Using Airbnb for your vacation lodging!

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When we started going to homeschool conventions this spring, I was really unsure of how it was going to work to book hotels everywhere. We already knew that we didn’t really want to stay at the hotel connected the convention, as they normally are higher priced hotels at really nice convention centers. If we were just going to one convention as homeschool parents, it’s a fun splurge. But when you start traveling quite a bit, the extra cost really adds up.

Right before we went to our first convention, an online friend told me about Airbnb. I had never heard of it, but I’ve since heard it’s super popular! I might be the only one out there that was unfamiliar with it, but if you haven’t heard of it either, read on to find more about this amazing website!

Using Airbnb for your vacation lodging needs! It's perfect for a large family wanting to travel on a budget!

Traveling with a large family is difficult. Trying to find a hotel room that will accommodate a family to stay together requires extra work, and sometimes you can’t even get it to work. Then you have the expense of two rooms, when you can often make one room work. Our children are still young enough that we can fit into one room, if it’s suite. However, we have found a better solution!

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Airbnb is a website where people offer homes, apartments, or just a room in their house for rent, for a day, two days, a week, or longer. This service is offered all over the USA, and you can find little houses, big houses, plain houses or fancy houses!

So…what did we think?

We have used Airbnb three times now. The first time we took our two oldest boys, went to Nashville and got an apartment for $62.00 a night. It was actually basement apartment at someone’s house, but it was a separate entrance with no way to get upstairs from the apartment. It was not fancy, but we were able to save money on food by bringing along food and using the fridge and freezer, and I even brought my instant pot along and had dinner waiting for us in the evenings! For a business trip, it was perfect.

We used Airbnb on our Florida trip and absolutely loved the houses we rented!

A house we rented in Florida from the Airbnb website! It was the perfect vacation home!

The first house was a 4 bedroom, 3 bath house with a pool behind it that was just for us to use in Orlando! We were pleasantly surprised that the dining room table even fit our family (our current table is a really tight squeeze now). The house was clean, and had the basics we needed. It was in a gated neighborhood, and we felt totally safe there! We paid around $150 a night for this house, which I thought was an awesome price!

Kitchen and Dining room in a house we rented in Florida. It was the perfect vacation home, and we found it through Airbnb!

The second house was a block away from a beach a few hours away from Orlando. It was a smaller house than the previous one, officially it was just a 2 bedroom, 2 bath house, but they had a couch bed in a little room off the living room that we used. Even though this house was smaller, it was probably my favorite because the decorating style was exactly what I love!

A lovely distressed looking desk that worked as an office, or to put makeup on in the morning!

Everything was shabby chic looking, in whites, grays, and vintage style. It was so adorable!

Simple but clean bedroom with throw pillows, a nice coordinating bedspread and curtains.

This was the master bedroom, I spent as much quiet time in here as I could, just relaxing after the convention. The guys watched a sports game together, and I think I came in here one night and watched a movie by myself. It was wonderful. 🙂

Kitchen tools kept in one spot, and organized!

Part of the kitchen! It obviously had plenty of kitchen tools provided!

Grilling dinner at the vacation house in Florida!

The boys found these hats in the shed, so they thought it was great fun to wear them while grilling dinner. 🙂

We loved our Airbnb experiences, and definitely plan on using them over and over again when we travel! If you have a larger family, it especially makes sense to check into this, or if you just want more privacy, the enjoyment of an actual house over a hotel room.

Here are some things you should know before going to an Airbnb house. 

  1. Normally the host communicates with you really well on how to get into the house, check in and check out times. We only saw our host at the apartment we stayed at, a lot of the people that own these homes don’t live locally. I prefer to just be left alone, but I had to email the owner a few times and she always got back with me quickly, to answer my questions.
  2. Every house we stayed at had dishes provided to eat on, and silverware. The kitchen in Orlando had quite a lot of kitchen items provided (pots and pans, a blender, toaster, etc). However, only the basics are normally provided. I would suggest bringing along a can opener if you are planning on cooking, as 2 different times I really needed one, and it wasn’t there, or it wasn’t working well.
  3. You are responsible for providing your own toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, dishwashing detergent, and trash bags. I suggest bringing your own from your house, instead of going out on the trip just to purchase these things. One of the houses provided trash bags, the other house did not. It’s just easiest to bring these things along, because you never know exactly what will be provided. All of the houses had an iron and ironing board, so I could have left my iron at home. Yes, I travel with my iron!
  4. While you have to leave the house in a clean and orderly fashion, a cleaning person is always hired to come in and clean after you leave. You don’t have to wash sheets and towels, or scrub floors before leaving.
  5. Make sure and read all the reviews before booking a house! Even if it’s a 5 star review with no negative feedback, you might find out helpful information about the house or area.

When you join Airbnb through this link, you automatically get a $25 credit to use towards your first trip! If you are traveling this summer, it’s a great option! We are already looking forward to the next Airbnb house we stay at!

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What We Have Planned For June

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Can you believe that June is actually here? We have been so busy with homeschool conventions that the spring has just flown by. We finished our last convention the end of May, and just got home after spending extra time in Florida for a family vacation.

 

It was wonderful to be away, but it’s also nice to be home again. Sean and I had a lot of time to talk through our family businesses, what needs to change and what needs to stay the same. I tried to just take a break while we were gone, and not be on social media or blog nearly as much. It’s so healthy to take a break, whether a blogger or not. I have found social media to be draining lately, and not as enjoyable as I once did.

On the beach in Florida together for vacation!

Once we got home, we had a family meeting to sit down and talk about our goals for June. The children had several ideas that surprised me! Here are some things we are going to work on.

Chore Charts

The children asked for an actual chore chart on the wall. Wow. Who is going to turn that request down? I was already planning on using the Motivated Moms chore chart, because I love how this tells you new things to do every day. I don’t like thinking these things up, so I’m eager to give this a try.

I’m going to include the children in this list by writing their initial next to the job I want them to complete from the list each day, then they can check it off when they it done. This is on top of their daily morning chore they have to do. I think they want some variety, and actually want to try some new chores. That works for me!

If you purchased the Homemaking Bundle, you will find the Motivated Moms in your bundle!

Cooking Classes

We live in a house with a very small kitchen. I haven’t done a very good job of letting the children in with me at meal times to cook, just because there isn’t much space! My oldest is 12 and I know he could totally make a whole meal on his own if I devoted more time to teaching him. So far he has done simple things (scramble eggs, oatmeal, etc.) but it’s time to get more serious about teaching them, and it needs to happen outside of dinner meal time when I’m stressed about getting dinner on the table right away.

That’s why I was so thrilled to find the Kids Cook Real Food cooking classes for children, with videos to watch online, lessons to work through, and they are even age specific, but the whole family can work together. Plus, the recipes are healthy! The registration ends Monday, so I grabbed it last night and will get the supplies I need when I go grocery shopping later today. We will start this week, and it’s going to be so much fun!

Decluttering the House

I shared in the post on what vacation taught me about homemaking that I really wanted to come home and declutter more. I literally woke up Friday morning and started attacking the house. I have three large boxes of stuff to get rid of so far, and much more to come! I’m loosely following the Konmari method, more so the “does this bring me joy” question then the guidelines of exactly how to go through your house. Sometimes I hold onto things just because of younger children, when in reality I can easily find it again at a consignment sale if I absolutely need it again.

Exercising

We are blessed to have a gym a few minutes away from our house that is super cheap ($30 a year!) but it has really good equipment there. Sean has been going there for awhile now in the mornings, but I’m going to start going with him. I went this morning and it was so awesome! It felt so good to be out of the house, and working on finally losing this baby weight!

So there you go! Those are some of my goals for the month of June. I’d love to hear what projects you have going on at your house! 

 

 

 

 

What Vacation Has Taught Me About Homemaking

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It’s been quiet here on the blog because we have been on a family vacation. It’s been a nice time away to spend as a family together, and I’ve tried to be on my phone less, and definitely on social media less. We have rented two different houses through Airbnb, which I highly recommend doing! It’s been a lot of fun living in different houses for a few days at a time, and I’ve had some realizations when it comes to homemaking.

What Vacation Taught Me About Homemaking

It’s More Motivating To Keep A Pretty House Clean

You might not be into decorating, but I personally find it so enjoyable to clean a house when I know the end result will be a pretty house. A house that looks nice varies greatly from family to family, but it can be amazing what some paint, and a few tasteful pieces of decor can do. A nice mirror hung up, a candle on the counter, even something as simple as matching bathroom towels make a bathroom look so nice!

While it might take more time to make your bed every day with pretty throw pillows on it, the happy feeling you get when walking into the room makes it worth the few minutes!

Simple but clean bedroom with throw pillows, a nice coordinating bedspread and curtains.

My favorite place to shop for home decor items on a budget is Home Goods, Marshalls and Hobby Lobby. They offer really lovely items for people on a budget.

It’s Easier To Clean a House When It’s Clutter Free

I know it’s necessary to have stuff. But oh my. It seems like stuff just scatters everywhere, and the more there is, the bigger the mess. The houses we have stayed at have the necessities, and besides the decor, nothing else. It makes cleaning up the kitchen especially much easier. When you don’t have a cluttered kitchen, it makes cleaning time be cut by up to half the time!

Kitchen tools kept in one spot, and organized!

I liked having the kitchen tools out where they were easy to grab, and all the silverware was underneath in the wooden box.

Bad Habits Die Hard

Just because you might get your house decluttered and looking pretty, it doesn’t mean that your bad habits die hard. Even though I was much more motivated to keep the first house we stayed at clean, I walked into the master bathroom and still found all my bathroom items scattered all over the countertop, but Sean had his items in a neat and tidy manner, like usual. I’m not the tidy and organized person, but Sean is. You can purge and organize all you want, but you still have to work on creating good habits to maintain that.

A lovely distressed looking desk that worked as an office, or to put makeup on in the morning!

This was one of my favorite spots! Simple, but elegant, I worked on the computer here. It was also perfect for putting makeup on!

Children make Messes!

No matter where you go, or how beautiful the house is that you have, children will go in and make messes. Even with the limited amount of stuff we brought along, we were constantly battling messes from the children. It’s important to teach your children to clean up after themselves, and how to do daily chores that help the family out.

We do daily chores, but I’m going to start using the Motivated Moms Chore Planner, to help us be consistent in getting more done each day. I struggle with coming up with extra ideas of chores the children can do to help (can anyone relate to overloaded mommy brain?) and so I’m thinking this will be a big help.

It’s Time To Get Serious About Homemaking!

We have been away from home a lot this Spring, traveling to different homeschool conventions. June is our quiet month at home before school starts again in July for us, and I’m really looking forward to doing some more purging, and trying to create a beautiful, peaceful home for my family.

I’d love to challenge you to join me in focusing on our homes in June! There are so many different things that fall under the category of homemaking. It could be teaching your children how to cook, getting a good system for your laundry in place, organizing some closets, purging stuff (think KonMari method!), putting together a planner, or even just reading some good books on homemaking!

One thing I’m definitely going to do is dig into my Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, and go through all the resources! I’ve already used some of them, but since we have been gone so much I still have a lot more to go through and start using!

If you missed the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle in the last sale, they are giving you one last chance to grab this Bundle in the 2 day flash sale! Today and tomorrow is the very last time you can grab this particular bundle with all it’s resources!

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle has 93 resources, which normally costs over $1,000 to buy separately (no joke!), but today you can get it for less than $30! It also comes with some awesome bonus offers, including an awesome set of cleaning items from Mrs. Meyer’s products!

Like I did during the last sale, I’m offering this rare $10 gift certificate to Deborah & Co. as my very own bonus when you purchase through my blog! A lot of ladies have taken advantage of this coupon they received, as it’s a great deal! Simply fill out this form after you purchase the bundle, and I’ll email you the coupon code!

Purchase the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle and receive a $10 gift card to Deborah & Co.
Find out more information here!

*Affiliate links are present in this post. Thank you for your support!

 

 

Confessions From A Husband About Homemaking

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Confessions From A Husband About Homemaking

You may have heard – the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is here. Even I’m excited about it! And why shouldn’t I be? For the past two years I’ve seen how it encourages my wife with its excellent resources and helpful tips. Homemaking is not a sprint, it’s a marathon and anything that can help keep a spring in my wife’s step deserves my appreciation.

I didn’t always think in this way. My early views on keeping a home were, well, cringe worthy.

As you may have learned by reading this blog, I like to keep things clean. When I was in High School I began keeping my room, my car, and my things meticulously. My first job was at a local grocery store and I relished the challenge of finding efficient ways to fill a grocery sack as the food beeped across the scanner. A few of you out there might relate but at this point most of you are probably pitying Caroline for ever having married me. Read on. : )

Sean and Caroline

Years later Caroline and I met, and for all of the wonderful things about our courtship it failed to disclose just how different she and I were in this area. That’s not to say that Caroline likes a good mess. It’s just that messes don’t speak to her the same way they do me.

Random stuff on the living room floor likes to jaw at me. It laughs at me; calls me names. I have to shut it up. To Caroline its saying, “Here we are, out of our places. No hurry though. We know you’ll pick us up when its convenient for you.”

So, of course she walks by as if it weren’t there. I simply can’t. Or should I say “couldn’t”. Six children does something to you in this regard. The stuff just kind of grins at me now – no words. I think I’m improving – don’t you?

Early marriage, though, was different. I can remember coming home from work and Caroline telling me that she had taken a nap during the day. “A nap?” I thought. Whatever for? I mean, it’s just you here, in this tiny house. You shop for groceries and you clean this house and you need a nap? (Are you cringing yet?)

There were days where she only had energy or time to tidy up one room before I got home. I’d walk through the door, size things up and quietly make my displeasure known, never mind acknowledging the work she did accomplish. This always hurt her a great deal. Ok, now I’m cringing.

“Yes you fool, she needs a nap. And no, she doesn’t need you guilting her into keeping the house clean!” That’s the me of today talking to the me of yesterday, or, at least that’s what I’d say if given the chance.

Starting a home based business really altered my thinking on this. You see, I was home more, and the more I was home the more I was able to see just how difficult, how complex, how thankless, how physically draining, and how mentally taxing homemaking really is.

Simplicity Quote on Motherhood

I quickly began to realize that not only did my wife occasionally need a nap to help her through the burden of the day, she deserved something eminently more important – encouragement. On a daily basis. From me.

I saw so many needs pressing upon her every day. I saw, with my own eyes, how the tasks she performed were critical to the overall wellbeing my home. To the casual onlooker, of course, these are menial, unlovely tasks not worthy of respect. The mother’s role in society is not exactly an exalted one, and my wife had long since come to terms with the way the world views what she does.

But what about the way her husband viewed it? Did she find honor and praise for her work from him? Something a wife simply cannot and should not be expected to endure is disrespect from within the home, particularly from her husband. He is, without a doubt, the best person to provide the encouraging words of appreciation she so desperately needs and legitimately deserves. She can endure the slings and arrows of the world’s harsh judgement if only he will affirm her work and bless her constancy.

I could have spared my wife a lot of hurt feelings if I would have made more of an effort to better acquaint myself with the demands of her work in the home.

Now I’m a true believer. My wife is irreplaceable. Her work is legitimately difficult. Most men couldn’t handle it. I mean it – they couldn’t handle it. It places physical and mental demands on her that I didn’t know even existed until I spent some time by her side.

Joyful Motherhood!

Too many men treat housekeeping like professional sports. The greatest athletes make what they do look easy to the point that in some of our more delusional moments we think we could actually do what they do. It’s just like that with our wives. They make it look easy, and we think, “Homemaking – nothing to it.” What nonsense. If that’s the way we look at housekeeping is it any wonder that they receive so little encouragement from us?

So that’s my little plug for not only the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, but all forms of encouragement we can give our wives. Caroline gets excited about the bundle every year. It helps to keep her spirits up. It motivates and inspires her. I’m all for it. God knows she has a difficult job.

**Caroline here – I have to let you know my husband totally, completely surprised me by writing this. I didn’t ask him to do this, and I was deeply humbled by what he shared here. I love my husband so much, and am thankful for his encouragement!**

Surprise! It’s the very last day of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle sale! I would hate for you guys to miss out on purchasing this bundle, especially because the bonus offers are incredible. A free subscription to Right Start Media for a year, where you receive a streaming video library that includes films for all ages!

Some of the items include:

  • VeggieTales
  • Adventures in Odyssey
  • 3-2-1 Penguins
  • What’s In the Bible
  • Boz the Bear
  • Chuck Swindoll’s Paws & Tales series for kids
  •  Bible studies by Francis Chan, John MacArthur, Dave Ramsey, and John Maxwell for adults.

You also receive a free cleaning kit from Grove! As you all know, Mrs. Meyer’s are my favorite cleaning products, and I LOVE getting my cleaning supplies and diapers from Grove!

Bonus offers with Ultimate Homemaking Bundle!

Here is the complete list!

  • FREE Mrs. Meyer’s Dish Soap, Mrs. Meyer’s Multi Surface Spray, Grove Collaborative Spray Bottle, Grove Collaborative Scrubber Sponges and FREE 60-day VIP trial with FREE shipping from Grove Collaborative ($30 value)
  • FREE Online Class from Craftsy ($29.99-$69.99 value)
  • FREE Kids Discovery Box from GreenKidCrafts.com ($19.95 value)
  • $15 Gift Certificate to InkWELL Press ($15 value)
  • $15 Credit to Hope Ink Shop PLUS Two FREE 8Ă—10 Art Prints with Any Purchase ($71)
  • FREE SPOT Treatment for Acne & Eczema OR a $15 Gift Certificate from Bloom Naturals ($15 value)
  • FREE 90-Day Pro Membership to ListPlanIt.com ($30)
  • FREE 1-Year MollyGreen.com Membership ($29 value)
  • FREE Hand Massage Routine Videos from Melt Couples Massage ($24 value)

But there is MORE!!!

I’ve given out an incredible amount of flexi clips already. It’s crazy how many I’ll be shipping out, but it’s about to get even crazier!

40 more ladies have a chance to obtain an item from Lilla Rose, today only! And it’s the first 40 who purchase an Ultimate Homemaking Bundle through my link!

Buy Now
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It’s going to be a little different this time around. Some of you will be receiving bobby pin sets from Lilla Rose, and some of you will be receiving flexi clips. Just fill out the form with your top 2 preferred sizes of flexi clips, and you will be surprised when your package arrives. It might be a flexi clip, or it might be a pair of bobby pins!

Remember, it’s the first 40 only! These went super fast last time! There is a small shipping fee you pay for these, but otherwise they are free! And it’s only for USA customers, unless international customers want to pay for the extra shipping!

Purchase the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle and receive a FREE Flexi Clip, plus a $10 gift certificate to Deborah & Co.

After you grab your bundle, fill out this google form to receive your item from Lilla Rose and the $10 gift certificate to Deborah & Co. 

Buy Now

(Republished  – Originally this post was written April of 2015)