September 10th marked the beginning of another season of the California Cleveland Family existence-SOCCER SEASON!!!!!! Abigail and Sam are both playing soccer for the first time this year. Abigail is in U8 and Sam is in U6. They are both loving soccer along with the all the practices and games. They both had their first game last Saturday....
Sam.... What can I say? U6 soccer is the cutest thing I have ever seen. They play 3 on 3 with no goalies and the coaches are out on the field with them. The kids are so cute at this age. They have no direction which way to go and a few "goals" were scored by the wrong team. And although there is no goalie at this age, Sam had a natural instinct to play defense and goalie. He was able to sprint the length of the field, catch up to the dribbler and defend the goal. Although Sam's team lost, I don't think any goals were scored against his team while he was in. :) Abigail... Abigail's age is much more competitive and Abigail has never played before. But, she was a natural, during the first half, she was aggresive, dribbling the ball, and charging the goal. She did great in the second half also but was much more winded!
Today there were many milestones in the Cleveland family. Sam turned 5 years old today and it was the first day of Kindergarten for Sam and the first day of 1st grade for Abigail! Enough said, look at the pictures!
Sam on his first day of Kindergarten!
Sam and his proud mama!
Abigail on her first day of 1st grade!
Again, proud Mommy!
John hanging out while Sam walks to class!
Sam walking to his first day of Kindergarten!
Abigail walking to her first day of 1st grade. She is gone til 3pm! :(
Sam's class celebrating his birthday!
Now both boys are sleeping and Abigail is still at school. It is weird to have it this quiet in the house!!!
For those of you that know me, you know that I have been wanting to take my kids to Disneyland/Disneyworld for awhile. I have such great memories of Disney from growing up and my kids are all at that magical age where the believe in princesses, talking race cars, and big magical mice. I love it!
About 6 months ago I decided to start saving for a trip to Disneyworld. I knew that at the rate I was able to save it would take about 2-3 years to save enough for a trip. We also have very good friends in Florida whom I am dying to see so that was added incentive to save.
Well about a week ago, Matt told me he would be traveling out to Florida (Orlando specifically) for a business conference. As I was lamenting to him about how it wasn't fair, that I wanted to go to Florida too, he casually said, "you and the kids should come out too." Well, whether he was serious or not, he had barely gotten the words out of his mouth before I was already planning in my head just how I was going to get our family out to Florida in June. I was thinking about airfare, insane theme park tickets, and hotels and my mind was swirling. I decided to tackle the challenge head on and here is what I came up with. I think when it is all said and done, I will have saved about 50% off a typical Disney vacation.
Airline Tickets Paid $848. Saved $1397
This was easy. Obviously, Matt is free since he is flying for work. Also, I found out that I had 1 1/2 free tickets on Southwest. All those nights Matt was gone for work have now paid off! So I had to come up with buying 2 1/2 tickets. Well these tickets were going to cost about $1097. Not bad for 5 people to Florida, but I had a friend offer to sell me his free ticket on Southwest for $200. So now, a $449 ticket only cost $200!!! (Thanks Jeffer family!)
Theme Park Tickets Paid $1000 Saved $100
When I was researching tickets, a blogger said that AT BEST, you can typically only save about 3-5% on theme park tickets if you are really willing to put some effort into it. I guess Disney really regulates their prices, doesn't offer discounts in summer months, and there just aren't discount retailers out there offering tickets for less than what Disney is selling them for. And lets face it, they are RIDICULOUSLY expensive! So when I came across this deal, I was SO excited! Currently, at Sams Club, you can buy $100 Disney gift cards for $98. Obviously not a big savings BUT you also get a FREE $10 Disney Store gift card with purchase. So I can buy $1000 worth of gift cards and end up with $1100 worth of money to spend at the Disney Store. And the awesome thing is that I can purchase my tickets at the Disney Store. SWEET!!!!
Hotel Paid $654 Saved $629
I would just LOVE to be able to stay at a Disney Resort Hotel but let's face it, the hotels I can afford aren't super nice (or clean for that matter) and the hotels I want to stay at are just highway robbery! So I looked around and found a 3 bedroom/3 bathroom condo on www.vrbo.com (LOVE this site!) for $109 a night. Plus, they have a free shuttle to Disneyworld. So, I could have stayed in a hotel room with 2 double beds for 5 people for $1283 and been on a Disney property, or I can stay in a NICE 3 bedroom condo with a full kitchen, living room, and bedrooms for my kids for $654. Hum????? here is a link to where we are staying....
Car Rental Paid $339 Saved $339
Now that we have a mini-van, we have decided that a minivan is a must on vacations! Minivans can be expensive to rent though. So I did what I ALWAYS do when I rent a car, I used priceline. I LOVE priceline. I ended up getting a $778 a week minivan for $339 for the entire week. I would ALWAYS recommend naming your own price for a car rental on your vacation.
So, I still haven't done the research on food and eating on the cheap at Disneyworld. I know that we will eat breakfast at the condo and perhaps dinner also so I know I can save on that. If anyone has any ideas/suggestions for eating cheap at Disney-let me know!
SO, grand total.....
I am PAYING $2840 for this trip. BUT, I have saved $1166 in the last 6 months so I am actually paying................................................
$1674!!!!!!!!!! FOR 6 NIGHTS IN FLORIDA AND AT DISNEYWORLD!!!!!!
A savings of 70%!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, and one of my bestest friends and her daughter are tagging along on their free frequent flyer miles. EXCITED!
OH AND WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T MENTION IT TO MY KIDS-IT IS A SUPRISE!!!!!!!!!!!!
There is one project I have been dreaming of since we bought the place, and it is finally done. Can you guess which room this is? Hint: it has white walls, 8-inch baseboards and a tan floor...
That's right, it's the garage.
Now equiped with epoxy floor covering, painted walls, and that's right, baseboards. It looks awesome. I didn't do it myself, but the amazing Dan did a great job on it.
Recently, Sam brought home a craft project from school in which he was asked, "Who is Jonah?" Here is his response: (Writen down on his craft project) "He was supposed to go to Nineveh, but he goed somewhere else. He goed to Tarshish , then he went to Nineveh. He got there on a whale. He told the people to stop doing bad things and they did." LOVE IT!!!