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Priceline bidding tip…

Retail Price

Tanya and I are taking a trip to Las Vegas at the beginning of March, 2011. We are flying out of Great Falls, Montana on Allegiant Air.

Our flight leaves at 11am, so we decided to stay in Great Falls the night before. I started trying to bid on hotel rooms using and was unable to get a price accepted much below retail, so I gave up and reserved a room for $87 per night and forgot about it until today.

I logged into priceline and searched rooms in Great Falls. The usual results showed up with most of the rooms being around $95 per night. I put a bid in for a room at $51 for a 2 1/2 star hotel. To my surprise my bid was accepted for a 3 start hotel (Holiday Inn). This just shows how prices change from day to day. Three days ago, none of my bids were successful and today my much lower bid was accepted. I am sure I could have gotten an even lower price, but at the time I wasn’t expecting $51 to be accepted.

Holiday Inn Great Falls

When booking a hotel room it is a good idea to reserve a room at retail price, making sure it can be cancelled if need be. Since you now have a backup plan you can be patient and bid on Priceline to get the rate you want without worrying about beings stuck sleeping in your car. Many times you get the best deals the week before you need the room as hotels will sometimes lower their prices to fill the rooms at the last minute.

Making summer plans…

We are thinking of heading out on a little road trip this summer.  We like to pack the family up and head out for little adventures.  While my sister was here this weekend, she was mentioning that her kids wanted to go back to South Dakota this year.  They went down last year and the kids had a blast.  She said there were a million things to see and do and they really hope to go back.

So she put the bug in my ear that Richard and I should think about meeting them there in the summer!!  Sounds promising to me!  I have been researching the area online a bit…help me out!!  Leave a comment about your favorite family vacation ever!!

Oh Happy Day…

Today I went to Cody’s school for a play.  Every year they have a group of actors come in that work with the kids for a week to put on an amazing display of artistic talent and imagination.  Cody has been talking about it all week…how excited he was. 

As Cody’s mother, I don’t expect that Cody will ever get a speaking part.  Because of all his airway trauma, Cody has a paralyzed vocal cord and speaks in a loud whisper.  To many people, he is near impossible to understand.  To us, it is fine because we hear it everyday, but if you get him in a room with lots of background noise, it can be very tricky.  So you can imagine my surprise when I heard that my son had gotten chosen for a speaking part.  A small one, but who cares.  The whole program was based on diversity and accepting the differences within one another. 

As I pulled out my video camera in time for his group to come on stage, I had a hard time holding back tears.  This was monumental!!  I was nervous for him, nervous if the other kids and parents would wonder what was wrong with him.  I could feel myself holding my breath as he got up and went to the mike and then….just as plain as day, he spoke his part.    I let out a sigh, he looked at me in the crowd and gave me a thumbs up.  It couldn’t have been better.  I was so proud and I know that moment will be with him for a very long time!!

Category: Life  Tags: ,  One Comment

Hair free and happy :)

One of the things I hate, and most women hate, is having to shave on holidays!  How annoying it is to have to take time away from your beach sitting to make sure that you are presentable to the general public.  Up here in Canada, sometimes it is so cold, we feel we need to hang onto that hair…like wearing longjohns!  So when we travel to somewhere warm and tropical….we need maintenance.

I am a certified laser technician…and I no longer own a laser.  Oh how sad it makes me.  The benefits of laser hair removal seriously want to make me purchase a new laser just to use on my own.  Now if you haven’t heard of laser hair removal…you are missing out!  Basically, you use a pulsed light laser which targets and destroys the hair follicles causing them to stop growing.  After approximately 3 or 4 consecutive treatments, most people will notice a significant reduction of hair in the area of lasering.  And this is not just for the ladies…we lasered Richard’s face many times and greatly reduced the amount of ingrown hairs and shaving time.  For men with hairy backs…come on ladies…you know that is just not sexy, it works great!!  For the ladies, any area of the body can be treated…except around the eyes.  It is so nice to go on a week long beach holiday and not have to shave once!!   I lasered my own legs once a month for 3 months and ended up not having to shave them once for the entire summer!  Who wouldn’t love that!!

There are definitely prime candidates for the lasering.  If you have fair skin and dark hair, you are going to see the best results.  The reason is that the laser works on targeting the pigment.  The bigger the difference of color between the skin and the hair, the better!  The laser will not treat white or grey hair and red hair is also difficult to treat.  The darker your skin the harder it is.  And you should not be tanning when you get your lasering done!  I once treated a lady and sent her home with strict instructions to go home and ice her legs and not do her usual tanning.  She instead went tanning and then sat in her car and drove two hours.  She ended up with small burn marks all down the backs of her legs.  So wherever you go…always follow their instructions for post treatment care!

Trust me when I say that if you choose to pay the money and go get some lasering done…you will never regret it!!

Las Vegas

Richard and I are headed to Las Vegas at the beginning of March.  The day we get there we are booked in for a tour of the Zappos head office.  Richard heard about it from an online interview he saw and found the website.

The concept is building culture within your business and creating “wow” for your customers.  It teaches you how to create a fun, family oriented working environment!  They strive to make work a happy place to go and want to teach others how to do the same.  Richard ordered the culture book and we booked our tour.  I am excited…not only for the tour, but I get to go to Vegas….where it is warm and sunny!!!

Continued on…

Ok, so that night, I convinced a friend from work to go with me.  A big group date…innocent enough!  I didn’t know until years later that between work and going out that night, Richard had called his youngest brother who graduated with me.  He wanted to check out if I was sane I think…luckily his brother told him that I was “normal”!  Whew!  That night we just ended up talking the night away…about my schooling, his job and family, but mostly about the girls and how he felt guilt over what was going on in their lives.  Richard is a die hard romantic…he only ever wanted to get married once, he wanted his two kids and to live happily ever after.  I love that about him. 

We decided that there was a definite connection but we were both nervous.  He was in the middle of a divorce and the father of two kids, I was 19 and still in college…it seemed impossible that our two very different lives could be meshed into one.  We decided to wait for me to meet the girls, the last thing they needed was someone else to come into and then leave their lives.  At the time I met Richard, the girls were with Richard every weekend from Friday to Monday and during the week they were with their grandparents just over an hour away.  They were amazing Grandparents and Richard always knew that they were loved and happy while they were there.  Richard also went there every Wednesday night after work to bath the girls, read them a story and tuck them into bed.  I doubt very much that the girls remember the all the hours he drove to be with them as much as he could. 

And while he dealt with the divorce and work and squeezing in as many hours with the girls that he could, I went back to school.  The only thing I dealt with was friends asking “are you crazy?”, and “you’re joking right?”.  It was hard to explain to people.  We were only weeks into a relationship and I already knew.  People may say it’s corny, but I already knew that I would marry him…that I was meant to marry him. 

About a month or so into our relationship, I got to meet the girls.  Ahhh they were so adorable!  Taylor was 2.5 and Daniele had just turned 1.  There isn’t one person who could have met them and not fallen in love with them.  Daniele and I instantly bonded, she was still a baby and didn’t really even remember much of her birth mother.  Taylor was 2.5….she remembered and she wasn’t always easy.  I would be lying if I told you that joining into a ready made family was always easy.  Any step-parents out there know exactly what I am talking about.  The great thing I had was that the girls were still very young and much easier to bond with then teenagers!  Taylor didn’t like to share her “daddy”, she was so used to having him all to herself.  Completely understandable and that was never hard for me…we always agreed that the girls would always come first.  I may not have been a parent yet, but I knew how sacred that position was.  And in a divorce situation, I knew that making it easy for the kids was the way to go.

To be continued…again 🙂

Category: Life  Tags: ,  One Comment

“Step”ping into Parenting…

I turned 19 on June 8, 1995.  I had my life set out.  I had finished my first year of college and was headed home to my parent’s house to work for the summer and save up some money.  I took a full time job waitressing in the small hotel that was near our house and planned to work as many hours as possible.  I had zero intention of meeting anyone, I knew I was moving 2 hours away at the end of summer. 

A month into summer holidays, a family friend approached me about taking over her secretarial position for 2 weeks so she could go on vacation.  I jumped at the chance and quickly gave my notice at the hotel.  Answering phones and typing seemed much more pleasant to me than serving breakfast at 6 a.m.  I soon started work at the nearby oil and gas plant doing whatever secretarial stuff she had left for me.  I was the only female in a completely male dominated office.  Luckily it was a small town and I knew most of the guys who worked there.  I remember being excited on my last day there…finally back to school for me.  I had about 4 days and then I was moving to get started back on my college courses. 

And that was the day I met Richard.  He worked as an operator at the plant.  Now if we want to discuss how some things are meant to be….here is one.  Richard had 2 weeks of holidays but because he had used one day earlier, he only had 1 week and 6 days…which ended him right back to work on the last day of my work.  I knew exactly who he was when I saw him…I had gone to school with two of his brothers.  Luckily I knew how to turn on the magic cause by the end of the day, I had a plan for a small group of us to go out that night.   The nice thing for him was that I already knew all about him…news travels fast in small towns!  I was drawn to him instantly and truthfully was not thinking at all into the future.  Can you imagine at 19 thinking about getting together with a 24 year old on his way to divorce with 2 babies at home?  I guess maybe my age was a good thing…I was naive enough not to worry about stepping into the world of parenting.

To Be Continued…..

Cheap car rentals…

Family travel can get expensive with hotel, meals and car rentals, so it makes sense to save money where ever you can.  Here is a money saving tip anyone can take advantage of to save a few dollars when renting a car.

I tend to use Priceline for most of my travel bookings, but I have found that often you can get a better deal on car rentals using  I usually check the price listed on Hotwire and then go to Priceline and bid a few dollars lower and see what happens.  If my bid is rejected on Priceline I will book the car using Hotwire.

Click the link below for a quick video demonstrating how it’s done.

Video too small? Click Here

Christmas in Las Vegas Baby!

My husband’s family consists of 4 brothers, their wives and 10 kids.  His Mom passed away in May of 2000 and his Dad passed away in September of 2004.  Christmas always meant alot to our families, but after both his parents passed away, we wanted to make sure that we were always close.  People are amazed when they hear that we have monthly get togethers with Richard’s family…it is important.  Always remember that family is what is most important and they won’t always be around.  Richard may have been 34 by the time both his parents were gone, but I know that there are many times when he wishes he could call up his mom to tell her something great…or ask his Dad how to build something…or give his Mom one more pair of earrings for her birthday cause he couldn’t think of one single thing she needed.  And she loved it…every year…Beth didn’t care what she got because it meant the world to her coming from one of her boys!  They both loved hosting, they loved travel and they loved Christmas…so we thought we would do them proud and head out of town for Christmas…all 18 of us together!

Since 2004, we have been alternating between his family and in-laws.  It seems to be working great so far.  Right after Christmas of 2008, we started making plans to go somewhere warm for Christmas of 2009.  I like to be on the computer…in case you hadn’t noticed…so I took over finding us somewhere to stay!    Being the adventerous sort I am, I set out to find ONE house that would fit us all.  Who wants to spend Christmas Day all bunched up in a couple of hotel rooms…boring!

Why Las Vegas?  Why not Florida or Hawaii?  Well, two of my brother-in-laws run a business together and it is hard for them to get away for a long time together, so Vegas seemed perfect.  Close to fly to, stay and play for a few days and then come home.  I used to look for a house and because Richard and I had been there a few times already, we somewhat knew what areas we liked.  You guys are probably thinking it was hard to find a house that fit 18 people….but it wasn’t.  There are a ton of rental homes on that allow for up to 25 people.  And alot of those people own two houses side by side so you could rent enough space for 50 people!  It is amazing!!  I emailed a ton of houses, found availability for the dates we wanted and waited.  After receiving a ton of emails back, I sorted through them, found the perfect house and booked it.  The great thing was we had all this square footage, our own pool and hottub and we would all be together.  The cost was approximately $450 per family for the house plus any groceries which we split 4 ways.  And using Allegiant airlines we paid a fraction of the costs for the flight. 

Ok, so what did we do when we got there??  Well we kind of all did our own special things, one family went to see the Blue Man Group (very loud…but good) others went outlet shopping (they were very happy).  Let me stop there….let me tell you about my sister-in-law.  We gave her a hard time….she mapped out the malls.  I am not joking…she literally had maps, a pen and a highlighter to map her route and what stores she had to hit.  You know who you are…and we love you!!  Anyway, Christmas Eve we wanted to do something special as a family so we rented a huge limo and had them take us around and down to Freemont Street.  The kids loved it!!  Of course they had a live band, big Christmas tree and the popular light show.  It was wonderful!

Christmas Day we spent at the house eating big meals and….swimming!!  That’s right…swimming in our own private outdoor pool! 

I think I can speak for all of us when I say we all had a super time!  It was nice to get away from the snow and just enjoy each others company!  Hoping to get away Christmas of 2011 with my side of the family!  Keep you posted on that one!

What I am craving…

We need to talk about something!  That’s right…we do.   I am craving the Melting Pot!  Have you been to one?  If you haven’t, you should!  I have been to The Melting Pot in Irvine, CA twice now.  The first time was a girls trip with my sister-in-laws and the second time I took Richard for his 40th birthday!  It is a glorious place.

It is considered a romantic, fine dining fondue restaurant…and it is!  Reservations are definitely recommended as it does take you quite some time to eat.  Both times I went we got a four course meal…starts with your choice of cheese fondue with bread and veggies to dip.  You then move into the salad course…excellent!  The Ceasar salad is to die for!  Then onto the main course with either a broth fondue or oil.  Then you select your entree choices…we had one with chicken, tuna, lobster, beef tenderloin, and pork with a Coq au Vin broth….so so delicious!  Then onto dessert!  Oh, I know, yum!  We had the turtle chocolate fondue with cheesecake, pound cake, strawberries, brownies and rice krispies to dip.  My goodness…it is a good thing that I do not live close to one of these restaurants!! 

I highly highly recommend this restaurant if you ever get a chance.  And to make it super easy for you, most of them accept reservations online as well!  Go…I command you…Go and Enjoy!!