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Single Parent Family Vacation

June 21st, 2017 at 09:36 am

DD2 and I are headed to Branson, MO for the single parent family vacation that our church is hosting. Each year they have a trip and this will be our first. Cost is $1204.00

That includes:

Bus transportation
Silver Dollar City Theme Park
Dixie Stampede Dinner Show
White Water Outdoor Water Park (we will visit twice)
Buckets N Boards Show
Moses Show
Ralph Foster Museum
College Of The Ozarks Student Tour
Branson Landing
College Of The Ozarks Honor America Festivities and Fireworks
All Breakfasts
All Dinners
All Lunches except for two

I am responsible for paying for any food or drinks to/from Branson. We will ride the bus overnight and have one or two stops. There is a restroom on the bus. I know they are going to stop for breakfast. Other than that we will pack goodies (gum, pb crackers, trail mix, etc.). At two of the parks I will need to pay for lunch. We are going to the White Water Outdoor park twice but one trip there will be a box lunch provided. At the Honor America Festivities I heard there will be kids activities like face painting and balloon characters so that will be something too.

I am excited to get away and spend some one on one time with DD2. I have a trip with DD1 in November.

If you have been to Branson before please let me know of what you have enjoyed while there.

Mission Trips 2016

October 14th, 2015 at 11:52 am

The church announced the mission trips for 2016.

There are three that have caught my eye (listed below).

These are all during the summer. I also found out that the Single Parent's Cruise is also in the summer and at the same time as the Honduras trip but I'm not sure how much that would cost.

I'm not sure on what I would be able to afford just yet. If I go on a mission trip my job will not count that time off and I still get paid. We are allowed one trip a year. The others I would have to use some of my PTO. I think this would be a great way to travel and help others. Check out the descriptions below and let me know which one interests you.

This women’s trip will serve teenage girls who have been victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse, exploitation, and trafficking, but are now living at the Casa de Ester shelter. The team will provide assistance with academic, spiritual and life skills as well as eternal truths from God’s Word to prepare them to live independently.

This trip is in partnership with Alaska Missions and Retreats to serve food to those who are fishing during the Salmon Frenzy- a time of year when all the residents come together and fish for salmon to stock up for the year before it gets too cold. The team will also do arts and crafts and games with the families to build a relationship and create an opportunity to share the story of Christ's life, death and resurrection.

The purpose of this family friendly trip is to serve the 120 orphans of Casa Hogar Allegre in Tuxtla Gutierrez. This team will host VBS for the children, organize special events and provide light maintenance and repair of the orphanage.

Great Flights on SWA

October 13th, 2015 at 07:34 am

Southwest Airlines has a pretty good sale going on right now.

Flight dates are 12/2-12/16 and 1/5-2/10. The only school holiday during that time is 1/18 MLK Day and that is not a company holiday. No Fri or Sat available for the fares.

Here's what I found leaving from Houston (one way).

$49-Dallas, Oklahoma City, Tulsa
$99-New Jersey, Birmingham, Charleston, Ft. Lauderdale, Nashville, Orlando, Raleigh, Washington
$129-New York

I haven't booked anything but I think visiting the Amish that live around Lancaster would be neat. Ofcourse, ice skating in Central Park and seeing a play on Broadway in NYC is wonderful. Washington would also be nice. Tennessee is super cool and during the winter...escape to Florida! lol

China Trip Cancelled

October 12th, 2015 at 09:14 am

Over the weekend I got an email from the travel agency I used to book the China trip that said the trip 'will not materialize'.

I was given three options.
1-Rebook for the Feb trip which is more money.
2-Apply funds towards another trip.
3-Have a refund issued.

I went with option #3. I will be getting back $2,198 and I've set aside an additional $2,000 for the visa's, excursions, spending money, etc.

I'm debating on what to do with the money. I might hold off and see what Cyper Monday deals are available. It would be neat if I could get two international trips out of it. Maybe Iceland and Ireland. I would like to see more of Italy. Or, I could wipe out the money and put it all towards my mortgage.

Yesterday at church they announced that there will be a Single Parents cruise and details would follow soon. I'm assuming it will be Carnival and out of Galveston going to Mexico.

If so, I've done that cruise before but the girls haven't. That's also something to think about.

Weight Watchers Week 2 and other updates

July 7th, 2015 at 02:13 pm

My weigh in today didn't go as planned but I'm not upset. I'm up .6lbs. Seriously! A half a pound! I think its because of my clothes or atleast that is what I'm telling myself. I did the points. I exercised so I don't see why I didn't get a loss. Maybe the scale was off. LOL!

In looking at my Fitbit weekly report my average hours asleep a night is 8. I'm glad about that. I do need to increase my daily steps though!

I have $129.50 pending with Ebates right now. My next check will be here August 15th.

I've also received $5 Kohls cash and $5 Famous Footwear. I have a 15% off and there is a b1g1 50% off at Famous Footwear. I wonder if I can combine everything. hmm! Well I'm going to swing by after work today and see what I can get. I don't have a coupon to use with the Kohls cash. Last time I got 3 pair of Asset by Spanxs briefs that suck in my gut!

DD2 and I went to the library last night. I picked up an audio book by Amanda Berry and Gina Dejesus. The girls who were abducted in Cleveland and held for years. I also picked up two travel books one from Lonely Planet and there other I think is Fodors on China and the United Arab Emirates so I can do some research.

Other than going to a bakery the girls and I have not been eating out. At work they do cater in on Thursdays now and sometimes for meetings on other days.

I get paid this Friday and will take inventory and make a menu plan and try to use all that we still have. I really stocked up the last time I went to the store.

That's pretty much all that I have going on right now.

Beijing & Shanghai 2016

July 2nd, 2015 at 11:22 am

Another trip! Woo hoo! I am working on my bucket list.

Original Price $1400
Early Booking -$300
Coupon Code -$100
Price $1099

I will need to purchase (2) Visas @ $195/ea. I added discounted excursions for $343. Total $1637 per person!

What is included:
Round-trip non-stop flights from Houston
All intra-China flights and ground transportation
7 nights superior first class hotels with private bath
8 Meals: 7 American buffet breakfasts plus 1 lunch
Comprehensive touring program including entrance fees
Professional English-speaking tour guides

The excursions are:
Tiananmen Square
Palace Museum
Forbidden City
Lama Tibetan Monastery
Beihai Park
Kung Fu & Peking Duck Dinner
Great Wall of China
Hutongs, Summer Palace & Panda Zoo
Temple of Heaven
Tai Chi class
Yu Garden
Shanghai Museum
Oriental Pearl TV Tower
Acrobatics Show
Boat ride through Suzhou's Grand Canal
Silk Reeling Factory

What is not included:
tips, some meals and souvenirs!

This flight is also 15hrs! yikes!!

I am so excited I can hardly contain myself!

Dubai Trip 2015

July 2nd, 2015 at 11:08 am

I guess if you don't save your post frequently it gets deleted. Anyway, I lied when I said I wasn't going to do any more traveling and focus on paying off the mortgage because I found some good deals and booked!

Original price $1499
Early booking -$300
Coupon code -$100
Total $1099

I added additional items like airfare from Houston for a direct flight which was $395 and excursions $424. Total price per person is $1918.

What is included:
Round trip flights via scheduled carriers including fuel surcharges, taxes and fees
5 nights superior first-class hotel plus late check-out Day 7
Buffet breakfast daily
Arrival & departures transfers with meeting, assistance and porterage

The fun stuff the excursions -
Half a day Dubai city tour
Burj Khalifa
Desert Safari & BBQ Dinner
Full Day Abu Dhabi
Dhow Dinner Cruise
Dubai Museum
Al Fahidi Fort
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Zayed House
Yas Island, where the Ferrari World theme park and Formula 1 race track are located

What is not included:
Tips, some meals, souvenirs!

2015 Travel - Italy, Canyon Lake, Dallas, Galveston

May 21st, 2015 at 08:39 am

I've mentioned before that when booking travel at work I go through Ebates and use Hotels.com. When you book 10 rooms using Hotels.com you earn a free night that is worth the average of those 10 night stays. This year I have earned 3 nights and I'm close to earning a fourth!

I used one of those nights for a solo trip to Dallas for a Dave Ramsey event on retirement. Nothing exciting but having time to myself was nice.

Another night I used for a nights stay in Galveston, TX. It's an island here close by. We stayed the Saturday night before Easter. Upon arrival DD2 was given a small Easter basket. The hotel had face painting, balloon animals, indoor and outdoor petting zoo, Easter egg hunt, scavenger hunt, moon walk, sack hop racing, hula hoops, smores by the fire pit outside by the pool and much more. I paid $23 out of pocket because the average amount I had wasn't enough but it was SO WORTH IT! We had such a wonderful time and will be back.

I booked a buy one night get one night free for a place at Canyon Lake, TX. I had been before with my parents had such a great time so this time I wanted to invite them to come along with us. We went on walks, fishing and sat outside on the porch and hand fed deer.

The Italy trip was our big trip for the year! We were in the Tuscany region. Cooking class, tour and wine tasting at a castle. Horseback riding tour. Visiting an organic farm, dinners, etc. It was just amazing!

Over the summer my mom wants to go to Fredericksburg, TX with my sister and I along with our kiddos. Right now, I don't want to go anywhere!

Ebates Check $42.08

August 6th, 2014 at 11:37 am

Looks like I will be getting back $42.08 from Ebates this quarter. The check will be cut on August 8th. This just goes to show how small amounts can add up!

06/30/2014 L.L.Bean $0.20
06/17/2014 Hotels.com $6.14
06/17/2014 Hertz $1.12
05/30/2014 Hotels.com $5.82
05/30/2014 Hotels.com $5.49
05/21/2014 Avis 3.88
05/14/2014 Avis $2.46
05/14/2014 Hotels.com $5.82
05/13/2014 Hotels.com $5.33
05/13/2014 Hotels.com $5.82
Total: $42.08

Tuscany Trip 2015

July 29th, 2014 at 05:44 am

Yep! I did it. I've been monitoring this one travel website for some time. The very day that I got our passports in, there was a coupon code expiring at midnight. I completed the order with 6 minutes to spare. The code was going to expire at midnight eastern time and I'm on central.

We are going to Italy on Spring Break 2015! Woo hoo! So exciting! This is a self guided no escort explore at your own pace trip. This is an 8 day trip. Price covers air (Houston-Newark-Milan and return), rental car (economy automatic), 6 nights in a first class hotel and breakfast daily.

The options are endless when driving around Tuscany as to where we will visit. For now, I have Milan, Genoa, Cinque Terre, Pisa, San Gimignano, Siena, Florence, Bologna and Parma on the itinerary.

If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know!

I've been stocking up on books about Italy and ofcourse I'm studying the language on my long commute to/from work.

Never lose your keys again

June 24th, 2014 at 10:24 am


Checking In

August 23rd, 2013 at 10:02 am

It's been awhile since I posted. The girls and I had a great time at Disney World. We made alot of great memories.

As far as my finances go, I've been on track and everything is well on that front.

After work today we are headed to Canyon Lake and will probably float the Guadeloupe River. My parents and I both have seperated cabins that we rented. We are bringing all of our food. It should make for a nice, fun and relaxing weekend before school starts on Monday.

My floors are being installed now. I went about 2 months living with the demo/construction/dust part and it drove me bazirk.

Checking In

July 25th, 2013 at 01:19 pm

My paycheck is already in my acct. I went thru my spreadsheet for a quick review. Paid bills online and moved everything else into categories using the zero based budget!

Today, I'll go return some books to the library. In a weeks time I've listened to one good audiobook and read 4 books. Three other audiobooks that I got I didn't like. Maybe because of the narrator's voice.

The bank is on the way. I need to stop in to get cash and fill my envelopes. I will also get alot of ones for tips. We are headed to Disney on Sunday.

I'm in planning mode. Planning out what we will be eating and navigation thru the parks that we are going to attend. We will be there for 6 nights and 7 days. Arrival and departure days will be spent at the hotel with 5 days at the park. We have already started packing. I am excited!

When I get back from the trip I will be reviewing my budget and tweeking it a bit more. I hope my stepdad finishes my floors by then. It's tough not having carpet or tile and it just be concrete with dust. I like things looking nice and tidy!

Change of Travel Plans

April 1st, 2013 at 10:50 am

In my 2013 Goals for travel I saved to go to the Beach, Hill Country and Louisiana. Change of plans!

We are going to Disney World!(insert big scream here)
Needless to say I used the $1400 I had saved and some money that I had sitting to book the trip. You may have heard Dave Ramsey advertise the 2013 Christian music vacation at the Swan and Dolphin Disney Resort? Well that is what I booked. We will be able to enjoy concerts as a family, have morning devotional, attend the Disney parks. It's going to be so much fun!

The only things that I need to look further into are airfare (waiting on a good price), lunch & dinner options, souvineer/tip money.

This has motivated my weight loss!

New York Trip w/Daughter #1

September 10th, 2012 at 11:49 am

Even thought DD1 went to NY last month with my family she really wanted for me to follow through and take her as planned. Her birthday is at the end of this month and I am going to get her a school hoody and an itunes gift card. Right now at Randallas I can get a itunes $50 gift card for $35 and the hoody is $25. I bought a LivingSocial deal awhile back for a Brazillian steakhouse so we will use that. I will have a small get get to gether at the house for cake and ice cream with family and friends. Nothing big. Then the first week of October she will have 4 days off from school and that is when we are going to NY. I've already bought the airline tickets, hotel and Ripley's Believe It or Not tickets (Groupon deal). The airfare was $476.20 total for 2 round trip tickets. What a great deal!

Travel Costs (NYC & Fredricksburg, TX)

August 13th, 2012 at 10:49 am

One of my goals was to go with Daughter#1 to NYC. Turns out she went with family. This is really a win/win for me cheapeast trip I'll ever pay for. I gave her $100 spending money and my mom gave her $30. She's with my dad, sister and my 11yr old niece. She is having a blast. I am enjoying the Facebook pictures. This morning she was in China Town. I have been to NYC twice so my feelings are not hurt but my moms were. She has a meeting with the school district and couldn't make the trip. Spur of the moment this weekend I took my mom and Daughter#2 to Fredricksburg, TX. Total cost of trip was $271. That included hotel, gas, food and spending money. I got a few goodies (Circle E candle, bluebonnet seeds and a mix of milk chocolate, white chocolate and cinnamon pecans). We had a blast!