Since my birthday was last Thursday but I had an evening meeting that day, we celebrated over the following weekend instead. And since that weekend happened after last week’s Frugal Five, I decided to write about that trip here. Like most birthdays and holidays, we tend not to buy each other physical gifts but instead choose to spend our dollars on some sort of adventure, sometimes staying locally, and oftentimes heading out of town.
My birthday falls the day before our close friends’ anniversary, so the past two years we’ve combined the two and celebrated together. Since their daughter (our goddaughter) is just sixteen months older than our son, it’s really great to get away with them, either as an adults only weekend or a family trip, like we did this year.
We ended up with a large group of about a dozen people for this trip, so we widened our net as far as location because there are a limited number of reasonably priced rentals large enough to fit that size of group comfortably. Through a ton of searching between the two of us, my friend found an awesome home in downtown Port Angeles that fit the bill, and it was as awesome as it looked.
Of course, it is December in the Pacific Northwest though, and there was a big windstorm during the day on Friday that knocked out power to all of Port Angeles and we arrived to a dark house (that had two decorative candles and no flashlights). Fortunately though, my husband had driven his truck and had a number of flashlights, the LED disk lights we use for truck camping, an awesome Milwaukee lantern that also works as a phone charger (that I highly recommend), as well as a handful of lighters.
Thanks to all the supplies we had on hand, we were still able to cook dinner, see each other, and generally have a great evening, though it was definitely good we had no plans to go out that night because the town was more or less shut down since none of the businesses outside of the grocery store and other essential services had even backup power.
We made a taco bar, brought out drinks, and played cards late into the night (well, late for those of us with kids at least). It was a great time, even with no power until 10:30pm, and by then we were so used to the low lighting the only thing we turned on was the Christmas tree. It was certainly nice to have the power on for the rest of the weekend, but it was kind of fun for one evening.
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Friday’s Frugal Five
1. Obviously the truck came in handy for more than just the ability to fit more people and things into the vehicle because of the power outage supplies, but we did initially drive the truck instead of my car in order to carpool out to the Peninsula. Beyond the three of us, Bethany drove up to meet us and then carpooled both directions with us. Our roommate joined us on Saturday (carpooled over with another friend) and drove back with us on Sunday.
Of course, carpooling doesn’t always work, and we had other friends drive up separately, but any time we can cut down the number of vehicles driving is a win in my book. The ferry is a bit cheaper that way as well, since passengers don’t cost as much as the vehicle and driver. And of course, there’s less cost for gas and maintenance for whichever car is driven, and lower emissions whenever you take a car off the road.
2. As I mentioned above, we were able to find a reasonably priced Airbnb within walking distance of the Port Angeles downtown. Since we were so close, we were able to just park the car once we arrived and do the rest of our exploring on foot, including getting to the grocery store. I really enjoy vacations when we can stay out of vehicles as much as possible, and this house was perfectly situated to do so.
This also meant that when we went out to a few bars and pubs on Saturday night we didn’t have to worry about having a few designated drivers for our group, nor did we have to rely on Lyft or Uber (which was good anyway because neither app is active in that location.
If you’ve never used Airbnb before, here’s a referral link for $40 off your first stay. Especially for large groups like we had on this trip, Airbnb can be an affordable way to travel – we were able to have room for everyone within a big house with plenty of space to cook and spread out.
3. We brought groceries with us on the trip and made dinner Friday night and breakfast both Saturday and Sunday morning at the house. Saturday morning was waffles and bacon and Sunday was scrambled local eggs, fresh locally baked bread, and bacon (brought from home but again local). By doing a bit of our shopping in town once we arrived, we were able to support a few local farms and business with our grocery shopping needs.
Eating three of the weekend’s meals in saved us a ton of money as well, and the two kiddos were able to run around as they pleased while we made the meals. This also worked well as not everyone was up and moving at the same time in the mornings.
4. Our roommate watched our animals Friday night like he typically does when we’re out of town, but as he joined us on Saturday, we had a neighbor’s oldest child come take care of them after that. Paying for petsitting for even one night reminds me how good of a deal we have with our roommate, and we still paid significantly less than we would have if we were gone for longer and needed someone to stay over at the house.
As it was, I’m also not at all opposed to supporting the teenagers in our neighborhood who aren’t quite old enough to get a regular job yet. Again, we really have the very best neighbors. Another couple who lives on our street also joined us on Friday night, and they employed another teenage neighbor to watch their pets for the evening as well.
5. As we normally do, we had my husband’s godfather join us for the trip (luckily for us he retired in his mid-fifties so can join us most of the time). Both kids absolutely adore him, so it made the trip much more of a vacation for us parents.
Beyond just playing with the kiddos while we were making meals or packing up the house, he also watched the two of them Saturday night so we could all go out in the evening. In exchange, we were supposed to have paid for his lodging, but he was too quick at paying his part of the Airbnb, so I’ll just have to knock off part of what he’ll owe for the Hawaii trip later this winter.
I didn’t run over the weekend, but I did manage to hit 20,000 steps on Saturday for the first time in longer than I’d like. Even with my workouts during the week, with the weather so unpleasant most of the time right now I just don’t get the walking in like I do when the days are longer (and drier). We lucked out and the weather was dry all Saturday so we did a decent amount of walking around, though not as much as we might have because the house was so close to the downtown.
Monday and Tuesday were both twenty minute elliptical days in the work gym before heading to pick up the kiddo from preschool. My husband’s work days are getting longer again, so he hasn’t been able to do pick ups, so I don’t have time for longer gym sessions as often as I was getting to for a while there.
Since I didn’t get to go to the gym like I had hoped on Tuesday, I decided to see if the kiddo would be interested in a yoga video since he’ll occasionally stretch with us, but his attention span isn’t always so great. Well, Cosmic Kids Yoga was a serious hit – we ended up doing three twenty minute long videos in a row, and he would have been up for more if it wasn’t time to make dinner. Not as serious of a yoga session as I would prefer for myself, but I like the idea of getting in the habit of it with him, and no matter what it’s a heck of a lot more exercise than not doing it at all.
I did manage to sneak out Wednesday evening for a run and then some lifting at the gym, which felt really great because I hadn’t had a chance for weights for a couple of weeks. I didn’t have time for a long workout, but I made it count. I didn’t go up on weight with anything, but I expect to my next chance at the gym.
I also squeezed in a ten minute elliptical break at work on Thursday. I might feel a little silly when someone walks in and sees me on it in my work clothes, but the more I do it, the less awkward it feels. And no matter what, I’m getting significantly more regular workouts in because of it.
Do you do anything to celebrate your birthday? What’s tradition in your house?