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When Life Gives you Lemons, Make Lemonade: Coping With Depression as a Result of Economic Stress

Robin Kahler is a patient who was diagnosed with affective bipolar disorder in 1988. She works from her home in Tucson, Arizona, as an ...Read More

With gas prices at an all time high and budgets at an all time low, many families are left wondering what to do for a vacation this year. Especially as parents we can feel so overwhelmed with guilt and even depression when our small child looks up at us in sadness when we try to explain why that trip to the theme park simply isn’t possible this year. Let’s face it, even if there is no child, the child inside each of us can feel pretty low at the thought of staying home for vacation.

But, there are things we can do-some really fun things-it just takes a little “I Can Overcome This Attitude.”

You can find some great ideas at your public library. Check out some “Cooking with Kids” books, a few crafty how-tos, or maybe some classics you’ve wanted to catch up on. It’s a great time to explore a cave with Tom Sawyer. Or re-visit Lake Wobegon. Don’t forget that the library is also the perfect place to rent FREE movies!

One summer when our children were young, we planned a few bi-weekly themes for the season. We spent each two weeks following a planned theme. One time we learned more about the Lock Ness monster. Now this may sound easy, but not when you research everything you can find on the subject. We even rented a movie about Nessy. The kids drew a poster and made a clay model. But most importantly, they had fun learning to research a project and draw their own conclusions about it.

Another time we created our own water park. (No money for a pool.) We found a sprinkler head that ran like a heavy rain and we hung it from a tree branch. Under it we placed a dollar-store shower curtain spread on the ground, (slip n’ slide fun when wet). The kids filled water balloons and invited their friends. We bought a few water pistols, yes, even for Dad and Mom. We set up a volleyball net to play while we dried, and we ended the day grilling hot dogs.

One week we decided to learn all about apples. We bought a few of each variety, including some we had never tried before. (We had to visit a few stores to do this.) We looked up the countries they came from. We sampled and voted on our favorites. We made homemade applesauce; we added red cinnamon candies to turn it pink.

Dad and the boys set up the tent in the back yard one night. As luck would have it, a Great Horned owl stopped by for a visit. They are amazing creatures when they fly over your head at night with their near four-foot wing span! It’s a “SWOOSH” I’ll never forget!

In short-don’t let a low budget get you down. There are so many things to do on a stay-at-home-vacation; in fact, you’ll probably run out of time before you run out of ideas!

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