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What I am craving…

We need to talk about something!  That’s right…we do.   I am craving the Melting Pot!  Have you been to one?  If you haven’t, you should!  I have been to The Melting Pot in Irvine, CA twice now.  The first time was a girls trip with my sister-in-laws and the second time I took Richard for his 40th birthday!  It is a glorious place.

It is considered a romantic, fine dining fondue restaurant…and it is!  Reservations are definitely recommended as it does take you quite some time to eat.  Both times I went we got a four course meal…starts with your choice of cheese fondue with bread and veggies to dip.  You then move into the salad course…excellent!  The Ceasar salad is to die for!  Then onto the main course with either a broth fondue or oil.  Then you select your entree choices…we had one with chicken, tuna, lobster, beef tenderloin, and pork with a Coq au Vin broth….so so delicious!  Then onto dessert!  Oh, I know, yum!  We had the turtle chocolate fondue with cheesecake, pound cake, strawberries, brownies and rice krispies to dip.  My goodness…it is a good thing that I do not live close to one of these restaurants!! 

I highly highly recommend this restaurant if you ever get a chance.  And to make it super easy for you, most of them accept reservations online as well!  Go…I command you…Go and Enjoy!!

Kid Friendly Travel

When we travel we are always looking for great deals and kids friendly places.  Last May we travelled to Austin, Texas so Richard could attend a conference.  We stayed in downtown Austin at the Omni. 

 I figured since it was downtown and fancy that it would mostly be a hotel for business men and women.  When we checked in, I was completely surprised.  A man came out from behind the desk carrying a small backpack which he proceeded to give to C.  A gift from the hotel just for him…he was ecstatic!!  When he opened it up and got digging, there was crayons, a coloring book, a small canteen, flashlight and many others things.  I even found out that they had suitcases full of games for kids and night lights!!

And while we were there, C spent the majority of his time here….

The rooftop pool!!  He loves the water and because we were in Texas…and warm, that is where we spent our time!  It was a wonderful stay and I would highly recommend the Downtown Austin Omni hotel!

Sunday Suggestions….

Here is something we use often.  A lot of you might know about it…hopefully you do.  But I know that a lot of our Canadian friends don’t realize that this option is available.  It is Allegiant air.  http://allegiantair.com

Allegiant air is an airline that is only in the United States.  Luckily for some of us Southern Canadians, we can hop in our cars, go over the border and arrange a flight for a substantially lower dollar amount.  The trick is that certain airports, such as Great Falls, Montana, only have Allegiant flights to Las Vegas and Phoenix.  We just happen to like going those places and on occasion have arranged flights for as low as $59 + taxes each direction.  A very big difference to the $200 plus out of the nearest Canadian airport!  For us this means more trips.  Not just couples trips either, with those prices we are able to take all 5 of us more often.  There is nothing quite like renting a house in Phoenix for a week and knowing you will still be able to afford groceries when you get home 🙂

Meet the man…

Now it’s time to meet my amazing husband.  We met when I was only 19 and he was divorced and had full custody of his two beautiful girls.  People thought I was crazy to even consider it but I knew he was the one for me.  We got married in Jamaica when I turned 21 and we’ve never looked back….well at least I haven’t!!  ha ha 

Here’s where we got married…

This is a Sandals resort in Dunns River, Jamaica and it was beautiful.  We spent  7 days in this paradise, swimming, cruising, laying on the beach.  From the minute we got there, the service was amazing.  We sipped champagne while we were checked in and met with the wedding planner when we were settled.  We had to be in Jamaica for 48 hours before we could be married, so we picked where we wanted to get married, the flowers and met the photographer.  It was a busy afternoon, but we never felt rushed at all.  The day of our wedding everything went perfect!  The Sandals resorts are beautiful and the service was incredible.

So what can I say about Richard??  Well, he is an amazing father, incredible husband and hard worker…and he just turned 40! 

For his 40th birthday weekend, we jetted off to Los Angeles for a little alone time.  It was great…we relaxed, slept in, and did some touristy things we may not have done with the kids.  I know a lot of you out there don’t like to travel with your kids, or never leave home without them.  I appreciate each and every one of you and entitle you to your opinions.  I like a mixture of both…I love to take the kids.  I like to show them things they normally wouldn’t see.  But I also love to go on vacations without the kids.  The beginning of our lives together showed me I was meant to be a wife and mother, but when C was born, it was very stressful.  Anyone who has had a child with life threatening medical issues knows that.  I learned to appreciate the time that Richard and I had alone together too…it is how our marriage works.  I have an amazing family.

My dream vacation…

When my sister and her family were down at Christmas we got talking about our dream vacations. My sister and I would like to go over to Scotland and Wales where are Grandparents were from, but I was surprised to hear that her “ideal” vacation is the same as mine!!

This is the St. Regis Resort in Bora Bora and you might recognize it from the movie “Couples Retreat”.    A one bedroom, over the water, villa can be reserved for about $1040 Canadian for 7 nights.  A 3 bedroom for the same amount of time will run you about $12,900!!  But boy does it look worth it!!  I figure that with a family of 5 this could be a bit out of my budget but if you were looking for a romantic getaway for 2…this would be perfect.  I promise that if I ever go, you guys will be the first to hear about it!  I am anticipating a flawless review!

Venice Beach Review…

For the most part, Venice Beach is a beautiful section of the California coast just south of Santa Monica.  Generally it is a nice sandy beach and a great place to spend the day.  The ocean front is lined with expensive houses and condos with an amazing ocean view.  As you walk north on the boardwalk you can see the Santa Monica Pier and the carnival rides in the distance and it is very much the California beach that I imagined. 

As you approach Muscle Beach, which really isn’t as great as I thought it would be, the atmosphere changes and you would swear you were walking down a row of shops in Jamacia.  The very first street corner had a Medical Marijuana sign out front and a young lady on the corner pulling people in to get their Medical Marijuana License.   From then on the smell of weed filled the air and we were approached every half a block or so either by a “Kush Doctor” salesperson or a “down and out” musician trying to sell us a CD he had burned on his computer. 

I am not sure what this area used to be like, but from some of the stories I have heard it used to be an interesting unique place to visit, but it seems like the area has become dominated by drug shops, drug users and people down on their luck.  In all it was an interesting experience, but it is unlikely we will be back, especially with our children.

Here is a quick video review including a couple video clips of the boardwalk:

Royal Holiday Travel Club – Beware

Last February we were in the Bahamas and got suckered into attending a time share presentation for Royal Holiday.  I guess we got a free lunch and free Para-sailing, so it wasn’t a total loss and we have been thinking about buying a timeshare for quite some time anyway.

The presentation wasn’t the worst one we have been to.  The pressure wasn’t too bad to buy.  We just kept saying no and they kept adding stuff to the deal.  What ended up selling us on the deal was:

  1. A free 2 week trip back to the Bahamas valid for 2 years.
  2. 2 weeks per year free at one of their Resorts in Mexcio every year for 5 years.

Up until those 2 things were added we were not interested.  We ended up buying the package and looked forward to our first trip to Mexico as a family.  We have enough travel points to fly us there and the hotel was free, or so we were lead to believe.

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