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Saturday, May 28, 2022

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Deals You Thought You Couldn’t Afford

“What are we doing tomorrow?” is a commonly asked phrase by my eldest. I fully acknowledge that he is an extravert and he gets his energy from being around people, and while I am a people person, there are times I can’t fathom adding one more thing to my day. Between my side hustles, homeschooling my boys and daily household maintenance, my days and evenings are already maxed out. Add a last-minute co-op gathering or extra practice or call to meet at the park or help a family member, my blood pressure rises and I feel myself spiraling. Don’t read me wrong, I want my boys to be involved and engaged in activities but sometimes this “taxi” is out of gas. 

As the weather gets warmer and there are more daylight hours, I am more apt to participate in events around town. I have found that the best way to keep my children entertained is to get them involved in the things they choose. Full disclosure, the days they are the busiest tend to be my best parenting days. 

To that, I’ve compiled a few hidden gems around the Fredericksburg area for you:

My eldest has been asking for a dog for years now but our family is just too busy to give a dog the care it needs. So we volunteer at Old Dominion Humane Society (olddominionhumanesociety.org) for his doggy fix. This is a volunteer-run no-kill organization that my boys love dropping in to for a visit to care for and snuggle with some dogs. It’s a win-win. My boys and the dogs all are able to get their energy out!

Keep cool in the pool. If you are looking for inexpensive swim lessons, join a swim club with a swim team that offers a learn to swim program. We found a small member-owned pool with a swim team in Spotsylvania County—the Spotswood Swim Club (spotswoodswimclub.org/home). The annual membership allows our family to take a dip for an hour or two and catch up with friends all summer long.

Have a daughter asking for a pony? Check out this local stable in Spotsylvania County, Hidden Fox Farm, (hiddenfoxva.com) a premier hunter/jumper training facility and riding school specializing in riding lessons for children. A friend told me her daughter loves it and it was an inexpensive way to introduce her to horse care and fulfilled her desire to ride horses.

My youngest son wanted to play baseball. We found a co-ed all-play league sponsored by New Life in Christ Church (nlicc.org). This league has t-ball, as well as minor and major leagues for all your baseball-loving children to join in the fun.

If you are available during the day, there are also homeschool classes offered for dance at Strictly Ballroom Dance Studio (strictlyballroom.net), gymnastics at Paragon (www.paragongymnastics.com) and many other places I don’t have room to mention in this column.

So ask your children what interests them, do your research and you might be surprised what you can afford. 

Nikki Ducas
Nikki Ducas
Nikki Ducas is a freelance writer and for the past 8+ years writes the money column for Fredericksburg Parent & Family Magazine. She has lived in Fredericksburg for 16 years with her husband and is a homeschooling mom to their two boys. Nikki enjoys hiking, knitting and her other side hustles of pet sitting and event management.

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