Create the Best Day Trips

Create the Best Day Trips

Although I know we miss big vacations, a lot of us are staying close to home this summer. Luckily, it’s fun and easy to play a nearby day trip. If you are looking for day trip tips or how to create the best day trips, I’ve got you covered. You never know what you’ll find on your next day trip! Where to go on your day trip Obviously, if it’s a day trip, it needs to be fairly close to home. The easiest way to do this is to use my Circle Your Hometown solution and see what’s in that radius. For a day trip, I’d limit yourself to a drive that’s no more than two hours away. An hour is ideal as it will give you plenty of time to explore while you are away from home, and it will easily be a one tank trip! If there isn’t a town or area of interest within your circle, how about creating a driving tour and checking out several small towns? This can be a lot of fun too as you never know what you’ll find. One town might have a beautiful courthouse, another a delicious spot for lunch, and if you are lucky you’ll stumble across a local ice cream shop. A multi-town trip like this can be an enjoyable day – especially if the weather is gorgeous. Pop on some great music, grab a drink and see what you can discover. What to do on your day trip Well, what do you like to do? Make a list of all the things you enjoy and do a...
Walking Tours – The Best Way to See a City

Walking Tours – The Best Way to See a City

Are you looking for something fun and different to do? Need an easy to execute everyday adventure? Why not try a walking tour? Walking tours are the best way to enjoy the city. Benefits of a walking tour Unless you sign up for a paid version (which can also be fun), most walking tours are free. A walking tour is a great way to get a good feel for a location. You’ll learn a little history, see some interesting sites AND get exercise. Sounds like a win-win-win to me! When we participate in walking tours I always end up finding something extra that wasn’t a part of the tour too. An interesting shop, a local restaurant, or just a beautiful old house are all things we’ve stumbled upon while out walking. I’ve definitely found that the best way to enjoy a city is on foot. How to find a walking tour Most touristy areas have either maps or guided tours so the easiest way to find those is to simply Google “walking tours” and the city name. For example, when I Googled “walking tours Indianapolis” I came up with over a dozen options – most of them free or less than $10! If you are visiting a smaller town, you might have to get a bit more creative. As I’ve been doing a lot of research lately for my Explore Indiana series, I’ve discovered some really cool walking tours in towns I would never have thought would have them. Some of them are geared towards sculptures or murals, some are historical in nature, but regardless I’ve been able to...
Visit Your State Park

Visit Your State Park

I don’t know about where you live, but Indiana State Parks are crazy busy right now. Last weekend, two of them were at capacity at 11:00 in the morning! I do get it though. We are all tired of being cooped up inside, and a state park is a terrific option. They are inexpensive, fun to explore and it’s fairly easy to keep a safe social distance. But, how do you make the most of your visit to a State Park? Pick the right state park The first step to making the most of your visit to a state park is picking the right park. Most state parks offer hiking trails, but some offer other amenities such as a swimming pool, horseback riding, a nature center, playgrounds, and even Inns. So a simple visit to a state park could easily turn into a weekend adventure! McCormick’s Creek State Park Nature Center Before you decide which park to visit, think about what you want to do. If a little bit of hiking is all you are after, perhaps visiting a less popular park or one with fewer amenities is a better choice. You’ll enjoy your day with fewer crowds. However, if your goal is a full day of activity, pick one with many things to do (although call ahead to make sure the amenities you are interested in are open). Although hiking is typically our main goal when visiting a state park, we’ve learned some pretty cool stuff at the various nature centers too! Figure out food A few of the Indiana state parks have an Inn with a restaurant,...
The 6 BEST Books – Spring 2020

The 6 BEST Books – Spring 2020

Looking for something new to read? Well, you are in luck because I’m sharing the 6 best books from my spring reading. And since all sports, school, etc. was canceled, I read a lot this spring! Best Non-Fiction Books 29 Gifts is a book I re-read every few years, and with everything going on right now, it’s exactly what I needed. Every time I read this book I feel more satisfied with my life, happier and inspired. Cami Walker has been struggling with a horrible MS flare-up when a good friend gives her a “prescription” to give a gift every day for 29 days. This book shares how she fulfills this challenge and how it changes her life. My rating 5 out of 5. Looking for more ways to save money on your next vacation? Get your FREE copy of 5 Tips to Save Money on Your Next Vacation You’ll get a tip sheet along with regular updates full of inspiration for creating memories and finding everyday adventures! Bread and Wine is another book I LOVE. I keep it in my kitchen and if I just need a little pick-me-up I’ll read one of the essays. The recipes are also delicious! In fact, the breakfast cookies are a family favorite – they are perfect with a cup of coffee in the morning. Yum! My rating 5 out of 5. Note: I received an advanced soft copy of this book to review, however, all opinions are 100% my own. Whatever you do, Be Happy is a darling book full of suggestions and inspiration to live a happier life. As that...
Restaurants offering more than carry-out

Restaurants offering more than carry-out

We are all eating at home a lot more than usual, and I know it can get pretty old. However, did you know that many of your local (and chain) restaurants are offering more than carry-out? Items like groceries, fresh bread, drinks, aged steaks, and more. What a fun way to create a special memory AND help support your local economy! How do you find them though? I used a few resources and found 6 great options near me. A simple Google search is always my first go-to. I also found some great resources on Yelp, a list of restaurants on my local tourism site, and a list on my local news website. After a five minute search, I had a bunch of options! Curious about what I found? Chain Restaurants offering more than carry-out Panera – Panera was one of the first chains to offer select groceries. And who doesn’t love freshly baked bread, right? You can order bread, bagels, some vegetables, milk, and more. Talk about upgrading your daily bread, right? Sullivan’s Steakhouse – If you are craving steak, why not order a perfectly aged steak from Sullivan’s? Yes, it’s going to be pricey, but WAY less expensive than actually eating at a fancy steakhouse. Add a bottle of wine from a local winery and you’ve got a pretty amazing meal. This would be ideal if you are celebrating a birthday or anniversary at home! Blaze Pizza – Blaze Pizza is offering DIY pizza kits. What a fun family activity! Why not order a few kits and make Friday night pizza an event versus just a normal...
5 Fun Things to Do in the Spring

5 Fun Things to Do in the Spring

Is the weather warming up for you? It is for me, and I am so ready to enjoy it. If you are looking for fun things to do in the spring, spring activities for kids or families, or just want to feel like you are starting the new season off right, this is the post for you. I’ve got 5 GREAT ways to kickstart spring. Get outside! This one is pretty obvious, but it’s also my favorite. After a long and dreary winter, there is nothing like warmer weather and sunshine to get me itching to be outside. If you can combine it with a little exercise, all the better. A great way to enjoy the first warm days of spring is to check out your local hiking or rails to trails paths. Since it’s not the hot, humid days of summer, hiking is enjoyable AND it’s something we can do right now. Not into hiking? How about playing some yard games? Now is the perfect time to dust off that old croquet set or play a family game of cornhole! It’s a nice change from all the board games and puzzles you might have played all winter! Get up early It’s easier to get up early in the spring and summer as the sun comes up earlier. Plus, early morning in the spring is lovely. Grab your cup of coffee and a good book or your journal and start your day off outside or at least near an open window. A new season is the perfect time to implement a new morning routine, one that will take you...
Is the Disney Dining Plan Right for You?

Is the Disney Dining Plan Right for You?

Dining at Disney can be wonderful, but it can also be very expensive. For some folks, the Disney Dining plan can alleviate some of the stress of paying for all those meals. For others, it will cost more than they would typically spend on food. So, is the Disney Dining plan right for you? Delicious dinner at Saana What is the Disney Dining Plan? The Disney Dining plan is basically a method for pre-paying for your food while you are visiting Walt Disney World. It can help make your vacation feel like an all-inclusive experience. It’s available to any guest who is staying at a Disney property. You can use the Disney Dining Plan at multiple Disney Spring Restaurants as well as Disney restaurants at the Disney resorts and parks. If you decide to purchase a Disney Dining Plan, it must be purchased for every member of your party over 3 for the length of your stay. So, you can’t purchase it for just the adults, or purchase it just for 3 of the 5 days you are staying onsite. There are actually four different Disney Dining plans available. Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan This plan is the least expensive option but doesn’t include credits for any of the table service restaurants (as well as character meals). It includes: 2 Quick-Service Meals Per Night of Stay2 Snacks or Nonalcoholic Beverages Per Night of Stay1 Resort Refillable Mug per person Disney considers a quick-service meal to be one where you order at the counter. Some benefits are that it’s typically quicker, and each quick-service meal includes an entree and a drink...
Save Time and Money on Dinner

Save Time and Money on Dinner

Do you want to save time and money on dinner? Are you looking for new dinner ideas? Who isn’t, right? After all, as I often say, the more we save on time and money, the more time and money we have for taking vacations and finding everyday adventures. One of my favorite ways to save both time and money consistently is by menu planning. I know, I know, everyone who hates to cook and plan probably just groaned. But hear me out … Taking a few minutes early in the week to plan your menu for each day will easily save you 15 to 30 minutes every day. That’s several HOURS a week for a short investment of time. Not to mention all the money you’ll save by only purchasing what you need at the grocery AND only having to go once. Introducing Eat at Home However, even if the benefits of menu planning aren’t worth the effort to you, I’ve got a great resource that will do the work for you. Once you join Eat at Home, you’ll have a weekly menu (with a grocery list) already planned out for you. Not only is the planning work done, but the dinner recipes are also delicious and EASY. 15-minute Chipotle Chicken Nachos from Eat at Home’s Traditional Menu Plan April 2020 Each week, just log on to your membership and select the menu you want for the week. You can pick between four different meal plans: Traditional, Whole Food Plant-Based, Slow Cooker/ Instant Pot (perfect for REALLY busy weeks), and No Flour/No Sugar. Each week contains 5 or 6...
Saving $ for Vacation

Saving $ for Vacation

Are you ready to save money for your next vacation? Even though you might not have gone on Spring Break (and therefore already saved a bunch of money), with all the drops in the economy, saving money for your next vacation is more important than ever. After all, you probably have plenty of time right now to start planning and saving. So why not take advantage of that time? So, how can you save and/or make money for that next trip? In this post, I’m sharing some ways I fund our frequent travel. And as often as I like to travel, these tips are necessary! After all, the more you save, the more you can do, right? Start a travel fund The very first thing to do is to start a travel fund. This can be as formal or as informal as you’d like. Some people need to create a separate bank account specifically for travel, while others prefer other methods. Ready for a few ideas: Save your change. This is an easy way to save and it adds up surprisingly quickly. I love some of the fun banks pictured below, but you could also just use a Mason Jar. Every night, empty your pockets and slide the change in. At the end of the week even empty out your car and purse and add that change.Automate your savings. As I mentioned above you can open a separate bank account and then automatically have $20 or more transferred to it each week. It would also be a great place to put unexpected money like tax refunds, birthday gifts, etc....
Fun Cocktails for Spring Break

Fun Cocktails for Spring Break

Spring Break is the perfect time to create some fun cocktails! Even if you aren’t actually heading to the beach or somewhere tropical, these are easy and delicious drinks to make at home. Serve them in an interesting glass with a little umbrella and pretend you are on vacation! If the weather is nice and we aren’t on vacation, I like to serve a fun drink before or after dinner on our screened-in porch. Add a little dip in the hot tub and it’s a super relaxing way to enjoy an evening at home. Since all of these drinks are created with travel in mind, they don’t require many ingredients or a lot of hard work. Perfect for those lazy drink makers like me! Tropical Lemonade This drink couldn’t be easier. Start with a glass of ice (crushed is always best), fill the glass 3/4 with sparkling lemonade (we are obsessed with Trader Joe’s Sparkling Pink Lemonade), and then top it off with a shot of Malibu Rum. This is a delicious tropical cocktail with minimal effort. With only two ingredients it’s also perfect to bring along for the next time you are headed on vacation. Not going anywhere? It’s delicious to indulge in a glass while sitting out on the back porch (or if you are lucky in the hot tub!). Insider tip: buy a second bottle of the sparkling lemonade for the kids – they will thank you! Bloody Mary Bar When on vacation (or maybe just a lazy Saturday morning), a bloody mary is the ideal morning drink. If we are on vacation with a group...

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