If anything, this year of intentionally seeking one family “adventure”/outing a month has proven that a fun family outing does not need to be expensive nor require a lot of travel. I’m putting it up there as one of the best goals of the year and one I will certainly put on the list for next year.
The requirements are that it’s something new, we go together, and something a little beyond what we would normally do (snowshoeing at the state park doesn’t count, but snowshoeing up a mountain we’ve never been to does).
And we’ve done it! Some months it’s been easy, and some have required a lot of thought (March?). We’re outdoor people, and where we live, outdoor activities are what we have. So it’s no surprise that most of our adventures have been just that.
In October, we visited a living history farm in Canada for their end of the season event. It wasn’t somewhere new to us, but we did a few different activities and tried to be intentional about making the day special- we played in a big tug of war, we dressed up in costumes, we bought old-fashioned candy to taste; it was a lovely day.
Our unofficial adventure of October was a hike up a new trail at the state park. Sitting at the top of the mountain as the sun set, we realized that it was getting dark quickly. Oops! We forgot it starts getting dark much faster in the fall. Being the properly prepared hikers that we are (ha!), we didn’t have headlamps. Once we were off the mountaintop and into the woods, it was REALLY dark. Nothing to do but hike down an unfamiliar trail in the dark. And it was truly fun.
November found us at a farming conference and staying in a little cabin for a couple nights. We contra-danced and played and hiked; it fit the bill as something that was not every day.
Unofficial adventure? Oh yes. Coming home from the pool one evening we ran out of gas in the safari van. We knew that the gas gauge was not correct (when it shows a quarter tank it’s actually empty), but we thought we had plenty of gas. There wasn’t a station nearby. In fact, when the car stopped there wasn’t anything nearby. No houses for a few miles. It was cold. It was 8 pm and dark. And we weren’t totally sure that gas was the problem.
Someone stopped soon and took John back to our house while I sat with the kids. He came back with a gas can and our other car, and to our relief, the van only needed gas. Whew! As John says whenever something quirky happens with our thrifty safari van (and this is often!), “every day is a gift”. Cue laughter. Now Sammy tells us, “if your car doesn’t work, just put gas in it and it will go”. Thank you for your wisdom, Sammy!
This month, a friend had asked me to help her hand out candy in a holiday light parade and the kids could ride on the float and sing. We got to the parade a little late (it took a long time to cross the border that night), so we had to run up the parade to find our group. The kids hopped on the float and I started passing out candy- we didn’t miss much. So.much.fun. Both Hannah and BenBen told me that they liked being in a parade much better than watching one.
After the parade, we went skating at the ice rink and then we stayed for a hockey game. I’m going to compare the game to AA baseball- these guys were good but it wasn’t NHL- and it is Canada, so they are serious about hockey. The kids were in absolute awe. As we watched the game, the men behind me speaking French, I felt like I was in a foreign land. Love.it.
Last weekend after ice skating in Canada, John learned about a waterfall that wasn’t too far away. It was almost dark, but why should that stop us? We got donuts and found the trailhead and then snow-hiked to an amazing waterfall. We absolutely have to go back in daylight because it far surpassed our expectations. It was breathtaking. And I thought I had already hiked everything nearby! There is so much to be found if you’re looking for it.
Have you had any family adventures lately? Have you ever run out of gas with your kids in the car?