16 National Park Free Days for 2016!

national park free days

Planning an outdoorsy weekend sometime soon?  Check to see if you can make use of one of these 16 National Park Free days!  

On these dates, you can get FREE admission to any National Park Service sites that normally charge fees – including fairly expensive stuff like tours of Mammoth Cave in Kentucky (one of our FAVORITES).  Mammoth Cave would normally run about $50 – $60 for our family to take a tour, so we plan AROUND days like this.

Here’s the scoop and the days coming up – mark your calendar and plan out some fun family days!

The National Park Service turns 100 years old in 2016 and we want everyone to join the party! On 16 days in ’16, all National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone.

Mark your calendar for these entrance fee–free dates in 2016:

  • January 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • April 16 through 24: National Park Week
  • August 25 through 28: National Park Service Birthday
  • September 24: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11: Veterans Day

These fee-free days provide a great opportunity to visit a new place or an old favorite, especially one of the 127 national parks that normally charge an entrance fee. The others are free all of the time. Plan your visit and enjoy our country’s history and nature.

AND – while you’re at it – check out this new AARP sweepstakes - where you can win a 2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country (YES PLEASE!!) or a trip for 2 on a National Parks Adventure Trip!!  Just click the banner below to enter :)  ***GOOD LUCK!

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Homemade Firestarters | Dryer Lint & Candle Wax!

homemade-firestarters

I’m re-posting this tutorial I wrote previously on how to make homemade firestarters because camping season is HERE again!  (Check out some good tent deals here)

This weekend I took my 4 boys out for our first ever family camping trip.  It was all I could’ve hoped for – they were thrilled to cook hotdogs over the campfire, make S’mores, tell silly ghost stories, and listen to old John Denver songs on the guitar.(Well – maybe not so thrilled about the last one ;) )

There was one thing, though, that I wished I had remembered to bring along – something to make the all-important campfire even easier to get going: these HomeMade FireStarters.

[Read more...]

April Fools Pranks: 25 Fun Practical Jokes

april-fools-pranks

25 April Fools Pranks

Jamie here! I’ve always loved playing April Fools Pranks on my family – and if you do too, here’s a roundup of 25 of the BEST April Fools Day Pranks we’ve heard!

Plus, check out my all-time favorite April Fool’s Day prank – the Cat Facts prank!

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Around the House Pranks:
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  1. Rubberband the Spray Nozzle|  Rubberband the sink sprayer handle so that it immediately sprays out as soon as someone turns on the water.

  2. Glue Money to the Ground|  Hot glue or superglue a quarter, dime, etc… to the sidewalk or porch and watch everyone who comes in try to get it up!

  3. Water Cups| Fill two cups with water and ask if someone wants to see a magic trick.  Tell them to put out both hands flat on the table palms down and then quickly set both full water cups on top of their hands.  They’ll be stuck that way for awhile :)

  4. Car Accident|  Leave a note on someone’s car (someone who would FREAK OUT if their car were scratched) and apologize profusely for scratching/denting their car.  They’ll be looking for the scratch forever.

  5. Zoo Prank|  Get a family member or friend to “return a call” to someone named Harry Lyon, or Mr. Fox, etc…

    [Read more...]

Homemade Pudding Pops in Paper Cups

homemade-pudding-pops

 

Homemade Pudding Pops in Paper Cups

My kids are going through the frozen treats like crazy now that the weather is warm – so I thought I’d make some Homemade Pudding Pops with them!  WhenFlavor-Ices and smoothies start to lose their appeal, try these easy, cheap, and delicious pudding pops using paper cups and a spoon.

You only need 5 things for this recipe – and it’s pretty inexpensive to make!  You can also use lowfat milk for a healthier version. [Read more...]

Cat Facts Prank {The best April Fool’s prank I’ve EVER pulled}

cat-facts-prank

If you’re looking for an April Fool’s Day prank that will really “get” somebody good -  I highly recommend the Cat Facts Prank!! 

(NOTE: I’ve updated this post with directions to set up a Google Voice account – which you’ll need to text anonymously)

Jamie here, over the years I’ve pulled lots of little April Fool’s pranks on family and friends, but this by far the BEST April Fool’s prank I’ve ever done to anyone. ;)

[Read more...]

School Lunch Tip: Sandwiches Faces!!

Fun Sandwich Faces!

Jamie here, I’m a terrible morning person – I stumble out of bed wanting to hurt people and drink mass quantities of coffee – so I’d rather not be packing lunches at that point.  We mentioned before that you can make sandwiches for your kids’ lunches ahead of time, seal them up in ziploc bags, and stack them in the freezer.  The idea is – by the time the kids open their lunchboxes, everything is thawed & soft.  I tried this – making a week’s worth of sandwiches on Monday – and it worked great!

But as I stood there ready to load the stack of sandwiches into the freezer, I thought “OOO!  I’ll write a sweet note on each one!”  But then funny faces seemed more my kiddos’ style – who know me for being weird and silly, and not sugar-sweet.  I turned each sandwich into a charactert: Nerd, Pirate, Ninja, Cross-Eyed & Crazy, etc….  FUN!  I stacked them in the freezer and tossed a new one into their lunches each morning that week.

The kids loved them and their friends were duly impressed.  And each day after, as I kissed them goodbye in the morning – they puzzled aloud “I wonder what sandwich face I got today?!”  MOM SUCCESS!

Now your turn – How do you make your kids’ lunch “special”?