A Cruise to Mexico

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The mister and I just returned from a five day cruise to Cozumel Mexico. It was our first trip ever without the kids, and it was AMAZING. Our days were filled with naps, margaritas, delicious food, lounging about in the sun,  and it was just what we needed to reconnect and relax. 

We visited a couple of beaches in Mexico, where it was warm enough to swim in the ocean, and we had a blast being serenaded by mariachis, eating the BEST guacamole ever, and shopping for handmade goods at the market. I bought the paper mache puppets in the photo above for the girls, and the tiny Day of the Dead diorama for myself.

We took the Carnival Paradise out of Tampa, so it was really easy trip across the bridge for us. I was lucky enough to win $100 gift certificate for the spa on board ship, so I spent half the day in the spa getting services, and loving every minute of the pampering. 

I feel refreshed and ready to take on the hectic pace of the holidays. Three cheers for vacations right before the Christmas madness.

Sandpearl Resort, A Love Letter

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I’ve just returned home from three days at the Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater Beach. We take a beach staycation every year around this time to celebrate the warmer weather, and my birthday. Yesterday, I turned thirty-six. I have spent the last few days eating gelato, drinking Blue Hawaiians, dining on seafood, swimming in the warm Gulf of Mexico, and not having a care in the world.

I have been very fortunate to have traveled quite a bit in my life, and I can easily put the Sandpearl Resort at the top of my favorite hotels ever list. This resort just takes care of you, and no detail goes unnoticed. The hotel itself is beautifully appointed, with large hotel rooms, super comfortable beds, the deepest bathtubs I’ve ever seen in a hotel, an awesome zero entry pool, and wonderful restaurants. You receive complimentary champagne upon check in, and the girls received buckets and shovels for the beach. At sunset, the resort comes alive with music, a fire pit to sit around, and they ring a bell when the sun goes down, which was one of Amelia’s favorite things. The hotel staff is very helpful and friendly, and you receive turn down service at night, complete with chocolates and bottled water left by your bedside. The Sandpearl has set the tone for you to feel pampered and relaxed. I arrived at the resort wound tight, and left feeling like a wet noodle. I am very lucky to live just 10 minutes from Clearwater Beach, but I have never experienced it like this. We will definitely be back, and may stop in just for a meal, or drinks and a sunset viewing in the very near future.

I love you, Sandpearl Resort.

If you go: We had two meals at the resort. The first was breakfast at Caretta on the Gulf. We had the breakfast buffet, and it was spectacular. We requested a table outside, and it was the perfect way to start our day. The buffet price is $21 per adult, including your beverages, and children 9 and under are free. This meal was well worth the price. The second meal we had at our resort was at Tate Island Grill. We sat outside and enjoyed the view of the beach from our table. I had the pulled pork nachos, and they were yummy.

Next door to the hotel is Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill and the Palm Pavilion. Both restaurants are favorite spots for locals, and have amazing food. Buffalo shrimp & she crab soup are two of my favorite dishes at Frenchy’s.

Now, let’s talk gelato. I had the best homemade gelato of my life at Gelato Bello, which is also located next door to the resort. Try the pistachio, it is heavenly. In the same plaza as the gelato is a small restaurant called Clear Sky Beachside Cafe. This is a great casual spot for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

*This is not a paid post. The opinions are 100 percent mine.

Port Orleans Disney Weekend

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We spent three chilly days at Walt Disney World last weekend. We stayed at the lovely Port Orleans Riverside Resort in their new Royal Guest Room. We spent time at Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and the Magic Kingdom. It was a fun weekend filled with roasting marshmallows, horse-drawn carriage rides, Disney movies on the lawn, Ghiradelli hot chocolate, and good quality family time. (Amelia was sprinkled with fairy dust. You can see the sparkle in the up close photo of her in the red jacket. It was a highlight for her)

I was given a cold as a parting gift from Disney, so I am resting today so I can enjoy the eighty degree weather we will see this Sunday.

Spring break is right around the corner for Amelia, and I am dreaming of a trip to the beach. 

What are your spring break plans?

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort {Little Mermaid Room}

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We were lucky enough to be among the very first to stay in the Little Mermaid section of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. We LOVE this place! There is so much attention to detail, and something new to see around every corner. 

The Little Mermaid rooms are the standard rooms here at this resort. Our room had two double beds, a small table with two chairs, a flat screen television, a small fridge, and the usual tub/shower combo. The room was a bit on the small side, but comfortable enough for the four of us, Maggie slept in a portable crib. 

My girls loved all of the Little Mermaid decorations and characters everywhere. The shower tiles were made to look like you are in Ariel’s grotto complete with all of her treasure. The pool in this section of the resort was also a lot of fun, and not crowded at all. Did I mention they gave us lemonade and chocolate chip cookies when we checked in?!

There is a great food court here at the resort with lots of yummy food choices. The children’s meals were generous, and my girls were able to split a meal , which saved some money. We ate four meals here, one lunch, one dinner and two breakfasts. My husband and I enjoyed the make your own omelet station at breakfast, and we had burgers at one meal, delicious, and mongolian beef at another, also delicious. 

We spent alot of time exploring all of the other areas of this resort. The other three wings are based on the movies Cars, The Lion King, and Finding Nemo, which is where the main pool and splash park are located.

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We will definitely be staying here again!

We’re back from our super fun Disney vacation! Amelia really enjoyed her early 5th birthday celebration, (her actual birthday is 3 weeks away), and we are already planning our next trip back to the happiest place on earth!
I’ll be back soon with a post on the new Disney resort we stayed at, and some more photos of our trips to the different Disney parks. (we visited three!)

We’re back from our super fun Disney vacation! Amelia really enjoyed her early 5th birthday celebration, (her actual birthday is 3 weeks away), and we are already planning our next trip back to the happiest place on earth!

I’ll be back soon with a post on the new Disney resort we stayed at, and some more photos of our trips to the different Disney parks. (we visited three!)

Family Beach Weekend.

We’ve just returned home from a long weekend vacation at the TradeWinds Resort on St. Pete Beach, here in Florida. It’s about a half hour drive from our house to this beautiful beach. I highly recommend this resort for families, it is super kid friendly with lots of things for the littles to do. We ate all kinds of yummy food, took early morning walks on the beach, viewed beautiful sunsets, swam like fishes, danced at a pirate party, took naps, rode around in paddle boats, fed swans, hunted for seashells, and had some good quality family time without any of the usual distractions. Three days off from cooking & house cleaning was just was this Mama needed to recharge her batteries.

Island Life

Coco Cay, Bahamas

Our first stop on our recent 7-day cruise was Coco Cay, Bahamas. It’s a beautiful island owned by Royal Caribbean with mostly beach activities. It was our only overcast & rainy day, and consequently, Beau and I are were the only ones in our group to take the ferry over to the island. We shopped the straw market, enjoyed a few adult beverages, and did a little nature watching.

St. Thomas

Our second port was St. Thomas, and the weather here more than made up for the rain we had earlier in the week. We all took the lift to the top of a mountain to a place called Paradise Point. We danced to live music, drank more adult beverages, did a little shopping, and enjoyed the spectacular views from our perch high above our ship.

St. Martin

Last, but not least, we visited St. Martin. We took a bus tour around the island which is half dutch & half french. It is such a pretty place! We did a little shopping in the market on the french side, and enjoyed the scenery from our air conditioned bus.

It was such a fun cruise, and I highly recommend our ship, The Freedom of the Seas. I’ll be back soon with a post dedicated to tips for traveling with young children. We met most of the challenges this presents with flying colors, but we learned some lessons along the way, too.

Summer Vacation

Summer is almost over, and this year we didn’t take a trip because of our new baby, Maggie. We’ve decided to take Amelia to Orlando this weekend to sneak in a mini trip for some summer fun. Maggie will stay with my parents, it’s just too hot here in Florida for a new baby to be outside for any period of time. We’ll be going to Sea World for their special summer night event, and then maybe to Downtown Disney the next day. I am curious, what family vacations did you take this Summer?

We’ve just booked our honeymoon cruise with Royal Caribbean for next October. We’ve decided to take a family honeymoon/vacation. We are so excited that Dreamworks just partnered with Royal, and will have characters from it’s movies on board. The kids are going to loose their minds!

We’ve just booked our honeymoon cruise with Royal Caribbean for next October. We’ve decided to take a family honeymoon/vacation. We are so excited that Dreamworks just partnered with Royal, and will have characters from it’s movies on board. The kids are going to loose their minds!