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!

Sunrise Park Resort, Greer Arizona

Yes, there is snow in Arizona! There are two ski resorts Sunrise Park Resort http://www.sunriseskiparkaz.com in Greer and Arizona Snowbowl http://www.arizonasnowbowl.com in Flagstaff. They are both 2 hours from Phoenix and 4 hours from Tucson.

I did a little research at http://www.wanderbat.com . I found that Snowbowl has 40 trails and 777 ski-able acres. Sunrise has 65 trails and 800 ski-able acres and its the 80th largest in the United States.  I think they both have about the same number of beginner and intermediate trails. The only exception is Sunrise has advanced trails and Snowbowl doesn’t. Snowbowl has expert trails but Sunrise doesn’t. If your a snowboarder looking to practice your stunts Sunrise has 2 terrain parks and Snowbowl has 3.

I have only skied at Sunrise so I can’t give you a skier comparison. I taught both of my boys to ski at Sunrise and my younger son learned to snowboard there. We enjoy the park as a family and try to enjoy 2 ski trips a year together.

There is a small sledding hill at Sunrise but it is not maintained by the park. Be careful, there is a lake at the bottom and sometimes the snow will melt and the sledders can fall in. That really ruins a sledding afternoon.

We did learn from experience that if you purchase ski lift passes you don’t get your money back if there is a blizzard and they cant plow the slopes enough to ski down them. It sounds funny to say that our ski trip was ruined by a blizzard, in Arizona! We went sledding instead. The next day the sun was out, slopes were plowed and it was a beautiful day for skiing.

There is nothing better than enjoying a drink with a friend after a long day of skiing.

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Some tricks to skiing with kids, please make them wear helmets! If you  start them early with a helmet they wont fight you later. Both of my boys carry a Camelback with water and snacks in the pockets. They can drink and eat on the lift and you don’t have to worry about them falling off to grab a water bottle. I bring a cooler full of food for lunch, that way we all eat what we want and don’t spend a fortune at the snack bar. My husband has always carried a backpack and I love having everything I need with me. The conditions on the slopes can change and its nice to take off your beanie and stuff it in your backpack and put on a hat with a visor. Most important things in my backpack are my phone, sunscreen, hat, extra gloves, chap stick, water, snacks, and walking boots. I hate walking in my ski boots.

Here is a GoPro Video from our last family ski trip to Sunrise Ski Resort!

Go Ski Arizona!