Son Sings to Dying Father in the Last Hours of His Life

We share many moments with you.  Sometimes they are times of joy and sometimes they are times of sorrow. We are a real family who goes through real things. Trials and hard times do come our way.  This is one of those times.  A few hours before Ruben’s 91 year old dad passed away on Oct 23, Ruben sang a special song to him.  The song is called, “My Dad” by Paul Petersen.  We were blessed to spend the last night and early morning with Ruben’s dad Carlos during his last hours on this earth.  We sang songs, hymns, worship all night into the morning as we helped usher him into the presence of his Lord.  We hope and pray this video below blesses you as you watch.  All of us will encounter grief at some time in our lives. Whether it be a loved one or friend.  May this moment we share be a reminder to love.  And to love deeply.  Only God knows.  May Jesus carry you through your time of sorrow.  

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven– 2A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.   Ecclesiastes 3:1-2        
Blessings and Shalom, 


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30 Summer Fun Activities for Kids

Summer Ideas For Kids.jpg


Hello Mamas, have you got your summer game plan yet? Whether you homeschool or not, we all need a game plan for what to do with our kids during those long, hot summer days. One of my lovely mommy readers asked me for some ideas in this area.  

“How do you keep your kids busy during the summer?”.    

I definitely have some creative ideas and easy activities that won’t break the bank! 
 

Here’s a summer game plan great for any family. 

  1. First, sit down and brainstorm activities you are willing to do on a daily or weekly basis. It should be fun for both you and the kids.  (Refer to my list below) 
  2. Grab that calendar.  Start with the month of June first, then you can modify what worked or didn’t work when you create your July calendar later.
  3. Post your errands, appointments, birthdays and holidays such as swim lessons, vacation time,  etc. . .   first before adding summer activities.  After doing this, you will realize there are less days to utilize.
  4. Choose a different daily activity for every day of the month or choose 5 daily theme activities and repeat them every week.  Whatever works with your family is good!  

Now for the fun part . . . time to choose which ones!

 icon-print  Click here to download my Free Printable List, 30 Fun Summer Activities for Kids 

30 Fun Summer Activities for Kids

1. A “Learn how to ?” day  
Use this day to teach the kids in a group, something useful or a skill.   It could be anything from how to make a PB & J sandwich or how to fold laundry.  

 

2. Wet day 
It’s hot outside!  Live by a lake?  Got a hose?  Even if you don’t have a pool, you can buy a kiddie one or go to the community pool.   Even parks and outdoor malls have free splash pads and water zones.  

3. Craft day 
Get creative, there are many websites with free printables. 

4. Library day
Summer reading programs at city and county libraries offer prizes and they are a fun way to  keep the kids reading through the summer.  

5. Park day
It’s free and it’s fun! 

6. Friends day
Play date anyone?  Get together with other moms and kids for play and lunch. 

7. Movie day 
Some theaters have discount movie prices during the summer or even has free movies for the kids!  

8. Museum day 
Explore your city, there are many free resources available and discounted summer prices for  kids. 
 
9. Sports day 
What are your children’s interests?  Teach the kids how to play a sport.  
 

10. Cooking day 
Summer shakes, popsicles, cool treats are fun recipes to make in the kitchen.  

11. Create a Movie day
Make your own home movie, song, dance, skit or puppet show.  

12. Free Day 
Kids choice! 

13. Surprise day 
Just like it sounds, you pick it Mama! 

14. Let’s Get Out of the House day 
This is open to whatever you pick, just do it out of the house.  

15. Visit a Relative day
Have any family close by, go visit them.  

16. Help a Friend day 
Serve in the community or show hospitality.  

17. Beach day 
If you don’t live by the beach, make it a beach theme in your backyard!  

18. Nature day
Take a early morning nature walk or do some gardening. 

19. Picnic Day
Grab a blanket, pack a lunch and eat some watermelon! 

20. Music day
Make musical instruments or put the music on and dance. 

21. Game day
Board games, activity games, remember Twister?

22. Book day
Choose a book to read as a family and do a unit study or lap book.  

23. Pajama day
Breakfast for dinner and a chill kind of day! 

24. Art day
Painting, play dough, get your creative on!

25. Science day 
Explode that volcano, learn about the planets.  

26. Zoo day 
Some zoos like our Phoenix zoo has a splash pad to play and cool off after visiting the animals.  

27. Puppets day
Make puppets, put on a show!

28. Lemonade Stand day
Remember doing this when you were a kid?    it’s always fun to set up a stand and have kids learn business.  F.Y.I. check your city town laws first.

29. Write a letter day
Kids love to get mail, so write on. 

30. Purge day
Have kids help clean their rooms of unwanted toys, clothes and donate or have a yard sale.  

Which of these ideas was your favorite?   
My daughter and I love wet day especially when her cousins come over and have fun in the pool.  

Here are some other resources you can visit for more summer fun activities: 

Summer Fun School 
Summer Activities for Kids
15 + Summer Activities for Kids
50 Inspiring Ideas for Summer

Blessings and Shalom





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This one’s for the girls! {Secret Keeper Girl Crazy Hair Tour}

This weekend we got a little crazy!!!  Ahem, just a little. 

God crazy that is. . . mother daughter time, worship, Bible truth, and a modest fashion show all under one roof! 

Add crazy hair to the mix and an important message for tween girls and ladies alike, 

“You are God’s beautiful masterpiece!”.  


Drumroll please. . . , welcome to the Secret Keeper Girl Crazy Hair Tour!  

We had a absolute fabulous fun time.  Princess and I were so blessed by this event!  

The Secret Keeper Girl Crazy Hair Tour is a creative and fun way for moms and daughters to come together and learn what the Bible has to say about being a girl after God’s own heart.  

Two years ago, little Princess and I attended our first Secret Keeper Girl Pajama Party event.  Little Princess was six years old and even though she didn’t understand the “tween” issues yet, she loved the “mother daughter” time.  

I knew in a few years, Princess would benefit from this event even more.  We kept hoping and praying that another event would come our way.  

When I heard that Secret Keeper Girl was touring the country again and coming to Arizona, I couldn’t wait to register!

So what’s a secret keeper girl anyways? 

Dannah Gresh, Founder of Secret Keeper Girl explains it this way, 

“Well, she’s a lot of things. And she’s NOT a lot of things. She’s NOT a mean girl. She’s a girl whose friendships are full of kindness. She’s NOT boy crazy. Moms, can I get an Amen? She’s a girl who knows she can share all of her heart-secrets with her mom at any time. She’s also a girl who embraces modesty. Why? Because she knows that she is a masterpiece created by God. She strives to keep the deepest secrets of her authentic beauty a secret!”. 

So on with the SHOW!  Crazy Hair Salon!       
                           
Creating our fun hair styles was so much fun.  I had no clue what to do with our hair, but with a little teasing, some hairspray, more teasing, embellishments, more hairspray, add some pink boas . . . we worked that crazy hair!  


                   Of course, we had to take our mother daughter selfie. 

I caught a Blue Monkey, say what? 
Somewhere between the fun “dance contest”  and pink blue challenge, I managed to catch a blue monkey.   It was epic, because I totally couldn’t catch a ball if my life depended on it.   That blue monkey got thrown from the stage and came flying in the air right to me!  
I lifted both arms and caught it with both hands.  Little Princess was so excited with disbelief that her Mama actually caught something.   We gave each other a high five!  What a special gift from God.  


Bible Verse Memory Challenge


We were challenged to learn two memory verses: 2 Corinthians 5:13-14.  The mother daughter memory  game was so much fun and learning it in a English accent was our favorite.  You just had to be there! 



Our FAV Quote of the Night


“God is tickled silly pink madly in love with me”. 
Secret Keeper Girl

My heart was even touched with these words.   How can that happen?  I’m the Mom and I’m supposed to be over all those issues that were so “jr. high” ago.  Right?  Wrong. 

The truth is . . . no matter what age we are, we are constantly battling lies and insecurities.  We will always need the wisdom in the Word of God to remind us of God’s love.  There comes a time when we have to be real.  Real with ourselves.  Real with Jesus.  

How can we confidently help our daughters see themselves the way God sees them when we doubt this for ourselves?  

It comes down to this- the condition of our heart. 

Secret Keeper Girl finds a way to minister to the heart alright, the heart of every girl.  

Yes, even us women are girls at heart.  We are daughters of the King and He sees us beautiful.   God is tickled silly pink madly in love with us!  

Jesus Loves Me
At the end of the evening,  the secret keeper girls were invited to become a Princess of God-accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior.   

A tender quiet moment.   There’s nothing like it.   I held my Princess tight as I prayed blessings over her life.  I couldn’t hold back the tears. 

Sorry if you can’t see the video, click here to watch


As prayer time came to a close, the girls were asked to sing Jesus Loves Me without the help of the ladies.  I’m so happy I captured this moment on video.  Tears came to my eyes again as I heard my little Princess precious voice worship with the other sweet girls in the room.  

As I glanced down, I captured her face which reflected emotion, yet confidence.  Confidence knowing she is loved by her God.  She is valuable.  She is fearfully and wonderfully made.  

A moment of innocence captured in time.  

A sweet tender Holy Spirit moment.  

Our daughters grow up so fast.  Little girls today, young women tomorrow. 

Let’s remember to take the time and make the time,  right now, while they are little to cultivate their precious hearts with the truth of God’s Word!   

God’s promises are true.   We will see the fruit of our labor, Moms.  

Jesus Loves us this I know, for the Bible tells us so.  

Blessings and Shalom, 

For more information and resources:  visit Secret Keeper Girl  

If this post encouraged you, then you may enjoy these: 

He Just Wants You To Be You 

Blessing Your Daughter

5 Blessings to Pray Over Your Children

Join Me:  Women in the Word Live Event April 2 {Building a Strong Christian Home}

Affiliates used in this post, thank you for using them and blessing our family.  

Our 1st Weekend in March Review {Unexpected Visitors}

Have you ever had one of those weekends when things didn’t turn out as planned, but it still turned out fabulous anyways? 

Yah, you know the kind.  

We had a weekend just like that!


Saturday morning we had unexpected visitors.  My sweet little niece and nephews came to join us for a late morning of pancakes, crafting and outdoor fun.  

Hadara was so excited when she found out her cousins were coming over! 
Words can’t describe. 



So what’s the first thing you do with kids?  

Feed them!  Of course, ahem.  





The pancakes, strawberries and freshly baked cinnamon rolls were a big hit with the kiddies.   

My five year cutie nephew said, “I make the goodest pancakes ever!”.  He’s a keeper. 




Then after eating, we had clean-up time and I put my two year old nephew to work.  

It was a “stay in your pajamas” kind of day.  What other kind are there? 

Who says toddlers can’t do chores?  




Then, the girls got crafty and made lovely mini purses.  


The two year old had fun with the glue stick. 

Ta da!  The girls were so happy with their new craft creations.  


Then, it was fun playing outside on a rainy windy March day.   Yes we live in the desert.  Notice the cactus in background. Sticks out like a sore thumb, I know.  Take note. . . DIY garden project in future.  



Can you tell he had fun?  I love seeing kids discover nature, don’t you? 

And that was our unexpected perfect day! 

No matter what our plans may be,
a sweeter day led by the Lord is key.  
-Rosenda Valenzuela 


 “Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord.” Psalm 127:3 



How was your weekend?  

Do you have a yummy pancake recipe you’d love to share with me? 


How about a delish gluten free one? 



Blessings and Shalom, 






Our 1st Weekend in March Review {Unexpected Visitors} is a post from Rosenda @ Little Pink Casa

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The 5 Best Things About Father Daughter Dates

This weekend, my hubby escorted our daughter on a special date.  

It was their annual “Father Daughter Dance”.   

Every year, our community offers a Father Daughter dance around Valentines Day.  My hubby and the little Princess have been attending this since she was three years old.  I have photos lined up on our wall in the hallway showing the growth of each year.  Wow!  Catching a glimpse of these photos as I pass  them from day to day, remind me of how fast she is growing up.  tear tear. 

As I wipe my eyes, I write this with a passion to persuade you how important it is for your daughter/s and their father to have these special times together.  

I was touched by this statement I saw on a post from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine“Speak of her father as the Hero of the family”.   Does your daughter see her daddy as her hero? A Father Daughter date can do just that! 

Referring back to my Blessings Series, “Blessing For Your Husband“, if you haven’t read that already, you’ll love it!   Their Father is the first man our daughters encounter.   How he treats her affects her outlook on herself, future relationships with men, her future husband and most importantly with Father God.  (I like to use the Hebrew word for Daddy, Abba).  🙂
With no positive example of a loving Father figure, daughters may seek the negative form.  That’s what we don’t want.  As an encouragement to fathers, take the lead and be your daughter’s hero.  Cultivate your relationship and love your daughters.  

I asked my daughter what she loves about having father daughter dates with her Daddy and I was surprised by what she told me.  Oh don’t get me wrong, they were great answers and very mature ones at that.  She is growing up isn’t she?  I asked Ruben my hubby for some male input and got his opinion.  Got to be fair.  

The Best 5 Things About Father Daughter Dates 
 {According to a Dad and his daughter} 

1.  Quality time with Daddy

  •      Attention, attention, attention.  


2.  Princess Treatment 

  •      It’s about her and treating her like a young lady.  


3.  High Respect

  • No matter what type of date you are on, know that she will respect you more as her father and look up to you as her hero.  Isn’t that a great thing in this world today for men when honor is no longer esteemed. 


4. Communication

  • Time to talk with your daughter is critical. Conversation is key.  When teen years come, this tends to decline with Dad and increase with Mom.  However, cultivating good communication now will let your daughter know she can trust you later.  


5. You are the Example 

  • Teach her how a young lady is to be treated.  Open the door for her, pull out her chair, and hold her hand.  These moments you will treasure for the rest of your life. 


Be challenged to schedule that father daughter date today!  The heart of your daughter depends on it.  

What are some other benefits that Father Daughter dates offer for your family?

Blessings and Shalom, 

The 5 Best Things About Father Daughter Dates is a post from Rosenda @ Little Pink Casa

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Best Tamale Day Ever! A Christmas Family Tradition

A Christmas time favorite of our family is making and mostly eating tamales!  Grandma, my Mama’s Mom made the best tamales and well my Mama who learned from her continues to carry on the family recipe.  This week, my big Sis, little bro and I came together and helped our Mama make those yummy tamales.   It was a fun family bonding time!  
My niece was also there, but she hid in the background and was promoted to photographer.  As you can see a great pic of red chile con carne and olives . . . must have lots of olives! 

Must start this tamale day off with lots of coffee!  
First, my brother Josh helps Mama mix the masa . . . we had lots of laughs with this one!  Ha ha!  

The hojas de maize were soaked and ready for spreading.

Mama tests the masa de maiz to see if it is a right consistancy. 
 Looks good! 

Here we go, like an assembly line.  Spread, fill, spread, fill . . . 
My beautiful Mama!  Grandma would be proud Mom.  
My daughter and my nephew enjoyed watching it all and eating the olives!
 I had fun watching their expressions!  He’s taking mental notes.  
The kids loved their homeschool tamale cooking lesson!

After 10 dozen tamales and then some later, of course they are not all here in the photo.  That would be a very big photo!  We even made a trendy chevron tamale.  Can you find it?  The yummy tamales are ready to cook, but not to be eaten until Christmas Eve for dinner.  
Hey, it’s tradition! 
Oh me, oh my Sis . . .  what’s a girl to do, tamales are hard work! lol

Best Tamale Day Ever! 
What a fun day it was and we definitely made family memories.  I love that about cooking!  

Have you made tamales before?  What are some of your tamale tips?  
Blessings and Shalom,


Best Tamale Day Ever!  A Family Tradition is a post from Rosenda @ Little Pink Casa
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Our Week Before Christmas Review: Mommy Daughter Date +Build A Bear +Sugar Cookies

Every year for Christmas, I try to make a time where little Princess and I go out together on a mommy daughter Christmas date.  Last year, we didn’t get to do it, but this year we did!  We were very excited.  🙂

First stop was Build a Bear!  The last time we bought anything from this place was when Hadara was two.  That’s when she got her very first and only (might I add) Build a Bear.  So, we both decided after six years, it was time for her bear to shop for new clothes.  
Princess gave her Princess Bear a long deserved bath and hair combing!  
Wow, she got pampered. 

Hadara picked out a snazzy blue dress, cute white sparkly jacket and matching silver shoes fit for a Princess Bear.  
Paradise Bakery was our last stop to a beautiful mother daughter date.   
We were so hungry after all that bear shopping. 

The next day, we baked sugar cookies!  
Hadara looks forward to this every year for Christmas.  

We crank up the Christmas music, put on snowflake Christmas aprons 
and start sugar cookie making! 

Ta da!  
We encourage you to take some time this season to spend with your children.  Our babies grow up too fast!  Enjoy them, every minute!  

Do you have mother daughter date ideas to share?  

Do you have a good sugar cookie recipe? 




Blessings and Shalom, 

                                                 




Our Week Before Christmas Review:  Mommy Daughter Date +Bears + Sugar Cookies is a post from Rosenda @ Little Pink Casa
If you’ve enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Rosenda on FacebookPinterest, and Google+!

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Reflections of a Mommy’s Heart

I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way.  
O when wilt thou come unto me?
I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. 
Psalm 101:2

As I reflect back on photographs of being a young Mommy, I realize those moments were so tender, innocent and beautiful.  They continue to be.  Yet, as our children change, we also change.  Motherhood is an ongoing process of change.  Our children grow up so fast.  

I think about all the teachable moments I took advantage of and the ones I neglected. 

My heart fails and so do my child’s heart.  Yet, God’s way is perfect.  (Psalm 18:30)

Many things are vying for our kid’s attention.  They are exposed to many negative role models.  So, Lord, protect our babies.  We want to limit the contact our children have with these sources of bad influence.  Even more, guide us to be a good influence before our little ones and show them, even while they’re very young, how important it is to walk in Your ways and to obey Your commands. 
Lord, help us Moms to live according to Your guidelines and therefore be able to show our children that Your plan is best as they live for you.  

Trust the Lord with your children today and take comfort knowing that His way for them is perfect.  Today, I encourage you to hug your babies extra tight, pray for them, love them unconditionally  and guide them in the Lord’s light.  


Thank you Lord for our children! 

How do you make each moment count with your children? 

Blessings and Shalom, 



15 Things My Parent’s Taught Me About Marriage

This weekend my family had a blessed time celebrating my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary.  Let me take you down memory lane. The year was 1963.  It was a beautiful autumn day in November, fifty years ago.  My parents vowed their love to each other and began the unknown journey of love and marriage.  I can picture them so young, living in a time that was springing forth growth.  Come on, it was the sixties.  Hello?  To think that my parents have lived to see this day, let alone persevered to stay married.  Yes.  Stay married.  It’s a true blessing.  A rare find.  

It is very rare to find married couples who are even married 15 or 20 years in this day where marriage is just a word.  Many young people in their twenties today are finding that they don’t want to marry because they have seen the deterioration of marriage all around them.  It’s very sad.  The lie of the enemy, Satan is telling many that marriage does not last.  Well, in my parent’s case, it does.  My husband’s parents marriage also lasted.  They were married for 61 years!  Wow!  Our children need to see examples of married couples like these who have committed to making a covenant last.  

Now, I’m not saying anything to ruffle your feathers if divorce has been part of your life or in your family.  I understand all situations are sensitive and different.  I write this post in as much love yet with much boldness and conviction.  I am just saying that marriage in God’s eyes means so much more!  It’s a covenant for life.

How does a marriage lasts forever?

God loves marriage.  His vision of marriage is described in the Bible and used in comparison to our relationship with Jesus.  We are like a beautiful bride waiting for our King to come back for us.  I love that lovely image.  

Marriage takes work and commitment.  It was created for growth.  Marriage is like a tiny seed that needs to be watered and cultivated in order for fruit to be established.  


Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, Moreover, an attacker may defeat someone who is alone, but two can resist him; and a three-stranded cord is not easily broken.
The three-stranded cord can be a symbol of a marriage with God holding it together.  God the Father, Husband, and Wife all together is like a strong three-stranded cord.   When you take away a cord and only have two strands, the rope is not strong enough to hold anything. 
God has to be the center of all marriages.  

My parents were not Christians until 30 years into their marriage.  My siblings and I did not grow up seeing a healthy marriage with Jesus in the center let alone in our home.  However, I had to learn along with my husband what it meant to have Jesus Lord over our lives and marriage.   The best part was when our parents decided to follow Jesus and make Him Lord of their lives. Through the years, good times and bad.  

“When Jesus resides in the home, love is there.  
When Jesus is welcome into a marriage, love is there.”  – Rosenda V


It’s time to enjoy the ride married couples!  Marriage is like a ferris wheel.  You go up and down.  It’s fun, it’s exhilarating, but soon the ride is over before you know it.  The years go by so quickly and soon one day, as you look deeply into your spouses eyes, you both realize you’ve grown old together.   

Those petty things you argued about in the past,  pet-peeves, silly and selfish things.  At that moment, we don’t think about that.  All we see is our love.  



As I was thinking about this post, I wanted to also share some words of wisdom about marriage.  I put together a list of what I’ve learned as a daughter of parents who have been married 50 years!

The 15 Things I’ve Learned From My Parent’s Marriage of 50 Years!

 1.   Invite God to be the center of your marriage and keep Him there.


 2.   The wedding is one day, but marriage is a lifetime.

 3.   Never Quit- when times get tough, deal with them and work them out.

 4.   Beauty and youth fade away, but love grows.

 5.   Marriage is a covenant and a final decision.  
       There are no other options- it’s all or nothing baby!

 6.   Children are a blessing, yet they will leave one day.  
        Keep the marriage priority at all times.

 7.   Time flies by so fast, enjoy your spouse while it lasts.

 8.   Husbands love your wives and Wives submit to your husbands.

 9.   Prayer is the key to keeping the marriage covered and protected.  Pray for your spouse.

10.  Love your spouse through mountain high or valley low.

11.  Invest in your marriage-the grass is not greener on the other side. . . 
       water your own grass.

12.  Date night!  Married couples need time to themselves.

13.  Dream together, pray together, trust the Lord together.

14.  Use trials to grow closer together, not farther apart.

15.  Forgive, kiss and make-up always.  No excuses.



. . . Overall, it was a true blessing to see my parents celebrate 50 years of marriage together. We are so thankful for what the Lord has done in our family. Our Mom and Dad have been there for all of us and many others. They continue to give of themselves over and over again. They have such hearts of Gold. Praise Be to God!   Happy Golden Anniversary Mom and Dad. 

Blessings and Shalom,






How do you keep God the center of your marriage? 


July Water Fun

Is an expensive swimming pool really a better choice for summer water fun?  Hmmm, I was thinking about this and I started to reflect back on my own childhood.  We didn’t have a swimming pool, but we had a yard and a hose and a sprinkler.  We didn’t live in a community where there was access to a community pool.  I lived in a time when you knew it was summer because when you went to Kmart, and there were plastic pools outside on display ready to buy!  I still remember that excitement.

Some of my best memories were when my brother and I spent numerous days outside running through the sprinker and spraying each other with the hose.  We made up games and took breaks to sit and eat watermelon or popsicles.  The best parts were feeling the wet grass in between our toes and the worst problem we had to face was dirty grassy feet.  Oh well.  I don’t remember how hot it was during those summer AZ days.  All I remember was the fun and laughs we had and that funny colorful sprinker bug that waved his little antennas around and water sprayed out of it.  Did any of you have one of those bug sprinklers?  Maybe if you were an 80’s child?  I’m dating myself.


Yes, I did have one of those plastic pools some summers as a little girl too.  That was fun, but for some reason the most memories I have are the ones that were much simpler involving the simple water hose.


Well, this 4th of July, my daughter and her little cousins got together at Grandma’s house and there was no built in swimming pool.  Just a slip and slide and a hose and a sprinker.  I sat back and watched how the kids excitement grew with anticipation as they watched my Dad (Grandpa) through the window get the whole water fun set up.  They ran out of the door and ran right into the water.  Their smiles told the whole story!  What a fun day!  At the end of their fun, Grandpa took the hose and surprisingly sprayed the little ones, ha ha!  I laugh even now as I remember.  I can still hear their laughter including my own.  What a simple day.


As families, we don’t need a lot of money to have summer water fun.  It’s the great times we spend together that turn a budget water day into a rich day of memories.

What are some fun budget ways your family has fun during the summer?   Share your comments.  Have a great Monday and keep pressing on.

Blessings and Shalom,




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