Friday, April 17, 2009

Ahhh Paradise!!

While some people may prefer paradise to be a place untouched by humans, rather than an outcropping of resorts on a sandy shore, I assure you Cable Beach in the Bahamas is close enough for me. It's warm, sunny with a light breeze, the people are friendly, and I'm writing this while enjoying an ocean view and sand between my toes. After this past winter in New England, I'd say "paradise" is exactly where I am right now.

Fred is down here attending the annual Bahamas Weather Conference. It's a chance to listen to all the big names in meteorology discuss the upcoming hurricane season. Me? I'm happily along for the ride.

The Bahamas Department of Tourism hosts this event each year, and they pull out all the stops! We have been treated to Bahamian hospitality at its best. We've dined at some of Nassau's finest restaurants, experienced some cultural events, and enjoyed the beautiful (and did I mention warm?) beaches. We're staying at the Sheraton, Cable Beach. It's a gorgeous resort, and definitely NOT overcrowded. There are children here, and while I think it would be a nice place to bring my children, it doesn't have that crazy, theme park atmosphere that I think we'll find when we head over to Atlantis on Saturday. I'm pre-judging, and I will be sure to give a fairer assesment/comparison after I've experience Paradise Island.

During the opening cocktail reception, we were treated to a Junkanoo parade.

Today, while Fred spent the morning listening to speakers, I strolled Cable Beach. I don't know if people sleep late on vacation, if everyone visiting the Bahamas stays at Atlantis, or if the economy is so terrible that no one is traveling here -- the beach was pretty desolate. During my two hour jaunt, I ran into a handful of people: a local woman cleaning the beach, a poacher killing conch and collecting the shells, and a couple of people running.

I also saw several huge starfish - not the type you have to search tide pools to find - HUGE starfish just lying in the water, which is crystal clear and a beautiful hue of turquoise. Of course I had no camera! Maybe tomorrow, although Fred didn't seem that impressed -- like he sees starfish every day.

Now, I'm going to sit back, relax and do I said, PARADISE!!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

New Challenge?

I'm sure it won't come as a shock to anyone if I say our family is trying to keep better tabs on where we spend our money these days. I mean, you're probably saying, "join the club".

As I was grocery shopping last week, I decided to begin a little game with myself. Would it be possible for me to spend only $100 to feed my family for the entire week. Now, maybe there are some of you frugal Fannies out there who are thinking, "$100? I could feed my family for a month on that, maybe even two if I tap into my food storage."

Frugality has never been one of my traits, especially where food is concerned. We typically spend $150 per week on groceries and go out to eat one night/week with the kids. In addition, I probably stop off at the market at least once during the week to pick up more milk or something I forgot to buy, so spending only $100/week is a HUGE challenge for us.

I let my family know that this was a challenge I had set; otherwise, I would surely give in when the children started complaining about what my oldest refers to as "quick fix meals" - aka pasta or something along those lines. I guess he expects me to whip up a turkey dinner every night.

How's it going? Well, last week I spent $98 and change on my shopping trip. I had to return later in the week for more milk and cat food, so my total was a little over $103. Still a huge savings from the week before.

Today was Friday - woohoo!! day. The kids had fun seeing if we would indeed be able to stick to our limit. When we got up to the checkout the total was $101.98, BUT through the magic of coupons, we were able to get out of the store for a mere $91.73!! I still have to go to another market for a couple of things that were significantly less expensive, but I think overall I am doing a pretty impressive job of saving our family money.

Will my thrifty trend last? I don't know - but for now, it's kind of fun trying.