8 Tips to Help You Throw an Awesome Summer BBQ

how to throw an awesome bbq, bbq tips

I don’t know about you, but Winter can not end soon enough for me!  I am so beyond ready for the sunshine and flowers of Spring and the warm nights of Summer.  We have big housework plans for this Spring and I fully intend to have some awesome Summer BBQs here at our humble abode.  Because we had project after project to complete and not enough time to do it, the last several years have not been filled with all of the friends and family gatherings that I prefer, but with a new job (yay hubby!) we now have more time and more money to accomplish those projects and throw some parties!

Do you like to throw parties and backyard bbqs?  Do you want to step up your party planning game?  If you are looking for some ideas on how to throw an awesome Summer BBQ, then you have come to the right place my friends!

Here are 8 tips to throw an awesome Summer BBQ:

Stick with the Staples

You want to throw a great summer BBQ, yes, but you want to enjoy it too right? Then stick with the staples.  Burgers, dogs, potato salad, etc.  That’s what people go to BBQs for anyway!  Don’t get too stressed out about making a special menu.

Make it a Pot Luck 

Invite your guests and let them know they are more than welcome to bring a side dish!  The more the merrier and the less work for you.  Most people like to contribute too. 🙂

Keep Cold Drinks on Hand

When you are having a summer BBQ, it is imperative that you have to have drinks on hand to cool everyone down!  Cold, refreshing beverages can make or break your party!  Especially during the heat of Summer, you need cool drinks on hand.  Try out our favorite Refreshing Blackberry Iced tea, it always gets compliments!

Yard Games to the Rescue  

Break out the yard games to keep everyone having fun.  We like to do frisbee golf and horseshoes, but  you can always go with badminton or volleyball, depending on how much room you have.

Get Your Playlist Ready

Don’t you just love technology?  Instead of someone having to man the CD player, you can now create an awesome playlist (I do ours on Amazon Prime) and have the perfect playlist.  Hook up your phone or MP3 Player to a great bluetooth speaker and that’s it.  We use the UE Boom and we love it.  It’s waterproof, great for outdoors and it sounds fabulous!  I do recommend getting a darker color though, our white/blue one is pretty stained up from being outside so much.

Simple Decor 

I don’t go crazy decorating, but I do love some strategic yard string lights and Citronella torches.

Don’t forget Dessert

You can’t forget dessert!  Maybe go with a great fruit salad or, if you are anything like me…keep the grill out and start grilling those fruits! I love grilled peaches served with vanilla ice cream.  Yum!

We are going to have so much fun this Summer!  Do you have any tips that you would love to share on how to throw an awesome summer bbq?

Our Visit to Oregon’s Painted Hills

Have you ever been to the Painted Hills in Oregon? We have now been there twice. The first time though, it was about 100 degrees outside and we really couldn’t spend too much time outside enjoying the view. The second time though, wow. This past weekend, we got the chance to visit the Painted Hills when the weather was just right. 60 degrees and sunny!

We have had a very stressful couple of weeks and my hubby decided that the family needed a break from it all. He told us to pack our bags because we were headed to Central Oregon (my favorite place!) for the weekend. Some of our very best friends live in Prineville and they graciously invited us to stay with them for our trip, which was awesome! We love to spend time visiting with them and since we planned to do a little tourist-ing while we were there we didn’t have to worry about invading their space too much. What was that tourist-ing we were planning? Well, our second trip to Painted Hills, of course! Painted Hills is about 1 hour and 12 minutes east of Prineville, so it was a bit of a drive, but well worth it since we were already that close!

Where is it?

For those that don’t know, Painted Hills, is part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument which is located in Wheeler County, Oregon. Wheeler county is one the least populated county in Oregon and as such there is lots of wide open spaces, the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument included. There are over 3000 acres included in this monument and the Painted Hills are listed as one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon. Painted Hills got its name from the many layers of colorful rock which corresponds to different geographical eras in which they were created.

Here is a breakdown by color:

Black – This is lignite that was once vegetative matter

Grey – Mudstone, Shale & Siltstone

Red – Laterite Soil (formed by floodplain deposits)

Painted Hills are a very important geological area due to the abundance of fossil remains of camels, horses, and rhinoceroses.

Another important note is that Painted Hills was considered the premier location to witness the 2017 Eclipse as it featured over two full minutes of totality.

While There

To get to the main viewpoint for Painted Hills you must walk up a one half mile trail that features several benches along the way. This photo shows what you will see from this viewpoint. You are highly encouraged to not veer off of the trail due to the sensitive soil within the monument.

little rebel

There are several other trails there at the monument. Sadly, we have only done the 1/2 mile hike to the viewpoint. I mentioned earlier how hot it was the first time we visited and this time I had completely forgotten to bring the stroller for our toddler. We had to carry him the last 1/4 mile on the 1 mile round trip hike and I didn’t think he could handle any more walking. That being said, I will definitely return again soon to try out the other hiking trails!

You guys! I literally cannot describe the beauty that is Painted Hills. I have been to the Grand Canyon before and I truly believe that the views here rival that of the Grand Canyon. The colors are like no other that you have seen before and when surrounded by the magnificent backdrop of a beautiful blue sky, you will be amazed at what nature can do.

If you are in Oregon or you are planning a trip here soon, I highly suggest you take a long road trip and head on out to Wheeler County to check out Painted Hills. The drive is beautiful and the destination is well, well worth it!

Our Visit to SEA LIFE Aquarium in Tempe

I received complimentary tickets to SEALIFE Aquarium for my review, however all opinions herein are my own.

On the same day that we got to visit Lego Land in Tempe, we got to go right next door and check out SEA LIFE Aquarium. Who would have thought that some place so cool could be right smack in the middle of a shopping center? SEA LIFE Aquarium is filled with amazing sea creatures and even has a tunnel that you can walk through and have the sharks swimming right above your head! I love that part!

Our group included 8 of us, my husband and I and our 3 children (ages 14, 11 and 2) and also my brother in law, his girlfriend and 7 year old son. We all loved this aquarium. I don’t think that we loved it quite as much as we loved Lego Land, but c’mon, that place was epic!

I am a big lover of aquariums and sea life though. I love seeing them float through the water and interact with other sea creatures. There is just something so peaceful about it. Watching the sharks swim above you in the tunnel is fun and peaceful, yet a little bit scary and thrilling. Watching the stingrays glide across the bottom of the water was so interesting as the seem so perfectly in tune with the water. I don’t know, I probably sound like I am babbling, but I just love watching all of these amazing creatures move around.

There were quite a few fun little portals that the kids could stick their heads into to make it feel like there were in the water with all of the neat sea creatures. My two year old and my 7 year old nephew loved this part!

I will say though that this aquarium was on the smaller side and was quite busy, so I am thankful that I didn’t bring my stroller with me, because I feel like it definitely would have been a hindrance to our experience.

One thing I loved about this aquarium and honestly, most aquariums that I have visited is how much you can learn while there. There are informative signs throughout the entire aquarium. You can learn about the creatures themselves as well as threats to their entire populations. It is intriguing and helpful to teach children about the importance of sea life and the health of our oceans.

If you happen to be in the Phoenix area, and you are looking for a fun afternoon for the kids, I highly recommend taking them to SEA LIFE Aquarium and LegoLand next door. It is a fun and educational way to spend the day with the kids. They will love the fun rides, the neat sea creatures, the awesome exhibits and they can even watch a fun 4D Movie while they are there. Plus, all you need to do is head on over to their websites and you will probably find a discount or two. 😉 For example, right now you can save $5 off of your entrance fee to SEA LIFE Aquarium, and I believe you can find further discounts if you buy your tickets to both attractions at the same time.

Have fun, my friends!

LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Tempe, Arizona

I received complimentary tickets to LEGOLAND Discovery Center AZ for my review, however all opinions herein are my own.

We recently took a little vacation to Arizona which I will tell you all about soon, but one thing that we did in Arizona that the entire family loved is our trip to LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Tempe. On this vacation there were 8 of us, my family of 5 as well as my brother-in-law and his family of 3, including his 7 year old son. When I first reached out to LEGOLAND about this trip, they told me that LEGOLAND DISCOVERY CENTER is really marketed for kids up to age 10, meaning that my older kids (11 and 14) may not like it as much. For this reason, we kind of expected this trip to be solely for the little kids, which was fine because we wanted them to have a blast after all of the traveling (we all know how much little ones love airports and planes, am I right?)

Let’s back up a little first. We landed in Phoenix on a Wednesday morning with plans to visit family on Wednesday, travel to the Grand Canyon and Sedona on Thursday and Friday and then come back Saturday morning to visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center and SeaLife Aquarium that day before we flew out Saturday night. Well, let’s just say that Mother Nature did not want to cooperate with our plans. That’s right, the road to the Grand Canyon was covered in 2 feet of snow, and our Sedona tours got cancelled. So.. instead of a quick stop on Saturday, we decided to take as much time on Friday as we wanted to explore LEGOLAND and SEALife Aquarium which worked out perfectly because it was super rainy that day, making it the best day to be indoors.

I couldn’t be happier that we were able to dedicate more time to visiting LEGOLAND because, my friends, it was fun! I’m not just talking about the little kids either, every single one of us (ages 2, 7, 11, 14, 24, 26, 39 and 43) LOVED this place. The LEGO builds were amazing, the rides were fun, the indoor playground was a blast and the 4D movie was a hit! Trust me, getting a 2 year old to sit through any length movie is a feat and boy did this do the trick. Between the fun glasses, the realistic characters popping out of the screen and the water and bubble effects, we could have easily stayed for another showing. 🙂

I have never been to the big LEGOLAND theme park in California, but I have heard good things, so I was excited to visit a compact version of it in the Tempe LEGOLAND Discovery Center. I knew that there would be a couple of rides, but I assumed they would just be for the little tikes since it was indoors. The first ride that you come across is Kingdom Quest and all 8 of us hopped on! You are each given a little lazer gun where you practice your target shooting skills! It was actually really fun for all of us. The next ride was Merlin’s Apprentice and oh my goodness, the kids loved it! It was two people per car and the faster you pedal the higher you go!

There was also a restaurant/ food court there and while we didn’t eat there ourselves, there were quite a few people that looked like they were enjoying their snacks.

If I had to say anything negative about LEGOLAND Discovery Center it would be that I struggled to let my little one play in the brick pits only because I tend to be a bit of a germ-o-phobe. However, kids were having an amazing time in there so that is probably just me.

So, if you are here because you are looking for a LEGOLAND Discovery Center reviews, I highly recommend this place for big kids and little kids alike! You are going to love it.

Cute Bird Egg Bath Bombs

We all love self-care gifts, don’t we? Or, am I alone in this? Seriously, I love opening gifts to find bath bombs, sugar scrubs and bath sets. It always makes me super happy. How about you?

Speaking of bath bombs, are you looking for a cute DIY Valentine’s Day or Easter gift that won’t break the bank? Bath bombs are that gift! Especially these cute, Bird Egg Bath Bombs. These work so great for gifts for any occasion, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, Easter, Christmas, Anniversaries…you name the day and I can almost guarantee that a bath bomb will make a great gift!

Homemade bath bombs are awesome and way better than store bought kind. You can make them any scent you want and you know exactly what is inside of them, so you don’t have to stress about any hidden ingredients.

As an added bonus, they are much easier to make than you may think!

DRY INGREDIENTS

1 pound baking soda

½ pound citric acid, fine grain

½ pound Epson salt, fine grain

.5 ounce kaolin clay

1 ounce Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSA)

¼ to ½ teaspoon micas – in your preferred color

WET INGREDIENTS

1 ounce sweet almond oil

1 ounce essential oil of choice (I used equal parts peppermint, eucalyptus and rosemary for the birds nests and equal parts lavender and magnolia (this is a harder one to find) for the bunnies)

.5 ounce Poly 80 (for micas)

¼ to 1 ounce alcohol

Measure out the dry ingredients in a container except for the mica powders.  A plastic shoe box works well for this. 

Mix the ingredients well. 

Combine the essential oil, poly 80 and sweet almond oil in a glass container and stir to combine. If the scent seems too light, add a little bit more essential oil, but not a lot because essential oils do contain medicinal properties and you can overdo it. 

Pour the scented mixture into the dry ingredients, a little at a time and mix well with a spoon or a gloved hand.

Add the alcohol to the mixture ¼ ounce at a time.

Mix well after each addition, again using a spoon or gloved hand.

Continue adding the alcohol 1/4 ounce at a time until the mixture looks like wet sand. Normally one ounce is plenty, but if the mixture is still too dry, add a little more alcohol.

Once the mixture looks like wet sand, pick up a handful of the mixture and squeeze it together to make a ball shape. If it does not hold together, there is not enough moisture in the mix.

If the ball holds together, hold the ball above six inches above the bottom of the bowl and drop the bath bomb ball into the bowl. If it stays together, the mixture is ready to press into the molds and if not, add a little bit more alcohol until the mixture holds together.

Remove approximately 1/4 of the mixture and put it in a second container. 

Measure the blue mica powder and add it to the new container. 

Stir or use a gloved hand to combine the mica powder with the mixture. 

Now add the green mica powder to the container with the larger amount of bath bomb mixture in it.

Stir or use a gloved hand to combine the mica powder with the mixture. 

When both mixtures are ready, place a small amount of the blue mixture into the bottom of the mold.  This mold set works awesome!

Finish filling the mold with the green bath bomb mixture.

Make sure to use enough bath bomb mixture to fill the mold, but do not overfill it*.

Now fill the other side of the mold with the green bath bomb mixture. 

Be sure to add a little extra to the center of the mold so when you press the mold together both sides will adhere to one another.

Allow the bath bombs to dry overnight in the mold, then remove one side of the mold so air can circulate around the bath bomb. 

Leave the other side of the bath bomb in the mold. It is ok to remove it just for a moment and then put it back if you are worried about the bath bomb not releasing from the mold.

Set the mold containing the bath bomb aside and let it dry for two to three days, then remove it from the mold.

Your bath bomb is now ready to use or if you are not ready to use it, wrap it in plastic wrap and store it away from moisture and sunlight.

FREE Funny Breakfast Themed Printable Valentines!

Well, my friends the holidays are behind us and now it’s time to focus on living our best lives in 2019, am I right?  Seriously though, I am not much of a resolution kind of gal, but I do have big goals and I turn 40 this year *gasp* it’s time to get my sh!t together.  I have big plans for my business, my family and my home.  How about you?  Do you have any big plans this year?  What are your plans?

Guess what though?  Even though the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year holidays are behind us, Valentine’s day is just around the corner and it is time to start getting prepared for that, especially if you have kids in school that pass out Valentine’s Day goodies.

Whether you are on a budget or you simply don’t want your kiddo to pass out the same cards as everyone else (because let’s face it, everyone buys their valentines the same aisle of a select few big box store, am I right?).  I have a super cute, free set of printable, breakfast-themed Valentine’s for you to use. Let’s let the kids be a little different this year!  Let’s put some smiles on the faces of those who receive these Valentines because these are so unique!

FREE PRINTABLE VALENTINES

 

Refreshing Blackberry Iced Tea

Have you ever had blackberry iced tea? I love all kinds of tea, but this one is definitely one of my favorites! I am excited to share with you!

Refreshing, Low-Calorie Blackberry Iced Tea 

 

First and foremost, I wanted to say that this has been my most-viewed post ever!! Thank you to everyone for visiting my lil old blog! 🙂

Spring will soon arrive, which means Summer will be arriving before long! Or, maybe it’s just that I am tired of the grey skies and cold days and I am just sitting here dreaming of summertime.  And because I am so desperate for Summer these days, I feel like anytime is the perfect time to get started on your sweet tea drinking.  If you want to add a new, fruity version of sweet tea to your repertoire, check out our favorite tea recipe!

Do you want to cool down with a refreshing, low-calorie summertime drink?

HOW TO MAKE REFRESHING BLACKBERRY ICED TEA

We live on about an acre and every year in late summer we end up with an overabundance of blackberries on our property.  I have a love/hate relationship with these blackberries as I hate those thorns and wow do they like to grow, however, they are so yummy!  They actually act as the border for one side of our property. We trim them back often, but during mid-summer right when they are blooming they look beautiful with all of the white flowers.  Anyway….back to the overabundance topic. I am always looking for ways to use them up.

 

My kids and I go out and pick them in the mornings before it gets too hot during the summer days.  We eat lots of them of course, but we also freeze lots of them for later use in smoothies and milkshakes as well, but right when we pull them off the vines we make our family-famous blackberry iced tea! Here is what I do to make this delicious and refreshing beverage:

  • First, combine 2 cups of fresh blackberries and 3/4 cup Sugar.  Combine together and either mash or puree in a food processor.  We prefer to taste the fruit pieces in our drink so I simply mash ours with our fruit masher.
  • Mix with 1 gallon of unsweetened Ice Tea (I used Lipton Tea this time, but I also really like it with the Lipton Green Tea)
  • Serve over ice, garnish if desired and enjoy! 

PRINTABLE REFRESHING BLACKBERRY ICED TEA RECIPE

When I made these, I used Tall Glass Beer Steins, but I have since switched to this awesome Mason Jar Set!  It is so cute for serving tea to guests! There is just something about Iced Tea in a mason jar that makes me smile and think about my time visiting family in the South. 🙂  We have this tea on hand often during the Summer months, but I ALWAYS serve either this or this Strawberry Iced Tea during our Summertime BBQs and it’s always a hit!  (If you need some tips on throwing an awesome BBQ, check out this post)

 

refreshing blackberry iced tea from foothills mama

 

Even my husband loves this blackberry iced tea and he is not a tea drinker!

*45 calories per 8 ounce serving.


 

For full transparency, I don’t like super sweet drinks, so you may think this needs more sugar.  I love this as is though because it’s sweet and fruity and simply tastes like summertime.  I am really working on my health and fitness right now too so this is perfect for enjoying a delightful beverage without a bunch of empty calories.  I have spent a lot of time in the south though and I know how people love their sweet iced tea.  So, feel free to add as much sugar as you wish! It’s all about personal taste! 🙂

 

Other Recipes and Posts to Check Out:

Refreshing Strawberry Iced Tea

Easy Ways to Workout When You are Short on Time and Money

Frugal Fitness: Hiking, Nature’s Best Workout! My 3 Favorite Oregon Trails

How I Got Rid of My Migraines for Good!

What to Pack for Your trip to the Oregon Coast

So you finally did it. You finally pulled the trigger and booked your vacation to the Oregon Coast. Yay! First of all, let me just say that you are going to love it. Let’s make sure you know exactly what to pack for your trip to the Oregon Coast to get your vacation off to the right start!

I’m not a world traveler by any means, but I have been to beaches throughout Oregon, California, and Texas and I have to admit that the Oregon Coast is by far the most beautiful. I’m not just saying that either, it’s true. What part of the coast did you book your vacation? My personal favorites are Pacific City and Newport. They both have some amazing beaches.

Okay, enough of me gushing about my love for all things Oregon Coast, it’s time for me to get to the point. If you have not yet been to the Oregon Coast, you might be wondering what you should pack for your trip to the Oregon Coast and I am going to help you with that. Yes, you are headed to the beach, but you need to be more prepared then just having “beach attire” with you.

What to Pack for Your trip to the Oregon Coast:

  • Swimsuit or shorts
  • Hoodies or jackets
  • Sandals or slip-on shoes
  • Sturdy shoes if you plan on any exploring any tide pools or walking on rocks
  • Hat, beanie or hair tie if you have long hair (lots of wind, you will want your hair up)
  • Sweats or pants that can easily be pulled on over shorts
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick
  • Cash or card (in case you want to visit a cute shop nearby)
  • Blanket for covering up, especially if you will be there at night
  • Bag for collecting rocks and shells
  • Beach toys for the kids
  • Kites
  • Volleyball, football, etc.
  • Cooler with food and drinks (you don’t want to have to leave and get food, so make sure and bring it with you).
  • Camera or cell phone for stunning pics
  • Camp chairs (we splurged on these last year and it was so worth it!) or a beach blanket (we have a dedicated old king size comforter that we bring along on our beach trips)
  • S’mores goodies
  • Firewood, paper, and matches (assuming it’s not fire season, you can have a fire on the beach at most beaches in Oregon and it is a blast, so don’t forget your firewood).
  • Hand sanitizer and hand/baby wipes
  • Garbage bag for collecting your mess before you leave. Leave it better than you found it!

I’m sorry to disappoint all of my friends and readers who were expecting to go have some sunny and warm beach days, but you need to be prepared to be chilly when you visit the Oregon Coast. The Oregon coast is stunning and fun, but not always warm. Even on sunny days, there is often a breeze that can be quite chilly so make sure you are prepared to warm yourself up! I live in Oregon, about an hour and 15 minutes away from the beach, so you can find our family at the beach often, and we never go without a sweatshirt at the very minimum.

oregon coast

You want to make sure and bring these items along with you, because like all tourist locations, items are more expensive there. We went on a recent trip to the beach with some family members who drove off without their sweatshirts and ended up spending $100 on 3 sweatshirts for their family while they were there.

This list may seem a bit excessive, and I do tend to be an an over-packer, but I believe in being prepared and I don’t like to spend money unnecessarily. Plus, knowing what to pack for your Oregon coast trip can take a little bit of pressure off of your vacation plans. I know that before my last vacation to a new place I looked up lots of tips on what to pack.

TIP: If you are staying in a hotel, you might want to bring duplicates so you don’t have to find a laundromat to wash and dry your clothes. If you do jump in the water, it’s not always easy for your clothes to dry in the chilly breeze.

Take a Budget-Friendly Vegas Vacation with These Tips

So, for the first time ever, my husband and I went on a vacation.  To clarify, we live in Oregon near the beach so we have taken lots of beach trips, camping trips, etc., but I am talking about a real vacation with just the two of us, out of state.  We have been married for over 20 years and we finally decided that enough was enough and it was time. So, with another couple, we booked a Vegas vacation.  A budget-friendly one at that!  I always thought that a vacation like this would cost us thousands of dollars, but let me tell you my friends, we took the entire 5 day trip for just under $1500!  Plus, I made some really costly errors that could have saved over $100.

We have actually already scheduled and booked Vegas vacation #2 and this one looks to be even cheaper!

Here are my favorite tips and tricks for how to book a budget-friendly Vegas vacation:

Use a travel site

I have found significant savings by using travel sites such as Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, etc.  Use the package feature to save money by grouping your flights and hotels together.

Book 90 days out

I have been researching and testing it out for a while and it is true that to save the most money, you should book 90 days out.  I have found savings of nearly 50% when I book at the 90-day mark.  See my screenshot example below of Travelocity deals.  I decided to stick with the Luxor for each trip, which is a great hotel and casino.  The lower price is 90 days out, while the higher price is 114 days out.  This price is per person and as you can see it is a $150 difference between the two dates!  That means $300 in savings per couple!

Fly out on Wednesday

Wednesday flights seem to be almost always less expensive than flights on any other day of the week, so do what you can to be sure that your vacation starts on a Wednesday.

Use the tram

There are 3 trams in Vegas, all of which are free.  These trams allow you to travel throughout the strip to various casinos.  The trams run every 5-10 minutes, which means you never have to wait long. We used the tram quite a few times during our stay and loved it.  Not only was it free, but it was convenient.  Plus, we met lots of fun people while on it, including an adorable Australian couple who had just gotten married and were enjoying all of the free drinks.  Here are the tram options:

  • Bellagio Hotel/City Center/Monte Carlo Hotel tram connects the center and South Strip. This tram runs every ten minutes from 8 a.m. to 4 a.m.
  • Mirage Hotel/Treasure Island Hotel tram runs every 10 minutes from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. (til 3 a.m. Fri & Sat) in the Center Strip.
  • Excalibur Hotel/Luxor Hotel/Mandalay Bay Hotel tram runs every 5 minutes from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. (til 3:00 a.m. Fri to Sun) from stations in front of these hotels.

Buy a bus pass

If you are planning on staying on the strip throughout your visit but you want to travel beyond the casinos that the tram goes to, you can buy a 3-day full access bus pass for $20.  This will get you anywhere you need to go!

Use Uber or Lyft

If you are traveling somewhere beyond the strip, you may want to give Uber or Lyft a try.  Skip the taxi though, because they are spendy!  We took an Uber from Mandalay Bay to Fremont street and it cost us like $11.  Super cheap and we rode in a sweet car which was very comfortable for us all.  Plus, if you are new to Uber, you can get a credit toward your first ride. Our friends were Uber pros, but we had never used it before, so I signed up while there and got our ride to the airport for free.

Check out Groupon

Groupon is a great way to save money throughout the country, and Vegas is no exception.  We used Groupon to save on a couple of restaurant deals to cut down on our food costs while we were there.

Don’t forget your incidentals

Okay, this is what I was telling you about.  I completely forgot our bathroom bag at home.  So we went with no toothbrushes, no toothpaste, and no razors or shaving cream.  We simply cannot go 5 days without those things so I had to buy them in Vegas.  I don’t know if you realize this or not, but this type of stuff in Vegas is not cheap.  For 2 toothbrushes, 1 tiny toothpaste, 2 single blade razors and a tiny can of shaving cream we spent over $50, I’m not even kidding about this.  I was so angry with myself.  Also, I had bought a cheap luggage set at Walmart that broke on our flight over so we had to pay $40 on a new suitcase while there (I shopped at the 3-story Ross Dress for Less for this), but had I just had a better suitcase this wouldn’t have happened.  I have since bought a nice, sturdy set for our next trip.  These little mistakes cost me nearly $100!

Buy Snacks and Drinks at Convenience Stores or Drugstores

One thing I learned from vacationing in Las Vegas is that the drinks there are not cheap.  If you plan to drink while there, consider going to the drug store (there are several Walgreens stores on the strip) and buying any drinks or snacks that you may want while there.  Many drinks cost over $20 each so I assure you, you will save money doing it this way.  You can also shop at the discount liquor store that is on the South end of the strip.  I didn’t go in there, but I hear that the deals are pretty good.

Don’t Gamble

Okay, we went to Vegas knowing that we are just not gamblers, so this probably helped us with our budget, but for the 4 of us, we spent exactly $1 gambling the entire time in Vegas.  It was me and it was only so I could say that “I gambled in Vegas” silly, right?  But hey…I did it.  To each their own, we just don’t like to give our money away, so not gambling was a huge way that we were able to save money.  There is so much to do in Vegas besides gambling.

Well, my friends, these are some of the ways that I have found to save money on a Vegas vacation!  How about you?  Have you taken a trip to Las Vegas before?  Did you spend a lot?  What ways did you find to save?

 

 

Our Visit to Madame Tussauds Las Vegas

A couple of months ago, my husband and I went to Las Vegas with some friends of ours and had a blast!  Because I work with some amazing people, I was able to score some tickets to the world famous Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in exchange for my review of it.  I want to be very upfront with you here, I always give my honest feedback when reviewing something regardless of if I paid for it or not.

My Madame Tussauds review:

Let’s start this by saying that as a teen I used to be a celebrity junkie, I loved all things celebrity and I always knew when the latest celeb was released in wax, but I was the only one in our group that had heard of it.  This made me a little bit nervous that I had oversold this part of our trip. It turned out that I didn’t need to be stressed about it, it was actually a fun stop on our trip.  Here are my takeaways of the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum:

  • Madame Tussauds is located in The Venetian Casino in Vegas and quite honestly was not super easy to find.  Maybe that’s just part of the Vegas experience, but I had no trouble finding the other things I was looking for this trip, so I definitely feel like it could be located in a space that was a little easier to find or maybe some more signs or something.
  • The wax sculptures to me were hit and miss.  Some such as Jane Lynch, Shaq, and Mike Tyson and quite a few more were spot on, while others we were left questioning who they were (Jamie Foxx was one such sculpture).  Still, though, there were more that were great than not.
  • The Marvel SuperHeroes 4D Experience was WAY cooler than I expected it to be.  I felt like we were getting ready to watch something that my 11-year-old son would like so my hopes were not high for this, but I was quite surprised.  I walked out of there with a smile on my face.  Oh, and if you are wondering, yes, my 11-year-old would have flipped out over it!
  • The Hangover Experience was pretty cool.  It was too early in the day for us to enjoy a drink along with it, but I bet that would be pretty fun too!
  • The price is a bit steep.  While I definitely think I would visit again, I don’t think I would visit without looking for a coupon or a discounted price to get in.  I get that everything in Vegas is expensive, but I think $20 is a bit steep for the price.  If you want to go, be sure and take this $5 off coupon with you!  The coupon is valid for up to 10 people!

See what I mean about Jamie Foxx?