Belize, the Beach and the Barrier Reef

Belize - Island

Of all the stops along our cruise, my favorite was Belize. We took a catamaran out to the Belize Barrier Reef, where we boarded a half submersible boat and viewed the sea life of  one of the largest reefs in the world. After the tour, we were transported to a tiny private island where J+J, still exhausted from the previous day’s beach excursion, were content to lounge in the shade and play Angry Birds.

belize - tour of barrier reef

belize - tour of barrier reef

belize - barrier reef

Belize barrier reef tour

belize

belize

belize

belize

belize-island

belize

belize tour

My Favorite Vacation Photos: At The Beach

honduras - beach

My favorite photos from our recent vacation were definitely those taken at the beach in Roatan, Honduras. It was Jason and Jenna’s first trip to the beach and seeing the sheer joy on their faces as they jumped in the waves and played in the sand was pretty awesome. Jenna didn’t even mind the 200 or so photos I snapped of her. Ok, I may have gone a little overboard on the photos … but can you blame me?

honduras - beach

honduras - beach

honduras - beach

honduras - beach

honduras - beach

honduras - beach

honduras - beach

honduras - beach

A Few Scenes from Our Cruise

cruise - the sea

We returned from a week-long vacation yesterday, and I spent the day transitioning back to reality … which mostly means doing laundry and catching up on work. This trip was Jason and Jenna’s first time visiting the beach, something I’ve looked forward to for years. And while any family vacation has its share of stressful moments (like the time Jason got into the pool and started screaming that his legs were on fire, or the time I went in search of my husband and son with the fear that they had been quarantined due to illness, or the time Jason asked – in a crowded elevator – if this was the deck he threw up on), overall it was a trip full of wonderful memories. My favorite moments were definitely seeing J+J play on the beach, and I’m having the best time today going through the photos and seeing their excited faces as they splash in the waves. I’ll share some of the beach pics later this week, but in the meantime, here are my favorite photos taken on the ship, Mariner of the Seas.

cruise - ship windows

cruise

cruise - window

cruise - windows

Minimalist Vacation Packing

We’re heading out on vacation soon, and I have to admit, I love packing. I’m a minimalist at heart, so the exercise of coordinating great outfits while taking the least amount of clothes is a fun challenge. This year, we’re going on a cruise and will be stopping at a few beaches along the way. Sounds easy, right? A swimsuit and sandals should do the trick, but … there are also formal dinners and the ever-present chance of rain in the Caribbean. So, in my usual minimalist way, I’m sticking with mostly neutrals in white, gold and navy. Here is my minimal packing wish list:

cruise packing wish list

Sources: Hat / Emergency Kit / Tote / Swimsuit / Kaftan / Jacket / Sandals / Passport Cover / Scarf / Swim Cover-up

Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette

This week’s photo challenge theme is Silhouette, so I thought I would share a couple of pictures from our trip to Disneyland last year. We stayed at the Grand Californian and had an amazing view of the nightly World of Color show at Disney California Adventure. The show makes for some pretty dramatic silhouettes:

I Heart: Paris Blogs

Over the past few weeks, planning for our Paris trip seems to have fallen to the bottom of my to-do list. But with only a couple of weeks before our vacation, I’m finally starting to knock a few things off the list. I ordered our museum passes and our metro passes and now I’m turning my attention to the fun stuff, which mostly falls into the categories of food, shopping and photography. In planning our last trip to the city of lights, we relied almost exclusively on travel guide books to come up with our list of where to go, what to see. This time around, I’ve turned my attention to the blogland, and I’ve definitely found some wonderful resources. I’m especially drawn to sites that capture amazing details of the city (Little Brown Pen), those featuring gorgeous food (Lost in Cheeseland) and those with vegetarian restaurant recommendations (Paris by Mouth).

Here are my top five so far:

Snack Bags

J+J will eat nearly anything if it’s packaged properly. They especially love eating out of bags. Earlier this week, I gave Jason a small Ziploc bag full of mixed vegetables as a snack, and he started munching away, barely noticing the contents. Snack in a bag? Thanks, mom!

This summer, I’m stocking up on small, enticing packages to house healthy snacks, especially snacks on the go.We’re headed to Disneyworld for vacation soon, and while I’m sure we’ll indulge in our fair share of Tigger Tails (think marshmallows, caramel and chocolate on a stick), I also like the idea of toting around a few of their healthier favorites in convenient packaging. And, yes, I’m totally stealing the idea of decorating snack bags with Disney stamps and stickers.

Sources (left to right): Our own snacks in personalized Ziploc Snack-Size Bags, Polka Dot Nut Bowl, Fuschia Treat Bags, Kraft Paper Pillow Boxes, Tinkerbell Lunch Bags, Pink Stripe Treat Bags, Tiny Pillow BoxesResealable Cello Bags

Paris

Today my husband and I are heading out on our Paris vacation sans kids. While I’m looking forward to our time alone, I’m also excited about what sorts of things I’ll bring back to share with Jason and Jenna. In addition to a dress for Jenna and something robot or space themed for Jason, I’ll probably return with lots of postcards, papers and print ephemera that we can adapt into all sorts of crafty things. I also plan to return with tons of photos illustrating our adventure. And one of the spots I’m most looking forward to snapping lots of pics is Montmartre – not only because it’s the site of one of my favorite childhood films (Le Ballon Rouge), but also because it sits high on a hill and provides a great view of the city below.