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January 26th, 2013 at 05:02 pm

**Got the kids' passports submitted, finally. A VERY painful process... Rolleyes

As of right now, LM is no longer going on the trip. Will see...

We saw a Ted Talk about War Horse last night (& also saw it mentioned in the blogs). I will send the link to MIL if they have time for a show while in London.

Overall, they have a timeshare place (of course), are using miles for flight, and I believe a lot of the museums there are free. So, is not near as expensive as it sounds, that is for sure. MIL did not say it had to be frugal, but I think she is pleased with the choice. & I am sure there will be PLENTY to spend money on.

**Work/Vacation - Trying to do both**

**Today we see Thrilling Adventure Hour in San Francisco. Any other time we may have made a weekend of it, but I will probably work all day today and tomorrow. I told dh we could go, if we drive straight there and back. But we may have a quick dinner there, just due to the timing. Nothing fancy. Maybe even Taco Bell. I was not sure how this weekend would pan out - and it did not pan out good. Will try to work from home tomorrow. At least I feel it is feasible to meet all my deadlines, even taking time out for several hours today.

**Next weekend is historically "carpet cleaning" for our office. Post 1/31 deadlines, but pre-tax appointments. SO, I told dh we could go away for his birthday, but had to be next weekend. (His birthday was last weekend).

He never made the arrangements, until I told him nevermind, I would figure it out while at work Saturday. At which point he decided to get it done. Glad he did, because sounds like he was on the phone a while. There was nothing anywhere along the coast on such short notice, and so all they had was Napa. I was pushing something a little closer to the Bay Area - just a quiet hotel to unwind all weekend - if we couldn't be near the beach then I didn't care if it was down the street from our house honestly! BUT, Napa came up as the only vacancy. Why Napa? Lord knows. So, we will stay at the same place we stayed last time. It was REALLY NICE. We will stay put and not go anywhere, for sure. That is what we should have done last time (not big wine drinkers). The timeshare stay is free - we will probably order in pizza. Or maybe get some groceries if we stay in - is a nice condo. Reminds we should just grab a take and bake pizza when we leave - even cheaper - our grocery store pizzas are A+. I told dh we could go away, but didn't want to spend money. Especially with the show tickets we bought for today.

I am hoping after next weekend to feel VERY refreshed to tackle the rest of tax season. It won't be May until I can get another weekend off.


**My dad has offered to give us one of his older keyboards (music). We were thinking of buying one for LM, so this works nice. I believe I will buy a stand for it (will look for something used). I also have some Amazon credit I can use for that. It has all the midi sounds and yadda yadda. We already have a piano. But I am sure we will eventually get a sound studio of sorts with LM's musical passions.

I have a tuner that I have had since sometime in my teenaged/childhood years. It is the one we use in our main living area for stereo/MP3 players and such. The speakers too (they are awesome). So, dh is salivating at moving that old tuner with the keyboard and buying a new tuner. He found one for $250. I don't know when he is going to buy it - not sure when we will pick up the keyboard.

Dh has an office that is mostly unused. It is a place to hoard his junk. I am thrilled he seems motivated to go through some of the junk, to turn the room into a music room. Big Grin {I went into major decluttering mode while pregnant, between nesting and being displaced from my office - and with my ebook and MP3 player - I don't really own a lot of stuff any more. Mostly "electronic/doesn't take up space" stuff}. Dh has always been a movie and music collector - always will be. Electronic quality just isn't good enough for him. I have no doubt he has tons of junk he could get rid of though. Like the boxes in his office that haven't been opened. Fair enough - all his blu rays and CDs he actually uses on a regular basis. But I think there is some "haven't looked at it in 10 years" stuff to go through...

He was using his office for editing when the kids were younger, but now does that all downstairs at night or while the kids are at school. He's got some really old music equipment, and a bunch of video game systems in there. We are also storing are "on the fritz" TV in there while we decide what to do with it - but it would fit in our giant closet.

My old desk (solid oak - very nice) is in there unused. I think we could probably give it to LM.

I'd like to eventually buy a drum set for the music room. Dh already has the guitars and amps - we could be quite a band. We are pretty passionate about music - but has been really on the back burner for us lately. But LM in particular is very musical, so we are excited for this music room project. (& who knows, maybe my dad will be in a big drum upgrade mood at some point - I should ask him about that... Overall, my dad is a "keep it forever" type, so won't hold my breath. This keyboard is totally ancient that he is "letting us borrow.")

Music room - was always sort of the plan. Just hadn't got to that yet. But I think before we weren't sure exactly *where.* So far we are starting with a $250 tuner investment, and using what we have and hand-me-downs. This is always how we approach things. Eventually may be a full sound studio, but since I would like to stay out of debt, it will start small and improve over time.


November 25th, 2012 at 03:04 pm

I wish I could figure how to share pictures from phone. I am watching the most beautiful sunrise on the beach! We got here just in time for a gorgeous sunset too.

Best surprise was that the drive was only 5 hours. Everything here is closer than I remember. Anyway, that means two less hours in the car. Phew. & my dad wants to travel around and take some pictures but decided to do on the way home. This means lazing around the pool and beach all day today.

To The Beach

November 24th, 2012 at 04:14 pm

I am SO Excited about our beach weekend. Big Grin

It took "forever" to align our schedules, and my parents aren't very vacation-y, and so this is definitely the first fun vacation thing we have ever done with my kids and parents. (We might have done some camping with my dad, but not with my mom).

Unfortunately, both kids seem a little sick so I am stocking up on cough drops and packing the inhaler. I was really worried yesterday, but they seem okay today. They never particularly get sick, so I am not surprised they seem pretty okay today. BUT, it's been so hard to align our schedules and they are probably due for some big illness. ??? For example, LM has 3.5 years perfect attendance. He just never gets "sick." Though they are both a little allergy and asthma prone. So when LM was sick - you see why I think he might be due for something bigger than just a sniffle.

Anyway, I think our biggest worry this weekend will be that I will probably want to let them swim and run in the ocean and dh might have a cow. But, will see. (I don't see the point in taking them and telling them not to do anything fun - they have pretty tough immune systems).

Oh, and the weather looks to be GORGEOUS the next 2 days. Don't know how we lucked into that - but will see. Which is funny, because we got odd comments about going to the beach. I think California beach weather is the same pretty year-round. Cold and foggy. More sun in the fall. I know we are pushing winter, but I also didn't think it would likely be any different than July. Crossing my fingers that weather forecast is right on. Sunny and warm!! I don't know how we could pull that off - it was so gorgeous last we went a couple of years back. I am skeptical until we actually get there. (Any other memory I have of the place is cold and fog).

We are going to Pismo Beach. About 6 hours drive for us. The long drive is a little prohibitive, but is a special place for my parents and I. We do need to find an inexpensive beach hotel closer to home. Many decades ago my dad just found this hotel on the beach and it's pretty reasonable, even to this day. (Like $80 per night?? Beach front!) I used to be in love with the area, but I no longer have friends there and it's such a long drive that I am a little bit over it. But going with my parents will be special.

We splurged on an ocean-view suite - paid for with credit card rewards. OF course!!

Vacation Budget & Planning

September 18th, 2012 at 01:35 pm

I was going to do this a few days ago, but then everything vacation was up in the air.

But since we seem back on track, here we go. I find it useful to write everything down, just so there are less surprises. & it always adds up faster than you think!

Our annual vacation budget is $1500. We usually spread it out a lot more throughout the year and do a lot more staycation type stuff. Or travel closer to home (driving). This year, we haven't done squat, so we have $1500 leftover.

I was looking at the budget last week and I think we had about $100 left over for food, so I figured we'd be tapping into other savings a bit. This is just a unique/rare trip. But, that said, I would be a lot more stressed about the food side while we are there. Because every penny over would have to come from somewhere else.

I knew the in-laws would likely give us a couple of hundred dollars (which has the added bonus that we don't have to go to the ATM - just one less chore - since we don't keep any cash with us in general, but like to have a few more dollars on hand when traveling - even if we usually just deposit most of it when we get home).

BUT, MIL gave us a generous check over the weekend - intending to pay for all the parks. Which it just about exactly will pay for. {I was not expecting anything like this, in the least!!}

I only added $500 of it to the budget, since we don't need to spend $1,000+ on food. Wink $709 left over for food is also ridiculous, but it's just the point where I am not going to stress. Whatever we have left over upon our return will go to savings/mortgage.

My first inclination was to put the $1k check to the mortgage, but I have medical bills on the horizon (could be large - I am not sure) and we have another vacation coming up in November. So I already put the $1k to the credit card (balance is a credit balance) and I will consider the parks paid for. (There is always a possibility we will not go to all these parks - someone could be sick - we may chose to chill one day - so could have even more left over for savings).



I wanted to lay out my vacation planning because I have been doing it a little bit at a time. All we really have left to do is make the arrangements for our cat and pack. !! I feel like all the hard work is done.

--Around May? we decided to go to Florida and book our airfare. Since $1500 is obviously not enough for a week in Florida, we decided to divert 5 months of savings to airfare. We have already replenished it, and by careful airfare shopping I was able to drop the figure down to "4 months of savings."

{This is the first *big* flight/trip for four that I have ever considered as a family with our own funds}.

So this is why I don't have airfare on this budget - it's done and paid for. I am trying to manage everything else that we have yet to pay for.

--Cat Care - I already checked with neighbor and a friend if they would be available to help with the cat. So I just have to finalize that. I am doing a tax return for a friend, so will probably give neighbor $30 for the help (is a teenager). My cat makes such a mess in her old age, that I bought a GIANT litter box in the hope she isn't as messy as usual. I literally scoop it every day, and am just trying to make it easier on whoever watches her. I will probably buy a second GIANT box to that end.

WE can't find any spare house keys, so dh will make a couple this week.

--Dh has been collecting quarters for tolls, and I am just rolling my eyes. Obviously extremely slow going consider how we don't even use cash for anything. Wink One of us will run to the CU and get two rolls of quarters - he finally agreed this made sense. Rolleyes

--I spent a lot of time last week considering transport options. Airport parking is the most expensive, BUT there is not savings of any note by paying for transport. So, parking wins. Convenient convenient convenient. (One option we have living so close to the airport is that several hotels in our neighborhood have parking at $2-$3 per day cheaper, but their shuttles "run every hour" and had some pretty poor reviews. So, we will pass! The shuttle/economy parking at our airport is very good- never remember waiting at all - they must run every 15 minutes. I will double check before we depart, as these things do change).

--In May or June we booked our hotel - free with MIL's timeshare points. Sometimes they have fees (usually taxes or parking). So, will see.

--On the car rental - I reserved around $130 for one week. We will probably want to add me as a driver - will pay whatever it is. I read that we do not need a transponder and that they try to tack it on anyway, so we will be vigilant about that. We will have our quarters for tolls - their transponder fee is absurd. This will be an issue in the future since apparently they are going all electronic. But I researched carefully that we do not have to have a transponder for the areas we will be driving.

We were planning to buy a booster car seat there, but I found one at Target for $15 last week (very small). I was going to put it in our luggage but not sure it will fit. At least I know $15 seats will be easy to find (I can return it and just buy a seat in ORlando). LM is 7 and very tall, so I have no problem waiting until we get to the store, or driving him to and from the airport without a booster. The car seat rental industry absolutely sucks eggs, and the car rental company charges more like $13 per DAY. Rolleyes The airline will likely make us check it, could get lost, could charge us - so I don't want to mess with our nice seats.

I have been so looking to the day where we don't deal with all this. We are 90% there. Next time will be heaven! Big Grin

--I priced all the park tickets, taxes and parking. I haven't found any discounts, because we are buying only one-day tickets. IT is what it is. Dh and I have two one-day park hoppers left over from the year 2000. So we are saving a little there. The plus is we are just buying all tix at the gate - this leaves us a lot of flexibility. IF we all get sick one day and have to skip one day, we won't be out the tickets.

--The museum and Gatorland are just big *maybes* if we are up to it. I have never been to Gatorland, so that one is probably more of a priority. It's dh's family tradition.

--Aside from gas and food, I don't see us spending anything else while we are there. GMIL gave the kids $50 for souvenirs, but I wouldn't be surprised if they keep it to spend on something more important to them (like video games). So, will see. None of us is into the "stuff."

--I got paid yesterday, so paid all the bills through mid-October. So I don't have to worry about any of that on vacation (& jiggled things around since I won't get my paycheck until we return).

--We borrowed two carry-ons from family - might only need one (for the kids). I already have one. We have never traveled "four of us" and "so long a trip" since airlines started charging for checked bags (airlines have also reduced carry-on sizes, rendering most our bags useless). I think 2 carry on luggages will probably be more than ample (we will also all carry backpacks). Our strategy is to pack 3-4 days of clothes and to do laundry mid-week. Since it's a "family visit" too, we should have plenty of down time for that. Florida = packing light clothing, so makes it easier. I picked up a couple of light exercise/water resistant type shorts at Target, on sale/clearance. It will help me immensely to pack light, and to be comfortable. It's just not the kind of clothing we have or need in our non-humid/dry climate.

So, all in all, I got some cat things to take car of, and we have to pack. Dh is going to get keys made and I will pick up some quarters. I think most the work is done!!

We don't leave for a couple of weeks. I really am the anti-procrastinator. I just want to relax and enjoy best we can. I think I have done everything that I can to that end!

Back from Camp

June 28th, 2012 at 04:00 am

Back from camp. Weather ended up being pretty nice, and enjoyed views like these:

Now back to reality!

We did Family Camp in the Sierras, as always. It's really only about an hour drive from our house, so not too far from reality.

I think with all the trees it is hard to appreciate a good sunset. Don't remember catching many in the mountains, so was pleased to catch a bit of color in the sky one night.

Not Much Doing

June 10th, 2012 at 03:27 pm

I guess I am saturated on the personal finance front because I really haven't had anything to say. *shrugs*

Has it all been said? Wink Oh, I am sure there will be more to say. Just nothing new this week.


I am waiting for $1000 in credit card rewards - should redeem half on Monday and half on Wednesday?


This week is all about BBQs and lazy days at the pool. One down, two to go. Today we are meeting friends at the pool (no BBQ).

Oh, dh and I are working fast and furiously on my parents' anniversary gifts. I am scanning photos (for a photo book?) and dh is doing a little documentary about their married life. Their anniversary is next weekend.


The theme this weekend is "starving artist." I read a really good memoir about the daughter of a writer. I was then watching some profile of artists on Netflix.

I now have a deep appreciation that my husband is not a starving artist. He may come across that way, but he is far too practical, and not near insane enough.

I appreciate his willingness to pursue his dreams, while keeping a firm hold on reality.

Awesome Weekend

April 23rd, 2012 at 02:33 pm

**I did get my $250 Amazon redeemed. Woohoo!

I should have just bought my Quicken with these rewards, but I was not 100% sure they would come through this month. The points were there Saturday and I redeemed them last night.

I will pay off the credit card next paycheck, and close it shortly thereafter.

**We are still working on spending on Chase. Up to $2300 of $3000. I figure we will be done around 5/31.

**Mid-May I will try the Citi double dip. Or I may wait until we get dh's MRI bill. He has an MRI scheduled in May, but we often don't get billed for many months. I figure that bill will help immensely on our next reward. If the Citi double dip does not work, AmEx Gold is next on the list.

**I still need to apply for my $150 reward. No other offers have popped up in the mean time, so I will probably apply this week.


**Reminds me, we had a couple of free options for lodging in Denver, but this weekend we confirmed the nicer option (studio suite with MIL's vacation points). Phew!! More driving for us. We could have stayed free with Grandma, but she has been a little confused, and I Wasn't 100% sure if she would get it set up correctly. I was worrying about showing up with no place to stay. She tells me the bed is terrible (they have rooms for guests at her retirement home), but I didn't really give a flip if it was free. BUT since this is free too, I think it will work out better.

Our airfare and car rental will probably be covered with rewards, so this is working out much better than expected.

**I just checked the weather because we went to the beach yesterday. It was supposed to be a record 80 degrees (it was 90 on Saturday!!), but it was foggy and cold. We tried to wait it out a bit but gave up around 1:00 when it felt like it was just getting colder and foggier. I just checked and it was a whopping 59 yesterday. Rolleyes Well, we tried. I was just stoked we'd be at the beach on such a nice day. But I felt better to see that the sun never came out. At least we didn't just miss it with our impatience. Wink

Anyway, we had fun anyway and we found a jellyfish on the beach. How cool is that??? {I had no idea jelly fish were around - that is good to know. Yikes!!}

**We had a very vacation-y weekend with our folks. Went down for a birthday party, spent the day in the in-laws' pool (aaaahhhhhh) and hit the beach Sunday.

Perfect Beach Day

November 28th, 2011 at 05:30 pm

I am so glad we made it to the beach yesterday.

First off, gas was significantly cheaper from last time we filled up. Yay!

We got to my folks house around noon and gave my mom her kindle (Christmas/Birthday present). She seemed to love it though we couldn't get their library system to work with it. Dh will figure it out. Or maybe it is just the library. Oh well!

We ate lunch at Burger King and it only took 45 minutes to get to the beach. Dh is definitely not a beach person, but with the short drive I realized it would be really easy to take the kids again. It was just a "Gee, this is a lot closer than I remembered!!" kind of moment.

We saw the monarch butterflies, and it wasn't all that exciting. There were a lot of them, yes. But they were all way up in the trees, so not much to see.

That said, the beach was AMAZING. I had never been to this particular beach, but it is definitely now my favorite.

The tide pools were amazing. We ended up getting there so late we stayed for the sunset and the low tide.

IT was crowded, which didn't bother me, BUT everyone and their brother was there to take pictures of the sunset. We moved away from the main picture focus to a little beach off to the side, and I heard someone say about my kids, "We should tell those kids to get out of the way." I could only think: Rolleyes Some of us were actually there to enjoy the beach and not just take pictures of it. Thankfully, they decided against asking the frolicking kids to get out of their way.

Of course, I figured we'd do Taco Bell for lunch and the deli for dinner - keep it cheap. BUT, my parents took us out to my favorite mexican restaurant for dinner. We might have gone anyway, but my birthday is this week so was an early birthday dinner.

All that, and we got home by 10pm.

Oh, and the weather was just perfect. I was questioning the weather report I saw because on the drive we mostly saw thick fog, both ways. But it was a very sunny and beautiful day at the beach, which is hard to come by. Thank goodness did not lie! Big Grin Since when is the land covered in fog and the beach clear and sunny? Bizarro! It's usually the opposite around here.

I have today off of work. & tomorrow I have a seminar. So, I have been very happy with this vacation. IT was kind of spontaneous, but I mostly prefer to stay close to home and keep it low key. As such, I definitely feel very refreshed! It was a very good call.

IF we have time, we might go to the art museum today. If not, we will maybe go Sunday instead. Today will mostly be a lazy day at home.


Credit card closes on the 4th (Sunday) and so not much fiscal I have to do before then. At that point I should have a good sense of our 12/31/11 status.

When I get paid on Thursday I will pay the mortgage and the property taxes. The assessed value of our home went down about $7000, but the taxes went up with all the voted tax increases the past year.

My mom did slip me $40 for groceries on T-Day, per usual. Yay!

Vacation Update

October 9th, 2011 at 07:03 pm

We did it - Disney under $1,000. Woot!

Disneyland $236 (special night event)
Legoland $162 (kids were free)
Museums $84 (3 museums; one was free the day we went)
Parking $18 (Legoland + Hollywood street parking)
Souvenirs $80
Food $250
Gas $140
Sunblock $4
TOTAL $974

Some thoughts and commentary:

**Hotel was 100% free. Though we are used to free hotel stays with MIL's timeshare, it was because of her new *elite* status that we were not charged fees for taxes or parking. Yay! So literally paying -ZERO- was a nice surprise.

**We took the gas sipper and 4 tanks of gas got us there and back. We had good luck finding cheap gas. Phew!

**We'd generally spend $0 on souvenirs, but I let the kids go a little hog wild on the day we got rained out of Disney. I also really wanted to get them swords/shields at Legoland (their friends had gotten them a while back), BUT it does add up fast! (I am not sure I Would have gotten them either, but dh and I had miscommunication on the price). I hope they enjoyed because next time is probably going to be $0 budget for souvenirs!

**Food is always the biggest part of our budget when we vacation. I think this illustrates why. It's the biggest number of the bunch! & of course, it hurts to spend like 50% of our monthly food budget, in just 5 days. Ouch!

**Interestingly, we spent absolutely $0 on snacks. Last time we went to Disney it was a HOT week and I remember we were just always hungry, and buying up snacks, which did not help the food budget at all. I think you have the tendency to feel hungry when thirsty and also need that extra jolt of energy. This time we brought TONS of snacks from home (I was more aggressive in sneaking them into the parks) and barely touched them. Figured! In fact, all we bought while we were there was some sunblock (Was forgotten at home and only needed it one day). Food was strictly bought for lunch and dinner. Hotel had continental breakfast. We only went through our piles of snacks in the car. I couldn't tell you why - we all have huge metabolisms and usually have to eat more often. I am surprised what a difference the cool weather made. We were probably not used to eating such hearty lunches.

**I am personally not opposed to TV watching in the car. If it keeps the kids happy on a long drive, whatever. I certainly remember my parents torturing me on long drives through half the united states when I Was kid. I would have loved a TV to help pass the time!! But, the kids are pretty good at traveling (used to many 4-hour roundtrip drives to see family). & though a TV in the back would be nice for them, it doesn't do much for those of us in the front seat or specifically for the driver. SO, our main entertainment was audio books borrowed from the library. Between that, sleeping and video games, I didn't hear one, "Are we there yet???" Phew! & the trip went pretty fast for us adults, too. Dh and I always do audio books (library) on long road trips. I just think it was the first time we could all agree on something - kids were too young to appreciate last big road trip.


The vacation budget is definitely blown for the year, but I think we did very well!

So Cal Week $974
San Francisco $100
San Francisco/Staycation $200
Camp Sacramento - 3 nights $100
Six Flags Staycation $200
Camping Trip $140
Water Park/Monterey $145
Water Park with friends $40

TOTAL - $1,899

Vacation budget is $1500. MIL gave us $200 for Disney, bringing total to $1700. At face value we are over budget by $200 for the year, but some of the gas and food can come from our gas and food budget. SO, I think we just squeezed in with our budget.

That said, we still have weekend Napa trip for our anniversary. Point is to get away and enjoy the scenery. I doubt we will spend much of any money on the trip. I don't think we care at all - the hotel is supposed to top notch and we will enjoy that.

I am expecting a $300 credit card reward in November, so may consider that to pay vacation expenses and/or to allow one nice dinner in Napa. I haven't really decided what to do with it yet, but considering I put most the rest of our substantial rewards this year to the mortgage, I can live with splurging this last $300. It is one reason we decided to go to Disney Monday night (we had also planned to go another full day if not rained out - $300).

This & That

August 29th, 2011 at 08:35 pm

Looks like we probably have about $500 left in vacation budget. Should do for So Cal trip (primarily need to pay for park tickets, and food). Not much left for Napa, but oh well. Dh got us tickets for his favorite pod cast - live audience. Since it was in the vicinity. Relaxing and enjoying the scenery should mostly do. Both trips will have a kitchen, so we can at least whittle down the food costs.

This past weekend we went to the night slides at another local water park. IT's one we have never been to (kind of pricey), but we had a BLAST! IT was so HOT the day we ended up going. Worked out well. (I think while Irene hit land, we were baking in line at the water park!). I was having second thoughts about the crowds - but in the end the experience was really pleasant - we can maybe do night slides next year once or twice. To keep costs down, just BM and I went - met up with friends. LM could not ride any of the slides at this place, anyway. Maybe he can next year (just needs to grow a couple of inches).

LM ended up at a focus group getting a free toy, instead.

Next weekend is the annual "Gold Rush Days" in Old Town Sacramento. Always SO FUN!!! & some relatives are visiting the in-laws from Australia. We invited some friends to the Gold Rush since MIL will be busy entertaining (she LOVES to come, usually). We will maybe go down to San Jose for the day to see relatives. Will break our rule not to drive anywhere on big holiday weekends! But, aiming for the middle of the weekend/day trip type thing to avoid traffic.

Soccer season has started, but it's been bearable to break up the duties. BM had a seeding tournament on Saturday (HOT DAY) and I got stuck there from about 12:30 - 2:30. Some frozen water bottles and an umbrella for shade saved the day. (What are the odds we'd have an umbrella? Not like we ever really need one - but found one in the car. PHEW!) Dh took morning shift which was longer, but cooler. ORiginal plan was for me to bring lunch and switch off, but we were lazy and went to Taco Bell instead. On the weekdays I take BM once a week to practice, dh takes the other day.

Camping Mt. Diablo

August 22nd, 2011 at 12:42 am

{See last post for some older photos I finally got around to posting.}

With the likes of Tahoe and Yosemite in our backyard, it's probably no wonder we have NEVER heard of this gem before. We went camping on Mt. Diablo this weekend, and it was just amazing! (& a MUCH shorter drive - turned out to be about 80 miles from our home).

We met my dad for lunch around 1:00. We met at a fabulous and reasonably priced Thai restaurant. We feasted! I thought, "Where else can you eat authentic Thai cuisine, and drive 15 minutes into the wilderness for some amazing camping!" Maybe other places, but not many?

Our plan was to set up camp (check in 2:00), explore the famed "rock city," and drive up to the peak in the morning before we left, for the views.

Wildlife spotted: primarily deer, hawks, owls, coyotes (?), rabbits. Which isn't terribly exciting because these are the same animals we see at home. But, we saw the coyote a handful of times running around very close. Was beautiful. I suppose we also saw a lot of lizards. I didn't see any spiders bigger than a centimeter or so, so no complaints!!

"Rock City" was just amazing. BM loves to climb anything and everything. & though I held my breath a few times and had to chastise the kids to be more CAREFUL, they just had a BLAST. It was a huge rock playground. Just beautiful!

When we drove in we saw there was a star gazing event, and decided to go. (What luck!!!) Just BM and I went with Grandpa. We drove up to the top of the mountain and saw the most AMAZING sunset. We were above the fog rolling in, and arrived at a great scenic overlook just as the sun finished setting over the horizon.

At the top of the mountain, the night sky was pretty amazing for how early it was and how much light was coming up from the valley down below. If we had been up to staying longer, would have been even more amazing. The fog was starting to roll in (below us)and drown out the city lights when we left closer to 10pm. The moon was nowhere to be seen, and the sky couldn't have been more clear. We saw a handful of shooting stars. Basically, several people were there to show off and share their telescopes. IT was so much fun!!! We looked at several planets, galaxies, nebulae, stars, etc. I used to have a telescope, and love astronomy. We had actually planned this trip in the hopes of spotting the tail end of the recent meteor shower, but got much more than we had hoped for!

In the morning we hit rock city one more time to let the kids play, and then drove to the top. We stopped at the same scenic overlook again. Camp was very foggy and WET in the morning (got to test the water proofness of our tent - it passed. & it was so clear it would have been easy to leave off the water proof cover. It has sort of an open design for watching stars, etc. But for whatever reason we put the whole thing up. It felt like a little rain, when I Walked away from the trees, but was possibly just fog and condensation that hit our tent all night. My dad said the coastal redwoods get gallons of water from the fogs and he never quite understood that (until he slept under a tree in the fog!)

Anyway, so we drove up above the fog line and just soaked in the view for a LONG time. We decided to not drive to the very top of the peak since the observation tower was temporarily closed. I think we were happy with what we were able to see!

The peak was about 3500 feet - and probably the highest peak in the Bay Area. (I am not sure, but we saw several peaks in the distance that were quoted as being 2500 feet high - like Mt. Tam. I suppose we only got a view of the west, so not sure what else can be seen on the east side. Heck, to the east are the Sierra Nevadas. REAL mountains, but those are far off in the distance).

We let the kids play on the rocks some more before we drove home.

Throw this in the "vacation lifestyle" category because it was about on par with our last Hawaii vacation, but was mostly a 24 hour vacation! & certainly MUCH cheaper!!! We are definitely going back for a whole weekend next year. & is a good spot for day visits as well (when driving to/from visiting family).

Frugal note: We took gas sipper (compact vehicle). We were able to easily fit all of our camping gear (for 4), 4 camping chairs (clearly not necessary), etc. I share because most people look at us like we are crazy to try. Big Grin Of course, kids have short legs so not like there is any need for more space. I just find it funny how giant vehicles are seen as such *necessity* in this day and age - the minute you have one child. & yes, we have a minivan, but it is certainly not a necessity. Anyway, was for the best because we probably couldn't have parked at the campground otherwise - not a lot of room for cars. The gas sipper can squeeze in anywhere (& squeeze we did!)

Mini Vacay

August 7th, 2011 at 09:54 pm

We've been having a GREAT mini vacay before school starts!

Saturday we went to Point Lobos (state beach near Carmel). The place is just amazing. So beautiful and peaceful - I have great pictures to share (later).

We dined at a little Mexican restaurant in Carmel and had a celebrity sighting - Tom Bergeron was eating at the next table. The kids love America's Funniest Videos, so thought this was pretty cool. We let him eat in peace (granted, a lot of pointing, whispering and peeks - LOL).

Maybe my dh is more observant, but he seems to see celebrities all the time. Since this was my second celebrity sighting, I thought this was pretty cool.

Other than gas, didn't spend a dime. Our parents treated lunch/dinner the last couple of days.

Tomorrow we are going to the local water park - will spend about $100. Will be a little bit spendy.

Weather is so cool here still (I know - our heat went east - I know it's incredibly hot throughout much of the country). So, not sure how great this water park idea will be. Hopefully we aren't too cold!

Pictures to come later.


July 26th, 2011 at 02:40 am

Nope, I didn't change my mind and go camping. But, the fam did go without me.

Sounds like they had a blast.

From a frugal standpoint, doesn't get much cheaper than a camping trip. But look at that amazing beauty! This is just a couple hours from our home - in the Sierras.


I can't believe that summer has only 2 weeks left! I kind of equate summer with slowness, because work is pretty quiet this time of year. BUT, I suppose it's nice not having to deal with *school* stuff 2 months of the year.

When the kids are older, we might appreciate the short summers, but for now - it just goes by way too fast!

Seeing the pictures reminded me that we promised BM to go back on that big hike by family camp. Probably something we will do in September. We have time this weekend, but after being so ill for an entire week, I hardly feel up to anything like that.


Next weekend will probably be a *take it easy* and stay close to home kind of weekend.

Weekend after that we are planning a little vacation in San Jose. Nothing really set in stone - but several things we want to do. Maybe a day trip to the beach, or a hike. A day at the water park, etc.

Our anniversary is 2 months away, so we should probably think about booking a room in Napa for that weekend. Was what we decided to do (something different and pretty close to home). Well, I better start figuring something out!

Heck, our Napa trip is about 2 weeks before our So Cal trip. Best get that figured out, too.

Vacation Lifestyle Can Resume

June 10th, 2011 at 08:39 pm

I am no fan of the heat, but at least with the heat I know what month it is.

Of course, that said, the weather changed in a flash. (ugh - no transition!) But, for the most part I am embracing it.

I washed a pile of fleece figuring I maybe really wouldn't need it again until fall. & I suppose it's time to evaluate the kids' wardrobes.

I was dissapointed to see that our electric bills was not much lower than average, for May. Maybe 8% lower, at most. Though I recall many heat waves in May, I suppose that is not the norm.

We did turn on the air last night. Certainly has got to be a record - June 9th - first AC of the year! I wouldn't say it has been that hot, but when I went up to bed it was sweltering upstairs. Flipped on the air about 20 minutes to make it bearable for sleep. Of course, house cooled off overnight.


The last few days of school are upon us, so many activities are going on.

I can't believe I will have two all-day grade-schoolers. LM goes to school an extra 45 minutes next year, so no huge adjustment. We learned that he thrives on a schedule. That part, I didn't expect. I really thought he'd have a tough transition to Kinder. Now, somehow the year is over. Next year I will also sign the kids up for daycare, for some added flexibility. Not that they will go often, but I just didn't want to add that on top of a whole new experience for LM last year so we never signed up or utilized this past year. IT had been kind of nice and handy for drop-in care the year before - we had signed BM up due to uncertainty over dh's recovery from surgery, and did utilizie it sparingly.

I've gotten so many requests for money this week, and have been very *bah humbug* about it. Next year I am going to tally it all up. I may be extra scroogey and say no to every single request and add the amounts to my mortgage instead. Wink Will see. Just this idea I had, since I mostly thought all this stuff was done. Last minute requests are really my pet peeve.

BM is on track for perfect attendance. LM is perfect minus one day. I think he is outgrowing his asthma (mostly expected to outgrow from family history, but asthma/allergies are terrible in the region so wasn't so sure). Anyway, all those germs all year and I've never seen him healthier. We paid our dues - first year of preschool/daycare was a nonstop sick hell. Everyone told me, "Then you won't have to go through that when they start grade school." I am pleased to say this was true.


Next week I will take some time off for last days of school stuff (2 BBQs, for one - I will take the free food).

Following week we are taking a day off to go to a museum.

The week after that is vacation.

Then, we have 2 weeks to prepare for the kids' birthday party. I sent out invites today - wanting to get those out before school was out. Almost forgot.

We still need to pick a day to go to Six Flags (got some free tickets). Will take a mid-week day off to hopefully avoid crowds. Probably some time around their birthdays.

Pool is open so will resume lazy day sat the pool. It's been far too cold up until now, which has been ridiculously unusual.

So, it's starting to feel like summer.

Anyway, I look forward to the next 4 weeks or so of work being pretty light. A bunch of 4-day workweeks, etc. The weather has made it hard to execute my vacation lifestyle (generally May through November). But, we can try again now.

San Francisco Day

May 22nd, 2011 at 04:12 pm

Since BM had several track meets in a row, we were kind of tracked out. That said, this last meet we figured we could get out very early and since it was right by SF, make a day of it. Dh wasn't into the idea, so I was either brave or crazy, and decided just to take the kids myself.

Thankfully, the trip was a success.

We decided to head to Fisherman's Wharf for the day. Though the area is obviously a tourist trap, I don't equate it as such. There is a lot to see and do for very little.

That said, I am used to transportation for one. Versus three or four. So the "many people" factor made things far more expensive, just as I find it does for vacations, etc. IT's just the one one-income limitation I noticed. I am used to traveling anywhere and not sweating this stuff. When I Was a broke college student I could afford endless travel and trips like this. But, I was just paying for me - not for four people.

So, the damage:

$32 public transport for 3
$18 lunch at Subway
$30 Dinner at Ghiradelli
$5 bridge toll
$2 Musee Mechanique (quarters) + kids brought own quarters
$87 - Ouch.

Could have easily been a $25 day for just Moi! OF course, packing more food could transform the day into a very frugal adventure, in comparison. I always find that food is the BIGGIE since we are so used to eating very well for very little, at home.


It's ironic, but we have been crossing off some long overdue "To Dos" with all these track meets. I had been meaning to take the kids to SF, forever. We always talk about driving up early some Sunday morning (I know a free parking spot - if you get there early enough). But - just have never made it.

As for today? Absolutely nothing planned. Is next weekend a 3-day weekend, too? Nothing planned.

Aaaaaahhhhhhhh... The pool will open, and I look forward to some R&R at home.

Beach Hike & Weekend Doings

May 15th, 2011 at 03:01 pm

We nixed the beach hike yesterday. Though we were aiming more north than we usually explore, we decided this was going to have to be a Bay Area trip. The drive is just too long to make a day of it without a stop. Which is why we usually aim south. We can usually stop for a rest on the way down and for dinner and/or a free night's rest on the way back. I changed my mind a few times, but the bad weather sealed the deal (Wasn't going to drive 4-6 hours just to get rained on!). Today is also a busy/scheduled day, so I Was exhausted just thinking about it.

We quickly changed courses and found a hike one hour from our home. Much better! I am bummed that we probably won't make it to the beach this spring (all the wildflowers), but will see. Spring is not over yet!

Our trip started out rocky. We ended up on a gravel road (VERY bumpy!) and that is when dh thought I Was crazy. Plus, we seemed so in the middle of nowhere. How could there be a beautiful waterfall in this middle of nowhere?

LM flipped out and demanded to go home shortly after we started the hike. Oy vey. To be fair, it was then we noticed his shoes were pretty worn. Will buy him new shoes today. I carried him maybe 1/4 mile and that seemed to appease him. It is possible that he is bipolar. It runs in the family a bit. He was like insane happy most of the rest of the day. Rolleyes I am not sure how this bodes for future hikes. We probably walked 6 miles, but it was a pretty easy stroll. Then again, he didn't seem to have any trouble with it. It was only the beginning where he freaked out. Will have to do more hikes and get him more acclimated to it.

Anyway, we had a picnic lunch by the waterfall, explored a bit, and made our way home. The scenery was just so serene and beautiful. We saw very few people all day. Is apparently a popular swimming hole in the summer. We will have to go back in summer and fall (the scenery looks gorgeous in the fall). We enjoyed the lush greenery which won't last very long. At some point dh said, "It feels like we are stepping into a painting." It was just so gorgeous.

While driving home, we noticed an odd looking "mountain range" in the distance. We couldn't quite figure out what the heck it was. It was just this mountainous looking peak in the middle of nowhere. After a little digging I found out what it was: Sutter Buttes - The Smallest Mountain Range in the World. Um yeah - that is what we saw! Was on our list of eventual hikes. Now I am enticed to check that out for our next local hike. To see this miniature mountain range in the middle of the expansive valley, is a sight to behold.


In other news, BM has his first piano recital this weekend.

His progress is pretty quick. Though I took lessons for almost 2 decades (& would like to resume again in the future), I am thinking that 2 years of playing will probably give him a pretty solid musical foundation. Which is really my goal. I've tried to teach too many adults - it's pretty much impossible. I wanted to give my kids a basic music knowledge so they could learn any instrument they choose. I didn't want them to reach adulthood with regrets. & we have a piano that needs some playing.

BM has been doing amazing with the piano teacher. So much more focused than when I tried to teach him. She is very affordable, so I am pleased.

Tons of extended family are coming up for his first recital today. He is excited.

I have to laugh because if he was my only child, I Would be painted as the crazy soccer mom - I am sure of its. Activities, activities, activities. It's all him. HE is the marvel at track because he is SO into it. None of the other little kids are so committed and gung ho. I Was never quite able to get across to most people why I felt the need to send him to daycare when he was one (though dh did not work). His social calendar was absolutely EXHAUSTING to us. He *needed* it though, though the rest of us could do without. I am feeling that exhaustion set in again. IT would not be my choice to do track, piano lessons, etc., almost every day of the week. But he absolutely THRIVES with it. I just have to remember that he is 8 and soon enough he will be independent enough to handle a lot of this on his own. It may be several years, of course. But this *crazy schedule* is not forever. Dh and I are not cut out for this!! Thankfully, LM has no interest in any of this stuff. IT helps balance it out a bit. IF I had 2 kids like BM? Or more? Oy vey! Since LM is only 6, I am not particularly worried about him. I don't think he needs to be knee deep in extra-curricular activities. I don't think BM does, either, based on his age. But based on his personality, it is what it is.

Beach Weekend

May 13th, 2011 at 08:13 pm

So much to blog about, so little time.

I've got many thoughts swirling in my head due to events in recent weeks, but it's been BUSY. Not busy busy, but just life busy. *Away from the computer* busy, I guess.

Anyway, my Mother's day wish was a beach hike. Though my #1 choice would be Carmel, it is a 3-hour-drive:

We've lived in Sacramento for almost TEN YEARS at this point. It's time to realize we are northerners and that we have never really explored the north part of the state. I think any travel/adventure is usually dictated primarily by friends and family. Why not go to Carmel and get a visit with our parents? Why not go and catch up with an old friend?

But, we spent last weekend in San Jose (track meet - spent the rest of the day with my parents). Plus, our parents are coming up Sunday, so didn't want to do another big south drive.

I decided to look north - and narrowed it down to Point Reyes or Marin Headlands. Each is about a 2-hour drive. I don't think I have been to either. The truth is the landscape is probably about the same anyway. Beach, vistas, wildlife, wildflowers. Whale watching season too. (Will watch the whales from land this time!).

Point Reyes has an "earthquake trail" along the fault line, but Marin has an animal rehabilitation center that we can visit. So, depends what is more enticing to the rest of the family. Point Reyes would be a better step to exploring up north more.

We still haven't been hiking near as much as I'd like, but LM is warming up to it. Hopefully this will kick start more frequent hiking adventures with our family. (BM would have been happy to be an avid hiker when he was 3, so we have been patiently waiting for LM to be a little more strong and adventurous). He did well on a strenuous hike recently, so here's hoping...

The endless driving continues in the weeks to come. Next week BM has a track meet near San Francisco. I decided that we would probably just go and would have a good chunk of the day to explore San Francisco. (I'll probably take the kids to Fisherman's Wharf - will take the public transport into the city). Hoping I can meet up with some friends while we are there. My favorite part of the city is not as accessible, and the kids really want to take the subway. So, the wharf it probably is!

We have an 80th birthday party to go to the weekend after in another city up north. We had been invited to a relative's hotel (she's got 4 kids) to go swimming, etc. Since dinner is in the evening, probably makes sense to join them and make a day of it. Though at this point, driving doesn't phase us much! We were also considering a morning hike, if we could clean up at their hotel.

So, busy busy busy, indeed.

Gas may not be the cheapest, but we will drive the gas sipper, pack a LOT of food, avoid bridge tolls, and get gas close to home (grocery discounts here). We paid $4.30 for gas last weekend though we have been paying $3.90 at home. The price difference usually isn't like that (heck, we usually have more expensive gas?). We decided to fill up here and avoid those type surprises. If we see cheaper gas we can always top off the tank. I won't hold my breath. Wink I think our gas prices are comparable, but not when factoring our grocery gas discounts (which we've only had a couple of years). Thus, the shock!

The kids only have a few more weeks of school. I can NOT believe it! Boy, the school year just flew! Come August they will both be on the same schedule. We will enjoy it while it lasts (looks like maybe only one year?).

For Californians

March 24th, 2011 at 03:43 pm

My friend, who lives in San Francisco, told me about this awesome website a while back.

Weekend Sherpa

Text is and Link is

Find weekend activities from hikes, bikes, camping, water activities, and skiing for Northern California


For reference, Sacramento is only about 90 miles from San Francisco. If that.

As she told me all about this great website, I Was like, "Send me the link!"

Her: Oh, but it's a Bay Area website.


Like I never go to the Bay Area!

Anyway, she was wrong. It is a Northern California website. Though it may be heavily focused on the Bay Area, there are plenty of other Northern California destinations highlighted in this newsletter.

(I just had to share because Sacramento has this reputation of this no-fun, "middle of nowhere" place to live. So I am perusing this website wondering what world my friend is living in - that I couldn't possibly get anything useful from this website. But, I get this all time. It's a wonder we can enjoy our sad existence in the middle of nowhere). Wink


Anyway, I just got an e-mail that they are also starting a Southern California newsletter.

So, I thought it was time to share the link again.

The interesting thing is though I don't think it is a goal of this newsletter to be frugal, but since there are so many hikes, bike paths, etc., mentioned, that it does give you a lot of frugal weekend ideas.

I just got some "whale watching from land" ideas - one of our favorite beaches has prime whale watching campsites (I had no idea). I like this idea after our last whale watching sea sick diaster. We really need to do some camping this year.

Life is Good!

June 29th, 2009 at 04:15 pm

I had the BEST weekend. Just one of those weekends where I am so happy where my life has landed.

I also posted the other day about our relative who paid $600k+ for their home. I have mentioned before, but we know so many people who truly believe it is worth having a $500k+ mortgage to simply live in the Bay Area. After moving away about 8 years ago, dh and havn't quite *gotten* it in a LONG time. This was one of those weekends where I feel extra bad for those people. You think they are happy with those massive mortgages? We don't know any of them who are happy.

Anyway, it was literally 110 degrees yesterday. Obviously, I have acclimated.

So what was so great about yesterday?

BM and I went on a bike ride. We got a later start than I preferred. I Was kind of antsy to drive to some more of the bike paths, etc., but decided on its virgin run, to just stay in the neighborhood. Not sure how much I trusted the quality of the Wal Mart assembly of the bike. Wink We checked it over real good and checked the tire pressure, and off we went.

First, LOVED the bike.

Second, it was probably already 80+ when we went outside to ride, but it wasn't so bad.

We had a blast. The bad side is I am wondering if I should get BM a bike with gears now. I felt bad him working so hard on his bike, and mine was a breeze (I have 21 working gears now). Well, thoughts for another time.

Next time we will probably ride earlier (or later) in cooler weather. Wink

After the bike ride we went down to the pool. We didn't get there until 11. Again, later than I preferred. Not a lot of shade there. But knew it would feel refreshing. So we swam for about an hour.

I "sunbathed" in the shade and it wasn't too bad. We were lazy and drove over. Hell if I Walking in that weather. Wink

But yeah, while I Was relaxing in the shade I noticed all but one or 2 adults (many people) were sunbathing in the sun. I was thinking they were completely out of their minds. You know, it was only 100 degrees or so at that hour. ????? Crazy people.

After that we holed up inside the rest of the day, as the temps did climb to 110. But, no complaints. I was pleased we were able to enjoy so much outdoor time and it wasn't that bad at all.

If nothing else I LOVE my bike. Did I mention that I love my bike?

I come to work today glad I don't have a $500k mortgage. Life is good! Big Grin

I truly feel with our LCOL moved that we have made life so much simpler and better, all around. Whereas most of our friends and relatives would NEVER consider moving because the Bay Area "is the place to be." It's just so different from the outside looking in.

On the other hand, if those people stop moving up here, life is even better. So maybe I should just keep mum and enjoy it. Wink


Anyway, pics from my weekend.

Sunflower field we passed on the way to our playdate Saturday. Picture doesn't do it justice:

& you can see downtown in the distance. Not sure I can ever get across how "best of both worlds we have." Easy to pretend we live in the middle of nowhere, though downtown is a 5-minute drive.

Our current favorite bike ride destination. That lovely desolate park I have posted pics of before - we love to picnic there (it's surrounded by abandoned home lots).

Um, I have never really noticed this "statue" before. It's pretty neat.

& a glimpe of our pool (& the crazy people). IT's like a giant puzzle piece - a kiddie pool circle - attached to a rectangular, deeper lap pool.

IF we get there before 11, any day, it's all ours. We got a late start and this was closer to noon. Frankly, never seen it so crowded at noon, but wasn't surprised with the high temps. (It usually gets PACKED after 5 on weekdays, etc. & weekend afternoons).

Yes, somehow we survive all this un-desirableness. Wink


Hmmm, did I also mention I am loving my new camera phone?


I made the peach mango smoothie again and came out better (thicker and less sweet):

Updated Smoothie recipe:

Peach-Orange-Mango Smoothie

8 oz peach yogurt
1/2 can mango-orange concentrate
1 cup milk
1 cup frozen mango pieces
1 frozen banana (peel and chop before freezing)


I work 2 days this week, but feels like vacation. I am in such vacation mode...

Weekend Fun and Resort Living

July 26th, 2008 at 08:15 pm

In other news, I just wanted to share an interesting post from MMND. On How To Live a Resort-Type Lifestyle:

Text is and Link is

Interesting to think about.

I just have one caveat to add. Well 2.

I am not so sold on the "renting is better" but we have only owned our home here a few years and rents are double our mortgage. (Was triple in expensive land - Bay Area). So though I understand how renting is often cheaper, I still can't wrap my brain around it. Nothing I have ever experienced. But it is California...

My second caveat is that once you get used to resort living, there really is no turning back. It sets the bar rather high, and with time you do kind of get bored with it. So for that reason it may not be so ideal.

But if it's affordable, then why the heck not?

I think we are rather pro resort living because we lived in a condo back home with a lot of amenities (as all we could afford, but we did get accustomed to the amenities). & then when we moved here in 2001, resort communities were all the rage. We went with new construction, which I am not sure existed without a resort sort of plan. So we just went with it. What the heck. The move meant our lifestyle went up tenfold while our expenses actually decreased a bit.

As such, I have never been particularly big on vacations. Like my own Fri-Sun thoughts, I think it is kind of pathetic to live for one week out of every year (or something along those lines). I know when we moved here we thought very much like we would be on vacation every day. OR every week. OR at least once a month.

But that is also where I come with the wise words that the novelty most certainly does wear off. I remember being giddy when we moved here, but now it's just kind of, eh. We see it every day. So I do appreciate the "novelty" of a vacation - keeps it fresh. (There is a psychology to the idea of "vacation").

The community we live in isn't particularly grand, but we have some nice public parks and tennis courts, etc. Three parks easily walkable for us.

We also have a private lake in our community, and a private clubhouse and pool.

We have homeowners fees, but they are quite small and actually have gone down with time (thus far). The lake is really the expensive part to maintain. So we'll see how that pans out in the long run.

One pool to maintain divided by 1000 homes? Pennies compared to owning our own pool. We luck out though in most of our neighbors don't take advantage of the pool or the lake. So we QUITE enjoy the peacefulness of both.

Anyway, it's not something I talk about much, but I feel we live a resort lifestyle in a sense. In addition, it's just a couple of hours drive to anything we would want to do in the state (beach, mountains, Tahoe, camping, hiking, etc.). & it is just a short walk to a fair amount of leisure (parks, pool, lake).

I also notice, too, living in an area where most people prefer to keep to themselves, the lake and pool do give us an area to connect with our neighbors. As does the homeowners association. So they are kind of nice perks in their own rights. We have actually made a few friends by the pool.

Anyway, dh and I so enjoyed condo living when we were young and childless that we have thought much of going back to condo living once the kids were grown. We figured we could probably downsize and simplify at that point.

We hadn't really thought much about where we would maybe downsize to. I guess we mostly figure that is so far in the future. We probably just want to settle where our parents settle, or our siblings. & who knows, for now. We get the feeling they all may leave the state eventually. (Too expensive!)

So I hadn't really thought about it, but MMND's post got me thinking. I think I would definitely push for a resort-type condo. Whether we rent or buy - depends on a lot of factors. We'll just have to see.

I just had to add too, I have seen the few articles about people who rent mansions on the beach for short bouts of time. You know, the ones who move every couple of months (what are they, house sitters maybe?)

Ugh. IT was kind of the same vein - live like a millionaire for pennies. BUT I couldn't take all that moving!

I think this is a more realistic way to achieve much of the same kind of goal.

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