Frugal Friday: Summer Vacation – Sabbath Rest or Super Stressor?

By Mary O. Moss

Okay, I admit it! When my children were small and our family planned to go on vacation, I worried and planned and fumed and made lists and schedules and plans and reservations . . . you get the picture! I’m ashamed to admit I was sometimes so grumpy and overwhelmed throughout all the planning that our sense of fun and family togetherness was diminished by the time we actually went on vacation.

Family vacations don’t have to be stress-inducing. Nor do they have to be expensive. Some time ago we began having “stay-cations.” A stay-cation is time off from work or usual responsibilities while staying in town

Gas prices are high, everyone is in such a hurry and the world can just seem so loud. One-on-one time is so crucial to developing and maintaining a positive relationship with your family. A “back to nature” vacation idea doesn’t require a lot of money and lends itself to your creativity and ideas for fun. Plan a different “nature activity” day each day.

Declare “squirrel day.” Check out books from the library about squirrels. See if you can find some old Nature Channel DVD’s while you’re there. Make some treats that you learn squirrels like (peanuts, dried beans and corn, etc.) Go on line to learn everything you can about squirrels.

Take a picnic lunch to a nearby park or area where you know squirrels hang out. Feed the squirrels, take photos, color pictures or even just sit and watch them scampering around and snatching up the treats you brought for them.

Bird house kits are available at many craft stores. On a rainy day, you and the kids can assemble the kit and decorate it. When the sun comes out, hang up the bird house and then watch for the birds to move in. Check out all the different birds that come to eat—see if you can identify them from pictures in books you’ve checked out from the library or by going on line.

Even if you live in an apartment, you can hang a bird feeder outside the kitchen window or on the patio so the kids can watch the birds when they come to feed.

Spread out a blanket in the yard or just lay in the grass. Look up at the sky and see how many shapes each family member can find. Have everyone close their eyes and see how long they can be quiet. (Who knows everyone may doze off for an afternoon nap!) Identify all the sounds you hear—trash truck, train, birds, wind in the trees, etc.

Ice cream!! One of my fondest memories of childhood summers involve the Ice Cream Truck! We still have one that drives through our neighborhood all summer long. After everyone enjoys a cold, sweet, sticky snack why not run through the sprinkler!

Use your imagination. Let each family member select and activity they want everyone to participate in. Laugh, relax, use your imagination. Enjoy your summer Sabbath rest without breaking the bank. You could even splurge on one big (as in “expensive”) activity – fancy restaurant, weekend at an area hotel with a pool or pizza party funded by the money you’ll save by staying home.

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his” (Hebrews 4:9-10 NIV).

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  1. I can totally relate to getting stressed out of vacation planning! Sometimes I’m too stressed on the trip to have fun. =( Some great tips on here. And I love the concept of this blog. Thanks for visiting mine!

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