Disney!

Disney was awesome!! I can honestly say it will be remembered as one of our best trips EVER!

I have been very vague about sharing a lot of details especially here (on the blog). One of the reason, was safety and the second was the overall expense. Since we are back I feel much more comfortable sharing in regards to safety.  As far as expense, yes it was super expensive but it was a trip that Matt and I agreed to, a choice that we made and the only thing that matters is that we agreed!  We also agreed that we will not be planning another trip until we have conquered out debit! But let me share some of the details. I will be sharing more pictures and such over the next couple of weeks as well.

We left around 1pm on Thanksgiving Day and arrived to our room right around midnight. This did not stop us from begin up bright and early Friday morning for Epcot. This was a change from our previous trip as well. We stayed even the first night on site and it was so nice to arrive and know that we did not have to get back in the car for 10 days.

We spent 3 days in Magic Kingdom, which allowed up to ride EVERY ride and enjoy most shows and of course meet a lot of characters. Epcot was seen in two days with the first spent with our friends. We did accomplish our goal of eating around the world. We tasted at least one food item from every country.  We watched Whoopi Goldberg narrate The Candlelight processional, which is truly an experience. We spent one day each at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. We also scheduled a day for resort hopping and a second day for the pool and Disney Springs. My favorite show after the live production of Beauty and the Beast was the Hollywood Studio Christmas special “Jingle Bell Jingle Bam” It started at 8pm which allowed us to get back to our room at an average time. Of course, the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom were awesome and lived up to everything!

Zach planned ahead and chose to celebrate his birthday at Animal Kingdom. He wore his birthday pin all day. We ate breakfast at Tusker House and he received a cupcake with Mickey sprinkles and a card signed by Mickey, Donald, Daisy and Goofy. Lily chose to celebrate her birthday at Magic Kingdom. She wore her birthday hat, from 2 years ago, and a birthday pin. She was lucky enough to receive a signed card from Belle and Beast at Be Our Guest Restaurant.

We were fortunate enough to receive several free items including a funnel cake, a marshmallow Mickey and each of the kids received a Mickey ice  cream bar on Lily’s birthday.

The resort was the only thing that did  not live up to our expectations. The layout was confusing and especially hard to navigate at night. The housekeeping was slack. I ended up calling at least 4 night to request more towels and wash clothes.  We stayed at Port Orleans  Riverside, which is considered a moderate resort but it was definitely not what we expected.

We ended up with the Dinning Plan which we used every last item! We actually brought home 3 additional bottles of water and 4 bottles of Diet Coke.  I enjoyed not having to worry about the cost. The only down side to the dinning plan for us was that gratuity was not included, for table service meals.  We tried several different table service meals this time. Tusker house was great at Breakfast and the Garden Grill was an great dinner. I was disappointed at the Cape May Café so we will not be returning there. My overall favorite was definitely Be Our Guest!

I just downloaded over 850 pictures from our memory maker and we probably have another 500 between our phones and IPAD. But I promise to share only 7 or less at a time.

We stayed at total of 10 nights and returned home on Sunday (12/3) around 8pm.

Saving on Sunday 11/19/2017

I am so excited for the items I have been able to purchase on sale this week.

I have actually been to CVS twice to grab small gift sets. The set are $4.99 each with $4 in ECB.  I also grabbed some Christmas candy. Total spent this morning $9.29 and total saved was $29.45 or 69%. I also have 8 in ECB to use in the next couple of weeks.

Food Lion is running the best sale on 2 Liters that I have seen in a year. Currently, Coke 2-L are $.89 each with a limit of 10 per transaction.  A total of $9.34 for 10.

I was able to purchase Bath and Body works body wash on Friday for $3.16 a bottle. There was a limit of 15 and I add a coupon to the sale as well. Some of these will be for gifts but most are just mine.

I found earrings on sale at JCPENNY for 75% off and purchase 2 sets for gifts. After that purchase, I received $20 in rewards so Matt shopped to find himself a new work uniform (black pants and black shirt) for $6.32.

Lots of shopping but lots of saving as well.

5 Things Friday- 11/18/2017

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  1. We leave for Disney next week! I am so excited. This will be our longest vacation ever!
  2. All five of us at home will be part of our Church’s Christmas musical. I am not excited about this because I have a small speaking part at least no singing.
  3. I decided this year to be a “minimal” year for Christmas decoration.  I have my snow village in my bedroom. Our huge Christmas tree in the living room and the girls both have small trees in their rooms.  I am excited to be finished!
  4. December is a 3 paycheck month! This is awesome timing as it gives up spending money for our vacation!
  5. In addition to be a minimalist in regards to decorating, Christmas gifts are the same way. I am planning on 3 gifts from us and 1 from Santa. This is a HUGE change as my older girls remember the 12 days of Christmas, where we opened one gift each day and still have several for Christmas morning.

Thursday Thoughts- 11/09/2017

Our car insurance jumped by $40 and when I called to find out why, I was assured it was nothing that I had done but that rates in my state had increased that much. The second piece of “great” news was that Gieco will only insure in NC for six months at a time due to rates.

On a slightly better note, I have been seeing an advertised special for Sirus radio that included 30 days of free service. This is usually awesome for us as we are traveling to and from Florida. Matt checked into it today and it was actually a 60 day free trial.  This is awesome and will make driving a little bit easier for all of us.

I am actually looking forward to the month of December because it provides an extra pay check!   My goal is to end the year on a positive financial note!

We are fast approaching our Disney trip. Everyone is super excited. Which means they are also pretty eager to make money by extra chores. The benefit for me is that means I should have time to get my decorating done prior to the trip.  This weekend, my plan is to put up the snow village.

All three kids had dentist appointments today, no cavities for anyone!

 

Final 5 Things Friday for 2016

  1. Today was my final paycheck of the year. It was nice to sit down and pay out the bills. I also spent some time looking at the budget in addition to trying to get a good idea of where we are financially and where we need to head in the next year.  I am planning to share more on this later this weekend.
  2. We have been able to “earn” around $325 this month between apps on our phone and swagbucks. I realize that December is probably a big month but hope to earn at least $200 a month between Matt and myself.
  3. I get to enjoy a 3 day weekend, for me this is rare, in fact I think that this will not occur again until next Christmas.  We also don’t have any plans to travel, so I have made a list of things I want to accomplish this weekend.
    1. Put away all the Christmas decorations- snow village will stay up until MLK day in January.
    2. Help to build platform for trampoline and get it bolted in place. We also need to come up with a plan to get rid of the old one.
    3. Move the small refrigerator to the building and help remove the cabinets hang above it. This is in anticipation of beginning the next stage in our kitchen remodel which is to build a new buffet and officially make a dining room.
    4. Re-organize the closet in the shower room in hope of starting my “major project of the year.”
  4. I have decided that I need to sort through and get an organizational system going for all the kids pictures, art work and certificates. I have books for pictures of Haley and Amanda but realized yesterday that I have over 10 years of pictures in drawers and cabinets that really need to be addressed. I honestly know this will be a MAJOR undertaking but am going to set it as a goal for the year so I will at least need to address it once a month.
  5. We spent the entire day shopping yesterday, it was loads of fun but exhausting. I really am having a hard time staying focus today so hopefully some extra sleep will help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Thoughts- 12/26/2016

  • We really enjoyed Christmas yesterday, everyone was together at my parents on Christmas eve and then again for lunch at my house. We spent a couple of hours outside assembling the new trampoline.
  • I don’t have a menu plan for this week, first we want to finish up most of the left-overs and second I am just being lazy. Today for lunch I brought out the two cheese balls from last night and added ham salad on crackers. The kids were excited to eat desert since we have enough for several more days.
  • Matt and I both had to work today so I am planning to leave the Christmas decorations up until next weekend. I should have Saturday, Sunday and Monday off and may have half a day on Friday as well.
  • The new dining room would out great and everyone was able to eat in the same room/area. I have decided I want to move around a couple of thing in addition to building a custom buffet on the wall closest to the kitchen.
  • We have a water leak out front which means that we need to dig up the front yard yet again, 4 time this year, and replace the line that brings water into the house.
  • Santa’s delivered a trampoline that was 2 foot wider than our old one so that we are now going to have to add boards to the platform before attaching it.
  • I need to spend some time updating the blog especially the blog roll as now at least half of the bloggers I followed have stopped or moved on. My goal is to get it done this week.
  • I should get at least one post if not two this week for the year in review, but now I am going to go watch the kids outside and do my nails.

5 Things Friday- Christmas Edition

  1. With my ever changing crazy schedule at work, I ended up having a half day off on Monday and another half day off today. I did enjoy the extra time with the kids today!
  2. I am actually head of schedule with our preparation for Christmas Day. I should only have a few hours of work tomorrow and then be able to enjoy the entire day off Sunday! Here is a list of my original plan, I have been able to go ahead and prepare all three of the casseroles today. I let each of the little kids help with one so it took twice as long but really was nice to spend extra time with them.
  3. The insurance company has already settled with me in regards to my fender bender last Friday. I am have really amazed and happy with how smooth it has been. After discussion with Matt, we are not going to have the van repaired, instead that money will go to pay on our planned Disney World trip.
  4. December has been an awesome month for extra money coming in. So far we have cashed in $200 for Swagbucks and at least 50 via Mplaces.
  5. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE EVE

Menu Planning/ Preparation Work 12/19/2016

The week before Christmas, we are staying busy in addition to trying to get some things planned ahead. This year, we will have Christmas breakfast (baked oatmeal) head to church and then home for a huge meal with my parents.  Christmas night we are going to have friends over for an snack/leftover festival. I like the idea of having lots of food but really don’t want to spend my entire day in the kitchen either on Christmas Eve or Christmas day, so I am trying to plan and get some preparation work done early in the week. Here is what our schedule for cooking ahead looks like so far, you will notice that I don’t have plan to do anything on Tuesday or Wednesday.  The explanation for this is my work schedule, if I have extra time great but otherwise I am still prepared.

Sunday- Pull all recipes and finalize plans for food.  Lunch will be Turkey and Ham, both in crockpots, squash casserole, pineapple casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole and cream corn.  Desert will be pumpkin and sweet potato pie.  Appetizers for dinner including cheese/meat ball, veggies and dip, chips with dip and 2 types of Mexican dip.

Monday- Cut up veggies including celery and onions for all dishes. Fry sausage for breakfast on Saturday morning and Mexician Dip.

Thursday- Sweet potatoes pies and pumpkin pie. Make cheese ball

Saturday- Assemble all casseroles and get everything in crock pots to start on Sunday morning- make sugar cookies for Santa. Cook cranberry sauce.

Of course we still need to eat this week and with all the planning and work for Christmas day it will be really easy to eat out without a plan. My goal for this week is no eating out!

Breakfast–   Saturday- Big Breakfast- grits, eggs, bacon and biscuits.. Sunday- choices  Monday-Fruit. Tuesday-  fried bologna and eggs Wednesday- choices. Thursday-  Choices Friday- Choices.  Saturday (Christmas Eve) Sausage croissants and hashbrown casserole. Choices include : leftovers, eggs, grits, French toast,, toast or cereal.

Lunch- Zach and Kendall have chicken and stars soup,  uncrustables  and homemade lunchable. They are out of school on Thursday and Friday, Zach has already requested pizza Quesada . I have salad, and leftovers.

Dinner-  Saturday- Lunch- chill  Dinner- cowboy beans/chilli
Sunday- Lunch- Baked Potato bar. Dinner- Chicken cresant rolls
Monday- Hamburger Helper
Tuesday-Leftovers
Wednesday-  Pork Chops
Thursday- Leftovers or Sandwhiches
Friday- Pigs in a blanket and movie

Lots of food and fun scheduled for this week.

Interesting Weekend and Other Random Things

  • I was heading home from work on Friday, when I was rear ended at a stoplight.  I ended up with a massive headache and a few paint scratches on the back of the van. Saturday morning my headache was gone. I did start the process of filing a claim to have my van fixed but I have a feeling this may take a long time and more paperwork than I want to complete.
  • Matt and I are continuing to work on earning money using several different apps. This month, we have been cashing out points for gift cards to use for food. One of the biggest expenses associated with our cheer trips is food. We have to eat at least one meal if not two or three each weekend. So far this month, we have use free money to purchase the following:  $15 Taco Bell, $10 Burger King, $25 Papa Johns, $10 Dominos, $25 IHOP and $50 Chills. One of the main reason we have been so successful this month is taking advantage of special sales.
  • Zach and Kendall have three days of school while Lily has four this week. I am working all week but we will start celebrating next Friday night when I get off work.