way to Say Thank You For Our Freedom

Military Charities: The Best Way to Say Thank You For Our Freedom

Inside: Giving to military charities is the best way to show your gratitude to the soliders who fight for our freedom. Learn more about the groups that give.

I know many people who are in the military, have been in the military, or are married to members of the military.  These people have made so many sacrifices for our continued freedom, and my entire family is so grateful for you!

A little education first…Veterans Day is a day to thank and celebrate the living members who have or still are serving our country.  Memorial Day is set aside to respectfully remember and mourn the soldiers we lost in battle.

We can say thank you in many different ways.  Giving a shout out to your soldiers on social media is great.  Stopping a soldier on the street and thanking him or her for their service is wonderful.  But we can say thank you in other ways, too.


Stop Snowplow Parenting And Do This Instead

If you use snowplow parenting, chances are your kids don’t know how to handle disappointment. Here’s how to fix it.

The phone rang, and I glanced at the number.

It was from another mom in our town.  Our kids went to school together…but I didn’t know her well.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I answered.  Turns out, I was in for a surprise.

The fifth graders at school had been in a stiff competition to get first choice of t-shirt color for the big end of the school year bash.

You might think that my child lost the competition…but nope.  Actually, his class won.  

And that was the problem.


How Frugal Living Will Give You The Happiest Life

Frugal living sounds like a boring life. But the truth is, you’ll never be happier than when you embrace the frugal lifestyle.

I pulled into the fast food line, careful to choose my favorite lane.  The left side always ran faster than the right for some reason.  

Granted, it was a little embarrassing that I did this so often that my 2 year old would point at the golden arches and yell “Dr. Pepper!”

On this day, though, my mind began to wander as I sat and waited for my pop.  (Yes, around here it’s a pop.  The thought of calling it a “soft drink” makes me cringe!)

Why was I here?

Had I stopped because I was thirsty?  

Because I needed a pick me up after getting up with a toddler overnight and then running errands all day?  

Or was it out of nothing more than habit?

Was this one dollar “treat” really even a treat anymore?


Outside Activities for Tweens

Outside Activities for Tweens

Outside Activities for Tweens

*This post contains affiliate links.  Your purchase helps to support Medium Sized Family at no additional cost to you.  Thanks for your support!

These days, it’s a never ending battle to get your kids to go outside and play rather than sitting inside and staring at some sort of gaming device or TV set.  Especially as they get older and become “too cool” to play outdoors.

I don’t have to preach to you about obesity rates in America, or the fact that kids aren’t interacting with one another like they used to.

Happily, as parents we have a certain amount of control over that.

I’m a firm believer in forcing the kids to go outside and shutting the door behind them.  And 90% of the time, they will find something fun to do out there.  But it’s a lot easier to talk them into going outside if they are looking forward to doing something special.

Younger kids are usually happy with a simple swing or slide.  But as they approach the age of 10 and 11, those things become less of a challenge and they begin looking for new things to try.

Here are some outside activities for tweens and older children to enjoy.

Older kids are ready for a new type of play.  Many of these suggestions contain a certain amount of risk, and you’ll want to be sure to supervise and teach your child ways to enjoy these activities safely.

I try to keep in mind that scrapes and bruises come with having kids, and it’s just another thing for them to learn from.  But we do what we can to avoid more serious injuries.

Here are some outside the box ideas for putting a new spin on toys they might already own.  Plus some ideas for adding to your yard for fun for the older crowd.

Obstacle Course

With a little guidance, the kids can set up their own obstacle course.  What toys do they already own to use?

  • Hula hoops, taped up pool noodles, or even old tires could be set up to run through or spread out to jump from one to the other.
  • A fallen tree could be a balance beam.
  • Sticks could be jumped over either lying on the ground or propped up on chairs for a bigger challenge.
  • Boxes or rocks could be placed just so to zig zag through.

Encourage them to race each other or themselves for their best time.  Or they could come up with the best creative way for getting through the course.

Rock Wall

Bonus points for having your kids help you build one.  There are tutorials for building one on the side of an existing shed or barn (even basement!), or you can make a free standing one.

These pegs have good reviews, although we haven’t tried them (yet).


Set up a range for some Nerf gun or BB gun competitions.

You can print out or draw an old fashioned paper target taped to a box.  Stack up cups to be knocked over.  Dangle old cans from a string tied to a stick or tree branch.

Your imagination is the limit!


A fort can be as much or as little expense and work as you desire.  You can encourage the kids to use objects they find around the house, yard, barn, or shed to create their own makeshift fort.

Or you can buy materials to build a more permanent structure (even a tree house).  Kids love to help and learn from building things with their parents!

As kids get older, this goes from being a fun way to “play house” to a place to have some privacy to read or spend some time on their own.


Kids never seem to tire of jumping on a trampoline.  From trying out different flips and jumps to jumping with a friend, there are so many ways to enjoy it.

This toy is probably not for moms with a weak stomach, but I think that one with a net can be a lot of fun for everyone.  Keep in mind that they still pose a certain risk, so you’ll want to set up some rules.

I recommend checking Craigslist or a Facebook yard sale for local deals, or watch for sales on Amazon or at your local stores.


Also not for the faint of heart mother, a zipline is a lot of fun!

You will want to make sure you can find a good location in your yard with proper sized trees before you invest in this one.  Please take precautions such as helmets and seats since many broken bones result from ziplines each year.  (Ask me how I know.)

We own one similar to this zipline, but friends have told me it’s easier and cheaper to make one yourself.

Biking, Skateboarding, Scooters

Riding a bike can be fun and offers your child a certain amount of freedom.

Your child probably already owns a bike or scooter.  If he or she seems bored with it, challenge him or her to set goals for time or distance.  This little bike computer is cheap and adds a new twist to their play.


My boys can always amuse themselves with the basketball and hoop that we have in our driveway for an hour.  They also love to play kickball.

If your child doesn’t have a buddy to throw with, invest in a pitch back so they can play baseball without chasing it.

These tips will give your kids hours of outside fun.  Maybe they’ll even forget about screen time!

Are we friends on Facebook yet?  I’d love to get your thoughts on parenting, household tips, and ways to save money.  Give Medium Sized Family a like!

I’d love to hear your suggestions for encouraging outside play, especially for older kids!  What makes your kids want to go outside?