Setting and Keeping Your Vacation Budget

Setting A Budget

We are on to Step 2 which is the most important step…. Setting your family vacation budget! Now that you have set your where and when, we get to look at how much this whole trip is going to cost. I am using our budget for Disney World to walk you through my thought process for budget setting.

Our plan for our Disney World  trip is set for July 1-July 7, 2018. Being an animal lover, we want to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge so that is our resort of choice. In the past, I have stayed at the Polynesian on the  concierge level which was a great benefit because they have a buffet of food and snacks all day long plus we had a better view from our room. Personally, it was worth the extra money. At Animal Kingdom Lodge, concierge level gives you the view of the Savannah with the animals which would put Danyella on cloud nine. This put us at $5525 for the week-long stay with access to food all day.

I did toy with the option of staying at the Polynesian again because of the access to the monorail which makes traveling between parks a lot easier with a baby.  At the Animal Kingdom Lodge, we will be utilizing the busses to get around. (Thank goodness for strollers and baby carriers!)

The next thing I added to our package was upgrading our Park Tickets to the Park Hopper with the water park option. It added more money to our overall cost but it is worth it because we will be going to different parks through the day so we have time to bring the baby back for naps and breaks. This put us at $5812 to add the Park Hopper option.

Something that was suggested to me from a yearly Disney World traveler, was to get the Memory Maker package because they will take better pictures then we will take. Her pictures proved it! So we added the $169 Memory Maker to the package which put us at $5981.

When I was at Disney, 15 years ago, there was no Dining Add-On Option for our vacation package so I consulted others that have been there and they all say that the Dining Plan was a must especially when you want to do the character meals. I got lots of tips on how to use this plan to get the best benefit out of it. Now add $1359 to our package price to make it $7340.

Onto our travel plans…. With an infant we are flying a direct flight from Philly to Orlando and using the free transport that Disney offers from the airport to the resort. This added $934 to our package. Plus I opted for the $155 travelers insurance just to be on the safe side. This put our Package total at $8429! Holy Cow!!

One of the nice thing about booking your trip through Disney, you can start with a deposit instead of paying for the whole trip up front. The deposit price includes the flights so that they are booked immediately. Our deposit for the trip is $1288 which is due immediately in order to book the trip and the balance is due on January 1st, 2018

For us, this will be our starting off point because we don’t have the $1288 just laying around the house but we will be finding ways to save this money. Yes, this will change our flights and possibly our price but we are not ones to use credit cards to charge things for entertainment purposes. Overall, with spending money our budget for this trip will end up being $10,000! Wowzers but this includes our travel, lodging and food which is the bulk of any trip. The rest will be just what we want to buy or spend money on!

Now it is your turn to get the budget in place for the major expenses: travel, lodging and food. If you destination doesn’t offer a package like Disney then you will need to make the package yourself. There are a ton of apps that can help if you choose to travel by car that will help with gas mileage and prices so you can add this to your budget. Then you can look and compare prices for the lodging to add that to your budget. The last big cost to include is your food. If you are renting a house in your destination, you can bring your own food and save a ton of money! There are so many ways to save on food if you look at what restaurants are in the area of your trip.

I hope this breakdown helps in your budget setting! Next week we will look into the savings jar and breaking your budget down to small goals. disney

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Turning 28 Weeks during Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month

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Today, I turn 28 weeks and am officially in the Third Trimester but tomorrow is a somber day because it is October 15th, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It is somber because I am one those women that have lost a baby that I never got to meet. I am 1 in 4.

It is so hard to really wrap my head around the fact that I am a statistic but I have had miscarriages in my first trimester and one in my second trimester. That moment when you just know something is wrong and the doctor confirms, the baby is no longer viable (able to continue to grow), is the one of the worst moments a woman can go through no matter if it is your first miscarriage or 4th.

My body is the type that responds to pregnancy almost immediately so I feel those symptoms very early. So when I have lost those babies, it was like losing a piece of my heart, especially with the 2nd trimester loss. That one, I went through morning sickness and cravings. I went for my routine ultrasound but when the tech became very quiet and went to get the doctor, I knew it was over. There was no heartbeat. I fell into a depression after that miscarriage which took a long time to recover from.

In January, I went through my last miscarriage which was not any easier but we agreed to try for another one. We tried for a couple of months but stress and life made doing the deed to make a baby less and less frequent so when I realized I was pregnant again we were both shocked but so happy. I still analyze every time I go to the bathroom that something could be wrong but everything with the baby has been great. We are now in our third trimester!

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Cranberry Apple Porkchops Crockpot Printable Recipe #feedmefriday

CranberryApplePork Chops

I just love fall and all the flavors that come with it. This baby is loving apple everything so I decided to make some pork chops with apples but wanted to add something else to it. Why not try some cranberries? Plus, I needed to make an easy recipe because Wednesday nights are dance nights which means it is crockpot night.

 

This recipe is super super simple with pork chops (I chose boneless but you can you bone-in), slices of apples, cranberries, apple cider, balsamic vinager, brown sugar and onions. This is how I made it…. I placed a layer of cranberries, then the pork chops, sprinkled Tastefully Simples Onion Onion (I am not a fan of chopping onions and making my hands smell), added the vinegar and cider and let it sit for 4 hours. About an hour before serving, I added the sliced apples and brown sugar. I served this with egg noodles and wow the pork chops were so moist and just pulled apart! The only thing that I am changing for the recipe is less balsamic vinegar and more brown sugar because the fresh cranberries were still quite tart when I bit into them but still very yummy!

Cranberry Apple Pork Chops Crockpot Recipe

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

An easy crockpot recipe full of Fall flavors.


Ingredients

  • 2 pounds pork chops (boneless or bone-in)
  • 1 pound fresh cranberries (whole cranberries in a can work as well)
  • 5-6 apples (I used Golden apples because they were on sale)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (or more if you like a sweeter dish)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion

Directions

  1. Place the crockpot on low and spray with non-stick spray (Easier clean up).
  2. Place a layer of onions, then cranberries, then pork chops.
  3. Add the balsamic vinegar and apple cider.
  4. One hour before you are ready to serve, add the brown sugar and apples. Mix the ingredients.
  5. When you are ready to serve, serve with noodles or rice and enjoy!

Finding Ways to be Thankful

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Today is #thankfulthursday and I am not going to lie, I have had a hard time coming up with one thing that I am thankful for. Part of this is because some of the things make me feel materialistic and other things feel like given things in life.

Yes, everyone is thankful for the basics in life like food, water, shelter and clothing. Thing is, there was a time in my life where I was living in my car and lived in a homeless shelter. There is a time where I was trying to come up with change just to find money for food. If you look in my drawers, most of my clothes are from 10 or more years ago, from thrift stores or cheap clothing from Walmart. At least I have clothing to wear right now.

Lately, things feel like they have been going in opposite direction that I want which can be so frustrating and makes it hard to find the things to thank the universe or your Higher Power for. Sometimes, you need to step back and remember the basics in life and that the rest is just an added bonus.

My housing situation isn’t ideal right now but at least we have a place to live that allows us to keep our special puppy. We need to move and finding a place that will fit our family and puppy has been the most difficult thing in the world. I wish we had the money to buy the house we are living in or another house but it is a very difficult option right now. All we can do is to continue to look and the right place will find us.

Holding to a meal budget has been such a difficult thing for my entire adult life. I will make a list, purchase what is on the list (online grocery shopping has made this so much easier), stand at the fridge or cabinet and struggle to find something to make or eat. So then I blow the budge out of the water because I end up getting takeout somewhere. I need to learn how to stick to a meal plan, meal budget and learn to be creative with the food I buy because there was a time when I didn’t get a choice of what I ate. I need to be thankful for any and all food and not be so damn picky.

I went from having a job that I could afford to buy my first Coach purse and Jimmy Choo shoes. High end clothing, handbags and shoes was my life over 15 years ago but that all changed in an instant. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be able to afford those luxury items again but they don’t make my world go round now. I have always been one to shop at consignment and thrift stores which I have found some amazing deals.

I have 2 specific claim to fame for my finds… My first amazing find was a vintage knee-length wool coat that zipped up the left side and had a corset-type ribbon back. My words can’t even describe who gorgeous this coat looked but someone stopped me on the streets of SOHO New York and offered to buy the coat off my back for a client of his (he was a personal stylist). As tempting as the offer was, I cherished that coat and declined. Unfortunately, when I became homeless I lost the coat. My second claim to fame was finding a BRAND NEW WITH TAGS Baby Dior outfit at a Salvation Army store for Danyella. Now when I found this outfit, it was before I even knew she was a girl but I couldn’t resist not buying this amazing outfit and thankfully she was a girl!

Since the only decent, affordable consignment shops (yes there are ones that are way overpriced for used clothing!) are a bit of a drive for me, my options have been limited especially since getting pregnant. I know that there is online shopping but I still prefer to go to a store and try clothes on so I know that they fit right. My go to is either Target or Walmart which sometimes you can feel the (lack of) quality that you are buying with cheap clothing. One good deal I have found at Walmart has been these super-soft, stretchy shirts for $5 for a short sleeve shirt. They had them in basic navy, black, maroon and olive-green colors which I bought XL in each size because they are large enough to cover my growing belly. I was super, super excited to find them in long sleeve (only $6.88) in some Halloween prints and other solid colors which I bought in 1XL and 2XL to keep me going while my belly grows. I wish I could afford the adorable pregnancy clothing on the market but it really isn’t an option when you are out of work for most of your pregnancy so I am sticking to these comfortable, affordable shirts and leggings.

Sometimes we take the basic things in our life for granted when we need to step back and be thankful for these necessities because life could be worse one day or you could have worked your way up from a situation that is worse than it is right now.

thankful

Dry Skin Season is Coming

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It is that time of year where our skin begins to dry out, crack and just hurt no matter how much we drink water and try different lotions from your local store. Having a child with severe eczema, I had to experiment with different lotions and soaps to try and find some kind of relief for her, especially in the winter. Even the products labeled especially for eczema didn’t work for her.

So I began to make my own products for her so I knew exactly what was going in the products and on her skin. I came up with a formula for a hardened lotion made from coconut oil, olive oil, pure beeswax (not the candle stuff with additives for candle burning) and a few drops of essential oil. This formula has been magic for Danyella’s skin for many years now because it creates a barrier layer with the beeswax to protect it from further damage while healing the skin problems with the coconut oil and olive oil.

As friends and family, began to see her skin go from bleeding eczema patches to beautiful clear skin, they began to ask for their own Lotion Pop in different essential oil scents. I use a mold that is for cake pops but it makes it so much easier to glide the lotion pops across the skin with this design.

Right now I offer Lotion Pops in my online store Kaella Boutique in Lavender, Orange and Peppermint. The pops are 3 ozs each and come in a cute little box for storage. They also make great small gifts for people on your list this Holiday Season.  How many of you suffer from Dry Skin?

You can click on the pictures to be take to my online shop:

 

Cutest Pumpkin DIY Onesie

10Recently, a friend of mine gave me a box of baby clothes but it was taped so I had no idea what was inside of it. You should have seen my face when I discovered tons of new, white onesies because all I could think of was ideas to make them super cute for Evelynne. Now, I know that Evelynne won’t (or shouldn’t) be here in time to wear this for Halloween but I do have some friends with babies that I can give this as a gift.

If you have a baby they will look adorable in a onesie that Mommy or Daddy made. Or if you know someone that is having a baby in time for Halloween this will be a super cute idea to give as a gift.

What do you need? Super simple and easy supply list….

A onesie or t-shirt in the size you desire, sharpie markers in orange, green and brown, a piece of card and if you have clips they will help keep the onesie in place. Oh and don’t forget to print out the pumpkin stencil in this post.

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Step 1: Put the cardboard inside the onesie to help catch the marker bleeds, pull the cloth tight and clip (if you have clips). The tighter the onesie, the easier the markers will glide and less bleeding.

Step 2: Trace the Pumpkin Stencil with Pencil. This can seem difficult because of the grooves of the onesie but keep at it because it makes life easier to get your stencil down in pencil first.

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Step 3: Outline your pumpkin in brown and orange

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Step 4: Make your Pumpkin how you want. For my onesie, I used brown dots then colored the pumpkin in with orange lines and then added my words which I did free hand. You can use fabric paint or sequins to flash it up.

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Setting Your Family Vacation Place and Dates

 

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This week we are going to start breaking down my 5 steps that I highlighted in last week’s savings vacation post. So we are starting with Picking your place and dates to start your budget planning!

First and Foremost, get yourself a notebook designated just for your Family Vacation Planning. This is essential because you can take notes, write down your budget and keep your family on track for some vacation fun!

Time for a family vacation meeting! Grab your notebook and a calendar to get you started. If your kids are older, then gather everyone together to begin to discuss where you want to go and when everyone can go. This is the fun part of the planning!

Where do you want to go? The beach, a specific city, a historic site, Disney World, or another exciting place that your family is going to enjoy and cherish! The possibilities are endless! For my family, our first choice is Disney World. Having a 10-year-old little  big girl, this one is a No Brainer because she wants to experience to Happiest Place on Earth with all the Princesses she has fallen in love with over the years.

Next step is planning how long the trip would be. 5 day vacation, a week-long, 2 weeks or just a long weekend? The length of the trip should be considered with the budget because the longer the trip, the more money you will need for lodging, food and spending on the extras. We are looking at a week long vacation for our family.

Here comes the most difficult step for today’s post…. When is the vacation going to fit into your family’s schedule? Ok so this is the hardest part for my family between school, work and now dance schedules to try to figure out when we can all go to have a family vacation. Oh and don’t forget, we are awaiting for our baby girl’s arrival! This pretty much narrowed down our open months to July and August or Christmas Vacation. For my family, it is way out of our budget to plan a Christmas Vacation at Disney World so we are opting for July or August.

Once you have the destination and dates down, it is time to start pricing out your vacation. It is best to look as many different options when you are planning this part. I like to research different travel sites, hotels and other options before solidifying my plan. Another factor to consider is transportation, are you driving, flying or taking a train? This will go into your planning as well because flights need to be paid up front and booked as far in advance as you possibly can. After you research and have a set plan of whom you are booking your vacation through consider if you need a deposit or need to pay for the whole trip up front. All of this needs to be planned into your budget. I know when you book through Disney’s website, you need a deposit if the vacation is booked so many months in advance which is our best budget option.

These are factors to consider in your budget planning for your family vacation. Next week will get into the nitty gritty of budget planning for your family vacation so make sure to check back next Sunday!

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