Monday, August 9, 2010

A Bargain Vacation...

(June 21-25)

Most summers my family journeys on a week long trip up to Canada to visit family and spend some time at my uncle's cottage. This year, with my parents living in Texas, my brother in Tennessee and my uncle renting out the cottage the only week we were all available, we decided to nix the trip and try again for next year. However, I still wanted to take a week off work -- after all it's my summer break too! So, I took a week off in June and Keith and I planned a trip to Wisconsin and Minnesota! I'm sure you are confused as to why we would choose those places so let me give you a small financial breakdown:

I'm a fulltime college student and a full time preschool teacher...which means one thing: I'm broke. And since Disney World (our original vacation idea) costs well over $1,000 each I decided it would not be a wise choice to spend money that I should be investing in my college education.

So, since I've never been to The Mall of America, and the Dells are on the way there, we decided to plan a little road trip to Minnesota by way of Wisconsin Dells!

This was by far my favorite part of summer - even thinking back about the things I'm about to share with you I get goofy butterflies in my tummy because I had such a great time!

We left Monday afternoon and headed up to the Dells. That night, there was some storm! We were planning to do mini golf that night, but since the storm hit we decided we would head over to the Kalahari to see a movie. Well, like I said it had been storming pretty bad, but I figured it was just some bad rain...that is until we walked into the Kalahari movie theater to find everyone in the bathrooms and basement and their staff requiring us to join them. That's when I looked at Keith and he tells me "Well, I *forgot* to tell you...Matt texted me telling me there were tornados touching down in the area". I do not do tornados. I don't care for storms, but I will tolerate them. But I DO NOT DO TORNADOS. I immediately start panicking and wanting my daddy who always knew what to do in these situations. Luckily, no tornados touched down and the sky was absolutely beautiful after the storm -- a little reminder from God that He will always keep me safe. And we decided to head out, stop for a quick snack at a restaurant and call it a night.

The next day, we woke up and after a classy continental breakfast headed to the Wilderness Waterpark. Keith has good friends who have a time share at the resort and can get passes to the waterpark whenever they want...so we got in free! There were four of us and we had a great time hanging out in the lazy river, going down slides, and acting like a bunch of 10 year olds!

After the day at the waterpark Keith had a coupon for an ejection seat - something that I was thankful to not take part of. He and his friend Matt strapped up, were launched into the air and thrown around a few times...boys enjoy the strangest things!

[on your mark, get set....]


[there they go!]
[he survived!]

After a busy day, we headed over to Minnesota. We spent the night just outside of Bloomington, MN and woke up the next morning to explore the Mall of America! The mall really wasn't that impressive, and I didn't do much buying - mostly window shopping. It's one of those things that everyone should do - definitely bucket list worthy - but not something I would do over and over again. However, we still had a great time, and spent a good part of the day walking around and enjoying the environment.

[I couldn't manage to get a picture of the whole sign...
but you get the idea!]

[every activity we do I get a picture of the two of us for the
scrapbook which I plan to put together. Each page I want to have
memorabilia from the activity with a picture of the two of us to put on the
page as well. So far, I've been able to get one from every activity!]

[lego store - and a character from my favorite movie]

[my life motto]

[Keith bought himself a pet!]

After a day at the mall we headed to downtown Minneapolis. I actually wish we planned another day into to spend in the city because it was such a fun place! One of the parent's from my classroom lived in Minneapolis before Chicago and recommended Murray's Steakhouse for dinner. Great recommendation - great early bird dinner deal, delicious food, and a fun atmosphere!

[the staff gets really excited when you ask them to take a
picture for you, and will be sure to show you the best place to
take a picture. So cute, so fun.]

After dinner we decided to walk around the city and stumbled upon Shout house. Inside were dueling pianos! Since Keith and I aren't big drinkers it's always nice to find an atmosphere where there is more to do than just drink. It was 80's night, and I am a sucker for some good 80's music; it was such a fun night! I had never seen dueling pianos before, it's definitely something that I would recommend to people as a fun activity! The best part is there was no cover to get in!

[SHOUT!]

[if you don't know what's inside,
this definitely makes you want to find out!]

The next morning we headed to a yummy breakfast - we had a voucher for breakfast for 2 at the ramada (where we stayed). This was probably one of my favorite deals of the whole vacation! A room at the ramada including: vouchers for breakfast for 2, underwater adventures passes for 2, a coupon book, a shopping bag, and the room was all $170!

After breakfast we headed to the Underwater Adventure...you walk through the tanks! It was a cool experience to see sharks and stingrays swimming above you!

[here we go!]

[scrapbook worthy!]

After this, we started the drive back home....but on the way back, we made a few stops!

The first one was at Leinenkugels for a tour of their brewery. Very cool experience! I love anything where you can learn random facts and information, and this was definitely one of those things! PLUS -- it was FREE!

[at the end of the tour]

[leinie lodge]

[underneath this bridge is a mural tributing the investment
leinenkugel's made to help restore the water of Chippewa Falls]

[during the tour the guide told us about a local ice
cream shop with hand-made ice cream! YUM!]

The last stop on our trip was to Pirate's Cove for the mini golf that we tried to do Monday night, but instead were engulfed in a monsoon (yes, slight exaggeration...)!

[before we started golfing]

[a good end to a good vacation week!]

The best part of the trip was knowing that we got the most for our dollar! Keith's mom is off work during the summer...which means she can call the Radio Shopping Show for us easily during the day! So she graciously made several calls for us to help get coupons! This means that our entire vacation cost no more than $300. Yep, that's right! No one said you have to spend a lot of money to have a great time!