31 days of vacationing on a dime – Day 25 – Incorporating learning on your trip.


So you want to go on a vacation that is not just all fun and games? You may be wondering is there people out there that actually want to learn something on their trip. Well there is, our family loves to go on vacation to relax as well as learn something. No matter where we go, we try to incorporate something learning into our trip. Sometimes this learning takes place a little more before we leave so that we can see that particular place or thing while on vacation.

So how can you incorporate learning on your trip?

You can:

  • Learn about the places you are going. Like a few years ago, we learned about the different countries that are in Epcot so that we knew a little something about each one before we got there.
  • Go to museums that interest you. There are tons of different types of museums out there and all you have to do is find them.
  • Go to National Parks. National Parks are great learning places. Most of them have a museum or visitors center with information and displays in them. The brochures on the different places are full of information and all you have to do is read it. A lot of times we will read it afterwards because it has so much information in it. Your children can also participate in the Junior Ranger program and get a badge and a certificate for completing it. Just beware you might learn just as much or more than they do.Wilson's Creek National Battlefield
  • Go to places that have a history. Like if your child loves to read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, take them to see where they were written in Missouri. They will see where the books were written.Laura Ingalls Wilder home, Mansfield, MO
  • Go to a fish hatchery and learn about science.
  • Have kids write a short report on something before the trip or after the trip on a particular subject matter that they will be seeing or have seen.

As you can see there are many ways to incorporate learning into your trip, not just for your child but for you also.

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NIV Wonders of Creation Holy Bible – Review

wonders of creation holy bible

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own.

About the Bible:

The wonders of the created world filled with the hues of your imagination.

With detailed black-and-white illustrations of amazing animals, landscapes, and other wonders of creation, this Bible features over 5o ready-to-color pages alongside the full text of the New International Version (NIV) translation.

Features Include:

  • Lay-flat binding made for the perfect coloring experience.
  • Over 50 pages of black-and-white illustrations ready to be colored.
  • Key verses called out on each coloring page.
  • The full text of the bestselling New International Version translation.
  • Presentation page for gift giving.
  • Ribbon marker.

-Taken from the back of the book.

Karen Says:

When I received this book, I was surprised at how nice it was. This book is a hard back book with a nice cover on it. It also includes a pink ribbon marker.

I also liked how there are coloring pictures in the covers, they made use of that space.

The coloring pages are spread throughout the Bible and each one has a Bible verse that goes with the picture.

I think this Bible would make a great gift for a girl ages 10 and up, even some adults would enjoy this. Actually, I could see adults coloring in this Bible while at church listening to a message.


  • Cost: $24.99
  • Pages: 1,140
  • Publisher: Zondervan



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31 days of vacationing on a dime – Day 24 – Planning a trip yourself vs going with a tour group.

Welcome to day 24 of our series on vacationing on a dime. Today, I am going to be talking about planning a trip yourself vs going with a tour group. For this post, a tour group means paying to go with a group of people and a company plans every aspect of the trip, including food, activities, and lodging. Also for this post, I am going to be comparing a trip to the historic triangle. We went to the Historic Triangle last year and I am going to use what we paid for that trip. We had 5 people in our group and I planned the trip myself. Then for the travel group, I am going to use what a tour group does. I was interested in going on a tour with this company because I thought tit would be good to visit with a group.

For those of you who don’t know what the Historic Triangle is, it is Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. All of these are located within a short distance of each other in Virginia. Tons of history is located here. By the way if you haven’t been there, you should plan a trip there.

First, I am going to compare what this group tour would cost our family of 5 to go with this tour group.

So what would be included in this tour if we went with them?

Tour includes:

  • You have 2½ days at the Historic Triangle.
  • 3 nights lodging.
  • 3 Breakfasts
  • 3 dinners
  • Travel by tour bus.
  • Travel guide.

For the 2½ days in the Historic Triangle you will be spending a half a day doing Jamestown and Yorktown each. Then doing about a day and a half at Williamsburg.

So what would this tour cost our family of 5?

It would cost us $4,255 for this trip. This does not include getting us up there either by driving or flying. So that would be on top of the cost of the trip.

Where as it cost us a lot cheaper for more time in the Historic Triangle and doing a lot more.

Here is what we did:

  • We spent 5 nights in the area. 3 nights at one cabin that had 2 bedrooms and a living room and a kitchen. Then 2 nights in an old house at a state park that had 3 bedrooms, living room and kitchen.
  • We spent 4½ days doing things in the area. We did Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown, Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center.
  • We mostly ate our meals at our cabins and did sandwiches for lunch. We went to the store to buy stuff for our meals.

So how much did this cost us?

We spent $832.25 for lodging and attractions. This does not include food and gas to drive around. But as you can see from the cost between the two we could spend a whole lot for food and gas and still be ahead of the game compared to what it would cost us for the tour group package and we spent more time in the area and did more.

As you can see from our little comparison, there is a huge difference in the amount of money you will spend by planning a trip by yourself and going with a tour group. For us it was a lot more economical and we got to do more and experience different things. For us one of the highlight of this trip was staying at the old house at the state park. Sure we had to drive a little further and take a ferry across the river, but that was all part of the experience.

So check into the price of things and decide for yourself if it worth taking a tour or going by yourself.




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31 days to vacationing on a dime – Day 23 – Souvenirs


We can not finish out this series with out discussing souvenirs. It seems like these things we call souvenirs are everywhere when we go on vacation. I mean you go to an attraction, they have a gift shop and they always route you right through it to get out of whatever you are visiting.

So how do we handle souvenirs?

Well we usually get something for our kids when we are on vacation and they know that. But they also know they have to really like it. We won’t be getting something at every place we go to. Since we have an idea of what we are doing before hand, they kind of know that they might want to get something at a particular place.

Like when we go to Walt Disney World, we usually pick up a t-shirt for each child and a couple of trading pins  that they can add to their lanyards. One pin is always going to be something with the year on it, so that they can remember the year they went. We usually let them pick out another one because they like different things and they might be looking for something in particular such as a ride pin or a character.

They might get something else it all depends. They also have the option to use their own money to get something. We have always given them the opportunity to make some money before we leave on vacation. Especially in the late winter and early spring, when we rake leaves here in South Mississippi. We give them 25 – 50 cents a bag.

We also try to pick up a few post cards for the kids to remember where they have gone. These cards are relatively cheap souvenirs and the kids love them.

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31 days of vacationing on a dime – Day 22 – Don’t leave home without….


When you are going on vacation, it doesn’t matter where you are going there are some things that you might want to consider bringing with you that you might not have thought about.

Here are several things to consider bringing with you.

  • Cell phone and charger
  • laptop – Just try not to be on it all the time, you are on vacation.
  • Power strip cord. This is especially handy when we plug in more that one thing, like all the cell phones.
  • A travel notebook with all your important stuff in it. Leave it in easy access so you get  to it if you need to.
  • Food and drinks in the car in case you get stuck in traffic.
  • A blanket in case you get cold.
  • A sense of humor – You know something is not going to go along like planned so don’t sweat it and roll with it.
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Frugal Friday – Pick up those coins on the ground.

frugal friday

When we are out and about walking, sometimes we notice coins on the ground. A lot of times it is just pennies that people have discarded, but if you pick those up and let them accumulate you might be surprised at how much money it adds up to.

My son had a job that required him to walk around a lot and he kept on finding money that people dropped. At the end of a few months he collected over $10 that he found on the ground.

Also I collect money that I find on the ground during my travels and put it in a special piggy bank and we use that for some of our vacation money. It doesn’t add up to a whole lot, but I figure every little bit helps.

So don’t overlook those coins you find on the ground.

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31 days of vacationing on a dime – Day 21 – Packing light.


Over the years, we have packed differently. It seems like when we only had 3 or 3 people in the car, we could bring whatever we wanted with us and we were fine. But as the years passed and our family grew bigger, we realized that we had to cut down on what we brought with us. We have to limit what we bring along with us on vacation. So now we pack a lot lighter than what we used to. At first, we would bring everything that we might need along the way. Now I have adapted the philosophy that we only bring the essentials. There is always Wal-Mart along the way if we have to stop and get something that we need or forgot. We don’t need to bring that item that we only need once in a blue moon.

We have been packing light for some time now, but I think now we pack even lighter. You see our family was involved in a car accident about a year ago, while we were on vacation. We had a rental car and packed it quite well before we left home and we even had some room left over. When we were involved in this accident on day 2 of our 2 week vacation, we had to get a replacement car.

Of course we had to get a slightly smaller vehicle than what we had because that was the only one they had. So we had no choice than to get that one. So on day 3 of our vacation, we got our replacement car and then we had to go to the tow truck lot to get all of our stuff out of the first car and repack it into the smaller car. Talk about fun, since it was raining.

Needless to say, we didn’t get all of our stuff repacked the way it had been and we had to be more cramped than what we would have been. We were thankful that we hadn’t brought a lot more stuff with us. So after that trip and the experience with the accident, we have rethought some things and we make sure we really pack light. We don’t want another repeat of trying to get everything to fit into something smaller.

So my advice is to try to pack light when traveling, you only need a certain amount of stuff so why bring more.

I know this is hard to do especially if you or someone in your family likes to bring 20 shirts and 20 books to read while on a 1 week vacation. Just try to think about how much you are going to realistically going to use.

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31 days of vacationing on a dime – Day 20 – Entertaining kids in the car.

31-days-of-vacationing-on-a-dimeSo you have decided to take a road trip in your car, now you are saying to yourself, “How are we going to entertain the kids?”

Over the years, we have come up with ways to entertain the kids on a trip. Some of them have been by just trail and error. So how can you entertain the kids on a road trip?

  • Use a TV and a DVD player so that the kids can watch a movie. This has helped us many times. We would bring different types of movies and then let the kids pick what one they want to watch, each one taking a turn picking out the movie.
  • Have music that they want to listen to. Again each person picking out music that they want to listen to.
  • Play games. There are several travel games that you can play, such as the license plate game. Also kids can play other types of travel games.
  • Read. We let the kids bring a couple of books that they can look at and or read while on the road.
  • Coloring books. Yes we do bring coloring books for the younger kids except we don’t allow crayons in the car. (You know we had one to many melt in the sun.) We only bring coloring pencils and a pencil sharpener.
  • Allow some down time for looking at the scenery. Sometimes we go through some scenic parts of the country and this is the time that we stop movies and music and just soak in the scenery.
  • Stop at rest areas. We always stop at rest areas and let the kids run and play for a few minutes before getting back into the car. This helps them get some energy out from sitting so long. We do this for the adults in the groups sanity.

So there are some things that you can do to help entertain the kids while on the road.

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31 Days of vactioning on a dime – Day 19 – How are we getting there?


Today, we are going to discuss how are we going to get to wherever we are going. This is going to depend on personal preference as well as where you are going. For our family, we drive almost everywhere we go. For us, we don’t mind driving and it is much more cost effective for 5 of us to travel in our own vehicle or a rented one.

So what are your options if you are going somewhere? You can:

  • Drive
  • Fly
  • Take a bus
  • Take a train

All of these options are good and like I said before it all depends on where you are going and your own personal preference. Like if you were to go to the Caribbean, you would most likely fly or take a boat there. But if you were to go to Walt Disney World, you might drive your own vehicle there. So the choice is yours. You just have to be happy with your decision.

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31 Days of vacationing on a dime – Day 18 – What are you going to do? Part 2


Now that you have collected information about what you can do while on vacation, now is the time to narrow down what you are going to do. This is where you might want to consult the other people who are going on vacation with you and see what they want to do also.

A word of caution, if you are anything like us we come up with way to many ideas than we have time for. So you might have to make some tough decisions and cut some things. Also you might want to leave some breathing room in your schedule because when you arrive at your destination you might see or hear about something that sounds interesting that is not on your list of things to do and you might want to do this activity. Like we went to the Smokey Mountains and heard about this small museum and a hiking trail that sounded interesting. We wound up doing the small museum and enjoyed it very much.

Since we are usually on a tight budget, we like to do things that are cheap or free. But we will pay for somethings if we really want to do them. Like when we went to Colonial Williamsburg, we went with multi day tickets for us all so that we could spend a few days there.

Once we have decided on what we are going to do, I put all that information in our travel notebook with the cost of each attraction, any directions that we might need and any other pertinent information. I usually type this out and print it out so that it is neatly organized.

This is a sample of what I do. This is from our trip to Mansfield, MO:

Bakers Creek Spring Planting Festival

May 1-2, 2016 (Sunday and Monday) 10 am to 7 pm

Cost $5 per person/day – kids under 16 free


Laura Ingalls Wilder Home

Monday thru Saturday 9 am to 5 pm

Sunday 12:30 to 5:00 pm


Children 6 to 17: $7

Adults 18 and over: $14.00


Mansfield Cemetery


Now you have everything you need to have fun on your vacation.

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