Thanks for all the comments and good ideas! Our summer plans are slowly coming together and I’m using several of your ideas! We signed up for the kid’s free bowling – there’s a bowling alley not to far from us that is participating. I’m applying for a YMCA campership for my youngest 2 (both 7); and my middle daughter (9 year old) has received invitations from friends in Virginia and Seattle and I can use my soon to expire frequent flyer miles to send her to visit for several weeks. My oldest is playing summer league basketball and is old enough (12) to be on her own for a bit if she needs to be. We are continuing to explore options locally and I’m continuing to apply for jobs (2 more this week- one at a Naval Base as an environmental technician and one as a forest ranger).
Someone asked if I’d let Tricia or Ben babysit – and the answer is no, nor would the kids be comfortable with that. Tricia is disabled – in fact she’s going to have a hip replacement this summer now that her medicare insurance has come through, and both Ben and Tricia have habits that undoubtedly help them get through life (smoking, drinking and possible other substance use) but that I don’t want around the kids.
Update – As a commentor mentioned the shoe rental isn’t included in the kids bowl free, nor are adults (although for $24 you can add adults to the bowl free deal for the summer). Shoes are $4 per person. We signed up and it might be something we do for a special treat.
Heard from the Y – there are no scholarships available that would help us – too many people in the same situation! Camp for 2 kids would be $900 a month with a scholarship- half my monthly income, so that is out.