Summer Travel on a Budget

Icon. Traveler luggage with hand drawn clothes and icons onpacking-suitcase.jpg

As of Wednesday, June 21st, it is officially summer! With summer comes no school, longer days, and more traveling. However, taking trips can be expensive. But, never fear, there are still ways to travel and enjoy the summer season without breaking the bank.

Start a Travel Fund: Start collecting your spare change or setting aside money for an upcoming trip. You can also create a savings account just for traveling. Little by little your money will add up, and before you know it, you’ll be in your dream vacation spot.

Go During the Middle of the Week: Did you know hotel rates and other travel expenses are lower during the middle of the week than the weekends? Try going on vacation during the week. You’ll end up saving more money and won’t have to deal with crowds at popular tourist attractions. Another way to save is to travel during the off-season. Research your destination and see when the crowds are the lowest. For some places, winter is the highest tourist time, while summer is the busiest for other destinations.

Visit Nearby Destinations: While staying in one place, explore the surrounding areas. For example, if you are staying in a major city, take the time to venture out to nearby tourist attractions. This will save you time and money without having to plan another trip.

Have a Staycation: There are probably places in your own hometown you have never explored! Take a day or two and get to know your city a little bit more. Visit the little, unknown places, historic sites, and more. You never know what history you’ll learn about your hometown. Also, read your newspaper and look online for free events and festivals to take part in.

Research Your Accommodations: Hotels aren’t the only place to stay while on vacation. Vacation rental websites, such as Airbnb.com and VRBO.com, are great places to search for cheaper accommodations in different cities. Plus, you’ll get to live like a local while exploring a new place. Another benefit is the possibility of having a kitchen, where you can make your meals and save on food. Be sure to read the rentals’ ratings and reviews before booking.

Take Advantage of Free Things: There is no shame in taking advantage of free entertainment, attractions, and transportation while on a trip. Sites like museums and parks can be free to visitors. Also, look into your location’s events, including concerts, art shows, and more to experience. Another way to save money is by using public transportation or, when possible, walking.

Fly Right: Prices for plane tickets vary throughout the time of the year and day of the week. It is recommended you purchase your tickets 50 to 100 days before your trip. Another way to save money is research prices through travel websites, such as Kayak, Expedia, and Airfarewatchdog.com. Try to plan your departures on a Thursday and returns on Monday to save more. When traveling abroad, fly to your destination during the off-season for cheaper airfares.

Use Travel Saving Websites and Apps: When it comes to any trip, the best thing you can do while planning is to research the best deals for accommodations, transportation, and more. An easy way to compare prices is by using travel saving websites and apps. In addition to the websites listed above, the Travel Channel recommends using jetsetter.combudgetplaces.com, and momondo.com.

Save Money on Food: You don’t have to eat out every meal while on vacation. When you first arrive, go to the grocery store and stock up on the essentials and items, such as sandwich supplies and easy to-go meals. This way you can pack your lunch, dinner, and snacks to take with you while site-seeing. Plan to splurge and eat out for maybe one or two good meals during your trip, and pack the rest.

Vacation expenses can quickly add up when you aren’t looking. However, there are still ways to save money and have the time of your life exploring a new place and making memories.

 

Advertisements

A Patriotic Fourth

Long time, no post! So, what better way to get back in the swing of things than with a 4th of July party? 🙂

Decorations: Red, White, and Blue Banner

FullSizeRender (5)

Supplies:

  • Red, White, and Blue Bandannas
  • Twine
  • Hot Glue

Directions:

1. Cut the bandannas into triangles or rectangles (whatever shape you desire).

2. Hot glue the tops of the shapes onto the twine and hang inside or outside.

Food: Red, White, and Blue Parfaits

FullSizeRender (6)

Ingredients:

Red layer:

  • 1 (3 oz) package of strawberry gelatin
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries

White layer:

  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon (1 envelope) of unflavored gelatin powder
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream, liquefied

Blue layer:

  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon (1 envelope) of unflavored gelatin powder
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cups blueberries
  • 6 Mason Jars
  • Whipped Cream

Directions:

Strawberry layer: Stir 1 cup of boiling water into the strawberry gelatin until gelatin is fully dissolved. Add in ½ cup of cold water and the chopped strawberries.

1. Arrange the jars at an angle in a muffin tin.

2. Put flour or uncooked rice in the wells to hold the jars in place. Gently spoon equal amounts of the strawberry gelatin mixture into each of the jars. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes.

White layer: Once the strawberry gelatin is firm, begin making the white ice cream layer. In a medium bowl, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the unflavored gelatin evenly over 1/4 cup of cold water (allow the gelatin to absorb the water for 2 minutes). Then, stir in ½ cup of boiling water until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Mix in ½ cup of sugar, then stir in 1 cup of the melted ice cream until smooth

1. With the jars still at an angle in the muffin tin, spoon equal amounts of the ice cream mixture into each of the jars.

2. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Blueberry layer: Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of unflavored gelatin evenly over 1/4 cup of cold water in a bowl. Wait 2 minutes to allow the gelatin to absorb the water. Add in ½ cup of boiling water. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved and then mix in ½ cup of sugar. Lastly, add the 1 ½ cup of blueberries.

1. Refrigerate the blueberry mixture in the bowl until it thickens to the consistency of a gel .

2. Take the jars out of the muffin tin and set them upright.

3. Spoon equal amounts of the blueberry mixture into each of the jars. Refrigerate until firm.

4. Garnish with whipped cream and serve.

Enjoy!

Source: http://www.ehow.com/info_12340443_red-white-blue-patriotic-parfaits.html

Game: Test Your Patriotic Knowledge! 

Quiz your friends on their Patriotic Knowledge. Person to get the most right wins. (Answers below.) 

1. What is the capital of Colorado?

2. The Mardi Gras celebration is held in the French Quarter of where?

3. Which state became the 50th state, admitted on August 21, 1959?

4. Name the six states that make up New England.

5. Coca-Cola was founded in which capital city?

6. Which state capital name means “protected bay?”

7. Which state is famous for earthquakes?

8. What state is known for having crocodiles?

9. Also known as Mary Hayes McCauley, what woman carried water to men in the Battle of Monmouth during the Revolutionary War in 1778?

10. Who was the leader of the Underground Railroad, which brought many slaves to freedom?

Answers: 1. Denver 2. New Orleans 3. Hawaii 4. Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island 5. Atlanta, Georgia 6. Honolulu, Hawaii 7. California 8. Florida 9. Molly Pitcher 10. Harriet Tubman 

Quiz Copyright 2015 Country Belle Chic

Easy, Breezy Chocolate Truffles

This past weekend, I was craving anything chocolate, but didn’t want to put forth much effort into making a yummy treat. So, I made these easy, breezy chocolate truffles. And trust me, they are very easy to make.

Ingredients:

12 0z. bag milk chocolate chips

1/4 cup sour cream

2 Tbs. almond flavoring

Powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips on medium for 3-4 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  2. Once done melting, stir until completely smooth.
  3. Mix in the sour cream and almond flavoring and blend well.
  4. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
  5. Roll into 3/4 inch. balls and then roll into powdered sugar.

Enjoy!

 

Cheerwine Cupcakes

It’s recipe Wednesday and there is nothing more Southerner than a cup of ice cold Cheerwine. Don’t know what Cheerwine is?  The beverage is a cherry soft-drink, founded in North Carolina. Trust me, it is a must-try!

This soft-drink has multiple uses, including being made into quick and easy cupcakes!

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 12 ounces Cheerwine
  • 1/8 teaspoon cherry flavor
  • Maraschino cherries
Frosting: 
  • 4 cups Cheerwine
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2-3 cups of powdered confectioner sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line cupcake pans with liners and set aside
  2. Whisk together cake mix, Cheerwine, and cherry flavor. Pour into prepared pans and bake according to package instructions. Cool completely.
  3. In a saucepan, boil down the Cheerwine until it has reduced to 1/2 cup.
  4. In a mixer, cream butter and 2 cups of powdered sugar on medium speed. Slow speed to low and add Cheerwine reduction. Increase speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, adding additional sugar if needed.
  5. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes and top with maraschino cherries.

Enjoy!

American Flag on the Moon

Every now and then we all need a little motivation. Some motivation to get us through the day, week, or even year. Country singer Brad Paisley’s “American Flag on the Moon” is the perfect inspiration and pick me up.

Just remember when you are going through a tough time, there is nothing you can’t do, because, after all, there’s an American flag on the moon.

Happy Thursday!

Beauty Tips from a Southern Belle

  There are just a handful of products that every belle keeps stocked in her beauty cabinet. One of those products is vaseline. This household item has multiple uses, everything from beauty to the home.

  1. Use in place of shaving cream
  2. Gloss lips
  3. Keeps cuticles soft
  4. Tame unruly eyebrows
  5. Lengthen and strengthen eyelashes
  6. Moisturizes chapped hands
  7. Removes makeup
  8. Shrinks pores
  9. Distresses furniture
  10. Repairs scratched CDs and DVDS
  11. Makes perfume last longer
  12. Apply to inside of pumpkin after craving at Halloween to last longer

Trust me, vaseline is a can’t miss product, that you will want to always have on hand. I know I do 🙂

 

Southern Cornbeard

Been stuck in the house these past few days, due to the winter storm? If you are like me, you are probably starting to get cabin fever. An easy cure for this “disease” is to cook.

Hopefully this quick recipe for cornbread will make it to your dinner table tonight.

Ingredients:

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 3 Tbsp. plain yellow cornmeal
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Melt butter in a skillet (cast iron is the best). Once melted, set aside for now.
  3. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt in a bowl.
  4. Mix eggs and buttermilk in a separate bowl. Then, combine with dry mixture until smooth.
  5. Add in melted butter
  6. Pour batter into skillet. Bake for 30 to 33 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy!