paraiso…

friday and saturday.  jan.  29/30.  2016

i feel like we are living the life of surfers…sleeping in, the girls get some school done and i do some reading, we pack food, head to the beach, play and lay around for a few hours, head home and eat dinner, watch movies…it’s nice.  days i get a few things done though actually feels great, it’s a nice feeling being productive.

friday morning i sat and listened to music out on the patio with the girls while we colored in these awesome creative coloring books…they even make them for adults to be more creative:)  i didn’t have much of a childhood, so sometimes i try and do creative kid-like things.  it’s so good for us to remember to be creative in some way.

jarom has been traveling while we are in mexico, for work, and flew home yesterday and went skiing today.  on the way home, he hit a pothole, and got a flat.  geico came and fixed it, but now we need to buy two new tires.  which doesn’t sound too bad, except while we have been in mexico, in the past two weeks, one car needed $2,000 to fix some things, and the other car needs $2500.  so the flat tires today was the icing on the cake.  they say bad things come in three’s…let’s just hope it’s true and we can get a break!   but thank goodness for being in places that we have been able to visit(guatemala/mexico), and we are so very blessed for what we have.  thank goodness for the perspectives we have gained, and seeing how people live in other countries, and knowing the struggles some people have just gathering food for the day.  so grateful for what we have, and for our problems.

ps-starting week three of the anti-candida diet.  no sugar, no gluten, no dairy.  here’s to taking my health into my own hands.

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sian ka’an biosphere reserve…

thursday.  jan. 28.  2016

walking through the biosphere was awesome.  ruins, marshes, a tower to climb, a lagoon, and seeing where 10 villages used to be thousands of years ago.  this area dates back to 300bc, and now is a reserve thanks to unesco.  it was fun walking through with the girls.  half way through i told them to be quiet so we could listen and see things all over, but we really didn’t see any animals…we did see some fish in the marsh and the lagoon.  so as we  were coming back down the trail towards the car, we decided to have a bit of fun laughing as the girls were making vines to post on the internet.  these girls have a great sense of humor.  it was fun exploring a new place today.

after we got home, alex headed over to the wellness center to get more homework done.  the other girls and i made dinner, and walked it over to alex for our evening walk.  look at this awesome kid working so hard!

photo credit-alex took picture of madison at the end of the dock-great picture!

 

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adventures in new places…

wednesday.  jan. 27.  2016

so today was the day we decided would be a good day to go to playa del carmen(30 minutes from us)to walk around the mall, get a few fruits and veggies at mega, and break up the routine from the beach.  it was so bloody hot, it felt like georgia in the summer, except it’s winter in mexico.

the mall here is gorgeous.  it’s an open outdoor mall, with a pretty cool design.  and it’s near bio natural-the organic store to find a few things we need here and there.  the girls got an ice cream-a special treat they don’t get very often, we got groceries after the mall, and made our way home to eat and then jump in the pool.

i was thinking how fun it is, and sometimes a bit stressful, but a great feeling of accomplishment, just driving to new cities and places and getting around like we live here.  i love being in with locals, shopping and doing things, buying groceries, and feeling independent.  we have a lot more options food-wise here than in guatemala, and even france.  larger stores, more variety, more fresh fruit and veggies, and it’s cheaper here in mexico.  even though we don’t have all the same things as home, we come pretty close.  we love these adventures.

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home day…

tuesday.  jan 26.  2016

uhhhh, was i supposed to get out of bed today?  ok-i did to get food and use the bathroom.  but that’s about it.  the girls got their school done, and we read, researched stuff, watched movies, and repeated.  it was pretty fantastic.  running with 4 kids is fun, but dangit, i needed a down day.

it would have been better with yummy chocolate sitting about to munch on…but since i’m on a no sugar deal for two months…apples and cinnamon, eggs and avocado it was.  it was still a great day.

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traveling cheaper…you don’t have to be rich-

monday.  jan. 26.  2016

today was a windy day-but we still hung out at our awesome beach.  the girls would run back and forth from the swings to the beach, getting in some great exercise.  managed to get some sun today too-the feeling of the warm sun on your skin is the best!

it’s interesting how so many people in the world think you have to be rich to travel.  i have learned how to travel for much cheaper than most people understand.  and even then, there’s even cheaper ways than that of course.  bob our neighbor, was telling us about an amazing website-trustedhousesitters.com.  owners leave for a trip- for any period of time, and need someone to take care of a pet and housesit.  in exchange for doing this, you can stay for free.  they don’t charge you, and you don’t charge them for housesitting.  i’ve been checking out the site, and seriously-my mouth was drooling.  three months in the country of france to take care of some dogs and horses-beautiful home and countryside-and it’s free!  we’ve wanted to plan a trip to england this year for my 40th…so we are going to see if this site ends up working out for us-but what a bonus for the kids at the end of the day to have a dog or cat to play with when we get home from site-seeing.

there are so many sites of people who travel the world for free-yes they blog it, advertise it, and it’s really a job.  i don’t want that-my full time job is my kids.  but at the same time, there are ways to save money.  there’s a professional travel guy(thepointsguy.com) who has like 26 credit cards to get all the bonus miles, and keeps track of when to dump a cc or which ones to keep as time goes on.  my mind would explode trying to keep it straight.  maybe its easier that he isn’t trying to travel with a family too.  we have found just having a low limit southwest cc to use for things here and there and paying it off each month, has been beneficial to reap the benefits of adding more points monthly.  also, hubby travels about once a month, which helps keep his status on southwest, and our status with marriott.  we used marriott points when we were in rome for 4 days(double rooms) a few years ago, didn’t even pay to stay there-it was fabulous.  we just have stuck with one hotel chain, and one airline, and keep collecting.

flying down here to mexico was free, we just had to pay the taxes on the airfare, which was something like $11/person.  then i usually like to go to vrbo.com to find a place to stay instead of a hotel for a couple reasons…we are a family-and a hotel room is too small, we need a kitchen, hotels are too expensive for long term stay, and usually you can find someone who can accommodate a good deal for a longer period of stay on vrbo-like a month-instead of a week.  another reason, as we have rented apartments in paris($125/night with 2 bedrooms and full kitchen-amazing deal!), and a large townhouse in the south of france($1200 for the month), a home in guatemala($1500 for the month), and a condo in mexico($2000 for the month-over half off during high season), is being in with the locals.  we love being with the locals, instead of the tourists.  what a different perspective!  a better perspective!  since we like to stay longer than a week, but no matter what the timeframe of the getaway, i always ask the owners on vrbo if they are willing to accept a lower offer than they have listed for our timeframe.  so far, it’s worked in every place we’ve been. it’s been cheaper than three days at disneyland!

as we are hoping to go to london this year, and southwest obviously doesn’t fly to london, we figured instead of paying $1100-$1500 ticket per person, which i would never do, and have always found good deals below that(especially since we like to travel when everyone else is in school-and icelandair frequently has good deals), we figured out that flying southwest to the east coast using points(so free), and then flying from there to london, would save us at least half the cost.  we have seen tickets for as little as $430/per person.  then to stay, we will do either vrbo, or this new site trustedhousesitters, which would be great if it worked out, because then we wouldn’t have to pay for a place to stay-and the kids would have a pet to play with.

a friend had asked for me to write about how to travel for cheaper, so i wanted to share what we do.  maybe people already do this, and i’m not saying anything new.  i know people have figured out great inexpensive ways to travel besides us-we are newbies on the scene-but it blows my mind how many people we know pay full price airfare and hotels when they travel-crazy!  our system so far has worked great for us-and you can always travel cheaper staying in hostels and camping too. also, traveling for one week somewhere is never enough-especially after paying for the flight for 6 people, usually your largest cost.  so we make it worth it by staying longer-which we can do since we homeschool.  we also don’t care for lines and hoards of people, so traveling in low season is perfect for us.  less lines, the weather is better, prices are cheaper, it’s a win-win-win.  we love to go in april/may timeframe, or september-october timeframe usually.  we’ll see this year what happens as we will be getting our oldest ready for college in the fall.

hope this helps somebody get out there and travel, while doing it a bit cheaper.  cheers!

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the tree of life and lehi’s dream…

sunday.  jan. 24.  2016

today we went to the tulum ward in tulum.  there were so many other gringo visitors there, so it was fun visiting and finding out where everyone was from.  we met the mcknight family from wisconsin-they have seven kids and homeschool.  and a couple that now live down here after retiring from the military-the drapers.

they had an english sunday school for us, and the drapers were teaching the class-and the mcnights and i were in there.  the lesson today was on lehi’s dream and the tree of life.   the rod of iron, mists of darkness, tree of life, the fruit on the tree of life, the muddy water, the tall and spacious building-all of it’s symbolism. lehi’s dream is so symbolic for our life, our choices, and where we will go based on those choices.  it’s about coming to Christ.

i love david a. bender’s talk-

https://www.lds.org/ensign/2011/10/lehis-dream-holding-fast-to-the-rod?lang=eng

the girls and i had a great time-love these adventures with our girls.

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food-glorious food…

saturday, jan. 24.  2016

today was a lovely day, being lazy, getting ready, and our only thing to do today was to go to sam’s club and get some groceries.  getting a membership down here is cheaper than in the states, but you can use your membership in the states, so it’s worth it.  we loaded up our cart, in hopes this gets us through our last two weeks, besides having to get fresh fruit and veggies.  i’m not used to buying bread-we don’t eat any gluten or dairy at all, so when traveling, it’s weird buying it, and a bit hard for me to allow the girls to even eat it since we are all allergic to it.  but when traveling, it’s just easier, and i detox them when we get home.  but for now, this is all the food we got for an awesome $200.  pretty good! and these girls rock helping out, everyone unloaded and had food in the house in like 7 minutes.  and having an elevator to get to the top floor is pretty handy-we’ve been through hauling groceries across a lake and having to hike up a mountain when we were in guatemala to get to the house-so we’ve got it a lot easier here.

a little jump in the big pools after shopping to end our day, and it was complete.

ps-alex finished her application to byu idaho…here’s hoping she gets in for the fall!

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