Best Kid Friendly Resorts in Hawaii

Best Kid Friendly Resorts in Hawaii

Hawaii is a great family vacation destination.  Hawaii has many fun family activities to keep kids entertained; nature hikes, surfing, hula, and ukulele lessons, museum exhibits, pirate ships, and Mickey too!

Our world class hotels on the shores of our world famous beaches offer luxurious accommodations, award winning cuisine, and diverse activities sure to please guests young and old.
Here is a round up of the the best kid friendly resorts in the Aloha State.  Spring break is coming up, escape the cold winter for some fun in sun.
Hawaii

Stitch in Hawaii

“Voted No. 1 in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2014 for Top Family Hotel in the U.S.A”

Hands down Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa wins the top spot.  No one does family fun better than Disney.
Located on Oahu’s west shores this resort boasts a lazy river, water slides, a kids club, and more.  Book your Hawaii Disney adventure today!

Hawaii

The Kahala Hotel & Resort is tucked away in Honolulu’s plush Kahala district.  It’s a favorite with presidents, international royalty and celebrities. 
This luxurious oceanfront resort boasts a natural lagoon that is home to a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.  
During your stay you can reserve an interactive encounter with these playful creatures with Dolphin Quest.
They offer several packages for different age groups.  

Reserve your family vacation here!

Hawaii

The Hilton Waikaloa Village  is situated on the Kohalo coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. Stay, play, and dine in this lush 62 acre resort.

The fun begins when you board a boat or tram to take you from the hotel lobby to your room. Indulge in a couples massage at a private poolside cabana while the kids splash in the waterfall pool or play and swim with the resident dolphins.

Reserve your Dolphin Quest encounter here!

HawaiiSip a tropical drink at the grotto bar while the kids float along the lazy river or ride up the water elevator.  Situated on 40 acres of lush tropical gardens on the shores of world famous Wailea Beach on the island of Maui is the Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort.  It will surely meet your expectations of any resort under this iconic brand.


Free Dinner

How to Survive a Long Red-Eye Flight

How to Survive a Long Red-Eye Flight

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Flying as much as we do I’ve got the routine down to where I can get enough rest on route and hit the ground running when I arrive.  I can’t guarantee the most comfortable experience, but I can make the flight more bearable.

1.  Get plenty of sleep the night before.

2.  Dress in comfortable loose fitting clothing, but not shabby wrinkled clothes.  Don’t wear anything tight fitting and complicated;  tight fitting clothes restricts blood flow, you increase the risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis), and clothing that has lots of buttons, laces, etc. makes using the tiny restrooms difficult.  I usually wear an old comfy t-shirt under the jacket of a dark colored Juicy Couture sweat suit.  The jacket can be removed if it gets too warm and will keep me warm if the cabin is cold.  I like dark colors because it hides stains, in case I spill something on the plane.

3.  Wear comfortable footwear that is easy to slip on and off.  In warm weather I usually wear flip-flops or sandals, in cold weather my comfy pair of knitted Uggs.  Footwear that is easy to slip on and off makes going thru security easier, also easier to slip them on and off on the plane.  My feet tend to swell a bit on very long flights so I avoid wearing shoes that require me to painfully shove swollen feet into.

4. On flights 5 hours or longer don’t wear any make-up, if you arrive at the airport wearing make-up use a cleanser wipe and take it off.  Make-up will dry up, cake up, and leave you looking less than lovely.  If you must have make-up on arrival apply it about half hour before you land.

5.  Don’t drink booze, it will dehydrate you and make you miserable.   Drink plenty of water instead to stay hydrated.  For every hour you are airborne your body looses an extra glass of water leaving you looking and feeling miserable.  Adding alcohol into your system only dehydrates you more.  Staying hydrated also decreases the chances of airborne germs getting into your system, mucus serves as a “filter” and may just keep you from catching a cold.

6.  Sanitize your area.  I bring along anti-bacterial wipes and wipe down the arm rests, wall and window if I’m in a window seat, headrest, and table.  I know I look crazy but I’m not sure how clean the plane is and I’d rather be safe than sorry.

7.  Bring your own shawl or blanket, and neck pillow.  I’m pretty sure the provided pillows and blankets aren’t changed or washed between flights.  I prefer to snuggle up to my own clean items.  I always bring a cashmere shawl to use as a blanket.

8.  Practice good personal hygiene.  Don’t cough and sneeze on your seat mates, wash your hands often, and use a paper towel to handle the lavatory door knobs.

9.  Stretch your legs and walk around when you can.  Do a small in-flight workout to reduce your risk of DVT.  Here’s a link to show you how.

10.  Bring travel size moisturizers, body lotion, lip balm, and lip balm.  Keep them in a clear plastic bag or ziplock along with your toothbrush, toothpaste, and make-up.  I use Amore Pacific and I always ask my cosmetics associate at Neiman’s to give me samples, they work great for trips.

11.  Bring a change of clothes if you need to look your best on arrival.  You can struggle into them in the tiny lavatory

before landing.

12.  Bring reading material,  noise canceling headphones, chargers, a meal or snacks, and sleeping mask.  I load up books and movies on my ipad in case there’s nothing I like on the in-flight entertainment.  I prefer my own headphones, they’re much more comfortable than the ones they provide, they sound better too.  I prefer to bring my own food, I bring what I want and save money too.  Food sold in-flight is limited and expensive.

The only way I know of to have a really comfortable flight is to ante up and fly business or first class.  They feed you and the seats usually turn into beds.  I usually try to upgrade at the gate,  sometimes I get lucky and get a first class seat with by using frequent flyer miles or paying an upgrade charge.  Upgrades are never guaranteed.  If you want to try for one it’s best to put yourself on the upgrade list the day before departure or get to the airport early and get on the list.


Why Is A Road Trip An Ideal Way To Enjoy Your Grandchildren This Summer?

Why Is A Road Trip An Ideal Way To Enjoy Your Grandchildren This Summer?

If you are a grandparent who loves nothing more than to spend time with your grandkids, how does a liberating, adventurous road trip sound? The Times published an article about the major comeback of the US road trip, touting it “a tradition that feels like a national birthright.” Being on the road also benefits children and adults in powerful ways. With statistics showing that about one in four Americans spends almost their entire day indoors,, a road trip is the perfect way to free the mind and embrace new experiences – something that is almost always best done in the summer!

Less Gadgets, More Greenery
Many studies have shown that human beings benefit greatly from being in the Great Outdoors. The mind is instantly transported to ‘the here and now’, and stress levels drop in a significant and measurable manner. Road trips give families the opportunity to plan a trip around cities/cultural events, stopping at beautiful natural spots in which to de-stress, enjoy a walk or swim, and even partake in activities like outdoor yoga. When you’re on the road, gadgets and phones somehow seem less appealing. It’s all about making the most of what is around you and experiencing the healing effects of mindfulness. Regardless of which spot in the map you choose, you will probably find a host of interesting natural sites and activities to check out. In the summer, everything from parasailing right through to white water rafting may appeal.

Dance to Your Own Drum
One difficult aspect of travel with young children is transport. When visiting a new city or green area, you may find that you have to take various trains, buses, and other transport combinations to get to desired spots. Moreover, some cities and green areas have better transport than others. A road trip allows you to travel at your own pace, visiting the areas you want to as you go along. It also permits you to change your mind, staying longer when you want to and cutting less desirable stays short. Space is another big benefit. A vehicle for family travel such as an RV is sturdy enough to keep you safe, and large enough to carry family items like toys, clothing, sporting equipment, etc. Luggage and the weight of equipment can be a big problem indeed if you opt for flight or train travel with little children.

Time to Bond
Road trips are as ideal for what goes on inside the vehicle, as out. Pew Research has found that older Americans say that having more time to spend with family is by far the best thing about being a senior. During the school year, you may find it hard to see your grandchildren as much as you like to, owing to the many demands that academic and sports activities impose. Road travel allows you to play little games as well as reveal experiences and funny anecdotes. It also gives you hours on end to ask questions that can enlighten you more on your grandchildren’s passions, interests, and views.

Road trips are enjoying a big boom for many factors – including their relatively lower cost, and the freedom and independence they afford. Travelling across the U.S. in a comfortable vehicle allows kids to rest, and older folk to have a break when they are driving. If you are ready to enjoy the adventure of a lifetime, plan your next road trip but don’t plan it too minutely. Let your instinct and wishes be your guides as you travel at your own pace and discover the beauty that surrounds you.

FILIPINO GARLIC FRIED RICE (SINANGAG)

FILIPINO GARLIC FRIED RICE (SINANGAG)

Sinangag, or Garlic Chinese fried rice, could be a fashionable Filipino breakfast, typically served with a dish on high and a drizzle of vinegar sauce. Don’t have a abdomen for rice and garlic within the morning? No problem! This dish is additionally wonderful for lunch or as a facet for dinner.

I have few Asian recipes that are pretty pitiful for a blogger United Nations agency claims to share “the better of the most effective from round the world”. However, you’ll be happy to understand that I arrange on remedying that from currently on, beginning nowadays with this Filipino classic! So even supposing I classified this instruction during this blog’s breakfast assortment, I see it additional as a dish. I generally add some types of macromolecule, like diced chicken or cut, and it works as a full meal!

If you’re a breakfast of champions sort of girl/guy and love rice within the morning, then by all suggests that, relish your early garlic cooked rice! Simply check that to brush your teeth once or that job meeting is going to be terribly fascinating as no one can want to get about to you. ? I am captivated with their individual single-serve cups. Seriously, it doesn’t get from now on convenient than that! However wonderful it’s that you just get to customize this instruction and build some for one? (Although you ought to positively build a minimum of some for two, as a result of I guarantee you won’t resist going for seconds or thirds!)

The cups cook in exactly sixty seconds and area unit nice if you wish a transportable meal or snack. No additional blaming being busy for your habit of meal skipping! If something, you get to cook a garlic Filipino fried rice your Minute Rice Single Serve Cup, combine in your favorite ingredients and eat straight from the cup.

 

(This post has affiliate links)


 

 

Click Garlic Filipino fried rice( Sinangag) recipes !!!

 

INGREDIENTS

8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 cups Minute Rice Single Serve Cups, cooked according to instructions
1/3 cup vegetable oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 scallion, thinly sliced, for garnish
4 eggs
VINEGAR SAUCE:
1/3 cup vinegar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
1 cloves of garlic
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a large skillet, over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and golden, about 1 minutes. Remove a little bit of the garlic (1 tablespoon) and reserve.
2. Add the cooked rice and cook for about 5 to 8 minutes, breaking up any large clumps, until rice is getting crispy in some places. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving dish or individual plates.
3. In that same skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium high heat. Swirl the pan to evenly coat the surface. The pan is ready when the oil becomes shimmery and very loose. Crack each egg into a measuring cup and gently tip it into the skillet. You can crack the eggs directly into the skillet if you prefer. Cook the eggs until the whites are set and the yolks are done to your liking. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Place the eggs on top of the rice, garnish with the reserved garlic and sliced scallion and serve immediately, with the vinegar sauce on the side.

FILIPINO GARLIC FRIED RICE (SINANGAG)
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FILIPINO GARLIC FRIED RICE (SINANGAG)
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Bodrum, Turkey – 6 Things to do in Bodrum City

Bodrum, Turkey – 6 Things to do in Bodrum City

Bodrum is a seaside city in Turkey’s Bodrum Penninsula which stretches from the country’s southwest coast to the Aegean Sea.  Bodrum City features two bays with views of Bodrum Castle.

Bodrum City serves as a gateway to beach towns and resorts in the area.  The city has also become a popular port of call for some cruise ships who ply the Med and Aegean Seas.

Bodrum means sun, sea, history, and shopping.  It’s a perfect destination for everyone!

We recently spent a day in Bodrum, it was a port of call on our cruise aboard the Celebrity Reflection.  The cruise terminal is located at one end of town and is an easy walk to all the sights in the city.  And if you’re just looking to stay in the city, no worries, there’s lots to do to fill your entire day!

Here are 6 things to do in Bodrum City!

BodrumVisit the Bodrum Castle.

Also known as St. Peter’s Castle, it is  medieval fortress completed in the 4th century B.C. which was partly built with stones from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The castle is a great example of Crusader architecture.  It is built on the site of the ancient city of Halikarnassus.  The castle grounds host several towers and halls which house different exhibits.

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A must see is the Carian Princess Hall which showcases a gold crown, necklace, bracelets, rings and an exquisite wreath of golden myrtle leaves.  They belong to a woman of high status, possibly associated with Ada, the last Carian Princess.  The jewelry owner’s skeleton was found in the heavy terracotta sarcophagus on display here.

While at the castle don’t forget to walk the ramparts for awesome views.

Admission is 10TL about $6 and includes the Museum of Underwater Archaeology (Sualtı Arkeoloji Müzesi) which is housed within the castle.

Visit the Museum of Underwater Archaeology (Sualtı Arkeoloji Müzesi).

This museum is housed in the Bodrum Castle.  It is the largest museum in the world devoted to underwater archaeology.

Here you will see finds from ancient shipwrecks in the Aegean.  This museum has a fine collection of  amphoras, ancient glass, bronze, clay, and iron items.

bodrum

Most of the artifacts date from underwater expeditions by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) after 1960.  The INA excavated several wrecks, some dating back to the 14th. Century BCE.

The glass collection is a definite must see!

 

bodrumWander thru the ruins of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

If you haven’t had your fill of historic structures you can walk over the the site of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, it’s about a 13 minute walk inland from the Bodrum Castle.

The once magnificent monument tomb was built by order of King Mausolus of Caria.  It was one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World.

Unfortunately today not much remains of this ancient wonder.  It was destroyed by the earthquake of 1304 and many of its stones were used to build the Bodrum Castle.  You can wander thru the excavation and the gardens, and have a look at some of the battle scene freizes on display.

Window shop or shop at the town’s bazaar.

You can’t miss the bazaar, you pass it on your way to Bodrum Castle!  It’s filled with all sorts of things from “original fake” bags to Turkish handicrafts and souvenirs.

Before you decide to make your purchase remember to bargain!  It’s expected!

 

While you’re there try some Turkish street food.  I love Turkish Lokma, sweet fried dough balls!

Doner Kebabs are delish too!

 

 

 

Grab a meal or snack at one of the seaside restaurants.

All of them have comfy seating under an umbrella and awesome views of the castle!

And the food is amazing!

Find a table right by the beach and you can dip your feet in the water while waiting for your meal.  I did!

Stroll along the wide seafront corniche.

It’s a pretty stroll with views of the castle and the town.  There are even playgrounds along the way so stop by and let the kids play for a while.

There are many cafes and bars along the way if you want to stop and have a drink or snack.

Small fishing boats dock along the corniche.  You might catch a local fisherman fixing his nets.  Stop by and say hello, they’re very friendly!

 

There are many more things to do in and around Bodrum if you have the time.  You can spend some time walking the harbor in front of the castle, that’s where the big yachts are!

Or you can go on a boat trip along the Bodrum Penninsula for the day.  You’ll see the coastline from a different perspective and stop at some popular beaches.

If boating isn’t your thing take a day trip to one of the surrounding villages or resorts.  You can take a road trip to the ancient city of Ephesus, it’s just 2 1/2 hours away.

MSC Cruise – Never Again!

MSC Cruise – Never Again!

Last spring my family and I had the misfortune of going on an MSC Cruise, NEVER AGAIN!  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let me begin by saying that we are a family of avid cruisers.  We’ve all gone on many cruises with various cruise lines particularly Princess, Celebrity, and Royal Carribbean.  And this was NOT our first MSC Cruise, in fact it was our second.  We sailed on the MSC Lirica in Spring 2018; that was pretty bad!

So why you ask did we go yet again on another MSC cruise if the first one was so bad.  I guess the answer is price, MSC has some amazing cruise deals and most of the time kids sail free.  This is a huge deal when sailing with our daughter and son-in-law who have 2 kids and we usually take along one or two of our other grandsons.  So free cruise fare for kids staying in the same room with their parents or grandparents is a very big savings.

We also figured that due to our first bad experience on an MSC cruise our expectations were pretty low but because of the great price we could still go on MSC if only to get from port to port.  It’s definitely cheaper than flying to all those different places not to mention dragging kids and luggage, sorting out transfers to and from airports, booking hotel rooms, and finding a place to eating after a tiring day running around.  We figured as bad as an MSC cruise was it at least got us from port to port without schlepping luggage, provided a reasonably clean room to sleep in, and fed us after a long day at port, even if the only thing we found palatable was the pizza.  In short we were prepared to use the cruise sort of like a bus/hotel.  Sounded like a great idea at one time; but after this past experience I wouldn’t take an MSC cruise even if they gave it to me for free!  Yes it was that bad!

We sailed on the MSC Meraviglia on a 7 day round trip cruise from Rome’s port in Civittavechia.  At first glance w thought Wow!  This ship is amazing!  And it was!  the Meraviglia is one of MSC’s newest cruise ships that features state of the art technology, an amazing play area and pool for kids and adults, Cirque de Soleil shows, a chocolate shop, an awesome arcade complete with 3D simulators and F1 Racers, and first of it’s kind on sea digital display ceiling!

And that was where the Wow factor ended.  Everything else was mediocre at best and terrible most of the time.

The food was mediocre at best, the buffet served the same thing pretty much the whole 7 days.  Breakfast had bland made to order omelets (assuming you could fight the hoards and actually order one), runny tasteless scrambled eggs, under cooked bacon swimming in fatty oil, and only sunny side up fried eggs.  The best thing at breakfast was the croissants and other pastries at the bakery section.  Lunch pretty much consisted of pasta, pizza, and some type of ethic food like paella one day which everyone fought to get to.  And dinner was a rehash of the same things.

 

The buffet layout was weird to say the least, it had a narrow aisle which everyone squeezed thru and blind corners where the ethnic foods were so that one pretty much had to claw one’s  way to.  And as huge as the buffet area was there were never ever enough tables and that’s because service was so bad.  Buffet staff took their time clearing off tables during the meal rushes.  Yup there were tables but you pretty much had to clear the plates yourself or find personnel willing to do so.  Of course if you were Italian you got much better service than guests of other nationalities, it is after all an Italian company.

Now I talked about service, actually I should say the terrible service.  Again we noticed if one was Italian it seemed they got better service than the rest of us.  The bad service was every where, in any dining venue except possibly the main dining room because you did get to know your waitstaff if you had fixed dinner seating.  If you didn’t have fixed dinner seating all I can say is good luck finding someone to help you make reservations and find your table.

Bad service abounded from every bar and cafe on board, to the shops, to the specialty restaurants whose menus and packages were out right confusing and the pricing highway robbery!  Even the customer service desk and the shore excursion desk had very bad customer service.  If you complained (we complained daily because our neighbors in the next cabin would pound on the walls, run down the hallway, and scream and yell every night between 2:30 to 4:30 am!)  it was never dealt with.  In fact we were never believed, because it seems they decided that I loved getting up every night at 2:30 am to call customer service to tell them my neighbor was knocking on the door.  And then there was the time those same neighbors spent an afternoon on their balcony while we were docked in Barcelona tossing bread at the seagulls.  Yup everyone just loves to have frantic seagulls dive bombing their balcony as the birds fight for the bread.  Of course customer service didn’t believe us.  Did I mention our neighbors were Italian?

And the shore excursions!  They sold us round trip shuttle bus tickets to Marseilles, unfortunately they didn’t tell any of us, there were fellow passengers with us at the shuttle stop, that there would be no MSC shore excursion staff to help you at the shuttle stop in the heart of Marseilles, and that the buses don’t stop to pick up returning passengers at the shuttle stop if they don’t feel like it and they don’t follow the posted schedule unless they want to.  So yes we all appreciated waiting almost an hour for a return bus that was scheduled to pick up every 15-30 minutes.  We especially loved the fact that it as very cold and raining while we watched the buses pass by without stopping to pick us up.  It was a great experience for the infants and toddlers that were there too.

Of course those of us who had to wait at the bus stop marched over to the shore excursion desk to complain.  In a nutshell we were told that there was supposed to be MSC staff at the bus stop but he’d have to check out why they weren’t there (could it be because it was cold and raining?), and that the shuttle bus was contracted to a local company by MSC and therefore MSC has no control over what they do.  Really?

Ok all this was pretty bad and we had already decided this would be our last MSC cruise, the free cruise fare for the kids just wasn’t worth the aggravation of everything they put us thru.  But the final straw came on the last day after we disembarked from the ship.  We were already on the train to Rome when I handed my grandson Devon what I though were his new airpods which I had found the night before on his pillow.  At that time I thought how nice, the cabin attendant (I don’t know who it was because said person never introduced his or herself and I saw several different people cleaning our room during the cruise) kindly placed the airpods and the case on the pillow so that we wouldn’t forget them.  I put them in my purse for safekeeping.  (mind you Devon wasn’t allowed to remove the airpods from the room.  He only used them while in our room to avoid loosing them.)

So on the train I gave them to him to use during the ride.  He immediately told me that someone had switched his airpods for a broken pair.  And sure enough they had been switched.  How do we know?  Well his new pair were in excellent condition and paired to his iphone as Devon’s Airpods, the pair that I had thought were his popped up on his iphone as John’s Airpods; Devon’s Airpods were not on the train with us.  Not to mention there are no Johns in our family and John’s airpods would not charge up.  So I can only deduce that one of the people servicing our cabin was a thief and switched the airpods for  his broken pair.

As many cruises as we’ve been on, well over 30, we have never had anything stolen from us.  Bad enough to steal but even worse when you’re stealing from a child!

This was the final straw I will NEVER sail on an MSC Cruise EVER AGAIN!

All I can say is that if you do sail with MSC keep your valuables locked up and your expectations very low!