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Filtering by Tag: Parenting

Cheap & Free Summer Activities for Kids

Jessica Stackowicz

Long summer days mean lots of outdoor fun, but it can sometimes be a bit of a task to keep children entertained, and not spend a lot along the way. 

Here are 10 ideas for free or cheap fun for kids this summer:

1. Backyard Fun- Start with what you have! Simplify your idea of fun and get creative. Build a cardboard box castle, create an obstacle course, pitch a tent and spend the night camping in you backyard.  There are endless possibilities.

2. Garden- Plant seeds together!  It could be in a few pots on your patio or getting involved in your local community garden. There is nothing like the joy of a child who watches a seed grow.

3. State Parks- Walk nature paths, go for long hikes, and maybe even camp for a few days.  Bring along a magnifying glass, jars to catch fireflies, and journals to make it an interactive experience. There is so much to learn through nature.

4. Berry Picking- Support local farms that have u-pick produce by picking your own fruit. I can’t think of anything better than farm fresh organic blueberries warm from the sun.

6.  The Beach- Pack your sunscreen and towels and head to the nearest beach!  What better summer fun then playing in the sand and waves? 

5. Public Pools- Look into local public pools in your area. With slides, fountains and kiddie pools, there’s fun to be had for big kids and little ones too. 

7. New Parks and Splash Pads- Venture out to new parks and splash pads that you have never been to for a change of play equipment and scenery.


8. Playgroups- Get involved in a local playgroup.  It’s a great way to meet new people and for your children to make new friends. 

9. Picnics- Take your breakfast, lunch or dinner outside!  Bring some card games or a Frisbee along to play with after.

10. Discover your city- Explore what your city has to offer.  Try museums, zoos, outdoor music venues, fairs and cultural events. Find things you’ve never done before.


deliberate:Parenting articles by Jessica Stackowicz. Photos cannot be used without written permission.


Jessica Stackowicz


What better summertime treat than popsicles?  Homemade popsicles are easy to make and a fun activity to involve your children in.  Choosing local organic ingredients can also make them quite healthy!

We thought we’d share a few of our favorite recipes with you:


  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • ½ cup organic fair-trade cocoa powder
  • ½ cup agave

Combine all in saucepan on low heat until cocoa is melted.  Pour into molds, add sticks and freeze at least 4 hours.

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Strawberry Popsicles

  • 3 cups fresh organic strawberries, tops cut off and halved
  • ½ cup agave

Combine all in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Pour puree into molds and put freeze at least 4 hours.

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  • 1 can coconut milk
  • ¼ cup agave

Blend both in a blender or food processor, pour into molds and freeze at least 4 hours.


To make striped or multi-flavored popsicles, let each flavor freeze for 1 hour before adding the next. Don’t forget to add your stick! 

We used Tovolo’s groovy popsicle molds, they’re BPA free, eliminate the waste of throwing away popsicle sticks and have a drip catcher.


Article and Images by Jessica Stackowicz

Parenting: Living By Example

Jessica Stackowicz

By Jessica Stackowicz

It’s no secret that parenting is a big responsibility. How does one raise a ‘good’ human being? No matter what our parenting philosophy is, I think it’s safe to say that one thing is for certain: we all aim to raise well mannered, bright, compassionate and ultimately “good” individuals.

The other day I was sitting at the dinner table with my 2 year old daughter, Zahra. She colored quietly in her coloring book while I studied, and after about 20 minutes of silence she looked up and said, “Good job mama! Good reading! Good job!”.  I was struck by her sweet words of encouragement. My heart was warmed by the thought that she has received this affirmation from us and is mirroring it back. It was not a lesson I had intentionally set out to teach her, but one that she had learned through experience. A proud moment for sure.

Then there are the other moments, like when she ran away from me, during a recent visit to Target. I calmly asked her to stop and come back but she yelled over her shoulder as she ran “I’m busy!” Ouch. Not always easy to hear some of those things.  


What I am slowly starting to realize, over the brief 2 years I have been a parent, is that no matter what parenting strategy we have for our children, our actions and words have the biggest impact.

The lifestyle choices we make on a daily basis form our children’s perceptions of the world.  From the food we choose to eat to what we make a priority in our life, we create an environment from which they learn.  Simply put, the way we are living is shaping our children.

If living by example is how Zahra will learn, then I want to live well, live deliberately even.  My hope is that she grows up knowing what it means to live like it matters. Investing in our children and how they view their role in the world is an investment in our future. And I don’t want to be too busy for that.