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From Mall of America to the Orphan Museum

In today’s economy it is very important that we all learn to live frugally and spend our money wisely.

Stacation – a new buzz word for vacationing from home.

In these tight financial times the Lord continues to provide creative ways for families to take time to play together.

As it says in Philippians 4:19 NKJV “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

He also provides us with creativity, so lets be creative!

We’ve done this a lot and have found it to be a fun way to take time together as a family and to do it rather inexpensively.

Do you know we lived about ten minutes from Mall of America for 14 years and only visited it when we had out of town guests? How crazy is that? People travel all the way from Japan to shop there and we never took advantage of exploring it unless we had guests. Now that we live 100 miles from it every once in a while we talk about going there.

Realizing this got me thinking of other places that we just don’t think to visit, but that we would explore if we were traveling through a state or going somewhere on vacation.

One year when we were studying Minnesota history we decided to visit as many of the state’s historical sites as we could. Most of them were day trips. We read about them before going and really enjoyed the hands on lessons we got from visiting them.

I’ve taken to stopping at rest stops and tourist information stops to see what is happening locally and check for any coupons or special offers they have for people vacationing in our state. I’ve found some great discounts and BOGO offers too.

Our family stayed home this last 4th of July to get some work done around the house. We did use Sunday after church for a little stacation. We went to a little fishing museum we had just heard about that was only 25 miles from our town. As usual we looked for interesting things along the road as we drove while listening to our audio book – family multi-tasking!

One of the things we found was Treasure City. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll just show you some photos.


We also stopped at a vegetable market and had fun talking with the older gentleman who was running it.  

A few years ago we happened upon one of our greatest finds. We discovered it in Owatonna, MN when we went to shop at Cabellas. We saw a sign that said, “Orphanage Museum”. It piqued our interest so we decided to check it out. We ended up spending several hours there and telling others about it and taking guests to see it.

It was not exactly fun, but very interesting and educational. It was built during the depression. When families could no longer afford to care for their children they took them to the Orphanage Museum. Isn’t that sad? The museum was filled with sections that told the stories of individual orphans or several siblings who had been left there. It sounds like they were well cared for but one can only imagine what a difficult choice this must have been for both parents and children. The little cemetery out back still tugs at my mother’s heart.

Once again – only an hour from home and very inexpensive to tour, but very educational and eye opening for our whole family. I never knew such places existed.

They have a very nice website if you would like to visit it online.

What’s in your town, neighborhood, or state that you have never thought to visit? Read those signs and check them out – you never know what a treasure you’ll find.


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Be sure to stop by Living on a Dime and see this weeks frugal suggestions.

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  • Elizabeth
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    I know what you mean. We have often lived near places and never taken the time/money to take advantage of them! That is why when we moved to the Georgia coast last fall, I was determined to enjoy going to the beach regularly while we live so close to it. I don’t want to waste this opportunity! i also plan to visit some of the local plantations, forts, etc. in the coming year and really want to go to the Okefenoke Swamp one day too! Thanks for the reminder to visit our own state’s landmarks!

  • Wendy Gunn
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    I just realized that I left the previous comment on the wrong post! haha. It was meant for your post on “Frugal Living Doesn’t Mean Poor”! Great post.
    This post on stacations was also great. We might have crossed paths without knowing it the summer (and year) we went to all the Minnesota historical sites we could. A favorite was the Folsom house in Taylors Falls, and Fort Snelling is always fun for all ages. I will be taking my moms’ group to Oliver Kelley Farm soon, too, with all their little children–should be fun!

  • Wendy Gunn
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    My motto is “Buy the best you can for the cheapest you can.” I always, always pray over major purchases! And, God, Who gets all the glory, has provided us with wonderful bargains over the years.

    I have an aversion to making frugality my god. I’ve known too many people who, yes, are good stewards, but who also are very, very proud and rather arrogant. They look down on others who don’t have the gift from God (some frugal people have the gift of “Giving”), or the time, or every other thing that it takes to be as frugal as they are. There are levels of frugality, choices involved.

    I grew up with a dad who made today’s frugal look wasteful. He never was proud, though. We always had “nice things” and no one of the four of us kids ever felt poor.

    I am not as frugal as he was (I draw the line at eating rotten grapes, for instance–something I once saw him do–just to “not waste them”) but I can still hear his voice, and my own in echo, saying, “Don’t use so much water!” or turning off lights in empty rooms, etc. He was the consummate bargain-hunter, and boy, did we have some crazy stories!

    One thing my father always did was make family times special, and his frugality at other times made it possible for him to be very generous then.

  • Phyllis
    Posted July 11, 2011 at 7:10 PM

    Hi Kris,
    Yes I’ve subscribed to Living on a Dime for years. I don’t know if it is easy to unsubscribe because I don’t want to. Its one of the emails I always read. I’m sure you could get unsubscribed if you wanted to. If not let me know and I’ll help you. Let me know what you think of it. She always has such helpful articles and suggestions. Phyllis

  • Kris B
    Posted July 9, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    Thank you for this great idea. I would like to visit the Orphan Museum with my family. We have read the Orphan Train Trilogy, interesting.

  • Kris B
    Posted July 9, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    Hello. May I ask if you have subscribed to the free Living On A Dime emails? If so, is it easy enough to unsubscribe? Thanks – Kris

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