Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Family trip to Chicago (within budget!!!)

We decided that this was the year for a quick family trip.
Just the 5 of us for a short period of time.
Away from home
(because if we had a staycation, the Mister would have spent it working...)
But we had a small budget.
So, I went to work-
looking for the best deal
within a reasonable driving distance
that would have something for everyone to enjoy.
I landed on
It was about 4 hours from home
(short enough of a drive that Baby L wouldn't freak)
But far enough away that we felt like we had gone somewhere.
We made it a quick trip.
(By quick, I mean ONE night).
We left early Monday morning
and got into Schaumburg just in time for LEGOLAND to open.
(Budget note:  The Lego Magazine has a BOGO admission coupon in it.  The subscription is free)
Kid friendly note:  Pay the extra $5 for the scavenger hunt lanyard. 
We got one for the boys to share and that worked out just fine.

 There's a little something for everyone at LEGOLAND.

Cute photo ops.  :)

Play time for little minds and hands.
(Note:  my creation is at the bottom; with the horns.)

The boys were given extra jobs around the house over the past few weeks as an opportunity  to save some money for souvenirs.  Combined with a gift from grandma (thanks, grandma!), they each purchased a Lego set and keychains in the gift shop. 

Earlier this spring, I found a groupon for a suite for $99.
The boys were geeked to stay at a hotel!
(Yeah...we don't get out much...this was C's first hotel.  oops.)

We spent about an hour here at the hotel on Monday afternoon
hoping Baby L. would chill enough to take a nap.
(ha!!....yeah, no)
Later that night, when D took the boys swimming,
I pulled the sofa out to a bed and set up the pack-and-play for Baby L.
It was lovely.
Although very little sleep was had.

Monday evening, we headed over to IKEA for some shopping and dinner.
For $25, our family of 5 enjoyed some food and Loganberry pop.
We looked at furniture and accessories.
The kids got a little crazy in the bedding department.
But we figured out the kind of bed I want Dave to build for A's new room...
so there's that.  :)
And also...this is about the time that Baby L. decided to not be constipated anymore.
That was lovely.
Our total bill at IKEA totaled $52.17.
This includes a birthday present for Baby L (children's table and chairs),
under cabinet lighting for my friend Abbie (see you Thursday!),
a side lamp for C's new room (Go Tigers!),
and a few packets of picture frames for a project I wanted to do.
Not too bad, I think.
We got back to the hotel just in time for a storm to roll in.
And a delivery from somewhere close to home. (truck)
Tuesday morning, we got up early,
enjoyed our "hot continental breakfast"
(read: powdered eggs, dehydrated sausages, and make-your-own waffles).
This gf girl had yogurt and fruit.
But was free, right?
We went back upstairs and packed everything (and everyone) up...
And headed into the city.

We spent $15 for parking below Millenium Park.
Had some fun at the Bean:

Took a family selfie,
(nice smile, A)

Stood directly under the bean and shot straight up,

And enjoyed watching my kiddos strike cute poses.  :)

Hello Chicago!

 We walked over to the Crown Fountain-
Where I got to watch the full spectrum of my kids' personalities on display.

Without a second thought, C pulled his shoes and socks off and jumped in full steam ahead.
Baby L stayed on the side.  Went in tentatively at first and then really seemed to enjoy herself.
A. was content to sit and watch.

After walking around a few streets and more of the park, we headed over to Shedd's Aquarium.
Paid $19 for parking and walked around a bit.
It was here at this park that I truly realized that I am most at home when I am near water.
We stopped for lunch (read: hangry kiddos) at a stand just outside the aquarium.
Sandwiches and drinks for $40.
This was our most expensive meal throughout the entire trip.

Since we only had a short time at the Aquarium,
(read: we weren't sure about our children's attention spans)
we asked if there was a condensed admission
(read: cheaper than $40 per person)
the girl told us that if we just wanted to walk around the top floor, it would only be $8 per person.
We figured that if we wanted to do more, we could go back and upgrade.
This turtle from the Amazon was my favorite.  :)

Just a few minutes before this picture was taken, there was a diver in there.
And again...nice smile, A.

The seahorses were another one of my favorites.
Can you see him?
(A. wants me to tell you that "it was actually pretty cool.")

Tuesday was also the FIFA game.
Go USA!!!
(although, we all know the outcome of the game by now...booooooo)
Since Dave is a big Bears fan, we walked over to Soldier Field.
The FIFA viewing event was going on here, and the doors opened 30 minutes later.
Admission was FREE.
Dave and the boys were pretty darn excited.
Once in line, we were told "no strollers." 
So, I sent Dave and the boys in while Baby L and I waited outside.
(people watching in Chicago right outside an event is HILARIOUS)
Dave took a few shots inside
(but you only get one)

After heading back to the car, we were trying to figure out where to go next,
and Dave just started driving.
I was talking to the boys brain-storming ideas
when I realized that Dave had started heading home.
Well, I guess that settles it!
We stopped in Michigan City for dinner on the way home
And then at TCBY when we were within a few minutes of home: $15.11
(Dave promised them ice cream sometime on our trip.  He kept his promise)
And also, Thank you TCBY for having non-dairy frozen yogurt!!! Baby L was happy.
We pulled into our driveway by 9pm Tuesday night: just in time for the kiddos to head to bed.
36 hours.
One tank of gas.
One groupon
2 BOGO coupons
$364.11 total spent
Priceless memories for our kids to remember for years to come.

1 comment:

Mama M. said...

Sounds like so much fun!! And, staying within budget?! Way to go!!