Thursday, May 31, 2012

First Days at Sea & Bahamas Re-cap

We boarded our plane and landed in Orlando Florida. 
From the airport, we had to catch a shuttle to our hotel...
there were 15 of us and it was an 11 passenger van.
It was a tad cramped, but we made it!
Once we got to our hotel, we freshened up and got ready to spend the evening with 
a good childhood friend of Joe's, Mike.
I was trying to surprise him, but I can't keep secrets from him very well.
He knew we were going to meet up with Mike and his fiancee Stevie,
however, Mike had no idea! So when he pulled up into our hotel parking lot, we jumped out
in front of his truck and started hooting and hollering.
He was super shocked and pretty excited to see us!
We went over to City Walk at Universal studios and walked around for a bit.
We're such dorks.

We ended up having dinner at Emerill's and it was very good.
My dinner had peppers in it, and on one of the peppers was a sticker, 
that should have been removed when it was washed...
They quickly apologized and comped my dinner and dessert. 
Sweet!

We stopped at a few bars and one had karaoke.
It was actually quite impressive!
One guy sang Marvin Gaye and he was awesome!
The next morning we had breakfast and headed out on another shuttle ride to the Port.
 Seeeesster's getting married!!
Once we got onto the boat we checked out our cool balcony room.
And before long, I lost my husband to the game of Black Jack in the casino.
We all gathered at dinner for the first night and I will be honest.
The food on Carnival was not as good as I had on Royal Caribbean.
The desserts were decent, but the actual meals, ehhhh, not so much.
Everyone loved the chocolate melting cake and it was on the menu every night!

Boyz
Each night these two guys came around and tried to sell some "shot"
{for $8.50}
and I guess it was like a mixed drink, in a shot glass you got to keep.
 It was cool how they froze different fruit around the liquor and poured.
 Cheers!
Our waiter Francis sang "happy wedding/honeymoon to you"
the first night...to the tune of Happy Birthday.
We then got him to sing happy birthday, every night thereafter.
If you've ever heard my husband sing, it's quite loud, embarrassing, and funny!

The very next day we woke up pulling into the port at Nassau, Bahamas!
 So peaceful!
We quickly got off the ship, since we were only in port from 7-1:30
We shopped briefly and found a gorgeous painting for our house,
and made our way to the beach where over 4 years ago we fell more in love.
 I have this same picture from back then too!
 Delicious mango smoothies in that hut!!
 Such a perfect, sunny, beachy, day!

 By 2:00 we were back on the boat.
It started raining a bit and a little overcast, so it was perfect timing.
That night was the Captain's dinner, so we all got dressed up.
My step brother makes the funniest faces bahaha
 We were the three amigos on this cruise!
 Mr & Mrs all dolled up.
 Our gang at the comedy show.
 I love his blue tie with his baby blues!!
 After the comedy club, we hit up the casino...
and then the club!
My step-mom partied til they kicked her out of the club!!
She's a riot.
 Being silly.
 Love you boo!
 My sister and her friend were in bed sleeping...
but we had fun!
We slept in the next day, since we were up til 3 or so.
We spent the day at sea and got a couples massage/I actually got a facial.
The rocking of the boat and the serenity of the spa put us in great moods.
Tomorrow I'll re-cap the night before & the wedding!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Home Sweet Home

I'm baaaaaaaaack!!
I don't even know where to start....
with my blog or my house!! 
I will say, our cruise for my sister's wedding on St. Thomas was
something that I will never forget.
I wished we had more island time and less boat time,
but all in all, it was nice to get away and not cook or clean for a week!
There was more than enough drama from time to time, and I could have done without that.
Some people need to wake up and smell the roses!
Life is too short and too much time can be easily wasted.
I feel like I could write a book now!
I didn't have my phone with my 24/7 and that was fantastic too.
It's good to unplug, unwind and allow ourselves to be unattached from 
technology and all of the social media there is.
It's still all here when I got back!
Although, I certainly missed all of you bloggy friends!!
It was always nice that Joe did not have to go back to work right away,
and we had a nice and relaxing Memorial Day.
We grilled chicken wings, ate pasta salad and baked beans
and I'm anxiously awaiting our dessert:
Strawberry Shortcake.
It is in the 90s here today; it's as if we didn't leave the tropics!!
The doggies missed us terribly, but seemed to be in 
great shape when I picked them up from the kennel.
I think they lost a pound or two, but most likely they didn't 
get as many treats as they do from me as I cook all day long!
As for my sister's wedding day?
It was beautiful.
I haven't uploaded any of our camera pictures yet.
This one is from a cell phone but you get the idea!
This was our view from our balcony room...
 I think I finally got rid of the 'rocking feeling'.
I still felt like I was moving up until today!
I hope you're all doing well and cannot wait to catch up with all of you.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Have Passport, Will Travel

If you've been here awhile, you may notice we Delle Faves love to travel!
{I still have several trips to still blog about...oops}
When we travel, I try to stay as organized as possible!
We usually go through our one travel agent at Liberty Travel,
and she always hands us a little red leather folder which holds all of our key papers.
This time is a bit different, and we didn't have to do anything other than fork over money....
It's a weird feeling!
I am really looking forward to seeing how well twenty-something of us
board a plane, stay at a hotel, climb aboard a cruise ship, island hop on 3 different islands,
and safely return on a flight home a week later.
I'm sure we will manage, but it's the largest group I've ever traveled with!
I have been doing a lot of self-talk and deep breathing, as you see...
I'm the type of person who worries about everyone else.
I don't know if it's the big sister, future mother instinct, or teacher in me...
I can easily get so wrapped up worrying about how everyone else is doing,
I will find myself not having a good time and stressing out my husband.
He has so kindly pointed out this flaw, and I have worked to better myself.
If someone doesn't have a good time this vacation, I vow to not worry about it!
I have one job:
Don't worry about a thing!!

If I'm happy then hubs will be happy and honestly, in all the meddling I've done in the past,
trying to make others have a good time, or trying to fix things wrong for them, I just waste my energy.
We are all adults and I'm sure something will go awry; it's a destination wedding.
We are relying on mother nature to allow us to get to St. Thomas.
We are hoping that we dock there and have enough time for everything.
There are twenty something of us all going, 
something is bound to happen.
Oh well!
So, some may think it's selfish, but really, when I look back on this vacation,
either I can say, wow I had a great time, or aw man I wish I hadn't gotten so upset about...
Who  knows, this may be the last vacation hubs and I get sans kids.
What I have also learned, is what should go into a carry on bag.
Carry On Essentials:
  • snacks {granola bars, crackers, dried fruits, pb&j sammies, nuts--as long as you're not international}
  • reading material: books & magazines
  • iPad-with a movie or two downloaded for viewing
  • headphones to listen to movie
  • lifesavers, mint & fruity
  • Gum for ear popping annoyances 
  • IN CASE THEY LOSE YOUR LUGGAGE, HAVE THESE ON HAND:
  • medicines/vitamins
  • a change of clothes: shirt, underwear, shorts/jeans, socks 
  • some makeup
  • anything else you cannot live without that is allowed to be on board
We have also realized that they never weigh your carry on, so load that baby up!
If you have a weight limit on your suitcase, try and pack an extra bag for the way home, so that if you
do buy some goodies, you can easily tote them home and have hubs carry on a bag.
You're allowed a purse & a carry on, so if hubs has a backpack, I say that's like a purse,
so he can still carry one more bag woot woot!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

And Sometimes....

You have to smile because something wonderful is about to happen.
You have to take the good with the bad.
...and sometimes...
You don't always get what you want, when you want it;
but if you want it badly enough, your time will come.
Your family may not always treat you well;
they're still your family.
...and sometimes..
People may pleasantly surprise you,
and others may terribly disappoint.
You may just be too hard on yourself,
and deserve more credit than you take.
...and sometimes...
Life takes you down a road less traveled.
You may be scared at first, but it's okay.
The sun will shine,
the rain will fall.
...and sometimes...
You'll question why.
Stay positive and full of hope,
and never fall from grace.
Good things come to those who wait,
it just takes time 
to
create.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Going Natural & Bloom-ing

Well, hello Monday!
The weekends just fly by it seems.
The weather has finally warmed up {again} and took full advantage of it!
I love having our back deck sliding glass doors wide open, so the doggies can come in and out.
They seem to love it too!
I have made some healthier choices by not going to the tanning salon, and
am just trying to get some good ol' fashioned Vitamin D from the au natural sun!
I've also ripped off my acrylic nails after 4 years...
and decided it's time to switch to just plain old polish. 
owie brittle nails anyone?
I gave up my allergy medicine, Zyrtec, and have been dealing with extreme 
itchiness on my hands and feet. It comes and goes, but it is so annoying!
It's not from allergies, I believe my body is so used to taking this awful medicine,
it's now freaking out trying to figure out what to do without it.
Kind of like when you go off birth control or any other medicine you've taken for a long time.
It's not natural and you body needs to adjust and figure out how to function without it again.
The more I read and think about it, I really despise medicines and prescriptions.
I know that there is a time and place, but should a person really need to take an allergy pill every single day for 4  years straight? Only to try and stop taking it, and breakout in horrible itching fits?
Just google zyrtec + stopping + itching. 
I'm not crazy and I'm not the only one! 
This should be on the label: 
Warning, stopping medication can cause insane itching!!
I can deal with the occasional stuffy/runny nose and sneezing.
I have been trying to add some local honey into my diet and that seems to lessen the sneezes.
I also have this cruise coming up and I tend to get a little sea sick...
I stocked up on some ginger candies and have the Sea Bands for my wrists...
I will definitely pack the Bonine in case I am in dire need, but I'm trying to be more natural!
Speaking of, we are officially booked, logged in, and all we have to do is board a plane to Florida, stay over night in Orlando, and hop onto our big boat the next day!!
Ready or not, my lil sister is getting married!!
Our itinerary:
Bahamas
Day at Sea
St. Thomas **Wedding**
St. Martin {my favorite island!!}
Day at Sea
Day at Sea
I cannot wait to relax and unwind with my crazy family.
It's seriously going to be like Griswald Family Vacation!!
I also finally caught up on some very much needed reading...
Now, I know I'm a tad over emotional as it is,
but the way Kelle Hampton writes is just absolutely beautiful.
 You really feel like you're in the room with her as she's describing all of the events.
If you're not familiar with her story, you should start with her blog.
It's where the book was born.
She is just like you and I fellow bloggers!
A big heart, full of life, looking to learn and love all things about this crazy life.
The love she feels for her husband,
her step-sons,
her daughters...
It's all so moving and is one of those books, you'll want to fold the corners of the pages over,
so you can go back and re-read parts to teach yourself,
what really matters most in life.
I love how raw, honest, and real she is.
And one of the best parts?
She still blogs!
So unlike most stories that end, and you always wonder, what's going on now?
Well, just head on over to her blog and follow her beautiful life story.
If you cannot tell, it moved me in more ways than one, and for that, I am grateful.
I hope you all had a lovely Mother's Day!
I enjoyed my furbabies with extra kisses last night...
 my girls

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Recipe

I knew better than to start playing on Pinterest again....
but sometimes, you just cannot help it!
One thing leads to another, and bam...
I find myself baking something incredibly gooey 
and not-so-good for me!!
I didn't have this particular recipe pinned, but
I googled what I had in the cupboards & what I was in the mood for.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies
I adapted the recipe from here
and hubby and I are so happy that I did!

BROWNIE
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (powder)
  • 4 ounces chocolate chips/leftover Hershey bars
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large organic eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
PEANUT BUTTER FILLING
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter (all we had is crunchy, it worked!)
  • large pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
TOPPING
  • 1/2 cup pretzels, slightly crushed (I only put them on half, otherwise 1 cup)
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F.  Grease an 8×8-inch baking pan. 
Melt butter, unsweetened chocolate, & milk chocolate in a heat proof bowl setting over a pot of slowly simmering water {double boiler}
Once it's melted & stirred, remove it from the heat and let it cool a little bit.
Add the vanilla extract.
In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt.
 Whisk granulated sugar into the chocolate and butter mixture.  
Make sure the chocolate mixture isn’t too hot and add the eggs in the mixture one at a time.  
Fold in the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture and spoon into prepared pan.
 In another small bowl, combine the peanut butter, powdered sugar, melted butter, and vanilla extract.
Spread the peanut butter filling over the brownie batter and swirl it around with a knife.  
Top with pretzels.
I wasn't sure if hubs would like the pretzel, so I left half without.
 Bake for 40-50minutes.
Mine came out kind of thick and definitely took a bit more time than the recipe called for.
I just checked the middle with a toothpick and when it came out clean, it was done.
I may or may not have had some for breakfast one morning...
At least I added some fruit.
Judge away.
It was delish.
Any other chocolate recipes I need to duplicate?
Please share!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Rando Pins!!



Counting.
Down.
The.
Days.
Til.
Our.
Caribbean.
Cruise.
I don't really have much more to say than that!
Here are a few pins for this lovely
Wednesday.
Source: hautelook.com via Jenn on Pinterest

Nom Noms

~On a Sweet Potato Kick~
Source: dlynz.com via Jenn on Pinterest

I know that I'm repeating myself, but I am so ready!
Source: etsy.com via Jenn on Pinterest