Monthly Archives: April 2015

Free Dining is Back at Walt Disney World this Fall

From the Disney website:

Get a Free dining plan when you purchase a non-discounted 6-night/7-day Magic Your Way package that includes a room at a select Disney Resort hotel and tickets with Park Hopper or Water Park Fun & More Option.
Book by July 10, 2015.Offer valid at select Disney Resort hotels for the following arrival dates:

  • August 28 – October 2, 2015
  • October 25 – October 31, 2015
  • November 8 – November 19, 2015
  • December 15 – December 21, 2015

See the Dining Plans offered for select Disney Resort hotels within each Resort Category below.

Resort Category Dining Plan
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Select Disney Deluxe Villa Resort Hotels
FREE Disney Dining Plan
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Select Disney Deluxe Resort Hotels
FREE Disney Dining Plan
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Select Disney Moderate Resort Hotels
FREE Disney Dining Plan
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Select Disney Value Resort Hotels
FREE Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan
The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Tickets and Options must be used within 14 days of first use. Length of stay requirements may apply. Everyone in the same room must be on the same package. Some table-service restaurants may have limited or no availability at time of package purchase. Advance reservations are required.


What’s better than a trip to Disney? A trip to Disney with FREE Disney Dining!!

For arrivals most nights
August 28–October 2, 2015
October 25–October 31, 2015
November 8–November 19, 2015
December 15–December 21, 2015

Excluded Resorts:
The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard View Rooms
Ft Wilderness campsites
All 3-bedroom villas

September Exclusions:
Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter

October – December Exclusions:
Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside

Note you can pay the difference and upgrade from quick service to the regular dining plan if you chose to stay in a value resort. We have done this a few times as we prefer the value resorts when we travel with Daughter.
To book by phone, call (407) 827-7389 † to speak with a vacation planning expert or call your travel agent.
More information here:
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New Walt Disney World Room Disount Offer in Early Fall

From the Disney website:

Enjoy the last days of summer at Walt Disney World Resort!
And now when you choose to stay in the middle of the magic, you can save up to 30% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels. Offer valid for stays most nights August 15 through October 3, 2015.Book through August 7, 2015
Resort Category Resort Savings
The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Savings is based on the non-discounted price for the same room. Length of stay requirements may apply. Moderate and Deluxe suites may be available at a lesser discount.

Offer Details

Book Through
June 12, 2015
Valid Travel Dates
June 16 through August 27, 2015
Important Details

  • The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited.
  • Savings is based on the non-discounted price for the same room.
  • Additional per adult charges may apply if there are more than 2 adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts.
  • Advance reservation required.
  • Moderate and Deluxe suites may be available at a lesser discount.

Offer Restrictions

  • Length of Stay requirements may apply.
  • Offer excludes campsites and 3-bedroom villas.
  • Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion.

To book by phone, call (407) 939-7528† to speak with a vacation planning expert or call your travel agent

More information here:


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Oliver Inn South Bend Girls Weekend

We made a last minute decision to go to South Bend a night early and stay at the Oliver Inn. I was not sure how Daughter would like a Bed and Breakfast so I wanted to show her the rooms and let her pick.  i liked the location of the inn and I had read that breakfast is amazing!

We arrived on Friday night a little before 6pm.  They have several parking spaces on property and I like not having to park in the street like some inns.  The carriage house is in the back of the property that would be perfect for a family or two couples to share.


Alice gave us a tour of the house and told us about breakfast.  I loved the butlers pantry that left the snacks up to us. Several inns have a set dessert time that we often miss as we are out touring.  It was nice to grab a cupcake before bed to savor and a drink.


We enjoyed the details of the stately home.  There is a chair lift if needed for guests. And the staircase is beautiful!



We spent some time reading in the library. Daughter had some new books she had taken along because she was dying to finish the series.


We saw a couple of the other rooms. This first one was the one I was leaning towards reserving.  It seemed girly and I thought she would enjoy it. I think its so pretty!



And the room she chose was Gertrudes Dressing room.  The closet is amazing! What woman would not want a built in 3 way mirror?



The reason Daughter chose this room? The whirlpool bathtub!  We each took a turn in the tub with a good book relaxing!


Daughter was hooked on this bed and breakfast stay.  She has asked where else can we stay in one?  And this was before breakfast!

Breakfast was served between 9 and 9:30 in the dining room.  We were treated to juice, chocolate croissants, scones and fresh fruit.


We sat with a family with a younger daughter so it was nice to see another kid at the bed and breakfast.  We were then served Green Eggs n Ham pizza.  I wondered how Daughter would react but she dove in and loved it.  The egg ran over the “pizza” made of pesto and ham. It was so delicious!  She ate every bite and still talks about how good it was.

We would recommend the Oliver Inn to anyone.  The carriage house is kid friendly. Several rooms are very romantic with two person whirlpool tubs.  And a few are perfect for Mother and Daughter weekends.

More information here:

The Oliver Inn Bed and Breakfast
630 W. Washington St.
South Bend, IN 46601
Phone: 574-232-4545



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Cupcake at Mall of America

We seek out cupcake stores whenever possible.  I love the little cakes and their variety of flavors.  And the cost is usually $3-$4 so a cheap indulgence.

The cupcake is located on the third floor of Mall of America on the west side.  It was pretty late on Saturday night but they still had several flavors left for us to choose from. I went with the Key Lime Pie and Daughter had the Betty Crocker.

cupcake Mall of America

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Her cupcake was $2.50 and mine was $2.95. Not too bad for the mall prices.  We took them to go back to our room for a later snack.

cupcake at Mall of America

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These were not my favorite cupcakes.  The cake part tasted great and like key lime.  The frosting on mine was not a good match for the key lime.  Tasted too much like plain cream cheese.  Daughters cupcake was really good.

More information here:

Address: Mall of America, West Market, Minneapolis, MN 55435
Phone:(612) 378-4818
Monday 10:00 am – 9:30 pm
Tuesday 10:00 am – 9:30 pm
Wednesday 10:00 am – 9:30 pm
Thursday 10:00 am – 9:30 pm
Friday 10:00 am – 9:30 pm
Saturday 10:00 am – 9:30 pm
Sunday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
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Tucci Benucch at Mall of America

We wanted to have a nice dinner while at the mall.  Our day had not gone quite as we had planned or hoped but we did learn from the failure.  We could not decide what we were in the mood to eat so we chose the closest sit down food location.  Tucci Benucch was the winner.

We were given a pager and had not quite half an hour wait.  Being in the mall we had many places to look while waiting.  We had an interior table in the dining room, it was a little dark.

Our service was fast and we were given hot crusty bread with rosemary olive oil while we waited.  Daughter ordered Fettuccine Alfredo with crispy chicken and I ordered the baked spaghetti with mozzarella on top.

Tucci Benucch

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Tucci Benucch

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Daughters dish was very good. The chicken was parmesan coated with bread crumbs.  My baked spaghetti was too dense.  Packed layers of noodles and cheese with marinara over the top.  It really needed some meat to break it up or even sauce between the layers.  I like our local baked spaghetti but this one was too bland and dense.

Tucci Benucch

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The service was good but the food did not meet the price.  Both of our dishes were $18 each and sodas were $3.  For almost $50 it just was not worth it.

More information here:


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Radisson Blu Mall of America

We used some of our Club Carlson points for a weekend at the Mall of America.  We had to be in the area for a meeting anyway so why not combine fun into the weekend?

We arrive at almost 9:30pm from our Chicago flight. The hotel shuttle arrive promptly after our call and it was a quick 15 minute drive to the hotel.  A very pleasant front desk clerk told us we were upgraded to a junior suite for the weekend. Staying on points any upgrade is really appreciate!

We found our way to our seventh floor room and I like how a room key is needed to use the elevator at the Blu hotels.  I know people can still try to step on with others but I appreciate the security effort.

Radisson Blu Mall of America

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We loved these lobby seats.  The standard long fireplace made it very cozy. Daughter wants one of these pods in her room!

DSCN2312 DSCN2311

Our junior suite had a couch and chair on the right side of the room. The king bed, desk and large tv are on the left.

We had the usual mansion bathroom with black sparkle.  The differences with the suite were a beautiful soaking tub and our shower had a seat in it.


We had a great stay.  Pretty much the hotel was the highlight of our trip.  We did some looking at the Mall of America and it was nice to have the direct access.

The third floor pool area had several chairs around the pool. And surprisingly there are two screens on the end of the pool showing kids movies.  Finding Nemo was on when we popped in.  Great for the kids!

Radisson Blu Mall pool

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Our welcome gift was blue M&Ms with Radisson on the other side, Daughter made them her bedtime snack.  And a couple of bottles of water.

Rates at the Radisson Blu Mall of America start at $169 for a king or $239 for the junior suites.  We used 44,000 points for our two nights with the second nights redemption free.

More information here:

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Buying Beef by the Quarter

We have in the past purchase half a pig at a time.  This works well for our family and we eat off it for a long time.  The price is much less than paying store retail!  I visited the butcher planning on purchasing half a pig again.  Pork was priced at $1.99 a pound, up a bit from time.  They had a sign up for beef hind quarter at $3.59 a pound.  Hey now!

For the extra bit I would rather have a freezer full of beef!  So I made a phone call to my husband to see what his thoughts were and he was on board.  They were going to cut it the next week so I had a little time to figure out a freezer strategy!

The butcher went over with me how I wanted it cut.  How many steaks in a pack and how thick to cut the steaks.  How many pounds of ground beer per pack? Did I want hamburger patties?  Did I want soup bones?

The hanging weight of our quarter was 185lbs.  I weighed my bags of meat when we came home and I had 108lb of meat.  Almost 30 packages of ground beef that will last us a long time!  And bunches of steaks, that is what husband is happiest about.


So the cost was $664.15 for my 108 pounds.  We will see how long it takes us to go through the beef.  It will be a refreshing change from pork this summer.  And I will admit that you don’t want to try to get anything from the freezer right now…. Its in there like a puzzle and I don’t want to admit how much I was sweating if it would all fit! We might have had to pull out the next couple of nights meals to make it go.

Here is a link to my post about buying Pork:

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Eggy’s Chicago for Breakfast

Unfortunately this past time at the Radisson Blu we did not upgrade and have breakfast in the lounge while in Chicago. I do love their chocolate croissants but it was time to try something new.   We could see Eggy’s Diner from our hotel room to the lower right and we wanted to try it for breakfast.


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It was a short walk around half the block to the entrance behind the hotel.  And I thought the menu looked cute. They also look to have a great lunch menu and shakes!


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Daughter was wooed by the cinnamon roll pancakes.  And I went with the red velvet french toast special.

Eggys Cinn Roll French Toast

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Eggys Red Velvet

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Both of our breakfasts were amazing! We were stuffed for the morning and ready to hit the train to head back home.  We both want to go back to Eggy’s not only for breakfast but for a burger and a shake.

More information here:

333 E Benton Place, Suite 103, Chicago, IL 60601

Monday – Sunday 7:30am to 3:00pm

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Wyndham Spring Promotion

Wyndham has a new spring promotion for 2,000 bonus points at select hotels.  There is a listing on this website and it appears to be a very short list.

Earn Up to 2,000 Extra Points
Book now and get up to 2,000 extra points toward free nights, free flights, shopping and more!

More is always better, right? Now you can earn up to 2,000 extra points, on top of your regular points, the next time you stay with Wyndham Hotels and Resorts! Depending on offer availability at each individual hotel, you can book either the “Best Available Rate + 1,000 Points” or “Best Available Rate + 2,000 Points.”

How do you get your bonus points?

Wyndham Rewards members just need to book a qualifying stay at a participating hotel for their next trip and they can earn up to 2,000 extra points. It’s as simple as that. Plus, you can even maximize your stay by combining this offer with other great Wyndham Rewards promotions!

Not a member yet? Don’t worry! Membership is completely free! To take advantage of this Best Available Rate Plus Bonus Points, just click on one of the participating Wyndham Hotels and Resorts and you are one step closer to booking and getting your extra points!

Find the list here:|05|US|042015&reg1=em|WY|05|0415|N|US|02&stop_mobi=yes

Earn 2,000 Extra Points Each Stay

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Best Western Spring Promo $50 Gift Card

Need a jump start on extra savings for your summer vacation? Register now to get a $50 Best Western Travel Card® when you stay twice between April 6 and May 25, 2015.

Your Travel Card can be used through September 7, 2015 at any of over 4,000 hotels worldwide.  Just click the button below to register and you’ll be on your way.

Register here:

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