Category Archives: Summer Activities

Staycations Around the Country


I hope everyone saw my post on 10 Staycation Outings for here in Fresno. But I do realize that not all of you are not in Fresno (as much as I wish you were;). That is why I participated in a huge round up of staycation adventures from all around the country!!!

Mid Atlantic

NW (or all), Connecticut :: Parenting Miracles
Boston (or all), Massachusetts :: Maven of Savin
Central, New Jersey :: Our Good LIfe
Adirondak Mountains and Central, New York :: For This Season
Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York :: Ann’s Entitled Life
Syracuse, New York :: I am THAT lady
Erie, Pennsylvania :: Growing Kids Ministry
Greater Harrisburg, Pennsylvania :: Family Balance Sheet
Hershey, Pennsylvania :: Good Deal Mama
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania :: Beyond the Cover
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania :: The Coupon “High”
Poconos, Pennsylvania :: Bucktown Bargains
Scranton, Pennsylvania :: Bucktown Bargains


Des Moines, Iowa :: Make the best of everything
Aurora, Illinois :: A Savings WOW!
Central, Illinois :: The Homeschool Scientist
Chicago, Illinois :: Chicagoland Homeschool Network
Naperville, Illinois :: The Sensible Mom
Schaumburg, Illinois :: Ravings By Rae
Fort Wayne, Indiana :: Simplified Saving
Indianapolis, Indiana (Metro Area) :: In Good Cents
Muncie, Indiana (Central IN) :: the daisyhead
Northern Indiana :: So Dough Savvy
Kansas City Area :: Kansas City Mamas
Metro Detroit, Michigan :: Saving Dollars and Sense
Grand Rapids, Michigan :: Give Me Neither
Oakland County, Michigan :: Bargain Shopper Mom
Minneapolis, Minnesota :: Creative Couponing
Rural Minnesota (either Southern our Lake Country) ::
St. Cloud, Minnesota :: Frugal Finders
Kansas City, Missouri/Kansas :: Kosher on a Budget
Springfield, Missouri :: Getting Freedom
Cincinnati, Ohio :: Family Friendly Cincinnati
Columbus, Ohio :: Cleverly Simple
Dayton, Ohio :: Savings Lifestyle: Dayton
Mansfield, Ohio :: The Traveling Praters
NE Ohio :: Raising Lifelong Learners
Northeast Ohio (Canton, Akron, Cleveland) :: Sisters Shopping on a Shoestring
Black Hills, South Dakota :: Little House Living
South Dakota :: Moms Mustard Seeds
Oshkosh, Wisconsin :: Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom


Phoenix, Arizona :: Mom Endeavors
Scottsdale, Arizona :: Saving For Someday
Tucson, Arizona :: Desert Chica Ramblings
Colorado Springs, Colorado :: The Greenbacks Gal
Denver, Colorado :: Bargain Blessings
Helena, Montana :: The WiC Project
Omaha, Nebraska :: Mom Endeavors
Reno, Nevada – Lake Tahoe (Northern Nevada) :: Saving in Nevada


Fresno, California (Central Valley) :: NerdFamily Blog
Los Angeles, California ::
San Diego, California :: Good Cheap Eats
San Diego, California :: Life as MOM
Portland, Oregon :: Frugal Living NW
Seattle, Washington :: Thrifty NW Mom

South Atlantic

Arkansas :: Discovering Arkansas
Washington, DC :: Kidventurous
Clearwater Beach, Florida :: Bargain Briana
Jacksonville, Florida :: Saving The Family Money
Southwest Florida (Ft. Myers area) :: Chaos Is Bliss
St. Augustine, Florida :: Simply St. Augustine
Tallahassee, Florida :: SwagGrabber
Atlanta, Georgia (metro area) :: Hodgepodge
Atlanta, Georgia (metro area) :: The Couponing Couple
Annapolis, Maryland :: The Happy Housewife
Hagerstown, Maryland :: Cheryl Pitt
Asheville, North Carolina :: Paradise Praises
Charlotte, North Carolina :: from our front porch lookin’ in…
Raleigh/Southeastern, North Carolina :: Upside Down Homeschooling
Upstate South Carolina :: The Tween & Me
Charlottesville, Virginia :: How to Have it All
Richmond, Virginia :: Teachers of Good Things
Smithfield, Virginia :: Walking in High Cotton
Virginia Beach, Virginia :: The Coupon Challenge

South Central

Coastal Alabama :: Meet Penny
Huntsville, Alabama :: The Traveling Praters
Northern Kentucky :: Simply Sherryl
Chattanooga, Tennessee :: Living Chic on the Cheap
East Tennessee (Smoky Mountains, Knoxville) :: Finding Joy on the Journey
Nashville, Tennessee :: Montessori Tidbits
Arlington, Texas :: Grocery Shop For FREE
Austin, Texas (Hill Country) :: Ponder the Path
College Station, Texas :: How to Homeschool My Child
Dallas, Texas :: Surviving The Stores
East Dallas, Texas :: Funky Faith Girl
Fort Worth, Texas :: Coupons & Freebies Mom
Houston, Texas :: MomsToolbox
Houston, Texas :: MyLitter
Katy, Texas :: Moms Confession
McAllen, Texas (Rio Grande Valley) :: iLoveMy5Kids
San Antonio, Texas :: Melissa’s Bargains

Fresno Staycation Outings

Forestiere Underground Gardens
Forestiere Underground Gardens

Life is busy and expensive! We all want to do fun and exciting things with our kids but between time and money it can be challenging. Challenging to find something exciting to do beyond the Boomers or water parks! At least for many people I talk to. So here are some great 1/2 to 3/4 day activities to do with the whole family. None of them are more than an hour away from Fresno and quite a few are right in town. I haven’t been to all these places but I am hoping to this summer!

1. Fresno Chaffee Zoo: This is a local treasure that is not visited nearly often enough! They continually get new animals and now have the Sea Lion Cove. If you get a zoo membership it can pay for itself in just a couple trips. They also have Wells Fargo Wednesdays on the first Wednesday of the month so kids 2-11 get in free with their families. There are also daily giraffe feedings and the Winged Wonders Bird Show.

2. Forestiere Underground Gardens: Located on Shaw in West Fresno there are acres of underground gardens dug out! As a kid I always thought Forestiere must be some fancy word for forest but in reality it is the creator’s last name;). If you ever needed proof that the hard pan in Fresno is hard, this is it;). These are court yards and patios with the occasional fruit baring tree. The temperature is 20-30 cooler than above ground so it is a nice way to get out of the heat a little. They have 1 hour tours and a schedule on their website.

3. McDermont Field House: If you just have to have that amusement park experience head out to Lindsay which is about an hour outside of Fresno. The Field House has everything you can imagine to do for fun and all inside. They have wave pools, gym, a skate park,  a giant rock climbing wall, an arcade and more! The most expensive admission is only $29 but there are cheaper options that give you access to specific attractions.

4.Discovery Center: The Discovery Center has been around in Fresno since I was a kid yet many people have never been there! They have a 4 acre park that is free to visit with a pond, a space capsule, a cactus garden, a maze and a ton of other stuff in addition to shade trees, picnic areas and indoor bathrooms! They also have a museum inside and sometimes various classes. And while they call it a museum it really is more of a science discovery area. They have a variety of exhibits with hands on areas. There is a cost associated with the museum but it is a ton of fun.

5. San Joaquin Fish Hatchery: The Fish Hatchery is up 12 miles outside of Fresno up at Friant. There is no charge!! You can go up and see the various life stages of Rainbow Trout. You can even feed them and watch them jump. It opens at 7:30 am so you can get out there while it is cool. Did I mention that it is cooler up in Friant  and it is free?

6. Castle Air Museum: The Castle Air Museum is about an hour north of Fresno in Atwater. This is a former air base that became a museum when it closed. There is an indoor museum with all types of memorabilia but for me, that isn’t the fun. They have all types of aircraft and even restore old military planes! On May 26th they are having an Open Cockpit day. They will be opening up the planes, having helicopter rides and all kinds of other fun. They also have a calendar on their site so you can see the other activities they have planed.

7. Meux Home Museum: The Meux Home is a home that was built basically from a catalog. It is decorated in authentic Victorian style and is gorgeous. You can take a tour through this house with a docent who explains everything. You will see the Victorian kitchen with the pie safe. They do seasonal events like a Mother’s Day tea and decorate for Christmas. If you have daughters who love the Samantha series in the American Girl series, this is perfect. But even if not this is a great historical outing.

8. Downing Planetarium: Did you know that we have a planetarium here in Fresno? Well we do over at Fresno State! They have a variety of weekend shows (all the summer schedule isn’t out yet). They also have free star gazing on Fridays outside and a free fun with physics class after the 2pm show on Saturdays. The big downer when it comes to their summer schedule is that they are closed for the whole of July for facilities maintenance. But it is ope the rest of the year. Prices are pretty low. It is educational for all ages and a little awe inspiring for all ages…. Or I am just a huge science nerd;).

9. Fresno Flats Village and Park: Located up in Oakhurst this village looks at life in the late 19th century. They have homes from the 1870’s along with a one room schoolhouse and a jail. You can go up for a self guided tour or schedule on. This isn’t aimed a the gold rusher but the people who moved into the are to build a life. Just a little outside the valley heat and very historical, this would be a great history experience! You would learn about not only California history but also construction and life in the 19th century. You also will be outside and moving! A win-win for this mom when looking at outings to take the family on. There is also an official museum that is open 10am – 2pm daily.

10. Sugar Pine Railroad: Up at Fish Camp (up towards Yosemite) is the Sugar Pine Railroad. This is an institution in the Fresno area. You can go and ride on an honest to goodness open rail cars! You can ride on a steam engine. There are a variety of choices and prices associated but they are all very affordable. There are also special events like dinner trips you can take (my parents did that one year for an anniversary when I was a kid;). I think my kids would even enjoy the Jenny railcar! You can also pan for gold while you are there too!

There is just a quick list of 10 fun and affordable outings around Fresno! Who ever said there isn’t anything to do here just wasn’t paying attention! So what are you summer plans with your kids?


Spring Break Fun




I was trying to figure out what I was talking about this week on my TV spot for next week. The producer on the show suggested great travel things to do during Spring Break. I had to think about it and then had to confess, we do not and will not vacation during Spring Break;).

If you are a home body like we are you can still find plenty to do over Spring Break!!! Some things are just fun but they all have an element of learning!

1) Visit the library!!! No, not just to check out books but do that while you are there;). Almost every library system has activities for all ages! The Fresno County Library system always has great shows and activities. All you have to do is look on the website and see which branch is doing what when.

2) Get some great books! Ok, we love to read here in the NerdFamily and I cold go on forever extolling the virtues of it. But seriously, get a book with a great story and put on a play with it!!! It helps kids to learn how to fully comprehend the plot line when they are going to stage it in a little production!

3) Have a day of paper airplane creation! Not only is it a great way to use up scratch paper, it is all science!! As they figure out how to manipulate the wings, nose and body they are learning the science of aerodynamics!

4) Color some carnations! Get light colored or white carnations. Then place then in glasses of water that you have added food coloring to. Ask the kids what they think will happen and wait. Not only will you have custom spring flowers, you will also see the capillaries at work!

5) Go cloud watching! You can use this handy cloud deciphering tool that Full of Great Ideas made to go with it. Not only can you make up stories and characters in the clouds but they are learning actual earth science. We learned cloud types in the classroom and due to that I can never remember which one it which;). By learning cloud types in the wild (so to speak) it will be in everyone’s memory for ever!

6) Go to your local zoo! My kids love the Fresno Chaffee Zoo! You see the animals, learn quite a bit and get some exercise!

Of course you should also cook with your kids, watch movies and sing songs too! But hopefully these 6 are a good start!

LEGO Summer Brickation Giveaway

From July 25th until September 4th (2012) Lego Brickation is hitting four spots around the US! One of those spots is in South Lake Tahoe located at 1001 Heavenly Village Way, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150!

So what is this Lego Brickation? According to The Shops at Heavenly Village:

Opening July 25 in shop #8 (on Highway 5) 10-8pm. Open 7 days a week thru September 4. The LEGO Summer Brickation will showcase the best of what the LEGO group has to offer. It will enable children and adults to benefit from a fun, hands-on experience of building and creating LEGO bricks and products. Different activity areas will be featured, providing families enjoyment in everything from building, games and challenges, to photo opportunities with life size LEGO models. Activity areas will include DUPLO® Boat, Build Tables, Creation Station, Race Ramps and LEGO Challenge Zone. Other notable experiences offered will be a LEGO South Lake Tahoe Mosaic, along with Life Size LEGO Models and a LEGO Cityscape.

I encourage you to check it out this awesome event! But why wait for the Lego fun? I am going to be giving away a prize pack just like that in the picture!!!

To enter just leave a comment with your favorite Lego memory!!!

The details: This giveaway will close on 8/2/2012 and it is limited to US addresses only. The winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize or I will pick another.

(Disclosure: This post has been compensated by GigCoin)

Barnes and Noble Summer Reading

It is time for the Barnes and Noble summer Program again! Kids just need to either pick up a passport or print it off the website. Then they read 8 books, record the information and have a parent sign off. Then the kids take the completed passport into any Barnes and Noble store, turn it in and pick out a free book!

The program goes first grade through sixth grade. And remember, you don’t have to buy the 8 books in order to qualify. They can be from your personal collection or the library so this is a free activity! But you do have to a brick and mortar store. There is no way to do this through the website.

Barnes and Noble also has a weekly story time that goes year round. In Fresno it is Saturday morning. They are aimed at lower elementary and are topical to the month.

Go read, get free books!!!

Free Building and Crafting Workshops

Home Depot has a monthly building clinic on the first Saturday of the month from 9am-12pm. It is completely free. The kids get to use Home Depot’s tools to build a project. In addition to the project the children also receive an apron, a commemorative pen and a certificate of achievement. It doesn’t look like you need to register for it.
Lowes has building clinics a couple of weekends a month. On the weekends there are clinics you have your choice of Saturday at 10 am or Sunday at 2pm the weekends they are doing them. They get an apron, goggles, a patch, and this month they are building wooden projects on the weekends of 6/9 and 6/23. Must register online

Michaels has a variety of craft events. Some are adult only and some are for children. Also some are totally free and some require the purchase of 1 of the supplies. For example they have decorated mugs where you purchase the mug and sometimes it is just free. They are also offering paid craft classes like Wilton cake decorating for 8-12 year olds for $15. The schedule is up for June but the next month isn’t always posted until the month has began.

These are year round deals but are especially great for summer fun!!!

Free Summer Bowling, Mostly

AMF is once again doing their free bowling program for kids! You register each one of your kids on the site and then AMF will email you weekly vouchers for 2 free games a child. And you will receive these emails every week until September 3rd so if you can’t do it one week don’t worry!

So why did I say mostly? You still have to rent shoes each time you go. In my area it runs about $4.50 so while the games are free each kid will still need shoes. Unless you happen to have your own;)?

But it is still a great deal for a physical activity to do through the summer in an air conditioned environment!

$1 Summer Movies

Regal always has a great summer program for the kids and this year is no different! This year it is $1 PG and G movies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. A portion of the $1 will go to the Will Rogers Institute. Just put in either your zip code or your state to see a list of dates/theaters/movies.

I personally, am a big fan of the $1 charge instead of it just being free. This actually helps to keep it a little more orderly because people have to be just a little more serious. It cuts down on the kids running through the theater;).

This year there are some great movies! The movies are not just for little kids this year! What are you taking your kids to see?