Category Archives: Fun

All In Your Own Backyard

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All In Your Own Backyard

Hello!! When I first started working as an Independent Provider for people with special needs, I was mainly on the evening shift for purely social outings with my clients. For free and fun entertainment, we would often hit up the local libraries in the greater Akron area. Activities ranged from vinyl record clubs to art projects and murder mysteries and it was always a blast.

Now, I work in the mornings and afternoons and provide care under the umbrella of daily living skills. It has been a while since I scoured the library and community websites for outings and I, honestly, kind of forgot how amazing all of our local programs are until this summer. My family has certainly been making the most of them!

This past summer, people in my family have attended numerous events including a watercolor painting class and a Comicon style vendor fair. We have also loved taking my sweet niece to story time almost every week at the library. It is the most adorable little hour filled with books, songs, and crafts. My heart just melted when I took Val last week. ❤

Over last weekend, I experienced one of the best community events I have been to in a while with my dad and Val – the Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival. It was held at the Goodyear Heights Metro Park and featured awesome performances by various dance groups. We got to watch a jazz and ballet troop as well as the dancers from ArtSparks, which is a dance group made up of people with special needs. It was SO cool!

The main event of the night was a performance by Pilobolus, a world famous troop. However, we didn’t get to watch them because it was getting close to Valerie’s bedtime. All of the dancers we did see were spectacular but the best part of the night was when the kids in the audience got to take the stage. Val had a blast learning different ballet and jazz moves. She also unintentionally stole the show when she was showing off her newfound skills during another performance lol it was so funny. 😀

After Val learned some dance steps, she said that she would like to take dance classes and that’s what is so wonderful about all of these community programs. Not only do you get to meet new people but you also get to try your hand at new things for free or close to it. Similarly, my mom and I now paint in our free time after the ten dollar watercolor class we took.

Children, teenagers, and adults alike can all benefit from local programs – you just need to know where to look. Library websites, newspapers, and community pages can all point you in the right direction. If you are searching for new activities with minimal funding, then this is the way to go. Explore your community and have fun!

What community events do you like to attend? Have you learned a new skill or hobby recently? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Fun Summer Activities For All

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Fun Summer Activities For All

With the summer vacation still in full swing, you may be busy thinking of ways to keep the children entertained through the summer. There are countless ways that you can do this and it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune – many places will offer deals regularly to save you money. Take a look below for some amazing ideas for summer:

Theme Parks:

First on our list is theme parks! Most people enjoy the adrenaline rush they get when they attend theme parks. You could make it your mission to visit all of the theme parks around your surrounding areas by going to one per summer. Make a list and tick them off as you go. If you are venturing out with all the family, then make sure everyone is aware of what they can and can’t go on. You don’t want any last minute tantrums when the children aren’t tall enough for a ride.

Aquariums:

Something that is both amazing and relaxing at the same time is aquariums. They are full of marine life that you can spend hours watching. Watching these beautiful fish and mammals swimming around can bring you a feeling of utter peace and tranquility. Being closer to nature has this effect when you take it all in. Taking the children along to an aquarium means that they can attend the talks and feeds throughout the day. This is a great educational experience for children and they can learn all about marine life and how to play their part to keep it safe.

Museums:

If you want to do something that involves being quiet for a couple of hours, then how about a museum? Children love exploring museums and you are bound to have a couple nearby that you can take them to. This doesn’t just have to be art museums, you could also take a road trip to the natural history museum or the science museum. Both of these have exhibits that will keep the children entertained and in awe for hours on end. A lot of museums offer free entry during the summer break, which is a great way to save money.

Bowling:

Bowling can be fun and competitive for the whole family. Many places are giving families great value deals over the summer. One such example is Bowl. Dine. Unwind. Family Fun at your local arcade. The great thing about bowling alleys is that you can now wear your own shoes. Provided these are not high heels or open toed. A lot of people were very self-conscious or grossed out about the bowling shoes so many refused to go. This development means that they have opened themselves up to everyone now.

Summer break is the perfect time to make and capture memories that you and your family will remember for years to come. Have fun with the above ideas!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Preparing Your Home For Guests

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Preparing Your Home For Guests

Summer is the perfect time to welcome guests into your home. People are on vacation from school or work and there is nothing better than sharing in warm weather activities with close friends or family. While you don’t need to do a whole HGTV level overhaul of your house to prepare for guests, there are a few things that you can do to make them more comfortable:

Dietary Restrictions/Preferences:

Before your guests arrive, it is important to ask if they have any dietary needs to accommodate. Are they gluten free? Do they prefer tea or coffee in the morning? Not only does this show that you care but you can also stock your fridge ahead of time to skip a mad dash to the grocery store. Planning accordingly also means that you can plan meals ahead of time as well as find local restaurants that have options for dietary needs.

Prep The Guest Room:

Your guest room does not need to be set to the standards of a five star hotel but a little effort can go a long way. If you want to go all out, Pinterest has great suggestions for decorating a guest room. If not, that’s okay too! Extra blankets, towels, and toiletries will always be appreciated. How many times have you traveled to realize you forgot your toothbrush or shower gel?

Make Necessary Repairs:

Before you receive your guests, it is crucial to repair any home appliance that needs it. Extra people in your home means more dishes, laundry, and meal prep so it’s good to get these appliances checked out if they are not functioning as they should. The last thing you want is to be waiting around for a repair person all day while you could be having summer fun!

Have Activities In Mind:

Of course, all of your days with your guest don’t need to be jam packed. But, it will be fun to show them around the area especially if they have never been before. Local attractions, restaurants, and boutiques are all part of what makes your neck of the woods special so show it off! For chill days at home, a BBQ and backyard or indoor games work just as well.

Summertime is even better when it’s enjoyed with good company. Follow the tips above and I’m sure your guests will want to come by next summer too!

Super Fun Sidewalk Chalk Paint

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Super Fun Sidewalk Chalk Paint

Hello!! Johnny and I have a little niece and nephew and my mom is always looking for fun activities for them. We are both huge fans of Pinterest and JANE truly outdid herself by making some colorful sidewalk chalk paint from this McCormick recipe. Like any kid, the littles love making masterpieces with chalk and the paint was just as fun for the adults as it was for them:

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The recipe that my mom followed to make the chalk paint was a simple one that only required corn starch, water, and food dye. It also included the formulas to make all kinds of different colors from classic shades to neon hues. My niece, Valerie, requested the colors of the rainbow and my mom delivered, which made their driveway the most vibrant one in the neighborhood!

Sidewalk chalk paint is a unique spin on a tried and true favorite childhood activity. And, in my opinion, it’s even better because you don’t get that weird feeling from chalky hands – lol you guys know how I am about certain textures! This fun activity is sure to keep your kids entertained all summer long and I think that the adults will end up enjoying it just as much if not more. 😀

What was your favorite childhood activity? What do your kids like to do in the summer? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Memphis Kiddie Park Day Trip

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Memphis Kiddie Park Day Trip

Hello! I have been having so much summer fun last month and especially over this past weekend. My brother and his wife and son came to visit from Atlanta and we all had a blast hanging out. It was SO awesome for my niece and nephew to play together and they both solemnly announced that they would miss each other when it was time to go home. How sweet is that?!

Last Monday, we took the kiddos on a little day trip to Memphis Kiddie Park close to Cleveland and a delicious Mexican dinner afterwards. This was a very special outing, indeed, because my siblings and I used to go there all of the time when we were little. Whether we went with my parents or my grandma, it was always a huge treat to go to Kiddie Park and get ice cream after and I have so many fond memories of afternoons spent there.

When I was little, I remember thinking that Kiddie Park was a Cedar Point level amusement park. So, all of my siblings and I had a huge laugh when we saw through the eyes of an adult that it was the size of a large parking lot. It surely didn’t feel that way to my niece and nephew, though!

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^^^ The white Love On A Hanger top is one of my faves!

When we got to Kiddie Park my nephew, Patrick, was ready to ride all of the rides. My niece, Valerie, on the other hand… Not so much. Lol, it definitely took her a minute to get warmed up and, surprisingly, the only thing she wanted to ride at first was the Little Dipper rollarcoaster with me. Of course, I obliged and it made me think of all of the times that I would ride it with my grandma and we would go on it again, and again, and again. ❤

Val’s reaction to the Little Dipper was either going to be really good or really bad because she had never been on something like that before. Even more surprisingly, she loved it and after a juice box and a pretzel she was good to go. I guess she was just hangry and it was, honestly, such a mood!

After Val rallied, her and Patrick rode so many rides together and it was SO. Freaking. Cute. They loved the boats, spinning turtles, airplanes, and mini cars and it warmed my heart to see them waving to all of us and having a ball. Naturally, neither of them wanted to go home afterwards and, despite having no more ride tickets left, they were asking for “just one more ride”. ❤

Something tells me that we will be taking Val to Kiddie Park again this summer and I’m sure we will go all together with Patrick next summer too. It was just as fun for the kids as it was for the adults and it was the best day!

Do you have something similar to Kiddie Park in your neck of the woods? What is one of your fondest childhood memories? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

I’m So Excited!!

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I’m So Excited!!

Hello!! As you all know, I have never been a fan of summertime and I still wouldn’t call myself that now despite appreciating it much more. It’s probably because the pandemic made having summer fun impossible these past two years. While it still is a concern in my area of Ohio, we are currently in the green and it makes me feel way more comfortable with doing all of the ACTIVITIES!

There is so much that I’m looking forward to this summer, including the following:

Concerts:

Pre-pandemic, Johnny and I were always at different venues for his former band to play and it was a blast. However, we have never been to a big concert together and that is about to change this summer. Johnny and I are in a HUGE Willie Nelson phase and will be seeing him play at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls this July.

We are also going to Riot Fest in Chicago this September to see My Chemical Romance’s reunion. I scored these tickets prior to COVID and it got rescheduled and I was so thankful to be able to transfer our tickets to this year’s show. The lineup is absolutely amazing and I cannot wait!!

Pool Days:

My apartment community has a wonderful outdoor swimming pool and I count down the days until it opens for summer every year. The pool features a deep area, a section for the kids with a waterfall, and a mini pool on an upper deck. Whether I am lounging in the water with a good book or enjoying the pool with my niece it is always nice to escape at our own personal oasis. I also love that I can now take a float with my new Taco Bell inner tube that my sister got me! 😀

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Apartment Hang Outs:

Johnny and I still can’t get over our new digs in our bigger apartment and other than more space, the biggest upgrade is definitely a functional air conditioning unit and windows that open. Our last apartment would get unbearably hot in the summer and it was painful for us to be there let alone anyone else. This made it literally impossible to host friends and family and that always made me feel sad.

Now that we have somewhere that we can truly beat the heat in, we have guests over all of the time and that novelty will never wear off. We absolutely love having people over for dinner, game nights, and movies and it gives us something to look forward to almost every weekend. Our new apartment also features a lovely front patio that is so nice to sit on in the evening and have a chat!

Garden Veggies:

At the old apartment, my kitchen was a small galley one and it made cooking possible but unpleasant. The new place, however, has an open kitchen and it has turned cooking back into my favorite thing thanks to an abundance of counter space. Every summer, I look forward to my dad’s vegetable garden because there is nothing better than making a meal with fresh veggies. It just hits different and I am so ready to enjoy the harvest – both cooking and eating it! 😀

I am finally starting to understand why people like summertime and I guess it’s not so bad after all. Here’s to summer fun for everyone!

What are you looking forward to this summer? Are you going to any concerts? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Summer Fun!

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Summer Fun!

Hello! After a long and dreary winter, it is so nice to finally be enjoying the sunny days of summer. I have certainly been making the most of it with lots of fun in the sun… And the sunburns to prove it. -_- Despite looking like a lobster, I am already fantasizing about more days spent by the pool at my apartment community with a good book!

This past weekend was one filled with ACTIVITIES and I think that I am still recovering from it:

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This past Saturday, my sister and darling niece came over to go swimming and it was such a blast. To make it even better, Kristen surprised me with a Taco Bell inner tube that I am still freaking out over. Her and Valerie went to Five Below to stock up on pool toys and couldn’t not get me this TBell themed masterpiece. Val had so much fun hitching a ride on it with me and it will definitely be joining me every time I hit the pool!

My brother and his wife and son also came to visit from Georgia over the weekend and Johnny and I loved accompanying them to the park. We swung on the swings to our heart’s content and I have to laugh at Johnny’s outfit choice on such a hot day! He is nothing if not committed to our preferred OOTD choice of All Black Everything. 😀

I have never been a huge lover of summer and will forever be fall’s number one fan. However, I have a brand new appreciation for the season now that I can share in the joy with my niece. Trips to the pool, zoo, and park have never been more fun and will be even better once I remember to wear sunscreen smh!

What is your favorite summer activity? How about your favorite season? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Housewarming Party Pro Tips

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Housewarming Party Pro Tips

Hello! Johnny and I have been working hard to get our new apartment in order after our big move with a housewarming/birthaversary party as our goal at the end of the month. With the party in mind, it has encouraged us to pick up the pace with our unpacking to get our place in as good of order as we can for when our guests show up. Here are some of my pro tips to help you prepare for a housewarming party that I have been following closely:

Preparing The Home:

Moving is incredibly stressful and a big bash afterwards is the best reward! While your new digs don’t have to be completely perfect, there are some things that need to be in order before your party:

Make use of closet space: Some things simply can’t be unpacked yet due to needing additional furniture, which is definitely the case for me and Johnny. Make good use of your closet space and place these items accordingly so they’re not taking up room around the house. Out of sight, out of mind!

Get rid of packing supplies: One thing that is taking up lots of room in our new apartment is empty boxes! Do not fall for the trap of “I might need them eventually” because I promise you will be able to acquire more. Post on social media if anyone else might need them or get them to your nearest recycling center. I am lucky enough that one of my best friends is moving so she is getting all of our packing supplies as we continue to unpack.

Have plenty of seating areas: As I said before, the place doesn’t need to be just right for your party and things can be stowed away for the time being in rooms that guests won’t be in, like bedrooms or offices. However, plenty of seating areas is a must for your guests. Arrange your chairs and couches so everyone has a comfortable place to be.

Invites:

I sent out a Facebook invite well in advance so that I know how much food I will have to prepare and order (Which we will discuss more in the next header). In the invites, I let our guests know that in the afternoon, it will be mainly family coming by and if you want to rage, then arrive in the evening. That way, your invitees will know which time slot better applies to them.

Food & Drinks:

While you don’t need a ten course meal for your party, food and drinks are an obvious must. I have been scouring Pinterest for yummy dips and finger foods to make and then Johnny and I will just order a couple of pizzas. As far as drinks go, do make sure you have nonalcoholic options too if you plan on having booze. Mocktails, pop, water, and juice are a necessity if you have friends and family who don’t indulge in the drink! I plan on making up some mocktails as well as a party punch for the guests who are so inclined.

Entertainment:

Parties where everyone sits around and talks are fine but everyone likes games! Have an area with some table top or video games set up for your guests to play. Classic games are sure to go over well like Uno, Catch Phrase, or the Five Second Rule. If you have games that others haven’t heard of, just make sure you’re around to explain the rules to make the gaming experience more fun. And, of course, don’t forget to have some great music playing but not too loudly!

Our party has Johnny and I working double time after our move and I am so not mad about it. The place is looking wonderful and I can’t wait to celebrate! 😀

What are some of your party planning pro tips? How did you reward yourself after a big move or life event? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Have Some Fun: Visit A Local Hangout

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Have Some Fun: Visit A Local Hangout

Lots of communities have a local hangout where everyone seems to gather for a big game, trivia nights, or the company. This might be a bar, restaurant, arcade, or in some cases all three of these things in one. If you are in the mood to meet some new people, places like these are great to go to. It also offers these benefits:

You Will Have Longer Conversations:

It has been noted through research on the topic of socializing at pubs that people who sit at a bar and talk to other people tend to talk longer. While being in this kind of social situation, a person is more inclined to get involved in conversations with multiple people allowing them to converse freely. Being able to hold up a conversation is a great skill that not only brings its own happiness, but also helps you in daily life.

In your professional life, being able to talk, network, and hold your own makes people want to interact with you more and get to know you better.

You Will Get Involved In Sports:

Most hangouts have a dartboard or pool table and people are always crowded around it. Getting involved with a sport like darts helps you with your concentration, hand-eye coordination, control, and patience. All of these skills can only make your life better. Being a part of a team also makes you have a sense of belonging and community, which is a win for your mental health.

Whether it’s watching sports on TV and being among like-minded fans or joining the local sponsored sports team and getting exercise, visiting your local gathering place can introduce you to this world and help you meet new friends.

You Get Out of Your House:

Getting out of the house on a weekend night and being among people of various age groups and backgrounds always makes a person happier. When we are home and tucked away from the social scene we can develop feelings of isolation and loneliness. When we are out in the world socializing, those feelings melt away.

Even if it is only for one drink or two, sitting down in public and interacting with other people also breaks up the day and makes you feel as if you are part of something greater. The best thing that comes out of this is that you make new friends and discover new things about yourself.

You May Learn Something New:

A lot of bars and restaurants hold trivia nights in order to get more patrons in the front door for something fun and interesting. The best part of playing trivia games: you become a smarter person. Research has found that people who go to pubs and participate in trivia games are going to learn something new.

This also allows a person to show off their intelligence and how much they know in a public setting which boosts confidence and makes a person feel better about themselves and their abilities.

You Learn to Let Your Guard Down:

When you are in a social situation where everyone is talking to each other and having a good time, you are more likely to want to join in too. In order to do this, you are going to have to let your guard down. When you get into the habit of opening yourself up and talking, you will not feel so insecure to speak up and ask questions at work or with your family and friends. This kind of confidence will help you take control of your life and improve it.

You Will Feel More Relaxed:

When you go out and have a good meal, perhaps a drink, and time with your friends, you are more likely to feel relaxed. An evening of getting yourself out there and enjoying yourself is the best cure after a stressful week. It gives you the opportunity to leave your job at the office and focus on having a blast, instead.

Exploring the local hangouts in your area will give you the chance to connect with people and unwind. Plan an outing somewhere new with your friends and enjoy!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Be On The Lookout!

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Be On The Lookout!

Hey! Lots of fun stuff is coming out on lifewithlilred including new OOTDs (I’m taking pictures today, I hope!), book club reviews, and I’ll be teaming up with Elite Sports and Born Tough to give some of their products a try. I can’t wait! 😀

Keep it posted with yours truly so you can take a look at all of my essentials in my skate bag when I hit the rink. But, if you can’t wait until then, here is some awesome gear by Elite Sports to check out in the meantime:

I love you all!!! ❤