Saturday, March 29, 2008

An Amazing Vacation In Mexico!

O.K., now that I've been home for a week, I think it's time to share the details of the trip! BUT, if you are one of my dear friends who has been bugging me, you are required to leave a comment when you're done reading!

The trip was absolutely wonderful! I am so thankful for the chance Joshua and I had to spend this time together. It was like a second honeymoon! We had no travel problems, or delays or lost luggage. We didn't have tummy problems or any other sickness. We had a very comfy bed and a quiet room, so we slept great! And Joshua didn't even sunburn himself to death (which he tends to do)! I would have to say that it was pretty close to the perfect vacation!

The food was sooo yummy! I really enjoyed eating authentic Mexican food again to my heart's content! I think I had beans and corn tortillas with about 2/3 of my meals - even sometimes for breakfast! There was an abundance of fresh pineapple, cantaloupe and papaya. We both discovered that we don't so much care for papaya, but the pineapple was excellent. When you go to these all-inclusive resorts, there is always a main buffet restaurant that is open for each meal of the day. (There is a snack bar for the in-between times. Which had the best ice cream cones, by the way!) At the buffet, there were made-to-order omelette stations for breakfast, along with anything else you can imagine for breakfast! The french toast, made with leftover french bread, was amazing! I looked forward to that every morning! At lunch and supper, there was always some sort of meat that you could get right off the grill (fish, pork chops, burgers). Also, there was a made-to-order pasta station that was pretty good. There was always plenty of fresh salad materials, so we took advantage of that to offset the ice cream cones! :-) There were 4 other restaurants on the resort that were only open for dinner. They are called the a la carte restaurants. When you stay for a week, you are allowed to make reservations at 3 of the a la carte restaurants. We ate at Bambu, the Asian restaurant, the Beach Barbecue, and the Mexican restaurant. All of them were excellent and each had their special trademarks. At Bambu, we had the best time interacting with the waiters - they had a lot of fun in there! I got to try some different kinds of sushi too. All the food was really good. The Beach Barbecue was very special because it was set up right on the sand next to the beach! It was so cool to be able to see and hear the ocean while we were eating at a table with a fancy tablecloth and a hurricane lamp! They had ribs, pork chops and chicken. The ribs were our favourite and we could hardly stop eating them! The natural thing to do after a meal like that was to just step away from the table for a moonlit walk by the beach. We ate at the Mexican restaurant our last night there. We got a table out on their terrace, so we were able to see the ocean AND watch the sunset! It was so beautiful! The food at this restaurant was probably my favourite. I had this soup, for an appetizer, that I could eat everyday! So, we rate the food at about 5 stars!

Our typical day went something like this. Get up around 9 or 9:30 a.m., get dressed and walk over to the buffet. Eat a yummy breakfast. Go back to the room and put on our swimsuits and sunscreen. Pack the tote bag with water, more sunscreen, books and cover-ups. Walk to the beach and set up camp. Go get a pina colada (virgin!) at the bar. (All the drinks were included as well.) Sit in the sun and get nice and toasty. Go play in the water to cool off and ride the boogie boards for awhile. Clean the seaweed and sand out of our bathing suits. :-) Sit in the sun some more. Joshua went to play in the ping pong tournament by the family pool at 1 p.m. for 4 of the days we were there. He won twice! Then, put on swimsuit cover-ups and go to the buffet for lunch. Put on more sunscreen and head to the pool. (There was an adult only pool that was very nice. It overlooked the ocean. There was an inner circle that was a hot tub, but the outer circle was also nice and warm.) A couple of times we played tennis in the afternoon. Go take showers and put on nicer clothes for dinner. Eat dinner. Take a walk on the beach or rest in our room for awhile. Head over to the theatre for the nightly live entertainment. Enjoy the show and some hot chocolate. Back to the room for a good night's sleep! There were a few variations in each day, but you get the idea!

We met a Christian couple, Hans and Charissa, while at the resort, who had also come without their kids. We started talking on the beach the second day we were there and just seemed to click with them. We actually ended up doing a lot of things together and enjoyed getting to know them. On Monday, we went to the nearest little town with them to do our souvenir shopping. We hopped a local bus out by the road, paid $2 each and had about a 15 minute bus ride to town! We did our shopping, and took the bus back to the resort a couple of hours later! It was a lot of fun, and we were glad to have someone else along just for safety purposes. The kids were very happy with all the things we brought back for them! That was our only "excursion" away from the resort. We didn't go on any of the organized excursions that were offered. There was one that we booked for Friday, but when Hans and Charissa went on the same excursion on Tuesday, we cancelled ours. Their trip was a disaster, partly due to the weather, and we just didn't want to risk the same disappointment and frustration. So, we were happy to stay on the beach and work on our tans! We did get some great tans, by the way! Hopefully I'm still somewhat brown by the time we can wear shorts around here!

The kids did great with Grandpa and Grandma while we were gone. They also stayed healthy and injury free, so I was thankful for that. They had lots of fun going for ice cream, shopping, visiting the zoo, going swimming and playing outside. Thanks Mom and Dad for everything you did to make the weeks a huge success! We love you!

Well, I could type all day, but I think that's enough for now! If you have any questions, just post them in the comment section. If you want to see LOTS of pictures from the trip, here is a link to my album on Facebook. (Blogger won't let me download anything onto here right now.) Enjoy!

Friday, March 14, 2008

I'm Going Somewhere WARM!!

Mexico, here I come (with Joshua)!! We have wanted to go on an all-inclusive vacation to somewhere warm for a long time. It seemed like something that might happen in about 5 years, until we discovered how cheap you can get these vacations! We decided it was something we could do sooner than later. In January, we started dreaming and talking about this more seriously. After weeks of looking at vacations and resorts on-line, we finally picked a date, found the "perfect" place and booked our getaway! Joshua's boss was really flexible and great about the whole thing, so we were able to do what really worked best for us. The bottom line is, we are headed to Puerto Vallarta to the Palladium Vallarta Resort and Spa! And we're leaving tomorrow!! Yay! At 6 a.m. in the morning! Boo! That means we actually have to be at the airport at 4 a.m.! But, I know, NONE of you are feeling sorry for me! :-) We'll be gone for 8 days, so we'll be back on the 22nd. Just wanted to let you know when you didn't hear from me for awhile! Oh wait, that's just normal..... :-) I'll post lots of pictures when we get home. The kids will be in the care of Grandma and Grandpa Knaak and will be spoiled rotten by the time we get back! Joshua'a parents were able to come to our house for the week. I was really glad because I think that will just be easier for everyone. Yesterday, I asked the kids if they would miss us while we were gone. They both gave me a hearty "No!" I said, "Good! Cause I don't want you to be sad while I'm gone!" They are so excited to be spending the week with G and G! When I put Sara to bed tonight, she blew me a kiss (something we exchange every night as I walk out her door). She said it was a special kiss that I could pack in my suitcase! My heart melted! So, I think it will be a fun week for all!

And how do you like my new blog look?!!! Isn't it beautiful?! See Brandy's Bloggy Designs button on the right sidebar of my blog. She did an awesome job and I LOVE it! (Brandy wouldn't rest until I said that I LOVED it!) I think I was a challenging customer for her, but she was great! Thanks for all the hard work, Brandy! I hope all of you enjoy the fresh look! I'll be back in one week!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Our Favourite Lunch

So, I've always wanted to post about our favourite lunch. It's a little weird, but my kids beg for it all the time! And even Rachel loves it now! I got this from my friend, Trina, when she had us for a playdate and lunch one day. It's very simple. Tomato soup and noodles! While the soup is warming in one pot, I boil the noodles in another. Shells are the favourite at our house, but elbow macaroni or rotini works well too. Then, you fill up bowls with the noodles and ladle the tomato soup over the top. (Less soup for the very young - then it's less messy!) When, my friend Trina first served this to us, I was a bit skeptical! But, it's surprisingly good! You should try it, and let me know how your family votes. I always serve this with baby carrots and sliced cucumbers. I think I'll go make up this lunch right now.... :-)

P.S. Inspiration to finally post this is from one of Emily's latest posts. She was requesting new lunchtime ideas!