Monday, May 21, 2012

Family vacation the frugal way

Its been a while since we took a vacation.  Our last vacation is just a memory because once we got back from Yellowstone someone stole our laptop and all our pictures were on there. We were so sad.  So once a friend offered his Sunriver Oregon vacation home to us we took him up on his offer.  This lovely home has 3 bedrooms, full kitchen and even a hot tub. Woot! Best part was its totally free! We did have to drive 4 hours to get there so the only cost out of our pocket was gas. I packed all the food I could so we would not have to eat out. When we arrived I went to the local store and spent $50 on fresh items for the week. Even on vacation I found some deals.  They had spotted banana's 29 cents per pound and I snagged every single last one of them. Any left over is used for banana muffins once at home. Also found some sausage for $1 and organic tea for 50 cents. Woot!
The next morning daddy made pancakes for all the kids.  We packed banana's and water and headed on out.  First stop was The Hole In The Ground. Took a while to find it because the dirt roads are not marked well. Think POWER LINES people! When you finally come upon this it doesn't look real. It was so quiet and felt like we were alone on this earth.

Around the rim there are plenty of large rocks that our girls took advantage of.  Whats not to love about climbing rocks? Duh! Oh and any rock within reach was thrown in the hole. That was a pattern on our trip. Total cost for this-FREE!

Just a few miles near The Hole In The Ground was this beautiful place.  Fort Rock is the most amazing thing I have seen so far. Once again your brain doesn't register how real this place is. 

We hiked the entire center of Fort Rock.  This is on the outer right side of the rim.  Looks like were on top of the world. I say "were" but really its just them.  Sorry but mommy is afraid of heights and there is no way your getting me out there!  Kids had a blast and we were pooped out.  We drove back to our vacation home and I made dinner.  I made Mexican Rice which we all turned into different things.  So much hiking made us a hungry family!

The next morning daddy once again made pancakes for breakfast. We filled our bellies and headed on out for another adventure.  Another great way we saved money was to just stay near the vacation home and take advantage of what the place had to offer.  A big playground was a welcoming sight for our girls.  The vacation home had 2 bikes and we packed our kids bikes to use.  Sunriver has amazing bike paths that are the safest I have ever biked on. 

We rode along the river and stopped once to toss some sticks into the river.  (See what I mean?).  Passing by were people walking their dogs to which my kids had to pet every single one of them.  Most dogs were wet from swimming in the river.  Yeah for smelling like a wet dog! Ugh.

Then we biked on until we came to this bridge.  Kids loved this bridge because no vehicles were allowed on it and they could ride over it as many times as they wanted.  I loved it because it was right by our vacation house which meant the end was near. We were pooped! We rode back and I made dinner.  We had mashed potatoes with white sausage gravy which was all homemade.  Served corn and pea's along with it. It was so hearty and good.

The next morning breakfast made by daddy was scrambled eggs with toast. We needed another hearty breakfast because we had planned a great hiking day.  Tumalo Falls is only about 20 minutes from our vacation home.

After a short 5 minute hike we came upon a landing that perched over the side near the falls. Nope, not going to get me on that thing.  Kids loved it but we made sure the little ones hunkered down and held on for life. 

We kept hiking up past the falls and found some snow.  What a welcome that was! Kids didn't get to see much snow last Winter so they played in it for a few minutes.  Yes they even made snowmen lol.  I was happy it cleaned our shoe's up!

Hailey was excited to find some amazing soil. I love this child! It would of made wonderful soil for our garden for sure.

The creek was beautiful and a pleasure to our ears.  Hailey made rock formations along the river, the twins threw as many rocks as they could in the river and Alyssa tried to make a few dams.  It was warm, beautiful and a retreat for my husband and I.  We stayed here for about a half an hour just playing.  Total cost for this hike-FREE!  We decided to have lunch at the Bend Brewery.  We only allowed ourselves one meal out and this place had a ton of good reviews. Plus the hubby and I enjoy a good local beer! If you ever find yourself there you must order the fish and chips. OMGoodness these were the best I have ever had in my life.  And their fries!!!!  Total cost-$55  We decided on eating lunch out because breakfast and dinner would of cost us way more.  Lunch specials are a great way to save money. Dinner was made at the vacation home. I made pasta with sausage and a red sauce. Pretty simple but very hearty. 

The next morning my husband made breakfast again.  Pretty sure it was pancakes lol.  We filled up and headed on out for another adventure.  This time we drove to Lapine Oregon and ended up stopping by the Lapine State Park. Here we found the largest ponderosa

We hiked for a little while and came upon this tree.  I can see why someone wanted to put this place here.  It was so quiet and beautiful.  This tree is called The Wind chime Tree.  "In memory of those we loved and lost" was written on the tree.  Flowers at the bottom and wind chimes all up and down the tree.  Words cannot describe the feeling we had while standing there looking at this. Peaceful comes to mind. 

In the day use area we headed down the trail and found the Deschutes River.  I'm pretty sure this place is packed during the summer because it had amazing bathrooms with showers.  We packed sandwiches, banana's and tea for lunch.  The kids played in the rocks and sand while I checked out a blue thing in the water which I swear was a body but ended up only being a blow up thing. Thank goodness!

And no vacation day trip would be complete with daddy trying to dunk his daughter.  He didn't really do it but it was funny to watch. We traveled back to our vacation home and I made dinner.  Ended up making a strange combo but it was good.  Spaghetti noodles with white sauce/sausage and lots of veggies. I needed to use up produce and this was the perfect meal for it. 

The next morning we all ate left overs for breakfast.  Anything we didn't eat up from the days before had to go in our bellies.  Also drank up all the milk and juice so I didn't have to pack that.  Then daddy took the kids on a bike ride so I could clean house and do laundry before we left.  We had decided to leave a day early because we missed our home (and I missed the chickens lol).  They rode to a near by horse ranch and were able to pet the horses.  I was happy to have some alone time to clean.  I cranked the music and cleaned the house in about an hour.  Once they came home we finished cleaning up and headed out for the 4 hour drive home. 

As you can see we saved money a few ways. Here is a run down of what we could of spent and what we did spend.

Could have spent

Lodging-$200-$300 per night which would of cost us $800-$1,200
Food-$50 per meal which would of cost us $600
Gas-$170 we took our truck and gas prices are crazy right now


What we spent
Food-$50 for one meal, $50 for fresh items and homemade meals about $5 each in total cost us $60. Total-$160

Our total bill was $330

Our totals could of been less if we drove a car but our car doesn't fit all 6 of us.  Our truck also allowed us to get places that car wouldn't (The Hole In The Ground).  So to us the truck was the best option.  Also we could of just not eating out at all the one time so we could of saved another $50.  But the kids enjoyed it and I wanted a break from cooking and dishes! One problem we encountered was there was no curbside recycling.  They had a drop off but it was located on the other side of the community.  Also we missed our home items like our percolator which we didn't bring. The coffee machine had a reusable filter but it didn't taste the same.  Also forgot to pack our fabric napkins but the only person who used one was my husband.  One paper napkin isn't bad though!  Last but not least this house had cleaners that we not Eco friendly what so ever. It's not my home and wanted to be respectful and clean very well so I had to use them.  Next time I will pack my own. 

It was a great much needed trip for all of us.  We spent the whole time in nature which makes us extremely happy.  We spent the whole time together as a family and the twins only had 2 melt downs. We only had one set back and that was the fact that one of the twins left her pillow in the vacation home.  Our friend will be at his vacation home in a week and will bring it back for us.  Otherwise no major bumps in the road and it was a smooth trip that saved us a ton of money. 

I would like to thank my friends for helping this trip happen.  My friend Tanya watered my garden for me and I am forever grateful for that.  My best friend Dulcimer came and fed our dog and cat while we were gone.  This is a huge task because our dog only eats raw meat/rice/raw eggs and most people would be grossed out by it.   So thank you Dulbs!!!!! Another tip-I feed her cats on her vacations and she does the same for me. Barter!!!  And a HUGE thank you to our friend who lent us his home.  Not only did this save us money but it helped us have some family time.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your kindness.

1 comment:

Jenny Bradford said...

That sounds super fun! Can't wait for my kids to be old enough to do those things :-)