Tag Archives: trip

Adventures in Fort Lauderdale

So not really a port, but with the way things worked out we will have the most time to spend in Fort Lauderdale and I figured I should probably look into what there is to do there!  As I mentioned before, by staying a few extra days we are saving a ton of money.  I don’t think I ever gave you guys the breakdown, but had we left on the day the boat returned our tickets home would have been as high as $1,300 each.  By holding off a little our tickets were only $250 each!  So even if you calculate in the loss of work, food, and hotel we’re *still* ahead of the game!  I’m still astounded that more vacation = less money.

I managed to book a hotel through for next to nothing, it is right by the airport, thus also right by the beach.  If nothing else, we’ll have a few extra days to relax.  As it turns out though there are a TON of things to do in Fort Lauderdale!

Everglades national park at sunset.

As I mentioned before, our family is right into nature, so one of the top things to see in Florida is the everglades.  I’m hoping we can visit the Everglades National Park.  I haven’t found a specific tour yet, but I think we’ll be doing the ‘seat of your pants’ thing there.  Exploring such an eco system has been on my to do list for a long time.  We’ll likely see a crocodile or two, hopefully from the safety of a boat, and maybe even a manatee, along with dozen’s of native birds and other creatures that we would never see up here in the great white north.

Along the same natury lines is Butterfly World.  With ten acres of butterfly friendly gardens, and a humming bird exhibit I think we’ll make a point to stop by.  They have dozens of species of butterfly’s for you to see, and I have never in my life seen a humming bird, so that will be a treat as well.  It’s kind of pricey at $25 a head, but also something we can’t see here.  I guess we’ll have to see if we have any money left after shopping on three Caribbean islands.  If this one is too rich for you, there is also the Secret Woods Nature Center which also boasts a butterfly exhibit combined with hiking trails.


For even more nature you can visit Tree Tops national park.  It is a 365 acre preserve, with 23 acres of marsh all accessible by hike, canoe, paddle boat, or my favourite, horseback.  Exploring on horseback is highly appealing, and costs only $27/hour!  That would be the cheapest trail ride I’ve ever taken so it will definitely be added to our Florida itinerary.

For a super cheap, $6, evening of fun you can visit the Buehler Observatory to check out Florida’s constellations, and see the information presentations they put on periodically.  I’ve never been to an observatory, so we might just have to check this out too.

If, by the time we get off the cruise, we haven’t spent enough time on a boat we could check out the Jungle Queen riverboat tour of Fort Lauderdale’s canal system.  I can think of no better way to explore the city than by boat, with an all you can eat BBQ buffet at your finger tips.  One thing that we miss most having moved to Calgary is the water.  It’s not like we were big boaters who spent all of their free time on the lake or anything like that, but just being near it is something you take for granted until you no longer have it.  For the first year that we were here all of us whinned and moaned that we missed it.  Now it’s not as bad, but the idea of cruising around on a boat for the evening gets me to smiling.

There are several museums, and art galleries that you can visit for an afternoon of culture, and while I would mind spending a few hours this way I’m not sure I could drag Chelsea along with me.  I think maybe some snorkelling, or more beach time will be more her thing.  We were both afraid that three days would be too much, and that we’d be stuck in the hotel room with nothing to do.  I think I can now safely say that that will be far from the case.  If nothing else, with a beach near by, who could be bored?


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Great Contest, & Contesting Tips

Not only am I one of those ‘crazy coupon ladies,’ but I also enter every contest I can get my hands on.  Contesting is fun, and it brings things to our family that we would otherwise never normally have.

Here is a great contest to enter, and if you win, I win too!  Win a $1,000 Mexx gift card!  It is a one time only entry, open to Canadians.  I will share contests like this every once in a while with you.

I’ve won trips, ipads (3 of them!), jewelry, gift cards galore, household goods, you name it and I’ve likely won it, even the perfume giveaways I’m having now were sponsored by my contesting habit.  When I tell people some of the things I’ve won, I get, “Wow you’re lucky,” or “you win everything!”  What I then have to try and explain, is that luck doesn’t really have anything to do with it.  It’s a hobby, but it’s a hobby that requires a lot of hard work.

In the thick of it, when I was really winning a lot, I was spending a minimum of four hours a day entering.  I don’t do that anymore as it was just too much to keep up with, but even now I spend about 2 hours a day finding and entering.

If you’re new to the contesting world, here are some things you might not know.

Roboform or Lastpass are an absolute must for any contestor.  These are both software that will help you fill out forms rather than doing them manually.  They are both free, and very easy to use.

-Find yourself a forum.  There are *many* contesting sites out there that will list available contests, find one that you like and visit regularly to keep up with what’s out there.  Some good one’s are Contestgirl or RedFlagDeals.  I prefer Contestgirl, but it’s a personal choice.

-Read the rules.  Always, always, always read the rules and try to take advantage of the maxiumum ways to enter.  How many adults are in your household?  If the rules say that you can enter once per day, per person, then you can enter both yourself, and your husband increasing your chances.  By the same measure though some will be once per household and if you enter too many times, you risk being disqualified.

-Stay organized.  You will find a system that works for you, but try to stay as organized as possible so you can stay on top of things.  I go through Contestgirl once per week.  Any contest that I can enter more than once is bookmarked in their respective folders (daily, monthly, weekly), with an end date in the title.  Some contests will leave their form up long after it’s over so your time is being wasted if you don’t know when it ends.

-Don’t bother entering for things that you don’t really want or need.  Some people can get carried away, entering for the sake of entering, especially at first.  Try to reign yourself in and skip over contests with prizes you can’t use.  After all, someone else might need it, and why waste your time entering a contest for something you don’t even really want?

Contesting can be fun, but it can also be a lot of work.  You don’t have to spend hours a day entering, but you will get out of it what you put into it.

Don’t forget to enter our Vera Wang perfume giveaway!



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