New Projects   |   February 09, 2016

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Around here we try to keep things pretty simple though there’s always some project to focus on.  We are constantly working on something to improve our lives or the lives of our kids.  We have begun the process of making a little garden for the spring, just preparing the soil at this point.  It’s far too cold to plant right now.  Though it’s a challenge in the Florida sand, we’ve had a garden most years.  This year we are especially excited to make a garden to show Carlie what growing vegetables is all about.

And we have been working on thinning out some of the woods in front of our house.  The woods have been so thick in front of our house you can just barely make out that there is a house through there somewhere.  I really like it and I think it will improve the looks of the house and yard tremendously.  Nessa has been wanting this done for a while now so she can see what’s going on out on the road from inside the house.

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I’ve been meaning to write a bit more about the costs of our Christmas trip to Maine.  My job gives me get quite a bit of vacation time so going on long vacations is an option every year.  It’s important to me that we watch our costs on all our vacations.  It really doesn’t cost much to have a great vacation.  We don’t head out on vacation to do things that take money.  We concentrate on the experiences along the trip and spending time together making memories as a family.

We spent 372 dollars round trip to Maine and back.  That price included all gas and food.  I didn’t include in that figure the credit card points we used to stay for “free” two nights in the hotel in Washington, D.C.  We were able to stay with Nessa’s parents making costs minimal during our time in Maine.  Helping us too, was the cheap gas thanks to a flooded oil market.

You pay big for convenience and comfort.  Sure, we could have bought plane tickets and flown.  We would only had to buy three tickets since we can hold John on our lap until he’s two.  But the cost of plane tickets would have put us in the 1500 dollar range assuming tickets were $500 apiece.  But too, if we had flown we wouldn’t have been able to stop in Washington or stop by my brother Stephen’s like we did.

Besides, isn’t that what vacation is all about?  To me, spending time with family making new memories is what vacation is all about.  Sure it would have been more comfortable ridding in a plane, spending a lot less time in a seat, but if comfort was my primary concern I wouldn’t have gotten off my couch to go to Maine in the first place.

It’s a trade off.  by a quick estimation of $1500 – $372 we saved $1128 by not buying plane tickets.  It would take quite a few days of work to make that kind of money, so to me, I could either spend the time making that extra money at work or spend extra time driving across the nation with my family.  To me it’s a no brainer.

I should figure up what we spent on our trip to Yellowstone last fall.  Ok, got it, $1311.36 for the trip total.  On the way up we stayed with one of Nessa’s aunts and a “free” motel in Colorado Springs.  On the way back we stayed in another motel in Dallas, TX and a three dollar campground in Louisiana.  Again I say free in quotes because we used credit card points to cover the stay.  That’s it.  That number includes all gas, food, souvenirs, campsite and anything else we bought outside of Florida.

Call me cheap or what you will, but our family is going to think of money, happiness, and livn in an unorthodox way.