5 Things Friday

IMG_22951. Pictures-The above is my favorite Christmas tree from Disney. It was located at the marina in the campground. I have enjoyed spending extra time looking at and ordering pictures to make a scrapbook with in the coming months.  We have ordered several calendars, mouse pads and other items as well.  The bright orange box containing the first 600+ pictures I ordered arrived yesterday. I am planning to spend at least 30 minutes a week on my scrapbook with a goal to finish it prior to June.

2. Water Park Tickets- After some debate, we decided to purchase season passes to the water park that is 30 minutes from our house. The park opens the last week of May and is opened until September. This is an expense that is equal to our pool membership. We did purchase parking and have free passes for 2 days which means both Lily and Kendall will be able to take a friend with them this summer. The cost of the season pass was $12 more than a one day pass. We decided to try it out this summer and if we really enjoy then may consider in the future. I love water parks so I am hopeful that the kids will enjoy as well. A nice surprise was the $300 bonus I received on my American Express this month as well. This bonus will cover the cost of all 5 tickets!

3. Shopping- Our Christmas shopping is completed with all presents wrapped and either under the tree or mailed out. I was also able to use the extra time this week at home to get ahead with lots of food preparation!

4. I am so thankful to have had the last week off of work. I stayed at home until Tuesday, meaning I did not even leave the house. . Each day I was able to spend extra individual time with the kids  working on homework and see how they are really doing in school. I planned ahead and prepared several meal or meal pieces to make the next month. We were able to hit several groceries stores including the meat store and have plans to avoid grocery shopping for at least the next 4 weeks. Matt and I also spent some extra time cleaning which means even more free time this weekend.

5. Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year. I love everything about it! With catching up on shopping and cooking. We have decided to drive an hour south of us to visit the town of Christmas lights on Tuesday. I am more excited than the kids.

Disney – The Numbers

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I really want to write this post and it has been in my head since our return but… I know these numbers are huge and almost scary. It is much easier to spend quietly but I struggled and searched for hours prior to the trip to locate and make a realistic budget and really nobody is talking. So I am going to be honest this is what we spent. We had the best vacation EVER and yes we will be doing some penny pinching in the next several months but we do planning on going back in a couple/three years after we have met some important goals, see bottom of post for these.

Disney Vacation package, including 6 day non park hopper ticket and dinning plan for 2 adults and 3 children      $4913.62
Cheap hotel room (I will not be staying here again, got exactly what I paid for.)  $41.41
Gas       $115.22-  I did observe that gas prices inside Disney World were $1.93 which were cheaper than our stations at home. We did not pay over $2 a gallon for the whole trip.
Food- Tips, drinks and other expenses outside of dining plan $523.83
Souvenirs This did include a lot of Christmas presents but these are things we came home with $1575.94

Total Expense for trip:$7169.98

Pictures taken– 1425- this included Photo Pass and Lily, myself and Matt. I am planning to complete a scrapbook and so is Lily.

On our date night, which we both really enjoyed, we talked about another trip because this one was so awesome. Our goals to begin planning the next trip included paying off all credit card debit and having an emergency fund to cover one month expenses or approximately $3500.  I am up for the challenge and would like to accomplish this in less than 2 years but God’s timing is always better than mine so I am going to wait and see.

Random Disney Facts

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  • At 7:30 pm, Disney becomes the most tired place on earth! Don’t believe me look around on a bus!
  • On Sunday, we manage to ride every form of transportation offered in the park; ferry, monorail, bus, tram and train.
  • In order for any of my kids to eat an entire kids meal they must have been swimming for the past 2 hours.
  • Art of Animation has the best tasting food and is so easy to maneuver around the cafeteria .
  • The above picture is of Zach meeting Minnie Mouse, he was tired of doing girl things and this is what happens.  On the second attempt, he was embarrassed and still refused to talk to her.
  • Each resort has a different themed tree, ours is white and I think the ugliest.
  • I definitely recommended a “down” day during the trip.  You never realize how tired and busy you will be. Plus when else are you going to blog?
  • I also recommend using a travel agent especially for booking fast pass. Ours have been great and well timed.  We have been able to get all the important to us things done around the fast passes.  I really hope to get to the “Be our Guest” resturant but if not that will be the one thing we miss. I have called reservations 3 times but have to try one last time on Thursday for our best shot.
  • I know the meal plan is expensive but I am really enjoying using it and it also reduces the stress of finding food and drinks, while we are in the parks. It has also reduced the amount of stuff we are carrying around the parks.
  • The mass transportation system is really new and strange to me being from a small town and really this is the only place I have ever used one but it makes things easier and honestly probably saves time as well.
  • The best part of being at Disney this time of year is finding all the cool Christmas ornaments especially what we call “jingle buddies” with small bells attached on the bottom of figures.

Random Tuesday Thoughts 11/24/2015

  • We are counting the day until we leave for our Disney trip. I have made a list of one thing I want to accomplish each night this week and so far I am staying on track.
  • Last night, I was able to squeeze in a trip to get my nails done. I decided to go all out and got gel nails. The tech jokingly said that these should last me till Christmas. My reply was I will be happy if they last til we return. This is the second time I have got gel nails. The first time was a flop as less than a week later, one started to peel. Getting my nails done is a huge treat and so I am really hoping they last a long time. The good news, I already received a compliment at work today about them.
  • We are debating on taking our “box” for our trip. We did remove an interior seat and I am hoping this eliminates the need for the box.
  • My plans for Wednesday night (tomorrow) are to get my two casserole prepared to pop in the oven on Thursday and bake a cake.
  • I am really hoping that I don’t have to work and we get to hit the road at an early hour on Friday.
  • All the inside Christmas decoration are up. I decided to scale really back this year due to the trip but I am already really enjoying the tree and of course my village.
  • I am 90% done with my Christmas shopping! I refuse to purchase any more until I can count and get what is purchased wrapped.
  • Speaking of wrapping, I did wrap the kids DVD players tonight and they will be opening on Friday morning.
  • We are working on cleaning out the refrigerator, and continue to stick the menu plan. I did give away some fresh produce but otherwise we are using what we have!

 

5 things Friday 11/13/2015

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  1. Our new refrigerator arrived yesterday. Unfortunately the build in microwave would not fit so we sent it back. I LOVE the new fridge as it is huge!  We have enough room for all the food!
  2. My computer was acting up so I had to have a new hard drive install. The good news is that I was able to back up everything I thought important. The bad news is that I will be spending tomorrow reinstalling and getting the computer back to where I want it to be.
  3. We are still able to pick some lettuce and cabbage (finally) from the garden. The lettuce is almost gone but I have LOVED having it. We also have some tomatoes left in the window that were saved from the first frost. I am hoping to make some slaw and another dish this weekend with the cabbage.
  4. Our budget in November is still on track.
  5. I need to upload a lot of pictures from my phone and IPAD in anticipation of our trip to Disney. After finding storage I am planning to delete off both so I will have a lot of space!

 

5 Things Friday

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  1. We decided to go ahead and purchase a new refrigerator. After much thought and some shopping around, we will be rearranging the kitchen and playroom to accommodate a full size refrigerator in addition to the one full size and the drink one we currently have.
  2. Our November budget is already turning out better than October so as long as something does not pop  up we should be back on track with budgeting.
  3. All three of the kids got excellent report cards and perfect attendance for the first quarter. Lily was more excited about perfect attendance than A honor roll. This is the first time in her school history that she has achieved perfect attendance.
  4. I am planning to set up the snow village tomorrow if I feel better than I do tonight. Matt has been so generous as to share his cold with me.
  5. I was bumped from behind today in the van. I am so thankful for the arms of protection that meant a small scratch on the van was all the damage and it did not even really affect my day as I decided not to file an accident report.

October In Review

Blogging:  Goal: 14 per month Actually 16 post for the month!

Weight: Goal:  Met and maintain weight of 175. This goal will be considered met each month that weight loss is achieved and once this weight is achieved, each month maintained is considered achieved.  I did make some small gains/loss in the area. The last two weeks have been a real struggle.

Spiritual-  Goal. I want to spend time reading and or studying the Bible at least 5 days a week for the year.  Does half met count? I was doing so well until this past week.

Financial Goals-
1.  Full Fund the budget each month.   Fail

2. Emergency Fund to $2000.  Fail

3. Groceries: Goal is for $700. Fail

4. Gas: Spend $400 a month . Fail but not as bad as I thought  $435 for the month.

5. Eating out- $200 another decrease from even the previous month!

Disney- GOAL MET!

 

October was a long hard month for us.  Part of the reason was that it lasted 5 weeks, another contributing factor was the restocking that was needed after spending less than $400 for groceries in September.  I am looking forward to November with a more confident air! We are focusing on our Disney vacation. In order to start the month in a positive way hear are a couple of things that hopefully will help me achieve more of the goals.
1. Gas prices continue to drop, we have just finished paying all taxes for vehicles for the year and currently I don’t know of any repair needs for the month. I will be counting gas for the trip as part of the regular budget so I expect to stay right at $400.
2. We have already made our monthly trip to Costco, did that today. We ended up spending less than $400. We will be picking up our chicken order from Zaycon tomorrow so that will show allow us to not purchase any more meat until January. My goal for the month is to keep the grocery budget to $500 which will help to fund several other areas of our budget.
3. Our trip is mostly paid for, I have already made a list and purchased all the items that I *think* we need expect for cheap rain ponchos. The kids all have spending money and I am going to use “Disney Rewards” to cover the Bippity Boppity Boutique for at least 2 of the kids. We will be eating our while traveling but this should be a minimal expense of less than $200. We did eat out today but the plan is to eat at home until we leave for the trip.