Thursday, January 16, 2020

Happy 2020

Happy New Years!!!

It is customary for me to go to my sisters house to spend New Years with her family! 


It won't be long until the kid's want to go spend it with their friends so I am in until the time comes when it is just my sister and her husband - at that time I will leave them alone to have a romantic New Year's! HA HA!

It must look like a lot of fun when I post every year because my brother in law's mother decided to come join us this year. I was off my game again for this holiday and hardly took any pictures. I will never let this happen again.

Throughout the evening we decorated gingerbread houses and painted a nativity set.

We drank non-alcoholic bubbly with frozen grapes and had silly string fights in the front yard.

Then at midnight...

  1. we ran outside and beat on pots and pans
  2. shot off a popper in the front yard
  3. screamed Happy New Year
  4. ate a bite of lucky Pittsburgh pretzel
  5. shook our change in our pockets
  6. jumped a chair. 
It is bound to be a good year!!!!

Here are the few pictures I took...







HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

No resolutions here!!!

Did you enjoy New Years? Do you stay in or go out? Do you make resolutions? If yes, are you still doing it?


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Christmas 2019

Christmas was a whirl!!

I had returned from my "end of the year" vacation with my Mother on December 21st and began Christmas prep.


We all drive to Ohio to stay at my parents house to be together for the holidays and luckily everyone was able to come this year with the exception of my oldest niece Jordan.  She has just taken a new nursing job so she is at the bottom of the pack when it comes to holidays off because, as we all know, nurses work EVERYDAY. But she is happy in her life and we all definitely missed her so very much!

So here are a few pictures to share with you. We exchange gifts and chill out together a lot. We also play a lot of fun games and eat a lot! I did not get that many pictures this year as I concentrated on enjoying the time with my family. 

So here we go...

My parents have a hot tub in their basement so the kids all enjoyed hanging out in there every night...here is their silly face picture...





And normal face...LOVE those faces!!!


Here are all my nieces and nephews together at the tree...minus Jordan though.


And then we added my parents to the shot. I wish we had gotten one with everyone but next year I will be sure to bring my tripod!


Here is the ring toss game we played off and on the whole holiday! HA HA!


My sister showed us this game...you compete to use a balloon to shoot cups off the table to winner played the other winners until one person got their choice of a gift card. Needless to say, it got REALLY competitive and more than a few tears we shed...I think it was the gift cards - everyone saw money! HA! This is Poppy (my Dad) and Matthew (my nephew)


Competition continued...Kyleigh (my niece) and Dan (My brother in law)


Susan and Kerry (both my sisters)


And Memaw (My Mom) and Poppy (my Dad)...


It was a fantastic Christmas holiday and it was so wonderful to spend time together as a family! I love them all more than I can ever say! 

PS - AGAIN - we missed you JoJo! 

How was your Christmas?? Do you play games? Do you spend multiple days together or just drop by houses and head home? Hugs to you all - thanks for stopping by and caring!


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Royal Caribbean - Horrible Cruise Recap

Okay - for today's post I am going to do my best to explain why I HATED my cruise I just returned from in December 2019.

I went on the 6 night/5 day Western Caribbean Cruise that left Fort Lauderdale, FL and went to Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, and Cozumel through Royal Caribbean.

I splurged and got a balcony room for Mom and myself so we would be sure to have a serene place to just watch the water and read in peace if needed. Plus, I love watching and hearing the ocean! I thought this was going to be an amazing vacation!

I wanted to try a cruise because I figured once we spent that money up front; the rest of trip would fall in place and all food, recreation, lodging and beverage is paid up front. I selected the option to pay gratuities up front also so that charge was paid ahead too - I did not want to have to worry about any additional charges.

Not even a week passed after we booked the cruise and I got an email from Royal Caribbean asking if I wanted to pay an extra $30 EACH/per person/per day for wifi (So extra $210 per person). Then I got another email asking if I wanted to pay an additional $50 EACH/per person/per day for unlimited dining options (So extra $350 per person). Then another asking if I wanted to pay and additional $50 EACH/per person/per day for unlimited drink options (So extra $350 per person). I then came to find out that EVERYTHING is extra! Crazy!!!!

We flew into Fort Lauderdale and I was still super excited for the trip. I was cherishing spending that time alone with my mother. The night in the hotel in Fort Lauderdale was wonderful - great breakfast and spent a little time at the pool in the Hilton Fort Lauderdale before we headed off to the boat. Here is the view from the pool!



Then ...I learned how to use Uber. That was a bright spot in the vacation - Uber is great! It is so easy to get a ride and make sure you are in your correct ride and we used it from the hotel to get to the boat.  It is really convenient and cheap!!!

Then the horror really began....

We went to the boat...we were herded like cattle through rows and rows of security checks, etc. to get onto the boat. They separated us from our luggage and we found out we would get it back later that evening after we set sail...what they did not say was that you could opt to keep your luggage with you and take it on the boat yourself (apparently frequent cruisers know this). Note: my luggage never made it to the room until 8PM that night?!?!?! UGH?!?!?! 

Once on the boat - you have a life jacket muster station drill. Everyone is to go to their assigned muster station...ours was on the deck, in the sun. We went right away (I in my sweats as my luggage had not arrived at my room) to our station but we all had to wait until EVERY PERSON arrived...some people showed up 20 mins late!!! WHAT!?!?! Yes, we all stood at our stations until all the "better than thou" people finally showed up to join us (funny thing: if it was the real thing they would have been shoving their way there first!!!!) UGH!

The first night we sat on the upper deck to watch the Steelers game. Here are the photos from that...


 

The entitlement continued everyday on the boat! Families would get towels and use them to save chairs near the pool and then never show up to use the chairs. Or they would save six seats together and there was only ever two people laying there! This was ALL DAY every day! Dads would shove you out of the buffet line to get the family in there first!! You would think these people never ate! Honestly - all you do is eat...ugh!

So onto the issue with more charges. Every activity on the boat had a fee too! With the exception of the nightly shows - they were free and they were actually good. It was crazy!!! We had some icky weather so we decided to check out Bingo. We paid $60 to play bingo on the ship and they only did three games...seriously, three games!!!! I play at home and it is 16 games for $15. RIP OFF!!! My Mom did beer tasting only to find out at the end that there was a $25 fee for that too! The only free activity was napkin folding - I kid you not!!!! CRAZINESS!!!

The ports were a whole disappointment in and among themselves! We got off the ship at the first port to shop...every store had the same things! Very touristy and too many people begging you to come and ship in their store - we got back on the boat. 

I decided to check out reviews for the next port, Costa Maya. We were docking at Costa Maya and I found out that if you leave the cruise ship area and take a taxi to a public beach (Mahahual) you can escape the crowds. So, we took 20 minutes just to figure out how to leave the cruise ship area and get a taxi. I asked the taxi driver to take us to Mahahual Beach and he convinced me to go to a "better" place where for $15 we would have a chair and umbrella. I should have listened to my guy but we opted to go with his suggestion. We ended up at a tourist trap. The cab dropped us off and the men led us to a little, crowded beach and lounge chair. we no sooner sat down and had someone come by "Beautiful lady, you want to buy cigars?" then "Beautiful lady, you want a massage?" then another person "Beautiful lady, you want a wind chime?" then "Beautiful lady, you want a dress?". I did you not; it was constant. I left the chair thinking I would go in the water to escape the sellers and as soon as I walked into the sea...the man standing next to me shot a snot rocket out of the left side of his nose into the water. I never left the ocean more quickly! SICK AND DISGUSTING!!! UGH!!!! When I got back to my chair the disappointment hit and I just started crying....like balling...I could not stop. My Mom felt bad and kept saying "it is not that bad" but she hated it too. We stayed another 10 minutes and then paid for a cab back to the boat.

The last port, Cozumel, we did not even attempt to get off the boat. We left Cozumel port on Thursday Dec 19th to start back to Fort Lauderdale and then next day at Cozumel is when that accident happened where the two Carnival ships collided. It is weird because we kept saying it was shocking that they don't hit more often because the ships are soooo close when they are pulling in...it really felt like we were going to hit another boat many times when we watched from our balcony. Here is when we docked in Cozumel right across from another ship...we watched people get out of bed...HA HA! Look how close we are on this dock!!! HA



Okay - my last cruise disappointment...the BALCONY! I was super excited to have the balcony to escape the entitled crowds. I could read in peace and not have to worry about anyone ever taking my chair. Well, I was sitting out there on Day 2 while we were sailing and all of the sudden cigarette smoke was wafting over to my balcony-lots of cigarette smoke. and then marijuana smoke!!! UGH!!! I was so pissed! First of all, it is illegal and second of all, I do not want to smell pot - it is a big pet peeve of mine since my last boyfriend!!! So, I called guest assistance and they said they would address it with the guest. Not sure what happened but for the next four days - I smelled both pot and cigarettes EVERY time I went on my patio. So I called everyday to report them. They just kept saying it was being addressed. The only thing they did was on the last day offer me and my Mom $150 off our next cruise. I started laughing and said that there would not be another cruise ever. She then extended the offer for two years so I would have time to think about it. 

No chance I will EVER take another cruise - EVER!!!! 

In closing, I will leave you with a few pictures from our balcony...




The few bright spots of the trip...
  1. spent great time with my Mom (when I was not crying) LOL
  2. learned to use Uber which is awesome
  3. enjoyed a few smokeless hours on my balcony here and there 

So, that is my Cruise trip summary. I honestly only took like ten pictures the entire trip!!! 

Crazy for me!!! Anyway, back to Aruba next year!

Ever been on  a cruise? What is your favorite destination for vacation? Do you Uber?


Monday, January 13, 2020

Where Have I Been?

Wow guys!!! It has been a hot minute since I posted or even read blogs.

I had a little holiday melt down and needed a break. 

I had every intention to blog each day of the cruise I took in mid-December but that ended up being a hot mess!!! I hated every second of it! UGH! That will be a whole post but I am sure you would not have liked to hear me griping and crying every day! It was that awful!!! UGH again!

Then I got home and Christmas hit like a ton of bricks. I was driving all over and trying to get things in order and then same issue for New Years. 

After New Years, I got sick...yes, I got that horrible hacking cough for the next two weeks! It was the sickest I have felt in a LONG time!!!!

So here we are...back to work to finish out a few months before my site closes and I have to look for a new job. Fingers crossed that goes well when the time comes...

Also, I have started back to exercise! I re-joined barre classes near work and I am AGAIN obsessed!!!

So, today let me tell you how important I think it is to have supportive and motivational people around me.... 

I was attending barre at a studio about 6 years ago and I LOVED it!! I could not wait to go everyday!! Everyone was super supportive of each other and it was a bunch of women encouraging each other daily! Then the studio was purchased by two young women that turned it into a catty, awful place. I can not explain everything but the whole dynamic of the studio changed. If you were not part of their group then you were just money coming in the door and you were not treated like the "friends". I hit my 250 classes and no one even remembered. They are supposed to make a big deal out of it and they did not AT ALL. But, when their "friends" hit 250 you woudl have thought the Pope was attending class! HA HA! Anyway. I was paying WAY too much money to feel like I was second best.

So, fast forward to this year! A new studio was opening in Robinson Township near my work so I re-joined! I LOVE it again! YAY!!!! I am attending two classes each day if I can. This morning I did the 5:30AM Empower and then the 6:30 Classic. Then to Starbucks for my free January coffee and to work.

If you all have never heard of this cup I will let you in on the secret! 



Every year for Christmas my sister gets me this mug from Starbucks. 

In December, Starbucks sells their January Refill mug for $40. You can use it yourself of gift it. The owner gets an awesome metal travel mug and one free brewed coffee or tea refill everyday!!!! EVERYDAY FREE!!! It is amazing if you drink plain coffee or tea! I love mine and get my free cup everyday! SCORE! My sister rocks!!!!

Also, just an update for those that follow my blog...

The dog owners still habe their dog!!! We (the Condo Board) have sent two fines (each for 4500) and they are not abiding by the rules and getting rid of the dog so we are now waiting to hear from the lawyers. UGH UGH UGH!!!!! Hopefully they wil give us direction on what to do next.

Okay, well, I apologize for the quick disappearing act but I promise I am back. Now, I am off to find out what all of you have been up to. I have missed you ALL!!!!

HUGS!!



Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Thanksgiving 2019

Again this year I went to my sister house in Harrisburg for Thanksgiving! As always, the entire family came with the exception of two people...

My brother was in Japan for work (his wife still came though and brought the kids)
and my niece Jessica was in Texas (her boyfriend was to be deployed to Poland on Dec 9th and they wanted to spend time together before he left). Now, after the fact, we have also learned that they had decided to be married at the Justice of the Peace and no one knew. So, there is that...as long as she is happy - I am happy!

So, as you can imagine - minus only two - it was an awesome time spent with family, counting our blessings and doing the ritual two days of Christmas cookie baking!

This is a very picture heavy post so get prepared...LOL!!!

This is our first Thanksgiving dinner at my sisters house. This is her husbands family on Thanksgiving day.

 

We had our side of the families Thanksgiving the day after Thanksgiving. I made everyone a turkey as a place setting marker with their initials. I saw the idea from an old friend of mines Facebook! Super cute, right?!?!
 
The morning after Thanksgiving. my sister had a Pop Up in Athleta for Barre. She is opening a Barre studio in Harrisburg if you are interested!!!
 
 
And then the baking fun begins...here is shift one...both of my sisters, my mom and dad and my little sisters kids...
 
Here are the aprons we wear- they have been going strong for many years now!!!
 
Action shots...we have two ovens going and three mixers at a time...
 
It was great to have my sisters kids help this year! Usually they unwrap candy for us but this year they were a huge help and did EVERYTHING!
 
More action shots...that tablecloth on the floor helps a tiny bit with spills, LOL!
 
 Ball rolling...
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
These older kids got up a little later than any of us - they are in college so they can really sleep!!! This is my nephew Matthew and his girlfriend Lidia. Once they ate breakfast; they joined in a little too.
 
 Sister Susan cutting cherries...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We recruited these cuties as soon as they arrived on Friday!!!
 
 
 
 
 
Gross but a necessary step...ball rolling...
 
 
 
This is my sisters husband...as you can see he is not into Cookie baking with us....LOL!
 
 
So this is the finished table! In the end ...this year we made 195 dozen, 19 varieties for a total of 2342 cookies!
 
The kids started a game and wanted to finish later in the night but this wonderful kitty Max (my niece Jessica's cat) had other plans! LOL!!!!
 
Here is my cookie storage at home! I do not have room in my refrigerator for my share of the cookies so they are in a tub outside on my patio! Thank goodness I am on the second floor...do not want to attract bears!!!
 
Love this picture!!! Everyone was ready for a chill night after cookie baking was completed!

I truly hope you all had a Thanksgiving as blessed as mine! HUGS!

Will you please share with me your Thanksgiving memories from this year!!??!?!?!


Happy 2020

Happy New Years!!! It is customary for me to go to my sisters house to spend New Years with her family!  It won't be long until the k...