Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Stay-cations from around the country

If gas prices have you staying close to home, then here are some fun things to do here in cities around the country that will not break the bank.


Cedar Rapids, Iowa - Indoor Garden Musings
Mansfield, Ohio - Live the Adventure
Cincinnati, Ohio - Savings Lifestyle~Cincinnati
Mount Vernon, Ohio - Living Better One Day at a Time
Dayton, Ohio - Savings Lifestyle~Dayton
Grand Rapids, Michigan - Kitchen Stewardship
Metro Detroit, Michigan - "Cents"able Momma
Oakland County, Michigan - Bargain Shopper Mom
Warren, Michigan - Saving Dollars and Sense
Grand Forks, North Dakota - Frugal Front Porch
Indianapolis, Indiana - Bargain Briana
South Bend, Indiana - Excuse The Mess
Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri - Kansas City Mamas
St. Louis, Missouri - The Pickledpigsfeet
Branson, Missouri - Getting Freedom from Debt
Springfield, Missouri - I Think I Can
Rochester, Minnesota - Everyday Notions
York, Nebraska - Heavenly Homemakers
Omaha, Nebraska - Mom Endeavors
Madison, Wisconsin - Many Little Blessings
Oshkosh, Wisconsin - A Little Bit of This and That
Chicago, Illinois - Chicagoland Homeschool Network
Champaign, Illinois - Chambanamoms
Black Hills, South Dakota - Little House on the Prairie Living

South Central

Checotah, Oklahoma - Blessed With One Income
Tulsa, Oklahoma - Lynn's Kitchen Adventures
Gadsden, Alabama - Aint Mimi
Dallas, Texas - Funky Faith Girl
Dallas, Texas - Grocery Shop For FREE
East Dallas, Texas - Surviving The Stores
Fort Worth, Texas - Smockity Frocks
Austin, Texas - Stetted
Houston, Texas - Moms Travel Tales
McKinney, Texas - Wisdom Begun
East Texas - The Full Pantry
Murfreesboro, Tennessee - Life in a Barn
Nashville, Tennessee - The Country Chic Cottage
Mobile, Alabama - A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned
Birmingham, Alabama - iGoBOGO
Alpharetta, Georgia - Cuponeando
Atlanta, Georgia - See Jamie Blog
Augusta, Georgia - Hyperactive Lu
Athens, Georgia and Mississippi - Tractors and Tire Swings
Little Rock, Arkansas - It's Real Life

South Atlantic

Ft. Bragg, North Carolina - Military Wives Saving
Charlotte, North Carolina - The Carolina Clipper
Charleston, South Carolina - The Tween & Me
Greensboro, North Carolina - Mrs. Happy Homemaker
Jacksonville, Florida - Saving The Family Money
Orlando, Florida - Orlando's Best Deals
Virginia Beach, Virginia - The Singley Fam Blog
Richmond, Virginia - Daily Dwelling
Hampton Roads, Virginia - A Home Made by Kiki
Charlottesville, Virginia - How to Have it All
Blackwater Falls State Park/Davis, West Virginia - Holy Spirit Led Homeschooling
Treasure Coast, Florida - The Cardamom's Pod
Saint Augustine, Florida - Jypsie Visions
Lake Norman, North Carolina - Stretching Pennies Saving Dollars
Washington, DC - The WiC Project
Baltimore, Maryland - The Happy Housewife
Brunswick & the Golden Isles, Georgia - Teri Lynne Underwood


Tucson, Arizona - Saving with Pam
Phoenix, Arizona - Mom Endevors
Albuquerque, New Mexico - The Chou Life
Kalispell, Montana - Our Family Adventures
Salt Lake City, Utah - Just the 2 of Us
Thermopolis, Wyoming - The McDonald Family
Denver, Colorado - Denver Bargains
Colorado Springs, Colorado - Colorado Springs Bargains


San Diego, California - Life As Mom
Yosemite National Park, California -Handbook of Nature Study
Seattle, Washington - Queen Bee Coupons & Savings
Whidbey Island, Washington - Manning the Homefront
Olympia, Washington The Coupon Savant
Portland, Oregon - Frugal Living NW
Willamette Valley, Oregon - An Oregon Cottage

Frugal Vacation Tips

Vacation or Stay-cation: Eating without Busting the Budget - Eat at Home

Monday, May 23, 2011


In Wyoming stay-cations aren't the easiest thing to do but there are lots of fun things to do with in driving distance. Jeff and I love taking fun trips to Thermopolis Wyoming. We had such a great time and there are so many fun things to do. Thermopolis is home to the WORLD`S LARGEST MINERAL HOT SPRING. We spent time so much time swimming that we all turned into raisins but Karlie loved every minute of it.
On our way!
We stopped and saw a few sights along the.Hell's Half Acre is a roadside curiosity—located about 40 miles west of Casper, Wyoming on US 20/26. Encompassing over 300 acres, this geologic oddity is composed of deep ravines, caves, rock

formations and hard-packed eroded earth. Hell's Half Acre was used as the location for

the fictional planet of Klendathu in the movie Starship Troopers.

The location was known as "The Devil's Kitchen", "The Pits of Hades", and "The Baby Grand Canyon" until a cowhand appeared and thought he was at Hell's Half Acre, an area southwest of Casper full of alkali and bogs. Native American tribes used the ravines to drive thousands of buffalo to their deaths during their hunts.

Next came Wind River Canyon. It was so beautiful to drive through and the weather couldn't have been any better.
It is a scenic Wyoming canyon carved out by the Wind River. It is located between the cities of Shoshoni and Thermopolis and is a popular stop for
visitors toYellowstone National Park.Traveling through the canyon, at times you are level with the canyon floor. The scenic route offers views of the canyon and landmark natural structures like the Chimney Rock. The canyon is at times as much as 2,500 feet deep

The southern mouth of the canyon is near the Boysen Damin Boysen State Park several miles north of, and about half a mile east of, the state park's borders with the Wind River Indian Reservation.

The canyon includes a number of homes along the highway and a Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad line. The north end of the canyon is at the Wedding of the Waters, where the Wind becomes the Big Horn River.

There are several fun places to stay while in Thermopolis. We rented a little cabin for the weekend from the Roundtop Motel and I highly recommend it. They were so friendly and the cabin was perfect for a weekend. All cabins come with a small kitchen, no stove but a hot plate, fridge, sink and dishes, that was perfect for making breakfast and lunch so that we weren't eating out every meal.

Our last trip we stayed at the Fountain of Youth Inn. This was a nice little hotel and it met our needs. Most rooms come with a microwave and a small fridge that were perfect for storing and heating our left overs and making sure we had milk for Karlie! The best part about the FOY Inn is the free hot springs pool! It was perfect when we got there on Friday to jump into our suits and head to the free pool! We also made sure to use it on Sunday before we left town. If we had to pay for the swimming I am not sure we would have swam the first or last day! This made Karlie a very happy camper.

In addition to the hotel in town the FOY Inn also has camping and RV areas at the pool site. I think next time we visit we will try out that part. The rates are very affordable for camping and it is within yards of the pool.

Saturday morning we decided to drive around in Hot Springs State Park to see wha
t we could see. There are herds of bison that live in the park and we wanted to find them. It took a few minutes of driving but soon we rounded the corner and found them. They were lazily grazing on the grass and while they were aware that we were there it didn't seem to bother them much. We continued through the park and stopped to look at some of the beautiful natural springs stopping to take pictures along the way. Some of the rock formations are just amazing. We hiked down to the river and then drove back to "Swinging Bridge"
After the bridge we went over to the center of the park and found some amazing places to take pictures. Karlie was getting pretty antsy by now and was ready to go see some dinosaurs but that didn't stop us from taking some great photos first.

We headed to the Wyoming Dinosaur Center but Karlie was more interested in the gift shop than she was the dinosaurs. They have amazing exhibits and so many cool things to see. We finally roped Karlie away from the stuffed dinosaur (that we ended up buying and she has now properly named "Thermopolis") and made our way through the center. I couldn't believe how many cool skeletons they had on display. They had it set up so that you could see the room where the paleontologists worked, they had thescenes set up so that you could see what the dinosaurs might have actually been doing. All in all it was a really cool place to go and I recommend it to anyone that is up that way. It was hard to pick just one picture to post because there were so many cool things to see.

After the Dinosaur Center we took Karlie swimming at the Star Plunge as promised. She had so much fun in the water and was even brave enough to go down the little slide they had outside. It was such a beautiful day that it was hard to pull ourselves away from the warm sun and warm water. The best part about the star plunge is that you pay one time and come and go as you like. It is a great way to take advantage of all the local things there is to do as well as get your money worth at the pool. We would swim for a few hours and then get out and go do something else then we could go get back in the pool. I think we entered the pool 3 or 4 times in one day.

Next came Legend Rock State Historic Site. One word.....AMAZING!!! It was so cool to seepetroglyph's from thousands of years ago! Some of the drawings had been defaced and it is hard to believe that people can be so thoughtless as to destroy an amazing artifact. Karlie even thought it was neat to see the pictures and she could even tell what most of them were. Jeff and I could have stayed there forever but unfortunately our 4 yr old had different ideas. It is just amazing what has survived years of different elements and is still around for us to see. The pictures do it no justice it was so amazing to see in real life and we are looking forward to going back again soon. Legend Rock is so accessible. You simply swing by the State Bath House (located next to Star Plunge) to pick up the key. The bath house is also a great place to soak for FREE!!! Just remember there is a 20 minute time limit in the pools at the bath house.

Our day had come to an end but not before we had one of the best meals in a long time, thank you Pumpernicks. After dinner it was off to swim one last time for the evening. Karlie LOVED every minute of it and hated having to get out of the pool at closing.

On our last day in Thermopolis we had to visit the park that one of the town people had recommended. It was the BEST park ever! It was a great place for Karlie to play and have fun before we headed back home. I only wish we had found it earlier. Karlie had so much fun with all the passages and tunnels. There were twist and turns around every corner! I have to admit even Jeff and I had a great time. I think Karlie's favorite part was the swings. What kids doesn't love swings.

If you ever get the chance to go to Thermopolis DO IT!!!! You won't be sorry!