Monday, May 11, 2015

Best Budget Vacation

We had a wonderful opportunity to go to Myrtle Beach last week.
My DH is a carpenter/contractor and he has worked hard for many years.  This work provides some occasional opportunities of jobs in other locations.  One of his clients had a beachfront condo in Myrtle Beach.  They needed two bathrooms rehabbed.  They had trouble finding reliable workers in the area and wanted my DH to do the work.  Most of the family went along to 'help' him.  JoAn and Paul stayed home because of work and school. We also needed someone to take care at the farm.
We were able to go for 5 days!
We made casseroles and froze the before we left.  My DH was driving down in his work truck with the boys.  He brought along much of the food in a cooler.  We never went out to eat.  We went to Costco the first day we were there.  That was a big help to our larder for the week.
Michelle, T-Bob and Becca
Three out of the four younger children had never been to the ocean.  It had been over twenty years since I had been there too.  This was too long.  We brought along a friend, Becca, who had never seen the ocean either.

Elizabeth enjoyed hunting for shells.  The girls are hoping to incorporate them into a craft project at home.

The first day we arrived the children couldn't resist going right in the water, despite the fact that they were still wearing street clothes and not swimwear.

Evenings and the heat of the afternoon were quiet times.  The children played a lot of euchre.  We really enjoyed having lots of family time and relaxation.

We were there when the moon was full.  It was so beautiful  as it shone on the ocean.

The condo had a pool and a hot tub that we enjoyed.  There were very few people at the condo.  School was in session still.  

The children enjoyed a lot of down time.  Relaxing and hanging out with family.

The girls' were on dishes.  We brought along a lot of meals so that we could avoid the dreaded budget killer of 'eating out'.  We did have one special night where we went and bought fresh seafood at a local place.  We got a number of different things to try.  It was delicious! We had enough for leftovers without breaking the bank.

The Boss took some time off in the evenings for some relaxation.

Going on vacation in the down season is really nice. There are a lot of benefits to not having to fight the crowds.  With school still in session, there were only a few people on the beach.  Most of the people in the above picture were older people fishing.  We had beautiful weather to enjoy.

We enjoyed the different birds that were flying around.  There were lots of brown pelicans.  We saw a fish eagle carrying a large fish (about 12") in its talons.  Bird watching is a wonderful free activity.

The children enjoyed collecting shells.  There were lots to bring home.  Most of them were on the smaller side.

The condo had a screened in balcony. Michelle sept out there every night.  The other children found it a great place to hang out and rest.

Thomas spent almost one whole day sleeping out there.   The only time he woke up was to eat. It was reminiscent of his baby days.

We really enjoyed playing out in the waves.  My nickname was 'Mama Wave Breaker'.  Elizabeth was a little bit slight to endure the bigger waves.  We did have a great time jumping to keep the waves from rolling over our heads.  The waves would then push you into shore.

Meanwhile, My DH was busy stripping wallpaper out of the bathrooms, repairing the walls, painting and putting up beadboard, and then installing new cabinets, sinks and towel rods.  He was a busy man!

One afternoon, the three younger children and I went to play miniature golf.

It was a lovely well maintained course.  They had a special where you could play as much golf as you wanted for $5, until 5 PM.  This was a good deal and was something different to do away from the condo.  The waves were a little rough that day.

Here is one of the finished bathrooms that my DH did.  They came out looking really nice.

Here are the children as we packed up to leave.  They were a lot tanner than we came and a lot more rested.  It was a really nice time away.  It was raining as we left, which did make it easier to leave.

T-Bob decided that he needed to wash off his feet before getting in the van. He went out and stomped in a few puddles to get the job done.  Silly boy!!!

We left all tightly packed in.  There was only seating for five in the van and even that was really tight.  The guys were driving home in the van and the rest of us were flying.  

Once they dropped us off at the airport, they had a lot more room.  We flew Spirit airlines and got really good ticket prices.  They were $40 a piece.  With Spirit Airlines, they charge you for everything as an extra.  I think we did it right, as we managed to escape all their extra fees.  We had sent our luggage in the van, so there was no bag fee.  We printed off our own boarding passes which saved us $10 a piece.  We made sure we were well hydrated so that we didn't have to buy water on the plane ($3/bottle).  The flights were on time and actually got us to our destination early.  They had all new airplanes also (They were the airbuses).  We had a good experience using Spirit Airlines.

Here was our last view of the ocean as the plane turned and headed north.  It was a wonderful time away and good fellowship as a family.  We are really hoping that we get this opportunity again!

We arrived home to a beautiful spring Ohio evening.  It was quiet and peaceful.  The sunset was beautiful, as usual, as it reflected off the pond. We felt like we were going from one vacation to another.  Life on the farm is like a vacation, but it does entail a fair amount of work.

It was good to be home!