Oronoco Gold Rush Days – or how to make your calves burn!

For the past ten years I have helped my Mother in Law at the Oronoco Gold Rush days.  It is kind of a working vacation or a leg work out depending on how you look at it.

The Gold Rush Antique show has been happening for 42 years in that little town.  I love to meet up with old friends, shop a little and did I mention the leg workout?


The roads in the town are built up, so the ditches can be a little steep. And the nearest port o potties are also on top of a hill near Mother in Law’s booth.  Its a shopping workout!

But I also see items there that I would love to own if I could afford them and items that are just plain unusual.



Here is how the booth looks after we set it up each morning. This really is a WORKING vacation.


So if you want to visit two large antique shows in mid-August come on over the Gold Rush is in Oronoco and the Rochester Fairgrounds also has around 1,000 dealers.  The shows are generally the third weekend in August. You can spend the whole weekend looking at vintage items.

More Oronoco information can be found here: http://www.goldrushmn.com/



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Country Inn and Suites Rochester South, Minnesota

We visited Rochester Minnesota for the Gold Rush days in August. We once again stayed at the Country Inn and Suites on Wood Lake Drive.  The location is a little confusing at first, they are on an easement road along side highway 63.  The first time we did not have a gps with us and it took a little to figure out how to get over to the parking lot.

The hotel is standard Country Inn with the lobby and breakfast area.  We had made some changes to our travel dates and it was cheaper to keep my original reservation for Thur – Sat and add a separate reservation for Wednesday night.  So we stayed in two rooms.

Reservation #1 was for two queens and one night…




The welcome gift was a nice little snack bag with water, oreos and cracker jacks.

For reservation #2 we were upgraded to a King suite.  That was helpful since I had unexpectedly work for a while Thursday night. I was able to sit at the table and not be interrupting anyone.




Being there for a couple of nights it was nice to have some privacy in two rooms.  I am not above sleeping on a pull out couch, usually I am too tired to notice!


The pool are is very nice and large with a hot tub.  Its nice to have a relaxing place to soak your feet after a long day walking.


Breakfast changes daily.  We always had fresh cut fruit, yogurt bar, oatmeal, pastries/ bagels, cereal and the waffle maker. They rotated out french toast, bacon and eggs, southern omelets and biscuits and gravy! I like having new choices each morning.

We really like this hotel location for Rochester. We have previously stayed at the location on Highway 52 but found it to be inconsistent at best.  They also offer a mayo clinic shuttle from this hotel that seemed to be very busy.

77 Wood Lake Drive SE
Rochester  Minnesota  55904  US

More information can be found here: http://www.countryinns.com/rochester-hotel-mn-55904/mnroccty

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Birchbox and Travel?

Have you heard of Birchbox?  I stumbled on it on another blog and thought this would be great for when I travel!!!!! And having a daughter who loves face, hair and makeup products doesn’t hurt either.

Birchbox is a monthly subscription box that sends sample sized items to your door.   Here is a link if you are interested in signing up: https://www.birchbox.com/invite/stretchingittotravel





Since the items are smaller they are perfect for airline travel in a 3-1-1 bag! Daughter was packing for camp the day my our box arrived so she grabbed the dry shampoo before I could read the package!

Come to think of it she took most of the items from our last box also!  I made sure I grabbed the bronzer before she figured out what it was for, I don’t want to let her have all the good stuff!

Birchbox is $10 a month but you can do reviews on the items to earn points. Those points are then taken off your full size item purchases. 100 points is $10 off.  You can earn 50 points a month if you review each item in your box.


Categories: Saving Money | Tags: , | 8 Comments

Hyatt Sweet Dreams, Sweet Rewards

Hyatt has a new fall promotion available for registration.  Earn 5,000 additional Gold Passport Bonus points with any five nights.  The more nights you stay the more you earn…

5 nights earn 5,000 bonus points

10 nights earn 10,000 bonus points for a total of 15,000 bonus points.

15 nights earn 15,000 bonus points for a total of 30,000 bonus points.

20 nights earn 20,000 bonus points for a total of 50,000 bonus points.

This is valid for stays September 1 through November 30, 2014.

Register by November 30, 2014 here: http://hyatthotels.hyatt.com/content/partnerlandingpage/en/50KSTAY20.html

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Itching to Travel Over Labor Day

On the up or down side (depending on how you look at it this miles/ points hobby) there is an itch to travel.  The Labor day weekend is coming up and I have hotel points and airline miles.  I also have nothing booked and something I should do on that Sunday.  But the little voice in my head says you have hotel rooms or a flight, find something!  Take that last summer family vacation!!!!  So while a couple of things are running in the back ground I went to just look at flight options…

Google Maps for flights is a great tool when you do not know where you want to go specifically!  Its great for giving me ideas for the family. I have my list but I know Husband does not want to visit Denver to see the Chihuly installation at the botanical gardens next week.  And Daughter would love to go back to New York, that is not on Husbands list either.  We need a neutral ground location that is probably going to include a beach.


Google flight maps allows you to enter dates, your departure airports and then it shows flight prices to various cities.  It would be $450 rt to Brownsville if we made a beach/ seafood run.  Or $305 rt to Tampa if we wanted to visit Clearwater Beach for the weekend.





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Marriot Fall Promo 2014

Marriott is out with their new fall promo for 2014 and it run through the rest of the year.


Imagination can only get you so far; let MegaBonus take you the rest of the way.

To earn up to 25,000 bonus points:

  • Register by November 15, 2014
  • Stay at participating properties between September 15, 2014 and January 15, 2015
  • Earn double points with every paid stay*, starting with your second stay, up to 25,000 bonus points

*A ‘stay’ is defined as consecutive nights spent at the same hotel, regardless of check-in/check-out activity.


Here are the regular earnings rates for Marriotts:


JW Marriott Hotels and Resorts - Luxury Hotel ResortsAutograph Collection - Luxury Boutique HotelsRenaissance Hotels - Stylish HotelsMarriott Hotels and Resorts - Marriott Flagship HotelMarriott Vacation Club


EDITION Hotels - Contemporary HotelsAC Hotels by Marriott - Urban Design HotelsCourtyard by Marriott - Business HotelsSpringHill Suites by Marriott - Hotel SuitesFairfield Inn and Suites by MarriottGaylord HotelsMoxy Hotels


The Ritz-Carlton - Luxury Travel


Residence Inn by Marriott - Extended Stay HotelsTownePlace Suites by Marriott - Long Term Stay Hotels


I had hoped the stay two get one promotion would be back so I am unsure if I will keep the Marriott rooms I had reserved for this fall. Double points really isn’t getting me much on a hotel that is under $100 a night.  I will wait to see what other hotel programs offer.

Here is the registration link: http://www.marriott.com/rewards/promotion.mi?promotion=MB14

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Saving points for a “rainy day” or to drag your Mom across the state on 48 hours notice

My parents are good sports.  They put up with my desire to travel and sometimes they are even willing to come along.  To be able to travel on a whim I try to keep some points available because I usually have more points than money to spend.

I was reading my Facebook updates when I saw that Kristen from “We are that family” was going to be at a women’s conference on the other side of the state.  I was so excited!  I had stalked her blog for years, reading it daily and here she was going to be with in driving distance.  I HAD to go!!!!

This was a Wednesday I think and the conference was bright and early Saturday morning in March 2013.  The conference was free, even better!!!!   So I went thru my mental list of people who might be able to come with me, it was a short list.  My sister had to work, others had their kids and it was short notice.  Called up my Mom who was game and I went to work on hotel options. There were not very many hotels out there.  And to make things more interesting in March I usually have very little extra money in the budget to do fun stuff.   So I had to use hotel points to make this work easily.

This is why I collect points, IF some opportunity knocks I can still go. I don’t have to say I don’t have the money right now for a $125 hotel room.

I booked with my priority club points at the Holiday Inn Express.  Upon arrival we received an awesome upgrade to a two queen room suite.  Perfect since it was my Mom, Daughter and her friend.  We had plenty of room to sprawl out for the night.  The girls swam in the pool for a couple of hours, dinner was Little Caesar’s that I picked up around the corner from the hotel. Breakfast was at the hotel and $7 for the lunch at the free conference.

So our sudden crazy trip was $0 for the hotel, $8 for Little Caesar’s and $14 for lunch. The kids were able to eat free at the conference.  And gas to drive 3 and a half hours each way.  This is why I keep hotel points around in a few programs, you never know when you get an opportunity!

If you get a chance please check out “We are That Family”.  Kristen and Mercy House are doing some incredible work over in Kenya with pregnant girls living in extreme poverty.



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Get in, Get out! Get to Ed Debevic’s!

When we visit Chicago we have to eat at Ed’s.  I was first a young kid when I visited Ed’s on a Chicago trip with my cousin in the mid 80s.  It made an impression then and things have not changed over the years.  Now its Daughter’s favorite place to eat!


Continue reading

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The Maids of the Mist Fountain

In Lake Bluff Park there is a fountain called the Maids of the Mist. It was built in 1872 for the World’s Fair in Chicago. And then the owner of the Whitcomb purchased it for St. Joe in 1892.





I love old fountains in parks.  Think of how many families this fountain has seen walk past in 122 years? Or how much the area has changed in that time?

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Mimi’s Cupcakes in St. Joe

I get really excited when I see this pink and white cupcake truck parked in St. Joesph!


Its cupcake time!!!!!!!!!

I love cupcakes and food trucks, so this is a combination made in heaven!

The single cupcakes are $2.75 and gluten free are $3.00.  They also offer bottled water for $1.00 so our total for 2 cupcakes and a water was $6.50.


I had a chocolate Plain Jane and Daughter had a Cookie Monster.

Cookie Monster  – Our yummy yellow cupcake baked with chopped M&M® bits and chocolate chip morsels, covered with our mouth watering chocolate chip cookie dough butter cream frosting & topped with M&M® candies.

Plain Jane – Our yummy yellow cupcake covered with our signature vanilla butter cream frosting and sprinkles.

I really wanted to try a White Chocolate Chip Raspberry but Daughter changed her mind after she requested the Plain Jane and saw the Cookie Monster.  I wasn’t hungry enough for two cupcakes so I will get that next time I see the truck.

More information can be found here: http://www.mimis-cupcakes.com/Mimi-s-On-Wheels.html


Categories: Trip Reviews | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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