Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Frugal Florida Vacation

Visiting my Aunt Mary in Estero, FL
So proud of myself - I didn't take my computer on vacation and loved it.... I didn't blog on vacation... loved it ..... barely posted on facebook over vacation and loved it..... Okay so really I just loved our time away.  Many people have asked about our trip so I thought I would give a little summary of our adventures. 

Up until a month ago - we were planning a trip to St. Louis and a side trip to Branson for our 5 Year anniversary...however - winter months equal few shows being open in Branson, so we decided to put that on the back burner.  One day Joel said let's go to Florida - and I said - do we have the money to go to Florida and he of course replied - NO!  But with a little creativity and a lot of gracious friends along the way we were able to take a 12 day vacation for a family of 3 for only 645.81....okay that may sound high but let's break it down - of that amount 425.17 was for the gas because we traveled a total of 3217.3 miles - so without including the gas that is a total of 18.39 a day which is just 6.13 per person... and the number would have been lower except a few places would not except my Pennsylvania coupons.  Let's just say we were pretty proud of our frugalness (is that a word?)  It was a much needed get away!

Here are a few fun facts about our trip!

This was right before the Ocean thought she wanted to be swimming!

Ella's fun facts.....
1.  She tired out a 7 year old so much that Sydney pretended to be sleeping so she didn't have to play anymore.
2.  Her first time of seeing the beach on this trip she fell in the Ocean with all her clothes and jacket on.
3.  She thinks that everyone over the age of 60 is her Mim and Papa!
4.  She learned "to get her wiggles out" from her friend Big Braedon
5.  She was mad at a monkey at the zoo for not sharing his stuffed monkey (no joke)
6.  At every home we visited she found the man of the house and became attached.
7.  She loved playing Monster with Tom!
8.  She loved story time with Judy!
9.  She eat a ton of honey candy at Dave and Linda's - but at least is is healthy right?
10.  She ate at the rainforest cafe with us and the Holleran's - she loved his beard!

This happens at every home right after arriving!  Too much driving!
Joel's fun fact

1.  He dislikes sand but sacrificed and let us spend a few hours there :)
2.  Is enjoying playing the game to see how many miles per gallon we were getting each time we filled up.
3.  Only called the office - 3 times while we were away - all totally justified
4.  Rarely got on his computer while we were away!
5.  Got pushed out of bed several times by a sprawling toddler.
6.  Loves coupons almost as much as I do.
7.  Took a tour of the Florida Word of Life Campus with a guy names Jo-el
8.  Left the door to the van open all night long - thankfully we were in a gated community!
9.  Realized that every person we stayed with in Florida or on the way once lived in Pennsylvania
10.  Loved spending time with his two favorite girls (he did say that at one point in the trip, I'm not just making this up.

My Fun Facts....
Ella and I at the Everglades National Park
1.  I ate chili, chicken salad, hummus, guacamole, and cheesy grits while there (I know, I am just as shocked as you are, and I never once gagged)
2.  Got attacked by 3 sea gulls as they ran me over and took a sandwich and a cracker right out of my hand.
3.  Got to mark another National Park off my list - the Everglades - pretty facinating!
4.  Walked by an Alligator that was only 5 feet way and he was huge!!!! (yes I was scared)
5.  Was very disappointed that we drove a few hours out to the way to see the Cove retreat center and they wouldn't let us see the visitor's center or even drive up the road because they had a power outage earlier that day - insert sad face!
6.  Found out I was invited to my friend's wedding 2 years ago but never got the invitation.... no worries I am just excited to hear that I made the list!
7.  Listened to a bunch of my old cds that I haven't listened to for years.... old school!
8.  Didn't forget to pack anything that we needed - that is almost a miracle
9.  Visited a college friend and co-counselor that I haven't seen since college!  It was an awesome time, it was so hard to stop talking to them!
10.  Thankful we have such awesome friends who were willing to share their homes and their lives with us, even if only for a day or two.... we are blessed.

Cities we visited on our trip in order
1. Frederick, MD
2. Roanoke, VA
3. Ashville, NC very short visit (Billy Graham Retreat Center - the Cove)
4. Burford, GA
5. Jacksonville, FL
6. St. Augustine, FL
7. Orlando, FL
8. Royal West Palm Beach, FL
9. West Palm Beach, FL
10.  Everglades National Park
11. Estero, FL
12. Hudson, FL (Word of Life Campus)
13.  Trilby, FL
14. Statesville, NC

Love this picture, too bad my daughter decided to be a flamingo!