Niki and I both had a few trepidations about how summer vacation might unfold during our Suburban Smackdown.  These are all firsts for us, of course, so fear of what lies around each unknown corner is natural, right? What would it be like to travel knowing that we wouldn’t be able to buy things along the way that we had failed to pack?  What if a boogie board broke or a pair of goggles got lost in the torrent of a wave?  Would the world end if we lost our favorite pair of sunglasses or because the kids couldn’t spend time debating what piece of junk to bring home from the souvenir shops? As it turns out, school starts Monday and the Taylor and Hitch families had a truly wonderful summer without a souvenir (other than shells) in sight.

Instead we:

Saved starfish, sold lemonade, climbed mountains, stayed in cabins, eco toured, dolphin toured, hung with pelicans, frolicked in the garden, beach combed, found shells, climbed rocks, explored nature, discovered hidden places, paddle boarded, rope coursed, white water rafted, visited much-loved friends and family, vacationed with family, made memories, climbed trees, played volleyball, had water fights, kayaked, celebrated the Fourth, put on a fireworks show, bird watched, built bonfires, marshmallow roasted, told ghost stories, raced Abuela on her scooter, celebrated birthdays, sang campfire songs, chased fireflies, gardened, had long conversations, learned more about each other, buried siblings in sand, got really silly, laughed much, cried a little, ate buckets of ice cream, sat by waterfalls, visited zoos, watched sunsets and much much more….


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9 thoughts on “Summer Vacation Smackdown Style: What We Did Instead Of Buying Stuff”

  1. I’m so fascinated by your challenge – we’re basically on board in mentality, though we haven’t taken a pledge. Here’s one of the things I’ve been pondering and part of my hesitancy… I just started teaching my children about money (through chores). They’re very young and we’re starting very slow, basically following their interests. One concern I have is that when they earn money, naturally, the complete lesson is that they get to spend the money (work equals money, money gives you the opportunity buy, give, and save – to pay for things you enjoy). So, I want them to learn that hard work enables you to do things that you want to do…
    Right now, they’re making a few dollars a week… so every few weeks we go to the store. And they mostly buy junk. The last trip, they bought a football and tennis balls (which was a small success – not the plastic toys toward which they usually gravitate).
    So… what do I do to effectively give them the opportunity to spend money but not inadvertently teach them that stuff equals happiness? Your post today made me think of maybe steering them toward buying admission to parks or food…. Do you have any ideas about this? Do your kids earn money? What do they buy with their money?

    1. Hi Mandy! Thanks for your thoughts. Apologies for the delay but several comments were sitting in moderation and I was unaware! Steering your kids in the direction of things they can experience rather than accumulate is the way to go for this challenge. I know they are young but I think we can help even little guys understand that memories made last longer than a toy. I also don’t think you have to be as hard nosed about it as we are and allow for exceptions from time to time. 🙂 My boys do get money for various chores and as reward occasionally. Right now they are just letting it grow in their piggy banks. We would love to have you participate in any capacity! ~Amy

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