This year’s annual Pancake Breakfast raised enough money for each of our homes to have $1,500 to spend on summer recreation. It also helped with the cost of purchasing some amazing new equipment for our swimming lake, like a 20’ trampoline.
Have you ever wondered exactly how our summer recreation fund is put to use by our homes? Home Parent Dad in the Atherton Home, Brian Wallace, starts planning for summer in March, as soon as the Pancake Breakfast is over. Here’s how Brian describes their budgeting of the funds and fun.
“We just start dreaming and brain-storming. Last year, we opted for one big vacation to the Mall of America. In times past, we have done several smaller trips. This year? We’re calling this the ‘Battle of the Springfields.’ We are going to do a two day trip to Springfield, MO and another one to Springfield, IL.”
How do two small trips use a majority of their summer’s budgeted recreation funds? Here are some numbers to consider. Lodging for 14 people is the most expensive aspect of the Atherton Home’s trips, so the Wallaces always start with that expense. They never pay full price for hotels, and have made personal contacts with hotel management in Springfield, MO that repeatedly provide great discounts. Even then, they’re looking at spending about $325 per night this summer to have space for everyone: a two room suite for the guys and a three room suite for the girls.
“That still leaves quite a bit, though, so then we start planning out activities! We let the kids vote on which activities to do at each location. In Springfield, MO, they’ve decided on swimming and Incredible Pizza, where they’ll also receive a $20 game card. In Springfield, IL they voted on miniature golf, the zoo and Lincoln’s Home National Historic Site.
“Even though fast food is more affordable, we like the experience of eating at unique places when we go on vacation. We’ve decided that while in Springfield, MO we’re going to eat at a Japanese steakhouse, and while in Springfield, IL we’ll be eating at a diner that was featured on Food Network’s show, ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.’ Both trips also involve time on the road, away from home, so we factor in funds for snacks and frequent breaks to preserve everyone’s sanity.
“I love the planning and organizing and my wife Mandy is the brains, making sure we stay on budget with our summer rec funds. We’re looking forward to some great fun during our ‘Battle of Springfields’ trips in July, yet our careful budgeting resulted in remaining funds. So we took a quick trip to a lake house in June. Also, we’ll have a day at Six Flags right before school starts!
“We enjoy budgeting wisely and breaking the summer up so our kids can thoroughly enjoy summer vacation and we can feel like we have served them well.”