RV Vacation

Have you ever been to Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons National Park and Jackson Hole Wyoming? I wanted to take my family on the trip of a lifetime and explore these amazing parks. After researching hotels, I decided we needed to go a different route.  We didn’t want to spend $400 a night to stay in a hotel and eat out for every meal. We don’t own an RV,  but we wanted to experience an RV vacation with our children.  I have several friends that have rented an RV from RV rental companies.  While their vacations were still fun,  they ended up getting charged for many extras to include dishes, pots, pans and bedding.  I decided to do a little research and found  www.rvshare.com.  On this website, you can rent from the owner. They have it completely stocked for your needs. We found Earl and his RV in Salt Lake City, Utah very accommodating.

Day-1 We flew to Utah to start our trip to save travel time driving and give us more time to enjoy the parks.

Day-2 Earl was very helpful and picked us up at the airport and drove us to his house. He included a BBQ, table and chairs, cooler, and he even included his own fishing poles and tackle box. We unpacked at his house and he kept our luggage so we had more room in the RV. He gave us a tour of the RV and directions on how to do everything. Then we drove to Walmart.thumbnail_IMG_0423

After stocking up on groceries for 13 days on the road, we were ready to go!

Our first stop was at the Pocatello KOA in Pocatello Idaho, http://koa.com/campgrounds/pocatello/ . We didn’t want to drive 6 hours the first day, so we decided to camp after 3 hours and this was the perfect place. The campground was nice, the people were friendly, kids had fun at the playground and the store had wine!

Day- 3 We woke up and unplugged everything and we were on the road again! We arrived at the West Yellowstone KOA http://koa.com/campgrounds/yellowstone-park/ with plenty of time to explore and BBQ dinner! This was the best KOA we have seen! The kids loved the playground, mini golf, indoor pool, jacuzzi, bike rentals and store. We bought wood for the smores and we were ready for “camping”. We stayed here for 4 nights.

Day-4 We took a tour of the Yellowstone Lower loop on the Buffalo Bus Line. http://www.visitmt.com/listings/general/sightseeing-tour/buffalo-bus-touring-company.html. They picked us up at the KOA and brought us a lunch. We saw all the sights of the Yellowstone lower loop including bison, moose, elk and deer. The guide was very knowledgeable and we learned a lot of information in a short period of time. They included binoculars for everyone to use. When he couldn’t find parking the driver would drop us off at a spot and come back to get us so we could still enjoy the sights. We rented a car for 2 days through Buffalo Bus Touring Company. We thought it would be easier than driving the RV all over Yellowstone. They brought the car to us at the KOA and picked it up there when we were done for no additional charge!

Day -5 After a long day of touring we decided to take a break and we went to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center https://www.grizzlydiscoveryctr.org/ . The boys loved watching the bears play, swim in the water and climb trees! The boys were able to go behind the scenes and hide food for the bears in the enclosure.

Day-6 We drove the Yellowstone Upper Loop! We drove and stopped at sights! We had a picnic lunch in Mammoth Hot Springs with the deer.

Day-7 It was time to leave Yellowstone and drive to the Grand Tetons! It was only a 2 hour drive, but we got stuck behind a heard of Buffalo crossing the road for almost an additional 2 hours! The driver was thankful for the potty break  and lunch delivery service in the RV.  The kids learned more about the birds and the bees!

Our next campsite was the Colter Bay RV park in the Grand Teton National Park  http://www.gtlc.com/rv/colter-bay-rv-park. The RV park was OK, but not as kid friendly as we expected.  We had to pay for showers and cell phone service was impossible! The best part of the park was the fact that we could walk everywhere!

Day-8 We booked a tour ahead of time for the Jackson Lake Breakfast Cruise. http://www.gtlc.com/activities/jackson-lake-boat-cruises . We walked to the dock and enjoyed a scenic cruise to Elk Island. The tour guide gave us information about the island and we enjoyed the sights. I was surprised to hear that the Elk actually swim to the island in the Spring. Occasionally a bear will swim to the island, but it is rare. I kept an eye out for swimming bears.  LOL.   Once we were on the island they had a delicious breakfast set up for us! We ate and enjoyed the beautiful view! This was an amazing experience!

Since it was my son’s 13th birthday, I decided to try baking a cake in the RV oven! I’m happy to report I didn’t blow up the RV and it turned out great! He was a very happy boy!

Day-9 We put on our hiking shoes, packed water bottles, and a lunch. We went on a long 10 mile hike to Hermitage Point and back. The boys complained for 9.5 miles. We saw a baby deer, moose, her baby,  and lots of geese. We had a picnic and the boys practiced skipping rocks.

Day-10 We were on the road again! This time we were going to the Snake River KOA in Jackson Hole Wyoming.  http://koa.com/campgrounds/jackson-hole/ .

At dusk we went on an animal viewing tour with Brush Buck Jeep Tours https://brushbucktours.com/grand-teton-tours/. We saw bison, elk, deer antelope, bears and a moose! It was a very successful tour!

Day 11 We moseyed on over to the A-OK Corral across the street from the Snake River KOA and we went horse back riding! We were planning to go whitewater rafting, but the water level was so high we decided we would rather not.  The water was also still rather chilly.

We all loved the horses and had a great time. The views were spectacular! We even saw a deer on the way back!

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Day -12 We visited the small town of Jackson and enjoyed some shopping. Well, I enjoyed the shopping.  LOL  The rest of my group whined, fussed and complained like babies! Don’t worry, I kept shopping! I loved this little town.  There were lots of fun stores and we found a delicious ice cream shop!

After shopping, we headed to dinner at the Bar T Chuck Wagon! The chuck wagon took us up a road around a river to a secluded forest. We saw Indians and a great show while we ate a Bar-B-Que dinner.

Day-13 It was time to drive back to Salt Lake City, Utah and return the RV! We were ready to go home to sleep in our own beds, shower and see our dog! I think we made life long memories on this vacation. We explored this amazing country, learned new things, met new people, enjoyed family time together, and decided we would take another RV vacation in the future!

 

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Bonus I beat my know-it-all 13 year old to a game of Phase 10!!

Happy Trails!

 

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Rent the Runway

Have you ever rented a dress? I heard of the website Rent the Runway  that rents designer $500 dresses for $30-$90 and thought I would give it a try! I had a wedding to attend at a Resort in San Diego in October.  I was 30 pounds over weight and I had nothing in my closet that fit. I really didn’t want to buy something new for $100-$200 in my size, since I was determined to lose the weight! I wanted 2 dresses for the weekend, 1 for the Western theme happy hour Friday night and 1 for the wedding Saturday.

I browsed the dresses and found 2 that I loved. When you click on the dress you can see the model and click on her back view. Then you can scroll down to the bottom of the page and see Real women wearing the dress, read their reviews, and see their dimensions. Also, you get an idea of jewelry or shoes to help accessorize the dress.  After extensive research I had the courage to guess my size and how the dresses would fit.

I ordered my dresses for a 4 day rental and paid $30 for the 1 year membership. With the membership you get free shipping and returns,  free dry cleaning, free back up size, plus a free dress for your birthday. I awaited my dresses arrival like a kid waiting for Christmas Day!  Tuesday I received an email that the dresses I ordered were unable to be used. I’m assuming an angry girl ripped them off  trying to fit them over her head in a moment of panic. We have all been there.

The email included a phone number to call and a very sweet apology. I called immediately and went to my computer to browse the dress selection. While talking to the stylist (a man, who I don’t think  has ever had to talk a woman off a ledge before) did a good job, but he kept pushing yellow dresses on me, I don’t wear yellow Ever! I tried to find something in my color pallet and my size available the same weekend everyone in the country was using the service. We finally found 2 dresses that I thought would work. He had them shipped overnight to me.

WEDNESDAY THE DRESSES ARRIVED!!! I was so excited I could hardly contain myself! Until I tried them on. Then I cried myself into a sobbing mess laying on the floor. They didn’t fit! I could barely zip  the floral one over my waist.The blue one was extremely tight all over, in fact both breasts would not stay in the dress at the same time! So, I called back my friend at RTR and we had another go at finding something for me. This time I was much more realistic about my size and went up 2 sizes! Big breasts get in the way again! They had 2 dresses available in my size that I liked. In fact, they were sending me an extra  green dress just in case! Unfortunately I had to leave for the airport Friday morning and they would not arrive here in time. I had the RTR associate ship them to the Resort in San Diego. Then I went to my closet and prayed something would fit, just in case. I found 2 dresses in my closet that would fit, but I would not be happy wearing either of them. This was a really special wedding at a Resort in San Diego. I wanted to look like a princess, not her evil step sister!

Friday morning I was packing and getting ready to leave the house when my cell phone rang. It was UPS and they wanted my address. They had my dresses at the Tucson UPS main office. I wrote down the address and we drove there on the way to the airport. I picked up my package and looked inside. The package included the  2 dresses for the wedding but I was missing the blue one I wanted for happy hour that night. I called back RTR to find the missing blue dress and they said it was on the way to the Resort in San Diego.

We arrived at the resort and the dress was no where to be seen. I went to the Western Theme happy hour in a black dress from my closet. It fit, but I didn’t like it. It was like being on a diet and eating a salad with out dressing while your family eats pizza!

Fortunately, out of the 2 dresses I did receive I was able to wear 1 of them to the wedding. The green one was too tight, one breast would have to stay home. I went to the wedding in the floral Rent the Runway designer dress and I felt like a million bucks!! Sure I was overweight and old, but I felt like a princess in this beautiful dress! I received many compliments on my dress and it really made my night! I put the dress back in the bag and shipped it back to RTR! It was pretty simple.

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What did I learn from my experience? Be more realistic about your size, maybe take measurements? If you plan on renting for an out of town event pay for the 8 day rental? Will I rent from RTR again? YES! I’m planning on renting from them for a Gala I’m attending in March! I have lost 20 pounds and I’m hoping my experience will be easier. At least this time it’s in town.

If you would like to try the service:

https://www.renttherunway.com/shares/c0e29e1bc7253416a561a463c712878de0f04395-publicLink?utm_source=rtr&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=undefined

Tell them Paula sent you! I think they know me by my first name by now:)

BIG THANK YOU to Jaime Williams for the beautiful jewelry from Chloe & Isabel!

https://www.chloeandisabel.com/boutique/jwilliams

 

RENT THE RUNWAY UPDATE!!

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I rented another dress for a Gala I attended this weekend! I loved this little black dress! It was tight in the chest but I wore a sports bra and the situation was under control! I received many compliments on the dress and it felt great wearing something that was so stylish! I have to admit, I have event anxiety! I love going to events but I get a little anxiety worrying about what I’m going to wear. This really helped relieve my stress because I knew my dress was perfect!

Kauai Hawaii

Kauai Hawaii

I fell in love with Kauai in 1991. I graduated from high school and spent the summer with my best friend, her sister, and dad who lived on Kauai. We were immersed in the culture of the island immediately.  It is truly a natural Island. There are no sky scrappers or high rise hotels, and no motor boats are allowed on the Island. The people of Kauai are very friendly and they have kept the Island pristine. I loved exploring beaches and finding hidden gems, we had friends that took us to beaches that only the locals knew about. It was fun relaxing on a deserted beach and the only footprints were ours. Since hurricane Iniki in  1992 the chickens have taken over the island, but not much else has changed. 14522832_10155328691169517_6101411876087716352_n

For our 10 year wedding anniversary and my 40th birthday Mike and I celebrated in Kauai. We went in September while the kids were in school and were able to non-rev (fly on another airline and only pay the taxes). We stayed at the Barking Sands Military Base and enjoyed a week of relaxing with out the kids. Mike fell in love with the island and agreed we would be back one day with the boys.

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I wanted to share my love for the island with my family.We tried to non-rev to Kauai 2 years ago and spent 2 days at the airport with no luck. I decided to buy tickets this time and travel in the off-season to save some money. The funny thing is, the Hawaii Islands don’t have an off-season! Fortunately my boys have a week off in October for “fall break” and I found airline tickets were much cheaper then June or July!

My boys were so excited, we have never bought them airline tickets before!

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When we arrived in Kauai we went to the local Walmart and stocked up on food for breakfast and dinners. I knew we would be out to lunch most days but I really didn’t want to eat out for lunch and dinner. Fortunately I remembered to bring my own recycling bags. The grocery store in Kauai don’t use plastic or paper bags.

When we arrived at the Barking Sands Base we rented boogie boards, beach chairs, and a surf board. We were ready for our vacation to start.

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After dinner at Shenanigans! Great place to eat and watch the sunset!

We spent a couple of days catching waves at several different beaches. Poipu beach was one of our favorites, on our way there we made a quick  stop at the Blow hole! http://www.kauai.com/spouting-horn .   Then we had to go to Puka Dog for lunch! I don’t usually eat hot dogs but these were AMAZING!!  http://www.pukadog.com/

We took the boys on a sailboat tour of the Na Pali Coast with Captain Andy’s excursions https://www.napali.com/ . They loved the sailing and enjoyed riding on the trampoline net in the front of the boat. We all had a nice time snorkeling and the lunch was delicious. I think the best part was watching the dolphins swim and jump out of the water alongside our boat!

We tried to book a Kauai River tubing excursion, but they were booked 3 months in advance! For the whole week!!

Instead we went to Princeville Ranch Adventures https://princevilleranch.com/ . We hiked, paddled our canoes up a small river then went zip-lining through the forest. Then the boys jumped in the hidden swimming hole. We enjoyed a nice picnic lunch and then hiked and canoed back home. This was a really fun excursion. The guides were locals and had vast amounts of information about the plants and all of the Island!

Everyone wants to go to a Luau! Kauai has 2 large private Luau’s and I recommend both of them!

The first time we went with out kids we enjoyed the  Luau Kalamaku https://www.luaukalamaku.com/. It was very nice, but really a Hollywood production. I didn’t like eating during the dancing, I  couldn’t enjoy the show while eating.

This time we decided to take the boys to the Smith Family Garden Luau https://www.smithskauai.com/garden-luau/. We rode the train around the grounds and enjoyed listening to the guide talk about all of the different plants and birds. They have a beautiful estate to explore before the show. My kids liked chasing the chickens:( When we arrived at the dinner we were surprised with an open bar! This was a nice treat, the Mai tai’s were delicious!

The dinner was amazing and they entertained us with a few songs and some dance instructions. After dinner we went to watch the real show. This was a nice story about the islands and how the Luau and Hula came to become.

A trip to Kauai is not complete with out a drive up Waimea Canyon,  “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific” by Mark Twain. https://hawaiistateparks.org/parks/kauai/waimea-canyon-state-park/ . We drove up the canyon and stopped to take some great pictures of the red dirt. This dirt became famous after the 1992 Hurricane when all of the clothes at the t-shirt shops were covered in the red dirt. It wouldn’t wash out, but the store owners decided to make them as Dirt Shirts. Now you see the Dirt Shirts everywhere in the stores. By the way, the airport TSA will take your red dirt away from you. I hope it was returned to the same place!

We enjoyed a nice hike in the canyon and were blown away by the views. With the elevation change we noticed cactus, shrubs, eucalyptus trees and even pines. It was breathtaking!

We left Kauai with a tan, some t-shirts and endless memories. My boys fell in love with the Island. They now have an appreciation for Hawaiian culture, Kauai’s unique natural beauty, and how annoying free range chickens can be! I got tired of saying “shut the door or the chickens will come in!” We would all love to return one day, maybe when Southwest starts flying to Hawaii? Don’t ask, I have no idea when that will happen! A girl can dream!

Military Discounts and Deals

My husband has served and protected our great nation for over 18 years. We are a proud military family. Now that he is a reservist, we still receive some military benefits and I love to share some of the great deals we have found. Unfortunately not everyone knows about them, so I’m sharing some of the best!

Resorts all over the world:

Armed Forces Vacation Club

We stayed at a resort in Orlando Florida that we booked from the  Armed Forces Vacation Club. We stayed 6 nights in a condo at a lovely resort for $250 for the week! It had 2 bedroom, 2 bath, full kitchen and laundry facility. The resort had access to a lake and other fun activities.

https://www.afvclub.com

 

 

Florida- Shades of Green is a resort at Disney World! I have not stayed here but I heard it was great. When I tried to book a room at the resort it was full 6 months in advance!

At this website you can also get reduced tickets for Disney World Parks, Universal Orlando, Sea World, and more! You can purchase the discounted tickets even if you are not staying at the Shades of Green. You must have a person with a military ID with you when you use them and there is a limit to how many tickets you can buy per ID.

http://www.shadesofgreen.org/index.html

 

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California- Most military bases have a Information, Tickets, & Tours (ITT) office. We have bought discounted tickets at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base for Disneyland & California Adventure, Sea World, Legoland and San Diego Zoo. For a family of 4 we have saved hundreds of dollars going through the ITT.

http://www.dmforcesupport.com

 

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Naval Base Coronado- hotel on Coronado on the beach! This is a great place to stay and relax, but its really hard to get a room so I advise you call months ahead of time!

https://www.navy-lodge.com/lodge

 

Hawaii

Honolulu– Hale Koa is a resort walking distance to the beach. I have never been but I heard its great!

http://www.halekoa.com/

 

Kauai– Barking Sands is several beach cottages on a private beach on the Navy base. It has 2-3 bedroom cottages with full kitchens, laundry facility and deck looking out to the ocean. It is on the West side of the island and a bit of a drive but it is so worth it!

http://pmrf.greatlifehawaii.com/lodging

http://get.dodlodging.net/propertys/Barking-Sands-Beach-Cottages-PMRF—HI

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For tickets and prices to Luau’s, helicopter tours, and much more go to the website and click on Information, tickets & travel:

http://www.greatlifehawaii.com/

 

 

Oktoberfest on Mt Lemmon

14344690_10209952213384833_8101544094105007380_nAs a Tucson native I have never experienced Oktoberfest on Mt Lemmon! I decided to fix that this year! I wanted to celebrate my birthday (25 again) with my girlfriends in the mountains at Oktoberfest! I had the cutest t-shirts made and they were a hit!

After a quick drive up the mountain we were shocked at how cool it was outside. Some of us even changed from our shorts into pants in the mini van! Don’t worry the parking lot was empty.

Parking was $5 per car so we piled into two mini vans to save money. Admission was free! We bought tickets for lunch and beer. The prices were very reasonable $6 for food depending on what you wanted and $4 for beer. Everything was delicious! I highly recommend the fudge in the sweet shop!

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We brought chairs and hiked up the hill to get a great view of the festivities. The music was a nice charm, they played authentic German music and people danced and laughed. We did not dance but we laughed a lot. Children ran in the grass and did cartwheels down the hill. Some of the brave people in my group rode the ski lift to the top of the mountain and enjoyed the sights. I was not one of them, it was my birthday and I wanted to sit on my but and enjoy the day.

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I love the fact that we can drive 45 minutes up Mount Lemmon Highway and everything changes. We can see fall leaves changing, feel the cool mountain air,  and enjoy our surroundings with out stepping on a cactus or a rattlesnake!

If you have the time please go check it out! It is family friendly, just make sure you have a designated driver or rent a cabin for the night! Hurry Oktoberfest is over soon!

http://www.skithelemmon.com/

http://www.vrbo.com/vacation-rentals/usa/arizona/tucson-area/mt-lemmon?from-date=2015-07-15&to-date=2015-07-19

Happy October!

Favorite foods from my travels

When I’m on vacation I like to try the food of the natives. If I’m in Boston, I eat Lobster and clam chowder. When I’m in New York its a slice of pizza. Growing up in Arizona, I learned quickly that you don’t eat Mexican food in North Dakota or Minnesota. I’m sorry, it’s just not the same! I love trying new foods when we travel and here are a few of my favorites I fell in love with and had to recreate when I got home.

Enjoy!

Hawaiian pork

I fell in love with Hawaiian Pork when we went to Kauai. I came home and tried to recreate this delicious meat. I think I came pretty close with this recipe.

 

Crock pot Hawaiian Pork
6 pounds pork butt roast
1 1/2 Tbsp Sea Salt
1Tbsp liquid smoke flavoring

Sweet & Spicy Hawaiian Barbecue Sauce

Cut small slits in pork
Pat salt into pork
Pour liquid smoke over meat
Place in slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 18 to 20 hours. High for 9 to 10 hours.
Only open lid once to turn the roast!
Remove meat from slow cooker and shred. Add Sweet & Spicy Hawaiian Barbecue Sauce.

 

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Years ago we joined friends at a  small chicken BBQ restaurant in Puerto Penasco, Mexico. Our friends always bragged about this Mexican chicken and we wanted to try it for ourselves, they were right, It was delicious! When we got home our friends Mark and LeAnn were so kind to give us this recipe they found that tastes almost as good! If I put my feet in the sand, close my eyes and drink a Corona while eating this chicken its like I’m back at the beach in Mexico!

Mexican Lime Grilled Chicken
4 legs and 4 thighs
1/2 cup light olive oil
1/2 cup lime juice
1 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Put chicken in a large ziplock or container with lid.
Whisk together ingredients in bowl. Pour over chicken and cover chicken in refrigerator over night. The longer the better.
Preheat grill. Place chicken on grill and turn it when chicken releases from grill easily. Season chicken with salt while cooking. Cook approximately 1 hour or until internal temp reaches 165. Let chicken rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

 

 

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On our cruise to Jamaica we had a chance to stop and eat lunch at Mama Marley’s. The  Jerk Chicken was amazing! I had to recreate it at home. I love it with rice and grilled pineapple!

Jamaican Jerk Grilled Chicken
2 teaspoons allspice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 teaspoons cloves
1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/8 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoons canola oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Combine all spices, brown sugar, and oil in a small bowl. Preheat grill to high heat.
Rub the mixture over the chicken with your hands.
Place chicken on the grill and cook approximately 4 minutes on each side. Until the exterior is dark brown and inside is no longer pink.
Remove from heat and rest 5-10 minutes to let the juices soak in before cutting.

 

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do!

Happy Travels!

 

 

Travel “kit”

I love to travel but I’m not fond of hotels. Its fine for one night or two but for a vacation I like to have a kitchen. We usually rent through VRBO to find a nice house, cabin, or beach condo depending on where we are going. If we are driving I always bring my “kit”.

You would think most rentals would have the “essentials” but I’m always digging through my kit for a wine bottle opener or sugar packets. If you don’t have a wine or beer bottle opener how can you start your vacation?

I have a list of things I always like to have at home, but depending on where we are going sometimes I add to the box or leave things at home.

My Essentials:

Paper Plates,  cups, plastic utensils, Paper towels, Ziploc bags (large and small). I am on vacation and I don’t want to do dishes all day!thumbnail_IMG_8270

Dishwasher pods, Dish washing liquid, hand soap, Tide pods, and  disinfecting wipes help keep your home away from home clean. If there is a washer and dryer its really nice to go home with clean clothes:)

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If I’m going to do dishes, I need a dish scrubber!thumbnail_IMG_8265

Most important items: Wine bottle opener, can opener, lighter, dustpan, measuring cup and multipurpose knife. thumbnail_IMG_8267

Don’t forget favorite spices, cooking spray, chip clips, and aluminum foil!

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Morning essentials: Your morning wont be the same with out your favorite coffee, tea, creamer,  and sugar! I add the disposable cups in case I need to take my coffee to go or I  don’t want to do dishes!thumbnail_IMG_8269

In Mexico I always bring my own ice cube trays! I don’t trust the trays in the freezer were filled with filtered water!

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Take a trip to Walmart or the Dollar store, make your kit and keep it for vacations to come. I like a clear container so I can see what is missing. I try to keep everything in Ziploc bags or original packaging for easy clean up in case there is a spill.

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Happy Travels!

7 Day Cruise

Are you ready for a 7 day cruise? Maybe, if you have sailed before and you thought after 5 or 6 days you could stay a little longer. The hardest part of a long cruise is the days at sea. We recently cruised on Carnival Breeze from Texas to Jamaica, Grand Cayman Island,  and Cozumel. I was excited about the cruise but I have to admit I wasn’t looking forward to 3 days at sea. We really liked the Carnival Breeze because it was one of their newest ships.

Most Carnival cruise ships have the Waterworks water slides and play area, a mini putt putt course, and the Dive in Movies. This ship is above and beyond with a 3D-movie theater, Sky Course, Basketball Court and extra food options like Guy’s Burger Joint and Blue Iguana Tacos. I knew it would keep my kids busy, but what was I going to do?

I’ll tell you what I did, I relaxed!! I relaxed like I didn’t have kids! It was like a honeymoon! I was day drinking by the pool, reading a book (I actually read a whole book! I can’t remember the last time I was able to read a whole book on vacation, with kids!) and I took a nap every afternoon! I was so happy!

Just like any cruise dinners were amazing! We made a rule that the boys could eat breakfast and lunch on their own but they had to join us for dinner in the dining room. They really didn’t complain since they could have steak and french fries every night, and they did!

The first port was Jamaica and we went on the Dunn’s River Falls excursion. It was fun, but really crowded. I don’t think I would do it again.

I think the kids had more fun at the water slide at the beach we went to afterwards.

The next day was Grand Cayman Island. We decided not to book an excursion here because we have been here before. We knew it was safe and easy to walk off the ship and find something to do. Last time we were in Grand Cayman we did the Snuba tour and we loved it! The boys wanted to snorkel this time so we found a snorkel shop and went on our own. The snorkels, flippers, vests and water trampoline were all included! We ALL had a great time and it was so much cheaper!

Then we had lunch at Margaritaville and had fun on the water slide! After a couple of margaritas I went down the water slide!

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Welcome to Cozumel Mexico!

This was our last excursion. We (my husband and I ) wanted to see the Mayan ruins, the boys were not happy about an educational excursion. We went on the 3 hour tour of the Tulum Mayan ruins and I think that was enough. It was very informative and impressive to see how they created villages a thousand years ago. It was raining all day which was a nice change from the hot sun and humidity.

 

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At the end of the day we were tired and ready to go home. Then we had one last day at sea. I have to admit the last day at sea was a little boring but it gave us a chance to get our laundry done, ride the water slides and eat tacos one last time!

Every cruise has several photographers trying to get your family to pose in front of a piano or a cheesy background. We did the photo shoots the first time we cruised and everyone hated the pictures. I demand one picture as a family, the last night on the ship as we are sailing into the sunset. We can usually find a couple trying to take their own photo and we switch cameras to get the perfect shot! I really owe this young lady we met from Sweden, she did a great job!13413089_10154951164574517_3427201504954378480_n

As always we really enjoyed our cruise!