Greetings from the Howard Johnson's in Williamsburg Virginia! That's right. We got away! We are taking in historic Williamsburg during the homeschool days. Williamsburg is one of my favorite places. When we found out that we could get two-day tickets for a fraction of what they normally cost, we found an inexpensive hotel (with a swimming pool, of course) and made our plans.
Our plans for the long term including saving money. We did not buy anything "extra" for several weeks in order to prepare for this trip. I made several pieces for the county fair that won ribbons. I saved the prize check to pay for our tickets. I also saved all my babysitting checks for the last 4 weeks of the summer. I didn't even cash them. I took the checks and put them into envelopes marked for specifics aspects of the trip. I had an envelope for gas, an envelope for food (more to follow on that), an envelope for the hotel, an envelope for the tickets into Williamsburg, and envelopes for spending money. We give the boys an allowance, which we have not allowed them to spend for a month. This way, they are not asking us for money. They came to Virginia with packed wallets! I filled my envelopes keeping track each week of what was put into the envelope. I wrote on the outside of the envelope the amount needed and how much was in the envelope. When I had all the money I needed for that envelope, I circled the title.
And now to the food: We are eatting out twice while in Williamsburg from Friday to Saturday. I packed cold lunches and plenty of snacks for the room as well as cold//quickie breakfast items. On Thursday I toasted a bagel for each of us and heated up several sausage patties. Then I scrambled some eggs with onions in them. I put half the bagel on a square of heavy duty foil and layered the eggs, sausage, and a slice of cheese, and topped it with the other half of the bagel. I wrapped each bagel-wich individually in foil and put them into the refrigerator. When we awoke early Friday morning I heated up the oven and threw our foil-wrapped breakfast into the oven. When we were ready to leave about a half an hour later, I wrapped the bagel-wiches in two tea-towels and we hit the road. A little over an hour later, we had a warm, toasty, and delicious breakfast on the road.
Another way I prepared, other than the usual packing, was to pack two briefcases. Several years ago we bought the boys each an old-fashioned briefcase at a thrift-store. These are the hard cases that men used to carry. They are great for car trips because they can't be over-stuffed like a backpack. Because of that, they slide under the car seats with ease. The hard-back of the cases make great lap desks while travelling. Into each of the boys briefcases I put a copy of the directions from home to Williamsburg. I printed these on mapquest. I also put several pencils, an eraser and a pencil sharpener. My boys love to draw, so into the briefcases went both of their sketchbooks. I also found a few treasures from the bookshelves that I don't even think the boys knew we had. I found a paper airplane book, that went into one briefcase with some extra paper for folding. I put a joke book in one briefcase. I put a "how to do magic" book in one and a "101 card games" book into another. Each boys had a deck of cards in their cases. I put a stop watch into one and a mini-tape recorder into another. Then I called to the boys and had them each pick a book to read to put into their cases. I had one final surprise. One thing I always like to do before a trip is pick up a magazine. I love to have some simple reading for a vacation. So, I took the boys to the market and let them each pick a magazine. They weren't allowed to look at the magazine until the trip and it went right into the briefcase. So their cases were stored the night before and the boys had tons of activities to keep them busy for the almost-six-hour trip from home to Williamsburg, VA.
I wanted to make our packed-meals a little more special than just the lunch-meat sandwich variety. Here's what I did. Before we left on Friday morning, I put a package of hotdogs on the indoor grill and started some water boiling. I cooked the hotdogs on the grill. When the hotdogs were done and the water was boiling, I put the dogs into a wide thermos and poured the water over them. I put enough water into the thermos so that it came close to the top and tightened the lid. When we arrived at our hotel, we had still-warm hotdogs for our lunch. I also picked up some friend chicken at the market before leaving and cooked a meatloaf. I sliced the meatloaf and tomorrow we will have meatloaf sandwiches for lunch. For supper tonight we had cold chicken (one of my favorite treats), hard boiled eggs, chees cubes, celery and carrot sticks.
Breakfast is not nearly as creative as I just pulled out some muffins I had stored in the freezer, som sweet quick-breads, and pop tarts, but they'll do the trick!
And so our adventure begins! Actually at the time of this writing we are already half finished with our mini-vacation. But we are doing it without breaking the bank or the budget AND we're feeling treated in the process.