Can I ask why you are packing the crockpot? Are you going to be cooking for your family while on this trip? Instead of a crockpot I would take an electric skillet. I can (and often do) cook very well for my family in our electric skillet while we are on vacation. Breakfast is a snap, eggs, a bit of cheese and totillas you have breakfast tacos...lunch can be grilled cheese..supper a skillet dinner...Just asking? I use my crockpot too. But not usually on vacation. Have fun. I have never been in a Publix store. I have shopped in a commissary many times. It is always a good deal. Roxie
I, too, am confused as to why you would be taking a crockpot on vacation. Will you not be eating in restuarants when you are not at your brother's house? To me, crockpot and vacation should never be used in the same sentence! I know some people rent condos and cook while on vacation but for me it would be no vacation if I were still in charge of preparing meals. I realize this is just a personal thing and everyone thinks differently but I would prefer a long weekend with NO responsibilities to two weeks where I still had to work!
I live in GA and shop Publix every week. They are having some good sales this week. They do a lot of BOGO sales, and you can use a coupon for each of the two items. I get lots of stuff for nearly free that way! Check out www.couponmom.com for this week's (free)sale list. Enjoy your trip!
Hey, Meredith. We used to live in Birmingham, and we went to Destin one year for our anniversary. It was great! We especially liked the national seashore part of the beach there. It was our top pick for swimming. If you're driving through on 65, the Lakeshore Drive exit in Birmingham has plenty of hotels and even a SuperWalmart right off of it. Just take a right off the exit. The Oxmoor Rd exit right before it has a Red Roof Inn that has better rates than some of the hotels off Lakeshore, but theres a La Quinta off Lakeshore thats reasonable. You can practically see it from the interstate. I shopped at Publix in Birmingham. It's probably comparable in price to Harris Teeter around here, or maybe Lowes Foods, if you know those stores. It's not Food Lion, but it's not too pricey. I really liked shopping at Publix because they had items I didn't always see at my other grocery stores, and they had great service and clean stores. That being said, if you're just going for price and it's not too much of a hassle, the PX can't be beat. But if it's a hassle, you'll be fine at Publix. Just my 2cents.
I am taking a crock pot to Gatlinburg so that I don't have to sit around and cook. I can put on the food and then go about our vacation, then not starve because I have it made in the crock pot. I don't think you are crazy to take it. Do you have access to the commissary because of your brother? I know they had good deals. I always shopped at the Super Walmart in Destin. I didn't find it expensive and there is no tax on food items in FL. There was also a new market store that went in right before we moved, next to the Home Depot off 98. I never went in but it looked like it had more organic/ fresh type foods in a European style place. I remembered another outing that is free. This is the only link I saw http://www.eglin.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=6339. It is a museum that has aircraft out front for the kids to see up close. Inside is more museum display type things. Also, the Krispy Kreme on 98 has a window where you can see the doughnuts being made. If the kids have not seen that they would enjoy watching it and getting a free hat.
My mom says the the commisary is always cheaper!! You can't beat their prices.I shop at Publix once a week for their sales. They also double your coupons up to 50 cents!! Publix is also one of the cleanest and friendliest stores around here.
Roxie, my brother is a bachelor. Does that explain the need for a crockpot?!?Seriously, we can't eat out for every meal, and I thought it would be just as easy to let the crockpot do the work while we're out having fun.I don't use the crockpot a lot at home. I prefer stir fry and oven roasted foods in my clay cooker. So it won't be too hum drum!I'm hoping to freeze a few ziplocs of healthy food for my brother while I'm there, too.
I would bet your brother would be honored to host your visit and would not want you to cook and shop for groceries and pack up crockpots while you are visiting in his home. Would you not be offended if he came to your house with groceries and a crockpot in tow? If you do all that, it seems to me that everyone will be having a vacation except you. When someone I love is visiting me, I try hard to have everything planned before they arrive so that they can relax and enjoy the area and our company!
Well, he's my little brother : )and a young bachelor--and one with a very demanding job!He's doing so many other things to host our trip. I didn't want him to worry about what the kids would/wouldn't eat, what foods are appropriate for my husband, etc.It's simpler all around this way.
I say check out the commissary. Here in San Antonio, the Air Force commissary has consistently lower prices on produce than the local grocery chains as well as a very good selection. The Army commissary also has lower prices without the great selection. Both are operated by the same agency, so why the difference on produce selection? Don't know. Oh, and it's Frozen Food Month so there are some good deals in the freezer section - the best I saw was Minute Maid condensed OJ for $0.99/can. I love your idea of packing the crockpot and know that your brother will appreciate your home-cooked meals. Have a great trip! Susan in San Antonio
Meredith, thank you for explaining. I do understand now. I was thinking you were going to be cooking your meals while on the road. (we do that sometimes when we travel) My husband too has diabetes, so I understand the special meals he has to have to stay healthy. My husband suffered a stroke last August because his diabetes got out of control. It was a very scary week for me. He was in an ICU unit at the hospital for 4 days. I never want to repeat that. I think too you brother will appreciate that you are doing some of the meals. You are a great big sister too. I still hope that you get to enjoy this trip too. Do not work too hard. You are real blessing to your family. Thank you for the wonderful blog. Roxie
Meredith,I would bring TWO crock-pots! :) I have baked potatoes in one and chili in the other and then put the chili over the baked potatoes and top with grated cheese. Yum. Publix has ham on sale this week, which would also go just fine in a crock. I often put a whole chicken, carrots and potatoes in the crockpot and theres a whole meal - or chicken and brown rice. I detest restaurant food and their prices, too. I'm sure home-cooked food will be a real blessing to your younger brother. Have a good, safe trip. Check out the price of Florida citrus while you're down there. Wish I were going too - never been to Florida.Vicky
I think taking the crock pot is a great idea. I took a smallish elec skillet on a two-week vacation to Canada a couple of years ago. (Actually, we bought it at Walmart after our plane landed in Seattle.) I also threw in a cooking spoon and spatula. It was such a help to keep us from going over our vacation budget. And the Professor did quite a bit of the cooking too. Shopping in a different area was fun, and we tried some different foods.You can't go wrong with Publix. They always have great BOGO sales, their meat/seafood dept is top-notch, beautiful produce, and a great bakery. We like their baguettes; they used to always be 99 cents but have gone up to 1.09 now. Loaf breads come in very many varieties ~ try their Italian Five-Grain. Yum!
We have Publix and a commissary and I know you could do better at the commissary unless you want some of the sale items from Publix. I did a big comparison shop recently and found things to be considerably cheaper at the commissary.
Enjoy Destin. I was there briefly for a trip to Eglin AFB many years ago. Is this the commissary you'll be visiting? I would definitely shop on base, and hit the Publix for BOGO items. You might be able to help your brother stock up on some good deals that he may not know to look for. After solely shopping the commissary for almost 10 years, I am always amazed at how expensive the "regular" stores are. Thanks to everyone for providing this benefit to our military!
Don't have either here...hmmm...I wonder where the nearest ones are to me?? :-) Have a great time in Destin!
My parents still stock my cupboards and cook for me when I visit. Even though I am 35 and I cook a lot myself, I love it. It may sound cheesy, but when I pull out the food they bought me, it does always make me think of the love that I know they feel for me. (and it also helps my budget)
I get my meats and my milk at the commissary, I was just there and got ground turkey for 1.27/lb and milk for 2.75 a gallon!
I think parents coming for a visit and stocking up a kid's kitchen is nice and I love making things a bit easier for my child and giving him a gift of mom's cooking and a budget boost of a stocked pantry. It seems visiting a sibling on your VACATION is a bit different than just a visit from parents. However, to each his own. If Meredith has no problem shopping for groceries and preparing meals then that's her perogative. It just wouldn't be fun for me if I had a vacation mindset. To me vacation = no work!
To me a big part of vacation is NOT being at home and doing the same work I always do at HOME. If going to my sister's home in Spring Texas I always plan to cook some of the meals and do some of the work. I appreciate that we do not have to spend $75-80.00 a night and that we can come and go as we please. (there are many wonderful shops is Spring that I love to visit) It is still a vacation to me because I am not cleaning MY house. Somehow it is different. I think doing this for her brother is a sweet thing to do. Another example of Meredith's kind and generous heart. Roxie
My husband always cooks when we go visit family. He loves impressing them with his skills and it makes it possible for us to continue to eat healthy and for me to stick to my vegetarian diet. Last time I visited my grandparents I even made them a couple of extra lasagnas to keep in the freezer for later. When I was younger and they came to visit, they always brought a carload of groceries and we were grateful, not insulted. I think its worth keeping in mind that when family meet up like this, it is often vacation for both parties and its no good to saddle one side with all of the work.
When I first encountered Publix, I wondered who in the world could afford to shop there. It was the most expensive grocery store around. Now, I love to shop there, as they regularly run BOGO's AND double coupons. I get a lot of food for really, really cheap.But, I STILL only shop the sales with coupons. If you don't have a specific plan for Publix, the commissary is probably cheaper!
The crockpot sounds like a great idea Meredith! I know in some places (like here) the commissary is more expensive. Sounds like there it's not though.I may pack a crockpot to take to the beach house in Oregon. We typically have dinner out once or twice while there and the rest of the time us ladies cook while the guys entertain the kids. I don't think we've ever stayed in a place that had a crockpot, so I never thought about it. But I like that no one would have to hurry home to cook.
I've traveled with a crockpot. I would have taken one on my recent vacation as well, but I was not sure if the airport would freak or not if I tried to take it as carry on... :) But electric skillet...that's a great idea as well!As for the commissary- it's a hit or miss. My dad shops only there, and we often compare prices. When it's cheaper, it's often CRAZY cheaper, but it's getting more and more comparable. My mom said that she could tell the price difference a lot more before places like Super Wal-Mart opened. Hit or miss.
We shop at the commissary here at home, but I've been to Publix when visiting my parents in Florida...the commissary will most likely be substantially cheaper. Meat is an area where I see an especially big price difference.Cathy
There is also a cool children's museum not far from Destin on Ft. Walton Beach. It's not free (cheap) but very hands on , I bet your kids would love it! Also plan dessert or coffee at The Back Porch restaurant on FWB. It's right by the gulf and the kids could play in the sand in their 'playground' FWB also has a nice Gulfarium. Can you tell we vacation at FWB every year? LOL Have fun!
Meredith you are going to have so much fun playing at the beach knowing dinner is already taken care of, great idea on bringing the crock pot! Ooh how I would love to shop at a commissary!
I'm a military wife and shop almost exclusively at the commissary. We have a Publix nearby and they do have good deals, and the advantage of store brand items, but in all honesty you'll find most everything cheaper at the commissary. Meat and produce, especially.Just a word of advice...do not visit the commissary on a saturday afternoon or on payday. You'll regret it, I promise.Have a wonderful vacation.
Meredith, if you get the chance and have a coupon, get some Reynolds slow cooker liners. I thought this was a crazy idea when I saw it - but now when I want a vacation I use them. One of those things I will occasionally splurge on. It is like an oven bag for crockpots. You just put your food in it and to clean up, throw the liner away! It really cuts down on the amount of work - although I am sure your brother and family will help! Have a wonderful vacation making memories with those little ones! Taryn
Taryn - Probably some of us would feel compelled to wash out the liners after use. I say that because I just finished washing out the zip-lock type sandwich bags used for sending desserts in lunch boxes. :-) How many of us think Meredith would do that?? Vicky
Vicky, if one washed the liner, then what would be the point of having it? Might as well just wash to pot to begin it. (Or maybe you were just being funny!)
Meredith,I love your blog. It's always so inspiring. We are going to Florida in May and I will be bringing my crock pot. Do you have any great recipes that would be good on hot days? I just don't think chili or soup sounds good on a hot, sunny day in Florida. What will you be making?Laura
Yes, just being funny. I'm just so programmed to be frugal, I probably spend more on rinsing out those bags than I would on just tossing them.Vicky
If you go to Publix, be sure to get a free cookie from the bakery for the kiddos- at least they do that at the Publix stores here in central FL. Hope your trip is just great!
Commissary. Hands down. Though I've found wonderful deals at Publix (and other local stores) in large the best deals are at the commissary.
I would definitely shop the commissary. They are almost always cheaper, except for the loss leaders in other stores. I am always shocked at the prices when I shop out in town.
Have fun, Meredith! As far as the crockpot goes...one time I was watching the "Nigella Bites" show on the food channel network. She and her children were on "holiday", and the whole show was devoted to the type of cooking she did while on vacation! So I think your crockpot thing is well within resonable bounds! We have a family of seven, and I already told the kids that if we go on a vacation this summer, we are going to HAVE to cook at least some of the meals. Eating out a decent meal of any kind is just such a huge expense. And with what you'll be spending on gas just to get there, I think you'll be thrilled to save some money on food! Wishing you a wonderful time. And, please, post some pictures of the beach so that those of us who are still stuck in cold weather, can dream a little bit about the warm weather to come! Susan
I can't comment either way on the commissary vs Publix as I've never been to either! I do think the crockpot is a great idea - I love being able to pack it full of food in the morning and have dinner ready with no fuss.Have a great trip and we want to hear all about it! :)
I love the idea of taking a crock pot. I buy almost exclusively at the commersary- where ever we go.Meat is much less. I have even gotten to the point that I buy and send things from the PX to our hotel- cheaper than paying for it on the plane!(Can you tell we fly more than we drive?)Say hello to Alabama- my son is a helicopter pilot there!
We're so frugally nerdy that we made "Value Village" one of our scheduled tourist stops on our last vacation. We picked up, what else, an electric skillet and toaster for a song. Those babies will go with us on our next vacation.
I think it is so neat that you are going with plans to be a blessing to your brother while you are there. (I believe that is how Christians are supposed to think - "how can we be a blessing to those we are around." I had never thought of a crock pot for meals when we are gone; but this is an excellent idea! (We are getting ready to go on the road into evangelism - and I am thinking this will help me out a lot. Thanks for the great tips. I hope you have a wonderful time with your'e family on your vacation.Blessings,~Martie
I am so happy that you and your family are able to be with your brother. How I miss family and wish I could be with mine. Enjoy your time.
I told my husband (before you posted this) that I want to take a crockpot, toaster and espresso machine to the fancy resort we stay in in Hawaii. Or better yet buy them in a thrift store.You're my kind of girl, Meredith!
I would not be happy if I were staying at a fancy resort and cooking odors were coming from next door! I realize there are many people who would not be able to take a vacation if they did not prepare some meals in their room. However, I would hope that if they actually fired up a crockpot, etc. that they would be in a separate cottage or condo or something where other paying guests could not smell cooking odors. Otherwise, I think they should stick with making sandwiches, etc. I am all for frugality but I am also all for consideration.
I have thought of that and wouldn't do it if the smell would bother anyone:) The place has little cottages quite distant from each other.
I am thinking that if you ordered a $30.00 delivery pizza and dinner the odor would be there - people do this all the time! I am not seeing why a crock pot would be much different. Some of you are being a bit too picky about all of this. I continue to say - it is a great idea!! Continue on Merideth - You'll be thankful for the extra things you were able to do with your family with the money you saved being WISE with your family meal planning.(By the way, I am not too scared to post my name either with my opinion - I am noticing a lot of people share their opinions under the cloak of anonymous :)~Martie
If you can afford it, Publix is the way to go. The convenience is worth the cost.
I agree with Martie. Anonymous people at least need to sign their name.Susan
Can't wait to hear what you're doing w/your crockpot!
Oh, I just read your comment on the CP. Yay for planning ahead, being organized, having fun and cooking for your BRO! Go Girl!!!
Have a fun vacation! i have never been to either place shopping as I have never been on a working military base and live in the west!
Roxie I would love it if you would share some recipes with me! (my email is on my blog) My husband is diabetic and we do a ton of camping. The crockpot would be too much of a drain on the trailer batteries, so everything is skillet, bbq, or the occasional oven and microwave (and over the fire when there is not a burn ban on.We need to remember what Thumper's mom said "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all!" That would come in mighty handy in the comments these days.
I love the crockpot idea-just returned from a 3 day annual vacation with mom & sisters. Personally, we have found that the trip has become much more of a vacation since we've stopped eating all our meals in restaurants-too much work when you have small children!! We pre-make meals that can be cooked later, toss them in our coolers and just cook right before it's time to eat. Taleyna
What do you think of this?On one of my frugal boards, I read of a woman who loaded up the crockpot in the morning, and then plugged it into an inverter IN THE CAR. When they stopped for supper, supper was ready.Well, my Dear Hubby fixed me a setup like that for our Grand Canyon trip. When we arrived at our Grand Canyon hotel, we weren't allowed to USE the crockpot in the room, but we did have the hot meal that cooked in the car our first night there. I have seen amazing meals that people bring/prepare at national parks. There's a lot you can do for heathy and frugal meals on the road. In fact, the Dollar Stretcher agreed with me when I sent them this article; they put it in their newsletter:http://www.stretcher.com/stories/07/07jun11h.cfm(My Story: Vacation Meals)Jora
you are missed Meredith Enjoy yourself and have a safe trip home.
I am sure you have already left and I am too late, but I wanted to share anyway (maybe you will see it??).I read on a very frugal blog sometime back that they never use valuable space in their car on a crockpot. Instead, they check out the thrift store while there and usually get one for under $5. They use it for the whole week/month they are on vacation and then donate it back when they leave. We plan on doing that (where can you fit a crockpot into a mini-van I ask you?! LOL!) when we goto our family reunion.
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