Key Largo Princess Glass Bottom Boat

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Disclosure- We received cruise admission on the Key Largo Princess in exchange for my review. All opinions are 100% my own.  20160720_133945Last week my family and I went to Islamorada in the Florida Keys for a few days. I was looking for a fun adventure and I found the Key Largo Princess Glass Bottom Boat. The Key Largo Princess sails 3 times daily (10am, 1pm, 4pm) from Key Largo Holiday Inn through coral reefs in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary. It’s a great way to see lots of fish, sharks, coral, and other sea life while staying dry.
P1260211When we first got on board the boat we went into the air conditioned salon where the glass bottom is to cool off for a bit because it was so hot outside. Once we began to sail my husband and older daughter decided to stay below and relax in the A/C while my daughter and I went up on deck to the front of the boat to enjoy the breezes and beautiful ocean view. 20160720_130950It was so gorgeous and relaxing. Here are some of the houses, boats, and more that we saw while we sailed to the reef.

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P1260222I think this is my favorite view: 20160720_132354The boat is 70 feet and holds 129 passengers. It has a bar on deck that serves sandwiches, snack, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages for the adults. We had already eaten lunch so we didn’t get anything from the snack bar but other passengers looked happy with their purchases. The staff was really friendly and informative.P1260240
P1260242The ride out to the reef is about 45 minutes. Once we arrived on the reef we all went down to the glass bottom salon part of the boat. Viewing windows of the glass bottom total 280 square feet in area. The crew was so knowledgeable of all of the marine life we were seeing. 20160720_135730The staff made sure to point out the marine life and give us great information on everything we were seeing. It was so cool to see various types of coral, fish, rays, and sharks right below us. The kids had fun dangling their feet over the railing as we all sat on the floor watching the sea life go by. We saw a nurse shark right under the boat. It would have been the perfect picture but unfortunately my camera closed when I clicked to take a picture. I was so bummed!

128_519016624548_2864_nThe trip around the reef lasted about 30 minutes before we sailed back to dock. Once again I went up on deck to enjoy the outside view and breeze as we sailed back.
20160720_144648The cruise was so much fun and a great taste of the underwater beauty of Florida but I want to mention that if you get sea sick, this might not be the activity for you. Unfortunately my husband got sea sick about half way through the trip. The crew was really helpful coming around with cups of ice water for anyone that wasn’t feeling well. If you usually get sea sick I suggest bringing along some sea sick preventative. My girls and I didn’t have any problems with being sea sick and really enjoyed the cruise.
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Swashbuckling Fun on the Bluefoot Pirate Family Adventures in Fort Lauderdale, FL

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Disclosure- We sailed for free on the Bluefoot Pirate Adventure in exchange for this review. All opinions are 100% our own.20160723_145900

AHOY MATEYS! 

Bluefoot Pirate AdventuresThere are many hidden treasures in South Florida and we recently discovered one. Last weekend my family and I went on a Bluefoot Pirate Family Adventures children’s pirate cruise around the Intercoastal in Fort Lauderdale. When you first pull up to the dock the first thing you’ll notice is the big black and yellow ship flying a pirate flag. Upon arriving at the dock children can get their face painted and don pirate gear. The face painting is included in the price of the cruise and children can borrow a pirate themed vest to wear for the duration of the cruise. Want to get even more dressed for the part of pirate? For $7.50 you can purchase a Junior Pirate Pack which includes a plastic sword, eye patch, and pink or black bandana. They also have other goodies for sale.20160723_145508 My girls are almost 11 and 13 which, in my opinion is a little past the target age range for this adventure so they were too embarrassed to get their faces painted and dress up like pirates. TWEENS! I think the experience is perfect for pirates 10 and under. My girls might not have wanted to become pirates but that didn’t stop my husband form joining in the fun and getting his face painted.
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Once we got on the ship the 1st Mate taught the little pirates the parts of the ship and some pirate speak as well as an enchanting tale of stole treasure. Meanwhile the adults got comfortable in the back of the ship while enjoying the cool breezes and the tales told by the captain of the history of many of the gorgeous houses that are passed along the voyage. It was very cloudy when we sailed so I didn’t need to put sunscreen on my girls but the kids do sit in the front of the ship where it is uncovered so make sure to bring sunscreen with you. If you get thirsty they do have water available for sale so bring a little cash with you.

My girls felt that they were too old to participate in all the pirate adventure but they both enjoyed cruising down the Intercoastal and looking at the beautiful houses and other boats along the way. I wish I had taken them on this adventure when they were younger. I know they would have really enjoyed it as much as all the young kids who were on our cruise did.


The expressions on the little faces when the “villain” Barnacle Bill sailed past us were priceless. They all got into character and were so excited to shoot the water cannons at Barnacle Bill to defeat him and get the treasure. My younger daughter stopped being a “too old tween” for a moment and had fun shooting the water cannon, too. 😉
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The 1st Mate gives a thumbs up as Barnacle Bill surrenders to the little pirates.20160723_153619Once the special key is discovered, the treasure chest is opened to reveal the booty! Each child gets a baggie of booty (plastic coins and gems) to take home with them and a certificate to remember their adventure.
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Even with my girls thinking they were too old, in the end they both admitted to having fun and we all enjoyed the cruise. As an added bonus when you go on the Bluefoot Pirate Adventure you can park by the Bahia Mar hotel for just $5 for the whole day. We took advantage of this and brought our beach gear with us. When we got off the pirate ship we were able to walk across the street and enjoy Ft. Lauderdale beach!

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Bluefoot Pirate Family Adventures also does birthday parties and they have a special coupon right now. Get $50 Off a Booked Birthday Party with Bluefoot Pirate Adventures Florida!

Make sure to grab this coupon, too- BOGO Deal for Tuesdays and Thursdays – Buy one get one 50% off!!!

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Luxurious Destinations to Spend Your Honeymoon

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Even though weddings can be expensive, your honeymoon should be an opportunity to spend a bit of extra money to book the most lavish and luxurious accommodations in the most beautiful place you can think of. After all, this is your magical getaway that will take you away from all of those months or years of planning and getting on one another’s nerves. Now you can finally unwind and once again enjoy your partner’s company.

Check out the list below of some of the most luxurious honeymoon destinations from around the globe to get started.

Fiji

Fiji is the destination for you if you want to be able to have a lot of choices when it comes to what you will do and where you will stay. With 333 islands, you have a lot to choose from. And each island boasts gorgeous beaches with turquoise blue water and luxurious resorts that will provide you with the honeymoon of your dreams.

If you are an adventurous couple, you will also find some great surfing and diving opportunities throughout Fiji, thanks to the archipelago’s coral reefs. The local culture and entertainment will also keep you busy during your stay, and Fiji’s secluded location in the South Pacific will ensure that you have the privacy that you really want while spending quality time with your new spouse.

Milan, Italy

If you and your new spouse are fans of fashion and Italian culture, Milan should definitely be your honeymoon destination.

The city is home to La Scala, the famous opera house, and because it is one of the world’s centers for fashion, there are plenty of opportunities for spoiling yourselves with some new clothing and jewelry in the many shopping promenades. Why hit the malls at home looking for Italian design when you can get it right in Italy?

While in Milan, which boasts plenty of luxurious accommodations, don’t forget to also dine on the delicious local cuisine and take a tour of the many local historical sites.

Paris, France

What honeymoon destination article would be complete without Paris? France is probably an equal tie with Italy on the romantic destination scale. With so much style and romantic culture, you can’t help but be seduced by Paris.

Nicknamed the “City of Love,” you can’t go wrong with this destination, especially if you like upscale dining and culture. Make sure to check out the Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral while you’re there.

Sri Lanka

When it comes to luxury, Sri Lanka is high on the list. Quickly becoming one of the top spa destinations on the planet, you’ll find some great retreats across this beautiful one-of-a-kind island, which is filled with gorgeous beaches and plenty of incredible historical sites.

Whether your idea of a good day is sipping champagne and getting a couple’s massage, or hiking the jungle and rafting through rivers, Sri Lanka has a great selection of luxurious hotels to rest your head after enjoying a long day as husband and wife.

Hawaii

A long-time favorite honeymoon destination is Hawaii. With several islands and each one boasting its own unique landscape and activities, you can choose to stay in one place or island hop to get the best of all of the possible attractions.

You can truly experience almost every season and type of weather during a single trip to Hawaii. Start your day having breakfast on a tropical beach while watching the waves, and then end your night at the top of a snow-covered mountain above the clouds while watching the curvature of the planet displayed in the sunset.

Hawaii offers luxurious hotels and resorts, along with rainforest hiking, stargazing, climbing volcanoes, kayaking, sand, and surf. You’ll find everything you want, from relaxation to adventure, right in the Pacific Ocean.

Bali

If you are the kind of person who considers “luxury” to be synonymous with “expensive,” and the word expensive does not scare you, then Bali should be at the top of your list of honeymoon ideas.

Unlike most Indonesian islands, which tend to be mostly Islamic, Bali is primarily Hindu, and you will be able to dive into the local culture during your stay. You can also climb Kintamani’s towering active volcano, or you can instead relax on the sandy shores and take a dip into the crystal clear water that surrounds you.

A luxurious honeymoon destination is just what you need after planning an elaborate wedding celebration, so go ahead and splurge on a luxury destination that you’ll never forget.

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Tips and Tricks For Traveling and Cruising With Children

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cruisingWe recently took a family cruise on the Carnival Glory for my 40th birthday and along the way I came up with some tips to help you keep your sanity, especially while cruising with your children.

1. Pack a roll or two of paper towel.  They will come in handy to clean little messes, wrap fragile items when you pack to go home, and a million other uses that you’ll find while you’re in your cabin.

2. Pack a small bottle of laundry detergent.  I saved a few samples I’ve collected recently.  The ships usually have a laundry room where you can purchase detergent but it was nice having my small travel size so I could spot clean items that I needed to or hand wash a few small things and hang them to dry in the shower on the clothesline.

3. Pack a few garbage bags for your dirty clothes.  Then when you repack to go home you won’t have to put dirty clothes against your clean suitcase.

4. Pack disposable coffee cups with lids.  I love iced coffee and it was nice to be able to put my iced coffee in a disposable cup that I could take off the ship with me or even walking around the ship and not worry about it spilling.  They came in handy for my husband’s coffee and iced tea for my girls, too.  Seems silly but being able to take a drink around with a lid was great and unlike bringing our own sports bottles, etc. we didn’t have to worry about saving them.  Not very eco-friendly but we were on vacation. 😉

5. Bring a case of water with you.  I wish we had done that.  Water getting off the ship was a few dollars and we really needed cold water on each island.  I wish we had brought a case of water on the ship with us and kept some cold in our refrigerator like we had seen others do.  If you aren’t local, stop off at a CVS, Walgreens, or grocery store on your way to the pier.

Ideas for cruising or even just traveling with kids:
I bought both of my girls their own purses that were VERY roomy and had lots of compartments.  Here’s what was in each of their bags to keep them comfortable and busy on our trip.

~mini note pads
~pens
~pack of colored pencils
~crayons
~a chapter book or two
~sunglasses
~sweatshirt/sweater (yes it was hot on the islands but sometimes my girls were cold indoors)
~Mad Libs and other gaming pages
~battery operated fans
~hand sanitizer
~tissues
~small digital camera (I bought them each an inexpensive digital camera.  They cost almost the same as disposable cameras and developing and I didn’t have to worry about developing any bad pictures.)
~deck of cards
~Uno or other card games
~hair ties (I have girls!)
~hidden picture pages (I bought a Highlights Magazine hidden picture book and tore out pages for each of my girls to keep in their bags to keep them busy.  They both LOVED these.)
~mints and/or gum
~package of nuts/trail mix
~water botle
~baseball hat
~sunscreen
~a wallet (my girls liked having a few dollars of their own so they could haggle and shop in the straw markets)

YES, all of the above fit into EACH of their bags believe it or not.  Notice what wasn’t in their bags?  Electronics!  We all went ELECTRONICS FREE for the entire week and loved every minute of it.  We didn’t have to worry about charging our girls’ Kindles, Nintendo DSs, etc.  When they were “bored’, had to wait for their meals, etc. they had books to read, puzzle pages, etc. and honestly I don’t think any of us missed our electronics at all!

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My 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory Part 2 #CruisingCarnival

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Disclaimer- I received free internet service while on the cruise and dinner for 2 at the steakhouse on the ship in exchange for posting about my vacation.  I wasn’t required to write so many posts but I had a lot to say.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are 100% my own.


Check out Part 1 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory
Check out Part 2 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory
Check out Part 3 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory

Professional Photography-
It’s always hard to get good family pictures where we all look nice, we’re all looking at the camera, and everyone is smiling nicely.  Usually I am the one behind the camera so I really loved how many photo stations were on the Carnival Glory.  There were at least 10 different photo stations, each with a different backdrop and props to choose from.  There were also photographers taking pictures when we got off the ship, in the dining room, and around the ship.  We also scheduled a private photo session with a dedicated photographer who spent about 45 minutes with us.  He took us to several different locations on the ship and took pictures of us in many different poses and in different groupings.  He did a fabulous job and we loved the results.  There was no charge for the private photo session but the packages were a little pricier than the regular professional pictures on the ship but they were worth the extra money.  The pictures below are from pictures I took of the professional pictures for the purpose of this post.  The originals are AMAZING!

Spa-

I could write a post called “I Was a 40 Year Old Virgin” or “I Lost My Virginity on a Carnival Cruise” but it wouldn’t be for the reason that you’re thinking. Up until our vacation I have never had a massage or a facial. I normally don’t like strangers to touch me, but I figured I would treat myself for my 40th birthday because the spot was running a special combo package. It included a full body hot stone massage and a facial. I was nervous and not sure what to expect, but the woman who gave me my massage and facial was so sweet and comforting. Before she even started she asked me a bunch of questions about my medical history, my lifestyle, and my body in general.  the massage was wonderful and I was really able to relax. I also enjoy the facial and felt so renewed when she was finished.  I was afraid that she was going to try to sell me a bunch of products but thankfully she did not go for the hard sell. She did write down some suggestions for my body because I have fibromyalgia and some suggestions for facial products, but she really didn’t push me at all. This might have been my first massage but I know it’s not going to be my last.  There was a sauna and hot tub in the spa that I unfortunately didn’t have time to take advantage of but I plan to next time.

Dining-
The food, the food, the food!  I couldn’t write a post about a cruise about talking about the food. There were three different time choices available for dining in the various dining rooms- either the early seating late seating or dining any time which is what we chose for the flexibility. We like the menu included some local dishes, daily items, and some Staples that would appeal to a variety of people. The kids menu also had staples like pasta and nuggets. Let’s just say none of us went hungry.  We all enjoyed the food on the ship.  My younger daughter loves salmon and was so excited that they were able to make her salmon every night for dinner. I really enjoyed that the appetizer portions were small so I was able to try more without wasting any.  In addition to the dining room there were also many other restaurant choices and buffets, including 24-hour room service and a pizza restaurant open 24 hours a day as well.  In the evenings there was also a tasting bar that featured a different tasting  from one of the restaurants on the ship each night. We really enjoyed stopping by the tasting bar for a sample.

Steakhouse-
My favorite meal of our vacation was when my husband and I dined at the Steakhouse.  It costs $35 per person to dine at the Steakhouse but it is worth every penny.  We had several servers who waited on him foot.  It was a true gourmet dining experience including a sample appetizer made specifically for each of us from the chef. To help us choose what we wanted to eat we were shown the different cuts of meat right at our table.  My husband chose steak while I chose filet mignon and lobster tail. Both meals were incredible but the dessert was even more amazing!  We each chose the chocolate sampler that had 4 different desserts.  Each one was more delicious than the next.  It was the perfect ending to a perfect, romantic date.  I only wish I had remembered to take my camera to dinner to show everyone how yummy my dinner was.

Art Auctions-
Did you know that some ruses have in our gallery right on board?  One of my favorite parts of the cruise were the champagne art auctions.  I really enjoy seeing artwork from some of my favorite artists and also learning about artist I haven’t discovered before. The artwork usually ranges from a hundred dollars to thousands of dollars depending upon the artist and the medium. I like it there is something for everyone’s budget and everyone’s taste. The auctions are a lot of fun, exciting, and I especially like that they also do some raffles and other giveaways. I actually won two different paintings as well as a credit to purchase other artwork. My artwork is being shipped to my house and should be arriving any day. I can’t wait to receive it and hang it up. If you’re an art lover or even if you’re not, I recommend checking out one of the art auctions on your next cruise.

Check out Part 1 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory
Check out Part 3 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory

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My 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory Part 1 #CruisingCarnival

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Thank you for visiting Cori's Cozy Corner! Please make sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our E-mails!

Disclaimer- I received free internet service while on the cruise and dinner for 2 at the steakhouse on the ship in exchange for posting about my vacation.  I wasn’t required to write so many posts but I had a lot to say.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are 100% my own.


Check out Part 1 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory
Check out Part 2 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory
Check out Part 3 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory

Last month I turned the big four – oh! I decided I didn’t want to have a party and chose to go on a family vacation instead.  My family and I went on a 7 day cruise on the Carnival Glory and I couldn’t be happier with our choice.  We signed up for the Faster to the Fun “Excursion” before we even left for vacation.  It was only $50 per stateroom and it was the perfect choice for us. With Faster to the Fun we were able to get on a much smaller line to get onto the ship for our initial boarding. We also received our luggage in our cabin very soon after we arrived on the ship so we were able to unpack and settle in as soon as we got there. It really made our vacation start off much more relaxing than to not have any of our things upon arrival. My favorite perk of Faster to the Fun is that there is a special line at the Guest Services desk for people with Faster to the Fun.  It was nice not having to wait on a longer line to get my questions answered at Guest Services. It made me feel like a VIP. I was also very impressed that the second time I went up to the Guest Service line the Guest Service representative who helped me the day prior remembered my name before I even gave her my cruise card.  That was a nice personal touch.

Staterooms-
We had opted to get two adjoining rooms for the four of us and it was a great decision. My girls shared a room and they each had their own bed. My husband and I had our beds pushed together before we arrived. We were able to keep the door in between the rooms open so my girls were never really alone. It was nice having two separate bathrooms to get ready in but we would’ve been okay if all four of us shared one room.  One room was spacious enough.  The room included a minibar with a refrigerator which I liked.  It was nice having a small refrigerator to keep things cold. Each room had a TV and while the channels were limited my girls were able to find shows that they liked to keep them busy while we are in the room. The room also included a safe, hair dryer, hangers in the closets, a mailbox outside the door to leave notes, a clothesline in the bathroom.
The bathroom had a basket of toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, and lotion, and in the closet was a robe for each guest to use while on the ship.  The shower was just big enough that I was able to help my daughter wash her hair and the adjustable shower arm was a helpful touch.

Here are some of the goodies that were left for us in our room. 🙂 My daughter wanted me to mention that her favorite part of the room was the nightly chocolate on her pillow and towel folded into the shape of an animal.

Ship’s Amenities-
There was so much to do on the ship including minigolf, ping-pong, a life-sized chessboard, several pools and hot tubs, a water slide, many different places for live music, a spa, fitness area, kids arcade, and nighttime movie playing on the big screen by the pool, a casino, and so much more.  the casino had something for everyone. There were slot machines for $.01, $.02, $.25, $1, and up. They had blackjack, poker, roulette, and even some fun crane games and other arcade type games to win cash. I like that in the casino you put cruise card into the slot machine to earn points to receive free drinks and other perks, but the best part was that you can charge your card right to your cruise account to get more cash for slot machine without having to get up. This was very convenient but could be a little dangerous.  LOL For those wanting a little quiet time there were adults only as well as a special serenity area for those 18 and over. There was lots of live music all over the ship not just music in the clubs. I was very impressed with how much the musicians got the crowd going. While waiting for my husband to finish in a store, I said over the balcony and watched down below as did musicians were teaching a group of travelers had advanced salsa. People of all ages were up and dancing. I have two left feet, but I was still moving around a little in my spot trying to learn to. There was ship wide Internet that you could use with your devices but believe it or not this blogger unplugged for the entire week. Even my children went electronics free for the entire week and left their iPad, Kindles, and Nintendo DS systems at home.  It certainly was a nice change.

Cleanliness-
We were very impressed with the cleanliness of the ship. We constantly saw employees cleaning at all hours of the day and night. We even saw somebody vacuuming the ceiling!   There was a hand sanitizer dispenser in front of each restaurant to prevent the spread of germs.  I really liked that inside the public restrooms on the door leading out of the restroom there was a little paper napkin dispenser so you can use the paper napkin to open the door without touching the handle. Right outside the bathroom was a garbage can to throw the paper napkin away. With so many reports of illnesses on cruise ships both of these were great additions. Our rooms were both nice size and each had three closets.

Kid’s Club-
The Kids Club was amazing.  Both of our girls had a great time.  We were welcomed by the Kids Club with a welcome package that included information, a coloring book, crayons, and a dry erase board when we first arrived at our rooms.  The dry erase boards came in very handy.  We put them on our stateroom doors and were able to leave each other notes about where we were going.  There were lots of activities with the Kids Club including crafts, games, fitness, science and other educational fun.  The counselors were very nice and learned all the children’s names pretty quickly. It was a nice personal touch. As a former teacher I really like that many of the activities were educationally-based. The children were grouped according to their age. My younger daughter was in the 68-year-old group and my older daughter was in the 9 to 11-year-old group. The free part of camp was over at 10 PM but then we also have the option of them playing in camp leader for a small fee. There were also several nights where there were parties for the children for a small fee.  The only thing that was a little frustrating was that one night the 9 to 11-year-old group had a party until 3 AM where the counselors brought the kids back to their rooms and my eight-year-old was jealous that her group didn’t have a party like that. They did have babysitting for her but she was sad it wasn’t an actual party. She cried a bit when we dropped her off but of course when we came to get her she didn’t want to leave.  LOL  On a side note, I went to take a picture of one of the lounges where there was a kids group going on because I wanted to show what the room looked like.  I was pleasantly surprised that the camp counselor stopped me because she didn’t want me taking pictures of the kids for privacy reasons.   I explained that I was a blogger and that I was just taking picture of the room and promised not to take pictures with any children in them, she let me take a few more quick picture of the area without the children.  I was happy to hear just how much they were protecting the children.

I have so much more to say about my awesome vacation on the Carnival Glory but this post is getting long.  
Check out Part 2 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory
Check out Part 3 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory

 

 

 

 

 

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This Holiday, Win Your Family A Trip to Belize From Little Passports!

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Little Passports is offering 15% off all of their subscriptions, which means you can buy a 1 year subscription and save almost $20! If you place an order before December 17th, you qualify for holiday delivery, meaning you can have your first package arrive byDecember 24th or before! (Hello stocking stuffer!!) This offer also applies to the monthly, 3 and 6 month subscriptions so you can choose whatever option you want and get this great deal when you use this code at checkout: MERRY15 

In case you don’t already know what Little Passports is, let me give you the highlights:
-Monthly subscription kit for your children that teaches them (and sometimes us parents) about new states and countries around our world
-Your child gets their own faux passport to update with stickers included each month so they get to remember all of their “trips around the world”
-Wonderful activity sheets that keep kids stimulated for hours and a beautiful world map to help them visualize everything they are learning about!

And one more important note about Little Passports

This Holiday, Win Your Family A Trip to Belize From Little Passports!
Can’t believe it? Neither can I! Little Passports is partnering with Luxury Link to give away a trip to Belize, worth $5,000, to one very lucky family. It’s easy to enter, and they’re offering bonus entries for participating in fun games, trivia questions, and more. Take 1 minute to enter this giveaway, and maybe YOUR family will win the trip of a lifetime! Win a trip to Belize from Little Passports!

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Travelpro Luggage Atlantic Ultra Lite 2 21” Spinner Suitcase Product Review

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Disclosure- I received the item(s) mentioned below to conduct my review.  I received no other compensation and my opinions are 100% my own

travel pro ultra lite 2Traveling just got easier with the Travelpro Luggage Atlantic Ultra Lite 2 Upright 21” Spinner Suitcase.  I’ve traveled by airplane several times in the last few years and I always struggle with my carry on bags.  I try to do curbside check in for my checked bags but then I find myself dragging my carry on bags throught the airport and with my previous bags I had to tilt them to move around.  A friend of mine that I traveled with several months ago had a suitcase with 360 degree spinner wheels.  When I saw how easily she moved through the airport I knew I had to get a new suitcase.  I contacted TravelPro and they sent me the Atlantic Ultra Lite 2 21” Spinner Suitcase to review.  It was perfect timing because I was traveling by myself to Denver the following month and I knew it would come in handy.
The first thing I noticed about the Atlantic Ultra Lite 2 21” Spinner Suitcase was the color.  I received the magenta color and I love it.  It is between a pink and a purple and unlike the millions of black suitcases out there, I’ll be able to easily recognize mine if I ever did have to check it when traveling.  It is very light weight which is so important these days when airlines are charging for overweight luggage.  I’d rather have more of my own stuff weigh down my bag then the bag itself.  It has top, side and bottom carry handles on 3 sides making it easy to stow and remove it from overhead bins and car trunks.  The front has a full front pocket with built-in ticket
pocket that allows easy access to travel documents, magazines, sweaters, or last minute items. I always like to keep things I will need to access quickly inside this outside pocket including my carry on baggie of liquids so I can easily grab it and put it in a bin at the security check point.   It also has a convenient built-in waterproof pocket to keep your wet items like bathing suits, etc. separate from your dry clothes.
The main compartment is very roomy and expands 2″ for added space.  It has adjustable hold down straps keep clothes in place as well as a zippered interior mesh pocket to store smaller items and accessories.  Travelers of all sizes can easily adjust the telescoping extension handle that has two stops at 38″ and 41″ providing a comfortable roll for users with differing heights.  And of course my favorite feature is the 360-degree 4-Wheel Spinners that make moving through the airport and plane effortless.  They glide smoothly in every direction and make traveling so much easier.  Normally when I get on a plane I a struggle trying to get my suitcase through the narrow aisle while also carrying my laptop bag.  With the Atlantic Ultra Lite 2 21” Spinner Suitcase on my last flight I was able to glide my carry on suitcase easily through the aisle without ending up a sweaty, exhausted mess by the time I reached my seat.  What a difference!  I plan on getting a full size suitcase to match now.  I never want to use a suitcase without 360 degree spinner wheels again!

• 360-degree 4-Wheel system on Spinners
• Durable crash-guard wheel housings, skid bars and corner guards
• Convenient built-in wet pocket
• Extra-large front pocket
• Locking retractable handle has two stops at 38” and 41”, providing a comfortable grip for users of different heights
• Top, side and bottom carry handles
• Adjustable interior hold-down straps
• Main compartment expands 2” maximizing space and flexibility
• 10 Year Limited Warranty

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Family Fun and Learning at the Miami Science Museum

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Disclosure:  I received free admission for myself and my family to the Miami Science Museum to facilitate my review.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are 100% my own.

(PLEASE NOTE- My camera died after only take 1 picture at the museum so I had to take all the pictures for this review with my cellphone which doesn’t take the best pictures.  Please excuse the quality of my pictures for this review.)

Growing up in South Florida I have fond memories of taking field trips and family trips down to Miami and going to the Miami Science Museum.  My favorite part was always the laser light show in the planetarium.  The planetarium at the Miami Science museum only has the laser light shows once a month so we weren’t able to see it today.  We were still able to enjoy the planetarium show that was about where to find certain stars and constellations in the sky such as the Big Dipper, North Star, and other important stars.  We are hoping to be able to see some of them when we go outside at night sometime soon.  My girls were excited to see all the stars shining on the planetarium walls and ceiling.  We just wished that they had showed more pictures of what the constellations were supposed to represent so they could visualize it easier.  Hopefully we’ll be able to find some constellations in the night sky soon!
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There was so much to do at the museum today.  We were there for about 5 hours and could have stayed longer but we were getting hungry and had to come home to walk our puppy.  Make sure to bring lunch with you or eat before you go because there is no place at the museum to get a meal.  They do have several vending machines to grab a quick snack though and if you are really hungry they have tuna salad kits in the vending machines which are all temperature controlled so even in the hot Florida weather the snacks come out of the machine cold.

I really liked how there were screens throughout the museum that changed between a map of the museum and the schedule of shows for the day so we were able to easily know where we were and what the next shows were.  It even had a QR code that you could scan with your cellphone to get the schedule of events right on your phone.
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There were so many hands-on activities for all of us to do.  We started in the Sea Lab.  There we were able to touch and hold starfish, hermit crabs, sea urchins, and shrimp.  Watching the suction cups on the starfish was mesmerizing.  My girls loved this area so much we stopped here 3 times while at the museum.  It was interesting to learn all about these sea animals and my girls were particularly fascinated with the hermit crabs because they were so tiny and there were so many of them.  I have to say my favorite sea animals that we held were the starfishes.
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Some of our other favorite exhibits that are currently at the Miami Science Museum include learning about Hurricanes, Moving Things, Water, Wind, and Weather: Miami in a Changing Climate, Energy Tracker, and being Heart Smart.  We sat in an airplane cockpit, used our bodies to generate electricity, problem solved with gears, watched our shadows, and so much more.  There were exhibits that didn’t just challenge our minds and get our hands working but also challenged our bodies like the hula hoop.  
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Here’s my new favorite “selfie” picture:
miami science museum4Another one of my favorite part of the museum was the facial recognition exhibit.  You stand in front of the screen and it tries to figure out your age, your sex, and your mood.  It was so much fun to smile at the camera and watch it put a smiley face over my face and then frown and watch it put a sad face over mine.  But the best part- it thought I was a teenager and it thought hubby was in his 50’s.  LOL  Hubby didn’t like that too much! 😉
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My girls were both picked to participate in the Science Live Show.  We learned all about liquid nitrogen and they each participated in an experiment on stage.  I am sure it is a lesson they won’t soon forget.
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We love animals of all kinds so we all enjoyed the animals in the Wildlife Center.  We saw various snakes, reptiles, arachnids, turtles, tortoises, an owl, vultures, an alligator, a crocodile, a bald eagle, bees in a hive, and so much more more.  We learned how the Wildlife Center rehabilitates many birds and then sets them free back into the wild or keeps them at the center if they cannot be turned back into the wild.  My favorite was the owl.  It was so cute!
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If you are in the Miami area make sure to check out the Miami Science Museum.  Admission is just $14.95 for adults and $10.95 for children (Dade county residents get a discount).  It is located just north of Coconut Grove, across from Vizcaya Museum & Gardens and open daily from 10am to 6pm (box office closes at 5:30pm).
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Handy Uses For Contact Lens Cases

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I LOVE contact lens cases.  They are so inexpensive, you can buy multiples in a package, and there are so many things you can store in them.  One of my favorite things to put into a contact lens case is homemade lip gloss or lip scrub.  I plan on writing up a post with that recipe soon so keep an eye out.
I purchased a package of contact lens cases last week to store essential oils in.  I like to mix essential oils them with a carrier oil to help make the oils last longer and massage in easier.  I didn’t want to use up a lot of each essential oil and carrier oil so I figured mixing a few drops of the essential oil with some carrier oil (olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, etc.) in a contact lens case would be perfect.  It’s just the right amount for a few uses when I am using the oils.  This way I don’t have to dilute too much of the essential oil at one time.  I’ll be posting more on essential oils soon.  I swear by them!
I am going to BlogHer (a blogger convention) this week and I will be gone for 3 nights.  As I began to pack I looked over at the package of contact lens cases that I hadn’t used yet and inspiration hit me.  Instead of traveling with the bottles of each cream, lotion, primer, etc. that I use on my face, why not just put some of each facial lotion, etc. in compartment of a contact lens case?  Genius if I do say so myself!  Of course for body lotion I would need a bigger container but since I just use a little bit of my day cream, night cream, primer, and Aquaphor, this is perfect and takes up so much less space!
contact case lotionsI plan on adding more idea to this post but I wanted to get it up before BlogHer to help anyone else traveling this week.  Have an idea on something to store in a contact lens case?  Comment below!

 


A few notes:

  • I always wash and dry the cases before I use them.
  • I prefer the cases that have screw-on lids but this batch hubby bought.  I am putting it inside a snack size baggie just in case it leaks because of the style of cap on them but they seem pretty tight.
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