Monthly Archives: August 2014

Using Points for Radisson Blu Business Class Stays

I might have created a monster… Daughter has a love for the hotel business class lounge.  What is not to love?  Sprite in cute little bottles available all day.  Pastries with breakfast.  Snacks at dinner time.  Nuts and popcorn to snack on.  Its a child hotel dream!

On the flip side I refuse to pay that much for a hotel room, even if it does give me snacks and drinks! This is where Club Carlson points are a huge asset and the credit card is priceless if you have it!

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Super 8 South Padre Island

We spent two nights at the Super 8 on South Padre Island, Texas.  We found a ridiculously cheap AA rate of $54 a night and combined with American Airlines Rewards tickets we had a cheap trip to Texas!

The Super 8 is more of a place where people stay for a week or so.  The room came with a kitchenette and some families were grilling outside their rooms in the parking lot.  We walked across the parking lot to the Big Donkey for Mexican food for dinner.  (Food was great!)


Beach access is up a block from the hotel on Gulf Blvd.  Daughter is old enough to carry her own items and we would walk to the beach each day.  I am very happy to pay $100 less a day and walk the 5 minutes to the beach.

There is a pool and hot tub at the Super 8.  Kind of different, they are behind a large locked gate to the front of the hotel… This pic is from Super 8. It was always dark when we got to the pool after dinner and watching the sunset.  The pool was very crowded each night but they never seems to stop kids.


We would stay at the Super 8 again. It was very clean and it didn’t bother me to have people cooking in the parking lot. I had read up on the hotel before we visited and was not surprised to see it.  If that gets someone a vacation and they are doing it safely and away from my room I could careless!

Super 8 South Padre Island

4205 Padre Boulevard, South Padre Island, TX 78597 US

More information can be found here:


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Travelodge on South Padre

We had a change of plans for our last night in southern Texas.  We were supposed to stay at the Casa De Palmas in McAllen.  I had the stay booked on a certificate so the night would be free.  But it was hot, we missed the beach and Daughter really wanted to surf again.  Back to South Padre for us!!!!


We found a reasonable last minute night at the AAA rate at the Travelodge South Padre of $89.  The Travelodge is two stories and an easment property on the beach.  They have beach access through a little (and by little I mean VERY narrow) walkway.  IF you meet someone with a cooler you need to back up…


The hotel also has a decent sized pool and hot tub for families.  The pool was very busy during our stay so daughter did not swim very long.

The rooms had been updated even though the hotel appeared to be older.

trav 2

We enjoyed our stay here immensely.  The dedicated beach walkway across the parking lot made it easy to pop out to the beach at dusk.  In under 3 minutes you were on the sand.

We are making plans to return to this hotel next summer.  The location is perfect for our family and the price is fantastic for a “beach” hotel.  I can walk 3 minutes to save $100 a night!


Travelodge South Padre Island

6200 South Padre Blvd, South Padre Island, TX 78597 US

More information can be found here :



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Are You Really Living?

I came across this cartoon a couple of times on Facebook and it made me laugh…


At the time I thought how true! We have all seen the family at the restaurant playing on their phones instead of talking to each other.  The group of friends, all on their phones texting or posting.

But then this week again I heard about people who were taken far too early, too young, too soon, whatever you want to say… We all think we have plenty of time to spend together!

We will take that family vacation next year, or I will go to Alaska when I retire.  I will make it to her ball game next week, or next month I should have a free weekend…  But what if you don’t?

Put the phone down, go to the game, take the time, really live! You might not get tomorrow!


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Save on Spices


Where do you buy your spices? I like to purchase mine in bulk from the local Seventh Day Adventist store. They are stored in glass jars with a scoop allowing me to purchase as much or as little as I need. And the prices are so reasonable this way.  I am not locked into purchasing over priced jars at the grocery that will go bland before I use them up!  I store mine in these little jars from an older spice set.



I spend $.85 for Italian seasoning vs $2-3 for a jar. And its fresher also!

What out of the box options do you have for purchasing spices? I would love to hear new ideas!

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Marriott hotels with waterpark for the kids

I usually travel with a child who likes a pool but loves a water park! We have some Marriott rewards nights to burn so I was trying to figure out what my Marriott water park type hotel options were.

Fairfield Inn and Suites in Gillette Wyoming is a category 2 with several large water slides that go through the building and several pools.

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Fair Trade Friday, my new favorite day!!!!!

The first Friday of the month my Fair Trade Friday box is due to arrive.  I love this day!!!!  Friday’s are great to begin with but getting awesome stuff in the mail makes it even better!

Kristen from We are THAT Family had a great idea to help empower women by creating job opportunities.  The idea is great, the items are so fun and I am so excited to be part of this!

My first box arrived while I was in Minnesota so I was extra happy on Monday to be home.


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Ho-Chuck Casino near the Wisconsin Dells

We usually end our working vacation in Minnesota with a night (or at least a stop) at the Ho-Chuck casino in Baraboo.  Sometimes we even will stop on the way up to Minnesota to stretch our legs. (Basically Mother- in- Law likes the slot machines.)

We have stayed several times at the casino on Saturday or Sunday nights but this time check in was worse than normal.  It was almost an hour from when we arrived to when we were able to enter our room.  That is way too long!!!!!

Waiting for drinks at the casino bars took forever! It was a Saturday night, they need to hire some staff to accommodate the thirsty people.  I wanted a couple of drinks but gave up after waiting for just one.

When I got my rewards card from the service center (been a year since my last visit so my card did not work) they slaughtered my name even though she had my drivers license when she put the info in.

On the plus side I finished up $40 and Mother in Law was up $100 so we took the money and went to bed at 1:30am.

We had our standard two queen beds in a regular room.


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Rochester Gold Rush Fairground Antique Show

The Olmsted County Fairground hosts the Gold Rush shows twice a year in Rochester.  They claim to be the original gold rush and Oronoco claims to be the Gold Rush show.  I have no idea who really gets to claim the title, all I know is it means more antiques than you could ever see in one  area.

The fairgrounds show is usually in May and then also again in August during Gold Rush days.  Most of the dealers are in buildings for this show so the weather is never really a factor.


The items here are amazing!  A crazy quilt that was the best I had seen outside a museum.  A Scandinavian table and chairs that I would have loved to put in our home.


The show is open on Saturday and Sunday the third weekend in August.  We usually close our booth down early one night to go show at this show when at Oronoco.

More information can be found here:


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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:



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