Category Archives: travel

Summer Vacation 

Mount Rushmore

On June 1st we set off on what turned out to be a 2,589 mile trek. From our home in Texas to my brother’s in South Dakota. We visited my brother and his wife and their two kiddos. My almost 4 year old son was only 13 months old the last time we saw them. Since that time, both of our families added a child and we are each expecting another this fall. 

It was a long drive (17 hours split into 2 days) to get there, but definitely worth it!

We had a great time catching up with family. Our kids had so much fun playing with their cousins. (In addition to enjoying their playmates, we also learned that a sandbox may be something our boys would appreciate.)

The trip included visiting three national parks & monuments. Devils Tower in Wyoming, Mt. Rushmore, and the Badlands. All beautiful. All worth the entrance fees.

We also made the practically obligatory stop at Wall Drug. All those billboards reminded me it was a must see if driving through. 

Another theme of our trip seemed to be dinosaurs. From the toy ones I packed to hand out to bored little boys, to the Wall Drug Dino, and Dinosaure Park in Rapid city.

The trip also proved to be delicious. We had hot dogs and s’mores over a campfire one night. Another evening we had grilled “farm beef” hamburgers (as in, my sister-in-law knew the family that raised the cow we were eating). 

In Spearfish Caynon, we had a nice dinner for two. Indian bread taco for an ap, than cheesy bacon potato soup. Followed by steak, a twice baked potatoe, and some of the best cooked veggies I’ve ever had. Buttered, sprinkled with dill, they practically melted in my mouth. For dessert, more Indian bread [think elephant ears] with a warm strawberry dip. I was so full but it was so incredibly tasty.

All in all, the trip was a wonderful success. Yes, we are tired. Yes, it was a long drive. But for the savings (the minimal cost of the trip would not have even purchased 2 plane tickets to Rapid City) we are so glad we took the time and effort to visit our family up north.

I grew up in the north west and many years we traveled across Idaho & Montana to reach my grandparents house in North Dakota. I’ve spent a week at a family reunion near Rushmore. I’ve seen the Badlands and appreciated the prairie. I’ve driven north from here to South Dakota and enjoyed the rolling hills and the flat plains, filled mostly with cows and crops. 
It was wonderful to show my husband and sons this beautiful, under-appreciated part of the country. 

If you are ever looking for a new place to visit in the United States , don’t rule out South Dakota based on what you may think of when you hear the word “Dakota.”

Our crew at Devils Tower

JJ and I jumped out of the car and took a quick picture during our drive through the Badlands

 

2 Comments

Filed under family, travel

Our Fake Disneyworld vacation

A quick follow up to my previous post. To this day, I’ve never been to Disneyland.

I have, however, been to Disneyworld 3 times. My grandparents lived in Florida so we would visit on occasion when we were little. The most recent time we went was when I was in 6th grade (about 23 years ago).

We were in Orlando two years ago for a family reunion, however, Disneyworld was not on the schedule. 

We did have a free day to do whatever we wanted so my husband and I took our 13 month old and visited the Disney properties. We toured hotels and jumped on the tram. We never went in any of the parks, but we took a couple pictures of our “fake Disneyworld vacation.” I hope my son doesn’t grow up having “Disneyworld experiences” for the rest of his life.

Leave a comment

Filed under family, travel

An Interesting New Project

This is not a Budget related post – it more of an ARG post.  Though – it’s not quite that either.

Some friends of mine are working on a new project, which has encouraged us to have an ’emergency budget meeting’ and back our first kickstarter project.

Ok – I guess it IS a budget related post. 🙂

Anyway, in the past I’ve blogged about friends who made a feature film (Between Notes). These same friends are launching another new project – and the Kickstarter runs for another 12 days.  If you like Stories, Technology, Creativity, Storytelling, Real-life interaction, and trying to push the boundaries on how we use media to tell narratives, I’d recommend you check it out.

It’s setting is London – on the closing day of the Opening Olympics. It’s told through an App & serialized content (first of which drops on Aug 12 – the literal last day of the Olympics).  It follows the life of 7 characters.  Title: Seven Poets and the Assassin’s Secret.

Find out more here.

Leave a comment

Filed under arg, books, budget, friends, ipod, literature, reading, technology, uk & ireland

Anniversary Meal for Less

When we celebrated our first anniversary late last year, we took a lovely weekend trip to Hot Springs, AR.  We wanted something affordable and within Driving Distance, but somewhere new.  Since I’ve never been there, and the hubby hadn’t been there in years, Hot Springs was a perfect fit.

We stayed at a B&B, hiked, saw the Hot Springs, learned lots of history,  window shopped, played “adventure” golf, and eat really yummy food.

We made sure to eat at least one fancy, slightly expensive,  scrumptious dinner.  My menu item of choice was Salmon with some type of Lemony Butter Sauce, with Capers.  I’m sure there was additional ingredients, but these are the parts that stand out. It was phenomenal. The husband had Seabass with a similar sauce – also delectable.

Fast forward to dinner two nights ago, where an incredible fish dinner was on the menu.  Basically, fried Tilapia with some type of buttery, lemon and caper sauce.  I subbed in Salmon, because we were fresh out of Tilapia.

Um…. all I can say is … WOW.   The hubby was actually slightly distracted by the incredible aroma of the dinner.  It may not have been an exact replica of our Anniversary Meal – but it was certainly very close. And I am absolutely certain, it was  1/5 of the cost.

Oh – and did I mention it wasn’t straight-up real butter? The meal itself was off of the Emealz Low Fat plan.

So 7 months in, and we are still thrilled with Emealz. We’ve amended the plan a little, trying to make at least 3 meals a week (instead of all 5) since I started working full-time.  I get home late in the day; sometimes there isn’t enough time in the evening to make a new meal.

SAVE TIME AND MONEY WITH E-MEALZ MEAL PLANS

One other thing I should mention though regarding Emealz (full disclosure), when people use my Emealz link, and from there decide to purchase a subscription, I do make a small commission.  That being said, I would never recommend it (or anything else for that matter) if I didn’t truly love it.

Leave a comment

Filed under emeals, food, travel

Wonderful Trip

I haven’t blogged in a while. Partly, because we were out-of-town and I suddenly felt very self-conscious about telling the world our house was unoccupied.

We just got back from a 12 day trip to the Northwest. We had a great time with my parents, brother & sis-in-law, and had the joy of meeting up with several of my friends.

Here are some of the things we did:

*visited Mt. Rainier (69 degrees, sunshine and 20 feet of snow)

*Olympic National Park

*Point Refinance, Chambers Bay

*Seattle (Safeco, M’s game & underground tour)

*Ferry ride into Seattle at night

*played 2 games of Settlers (one game had 6 people, my brother came in last place with 8 points, four of us had 9, and the winner got to 10 first!)

*learned a new game “Dominion” which we really enjoyed and will probably be purchasing

*had a Memorial day BBQ

*Went to the Tacoma Glass Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, and WA State history museum

*ate at the new Ivars in Puyallup

It was a jam-packed trip – but we also had a couple of days to lay low, enjoy the cloudy, drizzly weather and sleep in.

Leave a comment

Filed under family, mariners, seattle, settlers of catan, travel, weather

We’re Going to Washington

whoohoo!  We are almost at our 6 month anniversary, so I’m so excited that my friends back home in WA State will finally have a chance to meet my hubby.

Initially we were going to try and go in July so that the weather will be nice, but plane tickets cost to much.  We ended up bumping up the trip dates significantly. So while the weather might be a little cool – I don’t have to wait as long to go.

We already have a Mariners game on the schedule and are also planning on spending a day in Seattle (maybe even going on the underground tour).

Other than that, I have stuff at my parents we need to sort through and either get rid of or ship to DFW.

I’m also really looking forward to driving around and pointing out all the places of my childhood. (he’s going to get board 🙂 )

1 Comment

Filed under family, friends, mariners, travel

We’re Married!

So i’ve been gone for a while… 🙂

The wedding was so fun! It was beautiful. It was a whirlwind.

The honeymoon was wonderful – A week in Hawaii.

Now were elbow deep in boxes and packing material, pulling everything out of boxes. Getting rid of old kitchen stuff. Cooking food with new appliances and gadgets.

And with such generous friends and family, we have a huge stack thank you notes to write. and really, it’s almost disheartening to think that our small little thank you notes will even come close to expressing how thankful we are for our incredible friends and family.

3 Comments

Filed under marriage, travel, wedding