Monday, July 5, 2021

Once in a Lifetime Travel Experiences

With the travel industry coming back to life I am constantly daydreaming about our next trips! It also has me thinking about past trips and past once in a lifetime experiences. 

Seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland
We were so fortunate that even on a cloudy night we were able to see the auroras! To view more pictures and read more about our trip to Iceland, click > here!

Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef
I have a like/dislike relationship with swimming or snorkeling in the open ocean. On our trips to Hawaii and Florida the water is typically colder and I really don't like that. But I like seeing all the fishes once I get in! But the Great Barrier Reef was a different story, the water was warm and felt really nice! This was a fun, possibly once in a lifetime experience. I say possibly because we are already thinking about our next trip to Australia and this time taking our daughter. Read about it > here!

Seeing the Twelve Apostles 
This was a MAJOR bucket list item of mine! I'm not sure why but I just had to see the rock formations before they disappear. It was the main reason we visited Melbourne during our 2019/2020 trip to Australia. Read about it > here!

Christmas in Italy 
A long time ago, in 2008, I was fortunate enough to get to take a trip to Italy with my then best friend. Since we were both in college we only had Christmas break as an option for travel. We took a Trafalgar tour called, The Best of Italy, and it was wonderful! It also marked the first time we were both away from our families for Christmas. But Christmas in Venice, Italy! 

Traveling with my Husband
As sappy as that sounds, this man has followed me around the world because I love to travel and see new things. When we first got together it wasn't easy to get this guy to take a vacation. Our first vacation was a quick weekend trip to Key West, Florida and then the next year I FINALLY convinced him to go to Hawaii and we haven't looked back. A few years after our first trip to Hawaii is when we started "the points game" and now we travel on points 80-90% of the time! 

So far, I haven't found a place I don't want to go back too, I'm always ready for a trip! One of the biggest dilemmas right now for us is wanting to take our kiddo along. She is officially in school and we don't want to be those parents who pull her out of school for a vacation. But I am also not one of those people that wants to pay ridiculous high prices for travel during traditional holidays... oh, what to do?! 

Do you have any amazing travel experiences? 

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

2021 Bucket List Update

With traveling starting to tick back up I thought it would be fun to update my travel bucket list!

Within the United States, where I am from and currently live, I have 12 more states to visit in my effort to visit all 50 states that make up the United States! I will add another state to the "Been There" list later this year. I also have in my "Been There" list two sates that I have only been to the airport. Do you count airport layovers as a visit? 

{map created at}

In addition to wanting to visit all 50 states I would also like to visit a good portion of the National Parks. To date I have visited 10 of the National Parks in the Untied States. We're visiting Glacier NP later this summer and I am hoping we can take a road trip next year to visit the Dakotas and see Badlands, Wind Cave and Theodore Roosevelt National Parks. The problem with this bucket list is that it is always growing! The National Parks Service adds new parks every year! The latest, New River Gorge in West Virginia, was added to the list in December of 2020. 

Other destinations that are on my list to visit next are: Puerto Rico, St. John, USVI, Croatia and Slovenia. I would also LOVE to visit Austria and Paris again, but this time around Christmas, and we are hoping to visit Australia again and take our daughter this time.  

{map created at}

Where are you heading to next? 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Minnie Mouse Birthday Party

Every year after Christmas I ask my daughter what theme she wants for her birthday party. I ask her WAY in advance so I have plenty time to plan and create. For her 2021 birthday she choose Minnie Mouse. Since 2020 was cancelled and we're still, sort of, living the pandemic lifestyle I want to throw her the best birthday party while taking into consideration appropriate safety precautions. 

We had a total of nine kids including our kiddo. All the kids were in the same school and most were in the same class. I held the party knowing people would have already had lunch and might only want snacks. I did make some snack baskets for each kid using berry baskets but the kids didn't really care, they just picked out what they wanted to snack on. The party started outside but it rained for the majority and the kids played inside while the adults hung out on the covered patio. 

{Sign by local Sign Gypsy}

I thought the party went really well and I was so happy that she was able to have friends over and things resembled some normalcy. 

{Minnie Cupcakes and Snack Station}

Normally I would have gone really big on food and done everything with a "Minnie" theme, like Minnie Corn Dogs, Minnie Carrots, Minnie Water Bottles...etc. But it wasn't the year for that. 

How are you celebrating birthday parties this year? 

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Happy Mother's Day 2021

 I wanted to pop in on this wonderful Sunday to wish all the mothers out there a very happy Mother's Day! Whether you're mom, step-mom, dog mom or any other type of mom out there, its a day to celebrate you! 

This mother's day I was able to make some cookies for a few customers and my own mother. I created this cute mason jar bouquet! I thought it turned out really cute!

I spent the morning working out, went for a 5 mile run and then my Pure Barre class. And then I came home to flowers, cards and food!

Hope y'all had a wonderful weekend and day!

Sunday, April 25, 2021

COVID-19: Year One

This is the inevitable one year (plus 1.5 months) into COVID-19 post. 

Its easy to start reflecting on COVID because I documented our life day-to-day when we all started a pseudo-lockdown in March 2020. March 16, 2020 my husband was sent home to work from home indefinitely (he is able to do his job from home), March 18, 2020 my daughter was sent home from school and on March 23, 2020 I was sent home for what ended up only being three weeks. 

We did remote learning as best we could for her 4K (pre-kindergarten) curriculum until that ended at the end of May. Once summer stared we happy to have some normalcy back when our daughter was able to attend summer day-camp, they managed with mask wearing on bad weather days but stuck to the outdoors most of the time. We never once had to have her home due to close contact quarantine, we were so lucky! 

Then came the cancellation of our vacation to Hawaii that was scheduled for late June/early July 2020. 

Weeks and months passed and then it was September and it was time for school to start. Our school district sent out many surveys to get an idea of what parents wanted and we started school 100% in-person. That lasted a month and then we were into a two-week virtual stint district wide. Then we went back to in-person for a few weeks and then started the virtual Wednesdays. This virtual Wednesday has lasted up to a few weeks ago! We also had virtual weeks after the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. 

{Reflections of 2020}

After the new year it was much of the same, mask wearing and temperature screening at work. And FINALLY, after so much time on the ground we took off for our happy place, Hawaii! In March of 2021, a year after COVID-19 took over in the US we took our first trip and it was wonderful! Read about it here!

With vaccinations rolling out I hope we, as citizens of the Earth, can put an end to this. I am ready to start traveling again and explore more of this great world! I have 13 more states to visit on my bucket list, hoping to knock out two more later this year, and so many other countries to visit! 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Easter 2021

Easter was EARLY this year! I was happy that I was able to continue to practice my royal icing skills again for this holiday. Check out what I created! I have also been working on taking better pictures. 

Hope you and your family had a nice weekend!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Hawaii on Points

If you're a recent visitor to my blog you may not know that we typically travel using rewards points. We stick to using points with United, Delta, Marriott and IHG (Holiday Inn) programs. 

This trip to Hawaii was no different, we used the following points:

  • 135,000 United MileagePlus Points + $33.60 (45,000 + $11.20 per person)
  • 220,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points + $150 for hotel parking (for a 5 night stay)
  • $360 for rental car

Adding all of that up we're looking at $543.60 for a 6 day/5 night stay on Hawaii Island for three people.

Of course we had other expenses like renting snorkel gear, whale watching tour, manta ray snorkel, food/drink and gas. But our starting point was just under $550 when it could have been between $5,000 - $6,000 if we had booked hotel, air and car individually. 

I highly recommend reading posts from The Points Guy and One Mile at a Time if your wanting to learn more and are interesting in taking vacations for next to nothing! If you're interested in starting the points and miles game use my referral links below to start collecting points! I can be rewarded too if you apply here and are approved for the card. 

United | Marriott | Delta | IHG (Holiday Inn) | Chase Ultimate Rewards

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