Adventures at Legoland Florida

A few years ago, we decided to make a trip to Florida, driving down the Atlantic coast and returning by the gulf coast side. We had a set budget and two weeks vacation. We decided to tent camp whenever possible. Now, I knew that sounded ambitious but we were up for the challenge! Not everything went as planned (weather and car sickness) so, we did have to stop a few times and stay at a hotel.  Otherwise, we camped at some of Florida’s amazing state parks and really enjoyed the beautiful beaches and old forts that came along with the entry fee.

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We really wanted to go to Walt Disney but after looking at the prices, we decided it wouldn’t be a possibility for our family this time. We still wanted to do something “big” for our wonderful kiddos. One day by accident, I discovered LEGOLAND in Winter Haven, Florida.

How? Well, I came across a coupon that said KIDS GO FREE in one of my kids Lego sets. I had no idea what this place was but they had me at “KIDS GO FREE”. After a lot of research, we decided that we had found the “big” event we were looking for.

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From the moment we walked up to the ticket booth my kids were SO excited! I have to admit so was I! This place looked amazing!

If you have any LEGO lovers in your family…this is the amusement park for you. My kids were four and six at the time and I loved the fact that my youngest child could ride almost every ride, with the exception of maybe one or two. And on top of that, every ride had an area for the kids to build LEGOS while their parents stood in line. It was a lifesaver!

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If your kids are like mine, they have a ton of little LEGO mini-figures hanging around…if you bring them with you, you can trade them with the staff at the park. Each staff member has a lego name tag that has LEGO figures attached to it. Just ask them to trade and they will!

We were allowed to bring food into the park and that is always a plus in my book! I don’t know about your kids but my kids have to eat every 5 seconds ( I exaggerate a little). So, having a backpack full of snacks and water really helps our budget! We brought sandwiches and ate them on a picnic bench in the shade (it was a scorcher of a day).

From going to Egypt to exploring Legoland USA to Ninjago and Star Wars… Not including the LEGO creating stations and driving school… there was oh so much to see and do. My son was convinced that we needed to move there after our first trip. I don’t blame him a bit…

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Something we didn’t know when we arrived was that tucked away in the corner of the park was a botanical garden! It is called Cypress Gardens! And it’s beautiful!

Take time to explore it! You won’t be disappointed, I promise you. Make sure to check for events happening in the garden…like a water skiing show. (We missed it because it was the last thing we did.)

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Tips and Tricks:

  • Parking is not free! It is $17 just for standard parking. (Check their website for additional pricing options.)
  • Check local businesses to see if they have any Kids Go Free coupons. This is a big help! We found a $5 off coupon at the local McDonalds.
  • If you cannot find any coupons, buy your tickets online as far in advance as you can. The further out you buy your ticket, the cheaper it is.
  • Bring your own snacks, lunch and refillable water bottle.
  • Get there as soon as they open. Their hours of operation are shorter than most amusement parks. 10 AM-7PM.
  • If you are going to have a couple days, buy both the LEGOLAND water park/amusement park combo. We didn’t go to the water park but wish we had made time to do so.
  • When visiting, don’t forget your sunscreen and a hat!
  • Start from the back of the park and work your way forward. You may not have to wait so long in line. (Good luck at convincing your kids this a good idea.)
  • Don’t forget about the botanical garden!
  • Bring your least favorite LEGO mini-figures to trade with the Staff!

Have any good LEGOLAND tips to share? Please do!

Stretching a Penny (episode 1)

We are a family who survives on one steady income. I am a stay at home/homeschool mom and have been since my daughter was born nine years ago. I am blessed to have always been there for my two wonderful kiddos and all the money in the world couldn’t compare to that.

Being a stay at home has its blessings and it has its setbacks. The blessings outweigh the setbacks for sure! But unlike the families that have two incomes, we have to stretch every penny! Here are a few things we do to help our family to stretch that penny.

Turn out the lights!

Electricity is not cheap! We leave lights off in well-lit areas during the day and have a “Light Brigade” (my two kids) randomly run through the house turning off lights. It has become a fun game with both of my kids but my son (6) takes his job very seriously. I yell out “Light Brigade” and they run through the house turning off lights like well-trained soldiers. Hey, whatever works! Am I right?

ALDI

We shop at ALDI for about 75% of the items we use in our house. I watch for good sales at a local grocery store and sometimes Walmart but the majority of our food comes from ALDI. I buy most of my vegetables, fruit, yogurt, Kefir, milk, eggs, and dry goods there. (just to name a few) I have a lot of people ask about the quality of the food we buy there…to be honest, I haven’t found many things I don’t like from there! I would say it’s comparable to most of the products from top named brands!

Once a week…

We eat out and when I say “eat out” it may be a pizza or hamburger at our local Sam’s Club or Chinese place. I will admit it is not the healthiest of choices but it isn’t very expensive and it’s ONLY once a week! I make all of our meals the rest of the week and “eat out night” is just a “cheat” so mommy can have a night off. What mom doesn’t need a night off? Can I get an “Amen”?

Amazon

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I use Amazon Prime for a lot! From buying my printers” off brand” ink to sending out of town family members gifts. Now if you are thinking Amazon Prime isn’t free, you are right! Prime membership cost $99 a year but I have done the math and just in a birthday gift shipping alone (I have seven nephews and nieces that live out of state) I have almost paid for the membership. We also use our Amazon Prime membership for watching shows on Prime Videos, listening to (and downloading) music on Prime Music and saving our pictures to Prime Photos. It’s worth it!

No Media Subscriptions

No paper, no cable, no magazine subscriptions… just, no. We do have internet but that is about it. We make use of our local library for books, media, movies and a lot more. For movies, we either rent from Red Box or we use our Amazon Prime Videos. We don’t normally go out to the local movie theater and if we do its a treat! We usually wait for the movie we want to watch to come out on DVD and then we rent it from Red Box. The idea quickly turns into a cozy night at home with freshly popped popcorn and snuggles under a warm blanket. Who needs a movie theater?

Just say “NO”

This is my least favorite way of saving money but it is one I have to exercise a lot. On many occasions, I had to say no to outings with friends or invitations to do things that cost. It’s not that I don’t like going out and doing things…on the contrary! But we homeschool and that $30 trip to the bouncy house place could pay for my kid’s next swim lesson session.

Like I said, not my favorite way of saving but sometimes it is necessary when you are on a tight budget.

Clearance

I am constantly scanning for birthday and Christmas gifts or anything useful in the clearance section! Now does that sound cheap? Sure it does! Does it matter if I pay full price for the item that is being gifted or if I bought it at 90% off? Well, to be honest, the person who is receiving “said gift” does not know I bought it at a discount. My kids cannot tell the difference on the Lego set I bought for $15 compared to the same set that is selling for $30+. Again, it’s stretching every penny! Besides, “It’s the thought that counts”, right?

To be continued…

 

 

 

The Capitol of Arkansas breaks out in praise.

America. What makes you so great or not so great? I know that the story of “America” varies with each individual. I am proud to be an American. I have respect for our flag and what the forefathers of this great nation stood for. I hold the freedoms of speech and the freedom to worship near and dear to my heart.
I love the story of how William Bradford and ninety of his fellow Pilgrims took such a long, cold, and deadly transatlantic trip to the New World. They had one thing on their mind, freedom. Freedom to worship their heavenly Father. Freedom to train their children in a way that would please God.
So in respect of all the lives that have fought to keep our nation free. I freely teach my children that the flag is to be respected, and when the national anthem plays we stand at attention with our hands placed over our hearts.We pray for the President (no matter who holds the title) because he/she needs Divine intervention, sometimes. ( A great read:

Prayers That Changed History: From Christopher Columbus to Helen Keller, how God used 25 people to change the world)

They know The Pledge of Allegiance and can sing (most) of The Star Spangled Banner, because the words “One Nation under God” and “In God is our Trust” are important. Our forefathers knew that God was the key to their success. After all, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”- Romans 8:31
I would be doing my children a great disservice if I didn’t show and teach respect for the freedom America has given. Because if you don’t respect and love something, you won’t fight when it is threatened.
A friend of mine shared a video of Pastor Appreciation Week in Arkansas’ capitol. When I saw this video, I became so proud of the freedom to worship! This is what our nation needs, not stricter gun rules, not a larger wall…we need God. I hope you enjoy it as well

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One of my favorite things to buy on Amazon..

I love Amazon! Who doesn’t? Its so easy. Find the item you need, click buy, and its at your door in a few days. What’s not to love?

My husband and I became members with Amazon Prime ages ago and really enjoy all the perks of being a member. For me, free shipping is right at the top of my list of positives!

My latest favorite purchase from Amazon is Indescribable: 100 Devotions for Kids About God and Science.

I have always been a fan of Louie Giglio! When I found out he was writing a children’s book…well, I jumped on that wagon right away!

It is a beautifully illustrated hardback book full of colorful illustrations. I love how Mr. Giglio brings fun and interesting scientific facts and intertwine them with God’s word. My entire family enjoys reading it together as a devotional. After we do our devotional, we YouTube the interesting facts that were mentioned to add to the adventure.

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If you decide to buy this amazing book, please consider finding it by clicking on the pictures above or the title below. These are affiliated links and I do receive a little something for sharing it. I only share the things I absolutely love and know you will as well.

Indescribable: 100 Devotions for Kids About God and Science

Thank you and God bless.

Flu/Cold Home Remedy

It’s that time of the year, again!

You know the time of year I am referring to, right? The time of year when you make a run to the local “everything” store to buy tissues, vitamin C and whatever will ensure you a good nights sleep.

Ah, yes, now you are with me! The infamous flu season!

I wanted to share with you my “go to” when I start feeling the “dreaded yuck” coming on. Its something that I whip up and share with my family when I hear any moans or groans about someone having a soar throat or a cough.

Ingredients:

  • local honey
  • ginger (fresh or grounded)
  • ground cinnamon

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The following instructions are for a single serving…

Pour one cup of apple juice and stir in a pinch (around 1/8 tsp) of ginger and cinnamon.

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Heat your yummy concoction on your stove top in a pan or in the microwave in a microwave safe cup.

After the mixture of apple juice, ginger and cinnamon is warm, add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and honey to your liking.

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It tastes like apple cider and is a great way to get more vitamin C in.

I hope you give it a try!