Once we got to the city, the bus pulled off near a square where we could hop off and get some pictures of the Eiffel Tower. It was pretty cloudy and a little drizzly but that didn't stop us.
On a recent cruise with my Hubby, we had the opportunity to have ten great "Just a Day"s. It was a 12 day British Isles Cruise where we visited 10 different ports in England, Ireland, Scotland, and France. This post will cover our whirlwind day in Paris. Some people would scoff at having only 1 day in Paris and even go as far as to say "It's not worth going if you only have a day." This is where I beg to differ. You can't see it all in a day, but you can certainly see the highlights. We booked an all day trip directly onboard our cruise ship. It was a 3 hour drive from the cruise port to Paris but that was so worth it. We enjoyed lovely green scenery from the comfort of our Tour Bus. This was 6 hours (3 each way) of scenic French countryside. A Bonus in my eyes!
Our Tour Guide passed out maps of the city and discussed some history as we drove along. We made a pit stop at a Gas Station/Convenience Store about midway there. Some people picked up souvenirs and snacks.
Once we got to the city, the bus pulled off near a square where we could hop off and get some pictures of the Eiffel Tower. It was pretty cloudy and a little drizzly but that didn't stop us.
After this quick stop, the bus proceeded through the city along the famous Champs des Elysees Avenue. I took in all the shops and restaurants and snapped away!
The next part of our tour was a stop at Notre Dame. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we were not able to go inside. There was a line an hour long to get in and we were only going to be here for about an hour and 15 minutes. I didn't want to spend the bulk of that time standing in a line and we opted to just walk around the area and get some great outdoor pics instead. 15 minutes inside the Cathedral would not have been enough time in my book to really appreciate it. This was the only disappointment for the day. I did get some great pics of the grounds and area directly around the beautiful Cathedral.
As we drove out of the city, the sky began to clear. It was really beautiful. I quickly got over my disappointment of not being able to go inside Notre Dame when I saw this vision out the window of the bus. One final shot (from across the row in a bus no less) of the beautiful Eiffel Tower.
Everybody on the bus grabbed a shot and we were all so pleased with the entire day. We sat back and relaxed for the beautiful 3 hour drive back to our ship. Our day included lunch at a restaurant and it was during our meal that the rain poured down outside. We missed the really bad weather while we dined on a traditional meal with wine. Even though we didn't get to go inside Notre Dame or any of the famous Museums, we had a wonderful FULL day of highlights of the city. I am so glad we went and decided that Just a Day in Paris would be enough! For now at least :-)
I feel honored to be recognized on Veterans Day. I am a USAF Veteran and have several friends and family members that are also Veterans. Some are still serving and I give Thanks for their sacrifice and service to our country.
I have written a few posts touching on this topic so instead of writing a whole new one, I will dig through my trenches and share those with you. One of my personal favorites is one I wrote after a chance encounter with a Veteran in Corpus Christi. His name is Rick and you can meet him HERE. He touched me so much that we kept in contact and I did a follow up story on him HERE. My Dad is a Veteran and so are some of my closest friends. You can meet a few of them HERE. I also wrote a post about the actual cost of FREEdom. I have some benefits as a Veteran but they were earned with great sacrifice. Read about them at: The Price I paid to fly First Class for free.
So on this Veterans Day, 2014, as you stand and salute those who served to protect your freedoms, don't forget to salute, honor, and/or hug their family members. They gave the ultimate sacrifice by staying behind and praying for their loved ones.
I count myself BLESSED to live in an Amazing City with such Wonderful Attractions. Sea World is one of my all time favorites. I have spent many days here as a Single Parent when my kids were younger. My Husband and I have enjoyed many grown up Date Days here. Recently, we enjoyed celebrating our Granddaughters 2nd Birthday at the Park in San Diego. However, up until August, I have NOT enjoyed the Park as a Solo Traveler. I knew it was time to change that!
The last time I had visited our San Antonio Park, the Water Park portion of Sea World was included in your admission. They have spent lots of time, money, and thought into creating a new “park within a park” Water Park. It is called AQUATICA and let me just say, it is AHHHHHH MAZING! My husband recently purchased 2 year Platinum Passes for him and I and it was time to hit the Water Park as a Solo Explorer. Armed with my Pass and a beach towel, I spent one of the last days of Summer enjoying the Slippery Side of Sea World!
There are many benefits that come with purchasing an Annual Pass (or in our case-a 2 year pass). One of my favorites is the Free Parking. Parking at Theme Parks is a HUGE part of your daily expense and having it already paid for is quite nice! Because we bought the 2-year Platinum Pass, we get the Upgraded Parking. VERY nice for those super hot days we have in Texas.
I picked a nice spot right under Shamu (I find myself roaming in parking lots looking for my car so I planned to eliminate this today). I took a pic on my phone of where I was parked and headed in.
I was so excited to check out the new and improved Water Park and headed straight there. The rest of the park would have to wait for another day. Today was ALL ABOUT getting WET and WILD! Or maybe,
WET and WHALED! HaHa---do you get it?!?!
Oh, I just crack myself up sometimes! No need to take yourself too seriously here. Let's get the ball rolling and head to Aquatica!
As you can plainly see, a visit for 1 to Sea World is certainly a delight. You can access all the necessary information for planning your day here at Sea World. Click on the appropriate park and you can see all the different Pass Types and Prices. If you live near one of their parks, I highly recommend getting an annual pass of some type. You save after the first visit and all the subsequent visits end up costing you pennies! When you have a Pass, you are also more inclined to visit the Park more often. You don't have to try and pack everything in to one extremely LONG day! The shows are wonderful and the attractions all encourage you to linger. I suggest just going for a few hours and not wearing yourself (or the kiddos) out! I will have to wait until next Spring to get all Wet and WHALED again (LOL), but I can enjoy the Holiday Festivities and Winter Weekends at the Park until then! I hope to see some of your beautiful faces there!
I was not compensated in any way for this post. Sea World did not pay me to go and thoroughly enjoy their park. My arm (or fingers) were not twisted to write this rave review. I just wanted to share my lovely day with you all! Opinions are always my own, unbiased, and FREE!
I have been blogging for 18 months solid and decided I need to take a break. I am going to take the next couple of months off to just focus on my health and my family. If you are new to my "class" you can certainly enjoy some time going through the archives and reading about numerous topics I cover. Officially, Summer is ending and kids are heading back to school. I am taking sort of a late summer break and won't be back until November. Enjoy the closed classroom from Teacher TT! I look forward to coming back refreshed and renewed.
Welcome to the First of many posts in a new series. This Year is going to be full of Adventures with our Two New Daughters from other Countries. Sofie is from Norway and Pink is from Thailand. They will be sharing our home and lives as foreign exchange students until June 2015. Pink arrived a week ago and Sofie just arrived on Thursday. Friday, we had the opportunity to attend Opening Night of Smokey Joe's Cafe at the Historic Woodlawn Theatre. (Special THANK YOU to The Woodlawn Theatre for providing our tickets)
I wanted to bring my Aunt to the show as well as the girls. The music is from the 50's and 60's and I knew she would really enjoy it. I also thought it would be neat to get opinions from 3 different generations of Women. Two Teenagers, One 50 year old, and One young and hip 70 year old. Three Generations of Girls from Three different Countries. I like to come up with themes and names for things because it just makes it more fun. I knew the four of us would be seeing a LOT of Theatre Productions this year and we NEEDED a name. Channeling the Bee Gees (that's Brothers Gibb for those of you that don't know them), I came up with The Three Gees. While there are 4 of us in the group, the 3 G's actually stand for:
We are Golden Girls from 3 different Generations and 3 different Countries. If I want to include the 3 Countries in the mix, I would call us
The Three Gees + C (Kind of like the 3 G's plus Vitamin C. And NOW I need a Rap song for us)
We are on a mission to see as many shows (especially Musicals) as possible in the next 10 months. We will share our views with you and give you a taste of the Theatre. Pink has never been to a Live Theatre Production and Sofie has only been once, in London. While neither girl listed Theatre as an interest in their Bio's, they are both excited about my plan. They are VERY eager participants and willing to try every opportunity I throw at them. Or in this case, drag them to! They LOVED the show, all the music (even though they were only familiar with one song "Jailhouse Rock"), and especially the cast.
The facial expressions and body language told the story as they sang and danced to the words of each song on the Playlist. I asked the Girls if they had a favorite and both replied "All of it". My Aunt and I had to agree with them. Even though I knew certain songs and I was able to sing along with them, I smiled so much through the ENTIRE show I thought my face was going to crack. It was just PURE FUN! It was one of the Best Shows I have seen and we laughed out loud on numerous occasions. Every member of the cast was exceptional and so there was no Leading Lady. There was simply Leading Legends. The Guys and Gals EACH were the Stars of the Stage. The choreography, band, and set design was also outstanding. IF you made me choose a favorite song, I would have to say "Saved". This was the last song in the First Act and was belted out by Danielle King. I LOVE a good Jesus Jam and she took us ALL straight to Church with that one!
After the show, the cast is waiting for you as you go out of the Theatre and into the Lobby. I asked the girls if they would like a picture with anyone in particular. Pink replied, "I would like one with the Lady in the Red Dress." We Thanked them all for their Fabulous Performances and took a quick picture for the Scrapbook.
I give this show a Three Gees thumbs WAY UP! It is a Wonderful 2 hour escape into a land of Happy Faces and Beautiful Voices. I fell in love with every cast member throughout the show and was already planning my encore visit. It will be a perfect Double Date Night with the Hubby or Girlfriend Night Out. It would also make a great Mother/Daughter or Mother/Son (or Father/Daughter, Father/Son) date night. Heck, it would be a great show to go to by yourself if you happen to be home alone on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday and want to just HAVE FUN! You can KICK it old school with the wonderful sounds at Smokey Joe's Cafe! For all the details, I'm attaching a photo of the press release below. You can also go to the Woodlawn Theatre Website and see more information on this show AND their entire upcoming season. The Three Gees hope to see you kickin' it, in a theatre near you, SOON!
While I was provided complimentary admission, I was not asked to write a review or RAVE about the performance. That is my sincere and heartfelt gift to YOU, the reader! Opinions are always my own and come with no price tag.
Today is Monday and I thought I would share a new Adventure with my Granddaughter. Instead of writing about it, I am just going to give you the video I made of our time at the Waterfront in San Diego. It was our last afternoon together when we were visiting a couple weeks ago. The pure JOY flowing from her face and the fountains is best experienced by WATCHING and not reading! This video should put to rest the old myth that Twos are TERRIBLE. Mya just turned 2 and I can tell you that the Twos are TERRIFIC! Have a Magnificent, Marvelous, and Magical MONDAY everybody!
If you're like me, you loved writing on the chalkboard at school. I honestly loved CLEANING the chalkboard just as much as dirtying it! I liked the way you could write or draw something and immediately erase it. What I didn't like was the residue it left on my hands that inevitably ended up on my clothes. Boo! Not very neat or user friendly.
Well, I am VERY HAPPY to tell you about a new kid in town! When I was given the opportunity to sample this product and write my opinion on it I practically JUMPED for JOY! You see, I am a very creative person. I have freestyle painted mirrors in our bathrooms and bought sidewalk chalk to draw with. YES, on the sidewalk! I have no young kids at home anymore. Heck, I didn't have ANY kids at home for the past several years. Mine are grown and gone and our 2 year old Granddaughter lives in San Diego. We live in San Antonio. This does not stop me from playing with things "intended" for children. I am just a kid at heart anyway!
We recently became Host Parents for 2 Teenage Girls from different countries. They will be spending the next year with us and experiencing life in America. I want it to be a FUN FILLED YEAR and so this product seemed like a perfect way to get things rolling. I thought it would be great to leave them little positive messages on the mirror so that as they checked themselves out before heading off to school, they would see something GOOD. Besides their own Beautiful image, of course! Anyway, I was all excited about writing little notes for them, leaving my Hubby little Hearts and Happy Faces on our bathroom mirrors, etc. Then, I had a REALLY COOL IDEA! I wanted us to have a word a day that we share on Facebook, instagram, etc. A word that we would give in English, Norwegian, and Thai. That way, everyone that was following along on our Journey could have the opportunity to learn with us! So, these lovely LIQUID CHALKERS just seemed like the best way to share this daily word. You can chalk that up to my beautiful brain! HaHa--I made a funny! Did you catch it? CHALK it UP???? Sometimes I have to shake my head at MYSELF! Serious Mad Skillz here. No, that is NOT a typo--I meant it to have a Z at the end for EMPHASIS :-) Anyway, here is Pink demonstrating our first word---MIRROR--it seemed appropriate!
Since you couldn't really see it so well in the "mirror" with the white walls and bookshelf background, I decided to hold up a dark blanket to sort of give it a canvas to POP it out for you! We each held up an end and I took another picture. Here you go!
SO MUCH BETTER! You see, using these lovely Liquid Chalkers just makes my creative juices FLOW! I did it again! "Liquid"-----FLOW---get it!?!?!?! I am killing myself over here!
Anyway, I had a little more fun with them and wrote on a hand mirror using my purple shirt to make the message POP!
In case you haven't already figured it out, I LOVE LIQUID CHALKERS!! They are my new favorite writing utensil and creative tool! I am going to be searching for mirrors to "tag" the heck out of!! I think I will carry a couple pens in my purse and leave random Happy Heart Messages on peoples car windows! I should probably hide with a camera and capture their initial reaction: ANGER!
WHY DID SOMEONE WRITE ON MY CAR WINDOW??????
Then I can sneak up and show them how it just wipes right off with your fingertip! I feel like this could be a new version of Candid Camera! Like I need ANOTHER job! HaHa!
I was sent a free package of these gems in order to try them and write about them. I would have gladly paid for them and will certainly be buying several more packages to give as gifts to friends. I knew when I read about the product that I would love them! I was RIGHT! I believe you will too! To make it easy for you, you can order them directly from Amazon by clicking HERE. I don't work for the company and I do not receive a commission on any products they sell. I just BELIEVE in this product and want you to experience the pure JOY of using it! You can be a kid at heart too! So, what are you waiting for? Time to kick that old chalk out to the curb (or sidewalk) and get the ball rolling with Wonderful Wet Writers! Easy on and Easier OFF! Just #chalkitup with Liquid Chalkers!
I could have just as easily titled this post "What a difference a Day Makes". But, that one has been used so much that it even has a song! I like to come up with more creative titles for my little stories and so I did.
The other day I shared with you about our new and exciting Adventure: Boomerang Dreams and Menopause Babies. Shortly after publishing it, we accepted an offer to be a Temporary "Welcome Family" for another student. This one is from Thailand. The Welcome Family is basically a 6 week commitment to get the student settled in to school and life in America while finding a permanent home for the year. Over breakfast, as Hubby and I discussed the logistics of adding another girl to our family (on a TEMPORARY basis), he made the MOST GENEROUS OFFER! Without me even asking!!! He said that if the girls could share the bedroom, we could KEEP HER ALL YEAR!!!!! I was like a kid at Christmas that just opened up the BIGGEST AND BEST PRESENT under the Tree!!! I LOVE my Husband SO MUCH right now! We were going to get 2 daughters for the price of 1! They are from completely different Countries--Sofie is from Norway and Premika is from Thailand. They have different hobbies, different personalities, and different cultures to share! The fact that we have 5 Beautiful Goddaughters here to share in this experience with us is just a BIG BONUS!
Premika loves to cook her native Thai Food and is looking forward to teaching her American Family. Sofie is planning to start blogging while here and so we will share that together as well. I am planning on writing a book about this wonderful experience and will give the girls their own Journals to record THEIR feelings as we Journey together. I want to be able to present the VIEW from 3 different vantage points! 2 girls from across 2 different bodies of water, coming to do the 2 step in TEXAS! My heart is bursting! My JOY is so much that I could fill an ocean with Happy Tears :-)
Today is Monday. I like to make themes for days of the week. Themes just make everything more FUN! Todays theme will be:
Magical Marvelous Monday! We could shorten it and make it a hybrid and just go with Magelous Monday. Throw a hashtag on it for extra POP,
I will be spending my Magelous Monday getting our home ready for these 2 beautiful Girls! Actually, I will be spending my entire week doing this!! So much to do and I have enough adrenaline pumping through me to do it in record time. They will be arriving next week after attending an Orientation Camp in New York City. I am beyond excited for the new additions to our family and the Wonderful Experience ahead! You will get to taste a bit of it by following along here on my blog! I'll be bringing you some highlights and sharing on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter too. I will be using the hashtag #antfarmadventures. I came up up with it because the acronym ANT stands for: America, Norway, and Thailand. Ant Farms are full of busy and productive Ants that are very interesting to watch. Our Journey together this year will be like an Ant Farm Adventure! And THAT is how you make a hashtag with passion! I want YOU all to be able to share in our Joyful Journey AND I like the way The Care Bears think. They say that
SHARING IS CARING
and I could not agree more! Love these furry friends and LOVE the way they think! Heres hoping YOU ALL have a #magelousmonday!!!
The title of this post actually popped into my head several months ago. I had an idea for a book. My FIRST book! I knew what I wanted to write about and the title just came to me. Let me explain it for you.
Have you ever had a dream that didn't pan out and you just sort of forgot about it? Maybe the timing wasn't right for it when you were dreaming about it. You kind of threw it away and started thinking up NEW dreams. You got all caught up in living those and even some you never even knew you wanted! Then one day, out of the blue, this Boomerang comes flying at you and you catch it! You remember it was a dream you once had but completely forgot about. The fire gets rekindled and you start having visions of sugar plums dancing in your head.
Wait. NO. That's a Christmas Story. This is just a regular, non holiday story that happened to me when I wasn't looking.
Without giving you the whole backstory and taking you on the long, scenic route to the final destination (which is actually the point), let me skip right to the punchline and tell you our exciting news.
We are going to be hosting a foreign exchange student this year!!!!!
I wrote an article about Couchsurfing and used an example of being a host family in it. I have always loved having people over and entertaining. When our kids were still at home and in Middle and High School, we hosted lots of youth activities at our home. Having our house full of kids always made me happy. If any of you are in my age bracket, you may remember the Kool Aid commercials. There is a Mom that basically is serving up this delicious diabetic inducing beverage to the entire neighborhood. I wanted to BE this Mom! That was my big dream as a teenager. To be the Kool Aid Mom. Of course back then we didn't know the dangers of all the sugar in the drink and potential future health hazards of too much consumption of said drink. The Mom was just KOOL and all the kids loved her! That was what I really craved.
Our kids are grown and live outside of our home and have for several years now. I am in the midst of menopause and having a baby is out of the question. Besides, we are the proud Grandparents of an amazing 2 year old Granddaughter. I am able to dedicate doses of Toddler time (with lots of rest in between) on scheduled visits. Raising a child from Zero to Twenty is not the dream. Parenting a Teenager for a year and gaining a daughter for a lifetime IS!
Traveling and exploring new places is such a huge part of who I am. I love thinking outside the box and I started to see what a great experience this would be. My husband and I could actually have a DIRECT impact on representing America to a whole other Country. We would learn about this country while sharing about our own. I would have a personal travel buddy to take on field trips and adventures all over Texas. I would be seeing our beautiful state through brand new eyes!!!! I could hardly wait!
I realized I was going to want to record the year so I would remember all the wonderful details of the experience. Since writing has become a passion I never planned for, I figured I would just write a book. My first book! It will be sort of a journal of our year as a Host Family. I don't care if it never gets published. My goal is not to become a Best Selling Author or even a published Author. My goal is to capture moments (with words and photos) so that I will have the memories permanently available. So the writing of this book is not a money making scheme. It is a #memorymakingtheme. Our Norwegian daughter and her family will be able to enjoy it and share it with their friends and our kids will be able to share it with theirs. I'm picturing myself in a rocking chair in about 40 years reading it to my Great Grandchildren. THAT is reason enough to write it!
So, I have the title for the book: Boomerang Dreams and Menopause Babies. I wanted to at least get that in writing and documented in case someone else thought of it too. Of course the "Babies" is not a literal statement. It is meant to be funny. The thought of raising a baby during menopause is a bit frightening. Having a Teenager back in the house during this "season" of my life will be FUN! My Husband may not fully agree with that last statement--HaHa! He is a great sport though and equally excited about this Opportunity. He knows it is something I wanted for a long time and he is happy to share it with me. We are both happy to share our home and our hearts with Sofie, our Norwegian daughter. You guys will get to come along for the ride as I share some of the stories here on my website. Most of this journey however, will be written privately and shared sometime in the future. If you follow me here (and on Facebook, twitter, and Instagram (Joyful Journeyist) , you will get sneak peeks throughout the year! You are NOT gonna want to miss this exciting new Adventure!
I am SUPER EXCITED to introduce you to my favorite little Leading Lady. World, meet MYA. Mya, meet the WORLD! I am going to be writing short little stories about Adventures I take with my Granddaughter. As much as they are to chronicle our time together, they are also meant to encourage you to spend creative time with your own Toddler. You see, someone gave these little people a bad name. Apparently, some grumpy old person (grown up) decided that Toddlers are Terrible and therefore coined the phrase we all know and hate:
The Terrible Twos.
He or She got it COMPLETELY wrong! The 2 year old phase of life is Terrifically Delicious! TD = TouchDown TD = Terrifically Delicious. I'm gonna go ahead and throw a hashtag on that Baby!
I have a LOT more to say on this topic but I don't want to keep you too long today. Plus, I have my own Solo Grandma Adventure to head out to. I just wanted to let you know about this exciting new series so you can start getting excited with me!!!!! I promise there will be LOTS of pictures
Not so many WORDS
And a whole LOTTA FUN!
If you are tired of the way Adults talk about our kids. If you are tired of the way MEAN PEOPLE glare at Babies on a Plane and EXPECT them to cry (you would too if you had 200 ugly faces glaring at you for no good reason). If you are just TIRED of negativity being fed to you around every corner, just say STOP. STOP the MADness and Hop on over here to experience some GLADness! See you SOON!