Our 2018 Brilliance of the Seas Cruise- Day 4: Cozumel

Our 2nd port of call on our 5 Night Western Caribbean cruise was Cozumel.

We had already been there when we did another Royal Caribbean cruise out of Tampa in 2015, but we were really looking forward to going again. When we previously went, we spent the day in the port shopping

 

Autumn being Autumn… upside down sunnies and eating donuts.

We planned the night before and ordered room service (Free- continental breakfast) so that the kids could have something to eat while we took our time waking up and getting ready as we cruised into port.

The sky was so bright from the moon, which was full the night before.

Cozumel is a busy port so it was cool getting to see other ships around the Brilliance of the Seas as we slowed down as we approached the island.

It was pretty cool getting to see the sun rise (7.24am) in the port.

I enjoy getting up before the sun as it feels like there is a whole day ahead of you for making the most of it exploring and having fun. We were so ready for our busy day in port.

We had breakfast in the windjammer, then we walked around the ship to check out the other Royal Caribbean ship

We breezed through the port so that we could make the most of the day instead of shopping there. Plus, then we would have to bring it with us while we had our day out in Cozumel.

The cab line was efficient and moved along pretty quickly, considering how many people were there from the ships in port. It is not covered at all so it did

 

We went to Sting Ray Beach for a fun day hanging out with sting rays.

It was a short & affordable cab ride to their location, which is along the main road along the coast, that takes you into town.

The experience started with a lesson about sting rays so that we were prepared for the 2 part experience. We start with feeding and touching the sting rays and then we go snorkeling with them.

Autumn was all ready to go!!

OMG. It was quite the experience getting to go in the water with all the sting rays. They are quite pushy!!! They have no manners at all as they bump into us looking for food.

Since Autumn was still pretty nervous about the sting rays, I stayed back with her while Price and Hunter checked out the sting rays.

(The above 5 photos were taken by the staff at Sting Ray Beach. We bought a CD of them)

The next part of the sting ray experience was to go snorkeling.

Price was going to stay on the beach to relax with Hunter, with Autumn and I going. But she struggled getting in the water with the flippers and freaked a bit. I didn’t want to push the issue, nor leave Price with the (hangry) kids, so I decided to just relax with them as well.

I never get to really relax, so the chance to sit down, put my feet up and enjoy a margarita while Hunter snoozed on me… perfection.

 

While the snorkeling was a bust for us the food and drinks were OUT OF THIS WORLD.

Price and I ordered guac and chips ($7 USD) and margaritas ($9 USD) and loved every bite and sip. The guac was incredible. I could have eaten like 3 of those plates myself. The margaritas were great too- not to sweet, not to sour, just strong enough.

Sting Ray Beach isn’t really a beach, so it was sorta tough in that Autumn did want to go in the water, but not where it was deep- where there was access beyond the coral. It did have some sand where she could play, so that was great for her.

Autumn loved watching the hermit crap race and to check out the 3 legged iguana.

We hung out at Sting Ray Beach, which also has a chocolate and wine pairing experience and a paddle boarding adventure, for a while before we headed back to the port to go back to the ship.

The perfect photo opt is right in port right in front of this fun Cozumel sign!

Once we got back into port we decided to take our time and do some shopping.

Autumn picked out a fun hat and we picked up the most amazing bottled margarita.

Both kids were zonked out when we got back to the ship at the Puerta Maya pier.

We did manage to get back in time to the Windjammer before it closed so they could have a bit more food and then it was back to the room for us so we could shower, rest, relax, and enjoy the rest of the afternoon.

When we first got on the ship we made a reservation to Chop’s Grille so that we could have a big fancy family dinner together.

It certainly was memorable!

 

So much so that we will be skipping specialty dining restaurants with the kids and save them just for us so that we get to enjoy dinners, the kids eat what they want, and we don’t drive the other patrons crazy! I am a bigger supporter in teaching kids manners and to try new things, but at the same time we need some alone time, so in the future we will just do the Mistral Dining Room (MDR) with them, so we can have a great on-board date night.

The moment that the nursery and the Adventure Ocean kids camp program were open, we ere signing them in and sprinting back down to our dinners that were waiting for us on the table. At least our server was a gem and took great care of us (and didn’t clear the table when we left!).

We still enjoyed the food so, so much. OMG, so good!

After dinner we picked up the kids from the nursery and Adventure Kids.

I took hunter directly back to the room, but Price had to wait for Autumn for another 20 minutes since she was having so much fun on their Alien Space Walk that took them around looking for Fuzz Buzz.

Once back in the room, Autumn was able to check out the fun towel animal

It really was a wonderful day in Cozumel.

I’m already looking forward to going back one day!

 

 

 

 

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The Week in Rewind #19

05.07.18- 05.13.18

Nothing says “Monday… oh, it’s you again…” than a red eye flight that arrives at 6.08am. Oooph!

 

The busy, fun, tiring weekend away in Seattle whooped my butt so Monday was pretty chill with the kids. At least I came home to the living room all set up again. Price worked so hard all weekend and set the furniture back up and wall mounted the TV.

I had the goal of having a more productive Tuesday, so we went to the library in the morning, but I was still so zonked from the weekend that I tricked Autumn into taking a nap with me. Except that she bailed on me at the last minute and I slept while she colored in bed next to me. Thankfully I set an alarm and we made it to gymnastics in time.

 

I swear there is nothing better than a dog and baby.

Well, maybe baby snuggles and kisses.

Or maybe, these 2 playing together.

I think it’s all pretty great actually.

 

We hit up the pool on Thursday afternoon, Autumn did a killer job floating. She still needs a ton of work, but is showing more confidence in the water and did a good job listening to me give some pointers.

Friday was super busy a workout in the park that left me sore all weekend, lots of cleaning around the house, and then an afternoon trip to the splash pad.

I couldn’t stand how tall out bushes had gotten so I hacked away at them while Price trimmed back some palms. There is still so much landscaping stuff to do, but it felt good doing some of it, especially with huge shears.

Then the kids and I hit p Target for a party gift before we went to a party in the afternoon.

The week ended with Mother’s Day. Woohoo!!!

We had a wonderful day together at Sweetfields Farm, just an hour from our house. The whole farm was fun but the big attraction was their sunflower maze. It was so fun and just so beautiful. Even if we couldn’t take a family pic to save our lives! ha!

 

Afterwards, I had Price drop me and the kids off to meet my friend Brittany, her husband, & daughter at The Landing so the kids could hang out and we could enjoy our complimentary mimosas for Mother’s Day. Once the kids we ready to go, we left for the walk back. It just started to drizzle, which actually was refreshing. But Price was my hero as he pulled up while we were on our walk back so that he would get us home without getting drenched. The rain was traveling S to N, and I was walking right into it, but wouldn’t make it home in time. My hero!

The rest of the day was just your average Sunday, so a bit of busy and relaxing all combined.

It was a great week.

Blueberry Overnight Oats

Good morning!!!! Rise and Shine!!!!

We finished our 5th Whole30 yesterday. Woohoo!!!

I am going to my friends wedding next weekend and I wanted to not look so blah, so we started another Whole30 on April 1st so that it would end in time for me to enjoy the wedding, while still feeling great from the month of eating clean.

Clear skin and losing some lb’s… yes please!

Besides the wedding, I wanted to just feel good since I’m busy running around after 2 kids now. Plus, we spend a lot of time at the pool, splash pad, and the beach, so I want to look better in a bathing suit. Whole30 isn’t a weigh loss focused program, but it helps reduce bloating and plenty of people have lost weight doing it. Since I lost over 12 pounds the first time I did it, I know that my body reacts well to it.

So, while I love doing Whole30 and all the NSV (non-scale victories) I have when I end it; it does get tiring. I get tired of cooking, tired of the clean up, tired of the same old foods, and tired of eggs.

Oh, the eggs, so many eggs for breakfast!

 

I miss plenty of things, but I really miss the ease of breakfast in the form of cereal, yogurt, a smoothie, oatmeal, bagel, etc. I certainly know that not all of those things are great choices – hence our 5th Whole30. (Ah one day, we will really have Food Freedom!)

I think that one of the things I missed the most was oatmeal.

Overnight oats is a favorite of mine since they are so easy to prepare and are so delicious.

Overnight oats are so flavorful as they get to soak in the flavors overnight. The blueberries are naturally sweet, but the honey helps sweeten it up just a bit more. The chai and flax both give it a healthy boost, plus give it a great fun texture that hols up well to the soft oats.

Some recipes for overnight oats suggest warming them up, but I prefer mine cold. I also like to top overnight oats with yogurt to amp it up and make it a bit like a parfait.

I really hope you will enjoy these Blueberry Overnight Oats as much as I enjoy them (when not doing Whole30!)

 

Blueberry Overnight Oats

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups old fashion oats
  • 3 1/2 Cups milk
  • 1 pound frozen blueberries
  • 1 Cup flax seed meal
  • 1 Cup vanilla yogurt, preferably whole milk yogurt
  • 1/2 Cup Chia seeds
  • 1/3 Cup honey
  • Serve with: yogurt & fresh blueberries

Process

  1. Combine all of the ingredients from oats to the honey together in a large bowl.
  2. Equally portion out the oatmeal into 6 containers.
  3. Refrigerated overnight.
  4. Top with yogurt and fresh blueberries prior to enjoying.

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The Last Minute Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Hey!!!!!! We are just 2 weeks out from Mother’s Day!!!!!

Ladies, share this round up for great gift ideas!!! Hint Hint Hint!!! Guys, pay attention!

I think that a lot of mom’s approach Mother’s Day differently. Some want to spend the day with their kids doing a fun activity. , while others want to get far, far away so they can read a book in peace while they have a mani pedi. Or maybe you kick your family out of your house so you can lay in bed all day.

Whatever you end up doing, just remember it’s you special day.

I have rounded up over 15 different ideas to help the special guys in your life gift to you something fun this year. While the clock is ticking, there are still plenty of great gifts that can be ordered in time.

I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day this year!

 

#MomLife Adult Coloring Book $8

Mom Life Messy Bun Coffee Run T-Shirt $20

The Pretty Dish by Jessica Merchant $22

Q&A a Day for Moms: A 5-Year Journal $12

Bath Salts $18

Boss Lady Mug $20

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis $14

Face Masks $15

Stories for my Child- Journal $12

Together: A Mommy + Me Coloring Book $12

Terry Robe $60

Cold Brew Maker $19

Fun Animal Socks $12

Lemon Tumbler $18

Bring Me Wine Socks $11

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Post Contains Affiliate Links. 

Our 2018 Brilliance of the Seas Cruise – Day 3: Day at Sea

As much as I love days in port, I love days at sea. They are our chance to relax and enjoy the ship. We hang out in our room more than our days in port, sometimes we even get a nap in! We also walk around the ship a lot, check out the fun activities the cruise director and staff have prepared, and browse the shops. Our first day at sea was delightfully relaxing.

 

As usual the day started nice and early!

At least the day started with some room service at 6.30.

We filled out the room service card the night before so that we had some coffees, pastries, and fruit for us and the kids. (The continental breakfast is free, other breakfast items will have a service charge for delivery)

Hunter was already out for his first nap of the day but the time that Autumn and I were ready for breakfast, so Price hung back with Hunter to watch some news while he napped.

 

Autumn and I headed up for breakfast around 8am since our room service was basically a snack for Autumn and we still needed to eat.

Even though Autumn had already had room service and breakfast at the Windjammer, she was hungry again for a snack to enjoy before we dropped her off at Adventure Ocean to play with the other Aquanauts (3-5yrs). We hung around Latte-tudes coffee shop while she enjoyed another 2 croissants, and I enjoyed a specialty coffee. (Extra fee)

As soon as the Adventure Ocean program was open at 9am, Autumn was sprinting through the doors. She was ready for a morning of fun.

Peace Mom. BYE!!!!!!

I then met Price, who had been walking around with Hunter after he had taken him to the Windjammer for breakfast. They enjoyed their breakfast and now I was going to get in lots and lots of steps walking around Hunter for his mid morning nap. We looped the walking track over and over again.

Step Goal… Crushed!

Price and I just enjoyed getting to relax and walk around the ship, we walked all over from the running track to the duty free shops.

We picked up Autumn from Adventure Ocean for lunch time, just before it closed at noon. She had a great morning session as they crafted and made super hero capes. There even was superhero face painting. It was a real honor so have lunch with Wonder Woman!

For lunch, I went with the Indian Food since there are no local places to us, so I am always craving it. Also, I had to support the head chef who plans all the Indian dishes, that we met in line getting back on the ship in Key West.

After lunch, we went back to the room to get Autumn changed for some splash pad fun.

The Brilliance only has a kids splash pad, so Hunter was not able to go in. Kids need to be fully potty trained to use the pools and splash pads on this ship. (Some ships have splash pads that infants can use.)

Our afternoon was pretty relaxed with hanging out in the room after Autumn had fun playing at the splash pad. It was just what we needed after all the walking we had done in Key West the day prior. Plus, Autumn getting a change to relax is needed so that we all have a great time, even if that means we watch the same Sheriff Callie over, and over, and over again throughout the cruise.

We all got ready Formal Night!!

It’s a great chance to snap some family pictures together all dressed up.

Ah, the guys!!!

While these are just quick phone pictures, I really treasure these pictures together. Life is busy so we often just snap pictures of the kids, so it’s nice to take a moment to get dressed up and take pictures with the kids and as a family.

(I don’t and won’t buy a photo package, I just don’t like the posed prom style pictures that they do in front of a backdrop.)

Even if the kids aren’t looking AT the camera, or even in the same direction, they are still great pictures as we are

 

After pictures we headed back to the room to change Hunter because we wanted his outfit to survive more than him wearing it 30 minutes. We also changed so he wouldn’t ruin our outfits with messy dinner hands as well.

Then it was time for the kids to have dinner in the Windjammer.

Autumn was starting to be a pro at the soft serve machine.

She was really in her glory with all the ice cream we were letting her have since we only do “special treats’ on Fridays when at home.

Love this fool.

We dropped the kids off at the Nursery and Adventure Ocean when they opened so that we could go back to our room, get ready again, and have dinner in the Mistral Dining Room.

Dinner, with one of the bottles of wine, we brought was fantastic!

 

After dinner, we got the kids and headed back to the room to crash after another busy, fun, sun- filled day!