family beach time

How our family vacations for less than $300.00

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Family vacations for less and how our family of 5 ( two adults and three littles) vacationed at South Lake Tahoe for under $300.00 this summer.family vacations for less

 

We haven’t been on very many vacations as a family since we started having kids. In fact up until this trip the only ones we’ve gone on all together included extended family! So, for the first time just the 5 of us packed up and headed out of town!

Sidenote: after this first experience as the mom on vacation I really think we should come up with a new word for it. Because the role of “vacationing mom” is a lot of work and certainly doesn’t have the same calm relaxation feelings as vacation without the family!

Anyways, it is totally worth all the work and we made wonderful memories! And actually I can’t wait to go again!

 

family vacation pic

 

For this trip we went to Lake Tahoe! It was a nice break from the valley heat and I just love that beautiful lake surrounded by trees and mountains!

Forest hike with our boys

We started by searching for hotels. There are lots of travel sites that help you find a good deal. A few of our favorite to search through are…

 

 Airbnb is fun because you can rent a whole house (or even just a room if that’s all you need) watch out for added fees though.

Booking.com      Great Prices and NO booking fees!

Vacations Made Easy  is nice because you can build a whole vacation package while booking your rooms!

There are soooo many sites to help plan a budget friendly trip. Travel zoo, Groupon, Living social, home away, and so many more, are all great!

* When looking through these sites be sure to look for any added taxes or fees. Also, to get more of a value for your money look for deals that include meal coupons, drink coupons and other extras!!

For this trip we chose Lakeside Inn and casino ( I liked that the rooms and the casino part were completely separate so our kids never even went through the gaming area!) It wasn’t fancy or anything but it was clean and we were able to get a room with two full size beds! family hotel vacation

 

 

 

This trip we were trying to not leave to big of a mark on our budget, and this is how we managed to keep the cost really low:

 

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Prime Day Is Still Going Strong..

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Prime Day is half way over (sad times) but it is still going strong!


Links in this post are affiliate links —
If you shop through them I may get a small commission at no extra cost to you! Thanks  

Remember if you don’t have a prime membership but wan to enjoy the benefits of the Prime Day Deals you can sign up for a free 30 days!

Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial


Check out some of these deals coming up! (I’ll be adding more products as they come up all afternoon/evening!)

I’m sharing a lot of deals over at my FACEBOOK PAGE all day and evening! Like us to keep in the know! 🙂

You can have a look here for all the Prime Day Deals. Or below for some of the deals that have caught my eye!

 

KITCHEN AND HOME:

Of course our favorite deals are anything Instant Pot related!

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Prime Day Starts NOW!!! GO GO GO

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Amazon Prime Day is here! and I’ve got a huge list of deals!!

You guys it’s here!!! The deals are being posted as we speak! We have to wait until 6pm for the first batch to go live but then it goes crazy from then on out for 3o hours!!!!

Links in this post are affiliate links —
If you shop through them I may get a small commission at no extra cost to you! Thanks  

First off: If you do not have an Amazon Prime Membership, you can sign up for a 30 day trial!

If you don’t want to keep it you can cancel before your 30 days are up. But a Prime membership is the ONLY way to get the Prime Day Deals! 

THESE DEALS ARE GOING SO FAST… I’M STARTING A NEW POST WITH SOME UPDATED DEALS. SO HEAD ON OVER TO THIS PAGE HERE!!  

Or like us on facebook... where I’m sharing a bunch of great deals for the rest of the evening!!

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Amazon deals… LIVE NOW!!!

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These deals are early access deals and are only available for a limited time, there’s an extra 30 minutes of shopping for Prime members!!  these are being released throughout the day! ( all of the following links were live and in stock at time of posting but hurry they won’t last long) All of this excitment just leading up to the amazing prime day deals tonight and tomorrow!

Don’t miss out… get a free 30 days of prime membership and enjoy all these great sale prices.. so many releasing in the next two days!! Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

 

 75% off

 61% off
 61% off  This is a heating lunch box! WHAT?!?

55% off

 

 39% off
31% 0ff

 

43% off

24% off

58% off
20% off
20% off

48% off

94% off!!!

Seriously this is only a very small sample of what is on sale right now… check out this listing here!

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Are you prepared for Prime Day?

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Prime Day is July 11, are you ready? There are a couple of things you should do so you are ready to take advantage of the amazing deals that are coming this year!

 

The post may contain affiliate links. If you shop through our links I could get a small commission at no extra cost to you.

 

First of all and Most important: If you do not have a PRIME membership with Amazon you’ll need it before you can order any of the Prime Day special sales. But don’t worry. You can sign up for a free 30 days! Enjoy the benefits of the sales prices and all that Prime membership has to offer. If you don’t won’t to continue your membership you can cancel anytime!!

Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

 

Next,  mark your calendars!! Sales will start some time in the evening of July 10th and will be released periodically for the next 30 hours!!

 

Follow our Facebook page to see updates and deals on Prime Day!

 

It may be a good idea to start your wishlist and have a talk with your husband/wife about a budget?! (only if you want to avoid problems at the next budget meeting!! ?)

Last year there were lots of appliances… Amazon sold 215,000 Instant Pots alone during last years Prime Day. If you are in the market for one or even a 2nd one (wouldn’t that be amazing???!!) I expect they will have another great deal this year!  I also expect to see a lot of big play items like trampolines, play sets for the back yard, toys of all kinds so think Christmas and Birthday stock piling!   Electronics were a big sales category last year as well! Even household things like robotic vacuums… really it’s going to be a ton of different things, big and small!

 

Something new this year, Amazon has started selling IKEA Items… so maybe we’ll see some deals there too?!!

If you can’t tell already, I’m really excited!! It’s fun to see all the deals and I’d love to help you all get what you are wishing for! 🙂 So leave a comment or send a message and let me know what you will be looking for so I can keep an eye out for you!

 

 

Happy shopping,

Deanna Grace

 

 

New to Loveandscribbles? check out these other articles that may interest you:

Walmart Grocery – What I Think After A Month

Seriously Easy Instant Pot Greek Yogurt!

What is this Instant Pot craze?

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Cooking once for the whole month. Take 2!

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Its February!  yay! We have less than a month until our due date! And boy am I feeling pregnant these days!! Can’t wait to meet this growing boy and to be done being pregnant! haha It’s truly amazing what our bodies can do, and being a part of this miracle is incredible!

 

I loved not cooking last month! I had a freezer stocked of 30 meals and didn’t have to worry about much when it came time to getting food on the table each night. No matter how busy we were or tired I was!

 

So, we did it again for this month! This time I chose to create my own menu from scratch, searching through so many wonderful recipes at Once a Month Meals! I mixed it up with different serving day options, mostly using my Instant Pot but also my oven!

I love how easy it is to find recipes your family will enjoy, and customize them for your family size!

 

This time along with the 30 meals for us, I also made a few dinners for my parent’s freezer and selected a few different recipes for lunches for myself. (Pizza stuffed sweet potatoes, turkey zucchini boats, and marinated chicken thighs, yum!)

 

I won’t deny that it was a lot of work and at the end of the day this time, I began to feel like I over did it… (at this point just trying to walk and breath is a workout though! ) AND the truly awesome thing is now I’m done cooking for a while and providing dinner for my family each night involves very minimal effort and hardly any mess! In fact looking at our schedule we will probably stretch these meals out through March as well!

 

I wanted to show you a few of the details and lists that I love about Once A Month Meals and why I wouldn’t do this without their wonderful help!

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Walmart Grocery – What I Think After A Month

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Walmart Grocery Pickup

 

We started using the new service at Walmart a little over a month ago. And not to sound dramatic BUT it has changed everything about grocery shopping for our family!

 

How Our Family Uses This Service

I place an order through Walmart Grocery Pick up once a week! I still do a monthly stop by Winco Foods bulk section for the staples like flour, sugar, etc. And Monthly Sam’s club trip for our big things. But as for our weekly needs like produce, bread, snacks, breakfast, and other meal items. It’s all been coming from Walmart and I haven’t had to step inside a Walmart store in a long time! (insert happy dance here)

 

We have discovered (at least for our area) same-day order/pick up doesn’t work. Because they are just so busy, in fact one of the workers told Ryan they have had up to 70 orders in a day!!

So, I place my order the night before I want to reserve a pick up time and I’ve never had a hard time getting the time I want.

Because I can fill my cart anytime on the app I usually have a few items in there all the time. When I’m standing in the kitchen and we use up the last piece of foil, or Ryan is digging in the fridge and says, we are out of lunch meat.. Instead of writing it on a list somewhere, I just put it in the cart on the app and it’s there, ready for when I complete my order.

We have been reserving to pick up between 5-6pm and it’s works out so great for us. Ryan gets off at 5 and then heads over to pick up the order. We usually choose to have our own bags in the trunk and the workers just put all the groceries in them right there at the car.

What happens when Walmart is out of an item you have ordered?

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Once A Month Meals!

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Have you ever prepared freezer meals for your family? It’s the process of preparing and cooking up a bunch of meals all at once and then freezing for a later time. It is really nice to have meals already prepared and ready to go when you are in a rush or the day has been crazy!

I’ve done freezer meal prep in the past for a few recipes. Usually, I just pick a few meals for either the crock pot or the oven and buy all the supplies to make them. Then I would spend the day making them all and sticking them in your freezer.  The mess and work all happens at one time and then done.

It does take some planning and it is work! But I think it can be really worth it. And you can add fun to it by inviting a friend to do it with you! I especially start thinking about this kind of prep right before a new baby arrives… since dinner time can be very unpredictable.

 

Recently I discovered a website called Once a Month Meals. They take this freezer prep/cooking idea to the max. I was instantly impressed by the organization and customization they provide.  I have signed up for meal planning help in the past and the only bummer I found in the ones I’ve tried is that you are kind of stuck with recipes your family doesn’t like.. no fun there!  With Once A Month Meals you can pick from their 6000+ recipes and substitute them into your plan And nothing else I have seen has been anywhere close to this! Read More

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I stopped reading books when I became a Mom…

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books I love reading!! I think I always have. In my younger years there usually wasn’t a time when I wasn’t in the middle of a book, or three! I really liked to balance things out, so if I was reading a great fiction I would also pick up a Christian Living book or a Biography or something.

I’m thankful I had family that cared about installing a love for reading in us as children.

We have an Aunt and Uncle who sent us fabulous stories every Christmas!! And our Grandma lived with us when we were small and I remember hours upon hours of sitting in her chair with her reading!! Trips to the library in our home school years were always fascinating.

When William came along it was still great for my reading habits for a little while. When he was just a babe I would read while feeding and rocking him. ( I had to adjust to electronic books so I could read in the wee hours but I was still getting to read!) I even enjoyed reading them aloud to him just for fun! But, then he grew.. and the Lord didn’t put a whole lot of
sitting still qualities in that little guy. 🙂 And of course with a growing household, chores and other things take over…. So, I found myself not picking up a book or journal for months at a time, or I would start one only to forget about it and find it 6 months later.

I also, longed to create a love of reading in William and James and found creative ways to stick reading into our day… like reading one of their books aloud while they played in the back yard (it’s amazing what these boys pick up even while they are busily exploring their world.) These days I’ve added reading to them during lunch time which works really well for us IF Mommy has had a chance to eat first 🙂

But still I found that I wasn’t picking up many books I cared about.. especially ones I hadn’t already read. What a bummer for this book lover… I found my wish lists of books I’d like to pick up growing and growing but no chance in sight to actually attempt any of them.

But, recently I realized I just needed to prioritize a bit and if it was really important to me I could make it work in this busy Mom life I’m adventuring in. One thing I do know is that “important people”, World-changers are often big readers. 🙂 In an effort to always expand your knowledge and more importantly wisdom – books are a great tool!
Some books I have lying around right now are:
Dr. Dobson’s Parenting collection
Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman ** haven’t read this yet, I can’t wait!!
Mom’s raising boys to be men
Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur

In my wish list still:   ( I have an Amazon wish list called “Books We Want” it’s public so you can check it out if you are interested in more titles… most of them have been recommended by friends, or on the radio or during another book I was reading)

Wild Things: The Art of Nuturing Boys by Stephen James and David Thomas

Strong Mothers, Strong Sons by Meg Meeker M.D.

For The Love by Jen Hatmaker

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

I was one of those readers that really didn’t like electronic books at first.. I will say I still feel like there is something missing when you can’t cuddle up with a book and actually turn pages ( I’m a huge highlighter too.. so i miss my pens. haha) But, I am learning to love the times we live in, and the resources that are so readily available for us. Purchasing actual bound books isn’t always possible and I find it’s harder for me to sit down with a book to read… But if it’s on my phone, well then, at the Dr’s office, or while I’m waiting for laundry to be done, right before bed (even if the lights are already out) I have a book!!!

I have found some new ways to get good electronic books in my hands (most of them free!) And have committed to reading them more than facebook, emails, etc. And I’ve put these apps on the first page of my phone so I see them even before I see all the other distractions!

Amazon Kindle: You can use the Kindle app on any device even if you don’t have a kindle. Just start an account, download the app onto your Ipad, Phone, computer.. whatever. SOOOOO many books are offered for free especially if you are a Prime member.

C.S. Lewis: A Life inspired

The Four loves by C.S. Lewis

Have a New Kid by Friday by Kevin Leman

The Help by kathryn Stockett

God’s Astounding Opinion Of You by  Ralph Harris

Amazon also has a great collection of classic reads…  Little Women, Northanger Abbey , The Secret Garden etc..  And they are FREE!!!

Scribd: My newest subscription. This one is $9.99 a month. But you get a ton of books and many of them available in Audio. I’m discovering that I’m motivated to read more in Scribd since it’s costing me every month. I know that if a month goes by and I haven’t used it, I’ll need to cancel my membership. So, it’s working 🙂   Get a FREE 30 day trial here!

I’ve started playing audio books in the car or while I’m doing laundry or dishes (this works especially well when I can send the boys outside to play)

So far most of the books I have searched for in Scribd have been available.
Here’s some of my recent reads and ones I have waiting in my library.

Undaunted by Christine Caine * I loved this book!! Full of encouragement to follow God’s calling no matter what!!

Chopin    This was such a fun audio to listen to… Full of History and very interesting facts plus, lots of Chopin’s beautiful music! I enjoyed entering the classical world my husband loves for a little bit and  plan to listen to a few more about Mozart and others.

love Does by Bob Goff   This book was an incredible read!  He has a great perspective on things and lives a pretty cool life, so his stories are awesome! If you want this book in another format it’s available on Amazon too….

 

Loving our Kids on Purpose   Just added this one, can’t wait to start it.

The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids by Joanne Kraft  *again this one is waiting for me! but I heard it recommended on K-love.

You’ll notice I’m deeply interested in any parenting wisdom I can glean these days (seems like a desperate Mother’s cry?? you’ve got that right. We need all the help we can get to guide these little hearts to and for Jesus)

I hope this encourages some one out there to just pick up a book (or electronic read) Even if you can only get a couple of pages at a time. Honestly I have surprised myself how quickly I’ve read through some books now that I’m mindful of its importance to me!

Happy reading everyone,

Let me know which awesome reads you’ve read or heard about.. my wish list is always growing.

 


There are some affiliate links here for Amazon. Which just means if you click and buy from links in this post, Amazon will give me a little something as a thanks for recommending them to you! Pretty cool. Thanks for shopping!

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toys toys toys and how we organize the chaos

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boys and toysIf you have young kids then you know that toys can very easily take over your life!
Especially when birthdays and Christmas come around!! We love that our boys get fun new things and that they have family and friends that love on them! 🙂 But this lady quickly became overwhelmed by the mess!!

Since I know that we can’t be the only ones, I thought I’d share the method that has worked for us. It may not be what works for everyone but if you need to try something new, give it a shot!!

So, with so many toys we started with trying the fabric cubes in a bookcase idea… something similar to this.

I even made labels with pictures of the different kinds of toys. I like the idea that it would look cute, organized and still be accessible to the boys. This simply did not work for us. at all!

First of all , not all our toys fit in these cute little bins. labels were ripped off and toys still seemed to all be dumped, every. single. day. So, the chaos continued. (we now use this bookcase and bins for the boys clothes in their closet and it works really well for that!)

I will say that this method works for some people. especially if you have one child, who is still young and just now getting into toys.

So, we moved everything to big plastic tubs. This way our whole collections of trains, blocks, cars whatever will fit in the same tub and has a lid!!

Still, having them in the play room meant that there were days that every bin was emptied… even if we tried the idea ” you have to put away one before you get the other one out. ” thing.
bonus points to you if you monitor your kids play time that well! 🙂

Eventually what I decided to do seemed drastic, but it works so well for us!!

ALL of the tubs of toys found a place in the garage. Every one of them!!
The boys know that they get 1 or 2 tubs into the house at a time. When they are ready for something else, we pack them away and get another one from the garage! Usually it’s trains and cars that stay in the house but everyone once in a while William will remember a certain toy and will ask where it is, so we switch them out!

This has brought a ton of peace to our play room! It’s so much easier to clean up when everything goes into the same tub! And I realized the boys weren’t even able to really play when they had so many toys surrounding them!
Also, right before Christmas I will put EVERYTHING in the garage so they can really enjoy the new things they get! And both our boys birthdays are soon after Christmas so we’ll probably spend a few months just exploring our presents! 🙂

I hope this helps if you haven’t found what works for your house!

 

I would love something like this for in the garage (as of now they are just stacked up on the side) but maybe some day 😉  (for now it will stay on the forever growing honey do-list)

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