Lauren's newest release Stardust Summer, is fabulous. Here is my review:
This is a truly touching story with wonderfully written and endearing characters. Having briefly lived on the finger lakes in upstate NY myself, this book brought back so many memories. I felt I was right there with them at times.
Stardust Summer is a sweet story about family, regrets, relationships, love, healing, and second chances. A great read!
And since Stardust Summer is about a Grace's trip with her son, Lauren was kind enough to write a guest post for us today about vacations:
Vacation Fun for A Few Dollars
My latest novel, Stardust Summer, takes place in Upstate New York on the shores of Keuka Lake. The area is a fabulous vacation spot, and features a plethora of Inexpensive activities for families and couples alike.
When I was a child visiting Keuka Lake every summer, my parents sent us outside to play all day—with a few water toys and our imaginations. As a result, I have great memories of swimming, skiing, and skipping rocks along the water, then watching the stars and talking during evenings around the campfire.
So, if your family is planning a getaway, but your budget doesn't stretch very far, consider heading outdoors for some quality time together. I’ve put together a list of my boys' favorite activities to help get you started.
1. Plan a picnic. Grab your picnic basket and head to the nearest park for an outdoor lunch. Plan ahead with fresh fruit, homemade cookies, and easy sandwich wraps for a easy family outing. Don't forget to pack the Frisbee and a kick ball.
2. Go to the Library. Pick out five "new to you" books and spend a lazy afternoon reading outside. Consider checking out a book about the history of the region your visiting. Take turns reading chapters aloud and talk about the books over dinner.
3. Have a water balloon fight. Your family will enjoy cooling off together. Many toy companies have created small, inexpensive devices that allow you to easily fill and tie water balloons.
4. Play in the rain. Put on your favorite rain boots and go puddle jumping together. If it's really warm outside (and not thundering!), fill up a kiddie pool and get splashing while the drops come down!
5. Go Camping. Even if you set up camp in your own backyard, it will be an adventure your kids will remember. Don’t forget the marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers. Have the entire family search for dry twigs for kindling and long roasting sticks for the s'mores!
6. Bird watch. Check out books from the library on local birdlife. Grab some binoculars and spend some family time learning about our feathered friends. Be sure and smell the flowers along the way. Pick a bouquet to take home.
7. Host an outdoor movie night. Set up a projector screen in your backyard for a family friendly movie night under the stars. Invite the neighbors or just cuddle up under blankets with some homemade popcorn and lemonade.
8. Fly a kite. Make and decorate your own kite out of common household items like fabric, paper, plastic, and ribbon. There are many tutorials online with instructions; here's just one: HomemadeSimple.
9. Start a family rock collection. Collect a few pebbles and keep them in a vase as a reminder of your family time together. Pick up some tempera paint from a craft or dollar store and have your children decorate the rocks. Use them as paperweights or make a display in your home.
10. Visit a national or state park. You'll find the listings online. Google "Parks" or "Recreation" along with your state's name. (i.e.: New York's website is http://nysparks.com. Some parks are completely free and many offer free days.
Which are your favorite outside activities from childhood or things you do now with your own family? Please share your favorite free or inexpensive outdoor adventures!
Lauren Clark is the author of Stardust Summer, Stay Tuned, and Dancing Naked in Dixie. A former TV news anchor, Lauren adores flavored coffee, local book stores, and anywhere she can stick her toes in the sand. Her big loves are her family, paying it forward, and true-blue friends.
Lauren is a member of the Gulf Coast Writers Association, the Mobile Writers Guild, and a regular contributor to Parents & Kids Magazine's Mississippi Gulf Coast Edition. Check out her website at www.laurenclarkbooks.com.
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