Saturday, March 24, 2018

Our Disney Vacation 2018 - Day 1 + 2 (Travel)

I say this every year, but I think this was our best trip to Disney yet (our favorite favorite trip will always be the year we went with both the boys) but every year we go back proves to be even better than the year before. This year's trip was perfect....the weather was amazing, the food was wonderful, and the trip was just so fun and relaxing. It was just what we needed!! I took lots of pictures (again) that I can't wait to post along with the details of each day's adventures! A big part of any vacation (for me) is the planning and then a trip report afterwards. :O) I like to include details that might be helpful to others who are planning a trip to Walt Disney World, as I always find reading trip reports very beneficial when planning ours! This was my 10th Florida trip, and it was just as exciting as if it were my very first time and while we did many repeat favorite things, once again, we found lots of new things to do as well. So let's get started......I have so much to share! :O)

Wednesday March 14, 2018
Day 1 -Travel Day

Last year's trip fell though, so it had been two years since our last trip to WDW. I wasn't sure it was even going to happen this year, since Peter isn't as excited about traveling anymore as he is away for work so much. But right after Thanksgiving we started discussing the possibility of (a) a vacation, and (b) where to?? Of course, my heart was in Disney, so ultimately, we both agreed that we wanted to return. Next was the when? We decided on March once the schedule came out when Peter would do his 3 week hitch and then have 3 weeks off. The date for crew change was March 14th and Peter wanted to book it right at the beginning of his time off. We booked March 15-21, driving down again instead of flying this time. Sounds good to me! My birthday is March 20th, so I would celebrate my actual birthday this time!! Fast forward to March 13th, I went over on the evening boat and spent the night with Lindsey and Kamry. Nathan was there as well, as he usually stays there the night before crew change. We had a nice visit and it was a good way to ease into vacation mode. The next day Lindsey took me to Pocomoke to get some travel snacks and a few things I needed for our trip and to meet up with Peter who was traveling down from NY. 

Peter was very tired as he had been up all night then had gotten a ride from NY to Philly where his truck was parked. Then, he had to drive down to pick me up in Pocomoke before we could start our drive south. We would stop at several rest stops along the way so Peter could get a power nap. 

We stopped for dinner at Cracker Barrel around 7:00 in Roanoke Rapids, NC. We decided to drive a bit farther and stop for the night and finish the drive the next day. We weren't set to check in until then anyway, so we didn't need to rush. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018
Day 2 - Travel

We stayed at Comfort Suites in Wilson, NC and while we loved the room, it was super noisy. It must have gotten better because the next thing I knew the alarm was going off. We loaded up on coffee and hit the rode around 6 a.m......

South of the Border! 46 degrees!!

We're in Georgia! 60 degrees!!

FLORIDA!!!! 66 degrees!!

we were getting closer and then this..............

It took us a longer than planned but we were finally here!!!!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

march ~ my birthday month!!


It's my birthday month, and while I'll be spending my actual birthday in Disney, I'm already feeling the birthday love!

I got a beautiful card and note from my friend Margaret this week. I met her at the b&b a few years ago and we instantly became friends. She's the sweetest person you'll ever meet, she has a heart of gold and a love for God. She's an encourager and a great friend. Her notes and messages always brighten my day!

Today, Dad made a pineapple cream pie - a birthday pie! While my family loves cake, we rarely choose cake for our birthday....for Peter it's usually lemon lush and for me ---PIE!! Since Dad is the baker in our family, he has started the tradition of making my birthday pie and that's pretty special to me! :O)

Pineapple Cream w/ meringue 
(and homemade pie crust)

Dad made one this morning and invited me, Nathan, Kayla, and Rowen over.


{day book - march 2018}


{outside my window}

COLD!!---->In the high 30's---->cloudy & gloomy
It would not surprised me if it started snowing! 
Spring, you are welcome anytime now!!

{on my to-do list}


I have piles of stuff...outfits, stuff for my car bag....I have lists made (in my head and on paper) but this packing seriously needs to come together...NOW! 

{in the kitchen}

Kayla invited me to join them for dinner today. 
She made some yummy chili & cornbread...the perfect day for it! :O)

{favorite quote of the week}

Travel Quote - Fill Your Life With Adventures, Not Things. Have stories To Tell Not Stuff To Show. Click on image for more travel and inspirational quotes.

travel....I want a life filled with adventures, not things <3
............a vacation is good for the mind and soul!
I do believe it's time for another adventureTravel Is My Therapy

{from the Pinterest board}

Because Design Matters | Artifact Uprising // Make your own premium photo book.

coffee table photo books.....I seriously need to put some time into doing one of these each year!
What an awesome keepsake! <3

Best Sites for Custom Photo Books - from Techlicious

{5 Unique Photo Book Ideas} Bookmarking this for the holidays too. Great ideas. Have you ever made a photo book for yourself or as a gift?

I like the idea of a 'yearbook' of digital photos because not everything is worthy of a scrapbook page, but I feel bad when I think of all the nice pictures I've taken that will never leave their digital form.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Rachel Cruze: 14-Day Money Finder [Day 6-10]

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Day 6- On day 5, we listed all of our lifestyle expenses such as subscriptions, entertainment, morning coffee runs, gym memberships, childcare, clothing, etc. Today, we are supposed to see how we can cut back on these. 

I started with my Stitch Fix subscription. I got them monthly for a year and really enjoyed them. I added some new pieces to my wardrobe, and SF really worked well for me as I HATE trying on clothes in the store. I got super-busy last summer/fall and on a few occasions the SF package sat for two weeks before I decided if I was going to keep anything. I'd get behind on sending it in on time, and end up just keeping one item or just returning the whole box. By November, I switched to every other month, and that worked for a couple of shipments, until I got this month's box. I didn't love anything in the box!! This helped me re-examine if I really needed to spend this money. The stylist fee is $20 per box (which is deducted from any purchase), but the months I send everything back, I've wasted $20. So, I switched once again, this time to seasonal---4x a year. If I don't see that Stitch Fix still suits by needs by the end of the year, I will cancel for awhile. My spring box will arrive in May so we will see how it goes! I am saving $160 a year though in fees, by switching from monthly to seasonally. :O) 

The other way I cut a few dollars a month from the budget was my morning coffee. Last month, I switched from buying k-cups and started using my refillable pod. I bought a bag of Starbucks ground coffee for $5.99 at Home Goods and I'm still using that same bag, so I've saved about $30-$35 in two months. It's a small amount, but for the year, that's about $180--just in coffee! LOL

We also started using a water filter instead of buying bottled water.
Bottled water $10+ a month vs. FREE! 
savings---> $120 /yr

I'm sure there are other ways I am saving or could save, but these were three areas I actively did something to save money.

Total saved on [3] lifestyle expenses=  $460/yr or almost $40 /month

Day 7 - Gas/ Car 
This one isn't so bad for us and not a whole lot could be cut here. We mainly use the SUV for work which is pretty much the same amount each month. And, we just got the SUV, so hopefully nothing extra will need to be spent on that.

Day 8 - FOOD
Oh my...FOOD....the biggest pitfall of our budget!!!

We are supposed to track food expenses for a month---this includes groceries, eating out, extra food purchases like subscription boxes and the monthly pizza bake.

Day 9 - Cut food costs!!

Find ways to save money on generic....pack lunches....always have a list....plan meals....

I think meal planning and using from what I have in the pantry or fridge/freezer is my biggest way to save money on food. I already buy on sale or the best prices, I don't need to pack lunches because I am home and Peter gets meals at work. I do find that if I make a list and stick to it I do less impulse buying. I also shop once a month and stock up rather than making several runs to the grocery store. 
But having a meal plan and set grocery list is what saves me the most money!! 

I did a huge stock up at Food Lion in January so I only needed to do a small grocery shopping trip in February along with misc shopping at our grocery store.

Here is how my February grocery budget looked. 

Groceries: $170
Ordering out, PTA sub sale, SR pizza bake: $80
Subscription Box (with discount): $32

Valentine's Dinner + all other get-away eating: $210
(which isn't a normal monthly expenses)

February Food Budget= $492
(or $282 if not including trip eating)

That is wayyyyy low for food for us!! We spend much more than that normally, but I have been more organized with menu planning and shopping once a month and I can see where it has helped! 

I'm not adding any saved money here, but am using a meal plan and doing less impulse buying. I'm using things from the panty and freezer to make meals, and feel like I'm doing better on the grocery budget. We have been doing a big once a month shopping trip to Food Lion or Walmart, and this has helped as well.

Day 10 - Treat yourself!

Use the $20 you set aside earlier and spend on yourself. 

I bought a couple of pieces of Rae Dunn....Andrea picked up the butter dish for me ($10)  and Mom found 2 mugs that have been on my wishlist!! ($10) :O) :O)

Friday, March 9, 2018

[friday faves]

Some Bunny Loves Me <3

Did this little online game---I definitely need to venture off the East Coast! :O)

Here's a blank map for you to fill in!

I've tried all the pricey bath products like Lush and Philosophy, but this $3 bottle of Japanese Cherry Blossom Foam Bath from Walmart is one of my new faves! <3

Setting up my Tracfone for vacation, and found this picture from 4 years ago! 
[February 2014] 
Nathan was taken to the hospital with a horrible headache! It turned out to be a cluster headache and thankfully he was soon better and hasn't had one since!

Sunshine!!!!! Finally!!!!!
This calls for a tropical smoothie! 

So, I checked and our vacay weather is looking good!!!!
:O) :O) :O) :O)
Praying for safe travels, nice weather, and a fun, relaxing trip!

~Acai Smoothie Bowl~

I ordered the acai smoothie mix from GNC. 
It was a little pricey, but you only need 2 T per bowl, so really it will go a long way!
Supposed to be super healthy- let"s give it a try!!

The toasted coconut chips are the perfect smoothie bowl topping! :O)
I picked up this bag at Home Goods. I love their specialty foods section and it is delicious!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

....let's get packing!

With a week to go, the packing has finally begun! I am such a procrastinator and had really intended to have the suitcases filled by now. Actually, I'm not stressing because Peter will wear shorts and t-shirts only and I have all of my outfits already planned out! Even though I know it could be HOT (it was 2 years ago when we were there in March), I decided not to wear capris or flip flops, but to work my outfits around my shoes....comfy shoes....that are a must for me this time in order to be able to hold up to all the walking. I'm officially feet hurt if I don't wear good supportive shoes! Goodbye flip-flops and Toms (if lots of walking is involved and there is A LOT of walking in Disney World)!!! So, I looked on Pinterest and IG to find out what everyone was wearing as far as walking shoes and I came up with these.....

Nike Flex 2017 RN Women's Running Shoes my onion, they look better with skinny-legged jeans, so, I bought several pairs of lightweight jeans in white, grey, and light denim to go along with a few pair of darker jeans I already had. I found several lightweight cotton tees that I liked and bought the rose gold "Have Courage & Be Kind" tee from etsy. I also have a few summer tops that I can use too. I know these outfits might not be as cool as capris and flip flops, but a girl has to do what a girl has to do (plus, I don't have a tan...LOL)!

Next, a bag. I kept seeing leather backpack purses that I loved. I hate carrying a purse in the parks and in the past have used cross-body style purses and even the drawstring backpack from Thirty-One.
The backpack style purse that I ended up buying is perfect!

Rosetti Eloise Backpack

I'll be wearing the outfit above on our Magic Kingdom day and since we also have dinner at 1900 Park Fare that night it's so perfect! :O) 

We are officially 1 week out and I am so excited that I can now say..."this time next week".

This time next week..............we should be driving for several more hours trying to get as far south as we can before stopping for the night. We usually try to get to Pooler, GA but we will probably get a later start than normal because Peter will be crew changing (from NY). :O( So we will see! I'll just be happy to be on our way! :O)


Our Disney Vacation 2018 - Day 1 + 2 (Travel)

I say this every year, but I think this was our best trip to Disney yet (our favorite favorite trip will always be the year we went with bo...