Family Entertainment For Little Cost

Mary Jo Christianson*, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin finds it irksome that family entertainment is considered by so many to be a kind of 'extra': something frivolous that can be done without. "I find that family down time is a necessity. I always know when we need to have fun--my family can get really cranky without a change of pace."

Helping Can Be Fun

But Mary Jo knows that fun can be pricey. She's always researching new ways to have fun that don't cost an arm and a leg, bearing in mind that one man's fun is another man's drudgery. "For instance, doing good can be fun and costs nothing but good will, open-mindedness, and the ability to connect with others. I take my family to the local soup kitchen and we peel, chop, cook, and serve. We use the time to chat and catch up on the details in our lives. I know it's not for everyone, but for us, helping others is the way we recharge."

The Farber family of Abilene, Kansas winds down with food preparation, too, albeit for a less altruistic purpose. Marcy Farber* puts it this way, "We're foodies, but don't really have a budget for gourmet dining in fancy restaurants. Instead, we research recipes and cook them at home. Sometimes it's just the family, or even just me and my husband, Ned, and sometimes we get together with other families. Afterward we sit down to a meal together and the topic at table is the food we've just prepared. I think we appreciate the food all the more for the effort we've invested in preparing the meal."

Free Concerts Are A Great Option

Emily Hoffrichter* of Boston, Massachusetts is always scouring the newspaper for free concerts. "It's important to me that my children grow up listening to classical music live, but it's not just the listening. There's something about the formality and the comradeship of concert-going that I want for my children. I think I'm lucky to live in America, where we can get culture for free if we seek it out."

For the Ericson family of Seattle, Washington, an investment in a book of local walking tours has paid off in spades. Georgia Ericson* explains, "Every Saturday we choose another tour from the book, and we pack some fruit and water bottles. We learn about our city and its history and since we do this together as a family, we have a wonderful time."

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