Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Disney for Free! - Introduction

We live at Walt Disney World. No. Really. We live just a few miles away and there. I'm sitting at Disney Springs right now as I write this. I'm surrounded by amazing artists playing music, fun entertainers and performers, and tons of people. I need to do this more often.

I want to start this new series "Disney for Free" to show that Disney doesn't always have to be crazy expensive. And to show local mommies here how many amazing things Disney has to offer for you and your littles. So. Many. Free. Activities.

We just spent an entire day surrounded by Disney and at Disney's Magic Kingdom and did not spend a penny! Seriously. Not a penny.

So how do we do it?? I'm going to give you all of our Disney magic! I'm going to start blogging about all of our Disney adventures and giving you tips, tricks, and fun ideas for you and your family. I'm kicking myself for not starting this sooner as we've almost lived here for a year (this time around).

Disney World Annual Passes
We are Disney Annual Passholders and we pay $75.00 a month for mine and Matt's annual passes. We have no blackout dates so we can go to the parks any day we want (we went on Christmas Day for one ride and then went home...just because we could), and with that pass you also get free parking. We figured it out the other day and with how often we visit the parks, we are paying just about $2.50 or $3.00/visit! Not too bad.

I'll be posting posts for you about this every week! Get ready for some super fun!! It makes me giddy :)

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Year Of Savings Update - Week #1

Budget Update Week #1

We are coming to the end of our first week with our newly tightened budget in effort to pay off all of our debt and save for our first home! I am pretty pleased with how we are doing this week.

Spending Update
We spent some extra money this week and decided to sign Lilly Belle up for horseback riding lessons. Her 60-minute lessons are $35.00. We like that it gives her a lifetime hobby and is something that will teach her a lot of responsibility. It's an investment for her future and makes her really happy. We also failed a bit and ate out for lunch at Culver's. We did not know Culver's existed here in FL and it is our fav-or-ite. We saw one in our new favorite little town here after Lilly Belle's horseback riding lessons and couldn't resist. I was so angry afterwards because it was $30. So between her riding lesson $35 + a $15 tip because her sweet 15 year old instructor was working so hard and kept our baby safe, and then $30 at Culver's cost us $80 we weren't planning on at the beginning of the week. That was all we spent this week.

Grocery Update
I went grocery shopping for the first time using my new plan with minimal (or no) meat for dinner and am super proud that I came in at $116 for the week when my goal was $100. Now that I've shopped at Aldi, I am more prepared for next week's shopping trip and know now that I can't get everything I need there. I will also be prepared that when I need to go to Publix that I don't go while I'm hungry or thirsty (bought a bunch of Smart Water, chocolate milk, and a $1 snack sized container of Vanilla Oreos). Dropping those items which weren't necessary, I could have easily saved another $8-$10.

Every. Dollar. Counts.

Budget Adjustments
Matt and I found a new storage unit that will bring the cost from $75.00/month to just $28.00/month and in a safer neighborhood. I'm excited about this. That is another $564.00 savings for the year. I also have an amazing friend who gave me some incredible budget tips. She told me about Coke Rewards (we don't drink it but friends do and I like bottled water so I'll start just buying Dasani), Starbucks Rewards, couponing, and more! Another thing on my list is to head to our storage unit when we move it over and see if there is anything in there that we can sell. I want to do a big purge. We have so-much-stuff. All it does is add clutter and more for me to clean. We're going to start simplifying. Hopefully we can make some extra money by doing that to pay off some of those doctor bills I have from our miscarriage.

Debt Update
Nothing able to get paid off yet. Still in the process of making our adjustments and we are hoping that next month we can start to make a chunk in our debt.

Goals for Week #2
I am doing a huge marketing push for both dance and FIT4MOM and I hope that will help us a ton this month. My goal is to work 2 hours on FIT4MOM (in addition to teaching), 30 minutes for dance, and 1 hour on my blog each day. I also want to spend 1 hour/week on bettering myself for my businesses. That means waking up a bit earlier and pre-scheduling more posts on social media. We are also looking into an additional form of income for our family that I would really enjoy and I don't think would add too much time. I am also doing some major delegating with FIT4MOM in hopes of less time and more growth.

Overall, great week. It's feeling exciting to be doing this and to be going for it. It's been awesome to be EVEN more conscious of our spending. Since moving here we have HAD to be aware and careful, but now I'm taking it to the extreme and it's awesome. Matt's been so supportive and on board, even with the new foods I've been making. I think next week I'll surprise him with a pork chops, brown rice & broccoli night instead of a full vegetarian week (he'll be so happy)!

Stay tuned...
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Monday, May 2, 2016

Lilly Belle Goes Horseback Riding!

We had the most wonderful weekend. Lilly Belle got to have her first horseback riding lesson, and we are certain that this is going to be something she enjoys for a really long time, if not forever. Going into it, we thought that maybe she would be nervous and possibly cry going by the horses for the first time. We were very wrong. Girlfriend practically ran to the horses in her little cowgirl boots. We had to remind her time and time again to move slowly and talk calmly with them.

We have signed her up to go every other week. She'll only go once this month because of Mother's Day and our upcoming trip to Seattle, but beginning in June she will go continuously every other Saturday.

It was pretty much the cutest thing we've ever seen her do...She's getting so big.

We let her do everything on her own with Miss Rachel. She had to help prep and groom her horse and had to help Miss Rachel go back and forth into the shed to get everything they needed. There were picnic tables there that Matt and I sat at for the majority of the time. I could feel her bursting with pride and independence.

She has been telling everyone that she has seen today about her lesson. I can't wait until we can take her back!

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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ratatouille: Dinner Not the Movie

As part of our new savings plan, we have been making more vegetarian meals and it's been fun to try some new foods! I was so proud of both Matt and Lilly Belle with our latest dining adventure...Ratatouille.

The original plan was to have Lilly Belle watch the movie and then help me make the dish so that she would be more excited to try it. I thought we owned the movie, but I was wrong...and then I got a little bit more nervous about making it for dinner.

We have been working really hard at dinner time with having Lilly Belle try new foods and having her eat what we're eating. To help with this, she helps me make dinner. It has been a lot of fun and a bit of a transition for our family. Usually Matt cooks and makes us dinner. With his current job, it just isn't realistic anymore with Lilly Belle's 7pm bedtime. She gets so excited to help me with dinner and it has been helping with having her try new food.


It was the perfect dish to have her help me with. Different textures of food, colors, and we made lots of circles!

Here is the recipe we followed: Ratatouille

It was our first time trying Eggplant so I let Lilly Belle hold it and ask questions for a bit before I sliced it. 

It was a great recipe for her to help with. I let her put them all in. It taught her patterns too: eggplant, onion, tomato, zucchini, eggplant, onion, tomato, zucchini...

It was a delicious meal. Matt ate most of his and Lilly Belle ate all of her zucchini and even some of her onions. We also made a Caesar Salad and she ate some of that as well. I was proud of Matt for eating the eggplant (he doesn't like it) and Lilly Belle has never tried zucchini before and she gobbled it up. We will be making this again. Yum and so fresh!

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