Bon Voyage Travel Kit

So you like your Young Living Essential Oils but don’t know what to order next. Let me share a gem I have discovered recently.  Last month I ordered Young Living’s Bon Voyage Travel Kit.  You get 11 airplane carry on approved items for face and body that are packaged in a nice quality travel bag.  When I unboxed it I was amazed at how LARGE some of these items were! It is a great way to try numerous Young Living products at once without having to spend the money on full size versions.  I am loving everything I have tried so far and these items would make great stocking stuffers at Christmas time or to give as part of a gift basket to someone!

Bon Voyage offers 11 Young Living personal-care products inside an attractive, custom-designed, Young Living bag:

  1. Thieves AromaBright Toothpaste, 2 oz.
  2. Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier, 29.5ml.
  3. Thieves Dental Floss
  4. Thieves Fresh Essence Plus Mouthwash, 2 oz.
  5. Young Living branded Toothbrush
  6. Lavender Shampoo, 2 oz.
  7. Lavender Conditioner, 2 oz.
  8. Cinnamint Lip Balm
  9. Morning Start™ Bath & Shower Gel, 2 oz.
  10. Genesis Hand and Body Lotion, 2 oz.
  11. ART Light Face Moisturizer

These travel-sized toiletries make Bon Voyage convenient as well as compact—a perfect size for carry-ons or handbags.


Bon Voyage


Travel Kit Buy Now
Retail $72.37
Wholesale $55.00

Primary Benefits

  • Safe and effective personal-care products that are infused with Young Living essential oils
  • Convenient and compact for easy travel
  • Branded travel bag with travel-sized toiletries
  • Great gift idea
  • TSA compliant

If you have never purchased Young Living before, the best way to start is to purchase an essential oil kit with diffuser.  It is a great way to get started on your wellness journey and it allows you to get member pricing with Young Living, which is 24% cheaper than Retail pricing!  Click here to order.



What Florida Really Looks Like

About 45 minutes from Disney World there is a Nature Preserve like no other. Set on a scenic lake surrounded by old Oak trees, and housing miles of walking trails, sits a place called Circle B Bar Reserve.  A once functioning cattle ranch, it is now recognized by USA Today Travel as one of the 51 Great Places to See Wildlife.


It is a Central Florida hidden gem.  Free, and open to the public year round, it is considered one of the best places for birding in Florida as a result of the Banana Creek marsh system. In a nutshell: don’t visit the reserve without your camera, your Instagram followers will thank you.


The 1,267-acre property features several diverse habitats including freshwater marshes, hardwood swamps, oak hammocks, creeks and lakes, which are home to a wide variety of ducks, shorebirds, wading birds, native and migrant landbirds, ospreys, bald eagles, and more than 45-species of butterflies.

You can even see Bald Eagles!

For me, I come here for the Alligator sightings.  Which is quite common and can be safely done from the preserve’s pier, shoreline, or the infamous Alligator Alley.

See those dots in the water? Those are all alligators!

On a calm water day you will see more alligators on the lake than you will see people in the park. That many alligators reside here.


And even as you leave, look out your window, because Wild Boar live in these woods. I made sure to stay far away from this protective mama as I took this pic.


Believe it or not, all these photos were taken the SAME day.  There is that much wildlife to see at this preserve.  It is a must see place.  So put it on your list, maybe see Mickey Mouse one day less.  This place is worth a visit.  Most people don’t see past the concrete of Orlando’s amusement parks or Florida’s beaches.  The REAL Florida is this. Wild, untamed, and amazingly beautiful.

This Old House

When we lived in Indiana we owned this house.  A 1913 farmhouse that the previous owners had bought for a $1.00 and moved to this location. A 2.5 acre plot of land that butted up against a creek and row of beautiful mature trees. It needed TLC but we loved it as soon as we saw it and placed an offer right away.   It had four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and in the winter had such bad drafts/insulation that we had to install a space heater with a auto on timer in the bathroom so when we woke up in the morning we could pee without freezing. lol. Ah, old houses….pretty on the outside, full of mischief on the inside…..

In the seven years we lived there we did A LOT of renovations. Basement, bathrooms, gardens, and my favorite renovation, the kitchen.  I am very lucky my husband is DIY and knows a lot of trades. We were able to do all the renovations ourselves over the years and the kitchen was no exception. We didn’t have the money to spend on a complete kitchen remodel and I didn’t want to take away from the history of the kitchen.  So what to do?  The cabinets were solid hardwood and didn’t need torn down, just updated and made more functional. So we decided to replace the cabinet doors. We measured all our cabinets and I found a great place online to order them.  We shaved the top cabinets up to give us more counter space height.  On the drawers, we put in rollers so the drawers were easier to open and close. We installed a microwave over the stove. These little changes gave the kitchen more function and space.

Old Kitchen
The BEFORE photo. Quaint, but not my style.

Here is another angle of the old kitchen

Old Kitchen2
Notice the lack of counter space?



When the cabinet doors came we painted them a cream white and installed new door handles that we found at Lowes.  We splurged on black granite for the countertops and installed a beautiful tin like backsplash that gave the kitchen an updated historical look. We also installed trim on the top and bottom of the cabinets and gave everything a fresh coat of paint.  A new sink and faucet completed the fresh look. The whole renovation cost less than $4000.

This was the result:

After Kitchen1
Fresh Looking


After Kitchen2
I loved the cabinet handles and backsplash – gave it the historical touches it needed


And this pot rack – I miss it. Our current home does not have one and now that I see it again I am thinking how can I install one in our current kitchen? lol.

Finally got the microwave OFF the counter and above the stove!


When we moved to Florida I wanted NEW. No projects, no drafty cold bathrooms.  So we built a new house.  I love it, and of course love that we don’t have fix or rehab something every other week. But this old house will forever hold a special place in my heart. Old houses just have SOUL to them. And it was our first house we owned together.

What has been your favorite home remodel?

Disney World on a Dime

Disney World. Kids big and small love it. Boys want to be Jack Sparrow and girls go gaga over Elsa and Anna. And let us not forget about a mouse named Mickey. I still remember going as a kid, and how excited I was to meet the characters and get pictures with them. And the RIDES. NO ONE does theming like Disney. It really is magical.

We currently live 20 minutes from Disney World. Where people travel a whole day or more just to get to Disney, we can pop in for a few rides or dinner and come home. We know we are lucky. Since we are so close we are season passholders. Our son has already been on It’s a Small World and pulled Mickey Mouse’s nose in person. I have a feeling all theme parks after this are going to disappoint him. Lol

It is no surprise then that Disney knows what they have going and it is EXPENSIVE to visit. A 1-day pass to Magic Kingdom is now over $100 a person. And let’s not even talk about how much a hamburger costs once you are at the park. Families save years to take their once upon a lifetime trip. And let’s not forget the PLANNING that goes into a Disney World trip. After all, when you are shelling out that much moolah you want to get your money’s worth. So for as much fun as it is for the kids, it can also be a major headache for the parents. What is one to do?

People have come up with some unique ways to get to Disney. There is the coupon to Disney family. Click here for how this family literally takes the money they save from using coupons to fund their Disney vacation account. And then there is, a clearinghouse for scrimping Mouseheads. She has found and posted more than 300 pages’ worth of coupon codes and money-saving ideas, and is one of the premier Disney Saving blogs out there.

So without further ado, here are a few of my best $$$ saving tips for families:

Go during off season

Magic Kingdom will always be busy. But fall is one of the best times to visit. The humidity has dropped, the kids are back in school and prices at resorts will be at some of their lowest prices of the year. Disney’s “Value” rooms start as low as $85 a night in low season, which is typically late August, September, and January. This is also the time period when Disney offers their “Free Dining Plan” with their vacation packages. I know it is hard to pull kids from school, but if you can, you will save $$$ if you really wish to stay on Disney property and not deal with major crowds.

Purchase your “souvenirs” ahead of time

For families with kids who are Pin Traders, buy pins on ebay before you leave.  Kids trade away the pins they have, so what they start with shouldn’t be their favorite.  The goal is to trade and find favorites. Also, before you leave for you trip, buy small souvenirs at Walmart and Target when you see them on sale.  If you see a small Mickey stuffed animal, buy it and toss it in your luggage.  Leave this for your child “from Mickey Mouse” in the hotel room.  Get one small surprise for every day of the trip and leave them for your kids to wake up to every morning.  These will keep your little ones from salivating over every toy in the gift shops.  They will love their gifts from Disney Pals and you will save tons on souvenirs.  Look for shirts, sunglasses, small toys, and stuffed animals.

Plan dining reservations for lunch time

Menu prices are often lower at lunch than dinner. And you will need the break. Eat at one of Disney’s Deluxe resorts (at magic kingdom you can take a boat or monorail to most of them). You get to check out their amazing facilities while munching on great food that costs less than it would if you eat IN the park itself. Plus the parks will be less busy during dinner time so since you are still full from lunch you can just munch on a granola bar while riding Space Mountain for the 4th time. You also can then get a prime spot for watching the electrical parade and fireworks show at Magic Kingdom, which are both most do’s during your visit.

Skip the Park Hopper Pass

While it might seem like visiting more than one park a day is the best way to get the most bang for your buck, in reality the opposite is true.  This ticket upgrade allows you to visit multiple parks in one day, but it’s an additional $40 to $60 or more.  That’s a lot!  Trust me, there’s plenty to do in each park without having to jump around between parks in the same day.  At WDW, the theme parks are not all that close together, which means that if you really want to make the most of your time, you won’t want to waste an hour or more in travel time between the parks.  Plus what’s the point of having a hotel pool with a lazy river if you never get to use it? Remember, this is vacation. RELAX a little.

FREE Water in a cup

Back when I first started taking trips to Disney World, I had no idea that I did not have to keep refilling water bottles at drinking fountains every time I got thirsty. Any Quick-Service restaurant will give you a large cup of water free of charge if you ask for one. If you are one of the many folks that love carrying water bottles, but hate Disney drinking fountain water, you can always get a cup of free water and refill it in a restroom.

Stay Off Disney Property

It can be very tempting to get an all-in-one vacation package with a room at a Disney World resort, a meal plan, and your tickets. However, I’d skip this if you are trying to save money.

First, the Disney World resorts are really expensive. They’re nice, and you do get some perks like extra magic hours and bus rides to all the parks, but you are paying for it. There are amazing places to stay just a few minutes from Disney World that offer a shuttle to the parks and even some that have a view of Magic Kingdom’s nightly fireworks.

If you are a Hilton, Marriott or other hotel brand loyalty member, now is a great time to use those points. Orlando is a MECCA for many big name hotels and they have huge resorts in the area. Most have amazing pools and some are set up like mini suites with kitchens. Take some time to research your lodging options.


Another option is camping. Disney does have a large campground at Disney World called Fort Wilderness, but slots there start at $50 a night. It is a far cheaper option than the resorts and cheaper even than some of the off-site hotels, but you’ll need to bring camping gear with you. They do offer some cool perks like nightly smores and outdoor movies, but remember at the end of the night you have to be willing to sleep in a tent. In Florida. With no air conditioning. Maybe do this in winter not summer.

There you have it. Some basics to get you planning your very own mousetastic vacation. It really is an amazing place to visit and worth the time and money it takes to plan a trip. Good luck and say hi to Mickey for me when you are there.

How to Save On Your Grocery Bill

Food is expensive.  The average family spends at least 10% of their income a year just on food. And while wages have remained pretty stagnant over the last few years, the price of food keeps going up.  Let’s face it. Most of us are on a budget. Figuring out how to stretch those grocery dollars is a priority.

B.M. (Before Motherhood) I casually couponed. Maybe I saw a coupon in the Sunday paper I would clip or find one on a grocery store shelf. I would glance at the weekly ad but not study it or try to match coupons with sales. I just shopped. Sometimes I would make a list and would invariably purchase way more stuff than was on it. I was a sucker for the end caps and the glossy magazines in the checkout line. But then I had a baby in 2014. And started buying formula and diapers at an alarming rate. The maternity leave fund I had worked 9 months for? Dwindling faster than a one hit wonder. What was I to do? I turned to old faithful – google. And WOW was I in for an education. I am not going to lay out for you the coupon bible for you here. It is vast and I am still learning. And frankly, who has the time? But what I will do is give you some easy steps you can do NOW to get you started on saving some major MOOLAH on your weekly grocery bill. And as I continue to learn I will share with you what I know.

I average 30% or more a week in savings. I have learned terms like “coupon stacking” and sales cycles. I now have a stockpile so I don’t run out of my favorite foods – all of which I bought with coupons. And the baby who started all this? A rambunctious toddler who refuses to sit in the shopping cart but wants to push it down the aisles. Let’s just say I try to grocery shop on days the hubby does daycare pick up.

How to Get Started Using Coupons

1. Start Reading Your Weekly Grocery Sales Circular

I’m going to let you in on a little secret – Extreme grocery savings do NOT, for the most part, come from the coupons.  The bulk of your savings will come from the store sales.  The better the promotion, the bigger the savings, so the FIRST step in saving money on your grocery bill is to SHOP THE SALES. I love and shop at Publix. They take my groceries to the car for me and usually I don’t have to wait in line. I love it. I thought I would have to switch to Walmart (the lines! The crowds!) or shop at 10 stores a week to get the best deals. But by following the sales circular and reading a Publix blog (yes, there are dedicated BLOGS out there for how to coupon at specific grocery stores and they will save you TIME as well as link you to coupons that match the current sales. Check out this one for another of my faves) I create my grocery list in a few short minutes. And I print out coupons right then and there. It is great. And EASY. No excuses.

2. Know Where to Find Coupons

Obviously, having coupons is the first thing you need to get started.  But, where do you find them? These days there are so many options to getting coupons – from paper to printables to electronic coupons.  Here are the top 6 ways to find the best coupons.

Inserts in your weekly paper – these are inserts that vary each week in your Sunday paper.  Inserts are from Smart Source, Red Plum and/or P&G. Remember – if you want more than one coupon you have to buy more than one paper – or beg your neighbors/friends for theirs.

Printable Coupon – is a top source for printable coupons. You can usually get 2 prints from each computer on these. Copies are illegal and frowned upon – use ethics please.

Catalina Printouts – these are coupons that print at your store after checkout

Magazines – Look for magazines with coupons.  All You Magazine is one of the top magazine for the best coupons. However, Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, Better Homes & Garden Magazine and even Shape magazine have some great coupons

Tearpads/Blinkies – These are coupons that are found in store.  You can find them on displays or hanging from the shelf.

eCoupons or rebate apps – These are becoming more and more popular.  eCoupons are coupons that load onto your store loyalty card or your smart phone.  They are deducted at the register when you make a qualifying purchase. For me I am loving the Cartwheel app Target has for their store. Publix also has digital coupons. Rebate apps are apps where you load a picture of your receipt and if they have a corresponding deal you get money back. I am loving ibotta for this.

3.  Know When to Use Coupons

Clipping and using coupons is only the first step in saving on your groceries.  Knowing when to use your coupons is what will get you the biggest bang for your buck.

Learn to match coupons to store salesWaiting to use your coupons when the items go on sale is the secret to saving the most money.  Don’t waste your coupons on full price items.  Hang onto them for the lowest price sale and then use that coupon. Most coupons last 30-60 days, so you have time to use them. Patience is the virtue here.

Follow Sales Cycles – Sales on products usually run in cycles of about 6-12 weeks.  Also, sales follow cycles of holidays and events throughout the year.  For instance, snack and finger foods always go on sale around Super Bowl and baking goods go on sale before Thanksgiving and Christmas. Usually the holiday will correlate with the sales items. Think hot dogs deals for July 4th, and candy for Halloween.

Buy at the Lowest Price – This goes along with the first point which is wait for a sale.  If you wait for that item to go on sale, you are able to get it at it’s lowest price, combined with a coupon and even a store promotion.  Take a look at our example below on cereal to see just how much you can save by waiting for the lowest price and combining offers.

Grocery Sale

4.  Know How to Use Coupons

Have you asked your customer service department at your store if they accept competitor coupons?  If not, you should!  There might be some ways to save at your store that you didn’t even know about.  For example, for me I get to use Target coupons at my local grocery store (yes, Target has store coupons and yes you can find them HERE).

Some things you should ask your store so you know that you are taking advantage of every savings opportunity:

Double Coupons – Does the store double coupons?  If so, does a $0.50 coupon double up to $1?  Does a $0.75 double up to $1.50?  Is there a limit to the amount of coupons that double?  Make sure you understand exactly how their double coupon policy works.

Stacking Store Coupons – Make sure to ask the store if they allow you to use a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon.  This is called stacking coupons.  Although you can never use 2 manufacturer coupons on the same product, you can, for most stores, stack a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon.

Competitor Coupons – Does your store accept competitor coupons?  Make sure to ask.  If they do, it’s even more of a savings opportunity.  Since I found out that I can use Target coupons as a store coupon at my local grocery store, I combine them with a manufacturer coupon and save normally double the amount.

5.  Stock Up

Stocking up on sale items is a very important part of getting the most savings at the grocery store.  It gives you control of what you are paying for your groceries instead of the store having control of your prices.

Lets say your family eats a lot of Cheerios cereal and you were able to purchase a box for just $0.50.  After 1 week, that box of Cheerios would be gone.  When you go back to the store the next week, you’ll need to buy another box of Cheerios.  And, guess what…it’s no longer on sale.  So, you wind up paying $3.99 or maybe even $2.99 if you have another coupon.  That is a big difference from the $0.50 you bought the week before.

Now, lets say you bought 8 boxes of Cheerios at the sale price of $0.50 (after coupons).  You are now in control of the price you will pay because you can wait for another sale.  You are not forced to pay a higher price for that product since you have enough to get you through a couple of months.

Stocking up does not mean turning your house into a mini market but it does mean having a stock of items that will last your family about 2-3 months.  A typical stockpile will consist of products that can be stored on 3-4 shelves.  That’s all you need.

Get Started!

Now that you know the 5 basic steps to saving at the grocery store, what are you waiting for?  Get going and SAVE!