Category Archives: travel

Disney World Experiences

I’ve written before about “Disneyland experiences” (see here).

However… to celebrate our anniversary, we are going, not to Disneyland, but Disney WORLD.

I haven’t been since 6th grade. To say I’m excited is an understatement – maybe mostly because it will be our first kid free getaway in six years.

Unbelievably, our oldest (now six…. see, that’s why no kid free trips), took the news really well.

I started out with gentle info. “Now son, you know that grandpa and grandma moved to Florida but just because we go to visit them does not mean we are going to Disney every time.”

Later “You know, Mommy & Daddy might go to DW without you kids. You realize you are really tall and can ride all the big rides, but little bro & sis can’t.”

Then I overheard him telling little bro “Mommy and Daddy ARE going to DW without us. Because I’m tall and you are not. I can ride all the rides but you can’t. We would waste a lot of time standing in line….”

Truth. He took our conversations to their correct conclusion.

JJ and I have talked at length how we want the kids to be out of diapers, and even more so, old enough to remember. Six is probably old enough, but four and two are not.

Anyway, I’m super pumped to get time to myself with JJ. I keep thinking “Getting out the door…. it won’t take forever!” And not only do we get a few days and nights of quality time, we get to do fun things and eat at fancy places.

Lastly…. we have a breakfast reservation at Oga’s Cantina. The reservation was not easy to get because the Galaxy’s Edge is extremely popular.

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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 Dinosaur 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 potato, 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

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 🙂 )

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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.

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78 Days!

Labor Day weekend is a few hours away.  On Labor Day – I’m flying out to DC for a trip I’ve always wanted to go on.

It became even better a few months back when it worked out for JJ to come too.  We’re meeting up with my parents and will be seeing the sites.

It will hopefully be a lovely break from the wedding planning.

On that front – I’m taking the dress in for an estimate on alterations today. check another thing off the list.
We are still working out honeymoon plans, and waiting to pick up the printed invites. Once those two are take care of (hopefully before DC/right after) we’ll be on to thinks like photography, attendents atire, and decorations.

Some of the ‘smaller detailed’ items… I feel like things are coming together and on the other side of DC, we still have a little over 2 months to get everything else in place. (like securing a hotel with rooms reserved for out of town guests).

All in good time… for the moment, I look forward to a great trip in the next week.

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wow. burnout?

It’s been a while. I don’t know if I have had a longer ‘no post’ time in the last 5 years…

Not too much happening here. Or rather, too much happening here.

Lets see. Here’s a list of what’s been going on:

*Search for the Shake ended for 2010. We’ll pick it up again in 2011

*I’ve been playing lots of games, Settlers, Speed Scrabble, Ticket to Ride, Puerto Rico, and just learned a new one today Carcassonne. Oh, and I purchased ‘Bang!’ (a mafia type card game) on ebay.

*Got two new tires for the front wheels of my car.

*Enjoying the final season of LOST.

*My roomie & I planted a garden. Tomatoes, Jalapenos, Snow Peas, Dill, Chives, & Basil. (also strawberries, but no luck with them yet).

*Went to two Dallas Stars Games.  One happened to be an Oilers game, and we were 12 rows up from the glass.

*Started up the grill. Corn, broccoli, chicken, salmon, steak, hot links, brats, potatoes, green beans, kabobs, peppers. Yummy!

*Started a one month trial of Netflix. 2 weeks, four movies watched.

*A friend from Wa State came for a visit. We took a road trip to San Antonio.

*Saw the Alamo. (3/6/1836 – & 10 years later Texas became a state.)

*Said Friend from Wa State, myself, and my roomie went to see the Mariners play on 4/11. They got beat pretty badly, but it was fun to see them play during opening week.

*Also on 4/11 we celebrated “Happy to be Alive” day – the 27th anniversary of my open heart surgery.

*Tried Nutella.

*Accidentally left the sun roof of my car open just a crack all night – while it rained. I was fortunate to not have any water in the car the next morning.

*Learned that people like to talk about PB & J on facebook & twitter

*Learned I’m a “terrible tour guide” which resulted in a driving tour of my neighborhood and surrounding area.

*Stayed up way too late past my bed time on numerous occasions (tonight being a prime example)

*I’m sure there is more but because of the item right above this… I can’t remember. 🙂

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Filed under baseball, car, dallas, friends, grilling, happy to be alive, hockey, lost, mariners, movie, oilers, roomies, settlers of catan, shamrock shake, sleep, travel, twitter