San Diego Family Trip

I recently read an article about the difference between a “trip” and a “vacation”. It was absolutely hilarious and worth the read! You can find it HERE! I feel blessed to be able to take our kiddos on family trips and hope and pray that they are creating memories that they will cherish for a lifetime. I love giving them new experiences and am grateful for a career that gives me the opportunity to leave for a week at a time and still have business run as usual. Our most recent trip was to San Diego. I thought I would share some fun money saving tips and must see destinations!

Money Saving Tips!

  1. Check out the Go San Diego card available at This allows you to pay one reasonable price for over 40 attractions in the San Diego area. You have the choice of how many days you want to purchase and it was well worth the money! It allowed us to do things we wouldn’t have spent the money on and also encouraged us to try a few adventures we probably wouldn’t have thought of!
  2. Bring your own snacks and food! Check online for the places you are visiting and see if they will allow you to bring food in. SeaWorld will allow you to bring in a cooler. Places like legoland and such would let you bring in water and snacks for small children. We also saved money by buying the souvenir cups for each theme park. They were around $10 and gave us free refills the whole day. We just shared and it worked out nicely. We also purchase the all day dining pass at sea world. This allows you one entree, drink, and dessert once every hour. We purchased one for our group and just grazed the whole day. It was a great deal considering some of the meals we got would have been $28 each. The whole all day dining pass was $35.99. It was a bargain in my opinion! Save money where you can and splurge when we see something fun like fried apples or a Dole Whip!
  3. October is FREE KIDS month! If you are looking to plan a family vacation and want to make it as affordable as possible. Check out San Diego in October. There are over 100 destinations that kids eat, stay, and play for free!! October is a beautiful month in California and it isn’t as crowded as Spring Break! We always try and schedule a trip over the PIR day in October so the kids don’t miss too much school.

Must See Destinations!

  1. Sea world– I feel like there is something here for everyone. The little ones can check out the kiddie area with small rides and play structures. The older kids can stay entertained on the plethora of bigger rides and roller coasters. My kids were so excited when the electric eel opened. My personal favorite is ship wreck rapids, but you get soaked. I also love the shipwreck cafe with the all day dining pass. I think you get the most food and the best quality at this restaurant. Check out the benefits of the all day dining and the season passes on my post HERE! The adults, grandparents, and the kids will enjoy the live shows. I personally love the dolphin show and the orca show. The others are entertaining but plan your day around he dolphin and orca show. They offer a good rest from walking during the day as well. Sea World is honestly one of my favorite parks in all of California!
  2. Legoland– we were celebrating my 8 years old’s birthday. He is a LEGO fanatic and was in heaven the whole day. There are so many amazing LEGO exhibits. It really is remarkable. The apple fries are worth getting. We also got their all day soda cup. They had refill stations that read your cup and knew if it had been 8 minutes since you filled it last! It was pretty cool actually! As far as the rides go; my thought is that this park is really for kids 10 and under. This will be our last trip for sure. We purchased the fast passes. It is a little electronic device that allows you to reserve your next ride as soon as you enter a ride. It cut the waiting time down to almost nothing. There are three different levels. We bought the middle package that said it cut ride times by 50%. I feel that it was more than 50% and don’t think it would be worth the money to get the one that does 90%. I would recommend the robot coding station. This is a 45 minute free experience that you can sign up for right when you enter the park. It is a good break in the middle of the day and the kids got to code and train a robot to accomplish a task. It was pretty cool! Overall we had a great day. If you had to choose between legoland and another Park I think it depends on the age of your kids. If you have a LEGO fan and your kids are under 10; then go with legoland. Is your kids are over 10 then I would say Knottsberry Farm or Sea World.
  3. Knott’s Berry Farm– this was one of our favorite stops. The kids had a blast. Our kids are at good ages for this park. They are 14,10, and 8. Our youngest was able to go on some, but not all of the rides. There was plenty to keep him entertained while my older two rode the bigger rides. Some of the roller coasters were INTENSE! The fast passes were expensive; like $75 a person. I am too cheap to do that, but they had these wheels you could spin for $5 and allowed you to get a fast pass for two people to a ride. You had to take what you got and couldn’t trade for another ride. We tried to sweet talk the workers, but had very little success! 🤣 We were here during boysenberry festival and bought a $30 taste testing card. It allowed us to try 8 different boysenberry treats. It was yummy! This was about an hour and 45 minutes from San Diego but it was part of the Go San Diego card and we felt that it was worth the trip.
  4. Speed Boat adventure – this was a thrilling adventure that was a lot of fun. We got to drive our own speed boats. You are led by a guide and he gives you a little tour of the bay over a speaker in each boat. The waves got kind of crazy, but it was fun to see some of the sites from the water. The USS midway is another must see. We went on another trip so didn’t make it there this time, but we got right next to it and heard more about it on our speed boat tour. The guide told us all about these ships and brought us right next to docks filled with sea lions.
  5. Whale watching cruise– this was a relaxing 3 hour cruise around the bay. The tour guide did a great job of giving us good information about the area and some of the wildlife. We spotted a few whales and enjoyed the sunshine and fresh air! I probably would not spend the money if I was paying full price, but it was included in the go San Diego card and was a nice respite from the walking and hustle of the amusement parks.
  6. Fleet science museum– we really enjoyed this museum. There are lots of exhibits that were unique and interesting. It was educational and fun for everyone involved. The admission included an imax movie. We watched one called under the sea and it was amazing. It was narrated by Jim Carey and the videography was incredible. This museum is located in Balboa Park and there are dozens of attraction and museums close by as well. The downside of this one was PARKING! We couldn’t find a parking spot to save our life. I don’t have any fancy suggestion for that one! 😉
  7. Belmont Park- I wouldn’t recommend this unless you have the Go San Diego card. It was fun and we did rock climbing, zip lining, and a laser maze in a short time period. The reason it is on the list if because it sits right next to our favorite beach! It is right next to great food and has a place for surfing and a spot for boogie boarding. The waves are perfect and it can keep my kids entertained for hours!! We bought smash ball on our last trip and it is a great way to keep the kids busy.

San Diego is one of my favorite places to visit. The weather usually cooperates, the beaches are great for boogie boarding, and the hole in the wall good food is almost endless. If you are looking for your next family TRIP or a true VACATION with someone special, put San Diego into the hat! I don’t think you will regret it!

San Diego On A Budget


Our kids had several days out of school for President’s Day.  It seems like the opportunities to take family vacations are few and far between without having to miss school, so we felt like it would be a shame to not do something fun over this break.  However; this was not in our plan and we hadn’t budgeted to do a large vacation.  We have spring break coming up and didn’t want to break the bank, but also wanted to get away for a few days.  One of the benefits of living in Las Vegas is that the beach is only a few short hours away.  So we loaded up our vehicle and we were on our way!

Here are a few tips and tricks that allowed us to save money and enjoy San Diego on a budget.

  1. Plan Ahead
  2. Hotel with Free Breakfast
  3. Enjoy the Beach
  4. Season Passes at Sea World
  5. Dining Passes at Sea World

Plan Ahead

I knew that in order to make this trip economical, that a little planning ahead would go a long way.  I made a trip to Walmart ahead of time and stocked up on all of the snacks and drinks that we normally grab at the gas stations when we travel.  I also got bags of chips and the bulk candy at Sam’s club.  I bought peanut butter and jelly and fruit.  I also grabbed some beach toys for $10 and one of those cute velcro catch games for $3.88.  I snagged bubbles for $.97.  We purchased Boogie Boards at Sam’s Club for $25.  They were good quality and much better than the cheap ones they sell by the beach.  I spent a few hundred dollars but I felt like we saved so much by being prepared and thinking ahead.  It eliminated all purchases on our drive and saved us quite a bit once we arrived in San Diego.

Get a Hotel with a Free Breakfast

We are big proponents of The Holiday Inn Express.  We have the IHG Credit Card and are always happy with the service that we get at their hotel line.  We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Chula Vista.  It was right off I-5 and convenient to lots of things.  The front desk staff was extremely friendly and the pool and hot tub were not crowded and provided a nice start and end to our day.   We have stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Sea World Area in the past and we would probably stay there the next time we go because it is SO convenient to the beach we like and to Sea World.  Either way; not having to buy breakfast for our family of 5 saved us a good chunk of change!  That is a win for me!

 Enjoy the Beach

With this not being a planned vacation; we didn’t have a huge agenda.  It was really nice not having a set schedule and not feeling like we to had to cram 50 things into each day.  We got up in the morning and enjoyed the pool, then headed to Mission Beach for the day.  My friend who grew up in San Diego recommended this beach and it has become one of our favorite spots.  There is free parking close by.  I packed a little tote filled with all of our beach toys, towels, and snacks.  It was a quick walk to the beach.  The waves are perfect for boogie boarding and there are local shops and food places close by if you decide you need something.  One local place called Hamel’s has rentals of just about anything you need and they have all kinds of things for purchase as well.  Abigail rented a surf board for $20 for the day to give surfing a shot.  I checked on Amazon for a cute game called Smash Ball.  It was $13.99 so I expected to pay twice that at this shop.  They had it for $10!  I was so surprised!  If you are looking for a new fun game, you should totally check it out!  You can get it on Amazon for $13.99 or drive to San Diego and you can get if for the bargain price of $10!

The kids had a blast just playing in the waves, making sand castles, playing catch, and playing Smash Ball.   We enjoyed having our beach blanket to lay on and soaked up the sun as much as we could! It was so relaxing and such an affordable way to spend the day!  We had our PB&J sandwiches and Capri suns for lunch and everyone was happy! I may or may not have spent $5 on a box of Samoa Girlscout Cookies that some little girl drug dealer forced on me!

 Season Passes at Sea World

I always search online to see what deals I can find.  I am also getting great at finding Groupon’s when we travel and even in our own city.  I try and find the best deal and my hubby has a love hate relationship with it.  He likes the saving money part, but I also think it drives him crazy sometimes!  I noticed that Sea World San Diego was having a sale on their 2018 Fun Card.  Essentially you pay the price of a single day admission and you can go unlimited time for the rest of 2018.  If you buy their Sea World Annual Pass for $20 more you get all of these great benefits!

Get unlimited admission to SeaWorld San Diego during the initial 12 month commitment and any renewal period, with no blockout dates plus free parking, discounts and more.

  • FREE general parking (save $20 per visit).
  • 2 FREE guest tickets during specified event dates only.
  • Discounts on in-park food & merchandise and select park upgrades including tours, interactions and more.
  • Exclusive Member events and rewards.
  • Your visit helps support SeaWorld’s animal rescue and conservation efforts.

We purchased two of the annual passes to take advantage of the dining discounts, free tickets, and the free parking!   We got the Fun Cards for the kiddos since we are planning another trip here with the grandparents over Spring Break.

Having the season pass was so nice because we went for a few hours each day we were in San Diego.  That way no one was super tired and cranky, we avoided the crazy busy hours, and we were able to enjoy the beach each day as well.

I also think that we will take advantage of only being 5 hours away when the Las Vegas heat hits us this summer.  We may have a few more trips coming up if we can figure out this San Diego On a Budget thing!!

 Dining Pass at Sea World

One of the best ways that we saved money on this trip was taking advantage of the Sea World All Day Dining Pass.  Here are the deets!

Eat all you want at SeaWorld San Diego all day long for one low price. Pass Members save 10%.

  • Get 1 entrée, 1 side or dessert, and 1 non-alcohol beverage as often as once every hour during 1 day’s visit.
  • Participating restaurants include Shipwreck Reef Café®, Calypso Bay Smokehouse, Mama Stella’s® Pizza Kitchen, Explorer’s Café, Pineapple Pete’s Island Eats and Flatbreads & Fry Cones. Restrictions may apply.

We decided to just purchase one dining pass for the whole crew.  San Diego on a budget was the goal! Cory would take the kids and go and get in line for the next ride or attraction.  I would go and grab food and then bring in to the group.  You can get one drink, entree, and dessert or side once every hour, so this kept us quite full and allowed us to just snack throughout the day.  I priced things out as I went and it was over $100 worth of food that we got for the bargain price of $32.  Since we had eaten breakfast at the hotel and had some snacks at the beach that we had brought with us; we essentially fed our entire family for one full day of vacation for $32.  Not bad!!


Overall, this was a fantastic spur of the moment trip.  We got some sun, enjoyed family time, relaxed, got in a few thrills, and we all still love each other.  Our kiddos are at THE BEST ages for travel.  Everyone can dress themselves, no one is in diapers, we don’t have to have a stroller, and they get along quite well.  You can check out some of my tips for packing with kiddos here.

I got a little over confident in my children’t ability to pack for themselves.  We travel enough that I kind of felt like they could do it themselves with no problem.  This was such a spur of the moment trip; we literally grabbed stuff the night before and we loaded into the car the next morning.  I rattled off a list to the kids and asked them each about 3 times if they had a jacket.  Other than that; I just ASSUMED they were good to go.  Word to the wise…….7 YEAR OLDS SHOULD NOT PACK 100% ON THEIR OWN.  Brady didn’t bring underwear, socks, a toothbrush, or jacket!  He essentially got a swimming suit and a few pairs of shorts and a few shirts.  In his mind; that is really all he needed.  We survived!!  We learned a few lessons and overall I think we nailed visiting San Diego on a Budget!  Until next time So Cal…….


3 ways to take your life back..

Do you ever feel like you need a page 1 rewrite?  Sometimes it is a day that you just want to start over, maybe you were sick and the week has been going wrong since Monday, maybe you have been in a slump since Christmas, or maybe you said goodbye to 2017 and wanted to give it a swift kick on the way out the door.  The latter was me!  I don’t want to be one that doesn’t recognize how blessed I am, but 2017 was a HARD year.  Trials hit our family that I never could have imagined and I needed a clean slate.  We needed a page one rewrite!

I felt like my priorities had gotten knocked off course.   I had been working tirelessly on my real estate career for two plus years and somehow I lost sight of what was truly important.  I wasn’t enjoying my family and wasn’t enjoying real estate anymore either!  I remember thinking to myself and confiding in a friend, “I feel like I’m failing at everything and not truly succeeding in any aspect of my life!”  I felt like I was mediocrely doing everything.  I wasn’t being an excellent wife.  We would still go on date nights and we weren’t fighting or anything, but we had become complacent.  I wasn’t being a good mom.  My kids were getting fed, sometimes it was takeout and sometimes it was a thrown together semi healthy meal, but they weren’t starving.  Their clothes were clean, but not always folded.  The house was clean some of the time and I was home for morning prayers and we did our best at Family Night, but I wasn’t THERE all the time.  I wasn’t PRESENT.  I had my phone with 500 text messages and 40 phones calls to return; and my stress level was through the roof.  I wasn’t being an amazing Realtor.  While trying to still be a wife and a mother and being pulled in 50 different directions, I wasn’t nailing the business side of things either!  There was always one more facebook post to do, one more client to call back, one more search to do, or one more open house to schedule.  IT WAS TOO MUCH!!

I can’t even tell you how many people have said to me “I don’t know how you do it!”  I feel like the only speed I know is FAST.  Cory and I have always taken on a lot at one time and we seemed to thrive by taking on new projects and always having a new and exciting venture.  I know how to work well in high stress environments and I felt like our kids were learning valuable lessons of hard work and entrepreneurial skills.  While I still feel like this may be true….something had to give.  Something needed to change.  I was running faster than my short little legs could handle and I was about at the end of my rope.

Henry Ford failure

Henry Ford said, “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently”.  I felt like I was at a point where I had failed.   I wanted to a new beginning, a fresh start.  Here are a few of the steps I took to get a fresh outlook and to begin again more intelligently.

1.) Don’t Look Back

I feel like it to SO easy to look back at things that didn’t go as planned and to want to change how things happened.  You want a do over.  You want to be able to CHANGE decisions you made or a reaction you had.  I know as 2017 closed; I looked back and didn’t have any idea how it was ending the way it was.  It was almost surreal to me.  I did not get to this point in a day….or a week….or really even in a month.  However; I finally made the decision to NOT LOOK BACK.  You can’t change the choices that you made, but you can learn from your mistakes and take one small baby step at a time and MOVE FORWARD.  The first step is the hardest.  I promise.

2.) Don’t be afraid to say NO

I feel like you have to be FIERCE with what we say YES to.  When we are saying YES to something; we are saying NO to something else.  It reminds me of a talk by Elder Dallin H Oaks titled Good, Better, Best.  Here we are counseled and warned that there are SO many GOOD things in this world.  It is good to volunteer at your child’s school.  It is good to go out to lunch with your friend, it is good to help with the bake sale, it is good to allow your children to have extra curricular activities.  But we must remember that every time we say YES to something good, we may be saying No to something better or even best.  I don’t know what the answer is for YOU.  I actually am slowly realizing that my social life is one of the GOOD things that I need to take a step back from.  I LOVE to entertain.  I am a very social person and I enjoy throwing parties, having people over for dinner, playing games, and filling our schedule with good things.  However; I am learning that our little family gets stronger and relationships are cultivated when we spend quiet evenings hot tubbing together and talking about our day.  We are creating memories as just the 5 of us snuggle on our king size bed and watch football.  This one has been hard for me.  I also came to realize a few years ago that more than likely my children weren’t going to become olympic athletes or prodigy pianists.  I want them to be well rounded kiddos that are allowed to cultivate talents and learn and grow into amazing adults, but they also don’t have to be in 50 different activities and have every minute of every day planned.  When you have three kiddos, or more….(bless all of your souls) even one activity each week can leave you running ragged.  It is ok to tell your children NO when they want to sign up for ONE MORE THING!  It is also ok to say NO when you are asked to volunteer for one more thing or FILL IN THE BLANK.  Be FIERCE with your time.  Know your limits and remember that you are only one person.

3.) Find what makes YOU happy

You cannot take care of your family and help fill their cups when your cup is empty.  I was  running on empty and didn’t think I had the time to refill my cup.  I know that I was not giving my best self to my husband, my friends, or my children when I was beyond stressed, not eating right, not sleeping well, and running full steam ahead at all times.  I felt like I had to be available to my real estate clients 24/7 and felt like they would go and find someone else if I didn’t answer the random text at midnight or didn’t stop in the middle of dinner to answer that phone call.  I wasn’t taking time for myself to refuel in order to be better for everyone!  Read a book, go get a drink at Starbucks and surf on Pinterest alone, take a warm bath, invite a friend to lunch to catch up, get your nails done, or go try a new yoga class.  Whatever floats your boat….find what makes you happy and MAKE TIME for it.  The time will NEVER just magically show up.  You have to make yourself a priority.  For me; I love to be able to play volleyball one night a week.  I told my hubby that this was important to me.  It was time for JUST me.  It was without kiddos and it helped relieve stress and it was fun!  Find what that is for you, and are it happen!

I am only one month into 2018, but I feel like there are good things to come!  I read an article the other day about the power of a positive attitude.   It was excellent and made some very good points.  Take the next step forward, get out of your slump, turn to the next page in your story.  Life is a beautiful journey.  Our trials, scars, mistakes, challenges, and worries make us beautiful and unique.  Don’t let one bad day, week, or year define you and your journey.  Here’s to a fresh start!


Açaí bowls are all the rage!

This cute girl has been wanting to try açaí bowls for months. She says they are all over Instagram and has been begging me to take her to Bowlology. We finally got to go and it did not disappoint. It was delicious!

If you are like me and have no idea what an açaí bowl is, have no fear! It is a sensually a smoothie parfait with granola and any type of toppings that you like. This little bit of goodness was $10. Being the frugal person that I am, I figured that I could easily make these at home!

I found açaí packet with fruit to make smoothies in the freezer section at Walmart. I loaded my cart with my favorite granola and some fresh fruit. I went home and decided to give it a shot. The result was fantastic!

Once we had the smoothie made, I topped it with sweetened coconut, raspberries, bananas, strawberries, Chia seeds, and cinnamon. I then drizzled a small amount of sugar free maple syrup on top. YUM! 😋

My new favorite recipe is a mango smoothie made with a green juice that I get at Sam’s Club. I then put fresh raspberries and strawberries on top with toasted coconut and granola. It is divine!!

Have you jumped on the açai bowl bandwagon yet? What is your favorite recipe? I would love to hear.

XCaret Park Playa del Carmen

Are you looking for activities to keep you busy while visiting Cancun or Playa del Carmen? XCaret Park is the thing to do! It is amazing for families, but I think just about anyone would enjoy their time there.

We purchased a vacation package that had unlimited access to the park. It was with our hotel stay at Occidental at XCaret. This hotel is adjacent to the park and you can find my review of the hotel here.  There are other hotels in the area and some of them offer the same options.  A great site to visit for more hotel info can be found here.

I think that in order to adequately visit everything the park has to offer, that you would be well served to take two days to visit. It is a large park and you will walk miles in order to see everything.  If you would like more info regarding XCaret park and things to do in the area you should check out Travel Yucatan.  This is a great source filled with info about the surrounding area.  They have a page specifically about XCaret as well!

Here is my list of 10 must see activities and tips and tricks for making the most of your adventure.

The price is admission is roughly $90 per person. They also have dining packages that include unlimited drinks. Our hotel was right next door with our all inclusive benefits so we didn’t eat at the park. You can get tickets and check other info HERE.

1.) Get the map and plan your trip!

This will allow you to see all of the attractions with the least amount of walking. Stop at the observation tower at the beginning and enjoy the scenic overlook of the entire area.

2.) Enjoy the animal attraction and aquarium while you are dry.

This park is almost like a zoo. There are so many fun things to see. Some of our favorites were the sea turtles and the dolphins. A lot of the attraction require you to get wet; so enjoy these attraction while you are not soaking wet.

3.) Enjoy the underground rivers.

We liked the Manatee River the best. It was less crowded and had really neat features. They provide flippers and life jackets for everyone to use. Our kids brought their own snorkel gear and they liked having that for the rivers.

4.) Check out the natural pools

The natural pools that are right on the ocean are a must see. Our kids lived on the edge and jumped off the ledges while the life guard wasn’t looking! 😜

5.) Use the free snorkeling gear.

There is a neat area that is perfect for snorkeling. They provide life jackets and snorkeling gear. It is a great way to snorkel without paying for a big excursion.

6.) Buy a waterproof case on Amazon before you come.

The park has the Disney concept of pushing you through gift shops at the end of every attraction. They have really cool waterproof cases for the bargain price of $35 😩. You will want one and your children will beg and beg for one! They do help with fun underwater pictures and allows you to take your phone on the rivers and such. You can find one here!

I would also suggest getting a floating handle if you have a Go Pro. Or grab a Go Pro if you would like to capture some awesome pics of your trip.

7.) Let the kids try the obstacle course and water slides at kids world

There is a great kid world that has a great shaded area for the adults to relax. There is a waterfall, an obstacle course and water slides. It keeps the kiddos occupied and allows he adults to rest for a bit. They also have free WiFi so you can utilize that while you relax.

8.)Save time for the beach

There is a beautiful beach that is great for everyone. There are nice chairs to sit and relax in the shade and activities for the little people. There are little tubes hat allow you to float and relax. There is also a tight rope that the kids spent hours enjoying.

9.) The Mexico Spectacular in the evening is a must see!

The evening show was fantastic. It was a tad long for the little ones but it was very entertaining. From fireball hockey to beautiful dancing, and horses and fighting scenes; it was a wonderful show!

10.) Document your trip! There is a neat feature that allows you to snap pictures in various locations throughout the park. It is linked to your wristband and allows you to get awesome action shots of your adventures. You can check out prices Here ! You don’t purchase this feature; make sure to take lots of your own pics!!

I hope these tips and tricks help you if you decide to venture to Cancun or Playa del Carmen for your next vacation. I highly recommend making XCaret one of the destinations for your trip! Let me know if you have anything else you want to add to the list!!


Occidental at XCaret Review for Families

We have just spent 10 days at the Hotel Occidental at XCaret. We came over the Thanksgiving holiday. It was nice to not have to have the kids miss so much school, but I will admit that I missed our traditional Thanksgiving traditions. The weather was perfect. It was in the high 70’s and low 80’s every day with no rain! It was heavenly!

It seems that there are always pros and cons of every place we visit. We travel with our three children, my parents, and my husbands mom. 8 total traveling with ages ranging from 7 to mid 70’s.

What we loved 💕

1. Right next door to XCaret The package that we booked included unlimited access to XCaret. This park is truly incredible. I will be going over this attraction in detail on another post. There was an aquarium, wildlife, entertainment, a great beach, and amazing underground rivers!

2. Unlimited food and drink and friendly staff! We LOVE to stay in a resort that is all inclusive. This is such a great thing when traveling with large groups and kiddos. I love not having to say no one million times and not having to carry my purse with my everywhere we go. There is something different mentally about paying one price up front and feeling like everything is “free” once you are there! Even though I know there isn’t the case! 😉😂. The staff was very friendly and always willing to help in any way. There seemed to be ample employees and most spoke English. One of our morning servers even did a little dance for us and one of our evening servers helped us with our TERRIBLE Spanish skills.

3. Free Snorkeling each day The hotel provided snorkeling equipment each day for one hour per guest. There was great snorkeling right off of the shore and it was a fun activity to do with the kiddos each day.

4. Fun activities planned each day The hotel had a great activities staff. They helped facilitate bocce ball, volleyball tournaments, ping pong tournaments, a foam party, guacamole lessons, and water aerobics. It was wonderful and helped keep the kids entertained. Each evening they had a fun show for everyone to enjoy. The outfits were sometimes slightly risqué, but overall it was a good show for the whole family.

5.) Abundant Wild Life There was so much wildlife right at the resort. The trails were filled with monkeys jumping overhead, iguanas at ever turn, and macaws in the lobby. It was an adventure every time you walked to a new part of the hotel.

What was lacking

1.) The food needed improvement Overall we all; ate well and the food was good. I just felt like there was room for improvement. You could only eat at the buffets for breakfast and lunch and I was not impressed with the seafood quality. The dinner restaurants were very good food but you had to be there right st 6:00 when they opened in order to get a table for our large group.

2.) No HotTub Need I say more? Not really, but I am going to anyway. There is something about being on vacation and hanging out in the hot tub in the evenings when the sun goes down and the kids are asleep. I truly missed this during this vacation. There was a hot tub in the First Club area which was a private area that you had to pay to be a member of. I checked these hot tubs twice during our stay and they were ice cold! I would have been pretty ticked if I had payed for this service and the hot tubs were cold.

3.) SO MUCH WALKING The hotel is very spread out and requires a lot of planning to avoid a ton of walking. With members of our group being in their 70’s this turned out to be a challenge. It was also very easy to get lost for the directionally challenged like me! 😜

4.) Small annoyances The men were required to wear pants and closed toed shoes for dinner. I understand a collared shirt but the only reason my husband had pants with him was because it was snowing when we left Montana! Having to wear closed toed shoes was also kind of a pain. My husband typically wears a nice button up shirt, linen shirts, and flip flops for dinner on vacation. We didn’t loved being told what to do on vacation. Maybe we are just stubborn! 😜

No designated smoking area. We do not smoke and being from the states and being used to no smoking areas; this was a bit of a shock. We didn’t like having to move tables and such due to people smoking in the common areas.

No free WiFi! 😩 We had unlimited data on our cell plan but it showed down after certain usage. You had to pay for WiFi at the resort and the cell service was poor in our hotel room so using Facebook and Instagram in the room was nearly impossible.

These were all small things, but were frustrating enough to warrant mentioning. 😬

Would we go again?

I think the jury is still out on this one. My mom LOVED everything about this trip. She says it was one of her favorite vacations and thought everything was top notch. I know the kids have had an excellent time. I really enjoyed the trip and am so glad we came. XCaret is a must see and think it was an amazing place. I feel like it is somewhat like Disney world or Disney land. Something everyone should do but probably not something you do on an annual basis. I think we will be visiting other locations for the next few years but we would probably come back several years from now.

Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about visiting the Cancun area or visiting XCaret!🌞🏝

5 Packing Tips When Flying

We just went on a 7 day trip to Vegas with our whole family.  We LOVE the inexpensive flights that Allegiant Air offers, but their baggage prices are rather ridiculous.  My husband would call me cheap, but I will use the word frugal.  Because I am “frugal”, we only paid for one bag for our whole family.  I thought I would share my top 5 tips for packing when traveling by air. 

  1. Roll your clothes – this takes up less space so you can maximize the space of your precious checked bag.
  2. Use a Ziploc Freezer Bag, Gallon Size for each outfit – this is a life saver for me.  I have each of the kids set out their outfits for each day of the trip, underwear and socks included.  I use gallon ziploc bags and write their name with a Sharpie.  Then when the whirlwind of unpacking and rifling through suitcases ensues, everything doesn’t get unfolded and heaped into a pile.  This eliminates fighting about what to wear and ending the trip with outfits that don’t match and whining kids.  You can also squeeze out all of the air to create a vacuum effect that helps maximize space as well.  I also use ziplocs for all of my toiletries to make sure I don’t have shampoo on all of my clothes when we arrive at our destination.
  3. Individual Backpack for Each Child – Once your kids are about 5 years old; have them pul their own weight!  Backpacks are the way to go.  Rolling suitcases that are unique and easy to spot in the luggage are like this are perfect and preferred for your large checked luggage.  However, having each person have their own backpack does a couple of things.  When you get to the hotel; you don’t have to divide 5 peoples clothes and figure out what clothes go where.  You can have each child put their own devices and travel essentials in their own backpack so you aren’t trying to divvy out snacks and books and crayons when you get on the plane.
  4. Pack your own snacks – Once again; my husband might love paying $4 for chex mix that we don’t even like, but I on the other hand don’t love forking out $30 before we even get on the plane.  Use the cute little Snack Size Ziploc Bags for your kiddos favorite snacks.  Grab fruit snacks, candy, granola bars to get you through the flight with ease.  The powdered drink mixes are also perfect for getting past airport security without a hitch.  If you bring an empty water bottle for each person; you can fill them up at the water fountain once you get past security and then use the flavor packets to spice things up a bit!
  5. Utilize your shoe space – Use your shoe space to pack underwear, socks, and small items like jewelry.  Also, here is a quick tip for jewelry!  Lay out all of your jewelry on Press’n Seal and then put another piece on top and you won’t have a jumbled mess to deal with when you get to your destination.  You’re welcome!

Here is a little video I shot while getting ready for this trip! ​​

​I hope these help when you are ready to hit the road on your next adventure.  Happy Traveling!

#Vegas Strong



​As we headed home to our hotel for the evening on October 1st; dozens of police cars raced past us in a way that seemed surreal.  I quickly checked Twitter to see what was happening. To our horror we learned what was happening. After a sigh of relief the my closest loved ones were safe less than a few miles away; the disbelief set in and we stayed glued to the television set for the next SEVERAL hours.

The next day was quite somber as more details rolled in. Several friends and family texted and called to make sure we were safe. We appreciate everyone’s concern!  We kept our kiddos close and spent the day in Henderson and avoided anything to do with the strip.

Today we finally felt safe to venture down to the strip. We went to the Mandalay Bay and saw the windows that the shooter broke out.

We saw the venue where thousands of innocent people gathered to have fun and enjoy country music.

The distance between the two locations was WAY further than I imagined!  It was crazy.

It was incredible to see mobile billboards, interior signs, and full building billboards displaying their thanks to the First Responders, Police officers, and medical professionals for their superior service during this tragedy.

I know that we live in trying times filled with hate and acts that are unspeakable. However; as I saw hundreds of people standing in line to donate blood, watched news stories of pure acts of selfless service and bravery, and watch this community rally to raise money for victims’ families; I am left with a feeling of peace and hope. There is good in this world!

Hug your kids a little tighter, forgive a little easier, and be kind to others.

Gravady Las Vegas 

The kids have been so excited to check out Gravady in Las Vegas. It is a trampoline park, ninja zone, and circus training all in one!

We were looking for family friendly entertainment that didn’t cost an arm and a leg; and this fit the bill!

The acrobatic components of Gravady were awesome. We have been to other trampoline parks in the past and they didn’t have this. Abigail loves this kind of stuff and tried all kinds of fun tricks without the risk of getting hurt.

The ninja course was super cool. We have also been to Ninja courses in the past that were too difficult to actually enjoy. This added fun for even the adults.  Cory got in a little workout and will probably be sore tomorrow!! 😂

Another unique feature was the Super Tramp. It had an added bounce that was pretty intense. This was for kids 7 and older. Peyton had a blast!!

Overall; we had a great experience!  I feel like Gravady provides the perfect family friendly event for those traveling to Vegas or those in the area. They have birthday party options that would be perfect if you lived close.

Our kids are 7, 10, and 13. They all had a wonderful time and were entertained the whole time.   We will be back the next time we come to visit!!

If you want more info you can check out their Website for all the details! Now we are headed to the outlets for some retail therapy! 😉

Family Friendly Vegas – Wet n’ Wild

The kids have been SO excited to check out Wet n’ Wild.  They had a great special going on their Site. Everyone for in for their junior rate and the seniors were only $9.99. If you live in the area or come to Vegas for than once a year you should check out their Season Passes. They are an excellent deal!

We tried to hit every attraction.  Brady was tall enough for everything which made it SO much better than past years at water parks.   For a Saturday the park had very few people. We never waited for more than a few minutes. It was GREAT!

As hunger began to set in we decided to grab a bite to eat.  We got the end of the year special on their signature cups. For only $5 we got a free refills and any subsequent refills were only $.99. You can see their Cooler policy here. You can’t bring in food, but they have an awesome play area and grassy spot to have a picnic outside the park entrance. We made some sandwiches and then just got a few entrees to share. It was perfect.

Overall; it was an excellent day!  The kids had fun and we would return for sure.

We had dinner at Pei Wei and then hit the hot tub at our hotel before heading to bed. Day 1 in the books. Stay tuned for more family friendly Vegas tips soon. You can also see our live videos on our Facebook Page. Follow us on Instagram or follow us on Twitter @OurCrazyFam