Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pack It Up

Brent and I are taking the kids on our first official "family vacation" and we are hoping to fulfill every stereotype along the way.  That would include impossibly long car rides, too many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and lots of public restrooms.  We may even turn off the a/c in the van, so they can have a real taste of a family vacation.

When I mentioned to Brent, way back in February, that we should book this vacation to the Wisconsin Dells, the first words out of his mouth were,"if we do this, you WILL NOT freak out about how much it is going to cost and WE WILL spend money to have a good time."  After my cold sweat broke, I agreed to not be stingy and booked the resort before I could talk myself out of it.

I have a problem.  My name is Heidi and I'm a Saver.  I will probably go through several 12 step programs in my life, one of which will be Savers Anonymous.  God blessed me with a gift, the gift to budget.  It's not that I'm against spending, I just prefer to do it after I've saved for it.  If there was a contest for delayed gratification, I would take home the 3 foot trophy.  Thankfully Brent is the free spirit in this relationship and he has a way of talking me off the ledge when it's time to let go a little.

Returning to the original plan of this post, it was time to prepare for the vacation we leave for today.  We budgeted $1,500.00 (holy cow, that's a lot of $$$$$$!!!!!!!!!) because we had to have a definite amount to save towards so I could let go of the money when the time came.  Here is the plan I have worked out on paper to make sure we would have enough:

Hotel-$541.83.  Since we are staying 3 nights they gave us a 30% discount so the upgraded family suite was only about $150/ night but it goes up about $30/night with added fees and taxes.

Food-$300.00.  This will actually be $400 because we always budget $100/ week for food, so we are just lumping our regular grocery money in with it.  Only the $300 came out of the vacation account though.

Family Fun-$220.00.  I thought we would use this for ice cream, extra activities outside of the resort, little keepsakes that we may find along the way, etc.

Emma-$40.00 and Owen-$40.00.  So they each have a little spending money for when they inevitably say "mom, can I get this?"

Gasoline-$200.00.  I figured out that we would most likely need about three tanks of gas based on the number of miles we are traveling.

We are used to using an envelope system for things that are easy to pay for with cash.  For us, it is easier to control our spending when we use cash. Think of it like ordering off the menu as opposed to getting the buffet.  It's a little self control built right in!  I know a lot of people are uncomfortable carrying that much cash but for us, it's a system that works.  Plus, you DO NOT want to see me take a vacation using my debit card and then look at our account when we get back.  I would spend an entire week analyzing how much we spent.  Trust me.

Another easy way for us to make this trip affordable is to eat most meals with stuff from the grocery store.  Lots of fruit, veggies, peanut butter, popcorn and water.  We have been putting a few things aside for the last few weeks when they would go on sale, like chips and snacks for the kids.  These little waters will be great because they are only 8oz.  If our kids have a big bottle of water, they either lose it or it gets warm before they can finish it.
We throw all of our snacks in a plastic tub so they don't get squished by suitcases or children.
So when we return, you can be sure I'm going to add everything up and see just how much this vacation really cost us!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

It's Getting Hot In Herre

So take off all your.....never mind.

We were supposed to go camping today with some friends, but some rainy weather derailed us.  When there was a break in the clouds, we headed to the swimming pool.  An hour after getting there, an announcement was made that there had been a "fecal incident" so that was our cue to head home.  

When we got home, there was a project staring us in the face.  It looked like this.

Our old fire pit recently broke while rolling it around the yard.  She was a beaut.

My parents happened to have a rusty older outdoor fireplace they said we could have, but it was gonna take a little elbow grease to get 'er back into shape.  

Brent started by using a multi tool with an angled sander attachment.

After he had sanded off all the rust, he used the air compressor tip to blow off all the leftover bits.  There was still some residue so he put some mineral spirits on a rag and wiped it all down.
Time to paint!  

A few light coats later we were finished.  It only took a few minutes in between coats to dry so it was very fast.

So now we have a refreshed outdoor fireplace for our back patio.

And then Owen asked me to take his picture.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

Today we tried to do things for Brent that he enjoyed.  Since it's Sunday, we walked to church, which is a nice leisurely mile, stopping at our favorite coffee shop on the way.  After church we went to my brother's house for a delicious brunch.  From there, we took Brent to a local "aquatic center".  We spent the afternoon on the lazy river, splash park and diving board.  Exhausted and full of sun, we came home to watch a movie together.  I'd like to say Brent and I stayed awake for it...

By early evening the sun had come out from behind the clouds, so we went outside in our swimsuits to get a touch more sun.  Turns out our new concrete makes a perfect sunning patio!  Less than 15 minutes later, with a pile of dirt and forms to tear off staring us in the face, we got to work.  We need to move the dirt pile to fill in around the concrete pad, making sure to slope it away for drainage.  We got a couple wheelbarrows done before it was time to call it a night.  

Saturday, June 15, 2013

One step closer.

We got the concrete poured last night.  It took three guys pushing wheelbarrows and two guys finishing.  Starting at 3:30 and finishing around 6:30.  Total cost for concrete was $436.00.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The beginning of Kruse's Workshop.

Our neighbor is giving us his one car garage so he can build a two car.  We have our foundation prepped and plan to pour the concrete this Saturday.