Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Staycation Links Across America

So, if you missed it yesterday, I posted the Staycation for my local area, St. Augustine, Florida.  You may be asking, what is a Staycation?  Well, it's a vacation where you don't leave your home town, but you go out and enjoy yourself as if you were on vacation.  Considering the financial crisis this country's in at the moment... and it doesn't look like it's going to get better any time soon... so, I got in with a group of people who took the time to find free or inexpensive fun things to do within our own home towns.  So, here's the list of links to all the Staycations.  I hope you find them informative and enjoyable!  I'd love to hear back from you as to your reviews/input/etc. on your Staycation.

New England

Connecticut - Parenting Miracles
Boston, Massachusetts - ‎ Maven of Savin'
Manchester, New Hampshire - Common Sense with Money
Western Maine - Bubblegum and Lollipops


Erie, Pennsylvania - Growing Kids Ministry
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania - Somewhat Crunchy
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - Family Balance Sheet
Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York - Coupons, Deals and More
New Jersey - Oh! Diane


Cedar Rapids, Iowa - Indoor Garden Musings
Mansfield, Ohio - Live the Adventure
Cincinnati, Ohio - Savings Lifestyle~Cincinnati
Mount Vernon, Ohio - Living Better One Day at a Time
Dayton, Ohio - Savings Lifestyle~Dayton
Grand Rapids, Michigan - Kitchen Stewardship
Metro Detroit, Michigan - "Cents"able Momma
Oakland County, Michigan - Bargain Shopper Mom
Warren, Michigan - Saving Dollars and Sense
Grand Forks, North Dakota - Frugal Front Porch
Indianapolis, Indiana - Bargain Briana
South Bend, Indiana - Excuse The Mess
Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri - Kansas City Mamas
St. Louis, Missouri - The Pickledpigsfeet
Branson, Missouri - Getting Freedom from Debt
Springfield, Missouri - I Think I Can
Rochester, Minnesota - Everyday Notions
York, Nebraska - Heavenly Homemakers
Omaha, Nebraska - Mom Endeavors
Madison, Wisconsin - Many Little Blessings
Oshkosh, Wisconsin - A Little Bit of This and That
Chicago, Illinois - Chicagoland Homeschool Network
Champaign, Illinois - Chambanamoms
Black Hills, South Dakota - Little House on the Prairie Living

South Central

Checotah, Oklahoma - Blessed With One Income
Tulsa, Oklahoma - Lynn's Kitchen Adventures
Gadsden, Alabama - Aint Mimi
Dallas, Texas - Funky Faith Girl
Dallas, Texas - Grocery Shop For FREE
East Dallas, Texas - Surviving The Stores
Fort Worth, Texas - Smockity Frocks
Austin, Texas - Stetted
Houston, Texas - Moms Travel Tales
McKinney, Texas - Wisdom Begun
East Texas - The Full Pantry
Murfreesboro, Tennessee - Life in a Barn
Nashville, Tennessee - The Country Chic Cottage
Mobile, Alabama - A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned
Birmingham, Alabama - iGoBOGO
Brunswick & the Golden Isles, Georgia - Teri Lynne Underwood
Alpharetta, Georgia - Cuponeando
Atlanta, Georgia - See Jamie Blog
Augusta, Georgia - Hyperactive Lu
Athens, Georgia and Mississippi - Tractors and Tire Swings
Little Rock, Arkansas - It's Real Life

South Atlantic

Ft. Bragg, North Carolina - Military Wives Saving
Charlotte, North Carolina - The Carolina Clipper
Charleston, South Carolina - The Tween & Me
Greensboro, North Carolina - Mrs. Happy Homemaker
Jacksonville, Florida - Saving The Family Money
Orlando, Florida - Orlando's Best Deals
Virginia Beach, Virginia - The Singley Fam Blog
Richmond, Virginia - Daily Dwelling
Hampton Roads, Virginia - A Home Made by Kiki
Charlottesville, Virginia - How to Have it All
Blackwater Falls State Park/Davis, West Virginia - Holy Spirit Led Homeschooling
Treasure Coast, Florida - The Cardamom's Pod
Saint Augustine, Florida - Jypsie Visions
Lake Norman, North Carolina - Stretching Pennies Saving Dollars
Washington, DC - The WiC Project
Baltimore, Maryland - The Happy Housewife
Brunswick & the Golden Isles, Georgia - Teri Lynne Underwood


Tucson, Arizona - Saving with Pam
Phoenix, Arizona - Mom Endeavors
Albuquerque, New Mexico - The Chou Life
Kalispell, Montana - Our Family Adventures
Salt Lake City, Utah - Just the 2 of Us
Thermopolis, Wyoming - The McDonald Family
Denver, Colorado - Denver Bargains
Colorado Springs, Colorado - Colorado Springs Bargains


San Diego, California - Life As Mom
Yosemite National Park, California -Handbook of Nature Study
Seattle, Washington - Queen Bee Coupons & Savings
Whidbey Island, Washington - Manning the Homefront
Olympia, Washington The Coupon Savant
Portland, Oregon - Frugal Living NW
Willamette Valley, Oregon - An Oregon Cottage

Frugal Vacation Tips

Vacation or Stay-cation: Eating without Busting the Budget - Eat at Home

Monday, May 23, 2011

Staycation Saint Augustine Florida

St. Augustine, the oldest continuous settlement in the United States!  This quaint little city we call home is one of the most remarkable historic cities that I've ever had the pleasure of "playing tourist" in.

We've got everything from the Castillo de San Marco to the Alligator Farm to the sandy beaches of North East Florida.  Sunrises are spectacular and right about now, the sunrises happen around 6:30 AM. 

This is a recent sunrise that I had the pleasure of photographing. 
One of my favorite things to do is go to the beach and
capture the beauty with my camera.

This Memorial Day has us watching the skies with the St. Augustine Air Show with a special "Salute to Veterans" that has been a tradition since 1967.  Don't miss out on the amazing stunts, static displays and much more!

Winner of the Poster Art Contest.
For those interested, they will have
another contest again next year.

History, Mystery, Mayhem & Murder!  If you enjoy lurking on the shady side of the street, skulking in corners and lurking in doorways, just to get a juicy tidbit of the darker side of our town's history, skulk no more!  This tour is what you've been waiting for. 

Anastasia State Park is a quiet beach area with watersports available as well as a self-guided nature trail through a wooded area close by the beach.  Camping is also available as well as an archeological site.

Flagler College, one of our most popular and most recognizable backdrops of our city's skyline, is glanced at in passing, yet as residents, many of us do not stop by to enjoy a wonderful tour of the hotel-turned-college.  It has an extensive and intriguing history and is something that anyone living here or visiting here should not miss out on.

Another city icon is the St. Augustine Lighthouse.  It's not just a lighthouse, there is a museum and they also offer a "Guest Keeper Program" to learn what it's like to keep a lighthouse running.  This is a three-day weekend event.  There is also traditional wooden boatbuilding, standard tours of the lighthouse itself, a Dark of the Moon after hours paranormal tour and a Sunset Moonrise event to watch the sun set and the moon rise from atop the lighthouse with a champagne toast and light hors d'oeuvres.

The Fountain of Youth is a nice little park that is free to St. Johns County residents with ID and is cheap for all others.  Yet it is a very interesting attraction with some wonderful historical tours available.  Don't miss out on this, especially if you live here.  You can't beat the price!  And it's a beautiful and relaxing way to spend a day with the family.

Something that we, as residents here, take for granted is the Castillo de San Marcos.  But did you know that it is the only fort that was never taken in battle?  It has changed hands via treaty only!  The amazing design and materials used in building the fort contributed to the durability and defense of one of our most popular and recognizable icons of our city.

First Friday Artwalk is another of our little secrets that is fun and free!  This is an event that takes place year round on the first Friday of each month.  Check out the website for sponsors and participating galleries.

Continuing with the art exhibit theme, the Butterfield Garage Art Gallery is another place to put on your grocery list of places to pop in on.  This is for our local artists to exhibit their work, so it is definitely a place for locals to honor our artistic neighbors. 

If you enjoy fishing, or if someone in your family does and you and your family want to just sit back and relax, Devil's Elbow Fishing Resort is probably for you.  This place used to be a little hidden spot that was just for fishing, but it has become a small, quiet resort with cottages and a heated pool.  Sit back and rock away on a covered porch,  watch the dolphins, go boating, go fishing, enjoy the old world style of relaxation just down at Crescent Beach and enjoy what others have enjoyed for 50 years. 

Limelight Theatre is another of our city's treasures.  I personally had worked on their very first show here in St. Augustine and it has been a delight to watch this company grow into such a wonderful beacon of culture.  Their next play will run from June 17th to July 10th called Assassins.  A macabre musical comedy that sounds quite intriguing.  There is also the Exploding Bishops Improv Comedy Crew the first Wednesday of the month, as well as the KidzFactory Summer Performance Camps.  Don't miss out on the wonderful world of theatre in our very own Limelight!

With that in mind, there is also the St. Augustine Murder Mystery Dinner Theater.  I haven't experienced it myself, but have read good reviews.  If you're interested in "dinner and a show" with a comedic, interactive twist, this may be for you. 

Worley Favor Pottery is an interesting artist gallery.  His pottery is quite interesting and beautiful.

Honestly, there are so many more things to do here in St. Augustine that it's really impossible to list them all.  We have so much rich culture and history, yet living here, we tend to take it for granted.  Don't miss out on the wonderful rich history and fun activities that we have.  Just look around at all the forts, museums, numerous beautiful churches, parks, antique shops, our winery, the lighthouse, our entertaining attractions, our oldest house, oldest schoolhouse, oldest "everything," St. George Street, horse and carriage tours, boating tours, golfing, horseback riding, and who knew you could ride a Segway on the beach on a guided tour?!

Of course, there's nothing like taking one of the tour trains or trolleys around town.  And before you get all uppity about the trains/trolleys (they are two different companies, did you realize that?) and looking "too much like a tourist" give them the benefit of the doubt.  They're not too expensive and they actually give a nice tour with quick little bits about different attractions that you stop at as well as points of interest that you pass by. 

After doing the research for this post, I now have my family's entire summer planned!  I hope I've been helpful to your summer schedule as well.  Don't take our city for granted, we have too much to pass up and "put off" for another day that never comes.

Get out there and enjoy our beautiful city of St. Augustine, Florida!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Memories Wiped Clean!

Came across an article this evening...

 Should It Be Illegal to Take Photos of Other Kids?

Well, I'm a huge shutter-bug, so this got me all kinds of upset.... I tried to post my thoughts on The Stir's blog, but my comments were "too long" so I decided to post them here.... And let me just start by saying Freedom is never free, but it shouldn't be at the price of our memories..................

This law is so utterly ridiculous, I can't imagine the reality of it. It's just like the taboo art of taking pics of your child in the tub with his hair all up in a mohawk, chewing on a squeek toy and playing with the bubbles (of which I've taken and so did my parents when I was a kid) and people think you're a creep when you're just taking a cutsie pic of your child for the photo album. Now this? How on earth could this ever pass?!?!

Now, I can understand maybe trying to regulate posting them on the internet (although I think that's nuts too, my son's all over my FB pages! and it's just too broad of a scope... we've got 7 billion people on this earth, ) but to make it illegal to even take the pics???? Like someone said, Disney, or any other theme park for that matter, would be impossible to take pics at. Too big of crowds. At the park? Puh-leeze, what do I care if some random mom takes a pic of her kid and mine just happens to be in the background?

Now, if I saw some lone person randomly taking pics of kids without having one of their own, I may be concerned, however, you still don't condemn someone just on looks. They may be doing a project for a college course, or they might be a reporter, who knows? I'm not defending the creeps, but I don't think an innocent person should be arrested or harrassed just for taking a freaking picture. I take my camera with me everywhere and I'm always taking pictures. I don't think I should have to defend myself when I'm just taking an innocent photo.

And another thing... if that law were to pass, there goes the news! Talk about shutting down freedom of speech! No news could be shown on tv nor their internet sites with people walking along in the background... GMA and The Today Show... and all those morning shows with the people in the background through the window (wanting to be on tv) well, what if someone's kid makes it past there? Nope, gotta shut down those shows, cuz some pedophile might be watching tv at that very moment on that very station.

Let's just all crawl underground and let the creepy pedophiles live free on the surface. That way, we won't be interfering with their rights (don't get me started on that crap!) and they'll never see us nor our families ever again.

Yeah, that's the ticket, let the minority of society dictate our lifestyle and restrict the innocent. Well, what's new?!
(meh, that's a whole other soap box to get up on)

Il Volo

So, I wasn't watching this season of American Idol... not sure why.  I'm not a huge TV person to begin with, but tonight I was flipping through the channels and nothing else is on, soooo... I turn to it and this trio come on, "Il Volo"  just about the most talented young men to hit the airwaves lately, imho.  Their voices are wonderful and they're just too darned adorable to not be impressed.  Too young for me, of course, but just too cute.  One, a teen-throb sort of sexy cute, the next, an adorable "wanna-pinch-those-cheeks" cute with the most adorable dimples, and finally, the "nerdy-chic young man with a thing for large goofy glasses.  All-in-all, quite the display with amazing voices.  Don't believe me?  Just listen for yourself....

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wheel of Fortune or just Creepy Crap?

My son found this bug outside our front door.  Turns out it's a young Wheel Bug or Assassin Bug... very creepy.  I've never seen anything like this before.  It's very agressive and supposedly has a nasty bite to it (Hubby got bit last night, so I'm wondering if this is the culprit) but is also very good for gardens as they eat any bug that they can overpower.  Scary.  Now I'm itchy all over.

I found some information on it at the following:




I'm a bit disturbed that there is an actual site named "AssassinBug.com" but I'm not one for bugs.  But I'm disturbed that there's a bug like this out there too.  Check out this video and tell me that this isn't a creepy bug!  http://youtu.be/xmV6TjVNZGM

Here's another shot of the one outside our house.

So, we've started planting all sorts of flowers and veggies outside.  It's a good bug to have to keep the garden bugs down, but it's an aggressive bug and I'm not in the mood to make a trip to the ER on a chance encounter.  What are your thoughts?  Wheel Bug of Fortune for my garden?  Or Creepy Crawly on the Crush-List?


Ok, so I’m young, but I’m not that young, I’m 41, but I am a mom of an 8 month old.  And granted, I could have taken her… No, really, I could have.  I drive a V-6 and she was in a Corolla…. a C-O-R-O-L-L-A!  But honestly I wasn’t actually trying.  I'm not the dragster type.  Here’s what happened…

I pulled up to a red light, all the way, and to my right was a cute little old lady.  White hair, tiny, (she was one of the thin grannys.  You either have a fat granny or a thin granny… they’re all cute in their own way, but there’s no middle ground when it comes to official granny status… but I digress…)  she had her hands at 10 and 2 and was barely able to look over the steering wheel.  I should note that she didn't have her car pulled up all the way either.  She was almost a full car length behind the white line.

Suddenly, the light turned green and she was off in a flash!  She pulled ahead of me like I was standing still.  I got up to the speed limit fairly quickly, but she was gone… just cruising like she’s the only one on the road in her cute little white Corolla.

I was blown away. 

Strangely enough, the other day I pulled up to a red light and a very young couple were on my left in a pick up truck.  They had been speeding up and slowing down all the way up to the light.  Then when we were stopped, they decided to rev their engine, taunting me to race them at the green light.  Now honestly, I don't think I look like the dragster type either.  Granted, I don't look my age, but I'm in a mini-van that has it's fair share of rust.  The engine's still good and I probably could have given them a good run for their money, but still.... what was going through their minds?  "Hey, look, a soccer-mom in a mini-van!  Let's race her!"  Not exactly what I'd expect.  When I was younger and actually did race at red lights, I didn't usually pick the ones who looked like.... well,... like I do now.  I generally chose younger people with really nice cars.  Certainly not mini-vans!

I tried to ignore them and just sang away at my song.  At the green light, they took off and left me way behind. 

Again, I was blown away. 

So, where does that leave me?  Out-done by both Granny and a couple who were young enough to be my own kids! 

Middle-age.... hmmmm..... No wonder people have "Mid-life Crises"  It's because they're trying to figure out where they fit in.  I know I'm starting to wonder.  Too old to be young and too young to be old.  Never thought I'd actually make it to "Middle-Age" and now that I'm here, I find myself questioning a lot.... wanting to still do a lot.... unable to do as much as I used to.... wishing and wondering....

Yet, I look at my baby as he sleeps in his daddy's arms right now and I know I'm where I'm supposed to be....

Totally blown away.

Fun at the water park

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Help me bring The Saratov Approach around the world!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...