Our vacations

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texturing the walls

Those of you who have followed our site for a few years know we bought an older home 3 years ago and are slowly remodeling it.   This weekend we took on the HUGE task of re-texturing the whole house.  This is not an easy job and  a messy one too.  Most our house is covered in plastic sheeting to try and keep the fine white plaster dust off everything.

plasticMatt has been doing most the work himself but this job was bigger than most so my little brother and his wife (and their 4 little ones) came over and spent the day helping us.  The kids had a blast playing, but they helped when they could.  With the hard work and dedication from everyone we were able to get it all textured in one day!  We still have to sand and paint but we got big chunk of the work done in one day! Not sure if you have ever read the book the The 5 Love Languages , acts of service is my love language… and I defiantly felt loved yesterday! Growing up my little brother and I fought REALLY bad, I could hardly stand to be in the same room as him.  But now that we are both grown we get along great … funny how time changes things.

texturing the walls

mommy moment

 What is a  Mommy Moment, click here

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Join our vacation and follow along. If you missed our Part 1 or Part 2 make sure you catch up! This is our story of our Seven days at Sea with Carnival Cruise lines…

So as we were walking around Key West Florida, I (Matt) noticed all of these familiar bags of styrofoam packages in plastic sacks leaving a little store hidden on the street. I took a step back to see what it is and noticed it was the same fun latin chicken  restaurant we found on our trip in Aruba. They had the same rotisserie chicken cooking, the same spanish rice and sauces to go on it. We were in heaven again. Not sure why they don’t have this all over the US, cause they are mainly on the islands and like 3 in Florida.

While we walked up and down the back roads of Key West we envied the banana trees in everyone’s yard. Oh how it would be to walk out side and pick a fresh banana!

These huge trees with their huge roots that grew down out of the branches. I think they are mangrove trees.

As we finished our sight seeing and boarded our Carnival Cruise ship we saw a Manatee swimming around the base of the piers.

Although it was warm walking around town with the sun out. As soon as we boarded, the clouds moved in. And up high on the top decks of the ship the breeze was a bit chilly.As we left the port of Key West that night there was a beautiful sunset out over the ocean that night. And now that we are all dressed back up we are ready for the dinner night entertainment as we watch our waiter and waitress sing and dance for us each night while we eat. Natalia from the Ukraine, and Nigel from India. They were so funny!

Stay tuned for our next adventure – our first day at sea as we travel around the western side of Cuba and head towards grand Cayman!

Seven Days At Sea Carnival Cruise Part 1

Seven Days At Sea Part 2 

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So last week Sarah and I left our cold state of Idaho to fly a red-eye flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida to go on a Carnival Cruise / conference! Ever since our trip to  Aruba two years ago she has had the idea that a cruise would be fun. When we were in Aruba we stayed in a hotel and had to fend for our self for food and activities. Two days into our stay there, Sarah said “We should go on a cruise because everything is include!”. I laughed because our entire marriage I had been trying to get her to go on a cruise with me. Well early this past spring a chance came up to go on a bloggers cruise. Needless to say I was the first to buy the tickets to go to it!
We booked a Carnival cruise for a 7 day, 6 night cruise on the Carnival Cruise Ship Valor. This is my second cruise, and Sarah’s first. Our itnerary was to leave Miami and head to Key West Florida. Then the plan is to have a day at sea and the next stop will be Grand Cayman island. After that our next stop is Montego Bay Jamaica and then another day at sea with our final day ending back in Miami Florida.

Carnival Cruise

So here we are directly after flying in to Florida, slept in a hotel lobby for a couple hours and just boarded the Carnival Cruise Ship Valor. Tired, greasy hair, and just enjoying the beginning of our vacation.

Then after an afternoon relaxing on the ship, showering and becoming acquainted to our new home for a week and a good night sleep, we arrived in Key west Florida.

Carnival Cruise in Key West

The first morning of our vacation we arrived in Key West Florida. The farthest most southern point in the USA. We had decided that that day would be a walk around the town to see the island. So early that morning we started our exploration of the island.

Oldest Home in Key West was built by sea captain and "wrecker" Francis Watlington

Oldest Home in Key West was built by sea captain and “wrecker” Francis Watlington in 1829. This is the view from the back yard. We took a break after walking most of the morning.

Oldest Home in Key West was built by sea captain and "wrecker" Francis Watlington

The kitchen house of the property was behind the main house. Everything inside is the original structure and items.

Next we headed back out to the fun wild shops where you can buy everything from jewelry to t-shirts to hats to :

Even a clean pair of underwear!

While we were out visiting the tourist shops, we stopped by the farthest south CVS store! We needed an extension cord for all of our electronics. We didn’t know that our cabin room came with one “american” outlet and one “european” outlet plug. So when you are bloggers you have a lot of electronics begging for power. So we stopped by the local CVS store to grab an extension cord.

Stay tuned for more posts showing all of the islands and things that we did!

Seven Days At Sea Carnival Cruise Part 1

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carnival cruise valor - Key West

Carnival Cruise Ship Valor – Key West

This week instead of a “Mommy Moment” I am going to write a “Wife Moment”.

Some of you might have noticed the voice of our site was just a LITTLE tiny bit different last week.  I have a confession to make…. I pre-wrote several deals for a week in advance then turned the WHOLE site over to Ingard and a few of our other helpers  (Katie, Melissa and Heidi) for the week.  For the safety of my family I did not want to announce to the world wide web that we were NOT home.  Matt and I attended a conference for bloggers…. but it also happened to be on Carnival Cruise ship.  So when we were not learning and networking we were having fun as a couple in the warm Caribbean sun.

I admit I used to judge others when they would go on  a trip and leave their kids at home.  It seemed like such a selfish act and I found myself saying things like “I would never do that”.  Well I guess it goes to show that you should never say never. Two years ago Matt and I won a trip to Aruba I did not even want to go. I could not imagine leaving my babies at home. But Matt literally drug me along and by the second day I started to have a fun.  By the end of the trip I was like a whole new person.  It was amazing what a few days alone with my hubby (without work or kids) did for our marriage. We made a goal to try and take a husband/wife vacation every few years. Even if it was just dropping the kids off at Grandma and Grandpas for a weekend… just something to give us some alone time.

So when we found out  there was going to be a Bloggers At Sea Conference it seemed to be the best of both worlds.   Once again it was VERY hard for my to leave my 4 kids and I even thought about cancelling the whole trip it crossed my mind almost daily.  But once again a week alone with my cute hubby was amazing.  It was so fun to talk and not have it about work or the kids. We laughed and just enjoyed one another.  Seven days went way too quick and I am pretty sure I could spend months on a cruise ship …. hey a girl can dream right? But I was also so excited to come home to my kids.

Stay tuned for more photos and even a few silly videos about our Carnival Cruise.

mommy moment

 What is a  Mommy Moment, click here

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Last week Matt and I went on a trip to New York City to attend BlogHer, a blogging conference that 5000 bloggers attend.   This was our first time to the big city, I was a little scared but knew I would be fine with Matt by my side.  Matts parents and little sister came to watch our kids from 4 hours away.  Leaving my children is never easy, I worry non-stop about them.  I stress about every little thing that could go wrong or  the “what if”. Having my oldest son with heart issues and seizures does not make leaving them any easier either.  That being said I am SO VERY blessed to have family that loves our children and that they take amazing care of them while we are gone.

On our way to the Boise Airport, we were about 2 miles away from our turn off when our van DIED, lost power right in the middle of the freeway.  Luckily we had enough speed to coast off to the side of the nearest exit.  We tried everything to get it started again with no luck.  We could see the airport, the exit was at the end of the runway, but just could not get to the other side of it.  We decided to call a taxi to come get us, since we were 35 minutes from home. Long story short, the taxi service we called NEVER did show up after 45 minutes of waiting I got lucky and waved a cab down coming off the freeway.  Making it to the airport with about 15 minutes to spare before our flight left.  Now if you are not from Idaho you may not realize we DO NOT really have a lot of taxi’s just driving around.  So the fact that I was able to hail a taxi along side the freeway was an answer to a prayer no doubt. And my first time hailing a taxi!

Growing up in a small town if someone was along the side of the road you STOPPED to help them.  Even if that person was a stranger, you treated them like a neighbor.  I guess that was before cell phones, I admit I often pass others that may need help  and  assume they have someone on the way to help them.  But as I stood next to my van, watching what seemed like thousands of cars pass by me (even cops… aren’t they suppose to stop and help??), it was a very lonely place to be. My stress level was through the roof wondering if I was going to miss my flight.  I think I will be more apt to stop and see what I can do to help the next time I see someone along the side of the road.

Next challenge was what to do with my van, I could not just leave it on the side of the road for a week.  So I called my Mom and Dad… I am 32 years old and they still continue to be the most supportive people in my life .  It is so comforting  to know that I have always had someone in my life that will come rescue  me (or my van) when I call and ask for help.  So while I was in an airplane headed to New York City and helpless, my Dad and brother took off work to tow my van home. Matt parents had just arrived to help care for our kids.

Having my van break down was not the ideal way to start a trip… but in a crazy sort of way it reminded me just how BLESSED I AM!

mommy moment

 What is a  Mommy Moment, click here

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Katz Deli in Lower East side Manhattan, Ny

UPDATE NOW LIVE!!! (Now over)

Are you ready for round 3 of  Where is A Thrifty Mom? We played it the last 2 nights and had a great time. Every 5-10 minutes I will remove one of the push pins to reveal more of the picture, you can guess as many times as you want as to where you think I am… I will be offering clues in the comment section of this post as well if you are having a hard time.  Good Luck!

  • 1st Winner will be the FIRST one to comment to guess the correct location?
  • 2nd Winner will be the FIRST one to comment to tell me the what is under the Yellow  Pin?
  • 3rd Winner will be the FIRST one to comment to tell me what is under the Green Pin?
  • 4th Winner will be selected from random.org from all the comments left of this post…. so make as many comments as you want.  The more guesses the better!
The winners will be announced live, I will also send you a private email to get your shipping address!  ALL winners will win FREE COUPONS for a FREE 4 Pack of Yogurt!  Guessing will go live at 7:15 pm mst, and end once I announce the last winner on this post.  Keep updating your screen I will be posting all the new photos right on this same post. If no one guessed the correct location we will just draw a winner from the comments left.
Just took the first pin off… first tip we are at a famous place to eat in Manhattan NY.
We have our first winnerMyra DeCaire August 8, 2012 at 7:30 pm KATZ on the lower east side!!!!
 I just took of the yellow pin so the first person to tell me the correct name for that dish served at KATZ’S will be our second winner… Sorry the site is loading really slow :(
We have our second winner ~ Tania August 8, 2012 at 7:43 pm matzo ball soup
We just took the 3rd pin off… anyone know what the name of that sandwich is called?
We have our 3rd winner ~ Dalina August 8, 2012 at 7:35 pm Pastrami – Rueban?
I will post the last pick in just a minute, I will then enter all comment into random.org to select the final winner.
 1st winner ~ Myra DeCaire August 8, 2012 at 7:30 pm KATZ on the lower east side!!!!
2nd winner ~ Tania August 8, 2012 at 7:43 pm matzo ball soup
3rd winner ~ Dalina August 8, 2012 at 7:35 pm Pastrami – Rueban?
4th winner ~ Rosemarie E August 8, 2012 at 7:46 pm mmmmm….are those garlic pickles?
Thanks to everyone for playing along!  Hope you had fun, sorry I know the site gets slow due to all the extra traffic we are working to fix that.  Winners you will be sent a private email asking for your shipping address so I can send you your prize!

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