Having Fun With Your Family on a Zero-Dollar Budget

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TGIF! It’s the weekend again, time to relax and have some fun: dinner out with friends, catching a movie or making a quick trip to the mall. Yikes, before you know it, you’ve busted the family budget in two days or less. Weekend fun for the family can get expensive.

When I was asked to participate in the Ziploc® Fresh 180 Challenge, Having Fun With Your Family on a Zero Dollar Budget, I was happy to take it on. This would be a chance for our family to spend some quality time together and save some green in the process.

With some careful consideration and a healthy dose of creativity we were ready — let the no-cost games begin!

Friday Pizza and Star Gazing
Everybody loves pizza but instead of those high priced deliveries, we made our own and called it a pizza party!

Making your own pizza is surprisingly simple, very economical and packed with homemade goodness. Rather than insisting that everyone agree on toppings, we made personal pizzas.


My recipes for homemade sauce and crust are so fast that you can literally go into your kitchen and eat 30 minutes later. (See recipe below.) And the best part, with everyone pitching in to help, it really did feel like a party.

Once dinner was finished, we headed outside for stargazing. We spread out a huge blanket on the grass and snuggled up as nature provided the entertainment. What a peaceful way to spend the evening — and we were all so relaxed that we slept like babies!

Gratitude Journal
I’ve always been a fan of gratitude journals, and have kept a personal one for over a decade. So I thought it might be fun for our family to keep a gratitude journal together. To get the family’s attention, I pulled out the craft supplies! We cut, painted, drew and glued until we had transformed a simple spiral notebook into our very own masterpiece. Each night just before dinner, we take turns listing one thing for which we’re grateful. What a special family treasure.


Tent Party Sleepover
Who could say no to a fun night of camping in the den? We transformed sheets into tents and filled them with sleeping bags, blankets and pillows — everything we needed for a cozy overnight, including flashlights!

Once the sleeping arrangements were set, we headed back to the kitchen to make some snacks. Chocolate chip cookies are always a hit, and making your very own trail mix is fun, too! We used a marker to write our names on Ziploc® brand Sandwich Bags and filled them with goodies; this way, we all had our own personal treat bags.

Let the den camp out begin! We played charades for hours, followed by a round or two of telling favorite family stories. We’ve heard all the stories before, but that didn’t stop the shrieks of laughter — success! Finally, everyone was sleepy. And as soon as the kids fell asleep on the hard floor, the adults sneaked back to their comfortable beds!


Sunday Picnic in the Park
On Sunday, we decided to get outside for some fresh air with a picnic in the park. A simple lunch of sandwiches, fruit and snacks would all stay tasty in Ziploc® brand Containers. We tossed everything we needed for a day of fun into a Ziploc® brand Flexible Tote including paper towels, sunscreen and a blanket. The lid kept everything organized and the handles made it simple to load into the car. Remember to toss in some toys like balls, a Frisbee and a kite for hours of fun in the park.

Our no-cost weekend was a huge success, and not only are we cash ahead, we did some serious family bonding. I think no-cost weekends will be a monthly exercise for our family!

Pizza Sauce
1 clove garlic pressed
One 15-ounce can tomato sauce
One 4-ounce can tomato paste
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
Dash of crushed red pepper
Salt to taste

Mix all the ingredients; allow sauce to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Pizza Crust
1 package dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water
2 ½ cups flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the yeast dissolve in warm water until creamy — about 10 minutes. Add salt, sugar and stir in the flour and oil. Stir until the dough forms a ball and let it rest for five minutes. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and shape the crust. Add the desired toppings and bake on a stone or baking sheet for 15 to 20 minutes.

Disclaimer: I was paid to develop this post and to provide related images for Ziploc®. As always, all opinions are my own.

 

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