Reviews Uncategorized

Review of Penske Truck Rental and 1-800-Pack-Rat

Penske, PODS or Pack-Rat?

We originally secured a storage container similar to the PODS from a company called 1-800-Pack-Rat.  We loved the idea of using them because it takes so much hassle out of moving.  Like the PODS, 1-800-Pack-Rat will drop off the container when and wherever you want them to and pick it up when you are ready.  This is ideal as it allows you to pack at your leisure.  Once you are ready for them to pick it up, either have them deliver it next door or across the country.

If you are planning an epic road trip between moves like we did (come on you know you want to) just have them store your container in one of their secure temperature controlled storage facilities.  They charge a monthly fee which is comparable to standard storage space and will hold it for as long as you’d like.  They even throw in 30 days free when you sign up with them.  The downside is that 1-800-Pack-Rat only allow for a 6000 lb weight limit for each large unit, which isn’t bad unless you are:

  • Collecting books with the express purpose of opening a library soon
  • Are a scrap metal collector who needs an intervention for hoarding
  • Us and our food storage!!!  Yep, as soon as I started packing up our disaster supplies I knew we were doomed!  Everyone I know that has used 1-800-Pack-Rat has been extremely happy with their service, maybe once we burn through all these rice and beans we’ll get a chance to see for ourselves!

penske truck rental

Why We Chose Penske over the Competition:

In the end Penske Truck Rental was a better fit for us.  After getting rid of a bunch of our stuff we still had a large amount to transfer to storage.  We would have needed at least 2  1-800-Pack-Rat storage containers to fit the same amount as one 26 foot Penske Truck Rental.

Save Money with Penske Using this Method:

If you are planning a move and looking into how to save money on these services you can save BIG by knowing a few tips:

  • Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate!  We were able to get 1-800-Pack-Rat down to $1400 for one large container by asking for their best price.  And then asking again!
  • One trick is to fill out the online form (this is what we did with Penske Truck Rental) and go through the entire ordering process but not actually pay.  This will ensure a call back from a Penske representative who will then give you an even better price than any online “special”.
  • Be sure to use your AAA discount to get the best deal possible.  Don’t forget your AAA card when you go to pick up your truck.
  • If you plan to drop off your Penske Truck Rental after hours be sure to use a location that allows for after hours drop-offs.

I sincerely hope this helps you as you decide the best way to transition from one place to another.  Moving can be so overwhelming!  All the best to you 🙂

Emily Oak Home Sweet Road

Our Travels

Packin’ it up!

When you move you will find out how many wonderful people you have in your life.  We were so grateful for all our friends who showed us love and supported us in so many ways in the weeks leading up to our big move.  The Man and I felt all gushy inside by the turnout.

We will miss them.  A LOT!

If you are feeling lonely you could always sell your house and plan an open-ended road trip.  Maybe you’ll feel better.  Who knows?

*quick note: If you ever need some advice on moving trucks (super random, I know) check out my Penske post.  I’m not sure why, but when I first started the blog I wrote a review on the process we went through to find the best truck and how we negotiated a sizable discount. Thought I would link to it if any of you ever needed it!

Emily Oak Home Sweet Road

City Guide Our Travels Reviews Travel With Kids

Things To Do In Branson MO With Kids

Branson City Guide

things to do in branson with kids

I wouldn’t recommend taking a trip to travel with kids two weeks before moving but recommendations are overrated, except for ours of course!  Branson, MO is one of those coveted places for those of us who live, …err, used to live in the Midwest and there is a ton of great things to do in Branson MO with kids. It is one of the few recognizable vacation spots smack dab in the middle of the country and I love it!  Branson is a great family vacation idea and a good place to travel with kids as there’s a lot of neat things to do in Branson.

Silver Dollar City

Powder keg silver dollar city with kids

things to do in branson mo with kids

Silver Dollar City is our very favorite thing to do in Branson MO with kids.  It is such a unique theme park which makes you feel like you just stepped back in the 1800’s.  The staff dress in old fashion garb, bluegrass music tickles your ears and the flavors of summer make your mouth water throughout the day.  Shrieks and squeals from the park’s rides add to the excitement.  One thing that makes it such a special place for thrill seekers like us is that they let you take your little ones in line with you and hand them to the other parent/caregiver without having to wait through the line separately.

silver dollar city water rides

silver dollar city with kids

Places to Stay in Branson, MO

We have visited Branson countless times over the past few years and a few resorts are worth mentioning.

Dewey Short Visitors Center on Table Rock Lake

The new Dewey Short Visitors Center on Table Rock Lake is a must thing to do in Branson MO with kids, especially if you are into roadschooling.  The top deck will make you want to go on a romantic date with your love and follow it up with a slow dance.  So serene and beautiful.  Girlr was sleeping in Ol’ Faithful so The Man and I took turns with the boys.

I literally stood outside and breathed in the beauty from that top balcony.  Inside is a rustic, modern masterpiece.  Absolute eye candy for a wanna be designer like me!   Perfect for roadschooling with all the educational exhibits and hands on learning tools.

Branson Belle Dinner Show Boat

On the other side of the parking lot is the beginning of a bike and walking trail. Along the lake you will pass by the Branson Belle, a dinner show boat.  Even if you decide not to take the popular dinner cruise the gift shop and docks are worth checking out if you have the time.

Branson Landing

Branson Landing is an outdoor waterfront mall is a great thing to do in Branson MO with kids and we never miss it when we’re in town.  The water, fire and light show is a new attraction.  It is a short presentation synchronized to music.  It was a bit of a letdown if I’m honest.  Then again, it was free and was a good excuse to get off my feet, sit on the grass, and let the kids run around.  The boys liked the flames.

White River Fish House

Bass Pro Shops’ White River Fish House Restaurant was excellent.  Fish is a hard thing to get right.  There are few things worse than poorly cooked fish.  They did it very well and the atmosphere was well thought out.  We fed the fish on the back dock after lunch, it kept us entertained for a good 15 minutes.  Nice!

Branson is certainly a great place for a family vacation.  We really just scratched the surface of all there is to do there.  The kids still beg us to go back!  Silver Dollar City is the favorite of coarse!  I hope you feel encouraged to go there yourself!

Emily Oak Home Sweet Road

Our Travels

How A Krispy Kreme Donut Changed Our Lives – Why We Started Home Sweet Road

Family of 5 sells [Almost] Everything and Hits the Road
The Man hit 40 this year.  He has always been a responsible guy who values taking good care of our family and working hard.  Sometimes too hard.  Yes, that’s possible.  Finding ourselves as new entrepreneurs with a tech business working 70 hours per week we knew something had to give.

There is something about turning 40 that causes you to look at your life and evaluate whether you are where you want to be.  Having lived in Kansas City, MO for the past five years we were craving more outdoor adventures and knew our boys needed to connect with nature in a greater way.  We were hungry for the mountains.

We would need to sell our house and it wouldn’t be easy but moving WAS doable.  After visiting some friends in Colorado our mind was made.  We were mountain bound!  Our home sold just two days after listing it and the ball began to roll.

A Craving for Krispy Kreme
Usually when you plan a move you have something lined up on the other side.  What kind of flaky people don’t have a place to land with a mere 10 days to go time?

krispy kreme

It all started with a craving.  I woke up after a long Saturday of packing, rolled over, looked at The Man and told him I needed a Krispy Kreme donut!  Taken aback by my uncharacteristic craving, he jumped at the opportunity and ran with it.  He quickly hopped out of bed, woke up the kids, and we all piled into Ol’ Faithful.

It might have been the sugar or just our desire for adventure but somewhere between downing a couple donuts and driving home we had formulated a plan.  We would stop looking for a house and plan a road trip.  A long one.  One that had no end date.

At the core I am a free spirit and David is up for taking risks under the right circumstances.   We are also very intentional about how we live our lives and raise our children.  Only time will tell if a decision made during a sugar high will make us crash and burn or take us to new heights!

Stay tuned….

Emily Eck Home Sweet Road

Our Travels

Yummy Elephant Ears Recipe

Elephant Ears Recipe

One of my favorite parts of traveling is the food.  You get to experience the unique flavors of not only the culture but the food as well.  If you are expecting a post on fried cactus in Arizona or fish tacos in San Diego you’d be wrong.  I am devoting this entire post to the fried, sugary, delicious goodness known as the Elephant Ear.

A few years ago while visiting the Missouri State Fair I was surprised by the fact that not only did they not serve Elephant Ears, I couldn’t find a single person who knew what they were!  For me no fair is complete without devouring at least one Elephant Ear.  Scones are good, Funnel Cake is even better but they do not compare to the amazingness of the Elephant Ear.  If you have never had one I have included a recipe below so you can taste for yourself.  You can make it with whole wheat flour instead of white if that helps you feel better!

Elephant Ear Recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3/8 cup shortening
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart oil for frying
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons white sugar

Directions for making Elephant Ears:

  1. In small saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, salt, 2 tablespoons sugar and shortening. Heat until shortening melts and sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm, 110 degrees F (43 degrees C). Sprinkle in yeast and let sit until foamy.
  2. Transfer mixture to large bowl, and stir in flour to make a dough. Knead until smooth, cover and let rise 30 minutes.
  3. In a large heavy skillet or deep fryer, heat 1 inch of oil to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. Roll out 1 to 2 inch balls of dough into thin sheets. Fry sheets 1 to 2 minutes on a side, until puffed and golden. Drain on paper towels.
  5. Combine cinnamon and 6 tablespoons sugar, sprinkle over the warm pastries and serve. You can also try topping it with butter and your favorite jam.
  6. Enjoy!