How to Save Money When Traveling With a Family

How to Save Money When Traveling With a Family

How to Save Money When Traveling With a Family

With summer approaching, many families are planning their annual vacations. This is a time of fun and excitement, but family vacations can be quite costly if they are not planned appropriately. Here are some tips to help you organize a vacation retreat that is both cost effective and fun for the whole family.

Due to the inflated price of fuel and the cost of booking seats for multiple people, flying can be an incredibly expensive way to travel during family vacations. Fortunately, there are several ways to significantly reduce the price of airline tickets.

Purchase Your Tickets Mid-Week
It is common for airlines to change their ticket prices in the middle of the week when less people are travelling. By purchasing your tickets on a Tuesday or Wednesday, you may be able to get a good deal.

Research the Fees for Checked Luggage
The policies for checked luggage varies significantly depending on the airline. Some airlines offer one free checked bag, while others charge large fees for all bags that you are not carrying onto the plane. Some of the most expensive checked luggage policies can tack on hundreds of dollars to your airline expenses, so do your research accordingly. By using an airline that has low, or even free, checked luggage fees, you can save a large sum of money that can be used elsewhere.

Use Websites to Find Deals
It can sometimes be very difficult to find deals on your own. After all, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of potential options for airline tickets. By using sites such as Fly and Orbitz, you can find the best prices for your intended travel time. You can also sign up for deal alerts to ensure that you don’t miss cheap deals that airlines occasionally offer.

Use Credit Cards to Your Advantage
Many credit cards now have rewards programs that offer you airline miles and other benefits when you purchase items. When you are deciding on a credit card to use, you may want to consider their rewards program. You may find that credit cards that reward you with many airline miles or discounts can be an effective way to reduce the cost of your travels.


Like flights, hotels can also be pricey. The cost of a hotel often depends on the number of guests and accommodations, but there are several ways to make a high quality hotel less expensive.

Use Third-Party Deals
Hotels often have partnerships with third-party businesses and organizations such as banks, online vendors, and popular stores. There are many cases when you can use these partnerships to gain special offers and deals. These come in the form of online rebates, special coupons, and membership benefits (banks and similar organizations). Check out the stores and organizations that you are associated with to find out if you can benefit from any deals they may offer.
Use All-Inclusive Packages
Many hotels across the world offer all-inclusive packages that can help you save money on activities while you are in a particular area. These packages vary depending on the hotel and your needs, but these bundles often include lodging, meals, and activities. A family staying at Barcelo hotels in Riviera Maya, for example, can save money by taking advantage of an all-inclusive package that offers dining at restaurants and bars, games, snorkeling, kayaking, and various other activities.

family vacation

By planning all of your activities ahead and doing the appropriate research, you can go on a family vacation that is affordable and fun.

– By Lana Evans

Lana Evans is a freelance writer who enjoys covering entertainment, traveling and lifestyle. She is always looking to conquer new adventures and try new things. Follow her on Twitter to see where the road takes her next.

Your Favorite Pictures on a Flower Pot – Craft Idea and DIY

flower-pot-craft-idea I love thinking of new ways to preserve all of my favorite pictures. They don’t really do me any good taking up space in my smartphone, or stuffed away in a drawer somewhere. I want to display them loud and proud. I was looking on Pinterest (I know…) for creative Mother’s Day ideas and I stumbled upon something similar to this flower pot craft idea and decided I would make my own version. It was super easy to make and looks beautiful once it’s finished. These make such a thoughtful gift idea. Supplies Materials needed: – Clay flower pot – A ton of your favorite pictures – Super glue or any other craft glue – Paint color of choice – Mod Podge – to seal your pictures and make them waterproof – Paint brush or sponges for painting   flower pot craft Paint your clay pot the color of choice. Being that we are a family of all girls, naturally we went with pink… All pink everything! josephine flower pot craft It took a few coats to completely cover the entire thing so that none of the clay color would show. We did paint some of the inside also, but not all the way down. While this is drying you can start figuring out how you would like your pictures arranged and cut them to size. flower pot crafts Glue your first picture as a starting point and then work your way around covering as much of the pot as you would like. I covered almost the whole thing, letting some of the pink color show in a few places for pizzaz.  Once you have all of your pictures glued on and they are completely dry, you can begin covering it in Mod Podge. You will want to do very thin coats making sure the pot is covered evenly. Let dry and apply another coat. I did this 3-4 times until I knew there weren’t any cracks or spots that weren’t covered. Flower pot idea Plant your favorite flowers and enjoy! We gave this to MamaK for the front porch of her farm. It looks beautiful and has some of our favorite memories covering it. A gift that will last a lifetime. Those are my favorite! farm


I think she liked it… :) I would love to see all of your favorite picture craft ideas! Share them below:


18 DIY Organizing Ideas!

18 DIY Organizing Ideas!

18 DIY Organizing Ideas!

Here are 18 of my favorite DIY organizing ideas! Read on and get inspired! Let me know which ones you love!



Ideas for Organizing with Trays @ Maison de Pax


DIY Giant Pegboard Wall @ The Happy Housie


Faux Specimen File Cabinet @ Little House of Four


Old Drawer Flower Box @ The Scrap Shoppe


Craft Room Makeover Reveal @ The Happy Housie


DIY Vase of Straws @ The Design Journal


DIY Charging Station @ Polka Dots in the Country



DIY Coffee Mug Rack @ My Newest Addiction



Repurposed Coffee Table Decor @ Maison de Pax



DIY Caster Wall Hooks @ Scavenger Chic



Girl’s Room Gallery Wall @ A Diamond in the Stuff



Chalky Finish Painted Entryway Bench @ AKA Design



Old Forks to New Hooks @ Wesens-Art



15 Minute DIY Wood Caddy @ Fynes Designs



Limited Space Craft Room Storage Ideas @ Hawthorne & Main


Clothespin Necklace Holder @ Our Peaceful Planet




Organize your outdoor shed @ BHG

Organizing #3

Why good parents bring their kids to the Indy 500

Why good parents bring their kids to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy 500.

So many times I come across people in Indianapolis that have never been to the Indy 500, or even worse — they think it’s a “guys only” thing.


Both of those situations are a total shame, considering my entire family celebrates Easter as a welcome party for the adrenaline-filled month of May, and guess where we celebrate Easter? Yup, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Couple of years ago we embarked on a journey that led us to become very close with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — To change people’s perception that races are only for beer drinking, cigar smoking, rowdy guys with racing numbers painted on their bellies. The atmosphere at most races couldn’t be any further from that, and while there is nothing wrong with the above-mentioned, and yes, there is still plenty of hard partying, that doesn’t mean that the entire venue is that way. Plus, kids under 12 get in FREE! (Genera Admission)


Every year we make at least fifty trips to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (most during the month of May), and half of those trips are with our kids. And the reason being is that we believe there are good lessons to be learned from the drivers, teams, and racing in general.

Things my kids have learned thanks to racing:

– Hard work pays off: Most drivers have been go-karting since they started walking, and they’ve had to fight and work extremely hard to get to Indycar, Indy Lights, etc.

– Teamwork: Few things represent teamwork better than a pitstop. Everyone plays a vital role, everyone has to be in sync, everyone has to perform to the best of their ability. If they don’t, there are big consequences.

– Face adversity: Have you seen a driver crash by mistake, a pit crew member mess up a wheel nut, or a crew chief get the fuel strategy wrong? It happens, but it’s how they react to it that’s important. They shrug it off, learn from it and move on.

And my favorite one…

– Business skills: Racing is a business — and a risky one. Teams and drivers need sponsors, which means they have to sell themselves, they have to be public speakers, they have to know marketing and advertising, they have to perform magic to get the dollars needed to go racing across the world. This is an invaluable lesson for our next generation of employees and business owners to learn while they’re young.


But if that weren’t enough, here are a few fun and playful reasons why your kids will love going to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Race Cars – What boy or girls doesn’t like fast, loud, and in your face race cars? Even if they’re only interested for 10 minutes or so.

Autographs – Indycar drivers LOVE spending time with their fans. They truly enjoy snapping selfies and signing autographs for the people that cheer them on at every race. Plus, have you ever been to a Formula One race? You’re lucky if you even catch a glimpse of one of the drivers… from two miles away.

Cool stuff – The Indianapolis Motor Speedway does a heck of a job at honoring our Armed Forces and inviting them to the grounds, and they usually bring tanks, obstacle courses, and all kinds of stuff that kids love. Plus it helps kids develop appreciation for the men and women that keep us free.

Kids Zone – By far my kids favorite. Bouncy castles, slides, face painting, Radio Disney, dancing, even racing simulators. Heck, sometimes even I enjoy going in the kids zone!




I’m sure you get the point by now. Bring your kids with you, have a family picnic, and watch their faces light up at Indycars going 227-mph. Don’t listen to the naysayers, and don’t you dare leave them at home! And if you happen to see my family and I, come say Hi. We can party together.

See ya there!


City Girls Head to the Farm


City Girls Head to the Farm

We don’t even camp, much less dig up dirt with our fingernails to look for worms…, but that’s exactly what happened when we went worm hunting. Yes, worm hunting. Can you believe we did that. The most shocking part was how much we enjoyed it.

A few weeks ago we traveled to a farm in Michigan called “Sweetness Acres”. This amazing slice of heaven belongs to a beautiful couple that are very much like my parents and it always feels like HOME. Though this visit was much different than the rest. We actually got to enjoy ourselves. No cell phones, no computers, no busy city hustle. Nothing but fresh air, farm animals, family and tons of memories.

To be honest, I was a little worried that my “city girls” were going to sissy out on me. We have a house full of heels, glitter and electronics. Life on the farm was going to be quite foreign to them.  My little Josephine was kind of shy at first, but once she warmed up, she dove right in..


With sunrise comes morning chores, but they aren’t actually chores if they are fun and you enjoy it, right? I was so shocked to see Josephine lifting chickens to look for their eggs. No intimidation at all! The chickens weren’t as excited to see her as she was them though.


That is until they gave them some corn. Then all was forgiven.


I think they will still be friends. You have to give to get, right? Once the chickens were cared for it was time to move onto the goats. Which I think their goats are actually giant dogs in disguise. They are so gentle. Both are very pregnant so they are even larger than normal. It’s cute to see them stick their head through a hole in the barn and yell what sounds like “Maaaaaahm” a lot like “Mom” but in goat talk of course.  The first time one of them pooped, Nevaeh said she was actually jealous of their butt-hole. They poop with ease! Quickly and efficiently. We all know my kids have no filter.


Next, we had to feed the horses. Which I think were the girls’ favorite. They will never admit it though. They say they love all of the animals all the same. But, they were just so drawn to them. I could see them study their movements and their actions.


They especially loved riding them. Who wouldn’t? They move with such beauty and grace. We had to practically kick them off so that we could go fishing.


Next on the agenda was worm hunting. You can’t go fishing without worms. I was looking for the kitchen tongs to grab them with, but I had to put on a brave face for the girls. Be tough and set the example. At least that’s what i had to keep telling myself. Thankfully though, they didn’t care what I was doing. They lifted up wood and grabbed those juicy suckers right out of the dirt. High five ladies! I’m in love with how much they are in love with this new life!


Though we didn’t catch a single thing, going fishing was really more about the experience of it. We were much too busy laughing, jumping in and out of the boat and screaming about bugs to have any fish even come near us. But who cares? We didn’t! We were living in the moment. When all else fails there’s always pizza.. oh no wait. That’s city food.


I am so proud of my city girls. During our weekend at the farm the girls ran freely in the grass, dug for worms, danced in the mud, swam in the muck, stepped on poop, played in the rain and weren’t afraid of the animals. But most of all, they were free to be kids. To laugh and get dirty without worrying about getting it on the carpet. They ate their lunches with dirt in their nails (get over it) and had to be hosed off at the end of the day. I would call that pure success!


I never knew how city my girls really were until we were all sitting around the camp fire, making S’mores of course, and I was trying to show Josephine how beautiful the stars were. We were counting them and she randomly asked me if “the stars were lights that told the airplanes where to go”. I guess we don’t get a great view of the stars in the city and it really should tell us all not to take such little things for granted. Or it could be that I need to teach my kids more about Astrology. Either way, life changing!

It was great to show the girls there is much more to life than just city living and this is where it all begins. The best food doesn’t come from a box or delivered to your house. This is how you work for your food.

We all made everlasting memories that will stay with them for life. We had too many pictures to share them all and too many priceless moments, but THIS is what life should be made of. We all need to remember to log off of Facebook, forget about the emails and enjoy the moment. Tomorrow is never promised so make the best of today. Something I need to work on as well.


No Bake Chocolate Dipped Cheesecake Bites

cheesecake bites

No Bake Chocolate Dipped Cheesecake Bites

Warning: Addictive recipe ahead… Seriously! My girls and I cannot stop eating these No Bake Chocolate Dipped Cheesecake Bites. They are so easy to make and so dreamy to eat. What more could you ask for in a recipe? Try them out and let me know what you think!


– 10 Graham Crackers
– 3 tbsp melted Butter
– 1 tsp Sugar
– 8 oz Cream Cheese
– 1/2 Powdered Sugar
– 1/2 cup Cool Whip
– 1 tsp Vanilla
– 16 oz Chocolate Dipping Tray



Line loaf pan with aluminum foil.
Crush graham crackers in food processor.

Combine crushed graham crackers, butter and sugar and press into bottom of pan.

Beat cream cheese until smooth.

Add vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until incorporated.



Fold in whipped topping and sprad mixture on top of graham cracker crust.

Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Remove from pan and cut into approximately 1″ square bites.
Place bites in freezer for 1 hour to harden.
Melt tray by microwaving for 45 secaonds, stirring and repeating until melted and smooth.
Line a tray with wax paper.
Use a fork to dip bites in melted chocolate and place on prepared tray.
Refrigerate to set. All done!

No Bake Chocolate Dipped Cheesecake Bites


2015 Lexus NX200t: Mother’s Day in style


Ahh Mother’s Day, our third consecutive holiday after Valentine’s Day and Wedding Anniversary — yay.

Thankfully, this year I had something else to look forward to besides overpriced flowers, and a long wait at Red Lobster. What is it? The hottest SUV on the market, the 2015 Lexus NX! But there was a problem, it was Missi’s Mother’s Day treat and not mine, which meant she had to let ME borrow it and not the other way around.

Today’s market is booming with small SUV’s or crossovers, some luxury and some economy. But when it comes to Luxury SUV’s, look no further than Lexus, because they invented the luxury SUV in the late 90’s. So they know a thing or two…

Delivery day arrived, and not one but two gorgeous Lexus NX’s pulled up to our house, and that’s the moment when our neighbors surely thought we engaged in illegal activities. As Missi glanced at it for the first time, I could tell she was genuinely excited, but I already knew that because she’d been bragging about it for days. It’s the sharp lines and aggressive front end that really captivates you, as this Lexus actually turns heads, and for the right reasons. While loading sand bags for my daughter’s sand box at Lowe’s, three people came over to tell me how great the NX looked. Yet none of them offered to help.



As expected, the NX is smooth and gentle on the road, and the cabin insulation does an incredible job at isolating the stressful world outside. Relax on the heated red leather seats, and if it’s chilly outside, flip on the heated steering wheel. Acceleration is smooth on delivery, and braking is gentle but solid, which is good for our puke-prone children. So the smoother the ride, the better.

When Missi and I first sat in the front seats we were a bit overwhelmed at the buttons on the dash, as they looked very complicated. But once we spent some time behind the wheel we realized that everything is strategically positioned, and once you master the genius touchpad you’ll be left wondering how you ever lived without it. Just lay your wrist on the leather cushion, and glide your fingers across the touchpad like you do with your tablet. Once you become familiar with the way the system flows you can control the A/C, radio, Navigation, and even your favorite apps like FB and Pandora!



As you move to the second row you’ll find more than ample leg room, and a very cool seating arrangement called “stadium seating”, which means that the second row sits a few inches higher than the front, so your passengers not only sit more comfortable, but they also get a better view. LATCH anchors are clearly labeled, and  even our big Chicco car seat fit perfectly and gave Josephine plenty of room for her little legs. The NX offers a spacious trunk that is sure to fit a stroller, kiddie bike, grocery bags, and of course — sand bags, all ten of them.


And because our lives and the lives of our little ones matter, Lexus has gone above and beyond in making  sure you are safe.

  • NHTSA Overall Safety Rating: Five Stars
  • Frontal Impact: Four Stars
  • Side Impact: Five Stars
  • Airbags: Front and Side Airbags for front passengers, Side Curtain Airbags for rear passengers, and Knee Airbag for the driver.

If I wrote down every feature that we loved this would turn into a boring short novel, so that’s why we made a short but sweet video on some of the coolest “Mom-Approved” features on the Lexus NX.

Tested Features:

  • 235-hp Turbocharged engine. (On NX200t model only)
  • Head seats and steering wheel
  • Sunroof
  • Navigation system
  • Touchpad with haptic feedback
  • F Sport body trim
  • Adaptive Xenon headlights
  • 18″ F Sport wheels
  • XM Radio


The Great:

  • Looks that turn heads
  • Adjustable power-liftgate height
  • Versatility and luxury at a great price
  • Unmatched comfort


The not so Great:

  • For this caliber of vehicle, a panorama roof instead of a tiny sunroof would’ve been nice
  • Paddle shifters are more for decoration rather than purpose, as the transmission doesn’t like to be told what to do
  • We could only achieve 25.5mpg average over a 300 mile trip
  • Voice command recognition never understood a word I was saying


2015 Lexus NX200t F Sport

Starts at $34,480 FWD or $35,880 AWD

Price as tested: 45,313











2015 Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indy


Will Power has broken the track record, claimed pole position, and won the second ever Grand Prix of Indianapolis. And the events leading up to this very moment have been as exciting as the closing laps of the race itself.

The Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indy is quickly becoming the appetizer in a month long buffet of racing which features the iconic Indy 500 as the main course. But for those of you that don’t live in Indy, or are foreign to Indycar car racing, let me explain some of the differences in between the Grand Prix of Indy, and the Indy 500.

Grand Prix of Indy:

  • Race Course: 2.43 mile Road Course
  • Turns: 14 different left and right turns
  • Duration: 82 laps or 200 miles
  • Avg. Speed: 126.35mph (Pole Position Qualifying)
  • Contestants: 25 race drivers
  • Last year’s winner: Simon Pagenaud


Indy 500:

  • Race Course: 2.5 mile Oval
  • Turns: 4 equal left turns
  • Duration: 200 laps equaling 500 miles
  • Avg Speed: 186.56mph (2014 Winner)
  • Contestants: 33 drivers (2014 Grid)
  • Last year’s winner: Ryan Hunter-Reay


As you can see the differences are wild, but the biggest one of them all can be seen only in person, I’m referring to the direction which the cars drive on the track. Even non racing fans that have been exposed to second-hand racing will quickly point out the cars driving “the wrong way” during the GP of Indy. And that’s because the road course is driven in clockwise direction, while the Indy 500 oval is ran counter-clockwise. Confused yet? Don’t be. It all makes sense — I promise.


Scott Dixon prepares to head out on track

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway works very hard each year to make sure that the venue and all of its events remain family friendly, and most importantly — affordable.

General admission tickets start at only $30 bucks for the GP of Indy and $40 for the Indy 500, and they might just be the only world-class track to allow the two following things: kids 12 and under receive FREE admission, and you can bring your own food, drinks, even alcohol. Yes — I said it, bring your sandwiches, nachos, fried chicken , and why not a beer keg while you’re at it. YOLO


You are still on time to turn your life around and come out to the Indy 500. GO!

2015 Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indy Top 10 finishers:

  1. Will Power – Team Penske
  2. Graham Rahal – RLL Racing
  3. Juan Pablo Montoya – Team Penske
  4. Sebastien Bourdais – KVSH Racing
  5. Charlie Kimball – Chip Ganassi
  6. Helio Castroneves – Team Penske
  7. Tony Kanaan – Chip Ganassi
  8. Stefano Coletti – KV Racing Technology
  9. Takuma Sato – A.J Foyt Racing
  10. Scott Dixon – Chip Ganassi







2015 REV Indy at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway


What’s considered Indy’s coolest and most glamorous party of the year, did not disappoint as REV Indy at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway literally kicked the month of May into high gear.

As if rubbing shoulders with Indycar drivers, and dining on driver-inspired meals prepared by Indy’s best chefs wasn’t enough, walking the red carpet, and getting a 120mph ride in a Chevy Impala around the IMS oval made us feel like royalty. But once the moon was shining on the pagoda, thats when the party really got started. Laser beams, disco lights and smoke machines transformed the yard of bricks into the coolest and fastest nightclub in the world. Various bands, DJ’s and even celebrity impersonators made sure the dance moves were funky and the laughter contagious. (Although cocktails may have had something to do with that).

All-in-all REV Indy 2015 was a blast, and it helped raise nearly 400 million dollars for the IU Health Emergency Medical Center, and Level 1 Trauma Programs.


Enjoy our video and photos!

FullSizeRender 2


Even Blue was at REV!




With race driver and all around, super nice guy Matthew Brabham


A thrilling high-speed drive around the oval kicked off our evening

IMG_3401Incredible atmosphere and artists kept the party hopping

IMG_3394Amazing weather and views, provided for endless selfie-opps

Little Tikes Cape Cottage Review

I received the below-mentioned awesome toy for review, but no other compensation was awarded. Any opinions expressed are 100% my own.

little tikes cape cottage review

Little Tikes Cape Cottage Review


We are so happy the weather is finally warming up, so that means more outdoor time! Now to drag my kids away from the TV…

We are always looking for awesome outdoor toys, and Little Tikes are my first go-to guys, their toys are durable and affordable, and super cute. So we were super lucky to get the chance to review the Little Tikes Cape Cottage, and as you can imagine Josephine was over the moon when it arrived. Look at her face. It totally says it all.

Upon opening the box (5 seconds after it was brought in the house) I was a little worried I wasn’t going to put it together and keep my sanity. But, to my surprise, it was super easy. Plus it came with easy to follow directions! That’s a bonus..

little tikes cozy cottage directions

There are 2 working doors and they snapped right in easily. And check out that cute little mail slot! Adorable!

little tikes cozy cottage door

All of the pieces snapped together easily and had these large plastic screws. It came with this little tool that screwed them right in place. No need to drag out the tool box which is a win in my book.

little tikes cozy cottage assembly

It’s taking shape! I was impressed with how stable and solid the walls felt.

little tikes cozy cottage together

After all of the walls were up and screwed in all we had to do is snap in the working window shutters. Super easy to do!

little tikes cozy cottage window

The roof was the most challenging and time consuming for me. It took me a few minutes to figure it out… but once I got all of the pieces snapped into place things moved along a lot faster.

little tikes cozy cottage roof

It came with these little red tile looking thats that slide over the connecting pieces. They look great and hold everything in place, securing the roof.

little tikes cozy cottage roof snaps

I did use a screwdriver and metal screws to attach the flag holder, but they only took me a few seconds each. In total I think the whole project took me less than 30 mins. Which is a huge bonus when you have a 3 year old eager to play.

little tikes cozy cottage view

She has asked me several times now if she can sleep in “her own house”. Oh if she only knew…

Until grownup reality sets in, Little Tikes will continue to be our toys of choice. Check out their full collection and let me know what you think!

little tikes cozy cottage final